January 8, 2010
Superstars: Young, exciting Superstars Tatsu and Croft show off skills
By MATT JOHNSON - SLAM! Wrestling
If it’s not a head to head battle with the first ever live Monday night TNA Impact, it is competition with the NCAA Football National Championship Game. Man, producing television is a challenging business. Luckily, WWE will get in the first half of Superstars before the big football game kicks off.
Everyone is adding their two cents on the Monday night battle, and so will I. TNA’s most important task was establish that change was in the air and that the show would be different from this point forward. They accomplished it. There has been several complaints about old wrestlers appearing on their show, but people need to remember that the wrestlers who have been with TNA for several years are identified with horrible programming. TNA had to change faces.
WWE countered with the historic return of Bret Hart. I give the return of the Hitman a B+. I hate that his music was changed. The new music is just not as powerful, and I really do not understand why you would change a legend’s music after he has retired. While the execution could have been better, the segments with Hart actually seemed important. The rest of the show seemed somewhat stale, though, and they need to shake things up. I suggest making Raw more raw and stop overproducing every little detail. Anyways, on to Superstars.
Match #1 –Jillian Hall vs. Gail Kim
Jillian sings “I Gotta Feeling” before the match. Gail Kim displays her athleticism with a flying cross body from the top rope and head scissors early in the match and gets a few two counts. Jillian hits a sidewalk slam of her own for a two count. Jillian tries to pull Gail away from the ropes, but Gail hits body scissors and gets the pin to advance in the tournament for the Divas Championship.
Winner via pinfall: Gail Kim
Right before Superstars returns, a commercial airs for the new football related show “Blue Mountain State” on Spike. Spike is trying to make some money off this wrestling audience. My hat goes off to Spike for being more aggressive lately. If handled properly, the result should be a stronger WWE product.
Match #2 – Ted Dibiase vs. Chris Masters
Eve accompanies Masters to the ring for this battle. It sounds like Masters has some new entrance music. Dibiase centers his attack on the legs of Chris Masters. Smart move by Teddy, as many muscle heads put more focus on the upper body. After a few minutes of very ordinary action, Masters hits a scoop slam and attempts the Master Lock several times. Dibiase prevents Masters from applying his finisher, and Dibiase hits Dream Street and gets the pin.
Winner via pinfall: Ted Dibiase
During this match, Michael Cole again tried to put over his own “vintage” phrase. One sign that he is desperate and unpopular is that he is forced to promote himself. It is like walking around at a party telling everybody how funny he is. Instead of telling everyone, demonstrate it by making everybody laugh.
Match #3 –Yoshi Tatsu vs. Caylen Croft
Yoshi is accompanied by Goldust for some reason. He faces one of the guys who is into video games. People, you see, are dying to pay money to see video game players fight. That being said (with a wink to Curb Your Enthusiasm fans), I do like the ring gear of Croft & Beretta. It has a Midnight Express look to it, and really stands out in 2010.
The match goes to commercial almost right away. After the break, Croft is in control. Croft hits a snap suplex on Yoshi and follows up with a headlock. Croft misses a knee, and Yoshi hits some stiff kicks on Croft. Croft goes to the top rope, but Yoshi meets him and misses on a hurricanrana attempt. Croft hits a flying cross body off the top rope, but Yoshi’s momentum turns it for a two count. Croft hits a neck breaker for a two count. Yoshi puts things away with a kick to the head of Croft and a pin. Excellent quick hitting offense by both men in this match.
Winner via pinfall: Yoshi Tatsu
Next up is the Raw Rebound centered around Bret Hart and Vince McMahon. Even when I enjoy Raw, it is tough to sit through the Raw Rebound. That being said, it is still smart business to show it. Finlay’s ring entrance is also shown before the commercial break.
Match #4 -Finlay vs. Mike Knox
Grisham vividly remembers the battles between Finlay and Knox from 2009. That makes one of us. After the initial feeling out process, Finlay attempts to work Knox’s arm. Knox neutralizes Finlay with a boot to the face. The action spills to the floor and Knox hits a powerslam outside the ring. In the old days, Finlay would have left in an ambulance and it would be talked about for weeks. Knox hits a slam for a two count and attacks Finlay’s lower back.
Finlay breaks out of a Knox chinlock with a jawbreaker. Knox catches Finlay off the ropes and slams him into the corner. Knox charges Finlay in the corner, but Finlay moves, sending Knox into the ring post. Finlay hits two clotheslines and hits Rolling Thunder for a two count. Knox turns things around with his own cross body and takes away a turnbuckle pad. With the official’s back turned, Finlay hits Knox with the Shillelagh and gets the pin.
Winner via pinfall: Finlay
The real highlight of this show was the match between Yoshi Tatsu and Caylen Croft. It was quick, hard hitting, and competitive. Those young guys are an example of the extra dimension that lighter wrestlers can bring to a show. In WWE’s search for the stars of the future, I hope true talent is not ignored for silly reasons like height.
Matt Johnson is hoping for another wrestling boom. Join him on twitter at: http://twitter.com/mattjohnsonSLAM. Email Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.