TNA Xplosion Wresling. The lights dim, the crowd momentarily quiets, and to a burst of fire works two women make their way from the back stage area down towards the ring. The night of wrestling is about to begin.
With the women's tag team belt on the line, this might be a match worth watching. It's possible that there will be some actual skill here. The second the girls come into view though, it is obvious that this will be nothing more than a painfully boring women's wrestling match.
In a skirt shorter than her knickers the first girl takes to the ring, making sure to bend long and low. Her partner was dressed as if out of Greek myth as retold by an Australian production company. They spent far too long jumping around and hugging in the middle of the ring to have any skill whatsoever. They were eye candy and nothing more.
Running to the ring was Hamade, as unattractive as she was the night before, and her partner ranging somewhere between her an the two in the ring. Perhaps it would be a good match after all. It's unfortunate that you can normally determine ability as directly related to the unattractiveness of a female wrester, but with the exception of WWE's Trish Stratus, this rarely fails.
It may not have been good, but at least it was fast. Hamade made short work of the two girls dancing around the ring, allowing for the belts to change hands. A temper tantrum was thrown by the losers, leading into the commercial break.
During the match the women's champion walked the aisle, watching the match, talking to the camera – heard at home, but not to us. Once more I thought of just how much wrestlers were the modern day super heroes. They walk up, strike a pose, fight for justice, and to decide right and wrong, strike another pose, and go on their way.
In real life, problems are not solved with a simple fight – and even if they were, walking towards a fight in progress, posing in your dotted bra, and ripped jeans, talking smack before walking away would lead to no resolution. In a comic book, however, that's pretty much par for the course.
Sure comics have been made with wrestlers. There's a terrible one right now where John Cena has gone to fight monsters in hell. It's best to not think about it – but there's no need to really take it any further than it already is. Leave the fights as they area between the face and the heel – just turn the ring into a city or something.
The next match was more proof that TNA was “total nonstop action.” Few matches in TNA are just regular fights. That's what I'm learning. They all need to be title shots, or have special rules. The next one? An X-Treme X fight. It's pretty much a ladder match, without the ladders. A criss crossing tight rope is suspended over the stage, with an X hanging from the middle. The wrestler who climbs over and gets the X first wins.
Motor City Machine Guns once more defeated Beer Money. There were a few high wire stunts, but it was slow, like most tag-team matches are. The only real bit of entertainment was when Beer Money fought each other over who would climb up to get the X, each trying to claim he was drunker than the other. I'm not saying there was a lot of entertainment from that spot, but a bit.
Then Hogan walked out to the ring, washing away any painful memories of the first two matches. When Hogan talks, you listen. How can you not be thrilled as he rotates his wrist, cupping his ear with his hand, to all four corners? Hulkamania is a truly tough thing to kill.
He started explaining once more how it was time for the old guard to step aside, and make room for the new wrestlers. This seems to be a theme they're pushing in TNA, and in a world where so many of the guys wrestling today are the same as whom I grew up with, this seems very important. But then Kevin Nash (AKA Big Daddy Cool Diesel) took to the ring and started shouting. He looks like a member of Metallica, and is known in the industry to be a jerk. I pictured his cries of how he deserves to be in the spot light as being more his own words than those of his character.
Hulk claimed that their time had passed, “bruther,” but then Nash started a fight – and Hogan took to the punching. It's one thing to see him talk, but another to see him in action. Once more I was a wee child, watching WWF Superstars on Saturday morning.
Things were going well too, until Nash got the upper hand. Double J took to the stage to even the odds, but out of nowhere Sting (in Red face paint, rather than the white and black Crow get up that made me love him so during the glory years of WCW) jumped him with the bat, which was then passed to Nash who used it on Hogan. Things were looking rough for the good guys, all until – well until Sting and Nash decided they'd done enough damage and walked away.
As he was helped out of the ring, Hogan's tattoo was displayed. I took pictures of it, but still can't make it out. “I am what I am”? The word What doesn't look right though. I spent a few moments trying to zoom in and make it out. I failed.
Next up was Orlando Jones whose bit was that he was a homosexual. He shared many of the mannerisms of Lafayette from True Blood, and for this was the Face of the match for me. His opponent was a raging straight character. It must be really hard to pull off the role of “uber straight” in an entertainment field where you spend most of your time oiled up rolling around, entwined with other half naked men.
Every time Orlando would suck his finger, or lolly pop the heel would get enraged, and make to fight him. This meant holding him from behind and gyrating. The wrestlers must know that their role is neigh impossible to pull off, still they will do what they do.
The following match was another piece of history for me. Ric Flair was fighting in a street fight. Flair is far too old to still be in the ring. He was old when I was first watching. Today is is not in bad shape, but skin hangs off him, and his arms are shadows of what they were. Still – his character has power, and his chops are legendary.
His chops quickly failed, and he was manhandled by his opponent. It was sad to watch at one point. With Earl Heffner reffing, one could be excused for questioning why the urban youth was beating up the two geriatrics, and why people were enjoying it. It was almost disturbing. Especially when Flair was busted open, blood everywhere, stripped to his underwear – his suit ripped off him.
I could have gone my whole life without ever seeing Ric Flair's butt – but that was not to be my fate.
Close up pictures I took indicated where he had taped the razer to his finger before the fight. With his face covered in blood he was the perfect living embodiment of why wrestlers need to let the new generation take over. His time is done, fiction or no fiction, there is no power to him any more. Just saggy saggy chest flaps, blowing with the lightest breeze.
All heroes eventually pass.
In the following match Rob Van Damme took revenge on Raven for what happened last week (yesterday) on the show. There was a terrible five minute speech about how Raven should have been Dreamer's kids father, and blah blah blah – then the fight. When it ended all the old ECW guys got together in the ring, beer was brought out, and it was like 1994 all over again.
The Dudley brothers were together, Hogan was there, Foley was in the ring. RVD was pounding back brew after brew, and a couple of guys I'd never heard of were busy finishing the case while spitting most of it all over the fans in the front row. Some were loving it. One little boy was just confused and angry.
All the while Enter Sandman was being played. It was as if time had stopped for me in High School. This was the 1994 party I had always wanted. Beers, well known characters, and the iconic music of the time. Then I remembered that sixteen years had passed, and that the TNA program were actually doing this now. I was more than slightly confused.
But not as confused as when the party ended, ten minutes later, an the show wasn't over. There were still two matches to go. Two terrible terrible matches.
Hamade came back out – joy – to fight a Goth Lolli girl who could do the splits and kiss her toes. She screeched and screamed more than any wrestler girl I'd before heard. It was pure pain. But it was soon over. Hamade taking the win.
The final match? The British Invasion against Ink Inc. More tag team. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't good. No – you know what, at that point I wanted to leave, so it must have been terrible. Half the fans had already cleared out.
The British Invasion took the win when their manager distracted one of Ink Inc's guys with a dog tag. The British fans were happy. Half the audience were Brits. They were the ones who really got into the fights. I wondered if they were here simply because it was going on, and they really wanted to see the Harry Potter land, or if they'd come all this way to watch TNA wrestling. The way the hollered, and screamed, it could have gone either way really.
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