It’s that time of week again where I get to sit down and dissect the weekly goings on from WWE Smackdown. It’s always a pleasure and an honour to have the opportunity to put my thoughts out there for the world to see and I hope that my insights prove of interest to all of you as readers. I am always open for ways on which you think I could improve the Breakdown so if you do have anything you want to say please feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. I will only ever get better with your feedback and I would greatly appreciate the feedback.
Moving onto this week in WWE and I was really pleased with WWE’s effort with Raw again this week as while the wrestling wasn’t all what made the show great the promo’s and outcome from those are what really made the show great. I’m so pleased we are going to see Stephanie and Brie Bella face off at Summerslam, and while it may not be a technical master class I think it will be a great match to watch purely for the real life feel of the storyline. Sadly the news in WWE this week wasn’t all that great with the announcement that the WWE Network has only increased it’s subscriber numbers up to 700,000. This could well be seen as a blow to the company given that renewals are due to commence soon for the six month commitment but we have to bare in mind that the expansion internationally will now begin with an over the top traditional service being announced for Canada, whilst the UK will finally be getting the Network in October. It will be interesting to see the numbers of international subscriptions as well given the known fact some fans outside the US have gained access to the Network and how many will change their details to their home details as this will surely alter the subscriber numbers further. Sadly also for WWE they announced a 7% staff reduction which means people will be losing their jobs. It’s always an unfortunate situation when that has to happen and I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come for WWE for the future. Hopefully the company will begin to gain momentum again in the near future. With that being said lets head on down into this weeks instalment of the Smackdown Breakdown.
Jack Swagger vs. Cesaro – 4 Stars
This is a match up of two former tag team partners who were of course part of the Real American’s tag team. Swagger looks rejuvenated since he was given the chance to do this real American gimmick against Rusev and the crowd reaction shows that he has gotten over with the fans. This match was a pretty back and forth effort where both men really gave it all they had. I liked seeing Cesaro do some old school heel tactics and give Swagger a thumb to the eye behind the referee’s back to take advantage. This was a pretty good wrestling match and it saw Swagger pick up a victory to continue his momentum into Summerslam. Inevitably Lana and Rusev came out post match to challenge Swagger to a flag match at Summerslam, which Zeb accepted on Swagger’s behalf. While I think it’s good these two get to face off on a big stage I’m not sure I really feel the need for it to be a gimmick match. However I understand the reason given the fact these two seem to have grown a second attachment to their respective flags.
Randy Orton Promo – 4 Stars
I loved the brutal beat down Orton gave to Roman Reigns on Raw this past Monday. It was great to see signs of the old Viper coming back and he has been reminding me a little recently of when he went through the stage of being diagnosed with intermittent explosive disorder back in 2009. He was intense throughout this promo and when Orton is hitting all the right buttons like he is at this time he proves to everyone why he does his best work as a heel and can be one nasty piece of work. I’m looking forward to seeing Orton and Reigns square off at Summerslam and this short but sweet promo moment was designed to just wet our appetites further which I believe it duly delivered on.
R Truth vs. Bo Dallas – 3 Stars
So we all saw the inexplicable ending of the Bo Dallas win streak this Monday on Raw when he lost to R Truth, which in my mind was a strange decision as it’s not really like R Truth even had any real momentum going into the match as it was. Some of the work in this match wasn’t brilliant to watch at times and it sadly ended with Bo being disqualified for going all out and beating down Truth. While this gets Bo over as a heel I get that feeling that Monday was the first of many nails in the coffin of his push. It will be interesting to see how he is booked going forward.
AJ Lee vs. Rosa Mendez – 3 Stars
I find myself questioning how Rosa even gets onto Total Divas, but not half as much as I found myself questioning how she even got a match this week against AJ Lee. The match itself was nothing to write home about given it lasted only seconds as AJ made Rosa tap out to a Black Widow. What saved this segment for me was Paige, and while I may be a Brit and biased I thought she really made the end of the segment special with her pushing AJ off the entrance ramp to the concrete floor and hearing her shouting out how AJ is still her best friend and how the paramedics need to be careful with her. This really is showing a much better side to the Paige character and I really am looking forward to these two facing off at Summerlam and hopefully having a more successful effort than their Battleground match.
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins and Kane – 3.5 Stars
Talk about stacking the deck against Dean Ambrose going into Summerslam when he faces Seth Rollins. The Authority really are looking to take Ambrose down to make Seth’s job much easier. I really enjoyed the pre match promo cut by Ambrose as he was intense as always, and his comments about Kane having to bring a second mask for Rollins to wear after the match bought some interesting images to my head. I’ve noticed a lot of handicap matches these days seem to involve the two men tagging in and out which isn’t perhaps a bad thing but I remember when a handicap match was literally just that and that’s something I sometimes wish we would see more of.
Ambrose continued his great job of selling his shoulder and the offence of Rollins and Kane well throughout this match. The aggression displayed by Seth Rollins when he would come into the match and assault Ambrose was great to see and it made it more special that Seth only wanted in the match when Ambrose was down as when we saw Ambrose mount his comeback and really go for Rollins it made the moment much more special. We saw just how desperate Ambrose appeared to be to do anything to win when he did the suicide dive out the ring onto both Rollins and Kane. The match ended with a disqualification after Ambrose attacked both Rollins and Kane with a steel chair. Unfortunately we have to wait a little longer for Ambrose to really take it to Seth as he escaped the ring before Ambrose could extract any revenge. Unfortunately for Kane though he ended up baring the brunt of Ambrose’ anger.
Fandango vs. Diego – 3 Stars
I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought this but was it really wise of Layla and Summer Rae to wave around red scarves with a bull around? This was a rematch from Raw which in itself wasn’t anything to write home about as it was. This one was a slight improvement that saw Fandango go with all out aggression from the bell. As expected though Layla and Summer Rae provided a distraction by dancing with El Torito to Fandango’s music which then saw Diego pick up a win. What I found more disturbing to watch was Torito practically touching up Summer Rae with his hands all over her. Saying that if I was in his position I would probably have enjoyed myself too.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler – 3.5 Stars
Both men went straight into this match aggressively from the opening bell and really showed some great intensity. We also saw Miz on commentary for this one and his money maker was of course talked about on several occasions. Miz not wanting to be hit in the face reminds me so much of the Shawn Michaels and Rick Martel stuff back in 1992 when they faced off at Summerslam. Miz provided a distraction for Ziggler as he continued his acceptance speech from Raw and thanked Dolph for giving him the opportunity to defeat him. Ziggler lost his head and wen after Miz, which gave Del Rio time to recover and pick up the win with a cross arm breaker. It’s likely we will see Miz versus Ziggler as a minimum at Summerslam but I hope we see Sheamus added to the mix with the US and Intercontinental Championships on the line in a unification match. By getting rid of one title it will at least restore some value to the other and if I’m honest I’d rather see the US Title be the one that is retired as the Intercontinental Championship is a WWE title steeped in history. I’m not saying the US title isn’t but it was never a WWE belt and it would make more sense for this to be retired once and for all. Whether that happens or not of course remains to be seen.
Chris Jericho vs. Erik Rowan – 4 Stars
An interesting stipulation was added to this match in that if Jericho picked up the win it would mean Rowan is banned from ringside for the Bray Wyatt versus Jericho match at Summerslam. I like the impression that it gives especially if Rowan were to lose as it almost implies that Bray can’t win without having the rest of the family at ringside. Bray and Luke Harper were of course ringside for this match and pre match Bray cut another fantastic promo about the Summerslam match and how he will become the saviour of the WWE Universe with Jericho being exposed as a fraud and a liar.
From the very first bell Rowan really showed his aggression and took it to Jericho throughout the match. It wasn’t long of course before Luke Harper tried to get involved when he tripped Jericho. Unfortunately for him he was ejected from ringside as the referee ejected him from ringside, although I did find it funny that the referee claims he heard the trip yet normally any cheating like this is never acknowledged. Both Rowan and Jericho produced some great offence and while Rowan dominated the majority of the match I felt Jericho picked the right moments to begin staging his come back moments. I was really impressed with the spin kick thrown by Rowan as it isn’t really a move we see from guys of his size. The near falls toward the end of the match added more intensity and drama to the match but ultimately it was Jericho who picked up a huge victory going into Summerslam. Bray looked concerned after the match as Jericho stared back at him to end the show.
Two key things I saw came out of this match. The first was that Jericho has proven time and time again that he really is a special talent in he can literally go away for months at a time, come back and still look as sharp as he did when he was in his prime. The other was an observation about Rowan in that he is pretty much always portrayed as a monster but he never seems to come out on the winning end of the match. It almost makes him look like the true weak link of the Wyatt Family and WWE need to be careful to protect him from looking weak going forward. Overall this was an enjoyable match and makes the Wyatt and Jericho match all that more special and interesting.
Overall Show Rating – 3.5 Stars
Another delightful episode of WWE Smackdown this week started and ended with two great matches. As always the show had it’s high moments and it’s low moments but as an overall show I thought it had the right mix of wrestling and talking segments. I like to see a more wrestling heavy show personally but then that’s why I tune into the show every week, to watch wrestling. Promo’s have their spot for me but ultimately I want to see the core aspect of the product and that is wrestling. My favourite match this week was probably the main even between Rowan and Jericho as I thought both men gave it their all. It was very hard to not pick Swagger and Cesaro as my favourite given the fact it was a heavy wrestling match but I have more interest right now in the Jericho and Wyatt feud as a whole. It will be interesting to see what happens with next weeks shows with only two weeks to go until Summerslam.
That just about does it for this weeks episode of the Smackdown Breakdown. As always please continue to support WNW and get yourselves a premium subscription as the news you get really is more than worth the price alone as well as the other exclusive perks such as premium mailbag and a live blog to join in with other subscribers whenever there is a live pay per view. Just like last week I will be attending another New Generation Wrestling show tonight, this time up in Beverley near Hull, East Yorkshire. Last weeks show saw five solid matches and I am looking forward to seeing some more top quality entertainment tonight from the front row. I would totally encourage any of you that have thought about getting out to support your local independent wrestling promotion to bite the bullet and go as you really will not be disappointed by the wrestling on display. It’s the equivalent of the grass roots of wrestling and it could just be where you get to say you saw the next big star of the industry get their start.
Until next week please feel free to leave your comments in the comments area below. Thanks for reading the Smackdown Breakdown and I will catch you next week for another exciting edition.