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    Saturday, April 9, 2016

    SmackDown RunDown (4/7/16): The WrestleMania Star Aftermath

    I am THE guy! Welcome back to SmackDown RunDown, the weekly column where a guy called Ricky dissects WWE’s Thursday night B-show. After two weeks of inactivity, I’m back on duty, and boy, did I pick a good time to return! It’s post-WrestleMania week and everyone on the roster has performed for three straight nights. WrestleMania Star was good, the RAW after that was awesome, and SmackDown looks to continue the trend. Let’s get down to it.

    A Main Event Rehash: SmackDown Style

    Last Monday’s main event was awesome. It was actually better than 'Mania Star’s main event. It featured a phenomenal one, a mad grizzly bear, an evil rockstar, and a returning ball of energy labeled ‘Cesaro’ in a four-way match to determine the new number one contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. It was probably one of the smarkiest main event WWE has ever thought of. From the moment Cesaro ripped his suit apart to AJ Styles finally pinning Jericho with the ‘forbidden’ Styles Clash, the crowd was electric. So how did SmackDown follow it up? Have the same four men compete in a tag match. SmackDown, ladies and gentlemen.

    To be fair, I can’t blame Road Dogg and his team for setting up this tag match. These four Superstars are obviously over and they even out since there are two faces and two heels. The match wasn’t exactly bad either, in fact, I actually enjoyed the match. It’s fun to see Cesaro and his arsenal of uppercuts back on Thursday nights. Owens and Jericho make one hell of a tag team, and Styles, well, he’s still phenomenal in the ring. It failed to match the atmosphere and the excitement from Monday night, but this week’s main event is still great in my book. Styles gained the roll-up win for his team after a fuming Sami Zayn distracted Kevin Owens. The two ended up having a scuffle to close the show. I think my order of one large, steaming rivalry just arrived, you guys.

    Zack Ryder’s IC Title Reign: What Just Happened?

    I don’t care if someone disagrees with me on this: Zack Ryder got the Christian treatment and it sucks. Ryder losing the belt after just 24 hours diminishes the value of his WrestleMania victory last Sunday. If they want to put Ryder in the chase, can’t they just give him a month to at least cherish his win? Jeez. I actually have a better way to book this angle, but since fantasy booking isn’t my thing, I’ll just give this one a chance. It’s fine, the Z-Man’s career is back on track and the Miz found a new angst. Everything works out.

    This week, our resident Bro-Man got his Intercontinental Championship rematch against the Miz, who was accompanied by his wife, Maryse. It was a fun back and forth between the two. I enjoy seeing the Broski Boot every now and then and this match didn’t fall short of giving me one. The Miz retained the title through lady shenanigans, of course. This rivalry is an interesting one and I’ve got my eyes on it to see how it will play out. It better not end with Ryder getting sent back to NXT again.

    Some Blue Brand Blues

    • Roman Reigns and AJ Styles opened the show with an underwhelming exchange of poorly written dialogue. Let’s start with Roman’s current mantra. Apparently, he’s THE guy now. Really? Look, I’m a guy. I’m 5’7”, mildly obese, work in an office, and binge-watch Friends as a hobby. I’m A guy. Are you telling me that Roman Reigns wants to be the epitome of every guy like me? Granted, this isn’t bad as the “tater tots” fiasco, but still, he’s still being fed with lines that aren’t championship material. Plus, this weird pseudo-tweener thing going on with him doesn’t really work for him. Just make him a full-blown heel already. As for Styles, his character isn’t well-developed either. We still don’t clearly see who he really is other than the guy who wrestled around the world. Having him chase for the WWE Championship way too early won’t help in that matter. You know who should’ve won that four-way last Monday? Kevin Owens. But again, I don’t do fantasy bookings, so let’s just leave it at that.

    • This week, we saw the SmackDown debuts of the Vaudevillians and Apollo Crews. The Vaudevillians defeated the Lucha Dragons in an impressive victory. It’s not clear whether the strongmen are faces or heels, but one thing is for sure, their gimmick was well-received. The tag team division is on fire right now. As for Crews, I think the majority of us already agree it’s way too early for him to debut on the main roster, but he’s here now, so better deal with it like normal, regular smarks. Beating the Axeman this week was a good way to start leaving a good impression.

    • Women’s wrestling is back, everybody. Finally, my calls for a change have been heeded. The stupid butterfly belt is gone. The awesome Women’s Championship is definitely in. Having Charlotte as the first champion was a good move, although I wouldn’t mind handing it to either Becky or Sasha. Hopefully, this huge shift in power will lead to more meaningful female storylines. This week, we got a glimpse with the Natalya vs Summer Rae bout. The match was short, but it managed to tell a simple story: that Natalya still has what it takes to beat Charlotte. I don’t mind ol’ Natty being first in line for the belt, but we should be having a freaking triple threat WrestleMania rematch on the next pay-per-view, right? Who’s with me?

    • Dean Ambrose made quick work of Tyler Breeze this week. Ambrose’s stock should’ve been elevated by now. The WWE really missed an opportunity to make Deano a star by having him lose to the almighty Brock Lesnar. That match was like seeing the righteous kid in school get beaten up by the big bad bully. At least the Ambrose vs Jericho tease was cool. Oh well, back to the drawing board for the Ambrose Asylum.

    • Backstage Roundup: Becky Lynch and Emma made some heads turn this week with a backstage promo that was written way better than the show opener. This segment just makes my point about women’s wrestling stronger. And hey, I guess Emma is now back on the main roster. That’s actually nice. Meanwhile, Baron Corbin declared the End of Days following his impressive debut. After winning the Andre Memorial Battle Royal last Sunday, he dominated Dolph Ziggler the following night. Man, this week was a good week to be Corbin. Oh, and Golden Truth had a wacky segment about Shattered Dreams production. Meh.

    SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: Overall, this week’s episode was a solid show from top to bottom. The stellar main event, the debuts of NXT stars, and the progression in terms of quality of women’s wrestling storylines make this episode worth a watch. I’ll give this episode a resounding A.

    Did you enjoy this week’s SmackDown? Does the new Women’s Championship really look like a used napkin? File your objections in the comments below.

    Photos from WWE.com


    Ricky Jay Publico is a wrestling fan who enjoys watching high flyers and brawlers battle it out in the ring. A known Botchamania binge-watcher, he claims to have memorized the chronological order of Royal Rumble winners, but fails to remember who won in 2004. He writes stories about life and nonsense.
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    Item Reviewed: SmackDown RunDown (4/7/16): The WrestleMania Star Aftermath Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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