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    Thursday, December 29, 2016

    SmackDown RunDown Live (12/27/16): The Blue Brand Year-End Special

    Recognize! Welcome to the last SmackDown RunDown Live of 2016! As if the 2016 isn’t bad enough, right guys? Anyway, the Blue Brand is looking to end the year right with three mega main events. Let’s get down to it.

    AJ Styles ends his phenomenal year with a huge victory

    Who else in the WWE has had a great year other than AJ Styles? His WWE World Championship is enough to tell you exactly that. Days before 2016 ends, the Phenomenal One successfully defended his title against Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin in one hell of a triple threat. It was even better than Styles’s triple threat affair back in No Mercy. Styles and Ziggler’s temporary alliance, that beautiful End of Days-Zig Zag combo—this match didn’t save room for dull moments. My only complaint is that the match was too damn short. Still, what an epic end to a great year, not just for Styles, but for everyone on Team Blue.

    What’s in store for 2017? I think everyone’s going to mention how great 2016 treated AJ Styles so I’ll leave it be. I want to focus on Baron Corbin. Have you seen this week’s triple threat match? If that didn’t convince you he’s a megastar waiting to happen, then nothing will. In 2017, Creative better focus on making this heap of mountain a huge main event player. He belongs up there, and with a brand in need of star power, a homegrown lone wolf is just what SmackDown Live needs.

    Is Creative finally setting up a John Cena heel turn?!

    John Cena made his return to WWE TV this week and I have to say, Cena was kind of a dick. He opened the show by inserting himself in the world title picture, just because he can. That’s not me commentating or analyzing, he actually said he can do it because he’s John freakin’ Cena, recognize! His entire promo screamed “Immabout to turn heel!” and I can’t really see how Super Cena will squeeze his way out of this one. He’s practically The Rock at this point, and Creative better not continue pushing this guy as a bland hero.

    What’s in store for 2017? Don’t get me wrong. John Cena turning heel will send shockwaves to the entire wrestling world and I would love the hell out of it. If they really want to give the WWE World Championship to Cena, at least turn him heel completely because I don’t see the point of derailing the red-hot AJ Styles just to sell more tickets. So for 2017, the time to turn Cena heel is definitely now. Perhaps a Wrestlemania match with the Undertaker?

    Alexa Bliss clings to her title with another awesome injury

    We might as well call Alexa Bliss the Queen of Fake Injuries after a surprisingly aggressive match. Becky Lynch really wanted to break Alexa’s arm and for a minute there, we all thought she actually did. Even the La Luchadora segment was a fun twist to the match; although I have to say, the La Luchadora gal came in way too early. She just lingered awkwardly as she waits for her cue to distract. That one sucked a bit. I’m curious who the mystery luchador is, or if she’ll even become a full-time member of the roster.

    What’s in store for 2017? Becky Lynch may be the first female draft pick and the inaugural SmackDown Women’s Champion, but Alexa Bliss stole the show with her Harley Quinn pigtails and chibi-sized mean streak. Expect more of Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch in 2017 as Becky continues her chase to reclaim her title. Meanwhile, I do hope La Luchadora will become canon. It wouldn’t hurt having a female luchador in the women’s division. She needs a better gear, though.

    The Wyatts in shambles after losing the SmackDown Tag Titles

    All I can say about the Wyatts losing is stupid, stupid, stupid. First things first: congratulations to American Alpha. Good for you guys. I just really believe establishing the Wyatts as an unstoppable force should be the priority compared to putting the Alphas over. We just spent years crapping over Bray Wyatt and his bearded family with shitty booking decisions. Are we really ruining this awesome monster run the Wyatt Family is currently having just to make way for Orton vs Harper and the inevitable Orton vs Wyatt III? Seriously?

    What’s in store for 2017? You know what, I don’t even care anymore. Let’s have Orton vs Harper, because hey, that’s what everybody wants to see, right? Let’s create friction between the members of a formidable faction instead of letting the said faction steamroll over the entire SmackDown Live roster, because somehow, that’s just so damn hard to do. Seriously. Oh, and American Alpha will probably dominate the tag team division like they were destined to. Now let’s work on giving them actual personalities.

    Dean Ambrose sets his eyes to maim The Miz

    It’s a shame this week’s episode didn’t give the Ambrose-Miz segments enough time. We could’ve had an in-ring promo to hype this rivalry up, but I guess this backstage segment would do. It seems that Renee Young won’t be in the clear yet as she continues to be involved with this storyline. Although I have to say, I kinda want to see Maryse and Renee go at it. That staredown between both women was intense. Still, I don’t really want Renee to be too involved as Ambrose plans to maim the Miz. She had her moments, now let’s focus on Ambrose getting the Miz’s number.

    What’s in store for 2017? More fiery promos from Mike Mizanin! This guy stepped up and dropped this year’s nastiest pipebombs since CM Punk in 2011. The Miz isn’t even planning to stop as he continues to miz kayfabe and reality in any storyline he’s involved with. From insulting Ziggler’s parents to exposing Renee young’s “obsession,” The Miz will leave no stones unturned. Whether he stays in the midcard defending the Intercontinental Championship or starts gunning for a bigger prize, The Miz is set to take over as the top heel in the entire WWE. I supposed they’ll have something for Ambrose, too.

    Ellsworth getting lucky; Nikki sets her eyes on Nattie

    I compiled both segments into one paragraph since I don’t really care that much. Let’s start with the Chinless Wonder. After getting his ass whooped by Styles, Ellsworth is limping on to a new program with...Carmella? Okay, I guess that can work. All we have are two backstage segments so I guess we’ll have to give this one time to develop. On the other hand, Nikki is out for some wrestling royal blood as she prepares to battle Natalya, and while I’m not the biggest fan of this rivalry, this just proves that Creative is willing to give other members of the women’s division a chance to shine. Now if they can also give Naomi and Eva Marie something to do, I’ll have no complaints.

    SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN for 2016: Overall, the final episode of 2016 was a great one, despite only featuring three championship matches and a whole lot of backstage interviews. But I want to cap off SmackDown Live as a whole. Since the brand split, the Blue Brand has shifted the balance of quality in the WWE. I’ve been calling SmackDown the A show in my previous columns and I got nothing to show for it. Now, I don’t even need to argue why. SmackDown Live deserves to be WWE’s A show and if you still think RAW is better, clearly you don’t appreciate logical and coherent storylines, interesting and engaging characters, and just good ol’ wrestling. SmackDown Live’s final grade for 2016 is a resounding A+.

    Did you enjoy this week’s SmackDown Live? Are you excited for the Blue Brand’s on-going rise to prominence in 2017? Let’s start the new year right by leaving your worst-kept secrets at the comment section below. Don’t worry, I won’t tell.


    Ricky Jay Publico (@HarambeMustLive) is a wrestling fan who enjoys watching high flyers and brawlers battle it out in the ring. A known 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 (12/27/16): The Blue Brand Year-End Special Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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