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    Thursday, June 29, 2017

    SmackDown RunDown Live (6/27/17): History Re-Written

    We’re coming for you, ni-USOS! It’s another timid edition of SmackDown RunDown Live and man, this week’s episode was stacked. I can’t believe they were able to use all 2 hours of their airtime to advance storylines and deliver great matches. So yeah, let’s get down to it before my brain activity expires or something.

    Carmella regains the MITB briefcase the only logical way possible

    Well, that wasn’t too hard, was it?

    The second-ever MITB ladder match took the marquee home this week with a satisfying conclusion that calmed down the outrage and crowned a new star in the form of a Staten Island princess. Sure, the prestige is already gone and it’s a free TV match, but Carmella winning for the second time retained that lost prestige a little bit. If anything, this match solidified her ticket to the top as the uncrowned women’s champion of SmackDown Live. She may have lost some heat, but at least she was portrayed as the intelligent and calculating heel by using a steel chair, which is completely legal and made me question why no one among the women ever thought of using one. I almost forgot that this was how Edge won the first ever MITB match and now I’m more annoyed that this isn’t a PPV match. Anyway, the match itself was fine, no crazy ladder spots but innovative offenses were administered here and there. They were able to maintain the story of Becky Lynch being inches away from victory but was cut short by an interfering lizard-man. I guess this will either lead into a Carmella vs. Becky storyline or Becky finally snapping and turning heel. I’m hyped either way.

    Speaking of lizard-man, can we talk a little bit about how James Ellsworth stole some attention from the women by being an annoying heel? I legit hated this guy during this week’s opening segment when they confronted Daniel Bryan. Carmella’s still riding the heat she got last week and delivered another solid promo, but Ellsworth did a better job generating heat for her. I can even appreciate the way they teased another repeat of the controversial finish during the rematch before Ellsworth fell crotch-first on top of the ropes, which was probably WWE’s way of apologizing for the entire MITB fiasco. Don’t worry, Vince, we good. They finally gave us that shot of a woman on top of the ladder as she clutches her newly-minted prize and everything’s right with the world again. I just can’t help but think, being the nitpicker that I am, that this should’ve been the match we got two weeks ago. Think of the missed opportunity.

    Also this week, SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi disposed Lana with a quick split-legged moonsault in their second title encounter. I like how they’re keeping this rivalry going without actually letting Lana overexposing her still-developing skills as a pro wrestler. Lana was pinned despite her shoulders slightly raised so I guess they’ll try to milk this for one more title match. I don’t really mind. Let her improve her craft with someone who can guide her along and make her look good at the same time. Lana’s sitting spinebuster is starting to look great as a finisher and with the right person to sell it, this can add some ruthless to her ravishing Russian.

    On a very awesome side note, this week’s an exciting one for women’s wrestling. Every main event of every WWE programming this week featured first-ever matches and I have to say, WWE is really banking on girl power. If you told me this fact ten years ago, I’d probably shake my head and say “Why the hell would they let Candice Michelle headline a show?” What a time to be a fan of a gender-inclusive pro-wrestling culture in 2017.

    Some Blue Brand Vibes and Blues—Live!

    Blue: Don’t get me wrong, I love me some fired up Randy Orton promo. That’s not the reason why this is a Blue. Jinder Mahal challenged Orton to a Punjabi Prison match at Battleground. Really, Jinder? You’re going with a stipulation that will render your cronies useless? Um, okay. It’s not even the unusual choice that ticked me off. You know there’s a reason why this stipulation wasn’t used for 10 years, right? Aside from the fact that we’ve never had a main eventer of Indian descent for over a decade, the concept itself sucks. Two sets of bamboo cages that don’t look sturdy at all and I'm supposed to believe that this is as dangerous as a Hell in a Cell? Have fun compiling a video package of the great Punjabi Prison matches in WWE history. Also, Jinder’s wrestling hero is The Great Khali. Bless his soul.

    Vibe: The momentum keeps piling up for Mr. Money in the Bank Baron Corbin as he scored a hard-fought victory over Sami Zayn. I have to say, this rivalry didn’t get a proper conclusion of some sorts. If this was the closer to their supposed rivalry, I’d say it’s a bit lacking, but still, their match this week was a good one. I was expecting more brutality though, given that Corbin attacked Sami in several occasions, but I guess we’ve got to give Shinsuke Nakamura something to do before he eventually faces AJ Styles. Sami interrupting the newest couple in town may spell his future in the coming weeks. I can’t wait to see how the Kanellises would fit in the WWE canon.

    Vibe: The tag team division also had great exposure this week. The Hype Bros failed to earn a shot for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships in a quick match against the Usos. I thought they would at least give this match some time to develop, but this match was just to set up a New Day-Usos segment, which is a shame knowing that the Hype Bros can go out there and tear the house down. But hey, at least we got another entertaining segment from the New Day. Big E almost had a Booker T moment before the others could stop him. That one I enjoyed the most. Both teams are having a rap battle which should be fun as long as the Usos can get the upper hand because they badly need an upper hand on this rivalry. In other news, the search for the mystery fashion police trashers continues with a funny segment involving the interrogation of the Ascension. I’m actually glad to see that the final shot of Viktor and Konor slowly grabbing the tickets got a huge laugh from the crowd. Breezango is killing it right now.

    Vibe: I haven’t watched an episode of Talking Smack up until this week because I thought they’re not as interesting as before, and boy was I disappointed with my choices in life. Kevin Owens is the star of the show due to his masterful portrayal of an intelligent school bully being an asshole to everyone. I keep forgetting that Owens is entertaining in the mic, why can’t he translate that on the main show? I guess it has something to do with the relaxed format of Talking Smack. Also, how can Carmella remember trivial facts about MITB matches but can’t seem to remember that she’s not the only two-time MITB winner in history? Has CM Punk reached the Chris Benoit status?

    SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: You know what, I’ll just have to give this week’s episode a high grade for the MITB ladder match alone. I will never know why they didn’t use this logical and inspiring finish on the last PPV but I’m still glad we got the finish anyway. The rest of the show was pretty stacked, too, although I feel like they had to shorten everything to give room to the main event, which is fine by me. Kudos to the Blue Brand for packing an exciting main event, great matches, and entertaining promos in only under two hours. This week’s episode will receive a well-deserved A. Keep ‘em coming, you guys.

    Did you enjoy this week’s SmackDown Live? Are you hyped for next week’s Independence Day battle royale? Write a 500-word essay on why the Great Khali is your wrestling hero down at the comments.


    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 (6/27/17): History Re-Written Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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