TV REPORTS CALDWELL'S WWE SUPERSTARS REPORT 4/16: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of debut edition on WGN
Apr 16, 2009 - 9:30:30 PM
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By James Caldwell, PWTorch.com assistant editor
WWE Superstars TV Report
April 16, 2009 - Week 1
Taped the Week of April 13
The show started with a video package with the "Vince/Shane WWF Invasion" rotating split-face graphics. Cue up the "WWE Superstars" graphics, then live to the arena for the debut of Superstars. Jim Ross was the first voice we heard, then Todd Grisham plugged our opening match.
In-ring: The Undertaker's music hit to start the show. First time he's been on cable TV since WrestleMania 25 against Shawn Michaels. After Taker's lengthy entrance, Matt Hardy came out to face Taker.
1 -- THE UNDERTAKER vs. MATT HARDY
Hardy ran into a clothesline early on. Hardy told Grisham before the show that he doesn't anticipate being intimidated by Taker tonight. Action moved to the floor early on where Hardy took a hard whip into the guardrail on the floor. Back in the ring, Taker clotheslined Hardy back to the floor. Stay down, Black Cloud! Cut to break.
[Commercial Break. First-ever commercial on Superstars was a DVD spot for "The Wrestler." 15-second spot for the DVD release on Tuesday.]
Back to WGN where Taker choked Hardy in the corner, then chased the ref away. Taker wanted the chokeslam, but Hardy blocked with a neckbreaker for a two count. Ross pointed out it was a smart move by Hardy to work on the neck to pick up the WrestleMania spot where Taker cracked his head on the floor against Michaels. Taker then came back with a running clothesline in the corner, followed by a second one. Hardy fed into snake eyes and took the big boot before Taker dropped a leg for a two count. Taker teased the chokeslam, but Hardy wisely ducked to the outside. Fans booed that move.
Hardy took a powder, then grabbed a steel chair. Hardy dropped it on the floor, then waited until ten to tease getting back in the ring. But, instead, Hardy just waited on the outside to be counted out. Suddenly, Jeff Hardy stormed ringside and attacked Hardy on the floor. Jeff slammed Matt into the guardrail, then Matt tried to run back into the ring, but Taker was waiting for him. Taker grappled Matt and down he went with the chokeslam. Ouch. Jeff raised his hand with a mini-victory and Taker stared down at his prey.
WINNER: Taker via count-out in 10:00. Fine singles match to start Superstars. Nice build to Jeff vs. Matt at Backlash and a good return match for Taker to look dominant. Good start to the show. (*1/2)
Backstage: They showed a split-screen of Finlay and Christian leading to their finale in the ECW Title Elimination Chase.
Ringside: Josh Mathews and Matt Striker of ECW (non-)fame were shown ringside. They cued up the high-intensity video package on the high moments from WrestleMania 25. Hey, look, it's MIA Shawn Michaels.
In-ring: Christian came to the ring for the #1 Contender match against Finlay. Finlay then came out with Hornswoggle, who was drafted to Raw on Wednesday, but the match was taped on Tuesday.
2 -- FINLAY (w/Hornswoggle) vs. CHRISTIAN -- #1 Contender match to ECW Title
A little feeling out process early on, then Finlay knocked Christian to the outside and rammed him into the ring apron. Back in the ring, Finlay applied a headlock. Christian escaped, then they had a series of standing exchanges. No one could sustain offense early on, then Christian pulled out the Killswitch to win the struggle. He slowly rolled Finlay over and made the cover for the clean pin and the win.
Post-match: Christian did the belt-around-the-waist motion toward Finlay, who came to his feet and extended a hand to Christian. They shook, then Christian clapped it up for Finlay. Swagger vs. Christian signed for Backlash for the ECW Title.
WINNER: Christian in 5:00. Quick TV match, but a nice mid-match struggle for offensive control. Looking forward to the build-up to Backlash on next week's ECW TV. (*)
Ringside: Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler welcomed us to the premiere edition of Superstars on WGN. They plugged Triple H vs. Randy Orton on Monday night. They threw it to Eve Torres backstage and she brought in Shane McMahon for a pre-match interview. Shane said without Cody Rhodes, Randy Orton never would have been able to take out his family members. So, retribution starts tonight.
In-ring: Cody Rhodes came out first for the main event. Shane McMahon then danced out for a match against Cody. Well, this should be interesting.
3 -- SHANE MCMAHON vs. CODY RHODES
Shane bobbed and weaved with right hand blows, so Cody went into a fighting stance to take more blows to the mid-section. Cody finally got a kick in to the gut to knock down the non-wrestler. Shane came back with a clothesline, though. He followed with an armdrag, of all things. Cody then ducked out of the ring to take a breather while selling his left arm. SuperShane then followed on the outside and rammed him into the ringpost. Cole tried to cover for Shane having all this offense that he's so driven by revenge that he's punishing Cody with an aggressive attack. Yeah, okay.
Back in the ring, Shane went back to work on the left shoulder and Cody rolled to the floor again. Shane then rolled to the outside and ran off the ringsteps with a dive onto Cody. Back in the ring, Cody caught Shane off guard with a bump off the apron into the guardrail. Cut to break with Cody now in control.
Back from break, Cody went to work on Shane's back, including a Camel Clutch. Shane tried not to submit, then he wanted the John Cena power-lift into the electric chair and he rammed Cody into the turnbuckle. Pretty good ring presence for Shane, who then took an elbow to the gut and bulldog from the second rope for a two count. Cody then went to the floor and grabbed a steel chair. Heel theme of the night, apparently. Ref yanked the chair away, so Cody went back to the punches. Cody played too cocky, though, so Shane rapid-fire punched him before stomping a mudhole in him. Ref reprimanded Shane, who then walked into a toss through the ropes hard to the floor.
Fans implored SuperShane to recover, then Shane jabbed him in the gut with a steel chair to earn a DQ. Shane then took the chair to Cody's back. He wanted a chair shot to the head and he connected to the side of Cody's head. Not a clean blow, but a stupid move with the chair shot to the head. Just stupid. And annoying. Shane then wanted the coast-to-coast dropkick with the trashcan on Cody and he connected. Cole effectively reinforced the point (did I just write that?) that if Shane gets his team DQ'ed at Backlash, then Randy Orton wins the WWE Title.
WINNER: Cody Rhodes in 12:00. Actually not that bad of a match. They also effectively played up the storyline for the main event title match at Backlash. Of course, the chair shot to the head was just plain stupid in 2009, but what are you going to do? It's SuperShane, in all his glory. (**)
Final thought: Fine debut show. The purpose of this is going to be reinforcing the main storylines on each show, at least for the time being until it (hopefully does not) becomes Sunday Night Heat redux, but if they can maintain some star power, incorporate mid-level stars needing exposure, and deliver some decent action, this could be a viable "alternative" show during the week.
We welcome your 0-10 score and comments on this show for a "WWE Superstars Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of PWTorch.com. To contribute your thoughts on Superstars TV, click here.
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