I’ve noticed lately on Superstars the Raw portion has been consistently using “bigger” names while Smackdown seems to get the “throwaways” or “jobbers.” However, Smackdown usually has the better match. Is this week any different?
4. The Usos vs. Prime Time Players
Though they aren’t introduced as Prime Time Players, I’m sticking with the name Titus O’Neil and Darren Young came up for themselves. This wasn’t a bad match, but calling it a good match might be a stretch as well. The antics of the PTP were fun and Scott gave us little tidbits on Young’s hair and why he had a pick go through it before the match began, but the match itself… Let’s just say both tag teams have done better.
3. Zack Ryder vs. Michael McGillicutty
This certainly wasn’t last week’s match with Jack Swagger. This one was to give the #1 Borski a win back and so they gave it to him against McGillicutty. McGillicutty looks good, as does Ryder, and it was a match that had me cheering (quietly for McGillicutty since I’m Scott’s #1 fan I feel dirty when I don’t cheer for Ryder). However after this match came the match of the night, and possibly the match of the week, and everything else that went on in the show paled in comparison.
2. Justin Gabriel vs. Hunico
Since Gabriel’s return he’s decided to make me like him more than I did before. I never disliked Gabriel, but I was not a fan of the 450 and that seemed to be what they were pushing Gabriel for. He’s returned and seemed to have picked up speed and been trying a few different moves that fit into a style he’s comfortable with. Against Hunico, who people forget is a damn good wrestler that was drowned in what has been brushed off as a stereotype character and never taken seriously for that reason. This match proves their timing, and control when they both miss the commentator’s table and Matt Striker has to stand up to check on them. As of today, this is match of the week for me.
1. Scott Stanford (with special nod to Matt Striker)
We all know I think Scott is the best commentator on this planet, but Striker does need some appreciation as well, especially during this episode. He seemed to remember how good he really is and while he may have only commentated one match, he proved again why he was a great commentator who deserved to still be doing PPVs, not Superstars only. Scott continues to prove he should be doing more. He explains why he knows what he knows about the superstars which is simply, he goes up and asks them. He finds out what makes them tick and why they are in the ring. What happened backstage, what is happening in their careers, and what he should know about their pasts that make them a contender. For twenty minutes of onscreen time the man does his homework, takes his notes, and helps bring the entertainment home.
Scott Stanford’s Best Lines of the Week
“Thanks for the answer by the way.”
“To make him feel good I might have to watch it once or twice.” – About Ryder’s new DVD
“Into your living room with that Broski Boot!”
“If your hair is nappy, nobody is going to be happy.”
“That slap just reverberated throughout the arena.”
“But if they can back it up, is it cocky or confidence?”
“They shout out millions of dollars, I just shout out couple of bucks.”
Well, not even a little plot actually gets through on this episode, and that’s mostly because Regal is absent. What a difference a commentary team makes. I like Striker, but he and Mathews continue to not really bring much in commentary to NXT (or their portion of Superstars for that matter). Striker spends the episode getting his lines wrong or being in what seems to be a nasty little tiff with Mathews, and Mathews does his robot thing.
4. Percy Watson vs. JTG
I really wanted to put this higher because JTG is amazing. He carries this match. But, that’s why it’s number four. A match between two men should not be about one man doing all of the work. If I had made this about individuals as opposed to matches, JTG would have been second after Reks, but it’s about the match, and while JTG dominated this match, Watson did nothing special and continues to make me question if he’s grown any since his return to NXT.
3. Tamina vs. Natalya
This is one of those rare times where Chris and I differ on opinions. He thinks Tamina’s a bit stiff, I like the way Tamina wrestles. Is she has experience as Natalya, definitely not. Is she still green, absolutely, but Tamina has something about her that shines in her matches. Tamina and Natalya put on a beautiful display in this match and Natalya shows off different ring gear, though she needs new boots if she will continue to wear this.
2. Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd vs. Heath Slater and Johnny Curtis
Kidd typically makes not only the number one on my NXT list, but he usually makes it to match of the week. This week there was something greater. However, Gabriel and Slater were the ones to shine in this match. Kidd did his best, as he always did, but seemed content to let his team partner get a time to shine after being gone for awhile. Curtis does his best at looking “weird” not creepy, and broods in the corner before going out to get pinned. He is incredible, but this match was about Gabriel, and Gabriel isn’t doing the 450 Splash so I am celebrating.
1. Tyler Reks vs. Jey Uso
Of the two Usos, Jey is the better wrestler. So throwing him in the ring with Reks almost guaranteed an excellent match. I also was excited to hear Reks’ music again because, hey, it’s been awhile. Reks embodied his solo persona once again, more of a dominant monster during the match than the nearly playful Reks that wrestles with Hawkins. Reks still has that interaction with the crowd but there’s this difference in him as a solo performer. Jey Uso and Tyler Reks put on a fluid match that made me smile the entire time!
Only two matches, and I still made a top four out of it. I’m good.
4. Matt Striker
This week, since there were only the two aforementioned matches, they taped them both before Raw. They allowed Matt Striker and Scott Stanford to do the commentating and all I can say is, “Thank goodness.” Matt Striker wakes up for Superstars this week and has someone he can make jokes with, or tease, that does not sit there like a log. The only downside to Striker is that he makes it obvious when it’s going to be a two-count and not the final pin, though I am almost positive he doesn’t realize that is what he is doing. Still, Striker was always a great commentator and he seems to rejuvenate some of that greatness during this episode.
3. Tyson Kidd vs. Justin Gabriel
Normally I would put Kidd higher up on the match list because he’s incredible every time, but I think this match was cut short due to injury. Gabriel busted open his lip and it was pretty bad. Poor guy. Before that happened in the five minutes that the two did wrestle in this main event the two of them looked great. Gabriel has been growing in my esteem and I’ve been pushing the Kidd Agenda on everyone for awhile now. Too bad Striker seemed to forget that Kidd went back to being a face again because he was pretty insulting. My least favorite part was when Scott let that roll right off of him! SCOTT! Protect Kidd! He’s not money-grubbing! Okay, personal feelings aside (sort of) this was still an excellent match, but I had to give the higher match grade to the one that lasted longer and had more back and forth.
2. Alex Riley vs. Heath Slater
Heath Slater wins this match, which caused a small discussion between my boyfriend and me. He thought Riley should have won. I, on the other hand, think Slater needed a win more than Riley did. Riley is a superstar, whether the internet community wants to admit it or not. Riley comes out and the crowd goes wild. Every show I’ve been to when Riley steps out everyone cheers. Slater is still hated, which is sad because even with the personality that is meant to be obnoxious he is quite good in the ring. Together the two of them put on quite a fun match that is full of back and forth and moves that the two have finally begun to perfect. These two have come a long way and I look forward to more.
1. Scott Stanford
Of course Scott is number one. Have you guys actually listened to me on why, though, or do you assume it’s just because I love Scott? I do love Scott, but he proves again why in this episode. It’s the Road to Wrestlemania. He and Striker were told to fill us with talk that is supposed to excite us for the show while Superstars becomes an afterthought. Striker and Scott do not allow it. They talk about Wrestlemania, they have to, but they transition fluidly from one to the other. Scott, though, shines with his usual one-liners, but he whines a bit brighter thanks to Striker. When Scott says something ridiculous Striker does not let it go and the two have a back and forth that is superb.
Scott’s Best Lines of the Week:
“You couldn’t go without the Tebow reference!”
“No! 2 count.”
“You look at Riley’s twitter account and you see hundreds of marriage proposals. You know who is date is going to be to the Hall of Fame? His mother!”
“I’ll tell you what, we’ll find out on Sunday.”
“Some would say it’s Tim Tebow.”
“That’s gotta do it!”
After watching this episode of NXT my boyfriend and I debated which show was better so far this week, FCW or NXT. He went with NXT and I went with FCW. The reason I went with FCW…
4. Alex Riley and Percy Watson vs. Darren Young and Titus O’Neil
Oh hai A-Ry! Alex Riley does the majority of the work in this match and not a single botch to be had. Riley is a different wrestler than the one who feuded poorly with the Miz last year. O’Neil, though, is the same ol’ O’Neil and after this match he speaks. His speaking drops any solid moment down a few pegs. Darren Young wins against Watson with a move that looks brutal, and sloppy this time. I think it’s time Darren Young tried out a new finisher. Still a solid match, I found myself wishing Watson had been able to show off a bit more in the ring instead of rushing in to lose.
3. Striker’s Announcement
Twitter was actually abuzz with curiosity over what Striker was going to announce, though I found it fairly obvious. He had been giving hints for weeks that this was where it was going. So the man, in a moment of being choked up, in a moment of being interrupted by Hawkins and Reks (hilarious by the way), and in a moment of being honest with the crowd Striker makes his announcement: William Regal will now be the host of NXT. Striker has been great in this roll and it has been great to see him interacting week after week, but it is time for him to move on. William Regal assured us today (3/1/12) on twitter that yes, he will still be commentating for NXT.
2. Kaitlyn vs. Maxine
Kailyn and Maxine are two lovely women. While these women wrestle Regal and Mathews are joined on commentary by Johnny Curtis and Derrick Bateman. Between the four men on commentary and the two women in the ring this is one of the highlights of my week. No, this is not my way of getting Derrick Bateman on the list! Even if the men had not been on commentary this match would have made it to number two. These two women have come a long way since “that match” in season 3 of NXT.
1. Tyson Kidd vs. Michael McGillicutty
In the past year Tyson Kidd has only been in what one might deem a bad match, and that is because it was Brodus Clay squashing him. Kidd brings out the wrestler in McGillicutty (who trimmed up a bit for this episode, thank you!). I have been hard on McGillicutty in the past but this man knows his stuff in the ring. When Tyson Kidd is on the screen I can not tear my eyes away and I am glad of it because it made me remember that while McGillicutty’s character had been bland in the past he shines in the ring. McGillicutty ultimately wins this match-up which makes me hope for more interaction between the two, if just for the sake of storyline. Or for Trent Barreta’s return!
Well this should have been the show for the first, but WWE did not have the decency to load it until the 2nd when they uploaded Superstars. Jerks.
4. Percy Watson and Alex Riley vs. Darren Young and Titus O’Neil
Titus O’Neil is awful. Starting the show with him is horrible. Having Darren Young team with him made me want to cry! So why is this match even on the list? Well, for starters, the divas were gypped. NXT has consistently been the best place to watch divas matches. This week Maxine and Alicia Fox had such a short match you would have thought it was Raw. That immediately bumped it off of the list. Riley and Watson have been looking better and better lately, and Young is good in the ring and growing better on the mic. The promo was good when Titus was not involved and the match was decent until Titus won it.
3. Trent Barreta vs. Tyson Kidd
Disappointed with a lack of story between these two, but let’s face it, the men can wrestle. They put on a great match that for anyone who watches on a regular basis might be confused. After all, it did seem Kidd was turning face, but then he faced another face. Of course, this kind of thing does not bother me as much as it seems to the WWE. Throw any two men in the ring, I do not care, as long as the story works. Here we just have a great match. Give less time to O’Neil speaking and perhaps these two could develop more of a storyline.
2. Tyler Reks, Curt Hawkins, and Matt Striker
Matt Striker, who is still the host of NXT just to remind you, starts off on the phone during this segment complaining about the stress he is under. He also says William Regal is his only friend on the show. Out come Reks and Hawkins, who tell his friend on the phone that he’ll have to call him back. Hawkins wants to know how Striker can be treating them the way he is, using the word audacity. Striker, while looking frightened and smug, says, “Audacity is a big word for you.” Reks and Hawkins go from intimidating to easy-going in the blink of an eye, and they do it believably. Hilarious men who get too much crap for having dreads and carrying a cane. These men have more character than your typical Raw guy. Pay attention, these men are the future.
1. Derrick Bateman! Maxine! And some other people…
Part one of this awesome list of hilarity starts with Heath Slater. Yes, Slater! I actually am enjoying this man as of late and he comes out and shows his win over Barreta from a couple of weeks ago over, and over, and over, and – you get the idea. Derrick comes out and puts a stop to this madness and shows Slater his losses, including the one to, “Hornswoggle. Little Horny.” Oh Bateman. Maxine comes out moments later for her match set up with Fox (see earlier rant). Bateman has the biggest smile on his face watching her come out. This is one couple I can get behind and adore. For the record, Curtis is the reason Maxine loses her match. CURTIS!
Later in the show Bateman and Maxine are looking for Curtis to crush him for his interruption and they prove a face and a heel can make an excellent couple. Kaitlyn butts into Maxine’s tirade as she searches for Curtis and Maxine makes fun of Kaitlyn for liking Bateman. After they walk off screen Curtis does his perfect rendition of creepy by stepping out of a door and looking amused.
I can not stress enough how NXT seems to love storylines, which makes this an excellent show. The matches could have been better this week, but I will let it slide because this show consistently has more matches and more relevant storytelling. Watch it, learn why I constantly continue to love Derrick and Maxine, Reks and Hawkins, and about every other talent on the show (not O‘Neil). Then tune in next week when apparently everyone is getting a match. I’m not sure who “everyone” is that is considered on NXT anymore, but you know what, it should be fun finding out!
“Roll it, Jumbotron!”
As 100th episodes of a show go this one decided to go all out. The very first match is a no DQ between Titus O’Neil and Darren Young that saw O’Neil turning heel. This does not make the top four though because, let’s face it, O’Neil is awful. The only thing he has going for him is his seal bark and he insists it’s a dog bark. The other match to not make the list was Heath Slater vs. Percy Watson. Slater has no moves that are really his own and while he’s not a bad wrestler he has nothing that makes him stand out. Watson has a few out of nowhere moves that do not seem to work for him. Solid workers that need different moves. That the Watson and Slater match also told no story keeps it off the list but does not make them people to simply be brushed aside.
4. Michael Cole
Michael Cole comes back to NXT for the 100th episode. While I lament the loss of William Regal on commentary, Michael Cole can make Josh Mathews shine. Mathews can make his snarky comments and be shot down by Cole’s overbearing attitude and they can be a highlight in commentary. Cole dismisses O’Neil and praises Curtis and even makes a MidCard Mafia reference. Cole may be the most hated man on commentary but he really does know what he’s doing out there. He proves it again that NXT is the place where Cole is best, because he can be crazy, goofy, or a complete jackass and it counts for naught because this is the place where you form your own opinions and the WWE is not forming them for you. Michael Cole’s overreactions to everything during The Wedding had me laughing so hard, the only man that had him beat this episode was Derrick Bateman.
3. Yoshi Tatsu & Trent Barreta vs. Tyler Reks & Curt Hawkins
Sure, we have seen this before, but they have a rivalry going on that works. This particular match has no build up ahead of time as most of the show goes to the Titus O’Neil drone promo and the wedding at the end, but that’s okay because the story has been progressing. The biggest plus on this match is that Reks gets the pin on Tatsu. I know, I am a bit biased, but honestly I love all four of these men. I am torn every time they step into the ring, but Reks needed the win more than Tatsu or Barreta did at this point and it made no one look weak. This is the most fun feud since Tyson Kidd and Yoshi Tatsu were fighting over an action figure!
As Elvis, the man who would preside over the wedding, stepped out I felt my jaw drop. No, it could not be, yes, it was! Matt Striker! “I know Elvis is supposed to be taller, but thank you very much. I’d like to thank Carrot Top, he ordained me, thank you, thank you very much.” “Are you all ready to see the lovely bride? Giggity giggity!” If that’s not your sense of humor, I apologize, but… seriously… words can not express how much I loved this.
1. The Wedding
Let us face it, there was never a doubt that this wedding was not going to happen, but damn did they do a great job capturing the hilarity of Johnny Curtis, Maxine, and of course Derrick Bateman. First Maxine can not understand who it is standing with Curtis, “This is Chad! Chris, Chris, this is Chris. He’s my best man!” Then Striker breaks character to exclaim, “Hang on a second, there is no one here that objects to this wedding?” Of course, there was someone who wanted to interrupt this wedding. “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIT! This must end!” This all culminates into a brawl between Bateman and Curtis with Maxine joining in and fish hooking Curtis. This has been my favorite episode of NXT yet, and anyone who knows me does know that I have been a fan of NXT since day one.
Three exciting matches took up the first half of Superstars this week. Drew McIntyre, Alex Riley, Epico, Primo, The Usos, Tyson Kidd, and Trent Barreta all make their appearances and show us what matches should look like.
There is not one match I could complain about. Alex Riley was my least favorite person on Superstars, and the more I’ve seen him on Superstars the more he’s grown on me. When someone I’ve come around to liking is my least favorite person on a show it’s likely a good sign.
The first match is Drew McIntyre against Alex Riley, and wow does McIntyre make his move set look brutal. This might have been my favorite match of the night just from the way the two of them worked this match and destroyed one another. It was also the perfect set up for Riley’s finisher that I’ve ever seen. Riley applies the finisher better than he has in the past and this becomes a match I would give an A grade to if I was grading.
The second match introduces the tag team of Epico and Primo who are in a stable now with Hunico. Epico and Primo are cousins and they do admit this on the show. Of course it’s hard not to notice as the two of them look like they could be brothers, not cousins. Epico and Primo get to show off their chops against The Usos, who are always energetic and alive within the ring. They come out to their dance where Scott Stanford comments, “The first time I saw that duo perform that dance I tried it myself and gave myself a black eye.”
This match is the one that surprised me. I was sure they were going to let Epico and Primo lose since The Usos have been receiving a good show lately on NXT (if anyone has been watching!). Epico and Primo are heels in a stable with Hunico. Logically I saw them losing. Imagine my excitement, and then my torn emotions, when they won. I could have gone either way with this match but it was good to see Epico and Primo pick up the win. When was the last time Primo won?
The last match of the evening was Tyson Kidd vs. Trent Barreta. Kidd and Barreta are an excellent main event to end an excellent showing of matches. Barreta was bound to lose, it was time to let Kidd pick up a win again, but I was not disappointed with the ending. These two know how to set up moves so every action looks fluid.
Now for the commentary section of the show, because you know I can not review Superstars without talking commentary. My favorite commentator in the world is on Superstars, I must mention what a breath of fresh air this man is on any show. Scott shows enthusiasm where others sound robotic and he makes it about the superstars while others make it about themselves. This man knows what he’s doing and others should take note.
As Scott mentions a line about something Zack Ryder had told him about his tag team with Primo really being over Josh quips, “He also said something like that on twitter.” Cringe. But we leave it alone. It was one twitter reference out of two matches, that really isn’t too bad.
Then we get to the main event, Tyson Kidd vs. Trent Barreta. For whatever reason Josh Mathews has taken Jack Korpela’s place alongside Matt Striker. Anyone who follows me on twitter knows of my dislike for Josh Mathews. He is robotic and a shadow of the commentator he sits next to. He has no real personality of his own and seems to find it difficult to keep up. I avoided complaining about him sitting next to the great William Regal on NXT but tonight he and Matt Striker go too far.
As Tyson Kidd and Trent Barreta are being introduced Striker and Mathews talk about John Cena and The Rock before noticing Barreta is almost to the ring. They mention Barreta for a moment before going back to John Cena and The Rock. Fine, we know that happens.
Before the bell rings to start that match Striker brings up twitter. All right, fine, we know they have to talk about twitter. We aren’t stupid.
One minute into the match, no mention of the match, just social media.
About two minutes in they mention the match as Kidd gets a hook of the leg, no pin, back to twitter.
Three minutes in and Mathews makes the comment of, “Trent Barreta looking to trend world wide right now!” as he got for a move to finish Kidd off. It does not work. Now the match has finally taken precedent. Three minutes in. The match last about four minutes.
Someone made the comment on twitter to Mathews, “I wish Josh Mathews didn’t have to ruin good matches by constantly harping about twitter. The performances deserve better. #Superstars” Mathews’ response to this was, “Really? Does anyone else see the irony in this?”
Someone hand the man a dictionary. Is it sort of funny that the person used twitter to complain about Mathews talking about twitter? Sure. Is it ironic? No. Three minutes of commentary in a four minute match should not be used to talk constantly about social media. Kidd and Barreta deserved better than that. Sadly, this is also one of those times where Striker goes to the bottom of my list as well. I usually enjoy Striker, but social media is not more important than the match in front of you. Make your reference and move on. We are here to watch wres- er, sports entertainment. We are not here for a lesson on facebook and twitter. We “internet fans” already know how it works.
Anyone who talks to me knows that I am a huge fan of the commentating in WWE. Why? Because the commentating can make or break a match. Cole often breaks them. Stanford often makes them. No one ever agrees on their dream teams so I figured a few of my usual smattering would discuss who they want to see.
I pride myself being of a short-term memory, so I will stick within the company of current commentators. This gives me the option of Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, Matt Striker, Josh Mathews, Jack Korpela, Booker T, William Regal, and Scott Stanford.
Well we know number one is Scott Stanford. Second would be Matt Striker. If I can pick a third I think I would sprinkle in William Regal. And all of them would commentate for Raw.
I choose Raw as their seat of power for one reason: these three men are the ones who put the superstars over. They tell the audience what is great, or faulty, with the superstars in the ring. Regal and his barbs are biting yet said in such a hushed tone that instead of sounding angry as he insults the superstar for the fifty-third time in an episode he just says a few words that are enough. If a few words and a hushed tone is all it takes to sell that the wrestler in the ring is a heel and deserves to be booed, why go over the top?
Matt Striker, to me, is a commentator who makes excellent calls of what is going on in the ring, I know because I have learned more from Striker over the years than most other commentators calling a move. He also is the best at transitioning between heel and face and advertisement. Striker will talk about the match then announce the next PPV in the same breath and no one really notices that he’s stopped talking about the match.
Of course saving the best for last is Scott Stanford. While Scott Stanford has proven he can talk to the audience about anyone and they pay attention, here he has his time to really shine. His goofy comments about a face will fit in perfectly and it would make him the loudest man at the commentary table, and he does it without screaming.
The Raw show needs three commentators who will make the wrestlers look better because despite being their main show and the one people watch it has the poorest structure for matches. If a superstar has three minutes to put on a match they deserve to have someone who will call this match like it should be called and give the superstars the attention they deserve.
My dream commentary team would be:
Matt Striker – I don’t care what people think of him, I think he’s ace. He actually talks about the match, puts over the wrestlers and doesn’t take himself too seriously.
CM Punk – Who can say they didn’t enjoy his commentary stint at the start of the year? It was absolutely hilarious!
As for the third, it’s a bit harder…
I enjoyed JBL on commentary, he just heeled on the wrestlers he didn’t like in real life and bigged up the ones he did. Mick Foley was good on commentary even if he didn’t particularly enjoy it. Wade Barrett is amazing on the mic and great in commentary on the odd occasion he joins the table, he also commentated for FCW when injured and I thought he was amazing. Kelly Kelly because I’m a male. No need for a microphone, she can just sit there.
(I also put into debate Scott Stanford) I’m not entirely sure what it is about Scott Stanford that makes me like him so much but he just has this kind of way of doing things, he always brings a smile to your face, whether it’s his jokes or his one-liners. He also actually commentates on the match and it’s always interesting listening to him. The ‘I was talking to X earlier’ stuff is always a joy to hear because it shows he actually cares and has thought about it enough to make up the fact that he was talking to X earlier! Although the things he says X said are often what they probably would say!
However I think I’ll plump for William Regal is also amazing on commentary, unbelievably hilarious and very relevant.
Between Striker, Punk and Regal you’ve got 3 guys who have been there and done it at various levels and various degrees of notoriety. Striker’s career essentially went nowhere, even though I thought he was a solid wrestler and played his heel gimmick well. Regal has to be near the top, or top, of anyone’s list of greatest wrestlers never to be World Champ. I’d put Perfect, Owen Hart and Ultimo Dragon up there with him (off the top of my head). CM Punk’s career has been a mixture of the previous two and then super-stardom.
Also you’ve got 3 guys who are funny, keep it relevant and don’t pretend they weren’t one of the dirtiest heels in the business (I like King, but he was 100x better as a heel IMO).
As for which show I’d put them on, I’m not sure. In fact, I’m not sure I’d even care all that much because they’d make whatever show they were on better IMO… So I’ll go for the BBC News!
There are only four commentators in the WWE I believe even try to actually put over talent these days. If someone is unwilling or unable to promote the actual talent in a positive way, I don’t want that person doing commentary. Therefore, the four people under any sort of consideration are William Regal, Matt Striker, Booker T, and Scott Stanford. I listed Scott last in order to build tension. Technically, there would be five, but I’m going to exclude JR who may or may not return to doing commentary at some point. Either way, I have a lot of respect for JR, but I don’t want to see him on Raw every week, so there’s no way he’s making my Dream Commentary Team.
I don’t have a strong opinion about which show the DCT should handle, but for the sake of argument, I’ll say Raw. I tend to prefer Smackdown, but Raw is the “flagship” show. In a world where I get to decide on who does commentary, I am confident that I could fix the other issues I have with Raw. If we’re going with a two man team, give me Stanford and Regal. Stanford’s one of two commentators the WWE has who manages to sound consistently excited about what his happening. Having someone who will be consistently upbeat makes everything more watchable. Besides, Stanford is better spoken and has a better voice than pretty much every other option here. His partner would be William Regal. This is a no brainer, since Regal is brilliant in every way. The only thing that could make me consider going with my next choice (Matt Striker) would be the possibility of giving Regal one last push as an actual in ring competitor. A Stanford/Striker team would be quite glorious in its own right, but I have to give the edge to Regal.
I’d be tempted to toss Booker T into the group as the third man, just for the hilarious Booker-isms that he pulls out so often. He’s also the other guy who is always excited, which is a plus. If I needed a three man team, I couldn’t go wrong with Stanford/Regal/Booker or Stanford/Striker/Booker. Stanford/Regal/Striker might work, but I have the feeling that someone would get lost in the shuffle.
Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon. On any show. Of course, that’s impossible. But that’s my perfect commentary. And since perfection can’t be achieved, I’ll simply deal with what they give us, although I’d love to put a dry cleaning bag over Jerry Lawler’s head with the instructions to “inhale deeply”, because his commentary makes me homicidal. While I like Booker as a performer and can respect him in-ring, I have commented on Twitter, jokingly, but offline, cringe when I turn closed captioning on. (I’m not deaf, lol. I sometimes use it so I don’t turn the TV up too loud so my son can sleep). Some of what Booker says does not translate kindly to CCTV, which makes me wonder exactly wtf the deaf viewers think. Example: Why would an Irishman have a “Bro Kick”? It’s brogue. I know a lot of fault will lie with those transcribing, but sometimes it is difficult to understand his commentary (beyond the quacking and things that just don’t..seem to fit into broadcasting schematics. But maybe it’s me. Again, idk.) I don’t hate Cole as much as I “should”, although I hate that they’ve put him in the ring. With as much talent as the rosters hold, you really don’t need him, nor JR, mixing it up in the ring. So..yeah. Gorilla and The Brain for me. Oh, let me just add one thing on Scott Stanford. Until he’s incorporated into a show and used *properly* on a routine basis, I think that WWE does a disservice to themselves. You’re paying a guy who’s won Emmys. Who the tri-state area knows from NBC. To quote the Y U NO guy:
WWE! Y U NO USE STANFORD RIGHT?
Last week I was losing faith in Superstars. This week it decided to renew it. That does not mean the show was less predictable because going in you knew who was going to win every match of the four, but the moves were more exciting, the commentary more interesting, and let’s face it, not having to see Triple H attacked again was dazzling. But, this is about the four best things of Superstars, so let us recap those:
4. The Bella Twins
Slinking their way down in the ring in sensual catsuits that make a man drool, The Bella Twins outshine their opponents in everything from appearance to style. The Bella Twins have stopped trying to be their own version of LayCool and decided to take a different approach. Sexing it up they turn it around in personality by being as childish as possible when facing Kelly Kelly and Eve. They put their finger and thumb up and out to make “L’s” at the girls, they give childish taunts of, “Nyah, nyah,” and one of the Bella’s covers her ears when Eve is screaming. It is a perfect position for these women. They seem to have found what they are comfortable with and instead of trying to come up with some over the top insults that fall flat the second or third time around they just go with the first thing that pops into their heads.
3. Air Boom vs. JTG and Primo
I asked two guys the other day when I started becoming such a JTG fan. They told me it was likely because I was watching him against Percy Watson and Titus O’Neil. After watching this match I’m convinced I’ve just become a JTG fan over time. Air Boom and JTG and Primo work fluidly together. Kofi flies high but seems to keep himself a little more in control of his moves while Evan does what he does best. But Primo and JTG both show that they can keep up with the fast-paced, high flying men in this match. Haven’t seen much of Primo lately? You know you miss him.
2. Cody Rhodes vs. Ted Dibiase
First off, stop whining that Cody Rhodes is on Superstars. Cody Rhodes is given a chance to get a win after he’s been fighting and losing recently. He does not even need it as it seems an entire regime is behind the man. Cody Rhodes is the opening match of Superstars and looks incredible. It’s not really a drop when he was featured on the pay-per-view just on Sunday. It’s an opportunity for this man to do moves that had me rewinding to watch it again. Dibiase works well with him and between the two they put on more than a decent match. We knew Cody would win, and still it was an amazing victory.
“Cody’s back might be disfigured!” – Korpela
“I’m just a loser who likes to conjugate verbs.” – Striker
1. Scott Stanford (and Josh Mathews)
I tend to put Scott Stanford at number one for good reason. He’s the best. The. Best. Don’t argue, you know it’s true. A few weeks ago though I complained that Josh Mathews did not seem to want to play along with Scott’s hilarity. In the weeks since Mathews has proven that he can keep up with Scott. His snorts of derision, his vocal hurts when a man is taken down, and his general attitude have seemed to have a facelift that is giving these two a run for best commentary team. And I could not be more glad of it. The two of them tell a story with every person who enters the ring and draw you in. I’m glad to see these two working together, and almost seemingly against Striker and Korpela. Now that could be an interesting commentary rivalry, if just because these four can do things with their barbed words without needing to embarrass themselves in the ring.
Scott has energy he was lacking in last week’s main event through their entire portion. The man can make exciting matches solid gold with his words and he sells two matches that people would not think they would want to watch as if they were main events on Raw. Yet better.
Scott Stanford’s best lines of the night:
“Welcome to the Raw portion of the program, that means the better looking duo.”
“This guy, JTG, is so fresh he sleeps in a ziplock bag.”
“JTG is so cool I understand that called him to play Fonzy in the remake of Happy Days.” Josh: “That is completely untrue.”
“I’m corny to say the least, going way back to Happy Days.”
“All I have to say is Holy catsuits, Batman!”
“How many people do you know that could come out in catsuits like that?” Josh: “Two.” Scott: “Nikki and Brie?” Josh: “Yup.” Scott: “I thought you were going to say Jack and Matt Striker but-” Josh: “They are the furthest thing from my mind as we prepare for this Diva Main Event.”
“The Bella Twins, let’s just call them the Sisters of Seduction.”
“Kelly, Rikishi style!”
“Marks, get set-” – Matt Striker opening up a challenge. I swear he said “marks”.
This weeks Top 4 is kind of jumbled together, but for good reasons. The stories and segments ended up flowing very well together. So first I give you the Top 4:
4. Tyler Reks vs. Yoshi Tatsu
3. Kaitlyn and AJ
1. Derrick Bateman
Now the reasons why it’s hard to separate these:
Number 4 isn’t as hard to separate. Tyler Reks comes out in his wrestling garb with Curt Hawkins who is sporting a cane that is stylish with his overall look. I am now wishing Curt Hawkins would just adapt the cane to be a permanent part of his look.
Tyler Reks says that as long as he is wrestling solo he will be taking out his aggression for Hawkins’ injuries during his matches. In comes Yoshi Tatsu, who needs new entrance music to go with this darker look. Tatsu is sans face paint again this week, which is a shame because even though it wipes off by the end of every match it is symbolic of him. Unless he wants to start wrestling in that mask he better bring back the face paint.
Tyler Reks is a surprisingly solid speaker for a man who looks like a surfing caveman. That is in no way an insult, I’m a fan of Reks, it’s just you come to certain expectations and when they are blown away it makes a person an even bigger fan.
Reks and Tatsu put on a solid match and look good fighting one another. This match alone could have been a reason to tune in to NXT, but then you have:
Number 3. Kaitlyn tells AJ she will get vengeance for her against Maxine and Maxine’s evil ways. Kaitlyn is still not as comfortable on the mic as she could be but she has grown since she began on NXT during season 3. Seeing her again and about to fight Maxine again had me taking notice, if just because their season 3 match was likely the worst match I had seen from two divas in a long while. This match was far beyond that match! Leading us to:
Number 2. Maxine loses her match to Kaitlyn when Kaitlyn smacks a submission on her that has me cringing just thinking about it. Despite this loss Maxine shines in character. She is Bateman’s partner, lover, and is a general upstart that despite being called “fish lips” shows she has skill and sex appeal. Maxine makes small appearances during Derrick’s bits on the show and has more personality than most divas would dare to show. Of course Maxine leads us right into:
Number 1. Derrick Bateman. It’s not secret I’ve become a huge Bateman mark since he returned to NXT Season 5, but this episode gives him the chance to show everyone else what I already saw in him. Personality: check. Skill: check. Timing: check.
Bateman starts off the show in a challenge. Oh no, Striker brought back the challenges? Only sort of as Bateman never really takes it seriously and gets himself disqualified, only to find himself having to face Titus O’Neil and Percy Watson in a tag match. But he’s left to find his own tag partner. He ends up finding that partner in JTG in a segment that had me rewinding to watch again. During this segment he talks to Kidd, Maxine, and then finally ends up with JTG. During all of it, and even through his loss, it’s hard to take your eyes off of Derrick Bateman.
Despite all of these reasons you are still refusing to watch NXT? Shame on you.