Typically, I try to avoid spoilers before I review anything that I can’t watch live, whether it be New Japan, Dragon Gate, iPPV’s, and yes, even Superstars. (Not so) shockingly, Superstars spoilers are by far the easiest to avoid, because, well, nobody watches the show. Even after adjusting my review schedule to every two weeks (due the fact that Superstars only features two matches per week, allowing for a beefier review with more chances to type things that could potentially get me into trouble if more than eight people end up reading it), it is still very easy to avoid seeing results, and often times even a lineup.
Not this week.
Technically, i’m not watching the shows spoiled, because I don’t know the results. But I am well aware that i’m getting two Justin Gabriel vs Sin Cara bouts, because both have been hyped pretty heavily around the internet. So hyped, that even on the dead end D-show, there has been a real buzz surrounding these two matches.
Superstars 280 & 281 were the low point of the show, so i’m looking forward to some matches I can sink my teeth into, even if none of them involve Titus O’Neil.
Let’s get to it.
1. Emma vs Alicia Fox III – That’s right, i’m slapping the Roman numerals on this baby. If there is one thing Superstars does well, it’s that they do give you mini D-show feuds like this one. Earlier in the year we had the Titus O’Neil vs Kofi Kingston and Titus vs Big E series’, and currently we’re in the midst of this Diva feud, plus the aforementioned Gabriel vs Sin Cara. I preferred Emma/Fox I, but it appears that I was in the minority, as most really like II. I thought II had too many goofy comedy spots that fell flat. This was more like I, which was stiff and gave us BLOOD (ok, it was a scraped elbow with barely any blood visible unless you were squinting, but it was still BLOOD). This was the best of the three match series, with a really good closing stretch. Fox rolled through a cross body block from the top by Emma (which won the first match for Emma), and got a two count. Emma tried to win with a crazy sunset flip out of the corner, but came up short with a two count of her own. Fox then hit a vicious scissor kick for the win, and takes the series 2-1. This was stiff, this was crisp, and both girls got to show off their innovative offense. And Emma got busted open again, this time from the mouth. I really liked this. Too bad there isn’t time for Diva’s matches like this on the THREE HOUR RAW or TWO HOUR Smackdown. ***
“Did You Know? Last season, over 6 million viewers watched Total Divas each week on E!” I have no idea if that’s true, but I can tell you that one total viewer in my house has been watching old Total Divas eps on The Network, and here are my favorite moments:
- Jimmy (or is it Jey?) Uso ripping farts in the car and driving The Funkadactyls to near tears
- Nikki Bella’s wacky vibrator mishaps
- Ginger Mahal
- Natalya’s unending struggle to get the D from Tyson Kidd, which should have been worked into the NXT storyline
- And my absolute favorite moment, Justin Gabriel with the heel move of the century, banging JoJo and then no selling her in Las Vegas like Road Warrior Hawk popping right up from a piledriver. Gabriel speeding off in a cab with some random sloot he met roaming the casino while JoJo looked on in horror should’ve solidified him as a top heel for the next decade. There hasn’t been a South African with this much heat since Col. DeBeers. I can only imagine the single women sitting home with their tubs of Haagen Dazs wanting Gabriel dead (yet still totally thinking he’s sooo dreamy). Absolute missed opportunity to give him a cocky lothario gimmick.
2. Justin “The Player” Gabriel vs Sin Cara – In my alternate universe, Gabriel is that heel lothario. A rare acknowledgement of NXT storylines, as they mention the upcoming NXT tag title match on Takeover II, which of course Sin Cara & Kalisto ended up winning. Gabriel now wears douchey sunglasses on his head during his entrance, because of course he does, because he’s “The Player”. Sin Cara lighting was is in effect for this one, which I thought they did away with. Sin Cara did way more here than he did at Takeover II, where it’s pretty clear his role on the team is to let Kalisto, who they hope is the future Mexican star, shine. This was one hell of a match, and Sin Cara won it with a top rope spanish fly, which Tom Phillips had no name for. Good capper to what was the best in ring Superstars in ages. ***
1. Naomi vs Summer Rae (w/Layla) – This was basically an excuse to let Tom Phillips & Renee Young talk about the new season of Total Divas, which is understandable since that show is a pretty significant revenue generator for the company. But while the announcers were going on about TDS3, these two were putting together a decent little match. Naomi is a very good athlete, and continues to improve every time I see her. She was very raw and very sloppy in the early Funkadactyl days, which actually ended up being an early Total Divas storyline when she stiffed Natalya in a match. Summer Rae isn’t quite at Naomi’s level. She was a half step behind here, and she gives off the vibe of somebody who still has to do a lot of thinking in the ring as opposed to just reacting, but she’s passable and doesn’t embarrass herself. Naomi won it with a bridging reverse schoolgirl. **1/2
Jericho vs Wyatt highlights, fast forward. Stephanie blabbering about the Bellas, fast forward. I’m hyped for this rematch, lets go.
2. Justin “The Player” Gabriel vs Sin Cara – I was pulling for The Player here, because that way I knew we’d get a third match. This was different from the week before, as in they worked more of a traditional heel/face match with the heel in control with face hope spots, as opposed to the more back & forth match we got on 282. Phillips & Young repeatedly called these two the greatest high flyers in the WWE. That’s probably true, if you don’t count NXT (Adrian Neville is a better flyer than both of these guys), which is usually the policy here, but sometimes isn’t (this show the week before, Ascension on Main Event, NXT showcase on RAW). Gabriel countered the top rope spanish fly with a hurricanrana, then used a springboard moonsault for two. Gabriel tried to set up a 450, but Sin Cara caught him on the top rope with a kick. Gabriel fought him off and shoved him off the top, but Sin Cara ended up in the middle of the ring. Gabriel went for the 450 anyway, and somehow made it half way across the ring. That looked amazing. Another really good match, and we’re tied 1-1. Young made note of that, so I suspect we’re getting another Superstars RUBBER MATCH. Heck yeah! ***
After an all time Superstars low point, we were treated to two very strong shows here. These two offerings reminded me of the glory days of Superstars, when these cool 3-star level bouts were the norm, not the exception. Hopefully this strong run continues, and with the very likely third bout between Gabriel & Sin Cara, at least one of the matches next week is virtually guaranteed to be pretty solid at worst.