First off, happy Valentine's Day to everyone, attached or not. Personally I think watching wrestling is a great way to spend the holiday, and I have a wonderful Stacy who has no qualms about letting me watch wrestling. I hope everyone has had a lovely day, however you spent it.
Now time for my mini-rant. I'm completely disgusted with IOC over this wrestling thing. Wrestling has been involved in the Olympics in some way, shape, or form, since the Ancient Olympics, but now they're deciding to remove it? I think that they're taking away a big part of what makes the Olympics great. Further, I'm very impressed with Angle stepping up, but I wouldn't expect anything less from him. I also have to say that I'm very impressed with what Dixie said about the professional wrestling companies coming together against this. I know, it's rare that I say something positive about Dixie, but it's rare that she does something so deserving of praise.
Those who read my RIB posted this past Tuesday know that my good friend, and WNW PPV Predictor Gesus Oliver had an interesting experience over this past weekend meeting a couple of legendary wrestlers. He had such a great time with two of the men (refer back to RIB 2/12/13), but not so much with the third. I sent an email to Ed Leslie through his website explaining that I would be posting a less than stellar article about him, and if he would like to refute anything being written, to please get a hold of me before its posting Thursday evening. I have not heard anything back from Mr. Leslie, or anyone representing him, so I am posting Gesus' article as written.
As some of you may know, I had the opportunity to meet a few wrestlers Sunday at the Admirals Hockey Salute to Wrestling. It was a great experience. Though sadly I had an issue with Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake. I have been waiting to hear back from this people to make sure I'm not just unjustly blasting someone down on his luck.
Brutus was the last of 3 people in the meet and greet. If you read my piece from Monday you know that I had a nice little conversation with Dusty and Mr. DiBiase. I eventually made my way to Brutus and said, "Hey how are you?" and I got nothing. He just took my photo signed it and passed it on. I was hoping to ask him about his 8x10's and even his clippers that were sitting there. I know the guy fell on a bit of bad luck in his career when he was on his way to the top that he could never recover from. I don’t think the right thing to do is snub fans that show up eager to meet you, let alone remember your existence in wrestling at all. Heck at the fact I was going to pay money to get a signed photo of, oh a wrestler I may never meet again, is a potential reason to at least acknowledge my wife, the 2 friends that followed, or even me. It sets a bad example for less knowledgeable fans when you're seemingly that bitter. Later when they were announced to the entire arena, he just sort of walked up raised his clippers and walked away. Not even trying to embrace the crowd, or even enjoy the fact that people came to see him.
The entire thing left a bad taste in my mouth. I sincerely hope nothing is going on in his personal life to make me writing this seem like an attack. I am grateful I have had the chance to meet Brutus, and would not pass up actually meeting him again. Has anyone else had this experience? I hope it was just an off day. I know it's hard to adapt to not being in the spotlight anymore, but don't alienate the fans you have left.
Video > C
This wasn't a terrible recap, but there's just so much Hogan and video clips that we've seen weeks in a row. I know they're in the UK, and these shows are taped, but there's only so many times I can watch the same bits without needing to roll my eyes.
In Ring Segment > B
I honestly can't fault TNA for using Hogan as much as they do while outside the USA, the fans just don't get to see Hogan and other big names from the USA as much as they'd like. Living up in this little corner of the USA, there aren't any large cities within a hundred miles, so big wrestling doesn't come up this way very often. Not saying I'd mark out at Hogan, but I'm still annoyed with my Dad for hanging out with Hogan one day when Brooke performed at our family business. My father and I were not on the best of terms at that point, but it was long enough ago that I would have been in awe of meeting Hogan.
Hogan really handled the fans wonderfully here. He played to their wants and needs beautifully, and shows why he was a big star in his day. Sting also came out and rocked the fans. I will admit that, at times, Hogan has been good for TNA, but overall I feel he's hurt the company as a whole. I worry that Hogan will continue to spend too much time in front of the fans when they go on the road, but I will not harass him for it yet, as it hasn't happened, and I'm not going to jump to conclusions.
Daniels w/ Kaz vs Magnus > A-
Magnus looked great in the ring, really in control of himself and the moves he hit. I always seem to forget how great he is in the ring when TNA keeps him hidden for months at a time. I'm at a loss as to why they would only break Magnus out in the UK, but that's more of TNA's crazy booking and crappy treatment of their wrestlers.
Magnus would be great in the ring against Hardy for the Championship. He has the skills and charisma to take a push and run with it. Hopefully this isn't the only time we'll see Magnus work the ring for another six months.
Winner – Magnus (5:04)
Backstage Segment > A-
Bully in this segment showed depth of character that I never thought he was capable of. Not only has Bully stepped up on mic since going out as a singles competitor, but since this whole relationship storyline has started, he's come out as a fantastic actor who has range that I really didn't know he had. I don't know what's changed for Bully, and Daniel Bryan, but the two of them have shown personality that I truly believed they didn't have in them.
Brooke was a bit still here, but Bully made up for it. He was sweet, tender, caring, but also the butt kicker he's always been. I'm floored, and am willing to again say that I was completely wrong about Mark Lamonica when I said that he didn't have range, and that it was time for him to hang up his boots. I'm thrilled he stayed and grew in such a fantastic way.
Backstage Segment > B
Magnus is so well rounded that I forget how young he is. Not only is he amazing in the ring, he can handle himself on mic, and could really handle a push at this point in his career.
Samoa Joe vs Kurt Angle > A-
As Joe and Angle have been hanging together lately, this could have been thought of as a strange match up, but it makes a lot of sense to me. Yes, they have been hanging together as faces against A&8's, but beyond that, they're two of the biggest competitors in the company, and they will get in that ring with anyone to entertain the fans – something they're both stellar at.
It might be because this match was taped, but I didn't cringe at every bump Angle took. I think my tweak over Angle paralyzing himself in that ring has actually backed off a bit, which is interesting as Angle isn't getting any younger. And then there's how hard hitting Joe is, but for some reason I wasn't as worried about Angle as I normally am with Angle in the ring.
I know we will be seeing Joe and Angle facing off against Wes and Garett, but it seems like such a hugely one sided fight. Wes is solid, but he's not Angle or Joe, and Garett is nowhere near even Wes' level in the ring. Either the booking of that match will be bad – making Wes and Garett look like they have any chance – or Joe and Angle will slaughter them. And while I understand why Wes and Garett broke up this match, it pissed me off to see such a competition ended frivolously.
Winner – N/A (12:28)
Backstage Segment > C
The fans were cheering for Rockstar Spud in the ring, so either he was in the ring when TNA was telling us that Joe and Angle were in the ring, or that bit was taped in Manchester. Either way, I'm looking forward to seeing the Blossom Twins in the ring, but seeing Dixie in this segment was horrendous! Between a bad camera angle for her, and a terrible outfit on her body, she looked much older and fatter than she really is.
Party Marty & Blossom Twins vs Gail Kim & Tara & Jessie > C+
So, Marty didn't win British Bootcamp, and he looks fantastic in the ring against Jessie who is on TNA's regular roster. Marty stuttered a bit in the air while hitting his springboard on Jessie, but I'm not sure who's fault it really was. I'm inclined to blame Jessie for his work has shown that he's barely capable of lacing his boots, never mind actually working the ring, but I haven't seen enough of Marty's work to know what he's capable of. The fact that he went for that move shows me that he has more talent and ring skills than Jessie has shown since he first appeared in TNA.
Both of the Blossom Twins looked tentative in the ring, but they didn't look bad in the ring against Tara or Kim. They might be young, but they have spunk and a drive that will continue to prove them well in the wrestling industry. Taz says that the Blossom Twins are greener that goose BLEEP, but I have to disagree. They are green, and they are young, but they're twins who really seem to have a special connection. We've seen how twins can get over in wrestling, and I expect a lot from them.
I write this BZ as Impact plays, while on Tuesdays I go back and write the RIB after the show is over. So what I wrote about Jessie and Marty, I wrote while it was happening on my TV. I had moved onto the BT's because they were dominating the match and Marty was on the apron, but I have to go back and address Marty's dive onto Jessie. I actually went back and watched it a couple times to see if Marty was off his mark, or if it was Jessie. I will say that it looked like Marty might have been a bit high, a bit to the side, but Jessie cringed. He didn't completely duck, but he pulled down and away from the man flying through the ropes at him. When a wrestler executed a move like that, he needs to know that the person on the outside will be there for him. I think Jessie proved that he might not be there for any person who might fly out of the ring at him. To me that makes him look even more unreliable than he already is. TNA needs to either sends Jessie to wrestling school, or get him the heck out of the ring before he really hurts someone. I was willing to give Jessie some sort of chance, but it appears he and Ion belong together, on the outside of TNA. (The best parts of this match was the Knockouts, and Marty – the spunk the Bootcamp kids showed was fantastic! It was Jessie and the greenness of the Bootcamp kids that brought the grade down.)
Winners – Kim & Tara & Jessie (11:41)
In Ring Segment > D
Kim was flat on mic in this segment. She came off as snotty, but blah. When Brooke Hogan is more interesting and animated than one of the top Knockouts, there's an issue. I just have not believed Kim as a heel, and don't think it works. Some people are natural faces – Rey Mysterio is the first name who bounces to the front of my mind – and I think Kim is just one of those people.
Video > C
Gesus and his lovely wife Rikki are going to the first Live TNA Impact in Chicago. Because of this, my BZ will be posted on Friday. He's going to come back with some live reactions to the show that I think will be very important to the BZ going forward. If it goes over well, and people like how it works, I might be looking for more hands on reactions to Impact each week.
I actually have to say that I was very impressed with Dixie here. She came across as poised and businesslike. If she sticks to segments like this, I think she would come across much better on TV. That's not saying anything about her business acumen.
Video > C
I understand that they have to recap Hardy's 'injury' and reason for not being in the UK, but we all know that's not the truth.
Backstage Segment > B
Roode with the Knockouts Title? That could be funny. Interesting to note that the Knockouts TTC wasn't mentioned there. Is it just gone, or will it change into something else the way Booker's Title did for the first year since it appeared? But I have to say that Roode and Aries were good here. Not great, not the squabbling little brothers that make me giggle, but they were solid.
RVD vs Storm > B+
It's so nice to see RVD really working the ring! In most of his X Division matches lately he's either making Kenny King look good, or trying to avoid getting injured by Ion, but in with Storm RVD really seemed to go out there and work that ring the way I expect from him each time he's out there. He had the fans squarely behind him, and maybe not being at home he wasn't hanging out with MJ as much, but his work in this match was to a much higher level than we've seen from him in months, and months.
Storm is a star, and really should have gold around his waist. The longer he goes without a WHC run, the bigger the travesty becomes. I know there's so many other greats in TNA right now – and sadly none of them have the WHC – but it seems like Storm keeps getting pushed aside for everyone else. When will it be Storm's time?
Winner – Storm (5:49)
Backstage Segment > B+
Campaign Manager? Buttons? Hogan actually handled that 'rib' really well. In some ways I like that Joseph is using 'wrestling lingo' being that he's so green. I think it has to make some of the newer fans, and some kids, feel like they might be learning something. I think it's fun, and Joseph is running with this character in a way I didn't think was possible. One thing I do have to say is that I hope he follows the Kane route and ends up re-masked at some point. It has worked wonderfully for Kane, and I know it will work as well for Joseph/Abyss.
Backstage Segment > C
I said that about Storm, but then there's Bully, he's another who is more than deserving of being WHC, and he doesn't have the ring time ahead of him that Storm and so many others do. Actually, it would be very cool to see Bully win the WHC, then him and Brooke make their A&8's jump. That would be stellar. I know the rumors are still flying about the possibility of Hogan being the leader of A&8's, but I have to again state that I think it would be too nWo and a terrible direction to go. A&8's with a Bischoff and Hulk Hogan would be too much for me. Then again, if it is Bully and Brooke who make that jump, it will be the younger generations of both Hogan and Bischoff in the faction. Now that I wouldn't have a problem with. A sort of passing of the torch. Yes, it's nepotism, but I think Brooke has been stepping up and proving herself week in, and week out. Wish I could say the same for Garett.
Video > C
I understand why they recapped for Roode and Aries as it set up for the next segment, so I'm not going to bash it.
Roode vs Aries > A-
Aries and Roode were great on mic, as usual. The double finger poke of doom was hysterical, but that Keneley had to say something made me roll my eyes. I know it's not something that every wrestling fan knows, and I should not have a problem with it, but this is me and little things like this grate on me.
Commercial > A
I love that Angle is going on live after Impact. I'm usually annoyed by how much they push Bellatore after Impact, but what Angle is doing is very important, and I'm very proud of him for how he's stepping up for something he believes so completely in. Is there another Gold Medal Olympic Wrestler from the USA with a bigger name, a bigger following? I don't follow amateur wrestling, but Angle has gone so far beyond that and really made a name for himself. I hope more follow suit and show the IOC just how important it is for them to not remove one of the original sports from the Olympics.
Roode vs Aries – Continued
That Aries and Roode are TTCs made me a bit bummed that we wouldn't be seeing them facing off in the ring, so this is like candy. Not only are they bringing it in the ring, their characters are bringing it full force. The way the two of them worked up on that corner, that Roode raised Aries the way he did, then that he was able to regain his balance up top was awe inspiring. Now that is the trust that wrestlers need in the ring, and these two men show not only how important the trust is, but that they have such trust in each other.
Keneley also mentioned Eddie when they both pulled that 'vintage' Eddie move, but I was grinning too hard to be cranky. Okay, double standard, and I know it. I'm sorry. Actually, it's even funnier that a Guerrero was the one who cost Aries and Roode their match. Yes, Hernandez was there too, but Chavo's involvement made it that much funnier in my book. I love seeing wrestlers such as Eddie honored in such a way, and because of the justice they did with the 'vintage' Eddie moves, I'll let the (almost) return of the finger poke of doom slide – for now. Roode and Aries are such top notch wrestlers and stars, that it's hard for them to let me down. Even though parts of this match were total crap, they made it all that much better for the way the worked it. I'm left smiling, and I think that's a very important thing we forget sometimes when we're ripping apart these wrestling shows.
Double Count Out (13:44)
Backstage Segment > B
While Sting and Hogan were solid here, I still don't understand why Hogan has to decide who's going to face Hardy. TNA is supposed to be a wrestling company, so why are they not wrestling it out? I know I complain too much about TNA's tourneys, but in reality it makes more sense to have the wrestlers fight it out than have Hogan arbitrarily decide who will be going into a WHC Match. I the field is that wide open, that there's so many guys so high up that he has to choose between a half dozen guys, then the storylines haven't been whittling down the top enough to make the WHC really mean anything.
Hear me out, the WHC is supposed to be the most elite title in the company, but if half the guys we see on a regular basis are fighting it out to see which one will be going after the Champ, then the Title is basically being fought for by the mid-card. The mid-card wrestlers carry the shows, and the top tier are the main event wrestlers. Yes, they do move back and forth some – or should, it seems as though Hardy is the only real full-time main eventer in TNA – but there should really only be a couple guys at the top at any one time. That's what makes the feuds exciting, and the WHC worth fighting for. That the core of the roster – all of which are worthy of carrying the WHC – are all fighting for the WHC Match, it cheapens the belt, the Champ, and all going after it. While I believe that Hardy cheapens the WHC in his own right, I'm pretty disgusted at the booking leading up to see who will face him. It was great booking for the fans in UK, they got to see some stellar matches, the problem is that they mean almost nothing in the grand scheme of things and makes the company look that much more minor league. TNA could be on the cusp of making a huge stride forward, but not with writing and booking like this. (The grade is for their mic work, not for all it entails. Right now I'm more disappointed in TNA than I have been in a very long time. I think this is the worst I've felt about TNA Creative since before Russo left, and that's saying a lot as everyone knows how I feel about Hogan and Bisch at the reigns!)
In Ring Segment > B+
Again, this is great for the fans who love Hogan and don't get the chance to see him like those in Florida. I found it interesting that the majority of A&8's had no trouble attacking Hogan, Bully made them all back off in fear. It might have looked better if they had stayed semi-strong until Sting came out, but it did make those questions about Bully in A&8's arise that much more. Sting with a cricket bat was a lovely addition to his arsenal. I seem to remember him wielding one previously, but it's something that doesn't get old. I think it was a solid way of ending the show and their tour of the UK.
Samantha, who I have written about a number of times recently, watched the first match tonight. Normally she doesn't watch TNA as it's a bit rougher, and I was waiting until she was older, but we were running late with supper. She sat there with her eyes wide as she watched Daniels and Magnus work the ring together. "This is so much better than the wrestling we see on RAW and Smackdown!" she said with a totally dumbstruck look. "It's even better than Daniel Bryan! Can I watch Lockdown with you?" I've been very proud of her for understanding that Cena and The Rock are showy, but that actual ring work means so much. I am blown away that at nine years old she can appreciate the difference between what she sees in the WWE and what she sees in TNA. I had been trying to shield her from some of the hardcore work in the WWE, but she was in awe when she saw the picture of R-Truth's gashed knee, and the photos from VKM's hip replacement, so I'm thinking I'm going to let her start watching some of TNA with me. A child of nine who can appreciate the ring work in TNA, she's given me faith that wrestling might not turn into what Cena has been turning it into. I also think it's about time we start bringing her to shows with us.
I have been following an amazing indy wrestler for about a year now. I sat in awe, with all of 50 other people in a school gym up here in Maine to watch him and Julian Starr put on the best technical match I've ever seen live. While it's the best match I've seen him in, I haven't seen him in an even slightly mediocre match. Cameron Matthews is fantastic in all he does, even if he couldn't stand straight up on the top of the scaffolding in a match that I watched between my fingers because I was so freaked out by the whole thing. I'm not sure I wouldn't have been able to sit through a whole ECW live back in the day.
The reason I bring up Matthews after almost a year since I last saw him live is because someone posted a picture of Jessie on his Facebook wall and commented on how alike they look. Jessie is beefier, but he's a body builder who spends more time on his physique than much else, and Matthews is more of a cruiser weight. If I hadn't already been down on Jessie, the way he cringed rather than caught a flying Marty shows me that TNA needs to drop Jessie and get Matthews into TNA. Sam said during the first match of the night that TNA has much better wrestling than they have on TNA, and I agree. So why not flush out the bad – Jessie who is only there for his D-List stardom – and bring in more who are actually stellar wrestlers like Matthews?