We open on this, the first time I've seen it on a WWE program, and for some reason that makes it feel more real.
See you in the next life, Mr. Moody.
The Usos are almost to the ring, so if they got to do their Samoan war dance, we won't get to see it. It seems like the last time I saw these guys, they were primed for a push. Maybe even to become the elusive babyface tag team that would allow Hell No to drop the straps. Then they disappeared for a month and now they're on the HuluPlus C Show again.
While we're on the subject of the false bill of goods we all bought last year about a renewed focus on the tag division, here comes Damien Sandow! He and his best friend can not allow the tomfoolery represented by Rikishi's sons to pass for entertainment any longer.
Cody Rhodes thanks his former partner (he's welcome) and announces that tonight they will treat the audience to a "reunion of sorts" between "an amalgamation of talents" known as Team Rhodes Scholars.
This was great, and I hope that this becomes part of their gimmick - they're broken up but they keep coming back together because our edification requires it.
But W. T. F. is going on with the pairs scene?
Team Rhodes Scholars defeat The Usos
in approximately six and a half minutes via pinfall
• Jimmy and Jey waste no time running through their repertoire. The intellectual savior of the masses gets pinballed around the ring and then nailed with a tandem elbow drop. A tag to Cody draws a bunch of moustache humor from Jey, like holding a few strands of his hair over his lip. I found it as unfunny as Rhodes did, and the crowd seemed to agree.
• Our "get the action to the floor so we can break for commercial" set-up this match is dual baseball slides by the twins as Sandow and the dashing one discuss strategy at ringside. They try to get their call and response "Ooh - Zohs" thing going, but either this crowd sucks or they are just not in to this match. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the way WWE presents tag teams...
• The heels take control when Damien "falls" onto the ropes to rack Jimmy as he sets up for an aerial assault. Both members of Rhodes Scholars are so good at the little things; seeing them flounder around like they are right now makes me a sad mark.
• After a few minutes, Jimmy gets the hot tag. This eventually leads to cool team move that Matt Striker calls the "Alley-Oos" - one of the twins pops Cody up into the air and the other catches him on his shoulders for a Samoan drop.
• Sandow breaks up a pin attempt and gets kicked out of the ring head first for his trouble. But Rhodes uses the momentary distraction to hit Jimmy with the Disaster Kick for the win.
Yay! Rhodes Scholars won...a meaningless match on the internet show nobody watches but me. There's no reason these teams couldn't be feuding for the straps. Now I'm sad and grumpy. Thanks, Superstars.
Rock - Cena segment from Raw is replayed, followed by the highlights of the Brock Lesnar - HHH brawl from two weeks ago and Hunter's promo from the 4th.
Layla defeats Tamina Snuka
in approximately five minutes via pinfall
• Didn't Tamina used to run with The Usos?
• Maybe WWE could get BET or Univision to pick up Superstars? It's certainly become the home for wrestlers of color.
• Sorry, I don't have a ton to say about the match. It's a decent showing, but not spectacular and it has no point. We haven't even seen the Divas champ on television in...I don't know, have we seen her on Raw or Smackdown this year (not counting standing around in group shots)? Why should I care that, as announcers Tony Dawson and Striker keep telling us, Layla is fast and Snuka strong?
• That's pretty much the story of the match, too. Some additional psychology is brought in to play after Superfly's daughter hits the former Heat (Miami, not Sunday Night) dancer with a throat strike and Layla sells it with some labored breathing. But that doesn't keep her from executing the patented babyface Diva roll-up!
As has become the pattern, Superstars closes with the same thing Raw closed with - the conclusion of the fourway between Big Show, Randy Orton, Sheamus and CM Punk, with Undertaker coming out for a staredown with Punk to take us out.
I'm giving this one a C-. The matches weren't bad, it was the context and lack of consequences that killed it. Everybody involved was doing good work and deserves better.
Anybody out there still hopeful for a resurgence of tag wrestling in WWE? Will we ever see a meaningful Divas feud again? Does everything outside of the main event seem directionless, or am I just a cranky old smark?