In the wake of WrestleMania, Team Blue saw the dawning of a new era, as Shane McMahon made Paige the new General Manager of SmackDown LIVE. Then, in a fantasy match of Paige's creation, WWE Champion AJ Styles battled Daniel Bryan, a showdown that would fall victim to the wrath of The King of Strong Style. Plus, Carmella cashed in her Money in the Bank contract to become the new SmackDown Women’s Champion after the debuting IIconics laid waste to Charlotte Flair.
SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon kicked off the show with a major announcement: Team Blue was about to get a brand new General Manager.
In the wake of he and Daniel Bryan’s victory over The “Yep!” Movement at WrestleMania 34, Shane-O-Mac revealed that Daniel had asked for his release as the show’s General Manager so that he go back to being a full-time WWE Superstar. Shane thanked The “Yes!” Man for his passion and resolve, then introduced the new General Manager of SmackDown LIVE — Paige!
Paige, who retired from in-ring competition the night before on Raw, wasted no time making a major impact on the blue brand, announcing that AJ Styles would square off against Daniel Bryan (who hadn’t competed in a match on WWE television in almost three years) in SmackDown LIVE’s main event!
Following the Fatal 4-Way Match that saw Jinder Mahal capture the United States Championship at WrestleMania 34, the three Superstars who fell just short of walking away with the title this past Sunday faced off in a Triple Threat Match on SmackDown LIVE with the winner gaining the opportunity to face Mahal for the championship at WWE Backlash.
With The Modern Day Maharaja watching on from a chair at ringside, the three Superstars picked up right where they left off on Sunday. After close calls at victory for all three Superstars and high-impact moments like Rusev and Orton each slamming the other onto the announcer’s table, The Viper hit the RKO outta nowhere on Roode, allowing The Viper to grab the W and rekindle his epic rivalry with Mahal with the United States Title on the line at WWE Backlash.
The WWE Universe was treated to this fantasy match two nights after WrestleMania 34, as AJ Styles squared off against Daniel Bryan on SmackDown LIVE per the order of new General Manager Paige.
In Bryan’s first match on SmackDown LIVE in nearly three years, he and Styles had the WWE Universe buzzing before the bell even rang, with a big-fight feel coursing throughout the building. There was no drop-off in excitement once the action got underway, as the two Superstars went full force in this non-title contest. Styles appeared willing to put his newfound beef with Shinsuke Nakamura on the back burner and focus on the task at hand with The “Yes!” Man.
However, just as the classic was beginning to develop and Styles countered Bryan’s top-rope superplex to leave both Superstars down on the canvas, Nakamura entered through the timekeeper’s area and caused a ruckus, prompting a no-contest.
The King of Strong Style laid Bryan out with a Kinshasa to the back of his head, then delivered another savage low blow and merciless Kinshasa to the WWE Champion. And then, yet another low blow. Nakamura left smugly while Styles and Bryan were left down on the mat.
In other action … The Usos def. The New Day to challenge SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Bludgeon Brothers at the Greatest Royal Rumble event … Naomi def. Natalya … and Carmella became the SmackDown Women’s Champion, successfully cashing in her Money in the Bank contract after Billie Kay & Peyton Royce laid out Charlotte Flair.