Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Phil's Ongoing 2007 MOTY LIST

Here is the current list

1.John Cena v. Umaga 1/28

I have read a lot of people really putting over Umaga after this match, and he was spectacular, but this was a Cena show. Cena has always been really great at selling a beating, and with Helmsley hurt and Micheals in a Royal Rumble your top face actually gets to use all the shortcuts and gimmicks that WWE main event matches kind of need. For Cena's run the top face has had to work all these bloodless main events, while your undercard faces do all the bleeding. It would be like Mike Graham hitting an Orange Bowl gusher while Dusty goes dry. They have done a really nice job establishing all of this over Umaga offense, and unlike a Micheals match Cena wasn't eating all of it and kicking out at two, he was avoiding all of the big shots. Really got over the story of Cena surviving rather then winning. Cena was really spectacular here. His selling was as good as anyone in wrestling, the early ribs selling, the constant fatigue selling, his Backlund style strength selling. You actually buy that those aluminum steps weigh as much as they say they do. The final shot of Cena screaming at Umaga to die as blood was streaming down his face was a great wrestling visual.


2. Briscoes v. Ricky Marvin/Kotaro Suzuki 1/21

Not a great total match, but had enough completely crazy fun stuff to make up for the awkward parts. Suzuki has improved from awful to tolerable, but isn't very good as Ricky Morton getting beaten on and kicking out at two, his dyed blond eyebrows really creeped me out too, doesn't really feel like a face look. The Briscoes had an awkward moment or two, but were mostly total asskickers. Super height on the dropkicks, really great stomps and fistdrops, and some crazy sequences. Mark's stage dive senton over the ringpost was one of the swanker dives I have seen in a long time, nothing fancy, but it looked crazy and landed hard. Ricky Marvin was the king here though, taking everything high in the air and hard on his head, setting up some intricate crazy sequences, and looking like one of the best wrestlers in the world. Last ten minutes were as good a ten minute Briscoe spotfest finish as you are going to see, and at no point did it feel like it went to long. Fun, fun stuff.


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100TH POST!!! 5 HIDDEN GEMS

This is the Segunda Caida 100th post, over the course of the Segunda Caidia era we have watched a lot of wrestling, and have discovered some spectacular matches that we have never heard talked about before. So here are our five hidden gems.


Riki Choshu v. Yoshiaki Fujiwara New Japan 6/9/87

PAS: Pretty much a textbook example of a simple match performed by ridiculously charismatic performers, and how great something like that can be. Very few wrestling moves performed by either guy. Fujiwara does basically headbutts, punches and a Fujiwara arm bar. Choshu does kicks, one back suplex, a scorpion deathlock and Choshu lariats. It isn't about what they do, it is how and when they do it. Fujiwara jumps Choshu in the aisle and just destroys him for the opening five minutes. Choshu is bleeding and Fujiwara is smirking and strutting, Choshu gets control with a back suplex, and Fujiwara has an awesome "Oh Fuck" look on his face as he goes up. It gets a little more back and forth after that, but Fujiwara still controls most of it, until he makes the mistake of getting cocky and removing the ringpad. Choshu reverses the whip, Fujiwara takes a bump, they spill to the outside, and Choshu just smashes Fujiwara's head into the ringpost. Fujiwara has a traditional comedy spot, where he no-sells getting his head smashed into the ringpost, so Choshu really has to crack open his skull to make it work. Then it is all about a repulsively bloody Fujiwara trying to survive incredible looking Choshu lariats. Both guys come off as such superstars, it was like watching Hogan v. Rock with actually contact being made on the moves.

TKG: So Fujiwara attacks Choshu in the aisle busts him open and beats on him, and beats on him, and beats on him...and there is no comeback and it almost had a lucha fall feel as just completely one sided but you can tell everything by reading both guys eyes. Phil mentions Fujiwara's facial expressions and I don't care how long one studies mime with Decroux...Fujiwara can communicate more with a wrinkle of his nose. There is this point where Choshu is punching Fujiwara in the corner and Fujiwara goes from anger at being in the corner, to defiance , to struggling to maintain the defiance, to just a fuck you face that would make Murakami cower. The first lariat that Choshu hits Fujiwara with is just an absolute blast..like getting run over by a truck. the second and third ones are less impressive lariats but Fujiwara has these really awesome ways of selling/taking them. I mean they are still impressive lariats but its more about Fujiwara going into a flamingo stance and the flipping downward in what really looks like a boxer getting KOed and moving legs involuntarily on fall kind of deal. The lariat take that ends the match, I can't even come up with a way to describe it.


Original Midnight Express v. Jerry Lawler + Bill Dundee AWA 10/30/87

PAS: This is for the AWA tag belts and is a match which on paper looks really awesome, but especially in the 80’s on paper matches were often pretty disappointing. This however was even better then it looked on paper. Lawler and Dundee are a great tag team, we all know what great individual wrestlers they are, and how well they match up against each other, but they also have great face tag team shtick. Their opening babyface in control section was just full of great stuff. I especially loved the variations on the partner blocks the Irish whip into the corner, also this was a punch marks dream match with both Lawler and Dundee breaking out tons of different combos. I especially loved the running left hook by Dundee. OMX were a lot fun in this too, especially Randy Rose who looked Eaton great in this, he takes a huge high backdrop, and has a bunch of fun offense. Slim Paul E. with his sport coat with rolled up sleeves throws in the phone and the OMX win the belts. I liked this more then any of the Rose/Somers v. Midnight Rockers matches and this was fucking with the high end Rock and Rolls v. Midnights matches.

TKG: Man this was fun. A lot of faces do stuff effectively, heels try same spots only to have the backfire. If you’ve seen the Memphis doc on youtube, you may remember the Hector Guerrero vs. Lawler spot where Hector puts Lawler across top rope and then kicks at him…Lawler tries same spot and Hector gets out of way. Lawler does same spot with Rose but with Lawler working face this time out. Lawler is caught with knee in corner and ends up face in peril eating a punch with a big bump to floor and then taking body slam on the floor running powerslam from Rose, etc. Dundee is all over the place as guy on apron…running after Heyman on the floor. Holding back heel from making tag while waiting for Lawler’s attempt to make hot tag etc. But really this match is about the early face in control section with the two faces just laying in punches and clotheslines..with Randy Rose just running head first into the fists and lariats. Dundee does a top rope knee drop with refs back turned. I don’t know what the top rope rule was at the time but ref turns around and really can’t figure out what’s going on as Lawler and Dundee switch off going for two counts on Rose before ref can figure out who is the legal man. I don’t know if it was a stunt granny but there is also a nun in the front row who punches at the air with every face punch and gets absolutely irate at all the heel cheating.

El Hijo Del Santo v. Brazo De Oro UWA 1/13/91

PAS: This is a mask v. hair match, and is two guys working an amazing match in their secondary specialties. Santo is primarily known for classic lucha, either technical singles matches or formula trios match, the Brazos are primarily known as comedy wrestlers. However both guys are amazing brawlers, and this is a bloody violent amazing brawl. Oro has such force on everything he does, headbutts, kicks, stomps, he comes off as a total asskicker. He dominates the first round, busting open Santo so you can see a pulsating blood stain on the Silver mask. Santo comes back and hits his brawling flying moves, he is the best at making topes look like vicious attacks. Oro isn't about to be out bled and by the end of the match has a sickening amount of blood squirting out of his head.

TKG: Santo is a guy who works really great singles matches. I've written a bunch of times about the difference between how luchadors work a title match and how they work a hair/mask match. Both very different styles/genres of matches and both genres that Santo really is master of. And on some level here you have a formula Santo hair/mask match where they meet all the genre conventions/requirements that you need to get that off. This is of course not jut any Hair/Mask match its a Hijo del Santo hair/mask match which means really the finish is never in any doubt...nonetheless the two guys need to work up to a level where you loose track of that. There is normally an inherent drama in a hair/mask match that is going to be missing when you have a Santo hair/mask match. Instead the drama is about the guy who you know is going to loose having to make an actual fight out of it, so not just a hair/mask match its kind of hair/mask match with undercurrent of lower ranked guy challenging Jumbo or somesuch. And motherfuck does Brazo del Oro just step up to the plate. Oro isn't just an absolute bad ass in the opening fall which he dominates but he really comes off as guy fighting for the fall in the second Santo fall too.

Wayne Shamrock v. Naoki Sano PWFG 5/19/91

PAS: I was pretty much in shock during this match, I couldn't believe what I was watching. I have never particularly cared for a thing Ken Shamrock has ever done, so I expected nothing out of this match, and it turned out to be as good as anything on the 80's Other Japan set. So much to love about this match, as they pretty much went back and forth from spectacular mat exchanges into awesome slugfest strike exchanges, great takedowns, into more spectacular mat exchanges.

The pacing of this was great, I especially loved how they paced their mat highspots. One guy would get in position and struggle a bit, and their would be a lull, and then super fast move into a choke or a kneebar. The crowd would pop huge for all of the mat spots, and it was the pacing of them which would really do it. Then after the mat near falls they would stand and just lay into each other with big shots, Shamrock's strikes looked way better here then in the previous match, and Sano was drilling him too. This was before Sano went to UWFI so I would guess this was his first shootstyle match ever, and he was a master of it. This was Sano's match, and while Shamrock was game, you could tell Sano was leading him. I also loved how Sano mixed in pro moves, as I actually bought an STF as a shoot submission, and a DDT as a shoot throw.

TKG: Shamrock comes into this with preposterous Saturday Night Fever hair. He's one headband away from being the Dingo Warrior. This had a ton of crowd heat and first half is really made by that crowd heat. Phil covers really the early pacing of this as its two guys jockeying for position, conservatively moving toward a big move...moving moving...then they hit it and crowd pops. Both guys are conservative. They don't want to leave anything open for opponent. So its all about fight for position.

As the match goes on you get the sense that both guys get more desperate. Shamrock throws his hands more often and all the big moves go from being hit cleanly to being almost video game style "make or miss" moves. So first half of the match is all about guys getting into position for throws or submissions and then hitting them cleanly, second half is about their health power bars wearing down and so they struggle to get into position for stuff and then can't hit it cleanly. Shamrock moves into position to hook Sano's legs with leg scissors and can't do it...opening himself up for Sano. Sano moves into position for throws but can no longer deal with Shamrocks weight advantage and so can't hit the throws cleanly...leaving himself open for Shamrock.

It's not the traditional body of match/finish of match split. Its two conservative fighters sticking to their gameplan with the fight taking its tole. It's that layout that really made this for me. Well that and the shoot DDT


Genericho Tenryu v.Yoshiaki Yatsu SWS 10/29/91

TKG: So Phil gets this SWS card with a disappointing Orient Express vs. Sano/Orihara match, disappointing Haku/Nakano vs. somebody and Fuyuki, disappointing Takano v. Barbarian, Bestia carrying Asai to a nice juniors match , and I guess a the Hara vs. Warlord match which exceeded expectations. And then there was the main event. And Fuck I need to see every time these two guys match up. What did Tenryu do to Yatsu to deserve this? What did Yatsu do to Tenryu? What in hell are these two guys doing to each other. This starts with Yatsu slapping the dogshit out of Tenryu's ear, and then Yatsu just looks to be going after the ear, forearm right to the ear, stiff enziguri right to ear, etc. Its like he wants to bust his eardrum. Yatsu is sick of the women being drawn to Tenryu on the dance floor and has decided to fuck Tenryu's balance up permanently. Tenryu crawls around the ring and sells. Damnit bitch its my jherri curl that draws the women not my dance steps you ugly fuck. Tenryu chops the fuck out of Yatsu chops him right on the throat, enziguri's him in the back of the head, etc. But this is really the Yatsu show as he goes on these huge runs of offense were you legit believe that Tenryu is concussed or at least been rendered near imobile. I think my favorite spot is the first rope flying battering ram headbutt that Yatsu throws. He follows this up with just a really nasty Terry Taylor type chinbreaker except he executes it with this kind of complete disregard. Like Steve Williams throwing a dangerous suplex, except its a chinbreaker. Chinbreaker 91~!

PAS: Yatsu had all the really great offense in this match, Tom didn't even mention the bulldog on the floor or the running shoulder block off the apron, but Tenryu was bringing some sick violence to the show. Laying in the Kawada kicks right to Yatsu's eye and face, there was a section where Tenryu kicks him directly in the kidney and Yatsu kinds of rolls on the mat clutching it in pain. Then Tenryu just starts kneeing and punching him right on the kidney, and you get the sense if Tenryu lost his equilibrium after this match, Yatsu wasn't able to drink coffee or liquor ever again. I think there were multiple parts in this match where you figured they would have to stop the match and get a doctor. I thought Tenryu was concussed by an early Yatsu lariat, thought Yatsu had lacerated his spleen. Just an epic amazing shockingly violent train wreck of a classic match.


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TNA iMPACT wORKRATE rEPORT 1/24/07

WHAT WORKED:

-I actually kind of like Raven’s new Clockwork Orange look. Raven has been looking more ridiculous than Rad Radford sporting his grunge look 10 years past its due date and so the change in style is smart move… Raven’s been spouting nonsense about the Clockwork Orange House of Fun for several years now and you get the impression that he was just saying it because he thought it sounded cool and never actually saw the movie. So he finally saw the movie and went with the Clockwork Orange look with the white suit, mask and the kendo stick as sophisticated walking cane. I’m assuming he caught a whole Kubrick marathon as the rest of his stable are stuck dressed like extras in Eyes Wide Shut. Still the look is kind of neat and it’s a shame its being wasted on someone as washed up and useless as Raven. It would be really cool look on someone slightly more talented than Raven, maybe Supreme. I don’t really understand why all of Serotonin attacking Rhino doesn’t cause DQ but AJ Styles attacking him does. They ran a last man standing match on the Last PPV…and it wasn’t the blowoff? What’s the follow up stip after Last Man Standing? It’s Russo so I’m guessing its something on a pole. Did Russo watch the Kubrick festival too? Will they need to climb the Monolith to get the tools to win?

-FIREBALL!!!! James Mitchell throwing a fireball only helps to remind you how mediocre his mic work is. As really he can’t come close to pulling off sick and twisted evilness as well as Dougie Gilbert. And the fireball wasn't enough to save the Sting v Abyss arena tour brawl. The non-fireball section of the Sting v Abyss arena tour was completely underwhelming. The whole current Christian Sting angle completely contradicts the one from three weeks before and well is a less interesting aspect of Christianity. This weeks Christian Sting booking felt like it was not just on a different page theologically and characterization wise than the Christian Sting booking from three weeks ago but it also felt like it was on a different page then the Christian Sting booking from last episode. I did kind of like the idea that Sting was turning the other cheek, refusing to fight back…he will sacrifice himself so that Abyss can see through his demons. Of course the announcers have no idea that’s what he’s doing and go on and on about how this is beating that Sting wasn’t ready for and most one sided beating he’s ever faced. Idiots “It’s one sided because he won’t fight”. The whole thing also is hurt by Abyss really having pussy offense. If your going to do guy sacrificing himself to free others from sin, you really need to have guy get whipped, speared and nailed to a cross. Meekly put through table and aggressively hugged though walls won't cut it. Really it needs more than a fireball. But still it was a FIREBALL! And the combo of fireball and Sting’s melting make-up is a cool visual. And c’mon you think FIREBALL isn’t going to make the top side???

-JEREMY BORASH~!!! Two weeks in a row where Jeremy Borash’s mugging positively contributes to a TV segment. Here Borash made what would have otherwise been an unwatchably stupid Paparazzi pictures video of Eric Young buying condoms. Um who is embarrassed about buying condoms? I mean I could see if Traci Brooks asked Young to buy her Tampax, but who over 9 years old is embarrassed to buy condoms? When did purchasing condoms become shameful thing for a man to do? Borash saved this segment as he seemed to be selling less embarrassment and more irritation at folks cock blocking him.

James Storm “Hey you find another kid you promised to teach how to be a man? Tell him you’re the love doctor? Eric, ol’ JB tell you hew was going to teach you how to please a woman? Nice of him to have you buy condoms. He’s mentored quite a few lil Haitian raft riding kids on the “art of love”…Knows what he’s doing”
Borash face seemed to glare “shut up shut up, you’re ruining it.”
And then Slick Johnson in a tank top winked at Young.
And Borash’s eyes bugged out: Eric don’t be distracted by Slick, I can’t loose you to Slick.
Borash looks at Eric protectively.
And that just put the whole thing over the top.
First time ever where the combination of Slick Johnson and Jeremy Borash equaled the “what worked” side.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

-Holy fuck this show is amateurish and embarrassing. I don’t even know where to begin.
I mean I guess I could critique the whole show without mentioning the wrestling at all, but I may as well mention the wrestling.

There was more sustained selling in the Wrestling Society X premier. Main event of Wrestling Society X had Chris Hamerick and Waltman but everyone else was just a glorified backyarder and still able to put on a more compelling match than either of the ones on this show. Hey Chris Sabin whipped out a really loose Garvin Stomp. What’s the point of doing a loose Garvin stomp? There were moments in that 4 way were I thought the match was a rib…hey these guys are just taking a piss and its funny and then there were moments where I realized "no" this is just a shitty match. I’ve kind of enjoyed recent chickenshit heel Christian as that’s where Christian really shines but here he was back to doing move for move exchange match and it was not pretty. Daniels can’t even take the unprettier well. Tenay and West keep on talking about how Christian is promising someone who works exactly like Kurt Angle. Watched this match and I think the consultant is Chris Daniels.

Speaking of Tenay and West this may have been one of the worst displays of Tenay doing play by play on mic work ever.
Samoa Joe: Fans have one burning question for me: Why would I help Kurt Angle?
Tenay: What’s the story? There has to be a reason Samoa Joe would help Kurt Angle.
Samoa Joe: I’m proving a point
Tenay: I heard Samoa Joe say he wants to prove a point.

You heard him say that? Guess what so did the audience. We are watching the same show.

Even if this was a radio drama the audience would still here the mic work, you don’t have to repeat it. Speaking of radio dramas: HURRY MAN HURRY!!! I was disappointed that we didn’t get to see Borash clapping coconuts to capture the sound of Sting riding in on his white horse. This is a prerecorded show!!! A Prerecorded show! And they let that go on the air!!

So last week I just quoted the part of the Observer where Meltz outed Nash. May as well quote the full thing. “Kevin Nash is claiming he's the reason Jeremy Borash is back handling the bulk of the interviews. Nash and Borash have been friends dating back to WCW. Apparently they were having to redo segments over-and-over because Leticia Crane is so green at what she was doing. Nash made a remark along the lines of asking if her face is so pretty and her hair or boobs were so great as to justify them having to work until 1 a.m. because they had to do so many takes with her”… So wait they do multiple takes? They redo segments? I mean the show is pre-taped but I just assumed no one was editing. Someone watches this show? And does editing? And let Tenay and West reading radio scripts slide? Someone watches the backstage segments and goes “yeah perfect”? Someone watches Borash going apoplectic when Cornette mentions an S&M parlor and doesn’t think that they need to do a retake? They do editing and retakes and still this is what they get??? I guess lately they have been doing these weird video packages where the packages air before the actual angles take place. They do video packages/angle recaps before they actually do the angles. Traditionally you’d have James Gang do a confrontation and then a series of interviews and then do the video recap. Traditionally you’d have Dudleys attack Konan on screen, and then you’d have Konan send in a promo and then have team 3D respond and then do a summary video recap. But in TNA …they just do the video recap montage at the beginning. Show is so hurried they can’t even let an angle play out before they do the angle package montage. Who was supposed to be face or heel in the Konan video package? TNA wants to expand/dilute the LAX group by adding Apollo and Machete which is absolutely stupid unless they plan on bringing in Brother Snot, Dances with Brother and Brother Brother too. Anyway, Konan gives a face promo and Team 3D have a bunch of quotes worked into a montage in response and what the fuck? Instead of playing this storyline out over a couple weeks it’s just compressed into one video package. It’s weird and well I’m not a big fan of Sahadi’s video packages to begin with, but I guess you need to say that they demonstrate that the promotion actually does editing. Someone watches James Mitchell ramble on doing a “Satanist tweener” promo where he ends with the “catchy” line “forewarned is forewarned”? Someone watched that and didn’t say “we need another take”. Why not splice and edit that? Damn that’s was unfocused and shitty. I mean for a threatening prison yard promo someone needs to watch some Shank. I imagine Izzy Slapowitz is living in a Florida retirement home ( I mean Devil Duo member Doug Vines smokes Abyss too but whatever…ooh Jeff Sword in Clockwork Orange outfit would rule). It really is either one way or the other with TNA. So its either editing segments into video montages or no editing at all…TNA can find no middle ground.

And then there was the Paparazzi pictures video of Eric Young buying condoms. Um who is embarrassed about buying condoms? I mean I could see if Traci Brooks asked Young to buy her Tampax, but who over 9 years old is embarrassed to buy condoms? When did purchasing condoms become shameful thing for a man to do? I enjoyed Borash as annoyed Quintin Crisp, helpless realizing that even his most biting bon mots would go over James Storm’s drunken head. But I don’t think that was the intent of the segment. Segment ends with Traci Brooks watching the Paparazzi video and telling Robert Roode “Now I can seal the deal”. She needed to WAIT for Eric Young to buy condoms before she could fuck him?? She couldn’t buy condoms herself. She’s being portrayed as something of a whore, but doesn’t have condoms available? Apparently in TNA world, men can get prescription birth control pills over the counter but a drug store won’t allow women to purchase condoms. The writing on this show is more embarrassing than capturing your announcers reading from a script.
And it’s the poorly written Russo mystery tour. Who is Christian’s mystery consultant? Why is Samoa Joe out here to help Angle? Is consultant here? Who is it? What does Ryan Shamrock have in her envelope? Detective Angle struggling to put together the clues really makes him look dumber than Shaggy. Dumber than Scooby Do, without really the charm of Scooby Dum. And then we semi solve another mystery. Right before Sting reveals the big mystery of Abyss’ past, they decide to do a close up of the audience sign that reads “TNA is Professional Wrestling, not Soap Opera Wrestling”….Not editing that out may have been more embarrassing than Tenay and West reading Green Hornet scripts too.

So months ago Christian promised that he would reveal a secret from Abyss past. He said this secret was so horrible and sickening that Cornette wouldn’t be able to use Abyss anymore, and so horrible that when people found out it would in essence end his career.

Really, so Abyss shot his dad three times in the back. That’s the big shocking reveal. ? He didn’t even kill him; just put him in a coma. This is supposed to be the thing that would disgust Cornette? Cornette? Cornette hears this and goes “Fucking pussy, let me tell you about Bruiser Bedlam. “ No one pushed Johnny K-9 harder than Cornette. Well that’s not true, as I have tapes of 90s Midwest indy that Damore booked where Bedlam was the champ. Russo brought Snuka into WCW. Brought New Jack into TNA. Repeatedly brings Luger into TNA. Mantell co-booked WWC and IWA with Invader 1. Abyss didn’t even succeed in killing his dad. Why is attempted murder supposed to be so shocking?

Abyss had shots of prison in his entrance video…where we supposed to believe he was in prison for drug dealing? Extortion? Graffiti?

I guess the shock is supposed to be that he shot his dad? But it’s wrestling. Didn’t Vince try to kill Linda, Shane try to kill Vince, Vince try to get Undertaker to rape Stephanie? Why would attempted patricide be a big shock?

So it’s Russo and I was expecting incest and so I guess should be shocked that he didn’t go back to his old formula. I assume Russo read the Bible and went "incest isn’t that shocking, it's normal...I knew it all along". Russo found the gun in his daughters draw one night and decided to read her some Biblical passages. While fingering her he explains “See incest happened all the time in the Bible, but what God really frowned on was patricide. PATRICIDE is TERRIBLE! MOST TERRIBLE OF CRIMES! No crime more horrible in God’s UHHUHHH eyes. Damnit!! How many times do I need to tell you? You need to swallow. He frowns on spilled seed too”.


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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

TNA iMPACT wORKRATE rEPORT 1/18/07

WHAT WORKED:

--Tomko’s multicolored beard is a neat look for him

--I’ve always liked AJ Styles as dickish heel. And his dickish heel mic work was real fun “I won a blue ribbon in triple jump.” I don’t know if I’ve ever said anything positive about Jeremy Borash before but I have to say that Borash’s reactions to AJ really helped this skit work. Scott Steiner told Borash not to “eye me”and Borash couldn’t fight it, couldn’t keep his eyes off Steiner. But with heel AJ, Borash is absolutely cowed..Can’t make eye contact, keeps on looking at his feet. I used to read the Wildside message boards back in 99-01 and remember Lazz (a shoot gay worker who was doing a Britney Spears impersonator face gimmick) decided to change his gimmick and wrote about how helpful AJ had been to him, trying to show him the error of his ways and the alternative path that the Bible offered. I imagine a young confused gay wrestler is a little more appreciative of proselytizing Evangelical than some of the adults in TNA might be. I figure Abyss, Ryder, and Borash are tired of the harassment. “Leave me alone AJ, Stop telling me about the power of Christ and how I need to give up my sinful ways”. According to latest WON, Nash is reason we don’t see Leticia anymore. “Nash and Borash have been friends dating back to WCW”. That’s a longer relationship than most couples in wrestling. Contented Borash, knowing his job is safe decided to show up at this taping wearing a butterfly collar brown pleather jacket…screaming “70s gay hustler”, perfectly comfortable with himself. But AJ won’t let well enough alone, and Borash spends the entire interview looking at floor “Just leave me alone AJ, I’m happy damnit, I don’t want to hear it”…AJ finally forces Borash to make eye contact “Don’t you think I’m good looking [you sinful piece of waste]” Borash “heh, heh yeah I think you’re good looking [DAMN YOU LET ME LIVE IN PEACE]”. AJ laughs. God AJ is a great evil prick.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

--While I liked the tension in the Styles/Borash interactions, I don’t think you can run a show with both a judgmental Born Again heel and a judgmental Born Again face. Just doesn’t work. Who the fuck is this Steve Borden guy? He’s an asshole. Over the last three months or so I’ve really grown to like Born Again Sting. Born again Sting was all about the importance of being humble before God, that the only real truth was God’s Truth. Sins of the past will be forgotten when you embrace the GOOD NEWS. While everyone else was threatening that they would expose Abyss past sins, Sting told Abyss “Stop worrying about the past…the “Good News” is that you can change the future [through the power of Redeemer]”. He told Abyss that Abyss past was not the road he had to continue on, that Abyss like Sting could walk “down a new road”. , even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Sting approached Abyss in a spirit of gentleness. Who the fuck is this Steve Borden guy who will do anything to find out the truth of Abyss past? What does that truth matter next to the TRUTH of GOD? Steve Borden is judgmental lacking in humbleness. It is not his role to be the final judge. Borden yells at Abyss that it is “Time to start talking” Why is it any of Steve Borden’s business? Let the guys past lay in the past, let him live his life, stop busting his balls. Steve Borden is an asshole whose actions contradict everything that Sting has been preaching.

I guess the idea of a judgmental Born Again Christian lacking in humbleness before God who needs to mask himself to become a true Christian humble before the TRUTH is an interesting one. That the motivation of maskless Borden's failure to recognize himself as a humble human is desire to recognize the humanity in Abyss might be an interesting theme. This inversion of the ritual theatre where one puts on mask to go from man to archetype might make for good Christian fiction. Without the power of the mask the man fall’s into the trap of seeing himself as God, only when he wears the mask does he recognize that he is only a man before God. But I’m not sure if even a good Christian fiction writer like Tyler Perry could pull off that story. A hack like Russo sure as hell can’t.

And so instead you just get Sting without face paint being an ass who contradicted everything the Sting character has said for last couple months. This isn’t Russo being clever and showing internal contradictions that tear at a man trying to lead a Christian life. This is Russo the shitty writer who can’t tell a story without keeping characterization or the storyline consistent from week to week.

Christian, Tomko and Mitchell have spent the last couple months threatening that they will reveal Abyss past. Sting promised Abyss that the past didn’t matter. Today Sting changed his mind and demands to know the mystery.
Meanwhile Tenay and West discuss the mystery.
Tenay: The pieces of the puzzle are starting to come together
West: Mystery more and more intriguing every week.

Really? Is anyone more intrigued? When Sting demands that Abyss tell, the crowd puts fingers on mouth and instructs Abyss “SHH don’t tell. Keep it to yourself” Apparently before his change of heart, Sting had convinced the audience that the mystery of Abyss’ past shouldn’t matter. They are less then intrigued. Hey Borden let the guy live his life, already.

--Normally when TNA is this shitty I can write about the shitty booking and the shitty wrestling separately. This week, the two things were so woven together you really can’t separate them.

-I'll start with the matches:

-3D vs. LAX. So 3D lost the match on the PPV because drunk Spike ran in. I kind of liked the long Bubba mad at Spike promo a couple weeks ago, with older brother Bubba threatening youngest brother Spike, and middle brother Devon refusing to let the oldest brother abuse the runt. It reminded me of the Brazos interactions. I’ve seen Konan and Devine Storm vs. the SATS work a fine match built around a basic lucha trios format: everyone matches up for matwork, match up again for power offense, match up again for dives and brawling. It’s a really basic formula that if you follow works no matter who is in it, no matter how shitty and primitive their mat work or their fast exchanges, etc are… (again Divine Storm, an immobile 2003 Konan and the SATS). So I thought the combination of the Dudley family squabbling horseshit and a trios format and the LAX vs. 3D thing might have some potential. Moody Jack can probably do enough moves to replace Konan. So I was optimistic about the Dudleys vs. LAX program. BUT FUCK~!!! 3D sell nothing. And this was really the epitome of veterans burying your hot young act. I have seen Road Warriors vs. the Hit Squad in Jersey indies, where the Road Warriors did more to make the match look competitive. THE Road Warriors!!! Hawk and Animal!! Guys who spent their entire career no selling, did more to make their opponents look credible. Homicide does a nice eat of a backdrop on his tail bone bump, and Hernandez takes a cool ring post bump. But this was ass. After no selling everything, the Dudleys loose in a total Kevin Nash slips on a banana peel and gets accidentally pinned fashion. Even if the work in the match hadn't buried LAX, the booked finish still did.

-I like James Storm’s belligerent drunk cowboy act. I like Miss Texas. James Storm and Miss Tennessee is a poor man’s Eric Embry and Miss Texas but still feels like an act with potential. This match though was a nothing as Storm and Hoyt were there just to kill time before the clusterfuck run ins. Dale Torborg interferes, then AJ Pierzynski interferes then Gail Kim interferes to even the score, then Miss Tennessee goes after Kim, then in comes Petey Williams. I kept waiting for Eric Young to run out and hit someone with a diaphragm. The match was just backdrop for the run ins. And running three separate run in stories at same time just means none of them have potential to mean anything. Does Pierzynski have anything to do with Petey Williams? What the fuck!?? Pierzynski’s autographing Hoyt’s forehead is a really clever celebrity heel spot. But it almost goes unnoticed. If they would only focus on one thing.Pierzynski taking out a pen in center of ring, Don West going “Whats he going to do with that pen?”, Pierzynski autographing Hoyt’s head and then calling for a home run and miming like he’s at bat would be a great “holy shit that guys a heel spot”. Instead it’s kind of an afterthought done in the corner where half of the audience can’t see it, and while 16 other things are going on simultaneous. Idiotic.

-The booking of AJ vs. Angle as a three minute TV main event is dumb enough but the actual work and layout of the match was just embarrassing. The Dudleys did more to put over LAX, Kurt Angle did more to put over Michael Shane. Michael Shane who is a jobber gets a 4 minute match where Shane controls 70%. AJ Styles is one of your pushed guys and he is treated like a jobber for the first two minutes. Just absolutely manhandled and given nothing but one eye poke and a low blow. They run a 4 minute commercial break and come back with Angle stuck in a headlock. I don’t know how long AJ had him in that headlock..the Olympian throws some blows to escape a headlock. AJ gets in a enziguri and a forearm and Angle beats him. Angle worked a 4 minute competitive match with a jobber last week and worked an Angle invitational match that made one of the pushed guys look like a jobber this week. Its dumb enough to run this match up as a throw away TV match up, but really this made me go “Nothing here would make me want to see these two working in a bigger match context”. Well I guess it might be good if Angle concusses himself a minute in. But barring a concussion…I have no interest in any Angle match unless they can promise me a fixed time for the match and a concussion in opening exchange.

And then there is the Angle/Christian mystery angle…aaww fuck??? Another mystery? Angle asks” Who is the mystery man? Is it Goldberg? Is it Brock Lesnar?” If it is Goldberg or Brock Lesnar its really stupid to name drop them instead of allowing them as the surprise reveal. If it isn’t Goldberg or Lesnar its going to be someone who isn’t as big a star as either of those two; name dropping them will just make it even more disappointing. For a guy who loves mystery angles, Russo sure doesn’t understand how to lay out a mystery. Christian says that he will be laying out clues. Historically Russo is a guy who builds mystery angles with no plans for what the end payoff will be. They ran the whole “Who is the Higher Power? “ mystery in WWE for months and didn’t have a plan for what the solution would be until a week before the reveal. So Christian promising clues to a mystery where I doubt they’ve figured out the solution is going to be amusingly bad. Speaking of no pay off…

-So the payoff to last two months of Voodoo Kin Mafia declaring war on Vincent Kennedy McMahon is that they just declare victory? Announcing mission accomplished is meaningless. Two months ago Voodoo Kin Mafia announced that “They were bringing war to your front door”. There has been no war. There have been no battles. Nothing. Two months of grandstanding, with no payoff. Grandstanding. Not even any attacks. They promised “WAR on the front door”. I keep on harping on this but TNA has done nothing tasteless, nothing that feels like an actual “attack” on the enemy. A shoot angle where the shoot has been “Hey you know that fat guy on the writing staff? He isn’t entertaining to watch…and that’s a shoot”. That’s a ridiculously feeble attack.

So the blow off to “Bringing war to your front door” and a “million dollar challenge” is Christy Hemme coming out and complaining about how history has overlooked the importance of women in wrestling? Kip James treats her rudely and BG tells him to lay off? The pay off to the Voodoo Kin Mafia angle is Christy Hemme as shrill feminist who Kip James throws Chinese food at? That’s the pay off? That’s retarded.

I mean I guess they could get Reggie Bennett to dye her hair blond, put a roll of dimes in her draws and attack Kip James from behind with a sledgehammer. A Christie Hemme managed Hermaphrodite Hearst Helmsley might be a really great payoff.

Hemme: I told you women were good for putting men back in line where they belong.

BG: Now I remember why Kip hates women in wrestling. Damn Hermaphrodite Hurst Helmsley!!

I am the crying game, you don't wanna play me. I am control; no way can you change me.

Helmsley is down with an injury and I don’t know if a trannie Shawna Michaels works. Bambi is too athletic looking to pull off Michaels. Cassandro and Pimpi also look too tough to make it work. Zach Gowen with a pony tale, bra and cut off chaps might actually make a great Lingerie Muto version of Michaels. Can you gimmick a prosthetic leg? Prosthesis flying off every time Shawna Michaels goes for a superkick followed by him bouncing around trying to retrieve it---is a great comedy spot. You’d want to run Reggie Bennet attacks Kip James from behind first. Reggie then falls leading to Zach running in. Keep Reggie (with muttonchops and sock in panties) around on crutches with Zach constantly massaging her leg, kissing her and begging her to "get well soon". Ehh… Reggie and Zach seems like overdoing it, just do Reggie. Who cares that HHH is currently out?

But anyway this is all meaningless digression, cause point is they won’t be doing that. Russo has seen the light and thus his shoots won’t be tasteless, instead they will just be dumb. While his Christianity may get in the way of him running the kind of tasteless shoot angles that used to be his bread and butter, it doesn’t stop him from his women hating. There is no room for hatefull crass sexual humor in the Evangelical movement, but there is plenty of room for mysogyny. Christianity seems to see nothing wrong with that old Russo cliché. Didn’t he already run the female announcer becomes shrill feminist heel with Goldilocks? It’s sad and pathetic when Russo tried to repackage Booker T or Sonny Siaki as fake Rocky Maivias. But Maivia was huge success. It’s one thing to try to recreate successes. Trying to recycle things that were failures makes you look like an idiot. “You know that money angle we ran with Madussa v Mike Tenay? That was huge. Why don’t we redo it with Christie Hemme and Kip James? ”


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PRO WRESTLING FUJIWARA-GUMI SHOW #28 8/26/95

Carl Greco v. Daisuke Ikeda

TKG: For some reason they are working on the worlds squeakiest ring. its fucking headache inducing as springs sound like fingernails on a chalkboard and you don't want to turn down the sound because you want to hear all of Ikeda 's strikes. So the last time we saw Greco it was against Takeshi Ono and me and Phil wrote about how great Greco was at throwing and twisting Ono, with the assumption that you can throw Ono harder than anyone else and twist him more than anyone else. but fuck that as Greco just tosses and twists the fuck out of Ikeda. He has both a lot of hang time and force with all his throws and while not twisting Ikeda's entire body just completely turns his ankles inside out. Ikeda for his part is still a beast in these matches and tries to toss Greco hard enough to fix the ring squeek.

PAS: Was really surprised to see Greco go over here, as they seem to pushing Ikeda as the top guy in this promotion at this point. I guess Greco has roided himself into the Shamrock spot. This was really great though, as Greco is such a smooth mat wrestler, and Ikeda is such a badass.

Yuki Ishikawa vs. Shoichi Funaki

TKG: This match feels absolutely epic and is surprisingly short. I mean normally when you say "Wow that match felt longer than that" its complaint because match is boring. Not the case here. Last time we saw Funaki he was all about the shitty strikes here he stays on the mat and these two just twist at each other as they struggle to shift from top to bottom. The two Fuanki strikes in this actually look stiff as he throws one drop kick which while totally out of place hit really hard and a nice headbut.

PAS: Funaki seemed more competitive then his place on the card seems to merit. This was worked pretty even, with Funaki getting Ishikawa in trouble a bunch. I remember after the nasty headbutt we actually thought that Funaki was going to win the match. Ishikawa was striking a bit more here, as he had some nice punches to the belly and some really rude shots to the back of the neck.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. TAKA Michinoku

TKG: This is worked more pro style than shoot style. Very little rope running but TAKA with a dropkick to the back of a seated Fujiwara, Fujiwara with his pro-style headbutts, and the TAKA throws Fujiwara headfirst into ring post comedy spots. No reason that these two should work this well together as you kind of expect a clash of styles. Instead the two just work really nicely with TAKA as jerkish junior vs. Fujiwara. Fujiwara twists the shit out of TAKA's legs and ankles and TAKA does nice job trying to fight his way out. Fujiwara eats alot of stuff and sells just enough to make TAKA look legit. I'm not really sure how Fujiwara works punching TAKA directly in the cheekbone. TAKA does seem to be missing a tooth at end of match, not sure if he started match with it or not. Fuck I dug this.

PAS: Yeah Fujiwara was punishing TAKA here, bodyshots, both the shoot and the pro-style headbutts, and some sick shots to the face. TAKA was really great as the underdog who almost heelishly disrespects Fujiwara. The matwork was really speed vs. guile, as all of TAKA's attacks were lightning quick, while Fujiwara was classically taking advantage of mistakes. TAKA is really great in PWFG, he doesn't work the style really but he was so good in the mid 90's that he can work a TAKA match that fits on the show.

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PRO WRESTLING FUJIWARA-GUMI SHOW #27 6/18/95

Takeshi Ono v. Carl Greco

PAS: Ono still hasn't morphed into a dick yet, but this was a bunch of fun as Greco twists Ono like he was Jack Evans. Making his toe touch his face, the back of his neck touch the inner part of his knee. There were a bunch of submissions that could ever only be used on Ono, it was like Greco was inventing shit mid move.

TKG: Greco has bulked up a bunch since we last saw him, Ono is the same size. Outside of the nasty twisting, Greco also threw some nasty hard throws.

Minoru Tanaka v. Yasunori Okuda

PAS: Okuda was an Akido guy with Shinjuku Shark's hair, who wasn't very good. The did a bit of cooperative matwork where it was clear that Tanaka was letting him apply stuff, and then Tanaka gets an ankle lock. Short and bad.

TKG: I don't think this would have been any better if Tanaka was working actual Shinjuku Shark. Okudo didn't do any slow motion Aikido spots.

Michiyoshi Ohara v. Shoichi Funaki

PAS: The story was that the spunky young guy was trying to take down the big veteran and getting punished for it. Problem was Funaki's execution was so loose and shitty looking, that not only did you buy Ohara's initial no-sell, but you didn't buy it when he started selling later. Ohara had some nice slaps, and a great looking scissors kick, but Funaki needs to be putting some mustard on stuff, if he wants to hang in PWFG. He looks like a guy born to be a Velocity jobber.

TKG: Ohara grapevines Funakis legs to take Funaki down in a really pretty spot. but yeah I would have preferred to see Ohara work someone who can throw. Funaki's suplex also seemed semi-unbelievable, although Ohara was willing to take it right on top of his head busting his mouth open. Post match Funaki attacks Ohara which leads to Ohara pasting Funaki with a chair.

Daisuke Ikeda v. Takanari Tateno

TKG: This is another mixed match with Tateno in a gi wearing boxing gloves. Ikeda just bulldozes through Tateno taking him down and beating him from the mount. Nothing Tateno does looks that good but mostly he gets to move his hands fast like hes throwing flurries in defense. Doesn't really matter as this is just a one sided beating. Post match Ikeda calls out Ishikawa.

PAS: Yeah this was a slaughter, Ikeda does come off like a bad motherfucker, and where is the Ikeda v. Ishikawa PWFG match this pull apart is setting up?

Ryuji Murakami v. Katsumi Usuda

TKG: So when you work these wrestlers vs. karate guys shows one of your wrestlers needs to job. here that task falls on Usuda. unlike alot of the wrestling v. karate guys matches ou see, Murakami's stuff has a lot of force behind it and you actually buy that he's beating the shit out of his opponent. Usuda gets his mouth busted open and is saved by the bell in the first round. Usuda doesn't make it through the second. You leave this wanting to see more Murakami.

PAS: Yeah most of these mixed matches suck, mainly because the martial arts guys pull their stuff so it looks weak. Murakami ain't pulling shit, and he was dropping Usuda with really nice looping punches. This sets up Fujiwara vs. Murakami later in 95 which is a match I really excited to see now.

Yuki Ishikawa v. Akitoshi Saito

TKG: Saito starts this match by blasting Ishikawa with a leg lariat and just spends most of the match kicking the dog shit out of Ishikawa. I'm kind of used to Ishikawa as guy who stands toe to toe exchanging stiff strikes so odd seeing him work guy who eats a walloping and can only counter with submission attempts. Other odd thing is that Saito also has really good looking submissions. I mean I don't think of Saito as a guy with a lot of submissions in his arsenal but he thows on some nasty looking stuff here. Finish is pretty great as Saito goes for leg lariat and Ishikawa does "elusive wrestler" slip to catch leg in half crab.

PAS: Saito may even be hitting harder here then he does now in NOAH. I mean it is Ishikawa, you can hit Ishikawa full force. The finish was so totally spectacular, and actually looked like the kind of tricky defensive wrestling counter that Fujiwara is the master of. I still like asskicker Ishikawa better then counter wrestler Ishikawa, but he is really great as a counter wrestler.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

TNA iMPACT wORKRATE rEPORT 1/11/07

Congrats to Cassidy OReilly on getting signed to WWE developmental. Really don’t know how I forgot to pimp him in the “who from ROH/TNA could make it in larger [i.e. WWE] arena environment” thread. He was one of the highlights of early TNA. We listed him at 275 the first time he landed on the DVDVR500. He then disappeared for a while came back as a jobber, Dusty took a look at the jobber talent and decided to push him and Candido, unfortunately Reilly was hooked up with the suck that is Raven and then after Dusty left Reilly was pretty much left unused. No reason to believe that WWE will make better use of Reilly then TNA did, but here’s hoping.

WHAT WORKED:

Don West is great!!! “That’s so diabolical. That’s so Raven.”

Christian’s velour shirt.

The five minute midcard six man was better than I expected. You see a six man of Sabin,Storm, AJ Styles vs. Chris Daniels, Rhino and Petey Williams and you expect shit. You expect just awful unwatchable even match. Instead they work this with faces moving forward/heels moving back. The Williams/Sabin section is still bad but they actually had Sabin heeling and begging off instead of just trading stuff. Styles is always fun as heel prick and James Storm stays heel by refusing to keep punching when the crowd starts to count along. Styles does a spectacular job at eating Rhino’s normally shitty looking spinebuster, and Storm does an amazing job of eating Daniels normally shitty looking stroke. Which is the glaring problem with this match. You have a pair of heels (AJ and Storm) who are really great at eating and selling offense against a set of faces who don’t have particularly good looking offense and whose idea of working as babyface is all about shouting. Williams gets a section of babyface hits lots of moves and then does fired up screaming “YEAH”, section of Daniels hits lots of moves and then does fired up shouting “AAUGH” and then Rhino doing the same. AJ Styles with the Finlay tribute finish was cool. And the five minute main event was a lot of fun. Christian’s mugging in the cage amused me. They put up a “reserved” seating sign on the cage. I assume this was put there to keep out that creepy old man who sits dead center every week “Hey I showed up first on line I can pick any seat I want to sit in”. I’m not a big fan of the ringside cage but this really felt like a match setting up the cage “high above the ring” (which is where I like my cages). Tomko is a guy who will fly all over the ring to try to make Abyss look good. Tomko does an amazing chokeslam take. Most of Tomko’s offense also looked crisp with a nice clothesline and a sharp big boot. Tomko did do some fists from the mount at the end which didn’t look good. In his second to last Heat run Tomko was using some nasty looking knees from sidemount. He should stick with those. Abyss did do some of his garbage I am sandpapering the sky punches but Tomko kept this brawling and moving. They really should be protecting Tomko more than they do.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

-This was the Jeremy Borash show. Why is Jeremy Borash on my TV? They already have a semi-competent backstage interviewer in Leticia. Do they really need two backstage interviewers? Where is Leticia? Jeremy Borash was all over this show. I mean he must have had five different comically inept segments. Borash asks Joe “For once you didn’t interfere with Angle’s match”…”for once”? He’s only interfered in one Angle match the one on the last episode. Angle was face last episode so I was expecting him to be heel here, instead this question and the whole framework of show has Joe as heel. The Borash interviews Samoa Joe and James Mitchell segments were set up with Borash asking an initial question then camera panning away from Borash while they answered. This had the nice feature of keeping Borash’s reaction shots from fucking up interviews. When Borash interviewed the Dudleys he positioned himself between the two and you were stuck watching a lot of Borash mugging. Why is Bubba doing a Slaughter impression? Or was that a Kirchner impression? It came off like second rate Portland Rambo impression. Not even a poor man's Sgt Danny Davis. They WWE's released Doug Basham no reason not to bring in the real Sgt Danny Davis. They replaced "Tenay does sit down interview with jungle drums playing in background" with "Borash does sit down interview in empty movie theatre". They’ve either replaced the sit down interview theme music or they were watching Cocoon as the music was all swishy and space operaish. The sit down interview was hilarious as Borash asked Chris Harris “How are you doing emotionally?” If Jeremy Borash is going to be doing fake Sally Jesse Raphael, he needs to start wearing scarves.

And then there was the JB and Eric Young segment.

So apparently it wasn’t anal lube. Traci Brooks sent Young out for protection. I thought he had a week or else. This would be the end of the week..but I’m guessing that Russo remembers giggling all though sex ed and thinks birth control devices are just naturally funny. So they are going to drag out Eric Young buys birth control for as long as they can. This week Eric Young shows up back stage with the pill and thinks he is supposed to take it and it is supposedly making his breasts tender. First of all this isn’t funny, second they went with the making breasts tender joke and not the regulating period joke, third the pill isn’t something you can get over the counter. It’s prescription med..everybody knows this. I mean DAMN! Ok about a year ago I was out at a Mongolian Barbeque place and the IT guys at the table next to me were discussing the birth control patch. One of these nerds said he didn’t understand “what happens if it falls off in the heat of passion”. At the time I was blown away by this level of ignorance and because I’m an ass started loudly talking about it. “HEY DID YOU HEAR WHAT THIS IDIOT AT THE TABLE NEXT TO US SAID?? HE ASKED WHAT HAPPENS IF THE BIRTH CONTROL PATCH FALLS OFF IF YOU’RE FUCKING TOO VIGOROUSLY!! I BET HE THINKS YOU NEED TO SWALLOW VIAGRA QUICKLY OR YOU’LL GET A STIFF NECK. WHAT AN IDIOT!!” I want to apologize to that table of IT guys as even they wouldn’t write a comedy segment as ignorant as the Eric Young, Jeremy Borash one. So the joke was supposed to be “HAHA look at that naïve Eric Young he thinks men are supposed to take the pill”. Instead the real joke is “HAHA the comedy writers at TNA have never been around actual women and don’t know anything about how birth control works”. Russo has a wife and he’s raising two daughters who he supposedly had a part in conceiving. I mean I realize after you’ve spent enough time in wrestling you just assume that everyone has access to whatever prescription drugs they ask for. But still.

Eric Young asks Borash to touch his newly tender breasts.
Young: “Grab That”
Borash ”No thanks, I’ll take you on after the show”

I bet you will.

-What the fuck was going on with Angle vs. Matt Bently? Bentley hit one nice lariat (his missed lariat leading Angle to transition to offense was laughably bad as it looked more like a callisthenic stretch than a missed lariat) but still why are they working a competitive squash with Bentley controlling 70% of the offense? So sometime in 2004/05 as I was regularly pimping the superiority of Smackdown wrestling to RAW wrestling, someone asked me to rank the RAW brand workers. Like many projects I take on I never finished it. I watched a lot of HEAT put together a list and started writing blurbs. At 14,15,16 were Angle, Tomko and Shelton Benjamin: athletic spot guys who couldn’t actually lay out a match. I had a lot of trouble deciding on how to order those three: but really felt that despite his body falling apart, Angle should be ranked highest. Angle was getting a regular feature in 3 minute Kurt Angle Invitational matches. These were fun three minute squashes where Angle let opponent get a bit of fire before beating them. He was the one of the three guys in 2004 who could put together a fun under three minute squash ( both Benjamin and Tomko struggled at putting together compelling squashes). Being able to lay out a meaningful match means more to me than how spectacular your spots are, and Angle could lay out one type of match well. Tonight TNA runs Angle vs. Matt Bentley in a three minute competitive squash where Bentley controls 70% of the offence. Bentley hits a vertical suplex on Angle and then controls the former Olympian on the mat with a headlock that Angle has to throw strikes to escape. Angle can’t even squash a jobber well anymore? After the match Raven comes out to discipline his jobber team. How many times has TNA booked the ex-ECW guy to mentor a team of jobbers through tough love? How many times have they done this? James Mitchell, Candido, Diamond, Raven at least twice, Shane Douglas…am I missing someone? Shane Douglas mentors Chase Stevens and Andy Douglas., Raven mentors Bentley,Kazarian and Stevens …The joke is “Whats next? Is Simon Diamond going to take Elix Skipper and David Young under his wing?” Gawd and they now need to pump in crowd noise for Angle matches...they've exposed him faster than VKM. The whole show was filled with pumped in fake crowd heat which is really sad as this is the iMPACT zONE. This isn't a critical crowd.

-The ads for the Iron Man match are hysterical. “30 minutes of fury, 30 minutes of hatred.” I couldn’t read between the lines and realize “Hey they’re advertising an Angle match where he’ll be comatose for the whole thing” as instead of focusing on the “30 minutes” I got caught up in the “fury and the hatred”. They’re running an Iron man match on the same PPV with a Last Man standing match (Texas Death), where the Iron Man one is supposed to be hate filled. Ideally you do 30 minutes of nothing but chair shot DQ falls as might be best way to protect two injured guys. Apparently instead Angle concussed himself in first 6 minutes and wasn’t able to call the match short so Joe called the last 24. I think that may have been what they were actually advertising. “We guarantee 30 minutes with a guy who had to call a match home 14 minutes early because his body can’t take it…this time he won’t be allowed to do that”. Normally I think I’m really good at reading between the lines but somehow I missed that as I’m kind of interested in seeing what Joe can do with a comatose Angle.

-Sting is a guy who has been wrestling for about twenty years at this point. Heavily pushed charismatic babyface for most of that time. But never really a guy known for his mic work. I can’t think of a single angle he was in, in all that time where he was asked to carry the bulk of the mic work. Heel Sting had Missy and Eddie Gilbert to carry the mic work. Surfer Sting could get over youthful enthusiasm on the mic and would cup his hands around his mouth and do a war whoop. Crow Sting was all about him being silent. So it’s really odd to watch how great Born Again Sting is at presenting conviction on the mic. Really Sting is single handedly carrying this Abyss storyline. It’s pretty clear that he’s writing his own stuff as his mic work is on such a different level from everyone else in this angle. For some reason this show had a Jim Mitchell promo while Sting was stuck doing mime. Shitty.

-Do I really need to explain why the Voodoo Kin Mafia in San Antonio videos are stupid? I mean I’ve already covered this as thoroughly as one can so read the last 8 of these. If you’re too lazy to do that: TNA is in competition with WWE. VKM has declared was on VKM. The Voodoo Kin Mafia are acting as the surrogates for TNA and their fans in that competition. The promotion/audiences surrogates are portrayed as insignificant buffoons who are being ignored by the WWE and can’t tell the difference between Alamo rental car and the Alamo. Plus no one sang “Davey Crocket”. "Killed a bar when he was only three" It's a great tune.


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PRO WRESTLING FUJIWARA-GUMI SHOW #26 5/19/95

Tsubo Genjin v. Monkey Magic

TKG: This wasn't worked PWFG style. This was straight up unfunny comedy. i mean at least in Mpro people laughed at the hack comedy. Here they just watched it in silence. For some reason the monkey is smarter than the astrolipithesis. He's a magic monkey but still. Tsubo actually has a nice lariat and a couple nice suplexes, while Monkey Magic has a great dive. but most of this is just a caveman confused by modernity.

PAS: Monkey Magic had a nice dive and a headscissors. If they dispensed with the horseshit, I got the sense this would have been a fine low-end juniors match. Lots of horseshit though.

Takeshi Ono v. Naohiro Hoshikawa

TKG: This was lots of Ono kicking while Hoshikawa would catch kicks for cool non-cooperative looking throws. Ono wasn't as stiff as he would be later in his career but I dug this match up. They have a really great finish where Hoshikawa is working a half crab while standing on the other leg, and Ono reverses it into a legbar.

PAS: Ono was maybe my favorite BattlArts wrestler. He was this skinny disrespectful punk, who would kick people really hard in the face or sometimes the balls. He was more respectful, and less kicky, but still really fun. They had some really great mat sprint sections, where they were just moving at warp speed to try to grab something.

Minoru Tanaka v. TAKA Michinoku

PAS: These two guys always have great matches against each other, and I assume this is one of their earliest. It starts with TAKA offering a handshake and Tanaka slapping him, and they are off to the races. They exchange holds and stop and slap each other, throw kicks and slap the shit out each other. TAKA is spectacular, and Tanaka is still young and spry. Really fun match

TKG: Yeah this was alot more PWFGish then the last TAKA match we saw as this is very much built and paced around the downs and the rope breaks. TAKA does a spectacular dive fake but most of this was these two rapidly slapping the shit out of each other and trying to twist each others knees into awkward positions.

Daisuke Ikeda/Katsumi Usuda v. Yuki Ishikawa/Shoichi Funaki

PAS: We have now moved from the mat based style of PWFG into the violence fest that is BattlArts. Usuda and Funaki are fine here, but this is Ikeda v. Ishikawa and is everything that match up promises. PWFG is stiff wrestling compared to all other wrestling, but when those two match up it is like you are watching something completely different. Kicks to the face, punches to the ribs and face, just great. The finish was super as Ikeda gets Ishikawa's back and yanks on his nose and eyes so he lifts his chin for the choke.

TKG: Ikeda is an absolute monster in this. Just a beast. you start this off with a two juniors matching up section, and the Funaki v. Usuda stuff is fun polished stuff at this point. You then get the heavyweight v. junior section with Ishikawa v. Usuda and this is somewhat disappointing considering what we expect from the two matched up. Mostly Ishikawa twisting Usuda up. then we get the Ikeda vs. Fuanki section where Ikeda just completely abuses and manhandles Funaki. Just beats the piss out of him. All building to the heavyweights finally matching up and fuck Ikeda is a beast. The Ikeda fishhooks Ishikawa and lifts him up by the fishhook to get him into position for choke is just bad ass.

Riki Choshu/Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Shiro Koshinaka/Akitoshi Saito

PAS: This was a Riki Choshu match basically, as Heisei Ishingun invades, and we have a really great Choshu style interpromotional match. Nobody really sells anything, and they all are just running in and beating on each other. Koshinaka bumps all around the ring in an amusing way, and Choshu is just great at this kind of stuff. Short, but a blast. Great show overall.

TKG: This is really worked like an interpromotional match with both the stiffness and the non cooperation. Favorite spot is Koshinaka going for a snapmare and Choshu refusing to eat it. Blocked snapmare rules. There will be no cooperative throws, you have to fight for even a snapmare. Fujiwara throws a absolutely hideous punch right to Saito's face at one point and throws a bunch of great looking stiff worked headbutts. I mean at this point in PWFG, I'm used to seeing Fujiwara throw his stiff shoot style headbutt and its odd to see how stiff his pro style one is too.

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PRO WRESTLING FUJIWARA-GUMI SHOW #25 10/31/94

Minoru Tanaka v. Takashi Okano

TKG: We think Okano might be Winger, he has some nice kicks and does a neat rolling knee bar but this is mostly Tanaka taking Winger down and forcing him to go for rope breaks.

PAS: Tanaka did break out his northern lights suplex into an armbar, which I remember thinking was really awesome when I saw it originally, but looks kind of stupid now.

Don Arakawa v. Hiroyoshi Kotsubu

TKG: We think Kotsubo is the future Yone Genjin. I don't understand why you wouldn't run Wellington Wilkins vs. Arakawa instead. This isn't worked as comedy match so much as Yone Genjin vs. Arakawa working a really basic PWFG style match. Genjin really isn't very good at this as he has some horrible knee strikes in the corner. Genjin is able to take down Arakwa but Arakawa is better when they actually get to the mat. The finish to this is really awesome as Kotsubo goes for a hiptoss and Arakawa pulls away into a front choke.

PAS: For a comedy guy working shootstyle Kotsubu is no Lingerie Muto. I bet Lingerie Muto v. Don Arakawa worked PWFG style would rule.

Katsumi Usuda v. Shoichi Funaki

TKG: Last time these two matched up it wasn't very good, this time I dug it a bunch. Last time i think it was worked more evenly. This time Usuda works as stronger (higher level) of the two and just pastes Funaki with strikes, while Funaki gets in really fast near fall submission attempts. Funaki goes for one drop kick that felt really out of place, Usuda steps out of the way of the drop kick and just stomps Funaki when Funaki falls to floor.

PAS: Yeah Usuda was a real asskicker here, last match they were two debuting guys working even. Here Usuda was clearly higher up on the food chain, and he just pounded the shit out of Funaki.

Taka Michinoku vs. Naohiro Hoshikawa

TKG: This isn't really worked like a PWFG match. Its more or less a straight up juniors match just without pinfall attempts. I guess they do very little rope running. But essentially a juniors match. These two are really high end junior workers and best match on the show thus far. Still not a PWFG style match.

PAS: They start working the mat, but by the end they are breaking off dives and big nearfalls. TAKA in the mid nineties was my favorite wrestler and he was really awesome here. The springboard dive is still super impressive looking, and he did this great move where he started to whip Hosikawa into the ropes and instead clotheslined him in the back of the head. Not a PWFG style match at all, but still a total blast.

Daisuke Ikeda v. Yuji Nagata

PAS: This was pretty great, for some reason the yutz doing the handheld, finally realizes how to use the zoom function, so it is a lot more watchable then the other matches. This is worked really BattlArts style, as there is less matwork and more kicking people in the face and dumping them on the top of their heads. Nagata especially breaks out some nasty suplexes, you get the sense from this match if he had just worked BattlArts he could have ended up a second rate Usuda rather then a eighth rate Masahiro Chono

TKG: Ah he could have been a first rate Hijikata as heavy. And whatever else you want to say about Nagata, he is a lot better than Glen Jacobs. This has a lot more mat work then Phil remembers, simply cause thats less memorable than the strikes and violent throws. The matwork was really fast and all about jockeying for throws. the whole thing was worked at a really nice heavyweight sprint pace.

Yuki Ishikawa v. James Anderson

PAS: I have no idea who Anderson is (maybe Jack Birthrider?), and the cameraman zooms out again, so I don't get a good look at his face. This was fun though, as Anderson had some nice takedowns, and Ishikawa's matwork was really violent. He looked like he was trying to rip Anderson's arm or leg or head off. They had some really nice near falls too, I wish I had a better view of the whole thing,

TKG: I don't think he was Birthrider. I think he may have been Charlie Anderson as he works kind of like Anderson. Anderson has some nice throws and nice matwork and does some neat stuff where he moves from clinch to the ground. He'll grab a lock and force Ishikawa down. His stuff doesn't really have the force of Ishikawa's. I mean Anderson isn't throwing week Momoe Nakanishi style suplexes but it still comes off as though he's working a whole lot more gentle than his opponent. cooler stuff in this match then in the one before, but Ikeda and Nagata were working with same level of force.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Joe Difuria

TKG: Difuria is a big roided up US indy guy. i think I may have once seen him and Scott Putski work The Headbangers in King of Prussia. I mean he looks like the kind of guy that you'd see tagged with Putski vs. the Headbangers. He works like he may have been the Shane Twins trainer. I think Fujiwara vs. Putski, or Mosh would have been a much better match. I mean why wasn't DC Drake returning PWFG's calls? Difuria works like barely trained big roided guy and Fujiwara does the type of selling you do when faced with big barely trained roided guy. None of Difuria's stuff looked as good as Jacobs and on some level I think Fujiwara had Difuria control way too much. Not good.

PAS: I liked Fujiwara in this, as I thought he laid out a nice match, as DeFuria shrugged away everything he tried until he finally got the heel hook in. With Glen Jacobs this match would have been good, hell this match would have been good against Van Hammer, DeFuria is worse then both and so it wasn't good. Still I was impressed by Fujiwara.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

PRO WRESTLING FUJIWARA-GUMI SHOW #24 9/13/94

Tokimitsu Ishizawa v. Naohiro Hoshikawa

PAS: This was clipped and what was showed was not particularly good. The mat stuff was fun, but both guys kept trying dropkicks, and their stand up kind of stunk.

TKG: I think they clipped about half of this out. KaShin whose gimmick is that he won't work pro-style, here refuses to work shootstyle and goes for drop kicks. Hoshikawa throws a really awful looking drop kick at one point and maybe they clipped out the good parts.

Carl Greco v. Shoichi Funaki

PAS: Wow this was fun, this was a total mat spotfest, as both guys were working at a million miles an hour, spinning into combinations and counters. I remember Funaki breaking out almost a Casita into an armbar, and Greco is just great at the mat sprint.

TKG: This was shockingly good. Before the match starts Greco does mic work where he speaks like a Japanese guy with broken English, I guess to help the translator. Funaki is a guy who I don't normally think of as projecting character well. Here he is really fun projecting fired up guy trying to win. The actual mat work and exchanges were also pretty spectacular.

Glen Jacobs v. Daisuke Ikeda

PAS: This was alot better then Jacobs v. Ishikawa, as Jacobs seemed to adapt to the style alot better. Unlike the previous match all of his big throws were counters here. Ikeda goes for a front face lock, Jacobs throws him with a Northern lights, Ikeda goes for an armbar, Jacobs does a keylock overhead throw. You got the sense if Jacobs had just stayed in PWFG/BattlArts he may have gotten as good as Viktor Kruger.

TKG: Ikeda is alot taller then Ishikawa and so the size difference wasn't as pronounced. I wonder who was the Pat Patterson behind this match because this was all about Ikeda trying for stuff and Jacobs countering with throws which helped cover for Jacobs difficulty selling. Jacobs still can't sell but him fighting stuff with counters made it look like he was at least concerned with his opponents offense.

Katsumi Usuda v. Yuki Ishikawa

PAS: This is the first of many really great matches between these two. This wasn't as hideously violent as their later matches, but was pretty good. Ishikawa is really working above Usuda for parts of the match, almost like he was working over a rookie, but Usuda fought back with some big shots, and looked like he caught Ishikawa unaware.

TKG: These two have better matches in the future. Greco v. Funaki was really the match of the show. still this was really good and every match Usuda seems to be getting stiffer and stiffer. Usuda's body shots to escape submissions were really good looking. and these two just jell really well.


Joe Malenko/Shinobu Kandori v. Thunder Crack/Yoshiaki Fujiwara

PAS: Thunder Crack is Fujiwara's horse face German girlfriend who he later did porn films with. You would expect this to be at least sleazy, but it is just kind of boring. Malenko looks kind of pissed that he is doing this, and even seems to half ass it a bit during his sections with Fujiwara. I was expecting Kandori to really stiff Thunder Crack (I have seen a video with a girl who looks like Kandori acting really violent towards a German girl), but she actually is professional and sells for her matwork. There is a couple of amusing Fujiwara comedy spots, but this was soul crushingly bad.

TKG: Did they do multiple porns or was it just one home video? I think she was Fujiwara's pottery instructor and girlfriend or maybe if you're a German art teacher fucking is part of the teaching technique. "Well after he explained empty space and composition my teacher made me do this for the next three classes. He said these exercises improve your pot throwing technique". The Fujiwara v Malenko sections were fun and Fujiwara as Dusty working Kandori was fun. I was amused by some of the Fujiwara/Thundercrack Ralph and Alice Kramden interactions on the apron but when Thundercrack was actually in the ring this ground to a halt. Fujiwara tends not to be a particularly masturbatory booker. Rarely booking himself in the main event. booking him and girlfriend in main to go long feels like something a money mark does. Fujiwara at least has decency to job so not complete money mark booking. Still.

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PRO WRESTLING FUJIWARA-GUMI SHOW #23 1/24/94

Katsumi Usuda v. Shoichi Funaki:

TKG: I've seen Funaki job in lots of short matches and never thought he took finishes in particularly compelling way. Here he's uninteresting for the bulk of the match but then eats a nasty kick from Usuda, sells it really great and then sells the finishing submission really great. This was nothing till the finish.

PAS: Yeah he is a way better shootstyle jobber then a Velocity jobber. This wasn't very good though. Funaki never really was particularly good, he was a fine fifth member of KDX when Hanzo Nakajima wasn't around. Hanzo Nakajimi v. Usuda might have been better.

Mark Ashford-Smith v. Minoru Tanaka

TKG: This started with a staredown. May have been the most homoerotic staredown in all of wrestling. I've seen HHH v. HBK matches. I've seen some homoerotic staredowns. Still if not number one at least top five. Really a nothing match. One neat spot where Mark Starr dodges a kick by dropping Tanaka on his head and Starr does a nice takedown to get the submission. Submission itself wasn't as cool as the takedown.

PAS: Short and underinspiring, Tanaka was really short, as Ashford-Smith dwarfed him almost as much as Kane dwarfed Ishikawa. Smith doesn't work as a giant though and he kind of needed to for this match to work.

Jack Birthrider v. Daisuke Ikeda

TKG: I don't think any match has gone over 8 minutes on this show but this was first that was actually semi-compelling. Birthrider looks like an even more roided Dan Devine. He also spends a lot of the match reaching into his trunks and adjusting his junk. When not playing with himself he works like an amateur guy with nice throws and mat stuff.Ikeda has nice kicks and submission attempts although Devines almost comedy selling kind of hurts it. Pretty much a five minute competitive squash. Best thing on show thus far.

PAS: Birthrider looked facially like Mario Cantone if he was a gym queen instead of a fashion queen. He had a nice set of takedowns, but this never got going really.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Diuseul Berto

TKG: So I was looking for this to save the show and well it didn't. They mostly exchange standup till someone is in position for takedown and submission attempt. Fujiwara needs to go for rope break first, Deusuel goes for rope break after second exchange, and Fujiwara gets the take down in the middle of the ring after third exchange. Deuseul with nowhere to go taps out. Really the most primitive of shootstyle formulas. Enjoyed it but nothing really memorable.

PAS: This was the least of the recent Diuseul Berto matches, which is kind of ridiculous. I mean its Fujiwara, your Fujiwara match shouldn't be smoked by your Jerry Flynn match, but this really was. Fujiwara normally can find more interesting things to do with a guy below him, but this was worked the way Meada would work it.

Glen Jacobs v. Yuki Ishikawa

TKG: Glen Jacons looks huge next to ishikawa. Like Khali vs. Rey. Glen Jacobs is working as big guy with lots of knee strikes and giant throws vs. Ishikawa as guy who dominates on the ground. Jacobs throws aren't that spectacular but the real hole in Jacobs work is that he's either on offense or he isn't. When he's not on offense he just seems to be waiting for Ishikawa to run through his stuff before Jacobs can escape to the rope. Doesn't fight any of the offense. Just waits for Ishikawa to finish so they can be stood up. I like Ishikawa alot more than I like Takada but this was nowhere near as good as Takada vs. Mark Lewin. Most of that has to do with the falling quality of Evil wrestling monsters ( Purple Haze vis a vis Kane). Did Tamura get to work Ron Reiss?

PAS: Glen Jacobs really stinks and always has, but I may have like him more as gangly amateur wrestler, then as masked evil guy. Now that Undertaker and Kane are on the same brand again, they are clearly going to go back to that match up. I get the sense it might be fun as a Randy Couture amateur guy v. Chuck Lidell pure striker, see if Taker's sprawl can counter Kane's shoot.

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Friday, January 12, 2007

TNA iMPACT wORKRATE rEPORT 1/4/07

WHAT WORKED:

-Mexican Street Fight!!!! It’s a Mexican Street fight with no Mexicans. Spike and Homicide are two of the top five guys in this fed and this had some giant sick bumps and nice strikes (I really liked the really violent Dusty elbow that Spike threw). It was way too short. Too short to even be the tercera caida of a EMLL main event. For some reason they have Konan distract the ref. Isn’t this a No-DQ match? Why do you need to distract the ref? In last weeks nightstick on the pole match no one needed to distract the ref from the outside interference. But you need to distract the ref in a no-DQ Mexican Street Fight? This sets up LAX vs. Dudleys. Unfortunately Spike won’t be in that match, so far less appealing. Some indy fed that gives matches time needs to book the rematch.

-Hey this week it took three minutes for Brooks to come back to ring looking disheveled. Eric Young is building stamina. Way to go Eric!

WHAT DIDN'T WORK:
And we're back to the SUCKAGE.

-They tape these shows two at a time. Last week the second match ended in a top rope German suplex, when the big spot in the main event was a top rope superplex. This week they book Homicide and Spike in a violent street fight and then have Angle and Samoa Joe work a W*NG arena tour brawl. They are killing their main events. I mean for a W*NG arena tour brawl Samoa Joe v Angle was better than most Kuroda arena tour brawls, but not as good as the average Hido or Leatherface one. How hard would it have been to have the street fight last week and the Roode v Hoyt match this week? I mean this was a nothing arena tour but at least it would have some sense of novelty if there hadn't already been a street fight on the same show. So these two guys tear arena apart brawling and this leads to them booking an Iron Man match for the PPV. The payoff to two guys who want to rip each other apart is an Iron man match? Is this going to be an actual iron statue of a man on top of a pole match? Winner is first to bust opponent open with the iron statue? Cause otherwise this is stupid. Oh yeah Sting and Angle clear the ring of the heels at end of show, so I was right in predicting that Angle would be back to being face. He's heel only on the odd shows? The first hour of taping?

-Cornette also books Tomko to be banned from ringside for the PPV three way when only reason I'd want to see it is for the Tomko flying around stuff. Tomko is this ridiculously game guy for a real heavyweight. The one guy in the WWE who would always take a released dragon from Benoit. Meltzer would write about Benoit spot where Benoit shoot headbutts to draw blood that it was a spot Benoit only did with people he trusted. Those people seemed to be Regal, Eddy, Jericho, and Tomko. In the WWE does X division spot fests to build to the 2005 Money in the Bank Ladder match, Tomko consistently took the biggest bumps in every match. Matches with bumpers Christian, Benoit, Edge, and Shelton Benjamin. Tomko wasn't even a participant in most of those matches, still would take the nuttiest bumps. He's totally willing to be Adam Gooch in Tracy Smothers/Bobby Eaton street fight. (http://www.deathvalleydriver.com/ dvdvr/ dvdvr141.html). Tomko isn't as good a singles wrestler as Adam Gooch but no one in the three way title match is. Removing Tomko will really bring down the match quality. So two Cornette as match maker match making decisions that hurt the PPV. The Tomko one at least is defendable from a storytelling perspective (although has Tomko’s interference actually ever lead to Christian winning in TNA?). The rest of the time Cornette is still playing flustered comedy authority figure. Really if you’re going to book authority figure as inept bumbling figure they should go back to Zbysco. Cornette even when playing bumbling figure attempts to make his decisions sound reasonable. Zbysco said fuck it and was perfectly fine coming off arbitrary. Zbysco can actually do the type of inept Mr Furley trying to collect rent authority that Russo is writing for. And well TNA needs a Mr. Furley trying to deduce what’s going on in all the Russo “mystery angles” after mishearing Abyss and Tomko putting up a shower curtain. At least Samoa Joe had the decency to keep his pants on when harrasing Cornette.

-Why is Jeremy Borash on my TV? They already have a semi-competent backstage interviewer in Leticia. Do they really need two backstage interviewers? Eric Young is apparently so oblivious that he goes to Jeremy Borash for sex advice, “Borash is always helping girls shop he must know a lot about women”:
Eric Young “[I] needs our help, your help, you’re the love doctor”
Jeremy Borash: “ Here’s what you do Eric. Stick your finger in her butt and stimulate her prostate”
Three minutes Eric’s doubling his time week to week. He doesn’t need any advice. Traci Brooks comes over and tells Eric he has a week to find a condom. So he was only getting blown these last two weeks? That kills my prediction of a pregnancy angle. Unless its not condom he needs to get. He has a week to get some anal lube? Aww he was doing so well, he ain’t gonna last half a minute.

-Sting is a guy who has been wrestling for about twenty years at this point. Heavily pushed charismatic babyface for most of that time. But never really a guy known for his mic work. I can’t think of a single angle he was in, in all that time where he was asked to carry the bulk of the mic work. Heel Sting had Missy and Eddie Gilbert to carry the mic work. Surfer Sting could get over youthful enthusiasm on the mic and would cup his hands around his mouth and do a war whoop. Crow Sting was all about him being silent. So it’s really odd to watch how great Born Again Sting is at presenting conviction on the mic. Really Sting is single handedly carrying this Abyss storyline. It’s pretty clear that he’s writing his own stuff as his mic work is on such a different level from everyone else in this angle. For some reason this show had God awful James Mitchell sketch but no Sting mic work. Mitchell abuses Abyss infront of prison untill Abyss strikes back. Really hokey.

James Storm tried to save the backstage Tenay/ Gail Kim interview. But no go. And what's with the tribal drums? Is Tenay scheduling his interviews when the Impact Zone is still the Universal Jungle Adventure show? Oh speaking of Tenay he was in rare form explaining the angles that the audience was watching. My favorite being when the Voodoo Kin Mafia announced thay were "going to Michael Hickenbottom's home town of San Antone". Tenay: "San Antone, that's what they call San Antonio where Michael Hickenbottom is from". Does the audience really need to be told that San Antone is San Antonio??

-and then there was the Voodoo Kin Mafia. Remember when the Voodoo Kin Mafia came out weeks ago, "shot"on "DX"and the crowd started a "DX Sucks chant"? Tonight the crowd is indifferent and the promotion had to edit in crowd noise. The crowd wants to chant hatefull shit about the WWE but this angle is about portraying TNA as fools and the crowd meets it with nothing.

Mike Tenay “What more do they[Voodoo Kin Mafia] need to do? [to get Mcmahon’s attention]”. Couple weeks back BG James talked about the Millionaire Ted skits and the shots at Jane Fonda “as tasteless” but “you don’t like it [Vince]when the shoe is on the other foot” Have the James Gang taken any shots that felt below the belt? Things that you go “ooh that’s got to smart”? Anything? The Billionaire Ted skits to whatever degree they worked, worked because they were preaching to the choir (WWE fans who felt like their favorite brand was in jeopardy) and because they were tasteless (the WWE choir went ooh that’s gotta hurt Ted to hear that). The kind of tasteless booking used to be Russo’s bread and butter. It’s not like it’s hard to book tasteless angle that takes shots at McMahon family.

Have Dutch Mantell lead a stable of brawling cowboy bounty hunters. I think Randy Culley has passed and don’t know if Black Bart still works but still plenty of veterans and youngsters who can work southern brawling rudo( Bunkhouse Buck, Todd Morton, Scotty Blaze, Mike Booth, Frank Parker, Otto Schwantz, Rob Mcbride, Doug Gilbert, Mack Truck Gary Stevens,Ryan Boz maybe Brad Attitude,etc.).

Dutch and 2 members of his gang attack the James Gang. Dutch gets on the mic and announces that “We are Stephanie’s Filthy Dirty Rotten Posse and Stephanie has sent us to invade TNA to find the real father of her child. We all know that Paul is too filled with roids to be the father and so we’re here to get some of your blood BG..and she thinks she may need some of your blood too Kip, she's got a whole list of possible fathers but we've come to get blood out of both of you”. This allows Kip and BG to make a lot of cracks about how it could be just about anyone. Allows Kip to lead crowd in "Stephanie's Posse Stinks" chants. Run lots of tag brawls and just when the James Gang have defeated two member of Mantell’s group they get blind sided by another three…leading Don West to exclaim “Damnit there’s another member in Steph’s Filthy Posse? Just how damn big is her Posse?” Tenay:” Damn her foul Posse.”
West: “Just when you think we’ve seen the last member to infest her disease ridden Posse, another three show up.”

It’s a one joke gimmick but I have confidence that Mantell, West, BG and Kip can stretch the joke out for at least five months. I mean there are a ton of things you can do with it.

Bring in Robert Fuller for a one shot appearance as “biggest member in Steph’s Posse”.

Dutch Mantell compliments Jay Lethals wrestling says "You're real good, we'd love to have you help us...you understand of course you'd only be helping. You can't be in Steph's Rotten Posse. Her husband won't let black members in her Posse."
Lethal: "What?
Dutch: “I’m sorry boy, she says that she won’t have a colored man in her posse"
Lethal attacks
Don West: "Stephany wouldn't have a black man in her Posse. And now he's tearing right through it;
He's just nailing her Posse with stiff rapid fire chops.
Man look at the welts Lethal has left on Steph's Posse".
Next week Mantell introduces Necro Butcher to deal with Lethal:
Dutch: “This is Dylan; the most dangerous, filthy, diseased, deformed member to ever be in Steph’s Dirty Posse”.
Put Lethal and Necro in a PPV singles match set up that way and you would make Lethal.

Kip James: Stephanie's Rotten Posse makes me sick.
Kurt Angle: Yeah that happened to me too. A little penicilin clears it right up.
By the end of six months you probably have completely run through the Angle v. Joe stuff and still need a couple more months to work out Karelin's visa issues, its fine place to side drain Angle. As six man’s with James Gang against quality brawlers would be a good way to keep from exposing Angle.
Dutch: We need blood samples from you too. Always figured there was a reason you wouldn't submit to the tests. I mean you don't do drugs there must have been something else you were hiding.
Angle : I have plenty of experiece making Steph's Posse submit.
West: Angle has beaten her Posse into submission.
Tenay:Angle and the James Gang have left Stephanie's Rotten Posse a bloody mess.

Pretty much with the right group of Southern rudos you can mix anyone in.
Shark Boy: “Well see I was working a dark match up north and…it happened. Leaving the arena this sea hag snatched me by my fin...and well the smell of chum was too much to resist. But still not my baby. I used protection. I wouldn't let my shark babies swim in anything that poluted”.
Mike Tenay:I want to talk about a true hero. Whatever you think of Shark Boys adolescent behavior in the past. I think we can say today that he is no SharkBoy but instead a real Sharkman".
Backstage Kip James: Wow knew she was a slut. But she went after the lil shark?
Angle: She loves animals
Christian: Jericho always worried about her puppy.

I mean you probably want to be careful with the bestiality jokes, as think the secret is to keep it simple. No Russo “swerve”, Hemme does not announce that she’s a hermaphrodite and might be the father or anything like that. Need to tell Russo no transexuals and no incest...yeah you probably don't do the bestiality joke either. Key is to hammer home the slut/whore premise and not get distracted with other fetishes.

By years end you have Mantell’s stable reach full on N.W. O. size (Bart, Frank Parker, Jimmy Golden, Tracy Smothers, Eddie Golden, Todd Morton, Mike Barton, Mike Booth, Scotty Blaze, Beau James, Rob Mcbride,Frank Murdoch, Ryan Boz, Otto Schwantz, Jack Victory, Scotty McKeever, George Hines, Mitch Ryder, Jerry Stubbs, Gary Stevens, Scott Powers, Chris Steele, KC Thunder, Briscoes, Dennis Stamp, etc.)
Don West: “That’s a whole lot of talent in Steph’s filthy Posse”
Tenay “Her Posse must be stretched to capacity”.
West “Biggest Posse in all of wrestling”.

I'm not a fan of this type of one joke angle, I got tired of the puns while writting this and at the point you bring in "Tulsa Tornado" Dennis Stamp the joke really has more than run its course. But you can mix anyone into it, it can go anywhere on the card and the angle gives you a ton of good matches that allow you to stretch the one joke out for a long time.

Most importantly the premise of the tasteless joke accomplishes several things: (1) The premise that TNA is being attacked by bounty hunters sent by WWE establishes that TNA is on the established fed (WWE)'s radar ; (2) The premise that Stephany is a slut/whore preaches to the choir of TNA fans ( as well if there is one thing I've learned in the years I've been following the sheets and the internet is that you can't do wrong appealing to wrestling fans misogyny), it even gives the TNA fans a hatefull thing about WWE to chant "Stephany's Pussy stinks!"; and (3) the premise of the joke is that Mcmahon's grandchild is a bastard of questionable parentage, that Helmsley is cuckolded, and that Stephany has a stinky snatch--it is a premise that feels tasteless enough that the audience will think “ooh that’s below the belt” (I doubt McMahon would be offended, but Helmsley is known to be overly sensitive, and Stephany is infamous for deciding to get breast enhancement after seing a audience poster that said she had "saggy" breasts).

Instead TNA has run an angle where (1) they’ve portrayed themselves as being so insignificant that they are beneath the established fed (WWE)’s radar. (2) Instead of preaching to the choir they have portrayed themselves as such buffoons that in tonight’s segment they had to pump in crowd noise. They had to pump in crowd noise in iMPACT zONE. The people in the iMPACT zONE will chant and cheer for anything and they were clearly forced to edit in crowd chants. And (3) not done anything tasteless enough for crowd to believe that WWE would be offended.

Mike Tenay “What more do they need to do? [to get Mcmahon’s attention]”. BG James “it’s been four weeks and no response. Vince you cannot solve a problem by simply ignoring it”. Stop ignoring us. We are not to be ignored. God these guys come across as sad and ineffectual. Tenay asks “what more do they need to do?”, I ask “what have they actually done?”. What exactly have BG James and Kip James done that would constitute a “problem”? Vincent McMahon is working a feud with Donald Trump, why should he care about these two goofs. Forget “why should the real Vincent McMahon care about these two goofs?” question and think “Why should storyline Vincent McMahon care about these two storyline goofs?”. What have they done that would bother him storyline wise? They’ve advertised WWE house shows, and egged a Target. They’re surprised that there has been “no response” ? By the iMPACT zONE’s silence it’s clear that the fans aren’t surprised at the lack of response. The crowd is as indiffferent as Vince McMahon. Shitty booking.

I don't particularly care for "shoot angles” where you make fun of the opposition in an effort to create fan loyalty. But that's the goal of this angle, and it fails horribly. The James Gang aren't the most talented guys out there but damn this really feels like a waste of their talents. They deserve better.


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PRO WRESTLING FUJIWARA-GUMI SHOW #22 10/29/93

Antonio Inoki v. Yoshiaki Fujiwara

PAS: This appeared to be a cipher, but I don't speak Japanese so I don't know who won. They also appeared to be doing shots, which can't be a great thing before a match.

Carl Greco v. Katsumi Usuda

PAS: Shootstyle is this weird style where you can be really great right out of the blocks. This is possibly Usuda's first match and he was already awesome. Greco is really fun here too, as he has really athletic mat work. Really great flipping counters and attempts. Usuda wasn't kicking the shit out people like he would in BattlArts, but his mat stuff was super too, I especially loved the double hammerlock submission. This was a draw that didn't feel like a draw and made me want to see the rematch badly.

TKG: Usuda was kicking pretty damn hard but yeah a lot of this was about Greco's really athletic counters and stuff. I especially liked his head stand flip to get to the ropes. Usuda also caught Greco's knee at one point and Greco leaped up to knock Usuda with the other one. Neat athletic escapes and counters. At no point in this match did I think it was going to a draw. Really surprised when it happens.

Charlie Anderson v. Diuseul Berto

PAS: I wasn't expecting much from this match, but this was a blast. Berto was rocking a Force MD's style hightop and appeared to be as yoked as a member of the Force MD's as well. He looked like he had gotten good at this point, as he had some nice takedowns, and made his Karate Kid striking look nasty, he drilled Anderson with a crane kick. I am not sold on Anderson yet, although he was fine here, the reversal finish did look great.

TKG: The reversal finish was neat but I don't know if I bought Anderson being able to turn Diuseul that easily. Anderson did a have a bunch of nice throws and throw attempts early in. I'm not sure if Diuseul has actually gotten better or if he just strung together a bunch of neat stuff in the middle section. His slaps and kicks looked stiff.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Masaji Aoyagi

TKG: This is worked rounds style with Fujiwara wrestling barefoot. First round is the two exchanging kicks until Fujiwara gets take down and moves toward submission when bell rings. Second round is Aoyagi dominating standup with Fujiwara fighting off a ten count when the bell rings. Third round ends with Aoyagi caught in submission in center of ring struggling to fight off the pain till the bell rings. Fourth has this amazing strike exchange section in corner where Aoyagi hammers Fujiwara with karate strikes to the guts and kidneys and Fujiwara fights back with nasty punches to the kidneys. I liked this alot although on some level it was disappointing. I don't think it was as good as the better Fujiawara vs. Sayama matches and well Aoyagi is better than Sayama. Part of the problem is that Fujiwara works as kickboxer for lots of this so you don't have the kicker vs. wrestler dynamic that the Sayama v. Fujiwara and Aoyagi vs. Onita matches have. Instead you have a match where Fujiwara is the more well rounded mixed martial arts fighter vs. Aoyagi working as the more one dimensional MMA guy. Fight between two one dimensional guys with different one dimension is gonna be more intriguing than one dimensional guy vs. multidimensional one.

PAS: The first part of this felt a little too much like a mixed match, like Aoyagi was playing the Mo Smith role, and he brings way more to the table then Mo Smith. It really kicked into gear though, and Aoyagi clearly saw Fujiwara drinking earlier as he seemed to be targeting his kidneys. Which is a spot I am shocked no one ever used with either Sandman or Austin. While I didn't like Fujiwara's kickboxing that much, his punch exchanges with Aoyagi at the end were spectacular.

Joe Malenko vs. Yuki Ishikawa:

TKG: This is an odd match in several ways. On one level its worked like a lucha slow burn match where two guys are working technico v technico and slowly getting more and more pissed. It is also being worked in a real master vs. student way with Joe Malenko really twisting and slapping around Ishikawa as though he were trying to toughen up the youngster. Those are two odd stories to be working simultaneously. Then you get the weirdness of Malenko controlling most of the match while losing on points. For first half of match Malenko always seems to be more in control but he's the guy who has eaten more downs and gone for rope breaks more. Malenko' stuff is really cool and he does this one takedown that is like an inverted Russian leg sweep that is absolutely spectacular. I dug this a bunch but one of those matches where you watch it excited more about the prospect of rematch than you are excited by the actual match your watching. After match it looks like they have a post match pull apart that they decided to edit out.

PAS: I thought it was worked less like a lucha techinico v. technico match, then a face v. face technical U.S. match, where you were waiting for the tempers to flare. You almost needed Bobby Heenan calling this and rooting for one guy to punch the other in the mouth. It did kind of end before it really broke down, which almost gave the match kind of a cock teasing feel. You wanted them to break down, and they never fully did. Man was alot of the stuff spectacular though, Malenko will have at least three spectacular things per match that I have never seen before.


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