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    Thursday, April 26, 2018

    SmackDown RunDown Live (4/24/18): Shinsuke Nakamu-Rock!

    For some reason, this week’s match between Randy Orton and Shelton Benjamin made me feel nostalgic. The fact that Jeff Hardy was also there cranked the nostalgia up to 11. I don’t know, maybe it’s the fact that these three men were already slugging it out during my first few years as a wrestling fan. Time sure flies, amirite?

    Back in the day, Shelton Benjamin wowed me every time he did something uber-athletic and superhuman, while Randy Orton showed me how to be a calculating villain. And Jeff Hardy, well, let’s just say he inspired me to shove my face towel on the back pocket of my school pants whenever I get the chance. It looked stupid, but it felt awesome.

    I just can’t help but appreciate how they’re all in the same brand and are currently involved in a TV storyline. And the fact that they’re showing signs of aging made me sad that they’ll probably retire years from now. But at the same time, it made me happy that the guys who made my childhood lasted long enough for me to mature and have my own wrestling column. Man, I sure love this job.

    A Great Week to be a SmackDown Live Heel

    This week, one man emerged from the ashes of sausage fest shillings and walked out ten times more charismatic than before. This sneaky mofo Shinsuke Nakamura just became SmackDown Live’s most dangerous villain. While it certainly helped, I’m not talking about his entrance theme change. It was fire, for sure, an entrance theme befitting a deranged maniac. I’m talking about his despicable display of malice as he took out AJ Styles’ best friends right in front of the WWE Champion—right after dismantling his balls, as you should. #DicksOutForAJsBalls

    Nakamura is on a roll right now as the Blue Brand’s main baddie. I especially enjoyed the way he won this week’s main event for his team by hitting Gallows in the base of his skull with a Kinshasa. What a fucking dick. That subtle finisher change effectively paints Nakamura as a conniving heel who has no qualms of taking out a defenseless opponent. And the way he took their mind games from patting heads to dismantling close friends? Deliciously evil. Nakamura definitely stole the show this week just from his cool new music theme alone.

    It’s not just Nakamura, almost all of SmackDown Live heels had a great night this week. We kicked things off with possibly the longest MizTV segment in history as The Miz and Big Cass air out their grievances against Daniel Bryan. Despite its length, I enjoyed how Miz used the birth of his daughter as a reverse psychology tactic in an attempt to make him look like the bigger man. I was almost convinced Miz was going to turn face, especially after he told off Big Cass. That bit was weird, but still, great heel work from The Miz.

    I feel terrible not seeing Big Cass as his own damn man. I always see him as a spiritual successor to Edge. While his promo this week was great and his motivations made a lot of sense, all I saw was a tall and awkward version of a young Edge. Am I alone on this? Also, his suave mannerisms were distracting as hell. I’ve never seen a man wink and adjust his suit so damn much. Maybe tell Big Cass to chill next time? And give him a bigger suit, dammit!

    Now that Asuka’s just like the rest of the women, it’ll be interesting how Creative will develop her post-streak. I guess they’re kicking her new career trajectory off with a losing streak as the IIconics stole one from Asuka and Becky Lynch. It’s a good start, I guess. I can see Asuka getting frustrated about losing all the time and turning on the next superstar who tries to calm her down, possibly Becky Lynch. Meanwhile, I’m still high on Billie Kay and Peyton Royce. Their future definitely looks iconic. I feel like I’ve used the previous sentence before.

    Not all heels were that successful. Charlotte Flair literally flipped the table on Carmella during their contract signing. Prior to that, Carmella cut another great promo as she tried to coerce everyone to cheer for her MITB highlight reel. I’d give that highlight reel a standing ovation because damn, it looks so good and appropriate for someone of her stature. I know, Carmella wasn’t able to sign the contract, but don’t worry. I’m sure the chicken shit heel will probably exploit that fact so hold your damn horses, Maffew.

    And the Usos finally got one over the Bludgeon Brothers with the distraction from Naomi. I have no idea what’s going on but I’m loving their storyline. It seems like the inclusion of Naomi came from out of nowhere, but I guess that’s part of its charm. What’s the story here, are the Bludgeons merciful and compassionate after all? Are they attracted to dancing ladies? Or maybe Naomi reminds them of their humanity? It's really weird that the Bludgeons don't really want nothing to do with Naomi directly. Just look at this kayfabe-breaking tweet from Harper. I guess we now know what [insert day here] really means.

    SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: I didn’t realize that this week was a go-home show for the Greatest Royal Rumble, probably because I don’t really care about it, but they really doubled down on reminding everyone that the Saudi event will indeed happen. Nonetheless, we got a great showing from the heels of SmackDown Live, with Shinsuke Nakamura at the center of all the chaos. Overall, I’ll give this one an A- mainly because of the unnecessary amount of sausage fest shilling. It’s still a good watch, regardless.

    Some Blue Brand Blues That Didn’t Make It

    • Loved the vignettes for Andrade Cien Almas and SAnitY, plus a properly taped promo from Samoa Joe. This is one efficient way to remind everyone that they exist, although I wonder why Absolution didn’t get one. Come to think of it, guys like Mojo Rawley could’ve benefitted from a well-produced vignette or two.

    • One of these days, Renee Young will just snap at the next Superstar she interviews because she’ll be done with everyone’s bullshit. “Sit yo ass down, ya dumb bitch!” *plants Carmella with Dirty Deeds*

    • I forgot to mention this, but Shelton Benjamin actually pinned Randy Orton this week. That was awesome.

    • Did Sunil really need a mask? Can’t he just attack someone’s injured knee like a decent person?

    Photos from WWE.com


    Ricky Jay Publico (@NitPickRick, yes, I'm back!) 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 (4/24/18): Shinsuke Nakamu-Rock! Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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