Welcome back to ringside everyone. As you read this I’m probably on my way to Jacksonville and ready to see AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, and Christopher Daniels live and in person for the first time ever. Maybe not a big deal to you but with those guys being 3 of my 4 current favorite wrestlers, it’s a big deal to me.
News & Shit
*Thursday Night Rating: 0.8
Ok, so Rhino’s shoot didn’t generate the ratings I thought it would but that’s ok. Right now, TNA just needs to hold on in this slot and wait for TUF4 to come save them from these dreaded comedy lead ins. Sorry SpikeTV but these two comedy shows you have before TNA are the saddest excuse of comedy that I’ve ever seen. Give Dane Cook his own show or something, that shit would draw ratings.
Slow news week for TNA but that’s not always a bad thing I guess.
Victory Road Review
So I of course ordered the PPV on Sunday and I must once again say that it was just average for TNA.
*The Naturals over Diamonds In The Rough: Before I get to the match, lets address the comment by Shane Douglas. As you know by now, Douglas took a shot at Ric Flair, a man who he has a long history with. Do I mind it? Not really, it’s honestly not a big deal in my book. Flair and Douglas go way back and hate each other for one reason or another. It was a personal shot and nothing more so I don’t really care. Don’t get me wrong, Douglas by no means is better than Flair on the mic or in the ring, I just happen to have no problem with a simple dig at the man. Plus, he set it up well with “Have you heard the new joke going around?” instead of jumping right into the shot.
Now, this match was solid enough to hold my attention, which is all I ask for in wrestling. It was by no means a great match but it didn’t force me to change the channel, so that’s marks in my books. We all know that The Naturals are headed for a huge push and DITR are headed to the unemployment line so there’s no reason to even go into that. I still think that Elix Skipper would make a great addition to LAX but that’s just me.
*Christian Promo: I think the old Christian might have returned with this promo. The heel in him came out and that’s what most people have been asking for this entire time. Now if they do decide to turn Christian heel, I just ask that they don’t pair him up with Jarrett because it seems as if every heel gets paired up with Jarrett at one point or another. It just gets tiring.
*Monty Brown draws Rhino: This pretty much had to happen. As I mentioned last week, you can’t job out Brown because he’s on his little squash streak and you can’t job out Rhino because he just put your company over in a big way. So a no contest finish was the best way to go. Now (spoiler alert) it seems as if they’ve backed themselves into another corner. They could have taken the easy route and booked Brown vs. Rhino in a Hardcore Match for Hard Justice and they could have used that month of build to figure out who would go over. Instead they decide to add Joe to the picture and make who goes over predictable. It’s either Joe goes over, Joe goes over, or damnit Joe is going over. If Joe doesn’t go over, I might think TNA is on whatever Jeff Hardy is on (pictures to come).
*LAX over Killings & Dutt: This was a very good match if you ask me. Hernandez actually impressed me and showed he belonged in this match and didn’t get lost in the shuffle with the other guys. The right team of course went over in this one. Killings and Dutt were a throw together team while LAX has lasting power. Now what for Killings and Dutt? Your guess is as good as mine. I guess they could continue to team up but they really don’t have lasting power in my eyes. Dutt isn’t really an X Division threat considering Low Ki has defeated him twice now. Killings could be a player in the X Division but that’s almost a last ditch thing for TNA. I hope TNA can find something to do for these two because both men are solid workers and deserve their shot.
*Team Canada Break Up: This was a nice little addition to the crowd but it went on a bit too long. So where do these guys go from here? Well there’s no doubt Petey Williams returns to the X Division where he will continue to be a legit player in the division. Sadly he’ll be forced to the “tweener treatment” by the TNA crowd now that D’Amore and him have part ways. Still, Petey is always welcomed back to the division by me. A-1 should be released and head up north where he can defeat ECW legends on the ECW show. After the promo on Thursday, I think TNA is serious about pushing Bobby Roode. I’ve stated this many times and I’ll continue to say it, he has the same appeal that Rick Rude has and after the promo on Thursday, I’m starting to see some Curt Hennig in him as well. I say pair him up with some one like Traci (who seems to be moved away from Bentley/Kazarian) and see how far he can go. That brings me to Eric Young. I love the guy but I have to ask myself, where is this whole thing going? How long can he continue with his “Don’t Fire Eric” campaign and what’s the payoff? There’s no doubt that Eric Young can continue to keep this thing up as long as he’s asked but I still don’t know how long TNA can carry this thing without giving us a true pay off.
*Bound For Glory Announcement: This is exactly what TNA needs, a break from Orlando. The house show they ran up there earlier this year drew a sell out crowd and produced a good show by the workers. If TNA is serious about making Bound For Glory their biggest event then getting it out of Orlando is a step in the right direction. The next step? Build Joe up as the #1 contender and have him take the belt at the PPV.
*Low Ki over Kazarian: It’s good to see Frankie back in TNA I guess. He looks different with the hair but whatever, it’s only hair (right Andy Douglas?). The match itself was well built and had a nice pay off, far from your typical X Division. Now did anyone hear the guy chanting “boring” during the match? That guy is the sole reason why TNA needs to move out of Orlando. The selfish Orlando crowd expects spot wrestling (for lack of a better term) from the X DIvision guys. Seeing these two slowly build up the ending just didn’t impress the crowd, which is sad. So now what for Low Ki? It doesn’t seem as if he’s going to be dropping the belt anytime soon so they might as well feed Petey Williams to him and get that out of the way.
*Raven over Larry Zybsko: I’m glad they didn’t go my route and turn Slick Johnson into the evil ref. The match itself was almost horrible to watch but thankfully it didn’t last very long. I would honestly say that the cutting of the hair lasted longer than the actual match. Now that Raven is done with Larry, I say give the man more time off to correct his weight problem. He looked dreadful in the ring and Larry had to carry him, which is not a good thing. Allow him to take off as much time as he needs to correct his weight problem so that when he comes back, I don’t have to put up with a man who’s a small shell of his former self.
*Sabin & Lethal over Nash & Shelley: This was a solid match in which the X Division guys did their things and Nash carried his weight and added his own flavor to things. This match once again showed why TNA needs to get out of Orlando. The crowd was actually pro Nash and anti Lethal. Now part of that could be due to the fact that Kevin Nash is so damn entertaining but the fact is that in Orlando, there are no heels. Even Jeff Jarrett, a guy who the fans threw trash just last month, got cheered on Impact in his match against Lethal. Universal Studios is a tourist attraction, not a wrestling venue. Now, back to the match and this angle. It’s pretty obvious that we are going to see a 6 man tag at the next PPV but don’t expect this thing to end there. Jerry Lynn is not the guy getting the rub in this whole thing, we all know that. Based on the best promo these guys have done to date (“Is that a 2 sided ring?”), it seems as if Nash has his eyes set on the X Division title. So I guess Low Ki will get the big rub from Nash.
*Abyss & James Gang over Team 3-D: Did I call it or did I call it? Yes, it was a pretty predictable spot but no other column I read here on The Pulse called it, so I’ll bask in my glory for now. If you have no clue what I’m talking about then read last weeks column where I clearly call the spot of Abyss throwing Spike into the crowd. Sadly, the crowd doesn’t give a shit about Spike because they hardly caught him and once they had him, they just decided to dump him head first onto the floor. This match was your typical hardcore TNA match, which isn’t a bad thing. Everyone did their part and that’s all you can ask for. So where do these guys go from here? Thankfully, Team 3-D is taking time off from earning cheap pops by literally taking time off, Spike will move to the X Division where he will accomplish nothing, I can see the James Gang moving into a feud with The Naturals to further put them over, and Abyss should move on to a feud with Killings or Raven (if they don’t follow my advice and give him time off).
*Styles & Daniels over AMW: Once again, this match stole the show. Lucky me, I’ll get to see these two teams go at it live at the UWF show on Saturday. There’s nothing more I can say about what these two teams can do in the ring. They’ve faced off for a string of like 5 PPVs and at almost every one of those PPVs, they’ve stolen the show. So we know where AJ and Daniels are going but what about AMW? Team 3-D is taking time off so consider that feud dead before it really got rolling. I wouldn’t mind these guys putting over The Naturals if the James Gang hasn’t been given that job. They could of course move into a feud with Bentley and Kazarian, another feud I would love to see. Whatever TNA decides to do with AMW, I expect it to be good.
*Sting over Steiner, Joe, & Christian: So TNA took Exit Money instead of Exit Please Everyone by having Sting win this match. I’ve got no real complaints with this move because we all know that this is only leading to Joe taking the belt at BFG. Sting vs. Jarrett isn’t what you would call modern or anything but I don’t see anything wrong with this feud. It’s already got a solid backstory so it’s not hard to build and while it won’t produce a 5 star match, it will produce a good moment when Sting no doubt wins the belt. Joe actually become a pon in this match, which kind of sucks because he deserves better. Sting/Jarrett and Christian/Steiner were the stories in this one and are still the stories leading into Hard Justice. Joe was just there to play his role and move on to a slow build.
Overall, an average PPV by TNA. Nothing special but nothing too horrible. Money well spent in my book.
The E-Mail Bag
~I know you gotta be somewhat upset at the .9 TNA drew this week. Spike has been pimping TNA as a ratings success, yet they haven’t proved it for the last two weeks. The problem now is if ratings don’t improve and steady, the chances of a time slot change are slim. Plus, if ratings continue to fall all the way until September, they might not get renewed, and that could bring a whole new set of problems to TNA.
~The fact that Rhino has gotten no acknowledgement over his actions last week just go to show that no one cares. Yeah, he’s winning over the TNA marks, but no one made a big deal out of it. He just inadvertantly shot himself in the foot and got no heat for it. Enjoy your stay in TNA.
~Victory Road was just awful. Sure, there were some smart booking choices, but the match quality was terrible.
~Nats/DitR was just bad (and Douglas’s promo was whiney and desperate).
~Rhino/Monty was turning decent until the non-finish, but the booking was smart as it (a) keeps the Monty streak going, and (b) doesn’t kill Rhino’s heat. Plus, with Joe now becoming involved, this could get interesting.
~LAX/Killings & Dutt was very underwhelming and pretty much unnecessary.
~The Team Canada stuff was only saved by Eric Young and begs the question: what now for Team Canada? I could see D’Amore managing A1 and Roode, Petey can go f*ck off in the X-Division, and Eric Young gets to continue with his quirky nitch on iMPACT without ever really getting anywhere…not a good time to be Canadian in TNA.
~Low Ki/Kazarian could be been so much better than it was. Pretty spotty.
~I don’t even need to comment on Zbyszko/Raven other than that this feud was dead six months ago.
~Interesting choice of having Jerry Lynn be the X-Division savior. Just keep him and Nash out of the same ring together and we’re good. Six-man tag for Hard Justice is imminent.
~Decent garbage brawl with the 3-D/James Gang & Abyss match, but, like you predicted last week, it ended without killing the James Gang/Team 3-D feud. With 3-D taking time off (FOR WHAT?!), the feud didn’t really get a proper blowoff, and I don’t think anyone will care in two months or whatever when 3-D comes back (maybe they’re holding out for some of Vince’s money).
~OK, Styles/Daniels have destroyed AMW in their feud. Three victories on three straight occassions isn’t good. That normally kills a feud. However, Daniels/Styles have nowhere to really go now. Yeah, there’s the feud with LAX, but are LAX really considered title threats? They don’t really have any credibility as a team since they’ve (technically) only done one match together. Also, where does this leave AMW? With the other major face team taking time off (3-D), that really only leaves them with James Gang, who are more or less tweeners. Given, a feud with AMW could turn them face again, but that’s just bad, spotty booking.
~Here’s the problem with the main event: three out of the four guys could have went over. Each guy brings a completely different booking occassion. Problem is, the only thing the crowd wants to see is Joe go over and win the belt. Yes, we want to see Sting/Jarrett, but not for the belt. We want to see Christian get his rematch with Jarrett, but Christian’s championship credibility is more or less shot now and he’s pretty much on autopilot until he can go back up north. We want to see Joe KILL Jarrett, but we don’t want two heels in a match. Sure, the crowd is already behind Joe, but we can’t have him being all buddy-buddy with the faces after winning the belt…he needs to remain heel. The only way to truly make everyone happy is for Sting to go over Jarrett at Hard Justice (or No Surrender) to set up Sting/Joe at Bound For Glory. Until then, do Joe/Rhino/Monty for #1 contendership at Hard Justice, have Joe kill off Steiner at No Surrender, then get the duke over Sting at Bound For Glory. The may go the complete opposite way and go for a Joe face turn then have him take on Jarrett at BFG, but that leaves Joe with pretty much nothing until Jarrett gets the title back as there’s a GIGANTIC gap in the Main Event Level Heels factor. Either way, Joe’s getting the belt…it’s just a matter of who and how.
I think TNA is safe with Spike. They continue to promote it in a big way and they continue to back it. They’ve done them no favors with these comedy shows but once TUF4 returns, everything will be on the rise again.
Eh, the general audience doesn’t seem to care about Rhino but I’m a frequent browser of message boards and the WWE marks have been going crazy about what Rhino did. It doesn’t seem like much but it’s a start I guess.
My thoughts on the PPV are above.
Nothing in the form of plugs or YouTube this week because I’m running a bit behind and I’m a bit under the weather. I’ll be back next week with a full report on the UWF/TNA Show so stay tuned for that. Drop me a line at AMPLine4Life@aol.com and join me next time, At Ringside.