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.
Considering the fact that the WWE has brought back the Bella Twins and has had the Divas in the final match of 4 out of the last 5 Raw broadcasts, it begs the question of whether or not WWE is trying to place a renewed focus on the Divas Division. Looking at the active roster, there are very few on it that I would consider to be a detriment to a revamp: Rosa Mendez, The Bellas, and Aksana. And after this week’s actions by Rosa, I doubt she will be a factor for much longer. But what most people don’t get to see is the quality of talent that is coming up in NXT. The current NXT roster is only 8 Divas deep, but 7 of those 8 ladies could, in my opinion, work circles around a quarter of the male roster. There is only one on there I would consider dead weight, especially after this week on Raw, and that is Summer Rae. And with Sara Del Ray training these young ladies, I know that we can expect a superior product once they are on the main roster. However, is this a renewed focus on them just they fad of the month, like we saw with the Tag Team Division or is it an actual push to elevate the women in WWE? Unfortunately, I see it as their latest doomed project, as we have seen where the Tag Team Division push went. And if they can’t book the Titles that really should matter to the future of the business such as the US and the IC Titles properly, then why should I have confidence in their ability to book the Divas?
Break it down!
Opening Video: 7
This week’s video was pretty decent. They didn’t overuse the narrator this week and they did a good job of recapping the major feuds leading up to tonight’s key matches. I will say that cut that they did to Orton delivering an RKO to Big Show at the end of this video was completely unnecessary, as there was no talking about either of them in here!
No Disqualification Match:
Alberto Del Rio with Ricardo Rodriguez vs. Jack Swagger with Zeb Colter: 9
Before I even get on the subject of the match itself, I have to get something off my chest about both Del Rio and Swagger. I find it incredibly pathetic that both Ricardo and Zeb are far more over than the superstars that they manage! Zeb catches the right kind of heat between the two of them, as Swagger typically just catches “shut up and go away” heat, and Ricardo is the one getting the pop for announcing Del Rio, as well as is the reason that the fans get behind Del Rio in every match he is in! If you can’t sell yourself to the fans, I guess it is easier in WWE’s eyes to have you associate with someone who can.
Now that I am done with that little rant, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this match! Maybe it is the old ECW fan in me, but a match almost always improves when weapons are involved. And they brought them out awfully early in this match! Within the first 2 minutes, we had a kendo stick and we had a ladder within 4! And while the fans did get bored in the live audience, as we saw and heard some Fandangoing, they still popped pretty well for the appropriate spots. I can’t blame them though, as this is the 4th time we’ve had this match in as many weeks. I did rather enjoy the Patriot Lock being countered into the Cross Armbreaker. It was a nice bit of technical countering in a rather extreme match. I also like that Swagger used the Gutwrench Powerbomb to win tonight, as it made perect sense that he used a powerful move in a hard hitting match. This is how you open a show!
Winner: Jack Swagger (Pin)
Aksana vs. Layla: 3.5
UGH!!! After we have had some good matches on Raw lately with the Divas, Smackdown gets “treated” to this long, useless, and honestly terrible match! And I know Layla can put on a much better match than what I have seen from her lately! And Aksana was awful in the ring, both in looks and in actual ring work! I know that Aksana can look good, but whoever is designing her outfits is really off base on what looks good. And the end of this match just looked sloppy. But at least the “hometown girl” got a win for once.
Winner: Layla (Pin)
Total Divas Promo: 7
Maybe I’m the only one who thinks this but I feel the only reason the Bellas are back, other than the fact that their boyfriends are Daniel Bryan and John Cena, is to do this reality show. Let’s face it, they are attention seeking flesh pits and I hope that they will do this show, get somewhat famous outside of WWE and leave, never to return! But at least Naomi, Cameron, and Natalya will get some eyes on them. Natalya especially, as she is one of the most misused Divas on the roster!
Recap of The Shield vs. Hell No and Undertaker: 8
While they did recap this at the start of the show, it was quite a perfect segue into the next segment. Plus, I love seeing Bryan doing the Flying Headbutt! It reminds me of Benoit, and while I know I will catch some flak for saying that, I separate the good in ring memories from the monster that he became. Chris Surrency had a great, if not controversial, article about him on WWENews.net, which you can read here.
Shield Video: 9
I want to know whose idea it was to have The Shield do these hand camera videos in the back, as it was pure genius! I know I gush over them every time they have one, but they work so well! And it plays up to each member’s strengths, as they can quickly pan between them all. On top of the excellent mike work by The Shield, which I have come to expect from these videos, we had the seeds planted for The Shield to go after the Tag Team Titles. I can’t wait for The Shield to win them, as I think it is time for Daniel Bryan to re-enter the World Heavyweight Title hunt. I also enjoyed Ambrose’s rapid determination in this video to take down Undertaker. It made me believe that he was desperate and crazy enough to do it!
Fandango with Summer Rae vs. Justin Gabriel: 8.5
Ha! They don’t even reference Summer Rae is and NXT Diva or know her name! So the announce team started calling her Miss Fandango! And Summer Rae is trying WAY too hard yet again. She is there to accent Fandango, not try to out shine him. Although I will say that she has some beautifully long legs! We all know that the UK fans are a little crazy, but they are really into Fandangoing! Sadly, his music seemed to get more of a pop than he did. Justin Gabriel looked pretty good here against Fandango and looked like he could win at a couple of points. But Fandango pulled that sick kick as Gabriel came off the top rope and really impressed me with his top rope Legdrop across half the ring. While I still think the character has a short life cycle, Fandango is standing out as a rising star in my eyes.
Winner: Fandango (Pin)
Mick Foley DVD: 9
I don’t normally write about these commercials, but I felt that this one deserved it. It has a unique feel to it and Mick talking about how his career is a happy story despite being involved some of the most violent matches in wrestling history is heartwarming. I can’t wait until the 1st so I can buy it on Blu-Ray.
Sheamus vs Big Show: 6
Honestly, this is the single match that I am getting tired of most on WWE programming, in some shape or form. We had the seemingly never ending feud between them towards the end of last year for the WHC, then we have had the two handicap, a tag team, and now a singles match between them since Wrestlemania. And what makes it worse is that they never show us anything new! Even the fans live hated this match, as they could be heard Fandangoing at various points all through the match. The only positive part of this one was the ending, which helped further Sheamus and Henry’s storyline.
Winner: Big Show (Pin)
William Regal vs. Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett: 7
Regal and Barrett are possibly two of the best Brits to have ever graced a WWE ring. But Barrett showed the difference between a truly villainous character and a one dimensional “bad guy”. He really has no character depth. And I love Barrett’s ring work, but it is getting to the point that is all I care to see out of him. Sadly, this match was too short to really comment on, but what was there looked good. I know it won’t happen, but I’d love to see Regal get one last good run, as he proved he can still mix it up with the best of them after his match with Kassius Ohno.
Winner: Wade Barrett (Pin)
Recap of HHH/Heyman: 7
Honestly, I am at the point that I don’t care about Lesnar/Triple H III. And while I like seeing Heyman getting abused, just like everyone else, I just want this storyline to be finished.
Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry: 7.25
While I wasn’t really into this match, as they both seemed a little off their game, I have to say it was nice to see Orton back in singles action. And while it is the UK, Orton was getting an incredible reaction here! Of course, Sheamus had to come out and take a measure of revenge against Henry for costing him the match against Big Show earlier in the night. My question is, where is Orton and Big Show going? They both seem to be pawns in this story between Henry and Sheamus and while I don’t have any preference towards Orton, both he and Big Show deserve better.
Winner: Mark Henry (DQ)
No One Lives Trailer: 8
I know that that Brodus filmed this role before coming back as the Funkasaurus, but I really am glad that they wait so long to show these commercials. I don’t want to have to explain why my son’s favorite dancing superstar is trying to kill people! But I do like the direction WWE Studios is taking their films. At least we don’t have to suffer through another 12 Rounds… Oh wait…
Raw Rebound: 8
This was a very well put together Raw Rebound. While I am not a fan of the Cena/Ryback storyline, this video helped draw me in a bit. I think Ryback, while still a bit green on the mike, held his own very well against Mick Foley. I did notice that they cut any reference to Ryback calling him Super Cena though!
Undertaker vs. Dean Ambrose with Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins: 9.75
I said it during Raw, but after 23 years in WWE I still sit in awe of Undertaker’s entrance every time he comes out! And I have been one of the people who have said that I wanted a standout moment from Dean Ambrose, and I feel we got that in the entirety of this match with The Undertaker. He showed just how well he can work the ring tonight on his own, and he has a great roughneck style that reminds me of Jake Roberts. And Ambrose’s facial expressions are outstanding! Undertaker really gave Ambrose a rub with putting him in Hell’s Gate, as that seems to be a move he only uses on people he respects.
Winner: Undertaker (Sub)
Post Match Justice: 10!
This was an amazing way to close Smackdown! If this is how they write Undertaker off of TV this year, I am perfectly fine with it! But I still say they need to push this to Extreme Rules. But on to the attack itself! The Shield took quite a beating from Undertaker, but Reigns pulled out that wicked Spear through the barricade! Then Ambrose took the chair to him and leveled Undertaker! Then that wicked Triple Powerbomb through the table! We fight on Friday Night!
Overall Wrestling Grade: 7.25 (8 without the Divas)
Overall Segment Grade: 8.25
Overall Show Grade: 8.5
Wow, this was mostly a great episode of Smackdown! Although the middle of the show was a bit lackluster in the middle, they more than made up for it with the ending. As it was last week, I do have to say that Ziggler not being on the show he is Champion of is a bit disconcerting. I hope this isn’t a sign of their confidence in him as champion.
Last week, Kblitz blitzed the trivia question yet again! So I am going to try upping the difficulty this week! Can someone wrest the title from his grasp?
What is the date of the event at which the most sanctioned title changes occurred in WWE, and how many?