Hello once again everybody and welcome to the Smackdown Breakdown here on WNW. We're not long away from Battleground this Sunday which promises to be another exciting show for WWE and us as fans. My only slight gripe about this is around three weeks ago we had Money in the Bank so there has been very little time to build up the show fully and it has felt a little rushed. I'd have rather just scrapped this show myself and waited till Summerslam to make sure it's built up properly. I think this week on Raw it was very much a show based around building up the main event for Battleground and this weeks Smackdown was more dedicated to building up the undercard. This will be the beginning of the direction and build up into Summerslam and I expect some of the matches we see at Battleground to shape what we see at Summerslam in four weeks time.
Lets head on into this weeks Breakdown and discuss what we saw on this weeks Smackdown.
Dean Ambrose Opening Segment - 4 Stars
This Sunday sees an interesting match up between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. This is one match I am really looking forward to seeing and I think could well be a show stealer. Ambrose was pretty intense throughout the whole promo and that's what I like about him on the mic, he really gives it his all any times he speaks and does the same in the ring. Seth Rollins came into the mix and as usual he cut a pretty good little promo and while Ambrose wanted to fight Seth tonight it wasn't Rollins he would end up facing. Instead later he would be in a match against Kane. Both Ambrose and Rollins have really excelled since the Shield broke up and I can't wait to see what they do this Sunday.
Fandango and The Miz vs. Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler - 4 Stars
This match contained four men that will be in the twenty man Battle Royal this Sunday for the Intercontinental Championship and was a pretty fun match to watch. I thought all four men gave a real good showing of themselves and that as tag teams they both actually worked together pretty well. Ziggler and Sheamus seemed to have the advantage early in the match and were the more dominant of the two teams. Dolph Ziggler showed why he is a standout and deserves a main event spot when he came in off the hot tag and cleaned house. Ziggler and Sheamus picked up the win in this one but all four men will be going into the match looking like any of them could be the winner. It's going to be an interesting Battle Royal to say the least.
Eva Marie vs. Alicia Fox - 2 Stars
I try not to bash the Divas matches too much. In fact I am one of the first to praise the Divas when they have a good match. However this match was just a car crash with it being slow and all over the place in terms of the offence and it seemed like neither Eva or Alicia had a clue what they were doing. The match saw Nikki Bella appointed as the special referee for the match and it was obvious from the get go what was going to happen. Even my parents, who don't watch WWE unless I watch it at my house or theirs as I did this week could see what was going to happen. Sure enough Eva and Alicia beat down on Nikki Bella, and even that looked a mess. This segment furthers the tension between Nikki and Stephanie McMahon but I would have preferred it to be a 2 on 1 handicap match as that's what it effectively was in the end anyway.
Chris Jericho vs. Luke Harper - 4 Stars
First things first; that was a nice looking eye Jericho was sporting after the Sister Abigail by Bray Wyatt on the stage Monday night on Raw. When I first saw it I didn't honestly think Jericho made much contact with the floor, and I'm pretty sure they changed the angle on the replay from the one they showed on Raw, but either way that thing looked like it hurt. Going back to Raw we heard both Jericho and Wyatt battle in a war of words but the most shocking thing I heard on the show was fans chanting boring at Bray. While his promo's tend to be riddles and can be hard to follow it's the first time I've heard him receive that kind of reaction. Saying that he was up against Chris Jericho and I think for the first time since he started on the main roster someone actually outshone Bray, making him seem like he wasn't at his best in comparison.
The match between Wyatt and Jericho Sunday is probably going to be another show stealer as both men are great workers and I can't wait to see what they come up with. Luke Harper came across pretty aggressive in this match throughout and it really seemed like Jericho had a big challenge on his hands. Jericho of course gave as good as he got and this one made for a really entertaining match. I'm sure there will be some relieved talent that Harper needs a new vest after the one he wears got ripped but he will probably make that one look just as disgusting. This match has some dramatic near fall moments toward the end and saw Jericho steal a victory after Rowan tried to provide a distraction that back fired. The Wyatt's immediately went on the attack and ambushed Jericho after the match but he was saved very quickly by the Uso's.
Jack Swagger and Rusev Segment - 2.5 Stars
The match between these two men at Battleground looks like it might be a pretty interesting battle. Could we see the end of Rusev's undefeated streak this Sunday? Right now I'm believing we might and I actually don't have a problem with that. Swagger seems to be working better as a fan favourite and I am all for seeing him be the guy to take down Rusev. This segment was very much like every other segment between these two though and was more about Lana and Zeb Colter battling on the microphone while Swagger and Rusev were more there just to wave their respective flags. I wasn't really taken in by the segment and didn't think it was needed. WWE would have been better doing the détente on Smackdown with the brawl at the end to really get the fans invested in Sunday's match. Instead we saw all talk and no real action.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston - 3 Stars
This was another match containing two men in the Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal. There's two things that came into my head when I saw this match; firstly that Alberto Del Rio has gone from main eventing Money in the Bank back down to doing pretty much nothing. The second thing is I wonder what kind of spot Kofi is going to do to prevent him being eliminated. Is it bad that I now almost come to expect that from Kofi?
I thought Kofi gave a pretty good showing of himself in this match. He's one of those guys where I just never really understood why WWE didn't push him more as the kid has a lot of talent and while he may never be WWE Champion material he could certainly be main event material. In contrast I don't know if it was just me but I got the vibe that Del Rio had little to no interest in this match and seemingly didn't want to be there. The only good thing I will say about Del Rio was his stomp onto Kofi off the top rope looked pretty nasty and was a good way to end the match. I don't think either man in this one walks out as a champion on Sunday but I do expect Kofi at least to give a good account of himself.
AJ Lee and Paige vs. Summer Rae and Layla - 3.5 Stars
This was a much better Divas match than the previous shambles we saw and that comes down to the women involved. AJ and Paige is an interesting dynamic and will have a pretty good match at Battleground, which will be the first time we have really seen Paige get to go up against someone with quality since she faced Emma down in NXT. The segment before the match with Layla and Summer and Fandango was interesting and pretty much ended the story there. I'm expecting Summer Rae and Layla to be the new version of Lay-Cool, only I would name them Summer Lay...I need a job in creative!
I thought this was a pretty good effort from all involved in this match, even Summer Rae impressed me. I like face we saw Paige using a head butt, something that very few Divas have ever done in the past which makes her even more unique in my eyes. I really enjoyed the tension on display from Paige and AJ after the match was over when AJ had tagged herself in and then they went into a hug. You could feel the tension in the beginning and then the turn into mutual admiration. As Paige put it they are pretty good frienemies.
Dean Ambrose vs. Kane - 3.5 Stars
This weeks main event of the show was a good effort from all involved but it wasn't anything to write home about either. Before the match we saw a backstage segment with Kane and Seth Rollins talking about Battleground and Kane gave Rollins some good advice; don't cash in your briefcase on Sunday. I hope Rollins holds off cashing in for a while and WWE execute the cash in at the right time. When the right time will be no one quite knows but I expect it to be after Wrestlemania 31.
Right from the get go Ambrose was on the offensive in this one and even managed to gain an advantage with a sneak attack before the match even started. I love how Ambrose continued to sell his shoulder injury from previous weeks and that he remembered not to use the arm in his offence. I was hopeful he might sell the head a little more after taking that vicious Curb Stomp on Raw backstage but I guess he can't sell everything and I'm sure by Friday in reality it wouldn't be as bad. The match ended in a disqualification after Rollins came out and hit Ambrose with the briefcase to the head, which in the bigger picture was probably the right finish given you don't want to derail anyone's momentum into Sunday. Kane and Seth attacked Ambrose viciously after the match and went as far as Rollins hitting a Curb Stomp on the steel steps before we saw Rollins standing triumphantly above a beaten Ambrose to end the show.
Overall Show Rating - 3.5 Stars
As I said in the beginning of the Breakdown I think this weeks show was more about building up what would be considered the undercard of the show going into Sunday given that Raw was the build up for the main event. The good thing is WWE have built up to the show in the right way by keeping the focus on all the different matches as opposed to focusing just on the main events. My favourite segment from this weeks show was probably the match between Jericho and Luke Harper as I thought both men had a really intense match and were both really strong throughout. There are a couple of matches I'm really looking forward to seeing this Sunday and I think many fans will be pleasantly surprised by what we see. I'm looking forward to AJ and Paige face off for the Divas Championship as I think this is a good chance for Paige to show the doubters what she can really do. I really think we are in for a treat from the Rollins and Ambrose match as well as the match between Jericho and Bray Wyatt. Both those matches are going to be show stealing top quality matches in my mind. I also think the main event is going to be something special even though it's pretty obvious by now that Cena will retain his championship and go on to face Brock Lesnar at Summerslam.
That does it for this weeks episode of the Smackdown Breakdown. Don't forget we will have complete coverage of Battleground right here as well as an exclusive live blog for premium members during the show. If your not a premium member then you really are missing out and should take advantage by signing up here. You get some really cool benefits such as exclusive backstage news and some great insight and analysis from Richard Gray so please take advantage of this great service if you haven't already. I'm going to be putting up my latest piece on WWENews.Net later and I will be looking back at Battleground 2013 in preparation for Sundays show. Until next week for the Breakdown I hope you have enjoyed reading and I will catch you next week. Please feel free to continue the conversation in the comments section below if you have anything to say about the show or my thoughts. Until next week thanks for reading folks.