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    Thursday, July 19, 2018

    SmackDown RunDown Live (7/17/18): The Viper’s New Fangs

    I promise this is the last time I’m bringing this up, but the #NitPickRick side of my brain simply can’t let this go. It’s so goddamn frustrating.

    Trust me, I’m loving whatever’s happening with Shinsuke Nakamura, Jeff Hardy, and Randy Orton. But imagine if we replace Jeff Hardy with AJ Styles and the United States Championship with the more prestigious WWE Championship.

    Imagine if Nakamura defeated Styles for the WWE title at Money in the Bank (or earlier in their feud, what’s stopping Nakamura from turning and winning the title at WrestleMania anyway?) the same way he defeated Hardy for the U.S. title. We then get a series of intense encounters culminating at Extreme Rules, only for Orton to return and attack Styles.

    This scenario achieves so many things. (1) It finally gives the WWE Championship to Nakamura while further generating heat for his superb heel work; (2) it seamlessly removes Styles from the title picture to let Nakamura solidify his reign further with a brand new rivalry; and (3) it brings back the sadistic Orton we all know and love by going after the brand’s top babyface. I seriously can’t fathom what stopped Creative from booking it this way.

    I know you’re all sick of my nitpicky rants, but please, please tell me I’m not the crazy one.

    Randy Orton Snaps on Jeff Hardy

    I have to give props to Creative for making the Shinsuke Nakamura/Jeff Hardy rivalry exciting. Who knew adding in a deranged Randy Orton would spice things up? And based on his earlobe hole-pulling antics against Hardy, he’s once again a cold-blooded villain. Face Orton can be fun at times, but Heel Orton is best Orton, don’t even @ me. I have no idea why he turned or why he chose to target Hardy, and it's the kind of mystery I enjoy in my wrestling. I’ll definitely tune in next week to know exactly what The Viper’s deal is.

    But I still have to nitpick the shit out of this week’s main event by saying it shouldn't have been in the main event at all. It could’ve been a good opener, though. I definitely miss the good ol’ days of SmackDown when explosive matches kicked off the show. I wouldn’t give this match way too many minutes either since Hardy is reportedly working with an injury on his lower back. If you’re going to end it with a Hardy beatdown, at least give the man a lighter workload. Jeez.

    El Ídolo Meets El Fenomenal

    My pick for this week’s main event would easily go to the first encounter between WWE Champion AJ Styles and Andrade “Cien” Almas. I mean, how can they not put this last? Styles has yet to receive the main event treatment on the house he allegedly built since winning the title last year while we’ve been clamoring for El Ídolo to be part of something more meaningful. Styles is basically a deadringer for CM Punk back when he was the babyface WWE Champion, always overshadowed by other storylines at the time.

    Having these two slug it out in a 25-minute instant classic on a random episode of SmackDown Live will easily solve these two problems. Not only will it further Styles’ stock, it will also catapult a fresh new talent to a higher stage. And it’s a shame because it was a great match, too! I wouldn’t mind if Almas ended up being Styles’ flavor of the month. I bet they can squeeze in some quality matchups while waiting for someone to finally unseat The Phenomenal One. *cough* Samoa Joe *cough*

    Daniel Bryan Finally Jumps The Miz

    It took them long enough, but they’re finally giving us The Miz vs. Daniel Bryan! This week’s MizTV had the two exact things that make any Miz/Bryan segment great—Miz delivering another scathing promo and D-Bry unleashing his killer goat, as Big E once put it. I was so worried that they would just keep on teasing us with this rivalry until next year’s WrestleMania when they should be feuding for the rest of the year. So yes, let’s see these two tear each other apart already.

    As great as the funeral segment was, I do have another issue with it. I know, I know, I should get a life or something. But don’t you think this segment would make more sense if The Miz had a direct connection to Team Hell No’s loss at Extreme Rules? Miz should’ve tripped Kane or attacked his injured leg with a crowbar last Monday (Manila time) to justify having Kane’s decapitated head on his funeral segment because the head thing was just weird.

    The Rest of The Show Did Well

    Becky Balboa’s back in the championship race! I’m so relieved her string of victories wasn't all for naught. Her match this week with Mandy Rose was oddly-paced and forgettable, but whatever, it did its job to put Becky over once again. I can’t wait to see her become champion again. I’m sick of Carmella’s living, breathing schtick of a man, James Ellsworth, anyway. Unless they’re planning a better storyline for Becky and Carmella (and a more creative use of Ellsworth), I wouldn’t mind seeing another fighting Women's Champion reign over the Blue Brand.

    And as much as I love to crap on SAnitY and their lackluster impact on the roster, their leader Eric Young took New Day’s Kofi Kingston to a world of pain in a sleeper of a match. I wasn’t really expecting anything from this match, but giving Young a decisive victory and subsequently giving the once-promising monster stable some momentum is the correct way to handle them right now. Let’s see Big Damo take on Big E next week, please.

    SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed this week’s episode of SmackDown Live. It felt fresh and revitalized. I just really hate it when they half-ass their booking and pay no attention to the intricacies of their storylines. They are heading down the right direction for sure, but they chose to drive a serviceable sedan when they could’ve used an over-the-top Ferrari. This episode gets a rather weak B grade for making me research on cars just to write the previous analogy alone.

    Some Blue Brand Thoughts That Didn’t Make It

    • I could complain about how random and nonsensical the mini-feud between Samoa Joe and Tye Dillinger is, but I choose to just be happy that they finally have something to work on.

    • So after a huge win over a beloved tag team, The Bludgeon Brothers are once again nowhere to be seen. *cue Curb Your Enthusiasm outro*

    • Is the double stomp in the corner a must-have for Mexican heel wrestlers?

    • Aiden uses Apologize! Lana is confused! Lana speaks in this weird amalgamation of American and Russian accents out of confusion!
    Photos from WWE.com


    Ricky Jay Publico (@NitPickRick) is a wrestling fan who enjoys watching high flyers and brawlers battle it out in the ring. A frequent 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 (7/17/18): The Viper’s New Fangs Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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