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JAMES'S WWE SUPERSTARS REPORT 3/8: Kofi vs. Dolph buzzworthy match worth the hype, DiBiase injury match, Slater vs. Gabriel

Mar 8, 2012 - 10:40:34 PM
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WWE Superstars Report
Taped 3/5 & 3/6
Report by Justin James, PWTorch contributor

superstars_28.jpg

1 - JUSTIN GABRIEL vs. HEATH SLATER

Slater lounges in the corner to demand some space, then celebrates after escaping a headlock. Slater's getting some great crowd involvement here. Gabriel with an armbar, but Slater uses a fireman's carry to escape. Gabriel uses a test of strength to draw Slater in for a wristlock. Gabriel turns up the speed a bit, and a powerslam gets two. Gabriel with more wrist and arm control. Slater gets some space, but Gabriel blocks an armdrag and transitions into a monkey flip. Armdrag into an armbar and Gabriel retails control. Slater on top for a moment, but Gabriel chops out of the corner and moves back to the attack. Crucifix-like roll-up for two, then a jackknife for two and more armbars. They trade suplex attempts and Slater eventually tosses Gabriel onto the ropes crotch-first.

[ c - Smackdown hype ]

Slater controls with a side chinlock out of the break, and Gabriel can't get traction. Gabriel with a series of kicks to get a two count. Slater spins Gabriel from a fireman's carry and drops him face-first for a close nearfall. Gabriel counters a sideslam attempt with a tornado neckbreaker of sorts and follows with a springboard moonsault for a nearfall of his own. Striker is digging the action and so am I.

After a rest, Gabriel is on the attack in the corner. Slater dodges a corner elbow and plants Gabriel on the turnbuckle, then rips him off into a viscous neckbreaker. Another very close nearfall. Slater is incredulous. Slater picks Gabriel up for a powerbomb, but Gabriel punches him in the head, rolls down and through, and sends Slater face-first into the turnbuckle. Gabriel with a side kick out of the corner, then he goes up top for the 450 splash, which is good for the win.

WINNER: Gabriel in 10:30. This was, by far, the best match I've ever seen from Heath Slater, and one of Justin Gabriel's best, too. Very good match. There was back-and-forth, unique spots, some high-flying and hard-hitting. Slater's put on a touch of weight, which makes it easier to take him seriously. I know I've ridden Slater hard in the past for his in-ring work, but he really brought it here and proved that he's got what it takes.

2 - TED DiBIASE vs. JINDER MAHAL

According to Matt Striker, Mahal's turban case is "sanitary." DiBiase starts a "USA!" chant. Wonderful.

Mahal with a shoulder tackle, but DiBiase responds with a dropkick and ten punches in the corner and a suplex. Striker mis-quotes "Happy Gilmore," which is surprising. Mahal kicks DiBiase's legs out and with some quick offense for two. Mahal with hard offense, including trademark knee drops, leveraging the ropes. Mahal keeps working on Ted's injured wrist. Mahal holds DiBiase's head and knees it repeatedly. Mahal to the second rope for an axe handle, but DiBiase counters with a dropkick. DiBiase makes a strong comeback. Big spinebuster for two. DiBiase looks for Dream Street, but Mahal reverses. DiBiase with the turnaround clothesline. DiBiase off the second rope, but Mahal counters with a jumping knee lift. Mahal slaps on the Camel Clutch and DiBiase taps after a struggle.

WINNER: Jinder Mahal in 7:00. Enjoyable match. If this is when DiBiase hurt his ankle, you wouldn't know it. I just don't get the booking of Mahal here. Some weeks he gets squashed, some weeks he gets a clean win mid-ring.

3 - KOFI KINGSTON vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Vickie Guerrero)

This match has gotten a ton of buzz for a match that didn't make it to Raw. The video has a solid 15 minutes left, so it should be a good match. Pre-match, Ziggler gives announcer Scott Stanford his bright pink shirt off his rear, and Stanford is ecstatic. Vickie makes cougar motions to Stanford too.

Ziggler outwits Kingston a few times, giving him a chance to show off. Kofi shows some sweet mat-based technique early on. Kingston slips out of an early sleeper attempt. Ziggler in control with mat skills of his own. They go back and forth with increasing intensity until Ziggler slows it down and shows off some more. They trade rights but Kingston puts Ziggler in the corner, and connects with a monkey flip sending Ziggler into a full 450 spin. That's good for a two count. That was a beautiful move. Kingston gets crotched in the middle of a springboard move, sending the show to break.

[ c - Bending the Rules ]

They interrupted a hot match for a "Bending the Rules" ad? The crowd is hotter than I've ever seen for a Superstars match. Ziggler and Kingston trade high-impact moves and two counts. Ziggler with some berserk elbows on the mat and a nasty armbar. Kingston with a pair of rollups for two counts. They trade boots-to-faces and Ziggler gets two for the work. There is a strong "Let's Go Ziggler!" chant. Kingston punches Ziggler when he does his sit-up routine. This angers Ziggler, who goes back to the attack. Kingston dodges the corner elbow (does Ziggler ever actually hit that?) and they are both down on the mat.

Kingston gets up first and takes Ziggler down, but Ziggler dodges the Superman Punch and gets out of the SOS. Brief flurry of offense and Kingston gets a very close nearfall with the SOS. Kingston preps the Boom Drop and sticks Ziggler. Kingston calls for the Trouble in Paradise, but Ziggler grabs him in mid-air and counters with the inside-out powerslam for a nearfall. Vickie is losing her mind with worry.

The ref starts a double count, but Ziggler walks into a pendulum kick. Kingston to the top, but Ziggler punches him and then meets him up top. Ziggler preps a superplex, but Kingston blocks and punches out. Kingston whiffs a huge top rope cross-body and Ziggler follows up with the "Namedropper" leg drop, another tight nearfall. The crowd is going nuts. Ziggler tries a sleeper, but Kingston slips out and immediately gets the Trouble in Paradise for the win.

Winner: Kofi Kingston in 15:00. If you are a wrestling fan, you need to watch this match. It is likely to be considered a Top 10 WWE match for 2012... and it was buried on Superstars so The Rock could give history lessons. Scott Stanford felt so organic in the booth and Josh Mathews held back his usual snarkiness and cynicism to let Stanford do his job. This was a PPV-quality match for sure, and it reminds me of when gems find their way onto Superstars.



Video URL: http://youtu.be/jCTdkkyWKzo?t=29m52s


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