The edition of WWE Superstars that was released on HuluPlus on Jan 24th was clearly designed to hype the upcoming Royal Rumble pay-per-view (PPV). The vast majority of its runtime was spent on replays of the previous Monday's Raw, and the two matches featured wrestlers who, while not officially entered in the Rumble match as of this writing, are near locks for one of the 30 spots.
As is the norm on Superstars, we come in on an entrance without any show dressing. It's the Punjabi Playboy, his little buddy Hornswoggle and Natalya. As if that wasn't enough to make me question if this is really something I want to spend my time on, Tony Dawson chimes in to introduce himself and his broadcast partner, Matt Striker.
The Great Khali defeats Epico in approximately two and a half minutes via pinfall
- Epico is accompanied by Primo and Rosa. Ms. Mendes doesn't really float my boat based on physical attractiveness, but I think she's really good at her job. She knows when to call attention to herself and turn up the shrill; when it's time to act sexy and when to heel it up. That she puts so much effort into escorting a B-show tag team is commendable.
- Natalya, on the other hand, looks lost. And I don't blame her. She's (with Beth Phoenix gone, pretty much inarguably) the best female worker on the roster, yet she's had a flatulence gimmick and now she's hanging with a giant and a little person because...well...no one knows. Including her, based on her blank smiles and forced high fives with Hornswoggle.
- I'm not writing about the match because it consisted of Khali chopping Epico, giving him a two-handed choke slam and getting the W.
There's some good work by the rudos post-match, as Primo grabs a microphone and interupts the Indo/Canuck/Leprechaun dance party to say that he doesn't know how the big man beat his cousin as "that guy is pretty much unbeatable", but he'll take him out right now. This is a little weird, since the non-cornrowed half of the team refused to help when Rosa urged him to during the first contest. But...let's do this.
The Great Khali defeats Primo in approximately three minutes via pinfall
- Epico is epically selling on the floor - he's spread eagle and non-responsive and remains that way for the duration of the match.
- Remember when Primo was one-half of the first unified tag team champions? How 'bout when Primo and Epico were champs for almost four months just last year?
- Primo gets in a little bit of offense by grounding the big fella with attacks on his lower half. But that only serves to prove that Natty and 'swoggle can't do "worried". Khali regains control with a chop from his knees. His version of a big boot catches Carlito's brother in the mid-section, and a couple more chops wraps it up.
- The most suspenseful part of the match was wondering if TGK could get down to the mat to make the pin.
Dance party, for reals this time.
The next 30 or so minutes of the show is Raw clips. First, CM Punk's promo from early in that show. Next, the close, with John Cena's (taken from when he got serious and vows to win; the rambling "comedy" bits were edited out), the multiple entrances and mini-brawl.
Kofi Kingston defeats JTG in approximately three and a half minutes via pinfall
- Seriously. When these two were announced, after the first "matches" on this show, I was asking myself how much I wanted this job.
- Dawson says that JTG calls himself "The Flyest Man in the Universe". Many attempts at jokes about this follow, as well as things pretending to be wit that compare the former Cryme-Tymer's claim to Kofi being able to actually fly.
- I've left the announcers alone because, hey, they have to sit through this too. But they're kind of trying to get people to buy the PPV here, and at one point Striker asks Dawson about his favorite memories of the Rumble. Tone-Loc (as Matt refers to him) immediately replies "talk about the rules of Rumble match". Maybe they can't hear each other throught the groans of the crowd?
- JTG seems to be a fan of Cena's in-ring stylings as well as his jorts; his offense is a lot of strikes and shoulder blocks. Kofi puts on the same match we've seen from him a million times before, except at no point is there a mention of his inner feline.
- Trouble in Paradise earns the victory in a match that seemed designed to give the commentators a chance to talk about Kingston's handstand spot at the Royal Rumble last year.
The last portion of the show is the Paul Heyman, The Rock, The Shield and Punk segment from Monday the 21st. It's the best part of Superstars and better than I remembered it from Raw. The MLK Day cheap pop/heat bits didn't bug me as much this time. I am super-psyched for the WWE Championship match Sunday. I love when they turn me back into a mark.
Oh yeah, this show. I guess it's still a D. I'll pass it based on Epico, Primo and Rosa just trying so damn hard. But it's largely a couple of babyfaces sleepwalking through squashes, so I can't recommend it either.
What about you, Cagesiders? Any interest in this week's helping of Superstars? Who would you like to see get some exposure on a show like this? Hash it out in the comments, and stick around for more Royal Rumble insight and analysis right here at cSs!