Reality From Ringside #31
September 21, 2009
By: Doug Lackey of

No Surrender 2009: The Hangover

I have Adam Martin to blame for this week’s dosage of ?reality? and the tremendously painful hangover I am about to describe. Normally I have no problem with getting ideas for my columns; I love it when I don?t need to work to come up with one. That is not the case for this week.

For the past month I have been praising TNA’s television product and their effort in building feuds and storylines. I have fully admitted that I was never a proponent of TNA’s product, but I have recently been looking at their ?line? and cautiously toeing it instead of fully crossing it.

I have read and heard all the great things about their promotion when it comes to the Knockout division and their roster of tag teams, and have been in full agreement with all of them. After watching ?No Surrender?, I had to make sure I had a full pot of coffee brewing in order to relieve me of this massive and painful hangover.

With that said, let’s jump right into the lingering effects from TNA’s latest pay-per-view?

Knockout Tag Team Champions have been crowned? now what?

I have absolutely no qualms with this title addition to the promotion. Make all the arguments you want of it being groundbreaking or innovative, but that is not the issue right now when it comes to these new straps.

The purpose for having a tournament to crown champions of a new title is not just to anoint, but it is also meant to develop feuds and rivalries regarding the title itself and the talent therein. Throughout the course of the tournament, we have been entertained by the action in the ring? there is no question about that. However, new questions arise.

Other than ?The Beautiful People?, who else would be vying for the straps? Was a five-minute opening match on a pay-per-view enough to establish ?legitimacy? to the titles? Before you flood my mailbox with answers to those questions, because I can already imagine what all them would say? there is a much larger question that needs to be answered:

What is the purpose of the Knockouts Tag Team Title? Is it to promote a new division entirely or is it to be served as a stepping stone to the individual Knockout World Title? All tag titles in professional wrestling are meant to serve both of these purposes, but in this particular case, in does not seem to do so. It seems to be either or in my eyes.

Who or what exactly is Samoa Joe supposed to be?

He represents a ?nation of violence?. He sports a look of despondency and total contempt for anyone and anything. He walks to the ring with a towel draped over his head in order to blatantly disregard and ignore the crowds? chants of disdain, and reveals a black-painted visage of wanton destruction? you would think that he would convey intimidation and pure hatred in the ring.

During his X-Division title match against Daniels last night, I didn?t see any of that. Sure, his offense seemed brutal, but his facial expressions never convinced me of it. With every punch he gave and took, he had the same look of dull surprise. His physical exertion in the ring responding to the giving and taking did nothing to influence me into thinking he was a member of a nation of anything.

What does Samoa Joe need to do to convince me that he is a member of a violent nation? I?m not going to state the obvious (weight loss, new ring attire, etc.), instead I?m going to try something completely different? how about stepping in front of a microphone. We have not heard him give a full-fledged, anger-induced interview in some time now. I have always thought of him as a great vocal talent behind the microphone, helping to build his character and the animosity of his persona.

Until I hear Samoa Joe speak up and identify himself as the figurehead of his ?nation of violence?, I will continue to see him as a tube of bologna wearing loose-fitting workout pants and the victim of passing out at a party and someone writing on his face with a sharpie.

What did we take away from the 8-man Lethal Lockdown match?

The single biggest compliment I keep hearing about TNA is that their tag team division trumps that of WWE’s, and I have been in full compliance of that for the past month. However, last night’s Lockdown match involving Team 3D, Beer Money, The British Invasion, and the Main Event Mafia’s Booker T and Scott Steiner made me realize something? these are the tag teams everyone keeps talking about.

Four teams, two of them are wearing titles of some kind which means that titles matches involving them would always consist of these four teams. If TNA’s tag team division is so good and so wrought with talent and potential, then why does it seem to be the same performers vying for the same belts and having the same feuds week in and week out?

I am not knocking the performers; I am not knocking the matches they display for us to behold? I?m knocking the booking involving it all, especially with this match last night. Instead of exploiting the talent that each of these men possesses and showing the determination to be the best, TNA subjugated them by showing the weakness within the tag team division.

What was the reason for this match in the first place? Was it to build potential storylines and rivalries, or was it to just have all eight men on pay-per-view so that viewers would be reminded that they still exist?

Again, I?m trying my damnedest to be positive with this show? and I hope all the questions I?m posing are treated as such? especially this one.

What is the Bobby Lashley’s timeline within TNA?

His performance inside the hexagon last night against Rhino showed that he has not gained any ring rust regarding professional wrestling. Lashley can be a great marquee name for TNA to build around and depend upon for great performances, especially against a lump like Rhino. The bigger question surrounding Lashley is how will TNA use him?

Will they slingshot him into a title match? Will they slowly develop him through other storylines and feuds? Is TNA going to continue to promote him as a crossover MMA fighter, even if he does not have another MMA fight for quite some time?

I would really like to see TNA possibly obtain the rights and privileges to air Lashley’s MMA fights on their programs. This would reinforce the notion that he is who they say he is and remind the viewing audience that he is a legitimate force to contend with within the federation. Sure, we (the well-educated wrestling community) know he is also an MMA fighter, but the typical na?ve wrestling fan doesn?t.

These next few months will be very interesting with regards to Bobby Lashley and his place within TNA. Will they actually use him in storylines? Will they sparsely insert his name into a pay-per-view card in order to attract the MMA fan-base or will they vigorously place him in appearances on television and pay-per-view events to attract the wrestling fans they have always been garnering?

Of all the questions lingering from last night, I leave you with the biggest of them all?

What happened on last night’s pay-per-view that would convince me to buy TNA’s next pay-per-view?

Thanks to the hook-up by Ron James (chat room participant and fellow ?Realist?); I was able to watch ?No Surrender? without a burden to my bank account. As I was watching the program, I kept asking myself after every match ?What did I just see that I probably could not have seen on TNA Impact??

The answer? Nothing.

The finals of the Knockouts Tag Title tournament could have been viewed on Impact.

Seeing Hernandez make another cameo appearance in a wrestling contest via squash could be shown on Impact.

Suicide and Dinero brawling outside the arena (among other things) could have easily been substituted with two other names and shown brawling outside the arena on any Impact.

Samoa Joe and Daniels will probably end up fighting each other again on Impact (while the same can be said for any WWE pay-per-view title match).

ODB and Cody ?fighting? for the Knockouts Title in the ring was a first, as compared to ?debating? about it in previous weeks.

A 20-minute long, 8-man contest inside a cell-like structure for no reason whatsoever can easily be substituted for a 8-man #1 Contender’s match for the X-Division Title this Thursday and take up only five minutes of our lifespan.

I will throw TNA a bone and say that Lashley’s in-ring debut and the fatal four-way for the World Title were legitimate matches to have on a pay-per-view card? thus, two reasons to give Dixie my money.

The question again arises: ?What happened last night that would convince me to buy TNA’s next pay-per-view??

It’s very tough to answer right now. Normally a question like that can?t be answered immediately after a pay-per-view event, but unfortunately I?m comparing this to WWE’s current mode of marketing and promoting. At ?Breaking Point?, Undertaker was screwed out of a World Title and the next event’s title ?Hell in a Cell? cries out to be given $40 by the typical na?ve wrestling fan.

Would you immediately give Dixie $30 next month to see AJ Styles defend his World Title in a pay-per-view called ?Bound for Glory?? Answer at your own discretion.

Until next time, mouth-breathers!

Annoy me with your assumptions and affronts… adore me with your adulations and acknowledgements: Reality from Ringside.

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