12/18 WWE Superstars Report
by Matt Storm
Announcers: Rich Brennan&Byron Saxton
On the heels of a wild TLC PPV and subsequent Monday Night Raw, four WWE talents looked to build momentum as the year winds down.
1. Goldust vs. Adam Rose
Rose looked to get back on track following his loss last week to Fandango while Goldust involved himself in the business of Tyler Breeze on last week’s Smackdown.
As soon as the bell rang, the bizarre one backed Rose into the corner but before he could mount any offense, Rose pressed forward with a pieface. None too happy, Goldust dropped Rose with a right hook. He then applied a side headlock and when shoved into the ropes, rebounded back with a shoulder block. Goldust came back off the ropes to deliver a clothesline, followed by another solid right hand to the jaw. The gold one’s offense continued with a nice armdrag that took Rose over onto the mat; the former party boy didn’t stay grounded too long, fighting up to his feet and forcing Goldust back into the corner. Just when it looked like he’d offer a clean break, he buried a knee into the midsection.
Rose delivered chops but his decision to pause for mocking left him wide open to an open palm exploder. Goldust delivered chops that sent Rose tumbling across the ring and scurrying onto the apron for a breather. Dust’ followed in but Rose snapped his neck across the top rope, then slid back into the ring to hit a forearm smash to the back. He quickly followed with a well placed forearm smash to the chest, then stomped Goldust down in the corner. Rose delivered a flying kneedrop for a 1 count before sinking in a chinlock.
Goldust fought up as the crowd rallied behind him and sent Rose into the ropes, delivering a spindebuster. As both men struggled to their feet, Dust’ ducked a closeline and landed a pair of his own. The former Intercontinental Champion strung together an impressive comeback, delivering a boot to the midsection, his trademark drop down throat thrust, an inverted atomic drop, and a running boot to the side of the head in succession.
Dust’ backed Rose into the corner and went to down with the 10 count punches perched on the middle rope, milking the tenth blow for maximum crowd approval. Rose reversed an Irish whip and sent Dust’ into the corner only to be caught with a snap powerslam for a nearfall. Dust’ looked to stay on the attack but Rose surprised him with a thrust to the throat and a modified Paige Turner for a nearfall. Rose went up top and had to leapfrog over Dust’ when he saw him back on his feet; he charged in with his head down but that only allowed Goldust to deliver The Final Cut for the pinfall.
Analysis: A fine, serviceable opener. Goldust really does seem to get better and better with each passing year. He was crisp and on point in this bout. He’s the perfect opponent for Breeze to gain credibility back against after his main roster tenure badly stalled following Survivor Series. Poor Rose is doomed to remain a punching bag but at least he has a segment on Raw to comfort him.
2. Fandango vs. Heath Slater
Fandango looked to extend his win streak to 2 following last week’s win over Rose. Slater just wanted a win period, last seen in a losing effort to Zack Ryder a few weeks ago.
I still get a chuckle over Slater’s theme. It’s the old 3MB tune but they dubbed in a new beginning declaring Slate a 1 Man Band. The chorus of course contradicts this.
After the opening bell of this week’s feature contest, Slater initially avoided any contact with the Lord of The Dance. When they did eventually lock up, Slater applied a side headlock and Fandango pushed him into the ropes; Slater came back with a shoulder block then swiveled his hips with glee. A second lock up saw Fandango deliver a Ricky Steamboat quality armdrag followed by his own dancing celebration. Embarrassed, Slater went to deliver a boot but Fandango caught it and swept him face first into the canvas.
Fandango delivered a series of chops and hit a suplex for a nearfall. He then sent Slater into the ropes and followed him in to land a nice back elbow. that was good for a nearfall. An armbar was briefly applied before Slater backed him up against the ropes and caught him with a knee to the midsection. That was followed by an elbow to the back of the neck. Fandango was sent into the ropes but he managed to duck a closeline and gain a nearfall off a crossbody block.
Slater recovered and rammed Fandango into the corner like he were a linebacker, punishing him with battering rams into the midsection, Slater delivered a hard right hand but the second attempt at one was blocked, Fandango delivering a chop to the chest. Fandango rammed Slater’s head into the top turnbuckle and lit him up with more chops. He went back to the armbar but it was quickly broken by Slater grabbing onto the ropes. Fandango’s reluctance to break the hold allowed Slater to take him to the mat with a leg grapevine using his own legs as the offensive weapon. Slater impressively floated over into a side headlock grinding into Fandango. It was short lived though as Fandango powered up and pushed him into the ropes; he executed a drop down and a leapfrog before catching Slater with a flapjack.
After a commercial break, the action resumed with Fandango firing Slater hard into the corner. He delivered another suplex for a nearfall shortly after. In a reversal of roles, it was Fandango that kept Slater grounded with a chinlock and Slater fighting to his feet and breaking free with knee strikes to the midsection. After a forearm to the back, Slater aimed to throw Fandango through the ropes but it was reversed and he was sent flying to the floor.
Fandango went for a plancha but was forced to change direction and land on his feet when Slater moved out of harm’s way. As soon as he landed, Slater violently shoved him into the security wall, following up with stomps and a foot onto the throat. Slater rolled Fandango back into the ring and covered for a 1 count. Fandango broke another chinlock with right hands to both the gut and the face. Slater was sent back into the ropes but surprised Fandango with a hard hitting flying knee to the face for a nearfall.
Slater stuck with a chinlock as his primary offense, briefly breaking it off to drop an elbow across the bridge of the nose, good for another 1 count off the cover. After stiff kicks to the back, Slater earned yet another 1 count with a bodyslam. The upteenth return to Chinclock City ended with Fandango back up to a vertical base only to eat a knee to the midsection. However Slater’s pension for crowd taunting cost him dearly and Fandango recovered long enough to snap off a jawbreaker.
Fandango’s comeback sequence includes stiff jabs and several closelines. A dropkick sent Slater onto the floor and Fandango was successful in his second attempt of a plancha. Upon rolling Slater back into the ring, Fandango ducked a closeline and connected with a spin kick for a nearfall. Fandango went up top for The Last Dance but Slater knocked him off balance. They exchanged blows, Fandango then blocking a superplex and sending Slater crashing down onto the canvas with a right hand. He quickly came off with The Last Dance for the pinfall.
Analysis: Very good back&forth match. Both these men are much better than their pushes and lack of main show inclusion would suggest. Unfortunately, they’re also both pigeonholed as opening match acts and being utilized on this show is really the best they can hope for.
The Raw Recaps:
This week’s featured flashbacks included New Day’s peace offering to Lucha Dragons and The Usos ending badly, The Wyatt Family’s big win over Team ECW, and Roman Reigns capturing the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from Sheamus.
That’ll do it for this week, join me for another edition of Superstars next week!!