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SmackDown RunDown Live (8/28/19): Less Roman, More Buddy


Yeah, yeah, NitPickRick’s back, it was better when the other writers did it, yadda yadda. You don’t have to be a dick about it. And, boy, did I pick the right time to come back because this week’s episode was another slam dunk homerun touchdown of a show! 

I missed the first round of the King of the Ring tournament last week so this is my chance to talk about it. And I just need to say that the SmackDown Live bracket wins again! Sure, it could’ve used more big names, but isn’t that what the Blue Brand is all about? Giving opportunities to rising stars? So yes, thank heavens guys like Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles weren’t part of it and the supposed favorites Klike evin Owens and Drew McIntyre were eliminated early.

It definitely feels like the KOTR tournament is anybody’s ballgame, and that couldn’t be more true than this week’s first-round matches. Let’s start with the best match of the night, Ali vs. Buddy Murphy. 



Mr. Knee Strikes McGee over here is on an unprecedented roll these past three weeks. After going unnoticed for months and suddenly getting dragged into the Roman Reigns theater production of Murder on the Orient Express, Murphy delivered three consecutive matches that easily highlighted the episodes they were in. Despite only winning one of them, Murphy pretty much looked great, regardless if he ended up on top or on the bad end of a Spear. 

And this week, he found a perfect dance partner in the form of Mr. Imma 450 Like It’s Nothing Johnson over here. It’s like these two guys think alike or something because, man, they spared no expense in doing a few dangerous spots. Their recklessness made their match a lot better than expected. We’re only at the first round of the tournament but they’re already giving us great encounters. This match basically reminded us to watch 205 Live more and I’m all for it. 



Speaking of great first-round matches, didn’t I tell you my boy Chad Gable will win this entire thing? While my RAW pick got eliminated early, my SmackDown pick punched his ticket to round two in another delightful match against Shelton Benjamin. I know y’all calling my main man all them short jokes. Watch this shorty whip the ass of that Andrade guy who’s always on vacation with his girlfriend. Make a genetically superior baby already. Jeez.

Even the non-KOTR matches were great! Take for instance the seemingly random match of Bayley and Lacey Evans. They didn’t have a reason to have a match that long, but who needs one anyway. They started off clunky, but once they started breaking each other’s limbs, the action refused to let up. We should just get women’s matches this long and compelling. Hell, we should get great matches like this from all divisions. Tag teams, wassup?

And we can’t forget about Big E vs. Randy Orton. I understand this was meant to be a throwaway match to hype up Orton vs. Kingston at Clash of Champions, but Big E looked like a million bucks this week thanks to his controlled frenzy. The way he shifts from being intense to being funny and entertaining was just lovely. One minute, he’s out there proclaiming himself the collector of debts from hell, the next he’s slapping Orton’s butt like he’s a child.



If you need a reminder of what Big E is capable of, this match had to be it. He was all power and finesse that you can’t help but root for him, even when you know The Revival will spoil his fun. This makes Orton the bigger heel for overcoming a force to be reckoned with. This excellent match redeemed him from that terrible opening promo, where he basically just took Samoa Joe’s fake letter from a few months ago for his own family-creeping escapades. Write your own material, man.

SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: Is it possible to fall in love with an episode? I don’t know why I’m so down with this one. I mean, it’s not a perfect show, with the Roman Reigns whodunnit and the Miz/Zayn/Nakamura segments stinking up the place. But the solid matches made this episode the best they’ve done since Eric Bischoff took over behind the scenes. Every single match delivered. That doesn’t really happen often. It’s probably just the stress of everyday life talking, but this episode should be the template for every show moving forward. Make it happen, Eric!

Show Grade: A

RunDown CutDown

  • Technically, it’s just a segment, but the 24/7 Championship finds its way back to Drake Maverick, one of the only two who can legitimately hold it and make it interesting. That's really all we need. Maybe this time, Maverick can finally consummate the marriage. 
  • I completely skipped over the Roman Reigns segments because man, I really don’t care. I’m sorry but I’ve got places to go and things to do. And by places, I mean my bedroom and by things, I mean watching a bunch of blooper reels on YouTube all day.
  • But I did enjoy Daniel Bryan’s overacting when he slapped Rowan around repeatedly. That shit was hilarious. But, sorry D-Bry, your efforts can’t save this storyline from stinking. 
  • I know I missed an episode and I tried to rewatch the show last week, but I still don’t get why Sami Zayn’s leeching off Shinsuke Nakamura. Is he injured? Can he not contend for the Intercontinental Championship himself?

Photos from WWE.com


*****

Ricky Publico (@Peepomania) is Smark Henry's resident SmackDown Live reviewer... for better or worse. He also nitpicks PWR shows when no one's available to do so. A known lover of wrestling tournaments, he's a sucker for well-executed promos and fast-paced matches. He has yet to learn how to operate a microwave. Don't judge him.

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