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    Thursday, December 14, 2017

    SmackDown RunDown Live (12/12/17): Yep! Yep! Yep!

    *jobber shrieking* Did someone order a steaming hot edition of SmackDown RunDown Live because I ordered pizza and they gave me the wrong order. Anyway, another week has passed, and boy did the Blue Brand put out all the stops to hype up Clash of Champions. If you’re a huge fan of DQ wins, boring segments, and terrible bookings, well this might be the best SmackDown Live episode in years. Let’s get down to it before I believe my own sarcasm.

    The birth of the Yep Movement and Byron’s idiotic arguments

    Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn kicked off the “Yep Movement” this week as they tried to encourage everyone to go up against the tyrannical Shane McMahon. Although it didn’t have a nice ring to it, it’s still a clever touch to their already red-hot storyline. As their segment pointed out, it’s like the Yes Movement, but only to serve what Owens and Zayn want. I do hope this doesn’t become a thing though. I really don’t want to chant “Yep!” a bunch of times.

    Anyway, the failed attempt to occupy SmackDown Live still worked because now the duo can rely on an “impartial” referee, D-Bry himself. Imagine that. Daniel Bryan will be an active part of a match after more than a year. And because this is the WWE, you bet your ass he’s going to do something. Is he going to take a referee bump or something? Maybe he’ll take out Randy Orton with a Busaiku Knee. If you’re a Daniel Bryan fan, this will the closest thing you can get to a D-Bry in-ring return so you better get hyped.

    In order to add more drama to his Clash involvement, Daniel Bryan sat on commentary to keep the Kevin Owens vs. Shinsuke Nakamura match fair and square. In paper, that sounded like a good way to properly hype his involvement on such short notice. I just didn’t expect they’d let Byron Saxton, the supposedly face commentator, berate Bryan with a series of biased scenarios so ridiculous that Corey Graves, the supposedly heel commentator, became the voice of reason.

    Their banter was so distracting and so infuriating that I stopped watching the match and listened to Saxton’s stupid arguments. He even threw shade at Bryan by insinuating that his beef with Owens doesn’t count because it happened in the independent scene. I’m not sure if the entire argument was scripted or not, because if it was, then it just made Saxton look like a total tool. That argument came from a guy who was so boring as a wrestler that he hid behind the desk on commentary and guess what, he’s equally boring in it as well. Fuck you, Byron.

    Clash of Champions Prediction: I honestly can’t predict how this one will turn out. That’s exactly why I love this storyline. So here’s what I have in mind. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens will obviously keep their jobs, but I see Orton turning on Nakamura, allowing them to win. D-Bry will be the one to count the pinfall because Shane will be knocked out at one point. Shane goes livid and lashes out on D-Bry, officially turning the commish heel. I know, it sounds off, but that’s the closest I can get to a prediction. I will be happy to be wrong at this point.

    The Singh Brothers are back in Jinder Mahal’s corner because, huh?

    So after Jinder Mahal attacked his loyal subjects two weeks ago to tease a breakup, there were so many ways they could’ve twisted and turned this into a compelling storyline. They could either have let the Singh Brothers pretend to be done with Jinder, like they did this week, as a distraction for a major Jinder sneak attack. Or they could come back this week by Jinder’s side, only to screw the Maharajah over at Clash as payback for ditching them. That way, we could give the brothers some personality and send them off to the tag team division with huge momentuwhat, they just went back to Jinder and Jinder suddenly cares for both of them? Um, okay, I guess. Didn’t see that one coming.

    CoC Prediction: This match should be the perfect send-off for Jinder Mahal out of the main event scene. Who better to make you look good on your way out than AJ Styles? Him being the champ come 2018 opens up so many possibilities. Who’s up for a Styles vs. Nakamura match at Wrestlemania? How about a heel Orton gunning for the title?

    So should we still care about the Riott Squad?

    At this point, I really don’t want to. After a short Charlotte Flair vs. Ruby Riott match ended in a DQ, the Squad beat down the Women’s Champ. Before they could brutalize her, Naomi came back and beat all members of the squad alone. Yikes. And to add insult to injury, the rest of the SmackDown Live women’s locker room came and took the trio out, before separating themselves to a stand-off. Uh, what’s happening now?

    It’s already bad that we already saw this happen to Absolution on RAW, but to not end this segment with a huge brawl of some kind? Carmella, Lana, and Tamina only got a few punches in, and they suddenly restrained themselves for no reason. Meanwhile, the Squad just stood there. Why? Beat each other up, ladies! And Naomi coming back way too early only weakens the Riott Squad further. They can’t even keep one woman on the shelf with their supposed strength. That double dropkick Naomi did was cool, though.

    CoC Prediction: It’s really weird that the Riott Squad will debut on a PPV as lumberjacks. They’re supposed to be a power faction, right? But after this week, I think Creative stopped caring about these ladies. I predict that they will disband after accidentally hitting each other. Ruby Riott can continue being the badass heel that she is while Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan can be their adorable selves. Oh, and Charlotte Flair will retain her title. Easy peasy.

    Some Blue Brand Vibes and Blues—Live!

    Blue: The Usos and Team Rusev Day had a quick match that saw a rare Aiden English pinfall victory. Team Rusev Day is on a roll! What I didn’t enjoy was the pre-match segment where all the participating teams in the Clash fatal four-way each cut a promo and I didn’t get why the uncharismatic American Alpha 2.0 got the last word in. Are they winning the tag titles on Monday (Manila Time)? I hope not. Also, Big E is using their gigantic Booty-O pancakes as a hankie. Gross.

    CoC Prediction: A fantastic match-up with a terrible build, this fatal four-way tag should steal the show at Clash. As for the winners, it’s safe to say the Usos will retain. But I do hope the tag champs start feuding with Rusev and Aiden English next. Imagine the slew of hilarious zingers they’ll throw at each other for months.

    Blue: Remember last week when Baron Corbin and Bobby Roode faced each other and it ended in a DQ because Dolph Ziggler hit each one of them with a ZigZag? Now replace Ziggler with Roode and replace the ZigZag with the Glorious DDT. That’s basically what happened this week. Move along, nothing to see here.

    CoC Prediction: Do we even need to guess this one? Of course Baron Corbin will retain. He’s the one without any momentum coming into this match. But seriously, if Ziggler fails to win the US title, they should just send him down to NXT or something. I don’t think he’s credible enough to help elevate the next NXT call-up anyway. A guy could only lose so much. Give him a bone once in awhile, you know?

    Vibe: You know what, screw it. This week’s jobber-bludgeoning gets a Vibe for me. The Bludgeon Brothers looking strong as always; Colin Delaney, the OG James Ellsworth, came back to do what he did best; and the jobber who shrieked higher than your aspirations all made that five-minute squash match worthwhile. What I didn’t love was the Fashion Files being relegated to a web exclusive. I know their segment isn’t as funny as it used to be, but they still deserve to be part of the actual show.

    CoC Prediction: This is a tough one. Of course I want Breezango to beat their attackers, but I do want the destruction of the Bludgeon Brothers to continue. Let’s just hope the stars of the Fashion Files don’t get too squashed. Expect them to try some comedic tactics and for Tyler Breeze to crossdress.

    Blue: Why have Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder been downgraded to the pre-show? The card’s not that stacked; we can squeeze these guys in it. I never bothered watching kickoffs. It’s just a half hour composed of the actual kickoff match and video packages that I’ll be seeing on the main show anyway. And who cares what Booker T, Jerry Lawler, and what’s-his-name think?  

    CoC Prediction: It’s a shame this won’t be part of the main card since it’ll be Mojo Rawley’s first match as a heel. I hope he’ll carry the intensity he had when he broke up the Hype Bros. He better receive a major push after this.

    SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: Aside from the passable main event and the way they teased a D-Bry heel turn, this week’s episode was terrible. If you missed the show and you’re just reading this column, you didn’t miss anything. SmackDown Live used to be good at producing go-home shows, right? I guess it just shows how they couldn’t care less about the last PPV of the year. So yeah, let’s just get over with it and start building up towards the Royal Rumble, shall we? All I have for this week’s episode is a miserable C.

    Why did you enjoy this week’s SmackDown Live? Who hurt you? Let’s all predict the fastest elimination for next year’s Rumble 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 (12/12/17): Yep! Yep! Yep! Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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