The Anderson Breakdown: TNA No Surrender 2006

TNA No Surrender 2006 –
The Anderson Breakdown

Hello friends. It’s certainly nice to see you again. Each and every one of you. That includes you, Steven. Off hand, I have no idea who I just referenced, but the odds definitely seem to indicate that at least one Steven is reading this fine review here at Inside Pulse. Steven, this one’s for you.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably go ahead and let you guys in on a little secret: I haven’t really watched much TNA as of late. In fact, since the last PPV, I don’t think I’ve managed to catch a single full episode of Impact. Blame it on the timeslot, or a dreadfully dull new season of the Ultimate Fighter; honestly though, if TNA was that riveting as of late, I would have found a way to watch it.

Like most wrestling fans these days, I’m just not that big on the direction of TNA. Don’t get me wrong, Jeff Jarrett has been incredibly entertaining as of late — but just not as champion of the company. Been there. Done that. It wasn’t a success. Additionally, even though it’s completely out of TNA’s control at this point, the tired Universal set (i.e. The Impact Zone) makes every show — both large and small — feel exactly the same. It turned me off when WCW did it in 1993. It turned me off when Nitro did it on a limited scale in 1998. And it’s just killing TNA right now.

Strangely enough, at the risk of going off on a tangent, I now look back at those WCW 1993 tapings with warm, fuzzy, nostalgic fondness. Despite the very same tapings nearly killing off my interest in WCW over 10 years ago, I now go out of my way to collect those same shows in VHS and DVD format. I call in some Domino’s, crack open a delicious Barq’s root beer, and excitedly watch such pre-taped WCW Saturday Night Classics as Arachna Man vs. Joey Maggs and Rick Rude vs. The Italian Stallion.

As a further aside, let’s talk about this hot new trend of bootlegging old wrestling shows in DVD format. In my opinion — and this is just me talking here — something feels incredibly unnatural, almost wrong, about watching Clash of the Champions IV on DVD. Or Wrestlemania V. Or Coliseum Video’s WWF: The Greatest Grudges. I understand the need to archive, and preserve, and catalog, but when it comes to classic wrestling from my childhood, I say “give me VHS… … … or give me death.”

I feel the same way about certain movies that I hold dear to my heart from childhood. Though I do confess to owning The Karate Kid, ET, The Goonies, and Weird Science on DVD, when friends come over to watch these movies, you better believe that the squeaky old VHS copy will be going in. Sure, we could watch the crystal clear, digitally remastered DVD version, but I honestly feel as if something substantial would be lost in translation. I mean, in the same way that you just can’t watch License to Drive, Can’t Buy Me Love, or Adventures in Babysitting on a four-inch disk, you can’t expect to fully re-live the excitement of the MegaPowers Saturday Night’s Main Event split if watching on a shiny DVD. You need that blocky video tape with the faded, poorly written label. The bad tracking, muffled sound, and vintage 1989 Nintendo commercials add something intangible, yet incredibly real to the viewing experience.

I’ve had this same conversation with friends many many times. Some agree; most just don’t get it. Regardless, it’s something I feel passionate about, to the point that I’ve developed an actual cut-off as well. When it comes to film, Tim Burton’s Batman marks the cut-off point. Nearly every movie made before Batman would suffer some kind of loss in DVD form. Everything after should be fine. Let’s face it, the 90’s weren’t exactly the best decade for movies anyway. For wrestling, the cut-off comes a tiny bit later. For the WWF, I consider Wrestlemania 13 to be the point of no return. For WCW, I go a bit earlier, choosing Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat at Slamboree 94 as the cut-off.

Back to TNA:

Though — yes — I have become rather bored with the product, two simple words that I started noticing in my inbox this last week completely restored my interest in the company — Vince Russo. Yes — I know not everyone is thrilled about Vince Russo coming back in — and yes — I know many people erroneously credit Vince Russo for killing WCW — and yes — I know many people aren’t crazy about the hundreds of hyphens Vince Russo used in his book — but I’m extremely, extremely optimistic about seeing Vince Russo back on the wrestling scene. How can this be Ken, you may or may not be asking right now. Well friends, my reasons are three-fold:

1) For the most part, it’s not like TNA’s booking could possibly get any worse. Jeff Jarrett is obviously never going to take himself out of the title picture on his own, Christian and Sting have proven to be colossal flops, and Samoa Joe is being slowly ruined with all these false pushes, starts and stops, and demotions. The ratings are dropping, and if anyone can help turn things around in the short-term (which TNA needs to be thinking about right now), it’s Vince Russo.

2) When was Vince Russo most successful? When he was working under the control and close watch of Vince McMahon in the WWF. When was Vince Russo at his worst? When he was answering only to himself in WCW. Vince Russo needs someone with veto power to watch over his shoulder, axe some of his crazier ideas, and just generally keep him in check. You better believe that Dixie Carter will be closely monitoring Vince Russo’s work. She might not have come from the wrestling business, but she’s a true student of the game, and she knows better than to turn Russo loose with no oversight.

3) What has traditionally been one of Vince Russo’s greatest strengths as a writer? And, in the same respect, what is one of TNA’s biggest problems right now? The answer to both questions is simple: the midcard. Though some of Vince Russo’s ideas were admittedly pretty out there, Russo takes pride in creating compelling characters for EVERYONE. While other bookers (Vince + Jarrett come immediately to mind) put 95% of their writing focus on the top 5% of the card, Russo has always put much more thought and work into the rest of the card. TNA’s X-Division wrestlers have ZERO identity right now. Same for guys like Christopher Daniels and AJ Styles. If Russo can help give these guys even ounce of personality, he’ll be doing TNA a favor.

I truly believe that Vince Russo is a changed man, and I think he’s going to be coming into TNA with something major to prove to his detractors. If kept on a moderate leash, I really think Vince Russo has as good of chance as anybody of breathing some DESPERATELY needed new creative life into a stagnating company.

TNA is on the ropes right now. They’ve lost any buzz or momentum they got when initially jumping to Spike TV, the ratings have dipped to near all-time lows, and PPV is showing absolutely no signs of real growth. The Carters and Spike TV have got to be running out of patience.

Yes, TNA has survived against all odds for five years now, but let’s face it: that is not a testament to TNA as a product, but rather a testament to the investors and bankrollers who have had the patience to fund TNA’s financial losses for five years now.

Let’s hope a motivated Vince Russo, along with whatever tonight’s “big surprise” might be, is enough to turn TNA back in the right direction. They should realisticaly be doing twice the ratings and twice the PPV buys that they currently are — let’s hope tonight’s show is step one in that process.

And finally, though it’s now Monday morning, I still don’t know what TNA’s big surprise is. My email box has not been checked, my cell phone is off, and I’m avoiding my brother at all costs. Call me a mArK, but I want to find out like the rest of the TNA audience did. In fact, the buzz and speculation as to what TNA’s surprise might be has been so strong on the net this week, and so up in the air — Meltzer and Keller don’t even know — that I wouldn’t be surprised to see tonight’s buyrate jump by 10,000 – 20,000 buys. So let’s hope that a) TNA’s big surprise is as huge as it has been made out to be, and b) TNA gives the extra PPV viewers a show good enough to warrant additional PPV purchases in the future.

And we’re off…


No Surrender opens with yet another absolutely sick video package. Dave Sahadi splices in TNA footage with news reel footage of George W. Bush, FDR, Kofi Annan, Harry Truman, Rodney King, and more George W. Bush. The theme is War vs. Peace, and the ancient struggle to “tame the savageness of man, and make gentle, the life of this world.” You really have to see the package yourself to fully understand how awesome it is, but I absolutely loved the use of relatively current political issues to frame issues like LAX vs. Styles & Daniels and Joe vs. Jarrett. Unlike the WWE, which portrays itself — JR’s Lindsay Lohan references aside — as existing in a bubble, I like how TNA isn’t afraid to bring the real world into their product. Good stuff, and I’d seriously pay good money for a DVD filled only with Dave Sahadi’s video packages.


Mike Tenay and Don West welcome us to No Surrender, fireworks explode, and Mike Tenay states that TNA management will make an announcement tonight that will forever change the course of the wrestling industry. Much like Dixie Carter’s press release, the wording from Tenay sets some pretty lofty expectations. Let’s hope we don’t have a “Higher Power” situation on our hands, or else TNA could be looking at a real revolt here.


Eric Young vs. A1

If I was a lesser grapplin columnist (is such a thing possible?), I’d use clever lines throughout this match review such as “Headlock by Steak Sauce.” Then, I’d create fake message board names, perhaps a couple of handsome avatars, and casually start new threads calling A1 “Steak Sauce” to try to get it over further. Then, even if it backfired, I’d lay low for a few years, find a publisher, and eventually write a book about how “I changed the business forever.”

Eric Young does his Pied Piper routine again tonight, leading a parade of fans around the ring. They cheer, they chant “Don’t Fire Eric,” and they do the Bushwacker strut. Though I’m not crazy about the worked mild retardation that Eric Young has developed, the crowd is still crazy about the guy, so I can’t complain too much.

We get about five minutes of standard back-and-forth action here before Eric Young reverses A1’s tombstone piledriver attempt into a wheelbarrow slam for the pin. The crowd pops huge, EY celebrates with the fans, and things are off to a nice little start.

*1/4


We now go live to Tenay and West at ringside for the first time tonight. Needless to say, Tenay is wearing a nice button-down shirt with a tie, and Mike Tenay is wearing his slightly undersized main-event tuxedo. I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same. Then again, what’s really changed in TNA over the last year?

Anyway, Tenay and West once again remind us that tonight’s announcement will “forever change the wrestling world.” According to Tenay, the announcement is the buzz of the wrestling world, and “it will be paid off tonight.”

Really, nothing short of a two-hour timeslot on Monday Night and the signing of a major, major star could possibly live up to TNA’s hype, so I’m not going to get too excited yet.

Next, Tenay and West show us footage from outside the Impact Zone before the show started. Fans were warming up for the fan lumberjack match by playing that silly “Test of Strength” carny game where you take the big hammer, knock the target, and try to ring the bell. They were also whipping a very strange looking dummy (which was wearing a yellow polo shirt) with their belts. There were big red circus tents everywhere. If TNA’s intention here was to make the scene outside of the Impact Zone look like Redneck Night at the Flea Market, then job well done.

Mike Tenay continues his strange practice of calling everyone by their initials, sending us to the back where “JB is with JC.”


JB wants to know what the big secret is,so he lets himself into Jim Cornette’s office. Jim Cornette is excited, and continues the hyperbole, letting us know that tonight’s announcement will not only change American wrestling forever, but also worldwide wrestling as well. Furthermore, the announcement will be made by a wrestler who isn’t even on tonight’s show. Cornette also lets viewers know that they shouldn’t even think about tuning out before the end of the show (because that is what pepole who pay $40 for a PPV often due).


Petey Williams vs. Jay Lethal

Petey comes out first, but when Jay Lethal’s music plays, he’s nowhere to be found. We cut to the back, and surprise surprise, the X-Division guys are acting like handicapped children. They’re rolling around on the floor, playing video games, waving their asses at each other, and generally behaving like morons. Jerry Lynn comes in to scold them, and the X-Division guys continue acting like idiots. Something happens with a box of laxatives, Chris Sabin offers Jerry Lynn a potato chip, and Jay Lethal heads for the ring.

Jay Lethal doesn’t even have his wrestling boots on, so he has to put them on as he walks to the ring. As he does, the announcers talk about how much the X-Division guys like Jackass 2, and how they’ve been trying to emulate the movie’s stunts in their matches.

Man, talk about making what was once TNA’s premier division look like a complete and total joke. Instead of serious athletes, these guys are now portrayed as goofs who don’t care about wrestling, and who use silly Jackass stunts in their matches to entertain each other. Whoever is booking this nonsense obviously has zero respect for the X-Division. And I know many people aren’t crazy about Russo being brought in, but seriously, how could anything be worse than this?

It just got worse.

After about 7 minutes of typical X-Division wrestling, Petey Williams was suddenly hit with the diarrhea bug! Oh gosh, huh huh, he has to go to the bathroom really bad! Huh Huh! He can’t get Lethal up in the Canadian Destroyer because he has to poop! HA! HA! HA! Lethal slipped him laxatives! CLASSIC! JUST FUCKING CLASSIC!! HA! HA! HA! LETHAL WINS! LETHAL IS CRACKING UP! SONJAY DUTT IS DANCING WITH THE LAXATIVES!!! HOLD ON! HOLD ON! SIDE! IS! SPLITTING!

Fuck TNA.

Seriously.

It’s bullshit like this that is slowly putting them out of business.

Russo better have something good up his sleeve.

Match: **
Match + antics = DUD


Rhyno is in the back with Jeremy Borash. Borash questions whether Rhyno is healthy enough to wrestle tonight, mentioning that he heard that Rhyno wasn’t medically cleared to compete. Rhyno called doctors “jerkoffs in white coats,” and then called Christian a “heartless bastard.”

“I’m gonna teach you what happens when you stab a friend in the back, and I will take you out with a GORE, GORE, GOREEEEEEEEEE!”


Raven vs. Spike Dudley vs. Abyss

Abyss comes out first, followed by Spike Dudley. who is once again kicking the Taxi Driver look. Raven comes out last, looking worse than ever. On the bright side, once he finally does give birth, we’ll finally have an answer to the age-old question: “What is the gestation period of a whale?”

According to Mike Tenay, he just got word that this match will have no disqualifications. Wow, I guess this means that all the garbage cans, chairs, tables, and other weapons scattered around ringside will come into play in this match after all.

I realize I’m not doing much “play by play” here, but for the most part, this is just your basic, heatless, formulaic garbage match. A bunch of silly spots with garbage can lids, flimsy weapons, and a bizarre Gladiator helmet.

Mike Tenay points out how contrived many of the matches spots are, saying that it’s “almost as if the wrestlers have pre-planned boobytraps set up already.”

In one of the most unintentionally hilarious spots of the decade, Raven lays Abyss across a table on the entrance ramp by the tunnel. He holds out his arms all, “ARGH!! I’M BOUT TO JUMP!” Then, out of f*cking nowhere, Spike Dudley comes falling from the balcony. Not only does the camera almost COMPLETELY miss his dive, but Spike completely overshoots the table. He barely grazes Abyss, CRASHES assfirst onto the ramp, and then after what seems like 5 seconds, the table just casually tips over.

GREATEST SPOT EVER.

Spike is up quickly — thankfully — but that horrible bump really should have left him paralyzed for the rest of his life.

Raven hits Spike with a ladder, drags him over to a tall platform, and hangs him with a long dog-collar. Raven then pulls Spike up on the platform with him. They fight for several minutes, and then Raven, looking like a bloodied, white Carl Winslow, knocks Spike off the platform. Spike AGAIN misses his landing, and instead of falling through two stacked tables, he falls awkwardly through one and crashes to the concrete.

“Definition of bad landing there for Brother Runt,” says Mike Tenay.

Raven goes for the pin, but apparantly falls must be counted inside of the ring. Jim Mitchell puts Spike’s foot on the rope, giving Abyss time to run in, Black Hole Slam Raven, and get the pin.

Bad match, blown spots, and no heat. Pretty much the direct opposite of last month’s Joe vs. Rhyno vs. Monty match. Sadly, it looks like this feud is going to continue. The only way such a thing would be entertaining would be if Raven were to officially lengthen his name to Raven the Narwhale. If that were to happen, I’d automatically give this thing an extra six month grace period.

*

Three matches in, and this promotion doesn’t even deserve to be saved at this point. They know they’re going to have some extra viewers tuning in, and they give us this to open the show?


JB is in the back with Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett is hilariously wearing about fifteen t-shirts, but no-sells it when Borash questions him about it.

Jarrett says that Jim Cornette is pulling the wool over TNA’s fans eyes and screwing them over as well. “Why pay $29.99 for an announcement that you can find anywhere? Come on JB, you know what I’m talking about. All these internet sites have already reported it.”

You know your company’s in good shape when the man heading it up doesn’t even know how much their own PPV’s cost.

Jarrett says the announcement is going to involve Sting, who is always trying to steal his thunder.

Eric Young jumps into the picture, and Jarrett tells him to go find Sting.


AMW vs. Alex Shelley & Johnny Devine vs. Shark Boy & Norman Smiley vs. The Naturals vs. Kazarian & Maverick Matt vs. Ron Killings & Lance Hoyt vs. The James Gang vs. Elix Skipper & David YoungTriple Chance Battle Royal

In typical TNA fashion, we now get an exciting new gimmick match that seems to require a 10 volume almanac and 4 years at Harvard to fully understand. I could rewind the tape five times, and I still couldn’t tell what the hell the rules of this match are.

Anyway, not long into the match, one of the Naturals got shoved from the top rope into the crowd by one of AMW. It seems like there’s a spot on every single TNA PPV where I cringe for the company’s sake, knowing that the spot that just happened could have easily resulted in a) a fan getting injured, and b) the subsequent lawsuit forcing TNA to find a new place to tape.

Looks like TNA might have finally hit the jackpot here tonight. As one of the Naturals flew into the crowd, he just FLATTENED a fan. And the fan didn’t get up. As I’ve said in the past, a company like TNA is just in no position whatsoever to be doing something like this. One lawsuit could potentially wipe them out. Why risk it over a spot that we’ve seen eight billion times already?

Anyway, I have no clue if the fan is alright, but I’ll tell you something that wasn’t alright: this match. 15:00 minutes of indy-riffic, (again) heatless, inconsequential action. The crowd didn’t really seem to care about anybody, nor did they have any reason to. I guess it would be like going on an Alaskan vacation and taking in a Double A baseball game while you were there. Sure, it’s baseball, but guess what? You’re in Juneao, you barely recognize a f*cking person, and you have no real reason to care.

MVP of this convoluted mess was Gail Kim, just because she’s a) fun to watch, and b) exceedingly attractive.

This went on way too long, with people getting eliminated, partners coming back, referee negligence, and total apathy from the Impact Zone.

The Naturals, perhaps the least charismatic team in the entire mess of a match, won with a schoolboy rollup.

*1/2

Let’s hope the fan is ok.


Senshi vs. Chris Sabin – X-Division Title Match

You know, after sitting through this match, I think it’s fair to say that TNA could deliver the surprise of a lifetime and a great main event, and this show would still be a total f*cking dud. And I think it’s fair to say that if TNA does have a new star talent in house watching tonight’s show, they’ve got to be regretting their decision to jump already. This is just a complete embarrassment of a PPV thus far, and believe me, I came into tonight’s show desperately wanting to see something to be optimistic about.

In the same way that the giant spider-puppet totally ruined my good will for the made for TV version of Stephen King’s It, the finish to this match totally ruined my good will towards the first 20:00 minutes of it. Allow me to give this match the nutshell treatment:

Though TNA has does nothing to make anybody care about Senshi or Chris Sabin — unless of course you count jobbing Sabin out to Kevin Nash — the first 15 to 20 minutes of this match were just spot-on. The crowd was buying into it, the action was stiff and intense, and for the most part, they totally had me in the palm of their hand. In fact, if the match would have ended clean, it might have even restored the tiniest bit of credit to the X Division.

But it didn’t.

Right after Senshi hit a brutal double-stomp from the top rope, Jay Lethal and Sonjay Dutt ran to ringside. They weren’t alone though. They brought a blow up doll. As the announcers hooted and hollared about the X-Division’s wacky Jackass stunts, the crowd just tore into this shit.

As Lethal and Dutt threw the blow up doll into the ring, leading to wacky exchanges where Senshi supposedly mistook the blow-up doll for Sabin, and Sabin hid behind the blow-up doll, the crowd started booing this nonsense out of the building.

Out of nowhere, a massive “THIS IS STUPID” chant broke out.

Senshi got the pin with his feet on the ropes, but after Senshi and Sabin worked for nearly 20:00 to gain the respect and good will of the crowd, it was all completely ruined by the idiot ending.

The crowd was rightfully pissed.

Match: ***
Match w/ Antics: DUD


Christian is in the back with JB. Christian too believes that Sting might show up and try to steal some of his thunder. It doesn’t though, says Christian, because his match is next, and that is the high point of the show. In addition,Rhyno is going down.


Rhyno vs. Christian

From what I have seen on Impact in the last few weeks, TNA actually did a fairly decent job building towards this match. And in return, Christian and Rhyno put on a fairly decent match here tonight. In fact, in a different venue, I think it might have even registered as significantly above average.

Unfortunately though, the Impact Zone setting just does not work for these WWE style heavyweight matches. Though I love Christian, it’s obvious that his style just doesn’t work in TNA. It’s just not a good fit. Look no further than his matches with Jeff Jarrett, Abyss, and now Rhyno. In the WWE, all of these matches would work a million times better. The bigger arenas. The four-sided ring. The gradual build-up. In TNA’s more intimate setting though, they just fall flat. The heat is forced, nobody’s really over, and in the end, the result just doesn’t matter.

The match started slow, and gradually built for 15 minutes towards the finish. Though the action was solid, Christian just isn’t strong enough as a heel, and Rhyno just isn’t strong enough as a face, to give this match any sense of meaning.

The finish wasn’t clean, with Christian having to rely on an Unprettier onto a chair for the pin. Rhino was wrestling hurt, “against his doctors orders” as well, giving him a built-in excuse for losing. Therefore, the victory meant nothing, 18 minutes of our lives are gone, and we’re right back where we started from yet again.

Kewl!

**1/2

To be fair, the same match would have easily been ***1/2 in a WWE setting. That is, unless you’re one of those freaks who mutes their TV’s to “accurately rate matches.” The same freaks who rate Hogan/Andre, Hogan/Rock, and Hogan/Warrior as *1/2 matches, and then turn around and rate Joe/Kobashi ***** because of the atmosphere.

Net double standards RuLE!


JB is in the parking lot of the Impact Zone. Eric Young is outside as well, looking for Sting. In a scene right out of Scooby Doo, Borash and Young creep towards a parked car in hopes of finding Sting. Unfortunately, it appears as if LAX is attempting to car-jack the vehicle.

Konnan chases Eric Young off, but not before calling him a “walking glory hole.”

Konnan then cuts an AWESOME promo on AJ Styles & Chris Daniels.


We then cut to an interview taped earlier in the day. Don West is standing inside of an empty ring with AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels. I like Daniels, but I don’t know if I’m feeling the long-sleeve, tucked-in, floral print oxford he’s rocking here tonight. Looks like some kind of tropical afghan. The fine-woven blanket that is, not the racist term.

AJ Styles cuts a promo that sounds straight out of Global Wrestling, but Christopher Daniels reels things back in with some heated words towards LAX. He name-drops Eddie Guerrero, which you’re free to be offended by, and says he’s sick of Konnan’s racist propaganda.

Daniels keeps on going, and I’ve got to say, this is one of the best damn promos I have ever seen the guy cut. Awesome work by Chris.

REALLY good stuff there.


AJ Styles & Christopher Daniels vs. LAXUltimate X Match

Though I said that the show was beyond the point of being saved, if any match has the ability to at least leave some good taste in the mouth of TNA fans, this is it.

Styles and Daniels are rocking yet another pair of AMT’s* tonight, and LAX get their typically awesome intro.

*Awesome Matching Tights.

After several minutes of back and forth action (I should save that line to my clipboard), Homicide attempts to scale the Ultimate X cable. Daniels pulls him down before he can reach the titles. AJ then attempts to make his way across the cables himself, but Homicide rocks him until he falls throat-first on the top rope.

Five minutes in, and there’s a lot less heat for this match than you’d think. It might just be that the normal resting buzz of 700 people is a lot quieter than the resting buzz of other promotions thousands.

Homicide gets the fans into it though with his somersault suicide dive. I love that move. AJ returns the favor though with a running backflip tope. Hernandez wastes no time though in grabbing AJ Styles and hitting a huge powerbomb toss.

Homicide’s shoulder appears to have been injured by Styles’ backflip, though the announcers are paying a whole lot of attention to it, which leads me to believe that it’s part of the match.

Back in the ring, Hernandez grabs Christopher Daniels off the top rope by his neck and pulls him straight back, causing him to flip forward off the top rope.

Hernandez attempts to climb the cables, but AJ Styles springboards off the top rope and hits the springboard forearm.

Homicide takes his turn on the cables, but his shoulder is in bad shape, so he hooks his legs on the cable as well and attempts to slide towards the belts. AJ Styles jumps on the cables himself though and kicks Homicide down. Homicide takes a nasty flat-backed bump from the cables straight down. Not quite D-Von Dudley TLC 1 territory, but still impressive.

AJ Styles then hits a lot of his signature spots (Pele Kick, springboard DDT, etc.), followed by some double-team action with Daniels. Styles hits the frogsplash on Hernandez, followed by Daniels’ moonsault, followed by a corkscrew plancha by AJ.

Homicide then jumps AJ, which leads to a struggle on the apron that ends with AJ hitting the Styles Clash on Homocide off the apron through a table. Pretty sick spot there.

Daniels has a clear shot at the belts, so Konnan comes into the ring and starts swatting his cane at him. Daniels can’t get around Konnan, so he climbs to the top of the cable support, jumps, and SOARS through the air. He lands at the point where the cables intersect, grabs the belts down, and wins the match for his team.

AJ & Daniels = NEW TNA TAG CHAMPS!

They celebrate in the crowd, and it’s a fine moment.

A good match with a memorable finish, though it just couldn’t come close to saving the show.

***1/2


Jeff Jarrett vs. Samoa Joe – Fan’s Revenge Match

This is the point where I’d go on for about three paragraphs about how foolish it is to waste the first Joe-Jarrett match here in a non-title match, instead of holding out until the next PPV. Joe winning the World Title in front of 4,000 fans in Detroit would seem to make infinitely more sense than sticking with a Jarrett/Sting feud that nobody is interested in, but I realize I’m probably preaching to the choir. I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting that you hadn’t already thought of this yourself.

Instead, I’ll talk about the “fan lumberjacks” now surrounding TNA’s ring. There are eighteen fans total surrounding the ring, and from the looks of it, TNA’s fans aren’t exactly the hippest on the planet.

In fact, the entire scene looks like something you’d see in the Mid-South coliseum about 20 years ago. The worst offender is an old woman in a pink t-shirt and track pants overacting like few people I’ve ever seen.

Man, there is just NO heat for the first few minutes of this match. That’s a scary, scary thing.

Jarrett is still wearing about five layers of clothing to protect himself from the fans, but Joe peels a layer or two off.

Suddenly, Joe tosses Jarrett outside the ring, and these oddball fans actually do start beating Jeff Jarrett with their straps. It’s a strange sight to see.

Jarrett makes his way back in the ring and tosses Joe to the outside, but the fans just pat Joe on the back and help him back in the ring. Jarrett is pissed that the fans aren’t hitting Joe, so he goes outside to do it himself. The fans again beat Jarrett though.

Jarrett steals one of their straps, heads back in, and starts lashing Joe with it. The crowd doesn’t seem to care, and starts in with half-hearted “Jarrett sucks” chants.

Jeff Jarrett, amidst chants of “Fuck you Jarrett” climbs to the top rope. When he scales the ropes though, a 50 year old Indian man with a ponytail loosely whips at his ass.

Weird.

Joe rips off the rest of Jarrett’s shirts and tosses him to the outside. The fans start going CRAZY on Jarrett, which is interesting to see, but ultimately loses its effect when you realize the person whipping Jarrett is a 60 year old black woman in a DARE t-shirt. Or perhaps that makes it even better?

Still no heat for the match, in case you were wondering. I’m wondering if these people perhaps think that church is in session.

Joe ties Jarrett to the top rope and suddenly the 16 be-strapped fans begin flooding the ring. They all start going crazy on Jarrett while he is tied up, including a 35 year old bone-thin white woman in Keds.

Some of these male fans though do seem to have some serious hatred for Jarrett as they beat him.

Finally, the referee has to jump in front of Jarrett to protect him from the fans.

Joe sets Jarrett up on the top rope, hits the muscle buster, and pins Jeff Jarrett clean to a horrifyingly tepid reponse.

Joe walks to the announce table, grabs the TNA belt (why was it there?) and poses with it to forced, apathetic glee from the crowd.

What a lame match.

*


Jim Cornette is out to make the “big announcement.”

I no longer care.

TNA is dead.

The announcement that will change wrestling forever: TNA will be airing two hours earlier starting in November. Instead of 11:00, they will be on at 9:00. Hooray for an announcement that was originally made six months ago.

WRESTLING WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN.

Don West is f*cking SCREAMING HIS LUNGS OUT in excitement.

And the real announcement: Kurt Angle is on his way to TNA. Of course, he’s not even at the building tonight as was suggested for the first two hours of the show, but he’s nevertheless “on his way.”

Though the announcements were both positive steps for TNA, the company committed a cardinal sin in overhyping said announcement so much that it totally fell flat.

Maybe it would have seemed grander if TNA hadn’t just put on one of the most heartless PPV’s that I’ve ever seen. Maybe the announcement could have been a Monday Night timeslot with The Rock and Austin coming aboard, and I’d still be so depressed and let down by the actual event that I would view that announcement as a letdown as well.

Who knows.

Kurt Angle should be an interesting addition to the TNA roster, but unless I see otherwise with my own two eyes, I’m going to go on the assumption that the next six months are going to revolve around Jeff Jarrett vs. Kurt Angle. If TNA has six months left that is. I’m happy that Kurt Angle is “exclusive” to TNA, which means that at most he’ll be wrestling two or three dates a month, but I won’t pretend to be indignant or furious over his hiring either. I’m all for personal responsibility, and if Angle feels as if wrestling is important enough to him that he’s willing to risk his family and life for it, I don’t think I’m in any position to judge the man for it. It shows questionable character on TNA’s behalf to bring him in, but if it comes down to a full-time schedule with the WWE, heavy training for MMA, or a weekend a month for TNA, I think it’s the best place for him to be. I absolutely shudder at the thought of Kurt Angle competing in Mixed Martial Arts.

Ultimately though, all of these “big surprises” are just more smoke and mirrors.

TNA is fundamentally flawed.

It’s going to take a lot more than the injection of a physically broken former WWE wrestler to turn the ship around.

The company needs to be gutted from the inside out.

Jarrett needs to disappear for a long time.

The X-Division is dead, and needs to be disbanded.

The six-sided ring has added nothing to the company, and turned off many long-time wrestling fans.

Sting needs to go.

Bagwell and Luger, both of who were recently signed, need to be cut.

And I’m the biggest Luger fan in the world.

Vince Russo has a lot of work in store for him.

Sadly, considering his friendship with Jarrett, I’m not overly optimistic.


Closing Thoughts:

TNA needed to deliver tonight. Extra viewers were at home watching and the eyes of the entire wrestling world were on the company. On an evening where TNA absolutely had to hit one out of the park, they delivered one of the most emotionless, static, dead PPV’s that I’ve personally ever seen. It was like watching a late 2000 WCW PPV when you reached that point that you knew there was just no hope left for the company.

Nothing clicked, TNA’s home fans have become emotionally disconnected from the product, and perhaps most ominous of all, Samoa Joe — TNA’s one ace in the hole — has lost nearly all of his momentum.

I still watch, a) because I’m a wresting fan at heart, and b) to keep my Cal Ripkin like streak of PPV reviews intact, but it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to stand witness to TNA’s self-destruction from within.

– Ken Anderson
KenAnderson242@aol.com

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