Cleat Geeks

Straight Up Smack Down


Happy Halloween everyone! Each week, the anticipation builds & reveals a new piece to the puzzle for Smack Down’s Survivor Series 5 man team. In Norfolk, Virginia this week another cog to the wheel was added. This open spot on Team Smack Down was advertised last week as a match for THIS week, between Kevin Owens & Shinsuke Nakamura.  Going back to last week, Randy Orton defeated Sami Zayn to qualify as the first member of Team Smack Down. Now supposedly, unless I missed something from then to now, the Owens/Nakamura match was to decide the second member of the team. However, all of that changed Tuesday night thanks to Shane McMahon. The Owens/Nakamura match would now ultimately decide the FOURTH member of Team Smack Down.  Here’s why:

There’s a lot to unpack there. First, let me say I don’t really want to comment much on the Daniel Bryan attack because it occurred on Raw & well, I cover Smack Down Live. (Plus it was a really lame segment, but it explains his absence on Tuesday night.)  Second, Shane named himself as the Team’s captain…”as of now.” Who knows what that means, it could be a nothing statement or it could mean that he’s holding the spot for someone else. That remains to be seen. The third part is, when Shane said “let’s start the show” the match began between Dolph Ziggler & Bobby Roode. This match was also advertised last week as a 2 out 3 Falls match for this week. What I must have missed was the part where this became a qualifying match for Team Smack Down! That’s a big stipulation to add to an already stipulated match. Here’s what happened & welcome back to Tom Phillips. He returned from “assignment” back to Smack Down this week, displacing the often scrutinized Michael Cole:

Could have done without that interview immediately following the pinfall. I’m guessing Roode meant to say “passion” & “competitiveness” on their own & not “compassion,” but nice recovery. That’s a definite risk you run asking ANY athlete to do an interview immediately following intense competition. Richard Sherman, Brock Lesnar, just search Google to find more examples. The point is, it wasn’t very good & Roode’s babyface promos are barely good with a clear head to begin with. Some cutaways to crowd reactions could have helped too. There were quite a few fans in costume for the holiday.

Dolph did an online interview after the match, where he laced a few truths in his responses. It almost makes you feel bad for him:

So Ziggler seems to be at a crossroads, but now that gives us Shane McMahon, Bobby Roode, & Randy Orton for Team Smack Down at Survivor Series. The fourth teammate was determined in the night’s main event:

Wow, basically a clean win for Shinsuke over Kevin. I really like how Orton & Zayn were tied into this match. I hope this is an angle that can be turned into a Orton/Zayn feud following Survivor Series. At this point, Ziggler & Orton are simply elevating other wrestlers and based on his recent character reboot, I think it’s a feud that Sami could really benefit from. So now that adds Shinsuke to the team & the fifth spot will be determined next week, in a match between A.J. Styles & Rusev.

Speaking of Rusev, I have really enjoyed his pairing with Aiden English. I’m starting to dislike English less because of his contributions to their segments. Their comedic styles play off each other really well & I hope the duo continue their segments together. They have recently been paired off with The New Day, following their feud split from The Usos. This week added another encounter between both Rusev, English & the New Day (or should I say Jimmy “Mouth of the South” Hart, Akeem the African Dream, & Brother Love?):

Incredible. Maybe my favorite segment of the evening. Actually, THIS was my favorite segment of the evening. Spoiler alert: Rusev is going to mention the victor of his match against Big E.

I’ve watched this clip 5 times & I still laugh at Rusev’s entrance into it. Also, props to Rusev mentioning the often forgotten “win/loss column.” Sometimes viewers need to be reminded that these matches are actually supposed to mean something!

Here’s the match between Big E & Rusev….English was also fantastic here:

WWE.COM caught up with Rusev after his victory, to ask him about his next challenge. Rusev has REALLY developed his English speaking ability but in all seriousness, brings up a valid point about the multiple hurdles for him & nobody else:

Tuesday night was definitely Rusev Day. He will face A.J. Styles next week for the fifth spot on Team Smack Down.

Speaking of A.J. Styles, he had a horrible Halloween in Norfolk, Virginia. Styles competed against Samir Singh, as previously advertised for this show, on last week’s Smack Down. Styles won easily, but everything turned after A.J. scored the 3 count. First in this clip are Jinder & the Singhs, responding to Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman, regarding their champion versus champion match at Survivor Series:

A vicious attack by the WWE champion & this attack creates an opportunity, if Smack Down decides to use it, to give Styles an excuse to lose next week. Perhaps a less than 100% Styles cannot beat Rusev in their qualifying match?  We will see next week….


…..speaking of next week: Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable interrupted Renee Young’s interview with The Usos to inform the champions that Shane created a tag team title match next week, between the aforementioned teams. Gable even decided to deliver the news in the style of a battle rap:

Not too shabby….have to admit, I’m excited for this & I can’t wait for next week!


The lovely women of Smack Down Live were only briefly on camera this week. Becky Lynch gave her best rally the troops, strength in numbers, unity speech to her teammates. Natalya showed up to cut down in particular, Naomi & Charlotte Flair:

This segment offered very little value, other than to give the women some facetime this week on the show. I’m just going to tip toe right by the fact that James Ellsworth was dressed up like a dog because there’s more nonsense on the way…..

And here you go, first is this week’s vignette you thought couldn’t be replicated a third week in a row; The Bludgeon Brothers:

Actually very appropriate this week, given the holiday. I can’t see how those hammers won’t be incorporated into the outcomes of their matches.

Lastly, I leave you with this: Strangerer Things starring Breezango & The Ascension….

I never really take great notes during these segments for a couple reasons: 1) These segments are pretty entertaining & I usually get caught up in just watching them.  2) These segments are really dumb too & I’m already taking 1 1/2 pages of notes on a professional wrestling show.  The only question I have is, do they need permission from Netflix to mimic Stranger Things?  Sure seems like a pretty blatant copyright infringement to me.


Thanks for reading!

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