TV REPORTS CALDWELL'S WWE SUPERSTARS TV REPORT 12/31: Complete coverage of Flexin' & Ballin' vs. Swagger & Carlito, Haas and Benjamin in action
Dec 31, 2009 - 8:00:40 PM
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WWE Superstars TV Report
December 31, 2009 - Week 38
Taped the Week of December 28
Report by James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor
The WWE show started with Raw announcer Michael Cole welcoming us to the New Year's Eve special. He said this is where he wants to be on New Year's. Cue up Jerry Lawler for a retort, then out first to start the show was Divas champion Melina from a match taped on Monday before the injury on Tuesday. Alicia Fox is the opponent here.
1 -- Divas champion MELINA vs. ALICIA FOX -- non-title match
Alicia tried to run away from Melina early on, but Melina chased her down on the stage. Melina dragged her back down the entrance ramp into the ring, but Alicia cut her off back in the ring and went on the attack. Melina made her comeback and they went to the finish where Melina hit a sunset flip bomb near the ropes for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Melina in 5:00. Fine match. They stretched out the match length with Alicia running away mid-match and WWE gave them ample time in the ring (compared to two minutes on Raw) without the time constraints of hitting time cues on a live Raw. (*)
After the match, the announcers plugged the main event coming up later in the show, followed by an "Ask the Divas" segment.
In-ring: Shelton Benjamin came out first for the ECW brand's offering tonight. First time Shelton has wrestled on WWE TV since the TLC PPV. Ringside, Josh Mathews and Byron Saxton were shown on-camera to intro the match, leading to Vance Archer coming out. Vance threw in a new wrinkle with his ring entrance: slowly rolling his wrists. Yes, this is what could make or break a heel in WWE with these cookie-cutter characters.
2 -- SHELTON BENJAMIN vs. VANCE ARCHER
Mathews and Saxton tried to give us some storyline background on Archer that he was "discovered in Japan" by ECW GM Tiffany and it appears Archer has a "devious secret" that he doesn't want to share. Well, that's something. Archer went to work on Shelton and they had the ringside audio up to catch some of Archer's trash-talking. Shelton then came back with a turnaround splash off the corner turnbuckles before ducking a clothesline to drop Archer with a bridging German Suplex for a two count. Shelton tried a cat-like leap in the corner, but Archer cut his legs out from under him and hung Shelton upside down in the corner to wrench his neck back. Shelton then slapped Archer across the mouth, which led to Archer snapping. Arch pounded on Shelton in the corner with multiple kicks and stomps, and the ref reached a five count for a DQ on Archer. Post-match: Archer grunted and hit his sweeping reverse DDT to KO Shelton.
WINNER: Shelton via DQ in 4:00. The focus was on getting over Archer's offense, intensity, and cartoonish heel mannerisms usually reserved for the perpetrator on Law & Order or CSI. Shelton, meanwhile, has slowly moved down the ECW ladder - excuse the pun - after being booked to lose the ladder match to Christian at the PPV. It's the classic start/stop Shelton push that has defined his singles career. (*)
Backstage: They showed Cryme Tyme walking down the hallway in preparation for a tag match.
Raw video plug: Voice-over man with the heavy hard sell - "This is the Monday Night Raw you can't miss." The same Raw video preview from ECW TV focusing on Bret Hart's "shocking return," Chris Jericho's Raw career on the line, a tag title match, and Orton vs. Kofi.
In-ring: Cryme Tyme came to the ring, prompting some self-deprecation from Todd Grisham and Matt Striker, who playfully mocked Vince McMahon's "throaty" name pronunciations. "We're going to make a man out of you," Striker told Grisham in his McMahon voice. Out as their opponents were Mike Knox and Charlie Haas, who hasn't been on WWE TV since October 2. Haas was sporting a beard and white trunks. No mask for this "regular ol' Charlie" incarnation. Grisham also referenced Haas's former tag partner, Shelton Benjamin, in the previous match.
3 -- CRYME TYME (SHAD GASPARD & JTG) vs. MIKE KNOX & CHARLIE HAAS
Cryme Tyme took control on Knox early on, then Haas provided a distraction on Shad allowing Knox to spear Shad in the left knee region. Dr. Knox began dissecting the knee before taking in Haas for a half-crab with an ankle twist. Nice hold. Shad eventually grabbed the bottom rope for a break, then Haas went back to work on Shad's lower extremities. The doctor returned and attacked the knee, then Shad kicked Knox away and finally tagged in JTG, who cleaned house. JTG hit a facebuster on Haas out of the corner, but Knox broke up a pin attempt. Shad then clotheslined Knox to the floor and Haas superkicked Shad's knee to eliminate him. Haas turned back to JTG, who dropped Haas with his swinging necktie drop - the Shout Out - for the pin and the win.
WINNERS: Cryme Tyme in 5:00. Fine tag match. Just a showcase for Cryme Tyme while also getting Charlie Haas back on TV. Knox doesn't win matches, so the outcome was rather predictable ahead of time. (*1/4)
Superstars Video Profile: Batista. It's about him, not you. ... Announcers: Raw's Cole and Lawler were shown on-camera and Lawler had a throwaway line that 2009 was about changes for Batista. Cole then introduced the Raw Rebound focusing on the interaction between Sheamus and Cena from Monday night, including Sheamus retaining the WWE Title via DQ and KO'ing Cena to close Raw. ... After the Rebound aired, Bret Hart's music played, leading to Jerry Lawler plugging Bret Hart guest-hosting Raw on Monday.
In-ring: MVP came out first and alone for the main event tag match. Cole said fireworks are always a big part of Christmas...er...New Year's Eve. Lawler said Cole's stuck in a time warp. Main event is up next.
In-ring: Some new music hit to bring out Chris Masters with Eve. The new music is one of those generic "clashing rock sounds" from the Jim Johnston collection. Carlito then came out first for the heels, followed by Jack Swagger. Meanwhile, Eve took a seat ringside near Cole's side of the announce table and Lawler posed a question to Cole whether his pec is moving. Moving along.
4 -- MVP & CHRIS MASTERS (w/Eve) vs. JACK SWAGGER & CARLITO
MVP and Carlito started things off while Cole and Lawler talked about Masters being a new man since his pecs started dancing. Swagger entered and worked over MVP, prompting discussion of Swagger "going toe-to-toe" with John Cena on Raw two weeks ago. MVP then set up Swagger for his ballin' blow drop and he connected. Swagger rolled to the floor for a breather, but MVP caught him with a plancha. MVP was in control, prompting Cole to shout: "Flexin' and Ballin'." Oh man, that's going to stick as a tag team. Let's get a break.
Jim Ross's voice was back on the air describing John Morrison's "sizzle" in a Superstars profile video coming back from break. After another "Bret Hart returns to Raw" video aired, they went back to the main event where Swagger had MVP in a hold on the mat. This has been pretty much all MVP vs. Swagger thus far. Carlito then came in at 8:00 to work over MVP. Lawler promptly filled time by equating women to cell phones. Swagger then came back in and slapped Masters before going back to work on MVP, who teased a hot tag. Lawler filled time this time around by talking college bowls. He told Cole to enjoy the Rose Bowl, not the Punch Bowl this time.
Masters finally got his hot tag at 10:00 and the crowd popped. Never thought that would happen. Masters press-slammed Carlito, who was legal, then Masters flexed his pecs and slapped on the Masterlock for another crowd reaction. Swagger then broke it up, but he took a spin in the Masterlock momentarily before MVP clotheslined Swagger and himself out of the ring. In the confusion, Carlito caught Masters from behind with the Backstabber for the pin and the win, which took the air out of the arena and did not meet Eve's satisfaction.
Post-match: Swagger celebrated with push-ups in the ring, then Swagger and Carlito headed out of the ring for individual celebrations. MVP was upset on the floor, but he told Masters it was all right. They'll get 'em next time. One final shot of Swagger and Carlito celebrating closed the show.
WINNERS: Swagger & Carlito in 12:00. Solid tag match, as Superstars seems to bring out the best of tag action in WWE. The ending was exactly what you're looking for as a wrestler with the crowd reaching its crescendo of emotional investment before the heels pulled the rug out from under everyone with Carlito scoring the win. WWE smartly limited Masters's exposure in the ring with MVP taking most of the reps during the match, but Masters could be a nice babyface attraction in 2010 based on the crowd reaction here. He's very limited in the ring, but they have something with the dancing pecs and the Masterlock, which is one of the most over signature moves in WWE. They just need to do something with that generic new ring entrance music. (**)
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