I liked the Naturals vs. Bentley/Kazarian match. I don’t really get the whole Franchise as tough taskmaster gimmick. Is getting slapped around by a coach supposed to help get the crowd behind the Naturals as faces? Guys being constantly brow beaten= fan favorites? But match itself was good. Early Naturals quick tag face offense was really polished and smooth. Kazarian was an absolute bump freak in this. Unfortunately, than he went on offense and YIKES!!! He should stick to bumping. Pretty much all the Kazarian/Bentley offense looked absolutely awful and I think at this point Chase may be the guy you want as face in peril while Douglas may be the guy who should be doing the hot tag. But still nice lil match with good finish.
MADAGASCAR!!!! I remember the first time I ever saw American Dragon do mic work in Memphis where he claimed that his hands where considered lethal weapons in Madagascar!! And so I mark for Madagascar references in my wrestling promos. Nash and Shelley have good chemistry. This was pretty much kept to Shelley and Nash with Devine staying out of the way. TWO-SIDED RING!! Nash really shouldn’t be taking the shot at how the Madagascar wrestlers only wrestle in front of a paying audience of 300. It’s TNA you have a comped audience of 400. It’s not the shot you should be taking. Also dug the LAX vs Daniels/Styles interaction. Konnan calls them “privileged” and Daniels responds like a frustrated Frank Grimes “stop your whining daggit!”. AJ channels ups his accent to Larry the Cable Guy levels for hostility toward foreigners mic work. Styles is pretty fun in the brawl as is Homicide. Homicide has great punches and Daniels maybe needs to stick to forearms.
Man did I dig the main event. Whole show did nice job setting up the main event in super old school Memphis studio match type way. With Lethal’s opening mic work with Borash and Jarrett’s mic work with Tenay putting whole match in larger context straight through the lay out of actual match which was exactly how you work that match. Match was worked by the numbers. Good formulas when worked well work. That’s why they become formulas. Lethal is a guy who is fun working quick fired up offense. Jarret can work guy surprised by that type of offense. I especially liked the Lethal leap out to floor spot that worked like the worlds most athletic “lucha heel bails to have Rayo slap his back” spot. Lethal eats a huge backdrop, Jarrett hits a beautiful dropkick and both guys are just on. As this wasn’t just a match where Lethal is really good at eating Jarrett’s offense as Jarrett was shockingly good at eating Lethal’s. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone take the Lethal’s hiptoss into cartwheel into facekick as well as Jarrett did. I mean that’s not a spot that normally looks good and Jarrett just went with it. The other neat thing in this was all the reversals as this wasn’t just a “Jarrett underestimates “ young rookie match and then gets control. As this was really built on face able to reverse all of heels offense. Favorite /counter/reversal/escape I think was Lethal’s block of Jarrett’s Bossman punch from floor spot. The shitty TNA crowd popping for figure four reversal like it came as a shock was sweet. “I can’t believe he reversed the figure four”. Think maybe the third TNA Impact singles match to go on permanent tape. Two of those have been Jarrett matches. Both formula matches but different formulas. This is exactly the way you work this match. And made me really want to see Lethal plugged into the Sting tag partner spot in Jarrett/Steiner tags.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK:
So I pretty regularly take shots at Mike Tenay and Jeremy Borash. And it should be pointed out that no one can expect them to be Gordon Solie or Lance Russell. But really watching the Lethal and Jarrett mic work setting up the main really exposed just how bad Tenay and Borash are. This is basic basic formula stuff and they can’t work their roles. Basic wrestling broadcaster interacting with wrestler stuff. Simple stuff. Stuff Randy Hales, or David Jett were able to do. Its not just that Tenay and Borash aren’t Gordon Solie. Tenay and Borash aren’t even as effective as Dave Brown or Corey Macklin. Brown and Macklin would have been able to make those mic sections really work instead of stepping on them. Its not that Tenay and Borash don’t have the gravitas of Russell. No one can expect that. It's that watching them work a really basic role, neither Tenay or Borash have the gravitas of Bonnie Blackstone.
And introducing a new feature at the Workrate reports "DEAR TNA, THESE WORDS DON'T MEAN WHAT YOU THINK THEY DO OF THE WEEK". This actually probably won't be a weekly feature as I will probably rotate it with the "BORASH TANNING WATCH". One of the things that TNA does that I find annoying is their really over playing their talking points to get them across. Mike Tenay will say the talking point that the next bit of mic work is supposed to get across. The wrestler will use the exact same wording as Tenay in his mic work, and then Don West will repeat that same talking point recapping the mic work. It makes the whole thing seem overly scripted. That said it's in general a minor problem. It's a big problem when the words don't mean what the booking committee thinks those words mean. And so without further ado this weeks "DEAR TNA, THESE WORDS DON'T MEAN WHAT YOU THINK THEY DO": "beyond reproach” and "undisputed champion".
Another pointless Rhino squash and ExXxtreme challenge. You know there are a lot of ways to promote Rhino vs, Samoa Joe. Battle of the Machines may be the stupidest. Not only is it silly but really having Tenay shout “IT’S GOING TO BE A BATTLE OF THE MACHINES!!!” is just going to make me pissed when Joe is stuck wrestling Rhino and not Junji Hirata.
Umm. AMW are entertaining on the mic. Gail Kim can’t talk. Why is she doing the talking for them in their backstage bit? And are they really doing another “dissention in AMW” angle. Someone want to make a count of all the times they’ve run that angle in TNA’s history? Once every three months for last three years would mean they’ve already run it 12 times. But that feels like too low a guess.
Did TNA hire a dialect coach or something? AJ Styles sounds more like Larry the Cable guy than ever before and well someone told Bubba, “You guys are announced as coming from New Yawk…you need to study these Jackie Mason records.” There were moments where he sounded like he was working a Jewish grandmother gimmick, “Listen don’t get into any trouble. Be good”. He went from Bubba Duddley to Bubbe Duddley? Bubbe Leh Duddley actually feels like the type of gimmick Devito would be doing in ECW. Hmm...Honestly I could see that being a nice way to freshen up the 3D act and get around the WWE's lawyers. Do a promo of the Dudleys in Dachau. Like those promos WWF used to do where Tito Santana and Tony Altas went to find their roots. After the experience in Dachau team 3D decide to ditch their anglicized "stage names" that ECW's self hating Jew promoter insisted they use, and get back to their heritage. Could WWE really sue over Robert, David and Little Kike Dudlinski?
"Don't schtupp the Dudlinski's".
"Bruddah David, schlepp that table over here." ...Ehhh…maybe it wouldn't freshen them up.
Nest week is supposed to be a "Best of" from what I heard, and the week after will probably be another throw away show with the holiday bullshit still goign on, so maybe in three weeks, they might kick the year off right.