Welcome to the debut of Voices of Wrestling’s “WWE Superstars” coverage.
As you can probably guess, I drew the short straw on the new review assignments, as Rich Kraetsch will be doing NXT, and rising star Jason Felix, who is quickly Wally Pipping me out of New Japan coverage, is assigned to Main Event. But I’m a team player, so I shall attack these Superstars (aka The Raw Rewind) reviews with gumption, and hope that it one day returns to its 2011 glory.
1. WWE Intercontinental Title: Big E Langston (c) vs Damian Sandow – Is he still “Langston”, or is it just Big E now? I’m calling him Langston. Also, what exactly has Sandow done to earn a title shot? Langston uses his power early and rag dolls Sandow like a cruiserweight. Sandow takes control and goes to his patented reverse chin lock as we head to a commercial break. We come back, and it’s right back to the chin lock. Langston powers out, but it’s just a hope spot as Sandow retains control. Sandow comes off the ropes and gets caught in the Big Ending position, but wiggles out for hope spot #2. Sandow had his man set up in the corner, but ate a lariat as he charged in. Langston dropped the straps, hit the Big Ending, and retained the title. Spirited effort from Sandow. They told a simple story but i’d have liked to have seen Big E dominate more against a lower ranked guy, especially headed in to a likely match against Bad News Barrett at the PPV, er, “Special Event”. **
Big E stepped up to the podium to talk to Jerry Lawler. He was gassed beyond belief and had a bloody nose. He said contenders were lined up around the block for his title, including his mailman and El Torito. To be honest those two guys might have better title contender resumes than Sandow.
More Raw Rewind.
Total Divas spot.
Raw Rewind. I think they’re just replaying the entire three hour RAW.
2. Kofi Kingston vs Titus O’Neil – Kingston starts off red hot, but eats a “size 17 boot” as Titus takes control. Titus works over the back, and puts on a lazy chin lock variation. Titus mauls him with some ground & pound, and decks him with a short clothesline. O’Neil was working real stiff here, with some aggressive chops and throws. Probably as impressive as O’Neil has ever looked, but it helps that Kofi bumps all over the place. “Kofi Kingston is a ten time champion and a savvy veteran”, the commentary explains. This is actually true, as believe it or not Kofi is one of the most tenured dudes on the roster, with his main roster debut coming over seven years ago, and his first official WWE match having taken place all the way back in 2006. Kofi makes the hot comeback, highlighted by a springboard crossbody that scored a nice pop & a two count. Titus with a scoop slam and some more punches to the face. Kofi ducks a lariat and hits Trouble in Paradise out of nowhere for the win. Not bad. I enjoyed Titus here. There’s a sentence I’ve never typed before. **1/2
More Raw Rewind, as they recap one of the worst RAW segments in recent memory, the Bray Wyatt/John Cena goofy promo thing. This is the segment that officially drove me to hand wave Bray Wyatt. He comes off way too cartoonish for my tastes, and his in ring does nothing for me.
When we come back from the break (which included a Bo Dallas vignette), they show the final moments of the Cena vs Wyatts RAW match, including the cringe worthy post match stuff with Bray singing us out.
With “This Week in WWE” on the schedule each Sunday, it would be nice if they could drop the endless and redundant RAW Rewinds from Superstars and add a third match. I suppose Superstars airing internationally is a roadblock, plus they would probably prefer to not add another 10 minutes of time to the already marathon length tapings.
RAW Rewinds aside, this is still a very uninteresting period for Superstars. 2011 is the holy grail of the show, with great TV matches weekly. Then the show went through a period where it featured seldom used guys like JTG & Curt Hawkins. Now it’s basically Main Event lite, using the same batch of mid carders, which makes it essentially a B-show of a B-show. I’d prefer a straight C-show, in the grand tradition of great C-shows of the past, like Velocity & WCW Pro.