Welcome once again everybody to the Smackdown Breakdown. This Sunday sees Extreme Rules take place live from Chicago. I'm sure the show will be a good one but I can't say there's a huge part of me that is buzzing about this show. I'm more excited about going to see my first Insane Championship Wrestling show Saturday night in Sheffield, an experience I will be writing about on Sunday, including my thoughts on how former WWE superstar Drew McIntyre (now known as Drew Galloway) is doing since his departure from WWE.
Questions continue to remain about the status of Daniel Bryan headed into Sunday, with little news being given on his status other than WWE saying they are currently conducting tests on Bryan to determine the problem. I really am worried for Bryan, and I hope that he doesn't begin to start being plagued by injury as it would be such a shame to see his career shortened after all he has worked to achieve in the last few years. Rumors were also running rife that WWE had banned Seth Rollins from using the Curb Stomp, but these rumors turned out to be largely untrue although it was confirmed that a change to Rollins finisher had been requested. I'm not quite sure I like the DDT he does right now but I'm sure in time it will grow on me.
Lets head on into this weeks edition of the Smackdown Breakdown, and see what I thought of the final show headed into Extreme Rules on Sunday.
Seth Rollins and Kane Opening Segment - 4 Stars
Seth Rollins might think he's been clever by taking away the RKO from Randy Orton's arsenal, but we all know Orton has more than that at his dispense. Adding Kane into the mix of the match adds an interesting element and leaves us wondering whether or not Seth will walk out the winner too and I think this could be a good main event. Rollins took the opportunity tonight to start putting a distance between himself, the Authority, and Kane, so when Kane emerged from the back it made me wonder what would happen. Kane helped plant that seed of doubt into our minds as to where he stands headed into Sunday's match. I thought these two had a good exchange on the microphone that helped get Seth over as an over confident, cocky and arrogant champion, while Kane certainly seemed to use his power to get his way and leave Seth fuming and worried about his future ahead of Sunday. Sadly the match between Seth and Dean Ambrose never got started as Luke Harper began an attack on Ambrose. Roman Reigns came out to make the save with a tag team match featuring all four being announced later in the night.
Dolph Ziggler and Neville vs. Sheamus and Bad News Barrett - 4 Stars
This match has exciting written all over it with the high risk and fast paced styles of Neville and Ziggler, against the rough and tough brawling style of Barrett and Sheamus. I'm looking forward to the match between Sheamus and Ziggler at Extreme Rules, although I think the gimmick of the match is a little dumb. Neville and Ziggler started this one off with the advantage with that fast paced, high flying, blink and you miss it style but Barrett and Sheamus soon showed why their tough brawling style gave them an advantage in this one. The match was entertaining throughout for me with all four men working brilliantly. Seeing Neville do the Red Arrow is a thing of beauty and I never get tired of seeing such an amazing move that he hits every time with precision. A great match and a good way to get the action under way tonight.
Natalya vs. Naomi - 3.5 Stars
The reaction for Natalya was somewhat unexpected for me. Yes she is aligned with her husband Tyson Kidd and Cesaro, but I can't really ever remember hearing the fans boo her. Naomi suffered similar treatment, although this was what WWE would have wanted to happen. These two Divas have great talent and I expected them to put on a good match. They did not disappoint as they gave us some great back and forth action leaving Naomi with some momentum headed into her big Divas Championship match against Nikki Bella on Sunday. Natalya gave Naomi a run for her money but a Naomi victory was always on the cards in this one. I'm really liking this new side of Naomi, who continues to show why she has the potential to be one of the companies next top Divas.
Ryback vs. Rusev - 3.5 Stars
Rusev really showed John Cena what the Russian Chain can do this past Monday on Raw, but looking at the picture on the Titan Tron with both men’s faces made me burst out laughing. Do I think Rusev really has a chance against Cena on Sunday? Probably not as I can't see WWE pulling the US Title off Cena after him just winning it but I do hope WWE make Rusev look stronger by the end of the match with him taking more than one AA like he did at Wrestlemania. Ryback and Rusev is one of those feuds that has some kind of potential to it if it was done right but this match was simply another way of giving Rusev some momentum headed into Sunday. These two big brutes duelled and went through a war that saw them both display their incredible strength but you could just never see Ryback putting Rusev down. Rusev did a good job of assaulting Ryback with the chain to cause the disqualification finish while making that Russian Chain look even more of a threat toward John Cena on Sunday. I hope we get to see more of Rusev and Ryback facing off in the future as this match showed what a potentially interesting feud these two could have.
Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro - 3.5 Stars
New Day have a chance this Sunday to become WWE Tag Team Champions as the take on the team of Tyson Kidd and Cesaro on the Extreme Rules preview show, but I just cannot see them walking out with the gold personally. Right now the WWE Universe is turning against them as was hoped initially and with the team at the tipping point at this time I don't see WWE taking the chance on these guys just yet. The match up of Kofi Kingston and Cesaro was quite an exciting concept as both are exciting to watch in the ring and both can wrestle a solid match. Kofi Kingston is showing a much more aggressive side to himself than we have seen before and I really am liking seeing a change in him. I would have liked to see this one go on a little longer if I'm honest but I thought these two had a good match and the end was well booked to leave the New Day with the advantage headed into Sunday.
Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns vs. Luke Harper and Seth Rollins - 4.25 Stars
While I was looking forward to seeing Seth Rollins face off against Dean Ambrose earlier in the show I must admit I had high hopes this tag team match would be just as good a watch. I was surprised to see Harper and Ambrose start off this one against one another as it kind of takes away from their match on Sunday, but the good thing is they will save their craziness for the Chicago Street Fight and didn't give too much away. Rollins and Ambrose facing off during this one was good to see and I wouldn't mid seeing these two meet down the road this year. Reigns also has the potential to be thrown into the mix there and seeing the three former Shield members faced off is an exciting prospect I'm sure most fans would love to see. This was a well worked match by all four of the men involved with the last few minutes of the match producing some of the most exciting action of the night. We saw some seriously near falls and some excellent work from all four men that left me wanting more. Kane further added doubt about his loyalty into Sunday after he 'accidentally' fed Rollins to the wolves and allowed Reigns to hit a Spear for the three count. A great main event with some super action throughout.
Overall Show Rating - 3.75 Stars
This weeks episode of Smackdown took us nicely into Extreme Rules this Sunday, leaving many questions unanswered ahead of the show in Chicago. It will be interesting to see what happens in all of Sunday's matches and I feel there is going to be something memorable that goes down that night that will leave us with more questions that are unanswered. My favorite segment tonight was the main event tag team match which saw some great work from all four men involved and an exciting final few minutes of in ring action.
As always please leave your comments in the section below about my thoughts on the show or to tell us what you thought of Smackdown this week. Until next week thanks for reading the Smackdown Breakdown.