This weeks show gave us a really fun Big E Langston match, some Divas action with the return of Kaitlyn and some poor attempts to put over the worst WWE PPV in a long time, Battleground
Big E Langston comes out and Tom Phillips asks Alex Riley what his opinions on Battleground were. Riley’s right arm is in a cast – must be an NXT or training injury because he’s not really on house shows or TV, ever. He says he’ll be back in a month. Back where? Instead of burying Battleground, he ‘spontaneously’ spits some rhymes about it. Awful. And then to make matters worse he called his rap a ‘limerick’ which it wasn’t. I like Riley but this was embarrassing.
Langston is without a program or push right now and many believe that is due to the fact that John Cena is not around currently. Expect that to change when Cena, who is high on Big E, returns. Justin Gabriel is his opponent for his third straight week on Superstars.
Justin Gabriel v Big E Langston
Big E blocks Gabriel’s attempts to lock up by tossing him aside several times. He puts Big E in a headlock but Langston manages to reverse and launch him across the ring. There’s no way that Gabriel should beat this man. Langston puts him in a headlock and drags him around the ring only to then shoulder block him to the canvas out of a whip. They repeat the same pattern and Big E gets boos from the crowd.
Langston then rains down on Gabriel with punches but again goes back to a headlock. Once again Gabriel battles out, they run the ropes and this time when Justin tries to hip toss Langston, he is stopped in his tracks. Langston goes for a hip toss himself but he reverses it only to be thrown to the floor. Langston’s whole MO here is to treat Gabriel with distain and to block any attempts at speed or high risk moves.
Big E goes for a gut-wrench suplex which Gabriel reverses, pushing Langston into the ropes so that when he turns round he eats a drop kick. Four minutes in is the first time that Langston is grounded. Trying to capitalise, Gabriel goes for a top rope, springboard moonsault that Langston rolls out of the way of. Gabriel lands on his feet, takes a punch to the stomach and gets hoisted up on to Big E’s shoulders. It looks like he’s going for the Big Ending but instead he drops him on to his thigh for a backbreaker. Gabriel gets covered but kicks out at two as we go to a break.
When we come back, Langston is applying an abdominal stretch (don’t see too many of those these days – is this Hunter’s influence?). Gabriel again tries to gain some advantage but is again thwarted and is punished by a stiff belly-to-belly but, plucky as ever, kicks out at two. A frustrated Big E applies a bear hug. I like his old school move set.
The heat segment starts with Big E missing a splash and then a charge into the turnbuckle. Gabriel hits him with a super kick and hits a cross body into the corner followed by a springboard cross body. Big then blocks another charge to the turnbuckle, grabs him with one arm and slams him to the floor – this looked very cool. The straps come down, he launches Gabriel into the Big Ending and pins him in 7:20. This was a well-told story and was more than just a squash: it was the plucky high-flier v the freakish strong man.
The Raw Rebound is next – Shawn Michael’s speech to be referee at Hell in a Cell is followed by Del Rio v Ricardo when Vickie interrupts him to announce Cena’s stupidly early return to the ring in 3 weeks.
Out next on Superstars is Kaitlyn. She turned 27 this week and has been off TV for a while. Her opponent is Tamina who they are constantly trying to rebrand and re-push. She’s now playing AJ Lee’s enforcer on Raw and appears tonight in a leather vest over her ring gear and wears it throughout the match. She has a look Similar to the Steve Austin’s, but for women. Odd.
Kaitlyn v Tamina
The two shove each other; Kaitlyn pushes Tamina into the ropes and then brings her down with a drop toe-hold. They mat wrestle until Tamina charges her into a corner and kicks Kaitlyn until the referee is forced to intervene. While he does, Kaitlyn goes for a schoolgirl but only gets a two count.
Kaitlyn then catches Tamina with a drop kick which makes her roll outside. On the apron, Tamina sweeps Kaitlyn’s legs, rolls her back into the ring and covers her for two. Tamina then hits a neat and tidy suplex for another two count but then locks in a rear choke hold. Phillips and Riley put over Battleground with Tom Phillips actually claiming that Cesaro’s giant swing was ‘worth the price of admission’. Completely ridiculous. I know for a fact that most people would highly dispute that. Phillips is OK but he just sounds like a baseball announcer – he lacks any undulation in his tone to be anything more.
Tamina chokes out Kaitlyn on the middle rope and then reapplies the rear choke hold. Riley points out that Kaitlyn was the 4th longest reigning Divas title holder of all time. Seriously? Well, I looked it up. There have only ever been 20 and Maryse holds the record at 216 days. Yes, Maryse. Soon to be Mrs Miz. Oh the conversations they must have.
Tamina continues to dominate and slam Kaitlyn to the canvas with clotheslines and keeps trying to wear her down with choke holds. Kaitlyn gets some heat, landing a clothesline, a reverse elbow and then a horrible drop kick that looked like it hit Tamina in the womb. She then uses her new finisher which is an inverted DDT but Tamina kicks out at 2 and 7/8ths. They both stay down until Kaitlyn gets up first planting Tamina in the corner to set up for the spear. Tamina blocks it with a knee to the face and hits her with a Samoan drop, pinning her in 6:40. This was a rudimentary match until the finish.
A good edition of Superstars finishes with a rerun of Big Show knocking out Triple H after being bitch-slapped by Stephanie and set upon by The Shield from Raw on Monday.
– By James Cox