The Smackdown Breakdown – Cena And Ryback Steal The Show

Welcome to this week’s Breakdown.  This later edition was planned, as I want to say something that is not Wrestling related.  Today is Veteran’s Day, and we should all reflect on those who have served to keep this great nation safe. Today, I want to encourage everyone to hug a Veteran if you know one, buy a service member lunch or supper if you see one out and about, or help that homeless Vet out with a bit of extra change, or talk to the widow or family member about how their Service Member defended freedom. No matter their circumstances, they fought for this country and sacrificed a part of themselves, some more than others. To my Brothers and Sisters in Arms, past and present, THANK YOU. It is an honor to have been amongst your ranks.

 

Break it Down!

 

Opening Video: 9

Now this was an excellent way to recap the Wyatt Family’s blossoming feud with CM Punk and Daniel Bryan.  I think we could see some interesting mic work and some very fun interactions between all of the parties here, plus with the intrigue of who is the Devil, this could be a true shocker of a storyline!

 

In Ring Segment: 6

Punk is starting to make many more appearances on Smackdown!  I know it seems like something stupid to get excited over, but him on the Blue Brand was until recently a special appearance.  Here’s hoping it continues.  And while I am excited that we are seeing more of him, I hope it gets to be of better quality that tonight’s fare.  Punk seemed to be pulling a typical promo for himself and while that isn’t a bad think, it does seem like he is starting to get himself into the same sort of rut Orton was in there for a while.  Hopefully more direct interaction with Bray can snap him out of it.  Really, Axel had to be the one who interupts this?  He is as relevant as a $3 is spendable!  I REALLY hoped this feud with Heyman and his Guys was over.  If Ryback, who is easily more of a threat than Axel, couldn’t beat Punk, there is no way Axel can.  And him to even try, considering all of the losses he has racked up against Punk over the last few months, just feels like a waste.

 

CM Punk vs. Curtis Axel: 6.25

Way to oversell Punk’s kicks Axel!  The full flip he was doing reminded me of HBK’s comical overselling of Hogan.  Axel was moving stiff all throughout the match.  He may be trying to discount the online reports of him having a hip injury, but he is moving like me!  And I’m not trying to bash the guy there.  This is a grueling business and you have to work hurt if you want to keep your spot.  But when an injury is clearly affecting your ability, then maybe you need some time off.  And while I want to say this had some sort of special flair to it, sadly, the best part of this whole thing was the attempted distraction and the post match video stare down, as it subtly moved the feud forward. But considering the distraction appeared to help Axel, I have this sneaking suspicion that Heyman is going to be revealed as the Devil, which will be a huge letdown.

Winner: CM Punk (Pin)

 

3MB vs. The Usos and R-Truth: 7.75

We saw a nice little hometown pop for R-Truth!  Considering they were in Charlotte, NC, I am surprised that they didn’t get Flair in for a cheap pop.  And JBL and Drew are in a Twitter feud?  If Drew taking one small potshot is called a feud, then that is pretty sad.  The Usos continue to impress me with each passing week and while this wasn’t any of the men in this match’s best work, it at least did try to elevate the crowd’s energy some.  I love that lift into a cutter neckbreaker by R-Truth! He is showing at nearly 42 that he can still go with these younger guys on the roster.  And Truth avoided the hometown curse!  That is at least on positive on the night!

Winners: The Usos and R-Truth (Pin)

 

The Funkadactyls vs. AJ Lee and Tamina: 4

First off, yay!   Naomi is back! I don’t know why WWE decided to pull the Funkadactyls off of TV for a little while, but the Divas division needs another quality worker and Naomi fits the bill.  Cameron’s hair was AWFUL!  Seriously, who told her that dying her hair partially blonde and styling it like that was a good idea?  That was an excellent enziguri by Naomi! Sadly, that was the highest point of this match.  Cameron looked as green as grass, and Tamina didn’t look much better!  And with as little as AJ worked this match, it looked like a clusterfluff.

As a side note, it looks like Cameron may have gotten hurt in this match.  She was visibly shaken as she was walking out, and the ref came back in to make sure things were OK.  Here’s hoping she is, or makes a speedy recovery.

Winners: AJ Lee and Tamina (Sub)

 

In Ring Promo: 5

The flag waving by ADR for cheap heat is just sad.  WWE is trying everything to get him heat now, and it still isn’t working.  The only way ADR got any reaction was when he mentioned Cena!  And even then, when he started repeating himself, the crowd tuned him out.  Towards the end, the fans even were trying to keep themselves entertained by goofing around acting silly when they were on the Tron.  Cena was his typical over the top self, but it was needed.  After ADR bored us to death, we needed something to get us mildly interested again.  Sadly, though, not even Cena could get the crowd really energized back up, and by time Vickie got out to assert her power over the two of them and receive a few jabs from the boys, the crowd was done.

 

Alberto Del Rio vs. The Great Khali: 4

This match went at least 4 minutes too long!  ADR, while a technically gifted worker, is easily the second-to-last person I would ever book in a match with Khali, as the first was done on Raw this week in Ryback.  There is very little that ADR can do to Khali that makes WWE’s 2×4 look good, and all this match did was expose the weaknesses in both men.  And that had to be the worst Cross Armbreaker I have ever seen, thanks to Khali not letting ADR straighten the arm out.  I hope whoever had this bright idea of a match received a Gibbs Slap for it, as it finished killing the crowd.

Winner: Alberto Del Rio (Sub)

 

Daniel Bryan vs. Luke Harper: 5.75

And the train kept on rolling here, as I have to say that I was disappointed in the execution of this match.  Harper and Bryan didn’t have as good chemistry as Harper did with Punk on Monday and it really showed in the work.  The Gator Roll was disjointed, Bryan’s kicks to Harper on the outside before the break looked really weak compared to his normal, the Dragon Screws they performed looked really sloppy, and Bryan performed a Clothesline with his “injured” arm!  After being quite impressed with Harper in his first singles match on the main roster on Monday, this was a major step backwards.  Of course, it had to end up with the Wyatts attacking Bryan to let CM Punk repay Bryan for the rescue on Raw, and that predictability just further turned the into another sour note in the show.

Winner: Daniel Bryan (DQ)

 

Raw Rewind: 7

This was OK recap of the events surrounding the Big Show on this past Monday night.  While it hit all of the high points of Show’s bargaining and the following match, it failed to show much of the most interesting and talked about portion of the segment, Corporate Kane.  Hopefully, WWE lets Glenn Jacobs be himself in this program.

 

WWE Shop Promo: 5

Well, this was easily the worst one of these yet!  I wouldn’t buy anything the Bellas tried to shill to us thanks to the fact that they seemed as interested in doing this segment as I am in writing it, which is not at all.

 

Dot Com Video: 7

Triple H was a little shaky here.  He has really done great with these videos, but tonight’s was tough to watch, as his smiling and somewhat jovial attitude through it just didn’t fit with the tone he has set for them.  Although I will say that he is right about one thing.  Anyone who thinks Kane is just the one dimensional monster/comedy character that he has portrayed over the years really should look into his political videos.  Agree or disagree, he obviously does his research and knows what he is talking about and speaks quite eloquently.

 

John Cena vs. Ryback: 9.25

There was a very obviously piped in reaction for Cena’s entrance!  The crowd was quite dead at this point in the show, having been fed hot garbage throughout the night. And Ryback’s entrance was even worse!  Hopefully that gives WWE an idea that tonight’s show just didn’t work well.  But despite the dead crowd at first, Ryback and Cena both tried their damnedest to get this crowd involved in this match.  And what a match it was!  This was easily Cena and Ryback’s best work, especially Ryback’s and proves why he can work at the top of the card.  Between the wickedly powerful looking Spinebuster Ryback pulled out, as well as the Jackhammer and Spear I will address a bit later, Ryback looked like he went into another gear tonight.  And Cena was no slouch either, adding in a DDT, that awesome Full Nelson Neckbreaker, and even a Bryan styled leg kick!  And while it only made sense for Cena to go over here, the match was structured to where it made Ryback look stronger than he has in the past few months.  He looked like he could have won this match.  And while I wouldn’t want another Ryback/Cena feud, if they put on more matches like this, I wouldn’t entirely mind.

I wanted to take a second to address JBL and Cole subtly trying to address the Goldberg comparisons in this match and the fact that Ryback used his two signature moves tonight.  I’m not saying WWE should have done it by any means, as it can make Ryback look bad for WWE to acknowledge the similarities, however, the way they did it tonight was nice.  In fact, JBL said it best.  It should be a compliment to both men.  The fact Ryback is getting these comparisons shows that fans can see him at a high level, even if the chants are meant to be negative.  And it should be a compliment to Goldberg himself because it shows he left an indelible mark on wrestling history with his short career.

Winner: John Cena (Pin)

 

Post Match Attack: 1.5

ADR’s attack was absolutely pathetic!  And it is almost every single time he is against a popular face that he tries these attacks.  And they ALL look weak.  His punches didn’t look like they were close to connecting, his corner wrapping of Cena’s arm was horrid, and then he gets over taken by a pair of weak Cena punches?  BAKA!

 

Overall Wrestling Grade: 6.25

Overall Segment Grade: 6

Overall Show Grade: 6

 

Ouch!  After last week, this is a significant drop off in the quality of the show.  It felt like WWE decided that thanks to them being on the road in Europe nex week, they should shovel all of the BS onto us in this episode!  WWE has a lot of ground to make up if they want fans to be invested into Survivor Series.

Cole brought up a good point in this show. Cena is a 14 time World Champion, 2 behind Flair.  In my mind, it isn’t a question of if, but when will he pass Flair.  Personally, I give it 2 years.

 

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  • The Breaker

    Why do you think Paul Heyman being revealed as “The Devil” would be a letdown? Sure, it’s predictable, but that doesn’t make the story any less intriguing. Heyman acting as puppet master over the Wyatt Family would be highly entertaining and a nice change from the “coach/advisor” role he’s had to play for Curtis Axel and Ryback. And it keeps Heyman relevant, which is pretty much always a good thing.

    • Jesse Sherwood

      For me, it would be that we are stuck with Heyman/Punk yet again, even in a small dose. While a long storyline can be great, with Heyman and Punk, we saw it explode early and fissle from the start. Heyman being behind these attacks would just serve to drag The Wyatts down.

  • Charles

    There’s nothing wrong with a little self confidence but if he’s going to be a “face” CM Punk shouldn’t remind us he’s the best in the world in every other sentence.
    That promo seemed very egotistical.

  • Billy_delicious

    I wouldn’t be too down on more Punk/Heyman material. The two have incredible chemistry together and several matches between Punk and ‘Heyman Guys’ have been amazing, particularly the Lesnar/Punk Summerslam match. That said, Ryback and Punk have no ring chemistry whatsoever so hopefully we’ll never see those two match up again in the ear future.

    Mild rant aside, nice write-up as ever, Jesse.