When two big corporations go head to head in competition to attract consumers, the winner is usually the consumer. The 1/4/10 version of TNA IMPACT versus RAW gave us each of their respective brand's versions of the "Full Monty". While there were limits as to what they could deliver, at the end of the night I was left satisfied.
The 1/4/10 episode of Monday Night RAW peaked my interest, both through TV ads and build up through their programming regarding the rehashing of a true to life "screwjob" in Montreal involving Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon over ten years ago.
The build up for the main storyline throughout Monday Night RAW was perfect. Bret Hart began the night appropriately by saying "well I guess hell froze over". And the angle was off and running.
While Bret Hart looked (not to be durogatory) rather ragged and beaten as most pro wrestlers do at his age, he still managed to capture that look in his eye that lured me in when I was a young man.
I remember going to live events and sneaking down to the entrance ramp and watching him walk the isle and give me the nod, and he was like a super hero to me back then. Watching him in the ring now gave me nostalgic feelings and mixed emotions regarding his relationship with WWE.
He went on to call Shawn Michaels to the ring and after they met, an awesome emotion filled discussion ensued. At the end of the conversation Shawn and Bret shook hands, hopefully putting an end to all the hard feelings these two have had both publicly an privately.
The Calgary Herald has an interview up with WWE Hall of Famer Bret "Hitman" Hart on their website. In the interview, Bret Hart talks about his return to WWE, Shawn Michaels and why he returned.
When talking about the Shawn Michaels segment from the January 4, 2010 edition of WWE Raw, here's what Bret had to say:
"We had a rough idea of what we were going to do . . . but we didn't really speak to each other (before). My impression was that (he) was actually pretty sincere. He apologized for a lot of what happened....I think it was like a million pounds off of his back....There was a couple of times when it looked like he was going to start crying. There was a lot of real emotion in that little segment. I think it was a surprise to him as much as to me."
Here is a link to the entire article:
After the Shawn Michaels segment, Bret Hart then wanted to have the same face to face discussion with Vince McMahon, but unfortunately, Vince McMahon (for reasons that would be revealed later) snubbed Bret Hart and refused to go to the ring until he felt like going out there.
The main story of Bret Hart being back on RAW was not the only exciting thing happening that night. We were also treated to an excellent 8 out of 10 star match between DX an the team of Big Show and Chris Jericho. The momentum shifted back and forth throughout the epic confrontation but at the end of the match it was Hornswoggle their leprauchan lucky charm who made the distraction and the save for DX and their undisputed tag team title reign.
There was also a good squash match between Evan Bourne and Sheamus. I liked this because it was spontaneous and unexpected I also have to give kudos to the WWE for giving Bourne some face time with the WWE Champion. Giving Sheamus a squash match was just what the doctor ordered for Sheamus who is somewhat struggling to convince WWE fans of his legitimacy as champion.
The main event matchup pitted Randy Orton against Kofi Kingston. This matchup would have to be given at least 8 out of 10 stars as these two competitors would duel it out with Randy Orton's membership in Legacy at stake.
Earlier in the night Legacy gave Orton the ultimatim that if he were to lose the match with Kofi he would also lose his membership in Legacy and he would also have to take the hard way out of the stable by receiving a beating from his fellow Legacy members.
After a firework filled battle with momentum swinging back and forth, Randy Orton responded by beating the high flying Kingston with a shocking RKO at the last second when the match looked the bleakest for the former WWE Champion.
He managed to beat Kofi straight up and snatched the victory from the jaws of defeat, solidifying the reason why he is considered to be one of the best performers in the business today.
To end the night, McMahon finally decided to confront Bret Hart in the center of the ring. McMahon went on to build Bret Hart and give the appearance that he wanted to bury the hatchet between himself and "The Hitman".
And in true heel fashion, when Bret Hart's guard was down and all the tension between the two appeared to vanish, with Bret’s arms raised, McMahon kicks Bret Hart directly below the belt with a cheap shot. The crowd was stunned as McMahon headed to the back amidst a hail of boos from the audience.
Bret made it to his feet and the final shot as RAW went off the air was Bret Hart staring at the entrance ramp.
If you missed it or you wanna watch it again, you can watch the complete 1/4/10 "Monday Night RAW" for free here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CQVe-QfC2o
My final Rating for the 1/4/10 RAW show is 9 out of 10 stars!
Good matches and great angles made this show one of the best I've seen in a long time.
The Monday night episode of TNA Impact had its share of surprises, as well as its share of curious decisions.
The first thing I'll talk about is the unusual new cage it had unveiled to begin the night with. It looked like that thing from "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome" that gladiators fought in, but this version was bright red. The thing was so thick and red in fact, that it actually began hurting my eyes to watch. You couldn't really see the action through the cage if you were a spectator, and the competitors weren't doing anything too interesting in the cage anyways. Then the match ends abruptly with a horrible disqualification ending...
This was not the way I would expect a show that is so important to the growth of TNA as an organization to begin.
But imediately after the odd thing we just watched (I guess we will call a match) ended, we were immediately treated to something that does inspire hope for the future of the TNA product, THE DEBUT OF JEFF HARDY IN TNA!!
Out of the audience shot the Charasmatic Enigma, and immediately locked horns with Homocide.. Awesome!
I pride myself in knowing the latest rumors and gossip in pro wrestling - and even I didn't know that this was going to happen.
Apparently the upper management in the WWE didn't know this either. It is being reported by numerous wrestling rumor websites that Jeff Hardy had a verbal agreement with WWE to return to the company prior to his debut on Impact. It is being reported from several sources that Jeff Hardy has signed a short term deal with TNA. If you look at WWE's Allumni section Jeff Hardy's profile has been removed. Hopefully Jeff Hardy has made the right business decision because it looks as though he has perhaps burned his bridge with WWE in the process.
So the night went on and something I notice while the show went slowly trotting along was there were way too many segments with Christy Hemme asking people if they are excited about Hulk Hogan. I could be wrong but this type of filler made up half of the whole show.
The only reason I could figure there were so many boring extended segments like this was because they didn't have anything else to fill the time with..
During the build up for Hulk Hogan's arrival, their were also numerous spontaneous appearances by new signings or returning wrestlers to the organization. We seen the old NWO crew (Sean Waltman, Scott Hall, and Eric Bischof) which was no real surprise to people who knew about their signings in advance.
We also seen the appearance of Ric Flair (which was an intersting surprise) and the appearance of The Nasty Boys (which was a horrible surprise, the kind of surprise I'd like to take back to the store and get back the money they think these two may be worth).
And When Hulk Hogan finally arrived to the arena and hit the ring to NWO music, you could tell already - he had his bad-boy NWO gear on and was in the manipulative Hulk-stir mode. The chants for Hogan were in full force in the Impact zone, and everyone was into it (apparently). It took half the program for him to get to the arena, but nobody faulted him for it. He then went on to blow smoke up everyone's rear end, telling them that he's there to change the business. Then he invites the whole NWO band into the ring to discuss the state of the business. There was an apparent dissagreement as to whether they were there to build talent or make money (I thought they were there to do both) and in a moment of awkwardness, Nash, Waltman, and Hall left the ring, nodding to Bischoff and Hogan, giving the impression that there is a larger conspiracy at play here.
Eric Bischof then went on to film a semi shoot promo on the TNA organization, again proclaimed that he and Hogan would change the business and that the change would begin that night. I especially liked a line Hogan said during the promo, he said "If you can’t talk and you can’t wrestle then you need to pack your bags and head up north." Meanwhile up in the rafters the cameras got a shot of Sting watching the promo in the darkness - playing the dark quiet gimmick he had back in WCW.
The whole arrival segment seemed very old school WCW to me. It seems fairly obvious that NWO is in full affect at TNA. Now I have heard a lot of discussion about the negatives of this NWO rehash. Being a lover of the whole Monday Night War era I can't help but to be intrigued by this whole process. I am genuinely interested to see how this may play out.
On the opposite end of the spectrum lies the decaying old bodies of The Nasty Boys. I knew once Hogan got a job in TNA it wouldn't be long before they would show their ugly faces. Some old guys can still build young talent and contribute in storylines as GMs, as managers, and various other roles without necessarily having to take away alot of ringtime from younger able bodied talent. I would hesitantly put Ric Flair and the NWO in this catagory. But the Nasty Boys have absolutely no business being anywhere near TNA at this point. They can't help, they can only embarass themselves and the TNA brand. I have to say that TNA has made a horrible decision by bringing them in. They contribute nothing to the product and are going to eat up alot of valuable time in their programming.
Later that night Jeff Jarret hit the ring and began telling everyone he's back in TNA, until Hogan cuts him off. Hogan appeared on the titantron and threw another semi shoot promo on Jarret, basically telling him that hes not special and that Jarret must prove himself like everyone else.
So far throughout the course of the night, the in ring entertainment had been lack luster and the promos have made up the bulk of the show.
At that point I was thinking that the show had been awful and a complete bust - barring a few interesting topics hit on during promos and the excitement generated from the arrival of a cesspool of WWE dropouts.
Just then towards the end of the show, when the show looked like it was going nowhere, Eric Bischoff interrupts a promo with AJ Styles, and makes the match: AJ Style versus Kurt Angle for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship Live on Impact!
I couldn't believe it!
The match in no way dissapoints. AJ Styles and Kurt Angle go at it, and have a pay per view quality match 10 out of 10 stars. It ended up being an absolute classic filled to the brim with highlights, with no DQs, no interferance, no typical Monday night show finishes, they gave us the very best the company had to offer with no BS.
And immediately afterwards Foley pushes his way into Hogan's office (after being held out of the TNA arena the whole show) and confronts Bischoff getting in his face and saying that he didn't have a problem working with Hogan - but he never wanted to work with Eric Bischoff. The NWO crashes in and begins knocking Foley's head loose, Hogan enters the room to stop the beating (perhaps momentarily?) and the camera fades to black..
Nice cliffhanger to end the night with!
If you missed it or you wanna watch it again, you can watch the complete 1/4/10 "IMPACT!" for free here: http://www.tnawrestling.com/content/view/1873/84/
Overall I give the show an 8 out of 10 star rating. There were a lot of slow boring spots during the night but the main event match and the cliffhanger angle bumped my rating up a few notches.
I think they have some interesting new talent and angles to build from and TNA has officially peaked my interest. Hopefully they can build off the momentum they have gained from the viewship they picked up from last weeks episode (Last weeks episode of Impact I believe was said to be the highest rated Impact in the history of its exsistence). It will be interesting to see where TNA decides to go from here.