While I'm still not sure where WWE Superstars fits in their programming strategy, a new episode showed up in my HuluPlus queue yesterday evening (Jan. 17). And for about a third of its 45 minute run time, it offered up new professional wrestling matches.
Kofi Kingston did his thing in a contest against Michael McGillicuty. We were also treated to a Zack Ryder/JTG dust-up. The new content was surrounded by a half an hour of clips from the 20th Anniversary episode of Raw that aired this past Monday, the 14th.
As was the case last week, our first combatant begins his entrance before there is any hint of the announce team. This is one of many wrinkles to Superstars that at first seems like a fresh approach, but when they start to add up, seem more like the result of nobody caring or paying attention.
Kofi's pyro is nothing but vapor by the time Tony Dawson and Matt Striker introduce themselves.
Kofi Kingston defeats Michael McGillicutty in approximately ten minutes via pinfall
- They're continuing to push "Mr. Intensity" as a moniker for Mr. Perfect's son, something that started on NXT and that Cagesider ReverendKain convinced me was a good way to acknowledge his lineage. Unlike on NXT, he's clearly working heel here. Striker points out something I've been waiting years for someone to mention - that McGillicutty bears a striking resemble to the quarterback of my Pittsburgh Steelers. Maybe someone will finally run with my idea for his character to be a date rapist who is overly dramatic about his injuries.
- Dawson informs us that Kofi's new nickname, the majorly over with Cageside Seats' regulars, "Wildcat", was given to him by his Twitter followers. In case you needed any more reasons to hate WWE's fixation on social media, or the WWE Universe at large.
- The match itself starts off with grappling, arm drags and hip tosses. They pick up the pace and I'm reminded that MM moves pretty well for a big guy. Kingston hits his typically impressive springboard 360° to the outside, but Michael recovers quickly and lands a head kick from the apron as we go to break.
- We're back with a stretch where the bad guy is in complete control. Mr. Intensity brings his usual array of knee drops, elbows and basic slams. I like Striker on commentary because he does try to explain the match psychology, but on Superstars he tries too hard and talks about things that are never developed by the wrestlers. He does that by talking up a hip injury when McGillicutty misses a charge into the corner, and it never comes up again.
- The finish comes after a boom drop starts Kofi's comeback. It's interupted briefly by a nice spot where Kofi launches himself off the middle of the top rope into a dropkick from the former tag team champion. Michael can't do anything more though, and after dodging one Trouble in Paradise, eats another one before eating the pin.
There's a bumper that asks us, "Did You Know" that Raw is older than Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? Yes, I did, because I can measure the passage of time. But it gives them an excuse to mention and imply their superiority over their beloved social media, so, good for you, WWE!
A ten minute recap of the Cena-Ziggler steel cage match is shown, broken up by a commercial for the WWE mobile app, followed by ten minutes of Miz TV with Ric Flair. Antonio Cesaro almost saves the latter. And if that's not a testament to his powers, I don't know what is.
Zack Ryder defeats JTG in approximately four minutes via pinfall
- JTG has been employed by the WWE for 5 years, 249 days, 14 hours, 57 minutes and 44 seconds as of this writing.
- Dawson talks up the end of Z: True Long Island Story. Striker is talking about how Ryder annoys him in one breath, then mentioning how much he respects him in the next. Like I said, I get the impression that they're just winging it out there for this show.
- JTG stomps out Ryder for about a minute to begin their tilt. There's an interesting move where the former Cryme-Timer catapults Zack from the top turnbuckle face forward from his shoulders like an inverted electric chair driver. Not sure if it was a botch or not, but he headbutted the back of Iced Z's head on the landing. It looked like it could be concussion-inducing for one or both, but neither seemed too fazed.
- Ryder takes control by side-stepping a charge and slamming JTG's face to the mat. A Broski Boot only earns him a two count, but he lands a Rough Ryder soon after for the win.
The show closes by airing the Rock Concert segment from Raw, starting from when The Rock called Vickie Guerrero out, until the pull apart brawl with CM Punk.
This show earns a D, as in "dud", from me. The Kingston-McGillicutty match was decent but unspectacular, and Zack Ryder's win was just a delayed squash. I'm not sure why they pack the show with content that is available several other places (Hulu even suggests some of them on the same screen you stream the show from), but from the promotional spots they seem to see some synergy here with their more tech savvy consumers. Maybe we'll finally get an official internet champion?
What do you think, Cagesiders? Anything make you want to seek this show out? Is there anything they could do to change your opinion?