|Ireland getting revenge on England for years of dickery?|
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Scorpio Sky vs. "Pretty" Peter Avalon, First Round Match in the "Be the Star" Television Championship Tournament on NWA Hollywood - A lot of really good counters here, both by Avalon and Sky. That was the story for this match, which may have run a bit too long but was more than serviceable. I liked Avalon's stall tactics to begin the match, and Sky's high-energy face offense is very crisp. I love his finish. Sky executes the TKO with such flair and exuberance. Good stuff.
Drew McIntyre vs. Zack Ryder on Superstars - These guys are two of my favorites to watch lately for different reasons. Ryder is so emotive, so spry and game, McIntyre so methodical, deliberate, vicious. It made for a really hot opener to Superstars. A lot of high spots here, first with Ryder going to the outside on a plancha. Then was the sequence of the match for me. McIntyre retreated to the outside with the ref restraining Ryder, and then Ryder went to the apron, only to get tripped up. McIntyre then wrangled the Woo Woo Woo Kid and nailed him with a sideslam onto the apron. HOLY SHIT. A huge bump can make a good match great, and that was about as big a bump as you could get without any extra trappings. The rest of the match flowed well from there. I really liked how Ryder looked like he was making a comeback and then McIntyre just put two boots to his face like it was no big deal. The finish worked for me too. Love countering moves into flash pins. Hopefully we get an extended series out of this.
Alicia Fox vs. Nattie Neidhart on Superstars - Yeah, you read that right, Alicia Fox made the honor roll this week. Seriously, Nattie did a lot of heavy lifting this week, but even with her training wheels on, Fox did some serious work. I'll admit, a big reason why I enjoyed this match was because of the banter between the two about Fox's weave. Great shit-talking during the match can enhance it so much. A big reason why I love Ryder, going back to the previous match, is because he'll pop up, look in either his opponent's eyes or right at the ref and go "You serious, bro?" It's that kind of thing that adds to the story. That isn't to say the actual nuts-and-bolts work was bad. Fox definitely was working the old "feeble woman" archetype from before SHIMMER and other serious forms of women's wrestling made headway in America, but the way she was working it, putting oomph behind her slaps and hairpulls, made it work. This was an actively good match. I'm as shocked as you.
Crimson vs. Bobby Roode, BFG Series Match, on Impact - Fun little match here. Crimson is still limited, but good thing for him, he's in there with one of the four best workers in Impact. I thought they sold the shoulder well during the match, both on attacking and on the pretense of injury. I also liked that Roode went for submissions during the match, playing up the increased point total for tap out victories.
Jesse Sorenson vs. Jack Evans vs. Tony Nese, Destination X Qualifier, on Impact - The last time I saw Jack Evans, it was on PWG Sells Out. He was in there against Christopher Daniels. His psychology sucked. His timing and pacing sucked. His character sucked. Everything about him sucked. Seeing him on Impact this time, and it was like he was a whole different character, a whole different worker. It was like his experience working abroad served to hone his high spots into something more than just acrobatics. Nese served as a great counterpoint with his stiffness and his bullying during the match (not surprisingly since his pedigree is from the NYWC). I liked in the beginning when he was trying to take both Evans and Sorenson on. I know that all the matches for the contract qualifying have been three ways, but I think this might have been way better if it were just Nese and Evans. Sorenson looked really green and I thought his finisher, the Cross-Rhodes type move, looked a bit on the wrong side of stiff into reckless. However, Evans and Nese were both the real deal. Love the 630 Senton. I'll readily admit I was wrong about Jack Evans, well, at least about him not being able to change.
Daniel Bryan and Ezekiel Jackson vs. Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes on Smackdown - Fun little tag match. Bryan and Zeke make a surprisingly good tag team, as we all know how good the former Legacy are together. Zeke on the apron, trying to get the hot tag? Holy shit, he got into that. He's a more natural babyface worker than I gave him credit for. I loved the spot in the corner too, where Rhodes countered the knee by Bryan into the Alabama Slam. Good stuff, but considering the four guys involved, it's not surprising.
Tamina vs. AJ on Smackdown - This was a nice little bit of Diva exposition. I'm still not a fan of the way WWE does feuds outside of the main event, but hey, if the matches are good, then I'm cool with it. AJ's athleticism sets her apart from the pack, and it was on display here. I'm kinda over the shining wizard being used by half the WWE roster, but AJ's looks good.
The Usos (Jimmy and Jey) vs. Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater on Smackdown - Speaking of feuds that the WWE advanced solely by having match overload each week, these two teams have developed a really good chemistry. This week was another fun match. I especially liked their new take on the double knockdown. Rather than clotheslining each other, Gabriel and one of the Usos (still can't tell them apart) did a double yakuza kick spot. It was really slick. I like the Usos finisher too, the superplex/Superfly Splash combo.
Sheamus vs. Randy Orton on Smackdown - Schmozz DQ finish aside, it was a pretty decent match. Orton's been working well as a babyface this year, but then again, look at his opponents - Punk, Christian and now Sheamus. Sheamus actually broke out some cool stuff in this match. The top rope shoulder block was okay, although you can tell he's not used to going that high, as there was some apprehension. These two have had some chemistry problems in the past, but I think they're developing more and more of a rapport. DQ finish worked in this situation.
NWA Hollywood - Decent show. The bizarro feud between the Tribe and Natural Selection is entertaining in a perverse way. It's almost like a competition as to which team can use tried and true heel tactics the best. I love it, even if I'm not enamored with the Tribe as actual workers. The main event, as noted above, was really good too. Still not buying Buggy as someone I really want to watch wrestle, but hey, nothing's perfect. However, the best part of the show was the middle segment, where Joey Ryan joined the Family Stone, only to be chased out of the ring by Adam Pearce, who to that point was doing a really bang-up job on commentary. Ryan/James Morgan vs. Pearce/Colt Cabana should be a really good top feud for the show.
Superstars - Ugh, I absolutely hate when they "main event" Superstars with warmed over repeats of the RAW final segment, especially when it's an interview one. I mean c'mon now, I can almost guarantee that if there was a Venn diagram showing viewership between RAW and Superstars, the circle for Superstars would be almost entirely engulfed by RAW's. Either way, the three matches before the end were all decent to good. The squash of the local talent by Wade Barrett was fun for what it was. Solid show.
Impact - The wrestling action, save the main event, was good enough. It was really awesome to start, but it started to peter out until your garden variety, let's screw the babyfaces main event. Yeah, no. I'm also really not feeling Joker Sting. It's almost like a bad caricature of a terrible Joker impersonation. It's like he realizes he's not really being serious about anything. It's bad. I will say that there were a few non-wrestling-match-related things that I enjoyed, which is rare for Impact anymore. One was Brian Kendrick cutting a promo that was in a character and not a pseudo-shoot. Two, was that finally, Kurt Angle's doing something other than feuding with Jeff Jarrett. Thank fucking Christ. But yeah, it was an alright episode for once.
Smackdown - Up until the end, this show was all about Sheamus. That's not a bad thing, fella. Him clearing out the ring to start was a great open to the show, although I was pretty enthralled by what Bryan, Rhodes and Wade Barrett all had to say. His promo backstage where he said "It's an Irish t'ing, you wouldn't understand" was so awesomely delivered. Him getting laid out at the end felt anti-climactic, but yeah, it's just another week, plus he is technically still a heel. I continue to enjoy how they're building up Mark Henry, although Teddy Long putting his stink all over him isn't promising.