Wednesday, 19 December 2007

TNA Turning Point on Bravo 2 - TV Review

Another belated review for you, this time from the world of professional wrestling as we take a look at TNA’s last pay-per-view, Turning Point, held at the Impact Zone in Florida and headlined by Kurt Angle, A.J. Styles and Tomko against Samoa Joe and The Outsiders - or so we thought. The show was broadcast on a three day delay on Bravo 2 here in Britain, and our hosts, as always, were the Professor himself, Mike Tenay, and he of the awful tie/shirt combination, Don West.
The show kicks off with a six man tag-team table match, as Team 3-D and Johnny Devine take on the Motor City Machine Guns and X Division champion Jay Lethal. Divine is one of those wrestlers that confuses the hell out of me, as he seems to flit from one gimmick or stable to another in quick succession. Or maybe it just seems that way as I hardly have the time to watch Impact anymore. Lethal, meanwhile, is without his title belt as it’s in the possession of big Brother Ray. This is just what the doctor ordered, a great way to open the show. Okay, a few of the table spots did look a little contrived as those involved seemed to hold the tables longer in place than they should have done, but apart from this the action was great, with all six men putting in a good account of themselves. And the finishing wasn’t that bad either. After referee Slick Johnson took an accidental hit and a subsequent snooze, Lethal put Devine through a table following a top rope elbow, but because the ref was out of it, Black Machismo couldn’t claim victory. It was then that 3-D attacked with the X Division title belt, placing the fallen Devine on top of Lethal, and waking up the referee. Of course, the first thing he saw was Devine on top of Lethal, so he had no choice but to award the match to the dastardly heels. By the way, did I say how great this match was?
Next up, women’s tag-team action as Roxxi Laveaux teams up with ODB against pretty girls Velvet Sky and Angelina Love. Having been somewhat critical of TNA’s women’s division in the past, I must say that they have improved slightly over the past few months, as this match wasn’t the total disaster I thought it would be. All four women did okay, and ODB seems to be developing a cult following in the Impact Zone. The end came when Roxxi took a super kick for the winning pinfall. Not bad, but nowhere near the standard of women’s wrestling I’ve seen elsewhere.
The third match of the evening sees everybody’s favourite underdog, Eric Young, taking on the self-proclaimed world drinking champion James Storm. Storm, as always, has Jackie Moore along for company, but it’s this drinking championship I’d like to address for a few moments, because compared to some of the show business hell raisers I’ve seen over the past few years, the likes of Storm wouldn’t last five minutes with him. The late, great, Ollie Reed would drink him under the table. But back to the match. Jackie keeps Storm away from the booze before the match, which annoys the Cowboy a great deal. The lack of beer has an apparent reaction on Storm at the beginning of the match, before he turns the table on Young and begins working over his left arm, an injury that impedes him as he makes his comeback. It’s a well executed match with a very good storyline, which makes for a good package overall. Eventually, Storm gets the beer and takes a swig, and is about to use the bottle as a weapon until his attack backfires, and Young scores with the roll-up to get the win. A good match here, really enjoyable.
Then it’s time for the obligatory over-complication monthly gimmick match, this time called a Feast or Fired match. So let’s cut short the rules here if we can. There’s briefcases on poles around the ring. Some of them have title match contracts, while one has a “you’re fired” thing in it, and once a wrestler grabs one he has to get to the arena floor. It’s little more than a mass brawl, and the recipients of the cases are Petey Williams, B.G. James, Senshi, and Scott Steiner. While there were some good moments here, it’s just another example of the gimmick match overload syndrome that the TNA bookers seem to be suffering from. Please oh please can we have a pay-per-view without one of these damn matches?
More women’s action follows, as Gail Kim defends the Knockout title against the massive Awesome Kong. Now this is what women’s wrestling should be about. Reminding this writer of the classic Klondyke Kate v Sweet Saraya matches that graced British rings for years, this was your typical David v Goliath battle, Gail’s fast-paced attack against Kong’s sheer size and power. Kong was dominant here, and even though Gail had fleeting moments of offence, there really was nothing she could do to stop Kong’s onslaught and anger. But it was the anger that proved to be her undoing. As she choked Gail with her boot in the corner, referee Andrew Thomas tried to stop things, but ended up getting shoved down to the mat for his troubles. That, and Kong’s refusal to break the choke hold resulted in her disqualification. After the bell rang, Kong went on the warpath, and not even Velvet Skye and Angelina Love could stop her, with the carnage ending with Kong power bombing Gail on a steel chair. Indeed, she would have done more damage had security not arrived to stop her. I get the feeling this won’t be the last time we see Kong against Kim, and if you get the chance to see it again, then do, because this just blows away anything WWE are trying to do in their women’s division at the moment.
Another gimmick match follows, as Black Reign and Rellik face Rhino and Abyss in a 10,000 tacks match. Or rather, it was meant to be Abyss and Rhino, but Abyss got himself a new tag-team partner, none other than Raven. As it’s a no disqualification match, we get the monthly brawl throughout the Impact Zone in a match that for some reason I just couldn’t get in to, even though it was good to see one of my all time favourites in Raven back in the ring. Both Raven and Reign take bumps through thumb tack tables, before Abyss gets the win for his team when he takes Rellik down with a black hole slam on the thumb tacks in the ring. Not the best match I’ve seen from TNA this year, and one that I won’t get the urge to watch again.
More tag-team action follows, as Christian Cage and Robert Roode go up against Booker T and Frankie Kazarian. I don’t know, it just doesn’t seem right calling Kazarian “Kaz” or whatever the hell he calls himself, and while I’m in this sort of writing vein, it’s great to see Booker without that bloody awful English accent. Getting back on topic…..and on to what was a great tag-team match. The stand-out star of this one was definitely Kazarian. I’ve been really impressed with the guy following his recent performances, and he once again showed why TNA are putting such faith in him at the moment. Oh, and the other three didn’t do too badly either, great performances all around. The ending came with a misunderstanding concerning a steel chair. After arguing with Tracey Brooks at ringside, he managed to grab the chair she was sitting on and took it into the ring with him, and as Cage held Booker in position, Roode swung, Booker ducked, and Cage took the full force of the blow. An axe kick later, and Booker had the pin for his team. Afterwards, there was a brief confrontation between Roode and Cage, until A.J. Styles stepped in as peacemaker.
Main event time, a six-man tag match pitting the Angle Alliance team of World Champion Kurt Angle and Tag Champions A.J. Styles and Tomko against Samoa Joe and the Outsiders. One slight problem though - a certain Scott Hall has pulled a no show, which leads to Samoa Joe cutting one of the best shoot/promos I’ve seen in a long time. I don’t need to go into details, as you’ll probably find it on YouTube somewhere. Needless to say, Kevin Nash didn’t look too happy as Joe laid into the “superstars”. To replace Hall, Joe chose Eric Young. So with Hall out and Nash in, what we have in is a very good main event. Not the best match in the history of professional wrestling but a good one to end a show. In this writer’s opinion the addition of Young improved the bout, as his brief exchanges with Styles were great to watch, and even old Big Sexy did his bit. In the end, the good guys won, with Joe taking Tomko down with the muscle buster for the victory. Nash left the ring as soon as the match ended, leaving Joe and Young to celebrate in the ring.
In conclusion - if you take out two of the three overblown gimmick matches, then you’ve got a good show here. The majority of the action was either good or great, but sadly TNA’s reliance on the gimmick match is dragging them down somewhat, and when they let ALL of their roster rely on their skills to put the match over, then they’ll get consistently good cards. But something tells me that isn’t going to happen anytime soon.