Welcome once again Wrestling News World fans to another edition of the Smackdown Breakdown. It's been another sad week in the world of wrestling, as literally minutes after I posted last weeks Smackdown Breakdown and began sharing it on social media, the news of the death of "Rowdy" Roddy Piper started to trickle through. I was deeply shocked and saddened by the news of this tragic passing, as Piper was one of the guys I expected to live for a number more years and even outlast someone like Ric Flair. Piper was always one of my favorite legends and he was on the first wrestling t-shirt I ever owned as a kid. My earliest memory of Piper is his Wrestlemania 8 match against Bret Hart, which is also one of my favorite matches of all time as they told such an amazing story together that night. I wrote more about my Piper memories last weekend if you want to check them out.
The video tribute to Piper once again before the show started was a very fitting video, and I have to once again tip my hat to the WWE production staff for producing such a great video to honor an absolute legend in the business. I don't think there is any other way to follow that so lets head on into this weeks Smackdown Breakdown and see what I thought of this weeks show.
Roman Reigns and Rusev Opening Segment - 3 Stars
Roam seemed pretty fired up and seemed pretty happy to be in the ring to kick off the show. Roman addressed the Bray Wyatt situation, and showed he wasn't happy about what went down at Battleground. I like the addition of Ambrose and Luke Harper into this feud, meaning there will be a tag match at Summerslam which I think has the potential to be one of the matches of the night. Rusev decided to show his face, because he thought he had more important things to talk about and dropping the bombshell he would face Reigns later tonight. I wasn't exactly blown away by the interaction and mic work here. The segment felt kind of flat for me, more on Rusev's part than Reigns which I was disappointed in. The match is set for later in the show but I don't feel blown away by this opening moment.
The New Day vs. Prime Time Players & Mark Henry - 3.5 Stars
From the backstage segment before the match it seems to me Kofi is very much becoming the focal of New Day, which I don't think is a bad thing as he is the more established of the 3 men in the group in my mind. The pace of Kofi and Xavier Woods when facing off against Darren Young added a fun, faster paced element to this while Titus, Mark Henry, and Big E added the power element that bought a slower pace. New Day worked well as a team as always and got under the skin of the fans as you would have expected, while it was Darren Young who did the majority of the work for his team in this one. Titus would enter the ring off a hot tag and do his thing, while Mark Henry would tag himself in, catch Kofi Kingston off the back of Titus throwing him over his head and hitting the World's Strongest Slam for the win. A decent match that was well worked by all involved.
Charlotte & Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks & Naomi - 4 Stars
So this started out as a singles match between Charlotte and Naomi, that didn't really get chance to get going before things broke down and this match was restarted as a tag team match as Sasha and Becky ended up getting themselves involved in this when it looked like Charlotte had the match won. Up until that point this had looked like it was going to be a pretty exciting singles match, but making a tag was even better. The match was a well worked effort by all four of the Divas involved who I believe all have huge futures ahead of them. It's just so good to see the Divas getting so much television time now and getting the chance to finally shine. I like the dynamic work of both teams and think having Paige and Tamina added to both sides to make this a six Diva tag match would have also been a fun watch. This was just a pleasure to watch from a wrestling standpoint and I am so excited about the future of the Divas with the way talent is coming through the WWE system now. Naomi and Sasha stole a win, much to the surprise of Charlotte and the fans but the real winners here were the fans. A great advert for women's wrestling on display right here.
Stardust vs. Zack Ryder - 3.5 Stars
The Stardust character just gets weirder and weirder, and that Facebook video interview he did after really tops it off. I'm not exactly feeling any excitement about Stephen Amell being on Raw to confront Stardust on Monday, but we will see what happens. It's always nice to see Zack Ryder in a WWE ring and getting television time, but once again it was to become "just another victim" (Sorry for stealing your line Tazz). Despite his best efforts there was always only one winner in this one, and that was Stardust. A good match and we'll see where Stardust goes from Monday. Stardust cut a promo at the end of the match to hype that meeting up, but I'm still not entirely that sold on it.
Roman Reigns vs. Rusev - 4 Stars
Ever since his first defeat at Wrestlemania it seems Rusev has become a former shell of himself and now seems to be in matches where he now just loses without any sign of the dominant monster he once was. I wasn't exactly thrilled by his work earlier in the night on the mic but I had confidence that he would make up for it here. This was a meeting of two giants, who for the first few seconds pretty much kept the action slow and based on power and that seemed to be the general trend for the rest of the match. The pace would pick up toward the end when Roman started to take control, and I think that was the right move as this one needed to be more a power match than anything. Rusev showed he is more than just a big guy though with a nice spin kick he hit on Reigns, but that wasn't quite ever going to be enough to beat Reigns who would go on to pick up a hard fought win. Summer Rae and Lana would also get into a 'fight' (I use that term loosely) which further advances a possible match between them. After the match was over and Reigns celebrated Bray Wyatt would come on the video screen and he accepted Reigns tag team match proposal for Summerslam, which is a match I can't wait to see. A good match to end the show this week.
Overall Show Rating - 3.5 Stars
I felt this edition of Smackdown wasn't perhaps as strong as we have seen in recent weeks, but it did have some great moments too. I have to give my favorite segment of this weeks show to the Divas tag team match as I thought all four Divas worked a solid match here. I have been saying for some time we need to give the Divas their chance and they are finally getting an opportunity on a weekly basis. The future is bright for women's wrestling in WWE and I can't wait to see just how far they can take the division over the next few years.
That just about wraps it up for another edition of the Smackdown Breakdown. I will be back again next week with another edition. If you have any comments about this weeks edition then please leave your comments in the discussion area below.
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 Facebook page a like for all my latest blogs and thoughts on the world of WWE and Wrestling. You can now also check out my interviews on Soundcloud.