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    Friday, March 3, 2017

    SmackDown RunDown Live (2/28/17): The Viper’s Return to Form

    You a dead man! What’s a perfect way to end February and begin a brand new month? Why, hanging out with me here on SmackDown RunDown Live, of course! I’ll go right ahead and start because this week’s show is lit.

    The main event scene for WrestleMania just got shookt

    This week’s episode just left a big “What now?” in our collective minds. Let’s start with the hottest betrayal in WWE right now, pun intended.

    The segment started innocently enough. Bray Wyatt started preaching and I thought this would be a Wyatt vs. Styles segment to hype up their supposed WrestleMania match. Then Randy Orton appeared on the Titantron and burned the "kingdom" together with Sister Abigail's remaining...remains. That's some dark shit right there. Everything about this segment was just lovely. Now I understand why they didn’t take this route with Daniel Bryan three years ago. It just wouldn’t work with his good-guy never-say-die persona. Creative crafted a better infiltration storyline with Orton in mind and everything fell beautifully into place. We all knew this was coming, but we didn’t know it would happen this way, making this segment one of the best in recent years.

    Does this make Wyatt a babyface, though? Should we feel bad for him? I kinda feel bad for him. One thing is for certain, Orton is back in Viper mode. We haven’t seen this sinister side of Orton since that awful WrestleMania 25 storyline with Triple H. After declaring his intentions to face Wyatt at WrestleMania, where will AJ Styles head to next?

    Probably towards getting screwed over by Shane-O. After botching the double elimination last week, Styles beat Luke Harper twice this week in a heavily charged match. Harper may have lost this one, but there’s no denying he’s already a star on his own. He was able to rally the crowd behind him and at one point, both men received thunderous cheers. I never thought these two would have great chemistry together. In the end, Styles won the match but after this week’s shocking turn of events, I believe Shane will decide to make Styles’ victory null and void, leading to their match at WrestleMania. Urgh. Why are they pushing through with this nonsense?

    Cena won the first of many verbal tirades against the Miz

    John Cena and The Miz finally went head-to-head on a verbal tirade and I have to say, I was very disappointed. Not with Cena—he was great in this one—but with The Miz. Apparently, if you want to feud with Cena these days, you have to follow the template Styles used last year. Mike’s promo felt uninspired. It didn’t carry the emotional weight of his infamous Talking Smack promo, or even the great promos he had with Dolph Ziggler last year. This leaves him wide open for another excellent Cena verbal missile, because really, how many times do you think Cena has dealt with this crap?

    This worries me a lot because the Miz only has his promo skills and his loud persona to get him over. He’s not really someone we know who can go toe-to-toe with Cena, so unless the Miz does something horrific to Jearn in the coming weeks, their mixed tag team match at ‘Mania will be a one-sided affair—a glorified squash match, if you will. They have to start building Mike as an actual threat to Cena because Creative should make us believe that somehow, the Miz has what it takes to beat Cena. I guess I was too hyped for this rivalry, I didn’t even stop to consider things.

    Some Blue Brand Vibes and Blues—Live!

    Vibe: Becky Lynch and Mickie James delivered the first good match of the night, a match worthy of a PPV spot. This 2-out-of-3 falls match was easily the best match both women had against each other. They had better chemistry and they maximized the airtime given to them. Mickie should use the Mickie-DT more often. And somebody help her think of better finisher names, please. You can’t just add your name to a move and call it a day.

    Vibe: Dean Ambrose and Baron Corbin had a neat little segment to keep their rivalry sizzling. Ambrose’s mic work was on point and his comedy hit all the right notes. Corbin also did well for his part. Finally, he doesn’t sound like a rookie anymore. I can’t wait for these two men to square off for the Intercontinental Championship.

    Vibe: The Blue Brand is so damn good right now, even their small backstage segments are worth watching. This week, we got Natalya snooping around for Alexa Bliss’ Women’s title. I guess we’ll be having a heel vs heel storyline in the near future. Also backstage, two power couples faced off as the unlikely love team of Chinella bumped into the actual power couple, CeNikki, in a funny little Marella-esque skit. Should be an interesting encounter next week.

    Blue: The chairs match wasn’t bad; it was actually a beautiful dance of brutality. I was just disappointed Apollo Crews lost. I was starting to like the guy. Now that he’s more than the smiling good guy, you can’t help but root for Crews. I know, this win gives Dolph Ziggler’s heel turn some teeth, but Crews was also impressive. He even dominated the entire match. I don’t know what to feel. Bye bye, Apollo’s future kids.

    Blue: Yet another episode where the tag team division is an afterthought. Who do you think should we blame here? The lack of time? The uninteresting division? That last one’s actually a little unfair since the Usos have stepped up their promo game over these past few weeks. The show was good as it is; I just thought they could’ve at least given them a bit of the spotlight, you know?

    SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: The Blue Brand hits another good one out of the park! How the f*ck did SmackDown Live produce a better go-home show than the brand who’s hosting a PPV this Monday in the first place? Seriously, that’s not even a rhetorical question. This week’s episode was so good, it felt like a mini-PPV you never knew you needed. From another fired-up Cena promo to this week’s red-hot conclusion and three great matches in between, this episode deserves a steaming A+.

    Did you enjoy this week's SmackDown Live? Why did Orton present a pick-axe if he wasn't going to smash in the rocking chair? Approve my loan request at the comments below. I need some dough.

    Photos from WWE.com


    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 (2/28/17): The Viper’s Return to Form Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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