The Anderson Breakdown: TNA Victory Road

Ken Anderson
KenAnderson242@aol.com

The Anderson Breakdown:
TNA Victory Road

“There aren’t too many dependable and entertaining recappers on the ‘net right now, but in my opinion, Ken Anderson is now the heir apparent to the RSPW powerhouses from back in the day.”
– Friendly reader on his blog

Somebody actually said the above about me. I’ve been called many things over the years at 411 and Inside Pulse, but I never thought dependable would be an adjective used to describe my wrestling commentary.

I guess I do have a bit of *streak* going though.

Needless to say, I haven’t read any review or commentary of the show, so the opinions about to be expressed are without any form of bias, slant, indoctrination, or pre-concieved notion.


We start with yet another awesome David Sahadi video package. Clips are shown of Jim Cornette explaining his decision to let Jeff Jarrett keep the title, and Samoa Joe, Jeff Jarrett, Sting, Scott Steiner, and Christian Cage all discuss tonight’s main event. Sting says he is ok with Cornette’s decision. Christian responds that, “Of course he’s ok with the decision… he wasn’t the champion.”


Shane Douglas is out to start the show, and he seriously gets the show off to a incredibly lame start. You’d think that the very first words on a TNA PPV would be “This show is going to be awesome,” or “TNA is the future,” or maybe, “we’re the best company in the world.” Instead though, we get Shane Douglas walking out to the ring and immediately digging into the new ECW. Douglas then makes a stupid crack about ECW “losing the Franchise, and gaining a Dick… … Flair!”

It’s always been so pathetic to hear Shane Douglas take digs on Ric Flair. Douglas’s name doesn’t even deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Ric Flair’s. Off hand, I’m literally having an impossible time even thinking of one great Shane Douglas singles match. His gigantic Barely Legal blowoff with Pit Bull Gary Wolf? One of the worst matches in PPV history. The epic 60 minute match with Tully Blanchard that Paul Heyman set up to make Douglas legit? The normally appreciative ECW fans physically turned their backs to the match. I seem to remember an above average match with Terry Funk at the ECW arena, but from a strictly in-ring perspective, that’s about it.

Meanwhile Ric Flair — at age 154 — makes a one-time appearance in the new ECW and not only puts on the best match since ECW’s rebirth, but also leads a nearly immobile, 6,000 pound Big Show to his best match in years. I could have lived without the extreme stunts, but Flair even took a bump into thumbtacks for good measure. Flair’s the greatest of all time. He’s a true classic, and every time he graces the ring, it’s like seeing a Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali, or Bill Russell in a contemporary setting.

Shane Douglas is a has-been geek in bad Wal-Mart sunglasses. His only claims to fame are being coerced into trashing the NWA Title, and burning every single bridge possible in the wrestling world.

I’ve been a huge TNA mark in the last month or so after a great string of Impacts, but talk about getting the show off on the wrong foot.


The Naturals vs. The Diamonds in the Rough

This match is either an unadverstised surprise or just poorly advertised, as I had absolutely no idea it was on the card tonight. Regardless, the Naturals are out in new rasslin’ trunks, and apparantly, they’ve also gotten their ears lowered as well. I don’t know if these are the dramatic new haircuts that the Naturals were bitching about several weeks ago, but it literally looks as if they had about three inches taken off.

The match itself was short and predicatable. A couple of high spots, a couple of hot tags, and a Naturals win.

After the match, Shane Douglas comes back into the ring and starts yelling at the Naturals about something. What he’s saying is never specified, but I’m guessing it’s something along the lines of, “Well, uh, DICK FLAIR, yeah uh, DICK THE ASSHOLE FLAIR, he hasn’t done a TENTH of what, uh, THE FRANCHIZE has dun. THAT DICK.”

*1/2


We cut to Mike Tenay and Don West at ringside, and yet again, the wardrobe department just can’t seem to get these two on the same page. Don West might very well be the only person in television history to ever wear a tie that is the exact same color as his dress shirt. Furthermore, from a slight angle, West’s tie appears to be made out of rubber. You literally have to squint to tell where the shirt ends and the tie begins. And meanwhile, Mike Tenay — in his undersized tuxedo — provides the usual glaring visual contrast between the announcers. Mike Tenay lets us know that TNA has prepared graphics for our four big matches tonight, and then busts into his legendary Mike Tenay thinking face. It honestly looks like he’s attempting to resist torture.


“I’ll never tell you where the jewels are Bosworth… NEVER.”


Christian Cage is in the back for an interview. Borash is actually looking pretty cool tonight. According to Christian, alot of people have been wondering what happened to the ‘old Christian.” According to Cage, the old Christian is back tonight. Christian lets Scott Steiner know that once he loses tonight, he’ll still have a nice spot in Jeff Jarrett’s shadown to fall back into. Christian digs into Samoa Joe’s weight, letting fans know that Joe would be MORE than happy to finish their french fries. According to Cage, Sting is like an expired carton of milk. Once delicious, now expired. And to Jeff Jarrett, Christian says that he’s getting his title back after Victory Road… because that’s HOW HE ROLLS.

Christian is great.


Monty Brown vs. Rhino

If you were to ask me, “Ken, really, who’s the most underutilized guy in wrestling?”, I wouldn’t say Chris Benoit. I wouldn’t say AJ Styles, or Matt Hardy, or Mike Modest. I’d say Monty Brown. Even though I don’t know if Monty is quite right for the TNA environment, he easily has the look, charisma, and potential to main event Wrestlemania in the WWE. I don’t know what his TNA contract looks like, but I’d love to see him in the E once it expires.

Nevertheless, I have a feeling he’s losing here.

Monty Brown and Rhino immediately go right for each other, wildly brawling around the arena in highly entertaining fashion.

The crowd is massively behind Rhino, with Monty Brown actually getting a smattering of boos. This troubles me greatly. Before I can get too depressed though, Monty makes my morning by accidentally *PpPpPpPpPOUUUNNCINGGG* the referee.

As Monty Brown tries to revive the referee by stiffing him across the face with E. Honda like slaps (Monty is so awesome), Mike Tenay and Don West babble on about the new ECW and Rhino turning down the WWE’s offer.

Rhino goes for the gore, Monty ducks, and the ref eats yet another finisher.

The ref is out cold in the ring, and Monty and Rhino just KILL each other through the crowd. It’s literally like a riot scene in the stands. This is seriously great. West and Tenay do a good job of selling both wrestlers as men who “will fight anybody” in TNA.

Rhino and Monty eventually fight all the way into the backstage area. Additional refs come out to check on their downed brother, and they ring the bell to put an end to the match. The crowd’s not too happy about that, but it was definitely all kinds of awesome and incredibly intense while it lasted. Personally, I liked the finish, as both men need to be kept as strong as possible.

**1/4


Jeremy Borash is in the back with LAX. Konnan spits out some venom about those “punk ass busters.” He gets really fired up and starts talking about how the “11 million illegals” are here to stay, and how in the next few years, the latinos are taking over. It’s obvious that no one is really paying much attention to this great new “immigration bill,” because this 11 million number floating around is about 29 million low.


Homocide & Hernandez vs. Ron Killings & Sonjay Dutt

Ron Killings jukes n’ jives his way down and busts out what is still the most unbelievably generic rap that I have ever heard.

“You can git wit’ dis!
Or you can git wit’ dat!
You betta’ come get with this,
Cuz this is where it’s at!
WHATSUP!”

Regardless, it’s highly energetic and the crowd loves it, so all is well.

Sticking with the typical “X style” realism, the match begins with four consecutive high-risk dives to the outside of the ring. These moves were so crazy that any one could have realistically resulted in death or paralysis. So much for a slow build.

Homicide and Sonjay Dutt slow things down to a 8.5, and Homicide hits an awesome stun-gun on Dutt right across the top rope.

After several minutes of the vicious Dutt beatdown, Ron Killings gets the hot tag and just cleans house. Much like Monty Brown, Ron Killings is just too awesome to be floundering in the midcard. I know the top is crowded enough as is, but Killings really does have the potential to be a legitimate main event draw (again) in TNA.

At the 10:00 mark, Hernandez hits Sonjay Dutt with a SICK release Razor’s Edge for the pin.

Really fun match.

**3/4


Scott Steiner is in the back with Borash, and cuts yet another INCREDIBLE promo on Joe. Scott tells Joe that he shouldn’t hate himself for being fat, he should hate his parents for giving him an extra “fat cell” to go along with their X and Y chromosomes.

Steiner then reveals his strategy for being Joe:

He’s going to leave a trail of donuts leading away from the ring to distract Joe, because according to Steiner, “everyone knows that Joe can’t resist a Creamy Crust donut.”

Steiner then turns his attention to Christian Cage, who he suggests “take a trip to the gym and maybe eat a steak, STICK MAN.” Steiner also references Canada as “Mexico North.”

Man, after a mediocre run in the WWE, Scott Steiner is seriously experiencing a career Rennaissance second to none. Steiner has easily been the MVP of TNA for the last several months. He’s selflessly made Joe look like a legit STAR, and I’d be more than happy to see this Scott Steiner stick around for a long time to come.


Less than three days after being forced to officially “break up,” Team Canada is making their way out to the ring. Needless to say, none of the, you know, wrestlers, get any mic time, but rather Scott f*cking D’Amore cuts a promo on Jim Cornette. The Impact Zone sings the “Goodbye Song” to Team Canada, which Scott D’Amore of course misinterprets for heel heat on himself.

Scott D’Amore rambles on endlessly about nothing for about ten minutes. The crowd starts going crazy with “Eric Young” chants, to which D’Amore responds, “Shut your mouths.”

One by one, Scott D’Amore thanks his wrestlers for being a part of Team Canada for the last year or two. As he finishes thanking each wrestler, they walk towards the back and disregard Eric Young’s attempt to shake their hand.

Finally, D’Amore gets to Eric Young. The crowd is just going absolutely crazy for Eric Young, and D’Amore just rips into him. He blames him for the death of Team Canada and makes Eric Young take off his Team Canada jacket and pants. Scott D’Amore tells Eric Young that will soon be fire, before finally walking away and leaving a boxer-clad Eric Young alone in the ring.

Eric Young timidly asks the crowd if they want him to be fired, and they just explode with the “Don’t Fire Eric!” chants. Eric Young jumps in the mass of people of together, they all repeatedly chant “Don’t Fire Eric!”

I’ve been saying it for awhile now, but Eric Young is absolutely great. He’s got a bright, bright future ahead of him in TNA, and hopefully he’s pushed correctly and hard.

Not a bad promo by D’Amore either at the end, it’s just a shame that it went on about ten minutes too long.


A small video package housing big news lets us know that TNA’s October PPV, Bound for Glory, will be coming to us live not from the Impact Zone, but from DETROIT, Michigan. I don’t think you’d be able to find one person who doesn’t think this will be great for the company. Assuming TNA can bring decent production to a larger arena, housing the occasional PPV outside of Orlando could really provide that “big event” feel that just isn’t possible for TNA PPV’s at Universal Studios. It will also go a long way towards justifying the outrageous price a promotion of TNA’s stature charges for their PPV events.

I still like Orlando as TNA’s home base for television tapings, but this announcement really couldn’t have come at a better time for the company.


Senshi vs. Mystery X Division Wrestler

And the super-hyped Mystery X Division opponent for Senshi is … … … Frankie Kazarian? Huh. Certainly an anti-climatic surprise. I like Kazarian as much as the next guy, but they were certainly hyping this thing up like it would be someone slighly bigger.

Anyway, the match itself was just 12:00 of absolute awesomeness. Senshi scored with about a million of his ultra-stiff strikes. Kazarian brought the aerial goodness. Senshi nearly kicked Kazarian’s head off on a dozen different occasions. And Kazarian landed a picture perfect Tiger Knee ala Sagat.

Low-Ki scored the pin after hitting an absolutely MURDEROUS double-stomp off the top rope. I’ve gotten a lot of emails from workers in the past, so if any of you guys know how in the world Low-Ki’s opponents actually survive, let alone take, this move, I’d be curious as to know the secret. The knee bend and shift of weight on Ki’s part certainly must make the move slightly less dangerous, but I still don’t see how the full weight of a man coming down on your stomach is survivable.

Awesome match.

***1/4


We cut to Jeremy Borash, who is in the back with a very strange looking Larry Zbyszko. Larry is wearing a shiny red jogging suit and running frantically in place. In fact, he looks a lot like Rocky Balboa here, in the event that someone were to break into Rocky’s house and steal all of his cool. Larry jogs in place for several more seconds until referee Slick Johnson runs in to let Larry know that he, Slick Johnson, will be the referee for his match. Larry gets all cartoony and angry, wondering when in the WORLD Slick Johnson was made a senior referee. Slick then walks away and Larry resumes his jogging. Eventually, in Hogan-like fashion, Larry slowly slides off screen while running in place.


Larry Zbyszko vs. Raven Hair vs. Hair

Believe it not, but when standing across the ring from each other topless, Raven actually makes Larry Zbyszko look like a Greek God by comparison here tonight. Larry is far from what would be considered peak physical condition, but he certainly looks worlds better than you’d expect him to.

Raven on the other hand just looks terrible here tonight. My first reaction upon seeing him when he took his shirt off was, “Wait a minute, who let Abdullah the Butcher have bleach for breakfast this morning?” My alternate reaction was, “Oh wait a minute, wasn’t she Bob Ryder’s date for the Cauliflower Alley banquet last year?” You pick which reaction you prefer, and then repeat it as your own.

The match itself was all of three minutes long, and believe it or not, Larry actually carried Raven. Although Zbyszko has seen his day in the sun, he still has it technically. He can’t move like an X Division wrestler, but he certainly does lock up better than anyone on that damn roster. No joke. Their lockup was great. It’s such a simple thing, but when done right, it’s a thing of beauty (see: Benoit/Finlay Judgement Day).

As mentioned, the match only went about three minutes, with Raven scoring the pinfall following a hefty DDT. The DDT wasn’t that well executed though, and to the tell the truth, when Raven hit the mat, I could have SWORN I saw him lactate slightly.

I know, I know, completely unnecessary. And I’m sure I’ll hear it from those who think that because Raven can cut an entertaining shoot interview, he’s somehow untouchable as a wrestler.

Larry tried to make a getaway to avoid the haircut, making it as far as the dressing room before being carried back out over the heads of six burly security guards. If you look closely, the main security guard is just having an impossible time keeping a straight face, and he also looks surprisingly like the great Vince Russo as well.

Raven duct tapes Larry Zbyszko into the conveniently placed barber’s chair at ringside.

All of a sudden the female barber hired to do the clippin’, who incidentally looks as if she just stepped out of a 1986 roller rink, approaches Larry, smiles at Raven, and then hands him the dastardly clippers. She quickly retreats to some undefined location, although I think it would be safe to bet that wherever she’s going, she’ll be bringing along a box of REO Speedwagon cassette tapes.

And lords knows I already get enough grammatically incorrent email insulting my manhood, but let me clue you fine readers in on a little secret: REO Speedwagon is a GREAT band. Don’t buy the negativity. Everything they’ve touched has turned to gold, and it takes a TRUE man to head out to the beach, drop the top down, and roll to “Love is a Rock.”

Anyway, the scene suddenly turns very gay. I don’t mean that as an insult to the homosexual community, but rather as a simple observation. I looked down at my salad for a split second in attempt to excavate a walnut, and when I looked back up, Raven was shaving the nipples of Larry Zbyszko, referee Slick Johnson was rolling around on the concrete clutching his genitals for some reason, and Larry was writhing in agony as if he was being sexually molested by a mountain goat.

It was just a very strange scene, and luckily, we quickly cut to the back.


JB is in the back with Alex Shelley, Johnny Devine, and BIG SEXY Kevin Nash. Kevin Nash is 1,000 percent cool in this interview, joking about his 8 second win over Bob Backlund, cutting on Hulk Hogan, and mocking everything the X-Division stands for. Nash is even sure to say,as sarcastically as possible, that “in, uhhhhh, the X-Division, yeahhhh, it isn’t about weight limits, yeahhh, it’s about NO LIMITSSSSSSS!”


Kevin Nash & Alex Shelley vs. Jay Lethal & Chris Sabin

I wrote a few months back that this angle was just a horrible idea, and regardless of intentions, it would ultimately hurt the X-Division. Several readers chimed in that they thought I wasn’t giving it enough of a chance to play out, and that I was wrong for burying the idea so soon into its development.

Well, at this point, I think it’s safe to infer that I was correct.

I don’t know if TNA management realizes this or not, but Kevin Nash is not a heel. In fact, he’s one of the most likeable guys in wrestling. Kevin Nash could rob my parents, beat me up, and sleep with my girlfriend, and when he left, I’d still think to myself, “Gosh, Big Kev is a GREAT guy.”

So when Kevin Nash does get in the ring with the X-Division guys, despite all the good intentions in the world, it’s still going to hurt the division, because Kevin Nash will ALWAYS come off as the babyface.

Let’s take a look at this match as an example. In the last couple of months, Jay Lethal has been one of the most popular X-Division wrestlers on the roster. People have just gone crazy for him. From his very first match in TNA, the crowd was rabid with chants of “Leth-al! Leth-al! Leth-al!”

Yet look what happened in this match.

Kevin Nash and Lethal tie up near the beginning of the match and Kevin Nash hits a basic armdrag. The crowd absolutely EXPLODES. He gets a standing ovation and chants of “That was awesome!” When Jay Lethal, a supposedly popular X-Division wrestler, mounts his big comeback on the much larger Kevin Nash, a large segement of the audience actually booes him.

The same thing happened earlier this year when a previously popular Matt Bentley was assaulted with “Bentley sucks!” chants when facing off with Big Kev.

As much as I love seeing Kevin Nash out there sarcastically throwing up the X Division sign and limbering up in the ring with big dramatic stretches, there’s absolutely no way for the angle not to be a failure because when an X-Division superstar finally gets a win over Kevin Nash, the fans are going to boo. They won’t be happy, and it will have done nobody any favors.

Nash is just too cool to hate.

Put my Grandfather in the ring with Kevin Nash, and I’ll be cheering Big Sexy.

Anyway, the match itself was pretty much what you’d expect. The X-Division guys flipped all over the place, with Kevin Nash casually proving the point that with enough charisma and personality, a hiptoss can get more heat than some silly 902 asai tope plancha pescada.

At the end, Chris Sabin managed to knock down Kevin Nash with a dropkick to the knees. The crowd booes. Johnny Devine comes in to break things up, and Jay Lethal ends up flying outside of the ring with a dive of some sort.

Chris Sabin rolls up Alex Shelley for a freak pin, and then Jay Lethal and Sabin try to beat up on Kevin Nash. He’s just too big though, and eventually Shelley and Devine jump in and make it three-on-two.

Jerry Lynn runs down to make the save though! He takes off his belt, as if to symbolically say, “I’m not an agent, I’m an X-Division superstar!”

I guess Jerry Lynn is back.

HoOraY!

**1/2


JB is in the back with Team 3-D and Spike. Bubba Ray Dudley cuts an extremely strange promo in which he literally says the word “VIOLENCE!” thirty times in a row. Bubba says that the James Gang made a deal with the devil when they solicited Abyss to be their partner.

Devon says that as a six-man team, the Dudleys are unbeatable and the James gang are about to be given an ass kicking of a lifetime…. TESTIFYYYYY!


Team 3D w/ Spike vs. The James Gang & Abyss

The crowd is firmly behind Team 3D, although from this point on, I’ll be vociferously rooting for the James Gang. The Road Dogg has seen better days, but Billy Gunn has just been looking awesome at the last few PPV’s.

Abyss tags in, and Spike just starts *begging* for the tag. Although it doesn’t seem like an overly wise decision, Devon happily obliges.

While these two are squaring off in the way that only a big man and a little man can, I’ll go ahead and talk about Spike Dudley a little bit. In fact, I think it might be fair to say that I’m prepared to rant about Runt. Sounds like a bad sitcom that network heads would plug in before wrestling.

Anyway, I actually just listened to the Highspots shoot interview with Spike Dudley on my commute to work Thursday. You know how after listening to certain shoot interviews, you like a wrestler so much as a human being that you want to see them succeed at wrestling? For example, my brother couldn’t figure it out the either day when I walked into the living room, Ipod on, sat next to him, and casually said, “Kamala should have been world champ.” But you listen to a simple, honest man like Kamala talk for four hours about his Mother, and you suddenly want nothing but the best for the guy.

Anyway, Spike Dudley is my anti-Kamala.

The man is so bitter that he makes Ole Anderson seem like Father Christmas by comparison. He bitches at the interviewer. He bitches about Vince McMahon. He bitches about the WWE. And overall, he just seems like an exceedingly nasty person.

Wrestling is a superficial business. It always has been. As unfair as it may be, in the wrestling industry, size does matter. It’s just like in the bedroom. People will tell you all day long that size doesn’t matter once in the bedroom, but let’s face it, NO ONE wants to be watching the A-Team on an 13 incher.

It’s all fine and well that a guy like Spike Dudley could have these romantic ideas about being a big singles superstar in the WWE, but Vince McMahon couldn’t exactly make the guy sprout up 10 inches and add 100 pounds of muscle.

Anyway, Spike just tagged out, so we’ll get back to the match.

Bubba Ray Dudley is now in with Abyss, and he attempts to rile up some crowd support by doing a slow, sideways, Gestapo-like foot stomp. The crowd gets into it, especially the patch of skinheads to the left of the camera.

Bubba Ray then does a DX crotch chop in B Jizzle’s direction, just for good measure.

ATTITUDE!

Things take a turn for the stupid though, as Abyss copies the Bam Bam Bigelow ECW spot and hurls Spike Dudley over the top rope and into the front rows of the Impact Zone. This is foolish and unfortunate for two reasons:

1) The crowd doesn’t catch Spike Dudley. Instead, he just splats right on top of several people, at least two of whom appeared to be women. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a concert where some jackass decides to jump on stage and then dive into the crowd without letting anyone know he’s coming, but it’s not a grand experience. I was seeing Lagwagon in Ybor about six years ago, and I honestly thought at the time that I might have a broken neck when some scraggly f*ck crash-landed with all of his weight directly on top of my head. TNA and Universal Studios don’t need lawsuits right now, and they certainly don’t need to be putting their crowds in the way of danger.

2) In a bizarre moment of poetic justice, the Impact Zone, who were expected to be “crowd surfing” Spike Dudley through the arena, just casually dumped him HEADFIRST over the barricade and back towards the ring. This was just BRUTAL to see. One second Spike is peacefully surfing the crowd on his back, and the next second he falls backwards, headfirst to the concrete. He looked like he was seriously injured. I’ve been avoiding the net, but hopefully he’s ok.

Things break down into some awesome wild brawling around the building, with Devon Dudley and Billy Gunn squaring off in a battle of better partners.

Spike Dudley looks to have recovered, and throws a chair right at the head of Abyss.

Back in the ring, Bubba Ray Dudley holds up a sign from the crowd that says “ECW FEARS TNA” and staples it to Abyss’s head.

Now that’s just silly.

I’ll take TNA over ECW any day of the week, but even ECW’s rock-bottom 4th of July show, when next to nobody was at home watching television, did a considerably higher rating than TNA’s all-time best show, including their prime-time specials. And on average, ECW does more than double TNA’s all-time best rating.

If you’re going to take the time to staple a sign to someone’s forehead, you should probably fact-check before you break the flesh.

Anyway, a table is set up in the ring and the crowd starts chanting for fire. Meanwhile, I begin silently praying that TNA never brings fire into the Impact Zone. It’s a small place, fire is very unpredictable, and nobody wants another Great White situation.

Abyss ends up grabbing Spike Dudley and Black Hole Slamming him through the table. The table doesn’t break though, so Abyss presses as hard as he can until the table finally snaps.

Good stuff, and I’ll take this wild brawling between the James Gang and Team 3D over mediocre wrestling from these guys any day of the week.

***


JB is in the back with AMW and Gail Kim. They drink beer and cut a quick promo on AJ & Daniels. AMW decide that it’s not a good idea to drink before the match, toss their half-empty beer bottle at Jeremy Borash, and then walk away. In an absolutely hilarious little moment, Jeremy Borash looks the beer up and down, gets a big smile on his face, and tilts his head back to drink it. Before he can though, AMW creep back into the frame and take their beer back.

Gail Kim is easily the hottest woman in all of wrestling.

Disagree and you’re a racist.


AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, and Sirelda vs. AMW & Gail Kim

You know, as much I like 5 of the participants in this match, Sirelda is just ridiculous. As we mentioned earlier in the column, the wrestling business is extremely superficial, and this woman just does not work in professional wrestling circa 2006.

About 2:00 into the match, Gail Kim ends up in the ring with Christopher Daniels. We get a silly, entertaining little exchange between the two before Gail Kim casually walks over to the ring apron and pie-faces Serelda.

Serelda tags out, and predictably, Gail Kim runs for her life.

James Storm comes in to fight Serelda and acts amusingly TERRIRIED of her.

Mike Tenay and Don West seem to have no other word in their vocabulary to describe Serelda other than “Amazonian.”

Everyone climbs in the ring and brawls, resulting in a humorous quasi-sexual pileup by the heels.

It’s now AJ Styles turn to go one-on-one with Gail Kim. AJ actuallly attempts to german suplex Gail Kim, but she flips out of it. AJ reverses again though, and Gail Kim ends up over his knee. AJ gives her a spanking, but Gail Kim gets pissed and locks AJ in an AWESOME submission.

Serelda is on the apron clapping her hands wildly.

What a weird woman.

Christopher Daniels attempts the Angel’s Wings on Harris, but Gail Kim sneaks up behind him and rakes his eyes.

All of a sudden we’ve just got highspots going in absolutely every direction.

After several minutes of this, Chris Daniels does manage to get off the Angel’s Wings. Gail Kim breaks up the pin at the VERY last second though.

MORE WILD, NEAR-FALL HIGHSPOTS.

Finally, after AMW’s attempt at using a steel chair backfires on them, AJ Styles rolls Storm up for the pin,

Typically great match between these four guys. I love this series, and if it took place 15 years ago in front of southern NWA fans, it would just be a legendary set of matches.

***1/4

And by the way, just in case you missed it above, Gail Kim is not only the most attractive woman in wrestling, but she’s also a hell of a worker.


Jeremy Borash is in the back with Samoa Joe. It certainly is a good thing that Samoa Joe is so awesome in the ring, because he really can’t cut a promo to save his life.


Scott Steiner vs. Samoa Joe vs. Sting vs. Christian Cage

After approximately 96 minutes of ring introductions, we finally get under way. In case you forgot or don’t follow TNA closely, the winner of this match gets a shot at Jeff Jarrett’s title at the next PPV. Realistically, I could see everyone in this match at least having a small chance of winning it. Christian was screwed out of the title. Scott Steiner has been dropping hints about facing Jarrett. Joe is the next big thing. And Sting is the company’s biggest mainstream star.

After a little four-way brawling to start the match, Christian and Joe end up in the ring together. They exchange blows in the ring, with the crowd solidly behind Joe. Meanwhile, Sting and Scott Steiner brawl near the entrance tube.

Out of nowhere, a camera man attacks Sting and throws gasoline in his eyes. As it turns out, it’s not a real camera man… it’s Jeff Jarrett. Don West calls this the “dirtiest, rottenist thing I’ve ever seen!” Sting heads to the back and now appears out of the match, at least for the time being, and Jeff Jarrett is kicked out of the building.

Back in the ring, Scott Steiner levels Joe, goes for the pin, and then rolls off of him at the two count to do a few pushups.

Steiner and Christian end up brawling on the outside, and Joe regrains his strength in time to hit a massive tope suicida on both men.

Wait a minute, wait a minute.

I might have misunderstood Mike Tenay, but is the next TNA PPV really called Hard Justice?

Christian attempts a frog splash from the top ropes on Steiner and Joe, but both move at the very last second.

Steiner dumps Joe to the outside, hits Christian with a big suplex, and locks on the Steiner Recliner. Unfortunately, Joe comes in from behind to break it up and lock the choke on Steiner.

WAIT A MINUTE!

Sting runs out looking like a f*cking MUMMY!

HE’S GOT HIS ENTIRE HEAD TAPED UP!

Sting sneaks up on Scott Steiner, hits the reverse DDT, and the MUMMY GETS THE PIN!!!!!!!

Sting is going on to Hard Justice to fight Jeff Jarrett!!

Christian is in the ring to confront Sting.

No handshake Christian!

Don’t do it!

HEEL ON HIM!

NO HANDSHAKE!

HEEL ON HIM CHRSTIAN, HEEL ON HIM!!!!

DO NOT SHAKE THE MUMMY’S HAND CHRISTIAN.

Fuck.

Christian shakes his hand, gives him a hug, and applauds his victory.

Despite the non-turn, this was still a good main event match.

***


Closing thoughts:

Definitely a good PPV tonight for TNA. Not great by any stretch of the imagination, but a solid enough effort by everybody that nobody is going to leave the PPV feeling as ripped off as they did last month.

People all over the internet, as well as Dave Meltzer, have said repeatedly that the WWE’s third brand has the potential to do heavy damage to TNA. I actually believe the exact opposite. The WWE is just delivering so much product these days — 5 first-run live hours on non-PPV weeks — that it’s become extremely tiresome to try to keep up with.

If I — lifelong wrestling fan and six-year grapplin’ columnist — don’t have the time, patience, or desire to try to keep up with the endless WWE product these days, I can’t imagine the average casual viewer feeling any differently.

Although TNA has been unarguably good since the last PPV, they also have another thing going for them. They’re different from the tired WWE product, even if only look-wise, and they’re a hell of a lot easier to keep up with. I love TNA because I watch one hour a week, I get my wrestling fix, and then I move on with my life. I just don’t have three or four nights a week to dedicate to Vince McMahon and his product, and I just can’t imagine any rational person doing so either.

If TNA can keep booking solid, episodic wrestling television like they have been doing for the last few weeks, they have a genuine shot of growing into a semi-success story. They’ve got a better all-around talent pool than any single WWE brand and they’ve got a unique feel. Hopefully TNA can capatalize on this WWE over-saturation in the coming months and really take that next step up.

Anyway, I’m out, but be sure to check out The Wrestling Blog for up-to-the-minute news, commentary, and discussion. Thanks a million to everyone who checks me out each month, and a special thanks to the mystery reader who still provides me with tapes of every major wrestling PPV in America. It’s much appreciated.

– Ken

KenAnderson242@aol.com