Greetings, fellow wrestling fans! After much deliberation, a pretty solid card, and the impending appearance of Hulk Hogan — whenever THAT may be — I had decided to order TNA Turning Point tonight. However, due to technical difficulties on my end, and by technical difficulties I mean my Verizon Fios set-top box flipping me the proverbial bird, I did not get to order the PPV after all. I fully intended on delivering a live play-by-play, hold-for-hold, blown-spot for blown-spot, totally unbiased blogging, complete with a smattering of self-indulgence for whenever Madison Rayne’s booty appeared on my television in all its HD glory, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Instead of a Live-Blogging PBP that would have begun at 8PM EST, I sulked and pouted myself through a couple of bitterly intense games of UNO on Facebook. Through a slew of Draw Four’s, Skips, and Draw Two’s that further augmented my frustrations for an all around pitiful day, (Earlier my esteemed Cowboys got shut down like a Six Flags submerged under water…), I decided to read someone ELSE’s PBP over at 411mania. Therein gave me the motivation I needed to write out my thoughts and concerns regarding a show that truly could’ve, and should’ve, lived up to its name.
Bear in mind, as I begin writing this blog the show itself has not yet come to a conclusion. It’s 10:31PM and the main event is in all likelihood ten minutes in. Hopefully Daniels is looking somewhat good, (No way does he win. I say that right now.), because that guy has been a serious favorite of mine since I began watching TNA back in 2003-2004. Because some wrestling news sites are slower than I am at keeping up with the action, (just kidding 411!), I still don’t know the results of Kurt Angle Vs Desmond Wolfe, a match that I think every wrestling fan in the world was as anxious to see as I was. The reason I tell you this is because, despite not knowing the outcome of two of the most anticipated matches on the show, what I have read thus far already severely sticks in my craw.
I’ll start with Scott Steiner beating Bobby Lashley. Yes, you read that correctly. Bobby Lashley, TNA’s highly touted MMA/Pro-Wrestling hybrid and former WWE golden boy, was beaten by a man who takes four hours to lace a pair of wrestling boots. The ending saw your typically evil Scott Steiner finish that has been done to death from everywhere including, but not limited to, WCW, WWE, WWA, and I would assume Japan as well. Yeah, you know exactly what I’m talking about before I even say it; bludgeoned to death by a cold, hard, piece of steel, (No, not Lex Luger’s detatchable arm!), and pinned one, two, three. Now, I’m not a fan of Bobby Lashley by any means, but I AM an endearing fan of long term booking sense. Hell, I’m a fan of booking sense, PERIOD. That said, why on Earth would TNA go with such an unoriginal ending involving a somewhat fresh name on their roster like Bobby Lashley? Does she, or more aptly THEY, since her writers are more hands on with the talent than she is, not realize people are going to see this and shout, “Son of a $#%#! Not AGAIN…”, before spouting off at the mouth about all of the usual “Death of WCW” crap that goes hand in hand with Scott Steiner? Bobby Lashley, the man who just lost to Scott Steiner on PPV, is the same acquisition that has been sold to us as a walking access panel for cross-promotional ventures between MMA organizations such as Strikeforce and, perhaps when the day comes for Bobby Lashley to win Ultimate Fighter, the UFC, and TNA Wrestling, right? Yes, it is. So then what’s the deal here? Is Ms. Carter having second thoughts about keeping a man who wants to be allowed to bust heads ”FOR REALZ” on an occasion on her roster and decided to begin killing any momentum “The Boss” might have by putting him into a program with someone as physically, and mentally, debilitating as Scott Steiner and this is all three steps away from the big Kip James send-off, or is this just yet another momentary lapse of judgment by the TNA booking committee/writing team/caged monkeys rattling a cage?
*Cups ear to the voices yelling at me* WHAT?! Kip James is still in TNA?! Well, you know what I mean. Heh.
Old Guard: 1 | Youth movement: 0
Moving on, I go to one of two six-man, (yes, I know the other one would be a six-woman. geeze people.), tag team matches that managed to make its way onto Turning Point. Team 3D and Rhino versus Matt Morgan, Hernandez, and Pope D’Angelo Dinero; wow, since I just about broke my fingers trying to type that out I am SO copy and pasting Pope D’Angelo Dinero from here on out. Going into this match, I have to admit that I was already confused. I should tell you that I only recently started watching TNA Wrestling again after taking a lengthy break from it and stritly limiting myself to Raw and Smackdown. I’d say I’ve seen the last four episodes of IMPACT since the announcement was made of Hulkamania running wild in TNA, brother. I digress, though. A few weeks before this six-man happened, I didn’t have a freakin’ clue who was face and who was heel. People at the Impact Zone always cheer for Team 3D because of Brother Ray’s awesome in-your-mutha-effin’ face oratory skills, yet someone had to inform me they were the heels in this program. Aside from when he gores people out of their speedos, Rhino never really gets much of a reaction either way, so him being inserted into segments with Team 3D prior to this match made me assume he, like Team 3D, were the faces. Matt Morgan always has this meat-head cocky demeaor to him, so the obvious choice there would be heel. Hernandez? Now that’s when things got tricky. Fans always seemed to be delighted to see this hoss wrestle, and with people chanting “Super Mex” I had a hard time believing he was a heel like Matt Morgan was so I went with Hernandez as the face despite it not making sense for a face to be teaming with a heel. Then there’s Pope D’Angelo Dinero, who people remember as Elijah Burke from WWE, where he was an arrogant son of a gun that drew a fair amount of heel heat on ECW. At one point I saw the heel/face ratio here at 5:1 and nothing made sense at all.
The reason WHY I didn’t understand what was happening was, not only because I am half-retarded, but because TNA didn’t really do that great of a job building this match up in the four episodes that I saw. It wasn’t until the last one or two shows before this PPV did I realize Team 3D were actually the heels and Rhino was a paranoid delusional head case. “The Blueprint” Matt Morgan, (I don’t know how I feel about that moniker, to be honest.), being a face wasn’t that hard to believe because he’s apart of the much talked about youth movement here in TNA and that alone gives the fans a major reason to cheer for him. Eventually though, I realized I was right about Hernandez being the face and that made me very happy since I’ve been cheering this dude on since his heel days in the LAX with Konnan and Homicide. Personally, because I’m stuck on Elijah Burke and his awesome hair beads, I didn’t really buy Pope D’Angelo Dinero as the face in this program, but if people are cheering for him, which they clearly have been, then I’m okay with it. Now comes time for the actual PPV match where Team 3D and Rhino put over the three young studs that are up and coming quicker than a Peter North porno. I mean, it’s to be expected, right? All this talk of the youth movement in TNA and here we have three of the young guns that can bring this company to a new platform when guys like Kurt Angle hang ‘em up for good.
Nope. Hernandez takes a chair to the gut by Devon, and then a Gore finishes him one, two, three. Wow. I really did not expect that to happen. At ALL. These guys are the epicenter of the Youth Movement, and they LOSE. At Turning Point, no less; a show that should have been looked upon as one of the most important PPVs in TNA history. Shucks, Batman. I really thought TNA was going to do these boys right by giving them the much needed dubya when it counted. Maybe next month, eh?
Older Guard: 2 | Youth movement: 0
Amazing Red Vs Homicide seems like it was just a win-win for TNA. No matter who won this match, youth would prevail. Homicide is one of the most renowned names on the indy circuit, as is Amazing Red, and to have these guys battle it out one on one on PPV for a championship belt is a huge honor for the “Youth Movement”. I don’t really know how old Homicide is, he looks every bit of 30, but it doesn’t really matter. Youth is not just about someone’s age. It is also a broad term that pertains to a new era constructed by the hands of someone new and hot-to-trot to a particular scene in an organization. Homicide fits that bill just as easily as The Amazing Red. Either of these guys getting a singles push in TNA’s premier division that separates it from anything the WWE can possibly deliver is more than I ever expected, so in the end, it didn’t matter to me who won this match. I’d have marked out if Homicide won this match via fork to the eye like he used to do in ROH, but there’s always the possibility for that later on down the road. I AM a little dissapointed, however, that this match was cut so short because of there being EIGHT matches on a three-hour broadcast. Nevertheless, I’m glad these men went out there and had a a good ole, true to form “Total-Nonstop-Action” style X-Division title match.
Old Guard: 2 | Youth Movement: 1
I’m glad the Knockouts were featured so prominently on this show. They’re good… REALLY good, and deserve such high prominence in a wrestling company. Of course, as opposed to the WWE Divas who are mostly just buckets of suck. I can’t tell you how many times I have fast forwarded through a Divas match in a given month because of how awful a match involving Jillian and Eve Torres was on the week prior to, and considering the fact that they DO have great female atheles on their programming such as Gail Kim, Natalya, Kelly Kelly(Yup, I said it. She’s young and just keeps getting better and better and I dare you to call me out on that!), Mickie James, and Melina it shouldn’t be that way at all. TNA’s Knockouts Division, however, is the perfect alternative to fast forwarding all the time. Most likely because the TNA booking committee just lets these women GO. Awesome Kong does a better powerbomb than Batista could ever DREAM of doing – in fact, now that I think about it she also does the “Animal” gimmick better than him, too. Having her featured inside a six-sides of steel match against one of the finest female wrestlers of the past decade in Tara, formerly known as Victoria in the WWE, really was a main proponent in raising my interest to a whole new level for this show. From the sounds of it, Amazing Kong and Tara had a pretty solid match with two spectacular spots that had the entire building quaking at its core. I can’t wait to see the replay of this one and watch Kong do a missile dropkick from the top of the cage. I think I just peed a little.
Then of course, there was the six-woman tag match with all of the Knockout Championships on the line, (meaning, the Knockouts Tag Team Titles were on the line as well as the Knockouts Championship itself.), which pitted Knockouts Champion ODB and Knockouts Tag Team Champions Sarita and Taylor Wilde against The Beautiful People. Going into this one a lot of people, myself included, felt that the BP needed to win this match and reign supreme in TNA. They’re the hottest group of gals the wrestling industry has seen since the Nitro Girls, and what’s more is the fact that they can actually WRESTLE. Nothing against ODB or Taylor Wilde and Sarita, but after listening to the reactions The Beautiful People get on a consistent basis, they don’t really deserve to be on top at the moment. That said, I’m very, VERY dissapointed that TNA didn’t take another chance to live up to this PPV’s name and turn the corner with The Beautiful People holding the banner for the Knockouts. I suppose it’s not REALLY all that terrible that they weren’t given the chance to do this yet, but on a show of such magnitude with a name of such significance, it really is. At least they’re still a hundred times better in the ring and entertaining on the mic than most of the Divas currently are.
WWE Divas: -1,000,000 | TNA Knockouts: 2
I finally checked out the results for the remaining two matches on the card and the general consensus seems to be that they were flat out amazing. Just great… thanks a lot TNA! Just when I finally started feeling a little better about missing this show you go ahead and bust out an awesome match and a match of the year candidate. *cries* I vow to strike vengeance upon thee, Verizon!
Kurt Angle submits Desmond Wolfe with the ankle lock. Damn. I didn’t THINK Desmond Wolfe would win… but I also didn’t THINK Angle would go over Desmond Wolfe so cleanly in their first match. One could argue the fact that Desmond Wolfe has had a leg up on the entire feud thus far and Kurt Angle getting a clean win here would be par for the course. Well, I say going for par isn’t good enough. They should’ve gone for the birdie, eagle, or dare I say hole-in-one to make this golf analogy even more ridiculous. They should’ve had Desmond win with another vicious lariat or gone another route entirely in order to advance this one into the next stage of bitterness by going for the DQ or count-out finish. Obviously though, “should’ve had’s” isn’t much of a concern to TNA at the moment. After all, they have Hulkamania in their corner.
Despite my reservations about having Angle go over clean here, I’m definitely more than impressed that Desmond Wolfe and Kurt Angle went out their and busted some serious ass to put on a clinic with one another. Ultimately, youth did not prevail here, but if any match on this show deserved to have a member of the old guard go over in spectacular fashion, it was Kurt Angle. I’m no wrestler, but I doubt doing what Angle and Wolfe did here is an easy thing to do, especially when you’re booked right before a match that is being hyped as a clear cut match of the year contender. I’m shocked about that fact, quite frankly. And also, to touch further on what I previously mentioned in the above paragraph, these two have just begun feuding with one another. Or at least one should assume they are just beginning to feud and it’s not a one and done for our favorite Olympic gold medalist.
I really didn’t think TNA would traverse down the same path they rode on when Kurt Angle first joined TNA. If you remember, Kurt made his appearance at the end of a PPV and on the very next show he got all up in Samoa Joe’s grill and head-butted him like Grandma Jones at Wal-Mart on Black Friday. Looking back on it, Desmond Wolfe pretty much did the same thing to Kurt Angle as Kurt Angle did to Samoa Joe, and I suppose I expected TNA to try something a little different this go around and save the four-and-a-half star match we all know Desmond Wolfe and Kurt Angle would inevitably have with one another for a later time. It would’ve made perfect business sense to use these two star athletes to pump up their next buyrate a little bit, (Let’s be honest here, TNA needs a lot of pumping.), practically making every fan-boy like me to get on their hands and knees and BEG to see a clean finish live on Pay-Per-View that we would’ve wanted to see on the last one, but again that’s my astute booking logic getting in the way of how reality works in the land of smoke, mirrors, and suplexes. I thought for sure they would stretch out the anticipation for the REAL meat and potatoes of this rivalry through next month’s Final Resolution, but I suppose they wanted to push the button on a great match while Kurt Angle is still seemingly healthy. I don’t blame them for doing that, either.
Old Guard: 3 | Youth Movement: 1
And then there was the main event. The one we’ve all been waiting for. AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, and Daniels getting a well deserved rematch with one another on PPV, only this time around it’s for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Four years ago, there’s no way in hell I would’ve predicted these three meeting up in the main event again for the WORLD TITLE – then again, there’s a lot happening right now in TNA Wrestling that I wouldn’t have predicted six months ago, nevermind FOUR YEARS ago. As expected, and from what I’ve read, (I really can’t stress that enough.), these three guys delivered. They not only delivered, but they did what Tony Romo can never do in the playoffs, and that’s come through in the clutch. The heart of TNA Wrestling, the epicenter of this “Youth Movement” I’ve been talking about, gave us all an early Christmas present: a fantastic wrestling main event with three people not named Kurt Angle, Sting, or Jeff Jarrett. They gave us something different. They gave us the alternative we’ve needed for eight years now… and to tell you the truth, I couldn’t have asked for a better gift from TNA, at a better time.
It really sucks that I had to miss the magic of this match due to a technical error by my digital cable provider, but I’m desperately trying to grin and bear it. I’ll see it eventually, but… well, true wrestling fans know the difference between seeing history unfold in front of your eyes live and in living color and catching the replay on your computer. Unfortunately for me though, I’m going to have to see this historic match from the latter. Enough, lamenting though… fact is, everyone seems to be glowing about this match. People are saying it’s better than their Unbreakable match back in 2005. Now, now… lets not get ahead of ourselves here. That match was as close to perfect a match as I think I’ve seen in this decade. I personally put that match on the same pedastal as, say… Ricky Steamboat versus Randy Savage… Bret Hart versus Shawn Michaels… Kurt Angle versus Brock Lesnar… and so on and so forth. So you can understand my high skepticism when people say this is on the same level as those aforementioned classics. Nevertheless, I’ll give people the benefit of the doubt. I’m a true believer. Despite the omnipresence of cynicism scattered through-out editorialized pieces such as this, I never REALLY doubted for one second that these incredible athletes — what is arguably the epicenter of TNA’s youth movement — could outdo their last five-star performance. To that amazing feat, I simply say… bravo. Bravo, gentlemen, for showing people who are only just STARTING to “cross the line” because of Hulk Hogan, what TNA Wrestling is, or at least should be, all about.
Final Score – Old Guard: 3 | Youth Movement: 2
All in all it sounds like it was an average show up until the final two matches. Instead of a Hulk Hogan appearance like I wanted we received yet MORE clips of the Hulk Hogan signing in Madison Square Garden. The Knockouts had solid outings, especially the two women in the cage. As for everything else, well… the numbers don’t lie. This old guard that still seems to be lingering in TNA is still scraping out wins and going over clean against their young and prosperous proteges when the young and prosperous proteges are the ones who could benefit the most by going over at Turning Point. That problem aside, I still feel that the youth movement had phenomenal success, (get it?), on such an important night. All it took was one match to really show people that TNA Wrestling can get the job done and give WWE the competition it so desperately needs.
Now… does TNA continue the magic briefly seen on this night with Hulk Hogan on their side and rake in millions of dollars, creating a very possible sequel to the Monday Night Wars, (Maybe this time with a Rocky II ending.), or does the Hulkster prove all of those Orlandonians chanting “Screw Hulk Hogan” right by bringing in his politics and self-preserving tactics? That is the real question, folks… and one way or another, for better or for worse, the answer truly will be TNA’s turning point.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I owe someone at Verizon a phone call they’ll likely never forget..