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SmackDown RunDown Live (3/13/18): On Dream Matches and Broken Ribs



I remember when I was still a young, naive wrestling fan when people around me would always say that wrestling’s fake, they’re not really hitting each other, it’s all just a play. The dumb kid that I was stayed defiant and believed everything I saw in the ring as gospel. Then one random afternoon, I was browsing for wrestling clips on YouTube (man, I miss being a fat, unhealthy, responsibility-free kid) when I clicked on a video featuring Fabulous Moolah, a fragile old woman in her mid-70s, become champion by defeating a perfectly agile woman in the form of Ivory. And I was like, “Yeah, wrestling’s fake.”



Moolah’s little montage announcing her own battle royale homage at WrestleMania reminded me of how much I fucking hate WWE at times. Someone tell Vince that we’re living in the #TimesUp era where we abdicate and humiliate sexual predators, not immortalize them with a memorial match. This is the same company who refuses to induct Chyna, a woman equally as important to the revolution, into the Hall of Fame because she did porn before her untimely death. But sure, let’s give the old pimp all the highest honor we have. I guess death really does make memories sweeter, huh?

It’s really hard not to make this political since, you know, the abuser’s name is on the fucking title and whoever wins this match will have to carry Moolah’s name in her resume for years. So yeah, Fabulous Moolah’s receiving a cut of someone else’s glory yet again.

WrestleMania Hype: Kicking Off Some Major Storylines



Anyway, let’s focus on the show at hand. Every rivalry is pretty much set for WrestleMania, starting with AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura. It seems like we’re getting a formulaic respectful storyline between these two with light threats and some one-upmanships on the side. That’s fine, I guess, since the hype for this one’s already great, but that doesn’t give Creative an excuse to get lazy and leave this angle on autopilot. They still have to give these two more reasons to really go at it other than the WWE Championship. Basically, I just don’t want the world title picture to get overshadowed by other storylines.



I’m looking at you, this week’s main event segment. Man, was that brutal or what? Shane McMahon’s wheezing sell is top notch, probably a notch higher than Xavier Woods’ twitching sell. But hey, Shane’s rivalry with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn has been reignited. While I’m still slightly annoyed that they rehashed this angle just to avoid a face Owens vs. heel Zayn match, everything still falls into place because after all, these three have yet to end this chaotic rivalry once and for all. So yeah, I’m all in with this new direction. Hopefully, this will lead to a tag team match at WrestleMania with Shane teaming up with...Daniel Bryan? Hit me with a better choice. I’ll wait.



Now let’s talk about SmackDown Live’s newest recruit: Asuka. Although I perfectly predicted everything that happened at Fastlane, I wasn’t able to predict the Empress of Tomorrow choosing to chase down Charlotte Flair. In my defense, I vaguely recall an episode of RAW where they mentioned that Asuka chose Alexa Bliss. Anyway, we got Asuka, errbody! It makes perfectly sense to pit Asuka and Charlotte in yet another dream match. Their short promo this week gave us a taste of Asuka’s unique charisma that will surely spice up the Blue Brand’s female roster. It’s Streak vs. Title at WrestleMania and honestly, that’s good enough for me.



It’s really hard to pinpoint a dull moment in this episode. Down at the tag division, The Bludgeon Brothers’ dominance continues as they took out the surviving members of New Day and the Usos and I’m loving every bit of this feud. Do you think we’ll be getting a 5-on-2 handicap match? I’m not sure the Bludgeon Brothers have to win the titles at WrestleMania. I’d rather see the Usos have their moment by beating these barbarians with the help of their respected rivals, then they can drop the titles to Rowan and Harper at the next PPV. And finally, an RKO that is not quite frakssdfsnaarawer. I’ll still take it.



So how did the initial Mania build stack up? The road to WrestleMania is starting to heat up and this week’s episode did dial up the excitement to full gear. New storylines are being woven and old storylines are getting a fresh coat of paint. SmackDown Live is on the right path in restoring its former glory so let’s just cross our fingers they stay consistent with their efforts. Maybe next week, they’ll introduce more storylines to put guys like Mojo Rawley and Tye Dillinger back on TV again. This episode will get a strong B, but I have a feeling next week’s show will be better.

Some Blue Brand Thoughts That Didn’t Make It

  • I’m really glad they’re slowly dropping the entire Top 10 List system. It was a great idea but not executed properly. Let’s just move on and craft better storylines for everyone. Or if they want to bring it back in another form, at least follow Randy Orton’s advice—make a list that people can actually care about. 

  • My boy Jinder Mahal is having an unforced, logical, totally unforced winning streak and I’m loving it. He had to eat an RKO for it, but still. Give him the WrestleMania win, please.

  • No, Carmella, you’re more of a modern day Vickie Guerrero, and that’s actually a compliment you’ll actually want to hear.
  • Rusev better have a significant role at WrestleMania. Maybe have him win the ATGMBR? Or are they scrapping that match in favor of FMMBR?
Photos from WWE.com

*****

Ricky Jay Publico 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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