Episode #36 and I really don't know if my heart is in this. But here goes:
-Ok when they first proposed these qualifying matches, I scoffed. And the first qualifying match (Abyss v Rhino ) sucked but after that really all have made the top side. This was the least of the the three good qualifying matches. And I still don’t understand whipping this match out here instead of building it for a PPV draw but whatever. West and Tenay try to hype this as having a “heavyweight prize fight” atmosphere and well that seemed accurate. As the two entered the ring you could feel all the excitement of an Owen Beck vs Nikolai Valuev match. And then the match starts with Sting selling Steiner’s knife edge chops. Sting sold knife edge chops!???!!! Sting’s built a career out of not selling knife edge chops. Since when does Steiner build matches around knife edge chops???? Wait that’s Steiner on his knees begging off and transitioning to offense with a low blow…Steiner decided that the way to work Sting is to pretend to be Flair??? Really odd as Steiner spends a lot of the match going down for Stings offense, lots of in-ring bumps. Steiner going up and down….Steiner is a guy who at no point in his career was a guy who went up and down like this. And now that he’s old he decides this is the time to do it. Steiner is a poor man’s Flair although I imagine some people will say that he throws more suplexes. Outside of the suplexes the knife edge chops and the low blow, very little of Steiner’s offense looked good. Really shitty clothesline and elbow drops. He does have nice looking push ups. But the weirdness was watching him going down to bump for all of Sting’s stuff. Post match they do a fun Samoa Joe v Steiner pull apart. The two hold and punch doing standing exchanges with no one going down and the two need to be separated. Weird seeing them do that right after watching Steiner flop around for every Sting chop.
-Kevin Nash instructs Alex Shelley to go out and find him a wrestler who looks and wrestles exactly like Chris Sabin. Paparazzi Productions at USA Pro ticket sellers match should rule.
-So they’ve been running this stupid LAX take over the Spanish announce table angle for weeks and it’s not made any sense. They put Konan on commentary and he’s kind of semi able to do a semi meaningful explanation. “We’ve created a border, we’re going to treat you like you treat us.” talking about the racist industry, the x division is stolen from Mexico, etc. Amusing as I think Konan has done this angle in TNA at least two other times already. At one point seconding the SATS as authentic luchadors to take on the X Division copycats…I swear that really happened. I couldn’t make that up. Well so he’s doing this whole angle complaining about the racism in wrestling when Tenay interrupts him “Look at the situation of Sonjay Dutt, a person of Indian descent, who has made the best of a situation”. Nativist Mike Tenay lecturing a Mexican on the model immigrant was amazing “Why don’t you Mexicans learn from the Indians, works hard, goes to college, does well in science and look at him there doing better than a lazy US born light skinned black.” …. I don’t remember a ton about the actual work in the match but it did effectively tell the story that the matchmakers want told...and commentary got over Konan and Tenay's character. To point that at end of match I was really hopeing next week TNA outsources the play by play job to a call center in Bangladesh.
WHAT DIDN'T WORK:
-Put some pants on Slick Johnson and then fire him already.
-So in middle of the Sting v. Steiner match the cameras cut away to show us LAX at the Spanish announce table. To show us Hottstuff Hernandez fiddling with protest signs. This is your "money match” and you cut away to a midcard angle??? If Hogan is wrestling Goldberg you don't cut away to see Disco Inferno teaching Magnum Tokyo how to dance. You cut away from midcard matches to show midcard angles. That’s just basics. Oh yeah and Jeff Jarrett really shouldn't wear orange. Jarrett comes running out to the ring and I really thought they were going to mix Shane Douglas into the Sting, Steiner angle. If you have a wrestler whose angle thus far is that he comes out on the ramp with an orange shirt and bleach blonde hair, don't have another blonde wrestler run down the ramp wearing an orange shirt.
-D-Von tells me that there is a new Commandment that we need to follow: "Thou shall not mess with Team 3D!!!!" Ok that is the most bowdlerized pathetic version of "Thou shall not fuck with the Dudleys". I mean it was a pre-taped segment they could have had Devon say fuck and bleep it. But really using such a watered down version of their catch phrase really only serves to highlight the idea that they are really watered down act at this point.
-Main event was probably OK enough to make the top side but really sub Sting v Steiner. Chris Sabin is put in the Ron Killings role of guy tagged with former WWE wrestlers in the main event. Scott Damore's camp on the outside didn't kill me as much as it should. It was bad but it didn't absolutely kill me. I kind of dug some of BG James stuff in here. Gunn hit his spots and got out of the way for the most part (there were moments where he felt like a guy who was in there too long and I don't understand letting him use the Stinger Splash)...but really Sabin is no Killings...was completely non-compelling in this match and didn't seem to understand the type of tag match story that the rest of match was about. As really felt like Sabin was wrestling his match in a vacuum, ignoring the 6 man structure. Plus A1 is just unbelievably awful.
By the time you read this, I will have been on the road for 3 days, and this recap will have aged just as much. Which is basically like recapping in real time compared to the 6 months this show had spent in the can prior to getting aired on TV.