Okay, I'm back with the PPV Preview blog after I took the month off for Hardcore Justice. And after seeing that PPV, I think I definitely made the right call in choosing not to waste my time and energy writing about it. No Surrender, while not perfect on paper by any stretch, does look more promising than that half-baked ECW nostalgia trip.
So let's do this...
Velvet Sky vs. Madison Rayne
Dear God... it just goes on and on and on. TBP getting pushed to the moon at the expense of every other woman on the roster was painful enough, but now the writers have split them into 2 factions so they can feud with each other, completely eliminating the need to feature any of the other girls at all. Meanwhile, the current Knockout tag team champs, Taylor Wilde & Hamada, haven't been seen or even mentioned on TV since they won the titles weeks ago.
I really fail to see why the writers dragged out the "mystery" of the biker chick's identity for forever and a day when there was never any reason to conceal it in the first place and anyone with 2 brain cells to rub together knew it was Tara 5 minutes after she showed up. Couple that with the fact that they're still pushing Madison Rayne as the top heel despite the fact that her title reign tanked, and then throw in this never-ending reunion angle with Angelina & Velvet, and you have the most redundant, boring and, quite frankly, pointless storyline in TNA right now.
I have no clue why the writers are STILL devoting so much time to these women. Sure, they get ratings, but how long do you think that's going to last if you overexpose their characters until they're so stale that people get sick of them?
And let's face facts; we all know this match is going to be lousy, just like we all know that the inevitable tag match between all four of them is going to be lousy. If you put Angelina, Velvet and Madison in the same match, the result is not going to be very good, and throwing Tara in there isn't going to change that. Tara & Angelina never had good matches together, Angelina & Madison never had good matches together, and there's still Velvet to worry about too. I suppose we should be thankful that at least Lacey isn't involved anymore, but frankly, I'm still too pissed off that Lacey hasn't been fired yet for that to matter much.
Who should win: I honestly don't care. It's 'same old shit, different day' with TBP stuff. No matter who wins, it's not going to change anything. TBP and Tara will still be on top while every other Knockout in the company sits on the bench collecting dust, only appearing on TV when Angelina, Tara, Velvet, Madison, or Lacey need someone to job for them, and the division will continue to grow more stale and uninteresting every week, if such a thing is even possible at this point.
If I have to pick someone, I'll go with Madison. Sure, I've been bitching about her for months, but she's still a better worker than Velvet who, by now, has really done everything she's ever going to do in this company, wrestling-wise. Besides, Bound For Glory is next month, so it makes no sense to have the babyface get her payback at No Surrender.
FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE
Abyss vs. Rhino
So Abyss goes from taking out the world champion to feuding with a guy who's been off TV for 8 months? No offense to the War Machine, but there's no way that's anything but a huge step down for Abyss, who really should have gone after the world title after he put Van Dam on the shelf. He had so much momentum just a few weeks ago, and now he's... fighting Stevie Richards and Rhino. Just one of numerous examples (some of which you'll read about in this blog) of how this EV2.0 angle probably isn't even worth doing. I'm sure this will be a fun brawl, but I can't help scratching my head and wondering why Abyss has suddenly been scaled back so much.
Who should win: Abyss
Sting & Kevin Nash vs. Jeff Jarret & Samoa Joe
Poor Joe... What did he do in that production truck that was so bad that he had to get stuck in this interminable angle with Sting and Nash? I don't know, but needless to say, this is the last place Joe should be. He belongs in a top feud with a top star, not wasting his time with the old men.
I suppose there's a silver lining here, though. Now that there's a young guy involved, at least I care about seeing one side of this feud get over on the other instead of not really giving a crap either way. That's something... I guess.
Who should win: One team has Samoa Joe on it. The other team has two broken veterans in their late 40s with not a single good knee between them. So... yeah, Joe and that other guy need win this.
Sabu vs. Douglas Williams (c)
One of the nice things about faction warfare is that you don't always need a reason or a storyline for 2 guys to fight. Sometimes "they're in opposing factions" is all the justification you need. And in this case, the match up is actually interesting. Unlike some of his EV2.0 buddies, Sabu can still go in the ring. We know Williams can wrestle, and with his gimmick of hating high flying wrestling and Sabu's knack for taking crazy risks, they've got an interesting dynamic here.
This could actually be the sleeper of the night. I'm irritated that Williams' teased feud with Jay Lethal seems to be off (damn, they killed that feud faster than Jay Lethal's push), but I'm excited to see what these guys can do together.
Who should win: Williams
TV TITLE: I QUIT MATCH
Tommy Dreamer vs. AJ Styles (c)
WHY?! Do the writers seriously think anyone is going to want to pay money to see this? These 2 already wrestled on iMPACT a few weeks ago and we all saw the results. It wasn't the worst match ever or anything, but by AJ Styles standards it was well below average. There was no hiding the fact that AJ had to slow down to accommodate Tommy, and that doesn't make for an exciting contest. I respect Tommy a lot, but AJ needs to be in there with someone who can keep up with him. God love him, but Tommy just isn't that guy.
I predict this match will have some drama and tell a good story, but I doubt it will have a clean finish, and as a wrestling match, it won't be anything you'll be talking about on Monday.
Who should win: AJ Styles (duh!)
TAG TEAM TITLES
London Brawling vs. Motor City Machine Guns (c)
Call me crazy, but I'm really liking Desmond Wolfe & Magnus as a team. Yes, Wolfe should be getting a singles push -- but guess what, that's not happening right now. This is a way for Wolfe to be featured and utilized in a meaningful way again. It's also a good way to get Magnus back in the mix, and I've been on the Magnus bandwagon since day one. Sure, he's really green still, but if you've seen him on Xplosion lately, he's improved a lot, and he'll only get better teaming with Wolfe. Best of all, if you've seen their promos together or that video package of them and Chelsea at the mall, you've seen that they can be damn entertaining in addition to working well together in the ring.
That doesn't mean they should win this match however. They only recently joined forces on Xplosion and haven't even had their first iMPACT match yet. This team is a solid investment, but the writers haven't built them up enough, so it's a little too soon for them to be getting this shot IMO.
On the other side of the equation, you have Sabin & Shelley, who right now are the hottest they've been since they became a team 4 years ago. They finally captured the tag titles, blew the roof off the iMPACT Zone in their best-of-5 series with Beer Money, the last of which was TNA's match of the year, hands down, and they just had another outstanding match with Generation Me on iMPACT last week. At the risk of sounding cheesy, the Guns are blazing right now. With Beer Money feuding with EV2.0 and Team 3D's contracts expired, Sabin & Shelley are the leaders of the tag team division, which is exactly why it's one of the most exciting things about this company at the moment.
London Brawling can certainly be tag team champions in the future, but not yet. The Machine Guns have a ton of momentum and have never been more over. To end their title reign anytime soon would be idiotic.
Who should win: MCMG
WORLD TITLE TOURNY
Ken Anderson vs. Pope D'Angelo Dinero
We all know Kurt Angle isn't losing his match with Jeff Hardy, so this really boils down to which one of these guys would make a better opponent and more compelling feud for Angle at Bound For Glory in October. There shouldn't be much debate on this one. I love the Pope, but Anderson had a great feud with Angle earlier this year that climaxed in a match of the year candidate at Lockdown.
The problem is that Anderson has turned face since then, and he's so over as a face that it would be really hard to turn him right now. In fact, the writers have been teasing a Pope heel turn these last 2 weeks instead, so hell if I know what their plan is.
To be honest, the creative team really wrote themselves into a bad position, doing this tournament so late in the game instead of just staying the course with the Angle-works-his-way-through-the-top-10 storyline. No matter how they book this, it's not going to mean as much as that would have, so they're just going to have to do the best they can with the cards they've dealt here.
IMO, Anderson in the best choice. Though, how they can build up Angle/Anderson so it's worthy of the BFG main event in just one month is anyone's guess.
Who should win: Mr. Anderson... Anderson
WORLD TITLE TOURNY
Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Hardy
They basically spoiled this when they had Angle say that he would retire if he lost a match. Now everyone just assumes he's going to win every time. The writers haven't even bothered to milk the tease that he might lose for the sake of dramatic tension, but it would still be kind of obvious even if they did. Though, he did actually get pinned on the go-home show, so maybe we're just forgetting about that now.
Angle going over here is a foregone conclusion. And all due respect to him, but the Charismatic Enigma has gotten a little chunky and his work lately has been uninspired. This one is academic -- that doesn't mean it won't be a great, entertaining match though. If Kurt Angle can't bring Hardy's A-game out of him, no one can.
Who should win: Kurt Angle
FINAL THOUGHTS: I predict this PPV will be better than Hardcore Justice. Will it be good enough to entice people to order it on Labor Day weekend? Probably not. There are some genuinely intriguing matches here, but the possibility of certain people going over in said matches when they have no business doing so definitely concerns me. I like to think TNA management have learned from their past mistakes in that regard, but this company doesn't have a good track record of doing that, so it's anyone's guess how this will turn out.
As always, I'll be watching with a critical eye. And if TNA doesn't do the right thing here, I assure you, they will be promptly eviscerated via a youtube video that they'll probably never see or care about. Oh yes, my vengeance will be as swift as it is terrifying. Muahahahaha!
Until next month, peeps...