Welcome, cats and kittens to yet another installment of the only reviews that still cover TNA shows, Cewsh Reviews! We have a special treat for you tonight as we go return once again to the wrestling mecca that is Orlando, Florida, to watch TNA’s latest pay per view effort, TNA Sacrifice 2014! Now, if you haven’t been following TNA since our Lockdown and have been thinking to yourself, “Well it’s only been two months, how much could have changed?” then you are about to get hit in the face with a brick made of stupefication. Eric Young is the World Champion, MVP is the new owner of the company, Christopher Daniels and Chris Sabin no longer work here, and Samoa Joe, Austin Aries and Kazarian are nowhere to be seen. In their place, we have continuations of those white hot Gunner/Storm and Anderson/Shaw feuds, the return of Kurt Angle, and someone in a fake beard who has a major impact on this show. But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Kick back, relax, and, as always, just be glad it’s us watching it and not you.
Cewsh: This is the part of these reviews where I normally discuss the theme of the show to come, or hype up some of the storylines of note coming in. In this case, that’s kind of hard to do, because if I were to list the active feuds going on in TNA right now, you might roll your eyes so hard that they stick like that, and that would make it really hard for your to read future reviews. Unless you got some kind of seeing eye dog for the internet, which sounds less and less ridiculous the more that I think about it. Anyway, the video package, and indeed, the episodes of Impact, leading up to this show, focuses almost exclusively on the match between Eric Young and Magnus. And just in case your last exposure to TNA was back when actual stars worked here, yes, this match is for the title, and yes, Eric Young is that dude with the beard who was one half of the Knockouts Tag Team champions this time last year.
The rest of this show contains a Committed Match, a woman in a fake beard, Gunner, and exactly two worthwhile matches. This is a show that almost broke Artie’s unchecked enthusiasm for all things, and caused me to investigate the bottom of many bottles of dubious origin. It’s entirely possible that simply reading a review of this bottomless pit of agony and despair will haunt your dreams until the day you die, and leave your children hollow eyed and broken forevermore.
Or not. Enjoy!
Cewsh: Ever since the American Wolves arrived in TNA alongside MVP, their only stated goal has been to hold the TNA World Tag Team Championships. It probably seemed like an easy task to pull off, since their debut made them one of only two active tag teams on the entire TNA roster. But unfortunately, that other team has turned out to be the most annoying obstacle imaginable for the Wolves. Jessie, Robbie, and their adorable DJ, Zema Ion, has frustrated the Wolves again and again, making them work for a title shot, and then, when the Wolves actually won the titles, forcing their way into a Tag Title match in Japan and winning them back before the Wolves ever even got to show them off on television. Since then, the Bromans have employed everything from doctors notes to laptop shots in order to duck the Wolves and stay one step ahead, and when the Wolves finally got the match that they wanted here tonight, the Bromans even rigged it so that Ion could be on their team for a 3-2 advantage.
But unfortunately for the Bromans, this was one push too far. And to their dismay, Eddie Edawards comes out to the ring with a sheet of paper that proclaims that MVP has made this a No Disqualification match. NOW, the odds are evened. NOW, the bad guys will get their comeuppance. The Bromans may have 3 guys on their side, but the American Wolves have access to any weapon or tactic they could possibly think of. So with revenge on their minds, gold in their sight, and freedom to do whatever they please, what to the American Wolves do to the helpless Bromans?
They have a completely normal wrestling match with them for ten minutes, and then win the titles casually.
Alright, that isn’t totally fair. During the match, 1 completely awesome thing happens. That thing is Zema Ion somehow learning how to fly, and here is that entire moment:
Considering that I was implying that this show was bad enough to ruin multiple generations of your family, I think that that one move is probably enough to get this match off the hook. No strikes yet, show. But I’m watching you.
60 out of 100
Artie: Well, this is an odd match, considering it’s made no DQ right off the bat, which makes it a tornado style tag for about 5 minutes. After that bit of fun is over, everyone decides to follow the rules and work it like a regular tag match, despite the fact that A) They have no reason to follow the rules B) The BroMans SHOULD BE CHEATING as heels with a 3-on-2 advantage C) The Wolves should be absolutely livid after being screwed out of the title every week for the last couple of months.
Cewsh: If you read our Lockdown review, and recall the build to this match, then you’re in luck, because this feud has not progressed in any way in the past two months, so you don’t have to read a bunch of sentences about “compelling promos” or “exciting storytelling”. Efficient! So since we don’t have any of that stuff to discuss, let’s get right into the gimmick that they have chosen to hold this match under. This is a “Committed Match”. What that means is that the only way to win this match is to drag your opponent into the parking lot and throw them into a padded van. So it’s basically an Ambulance Match, except instead of taking the loser to the hospital to mend their numerous new injuries, this van will take them to Arkham Asylum. Now, upon hearing that, you might have one or two questions. Allow me to address some of them now:
To all of those questions I offer a hearty, “I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE WHAT”
This sentiment can perhaps better be expressed through my spirit animal, Gunner:
However, as bad as this gimmick is, and as bad as this match is, (it’s a worthless pile of depressing garbage,) the true failures here belong to the commentators and the production people. The commentators, and of course I primarily mean Taz, here do everything they can to undermine any potential seriousness this feud might contain. When Sam Shaw makes his eerie entrance, Taz spends the whole time cracking jokes and talking about how hot Shaw’s mother is. Throughout the match, they never actually make it seem like Hemme’s part in all of this is even important, and never even try to make Shaw seem dangerous or interesting.
Meanwhile, the production guys have the crowd mics up so high that you can hear EVERY FUCKING COMMENT that anyone in the crowd has. Seriously, when they go up to the ramp, you can audibly hear numerous dudes yell out nonsense that comes through crystal clear. And even with that, the crowd still so clearly does not care about this.
Which brings me to the saddest part of this whole affair. With some help from Christy Hemme, Anderson is finally able to toss Shaw into the padded van and close the doors. Which results in the most agonizingly tepid reaction you will see this year.
Yeash, this match is bad. It’s not the kind of bad match that you excitedly point out to your friends, and wait eagerly to see gets featured on Botchamania. This is the kind of bad match that corrodes your soul like bad motor oil, and makes you pause the show and watch something else for a palate cleanser. Essentially this is the wrestling match equivalent of a SPAM sandwich, and if someone served you a SPAM sandwich, you would look at them like they stabbed your cat.
25 out of 100
Artie: Kinda funny that my favorite TNA storyline involves a Dexter Morgan wannabe, a ring announcer wannabe, and an actual ring announcer. This storyline is tops, but the match is pretty…shiz. There’s some nice story-telling in there with Shaw not taking full advantage of winning when he had the chance, as he was too preoccupied with Hemme. Anderson is still the drizzling shits as a wrestler and apparently he does the Sting-style ring attire of long tights and a t-shirt because fuck working out am I right?
Grade: D for Decent match to end a bizarrely entertaining feud.
Cewsh: We go backstage where Rockstar Spud and ECIII are standing around being awesome. ECIII cuts a surprisingly heated promo about how he’s going to beat Kurt Angle and prove that it’s his time, while Spud focuses more on the fact that Willow once tried to murder him in the woods for some reason.
One of the most painful things about reviewing TNA shows is coming across good talent who really could be money somewhere else, just wasting their careers away having nonsensical feuds here instead. And make no mistake, ECIII and Rockstar Spud together are a fantastic combination that could work ANYWHERE. So if you’re reading this Jeff Jarrett, please do me a favor and airlift Spud out of this promotion before they offer him a 35 year contract just to spite me. I promise i’ll stop bringing up the “slapnuts” things if you do. And the white jeans. And the David Arquette thing. And the whole Asylum era of TNA. Just generally your entire career. Promise promise.
Cewsh: I’m going to get this out of the way right up front. I honestly can’t tell if Willow is meant to be some kind of satiric commentary on “mysterious” characters, or if he’s just the single lamest wrestling character ever conceived of. No matter how many times I see Jeff Hardy all dolled up in his floppy mask, pajama pants and indoor umbrella, I can never make my eyes fully commit to the idea that what they’re seeing is real. Some part of me watched this match, and spent the entire duration waiting for Jeff to rip the mask off and everyone to yell “APRIL FOOLS” together. As someone who lives in the future and has seen the match in it’s entirety, I can assure you that he doesn’t. And so my bafflement carries on.
I wanted to talk about my confusion about Willow up front, because 3/4ths of this match is genuinely interesting. This is the big comeback match for Kurt Angle after several months spent out with injury, and the match revolves around how desperate he is to punch ECIII’s eyelashes into his cerebral cortex. ECIII, being no dummy, spends the entire match trying desperately to not participate in it. Again and again, he tags in a hapless Rockstar Spud, who tries gamely to compete against two major main event talents, and is somewhat less than successful.
Angle and Willow lay waste to Spud and Angle stares down a retreating ECIII, making it clear that this shit isn’t even close to over for Kurt. I’m not going to lie, I’m looking forward to that match, even if this one was just a meaningless teaser for a match we might not even actually get. But i’m willing to forgive the fact that this match had no real reason to exist just so long as they keep Willow away from any rematches. And everything else. Forever.
55 out of 100
Artie: So, Derrick Bateman and an Englishman shorter than me are wrestling two guys with 17 World championships between them. Why am I rooting for the unknown heels? Well, you see, the former Derrick Batemant, now known as Ethan Carter III (EC3) and his lovably tiny sidekick, Rock star Spud, are two of those most ridiculously charismatic human beings in professional wrestling. Standing across the ring from them are two broken down former WWE guys who did (do?) too many drugs.
The ring action was pretty unspectacular, seeing as no one in this match has any sort of chemistry with one another. There was a mary poppins chant somewhere in here…and the broken down drug-addled old guys defeat the young charismatic pair because…fuck the young guys m I rite.
Grade: F for fuck me senseless this was stupid.
Cewsh: Watching this match is like looking through a trans-dimensional portal into another version of this world where TNA is a good promotion. Not because this match is life changingly amazing, or anything close to it, but simply because this match is wrestled as if the participants don’t realize that trying hard on TNA shows is a lost cause. Both Sanada, (who is a loaned talent from WRESTLE-1,) and Uno, (who was recently signed from AAA,) are new to TNA, and full of vim and vigor. Here, they do their best to dazzle us, and recapture just the littlest bit of the X-Division spirit that made TNA stand out in the first place.
Indeed, these two show so much enthusiasm that even Taz seems to wake from whatever voodoo spell he’s usually under, and he calls the match with insight and interest, as if to prove that he still can. Unfortunately, it’s a sign, both of how these men have been promoted, and how the audience has changed, that they do these fun and fabulous moves to near-silence from the crowd, who seem to have come to see Jeff Hardy, and only Jeff Hardy.
I don’t know what kind of a person is willing to pay money to sit around for 3 hours waiting to see WILLOW, but I’m pretty sure that if your fanbase is populated with them, you’re not headed in the right direction. But dammit, that’s enough about Willow. This is the one and only good match on this show. Look upon it as the wonderful, endangered creature that it is, and let’s move on.
75 out of 100
Artie: “Let’s go Goku” Awesome job, Impact Zone. The first good match you’ve had all night and you make fun of the kid busting his ass to make your company’s X-Division look good. This is why you don’t get nice things.
This is the first match I was actually looking forward to all night and it did not disappoint. Tigre Uno busts out some crazy ass moves that had me stumped for names, while Sanada bumps his ass off to make everything look good. Tigre Uno probably should have won here and kept this series going for another 2-3 matches. Now that this best of 3 series is over, Sanada presumably moves on to feud with Kenny King and Tigre Uno does…I don’t know what. What’s TJ Manik up to these days? Get those 2 feuding and pretend like the X Division is still real.
Shame no one gave a fuck. This could have been special.
Cewsh: We go backstage, where Jeremy Borash is interviewing James Storm, which is a depressing reminder that Gunner is about to appear in some way. Storm reiterates that he never needed Gunner, (true,) that he can beat Gunner, (true,) and that this feud has made Gunner a star, (so far from true that it has almost curled around and come back to true.) The the promo gets weird, as Storm says that since he can make stars, he can also break them, and then states, “God’s gonna cut you down.” Which prompts the amazing question: is James Storm’s new gimmick that he thinks he’s an actual god? Because holy shit, that would be amazing.
I’m already planning to claim “James Storm” as my religion on my tax forms next year.
Cewsh: NOPE. Nuh-uh. You can’t make me review this match. Lalalalalalala, I can’t hear you! What’s that? Contractual obligations? To who? P-Diddy? When did we make that deal? Good lord, I need to quit drinking. Alright, alright, let’s review this big stupid pile of dumb.
Once upon a time, James Storm needed a tag team partner, because if he doesn’t have one for 6 months at a time he gets itchy. He chose Gunner, because their beards matched, and they became the team known as “Gun Rack”. They had some success for awhile in the barren wasteland that is TNA’s tag division, but eventually both men decided to focus on their goal of becoming TNA World Champion. And for awhile, everything was great. They supported each other along the road to greatness, and Storm taught Gunner about what it takes to be a champion. All was well until Feast or Fired rolled around and Gunner came away with the briefcase that contained a TNA World Heavyweight Championship opportunity. Storm initially was encouraging of Gunner, and he tried his best to be happy for him, but his own lack of chances started to eat away at him. Until finally, in a manner eerily reminiscent of how Bobby Roode turned on him for the same reason, Storm turned on his friend, blasting him with a beer bottle and costing him the title.
That sounds like a pretty good storyline, right? Pretty much your textbook team breakup leading to a bloody feud. And on paper, I don’t see anything wrong with it at all. Unfortunately, in practice there are a ton of issues with this feud that have undermined it so heavily that not even the master of gimmick matches James Storm can save it. Let’s make a short list, shall we?
– The tag team in question lasted less time than it would take you to grow a beard better than Gunner’s.
– Gunner is the least sympathetic man on the roster. Before this his character was about crippling people for fun and profit, and now he’s bitter ex-soldier who yells about his service every week.
– In order to put heat on this feud, TNA has had Storm beat up Gunner’s dad. Like, a lot. A whole lot.
– He also started dressing like this:
– The matches have sucked.
– They really, really sucked.
All of those things have made this feud a masterpiece of heatless masturbation, and yet they just keep trudging along with it, because TNA only drops storylines if they want to, not if you want them to.
Which brings us to this match, which is fine. It’s…it’s fine. James Storm does his James Storm thing admirably, and Gunner is carryable as always, but there’s no fire to it, no passion, and certainly no interest from the audience. And since I Quit matches are already one of the least interesting gimmick matches you can have, the bottom just sort of drops out of the whole thing, until we’re sitting there watching two dudes club each other over the head with things until they stop. Some interesting things happen along the way, like a superplex onto a guardrail held up by two chairs…
…but they never get the crowd interested, so a match that would have been solid with some heat, just become a soulless jaunt through Spot City.
It’s a shame that talents like James Storm, (not to mention Bully Ray, Magnus and Kurt Angle,) are forced to have feuds like this as TNA stretches them out to try to fill up these shows with something meaningful. It really makes it clear how limited the talent pool is in TNA, and how poor the prospects of that ever changing really are. And now i’m sad. Dammit, Gunner. Do that thing that makes me happy.
68 out of 100
Artie: James Storm, once TNA’s most promising superstar, along with Bobby Roode, has now been reduced to wrestling a jacked up Shannon moore in a boring “I quit” match. Here’s the thing folks: I Quit matches are boring by design. The match can’t flow because it’s based around the ref stopping it every few moments to shove a mic in someone’s face so they can say “NO.”
Cewsh: Just a few months ago, Angelina Love reappeared in TNA for the first time since 2012, to the delight of Impact fans. Angelina’s first order of business was to reform the Beautiful People with her former best friend Velvet Sky, and prove that she was a changed woman, only interested in being a good woman from this point on. Velvet turned her down at first, and Angelina extended the same offer to Madison Rayne, the third member of the vaunted Beautiful People. But Madison was having none of it, and it took no time at all for Love to show her true colors, as she brutally beat Rayne down for rejecting her. And when the two finally got in the ring for a match, it was Velvet Sky who cost Rayne the match, officially reforming the Beautiful People with the sole goal of taking the title away from Madison and punishing her for not wanting to be one of the cool kids anymore.
And that’s exactly what they do. Madison struggles valiantly in this match, and even seems to have everything under control, but Velvet Sky does what any good friend would do, and sprays her in the eyes with hairspray, allowing Angelina to roll her up and win the Knockouts Championship.
I really like the Beautiful People being back in TNA, as it’s probably the easiest heel act in the world to book for, and Angelina and Velvet are perfect in these roles. I didn’t love this match though. It just never seemed to get going, and was yet another casualty of a completely dead crowd. You know a crowd is dead when you can hear a guy say, “That’s bad for the environment!” and he isn’t even shouting or raising his voice. But even so, this isn’t the best TNA Knockout’s match in recent months, but these two have had better ones before, so the rematch is something to look forward to.
62 out of 100
Cewsh: Every once in awhile, something comes along that is so amazing, so perfect, and so special that it just plain makes you want to be a better man. When something like this happens in a wrestling ring, it just reinforces how proud I am to do these reviews, and reaffirms my lifelong passion for wrestling, all in one go. Because if I didn’t have an outlet to share this with you, then my life would be a bleak and barren place indeed. So, without any further ado, allow me to present the single best part of this show…
Oh wait, you don’t think I mean this match do you? Oh no, god no. This match is a mediocre plod through tired concepts by unmotivated performers. No, no. I’m talking about this:
LOOK AT THAT REF BUMP. I was just in here not a month ago, naming the bump that ref took at Wrestlemania 19 as one of the worst of all time, and here comes a brand new contender for the throne. Holy shit, you guys, just look at the look of panic on that guy’s face when he realizes that he didn’t get touched when he was supposed to, and then the resignation when he just says, “Fuck it, i’m going for it.” Thanks to his poise under pressure, that ref is my new hero.
Oh right, the match. Well, obviously that should have been the end of it, seeing as Ray put Roode through the table. But what Ray didn’t expect was the ULTIMATE WILD CARD!
Oh yes. In order to cost Bully the match, apparently Dixie Carter dressed up in glasses and a fake beard, and managed to push all 300 pounds of him off of the top rope despite looking like she’s never held anything heavier than a receipt in her entire life. This sends Bully crashing through some tables, and ends the match, which you may recognize as being the opposite of how you win a table match, since Dixie Carter was not the person he was wrestling. The announcers then spend a solid 5 minutes trying to puzzle out who the mysterious bearded gentleman is, while the crowd loudly chants, “DIXIE SUCKS” in the background.
Now, there are three things to take from this.
1. Dixie Carter is the only over person in this company.
2. That is insane.
3. Her World title reign should be starting shortly.
Looking forward to it!
66 out of 100
Artie: Contrived pile of overbooked bullshit. The ending is just absolutely ridiculous. If you don’t feel like watching this, just know that Dixie Carter comes out in a beard and pushes Bully Ray, who is seconds away from jumping through a table, right…through a table. Bobby Roode moves anyway.If bully was gonna go through the table and Bobby was gonna be able to move anyway, what difference does it make if Dixie pushes him or not?! It would have made more sense if someone pulled bobby off the table first.
Cewsh: No doubt you’ve heard by now that Eric Young is the TNA Champion, after having shocked Magnus by beating him clean in a match on Impact to take the title. You’ve probably also heard a billion people draw parallels between that victory and Daniel Bryan’s triumph at Wrestlemania. And while the comparison isn’t flattering for TNA, the point remains that after 10 years of working hard for this company, Eric Young has finally risen to the top and is now the World Heavyweight Champion. And once you get past the initial shock of realizing that Orlando Jordan’s best friend is the champion, there arises one simple but significant question. For how long? Was this a grab for attention by TNA, to be subverted by the status quo immediately, or is Eric Young really the near future of TNA wrestling? And that is the very question that this match will determine. Will TNA stick to their guns, or retreat? They have to choose.
I’ll be honest, I liked this match. It built nicely, had some solid near falls towards the end, and these two have good chemistry together. It’s clear that Young is busting his ass and is having the finest matches of his career right now, and Magnus is so clearly a star in the making. But it would be an outright lie to say that this felt like a main event match at any point. Eric Young just doesn’t have the presence or in ring style to take advantage of big match situations, and Magnus is coming along with that, but isn’t ready to be carrying matches like this on his shoulders. So while this is a quality match and I don’t have complaints about it, it’s troubling at the same time that this is TNA’s biggest match right now. TNA has chosen to continue the Eric Young experiment, and I hope that they’re able to make it work, both his his sake and for theirs. But this match didn’t go far towards suggesting that they’re making the right choice.
77 out of 100
Artie: Ok, this Pay-per-view has pretty much broken me down to a shell of a wrestling fan, sitting in the corner sucking on his thumb and sobbing into his bowl of Cheetos, yet, this match has me slightly excited. I genuinely enjoy both performers, despite the fact that EY is basically a 10-year joke that somehow became champion and Magnus is the shining star of TNA whom they refuse to make look good. Whatevs and all that.The video packages they’ve been showing for EY are tight and Magnus’ pre-match promo rules.
What took place wasn’t very good, though. Or entertaining. Or interesting. Or capable of redeeming this god awful show. Both men have been built up as being “underdogs”, which leads to a match with no real leader. EY is trying to prove that he’s a main event talent and Magnus is trying to prove that he can do this without anyone’s help. It ends up feeling like I’m watching 2 guys trying to prove to themselves that they can do this whole “Main eventer” thing, while the company they’re main eventing for thinks of them as some sort of novelty.
Cewsh: I feel betrayed. The way it’s supposed to work is TNA has a terrible show, and I write them off and crack a bunch of jokes, and then the next time I see them they look interesting and cool and neat. So even though Artie suggested I would hate this show, I was primed and ready to like it. That’s not how that went down. Maybe I didn’t put enough time between shows? Maybe TNA didn’t know I would be watching? I feel like if Dixie and I can get our schedules together we can work something out, because reviewing two TNA shows in a row of this level of quality is masochistic even by my criteria.
Alright, that’ll do it for us this time, boys and girls. We hope you enjoyed reading this sad review of this dumb show that smells like a butt. Luckily, our next review will put us in much better spirits, as we tackle a once in a lifetime wrestling event that brought together both American indy wrestling, and the finest Japanese wrestling into a wacky swirl called ROH War of the Worlds. We’ll be investigating how good the show was, but we’ll also be delving heavily into both company’s pasts and futures, and it’s going to be the first time we’ve even mentioned the letters ROH since that whole Jay Briscoe thing went down. So until then, remember to keep reading and be good to one another!