After a bit of a hiatus, The Smackdown Breakdown is back! I know I haven't been away, as I have continued to host the Raw and Impact Watch Parties, but personal and family issues made it to where the words I wanted to come across to the WNW fanbase just wouldn't come to me for the Breakdown. I want to thank all of you for bearing with me, and I assure you that next week's Breakdown will be up earlier than this!
Break it Down!
Opening Segment: 7.75
So we are starting yet another broadcast with HHH? This is becoming monotonous, as it is almost every single show now. And while I like the WWE Title storyline, it is overtaking the entire weekly block of WWE programming. I'm getting flashbacks to 2002 when HHH opened just about every single Raw. WWE Superstars are unable to accept their inadequacies? What about you Hunter? Are you feeling a little inadequate about the fact that you can't go in the ring at the same level as these younger guys, so you are using your power to take your frustrations out on them? Angsty Miz is actually pretty cool! This was a good little back and forth between HHH and Miz. Granted, HHH dominated most of it, but Miz with few words and showing some good emotion is much better than him tripping over his words because he has too much to say. At least this sets up the main event for tonight and considering the recent history between Orton and Miz, it should be a good one.
Alberto Del Rio vs. R Truth: 6.75
Why in the heck is a top tier champion in the first match of the night? The World Heavyweight Championship might as well be a tertiary title! And he is facing R-Truth, a guy that might as well be enhancer talent now! Truth was quite impressive with a Suplex into a Cutter! Del Rio apparently bit his lip or tongue, as his mouth was busted open. So Del Rio has officially added the superkick to his arsenal of finishers! I know he has been using it for awhile, but with the length of time it has been, I can officially call it a secondary finisher instead of an occasional finishing move. It's about time we see him get an impact move, as the Cross Armbreaker has lost a lot of luster over the last few months. Other than those two little spots, this was a completely forgettable match that was only meant to set up the following segment.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio (Pin)
Post Match Segment: 7.25
Of course, ADR wants to show his ruthless side now that The Viper is back to his old, dark ways! I kid you not, it seems that whatever Orton does as a heel, ADR quickly starts following alongside of him. It make ADR look like a cheap fabrication of Orton, and further devalues his title reign. RVD making the save to help make up for the attack on Monday makes sense, and the addition of the chair sets up nicely for the Hardcore match stipulation being announced backstage. At least it isn't going to be another regular singles match on the card. I know the overuse of gimmick matches can be an issue, but with how WWE has built the recent programming around the WWE Title match and little else, the WHC match needed something to make it stand out on the card.
Backstage Segment: 8
Who doesn't love The Primetime Players? They have the charisma needed to get over in a huge way, and they seem to really enjoy their gimmick, which this little backstage segment showed.
The Real Americans vs. The Primetime Players: 8
Zeb doesn't want anyone else to say “We the People” unless they are Real Americans? That was a good way to get it said even more! I know I say it a lot, but Titus' improvements in the ring simply amazes me! From watching him botch multiple easy moves and bumps just this time last year against Hell No at the live event in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to looking like a polished superstar today, I am simply astounded. And while it is becoming a regular thing, Cesaro's Giant Swings are amazing to watch as well! And Young pulling out a Northern Lights Suplex was a bit of a surprise as well. And while it was a fitting ending to the match, I think that Young's “rookie mistake” of not having good ring awareness in a tag match should have been avoided, simply because the Primetime Player have been a team for over a year now. But otherwise, this was a great match by both teams involved!
Winners: The Real Americans (Sub)
Bray Wyatt vs. Zack Ryder: 7.75
Bray's maniacal persona is just amazing! I just wish he had something going on, other than destroying the lower card. RYDER'S IN A MATCH!!! AND HE GETS AN ENTRANCE!!! I must have fallen through a portal into an alternate universe for this to have happened! The Rough Ryder counter looked painful, as Bray put some air time onto Ryder with it. This was a very solid, if a bit of a short match. I found myself watching and wondering what Bray was going to do throughout it. His style in the ring is as unorthodox as his character!
Winner: Bray Wyatt (Pin)
United States Championship Match
Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler: 5
Glad to see Dolph brought in some backup for this match! Kofi and RVD are also just the level of backup he needs, as anyone lower than them would feel inadequate. Well, that was a short match! Hopefully, Ziggler gets another shot at the US Title, with no interference allowed, at Battleground! I think a solid 15-20 minute match between these two could easily steal the show. NO! HHH pulled a Teddy Long Special! I should have guessed it was coming when Ziggler had backup, but I thought we were past this inept crud!
Winner: Dolph Ziggler (DQ)
6 Man Tag Match
The Shield vs. RVD, Kofi Kingston, and Dolph Ziggler: 8.5
I like Dolph taunting Rollins with his own “Stay down!” line! It seems like something the Show Off would do just to get under his opponent's skin. I would just like to see WWE let him really be a Show Off and when he is in bigger matches, have him steal his opponent's signature moves and taunts just to show that he thinks he can do everything better than his opponent. The Alabama Slam by Ambrose caught me off guard! Other than Cody Rhodes using it on occasion, I can't remember the last time I saw someone use it. I also like that they are making a big deal that Reigns first pinfall loss was on Raw. Reigns went almost an entire year without taking a pin, and that makes him look very strong. The countered dive from RVD to Reigns was very awkward, but we do have to remember that he is still a bit green. The match as a whole, but especially the go home sequence, showed each member of The Shield's strong points and how they combined to make one of the most effective units in WWE history.
Winners: The Shield (Pin)
Big Show Interview: 6
This segment was just as much of a wreck as Show claims to be up until HHH showed up! HHH making fun of everything we hate about Show's blubbering was fantastic and showed the side of HHH I love: the DX side. He still managed to rope it back in to where it ended serious and when Show became angry, it hit me that I can't wait for this to blow up! Hopefully, they can
Cameron vs. AJ Lee: 6
The Diva's Title looks so huge on AJ! She is just so petite that she should carry the belt instead of wearing it. Tamina as AJ's muscle, due to her being as ostracized as AJ, is an interesting turn! That was some good use of the Goldman Box as well, as it explained the reason Tamina was accompanying AJ. Cameron has improved since TE, but she is still really rough in the ring. Other than her looks, I don't see how she has a job in WWE. At least she can take a bump decently now. Tamina looks really good with this revamped tough girl look. And as AJ's muscle, it adds a little bit more depth to the Diva's division. Otherwise, this match only really served to further the Total Divas vs. AJ storyline, and until I hear some more mic work from AJ on it, I am pretty bored with it.
Winner: AJ Lee (Pin)
Paul Heyman Promo: 8.25
What more is there to say about Heyman? His natural shilling is amazing, he works a crowd like it is a second nature, and his words have such meaning and emotion behind them that you can't help but feel almost everything he says. So Punk vs. Ryback is now official for Battleground! Honestly, this match appeals to me about as much as committing seppuku. While the character roles were reversed the last two times they faced off, I can't see how the actual substance of the match itself will be any different. “History will repeat itself”? Sorry Paul, but obviously you have forgotten Punk's history with Ryback, as Ryback has never beat Punk.
Heath Slater vs. Santino: WTH?!
I refuse to acknowledge what I just watched with this match! Let's just move on...
Los Matadores Vignette: 6
At least we will finally get these vignettes off of TV with their debut on Monday! Although, one has to wonder if Creative really thinks this gimmick will get over with the audience. Granted, we did say the exact same thing about the Fandango gimmick...
Rhodes Family Turmoil Videos: 8
I'm lumping these recaps into one grade, since they were concurrent and played to the larger storyline. This storyline, while it does wrap around the overarching Corporation storyline, has really grown into its own entity. And while I am a huge Daniel Bryan fan, the emotion in the Rhodes family's struggle is so much greater than the WWE Title feud that I really prefer following this feud. The question is, are we seeing the start of a Cody Rhodes main event push?
As a side note, we saw Tout again! I honestly can't remember the last time saw WWE use it. Talk about a bad investment!
Randy Orton vs. The Miz: 8.75
We've been wondering when Miz would get back to the level where he was 3 years ago when he was being pushed to the moon, and it looks like he just hit it! Miz looked better tonight than he has in quite some time! Orton's ruthless assault that resulted in the initial DQ further played up his “dangerous” new attitude with his heel turn, and HHH's restarting of the match because “Orton wanted out of the match” showed just how little regard he has for anyone who crosses him. Miz was clearly unable to continue, yet HHH restarted the match just to teach Miz a lesson. I agree with Cole for once though. I'd love to hear HHH's justification on how letting Orton further attack an obviously injured Miz is what was “Best for business.” Considering the sheer number of superstars on the shelf, another injured one would be a bad idea, wouldn't it?
Winner: The Miz (DQ), Randy Orton (Pin)
Overall Wrestling Grade: 7.25
Overall Segment Grade: 7.25
Overall Show Grade: 7.25
Wow, it felt so good to write this week up! And while my grades may not have shown exactly how much I enjoyed this week's show, I have to say writing again helped me feels like Smackdown was worth watching again. Considering next week's show is the lead in for Battleground, I don't have high hopes that we will get a great show, but WWE has surprised me in the past! Take care, and I will see you next week!