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The Smackdown Breakdown - Building Up For The Bank

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Welcome fellow WNW readers to another edition of the Smackdown Breakdown. I enjoyed the Elimination Chamber Pay Per View special WWE aired on the Network last Sunday, with the main event having a solid conclusion. I liked the fact Ambrose went over Rollins, but I had a feeling it would have to be a disqualification victory as there's no way the company would put the title on Ambrose. I think it's good that Ambrose has seemingly taken custody of the belt until Money in the Bank, where he will meet Seth Rollins again in just under ten days time. The other matches on the Elimination Chamber card were all good watches too and to say it was a last minute thrown together event I thought the show was well produced and worked overall.

The other big news this week was the announcement of the WWE live event being streamed from Japan, live on the WWE Network. This opens up a huge opportunity for WWE globally and I hope this is the first of many events of it's kind we will see. I think it is a master stroke by WWE booking a match between Finn Balor and Kevin Owens in Japan, because these two will literally steal the show and I cannot wait to see these two in action. The Japanese crowd isn't vocal in the same way as other audiences around the world so it will be interesting to see how this translates over the Network feed.

And with that lets head on into this weeks edition of the Smackdown Breakdown, and see what I thought of this weeks episode of Smackdown.

Seth Rollins Segment - 4 Stars

After all these months it's unusual to see Seth Rollins coming out to the ring alone and without the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. There is potential in the future for Rollins to slowly but surely work himself away from the Authority, but right now I'm still enjoying the heel character Rollins has solidly portrayed since turning on Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose almost a year ago. Rollins sitting in the middle of the ring on a steel chair talking about why he first aligned with the Authority, and how he had achieved everything he had wanted and became the future of the company all by himself. The crowd got on Seth frequently during this promo and he did a good job of keeping focused on talking himself up. Ambrose looks pretty good with that WWE World Heavyweight Championship on his shoulder, and hopefully Ambrose will someday get his run with the title as he deserves it. Ambrose did a great job of talking himself up and the match between the two and this confirmed to me how much I'm looking forward to seeing these two face off again at Money in the Bank. A fun opening segment to start the show.

Prime Time Players vs. Lucha Dragons vs. The Ascension - 4 Stars

Three tag teams fighting it out to become the number one contenders to face off against the New Day. If I'm honest I think Prime Time Players and Lucha Dragons are fully deserving of an opportunity which the Ascension still need to prove themselves as viable challengers before getting a shot. We saw some solid team work from the Lucha Dragons and Prime Time Players in this one with both teams further staking their claim to being one of the top tag teams in the division. The Ascension displayed some good work too and it's just a shame for them they don't seem to be able to get to that next level right now. If I'm honest I'm glad the PTP won the match and get a shot at New Day, as they have been nothing but dominant since their reunion and deserve this opportunity as much as anyone. A fun tag team match that will hopefully lead to a great Tag Team Championship match.

Ryback vs. Stardust - 3 Stars

I must admit I was a little surprised to see Ryback walk out of Elimination Chamber as the new Intercontinental Champion, but to be fair to the big guy he has worked hard and proved he is deserving of such an accolade. He is seeming to become more popular with each passing week and has really improved thanks to a change in attitude. Stardust just can't seem to catch a break at the minute and seems to be kind of lost in the shuffle with nothing to do since the injury to his brother Goldust derailed their potential feud. The good thing for Stardust though is he is still being booked in matches and it's a positive for him getting this title opportunity. The match itself was what i expected it to be, with Ryback coming back after Stardust took the early advantage. A fairly standard and comfortable match for both me.

Paige Interview Segment - 4 Stars

Paige really was acting so upset and devastated by her loss on Monday, and that continued in this segment. Paige is a rarity in the Divas division in that she knows how to wrestle and she knows how to talk and react. It seems like her work with the Bella Twins will be continuing judging by her comments on how she wants to make change for her destiny herself. I'm looking forward to seeing Nikki and Paige working more matches and would also like to see Brie in the mix too as I think these three can really do something special. A solid interview segment despite it being rather brief.

Kevin Owens In Ring Segment - 4 Stars

So, who expected Owens to beat John Cena cleanly at Elimination Chamber? I can't honestly say as I expected it and neither did the live crowd as you could almost feel the atmosphere change as the referee made that unexpected third slap of the canvas. I'm so pleased for Owens, as this clearly says WWE thinks a lot of him and I hope he can beat Cena again at Money in the Bank. Lets hope the United States Championship is put on the line as I would love to see Owens win it. Typical booking will probably see Cena win so they have a rubber match but I think Owens dominating Cena would just make things more interesting. Owens came out here and did what he does best which is talk to the crowd and prove why he is one of the best talents in WWE. Owens has a gift on the microphone and is one of those guys that when he talks you need to listen to what he has to say. He really talked up his match with Cena, and made the rematch between these two even more of a must see attraction as Owens is trying to get the fans on Cena's side and his words appear to be working. Next Sunday cannot come soon enough to see these two face off!

Zack Ryder vs. Kevin Owens - 3.5 Stars

So after accepting the Open Challenge against John Cena recently we saw Zack Ryder accept Owens Open Challenge for the NXT Championship. It's good to see Ryder getting some television time recently as he is one of those underrated talents that WWE just seem to have missed the boat on. Owens was a dominant power house from the opening bell, and there never really looked like being any other outcome than an Owens victory. Ryder had a glimpse of offense but stood no hope as Owens delivered a sick looking power bomb for the win. Owens really is a star of the future and this is another step on his quest to the top. A well worked, hard fought match that saw Owens deliver a beat down to Ryder post-match in a message to John Cena.

Neville vs. Kofi Kingston - 4 Stars

It's good to see Neville and Kofi Kingston getting chances in the Money in the Bank ladder match as I think they are both very deserving talents. When New Day came out I did wonder if that booing reaction was piped in or dubbed on in post production because they got one of the loudest reactions of the night. With the participants of that Money in the Bank match all being able to work at a fast pace you just know we are in for a treat during that match. Kofi and Neville worked well together in this one with some good high flying and fast paced action. I'm excited about the future of Neville in WWE, and hope the man from Newcastle, England can be one of the top stars over the next few years. This match had some great action that would see some real dare devil moves from Neville and a well deserved victory for the Englishman. I would have loved to see these two go on and fight for the rest of the show but they are better off saving themselves for next Sunday.

Miz TV Segment - 3.5 Stars

I swear every time I see Miz he looks more and more like he's been styled by his wife, the very lovely Maryse. Miz TV is one of those segments that can be used to further a story but doesn't seem to really be hitting the mark. WWE has tried so hard to replicate the success of the Piper's Pit segment over the years and they just need to stop trying to do that and take a different approach. Lana seems to be getting more popular each week with the WWE Universe, and aligning her with Dolph Ziggler is a fairly smart idea. Lana was obviously there to talk about the Rusev situation and I'm still not sure this really did anything to further the story but it did give a chance for us to see the Lana character grow which is a good thing. Bringing out Rusev as a surprise guest was a clever yet predictable move but one that worked well as Lana did a good job of looking uncomfortable and unhappy. Rusev did a good job of trying to be convincing that he needed Lana, and it was good to see her stand up to him.The only thing missing from this segment was Lana walking off with Rusev's crutches. Dolph Ziggler came to Lana's aid and didn't need to do anything other than walk off with Lana on his arm to trump the Bulgarian. This segment was ok and I'm glad there was something that helped to advance the Lana character a little more.

Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns - 4 Stars

Four matches in two nights of tapings for Roman Reigns was a big deal for the young Samoan, as he must have been feeling the effects of working so many matches in such a short space of time the next day. Going up against a tough brawler in Sheamus was probably the worst way for his body to recover from any effects of so much work but these two will no doubt bring something special to the Money in the Bank ladder match next Sunday. Reigns sold the injuries he sustained from his matches on Raw, but did a good job of getting the better of Sheamus at times. Sheamus, to his credit really worked Reigns hard and you definitely knew by the end of the match Reigns had been in a fight. I liked the hard and physical style these two worked during this one and thought this was a well worked main event. For every hard hit Sheamus gave Reigns, the favor was returned when the offensive was switched to Reigns advantage. The never say die attitude of Reigns was on display toward the end of this match and Reigns was more than deserving of the victory in this one despite it only being by disqualification. Kane's addition to the Money in the Bank ladder match certainly stacks the odds a little more against Reigns next Sunday, but I believe Reigns has to be a legitimate favorite going into the match.

Overall Show Rating - 4 Stars

Another week and another strong episode of Smackdown off the back of a big show in Elimination Chamber. All the segments were solid and felt like they had some good value and didn't feel like they were just there for something to fill time. With so many strong segments it was hard to pick one that was stand out but I think I would just give the nod to the well worked match between Neville and Kofi Kingston, two very exciting WWE Superstars who I hope will make big impressions next Sunday at the Money in the Bank Pay Per View.

As always please feel free to leave your thoughts on the show in the comments section below and your thoughts on what I had to say about the show. Until next week thanks for reading the Smackdown Breakdown, and don't forget to share this piece with your friends on social media.

Oh and if you want you can give me a follow on Twitter too - @jamie_welton

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