Superstars (5/28) Autopsy

The Katz Files – Arnie Katz
Superstars (5/28) Autopsy
The Kingfish Arnie Katz takes another look at WWE’s newest show and provides information on what happened and analyzes what, if anything, it means.

The Big Picture
Superstars, WWE’s Thursday evening hour on WGN America, has now had several episodes since the first one I reviewed. The show has settled into a format – and the ratings have settled in the neighborhood of 0.8,

That gives Superstars the dubious honor of being the least-watched pro wrestling program among the five currently airing. Unless WGN is more easily satisfied than business sense dictates, management is probably starting to wonder what they’ve bought.

That means there ought to be some changes coming, a fine-tuning of the product. In that context, t would almost be impolite not to offer suggestions for improvement. You can really see everything well from the back seat.

The Matches
1.The Colon Brothers d. Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas
Non-Title Match

Todd Grisham and Jim Ross handled the announcing on this match.
The announcers pointed out that Haas and Benjamin held the tag title twice and that this was the first clash between the duo and the current champions. They also reminded fans that Haas and Benjamin had been on the losing side in a six-man match on the most recent Smackdown. They did not mention the tandem’s original name, The World’s Greatest Tag Team.”

The heels focused on Primo, targeting his left arm,. Charlie Haas nearly forced Primo to submit to an Armbar.

The match was pretty even until Cryme Tyme came about halfway down the ramp to watch the match. Haas and Benjamin grew so distracted that the Colons easily set up Charlie for Carlito’s Backstabber. The pin followed quickly.

As Carlito and Primo Colon walked up the aisle, Cryme Tyme congratulated them.

Grade: B+

The Kingfish comments: A Colon Brothers-Cryme Tyme feud doesn’t sound very believable or appetizing, does it? The announcers sold the idea hard, despite the apparent friendliness between the two teams, which probably means it is already scheduled.

It’s not that WWE can’t make the teams feud, but that they really shouldn’t. Neither group should be turned heel and an all-face tag team program is not going to be a big attraction for most fans.

2. Jack Swagger d. Finlay

Josh Matthews and Matt Stryker did the announcing for this match, derived from ECW.

Swagger displayed extreme aggression in this contest, trying to match the Irishman’s zest for fisticuffs with sheer animal rage. Finlay did mount some offense, but Swagger was too strong, too fast and too good a wrestler for the smaller man.

The All-American American fought off an attempted Celtic Cross and hit the Gutwrench Powerbomb to pave the way for the winning cover.

Grade: B-

The Kingfish comments: The match came off surprisingly well for a contest that was little more than a glorified promotion for the Swagger-Christian-Dreamer championship three announced for Extreme Rules.. Perhaps it was also intended to gang a defeat on Finlay that would explain why he won’t be part of that fracas.

3. John Cena d. Ted DiBiase

Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler announced the night’s main event. Cena scored with a Scoop Slam to a Five-Knuckle Shuffle, but the third-generation wrestler disrupted the attempted Attitude Adjustment. When DiBiase tried to turn the tables with a Scoop Slam, Cena blocked the move and again tried for the Attitude Adjustment. It failed again.

Cena came off the top rope with a kick to0 DiBiase’s neck. He applied the STF and the Legacy member tapped out.

Grade: B

The Kingfish comments: This match was aimed at the Big Show-John Cena “U Quit” match coming at Extreme Rules. It showed the power of the STF, while other material has stressed how hard it would be for Cena to apply it to the massive giant.

This match also shows the limitation of Superstars Saying that Randy Orton has caused all kinds of havoc and that DiBiase was standing nearby while he did it doesn’t add up to a compelling confrontation between Ted and Cena.

The Format
The Superstars format features three matches, one from each of the brands. In each case, the announcers for that brand cover the match. Clips between matches either recap something from one of the other shows or pushed some aspect of the June pay per view, Extreme Rules.

The exception was a behind-the-music segment with the band that did the show’s theme song. It wasn’t exactly spectacular, but it did offer a refreshing change-o-pace from the rest of the content.

Some Ideas for Superstars
1. It might be better if Superstars standardized on a three-man announce team – Ross, Stryker and Lawler would work – and let them do the entire show.

2. Even though Superstars is not a brand, WWE should establish a minor title that is unique to the program. This would allow the bookers to have at least one match on every show where something might actually happen.

3. Do more features like the one on the band, but with greater relevance to the wrestling show. Perhaps an interview segment, recorded away from the ring, would be a good contrast to the rest of the program.

That’s all for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with another installment of the Internet’s fastest-rising pro wrestling column. I hope you’ll join me then and, please, bring your friends.

— Arnie Katz
Executive Editor
[email protected]
(5/29/09)