The Katz Files – Arnie Katz
Turning Point : Report & Analysis!
The Kingfish Arnie Katz recaps the important happening at TNA’s November pay per view and delves into the meaning of what we saw and heard!.
Let’s look at what happened – and why:
The pre-show concentrated on the ramifications of the feud between the TNA originals and the Main Event Mafia. Videos recapped the story and set up the main matches on the card that are an outgrowth of that storyline.
The Kingfish Comments: It makes no sense to show the same videos as many as five times during the half-hour show – and then showing them again during the actual pay per view! TNA does some nice vids, but they have no impact by the time fans have seen them repeatedly.
The war between the veterans and the rising stars monopolized the video that led into Turning Point, which emanated from Orlando, FL.
Jeremy Borash waited in the parking lot for the Main Event Mafia to emerge from their stretch Hummer. When they exited the vehicle, only Scott Steiner offered to talk. He castigated the TNA Originals for lack of respect and characterized them as video-game addicts without an ounce of respect.
Big Poppa Pump vowed to end the war this very night.
After Mike Tenay welcomed fans and Don West reviewed the card, the show moved right to the first match.
The Kingfish Comments: TNA put the spotlight where it needed to be, on the big feud. I don’t think I’d have had Steiner do the only interview, as opposed to smooth talkers like Nash and Angle, but he handled it well.
Eric Young d. 11 X-Division Wrestlers
X-Division Seeding Match
The Story: TNA is showing a lot more energy about every facet of the show. Part of the push to reinvigorate some aspects of the promotion that have lagged is this X Division cluster schmazz to decide the top contenders.
My Prediction: You can only do so much with videos, so it is past time for Suicide to make his debut. In fact, he should triumph over all opposition to leap into the thick of the X Division championship scene. The winner pretty much needs to be a fan favorite, so that they can face Sheik Abdul Bashir. If it isn’t going to be Suicide, the winner could be someone like Consequences Creed.
Predicted Grade: A-
The Actual Match: Sonjay Dutt wowed fans with a 720-degree Tilt-a-Whirl Huracanrana on Jimmy Race. A truly amazing maneuver!
Volador eliminated Sonjay Dutt with a top-rope Huracanrana.
Volador almost immediately succumbed to Jimmy Rave’s Rock & Roll.
Doug Williams executed a Sunset Flip to a Suplex to finish Jimmy Rave.
Homicide eliminated himself when his out-of-ring Fly sent him over the guard rail and into a wall. The referee ruled that he could not continue.
As Consequences Creed came off the ropes, Doug Williams caught him with the Canadian Destroyer and made the pin.
Tanahashi and Doug Williams combined against Maple Leaf Muscle. The Japanese star finished him off with a Frogsplash.
After Jay Lethal withstood a double-team attack from Doug Williams and Tanahashi, he ended the latter’s night with a pin.
Black Machismo stampeded Doug Williams into the arms of Eric Young, who administered the final blow, a Powerbomb.
Eric Young propelled Lethal over his shoulder and put his shoulders to the canvas with a bridge.
Actual Grade: B+
After his victory, the other TNA Originals in the match stood with Eric Young as he delivered an impassioned speech about the shared dream of TNA. “Tonight, these kids become men,” Young declared.
The Kingfish Comments: The wholesale re-launch of Eric Young looks like it will culminate in Young becoming the number-one contender and chief challenger to Sheik Abdul Bashir. Young has a lot of skills and, freed from his zany character, could become a significant wrestler. At the very least, it looks like he will be the main spokesman for the second-tier TNA Originals.
Lauren talked to Jeff Jarrett backstage, but both men proved somewhat tight-lipped. The TNA Founder told Foley to talk to the TNA Originals and that he would do the same with the Main Event Mafia to try to get both factions to attend to business.
Roxxi & Taylor Wilde d. Awesome Kong & Raisha Saeed
The Story: Roxxi and Taylor have started to walk the hardcore road as a result of their continuing enmity with Awesome Kong and her masked manager. To retaliate against the babyfaces’ raid on their dressing room, Kong and Saeed assault Roxxi on the 11/6 iMPACT. This could be the right time for some satisfying payback, though revenge may be hard to get against this nefarious pair.
My Prediction: The faces have to look good if TNA wants to set up singles competition against Awesome Kong. Roxxi will score the pin on Raisha Saeed.
Predicted Grade: B
The Actual Match: Rhaka Khan accompanied Kong and Saeed to the ring.
Frequent tags helped the babyfaces keep make life miserable for Raisha Saeed as they kept her away from Kong for an extended period.
When Kong did invade the ring, Roxxi and Wilde decked her with a Stereo Dropkick and nearly got a surprise pin!
Khan’s outside interference set up Roxxi for double teaming by Awesome Kong and the wily Saeed. The masked woman shook the ring with a Bodyslam!
While Rhaka Khan kept Taylor Wilde busy in the ringside area, Kong blasted Roxxi with a Suplex and a Big Splash. It wasn’t enough to force a three count, though.
Roxxi’s out-of-ring Fly kept Awesome Kong from helping Raisha Saeed when Taylor Wilde could use a Suplex with a bridge to defeat Saeed.
Actual Grade: A-
The Kingfish Comments: It might have made more sense to have Roxxi pin Saeed. It’s true that Wilde will probably fight Saeed while Roxxi goes forward to meet the champion, but it would’ve made Roxxi look like more of a contender if she’d gotten the pin.
Jeremy Borash was talking to the Main Event Mafia when Jeff Jarrett entered the MEM dressing room to make his plea. Jarrett asked them to9 be professionals, but Kurt Angle took the opportunity to deride Jarrett for getting involved without being willing to wrestle.
“Until you grow some balls, your word means nothing,” Kurt stated.
The Kingfish Comments: Presumably, the Angle-Jarrett situation will now move forward. Double J has made it clear he doesn’t want to wrestle and Angle has sunk pretty low in his attempt to lure Jeff into the ring. The match is coming, so it’s time for Jeff Jarrett to meet the challenge.
Rhino d. Sheik Abdul Bashir
Non-Title Grudge Match
The Story: The War Machine took great umbrage over Bashir’s anti-American comments. That led to some verbal and physical confrontations between the two. And now they are taking it to the ring.
My Prediction: My heart wants me to pick Rhino, who has had some trouble finding a good spot in TNA for some time. My head says that the Sheik won’t be losing any matches until someone, most likely Suicide, beats him for the title. Though the fact that this is a non-title match raises the possibility that Rhino will win a tainted victory, my prediction is that it will be Sheik Abdul Bashir who wins the tainted victory.
Predicted Grade: B-
The Actual Match: Sgt. Sean Autry, a war hero, had the honor of being the ring announcer for this match.
When Rhino lined up for the Gore early in the match, the Sheik bailed to avoid the maneuver. The War Machine followed him to the outside to mete out more punishment.
Referee Shane Sewell stopped Bashir from removing a turnbuckle cover,, but it left the official out of position to see the champ’s low blow!
Rhino recovered from that. He hit a Spinebuster, but Bashir stopped him cold with a boot!
Sheik Abdul Bashir then got into an argument with Sewell, with whom he has had trouble in the past. That gave Rhino an opening to hit the Gore!
Actual Grade: B-
The Kingfish Comments: Rhino got a solid, much-needed victory, but I wonder if this is short-sighted booking. It was good for the War Machine, but maybe not for the TNA show as a whole. Bashir is the X Division Champion and this loss hardly adds luster to a group that is trying to rebuild after destructive neglect.
The cameras eavesdropped on the TNA Originals’ locker room, where Mick Foley gave the young lions a pep talk. His message found some sympathetic ears, but Alex Shelley expressed both belligerence and lack of respect.
Foley said that he would ignore Shelley’s outburst, because it sounded so much like what the Main Event Mafia said about the TNA Originals.
The Kingfish Comments: This scene is a giant, waving red flag. Printed on that banner is: “Heel Turn!” It sure looks like Alex Shelley s going to go to the dark side.
A video ran, followed by Mike Tenay’s bullet points about the match.
Beer Money d. The Motor City Machine Guns
The Story: Beer Money has become the most successful TNA tag team since the heyday of America’s Most Wanted. The Machine Guns got the nod as 2007’s tag team of the year as voted by the fans, but they have never worn the gold. After a period during which Sabin and Shelley appeared to lose concentration, the Detroit Duo has regained its intensity. Will it be enough to take the title?
My Prediction: Everything seems set for a title change. The announcers have pounded home the fact that Sabin and Shelley have never held the title, Beer Money needs anew feud and a win by the Guns would propel the team into the middle of the Generation War.
Predicted Grade: A-
The Actual Match: Robert Roode took some vicious double-teaming after the Machine Guns took out James Strong with a tandem out-of-ring Suicide Dive.
When Storm missed on a Corner Charge, it gave Alex Shelley a chance to escape from extended two-on-one agony. The champs pulled him away from Sabin’s outstretched arm before he could tag.
Shelley used his superior athleticism to trick Roode into hitting Storm. While Beer Money was off-balance, he drove both into the canvas with a Double DDT!
After they sent Roode to the outside, Sabin went to work on Storm and flattened him with a Huracanrana. Shelley added a Frogsplash, but the Tennessee Cowboy raised his shoulder before the final count.
Sabin scored with a Backbreaker and Shelley followed up with a top-rope Centon. Shelley held Roode in position with a Surfboard so that Sabin could rock him with a Legdrop! Storm broke it up just in time.
Jacqueline jumped into the ring and started fighting with Chris Sabin. He Bodyslammed Jackie and then rolled up Roode, but Storm spit beer at him. Beer Money hit a Stereo Suplex to a Powerbomb to get the pin and the win.
Actual Grade: A-
The Kingfish Comments: I thought TNA might give the Machine Guns the title and then have them break up for a feud, but it looks like the split will come sooner rather than later. Alex Shelley seems more suited to the heel role and Chris Sabin is a natural babyface.
Jeremy Borash tried to interview Booker T and Sharmell. Booker declined to speak. Sharmell said the time for talk is done and that it world all happen in the ring.
Booker T d. Christian Cage
TNA Legends Championship Match
Stip: A Cage loss forces him to join MEM
The Story: Booker T’s linguistic eccentricities and his introduction of the Legends Championship belt really got under Christian Cage’s skin. His irritation with Booker T caused Cage to fire some devastating verbal salvos and challenge Book to put up his bogus title in the ring.
My Prediction: The ideal way to end this match would be to have Booker T retain his belt without forcing Christian Cage to join the Main Event Mafia. The latter is important, because otherwise TNA will have a plot that seems ludicrous even by the promotion’s lax standards. TNA has a chance to make history by turning one of those “window dressing” belts into a real one by having Booker T lose it to Christian Cage. That’s what I think will happen and then there’ll be a hellacious beatdown that forces Christian Cage to make a choice and ally himself with the Main Event Mafia. This outcome would also set up an exciting rematch in which Booker tries to take back his title.
Predicted Grade: B+
The Actual Match: The match started slowly after an initial stare-down. Neither man wanted to risk a move that might cause an embarrassing quick loss.
It didn’t take long for the action to get hotter, though. They fought in the ringside area until Booker wrecked Christian Cage with a catapult into a ring post!
Back in the ring, Booker to9ok charge with an assault featuring many punches and kicks. He banged into the ropes for extra momentum, but that allowed Cage to turn the tables with a ring-rattling Powerslam! He followed with punches and chops that backed Booker T into a corner, but it didn’t lead to the kind of decisive advantage that paves the way for a winning cover.
Booker T used his athleticism to evade an Unprettier and then resorted to an Eye Rake to frustrate an attempted Boston Crab. Cage scored with an Inverted DDT, but the self0crowned Legends Champion kicked free.
Sharmell delayed Cage’s attempt to climb to the top. Booker went up after him and sent him plummeting with a Superplex! It was almost, but not quite, a pinfall.
Booker executed a Spinnerooni, but it didn’t seem to translate into increased momentum. Christian reversed Booker’s Full Nelson into a Sit-out Powerbomb. The count stopped at “two.” Booker caught Christian off-guard with an Ax Kick from the ring apron, but he couldn’t convert it into a cover.
Christian Cage got into a verbal altercation with Sharmell. Booker went for an Ax Kick – and almost nailed his wife!
When Booker T blocked an Unprettier, Christian Cage rolled through. Just as it looked like Cage would execute the Small Package cover, Booker T used leverage to continue the roll and ended up pinning The Instant Classic’s shoulders to the mat.
Actual Grade: B
As he left, Booker T told Christian Cage that he needed to report on Monday morning for a big meeting.
The Kingfish Comments: Now the plot can go one of two basic ways: Cage can convert and become a committed member of the Main Event Mafia or he can continue to be rebellious and do just enough to keep him a member until they’re ready to have him do a full-tilt turn about two pay per views from now.
In the past, TNA has tended to take the easy road, which would be to just turn Cage heel and pretend he never had much doubt about the MEM’s cause. Consider this my pleas to let Christian Cage, who is one of the promotion’s best actors, be the saboteur who eventually rebels openly. It could be built into quote an exciting, and perhaps mysterious, storyline with some good writing.
Abyss and Matt Morgan talked to Lauren about the coming match. The Masked Man still giggles occasionally, but he spoke with surprising eloquence about his need to prove himself against Kurt Angle.
Kurt Angle d. Abyss
The Story: Kurt Angle is on a vengeance quest to force Jeff Jarrett to fight him again. TNA’s founder has steadfastly refused, through Angle has made menacing comments about Jarrett’s little girls. Jarrett threw Abyss at the former Olympian, hoping to distract him. The feud got savage in a hurry, but Angle’s main purpose is to get through Abyss and tighten the screws on Double J.
My Prediction: Kurt Angle has to come out of this match looking like the Man Who Would Be Champion. Yet the dynamics of Abyss’ push dictate that he not come out of this as an enhancement wrestler. Probably the best way to achieve both ends is for Abyss to get to the verge of winning when the Main Event Mafia explodes all over the ring. There will be a counter- run-in by elements of the TNA Originals. The net effect will be that the referee will throw out the match, Since the Main Event Mafia crossed the line first, Abyss will win a DW victory. It’s also possible that it will be declared a No Contest so that neither man has a loss on his record.
Predicted Grade: B-
The Actual Match: Kurt Angle started out by taking a leaf from the strategy book of Larry Zbyszko – what other wrestling journalist would risk spelling that name for a digression? – by darting out of the ring to prevent Abyss from making explosive contact.
After Abyss finally got within range, Angle headed for the high country in earnest. Abyss followed him over the guard rail and into the stands. Abyss caught up to him several times, but somehow Kurt managed to avoid prolonged contact for quite a while.
Angle tried to talk to the opposite side of the arena, but Abyss came thundering right behind him! The Masked Mammoth landed at least a half-dozen telling blows, but Angle escaped with an Eye Rake!
The former Olympian made his stand next to the announce table. He staggered Abyss with a barrage of chairshots. Not even Chris Park could stand against that onslaught. Angle started to leave and got as far as the upper stage. He looked back to see Abyss crawling after him on hands and knees – and he uncorked a Moonsault that flattened the larger man!
Abyss got up from that and soon had Angle fighting for his life. Abyss threw him into a wall and would have added a Black Hole Slam if Kurt hadn’t kicked him in the family jewels.
As the battle continued in the stands, Angle speared Abyss with such force that they plunged through the wall! They actually disappeared into the impenetrable darkness beyond the broken wall. The crowd had begun to get restless when the pair erupted through the wall and back into view!
Back in the ring, Kurt began to wear down his foe with repeated attacks to the knees. Kurt got a little over-confident and Abyss made him pay with three Clotheslines, a Corner Splash and a Side Slam. The always durable Angle avoided the pin
Angle blocked Shock Treatment. He pulled off an Angle Slam but he couldn’t push the count past “nine.”
Angle got a chair, but Abyss smashed it right back in his face. After he paid back Angle for that earlier low blow, Abyss threw Angle into the chair, Chokeslammed him and covered. Kurt got his shoulder up a split-second before the ref couldn’t slap camas for the third time.
Abyss laid out Angle, but he took far too long to set up his top-rope move. The former gold medalist dodged the Splash and dealt Abyss a fearsome chairshot, Kurt then confounded the experts by actually connecting with the Moonsault, but he couldn’t add the one-two-three.
Abyss positioned his foe for a Tombstone Piledriver, but Angle rolled through to an Anklelock! Abyss kicked off his tormenter and scored with a Black Hole Slam.
Kurt rolled out of the ring and crawled away on hands and knees until he helped himself up with the guard rail. Abyss followed. Angle climbed a scaffold that led to a small platform above and behind the Spanish Announce Table. Angle pushed Abyss off the ledge and through the table!
Kurt Angle scampered down the scaffold and covered for the win.
Actual Grade: B+
The Kingfish Comments: Obviously, Kurt Angle had to come out the winner, but the match story gave Abyss a lot of room to shine, too. You might see Abyss get some revenge against Angle in a tag ream march on iMPACT.
Although Samoa Joe had asked everyone to clear out of the locker room, Lauren decided to interview him. The big Samoan was surprisingly polite about it. He talked calmly about his severed friendship with Nash.
A video chronicled the saga of Samoa Joe and Kevin Nash.
Kevin Nash d. Samoa Joe
The Story: Samoa Joe has suffered the unkindest cut of all, the betrayal of a trusted friend and mentor. Joe has craved revenge ever since Bound for Glory and hopes to get it in the ring against the multi-time former champion.
My Prediction: The biggest single factor in forecasting this match is the state of Kevin Nash’s health. He has looked surprisingly good in his limited exposure, but his medical history is certainly against him. If Big Sexxy looks like he can wrestle some after this, he should beat Samoa Joe. And to set up a cage match or something similar, he should lose due to outside interference. Scott Steiner isn’t doing anything right now, so the MEM Hitman is likely to practice his craft at Samoa Joe’s expense.
Predicted Grade: B+
The Actual Match: They went right to fisticuffs at the opening bell. Big Sexxy tried to lay out his foe with haymakers that missed the mark. Samoa Joe aimed at accurate, straight punches that hit the target and did damage. The Samoan took charge and soon had Nash backed into a corner. Joe shook Nash with a Headbutt and blasted him with a Forearm at the end of a cross-ring charge.
Joe had his opponent stymied with the ground and pound attack, but things took a different course when the action moved to the ringside area. Nash pounded the big Samoan into the guard rail and then into the ring post.
Kevin hauled a tool box from beneath the ring, and got a cutting tool to help him take the cover off a turnbuckle. Big Sexxy got so involved in this that he temporarily forgot about the man he was supposed to fight. He finally went after Joe with a chair, but the Samoan ducked away from a titanic swing that connected with nothing except the ring post.
Joe made a strong comeback, both in and out of the ring, but Nash whipped him into the unshielded turnbuckle to reverse momentum in the match. Punches and kicks battered Joe in the corner.
Samoa Joe scored with a Running Boot and a Back Splash, but Nash shoved him off before the referee could count a pin.
Just when Nash thought he had his rival cornered, Joe came off the top with an eye-popping missile Dropkick! It floored the seven-footer and nearly cost him the match.
Nash went to the outside and grabbed a chair. He shielded it from the Samoan’s view. When Joe charged at him, he brought the metal into play and smashed him in the head. Joe looked like he was losing consciousness, but he somehow lifted his shoulder off the canvas in time.
Kevin Nash subjected Joe to a Jackknife Powerbomb, but the victim kicked out in time to prevent a pinfall. Big Sexxy stampeded Joe into the exposed turnbuckle,. It looked like Joe might have to face the possibility of defeat in a match he so desperately wanted to win. Blood erupted from Samoa Joe’s forehead as a result of repeated collisions with that turnbuckle.
Big Kev executed a second Jackknife Powerbomb, but Joe again short circuited the cover.
After referee Rudy Charles got knocked down by accident, Nash disabled Samoa Joe with a low blow! Charles revived enough to count the pin, but not enough to spot Nash’s feet getting extra leverage on the bottom rope.
Actual Grade: B
The Kingfish Comments: The outcome of this match suggests that Nash might be the next opponent for AJ Styles. If so, it’ll make it a lot easier for him to execute a Jackknife Powerbomb that looks like it could hurt someone. The second of his two attempts looked somewhat better than the first, but he couldn’t really get Samoa Joe up for either of them.
The low blow gave Nash a tainted victory that doesn’t damage Samoa Joe’s credibility and provides incentive for a rematch. The bookers avoided the easy answer of a mass run-in, which might have detracted from the Sting-Styles showdown.
When Jeremy Borash asked Sting about making his confrontation with AJ Styles so personal, The Icon said he didn’t regret bringing up AJ’s father.
After videos for each man, Jeremy Borash assumed the role of ring announcer. He introduced referee Earl Hebner and the combatants.
The Kingfish Comments: I wouldn’t want to relegate JB to the ring announcer spot, but he does a pretty good job when he takes the mic for the pay per view main events.
Sting d. A.J. Styles
TNA World Title Match
The Story: At first The Phenomenal One didn’t want to believe that Sting had thrown in his lot with the Old Guard, now known as the Main Event Mafia. Events have proven that Styles’ initial optimism was misplaced. The Icon has relentlessly badmouthed AJ with special emphasis on his bad home life growing up.
My Prediction: AJ Styles should take the title despite the Main Event Mafia’s strenuous efforts to help Sting keep it. The best way to propel the feud would be to switch the titles back and forth between the MEM and the TNA Originals. We might be looking at Angle-Styles for the title in our near future.
Predicted Grade: A-
The Actual Match: The opening portion of the match was reminiscent of a well-worked WWE match of the 1970’s. They exchanged Hammerlocks, but Sting Snap-mared Styles to the mat. AJ displayed great ring presence by coming up with a painful Armbar.
Sting struck the first serious blow in the match, a bulldog-like Face Plant. Styles got more than even, though, with a tremendous Standing Dropkick that made The Icon leave the ring. AJ went to follow him, but Sting zipped back inside the ropes so that Styles had to force his way back into the ring with a Shoulder Block.
AJ landed some chops, but Sting seized him and heaved the smaller man to the arena floor! AJ took some punishment when Sting sent him into the guard rail. Back in the ring, the challenger hit an across-the-knee Backbreaker.
Sting took deadly aim ay Styles’ ribs. He trapped him in an Abdominal Stretch that allowed him to punch the ribs repeatedly. When Styles Hiptossed Sting to break the hold, the champion attempted to squeeze the life out of him with a Bearhug. Styles broke up that with a Headbutt, but Sting immediately reasserted the Abdominal Stretch.
The Phenomenal One stopped an offensive run with an Enzuiguiri, followed by a pair of Clotheslines and a Back Suplex. That wasn’t nearly enough to finish Sting.
AJ Styles got several more near falls, but he was also running through his main arsenal. Even the Spiral Tap failed to keep Sting down for the count. Sting rocked the challenger with a Scorpion Deathdrop, but that didn’t lead to a pin, either.
After three Stinger Splashes, The Icon wanted to Suplex Styles from the top turnbuckle, but The phenomenal One turned it into a top-rope Powerbomb! Styles hit the Spiral Tap and signaled “one more time,” a decision that fans will question for some time to come.
The Main Event Mafia hit the ring, totally destroying Styles’ concentration. As he turned to face the new threat, Sting dodged the Pele, rolled him up and pinned him to retain the title!
Actual Grade: A-
The Kingfish Comments: The outcome, though not what I’d predicted, made sense in the context of a card that left the Main Event Mafia celebrating in the ring. Sting can now either fight a rematch against AJ Styles or even Samoa Joe at the PPV at which the TNA Originals have their turn at victory.
Not meaning to be hard to please, this was one time when TNA’s propensity for run-ins and such would’ve worked to the show’s advantage. The veterans should’ve meddled more so that their influence would seem all-pervasive.
Predicted Grade for Turning Point: B+
Actual Grade for Turning Point: B
The Kingfish’s Final Comments: Turning Point entertained, but it didn’t deliver the punch that it should’ve. TNA has changed a lot of things recently and has brought forth a huge new group (Main Event Mafia), but the whole thing lacked high impact. They needed to get MEM over like the Four Horsemen and, so far, it hasn’t quite happened.
Eric Young showed that he is going to benefit from the changes in direction. He did his usual good job in the ring and his promo after winning the match was excellent. This is someone whom TNA can build into a star.
That’s it for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with another installment of the Internet’s fastest-rising daily wrestling column. I hope you’ll join me then – and, please, bring your friends.
— Arnie Katz