NWA-TNA – Sacrifice
August 14th, 2005
When this show took place, it was given rave reviews, such as the best TNA PPV of all time and the PPV of the year. Not being one to take the word of TNA fans though, I had to check this one out myself.
Chris Sabin, Sonjay Dutt and Shark Boy vs. Elix Skipper, Simon Diamond and David Young
This is a nice fun match to sit down and watch, but it never gets beyond that. The match is here to get the crowd going and for the guys to come out and hit their spots. It would’ve been nice if they had tried to build the match a little though, instead of throwing moves out for 7 minutes. It was surprising that Dutt played the face in peril and not Shark Boy. Although the heels got some heat on Sharky for a little bit, the main heat they got was on Dutt. The closing sequence could’ve been a lot better if everything previous wasn’t moves been thrown out, but this is still a fun match to watch and to get you going for the rest of the show.
Alex Shelley vs. Shocker
This could’ve been a lot better if it weren’t for a few selling flaws here and there. The main time when both men lack in the selling department is how they sell their leg when it has had pressure put on it. Shocker was the main culprit, as he went for a Tope Con Hilo over the ropes and landed on his feet after Shelley moved without giving any thought to the leg. Everyone knows I’m one of the biggest Alex Shelley marks out there, but he is also guilty of bad selling of his leg. Admittedly it’s not as bad as Shocker’s selling, but it’s still really noticeable. Apart from the bad selling, we get some fine back and forth wrestling action here. Without the no selling, both men attacking his opponent’s leg would’ve worked tremendously.
The difference between Shelley and Shocker here is that Shelley has learnt his lessons from previous matches; Shocker has, but not quite to the extent of Shelley. Back at Slammiversary in their first match, Shocker beat Shelley in his return to TNA by being the smarter wrestler. When Shelley got his redemption in the first round of the Super X Cup, he wrestled the much smarted match and put Shocker away with his own finisher, the Shocker Sphere. This time around Shocker is looking for redemption and to beat Shelley at his own game, but in looking for redemption he played right into Shelley’s hands. The reason Shelley won the match was due to one of his best traits he uses to win matches time and time again and that was being the smarter wrestler. The win may have come in cheap fashion, but he was certainly the smarter wrestler.
Abyss vs. Lance Hoyt
This is an ok power match, but not the good match people have called it to be. The problem is that they have trouble building the match. They just throw each other around for the first part of the match before going spot happy at the end and throwing big moves at each other. One thing the match does to successfully is get Hoyt over more in the eyes of the TNA fans and get Abyss over as even more of a monster. The match may be more energetic than people expected, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a good match.
Ron Killings and Konnan vs. Monty Brown and Kip James (Special Referee: BG James)
I may not be fan of the guys in the ring, but they do create some nice drama around BG being the referee. It’s sad really to see Monty relegated to this. The feud may have some back story behind it and doesn’t make it utterly pointless, but this was a man who had all the potential in the world earlier in the year. The finish is a little disappointing though. The feud serves no more purpose with BG sticking with his friends and leaves all parties in the dry (except maybe Monty, who can always move onto a high profile feud). It’s interesting how TNA is trying to be the alternative to WWE, but matches and booking like this are what ties them together in the end.
Christopher Daniels vs. Austin Aries
Daniels may be “Mr TNA” this is Aries’ time to shine, as he takes the match and makes it his own. The problem comes though, that even though this is a good match; Aries’ offence is nothing new to people who are familiar with him. The offence is used well, but nothing new is let out of the bag. Even though Aries is practically unknown to the TNA fans, he keeps up, and sometimes even surpasses Daniels in the opening sequences. He simply holds onto Daniels with a front face lock to try and throw Daniels off his game. Then even when Daniels has reversed into a face lock of his own, Aries jumps out and dropkicks Daniels in the head. It may be a simple strategy, but the simplest strategies in wrestling can be the most successful.
Daniels attack of the neck came off him being able to think on his feet and not a thought up strategy. Daniels works the back well, but remember, this is Aries’ time to shine and his selling outclasses Daniels’ attack. Sometimes simple can be good, but at times, Daniels back work is not indicative of this. The problem is that when Daniels isn’t hitting Aries with an impact move, he’s working a hold that has no focus on the back. If he could’ve worked holds that focused on the back, the match would’ve been much better. There was one opportunity to hit a really good looking spot at one point during the match when Daniels was standing on the back of Aries near the ropes, he could’ve followed up with an Arabian Press. Some things are not to be sometimes, I guess.
The closing sequence is hot and cold. Aries doesn’t forget to sell the back most of the closing sequence, but Daniels strays away from the back work, much like he did with the rib work vs. Styles and tries to hit his trademarks rather than trying to continue to punish Aries’ back. Aries’ gets nice heat of his 450, which is surprising since the crowd is not sure of what his finishers are. Perhaps the closing sequence with Aries trying to go for the Brainbuster would’ve had more heat if the crowd had any idea what he was trying for. Sadly Daniels has to finish with the Angel’s Wings because it has no focus whatsoever on the back. It may get overlooked due to people going crazy for AMW/XXX, Williams/Sabin/Styles, Daniels/Styles and Styles/Abyss, but this is better than all of those matches and will probably go under looked for the rest of the year. As it is though, it’s one of the best things TNA has turned out this year. Btw, I voted for Jay Lethal if anyone cares. ***
Jerry Lynn vs. Sean Waltman
I fail to see in any way how Sean Waltman is back. Sure, this match may be better than the tripe he was putting on in his final days in the WWE, but this isn’t to say the match is really good or anything. They tell the logical story that had to be told with Waltman attacking Lynn’s shoulder and trying to put him back out of action, but these aren’t the two they were back in the early 90’s. You can tell from the opening sequence these two are behind the mark, as their work on the mat is not fast as it once was. Lynn’s springboard armdrag can be added to the department the work on the mat is in, as it isn’t as crisp and smooth as it once was.
Waltman’s shoulder work is done well, but what lead to it was the letdown. In theory it sounds great. Waltman drives Lynn shoulder first into the ring post, but in practice it doesn’t come out so well. The problem is Lynn went head first into the post and was a little stunned for a few seconds as to what he should sell. Upon impact he should’ve been rolling around on the floor in agony, not pausing for a while and then holding his shoulder. Although Waltman’s shoulder work isn’t amazing, it’s nothing really bad either. Lynn’s selling of the shoulder is the highlight of this match, as most of the match he always gives thought to sell the shoulder. It isn’t until the finish he forgets about it.
The suplex to the floor was quite sick and looked pretty good, but it didn’t serve a purpose in the match. They sell it like death while on the outside and for a little bit back inside, but they don’t give any sign that the suplex to the floor took anything out of them. I said above that it isn’t until the finish where Lynn forgets to sell the shoulder. It started when he caught Waltman with a Powerbomb and when he had him in a pinning predicament; he had no problem clasping his hands. A much better way for Waltman to escape the Cradle Piledriver would’ve been for Lynn’s shoulder to give out, rather than the low blow we got. The Tornado DDT was one you could look past to an extent since after the pin he gave thought to sell it, but that is only to a degree since he should’ve had trouble following up with the pin. The final big one where Lynn forgets about the shoulder is an attempted Tombstone. It once again would’ve been nice if Lynn’s shoulder giving up was what set the reversal up for Waltman’s Tombstone. The actual finish came off a Lynn adrenaline rush where he was able to hold Lynn down in the Victory Roll, but if he hadn’t had many other adrenaline rushes during the match it would’ve been much better. It isn’t a really bad match, but it isn’t a match that makes me say “Hey, these guys are back”.
Team Canada vs. The Naturals and AMW
The question I must ask is why is a guy who is built up as the power man of Team Canada beating Stevens with a cradle with the tights? I get Team Canada are heels and all, but Roode isn’t meant to cower away. That’s a better finish served for someone like Young, not Roode. This is just another one of your usual TNA 8 man tags. A slow build without much psychology thrown in to the spot crazy finish. The finish doesn’t really solve anything between the two teams, but nicely builds heat between AMW and the Naturals, which is good enough in my book.
Super X Cup Final: Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles
We all knew this was going to go down as soon as Joe stepped foot into a TNA ring. It’s really the great way to get Joe over as even more of a monster, the unstoppable new monster in the company vs. the company’s golden boy. The match works on certain levels, but doesn’t really work on other levels. It makes sense when AJ is trying to use his speed and agility in attempt to beat Joe and it’s the most logical strategy, but at other times he’s trying to beat Joe at strikes or trying to overpower him. It makes sense when AJ hits Joe with a spur of the moment dropkick or enzuguri or fights back because he’s pissed off, but other times it doesn’t fit the match at all. Even though AJ doesn’t play his role greatly during the match, Joe has his down to a “T”. His knee charge which sent AJ through the ropes (a spot from their ROH match), the face wash and the Powerbomb-Boston Crab-STF sequence got over Joe’s vicious nature, and how he got over the Lariat in a company that doesn’t see the Lariat as a viable finish was pretty amazing.
It doesn’t end up being a surprise that AJ’s selling is shoddy in this match, as it ranges from being out on his feet to fine. If you’ve been beat down like AJ had been by Joe, he should’ve at least had to stall before doing big moves, and not hitting them without hardly any effort. I will give AJ his props though for bumping all over the place to help get Joe over as even more of a monster, even if his selling was off. Joe’s selling, on the other hand, is good as usual. When AJ hits some flash offence he sells it really well. A great example was when AJ hit a flash enzuguri on Joe and he just stopped for a few seconds with a glazed over look in his eyes before falling to the mat.
The referee bump was really frustrating, but what lead to it was as well. No way should AJ be able to get Joe up for an Argentine Backbreaker, let alone being able swing him around into a variation of a powerbomb. Not only is the problem that he picked him up considering the vast different in size, but the fact AJ did it with relative ease after all the punishment earlier in the match. Is it impressive? Sure, but there were better ways for the ref to be bumped rather than a bit of superhero strength from a man who doesn’t look to much like a superhero.
The finish ended up getting Joe over even more as a monster and is one of the few things TNA has really gotten right during this year. The finish may be tainted a little due to the Daniels run-in (although the STO didn’t finish off Styles, Styles going for redemption gave Joe the opportunity), but a semi-clean submission win over Styles is practically an unseen sight in TNA. The fact any fan can see that Styles never really got into a chance of winning the match (the Styles Clash attempt was his only real chance and even though he had him down after the ref bump, it could be argued Joe was just resting due to the ref being down) helps get Joe over even more as an unstoppable monster. The match does have its problems, but also has some really good positives and is probably the best match TNA has had this year. ***
Raven and Sabu vs. Jeff Jarrett and Rhino
Here I was, thinking that I might see a TNA main event make sense to an extent. Boy I was sure wrong about that one. Sure, tags were enforced even though they were allowed to do as they wished with weapons, but all hope of the match making sense went down hill when the referee was bumped. It’s the question I ask over and over again, and once again I will ask it. Why do TNA book their matches so that the wrestlers can do as they wish but a ref bump takes place so people can run-in? It makes absolutely no sense and makes the main events too predictable. The match would’ve been much better if they just brawled over the arena and the referee was only there to count the 3 or to call a submission.
Despite my problems with how the match is booked with the ref bump, the match is pretty fun. Sabu especially lays it on the line, bumping all over the place which is amazing considering his physical state. His bump off of the press slam through the table on the outside was one of the highlights of Sabu’s bumping. The finish was pretty good with Rhino’s Gore through the table giving the viewer a nice visual and adding the question whether Jarrett would get the title shot or not. Although the match was fun, Joe/Styles probably should’ve been slotted for the main event.