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SmackDown RunDown Live (4/2/19): Look Ma, No Swerves


What the hell are we even doing here? Let’s just head to WrestleMania 35 already! But fine, I guess there’s one more SmackDown Live episode to go through. I wouldn’t blame you if you skipped this one. You didn’t miss much, except for Kofi Kingston’s raging passion and AJ Styles calling Orton out for his Wellness Policy boo-boos. Everything else, we’re pretty standard, at best.


So let’s start with this week’s contract signing. Out of all the WrestleMania 35 main events, the KofiMania saga was probably the most satisfying to me. I love everything about this buildup, from Kofi Kingston being tapped as Mustafa Ali’s replacement for Elimination Chamber to New Day earning him a world title shot after getting screwed week after a week. If anything, this segment served as the pretty bow on top of the carefully-wrapped present that is KofiMania.


I didn’t even care about whatever Daniel Bryan was saying the entire time. I understand he was trying to “educate” the people by giving them life lessons and I couldn’t care less. I actually just wanted Kingston to shut him up right there and then. But no, ya boy Kofi doesn’t roll like that. He had the composure of a silent storm the entire time D-Bry was rambling and when it was his turn to speak, he could barely contain his passion. He’s hungry, he’s ready, and he’s… Gable? I lost focus there for a second. I don’t know, I’m tired.


Anyway, Kofi pretty much nailed it when he reminded Bryan how these underdog stories end. Seeing as he himself was previously at the receiving end of a disapproving authority, Daniel Bryan will go down as one of the most nuanced villains in wrestling history. If you’re one of the many who rallied behind Bryan back in the Yes Movement days, how did you like the taste of irony when he said Kofi Kingston is just a fad? Maybe D-Bry wasn't screaming because the crowd was too loud, but because he’s trying to convince himself that his reign is not in jeopardy.


And just like that, the contract was signed and the match was finalized. No more swerves, no more surprise stipulations, no more loopholes and one-more-man-to-beat type of stuff (unless you believe the wrong date in the contract he signed is anything but a typo). Just thinking about Kofi Kingston raising the WWE Championship above his shoulders excites me to my very core. I’m not even that big of a Kofi fan but what can I say, underdog stories always get me.


Speaking of underdogs, we have AJ Styles defending the honor of indie guys against homegrown guy Randy Orton. Can you believe this rivalry started with random backstage interactions and then blew up into this war of shoot-style zingers? It doesn’t make sense when you think about it, but if we can get classic lines like “You’re in the WWE getting suspended for failing drug tests!” and “You’ve become the new corporate bitch!” out of it, who am I to say no? And also, who doesn't love an RKO franawtadgsnwer?


But what takes the cake for me was that Kevin Owens had to sit through Orton’s insults about them indie dudes performing in gyms and armories. I don’t know exactly what amused me here but I’ll try to explain. As one of the indie guys who made it big in the WWE, it must be hard to hear a future Hall of Famer belittle the world he came from, even if it’s a work. But maybe he walked out immediately not because that’s his cue to leave, but because he can’t take the insults anymore. Do I smell an Owens vs. Orton rivalry down the line? Ladies and gentlemen, the world’s longest reach.

SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: If not for the scathing opening promo between AJ Styles and Randy Orton and the killer main event segment between Daniel Bryan and Kofi Kingston, this week’s episode of SmackDown Live would’ve bored me to death. Everyone’s been thoroughly hyped for probably the best WrestleMania in history that we’re basically tapping out. We certainly didn’t need the image of Otis Dozovic gyrating at the sight of Mandy Rose. So here’s a mediocre B as I prepare my body for six hours' worth of wrestling goodness.

RunDown CutDown


  • Why is Becky Lynch the only one who cut a promo to hype up their historic main event? Why did she arrive at the arena in a police car? Did she come straight from prison? Where’s Charlotte Flair? Is she still in jail with Ronda Rousey?
  • I’m glad Ricochet and Aleister Black will get their WrestleMania exposure, but I’m really pissed we didn’t get The Usos vs. The Hardyz at WrestleMania. I distinctly remember The Usos cutting a promo teasing the Hardyz as their next contenders, but I guess nothing came out of it. That would’ve been a WrestleMania match right there.
  • The Miz beat SAnitY in a Handicap Falls Count Anywhere match. Let me say it again. The Miz, one man, beat SAnitY, three people consisting of Big Damo and two other dudes, in a match where anything goes. It’s safe to say that SAnitY is done. There’s no bouncing back from this. Let’s just split them apart and push Big Damo as the next monster heel or something.
  • Here’s hoping that EC3, Nikki Cross, and the other displaced NXT call-ups can finally find a home in either brand. At this point, I don’t even care where they go. Just give them their respective programs already.
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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