Cleat Geeks

The Lucha Lowdown (Season 4, Episode 15)

Welcome to the Lucha Lowdown, which recaps the latest edition of Lucha Underground!

The action starts in the temple with Fenix facing Aerostar. We had to feel for Melissa Santos during her announcements, as we recall what occurred with Fenix last week. Last week’s episode was titled, “Pet Sematary,” and it was a fitting title, as Fenix became violent, dark, and flat out deranged in his literal return from the dead. Aerostar, his former Trios partner, felt Fenix’s aggression, as well as Melissa, and in this match is no different. The darker and more sinister Fenix made an impression on Aerostar, but Aerostar fights back with a spinning piledriver for a two count! Aerostar’s series of kicks fail to make an effect on Fenix, but a second spinning piledriver doesn’t! After the two count, Fenix placed Aerostar on the top rope corner, and later delivers a modified driver on his opponent, winning the match.

However, winning is not enough, as Fenix pummels his former friend. Melissa pleads with Fenix to get help, saying that this Fenix is not the man she knows and loves. We later see Fenix menacingly approach Fenix, only for El Dragon Azteca to appear just as he did the previous week. This time, Fenix brutally attacked Azteca outside the ring, and as Matt Striker stated, Azteca has a Gift of the Gods Championship defense coming up!

The title match is scheduled to be next, but Antonio Cueto emerges and states that Azteca is in no condition to compete, and even went as far as to declare the match a forfeit and hand the title to Marty the Moth. Azteca wasn’t having it, and despite his condition, he wanted to defend his title against Marty. Out came the challenger, and he wasted no time going after the champion. Much like his sister, Mariposa, Marty paid his way into this championship match, but this bout has seen Azteca fight off what happened and deliver against the intense challenger, picking up near falls on more than one occasion. However, Marty was too much for Azteca, and he managed to defeat Azteca and capture the Gift of the Gods Championship! This is Marty’s first title in Lucha Underground, and it’s a big one; he is holding a golden ticket to the Lucha Underground Championship! As for Azteca, however, his dream of challenging for the Lucha Underground Championship at Ultima Lucha Cuatro are now kaput.

We now see Paul London speaking with the White Rabbit, gleefully boasting about his role in sacrificing his cohorts. The White Rabbit is not impressed, but he has a proposition for London: bring him and El Bunny to the temple. London acquiesces. Wow!

The main event commences! Challengers King Cuerno and Mil Muertes enter the ring first, followed by their opponent, the defending Lucha Underground Champion, Pentagon Dark. This match was made after a #1 Contender’s match between Cuerno and Mil ended without a definitive winner, leading to Antonio Cueto making the three-way match. Pentagon was taken out from the start, but he managed to break up a pin attempt between the challengers. Remember: no champion’s advantage in these matches, the champion can lose the title without being pinned. However, that would not be a problem for Pentagon, as he managed to pin Cuerno after delivering the piledriver. We later see Marty the Moth enter and beat down Pentagon Dark; Marty is the new Gift of the Gods Champion and he has that golden ticket to turn it into a Lucha Underground Championship match, but he must give the champion one week’s notice.

However, Antonio came out and chastised the “one week notice” rule and decided to abolish it, stating that it can be cashed in at any time! Marty does so, and he is now in a Lucha Underground Championship contest! So Gift of the Gods is now literally like Money in the Bank: it can be cashed in when the champion is at his or her (remember, Sexy Star held the title) most vulnerable! Pentagon managed to fight back against Marty, but in a strange moment, Chelsea Green appeared and delivered an attack to Pentagon, and the assault led to Marty capturing the Lucha Underground Championship! The former Laurel Van Ness places Marty’s new prize around his waist, and what a night for Marty. Remember: Marty ended Season 3 on the receiving end of immense embarrassment! Tonight, he entered with nothing, and came out like a bandit!

That’s the Lucha Lowdown! Until next week!

3 Impacts From Impact

The countdown to Bound For Glory marched on! What moment was the most eye-popping? Here are my 3 Impacts From Impact:

The Aries Alliance (A-Double, K-Double, and Moose) was in good spirits after what they did to Johnny Impact on the previous week, but they were interrupted, strangely, by KM and Fallah Bahh, who have been taking direction from Scarlett Bordeaux in recent weeks. Interestingly, this led to Fallah receiving a World Title opportunity, with Austin Aries stating that after this, there will be no one left to challenge him. Fallah put up a good fight, but in the end, A-Double prevailed, after which he, Killer Kross, and Moose took down both Fallah and KM. However, Aries still has Johnny to deal with, as he made a vow to take the World Title from him at Bound For Glory.

Katarina continued to suffer embarrassment stemming from her actions a week prior. As we all recall, Katarina cruelly dumped Grado and revealed her affections for his best friend, Joe Hendry, only for Hendry to turn her down and voice his value of his friendship with Grado. Now fully single, the evil Katarina looked to get back to business in the Knockouts Division against Alisha Edwards, only for Grado and Hendry to appear. Hendry appeared to be apologetic and had a special music video just for her, only for the video to further voice his desire NOT to date Katarina. It was called, “Access Denied,” and the biggest thing that stuck out was Hendry referencing Katarina’s WWE gimmick as the (originally) incestuous sister of Paul Burchill! Lost in this is that Katarina got quickly rolled up and pinned by Alisha, but for the second straight week, Katarina was immensely infuriated and embarrassed.

Another match was announced for Bound For Glory, as oVe announced their plans to finally end their feud with the Lucha Brothers (Pentagon Jr and Fenix). It was Sami Callihan’s loss to Pentagon at Slammiversary that ended up getting Sami’s head shaved, and he would later force Dave Crist to shave his head in a show of solidarity. We have also seen Cage, the reigning X Division Champion, involved in the ongoing battle, and that led to Sami making the challenge:  oVe vs The Lucha Brothers and Cage for BFG. Most likely, this match will end the months long rivalry, and it will be a fantastic sight to see!

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

Straight Up Smack Down

 

Smack Down Live rolled into Tulsa, Oklahoma on Tuesday night just 2 days after the Hell In A Cell pay-per-view that produced a NEW Smack Down Live Women’s champion: Becky Lynch. This week’s episode initially began with a quick video recap of the title match on Sunday. After that introduction, we waited until the very end of the night to see Becky Lynch & Paige in an official, in-ring coronation for the new champion. Lynch called out Flair fairly quickly. Charlotte appeared, entered the ring, & explained to Paige that she wasn’t there to fight. I’ll let the women take it from here:

That bleep was Becky again calling Charlotte a “bitch.”  Aside from Ciampa/Gargano, this has been the best feud in WWE all year. Both Nakamura/Styles and Samoa Joe/Styles was & currently is very good, but this story is so far above that. Becky’s groundswell fan support over the last few months has really been the foundation for her current character. The fans felt her frustration in the losses, then cheered with her during the win streak, then also felt the wind come out of the sails with the Summer Slam triple threat announcement, lost their minds for the heel turn, & have been completely on-board with her ever since. Conversely, Charlotte is doing the exact opposite & getting booed while doing very babyface antics. It’s working SO well…..for now. Eventually, Charlotte needs to start playing by a different set of rules to make this rivalry “white hot.”  She teased doing that at times in promos leading up to last Sunday’s match, but if she could legitimately become a character that fans boo & still respect in the ring……well then you have a fantastic meta-babyface versus meta-heel feud brewing. With the top billing that these 2 are receiving on Smack Down Live, they could entertain a rivalry that has shades of Austin/Rock to it.  Charlotte’s charisma on camera is nearly close to Rock’s & honestly, she’s a much better heel character. I hope it happens, but there’s no need to rush it. Let’s just enjoy the ride & hopefully this becomes a feud that is talked about for years down the road.

 

What was supposed to be a feud that was talked about for years down the road, has maybe become the third major story on Smack Down Live? This week, it might be fourth.  However, the show began inside the ring in Tulsa this week with MizTV.  He began the segment by stating that he & Daniel Bryan will meet at Super Showdown in Australia in a #1 contender’s match for the WWE championship. Ok, so that’s pretty big news. That means the writing’s on the wall for Samoa Joe. If Joe doesn’t defeat Styles at Super Showdown, A.J. then either faces Bryan Or Miz for the belt. At this point, I doubt Joe defeats A.J. in Australia. A.J. is teflon & anybody that opposes him, when the stakes are on the line, has lost.  I keep saying “this is the time to switch the title” but it never happens & even though the international crowd in Australia would embrace Joe with the win, you can’t have Bryan or Miz as the #1 contender in waiting with a rematch by Styles taking precedent. It seems way too cluttered. So by going with that logic, the babyface versus heel match coming out of Super Showdown would lead to: A.J. Styles versus The Miz. That seems unlikely, but we’ll see. One thing’s for sure, The Miz/Daniel Bryan feud is ending soon. However, Smack Down Live has a few more weeks to get some legs out of the rivalry, so Bryan interrupted Maryse’s appearance on MizTV:

And with that, Maryse is no longer appearing on Smack Down Live…..at least according to her. At this point in the story, Bryan is anticipating Miz’s tricks which further leads me to believe that this feud will soon dissolve.

A.J. Styles faced Andrade “Cien” Almas in the match of the night. This was so good, I wish this would have been without commercial interruption:

Almas is positioning himself as a main card player right now, so his fate now lies in the hands of Zelina Vega & creative. If she can do all (or most) of his promo work & creative can find the right road for them to travel, Almas could be a title holder by year’s end.

 

Now this is why I stated earlier that Miz/Bryan was the fourth most important story on Smack Down Live this week.

1) Becky/Charlotte      2) A.J. / Joe    3) Rusev/Aiden?!

Yes, it finally happened. After months of teasing this split, English finally was the one to initiate it. What wasn’t shown in this clip was Rusev admonishing English backstage for their loss at Hell In A Cell. Then English bad-mouthing Lana behind both Rusev & Lana’s back (in camera frame) then a zoomed out shot showed Lana standing behind English. She stated that she was going to relay this outburst to Rusev & was unable to before the match. Whatever, I’m just glad we FINALLY got here. English was feeling like a worse version of Damien Sandow shadowing Miz years ago. The gimmick ran its course so let’s get to the match where they get their differences out & go their separate ways already!

Lastly, in a night of foreshadowed feud restarts, Randy Orton was shown in a WWE production truck demanding to see the gruesome footage of his Hell In A Cell match against Jeff Hardy. Near the end, he states that what he did to Jeff Hardy will “pale in comparison” to what he does to his next victim:

Who will that be? Personally, I’m rooting for Randy to cost Daniel Bryan his match at Super Showdown & that opens a gateway to Miz/Styles & also Orton/Bryan.

Time will tell….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 Hell In A Cell.

On Raw, Nikki Bella defeated Ruby Riott, and later on, Natalya and Ronda Rousey defeated Alexa Bliss and Mickie James, only for Alexa to go after Ronda’s ribs, which suffered a bit of a beating during the match. On the following evening’s SmackDown, Charlotte defeated Sonya Deville in singles action, and she was greeting several fans following her victory when one of them assaulted her. The “fan” was none other than the evil Becky Lynch in disguise, and the Lass Kicker placed Charlotte in the Dis-Arm-Her on the entrance ramp. What was supposed to be a main event pitting Brie Bella against Maryse ended with both couples brawling, with Brie punching Miz in the face yet again.

On NXT, Shayna Baszler mercilessly defeated her opponent, and the main event saw Bianca BelAir and Nikki Cross compete to a double countout. The second episode of the Mae Young Classic saw Deonna Purrazzo, Zeuxis, Kacy Catanzaro, and Mercedes Martinez all advance to the second round, and on Lucha Underground, Ivelisse came up short in her bid to become Gift of the Gods Champion. On Impact Wrestling, Allie and Tessa had differing opinions regarding the latter being saved from Su Yung, and Alisha Edwards defeated Katarina in no time, mainly due to Katarina being embarrassed again by Joe Hendry and Grado.

Counting the mixed tag, Hell In A Cell featured a triple dose of women’s action, beginning with Becky Lynch defeating Charlotte to capture the SmackDown Women’s Championship for the second time! The victory comes just over two years after Becky became the first SD Women’s Champion, and she refused Charlotte’s show of sportsmanship after the match. Later on, The Miz and Maryse defeated Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella, with Maryse pinning Brie, and Ronda Rousey’s first title defense was a successful one against Alexa Bliss.

There were rumors entering the event that WWE may pull off a double turn between Becky and Charlotte, with Charlotte turning villainous due to fans viewing the Queen as the antagonist in this situation. However, from what was shown on SD and at the PPV, it still appears that Becky is the true villainess of this angle. Charlotte, IMO, is a more natural heel than Becky, but I think a heel Becky would be different, and from what I and others witnessed, it looks like that will be the plan going forward. Becky and Charlotte will face off in a title rematch at WWE Super Show-Down on October 6 in Australia.

Every time I see Ronda and Nattie celebrating, I always think, “When is Nattie turning on Ronda?” There was a plan months ago for Natalya to turn heel against Ronda, but I believe that WWE backed out on it slightly out of respect for Nattie following the loss of her father, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, as it would be in bad taste to portray Natalya as a villainess so soon after the tragedy. The aforementioned Super Show-Down will see Ronda aligned with the Bellas against the Riott Squad, and I suspect that will lead to Ronda’s rumored match against (more likely) an evil Nikki Bella at Evolution. If WWE does turn Natalya, it will most likely be after Evolution–months after–and regarding her motive, the villainous Natalya could express jealousy of Ronda’s rise and popularity, with the claim that she “created” Ronda.

Happy birthday to former WWE talent Audrey Marie, who turns 30 this Monday! Audrey Marie is known for being part of the early stages of the current NXT; back when it was FCW. She reigned as FCW Women’s Champion and was part of the transition to NXT, which saw her on the losing end of a number of matches in 2012. Audrey later turned heel and began her first big angle with Sasha Banks, attacking Sasha and revealing herself as the “secret admirer” who sent her various notes. Audrey’s villainous motivation was jealousy of Sasha, who began rising while Audrey was out injured, leading to Audrey’s victory over Sasha later on. She was released from WWE in mid-2013, and competed at a Queens of Combat event a year later, losing to Heather Patera. It would be her last match to date, as Audrey is enjoying retirement, as well as a marriage to Matt Clement–aka WWE superstar Tyler Breeze.

A new week begins with the aftermath of Hell In A Cell on Raw and SmackDown, as well as Episode 3 of the Mae Young Classic! Until next week!

WWE Women’s Dream Match

With the WWE Evolution event coming October 28th we here at cleatgeeks thought it would be a good article if we each came up with our own WWE Women’s Dream Match. The playing field was completely open, you could choose any Diva or Women’s Superstar. Just give me a why and how it would advance the current superstar’s career. This is what we came up with.
Vincent is first up, because he is the newest writer for us. He contributes every week with great articles that give you the fan a wrap-up of 205 Live.

Nikki Cross vs Lita

Image result for nikki cross nxtImage result for wwe LitaThis is being billed as past, present, and future so why not mix up them to help create stars? People love Lita and is considered one of the best women wrestlers in WWE history and Nikki Cross is unknown by a majority of WWE’s fans since most fans do not watch NXT. If fans that are watching Evolution get their first glimpse at Nikki Cross and more importantly looking dominant against a legendary figure, that can only help her career. Cross has never been a champion in WWE as of this writing so the idea of getting such a huge win can jumpstart her career and get more eyes on NXT. I only want this match to happen if Nikki Cross wins clean. If Nikki Cross isn’t going to be a member of Sanity on the main roster (which is a shame in itself) then they should build her as a psychopath that can be crazy enough to win by any means necessary. Basically, be what WWE should have done with Bray Wyatt. Cross was on the stage for the announcement of Evolution with zero explanation and her not getting a singles match would be a little heartbreaking. Lita would certainly be limited in the ring, but the idea of Lita “passing the torch” of being tough enough to compete with anyone would be a major rub for Nikki Cross that she could use to begin her main roster career.

BrianAwesomeGuy is next up, every week he gives you the opposite of up. He gives you the goods on Smackdown Live.

Sure, we’ll see Alexa Bliss face Trish Stratus but I’m not sure that qualifies as a “dream match” for anybody. 42 year old, long ago retired Trish & the former Raw Women’s champion isn’t the first match fans would ask for.

My “dream match” would pit Ronda Rousey against Shayna Baszler. Their journey as members of the “Four Horsewomen” alliance from MMA into pro wrestling has been well covered, but as most wrestling friendships go, they eventually become fierce enemies.

Eventually Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir (wife of NXT’s Roderick Strong) should join their fellow Horsewomen in WWE & that might be a few years away still. WWE has already teased a Becky Lynch/Charlotte Flair/Sasha Banks/Bayley showdown against The Horsewomen a year or so ago. While we all wait for Shafir & Duke to arrive, there is PLENTY of time for Rousey & Baszler to fight, feud, and reunite. That’s my hope. Shayna’s catch wrestling background gives a unique wrestling style in NXT. She often does joint manipulations in matches & will regularly strike those manipulated limbs on her opponents. It’s a very gruesome visual for fans in attendance & watching at home. Trust me, I’ve seen it as both. Ronda has an UNBELIEVABLE in-ring motor & is really starting to show an offensive move set that fans can buy into as authentic. Her mat skills are mind-blowing for a competitor so green in WWE…..but having Nattie Niedhart, Kurt Angle, & the best of the best at the Performance Center train you sure helps. Shayna’s mic skills are FAR better than Ronda’s, but she’s been at this longer.  Ronda might need a manager at this stage of her career to do most of her mic work i.e. Paul Heyman with Brock Lesnar.

Would fans buy this as a legit feud, given their incredibly public friendship?
Who cares?! JUST GET THEM IN THE RING & FIGURE IT OUT LATER!  These two women could have the type of match against each other that not only raises the bar for all women wrestlers, but really changes the industry.
Image result for beth phoenix wweImage result for nia jax wweI owner of Cleatgeeks, Michael Ballentine have been watching wrestling since I was a child on Saturday mornings. I am not a huge fan of the Divas of wrestling, as I prefer wrestling over bikinis and pillow fights even if you are doing so Rated R.
Let me set up my dream match. Beth Phoenix in doing play-by-play on the current Mae Young Classic. I would show the semi finals live on the WWE Network. In that nights main event, I would have Nia Jax do a run in and in one fail swoop take out both competitors from behind. I would have one of those competitors be Katlyn. I would then have Jax take a mic and say that she is tired of watching little girls in the ring, and that a WWE ring is for real women. She would then challenge Beth Phoenix to a match at WWE Evolution to prove who the dominate female really is in the WWE. Have a pissed off Phoenix stand up at the announce table and bad mouth Nia for the world to hear live before she excepts the challenge, thus making my dream match of Beth Phoenix vs Nia Jax.
By doing this live and at the Mae Young Classic semi-finals, this would allow WWE to give these two women more exposure. They could then have their rematch on the following edition of Smackdown Live. Have Katlyn loose by submission to her opponent.
Then at the match at Evolution, have Katlyn do a run in and attack Jax during their match that would allow Phoenix to win. In building the story between Nia and Katlyn, have it be that when Jax interfered in the Mae Young Classic match that she actually injured whatever body part she was submitted with on the episode of Smackdown. Katlyn then blames Jax for her loss and costing her the tournament so she exacted some revenge on her at Evolution which starts a lengthy feud between those two ladies.

The 2nd Mae Young Classic Review (Episode 2)

Welcome to this review of the second episode of the 2nd Mae Young Classic. In Episode 1, Tegan Nox, Rhea Ripley, Lacey Lane, and Meiko Satomura all advanced to the second round of the tournament. This week, the first round continued with four more matches, as the road to Evolution marched on!

The opening match of Episode 2 pitted Deonna Purrazzo against Priscilla Kelly, and for Deonna, this was the ultimate chance. Deonna was an alternate in last year’s Mae Young Classic, and was never used, while Priscilla looked to show out in a big stage. Both are well known in the indy circuit, and this match saw Priscilla unleash her psychological warfare, using her trademark mental tricks and mind games towards Deonna. Deonna was frazzled by Priscilla at first, but she regained her composure just enough to apply her trademark Fujiwara Armbar submission to Priscilla, with the devious Priscilla submitting. Following her victory, Deonna expressed immense emotion, as she had waited so long for this ultimate opportunity, and now she is just four wins away.

The second match pitted Aerial Monroe against Zeuxis, the only remaining masked luchadora following Zatara’s elimination in the previous week’s episode. Just as Zatara did, Zeuxis acted as a heel in her bout; antagonizing Aerial by doing the one thing she was warned not to do:  mess with her hair. Aerial’s marriage to WWE Cruiserweight Champion Cedric Alexander was mentioned, as Cedric was shown in attendance with Aerial’s young daughter. Both women fought valiantly, but in the end, Zeuxis picked up the victory with the Spanish Fly. This actually surprised me, because I thought that Aerial would win due to her marriage to Cedric possibly putting her over.

Match #3 featured another returning combatant, as the evil Reina Gonzalez competed against American Ninja Warrior alum Kacy Catanzaro. This was another David vs Goliath bout, but unlike last week’s bout between Lacey Lane and Vanessa Kraven, this had the good vs evil touch to this. Reina (6’0) played the role of the bullying, vicious villainess to perfection against diminutive Kacy (5’0). Reina stated that her early exit from last year’s MYC was due to her being “too nice”; though I recall her being just as vicious then. Kacy stood up to Reina’s intimidation factor, and saw her opening after Reina missed her attack. In the end, Kacy rolled up Reina for the victory, and though Reina was fuming over another first round exit, she returned to the ring and hoisted Kacy up on her shoulders in a show of respect. On a side note, loved that Reina competed in what appeared to be cowboy boots, and was happy to see Kacy in action finally, she was terrific in the ring.

The main event was an absolute dream match pitting Mercedes Martinez against Ashley Rayne. Mercedes is a household name in the indy scene, the same can be said about Ashley, but in her case, Ashley is also known in mainstream wrestling as a former five-time Knockouts Champion. Hard to believe that these women have never faced each other before, but it’s true. Though this is a dream match, the fact that this was an opening round match meant that one of the women would be ousted. Both women delivered spectacular performances, but it would be Mercedes and her Fisherman Buster that would put her in the second round of the tournament.

So who was shown in attendance in Episode 2? Other than Cedric Alexander, Samoa Joe–the #1 Contender for the WWE Championship–was shown, along with the Undisputed Era from NXT. As for female attendees, Natalya was shown for the second straight episode, along with Riott Squad members Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan, the latter of whom participated in last year’s MYC. As for the show itself, the main event was the best match by far, but the best  out of the previous three matches was Reina vs Kacy.  I hope that Reina starts competing on NXT’s main program, she would shine as a borderline monster heel in NXT’s women’s division. And Kacy was just phenomenal; her performance was everything I figured it would be. A pair of second round matches were locked in as a result of this week’s results, Kacy will face off against Rhea Ripley; an interesting match considering that Rhea and Reina are villainous allies at NXT live events. A second match locked in will pit Mercedes Martinez against Meiko Satomura.

The first round of the Mae Young Classic continues next week with four more matches. The tournament airs every Wednesday at 9PM EST/6PM PST after NXT, until the two finalists are decided. The finals of the tournament will take place at Evolution on Sunday, October 28.

 

Is The WWE’s Womens Movement An Evolution?

The WWE has done a wonderful job with promoting Women’s Wrestling, even as far as the upcoming PPV, all female card. That the powers that be have decided to name Evolution.

That’s a huge step in an industry historically dominated by males….Here’s my issue.

There are a handful of talents that “set the stage” in the female ranks. Charlotte, Asuka, Bliss (more gimmick than talent), Rousey (talent with no gimmick), Natty, Ruby Riott, Ember Moon…maybe a few others.

Image result for wwe evolution

Generally speaking (and don’t lose your minds), this genre is still geared to a male, mouth breathing audience that enjoys the views, more than the in-ring product. At live events, the Neanderthals stand with mouths agape at the beauty that stands before them, they wouldn’t know if they were wrestling or bringing them a beer.

Again, the product itself has improved and is usually watchable. However, the inclusion and focus on the division has more to do with pleasing a certain crowd than it does improving the product.

Rousey came in and took jobs right away. She now has the title and her opponents are being lined up. VKM and the WWE machine has a weak spot for “flavors of the month” unless you happen to be his chosen ones, i.e. Reigns, Miz, Lesnar, HBK, HHH, Rock, SCSA, others.

Image result for wwe crowd mouth open

I still see the women’s division as a distraction more than an enhancement to the overall product. How good will a three hour pay-per-view be with only women in the ring and on the mic? The ladies are a small percentage of the overall product. They are split up between two different shows, and usually do not have but one or two matches on either program. They only have two titles, and no real rivalries going on to speak of besides Charlotte and Becky, and that is for a title! Is there enough talent to do a whole event? This is the first event of it’s kind, so to just have an event would be uneventful, they need to do something special.

Is that why they are bringing back the women superstars of years past? Do they know that they don’t have enough talent to deliver a good event with their current talent, so this was their alternative? By bringing these female talents, is the WWE admitting that they can’t do an entire pay-per-view with their current talent?

Again, I do want to give the current women some credit. They have broken some barriers that I thought I would see another women do. They wrestled inside Hell In a Cell, had iron men matches and those type things. But to say they can carry an entire three plus hour event is overstepping the bounds they have broken recently. There has been an improvement in the women’s wrestling product within the WWE, but there has not been an evolution. Only improvement.

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!!

3 Impacts From Impact

The NFL had it’s Opening Day, but Impact was explosive as well! Who delivered the biggest clutch play? Here are my 3 Impacts From Impact:

Impact saw matches being made for Bound For Glory, and the biggest one came in the main event segment. It began with Moose explaining his actions from the previous week, and he stated that he joined Austin Aries and Killer Kross because Eddie Edwards was never there for him. Moose claimed that he was always at Eddie’s side when his beating at the hands of Sami Callihan turned into an obsession with him, and also ballooned into problems with Tommy Dreamer and problems in his marriage. Yet, according to Moose, Eddie was not there for him following his loss to Aries and the bad aftermath that befell him, and it was Aries who contacted him and told him that he could be a big star if he could only ignore the fans. It was after this that Johnny Impact appeared and announced that he will challenge Aries for the World Title at BFG, and this news (while expected) had me elated. Johnny ended up laid out by the villainous triumvirate, but BFG still should see Johnny victorious and finally capture the World Title, especially to promote his upcoming appearance on Survivor.

A Knockout turned heel for the first time in this calendar year, and to no surprise, it was Katarina who made the swerve. Many (myself included) had Katarina turning heel the very second after her unlikely relationship with Grado began, and the prediction was turned up once Joe Hendry entered the fray. Despite Eli Drake planting seeds of doubt into Grado regarding Katarina and Hendry, all was well and Grado and Hendry were teamed up against the Desi Hit Squad. At some point, Grado decided to tag himself in after Hendry fought the Squad, but he couldn’t finish the job and the Squad ended up winning. Katarina berated Grado after the match, telling him that she never loved him and that she was in love with Hendry. Now, a lot of us figured that Katarina and Hendry would become a villainous couple, but to my surprise, after Katarina kissed Hendry, she ended up turned down. Hendry voiced his value of his friendship with Grado, and in response, the evil Katarina slapped Hendry and walked off. So if the character statuses hold up, it looks like Grado and Hendry will remain as a tag team, while Katarina returns to the Knockouts Division as a heel. There have been some fans wanting Katarina to bring back her evil Winter character, but I don’t think that will happen.

As I stated before, Impact was beginning the build to Bound For Glory, and the very first match made for the event will see the end of the LAX/OGz war. In a segment that could draw comparisons to The Godfather, Konnan and King met with the commission, who stated that the violence went too far when King accidentally struck a young boy named Richie with his car. With that, it was decided that the two sides will battle it out for the last time in an all out war at Bound For Glory, and this time, Konnan and King will be part of this bout. The scene was an epic one, no doubt, and I think this match at BFG will be epic as well, especially with Konnan and King involved.

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

The 2nd Mae Young Classic Review (Episode 1)

At long last, the 2nd annual Mae Young Classic is here, and so is this first review of the tournament! This is a review of the first episode of the MYC, which will air every Wednesday after NXT until the two finalists are decided. The finals of the Mae Young Classic will take place at Evolution on Sunday, October 28.

Viewers were welcomed by Michael Cole, who will be taking the lead on the announce team, which makes history with two female announcers at the table: Renee Young, who has been doing commentary on Raw recently, and WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix, who has been on the call during the Mixed Match Challenge and at WrestleMania during the women’s battle royal. Following the announcers’ introduction, the first match of the tournament was underway.

Image result for Tegan Nox and Zatara

I remember how special it was last year when Kay Lee Ray and Princesa Sugehit literally kicked off last year’s tournament, and the honor for this year went to Tegan Nox and Zatara. We saw interview segments from both women, as will be the norm for these opening round matches, before both women made their entrance. Tegan entered first, followed by Zatara, and after the opening handshake, the two women battled it out. Zatara established herself as the heel in this match following her ejection from the ring courtesy of Tegan’s offense, as she was shown up close jaw-jacking with the crowd, and then delivered a classic tactic: luring Tegan in with the handshake before delivering a kick to her opponent. The back and forth battle continued, with Zatara getting a two-count on Tegan, who later bounced back and delivered (what she calls) the Shiniest Wizard Ever, giving Tegan the victory. For Tegan, this was a huge comeback after missing out on the MYC last year due to an injury, and it looked like her right knee (which had the brace on it) wouldn’t hold up during the match, but it did.

Image result for Rhea Ripley vs MJ Jenkins

The second match was the first one to feature an returning combatant, as Rhea Ripley faced off against MJ Jenkins. It was the WWE Network debut of Rhea’s new sinister look and demeanor. Her new persona was part of a clash of personalities, as MJ made a flashy and stand out entrance, and we see Rhea refuse to shake MJ’s hand. Rhea’s look bears similarities to The Shield, mainly Seth Rollins, and she was promoted as wanting to be herself in response to the comparisons to Charlotte Flair. MJ managed to baffle Rhea with her unorthodox offense, only for the Aussie sensation to respond with her own ruthless aggression, as well as some bullying tactics to mess with MJ. In the end, Rhea’s Powerbomb pushed her to the second round, but MJ Jenkins showed out with her personality and her drive in this bout.

Image result for Vanessa Kraven vs Lacey Lane

Match #3 in the premiere episode pitted the imposing Vanessa Kraven against the diminutive Lacey Lane. Despite Vanessa’s personality, to me, this was a face vs face affair. Vanessa was entertaining as well as intimidating, she played the proverbial Goliath role to perfection, as she has done in her various indy matches. Meanwhile, Lacey delivered some top rope magic that managed to baffle her larger opponent, at least until she returned to dominating Lacey–not only dominating Lacey, but showing clear enjoyment. Vanessa’s joy and dominance ended up short-lived, as her attempt at a cannonball fell short and put her in an odd position. Lacey took over from that point on, and she delivered a crucifix and roll-up to get the upset win over Vanessa.

The main event of Episode 1 was the match pitting seasoned veteran Meiko Satomura against NXT UK’s Killer Kelly. I am now officially a fan of Killer Kelly, I do love her intense, UFC-esque demeanor; that’s the thing now with Ronda Rousey and the UFC Horsewomen now officially with WWE. Meiko reminds me a lot of LuFisto; small stature but very lethal offense, and I saw that from both women in this back and forth match. Kelly got a number of near falls in this match, and the frustration and passion was shown very close up throughout the main event. Despite Kelly’s efforts, the veteran Meiko ended up with the 1-2-3, and she advanced to the second round. We bore witness to a show of respect between Kelly and Meiko after a spectacular match.

Image result for Meiko Satomura vs Killer Kelly

Some other notes. Like last year, attention was drawn to what WWE stars were in attendances, as the camera caught Ember Moon, Alexa Bliss, Funaki, Tye Dillinger, and Lio Rush in attendance during tonight’s episode. We were also treated to an interview segment featuring Natalya, which was conducted by Shadia Bseiso, the first Arab woman to sign with WWE. But the overall story of the episode is the fact that we have our first four advancing combatants: Tegan Nox, Rhea Ripley, Lacey Lane, and Meiko Satomura. There is plenty more to come!

The Mae Young Classic continues next Wednesday at 9PM EST (6PM PST) with more first round action!

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