STING ~!! Sting is a guy who has been wrestling for about twenty years at this point. Heavily pushed charismatic babyface for most of that time. But never really a guy known for his mic work. I can’t think of a single angle he was in, in all that time where he was asked to carry the bulk of the mic work. Surfer Sting could get over youthful enthusiasm on the mic and would cup his hands around his mouth and do a war whoop. Crow Sting was all about him being silent. So it’s really odd to watch how great Born Again Sting is at presenting conviction on the mic. Really Sting is single handedly carrying this Abyss storyline. It’s pretty clear that he’s writing his own stuff as his mic work is on such a different level from everyone else in this angle. Sting plays down the title stealing and concentrates on the possibility of saving Abyss. Sting reframes the whole “mystery” angle in Christian terms. Providing Abyss with a “different road” “Stop worrying about the past…the “Good News” is that you can change the future [through the power of Redeamer]” . Sting vs. Serotonin was a fine squash match. If you’re only going to run matches that go under two minutes than having them be squashes makes more sense than having them be competitive two minute matches.
James Storm’s sit down interview was good too, but why are they having ambient music playing during sit down interview? The Griot’s drum circle played during the interview trying to match Storm’s intensity and passion as the beats sped up and slowed down. Does the audience need background music to make it through an interview?
Don West is great as he does nice job early in show putting over the ankle lock, talking about how he still has an extreme sprain but returned to work out of love for the job. Meanwhile Slick Johnson who was ankle locked on a staircase is bouncing around the ring like nothing happened. For some reason the idiot bookers decide to keep Angle face and turn Joe heel in their main event tag booking and West has to sell that he’s still behind Angle even though Angle attacked him. He does a commendable job talking about how he “can’t take attack personally”. West is good at covering for shitty booking but that doesn’t make the booking any less shitty
WHAT DIDN'T WORK:
And the booking was SHITTY. The non-Sting matches and booking weren’t any good.
Ron Killing’s Christmas rap isn’t Santa Clause Goes Straight to the Ghetto or that David Banner Christmas rap but still better than a lot of Christmas rap, unfortunately Hoyt’s body waves make it difficult to say positive things about it. And what the fuck was up with the drug motifs throughout the show? Show opens with Serotonin match, Ron Killings raps about trying to quit smoking over Christmas, Nash makes steroids jokes, notorious drug abuser BG James and Kip James joke about how they are on the road with WWE only minus the “wellness program”, Lance Hoyt “dances” while stuck in a K-hole, and Shane Douglas talks about how his fathers death from lung cancer kept him from ever smoking. I guess someone should applaud the audacity of attempting to do a wrestling show as reflection on a theme. Russo got a hold of some art films from the video store and realized that narrative is passé and that cinema as essay is the future. “Hmm I suck at narrative anyway maybe I should try this visual exploration of a theme thing.” And well iMPACT has been about drugs from the beginning (http://board.deathvalleydriver.com/index.php?showtopic=2964&hl= ) “ADRENALINE RUSH! ADRENELINE RUSH! “. I mean I guess these are some interesting themes being explored: Serotonin vs. the meditative quality of Sting’s Christianity perhaps…as Sting doesn’t represent the speaking in tongues fevered Christianity that would share space with/or feel in competition with the power of serotonin but rather a reflective one; Killings is trying to end addiction to drug consumption over holiday built around consumption; The James Gang and Lance Hoyt are reflections on the lack of self awareness that drugs provide…as fun is had as the result of not worrying about how embarrassing your behavior actually appears—and that behavior is really shameful; and well Meltzer has implied that the Franchise made himself impotent during ECW period as result of drug use so the idea of Douglas as guy who turns down cigarettes but can’t turn down anything else is an interesting one “Damnit Sandman, I’m trying to shoot some smack here and you’re second hand smoke is bothering me”. These are interesting themes but it is not enough just to throw a motif out there, you need to do something with it. Interesting theme unfortunately not really explored or presented in an interesting way. I guess we’ll have to wait for Chris Marker or Godard to take up wrestling booking before we can hope for booking wrestling as essay to supplant booking wrestling as narrative.
The booking that didn't directly reference drugs (although probably still drug inspired) was shit too. The Dudleys beat the Naturals in under two minutes, in what was essentially a squash. Supposedly the Dudleys were humiliated by loosing in their own signature match and so wanted the rematch. So instead of doing this as a PPV match they do it as a throw away squash where Douglas post match ends the “Naturals experiment”..they don’t even do a Naturals must disband stip. End this thing in a meaningless squash. Chase Stevens is one of the top ten guys in the fed and Russo can’t find a reason to push him? I’m sure he can do a prescription drug abuse gimmick. So they break up the Naturals and debut another ECW veteran manages a stable through tough love gimmick on same show. Konan is a shitty Riley Freeman “Santa gonna pay” Don’t Cuban’s and Puerto Ricans celebrate Three Kings Day instead? Spike is right there he will take a crazy bump on a Christmas tree filled with glass ornaments. but instead we get a weak beatdown. And why are LAX running from the comedy wrestlers in the PCS and Eric Young. Styles tried to save the main event tag a couple times and I always dig Styles the heel but that match was nothing and the booking is nonsensical. Why is Angle still a face, why is Joe on a heel team, I think they were trying to do a both tag teams don’t trust their partner thing at one point but you can’t squeeze all that in. Shit.
And then there was the non-Sting portions of the Abyss angle. Hey Tomko has a DVD. Nice, I remember when Jarrett was lugging around a VHS tape a year ago. Glad to see that TNA has spent some money on moving to digital in their backstage skits. Tomko and Christian appear on video screen outside prison talking about Abyss’ old cell. Idiot Mike Tenay announces “That must mean that Abyss was in prison”. Hmm Christian and Tomko film outside a prison point to a room and refer to it as Abyss’ old room…and somehow Tenay is able to deduce that Abyss used to be in prison. Ok so I was wrong last week. Angle isn’t Cyril. Abyss is. Christian and Tomko as Timmy Kirk and Jazz Hoyt could be entertaining but at this point it isn’t. Sting is better than Luke Perry and James Mitchell is still useless. Really no one should be allowed to talk in this angle other than Sting. Everyone else really feels like they are doing amateur theatre. I mean there is some good amateur theatre, but this wasn't even fake Up with People in mental institution bad, not even Guys and Dolls in an old folks home or Macbeth in prison. This was shit. Amused that they ran something like three Christian vs. Abyss PPV matches already and they decide that the way to freshen that match up is to have Christian work heel and Abyss work tweener.
Lance Hoyt freestyle dancing. FUCK!!! I mean I already mentioned it once but it needs to be mentioned again. Hoyt's dancing destroyed my mind. K-Fed started as a back up dancer. If K-Fed did that Lance Hoyt dance I would join the K-Fed greatest heel in wrestling today bandwagon. My guess is that Federline is too professional and has too much natural rhythm to ever be able to dance that shittily. But still, K-Fed learns that dance and you can print money, he could main Mania, he could solve NJ's problems, he could fill the Tokyo Dome.
Superbrawl from '96 might not have been an overall great PPV, but it had Flair vs. Savage in a cage, in what could reasonably be argued was the last 'great' match for both wrestlers. Of course, you can never go wrong with Great American Bash '91.