This week's "Superstars" was a little light on in-ring action, but does that mean it wasn't enjoyable? Find out what we thought of Zack Ryder, 3MB, Justin Gabriel and, our savior, Damien Sandow's work amidst the recaps - right here!
HuluPlus streamed the Feb. 7, 2013 episode of WWE Superstars to the interwebs. Everybody ready for mid-card madness? Grab the snack product of your choice and dig in with us.
Straight from the new/recently dusted off intro graphics and theme, we have our first combatant making his way onto the stage.
Zack Ryder still gets a good response. From the crowds at Smackdown tapings, anyway, if not the internet wrestling community (IWC). Tony Dawson and Matt Striker will be our guides through this
afterthought web-only piece of WWE programming.
Zack Ryder defeats Heath Slater (w/3MB) in approximately six minutes via pinfall
- The whole band is here, with Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal accompanying Slater in all of their leather-panted, air guitaring glory. We're not ever going to get a serious push for these guys, are we? I don't want them to be in the World Heavyweight Championship scene, but as a tag team under Freebird rules?
- A lot of time is spent hyping the iTunes status of the internet champion's new single, "Hoeski". Haven't listened, won't listen...the General's word is good enough for me. I'm glad it has such a classy title, though. We're told that this match was made because Slater got so jealous of Ryder's success that he attacked him backstage. Context is cool.
- When I first started recapping the HuluPlus shows, I gave Dawson a lot of crap. He's still not good, but he's showing signs of improvement. He does a little more than just schill WWE's social media presence, calls the occasional move correctly and gets excited at the appropriate time. Striker is regressing, however. He sings a little Les Miserables here (twice) and refers to TD as either his real name or by the name of Lou Albano's old tag team partner, Tony Altomare. I couldn't be bothered to rewind and confirm.
- Iced Z controls the action early, before Slater takes over the middle portion with punches and head locks. When the Long Islander mounts his comeback, it consists of a lot of drop kicks and face plants. I've never paid a lot of attention to Ryder's offense, but from this match it seems to be exclusivly focused on damaging his opponent's face.
- I get that 3MB are a comedy job squad, but, man, are they bad at the numbers game. The end comes when McIntyre accidentally clotheslines Mahal, throws Slater in the ring to a drop kick from Zack, the impact of which bounces the former chosen one from the apron and Slater right into a Rough Ryder.
Our first set of Raw recaps cover Punk's promo in its entirety and almost all of Miz TV.
"Silence the music, I am about to speak." Damien Sandow saves us, but I wish he could have done it before Miz's "interview" of Paul Heyman and Vickie Guerrero.
He discusses the amicable break-up of Team Rhodes Scholars, and serves warning to the entire singles division. I'm a little worried about this, as Superstars tends to be a 'faces always win type of show. But then they reveal that Justin Gabriel is already waiting in the ring.
Damien Sandow defeats Justin Gabriel in approximately four minutes via pinfall
- I really don't think Sandow has a bad beat to his character. The South African charges in at the bell, but the Enlightened One makes him wait so that he can properly remove his robe. I also enjoy how he appears to lose his temper during the match in frustration - like an arrogant scientist who knows his experiment should be working, but can't fathom that he may have made a mistake in his calculations.
- Striker verbalizes this by saying that Damien is known to study old tapes constantly while backstage and on the road. This lapse into being adequate at his job is rectified when he buries tag team wrestling by talking about how much more prestigious and lucrative it is to wrestle as a soloist.
- A fairly one-sided affair, Gabriel does get to show off some kicks and aerial attempts, even landing a Kofi-esque crossbody. WWE does like to de-push guys whose tag partners get hurt or suspended, and that could be what's happening here since this is the first I've seen of the former Nexus member since Tyson Kidd was injured.
- Sandow dodges a top rope attack, and then briefly targets the knees after Justin turns the miss into a 360° to land on his feet. A well-executed Terminus earns a three count and Sandow's solo career is off to a victorious start.
After a Superstars Reading Challenge video noteworthy for Brodus Clay telling a room full of nursery schoolers, "when I'm not on Planet Funk, I'm one of the biggest bookworms on Earth", the closing segment from Monday night is rebroadcast from Maddox's in-ring promo to the credits.
I loves me my Intellectual Savior, but five minutes of Sandow can't save this show from a D+ grade. Not enough wrestling, especially when the longer match is the lesser one.
How was it for you, Cagesiders? Were you as surprised as I was to see Sandow on Superstars? Let's hear from you!