Hello once again WNW readers to the Smackdown Breakdown, my weekly spot where I give my thoughts on the current weeks edition of Smackdown and the happenings in WWE. We are now around 48 hours away from WWE Elimination Chamber, taking place exclusively on the WWE Network, which will see for the first time ever the Tag Team and Intercontinental Championships defended inside the deadly structure. I'm a big fan of the Elimination Chamber as a match and was disappointed to see it wasn't originally going to be a Pay Per View for the company this year but WWE Network brings a great opportunity to revive this excellent concept. I'm sure we will see some awesome matches on Sunday, but I don't expect any major changes to take place with Money in the Bank around the corner in two weeks time.
Without doubt the biggest news this week doesn't directly concern WWE, but it could have some potential effects on the company in the long term with the announcement that Ring of Honor has signed a deal with Destination America, a move that will see ROH air a weekly show before Impact Wrestling on Wednesday nights from June. What does this mean for WWE? It means potential competition for WWE in terms of NXT, as some more casual fans may be drawn to watching ROH as an alternative given they could watch NXT at any time on demand. Is it going to ruin WWE in any way? I seriously doubt it but there has to be something more to the move than meets the eye. The next few months will be telling and will hopefully bring some interesting competition and will hopefully benefit all three companies in the long run.
With that being said let's head on down into this weeks edition of the Smackdown Breakdown, and see what I thought of this weeks show.
Dean Ambrose In-Ring Segment - 4 Stars
It's so good to know that in 48 hours Dean Ambrose finally gets his fair shot in the main event of a WWE Pay Per View, when he challenges Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Ambrose had what I feel was a 'Stone Cold' moment on Raw after being arrested and then turning back up at the arena in a police paddy wagon. It was an awesome and intense way to end Monday's show and it really got me pumped up for Sunday's match between the two. Ambrose cut a solid promo that only further increased my urge to see the match and showed that he isn't just talented in the ring but he is able to carry himself on the microphone too. Ambrose really seems like he has a screw loose and that's what I love about his character with him living on the edge and seeming close to falling off at any moment. A good way to start the show that worked well for me because it didn't contain any interruptions and just saw Ambrose speak his mind.
Tyson Kidd and Cesaro vs. Lucha Dragons Lumberjack match - 4 Stars
The Lumberjacks for this match were of course the other teams competing in the first ever Tag Team Elimination Chamber match with the Ascension, Los Matadores, the Prime Time Players, and the New Day, which added another element to this match because they would all want to see these teams softened up before Sunday. I'm not giving too much away on my thoughts for this match on Sunday, as I have written a full prediction for this match which will be available tomorrow as part of the WNW Predicts series. This match contained the two teams who really can kick it up a notch with their speed and high flying ability and they didn't disappoint in this one. Both teams worked well in this one but the team of Kidd and Cesaro were the standouts for me. There were a few sloppy looking moves executed but what they did throughout the match more than made that irrelevant. I could have happily watched this match for the whole two hours as it would have been exciting enough to have gone a while. Lucha Dragons picked up a win here and some momentum headed into Sunday's big match.
R-Truth vs. King Barrett - 3.5 Stars
Truth being in the Chamber match on Sunday seems a strange choice to me still but obviously someone in WWE thinks he deserves a chance. King Barrett on the other hand for me potentially has to be a favorite to walk out Intercontinental Champion, with Sheamus probably being the one who pushes him closest to winning the gold. Barrett looked strong in this match and seemed to dominate R-Truth for the majority of it, yet it was Truth who picked up the huge victory headed into Sunday. Neither man stood tall at the end though as they both tasted a devastating Brogue Kick from the angry Celtic Warrior, Sheamus. My money is on King Barrett on Sunday emerging as the Intercontinental Champion, but if Sheamus walked out with the gold I wouldn't feel too disappointed either. A good match but the only thing that let it down was the way Truth seemed to come out of nowhere with the win.
Rusev vs. Ryback - 4 Stars
The major talking point of this match was the potential injury to Rusev that saw the big Bulgarian off house shows this week and his status for Elimination Chamber under scrutiny. I was looking out for the spot in question where the injury may have occurred and can only guess it happened when Rusev ended up being thrown out of the ring by Ryback, with Rusev potentially landing badly on it and then it was made worse after Rusev reversed what looked like what was going to be a potential power slam by Ryback. He did well to work through the injury but you could tell as the match went on it bothered him and at the end it obviously flared up. The on going story between Lana, Rusev, and Dolph Ziggler is intriguing and I am enjoying a new side to the Ravishing Russian. It adds another dimension to the Elimination Chamber match, provided Rusev can compete and sets up a feud for the two going forward. Rusev appears to have decided after everything he now wants to be Bulgarian again so I wonder what has happened to his Russian gold star medal? Maybe he traded it in for that Bulgarian flag! Anyway this was a good match between two big power houses who can do some serious damage in that Chamber match on Sunday. Rusev is on a roll right now and riding a wave of momentum that I hope doesn't get derailed if this injury is serious. The two big guys certainly took a chunk out of each other in this back and forth encounter that I really enjoyed watching.
Paige vs. Naomi - 3.5 Stars
Sunday sees Paige, Naomi, and Nikki Bella face off in a huge triple threat match for the Divas Championship that could very well see a new Divas Champion crowned. I said it last week and I will say it again that I really am loving the pairing of Naomi and Tamina. It's great seeing a different side to Naomi, and Tamina is an excellent choice to back her up. Paige and Naomi didn't pull any punches during this one and they had what I think was a well worked match with both women getting their fair share of offence in. Paige picked up a huge win that gives her some big momentum into Sunday, but I'm sorry my British pumpkin I think a long overdue Divas Championship reign is in Naomi's future come the end of Sunday. A good match between two of the top Divas in the company to really build up to the big match Sunday.
Kevin Owens In-Ring Segment - 4 Stars
Without a doubt the match I am really hyped up about seeing is John Cena and Kevin Owens. This feud is literally something I think will really establish Owens with the bulk of the WWE Universe that haven't seen him in action and he looks like he could legitimately take out John Cena on Sunday. I love how Owens has been utilized so far in this feud and he really has shown he can be a legitimate threat to John Cena. Owens has made statements over the last two weeks by taking out Cena on two occasions and has stood tall over his fallen opponent. Owens came across as confident in his statement that he will beat Cena on Sunday, and I believe he is going to be a huge player on the main roster for many years to come. Owens will hopefully prove himself worthy of being ready for his big chance in the spotlight on Sunday, and I believe Cena will help get Owens over in a big way during this match. Owens made a statement tonight in his build up to the match and I look forward to seeing if the real champ in Owens, is indeed here.
Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins and Kane - 4 Stars
An interesting moment occurred as Ambrose and Owens crossed paths before this match even began. Could this be a hint at a possible future program between the two? I sure hope so as that would be awesome. Ambrose and Rollins is one of the other matches I really am excited about seeing on Sunday, and think it has the potential to be the match of the night as I know both these men will give it their all and leave everything in the ring by the end of the night. The dissension between Rollins and Kane that was being teased just weeks ago appears to have all but disappeared as they worked well as a team in this one as did Ambrose and Reigns, who obviously have chemistry from their time together in the Shield.
All four men worked pretty well together in this one and made for a well worked main event match. It was a good warm up for Rollins and Ambrose headed into Sunday, and think the work of Reigns and Kane in this one helped with not giving away too much for Sunday's main event match. The match was worked well with a good mix of high flying action and some solid wrestling from all involved. I expect Ambrose will pick up a win over Rollins on Sunday, but it will be a disqualification finish if it's going to be anything as I don't see Ambrose winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship just yet. No matter what though the real winner of that match is going to be the WWE Universe. The end of the show was well booked with Rollins and Kane standing tall by the end of the night despite defeat in this one, with Reigns being choke slammed and Ambrose receiving a Pedigree from Rollins.
Over Show Rating - 3.75 Stars
Another strong edition of Smackdown this week with some great segments that really were designed to wet our appetites headed into Sunday's Elimination Chamber event. There really weren't any weak links this week with everyone making the effort to build up the excitement ahead of the show. My favorite segment this week was the tag team lumberjack match between Tyson Kidd and Cesaro and the Lucha Dragons, while the end of the show was also a well worked segment and way to end the show. I can't wait for Sunday to roll around as I believe we as fans are in for a really interesting and entertaining show.
Thanks as always for reading this weeks edition of the Smackdown Breakdown. I will be back again next week with another installment of my thoughts on the show. Until then thanks for reading, feel free to leave your thoughts below, and don't forget to share this with your friends on Facebook and Twitter!
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