Featuring Ivan Trembow's Self-Important, Random Rants on Mixed Martial Arts, Video Games, Pro Wrestling, Television, Politics, Sports, and High-Quality Wool Socks
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Pro Wrestling--- The TNA Turning Point pay-per-view event would have been better if it had simply ended with the phenomenal Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles match (which I wrote about here), but instead we had to sit through another Jeff Jarrett match. Jarrett vs. Rhino was the standard Jarrett match, with the only notable variation being Rhino's crazy bump off the scaffolding. That's the kind of legitimately dangerous bump that should be sold for several minutes, if not longer, and I feel that Rhino did himself and the match a huge disservice by going back on offense less than 60 seconds after the bump. The teased count-out finish would have been incredibly stupid, and the finish that actually did take place was only slightly less stupid.
I hope TNA's real-life president, Dixie Carter, was listening and realized that it wasn't just "heel heat" when the crowd was chanting, "Fire Jarrett!" He could still work backstage and still be a booker (and a pretty good one at that), but there is absolutely no reason that Jeff Jarrett should still be in the main event picture or on television at all. Internal politics aside, the fact remains that the Carter family owns the majority of TNA and can do whatever they want with the company. All we need now is for Dixie Carter to grow a backbone and do what needs to be done with Jarrett.
The show-closing announcement about Sting signing with TNA is being sold as a far bigger deal than it actually is, and you can already tell just how much of a full-time schedule Sting is going to work in TNA by the fact that he couldn't even be bothered to show up for the big announcement. I'm assuming that Sting is going to be thrust into the main event picture even though he is 15 years older and nowhere near as charismatic or talented as TNA's other recent big signing, Christian. Even if part of the deal to sign Sting was that he had to be in the main event slot, is there a person on this earth whose last name is not Jarrett or Carter who honestly believes that Jarrett vs. Sting would be any more of a draw than Rhino vs. Sting, or any number of other people vs. Sting?
Even though he hasn't had a good match since 1998, it's possible to bring Sting into the promotion and get some former wrestling fans to sample the TNA product without making him a title challenger. He could be put in the same "special attraction" role that Undertaker has had for years in WWE, where he's pushed prominently but also separately from the world title picture. It would be fitting since Sting and Undertaker are both 45-year-old men who can't put on good matches, and were never particularly good in their peak years, either.
The X Division tag team match with Alex Shelley & Roderick Strong vs. Austin Aries & Matt Bentley was a very good match. It should have been booked to go longer than it did, but within that timeframe there was a lot of world-class action and also some solid character development. TNA developed the character of Alex Shelley over the past several weeks, a move that is a welcome and long overdue addition to the X Division.
You can't go from having no character development to all of a sudden having nuanced character development for all of the X Division wrestlers, and Alex Shelley was the obvious choice to be the first person to get this treatment. The past few weeks of TNA Impact on Spike TV have shown that Shelley's character is about a lot more than setting up the stupid video camera at ringside to film his matches. He has had a cocky demeanor that is very reminiscent of a young Chris Jericho. Logic would dictate that TNA should now spend the next month giving Austin Aries (or Chris Sabin, or Roderick Strong) a unique identity that separates him from all of the other X Division wrestlers, and then the next month give the same treatment to another X Division wrestler, and so on.
The Barbed Wire match between Abyss and Sabu did an excellent job at what it was meant to do, which was to provide the fans with an exciting, brutal, gore-fest. We just had a pay-per-view earlier this year (WWE No Way Out in February) where an entire month of TV was dedicated to pushing the barbed wire stipulation, only to have nobody use, touch, or come in contact with the barbed wire in any way during the match (see dictionary definition: "false advertising"). This match was a huge step up not only from that low standard, but also a step up from the usage of barbed wire in general on wrestling PPVs in the past.
With an excellent promo by Abyss' manager James Mitchell on the pre-show, TNA finally explained why the normally fearless Abyss is so afraid of barbed wire, and it added to the story of the match if you cared to see it. In the storyline, Abyss was able to overcome his fear of having any contact with barbed wire enough to not only enter the ring and have the match, but also to give Sabu a run for his money... but he was still not able to take it to a level where he could beat Sabu in a match that is Sabu's specialty. Now, how much storyline is that compared to the non-existent storyline in most hardcore stunt matches? The answer is, "A hell of a lot more than you would ordinarily see."
Both of these men put their bodies in the line in a dangerous, brutal back-and-forth match with legit barbed wire, as evidenced by the way the barbed wire ripped at their clothes, and stuck to Abyss' hair at the end. More sickening than anything in the match, though, was the fact that the Torch's Wade Keller (who is one of the journalists that I respect the most in any field of journalism) crapped on this match while giving a much higher rating to the Jeff Jarrett vs. Rhino match, which seems a bit silly to me.
The promos back and forth between Christian and Monty Brown leading up to their PPV match have been fantastic from both men (which surprised me in Brown's case but not in Christian's case). While their match at the PPV wasn't as good as the promos leading up to it, it was still a good match. I just hope that Christian isn't big-footed by an untold number of months of Jarrett vs. Sting main events, which wouldn't be all that different from being held down by the Triple H's and Undertaker's of WWE.
Team Canada and Four-Live-Krew had the same match that they always have... that is, until the extremely well done heel turn by Konnan at the end. The reactions of BG James and Ron Killings were also excellent. After Konnan took it a step further by also hitting BG James in the head with the chair, and then hugging Ron Killings and leaving the ring, the look on Killings' face (which basically said, "What the f--k just happened?") was absolutely priceless and fit perfectly with the storyline that was playing out.
There has been no word on why Jeff Hardy no-showed his match on the pre-show, but if it's because he went into another stupor, then TNA should either pay for him to go to drug rehab or fire him if he refuses. Otherwise, they're just enabling him at this point, and if that's the case, this story is going to have a sad ending that none of us want to see.
The tables match between Team 3D and America's Most Wanted was pretty much what I expected. I think they should have made it more clear that it was a non-title match, as I initially thought that Team 3D won the tag team titles when the won the match. I hope Team 3D doesn't get in trouble for accidentally letting the word "Dudleys" slip out in their pre-match promo... actually, I hope they do "get in trouble" so that WWE gets thrown out of court for trying to prevent the Dudleys from using the name that they used for years before they ever worked for WWE.
I was, once again, pleasantly surprised by the announcing of both Mike Tenay and Don West. They did a great job not only with the Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles match, but with the other matches on the card as well. It's different on TV when they're (understandbly) in the "sell the upcoming PPV" mode, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised when Tenay and West do a top-notch job announcing at next month's PPV. It's amazing how far Don West has come, from being an infomercial pitchman who knew very little about pro wrestling in 2002, to at this point being better at the serious side of being a color commentator than Jerry Lawler and in the same ballpark as Tazz.
The storyline with Raven and Larry Zbyszko has started to grow on me in recent weeks and is actually a pretty good storyline at this point, but they really need to come up with something better for the PPVs than to have Raven face a different person from his past each month who isn't in top ring shape (not that Raven is right now, either). Also, we've had a month of hints about a woman in Raven's life making him go soft and lose his edge, so it's time for TNA to deliver on that aspect of the storyline, whatever it might be.
The angle with AJ Pierzynski of the Chicago White Sox did what it was meant to do, which was to get TNA a lot of mainstream publicity. It was nice to see Chris Sabin and Sonjay Dutt get the rub from this angle, and it was also nice to see Bobby Heenan make a special appearance after his battles with throat cancer over the past few years. It was hilarious when TNA officials presented Pierzynski with a "TNA Championship Ring" after the match, only to have Heenan immediately grab the ring and bite into it, as if to see if it was fake. Heenan still has the intangible quality that made him such a beloved personality in the first place, and I hope that his health continues to improve.