Cleat Geeks

Straight Up Smack Down London

 

Amid the opening chants on Tuesday night for “Rusev Day,” the London crowd in the O2 Arena would not see Rusev Day in the flesh. All they got was a backstage segment with both Rusev & Aiden English, but that segment included a surprise guest: a semi-Americanized sounding Lana……

The only explanation for this semi-metamorphosis is…..Total Divas.  C.J. sounds exactly like an American would sound when she’s on Total Divas, but her WWE persona of Lana apparently needs a slow burn toward complete Americanization. Here’s a better example of this transformation, where the accent sounds nearly completely absent:

Well, the point lost on all of this is that Lana has a Money In The Bank qualifying match next week against Billie Kay. Here is Billie Kay, joined by Peyton Royce, to add both of their two cents (is that four cents total?) to the announcement of next week’s qualifying match:

However, we did have a women’s qualifying match this week in London….Paige told both Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville that they would face Becky Lynch in a Money In The Bank qualifying match, but this would not be a handicap match stipulation. This would be a triple threat match, with the winner earning a spot in the Money In The Bank ladder match:

Good for Lynch, this would be a great career step for her if she could secure the briefcase in her upcoming ladder match. As for Absolution, the fact that both Rose & Deville have separate entrances now plus the much foreseen altercations between both Sonya & Mandy in this match should be the split that seemed likely.

The biggest women’s news on Smack Down Live came about during Carmella’s “Royal Mellabration” when the champ was confronted by General Manager Paige, who informed Carmella of her opponent in the title match at Money In The Bank:

This is obviously the tip of the iceberg for this program & I fully expect Carmella to carry the larger portion of on mic hype to their match. She’s naturally gifted for that & Asuka is still working on it. Getting better, but still working on it.

Missing from that last video was the part where the crowd chanted for Paige “this is your house.” They actually should have chanted that for their WWE champion & Smack Down Live house construction foreman, A.J. Styles:

Shinsuke finally gets a win on Styles here, but no word on what his decision for the stipulation in the championship match at Money In The Bank yet.

 

While there was no SAnitY debut this week, we were treated to an Andrade Cien Almas with Zelina Vega debut. He faced London’s own, Jake Constantino. No, not Constantino!  What would Almas come up with to defeat Constantino?

“Double Knees in the Corner”?  His knees hit Jake’s shoulders….Jake caught Andrade’s junk to the face more than anything. I’m very happy that Almas & Vega are now on the scene.  They have so much potential as a team.

 

Daniel Bryan received an incredible reception from the London faithful, as he attempted to do an interview with Renee Young. At first it was the crowd that almost would not allow Young’s interview to proceed, as chants of “Daniel Bryan” & “Yes!” bellowed through the O2. Then Cass appeared to contest much of what Bryan had just said:

Interesting that Cass changed his vocabulary to refer to the Montreal person as now a “little person” & not a M-word. The crowd just ate this up. Their hero, Bryan, finally got the upper hand on Cass.

 

There was a men’s Money In The Bank qualifying match on Tuesday night as well, but this match was a little different. The New Day squared off against The Bar & the stipulation was that the winning team could decide who goes to Money In The Bank & who does not.

The New Day wins, as Xavier gets the pinfall. Now they will have to decide on which member gives them the best chance to win…….

Lastly we received word that Samoa Joe would face Cass next week to round up the men’s Money In The Bank ladder match. Samoa Joe had this to say to Cass about next week:

Strong words in another great promo by Joe. This should be a great match next week & we’ll finally have some clarity on who’s in the big match at Money In The Bank.

 

Until next week, thanks for reading!

The Raw Truth (UK Edition)

WWE RAW came to us taped from The O2 Arena in London, England.

Because of the prevalence of “spoilers” and them taping, many of the highlights were known prior to the US broadcast Monday evening. Here are a few things that stood out:

Roman Reigns was unable to cash in on another opportunity for Money In The Bank qualification. He took out his anger on Jinder Mahal throughout the show, including a spear through a “wall” backstage.

Seth Rollins retained his IC Title after a great match with Kevin Owens. Probably highlight of the night!

A lot of buzz around the announcement of Nia Jax defending her title at MITB against Ronda Rousey. This was predictable but not sure how this will play out. Size makes this an awkward match-up. I still look for a heel turn from Rousey and an alignment with either HHH/Stephanie or Heyman at some point.

The B Team (Axel and Dallas) are undefeated! They beat Breezango in a battle of the bad gimmicks.

Bobby Roode qualified for MITB with a win in a Three Way Match with No Way Jose and Baron Corbin.

Natalya, Banks and Moon defeated The Riott Squad.

Hardy/Wyatt defeated The Revival.

Sami Zayn seems to be working a program with Lashley? He says Lashley’s sisters will appear on RAW next week to expose Lashley for “what he really is.” Although Zayn can be funny, this segment lost power quickly and lasted way too long.

Alexa Bliss qualified for MITB Ladder Match. This wasn’t a shock.

McIntyre and Ziggler snuck by Balor and Strowman. I understand this match for “getting McIntyre and Ziggler over,” but it was a sloppy match. Not a lot of harmony in the match and looked real clumsy at times. WWE continues to do all they can to push Strowman, in any way they can.

Kevin Owens was given another chance to qualify for MITB later in the show, after a “call” to Stephanie McMahon. Owens took Mahal’s spot (after attack from Reigns) and battled with Lashley and Elias in a Three Way qualifier.

Owens ended the match with a Frog Splash to Elias for the pinfall in middle of ring.

MITB Ladder Match now set with: Owens, Strowman, Balor, Roode, Miz and Rusev

 

Women’s Wrestling Wrap-Up

Welcome to the latest edition of the Women’s Wrestling Wrap-Up, which recaps everything in women’s wrestling in the past week, beginning with Monday’s Raw.

Coming off a Backlash PPV that saw both Women’s Championships successfully defended, the theme for both Raw and SmackDown was the Money in the Bank PPV, which will take place in five weeks. The event will feature the third-ever Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match, due to a rematch of the first taking place over a week after last year’s event. With PPVs being dual-branded yet again, the MITB matches are competed in the same format, with Raw and SmackDown featuring qualifying matches. On Raw, former NXT Women’s Champion Ember Moon defeated Ruby Riott and Sasha Banks in a Triple Threat Match to become the first to qualify, while Charlotte Flair defeated Peyton Royce on SmackDown to make her first appearance in the Women’s MITB match. Also on SmackDown, Mandy Rose picked up a huge upset victory over former SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch, despite Paige banning Sonya Deville from appearing in Mandy’s corner.

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On NXT, Dakota Kai defeated Vanessa Borne in a match made due to their confrontation on the previous week’s show. Speaking of confrontations, NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler appeared after the match and took down Vanessa, while Dakota ran off, still fearful of the evil and sadistic Queen of Spades. The following evening’s Impact featured no women’s action, but it included a pair of vignettes:  one with Tessa Blanchard detailing her career and her drive to take over the Knockouts Division, and one with Allie receiving an ominous message from Su Yung.

A recent report revealed that Ronda Rousey is scheduled to wrestle at Money in the Bank on June 17, but her opponent has not been announced. Ronda, as we all know, made her highly anticipated WWE debut at this year’s Royal Rumble, and her in-ring debut came at WrestleMania last month; a victorious effort with Kurt Angle as her partner against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Unlike Brock Lesnar, Ronda Rousey has been appearing on Raw on a near-weekly basis, and even gets physically involved. Regarding her latest PPV bout, though nothing’s official, one has to figure that Ronda will be in tag team action again, this time with Natalya as her partner against Mickie James and Alexa Bliss. This would stem from the day of the Superstar Shakeup, where Ronda came to Natalya’s aid and did so again when Mickie James was targeting the Queen of Harts.But, as most of you saw on the latest edition of Monday Night Raw that Rousey will actually face Nia Jax for the Women’s Title.

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It was announced that Total Divas will be back for two more seasons, and the eighth season will bring back Paige as a regular cast member. Paige was part of the cast between Seasons Three and Six, and one would believe that the show would follow Paige’s return and her injuries that led to her retirement last month. Paige currently serves as SmackDown’s babyface General Manager; a role she began portraying in post-WM SmackDown. Also joining the cast is Sonya Deville, who has been part of the main roster for only six months now. Other than her journey to WWE, TD viewers will also learn more about Sonya’s MMA background, and her making history as WWE’s first openly gay female competitor. Plus we’ll also see her close friend Mandy Rose more often; Mandy was a regular cast member during Season Five.

A new week begins with more Women’s MITB qualifying matches on Raw and SmackDown, plus more from NXT and Impact! Until next week!

3 Impacts From Impact

The last Impact was full of surprises and shocks, but what moment was the most shocking? Here are my 3 Impacts From Impact:

Have we seen the last of Rosemary?! The main event saw Su Yung and Rosemary clash in a grudge match stemming from the previous week, with Rosemary telling Allie to stay away before her battle against the Suicide Bride. Speaking of that moniker, a group of “Suicide Bridesmaids” appeared and assisted Su in taking down the Demon Assassin, as Rosemary was apparently placed in a casket, while the bridesmaids held Allie at bay. Su is clearly not done with Allie, as was made clear on the previous week, and she may get another shot at the Knockouts Championship very soon. But the question remains: is this the last we’ve seen of Rosemary?

Elsewhere in the Knockouts Division, the evil Tessa Blanchard continued to make quite a sinister impact, beginning with interrupting Kiera Hogan’s interview. Kiera stood up to the self-proclaimed “diamond,” telling her to watch as she fights in the ring, because watching is all Tessa knows how to do. Tessa was fuming over Kiera’s words, and it was during Kiera’s match against Taya Valkyrie that Tessa resurfaced and went after Kiera, leading to an all out brawl. Tessa was on the winning end of the brawl. Tessa’s message was very clear:  she wants the Knockouts Championship, and she feels that her name alone is worthy of that.

The saga involving Eddie Edwards saw Tommy Dreamer attempt to talk him down from the rage he had been unleashing since Redemption. Eddie had been the target of oVe for a long while, with wife Alisha also being part of their deranged agenda. We saw what happened at Redemption; Eddie let Sami Callihan have it, but in the process, he accidentally struck Alisha. He later beat down a bedridden Sami, and the latest Impact saw Tommy Dreamer attempt to save him from himself. However, Eddie still appears to be hellbent on physically taking down oVe, and time will tell whether or not he succeeds.

Those are my 3 Impacts From Impact! Until next time!

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…..in 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!

Women’s Wrestling Wrap-Up

Welcome to the latest edition of the Women’s Wrestling Wrap-Up, which recaps everything in women’s wrestling in the past week, beginning with Monday’s Raw and ending with Backlash.

Raw featured Ruby Riott victorious over Sasha Banks, while Bayley watched from backstage, continuing the friction between the two women. Later on, Natalya defeated Mickie James in a grudge match stemming from the events of the previous week, where Mickie continuously went after an injured Nattie. Ronda Rousey was in Nattie’s corner, and Alexa Bliss was in Mickie’s, but Bliss was run off by Nia Jax, who later celebrated in the ring with Ronda and Nattie in a very epic moment.

SmackDown featured Lana backstage with Rusev and Aiden English, telling her husband that something is holding him back. Or possibly someone. Hmmm. Later on, I and other curious fans received an answer to a question we’ve been wondering for a while: Is Absolution no more? After a recap of Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose belittling Becky Lynch was played, the pair met Paige in her office, and when SD’s new GM stated that she would give Mandy Rose her chance, Mandy was led to believe that it would be a title shot. Instead, Paige reminded Mandy that she would face Becky Lynch on the next SD, an announcement that stunned the pair, who assumed that Paige would be in their back pocket. Though they stood strong together on Raw, Paige kindly told her former partners-in-crime that Absolution is no more. SD was main evented by the women, just over one week after the women main evented Raw, and the match saw Charlotte, Becky, and Asuka victorious over Carmella and the IIconics.Image result for Kairi Sane, Shazza McKenzie

Wednesday’s NXT started with Kairi Sane defeating Shazza McKenzie, only to be encountered by her recurring foe, Lacey Evans. The so-called Lady of NXT appeared to want to make amends to Kairi, only to deliver a cheap shot to the Mae Young Classic winner. Later on, Dakota Kai was interrupted by Vanessa Borne during her interview, and Candice LeRae (despite having the welfare of husband Johnny Gargano on her mind) fought valiantly against Bianca BelAir, only to come up short. Thursday’s Impact featured a rematch between Taya Valkyrie and Kiera Hogan, which was interrupted by the evil Tessa Blanchard, who assaulted Kiera after interrupting her interview. Impact was main evented by a brutal grudge match between Su Yung and Rosemary, which Su won while Allie was held at bay by Su’s fellow suicide brides!

Sunday’s Backlash PPV saw a triple dose of women’s action, beginning with more of the drama between Sasha and Bayley. Bayley asked Sasha to be in her corner during her pre-show match against Ruby Riott, only for Sasha to confront Bayley over not being in her own corner on Raw, and stating that Bayley would be on her own. Bayley was defeated by Ruby on the pre-show, and the drama between the two Horsewomen has been dragged out too long for my liking. Something needs to happen. As for the main show’s title contests, both women successfully defended their titles. Nia Jax’s match was first, and after defeating Alexa Bliss, she gave an impassioned speech stating how proud she is not only of being champion, but of being herself and being different and standing out. There’s a report out from WWE that Alexa Bliss may have injured her shoulder during her match against Nia, though it’s not known whether it’s legit or scripted as part of a storyline. As for Carmella, she managed to defeat Charlotte Flair on her own in her defense, and she wasted no time boasting about it on the post show with Renee Young and Peter Rosenberg.

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In other WWE news, it’s rumored that the current angle between Ronda Rousey and Natalya will lead to a match between the two women, with Natalya turning heel to set up the feud. After two years as a villainess (which saw her reign as SmackDown Women’s Champion), Natalya turned face during her move to Raw as part of the shakeup, and it was after her victory over Mandy Rose (who moved–along with Sonya–to SD one day later), she was beaten down by Absolution before being saved by Ronda. The real life friends have been aligned together since then, but rumors have Natalya severing the partnership, with her reasons being jealousy of the attention Ronda has been getting. The rumored match is set to take place at SummerSlam. In indy women’s wrestling news, Kimber Lee (the former Abbey Laith in NXT) will challenge Su Yung for the Queens of Combat Championship on May 19 as part of a double feature for the promotion. Kimber recently appeared for Shine Wrestling, defeating LuFisto via DQ in a Shine Championship match, meaning that she was not crowned the new champion.

A new week begins with the fallout from Backlash, as well as more from NXT and Impact! Until next week!

WWE Backlash Preview & Predictions

After a year of twice monthly pay per views where each brand had their own separate events WWE has decided to go back to the co-branded pay per view from here on out. With them being cobranded that means they will be longer events and hopefully this means that there will be less filler and more solid matches in the events. There are less slots in the card so that means more compaction to make it to the pay per view card. On this card there are five championship matches one mega tag team match and two huge singles matches.

 

Roman Reigns Vs. Samoa Joe

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On the heels of two back to back losses to Brock Lesnar failing to claim the Universal Title from the beast Reigns relinquishes his rivalry with the returning Samoa Joe. Joe spent the better part of last year on the shelf with a knee injury but now he is back his fist target is Roman Reigns after reigns multiple failures to claim the title Joe is out to prove Roman is not the man any more, he is.

 

My Prediction; Roman Reigns wins

 

WWE Champion AJ Styles Vs Shinsuke Nakanura (No disqualification Match)

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Nakamura made his shocking heel turn at mania after him and Styles had a match that the WWE has been building up to all year and then at the end of the match after AJ won there appeared to be an act of respect taking place when Nakamura hit styles with a low blow that made every man in the world weak in the knees. Then AJ wanted his revenge after the embarrassment he felt at mania and he got it at the Greatest Royal Rumble where he destroyed Nakamura with a steel chair after a double count out now it’s time for rubber match. Who will walk out WWE Champion, the down to earth champion who got disrespected on the grandest stage of them all or the golden child turned heel who just wants the gold?

 

My Prediction; AJ styles retains

 

Smackdown Women’s Champion Carmella Vs Charlotte Flair

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Carmella after holding on to her money in the bank contract for longer than anyone cashed in on Flair after a beat down by the recent NXT call ups The  IIconics. Now the queen is out for blood and she wants her title back and has evoked her rematch at Backlash where she plans to prove its easier to win the title then it is to retain the title.

 

My Prediction; Carmella retains

 

 

 

Daniel Bryan vs Big Cass

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Big Cass has returned and has set his sights on the biggest face around in the returning Bryan after not being in the ring in three years this will be his first solo paper-view match in over three years. Cass has been on the shelf for close to eight months with ACL injures he lost his ex-tag team partner and rival Enzo after Enzo was released when assault allegation had been brought on him. Now Big Cass is back to becoming the dominate heel he was meant to be.

 

My Prediction; Big Cass wins

 

Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley Vs Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn

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This match is going to go one of two ways either it will establish Strowman and Lashley as a dominate tag team that will reign down destruction on Raw or the team will crumble before it even starts. Owens and Zayn are the perfect opponents for the team to take on as their first official tag team match because if they get demolished it launches Strowman and Lashley but will not hurt them or if they win it will eliminate Strowman and Lashley and sky rocket Owens and Zayn.

 

My Prediction; Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley win

 

Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins Vs The Miz

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Rollins has had an impressive month after winning the title at WrestleMania from The Miz in a triple threat match, he then went on to defend the title in a ladder match at the Greatest Royal Rumble. Then to prove he is a fighting champion he defended it against Balor on Raw this week. Now the Miz has decided that he will envoke his rematch at Backlash where he believes he can derail the train of momentum Rollins has built up over the last month.

 

My Prediction; Seth Rollins retains

 

Raw women’s Champion Nia Jax vs Alexa Bliss

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This will be Jax’s first title defense in her career after winning the title from Bliss at WrestleMania. After months of taunting Jax Bliss’ goal was coming to her and now she has changed her tune and is calling Nia the bully in the story and she is the victim. Nia is the best choice as the Women’s Champion WWE has right now, she is a good role model for the anti-bullying campaign and she also is a body positive role model for young girls while being completely dominant in the ring. Bliss spent most of her time as a champion bending the rules and having others do her dirty work for her.

 

My Prediction; Nia Jaxs retains

 

United States Champion Jeff Hardy Vs Randy Orton

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The story of the United States Title over the last few months has been a very adventurous one. First randy Orton beats Bobby Roode for the title, then at Mania Jinder beat out everyone in an upset victory, then Jinder takes the United States title to Raw just to lose the title on his first match to Jeff Hardy who takes the title back to Smackdown Live. Jeff now must face his toughest singles competitor since returning to WWE without his brother by his side. This is Randy’s guaranteed rematch for the title even though it’s not the man who won the title from him but now he must overcome the high energy of Jeff Hardy or he can kiss the united states title goodbye.

 

My Prediction; Jeff Hardy retains

 

3 Impacts From Impact

The fallout from Redemption is in the books! Who made the boldest statement? Here are my 3 Impacts From Impact:

The two women who won at Redemption–Allie and Taya Valkyrie–clashed for the Knockouts Championship. IMO, Taya should be having this chance at a PPV, but it’s a start. Like they did in their separate PPV matches, the women impressed and showed out, with Allie winning over Lucha Royalty. However, Allie’s celebration was short lived due to the appearance of the Suicide Bride herself, Su Yung, who sent a spooky and violent message showing that she is clearly not done with her pursuit of the Knockouts Championship. It was at that moment that Rosemary appeared and engaged in a face-to-face showdown with Su, which ended with Su disappearing into the darkness. Of course, this was done due to Rosemary and Allie’s tight bond; the demon and the bunny. One has to believe that Su and Rosemary will clash very soon.

The aftermath of House of Hardcore was very interesting indeed. Eddie Edwards’ fight against the Crists was interrupted again by what appeared to be a beaten Sami Callihan again approaching Eddie’s wife, Alisha, with both of them hospitalized. Sami claimed that all he wanted to do was talk, but it was enough for Eddie to go after and beat down Sami while he was bedridden. What I couldn’t help but notice was Alisha not only defending Sami’s claim, but asking her husband why he didn’t go see her. Either Alisha is trying to serve as a voice of reason, or she’s going heel. Should be interesting to see what develops.

Eli Drake took the time to gloat about his string of good fortune after he and Scott Steiner again defeated LAX. Not only is he one half of the tag champs, but he is also in possession of the World Title briefcase he won from Moose, stating that he could go after the champion at any time. It was at that moment that former World Champion Austin Aries confronted Eli, while revealing that he has a rematch clause. Fittingly, this was the moment that the new champion, Pentagon Jr., came out, ending Impact on a very interesting note. The World Title scene is hotter than ever with Pentagon Jr. as champion, and especially with Aries with his upcoming rematch and Eli with the case.

Those are my 3 Impacts from Impact! Until next time!

Straight Up Smack Down

 

Fresh off the Greatest Royal Rumble event in Saudi Arabia, Smack Down Live was in Montreal, Quebec this past Tuesday without Shane McMahon AGAIN this week. However, Paige was on this show & after she began the show by announcing that Shane was M.I.A. again this week, she also said that the Backlash match between A.J. Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura will now be a No Disqualification match….

Good news for Shinsuke, now all of his low blows will be completely legal. It would be fitting if A.J. were to land one of his own in the match. Paige wasn’t finished there, she had another filmed segment that evening with a few of her friends….. Absolution.

Just like that, Paige awkwardly killed Absolution. To make matters worse, she just fed Mandy Rose to Becky Lynch next week. Ouch. Although, Becky usually takes the pinfall in these situations so maybe it’s not all that bad for Mandy.

 

Miz hosted his MizTV segment this week & immediately announced that Daniel Bryan is banned from ever appearing on his show in the future since Bryan big-timed him last week by no-showing. Instead he invited Jeff Hardy to be his guest & attempted to stir the pot to brew a feud between Jeff & Randy Orton……

So while unsuccessful in his attempt to incite these two competitors against each other, a tag match was born. Hardy & Orton teamed up to face Miz & Shelton Benjamin:

Maybe his plan worked after all? I don’t expect Jeff to lose on Sunday at Backlash, but in WWE nothing is certain.

 

Big Cass gave a fantastic promo this week, following up on his superb performance on MizTV last week. However, the person in charge of this segment sent this little person (Pierre Lafleur) to the ring dressed up as Bryan, forgetting that its 2018 & this isn’t the Attitude Era.

Sorry guys, this isn’t funny. For a company that is so concerned with its image, this seemed very much like a terrible miss. They’ve been doing this gag for decades & it’s time to finally bury it. Grow up, WWE.

 

The IIconics & Smack Down Live’s Women’s champion Carmella faced Asuka, Becky Lynch, & Charlotte in this week’s main event:

This was a pretty entertaining match in my opinion & it marked the first loss for the duo that claimed to be “better than Asuka”.

 

A.J. Styles spoke with Renee Young in-ring as Shinsuke was advertised to demand an apology from Styles. Samoa Joe took this opportunity to make an appearance:

Nakamura hitting that low blow on Styles again seemed to confirm my thoughts on A.J. getting some sweet revenge this Sunday.

 

These were the major takeaways from this week’s episode leading into Backlash. This was definitely a soft build to the event, probably since so much effort was put into the Greatest Royal Rumble. These co-branded Pay Per View events look like they may go 4-5 hours. Ugh. I hate to complain about having too much of a good thing, but I think that’s where we are headed.

 

Thanks for reading!

The Raw Truth (WWE Greatest Royal Rumble 2018 Edition)

WWE aired their live Greatest Royal Rumble from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on April 27th. (1pm EST).

Here are a few things I took away from this event:

Great production and stage effects; especially the fireworks!

Triple H and John Cena match. HHH looks great and still is a fierce competitor. Cena won but it seems this was simply to breathe life into his career again after a few awful months, both personal and professional. Cena is also a very good brand ambassador for WWE, so having this match first made a lot of sense.

Cedric Alexander and Kalisto match was like a riot at a daycare center; action everywhere with aerial and mat action. I’m not a big 205 Live fan but this was an entertaining match, with CA retaining the title

Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt won the RAW Tag Titles, which had been vacated by Strowman and the kid (who is now a rock star). Still don’t get the direction of this team’s gimmick. I can only imagine they know what they are doing with this in “creative.”

Jeff Hardy retained US Title over Jinder Mahal. Mahal has to be one of the lamest performers on staff. He is awful and I hope he is relegated to bottom tier soon. The crowd was not into this match at all and there were a number of botches that made it even worse.

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Photo by; Step Feed

Bludgeon Brothers beat up Uso’s again. This novelty has already worn off.

Seth Rollins escaped with the Intercontinental title; good match, fast paced, action everywhere. I thought the ending was creative but seemed to dis Balor. Balor needs an edge/heel turn, in my opinion.

Styles/Nakamura ended in a double count out. WWE’s way of keeping this feud going for another PPV-I did like the nastier side of Styles coming out at the end. He needs that!

Undertaker put Rusev in the Casket to win. He actually put both Rusev and English in to end the match. Decent match; Undertaker still seems to struggle in the ring at times.

Lesnar and Reigns ended in a unique fashion. After some brutality on each other, Reigns speared Lesnar THROUGH THE CAGE! WWE has to be careful of their camera angles because the cheap plastic ties holding that section of the cage in place could be seen flying into the air when the wrestlers hit the floor…something to work on I guess. Anyway, Lesnar retained Title as it was deemed that he was the first to “hit the floor.” Again, this feud is perpetuated.

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Photo by; Cageside Seats

Strowman won the Royal Rumble because, of course he did. The push continues for this guy. Not sure I understand it completely but we will see how the story plays out.

Overall, the event was produced well; the Internet rage seems to be Titus tripping and falling under the ring trying to enter The Rumble match. That clip will last forever.

The crowd seemed to wander around for most of the show, especially those at ringside. Noise levels were less than I would have imagined, although I did not hear an actual attendance number.

I think WWE accomplished their mission of an International statement and we will likely see future events like this.

Talk to you Tuesday!

TK

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