1/22 WWE Superstars Report: Fandango vs. Swagger, Miz vs. Ziggler
The Royal Rumble is finally upon us! Will any of the superstars competing tonight build any momentum and go on to capture the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on Sunday?
Your announcers this week are Rich Brennan and Byron Saxton.
1. Fandango vs. Jack Swagger
Initially thought to be a pure babyface opener, Fandango exhibits enough arrogance throughout the entrances to put the crowd solidly behind The Real American.
Swagger looks for a single leg takedown, Fandango managing to avoid it and duck into the ropes. Three more times Swagger tries to snatch a leg, all coming up empty. Swagger connects with a waistlock slam and squeezes the ribs until Fandango reaches the bottom rope.
Swagger looks for a second slam but Fandango throws a pair of elbows to prevent it. Fandango applies a side headlock and lands a shoulder tackle when pushed off into the ropes. He then takes a page out of Tyler Breeze’s book and lays across the top rope to good heat. Fandango boots Swagger in the midsection, lands a right hand followed by a pair of chops. Swagger ducks a clothesline and comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle. Swagger celebrates by leading the crowd with a “We The People”
Swagger backs Fandango into the corner and chops away at his chest. Swagger lands a gut shot but Fandango reverses a whip, sending him chest first into the corner. Fandango lands a dropkick for a nearfall then pounds on Swagger’s head out of frustration.
Fandango rams Swagger’s head into the top turnbuckle then lays into him with knees to the chest. Fandango sends Swagger into the ropes for a clothesline but he ducks and delivers one of his own. Swagger whips Fandango into the corner, following in with a knee strike. He sends Fandango across the ring, follows in with another knee then connects with a short-arm clothesline.
Swagger goes for the Swagger Bomb but Fandango gets a boot up. Fandango hits a slingshot leg drop for a nearfall. Again out of frustration, he bounces fists off the top of Swagger’s head. Fandango does some heelish dancing before applying a chinlock. Swagger fights to his feet but is immediately caught with a knee to the midsection. Fandango with a clubbing blow across the neck and some jabs. Fandango scores with a DDT for a nearfall. Fandango leapfrogs Swagger, Swagger launches him into the air and picks the ankle on the way down. Swagger locks in the Patriot Lock, forcing Fandango to tap out.
Winner: Jack Swagger
Very short but fine opener. Fandango looked more at ease working heel and his Breeze style mannerism early on made me think the two would make a good tag team. Breeze should be an upper mid-carder but Vince clearly soured on him after Survivor Series. Not to say a team with Fandango would be huge but you never know what would work, Swagger’s quietly racked up several wins both solo and teaming with Mark Henry. He’s consistent with anything he’s given to work with and I’d like to see him in the IC/Tag Title scene eventually.
2. The Miz vs.Dolph Ziggler
Miz insists the referee keep Ziggler at bay so he can go through his flapping and sunglasses removal ritual. Never fails to earn him scorn from the crowd.
Miz runs straight into a hip toss, Ziggler following with 10 straight leaping elbows for a nearfall. Miz catches Ziggler with an elbow then takes him over with a side headlock. Ziggler fights to his feet and reverses into a side headlock. Miz pushes Ziggler into the ropes, Ziggler coming off with a shoulder tackle.
Miz leapfrogs Ziggler coming back off the ropes and throws Ziggler over the top rope. Alas, Miz also makes the cardinal heel error of turning his back; such a move leaves him open for a dropkick after Ziggler skins the cat. Ziggler tries to grab Miz to keep the offense going but Miz hooks onto the bottom rope. As the referee steps in between them, Miz decks Ziggler with a forearm smash. Miz tosses Ziggler over the top rope a second time, Ziggler hitting the floor the second go around. As he writhes in pain, we go to commercial.
The action picks up with Miz coming off the ropes with a straight boot to the face for a 1 count. Miz drops elbows into the right shoulder then grinds Ziggler onto the mat with a chinlock. Ziggler fights up and breaks free with elbows to the midsection. Miz catches Ziggler’s arm as he swings at him and competes step one of the Reality Check. Ziggler counters step two into a backslide for a nearfall. Miz avoids a dropkick and hits a basement DDT for a nearfall.
Ziggler’s choked on the middle rope with Miz’s knee planted in the back. Miz comes off the ropes with a diving attack to the back, covering for a nearfall. Miz lands a few right hands, Ziggler gets fired up and answers back with left hands. Miz reverses a whip and flips Ziggler r with a knee to the midsection. Miz with a running boot for a nearfall.
Miz pries Ziggler’s face then returns to the chinlock to wear him down. Ziggler breaks free with a jawbreaker and finds himself backed into the corner. Miz rushes in and is met with a back elbow. Miz shakes that off but misses a charge in the corner. Ziggler hits a flying clothesline, sends Miz into the corner, and connects with a splash.
Ziggler drops Miz with a neckbreaker but Miz rolls onto the apron to avoid another round of elbow drops. Ziggler grabs him but Miz snaps his neck across the top rope. Miz blocks a superkick and sweeps the leg. Miz goes for the figure-four leglock Ziggler kicks him off and goes for a leaping DDT. Miz blocks it and tosses him backwards, Ziggler landing on his feet.
Miz looks for the Skull Crushing Finale, Ziggler rolls him off. Ziggler goes for the Famouser but when he realizes he won’t fully connect, he switches to a La Magistral cradle for a nearfall. Ziggler ties for the Famouser again but Miz catches him in a powerbomb position. Ziggler slides down for a sunset slip, Miz rolling through to go for the figure four again. Ziggler cradles Miz for a nearfall.
Miz avoids the superkick again and shrugs off an attempted Zig-Zag. Miz comes off the ropes for another boot but Ziggler ducks and rolls him up for a nearfall. Ziggler misses a corner splash, Miz taking him down with a Miz-Line. Miz heads up top but leaps off right into a superkick. Ziggler falls on top of him for the pinfall.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Analysis: Really strong, solid feature match! While it’s a shame it had to happen on Superstars, the effort put forth by both didn’t indicate the placement. The transitions were great and the adjustments made for things that didn’t go smoothly at first were impressive. Brennan and Saxton were great on commentary as they tied the match to Sunday;s Rumble as well as past Rumble stats for both wrestlers. Overall great presentation in making the match feel important and complimenting the action in the ring.
This week’s look back at Raw featured:
-Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel hosting WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar. That ended with a Rumble preview brawl and The Wyatt Family standing tall.
-The League of Nations’ Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus defeating Dean Ambrose and Kalisto
The show ends with annual “By The Numbers” video package for the Royal Rumble Match narrated by Saxton.
Good effort this week. Miz vs. Ziggler is worth checking out. Swagger vs. Fandango was short but decent.