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JAMES'S WWE SUPERSTARS REPORT 1/26: Kofi vs. McGillicutty main event, Kidd and Beth Phoenix turning face?

Jan 26, 2012 - 10:38:33 PM
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WWE Superstars report
January 26, 2012
Taped 1/23 & 1/24
By Justin James, PWTorch contributor

superstars_3.jpg

1 - TYSON KIDD vs. JINDER MAHAL

Wait, who's the heel here? Are they perhaps turning Tyson Kidd face?

Mahal sends Kidd to the corner after an early lock-up. After the break, he mouths off. Kidd with a waistlock, but Mahal powers out as Matt Striker talks up Kidd's "dedicated following." Mahal with a wristlock, but Kidd springboards off the ropes and arm drags Mahal to escape. On the outside, Kidd with a cannonball roll off the apron and he hand slaps fans ringside. It's confirmed, this is a face turn for Kidd.

Back in the ring, Kidd gets a two count, but Mahal goes on the attack in the corner. Mahal gets a two count off a neckbreaker, then a butterly suplex for two. A few vocal males chant for Tyson Kidd as Mahal grounds him with a quarter nelson. Mahal uses knees to cut off a comeback, but Kidd transitions Mahal's suplex into a lateral press for two. Kidd armdrags while running the ropes and lands some kicks and a basement drop kick. Kidd uses speed to control Mahal, then does an innovative springboard reverse sunset flip into a cover for two. You had to see it to believe it.

Kidd dropkicks Mahal's knees out, then lands a springboard guillotine leg drop. Kidd to the top rope and tries a moonsault, but Mahal dodges and follows up with a slam to the ground. Mahal settles into the Camel Clutch and Kidd taps after a struggle.

WINNER: Jinder Mahal via submission in 6:00. Good match. Tyson Kidd is just stellar, and Mahal worked very well with him. I am a fan of Mahal's in-ring work, as I think he brings a good martial arts feel to the matches that sets him apart from the rest of the roster. I'm not sure if a full turn for Kidd means much since he was never a strong heel and his last face run was weak as well. Kidd is a perfect example of someone who could really benefit from a manager, valet, stable leader, etc. to act as a mouthpiece. His in-ring work is quite likely Top Five in WWE, but he just hasn't found his groove as a character to take him to the next level.

[ c - Royal Rumble ad ]

Replay of the tail-end of the Ryder-Kane match with the post-match follow up from Raw.

2 - BETH PHOENIX vs. BRIE BELLA (w/Nikki Bella)

Wow, Beth Phoenix still exists! Where has she been? What happened to "Pin-up Strong?" Is she still a heel? Pre-match, Scott Stanford talks up Beth Phoenix's crusade against the Barbie dolls, so I guess she is still a heel.

To start, Bella shoves Phoenix, so Phoenix shoves her down to the mat, and when Bella pops up, Phoenix levels her with a lariat. Phoenix with elbows, atomic drop, and a side slam for two. Phoenix with a corner splash, and when she tries to follow up with a splash on the ropes, Nikki pulls Brie out of the way, causing Phoenix to get tangled up and fall down. Bella with a bulldog and stomps to ground Phoenix. Bella chokes Phoenix on the ropes and covers for two. Bella tries to stomp Phoenix on the mat, but Phoenix catches the foot.

Phoenix with some power offense, but Bella with a neckbreaker for two. Bella with a rear chinlock and Phoenix calls to the crowd for help. Phoenix stands up with Bella on her back, rams her into the turnbuckle, and then sets up a slingshot suplex. Phoenix calls for the Glam Slam, but Nikki gets on the apron, so Phoenix shoves Brie into Nikki to clear her out, then when Brie bounces back, catches her and lands the Glam Slam for the win.

WINNER: Beth Phoenix in 3:00. Fun match. I think the Bella Twins are the only main roster Divas with a truly well defined character; others have it, but they aren't "main roster." Who doesn't love them some Beth Phoenix? WWE has a problem handling her character, because fans want to cheer a winner, and she's a dominant winner. Without letting her destroy the Divas division a la Mark Henry, WWE just can't keep her heel. Pretending she's just a monster face instead of a monster heel is a good choice, and would explain why she's been off TV for a while, to let fans forget "Pinup Strong."

WWE's "Royal Rumble by the numbers video" aired.

3 - KOFI KINGSTON vs. MICHAEL MCGILLICUTTY

McGilicutty with an arm drag as the announcers noted that Kingston was McGillicutty's NXT Pro. McGillicutty still in control. Kingston trips McGillcutty and lands a standing senton splash that looked like a botched Boom Drop for a one count. Kingston with an armbar, but McGillicutty gets him to the corner. Kofi with an elbow to take control and a pendulum kick and a big crossbody gets two. Kingston with work on McGillicutty's arm. McGillcutty gets sent over the rope and Kingston ends up landing a suicide dive leading to break.

[ c - Royal Rumble ad ]

Kingston still in control back from the break, but McGillicutty turns it around with a neckbreaker through the ropes to get two. McGillicutty with more offense. Kingston finally turns things around with a kick to McGillicutty's head. After they recover, Kingston starts his usual comeback sequence. After a Boom Drop, Kingston looks for Trouble in Paradise, but McGillicutty ducks. McGillcutty tries a dropkick but Kingston sidesteps and knocks him to the mat.

Kingston with the SOS, but McGillicutty grabs the rope. McGillicutty hot shots Kingston on the rope and does the worst imitation of Edge's Spear warm-up I've ever seen. Kingston ducks his move and they trade counters and Kingston lands the Trouble in Paradise off the ropes for the win.

WINNER: Kofi Kingston in 11:00. Michael McGillicutty just does not put together interesting matches. He has potential, but he needs to internalize two major points. First, he is not big enough for a slow, plodding offense to be believable or create enough visual effect to let the audience ignore the slow pace. Secondly, he absolutely needs to develop some signature moves. The fact that his finisher is a fancy neckbreaker is symbolic of the fact that his skillset feels very "wrestling school 101" - punch, kick, dropkick, arm drag, and neckbreaker. He needs those trademark combos and signature moves for the audience to invest in his matches and see him as anything more than a generic face on the screen.


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