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SmackDown RunDown Live (1/8/19): On Impotence and Mule Kicks


To borrow a quote from my favorite Saturday Night Live character, Stefon, this show had everything: Daniel Bryan dicking around at the concession stand, Carmella mule-kicking everyone like her life depended on it, Mandy Rose wearing only a towel, and a Sunset Flip Canadian Destroyer. What is that? Oh, it’s that thing where the past and the future meet in an epic showdown of lucha libre. *desperately tries to prevent breaking character*



Seriously, this episode had almost all the challengers going over, the champions might as well retain all their titles at the Royal Rumble. I guess there’s no better way to start the discussion by talking about this week’s marquee match. In a more superior version of their encounter last year at SummerSlam, Becky Lynch, Carmella, and Charlotte Flair gave us a main event for the ages. No one walked out looking bad from this match, Carmella’s repetitive offense be damned.


I know I should raise my eyebrows at the result since we’re all expecting Becky Lynch to go after Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania 35. The Man should be out there winning the women’s Royal Rumble, dammit! But what can we do? They shut us up with a fantastic triple threat match. Am I supposed to argue? Besides, they could probably find Lynch a spot at the Rumble if she loses. And it’s not like Asuka’s going to lose the title that quickly. She’s going to reign for at least a year. Did someone order another undefeated Asuka streak?



I’ve joked about Carmella earlier as my way of saying she did great this week. Corey Graves pointed out during the match that she’s been busy doing dance breaks lately that she forgot how to act like a champ (great commentary FTW). Thank goodness for this match then for reminding everyone that Mella is definitely money. The fact that she delivered over 9000 mule kicks shouldn’t distract you from the fact that she held her own against the top stars of SmackDown Live. I say give her another title run because she deserves it.



The WWE Championship picture’s looking pretty active as well. Sure, AJ Styles got a few punches in, but Daniel Bryan still came out strong despite having mustard spilled on his shirt. For once, Styles got to shut Bryan up from his hippie sermons with a sneak attack. Does that make him the “real” AJ Styles? Heck, no. We need more substance for his new persona to work. Styles need to step up his game because Bryan's hippie champion character is out there calling everyone impotent, beating up R-Truth, and hogging the spotlight from him. It’s not entirely a bad thing since Bryan’s good at it. I just need Styles to do more.



Do we need another reminder that SmackDown Live’s tag team division is superior compared to RAW? We do? Okay then, here’s a lengthy match featuring The Bar and The Usos. And just for the heck of it, here’s Mandy Rose seducing Jimmy Uso. And if you’re still not down with that, here’s The Miz and Shane McMahon staking their claim as the best tag team in the world. In one swoop of a segment, The Bar looked like a million bucks, Naomi and Mandy Rose got their storyline in, and Miz/Shane became the plucky tag team to root for at the Royal Rumble. If I had a mic right now, I'd drop it.



And although he’s not in any title picture, Andrade “Cien” Almas did the next best thing—pin the company’s most celebrated luchador. Mind you, they didn’t have to produce a tag match that good, but SmackDown Live tends to do things for the hell of it these days. Didn’t your poor smarky heart just melt when you saw that incredible sunset flip Canadian Destroyer from Rey Mysterio, who’s supposed to be taking it easy by now? But Almas still bested him for the pin, marking his first significant win since stepping to the main roster. Oh, and this guy just did a photoshoot in full Team Rocket gear. I’m guessing it’s for the hell of it.


SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: Who knew making the champions and challengers looks strong could be this fun? SmackDown Live certainly did in this instant classic of an episode. It’s the type of show that gets you at the edge of your seat because someone will definitely deck someone from behind or mule kick someone in the face. Creative didn’t waste a single minute of action this week, something that every show should start doing already. Here’s a sparkling A+ for added incentive. Keep ‘em great episodes coming.

The RunDown Cutting Board

  • The only thing that grinded my gears this week was the seemingly nonsensical storyline between Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev. I get that they wanted this to look more personal, but it completely fell flat on its face, pun accidentally intended. For one, Lana’s “fall” didn’t even look that dangerous. Did everyone just forget that Lana is also a wrestler? She has had matches before, you know. That landing was nothing. Why’s Rusev acting like she snapped in five places?

  • And what’s this notion they’re trying to plant that Lana got “hurt” because a man fell onto her? That’s some next level stupidity right there. It completely took me away from the story they’re trying to tell. Nakamura blaming Rusev for what happened to his wife could be an interesting angle, I just wish what happened to Lana was actually career-threatening. She took a bump, Rusev. She’s fine. Edit: Rusev and Lana are teasing that they're pregnant. Regardless if this is true or not, there has to be a better way to write Lana off TV. Just sayin'. Congrats to the both of them!
  • For real though, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson deserved to be in that Bar vs. Uso match. Anderson was the one who scored the pinfall last week. Where’s the love for The Good Brothers?
  • Last time I checked, using a microphone isn’t a crime against Mother Earth. Maybe D-Bry wants to use one when cutting a promo amongst the people.
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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