Category: Wrestling

Raw Meat

June 15, 2009

Raw Meat

Baby oil boys club? Instant winner.

I had not guessed Trump as the RAW
buyer. Good stuff.

The World title match is the one I
really wanted to pay attention to this week. They twice teased the Tower of
Doom spot. Super fun. This match was really innovative in terms of using clever
3 way spots. I particularly enjoyed seeing Edge’s Sharpshooter being disrupted
by a sleeper; it was great of JR to fix Grisham’s error as the difference
between a chinlock and a sleeper is vast.

That being said, JR confused me later.
Since when are Triple Threat matches no DQ or countout affairs? And Jeff Hardy
was trying to become World champion for the first time. Huh? What on Earth was
he talking about?

Generally though, JR has been in great
form the last couple weeks, particularly doing a great job of explaining Punk’s
motivation without seeming like an apologist. Grisham and JR are fighting over
small package vs. inside cradle. Not so cute. Funny but not so cute.

So in the last 10 days, CM Punk has
defeated Umaga,  Umaga again in a strap match, won the World title over
Jeff Hardy, defeated IC champ Chris Jericho and now Edge, all clean! What an
incredible difference between this title reign and his first… BTW, Punk’s tape
spelled out MISAWA super classy.

Priceless hasn’t seemed to stick as a
team name for Rhodes and DiBiase so I think More Better should be the new name. The
only folks who’ve said ‘Great American Bash’ are More Better. How odd? Didn’t
someone give them direction on what to say? They were pretty awful but wow, not
to even get the memos. Ish.

Did Vince McMahon refer to someone
else as a pervert?

Both the WWE title and Battle Royale
matches were surprisingly short. Between that and the utter predictability of
RAW’s main event picture, is it any wonder so many folks are turning to
Smackdown instead?



Kurt Angle’s voice

It seems bizarre to me that I had not noticed before but in watching Kurt Angle before his Summer Slam title match with Triple H and The Rock, his voice sounds way higher than it is now. I don't remember the transition or an injury that might have caused this but it seems different enough to almost be an entirely different person's voice. Peculiar. 


TNA, pulling back the curtain

is wildly inconsistent with their thinking on 'pulling back the curtain'. The
same thing happened when Angle called out Jarrett's kids by name. A couple
weeks ago AJ Styles made a point of talking about missing his wife and kids. In
many respects, the Rough Cut series is entirely about 'pulling back the


They really need to make
some good decisions about how frequently they do this and in what situations.
Refusing to allow fans to suspend their disbelief may be moving them in a
really tough direction. How do you decide what's real and what's fake?



TP’s TNA Blog25September2008


The opening segment between Kurt Angle and Jeff Jarrett is
extremely good. Unfortunately, Jarrett seemed a bit weak in his response. In
fact, he didn’t directly respond to the element of Kurt’s promo that brought
him back to the ring. Wouldn’t it have been really easy for him to tell Angle
that he’s never allowed to talk about his children again?


Rock and Rave Infection vs. Matt Morgan and Abyss:


Once again Christy Hemme physically interferes with a male
wrestler. TNA goes to the same several wells on a weekly basis. I feel badly
that Jimmy Rave is always on the losing end of matches. He should have a solid
future as a top X Division guy but he’s always getting buried. Meanwhile, Lance
Rock has no discernible skills other than being tall but probably loses 1/5 of
the matches Rave does.


Team 3D does a great job putting themselves over. Abyss also
has a great response to finding out the invitational match will be a Monster’s
Ball match. It works well considering his character transformation. Nice


Roxxi gets another Rough Cut. Very nice.


Lauren interview Beer Money and James Storm is really
impassioned about how valuable Jackie is. He talks proudly about Jackie and
seems ultra confident. Jackie and Roode recognize the seriousness of the match stipulation.


Awesome Kong vs. Mercedes Steele:


Kong looks physically dominant and the fans respond
extremely well. It won’t take much for Kong to become a fan favorite. Of
course, I hope that doesn’t happen for a very long time because she’s such a
great heel!


Kong gets leveled by ‘Raisha Saeed’ who is actually Roxxi.
Roxxi gets and keeps the mount position and just wails on Kong. Great segment
that will help push Roxxi to the top.


Karen’s Angle features Christian Cage. Karen directly asks
Cage which side he’s on. Cage does an excellent job here. Karen, of course,
sucks. Shouldn’t this be a Mike Tenay program? Please? Cage specifically talks
of himself as an unrestricted free agent. He also asks if there are definitive
sides that have been chosen. Karen is, at least, more insistent in interviews
than Katie Couric. I suppose that’s a start.


Lauren interviews LAX. I hope this is the excuse to get rid
of Hector as a mouthpiece. Hernandez and Homicide speak well enough that they
don’t need him. Hector, how about ‘blood is thicker than beer’?
  Y’know, connect a couple dots once in a


Booker T is interviewed by JB. Booker is from Africa now?
What happened to H-Town? I wonder who told the wrestlers to keep bringing up
ratings? It seems very peculiar.


LAX and Hector Guerrero vs. Beer Money (c) and Jacqueline
(the losing team’s manager is forced to vacate that position):


Hector’s dropkick barely landed above the belt. He pulls out
the Three Amigos and it looks (and feels) very nice. Then a ridiculous commercial
break about 3 minutes into the match. It’s simply insulting.


Homicide drops Storm with an amazing top rope DDT. It
actually looked more like an Impaler than a traditional DDT. Beer Money is
getting better and better at incorporating smooth double team action. Tenay is
attempting to sell STING as a bad guy by saying fans will get an autograph and
a lecture on respect at the same time.

Hernandez’ flying leap is stunning every time I see it.
Undertaker’s leap is the only similar move I’ve seen. Jacqueline is clearly the
difference make in this entire match. She plays her role beautifully.
Unfortunately, it appears that when Roode hit Hernandez with the football
helmet, he really cracked him.


The Love In? Sonjay and Val lying in bed. Now, some explanation
of Sonjay’s manipulations. His dad is the richest man in India and Sonjay will
inherit his money. Val has consistently been portrayed as stupid so this works
pretty well. Finally! Lauren calls her Yoko and has been doing a much better
job recently.


STING hangs out in the ring and talks about the ‘real’ Jeff
Jarrett and claims the young guys have been swerved. STING portrays Jarrett as
the guy who needs and has needed STING. He’s the reason Spike TV picked up TNA.
STING reminds fans that he could have signed with WWE. PWI photos of Tully and
Arn, Dusty Rhodes, Hulk Hogan (boos and an “overrated” chant), Ric Flair are
presented by STING as people who taught him important wrestling lessons. STING
gives an impressive, MEGA intense promo. Samoa Joe and STING are contrasted as
guys who don’t and do know how to be World champions.


Abyss and Morgan are backstage talking about Monster’s Ball
and Abyss’ therapy. Morgan plays therapist and goes over the top in his efforts
to convince Abyss to wrestle in the tag match. This may be the most personality
I’ve ever seen from him.


A nice video package about the Steel Asylum X Division


Samoa Joe is interviewed by JB. It’s a calmer, refreshed Joe
speaking calmly and wisely. He transforms STING’s motivation from respect to
fear. The contrast between the two is pretty stark. Creed and Lethal show up to
thank Joe and show their support and respect. I was thinking that it felt like
a Godfather moment then one of the commercials was for the new Godfather package.


Is Kaz really Suicide? They’re putting so much into this
character I’d like to see it go to someone who needs a big rub. Kaz was already
over and would be over if he just showed up next week. I don’t get it.


Sheik Abdul Bashir (c) vs. Samoa Joe (c) in a non-title


This is exactly what TNA should do more often. Joe wrestles
the X Division style really well and needs to have more time on TV in the ring
wrestling. After all, that’s his primary strength.


I have to say, it’s amazing for me to see a Samoan and an
Iranian-American as TNA’s champions wrestling each other. (I would prefer this
to be the main event but that’s just because I’m old school and think titles
should matter most.) After all, this is the same company that has all its roots
in Tennessee, the same state whose Senate contest in 2006 was almost certainly
decided by a television commercial that attempted to portray the Black
candidate as a horndog for White women. How far TNA has come!


The match itself is decent but too short to give Bashir any
real credibility. Joe’s post-match attack is reminiscent of Flair in the 80s
when he’d send messages to future opponents by making them responsible for the
beatings he was about to inflict.


AJ Styles has a nice interview with JB. He’s become more
polished and confident, specifically since he stopped being presented as a
comedy character.


Booker T vs. AJ Styles:


I would like to see this presented as a #1 contender’s match,
maybe at Bound for Glory. AJ and Booker are the two guys who should be in line
for title shots after BfG. Booker because he was in the match last month but
couldn’t make it. AJ because he was screwed out of his title opportunity. Their
match could help set up Genesis in November and further the Old/Young story


Booker and AJ work very nicely together. Booker can hang
with AJ athletically and AJ is physical enough that the size disadvantage feels
neutralized. These guys could do great work in a 20 minute match. Booker wins
with some misdirection in a reasonably clever ending that pushes forward a
couple different storylines. The match outcome makes me wonder if Booker will
be Joe’s Genesis opponent. He can claim that this would be the rubber match of
their series and pretend it’s a series of the same level as Joe/Angle.


I wonder if Jarrett’s the one who decided Booker should
carry a briefcase. Unfortunately it always makes me think about Mongo McMichael
and I should never associated Booker T with Mongo.
 Wait a minute, my computer recognizes ‘Mongo’ but not ‘McMichael’?
How bizarre, how bizarre.









Michaels and Jericho this fall

I’d love to see WWE make Michaels vs. Jericho their featured
match on the next 3 PPV events. At No Mercy, they’re scheduled to have a Ladder
Match. Since Michaels won the unsanctioned match between the two I’d like to
see Jericho win. This has the advantages of giving Jericho a win in a Michaels
signature match and raising him to Michaels level in the eyes of fans. It also
keeps his title reign from feeling as fluky as it does now.


3 weeks later at Cyber Sunday, Michaels should get ‘one more
shot’ at Jericho. In a Hell in the Cell match. I’d give Michaels the title in
this match, ideally in a way that allows Jericho to feel unjustly treated. Perhaps
this could be another match that Michaels wins by going beyond the pale in
terms of violence.


That sets up their denouement at Survivor Series. Jericho
should challenge Michaels to an hour-long Iron Man match to determine which of
them is the ultimate survivor. Jericho will win with substantial help from
Lance Cade.


Perhaps it plays out like this: Michaels leads 2-1 with 8
minutes left. Then Jericho obviously signals for help. Cade then hits the ring
bearing a chair and rope. Cade smashes an already worn Michaels with the chair
and he ties Michaels up with the rope so he’s bound on the floor outside the
ring. During this melee, the referee gives Jericho a DQ so now the falls are
3-1. Jericho climbs back into the ring and demands the ref begins counting
Michaels out. The ref attempts to refuse but eventually relents. Michaels is
counted out. The falls are 3-2. The 30-second rest period between falls is
indicated on the big screen. Jericho demands the ref begin counting again. At this point, the announcers determine Jericho's intention and go bananas. Michaels
is clearly getting closer to escaping his bonds. 3-3 when the ref hits 10. Another
30-second rest period ends when the match clock hits 1 minute. Now, the race is
on. Michaels is nearly out of the ropes. The ref tries to count slowly and
Jericho gets in his face, chastising him. This breaks the count. As the ref
moves Jericho away, Cade sneaks over and bashes Michaels in the head once more,
ending any attempt at escape. With only a few seconds left, the ref, counting
at a slow but acceptable pace, hits 10 and Jericho wins 4-3 becoming the new
World champion. Jericho's plan works to perfection. 


Jericho refuses to consider giving Michaels a rematch and
moves on to other contenders. He feels justified for cheating so egregiously
because of Michaels' history of intense violence against him. Cade becomes
Michaels’ new target and an object of intense scorn of the fans. His profile
would be raised dramatically by his involvement in this angle.
 Michaels can speak compellingly about
his own past as a beneficiary of a screwjob. Perhaps in a few months, Michaels
can score some victory that allows him to choose a match against Jericho. (The
Royal Rumble is the choice that immediately comes to mind but I’d love to see
Kennedy, Umaga (with a good new manager), or a Hardy get that kind of boost.)


Overall, this series puts Jericho in the top tier of
wrestlers as he ‘wins’ a program with Shawn Michaels. Both his 2008 title
reigns seem compelling and legit. He has signature, sure to be talked about
matches (including wins) and is involved in the obvious feud of the year.


Shawn Michaels is again perceived as a star maker, having
pushed Jericho to his greatest stature in wrestling. He has more great matches
under his belt and retains some sympathy for having his title stolen from him.
He also gets a chance to help his actual protégé, Cade, flirt with the upper
card for the first time.


Cade finally gets to play with the big boys. His program
with Michaels will automatically give him more credibility than he’s had
before. Whenever he and Jericho part ways, he’ll also have a perceived chance
to hang with Jericho. Even if either of those programs fails to make hay, he’ll
be in line to be Intercontinental champ which seems like a big stretch for him
in September 2008.



TP’s TNA Blog18September2008

STING and Jarrett were directly involved (ish) in the main
event of the PPV Sunday. Will they both explain what’s happening with them
tonight? Will they both attempt to be faces? Where does Foley fit in and won’t
he have to be a face? How does TNA plan to move their big old vs. young angle
forward with three of their biggest stars being multiple time World champion 40
somethings who’ve been wrestling for 20 years… as faces? Oh mercy, God bless us
every one.


Hopefully the advertised matches will a) last more than five
minutes and b) have clean finishes. They have the potential to be solid


Samoa Joe is doing a good job of painting STING as too
spoiled by success. He’s also drawing some cheap, but effective, heat by
promoting how wonderful the company and fans are. I’m curious to see how the
Impact Zone crowd reacts when Joe and STING are in the ring talking to each
other next.


Motor City Machine Guns vs. Christian Cage and AJ Styles:

I think it interesting that although Cage was in the World
title main event Sunday, he gets introduced first and AJ gets the honor. Don
West references AJ as a Triple Crown champion. Finally a (vague) mention of AJ
as a World champ. The MCMG look great tonight. They’re using more impactful
looking offense which helps tremendously. Cage and Styles look good too.
Particularly AJ who can keep up with MCMG move for move. I wonder if MCMG’s
disdain for Cage will be predicated on his age or his WWE background? That will
probably help us figure out where this overarching ‘Respect’ storyline will


A nice ad for Booker T in the ‘Cross the Line’ campaign.
Although I still think they should use the phrase ‘World champion’ everywhere
he’s been. Hello, this is wrestling?!? We know that Kip James, Eric Young and
Kaz have all been champions. That’s not a particularly special distinction in
this sport. World champion? Yeah, that’s the ticket.


Booker T is interviewed by Jeremiah. Booker attempts to
align himself with STING and calls out Jay Lethal as a Macho Man imitator. This
week Booker is refusing to use the letter ‘h’ as part of his accent du jour. He
knows ‘everyting’.


Sheik Abdul Bashir is interviewed by Lauren. He gives a very
intense promo. I wonder if he’s speaking any actual language or simply throwing
out sounds.



Petey Williams, Johnny Devine and Jimmy Rave vs. the Prince
Justice Brotherhood:


These X Division multiple wrestler matches are usually
pretty fun and filled with amusing high spots. Another slap by a woman onto a
man. Christy Hemme seems to do this every other week. For some reason, Petey
Williams takes the loss here. Wait a minute, they’re turning Petey? Maple Leaf
Muscle as a face? That might be a really nice change of pace. I wonder if that
means Scott Steiner will be out for longer than expected or if Williams and
Steiner will have a program when Steiner returns.


Matt Morgan’s DNA going into space. Super.


Matt Morgan and Abyss are interviewed by Lauren. Morgan
actually talks about reviewing the match and realizing that he made a mistake.
Abyss gives Morgan hair from his head- nice. A tag team tournament at Bound for
Glory. There is some good potential for making star teams. Morgan speaks pretty
well but then he gets verbally creamed by Brother Ray including being called a
mental midget. Ray is really good in this segment.


Jackie goes after Hector Guerrero (including slaps of
course) and again, Beer Money beats him up. Isn’t this a reprise of 2 months
ago? Just ridiculous. The end of the segment with Traci Brooks’ cleavage
filling the screen is the only ‘redeeming’ element here.


A Rough Cut on Roxxi is featured. I’m glad that they’re
utilizing Roxxi’s willingness to be brutalized for a good point. She talks
about ‘more intense’ than the other girls in TNA and she means it. The visuals
work to great effect here.


JC and TB? Cornette and Brooks are being nice and cute with
each other. Beer Money and Jackie vs. LAX and Hector next week are scheduled.
Very nice, especially if it means that Hector gets dismissed from his role as


STING is out at the top of the hour and I’ll be very
interested to see if his ratings are higher than Awesome Kong’s were last week.
He lashes out nicely at Samoa Joe. Both Joe and STING are making valid,
thoughtful points. Again this week STING is breaking out the NWA legend roll
call. New names this week, excepting Flair. I wonder if they’re trying to bring
Flair into TNA. They’re working hard at keeping his name on their program.
STING finishes by referencing his previous World championship wins at Bound for
Glory in the last two years. I hope they’ll produce a video package
illuminating his successes at that event. I hope they also highlight Joe’s
string of victories at the event. Clearly three years of success isn’t an
Undertaker kind of streak but starting to tease Joe’s invincibility at BfG
might help promote the idea that he’s a long term top guy in TNA. He’s had high
quality wins too. I’m pretty sure it was Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger the first year
then the Monster’s ball match and last year, he beat Cage. Retaining the World
title against STING is another key component in that definition.


Who is Suicide? Kinda ridiculous isn’t it? Let’s hope
there’s a nice payoff.


I still don’t understand how Karen Angle can possibly be the
end voice of the Cross the Line promos. Just absurd.


AJ and Cage have a contentious interview with JB. These
twenty minute sections of no wrestling simply have no place on the show.
Balance people, balance.


Jay Lethal does a good job of looking and sounding
incredibly pissed. He goes from Val to Booker T nicely. He gives the best promo
I’ve seen from him in months. He beat Angle last year but I have no confidence
that he’ll get a win over Booker tonight.


Well, even if Lethal doesn’t win, he gets in lots of
credible offense. Tenay and West talk about his victory over Angle last year.
The crowd chants for Booker T. a very good sign of how over he is. Booker also
gets the crowd to boo him during the course of the match. Such a good wrestler.
I hope he continues to wrestler for a few more years. He’ll do a great job of
building stars and will be an effective tag wrestler even five years from now.
Booker finishes Lethal with the axe kick after interference but this is the
kind of match that will help both guys.


The Beautiful People (and Cute Kip) are interviewed by
Lauren. ‘Idiot Hole’?!? What a great phrase. A fairly silly promo but as the
commercial break ends, the new BfG promo airs and I have to say I love the
gangster look these guys are rocking. Some really interesting styles and TNA may
want to consider using this look for LAX. The Scarface imagery may help them
sell some posters and T shirts.


Velvet Sky and Cute Kip vs. Taylor Wilde and Rhino:


Mercy, it feels odd to see Rhino so thoroughly entrenched in
the midcard. Hopefully he will find a partner for the BfG tag tournament. I
mean, he won the World title at the first BfG and was being groomed as their
biggest star. Now he’s the muscle for the Knockout champ. Damn. Don West is an
idiot. He thinks Velvet’s spray is about Rhino’s smell. Rhino’s also selling
for her. It makes her look great but it makes Rhino look like Disco Inferno.
(By the way, I’d love to see him back in TNA. He’s a legitimate talent.) It’s a
Flair flop from Kip! Yeah, they’re trying to reel the Nature Boy in for some
kind of role. Great variation of a roll up from Taylor. She really does wrestle
well. Sadly (notice a theme?) for Rhino, he’s layed out at the end of the match
with two women (and Kip) hovering over him.


Awesome Kong comes out and Kip scurries away. I feel kinda
shocked. Four women and Kip are out and Taylor and Rhino get the paper bag
treatment. Who did Rhino piss off? Will he get some increase in credibility by
gaining revenge against Kip and the heel women? C’mon now.


The Jarrett promo would have been so much better had they
shown another 30 seconds of championship victories. TNA seems to think he has
built in credibility but it’s just not true for most of the folks who are
watching now.


Jarrett’s return promo feels like a big deal and I’m happy to
hear the Impact Zone fans treating it as such. They chant wonderfully for him.
It’s a bit odd to hear Jarrett talking about being an underdog but let’s roll
with it. ‘Giving hope to all who believe’ is a sign someone’s brought in. I
love that sentiment. It feels like it still has the potential to be true for me
in a certain sense. I want to believe that wrestling can be about great
performances, interesting characters and stories, then fun extras. In that
order! TNA has stretches wherein they pull that off. I’m a greedy fan though
and want it to happen as a matter of course.


The fans chant ‘thank you, Jeff’ and he says no but should
have said, ‘no, thank you fans’. That would have been a much better route to


Jarrett calls out STING and challenges his perspective on
the young guys. He talks through this promo as a shoot. Helpfully, he calls him
‘Stinger’ instead of ‘Steve’. That always seems contrived.


As does Angle coming out and saying ‘this is a shoot’. Hello
red flags! Angle and Jarrett have a nice verbal confrontation. I find it
interesting that almost all the talent has talked about Joe and AJ in the same
breath tonight. Angle’s challenge to Jarrett is intense and meaningful. Jarrett’s
response of bringing Foley in works pretty well. (It’s a little odd visually to
see Jarrett is as tall as Angle. Who knew?)


Immediately, there’s a ‘Foley’ chant. Smart fans and a great
graphic. That shirt is gonna sell like crazy. Hell, I want one myself…


This was a much better show than recent ones have been. The
featured matches were tremendous and Lethal/Booker may be a nice BfG match. I’d
love to see MCMG get a rematch too.


Okay, let’s see if I can figure this out. The old guys will
be Angle, Booker, Team 3D and eventually Cage and STING. Hmmm. If this gets to
be a company wide event folks like Steiner, Jarrett, Tomko, Rhino (if he’ll
even be involved…) and Nash.


The young guys will be represented by Joe, AJ, MCMGs and
Foley. Other possibilities include Morgan and Abyss, LAX, Williams, Lethal and
Creed. I hope they get a really good plan to work through this for the next
several months. This could become revolutionary or revolting.













TP’s TNA Blog11September2008


Impact starts with a helpful recap from last week. JB does a
better job of getting STING to talk at the start of the show. He actually says
“Jeff Jarrett”. Thank goodness.


Samoa Joe comes to the ring with a phalanx of security.  He immediately calls out STING but
instead Nash tries to talk Joe down. ‘Ass’ gets bleeped as Nash attempts to
smooth the road between the two. Joe accepts the challenge Nash suggests for
tonight involving three matches. Joe of course is an idiot so invokes defending
the TNA title.


Lauren interviews The Beautiful People and again, they talk
about the 1
st Annual Beautiful People beauty contest.


Abyss vs. Christian Cage (in Abyss’ Open Challenge):


This is a shocking pairing. I expected TNA to keep Abyss
newly undefeated for quite some time. Obviously, Christian can’t afford to lose
the match. Hopefully they’ll come up with a clever outcome. Cage and Abyss have
a great series of reversals and escapes. Kurt Angle and Booker T interrupt
Christian’s potential victory over Abyss and attempt a pretty massive beatdown.
Angle tries to solicit Abyss’ assistance but of course, he refuses to use the
chair and takes a beating for it. Predictably, Matt Morgan comes in to save
Abyss from the chair shot. Morgan and Abyss are referred to as partners twice
within about eight seconds. An interesting tag match is scheduled. I expect
another schmozz because none of these guys could take a loss this week without
gumming up their programs.

My hopes for the X Division title match have apparently been realized as it will be a 3-way match. Again though, Cornette should have announced this on the show himself. Turn title matches into a big deal. Simple but helpful.


1st Annual Beautiful People beauty contest-


The PJB have a fun logo now. Angelina Love is accompanied to
the ring by both Velvet Sky and ‘Cute’ Kip James. I still don’t think Taylor
Wilde is particularly attractive but it probably helps to have her broadening
out her persona this way. She doesn’t seem comfortable in her evening gown but
the crowd is buying it.


Sonjay Dutt is interviewed by Lauren. The ‘Guru’ gives a
strong interview.


Karen’s Angle features STING. Sad but true. He presses
strongly for a return to respect as his central theme. Steve Borden takes off
his glasses and has no paint on his face. This may be the first time I’ve ever
seen him look this way for more than a second. Except of course, during long
matches when the paint’s been sweated and beaten off. Karen did a decent job
staying out of the way during the interview.


AJ Styles calls out Frank Trigg and he responds by walking
into the ring. Trigg calls AJ a hillbilly and runs down his pedigree. Trigg and
Styles are to go MMA at No Surrender. Sounds good to me. I wonder if Trigg is
enough of a draw to bring MMA interest into the PPV.


Yet another interview as Cage takes the mike from Lauren. 45
minutes in and one match completed. Welcome to Russoland. Another strong
interview as Cage goes deeply into his past. If this interview had occurred three
weeks ago I might have assumed he’d win the match Sunday. There’s just no build
to that though.


1st Annual Beautiful People beauty contest
continues with the bikini contest. Wilde goes first and looks nice but the
Beautiful People do a great job of mocking her. Since there are three events,
of course, Angelina will win this one. Don West says that she’s done this
before. Tenay goes far enough to say all that’s missing is the stripper pole.
But they bleep the word ‘ass’. The crowd’s chanting ‘Taylor’ but Angelina is a
legitimate bombshell.


1 hour. 1 match. I wish TNA could recognize how to play to
their strengths.


I hate the name ‘Bimbo Brawl’ but I’m glad the match is
happening. Awesome Kong vs. ODB in a falls count anywhere match will likely be
a highlight of No Surrender. Tonight though it’s Awesome Kong vs. Roxxi


Kong is so strong that she can toss Roxxi around very
casually. TNA seems to be removing the back-story from Roxxi’s character. They
seem to be deliberately calling her ‘Roxxi’ only. I wonder how long they’ll
stick with the Voodoo drop as her finisher. Kong is so strong that simply by
tossing a chair into Roxxi’s head and face she created a huge gash. Licking
Roxxi’s blood may be a great image to use later on. ODB keeps Roxxi from being
Awesome bombed onto a pair of chairs but as Kong leaves she licks Roxxi’s blood
once more. Whew.


Johnny Devine vs. Samoa Joe:


Devine has so much talent I really expected big things would
happen with him a few months ago. In fact, I’d crafted a fun program for him.
Joe beats him in about 20 seconds.


Samoa Joe vs. Lance Rock:


We’re going from small and fast to super tall. We’re finally
told that it’s a non-title event even though Joe sloppily referenced defending
his title tonight in front of these fans. He needs to spend a lot of time
practicing promos. He’s been champ too long to make stupid mistakes like that.
Randy Orton wouldn’t screw up this way.


Samoa Joe vs. Tomko:


Very nice! I’m glad it’s happening this way. Tomko is
presented as a serious challenge to Joe. Tomko looks impressive tonight. He
uses some atypical offense and appears credible enough that even in a short
match, Joe is made to look really strong here. I’d be excited to see these two
in an Impact main event later this fall. Nash ends the segment by giving Joe
his blessing and benediction. Nash is so good that this ends up being a very
sweet moment. I hope they figure out another way to keep Nash on the microphone


The talent element of the 1st Annual Beautiful
People beauty contest. Angelina is doing an ‘oral presentation’. Both
commentators make jokes about it. Angelina’s poem calls Taylor a whore and West
laughs about it. They’re performance of Row Row Row Your Boat is Jillian level


Taylor Wilde does a sad but not painful drum solo as her
talent presentation. She wins and the Beautiful People are deeply offended. I’m
deeply offended that this pageant took so much TV time. It was fine but
ridiculously long.


Booker T and Kurt Angle vs. Matt Morgan and Abyss:


Tonight is the first time I’ve ever noticed how clearly
Abyss uses forearms instead of fists when he punches. It’s visually
transparent. Morgan and Angle both need to spend a little cash to get their
cheap back tats updated. Morgan probably gains the most from this match because
he seems comfortable and credible in this match where everyone else is a World
champ. 3D uses a chair to knock out Abyss. Well, that’s probably the best
ending. A little added heat to their upcoming match and Morgan doesn’t take the


STING salutes the fans as he enters the ring and is roundly
cheered. He calls out Jarrett (in an amusingly old school way) and Samoa Joe.
Joe asks if STING is insecure or threatened. The entrance of Jarrett is a big
deal and he’s referred to as a 12-time World champion. A nice visual end to the
show that introduces a new level of intrigue to the PPV. One could make
reasonable arguments to suggest any of the competitors might win the World
title. It all depends on what Bound for Glory is scheduled to look like. Who’ll
be in the main event there? Will TNA go for a gargantuan match to utilize the
tremendous number of potential World champs on their roster? (I’m thinking of
an 8 man challenge match with 7 falls including Samoa Joe, Booker T, Christian
Cage, Kurt Angle, AJ Styles, Jeff Jarrett, STING and Mick Foley. That match
could be the entire last hour of the event.)


The final promo for No Surrender is a strong one. Overall, I
think a weak first hour that is saved by an excellent hour #2.






Dusty said what?

In a vintage promo on the second disc of his DVD set, Dusty talks about being willing to attempt to pin ("the
shoulders") of Dory Funk, Jr. for a $100,000 bounty. Dusty says he’s pinned
Daddy Funk, he’s pinned Terry Funk, he’s pinned Dory Funk, Jr. and “I’d even pin Mother Funker, I mean, it don’t matter to me!”


Ah, there’s nothing quite like living on the edge of a
lightning bolt…


TP’s TNA Blog 28August2008

Hopefully this will be the week that STING begins giving us
some real answers about the bats that have been showing up in surprising
circumstances for the last several weeks. Yes. STING shows up, except that he’s
Steve Borden on the way to the building. Nothing supernatural going on here. I
should say that I appreciate how the narration continues to refer to his
psychological tactics and doesn’t try to pretend its magic.

A great start to Impact with Awesome Kong coming out first.
After last week’s brutal, intense street fight match with Gail Kim, starting
with Kong is a great idea.

Awesome Kong vs. Sojourner Bolt:

What’s up with Raisha Saeed’s makeup? It looks odd and
totally wrong with her hijab. I’m also glad that they handled Gail Kim’s
departure in a classy fashion. I anticipated that they would try to use the
match to put Kong over as more of a monster and claim that she’s the reason Kim
left. They didn’t. Hopefully this means Kim is more likely to come back as soon
as her WWE contract concludes.

ODB provides a great, effective run-in at the end of this
match. Kong looks desperate to escape from ODB. Great visuals here. 

Another solid Rough Cut featuring Consequences Creed. Creed
looks to be a legitimate star in the making. It always helps to make fans care
about the people in the ring.


Sheik Abdul Bashir and “Maple Leaf Muscle” Petey Williams
(c) vs. Consequences Creed and “Black Machismo” Jay Lethal:

Some fun spots and a high level of activity in this match.
There’s a nice dynamic building between Williams and Bashir. Unfortunately, Don
West’s commentary totally confuses the actual story that’s being told and
focuses on Bashir’s disloyalty… which doesn’t really exist.


ODB doesn’t make a lot of sense in her interview with Lauren
but she provides lots of cheerable moments.


Karen’s Angle with Abyss: uh, I mean, Chris Parks:

This is by far the most he’s ever spoken. It’s a big
adjustment to hear him talk. The rocking back and forth is even more Mankind
than usual. Pulling out clumps of hair. I hope this means Mick’s planning to
accept the Abyss open challenge. Otherwise, another dual personality character? Really?
Merciful Minerva.

Karen looks appropriately weirded out with Parks in her
face. Finally she does a decent job. Not good but manageable.


The Beautiful People and Kip James are quite funny again.
They make lots of sex jokes and pump themselves up appropriately. The funniest
moment of all though is the Spike censor button. They bleep Angelina Love
saying ‘ass’ even though ODB just referred to herself as a ‘bitch’. Hello? Are
you even trying?


Is this really four straight interview segments? Oh
goodness. Angle plays it nicely and is appropriately bothered. How's about a little rasslin' now?


Jimmy Rave vs. Curry Man:

Some fun spots and quick offense. Not much happens but the story
of the match is the aftermath.


This rash of female violence against men is simply absurd.
Rahka Khan’s interference against Creed made more sense and happened outside
the ring and behind his back. It also didn't have anything to do with her gender. Okay, that’s fine. Hemme slapping Curry Man then
giving him a ball shot in the middle of the ring? Crazy. Crazy and only happening because Hemme's a woman. I’m glad that Cornette
is responding by inserting Hemme into a 6 person match. Cornette plays it great
here. He’s funny and appropriately lascivious.


Jeremiah? Great stuff. Booker’s accent was from someplace
I’ve never been. The whole thing was pretty fun but I have to say, Booker T
winning the Four Ways to Glory match might be a great plan for the World title.
That way, he gets a short run on top and Joe has to fight back to get his title
(“The title he never lost!” Mike Tenay will cry for weeks on end), a position in which he'd likely be much more comfortable- and over. 


Kevin Nash gives a great interview with Jeremy Borash. He
clearly lays out his motives both if Joe is ready in his eyes or if he is not.
He also reminds everyone of his own championship pedigree. I hope next week
Tenay talks very specifically about every man in the championship challenge
matches being a multiple time former World champion. I think this is the sort
of subtle commentary that helps build credibility for guys like Rhino and AJ


Kurt Angle vs. Kevin Nash:

This was a better match than I expected. Angle and Nash
don’t seem to mesh very well to me but everything worked well enough. Again,
the match was not particularly the story here. I’m getting excited about the
Four Ways to Glory match.
though I think Christian Cage is a tremendous wrestler, I think AJ Styles
should win next week. That could lead helpfully to a phenomenal match. The four
guys that would be in this match (Joe, Booker, Angle and Styles) all have a
great combination of outstanding agility and strong physical style. **It’s the lack of hard hitting moves that makes me want to keep Cage out of this match, and although he’d be
fine, it’s been so long since he won a big singles match, TNA would be better
served by putting AJ in it anyway. (And yes, I've heard all about his contract situation but I try hard to watch TV as a fan and consider what I want to see- as a fan.)


You could also have a great scenario heading out of the match that
features Booker in a defense against Joe and a culmination of Styles-Angle just
in time for Bound for Glory. I think they’re in a great position in the main
event level. It’s a step or two below that wherein they’re struggling. And why
I still think they need a secondary title. 


Jeff Jarrett’s re-introduction-

This is a big deal. TNA could definitely use Jarrett’s
presence to make a big push into the mainstream. Hopefully the slow burn won't diminish the splash Jarrett can make.


So Cal Val will put her love on the line for a wrestling
match. Just when we thought the camp was fading…


"We don’t play wrestling dress up." "TNA Knockouts cross the
line." It’s a great ad except that they show (and ugh, we hear) Karen Angle.
only eye candy. Oh yeah, only eye candy that’s married to their biggest
star. Super.


The Beautiful People vs. Roxxi Laveaux and Taylor Wilde (c):

Wow, another women’s match that lasts long enough to get a
‘justified’ commercial break. The Beautiful People are a really good team with
interesting offense and a real willingness to sell and take hard bumps. Velvet
Sky is still a little rough at times but Angelina is great and Velvet works
really hard at it. The end of this match worked pretty well for me. I don’t
like spraying in wrestling unless it’s done Muta style but considering the rest
of their gimmick it makes good sense. Of course once again, a woman hits a man.
Vince, stop beating the horse, it’s waaay dead.

Rhino makes the save. Okay, I don’t get it yet but as long
as it means Rhino is doing something other than counting ceiling lights I’m


Great build up for the STING explanation- 

I just wanna help the young guys. Interesting? It’s all
about respect for the Stinger. Samoa Joe gets the Ric Flair story told to him.
Nice touch, sure to start some speculation about Flair’s possible entry into
TNA. AJ Styles gets the tongue lashing too. I wonder if this really will be the
start of a Millionaire’s Club kind of faction? Nice t-shirt on AJ’s back
tonight. He does a good job standing up for himself. The physical confrontation
was fairly well-played too.

I really wonder how many TNA fans don’t recognize the music
ending the show tonight. I wonder how quickly the Jarrett pseudo appearances
will tire.



Main Event Tiers

It's surprising for me to consider it but TNA’s main event level looks much stronger than any of WWE’s individual TV programs. WWE PPVs still have more top tier guys but the imbalance is not stark and in 3 or 4 months TNA could have an extra 4 or 5 guys in legitimate World title contention. Yeah, let’s play that game. Jarrett, STING, Nash, Rhino, Foley, Abyss, maybe even Morgan.


Particularly considering the absences of Orton, Cena and Michaels, WWE needs to make a continued effort to push guys like Benjamin, MVP, the Hardys and Kane. Otherwise, TNA will have another good opportunity to make waves at WWE's expense.