Cleat Geeks

Straight Up Smack Down


Coming off the heels of Sunday’s Backlash event, Smack Down Live was in Baltimore on Tuesday night. Thankfully, it appears that we are full steam ahead towards Money In The Bank. There were a few qualifying matches Monday night on Raw for both the men’s & women’s ladder matches at Money In The Bank. Before Smack Down Live began Tuesday night, Finn Balor & Braun Strowman had qualified for the men’s ladder match & Ember Moon qualified for the women’s match. Paige began the night by recapping Backlash & previewing the road to Money In The Bank.  This in-ring speech by Paige had quite a few “huh?” moments, so WWE apparently opted not to publish a video clip of it on their YouTube page. She ultimately led us to the night’s first encounter: a Money In The Bank qualifying match between United States champion Jeff Hardy versus The Miz……

I think every fan knew that it was highly unlikely WWE would enter a titleholder into the upcoming ladder match & furthermore, not pass on an opportunity for The Miz to hype this match for the next 6 weeks….even impromptu moments like this one, following his victory over Jeff Hardy:

Their match was pretty good: a 20+ minute affair that ate up 2 commercial breaks. The outcome was a no-brainer, but this was a disappointing night for Jeff Hardy. Unless you see The Miz as someone who is far superior to Jeff Hardy & the United States title (the same one that Randy Orton & A.J. Styles both somewhat recently held), Miz took all of Jeff’s offense move set in multiple occasions & was able to still claim victory in a clean fashion. I’m not sure if that’s an indictment on Jeff or a statement on Miz but either way, it’s a point I fully expect him to relay in the coming weeks to his upcoming opponents.


Speaking of his upcoming opponents, let’s go right to the other qualifier for the men’s Money In The Bank ladder match:  Daniel Bryan versus Rusev…..

If I had bet on the outcome of this match beforehand, I would have definitely lost.  This was a MAJOR swerve by WWE. Not only having Rusev defeat Daniel Bryan, but this was also Bryan’s first single’s defeat since his return. The ramifications of this outcome are a lot to unpack. So Bryan’s road to the title is less clear & his feud with Cass looks like it will continue after this defeat. Rusev’s act is what it is: an act. The man can wrestle, no doubt. But let’s be clear on what WWE loves about this man, his crowd reaction. That’s what separates him from all the other mid-carders & apparently how they intend to get a hot crowd for the Money In The Bank ladder match. Personally, I would love to see Rusev & Strowman get involved in an “I’m the strongest” type feud within the match.


There was one more Money In The Bank qualifying match on Smack Down Live this week & it pitted Charlotte Flair against on of the IIconics, Peyton Royce:

Even though Charlotte was victorious, she could not pleased to know that Carmella is planning another “‘Mella-bration” for next week… London!


Absent from competition on Tuesday night, both Shinsuke Nakamura & A.J. Styles were able to be on camera for short segments. I’m surprised that either man is able to walk after their match on Sunday night at Backlash! Here is Nakamura’s hilarious interview with Renee from Tuesday night:

This was so good. WWE, listen up. It took a year but you finally hit your mark with Shinsuke’s main roster character. Keep going down this path!  Meanwhile, Styles had his own Renee interview segment where he showcased a nasty looking wound from a steel chair leg in Sunday’s “No Disqualification” match against Nakamura:


Finally, on the tag team side of Smack Down Live, The Bludgeon Brothers had a unique promo for the blue brand’s tag teams:

I REALLY liked this spot by them. This was so much better than the home video, in the forest re-debut vignettes. Good news for Harper & Rowan, SAnitY debuts next week!

Bad news for Jeff Hardy & all the other mid-carders…..Andrade “Cien” Almas also debuts next week!

London should be an incredible venue for Smack Down Live next week. 2 debuts (really 5: Almas, Vega, Dain, Wolff, & Young) plus more Money In The Bank qualifying matches & an undoubtedly stacked card for the fans across the pond!


Until next Tuesday, thanks for reading!

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