Welcome once again fellow wrestling fans to another edition of the Smackdown Breakdown on WNW. It's been another dramatic week in the world of WWE, with the leak of a damming letter to WWE about NXT trainer Bill Demott, to the return of AJ Lee to the Divas division, despite the awkward position she must be in following the lawsuit against CM Punk by Chris Amman, and questions still being raised about the status of Brock Lesnar for Wrestlemania 31. Life is never dull in the world of WWE that's for sure. We are now just a mere 23 days away from Wrestlemania at the time of writing, and the excitement headed into the show continues to build. How will WWE top the shock of the streak ending last year? No one can quite say yet, but it seems WWE is stacking the card with some big matches this year to try and make this another Wrestlemania to remember. As the days draw nearer to the grandest stage of them all, I cannot wait to see where each story goes headed into the show.
Raw was a pretty decent show this week, so I'm hoping Smackdown can provide just as good a show. Lets have a look at what I thought of this weeks show.
Dolph Ziggler Segment - 3.5 Stars
Poor Bad News Barrett, he just can't catch a break right now, and he is still without his Intercontinental Championship after it was yet again stolen on Raw. This time it was stolen by Dolph Ziggler, after Barrett was beaten by Daniel Bryan this past Monday night. Ziggler makes a good point, in that he is still owed a rematch for the belt, so it's inevitable Dolph got himself added into the ladder match at Wrestlemania. That match is starting to look like it's going to be the show stealer of the night, and if Daniel Bryan gets added to this one then I pity whoever has to follow that match as it will be full of some of the best work on the card. Bad News Barrett came out, not only to try and get his belt back but to set up a match later in the night. A battle over possession of the title quickly followed, and in all honesty kind of felt like this is being over done, as Luke Harper and Dean Ambrose joined the mix. I lost the will to care about this segment when R-Truth came did that stupid sneaking around the ring stuff to steal the belt. Up to that point the segment was going well, but this bought things down for me and made me just not care for the segment anymore.
Cesaro and Tyson Kidd vs. Los Matadores - 3.5 Stars
Forget Kidd and Cesaro for a minute, what has happened to Natalya? She was looking pretty hot in that gear, and I'm liking this change of style to her character right now as her darker side is a much needed change of direction that she needed. Los Matadores looked good in the ring during this one, but they seemed to very quickly find themselves on the losing end of things against the tag champions. I was hoping the match would maybe be a little faster paced than it ended up being, but it was still a well worked effort from both teams. I hope Kidd and Cesaro get a match against the Usos with the titles on the line at Wrestlemania, as I think they could have an amazing match on the biggest stage of them all.
Ryback vs. Kane - 3 Stars
This was a match between two Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal participants, one that I found I didn't really have much interest in because there was very little in terms of story to it. Yeah, Ryback was fired by the Authority previously, but that seems to have been forgotten by Ryback, and was not used as part of the matches background. What made this even more of a head scratcher is seeing Ryback pin Kane after a Meat Hook Clothesline. If it was JBL doing a Clothesline from Hell I could accept it, but that clothesline looked so poor it wouldn't have floored an elderly man or woman.
Ryback vs. Big Show - 3.5 Stars
Double duty tonight for Ryback, after he defeated Kane, much to the displeasure of Big Show and the Corporate Monster. Big Show poses a different threat to Kane in that he is a much bigger and more powerful opponent, thus proving more of a test for a weakened Ryback. One of this matches biggest flaws; the referee didn't disqualify Ryback for not stopping his attack on Big Show in the corner after the count of five. Yes, Big Show won the match in the end anyway, but the refereeing decisions need to be consistent from week to week, as had that been another match we would have seen a disqualification, and I can only scratch my head and wonder why such a simple mistake could be allowed to happen.
Brie Bella vs. AJ Lee - 4 Stars
Wow, not only did the Divas get some time, there was actually some mic time for the Bella Twins. Yeah, I would probably have preferred not to hear the irritating whine of Nikki Bella, but it's good to see the girls being allowed to do more than just a backstage segment, and/or a quick match. I'm excited at the prospect of Paige and AJ teaming up to face the Bella Twins at Wrestlemania, as all four girls can put on a great match if they are actually given the time on the card. Brie and AJ were given time in this segment to wrestle a nice little match, and AJ certainly looked like she hasn't missed a beat since being away from the ring. Both Bella Twins have improved over the last few years in the ring, and Brie showed why she is a serious contender for a Divas title run in the future. Brie's frustration as the match went on was fun to watch, as you could see the belief draining from her face with every 2 count. A great match between these two Divas, and a great advert for the Divas division and what talent it has.
The New Day vs. The Miz and Damien Mizdow - 3.5 Stars
I so can't wait for Miz and Mizdow to break up now, poor Mizdow is being held back big style by the Miz. I have to admit the commercial for erectile dysfunction segment on Raw was pretty funny to watch, and the curtain is almost set to close on their days as a team if that was anything to go by. Miz can do anything he wants in the ring, even delivering a sick looking DDT to Kofi, but he is really in the shadow of Mizdow like no one could have ever imagined. Mizdow is one of the most entertaining things in WWE right now in terms of his character, and the tension between the two was again well displayed. Miz losing the match for his team wasn't exactly surprising, and just brings the end of the A-List team that little bit closer.
Roman Reigns Interview - 4 Stars
In what promises to be the biggest match of his career, Roman Reigns heads into Wrestlemania looking more and more likely that he will be walking out as the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion by the end of that night. Paul Heyman cut a promo on Raw, one sure to end any speculation that Lesnar will be at the show, but it's Reigns going in there with all the momentum right now in my mind. Reigns showed in his response that he knows the match is going to be tough, but looks confident headed into the match, and when he speaks about beating Lesnar, I actually believe that he is going to do it. Reigns confidence has only grown, and I think getting past Fast Lane and still being the number one contender has only helped that, as well as finally hearing the majority of his doubters silenced.
Jack Swagger vs. Rusev - 3.5 Stars
What, this match is happening again? Swagger hasn't been able to beat Rusev when it really came down to it in the past, so I had no confidence he was going to pick up a win in this one either. Rusev will experience defeat at Wrestlemania, we all know it's coming, but it's going to be at the hands of John Cena in my opinion. Rusev has a bright future as a main event talent in WWE, and despite his slow start on the main roster he really has established himself as one to watch for the future. Rusev and Swagger wrestled a good match, but there was never any outcome other than Rusev making Swagger tap out, with Swagger never really coming across for me looking like a believable winner. An enjoyable match but it wasn't anything special. The best part of the segment was the appearance of Axelmania, running wild all over the screen. I found what Axel did pretty entertaining by his mimicking of Hulk Hogan, and look forward to seeing him challenge Rusev on Raw.
Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose vs. Bad News Barrett and Luke Harper - 4 Stars
R-Truth was on commentary again during this one, and once again I found myself trying to tune him out. Meanwhile, there was something much more entertaining taking place in the ring, as Harper and Ziggler put on an early exchange that was entertaining to watch. Not to be outdone, Ambrose and Barrett put on an equally entertaining dual before the final break of the show. Both teams worked well together, making this an entertaining match to watch. It was back and forth throughout, and it was close to call as to who would walk out the eventual winner up until Ziggler got the pin on Harper.
From his comments earlier in the night, it felt obvious Daniel Bryan would be the one to end the night walking away in possession of the Intercontinental Championship, and despite this, I still find the whole scenario of stealing the title silly. It was thought this moment would all but confirm Daniel Bryan as the final participant in the ladder match at Wrestlemania, and serve the purpose of finally giving the fans an answer to what was going to happen with Bryan. What I didn't anticipate was Stardust attacking Bryan and ending the night holding the title, as this adds a new twist, and leaves us wondering if WWE will put Bryan or Stardust in the match, or possibly if both are going to be added in the build up to this match.
Overall Show Rating - 3.5 Stars
Compared to the last couple of weeks, I felt this weeks episode of Smackdown lacked something to make it standout. Most of the segments on the card were nothing special, but equally they were not atrocious by any means. I thought the end of the show was well played out, as I didn't expect to see Stardust be the one holding the title by the end of the night. As good as that segment was though, I want to say I enjoyed seeing the Divas get a chance on Smackdown this week, and am giving the Divas match my vote for segment of the week. Hopefully this is the start of a revolution for the Divas division, and I hope their television time only increases week on week.
That wraps up another week here on the Smackdown Breakdown. As always, if you have anything to say about the show then please leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this weeks Breakdown, and I will catch you next week.