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    Thursday, August 17, 2017

    SmackDown RunDown Live (8/15/17): Cash and Burn

    To whoever wins, you lose! We’re just a few days away from SummerSlam Graffiti (ah screw it, I’m all out of hip-hop references) and man, they sure want to make it an epic PPV. This week’s go-home show felt like another solid attempt at shaking things up, so let’s just start this thing because I’m all fired up.

    Baron Corbin just became the dumbest MITB winner after this week’s main event

    You’d think the dumbest thing an MITB briefcase holder could ever do is announce when he will cash in his opportunity (see: Kennedy, Cena; RVD gets a pass). Even past winners who were supposedly babyfaces like CM Punk and, um, CM Punk—and hey, there’s Ambrose, too, and I guess Daniel Bryan counts—used the element of surprise to cash their respective briefcases in. But after what happened in this week’s explosive main event, we can pretty much make a guide on what not to do when you’re the new MITB winner. Sami Zayn, take note.

    Tip No. 1: Don’t cash it in on John Cena.
    Tip No. 2: Don’t cash it in when John Cena’s around.
    Tip No. 3: Don’t be John Cena.

    Unfortunately for Baron Corbin, he never got the chance to read this short guide as he cashed in his briefcase right after Cena delivered a Super AA to Jinder Mahal during their first-ever SmackDown Live encounter. Hell, even if he didn’t read my short guide, why would you use your exclusive title shot in the middle of a non-title match where the champion is still healthy enough to defend himself, and the champ’s opponent—your rival and opponent in six days—is still on his wits to spoil your plans? That’s just dumb from a kayfabe and realistic standpoint. Unless you’re James Ellsworth, why would someone make a decision that short-sighted and stupid?

    Don’t feel like I’m not seeing a bright side here. This failed cash-in will surely make the John Cena vs. Baron Corbin match at SummerSlam a little more personal. I just think costing Corbin his MITB briefcase was a bit much. I know I said last week that adding some spice to on-the-fly midcard storylines was fine; I just draw the line at derailing someone’s rise to stardom. I also don’t see the point why they need to make their match personal. Cena is heading to RAW in the next few months anyway. How can he help establish Corbin as a top heel in just a few weeks and in a storyline that requires months to develop and escalate? That’s why it was okay for Corbin to lose at SummerSlam because he has the briefcase as safety net, so Cena can now safely move on to RAW without leaving any unfinished business.

    This move was too risky, especially for Corbin’s career. The only way they could save Corbin right now is to have him go over Cena at Monday (Manila Time) and not just go over, Corbin needs to beat Cena to a pulp. Having him regain his momentum by unleashing the monster within and beating WWE’s overall top guy should do the trick. But let’s be realistic. Why would WWE put that much effort into building Corbin up when we already know they don’t trust him enough to keep the MITB briefcase for a longer time? And with all the rumors indicating that Corbin has major heat backstage, it’s safe to say that Corbin will probably follow Damien Sandow to the path of irrelevance. Not only was he portrayed as dumb, Cena will beat him clean at SummerSlam and all remaining heat will slowly disappear until Corbin’s nothing more than just a big dude. I really hope I’m wrong here.

    Some Blue Brand Vibes and Blues—Live!

    Vibe: Although not as good as their last week’s outing, AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, and Shane McMahon delivered another juicy segment involving a kiss-ass Owens, a doubtful Styles, and a bad-ass Shane who declared he won’t hesitate to get his hands dirty. I just found the final spot where Styles dodged a superkick from Owens with his back turned a bit corny. There’s just no way he could’ve seen or felt that kick coming. But hey, it landed on Shane’s face, so I guess it all worked out.

    Vibe: I sure hate seeing Chad Gable being jobbed out like that, but I do love seeing an RKO framattanawar. That’s my mindset after seeing Rusev manhandle Gable. At least we got to see a mean Rusev, a beautiful suplex from Gable, and a classic Orton move that he also should’ve done at one point during his program with Jinder Mahal. He should always do that, really. He should take all his future rivals out with an RKO during segments and interviews, press conferences even. It’s just so fun to watch.

    Vibe: They actually gave Natalya a very convincing win over Becky Lynch to seemingly make up for her lack of presence in last week’s episode. Yes, that’s exactly what they should do because at this point, no one really thinks Nattie could beat Naomi for the SmackDown Women’s Championship. They might as well make her look good during the build proper. Meanwhile, Carmella continues to flaunt her briefcase to the entire women’s division. She’s done being subtle so expect a new champion next week, or I guess she’ll fail to cash it in, too. Oh, and Tamina just became Lana’s female Rusev. Do what you will with that information.

    Blue: I wonder what the people of India felt in this week’s opener when the crowd showered their national anthem with boos. I hate to be political here, but after the events in Charlottesville and all the talk about racism and hate, how can the people of Providence actively boo another nation’s national anthem? I’m not really shocked this segment got Vince’s approval so yeah, the crowd could’ve been a little bit sympathetic with the nature of the segment. I really hope that one day, WWE can stop using xenophobia to gather cheap heel heat for their heel foreign characters. Probably when Triple H takes over.

    Anyway, Jinder Mahal’s getting better scripts week after week, too bad his delivery is still shit. Still, he pretty much ruffled some feathers before Nakamura entered and saved the day with his eccentric way of cutting promos. I’m so hyped for their match at SummerSlam, even if the build has been sub-par compared to the other storylines. They couldn’t spin this one into a personal storyline, not even a big-match feel to it? They had to wait for the go-home show just to host a face-to-face between the two. That’s terrible writing right there.

    Vibe: Did SmackDown Live give away a PPV match on free TV in this week’s New Day vs Usos (day one ish!) match? Technically, they did, right? Tricky business. Nonetheless, the penitentiary members definitely needed the momentum going into SummerSlam. They should’ve been treated like this when they were the champs and I’m glad Creative is realizing it now. Kofi took the fall for the New Day so it’ll be interesting to see how the Usos (day one ish!) will fare against Xavier Woods and Big E.

    Vibe: This week’s Fashion Peaks finale was all about setting up their next season and based on their clues, I believe they’re doing a parody of Breaking Bad in two weeks. As a huge fan of the show, I’m hyped to see what they have in store. I can’t wait to see Heisenberg references and easter eggs. How many times will they say the word “bitch?”

    SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: All things considered, SmackDown Live pretty much delivered one of their most exciting go-home shows in a long time. It had a great balance of action and drama, storylines progressed in more ways than one, and the main event created enough buzz to make you watch what’s going to happen at SummerSlam and beyond. So yeah, despite how I feel about Baron Corbin failing to cash his briefcase in, I’d still award this week’s episode a solid A.

    Did you enjoy this week’s SmackDown Live? Do you think Corbin can survive this train-wreck of a MITB run?


    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 (8/15/17): Cash and Burn Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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