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TNA has decided to start joining matches in process to start the show. There’s a four-way tag match between Ink Inc, Beer Money, Generation Me and the Motor City Machine Guns. But with Ric Flair on announce the focus is entirely on Hogan and Bischoff being forced out and not here tonight. Sabin has to Crossbody two guys off the top of the ladder to get the announce team to actually start talking about the match. This new ref is becoming the middle of storylines as he counts the pin Ink Inc scores on Beer Money and that leads Fortune to want to rough him up. Matt Morgan takes Flair hostage to save the ref. Jackson James is the ref’s name.

Mickie James will perform later and Eric Young auditions with his cowbell. Orlando Jordan’s blue floral outfit is… is… unfortunate. I don’t like country music as a general rule, so maybe I’m not the best judge, but Mickie doesn’t sound very good. When Tara attacks mid-song I’m relieved.

Jackson wants to ref Matt’s title match but Matt still hasn’t made up his mind. I guess Flair is in charge at the moment as he’s threatening to name the ref himself if Morgan doesn’t do it tonight. One candidate, Douglas Williams, has another match with Kazarian now. Both these guys are better in the ring than out so it’s a decent enough match for TV. Williams beats Kazarian, and has a number of times before. Later, Morgan tries to talk to Williams but AJ Styles leads a Fortune attack that the road agents have to break up.

Brother Devon is back in the Impact Zone but Brother Ray won’t answer his callout until Devon calls him a coward. The crowd doesn’t care until Ray insults Taz. That gets their attention. But Bubba still won’t enter the ring to meet Devon face-to-face. This is a weird crowd. The latest chant is “He sells tickets” in honor of Devon. I’m not sure that’s true but it’s a nice sentiment. Ray uses So Cal Val as a shield to escape his half-brother’s wrath.

Enemies Samoa Joe and The Pope have to tag team together tonight. Sarita, Madison Rain and Angelina Love have a three-way match. Sartia hides outside until Rain takes out Love then Sarita steals the pin. Winter tries to comfort Angelina after the match and actually gets Love’s attention.

Ric Flair’s hand picked opponent for Matt Morgan is Rhino. Is the free agent market so weak we need to make a big deal about Rhino? Morgan blades his forehead early on to demonstrate Rhino can make a man bleed before the First Blood Match with RVD on Sunday. The hot crowd is totally behind Morgan. Rhino has never really impressed me so neither does this match. Morgan finally hits the Carbon Footprint after bleeding a crimson match. Just as he’s about to score the pinfall Fortune attacks and draws a DQ. RVD looks to make the save but goes after Rhino. Fortune continue the beat down until Jeff Hardy arrives. Hardy looks to hit Morgan in the back of the head with a chair, just like he did to Mr. Anderson. Isn’t it convenient that Anderson makes his return at that moment to drive off the heels? Steel pipes make good equalizers. Anderson’s mic skills look to be as solid as ever as he takes his customary microphone. And thus the payoff to the mystery ref storyline. Anderson offers, Morgan accepts.

Among the reasons I hate Robbie E is he forces me to watch things like “The New Jersey Fist Pump Competition”. Even Jay Lethal can’t salvage this no matter how charismatic he is. At least the brawl that follows is watchable.

If you were wondering who Samoa Joe and The Pope have to face it’s fairly obvious, Abyss and Jeff Jarrett. The early story is the faces not working together. Then we switch gears at the end when the ref gets knocked out, Jarrett tries to use a guitar, Joe kicks it to pieces but, when Joe picks up the remains of the guitar, the ref sees it and thinks Jow cheated. So they get DQed. The heels try a beat down but Kurt Angle is hiding in the casket to make the save.

TNA has to lug about nine matches at once for their PPVs. WWE gets to split their feuds between two shows so they have a lot more time to build them. Yet, this did not seem like a great show on the cusp of the PPV. I’m not particularly upset that I won’t see Final Resolution.

Posted on December 3rd, 2010 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: TNA Week Ending 12/4/10
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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

Can I stretch TNA into a column of its own? We’ll see. The opening promo is all about Jeff Hardy but it’s Ric Flair who opens the show. Ric is the new special guest referee for Matt Morgan’s title shot against Jeff Hardy. Flair calls out Morgan, who answers. Flair, who has never lacked for balls, wants Morgan in a match. Morgan says wrestling Flair was number one on his bucket list anyway so he’s happy. Later they add a stipulation, if Morgan wins he can pick a referee. Lose and not only does he lose his title shot he never gets another shot at Hardy again.

We get a weird mixed tag next. The Motorcity Machineguns join Jay Lethal and Velvet Sky to take on Generation Me, Robbie E and Cookie. This is a fast paced and athletic match. During it we learn Lethal gets a rematch against Robbie E at the next PPV. It takes spray to the eye and a handful of tights for the heels to pick up a win. At least TNA is letting some young guys win matches. The guns demand a rematch with Gen Me alone on Reaction. Reaction?

Jeff Jarrett is afraid of Kurt Angle despite planning to show off his MMA skills. And abusing interviewer Jeremy Borash is a cheap way to get heat. Jarrett seems to be playing the heel well again but does he really deserve this spot any more? If he wasn’t the founder would he still have a job? Jarrett has six MMA students out for an exhibition tonight. The crowd is chanting “You Sold Out” so they’re buying what Jeff is selling. Jeff displaying moves in slow motion then hurting students is pretty boring. Shout out to Ken Shamrock though. “Boring” chants take over as this goes on but it’s the kind of boring that makes you want someone to interrupt the heel rather than wanting to change the channel. It’s Samoa Joe who interrupts Jarrett makes Joe go through two of his students to get a Submission Match with Double J. Jarrett just throws students at Joe then runs away. This wasn’t terrible but Joe beating up a student is not a decent enough pay off. The six jobbers added nothing.

Raven has to beat Jeff Hardy or he gets fired. EV 2.0 is a shell of what it is was and maybe Raven should go so this storyline can die out. Sure, Tommy Dreamer can find a place on the roster and they try to give some rub to Brian Kendrick through his association with them but really, the stable has been running on fumes for a while now. Hogan comes out to mockingly say good-bye to Raven but he does nail some of his catchphrases nicely. Let’s take a moment to recall that Raven was in TNA long before EV 2.0. Raven was once the premiere babyface in the company and he’s a former TNA Champion. I don’t know why he’s leaving now but I wouldn’t blame him one bit if he’s finally hanging up the boots. It’s just a pity his good-bye match, if it turns out to really be that, was little more than a squash by Jeff Hardy. With Mick Foley off promoting his book EV 2.0 is now reduced to Stevie Richards, Tommy Dreamer and Brian Kendrick. They give Raven a good send off.

Dreamer sticks around to call out Rhyno. So why did Rhyno turn on them? Well, he too was here long before EV 2.0 and they came along and stole his spotlight. But, more important, none of them lifted a finger when his contract expired. Eric Bischoff cared about him. Dreamer calls him a sellout and a quitter and this leads to violence. Rhino easily deal with Dreamer so Van Dam can come out. But a Gore actually leaves Rhino on top. Does anyone still care about Rhino?

Do we even expect Shannon Moore to last long in a Casket Match against Abyss? He actually puts up a fight but I never even consider that he might win. The Pope magically appears in the casket and attacks before it ends and, somehow, we get a disqualification in a Casket Match. Angelina Love and Mickie James have a #1 contender’s match. It’s more competitive than just about any WWE Diva’s match.

How did a beached whale get in the Impact Zone? Oh no, it’s Brother Ray. Ray is taking credit for the 3D and I guess WWE let some trademarks drop because he actually calls it the Dudley Death Drop. Apparently Chris Sabin was the first man to ever kick out of a 3D and Ray blames Devon. But do we have to revive the old “I’m Shawn Michaels you’re Marty Jannetty” shtick? The crowd wants Devon but don’t get him. Brother Ray walks off tall tonight.

If you haven’t figured out by now that you need to DVR Reactions to see the end of Impact you need serious help. If you are still using a VCR, I pity you. They must have taped this show after the amusement park closed because the crowd is actually behind the new wrestlers not just mindlessly chanting for any old familiar face they see, regardless of if they’re a face or a heel. Ric Flair is a legend, but watching this match I had to wonder if he was any better today than Sergeant Slaughter was on RAW? There’s a really long ref bump that lets Flair cheat a bit then a Fortune run in to beat down Morgan. Doug Williams stays on the outside looking in. Then he starts his turn on Fortune as well. Williams gives Morgan time to recover and once he cleans house he hits a Carbon Footprint just in time for the ref to recover and Morgan will name the referee for his title shot. Look, Ric Flair is my favorite wrestler of all time but he didn’t look good here. Ric already had the best retirement a man can hope for and it’s really feeling like joining TNA is just tarnishing his legacy.

Reaction isn’t a bad show. It has a lot of solid interviews. But all it does is add depth to what we already know. It’s never new information. Now, tonight, we have an actual match on the show. But it’s an empty arena match and I’ve never been fond of those. The crowd matters to the feel of a match. Sometimes it helps; sometimes it hurts (see Goldberg vs. Lesnar – although that was so bad it was good on a bizarre social experiment level) but I want it there. The camera work on the match is also really crappy since this isn’t supposed to be heavily produced television. With no crowd, and little commentary, you can hear everything these guys say. There’s also no ref. It’s just a really long back and forth brawl The trash talk is very good but it’s too long for what it is.

Apparently, to see the end of Reaction you have to tape the show after it too. There was supposed to be more interviews with Raven and Hardy. If you stayed up until after midnight and watched them please leave a comment.

I gave TNA a lot of time tonight and I’m not sure it deserved it. This wasn’t a bad episode but the more recent ones have been better.