Monday, May 17, 2010

TNA great when it sticks to wrestling, promos

You may have noticed that I don't really write that much about TNA in this here blog. I'm not a regular watcher for one big reason - the storylines.

Frankly, if you miss an episode, it is nearly impossible to follow what is going on. Now, in a normal network show like LOST, this would be a reason to make sure you watch every week. However, the storyline logic in TNA is so shitty that I have the opposite reaction. In any given week, there are crosses and double-crosses, mixed with angles based on one wrestler overhearing two others in a bathroom. yikes. I think this is part of the reason why TNA had to admit failure and switch back to Thursdays, after trying to compete with Raw on Mondays for a couple months.

In contrast though, the in-ring product is normally excellent for TNA, which is why I normally like watching the PPVs. For example, the first hour of Sunday's, Sacrifice, was awesome. There was a really good three-way tag team match between Team 3D, Beer Money and the Motor City Machine Guns for a title shot, followed by the European Championship (or whatever they call it) being defended in a decent match between Rob Terry and Orlando Jordan, of all people. This was followed up by another really nice match between Doug Williams and Kaz for the X-Division title, which thankfully ended clean. (Another consistent TNA problem is a ridiculous amount of false and contested finishes.)

Unfortunately though, storyline issues reared their ugly head for the next two men's matches. Scott Hall should not be wrestling anymore - He is obviously fat and out of shape, and as a result, he seemed to miss several spots in the match. The Band's match vs. Ink Inc., a grossly tatted up team, ended in a contested finish with a run-in by Team 3D. This match was followed by a decent women's match between Tara and Madison Rayne, even if you could tell that Rayne wasn't going to do much in the ring because her breasts were basically held in place by a microscopic layer of cloth.

But after this, we got the "bathroom spying" match, Desmond Wolfe vs. Abyss. I would try to explain the story for this, but I honestly have no idea of why they're fighting, except that it involves a Hulk Hogan Hall of Fame ring, Lacey Von Erich spying on another hot girl in a bathroom, and a redux of a stupid WCW angle involved Miss Elizabeth and Goldberg that sucked 10 years ago. Also, apparently the ring gives Abyss the special powers of Hulk Hogan, as the end of the match featured TNA's Mankind / Catcus Jack-like character hulking up as if he was a god damn cartoon.

Thankfully though, they segued from this match to one of the best promos I've seen this year, by Mr. Anderson (a.k.a. Mr. Kennedy). It would be nice if TNA didn't have to rely on the brittle and the drugged leftovers from the WWE, but hey, if they're willing to swallow the risk in employing them, I suppose I should enjoy the match. Hardy won after a really good, back-and-forth 20-minute match, which kind of stinks to me given how great Anderson's promo was.

This was followed by a ridiculously bloody squash between Sting and Jeff Jarrett. Hulk Hogan eventually broke it up. Like the Abyss thing, I have no idea what the eff is happening here; maybe Hogan wants to be the face in a Sting match, making up for the year-long stalking Sting had of him in WCW.

Finally, there was the world championship match. I must say though, it is a shame what they've done with Styles' character. They have basically turned him into a poor man's Ric Flair, between the tanning, the frilly ring robes, Flair as a valet and lame heel promos. You can tell he's not really comfortable with the character, and the sooner they dump the whole god damn thing, the better.

Also, what does it say about TNA that their current world championship programs involves 1) a wrestler synonymous more with two ECW and WWE/F than TNA and 2) Flair, who I don't think anyone even wanted to see involved with wrestling anymore after his Wrestlemania sendoff.

Oh yeah, the match itself. Flair went on commentary about 10 minutes into the match, which was kind of neat - He should just replace the overrated Tazz, although I doubt he's interested in a commentary job. The match was really good until the final three minutes, when Flair tried to interfere, which led to Jay Lethal (the company's Randy Savage clone) interrupted him. Hey, TNA! Why are you taking the emphasis off your title match with a fight outside the ring involving the champion's valet? Thanks to Lethal's help, RVD was able to win clean, which is nice, I suppose.

The frustrating thing about TNA to me is that they have a talented roster. All the pieces are there for them to be a legitimate challenge to the WWE. However, it is all compromised by the obvious backstage / veteran politics (prominent roles for Hall, Nash, Flair, Hogan, and Sting despite them being shells), the ridiculously bad storylines, and the over-reliance on former WWE stars.

Grade for Sacrifice: C

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