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    Thursday, May 31, 2018

    SmackDown RunDown Live (5/29/18): Showing RAW How It’s Done

    How do you ruin a dream match? I thought letting one guy interfere would do the trick—I didn’t even think they’ll fuck it up more by adding the same guy to the actual match. I would rather prefer Big Cass interfere because at least we still get a solid 20-minute kicks-and-holds match between two submission machines before the inevitable shenanigans happen. Instead, we got a tall guy blocking the view of what was supposed to be a must-see attraction. If anything, it made me hate Big Cass more not because he was an effective heel, but because of his shitty booking.

    Seriously, how hard is it to make one of the most prolific dream matches come to life? Just give us Samoa Joe vs. Daniel Bryan. They’re both healthy, they’re both in the same brand, and for the love of everything holy you already did the legwork setting up the match! Just make the goddamn match happen, ring the bell, and let these two tear each other apart. Who give a shit about what Big Cass will do next? He can just attack D-Bry after the match, which was exactly what he did this week anyway. So… hooray for him, I guess?

    Damn It, If It Wasn’t Another Great Main Event

    But I can’t stay mad at this main event for long. Long story short, this match was awesome with a capital A! It had the best version of Samoa Joe (the snarling villain), the optimized version of Daniel Bryan (meaner streak, safer moves), and a living replica of one of my favorite wrestlers ever (I can never unsee it). SmackDown Live is just outdoing its main event efforts at this point. And how about that finish? It was a nice touch to have D-Bry pass out of the Coquina Clutch instead of Cass because it gave us a clearer glimpse of what might happen when these two finally square off. At least they got the finish right. It made Joe’s victory feel earned.

    Allow me to express my excitement over this huge win. Finally, Samoa Joe belongs to a brand where he can receive that monster push he certainly deserved. It’s really hard to get over on a brand where the top guy was already picked by management. If he wasn’t jobbing to Roman Reigns, he’ll end up being cannon fodder to Brock Lesnar. That won’t be the case here on SmackDown Live. Here, literally anyone has the potential to be a star—all they need is that one big push. And that’s certainly what SmackDown Live can offer to Samoa Joe. If it wasn’t clear enough, I already have my pick to win this year’s MITB briefcase. Shinsuke Nakamura better be ready for the campaign of fear that will have us #shookt.

    MITB Hype: Blue Brand Doing Everything Right

    The rest of the show did a great job hyping up the glorified ladder show. From cultivating tension between the MITB participants to building up the contenders, SmackDown Live is ticking all the right boxes. They even produced a silly one-off segment that didn’t make me cringe! I mean, in this day and age, who does that?

    Since I mentioned it already, let me start with that damn dance-off. Who else thought this would turn into a shitshow? I did, and I always love it when I’m wrong on things. The MVP of this segment was obviously Lana and the sexiest Spinaroonie you’ll ever see. This was definitely her Rusev Day moment. Remember that segment when he accepted the key to his hometown? That was a simple yet fun segment that launched the Rusev Day phenomenon, and this week’s dance off was Lana Day solidified. Hell, they even ended the same way, with the heels getting their asses kicked. How exactly can RAW fuck up these kinds of segments? It’s not that hard to pull off. Just be fun and try not to offend everyone. See?

    And where do I even being with this week’s fun matches? I’ll go ahead and praise Creative for pitting the counting-to-ten obsessed Shinsuke Nakamura against the guy who is coincidentally obsessed with the number 10, Tye Dillinger. First of all, hey Tye, welcome back to TV! Second, this match was clearly a throwaway match to build up Nakamura, but it was so well done it didn’t feel like one. Nakamura kicked the living shit out of him as he counted him down at every opportunity, while Tye played the role of underdog to a T by defiantly standing up. He even mocked Nakamura’s “C’mon!” taunt at one point. It amazed me how this match made both men look good, and this was just the first match of the night.

    Speaking of throwaway matches, did anyone expect Mandy Rose to hold her own against Asuka, of all people? I sure didn’t, but she did and it was great. Rose cheated a bit by having Sonya Deville shove Asuka as she was making her entrance, but it wasn’t a severe beatdown or anything so Rose didn’t lose looking like a chump. In fact, it was all Rose throughout the match until Asuka eventually locks her patented lock. Also, the stare-off between Asuka and Carmella was classy AF, rare for a loudmouth like Carmella. But I still loved that closing image.

    And do we need to discuss how good New Day vs. MizBar was in this random episode of SmackDown Live? They didn’t even have to, you guys. That’s how much they enjoy working together and it definitely shows. This match had everything: killer tag team combos, crafty heel tactics, and Big E getting thrown off the barricade like he’s nothing. Xavier Woods once again stole the show with his impressive hot tag as he almost obliterated everyone with vicious kicks and elbows. If ever the New Day breaks up, I want this man to be a world champion, dammit!

    SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: Maybe it’s the long hours, the lack of a proper world title, or the lack of decent storylines. Whatever the reason, RAW is getting their asses kicked again by their cooler younger brother of a brand. The “flagship” show should definitely take notes because despite the occasional booking lapses, SmackDown Live continued to be the must-see show with its balanced roster, entertaining segments, and exhilarating matches. And goddamn, do they know how to produce a bombastic main event or what? A fresh A grade for my Blue Brand brothers and sisters seems appropriate right now.

    Some Blue Brand Blues That Didn’t Make It

    • How exactly does Asuka’s mask work? It has a strap on it, but she just slaps it in her face and it just stays in place, even when she’ dancing about. How’s that even possible? Is her face that sticky?
    • The Miz chopping pancakes in mid-air with his headband acting as a blindfold is more entertaining than any other segment RAW did this week. I think RAW needs one of them storyline bots.
    • Remember when the Bludgeon Brothers clobbered jobbers on a weekly basis? Pepperidge Farm remembers.

    Photos from WWE.com


    Ricky Jay Publico (@NitPickRick) 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 (5/29/18): Showing RAW How It’s Done Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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