Welcome once again everybody to another edition of the Smackdown Breakdown here on WNW. We could talk about so many things to open up this weeks installment but I think right now the biggest news around the world of wrestling is the termination of Hulk Hogan's contract with WWE. I completely agree with what WWE has done by immediately distancing themselves from Hogan. Do I think they should remove him from their website and try to act like he was never part of the companies history? No, because Hogan was partly responsible for the boom period of the industry we all know and love today. But Hogan made a huge mistake by using a derogatory term that just is not acceptable in this day and age. In his defense though it seems that it's accepted for many black hip-hop and rap stars to use the world like it's going out a fashion and no one bats an eye lid. Hogan will probably be back in WWE at some point when this story becomes yesterday's news but I think he just blew any chance of being in a match of any kind ever again.
Battleground this past Sunday was a pretty good show, with a stand out match taking place between John Cena and Kevin Owens. While many expected Owens to win and felt disappointed in the outcome (I was one of those people) I guess the way to look at this is you can't give Owens everything at once and there is of course still some fun in watching him chase to earn a title. I also enjoyed the impromptu Divas match that took place that saw Charlotte pick up the win, but the talking point of the night was the return to WWE of the Undertaker. While many have criticized the way his return has been booked I actually thought WWE did the right thing. At the end of it all the Deadman had to strike at some point, so why was Sunday not the opportune moment? The segments on Raw involving Lesnar and Undertaker were some of the most compelling television I have seen come out of WWE for some time and I hope that they can continue to bring their A game with the build to Summerslam.
Tonight is also a very cool night because it see's me conducting two exclusive interviews for both WNW and WWENews.Net, as I talk to British wrestler Liam Lazarus tomorrow (Saturday morning) about his career, and tonight (Friday if your reading that another day) I am conducting a huge interview with a British wrestling legend and father of WWE Diva Paige, 'Rowdy' Ricky Knight. I feel privileged to be able to bring you both these interviews and hope you enjoy hearing them. Your feedback on both is very much appreciated of course, and I hope to bring you even more of these interviews in the coming weeks and I really hope you will enjoy these unique audio glimpses into the world of professional wrestlers.
With that news out the way lets head on into this weeks edition of the Smackdown Breakdown and see what I thought of this weeks show.
Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus - 3.5 Stars
Sheamus came out pretty full of himself with his promo at the start but Ambrose soon shot him down by telling Sheamus he looked stupid. This was always going to be a good brawl and while it started off slow things soon got physical between these two and neither man really had an advantage over the other at one point with both being one step ahead of each other at times. After the assault on Ambrose by Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper on Raw it felt inevitable they would get involved at some point. Just as it looked like Ambrose had built enough momentum to put the Irish brawler away the lights went out and out came the familiar figure of Bray Wyatt, with Luke Harper stood behind Ambrose on the announce table. Ambrose made the mistake of going after Harper, took a Brogue Kick for his troubles, and ended up being pinned in the ring after a second kick. This was a good match to start the show but wasn't perhaps as good as past meetings between these two men.
Adam Rose vs. Neville - 3.5 Stars
The cartoon style vignette reminders about Neville and Stardust might seem quite lame but I actually like them. The bit where Stardust came on screen after Neville's promo was also pretty cool. I'm a fan of both Neville and Rose for their work and I feel these two had a pretty solid match. Neville picked up the win as I expected him to and didn't really seem troubled by Rose too much during this encounter. Stardust's promo on the screen afterwards was quite entertaining and it's good to see .that despite all he's been through as of late in his life Cody has not lost his touch. A good match between Rose and Neville.
King Barrett Promo - 3.5 Stars
So glad that Barrett got to defeat R-Truth at Battleground. I feel like such an injustice would have been done had he lost and it would have ruined the King of the Ring. I hope now this feud with Truth is over that WWE use Barrett better and give him the chance to be a top star like he should be. A short and sweet promo that I enjoyed. All hail King Barrett!
Kevin Owens vs. Rusev - 4 Stars
So Owens didn't come out of Battleground with the US title, but came out of the night having had the best match of his life. While many of us feel it was the wrong decision I guess there is more fun in seeing the chase of Owens for the belt than to see him just get it. His frustration got the better of him Monday night as he kicked Rusev in the face and that's what led to this meeting. Owens cut a good promo prior to the match that seemingly fired Rusev up for this match which maybe wasn't his wisest move, as while Owens may be a powerhouse Rusev can easily match him. This went back and forth and was a well worked match between two top talents for the future of WWE. It was always going to be a close outcome and it wasn't easy to predict who would walk out the victor. In the end Rusev got his win after Owens decided the best option for him was to walk away and be counted out deliberately. I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of these two facing off and their paths will cross again down the line. The post match promo between Cesaro and Owens was also awesome and I can't wait to see these two face off soon as there is super chemistry there already.
Sasha Banks and Naomi vs. The Bella Twins - 4 Stars
So yeah, the Divas division has continued to grow like you wouldn't believe after Charlotte got a huge win at Battleground this past Sunday. How do you follow that? By putting on a tag match to help showcase the talent that is Sasha Banks, teaming with another highly rated prospect in Naomi, to face off with the faces of the division in the Bella Twins. It appears this weeks the company want us to cheer the Bella's, yet when Nikki faces off against Paige or Charlotte down the line we will be expected to boo them. Confused? I am! This was another good match from the Divas and shows just how far that division has come over the last few months. Some great back and forth action, some great wrestling, and a great Divas match all round. Really pleased to see the Divas getting their chance now and the division can only grow stronger. The end of the match was a bit crazy but the Bella Twins were on the winning side this time around. A great win for Nikki and Brie Bella.
Seth Rollins vs. Cesaro - 4.5 Stars
So I'd just like to take this opportunity to point out that my prediction of Seth Rollins leaving Battleground still the WWE World Heavyweight Champion with an assist from the Undertaker was correct. Rollins and Lesnar had a good match at Battleground but it now appears he has to go up against John Cena at Summerslam, while Lesnar and Undertaker have a huge match that will be huge if this weeks Raw was anything to go by. Cesaro has been having some cracking matches of late and he really tested John Cena recently when they faced off on Raw, so this match was always going to be a treat. Seth and Cesaro did not disappoint as they tore the house down with a classic, entertaining wrestling match. These two traded blows, went back and forth, and above all showed why they are two of WWE's top performers. Cesaro took Seth to his limit in this one and was unlucky not to pick up the win after Seth took full advantage of a distracted referee to enable him to hit the Pedigree to pick up the win. A great main event and I hope Cesaro and Seth meet again down the line.
The night wasn't quite over for Cesaro as he was assaulted post-match by Kevin Owens, who hit the Pop Up Power Bomb to leave Cesaro laid flat in the middle of the ring to end the show. It's going to be interesting to see these two face off going forward and this will hopefully give Cesaro and Owens an opportunity to push themselves toward the top of the card.
Overall Show Rating - 4 Stars
Another solid episode of Smackdown is in the bag and I have to say that while the show felt a little slow and it took a while to get going it soon picked up by the end of the show. I think my favorite segment of this weeks show was probably the main event match between Seth Rollins and Cesaro. I think these guys gave it their all and really put on an entertaining match. I'm looking forward to see Kevin Owens and Cesaro working a program together in the near future and hope WWE gives these guys a shot in the main event picture by end of the year at least.
That's all I've got for this weeks edition of the Smackdown Breakdown. As always please feel free to leave your comments on the show in the comments section below. I will return again next week with another edition of the Smackdown Breakdown. Until then, thanks for reading and have yourselves a fantastic weekend.
If you have enjoyed this blog, and any of my other work, then please give me a follow on Twitter if that's your scene by following @jamie_welton, or please give my brand new Facebook page a like for all my latest blogs and thoughts on the world of WWE and Wrestling.