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SmackDown RunDown Live (1/1/19): Man of the House


So how did SmackDown Live kick off 2019? By reminding everyone who The Man in charge is.

If this week’s awesome segment was any indication, Becky Lynch is in for a wild 2019. For starters, she just told off John Cena like he’s a regular jabroni. Imagine that. The 317-time world champion got outshined by Becky freakin’ Lynch. It’s a game, set, match moment right there. I can’t think of the last time a female Superstar stepped on a top male Superstar. I think it goes way back when Chyna was dominating the Intercontinental Championship scene, right?





SmackDown Live pretty much nailed the best promo of the year, and it’s literally the first episode of the year. Isn’t that awesome? I wouldn’t call this a passing of the torch type of promo since Cena isn’t the measuring stick of relevance on SmackDown, but it’s still a major statement by the WWE. Becky Lynch is the top dog now. She’s the franchise player. She’s The Man. Thank you for your service, Cena, but we clearly moved on. And don’t worry, we know why you’re here. You’re promoting your new movie. Say it straight to our faces already, jeez.
 

And what made this segment even better was that they actually found a space to insert Andrade “Cien” Almas into the mix. Cena and Lynch trading verbal blows would’ve been fine on it’s own, but I guess you can’t just end it with Cena walking away with his tail tucked to his ass. And hey, we got a glimpse of a Cena vs. Almas match. That’s definitely something to watch out for once Almas takes his place as a future main event star. 

WWE is definitely firing on all cylinders with this fresh faces initiative. Don’t even get me started on the main event. It’s a five-way match featuring SmackDown Live stars that are diverse enough to be considered a fresh, never-before-seen encounter. For a few glorious minutes, we saw AJ Styles vs. Rey Mysterio, Mysterio vs. Mustafa Ali, Ali vs. Samoa Joe—you get the idea. And it all ended up with Styles picking the win, which was a bit disappointing.



For one, the “real” AJ Styles isn’t really that different from the previous version. When he was the champion for over a year, wasn’t he authentic already? It’s not like he changed his moveset or mannerisms or his appearance, even. Maybe a devastating loss this week would’ve helped him find the real AJ Styles, effectively finishing his character arc when he wins his first Royal Rumble match. Plus, that would probably make his rivalry with Bryan bigger than ever. Styles vs. Bryan at WrestleMania? Shut up and take my money!

Regardless, Becky Lynch and AJ Styles were the highlights of SmackDown Live’s New Year episode. Creative did a great job of setting them up as the main stars to root for. Sure, the “real” Styles is still unclear, but it’s safe to say that WWE, especially Vince McMahon, wants to keep him as the top male star of the Blue Brand. It’s just that, in the house that AJ Styles built, someone else is leading the pack now. And she’s not just someone—she’s literally The Man. Happy New Year, errbody! RunDown Grade: A

RunDown Cutting Board (formerly known as Some Blue Brand Thoughts)


  • Technically, we should thank The New Day for starting 2019 with a balls-to-the-wall hilarious promo and a reference to Steiner math. Please make them co-WWE Champions in the future, even for like a few months.
  • Here’s a thought. Sooner or later, they have to stop billing Andrade “Cien” Almas as "the future" and actually start building him up as the one. They did that with Drew McIntyre and look how his first run in the WWE turned out. The longer they deem someone the future, the lower their stock gets because people will always see him/her as a rookie that can always afford to lose. 
  • Man, we haven’t seen the last of Rusev vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, have we?
  • I love how Shane McMahon wasn’t texting or calling someone on the phone when he got interrupted by The Miz. Like, managers do more stuff than just calling and texting someone, you know. Next time, I want to see authority figures do their taxes, talk to HR, or facilitate budget meetings before getting interrupted by shenanigans.
  • Poor Sonya Deville. I thought she was headed towards a solo push but this damn women’s tag team title scene decided to show up. Oh well, back to being Mandy Rose’s pawn.
  • The new year means new revamps for my column. I didn’t plan anything crazy, I just decided to trim down my stuff and just talk about what grabbed my interest the most. It’s a lot easier to write on my part. Basically, I just want my life to be easier moving forward, okay? I’m lazy, don’t judge me. Also, I changed the name of this particular segment. No biggie.
In memory of “Mean” Gene Okerlund (1942-2019)
Photos from WWE.com


*****

Ricky Publico (@NitPickRick) 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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