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    Thursday, July 5, 2018

    SmackDown RunDown Live (7/3/18): The Reunion Tour Takes An Uso Detour

    So I guess it’s too late to add “extreme” stipulations to the entire Extreme Rules card, right? I mean, if you’re going to blandly name a PPV after a No DQ match type, you must ensure that all matches are at least No DQ.

    How are they going to sell a harcore-themed PPV with hardly any hardcore elements to it? Not even a Russian Chain match for AJ Styles vs. Rusev? A Tornado Tag for Team Hell No vs. The Bludgeon Brotherss? A Last Man Standing for Roman Reigns vs Bobby Lashley?

    And speaking of Reigns, let me guess, he’s going to headline the fucking show, isn’t he? 

    Forget the fact that an awesome Iron Man match, the reunion of a beloved tag team, and the WWE Championship match—the company’s top prize and the only active world title they have—are all part of the card. Nah, scratch all that and put Roman fucking Reigns and his white-as-Vanilla-Ice rivalry with Lashley in the main event.

    I’ll do you one better. Why not have him do triple duty while you’re at it? Put him in the opening promo, give him lots of backstage segments, and have him beat up The Revival in the middle of the show even. Go crazy, fucktards.

    How did this rant go from Extreme Rules’ lack of extreme rules to Roman Reigns, you ask? Two words—STRESS. And also being bad at math, apparently.

    The Tag Team Division Takes Centerstage

    Thanks to Daniel Bryan and Kane, the Blue Brand’s tag team division is currently experiencing a return to relevance. SmackDown Live produced yet another doozy of a main event this week as Team Hell No shook off their ring rust against The Usos. It was an action-packed main event and if you were expecting a sluggish Kane, you'll be 40% satisfied. He's a bit slow but he can still go like a tank.

    Although I have no complaints about Team Hell No wiping out The Usos, I can't help but wonder how a victory for the twins could've helped elevate the Hell No/Bludgeons rivalry. The Usos have an unresolved history with the tag champs anyway so it checks out, while D-Bry and Kane can continue bickering about getting on the same page after losing to one of the best tag teams in WWE. But I guess the Bludgeon Brothers deserve a solo program with another distinguished tag team.

    It’s puzzling how this marks the first high-profile storyline for the Bludgeon Brothers, three months after winning the SmackDown Tag Team Championships in a dominating fashion. That’s kind of sad, but at the same time, I’m glad the Bludgeons are back in the limelight because seriously, I can’t be the only one who already forgot they were feuding with the Usos for a while before being sent to obscurity.

    But #NitPickRick, a tag team storyline is taking over the main event. Where’s the outrage? Aren’t you pissed that the WWE Championship storyline is once again being treated as a midcard title?

    You can blame my slowly degrading mental capacity, but I can’t really find anything to be pissed about. For one, it puts the focus on the tag team division as a division worth watching and hyping. How often do you see guys like Harper, Rowan, and The Usos in the main event anyway? Don’t they deserve to be the attraction as much as the singles Superstars once in a while?

    And also, Team Hell No’s reunion tour is a big deal, too. It’s probably the last time we’ll ever see Kane don the mask before officially retiring and instead of requesting one more shot at a world title, he chose to spend his last run with someone he has great chemistry with. Isn’t that commendable? How can you stay mad at good ol’ Kane?

    I’m sure Creative will make it up to AJ Styles in the coming weeks because of course, they can’t ignore the champion. But this week, it’s best to let a good story unfold in the main event.

    Also brewing within the tag team division is a collision between The New Day and SAnitY. While their entire pancake-eating segment was funny, clever, and brutal all at once, I can’t help but think the beatdown was two weeks too late.

    This should've been the debut appearance of SAnitY because it would’ve made so much sense. Aside from the fact that they both have three members each, they are the polar opposites of each other, with New Day as the bright and jolly providers of positivity and SAnitY as the stable equivalent of scratching a blackboard with your fingernails. The story writes itself, people.

    But fine, let’s forget about SAnitY’s disappointing debut and focus on the now. I’m excited to see how New Day will deal with the manifestation of their old selves. Remember when these fun-loving unicorns were the ones creating chaos? That’s a fun narrative they could exploit.

    Lackluster Showing from the Lackeys

    Am I the only one annoyed that they kept on hyping the Asuka vs. James Ellsworth as “Battle of the Sexes” like we’re supposed to think this is progressive as fuck?

    And it’s not like they haven’t done this setup before. They already did this with Becky Lynch before Ellsworth’s first exit from the company last year and it was equally annoying. Let’s just acknowledge the match for what it truly is—a joke match meant to advance the rivalry between Carmella and Asuka. No need to add some pageantry to it.

    James Ellsworth should complement the rivalry, not hog the freakin’ spotlight. The fact that they’re going to have a rematch next week is just too much for me. Last time I checked, Ellsworth isn’t the SmackDown Women’s Champion. So why is the story revolving around him? Put him on the side and let Carmella handle her own rivalries, how about that?

    If they really wanted a Battle of Sexes with all that pizazz, how about letting Asuka murder a regular member of the male roster? This badass queen took a beating from NJPW’s resident psycho Minoru Suzuki—and she’s the one who booked it that way. Don’t @ her with a puny Ellsworth; give her a Big Damo and we’ll talk gender equality.

    To make matters worse, Creative copied this formula and pasted it later on AJ Styles’ match with Aiden English. Granted, it was a more proper match, but they could’ve at least distinguished itself from the segment prior by giving English more minutes to shine or at least placing the match away from the Asuka/Ellsworth segment to avoid being repetitive.

    But I do have to commend how they’re building Rusev up as a world title contender. He’s looking good so far and I hope he continues dominating the WWE Champion. Styles doesn’t need too much momentum anyway. Priority should go to building up Rusev as the monster he was back in 2014. At least Creative’s still doing something right.

    Jeff Hardy and Becky Lynch Continue Their Streaks

    Jeff Hardy and Becky Lynch continued to rack up individual victories left and right. Becky Lynch took a swing at Peyton Royce this week as she steamrolled over the IIconics. There has to be an endgame to this string of Ws, but I can’t figure it out. If she’s not the next contender after Asuka, I’ll be hella pissed.

    And let me just say Peyton Royce gave Becky one hell of a match. This was probably the best match out of Becky’s weekly mini-streak so far. Royce is the better worker among the Aussie duo after all, but let’s see how Billie Kay plans to outdo her IIconics partner next week.

    And as for our resident face-painted freak, he had to deal with The Miz in his own Americana open challenge. It wasn’t as exhilarating as their last encounter, but it was fun enough for a SmackDown Live episode. They botched another Twist of Fate, but no sweat. I still loved it.

    I’m still weirded out by the fact that Miz, one of the chattiest superstars ever, didn’t utter a single word on the mic. He just came out and wrestled. No scathing pre-match promo? No boasting or backhanded compliments? That’s weird, right? Just me? I need to sleep.

    SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: This week’s episode already earned points for not hosting an Independence Day Food Fight. But I’m taking back those points for the tired Battle of the Sexes shtick and a bland Styles vs. English match. Together with a strong main event and a couple of good matches, the points all add up to a low but still respectable B- grade. I really wish SmackDown Live announced the stipulations to their Extreme Rules matches already. Is it really that hard?

    Some Blue Brand Blues That Didn’t Make It

    • Jeff Hardy is what WWE wants Woken Matt Hardy to be.
    • Just be glad The New Day didn’t eat waffles.
    • D-Bry's gear this week is now my favorite out of all his gear to date.
    • “I’ll show you what a complicated relationship really is!” *plants Daniel Bryan and Kane simultaneously with a massive Dirty Deeds, figure that one out*
    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 (7/3/18): The Reunion Tour Takes An Uso Detour Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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