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    Thursday, October 11, 2018

    SmackDown RunDown Live (10/9/18): The Jet Lag Episode

    Just like you, I have misgivings about Shawn Michaels stepping out of retirement. Not because it will nullify his career-ending match with the Undertaker in 2010; I don’t really care about that. If Ric Flair did it a few months later after his “career” ended, why can’t HBK? It’s just sad that he’s coming back to run with another nostalgia act. Why can’t he go at it with the likes of Daniel Bryan or Seth Rollins?

    I really hope this isn’t a one night deal with Michaels. Give him a lighter schedule if you have to. We need to see him clash with today’s very best. Have him dethrone AJ Styles, even! That’s something worth subscribing to the WWE Network for. And it’s not like this was the first time HBK retired. So don’t be mad he’s coming back, be mad because he’s going head-to-head with relics of the past. To borrow a quote from The Miz: “Riveting.”

    Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch Escalate Things

    Why exactly did the SmackDown Women’s Championship rematch open the show? For a minute there, I actually thought I was watching No Mercy 2016. It’s not like there was a big event happening elsewhere, right? The huge LED spot they did got watered down when the image of Charlotte Flair’s bloody hand should’ve closed the show, her Mixed Match Challenge appearance be damned. I’m pretty sure anyone can replace her for a night, just for the sake of making the storyline more compelling.

    They even gave the match a lot of minutes to develop, further confusing my fragile brain. This would’ve been a perfect main event for this week! Sure, there are moments in the match where you can spot the fatigue and jet lag from both competitors, but it was still a match worthy of a grander spot in the card. Charlotte spearing Becky through the LED board looked so brutal, it definitely set the tone for the first-ever Last Woman Standing match at Evolution. If this historic match doesn’t deserve to headline on October 28, no match does.

    And before I forget, I know I should just ignore this detail and let them run with it, but I can’t. I’m #NitPickRick for a reason. It sucks that they had to ruin the badass vibe of Becky Lynch just to extend the feud. Why act like a chicken shit heel now when she could’ve cheated at Hell in a Cell? Their story was doing a great but they just had to define that line between badassery and villainy and now I’m kinda turned off by Becky’s heel turn. What separates her now from the likes of Carmella, Natalya, and Alexa Bliss? Nothing, except maybe for the hair.

    MizTV Made Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles Riveting

    It feels good to talk about the WWE Championship scene again without any embargo stopping me from enjoying my wrestling. Samoa Joe did great, but I guess they are really pushing AJ Styles hard as the unbeatable champion. I know I should be glad, but it comes with a heavy price. Samoa Joe will probably fade into irrelevance after coming up short despite everything he did, just like his buddy Shinsuke Nakamura. So I’m not really sure how they will kick off a new rivalry between Styles and Daniel Bryan, a banger of a dream match.

    My doubt disappeared after this week’s awesome MizTV segment. I almost forgot that Miz was still part of Bryan’s narrative, dangling behind him like a screwdriver in Jeff Hardy’s earlobe. I’m all in for a rivalry built around respect and sportsmanship (and it’s Styles and Bryan, for fuck’s sake), but having The Miz forcibly inserting his big fat ego into the mix is a welcome improvement. I love how he actually handled the segment as professional as possible when his guests kept making fun of him. He’s the real victim here, folks.

    It’s not a MizTV segment without some truth bombs and this week’s segment had all of it in spades. After cornering the two-minute man with insults, Miz fired back with insults of his own, addressing his multiple victories against Bryan and the fact that Styles never headlined a single PPV as champion. It’s not all Miz though as Bryan and Styles were able to exchange heated words with each other in a respecting way. This segment was perfectly balance and it did involve Shelton Benjamin somehow, as all things should be.

    World Cup? More Like “Meh” Cup, Amirite?

    Crown Jewel’s World Cup is probably the shittiest world cup I’ve ever seen. It’s not even a world cup since half of the participants are full-blooded Americans. What, ‘Murca represents the entire world now? And what’s funny is that next week on SmackDown Live, two minorities will battle for a single spot at this stupid world cup. Why can’t we just rename this tourney into the Saudi Money Cup? Or Sausage Fest Cup? Or Me Me Big Boy Cup? But fine, I’ll come clean. That’s actually my only issue with the thing.

    You remember my old saying, right? Don’t be friends with people who hate tournaments. I freaking love tournaments! And this phony world cup is shaping up to be the most star-studded tournament in WWE history. It has John Cena and Kurt Angle in it, for frick’s sake! And this week, Randy Orton and Jeff Hardy just qualified for the tourney. And next week, there’s a huge possibility that Rey Mysterio will earn a spot as well. And we still have three spots to fill. I might actually watch a Saudi show because of this, plus Styles vs. Bryan.

    But let’s talk about the qualifying matches that went down this week. Jeff Hardy was the first SmackDown Live Superstar to qualify after exploiting Samoa Joe’s injured leg. That’s actually a pretty convenient method of putting over Hardy without diminishing Joe’s already ruined stock. Also, I think we’re supposed to shrug off the fact that Hardy nearly destroyed himself at Hell in a Cell. Meanwhile, Orton made quick work of the Big Show in this week’s main event and I’m just glad it wasn’t as bad as their Survivor Series 2013 encounter. 

    SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: The Blue Brand definitely had a great card for this week despite the Super Show-Down fatigue but somehow, they screwed it up by booking the entire show in reverse. For once, RAW pummeled SmackDown Live into submission with consecutive jabs of surprise returns and heel turns. I guess we have to throw the bone to RAW this week because I’m pretty sure we’re in for a wild ride next week on SmackDown 1000. So yeah, here’s the first C grade of the year. It took them 10 months to get that low. Not bad at all.

    Some Blue Brand Blues That Didn’t Make It

    • Well, so much for One Night in Milwaukee. Rusev and Lana somehow hacked Aiden’s video and played the entire thing. So Rusev’s anger was misguided, Lana got slut-shamed for no good reason, and Aiden became a creep. Cool, cool, cool. Again, good luck in the next pre-show. 
    • Apparently, Big Show just broke another record for being the only Superstar in history to compete at the very first and the 999th episode of SmackDown. Say what you will about the big guy, but his career is as colorful as a rainbow from the perspective of a fly. 
    • Also, I’m totally using IHeartRusev as a password. Thanks, Aiden! 
    • Samoa Joe’s leg looked really bent out of shape though. It looked painful as heck. I hope they let Joe disappear for a while, something they didn’t do for Nakamura. Let him appear once again when he’s terrorizing a new rival, complete with brand new schemes. 
    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 (10/9/18): The Jet Lag Episode Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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