The show that WWE really wants us to watch is Raw. That's why the WWE Championship is most closely tied to Raw. That's why Raw is three hours long. That's why every other program has at least one "Raw Rebound" every week.
But if all you're watching are shows like Raw and SmackDown, then you're missing some quality programming. Between Superstars, NXT, Saturday Morning Slam and now Main Event, there's an additional three-and-a-half hours of programming you're missing out on.
But let's be honest: Few people can (or even want) to watch six-and-a-half hours of WWE programming each week, 10 hours if there happens to be a PPV with a pre-show. Don't even get me started on adding TNA or ROH, streaming shows like WWE Vintage or even supporting your local wrestling promotion.
If you don’t have time to watch shows like NXT, Superstars, Main Event and Saturday Morning Slam, then you probably don’t have time to read lengthy reviews of each show, complete with commentary, predictions and cynical sidetracks. You're probably frustrated that you've already made it to the end of the fourth paragraph of this article and you have yet to read about any results from any show.
My "notes" version of all four shows is below.
If it piques your interest enough to read on, the slideshow breaks down the shows individually, segment by segment, complete with my questions and predictions.
BONUS: On the Saturday Morning Slam slide, I ask you the same question that the WWE Superstars were asked during the Third Degree segment. If you're one of the readers that likes to share their opinion as well, I'd be interested to hear yours.
On NXT, Drew McIntyre got a pinfall victory over Richie Steamboat after Kassius Ohno caused a distraction, and Big E. Langston showed off by getting a five-count pinfall over Aiden English.
Mike McGillicutty and Seth Rollins had a verbal back-and-forth in the ring regarding their NXT Championship match scheduled for next week's NXT, and The Ascension made an appearance during an interview with Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd that reminds me of something you'd see during the Undertaker's reign over the Ministry of Darkness.
Kassius Ohno scored a pinfall victory over Percy Watson, and in the main event, The Ascension got a victory over Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd.
On Main Event, after more than 15 minutes of interviews, promo packages and ring introductions, the bell finally rang for the first match of the evening, CM Punk vs. Sheamus. CM Punk picked up the win after the combination of a brilliant Brogue Kick counter, an exposed turnbuckle and a handful of tights.
The only other match on the program saw Zack Ryder and Santino Marella defeat Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel to advance to the semifinals of the tag team tournament that will decide the No. 1 contenders for Team Hell No's titles at Hell in a Cell.
On Superstars, Wade Barrett got a fairly decisive victory over Tyson Kidd, and David Otunga had a pinfall victory over Michael McGillicutty.
Tensai got a squash victory over Yoshi Tatsu, and in the main event, The Rhodes Scholars got another victory over The Usos in a rematch from Monday Night Raw.
On Saturday Morning Slam, the only match saw Rey Mysterio get a victory over Michael McGillicutty in a match that was more competitive and longer lasting than you'd expect. They also did some segments putting over Santino Marella as a face and Daniel Bryan as a heel, a segment reliving the birth of Mr. Socko and they discussed who would win in a battle between Mr. Socko and The Cobra.
Now, if you care to read more about any of these happenings, please enjoy the slideshow.
For the second week in a row, NXT opens with a recap of Kassius Ohno and Richie Steamboat. They remind us that Steamboat got the win last week, but Ohno wasn't finished when the bell rang. He destroyed Steamboat as the show went off the air.
During the first segment of this episode, Briley Pierce finds Ohno backstage. As Ohno starts saying that Richie's dad, Ricky Steamboat, wasn't a good father, Richie comes out of nowhere to attack him.
Drew McIntyre makes his way to the ring for the first match. He is greeted by an NXT crowd that really likes him, chanting "Drew! Drew! Drew!" as he prepares for his matchup against Richie Steamboat, who is even more over than Drew.
William Regal and Byron Saxton are at the announce table.
As you might expect, this was a really solid match. Three years from now, it could be a WWE PPV match for a midcard title. As Steamboat begins to rally, Ohno makes his way to the ring. Although he doesn't get physically involved, he serves enough of a distraction for McIntyre to hit Steamboat with his cast, followed up by the Future Shock and the win.
Before the commercial break, we learn that The Ascension will be facing off against Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd later in the evening.
When we return, Big E. Langston is making his way to the ring for a match against Aiden English. The announcers talk briefly about English, but you would barely know he's part of the NXT roster.
This felt like a Ryback match. But in the same way that Ryback's character borrows from Goldberg, Langston's character borrows from King Kong Bundy, pinning his opponents with a five-count.
As with most of Ryback's matches, this was short and incredibly one-sided, as they continue to build Langston. Post-match, Langston continues to beat on English, making two more five-count pins along the way.
Before we head to commercial, we're informed that Kassius Ohno will be facing Percy Watson later in the show. Backstage, Steamboat is on a manhunt after Ohno cost him his match against McIntyre.
We also see a promo for next week's NXT, which will feature an appearance by CM Punk! After we return from commercial break, Mike McGillicutty is making his way to the ring. We are informed that he has a match for the NXT Championship next week against Seth Rollins.
He grabs the mic and almost immediately calls out Rollins, who readily obliges. During their exchange, Rollins accuses McGillicutty of not showing him the proper "respect" as a champion. If you're reading this, you probably know the connection between Rollins and Punk. Punk is coming to NXT next week. How much of the "respect" comment was merely a wink to Punk?
Rollins tries to start the match then and there, but McGillicutty leaves the ring and says the match will happen when he's good and ready.
Before we go to commercial break, we are shown a pre-recorded segment with Briley Pierce interviewing Airstrike (Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd) about the main-event match against The Ascension. In the middle of Gabriel speaking, the lights begin to go dim. The Ascension suddenly appear.
Assuming the Ascension make it to regular WWE programming, you can expect a gimmick that will remind us of the days of Undertaker's Ministry of Darkness.
Percy Watson is making his way to the ring after the commercial break. His opponent is Kassius Ohno. Before Ohno can get in the ring, he is attacked by Richie Steamboat, seeking revenge from earlier in the evening.
The match is very competitive. Watson would normally be a big underdog, but Ohno is really selling the pre-match attack. Even though Ohno cost Steamboat a match earlier in the evening, Ohno comes out on top in the match after hitting Watson with the KO elbow.
As we prepare for the main event, Paige has failed to even be mentioned on this week's edition of NXT. Unfortunately, I can't justify using her picture for this slideshow.
As always, Jim Ross joins the commentary team for the main event. Given the youth and ability of all of the competitors in this match, the expectations should be high. The match goes back and forth until we return from the final commercial break and The Ascension are in control.
If you enjoy old-school, in-ring mentality and solid tag team wrestling, you would love this match. On the few occasions in which Tyson has control, he looks as good as I've ever seen him. At the end of the match, Gabriel goes to the top rope and attempts his 450 Splash. He misses his impressive finisher and gets pinned after being hit with Ascension's Fall of Man.
Not that there was any question before, but The Ascension continue to reign supreme as the top tag team in NXT.
Before they go off the air, JR reminds us that next week Seth Rollins will defend the NXT Championship for the first time against Mike McGillicutty, and CM Punk will be stopping by as well.
Prediction: Vince will eventually debut Big E. Langston on regular WWE programming, but he won't get over with the WWE Universe.
Question: What does WWE have in store for Michael McGillicutty? He had a promo on NXT, as well as matches on Saturday Morning Slam and Superstars, and an NXT Championship match next week. Are they prepping him for a bigger role in the company?
The reason I started writing the updates for Superstars, NXT and Saturday Morning Slam is because they were less popular shows that fewer people felt the need to write about.
Considering this is the debut of a new show, pre-booked with a champion vs. champion bout and a match from the tag team tournament, it should get a fair amount of coverage, at least during the first week.
After a couple of weeks, we can determine whether Main Event will be peers with Raw and SmackDown or with Superstars, NXT and Saturday Morning Slam.
For now, outside of the very brief summary I gave on the first slide, I'm just going to link to another B/R writer who reviewed WWE Main Event (WWE Main Event: Reviewing the Debut of WWE's New Show).
Let me know what you think. If my recurring article should have my full synopsis of Main Event, please let me know in the comment section.
Prediction: The way that Main Event is structured, it may turn on some new fans to WWE's product who don't want to sit through episodes of Raw or SmackDown that are several hours long.
Question: Will they continue to showcase one big match on Main Event with superstars as big as Punk and Sheamus, or will it die down soon like Sunday Night Heat did?
Superstars kicks off with Wade Barrett making his way to the ring. Scott Stanford and Josh Matthews are at the announce booth. He's facing off against Tyson Kidd, who makes his way to the ring next. I don't think there's any question who will win this match.
About a minute into the match, Stanford makes the comment that Barrett's matches have been very short since his return, barely lasting five minutes. I'd be surprised if this match lasts any longer, although they have a better chance of that on Superstars than they would on Raw or SmackDown.
The match actually lasted about six minutes. Although the majority of the match saw Barrett simply pounding his way through Kidd, the final graduate of the Hart Dungeon did get in a few spurts of offense that prevented him from coming across as a complete jobber. Of course, Barrett gets the win in the end.
Before the commercial break, we find out that we get to see a Raw rematch when The Usos take on the Rhodes Scholars. When we return from commercial break, David Otunga is making his way to the ring.
His opponent tonight is Otunga's former co-holder of the WWE Tag Team Championship, Michael McGillicutty. This is their first match since the falling out in 2011.
I'm interested to see who goes over in this match. Otunga tends to do the job to the uppercard on Raw or SmackDown, whereas McGillicutty jobs to the undercard, if he makes an appearance at all. However, Otunga generally goes over on shows like Superstars, and McGillicutty is the No. 1 Contender for the NXT Championship.
Otunga had control for most of the match, using his power advantage to keep Mr. Perfect, Jr. under his control. McGillicutty did find himself on a bit of an offensive roll toward the end, but Otunga hits the Verdict out of nowhere for the win.
After the commercial break, Matt Striker replaces Scott Stanford at the announcer's booth, and we are getting ready for a match between Tensai and Yoshi Tatsu. Tensai has been putting Ryback and The Big Show over lately, so I assume this will serve as a reminder to us that Tensai shouldn't be underestimated.
Tatsu barely got any offense in before Tensai ended the match with his running senton. Post-match, Tensai grabs the mic and angrily yells something in Japanese.
This week's Raw Rebound being played on every other WWE program is a recap of AJ Lee's most recent drama. Once we sit through that, The Usos make their way to the ring for their main-event match against The Rhodes Scholars.
The heels make their way to the ring after the commercial break, still using separate entrances. When the bell rings, there's a little more than 13-and-a-half minutes of programming remaining, not counting one final commercial break.
Rhodes starts the match for the Scholars, but The Usos keep control in the beginning until Cody tags in Damion. By the time we hit the commercial break, The Usos are in control with both of the Scholars down outside the ring.
The action is back in the ring when we return, and the Scholars are quickly in control again. They continue to dominate for the next few minutes, making a great display of their in-ring tag team psychology. Jay is cut off from him teammate, as Jimmy Uso reaches for the hot tag.
After Cody misses a backflip from the top rope, he and Jay both start crawling toward their respective tag team partners. Jimmy gets the hot tag just after Sandow is tagged in. Jimmy takes control for a minute, but only for a minute. Sandow manages to take control back, hits his Terminus finisher and the Rhodes Scholars get another victory over Rikishi's twin boys.
Prediction: Because WWE will never promote this show properly, it unfortunately won't last much longer than another year or so.
Question: What's WWE's deal with subjecting us to so many sudden rematches lately?
Saturday Morning Slam opens with Rey Mysterio, Jr. making his way to the ring. Josh Matthews and Santino Marella are at the announce booth, and Michael McGilliutty is introduced as Mysterio's opponent.
If you include the entrances and the post-match wrap-up, the opening segment lasted almost 12 minutes, probably twice as long as it would have lasted on Raw or SmackDown.
Of course, a lot of the content was clearly geared toward the Saturday morning crowd, including both the in-ring antics and the commentary. For example, we learned that Mysterio has more than 500 different masks in his personal collection, he wrestled his first match at the age of 14 and McGillicutty hates it if you try to touch his beard.
McGillicutty manages to avoid the 619 on Rey's first attempt, only to take a 619 later in the match—a 619 that lands on the heel's gluteous maximus, rather than his head. This leads directly to the expected conclusion of the match, with the WWE's biggest underdog taking the victory.
It's funny to me that for shows like Raw and SmackDown, the adults often complain that we get too much drama and not enough action. Then, on Saturday Morning Slam, the opening match takes up more than half of the show's actual airtime, if you neglect commercial breaks. Go figure.
When we return from commercial break, we find out that we'll be spending some time with Daniel Bryan today, but we will also take a look at Mick Foley, Santino Marella and...their respective relationships with sock puppets.
But before we get to any of that, Santino Marella is the subject of this week's Saturday Morning Spotlight. The Spotlight mainly focused on when Santino used to call his arms by their Roman soldier names, Pasquale and Francesco, and of course, they ended with tons of footage of the Cobra.
Next up is Daniel Bryan's segment, in which he is asked several yes/no questions, and his answers were clearly meant to get him over as a heel with the little ones. The segment ended with the question, "Do you like goats?" which sent Bryan into a violent chorus of "No's!"
They show us footage of Kane and Bryan hugging it out before they send us to commercial break. This was their way of instilling the idea into the Saturday morning crowd that "anything can happen in the WWE."
If you're "forced" to watch this show with your children or little sibling or any other youngster, one segment you will likely appreciate is the Video Vault. Mick Foley hosts this week's segment, as he announces that exactly 14 years ago to the day, Mr. Socko was introduced to the WWE.
For those of you who may not remember, Mr. Socko debuted during an episode of Raw in which Mr. McMahon was laid up in the hospital. Mr. Socko was Mankind's attempt to make his boss feel better. This, of course, was the precursor to the infamous bedpan shot that Austin would deliver later in that same episode of Raw.
This leads into the weekly Third Degree segment, in which several different superstars are asked the same question.
If you're reading the review of Saturday Morning Slam, I'd like to ask you the same question: Who would win between Mr. Socko and The Cobra? Or, perhaps, to frame the question in a way that is more relevant to the readers of this article, which gimmick worked better?
As the show begins to wind down, we find out that next week's episode will focus on music, as we take a look at the recording studio where the vast majority of WWE entrance themes are recorded. That could actually be very interesting, especially if you're into music as much as I am, although I'm sure it will be completely watered down.
Before the show ends, Santino makes one final argument for The Cobra being better than Mr. Socko and then thanks everyone for tuning in to Saturday Morning Slam.
Prediction: Mick Foley will continue to be involved in Saturday Morning Slam programming until the release of his latest children's Christmas book.
Question: If the show continues to feature matches that are nearly 12 minutes in length, will the future generation of WWE fans complain just like us that the matches on Raw and SmackDown are much too short?