Sunday, 19 October 2014

WWE Superstars TV Report 16th October 2014

Noteworthy: Zack Ryder made his second appearance in as many weeks on this show and again was good. Bo Dallas won a match. Cesaro and Kofi had a really good outing.

Bo Dallas beat Zack Ryder with the Bo-Dog in 4:30

It feels a little like 2010. Zack Ryder was pretty much on this show every week back then. At least it felt like it. Bo Dallas, who I had completely forgotten existed, came out to some nice heat and they had a fairly good 4 minute match.

Out of an early wrist lock exchange Ryder takes the upper hand and Bo takes a breather on the apron. Bo has this great angry face, a kind of scowl that he pulls that is so incredulous and pained. He could be a pretty decent heel if they booked him properly. Ryder scoops him up into a hip toss but then runs into an elbow from Dallas. Ryder recovers, plants another hip toss and then falls to the mat into arm bar.

Dallas uses a creative little move where he gets Ryder on the apron and pulls him into the ropes so that the ropes clothesline Ryder. Zack sells it, too, coughing, choking and grimacing and Dallas is able to work him over with some knees to the midsection and a clothesline. When he’s on top, there’s something of Jack Nicholson to Bo Dallas’ Cheshire cat grin.

Ryder manages to pull a facebuster out of nowhere and both men go down, buying Ryder some time. Ryder lands two clotheslines and Bo runs into high knees in the corner. Ryder goes to the top rope and hits a missile drop kick. Then Ryder uses another drop kick, this time to plant Dallas in the corner in position for the Broski Boot. Bo rolls out. Ryder leans out to grab hair, gets swept off his feet, and as he rolls back in Dallas gets up and immediately uses the Bo-Dog for the win.

There’s a post-match, back stage interview later in the show with Byron Saxton where Bo said that Ryder was saying “Bo, bo, bo-lieve” now instead of his signature “woo”s.

Cesaro beat Kofi Kingston with the Neutraliser in 8:31

After some pretty fabulous early chain wrestling, Cesaro uses a headlock take down to ground Kofi down. Kingston is just back from Malaysia this week and Tom Philips and Renee Young are kind of playing that into their commentary as a way to warn us that Cesaro is going over here.

They run the ropes, Cesaro shoulder barges Kofi to the mat and then, old school style, goes straight back to the headlock. Kofi then manages to get the space to hit a drop kick, Cesaro doesn’t even give it the time of day and kicks out before the ref has even started to count. Kingston then uses a middle rope springboard missile drop kick to plant Cesaro to the mat.

He rolls under the ropes on the apron and so Kingston goes to try to suplex him back into the ring. The suplex from the apron is blocked and eventually after several attempts each, Cesaro is the one to get the upper hand and Kofi is garrotted on top rope. Cesaro goes up top and lands an axe handle, Kingston goes down and we go to the break.

Cesaro is in control and works over Kingston, using a two footed leaping stomp to the chest, followed by boots and punches until Cesaro goes back to a wrist lock. The match then springs to life as both try several quick pin attempts. Cesaro catches a charging Kingston with a huge boot that completely stops Kofi in his tracks and the cover gets a two count. Cesaro charges to the corner and hits the most brutal looking running European uppercut to the corner. It looks like it was stiff to say the least. They should build Cesaro up properly and put him in with Brock Lesnar, it would be so great.

An enzuigiri from Kingston then dumps Cesaro over the top rope and Kingston hits a springboard cross body to the outside. Cesaro eventually rolls back in at 9; Kofi covers him but only for two.

Kofi hits the Boom Drop, goes for Trouble in Parardise but Cesaro rolls under the ropes and hits the charging Kofi with a shoulder to the midsection. Kofi then recovers and goes for the SOS, hits it but Cesaro is able to kick out at two. Kofi runs into a high knee and Cesaro looks like he is going for the giant swing but it is reversed and then turned into a slingshot by Cesaro. Kofi doesn’t hit the ropes and instead leaps up onto them, tries a top rope cross body but in mid air is caught with the European uppercut.

After all the Vines this week where Orton was super imposed onto people catching them with RKOs this was like one of those great Randy Orton RKO finishes. And I suppose that with this move, it’s the kind of move that Cesaro can be creative with in the same way.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

WWE Superstars TV Report - 9th October 2014

Noteworthy: Zack Ryder, now sans bro-tee, got nearly 10 minutes in the ring on WWE television for the first time in god knows how long. Naomi beat Cameron in less than three minutes.

Zack Ryder beat Heath Slater with the Rough Ryder in 9:47

Zack Ryder looks as good as ever and came out to a fairly meagre reaction from the crowd here before Raw. Heath Slater by comparison was looking tired and stern – far less of his normal self, his character seems to be going through some changes.

Slater keeps ducking under the ropes looking for time outs in the early going but uses the distraction to take the advantages and beats down Ryder for a while. He puts on a wrist lock and Ryder uses a kip up, some signature telegraphed hip tosses and then puts on an arm bar. Out of the ropes, Slater then gets face planted and clotheslined over the top rope.

Ryder then uses a missile drop kick on Slater as he is getting to his feet outside and then rolls him in the ring for a two count. Another drop kick floors Slater but a diving cross body attempt misses and sends Ryder over the top rope to the outside as we go to a break.

Slater’s sterner, more business-like side is on display as we return. Probably less fun to watch but makes him look like way less of a joke. Slater slaps on a chin lock and the thwarts the rising momentum from Ryder with a neck breaker and gets a two count. He goes back to beating Ryder down and then uses his feet to choke Ryder in the corner. Every time Ryder fights back he keeps getting worn back down.

Finally, Ryder hits a facebuster out of nowhere and both men go down for a six count. Ryder gets the momentum with a top rope drop kick but then runs into a scissors kick as the match goes back and forth. Ryder kicks out at two and so Slater tries a suplex which is reversed into neckbreaker and this time Slater kicks out at two.

Ryder goes for the Rough Ryder but Slater catches it and turns it into a power bomb. Ryder kicks out, Slater goes to the top but Ryder manages to crotch him. Slater falls to the mat in the corner; Ryder hits the Broski Boot, followed by the Rough Ryder for the win.

Ryder was good here but this was very much a Zack Ryder match by numbers. I always wondered why the Broski Boot has never been his finisher – it looks way more vicious than his jumping leg lariat that he uses and because the crowd chant along with the ‘woo’s for the punt it feels like more of a triumphant note to finish on.

Naomi beat Cameron in 2:46

So, these two were Brodus Clay’s cheerleaders (and great it at it) then they were a tag team, then they split up and now they’re still kind of feuding because of Total Divas. I think. I don’t really know. What I do know is that Naomi’s really good and that they have pretty much ruined Cameron’s look. She now just comes out in a weird kind of slutty school girl outfit with a giant handheld pink mirror and her tron just reads ‘girl bye’ on it. And then she got buried on commentary for not being as good as Naomi (which is true) and beaten in under three minutes with a really soft move.

Naomi takes down Cameron on the bell and after some beat down, Cameron takes a walk. She climbs back in and Naomi slides under her on to the apron on the outside and uses a high kick which is blocked. Cameron charges at her and knocks the wind out of Naomi and drapes her head through the ropes. She hits her with a boot to the side of the head, pulls her back in a gets a one count.

Cameron shouts some trash talk about how they used to be together and then suplexes her and tries to pin her with a split leg drop. She puts on a half nelson but Naomi powers out with a neckbreaker. She hits two drop kicks, two clotheslines and then uses the Rear View and covers her for the win. I wonder what Cameron did to deserve this?

Sunday, 5 October 2014

WWE Superstars TV Report October 3rd 2014

Noteworthy: Another good show sees one half of the tag team champs take on one half of the number one contenders and the battle for high flying supremacy is still on.

Kofi Kingston beat Sin Cara with the Trouble in Paradise in 4:20

The battle of the high fliers continues here on Superstars. This week Kofi Kingston gets Sin Cara who has new ring gear but is looking more and more rotund around the mid rift these days. Its nice to see two faces pitted against each other these days, especially on a show like this. An early hand shake shows us that this is just an exhibition.

The chain wrestling early on, impossible to keep up with but all fun and extremely entertaining. Kofi hooks on a cravat and they grapple for a while on the mat as Sin Cara tries to break the hold. Out of an Irish whip Sin Cara lands a drop kick on Kofi who is just getting up off the mat, it looks great but only garners a two count.

Well, its needs noting that there are no blue and yellow lights this week but there’s also no hard cam again. You win some, you lose some as a viewer these days.

Sin Cara grabs a double underhook backbreaker and gets another two count and so lays on a rear chin lock of his own that he turns into a neckbreaker on Kofi. Kofi kicks out at two and when he gets up is able to thrust Sin Cara face first into turnbuckle. He then lands the Boom Drop followed by a messy Trouble in Paradise that is supposed to be turned into a power bomb by Sin Cara but wasn’t caught properly. Sin Cara gets a two count.

Sin Cara uses Flair chops in the corner and places Kofi on the top rope. He leaps up and hits an enzuigiri, a tilt a whirl headscissors into pin, but again can only get two. Sin Cara goes for a springboard moonsault off the middle rope but is caught mid air in the Trouble in Paradise.

Kofi gets the win in a match that really ought to have been given longer so that they could have explored more, especially in an opener for the fans before Raw. Hopefully, we get a rematch next week, this high flier contest has been so, so much fun for the past few weeks.

Jimmy Uso (w/ Jey Uso) beat Stardust in 6:03

I assume that Goldust was unavailable this week because he wasn’t on Raw and didn’t accompany his brother in this match. Just shows, though, win the tag titles and you’ll end up on Superstars!

First off, I think Cody Rhodes needs some credit where it’s due. Here’s a guy who’s young but has been round for a long time in this company. He’s reinvented himself several times and this latest character is quite the departure. Yet, he’s utterly devoted to it and is completely committed to it. Yes, ok, the character isn’t what we want in 2014 but he’s adopted a whole new move set and just shows how adaptable he is. He’s a talent. And, if you watch the network, you’ll often see him as a talking head on documentaries and he’s extremely good. Thumbs up and kudos to you, Cody.

This was a good match. They started out with a back and forth until Jimmy hit a shoulder barge and scoop slam on Stardust who then kicks out at two. As he retreats to the ropes, he then pulls this wonderful snarl where he looks like a mix of his dad and his brother. His frustration is then met with an Uso dance and he gets dumped to the outside. Jimmy is about to go for the topé but Stardust is scared off by threat of it. Jimmy climbs outside and gets face planted on the apron and we go to the break.

As we return Stardust is covering Jimmy and because he only gets a two count, starts to stomp and beat down on Jimmy. He then applies a chin lock. Stardust throws Jimmy into the corner and delivers a big boot and then goes outside to smash the knee on the post but gets kicked off.

Stradust rolls back in and they hit each other with a clothesline and both men go down for an eight count. Jimmy gets up first and gets the heat using clotheslines, a super kick and a kneeled slap followed by a sitout power bomb. He goes for charge to the corner but it is reversed by Stardust who rolls him up for two.

Jimmy goes for the Samoan drop but it is countered and then out of a whip is hit for a two count. Stardust then hits a neckbreaker and gets a two count for himself. And then the match just ends what feels like two minutes early: Stardust jumps off the top rope but is caught with a super kick and then Jimmy hits a top rope splash for the win.

Why I do believed that this was another good episode of Superstars, this has been quite the streak the last few weeks.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

WWE Superstars TV Report

Noteworthy: A great episode sees Naomi and Kofi look strong while Justin Gabriel continues to impress. The first ever WWE Superstars all-African match takes place and in doing so Kofi and Gabriel produce by far the match of the week on WWE programming.

Naomi beat Alicia Fox with the Slayomission in 4:55

Remember when Alicia Fox was a getting a weird character push as the ‘crazy chick’ always on a meltdown? Yeah, she was on Raw and everything. Not so much now. Cruel how they really mess these pros around these days. Here are two of the most athletic Divas getting pretty much wasted on Superstars

They chain wrestle until Fox takes Naomi down and then proceeds to growl at Naomi like some kind of feral cat. Naomi tries a small package but Fox kicks out. Weirdly, for the first few minutes there’s no hard cam which isn’t unusual on Superstars as they’re presumably still sorting things out for the live Raw feed, but it seems to kick in later in the match here.

Out of a whip to the corner there’s a kick to the face from Fox and Naomi is then pancaked, but kicks out at two. We get a short chin lock followed by a kick to the face, another whip and then a backbreaker into a pin attempt from Fox. She lets out a primal scream when Naomi again kicks out and so, she applies an abdominal stretch.

Naomi forces her way out and as Fox climbs to the top rope, Naomi hits Fox with the most amazing enzuigiri. It looks beautiful and Fox just plummets to the mat. They both go down until Naomi powers up with two drop kicks and a hurricanrana. She then tries a backslide on Fox and turns it into her new finisher – which she’s calling the Slayomission - a headscissors crucifix choke. Fox taps and gives Naomi the win in what was a nice 4 minute Divas match.

Kofi Kingston beat Justin Gabriel with the Trouble in Paradise in 9:18

Coming off the back of great outings for Gabriel against Sin Cara the last three weeks on this show (and indeed nice work on NXT), he’s up against his African counterpart in what I think might be the first all African-born WWE Superstars match in history.

On WWE shows Gabriel is now playing a heel while, a few weeks of taping behind on NXT (which I suppose you could now consider a different brand), he’s still a babyface – and, as I’ve said the last few weeks, infinitely better for being so. Kofi, meanwhile is possibly, maybe, about to be doing something in a stable with Big E and Xavier Woods but, for now, is just Kofi the plucky babyface.

Early athletic mat wrestling from both men is extremely hard to keep up with. This is creative and fun because these two are great together. Gabriel slaps on a full nelson which Kofi powers out of and tries to turn into a pin but Gabriel easily kicks out early. Kofi goes for an early Trouble in Paradise but Gabriel spins out of the ring as we go to a break.

As we return, Kofi is ducking under Gabriel’s clotheslines as they run the ropes and tries a cross body but Gabriel blocks it with knees in what was a really creative spot. He covers but only gets a two count. He gets up and starts kicking Kingston in the spine, then hits a side suplex and goes for a rear chin lock. He beats Kofi down for a while until Kofi uses a headscissors taken down thrusting Gabriel face first into the bottom buckle as both stay down.

Kofi takes the advantage and uses chops, a drop kick, a flying forearm followed by the Boom Drop to take it to Gabriel and he then goes for the Trouble in Paradise. Gabriel sees it and Kofi manages to turn it into a top rope springboard cross body for two. This is just pure entertainment.

Kofi then uses a middle rope springboard drop kick and Gabriel takes a walk. Kofi launches himself over the top for a diving seated senton, rolls Gabriel back in and uses a top rope cross body, but it is reversed on the mat by Gabriel into pin. Kofi kicks out; Gabriel goes for a top rope lionsault, lands on his feet and uses a thrust kick to keep Kofi down. He goes up to set up for the 450 but is crotched. Kofi climbs up but the superplex is blocked and Kofi is pushed off the ropes. Gabriel goes for a diving cross body but Kofi hits the Trouble in Paradise in mid-air and covers him for the win.

Just an excellent match that was full of creativity. I would proffer that this is by far and away more imaginative than anything that has been on Raw or Smackdown for weeks, as far as an in ring match goes. Gabriel is at the top of his game, but who is watching this show to witness it?