Hello WNW People Mitch “Big M” Adams here, welcoming you to the Smackdown Breakdown. I am pleased to announce that yours truly will be bringing you the breakdown every week, so please feel free to leave me feedback, both here and on social media.
I’m not one to beat around the bush, let's just get stuck into what happened this week on Smackdown Live shall we…
Opening Video > A
A great video, hyping up the main event, not that I needed them to Hype me up for it. I was so looking forward to Styles vs Ambrose after waiting one very LONG week.
In-ring Segment: Orton and Wyatt > B
“I hear voices in my head”, bloody hell, I never realised how much I missed hearing that opening lyric! Randy was his usual self on the mic, not brilliant, but solid. Bray, on the other hand, was as usual amazing, with the art of the promo. I can’t understand why people have grown bored with the Bray Wyatt character; I still love it. It’s one of the most creative things on TV, and the only reason I can see for people not to feel the same way is that Vince McMahon insists on jobbing him out in almost every bloody feud. I know we WNW writers harp on this, but WWE producer Road Dogg could not be more wrong when he says wins and losses don’t matter. How on earth are people supposed to get invested in these characters if they KNOW said characters are going to lose Road Dogg?
Side note: before Randy entered the ring he paused at the steps for a moment due to a young fan holding his fist out hoping Randy would bump it. Randy, after playing a heel for so long in his career obviously isn’t used to having young fans going nuts for him, but after a brief pause he bumped fists with the young man to his delight, and I spotted a slight grin begin to form on the Viper's face. Maybe I’m getting softer as I get older, but that honestly touched me. That young man will have that memory for the rest of his life, and that’s the kind of thing that makes me forgive WWE’s efforts to appeal to younger fans a little too often. Randy may have a history of questionable decision making and poor behaviour, but deep down he is obviously a good man.
Backstage Segment: Ambrose Interview > B+
I don’t know if Stone Cold’s words directed toward him on the last Network podcast did actually have an effect on Dean, but he’s been picking up the intensity on the mic lately, not that he wasn’t already very solid on the mic, but he’s been on fire lately. All of you need to watch last week’s Talking Smack; he was pure gold. His line about AJ beating Cena was old news just like Cena, was perfect, but I don’t know why he felt the need to touch the interviewers face before he walked off, that was honestly a little creepy, and the only reason this wasn’t an A.
Eight Man Tag Team Match: Slater, Rhyno and American Alpha vs Usos and Ascension > B+
This was a good match with lots of action, but thankfully it didn’t turn into a spot fest like most eight man tags usually do. The Tag Champs getting the jobber entrance simply didn’t seem right to me, even if it's because WWE wanted to show off the Usos new entrance, although I admit it did look pretty badass.
I do not understand why people thought Jimmy and Jey couldn’t play heels; they honestly seem more comfortable playing bad guys. American Alpha are probably the best pure mat wrestlers in WWE today, and it’s nice to see more of that style in WWE. The Ascension are simply a lost cause, which is sad considering how over they were in NXT.
It amazes me the impact the original ECW still has with Pro Wrestling fans today, even after the truly awful WWE reboot. Rhyno closed out the last ECW show holding the promotions two top Titles; this was over FIFTEEN years ago, and yet fans still chant “EC-dub” every time he’s in the ring. WWE would like us to think this is thanks to the Network, but honestly, the real reason is that ECW changed the entire industry forever. The pop Heath got after he received the hot tag was truly something to behold, I can’t believe WWE had us all fooled with the idea that Heath was nothing more than a career Jobber, the man is pure gold on our TV screens. Usos using the Tequila Sunrise submission gives me fond memories of watching Konan in WCW, what an underrated talent. The way things are going with this storyline, I have a sinking feeling that Slater and Rhyno’s Title reign won’t be long, which is unfortunate, but nothing good lasts forever.
Winners: Usos and Ascension
Backstage Segment: John Cena interview > F
Goodbye intense Cena on the mic, it was fun while it lasted! Considering the loss to Ambrose and the incredible promo Dean cut on him last week, I honestly expected more from Cena than “AJ has more guts than Dean” and “at No Mercy the 16 time World Champ will be here Bruh!”
Granted it was only a 30-second segment, but (and this is hard for me to admit) I’ve seen Cena work magic on the mic in that amount of time in the past. I know a common complaint about Cena is that he’s stale and boring, too focused on keeping the kids happy, but lately more adults have been cheering him, and it's because of his recent intensified mic work. Why that had all of a sudden gone out the window in this segment is beyond me.
Backstage Segment: Miz and Maryse > A
Being Australian, I have no idea who that basketball player Miz had replaced with his likeness on the wall was, but given the heat it got him, I’m guessing he’s a big deal. Segment gets an A, purely due to the heat it got.
Backstage Segment: Orton Looking for Bray > D
Well, I guess someone on WWE’s creative team must have seen Blair Witch! Honestly, three backstage segments in a row is a little too much, and the only things that made this one even half way enjoyable were Rowen looking very creepy in his new mask, and the crowd acting like a cinema audience watching a horror film “No, don’t go that way.” I love Wyatt’s stuff, but this could’ve been done so much better.
Bray Wyatt Promo > F
Four backstage segments is a row, come on WWE, even you guys have to think that’s overkill. Again, I love the Bray Wyatt character, but that seemed unnecessary, and it also looked rushed. Definite FAIL!!!
Carmella and Natalya vs Naomi and Nikki Bella > B+
This was the entertaining women’s match we were robbed of last week so that creative could sell the Carmella/Nikki feud, and it didn’t disappoint. Naomi is probably the best pure athlete in women’s wrestling (and one of the most entertaining). Natalya is still the best technician amongst the ladies; Carmella is getting better every week, and Nikki can go when she wants to as well. I openly admit that for many years I thought women’s wrestling would never be as good as the guys, and as sexist as that sounds, you really can’t blame me as WWE didn’t take them took them seriously for so long. Thank goodness fan pressure forced WWE to initiate the Women’s Revolution that has (almost) put an end the Divas Division crap we had come so accustomed too. Carmella getting the win is cool to see. I like seeing her being presented as a serious threat on the main roster without Enzo and Cass.
Side note: I dislike pre-recorded promos before matches. They are always over scripted and lame, but I’m glad production had the good sense not to air one during Naomi’s entrance, I love what she does with that. And call me bias, but watching Nikki Bella, the Kim Kardashian of the WWE (no, that is not meant as a compliment) talking about her legacy in WWE honestly makes me sick! She and Eva Marie are the last remnants of the Divas Division, and I honestly feel that women’s wrestling won’t ever be seen on par with the blokes until those remnants are long gone.
Winners: Carmella and Natalya
Backstage Segment: Orton Still Looking for Bray > C+
Ok, this segment was better than the previous one of Randy searching for Bray, but it still looked like something a creative team member lifted from a bad horror film.
In-Ring Segment: Miz’s Homecoming > B
JBL and Otunga on commentary arguing about how big this moment supposedly was, was hilarious, the Smackdown commentary team has really gelled the last few weeks. If not for this video package, you honestly could forget how much Miz has achieved in his career. Incredible considering people like Bob Holly used to kick him out of locker rooms, forcing him to change in the hallway. Like him or not, Miz is a success story in WWE, and he knows how to get heat better than almost anyone in WWE today.
Honestly, even though Ziggler looked amazing on the mic in this segment, his mother sitting in the front row would have a better chance of getting people invested in her, than he has getting people invested in him again. Not even the stipulation of him putting his career on the line is enough to make me care again! And none of that is his fault; it’s simply further proof that wins and losses really do matter. If creative's plan is to have him look like the underdog, they’ve taken it too far, and I don’t think even beating Miz for the IC title will change how I perceive him, too much damage has been done for him ever to recover.
Another Bray Wyatt Promo > F
I’m sorry, but Bray giving his “analysis” of Orton’s search for him in these promo’s was simply unnecessary, not to mention they all look rushed.
Alexia Bliss' Attack of Becky Lynch > B
I was torn about this, on one hand, it gives Alexa a look of aggression and helps sell her as the number one contender. On the other hand, I didn’t get to see Becky wrestle; I can’t explain the reasons why this upsets me in detail due to the gentleman’s wager I mentioned last week.
Also, it bugs me a little that the Carmella/Nikki program seems to be more at the forefront of Smackdown than the Smackdown Women’s Title program. But still this is about creating more hype for the Title Match at No Mercy, so this gets a pass.
Curt Hawkins promo > D-
These promos have officially gotten old, and the tease regarding next week didn’t help. Just have Curt re-debut already, people already want to see that happen, stop trying to hype it.
Another Bray Wyatt Promo: Orton FINALLY Found Him > C
A lame payoff, for an entire show worth of segments of trying, and failing to build hype. Whoever wrote these segments should watch a few less crap horror films. But the last moments of Orton in sheep mask with all the creepy editing was good.
Backstage Interview: AJ Styles > B+
I would just like to reiterate from last week just how good the WWE World Title Belt looks on AJ’s shoulder, and who the bloody hell said this man couldn’t cut a promo? One thing that may court controversy, though, and maybe it’s because I’m not American, but I honestly thought there would be more mentions of the Presidential Debates on Smackdown. Even though the prospect of Trump being president is a scary thought for everyone worldwide, his antics do provide endless material for writers. AJ’s mentioning it in the manner that he did seemed like a wasted opportunity, but given how the debate caused a lot of Raw rating's headaches, I guess WWE’s higher-up’s and creative didn’t want to dwell on it.
WWE World Title Match: Dean Ambrose vs AJ Styles > B+
This was the match I had been waiting to see all week, and it didn’t disappoint! These are two of the very best in-ring workers in the world, and the crowd seemed pretty split on who to cheer for…and I couldn’t blame them. However this was a TV match, so it was never going to be a five star, and the finish didn’t help, but it was a solid three and a half star match. The crowd was into it, and so was I, as I’ve been a big fan of both these men for years now.
One thing that I found curious is just how popular Ambrose is with the female members of the audience, maybe even more than Roman Reigns.
A lot of Women and quite a few kids in the crowd went nuts for him in this match, while a lot of adult males seemed keener on AJ, even with the soccer Mum haircut. But as I said the crowd seemed pretty split all round, and they were all having a lot of fun.
John Cena on commentary had me raising my eyebrows, but in a good way. He gave off the impression that he was genuinely sore that he lost to Ambrose last week, and he couldn’t stop talking about him. Fans like me enjoy being given that impression, and I think he knows it, a more “human” John Cena in the ring and on the mic can only be a good thing.
He also seemed to get a little miffed when JBL asked him what he thought of Ambrose's comments on him in recent weeks, that stuff alone helps get Ambrose more over. It’s the kind of character development that so many of us have wanted to see in John Cena for years now. And it is obviously teasing something big between Cena and Ambrose, with the finish of this match only adding fuel to the fire.
Winner: AJ Styles
Post Show: Overall Grade > B
This was probably the weakest Smackdown since the brand split, But it was still better than the flaming pile of garbage Raw was this week!!! A fact that is made even more impressive when you take into account that there were only three matches during the whole show, and a lot of backstage segments. However, unlike Raw, none of them felt like filler, they all had a purpose. Also curious was the fact that neither Daniel Bryan or Shane McMahon made any appearance, but as Raw overuses their authority figures, I’m not going to complain.
I’ve been debating whether or not to add Talking Smack to the breakdown, if that’s something you would like to see, let me know here in the comments section.
And that, WNW people was the Smackdown Breakdown, I hope you enjoyed it. Follow me on twitter @TheBigM91