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Saturday, 17 September 2011

TNA No Surrender "As Live" notes

Ongoing No Surrender observations.....

I think I heard the crowd, in the first match, chant “Alex Riley” at Jesse Sorensen. I also thought I heard a small group chanting. “That was decent”, presumably as a counter to the overdone “This is Awesome” chant. I heartily approve.

Tazz pronounced the ‘r’ in ‘Frustration’. Will wonders never cease. Well done, Peter.

Kash is a decent addition to the company, because he has a bit of name cache, he can work, he plays a good heel, and can be used to elevate younger talent. After the initial Hardcore Justice PPV last year, I suggested that I’d have signed CW Anderson after it, because he’d have been a decent designated jobber to put people over.

Sorensen has potential, but has a long way to go. Although the crowd were chanting ‘Riley’ at him, I think Cody Rhodes is a better comparison. Cody was miles away from ready when he was first called up, but he got there, and now I think he has a great character. Sorensen looked hesitant at times, and the match never really flowed. But let’s not be too critical. He’s young, and he’ll get better.

OK, so there goes my theory about Roode screwing Storm out of it, because this match is up second. Although I did suggest having set out my idea that it could be flipped, and Storm could stitch Roode up. This is still on.
 I have a HUGE problem with the positioning of this on the show, though, because typing this before the match starts, what happens if Bully Ray wins? He’ll be in an unassailable lead at the head of the BFG standings and the second match will count for nothing, because neither Gunner nor Roode will be able to catch him. Now, I suspect Storm will win this, and he’ll do it by submission, so that Roode or Gunner has to repeat the dose, but if you go deep with the logic it is very flawed.

A guy yelling ‘fag’ into the camera. Classy. Apology forthcoming?

Awesome heel behaviour by Bully Ray at the outset to this one. He might be as good a heel as there is in the business right now. I mean that. He’s terrific.

I smiled at the long pause when Storm applied a....let’s say Leg Grapevine. I don’t know if any produces the announcers in TNA like Vince McMahon does in WWE, but I imagined someone screaming in their ears “DON”T SAY SHARPSHOOTER! SAY SCORPION DEATH LOCK”

I enjoyed the hell out of that match for a long time......but I wasn’t crazy about the finish – both the execution of it, and the ramifications. I’ll start with the positives. I think both guys have great characters, and believe them. They played their parts brilliantly, and I thought the psychology of the match, and the storytelling, was terrific.

I wasn’t crazy about the end, but I am typing this before the show finishes. It may turn out to make sense. Instinctively I don’t like that they did it this way thus far, but what it does is leave two guys fighting for a submission to get a tie at the top of the leaderboard. That could be exciting.

Of course, if you get right down to it, what kind of committee would not know what happens if it was a draw? There ought to be a contingency plan – i.e. who won the most matches cleanly, how did those who drew fair against each other? And so forth.  – but you know there won’t be. Logically, too, Bully Ray should just run to ringside after five seconds and punch Roode in the face. Then Gunner will lose ten, Roode only gain three, and Bully will win.

Mostly, though, there should be a forum to let this sink in. Would it hurt to cut one match out of the card (do we need another Woman’s title match or Tag title match really?) and have 10-15 minutes on the show which you can use to reflect on what you have seen. When a big incident happens in a big sport – and Storm losing his big chance in controversial circumstances ought to be a big incident – you go to a studio and you watch replays, and experts talk about what happened. They assess what built to it, what went down, what the consequences are. This needed two people to discuss and say what it meant, what Gunner and Roode would have to do. You have to keep up so closely in this, and even then things can be a shade confusing.

Mickie v Winter was the best v the worst music in the company. I’ll let you work out which is which.

Mickie, while not being a wonderful technical wrestler and never really having great matches, just ok ones, is a really good babyface. Her fire and mannerisms are excellent.

The match itself was again ok until the finish. How come senior referee Earl Hebner, with his 483 years in wrestling, can’t look at Mickie’s face and know something is seriously wrong? And if that blood stuff is so debilitating, how come Winter can have it in her mouth.

My head hurts and we’ve only had three matches.

Kissing a girl by force then dangling her by the hair outside the ring. That’s being a babyface, is it?

Oh look, the girls help Mexican America win. Three out of four matches so far are screwy finishes. Two of those are heel wins by interference.

I am so sick of the word ‘frickin’’ on this TV show. Anderson’s promo was awful. What was it supposed to achieve? He seemed to lose his train of thought. If that wasn’t intentional, then that’s worrying. If it was intentional, then I don’t understand it. It went nowhere.

I don’t like Tazz defending Samoa Joe’s action of late. I wouldn’t mind at all if Tazz was established as a heel commentator, but he is usually pretty down the line. His defence of Joe was flimsy, and was effectively promoting the idea that if you can’t win something, then you spoil it for everyone else. That is a heel trait, which is why a heel Joe is using it. Tazz defending it will simply conflict more viewers that don’t really want to boo Joe anyway.

Morgan v Joe was fine. It was certainly on the good side of average. But I sort of felt that needed to be better to raise the standard of the show. There were moments in the match that looked sticky, but I forgive that sometimes, especially if the story is there. Points, definitely, awarded by me for the clean finish.

Decent match between Roode and Gunner. I never felt that it got near to reaching a crescendo, but after Bischoff’s assertion that there would be a tournament final between Roode and Ray, I guess that’s why. Part of me thinks that if they were going to do a final, why not just book it and advertise it that way from the start? An extra benefit to that would be the tease to fans of Storm v Roode.

And what’s with Bischoff? Fair enough that he would book the Bully Ray v Roode match, but why did he address Roode on it like he was stitching him up? Wasn’t it fairly obvious that they’d have to do a final when the scores were tied? Was it necessary to boast about the match being unadvertised? Doesn’t that highlight a flaw?

Tenay and Tazz spent ages talking about Brian Kendrick’s headgear. Tenay said: “It’s what separates Kendrick from the rest of the pack.” What is? A hat?

It took Tenay under this match – on September 11 – to say “Crash and Burn”.

Really, really enjoyed Aries v Kendrick. Great match with excellent, physical looking action. I might have made more of the fact that Sorensen was waiting for the winner, but that’s nitpicking. One other nitpick is that I wouldn’t have had Aries do that draping, twisting DDT, for the sheer fact that if you had to have him win by Brainbuster, then the DDT looked much more devastating. Either don’t have Kendrick kick out, or don’t do the move full stop. Long term it makes it harder for places to go.

As I say, though, nitpicking. It was a great match. The best on the show so far, by miles.

The look on Bully Ray’s face when Roode no-sold the first chop was fantastic. Sold fear and confusion. Like I said, fantastic heel activity. The crowd are going crazy for Roode in this match, where they didn’t in the Gunner match. It’s not that they don’t like Roode, but that they are not sold on Gunner as a heel. He simply isn’t that dislikeable. Bully Ray (and I’m talking the character here – I don’t know the man personally) is a dick, so people want him to get beat and they rally behind the babyface.

Match is over. Right, first of all, purely from a storyline consistency perspective, why didn’t Immortal help Bully Ray? Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that they didn’t, as it was a far better match, but if you get inside the psychology of the TV show, why didn’t they get involved?

Anyway, let’s forget that. I thought the match was great. Not the technical or speedy affair that Aries v Kendrick was, but it was full of emotion and terrific storytelling. They got that crowd into it from the very start and they never let up. It was classic heel v babyface. I loved it.

The post match was ok, but I think I’d have had Fortune celebrating with Roode. It didn’t quite feel as special as it could have been. AJ, Storm and Kaz (Daniels maybe) greeting Roode backstage or running to ringside would have suggested that the win was a big deal. They could perhaps have had Roode going into the Fortune dressing room or behind the curtain and being greeted by them. Small thing, perhaps, but it would reinforced how special the group is.

The main event was just fine. TNA have to realise at some point that Sting matches are simply not good anymore. This was very much a formula three-way match, except for the fact that it contained two babyface and one heel, which was slightly awkward. We all knew Hogan would get involved in the main event – it’s just a matter of when, these days – and as expected he popped up to cost Sting the match.

I simply can’t remember the last TNA PPV which had a great main event. That’s shocking, really, given the talent they have, but it’s just been combos of a bombed Jeff Hardy, Angle, Anderson and Sting for a while. Matt Morgan occasionally. Might you, even at Destination X AJ v Daniels didn’t quite nail it. I’ve good hopes for Angle v Roode, and Angle winning was definitely the right decision, so he can defend the belt at BFG.

Possible Bound for Glory card? (Admittedly, at 10 matches, it’s a little long)
Bobby Roode v Kurt Angle
Sting v Hulk Hogan
Samoa Joe v Crimson
AJ Styles v Daniels (add a stip)
RVD v Jerry Lynn
Bully Ray, Gunner and Scott Steiner v James Storm, Mr Anderson and Jeff Hardy
Mexican America v D-Von & Pope v British Invasion v Ink Inc
Austin Aries v Jesse Sorensen
X-Division multiman Spotfest match
Mickie James v Velvet Sky v Winter

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