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    Wednesday, August 10, 2016

    SmackDown RunDown Live (8/9/16): On Debuts and Superkicks

    Come at me, bro! It's another edition of SmackDown RunDown Live fresh from the desk of your homeboy Ricky and this week featured a superb tag team main event and a brighter spotlight for the women. Let's get down to it.

    The Lunatic Steals The Show-Off's Thunder

    Tension continues to build between the WWE World Champion Dean Ambrose, No.1 Contender Dolph Ziggler, and the Wyatt Family. The Eater of Worlds and his Acolyte, Erick Rowan, opened this week’s episode to call foul on his loss last week against Dolph Ziggler. He then declared himself god and that he serves no brand; it's Bray Wyatt against the whole damn world. Man, who knew whining would sound this cool?

    The champ then came out to confront Wyatt about last week's beatdown and before he could answer Wyatt's challenge, Dolph Ziggler came out, greeted Ambrose with a smirk, and went straight to the ring to start the brawl of the night. He was obviously outnumbered so Ambrose reluctantly helped his contender against the forces of Wyatt. Bray Wyatt was able to set up Ambrose for a Sister Abigail when Ziggler recovered and was looking to kick the stupid houseplant off Wyatt's head. The crafty Wyatt instead used Ambrose as a shield so Ziggler ended up kicking Ambrose on the side of the head.

    In true SmackDown fashion, this segment set up tonight's main event as Ambrose and Ziggler were forced to team up against the Wyatt duo. It was a fun match with the reluctant tag team bickering for a bit and cooperating the next. The two were able to hold themselves together to outlast the Wyatts and after a botched suicide dive to Bray on the outside, Ziggler superkicked Rowan inside the ring to gain the victory for his team. After the match, Ambrose got even with Ziggler by planting him with a thunderous Dirty Deeds.

    The Ambrose-Ziggler saga is slowly taking shape and it's interesting how this rivalry will develop come SummerSlam. I think this rivalry should focus more on how to catapult Ziggler back to main event level. Turning the superkick into his definitive finisher is a good step forward, now all we need is to add some tweaks in contrast to Dean Ambrose's I'm-crazy-inside character. If he needs to turn heel to achieve the edge he needs, so be it. I want these two to tear each other apart in the coming weeks.

    Some Blue Brand Vibes and Blues—Live!

    Fresh off from last week's debut, we continue the Vibes and Blues feature that is secretly just a shoddy version of Ups and Downs. Vibes are Ups while Blues are Downs. It's easy to follow.

    Vibe: Alberto del Rio was the next victim of #OuttaNowhere as Randy Orton faced the Mexican aristocrat in a very physical match that ended in disqualification. Orton dominated most of the match until ADR decided to try and put Orton back on the shelf by hitting him with vicious chair shots to the arm. The Viper soon recovered and nailed ADR with an RKO before any more chair shots were thrown. I have no complaints about the DQ win. ADR is still a big name on the SmackDown roster and this was a good booking decision to make Orton look stronger without bulldozing Del Rio's dwindling stock. I'm always scared when they target Orton's arm, though. I know Orton is selling his arm well, but still. No appearance from Brock, sadly. The whole invasion thing between the two was nice, or that's just me.

    Vibe: Heath Slater's quest for a WWE contract continued this week as the One Man Band faced Rhyno for a chance to be part of the Blue Brand. Despite Slater's best efforts, it wasn't enough to stop a massive Gore from the aspiring politician not named Jesse Ventura. Heath Slater is really running wild with this free agent gimmick. After the match, Shane and Bryan were ready to offer Slater a contract despite his loss, but Slater came in the lashed out and declared that he's done with SmackDown Live before they could offer him the job. I really hope this isn't the end of this shtick. What about his above-ground pool and 13 kids?

    Vibe: American Alpha made quick work of local competitors Mikey O'Shea and Mike Vega before confronting the rest of the Blue Brand’s tag team division. Before the match, the Ascension, the Vaudevillains, and the Hype Bros came out to scout the team that is set to become the Blue Brand's first tag champions. A brawl ensued and the American Alphas stood tall when the dust settled. The tag team division on Tuesday nights is starting to heat up. Someone forgot to invite the Usos and Breezango to the party, though.

    Vibe: Eva Marie got another chance to debut this week against Becky Lynch, but a wardrobe malfunction prevented All Red Everything from competing again. Becky had none of it so she challenged anyone to the ring for a match. Alexa Bliss stepped up to SmackDown's first female draft pick and the two had a good match. Alexa Bliss scored her first victory on the Blue Brand after Eva Marie's malicious voiceover guy distracted Becky, allowing Bliss to connect with a Sparkle Splash. Finally, some decent women's action SmackDown. I’m glad Alexa Bliss won, but what’s the payout of the whole Eva Marie skipping matches gimmick? It’s not like she’ll deliver a five-star match once she actually wrestles. Are you actually excited to see her fight?

    Vibe: Speaking of in-ring debuts, Carmella avenged her attack last week by defeating Natalya via her patented modified figure-four headscissors (better finisher name pending). Most of the match consisted of Natalya being a dick to the certified lady G. This week was a fun night to have your in-ring debut. Carmella has to be quicker in setting up her finisher, though. The match had an awkward finish because Natalya had to wait for Carmella's leg to hook her neck up. Still, making Natalya tap out on your first match is an impressive way to debut.

    Backstage Segment of the Night: Heath Slater confronting Rhyno was funny while The Miz' Scooby Doo segment was kind of stupid, but Baron Corbin beating up Kalisto backstage took the cake this week. I giggled a little when Corbin was manhandling the former US Champion. I don't know why.

    SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: This week's episode was actually well-structured. The women were given more time to shine, the tag team division was showcased in a little brawl, and rivalries were established and developed. The Blue Brand is gradually improving in quality week after week and I don't see them stopping anytime soon. For their sound effort this week, SmackDown Live is worthy of an A.

    Did you enjoy this week’s SmackDown Live? Do you enjoy the sight of Kalisto getting his ass kicked? Let me know by typing your 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 Live (8/9/16): On Debuts and Superkicks Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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