Cewsh: Once upon a time there was a kingdom named TNA, ruled over by a proud queen and her bumbling advisers They lived forever in the shadow of the monstrous neighboring kingdom of WWE, but all the same, they kept their heads down and carved out a niche for themselves as the best darn kingdom outside of the futuristic monolith city next door. For several years they grew and prospered, despite many questionable decisions, and the subjects of this kingdom were happy and proud to be part of something that was their very own. But then an invading army appeared before the gates, clad in leather and piloting terrifying creatures that roared and spewed smoke. Without warning, they broke like a dam over the peaceful kingdom, washing away the peaceful life they had known. The people fled for safety or fell before the invaders one by one on the group’s slow march to the heart of TNA, and even the mighty could not stand before them. This plague of villains, called the “Aces and the Eights” sought to sweep away all that TNA represented, and made it all the way to the castle gates.
So with his beloved kingdom in danger and his Queen in dismay, the legendary knight known as Sting was forced to take up his sword once more and lead a motley collection of heroes into battle against the dark host amassed before the gates. Previous foes, such as the Bully of Ray and Joseph of Samoa, joined with the kingdom’s greatest knight to turn back to invaders, and marched forth into battle together to decide the fate of both armies. Here, they would throw the invaders back or be crushed, with no room to run and no chance for surrender. After tonight, the war would be over and the landscape of this once proud kingdom could never be the same. Could the aged knight recapture the spirit lost? Would the dark warriors set fire to the very foundation of TNA? Who would stand when all others have fallen? What nightmares could the coming night hold?
Oh, and stay tuned for that exciting Christian York match!
Cewsh: Well here it is, folks. Your entire 2013 TNA X Division. Let’s take a look at the only 3 people currently holding together the proud tradition that TNA made it’s name on, shall we? First we have our champion, Kenny King. He’s an exciting young talent that began his career on Tough Enough, surprisingly enough, making he and John Morrison the only people ever to appear on that show who actually made anything of themselves, (Miz doesn’t count, his season was basically the Divas Search with dudes,) and he did his time in Ring of Honor before bringing his awesomeness to TNA. Off to a great start with the division so far! This is just the kind of guy this whole idea was founded on. Then we have Zema Ion, an international high flyer who made a name for himself on the indies and has a unique look and charisma to burn. Another great addition to the division! Even in the X Division’s glory days, they had a precious few guys who could really play effective heels, so Ion is a great guy to have. Okay, looks like we may have something here. And our third X Division guy, effectively the third best X Division wrestler that TNA has on it’s roster and sees fit to employ, we have…wait, this can’t be right. Christian York is a tag team guy from the 90s. Even if he were still around he’d probably look like…
Vice: The first thing I must address here is that TNA has a massive crowd for a TNA show. They apparently have 10,000 people in attendance, which is huge. I don’t care if they handed out tickets, posted sex ads on Craigslist and put sacks over the heads of the people that replied, or just corralled them in there with AK-47s or threats of Scientology conversion. There are 10,000 people there, and that is magnificent for them.
For all you people that wish TNA would just collapse and die, you’re silly. Yeah they can be a really stupid company quite often, but I would love nothing more than for them to become decent competition to WWE. If only to keep WWE on their toes. Their next event will have a terrible attendance compared to this, I’m sure, but it’s a sign that TNA *can* draw big crowds. The key is just doing it consistently and entertaining those people enough to where they 1) want to come back, 2) tell people they had a good time.. even if it’s in the so bad it’s good/check out this improv comedy group lolol kind of way.
Watching this match, I just couldn’t get over how dumb Christian York looks. He has such a stupid face, and his dual-tone dreadlocks don’t help him at all. He just looks like a giant idiot. He shouldn’t be in the X-division weighing these people down. Actually, he shouldn’t even have a job. Christian York in his prime? I could kiiiind of see that. But this is 2013. Christian York. Second biggest wrestling company in America. In a title match. 2013. Christian York. Second biggest wrestling company in America. In a title match. 2013. Christian York. Second biggest wrestling company in America. In a title match. 2013. Christian York. Second biggest wrestling company in America. In a title match. 2013. Christian York. Second biggest wrestling company in America. In a title match. 2013.
Ok, now that that is out of my sys—CHRISTIAN YORK IN A FUCKING TITLE MATCH IN THE SECOND BIGGEST WRESTLING COMPANY IN AMERICA IN 2013 WHAT THE FUCK!?!
Ahem. Apologies. Anyway, this match would have been a heck of a lot better if it didn’t feature Christian York in it. Ion and King are both lovely individuals that can put on a great match together.
Just the two of them. That said, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Because it did, after all, feature Christian York in it. In 2013. It was pretty fun and spotty, which is generally a good way of kicking off a show, because crowds just like that kind of stuff. And if you’ve got 10,000 people there, you better entertain them.
Writing this like two days after watching it, I don’t actually remember anything about this match aside from a horrible Kenny King botch. Ion was hanging through the ropes towards the outside (think 619ish), and King attempted to moonsault off his back onto Christian York (yes, he was there in a title match in 2013) who was up against the guard rail, but.. well.. didn’t moonsault. He kinda just jumped backwards, smashing his skull directly into the railing, followed by him looking dead for a few seconds. It was not pretty, but it makes a fun GIF.
If there is a GIF above this sentence, it means Cewsh found one and placed it in the obviously perfect spot. If there is a GIF of it elsewhere, either Cewsh hogged it for himself or he just doesn’t read the stuff I write. In which case, I’m reviewing his wife next time around.
And while I’m on fire with great stuff that no one reads, hey TNA: do you realize how much hairspray Ion uses every time he is on camera, and how great his hair looks? Have you ever thought about, I dunno, getting a hair product company (I don’t know any names because fuck you genetics), and getting them to pay you money for using their product on camera and having tremendously sexy results? There. I just made you enough money to cover any potential severance package for Christian York, enough champagne to get the entire locker room drunk as they celebrate the firing of Christian York, a haircut for Christian York, and have enough money left over to hire someone much better instead.
Cewsh: The match itself was perfectly fine, but the question that haunted it from start to finish was, “Why is Christian York here?” King was the cocky babyface, Ion was the deceptive heel, and those two had all the decent spots in the match. You get the distinct feeling that they just needed a third guy for all of the, admittedly neat, 3 man moves they performed.
So they just threw York in, even though York has been part of this storyline from the beginning.
I think a lot of people would find a lot to enjoy in this match, and might even think it was great, and we’ve almost certainly piled on to Christian York here to a ridiculous extent. But the trouble with TNA is that when a company squanders all of its goodwill, it is no longer able to get the benefit of the doubt. I would love to brush something like Christian York under the rug because HEY FLIPS RIGHT, but TNA keeps putting stuff like that front and center, slapping you in the face with the dick of bad decision making. And it is a very large phallus indeed.
73 out of 100
Cewsh: We go backstage and Jeremy Borash and Joseph Park are talking about food because FAT, until Bad Influence shows up and tells Park to go find Dixie Carter. Then Kazarian starts talking, and, as usual, not one single word he says sticks in the mind enough for me to relate to you now. I can tell he’s talking, because his mouth is forming words and there’s noise happening, but he may as well be Charlie Brown’s teacher for all it gets through to me.
Luckily, Christopher Daniels then steps in, and in a nothing segment hyping a lame duck match, he delivers one of the best promos of his career. There’s something about Daniel’s current character that is so masterfully toeing the line between evil and goofy that links the Fallen Angel and Curry Man gimmicks and suits the man perfectly. He absolutely kills it here, tearing apart his opponents and telling everyone that Bad Influence will once again be tag team champions. I don’t even have a joke to make about it. Dude killed it that hard.
Cewsh: If there is a theme to this show, aside from the cage matches, it is this. Every single match TNA put on this card has at least one person in it whom I adore whole heartedly. So even if I wanted to, I couldn’t possibly bury anything on this show COMPLETELY. I’m not saying that I would have to start with, but man is that a great insurance policy for them.
That individual in this match is Joseph Park, who has come full circle in his transformation from Abyss, to civilian attorney, to green wrestler in training in a way that I am in awe of. I know we’ve belabored this point before, but every time Jospeh Park comes out I feel the need to drive this point home: ABYSS WAS FUCKING TERRIBLE. For years and years he was the worst part of every show, with his stale gimmick and abysmal storylines. He had fallen into a deep vat of suck that would only allow him to deliver one good match a year before feuding with awful people for nonsensical reason for months on end. And then, in what should have been the worst storyline of all, he developed a split personality that decided to masquerade as his brother, an attorney with no aggression whatsoever. But see, a funny thing happened on the way to the suck wagon. Joseph Park actually got over.
Not just a little bit over, either. At this point, I would feel confident in saying that Joseph Park is one of the 2 or 3 most over babyfaces on the entire show, and may be the most sympathetic character in all of wrestling. Abyss has gone so far into the character, that he has convinced us that the guy we watched do bloody brawls for 10 years is a green nobody with only a rudimentary understanding of how to do an Irish Whip. It’s a stunning acting performance, and has jumped Abyss from an eye rolling footnote in TNA history to a beloved and respected performer with a range like nobody else. If you can’t tell, I’m a pretty big fan, and the best part is that everyone else seems to be too.
This match functions like most of Park’s matches since his “wrestling training” storyline wrapped up. Abyss does some basic wrestling school moves, gets beaten up for tons of sympathy and then accidentally finds a winning combination for the shock victory.
The idea that the 6’9″ 300 lbs guy is the shock underdog against the 5’9″ 170 lbs Joey Ryan should tell you everything you need to know about how well this is working. And while this match isn’t something to roll out the Beta-Max for, it’s an enjoyable diversion that is just part of the rise of something special. Whether you like TNA or not, there’s no fault to find in that.
69 out of 100
Vice: Joey Ryan has a gimmick that is wonderful on the indies, but it’s something that just doesn’t work very well on such a national stage. I can’t put my finger on exactly why (possibly because it’d slip off that horrendously slippery oiled up body of his, but something about it just doesn’t work at all.
He’s also really not that good of a wrestler.
Speaking of not very good wrestlers, he’s wrestling Joseph Park. Who is apparently so good of a wrestler that he can wrestle flawlessly as someone who cannot wrestle. Yes, it’s so good that it can replicate shit and be very popular by doing it. Just like great technology and Instagram. HIIIIIYOOOOOOOOOO. I seriously still have a hard time believing that Joseph Park was once Abyss. It just boggles my mind on so many levels. It’s almost like Kane in a sense. He was a dude that was practically silent for years, then once he lost the mask and starting cutting promos, it was discovered that he could cut an amazing promo, and was overall a damn great actor.
He wrestles the character of Park so well that you can’t not have a ton of sympathy for the guy. You can’t not cheer for him. You want him to win. You want him to entertain you. It’s very fascinating. The match itself isn’t that good, but I actually kind of want Park to get a big push as a bumbling non-wrestler. He’s just too damn great.
Cewsh: Backstage, Brooke Hogan is giving a pep talk to her husband, Bully Ray about his World title match tonight. Bully tells her that he appreciates the support, but is having trouble dealing with the enormity of the opportunity in front of him, in a moment that is surprisingly tender and vulnerable from the man. Then Hulk comes in and gives Bully the pep talk of a life time, about how he accepts him as a son, and sees him as the future of TNA. He even goes so far as to say that the fans will remember Bully for as long as they live. At which point Bully shakes his hand and agrees that he will.
Now, we live in the future time, so it’s entirely possible that you already know what is going to happen later in this show. But on the off chance that you don’t, I’m not going to spoil in just yet. Instead, let’s just focus on what a surprisingly genuine and emotional segment this was. Brooke came off flat, as is her way, but Bully Ray and Hulk Hogan really tapped into a depth of emotion here that you don’t get a ton of in wrestling shows. Was it corny? Yeah, of course. Hulk Hogan basically just said adjectives to Bully Ray for 5 straight minutes. But this is the culmination of months of storyline with Hogan not trusting Bully, and Bully busting his ass to prove himself, so it’s kind of touching to see Hogan finally throw all of his considerable support behind Team Bully.
Aaaaaaaaand it’s kind of important for later. But we’ll get there. Oh yes. We will get there.
Cewsh: Okay, I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is that the Knockouts have a storyline going on with their top heel, (Kim,) and it’s been getting a ton of attention on television. That’s good, right? Getting television time for the Knockouts is always good. And here Gail is in a title match on PPV, so obviously the storyline is going just fine, right? Good, I’m glad we’re all on the same page. Because unfortunately, Gail’s storyline has absolutely nothing to do with the champion she’s facing, and is actually with the referee, Taryn Terrell.
Once again, TNA has gone to the story well and come back with “referee who is actually a wrestler gets pushed around and SNAPS.” You may recall seeing this storyline before when it was done with Garrett Bischoff, or before that with Shane Sewell. It’s a proud tradition that has, thus far, NEVER PRODUCED A SUCCESSFUL STORYLINE, STAR OR MATCH.
So what we get here is, essentially, a long form angle where Gail beats up Velvet and is shown to be far, far superior to her, and then antagonizes Taryn for not doing her job correctly. This is supposed to make Taryn sympathetic, despite the fact that she actually isn’t doing her job all that great to begin with. Possibly because if you were a chef and someone asked you to grow some carrots, you wouldn’t automatically be good at it. Gail looks dominant, shoves Taryn, slaps Taryn, slaps her again, hit her with a brick, sleeps with her boyfriend, desecrates her parent’s graves, goes back in time to slap her in the face as a baby. You get the idea. Antagonization is done. Finally Taryn decides she’s had enough, and gives Gail a mighty Gore, allowing Velvet to show that she is also in the match by hitting her sitout Pedigree and retaining her title.
So, yeah. Now we’ll have a few weeks where Taryn is reprimanded for getting physically involved until Gail goads into doing it again, at which point she will be fired as a referee and reinstated as a wrestler and they will have a big match that nobody actually wants to see that puts someone who wasn’t good enough to wrestle matches in the Divas division over the top heel in American women’s wrestling. All the while the Knockouts Champion sits on the sidelines and waits for someone to remember she’s there.
I don’t want all of this to make you think that these aren’t good performers who are trying their best. Gail is never less than solid, Velvet is leagues ahead of where many of her peers are, (though that’s sort of a backhanded compliment,) and Taryn isn’t actively unpleasant. But there’s nothing for any of them to really get their teeth into in a situation like this. So they’ll just stay on life support for now, sitting at home in their pajamas with a bottle of Cewsh Reviews Rum, watching DVDs from 2007 and sobbing regretfully.
Okay, so that’s what I’ll be doing. Don’t judge me, I have footie pajamas.
59 out of 100
Vice: This was a satisfactory match, I suppose. The problem is that you have the champion, Velvet Sky, not having any sort of focus on her. Everything here seems to be about Gail Kim vs. the referee, and Sky is basically just a side character to advance the story. Despite being the champion. But whatever, I suppose it works well enough. And to be honest, it’s kind of nice seeing a heel get screwed over in a situation like this. It’s a good comeuppance sort of thing. Unless Gail is actually a face and the ref is a heel…
Well, I have no idea, and I’m not watching it again to find out. So I’ll just give TNA the benefit of the doubt and say they’re doing something at least mildly interesting at the price of making their champion an afterthought.
Cewsh: We’re big fans of Rob Terry, here at Cewsh Reviews. Like, really big fans. Most of this stems from his brief singles run a few years back where we marked out for everything he did while seemingly everyone else just looked on in confusion. We even created a rallying cry for his fans, representing our enthusiasm for his potential awesomeness. How did it go again?
Vice: BIG ROB TERRY.
Cewsh: BIG ROB TERRY.
Vice: BIG ROB TERRY.
Cewsh: BIG ROB TERRY.
Exactly. The point is that we love the big lug, and fervently hope for his success at every opportunity. So when I tell you that this match was one of his worst performances as a professional wrestler, you should really take my word on that.
The thing is that it’s not that he was BAD, as such. It’s just that this entire match was built solely on the idea of putting Big Rob over as a breakout star babyface who would kill Robbie E for making him mad. As if that was the goal they had in mind here, it has to be said that this match was a major failure. Nothing Big Rob did looked aggressive or intimidating, and none of his moves seemed to hit quite the way they should to make them look good. The entire match just seemed like a practice match before the real thing, to the extent where I have to wonder if Big Rob just couldn’t handle the spotlight all being on him, or if Robbie E just wasn’t able to help him out enough to make it work.
Whatever the cause, this match is basically a 10 minute collection of moves that don’t work done in a nonsensical sequence. It absolutely kills me to say that, it really does, because all I want is to be heralding a new star right now. But unfortunately, even awful pseudo journalists like us really shouldn’t be outright lying to your face. This match may have put a nail in the coffin of Terry ever getting a real singles push again in his career. Because when the spotlight is on you to steal the show, being just fine, just isn’t good enough.
Sorry Rob, can we still be friends?
52 out of 100
Cewsh: So let me apprise you of recent events. A few weeks ago the rumor hit all the big gossip sites that Bobby Roode was no longer under contract to TNA because TNA had forgotten to file the paperwork to resign him. As a result, it was believed that if they couldn’t get a new deal done in time, he actually wouldn’t even be able to compete here at Lockdown. His absence from a few tv shows seemed to support this rumor, as did the fact that TNA had done pretty much that same exact thing with Rob Van Dam and Angelina Love’s paperwork in the past. So there was a great deal of anxiety about whether or not he’d be at this show, and what exactly it would mean if he wasn’t. After all, with his size, old school style, and promo chops, he’s one of the few talents on the TNA roster that you could really see WWE making a run at if available.
That brings us to this segment, where Austin Aries is being interviewed by Jeremy Borash, who asks him whether or not his partner, (Roode,) would be at the show tonight. Aries cuts a lengthy promo about how he doesn’t need Bobby Roode to win the match, and how he could easily beat everyone else in the match all by himself. Then, almost as an afterthought, he says, “But luckily I don’t have to”, prompting Roode to wander into the frame, say “Miss me?” and wander out.
Aside from the segment flowing really awkwardly around a 3 second reveal, TNA has to get some credit for not only being aware of the rumor mill surrounding the show, but also for unobtrusively taking the chance to tweak the noses of the gossip mongers. Roode is here, the Best Friends Forever Club is whole, and all is well in the world.
Cewsh: As previously mentioned, there has been at least one person that I am hugely fond of in every match thus far. In this match I feel that way about a whopping two thirds of the teams involved, so things are definitely looking up. And this match is, by far, the crowning glory of the show up to this point. Everyone in the match, (with the notable exception of Chavo Guerrero,) is on their game here, and they all work together to create one of the best multi tag team matches I’ve ever seen. Hernandez is a beast throwing bodies left and right, Aries and Roode are so absurdly good that they dictate the flow of the action, and Bad Influence acts as irritants the entire time, looking to cause some chaos that they can profit from and steal the victory.
In the spirit of all TNA multi man matches, this is a frenetic race more often than not, with people flying in and out of the ring as fast as the eye can follow, and dramatic shifts in momentum from moment to moment. This is the definitive TNA style, and when it is done well, you get a match that never dips in excitement, and keeps ratcheting the intensity up until the end finally comes and let’s you finally take a breath. It sounds exhausting, but in cases like this it’s more exhilarating than anything, and this was situated in the perfect place of this show to wake people up before the main events.
This match also profited enormously from a great finish, where Guerrero hits the frog splash on Christopher Daniels, only to not be able to get the pin because Roode actually tagged him in midair as he flew by. Aries dumped him out of the ring unceremoniously, and Roode pinned Daniels to retain their titles and keep their dream of holding all of the gold in TNA alive.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that this pay per view hadn’t been doing particularly well to this point, so this was exactly what the show needed to get me pumped up and into things. Everyone was just terrific from start to finish, and even Chavo wasn’t nearly as bad as he has been throughout his run thus far. Well done to all involved. And as usual, even if the show around them falls to pieces, Austin Aries and Bobby Roode refuse to be touched by it. TNA should give them a plaque.
79 out of 100
Vice: It’s kind of sad that the worst person in this match is a member of the Guerrero family.
But it’s Chavo, and he was never actually that good. Roode and Aries are pretty brilliant together, and Daniels and Kazarian are extremely entertaining bastards together. I don’t know how Daniels does it, but you can basically give him anything and he will produce good/great results. I’m still hoping for a Curry Man return at some point, but this Daniels is still pretty brilliant. And somehow Kaz is getting somewhat of a personality and is also pretty enjoyable as part of the team. Possibly because he’s not in the match half the time. Not sure. Either way, it’s good stuff.
The match was pretty good, but didn’t blow me away by any means. If you removed Chavo and Hernandez, I think it could have been fantastic with as much time as it got. The finish was at least pretty damn clever, and the right team won it. So.. can’t complain too much.
Cewsh: Backstage, Taryn Terell is giving an interview where she tries to explain her actions, (mainly the bit where she was directly responsible for the outcome of a title match.) She tells Borash that at the end of the day, she is going to defend herself and won’t be anyone’s victim. Which is unfortunate timing for her, because before the word are even done coming out of her mouth, Gail Kim jumps her from behind and beats her into a pulp. The roving army of agents and referees, who always seem to be on hand during every segment except the ones where they’re actually needed, breaks up the fight, and one more brick has officially been laid on the foundation of Castle Heel.
Cewsh: Kurt Angle has had a rough few years in TNA. He got arrested for drunk driving and stalking a Knockout, his wife left him for the owner of the company, who then spent months antagonizing him, he’s had to take a bunch of time off for injuries and for general rest, and he’s had a great deal of trouble getting near the title that he once wore continually. Now, as his career winds down, he doesn’t have many friends left in TNA, so he’s sort of built a little family for himself with his former rival Samoa Joe, Garrett Bischoff, and his protege Wes Brisco. For months, Angle hyped Brisco up as the future, and talked about all of the training that he was giving him.
Finally, things were going well for Angle, and he went to war with Aces and Eights with his trusty team at his back.
Unfortunately, having a few young and hungry wrestlers at your back is a great way to get stabbed, and Bischoff and Brisco did just that, beating down Kurt, and allying themselves with Aces and Eights. In the weeks that followed, Brisco buried his mentor, saying that he never needed his teaching to begin with. Now they’re going to settle it in the cage, and Mr. Angle aint fucking happy.
That’s a great premise for a feud, and the mentor/mentee feud is one of my favorites in wrestling. But the problem is that that feud really requires a lot of the mentee to step out when given the opportunity, and really show that they belong on their mentor’s level, either through skill or nefariousness. When it’s done well, (Zbyssko/Sammartino let’s say,) it’s an incredibly easy way to create a new top heel, because the fans will loathe the student for betraying his master. When it’s done poorly, (Angle/Brisco let’s say,) it makes the student look like a chump who didn’t deserve to be mentored to begin with, and makes the mentor look stupid for ever getting involved. Here, Angle beats the fuck out of Brisco for about 15 straight minutes with the bare minimum of resistance. Brisco does not for one second look like he belongs in a ring at all, much less one with a guy like Kurt Angle, which serves to make him look like a weasely heel, but also eliminates any purpose a feud like this could possibly have. This match does about as much for Brisco’s career as the Lethal Lockdown one did for Garrett Bischoff last year, and Garrett fell so far that he’s the sidekick to Wes fucking Brisco now.
But I’m not blaming this on Kurt or anything. There’s nothing about Wes Brisco that makes you think that he particularly deserves better. His work is all over the place, his look is somehow both generic and ridiculous, and we’re not going to talk about the promos. We just aren’t. So yeah, this did not go well. And hell, things are compounded even worse by the finish, where Angle goes to leave the cage, only to have the ref get knocked out, (poor Brian Hebner, he never makes it through a full Lockdown,) and Brisco’s Aces and Eights buddies hustle him outside so that Brisco wins when the ref wakes up. So not only does Brisco not gain anything from this, but neither does Angle. Snake eyes! Everybody loses! And the crowd goes wild!
Vice? You went quiet while we were watching this match, do you have anything to share?
Vice: If you haven’t played this game, I suggest you play it. Speaking of playing things, listen to this song off the soundtrack while you read the rest of this shameless plug.
You play as Captain Viridian, and you must find and save your crew members after a dimensional interference causes shit to go haywire, and then find out what caused the problem and fix it. The graphics are extremely simple, heavily influenced by Commodore 64. It’s simple but totally effective, and really just adds to the lightheartedness of everything.
This music is awesome, isn’t it? Yeah, the whole soundtrack is pretty damn great.
The gameplay is very simple. You move with the arrow keys, and you have one action button. What does the button do, you’re asking? Jump? Ha ha ha, no sir! Hitting the button changes the gravity. You will be flipping all over the place, avoiding spikes, dodging various enemies and projectiles, and traversing the world. You will die hundreds of times, but respawns only take about a second, so you’ll always be part of the action and bouncing your happy blue ass around. There’s a lot to explore, secrets to find, stuff to collect. There’s definitely a bit of difficulty from time to time, but nothing that will make you want to punch a wall or pull your hair out. Dying just motivates you to get your ass in gear and succeed. It’s only a few hours long depending on how well you play and how much exploring/collecting you do, so it’s a good way to kill time and enjoy yourself. It’s inexpensive, and can be found on PC and Nintendo 3DS.
Vice: Oh yeah, and apparently there was a Wes Brisco/Kurt Angle cage match going on, but it was boring and I didn’t give one crap about it. Someone had a steel cage match with Kurt motherfucking Angle and it was dreadful. That should just be an automatic firing for Wes Brisco.
Cewsh: An astute summary, actually.
Look, if Vice didn’t have to review this awful nonsense, I’m not going to do it anymore either. But if you want to know how the match really was, just watch this match and imagine that Kurt Angle does all the exact same things, but that he doesn’t give a tenth of a shit and the person he’s wrestling is a giant potato in a wig:
That was a great match. This was not a great match. This was the worst Kurt Angle match I have ever seen.
53 out of 100
Cewsh: Do you have any idea how long it took me to sit here and remember who the members of Aces and Eights are? This is the group that is laying waste to TNA, and I only knew 4 of the 7 revealed members off of the top of my head. That’s FUCKING TERRIBLE. But I digress.
As I mentioned before in my Pulitzer Prize worthy storybook set up, Aces and Eights have been wrecking havoc across the TNA landscape all year. With all of the members, (except for one,) finally revealed and out in the open, Hulk Hogan asked Sting to launch a full on assault to take them down inside of Lethal Lockdown. Sting marshaled his troops, though they were uneasy to work together as every member of the group has feuded with someone else in it during their TNA tenure. But they’re joined together for the singular purpose of not losing their company to a bunch of guys who wear jeans to the ring. For Aces and Eights part, this is a chance to strike a definitive blow to the morale of TNA as a whole and prove that they’re the biggest swinging dick around these parts.
But hey, TNA has a new secret weapon! A man who had been away from the company for awhile, but is known for his complete insanity and disregard for his own safety. Is it Abyss? Rob Van Dam? Sabu? WHO IS IT?!
Oh. Hi Eric.
Look, there was a time when I would do play by play reviews for the Lethal Lockdown matches and pick them apart with a fine toothed comb to point out the small details that made the match good or bad or just odd in general. But at this point, using a comb to sift through what is wrong with Lethal Lockdown matches is like using a shovel to move a lake from your mansion to your underground lair. These matches are always supposed to be heat filled Wargames knock offs, but for years they have been plagued by utter dullness until all of the participants have entered, and then total chaos once they have.
There are a lot of issues, from the fact that no pins can occur before everyone has entered, causing the opening half of the match to be meaningless, to TNA’s relatively small ring and thick cage walls making it impossible to tell what is going on when everyone is in there.
But those are just issues with the concept in general. The point is that this match isn’t uniquely bad, but that it’s a 25 minute exercise in futility. There isn’t any actual heat on this storyline, because Aces and Eights is not over as a group by any stretch of the imagination; and nobody on the face side has any momentum coming into this match. This is a Wargames match between midcarders, and, with nobody showing any intensity or desire to stand out, it just becomes a bland porridge of suck. It must be said that for all our mocking, the person who seems to be trying the hardest here as Eric Young, as he tries his best to energize things, especially with his dramatic elbow drop off the top of the cage, which was more thrilling than similar spots have been in the past.
I’m not going to belabor the point here. This match is a waste of everyone’s time. It isn’t entertaining, Sting’s team doesn’t benefit from overcoming the nonexistent odds and winning, (they won by the way,) and Aces and Eights is worse off for losing right when they need to look the strongest. A handful of unfortunate people paid to see this show, and they wasted both their money and their time, twiddling their thumbs and waiting for something interesting to happen. And they’ll have to go right on waiting.
61 out of 100
Vice: I haven’t watched TNA in quite some time. The last time may have been Hardcore Justice, because Aries won the championship the PPV prior. Because Austin Aries is amazing, and the match with Roode for the title was really quite great, I wanted to see the rematch. And to make sure Aries kept the title, because as great as Roode is, Aries totally deserved it. I’m not sure why I missed the next PPV, but I did. And then the following month was Bound for Glory. I already somewhat opposed the PPV on the sheer principle that Jeff Hardy should never go near the title again because he is such a liability. You never know when he’s going to get in trouble with the law, you never know when he’s going to be on too many drugs to compete, and you never reaaaaally ever know which Jeff Hardy is going to be the one that shows up. So naturally, you should book him to win a giant tournament/competition thing over the entire roster, have him get the main event spot in TNA’s biggest show of the year, and then have him beat a guy who is finally legitimately ON FIRE with the promotion. Because.. logic?
I always try to go out of my way to watch the big shows of various promotions, but from time to time I miss them. I think I had somewhere to go with my girlfriend at the time, so I couldn’t watch Bound for Glory live. Not long after, the main event’s outcome was spoiled for me, and it was just absolutely defeating to hear that they put the title back on the drug addict. Because of this, I didn’t watch the show. And I didn’t watch anything else up until this PPV. I loved hearing that TNA couldn’t even bring Jeff Hardy to the UK because the country did not want him. It’s great. Rarely do I actually get pleasure out of stuff going poorly for a company, but I got a lot of pleasure when I heard this news. It serves them right on so many levels. They deserved it, it happened, and it’s going to happen again. The dude is over.
He sells merchandise. I get that. But you can have him be a successful upper midcarder/main eventer without giving him titles and huge matches that can not only put other wrestlers at risk, but the entire company.
Anyway, going into this match, I didn’t know a ton about what was going on. Just rumblings about Bully Ray marrying Brooke, Aces and 8s being a thing, etc. A lot of which didn’t really have me too interested. But hey, it’s Bully Ray getting a title shot. And man, how awesome is he? I had absolutely no idea he’d become a legitimately amazing and credible top heel when on his own, (Devon is pretty great too, which may be even weirder to consider,) but he did such a wonderful job. Haven’t seen a ton of his face work, but I’m sure it was at least pretty good. Wasn’t too fond of the whole Hogan son-in-law stuff from what I heard, but it’s whatever I guess.
Cewsh: The backstory for this match is quite a mouthful, so let’s break it down month by month.
August: Bully Ray and Jeff Hardy enter the Bound For Glory Series. Aces and Eights appears on the scene and starts jumping BFG Series competitors, including both Ray and Hardy.
September: Hardy ultimately pins Ray in the finals of the BFG Series for a title shot at Bound For Glory.
October: Bully Ray offers Sting and Hulk Hogan his help in beating back the menace of Aces and Eights. Sting accepts, but Hogan is unsure if they can trust Ray, (which is completely reasonable.) Together, Sting and Ray fights Aces and Eights at Bound For Glory, and beat them for TNA’s first victory in the conflict. Jeff Hardy defeats Austin Aries for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
November/December: It is revealed that Bully Ray has been having a relationship with Brooke Hogan, straining things even further between Hogan and Ray. Aces and Eights continues to wreck havoc on the TNA roster. Jeff Hardy turns back challenges from Austin Aries and Bobby Roode.
January: Hulk Hogan suspends Bully Ray from active competition for having a relationship with Brooke. In spite of this, Bully proposes to Brooke and she accepts. They plan a wedding for Impact, but it is interrupted when Tazz joins Aces and Eights and the group beats down Bully and Hulk. Hulk reinstates Ray so that he can team with Sting to defeat Aces and Eights. Jeff Hardy turns back both Bobby Roode AND Austin Aries, establishing himself as the top star in TNA.
February: In recognition of his work in the fight against Aces and Eights, Hulk Hogan declares Bully Ray the number 1 contender for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship at Lockdown. Hogan begins to warm to Bully and accept him as a son, at his daughter’s urging.
March: In the lead up to the title match, both Jeff Hardy and Hulk Hogan talk about their new found respect for Bully Ray, and how he’s a changed man.
You see where this is going, don’t you?
Vice: The match itself was decent, but nothing great. I never felt like it got out of third gear. It was wrestled like it was building to something for the first few minutes, but then just kind of leveled out and continued until Jeff Hardy got knocked absolutely stupid with a mega powerbomb off the top rope, which apparently gave him a concussion.
And how do wrestlers wrestle when they’re knocked stupid? Well, not even the mighty Kurt fucking Angle can pull it off. And if he can’t do it, then I will go out on a limb here and officially say that it just can’t be done. So, there are only but so many points I can take away from this point on, because this is wrestling, and shit happens. BUT I CAN JUDGE EVERYTHING UP UNTIL THAT POINT AND IT WASN’T THAT GREAT. MUAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
Here’s the thing with all of this. It didn’t really matter. Obviously the better a match can be, the better it is for everybody. The match itself wasn’t the most important thing here. It was the finish and the aftermath. With interference from Aces and 8s, Jeff Hardy and Bully Ray find themselves back to back in the center of the ring, watching on as the baddies start climbing over the cage. With Ray and Devon staring each other down, you start tingling a bit due to their history.
Devon pulls a hammer out of his pants (no, not THAT hammer, you sick fucks) and, with a bit of hesitation to ramp up the tension, tosses it right into the hands of Ray. That’s when you know exactly what’s about to happen. And in this case, you just WANT to see it happen. Jeff Hardy gets a hammer to the back, and not long after, Bully Ray is finally THEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE man of a company. For all his years of sacrifice and dedication to the business, he has finally done what few would ever think was possible. And it’s a great moment.
LET THE BULLY RAY ERA BEGIN
Cewsh: Vice and I are of the same mind here. This match was basically a long placeholder for what was to come at the end. It wasn’t bad, because Jeff Hardy and Bully Ray are good together, and know how to have a decent match under most circumstances, but it wasn’t anything to get excited about. But that almost doesn’t even matter, because it was so clear that something big would happen at the end of this match that it gave the whole thing a tingly feeling of anticipation. And then the Aces and Eights arrived. From the moment that Aces and Eights hit the ring, until the moment the show went off the air, Bully Ray turned in what is easily the finest performance of his career. He sold the desperation of having to fend off the group, he sold his commitment to being a good guy by giving Jeff a chain and going back to back with him to hold off the invasion, and when Devon crawled over the game and shared a look with Bully, that was the moment the sold the entire angle to me.
To this point, Aces and Eights hadn’t been grounded in any kind of storyline that the fans could really feel anything about. They want to tear down TNA? Alright, go right ahead. Even TNA’s most ardent supporters aren’t exactly going to call for their heads for beating up Hulk Hogan. But Bully Ray and Devon have such a strong history together, and since Devon joining the Aces and Eights had been so clearly traumatic for Bully Ray, this was the emotion that this storyline was missing. This was the connection to something we already cared about that would allow us to care about this group.
And then Devon tossed his brother a hammer.
Bully clobbered Hardy in the knee, pinned him and won the title, causing the crowd, (with an assist from TNA plants interspersed throughout,) to throw garbage in the ring in protest of this injustice. And Bully Ray, President Ray, stood with his brother and his new family, spat in Hogan’s face and told us all to go fuck ourselves.
For something that was so clearly laid out for all to see, this still somehow managed to be both a stunning sight to behold and also really genuinely interesting. Joining Team 3D together at the heart of this stable was a terrific choice, and gives the whole thing a much more stable and respectable foundation then it had before. And having Bully Ray in charge goes so for to explain why guys like D’Lo Brown and Tazz joined up in the first place. So although Aces and Eights has been a miserable failure of a stable thus far, and they dragged this out to a preposterous extent, the endgame here may well turn out to be worth it.
President Bully. Has a nice ring to it.
78 out of 100
Vice: With Bully Ray revealing himself as the president of the group, you can easily tell that TNA went the fairly safe, predictable route. People tend to shit on things like that, because it’s an expected result and thus “boring”, it’s better to go with safe more often. TNA going the safe route is almost a swerve in its own way, all things considered. M. Night Shyamalan had a brilliant twist at the end of The Sixth Sense (spoiler) which really put an exclamation point at the end of his already great film to make a statement as a relatively new, young director. Then his next film, Unbreakable, featured a bit of a twist at the end (spoiler). Then you kind of just expected all his shit to have twists (they did– spoiler), there was no real joy (spoiler), and everything was basically downhill since then (spoiler) to the point of absolute suck (spoiler). So, in short, M. Night Shyamalan su– err.. sometimes you just get sick to death of ridiculous shit happening for the sake of it, TNA has more entries in this category than an unabridged English dictionary has words.
This just made sense. And it worked. It was smart to do this in front of their biggest crowd ever, and more importantly, if reports are true, it was a phenomenal idea for them to hire plants in the crowd to throw trash at Ray and his squad, because a lot of people got in on that shit.
One person even had such a perfect shot on Ray that I wondered if Cactus Lem was in the audience. I bet only a handful of people will get the reference, but I write these reviews to entertain myself. Not you. I’m the most important part of all this. Juuuuuuuuuuuuuuust kidding. You’re all my favorites. But seriously, when the zombie apocalypse hits, mi casa es mi casa. Unless you bring me orange soda. Mmmm.. orange soda. Basically, before I get off topic again and start talking about the duck-billed platypus, I’d just like to say th– how utterly fucking weird are they? Just look at them. They laugh in the faces of both science and evolution, and God and creation. While I can’t actually support this working theory, I would like to think that they were once a highly evolved race of.. duck-like things.. that left Mars before it came the barren rock it is, landed on Earth, and ended up becoming one of these.. things.
For realsies, TNA handled this all pretty perfectly. Ray especially was amazing here, completely crapping on Hulk and Brooke. It was great stuff, slightly hampered by Hulk being a bit of a wooden bastard, and Brooke being.. well.. Brooke. I really can’t take her that seriously. Ever.
Also, one last thing I’d like to mention before I close things up. Tazz being a member of Aces and 8s is quite possibly the worst, most annoying thing they have done in a long time. It’s just handled so poorly. Ok, so, Tazz is part of the group, but he doesn’t know a fucking thing EVER about what the group is going to do. He is always stunned, baffled, and surprised on commentary whenever the group he is part of does something. So they clearly don’t give half a flying fuck about him as a member, and it’s shockingly clear that TNA only has him in the booth to have a heel character to piss off Tenay and the other dude. They could have actually done something interesting with a guy like him being at ringside the entire night. Why not use him to stash weapons at the booth, or have him distract refs and opponents, occasionally interfere, all that. But that’s just not the case at all. He’s just an annoying little shit, and not in the good way where he is actually entertaining and adding to the product. I have a hard enough time convincing myself not to mute all the TNA shows I watch when it’s Tenay and normal Tazz, but good lord it took everything in my power with his utterly useless heel Tazz.
Bring back Don West. Now.
Cewsh: Hear hear.
Vice: Overall I’m mixed about this show. For everything they did right, they did something wrong. For basically every person I enjoyed in a match, there was a person in there that I didn’t. For what they had to work with, the PPV did about as good as it could have ever hoped to be. Which is kind of another problem with TNA in general. They either have a fairly lame card and things to damn near perfectly as expected, or they have an actual good card and it falls flat through poor time management, stupid booking, etc. And it’s the biggest problem I have with TNA. I want to fucking strangle them the majority of the time because they have the wrestling talent to be amazing. If I was a wrestling company, I would murder three small countries to have the roster they do. They just don’t know how to properly use it for shit 90% of the time. And when they do, like, in the case of Austin Aries, you really have to value every second that they keep things going the way they are, because it all can go to hell quite quickly.
It is basically a bad relationship. One person really wants everything to work, and the other is generally a sack of crap.. but you have a hard time dumping them, because just when you’re ready to completely pull the trigger and end it all for good (literally, that could be quite morbid), they have a fantastic moment of change that just gives you hope, and you’re constantly afraid of things going back to the way they were. You can never truly invest in TNA.
At least WWE is consistently shit at all times.
Well that’ll do it for us this time, boys and girls. We hope you enjoyed this foray back into the world of TNA, and with the very slightest shreds of hope in our hearts, it may be far less than 6 months before you see us cover them again. But for now, we’re looking ahead to the rapidly oncoming Wrestlemania season. And as we tend to do, each year we highlight another Wrestlemania before the big one, just to whet our appetite for the spectacle of spectacles. And there’s none bigger than this year, as we tackle perhaps the defining show in WWE history, Wrestlemania 17. It’s among the most beloved and best selling shows of all time, but does it live up to the hype, or is it just another case of nostalgia fueled Attitude Era Syndrome? We’ll all learn together. And until then, remember to keep reading and, as always, be good to one another.