It's Thanksgiving, and TNA takes a page from WWE's playbook (yet again) to offer an elimination style tag match headlined by Kurt Angle and Bobby Roode. Who comes out on top tonight? And more importantly than that, who ends up wearing the turkey suit?!
In a slightly different fashion, this will truly be a show report rather than a recap. Give us feedback on this style of writing and let us know if you like it or not. If so, maybe we’ll consider mixing up our TNA coverage a bit and do more like these, especially for taped shows.
Show Open, taped in Orlando, FL on 11/21 and 11/22:
We open with a recap of the Aces and Eights loss last week and the end of their run, as well as the elimination match hype for tonight. They then show us a casket decked out in Aces gear, with Ken Anderson’s voice saying he would offer a proper burial to the club tonight. A little on the creepy side and perhaps unnecessary for my tastes, but it gets the point across. Tenay and Taz check in on commentary and we get Dixie’s ring entrance.
Dixie comes to the ring and says that she has hired a chief of staff. Just when you think there aren’t enough authority figures in wrestling, we get another. The fans chant for AJ and she lets it go a little before inviting Rockstar Spud to the ring. Spud, as you may recall, won the British Boot Camp show but we haven’t seen much of him on TV. I think there’s better ways to utilize his talent because he can work in the ring.
He puts over Dixie for helping him to win the Boot Camp show. He then says he will be Dixie’s eyes and ears, both watching and listening and that Dixie is his queen now that he is in the US. So he’s clearly going to be a heel authority figure, which again we can’t get enough of in wrestling right now.
Dixie sets up the next round of gimmicks in the World Heavyweight Championship tournament. I don’t understand why this tournament needs gimmick matches. Let the talents work it out in the ring man on man – because most of the guys in this thing can work.
She then tells us about the “winner winner, turkey dinner” competition for the night, and Spud shows us a turkey that is on a table behind her in the ring. Decent enough play into the Thanksgiving theme, but these kinds of shows always make me cringe. She then introduces Ethan Carter III to the ring. He says that he flew in his competition for the night and he was a former talent on the roster who tore things up. He brags about how he’s undefeated and that some say he is even unbeatable. The pair does their “We’re the Carters” gimmick and kiss cheeks to end this segment.
Match #1 – Ethan Carter III vs. Curry Man
We get another return of the comedy characters from the past in this one. Curry Man starts to cut a promo but gets attacked from behind. After a few shots, Carter puts him away with the 1 Percenter for the victory. I get the gimmick, but it seems Carter is going to need some progression to some real talents on the roster and soon, or people will just get bored with him if they aren’t already.
We get a recap video of Gunner throwing in the towel for Storm last week in the Florida Death Match.
Kurt Angle thanks Gunner and Storm for teaming with him in the elimination match tonight. Storm says they will settle whatever problem they have later, but they need to win this match tonight. Gunner tells Storm that he did what he thought was right, and Storm just simply says “yeah” and walks away. This wasn’t the most entertaining of segments and I still feel it’s too soon to turn either Gunner or Storm and break that team up. This show so far has been the lifeless dreg I thought it would be on a holiday night.
Bro-Mans introduce Zema Ion as their DJ. Not sure how I feel about that one. ODB and Eric Young walk into the picture and tell them they’re facing Norv Fernum and Dewey Barnes and just loved the idea. I gotta be honest, this was pretty bad and I ended up tuning some of it out. TNA really is mailing this show in tonight.
Match #2 - Velvet Sky vs. Lei’D Tapa (w/Gail Kim)
Tapa works Velvet over with power, and the only way Velvet is getting offense is by ducking Tapa’s charges. Gail Kim sticks her nose in the match and eventually gets banished to the back. Tapa is a really green talent still so it was smart to not put the title on her when she first appeared, but this bodyguard gimmick isn’t any better either. Tapa hits a stunner-like move out of a fireman’s carry to grab the victory.
They could be doing better by having Tapa face the other girls they bring in to face Gail Kim. She could both improve in the ring, and they could sell her as a badass by having her go on a streak much like Kong did back in the day.
They run a video of the start of the Aces funeral.
They try and hype up the TNA traditional “Turkey Suit” match, but all that did was make me laugh. The Bro-Mans come out to an introduction by Zema Ion, and he makes this noise with the DJ gear that just annoys the ever living daylights out of me. Fernum and Barnes come to the ring and Bro Mans cut this terrible promo on them while Ion keeps making this noise that makes me want to rage. Ion’s new gimmick is awful.
Match #3 – Bro Mans vs. Norv Fernum and Dewey Barnes; Turkey Suit Match
Loser gets to wear the turkey suits in this one. Jesse slaps one of the jobbers, and that gets an attack but Bro-Mans hit their finisher to get the win. That match had to last all of 10 seconds or so. Seriously. Robbie screams at them and the two jobbers don the suits and dance. This is just horrible. If I were a casual wrestling fan seeing TNA for the first time, I’d never tune back in. This isn’t even “mindless I’m stuffed from dinner I need something to watch because I hate football” funny.
We get another “Friends of AJ” commercial with him defending the title in AAA again. Dixie has another meltdown and calls over a camera man. She tells him she gave AJ the title to go home and play with, not defend around the world. She says he has a week to return the belt after threatening legal action again. Somewhere in there she makes this shoe joke. In the middle of a legal threat. I can’t make this shit up, folks. TNA mailed it in tonight – badly.
Bobby Roode gets his team hyped up for the elimination match, then they start cracking jokes. Roode says he appreciates a good joke but they need to prove he is better than Kurt Angle.
We get hype for the Aces and Eights funeral segment.
Rockstar Spud is bent about catering and the Thanksgiving dinner. This is terrible tonight – just awful.
Kurt Angle thanks Magnus for teaming with him tonight, and there’s some hype for their match next week.
The Funeral of Aces and Eights:
Magnus is playing with his phone, Joe is eating, and EY is crying. Tenay asks him why, and EY says he doesn’t know. This is off to a silly start already. Anderson crawls out of the casket and he makes jokes about how many segments Aces got on the show over the last year. Angle pulls out a D-Lo Brown bobblehead, complete with head wiggle. Joe passes out beers and drinks and eats from the deli tray that Bully’s “ex wife and her dad” sent over. Nice work-in of the Hulkster and Brooke subliminally. Joe teases giving Angle a beer then say maybe that isn’t a good idea. Stay classy, TNA, and tease the recent rehab guy.
Tenay puts Taz’s cut and Brooke’s booty shorts in the casket. This is getting so silly that I found myself wishing that Brooke would have taken the shorts off on camera to get me to pay attention better. EY throws in the turkey suit for some reason and cries. Anderson starts to bury the casket but says the hammer is good and decides to keep it.
Bully Ray appears in a hoodie. He stops partway down the aisle and says that Anderson took everything from him, and he won’t forget that. He tells Anderson to sleep with one eye open from now on for the sake of his pregnant wife. He says they all thought death was the last sleep, but he sees it as the final awakening. He slowly backs out of the church.
The silliness of everything leading up to Bully’s short promo made that promo even more effective. I’m just happy that we got to see some sort of character evolution. That is SORELY lacking in pro wrestling as a whole (see: John Cena) but it’s far too soon to say if this evolution of Ray will be good or bad.
Match #4 – Team Roode (Bobby Roode, Bad Influence, and Chris Sabin) vs. Team Angle (Kurt Angle, James Storm, Gunner, and Magnus); Elimination Tag Match
This feels like Survivor Series all over again. Hopefully it will be better than this years’ rendition. Angle and Roode start out in an odd choice, but Roode tags out quickly. The faces hold control for a few moments, but the heels distract the official so they can get heat on Gunner.
Gunner hulks up and takes out Bad Influence to get the hot tag to Storm. Storm runs offense and sets up the Last Call on Sabin, but Kaz ends up taking it. Sabin rolls Storm up to get the first elimination. Storm yells at Gunner for not breaking it up, but when you’re setting up a heel turn that’s not supposed to happen, James. The commentators completely no-sold it too.
Magnus is the next one to take heat from the heels, but he is able to make the hot tag to Gunner. Gunner is setting Daniels up for elimination, but again the heel team runs a distraction on the official. Gunner gets hit from behind and he’s done. It’s 4 heels to 2 faces already.
Magnus knocks Daniels to the floor then hits a dive, but comes up lame on his knee. Trainers and Angle check on him during the break. I smell a heel turn from Magnus quitting on Angle. I seem to think it would be more effective for Magnus to turn heel on Jeff Hardy instead, making it more eventful, but I guess we’ll see how TNA plays it out.
Sabin is beating up Angle as we come out of break. They give us a picture in picture shot of the trainers helping Magnus to the back, and Roode hitting a clothesline on him. Roode tags in, but ends up taking out his whole team as Angle ducks his move. Angle hits Roode with the triple German suplexes, then Daniels, then Kaz. He locks Bad Influence in the double Ankle Lock in a neat moment. Roode gets a chair.
Angle knocks the chair away, then hits the Angle Slam. He grabs the chair and teases hitting Roode with it. The official tells him he would be disqualified, but Angle unloads with a chair shot anyhow. His team loses, but Angle clears the ring with the chair and stands tall.
This was a good match, but the story told here is just odd. I understand setting Magnus up for a turn, but the rest of it made absolutely no sense whatsoever. Are they trying to make Kurt look crazy or something? Did the heels need a clean sweep? Did Rockstar Spud listen to any of this to report back to Dixie? These are pressing questions!
We get a recap of the match, and then they show Roode congratulating his team backstage. He says they need to get ready for their dinner. He says he is thankful for being the It Factor and speaks right into the camera and tells Angle he proved he is better once again.
We get hype for the World Heavyweight Championship tournament semi-finals for next week.
Spud shows Dixie the table he has prepared and she seems impressed by what he’s done. EC3 isn’t though and makes fun of the English for having bad food. Dixie tells EC3 that their meal is on the plane and not to worry about it. She leaves Spud in charge for the meal. This should get completely silly.
Thanksgiving Meal Segment:
Spud welcomes out the evening’s winners for the meal and they sit down. Gail Kim takes Tapa’s spot at the table and her and Ion stand. Velvet Sky lost her match but she’s sitting with Chris Sabin. This makes all kinds of sense, right? Well, Bobby Roode has some sense about him and yells at Sabin about the table being for winners. Sabin yells back that he’s right and scolds Velvet and tells her to get lost. She can come to my house, if she’d like. Ion grabs her seat now that she’s gone.
They go around the table and take turns saying what they’re thankful for. This is a horrible segment, and probably worse than what I was expecting. Time to eat, but here comes Kurt Angle. He tells them it’s a ring full of losers, not winners. Roode dares him to get in the ring and Angle says if the two were alone he’d kick Roode’s ass. He says Roode isn’t alone, and neither is he. The match losers of the evening all come out and it’s a full on brawl. EY and ODB are even in on this. The meal gets destroyed, along with everyone in the ring. Fernum and Barnes are still in the turkey suits, and they hit splashes to end the show, mercifully.
TNA really mailed this one in tonight. They must have realized it was a holiday episode and just figured that no one would watch, or would be in so deep a food coma that it wouldn’t reflect poorly on them, but being honest this had to. It was just bad. Hopefully they come back with a strong show next Thursday night to make me forget all this stupidity.