So cleaning up desktop and realized that in moving last workrate report from notepad to the website the line"Sojourner Truth flashing guys at Freaknik "Ain't I a woman"" was left out. Don't remember if that was deliberate ( I mean at this point Freaknik is about as dated a joke as you can make) or just an accident in cutting and pasteing.
None of the matches were actively good. But I’m using the Russo in TNA standard where I point out that all of them where functional and none made you want to vomit. The Kip James, BG James, Lance Hoyt v Eric Young, Robert Roode, James Storm match was way too short to be considered a match but they kept the worker on the face team (BG James) in for the bulk of it, with Hoyt getting a couple seconds in and I don’t think Kip ever got in ring. BG works a LA Park comedy segment with Eric Young and works a wrestling section with James Storm good enough that I kind of want to see them in a singles match. The main event ladder match wasn’t as messy as you’d expect, nothing really memorable but nothing awful either. It was really worked to protect Lynn and portray him on a higher level than the rest of the participants. It’s ridiculous but if that’s the booking, than the match made sense within the booking. TNA is bringing in a bunch of veteran U.S. junior heavyweights and watching this I got the impression that Lynn may have enough stuff that he can probably be controlled and carried to something good by Hector or Rodz. I don’t get why you repackage Dudleys as Italians. I mean if you’re doing a “New York City Style Latino v. Italain Gang Warfare” angle LAX v. Marco Corleone/Johnny Stamboli could be really great. Fuck Itallion Stallion/Angel Armani vs. LAX would also be really good and way better than LAX v 3D. I don’t ever want to see Team 3D v. LAX again. One could point out that you shouldn’t run a match where Devon works face in peril and Buh-Buh works hot tag. But honestly Devon wasn’t working “face in peril” as being “face in peril”would require selling. Hence “in peril”. Devon never sold for LAX and well this was as much a one sided squash as all the other TV matches in this series. But the strap match format saved it as Devon laid down for the straps…and it’s the old “when match in ring isn’t good distract with a lot of extraneous stuff outside of ring” formula. That formula worked here.
-I liked the Andre Rison stuff but you really can't do two special celbrity involvement angles on one show. I want to make a Rison should be feuding with Chris Harris joke. On the one hand the joke is too easy and obvious, on the other it would be ridiculous not to make it. So just mentioning it here, you make it yourself.
WHAT DIDN'T WORK:
The rest of the stuff on the show stank. They are trying to build four big matches for the PPV: AJ Styles v Rhino, Abyss v Sting, Samoa Joe v. Christian and Angle v Steiner. They manage to fuck up the promotion of all of them.
AJ Styles comes out to introduce his new innovation the elevation X match. Huh? Why is the chickenshit heel coming out to announce that he’s invented a really dangerous match and issuing an open challenge to anyone who wants to answer? Rhino comes out to answer challenge and AJ runs. Why is chickenshit heel debuting a dangerous match and giving open challenges? Stupid. Tenay and West were particularly annoying during this whole opening segment as they seemed to be working in some sort of call and response cadence around AJ’s mic work. AJ would say “I’m on top of the world”, Tenay would say “He may be on top of the world, now”. Why are they doing call and response? It was annoying. I guess it’s impressive that AJ was able to time his pauses right but it was just annoying. Let the guy talk without commenting. The Tenay/West call and response stuff felt very scripted so I’m blaming the writers and not Tenay/West here.
Samoa Joe is challenging Christian for the world title and a chunk of his mic work is dedicated to talking about how he’s been "tempered and forged" by loosing his series with Angle. Umm when did Angle become Dusty. Samoa Joe is challenging for the title, why mention the series that he came out loosing on the way to the title challenge? “Loosing in the program against Angle has gotten me really ready to challenge for the title”??? That’s dumb.
I think they were trying for something serious and somber with the mesh "death bed" but all I could think of was the nightclub scene at the begining of "The Hunger". Why is Demolition Ax feuding with Abyss? Filming Sting laying down really makes his face look rounder and emphasizes his widows peak. Laying down in a jacket also makes him look fat. That all combined with his current one side up other side down makeup really had me thinking it was Ax. I’ve said a lot of positive things about Sting’s mic work over last couple months. But his mic work introducing the death bed match was just shitty. Really felt like the type of embarrassing goth mic work I expect out of Raven. Goth Demolition might be amusing. This wasn’t. Abyss acting crazy is really hokey and you’d think Abyss choking Borash wouldn’t be as dull. How much would it cost to get Peter Murphy to sing “Here comes the ax, here comes the smasher, demolition is a walking disaster”?
I love me some contract signing. Love Dusty signing a contract with the Assassin. All the clichés: the challenges, the shit talking, the briefcase, the signing, the upturned table-- I dig all that shit. And they hit most of the spots here. But they fucked up with the “shit talking”.
They fucked up the “shit talking”! How do you fuck up the “shit talking”? Shit talking should be the easiest thing in the world. Ideally you drop a grand on some blow have both guys pull some lines and then Steiner yells shit incomprehensibly and then Angle mumbles shit incomprehensibly and you bleep out the cursing and pray that neither guy’s heart explodes. But you don’t need to do that. You really don’t need much for successful contract signing shit talking: “I’m gonna beat your ass”; “Screw You!”; “Screw You Harder!”; “You suck!”; “Well you suck harder “ ; table gets flipped. It’s that easy. Nothing fancy just needs to convey two guys who want to rip at each other.
Instead they had Angle and Steiner exchange insida shoot comments. Their mic work managed to emasculate both of them.I’ve written before about how “shoot”comments need to be extensions of character and not just insider stuff thrown out for color.
People seem to forget that Brian Pillman’s gimmick wasn’t “guy who shares backstage gossip”. No. That’s the Mean Gene hotline’s gimmick. Pillman’s gimmick was out of “control crazy unpredictable guy”. His “talking out of turn”/shooting was a way of demonstrating his unpredictability. Shane Douglas’ gimmick wasn’t guy who “shared insider gossip” either. Shane Douglas gimmick was guy obsessed with his own self importance. Part of the way he demonstrated that was through shoots where he placed himself at the center of wrestling history. Steiner’s gimmick is similar to Pillman’s. Uncontrollable drugged up crazy. You kill that sense of uncontrolableness by giving him the kind of really scripted insider coffee line that Russo gave him. His gimmick is guy who will say anything…not guy slipping in carefully worded witty insider comments. The shooting is part of the “you can’t predict what he’s going to say or do” gimmick. Overly scripting him as guy who shares insider information really is regimicking him as Mean Gene’s hotline. Mean Gene isn’t threatening to anyone. Scripted Steiner really was Mean Gene trying to impress Harold Ross at the Algonquin Round table. That’s about as emasculated as you can get.
So Steiner does a really overly insida shoot scripted line about gold medals and a cup of coffee, which incenses Angle so much that he does a insida shoot line about how the “business no longer needs money hungry egotistical whiny bitches”. Not that Angle hates “whiny bitches” or that “whiny bitches” affect him in any way. Instead that Angle is emasculated frustrated middle manager who worries about how other people’s workplace attitudes affect the “business” at large.
So instead of getting across two guys who want to rip ate each they managed to do mic work that conveyed two completely emasculated guys.
So who are the insider shoot comments aimed at?
Some time ago WWE moved Shane Helms to Smackdown and gave him the gimmick of being guy disliked backstage. I don’t know if it was a rib on Batista or what the idea was, but Helms’ heel gimmick was guy who didn’t show proper respect to other people in the locker room. Nobody cares about that shit other than the folks in the locker room. About a month into gimmick Shane Helms started heeling himself on the crowd and on his in ring opponents. That gets some response. Guy who thinks he’s better than/disrespectful toward audience or toward opponent gets a heel response. Why should the audience care one way or another about the guy who is disrespectful to folks backstage? Is there a reason I should be upset that Shane Helms kayfabed Scotty 2 Hotty? “Damn him he should have shaken Scotty’s hand”
I’m a fan; I’m not in the biz. Why should I care if someone’s whiny backstage? I’ve written a ton of critical things about Shawn Michaels. I’ve never criticized him for thinking it was funny to force Sunny to eat his feces. Nope I criticize him for boring me in his matches. How he acts backstage doesn’t affect that. I have heard lots of stories about the hazing Kawada put Omori through. Kawada is a great wrestler who entertains me. Why should the audience care that someone is whiny or a douchebag to their colleagues? The audience is made up of audience members. The audience is not made up of road agents. They don’t need to worry about backstage interpersonal squabbles.
Lots of times when I say that stuff doesn’t work for me, people answer that I’m not the “average fan”…and what I think doesn’t matter. "What matters is what does the average fan think”. And I’m not the average fan. I subscribe to the Observer, can watch upwards of twenty hours of wrestling in a week, and spend a lot of time thinking about professional wrestling. In today’s society that’s outcast freakish behavior. There was a point back in the DVDVR500 days where I balanced career, education , social life, and maybe 45 hours of wrestling a week. At the time I was obsessing about lots of stuff, collected 78s, first edition books, world war two era toys made out of paper due to metal rationing, various ephemera, etc. Post Hurricane Katrina I bought myself an Ipod and haven’t been tempted to go to estate sales looking for 78s or even purchased an Lp or 45. Even though I’ve changed my lifestyle so that in case of evacuation I won’t be left like the jazzmen mourning their sheet music…I still will regularly pick up wrestling dvds. So the point I’m making is that I’m crazy. And I don’t care about what wrestlers are like backstage or what Vince thinks of the Olympics. Why am I supposed to believe that the vast majority of fans who’s interest in wrestling is only casual are going to care about the minutae of backstage politics?
It also should be pointed out that if you are a fan who cares about the minutae of backstage politics, you’re probably following the “biz” closely enough to laugh at the idea that Angle is giving a speech on the evils of selfish ego driven performers creating a toxic back stage environment.
AJ Styles v Rhino in a gimmick match, Steiner v Angle, Christian v Joe in a title match, and Sting v Abyss in a gimmick match is a decent PPV card. But they managed to fill the show with stuff that managed to drain heat from all of them.
Back from O-Town, and still reeling from this event. I've just come from attending Wrestlemania - a first for me, and something to cross off the bucket list. Section 19, Row H, Seat 15.... maybe 15-20 rows from ringside. Wow.