It seems as though every time I see the name Kurt Angle on WNW it's because he is, isn't, is, isn't, is, isn't, is, isn't going to the 2012 Summer Olympics. While I am all for everyone having goals, and I thought it was great that Angle wanted to go back to the Olympics, I really didn't think his body was up for it. Angle is very obviously a driven man. Heck, he won his Olympic medal with a broken neck!
I have stated numerous times that I worry and cringe every time Angle gets in the ring. I've felt this way about Angle's ring work for a couple years now. We're always complaining about the likes of Flair and Hogan in the ring, but Angle has been falling in that group more and more for me. I'm not saying Angle can't go, because he can. Angle can still go with the best of them, and make most of them look better than they are, but I still cringe every German he hits, whenever anyone hits him in the head or neck, or he takes a bump that looks at all off. Much of it is probably be in my mind, but it's made watching Angle in the ring, and thinking about Angle doing things like going to Olympics, make me wonder if he's lost his mind. I'm a bit shocked at the people who are mad at Angle for pulling out, and others who thought this was all a work. Other than getting drunk and Tweeting, then claiming it wasn't him, Angle is usually pretty much straight up with his career plans. Honestly, as long as he's happy and doesn't hurt himself, I'm fine with it.
I also want to hit upon Scotty Steiner here. Anyone who has followed him, and his career, knows that he's a volatile and outspoken man. Honestly, it's one of the biggest reasons I adore him. Also doesn't hurt that when I first saw him live at a WWE RAW house show in Portland, Maine, he called another wrestler on not giving the fans all he had. Basically, what happened was he was tagging with Jericho (this was somewhere around 2003), but Jericho was half-assing his performance. Jericho wasn't phoning it in, he'd shut off the phone and was asleep at the wheel. I was close enough to hear Steiner ripping Jericho a new one. Jericho didn't pay any attention to him, but that Steiner was so pissed at Jericho for blowing off the fans a house show (my very first WWE show of any sort) really made me look at Steiner in a whole new light. I'd always been much more of a Rick Steiner fan, but that night Scotty won my heart.
I think it's great that someone is finally speaking out about TNA/IW and what a messed up company it is. It's turned into the old and egotistical leading the clueless of wrestling and business. I would love to see what someone like Heyman, or even Lance Storm, could do with TNA/IW if they had 100% control for a couple months. I don't think it would take a lot to turn TNA/IW around if the right people could actually gain control and turn it into a wrestling show that fans want to watch. Honestly, I don't think it would be too hard, if the egos were shoved where they should be shoved...
Video > D
Oh my goodness, they're putting together teams and whoever loses is gone, or can't use the Bisch name! We've never seen or heard of anything like that happening – ever! Not even less than two weeks ago at WrestleMania!
In Ring Segment > C
Bisch has been reduced to fat comments to the crowd. I do have to say the rowdiness and the "We don't care!" chants are a riot. Bisch got nWo-esque heat here. Why did Team Bisch come out to Bully's music? So, Gunner, Kaz, and Daniels join Bully. It's an interesting team, but not who I would pick. I'm still shocked that Bully has re-blossomed at this point in his career. If someone had told me a year ago that Bully would be doing this well, I'd have laughed in their face.
Then again if someone had told me that this young punk Garett Bisch would be running roughshod over his father, I'd have snorted, then laughed.
Anderson vs Gunner > B
I have to say that I'd love to see these two in a serious match. Maybe Gunner needs a bit more ring time, but I think these two could have some epic matches. Not saying they're the best wrestlers, but they've both evolved into really good performers who can bring a lot of emotion into their matches. If Gunner could bring more psychology into the ring, then these two could be jaw dropping in the ring together.
As it is, this was a really great short match. They both went at it hard and proved that they're not afraid to get bloody for the fans. It was fun to see how pink Anderson's ass was funny. His spray tan stopped at his panty line and showed just how much of a natural blond he is. Beyond that I think it was great to see Anderson go off his rocker the way he did. It bodes well for Team Garett at Lockdown.
Winner – Gunner via DQ
Backstage Segment > C+
Why was EY suddenly wearing glasses? Joseph really needed a step up in finding his brother. Last we saw Abyss was with Bully, and that was on TV, so why isn't Joseph going there?
In Ring Segment > A-
I love the Guns, thrilled to see them back, even happy to see them on mic, though it would be better to see them in the ring. The Curry Man and Shark Boy comment was just great. I'm itching to see a long time feud between the Guns and the nameless Joe and Magnus. Six years to their six months? Interesting way of looking at things.
I know I say too much about spray tans, but Magnus' spray tan never hit his face. It goes up his neck and into his face fur, then fades away. He's also lighter around the top of his trunks. All that aside, Magnus was great on mic, as he has been since returning and joining with Joe.
MexA? Really? I just can't take them seriously, especially in the ring with the likes of Joe, Magnus and the Guns. That's a tag match I can get behind at Lockdown.
Daniels vs Aries > A!
Daniels looks like someone who was a good friend of mine for a number of years, and has the same ego as that person, so I feels strange when I see Daniels from certain angles. It's just one of those things.
Wait, so Aries is on Team Garett? Does that mean we won't be having an X Division Match at Lockdown? I have many choice words for that, but I will stick with saying that it royally sucks. The fans were so behind Aries, Aries was great in the ring, and he's the X Division Champ, yet he's not having a Singles or Title Match at the next PPV? Proof that TNA/IW, both creative and as a company, has some serious issues that need to be resolved.
These two X Division wrestlers (even though Daniels is not officially listed as X Division and hasn't for a while) had the fans on their feet and screaming louder than anything else so far in this show, and were chanting, "This is wrestling!" but Aries isn't defending his Title at Lockdown. I can't even pick out specific moves that were great in this match because they were all awesome! TPTB needs to pull their heads out of their asses and give the fans what they want, not what the old egos feel they need to show us – that being mostly themselves! I'm sorry about cussing, but this match was so good and I'm so mad! I actually stopped the show here and had a ten minute rant about TNA/IW has gone downhill and who's been hurt because of it.
Winner – Aries
In Ring Segment > B-
I will give Hardy props for keeping his segment short. He could have gone on and on, but he didn't. If Hardy can show up to Lockdown clean and ready to fight, that will be one more step toward him getting back into my good graces. I will admit that he's been looking good and seems to be going in the right direction. After seeing how Scott Hall has been struggling, I have to give Hardy props where they are do. If he's cleaned himself up and is on the straight and narrow, continues to prove he's on the straight and narrow, I don't see why we shouldn't give him the chance to continue to prove himself.
Backstage Segment > B
Wow, Storm is a scary mad redneck! Montgomery Gentry was terribly over the top, but Storm was great. Bringing Lockdown to Nashville, they might have a riot on their hands of Storm doesn't win! That's if they can fill the arena. Dang, I'm sorry. I really am in a foul mood at TNA/IW right now. Honestly, the show is going better than I expected, but I keep being brought down by the little things TNA/IW does that make less than no sense. I will try to turn my 'tude around for the rest of the show.
Backstage Segment > D
Poor EY, from every side! I really want to be cranky about them trying to use their bodies to get their belts back, but it's wrestling and that's the way it is. At least the Knockouts can hold the ring compared to the Divas!
ODBEY Tie The Knot
Wrestling weddings are such travesties, but this one takes things to a whole new level. ODB looked beautiful! Not saying anything about the camo wedding dress, other than it fit her very well. Can't say the same of EY's jacket! But hair, makeup, her smile, she looked beautiful. The 'preacher' was a riot! The belts being there was a bit cheesy, but that's ODBEY!
Their vows were great! I loved how the fans were behind ODB through this. I was really worried that Cody Deaner was going to return. The matching negligees were great and looked better on Sarita and Rosita than Deaner, but ODBEY disrobing made me smile. The little camo and pink lace over her white strapless made me laugh, but what else would you expect from ODB? That was quite the wrasslin' weddin'! And while I might annoy some, I'm not going to grade this segment, because if I do, no one will be happy. I'm just going spray my beehive and tuck the grade into my tube top before moving on.
Backstage Segment > C-
And just another reason for Flair to be on TV? He stole my heart when he broke into tears at the WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony, but back in TNA/IW, all I can do is roll my eyes.
Backstage Segment > B+
Roode is so good. His little gaggle of lawyers are a bit much, but he's great.
Bully vs AJ > B
Anderson, Aries and now AJ? Who else has a name that starts with an A? I hope it someone as I don't want to see Garett wrestling at Lockdown. Watching Bully dance around the ring in those camo shorts, all I could think of was... Cena! They're such different wrestlers, such different characters, but both in camo shorts in the ring. I know Bully has been wearing camo since back in ECW, but this is the first time the silliness of it hit me.
AJ looked great in the ring, if a bit orange. What is it with the spray tans in TNA/IW this week? Even though I knew this was taped, I was still looking for that second ring on Flair's hand. But more than that was the way these two worked the ring together. These two are consummate pros. While they might have gone very different routes to get to this point, but this one night they were so great together. Sucked that it had to end in such a mess.
Winner – Bully
In Ring Segment > D
Yay, Hogan came out to give the fans a treat. I can't say that I would hate to see Hogan live, but I wish there was some steak behind the sizzle. Wait, Bisch? Really? Really? Ugh! Even worse, Garett in this match. Well, RVD should be fun in this match. I just hope he's not treated like crap this run in TNA/IW.
Video > A
Roode's voice through this video was great. The tremor of worry, that he doesn't quite believe his own words. That Roode can put that through with just his voice, no visuals, was just stellar. That right there proved that Roode is the It Factor.
Storm was simple and to the point. Man of few words. Add in the great production of the video and I know TNA/IW could do anything if the company itself wasn't such a mess.
Gail Kim & Madison vs Velvet Sky & Mickie > C+
While Mickie hasn't been ring ready in a while, she actually held her own in the ring better this week than she had been. The other three looked really solid in the ring. Kim and Madison looked solid, if a bit wimpy when Kim kept trying to stay away from Velvet. Honestly, that's such a cliché thing for a hell Champ to do that I can't help but roll my eyes. I want some originality to the storylines and characters! But other than that, the Knockouts looked solid in the ring. The only worry I have is that Velvet got the pinfall on Kim, so I worry that she won't at Lockdown. I know that's a cliché in itself, but I have to wonder.
Winners – Velvet & Mickie
In Ring Segment > A-
I flashed to Brother Love when Storm first came out. That white jacket made me think of, my name is John Laurinaitis, Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and Interim RAW General Manager. No, wait, that was WrestleMania! You know who I'm talking about, Bruce Prichard himself. But Storm didn't carry any of the silliness in that white jacket.
I hope that someday BMI will be back together, but first Storm needs to hold the gold and do so for more than the blink of an eye. I think teaming together is what brought the two of them to the top of the company, to where they are now. While they were both great in this segment, but what jumped out at me was the tighter camera angles were really bouncy. Is Roode a bouncier guy, or is the TNA/IW ring (not really a TNA ring because there's only four sides) bouncier than in the WWE?
I'm going to again compare these two to Trip and HBK. Their teaming, the flavor they brought to matches as a team, the flavor they brought to this feud and this segment. Roode's intensity reminds me of Trip, Storm even seemed to have a bit of HBK's semi-crossed blue eyes there.
While I completely loved this segment, I don't think it was the best way to go home to Lockdown. The last comment about Storm's dead brothers and father shocked me a bit. That they got into a pushing match with their foreheads after that comment almost sealed the deal as a solid ending, but only almost. Maybe if it was shorter and more heated ending that way it could have been a solid way to end the go home Impact, but it missed it by that much.
These guys (AJ, Aries, Anderson, Roode, Storm, Joe, Sabin, Shelley, etc) are every bit as talented as the guys in the WWE, more so than many, but it's the lack of leadership and the lack of direction that is holding them back. When I see the wasted talent I get so mad. All you have to do is look at the match between Daniels and Aries to see how talented these guys are, but we haven't seen but a handful of matches from these guys this year where they were given the time and the booking to shine the way they can. Heck, even Anderson and Gunner worked their match like it mattered – something that a number of guys in the WWE don't seem to do on a regular basis.
There's been so much talk about the boys in the back in the WWE not really pushing themselves or paying their dues the way past generations did. Looks to me like the boys in TNA/IW are paying their dues, but don't have the paychecks or notoriety to show for it. Many parts of this Impact were wonderful, especially Daniels versus Aries, AJ versus Bully, Anderson versus Gunner, and solid mic work by Sabin, Shelley, Magnus, Roode, and Storm, but most everyone will remember is the posturing of the old guys and the naked camo wedding in a cage! To me that's the saddest part of all.