Cleat Geeks

Straight Up Smack Down

 

If you’re a pro wrestling fan or you have not been living under a rock, you already know that this Sunday is WWE Survivor Series. What you haven’t known for weeks is exactly what or who would be on the card. The only thing every fan knew for sure was that this event was an “inter-promotion” style event, meaning that wrestler(s) from each respective show would team up against the opposing show’s wrestler(s). Every title holder will face the other brand’s similar title holder & there will be two, gender specific, 5 on 5 elimination matches. Basically, we get 2 traditional Survivor Series matches. Growing up, this event & the Royal Rumble were always my two favorite pay-per-views to watch. Maybe because they cost less to order than WrestleMania, so I could con one of my parents into ordering it if my friends would chip in a few bucks. Specific to the Survivor Series, I remember arguing about which wrestler would be eliminated first from each match & how the sequential eliminations would follow. I also remember a few names very distinctly from watching my first Survivor Series: Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan, Hogan, Paul Bearer, Undertaker, & Ric Flair….

This still gives me goosebumps. Maybe I’m just being nostalgic, but these pay-per-views hold a special place in my heart. Maybe these moments ARE really that good? Heck, every player in this match is not just a legend but a freaking icon. Throw Earl Hebner & Howard Finkel in there too. Anyways, my point is that without these legendary matches at Survivor Series & other great elimination matches with uniquely named teams, Survivor Series might have just been renamed like so many other WWE pay-per-views. These icons paved the way for generations to follow & one of those icons even gets to watch their own next generation walk that path:

Yes, Charlotte was in Charlotte, North Carolina on Tuesday night to challenge Natalya for the Smack Down Women’s championship just 5 days before Survivor Series. These 2 next generation superstars are examples of everything that is right about WWE. They are extremely talented, they understand how to take audiences on an emotional roller coaster in their matches, they are fantastic story tellers, & are poignant in their promo skills. I still think that their best match was at NXT, when they figuratively stole the show:

Lot of familiar faces in that pre-match video, including Charlotte’s semi-final match opponent in that NXT tournament, Alexa Bliss. If Charlotte could find a way to defeat Natalya just one more time, she would face Alexa Bliss at Survivor Series in the Raw versus Smack Down Women’s champion match. Could she make everything come full circle, 3 years later?

You bet she can.  These 2 superstars never seem to disappoint when they square off & this was a fantastic title match on Smack Down. Following her win, Charlotte addressed her hometown crowd & made a special dedication:

I know, I know. I saw Enzo’s Instagram post with Ric, hours before Smack Down started. I’m also not naive enough to think that Ric wasn’t backstage with Charlotte the whole night leading up to this, but it still was a cool moment. It’s hard not to feel happy for both of them. Ric just recently cheated death & they both realize how lucky they are to spend that moment with each other, in their hometown, in front of millions of fans. I think that also comes through in this post-match interview with both Ric & Charlotte:

I tweeted last week that I would bet on Charlotte to win the title in this opportunity. Based on Ric’s recent scare & the subsequent “30 for 30” documentary on ESPN, the WWE would be smart to try to capitalize on his recent publicity. The feel good story of his appearance & daughter’s victory would only be compounded by their location, which WWE doesn’t usually book the hometown heroes as the victors. Lastly, this gives the company the opportunity to create a more traditional heel vs babyface match at Survivor Series, between Charlotte & Alexa. As I tweeted this week, following her victory: Easy Money.

 

That was just one major story line from this week’s episode of Smack Down Live, but I thought that the Charlotte/Ric segment was the one that will stand the test of time. The other two major story lines centered around Smack Down head honchos: Daniel Bryan & Shane McMahon.

To begin Tuesday’s show, Shane McMahon led a (microphone necessary?) pep rally in some back room at the arena:

Ugh. If I was present for this, I would have been hiding behind Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn in the back, so hopefully nobody would see me on TV. This was a prime example of why, sometimes, Smack Down DOES NOT rock. Even the returning Daniel Bryan thought Shane may have lost his mind…..

Daniel is mad, but he’s past rage. Daniel is at that point where someone is scorned & now thinking logically. Probably not a good position for Shane, but this emotional state of Bryan’s sure made for a great segment with Smack Down’s newly crowned WWE Champion A.J. Styles:

What a powerful promo from Daniel! The quitting to a “half ass knee bar at a UFC show” jab had me laughing out loud, along with A.J.’s comment “I can talk, I’m not a puppet like Brock Lesnar.” Both Bryan & Styles brought fire on Tuesday, but this just reassures me that Styles will lose to Lesnar on Sunday. However, I have no idea how that will come to be but I fully expect an incredible match between these two performers.

 

Fast forward to tonight’s main event, Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn versus The New Day. Shane’s #undersiege tactic finally got payback & then some, at exactly 1:00 into this video clip:

This “under siege” retaliation was better than the original, but that’s because the original set the bar pretty low. At least the timing of this attack made sense, right before Survivor Series. Not 4 weeks ago. Believe it or not, I actually think Team Blue will prevail on Sunday in the men’s 5 on 5 elimination match.

 

In case you were wondering….Baron Corbin defeated Sin Cara to retain his U.S. Title & will face The Miz, as scheduled, at Survivor Series:

No offense to either Miz or Corbin, but I think their match will be right before either one of the 5 on 5 matches. Hopefully these two have another online verbal jab session this week.

 

Lastly, I’ll leave you with The Usos from this week. Week in, week out they continue to be one of the best parts of Smack Down Live:

 

Thanks for reading & enjoy Survivor Series!

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