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SmackDown RunDown (1/3/20): 2020 is the New 2011


I know the new year just started, but let me just ask this again just to make sure: What year is it? Just look at the current landscape and you’ll understand why I’m asking this. CM Punk came back to the wrestling scene (not as a wrestler, but still counts), Edge is rumored to return as an active competitor, and Sheamus and John Morrison made their returns this week. It also helps that Daniel Bryan and Sheamus brought back their 2011 looks and attire.

We’re back in 2011, baby! Kidding aside, I really hope they bring back the fun and unpredictable nature of the early 2010s. We probably won’t get another CM Punk or AJ Lee pipebomb anytime soon, but maybe we can get a rehash of The Dirt Sheet from the now reunited John Morrison and The Miz. Speaking of which, JoMo is back! One of my favorite wrestlers of all time is now back in WWE and on SmackDown where he definitely belongs. 

It’s a shame his TV return wasn’t as flashy as the other returnees and he’s not calling himself Johnny SmackDown. But the fact that he got sent straight to SmackDown is already a win for me. I was afraid he’ll get sent to the other brands to help build talent. Unlike Dolph Ziggler, JoMo’s potential is still worth giving a shit about. And who knows, maybe next week he’ll cut a promo to declare himself as the prodigal Friday Night Delight, Johnny SmackDown.



Before I completely fangirl over here, I’ll move on to another Superstar who made a return this week, Sheamus. I’m not sure why the commentators are calling him The Fella like it's supposed to be intimidating and I’m also not sure if making him a heel is the right call. He did say that the roster has gone soft so he’s out here to get rid of them, but that alone just isn’t interesting. And isn’t that what Drew McIntyre was trying to do when he came back to the main roster?

But hey, there’s no point in nitpicking it because guess who’s also back in town? If there’s a tag team I missed the most in 2019, it’s the certified thugs running the Uso Penitentiary. Needless to say, I was also relieved that the U! SOS! are staying on the Blue Brand. Three of the best tag teams in WWE should be enough to rebuild the ailing tag team division of SmackDown. Let’s just hope they could find a suitable replacement if The Revival walks out of WWE.



The rest of the show went smooth as butter. We started things off with a fun triple tag match that saw Lacey Evans and Dana Brooke pick up the win over the Boss-n-Hug and Bliss-n-Cross connections. I especially enjoyed the sequence where Evans hit Sasha Banks with a nasty Woman’s Right followed by a Small Package Senton Bomb from Dana. I never thought I’d ever enjoy Lacey Evans as the top babyface, but here I am eating it all up. More Woman’s Rights, please!

And how about the Otis and Mandy Rose romance angle, one not plagued with intrigue and cringe and is actually goshdarn adorable? We’ve always known Otis has the hots for Mandy, and I applaud Creative for running with such a wholesome and organic storyline (yes, I consider Otis’ gyrating as wholesome). Not sure about the fat-shaming though, because of course WWE writers, but I still think this one’s a must-watch in 2020.



Even the main event wasn’t that bad, even if it had Roman Reigns and Baron Corbin in it for the 243523523th time, probably because Daniel Bryan was in there somewhere. WWE is already throwing us a red herring in the form of a Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan WrestleMania main event. The odds of that happening are like, I dunno, one out of 372 Drew Gulak slides. But hey, at least this year’s WrestleMania once again feels like it's anybody’s ball game. That’s all that matters, really.   

SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: SmackDown definitely knew how to kickstart the new old decade by bringing back some Superstars we definitely missed last year. With WrestleMania not too far off, this single episode did a great job setting up the storylines that will shape the upcoming weeks. The matches were also substantial and no segment went to waste. And also, John Morrison is back! That alone gets this New Year episode a high grade from yours truly.

Show Grade: A

RunDown CutDown

  • Am I the only one thinking that Kofi Kingston and The Miz should switch storylines? Shouldn’t Kingston be the frustrated one and The Miz the carefree one? That could potentially lead to a darker character progression for Kofi and a more compelling excuse for Miz to reunite with his former partner in crime, John Morrison. Welp, I guess I’ll just binge on some classic Dirt Sheet clips like the fat boy that I was in high school. 
  • Suddenly, I’m behind Braun Strowman as the Intercontinental Champion. I’m not sure what happened, maybe I’m still high from last Christmas break’s graham cake that I prepared myself. #weirdflexbutokay
  • Why is Dolph Ziggler always involved in these romance angles as the douchebag fuccboi? Not really a complaint, I just find it funny how this would be the 3434th time he’ll get roped into other people’s love stories. Maybe it's because he looks that damn good. 
  • Have Sheamus come out to his old Lobster Head theme, you cowards.
  • Is Elias supposed to be the SmackDown counterpart of the Street Prophets?
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 switch back to Android or not.

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