I have to say that I'm not really high up on Bully Ray right now. I must admit I'm a bit disgusted with what's going on between him and Devon. After all these years, that's all he can muster? He carried Devon all those years? Ray has always frustrated me, but this just takes the cake!
I mentioned this in my RIB this week, but I need to mention it here as well. I will be out of state next week, so I won't be writing the TNA Blog Zone. I'll only be missing one week (next), but I might be a little brain fried the week after – that could make it that much more fun! Please be kind to whoever replaces me, I will be back.
Rather than ramble on and on, I'm going to end this part here and dive into the show.
Video > B+
I'm thrilled that this video started with the Knockouts, then went to Snow! I'm also thrilled TNA seems to be going all out with Storm and Roode feud. Having so much of Aces & 8's going on between Hogan and Joseph, Abyss HAS to be part of the faction, and I'm ecstatic about this. I can't wait to see Joseph/Abyss being multiple personalities because they've left this storyline for way too long.
Backstage Segment > B-
Shaq and Hogan? Not sure how I feel about this. I hope they don't WCW cheese out with NBA players and movie stars (Rodman & Arquette).
Open Fight Night Challenge – Angle & AJ Challenge Chavito & Hernandez > A!
Calling AJ and Angle the 'dream team'? I really don't like that. Then Taz saying, "Angle and AJ is a dream team." I was a bit nauseated. I know we don't all use proper grammar whenever we speak, but I feel people in his position should work to make sure he's speaking properly. Unless his character speaks terribly all the time, and that's not what Taz does. I know, I'm nit picking, and I'm sorry, it's just a pet peeve of mine, and I won't let it effect the grade of this segment or match.
I really like the way Angle spoke about what had gone down with the Tag Team Champs, and the two other teams involved. As cranky as I was at Taz, he really brought a smile to my face when he talked up Eddie as much as he did. Taz, Angle and Chavito were all in WWE and worked with Eddie at various times in their careers, and Taz spoke about that beautifully.
These four men are so well versed in the ring that their work was so beautifully creative and varied. I hadn't thought about this before, but this is a dream match for me. The powerhouse of Hernandez, Angle who is arguably one of the best ever, AJ is the face of TNA and has proven why so very often, and Chavito is from one of the great wrestling families and proven himself to be worthy of his name – these four have worked this match to perfection and made this better than any televised tag matches that we've seen lately, and that's saying something as I'm as high up on Bryan and Kane as anyone, if not more!
While I understand why they couldn't let one team go over the other clean, and both being faces, neither could cheat to win. It made perfect sense that the World Tag Team Champions of the World would break it up, but it was such a downer after such strength, character, creativity and power were shown in the ring.
No Contest (12:31)
Stacy said the only thing that would make the Triple Threat Tag Match could only be made better if they were doing it in a six sided ring.
Backstage Segment > B
Snow talking about cutting his hair and his wife getting emotional over it was so sweet. Then the way he spoke about Evan Marcopoulos was great. But more than all that, will we be seeing Snow facing Ryan at BFG, my guess is yes. (Please realize that Snow is one of my long time favorite wrestlers, so while I try not to be biased, it's like when I write about Foley and a few others, my heart falls in and I'm not sure how truly objective I'm being.
Backstage Segment > C+
Hogan on his cell, as if the fans can't hear everything he's saying, bugs me. I know this is something they've done all along, but sometimes it grates my skin. It takes wrestling cliché to a whole new level.
BFG Memories 2008 > A
Joe talking about jumping out of a skybox and hitting that drop kick on Sting the way he did. He gave such heart then, and inn telling about it.
Gut Check Video > B
I'm really excited about this Gut Check because this is someone I recognize from live events I've been too. As I said last week, Brian Fury can be seen in the video with him, and I think Fury has what it takes to be on TNA, but the heart Evan has been showing in these videos have been impressive, and I hope he's able to work the ring under such a high stress situation the way he has in small arenas in New England.
Backstage Segment > B
The video and audio keeps slipping further and further apart in this segment, making it really hard to watch! I have to fail it for this. I know that's only part of the segment, but it made it almost impossible to follow.
Gut Check Evan Marcopoulos vs Douglas Williams >
Williams really worked that boy over in the ring, and Evan sold ever bit of it. Williams really made Evan look young, but he is young. Young doesn't mean he doesn't know what he's doing. When Williams had him up for that delayed vertical suplex, Evan held it well. Further, he really showed heart and did all he could against a man who could eat Evan for breakfast without batting an eye. Williams is a crazy experienced wrestler who is a hard hitter and so well versed in everything in that ring. Not sure Williams was Evan's best draw for an opponent, but he showed he can take all Williams gave him and not give up. Honestly, I'd like to see more before deciding how I feel about him. It's sad in that it seems all these Gut Check kids get totally pummeled in the ring, so I'm not sure their skills are being shown in the best light. I guess I see where TNA is coming from, but it all feels very one sided.
Winner – Williams (4:04)
Video > A-
I'm thrilled that TNA is picking back up with Storm and Roode. There's so much they can do with these guys, and as it's been a bit since a lot of their issues went down, this video made perfect sense and was well executed. Bravo TNA creative and production crews!
In Ring Segment > A-
Storm, when passionate like this, is just so good! He spoke so well, and really put Roode down in doing so, but didn't come off as a heel when doing so. Storm was edgy, yet very face. See, it is possible!
And then Roode came out and spoke so eloquently – with only one little word stumble – proving that he is a top level heel. This worked so well between them that TPTB in the WWE should be drooling over these two men!
Open Fight Night Challenge - Storm Challenges Roode > A+
I had just shoved the last piece of a Twix in my mouth when Storm started beating Roode with his own shoe. I actually choked on it a bit because I was laughing so hard. I was just starting to recuperate when Roode started hitting Storm with his other shoe and a fan yelled, "Not the shoe!" and I was back to choking. Twix has corners if you're not careful. These two are so much fun.
Where I was planning to start here was with the feeling I get from these two men feuding. While I'm not saying that they're TNA's version of ___, or that these guys are the next ___ - both of which are phrases I despise, because I feel every one and thing should be able to stand on it's own merits. I will go with comparisons because they can be quite apropos, such as Ziggler reminds me of a young Flair. These two guys remind me of Austin and Trip. I have been saying for a while that Roode reminds me of a young Triple H, and Storm being a beer drinking redneck, it's only obvious that people will compare him to Austin, but it's more than that. The passion that Storm puts into everything he does in the ring and on mic has a similar flavor to Austin. In a lot of ways they bring me back to the AE with a big smile on my face.
The fans putting their feet up on the barrier for Storm to slam Roode into brings me back to ECW. And then there was a female in the audience yelling, "F*** him up! Kick his a$$!" then yelling at Roode, to, "Hit me Roode, hit me!" was a bit unnerving. The production truck was right there on the button and only the first F-bomb got through, but dang, she was really riled up! This match gave us so much, even though it was more of a fight than anything. This is a flavor that the WWE has been missing since going so PG. TNA took bits of the AE, and ECW and made it relevant. It's because of all of this, and that this is so far from over, that I had to give it such a stellar grade.
Double Count Out (7:48)
Backstage Segment > C+
So Hogan has been waiting for Joseph, but now A&8's have him? I'll admit that I'm not sure what is exactly going on, and I like it! When there's more questions than answers, and it's not boring or annoying (Claire's baby), it can add so much to a show.
Backstage Segment > A
The way Aries spoke of Hardy's career is very interesting. I will say that I think Aries fans can be as rabid as Hardy fans, and should be because Aries is that good. It's kind of odd to think that they're the same age. But Aries was really strong there, and took my annoyance at another backstage segment to a smile on my face. That man is a star!
In Ring Segment > B+
Tara is such a great heel. I've liked her since she came into the WWE as crazy pissed at Trish for getting all she deserved. Tara's new boyfriend? And that new outfit she's in really pushes her heel turn in a subtle way. This is a creative way to push Tessmacher on the fans without jamming her goody-goody (Cena-esque ways) down everyone's throats. As long as Tessmacher doesn't get boring as the good girl, or turn into Super Tessmacher, this could work out very well for her. Tara is a strong Knockout – in the ring, on mic, and as an overall character. I'm hoping they push this hard as it could be really great for the Knockouts Division.
Backstage Segment > D-
Brooke tripped over a couple words here, and I was worried about her falling out of her dress as she spoke to Tara. Real boobs or implants, the bra is your friend! I can't fail Brooke as she was very obviously trying, but she's looked much better than this in recent weeks.
BFG Memories > C
Not RVD's best video, but not horrible. He said the words, but there was virtually nothing behind his words. There was no feeling or emotion from him. He was flat.
In Ring Segment > B
Hogan is going to the A&8's clubhouse? That will be a bloodbath! And while I loved the way the laptop was disposed of (I've taken some issues out on laptops at the range in the past, even a slingshot an horse chestnuts work well in a pinch), the use of the rubber ball-peen hammer has become a bit too much. Honestly, why do they want Hogan over Aries? That makes little sense to me. Yes, Hogan is the 'boss' and is a legend, but he's almost as frail as I am, and that's not a good thing. I know Hogan is going over well with a lot of fans, but there's so many other people who could be more interesting than Hogan. Though I will say Joseph played his role wonderfully, but he's been doing that all along.
Video > B+
This was actually a really good video for Hardy. His is an fascinating and charismatic man, someone the fans really should love (when he's not self destructing), and he's again giving us a reason to love him again. I'm really glad he seems to be back on the right track.
In Ring Segment > A
While I was unhappy with Hardy going over in the BFG Series, but the direction they're going with this makes absolute sense. I went from cranky to really impressed with creative. It's also nice that Bisch isn't gloating about screwing with the fans with this swerve, it makes the storyline so much more enjoyable to follow and really get the essence of every bit as it all goes down. I hate to say this, but I think Bisch has done something really smart here. He has to get it right once every couple years.
And I know I'm talking other things, but Aries is so on point in everything he does, so I didn't think I needed say anything, but I should has he deserves it. And then there's Bully and how great he's been lately. These two men working together is just great for everyone involved, especially the fans.
I found it very interesting how Bully handled the fan who touched him. Not only that Bully threatened him, but that Aries also threatened the man really made a statement to fans that touching the wrestlers can be a really dangerous thing. I'm very impressed that they handled the situation spur of the moment and made a poignant message.
Open Fight Night Challenge – Austin Aries Challenges Bully Ray > B+
My daughter Ellie decided to spend the night so she could read to her younger sister (Harry Potter), and between Bully talking and Aries outside the ring, she took a bite of food. She missed how Aries left the ring, so I rewound the show a bit. I watched her, because I knew how she would react, and her jaw dropped. That one move is the essence of why Ellie and I used to rush home on Fridays, after I picked her up as school, so we could watch TNA. Those exquisite moves, that so many of TNA's wrestlers not only hit, but make look deceptively easy, and so graceful. (And Ellie just said, I love watching this man move! She was talking about Aries, she's watched Bully for years.)
As soon as Earl took the bump, I knew Aries would win the match while Earl was down, then lose the match when Earl miraculously recovered. It was such a cliché ending that it killed a lot of my love for this match. I want to see more of Aries in the ring with wrestlers like Hardy, and less with wrestlers like Bully. While Aries looks good with almost anyone in the ring, he's not able to show his creativity as elegantly when he's in with a powerhouse who is so much bigger than he is. It's time for Aries to shine, and this match just didn't do that for him, even though he looked exquisite in his movements.
Winner – Bully Ray (12:29)
I have to say that TNA really had some wonderful segments tonight. Just spectacular, but between those astounding segments was so much blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, BLAH! And most of that blah was someone talking backstage. Then you have to add in the storylines that had something major happen, yet there wasn't any resolution of any sort, and most of the time there wasn't even a mention of what had happened earlier in the show! I'm thinking particularly of Shaq, Dixie and Prichard talking about A&8's, and the way Storm and Roode fighting to the back. Shaq told Hogan he'd be back, but nothing. Nothing much came of the talking about who's in A&8's, and how everyone was untrustworthy because they could be part of the faction. And what happened to their fight? They made it through the door and stopped? People are complaining about the inconsistencies in the WWE, yet they're just as bad in TNA, if not worse. So while I'm glad TNA is continuing with live Impact, I really hope they step up their game a bit more.