I’m a WWE guy, through and through. I pull no punches in admitting that I’ve always been a WWF/WWE guy, and that I’ve always been a straight shooter when it comes to the competition.
When the Monday Night Wars hit their stride, I still watched all of RAW over all of Nitro.
True, there were nights in which I would have to change back and forth, but in the end, I called Stamford the friendly confines and it generally paid off.
Wrestling is a cyclical business, and, as we’ve all documented before, it has ups and downs.
Most fans would agree: from a business standpoint, professional wrestling is in a downtime.
The in-ring activity is at an all-time high, yet the out-of-the-ring politics, storyline, and ultimately the Internet, are incredible detractors from what the business of professional wrestling is and will ever be.
TNA Wrestling’s recent sporadic and inconsistent programming is cause for alarm to any fan wishing for the dawn of a new era.
Pretend I’m not a WWE guy, and you can pretend TNA wrestling is better. But the truth of the matter is, TNA can’t be taken seriously if it doesn’t start making some real “sacrifices.”
Fitting that tonight’s pay-per-view shares the exact same name. What’s wrong with TNA? The last three hours of professional wrestling accurately depicted the crime scene.
The night opened with a three-way tag team match between Team 3D, The Motor City Machine Guns, and Beer Money, Inc.
In the ring, the match was a cut above most tag team matches in the past decade and proves that tag team action in a hectic environment still has charm (are you listening WWE executives who cut Survivor Series?).
But the truth of the matter is, Team 3D have become an unbelievably dull tandem that, because they’ve done everything, has nothing left to offer. To anyone.
Bubba Ray and D-Von (or Brother Ray and Brother Devon, or whatever the hell you want to call them) are still very much in it for themselves, and don’t seem to care about anything but the paycheck.
If they did, they’d pack up and leave TNA in an attempt to give fans a break from their tired antics. They still do the “Wazzup” drop, for God’s sake.
Beer Money, Inc. is sad, too, but for different reasons. Robert Roode and James Storm are easily two of the most talented wrestlers in TNA and are saddled with a half-assed gimmick that, sadly, they play to perfection.
They do it so well, in fact, that neither has seen the light of singles action in years.
Remember when Robert Roode was about to be the most over heel in the company? Or when James Storm split from Chris Harris and embellished the “Cowboy” in his name?
The Machine Guns, meanwhile, are a team that could speak volumes about TNA yet have never been given a serious push to do so.
How many TNA World Tag Team Championships have they won?
Here’s a hint: Matt Morgan, Sting, Scott Steiner, Booker T, and Adam “Pacman” Jones all have more championship reigns than do Shelley and Sabin.
At least the Guns won the match, leading up to another disappointment when they’re forced to job to The Band.
Rob Terry and Orlando Jordan were up next. Terry is another competitor suffering from Brock Lesnar Syndrome while TNA’s OJ bisexual gimmick drove Chris Kanyon to kill himself . Enough said.
When it was time for the X Division title match, TNA picked the pace back up with a great bout between Douglas Williams and Kazarian.
Williams has a huge future ahead of him in the business if he continues to go with his current gimmick and in-ring style. Kazarian doesn’t have much charisma to get behind, but he’s a good enough wrestler that TNA can market him as just that: a wrestler.
It worked for Bret Hart.
How do you follow a pretty good match with homegrown talents you can showcase and market as different from WWE?
With 10-year old throwaways in two awful matches.
TNA’s depiction of Lisa Marie Varon as “Tara” has disintegrated into a cross between the psychotic WWE Victoria and, well something else altogether.
With the Internet world buzzing about Tara’s comments regarding TNA and a hopeful return to WWE, does it come to anyone’s surprise that she jobbed to Madison Rayne, only the second worst wrestler in her three person stable?
Both the WWE and TNA’s women’s divisions are suffering from benign tumors at the top, so if Varon is seriously considering another WWE run, she may be wise to stay retired like she promised to do two years ago.
Then there’s the Band, easily one of the flimsiest and lamest excuses to ever use the “Freebird” rule in a tag team title match.
Scott Hall is bulging out of his tights, and is the topic of a much larger article I’ll be writing in the future. If you’ve watched Hall’s career, you know exactly where the promise of a major star in the business died.
Nash is looking more and more like he did when he burst onto the scene as Oz, and Eric Young is, yet again, too good for the insane crap the company shovels on his corpse.
Jesse Neal and Shannon Moore should be pushed. Too bad Team 3D will bury them for a bigger paycheck. We’ve come full circle in the meaningless void of the mid-card and we’re only halfway through the pay-per-view.
If your eyes didn’t start bleeding after the last catastrophe, then you’re likely about to be treated to a summation of the Abyss/Desmond Wolfe feud.
In what was a wholly unnecessary match, Abyss and Wolfe were quiet entertaining and the crowd lit up the room (particularly for Wolfe).
How could they possibly botch this momentum for Wolfe?
Easy. Have him use his valet as a distraction so he can attach a weapon to his hand and use it on his opponent. Then have his opponent escape the clutches of defeat and STILL pin him. Then have his valet leave him as a prematch stipulation.
Can we get those “Fire Russo” chants to encompass Hogan and Bischoff as well?
Up next is the SmackDown! Main event circa 2008, Jeff Hardy vs. Mr. Anderson.
At this point in his career, Anderson can go nowhere but up by being the face of TNA as a brash, arrogant bastard in a kid-friendly era. His prematch promo was proof that anything goes when you put the microphone in his hands.
So naturally, the booking decision is to put Hardy over Anderson cleanly.
The same Jeff Hardy, who is over with an audience of 12-year-old girls and morons who booed C.M. Punk because they are sheep believing Jeff would never do the things Punk read off a police report.
Hardy’s career is going nowhere and he’s proving to be a complete novelty. Maybe TNA will reenact his trial once it actually goes down, wrestling promoters can never resist pulling in “real life” for their staged adaptation.
Sting was scheduled to fight Jeff Jarrett next on the card, but instead, TNA pulls the ultimate low blow on a pay-per-view event.
Knowing that they already have your money, TNA avoids the contest altogether by disguising Sting’s injury in an assault on Jarrett and a 12-second squash.
Am I one of the few who would openly pay to see JUST ONE Jarrett/Sting match that isn’t shrouded in stupidity?
Despite the length, this contest was better than their Halloween Havoc affair .
And in case I missed it, the main event of the evening was a great example of mat wrestling as well as technical precision, as A.J. Styles and Rob Van Dam battled through a few slips and misses to a pretty decent close.
Perhaps the most important factor was that Van Dam won cleanly, giving him some legitimacy after winning the TNA title just two months into his run. RVD is as over as he was when he was WWE Champion, and that’s a good thing.
On the whole, however, TNA Sacrifice may have been an apt title for such an event.
Sacrifice showed how TNA has sacrificed its own talent roster in favor of has-beens and problem children. They sacrificed quality wrestling matches for wacky gimmicks and downright stupidity. They sacrificed a potential classic between Jarrett and Sting at the mercy of the fans.
I’m not saying that WWE is any better than TNA, but I at least expect it from the Titan Towers.