Cleat Geeks

Straight Up Smack Down


Smack Down was live in Memphis, Tennessee this past Tuesday night as WWE looks toward Chicago this weekend for Money In The Bank. Being a Chicago native, its hard for me to hear the words “Chicago” & “Money In The Bank” in the same sentence, without immediately thinking of this:

I’ve watched that clip an unhealthy amount of times over the years & it never gets old. There are few moments like this in pro wrestling that will bring every single fan in & grips them in that moment. The Undertaker’s loss to Lesnar at Wrestle Mania. Taker’s loss to Reigns at Wrestle Mania & that beginning to Raw the night afterwards. Rock/Hogan at Wrestle Mania. Vince/Austin at the Royal Rumble. Edge’s return at the Royal Rumble & his retirement speech. These are special moments in the product that shine for everyone that can appreciate it. We can only hope for one of those special moments this weekend in Chicago.


Smack Down kicked off with a Women’s Money In The Bank Summit in the ring. It’s no coincidence that on Monday, President Trump (good friend of Vince McMahon), had a “summit” with Kim Jong In & now we have a meeting to begin Smack Down also labeled as a “Summit,”  I think Paige’s goal here was to publicly address the four women from Smack Down Live participating in Sunday’s ladder match & just let them know that she doesn’t care which one of them wins, as long as it’s ONE of them that wins for Smack Down Live’s brand. Although, in a locker room of big egos, this kind of attention for only a select group of superstars would not sit well with the other superstars:

So the night began a little of the rails for Paige. No worries, she’s a pro. She’ll just head backstage after that previous segment just cut away to the announcers, with no conclusion to it. Although she couldn’t escape the drama, as she encountered a blood-thirsty Asuka & The Miz, who claimed he was practicing for an audition:

So Asuka technically got what she was asking for & The Miz got what he never really asked for but apparently only implied. This set up just seemed so lazy. The sad part is that in reality, this wasn’t even happening in real time. This was pre-taped before the show even began. These premises irritate me as a viewer because I feel that a large majority of fans could map out a better segment than what they aired. I have no issue with Miz starting the confrontation in a referee’s uniform or Paige allowing him to be the special guest referee, but I take offense to everything that happened in between. I also believe that its because both characters are so over with fans that not many gave this a second thought. If this was a Roman Reigns & Kurt Angle exchange, I think fans would have lampooned this segment MUCH harder. At least she got a funny moment in, when she used Miz’s own “mouth goes shut” saying on him.

Renee Young caught up with Carmella, wanting to gauge her level of concern with Asuka & the impending 10 woman tag match:

So, in the episode we saw a few entrances before the 10 woman tag match began & then, oddly, programming was diverted to a video package about one of the upcoming Special Olympics competitors. I’m pretty sure they did it because they were pressed for time & had already cut the previously advertised Andrade “Cien” Almas match versus Sin Cara & didn’t want to also have to cut this video package. So they sandwiched it in between the women’s entrances. Honestly, they should have cut the Daniel Bryan Raw Takeover flashback earlier in the show.

Damn, that was a chaotic match that moved at a frenetic pace. Mandy Rose even had her forearm slashed open! Not shown was Carmella stopping mid-skip in her entrance to the ring, looking directly at a kid with his hand outstretched for a high five & she put her hand up in a “talk to hand” fashion to deny the fan. Subtle heel move, but it didn’t go unnoticed by me. The match had a very dumb ending. These are the moments where WWE loses me as a fan. I don’t need the unspoken symbolism by the superstars to be then narrated to me by the announcers. The moment is hokey enough & I hated that the four women surrounded Asuka, while glancing up to the briefcase. They might as well have done the “Wrestle Mania point” instead. Then to have Graves explain it just seems so rudimentary. Anyways, Asuka tapping out Carmella signifies to me that some sort of interference will shape the outcome on Sunday’s match between Asuka & Carmella. Carmella was interviewed later & seemed very confident in her chances on Sunday:


So, as promised earlier, Miz was the guest referee in the Rusev versus Samoa Joe match later in the evening. Just before this match began, WWE announced that The Bludgeon Brothers will face Gallows & Anderson on the kickoff show this Sunday….so there’s that. The beginning of this encounter started pretty bad. Aiden English proceeded Rusev, as usual, to do some horrible poetry slam type rap that he nearly tripped up on. Tom Phillips then made a comment afterward comparing English to the “hip hop star John Mayer.”  I think he meant to make a joke there about Aiden’s bad rap ability but it didn’t resonate on air & both Saxton and Graves left well enough alone. Samoa Joe now has a Mohawk that looked really weird on his way to the ring, but then seemed less odd once he stepped inside the ring.  It was kind of like that saying, “good from far, but far from good.”

I liked that Miz refused to count Rusev down after the collision with Joe & the subsequent confrontation between the two, but when Joe grabbed Miz’s finger & twisted it, that should have been a disqualification. You cannot purposely put your hands on an official without being disqualified & this was a small oversight that WWE should map out better in their finishes if they expect me to take these matches seriously. I have similar gripes about the VERY lenient 10 counts by referees.  Rusev scores another big victory & has a great deal of steam heading into Sunday. Even with Miz’s Skull Crushing Finale on Rusev here, I think it just further cements that Miz will not be winning the contact. Rusev was interviewed backstage & seemed like he did a shoot interview. He came across as genuinely happy & excited to be in this position:

As for this Sunday’s ladder match my pick to win that match is Braun, for obvious reasons. Although, this would give Joe a great platform as the briefcase holder to cut promos on the champ. Speaking of the champ, last week’s old school style Mean Gene type interview with Cass must have resonated well with everyone because we had a repeat this week. This time it was A.J. Styles with Jerry “The King” Lawler, instead of Cass with Renee Young…..

Short & sweet. To the point. That’s sure better than the opposite. I think WWE is pleased with how they’ve told this story between Styles & Nakamura so far & are reticent to push it any further, only a few days away from their match. Nakamura faced Jeff Hardy, in one of the two very good matches on this week’s episode:

I really thought Jeff Hardy’s neck paint was a neck brace at first sight. Nakamura mocked Hardy in the beginning of this clip & then again after his ten count.  I thought the disqualification low blow was apropos to his character in this feud with A.J. I think it makes a lot of sense to have Shinsuke win on Sunday. WWE can frame it as A.J. won in all the normal circumstances before, but Nakamura got into his head & that he eventually wore Styles down enough to sneak out with a win, under the rarest of circumstances.


Cass had another interview with Renee. This week they were backstage but, just like last week, Cass booted Renee almost immediately. He went to tell the audience how he stole a height requirement sign from a local Memphis theme park that employed him for the day:

So as you can see in the clip, that arrow is pointing to under 5 feet tall. Cass claimed that Bryan doesn’t meet the height requirement but Wikipedia lists Bryan at 5’8″. They might be off by an inch or two at best, but not a whole foot. Fail, WWE. So that was the last part of the build to Cass versus Bryan rematch this Sunday.  Shelton Benjamin faced Daniel Bryan in the second very good match on Smack Down Live this week:

Am I late to noticing prescription medicines as sponsors to individual WWE matches…..because this match was sponsored by Xyzal, a 24 hour allergy prescription.  If there goal was to plant that information in my head by mentioning the script name & its claim, mission accomplished.  I just don’t remember drug companies getting a medication as a match sponsor before…….weird. Anyways, solid match & nice win for Bryan. I really enjoyed this match & Bryan seems to be grateful for every week that he is able to perform.


So, for what its worth…..I have Bludgeon Brothers & Carmella retaining their titles this Sunday. Jeff Hardy isn’t currently scheduled to perform, so I have him retaining his title too. I don’t think a Smack Down Live male entrant will emerge victorious, but I think (maybe hope is a better word) that Becky Lynch ends up with the briefcase on Sunday. We’ll see……until then, thanks for reading!

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