The show kicks off this week with Kofi’s pyro who comes out to some serious crowd sweetening. As he bounces around the ring, we cut to Tom Phillips and Alex Riley on commentary who tell us that Hell in a Cell is only two weeks away. In doing so, Alex Riley holds up two fingers. But not in the good way. Yes, Alex Riley swears at us as they comment on Kofi’s new T-shirt which is currently pink. This is supposed to be a family show, A-Ry, that’s a shame.
Damien Sandow is his opponent tonight. Don’t forget, he still holds the Money in Bank briefcase which is a bit like holding a card that says ‘do not book until further notice’ for a worker in WWE. They give them the briefcase and then largely ignore them until they need them to do a run in. He cuts a promo on the crowd finishing by saying that “the only thing that is relevant is my money in the bank contract”. Could have fooled me.
Kofi Kingston v Damien Sandow
The two lock up and Sandow puts Kofi in a headlock and whips him into the ropes and shoulder barges him to the mat. He then whips Kofi again who finally catches a reverse elow and Sandow cowers in the corner. This time when they lock up again, Sandow kicks Kofi in the midrift and then headbutts him, throwing him to the corner and shoulder charging him repeatedly until the referee stops him. Then, out of an Irish whip Kofi reverses a hip toss, and goes for a monkey flip for a two count.
Kofi leaps on Sandow and applies a rist lock until Sandow forces Kofi into a corner and powers out with elbows. Sandow then headbutts Kofi to the mat, picks him up by the hair but gets hurricanranaed out of through the middle rope and out of the ring. As he gets up, Kingston runs the ropes and hits him through the ropes with a baseball slide/missile dropkick forcing Sandow into the announce table. Kofi rolls him back into the ring but Sandow rolls out the other side to avoid further offence. Kingston then teases a topé but stops and laughs at Sandow who had cowered expecting it to come.
Kofi then rolls outside and chases Sandow around the ring and when they get back inside the ropes, Sandow takes a top rope springboard strike the head. Out of heelish desperation, Sandow uses a drop toe hold to choke Kofi using the middle rope and both men stay down as we go to a break.
After the commercials, Sandow is in control as Kofi kicks out of a cover at two. Sandow rakes Kofi’s eyes and pulls him outside the ring and uses knees and shins to Kofi’s head. He shouts “stay down” to him and the postures to the crowd. Back in the ring, he hits a side Russian leg sweep and the Cubito Aeqeut (elbow of distain) for a two count. Sandow then keeps the pressure on by applying a rear choke hold and Kofi manages to stand up and power out of it into an Irish whip where he is able to hit a reverse chop and big a drop kick as he starts to get the heat. He lands the Boom Drop but misses Trouble in Paradise. He rolls Sandow up for a two count and then hits a springboard cross body off the top turnbuckle for a very close near fall.
The finish sees Kofi hit the SOS but Sandow grabs the rope to avoid the three count. When he gets up, he plants Kofi’s head into the top turnbuckle and hits the Full Nelson Slam for the win in 8:08.
The Raw Rebound is next – Shawn Michael’s and Randy Orton’s segment is up first followed by a Big Show and Triple H video package that leads into the Daniel Bryan and Alberto Del Rio match.
Out next on Superstars is Dolph Ziggler. I’m disappointed for Dolph on a weekly-basis. But his opponent on Superstars is Big E Langston, another worker who I feel sorry for. Remember when these two were feuding? That was at Summerslam, which was two months ago. Now they’re on Superstars after both having been completely forgotten about for whatever reasons – purportedly, Dolph because he is too vocal on social media and Big E because Cena has been away. Well, they’re given less than 4 minutes tonight.
Dolph Ziggler v Big E Langston
These two men who hate each other’s guts, start with a lock up. Of course a lock up. Dolph ducks a lock up attempt and tries to double leg Langston but gets caught and immediately put into position for the Big Ending. Dolph wriggles out but Big E catches him in a bear hug. This is all pace and action right from the bell – both are clearly aware of the time constraints. Langston slams him and splashes him for a two count.
Langston beats Ziggler down with chops and punches and then lands him with two back breakers and then rubs his forearm into the back of Ziggler’s head and then re-applies the bear hug. Ziggler powers out and whips off the ropes but runs into a stiff elbow. Ziggler has just returned from a live event programme in Abu Dhabi but looks active without a hint of jet lag here as Langston puts him into a abdominal stretch that he powers out of with punches and elbows to Big E’s head.
Ziggler attacks him and hits a beautiful drop kick but then misses a splash to the corner and eats a clothesline that Ziggler sold like it completely killed him. As he lies motionless on the mat, Langston removes the straps from his singlet and hoists him up for the Big Ending as Dolph dangles dead weight from his shoulders. Right at the last second, Dolph wriggles into life, fights free from the hold, stumbles back into the corner, dodges a charge from Langston and out of nowhere hits the Zig Zag. He covers him for a win in 3:48.
Now THAT is how you wrestle a 4 minute match. Lots of action; the bigger man looked dominant but the sympathetic, plucky babyface stays within reach just enough to look like a contender. Crucially, when the babyface hits his finisher, it doesn’t matter how big the opponent is, it is enough to beat him.
An infinitely improved edition of Superstars finishes with wonderful video package that tells the story of Cody and Goldust’s winning of the tag titles from Monday. When these two feud at WrestleMania, it’s going to really mean something. Please, WWE, don’t mess this one up.
– By James Cox