I know I have "borrowed" The Choice's disclaimer before, but because of what I'm going to say, I'm going to "borrow" it again. All rights and praise for this disclaimer belongs to Matt Andrews.
DISCLAIMER: THIS IS A BLOG, NOT A NEWS ARTICLE. THE FOLLOWING WRITINGS ARE THE OPINIONS OF A STAFF WRITER OF WRESTLING NEWS WORLD. THEY DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE OWNER OR THE OTHER MEMBERS OF STAFF. ALSO: COMMENTS ARE WELCOME AS LONG AS THEY PROVOKE MEANINGFUL CONVERSATION OR CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM. GRAMMAR/SPELLING IS SUBJECT TO RIDICULE.
I'm late getting this BZ out because I've been helping my father with the family business. This time of year is tough so I lend a hand when I can, even though it's a long commute and hard work for my decrepit bod. Please bear with me as I will be working the end of next week as well. And no, this is not the reason I put the disclaimer in.
I would not have seen this if I had posted it when I normally would, but since Richard reported on it, I have to say something about it. I'm absolutely revolted by Ric Flair! I know he's 'the man', but when does being a legend only mean so much? I know people want to see Flair, but he's not in the WWE and can't command the audience that he used to. Further, the way he hasn't been showing up, people aren't going to pay to possibly see Flair is he decides to show up that day. I know Dixie is trying to be the nice lady she's known to be, but after the second time Flair did that without a really solid reason why, he'd have been bounced out on his bum. Contract or no contract, someone doesn't show up for scheduled shifts, and when he does show up he's late more often than not, then they're the one in breach of contract and need to be let go!
It's not just hurting the fans and sales when Flair no-shows, but it hurts the company as a whole. First off morale can start to go down. Then when one person regularly doesn't show up, those who do show on time and ready to work start feeling trod upon for being such chumps. The ones who don't have solid work ethics will start thinking that if Flair can show up when and if he wants to, so can they. From there it's a downward spiral. If TNA didn't already have such HUGE problems within the company I might just shake my head and move on, but each little chink in the armor will further unravel the company. Only bad things can come up Dixie not putting her foot down on Flair's head or just downright firing him. Flair's been on my poop list for quite a long time for a variety of reasons, but this total lack of respect for the fans who pay to see him, and his total lack of respect for Dixie, the locker room, staff and TNA as a whole is the last straw. I'm done. I can appreciate who Flair once was, but right now he's just a pathetic old man who is too big for his britches and no longer has reason to be. Unless Flair does a huge turnaround, please don't expect a nice word at all about him from me. I am done.
Video > C
Shocker, they started the show with a video! Sorry, a bit of snark there. Actually, the video wasn't horrible. It wasn't anything to write home about, but it was a smart way to start the show.
In Ring Segment > B-
If this hadn't been taped before RAW I really would have wondered who was smoking what! The Champ in a Fatal Four Way brought me back to the WWE there for a bit. The person who asked Richard (Ask WNW 5/10/11) why Hogan has a job is a wrestling fan after my own heart. He proved here how ineffectual and little he adds to the show. He did little more than babble on and got away with it because he's Hogan. I was totally annoyed, completely disgusted and wondered if Hogan was channeling Warrior.
Okay, the babbling incoherently wasn't that bad, but it sure took a lot away from the solid start Roode had. He did come out with an interesting idea for the main event. I know it's one of those lame gimmicks, but it added interest and possibly kept fans watching, or brought fans back to see the main event, and at least it wasn't a Fatal Four Way Fork On A Pole Match! (Hogan on screen time 3:21)
Backstage Segment > B-
Aries has been the thorn in Bully's side for his six years in TNA? That makes no sense to me! I still really don't like Aries being stuck facing Bully when there's so many X Division guys who Aries should be facing! Bully was good here, but it sure wasn't his best promo we've seen lately.
Backstage Segment > C-
A guy? Madison likes a guy? Is it Joseph Parks? Sorry, I had a beauty and the beast moment there. Yes, I just called Madison beautiful, even after all the crap I talk about her screeching and her ring work. She is beautiful, and has an amazing body. I'd love to see Madison in a storyline where she came off softer and without the screeching. It could show a whole different side of her.
Velvet Sky vs Tessmacher (3:44) > B
Tessmacher has a very swayed back, so even when she's not trying to push her bum out, her back is curved and he bum is sticking out. Add in that she's long waisted with shorter legs (not as out of proportion as Angelina Love and Kaitlyn [SD]) and I find she looks a little off in the ring. She's a beautiful girl and has learned so much and grown so much in the ring, actually made her ring work against Velvet look solid. I really enjoyed this Knockouts match, something that rarely happens these days. All that said and done, I don't think Tessmacher is anywhere near ready to be facing Kim and I don't like that she's going into a Title Match at Sacrifice. Velvet has earned and deserves it, Tessmacher has grown, but isn't there quite yet. Maybe if we see more matches like this one I will change my mind. I'm really quite impressed with this match compared to much we've seen lately. Knockouts Division looking up? Only time will tell. (This grade is compared to the crap we've seen from the Knockouts and Divas recently. I've gone to grading the women on a curve or almost every match would be an epic failure [Maxine & Natalya vs Layla & Kelly being the absolute bottom of the barrel.) EDIT – I re-watched this match as I've watching this show in chunks, and I was still interested the second time through.
Winner – Tessmacher
Video > B+
I like this Storm on the farm thing. It feels right. Hopefully they won't drop the ball with this one.
Backstage Segment > B
Nice to hear a bit from AJ through all of Kaz and Daniels spewing their mouths.
Backstage Segment > C-
I have never been impressed with Hardy on mic and for me this was a throwaway, did nothing to further anything and takes away from ring time.
Crimson vs Morgan (0:32)> C-
Wait, why are we seeing these two facing off again? Oh, so it was all so Bully could go to the ring and attack Morgan? That means less than nothing. No, wait, Morgan's hand twitching the way is was means less than nothing. Nice neat little blading action there. Didn't see Morgan do it, but it all looked too contrived and clean. Look, we got to see D-Lo, Snow and Kenney on screen again! Twice and just over a half hour into the show. Even better was Bully acknowledging D-Lo by name! Hope the three bookers are getting hazard pay for their bouncing work.
Morgan's hand got even funnier when they were wheeling him out. Something about Crimson face just doesn't work for me. No, I'm not saying he's ugly, I'm saying he's too baby-faced to come off as a true heel to me. When his face is slack he looks a bit heelish, but when he's talking or at all animated he looks like a little boy to me. I actually brought the grade up from a D because of Crimson's speech. (The time of this match was bell to bell as the ref counted Morgan out.)
Winner – Crimson
Video > A-
Interesting video from RVD. Not at all what I'd expected from RVD or TNA. I liked it. I liked it a lot!
X Division Title Match – Zema Ion vs Austin Aries (C) (4:17)> A
Wait, has Aries defended against anyone other than Ion, fought anyone other than Ion in X Division matches lately? Aries is too good to be stuck in the ring with Ion! Getting out of head scissors on the mat into a drop kick like it was nothing, who else can do that and make it look so effortless? I was shocked to see Ion come out over the top onto Aries as the last time I remember seeing Ion do that the outcome wasn't so good. Aries must have worked with him, or something, so Aries was willing to take that bump. I know it was an accident last time, but Ion is still really green! Aries left it all out there with Ion in this match, so they must have done some work together to get to this point.
Ion didn't just fly well, he took some solid bumps and sold them beautifully. When the match was announced by Hemme I was worried that Bully would be out to break up this match, as he is wont to do lately. I'm thrilled that this match wasn't broken up and that it didn't end in some screwy way. Bravo to TNA to let this match go the way it did, let these guys work the ring and show what they've got. I also have to give props to Ion for obviously growing and earning enough respect that Aries was willing to throw these moves and take these bumps from him in the ring. I'd love to know if Aries has been working with Ion on his ring work. This was a great little match and it was worth staying up just to see that. Compared to so much crap we've been seeing, much of it due to creative and booking, this was great and deserving of a solid A. Yes, I'm grading on a bit of a curve, but not much of one. This was far and away better than 97% of what we've seen from TNA lately.
Winner – Aries
Backstage Segment > C-
And we're back to Kaz and Daniels blithering away again. Lucky us. Nothing against Daniels and Kaz, it's just that all we've heard is them talking smack and not backing it up. I want good storylines, not these two sounding like middle school girls that time of the month!
Backstage Segment > B+
RVD was really solid here. I actually enjoyed listening to him, something that hasn't at all interested me as of late. Nice work.
Video > C
I know they had to run through all this blackmail crap, but I'm bored. They either need to step up and make it into a good storyline, or make it go away. This has been going on for way too long with too little interest.
In Ring Segment > B
Why is Daniels throwing around lines about 'the new face of Impact Wrestling'? Is it not bad enough that we all know they can't keep up with the WWE? AJ said he didn't know what they had over him? But it was just recently that he looked at pictures and freaked? He freaked out, then he didn't know what they had? Very bad storyline development. WWE forgets from years past, we know this, but TNA forgetting from weeks past? That's pretty bad.
But I do have to say that they threw a zinger I wasn't expecting. If we didn't know it was all scripted, if this was back in the day of kayfabe, that could really put a damper on a top wrestler's character. The fans would absolutely turn on the golden boy if it looked as though he slept his way to the top (Trip sure wasn't the golden boy, so he doesn't count – even though people still accuse him of sleeping his way to the top), but in this day and age I'm not sure how this will go over. I'm interested in seeing where they're going to go with this. It's because of AJ's reaction and the possibilities that could come that I decided to grade this as well as I did. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that TNA doesn't drop the ball with this one.
TV Title Match – Robbie E w/ Robbie T vs Devon (C) (1:45) > D-
Devon looked strong in this match, but I'm sick of seeing him facing Robbie! This was less than two minutes with Devon dominating both Robbies until his back was turned. I'm so over this feud. It's time for Devon to move on and the Robbies to find someone else to buzz around and annoy. I know I've never been a Robbie E fan, but seeing him wrestle live showed me he can wrestle, now he needs to be booked to show his work. Sadly, I don't see that happening anytime soon. I think it's great to see the TV Title defended each week, but it needs to be against different people as this is getting stale very quickly for me.
Video > A
Storm had been loosing a bit of his oomph on mic as he was either passionate or fell flat, this showed a whole other side of him and it was lovely. I know he's taking time to heal up and this was a great way to keep him in our thoughts, reminding us he's a good old boy, and showing us what a good talker he is when he can't be in the ring. For me this was the best promo of the night, by far, and not because I adore Storm, but because he's that good.
Backstage Segment > B-
Joseph heading to the ring? This could be FUN!
Backstage Segment > C
I don't know what about this segment made Devon look so funny, whether the camera angle, or the lighting, or what, but Devon's mouth looked huge and his whole face out of proportion. Listening to him was solid, but watching him was off in a big way. Normally I'm much happier watch Devon talk over his 'brother', but not in this segment.
Video > F
I thought they always called Abyss Chris Parks, not Park. When did that change? Either way, I thought this video was poorly done from all angles. The production wasn't great, the flow of it was off, the creative work behind it was wonky and the pacing was odd. I really thought they dropped the ball with this one which sucks coming off such a great Storm video where all those things fell together. If we're averaging grades, then that's where TNA's videos are falling this week, barely average. (And I love Abyss as much as I do Storm, just in different ways.)
In Ring Segment > A-
Joseph was cute going to the ring. Between looking like he was in awe, to not being able get through the ropes, to not knowing he needed a mic. This is what I want from Madison – a whole different side of her, something truly unexpected. I love how he always explains how he's looking for his brother Chris, you know, Abyss – the hand always eye height, as if Abyss is that much shorter than Joseph. Is Joseph wearing elevator shoes? Do they still call them elevator shoes? I really should know this!
The sweat coming off Joseph was amazing! I guess Abyss hides it well under his mask. I was really hoping we could get through this segment without Bully's screaming. Yes, Bully has become a whole new man and has been really great lately, but the yelling goes right through me some nights when he just won't shut up! Joseph's reaction to the "You're a loser!" chants for Bully was great! His facial expression! So much that we've been missing under that mask, but I wouldn't give up any of Abyss' matches to have him legitimately unmasked. Joseph's last moments, after he cowered under Bully's bullying push, were fabby! The straightening of his shoulders, the smirk on his face, the tightening of the tie. This is going to get fun!
Backstage Segment > A-
Nice short little segment with Anderson who was on fire there! The doubled 'my Title' at the end, face right up in the camera sealed that segment up beautifully. Very impressed!
Promo > C+
I know it was more of a commercial for MMA Uncensored Live after Impact, but it was also the first look of King Mo sort of on TNA. I'm interesting in seeing if this comes together well or if it's an epic failure. Did they keep his line short and sweet because he can't handle the mic? Just a thought as I know nothing about King Mo other than that he's going to OVW. I know this will benefit Spike as well as TNA, but this is such a blatant answer to Brock signing with the WWE. Dixie needs to step back, regroup and decide if she wants TNA to succeed or if she likes being the bratty little brother who will NEVER amount to anything compared to his older brother who was the the star of every team, and individual sport while making honor role, dean's list and every other physical and intellectual accolade possible. At moments like this it's so sad that I can almost taste the pity. EDIT – King Mo did another 'promo' where he did hog's famous catchphrase, but I still wasn't overly impressed. Guess I'll have to wait and see.
Video > D
While looking back at previous Slammiversaries is cool, focusing on Hogan, Bisch and the boys was not so much.
Backstage Segment > C-
Angle felt really flat here. I guess I understand that they wanted Angle to come off so confident that he's not worried about facing AJ, but not so arrogant that we'd throw tomatoes, but it came of cold, uncaring and flat. Not at all the Angle who brings emotions from the fans.
Video > C+
RVD's earlier video was really solid, this one just didn't have that spark. It was good, but it wasn't as gripping as the earlier video.
Fatal 4 Way w/ Stips (5:58) > B+
Hardy really seemed to be putting it all out there. Maybe proving he can still go fairly hardcore? Maybe trying to shine through the other three? He just seemed more willing to put his body on the line here. While they all really went at it, Hardy seemed to put his body in harm's way more. I know Fatal 4 Way matches usually run at a fevered pitch, but this seemed even more so. It wasn't hard to follow, but I was worried about them getting sloppy as they were going so hard so fast. Luckily nothing untoward happened and they're all in decent shape going into this PPV.
I did not look at any spoilers for this show. I didn't even look at the updated card for Sacrifice, so I had no clue how this match went down, but before it started on my TV I told Stacy that Anderson and Hardy would be fighting outside too much, so RVD would beat Roode and get his Ladder Match. I feel good that I got this one right, but I think it pretty much guarantees that I will bomb in my predictions for Sacrifice.
Winner – RVD
In Ring Segment > A-
This grade is not just for Abyss, but also for RVD. RVD sold his shocked and confused look a bit too well. I was actually laughing aloud and rewound it to show Stacy. Anderson was good, as was Hardy and Roode, but it was RVD who was great.
I'm going to make a guess here that has been nagging at me since Joseph showed up, but after the way things went down with Joseph and Abyss in this episode, I have to get it out before I go any further, before the storyline goes any further. Okay, so Abyss is known for being crazy. He's been locked up for being crazy and saw Dr. Stevie there for a while. Abyss has known for being childlike, but then snapping and becoming hardcore Abyss. While Joseph has shorter hair and bottom teeth in the front, I have been wondering all along if he's one of Abyss' personalities. I'd wondered this for a while. Joseph was pushed down and cowering, but then completely change by bowing up and smirking. Not long after that Abyss reappeared – sans teeth, but using Kane's idea of wearing a mask and a wig. Maybe that push from Bully snapped Chris from being Joseph back to being Abyss? As I said, I'm just throwing my idea out there, but I had to state it so others knew my thoughts in case I am correct. I don't want to be chasing the storyline saying that I knew it would happen without getting proof of my thoughts out there. Thanks for listening to my ramblings.
While this show has a couple of wonderful highs, much of the show was mediocre at best. Aries in the ring, Storm's video, RVD's little early video, Abyss/Joseph, and even the Knockouts to some extent made the show worth watching, but it wasn't enough to make it a go home show worth watching for a full two hours. The best thing that can be said about the lows to this show is that the fogies were kept to less than three and a half minutes of the show. Hopefully Sacrifice will be a solid PPV, but I'm not banking on it much as Slammiversary is the one after that and they've already been pushing that in a big way. At this point I'm just hoping it's not a total bust.