I recently managed to catch one of TNA’s cheapie One Night Only PPVs, the one dubbed Jokers Wild. I thought little of it, it was harmless enough, but as I was going through Inside Pulse last night I sort of realised that there was little to no mention of it anywhere on the site. Now, I realise that TNA is barely scratching the surface of what they could be, but I thought at least something would have been forthcoming.
So I apologise that it’s so late after it happened, here are some brief thoughts on the Joker’s Wild PPV.
According to Wikipedia, this PPV was filmed on January 12 (in the Impact Wrestling Zone, Orlando) but didn’t air until May 3.
The concept is the old Lethal Lottery / Battlebowl from WCW’s early 90s. “Randomly” picked tag teams fight over the course of the night, with the members of the winning teams going on to a Battle Royal, though this one is more Royal Rumble with two starting and extras coming in at 90 second intervals. The overall winner collects a cheque for $100,000.
Now, truth be told, I was never a fan of the whole concept back in the WCW days, and the one from 1996 was so ludicrous (a third of the teams were people who had issues, a third were actual tag teams that somehow managed to get put together, and the final third were odd enough to almost be random) and I struggle to think of a match in the whole Lethal Lottery series that was worth it.
Let’s see if TNA can do something with this that WCW could not – entertain me.
1. Coming into the ring to draw the balls out of the bingo roller was actually a good idea, with Christy Hemme and Jeremy Borash making it seem important but without drawing it out stupidly. Each man is called to the ring one at a time with each drawing, making the crowd a part of the draw.
2. Match 1: James Storm and Christian York defeated Gunner and Crimson in about 9 minutes. Surprisingly fun little match. Gunner and Crimson actually made a good tag team. Hot match to open, and James Storm is as over as anyone. The recent selection of Gunner as Storm’s tag team partner, looking at this match, may not be a bad one, but I am surprised he didn’t work with Christian York again. York pushed Gunner into a Storm superkick for the pin. 7/10
3. Match 2: Jessie Godderz and Mr Anderson defeated Douglas Williams and Kid Kash. Wow, Anderson still sucks in the ring and Jessie “Pec-tacular” isn’t the greatest, either. Williams and Kash tried hard, but they just could not pull anything out of the duo they were facing. Anderson gave the mic check to his own partner, then Kash rolled him up, but the roll up was rolled over and Anderson got the pin in about 10 minutes. Worst match of the night. 3.5/10
4. SoCalVal is with Bobby Roode backstage and he puts over the Beer Money tag team, and then cuts a, for him, good promo.
5. Crimson and Gunner talk to a camera about forming a legitimate tag team with a passionate promo. You know, I think it’d work, and help them both.
6. Match 3: Christopher Daniels and Samoa Joe defeated Chavo Guerrero and Rob Van Dam in about 15 minutes. The reactions of the guys before the matches is fantastic. When Daniels found out his partner was Samoa Joe he celebrated as though he had won the title. Another fun match. And a good one, too. I mean it. Ending comes when RVD goes for the frog splash but Joe hits the muscle buster. 7.5/10
7. Match 4: Robbie E and Zema Ion were defeated by Bobby Roode and Joseph Park. The night’s comedy match, and if you take it as that, it was harmless. If you take it as anything else, you’re nuts. Roode’s response when Park is announced as his partner is priceless. Joseph Park “Abysses” up when he sees his own blood and hits a black hole slam on Robbie E, then has no idea what to do next, so Roode tags in and pins him for the win after 10 minutes or so. Roode post-match was also amusing. 6/10
8. Daniels is overjoyed about the success of the tag team in his own dickish way, but Samoa Joe says he’ll see him out there. Short, sharp and shiny.
9. Devon intimidates SoCalVal, and then talks to the camera in a measured, not too bad promo.
10. Match 5: Hernandez and Alex Silva were defeated by Devon and D.O.C. (Aces & Eights). This is the only time a regular tag team was put together. Yeah, okay match. Just there, really. After almost 15 minutes, DOC pins Silva with a chokeslam. 5.5/10
11. SoCalVal with Matt Morgan and Joey Ryan, who are a tag team, and they have a good chance of being paired up. Another good little segment.
12. Joseph Park gives an exhausted interview. Daniels comes up and asks Park for help, and if Daniels wins he’ll give Parks his 30% retainer. Interesting little promo.
13. Match 6: Rob Terry and Matt Morgan defeated Joey Ryan and Al Snow in about 10 minutes of meh. This is the only time when regular partners are on opposite sides, and when people with issues (Snow and Ryan) are teamed up. Match was not brilliant, but the interesting dynamic of Morgan and Ryan avoiding one another in the ring was well done. Then the end came and Snow and Terry made sure Morgan and Ryan were in the ring by jumping down from the apron to the floor. Ryan tried to do something, was as ineffectual as a blowfly, Morgan apologised, smiled and hit the carbon footprint for the win. The ending made the match. 6.5/10
14. SoCalVal with Park. This is being overdone. “What exactly is this gauntlet thing, Val?”
15. Al Snow is happy that he stuck it up Joey Ryan and Matt Morgan. There are things that are more important than money, and revenge is apparently one of them.
16. Recount of all the matches is a nice touch to remind you of the participants in the Gauntlet.
17. Jokers Wild Gauntlet Battle Royal. Order of entry: James Storm, Bobby Roode, Christian York, Christopher Daniels, Devon, D.O.C., Jessie Godderz, Joseph Park, Matt Morgan, Mr. Anderson, Rob Terry and Samoa Joe.
18. It’s about 2 minutes between participants. Standard Rumble style, but with only 12 participants it doesn’t drag too much. Some nice flashes of Beer Money working together. I didn’t mind it, and at 25 minutes it didn’t overstay its welcome. James Storm eventually won, eliminating Bobby Roode. Yes, numbers 1 and 2 were there at the end. 7/10
19. Overall, a fun PPV. It didn’t mean anything, but it wasn’t meant to. It was meant to be something to showcase the talent in a different setting. They avoided the lethal lottery clichés in the main, and, yes, I was entertained. Average match rating – 6.2/10
Tags: al snow, Alex Silva, Battle Royal, Bobby Roode, chavo guerrero, christian york, Christopher Daniels, Christy Hemme, crimson, DOC, douglas williams, gunner, hernandez, James Storm, Jeremy Borash, joey ryan, Joseph Park, kid kash, Matt Morgan, mr anderson, One Night Only, Rob Terry, Rob Van Dam, RVD, Samoa Joe, Tag Team, TNA