What's this? An edition of WWE Superstars on HuluPlus that's enjoyable and well worth your time?
Well, I thought so, but I may have just been relieved that it was 100% Great Khali-free. Thursday nights longest running episodic internet streaming pro wrestling show (I don't know that this is true, but I'm on the hype train and don't want to get off) returned on Jan. 31st with several of its recurring cast of characters. And giving them more than two or three minutes a match worked wonders for me.
That and the aforementioned lack of Punjabi Playboys.
We have an opening graphic this week, and it's the usual slickly produced effort we expect from the folks in Stamford, CT. It's a slot machine effect with half of different wrestler's heads rotating up and down the screen before we head into the usual montage open. Was this the intro when the show aired on WGN?
The Superstars theme song is "Invincible" by Adelitas Way. I had to look that up. The reason I looked that up is because a repeating lyric in the song is "I'm invincible tonight", but for weeks I have convinced myself it was "I'm invisible tonight". And, though wrong, I still think that's a more appropriate sentiment to set the table for the show.
The Usos defeat Epico and Primo in approximately eight minutes via pinfall
- Jimmy and Jey out first with their full tribal war dance entrance. Didn't that go away for a while? After it's finished they do the "we say 'Oo', you say 'Zos'" call and response thing that looks to be pretty over with the WWE Universe.
- Epico and Primo appear with heat magnet Rosa Mendes as Tony Dawson and Matt Striker welcome us from the announce table. I went on a bit last week about how much I enjoy Rosa as a heel valet/manager, and I'll just say that the more I see of her the more I believe her to be really good at her job. The fact that she reads my mind and quickly yells at the commentary team to shut up doesn't hurt.
- Striker says that this will determine the number one contender for Team Hell No's tag team championship, but later backtracks and says it may have implications for the title picture. Regardless, with International Airstrike grounded due to Tyson Kidd's injury, I don't see another babyface team on the horizon. And it's probably defecate or get off of the toilet time on Rikishi's boys. I still don't know what happened that caused the Rhodes Scholars to fall down the rankings, but they can get back in the mix if good guys stay on top.
- Both teams play their roles well. The Usos have a lot of fun, high energy dual attacks, and the Colóns distract and cheap shot like the dirty no-goodniks that they are. The twins seem to be integrating some of dad's more fun bits into their act; there's a point here where one of them moonwalks away from the corner after having his head slammed into the turnbuckle. It surprises Primo and gets a laugh from the crowd.
- Standard back and forth before the rudos take over when Jimmy reaches over the ropes to retrieve an evasive Primo and gets an illegal head kick from Epico for his efforts. Jimmy gets stomped for a while before both teams make tags and Jey and Carlito's little bro are in for the finish.
- Rosa attempts to interfere, and Jey does a good job impersonating her signature dance to infuriate the latina. Primo tries for a backstabber, but the Uso holds the ropes to counter and lands a superkick. He tags in his brother who nails a Samoan Splash for the victory.
- Much of the affair had an Usos vs Rosa vibe that continues with back and forth taunts as Ms. Mendes helps her boys up the ramp.
This week's "Did You Know?" informs us that the WWE Twitter network has 40 million followers, lead by Dwayne Johnson's 3,962,776. So Rocky has 10% of the roster's twitter fans. Exhibit G in the case of why The Rock is WWE Champion, your honor.
Our first replay is Cena's time from Raw on the 28th, starting with his squash of Cody Rhodes. I still marked out for The Shield's beat down, although a repeat viewing reminds me how great a job the faces did of selling their offense - especially Sheamus, who acts like he's been murdered after being thrown around on the floor. I'm also reminded again to ask "Where is my guldurn Shield merch?" Who wouldn't buy a black shirt with a cool logo on the front and BELIEVE IN THE SHIELD on the back?
Next up is the Rock and CM Punk portion of Raw. Second viewing thoughts on this are the same as the first; it is what it is. Both guys do what I expected them to do, with the level of skill I expect from them.
Kofi Kingston defeats Michael McGillicutty in approximately four minutes via pinfall
McGillicutty occupies this weird space on the roster. He's a mid-card veteran type on NXT and a bottom of the barrel guy on the main shows. Not exactly a jobber, but, I guess at this point "enhancement talent" does describe his position.
He's had an alignment turn in the developmental program, but he still seems to be a heel-leaning character here. He kisses a plus-sized female fan on the head during his entrance to a good reaction from the crowd, but loses his temper and has to be warned by the referee for excessive striking a couple of times during the bout.
- This is a rematch from the Jan. 17th show, but that's not mentioned. It's a fast-paced, well-executed showing from both guys. Mr. Intensity (they may have stopped calling him that, but I'm sticking with it) does a sick spot where he hurls Kofi into the ropes and then gets major elevation to drop kick him in the face when he bounces back.
- Kofi does his thing, and gets a lot of air under the reverse top rope crossbody to really make it look sharp. A nice sequence of grappling counters leads to the end, as a frustrated McGillicutty shoves Kingston into the ropes and he uses the momentum to hit Trouble in Paradise and get the W.
They re-air the Royal Rumble Fan-Fest package that I saw last night on their other Hulu production. For folks keeping up with WWE's philanthropic pursuits, the video shows Sheamus doing Make-A-Wish work, Brodus Clay, Ted DiBiase and Cameron at a Be A STAR pep rally and the Funkasaurus, Alicia Fox and Hornswoggle at a Reading Superstars event.
We're taken out with the Raw Replay version of the segment that closed out Monday night's show. For all the editing, the make sure to include a clip of Punk denying any involvement with The Shield prior to the Rumble and Brad Maddox asking Heyman to make sure Punk knows he won't make any more trouble for them from Vince's found footage. Either they're trying to mislead us or they want to make sure we get that Punk was in on it. I know which one I'm expecting.
Superstars earns a solid B grade from me this week. The re-aired stuff is always the cream of the Monday night crop. You're going to see it a million times if you watch Main Event and Smackdown too, but you can always skip it online. This episode also gave us solid matches, and the tag team tilt might even be important for the overall storyline of that division.
What say you, Cagesiders? Who's going to watch it? Anybody have a catchy name for a Michael McGillicutty fan club? Discuss any or all of it with yours truly and your online wrestling buddies below.