Friday, 16 January 2009

TNA Genesis on Bravo 2 - TV Review

It’s the first wrestling pay-per-view of the year, as the good and the great of Total Non-Stop Action gather for a triple main event, with the Main Event Mafia looking to tighten their stranglehold on the company in TNA Genesis, shown on a three day delay here in Britain on Bravo 2. As always, our hosts for the evening are Don West and Mike Tenay.

The show begins with a six man elimination match, with Sonjay Dutt, Jimmy Rave and Kiyoshi taking on Eric Young and the Latin American Xchange. This special added attraction wasn’t originally advertised for the show, but as an opener it was a good way to open the show, although there were a couple of sloppy moments during this encounter. It took a while to get the first elimination, which saw Dutt eliminate Young with his feet on the middle rope. Homicide soon followed his partner as Rave rolled-him up with a handful of tights, leaving Hernandez in a three on one situation. This gave the big man the opportunity to shine once again, eliminating Kiyoshi after the border toss, Dutt with the sit down power bomb, and then Rave with a top rope splash. An awesome display from the big man in a very good opener.

Next up, the final of the X Division title tournament, the battle of the Motor City Machine Guns between Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin. This one promised much. It delivered. In spades. Sabin and Shelley put on a great exhibition of X Division-style wrestling, the likes of which we haven’t seen for quite a while. From the beginning to the end the Guns gave it their all, mixing high-flying action with some good old fashioned wrestling to put together a hell of a contest which left this writer almost breathless at times, and it was kind of sad that only one guy could win this one, and after what seemed like an eternity of great action, that honour went to Shelley, who ended up tricking his buddy. After Shelley went down in the ring claiming an ankle injury, Sabin went to see how he was as Shelley tried to take off his boot. Shelley then took Sabin down with a schoolboy roll-up, and got the three count to win the title for the first time. After all of the great action there was only really one way that this match could end.

Grudge match time followed, with Sheik Abdul Bashir taking on TNA referee Shane Sewell. I really didn’t hold out much hope for this one. Although I’ve seen Bashir wrestle many times, I knew nothing about Sewell’s past wrestling career, if he ever had one. Turns out that the guy wasn’t too bad, and put on a pretty good match with the American-born anti-American. We even got a nod to the Nature Boy when Sewell applied a figure four leg lock, and referee Earl Hebner slapping Bashir. Sewell came out on top, capping out a nice display with a sunset flip.

The second title match of the evening followed, with Jay Lethal and Consequences Creed defending their newly won Tag-Team titles against Beer Money Inc and the team of Abyss and Matt Morgan. This one started off quite slowly, and took some time to get going, but once it did, the action was okay, although for some reason I couldn’t help but feel that there was just something missing, something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Maybe it was because Abyss and Morgan had long periods of inactivity. I don’t know. The end came with some bad communication, after Abyss accidentally clobbered Morgan with a title belt. Then Lethal came out and clobbered Roode as he made the cover, but when he went for the cover himself, the referee was too busy arguing with Miss Jackie. This gave Storm the opportunity to attack Lethal, so he could put Roode on the unconscious Morgan to get the title winning win. Afterwards the two big guys weren’t too happy with what happened. Not a bad match, but it probably won’t be remembered in a few months time.

With the cancellation of the Knockouts title match, the replacement saw ODB, Roxxi and Taylor Wilde face Raisha Saeed, Rhaka Khan, and Sojona Bolt, known collectively as the Kongtourage. Whoever got the pin in this one would earn herself a title shot against Awesome Kong. As far as women’s matches go, like the previous match, it was okay, but nothing special, which was a little disappointing considering the high standards the TNA Knockouts have shown for quite a while now. It wasn’t really anything special, and once again Rhaka Khan showed that she needs a hell of a lot more training. And then there was Bolt’s breaking up of ODB’s pin attempt on Saeed. I‘m assuming that Bolt was supposed to drop an elbow there, considering that ODB was selling a blow to the face.. The end came when ODB pinned Saeed with a roll-up, earning herself a title shot. The brought out Kong herself as the bad girls proceeded to beat the hell out of the good girls, and sadly, this was the best bit of the entire match.

Main event time #1, the return grudge match between Kurt Angle and Jeff Jarrett, contested under no disqualification rules. Considering how good their first encounter was, this one had a hell of a lot to live up to. This was just as good as their first match. Right from the opening bell, both guys went all out, giving you the feeling that they really did hate each other, and that they really did want to do the maximum amount of damage to each other. Angle clobbered Jarrett with the ring bell, busting him open, and later he Angle-slammed him from the stage through a table, and after that they still weren’t done. We got chair shots, angle slams, ankle locks, strokes, and they still couldn’t put each other away. In fact the end came in the most simplest of ways. After clobbering Angle with a chair, Jarrett went for the cover, only for Angle to reverse the cover and get the pin for himself. And that wasn’t all. As Jarrett was being attended to, Angle grabbed the chair, placed it around Jarrett’s ankle, and stomped down on it. You know, given the intensity of the rivalry between these two, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see these two go at it again.

Main event time #2, with Sting defending his TNA World title against former champion Rhino. For a while it looked as if Rhino wouldn’t even make this match. Earlier in the day he was kidnapped by the Main Event Mafia, beaten up, and left in a car park somewhere. Rhino eventually made it to the arena, his clothes tattered and with blood pouring down his face, but despite the pleas of head honcho Jim Cornette, Rhino decided to go through with the match. As title matches go, while this won’t go down as a classic, it was still a good match. Rhino played the part of the wounded warrior to perfection, never giving up, despite the beating he’d already taken, as he attempted to become champion once again. As for Sting, despite the fact that he’s a heel, didn’t really do anything heelish, as it were. In fact, Sting just seemed to wrestle in the style he’s done since he first arrived full-time in TNA, with no under-handed tactics in site. The end came Rhino missed a gore and went straight into the corner, and Sting finished him off with the scorpion death drop. Not bad, but hopefully we’ll see Rhino get another title shot.

Main event time #3, with Mick Foley, Brother Devon and A.J. Styles taking in Booker T, Scott Steiner and Kip James, replacing the injured Kevin Nash. The third part, despite the absence of Kevin Nash, or maybe because of it, proved to be a nice little encounter. Cute Kip proved to be a more than adequate replacement for the injured Big Sexy, and you could tell early on that ring rust wasn’t a factor as far as Mick Foley was concerned. The enjoyment looked like it would come to a premature end though as, during a mass ringside brawl, the referee counted each man out. However, that wasn’t the end of it. Jim Cornette appeared on the stage and ordered a re-start. But after Booker T reminded Cornette that he didn’t have the power, Foley, as executive shareholder, did have the power, and he re-started the match under hardcore rules, and that’s where things got a whole lot better. Both teams made good use of the toys they could find, James got put through a table as Styles flew from the ring and onto the ringside table with a frog splash, Booker met Mr. Socko, or whatever he’s called in TNA, and Foley got the pin after taking Steiner out with a DDT onto a chair to end this one. A really enjoyable way to end the show.

In conclusion - TNA’s first big show of the year was somewhat of a mixed bag, with a great beginning, a so-so middle, capped off with three good matches at the end. Thankfully, there was no multi-man madness in this one, which just goes to show that TNA can put on a show without having to put every man on the roster on the show. So in all, not bad, but as some of my old teachers would say, could do better.