TNA and WWE are going head-to-head on a Monday night for the first time in history. TNA’s new additions of Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff have promised big things, while WWE touts the return of Bret “The Hitman” Hart after a 12-year absence from pro wrestling. Will the world of pro wrestling change tonight?
I haven’t watched an episode of TNA since they came to Oshawa back when Christian Cage was in the final weeks of his contract. It’s been that long. I simply don’t have the time, patience, or health to watch TNA. I’ll do my rant after. Here’s the show.
Steel Asylum Match ends in DQ (DUD)
Already with the gimmicks. Why the hell is the cage red? Are they trying to make it as distracting as possible for the people watching? You know, I thought gray or metal/chain worked well. But wait, this is TNA, things are done differently. The match sucked and was less than a few minutes before Homicide started beating people with an office presentation pointer. That wouldn’t even hurt. But fear not, here comes Jeff Hardy, I haven’t seen him on any other major professional wrestling company before. After struggling to climb the cage, he sits there like he has nothing to do. What a waste.
TNA constantly showing a limo headed to the iMPACT! Zone with a band of police motorcycles guarding it. Must be someone important. Wait, it’s Hulk Hogan? But he’s 56. Why the hell would he need a police escort?
Kevin Nash w/ Christy Hemme. More Hogan teasing. Why does Nash answer pro wrestling interviews like he’s a professional athlete? And Hulk’s not coming alone you say? I wonder how many recently-released WWE stars he’s bringing with him!
ODB d. Tara to win the Knockouts Championship (1/4*)
Another short match that lasts just minutes. Prior to this, TNA had gone 75 minutes airing only one match, which didn’t even finish mind you. And that one was only minutes long too!
Ric Flair arrives (never heard of him!) and heads to AJ Styles’ locker room and isn’t seen or heard from again until the end of the night. Good use of ‘Naitch.
“The Boss” Bobby Lashley and his mouthpiece, Krystal Marshall. So many things wrong here. One, why is Krystal talking and not Lashley? Is he a mute? Second, Lashley isn’t a “boss.” Third, and most important, why is TNA hyping him as an undefeated MMA fighter when he’s only 4-0? And that’s not even with UFC. You’d think he ripped apart Brock Lesnar or something with the amount of hype. In any event, he’s done to continue his MMA career.
Mick Foley unable to get into the building. I guess those two security guards weren’t paying attention to Foley’s on camera video two seconds ago. I’ve never seen an employee of a company unable to go to work.
The Beautiful People playing strip poker. FINALLY! Too bad they stereotype blondes like nobody’s business and start playing some weird version of Go Fish and then call it Poker. Val Venis (who?) later joins. Why? I do not know. Venis got quite a bit of airtime last night. Why? I do not know.
Scott Hall and X-Pac trying to get in. Scott Hall is enormous. Funny, I thought anybody who had once signed a WWE or WCW contract would be ashoo-in to at least get into the building, nevermind get a major push.
Hulkamania Runs Wild
Hogan appears with a remixed version of the nWo song. Didn’t see that coming. The 56-year-old waddles down to the ring and goes on a rant about how much change there’s going to be in TNA. He starts praising the young guys as well as the “leadership” backstage with all the older guys, which I assume means people formerly of WWE. Out come X-Pac and Scott Hall. Something tells me there’s going to be a reunion of sorts between Hogan and his band of out of shape and overweight friends from the ’90′s. Nash and Bischoff come out and don’t do much. Bischoff rips up the TNA schedule for tonight, which contains only two matches in two hours. Apparently Sting was watching from the rafters, which he really wasn’t.
Awesome Kong & Hamada d. Taylor Wilde & Sarita to win the Knockouts Tag Team Championships (*1/2)
Why are there tag team belts for the women’s division? TNA only has like 6 women, that’s two-thirds of them being champions. Half actually, if you include the Knockouts Championship.
Foley gets in and the Nasty Boys don’t. Security sure is tight tonight.
Matt Morgan & Hernandez d. Raven and Dr. Stevie (DUD)
The match was about a minute long. I saw Dr. Stevie reviewing some computer stuff the other day. I guess his “doctor” monicker isn’t working out that well.
D’Angelo Dinero w/ Christy Hemme. I guess Pope is a huge fan of John Morrison with those diamond-encrusted sunglasses that oddly resemble the same cross that Morrison has. But hold the phones, it’s Orlando Jordan! Thank God, I couldn’t wait any longer!
D’Angelo Dinero beat Desmond Wolfe (**)
It was alright.
People are getting beaten up backstage, including the Motor City Machineguns, Rhino and Beer Money Inc.. Bubba the Love Sponge is using his detective work to find out who did it. “Seriously guys, are you OK?” Did he just say that? As if Chris Sabin is lying there and saying “Yeah, I was just tired and thought I’d crash on the floor. Don’t mind this ladder on top of me.” Idiot.
More talking, this time from Jeff Jarrett. Hogan comes out and tells him to strap his boots on if he wants a job and that he has to prove himself. Alright.
Foley looking for Hogan. Shouldn’t be hard, just trace the scent of Gold Bond Medicated Powder.
Samoa Joe d. Abyss (1/4*)
Another dandy. Kidding.
Krystal w/ Bischoff. Snore.
Jeff Hardy w/ Shannon Moore. Wow, Shannon Moore? TNA’s pulling out all the stops tonight! Stupid segment involving Hardy kissing underaged girls. I’m sure that would go great with his drug trafficking record.
The Nasty Boys rip up Team 3D’s room. It’s like washed-up tag teams from different decades colliding!
AJ Styles d. Kurt Angle to retain World Heavyweight Championship (****1/4)
Finally, a solid match, although riddled by commercials. AJ scores the pinfall about seven seconds after returning from a commercial. Nicely done guys. So not ready for live TV. Hogan exclaims that these two are the best in the world. Questionable at best.
Foley gets jumped by Hall and X-Pac. Whoop-dee-do.
Score: 1 (for AJ/Angle)
Three Stars of the Show:
* – AJ Styles
** – Kurt Angle
*** – Taylor Wilde
TNA dropped the ball. They showed a lack of class attacking WWE at every opportunity. Why the hell are they promoting Dixie Carter’s Twitter!? And why the hell are they touting that they’re the highest trending topic on Twitter!? WHO THE HELL CARES!? In a three-hour show, none of their matches exceed the five-minute mark with the exception of Styles/Angle. And they have the balls to say that the matches have a 20-minute time limit. Four would be plenty. In a night where TNA had the opportunity to show what they could do, they rammed their three hours of airtime with WWE has-beens and backstage segments, the majority of which featured the top-of-the-line TNA security, who wouldn’t let anybody in, even though they already worked for WWE prior to knocking on the door! Just an awful show. Three hours of my life that I’ll never get back. Once again, I’m on hiatus from TNA Wrestling, as the ole’ ticker can’t take it. We get it, you’re a wrestling show, quit talking about it! How can you go 75 minutes between matches? EIGHT MINUTES OF WRESTLING IN THE FIRST HOUR! I don’t get it. I give up.
The moment we’ve all been waiting for, right off the bat. The Hitman returns! A great ovation, but nothing compared to what Canada would’ve done. Him returning was something I thought I’d never see, but being able to watch him return to WWE was a moment like no other. “Well, I guess hell froze over.” You said it, pal. He thanked the fans for remembering him over the years, never letting him become forgotten.
He calls out HBK, and the two talk about Survivor Series 1997. They hand shake. HBK teases a Sweet Chin Music, but turns and hugs Bret. WOW. I never thought, in a MILLION YEARS, that I’d see these two ever speak again, let alone shake and hug. What an EPIC moment in wrestling history. Definitely one of those “I can’t believe this is really happening” type of deals. I was literally cheering at this point like a kid watching John Cena, as two of my most respected wrestlers of all time buried a 12-year-old hatchet. Hart calls out Vince, but to no avail.
Maryse d. Bella w/ Bella (1/4*)
Not sure which one fought, although it doesn’t matter in the least. In the worst twin switch ever, they switched while the other one was down in the ring, Maryse kicked her and finished with her French Kiss DDT. Nicely done ladies. Not sure why they’re saying Maryse took a break when she was rehabbing her knee. After the match, The Miz hits on Maryse. That’d be a hot couple. He said maybe if she’d won the Divas title he’d ask her out again. Good promo by him talking about how great he’s going to be in the next decade.
MVP d. Mark Henry, Jack Swagger & Carlito (1/2*)
At one point Henry had Swagger on his shoulders in one of the worst looking torture racks ever because he was barely holding him and they had to wait way too long for MVP to kick Henry in the face to break it up. This US title division sucks – the guys are never used, and when they do, they job.
Great segment between Bret Hart and Chris Jericho. The usual spiel with Jericho sucking up to him, talking about how close he was to the Hart family when he was training there. He asked Bret if he could ref the DX/Jericho show match and for Bret to screw Shawn as revenge for Montreal. Bret said no, then added that they always thought Jericho was a wimp for screaming louder than anybody else in the Dungeon. Crowd popped at that. Y2J again owned by the host.
DX promo w/ Hornswoggle. Great line with HBK walking in on HHH talking to Horny and asked him why he talks to him like a small child. “He’s got a beard!” HHH has trained Horny to attack Y2J, and here comes Santino dressed as Jericho. Absolutely hilarious! Santino had the Donald Trump wig on, plus he screwed up all of Jericho’s lines before getting jumped by the midget.
DX d. JeriShow to retain Unified Tag Team Championships (***)
Good match. In a rare move, Hunter was the babyface in peril for the majority of the match while Shawn was on the one that got the hot tag. Jericho doing the Hogan ear cup during the match was tremendous. I laughed at that one. See, it’s the little things that make somebody like Jericho better than almost everybody else. Jericho had the Walls on HHH (no torn quad!), so HBK superkicked him and Hunter pinned for the win. Then Jericho did the walk of shame out of Raw forever…just like a month ago.
RKO w/ VKM. Vince actually referenced the fact that Orton kicked him and his family in the head. Orton wanted to attack Bret in return for #30 in the Rumble, but the old guy said no. Orton was pissed. He then went up to Legacy who told him they’ll watch his match later in the night and if he loses he’s out of Legacy (same as Orton did to them last week).
Sheamus d. Evan Bourne (1/2*)
Bourne started on fire, but reality set in.
Randy Orton d. Kofi Kingston (**)
The crowd didn’t have much interest, and with Legacy about to split, there was no way Kofi was winning. The clean pin likely means this feud is over.
VKM and Hart. Bret takes off his jacket, ready to fight. It’s the first time I’ve seen him with a gut. They shared some memories with Vince talking about WM2 where he says he noticed Bret would be a star in that match. He also said they’d induct Bret’s dad Stu into the WWE Hall of Fame this year. Vince then thanked him for being “the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be (except for HHH. He didn’t say that, but he sure as hell was thinking it).” They shook hands, posed to all four corners and then Vince kicked him in the stomach/groin with Bret going down to end the show. Vince walked out not saying a word the announcers shut up to let the images do the talking.
Three Stars of the Show:
* – Bret Hart
** – Shawn Michaels
*** – Chris Jericho
Did it live up to the hype? Yes and no. The Bret/Shawn stuff was pretty special to me. As a huge fan of both guys, that was pretty surreal to watch. Memories of the 1990s came flooding in, which was great. How real were these apologies though? Is everything buried or is there hidden resentment? Who knows. Match-wise it was fine with RKO/Kingston being decent while DX/Jerishow was solid like usual. This show had more actual in-ring action than the last few Raw’s, which is good. These matches need more airtime, though. I’m glad this show happened for Bret’s sake, though. It was great seeing him get that pop and to be able to speak from his heart. Can’t wait for the Road to WrestleMania.