It's certainly been somewhat of a controversial week in WWE to say the least. Roman Reigns won the Rumble, as expected, while the crowd turned the moment Daniel Bryan was eliminated, which was also expected to happen. The internet exploded with the #CancelWWENetwork movement, but quickly lost momentum when WWE announced they had reached one million subscribers, and seemingly enjoyed crowing about the significant moment, and so they should. Reigns had a bit of a foot in mouth moment since the Rumble when he seemingly criticised the non-wrestling fans, who he said don't know what they are talking about. Not really Reigns best move considering the heat he already got from the crowd.
Not only did the fans melt down because Daniel Bryan didn't win the Rumble (Yes I said it, that is the reason from what I have concluded), there was no Raw on Tuesday due to the blizzard on the east coast. Despite this WWE did a great job with what they were able to make out of the show, despite giving away the triple threat match and Royal Rumble match for free. And now the company has made the month of February free on the Network for new subscribers. What I want to know is, what about the loyal subscribers? Surely we deserve to get a free month at some point? Hopefully it will come one day, but I'm not holding my breath.
With that being said, let's head on into this weeks edition of the Smackdown Breakdown, and see what I thought of this weeks show.
Triple H Segment – 4 Stars
Triple H was all smiles coming to the ring, and I got a kick out of him saying “welcome to Monday Night Raw”. I loved how he also bought up the fact many people said the WWE Network wouldn’t make a million subscribers, and took pleasure in announcing they did it. I actually found his promo kind of humorous, even though it was sophomoric and typical Hunter, I enjoyed seeing a flash of the Triple H of old. He showed great character though in turning the promo round, as he talked about what he would do to resolve his problem in Sting. I fully agreed with his comments how the Royal Rumble event was fantastic, and how the triple threat match was the best of the night. It was an amazing match to watch, and it really solidified Seth Rollins as a main event calibre star. Triple H bought up the controversy of the Royal Rumble, and Roman Reigns being assisted by The Rock. The crowd still seemed pretty hot about it, but not as hot as I expected them to be. I’m looking forward to Raw to see what Triple H’s Royal Rumble announcement will be, but you have to feel it will concern Roman Reigns somehow. Reigns appeared to a small heckling of boo’s, which wasn’t totally unexpected, but it was nothing like what Batista had to face last year. Reigns faced further booing as he spoke, but that was quickly ended when his opponent for the night, Big Show, arrived to start their match. Reigns did ok with his brief moment on the mic, but he would probably benefit some kind of mouth piece to help him along for some time, just till he’s ready to go alone.
Big Show vs. Roman Reigns – 3.5 Stars
A meeting of two big men, neither of which are exactly loved by the fans right now. Reigns still got a mixed reaction during the match, and WWE needs to be careful they don’t create another John Cena character, where the guys boo him and the women and children cheer him. This match was pretty slow paced, and the crowd didn’t seem that greatly interested in it early on, with neither really drawing any reaction to things they did, aside from the odd clothesline or spear. Things picked up a little toward the match in terms of reaction, but I think the crowd made this feel flatter than it was. Whether that was down to Reigns or not I don’t know, but there was definitely a portion of the crowd than wanted him to lose. I thought his throwing Big Show into the ring from the top rope was pretty good. The match wasn’t bad, but the atmosphere took away from it for me. The crowd is a big part of the match, and if they are not on your side then you’re facing an uphill battle right off the bat.
Seth Rollins Open Challenge – 4 Stars
Seth is without a doubt the top heel in WWE, if not wrestling right now. He knew exactly what to say, and how to sell himself as dominating the triple threat match at Royal Rumble. It’s only a matter of time now before Seth wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. I do worry that WWE could string it out too long and we see Seth lose momentum before he cashes in, but lets hope that isn’t the case. Seth is smart and knows how to keep himself on top. Ryback and Erick Rowan both failed in their attempts to take on Seth, and it was inevitable that Ziggler would be the one to come out to try and take it to the future of WWE, but even he failed. Rollins and his security fleeing the ringside area from all three was good to see. and it just further cemented Seth as the cowardly heel he needs to be right now.
Jey Uso vs. Tyson Kidd – 4 Stars
What a match this is just on paper. Both men are tremendous talents, so a tag match between The Usos and Kidd and Cesaro is only a matter of time away, which is something I cannot wait to see. This was a good mix of wrestling and fast paced action, styles we are familiar to seeing from both these teams. I quite like the look of Tyson Kidd’s finisher, he executes it pretty smoothly and makes it look effortless, just like his in ring work. Kidd and Cesaro picking up the win is just more confirmation there will be a tag title match between these teams, hopefully WWE can build it long enough to come at Wrestlemania, but something tells me it will be a Fast Lane match. A good effort from both men, I just wish they had been given a longer time to go.
John Cena Confronts Rusev – 3.5 Stars
I really hope WWE doesn’t have Cena beat Rusev at Fast Lane. I would be disappointed to see the streak for Rusev end there. I hope they do a double count out or disqualification at Fast Lane, setting up a Wrestlemania re-match between the two, where Cena will of course end Rusev’s unbeaten run. I would have liked to see someone who needs a rub beat Rusev, but I guess if anyone can beat him logically it’s got to be Cena. It’s good to see Rusev speaking more for himself with Lana, but I feel a little like there’s something lacking when Rusev speaks. Maybe that’s just a confidence thing and it will grow in time, but Lana definitely gave him an edge. Out came Cena, and the one thing I was concerned about was an over the top, corny Cena promo coming out. It wasn’t that at all, it built up John Cena perfectly as the top guy in WWE. Beating Cena would actually be a good thing for Rusev,as Cena is the companies measuring stick, but something tells me it won’t happen. The tease of a brawl between the two was a nice touch, and it certainly left the crowd begging for more. If it’s built right, I truly believe these two can have a great feud. Cena seemed pretty confident headed into Fast Lane, lets hope their match is the first of at least two, and I hope it ends up being an all out brawl.
Goldust and Stardust vs. The Ascension – 3.5 Stars
Well, this was certainly an interesting choice of opponents for the Ascension. Their match against the New Age Outlaws at the Royal Rumble was a decent watch, but it seemed to be the New Age Outlaws who left the more memorable impression for me. The Ascension dominated the early stages of this match, with a little reply from Stardust and Goldust, before the inevitable Ascension victory. They have proved they are two very powerful and destructive men, but the crowd really are not buying into the gimmick right now. It may take time, but how a gimmick that was successful in NXT is failing to transfer to the main roster is worrying, because it almost implies they were not ready for the step up, which is far from the truth. The Ascension need to be given more time, but equally they need to start thinking about fine tuning the gimmick, before this turns into a failure for the team. The crowd didn’t seem too interested in the match, and seemingly could have cared less about the outcome. I think had Goldust and Stardust won then the reaction would have been different, but I guess we will never quite know.
Kane vs. Daniel Bryan – 4 Stars
Kane cut an awesome promo earlier in the night to build up the casket match, and if I wasn’t looking forward to the match enough before, this really got me excited and wanting the match there and then. With the added stipulation of this being a casket match, this was a well set up main event. I just hope this is the last time WWE pair Daniel Bryan with Kane, as this is just getting a little old now, and Bryan needs something bigger and better. Bryan received his usual pop, and while the office might want to hold him back, the fans certainly aren’t going to let his popularity fade away without a fight. They were chanting his name from the opening bell, and were popping for anything offensively he did. I enjoyed the teases of both men almost going into the casket, because it added some tension. Kane was pretty brutal in his attacks on Bryan, but like any strong star Bryan sold well and made things feel tense and dramatic. Once Bryan got on the offence the pace of the match picked up and made this fun to watch. There were maybe a few too many close calls with Bryan almost being shut in the casket, but it made you at least believe he could have lost.
I’m glad to see Bryan hasn’t slowed down much following his injury, and he showed again why he is the best WWE in ring talent right now. Seeing the Yes Lock applied to Kane in the casket was actually quite inventive, but didn’t quite give Bryan the win, but a kick to the head would help him seal the win. I hope WWE has plans for Bryan headed into Wrestlemania, because we all know whether he’s in the main event or not, Bryan will be the one to steal the show. Bryan has given himself a chance to maybe put him into the main event, but I guess we will see that happens Monday. I hope, as a fan, Bryan gets his moment again at Wrestlemania, but equally I’m not getting my hopes up either.
Overall Show Rating - 4 Stars
I enjoyed the majority of this weeks episode of Smackdown. I thought the show started and ended on a high, and left the fans with more questions by the end of the night than answers. There is definitely an even bigger incentive to tune into Raw this Monday night, to see exactly what Triple H's announcement is. While I hope it involves Bryan and Wrestlemania, I'm not going to get my hopes up, and neither should any of you. I'm intrigued to hear what Triple H has to announce, and either way it will hopefully go down better than Roman Reigns Rumble victory.
My favourite segment of this weeks show was probably the match between Jey Uso and Tyson Kidd. There were a few good segments, so it was hard to pick just one favourite moment, but I felt these two had a good match given the limited time they had. Just imagine what the quality of the tag team match will be when the Usos meet Kidd and Cesaro.
That brings another Smackdown Breakdown to a close. As always, please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below if you want to talk about this weeks show, my thoughts on the show, or anything else you feel is relevant to what we saw on the show.
Until next week, thanks for reading.