All Thanks should be directed to Thunder Down Under for providing me with the show.
-Perfectly acceptable battle royale. Nothing actively good. But nothing that made you want to vomit on your shoes. They kept people paired off for the most part so not too much guy wandering around with nothing to do. There was one mistimed sequence between Angle and Storm that left Storm wandering purposely. Is Abyss officially a tweener at this point? He faces off with other heels (AJ) eliminates heels (Sabin etc.) all the while still fighting face (Sting). There was more face eliminates face, and heel eliminates heel stuff in this then you would want if goal of battle royale is to set up future match ups/programs. I don’t really get the Eric Young doesn’t want to be a partner of the guy who was his tag partner 5 months ago thing and all the broad in ring acting in that story only made it appear stupider. They were trying to do some kind of Samoa Joe fights off the odds thing in the end with Steiner and Tomko fighting to show who was better at beating up Joe. I like the “you call that beating someone up? Let me show you how it’s done stuff" normally but this was really listless. According to Cornette, battle royale is supposed to end with final two participants in a singles match. Tomko and Joe are the final two and work a match that goes under a minute. I mean Hoyt v Abyss at end of Fight for Right battle royale episode was allowed to go three minutes and tell a story. This was a one minute of nothing. Really a waste of Tomko. Tomko otherwise had a nice strike section with Kip James, nice knee strikes in the clinch opposite Angle and eats an Angle suplex about as well as one can. His performance in the rest of battle royale really made the waste of him at the end seem even sillier. Still for battle royale, not too much meaningless wandering and Eric Young took a big bump. That’s enough to be acceptable battle royale.
-The sadness in Borash’s voice as he asks Robert Roode why he has to be so harsh on Eric Young. ‘Shut up JB he’s my bitch now.” It was moving.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK:
-ROCKY BLACKBOA~!!!: Aw so much to criticize.
One could criticize the racism and misogyny involved the portrait of the fat gold digging chickenheaded black woman with stanky whiting sandwich breath. But FUCK, it’s Russo. I’m not sure if the minstrel jiggaboo caricature might be more progressive than any of his other female caricatures. One could criticize the stupidity of running a comedy segment that mocks the poor writing, acting and production of a black B-Movie, on a show that’s this poorly written, acted and produced. I mean the joke here is supposed to be “HA HA look at how bad and stupid this segment is”. On a show that also has a poorly written fake B-level American Idol spoof where Jay Lethal does a B-level spoof of an actually famous wrestler. Show with a poorly acted, poorly written sketch where Chris Sabin impersonates a senior, etc. Show this poorly done can’t really run a segment built on concept “this is deliberately bad” when there is nothing on the rest of the show written as well as Camron’s “Killa Season” movie. It’s just stupid.
But lets ignore all that for a second. Racism, misogyny and stupidity is Russo’s bread and butter. So I’m going to ignore all that and instead focus on the point that Russo is really shitty at telling race based jokes. I mean ethnic comedy is one of Russo’s specialties but he stinks at it. “Rocky Blackboa”? “”Rocky Blackboa”? It’s an old hack joke that Russo is trying to tell. Racist jokes built on black man presumptious enough to claim the cultural trappings of whites goes back over a century. Been told by millions of wannabe comedians black and white. I want to ignore the racism and talk about the joke structure. Real issue isn't the racism of the joke but how poorly Russo tells it. “Rocky Blackboa”? How poorly does that joke read? Scan it a couple times; try to say it out loud. It’s incredibly awkward. “ A Few Good Black Men”? Read it. It’s cumbersome. He’s added an extra word which throws the rhythm off. This is easy hack joke. But the secret is to keep the original meter. You don’t just add the word black.” A Few Good Bros”, “A few Good Homies”. Neither of those are funny but at least they aren’t unfunny and cumbersome. “I dream of Black Jeanie” won’t ever register a chuckle, “I Dream of Jea-Nay-Nay” will. “RamBlackO” doesn’t work when RamBro does. You read “Bill and Ted’s Black Bogus Journey “and it’s clunky and awkward. You read “Bilal and Ty’s Crunk Journey” and instantly your head is filled with pictures of Marcus Garvey getting fit for a grill, Scott Joplin scratching out ragtime beats in front of awe struck turntablists, and George Washington Carver getting addicted to internet porn "You can do that with peanut butter?". Try to read “Rocky Blackboa” outloud. It kills the joke. “’Darkie’ Balboa” is right there… If you’re going to do an unfunny race based joke at least do it right. I mean shit there must be at least thirty unfunny fake Def Comedy Jam stand-ups with aspirations to one day be the next Shucky Ducky trolling the Orlando Funny Bones. None of them would have written a joke as cumbersome as “Rocky Blackboa”.
-I am not expecting that the Angle v Steiner matches will be any good. But I had high hopes for their verbal confrontations. I’ve read the transcripts of Angle radio interviews and was actually looking forward to crazy angry mic work between two delusional druggies. Two nut-jobs yelling nonsensical stuff at each other should rule. The Angle v Steiner confrontation was just really disappointing. Scott Steiner’s stuff doesn’t make a ton of sense but his cadence and delivery are really great and he projects heel character well. He talks a bunch about contracts and stuff, about how he wasn’t able to negotiate his contract because the promotion was so busy signing Angle and how Angle isn’t “special”..Angle hasn’t done anything Steiner hasn’t done..and that in fact Angle’s wife is regularly calling Steiner looking for sexual favors. Tenay and West are disgusted “How much can a man take?””No need to drag family into this”. And Angle comes out all incensed and I’m stoked. Was sitting their anticipating Angle coming out “Not special? I defeated Lou Thesz and Danny Hodge in an impromptu three way dance backstage at the Olympics. And when I defeat you, I’m gonna make my wife come into the ring and take a shit on your face”. Instead Angle comes out and isn’t incensed about Steiner claiming that he cuckolded him. NO. Upset about being told that he isn’t special? No. No, the thing that makes Angle upset is the insinuation that Angle came to TNA for the big money contract. “I didn’t come here for the money…I came here for the company”. Steiner just talked shit about Angle’s wife and Angle responds by talking about the nature of contract negotiating and backstage egos. Man that’s the shittyest game of dozens ever, can you picture Angle in middle school: someone tells him “Your moms a whore” and he responds”Well you’re not a good team player”.
And then they end the verbal confrontation with Angle suplexing and manhandling Steiner “with ease” until Christian and Tomko come out to make the save. Not a pull apart confrontation but rather Steiner gets manhandled and has to be saved by other heels. They ran a successful program where Angle and Samoa Joe did lots of pull aparts that led to a PPV that did big numbers. Angle really can’t deliver in ring and so once people actually saw the match up they had no desire to see it again and their next match didn’t draw. And now no one wants to see Angle v Joe again. Angle tells Joe that in order to get title match in tonight’s gauntlet “you have to go through me” and it gets no pop. No one cares anymore. I mean that’s a simple formula that you can use with Angle: Introduce new opponent--run pull apart confrontations-- which leads to PPV match—PPV match kills any desire to see more matches. Instead they have Angle toss Steiner and put him in ankle lock. Why should anyone want to see the match? This whole segment was put together by idiots. Man they really need to fire their writers and find the most hack hacks at the local black talent night at Funny Bones. Lazy Lamont, Platinum, Lewis Lewis, Hollaback, and Peanutbutter Pryor all would be smart enough to understand that all the money is in the posturing and jone’ing. Once a guy gets knocked down and his boys have to come over to rescue him, it’s over and no one cares anymore.
-There has to be a cultural studies major writing a paper “Imagining the Evil Latino” that follows all the ridiculous permutations that the LAX stable has gone through. When Canadian Scott Dámore was on the booking team, Latinos where portrayed as Quebec style separatists. Russo comes in and made a couple of completely failed attempts to do jingoism and then went with what he knows: not conflicts based on nationality but conflicts based on ethnicity. And so we have the “New York Style” Latino v. Italian feud. Honestly this is far more relevant than Damore’s booking as conflicts between old and new immigrants are very real. Of course Russo doesn’t have anything interesting to say about those conflicts. Nothing to say at all. Pretty much just his old playground power fantasies of being a “tough” New York Italian. Fantasies one assumes he formulated while pissing his pants after getting beaten up by Irish girls. Everytime the priest would come visiting, Russo would clench close his eyes and say to himself "This isn't happening. I'm a ganster. Tough New Yawk Gangster.".So while not as idiotic as Damore, still not really relevant or good. Unique Jones and Earl Earl would have one hack “Italians drive their cars like this, while Latinos drive their cars like this” routine that would be deeper than the writing here. So Italian Brother Ray brings in his actor “cousin Steve Shirpa” who threatens to get his family to whack LAX. Umm?!? This is like Sting bringing in his friend actor Peter Weller to watch his back.
Peter Weller: Sid, Ole, Arn, Flair…Dead or Alive, you’re coming with me.
-Christian isn’t as good as Jarrett at playing role of comic heel stable leader trying to keep Steiner in line. And they’re already working a dissention in Christian’s stable angle? Wasn’t AJ Styles in this stable two weeks ago? Where is he? Idiots. I tend to like arm wrestling angles. These are easy enough to do. Face dominates, heel cheats and attacks. Simple formula. Here they have face win the match cleanly and then immediately attack heel after winning…this heats up what? This was just poorly written and a big waste of time. Unique and Earl Earl probably couldn’t have saved this..as I don’t know if they could write heel black vs face Korean. Jaquelin Moore: I feel sorry fo yo mama. Gail Kim: What you say? You say you solly for my mother? You say you solly for my mother? Nah. It doesn’t work.
When Cena came out I remembered the Raw after Wrestlemania X-7 when Austin turned heel and the fans were all like, "Aww do we have to boo him?". They've played it a little different this time. The reluctant heel is a nice little twist.