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    Thursday, August 2, 2018

    SmackDown RunDown Live (7/31/18): Mo' Women, Mo' Problems

    Let me just get this out of the way because it’s too biased to be part of the review anyway. That Samoa Joe promo was killer. It had everything: escalating intensity, an atmosphere of badassery, and a sprinkle of personal jabs for good measure. I was smiling from ear to ear watching Joe lay out the verbal smackdown on AJ Styles like they were destined to do so. I don’t care if I sound crazy. I’m just loving the build so far.

    This rivalry is simply the best thing going in WWE right now. Who gives a shit about Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns for the 34523th time? Ronda Rousey beating up Superstars way below her level? Pass. The Miz vs. Daniel Bryan? This may sound harsh, but fuhgeddaboudit. Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles deserves the spotlight and these two should get the main event treatment they deserve. Not just on SmackDown Live, but at SummerSlam itself.

    Now that I’m done fanboying, let’s start with the review.

    Charlotte Flair Returns, Gets a Title Shot

    The SmackDown Women’s Championship scene was the centerpiece of this week’s episode and if that’s not the most appropriate plug for Evolution, I don’t know what is. We should give the women the spotlight from time to time because hey, their storylines can be exciting at times.

    Just take the opening segment for example. After Becky Lynch delivered the basic good gal promo, Carmella came out and broke the rules for being a chicken shit heel by... opening up? Damn, ‘Mella, that’s some fine heel work there. She ended her heartfelt promo with a sneak attack because heels gonna heel I guess; but her heelish tactic didn’t undercut the emotional weight this match now has. Shit just got real between these two and I can’t wait to see them destroy each other at SummerSlam. Too bad they ruined it by adding Charlotte Flair to the mix.

    Creative wasted a golden opportunity to redeem Carmella as a legitimate champ now that James Ellsworth’s gone. Awarding her a clean or slightly tainted victory over Charlotte for the third time could’ve provided a major boost to the champion’s momentum coming in at SummerSlam. Why would they force Charlotte into the story when they just proved at the start of the show that the Carmella/Becky Lynch rivalry already has legs to stand on its own? They can just add her eventually, but they should’ve at least gave Carmella and Becky a chance.

    If they really feel like adding somebody else, why not Naomi? We haven’t seen her for months, she’s not injured, and she’s a good friend to Becky as well. At least if they added Naomi to the title match, it would feel more deserved. And get this, Becky earned her title shot by racking up victories week after week. Charlotte got hers after touring around doing media stuff, recovering from surgery, and in spite of the fact that she’s had her opportunity for the title multiple times already. A Superstar getting title shots willy-nilly? Guys, say it with me. “Hey everyone, it’s Woman Weigns!”

    Daniel Bryan Issues Challenge, Gets Rejected

    The Miz and Daniel Bryan can just have weekly exchanges to build their inevitable match at SummerSlam and you’ll hear no complaints from me. If the entire build will consist of explosive debates like this, how can you even complain? From D-Bry dissing Miz on his journey to Hollywood fame to The Miz’s crying babies clincher, this segment had no shortage of verbal ammo and I just loved every second of it. I enjoy their dynamic more than anything else, with both men having legitimate gripes against each other.

    Miz brushing off the challenge and suggesting Bryan should just let his contract expire was the icing on top of this confrontational cake. Miz knows he’s in control and he’ll keep on making excuses to avoid face Bryan, which was something Creative should’ve kept consistent from the very first night Miz returned to SmackDown Live. But fine, let’s work with what we have. The build will probably consist of segments where D-Bry annoys the living hell out of The Miz to fight him so yes, my body is ready for more mind games and clever insults.

    Jeff Hardy Calls Out Rival, Gets... Uh, Washed

    Why are y’all saying Randy Orton is a bad guy? He’s not bad at all! He let Shinsuke Nakamura go first in attacking Jeff Hardy, what a gentleman. He then cleaned Hardy up by removing those nasty armbands that troubled the highflyer—removing the chain that’s been irritating Hardy’s skin with rust—and volunteered to wash Hardy’s facepaint off. Isn’t he such a sweetie? Washing off facepaint is hard, you know. I’m sure your homies won’t even touch your dirty-ass face, but Orton had no qualms helping his friend. Show this man some (goddamn) respect.

    Kidding aside, if you’re still part of the minority who thinks Randy Orton is better off as a babyface, answer me this. Is that the face of someone kids should cheer for? What we have right now is peak Orton and I’m loving the heck out of it. Also, his patented stomps only loos sinister when he’s the villain. I don’t mind not seeing the RKO for a while if it means he gets to add more vicious moves to his moveset. And hey, troll Orton is back, people! You want an RKO? Fuck you, here’s a lame leg takedown. What’s not to love?

    SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: Man, this episode is just begging for an A, isn’t it? While it only had three matches, every segment of the show advanced their respective storylines for better or worse, but mostly for the better. What I loved most about this episode is how WWE stepped up their promotion of Evolution from mentioning it every minute to letting the women of SmackDown Live start and end the show. Now if that isn’t genius booking, I don’t know what is.

    Some Blue Brand Blues That Didn’t Make it

    • I didn’t even doubt for one second that The Bar vs. The Usos match would be a bad one. It was exactly the physical and high-octane encounter I expected and wanted. Now that the finals is upon us, I think it’s safe to say Sheamus and Cesaro will be the ones to go over, right? The New Day can’t do shit against The Bludgeon Brothers anyway. Let’s see what The Bar can do.
    • I hope they continue to flesh out whatever it is they’re doing with Rusev, Lana, and Aiden English. They each have legitimate concerns about one another and I’m curious how they’re going to tie everything together. Let’s just hope this won’t lead to the end of Rusev Day.
    • The New Day should commentate at least one entire episode of SmackDown Live. Headphone users will hate it.
    • “You’ll never be The Rock. Hell, you’ll never be John Cena. You’re nowhere near Batista, or even Kane for that matter. Dude, even John Morrison had a better movie compared to all the shitty movies you’ve been in. So fight me at SummerSlam already.” 

    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 (7/31/18): Mo' Women, Mo' Problems Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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