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SmackDown RunDown Live (3/7/17): Styles Got Swerved


You found me, Dean! Welcome to this week’s edition of SmackDown RunDown Live! I don’t really have something for the intro, so before we begin, let’s just hum our favorite entrance music. I’ll give you a few seconds. Alright. You good? Let’s get down to it!

Orton regains his WrestleMania ticket; Styles heads to Shane O-Town

So this week’s main event is, for lack of a more appropriate term, phenomenal. AJ Styles played his role as the dream match generator absolutely well in this match. Aside from their great chemistry, both he and Randy Orton told a classic David and Goliath formula if David was the disadvantaged heel and Orton was the injured Goliath. Once again, the Blue Brand produced another stellar main event by booking this first encounter match-up. While I agree with the outcome, I have so many problems with the imminent aftermath.


I’ve been bitching about the developing Styles vs Shane storyline without offering a proper explanation. So yeah, here goes my worthless two cents.

First, let’s look at their character dynamics. Shane McMahon is the very face SmackDown Live commissioner, a breath of fresh air to us smarks who are sick and tired of The Authority running the asylum. AJ Styles, despite the overwhelming support from the WWE Universe, is the cocky heel. If these two men end up clashing at WrestleMania, whoever wins will never gain anything. Shane beating Styles accomplishes nothing because newsflash, guys—Shane is not a wrestler *gasp*. Styles beating Shane also accomplishes nothing. People will never be convinced about this guy’s villainy, even if it means beating a middle-aged man.


Second, let’s study the current storyline itself. Consider this: AJ Styles survived a battle royale, albeit a botched one. Next, he survived Luke Harper. As Styles put it, he did what he was told and did it well, making his claim for the #1 contendership the most valid one. So when Orton finally revealed the most methodical plan in WWE history, why did D-Bry and Shane-O debate over who’s facing bray? Why can’t we make Orton earn back his opportunity by beating Styles, making the WrestleMania main event a triple threat affair? The point is, Styles shouldn’t be thrown away from the title picture given all these circumstances. He was right, there shouldn’t be any debate.


This makes the Styles-Shane rivalry a hard pill to swallow. Why should I cheer for the good guy commissioner who screwed over the deserving heel? Styles was clearly in the right here, so why the hell should I boo this guy aside from the fact that he’s a terrible heel? You see what I mean? Their dynamics are already screwed up, now they have to work with a convoluted storyline that doesn’t give both men any favors. I don’t really know the endgame here, I’m just sure it’s going to be a bad one. I hope this won’t end up with a Shane heel turn. That would be so stupid, stupid, and stupid. This storyline makes my head twitch.


If they really want this storyline to work somehow, they shouldn’t give Styles a valid reason to be frustrated. They should let his frustration grow from circumstances that are completely out of Shane-O’s hands. That way, Shane will gain sympathy once the Phenomenal One starts targeting him because clearly, the guy is just doing his best running the show. That would make this stupid rivalry a lot easier to watch. Shane backing up Styles during the debate was already questionable and Styles agreeing to face Orton when he already has a solid claim for the Mania opportunity just made him look stupid. He’s supposed to be the conniving heel who won’t risk his gold just to face a snake, right? If anything, that’s something a babyface would do. Do you see now how this storyline is messed up? Okay, I’m done. Rant over. Have a nice day, everyone.

Some Blue Brand Vibes and Blues—Live!

Vibe: The Miz and Maryse recovered their mojo this week after two great segments. The power couple attacked CeNikki after their match and I wished that segment ended there to spare us from another uninspired Miz promo. At least Maryse got some to throw an emphatic “bitch” line to Nikki. Their Talking Smack appearance was a lot better. The Miz brought back his personal brand of scathing promos that we haven’t seen in awhile. Hell, Miz should’ve cut this promo last week to start their rivalry on the right track. But hey, at least they actually fixed what’s broken. I hope they can keep this level of intensity in their future segments. Do you think this mixed tag team match at Mania will end in a CeNikki proposal?

Vibe: Dean Ambrose and Baron Corbin also had a great segment this week. Don’t mind the unconvincing forklift spot, this was actually a step up from the Deep Six pyro fiasco from weeks ago. Good job on keeping Corbin as strong as he can be. It will make his first Intercontinental Championship win an intense one. Or if they want to build Ambrose as a fighting champion, this storyline is doing a great job of doing that. Basically, it’s impossible to screw this one up. They just need to keep what they’re doing and we’ll have no problems.

Vibe: The seemingly out-of-nowhere Blissertation segment turned out to be the launching pad for a star-making storyline, not only for Alexa Bliss, but for anyone in the SmackDown women’s division who will step up. At WrestleMania, it will be Alexa against the world as she’s set to face every active member of the Blue women’s division. This week’s tag match gave us a sneak peek of the chaos that will ensue. Natalya backstabbing Becky was a nice touch, preserving her heel persona despite being booked to tag with a babyface. Obviously, the exclamation point was Mickie James finally turning on Alexa with a beautiful Mick-Kick. I wonder if this was a turn for the former champion. And who will be a surprise entrant in this multi-women match? Some big returns and/or NXT callups, perhaps?

Blue: So Mojo Rawley and Dolph Ziggler had an interesting backstage encounter. I guess Ziggler is really the NXT killer now. I don’t know about you guys, but I really think Ziggler’s heel turn was a disaster. I couldn’t care less about what he does next, to be honest. So good for you, Mojo. By the way, can we talk about how they are hyping up the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale by having the participants declaring their entries ala Royal Rumble? That’s really cute. If only the match itself meant something. How about giving the winner a shot at the midcard titles? You know, to give the match a little gravitas? No? Okay.

Blue: The absence of Bray Wyatt didn’t really bother me this week, If anything, it will make his return next week more ominous. What bothered me was the absence of the tag team division. That’s right, for the second week in a row, the tag teams are nowhere to be seen. Hey Creative, this isn’t funny anymore. It wasn’t even funny to begin with. Can’t spare the tag champs some airtime? No Usos promo? What, do you need a third hour or something? I’m not asking for much, just spare some time to remind us that tag team wrestling isn’t dead yet. Or maybe it is?

SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: Despite my problems with some storylines, this week’s show was still better compared to the road-themed PPV last Monday. Hell, this week’s main event was millenium light years better than that red title squash match. SmackDown Live is still the show to beat because every storyline is established, every rivalry is fleshed out, and everyone in the show know their places. The Blue Brand is a well-oiled machine and for that, this episode still deserves a fast and quick A.

Did you enjoy this week’s SmackDown Live? Who do you think should Styles face instead at Mania? Bake me a pie at the comments below.

*****


Ricky Jay Publico (@HarambeMustLive) is a wrestling fan who enjoys watching high flyers and brawlers battle it out in the ring. A known 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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