That’s not a typo in the title. Superstars 303 was a victim of the snowed out edition of RAW, which means it was never taped, thus it’s only clip show. Skip it, unless you want to blow out your television/laptop/mobile device speakers by turning up the volume to hear the mystery producer feeding Roman Reigns his lines during the face off segment with Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman.
1. Cameron vs Summer Rae – I wasn’t looking forward to this at all, because with the exception of the completely useless Rosa Mendes, who the company is smart enough to at least keep out of the ring, these are the two worst Divas on the roster. Right on cue, in the very first spot of the match, Summer Rae fails to get high enough on a leapfrog and gets her vulva clipped by the top of Cameron’s head. This was no fault of Cameron, who got super low and didn’t rise early, so this was just Summer Rae having the leaping ability of a sack of flour. Something Cameron does that drives me nuts is when she gently raises her body up on near falls, which destroys the illusion that her opponent is actively struggling to kick out. Pay attention, and you’ll never unsee it. Summer Rae sold the whole way before hitting a spin kick to pick up the win. They both worked heel. It was too short and too simple to be terrible, so whoever the agent was surely realized what he was dealing with here. 1/2*
I fast forward liberally during these Superstars episodes, which basically serve as RAW Rewinds with two short undercard level matches mixed in. It should be noted that every time I hit play to see if I’ve advanced far enough to get to the next match, The Authority is on the screen in some capacity doing the same promo they do multiple times every week. I have zero desire to ever see Stephanie McMahon on my screen ever again. Or Kane. Or COO Triple H. It sucks whatever enthusiasm I have for whatever i’m watching right out of me, and since the three hour RAW’s are always built around The Authority, you can imagine what I think about that show these days. Same old shit, every week. Yawn.
2. Los Matadores & “The Darewolf” PJ Black vs Rhodes Brothers & Fandango – This was the final Superstars appearance of Justin Gabriel, and his second to last televised match overall (he lost to Rusev on a Main Event taping the next night) before he quit the company. Gabriel did some solid work on Superstars, including a great three match series vs Sin Cara last September (282-284) which was some of the best stuff on WWE TV since the summer. He was always a welcomed sight on the C-shows, and I think he’ll do very well on the indie scene if he is so inclined, because he’s super talented. It should also be noted that Gabriel quit the company and basically moonwalked into PWS just days later to work a match, with nary a bad word from his former employer. Maybe WWE doesn’t care enough about people on Gabriel’s level, or maybe talent is simply showing less and less respect for these independent contractor “contracts” that CM Punk and Alberto Del Rio have basically exposed as being complete bullshit. On to the match. It should be noted that they recapped the Matadores victory over the Rhodes Brothers from the previous week of Superstars, which are the little things that I appreciate when watching the C-shows, because any semblance of continuity helps hold interest. WWE should do trios matches more often. First off, they have an enormous roster, and it gets people on TV. Secondly, trios matches are a great and underutilized way to protect pushed talent from doing outright jobs. With eight hours of TV per week, eleven hours in a PPV week, it’s next to impossible to protect your key people when you are constantly doing singles matches. This was dull until the finish, when following a fun car crash dive sequence (which included Torito), Diego (Or was it Fernando? Who knows? Not me.) was left isolated with the Rhodes boys. Stardust hit a disaster kick, and the bad guys picked up the win. *3/4
301 is a very skippable show. Blow it off.
1. Cameron vs Naomi – Oh great, more Cameron. These are the sacrifices one must make when you take the bullet to review Superstars. Lots of Cameron. I’ll say something positive about her. She uses a bow & arrow type submission hold as opposed to the standard (and lazy) WWE reverse side head/chin lock in the oft required heel “heat” spot that never gets heat in modern wrestling. This was an identical match structure as the Cameron/Summer Rae match from 301, but Cameron was better here, and Naomi is waaaaaaay better than the dreadful Summer Rae, so this was a better match. *
2. Fandango vs Sin Cara – Poor Fandango winces every time Rosa steps on his thigh with her high heels for their dumb entrance that nobody cares about. I was high on Fandango in the early days, but this gimmick has reached dead end status, and he’s far too talented to not get a chance to do something different. I’m told #FollowTheFaceless is the hashtag I should use for this match, so I checked it out, and it had a much stronger presence than I would have thought. The match itself was much stronger than I thought it would be too, highlighted by Sin Cara’s school boy/powerbomb combo that is one of the coolest spots in the company. Sin Cara followed up and went for a senton off the top, but Fandango got his knees up. Alabama Jam, 1-2-3. Sin Cara is sneaky good and always delivers when given time. **1/2
Byron Saxton introduces us to the new Superstars play by play man, Rich Brennan. Noooooooooo! Tom Phillips was my boy, and also my pick for Best Announcer in the WON Awards last year. I’ll miss Tom and his callback spots, references to past matches, and the other little sneaky things he did to resemble an actual wrestling announcer. Of course, those are probably the things that ended up getting him replaced.
1. Cameron & Summer Rae vs Naomi & Emma – Three shows in a row with Cameron, so no wonder i’m in a bad mood. Cameron & Summer Rae has to be a contender for second worst tag team in WWE history (nobody will ever challenge Too Cool for the number one spot). The highlights here were Emma getting an enormous pop for the hot tag, which was so big that I rewound the tape several times to see if it was canned heat. They usually don’t bother sweetening the sound on Superstars, and it didn’t sound like the ultra fake Smackdown generic crowd noise, so the official Judge Lanza verdict is: Genuine pop. Emma was easily the best thing about this match, as a house of fire on said hot tag. Her work, even in that brief 45 seconds or so, was a full step above the other three. Summer hit the spin kick out of nowhere on Emma, which is quickly gaining steam on the RKO on the “Outta nowhere” rankings, and scored the pin. Something tells me i’ll be treated to a rematch next week, which will mean FOUR consecutive weeks of Cameron in my life. **
Next up is the Stephanie RAW promo where she reminds everyone, including Roman, that Roman is related to The Rock, Afa, Sika, The Rock, Rikishi, The Usos, Samu, Tama, Black Pearl, Sionne, Jimmy Snuka, Tamina Snuka,
Duece Snuka, The Rock, Rocky Johnson, Naomi, Haku, Umaga, TAFKA Price Iaukea, the original Prince Iaukea, King Curtis Iaukea, Sivi Afi, and The Rock.
It’s hilarious to me that they hid Reign’s heritage and family background until he wasn’t getting over a much as hoped. C’MON GUYS, YOU LIKE THESE OTHER PEOPLE, PLEASE LIKE ROMAN TOO!
2. Adam Rose vs Fandango – The Rosebuds collapsed and dropped Rose on his backwards stage dive, so Rose beat the living shit out of all of them (except the women, because WWE isn’t #progressive). This was AWESOME, and why they wasted this on Superstars and the nine people who watch it is a shame. The slow burn Adam Rose tweener thing is legit one of my favorite things going on in the company right now, somewhere behind Brock Lesnar’s title reign and somewhere ahead of meta Curtis Axel. Rose spent the match laying a vicious beating on Fandango, and talking shit to the Rosebuds. Rose has very strong heel mannerisms and facials. Fandango worked this full on babyface, playing to the crowd and even egging them on to cheer before dropping the match ending top rope leg drop. Fun from start to finish, probably because I love this Adam Rose stuff. **1/4
TO THE BACK! (on Superstars!?), where Renee Young is with an incensed Adam Rose. Rose was losing his shit and cutting a egomaniacal promo before regaining his composure and spitting out a half hearted version of the “Don’t be a lemon, be a Rosebud” catchphrase. Young did the trademark robotic WWE “gaze into the distance when somebody leaves the frame” routine as he walked off. I like to imagine that she stands there forever, starring into the void with that dead behind the eyes vacant look, until her next hard hitting backstage interview. Or death from starvation, whichever comes first.