It’d be unfair for me to try to sneak Scott Stanford on again as he announces the match cards for NXT this week. But I would like to point out that his is the best announcer voice you’ll hear during this episode. We all love William Regal, but he seems less and less interested as of late and then he’s stuck with Tony “For the Win” Dawson. If I heard, “For the win,” one more time I was going to personally fly to the next show he’d be at and shove his mic down his throat only to drag it back out again so he could suck on it.
I’m not bitter. Read the rest of this entry
Wasn’t one of the greatest week for consistent matches, but the matches that shone out were great. And for once Raw had two of them.
4. Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena – Raw
The ending was a bit lackluster because it’s exactly what you expect from a Cena match. You’ve seen it before, you’ll see it again. Yawn. However, Cena can prove in matches like this that he does know how to work a good match, as he’s actually proven more consistently over the last year and a half. Dolph Ziggler is always in a good match, it seems, whether it’s 2 minutes or the 13 minute match this one is. And hey, for some of you, there was no commentary through the first half of the match. Sometimes that’s not a bad thing either. Read the rest of this entry
Trust me, it’s harder to drag 4 things out of Superstars.
4. Brodus Clay & Zack Ryder vs. Prime Time Players
This is not a well meshed match. These are four men with talent in their own rights, but together there is nothing here to get excited about. At just over 4 minutes none of the men really ever gets too into the match, except perhaps Ryder. And Ryder is in that baby-face part of his career where he only really does the same five moves. There isn’t a lot of variety, unfortunately, and becomes one of the lesser things about the show.
Because, why not. They are cute, perky, and the camera thankfully pans to them a lot while the match is going on.
2. Miz vs. Tensai
I had trepidations going into this match. I love Miz. I love Tensai. Doesn’t mean they’ll work well together. Tensai matches are best when his opponent is willing to actually get hit, otherwise they look like they are just swatting at each other from a distance. Miz is willing to get hit. It’s not as brutal as say Tensai vs. Sheamus was, but Tensai gets to smack Miz around and Miz gets to still look good with his own move set. The match was also nearly 8 minutes long, and while it wasn’t particularly fast paced, there wasn’t a moment where I thought, “God, can this end already,” and when I did think it was over it surprised me by not being over.
1. Scott Stanford & Matt Striker
Probably my favorite commentator duo within the WWE right now. Scott has the voice, Striker has the random knowledge, and together they pull off a good match with their voices. Sometimes a match dud, like the second match of the night, is made better just by having these two commentate it. My reasons for tuning into Superstars every week is for the commentary, if there happens to be a good match as well, I’m lucky.
Yup. Punk didn’t make it on the list. Deal with it.
4. Natalya vs. AJ
Ziggler and Khali didn’t do much in the ring, which was a good thing because it left time for Natalya and AJ to take over. AJ proceeded to bite Natalya and the woman was so distracted by the bite that she ended up losing the match. Now, while Natalya probably could handle AJ easily, Natalya is a great actress and a team player and helps put over AJ’s character. Plus AJ shows off her bra, and all of the men had to love that.
First, their segment. These men are hilarious. I know, it’s popular to hate Jinder Mahal, but he works well off of the other two and they are widely incoherent as they make their plans, which helps. Then they go out for their fight with Sheamus and both Mahal and McIntyre look like they will jump into the ring but Slater is already down. The crowning moment is the look on McIntyre’s face when he’s just like, “Well, oh well!” and Slater is pinned in 48 seconds.
2. The Rock verbal versus Rhodes Scholars
No penis jokes needed. This was all about a matter of teasing about intelligence. Rhodes Scholars held up well against Rock. Granted, Sandow did most of the speaking, but Cody’s facial expressions are priceless and Rock is, well, The Rock. The Rock may sound a bit repetitive at times, but his delivery is impeccable and Sandow meets him with a vigor that surprised me. I might finally have to admit to being a Sandow fan. Might.
1. Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio
When a 14:11 match starring Big Show moving slowly makes it onto my list you know someone has to be an incredible wrestler. Del Rio working as a face suddenly seems like he’s ready to just have fun in the ring. Heel-dom is usually the better place for wrestlers, but Del Rio embraces the Face and rocks it in the ring. Ricardo, of course, is always a pleasure to watch on the sidelines as he cheers Del Rio on. Great Smackdown.
The end of the world. Vampires. These are things that have almost become synonymous with eye rolling. Especially the overly-romanticized version of vampires. These vampires are not romance novel vampires. In fact they are a means to an end to support the story.
Nick, a pilot, crashes down and is luckily saved by a few teenagers before he is eaten by the vampires. He finds himself within Stanton Military Academy, which is now referred to as The Urchin. It is the last standing building for miles and the boys of the academy are all that remain, besides the vampires that haunt them nightly.
Now Nick must join together with Vance in an attempt to fix his plane and go to New Washington.
This is a dark look at the way people think and will act in the time of desperation. Ambrose does well to liken the experience to Lord of the Flies while Vance explains what it is he doesn’t want from the boys he’s trying to keep safe. The book explores the before and the during and the after of the apocalypse all interwoven together perfectly to make a complete story.
As with most novels that delve into the darkness, the ending is not particularly happy, but unlike most, it’s not something so desperately awful either. Ambrose ties the strings together she must and completes the story she is trying to tell. There is a world of stories here that Ambrose could embrace and she does well dragging her reader in and keeping them there.
Reasons to Read:
- Well Written
- Great dynamic of characters
- The stories behind the actions all make sense
Reasons Not to Read:
- Basically a horror novel with less horror and more storytelling
Any real semblance of trying to fit in storylines for NXT was dropped this week, but it still works because the characters themselves know how to tell a story. From Bray Wyatt and his “family” to Shield interfering, there is a story in the matches. At least, most of them.
4. Yoshi Tatsu & Percy Watson vs. The Family
“Hey, who isn’t really doing anything that can show off the skills of these two big guys?” “I think we have Yoshi Tatsu and Percy Watson.” “All right, make it a match.” Bray Wyatt’s family is growing as a cohesive stable as Luke Harper and Erik Rowan team up to fight Tatsu and Watson, who are talents mostly used, at this point, to put someone else over. Phillips keeps talking about the size of Rowan but honestly he doesn’t seem so large in comparison to the other wrestlers that I’m “wowed” by size. Still, an interesting stable is developing that I can see going places. Even if I find it a bit repugnant.
3. Seth Rollins vs. Big E Langston
While certainly not the best match of the night, or even longest, the men put on a good show in the ring of dominance and ferocity. Rollins has impressed me more as a heel wrestler than he ever did as a face wrestler, and perhaps it is because he’s let go and decided to just be what he can in the ring. A problem many faces have when in the ring is holding back. Neither man looked like they wanted to hold back and the story developed well from Shield interfering to the NXT face roster coming out to interfere with Shield’s interfering. But in the end Big E Langston holds the NXT title proud.
2. Primo & Epico vs. Michael McGillicutty & Bo Dallas
I’m not impressed by Dallas, this is no surprise to anyone who reads on a regular basis. Dallas throws punches in this match and doesn’t even make contact for most of them, and it’s glaringly obvious. Dallas seems in character on minute, then forgets he’s supposed to be acting the next. He’s a pretty boy and some women fall for that and this is what makes him stand out. Then he’s paired with one of the guys who has grown on me in McGillicutty to go against Primo & Epico. I’ve never been happier for a Primo/Epico win before. Luckily the match was mostly about McGillicutty against the Puerto Rican cousins. Great match when Dallas wasn’t weakly striking.
1.5 Scott Stanford’s Voice
I’ll do anything I can to get Scott Stanford on a Top 4 list, even make him his own spot if I have to. This week (and last week) the voice overs for the coming matches were done by none other than Scott Stanford, and who does better at announcing than he? With Dawson seemingly getting the push as the next “It” commentator within the WWE I will show appreciate to the man who knows the ins and outs better than he’s given credit for and can put over any person wherever I can. Even if it’s just at the sound of his voice announcing Big E Langston vs. Seth Rollins.
1. Emma vs. Paige
This may have not even been a three minute match but from what I saw I’m impressed. Emma comes out to a tune that had me burst out laughing, and then she does this little jig with her arms that had me confused. But I loved it. I was set to dislike her, as I seem to be with every diva lately and for that I apologize. She and Paige made the best of their two and a half minutes and showed off an array of skills other women could be jealous of. Of course Paige makes any match great because she is just a natural talent that can’t be reckoned with. As usual NXT seems to be the show where the best diva match will take place.
Thanks, as always, to @lindseyhxx for the use of her photos from Sunset Flip Photography.
Well Smackdown was quite the improvement on Raw. And I feel bad now for expecting it to pretty much be bad. After all, it was filmed after Raw was. That’s usually an immediate sign that nothing will progress. Well, if I wasn’t completely wrong! And I love it! And yes, I realize I’m leaving off Shield, who I scream for every time they come on my screen, but even then they were not the highlight of the show for me. Ugh, I also have to leave off Kaitlyn versus Eve, which was one of the most amazing diva matches in… well quite a while. We’ll say that. They might make it on Top 4 Matches of the Week it was so good, but let’s face it, I love some promos more than matches at times, this is WWE after all. Read the rest of this entry
This wasn’t the week for NXT, Superstars, Smackdown, or matches, but “bah gawd” I was going to get the Top 4 matches in.
4. Zack Ryder vs. Tensai – Superstars
This was a surprisingly good match. I honestly sat down to watch this one expecting a two minute squash and instead it turned into a 6:24 match that had decent action. Tensai and Ryder may work different styles but they can work them well together. If you watch Superstars for anything this week it is this match (and Scott Stanford commentary).
3. Michael McGillicutty vs. Antonio Cesaro – NXT
NXT was hard to get a good match out of. Even Leo Kruger and Tyson Kidd didn’t do much for me and I love those guys. But instead I get McGillicutty, whom I adore, and Cesaro, whom I do not, that put on a match in less than 6 minutes that had the storytelling and moves it needed. And avoided rest holds. There was only one that was significant within the match and it didn’t take away from the action.
2. Wade Barrett vs. Randy Orton – Smackdown
We’ve seen it before. Quite a few times. Which gave me trepidations about having to watch it. Again. But still, even if this was a rerun, the two men know how to work with one another. The two know how to fill 7:17 of match time with constant movement. There’s nothing new here, but everything they do is done well.
1. Kofi Kingston vs. Antonio Cesaro vs. Wade Barrett vs. R-Truth – RAW
The first time I saw this I didn’t pay much attention, to be honest. I was kind of caught up on something else. So I had to watch it again, especially since everyone was saying how great the match was. And, to be honest, it was. I’m not a Kingston fan, but the match did more for him than other matches I’ve seen by him. Ever. The only one that could have rivaled this was the one on Main Event two days later. Still, entertaining match up that showcased all four men to the best of their abilities.
I picked an awful week to come back for these blogs.
4. Raw Recaps
AHHAHAHAHA, I’m kidding. Screw these recaps taking up 30 of the 43 minutes of the show. But David Otunga vs. Brodus Clay was hardly a match so it doesn’t deserve to be on this list because the focus went to…
Let’s randomly throw Khali, Natalya, and Hornswoggle together and try to pass it off as a brilliant storyline. Rosa coming out and just beating down Hornswoggle was the best part of this, but I do not understand why Khali is still being used. It was funny, but it was funny in a sick way.
2. Zack Ryder vs. Tensai
I jumped off the Ryder bandwagon way after everyone else did, but not because he was awful as a wrestler. He just got stale very quickly. Tensai is good at being brutal but that doesn’t make a good match with someone who fights like Ryder. Yet. YET! These two pulled it off. At 6:24 this wasn’t the squash match I anticipated it was going to be. The two actually had some great back and forth and besides one part where Ryder went for the Broski Boot and didn’t actually go for it because he knew he was going to get blocked, I would say this moved smoothly. Few rest holds and great action. Color me surprised.
1. Scott Stanford and Matt Striker
Yes, this spot is usually reserved for Scott alone, but this week I have to give the commentary duo props together. When Striker and Stanford first seemed to be the go-to team for commentary I was hesitant. This was when Sandow was making regular appearances and Striker focused more on intellect and being a superior to Stanford than an equal. I heard enough of Cole and Lawler constantly bickering, I didn’t need it on every show. Now Striker and Stanford play off of one another, and while they have their jabs at one another the flow is a nice measure that makes anything entertaining. And on episodes like this… it’s desperately needed.
Between October and November I had a rough couple of months, so let’s be honest, I was anxious to get back in the saddle and writing about NXT! And then this episode happened. Five matches, which is never bad, but three of the matches fell into the two-three minute range. There was no real storyline progression except for an Ohno/Kidd feud being teased for the future. I’d be fine with just matches if two had not been a showcase for another guy and a “debut” for two men that have yet to prove themselves. Not making it to the list for matches is Axl Keegan vs. Bo Dallas, because… Bo Dallas.
4. Gavin Reid vs. Roman Reigns
At only 2:10 the match didn’t do much but show that Reigns can still move in the ring and this is why he’s a great asset to Shield while Reid where’s ring gear that looks like it had seen the washing machine a few too many times as it was faded and a bit lackluster. Reigns, of course, wins against Reid after a show of his moveset and then decides to cut a promo, taking the microphone from Saxton. Reigns gets ghetto-fabulous on us and only licks his lips twice during this promo, but still. You’re Samoan. No need to act like you wish you were teasing Hunico’s character when speaking. The Usos did that when they first came up as well, crotch grabbing and slouching their way through promos. It’s been done, and Reigns is better than just another wanna-be gimmick.
3. Corey Graves vs. Yoshi Tatsu
At just under three minutes I expected, since it’s Tatsu, a feat of quick movements and what Tatsu does best, which is the happy, frenzied, kicking. Instead, about thirty seconds in, Graves lands a blow to Tatsu’s knee and that appears to be about it for Tatsu. Again, this match is another showcase, this time of Graves, but more on his brutality as a skinny, tattooed, jackass than as a wrestler. It’s a character that he molds into well, and for this it’s why it’s ahead of the last match. That, and it was still Tatsu in the match. Still, I would have liked to have seen more wrestling style from the both of them before Tatsu’s knee was mutilated. In story, of course.
2. Tyson Kidd vs. Leo Kruger
My own expectations of what this match should have been probably ruined it a bit for me. The match was a lot of good spots and then rest holds while waiting for the next one. Someone else said, “I can’t help but think if this match was shorter it would have been better,” and I agree. If they had been given five minutes instead of nine minutes would they have cut the rest holds and just smoothly transitioned from move to move? I know both men can, and they are entertaining to watch, in ring psychology alone, but I’d rather have a short match that does a lot than a long match that is reminiscent of a Raw match. Raw is Rest Holds. At the end of this match Ohno comes out and attacks Kidd, possibly setting up a new story line. I’m also reading too much into Regal being the one who helps Kidd out of the arena.
1. Michael McGillicutty vs. Antonio Cesaro
Despite my not being a fan of Cesaro I had to admit at the end of the episode that this was my favorite match. It did what the other matches failed to do. Sure, there was a rest hold or two, but there was less of a wait between moves than Kidd and Kruger had, and McGillicutty just seemed to be enjoying himself as he took down his opponent repeatedly. Yeah, I also loved this was a feat of strength more for McGillicutty even if he ultimately lost. The crowd was fully behind Michael, chanting his name (Michael, not McGillicutty) and he seemed to enjoy the interaction between them. If I had to recommend one match from the episode, it would be this one.