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TNA Blog Zone - Taz Returns To Orange & Black

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We don't truly know that the reason Jeff Hardy isn't on the European tour because of his criminal record, but it is the reason he wasn't able to go last year. I'm just confused about TNA advertising Hardy in Europe before making absolute sure he was going to be on the tour. I have stated numerous times that it appears as though TNA is not the best run company, but promoting Hardy before they were absolutely sure he could legally go to the UK, well that's as bad Heyman's managerial skills.

Hear me out!

Heyman is a wrestling genius, there's no quibbling there, but when it comes to actually running a company – ECW to be exact – he wasn't the strongest. One such issue that stands out in my mind was that visa papers were not filed for Chris Benoit. There'd been a number off issues with ECW, so when another issue came through, namely Benoit's papers not being filed by Heyman, Benoit wasn't allowed out of the country. Not only was Benoit not allowed out of Canada to work for ECW – which was the end of his time with ECW – but he had troubles getting out of the country for any wrestling dates because they made an example out of him. There was a lot of issues with people not getting paid, papers not being filed and all sorts of other issues that should have been taken care of by Heyman, but were ignored. If not for VKM, I'm wondering how long ECW would have lasted.

No, as I said, there could be other reasons for Hardy not going to the UK, but it sure looks fishy from the outside looking in – knowing what we all know about Hardy's legal issues and how it's happened to numerous wrestlers with legal issues. Heck, wasn't it R-Truth who couldn't go to Canada not long ago? The whole 'injury' thing just seems a bit fishy to me.

A lot of people have been complaining about Taz joining A&8's, and how it doesn't make sense because Taz can't work the ring. Personally, I think it was a really creative turn for TNA to take. Taz has become quite boring and stale in TNA. He actually reminds me of how atrocious Booker T was toward the end of his TNA run. He had virtually no heart and it showed in how little he put into his work. While Taz puts more into announce than Mr. Mumbles Booker did, he still wasn't the passionate, and sometimes quite scary, man that I fell in love with back in his ECW days.

Show Starts

Video > B+

They, of course, had to start the show with a recap of the big wedding and how everything went to pieces. The way Bully was holding Hogan's hand was adorable. It was unexpected to see York helping Hogan from the ring, but it showed a camaraderie that worked wonderfully. I still feel horrible for Brooke and her wardrobe malfunction, wearing a strapless dress the week after her short dress had been tugged up enough to give us a panty shot. Just not a smart move all the way around.

Announce Segment > C+

Todd Keneley was great in this segment, it was Tenay who dropped the ball. He came off as a know it all arrogant jerk. He left me feeling more annoyed and disgusted with him than I should be at Taz for him turning A&8's on us. I guess Keneley is doing a better job than I thought!

Backstage Segment > C

There's really nothing to be said about A&8's running around whooping it up and partying, other than it looks like there's quite a few of them again, not just the small handful they had dwindled to.

In Ring Segment > B+

Taz in orange and black, the way he should be, was nice to see. He's such a little fire hydrant, but that man is tough, scary and entertaining. He's grown so much since his days in ECW, but dang it's nice to see him doing more than pandering on announce!

Taz did a great job of covering his bum so it won't look bad that he won't be taking any bumps, or working the ring in any way. It does feel a bit Big Show, but they had to do something to protect him. He stopped wrestling due to 'mounting injuries', but it's well know that in 1995, in a match with 2 Cold Scorpio and Dean Malenko, he took a spike piledriver. While he knew it was coming, he didn't have a chance to protect himself. He talked about it in WWE's DVD set Rise And Fall of ECW, "I landed right on my forehead and just jacked my whole neck back and that was it." Taz sought treatment after the match. Dreamer and the hospital staff could not believe he walked into the hospital that night, knowing the condition he was in. Taz couldn't wrestle for a while after that, but Heyman continued to pay him, and they're still close to this day. I guess this goes back to Heyman being a great guy, and we know he's a wrestling genius, but when your company is barely afloat, what he did didn't make much business sense. Am I saying I wouldn't do the same thing? No, I'm sure I would, but at that point it wasn't something many people would have done while trying to keep ECW afloat.

Yes, I called Taz a fire plug, but he's a fire plug with passion. He's the same height I am, which for a woman is fairly tall, but for a male wrestler is tiny. What Taz doesn't have in stature, he sure makes up for in spunk. That man has a passion and drive that many would say is missing in the industry today. He's old school and his work ethic reminds me of few who are still wrestling today. I'm not pointing fingers or naming names, because that's sure to get me in deep with my readers – the few who are still die hard TNA fans. You know I love you!

I'm thrilled to see Taz have that passion back. I will honestly admit that I had forgotten how much I adore Taz for who he is.

Backstage Segment > C-

Has a thing for dead pigeons? She's small, tiny and plastic? With Tara's boobs standing out the way they were, and Velvet is plastic? I couldn't help but giggle. Someone needs to buy Jessie a clue, because every time he speaks, it physically hurts. If I hadn't seen him on Big Brother acting exactly as he does in TNA, I might think he's doing a solid job with his character, but all he's doing is being his own character. I don't know if it's him or something he put on for reality TV, but it's all I've ever seen from him, so I can't take his TNA character as anything more than him, and that's sad.

Video > B

I've been complaining about TNA's narrator, but for this type of video, it worked. Talking about Daniels, who he is and what he's done really works well, and is something different from what we've seen recently.

Backstage Segment > B

World Heavyweight Champion of The World? So much has come from Daniels' little slip of the tongue months ago, and I love it. Daniels has done a beautiful job of running with it and making it his own. Does anyone remember the last time a manager license was put into play? I know I've seen it used before, but I can't remember when!

Knockouts Championship Match – Tara (c) vs Velvet Sky > B+

It's interesting to see that Velvet has dropped the one piece jumpsuit in the ring and is back to sexier little outfits. While I liked the jumpers, she looks and moves better in her regular ring gear – even though it was up her tush most of the match (as was Tara's). Not complaining, if I had a tush like that, I'd always want to show it off.

Both of these Knockouts looked solid in this match. Even moves we usually see from them – Tara standing moonsault – looked a bit crisper. Velvet used some cute foot work in a corner early on in the match, rather than hitting the expected head scissors. It was nice to see some creativity.

Velvet's head scissors and finisher looked a bit rough, but to that point they looked great. There's no way anyone is going to beat Tara until Jessie is out of the ringside picture. Why holding Velvet's foot kept her shoulders down, I don't know, but it's to be expected.

Winner Tara (9:51)

Backstage Segment > D

Jason Hervey bugging Sting flowed terribly. I know Hervey is no longer the older brother on Wonder Years, but in this segment all I could see was him trying to bully an answer out of Fred Savage. He was like a gnat and I wanted to see Sting ping him.

Backstage Segment > D-

Finally, Kenny King called him Goku! It's about time, but Ion's not even good enough to be a Goku wannabe! If someone, anyone, can show me proof that Ion isn't greener than goose poo and really should be taken seriously in the industry, please do. Every time I say anything negative about him I catch crap, yet no one has said anything other than he's only really injured one person, and we all know that isn't true.

I really hope that Kenny King gets a character beyond 'guy with an ego'. He's so much better than all this, but so far he's not given us anything but one note. Now, I'm not completely blaming this on him, I don't know what he's been given to work with, and early on he had a bit of Matt Morgan Syndrome, though that seems to have cleared up.

In Ring Segment > B+

I love Joseph Park's entrance! He's doing a great job with this character, and while I would love to see Abyss back as well, I want to see Joseph play out to his organic ending – no matter Taz's derisive comments. Catholic School Junior Olympics? Too funny! Producing his passport and sweating like a fiend just from talking, he's great. He fogged up his own glasses in this segment. I've always been a huge Abyss fan, but Joseph brings a huge smile to my face each time he's out and not having his bum handed to him. He's doing such a great job of being an inspirational character which is something few could do after playing a masked monster such as Abyss. When talking about wrestling here at home, we actually speak about them as if they're two different people. It's either Joseph or Abby, depending on which character we're talking about. That's something I rarely do for Foley, and he was the master of his different characters.

Ion & King vs York & RVD > B+

Drool! This match was off the hizzy from the start! RVD was sick and York complimented him perfectly. Time to get the strap off RVD and match him up with York to tag. They have a lovely effortless chemistry that I want to see more of. While it would take a couple sold wrestlers away from the X Division, it might liven up with Division if RVD lost the belt. RVD looked better in this match than we've seen him in a long time. He not only hit solid moves, but he took some solid bumps. This is better than 90% of the work we've seen from him as the X Division Champ, but it's also better work than we've seen from all of these four in X Division Matches!

I will admit that Ion wasn't terrible in this match, but compared to the great X Division workers we've seen in the ring over the years, he's still more of a liability than he's worth. Please, prove me wrong and I will absolutely admit to it, but I need more than claims that he's better than what I have stated over and over through what he's shown us in the ring in TNA.

Winners – Ion & King (5:08)

Backstage Segment > B

What in the heck is Brooke wearing? Or maybe should I say not wearing? Dang! On the other hand, Bully handled that just wonderfully.

Backstage Segment > B

Joe came off great in this segment. He was gruff and ornery, but showed some great heart. I really liked how this went down for all involved.

Video > C-

They started the show with wedding recap. It was longer than this one, but we know what happened, even if we didn't see it live last week. I know they were setting up for the next segment, but it was still too much for me.

In Ring Segment > B

Brooke had on a great dressy top and sexy boots, dazzling earrings, but with booty shorts? I don't get the outfit at all. Maybe it's because I'm from Maine, but I don't think so.

I love Bully's ire at Taz. That they have such a long history made this work so well. Of course Bully has the history with his brother Devon, but that Taz turned was just so creative. Bully showed such passion in this segment and it was great.

Sting came out and gave all the passion he always has, but the words were boring. He needed to say more, do more, something. It was so close, but missed by that much.

Backstage Segment > A-

Aries and Roode are back to being the conniving brothers who do everything to screw the other over. I'm loving how they're coming together and fighting against each other so hard. In that way some might say they're a bit like Team Hell No, but their characters and chemistry are so uniquely their own that they leave me smiling and not comparing. This is going to be one wild ride with these two together!

Backstage Segment > C-

I might really like a feud between Daniels and Hardy, but Hardy's ego and overly deep character is such a turn off right now that I honestly don't care. He's becoming very one note as a character right now. Hardy might be the WHC, but I'd rather see Daniels feud with someone else.

Roode vs Hernandez > B+

I'll admit I was worried about Hernandez being so strong over Roode so early and for so long. Roode was the longest reigning TNA WHC, but he was getting tossed around like a doll. I actually let out a breath when Roode fought back and gained some control. If Hernandez is so dominant, than why was Roode Champ for so long and Hernandez hasn't been Champ at all? The cheat to win after Aries came out worked really well and showed a lot about Roode, Aries and where they could be going as a team. I think it worked, but made Roode look quite weak through much of the match.

Beyond all of the character play in the ring, their ring work was spot on and they both looked fantastic! I'm getting more and more excited about this feud the more I see. These four men are going to kill it in ring and on mic. These four could start stealing the shows if given the chance.

Winner – Roode (5:40)

Video > C

This recap video made a lot of sense because it hasn't been a leading storyline with the wedding and Taz taking the spotlight. I'm glad they threw that reminder in there. Don't be shocked, recap videos do have their place, and have been used well twice in this episode.

In Ring Segment > B-

Anderson is another man who's suffered from severe Matt Morgan Syndrome. How many times did he show up for two shows, no real character and disappear again for months. Then he'd return with different hair, but no character change. The poor man was bounced around, so I'm thrilled to see he has something going on. I really wasn't even sure he was going to stick around this time. He hadn't made a decision, so until he came out in A&8's gear, I wasn't sure what was going to happen with him. But I have to say he has quite the look going on in the vest and tuke with the 5 o'clock shadow, and I can't wait to see him in a cage with Angle! I know they're in the UK, but I'm avoiding spoilers like the plague. The last time they were in the UK was some of the best Impact we've seen, so I'm chomping at the bit to see what they did, and I won't even complain about the shows being taped.

Backstage Segment > B

"Hey, Hookers, shut up!" That's something we haven't heard on a wrestling show in... Ever?

TNA World Heavyweight Championship Match – Jeff Hardy (c) vs Daniels w/ Kaz > B+

Wow, Hardy threw himself to the mat hard when Daniels got out of the way of his double foot kick in the corner. Obviously they had it booked that way, and Hardy slammed his body down on that mat in a sick way! Then Daniels ground his elbow into Hardy's eye socket. They really went all for this match, something I wasn't expecting on Impact.

Taz finally got into the groove of being a heel announcer – a bit – in this match, and it's about time. Saying that no one likes Hardy as the fans are going wild chanting for him was great. As over Hardy as I am, the fans in the Impact Zone love him, and the dichotomy between the fans and Taz made me smile, and not feel so alone in my feelings.

These guys really took this match back and forth in a lovely way. Big moves back and forth, really making the match look very believable until Hardy's final flurry of moves in the end.

Winner – Hardy (14:17)

In Ring Segment > C+

Ah, so there's the 'injury' to Hardy that kept him from going to the UK. I have to fully admit that I have no clue how these guys work the way they do. Watching Hardy get nailed with the rubber mallet made me cringe, but only for my blown out knee. Whenever I'm not feeling well I'm always that much more impressed with how the wrestlers work through the pain they have, but with my knee possibly totally blown out, I'm in total awe – even when it's a fake injury.

Post Show

Taz leaving the ring at the right time, to take his phone call, then returning after Bully left was a bit too obvious for my taste, though I understand why he did it. I was really expecting a lot more from Taz on announce after such a huge and glaring heel turn, but he just didn't deliver. He just seemed to go back to boring announce Taz. I won't say he was as milquetoast as he had been, but he didn't have the passion that he showed in the ring at the start of the show. The only time he really stuck to his full on heel character was when he was talking about Hardy having a bad year and how he hoped Hardy loses the WHC soon.

I haven't said anything about the little Knockouts commercials for TNA merch lately, but I love the Valentines Day 'commercial' they put together. The Knockouts looked beautiful, and like they had a lot of fun making the commercial. They made me want to go check out what they have on sale, even though I was very lucky over the holidays with WWE gear.


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