During the January 12, 2024 episode of WWE SmackDown, the match between Austin Theory and Carmelo Hayes had to be stopped by the referee due to an incident where both wrestlers landed awkwardly after move from the top turnbuckle. The referee signaled for the “X” position, indicating a potential injury, and waved off the match. It was reported that both wrestlers suffered facial contusions as a result of the spot.
Bryan Alvarez provided an update on Wrestling Observer Radio, suggesting that Austin Theory is now in medical protocol, indicating that he may have been more significantly affected by the incident.
The incident occurred when Austin Theory attempted a running Spanish Fly variation with Carmelo Hayes seated on the top turnbuckle. However, during the move, the back of Hayes’ head collided with Theory’s face, leading to the match being stopped by the referee, who called for a doctor to enter the ring.
Carmelo Hayes had made his SmackDown debut towards the end of the previous year, participating in the WWE United States Championship No.1 Contenders Tournament. He returned to the blue brand in a backstage segment, discussing his Royal Rumble chances with SmackDown GM Nick Aldis. This led to a confrontation with Austin Theory and Grayson Waller, setting up the match between Hayes and Theory later in the show.
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