Well, this was the first ever episode of WWE Superstars to air on the live stream on the WWE Network. I must confess that I didn’t watch it on there, though, as I still have issues with on demand content and due to time difference, cannot watch it live. The show is still available on Hulu, if you’re interested.
If you watched it live, this show followed NXT ArRival which is a little like following The Shiled v The Wyatts with a Vince Russo booked show. OK, not quite, but you get my point. On that note, it never occurred to me until today that when the show’s titles play and the chorus chants, “it’s the dawn of a new day” the stills shown are The Shield followed by The Wyatts. Has to be intentional and if you listened to Hunter on the NXT conference call this week, you’ll know just how strongly he feels about and rates those two teams.
Kofi Kingston vs. Damien Sandow
Kofi is now wearing a his t-shirt as a bandana as he comes to ring and, a la Bret Hart, gives it to a fan before he enters the ring. His opponent, Damien Sandow, seems to have dispensed with gimmickry and just marches down to the ring these days without pomp or ceremony. His push fell off a cliff a while back. Actually, it’s only when you see him live and in the flesh that you realise the man’s size – he’s in great shape, way better than when he wrestled as Aaron Stevens briefly in WWE in 2007.
Kingston takes the early advantage here using pace and speed to outwit the heel, Sandow. There’s a nice spot where Kofi does a double leap frog followed by a flying forearm for a near fall which is followed by a beautifully-timed hip toss. Kofi uses kicks and a drop kick to push Sandow into the corner and gets caught out when he goes for a springboard cross body and Sandow ducks.
Sandow’s new thing is to show how ‘frustrated’ he is by using moves to bully his opponents – lots of knees, punches, kicks, stomps etc – but he now goes for the Cubito Aequet (‘elbow of disdain) and instead of landing it, here he just dives on top of Kingston and rains down on him with punches to the head.
Kingston makes his comeback with chops, drop kick and a Boom Drop. He lands a neat back drop and goes for the Trouble in Paradise but Sandow sees it coming and catches him with a big boot. Kofi hits Sandow with a cross body, Sandow kicks out at two and after a little back and forth they go home early with Kingston winning with a small package.
Presumably because this is on the Network and they wanted to make this show seem a bigger deal, we get Jerry Lawler interviewing Kingston in that position that Mean Gene always used to interview people on – the raised platform by the ramp – and Kofi says that the win gives him “the start to [his] road to WrestleMania”. Hmmm.
Winner: Kofi Kingston via pinfall in 4:21.
On the Raw Rebound this week (yes, they still do it on the Network) was Hogan’s homecoming and the Bray Wyatt and John Cena angle from Monday.
We’re treated to 8-man tag action next on Superstars. Essentially, the normal Los Matadores/3MB match with some main roster additions. It all feels like they’re trying to make this show relevant this week – I really hope it lasts.
The Brotherhood (Goldust & Cody Rhodes) & Los Matadores (Fernando & Diego) w/El Torito) vs. Rybaxel (Ryback & Curtis Axel) & 3MB (Drew McIntyre & Jinder Mahal) w/Heath Slater
Ryback and Goldust kick things off in the ring and Ryback dominates Goldust, initially. This match is full of too many personalities but is perfect Superstars fodder. In fact, throw in some celebs and this is the kind of match they would put on as a buffer match at Mania. Goldust shows himself to be more than a match for Ryback. He spits in his face but El Torito is bouncing up and down on the ropes to distract Ryback, who takes the bait. El Torito wiggles his crotch at him, Ryback chases him outside and corners him with Axel. They both get hit by the Rhodes brothers and then Los Matadores hit cross bodies on 3MB and we go to a break.
We come back to find Diego getting beaten down by Ryback who tags in McIntyre. Diego sells his knee and Drew also works over his lower back. He isolates him in their corner and tags in Jinder who stomps on him and tags in Axel. Diego bumps all over for them. Ryback cones back in and appears to be bleeding from the mouth. We go to a rear chin lock…
Diego eventually manages a flapjack out of nowhere on Drew and reaches to tag in Rhodes who gets the heat. Rhodes and McIntyre seem to work really well together – this wouldn’t be any buys as a feud but might be a great little programme. Cody hits McIntyre with a Disaster Kick but the pin gets broken up. The ring fills; bodies fly over the rope. El Torito takes out Slater with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors outside while in the ring Rhodes hits Cross Rhodes for the win.
This was really short given how many were involved; tantamount to a Divas tag match.
Winners: The Brotherhood & Los Matadores via pinfall (6:47)
An above average edition of this show wraps up with a re-run of the Orton and Batista promos from Monday and then a video package of the Undertaker and Lesnar encounter.
James Cox | @wweukblog