With so much attention generally directed towards WWE these days, it’s only fair to take a look at TNA’s take on women’s wrestling: The Knockouts’ Division.
I haven’t really been following the Impact Wrestling broadcasts, for obvious reasons: generally, puncturing both ear drums with an ice pick is a preferable activity by comparison. That being said, I didn’t have very high hopes of HardCORE Justice 2011. I’m not completely done with the show, as I’m watching Beer Money defend the TNA World Tag Team Championship against Mexican America. However, so far, the Knockouts have had some of the most entertaining–to me at least–matches of the night.
I’m not sure if this is speaking highly of the Knockouts or lowly of the male wrestlers, and I suppose that’s a matter of a glass half-full or half-empty. To give TNA the benefit of the doubt, I’ll go with half-full.
Earlier in the night, we saw Mexican America unsuccessfully challenge Tara and Misss Tessmacher for the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship. It was a solid match and Tessmacher really surprised me. Tessmacher countered a running powerslam into a small package. It was my first time seeing a Rosita match and my first time seeing a Miss Tessmacher match and they both made a great impression. It’s worth being noted Brooke Tessmacher was a member of “Extreme Expose” with Kelly Kelly in WWE. I don’t even remember her wrestling back then, yet she progressed to be miles ahead of Kelly in terms of talent.
TNA’s still playing the ‘sex sells’ card, naturally, and all four of these Knockouts deserve to be called knockouts in that sense, but it’s nice to see an emphasis on the in-ring action rather than emphasis on the knockouts getting INTO the ring.
The second Knockouts match of the night featured two former WWE ‘Divas’ facing off for the TNA Knockouts’ Championship. Katie Lea Burchill, now billed as ‘Winter,’ took on Mickie James. Now, there’s a lot I don’t like and have never liked about Mickie James. Her entrance music is one thing, and her clumsiness in the ring is reminiscent of John Cena. There’s just something ‘off’ about how she executes most of her strikes.I’d never noticed anything special about Burchill, quite possibly because WWE never allowed her to do much.
While it wasn’t an amazing match, it still blew WWE’s Divas matches out of the water, easily. It felt like a pay-per-view match with actual thought put into it. Burchill worked on Mickie’s back as she bent her over her knee, and it’s the type of planning that you rarely see in womens’ wrestling in the United States. The match ended with Mickie James getting Great Muta’d in the face by Winter. James then writhes in pain as it burns her (supposedly). If it was in Winter’s mouth, how is it burning her? Well, it’s TNA. Baby steps, I suppose.
One great move TNA DID make, however, is constructing the Mexican America stable. Rosita & Sarita accompanied Hernandez & Anarquia to the ring for their title shot against Beer Money, and it reminded me of another missed opportunity for WWE. WWE never uses its Divas in stables. If they do, it is at the expense of their in-ring careers, because WWE’s writers ‘don’t know how’ to write angles for stables with female in-ring competitors. TNA is doing a great thing with Mexican America, because Rosita and Sarita are getting additional exposure by being associated with them in major angles with Beer Money.
WWE could benefit from a similar situation, but unless someone clues the McMahons in on the need for improvement, things will never change. TNA, however, is finally returning to two of their strong points: the X-Division and the Knockouts. For that, I applaud them.
Cue the Eric Bischoff theme… “I’m Back!”
Wait, wrong company. But FINALLY, I’ve come back to… wait, wrong company again.
Anyway, I gave TNA yet another chance recently. Or should I say ‘Impact Wrestling.’ This dastardly deed came about after an exchange between myself and TNA’s Jeremy Borash. I insulted TNA, and he responded jokingly, so I felt bad and appreciated him taking the time to respond to a critic, which should probably be a no-no in the pro-wrestling realm of the internet.
So I told him I would give it a chance, because, to be fair, I hadn’t seen it in a while. I wasn’t exaggerating when I said it was painful to watch. If WWE could come full circle to convert me once again, though, why not TNA?
It turns out I came up with just as many things that I liked about the show as I did things that I didn’t like. In the optimistic sense, that’s quite an improvement.
Well, at least it was live on Thursday night. I’m not sure if you can consider it live if you wait until the next night to watch it.
1:00: Dixie Carter’s notes on running a wrestling promotion: Handguns trump 2x4s covered in nails. Remember to hire better security or police.
1:05: More from Dixie: Remember to pick up bread, milk, and research local acting schools.
2:35: Abyss stands somewhat in the crowd (he’s kind of wandering around, goes to show how ‘packed’ it is) rambling about ‘them.’ Must be boring for the fans who can’t hear him, since he’s not miked, and even worse for those who can.
4:00: “Bob” makes his Impact debut, Murphy and Gunner run down for a staredown against Bob and Janice. Bischoff joins, and apparently he’s more effective than bullets, as Abyss lets Carter go. This isn’t even the slightest bit entertaining or amusing.
7:00 skipping forward, Grumpy Old Men and Pope are in the ring. Calls Bischoff a “no good son-of-a-Bischoff.” Nice. Read more
In yesterday’s article, I said WWE programming was on an upswing. Today’s article explains why TNA is on its own upswing. A slow, but steady upswing. Call it ‘Thomas the Wrestling Promotion.’
First off, No Surrender 2010 was a pretty good pay-per-view. Spoiler alert: here’s a breakdown of the results and my thoughts on each:
- Motor City Machine Guns def. Generation Me, Tag Team Championship
Originally this match was supposed to be the Guns versus London Brawling, but they were pulled out due to ‘personal reasons.’ Generation Me subbed in for what would easily be the match of the night, and turned heel afterwards. Max and Jeremy are currently in a program with the Guns, so I wonder if this was the plan from the start?
- Douglas Williams def. Sabu, X Division Championship
I was looking forward to this match mostly due to the contrast in styles. Williams retains in a decent match and Sabu can STILL GO. I hope he’s careful and planning to retire soon, though, as I doubt his body can take many more years of his high-risk style.
- Velvet Sky def. Madison Rayne
It seems a bit odd to have a Knockouts match on pay-per-view without the title being involved, but given that they have the highest rated angle going on, why not?
- Abyss def. Rhino, Falls Count Anywhere match
I didn’t pay much attention to this match as I didn’t have a very high interest level in it, but I did catch the part where they were fighting under the stage and Rhino was thrown through a ‘perforated’ wall in the base of the stage. I wasn’t a fan.
- Jarrett/Samoa Joe def Sting/Nash
I’m not a big fan of this angle, though I am vaguely intrigued as far as where they plan to take this. As much as I hate making this comparison, it unfortunately reeks of 2000 WCW ‘worked-shoot’ Russo segments. I guess I don’t like it as much this time around since I’ve become an ‘internet fan,’ so I’m immune to the edginess of that type of angle.
- AJ Styles def Tommy Dreamer, I Quit match.
Not too many comments on this one. Physically, AJ Styles is the Shawn Michaels of TNA, and can work a good match with anyone. A good way to get heel heat is to stick a fork in someone’s eye. The 2010 equivalent to breaking Dusty Rhodes’ arm after a parking lot ambush. The lovable, blue-collar fat guy gets beaten down by the Horsemen. I suppose it’s a sad time when the Dusty Rhodes of your era is Tommy Dreamer.
Sidenote: AJ’s TV Title was not on the line, does this mean it’s literally just a title for television broadcasts?
- Kurt Angle vs Jeff Hardy went to a no contest, World Championship tournament semi-final match.
Great match despite Jeff Hardy botching his spots and Angle attempting spots when he doesn’t need to do moonsaults to be over. Extending the time limit only to extend it a second time defies the logic of just having the match go on until there’s a winner, but it reminds me too that sometimes we shouldn’t ‘over think’ and be so critical. It was well-planned, well-executed, and it went over well with the crowd.
- Mr Anderson def. D’Angelo Dinero, World Championship tournament semi-final match.
Great match with a win-win scenario, as either will make a great world champion if and when that day comes. Anderson’s post-match banter was very entertaining too. Anderson posed in all four corners, and dare I say it was reminiscent of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s post-match celebrations. Read more
The internet is buzzing with TNA’s latest plan: another ECW tribute show. The angle has been brewing for weeks now, starting with Tommy Dreamer appearing in the crowd at the Impact Zone, and returning with ECW alumni at his side. Most recently, the “ECW Originals” jumped the railing and began a brawl against the TNA roster. That broadcast of Impact ended with Dixie Carter telling the roster, “Stop! I invited them.”
The next broadcast ended with an ‘explanation’ segment and Dreamer requesting to have one last shot for the ECW cronies to shine. Carter agreed, under one condition: Dreamer has full control. No TNA, just ECW.
The problem with something like this buzzing through the internet is the tendency of internet wrestling fans to over-analyze and criticize every little thing. Now, to be fair, putting your hard-working roster completely on-hold to have one last grasp on the glory days of a long-defunct promotion isn’t great business.
According to Hulk Hogan, AJ Styles ‘needed character,’ and I don’t disagree. I do however disagree with the choice to pair Styles with Ric Flair, rehashing the ‘Nature Boy’ gimmick and essentially passing the torch.
The program has been great so far, but I think someone else could have benefited from it more greatly than Styles, and Styles should have gone in a different direction.
Let’s face it, Styles is rather bland as a babyface, and while he may be over with the IWC and the smarks at the Impact Zone, he never had a chance at becoming a household name without intervention.
Something just isn’t right about Styles adopting the Ric Flair persona. For starters, he’s married. Second, no one can pull off a ‘Wooo’ quite like Flair himself. Styles doesn’t have the right type of charisma needed for that role, and the aftereffect is that it sometimes comes off as comedic, rather than the serious style that the Horsemen used to present.
Speaking of the Four Horsemen, there have been rumors of a new Four Horsemen group being formed. Again, with Styles involved, I can’t see it working. The transition was just too big of a leap for AJ.
One TNA star that it would have worked a lot better with is Robert Roode. Roode has the ‘it’ factor and is a bona fide future main eventer. Perhaps this idea comes to mind due to the fact that Roode has made entrances dressed in robes that draw up memories of Ric Flair.
Perhaps it’s his tough style that could stack him up against Arn Anderson. Perhaps it’s his look, the look of a guy you really wouldn’t want to mess with. The look of a Horseman.
There’s no rule that says there has to be a ‘Flair-type,’ and an ‘Arn-type’ in the new Horsemen group. WWE’s Evolution stable was a pretty darn good modern example of a Horsemen-style stable, but even that wasn’t a mirror image. Read more
You know the hype, so I will just jump into the action.
Impact began with an 8 person Asylum cage match. A lot of people seem to dislike the Asylum cage, and I can understand why, but I don’t mind it. Aside from looking like an Elimination Chamber ripoff, it reminds me of the old blue WWF cage. What they have to remember, though, six sides of anything is going to need extra reinforcement compared to four sides, so this means more obstructed views from the fan’s perspective in the crowd.
The match ended with Homicide taking out the other secen participants, which prompted a ‘no contest’ decision from the referee. Much to no one’s surprise, the decision earned a ‘bullshit’ chant from the crowd, which was bleeped out every time. This got pretty annoying. Overall the point of the finish was to end it without burying any of the X-Division stars by not actually putting anyone over (although no one gets buried if it’s an escape finish).
Homicide failed at escaping the cage (as anyone probably would) and dropped back into the ring. The remaining participants ‘came to their senses’ and attacked Homicide, basically having to improvise. Jeff Hardy jumps the barricade and Homicide attacks him. The attack included an unprotected chair shot, which is really not necessary in this day and age of wrestling. Too many reports of brain tissue analysis are coming out that describe horrific effects of constant head trauma from this profession, so hopefully TNA/Homicide/Hardy don’t make a habit of it.
A lot of people complained and nitpicked on various forums and reports I’ve read, about that debut and everything about it, but I really thought it was pretty good considering a lot had to be improvised. Even Mike Tenay had to make an effort to cover up Homicide’s inability to escape the cage: “Oh, now he’s just showing off.” When I watched it live, I thought Tenay caught something that I missed, so I bought it. Effective emergency control on an announcer’s part. Still, if such a mishap can occur so early in your most important broadcast, maybe they should have gone with a regular WRESTLING match, or Ultimate X. Read more
I remember it like it was yesterday. Sitting on the floor at the foot of my father’s bed on a Monday night in July. With no school in session, there was no reason I couldn’t stay up to watch WCW Monday Nitro rather than tape it and watch it the next day. Of course, my Dad didn’t have the same luxury of a summer vacation, so I had to try to contain my excitement as I watched then-undefeated United States Champion Bill Goldberg challenge the ‘immortal’ Hollywood Hulk Hogan in the Georgia Dome. That’s right, I even remember the arena. I also remember it being the peak of entertainment in my young-adult days. Never before (and I don’t think I was ever again) was I that engrossed and drawn into a TV show (perhaps my childhood favorite ‘Power Rangers’ would be the only exception) in my life.
Fast-forwarding over ten years later, a lot has changed. If you’ve been reading this blog, you might have gotten the impression that I am still a wrestling fan. That assumption is correct, but it’s not a statement that can be written without asterisks at hand. A lot has changed. The lines of real and scripted are no longer as blurred as they once were to me, and many names have come and gone since. Even that said company has gone; gone into the clutches of Vince McMahon. Wrestling has not been the same since World Championship Wrestling closed, because there is no competition for World Wrestling Entertainment, the ‘number one’ in the business.
That may change over time, as the ‘number two’ in the business, Total Non-stop Action Wrestling, has signed the most well-known and popular star in the history of professional wrestling: Hulk Hogan. Love him or hate him, everyone and their uncle knows the Hulkster. Not everyone knows TNA, however, and while one man can’t automatically make TNA a contender, it sure will help a lot. Read more
For the first time in I can’t possibly determine how long, I sat through an entire Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling (TNA) event. This time it was a pay-per-view—Turning Point 2009. Turning Point featured a back-to-basics main event that finally got the backbone of TNA into the spotlight once again—X-Division veterans AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, and Christopher Daniels. The triple threat match was a rematch of the Unbreakable 2005 main event, the only time the X-Division title has ever been the main event focus of a pay-per-view, but this time, four years later, AJ Styles defends the TNA World championship against Joe and Daniels.
In a rematch of what many fans consider to be the best main event in TNA history, AJ Styles retained the World title. If the 2005 main event was the best ever, then this was an easy contender for the number two spot, as it was simply phenomenal. Several near-falls and creative spots kept me on the edge of my seat, and I would have to say that these three men are the heart of that company—not Kurt Angle or any former WWE stars. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a ‘TNA Original’ (to steal a term from WWE) main event and it was refreshing to see such a good one again. One key moment saw an incredible chain of reversals between Daniels and Styles consisting of a Last Rites by Daniels, reversed into an Angel’s Wings by Styles, reversed into a bridge pin by Daniels, which Daniels flipped back out of into a standing position to lift Styles into his own finisher, the Styles Clash. The Clash attempt was not successful, however, due to a super-kick to Daniels by Samoa Joe. This is the type of excitement that is needed in professional wrestling today. Read more