Written by: Arnold Furious
20th September 2009.
We’re in Orlando, Florida. Hosts are Mike Tenay & Taz. Poor Don West has lost his PPV spot.
We get a quick look at the bracket for the TNA Knockouts tag titles. Predictably the Beautiful People won the one half while Taylor Wilde and her partner Sarita snuck past Awesome Kong & Saeed in an upset.
Knockouts Tag titles: Taylor Wilde/Sarita v The Beautiful People
Sarita is CMLL’s Sarah Stock but since buddying up with Taylor they’ve developed matching gear and moves. BP is Velvet Sky and Madison Rayne. Angelina Love has been future endeavoured thanks to visa issues. Earl Hebner boots out the not-impartial Slick Johnson. Sarita is not only excellent but she makes Velvet look good, which is nothing short of a miracle. This does NOT continue throughout the match. Let’s face it, Velvet is hot so she doesn’t need to be a good wrestler…but it’d be nice. Taylor & Sarita remind Scott D’Amore of the Rock N Roll Express. Nice. They’re faster and have better teaming than BP. Taylor finishes with a German suplex, aided by a springboard dropkick from Sarita. *1/2. I don’t see the need for Knockout tag champs but this is probably the best team to win it. Beautiful People would, naturally, have been the best team if Angelina had been able to sort her visa out. That was probably the plan. Without her the division is somewhat lost before we get underway.
Sidenote: Oh lord, are they calling Bobby Lashley “the boss”? Why?
BACKSTAGE Taylor says this team has the best chemistry of anyone. Sarita says they’ll have the belts for a long time. Clip to a recap of Eric Young trying to persuade Hernandez to join the World Elite. When they couldn’t get him Homicide turned heel and joined instead. I’m not feeling the heel turn. They’d have been better off leaving Homicide as Hernandez’s only friend.
BACKSTAGE Eric Young insists that Kiyoshi translate Jeremy Borash’s questions into Japanese. Young says he won’t touch Hernandez in their match. He wants him to join the World Elite.
Eric Young v Hernandez
EY is wearing a suit assuming Hernandez won’t knock his punk ass out. Wrong again, Eric. Border Toss finishes after 30 seconds or so. N/R.
BACKSTAGE Matt Morgan gets interview time. Borash suggests even Matt Morgan isn’t stupid enough to side with Angle again. Morgan says tonight is about he and Angle and claims the world has been waiting to see them clash. Hahahaha. Maybe if Matt Morgan had a personality surgically added.
X title – Samoa Joe (c) v Daniels
No Taz, no MEM. Hopefully Joe can get back on track here. This heel turn has been a disaster. Highlighted by a quite dreadful match with frequent collaborator Homicide. Daniels starts faster and he needs to use the ropes because Joe is so dominant in the ring. That works twice but his third diving attack sees him planted with the S.T.JOE! Joe then shocks and irritates me with a Samoan nervehold. What? I know he’s a heel but fucking come on. Taz runs through the details on how the snap powerslam works. Its nice having a wrestler on commentary but I do miss Don West’s contagious enthusiasm. Daniels seems able to move faster than Joe, which is strange because Joe has always been so effective because he’s powerful AND freakishly fast for his size. He seems sluggish. Much like in every match he’s had since the Nation of Violence bullshit started. Joe plays opossum before taking out the knee with, what I can only describe as a powerbomb where the opponent lands on his knees. Joe starts stretching Daniels on the mat where his lack of mobility (gimmicked?) doesn’t show. Then the match stops making sense as Daniels forgets the knee injury and just starts jabbing at Joe with moves. Joe just stands there taking them. One after another. Why’s he not moving? He used to dodge stupid looking, slow set up moves. Its why people loved him. Half nelson suplex from Joe with Taz reminding us he used to do that and called it a Car Crash suplex. Daniels comes firing back with the STO but the BME misses and Daniels suddenly remembers the knee. Daniels counters out of the Musclebuster but not into anything and they do a better counter with Daniels trying for Last Rites (called by neither commentator) only for Joe to counter into the Koquina Clutch for the submission. ***. Deeply flawed match that relied on Daniels remembering more than one thing. Joe actually looked better on counters but he still got caught more than usual. This match didn’t make logical sense like it should have. Both guys should know better. Still it was decent, which is better than Joe’s been doing lately. For some reason when he turned heel he started to deteriorate as a worker, which makes no sense. Does he really need less offence as a heel? Doing the same shit worked for Vader. It should work for Joe.
BACKSTAGE Mick Foley gets interviewed and throws in a few digs about people copying him as a metaphor for someone breaking his picture. Or the other way around. Hard to say. Basically he’s out to get the vandal who broke his stuff. I presume he’s going to blame Abyss who they’ve got an angle going with now.
ELSEWHERE The Pope gets interviewed about tonight’s special bonus added attraction match against Suicide. Pope stops off to shill an energy drink so Suicide jumps him.
Suicide v The Pope
This is Falls Count Anywhere and comes from Pope targeting Suicide during last month’s multiple person #1 contenders match. The ref shows up as they’re brawling around backstage. They work in an elbow drop off onto some packing cases from Pope. The Pope considers running Suicide over with a golf buggy but he dodges. Pope tries to climb over the fence but Suicide throws him off onto a stack of pallets. They discover the arena where Suicide gets a springboard dropkick for 2. That’ll do for the in-ring! They battle over a table aiming for a big finish but Pope stops off to suplex Suicide on the ramp. They’re having communication issues out there. Pope keeps going for heel cut offs and Suicide is ignoring them. They have a few awkward moments before Suicide does the Finlay Roller on the stage. Suicide decides to climb up the wall but Pope rolls out of the way and Suicide tables himself. Pope gets the pin. **1/2. Surprisingly fun for a brawl before some clumsy attempted spots dragged it back down. This match needed better structure. Like Charlie Sheen says; every failure can be corrected by better planning.
Knockouts title – Cody Deaner v ODB
Man, is this title ever in the toilet! Why on Earth did they book this? Going back to the very start and the ‘Win a Date with ODB’ contest that killed a bunch of PPV time to begin the angle. The whole thing feels like a big waste of time and Deaner feels like a poor man’s Jamie Noble. To set this up Deaner has been claiming he’s the King of the Knockouts because he thinks the title has something to do with knocking people out. Yes, he really is that stupid. Deaner mostly manhandles ODB until his stupidity allows ODB to take over. Testicular Claw and the Dirty Dozen are followed by the Thesz Press for 2. Deaner tries to cheat but the ref sees it. He berates the ref until the zebra actually helps ODB, which I’m fine with because fuck Cody Deaner. Deaner finally demonstrates the awesome power of the punch…for 2. Deaner tries the ropes but gets caught in a TKO. ODB takes the belt to end this idiotic storyline. ½*. Deaner would make his final appearance in Feast or Fired and oddly enough didn’t get the fired case. He was fired anyway. I’m fine with storyline over wrestling (sometimes) but people paid money to see this and Deaner is like a valet. I don’t mind seeing him in someone’s corner but I don’t want to see him wrestle.
BACKSTAGE Kurt Angle gets an interview. He says Morgan is taller and stronger but its not about that. He’s got heart and brains, of which Morgan has neither.
Legends title – Kevin Nash (c) v Abyss
Nash is after Dr Stevie’s $50k bounty and has given Abyss a title shot to do so. Mick Foley comes out to do commentary. Taz & Foley bond over how horrible it is to commentate on WWE shows. You’d probably expect this match to fail on many levels. And you’d be right. They telegraph the spots and Nash, as per usual, pretty much phones it in. Dr Stevie shows up to watch. Foley & Taz continue bonding over use of the word “belt”, which was a WWE taboo. Daffney runs in to try and TAZE Abyss but BLACK HOLE SLAM! That was one of those freaky triple rotation ones. Nash plods back into the match, hits a chair shot and pins…for 2. Abyss escapes the powerbomb into a chokeslam. Slow motion chaining! Its like watching a replay. Abyss wants Foley’s barbwire bat. The ref is all “erm, that’s illegal”. Meanwhile Nash sneaks the tazer back in and hooks it up to Abyss’ balls. Urgh. ½*. Another snoozer but the finish implies a more interesting feud will be forthcoming.
POST MATCH Dr Stevie refuses to give Nash the money so Nash powerbombs him and takes it anyway. Hey, he earned it. He just wrestled for 8 whole minutes.
BACKSTAGE Borash has Booker & Steiner. Scott says he doesn’t like “any foreigners” and if you’re American and can’t speak English he doesn’t like you either. He tells Borash to sort out Doug (“or Don”) and “British Magnus or whatever his name is”. Naturally, as ever, the numbers spell disaster.
Lethal Lockdown: British Invasion/Booker T/Scott Steiner v Beer Money/Team 3D
The cage takes ages to build. Shouldn’t they have more stuff cued up to keep the crowd interested? If this was Mexico this crowd would riot. Ricky Marvin said so. Doug Williams and James Storm start. Holy shit, was someone listening to me? When Beer Money wrestled British Invasion these guys were great against one another. They do some fun stuff. Storm’s Whirlybird being a highlight. But there’s also a lot of choking and cage stuff, which they get too into. Brutus Magnus is out next. He smashes the cage door on Storm’s head. Notice how the heels ALWAYS get the man advantage in these things? BI open Storm’s forehead up. Robert Roode is out next so now we have two teams in there. He cleans house. There’s something weird about cage matches. Sometimes they seem to forget the actual wrestling and just do cage spots. The best thing about this match is that Beer Money do actual double teaming BECAUSE THEY CAN. No 5 count. Scott Steiner is in next. He pops off some suplexes. FRANKENSTEINER! BI just stand around and let Steiner take over the match, which is weird considering what he said about them right before this. D-Von is out next. He cleans house. Getting pretty tired of every new guy coming in and taking over. Taz starts lifting Bobby Heenan lines to keep Mike Tenay amused. Booker T is last man in for the heels. He takes his time getting out there. For a moment I thought he was going to be so slow that Bubba would get there before him.
Bubba is jumped by “Big” Rob Terry on the floor. Terry demands the cage to be lowered. Wow, he managed to bully a technician. I’m so scared. Steiner is doing push up’s! Now, Steiner, he scares me because I think he’s genuinely insane. It doesn’t matter if he is or not. Cage drops down and the plunder comes into play. 4 on 3 still with Bubba left outside and the heels boss it with the plunder. Bubba KILLS Terry with an evil unprotected chair shot before going chair crazy in the ring. The one on Doug is SO soft. I guess it’s a matter of respect and how little Terry commands from 3D (or anyone else). Brutus decides to climb onto the roof, which is never a smart move. Storm joins him for the usual ‘almost’ falling off spot. Roode goes up there with evil intentions. Double suplex on the top! BEER! MONEY! 3D on Steiner. Book End on Bubba for 2. He really has killed that finisher off. DWI on Doug gets the pin for Beer Money. Hmm, anticlimactic. ***1/2. There’s nothing wrong with this match, aside from how underwhelming it is, but they could easily have done better than this. Which is a reoccurring theme.
BACKSTAGE the War Machine tries hard not to laugh at Interview Girl calling Bobby Lashley “the greatest MMA fighter in the world” (presumably because he managed to beat Bob Sapp). Rhino reminds us this isn’t MMA and he’ll be bringing the wrestling…plus the Gore. Natch.
Rhino v Bobby Lashley
I don’t get why TNA felt the need to bring in Lashley, let alone give him this placement on the card. And against Rhino? They’ve not even used Rhino in any meaningful way recently. So you know who wins here. Now, sign Brock Lesnar and we’ll talk. The match is basics 101. Rhino is the heel so he controls and works boring heat. At one point hooking a chinlock that the crowd is incredibly kind to. I suppose I should keep in mind that Lashley hasn’t worked much since 2007 due to MMA training but the rust is frustrating. Rhino gets busted, accidentally Gores the ref and then another Gore gets 2. He goes for a third one but Lashley punches him for the win. Oh dear. ¼*. Incredibly boring. I was actually fighting off sleep during this.
Sidenote: a word on the finish. You can get literally ANYTHING over as a finish but with one minor stipulation; it has to look good. If you’re going to use a punch as a finish (Big Show) then it’d better look fantastic. Show’s does. Lashley’s just looks like a regular punch. I get they’re trying to showcase his MMA skills but that just highlights the difference between sports. There shouldn’t be a difference between an MMA punch and a wrestling punch. Because wrestling is worked you can’t have a punch finish every match. People would hate that. My rambling point is that Lashley could have finished with a submission hold and ‘kept it real’.
BACKSTAGE AJ Styles & Sting are both professional and want the belt. They’re on friendly terms. This is also bugging me. They’re saying Sting is running out of title shots before he’s retired except he’s been doing that for 2 years. And AJ considered retiring before coming back for this very match and it’s a 4-way? Angle has a great promo point in the pre-recorded video. He says that every elderly wrestler wants “one last” run at the title. He tries to sow seeds of dissent with everyone while being aware that Morgan is now against him.
TNA title – Kurt Angle (c) v Matt Morgan v Sting v AJ Styles
It all feels a little clustered BUT I appreciate the layered booking here. Its almost ECW-esque. Everyone has an issue coming in. Then they go and overbook by bringing Hernandez out here to cash in the Money in the Bank, oops, Feast or Fired briefcase.
TNA title – Kurt Angle (c) v Matt Morgan v Sting v AJ Styles v Hernandez
Tenay claims Hernandez wants to earn it the hard way. I don’t buy it. I figure they’d painted themselves into a corner and needed to get his title shot out of the way somewhere. He goes after Angle and everyone else stands around letting it happen. He takes Kurt up the ramp and hits a suplex. Back in the ring the Styles-Sting Alliance tries cheeky roll up’s on Morgan. Eric Young runs out here to stop the Border Toss and he piledrives Hernandez on the stage…to NO reaction. I think this may be getting too heavily booked for the fans. I actually dig that EY took issue with Hernandez for earlier and by seeking revenge robbed him of a title opportunity but there’s already a lot going on in this match. It didn’t need this too. Tenay talks about the “unwritten locker room code” where piledrivers are off-limits. Which is a silly way of them saying they agree with the WWE eliminating the move on the sly. Morgan, who is a bloody stupid prat, teams with Angle to divide AJ & Sting. AJ & Angle do some great stuff in the ring with counters and counters to counters. It makes me wish they’d made this ‘elimination’ rules and eliminated everyone bar Angle & AJ quickly. Tenay claims the fans are “surprised” that Morgan is stupid enough to trust Angle AGAIN but in fact they’re just waiting for Kurt to inevitably turn on him. AJ breaks that up to take bumps for Morgan and Angle. I like the one-upmanship with Morgan & Angle. Morgan hitting his crazy big man spots and Angle standing back with this look of “I could do that but I don’t wanna”. AJ dispatches Morgan with the Pele Kick but Angle jumps on him with a German suplex. Sting decides to come back in but fucks his arm up in the process. Stinger Splashes for the heels. ANGLESLAM. AJ breaks the pin. He then counters the Angleslam into the Styles Clash and Morgan saves. Crowd seems subdued for some reason. Morgan with the Hellevator to NO pop and Sting saves. He tries it on Sting but gets countered into the Scorpion Deathdrop but Angle saves. Sting grabs him with the Deathlock but Angle blocks it into the Anklelock. He’s unprotected though and the Carbon Footprint connects. Sting & AJ are left standing. Sting steps out to attack Morgan thus leaving AJ to take this; SPRINGBOARD 450 SPLASH! AJ Styles takes the win and the belt. ***1/2. Crowd looked bored throughout but I loved some of the booking with various issues between the competitors. And they put the title on the right guy. This is emphasised by a confetti celebration and the locker room emptying to join him (along with half the crowd). Still not sure why Hernandez cashed in as he had almost nothing to do and got punked out by a midcarder. No wonder they didn’t want to put the title on him. But seriously; AJ winning brings this up and gives me hope. Plus Sting did the right thing and stepped aside for the younger talent.
POST MATCH There are fans everywhere creating this wonderful special atmosphere. I can’t help thinking TNA were really onto something with the hope factor of AJ taking the belt but quite why it was a 5-way is anyone’s guess. I don’t see why it couldn’t have just been elimination rules. Sting gets himself counted out eliminating Morgan and AJ gets to pin Angle afterwards. Same basic finish but there’s a reason for Hernandez going out early.
Final Thoughts: TNA tried to do something different here. They changed the way the arena looked, switched the commentary and pushed new talent. Check out Sarita, Pope, Hernandez and AJ getting wins. Plus Bobby Lashley. Not everything worked but sometimes you have to take things in a different direction and hopefully this means we’re going to see some actual wrestling talent in the main events again. No offence to Kurt Angle, Mick Foley or Sting but they were hurt or unfit carrying that belt. AJ is the man to carry the company forward. The difference between TNA and other companies is that other companies put on good shows while TNA give you hope that things will be better soon. While there’s only so many times you can fool people into believing that this show is a step in the right direction after months of depressing shows. It goes to show that some good is better than all bad.