Welcome once again ladies and gentlemen to another edition of the Smackdown Breakdown. TLC is just around the corner and I hope this can be the start of a turn around for WWE headed into 2016. We all know things have a bit lacking creatively, but it was great to hear from Triple H that they are addressing those issues going forward and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. The company is in a bit of a transition period at the moment and all we can really do as fans is hang in there during the hard times and know that the good times will be back.
NXT is over in the UK this week too, with a live Takeover special taking place in London this coming Wednesday. I'm going to be attending two of the NXT live dates while they are in the UK, the first on Saturday in Sheffield, and the second on Monday in Nottingham. On Thursday I will also be attending a very special seminar in Nottingham with NXT General Manager and a 'real man's man' Mr. William Regal, which I'm really looking forward to as there is a VIP Meet & Greet before the show too. If you want to attend this show then there are a few tickets remaining which you can purchase via Just The Tonic.
Quick plug for my podcast here too as I released part two of my interview with Insane Championship Wrestling ring announcer and podcast host Simon Cassidy. In this episode I talk with Simon about Fear And Loathing 8, Mick Foley being at the show and a story about the time he met the Hardcore Legend, the Grado phenomenon, how far ICW can go as a company, hosting the ICW podcast, the genius that is Mark Dallas, his company One Fall Media, the 1001 Things To Do Before You Die podcast, the best things about being in the independent wrestling business, WWE, his favourite WWE matches and more!
You can check out the podcast, as well as other episodes including part one of the interview as well as conversations with WWE Hall of Famer Tito Santana, former WWE star Dan Spivey and father of WWE Diva Paige, Ricky Knight as well as a host of other great wrestling talent from around the world by clicking here.
Now let's head on into this weeks edition of the Smackdown Breakdown and see what went down headed into TLC.
Roman Reigns vs. Alberto Del Rio - 4.5 Stars
This is a complete 360 degree turn from last week with instead of having no punches thrown in the opening twenty minutes we now get a match of main event calibre. This was good preparation for both Del Rio and Reigns who have big matches coming up on Sunday at TLC. Both men were accompanied by their fellow stable mates on the outside, who would face off in the nights main event. Del Rio and Reigns would keep this one mostly within the confines of the ring and would trade off as to who had the advantage. Del Rio came across very aggressive in the latter stages of the match but not to be out done, Reigns would up his aggression by throwing Del Rio into the steel steps outside the ring. Of the two men I think Del Rio had the better of the offence and controlled most of the match, even locking in a cross arm breaker at one point using the ropes. Reigns wouldn't be beaten though and would fight his way back into the match. This one ended in a double disqualification as Reigns would go after Sheamus on the outside of the ring after the League of Nations would remove Del Rio from the ring. A cracker of a match to kick off this weeks Smackdown.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Tyler Breeze - 4 Stars
I'm surprised these two aren't having a match at TLC in all honesty as they would be able to put on one heck of a good gimmick match together. Two weeks ago Dolph would pick up a hard earned win over Breeze on Raw, and they have gone back and forth over the last few weeks in matches over victories. Breeze and Ziggler are very much a like for me in the ring and I sometimes see a young Ziggler in Breeze when he wrestles. We saw some great work from both men in this one, with Breeze targeting the weakened left knee of Ziggler during the match. I thought this one was one of the better matches between these two, and in the end it was Ziggler who picked up the win following a pretty sweet looking Super Kick out of nowhere. A well worked match between both men who I feel will have good outings at next months Royal Rumble.
The New Day vs. The Lucha Dragons - 3.5 Stars
Okay so those unicorn horns on the head's of the members of New Day look somewhat wrong and wouldn't be a piece of merchandise I chose to purchase personally, even if it appears to change color. It was Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston who saw action in this one, but not before they cut another entertaining promo before the match. New Day looked ready for their Tag Team Championship defence on Sunday as they once again showed some great in ring work going up against their faster paced opponents in the Lucha Dragons. As soon as Kalisto got involved the pace picked up, giving the Lucha Dragons the advantage over the champions. Kalisto would go on to pick up the win for Lucha Dragons, giving them the advantage headed into Sunday. Will they walk out as Tag Team Champions? We will have to wait and see on Sunday.
Kevin Owens And Dean Ambrose Contract Segment - 3.5 Stars
After throwing popcorn and soda in the face of Kevin Owens on Raw it would be interesting to see what would happen between these two as the contract for their match on Sunday was signed in the ring. Sadly we wouldn't be seeing any kind of altercation between the two as Owens would send his lawyer down to sign the contract on his behalf. It wouldn't be a contract signing without some kind of physicality and it would come in the form of an Owens ambush on Ambrose. The champion would assault Ambrose briefly, before Ambrose sent the big Canadian in the steel steps. Owens would retreat from the scene, leaving Ambrose stood tall in the ring, where he delivered Dirty Deeds to Owens attorney before signing the contract to make Sunday's match official. Sunday promises to be one heck of an encounter between these two and I can't wait to see it.
Ryback vs. The Ascension - 3 Stars
Lana and Rusev would be ringside for this special exhibition match for Ryback to prove he is ready to take on the big Bulgarian on Sunday. How did this feud even come about? All over Lana getting her ankle hurt by Ryback running into the steel stairs? I've no real interest in this story if I'm honest, although I did find Jerry Lawler's shot at Rusev and Lana's engagement funny. There was only ever going to be one winner in this match and it was of course Ryback. After the match Ryback and Rusev would have a stare down before Rusev would return to the back. This was an okay match but nothing majorly exciting in my mind.
Paige vs. Becky Lynch - 4 Stars
The English and Irish Divas would square off in a match ahead of Paige's big match on Sunday against Charlotte for the WWE Divas Championship. Paige cut an awesome promo on Monday to work up Charlotte, and her slap to Ric Flair was awesome to see. Paige is clearly in the head of the champion and is potentially even in the head of Becky after the actions of Charlotte toward Becky these last few weeks. Paige would control the majority of this match but to her credit Becky would give a solid account of herself too. I really enjoyed watching these two face off, as they put on a solid Divas match. Charlotte would come out to provide a distraction to Paige, leading to Becky stealing the win by making Paige tap out. Will the outcome for Paige be the same one Sunday? It doesn't look good for the Anti-Diva, but could there be a twist in the tail involving Becky Lynch and her loyalty?
The League of Nations vs. The Family - 4 Stars
Roman Reigns and Alberto Del Rio would be in action for the second time tonight, this time in eight man tag team action as The League of Nations would face off against The Family. All eight men involved in tonight's main event have some big matches coming up on Sunday night, so this would be their last chances to sharpen themselves up ahead of TLC. The League of Nations looked like a solid unit throughout this one, taking control of the match early and asserting their dominance. Things would eventually turn around for the Family though once Reigns was able to get into the match as he would clean house for his team. Ambrose did well too in this one, as did Sheamus who was the stand out for me of his team. The match would end with Reigns nailing Rusev with a Spear to end the night. The Family stood tall to end the show, but will all four men stand tall by the end of Sunday night with gold around their waists? We'll have a to wait until TLC to find out. A very enjoyable main event match between eight very good stars.
Overall Show Rating - 3.75 Stars
This weeks edition of Smackdown was pretty solid to watch as we head into TLC on Sunday. I thought this was one of the better editions of Smackdown in a while in terms of structure as there was a lot more action in this one compared to previous weeks, which is always a good thing to see. My segment of the week goes to the opening match between Roman Reigns and Alberto Del Rio. I thought these two really had a great match and it helped to set the tone for the night's main event in a good way.
That wraps it up for another edition of the Smackdown Breakdown. Please come back again next week for another edition. If you have any comments about this weeks Breakdown or Smackdown itself then please leave your comments in the discussion area below. Thanks for reading and I will catch you back here again next week.
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