The Anderson Breakdown: TNA Bound for Glory

TNA Bound for Glory 2006 –
The Anderson Breakdown

Hello friends — Tis’ I, Kenny Anderson. Before we get under away, allow me to apologize for my absence in regards to Smackdown’s not-so-recent No Mercy PPV. I know interest was legitimately through the roof for the show, to the point that three of you even emailed me to ask why no review. Your emails seemed to cry out, “Heya’ Ken? Wut gives?”

The truth is, I did nearly a full review of the show twice, and each was lost due to computer mishap. I can hear you already, “Gosh Ken, it’s pretty low to blame your hotbox for your own ineptitude. Didn’t you learn back in Apple IIe class to always save your work?”

Well, the first time was legitimately my fault. A power surge knocked me out about 30 minutes after William Regal exposed his assistant. The second mishap though, I totally blame on the Jacksonville Main Library. I was already downtown and not looking forward to fighting 5:00 traffic, so I decided to head up to the 4th floor of the Main Library, find myself a nice cozy ‘puter (the electronic machine, not the rare metal that most Undertaker neck pendents are made of), and type up a review there. I had the show cued up on my Ipod Video and got almost to the main event before I was unceremoniously booted by a trigger-happy librarian.

Thus, in spirit, my streak could still be technically considered alive. How such an opinion could possibly be justified, I have no clue, but we’ll go by the WWE’s golden standard of booking and just erase it from memory, ok? Ok? Kicks fine readers under the table. Ok.

To make it up to you, I’m going to attempt to due the impossible. I’ve got Bound for Glory and Cyber Sunday make-up reviews in my cue for this week, and from there, I’m going to attempt to review all five wrestling PPV’s taking place over the next five weekends. It won’t be easy, as I’ve got a new job that is taking up nearly all of my time, but as a holiday treat for you fine readers, I think I can pull it off. Cyber Sunday is the only review I can’t guarantee. Considering the quality of the show, I’d guess that a review of Cyber Sunday is roughly as desirably as the bubonic plague anyway, so I doubt many feelings will be genuinely hurt if it has to go on the chopping block.

My goal is to have each review up within three days of the show, so be on the lookout Wednesday afternoon or so. Any quicker than that, and I fear you’d recieve a sloppy, short, knee-jerk reaction, as opposed to whatever you normally consider these reviews to be.

On a side note, I’ve always thought that the word ‘kneejerk’ sounds sort of like a deviant sexual act.

As for Bound for Glory, I kid you not when I say I’ve still read nary a spoiler, and I’m cautiously optimistic going in. I’ve been deflated by TNA booking so many times though that I just can’t open my fragile heart to breakage, at least not yet.

For the millionth time, I’m just not one of those people who’s going to be so blinded by my frustration with the current mainstream product (hint: the WWE) that I’m willing to heap unwarranted praise on TNA for simply not being the WWE. Isn’t that how Hitler rose to power? Everyone said, “Gosh, we’re in the gutter after World War I and things aren’t getting any better, how bout this queer little fella with the mustache?” Alright, maybe a bad comparison. Maybe I just wanted to work the phrase “queer little fella with a mustache” into this column. Who knows.

Regardless, I get the same generic emails after each TNA PPV commanding me, “If you donut like it, donut watch it!” To that, I say, kindly consult either Mirriam or Webster, and ask him to fully explain the term “review” to you. You might try Roget as well, but I’ve never trusted a man that into synonyms.

Anyway, suggested anti-TNA bias aside, I shall watch it friends! I shall watch it with sincere high hopes! If it’s awesome, I’ll be the happiest camper at the lake. And if it sucks, I won’t sugar-coat things. Honesty is a virtue, or so says the creepy squirrel puppet on Channel 6.

We’re off…


Kevin Nash X-Division Invitational Battle Royal

As Kevin Nash makes his way to the ring, we’re treated to our first look at TNA’s Bound for Glory overlay graphics. If you liked Nitro’s graphic package, there’s a good chance you’ll like these — they’re virtually identical. Not a knock or a compliment, simply an observation. Like when Dave Chappelle turns to Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail all, “Well, if you don’t like Kathleen Kennedy, you’re probably not going to like this girl in the cafe.”

What a FINE film. I’ll take YGM over Sleepless in Seattle any day of the week.

It should be noted that Kevin Nash is carrying a bowling trophy to the ring. I’m sure this signifies something, perhaps an inside joke that died 25 years before TNA’s target audience sauntered out of the womb, but I’m in the dark.

Austin Aeris and Sonjay Dutt start things off with some flippin’ and some floppin’. Before they can really settle into any kind of rhythm though, Matt Bentley enters the fray. And before they can develop any type of rhythm, Jay Lethal is out. From what I gather, the match is similar to the Royal Rumble, only with the entrants coming out approximately 6 seconds apart.

A1 is out next, and I stop to wonder when exactly A1 entered the X-Division. Again, I haven’t exactly been the model Impact Viewer as of late, but I do read enough spoilers to know that something doesn’t add up here.

Before I can delve too deeply into the matter though, Zach Gowen makes his way out. As Don West screams “On tha’ ONE LEG” after every Zach Gowen highspot, Mike Tenay gives us a complete biography of Gowen in approximately 8 seconds (“AlwayswantedtobeawrestlerbutthecancerthecancerONELEG!!”)

Kazarian and Sirelda are out next, and boy is that Sirelda corny. Detroit seems to agree, nearly booing the massive broad out of the building. Ironically, they pop big for Shark Boy’s entrance.

Alex Shelley is out next, and all the CID*’s kindly line up so he can splash them all in one fell swoop.

*Cruisers in disguise

D-Ray is out next — a man I can’t ever recall seeing in my life. Instead of explaining who he is, Don West makes a dated ABA reference, which Mike Tenay points out as a “dated ABA reference.” They both laugh, and we get no follow-up explanation.

Even the ring announcer seems to be talking in HYPER-SPEED. In fact, if Capcom were to purchase the rights to the PPV, they’d probably name it Bound for Glory: SUPER TURBO MEGA ALPHA MEGA TURBO ALPHA SUPER ALPHA EDITION!

Frankie Kazarian just fell from the top rope to the outside, back first, directly on his head. Ouch. Meanwhile, a midget has just made his way to the ring! Yeah, that’s right! HAHA! A MIDGET!!! HAHAHA!!!

I mean, after all, it hasn’t been that long since midgets were a minor draw in American wrestling, right? Wrestlemania 2, was it? IT MUST STILL WORK! SOCIETY HAS NOT CHANGED!!!!

While we do more flippity-flops in the ring, allow me to expand on that foolish Capcom reference. Work was slow today, and I literally spent 7 straight hours reading about Street Fighter 2 on Wikipedia. I guess it wasn’t all about Street Fighter 2, but you know how that wacky Wikipedia can be. For every paragraph you read, you open another 8 tabs to other entries. I started with Street Fighter 2, then read about Capcom, moved on to Mortal Kombat, and before I knew it, I was printing out a glossy photo of the Neo Geo during my lunch break. Not sure what that has to do with anything, but there you go.

Austin Aeris pinned Jay Lethal with a brainbuster to win the match.

According to Mike Tenay, Austin Aeris has come to Bound for Glory to make his TNA debut. Disregard the fact that he’s openly wrestled on Impact many, many times since the move to Spike. Glad to see that TNA blatantly assumes that their fans are idiots. We need an alternative to the way that the WWE treats us!

Pretty much a trainwreck of a match here, and for my money, a bad choice of openers. Though a few of the X-spots were decent, if tired, ultimately, the match played more like a gimmick battle royal than a legitimate X contest. They lost the crowd pretty early, and if I were making the call, I would have liked to have seen Low-Ki and Chris Sabin kick things off with a bang.

*1/2


AMW are in the back with Jeremy Borash. They are furious at LAX for assaulting Gail Kim, and they’re not too found of the LaTiNo’s either.


The Naturals vs. The James Gang vs. AMW vs. Team 3D

Shane Douglas is in the ring. He wants to know if I’m ready to “get my ass franchised.” No … I don’t think I’m ready.

The James Gang are out after the Naturals, and B-Jizzle is sucking up to Detroit with a crooked Tigers cap. He then does his rhyme, tacking on the word “bitch” on the end and reacting to said curse word like “It’s no big deal… I use curse words all the time.”

Team 3D is out next, and Bubba Ray is all, “YOU WANTED THE BADDEST TAG TEAM IN THE WORLD!! HERE WE ARE!!!”

Inspired.

Speaking of inspired, Kip James takes offense to Bubba Ray’s claim, and responds by saying … wait for it… SuCk iT!

Nineteen-Ninety-Seven-KEWL!

I think that’s the real problem with American wrestling these days. Everybody’s stuck in the 90’s. I’m afraid the collective gears of wrestling creative will forever collapse if I mention the following fact, but I feel its a point that must be made: It’s 2006.

Just because something worked in 1995 ECW, 1996 WCW, or 1999 WWF doesn’t mean it’s going to be successful today. It certainly isn’t going to be fresh. Hell, the WWF hit the f*cking jackpot with the format they used in the 80’s, but by the time Wrestlemania IX came along, that formula was dead. The only way they became competitive again was to drastically alter the formula, and practically start from scratch talent-wise.

Yet here we are, almost ten years past the height of the Monday Night wars, and companies like TNA (and the WWE) are still convinced that they’re going to turn things around with decade-old acts like Shane Douglas, the James Gang, the Dudley Boys, Jeff Jarrett, Sting, etc.

Anyway, after a short, entirely unmemorable match, the Dudley Boys easily pin AMW. We then get a brief face-off between the Dudleys and Shane Douglas, as Mike Tenay screams about the “history between these three men,” but mentions absolutely nothing specific. I guess every single TNA viewer a) obsessively collected ECW tapes over a decade ago, and b) has been a wrestling fan since 1965.


Jake Roberts is in the back with Jeremy Borash. Things begin to tread in Heroes of Wrestling territory, as Jake Roberts begins making strange statements about his snake “growing if you treat it nice.” Moving along…


Abyss vs. Raven vs. Samoa Joe vs. Spike Dudley – Monster’s Ball Match

Jake Roberts is the special guest enforcer for the match, and he’s the first one out. While we wait for the others to enter the ring, allow me to go ahead and state what a fine idea it is for Dixie Carter to give a press conference about how serious TNA takes drug issues and how carefully they work with medical doctors to test, and then go ahead and bring in Jake Fucking Roberts. TNA has already been called out by several media outlets for hiring Kurt Angle considering the terms of his WWE release, why in the world would anyone think that bringing in Jake Roberts (Jake Roberts) is a good move for the company?

Raven makes his way to the ring wearing a Hannibal Lector mask. The crowd doesn’t really seem to care. To listen to Raven on Wrestling Observer Live though, he’s as over now as he was in 1995. Overweight perhaps. I kid, I kid. Still though, it’s easy fodder when Raven is on the radio bragging about being in the best shape of his career.

The match gets under way immediately, with Abyss doing a move I call “Beggin’ for a Lawsuit” — otherwise known as “Toss Spike as far into the crowd as possible, and hope nobody gets paralyzed in the process.”

Spike Dudley and Abyss then climb up the side of the set. Spike is thrown 4 feet down onto a soundstage, and for what seems like the fifth straight PPV, TNA’s production team completely misses their camera shot during a big high spot. Right as Abyss is poised to jump off the side of the set onto Spike, the camera just casually cuts to an extreme close-up of Jake Roberts face.

I honestly don’t have a clue where Samoa Joe and Raven are right now. My best guess is that Joe’s hanging out at ringside, and Raven’s eating marshmallows.

Ten-to-one odds say someone’s going to pull out a bag of tacks soon.

Joe’s back in the ring, and he powerslams Abyss right onto a steel chair. Raven makes the save, but unfortunately, his water breaks before he can do much else.

THUMBTACKS!

THUMBTACKS!

GOD ALL MIGHTY!

“THOUSANDS OF THUMBTACKKKKKS!!!!”

Zero reaction from the crowd by the way when Abyss dumped the tacks all over the ring.

Samoa Joe comes out of nowhere and legdrops Abyss face-first into the tacks. The crowd is so desensitized to thumbtacks (1999 rules!) that, despite Abyss nearly being blinded by tacks in his eyes, no one gives a f*ck.

Just the height of stupidity.

Samoa Joe pins Raven with a muscle-buster, but instead of focusing on Joe’s win, we’re then treated to a Jake Roberts Celebration (!!!) in the ring. He even dumps his snake on Raven, whose reaction really brings 1985 barrelling home.


Eric Young, who was officially fired from TNA two weeks ago, just found out that he is booked in a match on tonight’s PPV against Larry Zbyszko. If ANY TNA fanboy wants to explain this one to me, I’m all ears. He was fired on Impact two weeks ago, and without any explanation, he’s working a match on the PPV. As insulting to ones intelligence as the WWE regularly is, TNA is every single bit as bad. There seems to be this mentality on the intranet that TNA and WWE are like two ends of those old-fashioned scales. If the WWE’s side of the scale goes down, TNA’s side magically goes up. The worse the WWE becomes, the better TNA is.

Fuck that.

I’m a wrestling fan, but a bad product is a bad product. There’s plenty of room in the trashcan for both the WWE and TNA.

Eric Young pins Larry Zybzsko (of course, he needs a foreign object to do it), and per TNA over-booking, Larry is somehow now fired.

The first 75:00 of this show has been total Nitro-esque, throwaway crap. And while I’m at it, TNA’s music sucks. Seriously. Drop Sting’s contract and use that $500,000 to license some decent f*cking music. It goes a long way. Every entrance theme sounds like some 12 year old guitar student is having an impromptu jam session on his Squier in the garage.


Jim Cornette is out, and he seems to have lost his voice. What else could go wrong here tonight? Cornette with half a voice is still better than nearly anyone else though, and he lets us know that if Samoa Joe interferes in tonight’s main event, he’ll be fired from TNA.

Suddenly, Kurt Angle’s new music hits. Angle makes his way to the ring to a huge pop, and several fans are even kind enough to give him the streamer treatment.

Angle’s all, “TNA’s the best, SCREW THE REST!” And all, “T-N-A, ALL-THE-WAY!”

Angle starts talking smack on Samoe Joe, and we get a killer pull-apart between the two. For everything that this company does wrong, the Joe-Angle stuff has been great thus far. The pull-aparts bring back memories of a Austin-Tyson. I totally buy it. Of course, I have zero confidence in TNA to deliver long-term on this, but in the meantime, I’ll happily live in the moment.

ANGLE RUSHES JOE AGAIN!

TWENTY GUYS CAN’T KEEP THEM APART.

Awesome.

While I rewind this and bask in the awesomeness again — here friends, have yourself a nice horizontal reference:


Chris Sabin vs. Senshi

Though I have never gotten TNA’s strange fixation with Chris Sabin — especially considering how many X-Division workers are more charismatic and better in the ring than Sabin — the last PPV match between the two was pretty damn good before the stupid blow-up doll made it’s way to the ring, so hopefully tonight’s match will make me a Sabin fan. Man, what a needlessly long sentence.

As both men feel each other out for a few minutes, I should note that things seem to suddenly come much more alive during this match. The crowd is way into the action, the camera angles suddenly get much better, and overall, TNA suddenly gives the appearance of being legitimately fresh and competitive.

Though it would be impossible to transcribe the match move for move, we’re just not talking non-stop action here. Stiff kicks, massive air, lots of near-falls. Not to mention some downright insane submissions.

In a downright incredible spot, Senshi attempts a top-rope frankensteiner on Chris Sabin. Senshi flips in mid-air, powerbombs Sabin, rolls out, and then jumps right into a double-stomp. The crowd goes CRAZY for this. Sabin somehow fights back though, hits the cradle shock, and gets the closest two-count possible.

After several more minutes of back and forth action, Chris Sabin is perched on the top turnbuckle. Senshi jumps up on the middle rope, balances himself, and throws about five vicious kicks to Chris Sabin. Sabin falls off the top rope, allowing Senshi to come soaring down with a BRUTAL double-stomp. Again, the crowd is just going insane for this.

Sabin kicks out and two, and is somehow able to find enough energy to roll Senshi up for a quick three-count.

You know, I make this comparison almost every single time I review a TNA show, but if you can’t watch TNA and find striking parallel’s between the company and WCW towards the end of its run, you’re delusional. Watching TNA is almost like watching two entirely different promotions under one banner. On one side, you’ve got all these exciting, fresh, massively over acts like Senshi, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Homicide, Jay Lethal, etc. I mean, guys that people are just DYING to see break out and take over the show.

And on the other side — the main event side — you’ve got all these washed up, over-the-hill, past-their prime “legends” like Raven, Jeff Jarrett, Sting, The James Gang, the Dudleys, etc. They aren’t over. They don’t “draw” ratings, buyrates, or ticket sales except in their own heads. Yet they’re still pushed as the main act.

TNA has proven over the last year now that no matter what kind of product they put on the screen, they’re at least going to draw somewhere in the neighborhood of a .8 rating. Why not put all the legends on the backburner for a month or two, fill your scarce 60 minutes each week with your hot, over, young superstars, and just see what happens. I’m convinced that something like this X-Division match could bring in new fans, especially from the MMA side of things. I’m just as convinced that Jeff Jarrett and the James Gang are having absolutely no gross positive effect on the ratings or buyrates. In fact, they are probably having a negative effect.

Anyway, for my money, this was TNA’s best singles X-Division match on PPV in almost a year. I still don’t buy Chris Sabin as X-Division champ a tenth as much as I bought Low-Ki/Senshi, but I’m perfectly happy to (hopefully) be proven wrong on Sabin.

I’m very excited to see AJ Styles and Chris Daniels back in the X-Division mix, and I’m also hopeful — judging just from this match and the time given to it — that TNA is going to start taking the division seriously again.

In fact, I think Mike Tenay showed a good deal of good will towards TNA fans by practically apologizing on air for the Jackass 2 stuff over the last few weeks. At the end of the match, as all the X-Division babyfaces came out to congratulate Chris Sabin, Mike Tenay said, “THIS is what the X-Division is all about. Not Jackass. Not practical jokes. But ATHLETICISM.”

You tell ’em Mike. In the overenthusiastic, screaming, audible-even-on-mute way that only you can.

***3/4


Jeremy Borash is in the back with Christian Cage. Christian is wearing his new t-shirt, which inexplicably mimicks the LUGZ logo, but says CAGE instead. A strange choice to be sure.

Cage says, among other says: Rhino is a bum. He’s accomplished nothing. The Detroit fans are worthless. Rhino’s cooking sucks. The Cardinals handed the Tigers their ass. And this feud isn’t going 7 games, Christian wants the sweep. Because THAT’S, HOW HE ROLLLLLLLS.


Rhino vs. Christian – 8 Mile Street Fight

We get cool intros for both men, with Christian walking through the back cracking his knuckles, and Rhino coming down through the crowd.

Both men meet in the parking lot and just start pounding the crap out of each other. They throw each other into cars, garbage tubs, steel girders, and wood pallettes. Christian and Rhino then start battling, I kid you not, atop a zamboni. It certainly makes for an interesting visual.

After more wild brawling in the back, both men finally make their way back to ringside. Rhyno throws the obligatory street sign into the ring, grabs a few folding chairs for good measure, and an enormous, awkward, goofy light-pole. Man, this is soooo WWF 1999, which was soooo ECW 1996, which was sooooo FMW early 90’s, which was sooooo Mid-South.

Speaking of late 90’s WWF, both men are brawling through the crowd. RIGHT THROUGH THE CROWD!!!

TABLES!!!!!!

MY GOD RHYNO’S GOT A TABLE!!!!!

For the record, I think that every wrestling promotion on the face of the planet should come together and say, “you know, the whole ‘table’ thing is a little played out, let’s put it to rest.'”

Christian grabs an “8 Mile” street sign, holds it up to big cheers, and then throws it down and spits on it. Alright, now that was funny.

LADDERZ!

You know, this match started relatively hot, but man has it ever died off. The crowd doesn’t seem into it. The announcers don’t seem into it. The referee doesn’t even seem into it. Strangely, Christian looks more focused and inspired here than he has in any match since coming to TNA.

I didn’t catch how it happened, but a table is now set up against the corner turnbuckle. You know, not to telegraph the finish or anything.

Rhyno sets another table up on the outside and hits a DISGUSTINGLY DISGUSTING piledriver from the apron. My God.

Of course, it’s rendered completely meaningless when Christian pops up twenty seconds later, covers Rhyno with plunder, and hits said plunder with a chair until Rhino is unconscious, but what can you do? Certainly not spell “Rhyno” consistently, that’s for sure.

Yet another completely unmemorable TNA match under Christian Cage’s belt. It’s a shame TNA and the WWE can’t/won’t work out some sort of baseball like trade to send Christian back to the E. He could still legitimately main event on the Smackdown side, but he just isn’t fit for TNA… at all.

**


JB is in the back with LAX. Konnan cuts his typically incredible promo, effortlessly referencing every deviant sexual act ever invented in less than 30 seconds.


Don West and Mike Tenay pull out the official 2006 World Series program and point out the fact that TNA recieved a blurb in one of the articles. According to Don West, TNA is ALL THE BUZZ in America today. Sadly, in the last 9 months, TNA has been the buzz of the world on only one day that I can personally recall. That day? Opposite Day.

Man, I love Opposite Day humor!

My roommate used to have a massive crush on his best friend. Unfortunately, she didn’t feel the same way about him. We used to always tell him to just be patient, as a day would come in which she would feel the exact same way that he did. That day, we said, would be Opposite Day.


AJ Styles & Christopher Daniels vs. LAX – STEEL Cage Match

As Don West and Mike Tenay continue the filibuster, the TNA ring crew revs up their power drills for the cameras as they assemble SIX SIDES OF STEEL. Aside from Senshi/Sabin, this PPV has been fantastically unmemorable. If ANY match has the ability to save this show, it’s this one.

As Mike Tenay shouts about the “standing room only crowd!” in attendance for the PPV tonight, the cameraman is kind enough to go to a wide shot exposing an enormous sea of empty concrete floor, easily big enough to seat another 300+ people, several yards from the ring.

The show wasn’t a legitimate sellout, and people like to blame the Detroit Tigers World Series appearance on the relatively weak walk-up. How about we get real and blame the real culprit: TNA Impact.

Both teams get cool entrances, and we’re officially under way. Things start out slower than expected, but after a few minutes, they really start to pick up.

All four men are gathered in one corner of the ring, and we get one of those questionably-contrived Tower of Doom spots where everyone ends up suplexing everyone else at the same time. Hernandez gets the best of the exchange though, but before he can celebrate too long, AJ Styles comes soaring off the very top of the cage with a Shane McMahon-esque crossbody block. That was a pretty high dive.

The crowd is all “HOLY SHIT!”

Hernandez immediately pops up though, climbs to the top of the cage himself, and comes jumping off with an awkward dive. Just like AJ Styles seconds ago, Hernandez seemed to have a really hard time getting his footing on top of the cage.

Konnan sneaks around and chokes out Christopher Daniels through the cage, and Homicide sticks AJ Styles with the Gringo Killer for the 1-2-3.

LAX aren’t happy to just win the tag titles though, and they continue assaulting Daniels and Styles after the match. They basically beat them right back over to the X-Division.

**3/4

I’m really, really sad to see this feud come to an early end. These four men have great chemistry in the ring together, but unfortunately — due to absolutely no fault of their own — they were never afforded the opportunity to really show off what they could do. LAX vs. Styles & Daniels could have easily headlined a TNA PPV, or at the very least headlined tomorrow night’s primetime special, but instead, they were constantly shortchanged on television and PPV time. The Kevin Nash Invitational Battle Royal recieved more time than this match, and that is a true shame.


Mike Tenay and Don West continue talking about what a great evening it’s been tonight in Detroit. You know, sometimes it’s not a bad idea to just let the crowd reaction speak for itself. It tends to cheapen it a notch when the announcers spend 30 minutes out of the show talking about what a great crowd response TNA has gotten tonight. Makes it seem like it’s the exception, rather than the rule. Like the obnoxious friend of a friend who insists on taking a picture with every moderately attractive person they meet at a bar or club, no matter how loose their relationship, just to casually point out to other people all, “yeah, we’re pretty close.”


This leads us into an INCREDIBLE Sting/Jarrett video package — a package that this match honestly has no chance of living up to. Perhaps I’ll be pleasantly surprised


Sting vs. Jeff Jarrett – NWA World Heavyweight Title Match

For reasons unknown, Jeremy Borash is doing ring announcements for the main event. Perhaps this happens every month, and I’ve just blocked it from memory, but man does it come across as corny.

Angle is out first, followed by Jarrett, and then Sting.

Stings get a huge reaction, which is surprising considering the fact that he couldn’t even be bothered to show up in TNA for months now. It should be noted though that Sting is looking to be in his best physical condition since WCW died.

I really think TNA has booked themselves into a corner with this main event. If Jarrett wins, the live crowd goes home pissed and we’re forced to endure yet another Jeff Jarrett main event program. If Sting wins, we’re looking at a Wrestlemania IX-type situation where the big babyface wins the match, and then voluntarily disappears with the title for months on end.

Kurt Angle actually does a really good job here staying in the background and not letting his presence overshadow the match itself. Aside from some occasional pushing matches with both guys, Angle is pretty much a non-factor.

As far as the match itself goes, believe it or not, it was by no means terrible. In fact, much like Jeff Jarrett vs. Christian Cage several months back, it was actually a pretty solid old-school wrestling match. Unfortunately, you can’t follow a 2006-era X-Division title match like Sabin/Senshi with a plodding, rest-hold laden, 80’s style match like this and expect it to work out wonderfully.

Unfortunately, not only did things like He-Man, glam rock, and slap bracelets go out with the 80’s, but so did this style of wrestling. Just like any other sport out there, wrestling has evolved since the time that a match like this could really work. What was cutting edge and spectacular 20 years ago is dreadfully dull today. In basketball terms, this main event would be the equivalent of an NBA All-Star weekend that followed the rookie game and the dunk contest with a 60’s style game. No dunks. No flashy passes. No blocks into the 10th row. No 3 pointers. Just old-school, fundamental basketball, and a whole lot of bank shots.

Can wrestling audiences be re-educated into accepting slower, mat-based wrestling again? Of course they can. The WWE actually pulled it off for a short period several years ago.

But can you stick two wrestlers in the ring that fans have been given little reason to care about, give them 15 minutes to work a slow old-school main event, and expect everybody to suddenly unlearn everything they’ve known since 1995? That’s a stretch.

Though I did enjoy the match, there were several spots throughout where it was just so blatantly obvious that they were just casually killing time waiting until it was time to go ahead with the finish.

From what my brother tells me, the intraweb really liked the finish to the match. The ref’s back is turned, Jeff Jarrett grabs his guitar, he winds up, and he just CREAMS Sting with it. Everyone thinks, “Fucking great, another 3 months of Jeff Jarrett the heel champ ruining TNA television and forcing me to watch something else on Thursday nights.” Then all of a sudden, Sting no-sells the guitar shot, beats his chest, and pins Jeff Jarrett.

Hooray.

Let me tell you what this finish reminded me.

In college, I took some generic health class to fullfill a writing requirement. I had a B- in the course heading into the Final, and my teacher gave the class the option to get a full two letter grade bump on our Final exam if we showed her proof that we recieved an HIV test. Didn’t have to show the results, just proof that we were tested.

I had no doubt whatsoever that I was free of the AIDS (I mean gosh, it’s not like I’m ghey or anything), but I really didn’t want a C in the class, so I went in and got tested.

I think it took around a week for the results to come in, and I’ve got to say, I was a nervous wreck during that week. Again, I knew I didn’t have the AIDS (I mean gosh, it’s not like I kiss fellas), but still, there was that .000000000001 percent chance that I had shaved with a dirty razor, or stepped on a syringe at the beach without realizing it, or been coughed on by a homo that I was TERRIFIED of getting those damn results back.

When I went back in to Planned Parenthood to get the results, the nurse gave me a grave look, asked me to come back to a private room with her, and shut the door behind us. She looked me deep in the eyes, shook her head, and said, “I’m sorry to tell you…”

My heart f*cking STOPPED. At that moment, I KNEW I was infected with the AIDS.

Then the bitch SMILED.

“I’m sorry to tell you… but you are healthy as a horse!”

What a f*cking HORRID prank to play.

Regardless, despite nearly having a heart attack, I was happy to hear the results.

If the analogy makes ANY sense at all, that is how I felt about the finish to this match. I wasn’t popping for a washed-up, unmotivated Sting winning the title. I was popping because I didn’t have the AIDS. Just like the live crowd didn’t explode because Sting won the title, but rather because Jeff Jarrett didn’t retain with that stupid, tired f*cking guitar shot.

**1/4


Closing thoughts:

In a lot of ways, wrestling fans and boxing fans have a lot in common these days. Despite the long, storied histories of their beloved sports, for the most part, the current product completely sucks. Furthermore, barring very few exceptions (Angle/Joe, Mayweather/De La Hoya) there really is nothing to look forward to in the future, and no real sign that things will ever get better.

In such a situation, you’re really faced with two choices. You either put on a brave face, smile, and pretend like shows like Bound For Glory and Klitschko/Brock are wonderful and well-worth your $49.95, or you come to terms with the sad state of things, accept reality, and perhaps walk away from the product before even your fondest memories of the sport are tarnished by the current product (see: ECW, Holyfield last Friday).

Honestly, I’m against the ropes. I’ve been a wrestling fan for 20 years now, but I can honestly say that the current product is ruining my love for the sport. I haven’t watched RAW in nearly five months, not because it’s been terrible (it has been), but because it genuinely makes me hate wrestling. That’s a scary thing.

Bound for Glory was a weak show. The good-to-great wasn’t nearly enough to outweight the average-to-bad. This was TNA’s chance to truly show what they were about. They had the momentum from the Angle signing, they had the 4,000 seat arena to give the show an extra something special, and they had what has become their marquee PPV as a stage. And it was just more of the same.

One review down, five more to go.

It’s going to be an interesting month, that’s for certain…

– Ken Anderson
KenAnderson242@aol.com

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