WWE SmackDown Recap: April 24, 2018
S18 episode 17 Aired on April 24, 2018

With his longtime friends Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows by his side, WWE Champion AJ Styles reunited with The Club to take on Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev & Aiden English in SmackDown LIVE’s main event. With both Styles and Nakamura preparing to square off in a rematch of their dream battle from WrestleMania at the Greatest Royal Rumble event this Friday, the in-ring action was at a premium.

Following Carmella’s shocking cash-in on the SmackDown LIVE after WrestleMania, Princess Mella and Charlotte Flair hit the ring intending to sign a contract for a rematch at WWE Backlash.

Demanding the WWE Universe’s cheers, Carmella played the same highlight reel of her accomplishments as last week in hopes of inspiring a standing ovation. However, when she demanded that the highlight reel be played a second time, all Princess Mella got was the arrival of a focused Charlotte.

Un-phased by the spectacle, Charlotte simply signed the contract and then smirked before smashing Carmella’s head onto the table and then flipping it onto the champion. The Queen then exited the ring as Carmella was left down in the squared circle.

The Miz was at the epicenter of the seismic shift created by the Superstar Shake-up last week, and it seemed The A-Lister would now stand face-to-face with his longtime rival Daniel Bryan in the ring for the first time in nearly three years on “Miz TV.” Arriving instead was Big Cass, who brutally attacked Bryan last week in his WWE return.

When The Miz questioned Cass as to why he was there, the seven-footer cited that he too had worked diligently to return from injury, yet all of the attention went to Daniel and none to him.

Later in the evening, Bryan left the trainer’s room and said that although he was banged up earlier from an attack from behind, he would indeed still compete at The Greatest Royal Rumble event and was also challenging Big Cass to a match at WWE Backlash.

After the tag team main event’s conclusion — a win for Nakamura and Rusev Day — a fed-up Styles launched himself at Nakamura and landed several strikes, but The King of Strong Style hit The Phenomenal One with yet another gruesome low blow. WWE’s Rockstar then appeared to be tuning up for a Kinshasa when Anderson stepped in front of it, causing him to take the dreaded move.

Nakamura then taunted The Phenomenal One, putting Anderson down with another Kinshasa as he forced the battered WWE Champion to watch.

Does The Artist now have the mental edge over Styles as their WWE Championship Match at The Greatest Royal Rumble event approaches?

In other action … The Iconic def. Asuke & Becky Lynch … Jimmy Uso def. Rowan … and Shelton Benjamin def. Randy Orton.

Season 18 episode guides