WWE SmackDown Recap: April 17, 2018
S18 episode 16 Aired on April 17, 2018

AJ Styles & Daniel Bryan formed a fantasy team as they took on Rusev & Aiden English, but Shinsuke Nakamura and the newest SmackDown LIVE Superstar Big Cass made sure to make their presence felt. Elsewhere, SmackDown Women’s Champion Carmella’s ’Mellabration was unceremoniously interrupted several times, including one interjection from the division’s newest threat.

Following Shinsuke Nakamura’s blindside attack on WWE Champion AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan at the conclusion of last week’s SmackDown LIVE, Styles kicked tonight off looking to get his hands on WWE’s Rockstar. However, AJ’s call-out did not summon The King of Strong Style, but instead Rusev & Aiden English. English sang his typical song, but Styles made it very clear that he was not in the mood for any song or dance. If Rusev wanted a fight, he could come get one.

And so he did, as the two Superstars went at it to kick off the second night of the 2018 Superstar Shake-up. Right off the bat, The Phenomenal One locked The Bulgarian Brute in the Calf Crusher. When it appeared Rusev was going to tap out due to the excruciating pain, English attacked AJ, and Styles won by disqualification. A limping Rusev soon joined in on the beatdown of the WWE Champion until Styles got a helping hand from Daniel Bryan. The “Yes!” Man rushed to Styles’ aid, causing the Rusev Day celebrators to flee.

The two would not be able to escape, however, because new SmackDown LIVE General Manager Paige decreed that she had found her main event for tonight — AJ Styles & Daniel Bryan vs. Rusev & Aiden English!

Samoa Joe has arrived.

Yes, The Samoan Submission Machine became the newest member of SmackDown LIVE and wasted no time making a statement out of Sin Cara, forcing him to tap out with the Coquina Clutch.

After the match, Joe grabbed the microphone, declaring SmackDown LIVE the “Land of Handouts” — a land where he was ready to take matters into his own hands and put down the top Superstars, just like he would Roman Reigns at WWE Backlash.

Before making his exit, Joe promised to win the Intercontinental Championship at the Greatest Royal Rumble event and take the Universal Title from Roman Reigns at WWE Backlash if The Big Dog somehow defeats Brock Lesnar.

Following up from their chaotic battle with Rusev Day earlier in the night, AJ Styles & Daniel Bryan teamed up for the first time ever to take on Rusev & Aiden English in an epic main event. Right when it looked like Bryan and Styles were closing in on victory, Shinsuke Nakamura blindsided Styles, who was on the ring apron, with yet another low blow. Big Cass, with whom Bryan had a tense exchange earlier in the evening, entered the ring immediately after Nakamura’s strike and dropped The “Yes!” Man with a big boot.

Renee Young tried to get a comment from Nakamura after the match, but The Artist again claimed that he spoke no English, while Cass opted to celebrate over Bryan’s limp body.

The blue brand has been shaken up indeed… and it may never be the same again.

In other action … Jeff Hardy def. Shelton Benjamin … Harper def. Jey Uso … SmackDown Women’s Champion Carmella threw her ’Mellabration … and Charlotte Flair def. Billie Kay and Asuka emerged on SmackDown LIVE.

Season 18 episode guides