Tonight’s show opens with Taz hitting the ring, and the Human Suplex Machine has a microphone! Taz talks aboutwrestling for a little company called ECW, and sustaining injuries that ended his career. ECW gets cheered. Hetalks about announcing in WWE. WWE gets booed. While flipping channels, Taz came across TNA and Samoa Joe. Joe isthe second coming of himself, with one exception. Taz never felt remorse for his brutal actions, and Joe did. Tazfelt that he could change that, and get Joe to the next level. Taz said that he and Joe would always be indebted toKurt Angle and the Main Event Mafia for accepting Joe’s services. Joe is the only MEMber with no gold, but thatwill change momentarily. Joe is going to defeat Homicide for the X-Division title. Beat Joe if you can, Homicide,and survive if he lets you!
Drowgoddess Thoughts (DGT): Good, solid promo from Taz. Everything was wildly cheered until he got to the partabout thanking Angle and the MEM, but even that was still cheered too much for a heel faction. How many mentors /teachers does Samoa Joe need? Until the middle of 2006, Joe was The Man in TNA, and had everything going for him.He was already at “the next level,” and then TNA became Total Nonstop Angle, and everything went downhill. I’dpersonally rather see Taz and Joe not part of the MEM, but that’s as may be.
Match #1: Homicide defeats Samoa Joe: This match was for the X-Division title, but Homicide only won by DQ. Joe hastaken on as many of Taz’s moves and mannerisms as possible, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The majority of the offense was Joe’s, but it was hardly a squash. Joe got Homicide in the corner for a facewash, and the new referee tried to pull Joe away. Joe punched him. Homicide takes advantage and attempts the Gringo Cutter (Is it still the Gringo Cutter when done on a Samoan?), but Joe reverses it into the Kokina Clutch. Joe’s victory seems assured, but the referee disqualifies Joe for hitting him. Joe responds by stomping Homicide even more. Strange music plays, and Hernandez rushes the ring! Hernandez makes the save and stares down Joe, but Taz pulls Joe out of the ring in a “not now” gesture.
DGT: These two can really go. Please let them. The X-Division title shouldn’t be a limitation, as both of these guys were ROH World Champion, and could certainly handle the top spot in TNA. Hernandez looked really good, and has lost some weight. Why on earth would you change the music of someone who is making his return? Bring him back to the music the fans know, and change it later. Samoa Joe and Hernandez could have an awesome World title program. Could. Please??? Don West repeatedly made the point that the X-Division title and the Knockouts title did actually matter to the MEM, but that they were looking at getting all the gold one step at a time. That TNA acknowledged this is surprising, but hey, maybe they read some of the complaints. One can only hope.
To the back! Mick Foley is down over Kurt Angle being the new “golden boy” of TNA management, and getting his way in all things.
To the ring! The entirety of the Main Event Mafia enters. Angle says that while everyone in TNA SHOULD be afraid for their jobs, he isn’t going to fire anyone because he’s a generous man. TNA management has agreed to all of the Main Event Mafia’s demands because if they hadn’t, the MEM would have walked out of TNA, and the company would have nothing left but a bunch of losers. TNA needs the Main Event Mafia in order to survive. Angle trashes Foley, and asks just what is it that Foley does in TNA? He just takes up space, and he isn’t the wrestler that he used to be. Foley’s music kicks in and he comes to the ring. For the ten minutes or so that he was kicking Angle’s ass all over the ring, he was the wrestler that he used to be. Angle goes on at great length about Foley working TNA management and making them believe that Foley was necessary to TNA, while the MEM was not. If Angle and Joe hadn’t outsmarted Foley and taken his title belt, Foley would still be working the office. Angle pulls out some keys on a huge “TNA” lanyard, and says that with Jarrett gone and Sting a thousand miles away licking his wounds, the only thing left to take care of is Foley. These are the keys to Foley’s office, and tonight, Angle and Foley will have a “Keys on a Pole” match to see who gets them.
DGT: No good can ever come from any match situation involving the words “on a pole.” Ever. EVER! Because the MEM won three major titles at the ppv, TNA management has given them carte blanche to take over the show and run everything? That seems to be what they’re telling us. Kurt Angle said “work” a record number of times. Actually, if the entirety of the MEM left TNA, what would be left is a damn fine wrestling company. Angle buries the entire non-MEM roster and he gets cheered for it? That alone should indicate a problem in how the MEM is portrayed. As a gift to the fans, the MEM will defend their titles tonight, but they apparently get to choose their own opponents. One ticket to Squash City, please.
To the back! The British Invasion informs us that they have a rematch against Team 3D next week for the IWGP Tag Team titles. They are aligning themselves with the MEM in their pursuit of power, money, and glory. Tonight, however, they will take out the TNA Originals.
Match #2: Kevin Nash (w/ Jenna Morasca) defeats Amazing Red: This “match” was for the Legends title. It ended in about two minutes. Red’s offense had no effect, and Nash hit the jacknife powerbomb for the quick win.
DGT: Don West’s completely over-the-top commentary about how much of a challenge Red would be would have been funnier of a bigger deal had been made of the MEM choosing their own opponents. Red got brought in as the next Rey Mysterio, and now he’s being jobbed out in two minutes? Jeebus.
To the back! Hernandez cuts a solid promo about having Jarrett and Sting’s backs. Jarrett gave him a chance when no one else would, and he’s standing up for TNA. Homicide comes in and argues with Hernandez over “saving” him earlier.
DGT: Aww, come on! Don’t break up LAX! A tag team doesn’t have to break up in order to move on to singles accomplishments.
To Mick Foley’s office! JB asks Foley about his fear of losing everything tonight. Foley mocks the very concept of “on a pole” matches, saying that the Burr-Hamilton duel could have been settled that way and no one had to die. The Obama-McCain presidency could have been settled that way. Foley makes a big deal about keeping the caricature drawing of himself and JB, no matter what. Rocco and Sally Boy come in and tell Mick that they’ve got his back. They’ll do anything that he needs. Foley asks them to get rid of the “MEM” logos on their shirts, like he asked them to six weeks ago.
Booker T and Scott Steiner watch this exchange on the monitor in the MEM dressing room. They laugh and announce that they’ve found their tag team opponents for the evening.
Match #3: Booker T (w/ Sharmell) and Scott Steiner defeat Rocco and Sally Boy: This match was for the Tag Team titles. Another total squash that the MEMbers treated as beneath them and an absolute joke. Rocco hits Steiner with a big splash, but the referee was pulled out of the ring by Sharmell. One extremely poorly done Book End later, Steiner follows up with a downward spiral and gets the win.
DGT: I just threw up in my mouth a little.
To Mick Foley’s office! Eric Young apologizes for his recent behavior, and says that his problem is with Jarrett personally, not with TNA. He’ll do whatever Foley needs him to do. Foley makes him the last man on the TNA Originals side for the massive tag match later.
DGT: You know what’s coming. Don’t pretend you don’t.
Match #4: Traci Brooks wins the Knockouts battle royale: Eleven Knockouts competed for $50,000 and the position of “Chosen One” for the MEM. “Knockout Law” Traci Brooks was the referee. Awesome Kong and The Beautiful People got televised entrances. Sarita, ODB (w/ Cody Deaner), Daffney, Alissa Flash, Sojourner Bolt, Taylor Wilde, and Tara were the others. Elimination order was Daffney, Madison Rayne, Sojourner Bolt, Velvet Sky, Taylor Wilde, Alissa Flash, Angelina Love, ODB, and Sarita. The final two were Awesome Kong and Tara, but as they went at it in the ropes, Traci pushed them over the top rope and claimed victory for herself. Nash entered the ring and Traci hugged him. Post-match, Tara low-blowed referee Slick Johnson, who was the outside referee.
DGT: I hate huge clustermess battle royales. Kevin Nash came down during the match for commentary and made a lot of breast jokes. Hooray. If Traci is back to wrestle, good for her. Apparently Sharmell and Jenna Morasca are not in contention for the Knockouts title, so there is, in fact, a wrestling god.
To the back! The Beautiful People rant over not being the ones “servicing” the MEM. They talk trash about the other Knockouts, ODB in particular. This brings in Cody Deaner to stand up for his woman. TBP pretend to come on to him, and he says that he knows that they all want a piece of the Deaner. He invites them to smell him, bragging about his “mi la toilette” that his Mother Deaner got him at a flea market. Velvet Sky low blows Deaner, and ODB runs in as TBP scatter.
DGT: Fun. The Beautiful People are always great to watch, and this segment was no exception. Cody Deaner was actually funny with his “The Deaner diamonds are shattered!” line.
To the locker room! The TNA Originals of AJ Styles, Beer Money, Daniels, and Eric Young prepare for their match. AJ says that the Originals dropped the ball at the ppv, allowing the MEM to take over. Tonight, though, they’re all on the same page.
DGT: Ever since the MEM formed, this has been the response of the Originals/Frontline/Whatever. We’re sorry, we dropped the ball. We let everybody down. Could we possibly be a little less emo and a little more pissed off about it?
Match #5: The British Invasion, Kiyoshi, and Shiek Abdul Bashir defeated AJ Styles, Daniels, Beer Money, and Eric Young: Sort of. Good action for what there was, but far too short. The whole point of the match was that Eric Young turned on the Originals, gave AJ Styles a piledriver, and helped the international faction win. He then left with them.
DGT: Placing Eric Young as the leader of the World Elite faction is good. He’s not American. He’s been in TNA from the beginning. He has legitimate grievances concerning his career in TNA. He’s done the best work of his career since his heel turn. He needed a new storyline immediately, as the Young/Jarrett bit had to be scrapped. The problem here is that any surprise factor was totally killed by having Young go to Foley and apologize prior to the match. Why not just announce, “We’re going to swerve you now?” Most fans do not need to be led around by the nose to follow the program. I would rather have not seen Young’s actions coming from a mile away. Nice work from the announce team on the “unwritten rule” of not using the piledriver because it was so dangerous, and Young’s use of it.
To the back! The World Elite celebrates, and Eric Young explains that he was invited to join the group some time ago. Mick Foley rushes in and attacks Young.
Match #6: Kurt Angle vs. Mick Foley ends in “no contest”: Yes, an “on a pole” match went to a no-contest. Foley and Angle were both rather beaten up from their ppv match, and showed it. Foley put Angle down with a near-minute-long Mandible Claw, but as he tried to climb the pole, the MEM ran down and attacked him. Foley was beaten down and held in place while Angle screamed at him in barely comprehensible English. Music plays, and Bobby Lashley comes down. He’s all smiles and hugs Angle. Lashley sets up to hit Foley, but turns around and hits Angle instead. He clotheslines all the other MEMbers, gets a big pop, and looks threatening.
DGT: So a guy who has never been in TNA before, a guy who publicly says that his main focus is fighting Brock Lesnar in UFC and that TNA is basically a side job to earn extra money, is suddenly the one and only guy who can save TNA? The MEM had complete dominance until Lashley punched Angle? Even if you’re a Lashley fan, this is insulting beyond belief. Once again, we’re back to the “Only an ex-WWE guy can save us!” mentality. Daniels, AJ, Joe, Sabin, Shelley, Hernandez, Homicide, Jay Lethal, and even Consequences Creed might not agree with the idea. I know, who cares what they think? I never cared about Lashley in WWE, and I don’t now. I stand by my previous comments that he wasn’t a big deal in WWE. He was just another painfully green musclehead who was pushed to the moon and made champion much too quickly because Vince drooled over his look. Any credit that he gets for bringing the experience of a babyface WWE champion is too much credit.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Given that the MEM was hand-picking their own opponents for tonight’s title defenses, I’m pretty sure that I was supposed to hate them. Good. I’m all in favor of a do-over of the MEM/Originals idea, but given how terribly that was messed up, even my hope is limited. Right now, the MEM come off as cool heels, or flat out faces, and are cheered as such. No one challenges the MEM over comments like “If we left, all that would be here are a bunch of losers and the company would die,” and “Everyone not in the MEM is in the same place he was seven years ago, and not in our league.” There’s a definite line between stacking the odds against the faces and making them look like idiots. We’ve already seen Bachelor #2. Try something different this time.
The Lord and Master of Randomness, JT, will be enjoying a well-deserved vacation for the next ten days or so, but check back with us for the usual BWF goodness!