The actual work in the Big Tony v. Grail match was pretty good. Grail is pretty great as he carries a guy in his debut match. Grail isn't afraid to be a great bumping jobber here, as he looks like Lee Scott putting over Sid. Of course the infinite wisdom of booking your champion to look like Lee Scott will be discussed below.
Old School Empire are one of my favorite things in wrestling right now. The back stage jumping of Dramin was just perfection. They need to make sure that there is some OSE on every show. They are the focus of this promotion, and whether it is a match, backstage segment or promo, they should be there every week.
I really like the opening. The music and clips are really nicely put together and gives a good feel for the show. The one quibble I have is that they shouldn't exclusively use clips from the most recent taping. I don't think you should show parts of matches that haven't aired yet. The opening shows the finish of the main event tag, which kind of ruins the story of that match. You have a nice backlog of stuff to use now, use some of it.
I am excited about the Great Virginia Bash as that is a really cool idea. I am a little nervous about the idea that they aren't going to show all of the matches on the Internet show. That is fine if they don't show matches like the ones on this show, but it is a big mistake if they think their audience is big enough to try to hold off the main events for DVD sales. People aren't going to watch shows made up of forgettable undercard Pete Jannings and Maxx Dynamite matches, and they haven't built up enough of an audience to sell many DVD's.
What Didn't Work
God was the booking of that Grail match terrible. You have a lighheavyweight champion utterly squashed by a rookie. Meanwhile the announcer is cackling and making awful jokes about how he has no chance. It almost felt like Grail was jumping to VCW or something and O'Brian was Watts burying him on the way out. I especially like how O'Brian contemptuously tossed him the belt saying "here's your belt." A belt which was pretty hotly contested now has the credibility of the Ed Ferrera era WCW crusierweight title. Not to mention booking a 350 pound New Yorker as a face against a tiny guy from VA, all because your accent is grating. The combo of the burial of the talented small worker with the incestuous internet booking, made the whole thing felt like Rick was taking booking inspiration from fellow New York tough guy Vince Russo.
That tag match wasn't good, although it was better on tape then live. I liked the opening brawlish section, and Jon Jon has some fun spots, but this wasn't good. Pete Jannings is pretty awful, and with Jon Jon gone there is no reason to keep booking him. Sons of Ra are good at the heel double team but I don't get much energy from either Jon Jon as face in peril and especially Jannings on the apron. He is the most listless Robert Gibson I have seen, as he looks like he finishing up a 12 hour shift at a Amaco while standing on the apron. This hurt the match more live, as you didn't see him napping on the apron. The retarted TWO chant also really hurt this match, as for a match like this to work, you need the crowd into the match itself, no into trying to put themselves over. NWA-VA doesn't need Hat Guys. Also if Jon Jon is going back to California, I see no reason to have him go over guys that are staying.
Smackdown's ratings were way down because not only was there a new Friends (advertised as one of those 40 minute episodes, but really just an ordinary new episode and a rerun of a previous 40 minute special)