29/02/2012

Ring Ka King 2012/02/25 Recap & Review


We open on Ram Menon standing in the parking lot, recapping the previous episode's events. He's interrupted by an ambulance pulling in at high speed. The driver hops out and after briefly talking to the interviewer, runs off, just as fast as he entered. Menon moves towards the back of the ambulance, taking a worrying look in the back and utters "I think it's here...". We pan in to the window to see a chained Abyss sitting in the back, thrashing against his bonds. Cue titles.

Rejoining the scene outside, we find Menon still standing infront of the ambulance, surrounded by Brutus Magnus, Sonjay Dutt and Scott Steiner. The ambulance rocks from side to side, with Abyss' screams heard clearly in the background. Asking Magnus what's going on, he replies "You really want to see it? Just wait til the match".

We cut to the enterance of the American Adonis (aka Chris Masters), being accompanied to the ring by Shera carrying a briefcase. Adonis is the consumate heel, sauntering down to the ring, oozing contempt for the audience. Jeremy Borash then introduces his opponent for the evening, Roscoe Jackson (aka Trevor Murdock). Despite playing a cowboy in the middle of India, Roscoe is the clear fan favourite of the two.

The American Adonis (w/Shera) vs Roscoe Jackson

The two immediately lock up, with Adonis quickly grabbing Roscoe in a headlock. Playing up to the crowd too long, Roscoe is able to whip Adonis into the ropes. However, as Adonis is the larger man, he sends Roscoe to the floor with a shoulder barge. In celebration, he flexes his pecs (ala his old WWE gimmick). The momentum swings back and forth until Adonis is knocked to the mat and bails out to ringside. Taking a moment to catch his breath, he comiserates with Shera. That is until Roscoe grows impatient, comes to the outside and chases him around the ring. In a classic move, Adonis gets in the ring first, allowing him to ambush Roscoe upon his reentry with a a number of stiff kicks and punches. He then stalks Roscue, working over his back with several running knee shots. He locks in a submission, but only on Roscoe's chin this time. Roscoe thrashes, reaching for the Adonis' head. Eventually working his way to his feet, Roscue hits a jawbreaker, sending the Adonis flying. After recovering, both men trade slaps to the chest, until Roscoe ducks and comes off of the ropes with a shot to the face. He follows it up with a big boot. Signalling to the crowd that it's time for his finisher, Roscoe climbs the turnbuckle. He successfully hits a flying crossbody, but the referee has been distracted by Shera and is unable to make the count. Roscue slaps Shera, sending him crashing to ringside. However, in doing so, he's left his back open, allowing his opponent to apply the Adonis Lock. Roscue tries to fight it off valiantly, but eventually secumbs, forcing the referee to call for the bell. This was a good showing for both men. With neither of them being a clear favourite, it allowed for a gripping level of suspense. Such a hard fought win will help Adonis greatly in his push.

Winner - The American Adonis via submission

Once again, we find ourselves backstage with Ram Menon interviewing Brutus Magnus, Sonjay Dutt and Scott Steiner. This time they've made it inside the arena, having locked Abyss into a seperate room, his shadow visible in silhoette. Scott Steiner secures the door with chains. They show distain for the interviewer following them around like this and ejected him from the scene. Steiner says he has the key and Abyss isn't going anywhere. At which point, Magnus exclaims "let's go take care of business!" and all three leave.

Alissa Flash vs Raisha Seed (w/The Sheiks)

Before we begin, let me point out how strange it is to have Alissa Flash going up against Raisha Seed, a character she herself has played for several years in other TNA programming. Clearly someone else is under the burka for this segment, but who? Anyway, I'm glad to see Flash back on my television, as the Future Legend was a standout of the Knockouts division back in 2009 before being overlooked and released. TNA are right to revisit her.

The match begins with the Sheiks on the outside attempting to distract Alissa, but she pays no attention and remains focussed on Raisha. The women lock up and both attempt to take control from behind through a series of reversals. Alissa works her way down to the mat and takes advantage, spinning around into a headlock. The reversals continue, this time utilising successive wristlocks. Eventually, Alissa manages to whip Raisha into the ropes, knocking her down with a powerful shoulder. She plants Raisha right where she wants her with a bodyslam, setting up a running elbowdrop and a subsequent two count. After recovering, both women run the ropes, with Alissa coming out ahead with an impressive crossbody and another two count. She signals to the crowd that she's about to climb to the top rope, but Raisha recovers quickly and manages to pull Alissa's leg, sending her crashing down to the mat with a nasty head bump. Clearly craddling her hurt head, Raisha jumps ontop of Alissa's back and proceeds to ram her face into the mat several times over, rubbing it in for good measure. As Alissa writhes in pain on the ground, Raisha attempts to cover, but only gets as far as a two count. Alissa shakes off her head injury and rallies back, knocking Raisa down with several clotheslines and climbs the ropes, hitting a fantastic missile dropkick. Unfortunately, this only leads to another two count and the matches continues. But not for long, as Raisha hits a surprise inverted double underhook facebuster and the pinfall soon follows. An absolutely wonderful match that proves women can put on just as good a match as any man. I'm a huge fan of Alissa Flash, so it's always a shame to see her lose, but she did so in such a dominating fashion, it probably did more to put her over than getting the win itself.

Winner - Raisha Seed via pinfall

After the match, the Sheiks enter the ring to celebrate with Raisha. Alissa is clearly hurting on the floor, but her opponents see this as an opportunity to continue beating her. Climbing ontop of Alissa, Raisa pummels her with stiff shots to the head and grabbing her by the hair, begins smashing the back into the ringmat. The abuse continues for a solid couple of minutes, with the Sheiks running off any officials who attempt to put a stop to it. Eventually, Mickie James and the Bollywood Boyz hit the ring to chase the heels off. The segment ends with Mickie checking on a shaken Alissa.

Cutting backstage, we find Ram still standing outside Abyss' locked room, this time joined by Zoravar Chotu and Doctor Nicholas Dinsmore (formerly Eugene). The good Doctor fears "the end is near", but is willing to give the diminutive Chotu a pill that will grant him the power of ten men. Eager to take him up on the offer, they start rummaging through his medical bag. Taking out a red bottle, Chotu swallows one of the mystery pills and stares down the camera whilst showing off his muscles. This was really bad comedy akin to a Hornswoggle segment in WWE. They'd do well to avoid such things.

Hollywood (aka Joey Ryan) & Broadway (aka Little Guido) vs Barood & Romeo Rapta

Hollywood and Barood start the match off by locking up, Barood quickly applying a wristlock, only to be reversed by Hollywood. They go back and forth with duelling wristlocks several times over. Finally, Hollywood applies a headlock to Barood. Being whipped into the ropes, Hollywood attempts a shoulder block, but Barood stands his ground. He tries it again to similar effect. After failing so, he invites Barood to try it to him, ending in Hollywood knocked to the mat as Barood and the crowd go wild. Broadway tags in, only to be met with a swift armdrag from Barood. Whilst holding Broadway in another wristlock, Barood tags in his partner Romeo Rapta. Jumping off the ropes, he nails Broadway in the arm, continuing to work over that area. Flipping Broadway over, Romeo gets him in a headlock on the floor. In a surprise move, Zoravar (the midget from earlier) comes running down the ramp (falling flat on his face at the bottom). He slides into the ring and attempts to hit a legdrop, but misses by a clear mile. Both teams are confused and unsuccessfully attempt to grab the little man. Running under all of their legs, Zoravar bails to the outside. He plays to the crowd by doing several flips and is eventually fended off. How bizarre! The match resumes in the ring, with Romeo hitting a hurricarana on Broadway. However, Romeo has positioned himself too close to the opposing teams corner, allowing them to double team him against the referee's wishes. Hollywood makes the tag back in and rather than focus on the match, he poses for the crowd. After getting a stern talking-to from the referee, it turns out their tag was illegal and they have to do it over again legally. In a curious move, he tags right back out again and Broadway takes control. He climbs to the middle rope, jumps off, but is met with a boot to the face from his laying foe. Taking the opening, Romeo rolls over towards his corner and makes the hot tag to Barood, who in turn dominates Hollywood with a sequences of punches and dropkicks. Barood attempts to make the pinfall, but it's broken up by Broadway. Romeo comes flying off the top rope, but Broadway knows better, meeting him with a punch to the gut. With all four men in the ring, the heels attempt to whip the faces into one another, but it's inevitably reversed and they end up running into themselves. The finish comes when Barood attempts a rollup pin on Hollywood, which goes one roll too far, letting Hollywood take the pinfall by holding the ropes out of sight of the referee. A truly horrible affair that should never have made it to television. Both teams seemed mismatched and unable to gel with each other, let alone the mid-match midget interruption. The first let down of the night.

Winners - Hollywood & Broadway via pinfall

Returning backstage, we find Ram ready to interview Ring Ka King's goodwill ambassador Harbajan Singh and commissioner Jazzy Lahoriya. Singh briefly mentions the current situation with the Monster Abyss, but quickly turns his attention to authority figure Jazzy, who announces a 12 man battle royal for tomorrow's show to determine the number one contender to the Ring Ka King Heavyweight Championship!

Ring Ka King Heavyweight Champion Matt Morgan & Tag Team Champions Chavo Guerrero and Bulldog Hart vs Brutus Magnus, Sonjay Dutt & Scott Steiner

Before the match can begin, we cut away to find the locked room open and shackles lying on the floor. The Monster Abyss is loose! Returning to the action inside the ring, Dutt and Guerrero start things off. Dutt takes the early lead, nailing Guerrero with a kick to the midsection. After seeing Dutt running towards him, Guerrero uses the corner to float over Dutt and begin a series of armdrags. Guerrero moves Dutt over into the corner and tags in partner Bulldog Hart (aka DH Smith), who gives his opponent an impressive bodyslam off the ropes. Hart uses his large stature to dominate the cruiserweight Dutt. After a cheap shot, Dutt manages to make the tag to Scott Steiner, someone much more in Hart's weight category. Big Poppa Pump quickly sets to work with several brutal knife edge chops to the chest. After a surprise side suplex, Hart manages to cover Steiner for a two count. Finally making the tag to the Ring Ka King Champion, Matt Morgan enters and damn near takes Steiner's head off diving over the top rope to the outside. Allowing Steiner to make the tag to mouthpiece Magnus, the two team leaders face off in the centre of the ring, mouthing obscenities to one another. Morgan was clearly winning crowd support as they began to chant his name. Not liking this one bit, Magnus attempted a cheap shot to the face, but was clotheslined for his troubles. Magnus finds himself whipped to the corner, set up for Morgan's signature elbows. After a quick bodyslam putting him in place, Morgan tags in Guerrero, who leaps over the top rope, rolling onto Magnus. However, his momentum is short-lived as when running the ropes, Steiner pulls the top one down, sending Guerrero crashing to the outside. Both his teammates enter the ring and voice their frustrations to the referee, but all this does is allow their opponents to double-team Guerrero. Finding their way back to the ring, Magnus makes quick work of Guerrero, pinning him to the ground and bombarding him with punches to the head. The momentum swings back and forth for several more minutes, until Magnus is in a position to lowblow Bulldog Hart with a kick to the crotch, the referee completely unaware. He swiftly hits his finisher, the Tormentum, and makes the cover to win the match for his team! A fairly predictable main event all in all. It's a shame, as these are meant to be the biggest stars of Ring Ka King, yet in any another promotion they'd be midcard fodder. Still, it's good to see some fresh faces in the main event scene, even if they had to go to India to get there. However, they could do with upping their game to warrant keeping that spot.

Winners - Brutus Magnus, Sonjay Dutt & Scott Steiner

Post-match, Matt Morgan gets back in the ring, hitting Scott Steiner and Sonjay Dutt with a double clothesline. However, just as he's about to chokeslam Magnus, the arena lights go down and a howl is heard over the speakers. After a split second video package, the lights come back on and we find a hooded Abyss standing centre of the ring, mere feet away from the Champion. Using the element of surprise, Abyss nails Matt Morgan with a punch, sending him to the mat. Abyss rips his jacket off and screams into the camera. Not happy with that, Abyss picks up the Blueprint and hits him with an impressive chokeslam (especially on a man of that size). Making the decimation of the faces complete, he proceeds to nail Chavo and Bulldog with a couple of Black Hole slams. Finally leaving the ring, Abyss attempts to attack the crowd itself in several places, officials powerless to stop him. We go off the air as Scott Steiner joins in the carnage, ripping the guard-railing up and chasing the crowds back, emptying the arena.

A curious show to say the least. I was pleasantly surprised by the first half, featuring solid displays by the American Adonis, Roscoe Jackson, Alissa Flash, Raisha Seed, etc. Not to mention the effective, mysterious promos setting up Abyss' debut with Ring Ka King. However, it all fell apart in the second half with two messy tag team matches that had no clear focus or momentum. Also, the less I see of zany midgets doing low brow comedy, the happier I'll be. They did manage it turn it around somewhat at the end though, as I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Abyss tear apart both the Heavyweight and Tag Team Champions in one go. Of particular note was the way in which Scott Steiner attempted to clear the arena all by himself! It was a mixed bag, but there was definite value to be had from this episode, even if you only watch the first half.

6/10

Clem

26/02/2012

TNA Impact Wrestling 2012/02/23 Review


The show opened with a nice video recap of the past several months, starting with Bobby Roode's heel turn and ending with his current problems with GM Sting. Now, this is fairly normal for the beginning of an episode, so what's to talk about, right? Well, in watching this recap, I noticed them using alot of the footage from tapings held inside genuine arenas and it makes the product look great, right from the get-go. TNA are slowly building up an impressive video library and if they can use it in video packages to put themselves over, that's great business.

We cut to the Impact Zone, where Bobby Roode's enterance music hits and the leader of the Selfish Generation makes his way down to the ring. A truly solid promo from the World Champion here, hitting just the right key points, making for a fantastic structure to his rant. He begins by recapping Sting's recent tweet "I'm done" (which sounds ominous, but if you fall for that, you'll believe anything!), then cleverly switches gears with a well timed "Now let's talk about me...". In a classic heel move, Roode runs down the list of Sting's greatest opponents, pointing out he succeeded where the likes of Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair couldn't... and put the Stinger into retirement. By the time the promo came to a close, Roode built up an impressive amount of heat with the live crowd and gave the impression he's truly making traction with his new persona. Play his cards right and a few years down the line he might find himself listed right alongside all those other legends in another up-and-comer's heel promo.

Crimson and Matt Morgan have a lovers tiff in the parking lot. Morgan blames Crimson for them having lost the Tag Team titles at Against All Odds, but is quickly disuaded by some patter from his one and only. Their confidence quickly returns and they start calling themselves "the single most dominant wrestlers". I can see why someone might want to bill themselves as that, but whenever Morgan says something along those lines, I roll my eyes. He's all bluster and Crimson isn't fair behind. Two giants both attempting the same gimmick and neither of them getting over.

Samoa Joe & Magnus (c) vs Crimson & Matt Morgan for the Tag Team Championships

A short, predictable, psuedo-squash match, whereby Morgan and Crimson dominate for 99% of the time, only to lose through a last minute miscommunication ala Against All Odds. I can appreciate this match may've suffered from being booked into a corner by the Morgan/Crimson angle, but I think the teams were playing the wrong roles entirely. Morgan and Crimson are meant to be the heroes of the piece, but their jumping the Champions and subsequent domination sent a terrible message, coming off more as bullies. If the Champions hadn't scored the pinfall, this would've been an utter burial of their tag team. While Samoa Joe & Magnus are an odd pairing, especially as Champions, they seem to have gelled rather nicely as a team and I'm excited to see what they do next. Crimson and Morgan on the other hand, I couldn't care less.

Winners - Samoa Joe & Magnus via pinfall

Next up we have a lengthy exchange of words between Bully Ray and Superbowl winner Brandon Jacobs. Never having watched American Football, I didn't have the slightest clue who this guy is. So I'm judging him based entirely off of what he's achieved in the Impact Zone. Looking at his size and demeanour, I can see why TNA would be interested in coaxing him into a new wrestling career. However, he has alot of fundamentals to improve upon before I'd be willing to watch him on my television again. While he was clearly enthused by what was happening, his promo was rough around the edges. My biggest complaint was the way he refused to stand still! Throughout the entire segment, Jacobs was rocking back and forth uncontrollably. The way the camera was following him from side to side was damn near giving me seasickness. Thankfully, Bully Ray came out to interrupt. Aside from the downright perverse obsession with his own calf muscles, Ray continues to put on the best work of his career. No matter the arena or the subject, Ray is able to rile the crowd into a frenzy through his own unique brand of insults and revulsion.

Alex Shelley vs Zema Ion

An above average X Division match with a clear purpose. The momentum was generally fair, with both men gaining control and hitting their signature moves at some point. Climaxed with Ion spraying Shelley in the eyes with his hairspray and pouncing on the blinded Machine Gun. Despite the unfortunate circumstances surrounding Jesse Sorensen, TNA have done the right thing and made the best of a bad situation by pushing Zema Ion as a legitimate threat to Austin Aries' X Division Championship. Speaking of the Champion, he made for a wise addition to ringside, mocking his number one contender by watching the match with a glass of wine and some popcorn! My only concern with this angle is all the potential going to waste. Alex Shelley made his grand re-debut mere weeks ago, claiming to be the one man who can put an end to Aries' reign of terror, only to find himself jobbing at every turn. I fear a similar fate will befall Zema Ion, as no matter who he defeats in the run-up to his Championship match, I don't believe for a second that he's the one to go over Aries and end the streak. Saying that, Aries seems to have landed himself in hot water backstage, making a not-so-subtle crack at the quality of the show's main event. If he's offended someone with political pull, we could very well see Aries drop the title in the near future, robbing him of the upcoming record as longest reigning X Division Champion.

Winner - Zema Ion via pinfall

Garett Bischoff was interviewed backstage, saying despite his father's actions, he'll never quit his dream of wrestling professionally. He's soon interrupted by Hulk Hogan, trying to disuade Garett from staying in the business, claiming there is a bullseye on his back and it's not safe there anymore.

Madison Rayne speaks to the camera about having won the Knockouts Battle Royal from the previous week. She claims to have taken the intiative because her "friend" Gail Kim is a fighting champion and would always want the best cotenders, even if that happens to be her.

Gail Kim vs ODB (w/Eric Young)

An impressively elaborate women's match that could put some of the men to shame. It began as both ladies entered the ring, Gail being visibly disgusted by ODB's mere presence. After insulting her opponent with a few choice twurls, Gail was greeted by a hard shove and a trademark ODB ass slap. In the background, Eric Young played up to the crowd throughout the match, occasionally climbing upto the ring and pretending he was ODB's tag team partner waiting for the hot tag. The first half of the match relied heavily upon embarrassing Gail Kim, with ODB taking as many opportunities as possible to introduce Gail to her "assets". However, the momentum soon changed and grew far more serious as Gail rallied back and took control. I was particularly impressed by the face plant off the ropes, showing shades of Randy Orton. Also, there was a nice sequence whereby Gail locked in her Octopus style submission and ODB countered by slamming her down to the mat. Around this point, number one contender Madison Rayne arrives on the scene to "help" her friend Gail Kim. In all honesty, she was out there to psyche out the Champion and create a flaw she could take advantage of in their upcoming title match. Despite the distraction, Gail manages to reverse ODB's finisher into her patented Eat Defeat for the pinfall. After the match, Madison enters the ring and attempts to support Gail, only to be met by suspicion from the Knockouts Champion.

Winner - Gail Kim via pinfall

Robbie E (c) (w/Robbie T) vs AJ Styles for the Television Championship


Before the match began, they aired a short backstage interview with AJ Styles, where he declared his goal of leaving Daniels and Kazarian behind and focussing once again on winning championships (hint - it won't happen!). This turned out to be a nice back and forth between two wrestlers you don't typically see matched up together. It gave Robbie E a quality opponent for his Television Title (something he's been sorely lacking) and AJ an opportunity to put across a new intensity and aggression in his ring work. AJ was in control for the majority of the match, dominating Robbie E at every turn. An early arching chinlock could very well have led to a quick finish, however Robbie managed to break the hold and take refuge behind his bodyguard. After a brief flare-up from Robbie, Styles took control once again and hit his signature Pele Kick out of nowhere, making the pinfall all but certain. Unfortunately, this is where Kazarian and Daniels made their enterance, Kaz pulling AJ off ringside and proceeding to ram his former best friend into the nearest ringpost. While the act itself was unremarkable given their recent history, Kazarian did display a complete and utter lack of empathy for Styles, something he'd been fighting in the weeks before Against All Odds. It even took Christopher Daniels by surprise, as he looked on in shock at what Kazarian had done. This could very well be the intriguing twist that the feud has been missing so far. Later in the night, Tenay and Taz announce that Styles has demanded a Gauntlet match next week against Christopher Daniels and Kazarian, which makes for exciting progression. I can't wait to see where it goes.

Winner - AJ Styles via disqualification (therefore the TV Title doesn't change hands)

Kurt Angle & Bully Ray vs James Storm & Jeff Hardy (w/Brandon Jacobs)

Jeremy Borash makes the customary main event introductions, except for Bully Ray who insists upon announcing himself. In retaliation, James Storm takes the mic and asks the crowd if there are any beer drinkers in the house. It just so happens that Storm has a friend in the back, enter - Brandon Jacobs (with a particularly disturbing look on his face...). We start off with recent rivals, Kurt Angle and James Storm locking up in the centre of the ring. Storm quickly takes control as he whips Angle into the ropes and nails him with a high knee. His momentum is broken by a distraction from Bully Ray, allowing Angle to take advantage. Storm eventually breaks away and makes the hot tag to Jeff Hardy, only for Angle to bail out of the ring as we head to commercial. We come back to find Bully Ray now the legal man, with Hardy hitting him with the Whisper in the Wind for a nearfall. Ray takes several opportunities throughout the match to taunt onlooker Brandon Jacobs, only to be met by defeaning chants from the crowd in support of the Superbowl winner. The middle of the match is defined by Jeff Hardy being worked over by both his opponents, never allowing him to make the tag back to Storm. A stray kick gives Hardy the opening he needs and before you know it, Storm hits the ring, knocking down everyone in his path. The match descends into chaos, with all four competitors in the ring at the same time. Bully Ray furthers the lawlessness by going to the outside to grab a table, met by a stern look from Jacobs. It works against the heels however, as their opponents manage to hit dropkicks on the table as it's positioned on ringside. After a mad flurry of activity, we find the table set up in the middle of the ring, Bully Ray the only man standing, except for...Brandon Jacobs, who enters the ring and hits Ray with a vicious chokeslam through the table. For some reason, James Storm is then allowed to make the cover and win the match for his team, despite outside interference and weapons being used RIGHT INFRONT OF THE REFEREE. A fun TV main event, even if the internal logic is off by a mile.

Winners - James Storm & Jeff Hardy via pinfall

We enter the final segment as Sting's music hits in the Impact Zone and the authority figure makes his solemn way down to the ring. Tenay and Taz rightfully lament the potential loss of the Icon. Taking the mic, the Stinger says what everyone has read and heard is true. He's letting too much slip through his fingers and he's finally been driven over the edge by World Champion, Bobby Roode. Most importantly - he's done. Never being one to miss a chance to gloat, our Selfish leader's music hits and he comes out on the stage, clapping at Sting's theatrics. In a hilarious move, Roode wipes a tear away from his eye and takes the mic. However, his glee is shortlived, as Sting adopts a more jovial tone akin to his Insane persona from last year. In a rather creepy move, Sting proceeds to take his sunglasses off (it's not like it's at night and he's indoors...oh wait), pull a couple of tubes worth of facepaint from his pocket and smeared it all over his face something silly. Being all black, it wasn't quite as impressive as the Sting makeup we usually see. Maybe he would've been better using the traditional white. But the point is - Roode woke the real Sting up! Chewing the scenery with the best of them, Sting paces the ring, building tension, until his big announcement - he's returning to the ring for a one on one "fight" with the World Champion at the next PPV, Victory Road. Not liking what he's hearing, Roode attempts to attack Sting again, just as he did last week. However, the Insane Icon isn't falling for the same trick twice, catching Roode's leg in mid-air and giving him a crotch shot of his own. The episode ends with Sting standing victorious on the ramp and Roode cowering in the ring.

In conclusion, this was a rather entertaining episode of Impact Wrestling, which hit a nice balance between promos and in-ring action. So often they have trouble reconciling the two, but I think this week's found a satisfying middleground. While, Bobby Roode isn't quite carrying the show as a true World Champion should, the roster has such depth, it's become more of an ensemble piece, never entirely relying on one person too much. All of the divisions seem to have their endgoals in place for Victory Road and I'm excited to see how the big night turns out. Hopefully, with solid feuds in place this time, we aren't lumbered with another transitional PPV that pales in comparison to WWE's Wrestlemania. While TNA will never be able to compete at this time of year, it doesn't mean they should slack off and wait for the competition to subside. Thankfully, they seem to be taking this to heart and serving up quality wrestling that you can't find elsewhere.

8/10

Clem

21/02/2012

Rob's Reflection: Against All Odds

On February 12th TNA held their second PPV of the year, Against All Odds; an interesting theme for a PPV with it's Vegas d├ęcor and gambling related graphics but being held in the Impact zone thousands of miles away from Sin City did TNA play their cards right?

#1 Contenders Match for the X Division Championship: Zema Ion defeated Jesse Sorensen via countout

The X Division match kicked off the card and I don't need to tell you what happened as it was one of the biggest talking points of the PPV, but I would like to take this moment to wish Jesse well and hopefully he will make a full recovery. Kudos to Ion for keeping character although the concern for his competitor was apparent, it's just a shame these two didn't get the chance to showcase themselves. 

Open Invitation Match for the Television Championship: Robbie E (c) def. Shannon Moore by pinfall

With the TV title not being defended on TV for months it was a last minute addition to the card, which is a surprise that it hasn't been forgotten about! I was surprised that Moore answered the call as he hasn't been on TV in a while and he should be (in my opinion) me giving the X Division more depth. The match wasn't much to shout about but at least it meant the belt was defended, for months I have been saying that the TV title should be given more prominence but to do so a better division needs to be built, the belt should be a stepping stone to the heavyweight championship rather than just a show filler. 

Knockouts Championship: Gail Kim (c) def. Tara by pinfall 

A solid match as expected between the two knockouts and a title match that Madison Rayne didn't get involved in as she walked away from ringside mid bout. Kim picked up the pinfall after Tara hit a top rope moonsault but sold a knee injury on the landing which Kim capitalised on. It was good to see Tara get so much offence on Kim compared to their Impact match a few months ago when Tara jobbed within a minute. The match however was more another step in the Kim / Rayne storyline rather than a match where the title could change hands. 

Tag Team Championship: Samoa Joe & Magnus def. Matt Morgan & Crimson (c) by pinfall

New Champions
(photo by Lee South)
A better match than the one that took place at Genesis but that was to be expected as the challengers have had more time to gel as a team. There was good back and forth action and the end of the match came with Joe & Magnus hitting their snapmare / top rope elbow double team move on Morgan. 
Joe and Magnus make for a good team and can hopefully bring about a rise in the tag division, Magnus is a rising star and Joe seems to have re-emerged from the wilderness of pointless feuds in a direction that will hopefully see him rise to the top again. Morgan and Crimson will most likely go on to have another 'Dream Match' as the competitive streak and tension between the two has been their since Sting put them together.

X Division Championship: Austin Aries (c) def. Alex Shelley via submission

As I predicted in my preview this match was the highlight of the night as both men were on form in a back and forth match that was a good advert for the X Division.
Aries has now gone onto beating everybody in the division and although he will be defending against Zema Ion in the near future it is difficult to see where 'the greatest man to ever live' will lose the title, as it will soon get to the point where either Aries will have to move up to find greater competition or the competition comes and find Aries. 

Kazarian (w/ Daniels) def. A.J. Styles by pinfall 

A slow starter but strong finisher this match was the first in what will probably be a series of match ups involving the three which I would imagine to keep on going until Destination X. The match included some good action between the two as would be expected although I felt a lot of direction was taken away from Kazarian as the fan's continued to show their anger at Daniels, but this is to be expected as we still don't know why Kazarian has sided with Daniels despite not being comfortable with it. 
Kazarian getting the win gives him a little more prominence as he has been the weakest link in this fued so far, not in his ability but the fact since losing the X Division championship last year he hasn't really had much to do, hopefully these matches will elevate him. 

Gunner (w/ Eric Bischoff) def. Garett Bischoff (w/ Hulk Hogan) via pinfall

A match that I feel shouldn't have been on PPV managed to land itself the Semi Main Event slot and managed to match my expectations of nothing. Gunner continued his ruthless streak but that means nothing when he is facing somebody who is making his PPV debut, especially as the pinfall came moments after Hogan was ready to throw in the towel. 
Forcing Garett down fans throats isn't the way to go, if we are to get behind him as a wrestler then he has to prove himself and pay his dues, going straight into the semi main event above seasoned pro's such as Austin Aries, Samoa Joe and A.J. Styles is a slap in the face to them and proves it's who you know (or who your related to) rather than what you know. 
Hopefully after this shambles Garett will be taken off TV for a while, ply his trade at house shows to gain more experience and work his way from the bottom of the card... but we all know realistically that sadly wont happen. 

World Heavyweight Championship: Bobby Roode (c) def. Jeff Hardy, James Storm and Bully Ray via pinfall

Victory Road's likely Main Event
(photo by Lee South )
Yet another main event that ends in an angle rather than an actual finish. The match was entertaining up until the end when the ref took a bump and Sting, who was enforcing the match, stepped in to stop Roode using the belt as a weapon and ended up knocking out Hardy with the championship and slow counted the victory. 
The finish to this match sets up Sting vs. Roode which is likely to happen at Victory Road as Hardy had his rematch on Impact and looks set to enter a program with Kurt Angle whilst Ray and Storm had a number one contenders match with Storm facing his former Beer Money Inc. partner at Lockdown.
Hopefully this will be the last time we see a PPV event to end with more questions and no definitive winners as it is doing the company more harm in the long term as fans are unwilling to pay for matches that they get no reward from. 

Overall Against All Odds was a bit of a let down, it was hard to build back up from the accident that occurred in the first match, a lot of this event is building to bigger things in the future, with Vince Russo leaving TNA hopefully things will get on track and provide quality PPV events that are worth the money that fans are being asked to stump up on a monthly basis.

@Robbie_G_CH



   
 

12/02/2012

TNA Against All Odds PPV Predictions


The second TNA PPV of the year has come around and on Sunday will present Against All Odds! The event that takes it's props from the the lights of Vegas, but will TNA roll the dice and take some risks?


#1 Contenders Match for the X Division Championship
Zema Ion vs. Jesse Sorensen


These two are the up and comers in the division and both have a point to prove. Ion cost Sorensen his chance of victory at Genesis, so there is a score to settle adding a little history to the match up. There is no doubt that these two will put on an entertaining, high flying match, the crowd seem to be warming to Sorensen but to mix things up Zema Ion should be given the victory as Jesse has faced Austin Aries numerous times over the past couple of months.

Prediction - Zema Ion defeats Jesse Sorensen via pinfall. 

Gunner (w/ Eric Bischoff) vs. Garett Bischoff (w/ Hulk Hogan)


With the non-surprise that Hogan is Garett's trainer, we are being treated to this match-up, which is coming far too early in a storyline that no one cares about. Gunner has been on a decent run recently picking up victories with the help of Ric Flair and then putting them out of action so is taking a step backward to face Garett who is making his PPV debut. With no interest in this match whatsoever, the winner is of no relevance. However, Hogan will have the last laugh, with Garett likely to finish the match with a leg drop (that Hulk is no longer able to do).

Prediction - Garett Bischoff defeats Gunner via pinfall.

Tag Team Championships
Crimson & Matt Morgan (c) vs. Samoa Joe & Magnus

  

In a rematch from Genesis, the two new teams lock up again. After a series of run-ins and non-title match-ups, Joe and Magnus have been getting at the champions to such an extent that it wouldn't be a total surprise if the challengers walked out of Against All Odds with the title belts around their waists.

Prediction - Samoa Joe & Magnus defeat Crimson & Matt Morgan via pinfall to win the Tag Team Championships.

Kazarian (w/ Daniels) vs. A.J. Styles

 

In a storyline that is so clouded in mystery that no one actually knows the reason this match is taking place, former tag team partners and stable mates Kaz and Styles will take to the ring because Daniels says so. Despite no logical motivation for Kazarian's heel turn, the match should be an entertaining affair, although it is likely that the finish will involve Daniels allowing Kaz to get the victory. Hopefully, no screwdrivers will be used in the making of this match!

Prediction - Kazarian defeats A.J. Styles via pinfall.

Knockouts Championship
Gail Kim (c) vs Tara

After winning a number one contenders match on Impact Wrestling three weeks ago, Tara finally gets her shot at Gail Kim's Knockout Championship. These two have had many bouts across several promotions and it will most definitely be a good match up. Unfortunately for Tara, it would be the shock of the night if the championship changed hands here. She has got a better chance at silverware when her TNT partner, Brooke Tessmacher, returns and they can both go after Kim's other belt.

Prediction - Gail Kim defeats Tara via pinfall to retain the Knockouts Championship. 

X Division Championship
Austin Aries (c) vs. Alex Shelley

 

Possibly the highlight of the card. This championship match has two top, high flying athletes going against one another. Despite what should be a quality match-up, it is doubtful that Aries is going to lose. His gimmick as "the greatest man that ever lived" would be deflated were he to lose. Not to mention, Shelley would be put to much better use in the flagging tag team division, which is crying out for the return of the Motor City Machine Guns.

Prediction - Austin Aries defeats Alex Shelley via pinfall to retain the X Division Championship. 

World Heavyweight Championship
Bobby Roode (c) vs. James Storm vs. Bully Ray vs. Jeff Hardy


The main event of the card is an exciting match up, as all the participants have been pushed strongly by management in the past six months and a definite winner isn't easy to predict. Despite having Roode's back, Bully Ray has shown signs that he wants to be the top heel in TNA. On the flip side, James Storm has been the uncontested baby face of the company for the past month, for the most part due to Jeff Hardy being unable to participate on the last two episodes of Impact Wrestling due to them taking place outside of the United States.

These four will unquestionably put on a solid match. Hopefully, the ending will be a clean finish, even if it is Roode getting a surprise pinfall over one of his fallen opponents. Bobby Roode has held on to the World Heavyweight Championship this long and despite the quality and quantity of his opponents, the leader of the selfish generation is likely to walk out on Impact Wrestling next Thursday with the belt still around his waist.

Prediction - Bobby Roode defeats James Storm, Bully Ray and Jeff Hardy via pinfall to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.  

The PPV has a solid card and despite a few names, such as the Olympic Gold Medallist Kurt Angle, not taking part (and the lack yet again of a Television Title match), Against All Odds should provide an entertaining evening of wrestling. 

05/02/2012

International Impact



The set of Ring Ka King
(http://www.wrestlestars.com/2011/12/tnas-ring-ka-king-set/)
TNA have gone International. With Ring Ka King being in full swing and Impact Wrestling from London's Wembley arena airing this week and next, a different side to TNA can be seen opposed to the usual site of the Impact Zone. 
Don't take that as a dislike to the Impact Zone, having a business head on my shoulders I know the benefits of that the 'zone' brings to TNA but seeing the intro to this weeks Impact and being in the crowd at Nottingham it is refreshing to see crowds who care for the product rather than being there to be entertained whilst on holiday (again not saying that all the crowd are Disney tourists) as the atmosphere in the 'zone' can sometimes deter away from the product. The financial implications to take Impact on the road could be crippling doubled up with the extra travelling the wrestlers would do but it would be nice to see shows similar to last years ventures on the road, even it is just a taping every other month or the odd PPV just to add the extra buzz into the show. 

Anyway with the television launch of Ring Ka King and the great crowd's at the Maximum Impact tour I was deliberating the idea of whether TNA could hold a similar event to Ring Ka King here in the UK? well of course my answer was a yes but to what extent is the problem I am stumbling over. I'm not very knowledgeable of the UK wrestling scene but after going to the TNA show in Nottingham I have done a little research, well actually my first research occurred oddly after watching the ITV show 'Take Me Out' when Marty Scrull's appearance drew comments on twitter from Nick (Magnus) Aldis; but anyway I know there are multiple regional promotions and a lot of talented guys that appear across the different promotions, I have watched a few matches on TV this weekend and have to say I'm impressed and sad that I have overlooked the UK scene for so long which is mainly down to the minimal exposure I have had to the scene. 

Mark Haskins
Mark Haskins has appeared occasionally on TNA
(http://www.pbwwrestling.com/roster/mark-haskins)
TNA could do a television taping in the same way they have done so with Ring Ka King to crown a King of the ring of England, or something to that extent. I don't think that a title need be involved but a trophy would be a nice touch. The format would be a knockout tournament so that it would not get bogged down with storylines and would include (if possible) the best wrestlers on the UK scene and throwing in some lesser used TNA stars to bring some recognised names to entice viewers who may be put off my 'unknowns' and could take place once or even twice a year. 
This venture would not only give UK fans a taste of televised wrestling that looks set to be an annual event on the Maximum Impact tour but would also promote the talent that is under our noses in the UK, Mark Haskins (@Mark_Haskins) has had little time to make an impression in the brief appearances he has made on Impact, but he among with others such as the aforementioned Scurll (@MartyTakeMeOut), Lionheart (@LionheartUK) and Noam Dar (@NoamDar) to name but a few would have their time to shine on the biggest platform with the wider viewers that TNA brings in.


It is about time the UK had some home grown talent on TV and this seems like the perfect way to do so,they could use the footage on Xplosion and it would boost the growing profiles of the UK talent and could benefit TNA in multiple ways, they would receive increased exposure too and have access to new talent that the may consider signing. 

In the meantime I intend to check out more UK shows and I advise you all to do so too! 

@Robbie_G_CH