-So for a couple months Ive been pushing the Sting on the mic talking point: 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 cant think of a single angle he was in, in all that time where he was asked to carry the bulk of the mic work. Heel Sting had Missy and Eddie Gilbert to carry 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 its 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. Its pretty clear that hes writing his own stuff as his mic work is on such a different level from everyone else in this angle. It's no secret that I really dug Stings mic work when the angle was that Sting used to be this happygo-lucky surfer wrestler who was sucked in by the Temptations of that lifestyle and then was Born Again and humbled in the presence of the Awesome Truth and Power of God. He had seen the Evils of the SHOWTIME ego driven lifestyle and had humbled himself. I really liked humble face Sting. It was a welcome contrast to HBKs Steven Baldwin-lite ego-driven Christianity of personal enrichment and fire and brimstone prosthelytizing. Theyve completely changed the nature of Stings character. Sting as angry Steven Baldwin is less interesting to me on a theological level then Sting as vehicle of compassion. But still its Sting mic work that carries this angle. Do you think I havent been in a few fires in my life. Youre gonna witness the End Times. Sting is better at this then Steven Baldwin as while you sense the ego driven-ness of this version of Christianity, Sting is still concerned with the Temptations of the selfish life..Sting transitions between his old 80s extreme sports surfer war whoop and threats that This represents lust,greed and deception, What I call a living hell.. Sting almost saves this dumb prison angle by preaching about the prison of the selfish lifestyle. Prison metaphor trumps all the shitty literal prison storylines.
-Pre-Russo I used to complain about the What works/doesnt work format for this show. Pre-Russo What worked/didnt work was really about what was good vs. what sucked. TNA was mediocre most of the time and so a lot of stuff had both good and bad aspects and was sometimes difficult to parse. Russo shows up and whole show is bad so What worked/What Didnt Work format is no longer about a value judgment and actually becomes a discussion of what is functional and what structurally fails. The sports entertainment stuff on this show wasnt nearly as bad as youd expect and for the most part was functional:
The Buh-Buh mic work where he tells the audience that he was a shoot Italian is pretty mediocre. Buh Buh was wearing a Black Label Society hat which raises the question Is Buh-Buh the TNA talent looking to jump to WSX? Buh-Buh can do some really great impassioned mic work and this was disappointing by Buh-Buh standards but fine by the standards of this show. I liked Konans mic work more than I liked any of his previous LAX mic work and really the beatdown by LAX is what made the segment. No blood and Devon really exposed the business by carefully removing the board from his head before lying down..Still the visual of Homicide choking Buh-Buh with a coat hangar while Hernandez attacked the hand was great. Without the beatdown this probably wouldnt have made the top side but enough good to outweigh the bad. Also LAX were lucky to be put in the position of being the first heels booked to choke a face on the show. If they were positioned as the second or third this wouldn't have made the top side either (wouldnt have been shocking and would have done little to heat up the PPV). For angle heating up PPV, I still have no desire to see the actual Italian Street Fight maybe if they bring in Italys Native Soldiers (I.N.S. of JT Smith and Tracy Smothers or fuck it Big Sal Puccio would sell more than Buh-Buh too). Yikes!!! You know I have little hope for a match when Im fantasy booking a three way dance to save it.
AJ Pierzynski and Dale Torborg were shockingly good at their Jimmy Garvinesque mic work. Lance Hoyt sucked and really looked even worse given the contrast with the baseball guys. Did they just gloss over Johnny Damon? I mean I what's the point of doing a celebrity angle if you're not going to make a big deal out of the celebrity? Damon as an un-remarked upon walk on is hysterical. AJ Styles heel mic work continues to rule. Again you totally buy him as pompous ass although the facial stubble seems ill-suited for his character. Christian is not as believable but still his mic work was perfectly acceptable. Samoa Joe and Angle had what would be bad mic work on a normal show but what was kind of fine segment by Russo standards. The premise of segment was that the two had never teamed before which is amusingly stupid premise and holy shit Leticias face has gone to hell. She really has the look of a WWE diva. Well not the manly jaw but the soulless haggard look of a woman who has had shit mixed in her lunch by every juvenile WWE wrestler. Im not sure who the TNAs Randy Orton is, but damn did she have the weathered and beaten WWE diva eyes. Could the Kip James angle be a shoot? If youre the kind of person that thinks Fuck matches dont mean anything. Wrestling is about knowing how to play roles. The true judge of a wrestler is their ability is to make you believe in their character than Kip James and Christy Hemme are best wrestlers in TNA. Their backstage segment was off the charts. You totally bought Hemme as grating jejune feminist, totally bought Kip James as sophomoric chauvinist, and totally bought BG James as guy made uncomfortable by the whole scene. Best backstage bit on the show.
WHAT DIDN'T WORK:
-Most of the sports entertainment stuff that went on the What Worked side, was when wrestlers were good enough performers to cover for bad material. That said the material is bad. Every major segment to heat up PPV ended with a choking. Homicide chokes Buh-Buh with a coat hanger to heat up their PPV match. Mitchell chokes Sting with a belt to heat up their PPV match.Steiner chokes Angle with a metal pipe to heat up their PPV match. Who books three choking angles in one show? Is Russo trying to get Shannon to start watching wrestling again? You cant do three choking angles in one show. I mean I thought it was idiotic when they did two attacking the refs angles on the same show but sheesh. Hanging someone is a big deal. Its a visually dramatic spot. But if you do it three times in one show it looses any meaning and any power to shock.
-Of course some of the bad stuff was the fault of both the writing and the shitty performers. The secret to the early Paparazzi productions sketches was that Alex Shelley riffing is somewhat amusing the secret to the later ones was the rapport between Shelley and Nash. The two were amusing riffing off each other. This weeks Paparazzi Productions sequence was just completely unfunny. Nash without Shelley is unfunny. For an ex-World Champion trying to mentor two spot guys, Nash isnt as funny as White Trash Johnny Webb. Nashs humor isnt as relevant as White Trash Johnny Webs. His delivery isnt as good. Nashs mentoring doesnt do as much for Lethal and Dutt as Webb does for Abercrombie and Nate Webb. This was just a long dull segment where Nash came off as poor mans White Trash Johnny Webb.
-Tenay was his normal shitty self but I guess I could single out the jealousy in Tenays voice while announcing Its awkward the way Mr Backlund stares at J.B.. Awkward for who?
-None of the above was the most texted guess as who would be Christians Special consultant with 34% of the vote Yikes how many people voted in this thing? Couldnt have been more than a handful. I mean the internet really killed the old wrestling hotline carny game. I never called a wrestling hotline, but I did call Jerry Lee Lewis 1-900 line enough times to admire the carnyness of 1-900 numbers. Anyone who has watched late night TV commercials knows that the text messaging carny hustle has almost replaced the 1-900 one at this point. And so on some level you have to admire TNA getting involved in the new hustle. But damn its like they dont understand how a hustle works at all. Listing Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, Samoa Joe or other really makes other look like a disappointment. Hey maybe it will be one of these two big guys..if not it will be someone not as big. Plus they have actively pissed off Brock Lesnar and Goldberg. If they ever had the money to get these two, they might want to. Right now both are pissed that there names are being used without getting paid. The reason the internet killed wrestling hotlines is that the internet provided the info on wrestling hotlines. Youre having people text to guess who the consultant will be in a taped show. People who text, people who use new technology will probably also understand how to use the internet And vote to guess who the consultant will be? Youre vote here doesnt matter, it doesnt determine anything. No one called in to vote to predict if Face would die at the end of the A-Team. They voted to determine if Face would die. The hustle is to have people text in to vote for what they want Rhinos weapon of choice to be, not to vote to guess what it will be. Running the results also make your audience look dumb. Especially when the storyline is this clear. The conclusion to the mystery consultant story was obvious and 66% of the voting audience cant follow this story. That may not be something you want to advertise.
-So the second Mystery is solved. Scott Steiner is the special consultant. This is better mystery resolution than the Abyss one. No crazy swerve, pretty obvious conclusion. Christian is actively better at the mindgames mic work then Helmsley. He still isnt as good as Wes from Real World/Road Rules challenge. And well one of these days I need to do a whole idiotic Lessons of 2007; What Wrestling Should Learn from MTV/VH1 Reality Television. The premier of I Love New York was the most watched show in cable, absolutely beating all wrestling and that weeks Sopranos premier. Im sure with enough liquor in me I could come up with a bunch of shit on the lessons these shows provide on how you elevate new stars, build matches, get across lots of characters, create worked drama etc. But anyway as a preview : The Lesson of Wess Mindgames mic work. Two kinds of folks do mindgames mic work in reality TV; crazy/delusional folks New York/Beth and sane guys Wes. The thing about arguably sane people playing mindgames is that at the end of the day you dont think Wow that Wes he sure is a Machavelian genius tactician. No at the end of the day you think Wow that Evan is really dumb for falling for that shit. Your sane mindgames worker never comes across as smart so much as his opponents come across as dupes. There is a reason that no one (with the exception of Batista) leaves a program with HHH as hot as they were when they entered it. Batista was booked to see right through HHHs mindgames (Batista was also never stuck in matches with HHH in the build to the PPV as tags, singles , 3 ways whatever no one looks good in loosing to HHH). Mindgames mic work, by and large makes your faces look like chumps. Christian promised someone who wrestled just like Angle and had a similar mind state. Steiner is drugged out of his gourd nut who does a lot of meaningless suplexes. When Christian first mentioned this clue the audience chanted RVD, which would I guess also have made sense( spotty druggy who bangs people up while throwing visually dainty looking offense) . RVD has supposedly asked for his WWE release and aw Fuck, I imagine watching the inevitable TNA Angle/RVD/ Lynn three way dance will guarantee me a place in the Heavenly Choir. I imagine you could rape ponies in front of a troupe of Brownies and still argue with St Peter Yeah, I guess that was awful but. Did you see when I watched that TNA PPV. Thats got to count as penance. How much more self-flagellation do you guys need? At least Russo finish will keep it from being pimped as a WON MOTY people who didnt like this dont understand the future of wrestling, yadda yadda. Sorry, getting distracted. Point was obvious conclusion was Steiner, with RVD at least making sense as a second possibility. For some reason Angle is confused and thinks, its either Goldberg, Brock Lesnar or Samoa Joe. Tomko provides the clues of goatee and sunglasses so it could be either Scott Steiner or Jim Neidhart. And this convinces Angle that it has to be Samoa Joe. Mindgames stuff doesnt make Christian look clever so much as it makes Angle come across as an idiot.
--The three matches on the show were all essentially squashes. Unobjectionable squashes but you can find better on youtube and really nothing that heated up the PPV matches. Why would anyone want to pay money for match-ups that they just saw in squashes? Hey theyre advertising Christian as undefeated in TNA. Wasnt he just on the loosing team in tonights show? Really you shouldnt advertise anyone as undefeated unless youre actually giving them an undefeated streak gimmick. Either a dominant undefeated streak gimmick or a chickenshit when is he gonna get whats coming to him undefeated streak gimmick. Theyre not running either of those with Christian. You talk about won/loss records when someone is doing a dominant winning streak gimmick or a loosing streak gimmick. Otherwise youre telling the audience Hey you may not have realized it because it isnt important for booking purposes, but this guy hasnt lost. If it isnt important for booking purposes dont mention it as it kills a gimmick (guy with a dominant win strak) that may at one point actually want to run. Im also not sure what is meant by undefeated in a fed filled with on a pole matches. He lost the match where the goal was to retrieve a baton off a pole. Im not sure how you determine who wins in a match to determine who gets to use which weapon. Oh yeah and what the fuck is the angle theyre running with the Naturals.
Don West: Stevens is still wearing the newly Franchised Naturals tights. Weve seen many times on Xplosion where Shane Douglas is trying to get those tights off him.
WHAT?!?! Shane Douglas is working a Bob Ryder gimmick. I mean what the fuck!?!?!?. Chase Stevens is still really being wasted putting over Abyss. We know Chase can run a 4.3. According to Angle, Samoa Joe can run a 4.5 40 yd dash. Match those two up in some sort of match where they have to do wind sprints to reach a pole.
Originally posted by tomkNo one called in to vote to predict if Face would die at the end of the A-Team. They voted to determine if Face would die.
Foul! They called in to determine if a certain dead character was Face's father, and therefore, was Face hitting on his sister the whole episode or not. Given the EASY Russotastic leap one can easily make from this scenario, I am SO disappointed you remembered this wrong.
Yes, the Smackdown show is pretty kickass. My main dilemma, though, is the location of each show. The RAW show is literally right down the street from me at the Saginaw Civic Arena. The Smackdown show is a 2 hour drive to Detroit.