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    Thursday, July 6, 2017

    SmackDown RunDown Live (7/4/17): Make America Glow Again

    I’m not a part-timer, I’m an all-timer! Don’t click away just yet because we’re celebrating the birthday of ‘Murica here on SmackDown RunDown Live with your boy Rick who loves to nitpick and writes like a spastic, yo, keep it down. Anyway, let’s get things started, because let me tell you right now—this week’s show was a riot.

    AJ Styles predictably wins a wacky midcard-studded battle royal

    Man, where do I even begin? How about the first match of the night between AJ Styles and Chad Gable? That’s some feisty little competition right there. I’m really glad they’re letting Gable fly solo for a while. He’s clearly the Shawn Michaels of that little Alpha team in terms of wrestling ability. All he has to do is improve his mic skills and he’ll be the next Kurt Angle. I’m betting my name on that one just like I placed my bet on Mojo Rawley’s stardom, whatever my name’s worth. If you haven’t seen this week’s match, go watch it. While you’re at it, go check out his match with Kevin Owens from last week. Chad Gable is the real deal.

    Speaking of Mojo Rawley, I enjoyed how Creative incorporated some stories in hyping up the Independence Day Battle Royal. We all knew who would win, but the main event still felt like it meant something, thanks to these tidbits of storylines. The rift between Mojo and Zack Ryder was smoothly planted even with the limited screen time. Breezango went with a sillier route, solidifying their partnership with a backstage segment that saw the debut of SmackDown Live’s new interviewer, Tenee Young—her relationship with Renee still unconfirmed. And finally, they gave Tye Dillinger some needed exposure! It’s always lovely to see fresh faces on Tuesday nights.   

    As expected, Styles won the Battle Royal. Aside from Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler (who was first eliminated, yeah) and maybe to some degree, Tye Dillinger, Styles is the only one popular enough to elevate the United States Championship so him winning is fine by me. I just can’t help but be sad about the underused players we have on SmackDown Live. Whatever happened to Luke Harper and Erick Rowan’s mini-rivalry? Jason Jordan is still around? I can even extend my sympathy to Epico who also flew solo in the Battle Royal. We thought him and his cousin will be pushed the way Jinder was pushed months ago when they arrive to the Blue Brand. I’m not saying they need a third hour, I just wish Creative can find time to squeeze these guys to the main show. I know that’s not entirely possible, but still, a man can hope.

    Finally, the SmackDown Women’s Title is GLOWING

    Ever since Naomi regained her SmackDown Women’s Championship at WrestleMania Drop Tower, I’ve been waiting for her championship belt to glow. For weeks, I’ve pointed out the fact that the title is still not glowing. I thought, maybe they’re reserving it for the next PPV, but PPVs came and went and still, the title remained unlit. Naomi entered every match she’s involved in with the title on her waist as she awkwardly raised the title in the dark, rendering her glow gimmick utterly useless. After months, I just gave up and concluded that WWE doesn’t have the guts to give Naomi the respect she deserves by making her title glow in the fucking dark.

    Until this week when Naomi interrupted Carmella and James Ellsworth.

    My jaw dropped and my mind was blown. I didn’t know what to do first. Should I pick up my jaw from the floor and reattach it to my skull or should I start piecing my shattered brain back together. I just couldn’t believe it. Naomi was just doing her usual dancing-in-the-dark routine when I noticed something was glowing around her mid-section. It took me a while before realizing that the glowing object was in fact the SmackDown Women’s Championship! It was really glowing! It can even change colors! Good heavens, they actually did it! The title is GLOWING! Yes! I can feel the glow flowing through my veins. YES! GIVE ME THE GLOW! This should definitely win OMG Moment of the Year. Dave Meltzer should rate her title 6.5 stars. Okada-Omega II what?

    Aside from my restored faith in WWE to actually deliver the good stuff, this week also featured another red-hot promo from Ms. Money in the Bank Carmella and James Ellsworth-no-penny. Carmella is slowly getting better and better establishing herself as a threat while Ellsworth, well, let’s just say Daniel Bryan tore him a new one with all the punishments he received this week. You know you’ve created an effective heel when you feel utter satisfaction over the guy’s suffering. I wonder how Carmella’s heat holds up without her heel magnet by her side for 30 days.

    Also, Lana tapped out after like five seconds. Oh well, so much for building up a fresh new character. Although this sudden partnership with Tamina intrigues me. I’ll see where this one goes before I crap on this development. My initial reaction: Tamina is definitely SmackDown Live’s Nia Jax, taking care of the little ones.

    Some Blue Brand Vibes and Blues—Live!

    Vibe: John Cena opened this week’s show by riling up the crowd to a wave of U-S-A chants. I was going to rant about how he’s now a free agent, but I think this week’s promo was the best justification I’ll ever hear from him. He is indeed an all-timer and I want to see him clash with today’s big stars. We already got Cena vs. Styles, I want me some Cena vs. Samoa Joe! Not to be outdone, Rusev also made his return to WWE TV to foil Cena’s pro-America segment. I’m glad Ru-Ru’s back—what I’m not thrilled about is the program he’ll be involved in. I thought they were keeping him off TV so he can return with a major push backing him up. Instead, he’ll just be cannon fodder to a returning Cena. I know anything can go on SmackDown Live, but really, do you think the full-blooded American Cena will ever lose to the foreigner Rusev in a match where national pride is at stake? We should just change the next PPV to XenophobiaMania. I hope I’m wrong, but really, am I?

    Vibe: Wale may have disqualified the Usos from this week’s rap battle, but it was clear that the twins won. The best rhyme the New Day can spit was the Roman bit? Really? I hate how they couldn't just give the Usos a win, even in a silly rap battle. Nonetheless, this segment was one of the best one these two teams have ever produced. Everyone got to spit hot fire and that Xavier bit got the loudest reaction, you might as well call him the next Rated-R Superstar. The New Day may have won, but I’m sure they’re still at the hospital treating those sick burns.

    Vibe: Am I crazy for being more invested in the fact that Aiden English actually earned a huge win over the former champion Randy Orton? Sure, Orton beat Aiden up real good, making him look strong for his little prison match, but a win’s a win for the Drama King. I can’t believe I almost got sucked into this Jinder Mahal vs. Randy Orton craze. It’s just really hard to care when you know they’ll be inside a useless, ugly, weak-looking cage. Not only is the match horrible on paper, it’s also predictable. We all know Jinder will retain since the whole Indian experiment won’t end anytime soon. So yeah, not thrilled about this one. Someone give the Drama King a title shot already.

    SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: I’d give this show an A for that damn glowing belt alone. Remove that and this week’s episode still performed well in my book. From John Cena’s exciting return to Styles winning the Independence Day Battle Royal, there wasn’t a dull moment I could think of. Sadly, there was no July 4th food fight, but hey, we had Styles vs. Gable! I’d take that any day of the year. This should be the formula from now on, regardless of the occasion: advancing all storylines while sneaking in new ones plus great matches and entertaining segments for good measure. More Tye Dillinger wouldn’t hurt, either. Enough explaining, this show is A+ worthy, no doubt about it.

    Did you enjoy this week’s SmackDown Live? Why are GMs always on the phone before they start a backstage promo segment? Calculate the height, level of excitement, and volume of a Punjabi Prison at the comments 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 (7/4/17): Make America Glow Again Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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