So, I've been kinda out of the loop with TNA for a while, largely because of scheduling changes. It used to be shown at 3.30pm on a Tuesday afternoon - yeah, I know, utterly random time for wrestling, but they show RAW at the same time od Wednesday, ECW's on Thursday and SmackDown's on Friday.
That last one's a ripper, because it means we see it a good twelve to fifteen hours before anyone else! Have had to bite my tongue on spoilers lots!
But anyway, as well as the Tuesday afternoon showing (which I had set up to record automatically), there's a Saturday night repeat. So for some reason, they've dumped the Tuesday afternoon showing (and didn't tell us, so it took me a few weeks to realise I wasn't getting the show taped). And then this backward state I live in doesn't have daylight saving - long story short on that one is that instead of being able to catch the last hour of the shows on two hour delay, I've got to watch them on the other TV (the big screen one! ;-) ) which is where the iQ recorder is.
So TNA kinda fell off the radar for a bit. I'd catch it occasionally when I'd watched all the WWE shows (flicking through the boring shit) and needed more workout viewing, but mostly, it'd get deleted at the end of the week unwatched.
Not that I don't like it, just that if I didn't get time to watch it, I wasn't fussed on missing anything earth-shattering.
I knew Hogan was coming on board, and then I heard they were going head to head with RAW. So you better believe I tracked down the new timeslot and got that puppy cued up for recording automatically again!
Then I heard all about the show and . . . uh huh, knew I had to watch! So this morning, over breakfast, I cued it up and here's my thoughts!
I love the TNA X Division - now there's a brilliant idea! Kinda like the cruiserweight division that got lured down a cul de sac on WWE and strangled to death. I could have done without that big red cage that was impossible to see though until someone stuck a camera through the bars, but I can't fault the talent - those guys were amazing!
It's funny, watching the cage kinda shimmy everytime one of them started climbing it, I was reminded of what I've always felt about TNA - it's definitely not got the production values of the WWE. That cage was pretty rickety looking, the way the sides shook!
In fact, TNA's kinda like what I figure the WWE was like before they got slicker than owl shit, yanno? I mean, I first watched Vince senior's shows as a kid, when it was all old guys in black underwear, and then came back to it after I met my husband, so around 2000?
I missed most of the attitude era, but I was there when they "got the F out"! Hell, I used to be a WWF (the animal one!) supporter at the time, and I boycotted them for years over that lawsuit!
So I figure sometime in between those two points (and that's a good twenty year gap, easy!), WWE might have looked a lot like TNA does now. Not as much money, so production values not crash hot, the sets looking a bit tinny, all that stuff.
But I digress! The match was typical TNA, to me anyway - flurries of action, good talent, people knowing their roles (whoa, did The Rock just step through there for a second? ;-) ).
And then Jeff Hardy showed up, and I knew he was coming and I still squeed! Because damn it, I love Jeffro, I can't help myself. Ever since that epic ladder match with 'Taker in 2002, when 'Taker came back to the ring after Jeff managed to croak, "You may have beat me, but you didn't break me!" . . . and instead of beating the living shit out of him, as we all expected him to do, he raised his hand. That memory still gives me goosebumps.
But yes, Jeff! Looking well and rested and not so damn thin and worn out as he did when he finished up on SmackDown. I even like the shorter hair! And damn, those jeans . . . I had lustful thoughts, I'll admit it!
I was hanging out for the ther segments he and Shannon did backstage, but they were missing from our broadcast - kinda like when they removed the Kane abducting Ranjin Singh segments from SmackDown. Bummer.
Then no sooner had I recovered from that than it's was one of my all time favourites Victoria! Or Tara, as she's known on TNA. That was an all in, balls out match worthy of a PPV and streets ahead of anything the WWE's Diva Division could ever come up with!
It's kinda a pity Tara lost the belt, but I loved the Widow's Peak after the bell, and my favourite "fuck you" of the spider!
Tara's probably better - certainly more intense! - when she's chasing the belt, the way John Cena is.
Much much much love for Mick Foley - always! Mick's a long time favourite, and WWE lost a shitload of talent when they lost him through Vince's micro-managing.
But I had to laugh when the Nature Boy stepped out of the white limo! Cos if you've read Mick's books, you know he and Ric have history of the kind that isn't dead and buried. So there's likely to be some backstage friction there! But Gold help me, I was kinda stoked to see Ric, stylin' and profilin'! Now, if they can keep him in suit and not wrestling, it'll all be good!
I do have to wonder how guys like Trips and HBK feel about Ric going to TNA though.
Then it was time for the Hulkster. Look, he was never my thing - I never got Hulkamania, the red and yellow feather boa, the American hero, wah wah wah. That creepy blonde hair and dark beard. The "sixteen inch pythons". The man's got the ugliest fuckin' leg drop in all creation, and that was when he was in his heyday!
I laughed like crazy when Hogan was pointing out the sign in the crowd that said "Hogan owns Vince!" In fact, there were some hysterical signs!
I do recall when the nWo came back to the WWE and the night The Rock got Hogan to turn on them and go face again. So seeing Scott Hall and Sean Waltman was also a bit of a flashback.
Man, Scott Hall looks like he's been on a ten year bender . . . oh wait a minute, he has! But Sean looks clean and sober and healthy and that did my heart a world of good!
And then there he was, sleazy E - the Bisch. Another guy who has history with Mick Foley! Hell, I got a soft spot for the Bisch - I remember when Vince brought him back to RAW, and he was pretty good at what he did then. And it looks like he'll be doing the same thing for TNA, so more power to him!
Then there was the Knockouts tag match - hell, that was better than some of the guys matches I've seen on WWE! That twin plancha and suicide dive? Was awesome! But I had to laugh when hubby said "I'd like to see the WWE girls try that!" Yeah, better have the ambulances on stand-by!
The Beautiful People with their backstage strip poker game . . . had me rolling my eyes. I do like how the BP do tend to poke fun at themselves, but it just smacked horribly of pandering to the endlessly fifteen year old male demographic, sniggering about seeing boobs.
Until the second part of that segment, when Val Venis turned up in his towel!!
Man, I laughed out loud at that! He's looking in damn good shape, I gotta say, and I nearly peed myself when one of the BP did the "hey didn't you used to be" thing and he said, "Let's not get hung up on past names!"
It's a ballsy move, pitting Hogan against Jeff Jarrett, the "founder" of TNA. Unless they're doing it to get Hogan heat right off the bat. Because the fans love Jeff - hell, I love Jeff! The chants of "Thank you Jeff!" were great! Hogan painting him as a loser who almost ran TNA into the ground? Ouch. Could have waited til next week, in my books.
But then again, the whole "lace up your boots and get in line" schtick is being applied across the board, so start as you mean to go on, I guess. I just worry that some of the immense talent they've got on TNA will end up getting overlooked for long and boring non-wrestling action with the old guys. Yes, Nashie, I'm even including you in that, although you are Big and Sexy even now!
The headline match of AJ Styles vs Kurt Angle was great. I'm not sure I agree with Hogan that they are the two best wrestlers in the business, but they're up near the top.
And seeing AJ do the Styles Clash so many times on Kurt made me see red over Michelle McFool's supposed explanation for how she's ended up with the same move - she's apparently said she "saw it somewhere" and taught herself how to do it.
For starters, bitch, you know full well where you saw it, so at least give the man credit for his move. And you teaching yourself to do it? Bitch please, you couldn't teach my grandmother to suck eggs! What probably happened was that you whined and pleaded with someone to help you work it out. I don't even want to speculate who. (Because if it was Mark, he'll just go down that little bit further in my estimation, although seriously I can't imagine it was him - he's got a bit more integrity about wrestling than that.)
But what cracked me up was the "Who needs Bret?" chants during that match!!
And the announcement that they had permission from Syfy to run long if they needed to - suddenly, Vince's reported begging for extra airtime for RAW makes sense!
So TNA was a bit of rollicking good fun, not taking itself terribly seriously.
I haven't even seen the whole thing, but I did see the first and last half hours.
I missed the first Montreal Screwjob. Hell, I never even saw Bret or Owen wrestle - but hubby did. Hubby's a proud Canadian, and for them, the Harts really were the best there are, the best there was and the best there ever will be. I can actually remember talking to him about Owen's death when it happened - he was devastated.
And then I have Mick Foley's remembrances of Owen and the events of that night. Secondhand, certainly, but no mistaking the emotion there. And I am genuinely sad over Owen, though perhaps not in the way I am over someone like Test or Chris Benoit. Because I was a fan and admirer of their work in a way I wasn't of Owen's. Hell, even thinking of Chris Benoit still makes me feel sick at the awful, awful tragedy that was.
Having not been party to the Montreal Screwjob, but coming in to it from another's perspective (i.e. Mick Foley), I guess I didn't really have a side. Weighing the need to strip Bret of the title before he went to WCW versus Bret's somewhat arrogant assertion that he wouldn't drop it to Shawn, who was at the time not a terribly nice person himself, really must have put Vince between a rock and a hard place.
And so the screwjob went down.
Then Vince kinda did a Vince and pissed all over Bret the next night on RAW and yep, suddenly I was on Bret's side. Again, understand why Vince did what he did, but no - that just sucked.
I was vastly amused when Breaking Point was in the (former) Molson Centre, and the chants of "You screwed Bret" started the second Shawn appeared! Cos Canadians? They don't forget, eh? -snickering- Sorry alex_royale, but I've been married to one for ten years and it's true! (Even if he doesn't say "eh" - the Quebecois can't figure out how to say it in French, I guess!)
I know most of the angst has been kayfabe - the McMahons certainly turned out for Stu's funeral, and when Bret had his stroke, they were right behind him with offers of help. But yeah, it was time for closure, so why not have Bret guest host?
There is something about Bret - he's still got that cocky smile, that look. I have to love him for that. And he's still in pretty good shape for a guy who doesn't wrestle!
But I just wasn't emotionally invested in the whole "making peace with Shawn" thing. Sorry, but that's the truth. I'd honestly like to think the two of them have made their peace, and there was a certain amount of honesty in what they said to each other, but I wasn't feeling it.
Ditto with the segment with Vince at the end. He kicked Bret in the nuts - who didn't see it coming?
We all know because of the scuttlebutt that Bret's signed a contract ending after WrestleMania, so we're expecting something to build to an event there. Probably not a match, since Bret's apparently not cleared for it, but a lot can change in three months when you've got the kind of money Vince has.
Apart from that, what happened on RAW? Well Melina's injured . . . again, is this supposed to be a surprise? Hell, McFool's barely wrestled in weeks probably because she's carrying an injury - this is what happens when you put people with fuck all ability and a bit of training in a wrestling ring.
I feel sorry for Melina, but do I give a rat's ass which Diva gets the belt? It'll all be the same screaming and hairpulling and fake tits. Pass, thanks all the same.
There were some matches, with the same dozen or so guys we always see. I'd like to see Evan Bourne get a push - or at least the chance to hold a mic, so I can hear him talk and make up my own mind if he's got what it takes.
I think MVP versus the Miz could be entertaining.
I'm over Randy versus Kofi. And Legacy should just break up already, if only so Ted DiBiase Jr can get out of Randy's shadow and become his own man. He's got what it takes, I think.
And don't get me started on Sheamus. Although, as I said earlier, John Cena is more intense chasing the belt than he is holding it. He's more "everyman" as the challenger - when he's the champ, he's too easy to hate.
Hell, Johnny wasn't even there, which gave the show a big thumbs down for me.
There was DX vs JeriShow - I've been amused by Show and Jerky lately. That bit last week, where Jerky's outside and Show's gone out to see him? Had me rolling! The stuff about long distance relationships never working? Talk about playing up the homoeroticism in the sport!
Did I want to see them in yet another match against DX? Not particularly.
Hell, I'm just as happy with DX not wrestling - look, I know in the past that I've said unkind things about Vince needing to put down the crack pipe when it came to midget wrestlers, but damn, now Hornswoggle's part of DX, I can totally love it!
Last week, Hunter's got Hornie in a crash helmet and is duct taping him to a skateboard. Shawn's all, "What are you doing?"
Hunter says, "I'm doing what anyone with a brand new midget would do - I'm tying him to a skateboard to see how far he'll go!"
Right on the heels of him chiding Shawn that "You had him all week and all you did was take him to church!"
That is some funny shit right there!
But this week, Hunter had trained Hornswoggle as the attack midget, and we got the bonus of Santino Marella (who also cracks me up) playing Jerky. Yeah, it was juvenile, but it made me laugh.
Was there enough to make me want to watch every single minute of the two hour show? Not likely! Will I watch the bits I've not seen yet before trashing the recording? Eh, maybe.
And that's unfortunately how I feel about the WWE lately - eh. The storylines are lacklustre, the stars don't seem to be enjoying it as much (except Hunter with Hornswoggle, he looks like he's having the time of his life being silly!), and it's all a bit "Yawn".
Hell, I can't even get enthused about the Royal Rumble - maybe I'm just Pay-Per-Viewed out after last year?
I'll keep watching - I always do. I'm the faithful fan, who sticks around through the shit in hopes of there being good stuf still to come.
And I'll watch TNA for it's unabashed frenetic pace, where they're still having fun and still trying to make it worth watching. Where there's still some glee and it's okay to be a raving fan.