Dark days have been upon us.
No, I’m not talking about ongoing strife in the middle east or Lance Archer/Hoyt/Archer/Hoyt’s finisher.
I’m referring, of course, to the severe lack of Titus O’Neil on Superstars over the last few weeks. Totally unacceptable, and a total lack of respect to the 19 loyal viewers of the show.
But the clouds are breaking, and it appears that sunny days are ahead. No, i’m not talking about Sunny working over Bret’s gimmick at a Motel 6 in 1996. I’m talking about SLATER GATOR, and it’s all the C-show rage these days.
1. Alberto Del Rio vs Justin Gabriel – Smiling, happy, babyface Justin “we don’t think anybody who watches WWE watches NXT where he is a heel even though it’s only like two clicks away on the very same WWE Network where they are watching Superstars so we will ignore any sense of continuity whatsoever” Gabriel heads to the ring, as Tom Phillips ironically explains that Gabriel has been competing on NXT lately. Look, either completely ignore NXT exists and never talk about it, or treat everything as the same universe, because this stuff where Tyson Kidd or Gabriel pop up on mainline programming like schizophrenics is stupid. How about allowing these guys to come out in their NXT personas, and then explain to the audience why Kidd is acting like a douche, and maybe try to entice non NXT viewers to watch the show or risk being left out of the loop on things? This company is just very, very confusing sometimes, and it’s the little things like this that prevent them from reaching their full potential as an overall entertainment entity. As for Del Rio, this is two weeks in a row on Superstars, and while he’s winning his matches over the bottom of the roster, this is not a good time for creative to have nothing for you when 7% of the company is being laid off, especially for a guy who used to work main events and presumably makes a decent salary. Arm bar, and boring babyface jobber Gabriel taps. I like “sometimes, you just have to break the rules” NXT Gabriel a lot better, where much like AJ Styles, his five o’clock shadow gives him an edge, as opposed to looking like a guy who is too lazy to shave because he’s jobbing on Superstars. **
Cena/Cesaro highlights. From one extreme to the other when it comes to continuity. How cool was it that the Heyman/Cesaro relationship was addressed by Cesaro on RAW? It’s those little things that add layers to the show, and make you temporarily forget that you’re an intelligent, grown adult watching a show written for children & mouth breathers. It was a cool match, and I watched it again instead of fast forwarding.
We GO TO THE BACK (I love that there is more of this lately on this show) where Heath Slater is super excited about teaming with Titus O’Neil. Titus hates this man, but Heath is delusional and/or doesn’t care. Heath points out that he’s a three time tag team champion, and can take Titus to the top. He randomly & constantly yells SLATER GATOR! in Titus’s face. Heath is the best. Titus is the best. SLATER GATOR is the best.
More RAW crap, but I have no time for that right now, because it’s time for SLATER GATOR.
2. SLATER GATOR vs Zack Ryder & Sin Cara – I love shit like this, because it’s so WCW Saturday Night. Instead of completely meaningless filler that goes nowhere, give the underbelly of the roster something to do. SLATER, who is awesome, and GATOR, who is awesome, have a little story here to work with, and you can see the extra motivation in their eyes and spring in their step as a result (leadership tip from Joe Lanza – people are more motivated when they feel like what they are doing matters). What we also have here is a very WCW Saturday Night/WCW Pro random JTTS tag team pairing with Ryder & Sin Hunico. This is exactly the type of stuff that makes a C-show feel different, and exactly what made 2011 era Superstars or 2006 Velocity or WCW’s B & C shows so fun to watch. All four men get their own entrances. SLATER is still a three man band. Phillips points out that Ryder is coming off of a big RAW win. I don’t know if he mentions stuff like that on his own or if he’s produced to say it, but I like when he does. Sin Cara & Ryder do a double dive to take out SLATER GATOR, and it’s commercial time. Leg lariat by SLATER on Sin Cara when we come back, and he tags in GATOR for some clobberin’. GATOR uses his big standing backbreaker, and Ryder is forced to use his company mandated lone pin break. SLATER is back in, and he’s getting sassy with some non-PG hip gyrations. GATOR misses a corner splash, which loyal readers know is something he should stop doing, because it never works out for him. Hot tag to Ryder, who hopefully isn’t teaming with “The King of Queens” Brian Myers on a PWS show soon. Ryder cleans house, hits a Broski Boot on GATOR, but SLATER uses his pin break and makes the save. Then things break down. Rough Rider on SLATER, but when Ryder turns around he gets hit with the Clash of the Titus. Huge win for SLATER GATOR. I want more SLATER GATOR. I want more Ryder & Sin Cara. I want more Superstars. **3/4
Recap of the Steph/Brie stuff, but who cares? I’m still jacked up about SLATER GATOR. These are two very talented men who are completely lost in the deep undercard, and hopefully this thing has some legs, even if only as a B-show highlight or short mainline run. The bigger theme here, is there appears to be some modicum of effort over the last couple of weeks in terms of giving this little show some semblance of meaning. Now hopefully let’s stop ignoring the things that happen on NXT.