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SmackDown RunDown Live (2/6/18): The First-Ever #NitPickRick SmackDown Top 10!



The fact that we’re back to a once-per-month PPV schedule went past my head. Fastlane will drop on March, four weeks from now. Yikes. Now I know why things are moving slower than it should be. But I think the longer build for the next PPV should’ve given Creative enough time to move storylines along and give some guys something to do instead of slowing down all active storylines, you know?


In honor of SmackDown Live’s newest ranking system, this week’s review will also take the form of a ranking system. I don’t know why I felt the need to explain this. Anyway, pretty cool, right? My column changes so much, you can’t predict what I’m gonna do next.

1. The innovative and confusing Top 10 System



I was really expecting they’re going to lay out how the entire ranking system will work. But this week, they just announced the first set of rankings and I’m more confused than I was when they first announced it. For a system that was supposed to shake the landscape of SmackDown Live, they sure did a poor job explaining why do we need to care about it. I still have a lot of questions, like:

How exactly was the voting process executed? Did each superstar nominate one superstar or did they each make a list of their own and management sorted out which names appeared the most?

The first list was just released. Now what? How exactly do we determine the contenders using the list? Do we pick the one with the highest ranking who isn’t champion? Does this mean Bobby Roode can challenge for the WWE Championship?

Speaking of championships, why are champions included in the ranking? If being part of the list allow you to be a contender for a title, why will champions care about the list? They're already champions!

Don’t get me wrong. I think this ranking system is a great idea, I just wish they laid out all the rules and benefits of said system. I’m inclined to believe they’re just stretching this out until the next PPV, but c’mon, Creative. How can you get invested in a game when you barely know the rules?

2. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens tore the house down



The outcome of the main event was predictable as hell but I didn’t expect Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens to go all out in trying to beat each other to a pulp. They didn’t have to, but they still did and I’m thankful for their efforts. They probably thought of the same thing as I did so they tried their hardest to make everyone believe we would have a decisive winner. I almost got worked by preparing myself for a Sami Zayn victory, but then they went with the safer direction and have the Fastlane main event a triple threat. No complaints here.

3. Our favorite managerial drama continues, apparently



I was positive they dropped this angle already, but now the heat is back and you know what, I don’t care anymore. They hit pause on this storyline for weeks, removed every heel-ish intent from Daniel Bryan, and now we’re back to square one where both men have legit excuses for their actions. Now what? We’ll be seeing four more weeks of this thing so I’ll just say what I’ve always said about this storyline: somebody turn on someone or I’ll lose my shit.

4. It was almost Rusev Day but the Glorious One prevailed



Was I the only one rooting for Rusev to win this match? I was so ready to see Rusev get blasted to the top of the midcard again. Expecting a double turn was a bit of a stretch, but I was ready just in case. But alas, Bobby Roode retained the United States Championship in a hard-fought battle. It started off slow but I’m glad the action picked up and we at least got to see an exciting Bobby Roode match, because man I still think he’s a boring character. I was almost disappointed with this match until someone appeared.

5. Did someone order some RKOs fraoarrjrdnawer?



Randy Orton came out, dropped everyone in the ring with an RKO fhshaiaodnawer, and made the segment awesome. These sneaky RKOs will never get old. I guess this means Orton will be gunning for the United States Championship and since he’s #9 at the rankings, he’ll have no problems getting a shot. I had to check this to be sure, but Orton has never been the U.S. Champion. And to think they made Roman Reigns a Grand Slam Champion ahead of him. I guess that’s another reason for Orton to throw shade at Reigns.


6. The Uso Penitentiary sent chills down my spine


The Usos delivered the promo of the night, hands down. It was so good, I had to re-watch it again to make sure I wasn’t dreaming or something. What I enjoyed about their promo is their explanation of what the Uso Penitentiary really is. It’s cool to not make it a gimmick element, in a sense that they’ll eventually wear prison-themed gear or form a stable of criminals. The way they explained everything was so perfect, it’ll be hard to sleep on the Usos from now on. I even forgot the Bludgeon Brothers had a squash match. Just watch it and be amazed.

7. Liv Morgan looked strong in a losing effort


It’s another directionless Riott Squad match, but at least it was fun to watch thanks to Liv Morgan’s fast-paced mean streak. She was able to hold herself together against Charlotte Flair and even if she lost, I still think it didn’t hurt her that much. We’ll probably see Sarah Logan lose to the Queen next week. I wish she at least makes Charlotte sweat for it. Ruby Riott will probably defeat her next next week via shenanigans, so um, yey?

8. American Alpha 2.0 rebrands as Weapons of Tag Destruction


Not really sure if they’re going with this awful name or it’s just a quote from their corny-ass promo, but it’s better than nothing, I guess. It’s great to see Chad Gable and Benjamin gaining momentum still even after failing to win the tag titles. At least teams like Breezango and Ascension are being given spotlights every week. Speaking of Ascension, they looked good this week facing Gable and Benjamin. I was hoping they’d score a surprise roll-up or something.

9. Who the hell asked for these stupid graphics?


Seriously guys, this is getting under my skin. Aiden English’s Rusev Day song in itself was fine, but then they had to add phony karaoke sprites and it ruined the segment for me. How are we supposed to sing along, anyway? I’m really hating all these production changes they’ve been adding in the past few months. I get that I’m being an old-man-yells-at-cloud kind of guy, but what can I do, I really hate it. The only positive change they did was the #AskWrestlerNameHere they started doing on Mixed Match Challenge and this week with the New Day.

10. Tye Dillinger


Who else am I going to put here?

What’s your final verdict, #NitPickRick? What I can appreciate about this week’s SmackDown Live is that they were willing to introduce fresh concepts and new rivalries to watch out for. And of course, how about the great wrestling all around? While I still have some major complaints over how things are going, I’d still give this week’s episode a reliable and safe grade B.


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