Well, boys and girls, it looks like we are, at long last, coming to the end of TNA as a noteworthy thing in our lives. For the entire duration of Cewsh Reviews, TNA has been a through line of joy and anger, laughter and tears. So now, as we stand on the precipice of the void that Dixie Carter has been eagerly dragging TNA towards for the better part of a decade, it’s time to look back and remember the good times.
Of course, it wouldn’t be enough to just make a big honking list of good things that TNA did, or to reflect solely on their many, many, many, many missteps, (besides, loltna has you covered on that one. Good luck being productive at work after stumbling onto that site.) No, making empty lists and handing out easy platitudes just isn’t how we do things here at Cewsh Reviews. Instead, we cracked open our vault of wrestling DVDs and carefully extracted this one from the echoing catacombs beneath CR Headquarters:
This DVD, made in 2010, was created with the sole purpose of documenting the best things that happened in Total Nonstop Action for the first 8 years of it’s existence. They even went so far as to put a little stamp on there to let you know that the fans are to blame if you don’t like the selections. Keeping in mind that 2002-2010 is really the only period of TNA that is worth remembering, join us over the course of 3 magnificent hours this week as we look back with fondness, regret, and increasing bewilderment at just what this DVD could possibly contain. And once and for all say goodbye to our old friend TNA.
At least until they do something else we can make fun of. We’re not made of stone.
The first thing to realize about this collection of moments is that this is not some kind of countdown. Nor is it chronological, alphabetical or organized in any coherent way whatsoever. This is just a fat wad of moments being plunked down in front of you, curated by extremely limited interviews. So i’m breaking this up into 3 different posts, 1 for each hour, because there is a whoooooole lot to dig into here. With that in mind, let’s get right into it with…
“I never dreamed that the end of my legacy would end up right here in TNA.” – Hulk Hogan
Man, they are not fucking around. The very first thing on the list is probably the most significant thing to ever happen in TNA history to that point. This DVD was actually made less than a year after Hogan showed up in TNA, bringing the new regime and a boatload of changes with him. It shows admirable restraint on TNA’s part to get their most recent big moment out of the way so that we can focus more on some of the great history that TNA has to offer. Whether you liked Hogan joining the company, or see him as the walking Grim Reaper bringing the destruction of TNA, it’s impossible to say that it wasn’t a major moment, and a very positive one at the time.
So okay then, good start TNA. Let’s see what you have next.
“TNA is gonna be the number one company in the world.” – Hulk Hogan
…um. Okay. Hulk Hogan again. We’ve had two moments, and they are literally the first two times we saw Hulk Hogan on TNA television. This is a worrying development.
“This will give you the power of the universe. This will make you the strongest mortal man on this Earth. This will be good to you. This will protect you. This will love you. This will guide you. And this will make you the god of wrestling.” – Sorcerer Supreme Hogan
OH COME ON. I swear that I am not presenting these out of order in any way, and also that there are non-Hulk Hogan related moments on this list. It’s just that apparently TNA decided to dedicate the first full 15 minutes to things Hulk Hogan did in his first month on the job. Not only that, but THIS moment is one of the single stupidest moments in TNA history.
If you don’t remember what this nonsense was all about, Hulk Hogan, upon taking over the creative duties for TNA, (more or less,) looked at the roster and decided that Abyss was the most promising young talent in TNA. This led to Hogan encouraging Abyss to be his protege, and, in a moment that was weirdly intimate, Hogan gave Abyss his WWE Hall of Fame ring. Without dwelling on the weird symbolism of that, the ring wound up giving Abyss the ability to turn into Hulk Hogan and everything was confusing and weird and bad. Though it did give us this entry from my review of TNA Sacrifice 2010 which is just delightfully insane out of context.
Cewsh: A little while ago on Impact, a huge hullabaloo broke out when Chelsea, her dress in tatters and her eyes full of tears, informed us all that she had been sexually assaulted. For the rest of the episode, we were left to wonder who exactly this mysterious assailant was. Finally it was revealed that Abyss was the one who had assaulted her, and he was led away in handcuffs as he steadfastly denied any such foul play.
It looked grim for the masked man, at least until Lacey Von Erich came forward and presented Eric Bichoff with camera phone evidence that Wolfe and Chelsea had staged the whole thing simply to get Abyss removed from the building to keep him from interfering in the plans of Ric Flair and AJ Styles. Naturally Abyss came back super pissed and that set up this match where if Abyss wins, he gets to keep Chelsea. And if he loses, he loses a magic ring that isn’t really very magical at all. Because apparently Englishmen are awful at bartering.
“Let’s get this over with.” – Hulk Hogan
At this point, you would be forgiven for thinking that this is just a chronological collection of Hulk Hogan’s run in TNA. That is literally what the first 20 minutes of this video is. But I assure you that that isn’t actually the ENTIRE point of this DVD. And if we can just get past all the times when Hulk Hogan half heartedly did something, then we might be able to get somewhere.
Also of note is the fact that this was not one, but TWO matches that took place in one night, and involved Sting turning heel and starting down the path to full on becoming the Joker for awhile. That is a thing that happened.
“…I guess it’s time for me to pack my bags and walk away from TNA.” – Hulk Hogan
Okay! So here we go, guys. This involves Hulk Hogan, but at least he isn’t an active participant! See, Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan feuded all through the early portion of the year, and more and more people kept getting sucked up in their wake, including AJ Styles, Abyss, Jeff Hardy, Bobby Roode and a host of others. So when Lethal Lockdown rolled around, they naturally decided to have it out in a big fuck off match. They hinted several times that Hogan would have to walk away if his team lost the match, though they never even pretended like that was official, only to have Hogan’s team win in the end after Eric Bischoff showed up to tease being on Flair’s side before handing Hogan a pair of brass knuckles and then OH MY GOD THIS IS SO STUPID WHY AM I EXPLAINING THIS.
“Gail Kim Will Always Be The First Women’s Champion In TNA.” – Mike Tenay
It is at this point that the video changes gears abruptly and announces that this next part will be about championship gold. Which means that not only does this DVD have distinct sections to it, but that they very clearly planned the first, and most important one, to be about nothing but Hulk Hogan and didn’t feel the need to mark that in any way.
But enough negativity, because this is actually a great moment in TNA history. It took Gail Kim years of managing, taking bumps from guys, and all but begging Jeff Jarrett for a shot, before he finally crafted a women’s division at her request. But when that dream of hers came true it got over big time. For a number of years the Knockouts division was arguably the most prestigious in TNA, and really represented a golden standard for mainstream women’s wrestling at a time when the Divas Search was an all too recent memory.
This remains one of TNA’s most laudable accomplishments. They get a free pass on this one. No jokes whatsoever.
“Look at all mah fancy belts!” – AJ Styles*
OH LOOK HERE COME MORE JOKES.
On the surface, this may seem to be a perfectly reasonable entry on this list. AJ Styles was the franchise of TNA for pretty much it’s entire history and he should absolutely be honored in a DVD like this. But what you have to remember is that this DVD was released during AJ’s “Mini Nature Boy” phase. And so the accompanying interview he gives is…well…
*Not an actual quote.
“Becoming the first TNA Knockouts Tag Team Champions…there’s nothing you can say about that.” – Sarita
Here is a list of every team that held the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championships:
That’s three vacancies, one mind controlling witch and her slave, one dude who was somehow eligible to compete for this, and a whole bunch of thrown together teams featuring Sarita and Taylor Wilde.
So all in all, a pretty good track record.
“I think the Guns were in it. I don’t remember.” (They weren’t.) – Bully Ray
Here’s a fun fact: Did you know that TNA once decided it would be okay to have The British Invasion beat Team 3D for the IWGP Tag Team Championships without bothering to tell NJPW about it first? Yeah, they were pretty steamed about that. And about TNA’s treatment of Okada. And about TNA’s treatment of Tanahashi. And about Jeff Hardy showing up high and putting on the worst performance in Japanese wrestling history at Wrestle Kingdom. And about…
Actually, I think you get the idea. But yay for Team 3D!
“I know i’m coming to the end here pretty soon.” – Sting, 5 years before his Wrestlemania debut
TNA’s attempt to spin Sting’s Bound For Glory winning streak as some kind of Undertaker-like phenomenon, despite fans vocally demanding anything else, was sad enough on it’s own. Their attempt here to make it look like the crowning accomplishment of Sting’s career is just outright depressing.
Making it worse is the fact that they didn’t even bother to get any new footage for this section. They literally just reused the hype video for Sting’s Bound For Glory 2009 match with AJ Styles. So everything in the video is in the future tense about an event that was already a year old when this DVD was released. So next time you see a Flashback Friday post and think i’m a content re-using hack, just remember that I learned it from the best, (and also I’m sorry please keep reading this. There’s candy at the end!)
“Velvet just screamed because she knew that she was gonna get drilled.” – Tazz
That brings us to our final entry in hour 1 of this fine video, and it’s a curious one. Madison Rayne kind of became the leader of the Knockouts division by the end of 2010, so you can kind of see why they shoehorned it in here in order to represent her, but the actual title win itself came during a tag team cage match where she pinned someone who wasn’t the champion after heavy interference. Not exactly the kind of thing you’d expect fans to eagerly vote for, but the sticker on the box does say fan approved, so there you have it.