2 things that went right on the April 14 episode of SmackDown


If you weren’t busy watching the last batch of NBA Play-In Tournament games, then you probably spent your Friday watching the latest episode of SmackDown. If the poll on Daily DDT’s Twitter page or Cagematch’s rating for the show is any indication, you probably liked what you saw.

The April 14 broadcast again focused on the continuing issues between The Bloodline, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, and Matt Riddle, culminating in a main event showdown between Riddle and Solo Sikoa. SmackDown also featured a couple of good matches — Xavier Woods vs. LA Knight and Damian Priest vs. Santos Escobar — and advertised a few more for next week’s show.

For now, though, let’s look at the things WWE executed well on this episode.

What went right on the April 14 episode of SmackDown?

Shinsuke Nakamura returns to SmackDown and pins Madcap Moss

Fans hadn’t seen Shinsuke Nakamura on WWE television since Nov. 11, 2022. To give you an idea of how things have changed since then, Nakamura lost to Legado Del Fantasma’s Santos Escobar and Escobar is now a part of the LWO alongside Rey Mysterio as a babyface.

To commemorate his return to SmackDown, Nakamura faced Madcap Moss, a man who seems stuck in a midcard holding pattern. As such, this match served to reintroduce the audience to Nakamura’s signature offense via a dominant win over a wrestler with no clear direction. It’s booking 101 for reacclimating a star wrestler.

With Scarett revealing a tarot card with Nakamura’s likeness on it, “The King of Strong Style” will likely feud with Karrion Kross. Like Moss, Kross has floated along aimlessly for a while, so we’ll see if a program with Nakamura reinvigorates him (though if he couldn’t have an exciting feud with Rey Mysterio, it’s hard to have high hopes for one with Nakamura).

Xavier Woods pins LA Knight again

About a month after defeating LA Knight with his Backwoods pinning combination (an inside cradle), Xavier Woods battled him again on this week’s show. The two put together a fun 12-minute match that ended with Woods rolling up Knight again (this time grabbing Knight’s tights, as Knight tried to do to Woods) to score another pin over his rival.

Typically, WWE goes the “Even Steven” route with these rematches, so it was refreshing to see Woods pick up the second straight decision, even if it came at the expense of someone whose losses should be kept to a minimum. It was also nice to see Woods parlay this into an Intercontinental Championship match.

Next. Dolph Ziggler is right that he’s one of the best to ever perform. dark

Sure, Woods probably won’t beat GUNTHER, but little things like this make the matches and the results feel like they matter, and successfully defending titles against wrestlers with winning streaks only adds to that belt’s prestige.