TNA is taping these three at a time Iím writing reviews three at a time
I liked Larry Zbyscoís comedy run. Really amusing vaudeville/Benny Hill arms akimbo confused run. God Axl has gotten fat. And I donít know why heís chasing Larry but still amusing comedy run and really Don Knottsish enough of a running gait to make you think that Axl might actually be able to catch him before blowing up.
The world X cup match wasnít really good but it was plenty fun. We miss the early sections of this match as the TNA booking team thinks itís important to give Scott DŠmore more camera time. Do Shelley and Dutt team together in Zero-One? Team Zero One had some fun face double teams and tandem moves and was kind of surprised at how well Minoru Tanaka worked heel. This was worked really as face/heel tag and couldíve really used uberheel Gedo. Goto was fine as guy who throws suplexes but it could have used a guy working heel.
Iím almost tempted to put the main on the bottom. Jay Lethal and Samoa Joe are really good foils for each other. Lethal is really good at working fiery underdog babyfaceÖguy who gets initial fiery flurry of offense, gets beaten down and looks stronger for the beating he gets and gets in hopes spots well. Joe is really good as monster who underestimates fiery underdog, takes control but still is vulnerable. They have some awkward moments but the real thing that almost put this on the bottom is how poorly they paced the commercial break. Itís a prerecorded show; someone should have noticed this in production. But they essentially had Joe go on offense during the commercial break..So you get fiery Lethal offense before break and than Lethal hope spots offense after. It helps neither as Lethalís stuff only looks good when he looks tough for fighting back from beating. And Joe really never gets to be monster who cuts off underdog. Itís like watching a tag match where they do the FIP section over the commercial break. Really fucks the match up. Iím being generous and keeping this on top as what was shown was fine despite the match making both guys look weak.
WHAT DIDNíT WORK:
ďInspired by actual eventsĒ?? People talk like David Sihadi is some kind of genius. But whoever is doing the Tatanka initiated into Lakota tribe series of vignettes so smokes him. Sihadi would complain about the lack of quick cuts. Although donít read this as an endorsement of Tatanka becoming a Lakota. I thought he was a Luumbi. I mean what drove him to switch tribes? Is he going to feud with another Luumbi complaining that Tatanka sold out? Still the PBS voice over guy is cool and the things are well made. This opening video package really wasnít.
AJ Styles and Chris Daniels explain to Jeremy Broash that they are going to be working as a tag team. Borash is distracted dreaming about working for WWE, dreaming that he gets to be the one to narrate the Samba Simbaís Massai circumcision ritual and then he hears ďYouíve seen what we can do head to head, imagine what we can do side by sideĒ suddenly Daniels and AJ have his full attention as Borashís mouth quivers uncontrollably. HOLY FUCK BRING BACK SHANE DOUGLAS ALREADY!!! Isnít there a local weatherman they could use for the back stage interviews?
Scott DŃmore on commentary is bad. But I think the clincher for me was him saying "Bobby Heenan once said on commentary....". Its wrestling you plagarize and canibalize the past....you don't do proper citation.This promotion is run by marks.
Abyss Invitational!!! How many times are they going to match up Abyss and Rhino? Havenít they figured out that this match sucks without props? One shitty spot after another. Abyss does his sub Matt Bentley run of bad looking offense..shitty high knee,, shitty chops, shitty sandpaper punches, shitty chokeslam. Rhino meets him with a shitty belly to belly that Abyss canít eat properly. This was awful. Abyss and Rhino have matched up a million times and still havenít figured out how to put a match together. People were writing about how Abyss was so much better than Mark Henry. Henry is given almost twice the time to work against a Bobby Lahsley (a guy who really only has explosiveness and a great clothesline) and puts on a match that absolutely smokes this. Christian runs out afterward to set up their tables and ladders match and really this show is prerecorded. They should have edited out this match, maybe just shown ending joined in progress leading to Christian running out.
The Sting hosts Letís Make a Deal was absolutely painful television. Just died. The whole premise was really confusing as maybe they should have gone with Barkerís Bargain Bar, One Wrong Price, Grocery Game or Hi Lo. Luger only holding the title twice shocked me. Wow there was a time when belts were protected. Hard to imagine that a guy like Luger who was kept at top of card for so long only held the title twice. Still this segment was some horrible television.
Oh Wow what good thing can I say about this show? Hmm.
There were three nice dives. Daniels with a nice tope, The camera blew it but Magno had a nice dive, and a nice tope in main too.
What else can I say niceÖwell when I watch this promotion I am happy that they exist. As their existence means that Samoa Joe didnít retire or end up working as raw fish eating WWE monsterÖand so thanks to TNA Iíll get to see Joe work Necro in actual good promotions. Is that nice?
WHAT DIDNíT WORK:
I never liked Kevin Nashís self serving promos burying his own promotion in WCW, because I actually cared about WCW. In the past Iíve liked Kevin Nashís self serving promos burying his own promotion in TNA because I really donít care about TNA. I still donít care about TNA. But in effort to come up with something good to say so their was something on the top side I remembered that they kept Samoa Joe from retiring or being on RAW, so to be consistant I'll have to claim that Iím less entertained by Nashís TNA shtick then I used to be.
None of the matches this week were particularly good. Nothing out and out claw your eyes out awful, there was no Rhino vs. Abyss match this week.. But nothing to be actually excited about either. AJ/Daniels vs. AMW was really disappointing. AJ Styles knows how to work face in peril; I donít know why you would book Daniels to work face in peril. There was a nice tope by Daniels and nice eat of the rana by AJ but still this might have been good with AJ in peril but wrong guy working wrong role and match just kind of sat there. X tourney match was really a nothing. They have tall shitty Slick Johnson reffing it. Johnny Devine had a nice suplex and Magno had a nice armdrag and a nice dive but this was a nothing. Main event pre commercial was paced like a squash, post commercial Shelley gets in a shellshock into middle turnbuckle and seated dropkick to Christianís buttÖand cool run of offense as its type of offense that doesnít take a ton of cooperation and really felt like Shelley could have had same match with Buff Bagwell. Shelley gets in the tope which I wouldnít trust Buff to catch. Christian comes back with some really ugly looking discuss forearmsÖand while its cool that Shelley is kind of guy that can work his offense against Buff...doesnít necessarily mean that I actually want to see a Shelley vs. Buff match.
Mike Tenay acting absolutely irate after Kevin Nash calls the X-Division ďfillerĒ. Was Tenay paying attention to that X-Tourney tag. That was the very definition of filler.
God this Sting as game show host thing is shitty. Last week it was Letís Make a Deal, this week itís Deal or No Deal. They canít even keep the premise straight. These were all filmed in one day and they couldnít keep the premise straight for two episodes that were filmed in a row. I mean I understand that they have two entrance ramps but fucking build three doors and do one game... cost of prop doorframes isnít much. Iíve liked Sting in Guess whoís in a box game before but still. If youíre going to play that game do that game and only have one guy in box each week. Itís one thing when writers canít keep same story from week to week, but another when theyíre all filmed on the same day. Just embarrassingly bad.
Alex Shelleyís acting was fun. AMWís backstage acting was fun and then DŠmore came and stunk it up. And Abyss v. Chase Stevens was kind of a fun squash but Iím tired of squashes and Chase Stevens deserves better.
OK Iíve been a fan of Pinoi Boy for a long time. I used to get West Coast indy tapes and Pinoi Boy would be on these opening six mans with a bunch of really green guys and just would hold these things together. And he did it with really really basic wrestling. He was a guy who would execute basic stuff really well and with just a ton of conviction. Hammerlock reversals, leg scissors into headlock reversals, armbars, wristlocks..He would just put in a little extra simple thing that really made you believe these really basic almost clichť sequences came off as non-cooperative spots. Like he was actually forcing a go behind switch, forcing opponent into a hammerlock, etc. The rest of those cards had guys trying to do too much: early Pittbulls looking like guys who were imitating tapes without understanding what they were doing, shitty embellished juniors working I have a counter for every counter type exhibition wrestling, and main events filled with kick outs of million neck and head destroying finishers. Pinoi Boy was all about the basic and he really stood out as the one to watch on those cards. It also should be said that of all the indy guys to go to Japan, (Danielson, Pittbulls, Super Dragon, Ki, Aj Styles, etc) Pinoi had far and away the best first match in. Everyone else had an initial awkwardness while he just came across totally comfortable working Samurai. He was later given the Puma gimmick and started incorporating a bunch of Tiger Mask spots and it didnít work. He seemed to have a hard time mixing the Tiger Mask spots with the more basic stuff he did so well. Iím a guy who likes a lot of basic wrestling. I like New Japan rookie matches that are built all around dropkicks and single and double leg crabs. Like Saito vs. New Japan rookies matches that also built around solid basic stuff. Sometimes a guy who I like a lot when doing nothing but half crabs starts adding other stuff it all falls apart. So it was neat to see Puma here as this ended up being the only IMPACT singles match Iíve ever put to tape. This was shockingly good as Puma has kind of ditched the Tiger Maskish stuff and just moved from basic reversals to slightly fancier reversals. No longer about a great Boston crab but now a really great leg hook smoothly moved into a Texas cloverleaf. Not just a beautiful armbar but an armbar smoothly into a octopus with cravate. The Octopus would have made more sense if they had the Pilipino working a Japanese gimmick instead of Philipino working a Mexican gimmick. But itís TNA, you accept that. Puma just did a great job kind of grounding Sabin. Really simple structured match done really really well. This was best match of the three show taping. That theyíd put what is essentially a technical-undercard/ ďshow openerĒ type match at the top of their third hour of taping is really stupid.
WHAT DIDNíT WORK:
They taped these three at a time. THREE AT A TIME!!! And still they do this really rushed last minute set up for 3D vs. James Gang. 3D vs. James Gang I could see being a little secondary midcard draw. But doing it on the last show before PPV feels rushed like the bookers hadnít figured out what to do with the two teams on show #30 (the show taped only two hours earlier). Bubba and BG are guys who I like on the mic but this was shit. Listening to these two guys doing snaps was painful. Dozens over their WWE ďGlory daysĒwas embarrassing. There has to be a better way to set up this match. Favorite line ďThis is no bingo Hall, this is the Impact ZoneĒÖYep I think you had to pay to get into the Bingo Hall.
God Scott DŠmore is terrible. Couldnít they get Roland Alexander to play that role? As I think Roland could have done a much better role in that shitty backstage Zbysco, Jackie confrontation set up.
Mike Tenay acts all irate because Kevin Nash says that ĒOn his worst day a mediocre big man can beat a great small manĒ and then TNA segues right into Abyss squashing Chase Stevens. Abyss is quite the mediocre big man and Stevens really deserves a lot better. For a squash Abyss vs. Chase Stevens was better than Mark Henry vs. Paul Burchill. Mark Henry really only did corner splashes in his squash and a squash should be where you should show a variety of devastating offense. Abysssí offense normally looks good when heís using props and well this squash had props. Also Chase Stevens bumps a lot better than Burchill. Fun squash but Iím tired of squashes and Chase Stevens deserves better.
So I have mixed feelings on the ending of the ďWho is Stings partnerĒ angle. When Samoa Joe came out he just felt like a superstar and got a superstar reaction. Jarrett did a pretty good job at the Arn/Zbysco ďOhh shit its SteamboatĒ reactions. The standard TNA booking to bury old face while pimping the new one has Joe turn on Sting to become a Jarrett lackey. The standard Sting booking is to have his friends turn on him. I think Joe has enough charisma that he canít be buried even if positioned as muscle/lackey and Joe is a great opponent for Sting (as Joe has elements of Vader as Sting opponent, Cactus Jack as Sting opponent, and Regal as Sting opponent in the way he can work matches). On the other had this whole game show thing was shitty episodic TV. First week was ďLets make a dealĒÖĒwhatís behind door number one, two, threeĒ. Second week was ďdeal or no dealĒ with Jarrett supposedly by saying no deal "loosing control of his destiny", with them repeating the cards no longer in his hand, lost control over one destiny talking point again and again. Third week, Sting comes out and says "well originally I promised that Jarrett would get to make the choice so itís back in his hands". How hard is it to book sequential television when you are taping all three episodes on the same day? Are they making this up as they go along? They change the game and premise every week. Are the writers so busy making sure that they give DŃmore enough face time, that they canít figure out how theyíre going to consistently present their main event angle?? You do one premise. One set of doors, one showcase showdown, one spin-the wheel-make-the-dealÖyou donít do all three. The inability to keep the same premise, when watched with the conceit that the shows are taped three weeks apart, really made it feel like the writers had no idea what the conclusion of the angle was going to be. Like they were making it up as they went along. If you didnít know that the show was taped in one day, youíd really believe that Joe was a last minute replacement when the real guy they wanted didnít show up. Joe gets a superstar pop but watching at home it still is poorly put together.
Main event was a nothing. And a coffee throwing finish? Jackie is so shitty she didnít even remember to point to sky to start the Eddie chant.
My favorite part of these three episodes was seeing Lex Luger. He just looks so sad to be out there, in some nothing indie fed. You can see it in his face. Sting looks like he's just having a great time doing whatever, but it's killing Lex to be there.
I haven't managed to catch this show at its first-run time since it moved to Thursdays. I've missed most of the replays as well (man I miss the late night Monday replay). Anyway, I can't say as I've really felt much regret about that, but (and I know I'm repeating myself again) I'm sure glad YOU'RE still watching this show.
Ric Flair is by far one of the best on RAW in terms of pure skill. At 53 YEARS OF AGE. The Man can STILL GO. And that's not a knock on the RAW brand, that's props to Flair. Jericho could do MUCH worse than a feud with the Nature Boy.