I listened to Observer live last night and heard you and Bryan discuss this match. I attended the show, this match was tremendous, Haas is so technically sound and his offense is awesome, his performance was outstanding. Tanahashi was also his usual top notch self. The only downside to this match is that it started at 11:30 at night and most of the crowd had been in the building since 6pm for an autograph session, so by the time this went on there was a burnout factor, after the crowd had seen Devitt & Low Ki have an epic match, go out of your way to see both matches. I have been reading your work for 20 years plus and I think I have wrote you maybe 4 times over years, this show was awesome, NJPW did an amazing job all the wrestlers were nice, signing autographs for free. For $15 you could go in the ring and get a high quality picture with Liger and Tiger Mask at intermission. I brough my 7 & 3 yr olds with me and they had a blast, all the workers were interacting with them including Bernard and Anderson letting them hold their IWGP tag titles that they could barely lift lol. A truly great show.
Thumbs Way Up!
Best Fight: Michael Chandler vs. Patricky Pitbull
Worst Fight: None
1) Alexander Shlemenko defeated. Brett Cooper: Fun, fun, fun is the
best way to describe this fight. If you are a fan of striking and most
casual fans are, Shlemenko is a fighter you will love to watch.
Spinning back fists, spinning back kicks and plus other hard bombs he
throughs is just fun to watch. When this fight was announced awhile
back, I really looking forward to it. This was a qualifying fight for
the next Bellator 185lb Tournament in September. These qualifying
bouts is another reason why I love Bellator as even thought Shlemenko
won the Bellator Season 2 Middleweight Tournament and nearly captured
the title from Hector Lombard at Bellator 34 on October 28th, 2010, he
still has to earn his way back into the tournament. Though I would
have given him the number one seed in the upcoming tourney, having him
earn his way back in gives the Bellator tournaments a higher
importance. No freebies in Bellator. Cooper is always fun to watch
and longs to bang in the center of the cage, but Shlemenko caught
Cooper early with a glancing blow to Cooper's left eye which gave
Cooper problems throughout the first round. Cooper went into panic
mode, and though he was able to keep scrapping on, Shlemenko took
advantage connecting with some hard strikes. Cooper recovered and
caught Shlemenko with some great shots, but it wasn't enough and lost
by unanimous decision. This was going to be my best fight of the show,
but Chandler vs. Pitbull for me stole the show.
2) Giedrius Karavackas defeated Sam Oropeza by submission: Another fun
fight. Karavackas is a Lithuanian Judo Champion a very high level and
someone Bellator was hyping up for their 170lb Season 5 Tournament that
starts in September, but Karavackas had to go through Sammy-O to get
there. Sammy-O brought his what seemed like his entire family to the
show. Very loud "Sammy-O" chants throughout the crowd and Sammy-O was
defeating Karavackas in Round 1 and 2 all with standing and some ground
and pound. Karavackas Judo came into play and locked in a rarely
used, but awesome armbar/side headlock submission called the scarf-hold
armlock. It is a nasty arm crank. Score another for Bellator in
delivering great submission finishes.
3) Hector Lombard defeated Falaniko Vitale by KO: Lombard is the
Bellator Middlweight Champion and one of their most marketable
fighters. This was a Non-Title "Super Fight". Great job by Bellator
showing a graphic of Lombard's 22 victory streak above current streaks
of Anderson Silva and others. Now, Lombard has had a few "cans" in
that streak, but the casual fan doesn't know that. First two rounds
was barley any action with both men feeling each other out and the
crowd was not happy. Finally, Lombard's lighting cinderblock fist
connected with Vitale's chin and it was over. Vitale quickly went down
when he got hit, stood up and fell right back down in another great
highlight KO by Lombard.
4) Michael Chandler defeated Patricky Pitbull by a unanimous decision
to win the Bellator Season 4 Lightweight Tournament and the right to
face Bellator Lightweight Champion Eddie Alveraz in September for the
championship: The curse of Pitbull brothers struck as like his
brother Patricio in Season 2 Featherweight tournament coming up short
in the finals, Patricky came up short as well. Chandler to the
surprise of everyone stood and banged with Pitbull most of Round 1.
Chandler game plan was to take Patricky into the later rounds and take
advantage of a tired Pitbull. His planned work as the pressure he put
on tired out the Pitbull. In every round Chandler connected with an
unintentional low blow and finally in Round 3, after the third low
blow, the referee deducted a point from Chandler. Luckily for
Chandler, it didn't cost him the fight. Now, Chandler meets Eddie Alveraz
in what should be a great fight taking place sometime in September.
San Jose, CA
Best Match: Mickey vs Madison, no one seemed to get a head injury in this one.
Worst Match, ummm I can only choose one so I guess
Crowd was very hot at the begging, so hot I thought they hadnt watched any of the build up to the show.
Mexican America vs Ink Inc, only thing good about this was Rosita's ass in shorts. It looked like Hernandez nearly slammed Neal on his head from 6 ft up.
Waste of time talking segment, but he show ended up being nothing more than a waste of time so who cares.
Kendrick vs Robbie E., I liked Kendrick in WWE, bu tsince hes been in TNA he hasnt done anything but spray paint Hogans car and say a bunch of bad poetry. I guess his in ring gimmick is he wants to meditate, but his opponent wants to fight him, so he has to fight also so he can then have peace and reach inner enlightenment? Bad match. Very under whelming purformance from someone who wanted out of TNA because he was upset at not getting anything to do.
Mickey vs Madison, this is the best match I thought because Mickey came off really well and Madison didnt botch anything plus they didnt swerve us at the end by having Tara knockout James. Thank god! Best TNA womans match Ive seen since Hamada was let go for not being skinny, and she was the best female wrestler they ever had.
14 year old Matt Hardy vs 40 year old Steven Segal, thought this was fine but nothing added up to anything, Kaz kept teasing that reverse pile driver he does but it seemed like Max really hurt his head in that power bomb spot and they couldnt do it. Fine wrestling though.
Abyss vs Crimson, Crimson looks like a star, bu the needs to be trained more and Abyss is such a lost cause. He needs to retire before he actually dies in the ring. Maybe he didnt bleed or do anything dangerous because RVD knocked some sense into him and hes realizing how stupid hes been all these years. Abyss cant even run the ropes. Horrible waste of time this show is turning out to be.
Beer Money vs Fatt Lardy and Braden Walker, bad match. If I was Braden I wouldnt even consider wrestling again, what a horrible waste of talent his story ended up being. Coming in to do a job, and I think since he was with Matt hes a heel? Get another form of employment.
AJ vs Dreamer as a Heel, bad. AJ is stuck in TNA being given horrible feud after horrible feud and being mismanaged as a talent. If he went to WWE hed be buried and made to look like a joke. Really sad, why did Dreamer have to win? AND CRY AFTERWARD! This match was whent eh crowd was getting on my nerves. The show by this point had burnt them out mostly, but they started to doing "THIS IS AWESOME!" "HOLY SHIT!" chants for anything.
Kurt Angle & Chyna vs. Karen & Jeff Jarrett, not horrible, not great. I loved how Kurt was 3 feet away from Chyna when she gave Karen the pedigree, and got down to the mat to ask Karen if she were ok.
Sting vs RVD, mildly depressing, the video package that I saw before the show was played again here and it hammered home how old these two are and look. I saw this one match yesterday with Mil Mascaras that happened a few months ago, I was surprised how well he could move after decades of high flying, I doubt RVD will move like that when hes his age. RVD looked like he hit the back of his head 3 times in the match. Sting moved well enough. Anderson was horrible on commentary and I put it down really low. I liked how one girl started yelling "holy shit" but Sting should have warned her about bars of soap for it to have been classic.
In closing, I want to say I streamed this, really glad I didnt pay for it. There were over 10,000 people watching this show by the end, so people want to see TNA, they just dont want to pay to see it for what TNA's asking for. Also, no bars here in Austin show TNA and I dont have digital cable or satellite, and if Im going to watch it online Ill just go to a free stream. Especially with such a bad show, everyone who saw this thing I doubt would be willing to pay to ever watch a TNA ppv the way its booked. Even with that the best wrestlers that they booked on the show were facing people they didnt work well with, so everyone came of sub par. Not a train wreck and nothing to feel proud of, talk about Impact!
Overall - Thumbs Up
Best Match - Kazarian vs. Max Buck
Worst Match - Mexican America vs. Ink Inc.
The matches themselves may not have been the best as far as in ring work goes, but they did at least stick to this new format of emphasizing wrestling. It felt different,and I really enjoyed the layout of the PPV overall. Borash doing pre-match interviews, then the match takes place, and so on. It's a simple format, but one that may benefit them down the road. I will give them credit for trying something new, even though it is long overdue.
Were there problems? Sure there were. I hate PPV from the Impact Zone. The fans really kill it for me. At the beginning, I thought the whole Karen Angle walk to the ring took forever, then the promo took even longer. Foley salvaged it to a degree. But there was a sense of change tonight, and I am happy with that fact alone. It appears as if they are really going to go in this direction, so I will give it time to see what develops.
All the talent went out and tried. There is still a lot of work to do, but I cannot crap on this new idea, as it hasn't been given enough time to establish itself yet.