I have no god damn clue why I'm doing this at damn near 1:00am. And sober no less. (Note: I did this over a 2 day period because the show was so bad I had to stop.)
It opens with a weird Abyss as a schizophrenic Frankenstein video package and this is already stupid. 8,000 buys for this event. As Scott pointed out when we were talking the other day, that number is closer to 0 than it is 20,000...and 20,000 still sucks.
Brian Kendrick vs. Doug Williams
So Doug Williams is...afraid of heights. Wait, are all X Division title matches also Ultimate X matches? They're not explaining anything which is always just a wonderful idea. WIlliams is one of those guys who I've always been perfectly fine watching but never felt like he was worth going out of the way to see. The first Kendrick match I ever watched was against Jay Briscoe on the Round Robin Challenge ROH DVD when he was doing the Spanky thing before his WWE run. That match really never got a proper viewing from me because of Chris Marvel snapping his leg in the match before.
I guess you can win this match with either a submission or by getting the belt off the cables. This is really dragging, doesn't make a lot of sense, has no real psychology and just feels like a bad indy match. Which is unfortunate given that I don't really dislike either guy. The production sucks something awful also, they go with a lot of angles that don't make sense and don't show you what is going on. I'm starting to realize I bitch a lot on here, I really do like wrestling, I'd really like to see a match from the current product anywhere that I enjoy.
Williams pulls a batting glove out of his trunk and slaps Kendrick with it. ...Oh, they're "climbing gloves" because he's afraid of heights see...so he needs gloves to help him. The previously dead Kendrick suddenly can fly around to catch Williams on the cable, they do a little bump spot and Williams locks in a submission to retain. So he was afraid of heights, but only when convenient...they didn't really make that a part of the overall story...and for some reason he put on gloves for the end. There is no psychology in wrestling anymore.
I'm trying to figure this all out, people around the internet seem to think maybe Kendrick actually knocked himself out and that's about the only way the end of this match made the slightest bit of sense.
Brother Ray vs. Brother Devon vs. Jesse Neal
Ray cuts a shitty promo and almost "makes Christy Hemme cry." I get that they're trying to bring back the old dickish Dudleys that started riots in ECW but this just feels forced and that old magic is gone, man. But that's what happens in an era where guys like the Dudleys are turned face, then heel, then face, then heel, then face, then heel. You lose your edge when you start doing the "WAZZAAAA" bit.
The video package before the match works for me a little bit. I love a good student v. teacher angle. Now you've got Ray and Devon having beef. It's a simple enough thing and you know what? I'm going to try my fucking damndest to like this match.
Okay, the match didn't even get to start and I hate that I have to pretend that although they're all coming out from the same entrance somehow it doesn't dawn on Neal that Ray isn't in the ring (although he entered first) and he didn't watch as he hid next to the entryway for an ambush. And now Devon is locked in the locker room. Another modern wrestling thing I hate. They showed it on TV, there are monitors all over the back, why has no one from the company came to let Devon out of the room? Oh good, here comes Tommy Dreamer, Rhyno, Stevie Richards..etc. ...aaaand I guess the video gods have decided I don't get to see the last part of the match. I'd be upset if it hadn't been a waste of my time to that point.
Angelina Love vs. Madison Rayne
This is fucking awful. It's mud wrestling without the mud.
They "wrestle" and then some lady with a motorcycle drives in. For some reason the ref cares who it is that interfered.
The title changes hands on a DQ and I'm realizing that more than just stupid matches, TNA's biggest problem may be that they don't actually explain things well enough. Explain things to me...treat me like I'm stupid. I mean, I am watching this show.
Mr Anderson does an interview in an a**hole shirt. He does some really bad comedy about tonight the left butt cheek meeting the right butt cheek, then says something about controlling Abyss like Dr. Frankenstein, then pretends to smoke pot when talking about RVD. I guess his thing now it talking about being an asshole. This is painfully bad.
Kazarian and AJ Styles vs. Rob Terry and Samoa Joe
This is a surprise tag team for Kazarian and Styles. Terry and Joe are a nice surprise. I sure hope this is allowed to just happen and not involve some sort of stupid run-in.
Scott and I saw Styles and Joe wrestle in the Ted Petty Invitational finals (in a 3 way with Bryan Danielson) a few years back in what was one of my favorite wrestling experiences ever. So this match gives me the warm fuzzies. That night was probably the last time I truly enjoyed something "modern" in pro wrestling. Not as in a match or a performer, but a top to bottom show.
Well, there was a run-in. These shows are magically predictable. Anyway, Styles and Kazarian win and celebrate but realize it isn't cool enough to impress Ric Flair, so they puff their chests out and walk around like idiots.
Matt Morgan vs. "Supermex" Hernandez
Okay, former tag champs collide in a long term angle...and they do it in the cage. This should be hot right? Every bit of offense here involves the cage for the first several minutes. It's a move or two at a time, then Morgan poses and wastes time.
Remember when Magnum T.A. and Tully Blanchard went wild in a cage? Me too.
Hernandez keeps doing this thing which I guess is supposed to be an intense, wild-eyed stare but it looks a lot more like he might shit his pants and cry:
Way to tap a vein there killer.
He does a very nice accidental job of getting over Morgan's size by failing twice to get him up for the "border toss" before missing a dive from the top of the cage. Morgan tries to use very clearly fake handcuffs to keep Hernandez in the cage, as he climbs over the top Hernandez breaks the cuffs and then despite the fact that he is directly in front of the easy to open door and could just open it and walk out, instead decides to run across the cage, hit the ropes and fly head first through said door. Visuals in favor of things making sense, that's TNA for you.
This was shit. I desperately want to like something on this show. At least I'm about to get a Ric Flair promo!
...oh no. They've ruined Ric Flair. This is, without a doubt, the worst Ric Flair promo I have ever seen. He rambles about not liking to show off. Asks the crowd if he is the reason wrestling exists and when they don't really respond just mumbles "...right." And then says he's going to beat Jay Lethal so badly that he will go back to his mother and ask to be breastfed back to health. My god...
Ric Flair vs. Jay Lethal
There is a good storyline here about Lethal wrestling his idol who he accidentally offended and now Flair is in his head..etc. But over top of this simple story they put a dumb shit woo-war. Simple is okay and that will probably always been TNA's problem. They can not accept that sometimes you just need a simple story with no frills.
It's pretty incredible that Flair is still able to move around, let alone wrestle at 63. Early on this is perfectly acceptable other than Lethal with the constant Flair mannerisms. As a matter of fact this is by far the best match on the card to this point. Flair had trouble to start with the speed and athleticism of the kid and bumped all over but got all crafty to take over. Now Lethal is taking over with the chop blocks to Flair's legs and puts the figure four on. And Flair taps out. ...huh. That's...interesting. Lethal is doing a thing where he's all emotional and crying now.
Lethal gets on the mic and says "Hey mom! I DID IT!" and that was really fucking lame. They kind of killed a lot of what was good about that match with everything from the last 30 seconds onward.
Beer Money vs. Motor City Machine Guns
This has been inoffensive. But it also has been a little weird because any time they're not in "work over face" mode and trying to get going with some intensity it feels really, really choreographed. Which, I get it. That's wrestling now. But when it feels like it is when it's hard to watch.
It's hard to write about this match because it feels really emotionless and Sabin's ridiculously obvious leg slaps on his kicks are distracting as all hell. This is actually getting better as it goes along. For a modern, spotty tag match it could be worse. The crowd chanting "this is awesome" is fucking stupid. As is the ref acting like the beer that was spit in his eye was fucking acid.
Amazingly the fact that they stopped paying attention to who was legal about 8 minutes ago comes back to factor into the fact that with two refs both teams score a simultaneous pin. So they restart it. Everything wrong with these kind of matches (and that keep them from truly being good) is on display when all four men are constantly in the ring and tags are meaningless because they are just going to count any pin by whoever. This wasn't a fucking tornado match.
Anyway, MCMG win. It's not the match that I hated, it's that this is what wrestling is now. It's spots and randomness, but as long as it looks fancy the crowd will chant "this is awesome" and believe it.
The Pope D'Angelo Dinero vs. Kurt Angle
I kind of like this thing where Angle is questioning himself and is not considering himself "elite" and making himself go through the top ten contenders to earn his way back to the title. "The Pope" is kind of a lame opponent, but if they leave this storyline alone and let it just be a man's search for redemption...that is the kind of simple storyline I can get behind.
This is another match that could be worse. Angle is kind of a crazy person now, but he can still do some thangs. It's starting to become clear that I'm a grumpy old dickhead now. I don't like these younger style matches that are all go, go, go with big moves start to finish. Angle works his style, and it's a professional style, not the indy style that drives me crazy.
This is the first time I've ever seen this Pope fella and he's actually pretty decent. Angle wins, and other than his constant desire for every match to be a nailbiting false finish-fest this was a really solid match.
Rob Van Dam vs. Abyss vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Mr. Anderson
Okay, main event time. This was a four way, for a title and it was given about 12 minutes. In an already spot-filled type of match, in a spotty era that means that there is enough time for everyone to go out, do their moves, do some big spots and bring the finish.
It wasn't offensively bad (other than a Hardy/Anderson "brawl" that really looked like a slapfight) but it also told no real story and was a TV match at best. RVD retained and then Abyss lightly clubbed him after the match, stomped him and then missed hitting the champ with a board filled with nails. It was supposed to be this totally hot segment where you're all "who can contain this monster?!" but it was met with dead silence by the live audience. And for the first time in forever, I can actually relate to a TNA crowd.