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Laying the Smack Down: Conspiracy Theory Edition

Welcome to The Nerd Hub and our weekly review of SmackDown Live. This week, we put on our tin foil hats and try to figure out the conspiracy theory against WWE Champion Kofi Kingston. WWE gave us what looks like a united front of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn against Kofi. Will we get two-on-one at Money in the Bank?


You legitimately wonder why WWE Champion Kofi Kingston agrees to show up on the KO Show these days. Kevin Owens and bestie Sami Zayn teamed up to lay a beating on Kingston in the SmackDown Live main event from London. The Super Fiends laid out our affable champ on the go-home show just days away from his title defense against Owens.

This leads us to a possible conspiracy theory for Money in the Bank this Sunday. Namely, Sami Zayn will win the ladder match and cash in at the XL Center in Hartford. With the way the past few days went, you’re led to believe Owens and Zayn will work in tandem against Kofi. After all, Owens and Zayn teamed up against Kingston last week as well.

However, another conspiracy theory for the show states that Owens wins and Zayn cashes in on him. That would pit the two super fiends against each other. We know it’s only a matter of time before Owens turns on anybody. Yet, Zayn stays loyal to their pact historically.

Therefore, my conspiracy theory makes this match a team up against Kingston with the babyface defying the odds. WWE loves booking its heroes against the impossible. Besides, Kingston has done too good of a job to end his reign now. I tend to think WWE holds off on the cash in to keep the heat going.


Shane McMahon created the dreaded numbers game against The Usos and Roman Reigns on Tuesday. He teamed up with Elias and SmackDown Tag Team Champs Daniel Bryan and Rowan. Ultimately, Shane hit Coast to Coast on Jey Uso to get the victory.

However, the cliched scenario against our heroes gave us The Bloodline team up we’ve wanted to see. Real-life cousins Roman Reigns and Jimmy and Jey Uso delivered in a quality match against the overwhelming heels. Furthermore, The Miz came out as the hero to save the day after the match. Shane barred him from this match with the excuse he didn’t want to hurt him to cancel their MITB match. The A-Lister cast as the hero gives us a nice change of pace for his character.

In addition, this worked as a prolonged commercial for Money in the Bank. WWE announced SmackDown Tag Team Champs Bryan and Rowan against The Usos for the MITB Kickoff Show. Meanwhile, Miz takes on Shane in a steel cage match that carries tons of heat. Also, Reigns and Elias promises to give us a potential set up for more heel interference. These guys had a lot of ground to cover in opening the show and working this match, but did a good job.


El Idolo emerged as the big winner in the Fatal 4-Way match between SmackDown MITB ladder match contenders. He dropped Intercontinental Champion Finn Balor with a Hammerlock DDT for the victory. More importantly, Andrade received a set up for a title shot against Balor in the future. As a result, my conspiracy theory gets fed even more fuel as I think Sami Zayn wins the briefcase.

However, we circle back to this match and it worked incredibly well. Four of the best workers on the roster made this a high-energy, high impact dogfight. This put the men’s ladder match over in much better fashion than anything we saw on RAW.


WWE gave us little to no sell for the Money in the Bank women’s ladder match. Unfortunately, this continued a disappointing trend on SmackDown Live. Despite getting a majority of the best in-ring women’s title, the show leaves most of it off TV.

One conspiracy theory posited online by Forbes writer Blake Ostreicher states that WWE is pulling the plug on the women’s revolution. It’s hard to argue the opinion based on what we’ve seen over the last month. However, I certainly hope it’s wrong.

Yet, WWE set up the MITB women’s ladder match this week in peculiar fashion. Nikki Cross, who will not compete in the match Sunday, defeated all of RAW’s contenders except Alexa Bliss on Monday. Meanwhile, Mandy Rose served as the only one of SmackDown’s contenders to see ring time. However, Rose worked in a completely unrelated tag team match with Sonya Deville against Kairi Sane and Asuka.

Therefore, WWE told us not to care too much about this match with the creative capital invested in its build over the past month.


Kairi Sane & Asuka – The freshly dubbed “Kabuki Warriors” defeated Fire & Desire to continue their monster push. The clock on The IIconics’ reign as women’s tag team champs appears to be ticking down to its final moments. The match against Rose & Deville lacked a lot of highlight moments, but the right team won.

Charlotte Flair – The Queen recounted the best rivalry in the company over the past year with a video package. Though most fans are complaining about Flair-Becky Lynch on Sunday, the SmackDown Women’s Championship match could serve as a main event for any show. This feud didn’t require any further overly long promos or brawls. The brief appearance of Lacey Evans backstage also sold the two matches for Lynch well.

Sami Zayn – The “Wild Card” rule strangely created a scenario where a RAW Superstar got over on SmackDown. Zayn took Strowman’s place in the Money in the Bank ladder match. Now, he just may take the briefcase many had earmarked for Drew McIntyre. Honestly, the Scottish Psychopath doesn’t necessarily need the briefcase to emerge as a capable title contender. Meanwhile, Zayn’s generated heel heat from his promos make him the hottest guy in the ladder match.

Andrade – El Idolo needed a victory that sold him as a title threat. Though he’s one of the dark horse picks to win the ladder match, I don’t think he wins it. However, he’s now defeated Balor a few times in the past few months. He worked magic with Rey Mysterio in 2018, and could do the same with the Intercontinental Champ.

Kevin Owens – The Prizefighter and Zayn put over their feud with the WWE Champ so well it’s the hottest one going into MITB. Though my conspiracy theory makes Owens a loser on Sunday, he’s undoubtedly a big winner over the past month. He’s made his match with Kingston the most must-see one on the card.


The IIconics – The women’s tag team champs seem like they lack any chance of retaining at MITB. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce repeatedly lost match after match since WrestleMania. In fact, they never looked like they had the confidence of WWE. At this point, it’s fair to question why they beat Sasha Banks and Bayley in the first place.

Lars Sullivan – The Freak capped a terrible week with only a brief backstage appearance. Sullivan’s history of racist comments incited a backlash from fans and even co-workers like The New Day’s Big E. As a result, WWE had another fire to put out. Reportedly, they fined Lars $100,000 and imposed on him a requirement to undergo sensitivity training.

Aleister Black – WWE continues to do everything in its power to kill the buzz around Black. First, they promoted him from NXT and teamed him with Ricochet. The two worked well together, but the history between the two made little sense of the team. Then, they split Black and Ricochet in the Superstar Shake-Up. As a result, Black has only cracked TV in vignettes for the past month.

Ricochet – The One and Only made a curious appearance on SmackDown. He followed up the Fatal 4-Way between SmackDown’s contenders by retrieving the briefcase after Andrade defeated Balor. Count this appearance as the least effective use of the “Wild Card” rule to date. Both Ricochet and Black deserve better.

Heavy Machinery – The repeated use of The Usos to challenge Bryan and Rowan as the new tag champs makes Tucker and Otis look irrelevant. These guys represent one of the few legit tag teams on the Blue Brand. Promoting them from NXT only to moth ball them off TV for months makes little sense.


RELATED: Laying the Smack Down: Kofi Snapped Edition

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By Joseph Spencer

I'm a former newspaper sports journalist and avid pro wrestling follower. Huge fan of The Man, Becky Lynch. Personally, a survivor of stage 2 colon cancer who is now in remission and currently works full time as an emergency 9-1-1 police, fire and ambulance dispatcher in central Illinois. Proud graduate of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.