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    Thursday, March 29, 2018

    SmackDown RunDown Live (3/27/18): Nothing To Rant About

    I’m not gonna lie; WrestleMania 34 is shaping up to be my favorite WrestleMania ever. Remember when I wrote a scathing rant about last year’s lackluster show and how it ignored hardcore fans like us? I’m looking at the card for this year and I have to say, I can’t find anything I don’t want to see. Sure, Roman Reigns will still headline the show, but at least they’re giving it a decent storyline that totally makes sense and actually makes Reigns a sympathetic babyface.

    I’m not too excited to see Ronda Rousey in action, but who knows, maybe she’ll shock everyone and her first match will steal the show. We have two dream matches courtesy of SmackDown Live, two battle royals, Triple Threat (and Fatal 4-Way) title matches, and the in-ring return of Daniel Bryan for good measure. Aside from being epic, this show will probably break the record for the longest PPV in WWE history. I’m excited af.

    And the build-up for it, at least from the Blue Brand perspective, has been top notch. Look no further than this week’s solid SmackDown Live effort.

    WrestleMania Hype: Nothing Could Possibly Go Wrong

    I know there’s like a week left to try and build more hype for WrestleMania 34, but I’m just gonna say it: nothing could possibly go wrong at this point. Every storyline from the Blue Brand has had a solid build so far, and changes to the card only increased the hype living inside my heart.

    The first change made to the card was brought to us by SmackDown Live GM Daniel Bryan as he challenged Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens to a tag match in New Orleans. Don’t you just love a passionate D-Bry promo? His frantic enthusiasm was all over the place and it did a great job hyping the crowd up. While I’m excited to see Bryan back in action, it sucks that we will also see the exit of Zayn and Owens from SmackDown Live. I doubt that Bryan will lose his return match, so yeah, they’ll probably get traded in this year’s Superstar Shake-Up. As sad as it is, it’s a fitting end to a great story arc.

    Randy Orton, Jinder Mahal, and Bobby Roode better make room because WrestleMania might just become RusevMania! The opening match of the week saw Orton and Roode take on Rusev and Jinder. It was a good match that clearly showed how dysfunctional Orton and Roode can be and how strategic Jinder is for trading Sunil Singh for a stronger partner. Unfortunately for the Maharajah, his plan backfired as Rusev pinned Orton for the win, shaking up the Mania card for the second time by making the United States Championship match a Fatal 4-Way. I’ve been saying they should throw Rusev a bone, but I didn’t expect him to receive such a large bone. Screw Jinder having a WrestleMania moment. I'm Team Rusev Day all the way!

    Over in the tag team division, the New Day tried to extract revenge against the Bludgeon Brothers in a tag match that was appropriately broken up by the Usos. Their Triple Threat match for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships has been made official and I guess I can live with that. I’m just loving the storyline so far, especially how OP the Bludgeon Brothers are being portrayed right now. Who knew their mallets could be formidable weapons that rivals will actually be afraid of? Still, I want the Usos to retain at WrestleMania and this better not be on the freaking pre-show.

    And finally, let’s talk about this week's main event. Finally, the WWE Championship storyline got main event treatment. Shinsuke Nakamura soundly defeated Shelton Benjamin with a picture-perfect Kinshasa as he continues to play mind games with AJ Styles. After the match when Nakamura was presented an opportunity to put his knee to Styles’ face, he teased the hell out of us before stopping and patting Styles on the head. That spot was awesome. They were just being subtle about it in the past few weeks, but now the mind games have become clearer. 

    Nakamura and Styles both want to fight the best versions of each other at WrestleMania. That's some Dragon Ball shit right there. That angle alone is enough for me, really. I don't want them to go overboard or make this too personal. Hopefully, no one turns from this because that would be such a waste of a story. I just really enjoy rivalries that involve mutual respect and I believe this is the main event SmackDown Live deserves at WrestleMania. No fuss, no drama, just two phenomenal guys battling it out for WWE's most prestigious prize. Make way for my nerdgasm, errbody.

    Also, if this week's main event means we’re getting Styles vs. Gable next week, I’m all in. I wonder how they’ll escalate this mind game on next week’s go-home show.

    SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: What can I say, SmackDown Live continues to knock their WrestleMania buildups out of the park and I’m loving every bit of it. I don’t really have much to rant about, and that’s fine by me. For once, I’m just enjoying the show as it unfolds right in front of me. Next week, I’m expecting a more grandiose send-off for the biggest show of the year, so SmackDown Live better deliver. Another A is in order for this week’s episode.

    Some Blue Brand Thoughts That Didn’t Make It

    • I guess this is asking for too much, but I think WWE should take the opportunity to make the female WrestleMania battle royal mean something by giving the winner a future title shot or something. Let this match actually serve its purpose—to launch someone’s career forward. They already failed with the ATGMBR, so let’s not make the same mistake with the women, you know?

    • Hey, Tyler Breeze was actually featured this week. Remember when he debuted on the main roster and his first feud was with Dolph Ziggler? Man, time does fly fast, huh? Anyway, it was an okay match to display Ziggler’s mean streak, nothing to complain about, really.
    • Am I the only one who always wants Becky Lynch to be the first winner of groundbreaking matches? I wanted her to win the first female Royal Rumble the same way I wanted her to win the first female MITB match. Now, I want her to win the first Women's WrestleMania Battle Royal just because. She looked good sending Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan over the top rope this week, so yeah, book it, Vince!
    Photos from WWE.com


    Ricky Jay Publico 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 (3/27/18): Nothing To Rant About Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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