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    Thursday, January 31, 2019

    SmackDown RunDown Live (1/29/19): 420 Live

    SmackDown Live may not have a Royal Rumble winner fighting for their top titles, but that doesn’t mean their Road to WrestleMania hit a roadblock. The Blue Brand will have to drum up a lot of attention because RAW just got the top main events for themselves. Quick, what do we have? A new WWE Championship strap? Well shit, my nibba, that’s all you had to say.

    Leave it to our vegan friend Daniel Bryan to steal the spotlight from the huge WrestleMania announcements. Those matchups were already predicted anyway. Did you predict Bryan would unveil an environment-friendly world title this week? No you didn’t, stop lying! He did tease the new belt last month at TLC, but still, you didn’t know he’d drop it this week. And you also didn’t know that the new WWE Championship would look this fly.

    Just look at it. I know I’m supposed to hate it because shiny things are pretty, but damn, this belt’s sexy as hell! And while we’re at it, let’s talk about Bryan’s other acquisition, Rowan. I’m a bit disappointed about The Bludgeon Brothers being erased just like that. They were a great tag team until Rowan’s injury and I was hyped to see them dominate the tag team division once again. But fine, I guess this is far more interesting than just two savages overpowering everyone. Besides, it works so well with Bryan’s constantly-evolving character work.

    Along with Bryan’s new recyclable bling came some hungry hungry contenders aiming for his newly-blazed hemp title. They dissed each other for a while, but the clear winner is definitely Samoa Joe, who handed everyone some heavy-handed disses like it’s the first thing he does in the morning. Luckily, Triple H took time from babysitting his NXT kids to drop SmackDown Live’s own bombshell: Daniel Bryan inside the Elimination Chamber with the five dudes beating each other senseless in the ring. Beat that, Rollins!

    Sure, they’re not squaring off at WrestleMania, but it’s still an interesting detour for Daniel Bryan’s quest to be the planet’s champion forever. His contenders are a good mixture of the present and the future, and there’s also AJ Styles. As much as I love the guy, it’s time to put him back at the end of the line and let others chase the Bob Marley title. Since the RAW title scenes are surefire Mania main events, let’s take this opportunity to make stars out of Mustafa Ali or Samoa Joe or even give Jeff Hardy one last WWE Championship run. Who’s with me?

    Becky Lynch had another great segment and all, but this just hit me. Becky’s chasing Ronda Rousey for the RAW Women’s Championship, right? So if she does succeed, she’ll have to leave SmackDown Live, leaving a massive Becky Lynch-sized hole in my heart. She should’ve won against Asuka at the Royal Rumble, dammit! But fine, we should just prepare for her impending departure and be happy for her. Why? Because we’re real fans, that’s why. Now let’s find a new guy or gal to root for on Tuesday nights.

    May I suggest R-Truth and Carmella? I mean, the former just won the United States Championship and successfully defended it in the same night. If that’s not an underdog story, then I don’t know what is. And since Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair will be busy fighting for the Mania spot, maybe Carmella can go chase some gold of her own? I’m just glad R-Truth got something out of his Rumble beatdown, that’s all. Truth definitely deserved another title run. Stop hating on R-Truth already, jeez.

    Or how about The Miz and Shane McMahon? I don’t know what it is, but I jumped out of my seat when Shane O’Mac landed the Shooting Star Press for the win. How in the blue hell did Shane become one of my fave wrestlers today? And their celebration segment was just so perfect, wholesome, and emotional that it instantly made me want to see Miz go for the WWE Championship as a babyface. Stop complaining already, people. The Miz/Shane storyline is the feel-good angle we need to kick off 2019. Enjoy a positive story arc once in a while.

    On an episode full of segments, expect SmackDown Live's tag team division to provide us with some hard-hitting action. Right after the emotional segment, the co-besties then watched four teams battle it out to be their next contenders at Elimination Chamber. I really enjoyed Heavy Machinery in this match, especially their impressive elimination of perennial tag team contenders New Day. I guess they’re Team Blue now, although I still wish we got Nikki Cross. But hey, Biscuits and Gravy are welcome additions to the family.

    And after The Usos won, the storyline could go anywhere. Shane and Miz could get this win to make them look good as champs or they could just drop the titles to The Usos and free Miz up to chase the WWE Championship. I’m sure his buddy Shane wouldn’t mind. They also could just turn on each other, but I’m sure Creative won’t be that lazy to ruin such a well-executed storyline. You know, I’m starting to see the genius of removing the rematch clause from a storyline writing standpoint. I’m guessing Bryan will retain at Chamber and Miz will cross paths with him come WrestleMania. We were looking for a babyface to topple Bryan, after all.

    SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: Just when you thought RAW won the week, SmackDown Live came rushing in with some huge surprises of their own. Don’t have a WrestleMania contender yet? Here are five equally-talented guys to choose from! Seth Rollins didn’t pick Daniel Bryan? That’s okay, we got a new Mary Jane belt to show for it! I can forgive this week’s episode for being too segment-heavy because they really had to set up a lot of storylines for WrestleMania. And hey, R-Truth’s champ again! What’s up? I can’t help but give them an A for another superb effort.

    The RunDown Cutting Board

    • Andrade and Rey Mysterio are officially starting a feud and I’m all for it. I bet they will open WrestleMania 35 with a match so explosive, it will rival Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero at WrestleMania 21. But for this week, getting a simple segment between the two should be enough. 

    • It’s safe to say that Rusev Day is dead. Forget about it. He’s now teaming up with the man who supposedly hurt his wife and they’re treating it like they’re just two rivals who found a common ground. Did someone order a League of Nations 2.0? 

    • It took them three weeks to find a proper backstory for Mandy Rose’s hatred for Naomi. They should’ve started with this Tough Enough footage, dammit! You could’ve had my attention from the start. 
    • I’m just relieved Hornswoggle didn’t chase Zelina Vega all the way to SmackDown Live.
    • Please tell me I’m not the only one who felt personally attacked when D-Bry slapped the sandwich off that poor guy.
    • You know who else threw a title in the trash? Alundra Blayze. Heh. 
    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 (1/29/19): 420 Live Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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