In case you missed my proclamation last week, I am now combining Superstars and Main Event for the top 4s. Superstars has two matches a week and without Scott Stanford on it I can’t even fake a Top 4. I’ve wanted to write about Main Event for awhile and so they both suffer for being together.
I could not put the Kofi Kingston vs. David Otunga match onto the list. Where did Otunga’s abs go? No, that’s not the only reason why, though I must admit to spending more time watching his abs and wondering what happened than I did watching the match itself.
4. Brodus Clay & Tensai vs. Epico & Primo – Superstars
Rosa dances. Epico & Primo get treated worse than they deserve. And Giant Bernard goes to Lord Tensai, to Tensai, and now they are saying he’ll be called, “Sweet T.” This is an awkward pairing to say the least because it’s like they wanted another dysfunctional relationship ala Daniel Bryan and Kane without any of the chemistry or pizzazz of a good storyline. Adding insult to injury, they throw the match on Superstars. It isn’t a bad match, but it’s an odd match up with a few good spots that make up for the mess of the rest of it.
3. Mark Henry vs. Justin Gabriel – Main Event
Sure, we all knew Gabriel was going to lose. I mean, it’s against Mark Henry. What I didn’t know is they could actually put on a decent match. Gabriel is magic in the ring and he proves that even against a large man who doesn’t match his style he can show off his skills. He ultimately does lose, as we predicted, but he promises to give a good show and Henry, though losing momentum since his return and treated as another side character, still has enough of that old Henry that it makes him a star.
2. Cody Rhodes and Kaitlyn Flirting – Main Event
There is something about an awkward relationship that’s beautiful to see played out on screen. It’s cuter because Rhodes goes from this dashing character that could get any woman to a bumbling man who doesn’t know the right things to say whenever he’s around Kaitlyn. And Kaitlyn, with her quirky sense of humor, always comes off as if she finds everyone a bit intimidating or awkward to be around, which makes it more darling. Plus, you know, this seems to be leading to a continuous storyline. I like story that doesn’t disappear the next week.
1. Cody Rhodes vs. Sheamus – Main Event
At just over 10 minutes this match accomplishes everything it needs to, which is prove neither men has lost anything in the ring despite one being constantly left behind and the other falling into the moves of doom category of facedom. These two give a good pace and don’t overly use restholds to call for a slow spot. Probably going to be on my top 4 matches of the week. It helps that they give it a story and on Main Event it’s the one time the commentators try to concentrate on the story being told in the ring.
The reason I started writing these blogs a little over a year ago, besides to praise Scott Stanford and get his name out there further, was to let people see through my eyes the greatness I see in the little shows. Superstars and NXT mostly, as they were widely neglected, or laughed at. NXT has taken a turn where people are now pretending to care, even if they still aren’t watching, but Superstars… even I laugh at Superstars now. There is less than 15 minutes of wrestling on this episode, but the show itself lasts 46 minutes. They brought Main Event to being taped before Smackdown and don’t pretend to bother with Superstars anymore.
They seem torn, as well, of whether they want to actually put on a good show on Superstars by giving you people you might care about, or by giving you complete throwaways. “We were pushing 3MB, but we have Shield, and we can’t do two stables at once, so here’s a bit of them on Superstars just to appease the die hards.” Because that’s all that watch this show anymore, die hards. Hell, you have a lot of fans who just don’t bother with Smackdown anymore. They tell you it’s because it’s taped, but the amount of people who watch the live shows would tell you that isn’t the fact. People just aren’t that interested. So what’s going wrong?
But that’s not the point here. The point is I’m supposed to do a top 4. But they give me two matches to work with. Two! I hate the commentary (sorry Striker) so I can’t even try to put that somewhere on this list. I’m about to have to break down and put “Hey, it’s that ref” as #3 and “Damn that sign was awesome,” as #4.
But then you get Main Event, where they may only have two matches, but they have promos, and they have better commentary. I could pull a Top 4 out of that.
What’s the point of all of this, you ask? Next week I’m going to combine the two together and start a Top 4 that is about Main Event and Superstars. Because, really, how do they hold up against one another?
Thanks for listening to my rant and watch Sin Cara vs. Drew McIntyre on Superstars. Because even though you’ve seen it quite a few times before, these two don’t fail in the ring. At least against one another.
4. Matt Striker
Because, why the Hell not?
3. Zack Ryder vs. JTG
This match lasted a whopping 3:13 and did little for either guy. But they still went out there and tried. The commentary sucked. God, Dawson, I hate you, and did little to really elevate the men. Pointing out JTG competes “sometimes” didn’t really help him in any way or the interest for the audience.
2. Kofi Kingston vs. Michael McGillicutty
Hey! Something decent about this show! I’m not even a big fan of Kingston, but it was still a good match. Kingston knew he wasn’t hitting Trouble in Paradise at one point, and it was obvious in the way he pulled the kick, but otherwise good flow. There were dead spots but it wasn’t overly filled with rest holds. The aggression on McGillicutty’s face helped fill the spots where Kingston was laying there in wait.
1. Scott Stanford
Screw you, I don’t care he wasn’t on the show. This is Scott’s place and Tony Dawson doesn’t deserve it. Yes I’m biased, but I’m biased because Stanford has always been my favorite commentator since he first showed up on Superstars. There is a reason I’m behind him 100% and it’s not because he follows me on Twitter. The man deserves his spot back instead of making me listen to Tony Dawson on not only Superstars, but NXT. What’s the reasoning? They never gave Scott a chance, or even tried to pretend they were going to do anything with him, and now they take him off? What, they think he’s gotten stale? Screw you, WWE, Scott remains my #1.
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.
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.
I left off one match quite easily this week, unlike the last time I wrote a blog. They decided, “OK, we have enough for four matches, but only if the match is about two or three minutes.” This is the wrestling show. Granted, The Usos vs. Rhodes Scholars was a main event, but take it down from 10:55 to 8:55 or 9:55 and give those spare minutes to the match that lasts two minutes. Granted, the 2:08 match was Tensai vs. Yoshi Tatsu and to be honest, even I didn’t want to see if and I’m not a notorious hater on either of them. They just wanted to say, “See, we don’t hate Tensai, but we do hate Tatsu.”
4. David Otunga vs. Michael McGillicutty
This is only 4 because 3 was allotted a good amount of time. I think if they had been the same length I would have gone with this match over the other. McGillicutty changed nothing about his style in the ring as he went at Otunga as a face instead of a heel, which is a blessing, really. Why can’t a face be aggressive in the ring? Why do they need to be changed? It’s like saying you must be weak to be good. Anyway, that’s a different rant and against my point. McGillicutty is awesome here. Otunga finally gets some time to shine in the ring and not be the loser in a match. That’s also nice.
3. The Usos vs. Rhodes Scholars
Striker, Striker, Striker, PLEASE stop overdoing it on your being some sort of intellectual commentary savior when Sandow steps into the ring. (See, I don’t just hate when he does it with Scott, because now he’s paired with Mathews). Striker could ruin Sandow further for me if he keeps this up. He takes a high road approach and makes everything seem like a secret only he knows and like he’s doing something wonderful by explaining this to an audience he believes isn’t listening to him. Then mentions the great continuity of The Usos because they’ve been brothers for over 25 years, which has to be something that goes against his intelligence.
Why the rant on Striker for this? Because I was not a huge fan of Sandow, I don’t think he fits the character, but Sandow is still a great athlete. But listening to Striker go on about Sandow’s intelligence when I should be enjoying the wrestling makes me want to root against them both. However, Rhodes, Sandow, and The Usos do their best in the ring and for 10:55 beg you with their athleticism and talents to watch what they can do. Oddly, the highest point of all of this is the very end, after the recap and The Usos are gone, when Rhodes pulls Sandow into a roll and Sandow makes his cartwheel that way. It was clever, it worked as a tandem, and gave a glimmer that maybe these two will stay together. And despite the fact I ranted about Striker, he did note these two were writing a book on etiquette together that made me wish for Dashing Cody Rhodes again.
2. Wade Barrett vs. Tyson Kidd
They give Barrett a 5:58 match on Superstars against Kidd, a match that honestly has to be one of my top 4 this week, but on Smackdown they give him 1:46. Superstars has become the place where they sort of practice wrestling, for your pleasure, while Raw and Smackdown are all about the plot and you are lucky to get half of the show as wrestling. Of course, to be honest, you are lucky to get half of Superstars as wrestling when you have 10 minute recaps of AJ Lee. Anyway, considering Barrett’s new style of wrestling I wondered how this would come out with Kidd. Amazing is the answer. If you watch Superstars for any one match, it has to be this one.
1. Scott Stanford
The enthusiasm! The voice! The ability to tease himself when he makes a mistake. Stanford’s ability to enjoy every moment of every match is unmatched and he makes every Superstars sound exciting. Despite the fact that he’s sitting there looking at a computer screen, with the sound of his voice you can picture the enthusiasm that would be shown if he was standing cheering (in one particular instance, when it looked like Kidd was going to win). He treats every match like a main event and truly always sounds like sitting there commentating two matches a night is the place he wants to be more than anywhere else.
Scott Stanford’s best lines of the week:
“Ceated? How about created? I like it better with the ‘r’.”
“He (Kidd) goes to work now with those dangerous feet!”
“Kidd lighting up this crowd here on Superstars!”
“Love him or hate him, David Otunga, the complete package. You have to respect the combination of brains and brawn on this guy.”
“People can knock Otunga all they want, tell me how many lawyers will give out free legal advice on twitter?”
“If I looked like that I’d never walk around with a shirt either.”
“Getting sued, he’s your dude.”
“Locked in jail, can’t make bail, Otunga’s your guy.”
It’s never a good sign when you’re completely willing to leave off the main event with no qualms about it. Well, there you go. Funny that Superstars came up about a minute short of NXT’s wrestling time, but NXT had better matches for the most part AND storytelling. (and more matches). Somewhere WWE is tripping over itself when Superstars airs to just shove all of the commercials and recaps they possibly can in 45 minutes while appeasing you with perhaps 22 minutes of wrestling. I’ve complained about this before and I am going to continue to complain about this. This is the wrestling show, but it has four matches, around five minutes apiece (with the Smackdown matches having one suffer so the other can be longer) and then overloads you with recaps and ads. Another ten minutes of wrestling and less recaps would make this a better show. I get they need to sell their product, but darn it, don’t do it at the expense of good matches. I’m not even asking for more than four matches, four is a nice amount to showcase talent, but give them a bit longer.
If you don’t know, the main event tonight was Usos vs. The Prime Time Players. So after I rant about not enough wrestling time I am leaving off the match that did take place the longest amount of time (7:48) because damn, Titus, just no.
4. David Otunga vs. Tyson Kidd
Tyson Kidd usually makes it to the top of my list on any show he’s been on, but he’s against Otunga, who is stiff. It’s hard to have someone like Kidd work against someone who has a hard time being smooth in the ring. I’m not taking away from Otunga but Otunga at times reminds me more of physique and brains. He does his best, though, and his best is good enough for an entertaining match.
3. Ted Dibiase vs. JTG
I’m disappointed this wasn’t Dibiase’s return back. Having him return in the Battle Royal was great, but while many guys who return from injury get that instant push, or at least some story, they had Dibiase return and be the third one thrown out in the Battle Royal. This was a much better showcase of Dibiase returning. JTG is a great opponent to wrestle against if you want someone to look good. While the man is terribly underappreciated for the talent he has he manages to make others look great. That takes talent. Dibiase’s return isn’t quite a full recovery, he has a bit of “ring rust” still, but it’s good to see that the beats he’s missing shouldn’t cost him too heavily. Entertaining match with immense talent.
2. Jinder Mahal vs. Drew McIntyre
Drew McIntyre. As a face? That’s the only thing I can garner from this match, other than he’s an incredible talent. McIntyre loses some of his aggression and comes out with the trademark smirk, but even with a small tilt in that smirk it goes from superior to nearly friendly. His hair isn’t in a tie, there’s no tearing it out to show his frustration, it’s simply wetted back. The subtle changes are enough to show that this might be a change for McIntyre. I don’t care, just give McIntyre SOMETHING. The man is one of the most talented in-ring performers, stop wasting him. Yeah, this match pretty much made it to best match of the evening because of Drew’s changes and that I’m holding onto some hope.
1. Scott Stanford
It may start to seem arbitrary at this point that I have Scott Stanford at number one, but there’s a reason I do it, and it’s not just because the man is incredible and a big part of my WWE experience. It’s because as a commentator he’s terribly underappreciated for the work he does. He interviews every superstar to learn aspects of their lives to bring to the commentator table. He makes an actual emotional investment in the men and women out there. He does the same on this episode, and every episode, but instead gets relegated to about 15 minutes of on-air time. Does he let it show? Never. He goes out and sells these athletes and you do not even realize he’s doing it. Face or heel he has something to say about them, and while Regal gets all of the respect in the world for doing the same thing, Scott is underappreciated. #ScottStanfordForSmackdown
“JTG is so fly when you hang out with him after 11 it’s considered a red eye.”
“Reverberated throughout the arena! How did Mahal get back up?”
First, 23:46 of match time is better than previous weeks, but it’s spread out between 4 matches where 19 minutes of match time usually went to 3. That pretty much covers the extra match. Still, there are another 23 minutes of on air time that is filled with ads and recaps and entrances. WWE is delusional if they believe you are watching Superstars but have somehow missed RAW and don’t plan on catching it again.
Second, I asked for four matches so I could leave one off, so I could actually choose the better matches, and then WWE gave me what I asked for. You know that whole, “Be careful what you wish for?” I was having a rough time choosing which match to leave off. I know for many of the TWC this would be easy, because Riley is hated among the internet, but leaving Riley off this week feels wrong, but in the end I had to. In any other week this match could have been in the top spots because Alex Riley showed more character than smiling heartthrob and Sandow showed an incredible amount of skill, and still, it was the weaker of the four matches. That’s not even saying anything bad about the match, though. Not with what they are up against.
4. Antonio Cesaro vs. Justin Gabriel
Ah, you have to love (hate) when USA chants start and none of the men are from the US. I just consoled myself with thinking they were cheering for the US champ and decided to let it go (mostly). The match itself was good, unlike the other three matches of the night these two took it a bit more seriously. Riley and Sandow may have had on “serious face” but the matches were fun. This match was calculated, but not in a slow moving way. This was two athletes putting on an entertaining match for the crowd, and doing a great job of it.
3. Layla vs. Natalya
I laughed at this match, and not in a, “That was so bad it was funny.” Layla and Natalya go out there and engage the audience. Natalya whines and yells at Striker for laughing at Layla’s antics, and even throws a tantrum when she loses. It’s a great way to build her character, or give her character since the divas do not get enough story time, and she embraces the time she has and makes it her own. Layla dances in the ring, smacks her booty (and is called a great role model for young girls just moments before this) and genuinely looks excited to be out there. Layla and Natalya are just pure fun in the ring. It’s hard not to like these two.
2. Kofi Kingston & R-Truth vs. Epico & Primo
Continuing the streak of having fun while out in the ring, Epico and Primo start playing entertaining points, including attacking Little Jimmy. Despite the crazy antics it never takes away from the athleticism that is displayed between the ropes. These four have perfected the way to entertain on a show like Superstars, where in-ring is key to displaying character, talent, and passion.
1. Scott Stanford
As usual, when the story isn’t in the ring Scott Stanford is telling it on commentary. He’s teamed up with Striker again this week, which I prefer, but I still think Striker needs to tone it back a bit. Striker on Smackdown was good and had fun, when he’s out there with Stanford he appears to be competing which takes away from the flow. Scott Stanford is never one to get deterred, though, and keeps up the enthusiasm. It’s also fun to see them taking clear sides once again, with Striker continuing to praise Sandow for his intelligence and Stanford coming right back with why Riley is the entertaining man in the ring to watch. Sandow did win that match and Stanford quirked to Striker, “Come on, sit down, does he deserve a standing ovation?”
I really, really, REALLY want Superstars to go back to being 4 matches instead of 15+ minutes of advertisements and recaps and less than 20 minutes of wrestling. The show was only 38 minutes long! About 18 minutes of that should not be recaps. There is plenty of time to have put another 5 minute match in there. Also, if there was another match, perhaps I wouldn’t have the same Top 4 every week. Sure, Scott would continue to be at #1, but I could give a better nod to the three matches on top and throw one to the wolves. It would mean more. As it is I’m throwing three matches on here and thinking in the future I might stop making it matches and start making it individuals again. That’s for another week, though, because I actually did enjoy all of the matches this week.
4. Alex Riley vs. Jinder Mahal
Riley and Mahal are the stars of Superstars of late. If you don’t get one, you get the other. So I’m sort of “meh” watching them fight each other. I’ll be the first to admit the two have come a long way from their early days, but I keep seeing the same thing in the ring. It’s starting to turn into a Cena or Orton or any top face match where you see the same move set over and over and over and… Is it bad? No, they have a good grip on what they are doing. Is it good? No, we’ve seen it before and all sort of want to see something different. They need different opponents. And Riley, honestly, needs to keep that explosive attitude he comes out to the ring with when he’s in the ring. I know he slowed down so he would not have the mistakes he once did, but now he just seems methodical when wrestling. There needs to be a mix of charisma and power, not just one or the other.
3. Ryback vs. Johnny Curtis
Okay, sure, we knew Ryback was going to win, but since I’ve started recording Ryback matches this has been his longest to date. And against Curtis. Who looked incredible in the ring against the big guy. Curtis knew how to play it off while staying in character and made for a highly entertaining 3:33. See, Ryback can win AND still put on a wrestling match. Hint, hint.
2. Epico & Primo vs. The Usos
How could this match not be the best match of the show? Not much I can say about the Usos I haven’t said already, this week, but it’s good to see Rosa back to dancing and Epico & Primo back in action. It will be interesting if Vince doesn’t forget there is a tag team division for awhile and these two teams, along with the others, get a chance to shine for at least a few months.
1. Scott Stanford
Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Okay, that was yesterday, but happy birthday to you! What, do you need more of a reason than the day Superstars aired was Scott Stanford’s birthday to have him as #1? Maybe some of his best lines from the week will help convince you.
“This tag team division is absolutely flammable right now.”
“We are livin’ la vida Rosa.”
“And if you’re scoring at home right now that is Jimmy Uso in the ring with that fairly new Samoan Tribal arm sleeve tattoo.”
“Usos asked me if I had any tribal tattoos of my own earlier today.” “And?” “I showed them an airbrushed unicorn on my ankle from a county fair earlier this week. Nothing special.”
“Tribal, no. Temporary, maybe.”
“Always having a terrific time with social media. We’ll see if he has a … terrific time here against Jinder Mahal.”
“I’ve never seen a man get more marriage proposals than Alex Riley.”
“That’s gonna do it… No!”
This week all of Superstars was taped before Smackdown, which gave us a team of Matt Striker and his condescending Cole-isms and Scott Stanford and his love for everyone and ability to let negativity roll off his shoulders. Unfortunately for the show there was too much recapping, with nearly 8 minutes of recaps or ads for things that are airing later in the week. There was 19:38 of actual match time (I count from bell to bell, entrances and conversation are not counted into the match time). Considering the show was 39 minutes long there’s still about 12 minutes I didn’t figure in. Probably more on air ads.
4. Damien Sandow vs. Yoshi Tatsu
A lot of people called this a squash, however I think Tatsu had a pretty good offense for the bit of time he got to show it off. Sandow was going to win, that was clear, and Tatsu’s treatment is absurd in the company, but I’m glad to see him in the ring. He helped make Sandow look even better. Still not the best match of the show, but decent enough.
3. Alex Riley vs. Drew McIntyre
Drew McIntyre comes out looking stylish in the new jacket from last week, but the ending of this match is already predetermined. Superstars is no longer just about good matches and having quick rivalries (believe it or not, just a year ago, it was even if there was no given plot). Superstars is about putting over the guy they are going to push or want to make sure you remember. Unfortunately, it’s not Drew, though Drew looks incredible in the ring. I’m not taking away from Riley, Riley’s come a long way since his ended quick feud with Miz, but I’m ready to see something for McIntyre again. Great match that didn’t flow the way you would have expected it to, which is always a plus.
2. Cody Rhodes vs. Justin Gabriel
Before the match started Gabriel and Rhodes had a sort of smile off. Rhodes wanted to prove that he could get a better smile and crowd reaction and told Gabriel to watch him as he climbed up onto the ropes and did his smile. I love both guys so I was at home just cheering like a fan girl all by my lonesome. Was a sad moment for me, but the match itself made up for it. Great match where the two never truly slow down, which is what I like to see. Ultimately, predictably, Rhodes wins and no one is surprised.
1. Scott Stanford
This week Striker and Stanford took more opposing sides while calling the matches, especially for the first and third match (Scott seems less capable of taking a side when either Riley or McIntyre are out there, more so against one another). It made it interested to see Scott clearly playing the face announcer instead of being enthusiastic about everyone and everything, though he still never truly has a horrible thing to say about anyone, making him the ultimate face announcer. Still, as Striker took repeated barbs at Scott and Striker tried to talk himself up as much as he did the matches (though Striker did give a good reason for Rhodes and Gabriel’s continued feud) Scott is the one I always feel the need to praise. Scott doesn’t seem to be affected by the negativity and in fact pokes fun of himself, making it harder for Striker to continue. Scott gets better every week.
A few of Scott Stanford’s great lines of the week:
“When you look up the term Shot Out of a Cannon you see a picture of A-Ry.”
“What’s wrong with excited and happy? Just look at the guy.”
“Two words we always use to identify Drew McIntyre: Ruthless Aggression.”
“A-Ry, he’s got him done!”
“Talk about explosive! That’s the word I love to explain Riley!”