Cleat Geeks

Straight Up Smack Down

 

As we are just days away from Summer Slam, Smack Down was live from Greenville, South Carolina on Tuesday night. During the Attitude Era, go home shows for any of these big four wrestling pay-per-views were usually must see.  Since that time, its been rare that any of these shows delivered to their audience on the same level. The prevailing formula has been to build the stories in the previous weeks & just be as conservative as possible in the last show. That makes for boring, easy to miss television. This past Tuesday was a blend of both styles; there was some definite headline-worthy news that happened & there was also a structured, adequate amount of taped segments.The two styles married very well & made for a really entertaining show.

 

Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch began the evening by meeting Carmella in the ring.  This segment was so good!  Each woman was on their A game here. The segment really peaked when Charlotte called Carmella “a diva living in a women’s era.”

Immediately following Carmella’s last words, General Manager Paige appeared. The GM was seen throughout the evening, trying to grab control of her competitors just days before Summer Slam. This was that conservative narrative of “don’t screw anything up” in the go home show on display.  It was very evident in her actions, but subtle in comparison to other years & GM’s. Paige told Carmella to go do what she does best & commentate on the next match, Becky Lynch & Charlotte Flair versus Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville…..

I would have guessed that Mandy Rose would be the one tapping out right from the start. WWE seems like they want Sonya Deville to be something, but I think they’re struggling on how to give her a story line. She is not very charismatic, but is a great worker. I think WWE also wants the publicity of pushing a member of the LGBTQ community, without alienating any other fans in the process. She won’t be on the main card for Summer Slam (much like her tag team partner Mandy Rose. Or the IIconics. Or Naomi. Or even Asuka!)  However, I fully expect her to be part of the Evolution pay-per-view in October. As far as the triple threat match goes for Sunday, I’m on the fence about it. The momentum for Becky seems like it’s quelled over the past few weeks, ever since Charlotte became part of this match. Charlotte’s absence was the best thing for Becky because it really shone the spotlight on her as the number one female babyface. That momentum is a funny thing. I am starting to think that Charlotte will win Sunday & the feud will then morph to Becky versus Charlotte. It seems too perfect. It also seems like there’s been little hints along the way to it. Just watch that match & then the segment backstage. Seems like some clear animosity from Becky that she’s trying to hide. If Charlotte or Carmella wins the match on Sunday, I would expect either a unprovoked or provoked explosion from Becky next Tuesday.

 

Paige also tried to control Samoa Joe later in the evening, by confronting him in front of his locker room & warning him to avoid A.J. Styles that evening. Joe, like he did just a few weeks ago, again made Paige eat her own words:

I loved this segment, but unfortunately it had to come at Paige’s expense once again. Hey, this still made any demeaning Kurt Angle segment look like amateur hour. I love that Joe is being made out to look so good in the last few weeks. He’s the breath of fresh air that Smack Down needs at the top. A.J. took the ring to speak to the audience, but Joe held true to his words to Paige & was less than predictable:

Honestly, I thought the segment before carried more weight. To me, this seemed so scripted & expected. Both superstars pulled off their parts well, but the layout was formulaic. To try an put an exclamation mark on the feud for Tuesday, WWE.COM caught A.J. Styles being restrained to verbal jabs by an………..unrestrained Samoa Joe?

Yeah, that’s a weird one for me. Joe is just launching bombs on A.J., while A.J. is restrained, & nobody is pulling Joe out of the situation? I think one of the 5 or 6 restraining A.J. could have tried to push Joe out of the area? I’m just ready for their match at this point. I think it’s going to be great & would be the 2nd from top match, in order, on Sunday.

What would be the last match on Sunday? Well, how about the match 8 years in the making?

This was what we’ve (I’ve) been waiting for. A 10 minute+ video montage chronicling the history between these two. Part 2 is where it REALLY began to pick up:

If there was ever a commercial for Talking Smack’s return or opportunity for the Twitter trend #BringBackTalking Smack to restart, this was it. I mean, how good was that? These two don’t necessarily need each other, but they definitely bring out the best in each other. Part 3 was the exclamation mark on this trilogy:

So good. If that 3 part montage wasn’t fulfilling enough the first time around, just tune into WWE Network this Sunday. Including the video package just before their match, I’d say this airs at least 3 more time on Sunday. I don’t know if their match at Summer Slam can live up to or exceed the hype, but I would give it the top billing if it were me lining up the card.

 

Aiden English squared off against Andrade “Cien” Almas, attempting to right his previous wrings against Rusev & Lana:

Right after the bell, English just vanished. Nowhere to be seen.  I don’t think many noticed because Zelina, Andrade, Rusev, & Lana took hold of the scene. English had this to say to Rusev & Lana afterwards:

 

Jeff Hardy faced Shelton Benjamin in a warmup for his match Sunday against Shinsuke Nakamura:

It sure seems like the Shinsuke/Jeff feud is just hanging on by a thread at this point. It feels like the real feud is lying between Randy Orton & Jeff Hardy, but I don’t think WWE has any challenger ready to feud with Nakamura. Jeff gave a quick interview backstage, following his match:

 

Luke Harper & Erick Rowan destroyed 3 local South Carolina jobbers, in an effort to send a message to The New Day:

I don’t think The New Day got that message because the trio overcame SAnitY to claim victory on Tuesday night:

I thoroughly enjoyed this match from both teams. They have really good chemistry & are a good go to match for WWE. I still expect The Bludgeon Brothers to retain on Sunday, however.

So there you have it & I have a good feeling that Sunday’s card might have a few surprises still to come. I’m very excited for NXT Takeover on Saturday & hoping that 6 hours of TV this Sunday doesn’t feel like 6 hours of TV on a Sunday. Thanks for reading & enjoy Summer Slam weekend!

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