So, tonight we get Tomko vs. Samoa Joe, apparently so that Joe can make sure that Tomko doesn’t get in the way of his title shot at Destination X. Hey, if I were Joe, and I were facing a mediocre generic big guy like Tomko, I’d bet on me, too. Of course, Tomko’s ridiculous amount of tatoos suggests that he’s probably handy in a real fight, so maybe I wouldn’t completely pat my own back ahead of time. However, in a scripted sense, one would think Joe is the safe bet here.
We open to Tomko and Christian Cage being interviewed by Jeremy Borash, and Borash points the microphone at Tomko, but Christian starts talking before Tomko can get a word out. Heh. Christian talks about Tomko being like a son to him, but Tomko wonders what’s in for him in terms of beating Joe. Cage gives him a title shot, and that makes him happy. They seem to be doing this remotely interesting thing with Tomko where he’s not just some random lackey, but instead has…what is it? Oh yeah, a personality, as well as motivations. It’s sort of Batista-esque, when he was the SMART big strong guy that people got behind. Forgive me, however, if I don’t see the same upside for Tomko, even if he does have a great look to him. Well, a good look, anyway.
Video Recap of last week, including Elevation X stuff, Angle/Steiner, that inexplicably disappointing X Division ladder match, and other such things.
TONIGHT: Six-man X Division Tag Team Match, Joe vs. Tomko, and Steiner in action.
Earlier tonight, Kurt Angle and Steiner brawled through the crowd. That’s kind of neat for the live crowd, having wrestlers just randomly having a storyline in the middle of the pre-show, just for them. It’s very theatrical, and something I’m not sure a bigger company like WWE can get away with. In a way, TNA has an enjoyable quality to it in how they have one central wrestling location, and you feel like a closer part of it being in this smaller space, like it’s a special club that you’re invited to attend. However, the space also kind of kills dead any claim they can have to being a global brand, when they’re really just sort of an upstart, and they look it.
But oh yeah, the theatrical, pre-show stuff is a neat idea. Tangent done.
Hey, who’s the random girl in the green dress that’s hanging out at ringside? Do they just pay attractive women to stand there and blow kisses to the camera. Why not just have cage dancers or ring girls, and break this ludicrous family nonsense. Wrestling is NOT appropriate for kids, and don’t claim that you’re a less sleazy company than WWE when you have the elderly being viciously beaten on videotape.
Okay, now REALLY tangent done.
The announcers throw us to some tumult backstage, where Austin and Jim Cornette, err, Kurt Angle and Cornette sqaure off, and Cornette claims he’s the best friend Angle has, and that the show isn’t all about him. Honestly, if Angle is going to talk about how he came to TNA to work and to make the company great, he’d put his personal feelings about Steiner away so that there could be a quality product. But hey, what do I know about character continuity, right? Unless they’re going somewhere with this hypocrisy, but I doubt it.
X Division schmoz: Chris Sabin, Austin Starr, and Alex shelley vs. Jerry Lynn, Senshi, and Jay Lethal
Austin Starr is billed as being from TV Land? Huh…before any action can occur, Kevin Nash and Sonjay Dutt come out with a microphone and try to convince Lethal to do his Macho Man impression again. The audience chants “one more time,” like good little sheep. Lethal starts with an “Oh yeah,” and goes on for approximately five seconds before getting jumped by the heels. Well, that’s the end of that segment, although I don’t know where they can go with this that will give it any real legs.
The faces soon take control and toss all of the heels out, which, of course, leads to a neat little train wreck spot where Senshi and Lynn wait at the ropes while Lethal runs across the ring, and he does a suicide dive while Lynn and Senshi do simaltaneous topes. Bob Backlund comes out, and we go to a…
We’re back, and Starr is in control, pounding on Lethal, and Backlund is on color commentary, talking about Austin Starr. Sabin is tagged in, who antagonizes the faces, and Shelley and Sabin do some neat Michinoku-Pro type stuff, with running dropkicks and camel clutches and whatnot, before Sabin runs/skips out of the ring like an immature little douche. Good man. The camera spends a lot of time looking at Backlund, who’s actually a very intimidating speaker, really seeming like an insane old coot who can legitimately hurt you. We’re back in the ring, and…did Lethal just do a flash kick?! I mean, he didn’t do a full flip, and he didn’t and on his feet, but it was like a pele where he hits the guy in front of him.
Lethal makes the tag to Senshi, who kicks the crap out of everyone before getting Cradle Shocked by Shelley, and a whole bunch of really neat moves occur in a very brief amount of time: Lynn hits a TKO on Sabin, and then goes for a cradle piledriver, but Shelley gives him an enuzugiri, and then Sliced Break No. 2. He tries to give one to Lethal, but Lethal hits him with this awesome STO/backbreaker, which then recoils into a reverse STO. I forget the name of the second part of that move in Smackdown vs. Raw…anyway, Starr gets distracted while Senshi is tended to by Bob Backlund. Some more goes on, and Senshi ends up sneaking back in and rolling up Starr for the pin, complete with bridge.
After this, the heels exeunt, Starr being chased out by Backlund. Backlund then tries to make friends with Senshi, with mixed results. He doesn’t go for the handshake but Backlund follows him out and they sort of exchange bows. Alright…so, is Backlund choosing a champion to take out Sabin, or multiple champions, or is he just sort of making the whole thing up as he goes along. Don’t get me wrong, I LIKE Bob Backlund, both as a character and a potential special appearance kind of wrestler, but I’m not 100% sure what this is building to…which is kind of a problem with the whole company sometimes, now isn’t it?
Next, we get A Day in the life of Eric Young. He’s getting a ton of bags out of his car, and he drags them up to an apartment where Robert Roode and Ms. Brooks treat him like crap and give him a bunch of chores, on a nice big oversized list. Alright, whatever, Roode still owns Eric, treats him like crap, blah blah blah.
And now, a quick ad for a text message vote. If you want, you can text to TNA, letting them know if you think Rhino or AJ will take the fall from Elevation X. I think they should have a text vote where you can let them know if you think that TNA can possibly make a scaffold match interesting. We get a quick video package of the never-ending AJ/Rhino feud, and we end up being sent directly to a
Sting gives another odd and creepy promo about Abyss choosing not to die and rot with maggots or something. Destination X has Sting and Abyss in a “Last Rites Match.” Okay then. Same crap, different gimmick. What is the point of this match? How is beating Abyss up more going to “save” him from his past. Remember, kids: if you really want to help a friend out of a rough situation, it is your duty and responsibility to kick the everloving crap out of them, be it with baseball bats, barbed wire, or your bare hands. I’m glad that we’ve all learned a little something.
Jeremy Borash, smarter than last time, isn’t getting anywhere NEAR Abyss for this interview. Abyss is in a corner looking at a picture of James Mitchell. Some random guy comes over to Abyss, and Abyss picks him up by the neck and slams him against a wall. Doesn’t anyone in this company watch the product? I’ve already learned not to go near Abyss until he finds some peace in front of a tv audience, and I don’t even work there.
Scott Steiner vs. Chase Stevens
Steiner interviews and spits all over the camera, insulting Angle’s manhood, and Kurt Angle runs out AGAIN and they start fighting. I like the feeling of how badly they want to hurt each other, but it does sort of make the flow of the show kind of weird. However, at the same time, it’s not something that’s necessarily bad. Angle flips out as he and Steiner are pulled apart, and when Cornette tries to calm Angle down, telling him the show isn’t all about him, Angle goes nutty and tries to get HIM in the ankle lock, as he’s being held back by referees and some X Division guys. Cornette, understandably upset, tells Angle that he’s not the be all and end all, and orders security to kick him out of the building. Hey, it was a good call; Angle was being an irresponsible, immature dick, although I guess I’d be mad if someone headbutted me and then beat me into a bloody stupor, too.
Oh yeah, the match. Steiner squashes Stevens like a bug, pinning him after a top rope belly-to-belly suplex, with basically no offense from Stevens. Thank you, have a good day.
We get a recap of what just happened, as well as Chris Harris giving a really boring interview, saying he’s not cleared, and he’ll keep coming after James Storm. Hoo-freakin’-ray.
Alex Shelley comes out to show a new Paparazzi Productions thing, and it’s “Massacre in Nueva York.” Apparently, LAX is going to viciously beat Johnny Rodz and some other guy this time. Rodz, by the way, is the trainer of Brother D-Von. The crowd is actually really quiet watching the thing, or at least it looks and sounds that way, and they begin booing viciously when it’s over.
Shelley, dickishly proud of himself, gets ready to introduce LAX, but Brother Ray comes out first, introducing himself. Alex Shelley keeps trying to defend himself, so Brother Ray smacks the microphone out of his hand. Good idea. Ray reams Shelley out, asking why he would do something like this, as he has nothing against Shelley, and vice versa. “What heat do we have?” Shelley puts off giving any kind of real answer, and Kevin Nash ends up coming out to see what’s going on, and Ray tells him to go away because it’s none of his business; it’s between himself and Nash’s “little butt buddy.” What makes that funny is seeing Shelley look at Nash and give a slight smile while making some reference to his own ass. Anyway, while Ray is distracted by Nash, LAX comes out, and while he holds his own for awhile, he eventually gets lowblowed by Shelley after taking a shot at Nash to the outside. Konnan is wheeled out, tells LAX to get the tables en Espanol, and Hernandez spinebusters Ray through table after being hit in the head with a slapjack by Homicide. Oucharoo, and off to commercial. I wonder what ethnic group they’re going to bring in to represent Devon’s side…
We’re back, and we get “Breaking News” about “Rambuck Killings,” which announces Ron Killings’ injury. Sucks for him, but I’m not really sad to see those movie promos stop. Maybe, when he comes back, they can find something halfway decent for him to do instead of miring him in this nonsense.
Samoa Joe is interviewed, and is wearing a t-shirt with the biggest sweatstain I have ever seen. He talks about beating up Christian Cage, and how tonight, he’ll beat Tomko. He would continue, but the camera is drawn over to off the side of the stage, where Abyss is choking out another stagehand. Do they have insurance for random uncontrolled wrestlers beating the tar out of them? However, in a really cool moment, Joe breaks it up, pushes Abyss against a cage, and basically tells him to stop being a whiny little bitch. Actually, that was really cool. If he loses the title match, Samoa Joe should start a “Dr. Phil” gimmick, where he tells whining wrestlers to get over themselves and look at the truth of what’s really happening. Then, if that doesn’t work, he chokes the life out of them like a fat Samoan Grizzly Bear.
Samoa Joe vs. Tomko
Tomko comes in first, and as Joe enters, we cut to Christian Cage watching the match in the dressing room, alas, without snacks. Back in the ring, Joe is barely in the ring before getting attacked by Tomko. They pound on each other for awhile, but Tomko eventually gets clotheslined over the top, out of the ring. Joe follows up with the elbow suicida (which, frankly, is always impressive to see a big guy do, no matter how many times he does it), and we go to a commercial as Joe chops at Tomko on the outside.
We’re back, and we see that the tide changed when Tomko threw Joe into the ring apron during the break. Back “live,” and Tomko spinebusters Joe. Back and forthery, but Joe comes back with a flying knee off the second turnbuckle. Joe powerslams him, and sets Tomko up for the muscle buster, but Tomko grabs the ref, keeping them all sort of tied together, and Christian Cage runs in and hits Joe with chair to the back. Joe’s stunned, and Tomko jumps off the turnbuckle, and hits Joe with a running clothesline…for the pin?! Wha?!
Wait…a clothesline? His finisher is a goddamn clothesline? We’re not even talking JBL “vicious killer clothesline,” but just a running clothesline. See, that’s always been Tomko’s problem: he has a solid look, and he’s a fine enough athlete, but he has NO moveset to speak of outside of typical brawling. The brawling looks fine, but it’s not enough to get to the top and stay on the top…unless you’re just insanely pushed by a Vince, be it Russo or McMahon, like Test recently was. Of course, look what happened to him.
Anyway, Christian runs in again to begin the beatdown, but he gets kicked by Joe, who low blows Tomko and hits him with the belt. A few seconds later, and Cage is in the Kokina Clutch. Alas, here comes Scott Steiner to ruin all the fun, and Team Christian pounds on Joe until…Abyss’s music hits, and the big guy comes down, with pyro and chain, and runs off the heels. You’d think that if he really wanted to help, he would have skipped the pyro and opening pose. As soon as I get to think that Abyss as a face is kind of cool, he Black Hole Slams Joe, Christian smiles happily, and we’re out. So are they setting up an Abyss/Joe feud to keep Joe busy AFTER he wins the title, or to distract him from winning it at all, and using Abyss to explain why the almight Samoa Joe couldn’t beat Cage? There is possibility here, I suppose.
The Inside Pulse
The X Division stuff was kind of fun, and the main event was alright, so the wrestling sort of hit it right on the mediocre. The shame is that there’s all this potential here, but I’m just not feeling like it’s going to be realized. The lack of TV time certainly makes it difficult to get everyone the attention that they most certainly deserve, but I’d much rather TNA went back to being an alternative instead of just an hour of Raw.
I’ve had enough Crash TV, but I wonder if I’m too much of a purist. Although being that the ratings aren’t going anywhere, they should feel free to experiment, the way that I see it.