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JAMES'S WWE SUPERSTARS REPORT 12/22: Tag champs in main event, Riley vs. Hennig, Gabriel vs. Slater, FCW call-up gets a name

Dec 23, 2011 - 9:55:32 AM
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WWE Superstars Report
December 22, 2011
Taped 12/19 & 12/20
Report by Justin James, PWTorch contributor

superstars_144.jpg

1 - JUSTIN GABRIEL vs. HEATH SLATER

[Q1] A few days ago, my wife asked me where "the belly flop guy" was. I didn't know she meant Justin Gabriel until she imitated the way he sells his ribs after the 450 splash. According to Matt Striker, these two are fighting because Slater asked a girl out and she went to dinner with Gabriel instead. The two trade a bit of offense until Gabriel slows it down with an armbar. Slater fights out and they trade some more offense. Slater gets frustrated with his inability to put Gabriel away. The commentary feels really off, like perhaps they scrapped what was taped and replaced it with post-production work.

Slater retains control with his plodding attack. Slater's good at working an audience to get some heat, though. Gabriel finally turns it around and sends Slater tot he outside with a huracarana and Gabriel leaps over the top rope in a flip dive, rolls Slater into the ring and hits a springboard crossbody for two. Gabriel with a side Russian leg sweep and sets up for the 450 Splash, but Slater dodges. Gabriel charges Slater in the corner, but Slater gets a boot up. Slater heads tot he second rope but Gabriel kicks him mid-air and flapjacks him into the ropes. Gabriel with a 450 splash that the cameraman catches right up-close to get the win.

WINNER: Justin Gabriel in 7:00. Slater isn't great on offense, but he can work a crowd. Gabriel's the opposite, his offense looks good but he doesn't pull the audience into the match. It's not a good sign for Gabriel that my wife (representing the casual viewer), who used to really like him, can't even remember his name anymore.

[ Commercial Break ]

2 - EZEKIEL JACKSON vs. HUNICO (w/Camacho)

Donnie Marlow from FCW was given a name this week - Camacho. Jackson is growing some hair, which makes him look a bit older. Hunico has a great projection of thug-arrogance. Early lock-up, which Jackson wins. Hunico hides in the ropes. Hunico surprises Jackson with a kick to the shin, but Jackson cuts him off. Jackson grabs Hunico's arms, but Hunico uses it as leverage to kick Jackson's chest, then dropkicks a knee. Cover gets Hunico two, but the kickout sends him outside. Hunico goes back to the offense, but a single punch stuns him.

Jackson punches him again, then gorilla presses him up and down to show off, then drops him to the mat. Jackson with a pair of clotheslines in the corner, then the bodyslam sequence. Jackson sets up for a powerbomb, but Camacho distracts Jackson letting Hunico escape. Jackson charges Hunico in the corner, but gets tripped and lands face first into the turnbuckle. Hunico with a springboard mule kick. Jackson rolls into the ring a bit more and Hunico lands his Swanton Bomb finisher.

WINNER: Hunico in 5:00. Hunico looked good, Jackson looked bad. The distraction for the win was a bit typical as far as heel tactics go. Just once, I'd like the face to ignore the distraction with the attitude that a guy on the ringside yelling at him is less important than the person in the ring.

[ Commercial Break ]

3 - ALEX RILEY vs. MICHAEL MCGILLICUTTY

[Q2] They have a trial lockup, break, and jaw at each other a bit. McGillicutty controls with an armbar, but Riley reverses into an armbar of his own. McGillicutty gets a rope break. McGillicutty kicks Riley to the ground and beats on him a bit, but Riley lands an arm drag to turn things around. Riley with Ten Punches followed by a faceplant for two. Riley lands a clothesline to turn it around. McGillicutty with feet then rips off Sheamus with clubbing blows while Riley is tied up in the ropes, then pulls Riley through the ropes to land a neckbreaker for two.

McGillicutty with a side chinlock while the crowd chants "We Want Ryder." Riley tries to fight out but McGillicutty with a dropkick for two. McGillicutty with another chinlock. Riley fights out but McGillicutty sends him tot he outside. Riley surprises him with a dropkick when McGillicutty climbs through. Riley with a comeback, ends up with a spinebuster and then the Final Score for the win.

WINNER: Alex Riley in 6:00. Alex Riley is a keeper. His in-ring work is decent with potential for more, and his mic work is good. I don't know what McGillicutty brings to the table - it feels like he went to the JTG school of wrestling, which isn't a compliment.

[ Commercial Break ]

Raw Rebound. I actually really liked this one, for a change. Tons of focus on the three young, sub-230 lbs. champs. and went straight to the tag match. No one in this Raw Rebound has been with WWE more than a few years, and most have only been prominent in the last 1-2 years. That's incredible. Even a few weeks ago, I never thought I'd see this.

4 - WWE tag champions AIR BOOM (KOFI KINGSTON & EVAN BOURNE) vs. CURT HAWKINS & TYLER REKS - non-title tag match

[Q3] Bourne and Hawkins start off. Hawkins makes fun of Bourne's size, but Bourne surprises him with speedy kicks. Bourne with a quick huracarana and tags Kingston in. Kingston with a dropkick for two. Hawkins puts a knee into Kingston to turn it around and brings Reks in. Kingston surprises Reks with a neckbreak, but Reks turns it right around with a bodyslam and blows on the mat. Kingston with punches from the ground to get back in the game, but Reks sends him to the corner and tags in Hawkins. Quick offense and Reks comes back in.

Reks charges, but Kingston with a pendulum kick and a cover for one, dropkick and Bourne tags in. Kingston holds Reks for a double footstomp. Bourne kicks the hamstrings and covers for two. Kingston tags in and they hit a double bulldog. Kingston calls for the Trouble in Paradise but Reks rolls away and Hawkins tries to ambush Kingston, but Kingston throws him over the rope. Bourne and Kingston hit dives off the turnbuckles simultaneously.

[ Commercial Break ]

Reks back with power offense and slows things down with an armbar. Bourne is looking for a tag as Reks punishes him. Bourne slips out and hits a knee to the jaw, then goes to the top rope. Hawkins moves in to interfere but Bourne jumps to the apron to elbow him off. Reks kicks Bourne as he comes back into the ring. Reks with a grounding offense and tags Hawkins in. Hawkins with a suplex for two. Reks comes back in. More offense and a chicken wing from Reks. Reks with a gutbuster of sorts for two. Hawkins comes back in. Hawkins continues to keep Bourne immobilized and near the corner, and hits his odd bodyslam, which gets two. Reks comes back in. Repeat of an earlier sequence, with Bourne slipping out of a bodyslam and landing a high knee.

Double tag and Kinsgton comes in with his typical hot tag moveset. Hawkins counters the SOS but Kingston comes back with his springboard turnaround high crossbody for two. Kingston with a Superman punch and the Boom Drop. He looks for the Trouble in Paradise, but Reks grabs his leg. Hawkins tries to follow up but eats an SOS. Reks breaks up the pin, then hits Bourne who tries to come in. Bourne lowers the rope when Reks charges, so Reks goes out of the ring. Hawkins runs at Bourne, but gets a kick to the back of the head. Kingston with the Trouble in Paradise, then he tags Bourne, who gets Air Bourne for the win.

WINNER: Air Boom in 10:00. I like the skills of both Kofi Kingtson and Evan Bourne, but they put on the most formulaic tag team matches around. Every cliche is there. It's wearing thin, and if the TV audience saw as much of it as I do on Superstars, an Air Boom match would be the signal to head to the bathroom.


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