Welcome once again ladies and gentlemen to another edition of the Smackdown Breakdown. Last week I was talking about how the WWE Network was due to launch here in the UK and how big a deal it was to the fans. However, 30 minutes before the Network was set to launch it was pulled again with no explanation offered by WWE. As of writing we are no nearer to knowing the reason but the popular belief is it relates to Sky, who hold the exclusive rights to airing WWE here in the UK. The two companies recently agreed a new contract which should have surely taken the Network launch into account as the two knew it would be launching. If Sky are behind the delay, and given the fact there were no objections from anyone about the Network till after WWE said Survivor Series would be free which would mean the company loses out on £14.95 for every fan who converts to the Network, then it is a shame they waited till so near to launch time to put a stop to the launch as it made WWE look bad. It will be interesting to see how the live crowd reacts at the Raw and Smackdown tapings this week but you can bet any mention of the WWE Network will be met with a chorus of boos. Vince's video apology will maybe soften the blow a little but I can't imagine WWE are going to escape some backlash from the UK fans this week.
With the company on it's usual jaunt over this side of the pond it will mean the shows do not come across with the same feel as when they are broadcast live as we all know the shows will be recorded and no doubt edited by WWE in some way if anything happens they don't like. I'll never understand why they can't broadcast the show live here on UK TV and then air it later in the US as surely this would be more beneficial for the company but maybe that's just me being too logical.
Lets head on down into this weeks episode of Smackdown and analyse what happened in this weeks show.
Gold and Stardust vs. The Usos - 4 Stars
What a way to kick off Smackdown, a steel cage Tag Team Championship match! These two teams have had some fairly entertaining matches in the past and this one was no different. The match had a good mixture of fast paced action and was also hard hitting. Both teams worked well in this one so you can forgive the few sloppy looking spots we saw throughout the match. The end was full of drama and some nice false finishes, including a nice last ditch pin from Stardust just when it looked like The Usos may pick up the win. It's a shame this one didn't go a little longer but what a way to kick off the show.
Kane Segment - 3 Stars
The whole Orton and Rollins issue within the Authority is some compelling television. I can't wait to see what happens at Survivor Series with the prospect of Orton turning on the Authority. Dolph Ziggler and Kane also seem to be going somewhere with their feud and it's no surprise Dolph is getting some TV as he deserves it. Cesaro would be a good fit in the Authority at Survivor Series and I really want to see him get his chance to prove himself in the main event. The only way he could join though was to get past Ryback, who is looking a much better superstar since his return. The segment was just a little way to progress the story, set up the match and was nothing special.
Cesaro vs. Ryback - 3.5 Stars
This was a match of pure physicality between two of WWE's big guys. Cesaro helped Ryback wrestle a solid looking match and this has to be one of the few Ryback matches I have actually enjoyed. Both Cesaro and Ryback had their moments where they had control of the match and were able to display their prowess. In all honesty I would have liked to see a little more from Ryback with his in ring work other than his usual arsenal of big moves. Ryback beating Cesaro felt like the wrong finish for me but it would have probably done more damage to Ryback losing the match following his recent return.
R Turth vs. Adam Rose - 3 Stars
It's the singer versus the party boy, or more appropriately a contest of who could play up to the crowd the most. Rose is so entertaining in the ring and I loved the spot where he jumped into Truth's arms. Bunny costing Rose the match was almost inevitable but I was surprised they had Rose attack Bunny so early into the story between them but it seems like it will carry on a little longer with Bunny becoming more and more outcast. The match was very quick but served it's purpose. The crowd just didn't quite seemingly know what to make of it by the end.
The Peep Show - 4.5 Stars
It's always good to see Christian back in a WWE ring, it's just a shame we haven't seen him wrestle in so long as he is a real under utilised talent. Dean Ambrose makes for a real entertaining guest so I was expecting some great work between the two men. It was an entertaining segment that allowed Ambrose to display his great promo work and would then see Bray Wyatt come out onto the stage. Wyatt cut another promo of the usually high standard we would expect from him. These two men really are going to potentially have one hell of a feud and I hope their in ring work together translates over as well as their promo work. The prospect of Bray trying to heal Ambrose is interesting and I cannot wait till these two lock up. The end of the segment where Bray appeared behind Ambrose and shouted run was brilliant and I loved the confusion on Ambrose face on where Bray had gone.
Natalya vs. Summer Rae - 3.5 Stars
I'm glad both Natalya and Tyson Kidd are getting some TV time and attention as both are great workers in the ring and deserve more of a more featured spot on the card. Tyson on commentary was great and I'm glad he finally has a voice on TV. Given their on screen distain of one another it was fun to see these two work despite me not being a Summer Rae fan. Tyson ended up causing Natalya to lose with his distraction and you can feel the tension that was worked into Total Divas between the two. Tyson's little pat on the head of Natalya was a great patronising little touch and it will be interesting to see where the problems with these two heads.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Kane - 4 Stars
Two steel cage matches in one night is truly a way of spoiling us. It's been a while since Smackdown had two fairly big stipulated matches. Kane is a reliable veteran who could help get Ziggler further over so I expected this one to be a solidly worked match. The weird Luke Harper promo as Ziggler was getting into the cage seems to be an indication that he may well be the first feud the new version of Harper has. Ziggler used his speed throughout this one to try and outsmart the veteran Kane but he wasn't able to prevent Kane from having his moments of domination. The exposed turnbuckle was always going to be a factor in the outcome so it was no surprise Kane's head had a meeting with it toward the end. Kane did a good job of dominating Ziggler and the end of the match saw some nice false finishes. Using Kane to climb up to the top of the cage good and I loved the spot with Dolph stuck hanging on the door before he won the match. I enjoyed this one and thought it was a great way to end the show.
Overall Show Rating - 3.5 Stars
My favourite segment of the night wasn't any of the ones listed above. It was simply the segment where we saw US Army Sergeant Dan Rose walk across the stage with the aid of the robotic walking device provided by SoldierSocks and Ekso Bionics. It was such a touching and moving moment to watch the proud patriot take his steps across the WWE stage. American's really make a big deal of their soldiers and it puts us British to shame as while we like to pretend we care about our soldiers we do not go anywhere near the lengths of what the Americans do. You could feel the raw emotion and pride from the crowd and from Dan too and it was real great to see.
That just about does it for another week here on the Smackdown Breakdown. As always please feel free to continue the conversation using the comments section below if you have anything to say about the show or my thoughts on it. I will of course be back again next week with another instalment of the Breakdown so if I don't catch you before I will see you again next week. Thanks once again for reading the Smackdown Breakdown.