Thursday Sports Entertainment News Report 04.12.12: Confessions of an Impact Virgin
Posted by Sean Kelly on 04.12.2012
Wherein I keep a running diary of my first ever episode of TNA Impact Wrestling, we discuss Brock's physique, Ambrose/Foley, Scott Hall's awesome disease and more!
Woah. Please do more casual fan viewpoints! I was just telling another wrestling fan about how I've become way too cynical. This was cool, thank you.
Posted By: that guuuuy (Guest) on April 05, 2012 at 02:30 AM
LOVED the casual fan's guide! Was actually laughing out loud! Good article!
Posted By: Guest#7033 (Guest) on April 09, 2012 at 09:17 AM
Glad you guys liked the casual fan viewpoint on WrestleMania. I'll try to do more in the future, but it's actually kind of tough to get a bunch of them to commit to watching wrestling for 3 hours on a Sunday night. It's usually an easier sell when there's a special attraction, which explains why the WWE loves having celebrities involved. And special thanks to commenter Walter Zubcek for posting his own casual fan viewing experience, which I very much enjoyed.
I don't get the immediate "whiney" label. It's an overused term, but that's a different story. I get that having Brock come back is overall a good thing, but I do get why they could be upset about it. They're probably thinking here is anothe rguy who left, comes back and gets what he wants. While many of us show up only not to be used except in a squash match or in a 10 second backstage cameo. To quote Dr. Evil. Throw me a FREAKIN' bone overhere! Overall, it's good, but I understand the feeling backstage.
Posted By: The Great Capt. Smooth (Guest) on April 05, 2012 at 06:25 AM
While I can sympathize with the talent who feel "Oh great, another outsider coming to take a top spot," I certainly don't feel bad for them. They should concentrate on making an impact and appealing to the extra eyeballs that (may) tune in to see Brock Lesnar. Brock's return should be seen as an opportunity, not a hindrance. It's that kind of proactive, positive mindset that will advance their career. After all, no one "deserves" a main event spot. It has to be earned, whether inside the industry or outside the industry.
Here's a simple case, in favor of Lord Tensai.
All you have to do is look at the work he did in New Japan, at least these two matches:
-Giant Bernard vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi(c), IWGP Heavyweight Championship match, from last year.
-Giant Bernard vs. Minoru Suzuki, skirmish before IWGP tag title defense.
With both matches, Tensai shows that he's skilled enough to hold his own in a 20-25 minutes match (vs. Tanahashi) and that he's talented enough to make a 7-10 minute match compelling (vs. Suzuki).
He's got the goods.
Posted By: scipio2009 (Guest) on April 06, 2012 at 03:02 AM
Maybe so, but in his two matches since his return, Lord Tensai has bored me to tears. The whole referee stoppage gimmick doesn't ring true, either. We're used to seeing rougher matches than Tensai's and those don't get stopped. Maybe Albert has the goods, but he certainly hasn't been showing them these past few weeks.
Jericho is lame. Dude is 40 years old and still thinks he's going to become a rock star. That delusional ship sailed years ago. Stick to being a jobber to the stars in wrestling.
Posted By: Guest#8193 (Guest) on April 05, 2012 at 04:36 AM
I LOLed at this one. So sue me. I think Jericho is good, not great. Perhaps I'll do an essay on that in the coming weeks. Then again, perhaps not.
Greetings, folks, and welcome to another edition of Thursday Sports Entertainment! Bazinga!
WORLD (WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT) NEWS TONIGHT
Word is that there are WWE wrestlers that are already concerned over Brock Lesnar's physical condition. Some feel that he looked soft, and many fear that his in ring performance will be hurt if he doesn't get into better shape.
Some are questioning his desire to get in excellent shape at this point in his life and perform at a high level.
Sounds like more anti-Brock propaganda to me. There's little connection between muscle tone and stamina. Look at the Rock at WM28 – the guy was jacked beyond belief but got winded early in the match. On the other hand, you have a guy like Dusty Rhodes who was wider than he was tall but could wrestle 60 minute matches five nights a week.
That being said, I'd love it if Cena poked Brock's belly and giggled like the Pillsbury dough boy.
ORIGINAL: Former WWE & WCW star Scott Hall was arrested back on April 6th in Seminole County, FL. According to the report, Hall was arrested by the Seminole County Sheriff's office at 9:31pm, but does not note what charges were filed. Hall was previously arrested in Seminole County back on July 5th, 2011.
UPDATE: According to TMZ, Hall was arrested on domestic battery charges after girlfriend Lisa Howell told police that Hall had attacked her. Howell is refusing to press charges so the case may not move forward.
Police were called at 5PM Friday regarding a domestic disturbance; Howell had told them Hall had been drinking for days and they had argued. She claims that she got into her car to leave, and then claims Hall grabbed her by the throat and tried to pull her out of the car.
When police arrived, they described Hall as appearing to be heavily intoxicated with a white secretion coming out of both sides of his mouth. Hall denied doing anything physical to Howell, but she had noticeable red marks around her neck.
Hall was thought to be so intoxicated that they first took him to a nearby hospital to get medical clearance. Once he was cleared, they took him to the correctional facility, where he was booked on the domestic violence charge.
Well, what else can we say about Scott Hall? This is a guy who makes CM Punk's father look good. Now, alcoholism is a serious disease, right? Right Norm MacDonald?
Well, that changes everything. Cheer up, Scott! You may have a disease, but, according to Norm, you have the best disease! Party time!
PWInsider has confirmed that the Bellas are done with WWE once their contracts expire on 4/30.
Oh, no! If the Bellas leave, than who'll put on classic divas matches?advance angles in a meaningful way?fill the charisma void that they leave behind? escort guest stars around the arena?
While many speculated that WrestleMania 28 would be the Undertaker's last match, word is that the talk backstage at WrestleMania was how great the Undertaker looked in the ring.
Undertaker underwent two surgeries in the last year, and many believe that he has several more matches left in him.
It is almost certain at this time that Undertaker will work at WrestleMania 29.
Everyone watching noticed it, too. Keep the Undertaker around as long as he's willing and able to put on a good match. Have him go to 25 WrestleMania matches, at least. Clint Eastwood-esque, grizzled old badasses like the Undertaker are few and far between these days. This guy is going to be considered tough as nails until the day he dies (again).
Dean Ambrose and Mick Foley have continued their war of words on Twitter. Foley is acting like he has no clue who Ambrose is, posting the following…
"Having a blast with my kids at Disney. Not really concerned about some guy I've never heard of."
"Three months ago, people asked me about facing TAKER at Mania – now, it's a guy from FCW. TITANIC 3D isn't the only ship sinking this week."
- Ambrose responded with the following posts, continuing his stance that Foley and his style of wrestling "damaged the industry"…
"Must be nice to be so arrogant and oblivious. Guilt free family funtime. Just great. Good for you. @realMickFoley"
"Nah, In a perfect world id rather see his house repoed and his family starved than see Mick make another dime off wrestling"
"#wwe I Just watched Edge's full Hof speech. Big fan of Edge, too bad he had to retire so young #ThanksMick"
"He raised the bar of stupidity so high everyone ruined themselves tryin 2 get 2 it"
"#wwe Atleast Edge got to have a hof career. Alot of people didnt even get the chance to have one at all #thanksmick"
"#wwe likes to pretend Mick Foley never existed. Wwe is still apologizing for him by sterilizing the product. #raw"
"Btw..I have zero fear of reprisals from the office for wat ive said about mick foley cuz nobody high up in #wwe has any respect for him" :
I really like where this is going. Foley is a great foil for an up-and-comer, and the fact that the angle has a kernel of truth to it is even better. I didn't know whom Dean Ambrose was prior to this newsbite, but now I'm intrigued and want to see more. This video made me even more interested in Ambrose:
The guy is intense and has a manic charisma about him. My man, my dawg, SuperCorky said it best last week in the comments when he described Ambrose thusly: P.s be on the look out for the eminent call up of Dean Ambrose. He's a next level heel. He reminds me of a mix of a lil young Piper, Dibiase, and a weirdo lunatic...
Well put, Mr. SuperCorky. I hope this burgeoning feud translates over to our television sets in the near future. It'll give him a chance to showcase his skills to a wider audience and gives Mick something meaningful to do.
Word is that WWE is planning on releasing some talent in the upcoming weeks. The company has made decisions on who will be released, but releases will not be made until all details are finalized and the talent has been notified.
It's that time of year where the WWE does its post-WrestleMania spring cleaning! Everybody always speculates on which jobbers will get cut, but I'll take the opposite approach and list which jobbers will NOT get cut:
Jinder Mahal – Need to keep the international flavor as WWE is positioning itself as a global company. Khali will only be around so long and the WWE will need a suitable replacement for the virtually untapped Indian market.
Yoshi Tatsu – The guy has a pretty decent online following and he's the only active Asian superstar on the roster (Tensai doesn't count). With Japan being a prime wrestling territory, Yoshi should be safe for the time being. All he needs is a proper midcard push and Yoshi will pay dividends (in Yen) for the company.
Curt Hawkins – Has friends in high places as he trained with the Rock for the Rock's comeback, and has Edge and Ryder in his corner as well. He's been featured a lot on WWE TV in bit parts when they could have easily been given to someone else.
Mason Ryan – Has a great look that generates a reaction at live events. Another international superstar, but I doubt Wales is one of the WWE's top strategic territories. Nevertheless, he has the potential to be the next Batista if his in-ring performance improves.
Hunico – Mexican wrestler who very well could be the heir to Rey Mysterio. If the original Sin Cara doesn't work out, Hunico can always step in and take over the role. A wrestler that just needs a proper angle to demonstrate his talents.
Tyler Reks – the man has a good look, and like Hawkins, has been featured on WWE TV in some bit parts. If packaged properly, he could be a star.
That's about it. P.S. – if you're Heath Slater or JTG, you're fucked.
CONFESSIONS OF AN iMPACT VIRGIN
I have a confession to make…I've never watched an episode of TNA Impact Wrestling. Ever. Saw maybe 5 minutes once when I was flipping channels, but other than that, my TNA experience has been non-existent.
Seeing as how there's this whole other fed out there, I thought it might be fun to tune into Impact and share my impressions with you via a running diary. Keep in mind, my opinions are from the perspective of someone who's almost exclusively watched WWE for over 20 years. So here we are, Sean's running diary of the 4/5 episode of TNA Impact Wrestling!
We start off with a video recap of recent events. I like how they put this up front of the show so newbies like me immediately get the context of what I'm about to see next. WWE doesn't do this very often, perhaps they should. To paraphrase Stan Lee, every comic book is someone's first comic book, and every Impact is someone's first Impact. Nice to see that TNA gives the backstory to help guys like me out.
Recap shows Dixie Carter trying to sell Hulk Hogan on becoming the General Manager of Impact. So TNA does General Manager storylines too, it seems. Sting seals the deal, promising Hogan he has Hogan's back as general manager.
Everyone on the roster is around the ring to welcome Hulk Hogan as GM. Some people I recognize include Ken Kennedy, Kurt Angle & Jeff Hardy.
Dixie Carter looks like she's been passed around a little too much, ifyaknowwhatImean.
Hogan still doing his old shtick. Maniacs. Brother. Whatcha gonna do. It'd be nice to see him freshen it up a bit.
Oh look, Gail Kim. Let's keep track of the men that some former WWE Divas have snagged, shall we?
Sable: Brock Lesnar
Stacy Kiebler: George Clooney
Torrie Wilson: A-Rod
Gail Kim: Chef Robert Irvine
Hmmm. Methinks Gail can do better, although these days Irvine is more muscular than Lesnar, Clooney & A-Rod.
Wow, Ric Flair looks terrible. I should not have watched this in HD.
Here comes the champion, Bobby Roode. "I kinda do what I want, when I want and how I want." I guess he's a heel? Kind of a vanilla promo there.
Mr. Anderson. Does anyone say his name like Agent Smith does in the Matrix? If not, they should.
Hogan makes the first match of the night Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Hardy. Hardy is looking like a reject from Avatar. Tazz says this is a main event match anywhere in the world. Tazz is correct.
After about 15 arm drags, the match gets better as they go outside the ring.
Look! Blood in a wrestling match! It seems so weird to see blood these days.
Angle looking smaller everywhere except the belly. I thought he was in Olympic training mode?
The ring has a louder BANG when the wrestlers are slammed onto it. I can't tell if it's because the ring is configured differently or because the arena is much smaller and the acoustics are different.
Nice belly-to-belly on Hardy by Angle off of the top rope. Follows it up with the Ankle Lock. So far this is a pretty good match. Much better than what you typically see on free WWE TV.
The announcers seem to focus more on the wrestling moves used and the strategies of the wrestlers. It's good, but as a new viewer I don't understand why Angle and Hardy are wrestling. What's the context? There was an implied history between them – what is it? They need just a bit of the "storytelling" aspect that WWE pushes to make it more interesting. Good strategy by TNA, focusing more on the athleticism of the talent – it makes them different than WWE, but they still need to get the viewer emotionally invested in the match as well.
Hardy wins by countout after Angle walks out. Hogan responds by putting Angle in a Steel Cage match against Jeff for Lockdown. Makes sense. Angle left the TV match in a hissy fit so Hogan puts him in a cage where countout isn't an option. Pretty decent build for the PPV. Leaves the viewer wondering "if they put on a good match with a screwy finish, imagine what they can do if screwy finishes aren't an option?"
First match was very good. I want to see more. Good sign.
Flair backstage on speakerphone with Bischoff. These two don't seem to get along with Hogan. What I like is that the cameraman is kind of sneaking the shot of Flair from around the corner, like something you'd see on The Office. Adds a sense of realism to the show, where Flair doesn't know he's being filmed and he doesn't come across as acting for the camera. Good touch.
Wow, Bubba Ray lost a lot of weight! Why does he suddenly sound like he's from Brooklyn? And why is he calling attention to his calves? The circumference of his bicep is probably twice that of his calf. He looks like a mismatched Russian nesting doll. Not something I'd want everyone to notice. Bubba has a problem with Austin Aries, who is the X-Division champion. Aries shushes the arena, only to knock BULLY Ray with the mic. That was pretty funny.
Wow, this Aries guy is uber tiny compared to Bully Ray.
Bully Ray apparently never heard of Be A STAR.
Some fat guy looking for Abyss by catering. Says he's Abyss's brother and that Abyss likes to eat. Okay then.
AJ Styles and James Storm chat it up. These guys come across as a couple of goofy hillbillies.
Mickie James! Now here's Winter, from "Parts Unknown." Maybe she's neighbors with the Ultimate Warrior. Here comes Victoria, now known as Tara. Next is Angelina Love, another person I don't know. Same goes for Madison Rayne, sporting a tiara. What I like about the Knockouts in this match is that each of them has their own look. A far cry from the dime-a-dozen Divas over in WWE. Velvet Sky is down next. Jeez, how many ladies are in this match? Now let's see if they can rassle.
And yep, they can go in the ring. It's refreshing to see some female wrestling talent for a change.
I find Winter to be the most intriguing. Her gimmick seems to be a mysterious, dark person – and she sells it well in her eyes and with her body language. Am I right on this one?
Madison made me laugh when she yelled at Angelina Love for tagging her too hard, as if she almost broke her nail. That and her tiara tells me a lot about her character in like five seconds.
Wow, all the ladies hit their finishers (or what I presume to be their finishers), and thus ends a very good match with Velvet Sky going over. Whomever is training these ladies needs a job in Stamford, stat.
Knockouts seem a little more trashy than the Divas. Not that I have a problem with that.
Now we see footage of Eric Young's bachelor party. ODB has a good, unique look. Eric Young reminds me of Zack Galifinakis. Kinda blah pre-taped bit, but it showed their personalities nicely.
Now it's #1 Contender James Storm vs. AJ Styles in a "Mutual Respect" match. Good job building up Storm's Last Call Superkick as something that can be hit out of nowhere. It's also a different match in that it's between two guys who clearly like each other and seem to be having fun in a game of one upsmanship.
James Storm is one of the few wrestlers tonight that doesn't seem to have a tattoo.
As expected, Storm wins with the Last Call Superkick. That also makes sense, as you need to build up the #1 contender and his finisher prior to the PPV. Good match from the goofy hillbilly buddies.
Hulk telling Sting to go home and get healthy. I guess Sting is injured? Hogan reminds us for the 1000th time that Sting has his back, which makes me believe that Sting DOESN'T have the Hulkster's back. Hulk was never one for subtlety.
We're backstage as James Storm celebrates with two other rednecks. After James heads to the shower, World Champion Bobby Roode spits water in the rednecks' faces. Eh.
Next up are the Motor City Machine Guns. I keep hearing good things about these guys, let's see if they live up to the hype.
MCMGs win in an impressive fashion. Now here's another thing sorely lacking from WWE – actual tag teams! You know, with Tag Team names, tandem moves, etc. Makes me miss it even more. What I didn't understand is why the MCMGs return to TNA after a year is given away on free TV. If these guys are the big attraction that they seem to be, why not save it for the PPV?
Ric Flair tells Bischoff that Hogan is "out of control" because he's making matches and telling people what to do. Um, isn't that the General Manager's job?
Wow, Bischoff mentions that Flair is a two-time Hall of Famer. Twice! I'm surprised they'd even allude to WWE.
Eric Bishoff is out for a confrontation with Hulk Hogan. Hogan makes a match where it's Team Eric vs. Team Garrett. Hogan makes a rather absurd stipulation where if Eric Bischoff loses, he can't use his own name ever again. It's his NAME! Of course he'll use it!
Anyone notice that Hogan hasn't stood up straight all night? His knees are always slightly bent, like he's juuuust starting to sit down.
Wait, Spike censors "bitch" but not "asshole?"
TNA is doing a pretty good job building up the Lockdown Main Event. Asking other wrestlers to make predictions, interviewing Storm's family, etc., I get the background between these two and it's making me interested to see who wins.
Now it's time for our main event: Mr. Anderson vs. Booby Roode. Anderson is still doing his old thing with the mic and saying his name twice. I must admit, I like the name Kennedy better than Anderson.
Look, no tattoos for Bobby Roode either.
One thing I noticed is the lack of signs in the audience. Every moron in a WWE audience has a sign that they desperately try to get on TV, but I can't recall seeing a single sign on Impact. Probably makes a much better viewing experience for the audience.
Nice, creative move by Roode stealing a beer bottle from a fan and using it as a weapon to get the pin. Ties in nicely with his beer bottle shot on James Storm. Out comes Hogan to reverse the decision, giving Anderson the win by DQ.
As much as people complain that TNA brings in old WWE castoffs, having guys like Hogan, Angle, Flair and Hardy on the roster made it easier for me to watch the show. There's no denying that they bring a sense of legitimacy to Impact, and I'm more likely to watch the show because I have a prior connection with them. And of course, while they're on the show, I get introduced to new characters like Bobby Roode, James Storm and the Motor City Machine Guns.
Overall, I enjoyed watching Impact. As much as people say TNA tries too hard to be like WWE, they offer some elements that the WWE is sorely lacking, such as a fantastic women's division and actual, old school tag team wrestling. While I wasn't left wanting more, the 4/5/12 episode of Impact was a solid show from top to bottom, managing to entertain me while smartly building toward Lockdown. I may check it out again, if time permits.
PROS: Excellent Knockouts Division, old school tag team wrestling, creative camera work, good video packages to add context, solid PPV build, announcing emphasizes athleticism
CONS: Same old Hogan, not enough storytelling in commentary, too Southern, nonsensical stipulation for Bischoff match
So, Impact fans, tell me what you think of my first Impact Experience. Was I on the money with anything? Wildly off the mark? Sound off below in the comments section!
NON-SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT THING OF THE WEEK
The Non-Sports Entertainment Thing of the Week is actually a little favor that I am asking of you, the Team 411UniverseNationArmy. When writing this column, I expect nothing in return from my readership except maybe a few comments and e-mails. However, I am asking that if you have ever enjoyed reading this column, and have a Facebook account, that you will help out my wife by voting for her cupcakes in the Food Network Cupcake Wars/Yo Gabba Gabba Fan Contest!
My wife is an amateur baker, and, in my opinion, a damned good one. She was one of the casual fans from last week that thought that HHH resembled Eddard Stark from Game of Thrones. She entered into the Cupcake Wars contest and was chosen as a Top 5 Finalist. Popular vote chooses who takes #1, so I'm humbly asking that the IWC help my wife take the top spot. All you need to do is click this link and vote for Michele Kelly's "Gabba Land" cupcakes:
If you're not inclined to vote, that's okay too. But if you have a spare 10 seconds and want to help out a fellow wrestling fan, please consider voting. The contest ends tomorrow, so voting today and/or tomorrow would be hugely appreciated. Thanks either way.
Coming back to Sports Entertainment, Michele, in her Facebook adventures, has found the Facebook page "CM Punk is not impressed." Basically, it's a spot where fans can post photoshopped images of CM Punk smirking in various funny situations. Here are a few examples:
How cool is that? Think you have the Photoshop skills to create your own CM Punk is not impressed picture? Isn't my wife great for sharing this with you? Go vote for her today!
That'll do it for this week. Hope you enjoyed your reading experience on this edition of Thursday Sports Entertainment. Join us next week where we discuss John Cena vs. Brock, ponder the implications of Bill Clinton signing with WWE as a manager, and discuss the prospects newly crowned WWE champion, Hornswoggle (card subject to change).