Cleat Geeks

Straight Up Smack Down


Normally following a pay-per-view, the next Smack Down Live would have a lot of carryover segments based on the event’s outcomes. Well this week’s episode was a little different. There was a lot of Fastlane fallout in Indianapolis on Tuesday, but that did not include the World title program. A.J. Styles began the show, only to be interrupted by Shinsuke Nakamura to talk about their Wrestle Mania match. There was zero reference to the 6 man title match at Fastlane……

Shortly after, Aiden English & Rusev interrupted Nakamura with some unfinished business to attend to from their Fastlane match. If you would had missed Smack Down Live from the past few weeks and/or Fastlane itself, you needed to pay close attention to Tom Phillips during Rusev’s entrance. Here’s why:

There was almost no precursor or set up for this altercation, if you were just checking in this week. That’s a bad job by WWE, who spends so much time being repetitive on many other things. Second, there was no announcement of any match…..AT ANY POINT. The closest thing that said was that “Rusev was looking to celebrate Rusev Day with a victory over the WWE Champion.”  Rusev just created his own match by appearing & walking to the ring. When we returned from commercial, the bell rang for Styles & Rusev to begin the match. I guess when the General Manager is absent, certain talent can just make their own matches?

Really good match & the interference by English was a nice way to get Nakamura involved. But Shinsuke had his reasons to help A.J. this week & according to him, every week leading up to their Wrestle Mania match:

Let’s now go from that segment, to down the hallway backstage, so we can catch up with Jimmy Uso & Big E:

Yes, the Bludgeon Brothers beat up the other members of New Day & Jey Uso at Fastlane so bad that they couldn’t make it to Indianapolis on Tuesday. Some people just don’t learn. Big E & Jimmy Uso teamed up to avenge their fallen compadres & even attempted to use steel chairs as weapons:

Silly boys, chairs are for the Attitude Era. This is 2018, you need to get yourself a medieval times mallet. No surprise, the Bludgeon Brothers won. I’m pretty excited to see what kind of crowd chant the international fans have in store for the Bludgeon Brothers at Wrestle Mania. They really outdid themselves a few years ago with the chant for the tag team of Sheamus & Cesaro:


After Charlotte’s victory over Ruby Riott at Fastlane, Asuka appeared to let both Charlotte & the WWE universe know that she has chose her opponent to face in the championship match at Wrestle Mania:

If Nakamura/Styles is the number 1 must-see match for me this year at Wrestle Mania, this would just about be tied with it. 1A & 1B. There’s a lot of expectations for Nakamura/Styles to live up to, so there’s a good chance that Queen versus Empress COULD steal the show at Mania. I can’t wait. Asuka was advertised to appear on Smack Down Live this week & again confront Charlotte but this is all we got:

I’m not going to lie, near the end of that when Asuka said “BECAUSE…” I thought for sure she was going to say “New Day ROCKS.”  The segment ended with Randy Orton’s entrance playing, then Randy appeared & he began walking to the ring as the graphic for a match between Bobby Roode versus Jinder Mahal was shown……

Maybe it’s just me, but I just don’t see any heat to this United States title picture. Outside of Orton winning the title this past Sunday, this whole scene is just very uninteresting.

Smack Down Live’s biggest storyline of the year has been anything but “uninteresting.” Fastlane further drove the wedge between not only Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens’ relationship, but also their already bitter relationship with Commissioner Shane McMahon. Following the incident at Fastlane, Sami was first to vent on this week’s episode……

Then a little while later, Owens blew up in an interview:

Shane McMahon appeared at the end of the night’s show to announce that Kevin Owens would face Sami Zayn at WrestleMania & that he (Shane) would be taking a leave of absence himself from the brand. Sami & Kevin both showed up to make sure that Shane wouldn’t change his mind on taking that leave of absence:

Despite all of the match stunts, rope-a-dope dancing around, Jordan brand shoes & somewhat contemporary clothing, Shane sure sounded like an old man on that sell job at the end. I joked on Twitter that if you looked away from the visual, it sounded like he was passing a kidney stone. We’ll see where this leads, but my guess is it ends up a triple threat match at Mania.


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 Fastlane.

Raw kicked off with Kurt Angle announcing that he and Ronda Rousey will face Triple H and Stephanie McMahon at WrestleMania 34, an announcement that came after Ronda stated to Stephanie that she wanted to face the Raw Commissioner at the grand stage in New Orleans. Later on, Asuka again defeated Nia Jax in one match, and another saw Bayley defeat Mandy Rose, which drew an attack from Absolution. Sasha Banks made the save, but as for her and Bayley, there was still tension. SmackDown kicked off with Ruby Riott and Charlotte Flair exchanging words before their encounter at Fastlane, and it continued with Becky Lynch defeating Carmella in singles action.

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Photo by; Muscle and Fitness

On NXT, Bianca BelAir picked up another singles victory, and backstage, Lacey Evans was backstage talking about taking down women she believed were beneath her, until she was interrupted by Shayna Baszler again calling out Ember Moon. The following evening’s Impact Wrestling was the Crossroads edition, which saw Allie defeat Laurel Van Ness to capture the Knockouts Championship. This was Allie’s second Knockouts Championship victory, and after her big win, she was congratulated by her mentor, Hall of Famer Gail Kim.

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Saturday featured the women of Shine Wrestling taking center stage in Queens, with SHINE 49 taking place. The main event saw LuFisto successfully defend her SHINE Championship against SHINE Tag Team Champion Mercedes Martinez, continuing a reign that began all the way back at SHINE 40. Among other women, Brandi Lauren and Amber Nova (who have been seen on Impact Wrestling in 2017) appeared at the event, with Amber losing to Amanda Carolina Rodriguez, while Brandi defeated Shotzi Blackheart.

The following night was WWE’s Fastlane event, which featured a double dose of women’s action. In a match that was announced this past Tuesday, Natalya and Carmella defeated Naomi and Becky Lynch, after which the latter pair came out in support of Charlotte during her title defense against Ruby Riott. After that pair and the rest of the Riott Squad were ejected, Charlotte delivered the Figure Eight and retained the title, only to be encountered by Asuka, who made up her mind and challenged Charlotte at WrestleMania!

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So with Wrestlemania four weeks away, two women’s related matches are locked in. Ronda Rousey has her match, and Charlotte and Asuka will clash for the blue brand’s Women’s Championship. The “Queen vs Empress” battle has been rumored for a while, especially considering the fact that Asuka didn’t announce her choice even after Raw’s Elimination Chamber PPV. So with Asuka on SmackDown, it seems like Nia Jax will be the one pursuing Alexa Bliss and the Raw Women’s Championship, though that remains to be seen.

A new week begins with Raw, and so begins the final countdown to WrestleMania! The final four weeks will be most interesting, as Raw, SmackDown, and NXT all prepare for the grand stage! Until next week!

WWE Fastlane Preview & Predictions

This Sunday is the last pay per view stop for WWE before the spectacle that is WrestleMania. Many question will be answered come Sunday like who will be WWE champion come mania? How will Cena make it to mania? Will Cena become a 17-time world champion?  Will Carmella finally cash in her money in the bank? This is the last shot for most to punch their tickets to mania the question is who will be on the show and who will have to buy a ticket to get in?

WWE Champion AJ Styles vs. John Cena vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler (Six-Pack Challenge Match)

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This match has grown each week from when it started as a triple threat between styles, Owens and Zayn after the 2 on 1 at the Royal Rumble. Then over the next two weeks Corbin and Ziggler were added. Then last week after Cena failed to win at the Elimination Chamber he called out the Undertaker but then almost immediately said that would not be possible, so his path would run through Smackdown Live. Cena went on to beat Styles in the main event to earn a spot in the match at Fastlane making it a six-pack challenge with the winner to main event WrestleMania. There are only 2 people who have the chance to win this match is Styles and Cena. But, Cena won’t win because WWE won’t let Cena break Rick Flairs record at just any old pay per view especially with WrestleMania up next.

My Prediction; Styles retains

SmackDown Tag Team Champions the Usos vs. The New Day

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The first few times we saw this match it was amazing they put on a great show and stole the night each time, but I believe this to be the 5th or 6th pay per view that we have seen this match at. I’m not saying that this won’t be a good match because these teams always put on good matches what I’m saying is that this is showing that Smackdown Live has no faith in their tag team division to make any other good matches. This pay per view is supposed to start the set up for the WrestleMania card, but this match just feels like a filler because we have seen it so much.

My Prediction; Usos Retain

SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair vs. Ruby Riott

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The final showdown between Flair and the Riott Squad commences at Fastlane with it all on the line. Flair has defeated the other members of the Riott Squad except for Ruby Riott. Flair has decided to lay it all out if Ruby wins she walks in the Wrestlemania as the Smackdown Women’s Champion and on the heels of the biggest win of her career, if flair wins when will have defeated the entire Riott Squad. ‘

My Prediction; Flair wins

United States Champion Bobby Roode vs. Randy Orton

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Roode has claimed his first title in the WWE now it is time to defend that title against on of the top talents in the WWE Randy Orton. Orton has held almost every title in the WWE except for the United States Title. He was the youngest WWE Champion ever and has held more titles than almost any except for a few. This will be Roode’s toughest challenge yet and it is time for Roode to prove he belongs at the top.

My Prediction;  Roode Retains

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev

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This match is pure filler just to keep Nakamura busy until mania. The story behind this match is that during a match Nakamura had against English Nakamura landed a knee to English’s throat damaging his vocal cords. The damaged vocal cords prevented English from being able to sing the Rusev Day song so now Rusev is out for revenge. There is no way Nakamura loses this match while they are trying to build him up to main event his first ever WrestleMania.

My Prediction; Nakamura wins

Becky Lynch & Naomi vs. Natalya & Carmella

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This tag team match is made up of the top two faces and top two heels on Smackdown Live teaming up. This is mostly a filler to one fill in space, but it will also set up a match down the line to determine the number one contender for the title that is unless Carmella cashes in her Money In The Bank at the end of the Women’s Title match.

My Prediction; Natalya and Carmella

Straight Up Smack Down



We’re just a few days away from Fastlane this Sunday in Columbus, Ohio but Smack Down was live in Green Bay, Wisconsin on Tuesday night. The show kicked off in a less than ordinary fashion as Dasha was standing in the ring to introduce Charlotte Flair, then immediately after introduced Ruby Riott for a war of words:

Not shown at the end of this clip was Ruby’s Riott Squad entering the ring, but then they all dispatched as Bobby Roode made his entrance. I guess they were either afraid that Roode would aid his Mixed Match tag team partner & attack them? Seems like a good idea that WWE cut that part of this segement from their YouTube page.


Becky Lynch faced Carmella after their own war of words in a backstage segment.

I feel so bad for these two women. Lynch was on fire after the draft & became Smack Down Live Women’s champion, but hasn’t been a serious contender since she lost the belt.  Carmella was getting a big push alongside James Ellsworth & became an important part of the title picture following her “win” at Money In The Bank but has since just been like any other character, every other week. Speaking of miscast women wrestlers on Smack Down Live, Naomi & Natalya organized a match for all four of these women at Fastlane:

There is zero hype for this tag match & absolutely nothing about it feels special. Why is this a pay-per-view match? Seems like a 1 commercial match that we could see 45 minutes into any random weekly Smack Down episode….


On a funnier note, Rusev, Aiden English, & Shinsuke Nakamura all had a funny exchange on this week’s episode & the end result actually materialized into decent outcome for a match this Sunday:

That still makes me laugh. Nakamura with a pretty spot on impression of Aiden’s singing & then Rusev’s bewildered comment of “You can’t just make up your own holiday, bro”  Priceless. WWE would be smart to use this match when the crowd hits a lull on Sunday. Both are fan favorites & booking it as the first match when the crowd is initially hot to start would be an error in my opinion.

Jinder Mahal faced Randy Orton for the 1,534,715th time:

and Jinder won like he always does against Orton straight up. I’m sorry, I took absolutely zero notes about this match because I’m just so sick of seeing it.

Speaking of callbacks to last year’s feuds, A.J. Styles addressed the Green Bay crowd & WWE Universe regarding John Cena’s pointed words for the champion from the previous night on Raw:

I really liked Dolph’s contribution here. He was loud but effective & really sounded authentic behinds his words. The result of this confrontation was the beginning to their singles match:

I don’t understand, how did Shane punish Sami & Kevin for their involvement in the Ziggler/Styles match? Seemed like he actually punished Dolph & A.J. by making them wrestle another match & against 3 other fresh superstars! Somebody needs to set Shane straight & get his head examined. So basically here’s a preview of Sunday’s main event, minus Cena & the title to the winner…..

Unfortunately, I think many saw that ending before it actually happened. What better outcome to show the fans that there are no alliances heading into Fastlane’s main event, than to have Sami pin Kevin? It’s the equivalent to one Bella twin pinning the other, in the hopes of becoming champion.

So that was our go home program for Fastlane & I understand that WWE is just trying to be super cautious with all the talent before Wrestle Mania, but there is just so little buzz for this pay-per-view on Sunday. I say “pay-per-view” even though it’s on the WWE Network, but imagine if this was an actual pay-per-view…..who would be coughing up $30-$40 for this show? Not me, that’s for sure.

Who knows, maybe this will be a good show after all & Sunday afternoons are always better when there is a WWE pay-per-view to look forward to in the evening.

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.

The Elimination Chamber came and went, and Monday’s Raw in Anaheim kicked off with Alexa Bliss boasting about her successful title defense in the Women’s Chamber. Mickie James was by her side, and once Asuka entered, the pair and Nia Jax began assaulting the Empress of Tomorrow. After Bayley and Sasha Banks entered the fray, a six-woman tag team bout took place, with Asuka, Sasha, and Bayley emerging victorious. The following evening’s SmackDown in Los Angeles, featured Ruby Riot defeating Naomi, bringing her one step closer to her ultimate goal of besting Charlotte and taking the SmackDown Women’s Championship.

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Tuesday also kicked off the quarterfinals of the Mixed Match Challenge, with The Miz and Asuka defeating Sasha Banks and Finn Balor. It was the first of three quarterfinal matches of the highly popular tournament, and the three winners will advance to the semifinals, which will also feature a fourth team brought back by popular demand. The next night’s NXT featured a rematch of the Mae Young Classic finals, this time with Shayna Baszler defeating Kairi Sane and later making a challenge to Ember Moon. Thursday’s Impact featured Rosemary again defeating Hania, only to be encountered and taken down by the returning Taya Valkyrie. Also, Laurel Van Ness’ attempt to “marry” the Knockouts Championship was thwarted by Allie, making two LVN weddings that Allie has crashed.

So let’s start with the proverbial elephant in the room: Mickie James has turned heel. Mickie returned to WWE’s main roster as a villainess in January 2017, aligning with Alexa Bliss on the SmackDown brand against Becky Lynch. Their partnership ended just months later on the road to WrestleMania 33, after which both women were moved to Raw as part of the Superstar Shake-Up. Mickie actually feuded with Alexa due to her former ally’s digs at Mickie’s age, and they were at odds until the weeks leading to the Elimination Chamber PPV. The following evening’s Raw saw Mickie cement her villainous alliance with Alexa, but a live event in Kalamazoo, MI saw Mickie on the babyface side of an eight woman tag match. Mickie teamed with Asuka, Bayley, and Sasha Banks against Alexa, Nia Jax, and Absolution’s Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. However, Mickie turned heel during the match and delivered a kick to Bayley to help Alexa, but despite Mickie’s evil persona, Asuka picked up the win for the babyfaces. It was reported that Mickie’s heel turn was done to fill the void on the heel side of the Raw Women’s Division; a void made by Alicia Fox’s injury.

Monday’s Raw also saw the continuation of the Sasha/Bayley angle, where Bayley actually walked out on Sasha during the six-woman tag bout. Many were led to believe that the longtime white-meat babyface of the Women’s Division actually turned heel, but she did help Asuka during the match. It was clear that Bayley’s actions were a result of Sasha’s deceptive behavior towards her, which began at the Royal Rumble and escalated at the Elimination Chamber event. There have been rumors that WrestleMania 34 could have a whopping four Women’s matches at the event–five if you count Ronda and Stephanie’s involvement in the mixed tag. Other than that and the title matches (whatever they may be), one such match could see Bayley and Sasha settle their differences at the grand stage, with Sasha most likely playing the heel role. It was also rumored that WrestleMania could see a women’s battle royal which would be done in the same form as the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, and would also replace that match this year.

A new week begins with Raw and SmackDown in Milwaukee and Green Bay, respectively, and will end with SmackDown’s Fastlane PPV in Columbus. It will also include Crossroads, the special edition of Impact which will include a title encounter between Laurel Van Ness and Allie! Until next week!

Straight Up Smack Down


Following Raw’s pay-per-view this past Sunday, Elimination Chamber, all the eyes of WWE’s fans shifted to Smack Down Live Tuesday night with Fastlane in March fast approaching.  (No pun intended). The blue team was live from Los Angeles, a city that WWE has always attempted to perform well in & produce at a Hollywood level in their efforts. On Tuesday night, I would say that they tried harder than usual weeks to put on a show for the Los Angeles faithful in attendance. So in fewer words, Tuesday was a pretty good show because there were entertaining parts that were intentional & almost as many that were unintentionally amusing.


John Cena began the night by arriving to Smack Down in the hopes of ascertaining a spot at Wrestle Mania this year. Much to the surprise of many, he unintentionally announced that he alone is the Bludgeon Brothers:

Don’t get your hopes up, fans. It appears that was just a video graphic mistake. John made his intentions clearer after this earlier confusion:

Seems pretty cut & dry, just defeat the WWE champion in a singles match to gain entry into Fastlane’s 5 way championship match. You know, the WWE champion, A.J. Styles who you had some of your greatest matches ever with. The same wrestler you’ve only beat once before. No big deal, right? Well before we dive right into that main event, Aiden English faced the “only man guaranteed to be at WrestleMania”, as John Cena put it, Shinsuke Nakamura. This match immediately preceded the Styles versus Cena main event:

What a great, funny way to start this match & the match itself wasn’t that bad, either. However, someone (cough, Vince) decided that we NEEDED a Cena/Nakamura encounter & a collaborative Wrestle Mania sign finger pointing as an “impromptu” segway. Give me a break. What a comedown from a pretty good lead-in to the night’s main event.

So based on their recent history, the outcome of this main event should be a coin flip.

Okay, let me a get a coin.



Alright, heads….Cena wins.





Tails….damn it, Cena’s going to win anyway so:



Well, if Cena in a 7 man main event at Elimination Chamber wasn’t good enough for you then you will now see him & 5 other men in the main event at Fastlane for the WWE Championship. Dolph Ziggler’s involvement at the end of this match wasn’t his only interference of the evening. Dolph’s superkick, Zig Zag, & pommel horse-type hand movements for hiding along the ring apron, were on display earlier in the evening:

Popcorn, movies, Hollywood…they’re all in Los Angeles, I got it.  Trust me, no one else got it. I firmly believe that Daniel just wanted to leave because he couldn’t watch Shane chew popcorn any longer. Seriously, I got up & had to walk away too. It felt like if you had ever gone to the movies as a kid, with a bunch of friends, & instantly realized during the trailers that you had sat next to the WORST possible choice for the next few hours. That’s the flashback I believe Daniel had, so I can’t blame his decision whatsoever. But that was not the end of Shane-O & his beloved popcorn, NO the audience needed more buttery kernels from their proverbial colonel:

Thankfully, the Usos saved fans from reaching for their remotes. Jimmy & Jey delivered a sensational promo at the New Day & advertently or inadvertently, also at the booking committee of past WrestleManias:

These guys consistently bring it every time they grab a mic & continue to spit fire. Their fantastic work on mic & in ring is at such a high level that fans almost expect it now. I, for one, appreciate & recognize these guys that go above & beyond with every opportunity. Sure part of it is a character they’re playing, but the veracity & genuine comfort is so evident now with them. Sorry Cesaro & Sheamus, but the Usos are “the bar” that every superstar, not just tag team personnel, should be measured against. Hopefully, at the least they can push the other tag teams to be more entertaining. Otherwise, Vince will give you this type of shtick every week & not blink an eye to think twice about it:

I don’t care if there’s still like 5 people who think these segments are funny, they’re a waste of my time. Like most WWE’s creative ideas, they “peak” (sometimes that’s a generous term) & then the ideas are dragged on. And on. And on. And on. And on. And on. You get the point.

Speaking of points, my last point (since Tyler is in the previous video) is that the likes of Tyler Breeze & Tye Dillinger are extreme examples of how NXT talent is horribly mismanaged on WWE’s main roster. I was just having a conversation with another wrestling fan the other night about how many NXT stars have been buried on WWE’s main roster.  Sure, they all come up with hype to the main roster & name recognition from loyal wrestling fans and/or network subscribers…..but most have hardly any impact, in comparison to how they impacted NXT.  Slice it any way you want to, that’s a failure on WWE. I won’t even lay it all on the writers, that is on the company as a whole. This talent is your bread & butter.  You’re spending TONS of money (and health insurance) to roster some of the best wrestlers in the world & this is what you reduce them down to? These bland, unfunny, scripted segments just strip away any interest that the fans would ever have in seeing their future matches. But hey, I’m no billionaire that will go to his grave thinking he can take on the NFL, I’m just saying……


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 the Elimination Chamber.

Both Raw and SmackDown featured six-woman tag team bouts; Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Mickie James defeated Alexa Bliss, Sonya Deville, and Mandy Rose, only for the Absolution members to lay out the two Horsewomen after the match, before they were taken down by Alexa and Mickie. The Riott Squad were more successful, as they defeated Charlotte Flair, Naomi, and Becky Lynch. Later in the program, Ruby challenged Charlotte to a match for the SmackDown Women’s Championship, and it was later made official:  the two women will face off at Fastlane on March 11. Speaking of Charlotte, she and Bobby Roode defeated Nia Jax and Apollo in the sixth and final opening round match of the highly popular Mixed Match Challenge. As for NXT, Nikki Cross defeated Vanessa Borne in singles action.

This week also saw the first matches of the Women of Honor Tournament uploaded on YouTube, beginning with Mandy Leon defeating Madison Rayne. In more tournament action, Brandi Rhodes picked up an upset win over an immensely arrogant Karen Q, Kelly Klein defeated Bonesaw Brooks, and Deonna Purrazzo defeated Holidead. One quarterfinal match was cemented, with Kelly Klein set to face off against Mandy Leon.

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Photo by; cageside seats.

The week ended with the Elimination Chamber event in Las Vegas, which saw the first ever Women’s Chamber match. Bayley and Sonya Deville started things off, while Mandy Rose became the first to exit from her chamber pod. Sasha was next, and she ended up eliminating Mandy via submission. This put Mandy on the bad end of history once again, as weeks after becoming the first woman eliminated from the Women’s Rumble, she became the first to be eliminated from the Women’s Chamber. Following the eliminations of Mickie James and Sonya Deville, it was down to Sasha, Bayley, and Alexa Bliss. It looked like the two Horsewomen would gang up on Alexa, but Sasha turned on Bayley during the bout. Both women ended up eliminated by Alexa, making her the first Women’s Chamber winner and the first to retain her title in the Chamber.

Later in the event, Nia Jax was unable to end Asuka’s unbeaten streak, but she took down the Empress of Tomorrow after her match. The event also featured Ronda Rousey signing her WWE contract, but the segment would see General Manager Kurt Angle pretty much reveal Triple H and (especially) Stephanie McMahon’s true feelings about Ronda, which led to Ronda actually putting Triple H through a table, prompting an angry Stephanie to deliver a slap towards Ronda, who signed her contract.

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So if Sasha hasn’t turned heel yet, she’ll definitely do so on Raw. The long rumored plan to bring back Sasha’s evil side is finally coming to fruition, beginning with Sasha eliminating Bayley in the Women’s Rumble last month. We saw it in spades when Sasha turned on Bayley in the Chamber, and really went after her fellow Horsewoman before both of them were eliminated by Alexa. Also, it looks like Ronda’s WM match is pretty much cemented, as it should feature her and Kurt Angle teaming up against HHH and Stephanie. Ronda participating in a mixed tag against HHH and Stephanie has been planned for some time, though Ronda’s male partner hasn’t been set in stone. The Rock was one possibility, as was Braun Strowman. Angle was another rumored possibility, and after the events of the PPV, it looks like it’ll be official.

A new week begins with Raw, and we should know who Asuka will face at WrestleMania. Though with Fastlane just two weeks away, will Asuka wait until after then to decide? Until next week!

Straight Up Smack Down


This week’s Smack Down was live in Phoenix, Arizona….but sadly, there were no Bellas on this episode. I, for one, was expecting at least a quick on-screen appearance by Nikki in her hometown but unfortunately she was a no show. I think it’s a bit odd that she showed up for the inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble last month, made it to the final two, & then vanished from the WWE scene afterwards. Okay enough about Nikki Bella, on to this week’s Smack Down Live!

Renee Young kicked off the episode by introducing the WWE champion, A.J. Styles…who was none too happy about the new Fatal 5 way match at Fastlane, with his WWE title at stake:

Oof, this was a bad segment for everyone involved. Nothing here sounded legit, passionate, or unrehearsed. If this is how little effort Smack Down Live wants to give the opening segment to their show, then I’ll respond in kind.

Let’s move on to the Owens v Ziggler match….

This sucks, not for the match but for the guys involved & the fans watching on TV. Could there be a colder introduction to a match or a worse end to a match? These two incredible wrestlers had a very good match going, (solid “B+” or “A-” quality Smack Down Live-esque match), but what a waste of time for Ziggler & Owens. Two in-ring veterans sent pull fans’ palms from their faces with that opening segment & had to leave them with eye rolls & deep breath sighs at the finish.

What came out of that segment was a friendship rekindling between Sami & Kevin:

and also deeper lines drawn between Shane & Daniel:

The first topic that the commissioner & general manager were speaking about was the United States title picture, which was blandly depicted in this segment between Mahal, Orton, & Roode:

The fallout from this is that (currently) Bobby Roode will face Randy Orton for the U.S. title at Fastlane, but I fully expect Jinder Mahal to be added to that match at some point moving forward.


The main event of the evening featured A.J. Styles against “The Lone Wolf” Baron Corbin…wanna guess who wins?  I’ll give you a clue, his name rhymes with K. A. Smiles:

but Owens & Zayn had their plan ambushed by Corbin at the end.  Maybe the least formulaic part of the entire evening.


The Riott Squad faced Becky Lynch, Naomi, & Charlotte in a 6 woman tag match:

The pendulum swung back into the Riott Squad’s favor & thwarted Charlotte’s consecutive win streak against the team. Ruby began counting her won win streak against….Becky, Naomi, & Charlotte? I wasn’t aware they were an actual “faction” but it served a purpose in the story so….forget logic? More importantly, Ruby had these harsh words for her smart phone afterwards:

and they were obviously met with an equally combative response by Charlotte. I am truly looking forward to that match….if it doesn’t have a swerve disqualification ending attached to it!


We’ll have to wait to see how it all plays out next week, but until then….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.

Raw featured a double dose of women’s action, as Sasha Banks and Bayley faced off against each other, with both of them coming off singles defeats at the hands of Asuka. Bayley defeated Sasha in front of her home crowd in San Jose, after which both were laid out by the ominous Nia Jax. Later on, the other four Elimination Chamber combatants were in action, with Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville defeating Alexa Bliss and Mickie James, with the latter duo coming together after Alexa actually saved Mickie from Absolution.Image result for sasha banks vs bayley

Tuesday’s SmackDown saw Charlotte defeat Sarah Logan in singles action, putting the SmackDown Women’s Champion just 2/3 through her mission to go through the entire Riott Squad. The main story came later that evening in the Mixed Match Challenge, as Rusev and Lana defeated Elias and Bayley, with Lana pinning Bayley for the win. Lana became emotional after the match, as this was her first victory on WWE’s main roster. I myself just love the outright passion from Lana; she exudes it immensely.

Wednesday’s NXT was main evented by a championship rematch between Ember Moon and Shayna Baszler, which was interrupted by Kairi Sane, who took down Shayna as payback for the attack that occurred in December. On the following evening’s Impact, Rosemary defeated Hania in a grudge match, but Hania attempted a post-match attack following her defeat, only for the Demon Assassin to fight back. Meanwhile, Allie’s search for her secret admirer led her to the psychotic Knockouts Champion, Laurel Van Ness, who popped out of a trunk like Chucky, only for Allie to take Laurel down with a box of chocolates! Yes, you read that right.

This week also included the first match of the Women of Honor Tournament, the 16-woman round robin that will crown the first ever Women of Honor Champion. That match featured Mandy Leon facing off against the former five-time Impact Knockouts Champion, Madison Rayne, with Mandy emerging victorious. It’s no secret that Mandy is my fave in the WOH Division, and she’s among the favorites to survive the tournament as champion. I also hope that this tournament features a heel turn from Mandy, something I’ve wanted for a long while.

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Monday’s Raw also featured the announcement that Ivory will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this WrestleMania Weekend. Ivory is known as one of the trailblazers in women’s wrestling, having already had an established career before joining the then-named World Wrestling Federation in 1999. Within months, Ivory captured her first Women’s Championship, and later became a brash and arrogant villainess in her feud with Tori entering SummerSlam. Ivory added two more title reigns, while also beginning her most known role as a member of the villainous Right to Censor faction in 2000. The faction disbanded weeks after WrestleMania in 2001, leaving Ivory to return to her previous heel persona, which included aligning with Alliance women Torrie Wilson and Stacy Keibler against the WWF’s female stars, and also becoming a trainer on Tough Enough. After various sporadic appearances, Ivory left WWE in 2005.

Is Lacey Evans ditching her “Lady of NXT” gimmick? This photo appears to show exactly that. At the event, Chad Lail (the former Gunner in Impact Wrestling) defeated SaNiTy’s Killian Dain via DQ, after which Lacey arrived with Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake (the latter a former NXT Tag Team Champion with Buddy Murphy) and attacked both Dain and Alexander Wolfe. It appears that the four of them are part of a newly formed faction, which would be military based, as both Lacey and Lail are former soldiers. Lacey had a different look, donning braids and camo shorts, a far cry from her pin-up look. It’s fitting that they went after SaNiTy, as Lacey was defeated by Nikki Cross on the post-Takeover NXT. Live events are used to test out new gimmicks, so time will tell if Lacey’s villainous militia-like character will stick and she’ll be part of this faction on NXT TV. If not, we’ll see her back as the arrogant Lady of NXT.

A new week begins with the final Raw before the Elimination Chamber PPV, with both Raw and SD featuring six-woman tag team matches. Until next week!

Straight Up Smack Down


The WWE was in Bakersfield, California on Tuesday night….the sight for Smack Down Live, or perhaps more appropriately named “The Dolph Ziggler Show”?  Here, Dolph arrives with his new combination entrance of the vinyl scratch silence plus his old theme song:

The show kicked off with Baron Corbin set to take on Ziggler on a 1 on 1 match. Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens would have none of that:

Immediately following that ambush of Corbin & the swarming attack on Dolph, Shane McMahon met Daniel Bryan on-camera backstage to address those situations & steer the fallout. The same two guys that were nowhere near either incident as it happened, felt the need to address it & be filmed in discussion as neither acknowledged the cameraman & his crew…..

I’m not trying to play Captain Obvious here, but I just want to point out a misstep as I saw it. In my opinion, if Shane & Daniel wanted to pre-tape this segment earlier in the day to arrange tonight’s card, then at some point Shane should have turned & looked directly into the camera to relay those decisions. I firmly believe that would have been much more effective. Let’s move on to another segment of the Ziggler Show. This part involves Dolph touching his hair many times during an interview, speaking as if he just realized a goal (the same goal of all WWE wrestlers) while speaking to Renee Young, who just happens to be going through a Gwen Stefani appreciation phase:

Good for Dolph, he finally wants to main event Wrestle Mania. After all these years, it’s finally sunk in for him. Maybe some of the younger veterans, recent roster call-ups, & talent at NXT will also come to this revelation after many years on the main roster. Unfortunately for Dolph, Wrestle Mania is ready for Shinsuke versus A.J. WWE isn’t changing course from that 2 months out.

So from Shane’s fallout, Match #1 was Kevin Owens versus the previously injured Baron Corbin:

Great! Now we have a Fatal 4-way match at Fastlane! Am I being sarcastic? YEP! More often than not, when WWE involves more than 3 wrestlers in a match, there is a pattern of sequence. Everyone starts off vibrant until someone, or multiple wrestlers in the match, take a serious bump. Then it becomes a 1 on 1 until someone is revived in the match from the earlier bump. It’s true, it’s formulaic, & it’s boring. On top of that, tell me the last time that there was a 5 star match in WWE that involved 4 or more singles competitors in the same match.

Part Two of Shane’s fallout was Dolph Ziggler versus Sami Zayn:

Great! Now we have a Fatal 5-way match at Fastlane! A.J. versus the 4 heels! God I hope I’m wrong but this just seems like really lazy booking by the creative team. I’m picturing that this match at Fastlane goes 35 minutes & results in Styles retaining the belt. We’ll see if that prediction holds….in the meantime Gwen, I mean Renee, caught up with Ziggler after his victory to ask a few questions. Fun game: Go grab a beer & drink every time Dolph uses the word/letter “I” in this quick interview (I’d try this game at home, if I were you):


After the Ziggler show coverage, there’s not a lot of newsworthy type results from Tuesday. United States champion Bobby Roode called out Randy Orton, but also got Jinder & the Singh Brothers all at one time:

Kudos to Jinder for keeping that Top 10 list gimmick alive this week. He actually made a decent point derived from that data. That was my major takeaway from this segment.


Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable faced Big E & Kofi of the New Day, as if you haven’t watch this before:

The New Day finally wins. Gable & Benjamin really need to get back on track.


Lastly, Charlotte Flair took on the 2nd member of the Riott Squad this week. Charlotte looked to pin, submit, or eliminate Sarah Logan after dispatching Liv Morgan last week:

The Queen has her sights set on beating Ruby Riott, but that will have to wait. Next week Naomi, Becky Lynch, & Charlotte will face the entire Riott Squad in a 6 woman tag match.  In all honesty, that should be a pretty good match.


We’ll see which matches & whatever craziness is added to next week’s Smack Down Live….until then, thanks for reading!



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