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    Thursday, December 21, 2017

    SmackDown RunDown Live (12/19/17): The One with the Cherry on Top

    You flapped the wrong jack, suckah! Happy Holidays from all of us here at the SmackDown RunDown Live office, which is just me in front of a laptop. It’s the Christmas week offering of the Blue Brand. Was it a festive one? Let’s gets down to it before someone throws a water bottle on my face.

    Clash Fallout: A loaded main event that will make Teddy Long proud

    The Blue Brand closed off the year with a fantastic PPV! I always forget that the sleeper shows usually contain the best matches and Clash certainly reminded me of that fact. SmackDown Live’s hottest storyline offered the most drama as the rift between Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan continues to widen. Everyone’s definitely hyped to tune in on the next SmackDown Live episode to see what will happen next. I expected Shane to unleash hell on Bryan, or to the victorious team of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, at least.

    What we got instead was a passive-aggressive discussion between the two authority figures. And you know what? It was brilliant af. In just one well-written opening segment, both Shane and D-Bry drew the line in the sand on where they stand. The rivalry between Chuck and Jimmy McGill from Better Call Saul is a perfect metaphor for it in a sense that both men have clashing ideas on how to do things but both are equally justified. Shane definitely has the motive to screw Owens and Zayn over, but Bryan made it clear that the Land of Opportunity is open for everyone, even for people the commish don’t like.

    You just have to admire how they were able to make the character development between the two of them consistent. Bryan acted like the parent scolding his child and reminding him to check his privilege while Shane played his role well as a wronged child who had every right to lash out. My only caveat is that this was the only time the storyline was ever mentioned. After this segment, it was business as usual. But that’s just a small complaint, really. I’m loving the slow burn and it’s actually a relief no one turned heel yet.

    Meanwhile, Owens and Zayn were on the losing side of a six-man tag to close the show. It’s the holiday season, so there’s no way the team of AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Randy Orton would lose to their respective rivals. The good guys got their finishers in, they win, everyone’s happy. I do have to point out that after his incredible match at Clash, Jinder Mahal definitely looked like he belongs in the main event. The stigma of him being a jobber has been erased (at least for me) and I’m really excited what he’ll do next for 2018.   

    Can we talk about the historic women’s Royal Rumble real quick?

    We’re getting a women’s Royal Rumble match, you guys! We all saw this one coming, I just didn’t expect it would happen this soon. Since the women of the main roster won’t fill the 30-women requirement, I’m excited to see who will join from NXT, MYC, the legends pool, and pretty much anywhere. Everyone’s predicting Rhonda Rousey to win the match, but I’m more interested on the possible scenarios we’ll get. Don’t you want to see Trish Stratus and Lita go at it one more time inside a WWE ring? How about an Asuka vs. Kairi Sane face-off? It’s a shame Charlotte Flair can’t be part of it because a four horsewomen confrontation sounds awesome. I wonder if they can convince AJ Lee to appear, too. See how exciting this is?

    Speaking of Charlotte Flair, I like how she made it clear that she wasn’t part of the Rumble. Alexa Bliss was inside the ring when the announcement was made, giving the impression that the champions will compete in the Rumble as well. As historic as the announcement was, that segment really sucked. Why was the heel commish dropping the announcement like she’s the mother hen of the locker room? And why were they besties immediately after? Anyway, Naomi was the first woman to stake her spot at the Rumble, and then the Riott Squad to be defeated by Naomi’s butt. God, the Riott Squad is so lame. Fifty bucks says Ruby Riott will eliminate her squad-mates herself.

    Some Blue Brand Holiday Vibes and Blues—Live!

    Vibe: The obligatory holiday-themed match this year wasn’t as bad as you’d think it would, thanks to two of the funniest tag teams we have right now. New Day and Team Rusev Day made this throw-away match an entertaining one. They even wore silly costumes, with Big Elf and Olaf English being my favorite. And of course, Rusev Claus spoiling everyone’s fun (while remaining incredibly over to the crowd) literally placed the cherry on top of this wacky match-up.  Fun fact: Rusev’s birthday is on December 25, officially making Christmas Rusev Day. Merry Rusev Day everyone!

    Blue: What’s up with the Usos always losing after successfully defending their titles on a PPV? And they’re give Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin another shot at the tag titles? I guess they’re rewarding Gable’s performance at Clash, but if they’re pushing this team again, can they at least make them more interesting? They’re a bit bland right now and I can’t decide where to throw the blame. Is it because both men aren’t charismatic enough? Is it because of their boring promos? Is it both? I’m not really sure.

    Vibe: Thank heavens Dolph Ziggler won that triple threat at Clash of Clans. A title win is exactly what the Zig-man needed to refresh his character for the nth time. His “title celebration” this week raised some eyebrows, and I love it! This is exactly what he should be doing to get noticed around here. What happens now to the United States Championship? Did Ziggler relinquish the title? Is he slated to debut that ugly US title belt molded from the WWE Championship? I do hope they won’t do both of those things.

    SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: I was initially going to dismiss this as a simple Christmas episode. I’d be dead wrong if I did that. Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan produced a brilliant segment, Dolph Ziggler piqued our interest, and even the Christmas-themed match was good. Still, I’ll be expecting a more storyline-driven episode once everyone’s fresh off the holidays. I’ll give this week’s episode the gift of B. Drink it in because it’s healthy, maaaaaaaan.

    Did you enjoy this week’s SmackDown Live? Will you buy a Rusev Day underwear? Nominate the first female Royal Rumble entrant at the comments below.


    Ricky Jay Publico (@NitPickRick) 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 (12/19/17): The One with the Cherry on Top Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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