This is part of my TNA Sacrifice 2009 Review Series. If you have read the first part, welcome back! If you are new to the series, you will find a summary of my ranking system in the first part.
Wondering whether the event is worth it to see a replay or the DVD? Wondering about the effectiveness of the show? Not everyone sees PPVs, so the analysis here could be useful.
I don't state the result of the match because there are some who wouldn't want it. A review tells people whether its worth seeing and evaluates it. If I simply summarised what happened, it could be spoilt a little.
As this is the last part, there is also a small section about the overall PPV.
Continuation of the Review:
A Mick Foley video package is shown. Once again, it is the same we have seen many times but with new material added at the end.
Mick Foley is interviewed by Jeremy Borash. The interview is to his usual high standard. It is a more serious style of interview than his lighter ones, which is fitting.
Ultimate Sacrifice Match: TNA World Heavyweight Champion Mick Foley vs. Jeff Jarrett vs. Sting vs. Kurt Angle
If Mick Foley is pinned he loses the TNA World Heavyweight Championship
If Jeff Jarrett is pinned he loses his on-screen voting powers in TNA
If Sting is pinned, he retires
If Kurt Angle is pinned, he gives up his position in the Main Event Mafia
Apart from Sting, the person who pins the person gets what they put up on the line.
All the wrestlers are shown approaching the ring from backstage then cutting to the normal camera. Smoke accompanies them in their entrances. Sting gets a particularly good response.
MEM Security accompanies Kurt Angle until he gets to the place he comes out from.
Borash makes the introductions.
The pace is fast to begin with and it was great to see a few seconds where they looked around and planned who they would go for, which was what one would expect. Sting fights with Foley and Jarrett fights with Angle.
Naturally this match was going to be the Main Event. It did have everything abut it that said main event about it as well. Considering the possible implications and what was on the line, there was no other match that could possibly dislodge it from its place.
Considering the storylines, this match had the right participants. If this match had to happen, it had to be at Sacrifice. It would not have worked as well anywhere else.
TNA may not have handled storylines as great as they could have been handled, but this match had to happen as a result of what TNA did do. Still, Jarrett’s stipulation may be questioned. What not just make it ownership of TNA? Voting shares is technically quite different and doesn’t have as great an impact.
Both the outside and the ring are used well. First Foley and Sting are on the outside, then they swap with Angle and Jarrett which was good as it helped to spotlight all in the match. They continue to swap as the match progresses. A great variety of moves where used and there was a no-nonsense feel about the match. It wasn’t fun, it was purely serious.
There was a sense of struggle, especially with Sting and Foley, which was great to see.
In addition to the ring and the immediate ringside area, there is brawling in the crowd. There is a split-screen used with a Sacrifice theme so both groups can be seen.
There is a good piledriver onto the ramp and an interesting double team between Foley and Angle on Jarrett when Kurt applies the ankle lock and Foley slides to apply a Mandible Claw with Mr. Socko on. At first I was worried about a Dusty Finish, but that didn’t happen.
The atmosphere for this match was really good. The crowd was far too subdued, however. This detracted from the atmosphere, but the work the wrestlers did maintained the mood, though more crowd involvement would certainly give the match a greater feeling of suspense and make the match more exciting. The crowd did cheer for the big spots.
Because of the separate groups, it was chaotic and confusing at time. The chaotic nature of this match helped, but there was more chaos than needed, resulting in unwanted confusion.
This wasn’t because the actions of the wrestlers were bad, but because the camera work and the commentary couldn’t keep track of everything.
The actions of the group not being focused on would occasionally surprise. The commentators helped stem a lot of confusion, but there were instances were a group popped up doing something and their movements had gone unnoticed.
The split-screen worked well. It might have helped if it were used more. The screens on the split-screen would have been better if they were bigger.
Still with Mr. Socko on, Foley, in the middle of the match, sits down to take a “restarooni” and commentate, to come in later and take a quick victory. Well, that’s his plan. We see shades of Vince McMahon in this. Tenay reacts well to this and quickly points out what had happened to Sting.
This was good because I was confused about that for a short while until he said that. Commentary makes a big difference in these matches preventing it from becoming too chaotic. Split-screens do that too and the latter would have helped the flow of the match if it had been used more.
In this match, a feel of chaos is great, but viewers need to know what is going on to fully follow it and get involved.
There is a superb top rope superplex, executed tightly. Sting re-enters the ring, going after Jarrett. Both punch him until he falls. Sting and Angle work together. This is interesting as Sting and Jarrett supposedly just want to beat Foley.
Angle fighting Jarrett justifies Jarrett’s actions, but why didn’t Sting just go after Foley again? This detracted from the cohesiveness of this match. After a while, Sting was justified in his actions after miscommunication resulted in fighting with Angle, but that doesn’t solve Sting’s actions before that.
The fatigue is done very well and it has a very natural feel to it, which is the mark of effective selling. Of course, there is an element of genuine exhaustion there. In selling, the genuine element is used to make the exaggerated part seem more convincing.
Angle confronts Foley at the commentary table, Foley futilely asks for the commentators to protect him. Angle comes right after Foley with a nice somersault. This got a good reaction.
Now Angle is fighting Foley and Sting is fighting Jarrett. Then everyone gets into the ring. At this point it is understandable why everyone fights each other due to their competitiveness, but before with Sting, it wasn’t apparent.
It would have helped if the commentators had noted that and whether Sting and Angle can work on the same page with so much at stake.
There is a very nice moment when Sting collapses into a low blow on Jarrett. Foley then applies two Mr. Sockos, one on each hand for a multiple Mandible Claw. This is broken then reapplied.
There is a referee bump, which is oft-used in these matches, which lessens the impact. In this match it came across as credible giving the chaotic nature of the match, but it still has less impact than otherwise.
Sting gets a three count on Angle with the referee knocked out. Jarrett uses the Acoustic Equaliser on Sting, gets a three count with the referee still knocked out.
Foley uses a weak chair shot on Jarrett, who kicks out at two. The referee is back in action. What I don’t like about this is that the referee didn’t sell well.
Well, referees don’t sell well half the time in that after referee bumps they don’t consistently twitch and slowly come back into action. Instead, they may have a look of pain and anguish when they get back into action, but abruptly rise and continue.
It is fine when they just turn around, do a count and then collapse again. I just don’t like it when they sell a bump as if a knock out blow and then get back in relatively suddenly.
A sequence towards the end was full of close calls and the crowd got really into it. There is a “This is awesome” chant. This match got better as it went on.
There was a double ankle lock and a top rope Stroke onto a chair. These main event delivered great action and had some great moments, though overall I feel the tag match was superior, especially in crowd response.
Whatever the outcome of this match, it was going to be impactful. This match was perfect for Sacrifice as it also generates new angles regarding TNA’s direction.
Post-match there was quite a good crowd response. I was really grateful that there wasn’t a Dusty Finish. Post-match facial reactions were done well, especially by Jarrett. Foley’s response was great considering his character.
Placement: 10- Practically perfect
Crowd Response: 2.7- Well below average
Relevance: 9.5- Truly great, with some minor flaws
Pacing 7.4- Above average
Selling: 6.5- Generally average, but had some standout moments
Cohesion: 4.9- Generally average, but went below at times
Timing: 7.2- Above average
Moves: 8.9- Well above average
Entertainment Value: 8.6- Well above average
The Test of Time: 8.4- Above average
Overall: 74.1- A main event that delivered a high quality bout, though it was more confusing than it should have been. This match was let down by a lack of crowd involvement.
Any comments? Other opinions? Feel free to contribute. Everyone places different weight on what they see. The more opinions known, the easier it is for people to determine whether they want to see it.
I would like to tackle here why the crowd might have been so subdued in this match.
I believe it’s a combination of two things- attention being scattered due to confusion in the match, and not having one single outcome they want to see
The crowd was louder when everyone was in the ring, even at the points where they weren’t doing great moves. When there are four wrestlers in two different groups, who do you focus on? The split-screen helps and here is where play-by-play commentary is vital in keeping the match coherent.
This is a problem more for the live audience as at home you pretty much watch what the camera shows you, though you may be confused by what you don’t see.
When there are brawls like this, it is important that only up big thing happens at a time, and that the moves clearly shift attention from one group to the other. One group should be doing something that commands less attention than the other at all times. Big moves naturally do that, but pumping up the crowd with taunts or words can also do it too.
The crowd cheered like you’d expect during the big spots, indicating when they were focused.
Coming into this match, there were a lot of possibilities. There are a number of possibilities that could be very appealing to viewers. As such, there was no single response the crowd wanted and there may have been two different results that would be wanted the most.
It is more difficult to cheer for someone when you are not sure what you are cheering them on for.
Overall PPV Score:
65.7- TNA Sacrifice was generally at a high average standard. There was an excellent tag team match and two solid singles matches, but the start of the show, though a great way to start, did suffer from a lack of variety, technical excellence and true meaning apart from some of what was done with Eric Young. The rest of the card lacked certain elements, especially in terms of pace, great selling and timing.
There were some booking decisions that weren't the best for the situation, but for most viewers, it won't detract a lot from the card. Additionally, there were instanes where the wrestlers did not translate the mood into the match.
Overall it was not a standout performance, but had some great moments, especially towards the end. The tag team match the I Quit match and the main event were the best matches. The tag team match was the most complete match in terms of success on multiple levels.
Whether the I Quit match orthe Ultimate Sacrifice match is better is largely a matter of taste. Theer are those that will prefer these matches to the tag team match due to personal preferences.
A lack of technical and psychological sophistication throughout the PPV prevents it from becoming a great PPV overall. The last three matches of the card are the ones to see, if nothing else.