Friday, April 5, 2019

TNA Impact Bonus DVD

Since today's video will be showcasing the TNA Impact video game, I might as well talk about the bonus DVD that the game came with at the time. It's essentially a compilation disk of five gimmick matches from throughout TNA's history featuring some of the stars showcased in the video game in question.

So we open with some opening comments from Christy Hemme... the former Diva Search winner who had a spell in WWE before going to TNA and doing stuff like this. Fair Enough.

First match is the Ultimate X match from Final Destination 2005; the oldest match on the disk. Featured in this match are defending X-Division champion Petey Williams, AJ Styles, and Chris Sabin. What stings here is that Petey Williams was a DLC for the PS3/X360 versions and would've been a nice inclusion on the PS2 release if anyone cared... but alas, it was not to be.

Anyway, for those who don't know the basic concept of an Ultimate X match: you have four poles in the ring holding up two ropes in the air and in the middle hangs a plastic gimmick shaped like an X (or in this case, the TNA X-Division championship belt). Basically, it's like a ladder match. Climb the poles, scale the vines, and grab the title. Anyway, this is a nice showcase of moves, spots, moves, spots, more moves, more spots, and other stuff until AJ grabs the belt to win the match and the title. For the pure spectacle of it, this was an absolute thrill to watch and is a reminder of TNA's best asset that they had never been able to exploit properly.

From there, we head on to another Ultimate X match, this time from Bound For Glory 2007. What we have here is a tag team match between the team of Elix Skipper and Low Ki (called Senshi here for some reason) and LAX (Homicide and Hernandez). This started off a bit slow. In the end, Hernandez is able to grab the X and the win for the team. An otherwise fun little Ultimate X match and a worthy inclusion on this here DVD compilation.

Lauren Brook introduces us to the next match: from Destination X 2007 PPV, it's AJ Styles vs. Rhino in an Elevation X match; basically a scaffold match where the goal is to knock your opponent off the scaffold. And like most scaffold matches, this sucks. This is two guys trying not to fall while doing their playfighting and then it ends when AJ takes the fall because of course he does. You'd figure he'd take his ball and go elsewhere, but AJ was a company man and that meant he got a video game in 2008, rather than have to wait until 201? whatever for his first WWE game. Why anyone thought this was a good match in the first place - much less include in a best of compilation - is beyond me.

Next up, it's the King Of The Mountain match at Slammiversary 2007 featuring Kurt Angle, Christian Cage, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, and Chris Harris... for some reason. And wouldn't you know it? This match is for the first TNA World Champion... wait, what?

Context: When TNA first began, they were originally NWA-TNA and were actually a member of the National Wrestling Alliance; a loose group of indy promotions back in the day and not the online sensation owned by Billy Corgan. Anyway, TNA left the NWA in 2004-ish but kept the rights to the NWA World and Tag Titles until 2007 when both parted ways. While Team 3D (the last NWA Tag Champs of the TNA era) were given new TNA Tag titles from the get-go, reigning NWA World Champion Christian Cage was stripped of the title by the NWA, then he lost the title to Kurt Angle, and apparently that doesn't count anymore and so we have this match.

Confused yet? It's about to get worse.

So the idea behind the King Of The Mountain match is that it's the reverse ladder match. Instead of climbing a ladder to grab a belt hanging above, you have to hang the belt on the hook above to win the match. However, to be eligible to hang the belt above, you need to pin someone and the pinned fellow is stuck in a penalty box for two minutes before they can compete again.

Why, yes, this took place when Russo was a writer... but I'd be hard-press to blame it on him. After all, wrestling outside WWE has always been full of completely fucking stupid ideas... like scaffold matches, shark cage matches, coal miner's glove on a pole match, skins match, need I go on?

Anyway, this has moves, spots, moves, spots, guys almost killing themselves, insanity, action, lots of fun stuff if you turn your brain off and just enjoy the show. Anyway, Kurt Angle hangs the title to win his first TNA World Championship. Look, this was a fun match and I can see why they had this as one of TNA's staple matches. If I had been able to catch TNA PPVs back in the day, I probably would've enjoyed this one.

And then we're up to our last match and the most recent match on the list; the "Steel Asylum" match... or is it the "TerrorDome" match between a bunch of X-Division guys. This is from Sacrifice 2008, the show perhaps best noticeable for that wonderful Scott Steiner promo and his highly educated math skills on display. Anyway, this match has a bunch of guys in a domed cage and apparently, the first one to climb out of the hole on top wins and moves on to a later match. This was hard to follow, hard to care about, and really just a mess... but hey, if you likes moves and spots, then this is the match for you, I suppose.

So that was the TNA Impact sampler disc for lack of a better term and for the most part, I thought it was a rather serviceable compilation of some really good matches to go along with some less than good matches. For a throwaway DVD included as a bonus for purchasing a video game, it was a more than acceptable salespitch on the TNA product of the time... and ultimately something that became more enjoyable than the video game it came packaged with.

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