When Richard posted that Pope, Sarita and Rosita have all left TNA, I was a bit shocked. I didn't even realize that they were all still under employ with TNA. They have these wonderful wrestlers who have done so much for the company, yet they're never on TV and tonight is another Gut Check competition. And tonight they're bringing in two Gut Check guys! What is wrong with the roster TNA has right now? If they're not going to use them on TV in any way, why would anyone want to join the company? It's no longer a stepping stone up since they've put together this lawsuit and caused the freezing hire in the WWE. It really feels as though TNA is bringing all these people so the WWE can't use them, but then they don't use them at all themselves. It goes right back to the same thing I've said for years, TNA is being poorly run from the top down and no one with the power to do anything will do anything because it's just easier to keep your mouth shut and collect a paycheck than ruffle the feathers of Dixie, Hogan or Bisch. Will anything ever change within TNA, or is the company destined to be nothing more than the very minor leagues?
Video > D
Why is it that whenever anyone wins a trophy of any sort on a wrestling show, that trophy is almost immediately broken? I know it's funny, but it's getting a bit cliché at this point. I also am still laughing at how Hogan suspended Bully for dating his daughter, yeah, that has a lot to do with TNA! And then how everyone was trying to cover Knox's head, when he was unmasked, but Knox. He seemed to care less than anyone else.
In Ring Segment > B+
Sting has cleans up his makeup, and I like it! One black eye and one red eye really brings a lot of past Sting back into this newest incarnation. It works beautifully. Big Black Bat, Shooter, and Killer? Okay, Joe as Killer works, Big Black Bat always works, but I'm not sure about Shooter. I'm not sure I've ever seen Angle shoot on anyone.
Joe was great on mic, and the fans were loving him! Joe was as over as Sting, and more over than Angle! That was a lovely shocker in my book.
Nice to see Anderson is back, hopefully his Matt Morgan Syndrome is over and he'll have a look and character that he's allowed to stick with. While I've hated the way he's been treated by TNA (WWE too for that matter), I'm thrilled to see Anderson back and hope that he'll actually have a character and storyline he's allowed to stick to for more than three weeks before he's removed from TV for no apparent reason – AGAIN! I'm not sure about Anderson being part of A&8's, but I love this animosity between him and Angle, Sting and Joe.
Video > C
Jay Bradley came across fairly well in this little video. I like how he said that a number of people he worked with have gone on to be some of the biggest stars. He came across as honest, but ready to fight for the win and the contract. I'm not sure how I feel about the way they changed up Gut Check, but I'm willing to give it a shot. TNA keeps trying new things, and I'll give them credit for trying, even though so many things have failed so far.
Backstage Segment > C
Brooke was nothing exciting in this segment, but she wasn't horrible the way she was when she first started with TNA. Just middle of the road, so they'd better move the golf cart.
Zema Ion vs Kenny King > C-
I said last week that watching York and Kash in the ring together was like watching a match going a beat too slow. I was shocked to see the first couple moves of this match seem to start that way as well. They fought over to a corner, and King kicked up at Ion on the apron and it looked almost like it was in slo-mo! They quickly picked things up and ran with it, as they should. They started looking strong in the ring, King really proving himself.
That was until Ion dropped King on his head! Then Ion landed badly on King coming off the corner. Finally Ion landed badly in the opposite corner! What is wrong with this guy? I know he's becoming more and more famous for his botched moves, but the way he landed King on his head was total bull. Why does TNA keep putting their X Division wrestlers in the ring with this guy? Is this Hogan's way of killing the X Division, put them all in the ring with Ion so he injures them beyond use? That will save TNA money and Hogan will save face that the Division is imploding on its own. I know Hogan has screwed with TNA since he came in, but messing with wrestlers' livelihoods by putting them in the ring with Ion is disgusting in my book.
Winner – King (3:17)
Backstage Segment > D
Jersey Shore ending is a bad thing? I'm actually liking how the issues between these two are coming about. I can't wait to see Terry leave Robbie in a heap in the ring and a coming PPV.
Backstage Segment > B
Joseph is a lawyer, a wrestler, and now can't open a door. While I've missed watching Abyss in the ring, I have to admit I've loved Joseph and think he's done a wonderful job with the character. I'm not going to compare this to Taker as the American Badass, but I will say that such a drastic change in a beloved character only makes everyone involved better, and when the original character returns, it will be amazing! To me Abyss/Joseph is TNA's version of Taker, though I'd love to see what Abyss could have done back in the day in ECW, WCW, or even WWF because he has that over-the-top feel to his characters – both of them.
Tara & Jessie vs Terry & Tessmacher w/ Robbie E > C-
Jessie looked tiny in the ring with Terry! I won't say either looked good in the ring, but at least they got ring time? Honestly, I'd rather see them in the ring over seeing Tessmacher rub her crotch and bum in Tara's face! I do like Tessmacher new ring gear, but her old ring gear would have matched Terry's gear better.
The post match work was a lot more interesting than what any of them did in the ring – and what saved this from epic fail. Actually, I saw more charisma from Terry in those two minutes than I've seen from him his whole time in TNA. If I only knew that all Terry needed was a hot chick too work off from, I'd have been screaming for it a couple years ago. And if he flattened Jessie that quickly, what's he going to do to Robbie E when they get to that point? I do have to give props to Tessmacher as well. She got a bit nervous when Terry lifted her the way Swayze did Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing, but she fought against her nerves and stretched back out. Then the kiss and leaving Tessmacher on the ring with that smirk, Terry makes me think that he might have some personality in there – I'm shocked!
Winner – Terry – (1:47)
Video > C
Brian Cage and Jay Bradley could be brothers from what I've seen. The two of them doing these videos that were so similar made it hard to place any differences between them. Even split screen they look enough alike that it's a bit unnerving. Maybe TNA has some plan behind this, but I'd think they would want to have their Gut Check guys look a bit different so they're somewhat memorable. At this point it's two guys with face fur and faux-hawks.
Gut Check – Jay Bradley vs Brian Cage > D
I fully admit that I know virtually nothing about these two, and TNA has done virtually nothing to tell me about them. Judges are looking for personality, character and ring work. We know almost nothing about their characters, but I have to say they both brought some personality to the ring. They both came off the bell strong physically, but also with personality. I thought it was nice to see, but not enough for me to really care about either of them.
I thought they both looked decent in the ring, and showed us some moves, as well as how they sold the moves, but the finisher bothered me. It felt like this should have gone much longer, at least seven or more minutes total, and not end with a simple lariat clothesline! Bradley is no JBL, and that wasn't a clothesline from hell.
I didn't see enough about these two to care about ever seeing either of them again, and that's a first for Gut Check. TNA dropped the ball in a big way on these two. Their opening videos were boring, nothing unique or original about or from either of them. In the ring they looked fairly matched, but neither did anything that I remember. TNA dropped the ball big time, and these two guys are going to pay the price. Whoever this idea came from really needs to rethink things. I'm getting that Vince Russo in need of a filter feeling coming on again!
Winner – Jay Bradley (3:21)
Backstage Segment > C-
A&8's has some really solid backstage segments, and some really flat ones. This one did nothing for me. Okay, now Knox needs to do something to redeem himself the way DOC did when he was unmasked, but Anderson was brought in without a mask and seems to have the same clout as the rest of the gang. Creative writing is getting lax really quickly after the first of the year. If TNA plans on staying in the fight through the Road To WrestleMania, they need to step up their game in a big way!
In Ring Segment > B & C-
Has Joseph slimmed down a bit? It was always hard to see through so many of the layers Abyss wore (much of the time), and it might be that he's in all black, but it looks as though he's shed a few pounds. I think he's looking pretty good, even his face seems a bit thinner – though he still sweating like a frozen watermelon in the middle of summer.
Joseph was so adorable! Not saying I'd want to be hugged by that sweaty mess, but he sure sold that segment. I'm interested in seeing what goes down at Genesis with Joseph and A&8's. I don't think it will be pretty, but hopefully lead to something at Lockdown that kicks butt!
Brooke needs a bra that fits her correctly. That girl bounces around like there's no holding them in. You'd think with the money she has she can find someone to fit her correctly. Most places will do it for free and make sure you get the style you need. Bouncing like that might interest some guys, but it's so not comfortable and ruins the lines of your clothing.
I loved the "We want Bully!" chants. They weren't very loud, but it was nice to hear the fans actually getting vocal about something. But beyond that, I thought this part of the segment flopped. They really needed more between the father and daughter. Honestly, when Brooke was standing in the ring trying to cry, the way she acted like she was going to say more into the mic, I thought she was going to tell Hogan that she was pregnant. Of course that would write them into a corner, but it's a corner pro wrestling has been written into before and they've handled in! "It wasn't my fault!"
Backstage Segment > A
I was almost on the floor laughing at Aries and Roode! Between one upping each other with their shirts, wondering why Hogan's shirts always rip, and arguing like little boys, they were fabulous! We all know they have charisma and can make almost any segment better by being in it, but I didn't realize last week how great they were together. Yes, they hit upon this a tiny bit last week when Hardy was announced as the TNA Wrestler of The Year, but this took it to a whole new level! These two are awesome and I want more, as long as they don't turn into a heel version of Team Hell No!
Video > B+
This was a solid Aries video. I liked the production quality, the flow, all the bits they showed of his rise and fall. Of course Hardy had to be in there, but I thought he took too much of what should have been all Aries.
Aries & Roode vs Hardy & Storm > B+
Did anyone notice that just after Storm's music started, the cameraman ran the camera into the side of the ramp? And then the same camera seemed a bit off when Hardy came out. If this was the WWE, VKM would have that man's grapefruits in a sling, will anything even been said about those issues in TNA?
Tenay running through Hardy's WWE and TNA Titles again left me shaking my head. Okay, Punk mentioned Hogan on RAW this week, but nothing about TNA! Doesn't TNA realize what a bad idea it is to mention their competitors when they're no competition for them?
While I liked Aries and Roode arguing backstage, and even in the ring a bit, I think they took it too far going into the commercial break. It became too much about them being cranky little boys than about the match.
I have to say that Hardy's bump up top looked sick, but at the angle they showed it, it would have looked sick no matter what they did. I have to give TNA props for that particular camera from above the ring. They are able to show moves in ways that WWE can't with the setup they have at this point. Beyond all that, Aries and Roode did a solid job of keeping Hardy away from Storm and taking all their arguing and abuse. Storm looked just wonderful in the ring with both Aries and Roode. Actually, Aries made me laugh at how he reacted to the face buster from Storm.
Daniels and Kaz were an interesting addition to the match, especially since Hardy had been left clutching his left knee in his corner. Did he hurt himself in some way, or was it just tweaked in some way? Either way, I wasn't at all surprised at the ending of this match – both the DQ and the little boy arguing between Aries and Roode. Those two keep this up and Hardy will walk out as Champ – exactly what TNA wants their golden boy to do. You know, other than the TNA WHC, I can't think of any other matches slated for Genesis. Oh, wait, Sting is facing DOC, but still, that's not enough to fill a three hour show! I'm willing to be Storm will be facing either Daniels or Kaz after that attack, but still not great PPV building! At least most of the match was good.
Winners – Hardy & Storm via DQ (13:56)
Backstage Segment > C
The way Brooke is stomping around the backstage area alone, I keep wondering if something is going to happen to her. She handled that little one sided conversation well, but still isn't at her best. I don't believe at all she's distraught.
Backstage Segment > C+
Okay, so there's more than two matches on the card, but shouldn't this have been scheduled weeks ago?
Announce Segment > F
So the TTC Match, a Knockouts Gauntlet, X Division Tourney and then the winner faces RVD, Joseph faces DOC, and Daniels facing Storm, Sting and DOC, then the WHC Match. So two of those matches were scheduled last week, the rest came about on this episode of Impact. Great job TNA! What a wonderful way of scheduling a PPV so far ahead of time!
Video > C
Hardy is willing to hurt himself, like he always is, in his WHC Match at Genesis. I'm not sure I'd be willing to get in the ring with someone who said something like that. No, I'm not a wrestler, but that sounds like recklessness to me, and Hardy's known for that. Yes, he's cleaned up his act this past year, and he's not throwing himself off scaffolding like he used to, and I don't think he's hitting the ring so screwed up he can't even walk straight, but he sure doesn't sound like he cares about being careful with his own body, and so why would others think he'd be careful with theirs? You can only do things like that for so long before you're shuffling around in severe pain like Foley, and one wrong move... Sorry if you think I'm digging too deep into that one line, but this is Hardy! Think about some of the things he's done in and out of the ring, his lack of regard for his own body and others. I don't think I'm stepping even close to the line Hardy toes each time he's in the ring.
Anderson vs Angle > C+
Golden glossolaliast? Wow, that's the first time recently I've had to look something up that was said by a wrestler, and Sandow has an acute case of logorrhoea! I have to say I'm very impressed. That phrase completely distracted me from the ring. If I'd been thinking about it, I'd have known Knox would be getting involved to get his spot back at the table. That Taz was going on and on about Angle's neck issues made me laugh that they didn't even brace his neck before rolling him onto the board. There's certain way things are done, and TNA continues to screw the pooch with even the simplest things. I know they needed to get Angle out of there, but that was pushing it, and they had the whole time during the commercials to get him out of there!
Winner – N/A
Sting vs Knox > B+
After Sting gained some control of this match, he looked pretty good, and Knox worked well with him. Between Knox selling well, and catching Sting when he needed to, he looked better than I remember. I can't say I really remember much about Knox's ring work in the WWE, but he left me with a smile here.
Wow, I have to admit that I didn't really think A&8's would grab Brooke when I wrote that, but something about it felt like her alone backstage was a bad idea. I guess they foreshadowed that one quite well as I saw it coming. Beyond that, if Brooke is going to do segments like this, she might want to think about wearing longer skirts. At least she was wearing knickers! Even better she was wearing dark knickers that looked like little more than a shadow most of the time they were roughing her up. And I'm still not sure Bully isn't part of A&8's with Brooke as the leader. I said it way back, and keep saying, but it's a gut feeling. That way Hogan can be right about Bully in the end?
Winner – Sting (3:27)
In Ring Segment > A-
Wait, Bully put Brooke in harm's way? How is it that Bully did that when Brooke is an executive with TNA? Ah, the deluded father! But even better than that was Sting and how he was reacting exactly like the deluded father. Brooke also did a great job in that segment. That she was kissing all over Bully shows me that Brooke has some acting chops that I haven't given her credit for.
But for me, this segment was all about the Bully. We've all heard the stories about what a tough, mean jerk Bully can be. Yes, I'm sure he has his nice side, but most of the stories – except my favorite Bully story – have been about what a mouthy, arrogant jerk he can be. He loves this industry, and I knowhe can be a great guy to the fans, but it doesn't mean he has to be a nice guy all the time. I honestly cannot remember a really touchy feely segment with Bully – ever! Heck, I just went and looked to see if I might have missed something and came up with nothing. So, for all this, Bully gets the biggest props for this segment. That man sold his heart so well that I believed him.
Now, for my favorite Bubba Ray story. Ray was working a storyline with Mae Young. Now, I'd heard it was when he was supposed to push her down a flight of stairs in a wheelchair, but a website I know and trust says it was Mae getting Bubba bombed through a couple tables. Well, I guess Ray was getting squeamish about the move because of Mae's age. This was around 2000, so she was in her late 70's at that point. Ray was getting squeamish about the move, so Mae slapped him hard across the face and told him to get over it and treat her like one of the guys. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall for that one!
Honestly, I don't think I was nit picking Impact apart tonight. The Gut Check guys had no time to show off anything interesting, and looked as though they could have been brothers. Why have Gut Check if they're just going to blow off those competing? I honestly don't remember one from the other at this point, and I see little being said about them on TNA's Facebook page. Though there is talk about the rubber hammer that Knox has been using.
And if someone thinks that I'm getting too pissy about the booking of Genesis, please tell me how you would have booked it? TNA knows that this is the time of the year that the WWE picks up and really pushes hard, so that means they can fall back and rest on their few laurels? It makes less than no sense to me that all of two matches for Genesis were scheduled before tonight, and those two were scheduled last week. I'm really wondering if anyone in TNA – those in the back, honestly it seems as though most of the wrestlers do – give a flying fig about the company at all! Dixie keeps posting on Twitter, acting like it matters, yet she leaves Hogan and Bisch with so much control. The X Division, the cornerstone of TNA has all but been destroyed, and what is left is being decimated by Ion botch by botch!
I have to admit that I am happy they ended on a high note by taking a solid character who has never shown an soft emotions and turning him into a puddle of goo for an amazonian blonde. I'm also impressed with the quiet little ways the two interact when together. The little things they do, the way they hold hands, touch each others arms, the little glances, all made that segment so much more than it could have been if they didn't commit to it the way they did. Of course they have to get married in the ring, but that's how things always play out in pro wrestling. The big question is, who will break up the wedding?