Cleat Geeks

Straight Up Smack Down

 

Following Sunday’s Extreme Rules pay-per-view, the Smack Down Live matches only yielded 1 title change: Shinsuke Nakamura became the new United States champion, defeating Jeff Hardy. That victory came with a low blow when the referee wasn’t looking & then a Kinshasa for a quick victory. Although after Nakamura’s victory, Randy Orton appeared with another low blow attack to Jeff Hardy:

I won’t make the easy joke about what was deleted or rendered obsolete by Nakamura & Orton, but why would Orton do this “outta nowhere”? Well, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane. This video clip was from the Superstar Shakeup episode of Smack Down Live, 3 months ago:

Orton is visibly pissed & felt disrespected here. Jump ahead to next week, where the shoe was on the other foot:

At 1:20, Byron Saxton says, “One thing about Randy Orton is he never forgets.” Probably the most prophetic thing Byron Saxton has ever said because this is what happened on Tuesday night, as Smack Down Live was in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. First, here was Jeff starting off the show where he would talk about his loss on Sunday:

Now, let’s skip forward to the very end of the night in the rematch from Sunday of Nakamura versus Hardy:

So the only thing that doesn’t compute in this timeline is their match at Backlash on May 6. There was no ill will visible between the two then & that happened two weeks after that April 24th clip with Byron’s comment. Perhaps Hardy injured Orton in the match? I’m speculating obviously, but for Orton to pull off this kind of attack on Hardy, there has to be a big reveal coming. Something’s amiss, but what a vicious attack by Orton! The crowd was visibly cringing & I imagine that most of the viewing audience was as well.  I have a feeling that many fans will be tuned in next week to see what happens next.

 

Earlier on Tuesday, Zelina Vega interrupted A.J. Styles in a recorded WWE.COM interview, where she made the case for Andrade “Cien” Almas to challenge Styles for the title at Summer Slam. A.J. saw things a little differently:

So we were treated to Styles versus Almas in a non-title match in Tuesday night’s very first contest! Not bad. As you would expect, neither competitor disappointed & they had a really good match:

Just a fantastic display by two of the company’s best in-ring competitors. I would really like to see them as the title match at Summer Slam, but that’s probably premature for Almas at this point. Vega & Almas were interviewed following the match by Dasha Fuentes:

We learned on Tuesday that General Manager Paige will announce next week who A.J. Styles will face at Summer Slam next month. My guess is Samoa Joe, but hey who knows?

 

Team Hell No was completely unsuccessful on Sunday in their match against the Bludgeon Brothers, in part because of a backstage attack by the champions on the challengers.  The attack left Kane injured, both on screen & in real life. To his credit, Kane did compete in the match eventually but in limited fashion. The Bludgeon Brothers won fairly easily & The Miz held a public “funeral” on Tuesday night for Team Hell No in Wilkes Barre:

I have a REALLY good feeling that this is just the tip of the iceberg for The Miz versus Daniel Bryan feud for Summer Slam. I’m also pretty sure of a few other things: 1) WWE will bring up the storied past between these two, since this is now the payoff that has been years in the making & 2) Kane’s injury sped up the timeline for this feud. While its been pretty obvious from the Team Hell No reunion to the rushed A.J./Bryan & Bryan/Nakamura matches, both WWE & Bryan aren’t betting on the long term future here. Whether it’s a contract renewal or a health restriction, neither party wants to leave any stone unturned here in the short term. That’s what seems like the driving force behind this shift, but these two have been incredibly entertaining together in the past with virtually no payoff or story line escalation. This is going to be good.

 

Becky “Balboa” Lynch was in action Tuesday night against Mandy Rose & looked to continue her recent hot streak:

Solid win for Becky & her promo afterwards came off as so sincere. I was at the forefront of this Becky push because I think that she deserves a title run now. When she was crowned the inaugural Smack Down Live Women’s champion, the division had a lot of well, tenured main roster veterans. That’s a polite way of saying it, right? Now that the division has changed & changed for the better in many ways, I think that its ambassador should be Becky…at least for now, until Asuka is ready. (No pun intended.) You can’t knock anything about Becky, other than she lost a lot for almost 2 years & let’s be honest, that wasn’t her fault. She always had good matches, made her opponents look good, & brings that “straight fire” whenever she speaks. The title would be in good hands & it’s time for the Queen of Staten Island to be dethroned.

Following Becky’s promo, Paige had this segment with Carmella backstage:

Now to be fair, Paige merely stated that IF Becky wins next week then Carmella is only obligated to defend her title at Summer Slam. She never said it HAD to be defended against Becky at Summer Slam……but later in the broadcast, the announcers stated (with an on screen graphic) that was in fact the stipulation now. Apparently, WWE didn’t realize they screwed up their taped segment until it was too late to go back & re-film it. Or they just didn’t care to clean it up & figured it was such a small detail that no one would catch it. So we will see if next week’s match results in either Smack Down Live’s Woman’s Title Match for Summer Slam or the “biggest ‘Mella-bration EVER”.

Until next week, thanks for reading!

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