Rapid Reaction: WWE Superstars on WWE.com (April 28, 2011)
The April 28 edition of WWE Superstars features three contests involving some of the most talented and underutilized performers in all of sports-entertainment. From Smackdown, the newly-drafted Tyson Kidd meets perennial Superstars All-Star Trent Barreta. From Raw, the self-proclaimed "Superstar of Superstars" Zack Ryder meets third-generation sports-entertainer David Hart Smith. And in the main event, the WWE Divas take center-stage. New Smackdown Diva Alicia Fox and Melina meet the Gail Kim and another new Smackdown beauty, Natalya, in a tag team spectacular.
Join me inside for all the coverage of your favorite WWE C-show...D-show...you know what I mean.
Match #1: Trent Barreta vs. Tyson Kidd
-Tyson Kidd out first to a very noticeable, very loud canned reaction.
-The crowd's reaction for Barreta is decidedly more natural but there is still a noticeable amount of manufactured heat.
-Chain wrestling to start as we are already light-years ahead of anything presented on last week's program.
-A very fast-paced, athletic exchange in the early portion of the contest.
-What happened to Matt Striker? At one point, he was the most talented and talked about commentator in the company and now, for the second week in a row, he is overshadowed and out-performed by Jack Korpela. Striker appears to pay little attention to any of the in-ring product in front of him and his interest is nearly nonexistent.
-Tyson is such a talented in-ring worker but as a heel, it goes unnoticed by many of the WWE fans because his size is detrimental to his persona. It is very difficult to buy him as a legitimate "bad guy" when his style is more befitting of the plucky, underdog baby face.
-Kidd focuses on the ribs of Barreta, establishing the story of the match.
-Very nice pump handle gut buster from Kidd. A unique move that would get over in any other wrestling promotion in the country.
-More rib work before Barreta starts the comeback with an enzuigiri kick.
-Big springboard dropkick from Barreta for a two count. A little surprising taking into consideration that Trent has used that as a finishing maneuver.
-With Kidd on the floor, Barreta executes a spectacular over the top tope onto Kidd on the arena floor. Even more impressive is Barreta going right to his ribs and selling all of the damage done by Kidd earlier in the match. Solid in-match psychology.
-Crowd reaction is extremely disappointing considering the quality of the contest.
-A top-rope head scissors attempt from Kidd is countered in mid-air into a sunset flip. Flawless spot.
-Kidd catches Barreta in the Sharpshooter and that is enough for the submission victory.
Rapid Reaction: A very solid contest between two underrated workers currently on the Smackdown roster. Despite Kidd's lackluster heel role, he still works hard and does not appear disinterested at all, despite his place on the card. Barreta continues to impress, and how WWE has allowed him to fall so quickly to the bottom of the barrel is still a major unanswered question. After a poor show last week, Superstars kicks off with a quality one-on-one contest.
-A promo hyping the Triple Threat, Steel Cage match for the WWE Championship at Extreme Rules, featuring The Miz defending his title against John Cena and John Morrison, airs. Seriously, is there a WWE Championship match in recent history less hyped than this? Does anyone even know John Morrison is in the match? Does anyone know the match is on the card?
-The That's What I Am trailer airs. From all early indications, WWE Studios has finally scored a critical hit. Good for them. Randy Orton is getting positive reviews as well.
Match #2: David Hart Smith vs. Zack Ryder
-Ryder out to the first non-manufactured reaction of the night.
-Are those cheers? Quick Vince, you better have those signs confiscated. Wouldn't want Zack to get over on his own or anything, would we?
-Smith enters wearing a ridiculous cowboy hat. Hopefully this is a "we are in North Carolina" thing and not a new gimmick. Oh, and his entrance music is amongst the worst I have ever heard.
-More canned heat.
-Apparently Smith's new nickname is "Tex." Um...no.
-Never thought I would say "Zack Ryder out-wrestles a Hart."
-Very basic early on.
-Ryder with a take-down and front face-lock.
-Smith trying to use his power advantage to break out of the hold. Counters into a pin attempt, then an arm drag and arm bar.
-Smith with a mounted chin lock that looks really...bad.
-Very impressive snap belly-to-belly suplex.
-Ryder finally gains the upper hand as we head to break.
-Zack works over the head and neck of Smith with headlocks and a picture-perfect neckbreaker but cannot finish him off.
-Ryder breaks out the Crossface as he continues his attack on the neck of his larger opponent.
-Beautiful superplex from Smith gets the baby face comeback started.
-In a weird moment, Smith mimics Hulk Hogan's mannerisms and delivers a leg drop. Even stranger? It is the most animated Smith has been since his debut.
-What was a very slow match has turned into a very fast-paced encounter with a decent amount of near-falls here at the end.
-Finish sees Ryder hold onto the ring apron to prevent from being dragged to the center of the squared circle. He boots Smith in the knee, then the head, and executes the Rough Ryder for the pin-fall victory.
Rapid Reaction: Another solid match on this afternoon's show. Ryder was game as always, and Smith worked hard. The match was significantly slower than the opener for the majority of its length but really picked up towards the end. Ryder's win shows that Vince and Co. haven't quite given up on him, but it's clear that he belongs on one of the two featured brands and not wasting away on a show only diehard wrestling fans watch.
- John Cena to Smackdown
- Rey Mysterio to Raw
- Randy Orton to Smackdown
- Mark Henry to Smackdown
- Sin Cara to Smackdown
- Big Show to Raw
- Alberto Del Rio to Raw
- John Cena to Raw
-This week's Raw Rebound recaps the 2011 Draft happenings. In case you missed any of the spectacularly-written articles here on Bleacher Report, allow me to fill you in on all of the Draft moves.
Promo Time...Part Deux!
-A video package hypes the Last Man Standing Match between Randy Orton and CM Punk.
-This may be the most hyped, and in this writer's opinion, most anticipated match on the Extreme Rules card. Of all of the matches on the card, Orton and Punk are the most likely to steal the show. Hopefully this proves to be a worthy blow-off to a program that has been booked as a personal vendetta between the two.
Main Event: Gail Kim & Natalya vs. Melina & Alicia Fox
-Heel or not, Melina's entrance music still gets a pop.
-I like Alicia Fox. She has that "something" that some of the other Divas don't have. Not sure what that "something" is, though. I am not sure she has been used to the best of her abilities but, with a weaker Divas division on Smackdown, hopefully she can find her niche on the blue brand. She is also not the worst of the models-turned-wrestlers and a more wrestling-based show like Smackdown is what is needed to showcase her skills.
-Big pop for Natalya and Gail.
-Kharma's impending debut on Raw could be the career rejuvenation that Gail needs.
-Very strong wrestling from Melina and Natalya to start.
-Alicia derails Natalya's momentum and distracts her long enough for Melina to go on the offensive.
-Beautiful Northern Lights suplex from Alicia
-Natalya looks for the hot tag to Gail but Melina prevents it.
-Melina with an impressive Dragon Sleeper while grapevining the midsection of Natalya.
-Gail into the match. She moves with a speed and a fluidity that the other women just cannot match. She is so smooth in the ring, she rivals what a lot of the guys can do.
-Alicia is sent to Smackdown with a loss as Gail finishes her with the Eat Defeat jaw breaker.
Rapid Reaction: Not much time for a match billed as the main event of Superstars, but the girls made the most of it. Solid execution, no noticeable botched maneuvers, and all four were able to execute their signature spots. Gail was the star of the match, as she should be, and hopefully this is an indicator of renewed interest in her by the writing team.
A very good show this week. Zack Ryder, Trent Barreta, Tyson Kidd and Gail Kim (gratuitous photo included) all looked impressive and, unlike last week's show, the in-ring work was solid and largely entertaining.
Thumbs up for everything this week, outside of "Tex" Smith's terrible music, corny cowboy hat, and cringe-worthy nickname. Definitely a recommended view if you want to see some of the more underutilized, underrated, and hard-working Superstars of the under-card.