Welcome once again fellow WNW readers to another edition of the Smackdown Breakdown. In normal circumstances I would be hyping up this Sunday's Money in the Bank Pay Per View, but there is just something that feels wrong about getting excited about the show after the shock announcement yesterday of the 'American Dream' Dusty Rhodes. I cannot put into words sadness and sorrow I currently feel off the back of this news and if I'm honest I'm still in shock and can't quite process the news still. When I saw the breaking news on WWE.Com I literally wanted it to be some kind of sick joke but the more I read the news the more real it got. I can't really say too much more about it here as I've already written about it in a piece you can check out here, as well as other fabulous pieces by Zack Krasney, Andrew Watson, and Chris Surrency.
There is some excitement in me headed into Money in the Bank, don't get me wrong and I am looking forward to seeing what Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose can give us in the main event. These two are special talents and I also can't wait to see who becomes this years Mr. Money in the Bank. I would honestly love to see Neville get his chance, but I think it may be still too soon for him. I'm all for Dolph Ziggler getting one more chance to become a multiple time Money in the Bank briefcase winner, but wouldn't be totally surprised to see Roman Reigns emerge victorious. There are so many possibilities headed into the show and it will be interesting to see how things play out from here.
Dean Ambrose And Seth Rollins Segment - 4 Stars
I'm looking forward to seeing this great match between Seth and Dean, especially after the great match they had at Elimination Chamber. While the out come of the match that night was what I expected I believe this match will be a case of anything could happen. We should both expect the unexpected and for some crazy high risk moves to take place. Some of the photo's Ambrose showed from his antics on Raw were great and I thought that segment Monday night as Ambrose arrived to see Seth lose to J & J Security, before taking back possession of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Ambrose cut his usual solid promo and proved why he is one of the best talkers in the business right now and sold the match even further. Seth came out of course to respond and was met with a loud booing. Rollins came across well with his bitterness in the promo and showed his desperation to get the belt back. I loved the reaction of Seth after Ambrose revealed the belt in the ring was a fake and the other was lost somewhere. Kane put Seth in a match later against Dolph Ziggler, and reminded Seth just how big an occasion Sunday is and the fact he has no help. A fun opening to the show to get the fans excited for Sunday, and to gear them up for the show tonight.
As the say the show must go on, so lets get on into this weeks edition of the Smackdown Breakdown.
The Miz vs. Ryback - 4 Stars
The Miz and Ryback had a pretty entertaining segment on Raw this week. I did have to laugh at Ryback's dig at CM Punk, with him joking he could take years off Miz's career. Ryback showed some impressive strength with the well worked vertical suplex on Miz, who probably lost his bearings for a minute before he took control of the match into the break. I think Ryback has improved week after week and is showing he can be something special and isn't perhaps the all too reckless star he has been made out to be. Unfortunately for Miz, this wasn't his night as he hit his Skull Crushing Finale, that saw Ryback kick out. Instead it was Ryback who picked up the win to continue his momentum headed into his match this Sunday where he faces Big Show. A very enjoyable match between these two stars. Big SHow and Ryback had a good exchange post match to build up their match headed into Sunday, and I like the way Big Show acted like he would confront Ryback, only to back down and make the fans wait till Sunday.
King Barrett vs. Jack Swagger - 3 Stars
This was a warm up match for Barrett, as he faces R Truth on the Money in the Bank pre-show this Sunday. R Truth was at ringside during this one on commentary, and I'm just not finding his character funny right now. It belittles Truth, and makes him look stupid to me. Barrett was more interested in Truth's antics than his opponent in this one, allowing Swagger to take advantage. It wasn't enough though as Barrett would pick up a win just like I expect him to do on Sunday. This match was ok but there wasn't enough focus in the ring and Swagger may as well have not been there.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins - 4.5 Stars
This is one of those matches that we know would make a fabulous main event to watch. I hold both Rollins and Dolph in high regard and am looking forward to seeing them in action this Sunday in their respective matches. This one started off at a slow pace with some mostly mat based wrestling, but it soon picked up to the fast paced style we are used to seeing these guys work. The match was entertaining to watch and showcased the talents of both men throughout. I'm not sure if Dolph meant to land how he did in the time keepers area off that slingshot before the break but I guess he was making sure he was preparing in case he landed awkwardly. These two worked really well together and showed they have awesome chemistry that down the line could lead to an even better match. All those counters from Dolph were great toward the end but Seth Rollins managed to steal a sneaky win that will serve him well headed into Sunday. A fund match I didn't want to see end.
Alicia Fox vs. Paige - 3.5 Stars
One last warm up for Paige headed into her big Divas Championship match this Sunday against Nikki Bella. I'm hoping we will see Paige pick up the victory in that match especially after being screwed over by the Bella's on Raw recently with some 'Twin Magic', which I'm sure you can expect to see on Sunday too. Paige and Alicia had a good match that saw both Divas pull off some impressive maneuvers but it was never really in any doubt that Paige would eventually go on to win the match. A solid little match that hopefully helps Paige toward victory on Sunday.
Roman Reigns, Neville & Randy Orton vs. Kane, Kofi Kingston, & Sheamus - 4 Stars
The main event sees six men involved in this Sunday's Money in the Bank ladder match face off in a match to build up anticipation toward the big match. This match promises to be something special on Sunday, and I'm not quite sure who is going to walk out with the briefcase on Sunday. All I know is we are in for one hell of an amazing match. All six men involved in this one put on one hell of a show but I want to give special mention to Neville, who really is stepping up into a main event role of sorts and proved he belongs there without question. This match really teased what we can expect headed into Sunday, even seeing Big E and Xavier Woods getting involved before a melee of finishers took place before Reigns nailed Kofi with a sick Super Man Punch out of the air. The match ended in a disqualification, before Dolph Ziggler would emerge to take down Kofi and New Day. The best was saved for the end though as Neville dived into all the other Superstars outside the ring from the top of a ladder. If you aren't excited for Sunday off the back of this then I don't know what more these guys could have done.
Overall Show Rating - 3.75 Stars
A strong episode of Smackdown headed into this weekends Money in the Bank show. I was a little disappointed there wasn't some kind of graphic to acknowledge the passing of Dusty, but I guess with it being such short notice there wasn't really time but I do expect to see something big done on Raw to acknowledge the passing of the Dream. My favorite segment this week goes to the match between Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins, who I thought had a really good match. I thought the main event was real good too, especially the ending with Neville leaping onto everyone before unhooking the briefcase to end the show. A sign of things to come? I sure hope so.
As always please leave your thoughts on the show in the comments section below. Thanks as always for reading and I hope you will be back next week for another edition of the Smackdown Breakdown.
And to end this weeks Breakdown I want to end with a quote from my friend Kevin Gill, who took to Twitter to remind the world that "while the Dream has died, the Dream will live on in the hearts and minds of every fan and performer he inspired". Simply put on my part, #ThankYouDusty.