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Detailed Live Thoughts from TNA’s Turning Point 2009

So last Sunday, Big D made his long awaited return to the Impact Zone for the TNA Turning Point 2009 PPV. I was excited for the double main event and the new direction that TNA is going in with regards to pushing young guys, so I figured I’d go back and return once more. While the direction of this particular show gets nothing but a thumbs up from me as well as the in-ring, everything around is just more of the same.

The Pre-Show

TNA really needs to fix this fucking lining-up situation. It’s legitimately pissing me off. For those of you who have never been to a TNA PPV in Orlando at the Impact Zone (Tapings are a lot easier to get into), here is how it goes down. There are FOUR total lines and each of the lines gets entry before the others. The order goes as follows: TNA VIP who also have Universal Park Passes, TNA VIP who do NOT carry park passes, The LineNon-VIP who have park passes, and people who have neither. If you do NOT have a park pass (VIP or NOT), you line up in between the Hard Rock Cafe and the Blue Man Group Building (formerly Nickelodeon Studios). The Hard Rock Cafe is NOT a paid Universal Studios attraction, and is mainly used in the evening for club-boppers. If you HAVE a park pass, VIP or not, you line up next to the Jimmy Neutron ride inside of Universal Studios Orlando.

My issue with the situation isn’t exactly that, but rather the disregard from TNA and from Universal Studios to the people who really want to see the show.

Get this – if you want to be let in before anybody, do you know what you have to do? You have to show up next to the Impact Zone at 8:30 in the morning, grab a random raffle ticket with a number from a staffer, then return at 4:30. This gives you a chance to enjoy the park, which is all well and good except if you go every single month like a lot of fans do, the park isn’t as appealing. Impact ZoneWhat I think is bullshit is the fact that JP Nichols along with a group of others were lined up earlier than anybody to get tickets and when they finally get in, to their surprise, the front row by the barracades is reserved for somebody else. Who? Good question. JP sent me a text stating that he’s been coming to the Impact Zone for 5 1/2 years and it’s still the same bullshit. These people waited there since the wee hours of the morning and were screwed out of their seats by what was quoted as being “regulars”. So I guess coming to EVERY Impact Taping and EVERY PPV for the past 5 1/2 years doesn’t qualify as being a “regular”.

But that isn’t even the biggest insult. TNA treats their fans, including the VIP, like nothing special. Granted yes, it IS technically a free show, but that’s no excuse to me. If you want to get in, you have to wait in a line and be there by 5:30. Which means if you want to be in the FRONT of the line, oh… try 2 or 3. HOURS~! Then, you get moved to another line and wait there for another 45 minutes or so. Then, after that, you get moved by the staffers to… yup… ANOTHER LINE! It was like this 4 years ago when I came and it’s a damn tragedy that it hasn’t changed yet. So even if you are VIP, even if you have connections, you have to stand in a damn line for 3-4 hours. They let people into the actual soundstage at 7:15 PM. So if you line up at 5:30, there is still a mandatory near-two hours of STANDING in a line.

The question is – Why? Why can they not let us in at say… 6:00? Why are we punished by standing outside for hours to get into the show? Are they doing their soundchecks? Can they not do their soundchecks in the morning? Then they expect us to CHEER and BE HAPPY!!! SURE!!

The Show

I picked a damn good show to come back to. For my money, TNA Turning Point 2009 was the best PPV of the year since Backlash 2009 (not including Dragon Gate). The two main events actually exceeded the expectations of not only myself, but even the most hardcore of AJ/Daniels/Joe fans. The show actually had all clean finishes with the exception of two, which would’ve made me laugh if you’d told me that in 2008. A year ago I felt the death of TNA would actually help the wrestling business and perhaps society as a whole, but now with the new direction, while it’s NOT perfect and still has lots of work, gives me hope. TNA is pushing young talent again – doing what WWE has failed to do which to me actually makes them a BIT of an alternative for once in 5 years.

This was also my first time in the NEW Impact Zone after they took out the double entrances and went to one ramp. I like the new look. New Bleachers They moved the big giant ramp behind the announce booth and took out the LAX entrance and put a whole new set of bleachers there which holds a crapload of fans. I honestly like the new look. More importantly, there are more strobe lights in the building as well as better pyro and a WAY BETTER accoustic sound system. I remember getting grainy headaches back in 2007 when I used to attend TNA, and now that’s been fixed thankfully.

One thing I noticed was that there was a whole new group of fans here. The old TNA fans from 2007 are long gone, probably leaving after TNA’s 2007 Hard Justice PPV which I called the “Grand TNA Exodus” because a plethora of the TNA loyalists, including myself, had our last straw and dipped, never to return. Read the results to find out why. The new fans are similar to the old fans, but honestly a bit better. They aren’t as spoiled and know to cheer the faces and the heels, and while they ARE smart marks, they’re not as obnoxious. They definitely were familiar with Nigel and all of the talent and I’m not sure why someone would think otherwise.

Oh by the way, the guy who used to wave the towels since 2004 is now WORKING for TNA as a hype man. How cool is that?

The Towel Guy's New Job

The dark match was the two best women’s workers in TNA (other than Kong and Tara who would compete later). Hamada beat Alissa Flash in a decent match to get the crowd going.

The opening match with Red and Homicide was really fun. Red is an amazing story, no pun intended. Red was one of the hottest indy workers back in 2002. He is best known for his classic matches with Low Ki in both TNA and ROH and instantly became a favorite of Don West (which is why Don is managing him now). Little known tidbit – Amazing Red is responsible for inventing a crapload of the fancy moves that you see on the independents. He was one of the most creative and athletic workers ever despite his small stature. People said he was this decade’s Rey Mysterio – an inventive, fast, high-flying hispanic. Then he suffered a Rey Mysterio-like knee injury and vanished for YEARS. We’d heard for a long time he was going to come back and he did earlier this year and TNA put the X-Title on him, probably as a thank you for having those awesome X-Division matches in 2002. So the match was VERY good and a perfect hot opener.

The six chick match was ehh… not that fun. Lacey Von Erich is nowhere near as attractive up close as she is on TV. She’s worthless and I see her getting canned sooner than later. I was told by somebody who works in TNA that her nickname is “Rhaka Blonde”, I laughed, then found out that it was old news. I got my late slip.

The three way tag match was a lot of fun. Beer Money is amazingly over in the Impact Zone and with good reason. The British Invasion were a tremendous act and booed heavily and the Motor City Machine Guns are crowd favorites. This match had a little bit of a screwy finish, but fine in that it set up future rematches.

CageTara and Awesome Kong was a pretty decent women’s match, but an apparent injury at the end of the match kinda hurt it. Tara did a Thesz Press from the top of the cage and landed on Kong for the finish and Kong was hurt and had to be helped out. I don’t think this was a work. Tara then challenged the Women’s Champ ODB – so that made a lot of sense.

The Six Man Tag was pretty cool and I had fun watching it, even though I was surprised the heels won. D’Angelo Dinero aka Elijah Burke is incredibly over. When he came out, they dropped money from the ceiling, which was a very cool moment. Burke just got signed to a longer deal so I guess he earned it here.

Steiner’s promo on Lashley and Krystal had everybody cracking up. The fact that the match was made a no DQ at the last minute and Steiner won made me and a few others think Lashley was shown the door into the comforting arms of Scott Koker and Strikeforce – but not quite.

The two main events is what really blew the roof off. Nigel (now Desmond Wolf) and Angle went toe to toe and traded submissions. The match reminded me of the first Angle/Joe match (almost 4 years ago to the day) in terms of crowd energy, but the match quality was above and beyond. Nigel has the most chemistry with Angle than anybody since the late Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero. The main event, while probably a TEENY WEENY bit not as good as the first three way from Unbreakable, was amazing. 3 Way Joe, Christopher Daniels, and AJ Styles pretty much used every move and sequence that they’ve ever used on the indies and TNA, and added new twists to them and double-team variations. It was extremely creative. Ironically I feel if that first match had never happened, THIS would be a *****. Instead, to me, it’s ****1/2.

AJ Styles is the right kind of champion and a testament to anybody’s lockerroom. After the show ended, AJ Styles got on the mic and said that the match was for the fans, proving my point about this show being for the hardcore fans. Then, AJ went around ringside and hugged, shook hands, and took pictures with the ringside fans. AJ didn’t have to do that, but he did, and that is the kind of champion TNA needs.

Overall, if you did not see this show, go out of your way to either order the replay if you can afford it, or just wait for the DVD but once the DVD comes out, it’s worth every penny.

Will I be returning to the Impact Zone next month for the Angle/Desmond rematch?

Probably not simply because of the tediousness of standing in line for three hours in cold weather, however I will not rule the possibility of my return in 2010. Until then – stay tuned.

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