For Your Consideration…TNAfully Resolute

For Your Consideration…TNAfully Resolute

Yes, you read that headline correctly…I’m covering the TNA PPV. I know, I’m just as shocked as you are. With that said, I want you to keep a few things in mind. First, I am going to try and be positive. I know I haven’t exactly been the warmest shoulder for TNA to cry on over their constant failures, but in the spirit of the holiday season (what with Hanukkah over and Festivus upon us in only a few short days) I am going to give this one the old college try.

Sigh.

This is gonna be harder than I thought.

TNA Wrestling’s opening already spells disaster. I will ignore the fact that the announcer sounds like he’s about to say, “TNA: We Know Drama” and focus on the faces in the little snippet. While I see some of the new faces (which is great), I don’t understand why they are opening with Sting. Sting isn’t technically still an active wrestler since he had that fake retirement match against Styles a few months back. I’m all for pushing your big names, but why not OPEN with someone who’s currently on your roster. Hell, one of the few positive things TNA really has going for it is that they have some recognizable stars, so bumper them around your young talent. That first shot should be of AJ Styles, who, lame-duck or not, is your World Champion.

We open with Christmas music featuring TNA “stars” surrounded by what appears to be flying Tinkerbell. This really doesn’t tell me much about any of the stars other than the fact that a lot of them are skinny and bald.

We get shots of some of the showdowns tonight, but there’s no coherent thread. It just seems like very quick clips of action sequences, which I’m sure any kid on YouTube could construct. I got no voiceover telling me the compelling storylines that led to these matches. From the looks of it, Styles and Daniels and Angle and Wolfe are fighting because…well…they’ve already fought. A lot. Ya know, TNA went out of their way to hire Dave Sahadi away from the WWE so he could produce those epic opening video packages…why not use him?! The thing jumped from campy Christmas shmaltz to random action and told the casual viewing audience nothing about their feuds. I don’t need a Michael Cole storyteller to bludgeon me over the head or anything, but maybe SOME direction would be nice.

We open with “pyro” and “ballyhoo” that really can’t compete with the WWE in terms of scale and grandeur. Now I will stop all the future commenters who are going to bitch that this is just a one-to-one comparison with the WWE and that TNA doesn’t have the budget right off the bat by saying that the only reason I am comparing anything between the two companies is because TNA insists on claiming that they are on the same playing field. If you can go out and hire Hulk Hogan, you can hire someone to buy a proper concussion machine to make a decent sounding BOOM. Either that or just don’t do fireworks. That right there would make you the viable alternative.

Tenay and Tazz welcome us to the Impact Zone, and the comped fans chant for TNA. We open with the World Tag Team Championships, as The British Invasion will take on MCMG.

We get taglines that tell us that Motor City gets no R-E-S-P-E-C-T (I shit you not, they spelled it out), that the Brits exploit loopholes and that Sabin and Shelly are…sigh…gunning for their first tag title reign. See, right here is more asinine stuff that TNA needs to knock off. I’m fine with a tale of the tape. I’m fine with a bullet point or two on a major angle. But honestly, do we need THIS? Of course the Motor City Machine Guns want respect…that’s what EVERYONE wants in wrestling. Why else would they want the tag title belts in the first place? Also, you don’t come right out and say that the British Invasion exploit loopholes. Honkytonk Man used to do it all the time, and we got the gist of it without having a graphic spell it out for us. Trust your fans that they will catch on, or, at the very least, show us some clips. Lastly, I’ll ignore the terrible pun because it makes me happy that somewhere in Orlando, Vinny and his production staff actually had to come up with that. And tell it to the graphics department. With a straight face.

Tenay calls the MCMG the most creative team despite never holding the gold, so now I know why I care about the match. Out first is Sabin and Shelly, who have such a great look and great shtick that I’m shocked that TNA has botched them so badly so often. Wait, this is TNA, who am I kidding?

Out next is the British Invasion, who at least look like heels. Tenay says that they have used trickery to duck Beer Money, which makes me wonder why I should take MCMG seriously. So they duck tough teams but they are willing to face this team, which makes me believe that the Guns are not a tough team.

We open up with Sabin and Williams doing some basic hammerlock stuff, which is a nice change of pace. Sabin tags in Shelley and Tazz says that if you haven’t seen them wrestle before, you should note that they are quick. Again, something I couldn’t have told based on the fact that they are leaping around quickly. Glad to see that leaving the WWE hasn’t taken away Tazz’s ability to be king of the obvious.

Shelley comes off the top rope but gets caught in a suplex that he counters into an armbar. Brutus Magnus gets double-kicked by the MCMG before the Guns dump Williams. They then hit double splashes to the outside as Tenay calls it poetry in absolute motion. Uh huh. They were almost whispering in gusts of gale force winds.

Williams knees Shelley in the skull to allow the Brits to take over, and the match has yet to really settle down yet. It’s fast-paced, which is great, but I just don’t get a true sense of story here.

Williams sets Alex up for a Gory Special and drives him into the turnbuckle. Alex leaps off the top rope with a crossbody for two. The British Invasion do what appears to be a gentlemen’s handshake before Brutus goes for the pin, which is evidence of trying to get your gimmick over rather than sell the importance of the match. I hate it in WWE so of course I’m gonna hate it in TNA.

The fans seem really interested in chanting, which gives the impression that they don’t care. Shelley goes for a hot tag but Brutus had snuck over and took out Chris. Brutus is now in and locks in a full nelson but eats an elbow. Shelley spingboards off the second rope but gets caught. Brutus leaps off the second rope himself but eats knees to the chest.

Hot tag and Sabin and Williams are in. Shelley rolls through a small package and delivers a kick to Williams. He kicks Brutus before hitting a leaping DDT off the top rope for two. Sabin and Shelley have a lot of manic energy, and if they had better competition, would steal the show every month.

Shelley leaps off the top rope with a kick before driving Brutus face-first into the second turnbuckle. TNA needs to exploit stuff like this, because there is no way WWE would put on matches this fast with a lot of its roster.

Shelley goes for Sliced Bread #2 for a two count. A bearded guy in the front row goes batshit when that isn’t the pinfall, which is kinda hilarious. Shelley goes to the top rope but musses the double knees but eats an Exploder Suplex. Brutus takes out Sabin and everyone is down to take a breather. This match is very spot-based, but it seems to have the crowd excited.

Shelley goes for forearms, but Brutus kinda forgets to sell them as he’s waiting for his opening to deliver a punch. Brutus takes out his partner by accident and Sabin comes in and eats a missile dropkick. The Guns hit a double superkick but Williams breaks it up. The referee appears to have no control at all over this match, as it looks like a four-way and not a tag match.

The Guns hit an innovative neckbreaker splash that for some reason only gets two. Brutus apparently has Wrestlemania-rules recovery skill, as he’s kicked out of a few things that should be the finish.

Williams hits a cheapshot on Brutus and they hit a reverse Doomsday Device for the pin. Well that was spirited but chaotic. There were some solid spots, but not a memorable bout. All I know is that the Guns can pull off innovative stuff left and right and the British Invasion were about as vanilla as their look.

We get some replays from the match as the Guns shake their head in anger.

Tazz and Mike Tenay (who is wearing a tie, for the record) talk about how this will lay the groundwork for 2010. They then turn this PPV into an infomercial for the Hogan TNA debut before talking about Styles/Daniels. This is a one-on-one match, so we will find out who the best man is.

Next up we have the Knockouts Championship. Our Tail of the Tape (yes, they spelled it tail, as in ass, because these are women, so let’s hammer that fact home for hilarity purposes). Tara beat Kong to get this match, which is a nice stat. Our next stat is that ODB rules in trailer parks. Seriously? Seriously?!

Out first is Victoria and a spider. She goes by the name Tara and her spider is named Poison. She gives her spider to SoCal Val and does her standard Victoria shtick. Out next is ODB, who gets pyro for some reason. ODB takes a sip from her flask, rolls into the ring and then rolls right out of the ring. It looks like ODB is the heel here, but I couldn’t really tell. The fans gave both women pretty much the same reaction.

I can’t quite fathom how they have Tara as a face, when she was such a natural heel in the ring. Tara was probably one of the best female heels in wrestling history because she could play nuts with the best of them.

Tara hits a Tajiri-esque tarantula before hitting a slingshot legdrop. That’s all well and good, but we’re like 30 seconds into the match. Seriously, slow it down a bit Victoria, you know better.

Tara and ODB are kinda running back and forth before ODB rams her into the second turnbuckle. Tazz then says that if you watch TNA on Spike that you’d know what they’re talking about. Just curious, outside of myself who’s doing this out of morbid fascination, how many other people are watching this on a whim and wouldn’t watch the product?

ODB now is choking Tara against the rope, and then grabs her boobs when the ref asks for a break. Alright. Tara hammers back but ODB takes back over. Tara gets a roll-through out of nowhere for two. This coming New Years Eve there will be a women’s only special, so call your friends, cancel your plans to be social and tell them that you’re watching women’s wrasslin.

ODB climbs to the second rope, grabs her boobs again and leaps off but misses Tara. Tara is now punching her in the face and then plants her facefirst. No, I can’t believe I’m calling the action either. Tara goes for a standing moonsault for two. Say what you want about the WWE Divas, at least their matches are short.

ODB has Tara up but gets rolled up for a three count out of nowhere. Uh, okay. What the hell was the point of that? Why have your women’s champion be crowned via an upset?

Christy Hemme interviews Victoria, who says she’s thankful for the fans. She calls this the peak of her career. So if she’s all emotional and beloved by the fans and sane, why the spider? Forget it, I don’t really care.

Speaking of indifference, here’s a bit about Hulk Hogan. We see video packages about Hogan talking about their January 4th war. Hogan says that he’s going to war with the WWE, which I’ve said numerous times is ridiculous. Worst off all, there is no reason for them to say WWE’s name on television. I guess they never learn.

Tenay and Tazz hype it, which I’m sure makes all the people who paid for this thrilled that they spend money on something that won’t live up to a free show.

Feast or Fired is up next. Three title shots and one pink slip are on the line. First out is Jay Lethal, who is still sticking to that Savage shtick. He comes out with Consequences Creed, even though they are opponents in this match. They really should come out separate, because the match is about INDIVIDUAL achievement.

Out next is Cody Deaner, which makes my head hurt. All I know is that Jamie Noble did it a million times better. Next is Beer Money, who also come out together. I know there are tag title shot potentials on the line, but again, this is INDIVIDUAL achievement. Sure they want the tag titles, but wouldn’t they each want a world title shot? Isn’t that what it’s all about? Regardless, they are one of the few solid gold gimmicks in TNA.

World Elite’s Eric Young, Homicide, Big Rob, Hiyoshi, Kevin Nash and Sheik Abdul Bashir come out. So apparently the entire midcard is in this match. Super. Oh, and Nash has some hooker with him.

Finally, here comes Samoa Joe. If he doesn’t win lost cause of the decade, I don’t know who will. How the hell did TNA screw this guy up so bad? At a time where Sheamus holds the WWE Title, can you imagine what the WWE could do with him?

The battle royal starts and it’s a clusterfuck. James Storm goes after Nash while Eric Young goes after Joe. So is Joe a face or a heel? He still looks like a heel, but the fans seemed to be cheering for him. Does anyone really care is the question. He’s changed sides more times than Big Show at this rate.

Homicide and Creed are in the ring as Cody Deaner goes for a suitcase, but is stopped by Sheik. Everyone is outside the ring aside from Deaner and Sheik, which makes no sense at all. There are 85 wrestlers in this match, why wouldn’t a third guy just sneak in there and grab a case?

On the plus side, this gets a lot of people onto PPV. Unfortunately, it shows how directionless the midcard really is, with most of these guys just sort of killing time on the Thursday broadcasts. Why not stack a match like this with legit future stars? This match should have Matt Morgan, Hernandez and Dinero, since I’m sure they all want a title shot. Who here really deserves anything more than a cursory title shot aside from Joe? Besides, doesn’t Lashley already have a title shot? How many people are in line for this damn belt?

A case is loose and it falls to the floor. Deaner and Shiek fight over the suitcase on the outside and apparently they both have it. Bashir hits Deaner in the head with the case. My guess is he’ll be fired. Big Rob gets another case while no one is in the ring. Eric Young is all pissed because apparently no one from World Elite was supposed to take a suitcase…in a match where you can only win by taking a suitcase. This makes my head implode.

Beer Money go aver Nash and Young after Crosby and Stills have fled the ring. Beer Money take out Eric Young. Now instead of doing that, why not GET A CASE?! Seriously, I thought the point of this was to get title shots.

Beer Money eradicates World Elite, which goes to show that they are pretty much nothing more than cannon fodder. Nash gets a suitcase, so I guess he’s going for the world title. Joe and Lethal realize that it’s time for them to do their spot, so they roll into the ring. Lethal Consequences get squashed by Joe for a while before Beer Money come in. We get another round of everyone running in and hitting finishers before Lethal goes for the last suitcase. Homicide takes him off the top rope with his RKO. Cody Deaner now sees that everyone is out cold and goes for the suitcase. I guess his role in TNA is to be the live action version of the squirrel from Ice Age.

Joe takes the redneck out and gets the last suitcase for the win. The crowd kinda pops, which makes me think that he’s a heel but the fans don’t care. Either that or he’s a face, in which case, his lack of a pop was disturbing.

Jeremy Borash hammers home the fact that the suitcases may hold a pink slip. I miss Pink Slip on a Pole.

Styles and Angle are in the back with Christy Hemme. Glad to see they kissed and made up. Angle says that Wolfe is a smart, talented and devious bastard, but he’s more of one. Kurt then pretty much challenges Styles. AJ says that he’ll get a shot eventually, but tonight is about Daniels. As long as AJ is breathing, Daniels won’t win. So I guess tonight Daniels is going to kill Styles tonight.

Jeremy and SoCal yet again hammer home what is on the line. SoCal Val is allowed to talk for some reason before Nash steps forward. Nash has received a tag team title shot. Joe steps up next and he has a World Title Shot. Yeah, no kidding. So either Big Rob or Sheik is getting fired. They open their cases and Sheik is fired. Big Rob gets an X-Division shot. Sheik gets wished best of luck in his future endeavors. Cute.

Tenay and Tazz say that this is “real”. Sweet merciful crap, they’re doing the old WCW “this is not on our programming sheet…this is real” gimmick.

Speaking of old gimmicks, here comes Rhyno and the Dudleys along with Jesse Neal. I need a drink. Apparently it’s one on four for the first five minutes. That man? Hernandez. Well, TNA is convinced that he’s gonna get over, but the first thing he needs to do is get rid of the effeminate punches to pyro shtick. It’s not as bad as Batista’s pose-down, but it’s pretty bad.

Rhyno and Hernandez start it off and I just don’t get why the four guys don’t just jump him. Rhyno taks in D-Von to hammer away on…seriously…SuperMex. Stop the pain. Hernandez takes out the Dudleys and Rhyno, which only leaves the WWE Create-a-Superstar. Before he gets a shot at him, D-Von attacks him from behind.

So it appears that TNA wants to constantly put Hernandez against the odds so that we sympathize with him and decide to root him on. Unfortunately, the crowd at the moment is dead silent. Hernandez has a hell of a look on him, but being made to look like the Dudley Boys’ bitch isn’t gonna get him over. His partners in the back (aka the potential future of TNA) may not make it in because Rhyno hits the GORE…for 2? Well I guess that move lost it’s Signature Move title. Rhyno goes for another GORE but gets small packaged for the pin. So…stop me when this doesn’t make sense anymore. Hernandez is out-gunned four-to-one. Rather than just beat him down, they decide to go at him ninja style. Rhyno gets rolled up, and not ONE of his partners go in to make the save. Zuh?!

Morgan, Pope and Suicide run in and now the faces have an advantage. Here’s yet another example of stupid personified. If the faces win, do they get anything? They have a 4-to-3 advantage…of course they should win. Had it been the other way around, then maybe you have some drama. Now it’s the faces’ match to lose and not the other way around.

Hernandez leaps over the top rope to the outside to take out team 3-D and CAW. Speaking of CAW, he’s now in the ring with Suicide. Why is TNA putting so many of their future stars on one team for no real reason feuding with random midcard talent? I thought Matt Morgan was a damn champion-level competitor and Hernandez was TNA’s solution to Austin and Goldberg?

Alas, I’m watching CAW and Kaz go at it as I await the inevitable. This entire PPV smacks of a Creative team that has zero idea where they are going in the future. Suicide gets hit with a chair by CAW but that isn’t a DQ. Hernandez then hits CAW with a steel chair and now he’s DQed. Who the hell thought this was a good idea?

Suicide eats a 3D and now it’s three-on-two. Someone in Orlando put out an APB on logic. Please?

Burke goes after Bubba for some reason. Wait, apparently we’re being told that CAW was disqualified because of his use of the chair. Seriously, did anyone even BOTHER to read the fucking script?!

So I guess the goals of this match were to make Hernandez look like a monster while allowing Morgan to look like the hero. The Dudleys hit a 3D and now it’s 2-on-1. Morgan didn’t go in there to make the save, because apparently they respect the rules.
The fans chant “Fuck ‘em up Morgan”, which means the audience doesn’t perceive the Dudleys as a threat at all. When you can telegraph something like that, you know your promotion is in trouble.

Morgan splashes D-Von and then Bubba and the referee again has no clue what’s going on. Morgan sets Bubba up for a chokeslam but D-Von breaks it up. Seriously, why is the referee not trying to stop the blatant double-team? Bubba pulls out his IWGP tag title for some reason before they continue to double-team Morgan. WWE ain’t perfect, but at least when it’s a tag match, they create the illusion that it’s a tag match. Unless of course there is some TNA rule that in a match like this when you get down to 2-on-1, it’s a handicap match.

Morgan hits the Carbon Footprint for the pin. I think. Everyone seems confused again, which makes me wonder who the hell the road agents are. Bubba and Morgan are left alone in the ring, and I can’t believe there are people out there that paid good money to see this. Bubba’s offense annoys the hell out of me because he’s just wasting time before the inevitable.

Bubba grabs a chair but Morgan kicks it into his face with the Carbon Footprint for the pin. Yeah, RVD he ain’t. So now Matt Morgan wins as the last survivor, which means he gets…what exactly? Sure he pinned the Dudley Boys, but it all adds up to a big so what. If he were in the Feast of Fired match, at least he’d have a shot at gold. Instead? He’s just part of that giant, directionless blob that is TNA. They really are running out the clock until Hogan comes to save them all.

Coming up next is the Foley/Abyss/Richards/Raven clusterfuck. At least for this we get a video package. So Raven is back and he lit Mick Foley on fire. You don’t mess with Mick Foley and Abyss, who’s wearing flannel about a month or two after Mick Foley said that flannel doesn’t make him Mick Foley. Oh, and apparently Stevie Richards lit Abyss on fire. Foley promises to watch Chris’s back (so that we know this is for REAL), which probably means he’ll turn on him.

Turns out Tenay did fuck up because that was not the next match. Steiner/Lashley was next. Production superiority for TNA. So apparently Lashely and Steiner are feuding because Scott tried to rape Bobby’s wife and then beat him last month on PPV. This is the most personal rivalry in TNA and not at all a complete replay of Roberts/Rude. Not at all. Putting the woman’s face on your trunks is totally original. I hope Steiner doesn’t kill Bobby’s snake.

Scott Steiner comes out first with a pipe. Apparently it’s his trademark pipe, which you can get at WWEShopZone…er, TNA Shop-pact Zone. His opponent is the THIRD giant monster face we’ve seen tonight. He’s the third in a row, mind you. What the hell is the character difference between Hernandez, Lashley and Morgan? Oh, Bobby is the one that gets pyro. Lame pyro, mind you, but pyro.

Bobby still does the leap onto the apron, which looks cool. Tenay calls Lashley a two-sport star, which made me smack myself in the head. The ref sends Krystal to the back, but apparently Steiner is following her. Rape is a crime, always.

Steiner hit behind Krystal and then jumped Bobby. Ya know, because he’s EVIL. He then rams Lashley into the guard rail and apparently this is a last man standing kinda match. Steiner tells the ref to get the fuck out of the way and then calls him a stupid son of a bitch. I guess TV-PG this ain’t.

We’re in the ring and Bobby hits a t-bone suplex. Look, I’m all for a little bit of wrestling, but Bobby is fighting a man that committed sexual battery against his wife. If you were in an environment where you could do anything you wanted to a person who did that to your woman, would you go for a suplex? Keep in mind, this is a no-DQ match.

Lashley locks in a sleeper but Steiner gets up at 6. Lashley hits another clothesline and leaves Steiner out of the ring. Jesus, go after him! Scott appears to have tweaked his leg and Bobby finally has a chair. He hits a terrible looking chairshot as they battle to the announce stage. Glad to see someone kept the WCW Saturday Night set. Bobby gets hit with the metal pipe but Lashley gets up at 7 before getting fake hit again with the pipe. Why not just wail on him like Austin at the end of Wrestlemania X-7 and make sure Bobby’s done?

Scary thought…there are still three more matches to go. This show has too many matches, something I never really thought I’d complain about. The problem here is that this match is a bloodfeud, the Raven/Foley/Abyss deal is a bloodfeud, Angle/Wolfe is a bloodfeud and Styles/Angle is a bloodfeud. Diversify, please. It’s times like this that having the brand split in the WWE makes sense.

Steiner drops Lashley off the top rope, but he gets up at 9. Steiner puts him on the top rope and goes for a belly-to-belly. The problem with a match like this is that after EVERY move, we get a 9 count. It breaks any momentum the match would have. Tazz takes a shot at his buddy Cole by calling the move Vintage.

Lashley hits an overhead belly-to-belly before delivering a running powerslam. We now count THIS. Scott forgets to stand up by 10, but the ref just stopped counting. Countless professional that Scott Steiner is.

Scott goes for a Frankensteiner off the top rope and hits it. It looked impressive as hell, but I can’t believe Scott didn’t bounce his head off the mat. Steiner goes back for his pole and then curses the cameraman. Krystal steals the pipe and tosses it to Bobby, who couldn’t catch it. Lashley hits a spear and then pastes Scott with another fake looking pipe shot. I mean really fake. It’s over, and the moral here was that Bobby Lashley needed his woman to beat Scott Steiner. Yeah, that’ll endear him to the fans. Nothing gets men behind you more than looking so weak that your lady has to save your ass. I mean it worked for Zach Morris in that episode of “Saved by the Bell” when he dated the wrestler, right? Oh wait…no it didn’t.

Tazz and Tenay again try to throw us to that Foley video package that we already saw. They wouldn’t be dumb enough to show it again, so instead they just sort of re-tell the story shot by shot.

Out first is Raven and Stevie, and Richards has a chair that says “Abyss, use my chair”. Look at that, someone remembered ECW. I hear a car screeching, which means its Mankind and Kane…er…Mick and Abyss. Foley made the match a Foley’s Funhouse match. By that he means socks are legal.

Foley delivers kendo stick shots to Stevie and Raven. I hope this means that this is gonna be fast.

Foley and Raven battle to the back of the building, where I’m guessing they’ll run into the Gangstas and Public Enemy. Abyss is in the ring and he splashes Richards for two. Richards decides he’s going to go join Foley and Raven for coffee and donuts in the back, but Abyss chases after him. I’m glad Richards still has a job in wrestling since he’s a genuinely good guy, but couldn’t this time be better used to get over fresh talent?

Abyss sets up a table as he brings Stevie to the top of the entrance ramp. He sets him up for a powerbomb but Raven comes out of nowhere with the kendo stick. He then stabs Abyss in the throat with the broken stick. That’s right folks, Orlando is still a family down.

Raven starts chewing on Abyss’s messed up and burnt leg and Foley is still in the back, probably using the restroom. Someone inform him that that’s why Knockout Matches exist.

Team ECW continues to dismantle Abyss with a chair until Raven pulls out a gas container. But wait, here comes Foley with a shopping cart for the save! It’s like Home Alone, but with a bunch of middle aged guys.

Foley grabs a barbed wire baseball bat and hits Stevie and Raven with it. Mick then hits a piledriver on Raven and a DDT on Stevie. They stack Stevie on top or Raven and Abyss jumps onto them in something that didn’t at all look gay. Mick pulls out Socko but gets powder tossed in the eye. Oh that damn Raven! If it’s not powder, it’s gasoline and if it’s not gasoline, it’s a lawsuit.

Abyss goes for Shock Treatment and turns it into a legdrop onto Raven for two. Abyss then pulls out his own Socko and we get two Mandible Claws. Raven out of nowhere hits a DDT on Abyss for two. I guess any ECW finisher no longer works.

Foley wraps Richards in barbed wire that I pray is gimmicked, because if not then that’s sick. Foley goes to the top of the ramp and delivers an elbow onto Richards, driving him through the table. To quote “Back to the Future”, “What’s a rerun?”

Daffney goes for a chairshot but Abyss shrugs off and beats Raven with a tame Black Hole Slam. You know, in a match with all those weapons, winning with a wrestling move is pretty anticlimactic. Then again, it wasn’t like they were building towards much throughout the match. It was a garbage brawl that just seemed kinda disjointed.

Jeremy Borasch is in the back with Samoa Joe. Joe says that he got what he came for, just like he said. You know, because that’s what they told him would happen. He’s the most vicious man in the world and he has an unadulterated world title shot. He said he might use it after the match tonight or he’ll use it on January 4th. But Joe, I thought you wanted to win the title in front of an audience.

We get a Wolfe/Angle package. So the gist of it is that Nigel…er…Desmond tapped to an illegal hold, but he wants revenge. Oh, I get it, we’re just recycling the old Tazz/Angle storyline. Tell me if this sounds familiar; two men wrestle, one guy locks in a hold, other guy taps, he claims it’s an illegal choke and they have a rematch. I guess if you’re gonna steal something, might as well be that and not the Punjabi Prison.

Tazz already calls this match a classic, so no pressure kids. First fall is a pinfall, second fall is a submission and third fall is a cage. My guess is that Nigel will pin Kurt, Kurt will make Nigel tap and then we’ll get a close escape to end the match.

Tenay thanks the crew for setting up the cage so quickly for some reason as we first get Desmond Wolfe’s entrance. I miss Nigel’s hair. Also, would it kill him to bring back the iron?

The production guys don’t switch the tron fast enough, so Kurt’s music hits while Desmond’s video is playing. Kurt comes up from under the ramp like a modern day Gangrel (minus the sex with Luna) and he’s still wearing that Main Event Mafia shirt. Sure.

So all three matches take place in the cage, but in the first two matches you can’t use the cage. Yeah, that makes sense. It’s like the old WCW rule that you can’t throw someone over the top rope.

Nigel and Angle trade wristlocks to start. We get some solid mat wrestling as Tazz tries to get us to believe that the front facelock is a dangerous move. We just watched a match where a guy was wrapped in barbed wire and driven through a table, but the real fear is a headlock.

Nigel and Kurt are giving us some legit wrestling, which is a breath of fresh air on this Pay-Per-View that has been cluttered with spotfests and anarchy. In other words, this is a Vince Russo show. At least TNA is letting their two main event matches feature men who can wrestle as opposed to cluttering the top of the card with the nonsense that bogged down the rest of it.

Kurt has a keylock that Desmond gets out of only to get locked back into a keylock. We get a shot of a guy with a sketchy haircut who seems WAY too into this match. He was sitting next to a little kid that I pray was his son, or else this is gonna be an ugly news story tomorrow.

Desmond and Kurt are trying to do classic wrestling, but the crowd is really silent. I know Kurt can wake them up because he’s Kurt Angle and he knows how to do these things (or at least he used to know how to do these things), so I would assume the fans would cut them some slack.

So far we’ve been getting nothing but mat wrestling, with headlocks and hammerlocks being traded back and forth. The crowd tries dueling chants to stay into the match, but it’s just distracting. If they want to applaud great takedowns, fine by me, but we don’t need chants all the damn time. Let them wrestle.

Tazz talks about why we should think that this is great, but unfortunately the crowd can’t hear him. We start getting some running of the ropes and Kurt pulls out a vertical suplex. He then goes for a running powerbomb into the corner. That was kinda jarring considering we’ve had tons of mat wrestling and out of nowhere we get a power move. Again, it just seemed a bit off.

Wolfe takes over again and we see a great counter of a sunset flip by simply swatting away his hands. He then locks in yet another headlock, and you can sense the restlessness of the crowd. We get a shot of Kurt calling his next spot before they go into some punches that ends with Kurt hitting a belly-to-belly overhead. Kurt goes for the Angle Slam but eats a flying hammerlock as Tazz tries to talk about the moves as if they are real. Nice touch.

Wolfe goes for a lariat but gets hit with several belly-to-back suplexes. He hits a release German for number 5 before climbing the top rope. Wolfe catches him on the top rope and hits the Tower of London for two. Well I guess that move has already been downgraded from a finisher to a quasi-finisher. More Side-effect and less Twist of Fate for your Matt Hardy fans out there. I kid, I kid.

Wolfe goes for another Tower of London but eats an Angle Slam for two. Ah, I see we’re playing by Wrestlemania rules here too. Angle goes to the top rope again and goes for the moonsault but no one is home. Wolfe wisely rolled out of the way so as to not wind up as this generation’s Bob Holly.

Desmond hits a lariat and connects with another Tower of London for the pin. Well they seemed to be building and building with that first fall, but it was a little too slow in the beginning for the audience, and the knowledge of at least two more falls meant that they had to speed up the psychology.

Wolfe goes for Kurt’s arm as he tries to rip the shoulder out of the socket. Kurt is crying in pain, which means he’s killing time before he can get his submission. As I type that, Kurt turns it into a Figure Four. Wolfe teases a tap-out but he gets to the ropes to break the hold. My hope is that they are saving the big stuff for the third fall, but who knows.

Desmond goes for an arm scissor before turning it into a top wristlock, or, as Tazz called it, a “tremendous hold”. We get yet another shot of Kurt calling a spot, which is sloppy as hell by the production crew.

Wolfe is still working the arm, so it’s nice to see someone picking apart a body part with logic. Kurt then somehow grabs an Angle-lock out of nowhere, but Wolfe rolls it through into a figure four on Kurt’s arm. Kurt breaks free and locks the Angle-lock again. Desmond goes for another counter and locks in an arm and leg lock before grabbing a hammerlock. It’s like fake UFC all over the place.

Kurt kicks out Desmond’s ankle and goes for another Angle-lock. Desmond rolls through and he locks in his own ankle lock for some reason. Kurt then locks in a modified triangle lock but Desmond counters with an armbar of his own. The crowd chants that this is wrestling as you can probably hear Dean Malenko jerking off somewhere. What I would give for Chris Jericho to call this match.

Kurt is now trapped in a choke but he rolls out and grabs the Angle-lock again. Desmond tries to kick out of it but Kurt has it snaked, which we know means it’s over. Wolfe taps and we’re tied up.

Shocker of shockers, we’re going to the next fall. Jason Williams is there as the announcers take potshots at the WWE who is running a show at the O-Rena. Kurt hits an Angle Slam as he tries to scale the cage but Wolfe breaks it up. So Desmond has a busted leg and Kurt has a busted arm and you have to win by climbing out of the cage. Hey, ring psychology.

Desmond hits a second-rope suplex. He climbs to his feet and again I’m reminded of how much I miss his haircut. With a shaved head, he looks so damn generic. Desmond climbs the cage but Kurt rams his leg into the steel. Desmond eats a run-up belly-to-belly and they both take a bit of a rest.

The match so far has been good, but the intensity just doesn’t seem to be there yet. We know they can both wrestle, but the match just doesn’t feel epic yet.

Kurt hits a clothesline and Wolfe is bleeding. Kurt goes to the top rope but eats a foot to the face. The move served to hurt both men, as Desmond hit Kurt’s busted arm with his busted leg. Wolfe calls for the door as he crawls out of the ring but Kurt charges. Desmond hits Kurt with the steel cage door and it appears that Kurt is now bleeding. Wolfe is already on the steel stairs but Kurt drags him in with the Ankle-lock. Desmond taps like a madman and we get a shot of him all bloody to ensure that it makes it into a video package. Desmond then appears to pass out from lack of blood coughHartAustincaough.

Kurt climbs with one arm instead of just going out the door. Kurt is at the top of the cage and Wolfe just wakes up and starts crawling towards the door. See, what did I say? They would both make it and it would come down to a last second lunge. Apparently Kurt landed first, so he wins. The match was a great wrestling match, but am I going to remember it in a few months?

Jeremy Borasch is in the back with Mick Foley so that we can talk about Hulk Hogan. See, just like that, we’ve overshadowed an entertaining wrestling match to talk about Hulk.

Mick Foley says that he wants to talk about Hulk Hogan. Hogan has tuned Mick’s life upside down. Mick will ask real questions on January 4th and Hulk will answer them.

We get a video package about a man in a black hoodie that jumped Styles. His name? Daniels. Not Christopher Daniels, mind you., but Daniels.

We get footage from the triple threat match in which Styles “stole” Daniels’s win. We relive Daniels getting fired and bitching about how AJ didn’t try to save him. Fair argument.

Our tale of the tape is that they are friends no more, they have no excuses and who is the next challenger. Okay.

Daniels is in the back and he appears to be praying. He comes out to yet another generic rock song and I can’t help but wonder that when Hogan shows up, will a guy like Daniels be forgotten once again? Probably.

Speaking of men who will be forgotten, we see AJ Styles in the back walking towards the ring. He flips down his hood and here comes his entrance, with the only bit of impressive pyro that TNA has. These two need to steal the damn show just for the sake of doing it, if you ask me. But you didn’t, so screw you. That’s right, TNA PPVs have turned me bitter against you. Take it like a man.

I kid, I kid. Jeremy Borasch announces the two combatants. Daniels gets booed, which is a good sign. His opponent, from the fake Gainesville, gets a nice pop.

I think in an effort to keep the fans on their toes, these two should start fast and stay fast. If they try to do mat-based wrestling, they are going to lose the fans who just got all the mat-based action they really ever wanted.

They lock up and push each other from corner to corner to corner to…it’s a stupid six-sided ring. I’m curious if we’ll remember this as the last TNA main event to feature ‘Net darlings.

Daniels goes for some mat wrestling to start, which probably isn’t going to win over a crowd that JUST SAW THIS. Pace your show better, TNA. Hell, they could have just saved the Knockout Title for just such a slot to break up the two “classic” wrestling matches (well, as classic as a cage match can be).

These two continue to trade armbars as Tenay hypothesizes that he is intentionally trying to keep AJ grounded. AJ gets in control and hits his trademark dropkick. He then chops Daniels and you can kinda sense that the crowd wants to erupt. When you have a crowd that has sat through an entire TNA PPV and still WANTS to cheer, you give them something to cheer.

Styles badmouths Daniels before hitting an impressive headscissor. Unfortunately for them, I just don’t get what about this signifies that this is the main event of a Pay-Per-View. The audience seems sedate.

Daniels hits a monkeyflip and then delivers a clothesline on the apron. Styles lands on his neck, which hammers home the fact that he’s going to attack the head. Daniels sits AJ on a chair and then drives him through it after pulling a page out of Eddie Guerrero’s book by feigning the use of another chair. Nice little heel move.

This has been such an exhausting PPV that they REALLY need to pick it up. But hey, as long as the fans don’t turn on this like Aries/Black, TNA should call this a win. AJ hits another headscissor but Daniels goes after his back and sets him up for a top rope cradle suplex. Instead, he just dumps him off the top turnbuckle. It’s a unique looking move that unfortunately was originally shot as a botched move. Thankfully, the replay shows how great it actually way.

AJ fights back but Daniels knees him in the back. Daniels hits a springboard moonsault and then locks in a crossface. Styles grabs the rope to break the hold. This is yet another match that sort of has a foregone conclusion, so the idea is to just enjoy the ride. AJ has to keep the title, because he’s the one that has ready-made feuds with Angle and Joe. On top of that, Styles is the face of positive TNA, so they want the gold on his waist when they go to the January 4th show.

AJ is on the outside and Daniels leaps over the top rope for a splash but gets caught and eats a powerbomb. That looked great. Anyway, TNA is coming out of this PPV with no real storyline momentum past January 4th, which means they’re putting everything on the line with this Hogan stuff. Styles and Daniels will settle their feud here, which ties up the last outstanding storyline.

AJ hits the springboard inverted DDT for two. Think about it, Steiner lost clean to Lashley to end their feud, Morgan beat 3D to end that feud, Angle beat Wolfe to end that feud, Foley and Abyss beat Raven and Richards to end that feud. All the loose ends are tied up nicely, which means everything is all Hogan all the time.

Daniels sets Styles up on the second rope for a suplex. The rope, mind you, not the turnbuckle. THAT is innovative. AJ is on the top rope and Daniels just clocks him in the face before going for the hurricarana off the top rope. He then hits a Shining Wizard for two. He has a sick knot on his head that looks like a worm about to bust out of his face.

AJ and Daniels trade suplex attempts before Styles hits a Brainbuster on what now looks like Daniels’s unborn fetal twin hanging off of his forehead. AJ leaps off the top rope

Styles Clash blocked but he hits the Pele Kick and now goes for the Styles Clash but Daniels grabs the ropes to break the hold. AJ hits another Pele Kick and Daniels is out on his feet. He goes for a German Suplex but Daniels grabs the ref for the distraction. He then hits the BME for two.

AJ catapults Daniels into the turnbuckle and hits the Styles Clash for two. So I guess EVERYONE can kick out of EVERYONE’s finisher tonight. Styles climbs to the top rope but gets caught by Daniels. He goes for another Hurricarana but gets caught and AJ hits a Styles Clash off the second rope for the pin. Well that was an innovative way to get the win.

They told a nice little story about two men knowing each other so well that their standard moves couldn’t get it done, so he had to bust out a modified Styles Clash. It’s kinda like Cena’s second rope FU that he uses for special occasions.

Well, this PPV is in the books as Styles holds his title and basks in the love of the people who scored free tickets.

I can’t believe I watched an entire TNA PPV and I’m still alive.

I’ll be back for RAW tonight, so in the meantime…

This has been for your consideration.

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