I’d like to tell you that this TRIPLE BONUS EDITION of the Superstars review was intentional, but the fact of the matter is that I simply lost track of time, and forgot to do my homework last week.
So with that said, no long intro that everybody probably skips anyway. The match quality over the last couple of months has improved exponentially on this show, and I’ve got a lot to catch up on, so let’s just dive right into it.
1. Kofi Kingston vs Sin Cara – Renee Young started to talk about being paid to be the best, and how it’s all about “making checks”, and I instantly had flashbacks to Dusty Rhodes talking about the winners “goin’ to da pay window!” on WCW B-shows. Young also kept talking about these two trying to claim the title of the best high flyer in the WWE, and how it was between these two men since they had both in previous weeks dispatched Justin Gabriel on this very show. I love, love, LOVE that kind of continuity and rewarding the viewer, even in small ways, for paying attention to who wins and loses. Some of those Gabriel matches were positioned in the main event slot, so they were a bit longer than this one, but this was every bit as good as the various Gabriel battles with these dudes, despite the shorter length. They did a lot of stuff without feeling like they were cramming things in, and the finish was very cool, with Sin Cara catching a Trouble in Paradise as he came off the second rope attempting a springboard move that wasn’t meant to be. Neat, tidy, clean, crisp and a lot of fun. Don’t let the stars fool you. Good match. **3/4
2. Jimmy Uso vs Stardust – I’m not a fan of the Stardust gimmick at all, and I while I like the Usos I think they suffer from New Japanitis, which is being victimized by repetitive booking. A singles match was a welcomed change, and rare a chance to see a guy like Jimmy Uso work one on one. Jimmy appears to be growing that Anoa’i/Fatu family belly, which means the backside isn’t far behind. Unavoidable & unfortunate genetics. Young talked about how even though this was a singles match, err, singles “competition”, a win by Jimmy could impress the decision makers and earn them a tag team title, err, tag team “championship”, shot. That’s the same sort of kayfabe stuff I think about when I watch matches, so that’s the fan in Young coming through. This was a paint-by-numbers TV bout. Jimmy caught Cody with a crescent kick ad he came off the top rope, and then hit his big splash for the clean win. Nothing special, but hardy offensive. This was the WWE two star special **
Good action here, and even though I have bashed Renee Young in this very column before (and I’m not the only one), I have to be fair. This was her best performance in the booth to date, adding much welcomed context to what in the grand scheme of things are really nothing more than throwaway C-show matches. A wrestling announcers job is to put things over and make them feel important. Young made both of these matches feel like they meant something. Great job.
1. Zack Ryder vs Heath Slater – This reminded me of something like Iron Mike Sharpe vs S.D. Jones from a mid-80’s WWF house show. I used to love these jobber vs jobber matches as a kid, because SOMEBODY HAS TO WIN. In this case, it ended up being Ryder. I was shocked at how over Ryder was until I realized that it was probably canned heat. Basic stuff here. Face shines early, long heel heat segment (with not one but TWO side headlock spots), teased comebacks, real comeback, hit the finish. Come to think of it, this was exactly like a mid-80’s WWF house show match. Two best spots were Ryder reversing a vertical suplex into a neckbreaker, and Slater catching a Rough Ryder attempt and turning in into a nice powerbomb. **1/2, like every mid-80’s WWF house show mach ever.
While fast forwarding, I noticed they showed The Rock/Rusev segment from RAW. This segment did not bury Rusev. Nor did it give him some sort of magical rub from merely being in the presence of The Rock. Both of those reactions were wild over reactions from people who felt the need to conclude something, because The Rock was involved. It was a nice surprise for the RAW crowd, and kept The Rock alive in the Universe. If they choose to go in that direction, they have planted the seeds for a match. That’s it. Nobody was buried, nobody was elevated.
2. Naomi vs Cameron – The Funkadactyls EXPLODE. Naomi’s ring attire glows. That is some color. Naomi won a short match by knocking out Cameron with her ass. *
Enjoyed jobber vs jobber, featuring literally the two lowest ranked dudes on the roster. And they worked it exactly like the old jobber vs jobber matches of old that I remember from MSG or Maple Leaf Gardens or The Spectrum or wherever else Prime Time Wrestling would cull these clash’s of the (non) titans, and we would see the likes of Jose Estrada, Lanny Poffo, Pete Doherty, & Steve Lombardi pick up rare wins as Gorilla Monsoon went on about how even though these men rarely see victory, they’re still forces to be reckoned with. And this week, Zack Ryder was indeed a force to be reckoned with. Zack Ryder, welcome to the pay window.
1. Zack Ryder vs Bo Dallas – I loathe Bo Dallas. I loathe his stupid face, I loathe his stupid gimmick, I loathe his stupid soaking wet hair. I really like Ryder’s offense and babyface fire. I know some would like to see him pushed, but I think that ship has sailed. I like him in the Brad Armstrong, early 90’s Tito Santana role of the respected veteran who puts over mid card heels in good little TV matches. Bo did nothing to impress me, as usual. The Zack Ryder one match win streak has ended. *1/4
Byron Saxton interviewed Bo in THE BACK. Or, the locker room area. Whichever you prefer. Bo just did his shtick, nothing to see here.
2. Cesaro vs Kofi Kingston – Cesaro on Superstars, huh? I’ll take it. When I watch Cesaro, I can’t help but think how he would have been the perfect opponent for Bruno Sammartino, preferably built using the old tried & true student betrays the mentor gimmick. He’d have been a million times better in that role than Larry Zbyszko, who obviously did just fine himself. This was one hell of a match right here, and I have to say, Kofi Kingston is on a roll lately. The finish was super creative. Cesaro sets up what looks like the giant swing, but he ends up trolling the fans and slingshots Kofi into the turnbuckle instead. Kofi however avoids the bump and leaps up to the top rope. He springboards off, but catches a big European uppercut on the way down. 1-2-3. Cool finish, cool match. I would like to see these two in something longer. ***
Go out of your way to watch Cesaro vs Kofi. I Bo-lieve the rest of this show was shit.