I’ll probably never do this again, but I figured while I’m sitting here with no homework to do, I’d do a real-time review of the new WWE Superstars show on WGN America.
Segment one: The show opened with the usual top-notch introduction montage set to some generic hard-rock music about being invincible tonight. Jim Ross and Todd Grisham welcomed us (thanks, guys) and announced that Shane McMahon would wrestle Cody Rhodes tonight. You’ve seen the ads for this show, featuring half of one wrestler’s face on the left and half of another wrestler’s face on the right. WWE did this for Shane and Cody before showing the actual “Wrestler A vs. Wrestler B” graphic we’re all used to. The show doesn’t look that different from Raw, Snacktown or ECW, but that’s because they’re all taped at the same time with the same stage. It’s cool, though, because as Grish and JR pointed out, Superstars will feature wrestlers from Raw, SD and ECW! OMG, like every fucking show doesn’t do that already!
Undertaker beat Matt Hardy by count-out: Taker got a big pop; clips of Hardy vs. Hardy from SD were shown as Matthew made his way to the ring. I hope Grish meant “the first ever stretcher match” on Smackdown, because he left out those last two crucial words. Hello, El Gigante vs. Sid Vicious? Geez. Taker dominated the first few minutes, including using Old School and taking Hardy to the floor twice. Kinda makes me miss 1999; no one wasted any time going outside then, either.
[COMMERCIAL, the first one being for “The Wrestler,” out on DVD next Tuesday]
Segment two: Damn, Taker was still kicking Hardy’s ass upon return from commercial. Yeah, Hardy’s gonna be a great main eventer on Raw. Hardy countered a chokeslam with a neckbreaker, which JR pointed out was smart given Taker’s dangerous leap at WrestleMania. See, JR makes an awesome analyst; no way would Girhsm have picked up on that himself. Taker took over again and threatened to chokeslam Hardy from the apron to the floor, but Hardy draped Taker’s neck over the top rope. Seriously, go back and watch 20-30 Taker matches and you’ll see that spot more than half the time. He must love having his throat dropped over a length of rope. Weirdo. Hardy put Taker in a front chancery and a body scissors, with Taker in a standing position. It looked like a papoose, but not to go. After a little back-and-forth, Hardy went for a second-rope maneuver but was met with a big boot for a nearfall. “What a contest we’re seeing here,” said Grish, at about the same time I thought to myself, “Eh, we’re not seeing anything special.” Then again, Kwang vs. Hakushi and Bret Hart vs. Jimmy Del Ray weren’t exactly special back in the day, either, but that was typical Superstars fare 14 years ago. Hardy took a powder, grabbed a chair, set it down, and then willingly got himself counted out. “Coward,” spit JR. Yeah, what a jip. Jeff Hardy ran out to a big pop to attack his broseph, but Matt rolled back into Taker’s backyard, where he was given a choketh slam. Not a bad way to kick off the inaugural Superstars, just nothing to write home about, and we got to see a little forwarding of Matthews character and Jeffrey’s dislike for his brother.
Up next: Christian vs. Finlay. They’re walking right now!!
Video package on Edge vs. John Cena at Backlash. “I hate your hat, I hate your T-shirt,” said Edge. HAHA, me too, man.
Segment three: Did You Know: WWE.com got an “astonishing” 105 million page views the day after WrestleMania? Yeah, well, did you know “astonishing” is our word for Khali? So eat it. Hey, cool, Josh Mathews and Matt Striker are at ringside to call the Christian-Finlay match. Mathews and Striker might, at the end of the day, be better than Mathews and Ernest Miller from Velocity. We’ll see.
Christian def. Finlay (w/Hornswoggle, maybe for the last time): This match was the finals of the Elimination Challenge or whatever for a shot at Jack Swagger’s ECW Title at Backlash. Christian got a nice reaction from the crowd, which is cool since he’s such a natural heel. Striker is a total wordsmith, to the point where my words look merely like letters crammed together semi-logically when I try to talk about how awesome he is. Finlay made Christian flinch to start, then countered Christian’s mat wrestling. It’s little, tiny, inconspicuous things like that which make me wonder if/when Christian will turn. Christian hit a springboard sunset flip for two. Horny distracted Christian, so Finlay knocked the charismatic one to the floor. Two matches to the floor in one show? Easy, guys. Finlay’s offense was cut off by a boot from Christian (the boot seems to be the turning point of the match-up tonight). Finlay rolled through a Christian high cross body for a nearfall. The men then teased their finishers, but neither could land the move. Christian went 1998 and hit a tornado DDT for two, then countered the Celtic Cross with the Killswitch for the fall. Again, not bad, but no one sold anything long-term, so whatever. Finaly was even on his feet within 30 seconds of being given the Killswitch. Eh, moving on…
[COMMERCIAL, including one for the “Greatest Stars of the ’90s” DVD. I’d buy it if I knew there was a documentary, but I know I have all this stuff on tape or DVD (except the Hogan-Flair match they’ve included clips of; we’ll see what that’s about), so I’ll probably just save my $20.]
Segment four: Video package for Triple H vs. Randy Orton on Monday Night Raw. A lot of growling.
Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler spoke to us from ringside. They also helpfully mentioned that Triple H will be wrestling his foe Randy Orton on Raw this Monday. The suspense is killing me…
Eve Torres interviewed Shane McMahon backstage. Shane’s hair now looks like his dad’s 15 years ago, which is kinda awesome. McMahon mentioned a whole bunch of things “Randy Orton wouldn’t have been able to do without Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase.” Yeah, not the character rehabilitation I had in mind.
Cody Rhodes def. Shane McMahon by DQ: Awww, wittle Cody. Oh snap, we’re going to commercial already.
Segment five: If I was in the crowd and had to sit through three minutes of that awful “Priceless” song, I would Michael Hutchence myself. What, too soon? Or did I spell it wrong? The crowd came to its feet for Shane-O’s entrance. The two trash-talked at the bell, followed by the throwing of hands. Shane got the best of Cody and even hit a couple of nearly Steamboat-like armdrags. Cody bailed to the floor, and of course Shane followed him. Everyone loves the floor tonight. Shane worked over Cody’s arm, and if I had a fucking clue what Cody’s finishing move was, that might make sense to me. Cody rolled to the floor again, where Shane met him with a clothesline off the unforgiving steel metal death steps. Blah blah blah, floor floor floor, Shane took his time getting into the ring, so Cody punched him and knocked him off the apron into the unforgiving metal concrete anger hatred retaining wall as we went to…
Segment six: We’re back, and it’s PERSONAL! Cody still had the advantage, and, irony of ironies, Cody was working over Shane’s arm. Cody leapt up and sat hard on Shane’s back. OK, Shane’s not a wrestler and is of decent size. Cody is a wrestler and weighs about a buck and a half. Cody dropping on Shane’s back didn’t look like it would have hurt a bug. Cody employed a unique move, wrapping Shane’s arm around Cody’s leg La Magistral style but then pulling back on Shane’s chin camel clutch style. So what did the much, much bigger Shane do? Stand right up out of it. Awww, wittle Cody. Cody went for a superplex, but Shane knocked him off the ropes. Shane then went for a second-rope double axehandle, but Cody kinda sorta dropkicked Shane somewhere in the lower guts for a nearfall. Cody grabbed a chair from outside and hit the announcers’ table with it. What a hard-ass. Until, of course, Mike Chioda politely took it away from him. What a weiner. Cody then mocked Shane’s dancing, until Shane took over with his usual stiff punches and giraffe-like kicks. Cody leveraged Shane to the outside, but Shane just grabbed the chair and hit Cody for the DQ. Oh, but Shane wasn’t done yet! He grabbed a garbage can from under the ring and went coast to coast with the Van Terminator. Awww, poor wittle Cody. This match was just an excuse for that move and for someone who is not involved with Legacy to pin someone who is involved with Legacy. Shocker.
Overall thoughts: I’ve said this a few other times, but eh. It’s a few first-run matches, which is good. The matches weren’t great but they certainly weren’t offensive. And maybe in the future this show will be used to give some undercarders more TV time. Keep watching.
Welp, I guess that’s the end of wrestling on TV tonight! So long! -Eric