Welcome once again guys and girls to the Smackdown Breakdown. I can't believe we are almost one week away from Wrestlemania 31. I must admit, I've struggled this year to really feel any excitement toward the show, but this weeks WWE shows have really helped me find the spirit I was missing and I now cannot wait till next weekend to see the greatest show of the year. There are a couple of matches I'm looking forward to this year, and it's a toss up between Sting versus Triple H, Bray Wyatt versus Undertaker, and the Intercontinental Championship ladder match. The card is stacked from top to bottom in quality matches, and I really hope this years show exceeds the expectations of last years show. No matter what, I'm expecting we will be in for a treat next Sunday, and I hope this years show sets the bar for next years show to be even better.
This week I thought I would take the opportunity to tout a very special piece I published this week about a show that takes place over Wrestlemania weekend. This week, I published a special interview with Kevin Gill, which I think is an awesome read and full of so much great information. Kevin touches on many subjects including ECW, WWE, JCW, life, video games, music, and the huge King of Indies 2015 tournament that takes place on 27th and 28th March at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, just a mere 12 miles away from the Levi Stadium, where Wrestlemania 31 takes place. To check out the interview click here, and you can get more information about how you can attend or watch the show, including an extra cool hook up from Kevin Gill for anyone who purchases their tickets directly from him.
With that shameless Mick Foley style plug out of the way lets head on into this weeks edition of the Smackdown Breakdown and see what I thought of this weeks show.
Roman Reigns - 4 Stars
I'm really digging that new Roman Reigns shirt, it looks good and sends a statement of intent that Reigns is ready for next Sunday, the biggest match of his career. We didn't really get much chance for Roman to big up his match, but that will come next week. Instead we had to witness Mark Henry come out and big up Reigns even more headed into Wrestlemania, which is something that will serve Roman well going forward. If you get an endorsement like that from the Worlds Strongest Man, then that's a good thing. Seth Rollins reminded us that he is still the wild card headed into that main event match at Wrestlemania, and I would love to see a cash in at Wrestlemania from Seth. The tag match set up for later in the night should be interesting to see. All in all, a nice opening segment to kick off the show.
Paige vs. Brie Bella - 4 Stars
I have to give it to WWE regarding the Divas; we aren't having to suffer the same short garbage matches that we were accustomed to, and instead are being treated to much better quality, longer matches. This one was physical from the opening bell, something I hope we see more of during the Divas tag team match at Wrestlemania. The stiffer these girls can work, the better in my mind. I liked the surprise pin from Paige to steal the victory over Brie, it was well executed and certainly gives Paige and AJ the momentum in this enjoyable Divas battle.
Dean Ambrose vs. Stardust - 3.5 Stars
So the opening gauntlet match in this Intercontinental Championship contenders match was a great way to start. I'm not entirely sure what the point to prove in this was, as there wasn't anything but bragging rights for the winner, but I'm not going to complain too much given the quality of matches we saw. I'm liking the way Stardust is having trouble with his identity, as it brings out a new dimension to his character. I'm just disappointed WWE didn't do something more with him and Goldust several years ago. Ambrose picked up a fairly quick win in this one, but it was a fair match.
Dean Ambrose vs. R Truth - 3 Stars
Not much to say about this one, it lasted about 30 seconds after R Truth took his eye off the ball. Can't really grade this one more than a 3, but in fairness it's not like I see R Truth as a legitimate threat to winning the title at Wrestlemania.
Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper - 4 Stars
I expected good things from this, and these two did not disappoint. Harpers aggression mixed with the unique style of Dean Ambrose made this a pleasure to watch. The change in pace throughout this match made it difficult to see what was coming next, and these two really went to town with their back and forth action. The only sad thing about this one was that it had to have a loser, because the winners were the fans in this one.
Luke Harper vs. Daniel Bryan - 4 Stars
We joined this one part way through, which I thought was a shame because we know how well both these men can work in the ring. To say Bryan is much smaller than Harper I was majorly impressed that Bryan got him up in the air and was able to push him up with his arms and legs. These two went back and forth in another entertaining match that gave us a real taste for what we can expect in just over one weeks time. The submission from Bryan to defeat Harper was unique, and the first time we've seen him win with something so unique. If you thought that match was good though, just wait for the next one...
Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler - 5 Stars
Yes you read that correctly! This match was being talked about as a possible match for Wrestlemania, and instead we get it for FREE on Smackdown. The pace of this one started out slower, but it didn't take too long to eventually pick up. I loved the Rick Rude style tribute Dolph did (Don't know if anyone else picked that little bit up), and then from there the pace went up to what we would have expected from these two. These two simply put on a wrestling clinic, and while some might claim I'm just being another 'typical internet fan boy', I challenge anyone to tell me what was wrong with this matchup because it was simply a pleasure to watch. If you are not hyped up for seeing the ladder match at Wrestlemania after seeing this then I'm not sure what else could sway you, because this one was an epic match that saw Ziggler pick up the big win. And yes, I'm giving it 5 stars, because these two put on a classic.
And then, just to top it off Bad News Barrett emerged to show why he is the champion, and why he isn't going to go down without a fight. What a great segment!
Natalya, Tyson Kidd and Cesaro vs. Los Matadores and El Torito - 4 Stars
From a great match, to an interspecies match. Yes, this really happened. Despite the somewhat poorly thought out name the match wasn't as bad as it sounded, mainly due to the great work of Cesaro, Kidd, and Natalya. I was a little curious to see how it would work with Natalya against El Torito, but we had to wait till the end of the match to see that. I loved the aggression Natalya showed with that power bomb, and enjoyed this tag team match that exceeded my expectations.
Seth Rollins and Kane vs. Roman Reigns - 4 Stars
So this SHOULD have been a tag team match, but strangely Mark Henry was laid out backstage prior to the match, meaning this one suddenly became a 2 on 1 handicapped match. Hardly a huge shock that this happened, but it would all form part of a bigger picture by the end. Reigns held his own but the numbers were always going to be too much for him at times. However, the outcome was always going to be a Reigns victory for me, further building him as the one man who can beat the odds and be the one, to beat the one, behind the one, in twenty one and one. Rollins and Reigns had a nice exchange toward the end of this one, and the match had a well worked ending.
And just to top it off for Rollins, despite all the security employed throughout the night, Rollins forgot the one simple element of being protected; make sure you don't let them in the back door. Orton and Rollins are going to have a great match at Wrestlemania, and I can't wait to see what these two do in the final build to Wrestlemania next week.
Overall Show Rating - 4 Stars
What a great episode of Smackdown to end the week for WWE. From beginning to end we saw some awesome encounters, ranging from the great match between Dean Ambrose and Luke Harper, right the way through to my favourite of the night, Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler. Those two put on an absolute classic match and we know that had they faced off in singles competition at Wrestlemania they would have stepped it up another gear. Luckily they are involved in the Intercontinental Championship ladder match at Wrestlemania, and I have no doubt they are going to steal that show as well.
Thanks once again for reading the latest instalment of the Smackdown Breakdown. If you have any thoughts on this weeks show, or my thoughts on the show, please leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks again for reading and I will catch you next week on the final stop on the road to Wrestlemania.