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SmackDown RunDown Live (5/15/18): Save Some For The PPV!


I’ll be on full #NitPickRick mode in the next few paragraphs. Read at your own risk.

Way to over-saturate your world title storyline, asshats. Seriously, what the fuck was up with that main event? Why are we giving this PPV-caliber match up for free? And for what, to determine who will decide the stipulation for their next championship match? That’s the wrestling equivalent of using a flamethrower to kill a cockroach, collecting all the Infinity Stones and killing half of the universe just to get rid of your annoying neighbor, and spending all your savings for a high-grade headset just to finally hear ‘Laurel’ instead of ‘Yanny’ and reassure yourself that the reality around you isn’t crumbling. Trust me, that last one totally works as a metaphor.


A Good Show Saddled with a Questionable Main Event


Giving everyone the MITB main event for free to determine the stipulation of the MITB main event is such a bafflingly terrible concept to me. I couldn't stop focusing on its absurdity even during the match. I’m not saying it was a terrible main event, far from it. It was actually an excellent, high-octane match. And that fact pretty much grinds my gears even more—why are we seeing this classic of a match now? Why promote their upcoming match? We already saw it! I feel like this should’ve been the match they ran with at either GRR or Backlash. Shinsuke Nakamura should be champion by now, dammit!


I know I sound absurd right now. “What are you complaining about? We got an excellent main event. Get over it!” you might say, and to some degree, you are correct. But hear me out for a second and tell me if I still sound absurd. For something as trivial as deciding the stipulation, why not have a good old-fashioned beat the clock challenge?

Think about it. Nakamura could then start the show by setting the time to beat, then Styles wouuld try to beat it in the main event, only for Nakamura to bust his balls once again, ensuring that Nakamura still comes out the victor. With this simple booking decision, guys like Tye Dillinger and Shelton Benjamin can get screen time, fans still get plenty of action in one episode, and the main storyline could've been advanced without spoiling the PPV. 

At this point, Styles and Nakamura should already hate each other so damn much that a straight-up civil encounter isn’t enough to contain their hatred. They should be bashing each other’s heads with chairs already, you know, like they did at Backlash? These two shouldn’t be near each other on SmackDown Live episodes and Paige should be doing her job to contain the tension between both men. Whatever happened to the “do-not-touch-each-other-until-the-PPV” stipulations back in the good ol’ days?



Other than that horrendously baffling main event, the rest of the show was pretty good. We opened with a segment between Daniel Bryan and Big Cass. While the big, tall Edge had another long-drawn promo, D-Bry saved it by decimating Cass’ recently injured knee. Like, he really went to town with it. Bryan looked legit pissed. 

It was something a normal babyface wouldn’t do, but I’m glad D-Bry dominated him that way. Babyfaces shouldn’t always be chumps, you know? So yeah, I guess we’re getting a rematch at MITB, but can this be their last encounter? Set up Miz vs. Bryan already! Besides, even if Cass lost to Bryan again, Vince won’t stop pushing the big guy to the moon and back.



And while I’m currently loving Carmella’s title reign, her Royal ‘Mellabration this week gets a ‘meh’ from me. It was the same ‘Mellabration segment she did back in America, only with British references. SmackDown Live GM Paige had to save the segment to announce the new contender for Carmella’s title, Asuka. Well that’s awfully convenient. While Asuka getting a title shot feels undeserved, I get that they probably don’t want the women’s MITB match to be too predictable, what with all the big names already in it. So yeah, let’s see Carmella wiggle her way out of this one.


MITB Hype: New Day and Becky Lynch Qualify


The MITB ladder matches are stacking up nicely as two more Superstars qualify for their respective MITB match. Over on the men’s side, the New Day scored a huge win over The Bar in an undoubtedly fun tag match, allowing one member to be part of the MITB ladder match. This was definitely one of the most interesting qualifying matches ever; and while I was disappointed Cesaro won’t qualify, the possibility of seeing the New Day become the first three-man MITB winner was enough consolation. However, I was a bit irked by how commentary kept dropping hints of a New Day breakup. Do you really want to see these three break up? I know factions and tag teams have an expiry date, but c’mon, it’s 2018. Let’s challenge the formula once in a while.



And finally, things are looking up for our home girl Becky Lynch after beating Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville for a spot at MITB. It was a fine triple threat for what it was as Becky obviously glued everything together while Mandy wowed everyone with her strength. I’m not sure where the former Absolution teammates go from here, but I do know Becky will be a solid favorite to win the entire thing. A huge part of me wants her to win it, not because she’s my go-to pick in these multi-woman matches, but because it’s been a long, long time since she was front and center of a major angle; and an MITB briefcase is an efficient way to bring her back into the conversation.

SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: Not a bad show, really. While they dialed down on the action a bit, they made up for it in advancing and introducing new storylines. It’s just frustrating how SmackDown Live’s habit of slacking off in booking matches and creating a better show overall is starting to once again rear its ugly head out. The booking of this week’s main left a bad taste in my mouth, and that alone earned this show a downgrade of B-.


Some Blue Brand Blues That Didn’t Make It

  • Andrade “Cien” Almas has finally arrived on SmackDown Live. I know I should be excited, but I think he debuted way too early. It’s like he entered a room where everyone’s glued to the NBA Finals or something. I hope they do better than having Cien beat jobbers to build him up in a roster already filled with excellent performers.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Money in the Bank? Not bad. Not bad at all.
  • “Stop cheering when I’m asking an interview question, ya dam bitch!” *plants everyone in the crowd with Dirty Deeds*
Photos from WWE.com

*****

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