Cleat Geeks

Straight Up Smack Down



This past Tuesday was 17 years since the terrorist attacks took place on 9/11/01. It’s a somber & sobering feeling on that date every year. So many people have stories from that day, some more horrific than others……and it seemed like time stood still that day to so many of us (outside of the immediate areas) in the wake of the attacks. That day forever changed our country as a whole & the victims, victims’ families, first responders, & their families will never ever be forgotten. Our country came together in the wake of the attacks & mourned as a collective whole.  I had never seen such unity in our country before & 17 years later, I really haven’t seen anything close to it since. That period afterward seems so short now.

All large gatherings for sports & entertainment were suspended for a week following the attacks. The first organization of that type that returned to a scheduled appearance was WWE. The company has always been extremely conscious of remembering the events of that day annually. Tuesday night in Lafayette, Louisiana was no different.  Before any performer was shown on the broadcast, the timekeeper rang the bell 11 times to honor the victims from that day:

Earlier in the day, WWE.COM also posted an interview that Renee Young did with Zelina Vega (Thea Trinidad). Her father died that day in one of Twin Towers. I was really moved by her story & thought it was worth sharing here:

That really gives you perspective on how important it is to value your time here on earth & with your loved ones. I for one will always remember that story Thea (Zelina) told, whenever I see her on screen. I had always been a proponent of her & Andrade, but this really makes me want to see her succeed as much as possible because she’s not just doing it for her…..she’s doing it for her #1 fan, watching down from above.


Okay, there’s no easy way to transition from that but here goes:

WWE didn’t announce their location this week to start the show, but I will not hold it against them this week. I just wanted to remain consistent in the weeks when I’ve mentioned the host city’s name being omitted.  Jeff Hardy was first to appear & gave a pretty decent recount of his feud with Randy Orton, in Jeff Hardy-speak, of course. He promised to unleash pain & suffering on Orton this Sunday in their Hell in a Cell match, spoke of his battle against his own demons, & said he had been preparing for this his whole life. Jeff also sang “I’ll fade away & classify myself as obsolete”……which got a scattered retort of “OBSOLETE!”

So that was a little disappointing, but then he DID say he was going to go straight to hell after his match with Shinsuke Nakamura:

I have to admit, I expected Orton to stand tall at the end of this & say something like, “You said you wanted to go to hell, so I delivered it for you.”  But this worked too, I guess. I’d love to say that I expect a great cell match from these two on Sunday, but I’m going in low. Hopefully, they surprise me yet again.


Given the success Miz & Maryse had with their empty arena promo last week in Detroit, A.J. Styles also recorded an empty arena promo this week. It seemed fairly obvious what the topic of conversation would be:

I thought this was a pretty effective piece by A.J. given the setting. Samoa Joe recorded a segment as well. This was the metaphorical equivalent of the saying “Whatever you can do, I can do better”:

If that book is on Amazon, it’s going on my wishlist. I enjoyed this segment so much & not because of the vitriol that Joe showed toward A.J., but the execution on this was so good. It came across as well thought out, well produced, & well performed. Samoa Joe’s transformation from Raw to Smack Down Live is even more stark in contrast than the transition Kevin Owens made from Smack Down Live to Raw. Joe might be the MVP of Smack Down Live over the past few months, which is a real endorsement given the talent on their roster. I don’t want this feud to end Sunday, so I hope Joe wins & A.J. then has to chase after the hope of reclaiming his title.


Charlotte Flair sought out competition on Tuesday night & found it in Sonya Deville:

Ok, so Becky’s attack came off pretty cool looking on TV but from what I’ve seen since that moment, nobody has brought up the fact that on how much of a security risk this is!  Becky dressed up with wig & glasses, so no one would notice her. Fine, good job. Mission accomplished. Then she did this, as if she was an other ordinary fan:

How is nobody else seeing the problem here? Now obviously this was all set up & the girls posing with Charlotte were in on this, but the message sent was a fan could attack Charlotte. Right? It turned out to be Becky, but no security came rushing over immediately. Becky got a hair pull & a clean right on Charlotte with about a 10 second delay afterward, before she removed the wig & glasses. That is a bad message to send to your fans, WWE. Side thought: Becky looked pretty damn good with that jet black hair & those black rim glasses. That might be a good look for her if she wants to get away from the “Straight Fire” persona, accompanied by that orange hair. Just sayin.


Our main event for the evening featured Brie Bella versus Maryse Mizanin. This was Maryse’s first singles match in 7 years. I won’t even try to recount everything that happened in this match because the notes took up half of a sheet of paper. Plus I wouldn’t do it any justice, just watch for yourself:

I don’t know what to think about this feud right now. What I took away from this encounter was that Miz crossed the line (being over-protective of his wife) when he put his hands on Brie not once, but twice. Bryan lit him up for it, but Brie ultimately went over by punching Miz in the face….a line her husband has used often this year. It just seems like this feels forced. The rivalry doesn’t seem authentic anymore to me as a fan. Much like the Orton/Hardy match on Sunday, I have low expectations for this mixed tag match at Hell in a Cell.


The final match of Smack Down Live tag team match tournament to determine a number one contender took place on Tuesday, pitting Rusev Day against The Bar. The winner would face The New Day at Hell in a Cell:

Huge win for Rusev Day! So now we will see Rusev Day face The New Day on Sunday. What a day! Could this be the stage that Rusev Day finally splits?

Since I began this recap with a video featuring Zelina Vega, I felt it only was right to close this recap with another video featuring her. Vega was ringside for her business associate, Andrade “Cien” Almas’ match against R-Truth. Truth brought his new BFF, Carmella with him:

Yet another win for Almas.  I am so pleasantly surprised that Almas is getting such a strong booking on Smack Down Live.  He has not encountered many losses since his call up. (I think it’s only one) My fingers are crossed that this bodes well for his future with the brand.  I know that WWE has traditionally always had the good guy versus bad guy feuds with their title bouts, but I would LOVE a Almas/Nakamura U.S. title feud, following Hell in a Cell.  There is no clear cut path lying ahead for either right now, other than being booked strong.  Who’s not signing up for that?!


Thanks for reading & enjoy Hell in a Cell!!

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