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    Thursday, June 28, 2018

    SmackDown RunDown Live (6/26/18): A Match Made in Hell (No)

    I know it’s too early to complain about this and they’ll probably address it in the coming weeks, but where are the extreme stipulations? As of writing, Extreme Rules now has five announced matches, all with pending stipulations. Isn’t that weird? Every match should’ve been announced with stipulations already in tow. Here’s an idea, how about we just retire PPV names taken from specific match types already? I’m sure the dictionary hasn’t run out of cool words for wrestling promotions to use.

    Kane and Daniel Bryan Hug It Out Once Again

    Normally, this is the part where I start another long-winding rant about Creative not advancing the much-anticipated rivalry between Daniel Bryan and The Miz. It’s like when you open your fridge and see a slice of cake but you opted instead for that salad you’ve been meaning to eat for days. I mean, it’s good for your health, but then you also missed out on a delicious treat. This time, however, I see no reason to complain. C’mon, you guys, it’s Kane. You can’t possibly hate Kane, can you? I bet a bunch of you cried tears when they hugged. I didn’t because I’m a man. *sniff*

    Whoever said pro wrestling has become predictable will probably rethink his/her views in life after seeing the Big Red Monster make a surprise return to help out his former tag partner. I didn’t see it coming because I thought the big guy’s busy shaking hands and kissing babies in his county. Is this guy still campaigning or what? Anyway, Team Hell No is back! They are easily one of the best forced tag teams in history and I’m excited to see how much gas is left in Kane’s tank at this point in his career. I’m basically just fanboying a bit because Kane is one of my guys, you know? Am I the only one who has a special place in his heart for good ol’ Kane?

    Forget the fact that we still don’t know exactly why the Bludgeon Brothers started targeting Daniel Bryan. At least Miz did a fantastic job trying to clear the narrative for us in another killer MizTV segment. And hey, let’s not gloss over the fact that Luke Harper made it to the main event once again. What made his match with Bryan so good was how imposing Harper was. Seeing him almost tap out to the Yes Lock brought this small sense of accomplishment and joy in me because goddamn, Bryan had to take a lot of punishment from this guy. Never mind the backstory, I’m hyped to see these two teams slug it out at Extreme Rules. Make it a tornado tag for twice the fun.

    Challengers Attempt to Impress Their Targets

    Rusev is still riding high after his huge victory last week. The focus of his wrath this week fell upon Xavier Woods when the two started a harmless Twitter feud. While seemingly random, this match was still a good showcase of what both men could do inside the ring. Woods brought his usual bag of tricks but as dynamic as he can be, it still wasn’t enough to deflate Rusev’s momentum. The Lion of Bulgaria ended the segment by calling out AJ Styles, proving once again how ready he is for the spot he was given. Despite this, why do I feel like Rusev will lose? Do you think Creative got traumatized from experimenting with Jinder Mahal?

    Meanwhile, Jeff Hardy hosted an open challenge since Shinsuke Nakamura, his scheduled opponent, got injured a day before the show. While I’m not saying I’m glad he got injured, this is certainly a blessing in disguise for Nakamura. He really needs to lie low and let the crowd miss him a bit. He also needs to rest his body because that last man standing match wasn’t a walk in the park. So yeah, I approve of this move. They should’ve done this last week to be honest. Now that Nakamura’s temporarily out, who answered Hardy’s challenge? None other than the “sadistic and charismatic” leader of SAnitY, Eric Young.

    The match was doing great, especially when Young started snapping Hardy’s head Man of Steel-style, but it got converted into a six-man tag after the Usos joined in on the fun. Needless to say, the Hardy-Usos dream team prevailed over SAnitY, which certainly didn’t make the debuting group look good. Aside from the fact that they needed the win more, they also got outmuscled by the smaller babyfaces. They didn’t get outsmarted, mind you, they got outmuscled. It only took two superkicks to take down the group’s big man. Why did you even get a Big Damo if you’re not going to use him to dominate everyone? So much for causing chaos.

    The Benefit of Having James Ellsworth Around

    It’s nice to have James Ellsworth back. There’s something about him that draws people in. It doesn’t matter whether he’s face or heel, he can command your emotion according to the role he’s playing. SmackDown Live used this unique talent to generate hype for Carmella and Asuka’s rematch at Extreme Rules—without the two competitors actually being there. And somehow, it worked! Paige served as the straight woman to Ellsworth’s goofy energy and seeing the horror his face after learning about his “date” with Asuka was hilarious.

    And while we’re talking about the women’s division, let me just add here how Becky Lynch is suddenly on a roll after picking up a win against Sonya Deville. While I’m happy for Becky’s winning streak, I can’t help but worry about Deville. She has yet to earn a singles victory against anyone and I just don’t want her to fade away into obscurity. At least Mandy Rose got a fluke win over Becky. Throw her a bone once in a while.  

    I have a feeling that WWE is looking to set up a woman’s tag team division based on Naomi and Lana’s backstage segment with the cast of GLOW, so I guess Absolution can have something to do from there. I love how the Blue Brand already has three solid teams ready to go if they’re really going with that idea. The IIconics better be the inaugural champions.

    SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: Compared to past episodes, SmackDown Live had a slow news day this week but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t as good. On the contrary, it was an entertaining ride that started from a strong opener from The Miz and ended with a satisfying surprise from a large crimson machine. They even threw in a half-naked Ellsworth for good measure. For producing an enjoyable show even without the presence of some big names, you guys deserve a strong B+. Spend it wisely.

    Some Blue Brand Blues That Didn’t Make It

    • Hey Zelina, no one’s challenging your business partner because they already forgot he exists. So maybe attack someone relevant? Just sayin’.
    • I’m still sad Kharma didn’t show up during GLOW’s backstage segment.
    • I love the New Day, but goddamnit they’re so disgusting at times. As Corey Graves pointed out, a pancake smoothie is just pancake batter. 
    • I can’t make a Renee Young planting someone with Dirty Deeds joke because she wasn’t around this week. Press F to pay respect.
    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 (6/26/18): A Match Made in Hell (No) Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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