This is kind of odd as well essentially I liked this episode and then looking at what I wrote there is alot more on the bottom half than on the top.
Maybe on a normal week I might have been more generous with the Dutt/Sabin tag and the press conference. But when a fed shows that they can deliver actual good match then I feel no need to be generous with something that was not un-watchable.
Larry Zbysco is wearing silk shirt with dogs playing poker airbrushed across the front. There is a window painted over the left pocket with a quarter moon on the horizon. There is a barmaid poodle serving the card players drinks. She appears to have a visible red garter on her hind leg. Larry Zybysco while wearing said shirt tells Austin Aries “It’s not the shirt that makes the man. It’s not the jacket that makes the man”. I’m not fan of Larry Zbysco as comic figure but this was genuinely funny.
HEY KIDS ITS SQUASHES!! Styles vs. Lethal was fun semi-competitive squash but really short. I really liked the double underhook setup for Styles Clash. Samoa Joe comes out to scout the match. Readying himself for Edison? I’d prefer an actual match to a squash but this was fun squash.
Main event really delivered. One of three Impact on Spike matches to make permanent tape. This made it easily. I’d really like to see this in ROH as Naturals are better as heels and think would be perfect for Embassy. Naturals have learned how to work face and I dig their face offense as they do a nice job working their old double teams into face moves, Andy Douglas hits a beautiful high knee and Stevens is a boatload of fun with his real nice collection of arm drags (east coast arm drags, west coast arm drags, Japanese arm drags etc). Strong and Aries are also fun heels as willing to act fool and also willing to go all out. Naturals are made to look strong in the finish which may be first time since TNA moved to Spike that they’ve really been made to look strong. Watching this made me really want to see this develop into a feud. I should point out my favorite spot in this is when they went for the grab the rope armbar flip escape (which is one of my favorite move escapes)…but in this match the opponent just let go dropping guy trying to escape straight to his back (just letting go/not cooperating is my favorite reversal). So they won me over right there but then it just continued to deliver all the way through. This needs to build into a blood feud.
WHAT DIDN'T WORK:
Dutt/Sabin v Williams/A1 didn’t do much for me. This really is the lesser half of Team Canada. I liked Sabin’s Ringo Mendoza/Larry Zbysco kick (one of my favorite Ringo Mendoza/Lary Zbysco spots) but rest of match was kind of all over the place. In every Petey Williams match there is a moment where Petey Williams decides to take off his hair tie put it around his wrist and shake out his hair. It’s like his version of Lawler’s dropping the strap. Of course Lawler was about match psychology and storytelling and so the moment he dropped the strap had meaning. Williams is spottier and the moment he decides to take off the hair tie seems semi random. In this match A1 set up opponent in tree of woe tagged in Petey, Petey Williams took off his hair tie and let his hair down and then stood where on opponent’s business to sing "Oh Canada". Not sure why that was moment in the match where he took out his hair tie but that’s when he did it.
HEY KIDS ITS MORE SQUASHES!!!! And for most part not very good ones. Hey Bruce Steel!! I’ve seen Bruce Steel vs. Mickey Tenderfoot in a Texas Death Match that I really dug a couple years back but LAX vs. Frankie Capone and the Steels wasn’t much. Homicides suplex seemed out of place. These thugs brutalized an old man. Why are they suplexing people instead of brutalizing them? You know at one point I was bothered by TNA having TWO small big bumping black jobbers. One big bumping short black jobber might get enough of cult following that TNA would give him a push. But two felt like they were going to cancel each other out. Really felt like Kenny King was gonna keep TNA from seeing what they had in Lethal and vice versa. I mean two short big bumping black guys is going to leave a promotion thinking “interchangeable”. And they have been used that way. So amused that King for "short black jobber" was taller than Rhino. Last week I pointed out the stupidity of the finish of the Abyss v. Rhino match. This week they schedule the rematch to be falls-count-anywhere??? Why? Last week they had a double KO on the floor ruled a no contest? In falls-count-anywhere match that would just be ruled a double KO on the floor?
But really those squashes were short and even the Williams/A-1 v Sabin/Dutt match was watchable. But all the backstage stuff was absolute ass this week. I liked a good portion of the press conference. I really like the highlight format. I talked last week about the need to do post production work on the show. This is a “TV show”, give me edited clips where I’m told I’m watching edited clips. Also amused to see Dory working Lou Thesz old gimmick, disappointed Dory didn’t have his old belt out there with him for it. But this really felt like WCW the last couple weeks before Hogan showed up as whatever was going on had to reflect on Hogan. They just gave Hogan a ton of money and need to justify it. Flair and Regal were having the Marquis de Queensbury series where the mic work always involved mention about what would happen when Hogan came in. It didn’t matter what angle Col Parker was working he had to get in a word about Hogan. Sting really feels like that at this point as everything has to reflect on him. But what about Sting? It really kills whatever other angles they’re doing. I mean this press conference really felt like it was going on the top side until the Sting talk killed whatever momentum this angle was putting together for the Christian v. Jarrett match. Execution on everything else in this scene was good. Execution of other backstage stuff was miserable.
Part of me thinks they may be deliberately trying to make back stage stuff look amateurish. The last time Shane Douglas was gone for a taping they had Terry Taylor come in and take over for him. Terry Taylor did a really good job as the interviewer. This time he was mugging all over like someone told him we need you to act more like Shane Douglas. Gail Kim walks around clutching a tape recorder for over a week. Put the tape in your purse. She was waving it all over whenever she talked. Meanwhile, Larry Zbysco is playing wrestling commissioner as sitcom put-upon husband. “Why can’t you leave me alone, I’m trying to sleep”. Why is the commissioner being depicted as Mr. Roper? Meanwhile Gail Kim and Scott D’Amore track down Alex Shelley because they need someone with a video camera. I mean with all the desperate urgency of “Does anyone know how to fly a plane.” It’s 2006, you can buy a camera in a store, you can make short videos with your cell phone. This is a show taped in a studio…there are cameramen all around. Meanwhile they’re acting like Shelley is the only person they could find on short notice who owns a camera.
While I'm talking about the TNA acting let me say something about the commentary. So Austin Aries comes out and says “Hey you don’t think I’ve got personality…let me show you personality”and appears to be working the heel flamboyant asshole toughguy who likes to rub his flamboyance in your face. “Hey whatçha gonna do about it”. It’s neat gimmick. Essentially gimmick that Adrian Adonis worked pre- crossdressing “Flower Shop”. It’s gimmick both members of East West connection worked. Jim Cornette is a big wrestling tape collector, one of the things he liked about them was that he felt there was a seven year statute of limitations on gimmick theft so there was a lot in those tapes he could steal. Mike Tenay commenting on Austin Aries working this gimmick doesn’t say “Austin Aries is so arrogant and flamboyant, I can’t stand that punk”. Nope. Mike Tenay was once a big wrestling tape collector and watching Austin Aries says “He reminds me of combo of young Adrian Street and young Jesse Ventura”.. Does Mike Tenay understand wrestling? Using expired/forgotten gimmicks doesn’t work when the announcer says he’s already seen them before. You don’t announce it’s a copycat gimmick. It's like Tenay spent too much time working with Russo and his copying of contemporaneous WWF gimmicks. Yeah the point of having Sonny Siaki raise his eyebrows or Juvi due the Juvi elbow was so people recognized who you were copying. It was dumb. But that was point. The point of reusing old gimmicks that people have forgotten is so they can experience them anew. Its a different idea entirely. Sometimes I think Tenay spent too much time working under Russo.
I hate the "where's poocHHHie." Sting is suppose to change the face of pro-wrestling today so I guess that's why they're playing it up but I really don't care about Sting so it annoys me.
There are a lot of squash matches on Impact and I don't think it's going to help improve their ratings. The show reminds me of WWF's Wrestling Challenge or was it Wrestle Challenge that had one OK match and then the rest would be squashes.
I was really annoyed by the production a few weeks ago when Sting was suppose to arrive LIVE to the studio to make a statement and then didn't show up. IT'S A RECORDED PROGRAM WHY DID YOU WASTE MY TIME! Why didn't you just edit out the "waiting for sting's arrival shots" and just say Sting didn't show up and here's Christian and some other faces to talk about how great Sting WAS in his day.
I'm annoyed by Zybysko as commissioner so I suppose he's doing his job as a heelish commish.
I think, for the most part, they already HAVE moved on. The fans that tuned it just to see DX say "suck it" or to see Rena strip make up alot of the 3 ratings points that have fallen off the WWF since the end of the Attitude era.