Wrestling: Return of the Monday Night Wars
Wednesday, March 10th, 2010
The Monday Night Wars are back. . .thoughts/reactions typed live as I watch both. . .
TNA has a nice new opening montage pushing the future. With some of the guys in there, you wouldn't exactly think "future."
Impact opens with Hulk Hogan and Abyss against Ric Flair and AJ Styles. Abyss has a look similar to the older days back (remember that horrible white outfit??), using the power of Hulk's WWE Hall of Fame ring. Too much Dave Sullivan in him for my liking, but great rub for Abyss to be partnered with Hogan regularly on Impact. And let me tell you, from a personal level, Abyss deserves every good thing that happens to him. Interesting to see the main event open the show, with Hogan cutting a promo. "Spoke" (texted) with someone at TNA today, interesting to see if the surprised they mentioned to me happen. . .
Wonder what's going on in Flair's mind, wrestling in the same city he retired in just about two years ago in one of the most memorable matches of this generation with Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 24??
It must be quite a moment in the lives of AJ and Abyss to work with Hogan and Flair, but these two really don't belong wrestling unless it's a six man or an eight man (ala Giana Baba in All Japan in the twilight of his career). Lights went out, Sting came out and surprisingly turned on Hogan and Abyss. Didn't he just turn heel and back babyface last year?? Or did none of TNA exist up until January 4th?? Abyss' program with Sting helped bring him up a notch a few years ago despite some eye rolling booking/"writing." Hogan got good color out of the deal and announced he wanted a rematch tonight, this time in a No DQ match. . .
Cameras followed Sting around the back, only to be stopped by Dixie Carter. . .he told Dixie he owes her nothing. For the contracts he's got the past few years??
Brooke and Hogan's girlfriend were in the back crying. No-bo-dy cares. . .keep them home, off tv. . .
Frankie Kazarian cuts a promo in the ring about his self doubt when he walked away from TNA. He's back to reignite the flame of the X-Division. That would be great, he's a tremendous talent, has a good look and the X-Division has really been pissed on to make it meaningless over the past couple of years. Christopher Daniels walked out and said he was going to lead the X-Division into battle. Current X-Division Champion Doug Williams made his way to the ring. Can you believe this man spent a week at Commissioner Von Johnson's house when the promoter who booked him was too cheap to get him a hotel?? Kazarian said Daniels was a selfish prick. Like the adult language / attitude, as it's different to what WWE is presenting, and different is key. Eric Bischoff came out to the stage, saying he was excited to be a part of TNA because of the X-Division, that it's the adrenaline of the company and wants to make it run bigger, faster and stronger. He really got the cruiserweight division going in WCW, so maybe this angle is a positive. Bischoff made a three way title match on the spot. Williams went over pinning Daniels, great X-Division match. Kaz is a great athlete, hopefully in line for a push if the X-Division is stronger. Shannon Moore did a run in at the end of the match, someone who isn't much on the mic but his work in the ring speaks for itself, a solid hand. Bischoff announced Williams would face Moore at the Destination X PPV March 21st. . .
Dixie Carter announced that Sting would compete tonight, and no one would know his opponent until he was in the ring. The Beautiful People stretched backstage ready to compete for the TNA Knockout Tag Team Titles. After Awesome Kong left the promotion, couldn't they have just let those go away ala the WWF Womens Tag Titles after the Jumping Bomb Angels / Glamour Girls feud?? Taylor Wilde & Sarita vs Beautiful People vs Tara & Angelina Love. Back-to-back triple threat title matches, too?? Kong has a cool look, a bad ass girl with a unique gimmick that was over and could go. Hopefully she'll be back sooner than later. Daffney ran in and hit Tara with a belt, Beautiful People won the belts. Way too busy. . .
Christy Hemme interviewed The Pope, preparing for another match with Desmond Wolfe. More strong promo work from Pope (for the 3,000th time, why did WWE ever let him go??), he was attacked by Wolfe, who really went to town backstage trying to hurt his ankle. Good angle. . .
Interview with Beautiful People. Well, at least they put over the title win as something important. Imagine if they did that with every title win, especially belts people care about??
Sting's mystery opponent was Rob Van Dam. RVD charged in through the crowd, hit a couple of spots and pinned Sting quick. Great angle. Wonder if that will get WWE's attention?? Sting attacked RVD with the bat post match. Great debut, another strong segment. . .Sting went back to the ring, then Hogan hit the ramp. Overkill, where he did nothing as Bubba the Love Sponge held him back. It took 20 guys told hold back a guy in his mid 50's that can barely walk. Please. . .
More of the future with Kevin Nash and Eric Young. Nash got Scott Hall & Syxx Pac a one night contract for a tag team battle. The Band made their way to the ring to accept the challenge. Not a bad angle but don't expect much out of the match unless it's mostly Young and Waltman. Hall said he wanted a big contract after they win at the PPV. With his track record in TNA alone he should be happy he's booked at all. Bischoff said they have one chance to win the contract. Nash turning on Young?? X-Pac slapped Eric Young, they had a pull apart. Busy night for security. . .Bischoff made Young vs X-Pac with Young going over in about a minute, decent for what it was. . .
The US Army came out to stand at ringside as Kurt Angle made his way to the ring. All of a sudden a visit to a US Army base turned Angle's life around. This seems like a nowhere/nothing angle to me, we'll see. Angle went on about how great the troops are. Anderson teased him from the interview area wearing a dog tag he had been given by the military. Angle attacked. Angle and the troops pounded on Anderson. Don't like army angles. . .I don't think this added anything to their program in the least to generate interest or buyrates. . .
Bubba was talking to Hulk in the back trying to talk him out of wrestling. Why is this guy on TV?? I know he's Hogan's friend, but nobody cares. I've never heard his shock-jock radio show, and he might be great at that, but he's not all that good or effective on a pro wrestling show. Earl Hebner came to Hogan asking for a second chance. Hogan said he needed someone to stop things if they got out of control. Please nothing related to Montreal. . .
Handicapped match with Jeff Jarrett vs Beer Money. I thought Beer Money were over faces?? Bischoff and Jarrett are feuding, Foley was running around in a suit ala the bootleg ref shirt he wore at WrestleMania 15. Decent match, Foley tried to give Jarrett a barbed wire baseball bat but Slick Johnson distracted him, leading to Beer Money's win.
Hogan and Abyss were in the back, Brooke came out crying. The second part of the match was. . .interesting. . . great for Abyss and AJ to get the rub. . .Hogan and Flair bled great, but Hogan's timing was terrible. Hogan set AJ up into Abyss to hit the black hole slam to get the pin, nice finish. Desmond Wolfe came out with a chair, followed by the Pope, also good rub for them to be involved in the main event angle. Then, Jeff Hardy's music hit and he's back. . .great finish to a so-so match. . .let's see if Raw can top this. . .really good show, but like a lot of good TNA tv's, I ask "will this build to anything?"
Over to Raw, the Ultimate Warrior was added to the WWE opening of each show. Hall of Fame bound?? Undertaker's music hits. I wasn't all that into WrestleMania as of a week or so ago but have really liked the building they've done towards it. Taker was about ready to say Michaels would rest in peace at WM and Michaels music played. They went back and forth, Michaels wanted no DQ/CO to the WM rematch. Not needed. Promo didn't do much to build up excitement for a match full of complete interest and excitement. . .as Jake Roberts used to say, less is more. . .
Another pointless multi diva match. . .Gail Kim & Eve Torres & Kelly Kelly vs Maryse & Alicia Fox & Katie Lea (non-Burchill). Who cares about anyone or anything in this boring match?? The faces won. . .it seems like the same match over and over and over and over and over. . .too bad Chris Angel couldn't make the Diva's and Hornswoggle disappear. . .
The magician, midget, twins and singing Diva. . . .nobody cares. . . .not funny. . . .
Miz and Big Show complained about a non-tag team like John Morrison & R-Truth facing them at Mania. Tonight, a non-title match between thet two teams. Surprised Miz and Morrison's past as a great team was not mentioned or put over to build up heat. This was a nothing match that I think ended in a double DQ or CO. It seemed to be over before it began, trying to establish Morrison and Truth as a threat to the belts.
Cena-Batista montage. They need more of their tremendous video highlight packages than pointless matches and vignettes. . .look at how well some UFC and boxing PPV's have done off of that type of promotion. . .
Randy Orton takes on Legacy in a handicapped match. Don't see much interest in this one either but you'd have to think it's building to something for Mania. DiBiase pinned Orton in a forgettable match. . .
Batista gave Josh Matthews his word as champion he wouldn't interfere in the Cena-McMahon match. . .so that means he's doing a run-in. . .
They plugged the return of Steve Austin next week as guest host. . .maybe he can pump some life into this show. . .
Triple H promo time. . .let's see how long this one goes. Luckily Sheamus follows him out to get to the point. The angle between the two last week was really good. Wow, HHH almost put Ultimate Warrior, as a character, over. He said he got crushed at Mania and had to rebuild himself. The two brawled with HHH getting the better of Sheamus. HHH has solid matches night in and night out but has never really created magic on his own. . .can he carry Sheamus to something fans have a genuine interest in??
Santino and Chris Angel played magic games with cups. . .this is one of those bad Raws that you just want to end. . .
Money In The Bank qualifying match. . .Evan Bourne vs William Regal. Christian and his NXT rookie Heath were at ringside. Regal had his NXT rookie in a cowboy hat with him that I believe was on Tough Enough in it's final incarnation and was not a cowboy. Bourne with a quick win using the shooting star press. Hopefully Regal gets a slot on Mania. . .Bourne is perfect for the Mania match, though, I was surprised that he was left out last year for whatever the political reason might be. . .
Highlights of the Vince-Bret Hart angle. . .good, again, the video packages are more effective than another in ring confrontation. . .highlights from the "Wrestling With Shadows" documentary would really tell this story. . .
WrestleMania rewind next week. . . Big Show vs John Cena. . . didn't they already do that?? Shawn vs Jericho from 19, great match, very underrated in Mania history. HHH vs Orton. Ugh. From what year?? Austin to do the contract signing for Bret and Vince, should be good. . .
Guest ring announcer Chris Angel. . nobody cares. Cena vs Vince. . .McMahon announces it's a handicapped gauntlet match. Vladimir Koslov comes out first. I should have watched Raw before TNA. Even though Raw is building to an event that will gross something like $40 million on PPV in one night and TNA couldn't currently do a number like that total in a decade, Impact was fresher, more exciting and better paced. Drew McIntyre (sp?) out next. Is he related to Velvet?? Vince can't get the pin again. Jack Swagger out as we go to the commercial. Swagger got a lot of offense in before tagging McMahon. Mark Henry out next. Isn't he a face?? Well, at least Michael Cole put that over. He hesitated but slammed Cena. McMahon went for the pin, another kick out. Vince grabbed the bell ready to KO Cena, but Henry tried to prevent him from doing it. Vince gave him the bell, he threw it to the mat, only to be attacked by Batista. Just as Batista went for the kill, Kofi Kingston ran in. He got a little offense in before Batista tossed him. Cena went to FU McMahon and got speared and sit down powerbombed by Batista, leading to McMahon getting the pin.
WWE's the far more professional product, and while it's usually solid (some weeks are much better than others) I give the edge to TNA. . .this week, at least. . .
Ratings: Raw 3.4 -- TNA 1.0. Maybe they should have announced RVD and Hardy appearing, or at least one of them. . .