Hello wrestling fans and welcome once again to another exciting edition of the Smackdown Breakdown, here on Wrestling News World. It's been another interesting week in the world of wrestling with the news of Santino Marella's retirement due to a neck injury, Global Force Wrestling announced link up's with various promotions across the UK and Europe, and the WWE Network continued it's push to get new subscribers with a free trial week....For the US only of course.
Santino's retirement is of course sad news and while I was not a big fan of his, especially due to the way he dragged Emma down (although she managed to make things worse all by herself) I think it's a sad state of affairs when any wrestler has to retire due to injury and it's not by choice. Hopefully Santino will still have some kind of role in WWE but only time will tell. Moving on to the Global Force Wrestling announcement I think this is particularly great news, especially for those of us here in the UK as the company I follow called New Generation Wrestling, based in Hull, are part of the agreement so it means talent who work there like Mark Haskins and Rampage Brown, who have worked for TNA and WWE respectively have a chance to get some worldwide exposure as well as unseen UK talent such as the amazing El Ligero, Nathan Cruz, and Dara Diablo getting their chance to potentially shine on a big stage. I will be interested to see how the GFW talent exchange all works out but it can only be good for all concerned in my mind.
I also wanted to quickly mention the WWE Network free trial before I go into this weeks Smackdown Breakdown. For anyone who is in the US and does not have the WWE Network then you really are missing out. It's not secret on the internet there are ways for people outside the US to access the network hence how I can tell you it really is great value for money. As well as the amazing hours and hours of content you get with access to all the Pay Per Views, Raw and Smackdown replays as well as access to original series such as Legends House, Wrestlemania Rewind, and soon the Monday Night Wars. The value cannot be argued with at $9.99 a month. Lets look at the math for one moment; you get ALL the WWE Pay Per Views for $9.99 a month which will cost you $119.88 a year. On the traditional Pay Per View model you would pay far more than this in probably 3 months of Pay Per Views so instantly it's a no brainer. I am now spending £6 per month on the network, £5 on Hulu Plus for Smackdown, and £3 on my VPN, as I watch Raw on a download now. Each month I'm spending £14 now when on average per month I was spending £20 a month on a Sky Sports subscription and £14.95 a month on a Pay Per View, meaning per year I save just over an average £250 a year which is a big difference for me and will make a huge difference to other fans worldwide who have to pay subscription fees when the Network expands outside the USA. The Network is fantastic value for money for all wrestling fans and I would encourage anyone who has not got it yet to take advantage of this great service.
With all that being said lets get moved on into this weeks installment of the Smackdown Breakdown and see what this weeks show gave us in terms of quality and entertainment.
Rusev and Roman Reigns Opening Segment - 4 Stars
I'm sure you have all probably seen the article published by The Atlantic asking Does WWE have a race problem? which highlights the fact that Rusev has been very successful against African American wrestlers. Now while they have got a point I don't believe WWE has a total race problem. Yes we all know names like Koko B. Ware and Sexual chocolate probably don't help the argument but its not like African Americans don't get a shot at all, have never been champions, or at the top of the card. When did WWE last have a Japanese champion? Have you noticed that there are never any top Japanese names in WWE (Until KENTA of course) who win the championship or get a main event spot? Yet no one brings this up. When was a Brit last the WWE champion? That would be never. But you don't see us complaining about it and claiming WWE are being racist. The racism card is thrown around all too much these days in my opinion and the world seems to be worried about offending people too much.
Anyway I'm getting off my soap box now and moving on to the segment itself. I did find this match to be a head scratcher when it was announced it would happen as I look at it that you have the undefeated Rusev and Roman Reigns, who is on a role right now going into a match where a loss hurts both men so the only obvious outcome is a DQ or no contest. Lana cut another great promo that was pro-Russia and anti-US and stated that Roman will be crushed. Reigns wasn't going to take that laying down though and came out to state that this is his ring and tonight he wins. Both men had an intense stare down toward the end before Lana told Rusev to back off. This was a nice little way to tease their battle later. While neither said anything unexpected it was the tension at the end that made this segment worthwhile for me.
Cameron vs. AJ - 3.5 Stars
I know I asked how Eva Marie got a Divas Championship match recently and I find myself now asking how on earth did Cameron earn one? Granted she is better than Eva but it's not like Cameron deserves a title shot. As we saw on Raw the Funkadactyles have now officially split and while it was a good idea in principle I thought the execution of their brawl just sucked. The good news was that before this match Cole and JBL mentioned how Paige will face AJ Lee at Battleground for the Divas Championship. This is going to be a great match I believe, and will certainly be Paige's chance to prove her doubters wrong.
Cameron playing a heel is an interesting dynamic as for me it seems very much like her personality that she shows on Total Divas, only more exaggerated. I actually thought that apart from the strange looking like she was trying to rip AJ's hair out at the start of the match that Cameron did pretty well in this match. AJ continued to show why she is the premier Diva in WWE and I love the crazy side of her character she portrays. Cameron tried to walk out on the match when she realized she wasn't going to win but out of nowhere Naomi came and threw her back into the ring which allowed AJ to pick up the win.
Randy Orton Backstage Segment - 4 Stars
I liked this little quick piece from Orton. He showed why he is still one of the top heels in the business and just makes everything look so easy and natural. Orton explained he was still focused on winning the WWE Championship at Battleground in the Fatal Four Way and that he wasn't concerned by Kane's comment on Raw that he was starting to hate Orton. Randy then talked about his match later that night with Chris Jericho and talked about that while Jericho is a legend he was going to introduce him to the legend killer tonight.
Fandango vs. Adam Rose - 2 Stars
Now this may seem a rather harsh grade for the segment but hear me out. It has nothing to do with Adam Rose or Fandango as both men are great young talents who will have bright futures in the company, but this was more about Summer Rae and Layla enhancing their battle. Within moments of Fandango and Rose starting their match we saw Summer and Layla brawling outside the ring which led to Fandango trying to separate the two ladies and getting counted out. In my opinion they did not need to have the match in this segment and could have easily done this backstage as it would of course lead to a rematch later in the night between Layla and Summer Rae with Fandango as the special referee.
Chris Jericho Backstage Segment - 4 Stars
This was an awesome little segment and really showed why Chris Jericho is one of the best talkers in the business. He came into this off of a great segment on Raw with Bray Wyatt and talked in this one about how great their match at Battleground will be. I believe it is going to be the best match on the card personally and cannot wait to see what happens. Jericho then cut a great response back to Randy Orton and ended the segment by saying the he's coming. WWE really has missed Jericho and I am so glad to see him back.
Heath Slater and Titus O'Neil vs. The Uso's - 3.5 Stars
In another match that could be a show stealer at Battleground it has been announced we will see Harper and Rowan challenge the Uso's for the Tag Team Championship in a 2 out of 3 falls match. I get the feeling this time will be Harper and Rowan's moment to win the titles but I guess only time will tell. Moving onto the match to tonight and I thought the pairing of Titus and Heath is a bit odd but I guess it could work. It was bought up on commentary that both men had said they have now "dropped their inferior partners", which made me laugh considering I believe Drew McIntyre had more talent in his little finger than Heath Slater does but that's just my opinion. This match saw the Uso's pick up a win in a match where they didn't have much offence, which I have noticed is a bit of a trait in Uso matches but they sell well in the fact that it isn't always obvious they will win.
It was also good how post match we had the interview in the ring with the Uso's by Byron Saxton and we got to see some more Uso talent on the mic when we heard how they would call the match and how it was going to go down at Battleground. The Uso's just get better and better every week and they could go down as one of the greatest tag teams in WWE history by the end of their careers.
Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton - 4.5 Stars
I'm glad to see Jericho managed to get his jack fixed as I don't know if you noticed but recently on Raw that one side of the jacket was out and he was stood at an angle. He mentioned it on this weeks Talk is Jericho podcast so I thought I would just bring that up for anyone interested. Before the match began the Wyatt's came on the tron and this saw Bray shouting "Save Us" and singing the whole world in his hands song. It's now got to a point where my 3 year old son sings along with Bray, it's rather creepy but just shows the connection he actually has with fans of all ages....John Cena must be cowering in fear.
Jericho showed in this match that he has not lost a step despite being out of the ring for the best part of a year. I'm a huge Jericho fan and while I recognize not everyone else is there can be no denying that Jericho is still one of WWE's top tier talents. The match with Orton had a feel similar to their classic feud in 2010 that would see Jericho eventually leave WWE after a punt to the head. from Orton. We saw Jericho have early control of this match before Orton would take over at the mid-way point, and then toward the end it became back and forth action. Jericho unfortunately bought out one of my pet peeves when he was Irish whipped into the ring steps and he bumped with his shoulder, but I'm sure one day I will let it go. Both men showed their main event quality talents throughout this match and toward the end of the match we saw both men pull off some great counters. Orton would pick up the win eventually when Bray Wyatt's entrance noise was heard and seen on screen, causing Jericho to be distracted and walk right back into an RKO. Any young talent in WWE or outside should watch these two men perform and take note of how they worked this match and their past encounters. It was a great watch for us all as fans.
Summer Rae vs. Layla - 2.5 Stars
So this was billed as a Money in the Bank rematch and included Fandango as special referee yet again. I thought the way they used Fandango's match with Rose to book into this one was a waste of time but this was an even bigger waste of the time. We saw the Layla and then Summer Rae kiss Fandango, who then stopped the match and started to dance. The two women then attacked him and ended up dancing with each other to Fandango's shock. I had some hopes for Summer and Layla having a half decent feud but I'm now seriously souring on it. This was just one big mess and I was glad when it was over.
Goldust vs. Curtis Axel - 3.5 Stars
Whether or not his standards have dropped since his return there is no denying that Goldust is still a fantastic talent and still putting on some of the best matches of his career. Cody is also seemingly rejuvenated with the Stardust gimmick and I think right now these two men are one of the most entertaining duo's in WWE right now. Curtis Axel had early control in this match but Goldust was soon back on the offence and would eventually pick up the win. It seems that after several months the streak of Rybaxel winning is now over and they are back to their losing ways. I loved how this ended with Stardust blowing, well Stardust, into the face of Ryback.
Diego and El Torito vs. Bo Dallas - 3.5 Stars
Once again we heard JBL and Cole mention the injury to Fernando and not giving any real update, although I did like how JBL claimed it was because he was speared by Torito's uncle Mantaur. We were then reminded how Bo Dallas beat El Torito in a match this past Monday on Raw and this saw Bo attack Torito after the match. As Bo made his way onto the entrance ramp he was met with a chorus of boo's, but as soon as the match began you could hear some faint "We Bolieve" chants. Bo controlled the majority of this match and it was no real surprise that he picked up another win in this match. Once again Bo focused his attack on Torito after the match by throwing him in the ring by the horns. I loved how Bo played up his concern that Torito was hurt only to hit him with a Bo Dog. This was some more great heel work by Bo Dallas, and while I'm not his biggest fan I think I am slowly but surely becoming a Boliever.
Rusev vs. Roman Reigns - 4 Stars
It's pretty evident I think that WWE are building up Roman Reigns to be their next big star. I will be giving my thoughts next week on the direction WWE will possibly head with Reigns on WWENews.Net when I write my next article for the site. I loved the brawl on Monday we saw between Kane and Roman Reigns. I was seriously itching for them to rip each other apart. I loved Reign's intensity on the microphone and I think he and Kane are going to perform well at Battleground, especially when they interact in the ring with one another.
This match saw two big and brutal monsters face off, and yet again it was good to see Rusev going in a match with some time to it. Reigns had control early in the match but by the time we came back from the break Rusev had taken control of the match which I felt was a real rough looking brawl. Reigns soon came back though and built up a ton of momentum which saw him hit Rusev with a Superman Punch. It looked as if the streak of Rusev could be broken on TV as Reigns set up for the Spear. The fans were going crazy for it and I think when WWE choose to have someone beat Rusev it would make sense for Reigns to be the guy who does it, but it would need to be on a Pay Per View match. Seemingly defeat for Rusev via pin fall wasn't going to come and instead we saw Reigns pick up a win by DQ when Orton interfered and hung up Reigns on the top rope before Rusev hit him with a super kick and left the ring for Orton to take advantage. The show ended after Orton nailed Reigns with an RKO and loomed over his fallen opponent. Reigns and Rusev put on a good match and I look forward to seeing what Reigns can do at Battleground in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match.
Overall Show Rating - 4 Stars
I really enjoyed the majority of this weeks Smackdown. I thought it contained some entertaining and exciting moments on the mic and in the ring. It's a shame the whole thing between Layla and Summer Rae put a bit of a damper on the whole thing for me but WWE can't please everyone with every segment they put on. My favorite moment of the show has to go to the match between Jericho and Orton. From start to finish they put on a true wrestling clinic and made you care about the match before they even got in the ring with their talented promo's.
That just about wraps up another week for me here on the Smackdown Breakdown. As always if you want to continue talking about the show, or want to talk about anything I have written then please feel free to comment in the comments area below. I will be back again next week for another installment of the Breakdown. For those of you who like to read great and thought provoking articles please head on over to WWENews.Net and TNANews.Com where you can great some great writer opinion and articles. I'm now off to write my latest WWENews.Net piece about the WWE Network and it's success so far so please feel free to check that out in the next few hours. Until next week here on the Breakdown, in the words of Jim Ross, so long everybody.