This really was one of the better episodes of Impact that they've run post Russo's return.
This was an oddly good post-Russo Mark II iMPACT. I mean all the booking was stupid but the actual work was solid.
-I really dug the 8 Mile Street Fight between Tomko and Rhino. Tomko has developed really nice punches, the Irish whip into the retaining wall spot was nice, they went to commercial break in the middle of this match but returned with same guy on offense as when they left. For a streetfight in theme park, this stands up nicely opposite Max Pain v Simmons from Disney. The finish with Abyss run in was idiotic and having Rhino pin Tomko after a week of building up Tomko is incredibly dumb. Post match Tomko hits a nice lariat on Angle. Work solid, booking idiotic.
-VKM vs. LAX was short but, after weeks of Dudleys matches watching BG actually sell for LAX and work the face in peril spot for them was nice. The post match where the Dudleys toss around fifty LAX members was dumb. Work fine, booking idiotic.
-The work in the Austin Starr v. Senshi submission match was also good, as they eat each others stuff well and there was a pretty great eat of a chop block among other things. Tenay on commentary says ďIt may be too early to go for a submissionĒ which cracks me up. Itís too early to go for a move in a fed with three minute matches? The point to the sky Arnold Skaaland tribute was stupid. Backlund is an absolute beast for doing the step test for two hours straight but that really is a disappointing finish to the test step set up. I mean Cornetteís right there. He booked Rip Rogers Harvard Step Test in SMW. He knows how to do a Harvard step test angle. Booking a guy to just do a Harvard Step test for two hours and then just stop doing it, is a really flat dumb way to end an angle. Again work was solid, the booking was idiotic.
-Stings interview with Tenay was also really good performance. He really pulled the whole ď I want to apologize, I thought by dealing with past I could set you freeÖI need to go home [and put my life back in order]. A really neat humble acceptance of mistake by Sting. Sting has history of going into stuff without thinking through consequences. But you never really get to see Sting humbled by mistakesÖĒ maybe I shouldnít ally with the Horsemen, maybe truth of past can enslave you, maybe I was wrongĒ. It was really neat and kind of a classic Dutch Mantell reflective face booking. Sting was able to pull this interview off despite the shitty ambient music. Of course the booking of having Sting change his mind and come right back out at end of show shits all over it. ďYeah I was going to go home and spend time with my family and reflect on my mistakes, put my life in order, and start thinking through my actions more carefully. I was going to learn from mistakes and take a more measured approach. But instead of spending time with my family, Iím going to come out at end of show for a swerve pop. Fuck my family. Iím just going to do more headstrong unreflective shitĒ. What kind of pay-off is that? Stingís work solid, booking idiotic.
WHAT DIDNíT WORK:
So yeah this was a show where the performances were good but the Russo booking was idiotic. Every match had an idiotic finish; Abyss run-in, or more like amble-in, Dudleys clusterfuck, and Aarnold Skaaland tribute finish. Finishes that shit on the matches.
-The booking of the non-match sections was equally idiotic. The show ends with a Cornette town hall meeting. Pre-Russo these used to be really fun as Cornette would explain the thinking behind all the matches. Post-Russo there is no thinking behind the matches and so no real explanations. Cornette is reduced to just standing there and reading off the card.
-And theyíve added the ďwhoever gets the fall gets title matchĒ to a WARGAMES match. Itís like they donít understand the idea behind WARGAMES gimmick. So you have the Wargames format which is a team format and have grafted on dissention in the teams and those shitty three way dance spots where one guy stops another from getting the pin. Wargames is a really great gimmick, but booking it like an Elimination Chamber match suggests a complete misunderstanding of the gimmick. So last week they tried to book Tomko as Batista, this week they announce that the Wargames match will essentially be worked Elimination Cage Style. Itís one thing for Russo to endlessly recycle his own WWF booking, but copying the post-Russo booking and doing it poorly is just sad.
- Oh yeah the team Christian backstage segments built around abusing Abyss STINK. Abyss is now Eric Young? You canít book a retard forced against his will into a heel stable as both a comedy midcard angle and as a main event angle. One or the other, but you canít do both. Watching those backstage Christian and his team segments really drove home the point that Christian is a poor manís Jarrett. And well Christian isnít saddled with the suck that was Díamore. Really what the fuck? Letís write Scott Steiner as Bluto Blutarsky? Oh that Russo such a comic genius. Christian playing Jarrett surrounded by gang of fools just stank. Itís one thing for Russo to endlessly recycle his own WWF booking, but copying Post-Russo TNA booking and doing it poorly is just sad.
-And itís the second show in a row built on a big swerve finish. Itís like someone explained serial writing to Russo without him ever you know actually reading or watching a serial. A swerve isnít a cliffhanger. Serial writing is built around characters. Making the audience care about those characters. If theyíre constantly swerving the audience , why should the audience care about a bunch of inconsistent fickle characters? Why should care about Sting or Tomko if their actions seem completely arbitrary?
-Ití been a long time since they showed the full LAX entrance video with the United Farm Workers and Castro. For some reason they did it in full this week. So I just spent six days in Orlando. And my experience there pretty much confirmed some of the stuff that I had written before. I didnít go to either of the Haunted House themed parks but I did go to the Holy Land Experience, Biblical theme park and Orlando is filled with part time non-union actors who can do Evil tool of Satan better than either Raven or Mitchell. Going down Orange Blossom Drive, itís pretty clear that fake titted Korean stippers who are willing to take garbage bumps are a dime a dozen. Fuck you cold build a whole Menace II Society based division around Jackie taking on a new Kim sister each month. The local Hooters also had enough trannie faced strippers both working there and as customers to build a WWE DIVA army. No reason to actually go out and hire ex-WWE DIVA rejects. Well I could see bringing in Linda Miles just because she's a Rutgers alumn and feuding her with Backlund feels like the type of ďhipĒand ďrelevantĒ Russo booking that Keller admires so much.Did Panther Claw play for the Lady Vols? Really thatís pretty dated by now. Of course itís Russo and a year from now Tanahashi will be booked as an anti-social student who writes disturbing screenplays. So despite Keller's protestations, itís not like Russo has ever shown any grasp on relevance. But thatís all beside the point. While some of my stereotypes were confirmed, others were really changed. I had made fun of the LAX angle and joked about them needing to do Haitian vs. Cuban angle. I had been to Miami before, never Orlando. Never driven through the Orange fields outside Orlando.There is a large middle class Mexican, Columbian, Guatemalan, and Peruvian population in Orlando. A great Guatemalan Bakery. A couple Columbian pastry shops. Separate shopping malls that appeal to people from each country of origin. Multiple car dealerships aimed at ex-pats from each country. Mexican rock band MANA sells out.The LAX angle of course isnít marketed to those people, itís marketed to the gringos who hate immigrants. Iíd like to believe that those gringos are at least savvy enough to realize that Puerto Ricans arenít immigrants..but whatever. Point is that more than likely there is a real local audience that the angle would appeal to. Following the local Spanish language papers a lot of attention is being given to efforts to mobilize around helping protect female H-2 farmworkers from sexual violence and harassment. Making sure that these women know that sex slavery isnít part of being an orange picker or tomato canner. Apparently there has just been a settlement in a sexual harassment case brought by Haitian women who were working in a Naples cannery and as the President talks about increasing the number of H-2 guestworkers, its important to build institutions to protect them and educate them to their rights (however limited they may be). So Iíve written before about how the LAX entrance video package is the most racist thing in wrestling today. Message of entrance video is that all "political" Hispanics are of the same cloth, all trouble, they should just shut up and pick the oranges. But knowing that the major "political" farmworker initiative the Latino community is pushing is designed to help farmworkers who are victims of sexual harassment and rape, affects the way I view it. Context on the one hand makes the LAX video package even more offensive. Ē Damn those Latinos, where do they get off organizing against rape!!!Ē and on the other hand less shocking itís just Vince 'rape is a victimless crime cause all them bitches want it' Russo" demonizing someone who stands between him and pussy....He's probably mad that his maid quit when he tried to forcefully sodomize her. Russo isnít racist, heís just for decriminalizing rape.
Goldberg will be officially returning to the ring for All Japan at the end of the month, to wrestle Kojima and Kea on back-to-back nights. He's also doing color commentary for the Pride show a couple of days earlier. Now... some questions.