So WWE played its hand this week on Raw when Triple H announced a match between Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins, with the winner going on to Fast Lane to face Roman Reigns, with the winner of that match going to Wrestlemania to take on Brock Lesnar. WWE got backed big style into a corner following the Royal Rumble, and once again it seems they are being made to pay for it. I wasn't surprised Bryan beat Rollins, but I will be surprised if Bryan beats Reigns at Fast Lane. As much as I want Daniel Bryan in the main event of Wrestlemania, I just think WWE needs to stay the course this time and make this Reigns year. It doesn't mean he's walking out of Wrestlemania as champion, because the wild card of Seth Rollins is always in the background, but it would be a huge blow to the confidence of Roman Reigns if he were to suddenly have his opportunity yanked away from him because of the outcry over his winning the Royal Rumble.
I thought the Triple H interview following Raw was an interesting watch, and it gave us a brief glimpse of things to come in the future. While Triple H didn't say anything deemed controversial, and instead opted to play things safe, I still thought we learnt about his mindset and his vision for the company. The WWE seems in safe hands with Triple H being able to make some big decisions, and I hope his vision of NXT translates over into the main product in the coming years. I would have liked Austin to ask some harder hitting questions in this, but for what it was I enjoyed the podcast and look forward to seeing who Austin interviews live on the WWE Network next time.
And with that being said lets head on into this week's edition of the Smackdown Breakdown, and see what I thought of this weeks show.
Miz TV - 3.5 Stars
So WWE is finally starting to build to the end of Miz and Mizdow as a team. They've been an interesting and entertaining pair to watch, but now it's time for Mizdow to move on, especially given the fact he has come out of this more of a star than Miz. I'm sure this one will be contested at Wrestlemania, and it should be a good watch. I'm a fan of the work of both Miz and Sandow, and I think if anything Sandow now has another chance to go on and show the WWE Universe what he is made of.
The reactions for both Reigns and Bryan could not have been any different, with Bryan being received rather warmly to the ring, while Reigns found his reception somewhat more mixed. Or he did until he gave Miz a Super Man punch. The comments of Roman Reigns were somewhat generic and to the point, but the segment didn't need a wordy promo to set the crowd off. Seth Rollins coming out was a good way of WWE setting up the main event for the night, and Seth cut a good promo, reminding us that the future of the WWE could strike at any moment. My only problem with this opening segment of the show is it felt somewhat flat and like it was lacking something.
Dolph Ziggler and Ryback vs. Goldust and Stardust - 3.5 Stars
Ryback and Dolph Ziggler teaming up tells me WWE has nothing for either guy right now. Depending on where WWE goes with Daniel Bryan I guess you could see a build up to see Ryback turn on Dolph, with them meeting at Wrestlemania, but if WWE does what I expect, and Daniel Bryan loses to Reigns at Fast Lane, then it's likely Dolph will face Bryan, leaving Ryback in the Andre The Giant Battle Royal.
Goldust and Stardust seem to be the latest tag team to go from the top of the card, to now being the team that loses to almost anyone and everyone. It sees to be a common thing in WWE, where former Tag Team Champions suddenly just fall apart. It appears as if there is a tease of dissension between the Rhodes brothers, but if I'm honest, I think WWE is two years too late for that plan.
I enjoyed this match for the most part, mostly the fast paced action between Dolph and Stardust toward the end of the match. I wasn't really feeling Ryback's work all that much, and while it wasn't like he was bad or anything, I just felt like he was missing something in this one. It's all but apparent that Goldust and Stardust's days are numbered after Stardust walked away from the match after being referred to as Cody by Goldust. It will be interesting to see where this story heads over the coming weeks.
Dean Ambrose vs. Curtis Axel - 3.5 Stars
Curtis Axel is one of those guys you can't help but want to root for. He's such a tremendous talent, it's just a shame he doesn't seem to be able to connect and make the most of that talent. Dean Ambrose on the other hand is still showing why he is one of WWE's top guys, and is a future main event star. This was a nice and well worked match by both men that served its purpose in pushing Ambrose further toward deserving a shot at Bad News Barrett. I'm liking the idea of BNZ, and if anyone can make that work it's Bad News Barrett. Again, though, there was just something lacking in this one for me to take the match to that next level.
Fandango vs. Adam Rose - 3.5 Stars
So I'm kind of confused at this point. Is Adam Rose a bad guy or not? And who am I supposed to care about in this match in terms of the winner? These two are a pair of young, up and coming superstars who have all the talent in the world to go to the next level, but just need to find a gimmick that can truly connect with the fans, and more importantly be right to make them legitimate main event names. The match itself was well worked, but the crowd simply didn't know how to react to these two, and if I'm honest, it felt like the crowd could have cared less who won this one.
The Miz vs. Roman Reigns - 4 Stars
As if Miz wasn't embarrassed enough earlier in the night, he decided it would be a good idea to face off against an angry Samoan. To his credit though, he went straight after Reigns before the bell, sucker punching him and getting in some offence to give him an early advantage. Sadly for Miz that advantage didn't last long and he was eventually taken apart by Reigns, who showed an aggressive side that could well become key for him headed into Fast Lane against Daniel Bryan. I was impressed by the work of Miz in this one, and he looked like he was on a mission to prove himself, just like Reigns. The match served its purpose, and Reigns continued to show why he is going to be a big player in the future of WWE. The emotion of Reigns came across well in this one, and it was easy to believe he was angry about the threat to his Wrestlemania main event spot.
Rusev vs. Erick Rowan - 4 Stars
Rusev dominated Rowan on Raw in a battle that took place before their scheduled match that night, so this was the second time they were going to meet, and a chance for Rowan to get some revenge for Rusev's attack. This was a battle of the big guys, with both men showing their strength, agility, and power throughout the match. This one went back and forth, but ultimately there was only ever going to be one winner, and that was Rusev. Rowan put up a good effort during this one, and both men made this a pleasure to watch, and this just further builds up the momentum of Rusev headed into his biggest match to date at Fast Lane against John Cena.
Paige vs. Alicia Fox - 3.5 Stars
Wow, Paige was super fired up. I didn't get to see the Divas match on Raw this week because there were problems with Sky TV's feed over here in the UK, which were ironically only fixed after everything went down, and she carried it over well in this match. Alicia and Paige put on a good match that at least allowed Paige to gain some revenge for Alicia's betrayal on Monday, while continuing to make Paige look strong headed into her Divas Championship match at Fast Lane. The match itself was good, but was obviously never going to be a long one because it's clear time constraints played into this one, as it was over not long after it started.
Daniel Bryan vs. Seth Rollins, Joey Mercury, and Jamie Noble - 3.5 Stars
While this is billed as a three on one match, it felt like Rollins would do less work, while Mercury and Noble would have to take the punishment before he came in to pick up their scraps like any true heel should. Mercury and Noble took some serious punishment from Bryan, before Seth came in and showed them how it was done, giving his team control of the match. Something I noticed most of the night was the lack of crowd interaction, and that can really hurt a match. There were times during this match, the crowd just didn't seem to react, and it made even a match with two of WWE's top stars feel like it wasn't as good as normal. Things got better toward the end of the match as the pace picked up, but the crowd seemed to really fall flat when Bryan wasn't in control. The finish to the match came out of nowhere, and it took my mind a minute to register what had happened. Despite Bryan's win, the Authority stood tall at the end of the show, and they seem set on making sure Bryan's road to Fast Lane, and even Wrestlemania, is not plain sailing.
Overall Show Rating - 3.5 Stars
I kept saying at times there was something missing from tonight's show, and by the main event I had definitely concluded it felt like the crowd was missing. I don't know if WWE turned the mics down, or the crowd reaction didn't come across on TV, but the show felt flat most of the night. There were periods of time they came alive, but they would soon return to nothingness pretty quickly. It's a shame really as the crowd would have made some of the segments seem better. Luckily the show got better toward the end for me, and I'd have to say my favourite part of this week's show was the match between Miz and Roman Reigns. It felt like Miz stepped things up a gear to prove he is still capable of running with the top names, while Reigns sold his anger at the situation regarding his Wrestlemania main event spot perfectly.
That brings another week here on the Smackdown Breakdown to a close. As always, please leave your thoughts on the show, or on my thoughts, in the comments section below and let us know what you want to say. Until next week, thanks once again for reading and I will be back again next week with another instalment of the Smackdown Breakdown.