The Katz Files – Arnie Katz
My Sacrifice>/I> Recap & Analysis!
The Kingfish Arnie Katz conducts the detailed post mortem on TNA’s May pay per view. He tells you what happened – and why..
Sacrifice turned out to be pretty much as it looked on paper. The women’s matches didn’t really do much, but most of the rest was good. The main event and the Styles-Booker match were excellent, though the finish on Booker-Styles seemed more like a prep for another match and the latest plot element in the growing feud between Sharmell and Jenna Marasca.
Let’s look at Sacrifice match by match to see what happened and, just maybe, figure out what’s really going on…
Jeremy Borash and Lauren hosted the pre-show, a live remote from Orlando.
Besides clips, the half-hour also featured an exclusive pre-show match in which Amazing Red defeated Kyoshi. This proved to be a terrific showcase for these X Division talents, who make up in athleticism and daring what they may lack in size and strength.
The videos centered on the pay per view’s main event, in which each combatant will risk something dear to him.
The Kingfish comments: TNA has upgraded its pre-show significantly in the last two months. The live remote is a big improvement and the extra match, a B+, served as an appetitive for the rest of the show’s menu.
Lauren did much better this month last in April, when she looked fazed and distracted. She smiled and looked interested, which created a much more favorable impression.
After an effective opening that focused on the impending sacrifices, Mike Tenay and Don West introduced the first match.
Lethal Consequences & Eric Young d. The Motor City Machine Guns & Sheik Abdul Bashir
TNA added this six-man match at the last minute, so I had no predictions.
The Match: Creed and Shelley wowed the crowd with a rapid-fire sequence of chain wrestling moves. They were leaping and dodging allover the six-sided ring until the three heels succeeded in isolating Consequences from his two partners.
Jay Lethal took some punishment when he got in the ring, too. Bashir subjected him to the WMD Piledriver, but it didn’t translate into a pinfall.
A big story in the match was the lack of cooperation between Lethal Consequences and Eric Young. Showtime went quite a while without getting to participate in the match. And when he did get in, it was because he initiated the tag.
The climactic moment came when referee Andrew Thomas saw that Bashir was using the ropes in an attempt to pin Thomas knocked the Sheik’s hands off the ropes. That allowed Jay Lethal to roll him up for the pin.
After the match, Lethal Consequences wanted to celebrate their victory, but Eric Young looks distinctly unhappy.
Actual Grade: B+
The Kingfish comments: Eric Young has a lot of talent and a ton of potential, so anything is possible, but I don’t think he will make a terrific heel. Fans are too used to loving him for way too long.
This could well parallel the attempt to turn AJ Styles into a hell. AJ did his absolutely best, but fans never became comfortable with booing him.
A backstage camera showed all the young wrestlers greeting Sting.
The Kingfish comments: I guess I missed the part where Sting is now the champion of the up-and-comers instead of being one of the leaders of the group that is fighting to keep them down.
Taylor Wilde vs. Daffney
Knockouts Monster’s Ball
The Story: Daffney came into TNA as “The Governor,” and put Mi Pi Sexi through Hell. It seemed like she got the best of the glamour girls, but the effort took something out of her. She reverted to the name Daffney and turned like a snake against her former friend Taylor Wilde. Her unbridled hatred has led to this very extreme, and potentially bloody, confrontation.
My Prediction: Daffney is probably best when standing next to the ring than when she is wrestling inside of it. That means she can take a loss more easily than Taylor Wilde, who is still more or less the lead female babyface. If Daffney looked or wrestled better, I’d have expected her to win this to set her up to challenge Awesome Kong, but I predict that this match will go into Taylor’s “win” column.
Predicted Grade: C+
The Match: After the recap clip, Dr. Stevie and Abyss came out with Daffney for her match.
When Taylor got off to a quick start, she paused to wheel the weapons cart to the ring. Of course, that gave Daffney time to recover and the wild woman Bodyslammed her.
Taylor put a trashcan on Daffney’s head and repeatedly hit it with a hockey stick. The former Knockout Champion then Bodyslammed Daffney onto the trash can and pinned her.
Dr. Stevie hit the ring. He told Daffney not to use the hockey stick and spread a bag of tacks on the mat. He ordered Abyss to Chokeslam Taylor Wilde onto the tacks.
Lauren rushed to the ring to use her influence on Abyss. The Masked Man refused to carry out Dr. Stevie’s orders, even though the alleged psychiatrist hit him repeatedly.
Abyss lost it! He Chokeslammed Dr. Stevie into the tacks!
Actual Grade: B-
The Kingfish comments: If TNA doesn’t expect its women to go all out, they should not put them in something like the Monster’s Ball. This rivaled a recent women’s ladder match for sheer lameness. What Daffney and Taylor Wilde did wasn’t so bad, but they did so little before bringing the match home.
Abyss has broken with Dr. Stevie, but the forthcoming matches between the two don’t pack a lot of excitement. At least the post-match shenanigans raised the match into the “B=” range; it would have been C/C+ without that boost.
A video explained Jeff Jarrett’s stake in the main event.
Jeremy Borash teased that fans could learn the names of three TNA newcomers by texting. Then Jeff Jarrett told the announcer that as long as Foley is champion, TNNA will be going backwards.
After a video highlighted the question of Suicide’s secret identity, the “X Factor” bullet points drove home the same idea. West and Tenay also argued, with the former calling it a conspiracy.
Suicide vs. Daniels
The Story: Whose face is beneath the mask of TNA’s most enigmatic superstar. Suicide has teamed with Daniels and the Fallen Angel obviously knows something about Suicide’s secret identity.
This match results from Daniels saving Suicide from having his real identity exposed. Daniels asked for, and is receiving, a title match. There’s a lot of mutual respect, but that won’t keep either man from going all out to get the X Division title.
My Prediction: When two popular wrestlers who appear to be friends and have no personal grudge between them have a match, the possibility that the match will not go to completion rears its head. I foresee Daniels and Suicide wearing out each other with great moves and aggressive action. When they are flat on the canvas, The Motor Cit Machine Guns and Lethal Consequences will hit the ring in an attempt to unmask Suicide. Daniels will immediately come to the Mystery Man’s defense. The referee will throw out the match due to all the interference. A tag team threeway is the likely result.
Predicted Grade: B+
The Match: The participants shook hands before the opening bell, to reaffirm the fact that they are friends despite the competition.
They both fought hard and well, neither giving up anything in wrestling skill or athleticism to the other.
Daniels went on a tremendous run, fueled by a couple of devastating Head Butts. He added a Bodyslam and a Split-Legged Moonsault, but the Masked Champion would not submit to the pin.
Late in the match, after each had scored near-falls, they banged heads on simultaneous attempted Clotheslines. Daniels rolled out of the ring, while Suicide collapsed on the mat.
Chris Sabin came down to the ring to distract the referee while Alex Shelley delivered a Double Knee to Suicide. Daniels, who did not see Shelley’s interference, returned to the ring and pinned Suicide to take the title.
After the match, the new title-holder saw the replay and told the referee he didn’t want to win that way. He begged for another five minutes and, with Suicide’s approval, the match restarted.
Daniels nearly took the decision with the BME about 20 seconds before time elapsed. Yet it was Suicide that was two counts toward a pin when the match ended.
The actual result was a draw, which allowed Suicide to retain the belt.
After the match, Daniels put the belt on Suicide’s shoulder and shook his hand.
Actual Grade: B+
The Kingfish comments: If this is all leading up to a Daniels turn, they are doing one hell of a job. They had a good match, even if the “restart” angle was a little hokey.
After a video and a recap of recent events, it was time for Awesome Kong to try to get her title back.
Angelina Love vs. Awesome Kong
The Story: Awesome Kong wants revenge and she wants her Knockout Championship back, too. Angelina Love will try to prove that her title-winning victory was no accident or lucky stroke.
My Prediction: The whole point of lifting the tile from Awesome Kong is to set up some fresh match-ups. Giving the belt back to Kong makes no sense in that context.. Therefore, I expect Angelina Love to keep the title, but Awesome Kong will have to look good in defeat or risk denting her status.
Outside interference by Mi Pi Sexi could well be the mechanism. Awesome Kong could be about to win when a mass invasion earns Love a belt-saving DQ loss. Then Awesome Kong could destroy everything in her path to preserve her aura of power.
Predicted Grade: B
The Match: Awesome Kong went into the match with a full head of steam. The echo of the opening bell had hardly died away before she savagely attacked the champion. She Bealed Love across the ring and assaulted her without let=up in the corner.
When the action moved to the outside, Kong continued to dominate the smaller woman. She held the sexy blonde by her feet and swung her, head first, into the guard rail!
Angelina Love took enough punishment to make retreat seem appealing, She headed up the ramp, but Raisha Saeed blocked the way. When Love turned back to ward the ring, Awesome Kong stunned her with a running haymaker!
Angelina Love had a spray can. Saeed tried, unsuccessfully, to take it away from her. That would’ve been a good idea, since Love sprayed Kong in the eyes and pinned her to keep the title.
Actual Grade: C+
The Kingfish comments: With the rest of Mi Pi Sexi, including Kute Kip, banned from ringside, Love had to do her own Outside Interference. The Love Brothers – no relation – used this same stunt to win many matches back in the late 1970’s.
After the match, Awesome Kong went to town on Angelina Love. She hit both an Implant Buster and an Awesomebomb.
A video outlined Sting’s possible sacrifice.
The Kingfish comments: Compared to what the other three risked, Sting’s stip seemed like overkill.
Samoa Joe s, Kevin Nash
The Story: Once they were friends. Once they were mentor and protégé. That relationship dissolved in a mass of charges and counter-claims. Now all that remains is hate and a grudge. TNA has tried to bring these two men to the ring to settle it the old-fashioned way – and it looks like it will finally happen.
My Prediction: A lot depends on whether TNA has believes that the chances are good that Big Sexxy wall be able to fight a rematch. That’s not a frivolous question when the match involves someone who has been hurt as often as Kevin Nash.
Since a Nash-Joe rematch would not be make-or-break for a pay per view as big and important as Slammiversary, they will probably roll the dice and bet on Nash’s continued good health. In that light, the best way to book the match would be a DQ victory for Nash when Joe goes into his berserker act.
Predicted Grade: C+
The Match: After the video, Nash and Joe came to the ring. The announcers gabbed about a secret advisor who, they claimed, was responsible for Samoa Joe’s recent winning streak and extreme behavior.
Nash got some early mileage out of forcing Joe into the corner and whaling away on him. When he went for a Powerbomb, Joe reversed it into an Anklelock. Big Sexxy needed his full wingspan to make the safety of the ropes.
The fight spilled into the ringside area, where Samoa Joe used the ring post and the guard rail to inflict punishment on his skyscraper opponent. A sneaky Nash punch turned the tables and Big Sexxy rammed Joe’s head into the guard rail.
Still at ringside, Nash tried a chairshot. Joe wrestled the weapon away form him and dealt a very stiff one 00 and then ran Big Kev’s head into the steel ring steps.
Samoa Joe targeted Nash’s forehead and soon had the big man bleeding copiously. Nash’s finger to the eye broke up the offensive run.
Joe tried for a Rear Naked Choke, but found it hard to apply, Samoa Hoe blasted Kevin Nash with a Centon Backsplash and then clamped on the Katina Clutch. Nash could not break free and tapped out.
Security tried to pull him off Nash, but he kept bashing Nash right on the wound until his fry had spent itself and he retired from the ring.
Actual Grade: B
The Kingfish comments: The only way Kevin Nash gets another match against Samoa Joe is if it has some kind of radical stipulation. Otherwise, they’d just have Joe cream him again.
Joe’s current character is not the best was TNA has presented him. It’s pretty hard for even the most marked-out fans to root for a guy who seems so insensitive, so self-involved.
Beer Money vs. The British Invasion
The Finals of the Team 3D Tag Team Invitational Tag Team Tournament
The Story: It all comes down to these two teams. The winners will go on to meet Team 3D, while the losers will have to go home and lick their wounds.
My Prediction: The British Invasion is new and Beer Money has recently faced Team 3D. That adds up to a victory for the UK contingent. If YMA runs true-to-form, Beer Money will lose when one of them tries to spit beer at someone and nails his partner instead. We might see the winners go on to defeat Team 3D and then face Beer Money in a title-passing match.
Predicted Grade: B+
The Match: After a summarizing video, Lauren talked to Team 3D. Devon talked about the meaning of the match, while Brother Ray evaluated the two duos involved in it. They showed a lot of respect for Beer Money, but added that it wouldn’t stand in the wait of them teaching Beer Money lesson in the ring if they won the tournament.
Mike Tenay reviewed the tourney brackets and welcomed Team 3D to the announce table. Don West fell all over himself, enthusiastically agreeing with everything Ray and Devon said. The boys made fun of his ass-kissing strategy.
The two teams seesawed through much of the match. Doug Williams went on a tear against Robert Roode, but Beer Money fought back and soon had the British grappler at their mercy.
Brutus Magnus tried to throw James Storm out of the ring. Not only did the Tennessee Cowboy Skin the Cat, but he picked up a mouthful of beer From the Tennessee Cowboy and spat it into Magnus’ face! Storm, with a rocket-boost assist from Roode, flew over the top rope to smash down all three Brits in the ringside area.
The match went back and forth until Rob Terry kicked Roode from outside. A little later, Terry pulled the referee out of the ring just as the official was about to count a Beer Money victory. The referee saw the illegal move and ran the British Invasion’s Third Wheel out of the arena.
Doug Williams wanted to use the briefcase the British Invasion stole from LAX. Roode saw what was happening and snatched it out of his grasp from behind. Storm connected with the Last Call and Roode clouted Brutus Magnus with the briefcase!
Team 3D raised Storm and Roode’s hands in victory.,
Actual Grade: B+
The Kingfish comments: So this has all been a push for Beer Money! At least we got some decent TV tag team matches out of the tournament. TNA needs a second, one-hour show where the British Invasion can go and be champs while they hone their act.
It could be that TNA decided that the Invasion isn’t quite ready to take the title from Team 3D. They will build up the Brits while Beer Money is regaining the gold. Then the two teams will meet again, most likely with a somewhat different result.
Booker T vs. AJ Styles
TNA Legends Championship
I Quit Match
The Story: This is a rematch, but things have gotten more complicated than that, thanks to the feud between Sharmell and Jenna Maraca. Booker T wants his belt back, but there’s some potent distraction that could derail his victory train. His wife Sharmell has become involved in a smoldering feud with Jenna Marasca that has the potential to rip apart the Main Event Mafia.
My Prediction: The title will return to Booker, but the real question is: When? My colleague Jay Shannon, in his HeadLocker column about Sacrifice, ,made a really clever prediction. You should really go read it. It would be great booking if they did it the way Jay suggests, but I don’t think the actual match will be nearly as clever.
In this case, the simplest booking may be the most likely. That is, Booker T will win the title back from AJ Styles with enough help from Sharmell to create excitement about a rubber match.
If TNA does want to get trickier, they could book the two women to get into a ringside argument. Booker T goes over to be peacemaker and Styles finishes him off to retain the belt. That, too, would lead to a rematch, since Booker would be able to claim that The Phenomenal One only kept the belt because of luck.
Predicted Grade: B+
The Match: After the requisite video clip, the combatants came to the ring. Sharmell was conspicuously absent.
After some inconclusive sparring, AJ connecte with a series of Chops. His roll-up didn’t come close to a pin.
Booker bullied Styles into the corner and meted out the punishment. He added a Back Kick. AJ blocked an attempted Suplex. He reversed and it was Booker T who ended up on the wrong end of a Suplex! The Phenomenal One tried to force Booker to say those two dreaded words, but he brushed aside the mic.
Styles targeted Booker’s legs. He appeared to do some significant damage to his foe’s left leg.
Booker T kicked Styles so hard that he sailed all the way to the outer guard rail. Booker followed him to the outside and dropped him, throat first, across the unyielding rail! Booker dragged the champion back into the ring and rocked him with a couple of devastating High Knees.
Booker T landed a Flying Forearm. He celebrated with a Spinneroonie before applying a Wristlock, but AH had no intention of quitting. Styles somehow lifted Booker on his shoulder and regained his footing. He went for his own submission move, but Booker powered free.
The action had something of the flavor of MMA as they struggled with each other on the mat. First Styles and then Booker achieved a Mount and rained down fearsome blows to the head.
Sharmell came to ringside and began to cheer on her husband. At one point, though, she nearly cost him the match. He looked at her instead of Styles to avoid a collision. Styles executed a Flying Armbar and positioned Booker T for maximum effect.
Sharmell urged Booker to hang on and it seemed he wanted to do exactly that. Jenna Marasca ran to the ring and threw in the towel, ending the match.
AJ Styles keeps the title.
After the match, Sharmell and Jenna Marasca had words.
Actual Grade: B+
The Kingfish comments: I don’t think anyone knew you could lose an “I
Quit” match without saying “I Quit.”
After a Mick Foley video, Mike Tenay narrated a very extensive “Tale of the Tape.”
Jeremy Borash introduced the competitors and outlined the rules after all four assembled in the ring.
Sting d. Kurt Angle
TNA World Heavyweight Championship
The Story: Each participant must risk something they value in exchange for a chance to dethrone Mick Foley. Kurt Angle would lose his leadership of the Main Event Mafia, Sting would have to retire and Jeff Jarrett would have to surrender his TNA voting shares if they are the ones pinned.
High risk – and high reward!
My Prediction: This is a terrific idea, but the implementation is off the beam. The structure of the match should be that all those who don’t win must sacrifice. The way it’s set up now, a Foley loss saves everyone else – and who doesn’t expect Mick to lose the title in a fairly short time?
Instead, only one participant will take a penalty. Sting is not going to retire on this kind of match, so he won’t be on the wrong end of a pin. If Foley got pinned, the match would be a tremendous letdown.
If there can be only one, the goat will be Kurt Angle. Sting could pin to regain the title and assume leadership of the Main Event Mafia. This sets up a title match between Sting and Angle with leadership of the MEM also at stake.
At the same time, Jeff Jarrett will make good on his promise to keep Foley from leaving Sacrifice as champion. That will cause Foley to challenge The King of the Mountain with both men’s voting shares at stake.
Predicted Grade: A-
The Match: The action was intense both inside and outside the ring. The four men tended to pair off in ever-shifting combinations, though there was a period when Angle and Sting worked together with brutal efficiently against Jarrett. When the two Main Event Mafia Members made some hard physical contact, their truce ended and they fought each other as hard as they did the non-MEM members.
Late in the match, referee Mark Johnson clinked heads with Kurt Angle. With the referee out of commission, they all scored pins that no one could certify.
Foley took some awesome bumps and dished out some wild-looking moves, like a Piledriver on the entrance ramp.
As Foley and Sting battled on the outside, Jeff Jarrett laid out Kurt Angle with the Stroke. Before he could pin him, Sting zoomed back inside the ropes and scored the one-two-three.
Actual Grade: A
The Kingfish comments: This certainly ended the card on a high note. I didn’t know Foley had it in him to work that hard and it sure looks like Jeff Jarrett is rounding into top form once again./
Kurt and Sting will now feud over the Main Event Mafia, or at least what’s left of this once formidable group. I think those oft-mentioned voting shares will be a bone of contention between Foley and Jarrett. Perhaps the TNA Founder will have to risk them again to get Foley to put up his title.
Predicted grade for Sacrifice: B
Actual grade for Sacrifice: B
That’s all for today! I’ll be back Thursday with another installment of the Internet’s fastest-rising pro wrestling column. I hope you’ll join me then – and, please, bring your friends.
— Arnie Katz