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    Thursday, November 8, 2018

    SmackDown RunDown Live (11/6/18): There’s No BRY in TEAM

    The following rant was taken from the archives of unpublished SmackDown RunDown Live drafts that were originally scheduled for last week's column. I wasn't able to finish it because it was the long weekend and #VacationRick don't give no dime about anything when he's on a break. I still think this rant was pretty lit, so here it is in its unfiltered glory. Enjoy.


    I am slowly believing that the main event basically means nothing in WWE today. I’ve been irritated since last night as I was catching up on the latter half of Evolution. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair in one hell of a match got bumped down to make way for a relatively average showcase for Ronda Rousey, who’s basically still a rookie. Am I missing something here?

    And the Mae Young Classic Finals had to reduce their time to make room for what, a six-woman tag match we’ve seen a bajillion times? I’m not saying The Riott Squad vs. Bay-Hug-Nattie was bad, but there are far more important matches in that historic PPV. Maybe try to prioritize them next time. These gals could have a proper match next year when their story is relevant.

    I am absolutely baffled by how WWE is booking their shows recently. Main events have been lackluster, great storylines get lost in the middle of every show, and the headliners are either former UFC champions or people willing to perform in Saudi Arabia. Just last week, Randy Orton and Jeff Hardy were in the main event despite it being a go-home show for Evolution. Yeah, didn’t see an inch of either Orton or Hardy in that show, did I?

    And continuing the trend this week is a WrestleMania-worthy match that was shoddily used to open a random SmackDown Live episode. I get that this was a bandaid fix for the Saudi-sized wound WWE brought upon themselves, but the least they could have done was to give this match the main event treatment. Give them an hour, even. No? Randy Orton needed more airtime? What the fuck is going on?


    Survivor Series Hype: Gathering the Blue Brand Soldiers

    So, uh, it’s Survivor Series, people! That long weekend sure was long, amirite? I’m sure WWE didn’t do anything stupid last week—wait, what’s that? Shane McMahon is now the Best in the World? That’s a weird gimmick for an authority figure but hey, let’s roll with it. The newly anointed GOAT opened the show to announce the captains of Team SmackDown Live (and to save himself from getting booed out of the building)—Daniel Bryan and The Miz.

    What ensued was a few moments of unironic cooperation between the two bitter rivals. Miz and Bryan agreed to add Shane McMahon to the team. Normally, I would make fun of Shane being on the team, but c’mon, we just proved he’s the best wrestler in WWE history, right? He has to be on the team. And who knew Miz and Bryan on the same page can actually be entertaining? They continued their weird candor as Miz gave Bryan the next pick—which brought us Rey Mysterio. D-Bry picking the little guys for the win!

    But the Master of 619 didn’t make the cut willy-nilly. He had to beat Andrade “Cien” Almas for it, per Miz’s request. This match was amazing just by thinking about it. It’s the past meeting the future as two of SmackDown Live’s best luchadors went head-to-head. If their initial match was already that good, imagine if these two were actively feuding. In the end, the future had to give way to the past, with a piece of the latter's own past hitting him with an RKO for good measure.

    It’s now down to the last member of Team Blue as both Co-Captains agreed to choose a candidate and have them fight over the last spot. Samoa Joe was able to choke the life out of Jeff Hardy (guess who picked who) to be part of the team. And since he’s not a team player, he promptly attacked Co-Captain Bryan. The Yes Man fought back, lashing out on The Miz and even Shane McMahon when they tried to stop him. As Bryan was walking out fuming, I couldn’t help but wonder what just happened. The dysfunction Team SmackDown Live demonstrated was so weird and complicated that I couldn't help but love it all together. That’s how you form a team, everybody!

    Men’s Survivor Series Team: Daniel Bryan (co-captain), The Miz (co-captain), Shane McMahon, Rey Mysterio, Samoa Joe

    On the other hand, the women’s division easily formed their team courtesy of GM Paige, but not without some drama. For one, Charlotte Flair is still refusing to take the role as captain due to her fading confidence from her Evolution loss. Not gonna lie, I’m loving this little wrinkle right here. And to further spill some tea, Mandy Rose came out to complain about not getting picked over her former Absolution partner. Hey, who knew they’d remember this little rivalry?

    I loved this segment because it puts Sonya Deville into the limelight as the team’s dark horse. The other three gals are surefire picks anyway, so I’m glad they’re using this to highlight the seemingly random breakup of Mandy and Sonya. It’s also interesting why they didn’t choose Asuka as the captain since she single-handedly defeated Team SmackDown Live last year. She’s the obvious pick! But fine, Charlotte’s arc is a lot more compelling.

    Women’s Survivor Series Team: Asuka, Naomi, Carmella, Sonya Deville, and one more slot

    And apparently, we’re also getting a Tag Team Elimination match at Survivor Series. I remember when I crapped so hard on this concept back in 2016 and I ended up eating my own words because it turned out to be one of the good matches of the night. So yeah, don’t mind me if I get me some 20-man elimination action. Gunning for the leadership role were two of SmackDown Live’s top tag teams—The Usos and New Day. You may have heard of them before.

    We pretty much witnessed another classic encounter between the two, capping off with a meteoric Superfly Splash to continue The Usos’ winning streak. The Usos and The New Day should win Rivalry of the Year or something because these two teams can't have a bad match under their belt. Possibly rounding off the team are The Good Brothers, SAnitY, and the Colons. Yeah, I guess that could work. The Bludgeon Brothers would’ve made this team OP.

    Tag Team Survivor Series Team: The Usos (captains), The New Day, and three more slots

    Nikki Cross Falls Victim to SAnitY’s Bad Timing

    Anyone expecting a debut this week? Neither was I, but we still got one anyway. It’s Nikki Cross, everybody! I know I should be glad, but I’m more irritated that her debut happened the way it did. For one, her impromptu match with Becky Lynch could only benefit one of them. If Becky wins, the debuting Nikki Cross will lose most of her mojo. If Cross gains the upset, Becky’s momentum will significantly drop considering how she delivered another badass promo prior to the match. The timing is terrible, much like SAnitY’s rise to the main roster.

    And even if this was a one-night-only appearance for Nikki, it’s not like she won’t get called up eventually. Unless they’re going to change her gimmick from head to toe, why have Nikki, one of NXT’s top female talents, lose a random match in a throwaway segment? It’s impractical, it’s nonsensical, and it just made Nikki Cross less significant than she deserves. It’s not even Nikki Cross’ time anyway. SmackDown Live’s women’s division is pretty stacked right now, thank you very much. Let her wreak havoc on NXT for a couple more years.

    Also, let me give a shoutout to our best girl Becky Lynch for ending her villainous ways and embracing the tweener inside. I just love the fact that she just asked for a fight with literally anyone, compared to the walkout Becky we got months ago. This is more like it. She didn't even flinch at the sight of SAnitY and didn't show any signs of backing down when the unstable Nikki Cross climbed into the ring. Creative finally got the right formula for badass Becky Lynch. I really hope they don't revert her personality back to a chickenshit heel just to get Ronda Rousey over as a babyface. She ain't convincing no one, really.

    SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: We’re now greeting the Bragging Rig... er, Survivor Series season with open arms as SmackDown Live kicked things off with an interesting take on team-building. While RAW just picks whomever, the Blue Brand gave us compelling conflicts within each team, carefully structuring a dysfunctional set of Survivor Series squads. They even gave us some great matchups this week. New Day vs. Usos? Mysterio vs. Almas? How is this show free? So yeah, I’m glad I returned after an excellent episode. Have fun with your B+.

    Some Blue Brand Blues That Didn’t Make It

    • Here’s a weird question: how exactly does the main roster view NXT? I had to ask because this week, the commentary team and Becky Lynch herself acknowledged Nikki Cross as “The Twisted Sister of NXT.” Cool moniker, by the way. Does that mean that in kayfabe, the main roster somehow knows that NXT exists within their world?

    • But why then did WWE push the idea that Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair was “the first-ever Last Woman Standing match in WWE history?” When in fact, Asuka and, coincidentally, Nikki Cross did it first? They couldn't have possibly forgotten this one because this was just last year. So is NXT really part of the overall WWE canon? It's annoying how WWE only acknowledges the Yellow Brand when it's convenient. 

    • Also, am I the only one seeing Nikki Cross as the lovechild of Dean Ambrose and Becky Lynch?

    • Someone tell RAW that the team captain should be a member of the competing team. If Corbin wants to stay at ringside, then he should be the coach, not the captain. You’re Steve Kerr, not Stephen Curry. And just like that, I’ve reached my limit of one NBA reference per year. See you in 2019.
    • And for those expecting Shane McMahon to turn heel after being declared the ultimate pound-for-pound best in the world, just stop. The man just outmaneuvered himself from a potential heel turn. Why do you want him to turn heel anyway? Stop trying to make heel Shane O' Mac happen. It's not going to happen.

    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 (11/6/18): There’s No BRY in TEAM Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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