Welcome to this week's Breakdown! It's time for another introduction, as this week's opening thoughts will be conducted by WWENews.net writer Zack Krasney. Zack has been looking at some great topics, from the various abuses WWE has put us through to The Shield restoring prestige to the secondary titles. So without further ado, take it away Zack!
There are certain people who get to play outside of the normal "rules" in wrestling. One of those people is the beast, Brock Lesnar. Brock, since his return, has not been very successful when it comes to wins and losses. He his wars inside the ring have left him at a 50% losing rate, which in a business that is supposed to be about wins and losses, is not very impressive. It is especially not very impressive when we are supposed to believe that Brock is this unbeatable monster who can't be stopped. A machine who leaves bodies in his wake. Yet, despite his not so impressive batting average in the ring, everyone still sees Lesnar as all of those things. Why is that? Why is it despite not being able to deliver wins when it counts, do we see Brock as a force you don't want to fight? It is because of how we, the fans, see Brock Lesnar. It also has to with how the creative team in WWE books Lesnar. Even though when it comes down to actual wins and losses, Brock is always booked to look like a monster. As fans, too, we know where Brock was between his previous and current run in WWE. He was in UFC, battling it out with real fighters who really beat the crud out of each other. Not only was he battling it out in UFC, he was their champion for a time. An accomplishment that shouldn't be taken lightly. When Brock Lesnar comes out to the ring, whether it is for a match, or it is to do some intimidating, you know business is about to pick up, as good old J.R. would say. Brock is a beast, and anyone but the very, very best this business has to offer will be left as a corpse in the ring once he is done. The marks of WWE see him as the monster WWE wants to portray him as, and the "smart marks" see him as the wrecking machine that tore his way through UFC and struck gold there. When his music hits, fans get excited because they know, they are about to see something worth watching. They know it is about to go down. Don't change that channel, Brock Lesnar is HERE and he is going to do something that will be talked about tomorrow. That is why wins and losses don't matter to Lesnar's career anymore, because he has risen above wins and losses, Lesnar is out for blood and chaos, and he delivers.
Break it Down!
Opening Video: 10!
Yes! They brought back the regular opening montage again! I know it seems like something stupid to get excited over, but the opening videos that they do every week are typically poor and only serve as an additional recap on top of all of the other ones that occur during the course of the show
Dublin Street Fight
Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow: 8.25
Ok, just because it is a Dublin Street Fight we have to have the portable taps and bars and a sack of potatoes? Really? This is racist, or at the very least the amalgam of almost every singe Irish stereotype! Sandow is very impressive with his aggression! It is about time WWE lets him out of his cage. Other than the glaringly obvious stereotyping, this was a great, hard hitting match. Both men left it all out in the ring and gave us an excellent start to Smackdown. I didn't like the seated Brogue Kick. After all of the other high impact spots, it just felt out of place. Sheamus was bound to win here, but this match should have gone to Sandow. Sheamus has had the upper hand the entire feud and a loss to Sandow here would have really helped him start a big push and make him look very viable to win MITB.
Winner: Sheamus (Pin)
Backstage Segment: 9
Bryan and Kane work so well off one another! While I agree with most people that it is more than past time to break up Team Hell No, it is segments like this that make me hope that they can be like DX in 5-10 years and team up every once in a while just so we can see this excellent dynamic. Kane's outburst has me thinking he may soon be heading back to his monster roots, while Bryan's innocent look and hug made me think of him as the little brother that only looks for acceptance. No matter which way they take Hell No, I am sure it will be interesting!
Raw Rebound: 5
Yet again, we get a recap of events that happened on Raw. And while it did do a great job of recapping what happened between Punk and Heyman for Miz TV, I really hate having 4-5 minutes taken out of what has been a solid show so far.
Miz TV: 7.5
Finally, someone uses the furniture in one of these talk show segments! I know it seems like a petty complaint, but it feels like a waste to have it put into the ring for it to not be used. And thank you Miz for calling Heyman on his slime from last week! That was completely unnecessary, as Heyman draws more than enough heat without resorting to tactics such as bullying of a female announcer. Miz pulled off an awesome Star Wars reference with heyman, but the one he turned onto Axel fell a bit flat. Axel reminds me of a young Triple H in his look and promo skills. Granted, that may be partially because we know that he has Trip's backing. But WWE has done something right in strapping Axel with the Intercontinental Championship, as just his lineage makes me care more for where the Title is going than I have in the last few years.
AJ Lee vs. Natalya: 8
Wow! I didn't realize it before tonight, but Kaitlyn has a lot of similar features to Trish Stratus! Her face especially looks like her, as the straight dark hair really helped soften her up tonight. I think I'm in love! Now that my nerd is sated, let's get to something more pertinent. While I am not a fan of the way they are doing this storyline as it is very reminiscent Piggy James storyline, I have to say that AJ and Kaitlyn are both handling themselves very well with it! Kaitlyn is the perfect scorned girl and AJ is playing the perfect bully. While the match was just a vehicle to move the feud forward, I thought it was interesting that they gave Natalya a win here. By normal logic, that should put her in the hunt for the title, but with the current feuds it won't happen. Which is sad considering the fact that Natalya and AJ had such a great match last week.
Winner: Natalya (Pin)
Wyatt Family Vignettes: 7
The Wyatt Family has been promoted for the last 5 weeks and while it is refreshing to see WWE try to build anticipation for a new group, I think they may be starting to wear the fans thin. But one line in the second vignette really stood out to me. “We have always been here...” I wonder if there isn't a family member already on the main roster!
WHC MITB Announcement: 7
Why the heck did VKM pull out the Mustard jacket tonight! I thought that was only for Old School Raw! So, the WHC MITB bout will be an all heel bout for the “Future” Stars of WWE... I'm not sure it will work very well because of the dynamics heel vs. heel matches typically have, but maybe the extreme spots in MITB can more than make up for that fact. Out of all of them, the only one I disagree with being in the match is Swagger. After the last time he was near a ladder, I wouldn't trust him not to injure me. I can only hope he gets taken out by a surprise entrant.
Randy Orton vs. Kane: 7
Bryan on announce is a huge YES! While he was a bit of a distraction at times to the action in the ring, he pushed his character very well here. Orton seems to be back to his normal methods in a match. I hate to say it, but maybe the only way he works harder is if he isn't the one calling the shots in the match. Bryan costing Kane the match helps further the slow burn to their breakup. I can see Bryan and Kane battling it out at the very end of the MITB and Bryan kicking Kane in the head and grabbing the case.
Winner: Randy Orton (Pin)
Justin Gabriel vs. Ryback: 6.75
So after being booked in the upper card for so long, Ryback is right back where he started this time last year, squashing the lower card workers. Honestly, I was shocked that Gabriel got the amount of offense that he did, although it made sense after the match. Sadly, it ended with one move for Ryback, which makes Gabriel look incredibly weak despite looking good up to that point. Jericho was spot on this week! I loved the Cryback chant as well! You know you were all thinking the same thing! I will say one thing positive about Ryback here, though. He sold the leg injury better than he has sold anything else his entire time in WWE.
Winner: Ryback (Pin)
WWE 2K14 Recap: 5
I enjoyed the game footage here, as it looks much better than the last 2 games published by THQ. However, this was another unnecessary Raw recap.
1-800-FELLA Video: 8
While a lot of people hate these little videos due to the fact they are cartoony, I love them because they are supposed to me mindless fun. Enjoy them for what they are and wait for the matches to look for something serious.
The Shield vs. Christian and The Usos: 8.75
Why did they start the match to go to break within a minute of it starting? That makes no sense! It's like starting a song on the radio just to cut to an ad after 30 seconds. Reigns was fantastic in the ring, especially against his cousins. It was quite obvious they had a familiarity between themselves in the ring. Christian going for the Spear reminded me so much of his former partner Edge. But it was Rollins who yet again stole the show! That corkscrew dive to the outside was just phenomenal! But what an upset by Christian and the Usos here! I know that I shouldn't be surprised that a main event talent picked up a win, but when any team is up against The Shield it does feel like the odds are against them. That shows how well WWE booked these young men!
Winners: Christian and The Usos (Pin)
Del Rio's Fiesta: 7.75
Ricardo got a reaction, but they had to pipe in one for ADR! It really shows just how bad the fans perceive Del Rio, as a manager should not be overshadowing his charge in most cases. And I'm not going to bother with translating Del Rio's promo, because if you have ever heard a heel promo from him then you know exactly what he said. Ricardo takes another sick bump! Ricardo has been more impressive than Del Rio during their entire run together. But not only did he let Dolph toss him through a table, but he took a shot from an Acoustic Equalizer! For a “non wrestler”, he sure does take a lot of hits! Dolph's attack really helped save this segment, as it really was boring otherwise.
Overall Wrestling Grade: 7.75
Overall Segment Grade: 7.25
Overall Show Grade: 7.5
Wow, what a difference a couple of weeks makes! We got another fairly average show, but this time it was because we had a solid opening and closing bout but rough segments interspersed throughout the show. Pacing is something WWE has always had issues with on Smackdown, but it is becoming more and more apparent with the passing weeks. Between the recaps, video packages, and less than stellar progression of story lines, Smackdown has been becoming harder to get behind. And while I do enjoy the quality of wrestling that we have been getting of late, I do hope for a bit more in the matches. 2 of them were really short tonight and were really only meant to progress a story line. Let's just hope for a better show next Friday!