December 29, 2009

the Month In Review 11/19/09-Final Resolution

11/19/09 iMPACT

MICK FOLEY, ABYSS, DR. STEVIE, RAVEN & DAFFNEY IN-RING SEGMENT

-Once again, Daffney stands next to Stevie Richards and gets absolutely nothing to do. Why am I not surprised?


HAMADA vs. TAYLOR WILDE ©
-When I saw this match advertised for iMPACT I tried not to get too excited because as awesome as it would surely be, being on iMPACT meant it would not be anywhere near long enough. And lo and behold, it was less than three minutes long. If they’d had ten minutes or more, this could’ve been a contender for Knockout match of the year. Excellent work from both women for the brief time they were given, but… well, you know.

-I’m taking this match as a sign that Sarita & Taylor are finally moving on from the Beautiful People feud. It’s about freaking time. If they’re going to be feuding with Hamada now that’s one hell of an upgrade, even if we don’t know who her partner will be yet.

-The announcers made a point to say that Hamada was looking to move up the ranks on the Knockout roster like they did during her match with Alissa. Looks like they may be gearing up Hamada for a title push. Which title is the question. The tag titles would be the logical answer, but Tara’s going to need an opponent after she wins the title from ODB at Final Resolution (we all know it’s going to happen), and if her feud with Kong is finished for a while, Hamada would be one of the only viable contenders for that spot.


ABYSS vs. DR. STEVIE & RAVEN. DAFFNEY SHOWS UP WITH ELECTRICAL CABLES POST-MATCH
-Well, Daffney’s getting more face time this week anyway. That’s something. I guess…




TRASH TALK WITH ODB: GUEST IS HOMICIDE
-Dear lord… just when I thought we’d seen the last of this awful gimmick. Remember when I said I didn’t have a problem with ODB, but rather with how she’s used a lot of the time? Stuff like this is what I was talking about. I was finally starting to warm up to the idea of ODB as the champion, but segments like this will get me to change my mind in a big hurry.

-I guess Homicide will be feuding with Suicide now. I see nothing wrong with that. They’re continuing the tease that Homicide knows who Suicide really is. It will put a big smile on my face if this leads to the return of Kaz.




BACKSTAGE SEGMENT: THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE ANTAGONIZE LAUREN
-TBP are still on TV, but they appear to be out of the title picture finally and their screen time was limited to one brief segment this week. I can live with that.




“FUTURE LEGEND” ALISSA FLASH vs. SARITA ©. TRACI BROOKS ATTACKS ALISSA POST-MATCH
-Taylor vs. Hamada AND Sarita vs. Alissa in the same week? If I knew what I’d done to deserve this, I’d do it all the time.

-The announcers talk about Alissa’s win-at-all-cost mentality before the match starts, which really doesn’t make a lick of sense seeing as how she loses constantly. I continue to hold out hope that that will change sooner than later.

-This is the second or third week in a row that Alissa has worn long sleeves during her matches. She posted a picture of some nasty looking bruises on her arm via her twitter page the other day -- this could be to cover those up until they heal. Either that or she’s still tweaking her gimmick. She did this thing during the match where she kept unzipping her jacket and then zipping it back up, like she was trying to tease the fans with more skin and then not giving it to them or something like that. The crowd seemed to get into it somewhat toward the end, so I guess it worked.

-During Alissa’s entrance they showed clips of her steamrolling Traci last week and Traci attacked her after the match. Could it be? Does Alissa have an actual feud and not just the tease of a feud? Be still my beating heart. Granted, said feud is only with Traci Brooks, but I’m excited for this -- not because of the matches they’ll have so much as the fact that Traci is someone that the writers will actually let Alissa get wins over. A few squash wins over Traci could help Alissa establish some credibility finally.

-If Hamada is going to challenge for the tag team titles, I wonder if this match could’ve been setting up Alissa as her eventual partner. It’s possible, but I don’t know how the Traci feud would play into that. If not Alissa, then Kong would be the only other likely candidate.

-I still have no idea who is supposed to be the face and heel in this Alissa/Traci program. Last week, Alissa acted heelish during their match and attacked Traci’s handicapped arm to get the win, which the crowd cheered her for. The announcers said that Alissa went too far even though she never technically broke any rules that would’ve gotten her disqualified and then they acted sympathetic to Traci when she attacked Alissa from behind after the match while the crowd booed Traci. This week, despite Alissa acting heelish, the crowd was giving her more face heat than Sarita during their match and then Traci jumped Alissa from behind on the ramp, which is something a heel would do, except Tenay & Taz said they didn’t blame Traci for doing it. I’m officially lost…

-What I think is Alissa is supposed to be the heel and Traci the face. The problem is the fans really dig Alissa and don’t seem to care much about Traci.

-Another problem is that until recently Traci was in the Main Event Mafia and apparently went back to being a babyface off-camera without a word of explanation, so for all we know, we’re still supposed to boo her. The announcers keep telling us to sympathize with Traci even though Alissa hasn’t done anything wrong except take advantage of an opponent’s weakness, which is what you’re supposed to do in wrestling because that’s how you win matches.

-The third problem is that Traci, in her efforts to get payback on Alissa, is acting more heelish than Alissa was in the first place. So just because Traci has a handicap and can’t protect herself from a perfectly legal attack, that makes Alissa the bad guy? Sorry, but I don’t buy that at all. Basically, the writers are telling us that we should make special allowances for Traci and her opponents should be vilified if they don’t take it easy on her when the brutal reality is that if Traci can’t protect herself from an opponent who is doing nothing except trying to win the match within the rules then Traci shouldn’t be wrestling. It’s harsh, but true.


DR. STEVIE, RAVEN & DAFFNEY ATTACK MICK FOLEY BACKSTAGE
-Wow, the Knockouts are all over the show this week.

-I’m certainly not going to complain about multiple segments featuring Daffney. It’s just a shame that this whole thing is about the Abyss vs. Dr. Stevie feud, which I honestly don’t give a rat’s ass about anymore, and I don’t think anyone else does either. This feud ran out of gas four months ago and for some reason, no one bothered to tell the TNA writers.
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11/26/09 iMPACT

BATTLE ROYALE FOR A KNOCKOUTS TITLE SHOT. SPECIAL REFEREE: ODB

-That’s two battle royales in a row where Daffney was eliminated first. I guess with Sojourner Bolt finally gone that makes Daffney the new bottom of the Knockout food chain unfortunately. Too bad. She could be a star in TNA if they would just use her properly.

-I can tolerate Alissa being eliminated so quickly, for two reasons. 1) She and Traci were eliminated together as they fought on the ring apron, which means that feud is continuing. 2) Sarita & Taylor were the ones who eliminated them, which furthers my theory that Alissa may be Hamada’s tag team partner if and when Hamada gets a tag title shot, and I think she will because…

-Hamada & Taylor eliminated each other with the announcers mentioning their match from last week. Sarita & Taylor vs. Hamada & Alissa seems the most likely eventual match to me. I’ve seen the preliminary card for Final Resolution and right now there is no Knockout tag title defense on it, so maybe that storyline will take a little while to come together. I’m okay with that as long as we get the match at Genesis.

-Of all the women who could’ve made it to the final three with Tara in this match they picked Velvet Sky and Madison Rayne. Why am I not surprised? At least they threw in a little FU to Lacey by having her get eliminated during the commercial break. Take that, Rhaka Blonde.

-The crowd was very much behind Tara in this match. She has a lot of momentum right now after beating Kong at Turning point and I can’t think of any reason why she shouldn’t win the belt at Final Resolution, especially considering how lackluster ODB’s title reign has been. It’s definitely time to push Tara to the top.

-Speaking of Kong, this makes two weeks in a row where she’s been MIA. I think it’s good that they don’t feel the need to keep her on TV if they don’t have anything for her right now. Sometimes a character disappearing for a while can keep them from getting stale. Besides, it’s time to focus on some of the other girls; they deserve a chance to shine too and it’s hard to do that when they’re always standing in the shadow of Kong.


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11/27/09 Webmatch

“FUTURE LEGEND” ALISSA FLASH vs. HAMADA

-Solid, competitive match. Good stuff. These two work very well together. It makes me depressed that their feud got cut short after one match for some reason. I can forgive that if my theory about them becoming tag team partners pans out though.

-Alissa is continuing with the gimmick of wearing a jacket during her matches, titillating the crowd with the tease of showing more skin, but not giving it to them, and I’ll be damned if this gimmick isn’t getting really over. She unzips about halfway, the crowd chants, “Take it off!” and when she zips back up they chant, “Tease!” And that’s after just two weeks. Leave it to Alissa to get over with something as simple as a freaking zipper and yet still not get pushed. Sometimes I think these writers really must be blind, deaf and dumb.

-It’s good that it looks like they’ve finally settled on a look for Alissa. She’s ditched the sleeveless leather vest, the colored stripe over the eyes and the big hair. She also seems to have stopped wearing yellow, which is a definite plus. She looks much better now that her ring attire and makeup aren’t so damn weird.

-Hamada still isn’t getting a reaction when she comes out (understandable, since they really haven’t done anything with her yet), but she’s one of the best women on the roster when it comes to getting the crowd into her matches. The fans might not pop for her entrance, but they definitely pop for her wrestling.


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12/03/09 iMPACT

BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE & DANIELS BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

-Daniels and TBP? There’s an unlikely combination if ever there was one. Whatever. Anything that keeps TBP out of the title picture is fine with me.


TRASH TALK WITH ODB: GUEST IS TARA
-How is it possible that this talk show segment keeps getting worse? Why does it continue to exist? I really don’t know.

-At first, it was nice to see ODB trying to be serious, even though it’s impossible to take this segment seriously. However, then Tara started trying to cry, which completely killed this whole thing. Why was she trying to cry? That totally goes against her character! Are we supposed to want Tara to win this match because ODB hurt her feelings? How about wanting to see Tara win this match because Tara really wants the Knockouts title? Was there something wrong with that?

-I did like ODB’s claims that Tara waltzed into TNA and got a lot of opportunities handed to her without earning them because, let’s be honest, that’s pretty much exactly what happened. Tara’s comments about the WWE Divas were amusing and no less true as well. This might have worked if they’d just done it differently, but the phony crying was all wrong.

-Why did Tara just run off afterward? She just beat Awesome Kong in a cage match and now she’s running away in tears because ODB attacks her and calls her a Diva? Character continuity just went the way of the dodo and I don’t think the writers could have found a worse way to follow up Tara’s win over Kong at Turning Point if they’d tried.

-So… is ODB a heel now? It seems that way, but with TNA being the land of the tweeners that might not be the case. Tara is over enough at this point that ODB probably doesn’t need to be a face -- at least not the top face -- but she’s always been so popular that turning her could be difficult. Tara’s probably the one person she could get heel heat off of though, so I suppose this might work if that’s where they’re going.




DANIELS vs. ABYSS. THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE ANTAGONIZE LAUREN, DISTRACTING ABYSS
-Using TBP to get Daniels over as a heel? I suppose that’s not a terrible way to go if you absolutely have to have them on TV. But this is the second time they’ve antagonized Lauren in the last few weeks and this is making me nervous that it could lead to Taylor getting involved and TBP getting another tag title shot. I do NOT want that to happen.




HAMADA vs. SARITA ©
-Sweet. Speed, agility, beautiful execution, moves that would make most of the WWE Diva’s crap their pants. These are two of the best, if not THE best workers in the Knockout division and they showed it here. Great, great stuff and the crowd loved it. The only problem was… can you guess? Can you? That right! THE MATCH WAS TOO DAMN SHORT! How the hell can you book a match between two workers of this caliber and give them so little time? TNA, are you actually TRYING to piss me off?

-On the plus side, they showed clips of Hamada defeating Taylor two weeks ago and the announcers stressed that Hamada now holds wins over both of the tag team champs, so it’s looking more and more likely that there’s a feud brewing here. I can’t wait to see these women go at it on PPV where they’ll hopefully get more than two or three minutes to blow the roof off the building.

-It occurs to me that there’s more than one positive about Hamada going after the tag team titles. Getting a tag partner could be a boon to her as she would really benefit from having a mouthpiece.




KURT ANGLE vs. RAVEN & DR. STEVIE (w/ DAFFNEY)
-Daffney gets nothing to do, yet again. I’m beginning to wonder why I keep bothering to mention this because it never seems to change.


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12/10/09 iMPACT

Remember that column I wrote a while back (KNOCKED OUT: Sexual Politics Hurt the Product) about how mixed tag/intergender matches on iMPACT needed to be eliminated since SpikeTV’s no man-on-woman violence rule made them come off badly because the men aren’t allowed to attack the women? Well, we have TWO of them on the show tonight. Sigh…


BOBBY & CRYSTAL LASHLEY vs. SCOTT STEINER & AWESOME KONG
-Did I miss something? When did Crystal become a TNA employee? In the storylines, I mean. How can she get booked in matches like this when she’s just Bobby’s wife that comes to the show with him? This makes no sense. And even if Crystal is on the payroll, how does she get booked in wrestling matches when she’s not a wrestler (anymore)?

-Since when is it legal in a mixed tag match for one of the men to pin one of the women?

-This was lame. At least they didn’t insult our intelligence by having the women “wrestling” the men while not actually wrestling the men. I guess they’re saving that for later in the show…




BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE BACKSTAGE SEGMENT
-I like how TBP felt insulted to be booked in a mud wrestling match because, quite frankly, they should feel insulted. Of course, Nash then had to coerce them into doing it anyway with promises of ratings and attention. Smartest man in wrestling indeed.

-The woman may be all looks and virtually no talent, but Lacey was funny in this segment with her dumb-as-dirt act, thinking “ratings” meant 5 star hotel ratings. It’s not saying much, but that’s probably the most entertaining Lacey has been so far.


TARA BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW
-This drink-a-6-pack-before-the-match stipulation is every bit as asinine as Tara says it is. And I’m not expecting it to make the match any better either.


INTERGENDER LEGEND’S TITLE MATCH: HAMADA vs. ERIC YOUNG ©
-Hamada got all the offense, which was pretty much the only way the match could have gone. This was clearly booked to protect Hamada, but she still lost in under two minutes and that does not help her.

-This match really didn’t do Eric Young any favors either, not that that means much at this point. Eric Young’s character has been losing steam since BFG. That’s what tends to happen when you’re a champion who hardly ever defends his title.




BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE BACKSTAGE SEGMENT
-TBP are much more entertaining doing stuff like this than being perennial non-credible title contenders.

-I’ll admit, the stereotypical male in me got very excited by Madison Rayne teasing a wardrobe malfunction. This whole thing is six degrees of stupid, but I am looking forward to seeing Madison in that referee outfit in a few minutes. Yeah, I’m a guy. So sue me.


ODB BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW
-I like that ODB came right out and asked who names a match a “trailer park throwdown?” Seriously, what’s with this thing in TNA where every match has to have its own name? What the hell is wrong with just calling it a street fight?


TRAILER PARK THROWDOWN: TARA vs. ODB ©. BOTH WOMEN MUST DRINK A 6 PACK OF BEER BEFORE THE MATCH
-A semi-decent garbage brawl with a lot of comedy thrown in. I didn’t find it funny, but other people might have, I suppose. As expected, the drink-a-6-pack stipulation was stupid and pointless. It added nothing and the match would’ve been better without it.

-The writers need to work a lot harder if they want ODB’s heel turn to work. She’s still getting nothing but face pops and putting her in comedy matches like this is not helping matters any.




MUD WRESTLING MATCH: VELVET SKY vs. LACEY VON ERICH. SPECIAL REFEREE: MADISON RAYNE
-Remember when there were X-division matches on iMPACT from time to time? Those were the days…

-It’s a very sad state of affairs when a Velvet Sky/Lacey Von Erich mud wrestling match is hyped about five times as much as the main event of the next PPV.

-If the TNA writers are going to book trash like this then they seriously need to stop scripting the Knockouts to take potshots at the WWE Divas because this segment was worse than anything Tara accused the Divas of last week. Frankly, I was embarrassed to be watching.

-Didn’t Dixie Carter say in that interview just last week that she considers TNA to be pro wrestling rather than sports entertainment, that wrestling shouldn’t be a dirty word and people shouldn’t have to be embarrassed to be wrestling fans? Segments like this are NOT going to help with that.

-Doesn’t stuff like this completely go against the way TNA branded the Knockouts in the first place? I’m thinking of those ads SpikeTV used to air with lines like “We don’t settle grudges with pillow fights. Bikinis and lingerie? Screw that!” Apparently things have changed since then and not for the better. I don’t care if this was due to Kevin Nash booking the show in kayfabe -- that doesn’t make it a good idea.

-Before the match, Taz said that this match would not be for wrestling purists. I’m a wrestling purist, so you can imagine what I thought of this. Taz also said that red-blooded males should get a kick out of it and I am a red-blooded male, so I’m kind of conflicted.

-This was idiotic, it accomplished absolutely nothing and it should never have been booked. Why the time spent on garbage like this was not spent hyping Final Resoution I have no idea. Having said that… daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn -- that was some pretty freakin’ awesome eye candy. I don’t want to see this crap on iMPACT ever again, but I’m seriously taking a cold shower at 11:00 pm.

-I may need to start an online petition about Kevin Nash never being allowed to book the show in kayfabe EVER again because from top to bottom, this show sucked. This was easily one of the worst iMPACTs since the show debuted on SpikeTV. Or maybe instead of starting a petition, I’ll just tweet Dixie Carter about it. God knows they’ve been promoting Dixie Carter’s twitter page a hell of a lot more than they’ve been promoting Final Resolution so I might as well take advantage of the damn thing.


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12/17/09 iMPACT

-A report came out today that Christy Hemme was retiring from in-ring competition; she’ll be sticking around, but she won’t be wrestling anymore. Apparently her neck injury last year really spooked her. I confess, I won’t particularly miss her as an in-ring worker, but it’s always a shame when a wrestler’s career is cut short like this. Christy wants to do what’s best for her health, which definitely beats her risking further injury and ending up in a wheelchair or worse. I can’t fault her for that.

-I wonder if this New Year’s Knockout Eve show is partly about management testing the waters with some potential new additions to the roster since several women have left recently, Christy among them. Word is that a number of women from the indies are being brought in for that show and this would be a great showcase to see what they can do. At least one website has reported that Sara Del Rey might be used, and while that would make sense after her match at the TNA house show went well last month, I’m trying not to get my hopes up.


ROXXI BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW
-Roxxi! Yay! I knew from the spoilers that she would be back for this show, but that doesn’t take away anything from seeing her again. She really got a raw deal when she was released earlier this year.

-Lauren says this is Roxxi’s official return to the company. I haven’t heard anything about Roxxi coming back full time (although Diva-dirt has said she’s booked for the New Year’s Knockout Eve show), but it would definitely be a good idea on management’s part after all the recent departures. The roster is looking a little spare right now and the return of Roxxi would be a great boost.

-Roxxi says that ODB is someone the girls in the back can look up to. I guess she missed the part where ODB turned heel officially, like many of us did.


ROXXI vs. ODB ©
-Roxxi got a bigger reaction here than when she came back over the summer. I guess absence makes the heart grow fonder in her case.

-Nice match. Roxxi is over as hell. She hasn’t missed a step and the crowd loved having her back. Stuff like this should help the fans to accept ODB as a bad guy. Roxxi has always been really popular and she was getting more face heat than ODB here, so for ODB to lay her out like this should help facilitate her heel turn.

-It was really strange booking for Roxxi to get the clean win over ODB here. As a big Roxxi fan, I’m certainly not complaining, but after ODB beat Tara last week and Roxxi beat ODB this week, how is Tara still the #1 contender? Shouldn’t Roxxi be the #1 contender now? Even if Roxxi’s not back on the roster full time, how do they justify her not at least being added to the title match on Sunday after this? To have the champion job cleanly to someone who’s presumably only there for one show is really questionable booking to say the least.

-The announcers definitely made it sound as if Roxxi is back full time, but that’s another one I’m trying not to get my hopes up for.




THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE (w/ LACEY VON ERICH) vs. AWESOME KONG & HAMADA vs. SARITA & TAYLOR WILDE ©
-The announcers said that management would be looking at this match closely when determining who would get the next shot at the Knockout tag team titles. Sarita & Taylor vs. Kong & Hamada should be off the chain if the taste of it that we got here was any indication. The insane chemistry between Sarita & Hamada alone is enough to make that match a must-see.

-Kong being Hamada’s partner makes sense since they have that history in Japan. I’m disappointed that Alissa didn’t get this spot, but if she couldn’t get it then I’m glad Kong did.

-The match was great when TBP weren’t in the ring and not as great when they were. It was too damn short, of course, but that goes without saying at this point.

-Once again, TBP were used as enhancement talent and yet nearly all the focus before and after the match was on them. Forget the champs, forget the new challengers for the titles; it’s all about the @#$%ing Beautiful People. There’s something very wrong with this picture.

-The bit with Lauren afterward was cool. After several weeks of TBP antagonizing her, Lauren’s had enough, slaps the taste out of Lacey’s mouth and then stalks off. Lauren said on her twitter page that she’s leaving the company, so this could serve as her official exit from the show. It’s really a shame to see her leave as she was very talented at what she did and great at putting over storylines. I always liked that she wasn’t the spineless interviewer you usually see and wouldn’t take crap from the heels when they gave her a hard time. She’ll be missed.

-It says a lot about how little management thinks of Lacey if they don’t even let her get over on an interviewer who’s on her way out. Seriously, why did they even sign this woman?

-What a nice show for the Knockouts this was after that trash TNA made us suffer through last week.


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12/20/09 Final Resolution

-Multiple websites are now reporting that Roxxi is back with TNA full time. Awesome! Thank you! No matter what anyone says, her being cut from the roster had to have had something to do with the Rhaka Khan altercation. Roxxi got released while Khan was not, then Khan and Kurt Angle have a messy break up, Roxxi is suddenly brought back for two shows in late summer while Khan is fired, and a few months later they bring Roxxi back on a permanent basis. Call it a coincidence if you want, but I just don’t buy it. It’s great to see that ugly situation finally get rectified. Justice has been served. Good riddance to Rhaka Khan. Welcome back, Roxxi.


KNOCKOUTS CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: TARA vs. ODB ©
-Not a great match by any means. It was okay at best, but I kind of expected that. I really didn’t see these two matching up that well. Their match at BFG was better, but that one also had Kong in it. The action was kind of slow and the finish came out of nowhere. A roll up isn’t really an effective finish unless the match is long enough and has enough nearfalls beforehand to give you the impression that any move could end the match at any time and that wasn’t done here.

-Why have all the Knockout matches been so short lately? They can’t even get decent time to work on PPVs anymore.

-The finish was the right one. Tara deserves the belt, and since ODB has signed her new contract there’s no reason to keep it on her anymore. Besides, it’s not like her title reign had been all that interesting. She was just a transitional champion until Tara was ready to take the belt.

-I’m still pretty skeptical that this ODB heel turn is going to work. The crowd seemed to favor Tara here, but at the same time they didn’t seem to want to boo ODB. Mostly, it was like they didn’t know how to react to her anymore. Her face heat has died down, but her heel heat isn’t growing if this match was any indication. I suppose time will tell on this one.

-I really hope this feud is over now as I don’t have any desire to see a rematch when there are much better opponents on the roster for Tara that she would have better chemistry with than ODB. The most likely candidates would have to be Alissa Flash and Roxxi. Roxxi’s non-title win over ODB on iMPACT should immediately install her as a contender for the belt. Plus, they need to do something with Alissa, for God’s sake. They’re the only women not currently working in tag teams that are talented enough and over enough to be in a title program, so I really hope the writers go with one or preferably both of them.


MICK FOLEY & ABYSS vs. RAVEN & DR STEVIE. DAFFNEY INTERFERES
-Well, Daffney got to do more than just stand there this time, but this feud is so damn stale and so far beyond played out at this point that I’m not even interested enough to comment on it.
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-This has nothing to do with Final Resolution -- I just thought it was funny. Leave it to Awesome Kong to still seem badass while wearing an elf costume. Merry Christmas, everyone!

December 27, 2009

2009 Year End Knockout Rankings

Alissa Flash
2009:
After what felt like an eternity of being held back by an absolutely pointless Muslim gimmick, the Raisha Saeed character was FINALLY done away with and Melissa Anderson was repackaged as Alissa Flash. Unfortunately, while this did allow her the opportunity to get out of Awesome Kong’s shadow and finally be herself, not much changed for the Future Legend after that. The stupid gimmick may be gone but she has still been used primarily as enhancement talent since then and hints that she might be pushed as anything more than that have never panned out. Her teased feud with Hamada ended as quickly as it began and her budding feud with Traci may have already ended off-screen for all I know.

2010: Alissa is more talented and marketable than most of the other women on the roster, she was able to get over easily despite being constantly booked to lose and would be a much more ideal candidate for the role of top heel contender for the singles title than ODB, but the writers just don’t seem very interested in using her for reasons I can’t figure out. She could be a major player in the Knockout division if given half a chance, but whether or not the writers will ever pull their heads out of their asses and give her that chance is anyone’s guess.


Awesome Kong
2009:
After her second run with the singles title ended at Lockdown, Kong didn’t do very much beyond tease a feud with new arrival, Tara. After severing ties with her former handler, Raisha Saeed, to the curb, she seemed to be getting her top heel on again until she was ultimately defeated by Tara in the 6 Sides of Steel, putting an end to their rivalry, at least for now.

2010: Although she may have been knocked off her perch at Turning Point, Kong remains one of the anchors of the division. Since her defeat at the hands of Tara, she has teased moving into tag team competition which, IMO, is the perfect place for Kong right now. It’s something different for her and she & Hamada could be very valuable in providing Sarita & Taylor Wilde with some real competition. Something NEEDS to be done to create some interest in the fledgling tag team division and Awesome Kong could be just what the doctor ordered.


The Beautiful People
2009:
I’m lumping all three of these women together because, to be honest, I just want to get this part over with. This group was getting stale a year ago and while the addition of Madison Rayne made them a bit more interesting for a while, it wasn’t enough to really make a difference. I think these women actually got more screen time than the entire X-division this year and a lot of it was absolutely painful to sit through. The Governor Palin skits did nothing but insult the fans’ intelligence and Angelina’s title reign was a disappointment due to a series of opponents she had no in-ring chemistry with. But after Angelina was released, things got even worse.

In a decision fans are still scratching their heads over, TNA management tried to replace the highly talented Angelina Love with a black hole of talent named Lacey Von Erich -- a woman who lacks both the performing instincts and in-ring skills of her predecessor and demonstrates on an almost weekly basis why she is nowhere near ready to be on television. The sad part is that this did not affect the group’s push whatsoever. They became perennial challengers for the new Knockout tag team titles held by Sarita & Taylor, receiving title shot after title shot despite their underwhelming in-ring performances by virtue of being the only other female tag team in the company. Only recently has their push toward the tag team titles seem to have finally, mercifully, come to an end.

2010: Enough already with the @#$%ing Beautiful People! I don’t have the words to describe how sick I am of this faction. It would be one thing if their in-ring performance justified the amount of screen time they get, but it doesn’t. Madison can wrestle, but the best Velvet can usually manage is not embarrassing herself in the ring and Lacey flat out sucks. Angelina was the only member worth pushing seriously and without her the group just doesn’t have the same spark it used to have. Thankfully, it looks like management has started to recognize this. The writers seem to love this group too much to ever break them up, but they are booking them a bit more realistically now. TBP still get more than ample screen time, but their ring time is definitely being scaled back. Unless Angelina returns and kicks Lacey to the curb, TBP will most likely become less of a force and more of a sideshow attraction for the division and the recent Velvet/Lacey mud wrestling match is proof of that.


Christy Hemme
2009:
A lengthy absence due to a neck injury, a brief return to the ring and now a new role as a backstage interviewer thanks to persisting neck issues. Overall, not a great year for the former Playboy cover girl.

2010: I don’t object to Christy being a backstage interviewer now that Lauren is leaving. Aside from that, Christy might have some value as a manager, but if her neck prevents her from taking bumps then there might not be much future in that. With rumored talent cuts looming, Christy may find herself on the chopping block.


Crystal Lashley
2009:
I can only assume that Crystal was hired in an effort to keep Bobby Lashley happy. Not that her being around makes Bobby any more interesting, but at the very least she’s shown some acting ability and makes a decent mouthpiece for the Boss.

2010: Crystal is, for all intents and purposes, the new Sharmell. Please join me in hoping that she’ll turn out to be less annoying than the woman who came before her.


Daffney
2009:
She debuted early in the year as the Governor -- probably the stupidest gimmick the writers have come up with since Black Reign -- as part of a practical joke Taylor & Roxxi were playing on TBP. After a haircut at the hands of TBP, she ditched the asinine gimmick and her fortunes improved for a short time. She turned heel and began a feud with Taylor that had potential, but eventually fell victim to gimmick match overload. After that feud concluded, Daffney fell into the role of Knockout punching bag, becoming the woman who took sick bumps, jobbed all the time and stood next to the increasingly irrelevant Dr. Stevie.

2010: It’s a shame to see a performer as talented as the Scream Queen go to waste. She has a great look and a gimmick that fits her perfectly, she can wrestle, she can cut a hell of a promo and she’s been able to get over easily when she hasn’t been relegated to token jobber status. Unfortunately, it seems like that’s all the writers have in mind for her. I don’t expect Stevie Richards to survive the upcoming round of talent cuts, and at this rate, it wouldn’t surprise me if Daffney got cut along with him.


Hamada
2009:
Hamada was reportedly on TNA’s short list of candidates for the top babyface role. After Tara got that spot, they went and signed Hamada anyway and then proceeded to do virtually nothing with her for months aside from a feud with Alissa Flash that lasted all of three weeks. However, in recent weeks she has finally been given a direction and the fans are responding to her favorably.

2010: It appears as if the writers are putting Hamada & Awesome Kong together as a tag team. IMO, this is a perfect fit as they have a prior association and neither of them have anything else on their plate right now. Given the current state of things, this is the best spot for Hamada as she and Kong can fill a critical need, injecting some life into the Knockout tag division by finally giving Sarita & Taylor some worthy opponents.


ODB
2009:
An underwhelming title match at Against All Odds, a win at Lockdown that was instantly forgotten, months of irrelevance as Cody Deaner’s arm candy, and then finally a Knockouts championship win that a lot of people said came a year too late (although conveniently just in time for her contract renegotiations). Sadly, her title reign began with the most embarrassing feud in the two year history of the Knockout division as she battled her former boyfriend as he attempted to become “King of the Knockouts”. After that atrocity was over, she piggybacked on other people’s feuds for two months -- essentially proving that her title reign was just about getting her to resign with the company -- more or less killing time until Tara won the belt at Final Resolution, triggering an ODB heel turn.

2010: It remains to be seen if ODB’s heel turn is going to last long or if the fans will even accept it. If Vince Russo continues to write the show then characters will most likely continue to switch sides whenever the need arises, but for now she’s playing the bad guy. I kind of doubt she’ll remain in the title picture now that she’s signed her new contract and she probably shouldn’t. The time has definitely come to cycle in some fresh challengers for the belt, though where this leaves ODB is unclear.


Roxxi
2009:
What a roller coaster year it’s been for the former Voodoo Queen. When it began, she was tagging with her real life BFF, Taylor Wilde, in their ongoing feud with TBP and everything seemed to be going just fine. Then she was suspended for two months following a backstage altercation with Rhaka Khan, who happened to be dating Kurt Angle at the time. In the middle of serving her suspension, she was told by management that she was being released from the company despite the fact that her contract didn’t expire until October. The reason they gave her was that they no longer had anything for her creatively -- a flimsy excuse considering she was inarguably one of the most over women in the company at the time and was already in the middle of a feud before she was removed from TV. Everyone denied that the Rhaka Khan incident had anything to do with it, but it did raise the question of why a talented, consistent and popular performer like Roxxi was released due to “the writers not having anything for her” while horribly untalented women like Rhaka Khan and Sojourner Bolt were kept around when they had practically vanished from TV altogether at that point.

During her time away from the company, Roxxi got a day job at a gym, competed in fitness competitions and resumed her wrestling career on the independent circuit. Meanwhile, Kurt Angle ended his relationship with Rhaka Khan, after which she accused him of beating and stalking her. The situation was taken to court where Angle was quickly cleared of all charges after the judge determined that Khan was a basket case. Needless to say, this lead to the end of Rhaka Khan’s TNA career. Soon after that ugliness was resolved, Roxxi was booked to return and take part in the inaugural Knockout tag team championship tournament.

Coincidence? Yeah, right…

She was only there for two shows, but it was an auspicious hint of what was to come. A few months later, just in time for the holidays, Roxxi made her return to TNA, defeating the Knockouts champion, ODB, in a non-title match with numerous wrestling news sites reporting that she had signed a new contract and was back with the company full time.

2010: With the Rhaka Khan incident finally behind her, Roxxi is poised to resume her TNA career. The landscape has changed a lot since she’s been gone and it’s anyone’s guess where she’ll fit in now, but whatever TNA has in store for her in the future, one thing is certain: it sure beats working in a gym.


Sarita
2009:
The top babyface spot that was originally intended for Sarita was given to Tara instead before she made it to television. This was evident after Sarita made her debut and, much like a lot of women on the roster, seemed to have no direction. She was in the same boat as Hamada for a few months -- management obviously recognized her immense talent and wanted to push her, but they didn’t seem to know how to do it. That changed when the announcement of the creation of Knockout tag team championships lead to her being partnered with Taylor Wilde and the two of them winning the inaugural titles. She may not have gotten the top babyface spot, but Sarita now fills a role that is arguably just as important: being one half of the linchpin of the new Knockout tag team division.

2010: For the time being, Sarita will probably need to stay where she is. A lot of work needs to be done on this tag team division before it will be able to sustain itself without her & Taylor. Right now, they are the only team -- makeshift or otherwise -- TNA has put together that is versatile enough to have good matches with pretty much anyone. The writers need to create and/or sign at least two more teams that are championship material before Sarita & Taylor would be free to pursue singles competition. It seems like this is in the process of happening now, but in the mean time, Sarita is exactly where she’s needed most.


Tara
2009:
After leaving the WWE, the former Diva signed with TNA for the opportunity to contribute in the ways that she wasn’t allowed to in the last several years of her WWE run and was quickly pushed into a top spot. She got off to a rocky start in TNA as her first feud with then-champion, Angelina Love, failed to impress due to lack of in-ring chemistry and culminated with her winning the Knockouts title and then quickly losing it back to Angelina ten days later due to the machinations of a crooked referee.

Nevertheless, she clearly had the support of the company and began teasing a potential feud with Awesome Kong which percolated for the next several months. She came up short in a triple threat title match at Bound for Glory, but a month later, in a match that, by all rights, should have happened at Bound for Glory, Tara defeated Kong in the 6 Sides of Steel, earning arguably the biggest win of her career. The following month, she defeated ODB at Final Resolution to regain the singles title and rang in the New Year as the champion.

2010: A year ago, the former Victoria was racking up more losses against the Bella twins than Chavo Guerrero has against Hornswoggle and today she’s the Knockouts champion and top female babyface of her former employer’s chief competitor. Not bad for a lady who thought she was finished with wrestling prior to signing with TNA. Tara represents, if not a changing of the guard, then a cycling of fresh characters into the title picture. After toppling Kong and ODB, I expect she’ll remain in the #1 spot for a good long time, hopefully heralding the elevation of a new series of challengers as well.


Taylor Wilde
2009:
Taylor began 2009 as one half of a tag team with Roxxi as they brought in Daffney disguised as Sarah Palin to make TBP look stupid. The feud was going fine until Roxxi was released from the company, after which Taylor began a feud with the now de-Palinized Daffney. She delivered a star-making performance at Slammiversary in the first ever mixed tag Monster’s Ball match, but the feud ultimately had limited mileage due to the writers’ stubborn insistence on skipping over the whole escalation process and going right to the crazy gimmick matches. In late summer, she was placed in a tag team with new arrival, Sarita, and the two of them quickly captured the inaugural Knockout tag team titles. Having begun and ended the year working in tag teams, it seems the Upset Queen has come full circle.

2010: It took TNA management a while to figure out what Taylor’s role in the Knockout division should be. Not quite over enough to be a headliner, but too talented to be a midcarder, so where could she fit in? Sarita and the creation of tag team titles for the women provided the answer. Taylor now finds herself in a more important spot in the company than she’s ever had: anchoring the new tag team division while TNA struggles to get it off the ground. Since TBP really aren’t that good in the ring, Sarita & Taylor are currently the only team in the company talented enough to hold the belts (though the pairing of Kong & Hamada should change that). Though I still maintain that the creation of the Knockout tag team championships happened way too soon, it has made Taylor invaluable at a time when she was in danger of becoming stale.


Traci Brooks
2009:
Aside from burning her boobs on a hot shell casing while visiting our armed forces in the Middle East, Traci was nowhere to be seen for a good chunk of the year. She returned to television in the summer after inking a deal with Playboy and was given a spot in the Main Event Mafia so she would be more visible when her photo shoot was published. The sequence of events that followed were so hilariously unfortunate that you’d think the Gods themselves were actually conspiring against the poor woman. First her role in the MEM went absolutely nowhere, then came the announcement that Traci would not be getting the cover of Playboy as was originally thought and would rather have to settle for her pictures being uploaded on the Playboy website, then the MEM fizzled out -- along with Traci’s push -- and broke up after Bound for Glory (despite what Scott Steiner would have us believe). And to top it all off, the woman chosen to grace the cover of the Playboy issue Traci was originally meant to have turned out to be none other than cartoon character, Marge Simpson. Traci was last seen on iMPACT, getting her ass soundly handed to her by Alissa Flash.

2010: If nothing else, 2009 should make a funny story that Traci can tell her grandkids someday. Unfortunately, 2010 doesn’t look to be much better. She’s made a fine manager in the past and they might have a role for her if she wanted to go back to doing that, but realistically, there isn’t a whole lot she can do in the Knockout division at this point that most of the other girls can’t do better. TNA have always seemed loyal to Traci and would probably let her survive the talent cuts out of fear of screwing up their relationship with Kaz (Suicide), but outside of an occasional role as enhancement talent there doesn’t seem to be much left for the Original Knockout to do in TNA.

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All things considered, this has been a very up and down year for the ladies of TNA. 2009 was the year the Knockout division hit its lowest point ever on no less than three separate occasions:

-Sojourner Bolt’s Destination-X title match.
-Jenna Morasca vs. Sharmell at Victory Road.
-The Velvet Sky/Lacey Von Erich mud wrestling match.

Other unfortunate events included the firing of mainstays, Roxxi and Angelina Love, due to backstage politics and visa issues respectively, the signing of the insufferable Lacey Von Erich and the creation of a Knockout tag team division despite TNA having a very noticeable lack of Knockout tag teams.

But there were always bright spots in the darkness and, in the end, I think the positives outweighed the negatives. The void left by Gail Kim was finally filled with ultra-talented new additions to the roster such as Sarita, Hamada and the rejuvenated former Victoria. The lamentable Raisha Saeed gimmick was done away with, allowing Melissa Anderson to finally be herself. The pairing of Kong & Hamada creating some real competition for Sarita & Taylor offered the first glimmer hope for the fledgling tag division. Many of the no-talent idiots were fired and Roxxi was rehired after Rhaka Khan was served a hot, steaming plate of justice.

The first several months of 2009 were definitely not the most exciting time for the Knockout division, but things picked up in the second half of the year with the promise of better things to come. Of course, that could all be moot at this point because God only knows what’s going to happen to the Knockouts when Hogan and his cronies show up. It’s been well documented that Eric Bischoff doesn’t like women’s wrestling and Hogan booked a bunch of bikini contests on his tour of Australia instead of having women wrestle a match, which is a pretty good indicator of what he thinks about it as well. Right now, all we can do is hope for the best when it comes to that.

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Anyway, just as I did last year, I will now judge the current rankings as I see them:

1) Tara
2) ODB
3) Awesome Kong
4) Hamada
5) Sarita/Taylor Wilde (tied)
6) Roxxi
7) Madison Rayne
8) Alissa Flash
9) Velvet Sky
10) Daffney
11) Lacey Von Erich
12) Traci Brooks

N/A: Christy Hemme, Crystal Lashley

Not bad, but not perfect either. Barring any injuries or departures, I’m hopeful that the 2010 rankings will end up looking more like this:

1) Hamada
2) Sarita
3) Awesome Kong/Alissa Flash (tied)
4) Tara
5) Taylor Wilde/Roxxi (tied)
6) Daffney
7) ODB
8) Madison Rayne
9) Velvet Sky
10) Traci Brooks

Cut from the roster: Lacey Von Erich

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THE DEPARTED

Angelina Love
2009:
After being forced to participate in the truly embarrassing Gorvernor Palin skits for weeks, culminating in Angelina & Velvet getting “mucked” by Taylor & Roxxi, TBP gained a measure of revenge, which lead to Angelina capturing the Knockouts championship at Lockdown -- a title win that many said she was long overdue for. Granted, her several month run with the belt was rather lackluster due to having no chemistry with any of the women she feuded with, but it could have been so much better had the writers just put a little more thought into the match-making. Sadly, this was never rectified. Just before No Surrender where she & Velvet Sky were booked to compete for the inaugural tag team championships, Angelina was shockingly released from the company due to a work visa issue that had never been sorted out.

2010: The future isn’t clear for Angelina right now. She has stated that she will be returning to TNA once her visa issues are resolved, but at the time of this writing there has reportedly been no talk within TNA of bringing her back as far as I know. There’s a rumor that she’ll make her return on the January 4th show, but I’ll believe it when I see it.


Jacqueline
2009:
The Pride of Tennessee began the year as the manager of then-tag team champions, Beer Money, Inc. Her role wasn’t anything crucial, but it did keep her on television longer than her shelf life probably would have allowed otherwise. However, few weeks before Lockdown, she was removed from television by TNA president, Dixie Carter, and released from the company not long after that.

2010: Jacqueline being removed from TV was for the best, as cruel as that sounds. I heard she wasn’t happy about it, but it is what it is. Change is inevitable in the wrestling business and every performer has a shelf life. Jacqueline has had a great career; longer than a lot of women have in a business where female performers’ shelf lives are relatively brief. While I imagine there could be a backstage role for her somewhere, her time as an on-screen talent is most likely over at this point.


Jenna Morasca
2009:
She was a contestant on Survivor a few years ago, posed for Playboy, then one day she met Kurt Angle on the set of a movie they did together and this somehow translated into her getting a job in TNA even though she had never wrestled a day in her life and had absolutely nothing to offer.

Yeah, it made no damn sense to me either.

Her on-screen role amounted to standing next to Kevin Nash, being catty with Sharmell and… that was pretty much it. For some ungodly reason, the writers thought this “feud” deserved to go to PPV and gave the two women of the MEM a spot on the Victory Road card despite the fact that neither of them were wrestlers. The resulting atrocity was not only the worst match in the history of the Knockout division, but most likely the worst match in the history of the company. Not long after this misguided publicity stunt (or perhaps because of it), TNA management regained their sanity and quietly released Morasca from her contract.

2010: Honestly, who gives a crap? Morasca made a mockery of the wrestling business, embarrassing TNA during her mercifully brief run and hopefully she will never return to it.


Lauren
2009:
Lauren was a lot more than just an interviewer and she proved that during the many times that the writers injected her into storylines with various members of the talent roster. She turned out to be quite a talented performer in her own rite when it came to putting over angles and storylines, and her role grew from interviewer to Taylor Wilde’s sorority sister, Abyss’s “girlfriend” and TBP’s verbal punching bag. Sadly, in late December she announced on her twitter page that she was leaving the company to focus on two Golf Channel shows that she hosts as well as her upcoming nuptials.

2010: Lauren did a lot to enhance the product during her time in TNA. She will be missed and Christy Hemme has some surprisingly big shoes to fill, but she wanted to move on and that happens. She’d be a welcome addition if she ever wants to come back.


Rhaka Khan
2009:
Khan received a brief push early in the year when she and Sojourner Bolt broke away from Kong and Saeed. This push only lasted a few weeks due to the fact that they were both absolutely horrible. Following a backstage altercation with Roxxi, Khan was suspended for two months. The infinitely more popular and talented Roxxi was then fired, but Khan was not due to her relationship with Kurt Angle. She would not return to television, however. A few months later, Kurt Angle ended their relationship and Khan responded by charging him with ridiculous false accusations of abuse. Said accusations were quickly dismissed in court and Khan was just as quickly dismissed from TNA.

2010: Beats me. A mental institution perhaps? I’m sure Kurt Angle wouldn’t object.


Sharmell
2009:
For pretty much the entire year, Sharmell’s role on television was to stand next to Booker T and repeatedly say how awesome the MEM was when a blind person could see that the MEM was nothing but a pathetic rehash of the NWO, created so a group of aging, broken down stars from a previous era could relive their glory days at the expense of every single young talent on the TNA roster. She also feuded with Jenna Morasca, but the less said about that crapfest the better off we’ll all be.

I’m sure Sharmell is a perfectly nice person in real life, but her on-screen character was annoying as hell. Had the writers put different words in her mouth, she might have been able to contribute something to the product, but that was not the case. Following Bound for Glory, management decided not to renew the deal of her equally annoying husband, Booker T. Reportedly, most people backstage were very happy to see him go and he took Sharmell with him when he left.

2010: Booker T was said to be claiming that he had an avenue to return to the WWE when his TNA contract expired and was planning to take it -- one would assume he’d be taking Sharmell with him when he did. Apparently, he was either exaggerating or being mislead because word is negotiations between him and his former employers are dead in the water. Booker T & Sharmell don’t look to be returning to the WWE anytime soon, and if the stories are true, TNA probably doesn’t want them back. Now shut out of both major promotions in the US, they’ll most likely have to settle for Booker’s Texas-based wrestling school.


Sojourner Bolt
2009:
Over the course of the year, I honestly lost count of how many times the hilariously named Sojo Bolt changed allegiances. The writers switched her between face and heel so often that even Bolt herself didn’t seem to know what side she was on after a while.

Despite the fact she had never delivered a single good in-ring performance in TNA, she was inexplicably given a title match against Awesome Kong at Desintation-X. The result was the worst title match in the history of the Knockout division. After that, Bolt quickly fell out of favor with management and was reduced to the role of enhancement talent. She was used less and less frequently until she was finally cut from the roster in late summer.

2010: Sojourner ‘don’t call me SomeJobber’ Bolt has apparently returned to OVW. While I do occasionally miss making fun of her stupid name, I really haven’t lost any sleep over her firing and I don’t think a lot of people have. Frankly, Bolt being cut from the roster was a great addition by subtraction. Now if they could just get rid of Lacey Von Erich…

QCWradio episode 60

Episode 60 is now available for download.

This week's topics include:

-TNA Final Resolution review.
-the Young Bucks signing with TNA.
-round table discussion: how would we book the 3 hour January 4th iMPACT.

-also, the week in wrestling, mail bag, promo of the week and much, much more.

December 20, 2009

QCWradio episode 59

Episode 59 is now available for download.

This week's topics include:

-WWE TLC review.
-TNA Final Resolution preview.
-Bret Hart signing with WWE.
-round table discussion: if we were going to start a company with 10 workers to start, who would they be?

-also, the week in wrestling, mail bag, promo of the week and much, much more.

Special guests: Big_D & Dennin

December 19, 2009

Avatar, Sheamus & iMPACT 12/17/09

Previewing Final Resolution




CHALLENGE MATCH
Mick Foley & Abyss vs. Raven & Dr. Stevie

FK9:
Seriously? Good lord, why is this match even on the card? Can't we just put this storyline out of its misery already? With all the other stuff going on in TNA right now, what is the point of continuing to drag out The Feud That Would Not Die? Can they really not think of anything else to do with Abyss? Foley has been totally focused on Hogan's arrival and has barely even mentioned this match for the last month. If even the guy in the match doesn't care about it then the fans have no reason to care about it either. I don't think actually promoting the match is going to get the fans interested in it, but the fact that the writers haven't even bothered trying to promote it speaks volumes.

Who should win: Kurt Angle recently beat Raven & Dr. Stevie in a handicap match in about 3 minutes. After that, anything other than the babyfaces completely destroying the heels in a quick squash will make Foley & Abyss look like chumps.

chessarmy: This is another one of those feuds that should have ended a looooong time ago. If you think about it, Abyss has been feuding with Dr. Stevie since Slammiversary. That was 6 months ago! I think Dr. Stevie/Raven will end up getting the win, they'll run an angle where Foley is too distracted mentally by all this Hogan crap, that he'll end up costing Abyss the match and maybe turn heel in the process. If I was booking however, I'd do something simple -- Abyss/Foley win, they celebrate in the ring and the feud ENDS.

Who should win: Abyss/Foley

The Quintastic One: I love Raven, I like Dr. Stevie, I love Daffney, I like Abyss, I even like Mick Foley. I don't have a bad thing to say about any of these guys. But honestly, this feud has gone on for far too long. It's had far too many swerves and it's become Robert Roode vs. Eric Young. I mean, they've been feuding since before Slammiversary for crying out loud. Abyss has already beaten the crap out of Raven, Dr. Stevie and even Mick Foley 10 times 'til doomsday. What more can you possibly add to this feud?

Who should win: It's obvious, Mick Foley & Abyss are going to go over, yet again. Mick Foley is probably gonna do his 5,000th alignment turn of the year, attack Abyss post match and we'll get a 3-on-1 handicap match for Genesis that Abyss will STILL go over in. And lord knows this feud may never end.
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LAST MAN STANDING MATCH
Bobby Lashley vs. Scott Steiner

FK9:
Lashley takes his first loss in TNA to Steiner at Turning Point and then soon after wins a future world heavyweight title shot. That should tell you everything you need to know about how much this feud means. All it is is a way to keep Lashley occupied for a while. The problem is it's not really making Lashley any more interesting and it's certainly not making me want to see more of Steiner.

Who should win: Steiner won the first match, so Lashley should win this one, hopefully ending this awful feud. Afterward, the fans will continue not caring about Lashley that much and continue wondering why in the blue hell Scott Steiner is still on television.

chessarmy: Why is this feud still going on and on and on? Steiner sucks, plain and simple. I love his promos, but in the ring he's a broken down man who needs to think about retiring. I'm sure this has been said over a thousand times by many different people on the interwebz, so I guess there's no point in repeating it. Lashley should win and move on to bigger and better things.

Who should win: Bobby Lashley

The Quintastic One: Say what you will about Scott Steiner being an immobile dinosaur constantly in pain, but this guy can been consistently delivering in matches since Bound for Glory. I swear, he's done more suplexes and Frankensteiners than he's ever done in his career. I know that's not saying much but for a guy who was pretty much limited in his arsenal back in the NWO days, he's been impressive in both his physique and his ability in the ring. Lord knows he has to be if he's going to keep his job.

Who should win: That being said, I'm giving this one to Bobby Lashley. He's essentially the suplex machine that Scott Steiner is, except younger, in better shape and more marketable towards today's audience. It'll be interesting to see what they do with Bobby since he's signed a deal with Strikeforce, but I don't see that being a detriment to his chances to win tonight.
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8 MAN ELIMINATION
Team 3D, Rhino & Jesse Neal vs, "Pope" D'Angelo Dinero, "the Blueprint" Matt Morgan, Hernandez & Suicide

FK9:
Remember when the fans would chant "Next world champ!" when Morgan came out to the ring? They don't do that anymore. I'll give you 3 guesses why. How does this man go from having a MOTY candidate with Kurt Angle at Bound for Glory to being used as glorified enhancement talent to get Jesse @#$%ing Neal over? I'm sorry, but Jesse Neal hasn't shown me a thing yet -- I see no reason why he should be getting pushed ahead of Morgan, Pope, Supermex & Suicide and the same goes for Rhino and 3D. I see what the writers are trying to do here, but this feud is doing no favors to guys who TNA are billing as the future of the company. Morgan & Hernandez are future world champions and Pope has been an instant star in TNA; they should NOT be made to look so weak against a group of perennial midcarders.

Who should win: The heels won the last match so the faces need to go over here. The young guys need to get some momentum going if they're going to hold onto whatever heat they still have.

chessarmy: The heels have had waaay too much of an advantage so far in this feud. They've won almost every match, they've done everything to make the fans think the young stars just aren't in their league. Because of this, Morgan's team MUST get the victory at Final Resolution. If they don't, they'll look like a bunch of jobbers and they might even be buried. We suffered through this type of booking with the MEM storyline; please TNA, dont make us do it again.

Who should win: D'Angelo Dinero, Matt Morgan, Hernandez & Suicide

The Quintastic One: I'm going to make this one brief because this is going to legitimately piss me off if it doesn't happen. Morgan, Hernandez, Dinero & Suicide BETTER win this match. I will not tolerate this storyline being Main Event Mafia 2.0. Team 3D has had the upper hand in this feud the ENTIRE time. They need to put over the younger stars and they need to do it now. I don't care if they're booked to win the match. If they have any sense of decency they will barge into Russo's office and say "We're not Hogan, we're not Triple H, we're not the Undertaker, we put over new guys when they deserve it. We don't want to hog the spotlight." I'll go so far as to say if it doesn't happen, I'm watching RAW on January 4th over iMPACT.

Who should win: Morgan, Hernandez, Dinero & Suicide
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KNOCKOUTS TITLE MATCH
Tara vs. ODB (c)

FK9:
Tara's as over as she's ever been and coming off the biggest win of her career at Turning Point. ODB's title reign has gone nowhere and consisted mainly of her piggybacking on other people's feuds. Meanwhile, her character has grown stale and her recent heel turn (which, at the very least, is something different for her) hasn't really done much to change that. It's time for a fresh face at the top of the Knockout food chain and Tara deserves the belt. This one's a no brainer.

Who should win: Tara

chessarmy: With Roxxi returning on iMPACT it would be great to see her inserted into the Knockouts title picture, but I guess they need to build her up first. Until then, they should give the belt to Tara. ODB is a terrible champion, she's done nothing with the belt and I've been waiting for someone to beat her for it since she won the damn thing.

Who should win: Tara

The Quintastic One: This should be a good match. It's a shame that we don't have more Knockouts wrestling following up on this. But for what it is, it's going to be a hard hitting contest. I just hope Tara doesn't fall victim to the ODB "Victory Sequence" and actually picks up the win on this. She defeated Awesome Kong in a great steel cage match last month and she's earned this title.

Who should win: Tara
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TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH
Motor City Machine Guns vs. the British Invasion (c)

FK9:
It is about damn time that the writers got behind the Guns like this. They should've gotten this push 2 years ago, but what's done is done. Sabin & Shelley have had the British Invasion's number for the last 2 months and they are the clear top contenders for the tag team titles. Finally.

Unfortunately, the very fact that the Guns have been booked so strongly against the Brits is why I think the Brits need to retain the titles. For ONE more month. As much I want the MCMG to finally win those damn belts, Magnus & Williams need to get some heat in this feud before that happens or them dropping the titles to Sabin & Shelley won't really mean anything. The Machine Guns getting screwed out of the win at Final Resolution, only to come back and win them for the first time at Genesis would mean a lot more than them winning the titles at a 'B' PPV after having their way with the champions for weeks. But whatever happens, I just hope that the outcome of the match won't hinge on the actions of the British A1, Rob Terry.

Who should win: The British Invasion. BUT... Sabin & Shelly ABSOLUTELY MUST win the tag team titles at Genesis. It's their time, damn it!

chessarmy: Final Resolution should be the PPV where the Guns finally win the tag belts. It's been waaaaaay too long since they've been in the title picture, they've put on so many memorable matches, they are an amazing tag team that deserves at least one reign with the straps. The Brits have held the titles since Bound for Glory and it's time for a changing of the guard in the tag division. Give the belts to the Motor City Machine Guns, for the love of god! (hehehe, stole one from FK there)

[Editor's Note: Stop stealing my catchphrases, you jerkass!]

Who should win: The Motor City Machine Guns (I forgive you, Shelley, for asking for 5K for a @#$%ing interview!)

The Quintastic One: It's felt like forever since the British Invasion first won tag team gold. I know they had a different set of belts before this point, but still, they've been tag team champions on a consistent basis. They've had a good long reign, and now you've got a pair of young guns (no pun intended) who are ready to finally earn themselves tag title belts.

Who should win: It's a wish, it's a hope, it's a prediction and it's a borderline demand. Put the damn belts on Shelley & Sabin. Normally you could make the argument that the Brits need to retain in order to legitimize World Elite. But considering your leader of the stable jobbed to Hamada of all people 2 weeks ago, @#$% legitimizing them further. Give the belts to the Guns.
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FEAST OR FIRED MATCH
One TNA Superstar will be fired from the company

FK9:
Oh, so this match is on the PPV then? You wouldn't know it from watching iMPACT. In all the build up for Final Resolution, I don't think they've mentioned this match more than once or twice. Gosh, I wonder why TNA's PPV buyrates haven't shown any real growth in the last few years. It's a mystery for the ages...

Anyway, there is no global title shot at stake here, which just proves how little that belt means right now and Eric Young refusing to defend it is not helping matters any. It will be a joke if Samoa Joe DOESN'T get the world title shot. By that same token, and all due respect to Bashir & Kiyoshi, but Homicide is the only man in this match who should be getting an X-division title shot. Concurrently, Beer Money are the only ones here who should be getting a tag team title shot. Unfortunately, all that probably makes just a little too much sense for the TNA writers to be interested in doing it.

The pink slip is the easiest one. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY wants to see Kevin Nash winning a title shot of any kind, but he's still in the match for some reason. So what better reason than for him to get "fired" and be taken off TV for a while? It would great payback after he booked that unspeakably awful show last week.

Who should win: World title shot -- Samoa Joe. X-division title shot -- Homicide. Tag team title shot -- Beer Money. FIRED -- Kevin Nash (but if Bashir or Rob Terry get it instead, I won't complain).

chessarmy: This will be a cluster@#$%. There's like 24087 guys in the match. I hope they actually reveal what's in the cases at the PPV instead of making us wait for iMPACT. Isn't that why people pay 30 bucks for the damn show? To see the outcomes of storylines and feuds? We shouldn't have to wait for the free TV show to see what the cases contain. I cant make a prediction for this because I dont know who all the competitors will be. All I can say is I think either Kiyoshi or Homicide will end up with the Fired case. Beer Money will probably get the Tag Title shots, and Samoa Joe SHOULD get the world title shot.

Who should win: N/A

The Quintastic One: Ah yes, TNA's annual "Let's shove everyone in who doesn't currently have a decent program and see what happens" match. You've got The Jobber Elite in this match, accompanied by about 3 more jobbers, Samoa Joe, Beer Money and Kevin Nash. But as we know this match is not always as predictable as we'd like it to be, so here goes anyway.

Who should win: Beer Money are too obvious for the tag titles so I'm gonna say Sheik Abdul Bashir gets the tag title shot. Samoa Joe gets the X-division title shot. Kevin Nash gets the world title shot, and when Hogan comes in he's gonna book Nash to be the champion. And Eric Young gets the "You're fired" case.
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THREE DEGREES OF PAIN
Desmond Wolfe vs. Kurt Angle




FK9: Desmond Wolfe's push has been awesome so far, but he's reaching the point where he's going to lose credibility if he doesn't start getting some meaningful wins. The nice thing about this match is that it virtually guarantees him at least one victory over Angle, be it pinfall, submission or escaping the cage. Unfortunately, one victory won't mean that much if it's Angle who gets his hand raised at the end. I know TNA kind of telegraphed the finish of this match when they let the Genesis poster get leaked onto the net, but there's plenty of ways for Kurt to save face and still have Desmond go over.

Who should win: Desmond Wolfe. He needs the win more than Kurt Angle does. I say have him get the pin, give the submission to Angle and let Wolfe win the match by escaping the cage, thus evening the score 1-1. Then have the rubber match on iMPACT where they wrestle for the #1 contendership and have Angle win that one. Kurt Angle gets the main event of Genesis, but Desmond Wolfe still looks strong. Everybody wins.

chessarmy: This feud has been amazing from beginning to end, I honestly would rather see a normal match to end it, but the 3 Stages of Hell style match definitely won't disappoint. If I was booking, I'm not sure who I'd give the 'W' to. Considering Kurt Angle is getting a title shot next month, it would make perfect sense to give him the victory here. However, I really like Desmond Wolfe so it'll be a hard decision. In a way, the 3 Stages of Hell stipulation is going to work here, because if Angle wins in 3 matches, you could make the argument that Desmond Wolfe was skilled enough to at least pin the Olympic Gold Medalist once.

Who should win: Kurt Angle

The Quintastic One: So this is basically 3 Stages of Hell without the copyright infringement. Still, if the story we've seen from these guys is any indication, you know the match is gonna be good. I think they've strayed too far away from the feud in recent weeks. As Desmond has been more preoccupied with Styles and Daniels than he has been focused on taking out Kurt Angle. So either TNA is planning on having Desmond bypass Angle in a big way here or something's not right with the way this story has been handled.

Who should win: I see Desmond winning this, plain and simple. Desmond will gain the pinfall, Angle will make him tap, and when the cage lowers you're gonna see alot of crazy spots. But Wolfe will find a way to escape before Angle does.
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TNA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH
Daniels vs "the Phenomenal" AJ Styles (c)

FK9:
Again, the leaked Genesis poster kind of spoiled the finish, not that it wasn't kind of obvious. I love that Daniels is finally getting a long-deserved main event push and he and AJ will deliver a fantastic match, but the former Fallen Angel is not winning the title at Final Resolution, nor should he. He hasn't been built up enough to be the world champion, for one. He hasn't had nearly enough screen time, for another. Also, it's just too early to take the belt off of AJ Styles. After Sting anointed AJ as his successor, it would completely cheapen that if he lost the title anytime soon. It's unfortunate, but Daniels' push has most likely been something to stall for time while the Kurt Angle match simmers in the background. Daniels will still get something out of this as long as he doesn't fall back to the midcard afterward and I do believe that he has it in him to be a world champion given the right push and the right promotion, but not this time.

Who should win: AJ Styles

chessarmy: The match itself has taken a back seat to all this Mick Foley/Jeff Jarret/Dixie Carter garbage. It's unfortunate but true, even though the match is for the world title, it lacks hype and I'm not sure how many people even know it's on the card. Either way, I think it could be a MOTY candidate. Both workers know each other so well, if TNA gives them the right amount of time, they could tear the house down.

Who should win: AJ Styles

The Quintastic One: This is an interesting one for me. On one hand, you have Bobby Lashley being presumably #1 contender, or at least in line for a title shot sometime in the near future. On the other hand you have Kurt Angle who presumably has some form of guaranteed agreement to be AJ's next opponent, or so I've heard. So this match is pretty much going to come down to who TNA plans on having the next opponent for the ensuing champion. Will AJ win and face Kurt Angle or will Daniels win and face Bobby Lashley?

Who should win: I don't see AJ Styles dropping the belt to Daniels. Which I agree with. I want Styles to have as long a reign as possible before he inevitably drops it to Desmond Wolfe (my opinion). The fact that he's retained over Sting and both Daniels & Joe thus far is a good indication that Styles is having a quality reign.

December 18, 2009

Knockout Match of the Year

Well, it’s that time of year when the “Best of…” lists start coming out. TNA recently put out a poll on their website for the fans to vote on what they thought was the best match of 2009. I thought this topic deserved its own column for two reasons.

1) Several Knockout matches were given consideration on this list of candidates.

2) This list is a complete and utter farce.

There are no less than 24 matches to choose from on this list TNA put together, which is ridiculous in and of itself. Realistically, there should be less than 10. That was the first warning sign.

The second warning sign was some of the matches that were on it. Quite a few of them were not even that good and some of them were downright awful! I won’t insult your intelligence by reprinting the entire list here, but I will say that it was weighed down by such painfully mediocre fare as Abyss vs. Matt Morgan at Lockdown and Bobby Lashley vs. Rhino at No Surrender. And suffice to say, any “Best of...” list that includes Kevin Nash matches (no, I’m not kidding) has no credibility whatsoever.

Perhaps even more baffling were some of the matches that were NOT included. How can TNA possibly expect the fans to take this list seriously when the Chris Sabin vs. Alex Shelley X-division title match from Genesis is mysteriously left out? That is absolutely idiotic. That match the Motor City Machine Guns put on was not only the best X-division match of the year, but the best X-division match in SEVERAL years. Even if it wasn’t the best match of the year in TNA, it was certainly in the top 5 at least.

And on top of that, ALL television matches were excluded from the list as well for some insane reason. Can anyone honestly say that AJ Styles vs. Kurt Angle from the Super iMPACT show does not count among the best matches of this year? It was certainly a hell of a lot better than most of the matches that made the list.

Okay. Now that we’ve established that this list is an absolute joke, let’s get to the three Knockout matches that were nominated.

-Sacrifice: Angelina Love vs. Awesome Kong: Knockouts Championship
-Slammiversary: Abyss/Taylor Wilde vs. Raven/Daffney: Monster’s Ball
-Victory Road: Angelina Love vs. Tara: Knockouts Championship

They can’t be serious. Can they?

I honestly think that whichever brain trust put this list together didn’t even bother to watch most of the matches, and instead, put on a blindfold and picked a bunch of random matches out of a hat.

The mixed tag Monster’s Ball I’ll grant you, but no Angelina Love match belongs on this list. Angelina’s Knockouts title reign was, in general, pretty lackluster for the sole reason that she did NOT deliver in the ring. Go back and reread the Month in Review columns because I went over this in detail -- Angelina cut some great promos, but not a single match she put on while she had the belt was worth talking about because she had no chemistry with her series of opponents (Kong, Tara, ODB) and the writers never bothered to put her in feuds with women that she could have strong matches with.

As much as I liked Angelina, there were plenty of Knockout matches in the last year that were far better than anything she produced.

So, in an effort to quell my frustration with this ridiculous list of contenders, I’m going to show you the Best Knockout Matches of 2009 list that SHOULD have been:

-Slammiversary: Abyss/Taylor Wilde vs. Raven/Daffney: Monster’s Ball



-iMPACT: Sarita vs. Alissa Flash


-iMPACT: Daffney vs. Hamada


-Turning Point: Tara vs. Awesome Kong: 6 Sides of Steel


-iMPACT: Hamada vs. Taylor Wilde


-iMPACT: Hamada vs. Sarita


IMO, these were the best Knockout matches of 2009. Unsurprisingly, they all involved women that I’ve said TNA should be building the division around.

But I’m actually being a bit generous here. In the interest of avoiding the same thing I just criticized TNA for, let’s narrow down the list a bit further.

Hamada vs. Sarita -- these are the two best workers the Knockout roster has to offer. By all rights, this should have and WOULD have been the match of the year if the bookers had given them more than 3 minutes and change. This was a fantastic contest and had it been 10 minutes or longer I’m confident that it would have been every bit as good, if not better than Gail Kim vs. Awesome Kong from Final Resolution 2007. But as great as the match was, the bottom line is it simply wasn’t long enough to be match of the year.

Hamada vs. Taylor Wilde -- same deal. The women delivered a great match for the short amount of time they were given, but they just weren’t given nearly enough.

Abyss/Taylor Wilde vs. Raven/Daffney: Monster’s Ball -- some people may try to call me out on this one. I don’t care. I’ve always thought this match was overhyped. It was a good match, Taylor and Daffney worked their asses off and, IMO, the most memorable spots definitely came from them. But in the end, that’s all it was -- a collection of big spots rather than a wrestling match. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but when I think about the best wrestling matches of the year, table spots and thumbtack bumps aren’t the first place my mind goes to. I do appreciate the effort both women put in and I would certainly call this one of the most memorable Knockout matches of the year, just not necessarily one of the best.

That leaves us with three candidates:

Sarita vs. Alissa Flash -- several weeks of video packages heralding the arrival of Sarita led to her living up to the hype as she and the repackaged Melissa Anderson had the best Knockout match of the year up to the point. Though it wasn’t the longest match ever, it was longer than most iMPACT matches these days and long enough to make it eligible

Daffney vs. Hamada -- unlike Sarita, Hamada had the misfortune of debuting with zero hype. But that didn’t stop her from easily getting the crowd into her match and it didn’t stop her and Daffney from blowing the roof off the iMPACT Zone either, and luckily they were actually given the time to do it.

Tara vs. Awesome Kong: 6 Sides of Steel -- I’m including this match for three reasons. 1) It had months and months of build up, more than any other Knockout match in the history of the division. 2) It was a cage match, a rarity for the Knockouts. 3) It had a great finish. There were a few problems, however. It was too damn short, for one. It was actually longer than the other two matches in the top three, but those matches had little to no hype, whereas this was most heavily hyped Knockout match in TNA history.

After all the build up this match had, roughly 8 minutes was not nearly enough time, especially since it was in the 6 Sides of Steel. The writers apparently forgot that one of the reasons why Kong’s matches with Gail Kim were so highly regarded is that most of them were given well over 10 minutes so the women had the time they needed to tell a great story. A few more minutes would have helped this match enormously as it was just starting to get really good when they had to go to the finish. Granted, it was a really cool finish with Tara diving off the top of the cage, but it just came too soon. Tara & Kong hadn’t built up enough anticipation before they went for the payoff at the end. A few more high impact moves and a few more near falls would’ve made a world of difference.

This needed to be a tremendous match to live up to all the hype. Instead, it was a pretty good match elevated by a great finish. Not bad by any means, and Tara & Kong delivered what they could, but they were screwed over by the bookers in the amount of time they had to work, which made the match somewhat anticlimactic considering all the hype surrounding it.

For these reasons, I feel the Tara vs. Awesome Kong 6 Sides of Steel match is not the best Knockout match of the year. I think it COULD have been, but again, the time issue is an important factor. If wrestling matches were always given the correct amount of time then the final two on this list would probably be Tara vs. Kong and Sarita vs. Hamada. Unfortunately, that is not the case. This is TNA and properly timing matches is a constant and very frustrating problem in this company.

Having said all that, by now we have narrowed to field down to two. It’s a photo finish, and frankly, I could go either way on this one, but since I have to choose one, I will.

Feel free to disagree with me on this, but I am naming Sarita vs. Alissa Flash the best Knockout match of 2009. I think Hamada vs. Daffney was equally good, but ultimately it felt random and thrown together because of Hamada debuting with no hype or advance notice.

By comparison, Sarita was given several weeks of hype videos to build anticipation for her arrival, so when she finally debuted and faced Alissa Flash in a great match it meant more than Hamada just showing up from out of nowhere to wrestle Daffney, even though the match they put on was just as good.

So even though this is only the opinion of one internet writer and not official in any way, I’d just like to say congratulations to Sarita & Alissa. And here’s hoping TNA management will actually let you work a match that lasts for over 10 minutes in the new year.