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    Thursday, February 1, 2018

    SmarkDown RunDown Live (1/30/18): Knee to the Face!

    I can’t believe WWE took seven years to produce another great Royal Rumble match. It took them seven whole years to finally give the fans the winner they actually want. How stubborn can these bozos be? But fine, Shinsuke Nakamura is this year’s main man and I can’t be happier. What an explosive way to kick off 2018!

    Royal Rumble Fallout: The End of KaMi and The Beginning of Rusev Day

    Let’s start with the elephant that’s not in the room. Whatever happened to the brewing Shane McMahon-Daniel Bryan feud? The supposed favoritism D-Bry exhibits during the build-up is gone thanks to next week’s main event. He’s actually doing the right thing now! And then there’s the Top 10 system which didn’t really make sense to me at first, but we’ll talk about that later. The point is, there’s no reason for D-Bry to be heel now. So that’s it? All those tension-filled segments with Shane were all for nothing? I mean, we had a hunch it will lead to nowhere, I just didn’t think they’ll just drop the angle abruptly. Maybe give it some closure, at least?

    But fine, at least we can remove the spotlight from the bosses (remember when they said SmackDown Live won’t be about them? Good times). Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn felt the effect of the sudden storyline change as they’re now teasing a rift between the reunited buddies. This week’s main event was so effective in achieving this, thanks to the great acting of Owens and Zayn. I enjoyed their interactions in the ring, from tagging each other with vicious chops to telling Nakamura to not do that stupid thing. And their apparent breakup was well-executed, with Sami claiming the Yep! Movement all to himself.

    So who should win next week when these two face each other one more time? I’ll have to agree with Sami Zayn on this one. Owens has enough accolades to sit this one out. It’s Sami’s time. Isn’t this why they had to turn him heel in the first place? To give him the edge he’s been lacking? So let’s put it to the test. Let’s see if Sami can hang in the main event alone. Styles vs. Sami is a sure-fire instant classic anyway, although I’m conflicted if I want to see Nakamura and Sami get their rematch at the Grandest Stage of Them All. Nope, Styles vs. Nakamura is bigger. Maybe later this year. Sorry, Sami.

    Meanwhile, it looks like things are picking up for the Blue Brand’s very own Rumble iron man Rusev as he becomes the new contender for the United States Championship. What took Creative so long? Rusev Day is so over, even Wendy’s knows what day it is. 

    I know he’s been the U.S. champ before so it probably won’t feel that special, but a push is a push so I’ll take it. He’s a better replacement to the guy currently holding the belt. Bobby Roode made that fatal four-way match terrible every time he chimes in with his heavily-scripted goody-two-shoes dialogue. I hope they’ll use this rivalry as a chance to execute a double-turn. Rusev is incredibly over anyway and turning Roode heel will probably endear him more to the crowd. 

    The women’s division is also keeping things fresh by having the Riott Squad not look like chumps for once. This is exactly how they should’ve booked these trio from the day they stepped foot on the main roster, so I’m glad they’re going back to square one. Hopefully, they continue beating other women up systematically. To make the segment even better, Carmella attempted to cash in her briefcase on a fallen Charlotte Flair. The pop she received was massive, not as much as Ziggler’s back in 2013, but considering how she’s been booked the past few months, it’s a great reminder of how everyone’s excited to see her finally cash in.

    And over here at the tag division, The Usos came out and delivered another red hot promo, complete with jail cell graphics, which seems to be a thing in this week’s show. I was expecting the Authors of Pain to attack them and set up a brand new storyline, but the Bludgeon Brothers will do. Although these two teams have already met in classic tag team matches, it’ll interesting to see them fight under brand new personas. I guess this is the perfect opportunity to establish the Bludgeon’s backstory? Or they can just beat jabronis throughout the entire build. Whatever works for them, I guess.

    So what’s the score, #NitPickRick? Overall, I enjoyed this week’s SmackDown Live for stacking the show with good matches and meaningful segments. I wished they addressed more Rumble angles though. What’s next for Dolph Ziggler? No update from Becky Lynch after her iron woman performance? I hope we get answers next week. But hey, don’t get me wrong. Every episode of SmackDown Live should always be stacked with fun stuff, and this week’s a good example of such. It deserves a B.

    Some Blue Brand Nitpicks That Didn’t Make It (New Segment! Yay! Revamp, baybee!)

    • What’s up with these new graphics? They don’t really add anything to the promo and they’re just distracting. I can hear these people clearly, I don’t need subtitles to emphasize their points. And to make matters worse, D-Bry even gave the announcement of the new top ten system in another personal video message with these stupid graphics in place. Great job announcing a supposedly innovative system that will change how you run the show. Imagine if Stephanie McMahon broke the news of the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble using a selfie phone. Enough with this already.
    • Speaking of the top ten system, how exactly is this going to work? It won’t be a fan vote so the entire roster will vote among themselves? I’ll just wait and see how this one plays out before I praise/bash it. From what I can tell right now, I think it’s a great way to give everyone a default storyline to work on. Don’t have a feud with anyone? Work your way to the top! At least that’s how I interpret it. Again, will wait until an official, properly-produced explanation is released. Is this similar to the top ten system TNA used to have back in the day?
    • I really want to, but I can’t really care for Tye Dillinger right now. He’s been booked terribly that it’s hard to even root for him. He could’ve been great. The least they could do is feature him more often. The same goes for Baron Corbin. It’s hard to care for him because every time he gets momentum, you know they’ll push him back down. He hasn’t even received his U.S. title rematch yet.
    • Keeping Nakamura’s promos short and to-the-point is working wonders for him. It even fits his quirky persona. Who needs to hear this guy monologue his way to a promo when he can just knee everyone in the face? Genius.
    • Holy shit, Fashion Files was briefly featured on live TV! If anything, this was just a simple case of keeping Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin strong, so good for them. I hope this isn’t a one time thing, though. It’s best if we place Breezango and other misplaced teams in a proper feud.
    • One awful thing about the women's segment was Ruby Riott's promo. Like shit, can it be more unnatural and overacted?
    • It’s either my eyes are that bad, or the other Singh brother is really absent. Edit: He’s injured. Not being a dick, but he should’ve been injured months ago after taking ridiculously dangerous bumps on a weekly basis. He’s a tough dude.
    • As much as I’m bored with Bobby Roode, that calendar bit was clever as fuck.

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    Item Reviewed: SmarkDown RunDown Live (1/30/18): Knee to the Face! Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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