TNAnalysis – April 19, 2007

TNA…we are wrestling…dum dum dum.

Recap of Jeff Jarrett’s triumphant (?) return, and the ensuing Lethal Lockdown match (which I thought was pretty good, frankly), with Sting getting the pin with Jarrett’s help, and Angle looking all pissy. Good, I’m glad that Angle’s character is a disengenous douche, who’s all about “Team Spirit” as long as he wins.

We’re in the Impact Zone, and Tenay is in the ring to introduce Jeff Jarrett, who gets mostly boos with a smattering of cheers. They don’t buy you yet, Double J. His hair has gone kind of crazy over his break. Small “welcome back” chant, while Tenay reminds us of how shocking it was to have him return, and how it was really a big surprise that he helped out Sting, who, y’know…called him a “cancer” and stuff. Jarrett says that over the course of the last six months, he realized that it was time to give back, and that it wasn’t all about Jeff Jarrett. After he says every sentence, he looks at the camera and waits for applause…huh. He’s starting to get teary-eyed about…something, referring to the last 17 days. What happened? Jarrett says that Step 1 was returning, Step 2 was giving Sting the title match, and Step 3 will happen later, but it will be oh so very shocking. Tenay asks him to elaborate, and some generic rock music hits…

Which brings out Kurt Angle, who comes down to complain about Jarrett helping Sting win. Jarrett says that Sting was in the right place at the right time. Wait, didn’t he just say that the first part of the plan was giving Sting the belt? Anyway, leaps of immediate logic aside, Angle kinda sort of physicaly threatens him, but then…

Sting comes out, and says that if Angle has a problem with how he got his title shot, then he’s got a problem with the Stinger. Sting reminds us that he’s been fighting Abyss since forever, and wrestling significantly longer than forever, pointing out that Angle’s been wrestling for less than ten years. He’s got a point, but not necessarily a good one in Sting’s favor; it means more experience, but it also shows that Sting is all old and stuff. He says if Angle’s got a problem with him, then they should settle it in a match next week to decide who the number one contender is. Music plays, segment ends.

We are then magically transported backstage, where Christian Cage gets all giddy because Team Angle is fighting amongst themselves…umm…they’re not a team anymore, what does it matter? Well, I suppose it’s good for Cage’s enemies to be beating up each other instead of him. Anyway, Christian plans to become world tag team champs tonight with Abyss, and if Abyss doesn’t come through, he’s in deep doo-doo.

Onto the first match:

Four-Way-Dance: Christopher Daniels vs. Rhino vs. AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe

Oh, awesome! I can’t believe they’re starting the show with this as the first wrestling match! This is just outstanding, I real-

(Commercial)

D’oh!

Back from commercial (those schmucks…), We start out with Joe and Daniels in the ring, and Joe gives him two hard kicks to the thighs. Daniels tries to run against the ropes and knock Joe down, but he just bounces off him, and Joe slaps him in the face on the third attempt, as if to say, “Bitch, please.” Daniels goes to the eyes, and then hits Joe a bit, but Joe gives him an inverted atomic drop, and Daniels heads out and tags in Rhino. The two big dudes face off, and just hammer away on each other. Joe headlocks Rhino, and they go into a corner, and AJ blind tags in, dancing around like a little girl. Of course, Rhino and Joe break the hold, and Rhino pounds on AJ, because he hates him and whatnot. Joe and Rhino double team AJ, but then AJ tags Daniels, and THEY try to double team Joe, but the effects aren’t so great, and Joe beats both of them away. Joe tags in Rhino, and the faces clean house on the heels, with AJ and Joe ending up on the outside. Rhino and Daniels are in the ring, but as Rhino goes for the gore, Daniels somehow gets his hands on the bat and clocks Rhino mid-gore, and gets the three-count.

Post-match, Joe beats on AJ for a small bit, but that doesn’t really seem to mean anything.

(Commercial)

Kurt Angle interview with Borash, where he says Sting made the biggest mistake of his career by challenging him. Angle points out that being in this business for less than eight years means that he’s still in his prime. Well, all except for his neck problems, lingering painkiller addiction, and apparent insanity judging by his radio interviews, but other than that, he’s just dandy.

Chris Harris vs. ????

What, so he’s allowed to wrestle now? The announcers say that TNA can’t be held responsible for Harris’ matches. Whatever, you’re still having them, you have to find a better reason to justify them, because “Oh well” doesn’t cut it. However, as Harris is about to enter the ring, Jackie Moore comes out and pulls Gail Kim off the apron, and they fight into the crowd, going to another goddamn commercial. Come on, give me a bit of wrestling in my wrestling show! At least give us an opponent, so that we know what to expect coming back from the break.

(Commercial)

Chris Harris vs. Robert Roode

Ah…now I see why they didn’t show us who he was fighting. As if Harris wasn’t dull enough, we get the less-than-scintillating Robert Roode on the other side of the ring. Both of these are guys that TNA has tragically tried to get us to care about, but all of the heat SURROUNDS them, instead of laying ON them. James Storm, as the beer-drinking redneck cowboy, is much more interesting than generic eye-patch wearing face Harris. Chris Harris, to me, reeks of Bart Gunn and Scotty Riggs…well, especially Scotty, with the eyepatch. As for Roode, they see that his solo push does nothing for the audience (although the push is pretty anemic in the first place), so they do this gimmick with Eric Young, who the fans dig like crazy due to his extreme likability, hoping that heel heat will rub off on him due to treating Eric like shit. Now, to a degree, it’s working, but will anyone care about Robert Roode once this angle comes to an end? No. Young will still get cheered by the Impact Zone, while Robert Roode will continue to be boring.

Okay, rant over.

Okay, so Roode gets Harris on the bottom turnbuckle, and goes all stompy stompy, then follows with a kneedrop. Backdrop attempt by Roode is reversed by a Harris axehandle, who then goes for a suplex, but Roode reverses it into a belly-to back suplex. Harris recovers with some offense, and gets a two count. Roode goes for a running cross-body, but Harris catches him and hits the Catatonic, but before he can get the pin, Brooks pulls the ref out. While they’re distracting him, Roode gets some handcuffs, wraps them around his fist, blasts Harris in the face, and that’s all she wrote. Way to make him look strong for that Texas Death Match at the next PPV. Don’t “losing streaks” always draw like crazy? Sure worked for Rey Mysterio as champ…oh, wait…

Post-match, Eric Young pushes down Ms. Brooks (cause she a ho, yo), and Roode slaps him and throws him into the ring. Roode grabs the mic and yells at Eric for awhile, asking if he’s angry that Roode beat his friend, Petey. Eric chuckles and then reveals, of course, that Petey’s not the friend. Allow me to be the first to say, “A’DUH!” When Roode asks for a name, Eric refuses to give it up. Roode gives him one week to give the name, or he’ll be fired on natural television. Finally, some kind of timeline for when we’re going to find out about this. Don’t get your hopes up, though; it’s highly doubtful that we’re going to get anyone worthwhile…although, if it’s Lance Storm or Chris Jericho, I’ll pee myself, and take it all back. Let the speculation begin.

Jim Mitchell yells at Abyss in the locker room, while Borash sneaks up in the foreground (nice touch, explaining why the camera’s there. Take note, WWE!), telling him that if he doesn’t win the titles tonight, Mommy Abyss goes to the slammer. What a bad, bad man, putting a woman away because she tried to kill someone. And, being that the police didn’t bust in on this the week after this was broadcast, then this is, OFFICIALLY, the stupidest thing they’ve ever done.

(Commercial)

We’re now treated to some Paparazzi Productions, with Jay Lethal as Black Machismo, and Alex Shelley talking about Lethal’s character really taking off, and asking Big Kev, “Hey, why can’t I team with the black kid?” Kev replies, “Hey, watch it, Imus.” Heh? Anyway, he says there’ll be a three way with Sonjay and Lethal for the X Division title (how does that apply to Alex Shelley?), and this all leads to Sonjay Dutt coming out dressed as Diesel. However, the only cool thing about this is Sonjay getting sick of Kevin’s stupid gimmick shit, and that he can go screw himself. Nice.

I also want to go on record as saying that “Black Machismo” is, in the long-term, a bad idea. While it all seems fun for now, this isn’t going to lead to Jay Lethal, TNA Champion. It’s just, too…well, gimmicky, so why it’ll be fun for a little while, I see this lasting for a year, absolute max. After that, he’ll be trying to break out of the shadow of “Black Machismo,” and it will be remembered as his most successful time: pretending to be a famous, if batshit crazy, wrestler, from a time that many new fans probably won’t remember when Lethal reaches his mature prime in ten years. I hope I’m wrong, as I like Lethal, but I just don’ see this going on forever, and I fear that it will do more harm than good.

Tag Team Title Match: Christian Cage and Abyss vs. Team 3d

Team 3D dominates to start, complete with Devon hitting the neckbreaker off the turnbuckle and a sideslam/legdrop combo doubleteam on Christian. After that, Cage tags out and brings in Abyss, who faces down Ray. some back and forth, with Ray hitting Abyss with a uranage. Tag to Devon, Abyss eats a double flapjack, and a pin attempt gets two. Abyss is irish whipped into the ropes, but Devon puts his head down, and gets kicked and clotheslined by Abyss for his trouble. Cage tags in, and Devon takes a top rope chop to the head while he’s being held by Abyss. Necksnap and kick to the back on Devon, followed by Cage insulting Ray and flaunting. When you got it, baby, flaunt it! Sorry, Mel Brooks flashback. Cage tags in Abyss, and tells him to take out Devon. He tosses Devon into the corner, but misses a charge, and Devon runs against the ropes and hits Abyss with a flying shoulder block.

All four men are in the ring, and Team 3D is dominating for a minute until Team Cage gets the upper hand, as Abyss knocks Ray away, and then goes over to Devon, who’s standing on the second turnbuckle, and gets him on his shoulders, Doomsday Device style (actually, with Jim Mitchell yelling out “Doomsday!” all the time, it kind of makes sense). Cage climbs the ropes to do some kind of top-rope move, but Ray recovers and pushes Abyss into the corner, knocking Cage to the floor. Abyss turns around, gets 3Ded, and it is, as they say, endgame, as he gets pinned and, as we’ll see, into a whole world of shit.

So, Abyss is supposed to be in big trouble now, right? Well, I hope this thing can be resolved in seven minutes or left, since we’re going to a

(Commercial)

We’re back, and Cage is yelling at Abyss, wich is a bad idea, as Abyss goozles him fo a second, but releases when Mitchell warns him. Cage, ever the douche, spits on Abyss, and the big man has taken all he can takes, and he can’t takes no more. Abyss pounds on Cage, setting him up for the Shock Treatment. However, Mitchell confronts him, and he puts Cage down…and punches out Mitchell. Mitchell scrambles over to the corner to get the phone out, but Abyss slaps it out of his hands, and Blackhole Slams the crap out of him. The crowd goes all happy as Abyss goes for a bag of tacks (does that EVER work in his favor), but then Team Cage comes down (Tomko first, as much as you care), and proceed to give him just an insanely bloody beatdown.

I’m serious, this is one of the more savage beatings you’ll see a guy take in wrestling today without it being on pay-per-view. We get an annhilation featuring chairshots to the head from EVERY member of the team, Christian Cage smacking a barbwire baseball bat into both of his arms, and a one-man conchairto while Abyss’ head lay ON the barbwire bat. Abyss is just bleeding like crazy, wearing the crimson mask under and running over his regular mask, long gashes along his arms from the barbwire, and just barely quivering, a mess of a human being in the ring…and that’s the end of the show.

No rescue, no comeback, nothing. The redeemed hero, finally grasping onto some form of human dignity, is annihilated by those he was forced to serve. And so, TNA says goodnight.

The Inside Pulse
Frankly, most of the show is forgettable. There was no wrestling that was earth-shattering or anything, but there are a two things I want to focus on:

1. The beef between Sting and Angle. These are two interesting guys, and I like the idea of the chemistry between them, especially if Angle continues to act more heelish, but I think that the secret here is to have Angle continue to believe that he truly is the most important thing in TNA, and that him becoming champion is what it would really take to make this company great. Bad guys are always better when they don’t believe that they’re bad guys, and that what they’re doing is for the best.

2. Abyss’ return. So yes, he’s going to be out for awhile and come back as a monster face, or so it is said. However, if TNA does this right, Abyss’ return can be absolutely tremendous.

Picture this, if you will: providing they stay together, members of Team Cage start finding their locker rooms and things battered and torn asunder, and one-by-one, each week, a member is taken out in brutal fashion. Tomko is found in a hallway, bloodied, barely coherent, not knowing who attacked him. AJ Styles is tied to a cage with barbwire (or bobwire, if need be), unconscious, and when he comes to, the only thing that he remembers hearing is an unholy scream. The only clue? A couple of thumbtacks that Cage finds in his boots.

Abyss could be an unholy warrior on a search for revenge, ready and anxious to tear them all apart with vicious, monstrous fury.

Now, all TNA has to do is, well, do it.

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