In the words of my esteemed colleague,

_________________X___________________ !!!


“The End of the Original?” Um, ok. These titles make me think of the titles of episodes of “Dragonball Z.” Hey, don’t go knocking the DBZ, Vegeta was and is the man! Goku, not so much. Goku was the John Cena of the DBZ-verse. In any case, the episodes had total giveaway titles, like “Death of a Saiyan Prince.” Gee, what could possibly happen in this episode? It’s not that all of the TNA episode titles are bad, but some of them could use a bit of tinkering.

We are treated to footage from last week’s challenge to the Main Event Mafia by Team 3D. Read last week’s review if you don’t know what that was. J Mike Tenay and Don West wonder what the MEM’s reaction will be.

Match #1: Alex Shelley defeats Sonjay Dutt (w/ SoCal Val), Sheik Abdul Bashir, and Chris Sabin to retain the X-Division title: The first actual wrestling match of the night starts within a few minutes of the introduction, and on paper, it should be top-notch. This is a positive thing. The Motor City Machine Guns actually entered together. This is also a positive thing. The match didn’t even go five minutes. This is not a positive thing. This match could have and should have gone a good eight to ten minutes. These four guys can do it, so holding them back makes no sense at all. If Alex Shelley is still not doing so well physically, protecting him does need to come first, but there are ways to do that without making the match feel pointless. Nice moment at the start of the match where Bashir and Dutt hopped down from the ring apron and gestured at the Guns to fight each other, and Sabin and Shelley sort of grinned and shrugged at them, as if to say, “No problem!” While I can certainly see the point (made elsewhere) that a tournament for the X-Division title has just ended, and therefore, that throwing the new champ into a four-way match for the title on free tv with no build at all is terrible (yes, all these things are true), there is a silver lining here. An alliance between Bashir and Dutt has been hinted at several times. People assumed that the Guns were through because Shelley essentially cheated to win the title in the match against Sabin. This match, which should not have been a title match, granted, did two things. Firstly, Bashir and Dutt had a chance to work together, and we saw that it didn’t go quite as well as they might have planned. Secondly, we see that the Guns are (for the moment, at least) on the same page and that there aren’t any hard feelings over the X-Division title match. Since none of these four guys get any promo or segment time to let us know what’s really going on with them, we have to settle for getting the information in the ring. It’s ridiculous, but it’s better than nothing. The Sharmell bit is what killed the match. This was really inexcusable. In a title match that was this short, she comes down to the ring and stares down the referee? And the announcers make a big deal over it? If this has to be done during a match, wait until the match ends and THEN have her come down and head straight for Sewell. I know, I know, some people will throw out the typical “What did you expect, it’s TNA,” comments. I expected that they wouldn’t treat a title so poorly after finally getting it on someone who can really restore it to prominence. By the way, did anyone besides me want Shane Sewell to refuse to go to Booker’s locker room? I really wanted him to get in Sharmell’s face and say, “No! I have a job to do, and I’m doing it. He can come to me if he wants to see me so badly.” Or words to that effect. That would have been cool.

To the back! In Booker’s locker room, Jeremy Borash acts as a human microphone stand. Booker takes Sewell to task for getting physical with him before, but says he is willing to give him a pass because he likes him. In return for this favor, Booker wants a favor. In the elimination match tonight between Booker, Scott Steiner, Eric Young, and Petey Williams, Booker wants Sewell (who is refereeing the match) to make sure that Eric Young gets eliminated first. Booker and Steiner want Petey in the ring by himself. Sewell looks sad, but leaves without saying anything. At least the hideous quasi-African accent is gone.

To the ring! It’s Main Event Mafia promo time, with Kurt Angle leading Scott Steiner and Sting. Yes, this is why a four-man match for the X-Division title couldn’t even go five minutes. Oh, sorry, was I being bitter out loud again? Apologies. Angle asks Team 3D who died and made them bookers? They don’t have the authority to make matches, and even if they did, the MEM has no intention of facing them. He won’t fight D-Von, and Sting won’t be fighting Brother Ray, and Team 3D can take their challenges and stick them up their “fat asses.” Sting interrupts Angle with “Excuse me, Godfather.” He takes the mic and informs Angle that since this whole issue is about respect, that, with all due respect, no one tells him who he can and can’t wrestle. Sting whispers something in Angle’s ear, and the two do not look at peace with each other. The tension is broken by the arrival of Jim Cornette. Cornette agrees that Team 3D doesn’t have the authority to book matches in TNA. But he does. Ok, clarify exactly what it is that Cornette can do! A few weeks ago, he couldn’t even alter a match that other people set up. All that needed to happen would be something like, “With Jeff Jarrett recovering from the injuries he received at ‘Genesis,’ and Mick Foley on a European promotional tour, I’m running the show!” See how quick and painless that was? Cornette announces the main event for “Against All Odds.” Sting will defend his World Heavyweight championship title against Brother Ray, Brother D-Von, and Kurt Angle. Cornette points out the X-Division title match from the top of the show as an example of how to win a four-way match, claiming that two guys need to work together as much as possible (the Guns), and then one makes the sacrifice (Chris Sabin) so that the other (Alex Shelley) can win the title. He says that he knows that Team 3D can do that, but can Kurt Angle and Sting do that? Nice parting shot about “There may be a death in ‘The Family’” before breaking into rather nasty laughter from Cornette. The MEM look even further displeased.

Every review that I’ve read so far has chalked this match up to getting the title off of Sting (likely due to his knee problems) and on Angle without having anyone in the Main Event Mafia look bad by getting pinned. Generally speaking, I don’t like World title matches that involve more than two people, and TNA has done more than its fair share of multiple-person clustermess matches for titles. However, given these particular people and these particular circumstances, it could be a positive thing. Team 3D really has nothing left to do in terms of tag team accomplishments, so seeing them work singles matches without actually breaking up will be refreshing. If it means that we finally see splintering of the Main Event Mafia, then it’s worth sitting through, even if Angle does get the belt back again. My personal issue isn’t with Angle having the belt. If he doesn’t have it, he can’t lose it. It’s who takes it off Angle, and how he does it.   

To the video recap! We see the history between Scott Steiner and Petey Williams that may or may not be suitable for airing on tv before 9 pm.          

To the back! Lauren interviews Petey Williams, who, for some ungodly reason, looks even more like Scott Steiner than he did before he was out. The glasses, the chain mail, the cropped and bleached hair, the striped goatee, everything. Seriously, does Petey Williams have Stockholm Syndrome? No one in the Front Line should look anything like anyone in the Main Event Mafia, unless there’s a solid explanation as to why. No such explanation has been given. Still, at least he gets promo time.

To the satellite! Mike Tenay interviews Team 3D, who are “live via satellite from Japan.” They clearly aren’t, but let’s go with it. A big deal is made over Team 3D’s win of the IWGP Tag Team championship titles, and still photos of the match are shown, along with the belts themselves. This is a positive thing. Team 3D talks about what a great honor it is to win those belts in Japan, comparing it to winning titles in Madison Square Garden in the US, and Tenay points out that only one other American tag team has won those titles. This is also a very positive thing. A big deal should have been made about it when it actually happened. There is, however, no mention, nor will there likely ever be, of the OTHER American tag team working for TNA that won tag team titles in Japan on that same tour. Not a positive thing, and I would think so regardless of the team in TNA who was currently holding the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team titles. In any case, Tenay informs Team 3D of Jim Cornette’s announcement concerning their World title match at “Against All Odds.” Brother Ray says pretty much the same thing about Sting doing nothing during his beatdown that he said last time. Brother Ray does most of the talking, but repeats several times that he’ll go through D-Von if he has to. Hmm…. Just when Tenay asks Brother Ray who would win the World title out of the four of them, technical difficulties ensue and the audio “breaks off.” Tenay announces it as real, but the timing is just too perfect.

To the back! JB is with Sting, Scott Steiner, and Booker. More blather about “respect,” with Booker’s repetition of the word being considerably less funny than it was the last ten times he did it.

Another “Rough Cuts” segment on Sojourner Bolt. At least this one showed more of the heelish attitude that she has shown on tv and in the ring. A good package, but still too sympathetic to someone who is being pushed as a bad, bad woman. We aren’t supposed to like her right now!

Match #2: ODB defeats Sojourner Bolt by DQ when Awesome Kong interferes: Wow. Can you believe it took this long to get to another wrestling match? And it’s even shorter than the first one. If only Sojourner Bolt’s mama can call her “Sojo,” why does her video entrance say “Sojo Bolt?” Did Mama Bolt make a phone call? Whatever you choose to call her, Sojo and ODB don’t go at it for long before Awesome Kong runs in. ODB wins by DQ, but Taylor Wilde and Roxxi show up, armed and slightly dangerous, and chase Kong and Sojo away.

To the back! Lauren interviews the fake Sarah Palin, but she is not identified. She’s standing there laughing about how much fun she had with this prank, and we officially don’t know who she is, why she got involved, or what possible future she has. *Brainurism* The Beautiful People, in all their pre-Palin glory, attack her and throw her around quite badly. There are more bleeps in this segment than in a month of Roxxi promos. Security eventually tries to pull them off her, but Cute Kip shows up and gets rid of them. When your entire security staff can be single-handedly taken out by the former Billy Bitchcakes, you need new security. Oddly, he pulls The Beautiful People off of the prone former fake-Palin, saying, “She’s had enough!” Curiouser and curiouser.

Match #3: Booker T (w/ Sharmell) and Scott Steiner defeat Eric Young and Petey Williams: This was a tag team elimination match, where two tag teams competed, but anyone who was pinned or made to submit was eliminated and had to leave the ring, as opposed to the team being eliminated. Que? There was no reason for this to happen in this way except to push the Booker/Shane Sewell issue and get Petey Williams alone with the MEM for another beatdown. As if anyone even remotely associated with the Main Event Mafia is physically capable of taking the Canadian Destroyer. The oddest part was that Petey Williams’s new entrance video features Scott Steiner’s chest tattoo. Look at it again, it does. Creepy. Eric Young gets eliminated quickly. Booker and Steiner refused to pin Petey, pulling him up after several two-counts. Sewell goes nuts over this, and after Booker scores the pin after an axe kick, Sewell gets attacked by Booker and Steiner. Earl Hebner, of all people, comes out and asks the MEM to stop. Yeah, they’ll get right on that….

To the video! More of the Matt Morgan and Abyss tension.

To the ring! Lauren waits for Matt Morgan and Abyss to enter separately before asking any questions. The whole segment is embarrassingly bad. Morgan pretends to make up, Abyss talks about going to therapy together on a two-for-one discount coupon, it’s awful stuff. We are saved by the most awesome entrance in the history of pro wrestling entrances – James Storm on his motorized beer cooler.

Match #4: Beer Money (kind of) defeat Matt Morgan and Abyss in a non-title First Blood match: Morgan turns on Abyss and busts his head open with a chair. Since Abyss is the first to bleed, Beer Money technically wins. Again, would it have really killed anyone to take a not-horrendous promo or segment to set this match up? These sorts of gimmick matches shouldn’t be popping up out of nowhere. Morgan continues punching and yelling at Abyss.

To the back! When we return from a commercial break, Abyss is trashing the backstage area in a screaming fit. If it means we get the Monster Abyss back, and the writers finally end their masturbatory in-jokes concerning Abyss’s real-life behavior, then good.

To the video! The Kurt Angle versus AJ Styles story is replayed. Karen Angle still manages to get more air time than half the roster, even after divorcing Kurt and leaving TNA. Whoa.

Match #5: Kurt Angle defeats AJ Styles in a tables match: This match went twelve minutes and change. I shall say no more on that. AJ crotched Angle on the side of the table, and that just looked terribly painful. Angle gets the win by hitting an Angle Slam on AJ through the table. The post-match beatdown ensues, with Angle putting AJ’s ankle in a chair and stomping on it. Then he applied the Angle Lock. Now AJ will be crippled just like Joe, and they were the only two TNA guys who were even treated as worth anything in the Front Line. When Angle eventually lets go, he takes the mic and announces that it’s the beginning of the end of TNA. The Main Event Mafia is taking out the whole roster, one by one, next week. Um, isn’t that what has happened every show and ppv since the start of the Main Event Mafia stable? How is this any different? Who can they go after, anyway? No one has been elevated by this who “war” who wasn’t already there. At the very least, someone from the Front Line who was not injured or out of the country could have stepped out and made a statement. There were a few who could have done that. Why don’t these people in charge ever think?

Final Thoughts: Far, far, FAR too little wrestling. The only matches longer than four minutes involve the Main Event Mafia. We get it, for crying out loud, we get it! What Bizarro World do the writers live in, where they drag out the things that shouldn’t be dragged out for as long as they are (the Morgan/Abyss split, who is the fake Palin, total annihilation of the Front Line in all possible ways) and brush over things that need a little time or acknowledgement to play out (the pairings of Bashir/Dutt and Creed/Lethal, who has what authority power, are the Guns really on the same page, the Knockouts title shot situation)? This was a frustrating show. I’m hoping that when the UK tour ends and injuries heal that we may see some improvement. I know the company has had a hard time recently, but they aren’t making the situation any better with shows like this. It’s like “Genesis” never even happened as far as everything except the Angle/Jarrett match is concerned.


Peace out,


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