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SmackDown RunDown (11/22/19): Bringing a Tank to a Fistfight


I finally pinned down why I'm not as hyped for this year's brand warfare as compared to the previous ones. It's been staring me right in the face for the past few weeks but I just couldn't put my finger on it. I can't believe it took a stupid tank to figure it out. Simply put, it's not really fun when only one brand is working hard to make the storyline compelling.

From day one of this feud, Triple H and the rest of his DX NXT army put out all the stops to prove why they are the best brand in WWE. They didn't have to—fans already think they are the best—but since they're that damn good, they did it anyway. NXT fired the first shot in an epic SmackDown episode four weeks ago. And right until the Survivor Series go-home show, the Yellow Brand is still the one doing the legwork, DX tank and all.

Let's talk about the tank real quick so we can get it out of the way. Yes, NXT using the DX tank to invade SmackDown was stupid and completely unnecessary because after all, Roman Reigns did open the doors to anyone who wants to attack. But this actually proves my previous point: NXT is the only brand willing to do this kind of stunt to gain momentum. Both RAW and SmackDown didn't plan anything spectacular. They only had one game plan: incite sneak attacks and clusterfuck brawls.



While the Red and Blue stuck with their brainless strategies, Triple H was out there trying to make things interesting by trying to recruit Superstars and encouraging brand betrayals. This whole warfare could've been a million times more interesting if the other brands did more than throw fists. SmackDown didn't even use Braun Strowman, their supposed ace in their sleeve, during their invasions on RAW and NXT. That's a dumb oversight if I ever saw one. 

If only RAW and SmackDown had an authority figure each to lead their respective rosters to war. It's not really a war when the armies involved don't have generals and figureheads. That's why NXT kicked their butts almost all the time. It's like WWE desperately want to establish NXT as the A-show when they're just preaching to the choir. The RAW and SmackDown rosters looked like chumps, even when they both had capable soldiers in their infantry. 

Oh well, it’s not like I’m boycotting Survivor Series or anything. Besides, we still have Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt (provided they don’t wrestle under red lights) and the dream triple threat matches to look forward to. It’s not even fun to make predictions at this point because NXT already won and we’re guaranteed to get epic matches anyway. So if you’ll excuse me, I’ll  go ahead and watch NXT TakeOver WarGames



And before we go, let’s talk about that gorgeous, newly-minted Intercontinental Championship. I’m not really sure why they introduced a new design on a random episode, or if the current one needs a redesign in the first place. But the new design rocks! Sure, it looks more like it belongs to NXT, but the new title looks hella prestigious and is actually worth chasing. Shinsuke Nakamura better defend this badass belt with fantastic title defenses. 

SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: A lot of brawling happened and a goddamn tank tried to steal the scene, but overall it was a fine go-home show. Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks vs. Rhea Ripley had one of the most creative finishes in SmackDown history, while the Undisputed Era proved just how golden they are with a great 8-man tag against New Day and Heavy Machinery. D-Bry vs. Miz was also a fun one, and the Fiend looked strong, too. But yeah, the tank’s pretty stupid.

Show Grade: B-

RunDown CutDown

  • Aside from the Undisputed Era and Shayna Bayzsler, Rhea Ripley is getting a much-needed rub and I love it. In the span of this entire build, she has faced off with three of the Four Horsewomen and was able to pin Charlotte Flair. Now that’s momentum.
  • And hey, Toni Storm was here! I hope she becomes part of the NXT women’s team. I feel like I haven’t seen her in a long while.
  • I would watch The Miz and Daniel Bryan cut promos against each other all day.
  • The low-pitched sound during Bray Wyatt’s attack was so unnerving to a fault. I get that they want the Fiend to be as unsettling as possible, but overproducing his gimmick will also ruin it for everyone. Get rid of the red lights, no low pitch sound, just keep it simple and we’re good. 

Photos from WWE.com

*****

Ricky Publico (@TeetotaleRicky) is Smark Henry's resident SmackDown reviewer... for better or worse. A known lover of wrestling tournaments, he's a sucker for well-executed promos and fast-paced matches. While he enjoys nitpicking shows, he now prefers enjoying wrestling for what it is instead of stressing himself over things he can't control. He's also deciding whether to buy another iPhone or not.

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