Hey everyone, and welcome to yet another edition of The Smackdown Breakdown! I apologize for the delay this week, as I had a sick child. But enough about my life, let’s get down to business!
I don’t read the spoilers for Smackdown, or any of the shows for that matter. But I do make sure to read the dark match results every week for Smackdown, as that is a good way to see who is on WWE’s radar to be called up to the main roster. And when I saw that this was the second week in a row that Bray Wyatt was in the Smackdown pre-show dark match, I got ecstatic! For those of you who don’t follow NXT, Bray Wyatt is the repackaging of Husky Harris. In the two years since Orton punted him back down to developmental, Wyatt has taken on a great new persona of a cult-like leader, and has drastically improved his somewhat dangerous ring work. He is arguably the best talent on the NXT roster, so if you haven’t had a chance to see his transformation yet, I highly recommend going onto Hulu or Youtube and watching some of it. So are you ready? I SAID, ARE YOU READY?
Break it down!
Opening Video – 6.5
While I am very vocally not a fan of those videos, this one served a purpose to recap Swagger “breaking” Ricardo’s ankle, as well as show what happened with The Shield’s failed attack on Orton and Sheamus, thanks to Big Show hitting the ring. I still would prefer that they remove them all together, or at least change the narrator for them to someone that can actually apply decent inflection to his voice. Use the guy that does WWE's movie trailers for all I care, but anyone other than the guy currently doing them!
Miz TV – 6
Ok, I have to ask this question. What is the point of having the furniture in the ring if no one is going to use it? I said last week that Sheamus was feeling too scripted, and this week we got him seeming like he was working off the cuff here. And it worked well in my opinion. But what didn’t work is trying to have Big Show play a tweener. He is fantastic as a face and works well as a heel, so they either need to fully turn him face or leave him heel. And what is the world coming to when Orton is the most reasonable one in the group? It just doesn't sit right with me. There are two huge negatives in this segment. First, Miz just felt like a prop in this segment. If it wasn’t for the little story about ShowMiz from him and his “Really?” shtick, I could completely forget he was in there. Second, why did we have to go back to Booker T setting up a main event at the start of the show? We went three weeks without it, and I didn’t miss it!
Mark Henry vs. Zack Ryder – 3
First off, I am glad to hear JBL back on commentary! I think he provides one of the better color commentaries currently in the business. This was another prototypical Henry squash match. Nothing in this match impressed me, as we have seen Henry’s “power” so much lately that there is no point in these squashes anymore other than to bury whomever Henry is facing. The World’s Strongest Slam here looked awful and reckless yet again. I do want to say that this match did prove one thing for me. Zack Ryder’s WWE career is effectively dead. But that is a subject for another time!
Winner: Mark Henry (pin)
Post Match Segment – 6
I had to separate this off of the match, as it was longer than the match was. Henry got progressively worse with the World’s Strongest Slam as he continued to hit them on Ryder. This brings me to another point. Henry hitting everyone with three Slams here lately is just stupid. It makes him look like he only has that one move in his arsenal. On top of that, Henry has looked plain awful performing it. Ryback coming out was very predictable. But that Meathook Clothesline was stiffer that an old oak tree! I know Ryback works stiff, but that hit Henry in the face, and looked like it could have broken his nose!
Backstage Segment – 6
Are we starting to see some dissension between Teddy and Booker? This could be something interesting, but I don’t want Teddy back as GM of Smackdown. Teddy was bland as GM, and Booker is slowly starting to get there as well.
Hall of Fame Video – 9
Booker is very deserving to go into the Hall of Fame and this was a great look back on his career. This year’s Hall of Fame class is one of the strongest in years, and Booker further solidifies that even further.
Dolph Ziggler with Big E Langston and AJ Lee vs. Kofi Kingston – 8
Kofi got in a very surprising amount of offence in this match. He has been buried under a mountain lately, and I hope that this is the start of a turnaround for him. Though this match was all-in-all typical fare from the two of them, it wasn’t a bad thing, as they are both great workers. My big complaint is that Kofi obviously did the S.O.S too close to the ropes, and Dolph just zipped the hand out to them. Dolph’s Famouser on the outside was a brilliant way to turn to match into his favor. Big E hitting the Big End after every match is getting repetitive and stale quickly. WrestleMania can't get here fast enough, just so I can see if he will perform as well on the big stage as he has in NXT.
AJ was just excellent on announce this week, and I could see her being there for all of Dolph’s matches. She just has that bubbly, crazy personality that works well as a guest on announce. And you just have to love a girl who will reference Black Widow!
Winner: Dolph Ziggler (pin)
Recap of Jericho and Fandango – 8
Josh was doing everything he could to keep from laughing his bum off at Jericho! This is what the younger talent needs to watch and perfect, the art of delivery on a segment such as this.
Raw Rebound – 8
Punk has been keeping close to some very fine lines lately, and it is pushing a lot of fans buttons. And I love it! Punk is doing exactly what he needs to drive every fan into the corner of the Undertaker, which is what is needed for a spectacular match this year. Now all we need is that last magical spark that the Undertaker can only give this feud and we will be set!
Backstage Segment – 6
Orton doesn’t seem right in that he is the calm one of the group. Considering his history of anger problems, Orton should be the one blowing up on Big Show. Maybe we will get a double turn out of this! But I do feel that turning Orton may be too little, too late to salvage him from upper mid-card purgatory for the rest of his career. He damaged himself too much with his second Wellness violation and his laziness in the ring upon returning.
Jack Swagger with Zeb Colter vs. Chris Jericho – 5.75
Zeb is one of the best people I have ever heard on the mike, and I’ve listened to him for over 20 years, so I may be a little biased. He elicits such a visceral reaction from the fans, and that is such a rare quality anymore, especially managers. And it’s heat like that which makes a pop like Jericho’s stand out even more! But for all of the positives before and after the match, the match itself was more of the same from last week until towards the end. First, Swagger botched the counter on the Patriot Lock that was supposed send him to the outside. Then the Backslide Jericho was trying to perform where he was slapping Swagger’s hair was just weird. And how the heck do you botch a Monkey Flip? Three major issues in a match like this is way too many.
Zeb is doing precisely what a heel manager should. He is subdued in his interference for Swagger, and only does when absolutely necessary. I guess 40 years in the business pays off! Fandango’s distraction and subsequent interference nicely established the upcoming segment.
One positive in this match was Swagger winning the match with the Swagger Bomb. A couple of weeks ago, I talked at length about how Del Rio needs an impactful finisher. Swagger has shown in the last three weeks that he has three tools in his arsenal to beat someone; the Patriot Lock, the Gutwrench Powerbomb, and the Swagger Bomb. It just further pushes the need for Del Rio to step up and use something different.
Winner: Jack Swagger (pin)
Fandango Beatdown – 8
I will say that it was nice to see him do something other than talk! He is catching some great heat from the crowd, and has some potential that he wasn’t showing in just his promos. My only complaint is his Top Rope Leg Drop. He protected Jericho in a very obvious manner, with his legs way too high over Jericho. But I do believe he has turned the corner, and this gimmick might work, at least in the short term.
Backstage Segment – 7
Show is starting to show his age and I don’t mind, as he has been around for 18 years. I don’t know if he just forgot to use his Just For Men this week or what, but I like it. And he is very good at showing his emotions through his face and voice. I wish we had gotten more of that in his heel run than just the big angry giant.
Video for Rock vs. Cena 2 – 0
Ok, I am over this video! They have shown it on every show since last Monday’s Raw, and it is overdone. If I see this again, I will be turning off my TV!
Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow) vs. Funky Disaster (Brodus Clay and “Sweet T” Tensai) – 6
Rhodes and Sandow are two of the best mike workers in the mid-card, and with their in-ring talent, they should be in the main event. But who in the blue underworld had the idea to let Tensai wear a coon skin hat to the ring? This just furthers my point that I made in the first installment of my new weekly series on the wwenews.net, which you can read here! (Cheap DX styled plug, I know!) This was just a throwaway to start the massive brawl in order to set up the inevitable 8-Person Mixed Tag Match at Wrestlemania. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy the catfight between the Bella Twins and The Funkadactyls!
Winners: No Contest
Backstage Segment – 6
Ok, Sheamus was a little weird here. He pushed the trust thing a bit far, seemingly trying to one up Big Show. And Randy Orton threw the promo to Sheamus? Who is this alien?! Orton never lets someone else show him up!
Antonio Cesaro vs. The Miz – 7
Barrett on announce was atrocious! Why does creative keep putting him out there, as we all know that it will bomb if they do. Sadly, though, this was a very unremarkable match other than that nasty knee Cesaro gave Miz. Though I will give praise to the Miz for performing a proper Figure-Four and making it his own with the arch upwards on his opponent’s legs. I never thought I would see the day that JBL openly praised the Miz! If you don’t know, JBL was the one who made the Miz dress separately from the locker room for six months, and bullied him throughout Miz’s first couple of years. Glad to hear that JBL has gained some respect for him.
Video of Heyman, Brock, and HHH – 6
This wasn’t a bad recap, but considering the quality of videos that WWE’s production team have put out here lately, this one was subpar.
Orton, Sheamus, and Big Show vs. 3MB – 6.75
Orton is still getting a good pop, but you can tell the crowd is losing interest in him. He obviously needs to pump the crowd to get them behind him, and that is not a good thing. Drew was also very out of it here. He looked flat out ticked off as he came out of Gorilla, and was not in character for the Air Guitar with the rest of 3MB. The match itself was pretty much the same as any match involving 3MB, Orton, or Sheamus. I did think that Sheamus and Big Show using each other’s Signature strikes was a nice touch. But the after match segment showed what I had been waiting for this whole time. We saw just how much dissension there is between Big Show and Sheamus. And this may be the team’s true downfall, not withstanding a turn. The Shield did employ some great psychology here, as they do always seem to exploit the numbers advantage. So why should tonight be any different? I really hope this storyline turns out well, as they have basically made this the entire focus of Smackdown the past few weeks.
Winners: Randy Orton, Sheamus, and Big Show (pin)
Overall Wrestling Grade: 6
Overall Segment Grade: 6
Overall Show Grade: 5
Ok, this was just an overall bad show. WWE seems to have no middle ground here lately on their shows, and it was made even worse this week by the fact that everything on this show was a repeat of something that happened in the last month! We had Rhodes Scholars vs. Funky Disaster at Elimination Chamber, Sheamus and his Merry Men beating up 3MB right before Elimination Chamber, Cesaro vs. Miz three weeks ago, Jericho vs. Swagger last week, and Dolph vs. Kofi on Raw this week! Creative needs to get off of their bums and actually try to write a decent show, as this subpar mess of a show should not even be on the Road to Wrestlemania. I will say that the few decent parts in the show really did help move the stories associated to them forward. But that was overshadowed by the just awful composition of the show. And on top of everything else, Del Rio was off the show again! Del Rio has been sporting that big knee brace on his right knee since a couple of weeks before the "attack" by Jack Swagger last week on Main Event. It would not surprise me if he is working hurt, and Vince is keeping him off Smackdown to protect him. Here’s hoping that next week’s show fares better, as there is not much time left.
Thank you for reading, and I will see you again for next week’s Breakdown!