Reviewing the First Superstars

The Katz Files – Arnie Katz
Reviewing the First Superstars
The Kingfish Arnie Katz tells you all about the first episode of Superstars on WGN and gives the new show a critical examination.

A new wrestling show is rare enough, even in these days of over-exposure, to merit a long first look. Even Celebrity Championship Wrestling was worth at least one episode.

A new show from WWE that features all new matches and draws on the company’s three brands is a major event. Even though the show is only 60 minutes, the fact that it is an original show rather than a compilation makes Superstars very important.

The one-hour length is a good thing. WWE has enough trouble filling its air-time without adding to the burden with another two-hour show. I don’t think this will expand to a second hour unless something happens, like My Network dissolving, leaving Smackdown without a home.

Let’s look at what happened on the first show, along with my analytical comments….

Jim Ross and Todd Grisham started it off, though six announcers tool part. “It’s like a massive all star game,” Ross said.

The Kingfish comments: Nothing makes a show loop scrappier and less unified than switching the announce team two or three times in less than an hour. There is no way Superstars can have a coherent identity if the presentation isn’t uniform and consistent.

Tod Grisham introduced a video that showed how Jeff lost to Matt Hardy in a stretcher match on Smackdown.

Undertaker d. Matt Hardy via COR

Matt Hardy pitted his agility and speed against Taker’s superior strength.

Undertaker went Old School, Matt hit the ropes, but Taker Clotheslined him out of the ring on the rebound.

When Undertaker went for a Chokeslam, Hardy evaded and ripped off a Neckbreaker! He stomped and punched the Dead Man, but he couldn’t keep Taker from powering to his feet.

The elder Hardy brother worked a Front Chancery, even jumping on his foe to increase leverage. Taker ran him into a corner to break it.

Undertaker scored with two Corner Splashes, Snake Eyes and a Legdrop. It was only worth a two-count.

Matt Hardy went to get a chair. He never got back in the ring, though, and lost a COR decision.

After the match, Jeff Hardy stormed the ringside area to attack Matt. Jeff forced Matt back into the ring, where Undertaker administered a Chokeslam.

Grade: B- – Weak ending tot he match, but nice post-match between the brothers.

The Kingfish comments: What an ominous way to end the first-ever match on this show! Both men worked well during the actual match, but the finish made the whole match meaningless. The action that led up to COR was artificial and unbelievable.

A video for Backlash emphasized the Orton-Triple H showdown.

Matt Stryker and Josh Mathews introduced a video extolling WrestleMania 25.

Christian d. Finlay
Championship Chase Finals

Finlay got the best of the chain wrestling, but Christian came on strong as the action grew wilder.

After some fighting in the ringside area, Finlay connected with a Back Cracker. Christian kicked free, but Finlay seized a Rear Chinlock and dealt plenty o punishment.

After an exchange of near-falls, Christian pulled off what is now called the Kill Switch to defeat Finlay and earn the right to meet Jack Swagger at Backlash.

Grade: B-

The Kingfish comments: This match really stood out on the show, not so much for the in-ring work as that it had a purpose and came to a decisive finish. Sadly, it was only only match that hit that standard in the whole hour.

After the match, the combatants shook hands and shared a Manly Hug.

Eve Torrez interviewed Shane McMahon. He said that without the assistance of Rhodes and DiBiase, Orton couldn’t have done thing things he did.

Cody Rhodes d. Shane McMahon via DQ

They barred DiBiase, Orton and Triple H from ringside.

Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler called this match.

Triple H started with a barrage of punches to the head and midsection, but Rhodes cut him off with a kick to the belly.

After Shane did an Armdrag to a Body Scissors, Rhodes bailed and the crowd booed him for his cowardice.

Shane missed a Baseball Slide, but he recovered quickly. He yanked Rhodes out of the ring by his legs and banged him against the announce table. Shane came off the ring steps and blasted Rhodes, but it looked like he might’ve taken some damage, too. He threw Rhodes back inside the ropes, but he couldn’t get that all0-important final count.

Back from commercial, Rhodes stomped McMahon. He then added a Bodyslam! Cody Rhodes applied a Rear Chinlock that almost turned into a Surfboard, but Shane couldn’t be kept down on the mat! McMahon backed into a turnbuckle to shake off Rhodes. Rhodes hit a Bulldog off the second rope, but McMahon beat the count.

Cody got a chair, but the referee stopped him from using it. Meanwhile, Shane McMahon seemed to be recovering.

Rhodes threw Shane out of the ring, causing him to hit his head on the ring steps on the way out Shane McMahon grabbed a chair and, when he used it, got disqualified.

Grade: C+

After the match, Shane McMahon hit a couple of chairshots and then did the Coats-to-Coast on Rhodes.

That’s all for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with another installment of the Internet’s fastest-rising pro wrestling column. I’ll have a complete report and analysis of Lockdown — and you can see which of my predictions hit the target and which sailed wide of the mark. I hope you’ll join me then and, please, bring your friends.

— Arnie Katz
Executive Editor
[email protected]
(4/20/09)