September 09, 2009

the Month in Review 7/23/09-Hard Justice

the Month in Review
7/23/09-Hard Justice

by FK9

7/23/09 iMPACT

-you know what the great thing about hitting rock bottom is? There’s nowhere to go but up. And thanks to Sharmell & Jenna Morasca the knockout division definitely hit rock bottom at Victory Road. Call me crazy, but I’m feeling strangely optimistic about what happens next. Part of that is because, after the way the Sharmell/Morasca segment was panned mercilessly by fans and critics alike, not to mention how the live crowd pissed all over it at the PPV, there is absolutely no way on earth that TNA management would even consider doing something like that again. On iMPACT this week the Sharmell/Morasca debacle wasn’t even mentioned. Believe me, TNA knows they screwed up big time with that thing. It’s all uphill from here, folks.

-for the record, I will not be covering anything to do with Sharmell & Morasca in the future unless (God help us all) they get back in the ring or have interaction with those who do. They are not official members of the knockout division. The knockouts are the ones who wrestle and Sharmell & Morasca are not wrestlers. End of story.

-nice to see Traci back; she’s been gone a long time. She mentions something big coming up in Hollywood. I wonder if she could be the knockout that will be posing for Playboy in the near future. I, like many people, was hoping for Taylor Wilde, but we play the hand we’re dealt.

-okay, at least they had Tara address the issue of why a babyface would want to compete for a spot in the MEM. She wants to be the best and apparently she’s willing to sell her soul to the biggest heel faction in the company to do it. It probably wasn’t the intended purpose, but I think a little bit less of Tara’s character after this promo. For what it’s worth, she did at least mention giving the $50,000 to charity.

-why was Frontline member, ODB, trying to win a spot in the MEM? I’m just saying. For that matter, is every female babyface in the company willing to sell out all of a sudden? Are there no admirable characters left on this entire roster? What would’ve been really cool is if all the babyfaces just got out of the ring and walked away after the bell rang.

-speaking of ODB, I can’t even remember the last time she had a match on iMPACT. You might as well call this her return as well as Traci’s.

-I believe this was the 1st time Awesome Kong has ever come out through the face shoot. That could be significant.

-I don’t like the timing of this. It’s one week after Sarita & Alissa blew the roof off the place in their debut and they’re already being lumped together with all the other girls in a battle royal match. Not a good way to showcase your new talents IMO.

-nice attention to continuity with Taylor/Daffney trying to eliminate each other right off the bat, as well as Sarita/Alissa.

-Daffney is the first to be eliminated. She doesn’t even outlast Bolt? Are you kidding me? Daffney is so talented. Do the TNA writers have any idea how over she would be with the right push? Sigh…

-and to add insult to injury, Alissa is eliminated during the commercial break. WTF?! Was this match booked by a committee of paint sniffing chimps? She should’ve been in the final 4 at least! The replay shows that she was eliminated by Sarita -- further evidence that they’re building a feud between those 2? Damn, I hope so.

-on the plus side, Sarita lasted until the final 3 and got to shine with a few flashy moves once the other women were eliminated. Thank God for small favors.

-looks like the Madison Rayne/Slick Johnson thing is going to continue unfortunately. For the record, I still don’t like the crooked referee angle at all. Here’s hoping it doesn’t last long.

-not a huge crowd reaction for the Kong/Tara exchange. It didn’t look particularly good either. That doesn’t bode well for their likely match at Bound for Glory.

-cool swerve at the end. Traci declaring herself the winner makes sense even though Alissa really should’ve won IMO. If Traci is still Knockout Law and still has booking power over all the women then I guess the MEM would want her in their group. Lord knows how she’ll fit in with the Sharmell/Morasca crapfest though. At least there’s the possibility that Traci might book Sharmell in a match against Awesome Kong at some point. It would definitely put a smile on my face to see Sharmell get obliterated by Kong since they didn’t give that to us at Victory Road.

-having said that, I hope this doesn’t mean that Traci will be winning the knockouts title in the future. I’ve always liked Traci. I met her in person last year and she couldn’t be a nicer lady. So believe me, I don’t like saying this, but the ship has sailed with Traci Brooks as a wrestler. I’m a firm believer that in the wrestling business you need to move forward, not backward. Pushing Traci as a wrestler is not moving forward, it’s going back to what’s tired and familiar. The Knockout Law role for her is great; I just don’t care to see her in the ring anymore.

-plus, last I heard, Traci wasn’t able to have strong matches for medical reasons, so putting the title on her would be a mistake on that basis alone. Of course, every wrestling fan on earth knows that Kevin Nash & Scott Steiner aren’t able to have strong matches due to age and countless injures and that hasn’t stopped the writers from giving them titles, completely burying more deserving and more marketable young talent in the process. I’m suddenly feeling a little concerned…

-for the record, Kevin Nash came off like a dirty old man on commentary during the match and then looked down Traci’s shirt the first chance he got. I wonder how Nash’s real life wife and on-screen girlfriend, Jenna, feel about that.

-My Pi Sexy can always be counted on to deliver an entertaining interview. Interesting, that Madison Rayne gets defensive when Slick Johnson is brought up.

-I fail to see what Cody Deaner getting punked out by 3 women is going to do for him other than make him look like a total doofus. It certainly isn’t going to help him get over. At least it sets up the 6 woman tag for next week.

7/30/09 iMPACT

-the knockout battle royal match was the highest rated segment of the show last week. For the record, the lowest rated segment of the show was the ludicrous Keys to Mick Foley’s Office on a Pole match, thus proving the existence of God.

-good interview. I’m not thrilled with this push, but at least they came up with a plausible excuse for Traci’s heel turn.

-Taylor’s part here was fine for setting up their tag team match next week, and with Taylor, Sarita and Alissa in the same ring at the same time, that match could be off the charts.

-what is Tara wearing? That is not the attire of a babyface; all the bling is really excessive. And good lord, woman, you don’t need THAT much makeup. Ever hear of less is more?

-not a great interview. It felt rushed and Don West’s heelishness needed to be toned down. Again they teased Tara vs. Kong at Bound for Glory. I wish they weren’t so dead set on doing that match. Shouldn’t they face off at a few house shows first to see how they match up with each other? Nothing against Tara, but she hasn’t been particularly impressive yet and BFG is TNA’s most important show of the year.

-not a good match. There was just way too much going on here. You had the actual match, the tension between Tara & Kong suddenly boiling over from out of nowhere when it really hadn’t been teased that much yet, the hostility between ODB/Deaner & TBP from last week and the Motor City Machine Guns in the crowd. The writers were trying to do 4 things simultaneously and as a result NONE of it worked (none of the knockouts’ stuff anyway) because there was just way too much going on all at once. Terrible segment.

-we’ve seen on multiple occasions that the Beautiful People just don’t mesh well with any of these women. Madison Rayne & Tara work together fairly well, but that’s about it. Is it really so hard to match up the women who actually have in-ring chemistry and keep the ones who don’t away from each other? The writers aren’t doing the knockouts any favors when they book matches like this.

-strange that ODB got the pin here, especially when it was basically 3 on 1. I wonder if they’re setting her up as Angelina’s next challenger at Hard Justice in order to keep Tara away from the title for the time being to build anticipation for her eventually winning it back. If that is the case then I wish the writers would pick someone other than ODB. She can be an entertaining character in small doses, but ODB vs. Angelina is not a strong match at all, and frankly, it’s not interesting at this point either. If that’s the match they go with it’s just going to feel like the writers are killing time for a month instead of trying to put together a match that’s actually intriguing.

-probably the biggest brain fart here was putting Sabin & Shelley in the crowd during the match. The audience was more interested in the Machine Guns than what was going on in the ring and weren’t paying attention when Tara & Kong started going at it. Why on earth the writers would book that when the fans would obviously be distracted by a tag team that has nothing to do with the knockouts I have absolutely no idea. What a train wreck.

-on the plus side, the Machine Guns were extremely over in the crowd. As a huge MCMG fan, I’m certainly not going to crap on them for that. This was just the wrong segment to put them there. It should not have been done when there was a match going on.

8/06/09 Webmatch

-judging by those crowd chants before the match, I’d say Deaner is officially over now. Strange that his character is catching on and yet he still can’t win a match, even against Dr. Stevie who doesn’t seem to be over at all.

-it’s weird to see ODB still in the webmatch segments when she’s back in the title picture, if only for a month or so. That’s pretty telling if you ask me. I don’t think anyone really expects her to go over at Hard Justice.

-outside of that battle royal this was the first time we’ve seen Daffney in several weeks and she did basically nothing. So much for her push. Man, that’s disappointing. Daffney is over; Dr. Stevie is not. There’s more money in Daffney at this point and yet Dr. Stevie is the one who gets used. What a waste of a talented lady.

-is it weird that I find Daffney ridiculously hot?


8/06/09 iMPACT

-news came out a few days ago since Jeff Jarret has taken his “leave of absence” that Dixie Carter has begun cleaning house on Double J’s backstage cronies, removing people who are close to him. If this is being done in an effort to take the show in a new direction then may I say thank you, Ms. Carter, thank you; the TNA product needs a creative overhaul in the worst way. This news is relevant to the KNOCKED OUT column because one of the people released was Savio Vega. Aside from having close ties with Jarret, Vega had been working as an agent for the knockout division. Seeing as how many of the knockout matches have been subpar in recent months, this is a good thing as far as I’m concerned as Vega was clearly not doing his job very well. I have no idea who they’ll replace him with, but I’m going to cross my fingers and hope that TNA management will do what they should’ve done a year ago – break down Scott D’Amore’s door and BEG him to come back and book the women’s matches again.

-for a few days I thought I was nuts because I kept getting a Carlos Santana vibe when Sarita came out. Now I’ve learned that her music is actually a remixed version of Santana’s ‘Smooth’. Have you sat down and really listened to this thing yet? I don’t care if it’s not totally original; this is some of the best music TNA has ever come up with for a wrestler. Sarita seriously lucked out with her entrance theme. What a great track.

-Jeremy Borash tweeted today that Ayako Hamada will debut after Hard Justice. Yay! I’ve been watching some of her matches online and that lady is INCREDIBLE. Check this out:

-Don West said early in the show that people looking forward to seeing Sarita & Alissa Flash back in the ring were going to get their wish later tonight. Oh yeah, they’re writing a feud for those 2. It’s great to know that TNA realize what an awesome potential rivalry they have with Sarita/Alissa.

-action like this takes me right back to that great first year of the knockout division. Damn good tag match. This was better than any WWE divas match this year. It’s a shame it couldn’t have gotten more than 5 minutes. Tenay & West were really singing the praises of Sarita & Alissa, as well they should. Both women are fantastic and Sarita especially is just a joy to watch. Her matches never fail to excite and this was no exception. I can’t even imagine how over that lady is going to get if they showcase her the right way (a big IF, I know).

-can we please see more of Taylor & Sarita tagging together? Please? What a team those 2 make.

-a group of fans in the front row were chanting “Future legend!” at the start of the match. Smart marks are awesome.

-I felt kind of bad for Traci after watching this match. She held her own and didn’t get embarrassed or anything, but that’s about it. She was clearly not in the same league as the other 3 girls and she’s going to look even more out of place when Hamada debuts in a few weeks.

-it looks like Traci is no longer Knockout Law. Too bad. There was a ton of storyline potential in that role if they had ever bothered to do anything with it. Seems like a real waste of a good idea.

-Mike Tenay said that the MEM most likely had plans for Traci to become the knockout champion. Again, I don’t like saying this, but apparently it needs to be said: Traci is just not championship material. As if that wasn’t obvious enough after we just saw her get outclassed by Sarita, Alissa & Taylor, just think of how obvious it will be when Hamada shows up. The writers are already having trouble making Angelina look like a credible champion, but if they put the belt on Traci just to make her more visible when her Playboy issue comes out when they have several of the best female competitors in the entire world on their roster, not only would it damage the credibility of the title, but it would make Traci look like the biggest paper champion in the business. Granted, Booker T & Scott Steiner (and probably Kevin Nash after Hard Justice) are huge paper champions, so she’d fit right in, but still, this is a bad idea. TNA, if you do this you’ll just be doing the exact same thing you’ve always criticized the WWE for. Please, think long and hard about what that would mean.

-I’m not sure what kind of look they’re going for with Alissa’s eye makeup, but I don’t think it works. It just looks really strange.

-they’re definitely playing it up that Alissa has an aura of mystery with no one really knowing anything about her. That would work perfectly if they eventually plan to reveal that she’s been Raisha Saeed this whole time and I hope they do. That’s a hot angle waiting to happen.

-yup. Angelina vs. ODB at Hard Justice for the title. I am Jack’s complete lack of interest. Nothing against either of them, but there is zero intrigue in that match at this point. There’s nothing new about it and we all know exactly what it’s going to deliver. I guarantee you that match won’t even come close to the knockout tag match that we just saw.

-I really don’t like that this match is happening. It’s unfortunate that Angelina’s title reign is falling victim to bad booking. Her & ODB don’t work very well together and they will prove that at Hard Justice. I’m sure ODB & Deaner will keep the live crowd entertained, but the match itself will be boring, most likely with tons of stuff happening outside the ring distracting from the in-ring action and almost surely have a finish involving hair spray in ODB’s face.

-Angelina says she’ll be bringing her BFF, Velvet, but Madison doesn’t get a mention. I wonder if we might get another tease in the Angelina/Velvet breakup angle at the PPV. That’s really the only thing that interests me about this match.

-bring on Hamada!

8/13/09 iMPACT

-news came out Tuesday morning that Scott D’Amore is coming back to TNA starting at Hard Justice and will return to his old position as lead agent for the knockouts. YES! There’s hope for this company yet! Eat it, Savio! The knockout division hasn’t been the same without that guy. IMO, the loss of D’Amore has been felt more than the loss of Gail Kim for the last year. Savio Vega was clearly half-assing it, but if there’s anyone that can bring the general quality of the women’s matches back up to where it used to be, it’s D’Amore. Thank you, Ms. Carter, for making this happen.

-the only potential downside of D’Amore returning is that he might push for TNA to sign Sirelda, which is something I think we can all live without.

-the knockout tag match scored the highest rated segment last week. It even beat that kick-ass riot in the middle of the show. Wow.

-according to the spoilers, Christy Hemme returns tonight in a match against Sojourner Bolt. A mediocre wrestler vs. another mediocre wrestler who’s coming back from a neck injury with 8 months of ring rust. Hmm… this is going to suck, isn’t it?

-last week we were treated to Sarita, Alissa and Taylor all in the same match and this week they force Hemme vs. Bolt on us. This must be what detox feels like.

-hey, look, they had a crappy, sloppy match. Golly, gee wiz, how could anyone have seen that coming? Oh, right. I did. And so did a lot of other people, I’m guessing; too bad none of those people work for TNA. Seriously, when Bolt is expected to be the one to carry a wrestling match, that’s a sign that what you’re about to see won’t be pretty.

-this match had nothing to do with Hard Justice and had absolutely no place on a go-home show. Instead of this, they really should’ve given the time to Homicide (you know, the X-division champion?) to hype his match with Samoa Joe this Sunday.

-inexplicably, the crowd was hot for Christy throughout the whole match. We’ll see how long that lasts. My guess is the bloom will come off the rose pretty quickly once the novelty of having Christy back wears off.

-Don West tried to hype up Bolt as a very physical and tough opponent. I don’t know who he was trying to fool, but he shouldn’t have bothered. I tried not to laugh as he said this and I just couldn’t do it. This match was a great reminder of why I never miss Bolt when she’s not on the show. She got back dropped and landed right on her head, then she tried to hoist up Christy after a cross body and she couldn’t do it. Ugh… As lousy as she was already, I think Bolt may actually be getting worse. Can someone please explain to me why this woman is still on the roster?

-all criticism aside, congratulations to Christy for returning from a pretty serious neck injury -- plenty of people never manage that. That said, I hope she’s not under any illusions about what’s going to happen now that she’s back. She was getting a title push against Awesome Kong when she got injured, but that was back when TNA was still stuck in the Gail Kim vacuum. Christy got a shot because management didn’t have any solid candidates that they felt they could plug into the top babyface role at the time (although they really missed to boat with Roxxi). Now they have several people. Tara, Sarita, Hamada – all 3 of those women were on TNA’s list of potential candidates as I understand it. When you’ve got talent like that, suddenly Christy Hemme doesn’t seem so great anymore, does she? No offense to her, but if Christy thinks her push is going to resume now, she can forget it. TNA didn’t even bother to announce her return in the iMPACT preview on the website. But hey, at least she’s still higher than Bolt on the totem pole, so she’s got that to be thankful for.

-Daffney said nothing, but she makes herself stand out with her facials even when she has no lines. Still, it’s a damn shame that the writers don’t seem to have anything else for her to do besides standing next to Stevie Richards.

-why is this Abyss/Dr. Stevie feud still not finished yet? This thing ran out of gas weeks ago. Victory Road was the perfect time to end it and yet, here it is, still going on.

-does anyone really care about Abyss vs. Jethro Holliday at Hard Justice? What on earth are they thinking, putting that on PPV? No one is going to give a rat’s ass about that match and all it will do is take time away from the matches that people actually care about. Frankly, I didn’t even know Holliday was still on the roster. Waste. Of. Time.

-according to Tara, Awesome Kong is who distracted her from the title hunt. They keep teasing this and I keep waiting for Tara to show me something to justify this push and make me think that she deserves that big match with Kong.

-I hate that revolting spider. It makes my skin crawl. I hate it so much.

-too damn many people at ringside. It’s very, very distracting.

-nice to see Madison incorporated into TBP’s entrance finally.

-the Deaner/Kong interaction was pointless. It might have made sense if Kong were feuding with ODB, but she’s not and it didn’t. All it did was take away from the match. It was a solid match despite this though.

-nice effort with the flying cross bodies from the top turnbuckle to the floor from ODB & Tara. The problem is it seemed to take them forever to set that spot up. Kong, Saeed and TBP were just waiting around on the floor for them to jump and it didn’t look good, especially after Sarita just ran up those ropes like a cat last week. Sarita makes that spot look effortless while Tara & ODB unfortunately do not.

-Kong is so huge that it’s easy to forget how spry & agile she really is. Then she has a match like this and reminds us.

-Tara wins with an iffy-looking roll-up on Kong. The more I see of these 2 interacting, the more I think the in-ring chemistry between them is just not there. But if anyone will know how to deal with that, it’s Scott D’Amore.


8/16/09 Hard Justice

-ODB calling it the “Knocked Up” title really makes me want to see her NOT win it. This character has become so stale and one-note. It’s been the same thing every single week from her since the day she walked into this company. Would it kill her to try something different for a change? She’s a one-dimensional cardboard cutout right now.

-what the hell? Did I miss something? When did this become a tag team match? For that matter, WHY is this a tag team match? What manner of horse crap is this? Are they seriously having the knockouts title contested in an intergender tag team match? Ugh… this has Vince Russo’s DNA all over it.

-let me get this straight… TNA have some of the best female competitors in the entire world on their roster (Kong, Sarita, Alissa, Hamada, etc) and THIS is what they put on PPV? These writers have lost their minds!

-this entire segment was asinine. The match was nothing but a bunch of misogynistic attempts at lowbrow comedy and the finish was literally the worst thing they could’ve possibly done. I don’t even know who the champion is now. Either ODB is the champion because her boyfriend pinned the champion’s partner, which would make ODB the biggest paper champion in the history of the knockout division, or Deaner is the champion because he pinned the champion’s partner and the women’s title is now held by a man, which shouldn’t even be allowed in the first place because it’s a freaking WOMEN’S title! It’s bad news all the way around and there’s no way out of this situation that’s going to make me happy.

-even if, by some ludicrous twist of booking logic, Deaner is now the knockout champion, how is he supposed to defend the title with SpikeTV’s no man-on-woman violence policy? He’d have to wait until No Surrender to defend it, which would mean we’d be stuck with this trash for an entire month at least.

-why on earth did Dixie Carter sign off on this? She’s stated many times that she’s very proud of the knockout division and then she allows this to happen which not only makes the championship that actually meant something until tonight look like a meaningless comedy prop but also makes the entire division look like a sideshow attraction. What’s next? Are they going to sign a midget wrestler, dress him up like a leprechaun and make him the X-division champion? I literally want to vomit right now.

-I officially hate Cody Deaner. And quite frankly, with the way I feel right now I wouldn’t complain if TNA let ODB’s contract expire in November and got rid of her. After tonight the knockout division needs to be sandblasted and everyone responsible for this farce has to go.

-this is exactly what happens when Vince Russo is given too much creative freedom and is left to his own devices. Without an editor who understands wrestling to weed out his bad ideas from his good ideas we get crap like this.

-poor Angelina. To have her title reign end like this was just a huge slap in the face. This is the 2nd biggest black mark in the short history of this women’s division. The only reason it isn't the biggest is because, as bad as it was, it didn't quite trump Sharmell vs. Morasca.

-here’s what needs to happen now. This Thursday on iMPACT, Mick Foley or Jim Cornette or someone representing company management needs to cut a promo saying that the TNA organization does not recognize the title change because it was, after all, a man pinning a woman, and therefore, Angelina Love is still the knockout champion. I’m not holding my breath on that one though. At this rate we’ll probably have to suffer through Cody Deaner defending the title against ODB at Bound for Glory in a 4 corners pole match where the title belt hangs from one pole and man-eating alligators hang from the other 3 or some garbage like that.

-Sharmell vs. Morasca at Victory Road and now this. Thank you, TNA, for making me embarrassed to be a wrestling fan 2 months in a row. I can only imagine what you have in store for us at No Surrender. My only consolation is that I have Sara Del Rey vs. Nikki Roxx to look forward to thanks to Ring of Honor on HDnet.

-Traci just helped a 50-year-old Kevin Nash of all people win yet another championship he doesn’t deserve, which means we’re now going to be subjected to a Nash match at No Surrender and probably Bound for Glory. Why don’t you just shoot me in the head? At least that would end my suffering quickly.

-the only saving grace here is that no talented young guys were squashed by Nash in this match.

-welcome back, Coach D’Amore. You’ve got your work cut out for you.

Peace. Out.

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