Welcome once again to another instalment of the WWE Smackdown Breakdown. It's been an interesting past seven day sin WWE, which started off with one of the biggest surprises that has been years in the making when 'the Icon' Sting finally arrived in WWE at Survivor Series, ultimately costing Team Authority the match and the power of Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. It was one of the most iconic moments in the history of the wrestling industry and I for one popped when Sting made his debut in a WWE ring after all these years. Many fans will point to the fact Sting is now much older and will claim he is past his prime, but age has nothing to do with this significant and monumental moment in WWE and wrestling history. I fully believe the Stinger still has something significant left to offer in the tank and I hope we not only get to see him work with Triple H headed into Royal Rumble, but I hope we can finally get the dream match between Sting and Undertaker at Wrestlemania 31. If you were not excited by the arrival of the Stinger in WWE then I feel you really are missing out on the bigger picture of what we witnessed on Sunday.
I actually thoroughly enjoyed the Survivor Series Pay Per View on Sunday, and not just because of Sting's arrival in the company. I thought from top to bottom we saw some good matches, with the exception of one or two, and were treated to a solid main event that went backwards and forwards and left us all guessing on the final outcome until the very end. Dolph Ziggler really had a true main event performance and WWE really did show some faith in him by having him end the match as sole survivor. I hope this moment will lead to bigger and better things for Dolph as he really gave a solid performance as did Seth Rollins, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan in that match. I'm looking forward to seeing what WWE has to offer us headed into TLC in December to end the year.
The other big news this week came in the form of the Art of Wrestling podcast when after almost eleven months without a real word we heard CM Punk on Colt Cabana's podcast talk about the reasons why he left WWE. If you have not heard the interview then sadly it seems to be having issues on iTunes, but you can still listen to it through Youtube, or you can check out the excellent transcription from our own CJ Blaze right here. I also write my thoughts on the podcast on WWENews.Net, which you can check out here and while I wouldn't want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn't heard it yet it certainly paints a disturbing picture of life behind the scenes in WWE, gives you a great insight into the way CM Punk was feeling mentally and physically, and how WWE as a company really stuck the knife to Punk on his wedding day all the while painting him out to be a quitter. I thoroughly recommend you give the interview a listen and it really puts the story of Punk's departure into a different light. Who knows, maybe all those who bashed Punk might actually realise they were wrong to just assume he gave up without a good reason
With that being said lets head on straight down to this weeks instalment of the Smackdown Breakdown and discuss the segments of this weeks show.
Miz TV with Big Show - 3.5 Stars
Even though I didn't expect them to come out winners Sunday night I did say if there was likely to be a tag title change it would be this team that won. Equally Big Show's turn on Team Cena was a surprise and seemingly came out of nowhere. Many questioned the logic of why so late in the match but if he did it straight off it could have made the outcome of the match seem either too one sided or obvious. I thought Show was given the right moment to turn and it worked well with the timing of it.
My only concern is this isn't anything new for Big Show, as we've seen him do the heel turn so many times I wonder what is actually viably left for him to do. It was great to see Daniel Bryan back again on Smackdown and he received a great reception showing he still has not lost any momentum or popularity with the fans. Bryan stole the segment and did a pretty good job of playing the crowd while getting over (not that he needs any help there). This could be a nice little filler role for Bryan if WWE wanted to keep him on screen going forward. I just hope we don't keep the anonymous Raw General Manager for more than one episode of Raw. A decent starting segment to get the show started but it wasn't mind blowing entirely.
US Title Battle Royal - 4 Stars
This came off the back of Rusev failing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance on Raw, and it was announced this was what would happen if Rusev failed. The early part saw eliminations of those who we all knew had no chance of winning like Adam Rose, Justin Gabriel, and Sin Cara. When Rowan and Big Show squared off I liked that they were the only focus in the ring, and it was great to see someone match Big Show as Rowan actually eliminated him. Mizdow eliminating himself was without a doubt one of the highlights of this one as it almost seemed inevitable. Tyson Kidd also had a pretty good outing and he continues to prove what a solid worker he is. Rusev winning was inevitable but it keeps his momentum and heat going. Whoever beats Rusev for that title is going to get a big rub from this so it needs to be booked right and the time is not right yet.
Bray Wyatt Segment - 4 Stars
I was a little disappointed in the outcome of the Ambrose and Wyatt match on Sunday but I understand WWE just wanted to blow it off till TLC as we know a TLC match between these two will be epic. I enjoyed their work on Sunday and it will be interesting to see where they go next. Bray of course cut another great promo to help hype up the match at TLC and talked about failing himself in Sunday's match. The Wyatt character is deep and intriguing and like Jake Roberts, when he talks you listen and you can't help but be drawn in by him. He seems like a man on a mission to bring down Ambrose and it feels like he will do anything to win and desperation is slowly creeping in. A great promo to help hype up the match.
Emma vs. Nikki Bella - 3.5 Stars
I'm slightly confused now about what is happening with Brie. Is she now back with Nikki like nothing ever happened? Because if Brie is acknowledged as being with Daniel, Bryan surely it makes no sense to turn her after everything with no explanation, especially now the 30 days has now expired of being a personal assistant. I can only assume Brie has a plan to leverage for a title match in some way. Emma is capable of so much more in the ring and I don't feel like she totally gets the right opportunity to showcase her unique in ring talent. She very quickly lost to Nikki in a match that served it's purpose of further establishing Nikki as a dominant Diva.
Nikki cut a post match promo on AJ Lee, claiming that she has worked harder than AJ and that she looks like a real Divas Champion. While I agree with Nikki she has improved in the ring she does indeed need to remember talent is not sexually transmitted. AJ came out to attack Nikki and I thought she did a good job of showing her anger as she tore down to the ring. Hopefully they will both go on to have a decent feud over the title but something tells me they won't get the TV time they need to put on some decent matches.
Ryback vs. Seth Rollins - 4 Stars
Seth had a real good outing on Sunday and continues to show why he really is the future of the WWE. Ryback also continues to impress me more each week and seems to be getting better in the ring than he was a year or two ago. JBL describing J and J Security as a modern day APA was quite amusing but there is no denying that they are very quickly becoming the new era Stooges and it's great to see as they both still have something to give to the product. Ryback and Rollins gave a good match which pitted Ryback's power against Seth's speed and what was good to see is this match wasn't dominated by either man and they both got to showcase their talents in equal stints. Seth slowly dissected Ryback when he was on top but Ryback showed his power was more than enough to keep him in this one at any moment. I enjoyed the back and forth action between these two and was entertained throughout the match. I'm not sure how Kane missing Ryback with a steel chair constitutes a disqualification finish but it almost seemed like a somewhat inevitable outcome for this one. It now appears Kane and Ryback are being programmed together and that could be a good thing for both men going forward.
The New Day vs. Slater Gator and Curtis Axel - 3.5 Stars
I've been looking forward to the debut of the New Day group as there is so much potential talent in that team who can do so many great things. I was hoping the stable would debut in a similar form to how they did as heels before this new aspect of the gimmick was introduced but I thought these guys did a great job as a team show casing their talents individually and as a team. The New Day had to fight for their first win but I thought they did a good job in their first outing on TV. They showed something a little different but most of their work was stuff we have already seen them do before so I'm hoping that in the future they will show something different but as a team I cannot majorly fault them and look forward to seeing where their future takes them.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Luke Harper - 4 Stars
I'm so glad Ziggler and Harper got the main event of the show as I thought they both worked hard on Sunday, especially Dolph who really proved what a star and asset he can be. If Dolph's booking at Survivor Series wasn't WWE's way of showing their faith in Ziggler and they drop the ball on the booking of him again then there really is no hope of seeing his tremendous talent pushed to the best of his ability. Harper also gave a good account of himself and continues to show that his departure from the Wyatt Family isn't going to affect his tremendous talent and hopes of progressing up the card.
I was expecting this to be a solid match between two great superstars and they did not disappoint as both gave a well paced performance that was full of drama and entertainment. Ziggler used his great speed advantage over Harper to gain control while Harper used his power to dominate Ziggler at the right moments. The match was back and forth with some good spots that made you feel that the match was any mans for the taking. Ziggler continues to show what a gutsy performer he is and I believe it could only be a matter of time before Dolph gets back to the top of the card. What was disappointing for Dolph is winning on a count out victory as he sadly doesn't win the Intercontinental Championship this way but it was a good way of keeping Dolph over and not affecting Harper's momentum. These two will hopefully face off at TLC and have a match worth of being the best on the card.
Overall Show Rating - 3.5 Stars
While I enjoyed this weeks episode of Smackdown it did feel a little flat at times and like it had lost some of that momentum coming off the back of a decent week in WWE. I think the best segment of the show for me was probably the main event match between Ziggler and Harper. It's been a career defining week for Dolph Ziggler and I hope that following his amazing momentum out of Survivor Series we will continue to see more from him in main event spots. I hope going forward WWE can bring back some of the quality from previous weeks to really help make TLC a Pay Per View to end the year in the right way on.
That wraps it up for another week here on the Smackdown Breakdown. I hope you enjoyed this weeks instalment and if you do have anything to say about the show or my comments then please feel free to leave them below. As usual I will be back next weekend with another instalment of the Smackdown Breakdown. Until then thanks for reading and make sure you keep checking out WNW every day for great wrestling news and stories as well as great content about the weekly shows and events across the industry.