Monday, February 14, 2011
Scott's Pay-Per-View Extravaganza: TNA Against All Odds 2011
TNA X Division Title: Kazarian (c) v. Robbie E
I think my biggest problem with Robbie E is he comes more like a cartoon character than a sleazeball. There's nothing gross about him, he just looks like a dork with a haircut he'd never actually have. It's an obvious put-on in every way which ruins the whole thing. There are guys who could pull off this sort of gimmick within the confines of pro wrestling -- fuck, Kazarian and his jerkoff ponytail and smug facial expressions is more of a real deal douchebag than Robbie E. It really creeps me out that a bunch of lonely, overexcited men in the front few rows so aggressively try to grab the wet, sweaty, Tag body sprayed t-shirt that Kazarian tosses their way. But really everything creeps me out about the people who go to TNA shows. They're like the people who go to ROH shows except they're forcing excitement over a company that has never really done anything right. Actually that's unfair. In their smelly 20 oz of Mountain Dew nerdery, the TNA crowd is far, far less fat than your average ROH in Chicago Ridge crowd. HEY! Remember when Taz wasn't a cackling clown? I barely do. I guess it's a battle between semi-goofy suplex midget and goober commentator. Kaz so dramatically outclasses Robbie E that this is sad, particularly because Kazarian isn't particularly good. Cookie cracks Kazarian with a boot for a near-fall, and Robbie E goes into 2004 indy comedy. He's no Larry Sweeney. Kazarian wins clean with his silly inverted tombstone. Plenty enough action to serve as a competent opener but I can't get past how much Robbie E sucks and the fact that with Gen Me not showing and then Robbie losing totally clean and even failing to capitalize on cheating, the whole set-up was an even bigger waste of time than it appeared in all those shitty three-ways.
CHRISTY HEMME! Yes! Big Poppa Pump will bring her to one of those violent Chloe Nicole orgasms. Actually Steiner's just stumbling through his promo and drinking James Storm's beer. Scott Steiner's gonna get DRUNK.
AJ Styles comes out to talk, I guess. Oh he's joining commentary. GOOD THING THEY DIDN'T HAVE A MATCH FOR HIM.
Rob Terry, Murphy & Gunner v. Scott Steiner & Beer Money
Everything about this would be 100% better if Steiner and Styles traded places. Steiner's chest is sinking and in Scott Steiner terms, he's fat and out of shape. He suplexes the two goons and calls out Terry for what can only be the greatest faceoff this side of the weekly Ezekiel Jackson picks up the Big Show routine. Terry keeps flexing so Steiner kicks him in the nuts. This is a pretty terrible match and a huge waste of Beer Money, but Gunner is a hoot pinballing around for Storm. Roode and Storm come off like superior beings and Steiner comes off like an old man and Gunner and Murphy look like potential big picture challengers to Beer Money down the line and Rob Terry looks like shit. Steiner pulls off a top-rope Frankensteiner for the finish and that takes him from old man to new age Terry Funk, which I'm all for.
CHRISTY HEMME! She's with the very placid Brother Devon and his obviously turning sons. He's not going to let them be in the match with him. Definitely not going to turn. From the side Devon looks shockingly like Cee-Lo Green. And I'm like, fuck you, and fuck your feud too.
Pope-Joe video recap. This makes it slightly better looking than it has actually been.
Pope D'Angelo Dinero v. Samoa Joe
Pope tries to walk out on the match but Okada forces him back into the ring. I like Pope's entrance music as it's the only entrance in TNA that doesn't suck and I like his enthusiasm but that's about it. For a guy who used to work a boxer gimmick he sure can't sell a shitty jab. This is all fairly heatless and flat, which hopefully tells everyone involved how shittily this whole thing has been booked and that nobody cares if the fake preacher gets a stripper's ass in his face and still takes money from people backstage. I just don't think this is a world where a man of God being a fraud works as a legitimate and attention-grabbing heel. Pope immediately taps out when Joe gets a choke on him as part of their apparently ongoing story. Joe's way behind where he was a few years ago and I can only assume it's because the relatively easy paychecks of TNA and his mishandling has sapped his passion to be Mr. Fighting Spirit bringing the strong style/shoot style shit to American audiences, leaving him a shell of his former self, a soulless performer for soulless crowds. Joe does a chicken scratch blade job on an exposed turnbuckle but comes alive.
CHRISTY HEMME! She's with Mickie James! It's tough to buy Mickie James as bar fighter.
TNA Knockouts Title: Madison Rayne (c) v. Mickie James
Mickie's Pocahontas outfit is saucy. They go into this oddly-paced and executed RVD-Jerry Lynn at Hardcore Heaven tribute as they both sort of work like the concussed Jerry Lynn and both stall around like the hideous RVD. Then this goes weird after Mickie takes the glove and says something to the referee, then Tara interferes (Taz calls her Victoria, and you can't blame him) and Madison uses some brass knuxxxx for the 10-count win.
Backstage, Jeff Hardy says ass a bunch and puts shit on his face. Frontstage, Matt Morgan comes out in his streets and he needs the MIC. Hernandez is called out and he answers. Hernandez is truly awful at talking out loud. He's sub-backyarder with this promo. He needs Konnan something awful. This winds up being a Hernandez assault to no reaction.
CHRISTY HEMME! She's with Matt Hardy who cuts one of his drug-addled promos with all the shitty Southern poet boy stylings that appeal to all the fat girls what think the Hardys are real people.
Matt looks in good shape. Don't know where that's coming from, but cosmetically his arms look good, he has methbilly gut, and he's overtanned. Matt -- and to a lesser extent Jeff -- live the gimmick unlike Robbie E. They seem genuinely gross, and watching them both, you get the impression that they really have lost their minds a little bit, feeling like they really have been fucked by "society" or "the wrestling business," seeing their faded careers as ultimate failures despite their intentions, despite their once hard work, despite their long-term health sacrifices. As for RVD, he's so beyond autopilot now that it's not wrong to wish he'd just go away for good. It's nice that he doesn't need wrestling; but it sucks to watch a guy who doesn't feel like in SOME way, he's gotta be here. So you have a 40-year-old Van Dam floating through a match with a 36-year-old, mentally bent Matt Hardy, and while they're both way past their best, it's obviously Matt Hardy who, if he digs, still has love somewhere hidden under the scars. Van Dam isn't concerned, really. Maybe Matt takes things too personally, but RVD doesn't take things personally enough. And amazingly, Hardy also has the less ridiculous haircut. Rob Van Dam seriously walks around through his adult life with that haircut, those singlets. It's really, really tough to buy RVD as "accurate striker." Taz, who is a tough jock and gets lots of pussy (FROM YOUR WIFE/MOM!), takes a moment to make fun of some nyeeeerds in the middle of the match. Back-and-forth chant makes me want to gag just as I start noticing how good this match is. Matt is holding RVD's hand and making a fuckin professional wrestling match of this against RVD's instincts and abilities. Matt is wisely avoiding doing too much work that RVD would have to sell -- say, working a knee or an arm or the neck or whatever. He's keeping it easy and spread out. Hardy throwing his usual good punches, which make RVD's limp-wristed swats look terrible. Van Dam in his old age needs to save some gas for the pick-up portion, and he's looking pretty gassed anyway. Matt brings some of that Edge/Randy Orton make a bunch of faces and bug eyes shit before a Twist of Hate attempt, but it doesn't fly. Van Dam is SO walking through this world without direction. He's wrestling like he needs to find the warm embrace of the Lord Our God. And he gets a listless win with the five star frog splash. The fact I feel kind of gypped with Van Dam winning clean probably says something positive about Matt Hardy right now. All YouTube bullshit aside, he had it going on in this match.
CHRISTY HEMME! She'll get screamed at by Bully Ray, who is a tough biker guy now. I like his new accent. Bully Ray licks Christy's hair. The thing about promos like this in wrestling is they don't look creepy or disturbing, they just look like shit because these motherfuckers can't act.
Streetfight: Bully Ray v. Brother Devon
Devon beats some ass around the ring to start and Earl Hebner is all in his shit about it. It's a fucking streetfight, get that withered old fart out of there. We get not one but TWO soda bottle shots. Bubba goes super comical once hit in the back with the Singapore cane. Shockingly, Devon's sons come to the ring with Devon in full control during the entire match. Mostly they stand in the ring and they're in the way. HEY! They're NOT going to turn! Terrell cracks Bubba with a trash can. This has kind of lost its appeal as a one-sided beating but has gained something by not having the sons turn. Bubba handcuffing Devon to the turnbuckle better lead to some insane violence. We want blood. Or I do anyway. And now the kids are going to take their licks. WOOF the other one takes a sweet bump off of a kick to the face, and....Bubba pins him. Fuck, come on. You handcuffed a guy and you don't even beat his ass but good? Hey. Hey. Why doesn't anyone come to help these innocent children he's about to put through a table or whatever? Where's Uncle Spike? I'd imagine he would get backstage passes all the time. Devon calls out for security and of course nobody does anything. After an eternity of making faces and yelling, Bubba puts one of the kids through a table and Devon continues to curse, but not TOO much. That kid gets stretchered out and the other one is carried by his dad. Bubba's right, they're all weak.
JEREMY BORASH is not Christy Hemme but he's with The Jarretts. Maybe Christy went to wash her hair. No, she's with Kurt Angle. Jarrett guarantees victory, Angle uses his "oh it's real it's damn real" catchphrase.
In all honesty, my coming back into the watching way too much wrestling fold is being well aided by TNA pairing Jarrett and Angle right now. They are familiar comforts, Angle something like biscuits and gravy, which is good even when it's not, and Jarrett something I like on very rare occasion like goulash. So I've got all this other crap going on, but here toward the top of the card are a couple of old pros that are highly unlikely to really let me down. Angle has himself in position to win but of course Karen is in the way on the apron. She's not quite Vickie Guerrero, but she might get there. The Stroke is seriously one of the worst goddamn moves in wrestling history. The Cobra and the People's Elbow and the Worm are more deadly. It never looks good because it appears so awkward to take, so you'd have to have a hungry youngster willing to smash his face, and that's rare, especially when you've booked yourself in main events for almost a decade and aren't generally delivering the move to Generation Me or whoever. Jarrett's kind of a marvel in that he hasn't gotten any better or worse for about 20 years. He is nice and competent. I feel as though we missed out on a potentially great tag wrestler with all his singles runs, though. I'm sure his bank account doesn't mind that. This is mostly Angle except when Karen distracts him. A HIDEOUS stroke from the middle rope would finish things, you'd think, but Angle kicks out and that's good because it looked truly terrible. Jarrett taps to the ankle lock, but the referee is dealing with Karen for the 10th time, and we get a chairshot finish so Kurt will have to -- WAIT NO HE KICKS OUT AGAIN. Of course he does! Instead Jarrett catches Angle with a clever pin when Kurt goes for the ankle lock, and Kurt fake cries. I wonder if when this actually gets bad to the point that Kurt bails on TNA and goes back to WWE if the Jarretts will try to enforce the match stipulation in court. After the match Angle takes off his shoes and leaves them in the ring, and Taz goes back to his quiet voice to explain the significance.
But forget THAT! CHRISTY HEMME is with Mr. Anderson. This guy has a "stone cold" heart. And he's becoming one of the "rocks" of TNA Wrestling. And he "sucks really bad." Anderson does his Jesse Ventura impression for basically no reason other than he thinks that's "entertaining." Fuck this is an awful, awful promo. Oh good a Justin Bieber reference. Fuck this motherfucker. Fuck this fucking shit. GO GET 'EM JEFF HARDY, YOU ARE A KING OF PRO WRESTLING FOR THE MOMENT
Mr. Anderson is the kind of guy who looks forward to getting his Eddie Bauer catalogue and still wears Von Dutch hats. This show features a LOT of guys spitting on each other. This is turning into a Burning Angel compilation. Taz breaks out the old JR "someone sittin at home that's fake blah blah blah." Is this still a problem, really? This is OK and all but I was raised on about 25 better ladder matches and this is one of those times where I watch a ladder match and wish to myself, "Self, I wish this were just a regular match and they were wrestling." Hey now, BOTH Hardys showed up for this show, as Matt carried RVD earlier and Jeff is doing his best here with Anderson. It's to the point that if an Impact has a Hardys v. RVD/Anderson main event, I won't cringe. This suffers a bit from your usual TNA anti-climactic finish, as they take big bumps from the ladders, then Hardy just climbs up and gets the belt without much da-rama. Which is fine. This match really was pretty good and they did plenty enough to keep it exciting, and there were a couple of "ooh!" moments, but overall, again, it's just I've seen so many insane ladder matches, and it's not like they really made up for it in other ways or anything. Not that it was bad. It wasn't. Good, even.
IN FACT! Good show overall, really. Nothing sucked except that six-man was pretty bad, but Steiner's oldster act made it watchable, and here's the absolute greatest thing: no Bischoff, no authority figure crap, no super predictable turns (Devon's boys, Steiner, Roode), and everything moved at a good pace. I say Thumbs UP, by God -- is this the TNA cycle? You watch a month of TV, start questioning how you can go on, and then watch the PPV and get hooked back for another month?