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Wednesday, 8 September 2010

TNA No Surrender "As Live" notes

Just settling down to watch No Surrender. I'll comment as I go along, so you get an as-live, stream of consciousness style commentary from me........

Long opening video. Set the tone for the evening well. Clearly Angle is positioned as the star. It does put into question the booking of Hardy, mind you.

Gen Me replacing London Brawling is a big disappointment for this writer. Nothing against the Bucks, but I wanted to see Nick and Nigel (Dah, I mean Desmond and Magnus) get a chance to shine. I don't know that the problem was. Hopefully nothing too serious.

The match was ok. Some fun high-flying stuff, but for the most part it was stuff we've seen before, and recently too. A couple of times the commentators said that the crowd were so into it, but I thought they seemed particularly quiet for an opener. There was absolutely no heat on the match, so it felt a little empty.

I question the heel turn on Gen Me. It was almost like they wanted to do something different in the opener because of the pullout of London Brawling, and they felt they had to make up for it. Generation Me had a long segment on Impact or Reaction (I forget which) where they talked passionately about their beliefs and style. It was a good segment which gave some them such much needed background. Now they are suddenly heels. It also doesn't help high flying wrestlers to be heels (see AJ Styles) Strange decision.

Doug v Sabu was ok. I'm not crazy about chairs being used like that (if you didn't see it, Sabu basically did a load of his usual springboards from them, but theoretically that wouldn't be allowed) I guess that is the only way of getting Sabu through a passable match, though.

Velvet v Madison - fine, I guess, but nothing special. Just felt like a TV match, in reality. That story is now dead, because Velvet has won cleanly. It has to be time to reintroduce the likes of Daffney and Hamada to offer some variety. I like the BP gimmick, but it isn't new anymore, and they are endangering it's longevity by confusing the issues.

Rhyno v Abyss wasn't my thing, but for what it was it was ok. 10-10-10 is the new May 19th. Abyss had to win, but I wish they hadn't have had Stevie beat him on Impact. Abyss needs to destroy Richards on a TV show soon. Did the announcers say anything about no-one interfering in Rhyno v Abyss? Wouldn't EV2 have had a big run in?

The tag match between Sting/Nash and Jarrett/Joe was terrible. Slow, boring, achieved nothing. I guess the only consolation is that Joe won looking strong, and wasn't booked like an idiot. But it was still very dull. Tenay being made to say that Sting and Nash are protecting their spot is ludicrous. Does the audience know what that even means? And if they do, wouldn't they realise that protecting their spot is a real-life, not a kayfabe, issue.

Once again, with Dreamer v Styles, this is a match not aimed at me. That's not my kind of wrestling, I don't see Dreamer being a semi-main event wrestling in 2010, and I want AJ showing his athleticism, not wrestling in hardcore matches masquerading as submission technique.

To be fair, though, this was probably as good a match as it had a right to be. They tried to tell a story, they didn't overbook, and they had the right finish, which was AJ going over.

I've been pleased that we haven't seen too much in the way of screwy finishes. I was expecting EV2 and Fortune everywhere, but there haven't been those kind of run-ins, and it's only really been Doug using a title belt that has been a finish with shenanigans. Oh, and Jarrett using a bat, I suppose, but I'm blocking that match from my mind.

Onto Jeff v Kurt. I type this some eight minutes in. Good so far, although Jeff maybe half a step off. Good work from the commentators making it seem big time and even Tazz acknowledging Jeff missing a move slightly.

I am getting annoyed with Tazz saying "Fustration", though. IT HAS TWO R's in IT!

Right, I'm at the end of Jeff Hardy and Kurt Angle. The very end, after a couple of restarts. You know what - fantastic. Absolutely superb. I had in my head that Kurt Angle had to win because of the retirement stipulation, so didn't really buy any of the Jeff Hardy pin attempts, but I really didn't consider a no-contest in this manner.

There will be plenty that didn't care for that, because it might be considered a BS finish, but to me it felt like sport. I like the aspect of realism, and although there were plenty of points that I didn't care for (more in a sec) I thought overall I could put them to back of my mind and really enjoy the match.

In fact a lot of the problems with the match were not actually problems with the match, if you see my point. They were problems with TNA over the past few months. A twenty-minute time limit is pretty ridiculous in a match of this magnitude, and the short matches which have plagued TNA for so long distorts the viewer's attitude towards the match. There should have been matches on Impact which went to a 10- or 15-minute limit, to put over that this kind of thing happens.

The blood is an interesting issue, too. Kurt's bleeding was necessary to this match's conclusion. Yes it looked a bit extreme, yes I'm not usually a fan of wrestlers blading a great deal, but once in a great while it is effective - Stone Cold Steve Austin at Mania 13 springs to mind. The trouble is TNA have had Flair bleed all over the place every week; an EV2 v Fortune battle where everyone bled; and plenty more examples of loads of blood. So when Angle started bleeding, it meant so much less than it should have done.

My final gripe is Bischoff adding five more minutes twice. It's not too big a gripe, and it's even less because he went to the floor manager to 'talk to the truck' (that was a REALLY nice touch, by the way), but if Eric and Dixie were so keen there should be a winner, why not just say either no time limits or unlimited overtime? I get that the logic behind it was that they didn't want the PPV to run long (I'm talking in the story, here) and so if they said it was unlimited it could go forever, but it just seemed a bit contrived there.

I'm being picky. It was a very good WRESTLING match, backed up by some high, high quality storytelling by the wrestlers. Add in the little extra touches, and I think that's very possibly TNA's match of the year. In the top five, without a doubt. Congratulations.

Anderson v Pope concluded the show, and I thought it was a fine match, maybe a good match, but not a great one, and it certainly suffered from some outside factors. Frankly, Angle v Hardy being on before it killed it in some ways. I think I might have used the old technique of a buffer match between main events. If they had have put the Beautiful People match in between the semi-finals to let the crowd have a distraction before getting back up for the finale. I don't blame them for having Angle v Hardy on first, because of the time restraint issue, but it affected Anderson and Dinero.

There was another problem being that Angle and Hardy kicked out of finishers galore, and it meant that when Pope and Anderson starting hitting their big moves, there was no pop because the crowd didn't buy the finishes. I don't think being both babyfaces helped, because the crowd were not solidly behind one wrestler or the other.

Overall, though, I'm pleased Anderson won, because he has, for me, the more potential in terms of stepping up and being the World Champion. I look forward to either Kurt v Ken again, or Anderson v Hardy which would see out a storyline. I don't know how they get to that without beating Kurt though, so I can definitely see a three way dance.

Good PPV this, overall. One bad match (Jarrett/Joe v Nash/Sting), one largely insignificant (Knockouts), a couple that served a purpose but not up my street (all the EV2 v Fortune bouts), a decent tag opener (c'mon, work that out), a reasonable closer and a stonking MOTY candidate for good measure. Better PPV than average for TNA. No comes the interesting part - can they build for BFG............?

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