A show with two good wrestling matches this week. If you get chance and watch nothing else on this show, you must check out Rhodes v Gabriel – it is tremendous.
This week’s show opens with Ted DiBiase Jr coming out. Here’s a guy who needs a reboot and it would seem that the 12 months that he’s been off television has led to them doing precisely nothing with him. He still skips down to the ring, smiling and, inexplicably, this babyface still walks out to a song that tells us “I come from money”. Tony Dawson and Matt Striker put over Extreme Rules and tell us that it’s now only a week away.
Speaking of guys who need a reboot, next out is Michael McGillicuty. His entrance also badly lacks in charisma. He wears a beanie hat reminiscent of Gregory Helms circa 2006 and has a beard so that we know he’s a heel. Striker informs us of the antithesis of these two in the ring – one from Minnesota, who is a badass and the other, from Mississippi, is a family man. Well, at least one of those observations is true.
Match 1 – Ted DiBiase Jr v Michael McGillicuty
Ted DiBiase beat Michael MCGillicuty in 4:38. Credit to Tony Dawson here who fills us in one where DiBiase has been, noting that 2012 saw him injury-riddled with shoulder, finger and ankle issues. (He broke his ankle on SmackDown in March of last year and I think he went for the shoulder surgery whilst he was healing up his ankle). For all their blandness in looks, these two are good workers and DiBiase, particularly, is a great athlete, so the match is good from the very start. McGillicuty gets the early dominance but DiBiase hits him with a drop kick that Randy Orton would be proud of as he starts to make a comeback. The crowd really seem to like DiBiase and he makes them pop when he clotheslines McGillicuty out of the ring on the hard cam side and then suicide dives on to him through the ropes.
McGillicuty gets in some late offence and tries to engage the fans, shouting, “take a look at it, huh?” after he slams DiBiase to the matt. Sadly, even with post-production crowd sweetening, no one cares. He uses a backbreaker and gets a 2 count. Then there is a really impressive chain of moves that starts with McGillicuty taking a turn buckle and ends in DiBiase using a spinebuster for a 2 count. This looks great. The finish sees McGillicuty counter the first attempt at a DiBiase’s signature but then DiBiase catches him with the Silencer and pins him for the win. A decent match but these two won’t get over looking, sounding or being packaged like this.
Raw Rebound is next. We get Cena’s promo about facing Ryback at Extreme Rules, with Vickie’s interruption and Ryback coming out where they announce the Last Man Standing stip. Then we’re treated to the Lesnar and Heyman office invasion video again. This segues into an excellent Extreme Rules promo package for HHH v Lesnar in a steel cage.
Back on Superstars, Justin Gabriel (another superb athlete who is underused and poorly packaged) comes to ring. His new nickname is apparently ‘the darewolf’… Jesus. Cody Rhodes is out next and gets a good heel reaction. Here’s another guy in need of a singles push.
Match 2 – Justin Gabriel v Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes pinned Justin Gabriel in 9:38. This is a tremendous bout. The match starts with both men fairly cagey as they attempt lock-ups. Gabriel eventually sweeps the leg and goes on the offensive with kicks and elbows. Cody and Gabriel trade Flair chops in the corners which the crowd loves while Dawson puts over Gabriel’s Extreme Sports lifestyle. Any time Gabriel is in a match that goes longer than a squash, we get reminded of this. Before the break they do a very cool spot where Gabriel charges into the corner and jumps over a counter attempt, only for Cody to grab his legs and turn it into a pretty stiff-sounding Alabama slam.
We get a commercial for Be A Star with Sean Coombs during this break. It pushes the fact that online bullying is on the rise and is now one of the most common forms of bullying that goes often goes undetected. Diddy is wearing a T-Shirt that says ‘Invisible Bully’ on it. It’s a good advert but I still don’t understand why a company that promotes bullying in storyline needs to do this.
After the break, Cody is in control, uses a Facebuster into a 2 count. Gabriel uses a modified Frankensteiner from a handstand to gain some control – this was really inventive and the match was full of little moments like this. Unfortunately, Dawson and Striker ignore it and discuss the three way ladder match at Extreme Rules which is probably not a three way anymore.
This next section is awesome: Gabriel lands a shining wizard and then a roundhouse kick to get a 2 count on Rhodes. Then while Cody is getting back up, Gabriel lands a cross body using the ropes as a spring board for another 2 count. While Rhodes is down Gabriel sets up for a moonsault but Rhodes chops him down, Gabriel fights him off, does the moonsault but Cody rolls out the way. Then Cody performs his own moonsault and lands it for a 2 count. Cody gets mad that he can’t get the win, goes for a disaster kick but Gabriel counters and power bombs him for another 2 count. With Rhodes down, Gabriel teases the 450 splash but Cody rolls out the way again; they go back and forth and Rhodes tries the Cross Rhodes but Gabriel counters using a small package for another 2 count. Cody then blocks a kick from Gabriel, spins him round into the Cross Rhodes and pins him. This would have been a great match if it was on Raw or SmackDown but by Superstars standards this was a GREAT match.
The show ends with the Raw segment with Kane v Ryback followed by The Shield’s interference and Daniel Bryan’s save.
This program showcased some excellent wrestling by mid-carders and nearly-men who are in need of repackaging or a push. If Cesaro and Kofi can perform on Main Event and create a buzz, then I’m positive that Rhodes and Gabriel could do the same.