Welcome back to my weekly review of WWE Superstars. Last week’s episode saw The Dudley Boys defeat The Ascension and Jack Swagger defeat Tyler Breeze. This week’s show comes to us from the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. In the opening contest, Swagger takes on Fandango, who the WWE Network has dubbed the “Lord of Dance.” The main event features a rematch from SummerSlam 2014, as Dolph Ziggler goes one-on-one with The Miz.
Superstars opens with Jack Swagger, who will be teaming with Mark Henry in a fatal four-way tag team match during Sunday’s Royal Rumble kickoff show. The winners of that match will gain a spot in Royal Rumble. Others team vying for a spot include The Ascension, Damien Sandow and Darren Young, and The Dudley Boys, none of whom I foresee becoming the new WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Swagger’s opponent is Fandango, a man whose television appearances have been rather sporadic since he and Rosa Mendes split. Swagger immediately goes for the legs and Fandango forces a break after making it to the ropes. After grounding Swagger with a few takedowns, Fandango channels his inner-Breeze by reclining on the ropes, which I thought was a nice touch. Subtleties such as these are in rare form on Superstars, so it’s hard not to appreciate them when they surface. A light “Let’s go, Swagger,” chant echoes throughout the arena. Swagger then proceeds to chop Fandango in the corner. Fandango regroups and hits a picture-perfect Dropkick for a near-fall. Jack attempts a Swagger Bomb. but Fandango rolls out of the way and hits a springboard Leg Drop, keeping him down for a count of two. Fandango swivels his hipis a bit before applying a Chinlock. Swagger fights out of it, but is dropped by a DDT. Fandango goes for the cover and is unable to put Swagger away. Fandango goes to the top rope, but Swagger reverses and the Ace of Superstars makes him submit with the Patriot Lock, picking up a victory for a fourth consecutive week. The fact that these wrestlers continue to hone their craft on programs where the majority of fans are likely unaware of their existence is a testament to their abilities. Despite this, Fandango continues to develop an increasingly diverse moveset. As with most Superstars matches, this suffered from being far too short, clocking in around the five-minute mark.
Need I remind everyone that The Miz headlined WrestleMania 27 against John Cena, and Ziggler’s Money in the Bank cash in is largely considered to be one of the most emotional of all-time? Regardless of their fall from grace in recent years, Ziggler and Miz regularly have impressive performances on WWE’s C-shows and D-shows. Byron Saxton mentions that this year will be Miz’s ninth Royal Rumble match. It’s also important to note that both of these men are from Ohio. Ziggler starts things off with a Hiptoss, following it up with numerous Elbow Drops before shouting “OH!” This gets Ziggler a near-fall, but The Miz regains control and applies a side Headlock. Miz attempts to send Ziggler over the top rope, to no avail. Ziggler then attacks him from behind with a Dropkick. Miz throws Ziggler out of the ring again and we head to a commercial break. They exchange shots for a bit before Miz hits his corner Clothesline. He goes to the top rope looking for a double Axe Handle, but gets pinned after a Superkick from Ziggler. A fun sprint of a match, but not the best encounter these two have had.
Overall, this was a good episode of Superstars with solid wrestling throughout. Three of the four competitors on this show are former World Champions, and the other, Fandango, pinned Chris Jericho cleanly at WrestleMania 29. It would appear that Ziggler is somewhat less motivated lately, as he focuses more and more on his comedy career, but he certainly didn’t show it here.