Welcome to round 2 of my little TNA Impact review. I’ll fess up and say that going into this week’s show, I had my doubts about whether or not the whole “hindsight” gimmick was a good idea. Sure, it’s easy to second guess what TNA does on arguably the biggest night in their history, but on a week to week basis?
Wrestling booking rarely makes sense when you compartmentalize it. It takes weeks, sometimes months, to develop and play out. It’s an ever evolving process with a host of characters, so sometimes making snap judgments about it isn’t necessarily as easy as questioning whether or not the Patriots should have elected to receive instead of defer last weekend. I digress.
The good news is that this show gave me plenty of optimism for the future. There’s enough to wonder about on this show that makes me think that future iterations will be just as easy to second guess as was the intro to the Hogan-off era. Let’s begin.
Nice recap of last week’s Impact, in case you missed it. They hit the high points, glossed over the weak stuff enough to make it look snazzy, and did a nice job of letting you know why you should care about this week’s Impact. Bischoff remarked last week in an interview that he felt Impact definitely had the “better” show, just not the “slicker” show. That’s fair, and this video shows they’re at least working at improving that.
“The Band” is back together, and apparently that’s the name they’re going to go with for this whole “nWo” group they’ve got going. They could have done worse. Like, say, Kings of Wrestling.
Our first match is Generation Me vs. The Motor City Machine Guns. My first instinct when the former Young Bucks were hired was that the Guns could be facing a loss of job security. In having these teams on the roster, TNA essentially has two of the same guy. Like if they had Kip James and Shawn Stasiak on the active singles roster.
As an aside here, I always thought WWE should have stuck Billy Gunn and Shawn Stasiak together when they were both floundering through the singles ranks. Give them a mouthpiece like Trish Stratus or whatever female was available at the time and team them up. Why these two? They could have pulled off the old Killer Bees “masks at the end switcharoo” gimmick.
It would have worked as a midcard heel tag team that would have gotten an ill fated tag title run of about 3 weeks before losing to some stupid makeshift tag team and given these guys something to do.
My point is that the former Bucks and the Guns are basically the same team, and you don’t need that. It just clutters the roster. Given that the Guns have been on the tag team treadmill forever, have had issues with creative, and while popular seem fated for a Rockers destiny of never winning the big one, TNA may figure it best to cut ties and move forward and try again with Generation Me. For now, though, we’ve got them both. Together.
The match itself turns out to be a lot of fun. TNA throws a lot of stuff up on YouTube, and if they don’t put this match up, they’re just being silly gooses. Geese? I’m not sure what the plural of that phrase is.
The Guns get a lot of their trademark offense in early, which is aesthetically pleasing and gets the crowd going with snazzy and familiar spots, but isn’t a good sign for them winning this match. After a few minutes of the MCMG’s doing their thing, it’s time for Generation Me to show off.
The backflip from the knees through the middle and top rope onto the apron moonsault onto the floor spot? My mind had trouble processing that. Absolutely incredible to see, and shows the potential that these kids have. The teams start trading fast and faster paced double team moves, and finally a bang bang bang combination of rolling fireman’s carry/450/moonsault scores the upset for the debuting Generation Me.
My Verdict: Two Thumbs Up
Other than the ring gear, absolutely nothing to complain about here. Excellent television debut for a new team, something to keep you tuned in for the next segment, and TNA could not have chosen a better opening match. Well done.
In Hindsight: A good debut for Generation Me with a couple of sticking points. As talented as they are in the ring, Generation Me looks like they just came out of wrestling at a high school gym. Considering they’re imports from Ring Of Honor, I guess that’s true. TNA should have upgraded their gear before putting them on television. I thought the split-screen with The Band walking in was a nice touch. Tease the audience with their arrival without taking any time away from the match at hand. Slowly but surely, TNA is learning. Finally, on Generation Me’s finisher, the 450 needs to be the last piece. It’s just more visually impressive than a moonsault, but that may tread on AJ’s springboard finisher. Regardless, a very good debut.
We head backstage, and The Nasty Boys are still here. Good. Great. Nothing could make me happier. Team 3D starts pounding at the door, and TNA manages to kill all interest built from the first match within 2 minutes.
After a commercial, Hogan tells us that we’re going to see AJ Styles vs. Kurt Angle at the pay per view for the TNA World Heavyweight Title. Good decision. This almost guarantees three home run main events in a row for TNA pay per views – AJ vs. Daniels vs. Joe, AJ vs. Daniels, and now AJ vs. Kurt. He also teases a major acquisition for TNA at the pay per view. Let’s look at who’s out there.
The Rock. Odds of this happening are about as likely as me scoring a 5-way with all three members of the Beautiful People and Taylor Wilde.
Goldberg. Getting older, soured on the business after the WWE experience, may feel he’s a little too important for TNA. Odds against this one, too.
Rob Van Dam. Good fit for the Impact Zone. Light schedule allows him to be with his wife, looser wellness policy allows him to keep his hobby, and he can bounce around the six sided ring with guys like AJ, Jeff Hardy (until he’s in prison), Joe, Angle, and whoever else. I say even odds.
Ken Anderson. Disgruntled upon his release from WWE (as well he should be), this wellness offender, loudmouth, and internet darling has been in contact with Hogan before Hulk arrived in TNA and is probably the odds on favorite here.
THE Brian Kendrick. Odds are against what would be an outstanding X Division addition just because he’s not an “impact” guy in the sense that only hardcore wrestling fans are going to care.
We segue from this into a Kurt and AJ promo to cram a little more build into the Genesis main event, only AJ ends up getting attacked by the ninja that has haunted him for months now. It turns out to be Tomko, and the crowd goes mild.
The Verdict: One thumb down.
In Hindsight: Really? Tomko is away for months, he comes back and you actually do a vignette with him that makes no sense because it’s practically ignored and it’s for a guy that at one point was amazingly over with your fan base, then he doesn’t show up on television again for a week or two, and THEN he’s the guy that’s been attacking AJ? Seriously? This could have been used to debut a new acquisition. Maybe they didn’t know what else to do with Tomko, maybe they just wanted to get this over with and needed an excuse for a main event tonight. Whatever, it left a sour taste in my mouth. The AJ and Kurt promo was okay, though, and Hogan did a good job of hyping the rematch to keep this segment from being entirely useless.
Bubba the Love Sponge, who irritates me on the basis of his name alone, interrupts Christy Hemme’s interview with The Band. Man, Scott Hall is fat. And Syxx Pac had sex with Chyna and put it on video. TWICE. Boo. Bubba presses for answers about the beatdown on Foley, and is stiffarmed out of any answers.
We return to the arena where the Beautiful People are giddy to see Angelina Love in the front row. I’m kind of happy about it, too. Unfortunately for the TBP, they’re going to have to face Kong and Hamada, meaning brutality.
The Beautiful People get some offense in to keep this from being a total squash, but we all know where it’s headed, right? Kong lands an Awesome Bomb on Rayne to finish the deal in short order and your not-quite-squash title defense is over and done with. The post match festivities, however, are of note. Angelina Love joins her former team mates in the ring, and proceeds to beat the crap out of them. Apparently she didn’t like the idea of being replaced by a Von Erich.
My Verdict: Two thumbs up.
In Hindsight: Don’t change a thing here. Hamada and Kong look great, the Beautiful People aren’t hurt by this loss, and Angelina was effectively re-inserted into the Knockout division.
Styles makes his way into Bischoff’s office and demands a match with Tomko. Bischoff tells him the TNA title will have to be on the line, and AJ is cool with that. We go to commercial, which gets interrupted by Beer Money playing hide and seek with Eric Bischoff. More commercials, then we find JB in Easy E’s office wanting to know where Mick is. Eric doesn’t know, doesn’t care, and puts JB on notice about making mistakes. Beer Money finally find Eric’s office and demand a match with Hall and Nash at the pay per view. Eric steals James Storm’s beer and tells him that he’ll get back to them.
My Verdict: One thumb up.
In Hindsight: Nothing ground breaking here, nothing to be ashamed of. They nudged forward a couple of things from last week and set up the main event for tonight.
Lethal Consequences are on their way out, and I have to wonder why Jay Lethal’s every second on television isn’t spent yelling at or for Hulk Hogan whether he’s in the room or not. VROOM VROOM IT’S BOBBY LASHLEY takes out both men before bell and Mrs. Lashley informs us that Bobby’s going to destroy every member of the roster until they get their meeting with Hogan. Lethal Consequences’ opponents are apparently going to be Team 3D, and here comes Brother Ray with an…..ax? REALLY?
Team 3D decide to skip second degree murder and instead finish off the match in a matter of seconds with a 3D to Creed. Bubba then yammers on about stuff in Japan and how the Japanese media had to tell them about the Nasty Boys. They go backstage and…I don’t care. I really don’t.
My Verdict:Two thumbs down.
In Hindsight: In hindsight, put anybody else on your roster on television besides The Nasty Boys. Dammit.
Tomko drops in for an awkward interview segment. He talks about how he and AJ were the greatest tag team ever, something the Legion of Doom, Midnight Express, Team 3D, The Steiner Brothers, The British Bulldogs, Demolition, The Hart Foundation, The Brain Busters, The Rockers, The Rock N Roll Express, The New Age Outlaws, Beer Money, America’s Most Wanted, Jack and Jerry Brisco, Dory and Terry Funk, The Miracle Violence Connection, Benjamin and Haas, DeGeneration X, The Hollywood Blondes, Rude and Fernandez, Adams and Hernandez, The Powers of Pain, The Orient Express, The Conquistadors, Edge and Christian, The Hardy Boyz, The Freebirds, The Von Erichs, The Eliminators, The Pitbulls, Raven and Richards, Benoit and Malenko, The Gangstas, The Gangstanators, The Skyscrapers, LOD 2000, The Smoking Gunns, The Bushwhackers, The Fantastics, High Energy, Owen Hart and Jeff Jarrett, Windham and Garvin, The Varsity Club, Vicious and Delicious, and EVERY OTHER TAG TEAM EVER might disagree with. Tomko’s return has been irreversably botched.
Porn music hits and Sean Morley is here! He gets interrupted by Christopher Daniels and it turns into the inevitable brawl that sees Daniels taking a powder.
My Verdict: One thumb up.
In Hindsight: Ditch the stupid Tomko promo altogether. Save that for a 30 second interview with Christy or Bubba or something. Instead, have Bischoff come out and make an actual match between Morley and Daniels for the pay per view and let the segment be productive. This only gets one thumb up because I like Morley a lot and it’s good to see Daniels get some television time.
Crash TV time! Hype video for Tara vs. ODB, followed by Jarrett coming into the building with a lawyer-looking stranger, followed by Morgan and Hernandez warming up for a match with Beer Money. We cut to commercial and return for the entrance of each team.
My question going into this match is why is TNA booking their top two face tag teams against each other on Impact, when one has a match against a legendary team like Hall and Nash and the other has a tag team title shot at the pay per view? TNA answers my question by having Rob Terry cause a DQ, marking the only appearance of the British Invasion on television the last two weeks. That doesn’t bode well for their title defense, I think.
Morgan takes care of Terry, and The Band attacks Beer Money, who try valiantly to overcome the 3 on 2 odds but can’t do it. Man, Scott Hall is fat. Bischoff comes out and has something to say…after a commercial. During the commercial, Eric told Beer Money to be careful what they wish for. We join them in the ring and Scott Hall hams it up as Bischoff makes the Beer Money vs. Hall and Nash match at Genesis official. Oh, and Sting is in the rafters like it’s 1997 again.
My Verdict: One thumb down.
In Hindsight: The whole segment just felt broken. Other than Jarrett’s arrival there was no point to the Crash TV stuff, the commercials chopped everything up too much, the booking of the match didn’t make sense to begin with, and the post-match brawl was practically ignored. Instead, just show Jarrett entering and maybe move the Tara/ODB hype into the second upcoming Tomko promo’s spot. Instead of an awkward face vs. face tag team match, why not let Morgan, Hernandez, and Beer Money take on Eric Young and all three members of the British Invasion? You can still blow that off with a non finish, The Band can still jump in afterwards, and we end at the same place.
Another questionable match is next as Desmond Wolfe takes on Samoa Joe. Both guys could use some momentum as Joe doesn’t seem to have anything to do and Desmond just started a feud with The Pope (who is on commentary, for what it’s worth). I just don’t get it. The match itself, however, turns out to be well worked, though Wolfe seems to be getting lazy with his springs off of the turnbuckle. Desmond picks up the win, leaving Joe frustrated and setting up some mouthing between Pope and Wolfe.
My Verdict: Neutral
In Hindsight: Why are these guys facing off here? Keep them apart, let them build to a meaningful match down the road. There HAD to have been a better opponent for Wolfe to pick up a win against here. Shark Boy would have worked, or Suicide. Joe didn’t need the loss here, and it really feels like he’s losing momentum badly even after gaining the title shot and defeating Abyss.
Flair arrives in what is the high point of TNA’s existence. For those of you that may be unaware, I am a Ric Flair mark of the highest order. Within the world of professional wrestling, he can do no wrong.
There’s more crap from Tomko and then Jarrett barges into Bischoff’s office. They get the promo right this week, as Jarrett manages to go full on heel by downing TNA’s roster and sounding like the selfish prick they intended last week. Hogan gets up to confront him and it’s clear just how bad Hogan’s knees are. He’s waddling and practically wincing with every step. I was never a big fan of the guy but that’s hard to see. Jarrett backs off and the segment closes, giving younger guys a pretty good lesson on how to turn heel quickly and effectively.
My Verdict: One thumb up.
In Hindsight: Great promo from Jarrett, but these Tomko segments are killing me.
Main event time as Flair joins Taz and Tenay for commentary. I like the more classical sound to Flair’s music here. As for the match, AJ does a nice job of selling the heat between himself and Tomko by cutting off JB’s ring announcing. The match itself is pretty standard fare, and Tomko puts AJ over courtesy of the Pele. Tomko is all upset about jobbing to a set up move, and so he attacks AJ after the bell. Angle makes the save, but in a weird moment, AJ refuses Kurt’s handshake. Flair smiles approvingly, and we close the show with some Genesis hype.
My Verdict: One thumb up.
In Hindsight: It’s hard to argue with getting free AJ Styles matches every week, and they’ve done a reasonable job of building to AJ vs. Kurt with a two week time frame. The Tomko return, though, has just been handled so horribly that the match felt flat. I would have rather seen AJ in there with Doug Williams or even Waltman, but we got what we got. It wasn’t offensively bad, and the ending was a nice touch and again left us with something to wonder about.
Now, for the show as a whole.
My Verdict: One thumb up.
In Hindsight: I have to question the lack of Scott Steiner, The British Invasion, and Eric Young over the last two weeks. Those are two title holders and a recognizable face that you’re missing out on with the television audience. No Amazing Red this week was a questionable decision, too.
This wasn’t an offensive or a bad show, I just expect more from a go-home show. Granted, TNA is in a state of flux right now, and it’s going to take some time for things to come together, but there are easy things they could be doing to make the product stronger faster.
In the coming months, I expect to see Kurt Angle and Bobby Lashley feuding. For the TNA World Title? Possibly. I’m hoping to see Beer Money get a big win over Hall and Nash and let that be a reason to slowly phase Hall and Waltman out under the same premise as telling Jarrett and Foley they’ll have to compete for jobs. I’d like to see a little more focus on the X Division, even if it means getting the belt off of Red and onto a guy like Hardy or Moore or even a free agent.
I’ll be back early next week with a recap of Genesis, the first pay per view offering of 2010 from TNA.