Hello and welcome back to the Smackdown Breakdown! I want to start things off with a message from Jesse Sherwood that he asked me to share with you all, and from there I'm going to get right into this weeks show:
As most of you guys know, I have been going through a nasty divorce, and adjusting to life as a single father is leaving me with a lot less time to write than I would like. So after a long hiatus, the Breakdown will be back on a full time basis, but from here on out it will be done by Jamie Welton. Jamie has done some fantastic articles over on our sister site WWENews.net, and he recently filled in for Kendra on Raw is Blogged. I'm honored to have him take the reigns from me, and hope you guys will embrace him just like you did me. As for me, I will still be here on WNW, but I will be moving into our Community Manager position, something I have become extremely comfortable with hosting the Raw and Impact Watch Parties each week. But without further ado, here's Jamie!!!
Opening Segment - Kane In The Ring - 4 Stars
So we start this weeks show with Kane coming out to the ring and talking about how Monday night was such a glorious night with what happened to Daniel Bryan. When I watched back the segment of the attack on Bryan Monday night I couldn't help but enjoy the segment all over again. It was so good and just enough without going over the edge. I did worry about Bryan and his inability to protect himself due to the handcuffs but he seemed to be ok. Kane really made this segment personal by verbally attacking the fans and blaming them for Triple H's actions toward Bryan. I really enjoyed the letter from Triple H and that just made it all the more enjoyable. It was summed up perfectly when he closed with the line "Respect the Authority" that that the Authority were bigger and better than Bryan and the WWE Universe. That was the message WWE wanted to drive home to hit the fans hard and it seems they certainly did it. Kane was perfect in this segment and did all he could.
Fandango vs. Fernando - 2 Stars
I'm not going to lie, this match really didn't do anything for me. Kane's stare down of Fandango and Summer Rae during their entrance was quite comical but after that things kind of went down hill for me. Neither man really did anything wrong in the match and they did a good job in the early stages with Fandango taking the early advantage before Fernando came back into the match but I just wasn't really getting into the match. The only really highlight for me in this one was El Torito chasing Summer Rae around the ring due to her red dress but other than that there really isn't anything more to say.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow - 4 Stars
I've put this down here as I want to keep everything in line with the US broadcast, however oddly this was actually the first match shown on the UK broadcast. It's ironic to think that less than 12 months ago these two men were both staring their biggest pushes to date in the face and then suddenly they are back down in the mid card again. I think it's such a shame both haven't quite had their spotlight moments but I am sure they will come round soon. This was a pretty decent TV match that saw Sandow the early aggressor and seemed to have him throughout the match showing an aggressive streak. I really liked seeing that from Sandow and hope it is something he continues to display. There was a point when Ziggler took the bump onto the steps off the top rope I winced a little but generally this was a decent showing from both men and was another example why they should be pushing for main event spots again sooner rather than later.
The Wyatt Family Promo - 4 Stars
Whenever the Wyatt's come on screen I know that I don't have to worry about what they are going to say or do, all I know is I will be entertained, drawn in and thoroughly pleased with what I have seen. It's amazing just how they need to do so little to come across as creepy and scary. Harper tells Cena "It's not safe for you here John" and you just know you want to believe him. When Bray comes on screen it's like watching an artist at work, painting a verbal canvas of a stunning image. Not only does Wyatt draw you in verbally he draws you in with his facial expressions. Just sit back and watch his face when he speaks next time he cuts a promo. There are few men who have the talent of Bray when it comes to cutting a promo and as with any Wyatt promo, you know at the end your going to remember it for all the right reasons. Bray chillingly talks about Cena's fear of him and holding it in the palm of his hand before telling Cena one word, "Run!".
Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins vs. Rybaxel vs. Drew McIntyre & Jinder Mahal vs. the Real Americans - 3 and a half Stars
That sudden breakup of The Shield seems to have turned a corner and now it appears the unit is not only stronger than ever but it seems to me they are leaning further toward becoming a face stable. If you notice one thing in this match it's that The Shield never really tag in anyone else and they are a constant throughout this match. All four teams put in a decent showing but again for me the standouts were Cesaro and Dean Ambrose who had a nice little exchange during the match, and of course Seth Rollins who continues to show us something different on terms of his level of performance each week. The only disappointing thing about this match is there was no finish as Kane came down and attacked Roman Reigns before the other teams set about attacking Ambrose and Rollins. To further add to the situation the New Age Outlaws come out and attack Reigns before all three members of the Shield are left flat out in the ring. Could this be a sign of a 6 man tag at Wrestlemania featuring The Shield vs. Kane and the New Age Outlaws? We will no doubt find out the answer to that question over the next week or so.
Miz TV - 3 and a half Stars
This was just another random segment and way of WWE getting another name into the Andre the Giant Battle Royal at Wrestlemania. WWE seem to be filling this up with more star power but it is pretty much becoming the match on the card where they are just throwing people in who they have nothing for but don't want to leave off in case this becomes a problem. Out comes Big Show who is billed as the favourite for the Battle Royal. Show talks about how winning the Battle Royal will "cement my legacy", but does he really need this to do that? While Miz is no Roddy Piper on the mic I still love hearing him talk and it was great how he talked about Big Show having 9 losses at Wrestlemania, the most of any superstar in history. I looked into this little fact, and it isn't exactly true that Show has lost the most as I should point out Triple H has also lost 9 times in 17 Wrestlemania appearances...But we wouldn't want that mentioned right? If you look at it then he has more Wrestlemania losses than any active WWE Superstar but they were both topped by a man with 11 Wrestlemania losses to his name, a name which surprised me. The man with the most losses was Shawn Michaels. It was really fun seeing a preview of the Battle Royal with Big Show being the last man standing. My only concern with this now is that it seems too obvious having Big Show win the match but until we have a better idea of the thirty men involved I'm not sure who I would place my bets on.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Big E - 3 and a half Stars
This was a nice back and forth match between both men. I really enjoyed Del Rio locking the cross arm breaker in on Big E over the top rope but wasn't quite so convinced by Big E's attempts to sell the move while he was in it, it was only after that he did a better job. I'm still yet to be sold on Big E and I really hope the guy does something to make me want to take note of him but right now I'm just not seeing what everyone else sees. Del Rio picked up a win here with a super kick to Big E. It was enjoyable to watch but the inability to sell by E kind of dampened the match a little for me.
Santino and Emma Backstage Segment - 3 Stars
This was a corny comedy skit but I really do enjoy seeing Santino in these situations as he plays the comedy role so well. Him and Emma together seem to be a perfect fit on screen. Santino made me crack when he described Emma as his "fun buddy" and his reaction to Emma creeping up behind him. While the segment didn't really fit in anywhere with the show itself this was just a nice way of keeping the story line between these two relevant.
The Bella Twins vs. Natalya & Summer Rae - 4 Stars
Seriously, this is like the second time I've scored a Divas match on this website and I'm giving another good grade. I'll be honest, I was torn between knocking it down to 3 and a half because of Summer Rae and her lack of ability in the ring but I didn't want to take away from any of the others. Natalya is on fire in the ring right now and she needs the Divas Championship. Whether or not WWE go in that direction any time soon remains to be seen but if anything I can see them having to turn her heel to do it. The Bella twins have seriously improved on their in ring work since the last time they were in WWE, especially Brie and that credit has to go down to Daniel Bryan as much as it does Brie herself. The standard of Divas matches are improving greatly and I am expecting bigger and better things from them in 2014. I liked the swift little kick Natalya gave Summer at the end of the match. There's clearly tension between these two from how Total Divas is shaping up and I look forward to seeing how this plays out. The segment ends with the Bella's looking down on AJ and Tamina who were on commentary during this match. AJ describe that match as a "train wreck" which I felt was a tad harsh but it appears we may see something between these ladies at Wrestlemania.
Backstage Segment - Kane and the Tag Teams - 3 and a half stars
This segment ended with me further believing that we are seeing a six man tag team match at Wrestlemania between the Shield and Kane and the New Age Outlaws. I'm not so keen on the fact that Kane gave the team of Rybaxel a future Tag Team title match as I just don't see them believably winning. The Real Americans certainly deserve a shot for, and if nothing this will be used as a further way to enhance their break up. I must admit I was dreading Kane saying 3MB could have a shot at the Tag Titles too but instead he sucker punched them and gave them all a spot in the Andre The Giant Battle Royal, which almost came across to me like that was the only spot they were capable of. For me Drew McIntyre is being wasted in that group. He is an exceptional talent and deserves better than this but at least right now he actually has a spot and a job. I enjoyed the segment enough and it did exactly what it needed to, by showing Kane as planning the attack earlier in the night on the Shield.
Alexander Rusev and Lana segment - 2 Stars
For anyone who wants to know I'm not majorly hating on Rusev or anything, I'm just tired of hearing him come out and speak in Bulgarian as the only reaction he gets is "What?" because no one is sure whether to boo him or not. Lana does a decent job of putting him over because she at least translates some of what she says but there is none of that for Rusev and I think that is what he is lacking right now. Aside from that they need to stop these segments and get him wrestling because he is pretty decent to watch.
John Cena vs. Luke Harper - 4 Stars
Well to say that was a main event match it really didn't get much TV time. The crowd seemed to really pop for Cena and it didn't come across there was that usual divide in the reaction for him. What I really liked about this match was the fact that Harper really impressed with his in ring work. This was another perfect opportunity to sell his strength and he managed it perfectly. The majority of the match was dominated by Harper which was good to see and made it all the more believable that Cena wasn't just going to become super human like normal. Harper's counter to getting out the STF by biting Cena was a little unusual but with the Wyatt's this should be expected. I was disappointed with the end with Cena really just hitting an AA out of nowhere but him escaping from the ring before he could be attacked by Bray and Rowan sold that for the first time in as long as I can remember, Cena is scared of his opponents. It will be good seeing a more human side to Cena and I'm actually looking forward to Cena and Wyatt face off at Wrestlemania.
Overall Show Rating - 3 and a half Stars
This was an enjoyable episode of Smackdown with a mix of some good matches with just enough to get it past being an average show. The main focus really seemed to be around the Authority and the Cena and Wyatt feud but I felt that the segments held up well. The sour points for me were the Rusev segment and the Fandango vs. Fernando match but they weren't enough to bring down my spirits from this one too much.
Before I end this weeks Breakdown I wanted to take the opportunity to once again thank Jesse for the opportunity to take over the reigns of writing the Breakdown. I hope that I can do it as much justice as Jesse did and I am sure everyone is in agreement when I say best of luck in your new role here on WNW. To those of you reading this I hope you enjoyed this weeks Breakdown. If you have any feedback on how I can improve things, or if there was something you liked about the piece, please feel free to leave your comments below. The more of these pieces I write the better they will hopefully become and any feedback is greatly appreciated. This is something I have always wanted to do and it's a pleasure to be able to do this on a weekly basis. Until next week, so long and thanks for reading.