Have you ever wondered why so many people say Vince Russo needs a filter? Keep reading and find out...
COOKIE SUSPENDED ABOVE THE RING IN A CAGE
Jay Lethal vs. Robbie E (c)
Take a good look at that stipulation. Once upon a time, it was Styles vs. Daniels vs. Joe and now it's Jay Lethal vs. a Jersey Shore parody character in a Cookie-in-a-cage-suspended-above-the-ring match. This is why I refuse to believe any and all reports that TNA plan to improve the X-division. It's not going to happen because even if they do beef up the roster with new talent, we're still going to have to endure garbage booking like this.
Let me be perfectly clear -- I don't like Robbie E. I think his gimmick is cartoonish, over the top and stupid as hell. This character belongs in WWE, tag teaming with Zack Ryder, not in a company that Hulk Hogan keeps insisting is "all about being real, brother." I might be willing to put up with the awful gimmick if he delivered in the ring, but he hasn't. Granted he really hasn't seen much ring time yet, but when he has wrestled, I haven't been impressed with his work at all. He seems very green to me and has been outperformed by every opponent he's faced so far, including on one occasion, Velvet freaking Sky.
The ONLY reason management put the X-division title on this guy in the first place was to make him more visible for their publicity stunt with Jwoww, which seemed to amount to nothing more than a few cheap plugs on TMZ. And if the purpose of said publicity stunt was to get ratings, then it's been an abysmal failure as the Shore have been a pretty consistent ratings-killer since they debuted.
Then there's Jay Lethal a.k.a. the worst X-division champion of all time. I've explained why this is in my videos many times, but the short version is that every single time Lethal has won the X-division title he has fallen prey to booking so awful, you would think the writers were aggressively trying to kill his career. The man just had 2 title reigns and if you put them together they lasted less than 2 months between them. I may hate Robbie as the X-division champion, but I hate these constant title changes just as much and Lethal just seems cursed to NEVER have good runs with that championship, so I don't want him to win it back either. If TNA absolutely must continue this feud, for God's sake, let it be without the title.
Luckily, I think that could be a real possibility. Last week on ReAction, Fortune began talking about how they were planning to acquire a lot of gold very soon and the X title was implied to be in Kazarian's near future. So I'm going to hazard a guess that whoever leaves Final Resolution with that belt won't have it very long. Thank God.
As for the feud itself, it's pretty straight forward, albeit awfully silly as you can see from the stip for this match. Lethal knows he can beat Robbie, but Cookie has been the difference-maker until now and he keeps looking for a way to neutralize her. He tried Taylor Wilde and Velvet Sky, but has met with no success so far. I hope this is going to lead to the introduction of one of the new prospective Knockouts that had tryouts recently and not to Lethal partnering with Christy Hemme; who retired from in-ring competition for the sake of her health. But until that person shows up (if that's where they plan on going with this), I suppose it makes sense to continue putting the heel over. So I guess Robbie ought to win when Cookie slips him a weapon through the cage or something.
Who should win: Robbie E (ugh...). But I hope to God that Kazarian wins that belt from him as soon as possible.
Abyss vs. D’Angelo Dinero
I'm still not sure why this is a casket match and I'm even less sure why these men are feuding. They don't match up particularly well together; we've seen that. Any matches they produce won't be all that great. The casket stipulation doesn't fit either of their characters. I'm honestly finding it really hard to get interested in this one. I don't see much milage in a Pope/Abyss feud and I really hope they kill it after this PPV.
Much like Van Dam's match with Rhino, this match really feels like it only exists to occupy both men until more fitting opponents for both of them become available. Pope deserves a more compelling hurdle blocking his path to getting his hands on Bischoff and Abyss needs a guy with more physicality that he can produce a good match with.
With Final Resolution being the last PPV of the year, I think it's time to end this program and start 2011 on a better foot with feuds more interesting than this one.
Who should win: Pope
FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE MATCH
Tara vs. Mickie James
Now here is a good example of using one feud to purposefully delay another feud without having it feel completely transparent. Madison Rayne has the title, Mickie James wants the title, but she has to go through Rayne's lackey, Tara, to get a shot at it -- Tara, who she has unsettled issues with that don't involve the title. Those issues may have been manufactured by the writers, but we know there's a history between these women and that helps a lot.
These ladies had a really fun brawl last month and I'm happy to see them go another round here, hopefully with a winner and a loser this time. As I said previously, when Mickie gets her title shot it should happen at a big PPV to make it feel important. Genesis is in January, so feuding with Tara in the meantime gives Mickie something to do as well as build anticipation for her showdown with Madison.
My only concern is that the build up is probably going to be better than the payoff. Mickie has had some great encounters with Tara and I expect this one will be no different, but I really doubt her eventual match with Madison will be up to the same standard. That's not a criticism of Mickie, but more about TNA management apparently seeing some kind of 'IT' factor in Madison Rayne that I just don't think she has.
Regardless of that, the build up has been fun to watch, but it's time for Mickie to knock down that roadblock and set her sights on the champion.
Who should win: Mickie James
#1 CONTENDER’S MATCH
Beer Money vs. Ink Inc
It always bugs me when the writers book 9 matches on a PPV because with the way iMPACT is written/booked these days, PPVs are about the only time that we get to see good, long matches, and when they book 9 it usually means at least one of them is going to be too short. 8 matches is a good number for a PPV card; 9 is too many IMO.
Looking at this card, if I had to take one match off the show, it would be this one. It's good that Beer Money have a PPV spot, but everyone knows this match is just a formality. I've warmed up to Ink Inc somewhat lately and they seem to have caught on with the fans, but they're not ready for a shot at the tag titles, much less going toe-to-toe with the Machine Guns. Besides, it's Beer Money; there's no way these guys are going over Beer Money.
With Fortune's recent talk on ReAction of getting gold around all their waists, the writing is on the wall here. Immortal is the top heel group in the company and having them go after the tag team titles only raises the importance of the belts and the profile of the current champions. Plus, after their awesome feud this past summer, I'm itching to see Beer Money & the Guns go another round.
Who should win: Beer Money
1ST BLOOD MATCH
Rob Van Dam vs. Rhino
I don't care. I. Don't. Care. Does ANYONE care about this match? Good grief, what on earth is with this creative team's morbid fascination with EV2? First, they were just there for Hardcore Justice, then they were just there until Bound For Glory to feud with Fortune... and now they're only there to feud with each other? WHY?! Why are ANY of these people still getting TV time when any lingering fan interest there might have been in this faction died months ago?
Here's another question. When Bischoff & Hogan took over the company after BFG, one of the first things they did was crap on Dixie for hiring the EV2 guys in the first place. So why don't they just fire EV2 on the spot and be rid of them instead of dragging this out so long? I don't know. What I do know is that this storyline is just about the most pointless one on iMPACT right now. It just feels like a flimsy excuse to give Van Dam something to do that keeps him away from Jeff Hardy for a while because the writers didn't have anything substantive planned for him in the meantime.
It's 2010. We have officially passed the point where having veterans from a previous era feuding with each other is going to be interesting or do anything for business. Rhino & Van Dam feuded back in the day in ECW; is this rivalry going to be as good or meaningful as that one was? No. So why do it at all? Aside from providing a reason for Van Dam to stay out of the main events for another month because Matt Morgan is getting that spot right now, what is the point of doing this feud? Beats the hell out of me.
Who should win: Rob Van Dam
Jeff Jarrett vs. Samoa Joe
I know some of the other staff members at TNAsylum like the Jeff Jarret/MMA poseur angle. I don't. To me, it comes off as TNA wanting to cash in on the UFC's popularity, but having no idea how to do it right, much like the infamous AJ Styles/Frank Trigg worked MMA fight at No Surrender a few years back. Here's a hint, TNA: you don't do it by having Jarret make a mockery the sport. You do it by treating MMA with the same reverence the fans have for it.
Aside from the writers' misguided attempts to attract MMA fans, it's Jeff Jarret. He has some uses as a character, but I just don't see any reason why he should be pushed as a wrestler anymore. I said in last month's preview blog that this guy is not a draw, never has been, never will be. Feel free to disagree with that if you want, but Jarret pushed himself as TNA's main attraction for years when iMPACT was doing 0.8 ratings every week. There's a reason why Jarret was a midcarder in WWE -- because they knew he didn't have what it takes to be a top star. Apparently, Jarret has wanted to prove them wrong ever since and it hasn't been a very enjoyable experience watching him try.
Samoa Joe is wasting his time in this feud. Joe is a top star, or at least he should be. He should be feuding with a top star and that's not Jarret. Joe eclipsed Jarret a long time ago; feuding with him does nothing but drag Joe down because realistically, Joe should plow right through this guy.
To be fair, at least the writers have made an attempt to create a real feud between these men rather than something to keep them occupied for a few months like with several of the other matches on this PPV. But that doesn't change anything. Joe should be in the top mix, not floundering in the midcard in a transparent attempt by the writers to keep Jarret relevant.
Who should win: Samoa Joe. Best case scenario -- Kurt Angle stops Gunner & Murphy from interfering and Joe locks Jarret in the rear naked choke until he's coughing up blood and has to be stretchered out.
Douglas Williams vs. AJ Styles (c)
Here's the sleeper of the night, to be sure. This could be outstanding if the writers resist the urge to add tons of overbooking and outside interference. However, I can't help but feel that it would probably be better if AJ were the face and Williams the heel. Call me crazy, but I don't see the fans taking to Doug as a face. His wrestling style seems to fall more on the heel side of the fence and I'm not sure if he has the charisma to get people to rally behind him the way Desmond Wolfe would in his place.
With AJ as the high flying babyface and Williams as the heel mat technician trying to ground him they could have something pretty great here, but that's not what they're going for. I still expect a great match from these 2, but don't be surprised if AJ ends up getting more face pops than his opponent.
Who should win: AJ Styles. I'm not ruling out a TV title reign in Williams' future, but let's see if he can get over as a babyface before we put a belt on him, shall we?
TAG TEAM TITLES:
FULL METAL MAYHEM
Generation Me vs. Motor City Machine Guns (c)
Keep your eyeballs glued to the screen, people, because this is the real main event of Final Resolution as far as I'm concerned. Too bad it will almost surely go on at 8:00 pm.
Since Victory Road, the MCMG have been the recipients of something extraordinarily rare in TNA these days: a well booked title reign. Off the top of my head, I can't recall a recent title run in ANY division that has been this consistently good all the way through. Sabin & Shelley deserve to be commended for not only delivering so many tremendous matches and restoring prestige to the tag team championships after the writers took a huge, steaming crap all over the belts by giving them to Hall & Nash, but also for being one half of 2 of the best feuds of the year in this company. Their best of 5 series with Beer Money was off the charts awesome and the GenMe feud has been a worthy follow up.
Before this program started, Max & Jeremy's biggest problem was that their lack of personality gave the fans nothing to get invested in. Their heel turn helped with this a lot and has made their rivalry with the Guns about more than it was 11 months ago when they debuted as blank slate babyfaces.
Having said that, I think GenMe still have some work to do. They've definitely made progress, but I think they still need a good manager and some decent ring gear to continue their character evolution. This feud has been great, but it hasn't necessarily made me feel like Max & Jeremy are capable of taking the belts from the Machine Guns just yet. Rather than the titles being at stake, to me this feud has been more about establishing Sabin & Shelley as dominant champions and the Bucks as a team that can take them to the limit, if not beat them in a fair contest.
They say the best feuds are the ones where everyone gets put over and that's what's happened here. GenMe may not walk away from this with the titles, but they've been put on the map and that's a better position than the one they were in when this feud started.
And yes, I do think the Guns should and will win this match. The time for them to lose the belts is not now. They've been outstanding champions and have been elevated by this title reign. They shouldn't be taken down by an up-and-coming team that hasn't reached their level yet; not when Beer Money is waiting in the wings for another shot at them.
Who should win: MCMG
SPECIAL REFEREE: KEN ANDERSON
Matt Morgan vs. Jeff Hardy (c)
It's very refreshing to see management pushing a home-grown star against Hardy instead of a WWE guy (yes, I know Morgan was in WWE first, but TNA is where he broke out). Yeah, Morgan only got this spot because a botched chair shot left Anderson concussed, but it's still nice to see and Morgan has deserved an opportunity like this for a long time.
However, Morgan & Hardy's outing at Turning Point didn't leave me anxious for a rematch. I'm sure both men are motivated to put on a better match this time, but I'd be more interested in this if I thought there was a chance in hell that Hardy might lose. But I don't because there isn't. TNA just gave him his own freaking title belt -- unless the replica belts fail to sell, he's not losing that thing until Lockdown at the earliest.
As with last month, barring an injury to Hardy, a title change is pretty much out of the question. The most we can hope for is a good main event match to give the viewers who decided to pay for this show their money's worth. I hope you will all join me in hoping that Anderson's involvement means a match free of outside interference rather than some stupid Russo-swerve.
Who should win: Jeff Hardy
"I don't wanna grow up. I'm a Gimmicks 'R Us kid. There's a million gimmicks at Gimmicks 'R Us that I can play with. Street fight, first blood, midget on a pole at the biggest gimmick store there is. I don't wanna grow up because if I did, I couldn't be a Gimmicks 'R Us kid."
That's what I imagine Vince Russo was singing to himself as he laid this card out. This is a classic example of what happens when Russo is given too much creative freedom. Can't anyone in TNA put a stop to this guy? This is really getting out of hand. How are any of these gimmick matches supposed to feel special when there's so damn many of them? One or 2 gimmick matches is reasonable, but 6? SIX? This isn't pro wrestling, it's a freaking circus! I expect there will be some great matches here, but for God's sake, enough already with the gimmicks!
And this means that, once again, I will be watching TNA's monthly PPV outing online for free. I've said many times that I'm more than happy to shell out money to order these shows if the build up is good and I think the card will deliver -- if I think they earned my money, basically. They didn't earn it this month. When you have this many gimmick matches on one show, it's pretty much encouragement for me NOT to order it because I think you're not taking it seriously.
So essentially, nothing at all has changed. Thanks a lot, Dixie...