My old friend TNA from the 2000's always helps ease me back into watching wrestling. Here I'll review their Best of the Bloodiest Brawls - Scars and Stitches DVD from 2008. In addition to my normal review, I'll give a scars rating for how bloody and extreme the match is. That doesn't always translate into a worthwhile match so be forewarned.
Jeff Jarrett vs Rhyno (Turning Point 2005): This was a good to very good hardcore match. It was a lot fun as it was mainly a bunch of different spots around the arena. There were some different one like of a scaffolding and using the entrance tunnel. It was a Double J match so it was overbooked in the end but it was enjoyable. Also a couple folks I don't recall like A1 for Team Canada and Jackie Gayda (va va voom)... but got this odd feeling of nostalgia for something I didn't experience. This is right before I got back into wrestling and there's something very early 2000's about seeing those two but never knowing or hearing about them prior. Hahaha it's just they seem to perfectly represent the blind spot of American from the 2000's that I still have. Anyhow, as far as a Bloodiest Brawl, I give it 1 scar out of 5. Jarrett bled but it wasn't anything too gory, gruesome or extreme.
Team Sting (Sting, AJ Styles, Ron Killings, Rhyno) vs Team Jarrett (Jeff Jarrett, America's Most Wanted, Scott Steiner) - Lethal Lockdown (2006): Well if it isn't Jackie Gayda again Ah but Gail Kim and Chris Harris are there too and now I have a touchstone to reality. Anyhow, this is part Wargames, part Hell in a Cell, and part hard-core weapons match. It's fun and obviously a spot match which suits most of the guys. AJ absolutely shines though he has two of the most memorable spots. One with James Storm and one with Storm and Gail Kim who I thought he eliminated from this plane of existence. Also Gail gets a T & A spot later on which good for her. She's in great shape but I'd rather see her wrestle rather than just be eye candy. I give it 2.5 scars out of 5. The AJ spots were badass, the early bits with AJ & Rhyno vs AMW were actually pretty cool and more in line with a bloody tag cage match, plus we got a couple good weapon shots (although that part wasn't really developed). So more Extreme than bloody though.
LAX (Homicide and Hernandez) vs AJ Styles & Christopher Daniels (Bound for Glory 2006): Steel cage match for the tag titles. This was a big selling point for this DVD and it delivered! Non stop action, ghetto fork, coat hanger chokes, double teams, moves off and into the cage, and a helluva finisher. Classic TNA tag match without a doubt. 2.5 scars out of 5 as AJ and Daniels bled but this was more an action match than a brawl or garbage/extreme etc. style match.
Rhino vs Christian Cage (1st TNA Impact episode 2006): Rhino has got his original spelling back. Christian and the War Machine have some history and we get a nice feud that culminated in this barb wire cage match (plus extras). Of course it's more spots but damn they picked some good ones. Plus neither guy is afraid of taking a few big bumps. Everything looked really good here - reversals, sick bumps, a little bit of the wire, and finally some real time crimson mask. Plus a pretty awesome finish! Very much what everyone wanted and I was pretty happy with it too. 4 scars outta 5...Mr. Cage got a good one going and they had an exciting hardcore gimmick match.
Samoa Joe vs Kurt Angle (Genesis 2006): I swore I reviewed this earlier but ah well! I watched it again and it still holds up after 3 or 4 viewings over the years. I was a hard fought battle between... ah shoot you already know by now. It's a little quick in my opinion. I think they transition too quickly and its because they make Kurt too strong... he doesn't shake off Joe's offense but he doesn't really sell it either. The atmosphere they create is electric and they accomplish what they set out to do. I wish they slowed down a little but its a great start. Kurt cuts himself a gusher and is 3.5 out of 5 scars.
Abyss vs Sting (Destination X 2007): We go from a crowd going crazy to one sitting on their hands. This is a casket match called a last rites match. The casket is lowered from the ceiling with WWF Undertaker smoke and lights which gets the crowd to chant "Fire Russo!" ... hahaha!. Sting has been busted open hard way so we're going to give it a shot...ok yeah that was not good. This was OK for the blood and one big spot but this was just slow clunky crap because the gimmick was so bad. Plus Tenay and West kept calling the casket a death bed...you could tell they were mandated to call it that instead of a casket, coffin etc. Maybe for censorship reasons? Or maybe it's Russo going say "death bed" because it sounds more dramatic. But a casket is not a death bed. A death bed is the bed you die in or are laying in while dying. Not a coffin or casket I wouldn't say anything but both announcers say it like 10 times so it has to be Russo's dumb ass. Fire him indeed...oh they did 3.5 out of 5 scars for Sting just bleeding and taking a helluva bump onto the casket... I mean "death bed"...fucking knucklehead. They could have found something better but my guess is they wanted Sting on the DVD.
Tomko vs Abyss (Slammiversary 2007): No DQ match but its a death match. And it's done right for a fairly mainstream audience. The thumb tacks and glass mean something. The BIG bumps mean something. It was a spectacle like an old Onita death match and they did it right (which he didn't always do). I am not 100% sure on the glass not being sugar glass but shoot it works either way. I thought this was great. Not as much visible blood as the past few matches but this is 4 outta 5 scars with the tacks, glass, barb wire bat and big bumps.
Abyss vs Judas Mesias (Against All Odds 2008): Barb wire death match. Good match but nowhere as good as it could have been. Maybe I'm spoiled by Japanese death matches but this was relatively tame by those standards. But we'll get to that in a minute. The match itself didn't have the intensity or dramatic build that it needed. One thing is no one got Irish whipped into the wire. That's a fucking baseline move for a barb wire match. They had boards to and no one got whipped into those in the corner. It really seemed they relied solely on the novelty of the barb wire to tell the story. Like the mere fact that they had a barb wire match was all the storytelling necessary. Instead it was rather predictable wrestling. To be fair, they did have some good spots with the props but never took this into high gear either. Again I've seen some crazy stuff especially in more modern BJW but there's a couple old FMW/W*ing/IWA Japan spots they could have done like press the guy's head into the wire or just an arm, back body drop a guy into the board on the ground, whip into the wire, lay the board wire side down and the do a move, do a splash while one guy was laying in the wire or even just smash the board on a guy wire side down. I mean that's all death match 101. It would have filled in the time between the spots, fans would have popped for all of that and none are relatively dangerous but they look good. On top of that no one really sold the wire either. There was no drama frankly. As far as a scar rating this was bloody at all. Mesias had a scratch while Abyss' arms were bloody as was his face. 3 outta 5 scars...not ton of blood but the wire spots are pretty good. The Tomko match is a TNA death match done right.
But wait! There's one more!
James Storm vs Chris Harris (Sacrifice 2007): I've seen this before and was going to just find my old review. However that barb wire match was a disappointment (good but not great) and I can't end it like that. So I re-watched this right afterwards. And boy is this your main event or premiere match of the DVD. These guys just beat each other senseless from beginning to end. Stiff as you'll see in TNA, great spots that actually surprise you, intensity and buckets of blood. Harris gets a good one but Storm damn near Muta's himself (fantastic spot that "busts him open"). He's wearing the crimson mask, he's drizzling blood everywhere (you can see this best when setting up a table on the outside), and actually when at rest is leaving puddles of the sanguine substance on the floor and in the ring. 5 out of 5 scars...the intensity, the stiffness, the creative and high risk spots and absolute gusher Storm blades..this is a 5. Plus it's classic TNA match especially if you know the history between these two in AMW and how things got to this point.
Overall this was a really exciting DVD and one you may want to pick up for no more than $10. Some of these are probably online so check there first. This is a fine collection of peak TNA matches and I'm happy to place it right beside the Samoa Joe, Kurt Angle, and Best of the X division vol. 1 DVDs as must have's for a TNA fan.
Thanks for reading folks!