Thursday, March 16, 2017

TNA Genesis 2010

Since Impact Wrestling had their relaunch take place last week, I figured that this would be a good time to check out one other time when the former TNA had a relaunch of sorts (one of many it would seem). And indeed, it was a relaunch for better or worse... mostly worse, but at the time, there was some hope and fear. And so, for today's wrestling musings, I'll be watching the TNA Genesis 2010 PPV that aired on January 17th.

I've got a few more TNA DVDs laying around featuring old PPV events and whenever I get the chance, I'll be doing quick musings on some of them. It'll be something a bit different from the WWE dominated fare as of late.

But first... some context.

In 2009, TNA Wrestling (Impact Wrestling) signed Hulk Hogan to a contract and that somehow brought along Eric Bischoff to handle creative duties in some capacity. I don't recall the details nor do I particularly care, because one way or another, these two would change the face of TNA for the next several years and take the first steps in what would ultimately be a downward spiral for the TNA brand and beyond.

January 4th was the first Monday of the year and in a bold move, TNA decided to air a special edition of Impact on Monday, as oppose to its usual Thursday night time slot. This would mean that the show would run opposite Monday Night RAW, which would feature the first time Bret Hart would step foot in a WWE ring since the Montreal Screwjob of 1997. It would be a one-shot, but otherwise a first step for TNA towards an eventual relaunch of what was supposed to be a Monday Night War, but ended up being a one-sided pissing contest.

For the sake of historical reference, here are some words I wrote on the matter in a commentary post a few days afterwards:

TNA and WWE went to war or something on the first Monday of 2010. Actually, to call this a war would be like calling Revenge of the Fallen a masterpiece of Shakespearian proportions.

WWE produced their usual stagnant sports-entertainment show, but featured the return of Bret. Bret forgave Shawn at the beginning of the show and then Vince kicked Bret in the balls at the end. Other than the novelty of seeing Bret again, it's the same old shit, but on the bright side, it's fairly entertaining shit.

Because I decided to catch RAW rather than TNA, I obviously didn't see the TNA show... and because I was recording the RAW show on DVD, I wasn't about to switch between shows. However, I decided to sample a bit of the "new TNA" while The Score was playing their usual RAW Countdown show and what was there to greet me?

Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, Sean Waltman, Kevin Nash, and Eric Bischoff bickering in the ring.

It was at that point where I said "Fuck it" and stick to RAW.

Now I did manage to catch the replay of the show on Thursdays and judging from the many skits, old-timers, and other brainfarts, I was sort of glad I stuck with RAW. Just about the only good thing about the show was the TNA Title match between AJ Styles and Kurt Angle, which was awesome... but of course, Hogan had to ruin it by showing up.

So if this was supposed to sell me on TNA, it didn't work. I'd liked the main event (even though it's essentially a PPV match given on free TV, so in theory I have no reason to buy their damn PPV) but the rest of the show felt like I was watching a WCW 2000 show... and that's NOT a good feeling to impart on a viewer when trying to sell a show's bold new direction. It's about as appealing as Tiger Woods' bold new direction of being a recluse for the rest of his life.

Well... that was something.

While the January 4th Impact was a "soft" reboot of sorts with the debut of Hogan and Bischoff to TNA proper, it would be this Pay-Per-View show a few days later that would essentially be the genesis of the new direction that TNA would go.

One thing I hate about this DVD is that it pretty much forces you to sit through the three minute opening video from the Pay-Per-View before loading up the incredibly cheap looking main menu. Even worse is that the video plays on the show proper! After this, I won't be complaining about sitting through a quick PSA on a WWE DVD ever again.

Your commentary team comprises Mike Tenay and Taz. I miss Don West; he had an energy and enthusiasm that enhanced the commentary somewhat. That having been said, Taz is a fine choice too.

A quick look at the arena and you'll note that TNA has a four-sided wrestling ring as opposed to the six-sided ring that they had been using for the past half decade or so. There was a huge stink made over the loss of the six-sided ring and while the ring's something that seems almost synonymous with TNA, at the end of the day, it's just a ring. What matters is what happens inside that ring (or around it in some cases), not what shape it is. However, a few years later, that six-sided ring would make the comeback for better or worse, so that's an experiment under the rug.

Hogan and Bischoff walk out to a chorus of Impact Zone audience members chanting "We Want Six Sides." Hogan talks about change, quipping on how six sides only got them so far to a rather negative reaction, and takes a pot shot at Vince and his "fear" of the word "wrestling." Ooh, TNA taking a shot at WWE's sports entertainment! What a blow! This coming from the man who is the very personification of sports entertainment. What's that thing about pot, kettle, black?

Well, it's not a great promo, but it sets the tone, I suppose.

X-Division champion Amazing Red defeated mystery opponent Brian Kendrick to retain the title in a pretty decent little opener. Amazingly, I remember Red when he would wrestle on some of the old NWA-TNA weekly PPVs and thought he was pretty good. I wonder how he's doing these days. Anyway, this was an entertaining enough match for what it was. Nothing special or anything, but it was alright.

I don't normally comment on the backstage bits, but I thought it was worth noting that Scott Hall and Syxx Pack or whatever Sean Waltman was calling himself here are playing Rock, Paper, Scissors to determine who gets to be Nash's partner in the tag title match later on. Pac wins, for anyone who cares. Sucks to be anyone who ordered this PPV expecting Hall to wrestle on the show. (At the time, Hall had a groin injury.)

Sean Morley (the former Val Venis doing the Val Venis thing without calling himself Val Venis) defeated Christopher Daniels (going by just Daniels here for some reason... you know, like how Cesaro was Antonio Cesaro before... holy fuck, Cesaro is a rip-off of Daniels! I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE, VINCE! YOU HACK!)

Ahem... let's try that again.

Sean Morley defeated Daniels for some reason... I watch this years later and I don't know what the point of Morley winning here was and is typical of the backwards, brain-dead mentality of TNA, where the mainstay talent that has been there from the very beginning and poised to be the next big star in the company is doing the favors to a WWE cast-off. It is a stupefying mindset that is still prevalent in the "new era" of Impact Wrestling.

Something worth noting is a group of fans turning their backs on this match. I wish I could make this shit up, but indeed, there is an image of fans turning their back on this rather average match. Unfortunately, this is the only noteworthy thing about this match since not even ten minutes after, I remember anything else worthwhile.

For those wondering, Morley's TNA tenure lasted a couple months before he'd leave due to scheduling conflicts, meaning he wouldn't be around for TNA's ill-fated Monday Night Impact venture, making this match entirely pointless. On the bright side, it'd take a while, but Christopher Daniels eventually rebounded from this and continued a long tenured career before finally winning a World title this year... in Ring of Honor. Oops.

By the way, did you know Hogan's daughter Brooke is in attendance? Don't worry; the show will make a point to remind you every once in a while. I suppose it could be worse; they could clips of Hogan's son Nick driving the production truck... nobody is going to get that.

Tara (a.k.a. Victoria in WWE) defeated TNA Knockout champion ODB in a two out of three falls match to win the title. Tara won two falls straight... I liked Tara better when she was Victoria in WWE and didn't have the pet spider... Speaking of which, did you know that the spider was instrumental in Tara losing the TNA Knockout title in a stupid gimmick? That's the one where Daphne was forced to do a striptease or something. The less said about that, the better...

Matt Morgan and Hernandez defeated TNA World Tag Champs "The British Invasion" comprising Doug Williams and Brutus Magnus to win the titles. Oh, there's Nick Hogan in the crowd and not in a card. At one point, Taz says "Vintage Matt Morgan! Vintage I say!" Because we needed that Vintage Pot Shot in the pants. This was actually pretty good and both teams put on a good showing. I like that Morgan/Hernandez combination years after it would've meant anything, but I thought they made a good team in this one match, at least. That's something I suppose.

Of course, the team would only last a couple months before Morgan beats up Hernandez and keeps both belts for himself... only to later drop it to the band

Desmond Wolfe (a.k.a. current NXT commentator Nigel McGuiness) defeated "The Pope" D'Angelo Dinero. It took me a while to realize that "Pope" used to be Elijah Burke in that WWECW experiment that went nowhere for several years. I guess all they needed to do was put the guy in a match with Nigel McGui... er, I mean, Desmond Wolfe

Beer Money Inc. comprising future TNA World champ James Storm and future TNA World champ and NXT Champion Bobby Roode defeated Kevin Nash and Sean Waltman in a match that I probably would've declared a modern-day miracle. The finish is kinda shit; Scott Hall comes out and beats up some fan, which distracts Waltman and allows Nash to get GLORIOUS-ly rolled up by Roode. I guess it's a good thing they had Waltman in there, because trying to watch Nash wrestle is like trying to watch Nick Hogan drive a car. I don't know what's worse; that Nash would eventually win the tag titles somewhere down the line or that Nash would have a terrible ladder match with Triple H towards the tail end of 2011.

Ken Anderson (freshly debuted after having been Mr. Kennedy in WWE) defeated Abyss with help from some brass knuckles. Anderson was touted as a mystery opponent for Abyss and because he was a WWE name, he gets to beat the mainstay TNA guy who's been there since the beginning. Is there any wonder why most of the guys that were a pivotal part of TNA's growing years are mostly no longer with the company? And on top of that, this match wasn't all that great. I think this was the closest thing to a piss break match that I got here.

TNA World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles (back when he was clean-shaven and had a lot less hair) defeated future WWE Hall Of Famer Kurt Angle to retain the title. It was a decent match between two top-level wrestlers that was marred by a weak finish. Angle was focusing on AJ's ankle to weaken it for the eventual Ankle Lock finish. As AJ's tapping and before the ref could render a decision, Ric Flair (yes, THAT Ric Flair) pulls the ref out and AJ's ankle is suddenly okay, allowing him to whack Angle with the title and score the pin. This would to Ric Flair taking in AJ as a protege of sorts to groom him into another Nature Boy-type or something. And I remember this being an awkward fit for AJ. I wonder if this period is ever going to come up whenever WWE produces an AJ Styles DVD somewhere down the line.

The first TNA PPV of the Hogan era was not a home run to say the very least. In a contemporary sense, the one criticism that I had noticed in doing the scant research that I could was that a lot of the matches that took place on this show had already taken place on prior Impact episodes, notably the Desmond Wolfe/Pope match as well as the title match between AJ Styles and Kurt Angle. As such, I could understand this being a weak card based on having to pay for matches you already saw on free TV.

Watching this years later when all is said and done, Genesis 2010 is the template for a C-level Pay Per View wrestling event in that you only have one standout match on the card and the rest of it is forgettable. To its credit, there was nothing on the show that I would consider bad; if anything, the show's worst effort is slightly average at best. It was a nice little PPV event with a decent World title match... but aside from the footnote aspect of this being the Hogan era kick-off of sorts in TNA, there's nothing here that sticks with you. Yes, Styles and Angle had a good match here, but they've also had better elsewhere.

I will say this much, however; as far as relaunches or new era introductions go, this was somewhat adequate fare, but hardly anything that was going to entice me to watch Impact on a regular basis. On its own merits, this was okay at best, but not something that sticks after a week or so.

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