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TNA Wrestling Has Some Life Left

September 12, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

I applaud TNA for trying to add new life into its niche wrestling program by bringing back former ECW stars to its roster. The added excitement of hardcore rules, the chance to see great tag team action and another opportunity to save TNA from falling off the cliff just may work – for a short amount of time.

Since the WWE has moved away from the old Attitude Era and won’t even consider Bully Ray or AJ Styles, but will bring in a veteran like Sting, the thought of Tommy Dreamer, Rhyno and the Dudley’s makes my temperature rise ever so slightly. Anything that brings back the past in a positive way in professional wrestling works for me.

This – this new lease on life, so to speak – works for me. I happen to like TNA for its NWA style, its ECW antics and more realistic – if that is such a word – wrestling angles. In this case, wrestling does matter, even moving to New York gives this outfit a better chance of sticking around.

But for the most part, the tag team wrestling of late, the hardcore rules matches and the better than average angles is what is keeping me glued to the screen.

In a way, maybe TNA has Paul Heyman to thank for his conception of ECW and the hardcore style we see today.

ECW was a professional wrestling promotion that was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1992 by Tod Gordon. ECW closed when then owner Paul Heyman declared bankruptcy in April 2001. After purchasing the assets of ECW, World Wrestling Entertainment relaunched the Extreme Championship Wrestling franchise as a WWE brand from June 2006 until February 2010 to complement their existing Raw and SmackDown brands. The promotion showcased various international styles of professional wrestling, ranging from lucha libre to puroresu and hardcore wrestling.

ECW had its origins in 1989 under the banner Tri-State Wrestling Alliance owned by Joel Goodhart. In 1992, Goodhart sold his share of the company to his partner, Tod Gordon, who in return renamed the promotion Eastern Championship Wrestling. When Eastern Championship Wrestling was founded, it was a member of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). At the time, “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert was the lead booker of Eastern Championship Wrestling. Gilbert, after a falling out with Tod Gordon, was replaced in September 1993 by Paul Heyman. Heyman, known on television as Paul E. Dangerously, had just left World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and was looking for a new challenge.

It is a program that has its place in wrestling today and fits the TNA profile for more conventional “sport”. Fans up north are familiar with the programming of ECW and TNA’s bring has brought back the brand and changed venues to make it more accessible and popular to the fan base.

I love it.

If TNA is going to continue to show improvements it must continue down this path. The tag team division is red hot with Team 3-D, The Hardys and The American Wolves leading the way. The X-Division is solid (welcome to the club, Tajiri). Bobby Roode is again on the side of good instead of evil. The Knockouts are top notch (better than the WWE) and of course, there is actual wrestling on the card when we watch every Wednesday (which was also a good move by the Board of Directors to have more of a following in the middle of the week.

Everything adds up. But now comes the hard part of sustaining the success. Like it was said before earlier this week, this is the start of something big or the first nail in the coffin. I tend to think the latter not the former. If that is the case, then TNA just took old school and made it new again.

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Is IMPACT Wrestling’s move a new start or the nail in the coffin?

August 21, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Total Non-Stop Action recently announced with only a one week notice its viewers that its flagship show Impact Wrestling is moving from its long running Thursday  to Wednesday nights at 9:00 PM citing that basically the move to Wednesday’s won’t allow for viewers to choose between the NFL and Wrestling.

I remember during the dying days of World Championship Wrestling when the company’s Thursday night show Thunder moved to Wednesdays due to SmackDown during that time becoming the new number one wrestling show on Thursday nights.

TNA is touting that Impact Wrestling has seen ratings increases over the summer.  However, the show still has a week or two where the ratings see a decline, then an increase.  Either Spike TV is experimenting to see if the ratings will increase now that Impact Wrestling won’t be going head-to-head with the NFL, or they are looking for a night where the show’s ratings will tank completely and give Dixie and Company a viable reason that they (Spike) have a solid justifiable case not to renew the show, or is this move due to the rumors that Vince McMahon is moving SmackDown back to Thursday nights and Spike and TNA recall how bad they (TNA) was beat during its very short Monday night run against Monday Night Raw.

I have watched some of Impact Wrestling and have noticed some difference increased in ring action, but TNA still struggles with standing out as different.  I recently listened to an interview with Bully Ray on the Ross Report.  Ray suggested that TNA should be a cross between the 1980’s Georgia Championship Wrestling, National Wrestling Alliance and the current New Japan for in ring action with very little other storylines – let the story be told in the ring.  Jim Ross went on to say that TNA tends be a WWE lite at times.

TNA should spend less time trying to look like World Wrestling Entertainment from attitude era and focus on doing something different and innovative that will turn heads and get viewers talking.  Yes, there have been some that say TNA is heading in the right direction with a reboot or refocus on more in ring action.  Bringing back the six-sided ring isn’t really the answer.  You can have a six-sided ring, and eight sided ring, but if your product stinks, it won’t matter what your ring looks like or how many former pay-per view shows you give away for free.

So there is still one big mystery that neither Dixie Carter or Spike TV are talking in depth about which is Impact Wrestling remaining on Spike TV.  The other question is Dixie secretly shopping around Impact Wrestling to other networks.  When Dixie commented on the “ongoing negotiations…” she did state that there are other networks that have expressed interest in Impact Wrestling.  I have never been in the television industry, but did spend some time in the radio industry and know that in some cases when there specific negotiations, depending on what is being discussed in can be proprietary until the final deal is ready to be made public.

If Dixie is smart, which I know she is, is talking with other networks in the event all rumors are indeed true that Spike is not renewing Impact Wrestling.  Several wrestling websites are reporting that TNA is taping shows through the end of the current Spike TV deal.  In addition, TNA has cancelled house shows for September and into October.  Bound for Glory in Japan is the only television they have on the books.

I want to see TNA succeed.  It is good for the business.  Without a television deal, TNA won’t succeed.  TNA needs cable TV, but the question remains, does Spike TV need TNA.  Spike will answer that question very soon I’m sure of it.

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Petey Williams Speaks On TNA, Injuries, Retirement, and His Career

August 14, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Petey Williams was perhaps the most understated member of Team Canada in TNA. Williams wasn’t as profoundly obnoxious as Scott D’Amore, as comically demented as Eric Young, or as imposing as Alastair Ralphs. Williams is shorter than the chiseled, camera-friendly Bobby Roode, and he doesn’t have the natural, arrogant smirk of Johnny Devine.

Despite that, the two-time former TNA X-Division Champion gets his name chanted at wrestling cards he doesn’t even appear at, thanks to a spectacular invention.

One week after Williams, 32, performed in his retirement match against X-Division doppelganger Chris Sabin, independent wrestler Alex Reynolds executed the Canadian Destroyer, the prodigious flipping piledriver, during a CZW tag team bout. After a roaring beat, over 500 fans in Voorhees, NJ chorused with “PE-TEY WILL-IAMS”, an homage to the hold’s master.

The Destroyer is synonymous with Williams in the same manner that bringing a python to the ring is the calling card of Jake “The Snake” Roberts. This past May, Buff Bagwell, of all people, performed the move at an AIW event in Cleveland. As video surfaced, and Bagwell became a trending name, Williams’ name also escaped viewers’ lips in conjunction with the sight.

“Everybody thinks I get upset (to have others do the move), but you know what they say, that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” Williams jokes. “I’ve done something in pro wrestling that a lot of people can’t say that they’ve done. I’ve created something that’ll live past when I’m dead and gone. When I’m 70 years old, I’ll be sitting on the couch with my grandkids, and there’ll be some wrestler doing the Canadian Destroyer, and I’ll say hey, that was me.”

On May 5, 2004, Williams stood out from a new-plastic-scented, identity-seeking Team Canada stable by performing the Destroyer before a PPV audience. In an eight-man tag, Williams spotted up Sabin in the hijacker-clasp, and sunset-flipped Sabin into a perfect, Memphis-outlawed piledriver that astonished the TNA Asylum upstate in Nashville.

“The first person I did it to on television was Chris Sabin, but the first person that had ever taken it was Evan Bourne, back when he was Matt Sydal,” recalls Williams. “I explained the move to him, having no idea how it was going to turn out. He just goes ‘Okay!’ So I set it up, we did it, the place went nuts, and the rest is history.”

“Ten years ago, wrestlers were afraid of it, but now they’ve seen me perform it so much, and they trust me. It’s not that I was trying to talk anyone into it, but I just had to assure them that I wasn’t going to break their neck. I think now, people are lining up, like, ‘I wanna take the Destroyer tonight!’ Sonjay Dutt didn’t even want to do it, and I finally managed to assure him. After we did it, he was like, ‘Petey, that was so easy!’ For that reaction that we got, he said he’d rather take the Destroyer than a bodyslam.”

Safety first for wrestlers whose acrobatic, smack-echo’ed styles induce as many winces and cringes as they do cheers. Williams’ recent decision to walk away from wrestling is, in part, due to the accumulation of such aches and pain over his twelve-year career.

“I hear about all of these guys getting concussions and neck injuries, and I watch their wrestling style, and I realize my wrestling style’s a little bit harder than that, because I’m taking German suplexes on the neck, and piledrivers and whatever. I’m like, ‘Man, I’m gonna be 33 years old; maybe I’d better get out now, and not have to be in a wheelchair when I’m older.”

My wife’s due with my next daughter in a couple of weeks or so, and I just didn’t book any shows in or around this time. Then I just said, ‘You know what? I just gotta start doing different things in life.’ You kinda have to look at your future, and ask what’s really more important: providing for my family, being there for them, or pro wrestling?”

Health concerns aside, Williams recognizes TNA as among the most secure places he’s worked, knowing that he could put his body in the hands of the experienced professionals there, and come out as fresh as possible in such a physical vocation. In the indies, however, that luxury isn’t always available.

“You lay faith in the promoter to pair you up with somebody trustworthy, because you may have never met this person before. In a match last October, I was doing my basic opening moves, and one of them was a second-rope hurrachanrana. My opponent’s like, ‘Oh, that’s easy; I can do that okay.’ And when I went for that, he for some reason ducked his head, and I totally landed on my own head. I pop up, and my shoulder felt really weird.”

“I had an MRI, and the doctor told me I had a torn supraspinatus (rotator cuff muscle in the upper back). He tells me the only way I can really fix this is through surgery; there’s no amount of rehab that’s really going to make this better, nothing you can take, no injections, etc. He tells me I can’t wrestle for the next couple of months. I look at him like, ‘Well, that’s not going to happen,’ because I’ve got shows booked.”

“Right now, it’s feeling better, but it’s been probably about ten months, and I still feel it every morning.”

Several months before the October 2013 injury, Williams had another scary moment, this time in a special appearance at TNA’s Destination X in Louisville. Williams was booked in a triple threat match with fellow X-Division pioneers Sonjay Dutt and Homicide.

“Homicide suggests to me he’ll do the Gringo Killer (vertebreaker), and from there, Sonjay will give him the moonsault double stomp. I’ve never taken it from Homicide before, as many times as I’ve worked him. He assured me, ‘I’m really safe with it now. Before, I used to kinda kill guys,’ and I told him I was fine with it, that I wasn’t even questioning it.”

“Then the way we did it wasn’t the way we practiced it – he was supposed to kick me, set me, turn me up, then down. Instead, he just grabs me from behind and says, ‘Oh, let’s just go with it this way.’ When he flung my legs up, he had my upper body trapped, and it kinda compressed by body, and I really couldn’t move. It felt like a lightning bolt went through my upper back and chest area. I rolled out of the ring, so I was at least able to move.”

“The ref came over to check on me, and he made the “X” gesture. I literally couldn’t even sit myself up; I couldn’t use my core muscles to pull myself up, it was too much pain in my neck. I asked him to just lift my body up, to get me into a sitting position, and then I managed to get up, so I was able to walk to the back. The doctor told me he thought it was just a bruised spinal cord, and I thought, ‘A bruised spinal cord? That’s it?’ I iced it, took some anti-inflammatories, and it didn’t get any worse, which I’m happy about, but I couldn’t do certain things in the gym for a while.”

Constant pain has been a motivating factor for a number of wrestlers to leave the industry. With a family at home, and the opportunity to get out with what are now just nagging pains, Williams is, so far, handling the adjustment to ‘civilian life’ well enough. It appears, though, the man once known as “Maple Leaf Muscle” won’t be a civilian for long.

“I’m going to become a US citizen, probably within a month. I’m probably going to work in law enforcement now. That’s what I went to school for while training to be a pro wrestler, so that’s been my other area of passion. It’s a career where I don’t have to travel, don’t have to leave my family, and I can earn a pension. My wife’s a police officer, and that’s how we kind of came together.”

Jesse Ventura once opined, “You get into wrestling to get out of wrestling”, and “The Body” accordingly found his calling in politics and movies. Williams’ escape route allows him to keep it far more local, where family, both biological and acquired, will be his constant.

“It’s about being a Dad, and also stopping by some local shows to say hi to the guys. I still wanna keep up with wrestling, and I’m actually enjoying it a little more, following it casually as a fan. It reminds me of back when I was younger, and I love being a fan of the sport.”

“I went to the Ring of Honor show in Dearborn (July 19), near where I live, and I got to say goodbye to a few guys I hadn’t gotten to say goodbye to, like Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, Jay Lethal, Tyson Dux, and it was Kevin Steen’s last match, and it was good getting see all of that. I really, really enjoyed it for the first time since becoming a pro wrestler, sitting in the back of the crowd, watching the show. I didn’t have to stress out about most the stuff you’d usually stress out about when you wrestle.”

“It would have been nice to be on that show, but I didn’t bring any of my wrestling gear, so even if they’d asked me, I would have said no,” Williams laughs. “But I do miss it, of course.”

Somewhere down the line, Williams isn’t against the idea of donning the tights and doling out another Destroyer. In his words, the time would have to be right, because in wrestling, never ever means never.

“You know, I never really said I’m ‘retiring’, because who ever really retires? How many times has Terry Funk ‘retired’? I think he may still be wrestling!” Williams jokes. “I just like to call it my ‘last match’, because I may never, ever wrestle again, but I could have another match in a year, five years, ten years. Who knows, right? I think every wrestler I’ve seen retire come back, so I don’t want to say that.”

Williams at least offers a bizarre scenario, declaring with a chuckle, “I would break my retirement if I could wrestle Buff Bagwell with Scott Steiner as the referee.”

Dueling Canadian Destroyers? It’s more enticing than even a WWE contract to Williams now, who said regarding the company, “Even if WWE called me and said “We’d like you to move to Florida for NXT,” I wouldn’t because I have a family, I have a daughter with one on the way. I’m married, I have a mortgage. I’m set to where I am in life right now; I’m totally content with it.”

As it stands, Williams’ last match (not ‘retirement match’) was with Sabin in Clinton Township, Michigan for XICW on July 5. Williams put over the man whom he’s shared his personal and professional lives for over ten years in an emotional walk-off.

“I’ve had two people I’ve wanted to have my last match with. One of them was this guy named Gutter (Caleb Stills), a local independent wrestler in Michigan, who was actually my first match over 12 years ago. I’d talked with him about it for years, having my last match with him as well.”

“He was actually on the show that day, and I asked the promoter if he’d put me against Gutter, or Chris Sabin. He said he wanted me against Sabin, which is fitting, because Sabin’s my best friend in the professional wrestling world. We’d always travel together, trained together, and we’re both from (Scott) D’Amore’s school. It was the right way to go.”

Sabin is just one X-Division icon that Williams will miss taking to the mat with. His list of favorite opponents reads as a Who’s Who of the division’s finest.

“I loved working with Alex Shelley, of course. At the end of his TNA run, I liked working with Low Ki. At the beginning of his run, I didn’t, because he was not easy to work with. Maybe he felt uneasy, that he had to prove himself, but when we started hanging around with him, he really eased up, joked around with us, which he didn’t usually do. But after that, I was having really good matches with him and everything, and I was really sad to see him go!”

“I really liked when I had my run with Frankie Kazarian, with a really good Slammiversary match. We had a bunch of house show matches as well, including one where I was ‘married’ to him for about a week straight. I just had good chemistry with him. All of the X-Division guys pretty much. I don’t think there was any that I didn’t like working with. I liked Sonjay, Lethal, AJ Styles, Daniels, Kazarian. I never really got to work with Samoa Joe, never had a singles match with him, which is kinda weird. But yeah, I could work those guys every single day for the rest of my life.”

The world will have to deal without the authentic Canadian Destroyer, but imitations are welcome. The cover-versions conjure up the image of Petey Williams in all his glory, and that’s the fitting legacy for Williams: an understated man paid tribute with an enthralling act.

“Any time I’ve been at shows, I hear, “Petey, you’ve got the best finishing move ever,” and person after person says it to me. People might think it gets old, but it really doesn’t. I appreciate everybody saying that, and I thank everyone for all of the support.”

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Dixie Carter Comments On Spike Not Renewing Impact Reports

August 13, 2014 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Dixie Carter is living in a land of delusion off of the river of denial. Carter recently made her first public comments about Spike cancelling Impact. Let’s just say it appears that Dixie never got the memo or read the news on TMZ.com.

For someone with a background in public relations, Dixie is one of the absolute worst promoters I have ever seen with the media. Dixie rarely shoots straight and gives the impression she is living in an extremely isolated world away from the realities of TNA Wrestling. Regardless, these interviews are gifts to blogs like mine so keep them coming.

It was reported a couple of weeks ago that Spike TV will not be renewing their deal with TNA Wrestling. Their deal runs out in October and TNA are allegedly fighting hard to find a new home for Impact. Anything short of a new deal will either sink the company or necessitate drastic changes which will change the look and feel of TNA from top to bottom. You’d think an owner in that predicament would be worried right? Not Dixie!

Dixie was a recent guest of Ring Rust Radio and they asked her point blank about the reports and what kind of other options TNA has come October.

“Dixie Carter: Every two years I go through this. This is just the first public negotiation I’ve ever had. I think social media has really changed this kind of thing. I’m used to every two years negotiating with Spike and negotiating with other networks. This time is absolutely not any different. We’re still talking with them, but there are other people, thank God, that are interested in our product. I want to grow this brand; I want to grow it domestically. I want us to be able to start having the kind of success domestically that we’re having internationally. I’m not going to stop and none of us are going to stop until we get there. I’m real excited to see and I think we’ll know sooner than later what’s going to happen.”

Are there really other people? If I had a television show that was up this fall and I didn’t have a deal in August, I’d be petrified! At this point the fall schedules are all but set for most networks, the big ones anyway. Sure she could get a new deal but getting on a good slot for the fall at this point is almost impossible. I think when you have credible reports from multiple sources citing that your television show is not being renewed, you need to address them instead of blow them off as some kind of social media thing. It’s not fair to your fans and most importantly your employees.

A new report has shed some light on the failed Spike TV and TNA negotiations. A new report claims that Viacom wanted 10% ownership in TNA as part of a new deal. Dixie said no and Spike walked. This new report does shoot down some theories about Spike walking due to Vince Russo’s return to the company. It would also make a lot of sense as TNA does bring in decent ratings for Spike on that night. Passing on a renewal really didn’t make much sense until now. Keep in mind that Viacom bought into Bellator MMA as part of their negotiations so this does seem completely logical to me.

I can’t blame either side at this point. Viacom has all of the leverage here and it doesn’t take an accountant to see how poorly TNA has been run at times. I could certainly see them taking a shot and at the same time I can see Dixie not wanting to get bullied into selling. That said, Dixie also has to understand the stakes here and without a BATNA she has no other choice but to sell partial ownership or continue the company with a drastic reduction in revenue.

Either way things are going to get very interesting here between now and October. That’s something I haven’t been able to say about TNA in years!

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Jack Swagger, Tag Teams and Other Wrestling Thoughts

August 11, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

It’s a good thing to have someone in the wrestling business fighting for Old Glory again. The idea to make Jack Swagger a “Real American” in terms of fighting for his country and having the thousands in attendance each week cheering for the USA is one of the trademark spot of the older wrestling generation.

Whether it was Hulk Hogan or Sgt. Slaughter or Jim Duggan, there has always been someone to jump at the chance to fight for the country he loves and create controversy. But what happens when the man who fights for our country doesn’t have anyone to fight anymore?

The program between Swagger and Rusev has been good for the WWE over the past month, but it should end at SummerSlam. What happens to Swagger then? Fan support in this case is not as much for Swagger as it is for Zeb Colter, who has tugged at the heartstrings of the WWE Universe. What combination or individual comes in and takes Rusev’s role as antagonist? Wrestling used to be famous for that. The Iron Sheik. Nikolai Volkoff, and Ivan Koloff were famous for challenging America and challenging the faces of promotions – generating heat from the crowds during the era of Kayfabe – and guaranteed bank at the gate.

Unfortunately, I do not see Swagger doing that for the WWE, mainly because there is not as much charisma in his talent and act as there is in his manager. Maybe a program with Kofi Kingston, who we finally may see turn heel, or Big E makes more sense. If the WWE wants to tweak Swagger’s character more, that would make plenty of sense.

TNA Rewind
This coming week, the Hardy’s and Team 3D will meet again in another historic tag team match. Whether you want to admit it or not, if you want to see “good” tag team wrestling outside the Uso’s or Rhodes brothers, turn the channel on your television on Thursday nights.

While the contract with Spike Television does not run out until October, Impact wrestling has turned up its game in the tag team division and has brought two great matches in three weeks to Thursday night.

If the match with Bully Ray and Devon is half as good as the match between the Hardy’s and The Wolves, there may still be some hope for TNA keeping its contract with the current cable channel.

Goodbye, Farewell
I am not going to rehash anything that has already been said about the release of Alberto Del Rio other than I am not bothered by his release. What I can say is this, the WWE is a business and a publically traded one. It acted like a business and did what was best for business.

Personally, I did not like the character from the start and thought Del Rio was stale and boring and dropped from a heavyweight to a lightweight in a nanosecond within the company. Part of that problem became evident when Del Rio became a world champion first and did not work his way up the WWE food chain.

Happy Birthday Hulk Hogan
And finally, a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Hulk Hogan. The 61-year-old Hogan continues to be part of the center of the wrestling world. This past week Hogan announced that he would entertain the idea of wrestling at WrestleMania 31 – his opponent none other than John Cena.

While this would be the ultimate “passing of the torch” I beg the WWE and the wrestling world to not allow this to happen in any way, shape or form.

If this is the WWE’s idea of replacing Undertaker on the card with a match like this, then the ultimate “jumping the shark” event will take place and ruin everything the company is doing to change the culture of the business. JUST SAY NO!

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The Brilliance of The Hardys vs. The Wolves

August 02, 2014 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

I saw greatness on Thursday night. On Thursday night, I saw what tag team wrestling was all about.

If you watched the TNA Impact wrestling match between the Hardys and The Wolves, you saw the passing of the torch of one great combination to another.

I am not a huge fan of the current state of tag teams in the business because of the continual changes and thrown together teams we see night after night. But watching these two teams in the ring, you could sense there was something special on the screen and possibly the finest hour of the Hardy’s in some time. Even on the losing end of the match, Matt and Jeff showed us vintage moves, cohesion and an intensity we remember all too well from the team’s time in the WWE.

The Wolves may be the best tag team in the business today (a match with the Usos would end speculation).

The brothers started They first began teaming together in 1993 in independent promotions in North Carolina, winning the NWA 2000 Tag Team Championship in NWA 2000, and founded the Organization of Modern Extreme Grappling Arts, where they held the OMEGA Tag Team Championship. They both signed contracts with the WWF in 1998, and were given Michael Hayes as their manager.

After dumping Hayes, they had a quick stint with Gangrel, and then Terri, before gaining a permanent manager in their real-life friend Lita. The addition of Lita led to them being renamed “Team Xtreme”.

They split as a team in 2002, but reunited in 2006 to feud with MNM, before focusing on their singles careers again in 2007, although they occasionally teamed together.

Following a scripted feud between the two brothers in early 2009, Jeff left WWE in August, with Matt departing in late 2010. The Hardys reunited in TNA in January 2011 as members of the Immortal stable. In August 2011, Matt was released from his contract with TNA.

The Hardy Boyz gained fame for their participation in ladder matches and Tables, Ladders, and Chairs matches. Overall in WWE they are seven-time tag team champions, having won the World Tag Team Championship six times and the WCW World Tag Team Championship once. Both brothers also won singles championships during their run as a tag team.

Over the course of their careers in the ring, Jeff has been the more successful of the two, having won multiple world titles.

While the match between the two teams was potentially the tag team match of the year, it cannot bring back the days of when I was younger and could watch The Briscos battle Funks or Mike and Eddie Graham lock horns with Pak Song or see Sgt. Slaughter and Don Kernoodle tangle with Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood. For every high-flying move made by the foursome in the ring Thursday night, the arm locks, drop kicks and cross body blocks proved to be the “real deal” in terms of Kayfabe wrestling and was a favorite of mine from the days of the NWA and Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling.

The Wild Samoans may have ruled the northern part of the United States in the WWF, but I would take A Youngblood Indian chop over a head butt any day of the week.

The Wolves are the reigning two-time TNA World Tag Team Champions. They have previously wrestled for Ring of Honor (ROH), where they are two-time ROH World Tag Team Champions.

The two started out as members of Larry Sweeney’s alliance Sweet N’ Sour Inc., but forged a tag team on their own. As well as being a tag team unit, the two wrestlers have had strong singles careers, with Edwards being ROH’s first World Television Champion and the first to complete the Triple Crown Championship after winning the ROH World Championship, which he then went on to drop to Richards.

They were originally managed by Shane Hagadorn when they portrayed villainous characters, but later abandoned him to become fan favorites. They left ROH in 2013, and debuted for TNA in January 2014, winning the TNA World Tag Team Championship a month later.

No matter who you root for and how far back you go in wrestling history, watching these four in the ring the other night proves “wrestling” is alive and well. And as long as there are teams like The Wolves and The Hardy’s fans old and young will be treated the business – the way it they are supposed to be.

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Rampage Jackson Says TNA Had No Idea What They Were Doing

August 01, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

While most of the pro wrestling community was surprised to learn that TNA Wrestling would not be renewed by Spike TV, one former TNA star was not. Rampage Jackson says he saw the writing on the wall which is why we won’t ever be seeing him in TNA again.

Rampage was the first major MMA star to agree to work with TNA and earned TNA some much needed publicity when he came over. Many were skeptical but a hot confrontation between he and Kurt Angle created enough buzz to quiet any doubters. Fortunately for those doubters TNA immediately dropped the able creating frustration among fans and the former Pride FC champion.

Rampage recently appeared on The Fight Nerd and talked about his frustrating tenure in TNA. Jackson opened up for the first time about his frustrations and the lost opportunity between him and Angle.

To be honest with you, you haven’t seen me in a while. I soon as I saw the operation, there were no plans for me to go back. They had a lot of momentum with me when I came out with Kurt Angle…I was supposed to wrestle Kurt Angle. They lost all momentum. They didn’t utilize me. I gave them a couple of ideas on how to utilize me. They wanted me to wrestle professional fighters in pro wrestling. They had no idea what they were doing in my opinion so no you won’t see me in TNA ever again.

That is just absolutely amazing to me. I know TNA has its defenders but those plans are indefensible. According to Jackson they were going to book him to wrestle MMA fighters because you know, fans would rather pay to watch the same two guys go through a worked wrestling match as opposed to a real fight. That is just ludicrous to me! If that is the case and I have no reason to doubt him, he is right. They had no idea what they were doing and it’s a damned shame because for one week they had something special with Jackson and Angle. To be fair to the current creative team, Rampage’s creative was handled by the Hogan and Bischoff regime.

Jackson also tells the interviewed that he “saw the writing on the wall” in regards to TNA’s current instability. It’s fascinating in the sense that this guy, who has never worked in pro wrestling, knew how to book his angle better than the actual pro wrestling company.

Check out the interview and more on Rampage’s brief tenure in TNA below.

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Dixie Carter Has Nobody to Blame but Herself

July 29, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

When I work at six in the morning, I’m usually in bed at about seven at night and up around four in the morning. I pop on the coffee, pop on America This Morning have a bowl of Special K Chocolately Delight and hit the internet for a while. I check my e-mail to see what our death match overlord’s reaction to my latest article is (Most of it “You know they’re gonna kill you right?). I have the sites I check while trying to down my less than perfect coffee: Facebook, CCB, The Real TSM, Cageside Seats, Spoony Experiment Forum, Twitter, and ProFootballTalk. This morning, I woke up to news that Spike had made the decision to not renew TNA. Apparently, the revelation that TNA was keeping Vince Russo on staff as an announcing consultant despite Spike saying that they didn’t want Russo on staff was the last straw.

The big question is why Dixie? What does Vince frigging Russo know about announcing that makes him so special to have him give his opinion over announcing? You want somebody to tell you that the announcing duo of Mike Tenay and Taz is godawful? I’ll do it and I’m probably cheaper to pay than Vince Russo. Or, if you really want somebody who knows something about wrestling, try and bring in Jim Ross to critique the announcing. There’s nobody better at calling the action than Jim Ross and he could probably point out some key problems with the announcing. Probably the biggest one being the fact that you employ an announce team consisting of Mike Tenay and Taz.

The biggest problem is that Dixie Carter made the very stupid decision to bite the last hand that fed the company.

What source of revenue does TNA have left besides television?

PPV? They have no presence of PPV with the exception of a few events that the average wrestling fan is more inclined to stream than to pay $39.95 for. If they don’t stream, there is a very good chance that TNA is going to do the rematch of the big main event the next night or book a title change a few weeks later, nullifying any reason to buy the card in the first place. They’ve tried to make up for it by booking One Night Only cards, except the big problem is that they tape a bunch of them and don’t air them for about five or six months and people read the results and declare they have no interest in paying for them. Or, they wait until a place like /woootube/ streams it for free or it’s get upload onto Youtube/Daily Motion. They thought they would get more money by doing less PPV’s and building them well, but they forgot to do the second part.

Live events? TNA could make some money by charging people money to write jokes about the crowds. Heck, it’d probably make more money than the gate of a live event. Instead of deciding to reboot their live event plan, the company has continued to run events at minor league baseball stadiums in-front of a few hundred people. It seems a bit more logical than running a 7,500 seat arena for the first time and then wondering why only 300 people showed up.

Merchandising? Those Mr. Anderson shirts, plastic Eric Young beards and masks, and that 250 dollar Lockdown turnbuckle are flying off the shelves, aren’t they? They don’t have a DVD deal with any big box outlets so you have to buy through the TNA site, no shirts are for sale at any clothing stores or retail stores and TNA’s toy deal with Jakks Pacific (Another great example of Dixie Carter star-f***cking anything associated with the WWE) did nothing for them. My local Wal-Greens had a Crimson figure sit on their shelves for about two years, if you marked it down to 99 cents, people would complain that it would still cost too much to buy a Crimson figure. My nephew actually has some TNA figures: Hogan, Sting, Angle, and Nash mostly because Uncle Robert won’t people 65 bucks to some asshat on e-Bay for an Angle figure.

While TNA still has television overseas, the Spike TV deal has kept them running at this point. If Spike dumps them and let’s face it, this is the company that thought staging a kiss between Velvet Sky and Tayrn Terell at this year’s Guy Choice would help their cause, what network takes them? They can’t get anywhere close to Universal (Goodbye Esquire, NBC Awful Attempt at Countering ESPN and G4), ESPN would laugh at them, and I don’t think WGN/ION don’t want to deal with wrestling after their dealings with Vince. The one network that I could see having some interest would be Fox, they need something content for Fox Sports One or Fox Sports Two. With Professional Crazy Old Person Rupert Murdoch preparing to launch an all-out war against an all war against ESPN by trying to buy Time Warner, he might need some wrassling on his schedule. If not, could also go with Jeff Jarrett’s GFW group (I’m waiting for the database to turn heel) if it’s cheaper to produce their show than TNA’s.

If I’m Bob Carter, I seriously and I mean seriously ponder whether or not the decision to insist that Jeff Jarrett/King of Mexico/Best Dad Ever/MMA Enthusiast and Suplex Enthusiast Toby Keith to keep his daughter in a position of power was either super stupid or supercalifragilisticexpialidociously stupid. Maybe he put’s in a call to Vince tomorrow morning selling the prospect of buying TNA on “Hey, you need some content for that Network of yours and I’ll sell cheap!”

Dixie, I hope Vince Russo was worth it.

Robert Goeman has been writing for CamelClutchBlog since 2014 and has written for FiveOuncesofPain and What Culture. Follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/RobertGoeman. After every article, Robert usually does “Talking Points” on twitter, bringin up points that didn’t make the article.

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TNA Wrestling Reportedly Losing Spike TV Contract

July 28, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

TNA Wrestling is literally on life support. Multiple reports indicate that Spike TV will not be renewing their contract with TNA. TNA will have the next sixty days to secure a new deal or face a grim situation in the near future.

TMZ.com was the first to go on record and report that Spike TV have opted not to renew their agreement with TNA Wrestling. Negotiations have been ongoing for months with many believing that a deal was imminent. Unfortunately a big email blunder looks like it may have tipped the scales and given Spike second thoughts on pursuing future business with the company.

Dave Meltzer reports on F4Wonline.com that Spike TV/Viacom were very upset when news broke that Vince Russo was employed by the company. Meltzer reports that there is heat there and the Spike folks don’t like Russo. While it is unfair to blame Vince Russo entirely for the lack of a TV deal, he will certainly come out of this looking like a buffoon.

Many including Meltzer had inclinations that Russo was back in TNA for some time now, yet none were able to confirm this. Those suspicions were confirmed when Russo sent Mike Tenay and Tazz production notes through an email and mistakenly copied Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com. Johnson broke the story, Russo denied it making it worse, and eventually Russo was reportedly forced to admit his mistake and his employment with TNA.

Russo is getting a lot of the blame today but again, that is unfair. This email was only recently revealed by Johnson. Spike has had months to renew their deal with TNA, yet for other reasons they opted not to do so. I predicted earlier in the year that Viacom was going to make a play for the WWE although that has never been confirmed. Russo’s email almost certainly sealed TNA’s fate, but there were other issues at play here, none yet which have been identified.

Whether you are a fan of TNA or not, the move is very surprising on Spike’s end. TNA do bring in over one million fans a week, a pittance compared to the WWE, but yet a significant bargain related to the cost to Spike. Spike is now in the MMA game and always appeared to have seen TNA as an opportunity to promote the MMA shows. This could simply be a story of Spike wishing to rebrand itself with pro wrestling on the outside. Finding advertisers could have also been an issue. I would even ponder that the major talent cuts (Hogan, Styles, Sting) were an issue. Just the perception that Spike was involved with a company in financial duress may have been enough to sever ties altogether.

The big question is what happens to TNA now. According to most reports, TNA cannot survive in its current state without a television deal comparable to the one with Viacom. Seeing the lack of success the WWE had in attracting serious bidders for their brand isn’t a good sign. Sure, there are hundreds of cable channels anymore but how many are willing to ante up Viacom money for a pro wrestling company with only a handful of recognizable stars?

Any television executive doing his or her due diligence would see a number of red flags during negotiations. One, the creative team should be an immediate red flag. The head of the team is inexperienced and has a track record of losing viewers throughout the broadcast. Two, their house show attendance is evident that there is not a loyal following here. Would any of TNA’s current viewers even go out of their way to follow Impact to another station? Three, there are only two recognizable stars and one’s contract is up this fall. Should I keep going?

I think the person to blame here for this debacle is Dixie Carter. I don’t know if I have ever seen anyone mismanage a pro wrestling company at that level to the extent she has. She has hired all of the wrong people, supported all of the wrong people, and doesn’t have a clue as to what her fans truly want out of her company. Don’t blame Vince Russo for telling Mike Johnson he was in TNA, blame Dixie Carter for him being there altogether and lying about it.

She never ceases to amaze me. Meltzer reported on his latest F4Wonline.com podcast that Dixie was telling people within the company that it was her decision to leave Spike TV. If that were true and I don’t (neither does Meltz) believe it for a second, she is even dumber than I thought. This goes back to a history she has had of lying to her employees. Keep in mind that this is a woman who came from the world of public relations.

Unfortunately the loss of TNA impacts everyone who is a wrestling fan whether you watch TNA or not. You are stuck with one national company that can do whatever they want. Exciting talent that had an alternative to the WWE will now have fewer options than ever before. It has to be incredibly disheartening to be an independent wrestler who may not fit the WWE mold. The WWE talents as well have to be disheartened in that they now have zero negotiating leverage when their deals are up.

Do I think TNA will survive this? I think they will be on life support for a long time. I could envision a scenario where they drastically cut costs, operate as an independent wrestling business, and exist in name only to fulfill international obligations.

But the TNA that you see on Thursday for the next two months will cease to exist unless the right television deal is secured. Unfortunately the chances of that happening are about as good as Dixie Carter looking in the mirror and taking responsibility for her failures as an owner.

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TNA Must Stop Cheating on The Exam

July 25, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

At some point, TNA is going to have to come up with its own material and stop immediately using a program the mother ship, WWE, is currently involved in.

The program with Sanada and James Storm – which led to the Japanese star turning on his mentor and one of the 10 greatest international wrestlers of all time in The Great Muta, was simple appalling.

I have been wanting to write a piece about Muta for some time now and maybe this is the right spot, but under the wrong circumstances. The lesson here with TNA, which looks every bit the sinking ship that I don’t want it to be, is that if you continue to cheat when it comes to test time (live or taped programming) sooner or later, you get caught with your pants down.

In this case, as it is so obvious with a chair shot to his mentor, Sanada is trying to be the rebel Seth Rollins, which does not make the least bit of sense. Someone please help the writers for TNA. Maybe Dave Lagana and Matt Conway need to go.

OK, I am done with my rant of Thursday night’s show. We can now move on to the part where we discuss The Great Muta. Ah, I feel a lot better now… Forgive the need to vent – I was losing sleep over this one.

As a teen and college student, there wasn’t a Japanese or foreign superstar I could think that was as dynamic as Muta – a man whose resume in this business reads like one of the great performers of our time.

He is considered a semi-retired Japanese professional wrestler who first gained international fame in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). He is mostly known for his work as The Great Muta in New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) during the 1990s, but he has also worked in United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Taiwan. He is a former owner and president of All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW), as well as being a full-time wrestler for the promotion from 2002 to 2013. He also gained the rank of the Master Sergeant during his military service in Japan.

Mutoh (which is his real name) is credited as one of the first Japanese wrestlers to achieve a fan base outside of his native Japan in the United States. The Great Muta gimmick is one of the most influential gimmicks in puroresu, having been emulated by many wrestlers including Satoshi Kojima (as The Great Koji), Kazushi Miyamoto (as The Great Kazushi) and Atsushi Onita (as The Great Nita). In addition, countless independent wrestlers have paid tribute to Muta through emulation and imitation.

He is one of three wrestlers to hold the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, the AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship and the IWGP Heavyweight Championship (the other being Shinya Hashimoto and Satoshi Kojima). He is an eight-time World Champion, having held the NWA World Title once, the IWGP Title four times, and AJPW’s Triple Crown three times. He also has held a dozen World Tag Team Championships in the U.S. and Japan. Between NJPW, AJPW, and World Championship Wrestling (WCW), Mutoh has held 21 total championships.

What Muta did in the 1980s and 1990s was create a cross-culture of acceptance of Japanese stars who were considered equals of the Flairs and Stings and Windhams of the time and when he challenged Sting and Windham (after Flair bolted for the WWF) the cross connection of wrestling as a world-wide appeal was complete.

This latest foray between TNA Impact and Muta’s Wrestle-1 (W-1) is something the WWE has not tried as a luxury to introduce new wrestlers (Sanada) into American-based programming. For that, Impact gets a pass, but not for the way the Japanese style is portrayed.

What this segment, which ultimately will lead to a Storm-Muta
confrontation, does is show how poorly the company has booked one of its best commodities in Storm. There basically is not place for him in the company right now, with no true program and no real angle. His heal turn is wasted because of a poor creative unit.

And in the process, it has embarrassed one of the true all-time greats in the ring – purely because TNA wants to try and capitalize on something the WWE is winning with, not something that could have been more original and could have paid homage to Muta’s greatness – not make a mockery of him.

Follow David on Twitter @davidlevin71

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TNA Wrestling Impact Results and July 17 Recap

July 20, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Kurt Angle is in the stands to start the show by unveiling that tonight is the return of the 6 sided ring.

Tazz is also up in the stands, and gets a cheap pop from his hometown crowd by acknowledging how excited he is to be in New York City. Tazz couldn’t be happier that Kurt Angle is in charge, because Kurt understands one thing, one word, and that is wrestling. Tazz makes reference to “The Greatest Wrestling Revolution of All Time”, ECW, and that the TNA locker room has the same feeling and same type of men and women right now as what ECW had when they turned the corner toward greatness.  There’s one sentence to sum up what Tazz is saying, “The Mood is About to Change,” complete with voice croaking. He reminds everyone he is Tazz, “Beat me if you can, survive if I let you”

Bully Ray and Tommy Dreamer come out for yet another homecoming segment in New York City. Bully gets a cheap pop from the crowd by calling New York the “greatest wrestling city in the world.” Bully reiterates his promise and guarantee that Dixie will go threw a table. Tommy reflects to 1997 when he and Bully and some other E-C-Dub “freaks” were getting the national exposure in this same NYC Building. He is humbled and blessed by the people who have stood by them since then. Tommy says changes are being made, and that this feels like a new “Madhouse of the Extreme.” Cue EC3’s music. Ethan Carter III and Rhino interrupt and come to the ring. Ethan reaffirms that Bully will put Dixie through a table, “over his dead body.” Rhino defends Ethan over the boos, whining about how he deserves respect and if the fans don’t shut up he will beat each and every one of them up. Ethan calls Bully and Tommy some names, then plays up the chants from the crowd: “YOU CAN’T WRESTLE! I disagree. YOU CAN’T WRESTLE! I’m very good.” It was actually slightly entertaining. Ethan gets some negative heat by referring to NYC as “The Big Crapple,” then gets in the ring. Tommy makes note that Ethan obviously doesn’t know where he is. New York has never been very politically correct. Tommy takes a shot at WWE by confirming that this isn’t a “PG little product” and “the one thing [he] would love to see change in professional wrestling is less talking and more action. This leads to Bully and Tommy attacking Ethan and Rhino, knocking them to the floor.

Match 1 – Tag Team Match: Bully Ray & Tommy Dreamer vs. Ethan Carter III & Rhino

After a break, this match is already in progress. Bully and Ethan are in the ring with the partners in their respective corners. Bully whips Ethan into a corner and follows up with a clothesline. Bully lets Ethan up, takes him to a corner, and delivers head butts to the sternum. Bully then with an open hand slap across Ethan’s chest knocking Ethan to a seated position. Bully with a low dropkick. Ethan stands up while Bully stares down Rhino, and gets another open hand slap across the chest when Bully turns around. Bully tags Dreamer. Tommy in with another slap to Ethan. Dreamer with a snap suplex. Dreamer bounces EC3’s head off Bully’s boot in their corner. Dreamer tags Bully. Double Irish whip sends Ethan into the corner. Bully with a boot, and then a neck breaker out of the corner. Bully gets a 2-count. Bully tags Tommy and holds EC3 in a double underhook, Dreamer with a punch to the ribs of Ethan. Ethan gets a knee up on Dreamer and a club to the back. EC3 tags Rhino. Rhino corners Dreamer and beats him down with right hands and then boots. Rhino whips Dreamer across, follows with a clothesline. Rhino lifts Dreamer up, tags Ethan, Body slams Tommy, Ethan misses the jumping elbow. Tommy tags Bully. Double Irish whip, and a double back elbow to EC3. Bully goes after Rhino and suplexes him into the ring. Bully and Dreamer have their opponents in opposite corners, and climb up for synchronized 10 punches followed by gnawing on the foreheads. Rockstar Spud comes running down and distracts Dreamer. EC3 slips out and knocks Tommy off the ropes to the mat. Bully climbed down on the other side of the ring, Rhino rolled to the outside as well. Bully chases after Spud but cannot catch him. Meanwhile in the ring, EC3 has Tommy in the corner and is delivering chops across the chest. Rhino, back in his corner, gets the tag. Rhino hard whips Dreamer into the corner. Pin gets 2. Rhino whips and follows Dreamer to another corner. Tommy gets the back elbow up to stop momentum, but runs right into a spine buster for 2. Rhino drags Dreamer across the mat to make the tag to EC3. Carter with a snap suplex to Dreamer, barely gets a 1 count. EC3 with a cross arm chin lock type manoeuvre, Tommy gets to his feet and battles back with elbows but is stopped with a blow to his back. Ethan whips and follows Tommy into the corner, but eats a boot. Tommy catches EC3 with a Reverse STO to the middle turnbuckle, and gets the tag to Bully. The fresh Bully comes in with 2 clotheslines and a back drop to Ethan.  Bully with a running back elbow as Rhino tries getting in the ring. Ethan gets to a corner, Rhino stumbles to the same corner, and Bully with a running splash to both men in the corner. Bully tosses Rhino over the top. Ray with the 3 elbows and the “Boom” elbow to Ethan. Bully tags Dreamer. Bully and Dreamer with a Reverse 3D for a 2-Count. Rhino back in, Bully tries to cut him off but gets a clothesline. Rhino with a punch to Dreamer, then goes out of the ring after Bully. Rhino bouncing Bully off the steel steps. In the ring, Dreamer hits a Death Valley Driver but Spud hops on the apron as a distraction. Tommy pulls Spud in the ring. As Dreamer stalks Spud, Ethan recovers enough to get a schoolboy roll-up for 3 and the win.

WINNERS: Ethan Carter III & Rhino

Carter and Spud quickly slide out of the ring and run up the ramp. Rhino follows.

Earlier today, Kenny King, MVP, and Lashley are shown arriving at the building. Jeff Hardy is shown arriving through a different entrance to the building.

Kurt Angle runs into Austin Aries backstage.  Kurt saying the crowd is ready to see some X-Division action tonight. Kurt then breaks the news to Aries that he has one more match before Destination X and being able to use Option C, tonight there will be an 8 man X-Division Gauntlet match to find out how great Austin Aries really is. Austin says some people may see this as Angle stacking the deck against him, but he sees it as an opportunity to go out and prove himself. He looks forward to the challenge.

James Storm sitting in the back, Sanada gets stopped walking by. He calls Sanada smart, driven, strong, fast, and different. He says he likes Sanada. He then slaps Sanada across the face. Storm says if Sanada continues listening to Great Muta, he will end up as a loser and a choke artist.

Match 2 – X-Division Championship – 8 Man Gauntlet Match: Austin Aries vs. Eddie Edwards vs. Manik vs. Davey Richards vs. DJ Z vs. Crazy Steve vs. Tigre Uno vs. Sanada

The Greatest Man that Ever Lived is out first. Eddie Edwards is the first challenger. Both men tie up, Eddie gets a wrist lock. Austin turns it around to a wrist lock of his own. Eddie flips out of the hold. Austin goes and lays himself up in a cocky fashion in the corner. Austin comes down and offers a  handshake. Eddie slaps Austin’s hand away. Eddie with a headlock, Austin throws him off the ropes, Edwards back with a had shoulder block. Eddie off the ropes, Aries rolls under, leapfrogs over, then arm drags Edwards. Eddie with a headscissor submission attempt on Austin. Aries rolls around into a head stand to break the hold, followed by a low dropkick. Austin takes Eddie into a corner as the countdown begins for the next challenger. Manik’s music hits. Austin tries to cut him off, gets a shoulder through the ropes. Eddie comes across the ring but gets hit with a top rope hurricanrana. Austin back up catches Manik with a boot to stop momentum. Aries attempts to throw Manik out of the ring, but Manik catches himself in classic fashion sideways between the ropes. Austin makes a run at Manik, Manik rolls out of the ropes and Aries tumbles to the floor. Eddie slides between Manik’s legs, Manik turns around with a hurricanrana to Eddie. Aries is biding time on the outside while the challengers work on each other. Eddie gets Manik into a corner, eats a boot on the run-in attempt. Manik hops to the second rope, Eddie with the rising high-kick to Manik in the seated top rope position. Eddie attempted to set Manik up for a move, but Austin with the full speed running dropkick catches both challengers in the corner, but mostly Eddie Edwards. Manik standing in the corner, gets double boots up to stop the rushing Aries. Manik rushes Aries, gets a Reverse STO Neckbreaker into an STO. Aries plays the crowd and then a pendulum elbow drop. Manik into a corner, Aries rushes, Manik leaps over and catches Aries with a neck breaker. Next competitor is Davey Richards, Davey rushes just in time to help Eddie with Manik. Davey catapults Aries up into a head butt from Eddie, Austin falls back onto the knees of Davey and Eddie goes up top with a knee drop to Austin. The Wolves with teamwork for now. Double team chops and kicks to Manik. DJ Z is the next competitor. Davey Richards with Manik against the ropes, DJ Z with a flipping sunset flip to both men at the same time. DJ Z taunts a little to long and Eddie Edwards with a flying leg clothesline. Austin Aries with the Discus forearm to Eddie. Austin tries another to Davey, but Richards catches him with a high roundhouse kick. Manik in with a springboard dropkick to Davey. DJ Z reverses a whip and sends Manik to a corner. Manik slides to the ground to stop himself, and catches DJ Z with a lifting kick from the ground. Manik springs to the top and hurricanrana DJ Z out of the ring, but he also goes over and out.

DJ Z IS ELIMINATED

Manik IS ELIMINATED

During a break, Crazy Steve and Tigre Uno were the next two competitors. Crazy Steve has Eddie under his boot under the bottom rope. Tigre Uno has Austin up on his shoulders in another corner. Austin turns it around and now has Tigre on his shoulders. Eddie gets Steve backed into a corner. Austin thinks he has Tigre out, but Tigre skins the cat and flips back in. Sanada is the final competitor to enter the match. He enters quickly with a springboard chop to Tigre Uno. Sanada with a standing chop to the head of Austin, then Davey and Eddie, and finally Steve. Austin was about to stand, but decides it better to latch himself to the bottom rope as Sanada tries to lift him. Crazy Steve goes, well, Crazy and starts bouncing off all six ropes towards Tigre in the middle of the ring without actually hitting him. After all 6 sides he stops and plays possum, Tigre turns his back and Steve tries to eliminate him. Tigre turns it around and Steve ends up over the top and standing on the apron. Eddie slides under the bottom rope. Steve uses some silly sting on Tigre. Tigre ties to attack but gets hip tossed over the top from the apron by Steve.

Tigre Uno IS ELIMINATED

Eddie walks the apron with a high kick to the back of Steve’s head. Davey from the inside with a handstand double kick knocks Steve off the apron.

Crazy Steve IS ELIMINATED

Austin attacks as Eddie climbs back into the ring. The Wolves double team and overpower. Eddie with the flapjack, Davey with the kick as Aries is falling. Sanada tries to intervene but gets stopped. The Wolves try for the power bomb/Backcracker, but Austin grabs Davey’s foot. Eddie stumbles backwards with Sanada on his shoulder and gets a hurricanrana to the floor.

Eddie Edwards IS ELIMINATED.

Davey tries to rush Sanada as he recovers, but Sanada catches Richards and dumps him to the floor with a back body drop.

Davey Richards IS ELIMINATED

Down to Sanada and Austin Aries as the final 2 and it begins a regular match. Sanada immediately back drops Aries to the floor, giving the ref the chance to re-affirm that this can only be won now by pinfall or submission. Sanada fakes a suicide dive and flips over the top to the apron as Austin slides back into the ring. Sanada with a shoulder through the ropes. Sanada tries a springboard chop, Aries pushes him off the ropes and down to the floor. Aries runs off the far ropes and flies with a suicide dive through the ropes, into Sanada and the steel guard rail. Aries rolls Sanada back into the ring and follows with a slingshot splash over the ropes. Aries locks in a Last Chancery. Sanada inches and gets the ropes. Sanada on the apron getting stomped. Aries tries a Brainbuster from the apron. Sanada fights and blocks it. Sanada tries to suplex Aries to the outside, blocked. Aries tries to lift Sanada again but is blocked. Sanada hit’s the Springboard Chop this time. Austin tries and misses a clothesline. Sanada with a back roll-up with bridge for 2. Sanada with a body slam but wastes time deciding which of the six corners to climb. Aries recovers and hits Sanada from behind on the top rope. Aries tries a knee breaker, but Sanada blocks it three consecutive attempts. Sanada reverses into a Tiger Suplex pin for 2. Sanada begins to argue with the ref about the count. Aries lifted up, Sanada hits the front slam and goes up for the moonsault. Lands on his feet as Aries rolls out of the way. Aries up and catches Sanada with the Discus Forearm, then another to the back of Sanada’s head. Sanada into a corner, Aries with the full speed dropkick and quickly a Brainbuster for 3 and retains.

WINNER AND STILL TNA X-DIVISION CHAMPION: Austin Aries.

Aries helps Sanada up and shakes his hand.

“Showtime” Eric Young and “The IT Factor” Bobby Roode, feeling like old times backstage preparing to team up for their match. Bobby says it feels right, because there has been a common thread between the two of them, MVP.

James Storm taunting with claps as Sanada comes to the back. He calls Sanada a loser and beats him down. Storm calls Muta a fraud, and walks away, Sanada did not fight back at all.

Dixie Carter has arrived at the building.

Jeff Hardy is questioned on what motivated him to return to Jeff instead of Willow, Jeff credits Kurt Angle and says it is because he trusts Angle. He confirms everything Angle said last week about Willow being created to combat the negative forces of MVP and Dixie Carter. Now the light is shining, the time is now, and “the moment” is Jeff Hardy becoming TNA World Heavyweight Champion.

MVP and Kenny King are already in the ring, MVP is still on crutches. MVP says that Bloomberg cleaning up this city was “grossly exaggerated.” MVP claims to be a bigger man than anyone else in the building because he is still in the ring despite a torn meniscus and being on crutches. Kenny says it is not about this match because he can beat Young and Roode at the same time. King accuses Angle of being a power hungry maniac, and putting MVP in a match is an abuse of power. MVP will still wrestle this match because he is still “half man, half amazing” even on half a leg. But he wants it formally noted that it is under protest.

Match 3 – Tag Team Match: MVP & Kenny King vs. Bobby Roode and Eric Young

 

Eric Young and Bobby Roode make their entrance, King and MVP clear out of the ring. King and Young start the match exchanging punches. Young gets the advantage, Irish whip, duck under, and flying forearm to King. King into a corner, reverses the Irish whip, Young front flips up over the corner and onto the apron. King rushes at Young, EY with the shoulder through the aprons and then slides under the rope between Kenny’s legs. Simultaneous punch from both men, King gets the worst of it. EY off the ropes, slides between King’s legs again and back up with a dropkick. Pin attempt gets 2. Young tags in Roode. Roode starts with boots to the midsection and right hands knock King down. Roode whips King off the ropes and follows with a back elbow. Roode gets into a stare down with MVP on the apron. Roode back to King, who has crawled to a corner, Roode rushes in but King gets the foot up. King with a weird one-hand handstand cartwheel kick to the back of Bobby’s head. King makes the tag to MVP and tries to hold Roode for MVP to get in. Roode fights free of King and MVP quickly climbs back out to the floor favouring his knee. MVP calls a timeout on the outside. MVP cautiously climbs back in the ring and begins circling with Roode, King tags himself in off the back of MVP and tries a sneak attack but Roode avoids and counters with a clothesline. Roode tags in Young. Roode and Young hit a double suplex, pin attempt gets 2. Young tries a whip, reversed by King, MVP gets a knee to Young’s back from the apron. King comes flying from behind Young, and connects with a hangman bulldog over the top rope, bouncing EY’s throat off the top rope. King back in with side mounted punches, and makes the tag to MVP. MVP in and drops the injured knee to the face of Young. MVP taunts Roode by waving Young’s arm at him, then hits a fist drop to the same arm. MVP lifts Young to his feet, but EY fights back. Young off the ropes, MVP counters with a flapjack. MVP drags Young back to his corner, King makes the tag. King climbs to the top rope and comes down with a stomp to Young. Kenny taunts Bobby, drawing Roode in and distracting the ref, then King goes back and starts yanking out the hair of Eric Young’s beard. King with a pin, 2 count. King with a body slam, and a bottom rope spinning springboard leg drop for 2. Kenny lifts Eric to the top turnbuckle in the corner. Young fights off the superplex and knocks King down. King back up, runs into a flying cross body. Both men down, EY looking for the Hot Tag and gets it. King got the tag to MVP and MVP, reluctant to come in, chooses to stay on the apron. Roode tries to go for a forearm, MVP hops off the apron, King attacks Roode from behind. King reverses a whip attempt to the corner, Roode bounces out of the corner with a massive clothesline and then another. Roode with another whip and follows, King gets the boot up. King runs out of the corner right into a spine buster. MVP tried picking his spot, but runs right into a Crossface submission. King breaks the hold, but EY takes King out and both men fight out of the ring and down to the floor. MVP crawls to his corner and reaches for a crutch. MVP with a crutch to Roode’s midsection, the ref doesn’t call a DQ yet though? The follow up shot to the back of Roode gets the bell and the DQ.

WINNERS: Bobby Roode & Eric Young (by disqualification)

MVP continues his attack, driving the crutch in the throat of Bobby Roode. Young makes the save, King in with the other crutch to the back of Eric Young. King drives the crutch into the throat of Bobby Roode, MVP continues to beat Young with the other. MVP and Kenny King switch opponents and continue the beat down with the crutches.

After another break, Brittany is waiting in the ring.

Match 4 – No Count Out and No DQ Match: Brittany vs. Madison Rayne

 

Madison quickly to the ring. The ref keeps the girls separated long enough to ring the bell. Quickly Madison with a Lou Thesz press and punches to Brittany. Madison lifts Brittany back to her feet, whips off the ropes, and drops her again with the back elbow. Brittany back up, reverses a corner whip and follows, but Madison gets a boot up. Madison out of the corner with a clothesline. Madison puts Brittany in a corner and delivers the corner shoulders to the midsection. Across the ring Madison takes Brittany to the opposite corner and lifts her to the top turnbuckle. Brittany head butts Madison as she was trying to climb the ropes. Madison comes back but walks right into an armbar with Madison hanging over the ropes towards the outside. No DQ so the ref can only watch and can’t break the hold. Brittany finally lets go, likely because the blood was rushing to her head as she hung upside down for that long. Brittany yells at the ref about something, Madison hit’s a baseball slide from the ring. Madison with a cross body from the apron. Brittany waves her hands that she is done and tries to head up the ramp. Madison catches her and attempts a possible piledriver on the ramp, Brittany blocks and counters with a back body drop. Brittany with some strikes, bounces Madison off the apron, rolls her into the ring for 2. Brittany with a snap suplex, floats over for a 2 count. Brittany lifts Madison up, and drops her with a side Russian leg sweep for 2. Brittany argues with the ref again, it gives Madison a chance to recover. Madison fights back from her knees, misses a clothesline, and Brittany hits her with a jumping clothesline. Brittany tosses Madison through the ropes to the floor, it looked like Madison might have caught the turnbuckle with her face on the way out. Brittany follows and attempts the inverted DDT on the floor. Madison reverses into a northern lights suplex. Both ladies up, Madison rolls Brittany into the ring and follows. Madison ducks a clothesline and comes back with a running back elbow, then a clothesline, and a front dropkick. Madison with a boot to the gut, and then a running knee to the side of Brittany’s head for 2. Madison lifts Brittany up, but Brittany runs her into a corner. Brittany tries the handspring back elbow, Madison dodges and Brittany goes back first into the corner. Brittany stumbles out and Madison catches her with the Package DDT for 3.

WINNER: Madison Rayne

Lashley is on his way through backstage to the ring. Jeff is also on his way to the ring.

Dixie is questioned on what she is doing at the show tonight. She owns this company, what does he think she is doing here? She is asked if she came to address Bully’s threats. Dixie is sick of hearing about Bully Ray. She has put Bully through 2 tables. She says Bully is all bark and Dixie is all bite, and no more stupid questions from the mystery interviewer.

Austin is questioned for thoughts about his victory, before he can answer he is congratulated by Kurt Angle. Aries says Kurt is the first person in that position who hasn’t doubted him, it’s because Kurt knows what it takes to be great in that ring.  When Aries created Option C, he didn’t do it for himself but for all the men who fought for the X-Division Title and didn’t get that chance. He basically says he is going to use Option C again, but Kurt says next week Aries will make a public announcement to make his decision official. 7 Days to think about how he is going to change the world again.

Match 5 – TNA World Heavyweight Championship: Lashley vs. Jeff Hardy

The Charismatic Enigma is the first out. The Champion comes last. Bell rings and they are underway.  They lock up in the middle of the ring. Hardy gets a headlock, Lashley with a show of power lifts Hardy up from the headlock and drops him face first to the mat. Hardy slowly to his feet, Lashley shoots around to the back, Hardy gives an elbow to Lashley’s face. Lock up in the middle of the ring again, Lashley backs Jeff to a corner where the ref breaks the tie up. A staredown between the opponents is broken up by fists and kicks from Jeff. Jeff hit’s a sitout jawbreaker, still doesn’t take Lashley off his feet. Jeff off the ropes, Lashley with a quick leapfrog over and turns around to deliver a clothesline to Hardy. Lashley lifts Hardy to his feet, and then into a stalling suplex and plants  him. Lashley stalking for a spear already, Hardy gives a boot to the midsection on the attempt. Hardy tries a Twist of Fate already, Lashley pushes him off back to the corner. Lashley rushes with a shoulder block in the corner. Lashley whips hardy to the opposite corner and looked like he was trying another shoulder, Hardy hops over and connects with a head scissor takedown. Hardy off the ropes with a clothesline, takes Lashley back down.  Hardy tries the kick, caught, and hits the reverse enziguiri. Lashley rolls to the floor, Hardy relentlessly follows with the low springing dropkick between the middle and bottom ropes. Hardy, still in the ring, flies over the top with a cross body to Lashley on the floor. Hardy drags the steel steps out to the middle of the floor. Lashley counters the attempt to throw him into the steps. Hardy leaps up to the top step, but Lashley pulls his leg out and Hardy plants his shoulder on the steps.

During the break: Jeff was smashed face first off the steps, and then whipped shoulder first into the side of the steps.

After the break, Lashley has Hardy laying face first across the middle rope and is delivering forearms to the face. The ref tries to break the hold, Lashley breaks and then pulling the hair of Jeff. Hardy back off the ropes is fighting back, Lashley grabs the hair again and uses it to throw Hardy down on his back. Lashley whips Hardy to a corner and follows with the clothesline splash. Lashley easily pulls Jeff out of the corner and into a torture rack. Jeff fights out of it, but Lashley with a kick and runs off the ropes. Jeff ducks the clothesline, bounces off the ropes and comes back with a flying forearm smash. Both men slowly to their feet, Jeff hits an inverted atomic drop and then the  double leg drop to the midsection. Dropkick by Jeff as Lashley was trying to stand. Lashley reverses a corner whip and follows, Jeff gets the back elbow to counter. Jeff climbs the ropes and connects with Whisper in the Wind.  Lashley crawls to a corner, Jeff rushes but gets flap jacked onto the top turnbuckle. Jeff rebounds back, Lashley whips him to the corner again, Hardy tries the head scissor again, Lashley counters and tries a running power slam, Jeff slips off the back. Hardy catches Lashley with the sitout Twist of Fate, holds on and stands back up, hit’s the full fledged Twist of Fate. Jeff to the top rope, Swanton Bomb right to the midsection of Lashley. Lashley kicks out at 2. Lashley rolls out of the ring, Hardy follows and smashes Lashley’s head off the steel steps  times, then heads up to the top rope with Lashley’s face laying across the steps. Hardy leaps with a Swanton, Lashley moves last second, Hardy’s back hits flush on the steps and actually bends the top step inward. Lashley rolls Jeff into the ring, and stalks him. Hardy slowly to his feet, Lashley pounces with the explosive spear and the 3.

WINNER AND STILL TNA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: Lashley

Lashley celebrates amongst the boos, Hardy looks like he is broken in half as he recovers on the mat.

Angle in the back gives Lashley the vote of approval, that Lashley proved tonight he is the guy to go through. Dixie goes rushing by and Angle catches her arm asking where she is going. Dixie says to never touch her again. Angle calls her “whacked out of her mind” going out in front of Bully’s people after he warned her. Dixie says she is sick and tired of Bully’s idle threats. Dixie says Angle and bully can both go jump off the Brooklyn Bridge, she is going out to the ring to talk to “her people.”

MVP and Kenny King celebrate in their locker room with Lashley after the title defence. MVP says they made some examples out of people, the champ’s still the champ. Angle interrupts that he is tired of this. Angle accuses MVP of thinking he can do whatever he wants. Angle says enough is enough, and that MVP is scheduled for next week to face Bobby Roode one-on-one.

Rockstar Spud is in the ring, looking like a pumpkin, to present “the only flower in the Big Apple” Madame Dixie Carter. Dixie comes out with EC3 and Rhino, one on each arm. Dixie, giving a disgusted look around, doesn’t see what all the fuss toward NYC was about. She insults the audience some, insults the “god forsaken dump of a city,” explains that she had to wear extra sparkles tonight to give some extra class to this building, and that there is no class in the arena right now. She forgets Tommy Dreamer’s name and needs Spud to remind her. She gives a whining impression of Tommy Dreamer’s speech from last month, when he told her she could still save professional wrestling, and her knee made it perfectly clear that she can’t change perfection. Dixie calls Bully a “low brow, low class, hardcore, kind of C-rated star.” Dixie claims she should be called the hardcore star, because she has put Bully through the table so many time, and she will continue to do it until he gets it through his thick head. That’s enough of her screeching, Bully’s music hits and he and Tommy come out carrying a table with Dixie’s name spray painted across it. Bully and Dreamer slide the table into the ring, and go in to clear house. Bully takes Rhino, Dreamer gets EC3, then they switch. Tommy tosses Rhino over the top, Bully tosses Ethan. Tommy sets up the table. Dixie pushes Spud out to try to protect her, Rockstar gets a boot and down he goes, rolling to the floor. Dixie is left alone with Dreamer and Ray. Bully climbs to the top rope, Dreamer about to lift Dixie up for the power bomb but EC3 with the lowblow to Tommy and then flips the table over. Rockstar Spud and EC3 help Dixie out of the ring and Ethan slips out himself. Rhino, Spud, and Dixie escape through the crowd. EC3 backs up the ramp away from the ring. Music hits, and Devon comes out of the back to attack EC3 on the ramp. Devon drives EC3 back into the ring, Bully hit’s a body slam. Devon to the top rope, and nails a “Wasssssssup?!” double team. “Devon, Get The Tables!” Devon goes outside, ignoring the Dixie table already in the ring. He slips a table from under the ring, that is already pre painted with ECIII on it. Team 3D nails EC3 with a 3D through the table. Dixie is shown crying in the crowd. Team 3D celebrates in the ring, Tommy Dreamer disappeared at some point.

END OF SHOW

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TNA Wrestling World Champion Returning to MMA Fighting

July 17, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The TNA Wrestling world champion is going to fight. Bobby Lashley is returning to MMA. Lashley will be jumping back into the cage for Bellator in a rare MMA fight featuring a world champion from a top United States pro wrestling promotion.

The fight was announced earlier this week and will go down on September 5 and air live on Spike TV. Lashley is part of a beefed up lineup that will go head-to-head with a UFC event 10 miles away. Lashley will play a minor part in the show but could wind up as the biggest draw of the night due to his crossover appeal.

This is an interesting deal as I have seen and heard both arguments as to why it is a good and bad idea for TNA to have Lashley fighting. Those arguments are obvious. I am on the smart move side. I see this as a no-lose proposition. Just having your world champion in a real fight is a big coup for TNA. What do they lose if Lashley looks bad anyway? TNA is in one of its worst states so Lashley losing won’t matter. I can’t see a fan in 2014 refusing to watch TNA because the world champion lost a fight. I can see Lashley getting TNA some good publicity and giving the title a much needed shot of legitimacy. Lashley could always blame some phantom injury on a loss if he loses badly and TNA fans wouldn’t know the difference.

Brock Lesnar is the most famous crossover pro wrestler/MMA fighter of our lifetime. Lesnar not only lost his last two fights, he was destroyed by Alistair Overeem in his final fight. Since returning to the WWE Lesnar continues to be a tremendous draw, maybe even the biggest depending on the criteria you use to assess that. I think Lashley will be just fine win or lose after September 5.

What is noteworthy is that Brock Lesnar will likely be WWE champion by the time Lashley fights. The two top pro wrestling promotions in the United States will have legitimate shooters as their world heavyweight champions. I can’t recall the last time that has happened. It is certainly a throwback to an era where that was a requirement for the world champions.

I have probably watched all of Lashley’s 12 fights. Lashley is 10-2. You have seen one Lashley fight you have seen them all. He tries to obliterate his opponent in the first round and comes out gassed in the second round. The longer the fight goes the more tired and vulnerable he gets. He has a good chance of winning this one, although it has been awhile since he has fought. Again I see this as a no-lose situation for everyone.

You have to wonder if a Lashley win would precipitate some kind of grandstand challenge from Lashley to Brock Lesnar for a fight. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what WWE does first before TNA can copy it.

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