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    Friday, July 12, 2019

    SmackDown RunDown Live (7/9/19): The Kevin Owens Show 4.0

    The last time Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon butted heads, their roles were reversed. Owens was the conniving heel who recently brutalized the living shit out of Vince McMahon. Shane was the righteous SmackDown Live GM who tried to avenge his fallen father. Their rivalry was the hottest storyline of the Blue Brand back then, even headlining a PPV once. The first Owens/Shane feud accomplished so many things, the biggest one being the catalyst for Daniel Bryan’s miraculous return to in-ring competition.

    Fast forward to 2019, and Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon find themselves butting heads again. This time, Owens is the disgruntled anti-hero taking the role of WWE’s Voice of the Voiceless (and by voiceless, I meant the underused WWE talents). Shane is the conceited power figure hoarding all the air time on both RAW and SmackDown Live. Somehow, Creative used the previous weeks of mediocre episodes as fuel to build Owens as the top babyface once again. Eric Bischoff, you son of a gun. You actually did it.

    Sure, Owens didn’t really reach the CM Punk level of shoot-iness, but it’s enough to give SmackDown Live the kick to the gut the show desperately needed. After all, edginess is the current initiative of WWE. So what better way to lure hardcore fans back than by trying to recreate the atmosphere that Punk created in 2011? You gotta respect that hustle. The irony is that this would probably mean Shane will take even more screen time from Apollo Crews, Buddy Murphy, Ali, Liv Morgan, Asuka, AOP, Kairi Sane… wait, where are you taking me?

    And did I mention how action-packed this episode was? We actually got a Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Finn Bálor match this week, with Nakamura picking up the win. No cheating, no shenanigans, no dusty finish—just good ol’ Nak knocking Bálor out with two direct hits of the Kinshasa. It’s about freaking time. This is how you rebuild a Superstar from the ground up. If you think about it, Bálor pretty much jobbed to Nakamura and somehow, I'm okay with it. The Artist needed the rub more than anyone else.

    I guess the main event was pretty cool too, despite seeing Roman Reigns win yet another match dilly-dally like he’s the Big Dog around here or something. Dolph Ziggler was in there, too, so that’s nice. But can I shift my focus to Otis and his overflowing charisma instead? This guy has all the tools needed to achieve an illustrious solo career in WWE. Can’t wait for him to break free from Tucky over here. And he’s paying tribute to Mark Henry by taking the World’s Strongest Slam as his finisher? Man, I miss me some Hall of Pain.

    SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: Aside from yet another eye-rolling main event, this week's episode pretty much nailed what the SmackDown Live of yester-two-years felt like. It had everything the Land of Opportunity once had: workhorses delivering great matches, talkers receiving enough time to speak their truths, the tag team division getting a much-needed piece of the spotlight, and the WWE Championship storyline being sidelined like it's supposed to. You better keep this up, Eric Bischoff. Don't keep my hopes up. Here, take this A and go do a better show next week.

    The RunDown CutDown

    • No offense to all the other matches on the card, but Aleister Black vs Cesaro is automatically a match of the night contender come Extreme Rules. That’s just how it goes, I’m sorry. I don’t make the rules around here.
    • The only good thing about the Bayley/Alexa Bliss/Nikki Cross storyline—aside from Nikki Cross because that’s a given—is that it will probably set up the return of a heel Sasha Banks. For sure, she’ll be the friend in Bayley’s corner and once the champ retains, Banks will turn on her former best friend. C’mon, Bischoff. Give me the old Sasha Banks.
    • Did Corey Graves really blurt out an incest joke on live television? Goddamn, that's some edgy shit.
    Photos from WWE.com


    Ricky Publico (@Peepomania) is Smark Henry's resident SmackDown Live reviewer... for better or worse. He also nitpicks PWR shows when no one's available to do so. A known lover of wrestling tournaments, he's a sucker for well-executed promos and fast-paced matches. He has yet to learn how to operate a microwave. Don't judge him.
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    Item Reviewed: SmackDown RunDown Live (7/9/19): The Kevin Owens Show 4.0 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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