THE SPECIALISTS Wilkenfeld TNA Turning Point Review: What to do if your main eventer doesn't show up
Dec 3, 2007 - 12:07:10 AM
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By Daniel Wilkenfeld: PWTorch Contributor
We cold open on Styles complaining to Angle about his failure to work with Christian. He points out that Angle stands to lose nothing by working with Cage, and Angle says he'll go talk to him.
(1) Team 3D & Johnny Devine "defeat" The Motor City Machine Guns & "Black Machismo" Jay Lethal Table Match
This match had most of the good spots one expects from a table match, along with a few new ones. The Guns didn't have much of a chance to hit their trademark tandem offense. The match started as a fairly standard tag, but broke down into a brawl about five minutes in. The truck had a hard time keeping the right people in focus, as we seemed to keep just missing cool moves on the outside. Lethal put Devine through a table with an elbow, but the ref was out. Team 3D plastered Lethal with his own X Division Title and put Devine on top of him—the ref came to and determined that Devine must have put Lethal through the table.
This was a pretty fun match with the wrong ending attached. Why would the ref assume Devine had put Lethal through with an offensive maneuver? Maybe they both fell through. All in all this was fairly good, and mostly suffered from raised expectations due to last month's stellar outing between 3D and the Guns.
Crystal is with Samoa Joe and Kevin Nash in the back, and Joe's worried that Hall is not there. Nash jokes around a bit, and Joe gets ticked that he's not taking their match seriously.
The women spent most of the match trying to get over their personalities: ODB was whacky and drunk, Roxxi was weird, Velvet Sky was alluring, and Love was actually doing some pretty cool wrestling. In one funny spot Sky went for the Candice Michelle Go Daddy turn, and was mocked for it. Love hit the highlights with a Hurricanrana, a cool looking Neck-breaker, and a double-team Russian Leg Sweep/Kick for the win.
I was expecting this match to be the show's built-in bathroom break, and was pleasantly surprised. I think the women are finally starting to differentiate themselves a bit, and the wrestling was perfectly adequate. The crowd loves either ODB or readily chant-able three-syllable names; I'm not sure which.
Angle is about to go into Christian's locker room, but Borash tells him he has to calm down first. He introduces Kurt to some breathing techniques he and Karen Angle have been doing, and Kurt takes issue with anyone rhythmically breathing with his wife. I like that Borash is talking back to Angle a little. Angle goes in and tells Christian that they would all do better as a unit, with Angle in the lead. Cage says he's no one's lackey, and kicks Angle out of the room. After Angle leaves Christian turns to Robert Roode and tells him to follow his lead tonight. Roode calls him an asshole behind his back, and Ms. Brooks says that it takes one to know one.
Jackie Moore is in the back with James Storm, where she tells him that she's keeping his beer under lock and key until after he wins his match.
(3) Eric Young defeats James Storm
Young comes out firing with rare aggression, and the match is all him to start. Eventually Storm dodges Young, who runs shoulder first into the ring post. From then on, there's a lot of old-school working of a body part. Young eventually rallies and hits some one-armed offense. He also kicks out of an array of possible finishers, including the Eye of the Storm and a Backstabber. When Jackie Moore goes to spit beer in his face, she misses and gets Storm. Storm can't take any more sobriety, and takes the beer bottle. When he tries to use it as a weapon, however, Young dodges and catches him with a roll-up for the win.
These might be the two best mid-carders on the roster right now (not counting people currently in tag teams). They told a good story in this match, and the crowd was more alive than they had been for the previous two. It wasn't anything special, but I think it fulfilled its purpose nicely.
Crystal is in the back with LAX, and wow, they're actually talking. Homicide bobbles a few words, but it was smooth-flowing and pretty fun to listen to. I'd of course rather these guys still had Konnan as a mouth-piece, but given what they can do in the ring they talk well enough. Hernandez says a few words too, and sounds like a generic big-man.
(4) Scott Steiner, BG James, Senshi, and Petey Williams defeat Chris Harris, Shark Boy, Christopher Daniels, Elix Skipper, Lance Hoyt, Jimmy Rave, Kip James, Hernandez, Homicide, Sonjay Dutt, and ??? Feast or Fired Match
There are four briefcases over the ring, containing each of a Tag Title Shot, a World Title Shot, an X Division Title Shot, and a pink slip. To claim a briefcase you have to get it to the outside and have both feet touch the floor. Tenay says we'll find out on Impact who got which briefcase. There was obviously a lot of action, and a lot of it was very hard to follow. The highlights were Petey Williams hitting his Springboard Hurricanrana, Senshi locking in a cool Hanging Dragon Sleeper, and Hernandez and Homicide being themselevs. The stories of the match are BG James playing possum on the outside until Kip James gets down a briefcase and tosses it to him, Chris Harris refusing to get a briefcase for fear of being fired, and the new member of the Latino Nation beating up Christy Hemme again. Also there's the ongoing story of me trying to figure out who the devil's in this match, since no matter how hard I look I can only spot 14 people when it was announced as a 15 person match.
I tend to like these massive spotfest-type matches, and this one served its purpose well enough. I was, to put it mildly, less than thrilled that I shelled out $40 and for a PPV only to have to wait for Impact for the match results. When one takes into account Scott Hall's no-showing, this was not the PPV where I think TNA should have skimped on value. By far the most exciting part of the match was the fact that with 14 (15?) people in the ring, the crowd spent pretty much the whole match chanting for LAX.
Crystal is in the back with Gail Kim, who says that she's in it to be champion when Kong's only there to hurt people. She says that if Kong wants a brawl though, Kim is going to bring it. Kong can make her bleed, and break her bones, but the only way she's getting that title is by killing her.
(5) Gail Kim defeats Awesome Kong (via DQ)
The match starts with a rough brawl on the outside for a good two or three minutes before the opening bell. The story was Kim throwing everything she could at Kong and just continually getting overpowered. At about 8 minutes into the match Kim finally gets Kong off her feet with a pair of Missile Dropkicks, but still can't put her away. When Kong gets up she's angry and takes it to Kim in the corner. The ref warns her to ease up, but when he tries to force the matter Kong takes him out and gets disqualified. After the match, Awesome Kong hits the Awesome Bomb on Andrew Thomas—if men aren't allowed to hit women, shouldn't 270 pound women not be allowed to hit 150 pound men? Kong continues to work on Kim, and Velvet Sky and Angelina Love come out to attempt the save. Unfortunately they're Angelina Love and Velvet Sky and she's Awesome Kong, so it doesn't go well for them. The crowd chants for ODB, but she's not coming out.
For the last two months or so I've thought TNA has botched the Knockouts' Title. In retrospect, new titles are almost never considered relevant immidiately, and it's actually rather remarkable what TNA has done in just a few short months. Kim's pre-match promo was intense, the match told a better story then anything I've seen in months, and the post-match brawl made it seem like the division consisted of more than just two women. I think the Knockouts' Division really arrived tonight.
AJ Styles is ticked off that Kurt couldn't make it work with Christian Cage. Karen thinks that maybe they can drive a wedge between Joe and his teammates, and Angle says he'll give it a try.
Crystal is in the back with Black Reign and Rellik, and I'm sad. Reign reveals that Raven will be filling in for an apparently injured Rhino, which I guess is good news. I'm not sure why they would have revealed it that way though.
(6) Abyss & Raven defeat Black Reign & Rellik
This was a moderately sick match, with thumb tacks being shoved in people's mouths and punched into people's faces. Raven again looked relatively mobile, at one point even hitting a splash over the top rope. It didn't help that I figured the match should be over after Raven put Reign into the tacks, as the last time they had this match (Brother Runt vs. Abyss in the summer of 2006) you won by doing just that; apparently I wasn't supposed to remember that. There were kendo sticks and steel chair shots galore, and eventually Abyss won with a Black Hole Slam on Rellik on the tacks.
The crowd started hot for Raven, which makes me happy. That's about all that did. I normally like garbage brawls, but somehow this one just seemed more pointless than normal. It's possible that my complete apathy for all things Black Reign and Rellik just made the violence seem irrelevant. Also this match just dragged, as if it was a decent 8-minute brawl trapped in a 15-minute match's body. While TNA PPV's have their highs and lows, it's extremely rare that I'm just bored. I was bored here.
Angle tells Joe that Hall & Nash just use people, and they're using Joe to work their main events for them. Joe doesn't seem to be having any of it.
Crystal is in the back with Booker T and Sharmell, and he says that when Christian said he was just there for the title he was right. He also takes a moment to put over Robert Roode and Kaz, which is a nice touch.
(7) Kaz & Booker T defeat Robert Roode and Christian Cage
This match is almost exactly what you would have expected. Roode does some old-school brawling, Kaz hits some flips, Booker T hits his spots, and Christian tries to hold everything together. The crowd starts fairly dead towards Kaz, but takes a shining to him by the end. Eventually a miscommunication leads to Robert Roode hitting Christian Cage with a chair, and Booker follows up with the Axe Kick for the win; so much for the theory that Roode and Kaz were in this match so that neither Booker nor Christian would have to take the fall. After the match, Christian shoves Roode, but when Roode looks like he might retaliate AJ Styles comes in to break things up.
I like the idea of having AJ continue to try to win back Christian Cage—it should lead to some decent moments. Kaz is starting to grow into his new role, but he's still not there yet. As I said, this match was just about exactly what you'd expect.
Joe is in the back with Nash, and apparently Scott Hall isn't there. Joe is very, very, pissed. Nash says he's more worried about Hall's health than the match tonight. Joe says he'll be coming tonight with a partner of his own.
The Angle Alliance comes down to the ring, followed by Nash, and, after a very long delay, Samoa Joe. Joe grabs a mic, and says that TNA told him to mollify the fans since Scott Hall won't be there tonight. However, he figures that once he has a live mic he might as well get some things off his chest. He says that there are two types of people in TNA, those who work their asses off every week for the fans and those who come from other companies to get big pay-days. He says that TNA is the Motor City Machine Guns, Jay Lethal and Samoa Joe. He tells Hall to kiss his ass, and then says conversationally to someone off-camera that if they're pissed about what he's saying they can just go ahead and fire him. He also says that they were panicked in the back and trying to figure out who they could call in to be Joe's partner, but that they didn't need to call in anyone, since everyone they needed was right there. He asked who in the back wanted to be his partner, and says that every one of the X Division wrestlers stood up. One, however, was bloody and frequently overlooked, and someone who could always be relied on to show up. He introduces Showtime Eric Young.
(8) Samoa Joe, Kevin Nash & Eric Young defeat The Angle Alliance
The match starts off with some good wrestling with Joe and Styles. Nash and Joe won't tag each other in, and so Young is able to get in some good ring time and offense. Eventually Angle gets Nash in the Angle Lock, and Joe hesitates before eventually breaking it up. Nash finally tags in Joe, who clears out Styles and Angle. Young comes in, and he and Joe double-team Tomko for the win.
Let's face it: the match was an afterthought—tonight's main event was Samoa Joe's promo. At first the crowd didn't seem to know how to take it, but my guess is that they were mostly ticked after being screwed out of the announced main event. When Eric Young hit the ring, however, there was a thunderous "Thank You Eric" chant, and that was your moment of the night (incidentally, the announcers almost blew it by talking over it). I realize WCW ran pretty much the exact same angle in the summer of 2000 when Hogan quit and Booker T was suddenly thrust into the main event on the grounds that he busted his ass every night for the fans, but it was a cool angle then and it still is. I know Eric Young has his detractors, but the Impact Zone loves him, and he was voted TNA's next breakout star at the 2006 Year End Awards. Hopefully they actually do elevate him, and maybe even start some factional warfare—Russo does historically love his factional warfare, and so do I. If Eric Young just becomes the next person suddenly promoted and then demoted in the course of a month (see: Rhino in late 2005, Harris in June 2004 and June 2007, Lethal in September 2007, and I'm betting Kaz in December 2007) it'll take a lot of the poignancy out of Joe's speech. If it had been me booking I would have given him the cover over Angle. Incidentally, Joe gets massive points for his delivery—I've been watching wrestling for a while now, and I still have no idea if his anger was real or feigned.
Overall: The first part of the show was thoroughly mediocre—a lot of okay matches with nothing to write home about and what garbage brawl. This show mostly comes down to what you thought of the main event. While I'm annoyed that I didn't get to see the nWo, I'll give TNA the benefit of the doubt and assume that Hall's absence wasn't their fault. As for how they handled it? It would be hard for me to be happier. They surprised me, and elevated a young and long overlooked talent. It would have been nice if the match was more worked out and if Young had gotten in some more offense against Angle, but I'm assuming they had to slap it together at the last second. I know I'm probably going to be in the minority who viewed this show positively, but, virtually entirely on the strength of Joe's promo, this show gets a B+.
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