The Smackdown Breakdown is a weekly opinion based review of Smackdown posted for the enjoyment of everyone here on WNW. As such, I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. If you do disagree, I encourage you to comment. But I ask that you please do so civilly, as WNW has a fantastic community that will gladly debate your point in a respectable manner. These views are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Richard Gray or the views of WNW as a whole.
Since this is so late in getting posted thanks to my health issues, let’s just get right into this week’s show! Mind you, this was written off of my notes of watching Smackdown before seeing this week’s Raw broadcast, so any discrepancies going forward in the timeline are known.
Break it Down!
Opening Video: 8.5
Finally, they ditched Captain Monotone! And while it was just a recap of the main event from Raw, it was a nicely put together video package. Hopefully they will keep using this style of video to open the shows instead of the narrated ones.
Ryback Promo: 6
First off, they very obviously piped in the jeers for Ryback during his entrance. And while I think he did ok on his material here, his pace was very odd. But the worst part of this promo was, yet again, his new catchphrase. He is talking about the law of the jungle and how the strong eat the weak, but has to end with Ryback Rules? It is unnatural. Let him go back to Feed Me More. I know he used it for the babyface pop, but considering how his promos are structured, he could take out More and say something like Cena’s name or The Weak.
Ryback vs. Daniel Bryan: 8.75
I have to say that when Daniel Bryan came out of curtain I still wasn’t expecting a good match out of Ryback, but I was very pleasantly surprised by this match. I love that Daniel used his “educated feet” so much during the match, as him trying to lay into Ryback with punches would not seem very believable. Ryback showed a lot of power in this match and a decent number of moves that he rarely gets to showcase with other opponents. The flip-around Powerslam was very nicely done and the Deadlift Powerbomb showcased his strength very well. And Daniel Bryan countering the Thez Press into the half Crab was genius! After Daniel Bryan had been working the leg over the entire match with his kicks, this made for a refreshing way for a submission attempt. All of you longtime readers know that is one of my biggest pet peeves is when someone performs a submission hold and they haven’t done any damage to the affected body part! And even though Ryback’s “counter” was awkward, it didn’t detract from the match very much. And Ryback had to go over here, as he needs as much momentum going into Extreme Rules, but it really shows how little the Titles are thought of. On a side note, the crowd was incredibly hot for this match!
Winner: Ryback (Pin)
Raw Recap of WHC Feud: 7
While this recap does show Smackdown fans what happened on Raw in the WHC feud, all it really did in my eyes is waste more time that we could be watching some action! I mean, who watches Smackdown that doesn’t watch Raw?
Ricardo interview: 8.5
Ricardo sold his excitement really well over winning his first match on Raw! And he won it by pinning a Legend like Dutch Mantell, so I don’t blame him! If we could only get him away from ADR, then I’m sure we’d have a bonafide star. And he was speaking Spanish so fast that I couldn’t understand him to be able to translate it for you!
Fandango vs. Zack Ryder: 8
After they announced her name on Raw, I knew that Summer Rae was the permanent dancer. And it is a real shame, as the other dancer that Fandango had was more subdued and brought the attention to him instead of on herself. I have to say I like the more aggressive side of Ryder! Sadly, I don’t think it will save him, as I don’t see anyone looking at him as a possible main event talent ever again. Also, like Guy stated, I like the Russian Leg Sweep to set up the top rope Legdrop by Fandango. It’s an underappreciated move, and one that so many people have trouble doing as they don’t hook the leg. And speaking of the Legdrop, he gets some amazing airtime with it! I hope that he goes back to the Dip of Doom, as I know he can’t keep doing the Legdrop for a long term finisher.
Winner: Fandango (Pin)
Kaitlyn backstage: 6
Ok, let’s do some math here! Khali+lines=vomit! The only reason this segment got a passing grade is the fact that Kaitlyn did attempt to sell it throughout the actual segment. Even Kaitlyn knew this segment sucked, as was written in her face after Khali and Natalya walked off. But I will say that Khali is seemingly trying to learn English, and while it still is deplorable at best, he is relaxing around Natalya enough to become somewhat understandable. If only someone could loosen him up in the ring!
World Wish Day Video: 10
While I normally would rip into another pointless recap of Raw, this one was for WWE and John Cena’s contributions towards the Make-A-Wish foundation, and I can’t fault that. I said in the Raw Results that I respect John Cena’s commitment to the charity because it is one of the most genuinely touching things I’ve seen in WWE. To put it into perspective, WWE has granted over 5000 wishes and Cena has granted over 350 of them, which makes around 7% of all of WWE’s wishes. And I loved the backstage look at the kids with the Superstars and Divas. And the two that really stood out to me were Orton and Daniel Bryan. They both seemed genuinely happy to meet these kids.
Zeb Colter Interview: 8.75
Zeb is the one of greatest men on the mike in WWE today. And while he slipped up a bit in the middle here, he recovered well. He spun the reason for his loss very well, and I hope that we will keep getting Colter in the ring at various times during his run in WWE. I just hope that he will be allowed to show his true abilities in the ring, as it will be nice to see an old-school wrestler teach these sports entertainers a thing or two!
Ricardo Rodriguez vs. Zeb Colter… I mean Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez vs. Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter… Um, wait!
Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez vs. Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter vs. Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston: 6
I still find it funny that Ricardo is getting a bigger pop than ADR! I know it is because Ricardo can play up the crowd better than ADR, but it should be an indicator to WWE that one of their bigger “stars” is failing. And after 2 weeks of being off Smackdown, we finally got Ziggler back on Smackdown! I really didn’t understand the logic in keeping the Brand’s Champion off the show 2 weeks in a row, but I am guessing that is so he becomes a bit of an afterthought in this feud, which will make his win seem a bit bigger. I had to laugh at Ziggler calling Zeb the bad guy from Sonic the Hedgehog, as well as the fact that he would call out Cole’s inane banter! Ziggler has a natural wit on commentary. Dutch is really selling the fact his character doesn’t know how to wrestle, despite the fact we fans know he is a 40 year vet! That’s better than Ricardo, who starts out looking like he doesn’t but ends up pulling out a move or two that make it to where you can’t suspend disbelief! And because Swagger and Del Rio were at ringside, we had to get some interference! Of course Teddy Long had to come out and do the predictable thing and make the Tag Match! That is one of the things that he did as GM that really ticked me off to no end. And Ziggler had to get involved to make Teddy Long come out to make it a Triple Threat! Who didn’t see that coming? Dolph went under clean again! And if Dolph had fought a bit, he could have reached the ropes with his feet! I guess WWE’s goal is to devalue every title except the WWE Title, as no champion seems to be winning their matches lately! Sadly, despite the fact that the ring work was decent, this match was nothing but a clusterfluff thanks to the multiple starts and stops, thus why it gets a low grade.
Winner: Ricardo Rodriguez (DQ), No Contest, Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez (Sub)
The Shield Dole Out Backstage Justice: 9.75
The off camera attack was a brilliant way eliminate Daniel Bryan from backing up Kane later on in the show, and made for a compelling way to start the segment. Then we got another spectacular promo from them! By now, if you don’t Believe in The Shield, then you need to stop watching!
Aftermath Of Backstage Justice: 8
Daniel Bryan sold the attack very well, and the refs did well in this segment.
Randy Orton vs. Damien Sandow: 7.75
Maybe I’m alone, but I love Damien’s actual style of wrestling! It reminds me of the older styles like was wrestled in the 80’s and early 90’s. It is a shame that Sandow didn’t get a chance to rip into Orton here, as I know his mike work would be excellent. The match was a good show between the two of them, but it was nothing that we haven’t seen before. The only really notable thing was that Sandow did a poor job of setting up for the Spike DDT. It looked like he was supposed to fall out on the apron, but instead he fell to the mat.
Winner: Randy Orton (Pin)
Big Show Promo: 4
Ok, Show just was awful here! He wasn’t too bad until he started cackling like a drunken hyena. But thanks to that, I had to fail this. It was nice that Sandow got to hit the Terminus on Orton! But this segment also looks like it is trying to set up a match at Extreme Rules between Show and Orton, which I have no desire to see.
Kane at the Trainer’s Room: 9
Now that’s the Kane I love and miss! Serious and ready to hurt people! I hope that this is a sign of where they hope to take Hell No. I think they could stay together and be a serious team, but I know most of the fans would continue to expect them to be in the comedy role if they stayed together. Maybe Creative can get their heads out of their butts and figure something out!
Arm Wrestling Contest
Sheamus vs. Mark Henry: 2
All this served was to let the crowd see Sheamus get a cheap Broque Kick in on Henry, and it took 5 minutes to do it! Next.
Winner: Mark Henry
Recap of The Shield Destroying Undertaker: 8
I’m surprised they waited until now to show this recap. And it was quite well pieced together to show the strength of The Shield. It’s is videos like this that just keep the hype built up for an excellent faction.
Dean Ambrose vs. Kane: 9.5
First of all, this match shows me the faith that WWE has in The Shield as a whole and for Dean Ambrose as an individual. This is the third show in a row that either he or The Shield as a unit has been in the main event. And if they are giving Dean Ambrose solo matches against vets like Undertaker and Kane, then he obviously has something out-of-this-world. But onto the match! Kane did something that no one else thought of yet, and tried to take out the Shield members before a match began! And while it failed to keep them at bay, it was a great bit of psychology to start the contest. I have to agree with JBL that Kane is one of the best big men in the history of the business! I had the pleasure to see Glenn Jacobs before he hit it big as Doomsday in the USWA, and while he was a bit raw back then, there was no denying that he had talent for this business in spades. I also couldn’t help but laugh at the look on the face of Reigns as he swung Bryan’s Title back and forth! He doesn’t get a lot of chances to showcase his personality, and I think he may have one of the best out of all 3 of them! And I think Ambrose could soon take the title of best seller in the company from Ziggler! Especially when Kane hit him with the top rope clothesline! And while I know it is standard strategy to do so, it was nice to see Ambrose work over Kane’s leg as much as he did. I love that Rollins was trash talking Kane throughout the match and that Reigns was giving Ambrose warnings about moves. It showed their cohesiveness. I do feel that Kane lost this for himself. If he had went for the pin after the Chokeslam instead of starting to setup for the Tombstone, he might have won. But this also shows WWE’s faith in Ambrose, as he went over clean here. While some may not think Ambrose’s finisher here looked very good, I thought it was different. It looks like a swinging bulldog. Hopefully, we will get a name for it soon!
Winner: Dean Ambrose (Pin)
Post Match Justice: 9.5
Kane asked for this one! And he put up one heck of a fight, but the numbers of The Shield will always prevail. I love that The Shield posed with the Tag Titles over Kane’s body! Maybe it is a little bit of foreshadowing, but I truly hope that we will see The Shield capture them at Extreme Rules.
Overall Wrestling Grade: 8
Overall Segment Grade: 7.5
Overall Show Grade: 7.5
After looking back at all of the grades and averaging them for my final scores, I realized that the only reason this week’s Smackdown was any good was because The Shield and Hell No were involved in so many of the segments. The 3 exceptions were the Make A Wish video and the two backstage interviews with Ricardo and Zeb. So what does that say for the stars that have been here longer than The Shield? Or can we really blame them, as it is Creative’s fault for not taking time and writing decent storylines anymore. I would hope that WWE would take a page from the way they used to work and plan out a storyline a few months in advance, but I think that even if they did, Vince would want 50 revisions to it. Maybe I’m looking at things too logically again. What are your thoughts?
Since I am getting this Breakdown up so late, there will be no trivia question this week. I would, however, like to share an old Memphis classic. Here is Dirty Dutch Mantell’s big heel turn on Jerry Lawler at the end of their epic face vs. face feud in 1982. Since I cannot get it to embed properly, click here to view it.