Welcome to this week's SmackDown Breakdown! As you can see, Jamie Welton is not here this week, but he has asked me to fill in. This is the first SmackDown after WrestleMania 31, a show that surprised a lot of fans. (I will be writing my full thoughts on WrestleMania in The Five-Count on WWENews.net later this weekend.) The Extreme Rules card is already beginning to form, as the next pay-per-view is only three weeks away. Let's dive into the breakdown, shall we?
Randy Orton Interrupts Seth Rollins - 4 Stars
It was so great to see that WWE World Heavyweight Championship belt around the waist of Seth Rollins. He is so talented and has earned his spot. J&J Security, Kane, and Big Show accompanied Rollins to the ring to kick off the show. Big Show's Andre the Giant Trophy at ringside just goes to show how forgettable Show's win was. Before The Authority members could leave, Randy Orton came out and made sure Rollins knows that he's coming for the title, which I thought was perfect. Orton hasn't had a fair WWE Title rematch since last year, and he just beat Seth at WrestleMania. Orton insulting Kane was hilarious, and led to Orton vs. Big Show.
Randy Orton vs. Big Show - 2 Stars
The rating seems low, and I'll explain why. Orton had control of Show early on and it could've been a cool contest, but the match had only lasted about a minute or two before The Authority's goons ran in and attacked Orton. Orton winning by disqualification just a couple minutes in left me wondering what was the point of even having the match? Post-match, Randy tried to fight off Kane and Security, but wasn't able to by himself. Ryback ran out and helped Orton clear the ring. I'm not sure what WWE has planned for Ryback, but I feel that The Big Guy should've won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at this point. I foresee a future tag team match pitting Orton and Ryback vs. Rollins and Big Show or Kane soon, maybe? While I was disappointed with the match, I did end up enjoying this segment with Ryback sticking up for The Viper.
Naomi vs. Natalya - 3 Stars
The Bella Twins were on commentary for this one, which wasn't exactly pleasing to me. Naomi and Natalya always put on good matches, no matter how much time they are given. With that being said, these talented divas didn't receive a lot of time, but made the most of it once again. Naomi picked up the win, as she should. It seems that Naomi has her eyes set on Nikki Bella's title. Naomi is very athletic and has been deserving of a title run for over a year now, so here's to hoping she can score the big win at Extreme Rules.
The Miz vs. R-Truth - 3 Stars
The Miz, who was all by himself, managed to pick up a win over R-Truth. This match didn't run very long either, which was kind of annoying for all three matches in the first hour of the show to be less than three minutes long. Much like the divas match, R-Truth and Miz used their time wisely and put on an entertaining bout. It doesn't look like R-Truth will be going anywhere following the Ladder Match at WrestleMania. On the other hand, The Miz will be busy with his former tag team partner, Damien Sandow. After Miz won, Sandow came out and hit the Skull Crushing Finale on Miz, which was great! I'm sure we will see a match between the two at Extreme Rules.
John Cena Grants Rusev A Rematch - 4.5 Stars
I really enjoyed this segment, which is why I gave it a high rating. United States Champion John Cena started the segment with what you could call a typical Cena promo until Lana and Rusev interrupted. In the end, Cena told Rusev he can have his rematch at Extreme Rules. The best part of the segment was having the American flag come down over the ring instead of the Russian flag. The fans popped loudly for that, and it truly was a nice way to end it. During the promo, Cena talked about defending the title every week. I'm not against it, however, it could get old pretty fast. Fans may see it as devaluing the title, too. I am happy to see Cena with the red, white, and blue belt.
Luke Harper vs. Dean Ambrose - 4 Stars
From a booking standpoint, this match makes a lot of sense following that scary moment during the WrestleMania opening match when Harper sent Ambrose crashing through a ladder! These two really mash well with their hard-hitting ring styles. At this point in the show, I thought it was the best match on SmackDown. I figured Ambrose would walk away with the victory, until Harper power-bombed Ambrose through the announce table to end the match in no contest. The ending immediately left me thinking that we could potentially see a match between these two at Extreme Rules. It would be the perfect way to keep both relevant following WrestleMania. My prediction right now is we will see Harper vs. Ambrose in a Tables Match.
Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan - 4 Stars
Seeing Sheamus return on Raw as a heel was exciting. He's played the babyface role for nearly four years now, so it's time for a change. Sheamus entered to a new theme song, which was also a good change. Daniel Bryan is now the new Intercontinental Champion, which is awesome. I was looking forward to the advertised tag team match with Bryan and Ziggler vs. Sheamus and Barrett, but Ziggler "wasn't able to compete" following Sheamus' attack on Monday. This match was also a physical one, with Sheamus showing off some new offensive maneuvers. Towards the end, Bryan was busted open, showing lots of blood on his forehead. Bad News Barrett, who was on commentary, struck Bryan with a Bull Hammer. Sheamus picked up the win by count-out, which allows Sheamus to say he has earned a title shot, while keeping Bryan looking strong. My guess is we will see a triple threat, or hopefully, a fatal four-way match for the Intercontinental Championship at Extreme Rules
Overall Show Rating - 3.5 Stars
I thought this week's SmackDown was a middle of the road show. The first hour was okay, but the second hour was better. We saw more story building more than anything, which isn't always a bad thing. The focus on the midcard titles is great so far, and I really hope WWE continues it.
I would like to thank Jamie for this opportunity to write the SmackDown Breakdown for the first time! What did you think of this week's SmackDown? Sound off in the comments area below. You can follow me on Twitter @cj_blaze24.