I used to be Britain's longest-running wrestling blogger. Then I got a proper job.
Monday, 17 September 2007
TNA Sacrifice 2007 on Bravo 2 - TV Review
Following on from a pay-per-view show full of gimmick matches, Total Non-Stop Action returns with a few more gimmick matches with Sacrifice, headlined by Christian Cage defending the NWA World title against Kurt Angle and Sting, and shown on a three day delay here in Britain. Our hosts for the show are, as always, “The Professor” Mike Tenay and Don West.
The show begins with the first title match of the evening, as Chris Sabin defends his X Division title against Jay Lethal and Sonjay Dutt. Lethal and Dutt have apparently been at odds over the past few weeks about Dutt’s lack of attention. It’s the usual X Division fair to start off the show - ie it’s damn entertaining, as all three men pull out all the stops, pulling off all the moves in their arsenal as they put on a tremendous match that had the fans in the Impact Zone eating out of the palms of their hands. False finishes aplenty here, and it looked like anyone could win this one, until Sabin got the pin with the simplest of moves - the schoolboy roll-up, a simple way to end a tremendous match.
After the match, Lethal and Dutt began to duke it out, until Kevin Nash enters the ring to intervene. Nash tries to sort things out until Dutt kicks him in the back of the leg, before running for cover. Needless to say that Nash wasn’t too happy about things.
Backstage, Borash interviews Robert Roode and Miss Brooks about the upcoming match with Jeff Jarrett. Roode promises victory in their encounter, saying that Jarrett will make Roode a superstar.
As Tenay and West are about to run-down the upcoming matches, Nash grabs the house microphone and tells Dutt he’s coming after him at the next Impact show.
Then we see video footage from earlier in the day, as Christy Hemme’s new team Damaja and Basham attack the James Gang during a pre-show meet-and-greet, and B.G. having been taken to hospital suffering from what West describes as a “super severe concussion.”
Jeff Jarrett competes in his first singles match for over six months next as he takes on Robert Roode, who, as always, has his CEO Miss Brooks along for company. It’s this kind of match that makes you realise that perhaps Jeff Jarrett is a little under-rated and under-appreciated at times. I really enjoyed this one, a great old school kind of encounter, with the crowd firmly behind Jarrett, despite what he’s done in the past. Kudos to Roode as well, for putting in what is possibly the greatest performance of his career. A great match came to and when Roode countered a figure four attempt by kicking Jarrett into an exposed turnbuckle. However, the match was spoiled by what happened afterwards. Roode tried to attack Jarrett with a guitar, which Jarrett countered with another figure four. Miss Brooks tried to interfere, but ended up in a figure four from Eric Young. For me, this spoiled the most important victory of Roode’s career.
Backstage, Leticia chats with Christian Cage, A.J. Styles and Scott Steiner, who appear to be celebrating before their matches have even taken place. As per usual, Steiner gives his usual rant of a promo, complaining about his partner Tomko’s late arrival. Big Poppa Pump once again proves that he should steer away from cutting promos.
Back in the arena, the transforming Christopher Daniels, complete with Sting mask and baseball bat, faces off against the war machine himself, Rhino. It’s a battle of size and power against speed and finesse, and it’s an engrossing one at that, as Daniels spends a great amount of time working over Rhino’s arm, trying to take his primary weapon, the gore, away from him. The man beast had his moments, but in the end a baseball shot to Rhino’s head while the referee wasn’t looking was enough to get the victory for the Fallen Angel. Afterwards, a stunned Rhino grabbed the microphone, promising to get even, before chasing Rhino back up the ramp. The brawl soon returns to the arena, with Daniels a bloody mess from a chair shot. It’s then that Rhino attacks with another chair shot, but is stopped from delivering a rhino-driver onto a couple of chairs. A third good match in a row, and it will certainly be interesting to see where TNA are going with Daniels’ new character.
Handicap match time, as Christy Hemme’s Basham and Damaja face Kip James, having to face his foes alone after B.G. was taken to the hospital earlier in the day. A relatively quick one here. James got in a few good moves, but really didn’t stand a chance against Basham and Damaja. Damaja took James out with a choke-bomb, before Basham came off the top with a flying head butt before getting the pin. More extra-curricular activity, the fourth match in a row this has happened, as James tried to fight back again before being overwhelmed again, until James’ buddy Lance Hoyt, apparently a late arrival because of travel problems, arrived to say the day. Okay for what it was I suppose, but it didn’t exactly set my pulses racing.
Backstage, Leticia catches up with Chris Harris. He talks about the history of AMW, and how Storm ended the team by trying to end his career. It’s quite a promo has he basically promises victory.
It’s the battle of the former partners next as Chris Harris takes on James Storm in a Texas Death Match, where falls count anywhere, with the man being pinned having to beat a ten count to survive. This one is brutal, as the Wildcat and the Cowboy literally through the kitchen sink at each other, brawling around the arena, hitting each other with whatever they could get their hands on, putting each other through tables, and wearing crimson masks as a result of their opponent’s actions. It’s a hell of a contest, well played out with a naturally flowing storyline which saw both guys get pins, with both guys beating the ten counts, before Harris got the ultimate and final revenge against his final partner by knocking him out with a beer bottle. After getting the pin, Storm was unable to meet the ten count, which meant that victory went to Harris. Engrossing stuff here.
Backstage, Sting and Daniels are having a few words, before Sting tells Borash that he’s kind of fed up with both Kurt Angle and Christian Cage.
After a change of ring canvas, we return to the X Division with a four way encounter, featuring the debuting Tiger Mask, Alex Shelley, Senshi and Jerry Lynn. Unlike the previous X Division match, this one started off quite slowly, but the pace quickened as the match went on, as all four wrestlers unleashed all their big moves, with Tiger Mask looking quite impressive in his debut. Lynn came out on top with this one, pinning Shelley with a sunset flip, but once again that wasn’t the end of it as Chris Sabin came out and helped Shelley attack Lynn. Lynn was saved by none other than Bob Backlund. Well, I guess he’s got to have someone to feud with while Austin Starr serves his suspension.
Backstage, Leticia chats with Tomko. She asks him why Steiner isn’t there. Tomko explains that he thinks Steiner is an idiot, as doubts are cast as to whether Steiner and Tomko can form a cohesive unit.
Then it’s on to the second title match of the evening, as Team 3-D defend the NWA Tag-Team titles against two teams, LAX and Scott Steiner and Tomko. Another match that I really enjoyed - even Scott Steiner had his moments here. And need I say that Hernandez again looked highly impressive here. A great performance from all three teams here, with the arguments between Tomko and Steiner leading to their team’s downfall, with the former Dudleys pinning Tomko after a 3-D while he was distracted by Steiner. Then, even more post-match activity as Steiner and Tomko continued their argument, with none other that Scott’s older brother Rick coming down to the ring to help him out. Looks like we’re going to get a Steiner Brothers reunion now.
Backstage, Borash interviews Kurt Angle on Sting’s set. Angle calls Sting a face-painted clown, saying that while he’s a wrestler, Sting is nothing more than a cartoon character.
Back in the arena, possibly the most anticipated match on the show, as Samoa Joe takes on A.J. Styles. Although I’ve seen these two against each other numerous times before, I never tired of seeing their matches, and although this one may not have been as good as their previous encounters, it was still a good match, as they both showed why they’re considered two of the best wrestlers in the world today. Styles used his new tactic of playing possum a couple of times, complaining of injuries when there were none, but it was a tactic that backfired on him. When Joe looked like he might have to quit because of a knee injury, Styles tried to take advantage with a spiral tap off the top rope, only for Joe to move out of the way, and revealing that he actually wasn’t injured. It was then that Joe synched in the kokina clutch, turning it into a suplex to get the winning pinfall, ending what was another good match between the two.
Main event time, as Christian Cage defends the NWA title against Kurt Angle and Sting. A good match here, but when I saw that there were only just over ten minutes left when this match started, I was a little disappointed. Sure a World title match deserves a little more time than this? Anyway, a good match all round from all three competitors, and quite an interesting ending. With one referee just coming into the ring after taking a snooze, Sting was pinning Cage, but as a second referee arrived on the scene, Angle tried to break up the pin with an ankle lock on Sting. While the first referee counted Cage’s shoulders on the mat from the Sting pin, the second referee counted Sting tapping out to the ankle lock. As the referees began to argue, Angle was officially announced as the new champion. An intriguing way to end a match that was just way too short.
In conclusion - apart from the handicap match, I really enjoyed Sacrifice - up to a point. Of the nine matches on the show, six of them had some form of activity after the final bell. While some of it was necessary, the majority of it wasn’t, and for me this was poor on the part of the bookers, and took away from the actual matches, rendering their results somewhat meaningless. I would love to see a time when TNA presents a pay-per-view when things like this don’t happen, and when there are perhaps only one or two gimmick matches (and I include three and four way matches in that statement), but sadly I don’t think that’s going to happen.