Welcome, cats and kittens, to the only wrestling blog that leaves you for a week to get busy in foreign countries and forgets to call, Cewsh Reviews! We have a special treat for you tonight as we, belatedly, cover the first TNA PPV at the dawn of a new era for them, in TNA Sacrifice 2011. You see, TNA is rebranding themselves to some unknown extent from the ground up starting now and leading into the summer and fall, and nobody seems to know exactly what is going to come from the changes. Now you MAY say something like “Hey Cewsh, doesn’t that mean they’ll be padding their shows with filler until they figure it out and give us a big reveal for ratings?” To which I heartily pish posh your dish dosh. TNA would never give filler where great content would do, and this show is positively stacked with great matches such as… Mexican America vs. Ink Inc…and…and…Brian Kendrick vs. Robbie E…oh right. Hmm. Welp, fair enough then.
Cewsh: In a very interesting twist that must have been hotly debated in the production truck, this video did not contain more than 40 mentions of the word “Sacrifice”. Actually, it didn’t feature many of the bombastic things that generally make up a TNA hype video. With a very simple song in the background (read: easily ignorable) they proceeded to just show Sting and Rob Van Dam preparing for their matches in their respective unique ways. They show their workout routines, the road that brought them to this point, and they made a special emphasis on how Sting, as the champion, is basking in the glow of the title and the adulation of the fans while RVD quietly focuses on defeating him. Its very much the first half of Rocky 3, and it really works here.
But they did also show Abyss’ face in this video. So negative 80 points to House Carter.
That’s right. After making you wait a month for a review of this show, I wind up for the first pitch of the game and hit the umpire directly in the balls with it. But in my defense, this match is about as worthy of thought and attention as an asparagus milkshake. Mexican America are awful in so many ways I can’t even begin to count them (again) here, and Jesse Neal tries so, so hard to make Ink Inc. matches interesting, but Shannon Moore drags him down so hard that there’s really no pulling it out of the doldrums.
Add that to the fact that Hernandez tries his very best to cripple Jesse Neal for the finish, and you have a thoroughly unpleasant opening to a show.
61 out of 100.
Cewsh: So Jeff Jarrett and Karen Angle come waltzing down to the ring at about this point. Well, Jeff waltzes, but unfortunately, Karen has seemingly broken her ankle on the night of her big tag match against Chyna and Kurt Angle! What an unfortunate coincidence, and what a terrible thing to happen to a beautiful flower like Karen.
Even more unfortunate, though, is Mick Foley rolling on out after them to call bullshit on the broken ankle and force her to wrestle anyway! She becomes so frustrated at this point, that she stomps her broken foot, which seems pretty angry indeed, but it must have helped because she walked all the way to the back without limping once. Unorthodox cures for the win!
Cewsh: There is something interesting astirring in the waters of the X Division.
See recently Eric Bischoff has been all about finding a way to do away with this pesky X Division thing once and for all. He’s sick of people talking about how he should focus on them, and plans on treating them like the vanilla midgets they are. Brian Kendrick, on the other hand, has decided to retaliate by becoming the face of an X Division rebirth to combat this corporate bullshit that has been dragging them down. So far its already the biggest shot of life the division has had in years and years, and its all ahead of us.
This match is fairly inauspicious. Robbie E has sort of become a really minor league villain now that the push and the hype are gone from his character, but he always gives his all, and really makes Kendrick look good here as they try to reestablish Kendrick as a threat after having him be Yoda for the past 6 months. The match ends clean and then Kendrick tries his best to shake hands with Robbie, trying to create a sense of brotherhood amongst the X Division guys. He refuses, naturally, and is actually part of a tug of war game briefly before escaping to the back to figure out how to style his hair in a way that will make the push gods smile on him again.
71 out of 100.
Cewsh: At this point Tara is starting to feel as though she isn’t a huge fan of that so much anymore, and so she’d kind of like to be free of the Queen. Unfortunately Madison owns her contract, so her only real hope of getting out of it is for Mickie to beat Madison in a match tonight that will get Tara fired once and for all. But on the other hand, she’d probably rather not be unemployed. It’s a dilly of a pickle. Then Madison wanders up and yells some more, and that seems to make Tara’s mind up. She stares grimly. Its very picturesque.
And I really couldn’t care less.
Cewsh: Okay, so the idea here is that if Mickie James wins this match and retains her title, then Tara will be fired and Madison Rayne will no longer have her services since, apparently, Tara is only under contract to Madison Rayne, and Madison has the ability to bring people she employs onto a national wrestling show whenever she feels like it. Which must be really exciting for her housekeeper. The heavy (HEAVY) undertone here is that Mickie is doing this to do Tara a favor and release her from the evil clutches of the Killer Queen herself, which is interesting since they just had a huge blood feud at the beginning of this very year. Hmm. But anyway, onto the match.
These two come down to the ring, and while Mickie is prancing about with the title, Madison goes ahead and decides that it is lecture time.
Then, despite the fact that Madison has ordered Tara to stay in the back, Tara shockingly elects to not stay in the back at all but to, instead, totally get involved in this match whenever she feels like it. Madison and Mickie try to ignore this and have a match, which to be honest is just hard to watch at points. Not because they’re women or because they have no skill (Madison has a great deal) but because Mickie James looks so haphazard and sloopy in the ring that I’m genuinely afraid that she’s going to hurt someone or herself. At various points in the match she doesn’t even run the ropes without stumbling, and while we expect that from our World Champions in TNA, it’s a bit of a step down for our Knockouts.
Anyway, they do their thing until Madison knocks out the referee and grabs the LOADED GLOVE from under the ring (which is naturally where we keep illegal hand wear). She tries to use it but Tara takes it away, giving Mickie the advantage. Mickie climbs the top rope to give Madison the ol’ crotch to the face and somehow the ref gets knocked down AGAIN.
This leads to Tara running into the ring with the glove and trying to decide which one to hit. Should she get her revenge at the cost of her job? Unemployment is underrated, she suggests, as she belts Madison in the face, allowing Mickie to pick up the win, and allowing Tara to be fired for like the third time.
The match here was really only frippery to take up time before the Tara thing, and it was fine in the manner of Mickie James matches and Godzilla attack sites, but its getting a little worrying, frankly, to see that the champion of this once proud division can’t even hit her finisher correctly more than 50% of the time. Mark my words. Down the line, something fucked up is going to happen and it’ll be too late to say I told you so.
Not that I wont anyway. Because I’m a boss like that.
50 out of 100.
Cewsh: Fortune are backstage and would love to chat, being the chatty Kathy’s they are. Kazarian is up first, and from the time he opens his mouth to the time where he dances off camera, its like an infinitely deep vortex of mind blowing shittiness comes into being directly above his left eyebrow. Here, transcribed for posterity, is his full promo:
“Max Buck, if that is your real name, you’re one of the future brightest stars in this company. But you’re in the ring with the best the X-Division has to offer. So tonight bro, you couldn’t be a star if you were thrown by a ninja. Yeeeeeeah.”
Seriously. Who let Steiner in the teleprompter room?
AJ Styles then gets on the microphone and immediately buries his association with Ric Flair, suggesting that pairing them up is never a good thing, and compares that to Tommy Dreamer associating with Bully Ray.
Then Robert Roode tells a knock knock joke and James Storm calls Chris Harris a kitty cat.
Those aren’t jokes. That’s just what happened. The future of wrestling, ladies and gentlemen.
Cewsh: I want to say nice things about this match. Kazarian, for all of his legendary promo skills, has really been trying his ass off to keep the X Division concept afloat since at this point he’s about the only guy who is actually in the division for 5 straight minutes at a time, and I respect that and the high quality of matches he’s been having in his PPV title defenses. If Vice were here, he’d no doubt tell you that Kazarian always turns it on in the big matches and that can’t be denied. Max Buck, for his part, is an incredibly young guy (buck?) with a wildly exciting future in the wrestling business. The speed with which he went from bathwater babyface who had never really been a heel, to the smarmiest bastard you could ever imagine and a solid promo and character wrestler to boot is truly something to behold.
So yeah, I want to be nice to this match.
For once, I’m not going to follow that up with a laundry list of terrible things about the match. I actually DID enjoy this match, though the thoroughly deceased audience made it seem less than thrilling at all of the important parts, and they did one of those sunset flip powerbombs off the apron the floor that makes me cringe every time, but that’s just two things!
Two things are not a list! These guys had a fun match, and hey, if you wanted to listen to music while watching it, that is totally an option. Because aside from the ramblings of Tenay and Tazz, you could hear a pin drop otherwise.
77 out of 100.
Cewsh: Crimson has gotten a lot of flack since virtually the first time he stepped in front of a TNA camera. Here was this jacked up dude being billed as the older brother of the Amazing Red and he was thrust into the upper card from day one. So people resented him from the very beginning for not seeming all that special and yet vaulting above other deserving members of the roster.
Since then Crimson has embarked on an impressive winning streak that has drawn the attention, and more importantly the ire of Samoa Joe, TNA’s resident winning streak champion. On the way to the showdown with Joe, though, Crimson first has to deal with Abyss, for no real good reason, except that he’s there.
For what it is, this is a fine match. Abyss is resurrecting himself after having become possibly the most terrible and stale character in wrestling history, and he seems to be clearly more motivated than he’s been in a long while, and Crimson seems to be busting his ass in everything he does, very earnestly trying to succeed at his role. I’m not sure this undefeated ass kicker role really suits him, because he doesn’t radiate menace or anything, but I genuinely have not one single complaint about him other than that. He’ll go a long way, and if he keeps working hard, he’ll deserve to.
This match is just a blip in these guys’ careers. But again, no trouble here.
69 out of 100.
Cewsh: This all started as a result of the whole big Fortune/Immortal feud that has quieted down for now but may never really fully die out. James Storm and Matt hardy started having themselves a war of words, with Hardy downplaying the significance of Beer Money’s accomplishments since he was, in his own words, “one half of the greatest tag team of all time”. Storm and Roode told him to bring it on and that they would gladly face the Hardy Boyz, but Matt decided to not use his brother and tap a new partner instead, one who could get inside of James Storm’s head like nobody else. The other half of America’s Most Wanted, The Wildcat Chris Harris.
Unfortunately for this match, and for the super cool feud that could have been, Matt Hardy and Chris Harris are both chubby shells of what they once were, and Chris Harris, who was never Mr. Personality, is so bland and expressionless throughout this whole thing, you’d think he was in the waiting room of a proctologist’s office, not fighting his brother turned enemy in his first high profile match in 5 years. Beer Money are, for the most part, Beer Money, so they carry things through well enough, but it bears saying that James Storm really stepped up his game here with enthusiasm and effort that you don’t usually see out of him. It was really his personality and fire that sold this match and made it as good as it was, and Roode was content to sit back and let him have the spotlight here.
Roode and Storm finish Chris Harris off with America’s Most Wanted’s (double apostrophe, nice) old finisher the Death Sentence in the end. As far as I’m concerned after this performance, it’s a fitting statement about Chris Harris’ career.
69 out of 100.
Cewsh: Wait, nevermind. There’s an extremely thick line between those two (hur hur). Here, Bully Ray is interviewed by Jeremy Borash and on two separate occasions he threatens to rape somebody just because he feels like it (Borash and AJ Styles’ wife, respectively).
Sandwiched in between this is a great intense promo where Bully Ray tears in Styles for being a goody two shoes who plays video games and has a family instead of partying and being a man like wrestlers used to do. Bully Ray is a baaaaaad man, but pissing off AJ Styles has not paid off for people in the past at all.
This feud is heating right the fuck up.
Cewsh: The backstory here is that Tommy Dreamer recently, and quite unexpectedly, turned on AJ Styles after a match, beating him to a pulp, and it appears to be because he is somehow being manipulated by Bully Ray. Nobody knows the details of the arrangement, but whatever it is it has a strong hold on Dreamer and has forced him into this match here tonight with directions to put Styles out of commission.
As the match starts, it becomes obvious right away that Dreamer’s heart is not in this, as he defends himself, but seems reluctant to harm Styles. When AJ locks on an armbar in the ropes, Tommy whines to the ref to get AJ off, and AJ derisively demands that Tommy actually get the fuck up and wrestle already since this is his style of match. Tommy is still reluctant, but eventually he gets angry and they start to tussle for real. They go back and forth for awhile, and for some reason it isn’t until now that I realize that Dreamer and Styles are wearing almost exact matching attire for some odd reason, and it makes Tommy look like the world’s least appealing cabaret dancer.
Towards the end, Styles sets up for a Styles Clash through a diagonal table, when suddenly Bully Ray runs in and clocks him with a chain. Christopher Daniels runs him off, but not before Tommy Dreamer piledrives Styles DIAGONALLY into the table, picking up the surprise win.
This match fell a bit flat for me, really. I’m not sure if Dreamer has the range, acting wise, to pull off this who idea of not wanting to hurt Styles but having to. I think his bits where he was reluctant were supposed to hit home more than they did, and outside of that, this was just sort of a nice, well done hardcore match with nothing really spectacular about it. The real story here is Ray and Styles and everybody knows it, and this was just a speed bump on the way to that.
72 out of 100.
The backstory here, for the record, is that Kurt Angle has found it impossible to get rid of the nuisance that is Jeff Jarrett with his ex wife Karen constantly interjecting herself into their feud, so he has gone out and found a “mistress” to neutralize her here at Sacrifice. Karen assumed he meant Velvet Sky (for some reason), but indeed, it turned out to be Chyna much to the shock of all, and now Karen is trapped in a match with her here tonight.
Okay, let’s accept a few things at the start of this match. First, of all, Karen Jarrett is not a wrestler, or anything remotely resembling a wrestler, and really should not be held to wrestler standards. Secondly, Chyna has not wrestled a match since October 26th 2002, when the golden abs of Hiroshi Tanahashi beat her (true). And thirdly, this feud is so stale, that if bread were to WATCH IT it would become moldy. So this match has all of those things working against it before the bell ever even rings.
Once the actual match begins, it isn’t half bad, because they faithfully follow the formula of “Let Kurt and Jeff wrestle and ignore the two non wrestlers.” This works out great for a good long while, with Karen and Chyna only occasionally making their presence known, and otherwise letting the guys get on with things, until Chyna finally gets the hot tag, and in her very first real move back in professional wrestling, produces this:
That is followed up with an equally awkward looking suplex, and then Chyna chases Karen around until she finally catches up with her, and while Kurt looks on grinning like its Christmas morning, Chyna hits Karen with a Pedigree (or as Tenay puts it “An inverted DDT type of move”) and then locks in the Anklelock on her. Karen goes to try to tap but Jeff dives into the ring to hold her arm up as she screams at him to fucking let go. Kurt just snickers at this, locks on an Anklelock of his own, and a few humorous seconds later, this one is down in the record books, with the Jarrett’s finally soundly defeated once and for all.
This wasn’t a bad match by any stretch, and the ending was just about perfect with Angle enjoying every second of his glorious revenge and finally getting closure to this crazy feud that has been going since October. Karen played her part tremendously well, and if it weren’t for Chyna really just being about as bad as you’d expect her to be, this could have been even more than what it was. But what it was, was more than decent, and with what they had going against them, that’s an accomplishment in itself.
74 out of 100.
Cewsh: Alright, now let’s settle in for this matc…
Hold on, getting a message on the screen here.
76 out of 100.
Cewsh: Hmm, interesting.
See, this was not a good show. I think you can tell from the match score ratings and the final rating that nothing really rose above “pretty good” and a few things were very much not pretty good at all. And yet, I’m not coming away from this show with my usual feelings of anger and depression at having watched a TNA PPV. There are elements here that I think are very much moving in the right direction (Crimson and Brian Kendrick especially) and this show finally blew off Angle/Jarrett which was like a lead curtain over this company for months now.
Oddly enough, the future looks bright for TNA. Better buy some shades.
Alright, that’ll do it for us this time boys and girls. We hope you enjoyed our coverage of TNA, because YOU’RE ABOUT TO GET MORE FUCKING TNA. That’s right, our review of TNA Slammiversary 2011 is coming right up, and with both Mrs. Cewsh and Vice currently boycotting the TNA product (Mrs. Cewsh because she thinks its terrible and Vice because of their treatment of Daffers), I must admit, I was at a loss going into this review. I mean, obviously my solo reviews are magnificent, but they lack that certain something. So I went on a worldwide talent search for the perfect person to help me cover the 8th anniversary of Total Nonstop Action with fire, pizzazz and bravado.
That lasted about 5 minutes.
Then I played some Halo: Reach with Matthew and BOOM THE EPIC PARTNERSHIP OF THE CENTURY WAS ESTABLISHED. So yes, for the first time ever, its Matthew and Cewsh, mano e mano taking on TNA’s anniversary show the way only we know how. Which is to say awesomely, and with the maximum possible teabagging. So keep an eye out for that, and until next time, be sure to keep reading and be good to one another!