All The Angles – TNA Impact
– John Willett
ALL THE ANGLES – 8 YEARS LATER
WE HAVE A WINNER!! In my last column, I asked for info surrounding a wrestler who had a porn star gimmick, who’s finishing move was “The Money Shot.” Chris Monaco, of Naugatuck, CT, not only knew the wrestler’s name, VAL VENIS (real name: Sean Morley), he also knew that I placed him in the wrong organization (he was WWF, NOT WCW), and that The Patriot was supposed to do that angle, but demurred. Chris goes by “Evil Zebra” ‘cause he’s a heel ref! Congratulations, Chris; a Man Store of Bar Harbor mug will be headed your way!
NOW—Lets get some TNA on!
No cold opening here, either; however, their Voice of God sounds like a normal guy. Wonder how much thought they gave that? Now we have Aces & Eights (the dead man’s hand-supposedly what Wild Bill Hickock was holding when he was killed), anti-establishment; no multi colored bulge exposing tights on these guys, no sir! Jeans, leather, painted faces… dadgummed hoodlums! Wearing black and blue…Hold on, wait just a cotton pickin’ minute here. I seem to remember something in my dim and distant past… I see three letters… Way off… N…W…O.
THEN who do I see? No, it can’t be. It is. Hogan. Then Sting. Then a Dudley Boy-Buh Buh Ray Dudley (or Bubba Ray, or Brother Ray), now called Bully Ray. Oh yeah, and Jeff Hardy’s their champ. So in less than one minute, I’m predisposed to going into mental lockdown, with Steve Tyler singing “Same Old Song and Dance”, over and over in my skull. But wait, it gets better! Is that REALLY? Is it TRULY? It is. Brooke Hogan. I almost just lost dinner. What. The. Hell. Hogan: “I need to do this for myself and our family.” Oh God, he STILL can’t act. AND-Buh Buh Ray is “married” to Brooke. Got the visual. There goes dinner. “It’s a good day to be a bad guy.” Oy. And all this was in the first MINUTE. I got two HOURS of this??!! (NOTE TO SELF: Demand Raise)
The show starts, and Buh Buh Ray and Brooke are holding hands, being interviewed by Normal Voice Guy…Daddy’s hurt bad. OK.
Before I go to live action, will somebody PLEASE tell me it’s gonna get better? It is? IT REALLY IS??? OK, I’ll believe you… Onward!
Mike Tenay! Good; one of the best wrestling broadcasters around. Todd Kennedy-don’t know him, but he must be OK. My stomach is beginning to settle. However, here comes Buh Buh. I will say, he’s gotten better mic-wise. Uh oh… He brought Brooke up again! Thank God there was only bile left. So far, I’ve been able to pick up that Buh Buh Ray’s kayfabe brother Devon Dudley, and former WWE commentator Tazz (one of my personal favorites) are members of The NW… no, sorry, Aces and Eights, and they’ve kept this angle going for a year now. And Buh Buh wants Devon… Buh Buh wants Devon BAD! At the four minute mark, that’s the FIRST kinda cool thing I’ve heard.
Jeff Hardy. I am NOT his target market. He’s gotten a little better on the stick, but boy, seeing him and Buh Buh in the ring together brought back amazing memories — ladders, chairs, tables… Same old song and dance… And then “Bad Influence,” who I don’t recognize at all, get pummeled, then get matched up against Buh Buh and The Tattooed Champ for giggles. Gee, that sure liked “Booking By Numbers.” In the sake of fairness, I’m still getting over the shock of seeing the EXACT SAME WRESTLING WORLD I KNEW YEARS AGO.
As an aside, I like the use of a studio to do the broadcast in; takes me back to my younger days watching local wrestling as a kid, and again with NWA Championship Wrestling out of Atlanta.
The one area I did notice a change in WWE Raw was NO Divas; not a one to be found. Here in TNA Land, however, it’s the ladies with the first match of the evening. But wait; it can’t be… It is. Sting. Yay. Chatting with some guy named Magnus, who, being fair, is a much better actor than ole’ Steve, which is why he carries the segment.
Gail Kim! I know her, former WWE Diva AND (yes, PWD Nation…I AM a Foodie) the wife of Chef Robert Irvine of Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible. Just showing what a well rounded columnist you have here! And she’s trying to heel it up! Chef Irvine must be proud. And they’re not Divas; they’re Knockouts! It’s Tara, who as we all know was a two time two time WWE Champion under the name Victoria, and Champion Velvet Sky, who, according to my research, is (except for some indie work) a product of this here promotion. Oh yeah, there was also a match… It was bad… Gail was annoying (which means she is heeling up rather nicely)… Tara started the finishing move before Sky was ready, which was, unfortunately, quite noticeable. Nice looking women, including the ref; just lousy wrestling.
Match set up—recognized a Guerrero, not the other guys. It was OK. After a word from their sponsors, another match set up—Kenny King vs. Rob… Van… Dam. Who about 65, and has the hairstyle of a 15 year old. Hey, listen — if HHH AND C.M. Punk can cut off their hair, they ALL can. Rob sounds like 13 shades of Hell; what did he do, gargle Drano?
Tazz is at the table. With attitude. Austin Aries, tag team champ, against Hernandez. God love Tazz; he’s a great heel builder, and Tenay’s trying to help, but this match is semi-crummy. Aries hit Hernandez with what Tenay called a forearm shot that couldn’t have hurt my Grandmommy, then a foreign object ending. Yeah. OK.
ALRIGHT! LISTEN UP! You promised it was going to get better! It’s only minute THIRTY SEVEN, and I can’t take much more! So, here’s what I need to know for this column, with the very first correct respondent to Your Beloved Editor winning a Man Store of Bar Harbor coffee mug… WHO’s DOING THE BOOKING FOR THIS ORGANIZATION?? Who?! ONE thing, one lousy stinking little thing has piqued my interest… ONE. That was Buh Buh versus Devon. THAT would be fun. The rest is CRAP. GARBAGE. POOP. I know this is upsetting Our Beloved Editor. But at minute 37 I’m ready to call it a night! I won’t because of the great PWD Legions of Fans (yeah, I’m trying a face move here), but I am sorely tempted…
Some big bearded guy said no to Sting to be on Team TNA… Because of Hogan?! Maybe, just maybe, business is beginning to pick up here.
Kenny King versus Rob Van Dam, for the X Division Championship. Oh Mah Gaw — Earl Hebner, senior referee. Decent match, but RVD is decidedly not the RVD of old. King had to wait several times for Rob to either get his breath back, or allow for the Geritol to take effect (yes, it is a cheap shot; however its keeping me watching). Plus, they screwed up the ending. However, King has real potential; put him in with someone who can keep up, and you’d have a decent rivalry there. And, Tazz and Tenay were selling the beejeezus outta this one. By the way, the “stipulation” was that if King lost, he was out of the division. So, anyone with ANY experience watching this guy would KNOW who was going to win. If you know who’s going to win, then the path to that result needs to be paved with greatness, which it decidedly was not in this match.
Sting. Kurt Angle. I like Kurt. Enough said.
Hogan. Knee surgery(?). Aces & Eights are bad. Now all I need is a Hogan heel turn to make me throw my TV out the window. Anyway, I’m staring at an EXIT DOOR; here they come – 5 out of 8, with Devon leading the way, speaking, with a couple scars on his forehead. Doing just as well as Buh Buh; must have taken elocution lessons. Devon/Doc/Knox/Anderson/Bischoff… BISCHOFF?? Just did my research, boys and girls… Eric’s kid. Checked who the Executive Producer is… Eric. So, the mad genius behind the NWO has re-created it, under a new name, with yet another Bischoff as a part of it. Interesting. Sad, but interesting. Sting-Samoa Joe/Cowboy James Storm/Magnus/Showtime Eric Young will be at Lockdown. I’ve heard of Samoa Joe, who’s a TNA product; I’m now finding out that Storm has wrestled for TNA since 2002, one of only 3 to do so, Magnus is essentially (except for some UK work) a TNA’er also, as is Young. So if you delve into this, what has been done is to put the recognizable TNA product against the NEW TNA product. Not a bad marketing move.
The GUT Check Match — Ivelise Felez versus Lei’d Tapa… Damn, no pop for either. Tapa/heel, Felez/face. It sounds like no matter what the decision, there will be judges that’ll decide. My personal opinion (and that is what you pay me for) is that the size and physicality of Tapa would be an excellent addition to what seems to be an overly cutesy women’s divion of TNA.
There’s a clip on A.J. Styles. OK… I know there’s a LOOOONG history of bringing families in on storylines; I know there every promotion on the face of the planet has, at one time or another, done some sort of “behind the scenes” piece that shows the distraught spouse, or shows kids, or shows whatever. Unfortunately, I still have in the back of my mind the late Chris Benoit. Oh yeah, and his late family. If you want to give one of your top guys six months off, then give him six months off, and don’t wrap it in some kind of family situation… It’s tasteless.
Umm…There are guys in yellow sweaters posing, and hitting each other, and whatever. “Bro.” “Bro Off.” I do like the fact that Tazz is not a fan of this.
The Main Event!! Buh Buh and Hardy taking on Two Guys I Don’t Know! First question: how does Hardy keep his makeup looking so nice for two hours? Finally, FINALLY a good wrestling match! Everyone’s working well together, selling well, great tag work on both teams. And excellent commentary by the broadcast team. With an EXCELLENT finish by Buh Buh and Jeff, equally excellent selling by Daniels and Kazarian. By far the best action of the night.
We follow with stock footage of Kurt Angle finding out who a mystery Aces & Eight’er is, and getting his buttocks kicked for the pleasure.
OK, friends and neighbors, what have we learned. Well, there’s a reason WWE is bigger; but there’s also a reason why TNA continues to hang around. TNA’s curse is also, possibly, its blessing. By having so many wrestlers fans have known and followed in their promotion, it attracts the many casual folks who used to follow, and once they arrive, find that it’s like a comfortable old pair of slippers, with all these familiar faces, storylines, and yes, even wrestling matches. My challenge is that I know just enough to see that the Emperor has very little on. Buh Buh Ray can still wrestle; so can Jeff Hardy. Rob Van Dam can’t. I’m assuming you didn’t see Sting or Angle in the ring for a reason. Aces & Eights? I’ve read the book, subscribed to the magazine, saw the movie, and I most certainly saw the TV shows, both WCW and WWE. The difference now between this renegade angle and WWE’s? They’re already injecting someone like Randy Orton into the mix, early on. AND, and this is important, they’re already being “outplayed” as shown by the run-in RKO. TNA’s version is going according to script; big, bad, unstoppable. Seen it.
Tomorrow night is Smackdown. Goodnight everybody!
John R. Willett
The Man Store of Bar Harbor
200 Main Street, Bar Harbor, Me., 04609