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    Thursday, August 3, 2017

    SmackDown RunDown Live (8/1/17): The Artist vs The Franchise

    Stop the metaphors! If you’re having a bad week, fear not. Let’s make it worse with another edition of SmackDown RunDown Live! Kidding aside, if you’re really having a bad week, the Blue Brand might cheer you up with one of the best shows they’ve ever had. Let’s start this trainwreck of a review, shall we?

    John Cena (probably) broke his neck to put Shinsuke Nakamura over

    Who said Cena can’t put over new talent? Definitely not our good buddy Nakamura, that’s for sure. Honestly, who thought Nakamura would actually win? He had little momentum going into this match, while Cena is fresh off a big win over foreigner bad guy #254. And after last week’s awesome promo from the man himself, it’s easy to believe this match was just a formality for Cena’s title opportunity at SummerSlam In The Hood. So yeah, we got swerved, the good kind of swerve, the deliciously violent kind of swerve we smarks love to gobble up. After months of underutilizing the artist, Nakamura now sets his eyes on the WWE Championship. That’s a nice story arc right there.

    The way Nakamura won was equally satisfying. No shenanigans, no screwy finish, no bad calls, and no roll-ups or quick pins. Both men wrestled their hearts out, trading signature moves and a bad exploder suplex that saw Cena landing right on his surgically repaired neck. Cena went down after a Kinshasa and stayed down for the clean three-count. The last time Cena did that was when he put AJ Styles over at last year’s SummerSlam. I can’t help but appreciate Cena right now. Everyone he puts over after this will definitely ride a huge wave of momentum, no questions asked. Now all he has to do is wrestle Chad Gable in an absolute classic of a match.

    To be fair, Cena vs. Mahal wouldn’t be a bad main event. In fact, that’s exactly what Jinder Mahal needs to legitimize his WWE Championship run. As much as I hate the guy, it would be amazing for the Maharaja to solidify his *cringe* legacy with a big win over WWE’s top guy. It would also be amazing if Cena gets to finally dethrone him and make the world title great again, but hey, I’m just indulging. Are you excited for the build of the Mahal vs. Nakamura match, though? I’m not really thrilled for a promo between a guy who I can barely hear and a guy who struggles with his pronunciations. We’ll just have to wait and see how their story will unfold. The match will be fantastic, no doubt. Mahal looks tough enough to take stiff Strong Style shots. Nakamura will have lots of fun wrestling this guy.

    Kevin Owens went apeshit after another screwy US Title match

    The United States Championship rematch opened this week’s explosive episode of SmackDown Live and although the match was fine, it was clear that the focus of the match was to set up another screwy finish and further Kevin Owens’ frustration over the SmackDown Commish. The match was a bit slow as expected and it didn’t excite me one bit, but the post-match segment quickly made up for the lackluster opener. I really thought Owens would have a Baron Corbin moment and push the dazed referee hard. I was legit scared of this man. I also thought his rant was hilarious, I’m not exactly sure why. I love me some Kevin Owens meltdowns.

    What’s curious is that they’re going with Styles vs. Owens one more time at SummerSlam Straight Outta Compton instead of Styles vs. Cena. Again, it’s not a bad thing since Shane O’Mac was added to the mix. I expect that their match will be 10x better than what they delivered this week and the storytelling will be top-notch. Finally, Creative is casting the right person to play Shane’s public enemy number one. Kevin Owens is hateable enough for Shane to get sympathy once Kevin snaps on him. And since Shane can deliver a great match when his life depends on it, I’ll have no worries about their imminent match-up.

    Chad Gable continues to impress after manhandling Rusev

    It may not have been an advertised match, but the Chad Gable vs. Rusev match this week felt like one. This could’ve easily been a squash match to put Rusev over. I’m glad it didn’t turn out that way and Creative allowed Gable to show everyone what he’s got. When’s the last time you ever saw someone manhandle Rusev like he’s nothing? Every suplex was a delight and although Gable lost, we all know who really won this one. I don’t mind him constantly delivering great matches but always coming up short in the end. SmackDown Live is pretty much the land of underdogs at this point and Gable fits the bill really well. Once he gets that one huge win, everyone will pop for the guy. That’s a guarantee.

    Let’s talk about Rusev vs. Randy Orton for a bit. It seemed random at first, but a few minutes later, I came to appreciate this pair. As far as I can recall, both men have never faced each other. It’s definitely a big first-time match and I’m just glad Rusev is still getting big matches after that horrendous Flag Match back at Battleground. Is it safe to say that Orton will win this one? Both men are in need of a win right now and I don’t think they will let Orton keep a losing streak. Creative should swerve us again and give the win to RuRu so he can regain his status as the monster heel the Blue Brand definitely needs.

    Some Blue Brand Vibes and Blues—Live!

    Vibe: The Usos came out this week just to debut their new theme song. But hey, at least they cut a great promo during their theme introduction. It suits their current gimmick as poetic penitentiary members really well. They should really feed momentum to this team week after week, something they barely did when they were the tag champs. Meanwhile, the new Fashion Files segment made me want to watch Twin Peaks already. Sorry, Tyler, I really enjoy metaphors. Is the show really that weird?

    Vibe: I really have no complaints about this week’s women tag team match. I’m not really expecting a proper build between Naomi and Natalya because I already have a strong guess that Summerslam Wordlife will be Carmella’s crowning moment. So yeah, a nice victory for Naomi and Becky Lynch. I guess we’ll see Charlotte Flair and Becky in the Kickoff Show.

    Vibe: Aiden English actually won! And against Sami freakin’ Zayn of all people! I really enjoy Aiden’s gimmick right now. He’s even better than RAW’s resident musician Elias No Last Name simply because Aiden is an annoying asshole who sings his own entrance live. I think he’s the first guy to do so (R-Truth raps his entrance, slight difference there) and his stupid song is frustratingly catchy. Meanwhile, I couldn’t care less about the Sami vs. Mike Kanellis storyline. They’re still feuding, I guess.

    SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: The Blue Brand is on a roll! After last week’s historic triple threat, they followed it up with an equally epic main event of a match. The entire show from beginning to end offered great matches, strong segments and promos, and so many storylines advancements you’d think SummerSlam Cryme Tyme is just a day away. This week’s episode of SmackDown Live is another easy A+.

    Did you enjoy this week’s SmackDown Live? How the hell can Jinder Mahal read off his promo just by looking at his belt? Describe yourself using only three emojis 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 (8/1/17): The Artist vs The Franchise Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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