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    Thursday, May 11, 2017

    SmackDown RunDown Live (5/9/17): The Crowd Is Dead Edition

    Make some bloody noi… Ah, screw it. This show sucked. Almost everyone was given lousy scripts to work with and the crowd was more dead than your hopes and dreams—it didn’t feel like a SmackDown Live episode at all. What shocked me the most was that we were "live" in London, supposedly one of the most passionate pro wrestling crowds in the world. But fine, if you really want to know my problems with this week's show, let's get down to it.

    The Maharaja reigns supreme by actually pinning Randy freakin' Orton

    SmackDown Live has truly become a fascinating place ever since the whole Superstar Shake-Up happened. Consider this: you have Randy Orton, AJ Styles, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Baron Corbin, and Jinder Mahal—all these great talents contained in one massive six-man tag. Guess who ended up scoring the pinfall victory? If I asked you this question about a year ago and you wondered why Jinder would ever be part of that star-studded list, I will not have judged you as a wrestling fan and a human being. This is why this week's main event was rather fascinating.

    But first, can we talk about how boring that opening segment was? Orton wasn't even the worst offender. What's up with Jinder's bedroom voice? For a guy who’s receiving a major push, he can’t afford having these kinds of blunders. I guess in hindsight, Jinder’s voice was the perfect metaphor for the crowd’s enthusiasm for this week’s show. Fine, you win, Jinder. As for the rest of the guys, they all got the same tired promo we’ve heard every week. I actually had to commend Sami Zayn for saving us all from this awfully long promo.

    And then, the main event happened. It’s actually the first time in weeks SmackDown Live returned to a multi-tag main event formula. Man, everyone in the back must be really tired or something. It was a decent match; everyone got their time in the spotlight but the exclamation point was placed by none other than the Maharaja himself for actually pinning the WWE Champion two weeks before Backlash. Now that’s what you call momentum. He may not win the title at Backlash, but Creative’s efforts to build up Jinder as a main event player are top-notch and worth commending.

    Or if he does win, I’m all for a Jinder Mahal vs. Rusev rivalry two months from now. This should be a great main event for the next Killing Me Softly or We Didn’t Start the Fire PPV.

    Some Blue Brand Vibes and Blues—Alive(?)

    Blue: Urgh. This Welcoming Committee gimmick is getting old real fast. Like I’ve been saying for weeks now, this is the Divas Revolution all over again. This week, we got another short match between Becky Lynch and Natalya that forged the NBC “bond” (name pending). First of all, why didn’t we get Becky vs. Tamina? Nattie and Carmella wrestled last week, so might as well have your muscle wrestle a match too. Having a Samoan not named Nia Jax is a welcome change to my wrestling.

    Vibe: Probably the only good promo of the night, Shinsuke Nakamura and Dolph Ziggler delivered a clinic of a segment that was completely ruined by the almost non-existent crowd. Seriously, how can you not get excited for a Nakamura appearance? Dolph Ziggler actually had a good script to work with but the crowd’s silence ate him alive. As for Nakamura, he still looked good in this segment and I’m glad we didn’t actually get to see this match this week. I don’t want this crowd to ruin an instant classic. Yeah, I’m calling it. I really hope I’m not wrong.

    Vibe: Another frontrunner for the segment of the night comes from our favorite Fashion Po-Po and the Uggos (killer band name alert). The Fashion Files segment this week may lack the wit from last week, but it’s still a gentle reminder that wrestling can be wacky and fun at times. Coupled with another badass promo from the Usos, we finally got a decent confrontation segment between the two teams. We should let these guys build their Backlash title match properly week after week. No more unnecessary absences. I just find it weird that the crowd that started the whole Fandango dance wasn’t really thrilled about Fandango actually looking strong for once.

    Blue: For this week’s head-scratcher moment, we have Erick Rowan getting a win over Luke Harper. Really? I get it, SmackDown Live is the land of opportunity and all, but can we at least start giving the opportunities to Superstars people, including me, actually like? We didn’t see Harper for weeks after they built him nicely, only for him to return to a dead crowd and losing to the most childish powerslam I have ever seen. Rowan better be part of a good character arc if we’re giving him random wins.

    SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: Well, we already know the A-streak would end eventually, it’s just weird that we’re ending it in London of all places. Who took all the silly British set pieces and the rowdy crowd we’ve all gotten used to? I guess this is why the SmackDown Live crew stopped trying. This is fine, I guess. We can’t really expect quality episodes week after week. Let’s cut SmackDown Live some slack, you know? I guess everyone’s just tired from touring or something. Let’s just hope this won’t be the trend in the coming weeks. So yeah, this marks the end of an awesome run as I give this episode a disappointing B-.

    Did you enjoy this week's SmackDown Live? Why is everyone ignoring my plea to make that damn title glow? Give me a cabinet position in the comments section below.


    Ricky Jay Publico (@NitPickRick) 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 (5/9/17): The Crowd Is Dead Edition Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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