PPV REPORTS KELLER'S TNA PPV REPORT 12/11: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of Turning Point live
Dec 11, 2005 - 9:58:00 PM
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor
TNA TURNING POINT
DECEMBER 11, 2005
ORLANDO, FLA. AT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS
-During the preshow, the announcers teased a major announcement during the PPV that would "change the face of TNA during 2006." They've downplayed the rhetoric which initially was that the announcement would change the face of the industry forever or something along those lines.
-Mike Tenay and (a dapper) Don West introduced the show.
1 -- SABU vs. ABYSS -- Barbed Wire match
They took the ropes down and wrapped barbed wire around the ring. This was the opener because they couldn't take the ropes down and wrap the ring in barbed wire mid-show. There will be a break after this match to take down the barbed wire and put the ropes up. That logistical issue aside, it's really not good to open a show with gore of this level and expect the pacing and the ebb and flow to be ideal for the rest of the night. They have enough talent to pull it off, but it's far from ideal. Barbed wire matches should always involve only money players in a money match which by definition should end a show. They did what you'd expect in the opening minutes, bleeding on each other with face and arm cuts. Sabu dove over the barbed wire onto Abyss at ringside at 7:00. They utilized two large body-sized boards with barbed wire stuck to it as weapons and landing pads. Abyss set the board in the corner and charged at Sabu. Sabu moved, so Abyss clung to the barbed wire. Sabu then dropped him on top of the other board - so Abyss was the peanut butter and his bloody was the jelly and the boards were the two slices of toast.
WINNER: Sabu at 11:22.
STAR RATING: * -- Hardly felt monumental as a match like this should. It was a stunt gorefest. A percentage of the crowd ate it up and chanted "thank you" afterward.
-Tenay and West cringed at ringside at what they just witnessed.
-They showed AMW outside the arena and wondered where Gail Kim had been. James Storm was swigging liquor.
-Shane Douglas interviewed 4 Live Kru in the back. They said they're all on the same page, which according to Wrestling Booking 101 means they're sure to finally break up.
-James Mitchell consoled Abyss backstage as medics worked on his torn up skin on his back.
-Tenay and West talked more about Sabu vs. Abyss. I know they're just stalling for the time as the ring ropes are being put up, but this worked in the favor of the match feeling important rather than just forgotten quicker than the blood could dry. Then they previewed other matches on the show, including noting that X Division Champ A.J. Styles actually challenged Samoa Joe to the match tonight. They also talked about the (nearly meaningless) mainstream coverage TNA received in USA Today and ESPN in the past week. I'm not persuaded at all that mainstream pub leads to buys. It's a small part of a winning formula and helps TNA seem like something more than an invisible AA-league, but it's hardly something to get too fat and happy about in and of itself.
2 -- ALEX SHELLEY & RODERICK STRONG vs. MATT BENTLEY (w/Traci) & AUSTIN ARIES
Tenay noted that Shelley was trained by Shawn Michaels, his cousin. Bentley hit Strong with a superkick for the win.
WINNER: Bentley & Aries when Bentley pinned Strong at 8:00.
STAR RATING: ** -- State of the art moments blunted by the lack of any sense of meaning or importance due to TNA's presentation. It was too short to be anything more than an average match.
-Backstage Monty Brown talked to a doll backstage. Douglas then interviewed him. He said Christian cannot leapfrog him or take his spot. He said he doesn't speak, dress, or look like him. He promised he would feel The Pounce-suh! Period. Jeff Jarrett showed up and told Brown that he could talk about Christian "until the cows come home." He said he is the Flavor of the Month. He said if it had been up to him, he would have given him a title shot a long time ago. He said he still doesn't get it. He asked if he's heard about the statement that in 2006, the face of TNA will change forever. Brown said the face of TNA is 2006 is his face. Jarrett said he doesn't get it, and he's going to talk to someone who does get it. The top star and champion of the promotion shouldn't look small compared to the interviewer and challenger.
3 -- RAVEN vs. CHRIS K (a/k/a Kanyon)
Larry Zbyszko met Raven in mid-ring and told him to sign his release so he could leave and not wrestle. Raven said to Zbyszko: "You're a Game Show trivia question answer nobody's asked. At least David Hasselhoff has Germany." Zbyszko tried to get Raven to sign his release. Raven asked if he signed it if it meant he could get all his money and not have to wrestle. He then dropped the release and laughed. Zbyszko then introduced Chris K as the "hand-picked mystery opponent." Chris K. is probably the most recognizable name TNA could legally use since he real name is Chris and his last name begins with K, but it's a little too close to "Mr. J.L" when it comes to originality for comfort. Tenay acknowledged he was formerly known as Kanyon. Vince McMahon has spent decades discarding any name recognition anyone has (Kerry Von Erich becomes Texas Tornado, Michael Hayes becomes Dok Hendrix), believing he had the power to remake anyone (or the belief that nobody really did mean anything before they worked for him), whereas other promoters for decades have clung to whatever remnant of a WWE-owned name they can still legally use (Christian is Christian Cage, Bubba Ray is BRD, D-Von is Devon, Chris Kanyon is Chris K, etc.). They brawled out of the ring and up the rampway at 4:00. They returned to the ring with Raven on offense. Raven set up a chair and tried to drop toe hold K into it, but K avoided it and took control of the match. He set up a top rope move, but Raven turned it into a powerbomb onto the chair, then scored the pin after the Raven Effect.
WINNER: Raven at 5:55.
STAR RATING: *
-Zbyszko cracked after the match. Raven laughed and smiled after Zbyszko slapped him. Sidekick Cassidy Reilly (Raven's Mickey Jay, sort of) laughed too.
-Backstage, Team Canada argued. Scott D'Amore told Petey not to slap Eric Young anymore. D'Amore defended Young, but then slapped him. He then talked about family. Jarrett walked in and asked if D'Amore's heard anything about what this big announcement is. "TNA management cannot wait to get this belt off of me," said Jarrett. Team Canada assured Jarrett they had his back. No cartoon laugh from D'Amore as he closed out the interview. Good.
4 -- 4 LIVE KRU (Konnan & B.G. James & Kip James & Ron "The Truth" Killings) vs. TEAM CANADA (Petey Williams & Eric Young & A1 & Bobby Roode w/Scott D'Amore)
One sign of TNA being successful will be when indy promoters use the names they give wrestlers rather than older names that WWE gave them, such as when Kip James not Billy Gunn or some other variant is listed on line-up sheets). James renamed the former 3LK "4LK," but his shirt still read 3LK. Konnan brought a chair into the ring and blindsided Kip James with it at 7:00 and told Roode to cover him for the win. James angrily got in Konnan's face, and Killings tried to place peacemaker. Konnan then KO'd James with a chair as he bent over to check on James. Killings got bug-eyed and asked if he was going to hit him. Konnan hugged him. Killings didn't hug back. Konnan left the ring and Killings stood, frozen in shock.
WINNERS: Team Canada when Roode pinned James at 7:14.
STAR RATING: *1/4 -- Decent formula action.
-Douglas interviewed Diamond in the Rough backstage. Elix Skipper and David Young were reading USA Today. Young mocked A.J. Pierzynski's batting average. Young, who can talk, bad-mouthed Pierzynski. They showd a clip of Pierzynski, Dale Torborg, and Bobby Heenan on CNN Headline News. Diamond complained about the distraction of a pro baseball team showing up on TNA. They recapped the angle. They showed an ESPN Cold Pizza clip featuring Heenan, Pierzynski, and Torborg.
-Bobby Heenan walked to the ring in a bright red jacket. Tenay stood and welcomed Heenan to the broadcast table and said he's been waiting for this reunion for four years. Heenan asked for five bucks. Heenan put on his headset and said, "Testing, Testing, Mayday."
5 -- DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH (Simon Diamond & Elix Skipper & David Young) vs. SONJAY DUTT & CHRIS SABIN & DALE TORBORG (w/A.J. Pierzynski)
Dutt wore a White Sox jersey. Tenay pointed out that Torborg wrestled in WCW as The Demon, representing KISS. Gee, way to kill his credibility right out of the gate. Heenan is one of the main reasons I became a wrestling fan in the late-'70s and he's one of my all-time favorite performers, so it's great to hear him back in a circumstance where he's not completely disgruntled or drunk (or both). He sounds a bit like Cartman on South Park now, which works for me. They cut away from the match in the opening minute to show Tenay and Heenan reminiscing about the White Sox. Heenan gave Tenay such a hard time early, Tenay said he isn't sure if the reunion is working out like he wanted. Torborg tossed Dutt onto all three Diamond in the Rough members at ringside. Skipper powerbombed Dutt onto his head in an awkward, scary spot. Dutt hot-tagged Torborg at 5:30. Torborg chokeslammed Diamond. Skipper and Young broke up the pin. Dutt and Sonjay used double-team moves to dominate the heels. They flip-dove onto Young and Skipper at ringside. Diamond used a low blow to stop Torborg inside the ring. Diamond KO'd Torborg with his shin protector for a near fall. Pierzynski yanked the ref out of the ring to stop the pin being counted. Heenan got up and talked to the ref to distract him. Pierzsynski then KO'd Simon with "home plate." Sabin gave Diamond the Cradle Shock and Dutt hit the Hindu Press for the three count.
WINNERS: Dutt & Sabin & Torborg at 8:01.
STAR RATING: * -- Okay relative to other celebrity-involved matches. Some sloppy spots, some nice spots. Torborg wasn't impressive.
-Jeremy Borash interviewed the winners in center ring. "What a victory for Major League Baseball. What a victory for TNA," said Borash. Dutt said he and Sabin had a gift for the White Sox. Sabin said the new World Champions of Wrestling TNA had a gift for the World Series Champions, two TNA Championship rings. Heenan bit one to check their authenticity, just like Underdog used to do to coins. They all shook hands. The ring presentation was silly.
-Douglas interviewed Christian Cage backstage. "You can take your little Christian doll, dress it up however you want, and you can ask it questions like, 'Christian, how can I become as cool as you?' Well, Monty, you can't. I'm a guy who does things on my own terms." He promised that Brown was about to be served "because that's how I roll."
6 -- CHRISTIAN CAGE vs. MONTY BROWN
The build up to this match has been fun. Christian mocked Monty's chin swipe motion. They outwitted each other in the ring, dashing in and out of the ring. Christian tossed Brown to ringside at 2:00 and dove off the top rope onto Brown on the floor. Brown made a comeback quickly and pressed and dropped Christian from the ring to the floor. Fans taunted Monty with a half-hearted chant of "Alpha Fe-male." At 10:30, after sustained Brown offense, Christian came back and hit frog splash, prompting an "Eddie, Eddie" chant. Brown caught Christian with a surprise powerbomb for a near fall at 11:15. Christian rammed Brown into an exposed turnbuckle and hit the Unprettier for the win. "Wow! How is that for a TNA in-ring PPV debut?" said Tenay.
WINNER: Christian Cage at 12:04.
STAR RATING: *3/4 -- Not a disaster, but not a particularly strong match in any way. It was an entertaining mix of the two personalities, but ultimately it didn't tell a compelling story, it didn't feel like a real fight, and it was as sloppy as often as it was athletically graceful.
-Douglas interviewed Team 3D. BRD (Bubba) cut a nice, intense promo, then Devon shouted "Testify!"
7 -- TEAM 3D vs. AMERICA'S MOST WANTED
This PPV being considered a one-match show or something more has depended on this match more than any other. With the right amount of time and inspiration (and fitness level from BRD and Devon), this could be a second best match of the night and approach four stars. It could also be a dull, going through the motions, stuck in 1999 brawl. They opened with an intense brawl on the rampway. BRD prompted the crowd to chant, "Get the tables!" BRD set up a table in mid-ring at 5:30. He nailed Storm with a stiff chop to the chest, then set him on a table. Storm got up and tried to huracanrana BRD onto the table, but Devon moved it. Harris hit Devon with a superkick. AMW celebrated their advantage with their arms in the air. Some awkward exchanges took place that won't make a Best of TNA highlight video. Team 3D hit the Death Sentence on Storm, eliminating him by driving him through the table in the process at 8:00. Harris then tried to fight Team 3D on his own. He dragged Devon up the rampway and rammed his head into a table set up on the stage. He then set up a suplex, but BRD intervened and Team 3D gave Harris a 3D through the table for the win.
WINNERS: Team 3D at 9:23.
STAR RATING: *1/4 -- Another throwaway mid-card match featuring 1999ish brawling with some off timing and cliched and tired spots that get pops but seem more nostalgic than cutting edge in 2005. The clean victory for Team 3D in "their match" makes sense, but AMW didn't have a chance to show much of anything that made them one of the MVPs of TNA's formative years.
-They showed Storm being surrounded by TNA security and medics. Tenay said he suffered a neck injury courtesy of the Death Sentence by Team 3D. They went to a replay. They went back live where he was being dragged out of the ring without a neck brace or back brace. He was barely able to walk away with the help of three others.
8 -- A.J. STYLES vs. SAMOA JOE -- X Title match
Styles worked over Joe aggressively at the start. Joe fought back at 1:00. Styles nailed Joe with a great high dropkick to the chin as Joe rebounded off the ropes at full speed. Joe came back and dominated for several minutes including a running kick at ringside. Styles came back and hit a flip dive over the top rope. He scored a very near fall in the ring at 13:30 at which point the crowd chanted "This is awesome! This is awesome!" Styles powerbombed Joe for another near fall at 15:15. Joe nearly took Styles's head off with a clothesline and then followed up with slaps. Styles fired back with a desperation Pele Kick. Tenay and West wondered if Styles's undefeated streak would end. Styles caught Joe on the top rope. Joe tried to turn it into a muscle buster. Styles yanked Joe to the mat into a powerbomb, then hit the Styles Clash at 17:30 for a near fall. Joe kicked out and the crowd popped. Many of them jumped up and down with excitement. Tenay said it's one of the most incredible matches he's ever seen anywhere. Styles went for a roll-up, but Joe yanked Styles into a rear naked choke sleeper. Styles rolled over to reach for the bottom rope. Styles passed out and Joe was declared the winner. Joe helped Styles to his feet and shook hands, but just when it seemed was honoring the "Code of the X Division," he turned and KO'd Styles with the belt. He then grabbed a chair from a woman at ringside, who screamed in fright. The crowd chanted "Joe's gonna kill you." Joe set Styles on the top rope. "Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels then charged to the ring and stopped the post-match attack by Joe. The crowd chanted "Fallen Angel, Fallen Angel."
WINNER: Samoa Joe at 18:58 to capture the X Title.
STAR RATING: ****1/4 -- Typical for these two, and that's a good thing.
-A video feature aired on Rhino talking about losing his wife and daughter. Rhino's strong promos in this more low-key, real setting should be all the evidence necessary to prevent us from having to listen to more stereotypical screaming wrestler promos in the future from anyone. Rhino connects a lot more with fans when talking like a human being with a real life story rather than a kid doing a voice for a generic wrestling action figure.
9 -- JEFF JARRETT vs. RHINO -- NWA World Hvt. Title match
Tenay wondered what the latest was on the big announcement by TNA management. A large segment of the crowd chanted "Fire Jarrett! Fire Jarrett!" They chanted a minute later, "Jeff's a Jobber! Jeff's a Jobber!" Jeff nailed Rhino with an early dropkick and hiptoss, the clunkily applied a unique wristlock with his arms and legs. He gets extra credit big time for trying something new. Now if he only realized that he should appear to be trying to cause pain rather than looking around at the crowd when applying such a hold. Rhino lifted him and slammed him to break the hold. Rhino knocked Jarrett into the security rail at ringside. Jarrett went right from 2005 back to 1999 as at 3:30 they brawled through the crowd. Rhino rammed Jarrett into a couple walls in the rafter area. They climbed up scaffolding. Jarrett knocked Rhino about 15-20 feet to the floor through a table. Rhino came back a minute later by slamming Jarrett on the entrance ramp. Rhino hit Jarrett with a Gore, sending him through a table set up at the end of the entrance tunnel. Borash announced that the ref was threatening to DQ both wrestlers if they didn't return to the ring. The crowd booed. Team Canada attacked Rhino. Jarrett, bleeding from his forehead, remained KO'd in the tunnel. Team Canada helped Jarrett to the ring. Rhino beat the count by running back to the ring on his own. He turned it up a couple gears and went after Jarrett aggressively, showing nice fire. Rhino gave Jarrett a spinebuster for a near fall at 12:30. Jarrett fought back, the ref went down, and then Rhino took over again. The crowd chanted for the Gore. Bobby Roode hit Rhino with a lariat from behind. Jarrett made the cover, the ref came to, but Rhino kicked out just before three. Jarrett broke his guitar over Rhino's head at 15:30. He covered Rhino, but again Rhino kicked out before three. A bloodier Jarrett looked shocked. Jackie Gayda walked to ringside mouthing off at Jarrett. She slapped Jarrett. Rhino hit Jarrett with the Gore. Rhino made the cover. The ref counted a very near fall. The crowd so badly wanted Jarret to lose, but Jarrett kicked out. Security escorted Gayda to the back. Rhino set up Jarrett for a powerbomb into two chairs. Scott D'Amore came to ringside with a hockey stick and hit Rhino. Jarrett then gave Rhino a Stroke and scored the pin at 17:17.
WINNER: Jarrett at 17:17.
STAR RATING: **3/4 -- It took all the bells and whistles that Jarrett has the power to reserve for himself to get this near the three-star level, but this was a passable main event. Sadly, it was good enough to be the second best match of the night.
-As Jarrett celebrated, the lights went out. The crowd gave away the surprise by chanting "Sting, Sting, Sting." Sting's scorpion logo then appeared on the big screen. The crowd popped. In center ring, a spotlight shined on a chair and the Sting/Crow black jacket, baseball bat, and boots sat conspicuously. Tenay asked, "Could it be Sting? Could this be what changes the face of TNA?" The PPV then ended.
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