Segunda Caida

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

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

PRO-WRESTLING FUJIWARA GUMI Show #30 5/23/96

Fegero v. Bruiser Okamoto

PAS: Okamoto is a Bukka Dojo guy which was a group/promotion which Masaki Mochizuki used to come from. I used to watch a lot of scum Japan indies back in the day (RIP Scott Mailman). I have no memory of Fegero though, he had a nice dive and that is what I will give them. This match was full of suplexes where it looked like the person throwing them, didn't know how to throw them and the person eating them couldn't eat them properly.

TKG: What has happened to our beloved PWFG? They are playing to an audience of about 16 people in seats. A whole bunch of people seem to be up on the balcony but not sure if those are paying customers or the maintenance staff. The ref also is some guy in a hideously ugly red shirt with the kind of design on the front that you'd expect to see on the back of a ski jacket. And then there are these two guys wrestling in your opener. What has become of PWFG? This was a fucking mess. Just one botched ugly looking suplex after another. Match ends when Okamoto starts punching Fegero in the ropes and then punches the ref for DQ. Punches looked nice. Match-not good.

Apollo Sugawara v. Hiroshi Hatanaka

TKG: You get the sense that these two might be fine additions to any six man tag. Guys with enough polish to do a rope run section, a bodyslam and then tag out, maybe a rope run section and then a side suplex and then go for top rope move only to be caught Flair style powerslamed into ring and then both tag out. Point is they need to tag out. Instead they just run the ropes, hit a bodyslam, then run the ropes hit a sidesuplex, then do a bodylslam then another bodyslam. Then there is a reversal of a bodyslam. You keep waiting for them to tag out but its a singles match and there is no one to tag out to..

PAS: Suguwara is an ex-IWE guy and we are a long way away from IWE. Apparently Hatanaka worked WWC. Like Tomk said if this was Sugawara/Goro Tsurumi/Mighty Inoue v. Hatanaka/Invader 1/Ricky Santana this would be fine even in 1996. However it was a long singles that seemed to lap itself a couple of times

Hiroaki Tsushima v. Jun Kikuwada

PAS: Tsushima represents a kickboxing academy that is apparently Senseied by a masked guy in a Gilligan hat and red sweater. Kikuwada is an unknown indy scum junior. It starts out as a terrible mixed match, but after the first round completely breaks down into an amazing clustefuck. Kikuwada posts him and just starts potatoing seconds. I mean he is working tender as a lamb with his opponents, but is just crushing random teenage kickboxers. We have a kendo stick, W*ING arena tour and barbed wire boxing gloves. Terrible but totally awesome.

TKG: So you start thinking this is going to be your standard kickboxer v wrestler rounds match and then it becomes clear that these guys can't pull that off and it becomes... FUCK I have no idea what it became. This was unbelievably bad and filled with way too much amusing shit to not love it. Tsushima reps the C. Kobayashi Memorial Boxing Club which seems to be filled with random nerdy looking guys in jeans. Dojo is run by a guy in an evil clown mask. Tsushima and Kikuwada work incredibly loose and shittily with each other but absolutely waste the seconds. Match seems to end when an eight year old kid runs in wearing barbed wire covered boxing gloves, he gets thrown out and in the process Kikuwada gets a hold of a belt and hangs Tsushima with it. I have absolutely no idea what was going on in this match.

Don Arakawa v. Tsubo Genjin

TKG: This was clipped to hell and no way to really tell what happened in the match.

PAS: I liked Arakawa's nose tweaking and eye poking. Didn't get much from Genjin Masao

Orihara v. Onryu

TKG: Onryu was around in 96? Who knew. Clearly at this point Orihara doesn't think Onryu is on his level and he just wastes Onryu. Kills the zombie dead.

PAS: Onryu did get in one dive, but this was a complete squash. I would like to see this match today as Orihara has only gotten scummier and Onryu is no longer a rookie zombie, but the pre-emanate living dead in wrestling.

Mr Pogo/Toryu v Dick Slater/Masanobu Kurisu

TKG: This was clipped. For a Mr Pogo match this appeared to have no blood and no plunder. Most of what we got to see was Slater working Toryu in ring and that was perfectly fine wrestling. Who knows what else was going on?

PAS: You didn't get enough of this match to get a sense of it. We didn't even get a chance to see Kurisu potatoe anyone. Slater looked like the more shot Dick at this point.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Dick Murdoch

TKG: thank god they clipped and jip'd everything else because we get to see this in full. It looks like the audience has actually filled up over the course of the show. I mean it isn't fill for the main event but a whole lot more folks watching then at the start. I was expecting to enjoy this match but I wasn't expecting it to be this good. They start it off with Fujiwara as guy who backs opponent into corner and then wastes him with punches...while Murdoch is working guy with really nasty ways of taking apart opponents arm on the mat. So all the roles are switched and your waiting for them to righten themselves. They work a really great headscissor escape attempt section. Normally in these type of things a guy will do a Muga escape be put back into headscissor, do another escape get put back in, etc. What made this so neat is that it wasn't just that Fujiwara had a variety of ways to try to escape a headscissors but Murdoch had a variety of different ways to push his opponent down and keep him in the headscissors. Match had all the guys signature spots plus really neat ways both guys tried to avoid and escape their opponents signature stuff.

PAS: It seems pretty trite in a Dick Murdoch review to talk about how great his punches are, but goddamn are Dick Murdoch's punches great. Short jabs, big rights, beautiful uppercuts, just mixed it up and they all were gorgeous. Of course Fujiwara has some of the best punches in wrestling history too, and they had lots of really great exchanges, with Fujiwara being sneaker and not wanting to box heads up with Murdoch. Speaking of turning tables, Murdoch is actually the first guy to try a Fujiwara ambar, which Fujiwara counters by making a pyramid with his head and legs to relieve pressure, then spinning out to counter. Murdoch then counters Fujiwara's armbar attempt by twisting at the knee. It was an awesome bit of mat wrestling by both guys, and just a small piece of awesome in this awesome sandwich of a match.


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PRO WRESTLING FUJIWARA-GUMI Show #29, 11/19/95

Takeshi Ono v. Mohamed Yone

TKG: I'm assuming that Ono's opponent is Yone. The Lynch list for this show is full of question marks. Yone is tall and not a ton thicker than Ono. I mean everyone is thicker than Ono but Yone is still skinny. Yone gets in one absolutely nasty kick but this is mostly the Ono kick and scramble all over opponent to get submission show. Thats a show I tend to enjoy.

PAS: Yone did have a great missed koppo kick after the one nasty landed kick. Middle of last year I saw Super middleweight contender Alan Green fight an ex-sparring partner Donny McCrary in a ESPN2 card. Green outclassed the guy, but his opponent nearly KO'ed him with a lucky punch, had him on dream street. McCrary couldn't settle down and finish Green though, he was just hurling wild punches, that is what that koppo kick kind of felt like. An outclassed guy got a lucky shot and was recklessly going for broke

Alexander Otsuka vs. Takeshi Okano?

TKG: Again assuming here that Otsuka's opponent is the future Winger. Otsuka pretty much controls this match. Some nice suplexes, nothing as spectacular as the most spectacular Otsuka suplex, but still a bunch of nice throws. Winger gets in the flash victory by reversing a leg lock into an ankle pick.

PAS: This was fun. Possible future Winger was pretty non descript, but wasn't afraid to land bad on his skull. The flash victory ankle pick was pretty awesome, as Okano was about to tap, but was able to grab the ankle and nearly rip it off.

Katsumi Usuda v. Oishi

PAS: The name had a question mark next to it, so his full name will be lost for posterity. It is pretty common when they run different style matches in Japan for the big name outsider to bring in a underling to work an undercard match. I assume Oishi is a Murakami student, but the funny thing is that he is a brown belt. Murakami couldn't even bring another black belt to work the undercard?

TKG: This went a little over a minute and really nothing to see here.

Yuki Ishikawa v. TAKA Michinoku

PAS: This was joined in progress which I was pretty salty about. At different points of my life each of these guys have been my favorite wrestler in the world, and I am pretty sure I hadn't seen them wrestle each other before. We got most of it though, and it was pretty great. Really counters on top of counters, as TAKA would use his speed to avoid and check most of the things Ishikawa was trying, but when it got onto the mat, he would be countered by Ishikawa's skill. Both guys were throwing bombs too, especially TAKA's nasty elbows to the back of the head. Wish I could have seen it all, but it didn't disappoint.

TKG: Ishikawa's submission attempts were really awesome here as he'd go through all these stages in order to reach a submission. First he'd isolate the body part, then he'd fight to completely extend it, and only then would he go and try to twist it into unnatural positions. On the one hand it was awesome, on the other it was disorienting as he'd go through this whole process to secure a submission when TAKA would just go and slap one on. Fun match, wish I had seen more.

Gladiator/Hisakatsu Oya v Daisuke Ikeda/Mark Ashford

TKG: So it's PWFG v. FMW and pretty much a mess. Mark Starr has a nice superkick and decided to work straight pro style. So you never really had the "fish out of water/PWFG guy out of element" feel to his sections. And well Ikeda is a brawler to begin with so not really a story of contrasts. Oya looks awkward at points, like he had never taken a DDT before. The bulk of the match is spent with Ikeda and Oya brawling in the chairs while Gladiator and Mark Starr worked in ring. Really felt like you should have Starr and Gladiator brawl outside ring and have Ikeda and Oya do the fighting in ring. Just felt backwards. Match was a mess.

PAS: This was mercifully clipped, as we got about 8 minutes of 22. Pretty shitty with no one being any good at all. Luckly Gladiator did neither a suicide dive or a hanging vertical suplex, so we weren't tempted to make any tasteless jokes.

Murakami v. Yoshiaki Fujiwara

PAS: Murakami is a Karate guy who mauled Usuda on an earlier show to set this up. This is joined in progress too, which sucks, because one of the things that makes these kind of matches great is the slow build to blow up, and this was joined mid blow up. There is a DQ finish with Fujiwara jumping Murakami at the start of the round and getting a mount and raining down punches which is apparently illegal in this style. They have kind of a fun pull apart between dojo's, but this match felt like a missed opportunity.

TKG: Yeah I was stoked at the potential for this match up and really you fuck it up by having it jip'd. Post pull apart Fujiwara throws his own students out of ring so he can be a man and shake his opponents hand while still pissed at himself for fucking up. He's bitter but he needs to shake and then raise his opponents arm to be true to himself and the sport. ROH! ROH!

Great Sasuke v. Shoichi Funaki

PAS: This was a Sasuke singles match with all that entails. Sasuke was fine, he did his pair of insane dives, and his offense was good. Sasuke wrestles kind of the same always, so the quality of the match will usually depend on what the opponent brings to the table. Funaki did very little to add to the match, so in the pantheon of Sasuke singles matches this finishes pretty low.

TKG: I expected Funaki to rep PWFG but he kind of comes out and hits a dive in his first move. Sasuke controls most of the match on the mat and then has the better dives of the two. Fuanki has some fine mat work and some mediocre dives but Sasuke just has far more interesting stuff no matter what he's doing and well I never bought Funaki as a challenger and had no reason to care about the match.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Phil's Ongoing 2007 MOTY List

1. John Cena v. Umaga WWE 1/28
2. MNM v. Hardy Boyz WWE 1/28
3. Briscoes v. Ricky Marvin/Kontaro Suzuki NOAH 1/21
4. Shinjiro Ohtani/Takao Omori/Kazunari Murakami v. Kohei Sato/Hirotaka Yokoi/Yoshiro Takayama Zero 1 1/19
5. Chris Benoit v. Chavo Guerrero WWE 1/16


2. MNM v. Hardy Boyz WWE 1/28

Back in the late 90’s I used to take road trips down to North Carolina to watch the Hardy’s work great Southern tag matches. In the WWE they had really made their name with spotfests, but this was a throwback to Southern Pines. MNM are no Death and Destruction, but Johnny Nitro is really the worlds best Christian York. I really dug all of the work on Matt’s jaw, and Jeff’s ribs, and Nitro countering of the springboard into a Oklahoma roll was jump out of your seat awesome. Just a classic match formula done really well.

4. Shinjiro Ohtani/Takao Omori/Kazunari Murakami v. Kohei Sato/Hirotaka Yokoi/Yoshiro Takayama Zero 1 1/19

Man is it great to see Takayama back, he was a total blast here, punching people in the face, kneeing people in the head, bleeding, and mugging like no ones business. This match really had some of the great muggers in wrestling right now, and was filled with awesome facial expressions. Murakami has been pretty lackluster in the last year or so, but he was great here, as Yokoi got in his face and they squared off with lots of jukes, jabs and sneers. The Sato v. Murakami mat sections were pretty great too, as I had no idea Murakami could U-Style it out like that. I have never been a huge Omori fan, but I hope we get an epic singles match out of the No Fear break up, as he looked as good as I have ever seen him in his face off with Takayama.

5. Chris Benoit v. Chavo Guerrero WWE 1/16

Chavo gets a lot of shit for some reason, the Vicki stuff is bad, but he is still one of the best wrestlers in the world. This was another really good Chavo Guerrerro street fight, with him ripping up Benoit’s arm, and Benoit doing a great job selling it. The armbreaker using the chair was pretty awesome looking, as was the continued suplexes on the chair and belt. This could have used some blood, and wasn’t as good as the Rey I Quit match, but was brutal looking and really fun.


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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

TNA iMPACT wORKRATE rEPORT 2/9/07

WHAT WORKED:

-So for a couple months I’ve been pushing the Sting on the mic talking point: “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. “ It's no secret that I really dug Stings mic work when the angle was that Sting used to be this happy–go-lucky surfer wrestler who was sucked in by the Temptations of that lifestyle and then was Born Again and humbled in the presence of the Awesome Truth and Power of God. He had seen the Evils of the “SHOWTIME” ego driven lifestyle and had humbled himself. I really liked humble face Sting. It was a welcome contrast to HBK’s Steven Baldwin-lite ego-driven Christianity of personal enrichment and fire and brimstone prosthelytizing. They’ve completely changed the nature of Sting’s character. Sting as angry Steven Baldwin is less interesting to me on a theological level then Sting as vehicle of compassion. But still it’s Sting mic work that carries this angle. “Do you think I haven’t been in a few fires in my life. You’re gonna witness the End Times.” Sting is better at this then Steven Baldwin as while you sense the ego driven-ness of this version of Christianity, Sting is still concerned with the Temptations of the selfish life..Sting transitions between his old 80s extreme sports surfer war whoop and threats that “This represents lust,greed and deception, What I call a living hell.”. Sting almost saves this dumb prison angle by preaching about the “prison” of the selfish lifestyle. Prison metaphor trumps all the shitty literal prison storylines.

-Pre-Russo I used to complain about the “What works/doesn’t work” format for this show. Pre-Russo “What worked/didn’t work” was really about what was good vs. what sucked. TNA was mediocre most of the time and so a lot of stuff had both good and bad aspects and was sometimes difficult to parse. Russo shows up and whole show is bad so “What worked/What Didn’t Work” format is no longer about a value judgment and actually becomes a discussion of what is functional and what structurally fails. The sports entertainment stuff on this show wasn’t nearly as bad as you’d expect and for the most part was functional:

The Buh-Buh mic work where he tells the audience that he was a shoot Italian is pretty mediocre. Buh Buh was wearing a Black Label Society hat which raises the question “Is Buh-Buh the TNA “talent” looking to jump to WSX?” Buh-Buh can do some really great impassioned mic work and this was disappointing by Buh-Buh standards but fine by the standards of this show. I liked Konan’s mic work more than I liked any of his previous LAX mic work and really the beatdown by LAX is what made the segment. No blood and Devon really exposed the business by carefully removing the board from his head before lying down..Still the visual of Homicide choking Buh-Buh with a coat hangar while Hernandez attacked the hand was great. Without the beatdown this probably wouldn’t have made the top side but enough good to outweigh the bad. Also LAX were lucky to be put in the position of being the first heels booked to choke a face on the show. If they were positioned as the second or third this wouldn't have made the top side either (wouldn’t have been shocking and would have done little to heat up the PPV). For angle heating up PPV, I still have no desire to see the actual Italian Street Fight…maybe if they bring in Italy’s Native Soldiers (I.N.S. of JT Smith and Tracy Smothers or fuck it Big Sal Puccio would sell more than Buh-Buh too). Yikes!!! You know I have little hope for a match when I’m fantasy booking a three way dance to save it.

AJ Pierzynski and Dale Torborg were shockingly good at their Jimmy Garvinesque mic work. Lance Hoyt sucked and really looked even worse given the contrast with the baseball guys. Did they just gloss over Johnny Damon? I mean I what's the point of doing a celebrity angle if you're not going to make a big deal out of the celebrity? Damon as an un-remarked upon walk on is hysterical. AJ Styles heel mic work continues to rule. Again you totally buy him as pompous ass…although the facial stubble seems ill-suited for his character. Christian is not as believable but still his mic work was perfectly acceptable. Samoa Joe and Angle had what would be bad mic work on a normal show but what was kind of fine segment by Russo standards. The premise of segment was that the two had never teamed before which is amusingly stupid premise and holy shit Leticia’s face has gone to hell. She really has the look of a WWE diva. Well not the manly jaw but the soulless haggard look of a woman who has had shit mixed in her lunch by every juvenile WWE wrestler. I’m not sure who the TNA’s Randy Orton is, but damn did she have the weathered and beaten WWE diva eyes. Could the Kip James angle be a shoot? If you’re the kind of person that thinks “Fuck matches don’t mean anything. Wrestling is about knowing how to play roles. The true judge of a wrestler is their ability is to make you believe in their character” than Kip James and Christy Hemme are best wrestlers in TNA. Their backstage segment was off the charts. You totally bought Hemme as grating jejune feminist, totally bought Kip James as sophomoric chauvinist, and totally bought BG James as guy made uncomfortable by the whole scene. Best backstage bit on the show.

WHAT DIDN'T WORK:

-Most of the sports entertainment stuff that went on the “What Worked” side, was when wrestlers were good enough performers to cover for bad material. That said the material is bad. Every major segment to heat up PPV ended with a choking. Homicide chokes Buh-Buh with a coat hanger to heat up their PPV match. Mitchell chokes Sting with a belt to heat up their PPV match.Steiner chokes Angle with a metal pipe to heat up their PPV match. Who books three choking angles in one show? Is Russo trying to get Shannon to start watching wrestling again? You can’t do three choking angles in one show. I mean I thought it was idiotic when they did two attacking the refs angles on the same show but sheesh. Hanging someone is a big deal. It’s a visually dramatic spot. But if you do it three times in one show it looses any meaning and any power to shock.

-Of course some of the bad stuff was the fault of both the writing and the shitty performers. The secret to the early Paparazzi productions sketches was that Alex Shelley riffing is somewhat amusing…the secret to the later ones was the rapport between Shelley and Nash. The two were amusing riffing off each other. This weeks Paparazzi Productions sequence was just completely unfunny. Nash without Shelley is unfunny. For an ex-World Champion trying to mentor two spot guys, Nash isn’t as funny as White Trash Johnny Webb. Nash’s humor isn’t as relevant as White Trash Johnny Web’s. His delivery isn’t as good. Nash’s mentoring doesn’t do as much for Lethal and Dutt as Webb does for Abercrombie and Nate Webb. This was just a long dull segment where Nash came off as poor man’s White Trash Johnny Webb.

-Tenay was his normal shitty self but I guess I could single out the jealousy in Tenay’s voice while announcing “It’s awkward the way Mr Backlund stares at J.B.”. Awkward for who?

-“None of the above” was the most texted guess as who would be Christian’s Special consultant with 34% of the vote… Yikes how many people voted in this thing? Couldn’t have been more than a handful. I mean the internet really killed the old wrestling hotline carny game. I never called a wrestling hotline, but I did call Jerry Lee Lewis 1-900 line enough times to admire the carnyness of 1-900 numbers. Anyone who has watched late night TV commercials knows that the text messaging carny hustle has almost replaced the 1-900 one at this point. And so on some level you have to admire TNA getting involved in the new hustle. But damn it’s like they don’t understand how a hustle works at all. Listing Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, Samoa Joe or “other” really makes “other” look like a disappointment. “Hey maybe it will be one of these two big guys..if not it will be someone not as big.” Plus they have actively pissed off Brock Lesnar and Goldberg. If they ever had the money to get these two, they might want to. Right now both are pissed that there names are being used without getting paid. The reason the internet killed wrestling hotlines is that the internet provided the info on wrestling hotlines. You’re having people text to “guess” who the consultant will be in a taped show. People who text, people who use new technology…will probably also understand how to use the internet And “vote” to “guess” who the consultant will be? You’re vote here doesn’t matter, it doesn’t determine anything. No one called in to vote to “predict” if Face would die at the end of the A-Team. They voted to determine if Face would die. The hustle is to have people text in to vote for what they want Rhino’s weapon of choice to be, not to vote to guess what it will be. Running the results also make your audience look dumb. Especially when the storyline is this clear. The conclusion to the mystery consultant story was obvious and 66% of the voting audience can’t follow this story. That may not be something you want to advertise.

-So the second Mystery is solved. Scott Steiner is the special consultant. This is better mystery resolution than the Abyss one. No crazy swerve, pretty obvious conclusion. Christian is actively better at the “mindgames” mic work then Helmsley. He still isn’t as good as Wes from Real World/Road Rules challenge. And well one of these days I need to do a whole idiotic “Lessons of 2007; What Wrestling Should Learn from MTV/VH1 ‘Reality’ Television”. The premier of “I Love New York” was the most watched show in cable, absolutely beating all wrestling and that week’s “Sopranos” premier. I’m sure with enough liquor in me I could come up with a bunch of shit on the lessons these shows provide on how you elevate new stars, build matches, get across lots of characters, create worked drama etc. But anyway as a preview : “The Lesson of Wes’s Mindgames mic work”. Two kinds of folks do “mindgames mic work” in reality TV; crazy/delusional folks “New York/Beth” and sane guys “Wes”. The thing about arguably sane people playing “mindgames” is that at the end of the day you don’t think “Wow that Wes he sure is a Machavelian genius tactician”. No at the end of the day you think “Wow that Evan is really dumb for falling for that shit”. Your “sane mindgames” worker never comes across as smart so much as his opponents come across as dupes. There is a reason that no one (with the exception of Batista) leaves a program with HHH as hot as they were when they entered it. Batista was booked to see right through HHH’s mindgames (Batista was also never stuck in matches with HHH in the build to the PPV…as tags, singles , 3 ways whatever no one looks good in loosing to HHH). Mindgames mic work, by and large makes your faces look like chumps. Christian promised someone who wrestled just like Angle and had a similar mind state. Steiner is drugged out of his gourd nut who does a lot of meaningless suplexes. When Christian first mentioned this clue the audience chanted “RVD”, which would I guess also have made sense( spotty druggy who bangs people up while throwing visually dainty looking offense) . RVD has supposedly asked for his WWE release and aw Fuck, I imagine watching the inevitable TNA Angle/RVD/ Lynn three way dance will guarantee me a place in the Heavenly Choir. I imagine you could rape ponies in front of a troupe of Brownies and still argue with St Peter “ Yeah, I guess that was awful but. Did you see when I watched that TNA PPV. That’s got to count as penance. How much more self-flagellation do you guys need?” At least Russo finish will keep it from being pimped as a WON MOTY “people who didn’t like this don’t understand the future of wrestling, yadda yadda”. Sorry, getting distracted. Point was obvious conclusion was Steiner, with RVD at least making sense as a second possibility. For some reason Angle is confused and thinks, it’s either Goldberg, Brock Lesnar or Samoa Joe. Tomko provides the clues of goatee and sunglasses…so it could be either Scott Steiner or Jim Neidhart. And this convinces Angle that it has to be Samoa Joe. Mindgames stuff doesn’t make Christian look clever so much as it makes Angle come across as an idiot.


--The three matches on the show were all essentially squashes. Unobjectionable squashes but you can find better on youtube and really nothing that heated up the PPV matches. Why would anyone want to pay money for match-ups that they just saw in squashes? Hey they’re advertising Christian as undefeated in TNA. Wasn’t he just on the loosing team in tonight’s show? Really you shouldn’t advertise anyone as “undefeated” unless you’re actually giving them an “undefeated streak” gimmick. Either a dominant undefeated streak gimmick or a chickenshit “when is he gonna get what’s coming to him” undefeated streak gimmick. They’re not running either of those with Christian. You talk about won/loss records when someone is doing a dominant winning streak gimmick or a loosing streak gimmick. Otherwise you’re telling the audience “Hey you may not have realized it because it isn’t important for booking purposes, but this guy hasn’t lost”. If it isn’t important for booking purposes don’t mention it as it kills a gimmick (“guy with a dominant win strak”) that may at one point actually want to run. I’m also not sure what is meant by undefeated in a fed filled with on a pole matches. He lost the match where the goal was to retrieve a baton off a pole. I’m not sure how you determine who wins in a match to determine who gets to use which weapon. Oh yeah and what the fuck is the angle they’re running with the Naturals.

Don West: Stevens is still wearing the newly Franchised Naturals tights. We’ve seen many times on Xplosion where Shane Douglas is trying to get those tights off him.”

WHAT?!?! Shane Douglas is working a Bob Ryder gimmick. I mean what the fuck!?!?!?. Chase Stevens is still really being wasted putting over Abyss. We know Chase can run a 4.3. According to Angle, Samoa Joe can run a 4.5 40 yd dash. Match those two up in some sort of match where they have to do wind sprints to reach a pole.


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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

TNA iMPACT wORKRATE rEPORT 2/1/07

WHAT WORKED:

Miss Tennessee~!!!! Miss Texas forearming Gail Kim in the back of the head was the single best wrestling sequence on the entire show. You had to go back and watch that in slo-mo. Eveen if you ignore the wrestling goodness, Miss Texas pairing with James Storm is the best non-wrestling thing on the show. Drunken belligerent cowboy James Storm encourages Eric Young to get some tail followed by Miss Texas telling him to “BRAND THAT STEER!!” put a big smile on my face. It’s a shame that the James Storm/Miss Tennessee pairing are stuck on this poorly written show as you really get the sense that they could be a great anchor for a Porter or Corey Maclin booked fed.

Homicide on the mic! I love me some Homicide mic work. I dug violent knife wielding Homicide. Liked the cross-eyed angry Devon delivery too. The delivery by both guys was good.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

A Few Good Black Men?? Oh see the joke here is that black entertainment is just watered down second rate copies of the stuff that white people come up with. Did Patrice O Neal cuckold Russo when they both worked in the WWF? “HA, HA Blacks have no ideas of their own, they aren’t creative. See I’m creative that’s what I always explained to Vince”. So they have Ron Killings in a spoof of Maverick distributed direct to DVD black movies, where Ron Killings is riffing on Jack Nicholson in front of cheap graphics and the boom mic falls on him. “Ha Ha Black entertainment is second rate”. One can argue whether this is a good way for TNA to celebrate the beginning of Black History Month or not. But one can’t argue that it’s not a good idea to spoof cheap production values of Bad News Ballers when you had your announcers reading from scripts on camera last week. Nothing in Master Ps filmography is as poorly written as the Abyss prison story. You’re running Chris Sabin doing an old man impression and yet you’re doing spoof’s of bad movies. “Ha Ha that movie is bad, unlike this comedy bit where Chris Sabin is using a walker…see its funny because Jerry Lynn is old. I mean I don’t think people will get the joke so Chris Sabin will have to say ‘Hey I’m Jerry Lynn. I’m Jerry Lynn’ again and again so people get it but it’s still brilliant”. There’s nothing wrong with doing a comedy segment but doing a comedy segment mocking cheap second rate knocks-off’s when you are a cheap second rate knock off is a mistake. TNA isn’t even the “Orca”, to WWE’s “Jaws”. For a cheap knock-off“ Orca” showed far more creativity.

And well this show was all about advertising that "TNA is second rate". Tenay announces “Are you looking for a PPV quality main event?” and then promises one. Instead he delivers a two minute match with a run in DQ. AJ mugged his way through this and Samoa Joe seemed to be sleepwalking. But even if they were going at iton all cylinders, don’t promise a PPV main event and deliver a two minute match with a run in. That’s a TNA PPV quality match? Well shit I can’t see any reason to buy there PPVs. I can see better longer matches on youtube. Derrick King vs. Bill Dundee’s BamBam tribute match smoked this. Fucking Sean Waltman carrying Vampiro through a five minute WSX main event was better than this. Why would anyone want to buy a TNA PPV? Post match they have Angle eat a meaningless chair shot, lazy Russo books Samoa Joe to give Christian the double birds (jeezus is Joe as Austin going to be awful…write some new material you lazy hack) then Styles and Chirstian double team Joe. Where is Rhino? I thought Rhino runs out any time there is a Styles segment? Rhino was chasing him a minute ago.

And well the undercard? Again, you can watch indies on youtube with longer better matches than anything on Impact. I liked some of the early parts of the X-Division five way. Starr and Shelley work as a heel team working really basic offense against Jay Lethal. Lethal works face getting beat on, getting comebacks (including chopping Starr’s chest beat red), getting comebacks cut off and it really feels like the start of a good well paced tag match. Then Jerry Lynn is tagged in. And it's Jerry Lynn on fire doing "on fire" shouting and Lucky Pierre doublejerking handmotions. Lynn’s house of fire offense looks shitty, he attacks everyone face or heel and we move from the slow early build straight into a really shitty dive train. No midrange section to match, just early slow build and then shitty Jerry Lynn and dives. And well these were unimpressive dives too. Maan poor Robert Roode is stuck in an endless series with his former Team Canada partners. Petey Williams isn’t good at eating offense or selling but manages to be unobjectionable in the parts of the match where Roode was on offense, and Roode is good enough at eating ranas that the Williams multiple rana sections where ok. But really Petey Williams should stick to ranas, as everything else was cringe-worthy. I don’t know why people spend so much time mocking the Canadian Destroyer when his floatover to Russian legsweep, may not be as preposterous but looks far worse. At least with the Canadian Destroyer (like the rana), its move that a good opponent can make look ok. Moves where execution/set up matters more than the opponents’ bumps…uugh! Sometimes watching Williams wrestle is like watching a guy pretending to be a guy pretending to be a guy pretending to be a guy wrestling. Wrestling is two guys pretending to fight. Backyard wrestling is people pretending to be guys pretending to fight. So imagine a mime trying to mime “Backyard wrestling”, now imagine a kid whose first grade class went to see that mime. That kid taught Petey Williams how to execute a Russian leg sweep.

Abyss and James Mitchell chased down Sting’s ambulance and all that was left of Sting was his bat. They chased down the ambulance on foot? They’re shocked that he isn’t in it anymore? How bad do they think healthcare is in Florida? People just sit around in the back of ambulances waiting to be allowed into Hospitals. They’re surprised that his bat is left behind? What hospital lets a patient in with a bat? A middle aged burn victim shows up in tights with pantomime makeup on, I would hope they wouldn’t let him take his aluminum bat into the ER. Did they go to a hospital or just the First Aid Station at Universal Studios? This makes the Oz episode where they were unable to find Luke Perry’s corpse seem like good writing. And Christian asks Tomko to “Take one for the team”. Timmy Kirk doesn’t send Jaz Hoyt out to blow Manny Yarborough. That’s not how it works. Speaking of the workings of prison, James Mitchell does a meandering soliloquy setting up the Prison Yard match. Lots of lines reminding the audience that Abyss is a fat cow, some stuff about why it is that Mitchell isn’t pressing charges against Sting for kidnapping (they decide to have them explain why they aren’t pressing charges in one angle while doing a knife wielding assault in an other), and a bunch of stuff about the hard life of prisoners while an ominous monolith is lowered into the ring. The covering is pulled off the monolith and Mitchell reveals one of those racks for stacking your trays when you are done eating.
“In prison you have to buss your own trays!!!!” evil laugh…

So last week I suggested that Brother Ray/Brother Devon vs. LAX feud really was going to need more relatives: Brother Brother, Dances with Brother, Sign Guy Brother, Little Snot Brother, etc. Instead they introduce some random uncle who gets attacked by Homicide. Who is this guy? Favorite uncle? Uncle on which side? They’re brothers of a different mother and all. Is the uncle friends with Samoa Joe’s girlfriend? Hey what happened with Samoa Joe’s girlfriend? Introducing loved ones of wrestlers and then having them attacked in same episode is some hack writing. They didn’t actually even bother to introduce the loved one. One time where “explaining” Tenay was useful. Good storytelling shouldn’t need Tenay to explain it. Devon doesn’t usually do mic work because he’s cross-eyed and thus whatever he says comes across less menacing and more “slow”. Family feuds are the type of things that always rile up the most slow witted so it didn’t really hurt his micwork that much. He explains to LAX “When you go after family you go too far”. Wait didn’t this whole feud start when LAX went after Spike. The mic work from four weeks ago was about how they attacked Konan in retaliation for attack on Spike. Didn’t LAX already go “too far” by going after “family”?? I guess I’d rather see these two teams do week after week of Paparazzi productions where they retaliate and counter retaliate going after different relatives then see them in the ring again. LAX and Team 3D had a shitty PPV match where the road agents where furious with 3D for not selling anything for LAX. To make nice with the road agents 3D had another match with LAX where they promised to put them over. In that shitty match 3D sold nothing. So yeah rather watch the Paparazzi productions. Mustachioed uncle sells better than Devon.

Oh yeah and why are they doing this serious assault angle with Paparazzi productions? Paparazzi productions is comedy gimmick. Having Shelley supposedly filming this is stupid. Can’t Homicide get his own fenced camera? Comedy relief cameramen shouldn’t be filming you’re serious angle. While Alex Shelley is videotaping a serious assault, Sahadi is doing a serious deadpan video recap package for the Eric Young/Traci Brooks angle. This is a comedy angle!!! Why are they doing a serious video package? And if you are going to do a serious video package for this angle, where is the griot? The TNA Griot was made to narrate this type of coming of age story. C’mon TNA!!! If you’re going to do something this goofy, give me the TNA Griot telling me about “Eric Young’s quest to become a man”.

Back in November I talked about how much I dug the Sting promo where he talked about his personal battle to escape the temptations that come with wrestling and his dedication to the Truth of the Maker. I praised the promo and the whole direction they went with Sting. This week they do a “Fallen Angel” video promo with Christopher Daniels talking about how the wins and losses in wrestling have no meaning, Christopher Daniels questions “What’s the meaning of it all”, talks about how he is merely “treading water”, and that there “has to be a Higher Purpose”. And it just doesn’t work for me. Christopher Daniels Christian mic work just doesn’t come off as sincere as Sting’s, and you really need strong mic work to get over the Fallen Angel seeks Purpose/Redemption angle. I also don’t think it’s a good idea to have two wrestlers with the same gimmick. Two wrestlers grappling with the Truth of the Lord and the search for Higher Purpose? Just feels like one wrestler too many. I don’t think you can do two Christian faces. You can have one Christian face or you can have three who are actually one…but not two.

I’ve spent three months writing about how it is dumb to have the fans surrogates portrayed as bumbling incompetents. But FUCK!!!. Lance Hoyt tells me that disrespecting him is disrespecting the TNA’s fans. Wait he's supposed to be the fans surrogate? I’m no fan but I’d rather be thought of as a bumbling incompetent than a femme exotic dancer... Has Hoyt always had that chin piercing? I could make out a tongue one too. Guy with a tongue piercing announcing “You have no idea what I’ve done, professional wrestling is my life” made me cringe. Kip James explained that “If you want to go up in the biz, you first have to go down”..but don’t need to remind the audience of that in the angle with the mainstream celebrity. “ [Dale Torborg/] AJ Pierzynski] you want to cross that line, then cross it. Step into my ring and do what I do.” Do what you do? How many prison themed matches are they booking?


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