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  1. This was the main event for TNA's first 3 hour Sunday PPV, so of course it has Jarrett in it, and while it made sense to have Hardy in terms of his profile, this was during his initial post WWE run where he was pretty dreadful in the ring, probably not helped of course by what he might be doing outside of it. Hardy as a singles guy can be really hit and miss, but when he came back to WWE in 2006 through to the end of the Punk run I thought he was really good. Again, back in TNA you get the infamous Sting match where he's in no position to perform, but overall there was a lot of good stuff, particularly his matches with Austin Aries. Anyway, that's a lot of digressing - bottom line, is that Hardy is all over the place in this match. The storyline going in is that the ladder match stipulation favours Hardy, and that's shown by him dominating the early stages, which makes good sense. Hardy shows good fire. and you can't fault the effort of both guys, it's just they are on different pages. Hardy is trying to run through a greatest hits package of some of the moves he would do in the big tag ladder matches in the WWE while you get all the Jarrett NWA Title match tropes of refs being knocked out and outside interference. Hardy's had some great singles ladder matches, but just like someone like Sabu, that relies on him being on his game and hitting his spots. Here, there are not massive botches, although they mess up a sunset flip powerbomb twice in quick succession, but everything looks a bit odd. Jarrett for the most part's role in the match is just to stagger around and try to be vaguely in the right place while Hardy is throwing himself around. Most of the damage Hardy sustains is by missing big moves rather than anything Jarrett does, although that does play into a narrative of Hardy being a risk taker and Jarrett being a smart veteran. The other storyline going into the match was The Outsiders were in different corners; Hall with Jarrett and Nash with Hardy, although the pre-match video package makes it absolutely certain that Nash is going to turn on Hardy. Hall is fairly heavily involved throughout the match, at various times preventing Hardy from climbing and he actually takes some of the worst punishment in this. The match sort of meanders to the point where Nash comes out with two guitars, telegraphing what the finish from a million miles away. Hardy gets taken out by all three hitting him with guitars and Jarrett retains in the standard TNA way at this point. Post match we see what would soon to be named as the nWo Kings of Wrestling taking out a load of babyfaces, incl. AJ Styles until you get the bizarre and probably forgotten arrival of Randy Savage into TNA, for what would ultimately be one match where he would barely take part. Overall then, this is pretty poor - for a ladder match there are no memorable moments, and it suffers from one having one guy (Jarrett) who isn't natural in this type of match, one guy (Hardy) who is all over the place, and a heavily telegraphed and cliched turn that everyone would've seen coming. Not good (** 1/4)
  2. TonyPulis'Cap

    WWE TV 09/16 - 09/22 Stop pushing Seth down our throats!

    This is such a great point. If you go back and watch WWE TV from the mid 2000s it's striking the lack of diversity. Yes there used to be a token Japanese stereotype like a Kenzo Suzuki, but look at how few European wrestlers there were for example. There was maybe Regal and Finlay - who had been in the US so long at that point they were practically native - but nobody else. When Paul Burchill got signed for example in 2004/05, it was a massive deal for the UK indie scene here as NOBODY got that opportunity - they just weren't interested. Now you have English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, Dutch, Austrian, German, Swiss, Italian... And as you say, to see women from different ethnic backgrounds, and from Japan and China when previously the most 'exotic' you could be in WWE as a woman was to be Canadian then it makes for a refreshing change.
  3. Very much on board with this. The rational part of my brain rolls my eyes a little when people knock each other in interviews and social media, mainly as it often comes across as incredibly forced and cringey, and as a lot of people have pointed out we now live in a world where we can watch everything....but the other part of my brain, where you want to get lost in what you are watching and get wrapped up in people firing shots at one another says bring it on - as Log says, let them talk shit and then sit back and enjoy. I haven't really enjoyed WWE for a couple of years now, and willing AEW to succeed, not because I'm a Young Buck stan, but because I see it as beneficial for the industry as a whole to have some genuine competition to give WWE a kick up the backside and out of their comfort zone. I would just hope though that if the wrestlers on both 'sides' are going to be firing shots at each other they bring some decent material to the table!
  4. TonyPulis'Cap

    MLW Fusion, anyone watching it?

    Yeah, it turned out being a better show than I thought it would going in when you heard it would include matches from different tapings and a match from NOAH. Hammerstone looked decent in the match, with good presence, although as a few people have pointed out, seeing less people there than you get for a regular MLW show was a bit jarring. Also, of you were taking a drink for everytime the commentators talked about the lack of noise that Japanese fans make then you'd have a sore head the next morning. This isn't an MLW specific point, but I've always wondered if a weekly wrestling TV show with matches from different events and arenas in the mold of a sports highlight show like a Match of the Day here in the UK, would work rather than the more traditional model of a wrestling show that we typically get from most companies.
  5. TonyPulis'Cap

    Is Impact the best promotion in wrestling history?

    My thought on Impact the last few weeks can probably be best summed up by the phrase "I like where they are going, I'm just not quite enjoying how they are getting there". fully agree that the Bound for Glory card is looking like a good one, but the last few weeks of TV from Mexico have been pretty uninspiring. I'm hoping that the Vegas tapings step things up and have more energy to give us a hot lead into the PPV. I agree that the wedding party being crashed angle should be something to look out for. On top of what you've outlined already, I think (hope) we will get The North vs. Rich Swann & Wille Mack for the tag titles, which should be very good. In terms of Tessa's match, I've been saying for a while that I could see her winning the X Title from Jake Crist (he's an offshoot of the Sami storyline and cost her the No. 1 contenders match so it makes sense) as a trial run for putting her in a world title feud with Callihan if he beats Cage for the title.
  6. TonyPulis'Cap

    Is Impact the best promotion in wrestling history?

    So, while it was a good match between The North and LAX last week, I was a little disappointed given that going in I thought this could be excellent. With everything LAX have achieved in Impact and their careers being on the line, you wanted to feel more desperation and intensity in the match, but in the end, it was just 'a good match'. Obviously a massive blow to lose them from the company, but I have been impressed with The North since they won the titles and there's a fun couple of match ups on the table for them against the Rascalz and Rich Swann/Willie Mack. To me though, the rest of the show continued the rather uninspiring streak Impact has been on the last few weeks. I thought the Mexico shows with a more lively crowd would pick things up, however their roster is feeling very thin now and the shows seem really haphazard with some of the matches they've been putting on. If Bound fir Glory heads in the direction I think it will, then I think the card will be strong, but it's so far been a grind getting there. Cage vs Callihan looks like what they are going for with the title match but with the added twist of Cage proposing to Melissa Santos. Melissa was brilliant as a character in Lucha Underground, and I wonder if we are going to get a bit of reprise of her big story line there, with Callihan taking on the role of Marty the Moth. Hoping the shows can pick up again as we get closer to BFG.
  7. TonyPulis'Cap

    MLW Fusion, anyone watching it?

    Feel like I'm the lone person round here who still enjoys MLW! I can absolutely see the criticisms people have... but I enjoyed last week's show, and thought it was a good episode, in fact one of the stronger ones for a while. Just having the two matches meant both got some time - often MLW have really short changed their main events. The opener was indyriffic, both in terms of the action and also the look of the guys in the match, but the action was fun. And I liked the main event. The criticisms about Lawlor's strikes, I can very much see, as is often the way when you get legit MMA guys/boxers they end up over compensating and pulling things, and the match did get a bit repetitive, which can perhaps be chalked up to Fatu's inexperience or being asked to 'do more' than just his spots, but overall I liked it much better than others seemed to, with Lawlor's fire at the beginning making it more compelling than their first match. The closing angle was very much booking 101 when it comes to setting up a 4 on 4 match, but the reveal of Low Ki as the final member of Lawlor's team got a strong reaction and made sense in storyline as Contra targeted him a few months back. I'm looking forward to the cage match, although not them trying to squeeze another week out of the New York shows as Migs says. I wonder if Ki is being set up to be Fatu's challenger for the PPV.
  8. That is Squire Dave Taylor of WCW fame, and of course a British veteran. He’s brought in here as a mystery opponent for Drew McDonald, as part of the show long storyline that if any members of the Old School lose then they will be fired. On the face of it a slightly jarring, given Dave Taylor would seem a natural fit for the Old School, but it’s played up as him coming back to the UK to help the younger guys. Going into this match I was excited at the prospect of two tough veterans just laying into each other, but, while this match is technically solid, it’s really dull. I don’t mind a methodical pace, and there is a contrast in this match to what the younger guys on the card were doing, moving too fast and doing too much, but this tips over too much the other way. We some long battles over headlocks and a figure four, but I was hoping for much more of a heated brawl. Taylor doesn’t get to showcase much of his technical wrestling, while McDonald does little of interest. McDonald was a good character in the FWA and a good heel but very rarely were any of his matches any good, as he seemed reluctant to want to work with his opponent much, especially the young guys working the new indie style. Which is why I was disappointed in this one as I thought Taylor would’ve been the type of guy McDonald would’ve been more prepared to put the effort in against. The ending is fairly cliched as well, with McDonald’s manager Dean Ayass sacrificing himself as a distraction, allowing McDonald to hit the stunner for the win. This was the only match Taylor would work for the FWA. (* ½)
  9. This is essentially the beginning of the Family stable, a religious cult group that would become home to wrestlers on losing streaks or going nowhere with their career, with the idea that Brandon Thomas – ‘The Messiah’ – would give them direction. After the end of the Old School storyline, they would become arguably the top heels in the company in 2003. Before the match Paul Travell turns heel in his home town to become Thomas’ first member. In this match they are up against the New Breed, who in the early days of the FWA were it’s top tag team, but who are close to the end of their run as they would soon get squashed by the UK Pitbulls and then taken out by Paul Burchill at British Uprising a couple of months after this. This match is a bit of a mess. Despite being the company’s top team (the FWA’s tag division was never it’s strong point) the New Breed were very hit and miss. As they show here they hit some cool double teams, but were often attempting things above their skill level. In turn, Brandon Thomas was more of a personality than a wrestler, and while he has presence and charisma, brings very little to the table in being capable in ring. Travell for his part is still very raw here, but shows flashes of the decent worker he would turn into, and it’s his nutty bumping – which would become a staple for the rest of his FWA run – which makes this somewhat watchable. For the finish, the New Breed hit a double diamond cutter off the top rope, but rather than going for the pin go for a double van terminator, leaving Ashe to get hit behind the refs back with a chair, and Travell to score the win with a big splash from the top rope. This made sense to put The Family over to start building their momentum, but this one is really rough. (* ¼)
  10. TonyPulis'Cap

    Is Impact the best promotion in wrestling history?

    I also laughed out loud during the Ace Austin doing his best Daniel Craig impression and coming out of the sea. It was corny as hell, but as long as stuff like this is in the undercard it's perfectly harmless. I've also enjoyed Austin getting to be campy and over the top with it. The show being in Mexico added some energy to the last show and helps it look more 'big time' rather than the week before when they were taped from the tiny venue that Championship Wrestling from Hollywood films at. I'm never convinced the Mexican crowd are following along with the storylines too much, but maybe I'm not giving them enough credit. However the show itself was the poorest edition of Impact for a while, capped off by a dull main event. I hoped that Elgin and Rhino would have some fun brawls, but their matches have been really lethargic. I liked the Rasclaz vs Swann and Willie Mack tag match, but the less said about the women's trios match the better. The main highlight was The North/LAX promo which got me really fired up for the match between them next week. Obviously them turning up at All Out last night telegraphs the result somewhat, but it's still a match I'm looking forward to. So a real non event of a show this week, but Impact continues to be a promotion I enjoy and if the matches for Bound for Glory pan out as I think they might, then that should be another strong PPV from the company. Lets hope it comes with some buzz.
  11. Given the participants, and the chemistry that these two teams had - witness both the cage matches between them - this is a massive disappointment, and a complete mess. And a lot of it is down to the structure of the match inhibiting the wrestlers from being able to produce anything watchable. First of all, it's a gimmick better suited to one on one matches, second, while it's No DQ by definition as being a last man standing match, the wrestlers adhere to making tags after the first couple of mins where everyone is in the ring at the same time brawling. Then you have the rules whereby someone needs to be pinned before the 10 count is administered so you get - as can happen in Iron Man matches where people get pinned after a couple of mins by moves they would normally be kicking out of. While some of the work is decent because of the guys involved, because of the fundamental inhibitions of the match, it's so choppy with no flow. What AMW excelled in was classic southern tag formula but this doesn't allow that, as it's also elimination rules. The story coming in is that James Storm's knee was injured, but he doesn't really sell that much, although he is pinned and can't stand off a chair shot to the knee, which at least is logical. There is then a small heat section with Chris Harris having to fight of Daniels and Skipper but Daniels is eliminated very quickly, so we don't get much time for any heat to build from being two on one. I'm not sure where it happens, but Elix Skipper I think gets a concussion at some point - he definitely hits the back of his head hard on a chair for the final pin - and while it looks like he kicks out, the ref counts three anyway. In fact, both Daniels and Skipper's eliminations look botched. How bad this match is, can be summed up by the fact that Harris looks actively disgusted on being announced the winner, so happily they would get the chance to redeem themselves the next month with a terrific cage match at Turning Point. This match though is not good at all. (*)
  12. TonyPulis'Cap

    All Elite Wrestling

    Can't comment on his Dragon Gate stuff, but his first forays back onto the Indie scene, especially here in the UK got very mixed reviews from people. I think people were hoping he would be able to let loose, but instead in a lot of his matches it seemed like he was too intent on getting over his 'bastard' character to the detriment of the match. A lot of the negativity was more though that he never seemed like he could lose due to being a title holder in Dragon Gate, so you had matches against the likes of Zack Sabre Jnr and Will Ospreay where the matches themselves were good to great but had dodgy finishes, that the crowd knew was coming. Over the last few months though he's been much more impressive, in particular finding a really good formula when in their with some younger names where they've actually managed to take the crowds perceived belief he wont lose and manipulate this into creating real drama. As good examples see his matches with Michael Oku in RevPro and Cara Noir in Riptide, the latter of which is I think on Youtube. Cautiously optimistic that he's getting back into the groove now and finding the right balance between character and in ring.
  13. TonyPulis'Cap

    MLW Fusion, anyone watching it?

    Not too much to get excited about from the last couple of weeks of TV, although I did really enjoy the Teddy Hart/MJF main event from the most recent show. I like the chemistry that these two have, both in terms of in ring but also in their outside the ring interactions. You would never describe Teddy as the most sympathetic of babyfaces, but it's a massive credit to how much of a douchey heel MJF is by the fact he makes Teddy come across as a valiant hero. Given they have such different in ring styles they make the contrast really work and I think this is the second 1 on 1 match up in MLW between them I've really dug. As others have pointed out the Hart Foundation/Dynasty rivalry has been consistently the best part of the promotion.
  14. This is for the X Division Title, and came at the time when AJ would routinely bounce between being a contender for the X Title and then the World Title. This is from TNA's first 3 hour PPV, with the hook being that AJ is the X Division ace that Petey would have to overcome if he wanted to cement his own credibility as champion. Because of this there's a real buzz at the the beginning of the match from the crowd and the opening exchanges are really good with lots of intensity, and I liked, whether through reality or design that Petey looked to be having to work extra hard to keep up with AJ, who just felt like he was just getting started. I think this is the story they were trying to tell in the match, but ultimately it goes too far and this is way to one sided. Again, not sure if this is by design or just simply that in non kayfabe AJ is on that next level, but he just looks several notches above Petey here. He rolls out some fantastic sequences including a back flip off the apron and then scoring with a kick from behind, as well as dodging Scott D'Amore interference on the outside to score with a springboard forearm and is so smooth but also explosive in everything he does. Petey by contrast rarely gets to land a blow unless it's a opening caused by D'Amore distraction. I remember that being a criticism at the time that Team Canada matches wouldn't often devolve into too many D'Amore spots and that would overshadow matches, and that's the case here. When done right, manager involvement can be a fantastic storytelling tool but here the interference overwhelms the match, and while they were probably hoping for a bit of show stealer coming in, Petey comes across as nowhere in AJ's league and someone that flukes his way to retaining rather than being sneaky or resourceful. (** 3/4)
  15. All for people trying to be creative with stipulations and be different, but the whole "24 hours spent in solitary confinement with no food or water" is pretty hokey and save for them initially selling the reaction to the bright lights, means nothing once the actual match starts. There's some decent intensity in this, but it's a fairly average brawl with your typical garbage spots. Given he often put together the WWF Hardcore Title matches, I wouldn't be surprised if Raven was the one structuring this. I did enjoy Monty Brown a lot in both the match and his pre-match promo and it just reminds me that he could've been such a big star. He's still rough around the edges in the match itself but he had so much natural charisma and Goldbergesque explosiveness to him. As others have highlighted the double table spot for the finish is really well done and builds to a good crescendo, but I thought the rest of what went before it was pretty uninspiring. Abyss in particular would go onto have much better hardcore/Monsters Balls matches against the likes of Jeff Hardy and Sabu the next year.