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WWE Elimination Chamber

This PPV was the last before the WWE Network launches and it was a serious hard sell for that new service. WWE Pay Per View revenues are about to plunge and it’s vital to put on a good face for the company right now. Notice I said good face for the company not of the company. So what does WWE do? It once again shows it can’t give the fans (or you can call them the WWE Universe if you want to induce vomiting) what they want.

Much of the PPV was fine stuff. The battle between the two most dominant factions of today, the Wyatts and the Shield, was stellar. Despite both being heel teams the crowd was deeply into the match and cheering for both sides. In fact, a “This is Awesome” chant broke out even before either side had so much as touched each other. The match itself lived up to the hype and was, easily, the highlight of the night.

The Diva’s championship match between AJ and Cameron was decent filler with AJ taking a sick looking accidental kick from her bodyguard Tamina Snuka that almost cost her her championship. Fortunately for her, Tamina was also there to attack Cameron and draw a DJ, letting AJ slip away with the title and extend her record-breaking reign.

The Intercontinental Championship match was better than I expected it to be as Big E Langston and Jack Swagger put on a fine opener with Langston retaining.

WWE New Age Outlaws

Beyond that, the booking was mostly a train wreck. The New Age Outlaws were carried to a marginally decent match by their opponents The Usos; but they have no business being in a WWE ring let alone tag team champions. Billy Gunn is 50 years old. Does he have to have a heart attack in the ring like Jerry Lawler before he’ll think about hanging up his boots. A gymnasium somewhere in Newark is missing its headliners because Road Dogg and Billy Gunn are taking a spot on the WWE roster that deserves to go to a younger, more athletic, team.

I have not seen a match as crapped on by the crowd as the Batista/Alberto Del Rio was in a very long time. Despite del Rio coming to the ring faking an injury, claiming to be unfit to wrestler then attacking Batista with a crutch the crowd still started out cheering him. They moved on to cheering for: Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, RVD, Chris Jericho and I think a few others I missed. They even invented a new term “Bootista” that is up there with “Boo-urns” in terms of cleverness. Batisita was meant to be the company’s major face going into Wrestlemania and the fans are so far from backing him they might as well be on another planet.

Which brings us to the main event. Six men put on what was actually a good match. Cesaro got a chance to shine. Christian and Sheamus appear to be set to collide at Mania and this feud was continued with a great Frogsplash off the top of a pod. Sheamus got to Brogue Kick a Plexiglas plate into Orton. The Wyatts reappeared to attack Cena to set up another likely Mania match and Kane again interfered against Bryan. But, in the end, when Bryan was eliminated and Orton retained, the crowd completely deflated. They weren’t angry. They didn’t hate Orton. They simply could not believe that, once again, the WWE had completely ignored the views they had made crystal clear. The fans want Daniel Bryan as champion going into Mania. And continuing to ignore them is going to start driving fans away in droves no matter how cheap WWE Network may be.

WWE Randy Orton

Also, Hulk Hogan is back and will host Wrestlemania. Sure, whatever.

Did you watch the 2014 Elimination Chamber? Will you be signing up for the WWE Network?

Maybe the cast and crew broke in to an executive’s house and stole some incriminating documents? Somehow the Fox series Breaking In has survived being cancelled twice (yeah, I said twice). The series from Adam F. Goldberg and Seth Gordon has been picked up for a second season of 13 episodes. The show is actually really funny and witty, it stars Reaper‘s Bret Harrison, Christian Slater, Michael Rosenbaum, Odette Annable, and Alphonso McAuley. Not to mention a great line up of guests including Alyssa Milano and Mike Tyson. The series centers around a high-tech security firm that uses extreme and questionable methods for their clients.

The success of the brilliant cable series Mad Men has made Broadcast Networks mad for period dramas. Next season of television will include Pan Am, set around airlines in the sixties, The Playboy Club, Hugh’s famed club during its heyday (also in the sixties), and Gilded Lillys, which is set in the 1980s at a New York City hotel. Now you can add into the mix an untitled wrestling drama from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jerry Bruckheimer for NBC. This one is set in the world of wrestling during the 1980s. While the show will be set in a fictional world, in the real world the eighties was the rise of Hulkamania and when the World Wrestling Federation (now known as WWE) excelled wrestling from a sport to entertainment. Personally I think there are so many places this series could go and I’m very excited about it. The Rock is a perfect producer on this as he is a third generation wrestler who not only grew up through this time period, but also even had his hand wrestling against Hulk Hogan.

It’s Thanksgiving tonight and we celebrate with some nice trash talk between Fortune and their ex-members Doug Williams and Matt Morgan. We’ll have an 8-man elimination tag match, basically ripping off Survivor Series; Matt and Doug need to find two partners. And Eric Bischoff has invited Dixie Carter here tonight.

There’s a very tame street fight between Tommy Dreamer and Rhyno where Dreamer actually picks up a win for a change. Rhyno refuses to make peace and puts Dreamer through a table before RVD drives him off. RVD wants to bust Rhyno open so, at Final Resolution, these two will have a first blood match. Meanwhile, Morgan and Williams recruit Samoa Joe.

We get some knockouts brawling and Winter (the former Katie Burchill) actually reveals herself to all the women. We get too much recap of last week’s fight between the Motor City Machineguns and Generation Me. This is just to let us know they’re going to try to take it up a notch at Final Resolution with a Full Metal Mayhem Match, which is what TNA calls Tables, Ladders and Chairs matches. It takes some work to convince The Pope to join Morgan’s team but it looks like the foursome is set.

I guess Sarita turned face on Xplosion or something because Madison Rain calls her out for a match and, this being non-title, actually gets upset. This is a long match but it’s not particularly good. We see way, way too much of Immortal celebrating Thanksgiving. Jeff Jarrett continues to declare his love of MMA. We see him lecturing a group of kids at a kick boxing school. And yeah, he hurts a little kid. Then he hurts Jesse Neal in a Submission Match. Thanks to a ref bump Jarrett goes old school and hits Neal with a guitar.

We now come to the eight-man main event. I say main event but the appearance of Dixie Carter is yet to come so that’s what TNA thinks people really want to see. They’re wrong. Storm goes out early and the faces seize the advantage going into the first commercial. Kazarian goes next and the faces are surprisingly strong so far. Then Joe and the Pope tag in at the same time and end up fighting each other on the outside. We’re already past 11:00. The heels take out Williams and that leaves AJ and Roode to take on Morgan. Morgan manages to take out AJ but, as he sets up for the Carbon Footprint on Roode, Jeff Hardy shows up. Hardy kicks Morgan in the junk then takes out the ref with a Twist of Hate. That lets Jeff, AJ and Roode beat Morgan down for a bit.

It’s not a swerve, Dixie really is here. Bischoff and Hogan offer Dixie an office job but Dixie decides to serve an injunction on Hogan for signing talent without authorization from the board of directors. And these two are no longer in charge. So who is? Do we care? Hogan’s eyes are really bloodshot. Is he on something?

I kind of miss the Turkey Bowl. At least that was original and not a blatant rip off of Survivor Series. I’ll be glad when Jeff Jarrett moves past this whole MMA thing, presumably after his Submission Match with Samoa Joe at the PPV. It’s nice to see the tide turning against Immortal but Dixie Carter is not someone I want totally behind. She needs a champion who can actually wrestle. Is Kurt Angle coming back?

I hope my American readers had a great Thanksgiving as we now have to suffer through five weeks of Christmas music.

Posted on November 27th, 2010 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: TNA Week Ending 11/27/10
Filed Under Entertainment

TNA Wrestling Recaps

Welcome to the all TNA column! TNA opens with a backstage brawl between Tara and Mickie James. These two are reasonably talented wrestlers and it’s nice to see the women grab the spotlight again. These gals put on a brawl just as good as the men until Madison, Serena and the Beautiful People show up and turn it into a street fight. The talent drops as the participants rise but there’s still some good brawling. They eventually all end up in the ring and Ric Flair comes out with Gunner and Murphy, the security guard newbie wrestlers. Flair takes a whole heap of slaps here but still won’t hit a woman. For some reason Flair is able to book a six-woman tag match for later. I have no complaints whatsoever with how this was handled.

Bischoff and Flair are palling around, but still concerned about Angle. The head trainer complains Ken Anderson shouldn’t be facing Jeff Jarrett tonight given he has a concussion. Not sure how I feel about that. Even Matt Morgan is opposed to this. Oh and it’s a Steel Chain Match.

Jay Lethal has a casket and Taz has a nice, subtle dig at The Undertaker while he does. It’s Abyss he’s after. And he gets him. I still don’t know why there’s a casket here. Abyss kidnaps some fans, again sending the wrong message. Jeff Jarrett wants Samoa Joe at Turning Point, but plans to take out Mr. Anderson tonight. Robbie E (Jersey Shore boy) takes on X Division champion Jay Lethal in a “Jersey Street Fight” for a shot at Jay’s title at Turning Point. I bet he wins. There was a time when the X Division was the best thing going on this show, but those days are long gone. If you are going to put a guy in a trashcan and hit it with something, a kendo stick isn’t that impressive a weapon. Cookie’s can of spray tan blinds Lethal and gives Robbie E the match after a rather tame match for a Street Fight.

EV 2.0 is out wondering why RVD has been ignoring their calls and tweets. I cannot make this up. So they call him out to reassure Rob they are on his side. Wow Raven goes to the weed reference. Rob is not buying it. So Fortune comes out to rub their dysfunction in their face. Fortune has EV 2.0, again at Turning Point but tonight Raven and RVD have to team  up to face Kaz and AJ. Doug William is annoyed he never gets to wrestle any more. So Flair swaps him in for Kaz.

The Knockouts have yet another brawl before they even get in the ring. Serena hits a cool Tiger Bomb like finisher on Velvet and the heels get the win. A bit anti-climatic after all the build up but, overall, the Knockouts do a great job tonight. There’s a good three team tag match between Generation Me, Ink Inc., and The Motor City Machineguns. The title is on the line, but the guns retain. That brings out Team 3-D to restate their challenge to the guns. They claim they are retiring. My sources tell me they just re-signed. The guns finally accept the challenge.

With Matt Morgan taking his concerns about Ken Anderson to Eric Bischoff I’m starting to think he’s turning face. His Fortune-mates AJ and Douglas are up against RVD and Raven. The heels jump Raven before RVD even comes out from the back. Rob walks to the ring at grandmother speed while Raven is getting beat down. Another of TNA’s useless refs takes forever to restore order. Even the heels aren’t getting along but Flair sneaks to ring side and takes out Raven with the title belt. RVD doesn’t see it and the heels get the win, but Williams is still upset because AJ stole his pin. It’s way too soon for Fortune to be utterly falling apart. The show needs to be about the faces banding together to take out the heels, not the heels self-destructing while the faces are fractious and ineffective.

The main event doesn’t even start until Reaction is on. Instead they waste time plugging an appearance by their talent on The Family Feud. Matt Morgan comes out before Anderson to try to talk sense into Jarrett. It goes as well as you’d expect. We haven’t seen Ken Anderson all night and I’m not sure we even will. The crowd is chanting “Morgan”.  The big man chains himself to Jarrett and they start the match with these guys. Matt’s not even in wrestling gear. Credit to TNA this turn is going really well. It’s a good match for the time they have. Morgan goes for the Carbon Footprint, but Jarrett ducks under it then crotches Morgan with the chain for the pin.  Morgan gets post-match revenge and is about to choke him out when his former Fortune allies come after him. They end up hanging Morgan with the chain, something you won’t see on WWE.

I decided to give TNA it’s own column this week because it’s one of the better shows they’ve done in a while. The heels end up on top again, but they’re taking losses. Morgan looked great for the first time in a long time. The problem with TNA is the same problem WCW had when Bischoff ran it. All the focus is on the heels and there are no strong faces to get behind. RVD is being misbooked as paranoid and petty. Joe is out. Kurt is out. Anderson didn’t show up tonight. Without turning Morgan I don’t know what they would have done. I again point out that this show had no Hulk Hogan and again it’s good. Maybe Hogan is still doing a lot backstage but having him off screen seems to help the product not harm it.

WWE SmackdownI like Green Day so Smackdown’s new opening makes me happy. We have an Undertaker stunt double standing on the outside of the Rose Garden in Portland. Smackdown has stolen RAW’s idea of having qualifiers for the Bragging Rights team and the first match is Rey Mysterio versus one half of the tag team champions, Cody Rhodes. You figure the tag champs will want to defend at Bragging Rights and Mysterio should go over anyway. It’s a better match than most of the qualifiers on RAW, despite the predictable ending.

Kaval talks his way into a match with Big Show where, if he lasts five minutes, he can earn a spot on the Bragging Rights team. Apparently we get yet another Kane/Undertake match at Bragging Rights, but they’re actually going to do a Buried Alive match in the PG era. Jack Swagger versus MVP for the third spot is at least hard to predict. More comic antics from the Soaring Eagle, but Swagger gets the anklelock on and MVP taps almost immediately.

Next Alberto Del Rio gets his shot and with Chris Masters as his opponent you know he’s going to qualify easily. It doesn’t help that the announce team, which has Cole again and Big Show sitting in as well, barely mention Masters. The match at Bragging Rights is not elimination, it’s one fall to the finish. Edge also gets a shot at the team and, again, you know he’s going to win even before Dolph Ziggler is announced as his opponent. Kaval actually does last five minutes against Big Show so the team is coming together as well as RAW.  Tyler Reks, a new guy I don’t even remember, comes to challenge Kaval for his spot. Kaval is game, but in rough shape after facing Show and Reks quickly beats him.

Drew McIntyre finally shows up for the last qualifying match and Kofi Kingston is his opponent. Smackdown has had to squeeze in all the same qualifiers RAW had to, but because it’s not padded out with Nexus storyline even this very short match seems better than RAW’s matches. Kingtson gets a clean win. It’s just a pity all these matches have gone the predictable way.

The blowoff of the show is more Kane versus Undertaker promos.  Kane is cutting some nice promos lately, but if you don’t look forward to the match they are going to have to blow it off, what does it matter? Taker doesn’t speak but comes out on top of the fisticuffs for a change then creates magic explosions and the urn gets dropped. There’s no rhyme nor reason to who comes out of these exchanges.

Wrestling Recap

Okay, so over at TNA “They” turned out to be Bischoff, Hogan, and the Jeffs, Hardy and Jarrett. So Bischoff has already trotted out his second good idea ever, turning Hogan heel. I’m so glad I didn’t pay to see that.  Eric also swapped contracts last week and Dixie turned control of the company over to Hogan and Bischoff. They are out to yak at first. He’s Hollywood Hogan again, just in case you weren’t already blindly aware of the derivativeness. And, now that TNA is totally dominated by heels, it’s Fortune who interrupts them… But they end up hugging. The claim is being made Kurt Angle is gone from TNA. Sting and Kevin Nash turn face for a bit of balance, but here’s the problem, this is the culmination of months of story building. It should be a huge deal, but I’m already bored. It doesn’t help that we’re a third of the way into the show and we haven’t had a match!

The knockouts get the first action of the night as Madison Rain demands a rematch with new champion Tara. Madison expects Tara to just lay down and she does. So it wasn’t a match after all. This ticks off Mickie James. There’s someone from Jersey Shore here tonight, but that’s best ignored.

Kurt is supposed to retire, but he’s not sure he should after getting screwed. That draws Jeff Jarrett. Their back and forth is pretty good, but it’s still not a match. With security’s help Jarrett gets Kurt handcuffed then slams his head into the stage. This actually draws the ire of Tazz who backs them off. Kurt’s neck is supposed to have been injured yet again so they’re playing up how Kurt could be really hurt. Samoa Joe’s mad at Jarrett too. Now more than halfway through we get a real match as Abyss takes on Joe. Even this match is ridiculously short as Abyss hits Joe with the ring bell for a disqualification. RVD has to chase Abyss off after the match. RVD wants Jeff Hardy, but Bishoff decides he has to face Mr. Anderson tonight for the shot.

The Pope has to face Fortune since he’s been friendly with Nash and Sting. Another joke of a match which leaves the main event as the only real match of the night. Those of you with DVRs had better have learned by now you need to record Reaction to see the end of this show, but even this match ends in a Jeff Hardy run in and inconclusively. TNA is trying so hard to be something special and it’s not working.

An odd week. Lots of matches, but only a few of them are actually good. RAW has the more compelling storylines, but worse wrestling, while Smackdown has action but the Kane/Taker feud is interminable.  NXT is just annoying and TNA can’t do anything right. There never seems to be a week where everybody is firing on all cylinders. It would be nice if it ever happened.

Wrestling Recap, The Undertaker

Smackdown is still on Syfy. Tonight Rey Mysterio Jr returns to the ring for revenge against Albert Del Rio. Edge is already in the new opening. I didn’t see CM Punk though so maybe he was the one traded to RAW. Teddy Long is here to officially introduce Edge. Edge is friendly with Long so I guess the face turn is in full effect. Oh lord, Michael Cole is here. Cue Jack Swagger to interrupt, accompanied by the Swagger Soaring Eagle! Funny bit. We go straight into a match. The eagle gets Speared off the apron which is always entertaining. This is a good match with Edge picking up the win in a solid piece of booking.

Cody Rhodes is teaching us to brush our teeth now? Yep, this is making me hate him. Layla wrestles Kelly Kelly. Natalya is with Kelly at ringside. Whatever happened to Tiffany? Oh… wait… I don’t care. Layla needs help to win which is a problem since she’s never going to get over on her own until this group splits up. And it’s still too soon for that.

The Big Show just jogged to the ring. His conditioning sure has improved. I wonder if he quit smoking. Show has a movie to plug. Show is team captain for Smackdown at Bragging Rights. And he names Hornswoggle as team mascot. Glee. And, because this is going so well, here come the Dudebusters to audition. Show, like the WWE Universe, doesn’t know who they are. It sucks. Show Chokeslams both of them.

Can’t we have the tag champs enter together? And why are the champs coming out first again? Do I harp on that too much? Drew McIntyre and Cody Rhodes face Kaval and Kofi Kingston. On a bad day I outweigh Kaval. The champs get the win, which make sense, but leaves Kaval still without a win since debuting on Smackdown.

Paul Bearer is as good on the microphone as he has always been. Pity Kane and Taker aren’t as good in the ring as they always were. Kane cuts another serviceable promo, but what’s with the weird organ music stings? I am not pleased we have to endure more Kane/Undertaker matches. Especially since this will probably go all the way to Survivor Series.

Time for Dolph Ziggler versus MVP for the Intercontinental Championship. WWE brass seem to take this show a lot more seriously now that it is on SyFy compared to when it was on MyNetwork TV. Or are we just in the honeymoon phase? There seems to be trouble between Vickie Guererro and Dolph over NXT storylines. Vickie walks away so we actually see if Dolph can win on his own. Except Katlyn from NXT shows up and interferes to give Dolph the win. Ziggle is getting better, except the Zig Zag seems to look worse every time he hits it. Maybe it needs to be replaced.

The three men announce team of Striker, Grisham and Cole is actually less annoying than Striker, Cole and Lawler. And Josh Matthews is here too, interviewing Alberto Del Rio. The Essence of Excellence is not a bad moniker. Mysterio dominates early on. It’s actually a bit much. Rey may be passed his prime, but the pair put on a fine match here. When Del Rio’s ring announcer tries to interfere he and Del Rio collide which sets up the 619, then a Flying Splash for the victory. I’m a little surprised he got the win here, but it wasn’t entirely conclusive so the feud will probably continue.

TNA was live this week. Abyss abducts Dixie Carter and only Eric Bischoff comes to her aid. This actually looks like it’s enough to get Abyss fired. It certainly seems like Abyss was trying to get fired. Like, Office Space trying. RVD threatens to walk if he doesn’t get his match to settle things with Abyss. So win, lose or draw Abyss is fired on the 11th.

The Hogan bad idea has been abandoned. He is not going to be able to wrestle at Bound for Glory. Oh look, Mickie James is here. She’ll be guest referee for the fourway at Bound for Glory. Oh crap, Team 3D is coming back.

Ric Flair faces Mick Foley in a Falls Count Anywhere Match. Less than a minute in and Foley is opened up. About another minute and there goes Flair. TNA wrestling with blood because we’re not aiming for 12 year olds. That said they are blanking out the profanity from the crowd. Flair can still deliver a garbage match and these two give it their all so I’m quite pleased with the results. In the end they both go through a table but Foley pulls himself up with the ropes while Flair almost gets up, then does a patented Flair Flop into thumbtacks. That means Flair has to kiss Foley’s ass. We get a Fortune attack to prevent that. I think I’m glad. EV 2.0 make the save and we see no brawl. Smart to tease a bit rather than give too much away before Sunday.

We finish with what essentially amounts to a Royal Rumble with forty-five second entrance intervals. We’re up to 19 guys in before there is an elimination, but #19 is Abyss. He throws about seven guys out before everyone piles on him. They break his momentum, but for no good reason, don’t eliminate him and go back to fighting amongst themselves. It comes down to Abyss, Anderson and Angle until, long after the last competitor entered, RVD decides to show up. RVD takes out Abyss and himself at the same time. That leaves Angle to eliminate Anderson and win $100,000. So is Angle winning the championship Sunday or is he going to surprise us all and return to WWE? I won’t be watching to find out.

A good week in wrestling, as far as I’m concerned, with Smackdown having the best in-ring action. I hope those of you buying Bound for Glory enjoy it. I look forward to reading someone else’s recap. Happy Columbus Day/Canadian Thanksgiving to those in North America. It’s my birthday as I type this so I’m off to visit family. But I should be caught up by NXT next week and you’ll see the next column as usual.

Wrestling Recaps

Smackdown arrives on SyFy with a brand new opening theme and sequence. It’s actually a big improvement. The big show kicks off with Dolph Ziggler defending his title against MVP. Not exactly big name superstars to open with. Let’s hope the match is solid… It’s not. It is all a set-up for Nexus, minus Wade Barrett, to attack. Ziggler takes the initial attack leaving MVP alone in the ring. They do the surround and attack move, then beat MVP down for Gabriel’s 450 Splash. Big Show finally shows up. I know he was slow, but he was no help to MVP. And even a giant falls to a four on one assault. You know what that means, it’s time for John Cena. Maybe if people stopped coming out one at a time they’d have a better chance. Nexus is busy beating down Cena when Big Show returns with a steel chair and drives them off. Barrett is on TitanTron. He’s just here to recap the stipulations of the match on Sunday. Apparently, he’s a friend of the network head so he gets to pick matches. Nexus vs. Big Show five-on-one and John Cena versus Kane. And here I thought they might be putting the early focus on actual wrestling.

Oh great, Michael Cole is here. We have an Undertaker/CM Punk match tonight. We get an 8-Diva tag match. There’s a few decent moves, but Hornswoggle shows up to mess with LayCool so it’s hard to take the match seriously. WWE is actually plugging Mick Foley’s new book despite Foley being with TNA now. We’re in Oklahoma so Jack Swagger gets to celebrate homecoming. He’s got a guy in an Eagle mascot costume with him. I wonder if that is an enemy in disguise. He’s upset he didn’t get a parade. So, he’s moved to Texas. Instead of the eagle betraying Swagger, Edge shows up. Edge is on a campaign against stupidity in wrestling. He’s Don Quixote now? Edge decks the eagle and Swagger runs off. That leaves Edge to Spear the eagle. Is he supposed to be a face here or what?

Sick of Nexus? Tough. They are lumberjacks for Cena’s match later tonight. Their match with Show is quick. Since four of them beat down Show earlier why would he have a chance against five? As is, once they get Show off his feet, each Nexus member locks a hold on one limb, except Barrett who puts a choke hold on Show’s neck. Show passes out quickly and gets two post match 450 splashes.

Undertaker is looking more Old School in costuming as Paul Bearer and the urn join him for his match with CM Punk. It’s the best match of the night so far, but that’s not saying much. Undertaker wins, of course, with a Tombstone Piledriver. Next up is Alberto Del Rio, still as awesome as ever. He promises Rey Mysterio and his personal ring announcer brings out a Chihuahua in a mask. Cute dog. It even has a brace on one paw. Then it’s time for the real Rey to return. Rey tries to 619 Del Rio, but the ring announcer gets involved again. That let’s Del Rio escape. Rey takes his frustrations out on poor Ricardo. That’s twice now that non-wrestlers have taken beatings. Remember, don’t try this at home.

Randy Orton is here tonight too. He faces his old pupil, Cody Rhodes. The match has barely started when Orton lands his RKO finisher, only to be attacked by Sheamus. The beating lasts longer than the match and we have yet to have one good match all night. Even the main event isn’t given much time and it also ends inconclusively when the lumberjacks attack and Undertaker appears to attack Kane. The final focus is on the brawl through the stands between the two “brothers”. Taker comes out on top, with the urn motivating him. Will that give him the title Sunday? I think so.

TNA again has a problem with split focus. Sure, they’re pushing Bound for Glory, but now they have a big live show three days before it and they’re trying to push that just as hard. So, at that show, we’re going to see Ric Flair versus Mick Foley in a Last Man Standing Match. It’s WCW all over again. Giving away money matches for free. Their promo is awesome, but it’s nothing new. These two already had their long running feud out in WWE. Just like ECW had a revival already in WWE. TNA always striving for new things to copy.

Tonight Kurt Angle faces Abyss in a Steel Cage. The Pope, Kevin Nash and Sting continue to complain about WCW. So, at Bound for Glory, Jeff Jarrett, Samoa Joe and Hulk Hogan will face Sting, Nash and Dinero. Hulk Hogan, who is recovering from back surgery, which they have admitted on camera, is supposed to step in the ring in ten days?! Do they really think anyone is going to pay to see that? Tommy Dreamer actually scores a pinfall as he and Rhino beat Beer Money. Jay Lethal and Amazing Red traded the X Division title back and forth at some house shows; but other than mentioning it and a few still shots neither one is actually on the show. Has the X title been reduced to Xplosion fodder?

Generation Me beat Ink Inc, but the Tag champs get Chris Sabin’s stolen title back from the #1 contenders. We tease more troubles in the top ranks, as an off-screen, unheard phone call from Hogan shows he’s behind Angle while Eric Bischoff likes Ken Anderson. Where the heck is Jeff Hardy tonight? Is he selling the Abyss beating? Kurt bleeds a bucket in the main event and carries Abyss to a decent match for a change. We carry on to Reaction yet again as Kurt teases a Moonsault off the top of the cage, but doesn’t deliver. That’s probably for the best. Abyss takes Angle out but the ref goes down in the process. Ken Anderson comes to Kurt’s rescue. Abyss takes him down too, rips the cage door clean off and goes for Janice. Kurt recovers and manages to take it (her?) from him. The ref never recovers, we don’t get a winner and we just go off the air with Kurt standing there holding Janice. Lousy ending people. You have to watch a lot of Reaction to see that Kurt refuses to shake Ken Anderson’s hand after the show.

Also on for next week is a Battle Royal including every man on the Bound For Glory card. That’s twenty-five men. And the prize? $100,000. Nice to see inflation hasn’t driven wrestling prizes up too high in the face of the global economic downturn. By now, next week’s show looks almost as interesting as the PPV and I don’t have to pay for it. So what inspires me to spend money on the second show when I’ve already had my weekly fill with the free one?

So what’s the verdict for the week? Nothing terrible happened, but I feel like nothing great happened either. TNA had the better wrestling while WWE did a better job building to their PPV. So a mixed bag of a week. Will Hell in a Cell be worth paying for? I haven’t decided yet.

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