I apologize for this being so late! There was no way I could get it up on Thursday night, and I didn't want to post it during Smackdown, and then it slipped my mind that I hadn't posted it. Blame me, all my fault, but you should really read what I have to say about 'August 1' and what Gesus and Jesse also have to say on the matter. This won't happen again, and you can hold me to it!
This past week the IWC has been buzzing about the 'August 1' videos, and for good reason. The videos have been solid and creative, a very strong way to introduce a new character. The problem I have with that is all the releases of late. Maybe there will be some sort of swerve, and there's many possibilities about who it could be in the 'August 1' videos, as all our writers have discussed on
but that doesn't mean that it was the best timing to put someone new out there to the fans. I feel bad enough for those being released – whether they should have been released or not – and this is just like rubbing salt in the wounds. I talked to Gesus about this, and he felt so passionately about this, I gave him this platform to get it off his chest and tell you how he feels about the matter.
Let’s give credit where credit is due, TNA has been very good at keeping surprise returns a secret. As the August 1st videos circulated the internet after Impact, so did the rumors, and you know what? Good for TNA. It’s nice seeing them have some buzz that isn’t negative. Personally, I feel they’re just pulling wool over our eyes to cover up the releases they recently just made. I find the idea of them hyping an addition to the roster flat out ridiculous. How are talents supposed to take this? While you can make the argument some of the talent was dead weight (especially when I had to go to people to find out who they even were), some of them could have a bright future in the business. To me it feels like TNA cut all these people to possibly pay for the contract they just acquired, maybe pay for that joke Rampage. I don’t quite see who they can bring in to help elevate the business when they have a ton of top name talent already. I always try to remain optimistic for TNA, but it’s an ever constant two steps forward, 3 steps back process.
Backstage Segment > B+
Taz was great not being allowed into the arena. Very interesting, and a nice way to start before the obligatory recap video.
Video > C
It was a recap video, yawn.
Video > B
Those 'August 1' videos have been handled so well.
In Ring Segment > B-
I thought Aries started off solid, but then he fell off some, and Roode just didn't sell it to me here. I know they're both better than this segment. No clue why it fizzled, but it didn't have all it could have, all it should have.
BFG Series – Roode vs Hernandez > B
They talked up Roode having no votes in the series, but that Joseph is in worse shape because he's -10. I thought Roode was going to keep his crappiness going until he hit that spinebuster – then he came alive! It was as if that spinebuster changed Roode's whole presence in the ring. That he's willing to go as far as he is to get the win, I wonder where his character is going. He's looking a bit too AJ right now, doing whatever he wants, but I'll hold judgment on that. Beyond that, I really enjoyed the wrestling in this match. Hernandez looked better than he has in months, and I think it was being in the ring with a really driven Roode.
Winner – Roode +7=7 (10:14)
Backstage Segment > B+
I liked that they showed Kaz tweeting backstage. I know they've shown it before, but it works really well.
Video > C
Backstage Segment > B
Leave it to TNA to continue with the storyline, even after it's been left aside for a bit. I love EY and ODB together, and as great is EY and Joseph. They're a natural pairing.
Video > C
I enjoyed the Ult X Match, and it made sense to recap it.
Backstage Segment > A-
I have had a huge issue with TJ under the hood, but I'm liking what they're doing with JT back to the camera, talking about the hood and the rebirth. I really like it, and I love how Sabin was on mic here!
BFG Series – Joseph vs Bradley > B-
I love seeing EY in Joseph's corner, but I don't like the head gear. That will keep Joseph from being busted open – the one thing that gets his blood flowing. (pun intended) Bradley, on the other hand is totally forgettable to me. He couldn't land his boot anywhere near Joseph's face, couldn't hold Joseph up – so he shouldn't be picking him up! Simple finish for Joseph, and it looked lovely, but hard to make up for Bradley's piss poor work.
Winner – Joseph +7=-3 (4:21)
Backstage Segment > C-
Not a great segment for MEM. I don't think Rampage belongs in TNA, nevermind in MEM, so the end blew for me. But beyond that, they sounded good, but they did almost nothing, not even set up for later.
Sabin vs Manik > A-
I'm blown away by the work between Sabin and Manik. There was a couple little issues during the match, but they were little. This is what made TNA so great, and why l tune in each week. The X Division is TNA, and what drew me in from the start. I started watching TNA on Fox Sports my daughter Ellie's senior year in high school. On Fridays we'd rush home from picking her up at school so we could watch the smaller guys, the X Division guys, go at it as only they can. While Sabin is the TNA WHC, he was, is, and will always be an X Division guy, and working the ring with the likes of Manik was stellar! I worry that Sabin's WHC matches won't be half as great as this match, other than facing people like Aries and AJ. Those two guys – as we know – can bring out the best in Sabin, so they would have fantastic WHC matches, but only because they're all X Division guys.
I really wish that TNA had juggled the matches around a bit. This match should have been the main event. Yes, Aries and AJ should also have been the main event, as they're that great, but when you're carrying gold, I think that should give you more pull. I'm not saying Cena should always be the main event, but he should absolutely be in the main event over others (even Bryan) because he's the Champ. To me, that Sabin and Manik were not the main event shows me that they don't believe in Sabin as WHC. I believe in him, many of the fans believe in him, but it looks as though TNA doesn't believe in him, and that bothers me big time. Okay, they wanted to get the strap off Bully, but if they didn't believe in Sabin, they shouldn't have strapped him. Personally, with this match, Sabin more than proved that he can carry TNA as WHC!
Winner – Sabin (11:55)
Backstage Segment > B
Taz was really solid out back. He really comes across better on his feet than on his ass behind a table. I love how he handled opening the door and seeing the laptop. He sold it better than it actually was.
Backstage Segment > B+
Kaz and Daniels at each others throats? That was fun! I especially liked Kaz standing up to Daniels and spilling his funky drink. That would be a fun feud!
Gail Kim vs ODB > B+
I was hoping that this Knockouts Match would last longer than the Divas matches combined, but it didn't. AJ and Kaitlyn went for 4:51. Brie and Natalya went for 4:13. So the Knockouts beat the matches individually for time, and absolutely beat them for serious ring work. ODB is fantastic, and Kim is one of the best female wrestlers ever, so I want to see them go all out – and they did. I was happy to see ODB each week, but I'm thrilled to see her working the ring again. ODB brings something very different to the ring, something the petite wrestlers just can't bring, and I love it. She and Kim worked the match wonderfully, and hopefully there will be more of it. I am bummed that Taryn is off filming a movie, but that's just because I want to see more of her in the ring, but seeing ODB work with Kim continues in that hardcore vein from the Knockouts, and that had been missing for too long.
Double Count Out (6:11)
Backstage Segment > C+
I still have trouble with AJ's believability. I want to like his sexy bad-boy character, but I don't believe it! It still feels fake on him, but he really is trying.
Backstage Segment > B
Brooke is going to be the ref for Bully's match? What else could it be? Either way, Bully was great, Big E Brooke was solid, and they moved things forward. Nice little segment.
BFG Series – Aries vs AJ > A
We all knew that Aries and AJ would be a sick match. It was guaranteed, and really should have been the main event, just not on the same show as Sabin vs Manik. Stepping away from that rant, this match was sick. I'm blown with the work these two gave us in their first ever TNA match. Thinking back, it's shocking that they haven't faced off, but it also makes sense thinking of Aries' career in TNA.
I loved Aries' submission hold on AJ. I was wondering for a moment if AJ might tap, but then he came right back with his own submission hold! The countering in this match was totally sick, and sometimes unexpected. I loved Aries taking out AJ's slingshot, and then AJ side-stepping the suicide dive was insane! People ripped on Aries for diving so close to the stairs, but it was obviously booked that way. The back and forth between them when they got back into the ring was awe inspiring. What I didn't like was how this math ended. It looked like a double botch, and a total mess the first time through. But when I just re-watched the match, it was obvious that Aries knew exactly what he was doing with that win. It will be interesting to see what happens from here with them. Will AJ complain? Will Aries get more arrogant? I'm interested in seeing if anything more comes from this.
Winner – Aries +7 (17:42)
In Ring Segment > B&F
I loved how Sting called MEM a persistent family. That, to me was very cool. Sometimes the best family is those you choose, and so it felt nice to hear. I really enjoyed how they worked against A&8's, really taunting and pushing Anderson to agree to the match. As soon as the stip for their match was announced, I was yelling for Rampage to get pinned, and I wasn't the only one. In the Open Thread Party on WNW (cheap plug) many people were calling for Rampage to take the fall. I guess part of it could be what Richard said about readers latching onto certain things they read and take those ideas for themselves, but most of the readers in there last night seem to be pretty on the ball with their own personal views of the industry as a whole, TNA in particular.
But then the lights went out and everything fell apart. I know that this is Spike and Bellatore as much as TNA, and that TNA isn't shelling out the cash for Ortiz, but that doesn't mean I like this. TNA is supposed to be a wrestling company. I know that the WWE brings in non-wrestlers for certain things, but those are usually one-offs. TNA is making Rampage and Ortiz look like new members of the roster. So much for 'wrestling matters'! I have been complaining for years that TNA needs to market themselves, but doing it through MMA fighters seems to be defeating the purpose. I had stepped away from comparing TNA to WCW, but with Ortiz appearing on Impact, I flashed to the serious issues WCW had toward the end, and I started getting that feel again. I'm really not impressed with TNA and Dixie right now, and I got a bit vocal at Dixie about it right after Impact last night. Even after those stellar matches, I'm starting to worry about TNA again.
Jesse asked me if he could end the BZ this week as he has a lot to say about the Tito Ortiz thing. I got most of my feelings off my chest, so here's what Jesse has to say on the matter.
With the reveal of the #August1Warning hype video's purveyor to be Tito Ortiz, one has to question TNA's motivations and commitment to their own product. In the past year, TNA has signed 3 MMA fighters to their brand while releasing or granting their release 19 on air talents in that same time frame. And while I understand that TNA is trying to do anything in their power to get more mainstream attention and promotion from Spike TV and Viacom, in doing so they are alienating their core fans. The demographics of pro wrestling and MMA do have a large crossover, but to start to rely on that to bump ratings for TNA is a sign of pure desperation. But even beyond the fact that they are doing this, the “stars” that are being brought in really have little appeal to MMA fans. Both Ortiz and Jackson had huge losing streaks before being fired by UFC, as well as their individual personalities both turned many fans away from them. And while I know some expect the same sort of hatred to be levied at “King” Mo Lawal, he at least is in OVW and legitimately is trying to enter the world of wrestling by training. I know the reason I watch TNA is the fact that while they don't have the biggest or the best superstars, they put on the hands down best wrestling on TV aside from a Daniel Bryan match and the only woman’s wrestling worth watching and they have consistent story lines that takes months to hit their apex, not for who might pop up as a “crossover” star who time and again shows that they are only in TNA to collect another paycheck. TNA needs to take a long look at what they are currently doing and ask one question, will this grow our fans permanently or is this a band aid solution? Sadly, TNA seems to think the latter is the way to go and it will only do to them what it did to the last struggling company that relied on celebrities to boost their ratings, which is putting the final nail in the coffin.
Queen of WNW!
KB, Gesus & Jesse