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SmackDown RunDown Live (8/28/18): Don’t Go Full Saxton, You Bitch!


Before I start this week’s column, can I say something about this #BooBeckyLynch campaign? You’re goddamn right I ain’t done ranting about this clear trainwreck. This isn’t me trying to be cool and edgy; you already know I’m far from being the coolest dude in the room. But the entire argument that we should boo Becky so her heel turn can be successful is so absurd.

The campaign is basically saying we should just go with whatever narrative WWE is serving us. Be good boys, wag our tails, and play dead. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. Congratulations, our overlords will love your loyalty. Why should we support a vision that’s clearly wrong? How about we continue giving her a positive reaction until we prove WWE wrong? Let's make them correct the narrative by doing Becky good. Now that's a fucking call to action. 

As stubborn as he is, it's not impossible to change Vince McMahon's mind. That's why we have the legend of Daniel Bryan in the first place. Remember when Bryan was nowhere near the WWE Championship back in 2014 but fan support for him was so overwhelming, they had no choice but to make WrestleMania 30 the pinnacle of the Yes Movement? It seems impossible, I know, but we do have the power to change things in the WWE. Complying to what they want isn't the first step. 

And now they’re applying the same formula to the guy they spent a lot of good will priming for the big leagues—Braun Strowman. Remember when he won the Saudi Arabian Rumble? Or when he lifted that truck/ambulance/spaceship? Or when he blew a kid’s mind by making him an ACTUAL champion? That’s right, folks. We’re supposed to boo this magnificent man now just because he’s feuding with the holier-than-thou Roman Reigns. I suppose some dumbass will start a #BooBraunStrowman campaign for him, too? 

Screw that. By all means, keep cheering. Cheer for Becky Lynch. Cheer for Braun Strowman. Cheer for whoever you think is in the right. Support the real heroes.

Did The Triple Header Deliver the Goods?

The short answer is yes, it did! The long answer is yes, it did a great job advancing three of SmackDown Live’s top storylines. Let’s dissect them one by one because you totally value what I have to say, you nerds.


This week’s main event took care of the lingering former champion to give way to the more epic storyline of Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch. It’s Carmella’s grand exit from the title scene and her final attempt at glory sends her full circle. I like how the match wasn’t the most technical of them all, but it told a great story about Carmella’s belief that she can beat Charlotte for the third time. Her frustrations grew and grew until Charlotte bounced back and pinned the out-of-focus challenger. Great stuff.   


Then out came Becky Lynch to blindside the champion and call her a bitch. Damn, Becky, you kiss your mother with that mouth? Everyone just loved her even more, though. I guess what they could do now is to hope that her heel turn will remove her from the bland hero mold and turn her into a more badass version of herself—making Becky Lynch a bigger star than she is. You know, the strategy Creative could’ve done with John Cena and Roman Reigns? I hope they’re intuitive enough to execute such a gameplan. I doubt that they are, but I'm seeing a glimmer of hope.

That glimmer of hope came from Charlotte's awesome backstage interview before the main event. Her lack of self-awareness and her dismissal of Becky Lynch's side of the story gave me hope that there's a double turn brewing at Hell in a Cell. She basically said "Sucks to be you, Becky!" and that's not entirely a babyface thing to say. Whether they're just teasing us or not, this entire dynamic had me hyped for their match next month. They better headline Evolution on October or we riot. Amirite fellas?


Meanwhile, the second header of the night featured a surprise match between Daniel Bryan and Andrade “Cien” Almas. Let me just say how I appreciate the way they’re building up Mr. Five Star up. I’m so relieved they’re not using the Alberto del Rio route where they just give him random victories just because he’s Latino. Yes, let him wrestle top stars like AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan to slowly implant him into our collective memories.


And you gotta love the subtlety of the Mizanins’ mockery of the Bryans. Bryan mentioned that the couple mocked his retirement, so what did they end up mocking this week? Bryan and Brie’s backstage looking-at-the-screen segment minutes before they came out. It’s freaking subtle, but it did reveal what Miz and Maryse are all about. Miz doubled down on the parody by later putting Bryan in a poor imitation of the Yes Lock to make him watch Brie get planted with a French Kiss. I loved every single bit of this header from top to bottom.


The third header involved more mind games from the Cerebral Assassin Samoa Joe and I can’t possibly care any less. I’m glad the segment didn’t drag because I would’ve skipped it myself. This is the only time I’m using the adage “don’t like it, don’t watch it” as a defense for not enjoying myself. Let’s just proceed with the championship match already.

The Only Way is Up for the Tag Team Division

Say what you will about Paige’s fascination with tag team tournaments, but it’s doing a great job showcasing the Blue Brand’s tag team division. I bet you were surprised as I am to know that The Colons are still part of the roster. Who would’ve thunk it?


Anyway, this week’s 3594th tag team tournament featured a tag team triple threat between The Bar, The Good Brothers, and The Colons. Was there any doubt that Sheamus and Cesaro will win this one? At least their victory didn’t feel like a fluke. It was a hard-fought victory with the other two teams doing their best. I especially liked the double backstabber from Primo and Epico. That shit was dope. Next week’s match is a lot more intriguing with Rusev and Aiden English thrown into the mix. Here’s hoping that The Usos make it to the finals.


And King Booker’s return to knight The New Day into the Five-Time Champions Club was just fun. From Big E using the Stanley Cup trophy as a pancake dispenser to Big E not getting a royal name ("You already have “Big” in your name, sucka!") and failing to do a Spinaroonie, it was basically just the Big E show; but it’s still great. I didn’t even know there was a club for five-time champions. Why didn’t Booker T welcome Kurt Angle? Did they have like a rivalry or something?

SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: You know what sets SmackDown Live apart from RAW? There’s no threat of a chosen one looming around the arena and affecting the quality of the show. Despite my eternal complaints, I can’t deny the fact that every active storyline is well taken care of with either great segments or fantastic matches. And look at that, a women’s storyline is being treated as the premium storyline. When’s the last time that happened? So take this A and continue doing good work, everyone.

Some Blue Brand Blues That Didn’t Make It

  • Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy taking their rivalry inside Hell in a Cell doesn’t really make sense. As far as I’m concerned, their rivalry ended last week when Orton got his comeuppance. And to think they’re putting a B storyline in the Cell, but AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe still isn’t? *shrug*
  • Naomi once again ate a big L, this time against one half of The IIconics, Billie Kay. Man, that must be rough for the former Women’s Champion. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad the IIconics are getting sweet Ws, but at the expense of Naomi? There must be some form of pay-off coming out of all of this.
  • I like how they addressed the trope of the GM randomly coming out to make matches on the fly. Yes, GMs tend to do that.
  • Now that Carmella’s free, maybe she can go start a feud with R-Truth already. #GiveTruthAChance
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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