Redemption complete – TNA No Surrender 2009

A month ago, AJ Styles was suffering a losing streak and ready to quit the business.  As of last night, he is TNA World Champion.

Where I had assumed the story would lie with Kurt Angle and Matt Morgan, AJ Styles pulled the upset, pinning Angle himself to capture the gold.  This is a big development for Styles, and perhaps for Angle himself, as he is now the lone member of the Main Event Mafia lacking championship gold.  Hopefully this is not undone next week on Impact.

The person this doesn’t bode well for is Matt Morgan, who may have just lost his feud.  If Angle goes after Styles, Morgan has lost his storyline.  An angle I could see is that Morgan tries to take Angle’s place in the MEM, but I doubt that will happen.  I’m interested in seeing the future for Angle, Morgan and AJ Styles.  As for Sting?  Well, I’m sure he’ll be around.

It must be mentioned that the match actually had a fifth participant in Hernandez, who finally cashed in his Feast or Fired case to get put into the match.  His chances were dashed, of course, by Eric Young, whom he defeated easily earlier in the night, but I’ll get to that in a bit.  I don’t think this was a good place to have Hernandez use up his case, especially as there were already strong storylines going into the match, unless they’re just going to give him the case back like they did the last time he cashed it in and got screwed.  Really, why put yourself in a five-way match when you could simply go one-on-one with the champion?

Thoughts on the rest of the show after the jump.

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Preview: TNA No Surrender 2009

Don’t let the name fool you.  Unlike WWE’s Breaking Point, No Surrender doesn’t have any major match stipulations.  Well, not show-wide stipulations, at least.  It is TNA after all.  Anyway, let’s get down to it.

TNA World Championship Fatal Four-Way
Kurt Angle(c) vs. Matt Morgan vs. AJ Styles vs. Sting

 The match was initially Angle vs. Morgan, but a short tournament was held to decide the other two spots, with Sting and a redeemed AJ Styles claiming victory.  While Sting and AJ may be in the match, the main story here is between Angle and Morgan.  After repeatedly being belittled by Angle, Morgan teased turning on him, then decided to agree with everything he said…in the sense that you knew he wasn’t being serious.  Except, he was being serious…uh, I think.  Everyone else was just as confused, until finally Angle smacked Morgan and the Blueprint demolished him.  So it seems that Morgan was being serious, but Angle pushed him to far.  Maybe?  Sure, why not?

The other two have very little to do with this.  AJ Styles came to the ring and announced he was quitting wrestling (while insisting by quitting that he wasn’t actually quitting) until Sting came out and yelled some sense into him.  Since then, AJ’s been on a roll.  However, the two have not really been dealing with Angle or Morgan, but instead taking their time to make sure the other knows just how special they think they are.  We know one thing 0ut of all this – Styles and Sting definintely respect one another.

So as for the prediction?  It’s going to be Morgan or Angle – the other two just wouldn’t make sense.  I’m leaning towards Angle getting out of this one and continuing his feud with Morgan.

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TNA tries its best to not promote PPV – TNA Impact 9/18/09

It may be easy to forget that the TNA World Championship match at No Surrender is going to be a four way match, as all the build up has been between champion Kurt Angle and challenger Matt Morgan.  The other two participants – AJ Styles and Sting – have been pushed out of the spotlight and pretty much spend their time praising one another.  The match really hasn’t been built up that well for the PPV, but that’s a discussion for the No Surrender preview this weekend.  Let’s take a look at Impact.

To warm up for No Surrender, Matt Morgan took on X-Division champion Samoa Joe, but the match didn’t last long before Joe tossed Morgan onto the commentary table where Kurt Angle was sitting and Angle took it personally.  This led to Daniels coming out to attack Joe, leaving Angle and Morgan alone to duke it out until Angle nailed an Olympic Slam through a table.  All the momentum going into No Surrender is with Kurt Angle as he left Morgan laying on the floor of the Impact Zone and Sting and AJ Styles were nowhere in sight.  It boggles the mind as to how half of the people in the match don’t show up for the final spot on the last episode before a PPV.

Angle, Sting and AJ all got interview time, but Matt Morgan received none – even though his turning on Angle last week was the most intriguing aspect of this entire buildup.  They finally execute the move (after a puzzling buildup in itself), but fail to provide any kin d of follow through.  This makes me think that Kurt Angle is definitely walking out of No Surrender with his title. 

The rest of the show after the jump:

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WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 roster released

Gamespot has posted a 30+ minute video using Miz, Eve and Howard Finkel to announce the roster for the 2010 edition of THQ’s Smackdown vs. Raw series.  I’ve got the whole list posted under the jump.

In commenting on the roster, it’s actually easier to mention who DIDN’T make the game, rather than who did.  Raw didn’t have many snuffs, as Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Jamie Noble play little to no roles on TV and Chris Masters only recently returned to the show.  Cut divas were Jillian and Rosa Mendes, also who play very little role on the show each week.  Hornswoggle may be the most well-known name not present, but he’ll likely be a manager again this year since the physics engine probably doesn’t allow someone his size.

Curt Hawkins, Charlie Haas and Jimmy Wang Yang aren’t surprising to be cut, nor is Kung Fu Naki, though I was hoping his new gimmick would get him in.  Layla doesn’t make it in either, though I’m not sure if she’s prominently featured or not on the show itself.  The biggest snuff perhaps of the entire roster is the absence of David Hart Smith and Tyson Kidd, especially since Natalya is in the game.  They’ll likely be in downloadable content if the feature returns this year.

Recent arrivals in ECW’s new superstar initiative (Abraham Washington, Sheamus, Tyler Reks, Yoshi Tatsu) probably didn’t make it in time for the game, nor did Gregory Helms’ return as the Hurricane.  DJ Gabriel has been missing from TV for quite some time (though Alicia Fox didn’t make it either, so maybe not).  ECW does have three noteworthy absences, though, in Paul and Katie Lea Burchill as well as Zack Ryder.  Paul and Katie have been on the show regularly, and Zack Ryder has been building himself for quite some time – he’s even the #1 contender now.

Still, it’s going to be a dynamite game.  Take a look at the announced 61-person roster after the jump.

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Linda McMahon resigns as WWE CEO to run for U.S. Senate

Huh. Would you look at that?

Linda McMahon has stepped down as longtime CEO of the WWE to run for the Connecticut senate seat currently held by Chris Dodd. Vince McMahon has taken the position over, in case you were curious.

While I don’t have much to say on the matter, the linked article from the Los Angeles Times talks of her chances (not as bad as you’d think) and throws out the question on whether this may have been a factor in the recent shift to PG-rated television on WWE programming.

Montreal does it again – WWE Breaking Point 9/13/09

It is safe to say that some things in professional wrestling will never die.  Hulk Hogan will always be cheered.  Stone Cold Steve Austin will always have ‘What?’ chanted whenever he speaks.  Montreal will always be remembered for the Bret Hart screwjob.  For nearly 12 years now, it’s been impossible to separate the two.  When the WWE rolls into Montreal, it ‘s almost a given that you’ll hear a ‘You Screwed Bret’ chant whenever Shawn Michaels or Vince McMahon show up.

Usually, though, the WWE plays up the controversy (especially the city’s inability to get over the incident), as they did in 2005:

So, of course, when another screwjob happens in Montreal, longtime fans will immediately make the connection.  And that’s the fun of being a longtime fan.  Get it?

Such was the case when CM Punk defeated the Undertaker by “submission” to defend his World Heavyweight Championship at Breaking Point.  The quotation marks are there because, much like Bret Hart in 1997, Undertaker did not submit to his opponent’s move.  When CM Punk slapped on the Anaconda Vice, the referee quickly called for the bell and got the hell out of Dodge.  Seem familiar?

That wasn’t the only controversial part of the match either.  Undertaker seemed to have had the match won with his Hell’s Gate hold, until Smackdown GM Theodore Long proceeded to inform everyone that former GM Vickie Guerrero had banned the move and that the ban was still in effect.  That was actually true – if you recall, Vickie banned the move to try to prevent her “husband” Edge from losing his World Heavyweight Title.  So the match continued, Punk did his move, and the screwjob was complete.

So where does Smackdown go from here?  Obviously we’re going to see CM Punk and the Undertaker in Hell in the Cell next month,  but what about Theodore Long?  Is he going heel?  Does this have to do with the interactions he’s been having with Vince McMahon?  The story deepens.

The rest of the matches and thoughts on the show after the jump.

TNA's sketchy Kevin Nash math

On last night’s Impact, when talking about next week’s match between Mick Foley and Kevin Nash, Mike Tenay referred to Nash as a “20 time world champion”.  That statement took me by surprise, so I had to go back and listen again to make sure that’s what he had actually said.  Sure enough – Nash: 20 time world champion.

To me this sounded like a bit of a stretch (or a lie, putting it rudely).  By my count, I counted him as a five time world champion – one time WWF (as Diesel) and four times with WCW.  But, I wanted to give Tenay benefit of the doubt, so I looked it up.  I was wrong – I had forgotten one WCW reign in which Nash stripped Sid Vicious of the title and awarded it to himself, then lost it back to Sid the same night (god, I miss WCW), so Nash is a six time world champion.

So where did this 20 come from?  It appears that Tenay added all of Nash’s titles that he has won, and referred to them all as world championships.  Along with his six actual world titles, Nash is 1 time WWE Intercontinental champion, 2 time WWE World Tag Team champion, 9 time WCW Tag Team champion (also using sketchy reigns in there…but they count), and 2 time TNA Legends champion.  6+1+2+9+2=20.  That’s pretty good for him, huh?

But by that kind of math, there are some pretty damn prestigious people competing today.  We won’t even use all major feds – we’ll just go with WWE, WCW, TNA and ECW.

Tommy Dreamer: 19 time world champion.
Christian: 19 time world champion.
Jeff Hardy: 19 time world champion.
Triple H: 21 time world champion.
JBL: 24 time world champion.
Chris Jericho: 27 time world champion.
Edge: 29 time world champion (all in WWE).
Booker T: 35 time world champion.
Raven: 37 time world champion.

And that’s the high level guys.  Let’s take a look at the guys lacking a legitimate world title reign.

Billy Gunn (Kip James): 13 time world champion.
Spike Dudley: 13 time world champion.
Goldust: 18 time world champion.
Shawn Stasiak: 19 time world champion
Stevie Richards: 24 time world champion.
Crash Holly: 25 time world champion
Bubba Ray Dudley: 31 time world champion.

So it’s really not so impressive to blow up the numbers like they’ve done with Kevin Nash.  Call him a six time world champion – it’s still an impressive number…sort of.