A show with a tremendous match between Antonio Cesaro and Dolph Ziggler, one that saw Eva Maria as ring announcer and Justin Gabriel wearing face paint.
We kick off with The Usos coming out and performing the Siva Tau – an entrance that I always think really sets them up to be more entertaining than they actually turn out to be. Even the new face paint isn’t really working for these two. Joining them in 3-man tag action is Justin Gabriel who has new utterly forgettable music and even dons some face paint of his own for the occasion. Their opponents are 3MB. Slater is sporting new tattoos on both arms. They are all introduced by Eva Marie who does a horrible job as ring announcer. She seems to have died that red hair again; I don’t think I have ever seen hair this red before.
The Usos & Justin Gabriel v 3MB
Heath and Jey lock up and Jey goes to work on Slater’s left arm. He tags in Jimmy who lands a double axe handle off the top rope onto the arm. Having seen Jimmy on Total Divas I can’t really look at him in the same way anymore. He appears to be a moody teenager who goes high pitched and snarling when he argues with his fiancé, Trinity (Naomi), which is often. More than anything it shows that he would never be able to cut a good promo and so can really only go so far with this company. Gabriel is in that same boat. He is tagged in and the quick tags continue until Heath rolls out of the ring, is chased by Jey until he rolls back in and tags McIntyre. As Jey rolls back in the ring, Drew catches him with a clothesline and gets a 1 count.
Drew puts Jey in their corner and beats him down with kicks. The referee intervenes, allowing Mahal and Slater to work him over further. Drew tags in Jinder who hits Jey with a neckbreaker for a 2 count. He works Jey with his go-to move, the rear chin lock, until Jey counters with a German suplex. Both men stay down and then crawl to make tags at the same time. McIntyre and Gabriel are tagged in and Gabriel hits Drew with a top rope springboard plancha, a running shoulder barge and a mule kick. As McIntyre is down, Gabriel sets up a middle rope springboard moonsault. He nearly gets the 3 count but the pin is interrupted by Mahal at 2.
The finish sees Jinder get thrown out by Jey, Heath is thrown out by Jimmy and both hit over the top rope planchas while, in the ring, Gabriel turns a hurricanrana on McIntyre into a DDT. This allows him to climb the ropes so he can hit his 450 splash for the win in 3:45. This was a good match that was well-executed in the time they had.
The Raw Rebound is next – a video package putting over Punk v Heyman and Axel at Night of Champions followed by Christian v Randy Orton with Daniel Bryan’s bespoke car spray painting service.
Out next is Dolph Ziggler who has been relegated to Superstars for reasons unknown. It may be because of his tweets, it may be for some other reason. Either way, getting to see him on this show instantly makes it 100% better, especially when his opponent appears next with Colter and Swagger. Ziggler and Cesaro are capable of great things in the ring.
Dolph Ziggler v Antonio Cesaro
I had read that this was a 4 star match before I watched it and, although I wouldn’t go quite that far, this was a very strong match. The two lock up and out of a headlock and Irish whip Cesaro shoulder barges Dolph to the floor and follows it up with a stern, rigid and committed arm across his chest as he shouts “we the people”. It’s funny how this gimmick has no real heat anymore – especially when Zeb isn’t cutting a close-to-the-bone promo before the match. People are now joining in with it. On commentary Alex Riley notes that he had spoken to Ziggler earlier who had claimed, “this match will make the performers in the main event of last year’s WrestleMania look like they don’t belong in the company”. Ziggler clearly never said that but if he had you’d have you reason as to why he’s wound up on Superstars!
Dolph and Cesaro chain wrestle and then Ziggler hits a superb drop kick and gets a two count out of it. Just as he gets up and starts to do his Flair/Jeff Jarrett strut, heel Cesaro kicks him so that he stops. Ziggler then hip tosses the charging Cesaro and lands his repeated elbows that once nearly killed Jerry Lawler. Cesaro sells every single one and then kicks out of a pin at 2. Ziggler gets up and as the ref checks on Cesaro, Swagger hits the apron and smacks Dolph with a stiff clothesline. Cesaro gets up and seizes the advantage, beating Ziggler down in the corner with kicks and then picks him up deadweight and lands his delayed gutwrench suplex which is more like tossing a ragdoll when used on someone as lithe as Ziggler. A-Ry puts over that Cesaro models himself on Olympic wrestler Aleksandr Karelin as Cesaro begins a rear chin lock and we go to a break.
After the commercials (one of which is a Los Matadores promo video – I’ll get my pen ready to write about the rebranded Primo and Epico every week) Cesaro hits his Really European Uppercut. This is where he picks up his opponent by the hips, throws them up in the air and as they fall he hits them with his European uppercut. Out of a chin lock, Ziggler powers into the ropes and lands a cross body and then rolls Cesaro up for a 2 and then hits a facebuster for another near fall. They start to trade counters: Cesaro blocks the Zigzag, Ziggler then turns the a Really European Uppercut attempt into a DDT and gets another near fall.
Arguably the best spot of the match is next: Ziggler climbs the ropes but Cesaro gets to his feet and crotches him and Ziggler falls to the apron. Cesaro then climbs to the middle rope, bends down over the top rope and picks up Ziggler and hoists him up into a suplex. He holds it and holds it and the crowd are really into it because he is so strong. It looks unbelievable. This is not just any old superplex. Cesaro lands the suplex, gets a two count, Dolph reverses it and gets a 2 of his own. Ziggler then hits a tight drop kick as Cesaro gets to his feet and then as Cesaro recovers in the corner, Dolph charges at him, hitting him with a Stinger Splash, punches to the head and then a swinging neckbreaker for another near fall.
The finish starts with Dolph looking like his going for a hurricanrana that he somehow finishes in a sleeper hold position. As Cesaro struggles out, Swagger appears on the apron. Ziggler drops the hold and drop kicks Swagger off the apron and into the announce table. With his back to his opponent, Cesaro is able to roll Ziggler up for 2 and as they both get up Ziggler hits the Zigzag for another very close near fall. After a referee count, they both get to their feet and Cesaro hits another European uppercut, puts him the Neutraliser and pins him in 9:40. An excellent match by Superstars standards
A very good edition of Superstars ends with another Los Matadores promo video and the whole of the Daniel Bryan Gauntlet match and HHH/Orton segment from Raw.