Category Archives: TNA

AJ Styles: Nature Bitch

Some heel turns work. Edge? That worked. Batista? Working great. Hollywood Hogan? Worked like a mother-wrote-my-lyrics.

AJ Styles? Not so much.

For those who haven’t nibbled yet on the TNA bait, Styles was a good guy people genuinely liked. If you’re a WWE fan, think John Morrison with less glitz. Well, apparently the next step was to turn AJ into the next Ric Flair while being managed by, well, Ric Flair. *waits for you to get a couple ‘Wooooooooooo!’s out of your system…it’s OK*

Here’s how Flair apparently decided to (1) pass the torch (2) to young AJ:

For the past 20 years, people have said, ‘Nature Boy, who’s gonna be the next Nature Boy?’ Well, the answer was simple: nobody! Until 6 months ago, I started watching TNA and I saw the great Kurt Angle, the greatest wrestling technician of all time. No.

And then I saw Sting. Sting, wherever you are, you’re great, but you’re not Ric Flair. And then all of a sudden, about a month ago, I saw a young man in the ring who now I’ll be working with until I’m out of this business, and I’m talking about the great AJ ‘Stylin’ and Profile’ Styles. *He* will be the next Ric Flair.

The problem is *only* Ric Flair can be Ric Flair. That has become even more apparent in the month since the Genesis pay-per-view, which has seen AJ Styles absolutely butcher his Ric Flair impression.

For proof of AJ’s newfound douchebaggery, see for yourself (via YouTube):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMnH5nhUUZI&NR=1 (skip to the 4:45 mark for Styles, or stay for the whole Flair rant)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jp5n9CJEpo (much shorter clip, but still valid)

The thing is, though, that Styles and Flair will probably hold the TNA championship for a long time yet. That could mean one of two things — Styles grows into the gimmick and makes it work, or he keeps falling on his face and TNA has to scramble to give this bit a merciful end.

For the next step, watch at 9 tonight on Spike.

Impact 11/12: Buying time…

(Note: The lack of recent posts has to do with missing several episodes of WWE programming. In this case missing is strictly in the physical sense, as in I didn’t watch them, not that I felt bad for not watching.)

TNA currently is in a weird spot. The company claims to be making its big move, it’s ‘swing for the fences’, as president Dixie Carter eloquently put it last week. However, it can’t really make that move until this guy shows up on TV:

Until then, which, hopefully, is right after Sunday’s pay-per-view, TNA is just buying time. The big picture is staying in neutral, if you will. However, there were some little things that, needless to say, entertained and refreshed fans on the most recent Impact.

  • Beautiful People, ugly stick: Madison and Velvet have claimed to be cleansing the world, one ugly person at a time. With their newest member, the lovely Lacey Von Erich, comes a new prop. Lacey literally carries around an Ugly Stick. OK, so it’s a bubble-gum pink nightstick. It still kicks ass.
  • Old dogs, no tricks: As if adding 56-year-old Hogan wasn’t enough, TNA debuted two ‘new’ competitors this week — Raven (45) and Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart (53). Raven rejoined the promotion via a lights-out run-in that included changing the outcome of the Abyss/Stevie Richards match and shooting a fireball into Mick Foley’s face. Well done. The Anvil made what supposedly was his TNA debut during the Black Machismo Invitational, in which Jay Lethal (a hilarious Macho Man knockoff) vows to face/defeat a legend each week. Neidhart, who looks like he ate the rest of the Hart Foundation, somehow went over. So much for that.
  • Double turn, triple personnel: Team 3D started a heel turn last week, when Brother/Bubba/Buh Buh Ray used a chair in their match against Matt Morgan and Hernandez. They completed the turn in a promo that showed them buying into Rhino’s conspiracy theory (basically the young guys are trying to take out the old guys…a solid plan if you ask me) and going a bit racist on Hernandez. In the same promo, it is brought to the attention of the faces that they need a third man for their 6-man street fight at the PPV. Out comes D’Angelo Dinero, who makes a face turn to join ‘the future’ against ‘the past.’ Not often you see three guys turn at once, probably because it’s confusing, but I liked it.
  • X Division, simply Amazing: I now am convinced there currently are three things that keep me watching wrestling — Randy Orton as the best heel I’ve ever seen, Kurt Angle as a face, and Amazing Red as…well…Amazing Red. He’s young (27), risky, innovative and energetic…a classic luchador. Think Rey Mysterio in WCW, without the mask (or hip-hop makeover, depending on the era) and before he was doomed to a life of David vs. Goliath matches. If you’re a wrestling fan, you will *love* this guy.

Impact 10/29: Damn you, Hulkster

A couple days ago, I relayed a message — Hulk Hogan is returning to professional wrestling via TNA — and I was none too happy about it. He’s a mid-50s man with mid-80s knees, hips and back…carrying as much weight (a legit 300-plus¬† pounds on a 6-foot-4 frame) and doing steroids for as long as he did will do that to a brother. *inserts Hogan impression* He was damn near immobile during the last match many would have seen, his win over Randy Orton at SummerSlam 2006. He can’t get it done in the ring, and he doesn’t really do business.

Still, the son of a bitch sucked me in on Thursday night’s Impact, which ended with taped footage of his initial press conference Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. A bold move, to say the least, since MSG is the Mecca of a certain wrestling promotion he helped launch to the stratosphere in the 1980s and has a No. 3 show with ratings comparable to the show he will soon join.

He looks like he always has, which means he’s an outstanding physical specimen for 36, let alone 56…the pythons are still in full effect. He sounds the same. Most importantly, he still has that undeniable charisma that, despite the inevitable letdown in the ring, still gives fans that glimmer of hope. That belief that, just like he did when we were young(er), he can take on whatever comes and get the job done.

No matter what, if only for a few moments, he makes you a Hulkamaniac all over again.

Obviously the Hogan signing was the big focus, which was good since Impact (which was taped last week) was a bit dull and needed something to prop it up.

Speaking of the show: Kurt Angle‘s face turn is complete thanks to the utter despicability (is that a word?) of one Desmond Wolfe. However, Wolfe clotheslined the shit out of Angle and ‘injured’ him. I wonder if this has anything to do with his arrest not long ago? … Chris Sabin is lucky he isn’t severely injured after taking a yurinagi (newbies read as: Rock Bottom) from Bubba Ray. He took the full force of the throw with the back of his head, which is Bubba’s fuck-up. Good to know Sabin’s OK, but his dome still can’t feel too well.¬† Awesome Kong spent her week just coming to the ring and beating the shit out of people. Well, the second time she wasn’t too successful (thanks to Tara), but it was still pretty sweet. I wish someone in WWE would do that. Imagine Orton just snapping and making a couple sneaky run-ins, chair swinging. … The TNA championship storyline involves A.J. Styles just chillin’ in the back, then getting jumped every week. It seems like you would use your best storylines on the strap, but clearly Vince Russo is seeing things differently (of course). … Get Rhino off the air. Hell, put Hogan in his place. This is already more ink than Rhino deserves. … Give Hernandez a belt! … Speaking of belts, Eric Young has supposedly retired the TNA Legends title and called it the TNA Global championship. He won’t defend it on American soil or against American wrestlers because we don’t deserve it. I like this guy. … But I like the Beautiful People more.

Yes…

Yes…

And oh yes.

In the words of Kevin Nash, “Stay wet, my friends.”

Hulkamania is gonna hobble wild on TNA! Woooooooooooo!

Some earth-shattering news from Total Nonstop Action wrestling, which apparently wants to cease any and all action. In an attempt to draw attention upon itself and boost meager ratings, TNA has signed 56-year-old Hulk Hogan. Oh, and Ric Flair, 60, could also be on the way.

So sit back, grab some popcorn, and enjoy WCW Monday Ni…I mean, TNA Impact!

Seriously, these moves could straight-up kill TNA. Though he retired in the perfect fashion, Flair can still physically get it done at some level. However, at this point he’s taking a spot from someone younger and better. Hopefully, he would use that spot to elevate some guys and show them a thing or two. Or he could become one of the best managers of all time.

As for Hogan…fuck.

I grew up a Hulkamaniac from about age 6, and I marked the fuck out when he returned and reformed the nWo. But he showed he was washed up then…SEVEN YEARS AGO. Now he’s just gonna get back to being buddy-buddy with Kevin Nash, wrestle guys like Scott Steiner, Flair and Sting, and try to destroy an entire organization in the name of his own personal gain.

Where, pray tell, have I seen this before. Wait, I think I’ve got…nope, maybe it was…oh yeah, that’s right.

Impact 10/22: Ultimate X, ultimate fun

One of the oldest and biggest challenges in wrestling is to create matches that are more exciting than the typical two guys going at in the middle of the ring.

TNA has met that challenge to perfection with Ultimate X.

The object is similar to that of a ladder match: you have to grab the X (or belt) to win. The twist in Ultimate X (which features wrestlers from the X Division) is the X hangs from ropes that the combatants must negotiate to get to the X.

TNA Bound For Glory had an Ultimate X match for the X Division title last Sunday. On Thursday’s Impact, the No. 1 contender match for The British Invasion’s TNA tag team titles also was an Ultimate X match.

I took two things from the match. The first is obvious…Ultimate X fucking rules. The second is how nice it is to watch guys just go work…quickly…instead of the WWE style of the same guys busting out the same 3-4 moves, then calling it a match. Lethal Consequences and the Motor City Machine Guns put on a great athletic display, and it’s cool that MMG will have a shot at the straps.

Tag team excellence

Speaking of tag teams…I almost forgot what it was like to watch great tag team wrestling until I started tuning into Impact a few weeks ago, and they were featured this week. Beer Money and the Brits had a Six Sides of Steel (read as: cage) match for the titles that featured a chain suplex/powerbomb/God knows starting at the top of the cage and involving all four people. All four appear to still be alive.

Also, there’s some mediocre-at-best angle involving Team 3D and Rhino. During Rhino’s match, in which Buh-Buh/Bubba/Brother Ray visited the announcers’ table, insert-varation-of-name-here Ray mentioned his team’s newly won IWGP tag team titles. That doesn’t seem too fascinating, except for the fact that he was discussing their 23rd world title reign. For those of you scoring at home, that’s Ric Flair plus 7. Think about it.

Parting shots: I hope the new Bobby Lashley/Scott Steiner angle involving Steiner hitting on Lashley’s wife goes away quickly. Like quicker than reading that last sentence … Title match for the next pay-per-view: A.J. Styles/Samoa Joe/Daniels. Sounds like fun. Not a huge fan of Joe, though. Not sure why…maybe because he’ll get in the way of a high-flying spotfest. … I love watching Amazing Red work. During his match with Homicide, he did a leapfrog-into-powerbomb-variation movement that…well…was simply amazing. I can’t even describe it besides wow. Just wow. … Kurt Angle. Face turn? Ummm yeah, that appears to be what’s happening. Now he respects everybody, except probably for some British dude who blindsided him twice. Angle gets cheers because of his in-ring ability, but it’ll be interesting to actually see him get them because of his character. … The Beautiful People were way too yummy to begin with. Now, they’ve got Lacey Von Erich. I’m just gonna leave you on the below note and call it good.