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    Thursday, April 19, 2018

    SmackDown RunDown Live: S-T-A-C-K-E-D, Staaaaaacked!

    I honestly just want to start talking about the episode because if the title didn’t already clue you in, the show’s pretty stacked. But alas, I do have to follow the new format I created for my revamped column and my mind won’t rest easy if I suddenly broke my routine. So to kill some time, let me tell you more about my pathetic simulated universe I made years ago with a scrappy WWF No Mercy mod.

    While AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan were fighting for the WWE Championship in my own twisted version of RAW, the Blue Brand was also busy looking for a new World Heavyweight Champion. And after a lengthy 16-man tournament that featured Jeff Hardy, Samoa Joe, and a terribly textured Carlito, I ended up with John Morrison and Batista squaring off in the finals. This was the only time I ever saw JoMo break the ceiling as he wins the tournament after eight grueling minutes of simulated gameplay. I ate a donut after. It was a good day.

    That should be enough for an intro, right?

    SmackDown Live Wins the Shake-Up By a Landslide

    This is probably the best SmackDown Live roster I have ever seen in my lifetime. Don’t @ me (mainly because I don’t have Twitter anymore).

    Seriously, how can one show contain this much awesomeness? I already accepted the fact that SmackDown Live always gets the shorter end of the stick when it comes to draft picks and roster re-shuffles, so I wasn’t expecting much. But boy, am I glad my expectations were low because this year’s Shake-Up blew me away with their picks. Where do I even begin?

    Fine, let’s start with the Blue Brand’s biggest haul from RAW, my man Samoa Joe. He is my spirit animal just like Mark Henry is our website’s spirit animal. Joe quickly made his mark by doing quick work of Sin Cara and delivering a menacing promo, promising to dominate SmackDown Live’s top stars and ending Roman Reigns once and for all at the Greatest Sausage Fest. Now that’s how you make an entrance. I liked his menacing smirk after mentioning AJ Styles, like he’s ready to beat his old rival after years of being apart. My body is ready for these two to finally duke it out in a WWE ring. Keep feeding this pathetic wrestling fan his dream matches, dammit!

    Next up is the biggest haul in a literal sense, the returning Big Cass. And wisely enough, Creative’s already positioning him high in upper midcard as Daniel Bryan’s appetizer before Bryan feasts on The Miz, and you know what, I’m not even mad about it. I know everyone’s excited for a Bryan-Miz program, but let’s just wait for a bit, you know? Let’s give Edge’s spiritual successor a chance to shine as a solo monster act. I’m loving his new taunt that screams, “I’m the tallest mofo around and you can’t touch me!” Kickass.

    Speaking of which, we’re getting The Miz! He was practically a marked man when Daniel Bryan made his triumphant return as a full-time wrestler, so yes, this Shake-Up transfer makes total sense. And hey, we’re also getting Mr. Five Star himself, Andrade “Cien” Almas and his business partner Zelina Vega. I’m not sure if he can replicate his success at NXT. The best I could hope is that he won’t suffer the same fate as Tye Dillinger. And look, we got R-Truth, whatever that’s worth to you.

    Just like Rey Mysterio, I’ve always felt like Jeff Hardy is a SmackDown kind of guy, so him bringing back the United States Championship to Tuesday nights didn’t surprise me at all. He defeated Shelton Benjamin on his first night back and while I’m cool with Hardy being the midcard champ, I suddenly question why they didn’t just give the title to Rusev at WrestleMania if they were planning to ship Jinder Mahal to RAW. I don’t know, I guess they just really hate celebrating Rusev Day for some reason. Anyway, welcome back, Brother Nero! I knew you’d come. Wait…

    Segment of the night goes to the Mellabration as SmackDown Live did a great job showcasing their revitalized women’s division in one nifty segment. Carmella as champion exceeded my expectations with her celebration promo, although she failed to get the heel heat she was hoping. That was weird. Anyway, new arrivals the IINONICS stole the spotlight once again with their weirdly charismatic heel work. And Asuka, well, she just made her stay on SmackDown Live official by coming to the aid of the woman who broke her legendary streak. The women’s division just got a lot more exciting, or better yet, iconic. Alakazam!

    Meanwhile, SmackDown Live’s tag team division is pretty much overkill at this point. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson is good enough for me, but damn, we actually got The Bar, RAW’s top tier tag team. To make things crazier, we even got the male members of CHAOS… I mean, SAnitY. How are we supposed to follow all these? And even if either one of these teams broke up for some reason, I think they’ll fare well in the Land of Opportunity. I’m looking at you, Cesaro.    

    As much as I love these changes, they also have me worrying. How in the blue hell can we contain all these guys into a two-hour show? I know Creative’s been running SmackDown Live properly for the past few months, but now that they’re handling bigger names, every creative misgiving will be twice as damaging. Every time superstars without an active storyline didn’t appear, the show’s gonna get shit on for sure. 

    But hey, this isn’t really a complaint. I just really hope that Creative step up their game in crafting storylines. I get that booking every single one of them is impossible, but at the very least, we shouldn’t feel like some people are being ignored, either. Can we just get some TV mini-feuds? How about another tournament? Keep the ball rolling, Road Dogg!

    SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: Another A+, no doubt about it. For the longest time, SmackDown Live became unpredictable and chaotic more than ever. Despite my concerns, I’ll be damned if I said I’m not excited about the potential matches and storylines we will be seeing in the near future. Give me my Styles vs. Joe, my Bryan vs. Miz, or feel free to get crazy with Orton vs. Almas or something. There’s no way I’ll ever miss an episode of SmackDown Live now.

    Some Blue Brand Blues That Didn’t Make It

    • The bait-and-switch they did involving Randy Orton and Jeff Hardy was amusing, to say the least. It gave that segment an expect the unexpected kind of vibe. As I was writing the previous sentence, I realized that Orton is the number one contender to the US Title, so yeah, he’ll be facing Hardy at Backlash. I have a shitty memory.
    • Shinsuke Nakamura is creepy AF. I love it. I’m scared, but I love it.

    • Naomi saving The Usos from a Bludgeon Brothers onslaught was a nice wrinkle to their rivalry. I don’t think she’ll be part of the storyline. I get that she was involved to really sell the idea that the Bludgeons are really dangerous, but it’ll be an interesting addition if they continue to run with it.
    Photos from WWE.com


    Ricky Jay Publico 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: S-T-A-C-K-E-D, Staaaaaacked! Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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