Tuesday, 16 November 2010

TNA Turning Point on Extreme Sports - TV Review

It was described by some online reviewers as “uuurrgggh!” and “aaaaarrrrgghhhh!” But was it really that bad? That was what I was hoping to find out by watching TNA’s Turning Point, shown this past Friday night on the Extreme Sports channel here in Britain.

The broadcast began with title action as Robbie E (who?), accompanied by Cookie (who?) challenged Jay Lethal for the X Division title.

This match actually wasn’t that bad. The new guy looked good, and he was able to put on a good match with Lethal, with a little help from his lady friend at ringside, who looked like a bargain basement Katie Price.

E came out on top, taking Lethal down with a neck breaker to get the winning pin.

The Knockouts were up next, a battle of former Divas as Tara went up against Mickie James.

Entertaining in parts and messy in others, this was a highly charged affair by two women who looked like they wanted to tear each other apart, making it more of a catfight than a wrestling match.

We even had the obligatory brawl through the fans, and that was enough for the referee as he called for the bell.

But the fast ringing didn’t stop these two from brawling. Tara broke a broom handle over Mickie’s back. Mickie retaliated by clobbering Tara with a rubbish bin.

And it still didn’t stop. After officials separated them near the stage Mickie called Tara into the ring, and the fight began again. This time it took two attempts to separate them.

The referee’s final decision was….well….I have no idea, because it was never actually announced.

The second title match saw the Motor City Machine Guns defending the TNA Tag Team titles against Team 3D in the former Dudley Boys’ swansong match.

If this is to be Team 3D’s last match then they couldn’t have gone out any better. It may not have been the best match in their careers but they certainly put in a great effort.

It was a very entertaining encounter, tag team wrestling at it’s best as all four men pulled out their big moves and kicked out of the other team’s finishers.

It was only after Chris Sabin kicked out of a pin after Ray and Devon took him out with a 3D that the match turned. Seconds later the Guns took Devon out with their neck breaker/cross body block for the winning pin. Afterwards both teams showed the ultimate respect for each other.

The battle of the extremists followed as Tommy Dreamer went up against Rob Van Dam.

I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed with this match. From the moment it began it felt more like a sparring session between two closed friends than an intensely fought hardcore match.

Of course, Dreamer’s wrist injury, sustained after a top rope frog splash, hampered him a little, but things never really improved as the match went on, and when RVD executed his own frog splash at the third attempt to get the pin it mercifully ended the match. Disappointing, very disappointing.

More tag-team action followed as Ric Flair’s Fortune, A.J. Styles, Frankie Kazarian, Doug Williams and Beer Money faced EV2, Stevie Richards, Raven, Rhino, Sabu and Brian Kendrick, in a match with a somewhat one-sided stipulation - if EV2 loses, then Ric Flair fires one of their number.

Now this was a lot more entertaining. Kendrick was taken out early on, injuring his knee after a Williams chop block, giving Fortune the one man advantage.

From there the action was fast paced, with those who spent the most time in the ring putting on good displays, and for some reason I even found myself marking out a little when Styles and Sabu were going at it.

It was those two who ended the match, when Styles took Sabu out with the Styles clash.

Moments later Flair appeared on the stage, and in his best Alan Sugar/Donald Trump way he fired Sabu, with Tommy Dreamer and Rob Van Dam returning to the ring to pay tribute to the departing maniac.

Then it was on to the lumberjack match as Abyss took on D’Angelo Dinero. The lumberjacks in question were members of the Pope’s congregation, including his own brother.

Time to break out that old saying again. While technically I can’t fault the action in this one it just seemed to be going nowhere, and it seemed about five minutes too long.

As for the congregation’s heel turn, attacking Dinero after Eric Bischoff appeared on the stage and made money signs, it seemed kind of predictable as it allowed Abyss to pick up the win with the black hole slam.

The big grudge match was next as Jeff Jarrett faced off against Samoa Joe.

Before the match began Jarrett grabbed the microphone, and as the fans chanted “you sold out” Jarrett threatened to return to the back so he could get the rest of the show cancelled, until the big Samoan made his appearance.

This one wasn’t too bad. Jarrett seems far more comfortable in the role of the heel, although this match lacked a certain degree of intensity it was well executed.

The turning point (pun intended) came when Joe took Jarrett and the referee out with a suicide dive to the outside. It was then that Bischoff’s hired goons entered the fray, helping Jarrett to attack Joe. The chosen one then used a night stick to choke Joe out, and with that job done the goons dragged the referee back into the ring as Jarrett locked in a rear naked choke for the submission win.

The main event saw Matt Morgan, replacing the injured Mr. Anderson, challenging Jeff Hardy for the TNA World title.

Sadly this was another of those well executed matches that really could have been so much more.

Hardy, who judging by his colour seemed to be suffering from some sort of liver failure looked okay, but the TNA version is nowhere near as good as the WWE version.

Morgan, for his part, looked very good, but not quite good enough for a run with the big belt.

Hardy came out on top as he was finally able to take Morgan down with the twist of fate, or hate, or whatever the hell it’s called.

In conclusion - this year’s Turning Point turned out to be a very mixed bag.

While there were some entertaining performances, and two very good tag team matches, other matches did leave a little to be desired.

Apart from aspects of the Knockouts’ brawl the so-called grudge matches lacked the intensity that matches of their ilk scream out for. It was that same intensity that was also missing from the RVD/Dreamer and Hardy/Morgan matches.

So in all Turning Point was a slightly disappointing affair, so let’s mark this one down as “could do better”.

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