Incredible

This is by far the best work/shoot promo I’ve ever heard.  CM Punk is incredible and it will be a shame if the WWE lets him get away from them.  This is flat out amazing.

And TNA – I know you try to make the “real” things happen.  THIS is how it is done.

Chris Benoit shown in new WCW DVD

WWE’s recent Very Best of WCW Nitro DVD is a must-see for any fan of WCW from 1995 through its demise in 2001.  It features many of the crucial moments of WCW, especially some of the highlights of the nWo (back when it was good) including the backstage attack in which Rey Mysterio got lawn-darted into the production truck.

But what really struck me about it was as I was watching a tag team match between Hollywood Hogan and Randy Savage against Ric Flair and Arn Anderson, suddenly there was someone I hadn’t seen in a WWE production in four years.

 

The commentary seemed to cut out to avoid his name being used, but there he was right in the ring.  Chris Benoit footage was being shown.  I nodded approvingly – despite the horrors of his final days I still remember the Chris Benoit I had been such a big fan of for over a decade.  It seemed that WWE was finally able to show archive footage of Benoit’s career.  (Also of note, his wife Nancy in her ring persona Woman was in Ric Flair’s corner for that match).

But then I saw something that shocked me.  The Four Horseman reunion of September 1998 was there, uncut, in its entirety.  Arn Anderson saying that Benoit had come to him.  No name missing from the audio.  Then the introductions were there and out came Benoit, front and center with his music playing and everything.  I was amazed and quite pleased.

Benoit will never be in the WWE Hall of Fame.  There will never be a retrospective of his life and career because it cannot be separated from the choices he made at the end of it.  But wrestling history that he was a part of can be used and can be shown without drawing attention to him.  A Wrestlemania box set can have the main event of WrestleMania XX in it.  It happened.  Maybe cut the celebration at the end, but put the match in.  The WrestleMania 2000 match between Benoit, Kurt Angle and Chris Jericho?  Let the match be shown.  Don’t call attention to Benoit – don’t let the focus fall solely on him and it can be brought back into the record books.

This DVD set looks to be the first step on being able to preserve wrestling history without the holes caused by the Benoit tragedy.  And I am happy to be able to see that.

Chyna coming to TNA?

I was perusing Slam! Sports’ ‘News and Rumors’ section for wrestling (far less gossip and pop-ups than your run-of-the-mill dirt sheet site) when suddenly I came upon it.  Just sitting there with all the other news, as if they were unaware of how awful it could potentially be.

Joanie Laurer, the former Chyna in the WWE, will debuting with TNA in the next few weeks.

Chyna is a spectacular example of the rise and fall of a wrestler fast forwarded.  Her mainstream career in the WWE lasted just four years, going from 1997 to 2001.  Beginning as the bodyguard of Triple H and gaining fame with D-Generation X, Chyna broke off on her own as Triple H began his rise to stardom.  Chyna’s biggest attraction at the time was her ability to wrestle the men of the company and she became the first (and only) woman to win a men’s title in the WWE when she captured the Intercontinental title.  But eventually she would be phased out of that role and pushed into the women’s division before ultimately vanishing in mid-2001 before the WCW invasion began.

Since that point, Chyna has been a mess.  She appeared on the reality series where she drank heavily had the world learned of her train wreck relationship with Sean Waltman (the former X-Pac), complete with a commercially released sex tape.  Anything public from Chyna since that point has involved domestic abuse, drugs or alcohol.  She appeared on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, which probably isn’t too good of a sign.  Last year, she was hospitalized after ODing on sleeping meds.  This year, she debuts for TNA.

The more I think about it, the more I believe that there simply is no benefit to TNA for bringing in Chyna.  Her name recognition by this point holds about as much excitement as other notable gimmicks of the late ’90s (Gangrel, the Godfather, Val Venis, “Hole in One” Barry Darsow) and she won’t add any kind of anything to whatever storyline she goes into.  She hasn’t wrestled in nearly a decade, has lost most of the muscletone that made her stand out to begin with, and honestly wasn’t that good to begin with.  But she’s someone who was popular at one point, and by TNA logic, that’s all someone needs to secure at least some employment.

I wonder what Jay Lethal’s doing right now.

EDIT: Upon some research, I learned that Jacqueline captured the WWE Cruiserweight Title at one point, so Chyna wasn’t the ONLY one to do it.  Of course, with a title history also featuring Hornswoggle, Oklahoma and Chavo Classic, you could see why I’d have forgotten.  Jacqueline also won the Television title in WCW and Madusa won the Cruiserweight as well, just not in WWE.

The errs of Sting, the fighting champion

TNA is really making it hard for themselves with this one.  My self-imposed exile from TNA programming ended last week and, as I had predicted, I returned to a far different place than I had left from.  But one thing had stayed well in place during my absence and it was the thing that had initially turned me from TNA to begin with – Sting as the TNA champion.

As I put together the state of TNA, I learned that Sting had become something of a fighting champion, willingly putting his title on the line against all comers anywhere, anytime.  So last week on Impact, he had defeated Matt Hardy (who apparently is still carrying around the Jeff Hardy belt) and this week it was a triple threat between him, Mr. Anderson and Bully Ray (who apparently is now in Immortal).

But this plot for Sting is not only over-utilizing the star (and will likely lead to him getting injured) but is also a rare example of giving too much to the fans.  The role for Sting that would not only make him a bigger attraction but also even heap some much-needed prestige on the nearly ridiculous TNA Championship is far simpler than anyone might consider.

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A word on Jeff Hardy and Victory Road

The general thought amongst the 1/8th Nelson is that we, the very non-Catholic writers, have decided to give up TNA for Lent, with the hopes that come Easter, the company will have either gotten better or I will have gotten my hate-filled spite out of my system enough to resume my weekly heckling.  I have not watched last week’s Impact or, for the most part, Sunday’s Victory Road.  Hell, I wasn’t even aware that the PPV was on Sunday.  It’s been a good week for me.

But upon hearing about what happened in the main event title match between newly crowned champion Sting and his predecessor Jeff Hardy, I feel like even religious fasting can’t really justify not touching upon this one.  Four Hail Marys for me, I suppose.

For those of you who haven’t heard it yet, the title match between Sting and Hardy wasn’t exactly one for the ages.  In fact, it’s actually really hard to classify it as a match.  The match barely went a minute and a half before Sting landed the match’s only wrestling move, the Scorpion Death Drop, and pinned Hardy in front of a shocked crowd.  Actually, shocked wasn’t really the word I’d use here.  Pissed off is more like it.  But at least since it was at the Impact Zone they didn’t get charged admission to get in.  Not like those saps that shilled out $35 to see the thing on PPV.

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WWE Out-Shores TNA

I cannot say that I have ever caught an episode of The Jersey Shore, but through other sources (most frequently E!’s The Soup) I know of the show and how big of a hit it is.

TNA thought to cash in on the “phenomenon” but bringing in cast member “JWoww” for a one-off appearance to hype their rip-off duo of Robbie E and Cookie, but being that she was only there for one appearance, the story went nowhere and TNA got nothing for it.  A week ago, they apparently decided to try again by bringing in Angelina Pivarnick who apparently is the only cast member to have been booted from the show.  She apparently will be wrestling on this week’s Impact, which due to my boycott on the company, I will not be watching.

I bring this up because until TNA told me that they were Jersey Shore cast members, I had no idea who JWoww or Angelina were.  The only two Jersey Shore names I know are Snooki (who is basically everywhere in entertainment news) and “The Situation” (no idea what his real name is) because he gets made fun of on a weekly basis on The Soup.

So TNA while is trying again with the low-end Jersey Shore cast bit, what does WWE do?  Well, they announce that they will be having Snooki on next week’s edition of Raw.  Look at the tabloids next time you’re cruising through the U-Scan aisle and see what names you find there.  Chances are, between People, Ok!, The Sun, National Enquirer and the Weekly World News, you’re going to see something about Snooki in there.  What about Angelina or even JWoww?  Highly unlikely.

Unlike TNA, WWE will never directly call out the other brand on TV and will never mention what goes on there.  There will be no mention on Raw or Smackdown that Sting is back in TNA nor that their signing of Kevin Nash and Booker T pretty much tanked the Main Event Mafia return storyline.  But occasionally WWE does something like this which fans like me can’t help but think is a thumbed nose at the lesser company.

And I’m sure TNA will have Angelina call out Snooki as soon as the next edition of Impact is taped.  Fortunately for me, I won’t be watching it.

I have had enough: TNA Impact 3/3/11

I have taken as much as I can take from TNA.  There are only so many times one can watch TNA hint at getting better, only for them to slam on the brakes and turn it right around the other direction.

For example, last night on Impact, we found out that Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan’s blatant use of fraud to get control of the company from Dixie Carter was perfectly fine, and the courts upheld it.  So we get Immortal once more in control of the company – for good this time.  But that really doesn’t matter, as “The Network” now has booking authority over even the owners of the company and get to decide who is in the main event.  And even better – “The Network” doesn’t even have to tell the people in charge of the company who it is.  But we’ll get back to that.

We had a former Jersey Shore castmate not only show up but get booked in a match for next week.  We had an NFL player fight the best talent in the company (Kurt Angle).  We had not one, but TWO weddings between Jeff Jarrett and Karen Angle (both of which sucked).  We had Gunner and Murphy challenge for the tag team titles.  We had a match between Scott Steiner and Rob Terry.

Oh yeah – and we had this:

As speculated after the universally panned “3/3/11” promo video, Sting was the mystery challenger for Jeff Hardy’s title, as apparently “The Network” can order even people who walked out of the company back to work.  Sting showed back up in a truly hideous red and yellow bedazzled jacket complete with tassles and sparkly red patches on his tights.  And shortly thereafter, THAT became THIS:

Not only did TNA bring Sting in, but they immediately put the TNA Championship on him, ending the running storylines dealing with Mr. Anderson and Rob Van Dam in the process.  TNA seems to have taken the excitement of Sting in the WWE as simply excitement to see Sting, so they brought him in and made him the champion.  Ongoing storylines be damned.

Well, that’s it.  I’ve had enough.  Until further notice, I am ending my coverage of Impact.  I might toss out bullet points, but I simply cannot stand it right now.  I’m burned out.

It’s been fun – perhaps in a month or two, I might check it out again.