[Joker voice] And here we…go!We open with the ECW originals, or as they are now called, EV 2.0, in the ring. Tommy Dreamer, Raven, Rhino, Stevie Richards, Mick Foley, and Brother Devon soak in the “ECW! ECW!” chants, as doubtless do Vince McMahon and Jerry McDevitt. Dreamer acknowledges this legal issue by announcing the new name for the group, EV 2.0. Yes, that makes two mentions of the new name. Dreamer asks Devon what the problem is with Brother Ray. Devon calls out Brother Ray. Ray enters. Devon tries to talk Ray into putting aside their differences and joining up with EV 2.0, at least for the one night that they will have the ppv. Ray turns and walks away. Dreamer, then Mick Foley, and finally Taz all cajole Ray. Ray returns to the ring and asks one question. Will they get to set anyone on fire? It’s all smiles and hugs in EV 2.0land. At least until Hulk Hogan enters. HHHogan babbles and hogs the camera for the next several minutes, though watching it, it felt ever so much longer. He talks up the ECW originals as though they were a faction of young up-and-comers needing his seal of approval to get over. In the mind of The Orange One, that’s probably true. Praise be to all divinities ever created by the minds of men, Abyss enters and interrupts everything. Abyss announces that “they” are very much displeased with the happenings concerning EV 2.0. One person bears all the blame for this – Dixie Carter. Cue the camera to catch Dixie, master of the Miss Elizabeth expression of concern, at ringside. Abyss has orders to take out Tommy Dreamer tonight. HHHogan refuses, calling Dreamer a “guest,” and that nothing will happen until the ppv. Dreamer asks permission from HHHogan and Dixie, which is given, and agrees to fight Abyss tonight. HHHogan served no purpose in this segment whatsoever apart from camera-hogging and desperately attempting to make himself look more important and relevant then in fact he is. Enough with the “Dude” and “Brother,” already!!! The only person who can get away with saying “Dude” on a regular basis in 2010 is Rob Van Dam. For obvious reasons.

To the back! Velvet Sky and Lacey Von Erich argue over making up with Madison Rayne. Rayne shows up, and argues with Sky. Sky finally agrees to make up, but isn’t happy about it. Usually The Beautiful People are great fun on the mic, but this whole segment felt off. The content was confusing, and it really wasn’t Sky or Rayne’s fault.

Sarita vs. Angelina Love (#1 Contender’s match): A Number One Contender’s match should be treated as something important. This was not. Apparently just being allowed on tv at all entitles a Knockout to a title shot. Considering that HHHogan and Bischoff ruined the division by scaling back their presence because The Orange One claims that none of them can work, the fact that a Number One Contender’s match is even happening is surprising. As much as I had wanted to see Angelina Love and Sarita tear it up, this match was not as good as it should have been. Both women have the ability to really go, but something wasn’t clicking tonight. Love hits the Botox Injection bicycle kick on Sarita for the pin. It’s Love versus Rayne, which surprises no one.

Winner (and #1 Contender to the Knockouts Championship title): Angelina Love

To the back! Orlando Jordan and Eric Young are tagging tonight. Young acts like the goofy comedy act that he used to be. Jordan is annoyed with this. So are the rest of us. Please, merciful Jeebus, do NOT bring back Super Eric!

To the video recap! Eric Young’s head injury at the hands (or feet, really) of Suicide on “X-plosion” is apparently the cause of a complete personality change. Oh, joy.

Ink, Inc. vs. Orlando Jordan and Eric Young: Jordan enters and tries to put his chewed gum into the mouth of SoCal Val. She objects. Young enters carrying a mannequin draped in feather boas. Really? REALLY? Young sets up the mannequin, his “back-up,” in the corner with the tag rope. He actually throws the mannequin into the ring at Ink, Inc. at one point. I wish I were making up all of this. Ink, Inc. gets the win. Post-match, Young actually checks on the broken mannequin and throws up the sign for an actual injury. Whether this was supposed to be funny or offensive doesn’t matter, as it was neither. Mike Tenay’s comments about Jordan’s sexuality did not need to be made. Can’t the guy just be a wrestler for once, and leave his personal life alone?

Winners: Ink, Inc.

To the ring! Ric Flair brings AJ Styles, Kazarian, and Beer Money with him, and introduces them as the Fortune stable. After all the fuss, the only members of the group are the ones who were with Flair all along. Great storytelling there, TNA. Honestly, Fortune would feel much more important as a stable if the slightest effort had been made by anyone other than Mike Tenay to point out who would be good additions to the group. Matt Morgan, Samoa Joe, Douglas Williams, even Jay Lethal himself (eventually) would have been good possibilities. At least they could have made us ponder the outcome by considering guys like that. But no. Sigh. Flair goes on to say that he has a rematch clause in every contract that he signs, and that next week, he’ll be facing Jay Lethal in a street fight. Yes, Flair will wrestle Lethal again, in a street fight, on free tv. For no real reason. Up yours, retirement! TNA just had a street fight between Beer Money and the Motor City Machine Guns. A standard wrestling match is now a rarity. Kazarian trashes Nexus (not by name, of course) as a group of unknown rookies, and points out that THEIR group consists of seasoned veterans. Yes. Whom HHHogan, Bischoff, and Dixie feel need Mumm-Ra the Everliving in order to get over. AJ announces that the Global title is now the Television title. If Rob Terry can beat Kazarian tonight, Terry gets the first shot at AJ’s title. Fortune prepares to leave, but the arrival of Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle prevents them. Angle tells AJ that it’s great that AJ is going to honor the new title belt. Angle, however, must honor the commitment that HE made to defeat all of the top ten contenders to the World Heavyweight Championship, and AJ is next in line.

Time out. It’s great that TNA has another title belt, particularly one designated as the Television title that will be defended on every program. That type of secondary title has definite uses. However, TNA’s track record with secondary titles is terrible. Look at the X-Division title. There really is no X-Division anymore. The title and all of the wrestlers in the division have been so devalued by TNA management that even serious TNA fans don’t really care about it anymore. We want to, but we can’t because it barely shows up on tv, and a guy who has never had a match in TNA gets repeated title shots for it? No. Just no.

Beer Money vs. the Motor City Machine Guns: This was the third match in the “best of five” series, and it was a cage match, no less. AARGH!!! Would it really have hurt anyone to have the first three matches be standard WRESTLING matches, have the winner of the third match choose the stipulation for the fourth match, and the winner of that match choose the stipulation for the fifth and final match for the titles at the ppv? It’s basic dramatic structure, for heaven’s sake! In any case, this match was more awesome than Awesome McAwesometon from Awesomeville, USA! I sat back and enjoyed it, and so should you, if you missed it. Beer Money stayed in the ring from the previous segment, and the MCMG music kicked in. Nothing happened. The Guns ran from the audience, climbed the cage, and started beating the daylights out of Beer Money. YES!!! Robert Roode got busted open early, and it was Crimson Mask time. Both Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin ended up with a lot of his blood on them. Fast-paced action with reversals, double-teams, reversals of double-teams, and mad ninja skill of all kinds. Storm tries to smash the beer bottle over Shelley’s head, but Shelley made his dodge roll and Storm hit Roode instead. The Guns hit their double-team finisher that is not the Made in Detroit, and the MCMG get the win! They retain the titles, and the series will continue to match #4.

Winners (and STILL Tag Team Champions): the Motor City Machine Guns

To the ramp! Mr. Anderson’s music plays, but it’s Matt Morgan who enters. Funny, but the best version of this by far was when CM Punk entered dressed as Jeff Hardy on the show after Punk “retired” Hardy for good. If you haven’t seen that one, you MUST! Morgan tries to make the mic come down after he gets to the ring, but the mic does not like this new man, and has to be threatened into cooperating. Anderson enters, and demonstrates just how simple it is to use said mic. Anderson goes to the ring, and Morgan tries to goad Anderson into punching him. Anderson kicks Morgan in the groin. They fight. Morgan chokes Anderson with a microphone cord. Oh, look at us, we’re so edgy and different from that other PG-rated show! Could you please try to be less obviously pathetic, TNA? Jeff HArdy makes the save for his “A-hole” friend, and security breaks them up. The two very large and muscley security guys beat down Hardy and Anderson until road agents Al Snow, D-lo Brown, and Pat Kenney run down and berate them. Um, ok….

To the back! Christy Hemme asks Anderson and Hardy about what just happened. Anderson says that the two security guys were trying to get in to the wrestling business, and they could make their debut tonight against himself and Hardy. Bring Morgan with you. So it’s three-on-two, then?

Kazarian vs. Rob Terry: Terry squashed Kazarian in less than thirty seconds. So not kidding. Rob Terry is a Welsh HHHogan without the orange glow. That is both an insult and the reason for his push.

Winner: Rob Terry

Matt Morgan, Gunner, and Murphy vs. Mr. Anderson and Jeff Hardy: Morgan tagged himself in at the start of the match, and demanded that Anderson face him. Anderson stepped in, and Morgan tagged out. The security guy tagged in by Morgan quickly tagged in his partner. That part was funny. That was about all that was entertaining. Morgan walks out on the match, leaving Anderson to hit the Mic Check, followed by a Hardy Swanton Bomb, for the pin.

Winners: Mr. Anderson and Jeff Hardy

To the back! Christy Hemme asks HHHogan what the big announcement from Bischoff concerns. He has to leave. Go, just go.

To the ring! Bischoff kisses up to Dixie in a very embarrassing manner, then pulls a pen from Miss Tessmacher’s ample cleavage to illustrate his order that everyone get a pen and write down what he has to say. On August 12, the “Impact” following the “Hardcore Justice” ppv will be a ppv-quality show. In a way, Bischoff just announced that his own show is crap. He tries to announce the main event of said “Impact,” but Abyss enters again, armed with “his girl, Janice.” Like a girl Friday, but with more nails. “They” apparently want the main event of that “Impact” to be a no-DQ ladder match with Janice hanging above the ring between Abyss and Rob Van Dam. Behaving surprisingly monster-y, Abyss intimidates Bischoff into making the match. Abyss starts to leave, but says that Janice wants revenge for Bischoff’s slapping of Abyss in previous weeks. Abyss attacks Bischoff with Janice, but RVD makes the save. They fight until Abyss dodges an RVD plancha, and the World Heavyweight Champion smashes into the guard rail. Abyss goes after Dixie, who flees, and the agents see to RVD.

Abyss vs. Tommy Dreamer: Agent Al Snow handed Janice to Dreamer. Nice touch. Dreamer should not wear tights. He’s definitely a pants wrestler. Trashcan wrestling here. Didn’t care for it much in the original ECW, don’t care for it much now. Lots of trash cans, cookie sheets, kendo sticks, the classics. Dreamer pulls a sheet of plywood festooned with barbed wire from beneath the ring. As the Ten Commandments of Pro Wrestling state, if you set it up, you go through it. Abyss chokeslams Dreamer onto the barbed wire for the pin. Post-match, Abyss tries to use Janice on Dreamer, but Raven makes the save. Raven then DDTs Dreamer. Because that’s what Raven does. He leans over Dreamer, licking his face and asking him how he likes that as the show fades to black.

Does ECW really have to be the entire show? Where was “The Pope?” Samoa Joe? Desmond Wolfe? Daffney? Hamada? A one-night nostalgia show for a company dead nine years will NOT give TNA its own identity, nor will it make TNA relevant to 2010 audiences. I had to chuckle to myself about one thing. Do all the kids in the audience chanting “ECW! ECW!” and the parents who encourage them, have any idea that the same Brother Ray whom they so vigorously cheered when he asked about setting someone on fire is the same man who proclaimed that “if God were a heel, he’d be the Dudleys” after gang-raping a broken-necked Beulah McGillicutty in her hospital bed? Just wondering. It’s amazing what can become nostalgic.

Peace out,


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