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SmackDown RunDown Live (6/2/17): Enter Lana


What are THOSE?! It’s another boring and clichĂ© edition of SmackDown RunDown Live with your boy #NitPickRick running the show. If you’re still not hyped for Money in the Bank, this week’s episode will probably push you towards the hype train. I’m too excited to discuss this one so let’s get down to it.

Money in the Bank Round-Up: Fantastic Matches Galore, Lana’s Debut

The fantastic build for Money in the Bank started last week with an awesome main event match up and this week didn’t disappoint. Shinsuke Nakamura and U.S. Champion Kevin Owens squared off for the first time on SmackDown Live and I was kinda surprised this wasn’t a title match. Creative do realize that Owens can still defend the title during the MITB build, right? Nakamura pinned him twice already, might as well hand him a title opportunity right now. But fine, we got a straight-up one-on-one match and it was a great TV main event. They gave both men enough time to work on the match and I’m just glad they didn’t screw up choosing the right angle for the finish unlike last week. It’s not that hard, you guys.


I’m also happy to report that Nakamura got over clean against arguably the brand’s top heel. That’s saying something. If Nakamura doesn’t win the U.S. title next week, I’d be slightly disappointed since I still don’t want to see Owens’ reign as the Face of America Champion end just yet. This is exactly how they should’ve booked Jinder: have him win matches and let him cut promos week after week to build him up organically, then test his star power by giving him a midcard title. But hey, that’s just me. Anyway, the beanie-wearing Baron Corbin added the cherry on top by planting Nakamura with an emphatic End of Days. I’m so hyped for a Corbin briefcase cash-in somewhere in the future.


Speaking of...wait, I don’t have a smooth transition for this. Um...hey, how about P1 vs #HEEL Part 2, amirite, fellas? I’m so glad they pushed through with this builder vs foundation mini-rivalry even after last week’s probably blundered conclusion. I guess it’s actually better that Ziggler got a clean win over AJ Styles. It made the latter’s win this week a huge deal. I dare say this week’s match was better than their encounter last week, based solely on that beautiful Styles Clash finish. It made me want to see Dolph Ziggler win the briefcase just to see him become world champion once again. There you go, my picks for MITB, Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler. That's coming from an AJ Styles fan.


If you're longing for Rusev to debut on SmackDown Live, you’re in for a treat. His wife Lana finally made her solo debut and I’m just glad she wasn’t a Fandango dance partner-wannabe. She’s still the ravishing Russian and the minute she walked in, she was already an interesting addition to the women’s division. Everyone in the ring was scoffing at her. Even the Women’s Champion Naomi was kind of a dick to her. Lana being rejected by both factions is an opportunity to make Lana some sort of a dark horse in a division thrown back into a Divas Revolution setup. Instead, they just went ahead and aligned her with the Welcoming Committee. Urgh. Now she’s just part of a clump of women.


She may or may not be ready for a solo wrestling career, but still, Creative should still try their hardest to create intrigue or mystique around Lana. But hey, maybe I’m overreacting and they are really planning something big for her. I really hope that’s the case and as much as possible, they shouldn’t place Lana on any alliance whatsoever. Just break up the Welcoming Committee already. Triads of women always ruin women’s wrestling.

Some Blue Brand Vibes and Blues—Live!

Vibe: The Colons were fed to the Colons this week in a tag match that served as a reminder that Xavier Woods is a dynamite in the ring. Seriously, this guy is lit! It’s weird that we don’t see Xavier wrestle that much because he definitely should. But as the New Day celebrated their win, the Usos came out with jokes. No, sorry, they weren’t jokes, they were great balls of roast fire! All three members were immediately rushed to the nearest hospital after suffering from first-degree burns. Kidding aside, the Usos should probably start inflicting physical pain on the New Day before the term “Uso Penitentiary” becomes nothing but an empty threat.

Blue: I love how they gave Jinder Mahal the push of his life but still doubt his ability to headline an episode of SmackDown Live. I think Creative is starting to realize that they pretty much jumped the gun by giving the company’s top prize to a guy who doesn’t have enough star power to carry an entire brand. Oh well, the Indian market must be really worth it, I guess. It’s also weird to see a Jinder vs Mojo Rawley match now that their statuses have been reversed. Mojo is still fun to watch and I still think he’ll be big one day. Oh, and I would comment on Jinder’s post-match promo, but I could barely hear it. Someone tell Jinder we’re not inside a hotel room.

Vibe: You asked for more Fashion Files and this week, we got the funniest one yet! Who knew that all these two goofballs needed to produce a killer segment were three more goofballs to compliment them? I’m also intrigued by the mystery case. Who owns the cologne? Is it the Colons? C-lons? Clones? Good stuff! Fashion Files, please don’t end with a cliffhanger.

SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: I know I said SmackDown Live won’t easily get an A from me, but goddamn, they keep producing shows as solid as this week’s episode, how can you refuse them a high grade? Never mind the lackluster Jinder Mahal promo, this show had everything! Superb matches, a ravishing debut, funny segments, and overall, a great build up of mini-rivalries. So yeah, I’ll be very generous and reward their effort with a solid A. No need to explain why.

Did you enjoy this week’s SmackDown Live? Seriously, Xavier, what are those? Respect my authoritah down at the comments.

*****

Ricky Jay Publico (@NitPickRick) 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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