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The Smackdown Breakdown - Give Barrett His Title Back

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Another week has passed and here I am again with another edition of the Smackdown Breakdown. Last weekend saw the Fast Lane pay per view take place, with a main event between Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns. I was a little surprised that Reigns beat Bryan cleanly, I expected a dirty finish or a no contest, but Reigns winning was the right move considering the Rumble and how he was already booked to win the match. No matter what, Reigns will win at Wrestlemania, but he will have a tough match against Brock Lesnar. For anyone who sees a different outcome, please don't be surprised when Roman walks out the champion, although there is still always the possibility Seth Rollins will be cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase to end the night. I'm looking forward to Wrestlemania, but equally I am concerned about what will happen to Daniel Bryan for the show, as right now he has no opponent, and one does not appear to be appearing any time soon. I would like to see him inserted into at least the Intercontinental Championship match, and not have him in the rumoured match against Sheamus again.

The big trend of this week was without the #GiveDivasAChance exploding all over the internet during WWE Raw, after what can only be described as a joke of a Divas tag team match between Paige, Emma, and the Bella Twins. You can read more of my thoughts about the subject here, but WWE really needs to start listening to it's fans and letting the girls have a chance at wrestling a good match, otherwise fans are going to switch off, and more than anything the talent could turn on the company too. Vince has said to keep watching to see what will happen, and I hope for his sake he does give the Divas a chance to prove themselves.

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

Daniel Bryan Segment - 3.5 Stars

I never really thought about this until it was mentioned during Bryan's entrance, but Fast Lane saw the first time someone kicked out of Daniel Bryan's running knee finisher. That's a pretty significant moment, but I hope it isn't one that becomes frequent, as the finisher loses something when that happens to any superstar if it occurs too often. The fans didn't seem to know how to react when Bryan briefly started to shout no, but they were soon back on board after he started talking. The Yes movement is very much alive and kicking, and lets hope that next year Bryan maybe earns himself an opportunity at main eventing Wrestlemania again. Bad News Barrett's arrival all but confirms for me that Bryan will be involved in a match for the Intercontinental Championship, and I'm glad Bryan will at least get to be in a match with some great talents like Dean Ambrose and Bad News Barrett. Bryan looked good holding the Intercontinental Championship, and if anyone could bring prestige and value back to that belt, it's Bryan. There isn't a lot I can really say about this opening segment, other than it was good for Bryan to address the fans and to set himself up for where he goes next.

Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz - 3.5 Stars

This match instantly became less interesting on the side of Miz when he came to ringside without Damien Mizdow. Miz made an effort in this one to at least look good, but he wasn't going to suddenly have a breakout match to make him worthy of being in the main event any time soon. Ambrose looked good in this one, making himself look strong, and despite Bad News Barrett taking back his Intercontinental Championship and causing a distraction, I think Ambrose did enough to get through this one and make his match with Bad News Barrett at Wrestlemania seem more intense.

Naomi vs. Natalya - 4.5 Stars

Wow, this match lasted more than twenty six seconds! It's good to see Natalya getting some television time in the ring, and Naomi is a pretty good wrestler, so I had high hopes for this one, especially after their confrontation at Raw. Glad to see Natalya kept the limp going after her 'injury' on Raw, and she even kept it going during the match. These two had a great match, going back and forth with some athletic moves, while displaying some great wrestling. This was a great advert for the Divas division, and while this doesn't repair the damage done to the Divas on Raw, and over the last few years, this was maybe the start of a turn around for the Divas division. The end of the match was booked well, and I really enjoyed this segment. More of the same next time please Vince!

Rusev and Lana Segment - 4 Stars

Rusev beating John Cena at Fast Lane was no real surprise to me. I just couldn't see WWE ending Rusev's streak of not being pinned or made to submit at a B level show. I see them having a rematch at Wrestlemania though, and I fully expect Cena to defeat Rusev for the United States Championship. I'm pleased that Rusev is finally picking up some of the slack on the microphone, and not just leaving all the talking to Lana. While Lana is a great mouthpiece, if Rusev wants to progress and move forward then he needs to find his own voice, and over the last few weeks he has started to do that. I'd be interested to know from any of our Russian readers just what the script on the tron said, as I somehow do not expect it said what Lana said. Rusev and Lana did a good job of putting him over, while still keeping Cena in the equation. Jack Swagger coming out had that inevitable feeling of these two having a brawl, which would see Rusev get the better of Swagger, and make him look like the unstoppable monster he needs to be headed into Wrestlemania.

Daniel Bryan vs. Bad News Barrett - 4 Stars

Well, I never would have seen this match coming after earlier in the show (Can you detect my sarcasm?). R Truth was on commentary during this one, but if I'm honest I wasn't really listening to him as nothing he has to say would be of any interest or use to me. Bryan and Barrett wrestled a pretty solid match, with both men showing why they are two of WWE's brightest stars. Barrett came out of this one looking good, probably having his best match to date since his return from injury. I think Bryan looked pretty good too in this one, but when does Bryan really ever seem to have a bad outing? I'm liking the new corner post camera angles we saw during this match, giving a great perspective view of the finish to this match. A well wrestled match between these two, it just could have done without R Truth on commentary, and then stealing Bad News Barrett's Championship.

Fandango vs. Curtis Axel - 3.5 Stars

The Axelmania movement continues, and it's amazing he's been in the Rumble for so long now at thirty two days. Aside from that, there wasn't much to get excited about during this one. Neither man is really doing anything of relevance right now, with Fandango mostly winning meaningless matches as of late against Adam Rose, and now against Axel. This didn't really mean much in terms of the outcome, as neither will win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, and neither will probably do anything interesting over the next twelve months either.

Adam Rose vs. Goldust - 3.5 Stars

I enjoyed that match at Fast Lane between Goldust and Stardust. It's a shame WWE is about two years behind on this idea, but these two had a match that would carry them into Wrestlemania, although I'm not sure if they will meet in a singles match again until after Wrestlemania. Adam Rose isn't really going anywhere right now, but he put on a good account of himself here. Goldust was naturally that bot better than Rose, but seen as he's a ring veteran I would expect that. The match kind of ended out of nowhere, and didn't really do much for either man. The only good thing that came of this was Stardust attacking Goldust after the match, after being disguised as a Rosebud. The Stardust character really has elevated Cody Rhodes to a whole new level, and after the character is done I hope he gets a chance at a singles run toward the top of the card.

Dolph Ziggler, Ryback, and Erick Rowan vs. Seth Rollins, Kane, and Big Show - 4 Stars

It's a Fast Lane rematch that will main event this weeks Smackdown. The match between these teams at Fast Lane was alright, but wasn't anything to really write home about for me. I'm not sure where all this stuff with Seth Rollins and John Stewart is headed, but I hope to god WWE doesn't plan on putting them in some kind of match at Wrestlemania, as Seth deserves so much more, like a match against Randy Orton. Seth and Dolph had a good exchange in the ring together, and that for me was about as exciting as this one got. That's not because the others involved had a bad outing, they just didn't really do anything that made themselves stand out for me. The end of the match was a good mish mash of finishers, leaving you wondering who would come out the winner, but in the end it was the team of Ziggler, Ryback, and Rowan who came out on top. The match was alright, but it wasn't really any better than what we saw at Fast Lane if I'm honest, and it just generally felt a little flat for me.

Overall Show Rating - 4 Stars

Maybe it was just me, but I felt like there was something lacking from this weeks show compared to the previous few weeks. It's not like this was a bad show or anything, and my overall grading of the show doesn't reflect a poor show, but something just felt off with the show. Despite that feeling though, I thought Smackdown had some good matches this week that helped boost the overall rating. I'm going to give my favourite segment of the show this week to the Divas match between Naomi and Natalya, as I felt they wrestled a solid match, and the outside presences of the Usos, and Tyson Kidd and Cesaro, didn't take away from the match any. These two Divas proved that there is room for the women to have a spot and time on the card, and to have a match showing they can compete with the males in terms of quality.

That brings to an end another edition of the Smackdown Breakdown. As always, if you have anything you want to say about the show or my thoughts on it, then please leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading the Smackdown Breakdown, and I will catch you again next week.

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