Project Rewatch - TNA: The Good Shit

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Re: Project Rewatch - TNA: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Fri Apr 24, 2015 3:29 am

Hard Justice 2006
Tag Titles Match

AJ Styles & Christopher Daniels vs. LAX

I hated this match from almost the very beginning. There were numerous visible botches as mentioned by Bryan & Vinny. I don't know if Styles & Daniels should be blamed since they're the most complete performers, Hernandez should be blamed for being so green, or perhaps even Homicide, who I've heard conflicting things about in terms of how he works from a wrestler's perspective.

There was so much mistiming in this match, and it looked to finally be saved during the dives at the end of the second act. But then the third act, on a live globally broadcasted PPV mind you, became nothing more than an indyriffic spotfest. There was no attempt to maintain tag legalities, making the earlier parts when there was a buildup to a hot tag a complete waste of time. I am not going to shrug this off, for it's not like this was as crisp as Styles & Matt Sydal vs. Austin Aries & Jack Evans, or Aries & Roderick Strong vs. CIMA & Naruki Doi.

This was a bad match that if I was a trainer, I'd show to students on what not to do. Botches, mistiming, a green worker being exposed, and a third act that became nothing more than a scramble spofest, completely degrading the one substantial portion that took place earlier in the match. Fuck this match, and I am not exactly thrilled to revisit the in-ring portion of this feud right now.

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Re: Project Rewatch - TNA: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Fri Apr 24, 2015 3:44 am

Impact - August 24, 2006
Tag Titles - Hardcore Match

AJ Styles & Christopher Daniels vs. LAX

TIME STAMP - 2:47:02


Much easier to stomach this time since this was a hardcore match. So instead of them having to worry about building to hot tags and remembering who's legal, these four just went to war in a short but highly heated TV main event. Styles is wearing jeans and a T-shirt, while Daniels is in business gear, giving this hardcore match some rare authenticity.

They just brutalized each other, with Styles and Homicide brawling at ringside, while Daniels, who has a bandaged cut on his forehead, went right after the powerful Hernandez. But Styles got busted open too and was taken out by Hernandez, leaving Homicide to go to work on Daniels. Konnan got involved and attacked Daniels, allowing Homicide to hit an Ace Crusher through a table to crown new champions. No complaints here this time as this was definitely a hot direction at the time. This was short and to the point, similar to Carnage Crew vs. Natural Born Sinners at ROH's Crowning a Champion. ***

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Re: Project Rewatch - TNA: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Sat Sep 24, 2016 6:23 pm

No Surrender 2006 – September 24, 2006
Live from Orlando, FL

Tag Titles – Ultimate X Match
LAX vs. AJ Styles & Christopher Daniels

Hell of a spoffest here. The early highlights were Homicide hitting a Tope Con Hilo to Daniels, then Styles answering with a Fosbury Flop on him. Homicide was in pain in his right shoulder stemming from his match against Steve Corino at ROH’s Steel Cage Warfare, but that didn’t play significantly into this match overall. The match was largely a bomb-throwing contest, with of course various attempts by all the participants to reach the center of the X and bring down the solo title belt hanging.

Another highlight was Styles & Daniels taking turns on Hernandez with various bombs, including a Uranage, frog splash, Best Moonsault Ever, and Spiral Tap. (In fact, thinking about it a decade later – and only as of August 2016 viewing – I don’t believe Styles has pulled out the Spiral Tap yet on WWE television, and perhaps that should be preserved for a certain major event the company has planned for Orlando as a nod/middle finger to TNA.)

Homicide would unfortunately never land the Kudo Driver, which likely cost his team ultimately. Hernandez was unable to hit the Border Toss to Styles from the ring through an outside table too, which certainly didn’t help LAX’s cause. He did however hit a Jackknife Powerbomb on Styles that could probably even make someone as cynical and condescending as Kevin Nash pop.

Styles would take out Homicide via a Styles Clash through that outside table from the apron, and then Konnan attacked him with a flapjack. Konnan failed to hit Daniels in the ring with it after the Fallen Angel shoved Hernandez off. Instead, a company highlight occurred as he climbed the top of a corner structure of the X and then jumped to the center, landing safely to hang on (both in reality and from the kayfabe bad intentions of Konnan), bringing down the belt to reclaim the titles. At the time a decade ago, there was some uproar (mostly from Bryan Alvarez) about how dangerous this move was for Daniels. While it certainly wasn’t the safest, perhaps from being desensitized by far more insane stunts over the years, it didn’t look to be quite so risky under 2016 lenses. Definitely a memorable finish. ***3/4

Of course, the big, big, BIG historic news coming out of this event a decade ago…




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Re: Project Rewatch - TNA: The Good Shit

Post by project161 » Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:33 pm

I'd mention Samoa Joe/Rhino/Monty Brown from Hard Justice as being among the very best matches for TNA in 2006. Very fun brawl. Monster's Ball II from Bound For Glory 2005 is in the same category.

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Re: Project Rewatch - TNA: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Sat Sep 24, 2016 10:06 pm

Zero substance in those plunder matches.

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Re: Project Rewatch - TNA: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Thu Sep 29, 2016 12:06 am

Capital Punishment – September 29, 2006
Taped from Richmond, VA

Tag Titles Match
AJ Styles & Christopher Daniels vs. LAX

Good house show main event as would be expected. Magnum TA had appeared earlier on the card, so Konnan shit on him and Richmond in a pre-match promo, with Daniels then responding minutes later by saying “we’re gonna kick your punk ass, bitch” followed up with a pie-face to the HOFer.

The champs got the heat early as Daniels took a page from Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 21, using constant headlocks to throw Homicide off. Eventually the heel challengers would gain the advantage though, cutting the ring in half on Daniels and getting Konnan’s assistance occasionally for distractions. Homicide even pulled a babyface move, but it worked due to LAX’s Latino pride gimmick at the time – Eddie Guerrero’s “Three Amigos” suplex chain, followed up by a frog splash attempt.

Once Hernandez and Styles got tagged in, the match fell apart a bit as the ref counted non-legal pins. While this didn’t kill the match dead, it dragged it down from very good to potentially great territory. The highlight of the match was a flawlessly fluid springboard inverted DDT by Styles on Hernandez, not giving LAX’s muscle even a fraction of a second to block or counter it. Modern WWE viewers would be familiar with this spot, as Styles also pulled it off in March 2006 against the New Day on Raw.

Konnan’s shoving of the referee and attempt to use the flapjack backfired, as he accidentally struck Homicide. This allowed the champs to double-team Hernandez and finish him with a Styles frog splash. I appreciated that the actual legal men at the end, that being Styles and Hernandez, was the deciding pin fall in the match. If only the ref had enforced tag legalities for this match to reach its optimal storytelling potential. ***1/4

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Re: Project Rewatch - TNA: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Wed Oct 12, 2016 7:47 pm




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Re: Project Rewatch - TNA: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Wed Oct 19, 2016 9:38 pm


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Re: Project Rewatch - TNA: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:11 pm

Bound For Glory 2006 – October 22, 2006
Taped from Detroit, MI

X-Division Title Match
Low Ki vs. Chris Sabin




This match reminded me that Ki would be a PERFECT face for WWE’s currently resurrected Cruiserweight Division instead of TJ Perkins. Anyone more well-versed on Ki’s career can correct me, but I’m 99.9% certain he’s gotten over in every federation he’s worked, so this was a depressing reminder that he never got past the underground stardom and mainstream curtain-jerking that many of his indy peers were able to pull off in the past 5 years. It was also quite poetic to see the Mortal Kombat: Armageddon advertisements on the canvas knowing Ki’s influence from the Liu Kang character.

Despite Sabin being a Detroit native, the crowd was pretty split because of how fucking excellent Ki is. They had a damn good lockup early bringing back memories of the 2/3 falls masterpiece between Paul London and Bryan Danielson, and the champ would get the advantage with stiff kicks. Sabin cut that off pretty quickly thanks to an arm drag and La Magistral cradle, but Ki cut that off with another kick, triggering another chant. The match truly got hot when Ki had a clear advantage midway through. After stunning a standing Sabin on the apron, Ki ran the ropes, only for Sabin to take advantage and hit a springboard missile dropkick to pop the Motor City. Due to Ki’s delivered punishment however, Sabin couldn’t follow up immediately for a pin or other attacks.

This gave Sabin the extended head though, allowing him to launch at Ki on the outside and then eventually hit a Cradle Shock after blocking a Ki Crusher attempt. This would be an incredible near-fall, one I had no problem with because at this time, TNA was intending for this to be its annual Granddaddy of ‘Em All, no matter how flawed the efforts were proven to be in the long run. Sabin attempted to top that with a Super Cradle Shock, but Ki blocked it and then managed to maintain balance on just his left foot on the middle rope, while cutting off the challenger with more stiff right kicks to the chest to an incredible pop.

The finish was a bit anticlimactic, as instead of going on to end with the teased Super Cradle Shock, which would’ve gone a long way in cementing this event as the company’s Super Bowl AND Ki’s status in replacing Joe’s role as the division’s bad-ass juggernaut, Sabin won with a surprise small package. So instead of being a terrific match, one that could’ve defined this event both on its own and its long-term branding, and one that could’ve defined the division and company too, this settled on being just a very good one. The crowd was quite enthusiastically on board with taking this one over the top, it’s just a shame a fitting finish wasn’t utilized to maximize it. ***3/4

Hardcore Match
Rhino vs. Christian Cage




This could be viewed as tasteless in a world after Chris Benoit, as this storyline was based on Christian causing Rhino to suffer a number of concussions. It’s ironic that it wasn’t the other way around considering where both men stand a decade later. The Detroit crowd didn’t seem to care about Rhino as a hometown guy, instead rooting for Christian to have underhanded advantages, including one involving a straightjacket.

This was somewhat similar to what the Motor City had seen just a couple weeks earlier involving the Briscoes against Samoa Joe & Homicide. Whereas in that one it started in the ring, led to a brawl to the outside, and then came back into the ring, this one started outside the building and then came to ringside. I found the Zamboni part that transitioned the match from backstage towards ringside to be a nice nod to another terrific moment in the Motor City’s rich wrestling history, that being 8 years earlier on Raw involving Steve Austin.

This was quite the plunder match at ringside too, as these guys took some hits in this one but also mixed in some nice cut offs and transitions. There’s an understandable degree of difficulty in watching Rhino take unprotected plunder blows to the head in a post-Benoit world, although the drama they provided honestly can’t be denied. It appeared that this match surprisingly didn’t lead to Christian being forced into retirement many years later, as I didn’t notice any obvious blows to his head. If there was one, it would’ve been in the highlight of this spectacle when Rhino piledrove him off the apron through the table, which cranked up the crowd drama in an instant and deservedly so.

The finish came when Rhino was down and Christian stacked a bunch of plunder on top of Rhino, then channeled Austin at WrestleMania X-Seven, just delivering numerous blows with a chair as Mike Tenay screamed about concussions on commentary. Based on what I could see, I don’t believe this particular finish actually delivered any blows to Rhino’s head actually. This was definitely the right finish to establish Christian as a ruthless motherfucker, and he obviously had far more upside to eventually get reinserted back into the top mix. ***

Tag Titles – Cage Match
AJ Styles & Christopher Daniels vs. LAX




For once, a tag match won’t be penalized by me for tag legality reasons. Instead, this should’ve always started as a free-for-all, rather than a standard tag match involving tags at the beginning. This is after all a cage match to end a true grudge feud.

I enjoyed Homicide bringing a fork into this match to cut the forehead of Daniels open; I’m not sure if the TNA audience had seen this part of the Notorious 187’s arsenal yet at the time. Daniels would reciprocate later, only to get choked with a coat hanger, which would play into the finish.

Before getting into the finish, the easy highlight of the match wouldn’t be a missed splash from the top of the cage by Hernandez. Instead, it would be Styles blocking Homicide’s Superplex attempt from the top of the cage; this caused Daniels underneath Homicide to backdrop the red-hot ROH star while Hernandez powerbombed Daniels. With Styles on top, that gave the future Hall of Famer the opportunity to surprise Hernandez with a crossbody from the top of the cage, bringing Detroit to a frenzy.

With Daniels eventually taken out of the equation by Konnan using the coat hanger, that left Styles prone to double-teaming, causing him to fall victim to the Kudo Driver. I was happy that was the finish, as I would’ve been so pissed off, even with this being advertised as TNA's biggest annual event, had the Kudo Driver's inevitable false finish moment not been saved for ROH’s Final Battle 2006 still a couple months away.

While I’m glad LAX won this feud to hopefully become the cornerstones of the tag division, I do wonder where this leaves Styles & Daniels individually. There’s a bit of a log jam at the top with Joe, Sting, Christian, and Kurt Angle, along with the now totally overpushed Jeff Jarrett thanks to those 4 mentioned names in the company, but the two of them are also above the current X-Division scene involving Ki, Sabin, Jay Lethal, Jerry Lynn, and Sonjay Dutt. ***1/2
Last edited by supersonic on Sat Oct 29, 2016 1:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Project Rewatch - TNA: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Sat Oct 29, 2016 12:08 am


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Re: Project Rewatch - TNA: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Mon Oct 31, 2016 12:18 pm


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Re: Project Rewatch - TNA: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Wed Nov 02, 2016 9:43 pm


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Re: Project Rewatch - TNA: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Thu Nov 10, 2016 11:36 pm


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Re: Project Rewatch - TNA: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Thu Nov 10, 2016 11:47 pm




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Re: Project Rewatch - TNA: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Wed Nov 16, 2016 11:06 pm

Impact – November 16, 2006
Taped from Orlando, FL

This is a prime time debut for the company’s Thursday slot, so some PPV-quality shit got hot-shotted on here, including a gimmick cage match feud-ender and a historic debut match.

Barbed Wire Cage Match
Rhino vs. Christian Cage

Time stamp 1:18:33


Good enough although the finish was cheap. Christian wore a crimson mask at some point and pretty much got decimated by Rhino not that he didn’t room to run away and be opportunistic. However, Christian would find ways to get the advantage, including cutting off Rhino on the top rope to deliver a Super Unprettier for a near-fall, and also using a straight jacket later on. Hearing in the storyline that Rhino ignored a doctor’s medical opinion to sit out due to concussions, and then the cheap finish of Christian winning because he was speared and his feet touched the floor from a fence breaking, makes this not age as well as it should have. This won’t be the last cage match of 2006 that has a cheap ending for me to shit on. ***

In a match I am unavailable to find to watch anywhere online in its entirety, be it free or purchase, be it legal or illegal, Kurt Angle wins his first-ever TNA match in the main event against Abyss, the #1 contender to the TNA Title. This is a lazy, counterproductive way to attract prime time Thursday debut ratings. There’s no excuse on the go-home show for the top title’s #1 contender to be jobbing clean, so to draw ratings and promote Angle’s dream match against Joe, and make THAT match his historic debut so people must pay their fucking money to actually see such history, have a weigh-in segment with final words and a possible white-hot brawl that surpasses all of their prior brawls.

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Re: Project Rewatch - TNA: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:20 pm

Genesis 2006 – November 19, 2006
Live from Orlando, FL

X-Division Title Match
Christopher Daniels vs. Chris Sabin

Yep, AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels have been thrown back into the X-Division, which rather than elevating the X-Division, is actually a demotion for the two of them. It was time here to advance the two of them up the card after their run as a tag team. The X-Division title has been a game of hot potato too. Instead of continuing the program of Chris Sabin and Low Ki after their show-stealing match the month before, it bounced from Sabin to Styles to Daniels on various episodes of Impact. Sabin has also turned heel in the meantime, which I’m not the biggest fan of both in-real time a decade ago and in retrospect. Perhaps Sabin as a cocky motherfucker for having dethroned Ki and becoming a diet version of Bryan Danielson’s ROH Title reign would’ve been a bit better, building him up as a cocky winner that the fans would be begging to see get humbled.

So Cal Val standing at the edge of the entrance ramp just so the camera can show her legs and short skirt definitely doesn’t age well a decade later as a production decision. Too blatant in its raunchiness half a decade after the Monday Night War had ended.

Sabin is pretty natural as a heel with his early dominance, and the rapport Daniels had generated with the Impact Zone audience in the past couple years definitely played a party. It’s actually astounding in retrospect that from this point, Sabin wasn’t kept in a heel role, or in the other career-highlight role of his that’s been on-again, off-again throughout his career (more on that later.)

Sabin’s cockiness was matched by the superior experience of Daniels, who was happy to go to work on the challenger. Sabin’s cut-offs were awesome though as he continued taunting the crowd and teasing but not then delivering on high-risk aerial attacks, instead getting vicious on the champion. The crowd has such respect for Daniels that Sabin doesn’t even really have to put forth much effort as a heel, but he stills does anyway. He’s fantastic cutting off the comeback attempts of Daniels.

Styles prevents Sabin from using a chair; Sabin’s attempt to break the rules is enough for Daniels to finally make a comeback. Daniels is terrific still selling Sabin’s damage as he has the heat, while also remaining focused. With that said, as soon as Daniels signals for the BME, that’s enough for Sabin to sniff it out and regain control. Sabin makes the mistake of trying to repeat a springboard DDT, which Daniels counters with a Death Valley Driver and then a follow-up BME to pop the crowd.

Sabin still has plenty of ammo left as he blocks the Angel’s Wings, but his Cradle Shock is countered by Daniels with a crucifix pin attempt. It then ends quickly when Daniels gets Sabin in a pin variation, which is a bit of an anticlimactic ending to what could’ve been an excellent match.

I hate the post-match booking as Jerry Lynn tells Sabin not to attack Daniels with a chair, instead show respect. Sabin pretends to oblige, only to sucker Daniels anyway. What I hate about this is that this means Lynn is being inserted, when I have a much better alternative: Sabin and Daniels could’ve been feuding here, but in the tag team division in a dream program pitting the Motor City Machine Guns against AJ Styles & Christopher Daniels. MCMG could’ve won that program to then move onto a Tag Titles program against LAX, while Styles and Daniels could’ve then rekindled their rivalry. ***1/2

Christian Cage vs. AJ Styles

Great match on paper to have for this event, but it was only confirmed in the past 72 hours so this has very little build. Apparently Christian hasn’t been pinned or submitted yet in his first year of TNA. Imagine him against a certain Samoan provided both come out of this event still unbeaten in TNA…

The two have a terrific lockup at the beginning, one I’d show to students if I ran a wrestling school. I’d actually hope it’s being shown at WWE’s Performance Center, as it was textbook beautiful. Once that part ended and the action really started, it continued to be tremendous. There was a scary bump when Styles lifted Christian up and the latter almost landed straight on his shoulder, but they kept business as usual going.

Christian took plenty of powders for mind games attempts. On the second one, Styles went for a successful somersault senton to pop the crowd, although the back of his left knee struck the top of a guard rail. Christian would get an extended advantage when he blocked an apron attack and forced Styles to bump on it, further damaging the legs of Styles. Christian seemingly had no real answer to cut off Styles before this.

Styles teased a comeback via a kip-up head-scissors but got quickly cut off and also missed a Stinger Splash. Mike Tenay is awesome on commentary, pointing out that Styles missed the Stinger Splash because of his leg striking the guard rail. After awhile, Styles finally cut off Christian’s assault via n Ushigoroshi, but missed a frog splash

A top-rope struggle had Styles win it via a hurricanrana. They then had a slugfest but Christian fell victim to running the ropes for Styles to hit a dropkick and more follow-up attacks. Christian begging for mercy was a false move by him, but it was mind games by Styles actually. Styles allowed a Monkey Flip and lands on the middle ropes, then hit a flawless moonsault inverted DDT.

Christian avoided an aerial attack and hit a spear, reminding me of the sadness I feel that Styles never got to face Christian’s greatest tag team partner. They sniffed out each other’s finishes so Styles hit a Pele kick for a near-fall. Christian countered another aerial attack with a powerbomb for a couple near-falls. This caused Christian to become frustrated and bring in a chair, but Daniels arrived to prevent that. Styles tried to use Christian’s positioning to bring him down for a pin, but the tug-of-war between Christian and Daniels with the chair kept Christian upright, and then he sat on Styles for the victorious pin.

I hated this finish, and even more so the post-match. As Styles and Daniels bicker, it doesn’t lead to a program between the two over the X-Division Title, which would’ve been a decent direction perhaps for them to settle who’s the better between the two and ultimate icon of the division after all. Instead, Rhino comes out and wants the two to squash their beef, not wanting them to become engaged in warfare like he’d done with his former friend Christian. Styles declines and says he doesn’t want advice, then just leaves. Why the fuck was Styles being programmed against Rhino a decade ago? Why the fuck did anyone think this was a good time for Styles to turn heel?

As for Christian vs. Styles, it was a fucking excellent match that was ruined by horrid booking that defined this entire show prior to the dream match main event to come at the end of the evening. ***3/4

Dream Match
Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe



Off-the-charts atmosphere at the start of this match and for damn good reason. I fucking loved that Angle got the early advantage on a lockup and pushed Joe back to the corners. That sends a clear message that Angle has the better technique, which is further enhanced by Angle performing a single-leg takedown on Joe. This isn’t a squash match though as Joe quickly regains the advantage. That is cut off when Angle gives Joe an overhead belly-to-belly suplex.

Joe goes the outside and sweeps Angle onto the apron, then gives him the same swing into the guard rail that Styles, CM Punk, and Bryan Danielson had gotten to experience in the past. Angle’s comeback via some uppercuts is for naught when he gets overzealous and charges at Joe, eating a ring post. Joe then immediately follows that up with a suicide elbow and he’s in control from there, ramming the Hall of Famer’s head into steel ring steps.

From that point, Angle had a bleeding forehead and that allowed Joe to significantly dominate this classic. Without question, I was a dipshit not to see a decade ago how much this match elevated Joe’s stock. Joe was merciless going after Angle’s forehead cut. It was a thing of beauty to see Joe cut off Angle’s come back attempts. At this point as Joe crossfaced Angle, the crowd was engaged in fantastic dueling chants, with Angle surely feeding off of it. But no matter what, Joe would just cut off Angle, determined to make an example and cement his status as TNA’s true alpha male against his biggest star opponent to date.

This was no squash of course though, as Angle had fantastic cut offs and near-falls, while the blood drainage would prevent him from getting an extended advantage. Angle’s experience came into play, for when Joe missed a corner attack, Angle immediately hit him with rolling German Suplexes. Like Christian earlier in the night against Styles, Joe almost took a scary bump when he slipped on the last one. Angle’s vision was clearly obstructed which explained that.

Joe obviously did his homework studying Angle in the film room, countering an Angle Slam with an arm drag. A musclebuster proves to be a near-fall, which I’m fine with as the match had yet to reach a climatic point despite the amazing atmosphere provided by the audience. Angle looked to have done his homework too, blocking a Coquina Clutch and hitting an Angle Slam for a near-fall. Many fans at this point were chanting for Angle to “Make him tap!” and the Olympic gold medalist was feeding off of it, going for the ankle lock. At this point the crowd was in a frenzy. I appreciated that Joe was in position for the ankle lock due to selling the Angle Slam.

Joe managed to break the ankle lock and get angle in the Coquina Clutch for another fantastic false finish. Angle grabbed Joe’s left ankle, forcing the choke to be broken as the crowd reached a fever pitch. Joe used his weight to throw Angle over to break it, only to get overzealous again and get hit with an Angle Slam.

Angle gets the ankle lock on for a third time, then sits down to finalize it. Joe is unable to reach the ropes, and finally taps out for his first defeat during his time in TNA, a tenure that had started 17 months earlier. I’m fine with that from a storytelling standpoint, since it was the third ankle lock, which meant Angle had provided enough sustained damage to force Joe into submission.

In the post-match, Joe admits defeat and congratulates Angle for being the better man tonight, then offers a handshake and requests a rematch. In a surprise, Angle blows it off and leaves Joe. Whatever issues I had with this booking a decade ago are gone, as I can now see that this was Angle using Joe to send a message to the TNA locker room, plus it was a competitive mind game. It was easy to forget at the time, but Angle was also established for the majority of his time in WWE as a heel, sometimes a comedic coward, sometimes a brutal bastard. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to believe that having defeated TNA’s top dog on his first night in the company, when also combined with his success in WWE, Angle was now a cocky motherfucker that thought of himself as king shit.

Even in defeat, this match was structured to put Joe over as strongly as possible. He dominated the match, he forced Angle to bleed, he cut off Angle over and over again. It took 3 ankle lock submission attempts to force him into submission as well. That the match was only a dozen minutes or so didn’t hurt this either. While this dream match wasn’t on par with the 2005 dream matches pitting Angle against Shawn Michaels and Joe against Kenta Kobashi, this was nonetheless an excellent match elevated by an incredibly enthusiastic crowd. One fact that many others may not have grasped too is that Earl Hebner officiated this match, was brilliant to me. I firmly believe Hebner was the perfect choice for this as he and Angle would be familiar with each other’s habits from their time in WWE, ensuring as much as possible that Angle would deliver on such a big night for the company and help the former WWE Champion transition into TNA.

This is a match that I will definitely revisit again and again in the future. What it lacks in expected usual length for a PPV main event is more than made up for by a crazy crowd and intelligent match structure to keep both guys looking like bad-asses coming out of this, capped off with a post-match that left the audience wanting to see more chapters out of these two. For the first ever Kurt Angle match I’ve reviewed, while I still have reservations of what’s to come as I revisit more of his time in TNA, I am very pleased and he certainly looked like the all-time great here that many claim him to be. ****1/4

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Re: Project Rewatch - TNA: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Sat Dec 10, 2016 3:56 pm

Turning Point 2006 – December 10, 2006
Live from Orlando, FL

Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe



A preface:

The recent momentous decision of Goldberg humbling Brock Lesnar is one that I found comparable to Angle humbling Joe a decade earlier at Genesis 2006. It led to a huge overreaction on the part of many on both ends of the spectrum. What cannot be denied is that both decisions shared the similarity of being unforgettable for the history of their respective federations, year-defining moments for the wrestling industry, and opened a healthy discussion about giving the rub of a seemingly unstoppable juggernaut’s abrupt buzz-saw run to an already proven, established outsider.

I bring up Goldberg vs. Lesnar because for all the buzz it has gotten, for all the analysis it has gotten and will continue to get in the coming months, one thing is for certain: WWE will not be wasting the fucking rematch at Roadblock 2016 (PPV). It will not be wasted at Fast Lane 2017. It’s very obviously planned for a much, much, much bigger stage, likely WrestleMania 33. It isn’t gonna be rushed like John Cena vs. Kevin Owens turned out to be.

So rewind a decade to TNA. The Angle vs. Joe dream match was white-hot, generating all kinds of buzz and even doing some damn good business for the company. So instead of using the opportunity of Joe’s first defeat to make him stronger, angrier, more focused and determined in order to get Angle’s agreement to a rematch over a significant period of time, it just gets rushed to the next PPV just 3 weeks later. If Bound For Glory was supposed to be TNA’s WrestleMania, then there’s no excuse for Lockdown, which was under negotiations for its 2007 edition to be in a new location just like Bound For Glory 2006 had been, not to be treated as the company’s SummerSlam. With Lockdown 2007 planned to be in a new market, meaning tickets need to be sold and not in the comfortable Orlando home base, that’s the perfect event to have finally presented the Angle vs. Joe rematch, a sequel that would’ve been 5 months in the making and possibly for the TNA Title as well, serving as a compliment to the annual Lethal Lockdown spectacle. I also like the rubber match taking place at Bound For Glory 2007, making it a long-term program straight out of modern-day NJPW’s playbook. A poetic piece of storytelling would’ve fallen in TNA’s laps too, because that show would’ve been in Atlanta, where Angle had won his Olympic Gold Medal in 1996.

Instead, TNA wanted to prove on December 10, 2006, “No, Pro Wrestling NOAH, you’re going back to Misawa and giving up on Marufuji? Oh fuck off, WE’RE the kings of penny smart, dollar dumb booking!” Not only was this money rematch rushed less than an entire month after the original, but it also had some absolutely wretched booking in the weeks leading up to it, booking so bad that I am ignoring it entirely as if it never happened, and I recall there was one moment that even the TNA bookers knew was so bad it had to be ignored because otherwise it would’ve murdered interest in this rematch.

Rushing the rematch just 3 weeks after the original also left a bit of a bad taste for those who had ordered Genesis 2006 on PPV, me being among them. Such a historic PPV and dream match hadn’t been given time to resonate with the audience, we hadn’t had a chance to get a breather, analyze it to death for months, and ache, crave, and beg once again to see two of the best performers of the 2000s decade collide once again.

With that booking analysis out of the way, it’s time to review the actual rematch.

Not included in the YouTube upload is the pre-match video. I’m not a fan of Angle changing his mind about Joe’s rematch request, citing he had gotten an opportunity at an amateur rematch in the 1996 Olympics. I’d have much preferred for Angle to just keep blowing off Joe instead of going through this generosity phase. At least he says Joe deserves a rematch because of everything Joe had accomplished in TNA prior to their dream match though. Angle also admits he took Joe too lightly, explaining why Joe put him through an absolute beating. Angle goes out of his way to put Joe’s effort in their dream match over, but I still would’ve preferred him as an arrogant asshole who feels he already proven himself to Joe. “Win, lose, or draw, this is my last match against Samoa Joe.” Sure thing.

Many a decade ago said this was the quality they had hoped for in their first match. I can see why that is, since this is lengthier and the content more competitive to make this feel like a battle of equals. Even though Angle had agreed to a rematch out of respect, the two had a very competitive animosity towards one another. The ferocity of their cut-offs was something to behold and I’m surprised hasn’t spilled over into WWE more as many TNA-branded talents have jumped there in the past couple years. If the Brock Lesnar vs. Shinsuke Nakamura rematch ever happens in WWE, I’m hoping it has the grumpy demeanor of this classic.

I loved that Angle threw Joe’s face into the steel steps as a receipt from their first match. It was a great little piece of storytelling in a match packed with it. In particular, they had each other far more scouted with their trademark arsenal, not just the big signature moves, but even smaller tendencies. Angle also seemed more determined this time to make an example out of Joe, playing dirty at times in a sign of things to come.

Joe’s selling after escaping the ankle lock numerous times was top-notch. Even as he’d make comebacks, he’d limp as he’d be forced to put weight on it in around to move around, allowing Angle to stay in the match right with him. As the match reached its third act and they countered back-and-forth between the ankle lock and Coquina Clutch, it got more dramatic with each one, surging an already-energetic crowd that was stoked from the opening bell. I really appreciated that Joe not only broke out of the ankle lock so many times, but that it was more than 3, which had been the killer for him 3 weeks earlier. The tease of him giving in again was off-the-charts, just as compelling as when Shawn Michaels tried so hard to avoid tapping out at the end of his dream match against Angle at WrestleMania 21. Of course in this instance, Joe managed to actually break it and reach the ropes, elevating his stock.

Angle was equally gripping when substantially stuck in the Coquina Clutch, looking just as tempted to tap out to it as Lesnar was against CM Punk’s triangle choke years later at SummerSlam 2013. Angle is often credited as one of the few major league stars to come into TNA and give everything he possibly had to elevate TNA, and his performances so far against Joe certainly confirm that.

This was on its way to being undoubtedly superior to the first match, but I was genuinely irritated when there was a ref bump. It took me out of what was on its way to challenging or possibly surpassing Joe vs. Christopher Daniels on the first-ever Thursday night episode of Impact 8 months earlier as TNA’s best match of 2006. There’s a logic to it though, as Angle took an exaggerated shove when pushed back by Joe, so it can arguably be seen as intentional. That would explain that after Angle tapped out to the Coquina Clutch as the ref was unavailable, he kicked Joe in the groin from behind, grabbed a chair, and tried using it. The commentary said he was frustrated from having tapped out even if it wasn’t counted; I prefer to see it as Angle realizing that Joe was now on his level and he couldn’t accept that.

Angle eventually tapping out minutes later again to the Coquina Clutch to end this classic was a great moment, although obviously would’ve meant much more had this rematch been delayed and built for a more important event. Since a ref bump was brought into the equation so that Angle could cheat in an attempt to win, I actually would’ve preferred that story to be told with full gusto. Let Angle have this dirty victory to incense Joe, the fans, and the locker room. He then believes that he’s truly superior based on his success in the amateur ranks and WWE, plus he’s now gone 2-0 against the “unstoppable” Joe. Angle can keep coming up with excuses to avoid Joe’s quest for retribution, while also attempting to pull power-plays based on his star power and proven box office appeal. This allows the 3rd match to be built to for Lockdown 2007, with everyone thirsting and salivating for Joe, who’s now a complete babyface due to Angle’s bullshit, to get the elusive victory. Since Angle would’ve been avoiding Joe for so long too, that gives a storyline reason for it to be a cage match, rather than just because “every match at Lockdown is a cage match, dammit.”

Nonetheless, Angle vs. Joe II was still an excellent main event on its way to being in the tippy-top tier in TNA’s history, only to be dragged down by half-assed sports-entertainment booking that came across as being shoehorned in this match instead of organically weaved to enhance the story. ****1/4

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Re: Project Rewatch - TNA: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Sat Jan 14, 2017 1:26 am

Final Resolution 2007 – January 14, 2007
Live from Orlando, FL

NWA-TNA Title Shot – 30 Minute Iron Man Match
Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe

This never reached a fever pitch; there were dueling chants at times, but the lack of fantastic heat proved that this rubber match definitely got the incorrect hot-shot treatment instead of being meticulously built to for a stage such as Lockdown or Bound For Glory. The story itself in the match was fine, although neither man had much of an engaging control segment or comeback.

I’ve no problem with this match having a total of 5 falls, as Don West and Mike Tenay clarified on commentary that this type of match necessitates such a strategy; why risk a broken ankle for the next 15 minutes, when one can just eat a fall and have less damage? The ankle work was solid by Angle to soften up Joe for the ankle lock and take away his base for finishers such as the musclebuster and Island Driver, but again it never felt epic.

Joe’s selling was also good but nothing spectacular. Once he was able to hit the musclebuster, it lacked the spectacle to make it meaningful; Angle reaching his foot on the ropes couldn’t come close to the Manhattan Center shaking up and down 4 months earlier when Bryan Danielson did the same thing after eating KENTA’s Go to Sleep. Joe getting Ange in the sitdown ankle lock was a nice reverse-nod to Angle’s classic against Chris Benoit at Royal Rumble 2003, and ditto towards his classic against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 21 as Angle held on for dare life to avoid a tie as the clocked ticked to zero. It should come as no surprise that Angle won here, not just because TNA didn’t see the power in elevating Joe, but in storyline, Joe doesn’t have a rich Iron Man match history, while Angle did against Michaels Benoit, and Brock Lesnar. ***1/2

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Re: Project Rewatch - TNA: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Sun Mar 12, 2017 1:14 pm

Destination X 2007 – March 11, 2007
Live from Orlando, FL

NWA-TNA Title Match
Christian Cage vs. Samoa Joe

Joe dominated early as expected, with referee Rudy Charles being liberal as they brawled through the crowd, opting not to count them out. There were some nasty bumps in this one, including Christian eating a modified Uranage on the floor that was quite audible once he landed on the ground. There were other bad bumps taken that indicated they may not have had the best chemistry, the biggest one being Joe’s face hitting the apron and/or floor during an Elbow Suicide, causing him to grab his nose and forehead.

The basics and standard moves were all good, and this could’ve possibly been a great PPV main event to eventually build to a money rematch. However, because this is a TNA main event and it’s not Joe going up against Kurt Angle, the trademark overbooking kicked in. X-Division stars kept Christian from retaining by count out, and there were ref bumps aplenty. That was somewhat offset by Christian overcoming a musclebuster (albeit because of a slow count) and avoiding the Coquina Clutch completely, but when compared at the time to WWE’s main event scene of John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels and Batista vs. Undertaker, this had some obvious room for improvement.

Rating: ***1/2

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Re: Project Rewatch - TNA: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Sat May 13, 2017 3:46 pm

Lockdown 2007 – April 15, 2007
Live from St. Louis, MO

Lethal Lockdown
Christian Cage, Tomko, Abyss, Scott Steiner, & AJ Styles vs. Kurt Angle, Rhino, Sting, Jeff Jarrett, & Samoa Joe

Hell of a War Games styles match, taken down just a bit by an anticlimactic storyline finish. Steiner and Joe came into the match as great houses of fire; in particular, Styles was excellent making Joe look like a million bucks, whereas Steiner threw overhead belly-to-belly suplexes aplenty, then provided an early highlight by giving a Super Hurricanrana to Rhino. Abyss would bring thumbtacks into the equation courtesy James Mitchell, who would be taken out by Harley Race.

Those thumbtacks definitely came into play, although they couldn’t close to being as epic and meaningful as Necro Butcher’s tacks 9 months earlier at Death Before Dishonor IV. Once everyone was in the match to begin the Lethal Lockdown portion, Angle and Styles went on top of the cage structure to battle. As they engaged, Rhino speared Tomko out of the ring through the cage door, allowing the action to spill to the outside. This benefited Styles when he lost the striking battle to Angle on top, flipping off the cage in exhaustion onto a pile of his contemporaries.

Christian took a bump he honestly didn’t need to take, but showed what a team player he was during his 3 years in TNA, when he ate a double chokeslam onto the first bag of thumbtacks. This made the bump Abyss took at the end of the match more meaningful, as he used the second bag of thumbtacks to load Jarrett’s guitar. This backfired when Sting subdued him, and then Jarrett finished Abyss off, and allowed Sting to get the pin, earning an NWA-TNA title match against Christian next month at Sacrifice 2007. Don’t care at all about Jarrett becoming a reformed, altruistic babyface, but Hell of a spectacle. ***3/4

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