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SmackDown RunDown Live (9/26/17): Happy Rusev Day!


It’s my jungle now! It’s time for another edition of SmackDown RunDown Live with your favorite rambling host #NitPickRick and this week, well, let’s just say things happened. Why do I have to hype the episode every time? You decide if it’s good or not. I don’t know, I’m just winging it as I go along. Let’s just get on with it, shall we?

Rusev Day is a master class of what great segments should be


Before we talk about the main event, can we address the awesome Rusev celebration? It wasn’t flashy or anything and it didn’t have major storyline implications, but it was entertaining as hell. This segment got everything right: a delusional heel boosting his ego (Rusev #1), an equally delusional and hilarious sidekick (Aiden English and his rendition of Orton’s theme), a perfect response from the babyface (RKOs framatanawere), and a satisfying ending to close the segment (again, RKOs frararanawar). It even had a dose of irony (Rusev saving the mayor who missed his cue to leave) and unintentional humor to boot (the mayor speaking in a pitch higher than your hopes and dreams).


It’s not the promo of the year, but it was simply entertaining and sometimes, that’s just what we need. Rusev’s funny buffoon character blended well with English’s ability to craft and sing annoyingly catchy songs while Orton only has to do one move that always gets the crowd riled up. This highly effective formula of maximizing a wrestler’s strengths should be the norm for all SmackDown Live segments in the future. This week’s Rusev Day celebration made the Rusev/Orton rivalry worth a second look, gave English more time to show off his comedic chops, and provided us fans a new wrestling holiday. Happy Rusev Day, everybody!

Sami Zayn gets to main event and play the bait thanks to Kevin Owens


Another stellar main event from Kevin Owens is in the books after he brutalized his former friend Sami Zayn and almost ended his career, further pushing Owens’ narrative as an unstoppable force when he snaps. Zayn was the right person to bring out this side of Owens and the entire opening segment and the ensuing main event were all perfect in execution. Shane running down for the save and Owens calling him a mom effer only to shove the beaten Sami was another flavorful mind game from the prizefighter himself. Owens vs. Shane is still the top storyline right now and I’m glad they’re not ruining the buildup in any way possible.


If you told me a year ago that Shane McMahon will be involved in a top-caliber SmackDown Live storyline in 2017, I’d tell you that’s the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard. And to think I was so against him facing AJ Styles at this year’s WrestleMania, only to end up praising him after a show-stealer of a match. Sometimes, being wrong doesn’t feel bad or embarrassing. I do wonder, though. When will Sami Zayn’s time come? As wonderful as their opening segment was, I couldn’t help but feel bad about Sami. He really got the shorter end of the stick here. I really hope WWE has some big plans for him in the coming months. Maybe he can win next year’s Rumble or MITB and not squander his opportunity. *squints at Corbin*

The terrible Jinder Mahal promos finally gets it right, and it’s still shit


The terrible Jinder Mahal promos finally make sense to me. These promos were all part of a very elaborate and shitty demonstration of comedy’s rule of threes. Think about it, the first one was the dumb setup, the second one was the edgy one to try and save the dumb setup, and this week was the punchline. It’s absolutely brilliant how stupid this is. Oh, and was I supposed to commend Creative for wrapping these promos with a satisfying Kinshasa? Fuck, no. Why would I commend them for dragging a week’s worth of material across three weeks?


Here’s how I would do it. Let’s go back to three weeks ago and start there. After the first match of the night, they could set up the dumb premise in a backstage segment by showing two Nakamura pictures, then the second edgier promo during the middle of the show. I’ll have Jinder Mahal attack Nakamura in a personal level (and not talk about his race because that’s just dumb, insulting his achievements in Japan would do) and have the Singh brothers dial down on the laughing. Before the McMahon main event, have them do the third one complete with the Nakamura interference. Nakamura will hit Jinder with the Kinshasa twice, kayfabe breaking his nose in the process.


The following week, Jinder will come out sporting a face mask. He will rant about Nakamura and demand that the Artist apologize to him and the great nation of India. Nakamura will “oblige” before attacking the Jinder stable which will prompt the return of Great Khali (because continuity). While Nakamura is stunned, Jinder will hit him from behind and the Singh brothers will follow suit. The segment will end with Khali locking in the Khali Vise Grip and having Nakamura bleed through the mouth (remember when Rey Mysterio did it?). And the week after that, they can just have Jinder face a jobber and cut another promo. Easy peazy.

Maybe my suggestion won’t appeal to you, but I’m sure you’ll agree it’s way better than what we saw in the past few weeks. Anyone wanna book me as a storyline writer?

Some Blue Brand Vibes and Blues—Live!


Vibe: Well I can’t say I called it, but I definitely called it. An epic Hell in a Cell tag team match, baybeee! There’s no better way to end this rivalry but inside the Cell. I was disappointed this wasn’t the first tag team HIAC (type your guess at the comments below) though. The prestige would’ve added more credibility to this rivalry. But still, this was a great move and it gives us a Match of the Year candidate on paper. In other tag team news, it seems that Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley are about to break up after all. I actually think they should both turn heel and refresh their characters. We are short on tag teams, right?

Blue: Following this awesome HIAC tag team match, we got a rather disappointing matchup between AJ Styles and Baron Corbin. I don’t really see why they couldn’t make this a triple threat. I know it makes sense to give Corbin his one-on-one shot that he never really got, but still. Why drag Tye Dillinger along week after week if they’re not going to add him to the PPV? Creative has one more week to make this right and I hope they’ll find a way to add Tye into the mix. Besides, Corbin looks cooler in a triple threat match. Remember Styles vs. Zayn vs. Corbin a few months ago?

Vibe: Charlotte executed a better version of her patented big boot this week as she defeated Carmella. I’m glad at how they’re treating Carmella right now by jobbing her to the top women but still giving her a clear character direction. This is how you should handle an MITB briefcase winner. Anyway, Charlotte has the momentum going into HIAC, but I just wish they gave Natalya better material to work on. Her fake laugh is just the worst. It’s like watching the villain in a school play.

Blue: What seems to be Dolph Ziggler’s final dress-up turned out to be the Undertaker and while that’s okay, I still think he should’ve done a CM Punk entrance. He’ll receive more reactions compared to a very faint “You suck!” chant. The Bobby Roode interference was kind of predictable but I think Ziggler can probably produce a better match with Roode than Nakamura when he debuted, mainly because Ziggler won’t have a hard time adjusting to Roode’s technical style of wrestling. It’s going to be glorious for sure.

SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: I can’t say this week was an excellent show; what I can say is at least every segment got everything right. No match or promo felt out of place; even the Jinder one got everything right. Basically, I’m just relieved Creative is getting their shit together. Questionable booking and missed opportunities aside, this week’s show was a good one and my expectations are high for next week’s go-home show. They better make us care about the WWE Championship and the other midcard matches, because so far, the two HIAC matches are the only ones worth watching. For the meantime, here’s a respectable B.

Did you enjoy this week’s SmackDown Live? What’s your favorite Dolph Ziggler impersonation? Let’s all curse Gabby Concepcion for no reason at the comments below. #FuckYouGabby

*****

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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