A show that gave us two average tag matches, one that saw the debut of Tom Philips as an announcer on Superstars and the tease for a Great Khali and Big E Langston feud!
Tony Dawson was released by WWE this week and as the show opens up we hear Josh Matthews’ voice. He’s joined by Tom Philips who has worked for WWE over the last year – he and Renee cover the catch up show WWE Bottom Line in the UK. He’s fairly green, has that tone and patter of a generic sports caster and is accompanied by Matthews presumably to keep a check on him. Matthews hands most of the announcing over to him. All I will say, is at least he can call moves – Tony Dawson literally never did. I have no idea what this means for Alex Riley; he’ll probably be returning soon.
We’re given two tag matches tonight – out first is Zack Ryder and Justin Gabriel who get a fairly good reaction from the Chicago crowd though some post-production sweetening is definitely used. Their opponents are the ridiculous combination of Big E Langston and Damien Sandow.
Zack Ryder & Justin Gabriel v Big E Langston & Damien Sandow
Error number 1 – Tom Philips claims that Sandow having the briefcase doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s winning gold, noting that John Cena is the only superstar to not successfully cash in and win. Josh, without missing a beat, cuts in and explains that the only reason Cena lost was because he “gave CM Punk a week to prepare for that match so there was no element of surprise”. I’m guessing they’d prefer to bury that fact.
Sandow and Gabriel lock up and Sandow is taken down to the mat. “Let’s go Sandow” chants start up. Gabriel applies a wrist lock and Ryder is tagged in, hitting Sandow with a drop kick and gets a 2 count. He then re-applies the wrist lock and hip tosses Sandow keeping the lock in place. Gabriel comes in and hits Sandow’s locked arm with a double axe handle from the second turnbuckle. He then whips Sandow, barges him to the mat, catches him with a hip toss and reapplies another wrist lock. To end a dull opening chain, Langston is finally tagged in and cleans house as we go to the break.
When we return, Langston is dominating Ryder and tags in Sandow who hits a neat snap suplex onto Ryder for a 2 count. He then weakens his back with repeated knee drops and then applies the dread rear chin lock. Ryder tries to power out, but Sandow thwarts his attempts and postures for and hits his Cubito Aequet (the elbow of distain). As always this move has zero impact and Ryder kicks out of the cover.
Langston tags in and hits three back breakers in quick succession on Ryder but, again, Ryder kicks out at 2. Langston tags in Sandow who tries for another suplex. Ryder reverses it whilst in mid-air and turns it into a spinning neck-breaker and both are down for the referee’s count. Gabriel gets the hot tag and Langston, bizarrely, is the one who receives the heat. Gabriel hits him with spinning heel kicks and a Stinger splash into the corner. He finally knocks him down with a top rope springboard cross body and, stupidly, Sandow is the one to break the count. This doesn’t put Big E Langston over very big.
The finish sees Gabriel throw Sandow out of the ring; Ryder tries to hit a top rope springboard plancha onto him on the outside but misses as Sandow ducks. While inside the ring, Langston recovers to clothesline the hell out of Gabriel and hits him with the Big Ending for the pin in 8:32. A good finish to an otherwise slow, average match.
As the heels are celebrating, The Great Khali’s music hits and he and Hornswoggle appear. The announcers don’t question it and Khali gets to the ring and goes for Sandow. Langston wants nothing to do with it and rolls out of the ring and walks off. Khali chops Sandow dead and turns and points to Langston. This would be a horrible feud; I hope it gets forgotten about otherwise, poor Big E Langston.
The Raw Rebound is next – the Miz TV and Big Show segment is first and then we’re given that tremendous Punk promo from Monday, in full.
Out next on Superstars is Tons of Funk. I interviewed Brodus Clay on Thursday here, and he’s a real gent by the way. Out next, and thankfully sans Zeb promo, are The Real Americans.
Tons of Funk v The Real Americans
Tensai and Swagger lock up and Swagger hits him in the corner with knees to the midsection. Angry, Tensai reverses and hits Swagger, punching him to the floor. Tensai tags in Brodus and Swagger manages to get to Cesaro. Clay hits 4, yes 4, scoop slams in a row on Cesaro and tags in Tensai who finishes him off with an elbow drop for good measure. They get a 2 count.
Tensai then shows off how strong he is by putting Cesaro in a double underhook suplex, holding him up for 20 seconds. When he finally hits it, he covers him for a 2 count. Tensai and Brodus double team to barge Cesaro to the floor and then do the same on Swagger off the apron. Brodus then hits is Splat! splash into the corner on Cesaro.
The finish sees Swagger smash Clay’s head into the turnbuckle from the apron and so Cesaro is able to roll him up for a quick pin in 3:40. Tensai was shouting ‘kick out! Kick out!’ at the finish but Clay was selling that he was out cold.
For the third week running, we’re given a decidedly average edition of Superstars. We end with the 11-on-3 handicap from Raw.
– By James Cox