I want to start this off by saying something that I'm sure will shock almost everyone who reads me on a regular basis. I'm very impressed with Hogan this week. No, nothing to do with those horrid tapes and all that's going on with BTLS and Clem, just thinking about all that makes me ill. What I want to say is how nice it is that Hogan is finally stepping up for TNA. For quite a while it seemed as though every time Hogan made a public appearance it was all about Hogan and what would make Hogan the biggest buck, but recently he'd been on TV pushing BFG, and really doing right by TNA for the first time since joining the company. Well, just this past weekend Hogan opened his surf shop in Clearwater, FL and filmed a clip for Impact during that opening. Morgan was there and they had an 'argument' in the shop that was 'accidentally' caught on tape by a TNA film crew. Compared to the way Hogan used to treat TNA, like a dirty little secret he didn't want anyone to know he was involved with, he's stepping up and helping the company in a way that I didn't think he was capable at this point, or at least not willing to do these days. He's actually renewed a bit of my faith in him.
As I said last week, I wanted to do a little write up about Christian York, this months Gut Check wrestler. I was surprised to see that he was part of OMEGA, the promotion that helped launch both Hardy brothers, Helms, Moore and quite a few others. Actually Matt and Jeff are both owners of OMEGA, so take that as you will. I was rather interested to see that his wrestling debut was in a 30 Minute Hardcore Ironman Match with Joey Matthews (Mercury). Proceeding along he ended up forming a stable in 1999 with Matthews, Helms and Moore called 'Badstreet Boys', obviously a boy band gimmick. From what little information I've been able to glean in my reading online, it looks as though this boy band team was picked up by WCW, but morphed into 3 Count. I can't say if this is the truth, but looking at the dates and times, I really have to question if what happened to the Badstreet Boys is that someone in WCW needed to find a place for Evan Karagias, so Matthews and York were replaced by him. I need to do some more digging, but the dates and ideas seem to line up too closely to be coincidence.
They then went to WWF for a tryout, but ended up getting sent to ECW where they were aligned with Dreamer, Styles and Gertner. Well, we all know what happened to ECW, so they were re-signed with WCW and sent to MCW (Memphis Championship Wrestling). While there they feuded with Umaga, Cade, Kendrick, and even DBD, but then VKM bought out WCW and the guys in Memphis were let go. They were then signed to TNA and worked the first show, but never to be seen again.
Due to health reasons York left the industry for a bit, but returned in 2006 to work indy dates and and some WWE matches. He went to OVW, but was never under a WWE contract. He reunited with Matthews to work against the MCMG in 2007. They continued to tag for a bit in Maryland until York ended up beating Matthews for the MCW (Maryland Championship Wrestling) Heavyweight Championship.
Interesting to note that York was in the final match aired on ECW TV, and on the very first TNA Impact show, and I'd never heard of him. It seems as though he just fell through the cracks at every turn, just never got over that hump to being recognized and becoming a real name.
Pre-Impact Commercials > B+
ODB talking about Tara and her little boy toy came across really great. Then Bully acting talking up Impact as all hardcore, but not as hardcore as he was going on Devon, as he's calling Devon out! Honestly, these commercials are so much better than the teaser commercials that WWE gives us for RAW. This is one thing that TNA has stolen and made so much better than WWE's version, so it is possible!
Video > C+
Basic recap video to set up for Impact, though I wasn't overly impressed.
In Ring Segment > A-&D
Joseph bumbling in the ring, not knowing how to use the mic was funny, then going into his legalese, which is even funnier. From a masked monster to this bumbling mess, this man is more talented on mic and in character than I even thought possible. Hiding behind that mask was was a star that I doubt most of us dreamed he could be. I loved his loophole as well, very interesting idea.
The way Joseph handed the mic to Sting was great, then tending to Angle, too cute. But then the segment fizzled. Nothing really happened other than Sting claiming that one of them would be unmasked. So this wonderful segment that started off as a solid A, was killed by creative/booking. It really rubbed me the wrong way, and it's going to take a lot of good to make up for that messy ending.
Announce Segment > F
Todd and Jeremy on announce again? Why? Why?
Backstage Segment > B-
Christian York worked for TNA that first night, but it's taken him this long to get a chance like this? I'm wondering if he's like Moore, so close, but just can't cut it, or it he's been shuffled around and overlooked for years. I have a lot of questions about this guy that can't be learned from reading about him online.
Backstage Segment > B
Magnus is unmasking someone that isn't A&8's? Interesting twist, and leaves us with a question going into the commercial. Nice job.
Backstage Segment > C+
An ear infection like Sheen? So Jessie, who wants to wrestle, is starting off with ODB? I have to admit that Jessie and Tara are so absurd that they're almost funny, but it would be better if we couldn't see this crap on almost any reality show. Not original at all.
OFN - TV Title Match – Joe (c) vs Magnus > C-
Magnus called out Joe for the TV Title? Shocker! Face for TV? I know Magnus is really good, but this is Joe he's talking about! Anyway, Magnus was obviously anticipating Joe's moves, so it made the moves look a lot less forceful or crisp. But once they got going, they both tightened up and it looked a lot better than the start.
So, rather that count Joe out, Earl went out and argued with Joe? That's just crappy booking in my opinion. That was just lame! So much for what was looking for a solid match when Magnus used the wrench on Joe. Ugh!
Winner – Joe via DQ (3:43)
Backstage Segment > B+
And there it is! Are we going to see Garett and Wes jump ship and show their true colors tonight? One thing about writing this Blog as the show is airing live is that my reactions are more genuine as I write with the show. I feel sometimes that I know too much going into each segment when writing the RIB. I love writing each for their own reasons, and each is my favorite as I write them. Right now I'm itching to see what will happen with Angle tonight, and I hope that shows through in my writing.
Backstage Segment > A-
Joe is at his best when he's seething and passionate. This was just great. Joe's gonna kill you!
Video > C
Great, more recap video of Hardy!
Backstage Segment > D
Lucky us, more of Hardy's thoughts. I really want to know what others think of these segments, listening to Hardy's thoughts. This is the second time it's happened, and Stacy fell to laughing for the second time. Something about Hardy trying to be so introspective, artistic and ethereal makes him everything but. The more Hardy pushes his artistic side upon us, it appears that he's playing a role in his life that even he's fooled himself into believing. If enough people tell you that you're good at something for long enough, you're going to believe it, and that's the feeling I've been getting from Hardy recently. Honestly, it turns my stomach a little.
In Ring Segment > D
And even more talking! We've seen under four minutes of ring work ending in DQ, and it's a half hour into the show. Is it too much to want more wrestling? I don't think so, but that's just me. And while Kaz and Daniels, the Uncrowned World Tag Team Champions of the World, are really great on mic, I want to see some ring work! Hector and Willie? That was an interesting swerve.
What a mess! Hector might be an announcer now, but he's a Guerrero and knows how to work a ring! That was disgraceful!
Video > D
They showed the same Christian York video that they showed last week and I wanted more after what I've learned about this guy.
Backstage Segment > D
They need to do with something with ODBEY! These phone calls are getting a bit much. I don't know any woman who would put up with crap like EY has been pulling, so they need to fix this and make it semi-believable because this is sucking!
Gut Check – Christian York vs Zema Ion > B
As Ion came to the ring Stacy asked me why Ion has a contract when York didn't after all I told him about this guy's past. He said that he'd bet that York would be better and more entertaining than Ion's been since joining TNA. Then Borash talking about York being on the first Impact, but hasn't been seen since, that's really bad business by TNA! And then York handed Ion his bum in a big way. I have to agree with Stacy, TNA really dropped the ball by bringing in Ion, but not doing anything with York! Not only were York's moves interesting, he sold well for Ion. I guess if you want it bad enough you're willing to get in the ring with about anyone, even Ion.
That clothesline he hit in Ion was solid, then his finisher! Then the creative work outside the ring. It's about time a Gut Check, and York absolutely should have been that guy. His ring work is so much better than Ion, and he has heart that I've never seen from the young guy. Actually, Ion's new finisher brought me to ADR, and now I see a lot of similarities between the two. Not a good thing.
Winner – Ion (4:21)
Backstage Segment > B
Aries is so good on mic. Actually, it made me smirk thinking about Aries stealing the WHC belt from Hardy, and saying that it was just laying around beside Hardy. It made me think of the two stolen TNA belts from this past summer. More of art imitating life? Looks like both companies are using storylines that are close to home right now.
Backstage Segment > C+
Garett is on Bully's team? That seems like more of TNA's foreshadowing, but that's me believing that Garett and Wes are both A&8's, and I will continue to believe it until proven otherwise. The handshake from Bully also made me wonder if it's more of them putting on a show of solidarity against A&8's, because that seemed very outside of Bully's character. So either Bully is mellowing and oozing into a more edgy face character than an uber heel, or he's really playing us well before openly joining A&8's. I think I'm so expecting him to be a part of A&8's that I'm over analyzing everything he does, but I also think that's what TNA wants us to do at this – so they're doing their jobs, and quite well.
But then to the fight backstage and parts of it looked horrid. Angle throwing punches looked terribly fake, then Sting telling a member that he's losing his mask rather than just pulling was pathetic. This part really brought down what was a solid segment between Bully and Garett.
OFN - ODB vs Jessie w/ Tara > D+
ODB was great on mic, but she's a riot no matter what she's saying. Getting the fans 'What'ing with her was just fabby! The only thing I've heard from Todd that sounded at all good was asking if Jessie was all cosmetic muscle, or is it functional muscle. That's something that I wonder about too much with certain wrestlers.
Jessie scoop slam on ODB was a bit pathetic. She is a wrestler and he put her down as if she was a child. I hope he learned a bit from the slam she gave him. Other than that wide crotch shot we saw from Jessie from behind when he pinned ODB, he sold working with ODB pretty well. I'm not sure he will want to admit that his first televised wrestling match was against a woman who slapped him around the ring more than not, but I guess he had to start somewhere?
Winner – Jessie (3:53)
Announce Segment > C
When I saw Tenay was there to throw Todd out of his seat, but that Taz wasn't there, I wasn't surprised. I figured he'd be back home doing all he could in the aftermath of the storm. And while Borash was more of a star when it was him and Todd, when Tenay joined him, he turned into a blathering mess.
OFN – Hardy vs Robbie E w/ Robbie T > B-
Hardy continued to prove my point from earlier with those red contacts. More of him trying to show how interesting and artistic he is, like the face paint, and while it did look creepy, it also looked like he was trying way too hard to be unusual. But I will say I really enjoyed the ring work between these two. Hardy looked solid, and not as floppy as he comes off some times. Robbie looked stronger in the ring than I've seen him on Impact. It would have been better if we'd seen more than half of this match, but that's TNA for you! There was almost exactly as much of this match missed by commercials as shown on TV, and much of it was Robbie in control (from what Tenay said). Does that mean that they don't want us to see Hardy losing, or they don't want us seeing Robbie actually working the ring with some skills?
I've said numerous times that Robbie E is better than he's shown us on Impact, and this match has proven my point. When I saw Robbie E live he worked that ring hard and left Stacy and I in shock. I won't say he was the sharpest nail in the box – from talking to him before the show, and no, it wasn't him being in character as I was in there before the fans came in for the signing – but his ring work and mic skills that night floored me. Finally, in this match we've been able to see some of Robbie's ring skills. Of course it's the golden boy Hardy who was able to 'bring it out' in Robbie, but I'm just glad that we got to see Robbie actually work the ring up to his ability. People call me on how I feel about Ion, but they did the same on my feelings toward Robbie for the longest time. When Robbie proved that he knows his stuff in the ring, I backed off. So, it's time for Ion to step up and prove himself the way Robbie was able to do in this match.
Winner – Hardy (7:52)
In Ring Segment > B
"Overrated!" chants? I thought they should be for Hardy, but that's just me. I will admit that Aries facing Hardy in a Ladder Match could be fun!
Video > B
And here's the video that I wrote about at the start of all this. It didn't come off as well as I thought, but the fact that Hogan did it at his shop opening earns props from me.
Backstage Segment > B+
I'm getting rather annoyed with Hogan continually brushing Storm off. Either tell him your plans or not. This cat and mouse should be left for the heels and faces, not the GM and one of the best on the roster! Annoying, but then again, it keeps me tuning in, so I guess they're doing their jobs. And I have to say that Storm is selling his frustration wonderfully.
In Ring Segment > B
Roode is still talking big, but he just didn't carry this segment well for me. He sounded wishy-washy, right down to the tone of his voice. He didn't sound at all like a star, more like a little boy who dropped his ice cream cone in the gutter. AJ hit it right on the money about Roode being whining.
WOW, AJ really gave a dig at the WWE about your name being AJ and being photographed getting in an elevator! I know that TNA likes to give little digs to the WWE now and then, but that was impressive. I watched a video with AJ Lee the other day where she still seems so star struck by her fan base, so that comment had to leave her smiling in that adorable way she does when she's shocked and embarrassed by it all.
While not thrilled to see Hogan out there, he set up quite a match for Turning Point. I'm not sure how I feel about AJ getting in the middle of Roode and Storm, but the three of them in the ring together is going to be sick! Now, if booked well, it could be a match of the year nominee. Yes, I'm saying it now that these three could really give us one to remember. We all know that they're all great, but I have a gut feeling about this one.
In Ring Segment > C+
That cannot be the same robe. It just doesn't look like Hogan's original robe, but Morgan sounded decent. It was Ryan who made me laugh when he talked about avoiding VDs, but called out RVD. That was very creative, and very much in Ryan's character.
RVD vs Ryan w/ Morgan > F+
While Ryan is quite the character, his ring skills sure didn't show in this match. Maybe that's why he's running with Morgan? Either way, this match totally sucked! Even Morgan's carbon blueprint didn't seem to land the way it should have. What a bloody mess! Actually, blood could have brought this match up from failing... No, maybe not.
Winner – Ryan (1:37)
Backstage Segment > C
After all these years Devon needs a pep talk from the young guys in masks? I guess it's the heel faction mentality, but it feels a bit silly to me.
Bully vs Devon > B+
Bully won me over big time with his shout out to the northeast. Of course, with his new character, he had to, but I'm willing to bet he would have said something either way. He's really showing support for where he came from – Queens – and where he's billed from – Hell's Kitchen – and for me, that shows a lot of character as a human being.
Honestly when Devon got to the ring I kept waiting for the bell to ring, yet nothing. This was supposed to be a match, and I wanted to hear bells! I figured it was going to fall apart and be a free-for-all, but I wanted to see some ring work before that happened. Because there wasn't any actual match – which they would have had, if they hadn't talked so much through the whole show – I had to knock the grade down some. I thought that this could have been an A segment with some actual ring work and a few tweaks.
When the TNA boys ran to the ring, I said that I hoped whoever was going to be unmasked should be someone interesting. Stacy said he thought it would be a nobody, someone we'll barely recognize. I told him it had to at least be Hankinson (Festus, Luke Gallows), and that I think it should be Hankinson. It was then that Joseph got in the ring and cornered. When Hankinson's mask came off, I was laughing at Stacy and pointing. Sometimes it drives him crazy at how well I can read what's going to happen in wrestling. I know that many times I'm so far out of the arena that you all think I've lost my mind, but these smaller things are what I say aloud as the show is going on, and they come true more often than not and it gets under his skin. I think it's a big part of the fun of watching wrestling.
So, what are they going to do with Hankinson from here? Will it be Angle who faces him? That's what I see happening heading toward TP!
Anyone who follows me on Facebook, or knows anything about me, knows that every November I participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). It's a worldwide online challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. This will be my 10th time participating, and hopefully the 10th time I complete the challenge. Doing this on top of all the writing I do for WNW will make it so I barely leave my computer this month, so hopefully my ass doesn't end up wider than Rikishi when December hits! Why I am bringing this up is that I want to ask everyone to please bear with me if I come out with any strange or absurd questions when I get stuck with my story. I know I will get stuck, and I've found that wrestling fans are wonderfully creative, so I might be asking for help. As far as I know, there's one other WNW writer who's also participating in NaNo this month, so WNW could be a lot of fun this next month!
I also wanted to mention again that my heart goes out to everyone who is dealing with the destruction left behind by Sandy. While there's not much I can do physically, my heart and hopes are with you all.