Cewsh: The first TNA show of the new year, and it was a definite doozie, as Mick Foley had just come to TNA, and nobody really knew what he was going to wind up doing with the company. This is the start of what I would later call the “Meh” period of TNA PPVs. Meh. A three letter word that means “not worth your money or time.” Also, this review was powered entirely by Taco Bell and sleeplessness.
Well here we are again boys and girls, here for another TNA review, but also here for the very first big (US) show of the new year. TNA jumps out of the gate first with the first PPV of the year, so will they set the pace, and the standard for 2009, and give us a show to give us faith for the coming year? Only time will tell, and time we have. So let’s get to it.
Cewsh: TNA comes out of the blocks with another quality video package and yeah. This is pretty much the same month in and month out. Many props to the TNA production staff for coming up with fresh new ways to make PPVs seem epic through these videos, though I would argue that the videos are SO good, that they’d be better served to be on tv selling the shows. Just a thought. Moving on…
Vice: TNA really knows how to start PPVs off. Say all the bad things you want about them, but when it comes to starting on fire, they almost always deliver. Eric and LAX are super over, and the heels are actually getting boos. How crazy is that? Get out of Orlando, TNA. The match was surprisingly good. Fast-paced and spotty, the crowd ate it the hell up. While obviously not all matches should be fast and spotty, it’s more than fine with the opener. There’s nothing worse than starting the show off to silence or groans. The crowd is awesome so far. Hernandez continues to amaze me. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of him just throwing people from one side of the ring to the other. He’s a big dude, but he doesn’t look THAT strong.
The show is off to a lovely start.
Cewsh: Well this is our basic opening TNA PPV match. Lots of X Division guys. High spots, botches, craziness, etcetera. This one is more uninspired than most, since its generally between a bunch of jobbers and 3 guys getting actual pushes (guess who is who), so the outcome is pretty much a certainty. So with that said, I’ll instead choose to focus on the crazy different atmosphere this show has compared to the average TNA PPV. They’re pretty obviously not in the Impact Zone, but I’m not sure where they actually are, because if they mentioned it I didn’t catch it. At any rate, there are many different, dynamic camera angles, a bigger arena feel, and the crowd sounds absolutely huge, even if the relative darkness makes it hard to see how many fans are really in attendance. In general it lends itself to a very new and different atmosphere to the show. Very interesting.
Though honestly, a big arena seems wasted on a match like this. At least when WWE runs a bad match featuring jobbers in a huge arena, I generally believe they belong there. Jimmy Rave looks like he broke in.
During the match Jim Cornette is trying to get into the Main Event Mafia’s locker room, to negligible success. This was more interesting than the actual match, unfortunately. Or at least until it got down to one man verses three, at which point the match became immediately watchable and awesome. Its worth mentioning, though, that TNA has a weird way of pushing people. Why am I to believe that a guy like Rave is a threat to a guy like Hernandez. Has Rave ever won a match in TNA? Ever? Yeah. Wacky.
50 out of 100.
Cewsh: Exactly what the segment name implies. Cornette wants to know why Rhino is late getting to the arena. In case you don’t know, Rhino has a title shot tonight against Sting. Oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please let him be injured so that he has to miss the main event. Fucking put Cute Kip in there and it would be a better main event. Oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please.
Cewsh: So let me get this straight. The Machine Guns are wrestling each other for the X Division Title, in a friendly competition match, and they even just got their own promo video to promote it? Yeah, I’m betting there are shenanigans or a swerve at work here. Just a feeling I get.
Cewsh: This match is probably the one to be most excited about on this show, as the best tag team in TNA (and debatably in the world right now) going head to head and full speed for a championship that they both deserve. Now there are a few problems with this.
1. They make no mention of the NJPW Tag Titles that they JUST won. A match between tag champions is that much more important.
2. These guys have way more tag chemistry than they have as opponents.
3. They have themselves a very good, very hard hitting X Division style match. But if they weren’t dressed the same, and you didn’t know who they were, you would have no idea that they were tag team partners. I don’t know what I expect from them exactly, but its just like they went out there and had a match, as opposed to telling the natural “I respect you, but let’s fight” story.
So yeah. Good match, but somehow it wasn’t all that I wanted it to be. To be honest, there isn’t actually anything wrong with the match itself, it just felt to me like outside factors, and the overwhelming feeling that this Shelley push can’t possibly last due to my general lack of faith in TNA to push people effectively. Am I too jaded to give this match the credit it deserves? Entirely possible. But I can’t help it.
Now. On the positive side, because there is one despite my bitching, what you have here is two X Division guys basically doing all that they can to replicate a Japanese main event match (hey we just reviewed one of those!) and they had a lot of success with it. This was a very entertaining match, with a hot ending, and the right man won I think. I just wish my heart had been in it.
73 out of 100.
Vice: I can see a lot of people not liking this match-up and thinking it was overdone a bit. However, I fucking loved it. It seemed to play out a lot like a big Japanese match, but I thought it worked. It was fast and spotty, but that’s how both of them wrestle these days. Lots of action in this match on top of a great story, I felt.
Basically going into the match, both of them are equals due to how they’re presented in their tag team. Sabin, however, has the edge because he’s been X-division champion a number of times.. so he’s the “better” of the two on paper. Neither man wanted to lose because a title was on the line and because they both have so much pride. And, you know.. bragging rights go to the winner. Since they know each other so well, both men were able to capitalize off the mistakes they each made and were waiting for the other person with a counter to it. It was very well done. I was going into this match thinking it’d be good at best, but would probably end up being pretty shitty. Wrong.
I normally dread endings like this one had, but it was so well done and fit the story perfectly. It wasn’t so much Sabin losing, but Shelley winning. Simply put, Shelley could not beat Sabin in a straight up one on one match. He threw everything in his arsenal at him and couldn’t put him down for the 3. Even worse, as the match kept going, Sabin was firing back harder and harder and would just. not. die. Call it experience, determination, being the better man, whatever—Sabin couldn’t be beaten. So, Shelley, knowing that Sabin is practically a brother to him, feigns an injury to catch him off guard. And, as it was made abundantly clear the second Shelley was holding his leg, Sabin gets caught for the 3.
The post-match stuff was great. I was so afraid it was going to become a shoving contest, but Sabin realized that Shelley got him and eventually smiled. Shelley goes for the handshake, Sabin is a bit hesitant at first but throws his hand up. Shelley takes his back and gives Sabin a massive hug. That’s as perfect as it could have been. So there was no “clear” winner of the match as both are still more or less equals, and yet the finish didn’t feel out of place at all OR hurt the team in a sense of forced/bad booking. Certainly not a five star match, but for what it was it had very few, if any, faults.
Cewsh: Alright. So nobody can find Rhino, Christy Hemme apparently has a broken neck and Kevin Nash has a “staph infection” and can’t wrestle. They’re dropping like flies ladies and gentlemen. Steroid fueled flies.
Shit, those would be some nasty badass flies.
Cewsh: This wouldn’t merit qualification as a segment ordinarily, but they are blatantly unsure of what to do as half of the show seems to have disappeared out from under their feet. Now they may be kayfabing me very effectively, but if they are then they deserve awards for acting, because West especially looks entirely out of sorts. Insane.
Vice: Aaand the show goes downhill. Ok, Sewell is a ref. He’s a big ref and is probably in better shape than Edge and I combined and he’d probably fuck us both up at the same time in a dark alley.. but he’s still a ref. In wrestling land, that means that any sort of accidental hit will knock him dead for upwards of 13 minutes and 42 seconds. However, any sort of intended physical contact doesn’t actually hurt him much. He can, still, beat the shit out of an actual wrestler. Yes, he’s a smaller wrestler, but still a wrestler.
Really, the match should be Bashir beating the shit out of him for the majority of the time with maybe a hot exchange here or there from Sewell to keep it a wrestling contest. A ref should not be on offense for 68% of the match. Even if he’s a big ref and is probably in better shape than Edge and I combined and probably able to fuck both of us up at the same time in a dark alley. He should also not be the one doing a Figure Four to get the Charlotte/Flair pop. Poor match from a wrestling perspective and booking perspective, however…
The end was pretty awesome. Hebner getting involved and helping out his referee comrade was pretty damn funny. Plus a fast count on Bashir, continuing the screwjobs from Hebner. Oh, and the ref celebration at the end. I can’t hate on that part of the match because I was laughing quite a bit. Eat that, you actual wrestlers!
Cewsh: This is a good angle. Bashir has played this whole thing as an insane jerk, and Sewell has done the Incredible Hulk routine without it coming off as too hokey to be reasonable. It’s a good angle, but as the match starts, there is absolutely no reaction from the fans for either of these two men. Up to this point the crowd was pretty active in booing the heels and cheering the faces, but I think the fans are a little confused by Shane Sewell. The angle has been effective in getting his sympathetic referee character over, but then he comes out here and basically has a technical wrestling match with the man who drove him so crazy with rage that he got himself fired?
This is another match where the atmosphere of the match does not match the angle in place here, and its bugging me more than I ought to be letting it. Just as a wrestling match though, this is nothing special. In fact its worse than nothing special. This match is just move after move after move. No intensity, no progression of the angle. Its just Bashir trying to generate some heat, and Sewell being very underwhelming in his face role.
The ending though? Goddamn hilarious. Even if it did make Earl Hebner the biggest face in the match. Awesome stuff at the end, but it wasn’t enough to save this match.
55 out of 100.
Segment 9 – Jim Cornette Is Looking For, Wait For It, RHINO!
Cewsh: I mean seriously. If you want to find Rhino that bad, just check the local Hooters or something.
At any rate. Booker T is less than helpful in Cornette’s pursuit, and when a fight almost breaks out the Zebra Brigade shows up to break it up. This involves Shane Sewell (who must have hustled to get back here this fast) staring down Booker T. A feud between them? Already? Hmm.
Vice: I want a Boozer Cruiser. If Storm ever leaves Roode, he should be replaced with a bear.
It’d be quite an awesome replacement, to be honest. But I hope Storm doesn’t go anywhere despite the potential brilliance of a live bear in TNA. Since I am rambling about bears, it’s a hint at what the match was like. Basically, it was there. Decent match, but nothing really special about it. I’m hoping someone sets Abyss on fire sometime soon. It’s been a while, and I hope TNA hasn’t forgotten about that Abyss Dies gimmick.
Cewsh: Alright, so apparently Creed and Lethal won the tag titles on the show before the PPV, and I’m guessing it may have been because of the knee injury that they were talking about with Roode. At any rate, that gives this match a little different dynamic then that straight up tag match I was expecting going in, but as a result, this match doesn’t have a ton of heat on it. At any rate, these guys do the best they can to whip the crowd up and get them excited, and they really do a good job of it.
Beer Money especially do a fantastic job, and are really starting to cement themselves as something really special in the wrestling industry right now. They’re a little bit old school, but they can wrestle the X Division style, the can wrestle big guys and small guys, and come off great either way. TNA is truly lucky to have found another team with such natural chemistry. They’ve had many in their history. Its just unfortunate that they’ve rarely had more than one at any given time.
Anyway this is the most entertaining match of the night so far for me, and hopefully this will mark the beginning of the turnaround for the show.
69 out of 100.
Cewsh: After the match Abyss and Morgan definitely have issues. They should perhaps attend a church service together. Perhaps one run by the SINISTER MINISTER! BWAHAHAHA.
Cewsh: Quick, everyone check your “kooky possible locations” bingo cards? Did anybody have “a vacant lot”? No? Then sorry, I’m afraid you’re all losers this week. Thanks for playing.
Kurt Angle admits that the Mafia beat up Rhino and left him in “a vacant lot” with cab fair, since they’re nice guys. This was all earlier that day, conceivably in the same town that the arena is in. So, couldn’t Rhino have just walked to the arena? Taken public transportation? Or, since he had cab fair, I don’t know, taken a cab? Or was this lot like REALLY, REALLY vacant? I mean its North Carolina, so how vacant are we talking here? Like cornfield vacant? Atlantic Ocean refueling dock vacant?
In my opinion they could have saved a lot of trouble by just shooting him right from the beginning. It would have made them the biggest faces since Austin.
Cewsh: Alright, let’s just get into this:
– The Khan-tourage. The ass licking, shit fucking Kong-tourage?! Are you fucking kidding me? No, this has to be a fucking goddamn joke, because no nickname I could ever come up with in a segment header could do justice to how hilariously and mind numbingly awful that name is.
– The Kong-tourage is comprised of one black chick, one exotic looking black chick, one Middle Eastern chick, and Kong. What the fuck do these people have in common? That they aren’t white? I know that wrestling is inherently hickish and racist, but I can’t even be offended by this, because its not racist, its just fucking lazy. Stupid and fucking lazy.
– This is a 6 man tag match for the number one contender ship. The person who gets the pin fall gets the shot. Yeah, these matches are FUCKING STUPID. Why would a stable enter in to a match like this with no visible strategy. Everyone in this match has every reason to betray their teammates to get that title shot. By NOT doing that, and by NOT seeming to give a shit about getting a win just makes it seem like the title isn’t anything worth pursuing. Why isn’t this just a 6 way match? There is no reason. None at all.
– There was so much hope for the Knockout Division when it debuted. So, so much hope. But guess what? Its dead. This shit is on absolute life support right now, and unless something spectacular happens to jumpstart it soon, it is going to die a terrible and embarrassing death.
21 out of 100.
Vice: Ugh. I’d totally fuck Taylor and Cheerleader Melissa, but I won’t pretend to enjoy their matches. Yeah, I wasn’t feeling this one. Should I be? Instead, I spent the match discussing potential gimmick changes.
Envious Vice: ODB needs to wear a dinosaur outfit that covers her body from foot to neck. Not because she’s not attractive, but because she’d make a good dinosaur.
Envious Vice: Taylor Wilde needs to be a referee… of porn.
Envious Vice: I’ve not seen a lot of porn in my day, but sometimes I feel like a ref should step in and give them a 5-count.
Envious Vice: But that’s just me.
DashboardFonz: I’m with you so far.
Envious Vice: Rhaka Khan..
Envious Vice: Well..
Envious Vice: I don’t even know what to do with her.
Envious Vice: I guess they could make her look like even more of a freak.
Envious Vice: I’d fire the other black woman.
Envious Vice: They could have her protest the decision and come back with a megaphone claiming discrimination.
Envious Vice: And ODB would come out of nowhere and beat her with her giant T-Rex slippers.
Envious Vice: Hopefully the slippers that make sounds when you walk. Like the ones Urkel had.
Envious Vice: ODB should also have a cape.
Envious Vice: Saide should have a hooker gimmick or something.
Envious Vice: Anything to get her skin showing.
Envious Vice: And her face.
Envious Vice: She’s really hot, but you’d never know.
Cewsh: That makes two of us, Stinger. That makes two of us.
Segment 14 – No Disqualification – Kurt (TNA’s Mr. PPV) Angle vs. Jeff (King of Magic Mountain) Jarrett.
Vice: This is how a heated match should start off. From the get-go, Jarrett just starts beating the shit out of Angle. Intense irish whips too, as dumb as that sounds. Chain wrestling is a no no here, and it makes sense. Angle tried to slow Jeff’s onslaught down with a sleeper, which was a good touch. Good story here with Angle constantly having to slow Jarrett down, because that’s how hot Jarrett is. The match gets fucking intense and at times downright brutal and fucked up. While I normally slam Jarrett and never really look forward to seeing him, there’s no denying how fucking great he was in this match. He played the courageous face to utter perfection. The story they told was gripping, the action was amazing, and overall just a really fucking great match and wrestled RIGHT. I wasn’t looking forward to it, but fuck did they deliver.
The post match stuff was fucking brutal as well. Good to see Tenay and West visibly affected by what happened, even if their acting was a bit dramatic. Edge pointed out that Tenay had to look at the run sheet at the end, which is something I missed because I was taking my boots off. It’s a nice touch, showing how broken up they were over what happened. Little touch, but very effective. As long as you’re not removing footwear and miss it. Though something tells me it’s going to make it into a blooper reel because some people are moronic.
Cewsh: Alright, my expectations aren’t very high for this match, but here’s hoping they surprise me.
This match starts off exactly as hot as I’ve been clamoring for the other matches to. Jarrett goes right after Angle, which he should be, since they apparently hate each other, and you’d think that that would be the idea. This match is just a fun, entertaining brawl right from the start. And brutal. Did I mention brutal? Yeah, these guys are laying in their kicks, cinching up on their headlocks, and they just give the very serious impression that these two wrestlers really want to hurt each other. Just absolutely perfect for the story that they set out to tell.
I just can’t say enough for how much of a reverse this match is from the matches before it on this show. This match is brutal, intense, emotional and, well, appropriate. Angle is absolutely money these days, like him or not he’s become like the Angle of old, where no matter what he’s doing, he’s stealing the show every month, and Jarrett absolutely knows his way around an entertaining brawl. The stars aligned for these guys here, and you can just go right ahead and file a police report, because this show has been fucking burgled by these two here. Jut a nasty, nasty, wonderful match.
Brilliant stuff, and I never would have expected it. That’s TNA for you. You can get down on it for a while and then BOOM, something like this happens to remind you of why you’ve invested yourself in the first place. Are the highs worth the lows? That’s not for me to say. But at the end of the day, all I know is that its not perfect and its not ideal, but fuck man. I’ll take it.
Cewsh’s Download Seal of Approval.
Cewsh: Post match, Angle jumps Jarrett and puts his ankle in a chair and viciously stomps a mudhole in it for about 30 seconds before he leaves. Really great emotional moment here as West and Tenay seem legitimately broken up, with Tenay going to far as to blatantly read off of his run sheet to show how out of sorts this has made him. Really good, powerful stuff.
Cewsh: Geez what crawled up his ass?
Oh right. Kurt Angle’s shoe. My bad.
Vice: Fuck you, Rhino. Get fired and work at Jiffy Lube you wanker.
Cewsh: Oh how I loathe thee Rhino, let me count the ways:
– I hate his stupid elbow tattoos.
– I hate the random Kanji on his singlet which doesn’t suit his character at all.
– I hate his stupid squat ugliness.
– I hate his greasy, ugly hair.
– I hate his stupid little goatee.
– I hate his beady little eyes.
– I hate that he looks like every greasy douche bag I’ve met in Ohio.
– I hate that he only has one move and its been years since he did it right.
– I fucking HATE that he’s actually proud of being from Detroit.
Now, all that said, I’m sure the guy is a nice dude in real life. A good father, a loving husband. By all accounts he has a ton of friends in the business, and is widely respected as a good guy. He’s faced personal struggles and I respect him more for having dealt with them like a man, and become a success despite it.
Now all THAT said, I don’t want to watch him wrestle ever again. Ever. Want objectivity? Seek it elsewhere. I’m a critic, not a charity worker.
Oh, and Sting was here also. Sting was good. And this match was short. So there is that.
50 out of 100.
Cewsh: Styles is the best promo in TNA. I never thought I’d say that, but he is absolute money. Devon is perfectly suitable. As for Foley? Well, I think we’ve pretty much seen this all before. He hasn’t shown me anything to indicate that he’s in the kind of shape necessary for him to pull off an in ring comeback right now, and he just really doesn’t belong in this match right now. There was scarcely any build up to his in ring debut for TNA, and he feels like an afterthought to the very real and heated feud between the other 4 in the match. Ah well.
Cewsh: I’m sure you’re all in suspense as to who the mystery partner or the Mafia is going to be. What World champion, what legend of wrestling, what king of the wrestling game will the Mafia have chosen on short notice to replace the fallen Kevin Nash? Well, naturally, they had only one choice. Only one man could possibly belong in such a role on such an important spot on the show.
And that man’s name is Cute Kip.
That’s right, Cute fucking Kip.
Alright look, Nash canceled on the show at the last second and they needed a replacement, I get that. And they’re somewhat handicapped by the MEM gimmick as to who could possibly take a place in a match with the group, but seriously. There’s nobody else? Nobody hanging around visiting friends who could use a paycheck? Nobody? Are you sure? Sting or Angle couldn’t have worked another match?
So we have Foley, who has no business in this match, and two people with hot grievances, against Cute Kip, who has no business in this industry anymore, and two guys who have credibility, and played direct roles in the issues Devon and Styles have. Hmm, seems like there’s an easy solution to this. Hmm. Hmmmmmmm. Nope, can’t think of one. Oh well, on to the match itself.
Its basically a sloppy brawl, where everybody is trying to be very careful not to mess anything else up tonight. About halfway through the match, they’re all counted out, so Cornette comes down to restart the match. Of course, this would be too easy, and would make Cornette’s character useful, so they instantly declare that he has no authority here in TNA, and that Booker T has the authority to end matches. But then Foley jumps in, asserts himself as the authority and restarts the match under hardcore rules.
So, yeah. It descends into a sloppy, unfocused brawl after that. And then, finally, it mercifully something interesting happens, when Styles absolutely kills himself to make this match watchable. Its not enough though. Its simply not enough. Styles busts his ass, the veterans try to put something together here under extreme duress, and Foley is much better than he has any right to be, but it doesn’t matter. This match is bowling shoe ugly, as another man might say.
55 out of 100.
Vice: So, Nash is down with a staph infection, and it’s really shitty to shit on a match for potentially being shit because a man is down. Get better, Nash. Anyway, the Main Event Mafia needs a replacement so out comes… Cute Kip. Yes, the man who has never held a heavyweight title. Has never actually been a main eventer. Someone whose claim to fame is tag wrestling. Someone who should have fucked off years ago. Aaaand instead of just sticking to that in his promo, he goes on to insult the Carolina Panthers for cheap heat. Just awful. They couldn’t find ANYONE better? Couldn’t have flown someone in? Convinced Angle to pull double duty? Paid Sting $75,000 for a hot tag? Anything?
This match was pretty dreadful for the first 90% of it, but then picked up a bit. Overall a really crappy main event and a bad way to end the show.
The countout finish was bullshit, but then Cornette came out and said it was going to continue. But wait, the Main Event Mafia has power and Booker says NO! Then Foley says he holds the majority of TNA’s shares and he says YES! And it’s going to be HAAAARDCOOOOORE RUUUUULES. Oi. Well, the match picked up a lot from that point. AJ’s frog splash onto Kip was pretty goddamn awesome, but that couldn’t even save things. And Foley, the beaten up old legend and former multi-time heavyweight champion with a better career than everyone else in the Front Line will probably ever have, picks up the win for the youngsters who are feuding against the beaten up old legends and former multi-time heavyweight champions. Oh, by pinning Scott Steiner. What, Cute Kip couldn’t take the fall? BLAH.
Cewsh: Yeah, this show was a train wreck from start to finish. There was one good match, and one fantastic match. Other than that it was an absolute disaster, but in fairness to TNA they had to deal with a lot of shit. From Hemme getting an alleged neck injury, to Nash no showing, to Roode’s leg injury scare, to essentially basing the whole show around Rhino, a lot of bad things happened and bad decisions were made. That’s TNA for you. Same booking mistakes, same shenanigans, some inconsistency. And at the same time, same interesting characters, same intriguing storylines, and same breathtaking matches. Make up your goddamn mind, TNA.
But we all know I’ll be right back here next month, rooting and hoping and praying for the TNA we all carry around in our heads. The fancy Utopian TNA where the little guys get pushed, the matches are all 100 point classics, and the storylines all make sense. Sigh.
Vice: I actually enjoyed the show quite a bit despite a few clunkers of matches. The crowd was hot and a very nice change from Orlando. The set was nice, as was the camera work. It was nice seeing replays of awesome spots from multiple angles. It’s a massive step up from their old outings where something massive would happen and they’d get it from one angle, and the one angle didn’t even capture it well. Or they’d have a second camera that fucking nailed it, but didn’t use it for the replay because they’d prefer us seeing the move in all its glory at a later date in a video package or something. Would I recommend this show? No. No I wouldn’t. I would recommend trying to catch Sabin/Shelley and Angle/Jarrett though.
Well boys and girls, this isn’t exactly the great new start to the new year that I was expecting. In fact it was the opposite of the that great start. But don’t let that discourage you, intrepid readers, for in no more than 2 week’s time we will bring to you on of the grandest wrestling spectacles of the year. So be sure to keep a close eye on your calendars and a spot open in your hearts because on January 26th, Edge, Vice, and Ms. Cewsh bring you the 2009 WWE ROYAL RUMBLE.
Read it or die.
Are two of your options.