Monday Morning Backlash with TNA Turning Point 2010 Report Card and Review, Jeff Hardy, Samoa Joe, A Firing, A Title Change

TNA’s Turning Point 2010 PPV was last and we all know what that means by now: Report Card! Without further ado, let’s get to grading the stars and reviewing the matches of the show. For a full review of the show, including results and commentary to go with mine, click here.

Robbie E

Character/Booking – B. Robbie has his annoying Shore character down pat and is being booked as an obnoxious, old school wrestling prick. All of this is quite good, but would be better if this were the TV Title division, or he were just feuding over being a total jerk. It really isn’t right for the X-Division, which is supposedly about the wrestling.

Ring Work: D-. He’s not terrible, but he works an old school style while seeming incredibly indy- not a good combination. Again, working with veterans in a more old-school style, this might not be so glaring, but with the uber-athletic Lethal, it’s a sore thumb.

Final Grade: C-. Where he wrestles makes the ring work count for more, so, the grade of Robbie E suffers, although he’s not bad, mostly just misused.

Jay Lethal

Character/Booking – F. Lethal did a bunch of great character work with Ric Flair, got the X-Division Title and became an immediate afterthought in his own feud. He’s shown none of either the personalities, promo, or fire of the previous feud.

Ring Work: B-. As good as Lethal is, he really didn’t adjust to or make Robbie look especially effective. He did his job well, but didn’t go above and beyond. The high score reflects his natural skill.

Final Grade: F. His outlook as a future star came from the great character work mixing with the ring skill. Without making others look great, without that promo skill and fire, he’s just another young athletic worker. TNA has plenty of those already and tonight was a blow to Lethal. He needs a much better feud to help him invigorate his career once more.

Robbie E defeats Jay Lethal to win the X-Division Title (**). Terrible for an opener. This killed the crowd, did nothing to make them hate the heel more, and hurt the face.

Team 3-D

Character/Booking – A+. If this was 3-D’s swan song, they were booked perfectly. They made MCMG look great, let them kick out of the 3-D, and then put them over clean and raised their hands.

Ring Work: A-. These guys will never be perfect workers, but on their last night as active wrestlers (for now, at least) they worked their asses off and were in the match of the night.

Final Grade: A. Sure, it’s graded a bit on a curve, but they really went out and did what they were supposed to in the ring and for the company.

Motor City Machine Guns

Character/Booking – B-. They were cocky faces who went out and did what they should. The grade comes from them finally being treated as the best team in the world. Something that made fans care about them as people, more than who they beat, would have put this over the top.

Ring Work: B-. They got the spot of the night, easily, in the jump up over the table, but Shelley also hurt his knee immediately before several flying moves- a reminder why as good and innovative as he is, he isn’t in the discussion for best in the world.

Final Grade: B-. They were good, just good on a night where they should have been great. It’s hard to fault them too much with match of the night, but, still, this should have been more.

MCMG defeat Team 3-D who are now retired (*** ½). A good match, with a lot of back and forth action. Given the backstory, a more concentrated heat segment could have put this over the top, while the finish was slightly anti-climactic.

Tommy Dreamer

Character/Booking – F. Dreamer is supposed to be a tough guy, but he really, really shouldn’t be doing this at his age. First off, he broke his wrist, seemingly pretty badly, and just continued with the match. Given all the machismo in wrestling and from Dreamer in particular this wasn’t surprising, but for an undercard, face vs. face match with no heat, it was unnecessary and is an example of putting your body at risk of permanent damage for no reason. Further, he then kicked out of everything RVD had. I know he’s supposed to be tough, but going home with a broken wrist is smart. Kicking out of everything with a broken wrist is taking heat away from RVD and the rest of the card no matter how much respect it buys backstage.

Ring Work: F. Dreamer was never much of a worker. He had some great stories given to him by Heyman and was really put in a great position to succeed, which he did, but he was so obviously never great that he never got a run on top no matter how depleted the card got. He’s now broken down, relying on taking a beating, from another face mind you, to make the crowd care. He’s done. I’m sure he can be an effective agent, but this is just not the role for him.

Final Grade: F. If he has anything left, I haven’t seen a sign of it in TNA.

RVD

Character/Booking – F. This match was built around RVD being suspicious there was a traitor in EV2.0. Would it have killed him to act paranoid in the match or let that come up at all?

Ring Work: D. We got ECW style RVD, which is to say spot, gloat, spot, lay around, spot, spot, kickouts, spot, finish. So, a spotfest, then. That’s not good.

Final Grade: F. This guy, like Angle, really benefited from WWE agents and it’s extremely clear when he’s in there with guys who have are a lot less competent than he. This barely resembles the RVD that got the best matches of Hardcore Holly’s career.

RVD defeats Tommy Dreamer (Dud). Further proving that ECW without Paul Heyman to hide their weaknesses is a terrible mistake.

EV2.0

Character/Booking – C. Did they do anything character-wise to be memorable? At least they finally put Fortune over, so that merits a decent grade… but they got rid of Kendrick first… utterly ridiculous since he’s the only guy on their team who could still work.

Ring Work: C. Raven, Rhino and Stevie looked terrible, and I’m a fan of the first and third in that group. Kendrick was gone before he could do anything. So why not an F? Sabu, who knew he was being fired, pulled out an A effort.

Final Grade: C. They worked hard, even those who had nothing left, and made the young guys look great.

Fortune

Character/Booking – A. It’s a bit ridiculous, more than a bit really, that TNA considers these guys, the best talent on the roster, to be the future when they are so clearly the present. They were great cocky heels tonight and looked as dominant as they should.

Ring Work: A. This match was passable when the majority of the other team was terrible. That’s a testament to just how good these guys, notably AJ Styles and Beer Money, actually are. The latter team really needs a face turn, but that’s neither here nor there.

Final Grade: A. If only their push were proportional to their contributions and/or talent.

Fortune defeat EV2.0 (** ½). Formulaic, with the heels dominating as they should, then brave Sabu fighting back, but still it worked as well as it was going to with these guys.

Abyss

Character/Booking – F. He’s this big, dominant monster, yet he can’t beat the, at best number five babyface in the company without a big heel turn and Eric Bischoff. Why should I buy into his character at al again?

Ring Work: C-. He wasn’t bad, as he’s an effective monster in the ring, but, as a giant heel, he really should just simplify his formula and sell a whole lot less. Pope needs to look good from finally hurting him, not hurt him from move one- the latter case makes damaging Abyss mean nothing.

Final Grade: D. The booking on Abyss for most of his career has been epically bad and that just continues here. He’s also a guy that would have benefited from more veteran guidance early, as with it, he could have been really special, as opposed to topping out at good.

Pope

Character/Booking – D. He sure was flamboyant, but he’s always been a streetwise, slightly heel-ish character, so he really, really should have been too aware to be turned on by his “congregation.” Also, they sold him out for money, while Pope’s always been portrayed as having plenty.

Ring Work: F. He’s athletic and I get that confusing everyone into thinking he’s a good worker since he’s (usually) a very good character, but the guy blows simple moves, sells poorly, and had no psychology.

Final Grade: D-. How over he is prevents him from getting an F, but he could absolutely stand to feud with a veteran willing to teach him lower on the card. He’d remain over, but actually improve to the point the fans would demand a push.

Abyss defeats the Pope when the Congregation turns on Pope (Dud). Lumberjack matches are tough, and putting guys at this level on it was all but guaranteed to fail. It failed spectacularly.

Jeff Jarrett

Character/Booking – B+. I forgot just how good in his heel role Jarrett could be, as he’s an absolute prick people will pay to see get beaten up. If only they bothered giving him logic for turning on, then mocking Samoa Joe.

Ring Work: F. I have no idea what the hell this was. JJ got no heat whatsoever here. He got a few very quick fluke control periods, followed by a Stroke, kicked out of, and a super Stroke, also kicked out of. I get that he was supposed to be getting his comeuppance from Joe since he was going over, but they could at least have Jarrett cheat for more control so that Joe’s comeback and near win means more. The emotional manipulations involved in a wrestling match aren’t that complex- I have no idea why they confuse TNA as they do.

Final Grade: C+. Ultimately, as bad as his match was, his character will get people back to watch Joe try and make him pay again.

Samoa Joe

Character/Booking – C+. Joe got to look deadly again against another top guy and stupid again for failing to prepare to be screwed in the exact same way he always is by heels.

Ring Work:C+. I want to go lower for the lack of the flow in the match, but Jarrett, the heel and the veteran, pretty clearly called this. Joe hit his stuff and looked crisp and interested. That’s really all he had the chance to do.

Final Grade: C+. He doesn’t get great material to work with, but he always does the best with what he has, except when he’s bored and injured. Still, tonight he was seemingly neither.

Jeff Jarrett defeats Samoa Joe thanks to Security Running in (* ½). The body of this match would have worked better with Joe the heel and Jarrett the face making courageous comebacks. The finish was boring, predictable, overdone, and wouldn’t have worked no matter what.

Matt Morgan

Character/Booking – B+. He looked big and deadly throughout the match and has been booked as logical and well-intentioned. He didn’t have the fire for a main event of this caliber, but I’m unsure his character warranted that at this point.

Ring Work: D. Okay, Morgan wasn’t bad at all, but he also wasn’t allowed to seem too much of a threat to Hardy and, as such, had trouble getting the crowd behind him. A lot of that is just how much finisher/kickout and numerous near-fall stuff there was early in the card, but Morgan, as the top face on the show, has to find a way to make his match stand out. He didn’t. A C for his work, but a F as a top face in-ring.

Final Grade: C+. At this point, Morgan won’t be a main event player, seemingly more destined for a Kane-like role. There’s nothing wrong with that, as his size, athleticism and character make him a character that’s always worthwhile and perennially going to be over, but it also means when he’s on top of a card, it’s going to be lackluster.

Jeff Hardy

Character/Booking – A+. The surprise of the year in wrestling might just be how effective this guy is as a heel. Clearly, no matter how strange a dude he is, the guy just gets wrestling fans and wrestling interactions to be more over than nearly anyone in any role. His out-of-ring ineptitude and in ring brilliance are almost reminiscent of that of Kerry Von Erich, although Kerry, obviously, only did it as a face.

Ring Work: B-. He was good here with a guy who wasn’t quite ready for prime-time.

Final Grade: A. It’s a B-PPV or the lackluster match would count against him more, but this early in his heel run, the character work and getting over being a prick are simply more valuable and don’t lower his grade as much as it will when heroes are supposed to be nearly dethroning him.

Jeff Hardy defeats Matt Morgan (** ½). This wasn’t bad, but it was badly hurt by all the near-falls earlier in the night. The main event must have an extra gear to get a better rating than this, but Jeff Hardy came out looking like gold, so there’s that.

PPV Grade: F.

Ultimately, this show had nothing important go on, no memorable matches, and was expensive filler. The evolution of Jeff Hardy as a heel is great, but most of that character work is being done on Impact and, therefore, free. This wasn’t a turning point- nothing was really resolved and the heels were dominant again. I know this has to go on for awhile, but TNA really needs to make it more compelling and less predictable if anyone is still going to care when the faces make their comeback. Oh, God… Do you think Russo and Bischoff realize the faces have to make a comeback and win?

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