TNA Against All Odds 2010 is in the books and the show was quite… strange. The show was primarily focused on an 8-man “8 Card Stud” single-elimination tournament with the winner becoming the #1 Contender for the TNA World Heavyweight Title at Lockdown in April. Looking at the show on paper, you’d expect a wrestling-heavy show with very little gaga. Well it certainly was, and it bombed.
Against All Odds can perhaps be seen as a conundrum; an extended metaphor for this entire Bischoff/Hogan regime. For all of the complaints that fans had about the Russo/Jarrett era mainly due to the logic holes during Impact, almost every PPV was pretty solid-to-great. With this regime, it’s almost completely backwards. The TNA Impact television show has certainly improved tenfold; better timing, virtually no shenanigans, but still failing to really hook the audience (and when I say the audience, I mean me and a few select people I’ve spoken to). It almost seems like TNA went from being bad to boring and to be frank; I don’t know which is worse.
This couldn’t have happened at the worst time considering that TNA has been on a streak of fantastic PPVs since all the way back in September. The reasoning behind this is odd though. Why? Is it that the talent is fed up with the management change? Is it that the new/old people brought in can’t hack it with the young talent, bringing the overall match quality down? Could it just be that the talent is had two off nights, two months in a row? I don’t know; but match-wise, Against All Odds was a failure, and that’s something I haven’t said about a TNA PPV since last summer.
After his three week sabbatical, the great one has returned.
A bunch of stuff has happened since I have been gone, so I figure I’d take some time to give my thoughts and brief analysis on some of the big events that have taken place in combat sports since I’ve been gone. Remember, even though I was not around, the “Eye of Big D” sees all.
Karate is back!?
Lyoto Machida’s irresistible force overtaking the immovable object known as Rashad Evans is amazing to watch. It’s once a generation that we are priveledged to see two undefeated fighters at this level fight for a legitimate World Championship. What made it even more spectacular is that one of these two behemoths completely annihilated the other. Lyoto Machida made Rashad Evans look like his play thing until he finally put him to sleep in the second round. The hyperbole machine is cranked up to full blast now around Lyoto. A large contingent of MMA experts are already predicting that Machida is nearly unbeatable. They say that Lyoto Machida is about to enter one of those zen-like periods where he just can not and does not lose for a long time (see Matt Hughes, Chuck Liddell, Wanderlei Silva, etc). Personally, I think he’s already entered that zone and truly believe he will reign atop the 205 lb division for years to come. I don’t see anybody beating this man at light heavyweight and the one guy who has a chance is the Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva, and he’s friends with Lyoto.
So now the new buzz phrase is “Karate is Back”. Machida Karate is about to begin sweeping the nation. Or is it? I’m not so sure that Lyoto and his family will reach the same level of mythos that the Gracies did in the early 1990s, but if any time is best to try it, now is the time. The thing is, a lot of people are pointing squarely at Machida’s Karate base as the sole reason as to why he is so dominant and unbeatable. I think some of us need to take a closer look. While I do think the unorthodox start-stop hesitant striking pattern, unique stance, and methodical approach of Karate has certainly prevented Machida from taking any sort of damage, I think a lot of people are overlooking the simple fact that the man just hits very fucking hard. Machida hits REALLY hard. He’s rocked guys like Rameau Therry Sokoudjou and Thiago Silva with one or two perfectly placed punches. People then went on to say these guys had suspect chins. No – Machida just hits HARD and more importantly – hits the right spot.
My advice to anybody fighting Lyoto – DONT GET HIT. Even if its a boring fight. Even if the crowd turns on you. The man is too dangerous. If you rush in there and try to be the Juggernaut, you WILL be humbled! Fight HIS fight to win! It’s only a matter of time before somebody listens… even if its in 2014. Continue reading
Other than their regular championship matches, Wrestlemania XXIV had two hooks.
At No Way Out, The Big Show reintroduced himself after being away for over a year. He pulled off his coat to show off his new, svelte (for Show) figure. After threatening to beat up Rey Mysterio, boxer Floyd Mayweather, who was ringside, jumped in the ring and threw some legit punches that broke The Big Show’s nose. This would lead to a match between the two at the big show. Not many people knew that what WWE wanted was Floyd Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya in an opposing tag match at Mania XXIV, but De La Hoya wasn’t interested.
The second hook was a storyline involving Ric Flair’s retirement. Vince McMahon came out and said that the next time Ric Flair lost a singles match, he’d have to retire. Flair faced Mr. Kennedy, MVP, and others leading up to Mania, and at Mania, his opponent would be Shawn Michaels. The storyline was originally pitched by Stone Cold Steve Austin, and in his version (as I’ve heard), Flair was to keep winning matches and challenge for a title at Wrestlemania. It didn’t get that far, but Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair at Wrestlemania was definitely a strong match and by the end of the run, they had built enough interest after it being sort of lukewarm.
When it’s all said and done, what Wrestlemania 23 will be remembered for is a haircut match. This isn’t any random old haircut match. This was a billionaire’s haircut match. Well, at least one of them was a billionaire.
Donald Trump has been affiliated with wrestling in the past. He hosted Wrestlemania IV and V at his Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey. They were two of the worst Wrestlemania’s ever, but that didn’t stop Vince McMahon from calling Trump’s name some 18 years later. And McMahon needed it.
Wrestlemania is what Vince McMahon and company build to every year. It’s their Super Bowl. It’s always the biggest PPV of the year, and the one in which they pull out all the stops. This year, the stops was Donald Trump. You might wonder why putting Donald Trump on a wrestling show, and one that he won’t even wrestle on, is important. The reason it’s important is because people wanted to pay to see who would get their hair cut between Vince and the Donald. Can you imagine a bald Donald Trump? Everyone wants to see that right? Even though anyone in their right mind would know that Trump would’ve never signed on to a match in which he’d lose his hair, it was built up so well, and it went on to be the main event in the biggest money making event in company history.
Donald Trump is still a big name. Even though his television show, The Apprentice was struggling mightily, he’s a well known public figure. And to get a well known public figure who isn’t a one hit wonder (like Kevin Federline) was a major coup for the WWE. It allowed them to enter the main stream media for a short while. The media picked up on Donald Trump being involved with wrestling and it sparked a little bit of a buzz. The wrestling fans are going to buy Wrestlemania. The goal is to get everyone else to do so.