Monday, October 5, 2015

A busy weekend in televised wrestling

Two shows graced television and computer screens this weekend from the folks at both WWE and TNA. I previewed both Live from MSG and Bound For Glory to end last week, but both shows put on some great matches but with somewhat underwhelming results.

Live From Madison Square Garden started its life as a house show with Brock Lesnar announced for it. Like the last house show in Tokyo that featured Lesnar, it became a WWE special and the Lesnar / Show match didn't disappoint. Big Show was allowed to look like a massive giant, manhandling Lesnar for several minutes and even delivering three chokeslams. But it wasn't enough to lay out "The Beast Incarnate" who responded with a trip to Suplex City for Big Show. One more F5 put Show away for the day.

Big Show visits Suplex City. Image credit:

The rest of the card was filled with solid matches but very little story progression. The two interminable singles feuds were turned into a solid tag match as Randy Orton and Dolph Ziggler beat Rusev and Sheamus. Neville got another singles win over Stardust as their feud continued, while roles were reversed in a Raw rematch of Team PCB vs. Team Bella. This time Charlotte and Becky Lynch abandoned Paige to her fate. Becky was kind enough to explain their reasons in a superb post-match promo.

The card was rounded out with another disqualification finish to The Dudley Boyz vs. The New Day to keep the feud going to Hell in a Cell. Finally in a great battle but a rather anti-climactic finish after Show/Lesnar, in a steel cage match for the United States title, John Cena retained against the WWE World Heavyweight champion Seth Rollins after interference from Kane.

Bound For Glory was built around a last minute main event changed just four days earlier on the last Impact Wrestling before the supposed Wrestlemania-of-TNA. Matt Hardy was inserted into a three way match with Drew Galloway and TNA World Heavyweight champion Ethan Carter III. Not only was it thrown together at the last minute, but it seemed like it was put together to allow TNA to just give the Carolina fans a great win for a hometown boy as Hardy walked out the champion after pinning Drew Galloway.

Otherwise, a pay-per-view that TNA should have used to build a stronger promotion instead seemed like more of the same from a company in endless flux and without a stable roster. Tigre Uno retained his X Division title in Ultimate X only to be challenged by another Carolina native, Shane Helms, in his TNA debut. But a wrestler half a decade removed from his last significant reign just doesn't feel like someone that should be pushed in the X Division now, especially when young hungry talent waiting to break out seems to be everywhere in TNA.

Tyrus won the #1 Contenders gauntlet, last eliminating Mr. Anderson. This seems to set up a rivalry between him and his compatriot EC3, but the smart move on TNA's part would be to continue the push of the former Brodus Clay. He's arguably one of the most underutilized talents in TNA and a hard main event push for him can only help the promotion.

The Wolves retained against Brian Myers and Trevor Lee, Gail Kim used a Super Eat Defeat to stop Awesome Kong (probably a smart move days after Cena kicked out of the move from Xavier Woods.) Bobby Roode retained the King of the Mountain title against Lashley while Kurt Angle made Eric Young tap in their no DQ match.

It becomes more and more frustrating as a former regular viewer of TNA programming that the company has so much talent and an unwillingness to place that talent in a position to succeed. While Matt Hardy can lead the new roster, it will take better writing and solid placing of new stars to make the modern TNA work.

Overall, it was a less spectacular weekend than it could have been for wrestling, but WWE has set up some great storylines for Hell in a Cell while TNA feels like its spinning wheels for the umpteenth time.

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