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SmackDown RunDown Live (8/7/18): The New Day CAN Do Everything!


To be honest, I thought I’d hate this new promo-heavy format SmackDown Live is currently exploring. It’s a freakin’ wrestling show, of course it has to have some wrestling in it. But I am slowly realizing the genius of it and I feel stupid I didn’t get it the first time.

In order for this new format to work, Creative had to step up and churn their brains really hard to produce well-written promos and clever segments. Luckily, the Blue Brand is killing it with how they’re building up the SmackDown Live side of the SummerSlam card. Focusing heavily on promos and character development is an efficient way to move the storylines forward compared to having the roster wrestle each other week after week.

Weren’t we the ones who constantly berate WWE overworking their employees? Here you go, they actually found a way to have their cake and eat it too. If I had a hat, I’d tip it to the Blue Brand for their newfound direction.

The Battle of the Weeaboos Tears The House Down


SmackDown Live’s tag team division is far more superior than the RAW roster. Don’t @ me.

I’ve said this before, but the main advantage of the Blue Brand over their Monday night counterparts is that they care about their roster. Anyone who is bold enough to take the spotlight can do so, at the risk of putting their world champion on the sidelines at times. The fact that two tag teams got to main event a show despite not having a big star tagging with another big star speaks volumes about how much SmackDown Live cares about giving their roster the spotlight they deserve.

And the ones who received the spotlight this week? None other than The Bar and the ever versatile New Day. They got the spotlight, threw caution to the wind, and just tore each other apart like their lives depended on it. After a night of storyline progressions, an explosive main event took everyone for a ride. The crowd was hot all throughout the match like they were not tired at all. You know why? Because they weren’t bombarded with meaningless matches. They were able to produce one hell of a match by simply working their asses off.




I would’ve preferred if The Bar won and went on to face The Bludgeon Brothers but New Day’s victory was so well-earned that it’s hard to hate it. So yes, let’s see Bludgeons vs. New Day one more time. I’m pretty sure they’ll tweak the narrative for their second encounter.

And speaking of The Bludgeons, I just want to commend Creative for carefully booking OP characters out of Rowan and Harper. They only appear in backstage promos, but that gives them an ominous vibe. And when they finally come out, it’s always a violent delight to see them destroy their rivals and random jobbers. You know what would complete their overall badassery? A proper double team finishing move. Stop overusing the Tower of Doom, dammit!

Moving the Narrative Forward with Great Promos


You bet your ass I’m going to talk about AJ Styles' awesome promo this week! It’s not as good as Joe’s, but it did deliver on the emotion and contempt. I didn’t even think it was possible to make a rivalry personal just by trading verbal tirades on a weekly basis, but it’s like the story writes itself. It’s so natural and believable that it’s hard to question it. It just works.

Styles also benefits from this setup because holy hell, this guy works harder than the devil. I’d rather see him take it easy and cut promos than to wrestle guys like Almas every week. I just hope that one of these days, they place him or Joe in the main event, even for one episode. They’re not headlining SummerSlam anyway. Let’s throw them a bone once in a while.



And how about that stellar opener from Randy Orton? It’s a modified version of his promo from two weeks ago, but heel Orton laying out his diabolical plans is always a fun listen. I’m curious why he wasn’t added to the United States Championship match, though. I guess it’s good fuel for Orton. He’ll probably demand to be added to the match because he thinks he deserves to be in it. Just add him to the match already.



Not all promos were fantastic. Some were just okay. Case in point—The Miz accepting Daniel Bryan’s SummerSlam challenge just like that. What was the point of denying Bryan last week then? What happened to the mind games, the power play? Did the stunt baby die for nothing? We already know it was going to happen. The least they could’ve done was lead up to it with the same level of care they put in their past promos. But fine, we’re getting Miz vs. Bryan, I guess. I’m still hyped to see it; I just hate anticlimactic build-ups.  



And while this technically counts as a match, I’m going to lump this one here because it wasn’t really a match. After sloppily executing the final sequence of the match that will supposedly bring more drama, the once interesting turmoil within the Rusev Day family comes to a screeching halt. I guess we’re getting Rusev vs. Aiden English, a rivalry that seems undeserved, mainly because the emotional connection between the two was never established. 


There Were Other Matches Too, You Know


I almost forgot that there were other matches this week, so let’s lump them together here. First up was Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch teaming up to defeat The IIconics, with Charlotte picking up the win for her team. Becky’s face alone told the story and I absolutely loved the subtlety. All signs lead to a Becky Lynch heel turn but I believe she doesn’t have to turn. Why can’t she be a more focused and conflicted babyface like Daniel Bryan? The dark side already took Sami Zayn, let us keep Becky Lynch, please!



And for a few seconds, R-Truth stole the show by challenging Shinsuke Nakamura to a title match. After years of inactivity and irrelevance, Truth’s still digging the comedy gold mine like he lives in it. Pinning Carmella to earn a United States Championship match? Now that’s someone with advanced thinking, as the cool kids say. Obviously, Truth received a Kinshasa to the face for his troubles, but it was a fun ride while it lasted.

SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: It’s fair to demand more wrestling action from a wrestling show, but if you’re like me who enjoys a great wrestling storyline more than mindless fighting, you should appreciate the strategy the Blue Brand are trying to pull off. For the third straight week, all storylines from top to bottom advanced seamlessly, for better or worse. And to think they managed to cap off the episode with a banger of a main event? C’mon, they deserve some major props just for that match alone. Here’s another strong A for their efforts.

Some Blue Brand Thoughts That Didn’t Make It


  • Here’s a depressing thought: The former members of the Wyatt Family are the most OP on their respective brands—except for Bray Wyatt himself.
  • 3KS or whatever their name was good. I guess SAniTY wasn’t available.
  • Now I want to see R-Truth become United States Champion once again, just because. Hey Paige, book him against Carmella already!
  • “I’ll show you how to do my job!” *plants Kramer King 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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