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SmackDown RunDown Live (6/5/18): International House of Bankcakes


What's good, everyone—it's ya boy Ro taking over for a down-with-the-sickness Ricky for this week's edition of SmackDown RunDown Live. Fortunately, it was a good episode this week, so I like subbing for Ricky... this time. I can only hope that I'm as funny as he is. Best effort.

(Also, I'm not kidding—IHOP is rebranding themselves to IHOB. It somehow fits with the whole idea of the New Day being in the Money in the Bank ladder match.)

Pancakes to Face

Not so sure about RAW, but SmackDown Live is doing a great job of building up the tensions on their side of the ladders for both the men and women. It certainly helps that the matches are co-branded this year, so focusing on only four people per match (okay, six in the case of the men, because we don't know yet which of the New Day is going in) allows everyone to get the screen time they deserve.

It also really helps that two-thirds of the matches involving the Money in the Bank participants are solid—and that they're given time to be solid. Charlotte and Becky Lynch got a great TV match out of each other, and it's a SmackDown feud I'd love to see blossom into the summer. Becky's been flying under the radar a bit in previous weeks due to her work with the Iiconics (where are they, anyway?) and Absolution, so this dance with Charlotte is an important reminder of why she's important to this division.



And then we've also got the huge six-man tag main event between the New Day and the SmackDown Heels in the Money in the Bank Match. I don't really mind not knowing yet which of the New Day is going in, but I thought they would get punked this week after looking good against the Miz last week. Alas, they have to stay strong for the kids, it seems. No worries, though; the finish where Miz accidentally pancakes Samoa Joe and Rusev was timely and sensible enough that the heels don't look terrible. They made it work.

Can I Borrow Your Pen?

Meanwhile, over on the championship side, AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura finally sign their contracts (or at least, one of them did) but not without some taunting by the Rockstar. It's entertaining to watch AJ lose his shit over some relatively minor mind games, but you also know that it's going to get real brutal at Money in the Bank.



Asuka also made a handicap match versus Absolution work. Mandy Rose was just there, but the true highlight of what could have been something forgettable was how the Empress of Tomorrow really gelled well with Sonya Deville. Sonya's raw MMA-tinged fighting style looked good, complementing Asuka's brand of Strong Style—I want to see this be a small championship feud when Asuka wins the title. Whenever that is.

SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: No Daniel Bryan, no Iiconics on this week's episode, but you wouldn't really notice with how well all the Money in the Bank participants stood out. (Yes, even Naomi and Lana.) SmackDown continues to do whatever it wants to do with its meager two hours of programming and still knocks it out of the park. You'd think that they should put some guys on every week, but rotating the cast actually helps them avoid oversaturation, making the roster look as deep as it is on paper. I'll give it a narrow A for the hard work the locker room puts out.

Some Brand Blues That Didn't Make It

  • Of all the things that I thought WWE—and SmackDown itself—finally moved on from, why are Gallows and Anderson winning tag title shots with rollups on the champs? What is this, RAW? Didn't we leave this stuff in 2016? They couldn't do a quick match with Sheamus and Cesaro?
  • When is SAnitY coming? The promos have stopped airing. You can't fool me. I haven't forgotten about 'em.
  • How could Jimmy and Naomi prove they're the best husband-and-wife team on SmackDown when they didn't really face the actual husband-and-wife team of Rusev and Lana Rusev?
  • (Where's Jey?)
  • I'm digging this minor feud between Almas y Zelina and Sin Cara. This should be some good, low-key fun, and I wish PPVs were still single-branded so we could see this match get 8-10 minutes on the main card.

*****

Romeo Moran (@roiswaris the Editor in Chief of Smark Henry, one of the three hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast, and is associated with Philippine Wrestling Revolution. He gets by in this hard knock life through working in publishing. Smark Henry was his and Stan Sy's original vision of a watering hole for local wrestling fans. He roots for the undersized guys who hit hard, but really hates Davey Richards with his entire soul. He likes taking your wrestling questions over on his Curiouscat account.

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