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‘SD Live After Mania’ Recap: Bryan vs. Styles, Iconic debut, MITB cash-in & more

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The fallout from WrestleMania 34 continues live from The Smoothie King Center in New Orleans at 8 p.m. ET where we will close out the most exciting weekend of the year for WWE with two hours of what is sure to be non stop action on a Tuesday night. Keep an eye on this page and make sure to follow along with us @FightBoothPW.

SmackDown Live Commish Shane McMahon is here to kick off the show with a major announcement. Shane thanks the crowd for taking part in this historical weekend and praises Daniel Bryan. He says he graciously accepts Bryan’s resignation as General Manager. He then introduces your new SmackDown Live General Manager — Paige.

The crowd chants “This is your house” at Paige. She wants to get down to business. Her first act as General Manager is to make this night truly special for everyone in the stands. She wants to know who wants to see Daniel Bryan in a match on TV for the first time in three years. Paige’s first match booking as General Manager is Daniel Bryan versus AJ Styles. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Our first match of the night is a tag team match between The Usos and The New Day. The winner of this match gets a title shot against The Bludgeon Brothers at the Greatest Royal Rumble event in Saudi Arabia later this month. We get a Unicorn Stampede as Pancakes fly everywhere before we head to a commercial break. Jimmy Uso gets to work on Xavier Woods after the commercial break. Corey Graves points out that this may be the last time we get to see these two teams on SmackDown Live. This really has been one of the best WWE tag team feuds of the past decade. Possibly ever in terms of in-ring match quality.

The finish came after Jey hit a splash on Xavier after Jimmy softened him up with a superkick. The Usos are going to Saudi Arabia for a chance to regain their SD Live tag team titles and The New Day are likely headed to RAW next week as a part of the Superstar Shakeup.

The Bludgeon Brothers come out to make their presence felt. They send a message to the new #1 contenders by pointing their mallets at the Usos.

We join Naomi backstage where Dasha interviews her as she basks in the glow of her Women’s WrestleMania Battle Royal trophy. Natalya has some unsavory words for her. This is enough to sell us a match between Naomi and Natalya which is set to begin now. Naomi gains the upper hand before we head to a commercial.

We return to learn that Natalya has been in control since the commercial break. Naomi makes a short comeback but Natalya counters with a powerbomb. She goes for the pin but Naomi kicks out a two. Naomi escapes a Sharpshooter attempt. Discus clothesline from Natalya. Naomi kicks out again and Natalya yells at the ref to do his job. Out of nowhere, Naomi finishes the match with a split-legged moonsault. She poses with her trophy and high fives the announce team.

We join Renee Young backstage where she’s waiting outside of Shinsuke Nakamura’s locker room. She asks about his unsportsmanlike conduct at WrestleMania 34. Shinsuke apologizes and winks at Renee to signify that he’s “sorry, not sorry”. Renee asks another question and Shinsuke says he doesn’t speak English before walking away. Shinsuke is already proving that he can be a top heel for this company in just one segment. This was better than all of the awkward babyface interviews Renee did with him prior combined.

SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair is out next. She thanks Asuka for making her work harder and dig deeper than she ever has before. “Asuka, we left every ounce of energy, we left every ounce of emotion in that stadium that night,” Charlotte says. She says it was special and magical. She wonders who she’s going to make magic with next. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce come out. The crowd chants NXT.

Peyton and Bille crack a couple of jokes telling Charlotte that her match with Asuka was good, but it wasn’t iconic. Peyton continues to crack at Charlotte. They are absolutely killing it on the mic. “Stop talking about a match that happened in the past, especially when you’re looking at the future,” they tell Charlotte. Charlotte makes the first move but The Kay and Royce, who are now known as The IIconics instead of The Iconic Duo, prove to be too much. They obliterate the champion inside and out of the ring. This goes on forever before The IIconics stand tall over a lifeless Charlotte in the center of the ring. As Kay and Royce exit, Carmella comes out with her Money in the Bank briefcase. She’s cashing in! The referee is taking forever to ring the bell as Carmella screams bloody murder.

Carmella hits a superkick. It’s all over. Carmella is your new SmackDown Women’s Champion. The crowd pops huge. They did a great job with the ref tease there. Huge moment for Carmella taking advantage of The Iconics dirty work to become champ. Charlotte remains lifeless and Carmella celebrates.

Jinder Mahal, the new United States Champion, joins the announce team fresh of his big WrestleMania victory. Randy Orton comes out. Bobby Roode is next before Aiden English asks the NOLA crowd to tell him what day it is. It’s Rusev Day of course. Rusev is out next. The winner of this match between Rusev vs. Randy Orton vs. Bobby Roode will challenge Jinder Mahal for the United States Championship at Backlash.

The finishing sequence went a little something like this: Rusev his a Machka kick on Roode and sinks in The Accolade. Orton disposes of Rusev and Roode rolls him up. Orton hits an RKO out of nowhere on Roode for the win. We are getting Mahal versus Orton (once again) at Backlash.

We join the new SmackDown Women’s Champion backstage with Dasha. Carmella says she was patient during the 287 days she waited to cash-in. She begins to cry. She says she promised herself that she wouldn’t cry but she has someone she needs to thank – herself. Dasha asks about Billie Kay and Peyton Royce. Carmella replies, “Who?”.

Renee Young stops AJ Styles for a few words before tonight’s main event. “Never in a million years did I think I’d be standing across from Daniel Bryan in a WWE ring,” Styles says. Daniel Bryan comes out. As Paige mentioned before, this is his first match on WWE TV in three years.

Bryan and Styles lock up. It still feels so fresh and new to see Bryan back in the ring again. Some great technical wrestling to get things started between these two living pro wrestling legends. Bryan kicks Styles around the ring. He begins to work over the left arm of the champ. Styles is in a tremendous amount of pain. He has a kimura lock on Styles but the champ breaks free with an elbow. Bryan responds with some uppercuts. The run the ropes and Styles hits a picture perfect dropkick.

Back from commercial, Bryan escapes a suplex attempt from Styles. Maybe it’s because we haven’t seen him in three years but Bryan almost seems quicker in there. He hits a flying kick in the corner and meets AJ in the middle to gift him with some YES! kicks. Dragonscrew counter from AJ. Bryan’s knee appears to be hurt. Bryan does a back flip off the top rope and grabs his knee. Styles begins to target it now. Bryan sinks in an armbar attempt but Styles is able to break free. Calf crusher attempt from Styles. Great mat work from both men here as expected. Bryan counters into a LeBell lock but Styles escapes and rolls him up. Bryan kicks out. Pele kick from Styles. Styles turns Bryan inside out with a lariat. Styles with The Phenomenal Forearm but Bryan clobbers him with a kick. Bryan leads the crowd into some YES! chants. Flying knee from Bryan but Styles is able to counter with a Styles Clash. Bryan counters into a YES! Lock. The champ gets a hold of the bottom rope to break it up. Styles in the Tree of Woe now and Bryan fires away with some kicks.

Bryan and Styles do a top rope back suplex spot that probably has everybody on the edge of their seat. Shinsuke enters the ring and hits Bryan with a Kinshasa to the head. He hits Styles with a low blow once again and nails him with a Kinshasha as well. Another low blow to Styles by Nakamura. The crowd gives him hell. Nakamura walks off with a mischievous smile to end the show.

Dave has been covering Pro Wrestling and Mixed Martial Arts for various websites since 2010. He currently runs both FightBooth and FightBoothPW with the help of some lovely and talented people.

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