Welcome once again everyone to another instalment of the Smackdown Breakdown. Without a doubt the big news of the week came when Vince McMahon announced that the entire month of November for new WWE Network subscribers is free! Yes that's right it's free! That's great and all but the questions has to be asked what about us poor loyal subscribers who have been there since the beginning? We get nothing for our loyalty. That sadly seems to be the way of businesses these days trying to entice people in but not rewarding for loyalty. The free month was mentioned almost every segment on one or more occasion so I think it's fair to say WWE are trying to push the product like never before.
That being said I think it's a good competitive idea to remove the whole 6 month commitment thing and make it similar to the Netflix service where you can cancel any time. I have a feeling the 6 month commitment bit put a lot of people off but I think more fans would be happy to use a commitment free service. Time will obviously tell whether or not this new idea drives up the subscriber rate or pushes it down with people wanting to get out the service, although why anyone wouldn't want the Network is beyond me. The product is great value and as much as I begrudge the fact the whole of November isn't free for everyone I do really hope more people sign up to take advantage of what a truly great service WWE has on offer.
And finally don't forget if your a UK fan who didn't use any of the work rounds to get the WWE Network when it first launched that from Monday 3rd November you can finally sign up for the WWE Network and see what WWE has been teasing us with for months. I'm thinking of converting mine back to being a UK based subscription now seen as it will be the same as the American feed but I may wait before I do it till the mad rush of subscriptions calms down. The good thing is from Monday it's going to be less of a hassle now getting the Network to work for me. I've enjoyed what I've seen of the Network so far and I know that those who get to experience it for the first time are going to love it.
With that being said lets head on down into the Breakdown and see what I thought of this weeks special Halloween edition of WWE Smackdown.
Divas Halloween Fancy Dress Battle Royal - 3.5 Stars
AJ is on commentary because clearly she didn't want to degrade herself to such levels of stupidity. I did like Paige dressing up to mock Summer Rae, but it had nothing on Brie being dressed as Daniel Bryan, although she sadly didn't get to enter the Battle Royal. I'm not sure what the whole this match really proved was but I guess it was designed to be a good bit of fun. Nikki came out the winner and is now the number one contender to AJ's Divas Championship. Having Brie working for Nikki adds an extra dynamic to that match up because Brie will have to help Nikki or quit WWE.
Kane vs. Dolph Ziggler - 4 Stars
There's just something creepy about Kane talking about warm fuzzy feelings from terrifying young children and it being Halloween. Seth Rollins was also a good hand on the mic and really seems to be getting better and better each week at working the crowd. Dolph and Kane had a good match on Monday so I expected something of similar quality here. I think we saw something similar to Monday between these two in terms of Kane dominating with his power but struggling to match Ziggler for his counters and speed. Getting caught in the air and hit with a choke slam certainly looked good and Kane was able to exact some revenge after Monday. I expected more involvement from Rollins and his stooges but we only really saw Noble get briefly involved until there was a post match beat down of Ziggler which led to a bonus match.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins - 2.5 Stars
So after the beat down of Ziggler after his match with Kane we saw the devils favourite demon put Dolph in a match with Seth. It was always going to be a very swift match and it lasted probably less than 20 seconds after Rollins hit a Curb Stomp to seal the win. The point of this one? It was to serve as a warning to anyone else thinking of joining Team Cena at Summerslam. However there isn't much I can say about this other than to give it a middle of the road marking.
Heath Slater vs. Ryback - 3.5 Stars
Wow I think Heath looks better as a scarecrow. He was certainly going to wish he was stuck on a stick in the middle of nowhere when he realised his opponent was Ryback, who received a great reception Monday night when he returned. Backstage Ryback is said to be much more improved than before he left and this will serve him well. The false hand spot was quite funny to watch which led to a spine buster and the end of Heath Slater. My only concern with Ryback is the 'Feed Me More' chants are still more over than he is right now but that could well change in time. A brief but entertaining match to help continue the re-build of Ryback.
Miz TV With Mark Henry - 4 Stars
I was kind of disappointed when we saw Mark Henry take out Big Show on Raw, more so for the fact I think WWE executed it too early and could have built it longer. However I guess WWE don't see it as a viable match to build into Wrestlemania. You have to love how Mizdow is getting over despite the stupidity of the gimmick he has been given but it's fair to say Miz is struggling to get his own gimmick over more than Mizdow is struggling to get Miz's gimmick over. Henry was a mean bad ass on the mic and really put over how the turn came because Henry enjoyed watching Big Show fail to succeed against Rusev because Show wanted to try and prove he was better than Henry. Inevitably Big Show came out and looked super intense as I don't think he blinked as he stared into the ring at Henry. The two had a brief brawl that saw Henry throw Big Show into a barricade which broke through the weight of Show hitting it. An entertaining segment that really had an explosive ending.
Gold and Stardust vs. Los Matadores - 3.5 Stars
Can I just say how funny the reaction of Gold and Stardust was back in the Adam Rose segment when he went trick or treating as it was priceless. I become a bigger fan of the team every week and am really seeing big things for the team in the future. Los Matadores put on a good account of themselves but I just don't feel they are viable enough to be a threat give how they seem to be more of an enhancement team right now. I actually almost believe that Stardust is insane because he gets weirder every week. I didn't think anyone could ever give Goldust a run for his money in terms of creepiness but Stardust is certainly outshining him right now. It seems almost bizarre WWE are booking their tag champions to look daft but I guess they will get their revenge soon enough and it gives them another team to go up against even though I don't for one minute believe Los Matadores could win the tag titles.
Rusev vs. Great Khali - 3.5 Stars
If this match had happened during the early run of Rusev it's fair to say I would have pooped all over this in my write up of the match. The good thing is Rusev has impressed me each and every week the past few months and I am finally enjoying his work. Rusev proved he is really a monster after he made Khali tap out to the Accolade, but in truth it wasn't a master class of a match. What made this segment more watchable (apart from the smoking hot Lana) was the post match promo where Lana revealed that Mother Russia has asked that Rusev destroy the American spirit. I'm really hoping WWE can bring back Kurt Angle to take out Rusev in the next few months but to see Rusev take the US title from Sheamus will bring him major heat. Sheamus came out to respond to the challenge and accept it when he would then try to hit Rusev with the Brogue Kick. I'm sure there's an irony that an Irish Man is fighting to defend the US title against a Bulgarian who sympathises with Russia but lets not worry about that and just look forward to what should be a fun feud.
Bray Wyatt Segment - 4 Stars
I didn't think Bray could top the creepiness of his character in his last run but when he returned at Hell in a Cell, and we saw his vignette on Raw I think he has somehow managed to top it. I am really looking forward to seeing Ambrose and Wyatt tear it up in the ring as I think this will really help Ambrose get over further and will help get Bray Wyatt back on the map again. It was great to see Bray back on television and he cut an epic promo as only he can. I loved how he talked about how he took away the power of Dean Ambrose at Hell in a Cell and the whole promo just made me want to see these two face off even more.
Cesaro vs. Dean Ambrose - 4.5 Stars
Yeah it's a trick or street fight which saw a ring filled with Halloween themed items. I was so hoping one of the two men would end up wearing a pumpkin on his head and I got my wish at the end of the match. The fact these two men were given the opportunity to main event the show says a lot about what WWE thinks of both men but it's a shame they don't seem to put enough faith in Cesaro for a bigger push. This was physical from the opening bell and showed both men can put on a good quality match that features less wrestling than we are used to seeing from them. I think this is the first time in memory I've seen someone drop kicked while holding candy but this was one of many nice little spots in the match. I think it was also the first time I've seen anyone back dropped onto a pumpkin patch, put through a table by someone on a flying broomstick, or seen someone hit a double suplex on their opponent and a skeleton. This was a fun match to watch and the Dirty Deeds with the pumpkin at the end was great.
Overall Show Rating - 3.5 Stars
I actually enjoyed the majority of this weeks show and think the quality of Smackdown can only continue to get better. If you are reading this and have not watched Smackdown then I urge you to at least watch the Bray Wyatt segment and follow it up with the great match between Ambrose and Cesaro. That match has to go down as my favourite segment of the night as it saw some really entertaining spots mixed with some great in ring action. If these two could have another match it would be great to see but I somehow doubt WWE are going to allow them another opportunity to face off on a show like Raw or a Pay Per View. The only time I could see them face off again is if it's on Smackdown again.
That wraps it up for another week here on the Smackdown Breakdown. As always if you want to continue the conversation about the show or leave your thoughts on the show then please use the section below to have your say. I will of course be back again next week with another instalment of the show and I will also be releasing a new WWENews.Net article next week where I compare the traditional method of buying WWE events on DVD with the ability to now stream shows via the WWE Network. Until then as always thanks for reading and I will catch you next week.