The April 25th edition of WWE SmackDown aired live from the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa and was the go-home show for Payback on Sunday.
– SmackDown opens up with Renee Young in the ring, who introduces Shinsuke Nakamura. Nakamura comes out for his in-ring interview to kick off the show, but before he can answer the first question Dolph Ziggler comes out to interrupt. Ziggler sends away Renee and says he’ll interview Nakamura instead. Ziggler cracks some jokes at Nakamura’s expense and goes on a rant comparing Nakamura to the late Michael Jackson. Nakamura snatches the mic away from Ziggler and says something in Japanese before calling Ziggler a jackass. Ziggler gets fed up and kicks Nakamura when he’s not looking. Ziggler goes for a superkick but Nakamura catches him and hits a back suplex. Nakamura goes for a knee to the face but Ziggler scurries away and retreats back up the ramp.
– AJ Styles def. Baron Corbin: Kevin Owens is on commentary for this one. Baron pie-faces AJ away after the opening bell, but AJ quickly gets him in a side headlock and won’t let go. Corbin finally fights out, but AJ throws a leg kick and puts the headlock back on. Corbin fights out again and this time he throws AJ out to the floor at ringside. Corbin takes control from here and works on AJ on the mat. Corbin takes AJ up top for a superplex, but AJ slides out between Corbin’s legs. AJ kicks Corbin’s legs out from under him, then hits a Pele kick to the head. AJ follows up with a flying clothesline and some more strikes for a two count. Corbin blocks a Calf Crusher attempt, but AJ stuns him with an elbow to the face. AJ sets up for a Phenomenal Forearm, but Kevin Owens runs over to him and AJ has to kick him away. Corbin dodges the Phenomenal Forearm, but AJ is still able to roll him up in a sunset flip for the win. Owens and Corbin beat down AJ after the match until Sami Zayn comes out for the save. Owens runs away and Zayn starts going at with Corbin. Zayn punches Owens off the apron, then hits the Heluva Kick on Corbin. Owens takes the opportunity to hit Zayn from behind and beat him down. Owens grabs AJ next and hits the Pop Up Powerbomb on him. Owens holds up the US Title over AJ then heads to the back.
– Charlotte does an interview backstage where she says gold runs through her veins, and that she needs to win the Women’s Championship tonight. Charlotte says she’ll prove tonight that she’s the greatest superstar in WWE history.
– Beat The Clock challenge – American Alpha def. The Colons: This one is to determine the #1 contender for the Tag Team Titles. American Alpha and The Colons start things off. Epico and Primo get several pin attempts on Gable early on. Primo hits a springboard senton bomb on Gable and a leg drop for a two count. Primo follows up with a leg drop and a couple unsuccessful submission holds. Primo knocks Jordan off the apron but when Jordan gets back up he hits the Grand Amplitude with Gable on Primo for the first pinfall at 5:17. Later tonight, Breezango will take on The Ascension, and one of them will have to get a pinfall before the 5:17 mark in order to get a title shot.
– Becky Lynch does an interview where she discusses Charlotte getting a Women’s Title shot tonight. She quickly gets interrupted by the group of Natalya, Tamina, Carmella and Ellsworth. They tell Becky that they’re either with her or against her.
– Randy Orton def. Eric Rowan: This one is a no DQ match. Rowan starts off in control but Orton quickly clotheslines him to the outside. They brawl around ringside early on where Orton back suplexes Rowan onto the fan barricade. Orton slams Rowan’s head off the announce table, then back suplexes him onto that too. Rowan comes back and whips Orton into the ring steps before rolling him back onto the mat. Rowan takes a kendo stick in the ring with him and starts teeing off on Orton. Rowan sets up a table at ringside and tries to suplex Orton off the ring apron through it, but Orton breaks free and nails Rowan in the head with the kendo stick. Orton bumps Rowan off the apron and Rowan crashes through the table. Back in the ring, Rowan starts fighting back but Orton plants him with a draping DDT over the middle rope. Orton goes for an RKO, but Rowan pushes Orton away and hits him with the kendo stick again. Rowan grabs a chair from ringside and sticks it between the turnbuckles in one corner. Rowan whips Orton into the corner with the chair in it, but Orton stops short of hitting the chair. Rowan charges towards Orton but Orton moves and Rowan crashes into the chair. Orton follows up with an RKO for the win.
– After the match, Orton cuts a promo saying he doesn’t know what a House of Horrors match is, but he’s going to make it hell for Bray Wyatt. Before Orton can get out of the ring, Jinder Mahal interrupts and tells Orton it’s Jinder who he should be worried about. Jinder says he has more wealth, talent, class and culture than anyone in the arena. Jinder says Orton, like all of these people, disrespect him because he looks different. Jinder says at Backlash he’ll take the WWE Championship and the glory back to his people. Jinder informs us that he’ll now address his people in his language. Jinder starts speaking another language, and then tries to sneak a right hand on Orton. Orton blocks it and throws one back at Jinder before attempting a draping DDT over the middle rope. The Bollywood Boys run in and make the save before Orton can hit his DDT. They hold down Orton while Jinder stomps on him. Jinder picks up Orton and hits a Cross-face Chicken Wing Slam, then takes Orton’s WWE Title belt. Jinder holds the belt up, and walks back up the ramp with Orton’s Title belt in hand.
– We see a clip from during the commercial break of Jinder riding off in a limo with Orton’s WWE Title belt.
– Beat The Clock challenge – Breezango def. The Ascension: The Ascension double teams Breeze early on but Fandango breaks up the early pin attempt. The Ascension hits another double team combo, this time on Fandango, for another two count. This leads to Breeze superkicking Konnor and Fandango following up with Michinouku Driver for the win just after the 2-minute mark. This earns Breezango a shot at the Tag Titles on Sunday.
– WWE Women’s Champion Naomi does an interview backstage where she talks about her upcoming match against Charlotte. She says Charlotte is a good competitor, but Naomi is the champion and she’s going to show everyone why tonight. She says Charlotte is about to feel the glow, then heads to the entrance position for her defense.
– Naomi (c) vs. Charlotte – No Contest: Naomi drops Charlotte early on and causes the challenger to roll out to ringside. Charlotte grabs Naomi’s feet from under the ropes and swings her out to the ringside floor. Back in the ring, Charlotte controls the pace of the match with knee drops and submission holds. Naomi comes back with a series of kicks and a Stunner. Naomi follows up with a roundhouse kick to the head of Charlotte for a two count. More kicks from Naomi and a butt bump for another near-fall on the challenger. Naomi appears to attempt a Frankensteiner, but Charlotte reverses into a sit out powerbomb for a two count. Shortly after, the group of Tamina, Natalya and Carmella run in and ruin the match. They attack both Naomi and Charlotte, with Tamina hitting a superkick on Charlotte. Natalya orders Tamina to grab Charlotte again, and this time Tamina holds Charlotte up for a superkick from Carmella. Ellsworth climbs in the ring and celebrates with the group as Charlotte and Naomi are both down. They head up the ramp as Naomi and Charlotte recover at ringside as SmackDown goes off the air.