Uuuh…man I always try to come up with something to put in the what worked section…but..hmmm…I liked James Storm and Chris Harris in their backstage interview. Both really played off the characters that they’ve been running with for last four years. Anything else I can say nice…Leticia isn’t managing Alex Shelly vs. Abyss yet.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK:
THIS SHOW SUCKED:
1)The wrestling stank:
For a Russo TNA show I guess this was a wrestling intensive episode as all the undercard matches went 4 minutes instead of the usual 2-3. They still stank. I was surprised at how bad Abyss vs. Killings was. Going into the battle of guys in leather pants, I figured Killings had probably worked Abyss a bunch of times in Wildside and the two would have a match down. I mean Killings was fine but damn. I’m not sure which are worse Abyss’ actual strikes or his missed strikes for transition. His sandpapering air punches are laughable but his swing and miss so opponent can take over punches really look like an obese woman struggling with Tae Bo. The Mitchell slow motion crawl through the ring was D’Amore level bad. Jim Cornette described the Daniels v Petey Williams match as “This is a see-saw match as the X division matches usually are”. I’m not sure if I’d describe this as see-saw, but it did resemble a playground game more than an actual wrestling match. Maybe it was jacks. Had the real feel of watching a-rhythmic white girls try double-dutch as there seemed to be a real intense focus on getting the rhythm right: “One- two and, one two and , one two and, one two and”. Jacks has that same type of rhythmic focus but also has the retrieving object focus. So yeah I don’t want to say this was like watching jacks, since I assume these two will eventually have an Xs on a pole match. So I’ll stick with arrhythmic girls doing double-dutch. Main event had some nice Homicide v. Storm stuff. But what the fuck was with the Harris vs. Hernandez sections. I’m gonna give Harris the benefit of the doubt and claim that the eye patch was getting in his way, because that was completely embarrassing.
2) The booking stank:
-Doing lots of stuff at the same time doesn’t make a show feel exciting, it makes it feel disorganized. Lots of stuff happening at the same time means none of it has potential to register as “meaningful”/”important”. Lately they’ve done lots of in ring segment interruptions to try to give the sense that there is lots of excitement ( i.e. Cornette starts talking only to be interrupted by LAX’s music, Lax start talking only to be interrupted by Chritisn’s music, etc). Those are shitty enough in ring. This week they decided to switch to that format backstage too. This show was filled with backstage vignettes where they tried to cram every story into one segment. Christian is getting interviewed when segment interrupted by Traci Brooks chasing Eric Young, which is interrupted when Angle grabs Young. You watch this segment and you don’t go “Hey Christian has a mystery, and Eric Young has this angle with Robert Roode, and Angle is really mad..Wow this is lots of cool stuff”. No you watch this and go “Hey where is Serotonin? Why aren’t they being chased by spike backstage?” or you think “Why is Angle having such a hard time finding Samoa Joe? A third of the roster is squeezed into this one hallway…There must not be a lot of room for talent to hang out in TNA arena.” Lots of stuff happening simultaneously backstage doesn’t make show seem exciting it makes facilities look cramped.
-Abyss attacks two refs, Angle attacks one ref. One is a face one is a heel. Not clear why? Even if they were both heels or both faces. Having both do the attack ref spot on same show just lessens the impact of either. I mean I guess if the storyline is supposed to be that Cornette is ineffective leader, than you should have the refs getting attacked by everyone. I mean I guess then it would make sense. But that didn’t seem to be the storyline.
-Angle SNAPS~!!! Ok I have mixed feelings on this. On some level I enjoyed this but I think what I enjoyed was not really the intent of the angle. I think they were trying to do something somewhere between the Brock Lesnar crying and begging after loosing belt angle and a Meng SNAPS angle. But instead it really came off like retarded guy out of control. Angle came off as Cyril O’Reilly, mentally slow guy fucked up by electro shock. Angle trying to project “angry-crazy” combined with his mumble mouthedness and his tendency to repeat everything people say to him really made him come off as a physically strong mentally challenged guy who people avoid. I don’t think that was the intent. When Roode backed down from Angle you could tell that Roode was trying to project that Angle was a Made Man. Roode was selling deference to Pancamo while Angle projected not quite all there Cyrill. Cornette seemed to to be trying to project guy talking down a snapped Scott Steiner, while Angle responded like he was Ric in need of a hand puppet. If the intent was to portray Angle as sympathetic retard who is hard to control, it was effective. Assuming that wasn’t the intent…the angle stays on the bottom side. Angle attacking Don West was kind of surprising. I was shocked that West didn’t get at least two reversals on the ankle lock. So if the goal was shock it accomplished that. I’d also point out that West is the wrong announcer to take out. Solo Tenay is painful and Tenay next to Cornette really exposes Tenay. Tenay tries to explain everything as though the audience doesn’t see what’s happening. Like he’s a radio narrator. Cornette doesn’t explain, he tries to add meaning. The stair case attack on Slick Johnson was full on comedy. For the first time ever, I was really disappointed that they never let Johnson go all out with his soccer ref gimmick. As really that scene needed Johnson blowing a whistle and waving first a yellow and then a red card while in the ankle lock.
-Well I guess one could claim that the break up of AMW was the longest term booking Russo has ever done. I mean these two have been teasing dissention since the second episode of TNA 5 years ago. That my friend is slow build. The AMW vs. LAX match is the opposite of that. AMW lost to LAX in a salute the flasg match on the PPV. Ignore the stupidity of that booking. Ignore the fact that salute the flag matches are intended as easy send the crowd home happy house show matches where crowd gets to feel the participatory pleasure of singing the anthem at the end of match. TNA is all about crowd chants, and they don’t deliver the one match that by design is supposed to elicit that type of crowd participation. You have to ignore all this because it’s Russo and having the US win would be expected, this is a swerve and is gonna be as big of a deal as that time when Hacksaw lost the flag match and had to renounce America and become Canadian. Ignore the stupidity of the PPV booking for a second and just remember that the PPV just took place and the following week they’re having a rematch where Konan has to be locked in a cage and if AMW looses they have to disband. That’s three months of booking right there. AMW challenges for a rematch, LAX counterchallenges with the break up stip, Harris still concerned about his vision, Konan in a cage stip is raised, etc. Instead you have AMW break up in a throw away 6 minute match (with two minute commercial break) a week after PPV. Who agreed to all these stips? This whole angle has been compressed to such a degree that none of it registers as being a big deal.
-I really don’t think I need to say anything about Canadian Destroyer Petey Williams angrily attacking Storm for letting down his country (that should read letting down Storm’s country, not letting down Williams’)
-"Mcmahon, you can't solve a problem by ignoring it" "stop ignoring us, we are not to be ignored" Please please pay attention" This is pathetic. Damnit. This Voodoo Kin Mafia thing is awful .I’m not a fan of comedy angles built around making fun of opponent’s company, but I understand their motivations and what audience response they should provoke. I understand them on a functional level. These comedy bits are meant to be preaching to the choir pieces, that reinforce fans own beliefs, and also make opponents company seem so unhip/uncool that people would be embarrassed to be fans. I wish wrestling companies would spend more time improving their own product and waste less time taking shots at enemies. But that isn’t as easy. And well this type of comedy skit should be easy. DX is an easy target. Mocking them should be easy. You do three sketches.
1st sketch: James Gang hanging out playing cards backstage, interrupted by the DouXes (Nacho Man and Huckster version of DX). I’d cast the DouXes to be played by Adrian Street dressed as HBK and a shirtless Brunno Sassi with drawn on muttonchops. Sassi would essentially be doing the old Blue Meanie gimmick of parody fat guy with drawn on beard and short shorts. I think you’d want to not cast Meanie in the role since, I thnk he’s too established in it and Sassi like Street are Fl workers. Alternatively you could go to any Orlando drag scene and find some chubby queen performer who likes to wear short shorts and has a really mincing voice. Also there is the possibility of Using Miss Linda as your fake HHH as that would add an extra layer of creepyness to the Douxe relationship your mocking. Douxes interrupt card game,tell the James Gang that the DouXes have invfaded TNa bacuase they need to bring back the James Gang “We need you guys as everyone sees right through our attempts to pretend to be cool without you, lets get our old circle jerk back together”. James Gang refuse, say not interested. BG James “Aren’t you guys clearly too old to be pretending to be teen agers. We’ re adults right now. You should start acting like adults. Stop living in the past. We’ve moved on and moved with the future to TNA stop living in the past, you patrhetic has beens” yadda yadda, yadda.. Adrain Streete “Come on please we’re lost without you”. Kip : “Hey where’s Hunter disappeared to. Streete “Not again”. Camera pans to behind some furniture where they all find Sassi jacking off to a current pic of China Doll as James Gang simulate gagging.
2ns sketch: DouXes talk about all the young tail they get. “cmon these girls come back to our hotels and they show us their breasts and they have beautiful breasts like bags of sand”. Straight rip off 40 Year old Virgin as James Gang imply that DouXes never touched actual woman. Fake HBK begs, fake HHH disappears only to be caught wacking to a photo of a bathing suit model with Lemmy’s face pasted over her head. Everyone reacts disgusted.
3rd sketch: DouXes try to prove their coolness by telling really tired corny jokes. “But teacher I’can’t go any Deeper I’m stuck”. “ What do you say when a lumberjack farts. He cut the trees” “ HAHAHA” “See we’re still hip, you want to hang out and tell jokes with us”. Work same scenario where James Gang want no part in their tired corny jokes. Fake HBK again begs. Fake HHH disappears only to be caught wacking off to picture of Steph. James Gang pretend to gag. BG “Damn Hunter what’s with you and the trannies?”.
Simple formula. Three sketches. None of them the least bit funny. One tasteless un-funny punchline. Preachees to the choir about what’s wrong with DX. You follow this up next week with enraged DouXes demanding that James Gang come back with them. Fake HHH gets so mad he attempts to Pedigree Kip. Kip counters by lifting head and hitting fake HHH in nuts. Kip “I’ve always wondered why no one did that”, BG “Maybe cause we all figured he had no balls”. Enraged fake HBK starts stomping his foot. Fake HHH in high pitched voice “now look you’ve made him angry, He’s starting up the band”, Fake HBK steps some more “ Ooh he’s warming up the woodwinds” A little soft shoe“ No not the brass section”, etc. until you show bored James Gang fallen asleep, fake HBK struggles grabbing hip to lift leg, fake HHH helps support him as kick brushes James Gang face slightly waking them as they brush it off. This builds to DouXes interrupting PPV say they’re not leaving to Conneticut without James Gang. James Gang come in to beat them up as TNA crowd chants DX sucks. Simple formula, you make fun of wrestlers characters one week, you make fun of their moves the next week, and then as pay off you beat them up. It’s tired shitty material and it would end up on the ”What Didn’t Work” side of my reviews. But it would be functional.
The thing that makes the Vooddoo Kin Mafia skits so bad isn’t that they are unfunny. It’s that they fail from a structural perspective. How does standing around in Mickey Mouse boxers make your opponent look unhip/uncool? Being confused by Target not being an actual target? Most of the criticism of DX hasn’t really been broad criticism, it’s been really precise stuff about particular sketches. I don’t watch RAW, I don’t know what they’re talking about. TNA fans shouldn’t have to watch RAW to know what VKM are referring to. Criticisms need to be broad and general. Nacho Man and Huckster were broad caricatures. In early VKM appearances most of criticism seemed to be less about DX and more about Vince Russo’s jealousy of Christopher DeJoseph. “Damnit I’m a much better backstage writer, Why Vinny Mac why? My unibrow is so much more telegenic than his belly…you never let me do that many on camera appearances.”. I imagine no one really cares about which show writer feels slighted by the amount of TV time given to the other TV writer. It doesn’t preach to the TNA choir. They could care less. This doesn’t preach to the TNA choir. None of this makes WWE look bad uncool or unhip. All of this builds up to VKM making a million dollar challenge at PPV then complaining the next week than WWE hasn’t taken them up on the challenge. It isn’t hard to make fun of DX. It is ridiculous that these guys have completely failed. Instead of making skits where WWE is portrayed as bumbling incompetents trying to mess with TNA, they did skits where TNA was represented by bumbling incompetents. WWE weren’t portrayed as bumbling heels Colonel Klink and Schultz. TNA was portrayed as bumbling faces, Peter Sellers in the Mouse that Roared. Who wants to identify with bumbling incompetents? TNA made a ton of skits about how insignificant VKM/TNA is in the face of WWE. The PPV payoff was a meaningless challenge that will never be answered which only reinforces VKM/TNA’s insignificance. When heard that Russo was coming to TNA again, I expeccted stupid shots at WWE. I didn't expect them to be this structurally failed.
MAY 20/01: Benoit lost to Kurt Angle in the 2 of 3 Falls Match for Angle's medals; Benoit teamed with Jericho to win Tag Team Turmoil MAY 21/01: Benoit & Jericho beat HHH & Stone Cold for the Tag Titles MAY 24/01: Benoit & Jericho win TLC 4 MAY 28/01:...