A show with two 8 minute matches, some decent wrestling and the return of Michael McGillicutty as Curtis Axel to Superstars – it was only a matter of time!
We kick off with R-Truth coming out, rapping. He’s starting to look his age; he seems to be thinning on top. 3MB come out next to a shower of boos. Drew McIntyre is Truth’s opponent tonight in a match that is classic WWE Superstars fodder and really doesn’t hold much promise.
R-Truth v Drew McIntyre
The two lock up and Truth pushes McIntyre into the turnbuckle and shouts ‘what’s up?’ to the crowd who return the call. Then as Drew comes back to lock up and put Truth into a headlock he appears to swear 4 or 5 times in a row – I am watching on Sky in the UK and this is beeped out in post-production. (After a little browsing online, I discovered the international version on youtube and Drew actually isn’t swearing at all, he’s just grunting and hissing which together kind of come across as inaudible ‘f’ sounds.) Truth then hits an arm drag takedown and Drew is angry and so slaps Truth as the other members of 3MB come to give Drew a pep talk.
Drew kicks Truth in the corner and then scoop slams him to more boos. Out of an Irish whip, Truth knocks McIntyre down with a hurricanrana and out of another, Truth tries a sunset flip for a 2 count. Another arm drag from Truth leads to a rest hold as Truth works over the left arm. Drew tries to counter this with an arm drag of his own but Truth keeps tight and reapplies the hold. As McIntyre sells, Heath and Jinder shout advice and Drew gets to his feet and scoop slams Truth who, again, holds on and keeps the arm and shoulder under pressure. Drew eventually powers out, whips Truth into the corner who dodges the charging McIntyre and, yes, goes back to applying pressure to the left shoulder.
After the break, R-Truth does his ‘jiggy jiggy’dance to anger Drew who charges at him. Truth ducks and hip tosses him to the mat and then sets up and hits his leg drop for a near fall. Slater and Mahal hit the apron to distract R-Truth while McIntyre climbs the ropes – when the referee waves away the other member of 3MB, Truth turns around to eat a missile drop kick from Drew. After a suplex into a 1 count, Drew applies the rear choke rest hold. On commentary, Alex Riley and Tony Dawson push Total Divas and Night of Champions. Truth powers out of the hold, Irish whips McIntyre who hits him with a flying boot and covers him for another near fall.
McIntyre chokes Truth on the middle rope, takes the ref’s count and steps away so that Heath Slater can nail R-Truth with a cheap shot. This is 3MB by numbers. McIntyre postures to crowd and stomps on Truth before he scoop slams him again. R-Truth counters Drew’s double axe handle from the second turn buckle and begins to make a comeback hitting his flying scissors kick, a clothesline and a big boot. Drew kicks out at 2 and Heath and Jinder try to interfere but R-Truth sees them off and hits the Lie Detector with the pin at 7:26
The Raw Rebound is next – a replay of Steph and Big Show from Monday in which she claimed to be about 10 years younger than she actually is while Big Show pulled some odd facials and had his ‘money issues’ are revealed.
Out next is Kofi Kingston. He is laughably billed at “212 lbs” by Justin Roberts. I’m not sure which is worse: Kofi being sold as 212 or Drew McIntyre as 265. It was only a matter of time but back on Superstars, under his new ring moniker, after an absence of about 7 weeks is Intercontinental Champion, Curtis Axel. He is accompanied, for a very rare Superstars outing, by Paul Heyman.
Kofi Kingston v Curtis Axel
Axel takes Kofi to the mat and the two showcase some amateur-style chain wrestling until Kofi hits a drop kick so that Axel rolls out for some advice from Heyman. Kofi then puts Curtis in a headlock, who powers out and reverses it into one of his own. The crowd chant ‘Walrus’ at Heyman while Kofi lands a reverse elbow out of an Irish whip. Once again, Axel leaves the ring for a breather so Kofi teases a suicide dive but stops at the ropes, laughing at the flinching Axel. As Axel walks around to find Heyman for more ‘coaching’ Kofi charges through the ropes and lands a beautiful seated senton over the top rope.
Outside the ring, Axel charges Kofi into the dasher boards as we go to a break. When we return, Axel is in control using rest holds and quick covers to try to wear Kofi down. Out of a headlock, Kofi gets hit with a clothesline to the back of the head for another near fall. Axel beats Kofi down in the corner but when Kofi has had enough, he runs the ropes, slides through Axel’s legs, stands up and tries to hit him with a drop kick. Axel dodges it at the last second and Kofi sells that he has landed awkwardly on his backside. Axel goes for a pin and only gets 2. He hits a backbreaker to set Kingston up for a falling double axe handle off the second turnbuckle and covers him for another near fall. Heyman has started to hold the IC belt up beside the ring with a smug smile and raised chin just like he used to for Punk during the latter stages of his title reign. He displays the title with such utter pomp, it’s marvellous.
In the ring, Axel misses two clotheslines, Kofi ducks them both and on the second Axel flies out of the ring. When he gets back inside, Kofi makes his comeback hitting two quick double-armed clotheslines, a drop kick and a flying forearm before he lands his Boom Drop. Kingston sets up for the Trouble in Paradise, Axel ducks, Kofi climbs the ropes and lands a plancha that allows him to get a near fall of his own on Axel. Heyman looks concerned but Axel starts to work over Kofi’s left knee. It doesn’t last long as Kofi counters with the SOS but, again, Axel has too much left in the tank and kicks out at 2.
The finish sees Kofi miss a kick to Axel’s head who catches his leg and puts him in what I think he’s calling the Axelizer (a kind of hangman’s facebuster/reverse STO) for the win in 8:06. This was a good little match that didn’t feel like an 8 minute match. Kofi is a safe pair of hands and Axel is getting easier on the eye in the ring. I think Punk will be able to draw a good match out of him at Night of Champions next week.
A decent edition of Superstars ends with a highlights-of-Raw video package and then the end of the Big Show v Daniel Bryan match from Monday.
– By James Cox