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Welcome to In Your Head! Wrestling podcast, news and community!
It?s PPV night folks. Angle vs. Joe looms in the distance. Sabin vs. Daniels follows close behind. The always entertaining X Division will make an appearance, and LAX and AMW are sure to please. Throw in a bikini contest and Rhino vs. Styles and we may just have a barn burner of a show on our hands. The lights dim, the curtain drops, and so the show begins?
The show opens with a nice Christmas themed visual recap of the past months events, all set to a rousing rendition of traditional Christmas music. The standard TNA fireworks displays follows, and then Kevin Nash makes his way to the announce table to join Tenay and West.
Match 1: Senshi vs. Jay Lethal vs. Alex Shelly vs. Sonjay Dutt vs. Austin Starr P.C.S. Elimination Match
A flood of wisecracks from Nash start the show off with lighthearted feel. The match begins with a moderate, (for an X division match), pace and is actually worked as a tag match with Dutt and Lethal tagging in and out against Shelly and Starr. It is not until Senshi tags himself in that the ?every man for himself ?aspect begins, the pace quickens, and an entertaining match is underway. All the participants performed well here, with extra time being given to Senshi, Dutt and Starr to make use of their most flashy moves. Things come to a close when interference from Shelly allowed Senshi to pick up the win in this first of several P.C.S. matches. The X ? Division may well be the backbone of TNA, and they seem to always be able to count on it for good matches, and tonight was no exception. In typical TNA fashion, the show is off to a good start, and I?m looking forward to what comes next.
We then go backstage for an interview Eric Young who discusses his upcoming bikini match. A video package detailing the Roode/Young feud and the origins of the bikini contest is then played.
Match 2: Eric Young vs. Ms. Brooks w/Robert Roode Inter-gender Bikini Contest
Ms. Brooks takes center stage first and does a small strip tease to eventually reveal what appears to be new surgical implants and an outfit that although revealing, was not a bikini. She is followed by Erick Young who removes a pink bathrobe to reveal a t-shirt with the image of a bikini clad woman. After complaints from Roode, he continues to undress, removes the t-shirt and reveals that he is wearing a pair of Spongbob Squarepants boxer underwear. After further complaining from Roode Young again continues to undress to reveal a Spongebob Speedo, much to the delight of the crowd. A vote by the crowd made Young the winner, resulting in sneak attack from Roode. Afterwards, Roode decides that he wants Young to join Roode Incorporated, and that if Ms Brooks cant? make it happen, she may find herself out of a job. This segment was mildly entertaining but seemed to run to long, and may have been placed way to early in the show, as it has killed the momentum from the opening match.
It?s then backstage for a VKM spoof interview of DX which was interrupted before it could start by TNA?s own version of the ?fat oily guy?. A recap of the Sabin/Daniels feud is then played prior to Jerry Lynn coming to the ring to do ref duties for the X Division Title match.
Match 3: Chris Sabin vs. Christopher Daniels - X Division Championship Match
The match opens up with a new move from Sabin, who uses an ?ear lock? to control Daniels in the opening seconds. The expected technical match starts as both men begin to trade holds. The match seems to progress at a slower pace than would expect from these two, and the a somewhat silent crowd seemed to share my opinion. Although the in ring work is solid, I?ve seen much more compelling performances from each man on free TV. Unlike the first match of the show, things did not pick up speed as the match went on. Even after a few impressive spots, the pace of this match just never seemed to reach full speed. In the end Daniels retained his title after pinning Sabin following the B.M.E. After the match an argument between Daniels and Lynn resulting in Lynn slapping Daniels and leaving the ring. This match should have been much more exciting than it turned out to be.
Jim Cornette then takes to the ring to introduce A.J. Pierzynski and Dale Torborg from the Chicago White Sox, as well as David Eckstein from the St. Louis Cardinals who is accompanied to the ring by his brother. Eckstein then gives a plug for his book which results in a ?We want wresting chant? from the crowd. Pierzynski then picks a fight with Eckstein resulting in a scuffle between the four. The fight is broken up when Lance Hoyt hits the ring and sends Pierzynski and Torborg packing. This segment was obviously created to involve MLB players in a future TNA match, but the entire thing seemed horribly fake and transparent. Worse still, TNA has once again killed any momentum they may have created with the previous match.
The segment is followed by a video clip detailing the developing story between Rhino and A. J. Styles, after which is an interview with Rhino. Styles attacks Rhino in mid interview and the next match is soon underway.
Match 4: Rhino vs. A. J. Styles
Things begin with hardcore style brawling backstage and in the stands before the two eventually make their way to the ring. There is no slow start to be found here, as once the action hit the ring, the two were going at it full speed. They each use their own brand of high impact moves to keep the action moving, and for the first time tonight the crowd seems to be totally into a match. A feigned knee injury by Styles give the two a break, as a bevy or referees and trainers come out to attend to Styles. In the moment the refs were going to call off the match and give the win to Rhino, Styles pops up and gets the win with a quick roll up. We have just had the best match of the night so far, in what is shaping up to be an on again off again PPV.
It?s then time to go backstage where a fake Vince McMahan gives a short, unfunny interview, in what was a sad attempt at humor. A second brawl between Styles and Rhino, and an LAX video package and interview follows. We are then returned to ring side.
Match 5: LAX w/Konnan vs. AMW w/Gail Kim ? Flag Challenge
It seems the night of slow starts is over as this match starts as free for all and remains that way till the very end. The crowd remains lively, driven by the constant action and the quick involvement of the ladder. Lots of participation from Konnan and Gail Kim, help to keep things moving, and even Petey Williams makes an appearance. Hernandez steals the show however, pulling off several great moves and bringing the crowd to a roar each time. A bottle mishap towards the end of the match costs AMW the end as LAX get the win. Unfortunately the show is then ?off? again as we have to wait for the entire Mexican national anthem to play before the show can continue.
We then go backstage were James Storm begins to foreshadow the breakup of AMW as he demands that his injured partner appear on Impact and apologize for ?quitting? in the match, resulting in their loss. VKM then hits the ring dressed and made up to look like HHH and Shawn Michaels, (sledge hammer, prosthetic nose, and all). Their promo is interrupted by a version of the Spirit Squad whom they defeat with crotch chops. The ring is then invaded by the TNA fat oily guy who delivers a ?super kick? to the sole remaining Spirit Squad member. Although the fans seem to be entertained by this, the entire segment seemed silly, if not stupid, and definitely too long. They then follow the skit with a long winded ?shoot? promo in which they call out Vince McMahon, and then go on to challenge DX to a ?Million Dollar Challenge? fight. Whether you enjoyed the segment or not, TNA has once again killed the flow of the show with this segment.
We are then presented with a video package telling the recent developments in the Christian/Sting/Abyss triangle. An interview with Christian is next and then we are taken back to ringside.
Match 6: Sting vs. Christian w/Tonko vs. Abyss w/James Michel ? Heavyweight Championship match
The match begins in typical 3 way style, with one participant being throw from the ring leaving the reaming two competitors to keep the match going. Thought he work done here was solid, there was nothing of note either. All three performed as they normally do, but failed at making the match seem special, or even important. It certainly didn?t feel like a title match, and even when they seemed to try to spice the match up with Abyss?s bag of thumbtacks, they barely used them. The entire affair was completely forgettable, and in fact, I had to think for a few moments before remembering that Abyss won the match and retained his title.
We go backstage one last time for a Kurt Angle interview and video package before the final match of the night.
Match 7: Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe
Some things are worth waiting for. Some things are so good that they easily wash away the stains of what came before them. This match was one of those things. Though it started as just a good match, (the sort of match one would expect considering the participants), something happened towards the end of this match. It became intense, it became real, it became special. In a perfect blend of booking and performing the two tore the house down, giving a final 5 minutes that won?t be forgotten for a long time to come. I won?t even begin to try and describe what these to men created here. Instead I will just say that performances like this are why I watch wrestling. Because no mater how bad the sport may get, no matter how poorly the shows may be booked, I know that if I wait long enough, if I am patient enough, I will be there when things like this happen. I don?t think you could ask for a better match than this.
It seemed that TNA was trying something new tonight. A new type of show pacing, a new mix of PPV content. The lesson I learned from this experiment is that new and different are not necessarily better, (as I found the traditional portions of tonight offering the most enjoyable). There was also a lesson for TNA in tonight?s show: There is a reason for the WWE to be concerned with TNA. But that reason is not VKM, or hokey trans promotional challenges. Nor is it stars and gimmicks from WCW?s past. Its what two extremely talented men can do in a wrestling ring when they believe they have a legitimate opportunity to be the biggest star in their company. With no artificial ceilings to contain them, with no family bonds to chain then down, Angle and Joe soared tonight; perhaps higher than they would be allowed to anywhere else.
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