Slow news week in WWE and this show is no different. They gave us the same Divas match as last week and used the same men’s singles match two nights running on Main Event and then here on Superstars. Not sure I’ve seen them ever do that before.
Byron Saxton seems to be being given a push; he’s now the regular colour announcer on this show and has appeared on Main Event as well as still being on NXT. Pretty sure it won’t last very long.
Natalya vs. Tamina Snuka
In a rematch from last week, Tamina Snuka takes control in the early going. It kind of feels like they’re trying to make Tamina into what Awesome Kong never got the time to be in this company. She’s tall but because she lacks skill, ring experience and ability, she’s not fooling anyone. Funniest spot here is after a really nice stiff running clothesline from Tamina, she boots Natty in the back a few times and then takes off her biker vest (a la Steve Austin c 1997) and throws it at her. Looked like the most wimpy, cowardly move.
Tamina’s offence is fairly limited. If you look at the up-and-comers like Summer Rae, they really have so much more to offer in the ring. Her move set is essentially, chops, punches, knees, a Samoan drop, a power slam and her father’s finisher. Case in point: Natalya hits two really neat suplexes that look great and is immediately just kicked in the face to ruin the flow of the match.
The finish has Tamina scream something inaudible at the crowd almost Vickie Guerrero-like as she goes for the Samoan drop. Natalya wriggles out and puts her in the Sharpshooter. Tamina taps out immediately. Awful way to book a monster heel.
Even Steven booking means Natalya gets her win back. If we get the same match next week, they need to improve on this for all our sakes.
Winner: Natalya via submission in 4:39.
On the Raw Rebound this week we get the 6-man tag between The Rhodes brothers & Rey and The Wyatt’s followed by The Real Americans v Sheamus & Christian. Cesaro was the star of Raw on Monday in my eyes.
They showed that tremendous Lita Hall of Fame video. In the light of this video package, never has the Divas division look so tame.
Big E comes out next, probably in his last ever appearance as ‘Big E Langston’. They actually cut the ‘Langston’ off from Justin Roberts’ ring announcement for him, which just sounded really odd and was kind of unnecessary but there we go. His titantron video still has a huge dumbbell with ‘Big E Langston’ written on it. Think they need to take that white belt off of him too.
Big E vs. Drew McIntyre (w/ Jinder Mahal)
This was a non-title match and the same match was also taped the following night at the SmackDown tapings for Main Event. Technically, therefore, this match happened first but was shown second. Who cares, right? They were both non-title matches but, of the two, this was a better match that was given more time.
Without looking it up, guess when Drew McIntyre was IC champion? Four years ago, 2009. He beat John Morrison at TLC and had a little run as champion under that period where he was ‘the chosen one’. And look at him now. Drew’s a good worker, though. He’ll come again but they’ve buried him so far down this card in this comedy trio spot that there’s just no way he’ll ever get to that kind of level again. Typical WWE: too much, too fast, too soon.
Interesting that Heath Slater is not here again, I wonder if he’s OK – he was off for personal reasons before the New Year for some time. Mahal is in ring gear just in case we were wondering if he might try to get involved.
Early offence is all about Big E who catches Drew trying a cross-body and gets hit with multiple backbreakers and manages to kick out at two. Big E powers up and chain wrestles McIntyre and, just to prove how agile he is, Big E leapfrogs Drew out of an Irish whip is if he were a lithe 200lb-er. Langston hits a diving shoulder tackle reminiscent of the Ultimate Warrior, tries to put Drew into the Big Ending who fights out and rolls to Mahal outside the ring as we go to a commercial.
After the break, Big E hits a scary belly-to-belly suplex but McIntyre dodges a repeat attempt at a shoulder to his midsection and starts to get some moves in on Big E. Weirdly, probably ironically, we get duelling “Big E Langston-3MB!” chants as Drew locks in on Big E’s left arm. Drew gets in a near fall when he lands a drop kick on Langston he also does an impressive kip up but Big E finally gets the heat when he throws McIntyre off the second rope. He uses another belly-to-belly, a huge splash and after chasing off Mahal who has tried to interfere, he hits the Big Ending for the win.
Drew McIntyre v Big E is not a PPV quality match but Drew’s good enough to go 10-15 minutes with someone like Langston and, given time, would easily deliver a good match.
Winner: Big E via pinfall (6:47)
The show finishes with the end of the main event Randy Orton v John Cena match from Monday. If that’s your sort of thing, I highly recommend it.
James Cox | @wweukblog