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SmackDown RunDown (10/4/19): Friday Night UFC


Hi. I’m #NitPickRick, and I complain a lot. Let’s get started.

It was pretty bold of WWE and FOX to assume that everyone wanted to see a UFC rivalry renewed in a WWE ring. While RAW’s big closer last Monday was Lana kissing Bobby Lashley, SmackDown outdid themselves by ending Kofi Kingston’s fantastic reign as WWE Champion and ushered in the newest trend: mainstream sports personalities crossing over to the pretend sports show. Damn, SmackDown really is the A-show now, huh? /s

In the middle of it all is Brock Lesnar. Of course, it’s goddamn Brock Lesnar. Who else could it be? Vince McMahon probably can’t breathe without seeing Brock Lesnar as the top champion of his company. I was under the impression that WWE is willing to give the Universe a brand new era of pro wrestling. Instead, they brought back the status quo and a champion-less SmackDown. Have fun seeing the WWE Championship once every month.  



Does anyone even know who Cain Velasquez is? Forgive my ignorance, but the last time I checked, this is WWE. I intentionally and unironically chose to watch pretend wrestling instead of real wrestling. Now we’re supposed to cheer for the UFC guy? I’m not saying that Cain has no right to be a pro wrestler if he really wants to. I’m just saying they shouldn’t ruin one of the best WWE Championship reigns in years just to give this guy the chance to be one.

Is the WWE Championship really necessary for Cain Velasquez to come out and confront Lesnar? Whatever happened to the good ol’ interference trick? They did it with the boxer guy and Braun Strowman. Why couldn't they do the same here? The last thing Brock Lesnar needs is a goddamn world title around his waist. Why not have Cain interfere and let Kofi have his moment? It’s so easy to hit two birds with one stone here; they’re just choosing not to.

Oh, and here’s the kicker: the guy has yet to sign a WWE contract. So they are basically going all-in on an MMA fighter who has yet to make a decision. What happens when AEW convinces him to sign an open contract, meaning he’s free to work anywhere? Is Vince willing to share this guy with his biggest competitor? I don’t think so. So that will leave us with no Cain Velasquez and Brock Lesnar with the WWE Championship. Remember how everyone loved that? 



Ultimately, I just feel bad for Kofi Kingston. Sure, his reign had its down moments, but it’s still one of the best storylines of the modern era. From the day he captivated everyone with his Gauntlet Match performance earlier this year to the day he beat Randy Orton last month, Kofi’s reign was a roller coaster ride of emotions, moments, and great matches. We could’ve seen more awesome title defenses had they decided not to hand the title to Brock Lesnar. Urgh. 

And no, don’t tell me to just shut up and accept that it is what it is. I know I have no power when it comes to booking these things, but I can still express my opinions on it. I have the right to react in whatever way I want. And I’m telling you this decision was bad. Terrible. It sucks. It’s bullshit. It’s one of the shittiest booking decisions of the year. Whoever booked this one, fuck you. You’re a terrible person and you should feel bad. Sorry, not sorry.

And so here ends Kofi Kingston’s day in the sun. Sure, he’s now an established main eventer who can help build other stars up in the future, but it still sucks they had to end it that way. WWE went through all this pageantry to crown him the champion, only to ditch him once they found a new UFC talent to play with. I know I should’ve enjoyed this episode more; Shane McMahon is finally gone, The Rock and Becky Lynch opened the show, etc. But the ending was such a bummer.

SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: Other than the greatest crime against humanity that happened to Kofi Kingston, this week's season premiere did a great job in introducing everyone to a new-ish era in WWE. The new intro was great, the new set is bombastic, and the pyros are back. Hype! SmackDown definitely feels like a premium show, and deservingly so. And the best part? We’re back on Friday nights! There really is no place like home. 

Show Grade: A

RunDown CutDown

  • There’s really no other way to kick off this season premiere than to have The Rock electrify the millions (and millions!) once again. This guy never really lost it. He’s still charismatic and bombastic as ever. Becky Lynch was also there with her zingers and I enjoyed watching King Corbin try his hardest not to mark out in front of the People’s Champ. Loved this segment.
  • Finally, Shane McMahon is no more. As a parting gift, he gave everyone yet another spotfest like the only way the Commish knows how. I’m going to miss having a benevolent Shane McMahon around. Hopefully, he can play like a manager role or something in the future. Also, hurray, Kevin Owens!
  • If The Fiend doesn’t win the WWE Universal Championship at Hell in a Cell, I’m going to lose it. Bray Wyatt is killing it right now, and he deserves nothing more than to be the Undertaker of this generation. Give him the win, you cowards. 
  • Also, Michael Cole belongs on SmackDown. It just feels right hearing him back on the Blue Brand, you know?

Photos from WWE.com

*****

Ricky Publico (@NitPickRick) 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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