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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
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.

Wrestling Recap WWE

It’s time to test my theory that TNA is better without Hogan, because he’s back tonight. Immortal is riding strong once again after running the table at Turning Point. They debut a new title belt, which looks like a Halloween mask. The Pope, Matt Morgan, RVD and Samoa Joe step up to oppose them. They still seem heavily outnumbered. Samoa Joe has to take on Gunnar and Scott, Matt Morgan gets three opponents: Beer Money and Doug Williams. RVD faces Kaz and if he wins he gets a title shot. AJ Styles already has a date with Stevie Richards so it’s a full card already.

Team 3D tease me with retiring but Ray turns on Devon so they’ll be around a while yet. Joe wins his match easily but Jarrett leads a beat down until Kurt Angle appears to drive him off. RVD loses when Rhino turns on him, despite supposedly no longer being under contract. The Pope gets to beat up Eric Bischoff and Matt Morgan manages to win his three-on-one match and earn a rematch versus Hardy from a cocky Bischoff. This managed to be an ok show, despite Hogan being here. But at a time when the heels are running wild over the show did we really need two more heel turns?

Time to close out the wrestling week with Smackdown. Edge is set to face David Otunga so Nexus prepares for a beat down. Vickie Guererro is in charge tonight since Teddy Long got delayed by customs. Vickie makes the Otunga/Edge match a Lumberjack Match with not only Nexus but the whole roster surrounding the ring. There’s also a Big Show versus Kane match set for tonight.

Alberto Del Rio face Kofi Kingston. This is a good match and serves as a reminder that this show busts out good wrestling with more regularity than RAW. Del Rio gets the win but his celebration is short as Rey Mysterio arrives to reignite their feud. Layla and Natalya have a pretty good match that ends with Layla tapping to the Sharpshooter. The Survivor Series match will pit Natalya against both Michelle McCool and Layla so I don’t see Natalya winning.

I figured Edge and Otunga would be last but they get the 9:00 slot, leaving Kane and Show to end the night. Nexus being at a disadvantage numbers wise is a nice change. Although they seem to be scraping to find 16 lumberjacks. Goldust is out there and he’s a RAW superstar. Even Fit Finlay is out! Yay Fit! Alberto Del Rio doesn’t play nice and messes with Edge a few times. But Otunga is on the ropes until Kane appears out of nowhere and Chokeslams Edge, giving Otunga the win. Nexus has lost enough people. As weak as Otunga’s ring skills are he can act and plays a decent role in the stable.

MVP gets his shot at Dolph Ziggler’s Intercontinental title. There are two reasons he won’t win. One, this is free TV. Two, he’s MVP. It’s not a great match but there are a lot of cover attempts to add drama. MVP should have won at one point when the ref was distracted reattaching a turnbuckle cover while MVP scored more than a three-count. In the end Ziggler wins, but only after pulling MVP’s foot off the ropes, which should force a break. Hard to say if this was a filler match or this feud will go on for a bit.

Cody Rhodes goes for cheap heat by making fun of British people’s teeth. It’s not original but it works.

Kane versus Big Show is a pretty major match for filler in someone else’s feud. This could easily have been the Survivor Series matchup instead of Kane/Edge. Paul Bearer has been missing all night and we soon see him tied up next to a convenient monitor showing the match. Props to Todd Grisham for remembering these two were once tag team champions together. Again, the wrestling here is not superb but the storytelling helps a lot. I’d rather watch this again than another Kane v. Taker match. Kane looks to finish off Show when Edge interrupts the match by wheeling out Paul Bearer and threatening to shove him off the stage. Remember, he’s the face. Big Show recovers to Chokeslam Kane and win the match. Show may be the only other person on the roster who could beat Kane at this point in time without killing Kane’s heat. Edge leaves with Paul Bearer, presumably holding him captive for a week. Man the laws that are casually broken on wrestling shows.

Not a bad match. It pushed the PPV fairly well and the wrestling was interesting if not technically stellar. Kane cost Edge his match; Edge cost Kane his match. Nexus never looks as strong without Wade Barrett and perhaps that’s the point. At this point I’d like to see the Survivor Series card settled, perhaps with a Survivor Series match? But what they are doing so far should be getting people interested in buying the show.

TNA Wrestling Recaps

TNA is entitled “Kung Fu Bischoff” which doesn’t inspire confidence as I never want to see Eric Bischoff fight again. Bischoff wants Anderson to pin him or he won’t get a shot at Jeff Hardy ever, but Anderson is supposedly at home healing. I have no idea if Anderson has a legit concussion after a scary looking chair shot. His phone voice sounds pretty shaky so my gut instinct is that he is legit hurt. That’s what happens when you take unprotected chair shots to the back of the head.

Fortune continues to try to turn RVD against his EV 2.0 compatriots. I thought back today to how bad on the mic AJ Styles was when I first checked out TNA back in the days of weekly PPVs. Styles really is the biggest success story of TNA, a few years back that would have been Samoa Joe but he’s been floundering for a while. Speaking of Joe, Jeff Jarrett will face him at Turning Point if Joe can make it. Joe shows up to beat him up so that match is actually happening.

And yes Team 3D claim they are retiring from professional wrestling after Sunday’s match. I don’t think that’s going to happen but I hope it will.

RVD and Rhyno face AJ Styles in a Triple Threat for the TV title. Styles retains and RVD just gets more and more paranoid. Now Tommy Dreamer wants RVD at Turning Point. So, another last minute match. Flair puts Doug Williams and Kaz against each other to work out their differences, but Beer Money interferes on Kaz’s side just making Doug Williams even more on the outside. Abyss and the Pope get a start to a match before Abyss just starts attacking fans. So the match is thrown out and Pope proposes a PPV Lumberjack Match with fans for lumberjacks. Abyss has no problem with that.

We get a long drawn out introduction that Jeremy Borash has to read. When Borash balks Bischoff decides Anderson isn’t here Borash will make a good opponent. Anderson’s promo plays, but that’s just to allow Matt Morgan to sneak up on him and kick him in the face. So Morgan signs the contract to face Hardy in Anderson’s place. Ric Flair even comes out to make it official. He wants Morgan to suffer for turning on Fortune and what better way than a match with Jeff Hardy.

TNA has done its best to stay on course despite injuries, limited appearance contracts, and just the limited state of many of their veterans, but not everything can be booked at the last minute. If a TNA fan skipped this show I doubt they’d buy the show Sunday. I don’t buy TNA shows ever, but I’m not excited about this one.

Posted on November 6th, 2010 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: TNA Week Ending 11/6/10
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.

Wrestling Recap, The Undertaker

It feels like WWE has been having a lot of Pay Per Views lately. Smackdown is the last stop before Bragging Rights so let’s see what they can do to push one of their less popular shows. We open with the 7 members of both teams (minus R-Truth who still can’t get into Canada) in the ring and Teddy Long letting them book their own matches. Miz put himself, Jackson and Sheamus on one side which Show counters with himself Kofi and Rey. Edge challenges CM Punk, Morrison wants Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger goes after Santino. Tyler Recks keeps his mouth shut. Oh and Kane takes on Randy Orton as we already heard.

The six-man tag starts right away. Matt Stryker shows he is, or at least was, a comic book fan by referring to this as Secret Wars. Despite putting more powerhouses on the RAW side it’s Smackdown who picks up the win when Mysterio hits a Splash off Big Show’s shoulders. So Smackdown looks strong again, pointing to RAW winning on Sunday. Swagger takes on Santino but, for some reason, Hornswoggle takes issue with Swagger’s Soaring Eagle. Most of this is a joke and Swagger picks up yet another win for Smackdown. Stryker: “Santino is going to need Cobra and Destroy to get out of this one.”

Now that Cody Rhodes is one half of the tag team champions maybe he should stop having solo vignettes. Del Rio and Morrison put on an okay match, but Del Rio wins for Smackdown, again. We’re also only at the halfway point when the Edge/Punk match gets underway. It is a bit odd to have two guys who were just traded for each other defending their new brands. Did Cole just say Evan Bourne is injured and out for four months? My cable goes out just as Miz and Alex Reilly attack Edge, causing a DQ, one-by-one the rest of the team come out to hit a move or two then get taken out and wait for the next guy. The cycle ends with Punk coming back to GTS Mysterio then eat a Spear from Edge. I know Smackdown is on a new network but do we have to push them this hard?

We get more annoying Diva crap as LayCool dresses as The Hart Foundation. They face Natalya and Kelly Kelly in a tag match. We learn that Layla will be the one to wrestle on Sunday which is annoying when Natalya makes Layla submit because it pretty much ensures that LayCool is retaining Sunday.

Kane and Rady Orton put on a better match than I was expecting out of them. Both look strong but Kane loses the match when the lights go out and Taker’s music plays. The show ends with the return of a classic bit as Undertaker comes up through the ring and drags a screaming Kane down and out of sight.

Over on TNA the heels are running the show. No Hogan and no more Dixie Carter means Bischoff is running the show. He puts Ken Anderson, who has one arm in a sling, against Kazarian in an Ultimate X match. If he can survive he’s the number one contender. Bischoff plants seeds of doubt in RVD’s mind that more of his friends will turn on him before putting him in a tag match with Sabu against Beer Money.

The Pope is a face now and he gets AJ Styles in Street Fight. Bischoff plays fair and bans Fortune from ringside. It’s a title match and a fine, roughhouse match; until Abyss, not technically a member of Fortune, runs in and destroys The Pope. Did this elevate The Pope? Maybe a little, but not much. Later, Pope is mad Samoa Joe didn’t come to his aid. Still later, Jeff Jarrett and the two “security guards who are actually rookie wrestlers” take Joe out.

In diva crap, Miss Tessbacher needs to become a wrestler now and WWE’s Katie Lea Burchill is here, but they’re calling her Winter and I get a weird “mad Ophelia from Hamlet” vibe off her. Mickie James beats Sarital then Tara attacks her post-match. Oh and that Jersey Shore rip off I want to see gone gets to beat Amazing Red. Team 3D wants one last title match, after which they will retire. I hope they manage to put on a good final match. I hope they put over the Guns then I hope they stay retired.

The RDV/Sabu v. Beer Money match doesn’t last long before Sabu brings a chair in the ring and accidentally throws it in RVD’s face. 1) He hit RVD 2) Had he hit his target they would have been disqualified anyway. RVD goes after Sabu and EV 2.0 has to pull them apart. Anderson gets a Fortune beat down before the match. They drag him to the ring, not technically interfering because the match has not started yet. Kazarian almost wins before Anderson recovers. Anderson wrestles the match one-handed and still manages to keep it entertaining. Then they make a big mistake. Anderson brings out a ladder. Now I watched the very first Ultimate X match, which Kazarian won 7 years ago, and there was one rule: No ladders. Now they forget all about that? There is no point whatsoever in an Ultimate X match if ladders can be used. Real fans care about the details. Now, perhaps he would have been disqualified had he succeeded, we’ll never know. Fortune runs in and destroys Anderson before he can get the X and Matt Morgan just puts Kazarian on his shoulders and he claims the win that way. Anderson gets a steel pipe and chases off Fortune, only to be ambushed by Jeff Hardy with a steel chair. If you like a little blood in your wrestling then TNA trumps WWE hands down.

The finish is Flair and Bischoff heading off to go clubbing together, but Kurt Angle, pipe in one hand, the other in a sling, trashes their limo. This was actually a pretty good show. Yes, there was a lot of crap I’d prefer not to see, but unlike last week it seemed to all come together. Could the common denominator in TNA booking good shows be leaving Hogan off camera?

Bragging Rights is sponsored by Smackdown vs RAW 2011. Would it be cynical to think this is the only reason they have this particular event? I happen to think WWE simply has too many Pay Per Views, with 3 in a six week span build up is going to suffer. Did we need Hell in the Cell? Wouldn’t it have been better to have two more weeks to build to Bragging Rights? I won’t be seeing the show so I don’t know how much it matters to me. I’m not agonizing over the fact that I’ll miss 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.

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