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SmackDown RunDown (2/9/20): Enter the Blood Money Contenders


Before we head down to WrestleMania Pirate Ship, we have to go through SaudiMania ShowDown. And luckily, SmackDown wasted no time introducing us to the contenders who are poised to make the SmackDown champions look good as hell. 

Let's start with the Fatal 4-Way main event match to determine Bayley's #1 contender. You read that right—this week's episode actually featured people not named Roman Reigns and Baron Corbin to close the show. It's like Easter came early or something. That alone made this main event a 10/10 out of my highly unreliable rating system. But kidding aside, this was actually a fun match that shone a bright spotlight on SmackDown's often forgotten daughter, Carmella. 

And the way she won that match was baller. She had to go against Alexa Bliss, Dana Brooke, and the returning Naomi. Not an easy feat, but the Princess of Staten Island didn't resort to dirty tactics. A couple of mule kicks to Naomi led to her punching her ticket to Saudi Arabia. Add the fact that she decisively pinned Naomi, the most credible-looking contender for Bayley at WrestleMania Jolly Roger. I love it when Creative confuses me like this. It's the little things. 



While I'm hyped for Carmella, my hype meter instantly went down after Bayley's pathetic attempt to jump her new challenger. Man, her heel finisher has got to go. It takes way too much time to set up and setting it up doesn't even look terrifying. You know when Undertaker sets up a chokeslam or when Batista sets up a powerbomb? You already know shit's about to go down. With Bayley's version of the Stroke, not so much. It's a shitty move to begin with. 

It also doesn't help that all of the victims of her terrible melee finisher instantly get back up. Bayley didn't even bother finishing the job. She just did her thing and walked away like she won that argument. I can't remember the last time Bayley looked strong or credible as the top woman on the roster and I wish Creative puts all their energy into making that happen. It's WrestleMania Arrr Matey season, for fuck's sake. Make her worth caring about, just this once.



On the tag team side of things, we had John Morrison and The Miz and the much-awaited return of the Dirt Sheet. Granted, they weren't as funny as I remembered, but I appreciated the effort and at least it wasn't another Reigns/Corbin segment. I was certainly hyped to hear Howard Finkel's hokey intro and Morrison's opening jokes once again. And then the New Day came out and it was your standard rivals affair. Nothing spesh, they just had a laugh-off or something.

And then the Usos came out and things got real interesting real fast. For a second there, I was preparing my body for a JoMiz vs. Usos match that would definitely have elevated this dull opening segment. Then Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode came out and goddamnit, it's yet another tag team match connected to Reigns and Corbin. Why is WWE so good at bait-and-switching potentially great match-ups? It's like Kofi Kingston vs. Seth Rollins all over again.



Goooooooooldberg! Father Time himself made it official this week that he's coming for Bray Wyatt's Universal Championship. Out of all the SaudiMania title contenders, Goldberg has the most possibility of actually winning his match. I mean, it's SaudiMania, there's a high chance WWE will choose the stupid route and have Goldberg become champion. And just in time for the layman's WrestleMania? The timing is perfect. He even no-sold Bray's wacky antics. *clutches pearls*

The final days of Bray Wyatt's title run may be upon us. WWE ain't afraid to disappoint fans just to score big money. But maybe, just maybe, The Fiend will add Goldberg to the list of legends he has conquered. Maybe they're actually going all-in on Bray as the new Undertaker and a win over old man Billy over here may score him the biggest victory leading up to WrestleMania Scallawags. After all, Bray Wyatt is not a stranger when it comes to winning at Saudi Arabia. Fingers crossed, fireflies. Fingers crossed. 

SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: After changing up the pace a bit, SmackDown managed to add in more of Roman Reigns and Baron Corbin's neverending storyline in there. But if you focus less on that, we get a show that's far more enjoyable. Everyone's gearing up for SaudaMania and I'm glad they're getting the dispensable contenders out of the way. We even got an action-packed women's main event and the empty husk of The Dirt Sheet out of it. Now that's awesome.

Show Grade: C

RunDown CutDown

  • Braun Strowman's segment had me thinking: have we ever had a smart-ass babyface? I can't wait for a good guy to just say, "Oh, you don't want to face me now? Fine, then you're not getting a title match with me anytime soon. I'm the champion, I call the shots!" Babyfaces can be cunning too, you know. 
  • The Otis and Mandy storyline has yet to fuck up at this point, so I'm gonna let this bland montage of Otis preparing for his date slide. And it ended with him accidentally flipping the table? Hilarious. /s
  • Look at that, Heath Slater got a payday this week thanks to Daniel Bryan. Let's just hope this isn't the makings of yet another D-Bry heel turn. Not that he's not good at playing the bad guy, it's that we just got the Yes! Movement back. Let us cheer Bryan some more, will ya?
  • During a backstage segment, Alexa Bliss was seen putting on her signature gloves. Moments later, she wrestled with no gloves on. In this documentary, I will try to solve—
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 finally got an Android but still thinking of getting an iPad.

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