Welcome once again ladies and gents to the Smackdown Breakdown. I think it's safe to say this has been one of the most turbulent weeks in WWE for a while with the fact we are now only one week away from Summerslam but saw a tragic reminder of WWE's desperation to sell the Network when they mentioned the Network is only $9.99 a month around 30 times during the whole 140 minute show, most annoyingly 10 times in the first 20 minutes of the show. The only highlights to come out of that show for me were the Lesnar and Cena promo video and the contract signing between Brie Bella and Stephanie. The big talking point of the week of course came when it was revealed around 48 hours ago that Alberto Del Rio had been released from his contract for unprofessional behaviour and an altercation with an employee. The way the release was announced is a little strange as no one wished Del Rio all the best in his future endeavours and then yesterday the company Twitter account released a strange tweet that had Del Rio tagged in it. There's something that doesn't add up to me about this whole situation but I guess time will tell if it is legitimate or a work. I do find it kind of hilarious that WWE are calling Del Rio out for being unprofessional when their handling of this situation if it is legit has been anything but that. For more backstage news on the release of Del Rio, and other stories I would encourage you to sign up for a Premium account here so you can keep up to date on all the exclusive backstage information and other perks that come with the service.
With that being said lets head on down into this weeks Smackdown Breakdown and see what this show bought us.
Dean Ambrose Promo - 4 Stars
We opened up this weeks show with another great display on the microphone between Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, two you up and comers who really are going to be big names for years to come. I think the idea of having Ambrose chose the stipulation for the match was a good idea in principle. I would have loved to have seen a JBL's cowboy hat on a pole match, a Cole Miners glove match, or a loser washes Triple H's car match, but sadly none of the above can happen. The Alligators outside the ring could have been a unique sight but who would want to take a bump out the ring for that?
Seth Rollins soon made his way out and showed his frustration at having lost to Heath Slater on Raw thanks to Ambrose by demanding that Ambrose just tell him the stipulation for their Summerslam match. What treat were we going to get? Would the Money in the Bank briefcase be on the line? Would we get some kind of crazy match that would suit their high flying and fast paced styles? No, we got a Lumberjack match. I really am extremely disappointed in this as the stipulation given the booking of the feud up to now has been pretty strong. I hope there is another match after this one but a gimmick match usually signals the blow off to a feud so I won't hold my breath. Seth got to have the last laugh and restore some positivity to the segment by picking Randy Orton as Dean Ambrose' opponent for tonight. I can't fault the work of either man in the microphone in this one but the stipulation for Summerslam leaves a slight bitter taste in the mouth.
Mark Henry and Big Show vs. Rybaxel - 3.5 Stars
Logically the pairing of Mark Henry and the Big show is a pretty good combination. They literally should be called the Worlds Strongest Team, and I don't think there is really any disputing that. In a sense I thought Curtis Axel looked out of place in this one but that was purely because he was the smallest guy in the ring so it wasn't a great surprise he was the one who took the pin. I enjoyed the lock up between Henry and Ryback as they were the two power guys in the match. On paper they should probably have a good match. In reality I'm not so sure that would be the case. While I thought Rybaxel continued to show their great teamwork in this match it wasn't a huge surprise to see Henry and Big Show pick up the win. For some reason I don't expect this pairing to be long term and I can see a match between the two coming down the line.
Sin Cara vs. Damien Sandow - 3.5 Stars
As if it wasn't bad enough that earlier Seth Rollins continued the mentioning of the Network being $9.99 a month, which made me want to pull out what is left of my hair in frustration, the hash tag for this match was 999. As if WWE couldn't get any more desperate to push the Network they sink to a new low I never thought I would see. They really do need to stop, although the fact that it's annoying in a sense kind of makes it stick in your mind so I guess in a sense it's not all bad. Sandow made his way out this week dressed like he was from border patrol marking another unique character he has portrayed. I wasn't a fan of Sandow changing his gimmick constantly at first I actually kind of like it now.
It's going to be interesting to see if WWE push Sin Cara into a more prominent role now Alberto Del Rio has been released. WWE needs a Mexican star to take Del Rio's place and with Rey Mysterio looking less and less likely to return Sin Cara seems to be the only logical fit right now. These two had a pretty fast paced match which was enjoyable to watch that saw Sin Cara pick up a win and also give a good performance.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins - 4.5 Stars
This was a match between two great young stars who are right now at two different ends of the scale in terms of their WWE pushes right now. You have Mr. Money in the Bank Seth Rollins, who looks like he is being groomed to be one of WWE's next big stars and Dolph Ziggler, who puts on some of the most consistent performances of anyone on the roster and has previously been a World Heavyweight Champion but right now just can't seem to catch a break. In some ways Dolph reminds me a little of Mr. Perfect in that he has all the talent in the world but he just can't seem to break through that glass ceiling to get back to the top of the roster.
I liked that this match early on was a nice mix of mat wrestling and some fast paced high flying action. Toward the end of the match it appeared that things were becoming more and more back and forth. I thought Dolph put up a good fight and even looked like he could win the match at one point but it was Rollins who picked up a win in a rather impressive match where both men gave a fantastic effort and made this a real pleasure to watch. And on a side note I was pleased to see that when Seth threw Dolph into the steel steps outside the ring it was done in a way where you can believe he was going to hit it shoulder first.
Natalya vs. Paige - 3.5 Stars
This is one of those Divas matches where on paper it should be a great contest with both these Divas having the opportunity to show their in ring skill and talent. Unfortunately they didn't get as much time as I would have liked them to and instead we saw a pretty short match in which Natalya dominated early on and even had Paige locked in the Sharpshooter, but the Anti-Diva managed to make it to the ropes for a break. Things then went outside the ring and Paige quickly took back control and no sooner had they returned to the ring we saw Paige lock in the PTO for the win. I hope AJ and Paige can have a better standard of match this Sunday at Summerslam and they aren't hit by any time constraints because I genuinely believe they could have a real good match to watch but they need time on their side to have that chance.
Rusev vs. Big E - 3 Stars
At one point during the last few months I could have seen this being the match at Summerslam instead of Swagger being in the match but it seems his push to the top has hit the skids or has been slowed down. Rusev took control of the match from the start and Big E had little offence to get in. When Big E did retaliate to Rusev I thought both men looked sloppy when Big E tried to reverse Rusev in the corner with a take down that failed and when Big E missed his Big Splash it didn't look too great that Rusev still took part of the bump when he went to roll out but was caught by Big E's legs. Rusev picked up the victory in this match that didn't set the world on fire but was alright for most of it. I was disappointed we didn't have a pre or post match promo from Lana but I guess WWE are saving it for Summerslam.
Dean Ambrose vs. Randy Orton - 4 Stars
I saw an article earlier this week about Randy Orton and how he is part of a dieing breed of true heels in the business. While his recent Twitter exploits are not exactly those we would come to expect of someone in the spotlight I happen to agree with the piece that Orton isn't afraid of controversy and displaying the attributes too many guys today are afraid to display to get heat. Was Orton's move smart? No, it was darn right stupid. But does Orton have people who hate him like people would have hated on his dad back during his run as a full time wrestler? Absolutely. And I think if it was done in the right way so as not to offend our often too over sensitive society that more guys would be happy to generate heat by doing things like living their character more and playing proper heels like those who paved the path for todays generation of wrestlers to exist.
The early match was very much a mat based affair with the pace picking up a little going into the break as Ambrose took control. Coming back from the break and Orton was in control once again having targeted the weakened shoulder of Dean Ambrose, and as a result the match reverted back to it's mat based style with Orton controlling things. I actually enjoyed the fact that the pace of this match slowed down and picked up throughout the whole thing and there was some exciting back and forth action. Ambrose was thrown shoulder first into the steel steps on more than one occasion and it again looked better than a standard Irish whip into the steps. It was only inevitable Seth Rollins would make an appearance before the end of the match and he did not disappoint as he came out to try and distract Ambrose. However his efforts did not quite work and Seth had to resort to attacking Ambrose that saw the end result of the match become as disqualification. Rollins continued to attack Ambrose post match and while it looked like Ambrose may one up him he quickly ended up receiving an RKO from Orton which meant Rollins was able to take advantage and gain some revenge for Ambrose and his destruction of the Money in the Bank briefcase on Monday night by pouring soda over Ambrose and telling him that Summerslam will be the end of Ambrose. Seth finished off the assault with a Curb Stomp to end the show.
Overall Show Rating - 4 Stars
This weeks episode of Smackdown was pretty good overall. I thought compared to Raw it had a much better feel and seemed once again to concentrate more on the wrestling aspect of the show rather than being filled with lots of pointless or useless promo's. I think it's safe to say my favourite match of the whole show was between Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler. Both men put in an outstanding performance and really showed why they are true future talents to appreciate. I thought Ambrose and Orton also gave a good account of themselves and were a well worthy main event to watch. I hope that next weeks Smackdown heading into Summerslam can remain just as exciting and really give WWE a strong end going into the biggest event of the summer.
Before I end this weeks Breakdown it was announced that Albert has now retired from in ring competition and is now taking on a role as a trainer at NXT. His last run since his return to WWE as Tensai was a failure really. While he got over with his style in Japan it seemed he struggled to adapt back to the WWE style and did not live up to the main event hype he was handed. While he got more over being part of a tag team with Brodus Clay it would probably be fair to say Albert was hoping for more from his second run in the company. However it hasn't all been doom and gloom and Albert left a lasting impression on the WWE Universe. I was more a fan of his work with the Prince Albert character myself and I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for all the hard work and dedication you gave us over the years Albert and I hope you have nothing but success in your new role.
That just about wraps it up for this weeks instalment of the Smackdown Breakdown. As always I hope you will continue the conversation about this weeks Breakdown by using the comments section below. Until next week I hope you have enjoyed this weeks Breakdown and I hope you will all join me for another exciting edition next week. Until then thanks for reading everybody and so long for now.