Superstars Nation, we are almost there. Months have become weeks and soon weeks will become days. Naturally days will become hours and finally the moment we all have been waiting for will be upon us. The night that has been analyzed, dissected, poked, prodded, debated, argued, fought over and hugged out is almost here! Everywhere you look, people are talking about what’s going to happen and who will end the night obtaining the ultimate prize.
Of course I am speaking about the Showcase of the Immortals, the Granddaddy of them all and the greatest spectacle in sports entertainment today. Obviously we are talking about my birthday! Any and all presents you may wish to send can be delivered to my palatial one bedroom palace by April 8th and everyone from Kevin Kelly to Ben Morse is invited to the party! I think we’ll have this WrestleMania show on in the background.
Anyway, you, the best and brightest, are here for Superstars so let’s get to it! Sit back, save the party planning for after the show and let’s head down to ringside!
Your announcers tonight are Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton. Sadness…
SUMMER RAE (W/FANDANGO) VS. EMMA
A Superstars debut for the bubble-popping dance machine we know only as Emma. This rivalry goes way back to their feud in NXT, usually over the #1 contender position for the NXT Womens Championship. Most of the time their disputes were settled in dance offs but one time it got rather personal when Summer tried to blind Emma with her own bubble solution. So far on the main roster shows, this rivalry is an extension of Fandango’s issues with Santino Marella and as you can imagine, Emma has experienced her share of success against this leggy blonde.
Some comedy starts us off as both women go to the mat when Emma was thrown into the ropes. She picked up Summer into what she called the “Emmaplane” and spun her like a top until she got too dizzy to stand straight. Summer took charge of the bout including some unique submission moves using those redwood tree trunk legs of hers. We learn that Summer will costar with The Miz on The Marine 4 which likely means she will be the answer to a movie trivia question when Place to Be Nation episode #500 comes out someday. Emma hooks Summer into the “Dil-Emma” which is always a fun yet rather painful maneuver to witness. A few awkward dance moves later and Emma hooked in the Emma Lock and Summer has no choice but to tap out. WINNER: EMMA
Thoughts: Let the awkward dance party begin! Pretty standard match for these two though I think their work in Florida was slightly better. If nothing else, Emma has proven the Total Divas Annihilation Theorem wrong at least for one week on this show. Additionally, has anyone’s star fallen faster than Fandango’s in the last year?
After a break (and a tease for our main event tonight that I wish not to share), we get a recap of Michael Cole’s exclusive interview with COO Triple-H following his savage attack on Daniel Bryan the week before. I don’t say it much, but Cole I thought did an excellent job baiting Hunter into an argument over his actions. HHH was terrific too at inciting the crowd and illustrating that the business has changed since he was a full-time competitor. It’s true though. You wouldn’t hear anyone using the terms “hijacking” and “occupy” in 1997. Great work by both men here but let’s keep Hunter out of the title match at Mania shall we?
In the same vein as Undertaker matches getting their own theme song, so too will be the case when John Cena fights Bray Wyatt over his legacy whatever the blue heck that means. So Eminem’s wallet will get fatter as the appropriately titled “Legacy” is one of the official themes of WM XXX. I don’t know if it will top Metallica providing the official theme of the cage being lowered two years ago, but there is very little doubt that I will download this tune before April 6th because I’m a mark for themes as you know.
Next we get Smackdown and Raw recaps of Cena fighting Luke Harper. Please read the big boy show recaps on this site for more on these matches but one word on Harper before we move on. Besides seeing him on NXT, I was watching of all things, Chikara, once with my buddy and they do a three-day tournament each year called King of Trios. In a throwaway tag-team scramble match in 2011, a rather large bearded guy ran out and fought some women, midgets and other masked men for a couple of minutes and I turned to my friend and said, “Hey, that guy is one of those Wyatts I told you about.” I wonder if Luke knew then that someday he would emerge from that stuffy little bingo hall in Philadelphia to one day be on the longest running episodic television show in history going one-on-one with John flippin’ Cena! I’ll be thinking about that too when someday I’m writing for Grantland.
Now it’s time for our latest Hall of Fame inductee portion of the program and the most recent honor goes to “The Bad Guy” Razor Ramon. Between Jake “The Snake” and Scott Hall, how much longer before the real miracle worker, Diamond Dallas Page, gets his due? DDP deserves a special place in Heaven if he can take what were two ex-wrestler horror stories and turn them into hall of famers. Hopefully Razor can continue on the path of sobriety and be the role-model he was intended to be. On a side note, if only the Razor character is being inducted now, does this mean there is still hope for The Diamond Studd, Big Scott Hall and Starship Coyote to enter the hall at a future date?
R-TRUTH & XAVIER WOODS VS. 3MB: MAHAL & MCINTYRE (W/HEATH SLATER)
Sigh. Don’t you just hate when you spend your whole week thinking about the next show you are going to write about and they give you the exact same match you just watched the week before? I know I do. Particularly when the Three Man “Bland” is playing. It’s like getting tickets to a Celtics game and finding out they are playing Philadelphia and then getting tickets for the following week and lo and behold they are playing those awful Sixers again! Brutal.
They changed up the format for this one as Truth this time was the face-in-peril. McIntyre and Mahal employed some stomping and rest holds while Truth tried to get the crowd back into it. Again, lots of stomping, I’m not even joking. Rugged Ronnie Garvin would be proud. We also got what appeared to be a phantom punch spot as Truth sold a running forearm by Drew that looked to hit nothing but air. I do love the jump kick McIntyre employs in all these matches but you all know that already. Truth recovers and scores with a spinning heel kick before tagging in Woods. Xavier is on fire and nearly had Jinder with a running knee to the face. Once McIntyre was neutralized by Truth, Woods delivered the Honor Roll followed by the Lost in the Woods and you can tuck this one in and put it to bed. WINNERS: R-TRUTH & XAVIER WOODS
Thoughts: More of the same from last week. I’m glad these guys will be in the battle royal at Mania because they deserve the payday after all the work they put in. Plus somebody has to be thrown out first.
In the conclusion to our program, the least interesting men on the planet, Randy Orton and Batista, are yapping on Raw. This should go down as another friendly reminder that we almost were subjected to this as our main event and we should thank or lucky stars that fan reactions likely saved this Mania from dying a slow and very painful death. Batista makes a comment about drooling on Stephanie that I found alarming. Orton continues to be the weakest undisputed champion of all-time and it will be so fitting if Bryan pins his shoulders to the mat and end our misery.
We then jump to Undertaker surprising Brock Lesnar by emerging from a casket that was originally thought to be empty. It’s as if they are using their same playbook from the mid-90s and selling it as an original idea. As far as I can tell, this was the plan all along for these two since we learned Brock was coming back. So why the thrown together, paint-by-numbers, lack of creative booking for this epic matchup? And why is Brock playing the Kamala role and being totally freaked out at the sight of caskets and druids when he was the killing machine two months ago against Big Show? Okay, I’ll stop being whiny and let it all play out.
Final Thoughts: Sadly our show regressed this week though how can you frown when Emma is involved? Things should pick up after WrestleMania because all that hype will subside. Now my birthday, meanwhile, will never lose its hype. My wishlist includes: a Blue Yeti microphone, a subscription to the Dollar Shave Club, the Red Sox Blu-Ray box set of all the World Series games (they won the World Series you may have heard), K-Cups, Money in the Bank tickets, sweater vests and a car made after 1998. Happy hunting Nation!