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Friday, January 12, 2007

iMPACT Analysis: TNA Final Resolution 2005

IMPACT Analysis

Welcome to the debut version of my new column entitled iMPACT Analysis. As this Sunday TNA presents its Final Resolution Pay Per View event in this series I will be looking back at the prior events in the Final Resolution series. I will look at each match, where each participant stood headed into the match and just what kind of iMPACT the match result had on the wrestlers involved and the overall direction of the company’s storylines. This is not something that can be done for a show immediately after it airs, a certain amount of time has to pass before the iMPACT can be assessed which is why I’m doing these on a monthly basis. This month is Final Resolution and next month is Against All Odds and so on and so forth. This will not be a straight play-by-play column and the biggest aim is to provide a context for what takes place on this show. This is a work in progress and feedback is appreciated.
As for why I don’t do this with WWE in edition to TNA? Well, it’s easier to do 2 years of Final Resolution than 20 years worth of Royal Rumbles.

At the end of the review I will gage all aspects of the show that I deem to be important. Wrestling Quality, Backstage Skits/angles quality, Crowd heat, Announcing, Booking, and the iMPACT scale.

Explaining the iMPACT scale. The iMPACT scale does not look at any other factor besides the iMPACT the show had on the future direction of the company for better or for worse. A show with blow-away matches may not have much of an iMPACT if the match outcomes ultimately led to nothing. A show like Wrestlemania I or WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 might be examples of shows that earn perfect 10 scores on the iMPACT scale.

Click Continue reading for the rest of the review.

Event: TNA Final Resolution 2005
Event Date: 01/16/2005
Event Venue: Universal Studios, Orlando Florida
Announcers: Mike Tenay and Don West, Shane Douglas (backstage interviewer)

The event starts off with one of those famous video packages. Shown among the highlights is the XXX Vs. America’s Most Wanted Cage match from Turning Point 2004. You’ll have to wait until December for my thoughts on that one. The video focuses the 3 title matches, which are America’s Most Wanted Vs. Team Canada, AJ Styles Vs. Chris Sabin Vs. Petey Williams in Ultimate X and Jeff Jarrett vs. the winner of a 3-way between Monty Brown, Kevin Nash and Diamond Dallas Page.

Tenay says that Final Resolution offers Intensity, Innovation and Intrigue. Hey, that’s 3 “It’s that proves that TNA knew Angle would be arriving as far back as this show! So everything Angle says is true.

We start off the Pay Per View with a Jeff Jarrett interview running down each of his 3 potential challengers. I love these shows that start off with a hot match to get the crowd into it. Jeff Jarrett says he has earned the right to call himself the King of the Mountain. He earned it by spending some of his own money on the company.

Match 1: Matt Bentley, Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels Vs. the 3Live-Krew
TNA redoubled the Tenay and West commentary due to getting a notice about using the name Michael Shane. Trouble is that it dominates the audio and detracts from the crowd noise.

Konnan is back to speaking on this. When I haven’t heard it in a year it doesn’t sound so bad. Then B.G. does his spiel from 1998 and it still sounds lame.

Christopher Daniels went from the main event of Turning Point to the opening match of Final Resolution a month later. Fortunately for him, better things were in his future starting shortly after this show.
Bentley and Kazarian had been a regular team for a while headed into this show. The team would be broken up a month later with Kazarian’s ill-faded departure to the WWE.
3Live Krew were coming off of a tag title loss to Team Canada at the Prior month’s Turning Point Event.

This is typical formulaic 6-man tag team action. The bad guys get the heat on B.G. who eventually makes the hot tag to Ron Killings. It breaks down to everyone in the ring, as it is hard to tell due to the over-baring commentary but the crowd is definitely into it. As all 6 were on the floor the crowd was counting to 10 along with referee Rudy Charles. A triple team from the Krew leads to a Killings kick on Bentley for the win.

Winners: 3-Live Krew
There are worse matches to start off a show with.

Thumb Position: Slightly up, they worked hard and the crowd liked it even if I’m a fan of only 1 of these men in the ring and another of them as a heel on the Mic. Those would be Christopher Daniels and Konnan respectively for those who couldn't guess.

IMPACT: Minimal, 3LK and Bentley/Kazarian feuded for another month, and Christopher Daniels was sent off in a different direction.

We go backstage to Dusty Rhodes with Trinity, Traci Brooks and Johnny Fairplay. Dusty tells them to search Universal Studios for a clue. I might offer the same suggestion to Dusty Rhodes and TNA. This was TNA’s version of survivor and we’re in for more of these throughout the broadcast. Lucky us. I might also note that you could tell Dusty was the booker because both of the women were fighting over him.

Match 2: Primetime Elix Skipper Vs. Sonjay Dutt
I should note that we’re back to the audio from the original PPV broadcast at this point.

Sonjay Dutt was basically just a guy who wrestled at this stage of his TNA run. The more things change the more they stay the same.
Elix Skipper was turned face after his cage-walk rana at Turning Point and subsequent loss with Daniels to America’s Most Wanted.

The match is a basic x-division spotfest between 2 crowd favorites. Sonjay pops the crowd early with his use of the rotation-rana. Crowd likes this, as there are TNA chants laced throughout, not as loud as the ones during Trump and Rosie on Raw however. It’s a pretty competitive match if you consider that Elix Skipper was just starting to get a push and this would be Dutt’s last Pay Per View match for the company until April of 05.

Winner: Elix Skipper
It was a decent spotfest that the crowd liked. The goal is to entertain and it certainly did that, but I don’t want more than 1 of these a show and could live with none.

Thumb Position: Up, it was a different style than the opener, the crowd was again into it and I wasn’t calling for them to just take it home.

IMPACT: Mild, for Elix Skipper it was the start of a few months long push as a face. Sonjay Dutt was out of the company for a while after this show so it did him neither harm nor good to lose.

We next get a promo for Trytan who was Ryan Wilson who is now under a WWE Developmental contract. We’ll get to more on Trytan in March, believe me.

Now we go to Diamond Dallas Page and Kevin Nash having a talk earlier. They tease the idea of working together in their match against Monty Brown. If you feel you need to know more about this interview, you can buy the DVD for $6.99 from ShopTNA.com

A video package airs for the next match.

Match 3: Kid Kash Vs. Dustin Rhodes
Don West describes Kid Kash as someone who hates being alive and is going to take it out on everyone.

Kid Kash had been teaming with Lance Hoyt a great deal at this point, while Dustin Rhodes made his return to TNA shortly after 2004’s Turning Point. So this would be his debut in the monthly PPV era of the company.

The match starts with Dustin in control. Kid Kash fakes an injury, which the crowd doesn’t buy but Don West sure does. Don West goes through a period of self-loathing for falling for the injury in the first place. Kash spends his time on offense seeking to keep Dustin off of his feet to negate Dustin’s size advantage. Kash uses a frog splash on Dustin’s leg and follows it up with a figure 4. Dustin sells the leg but gets no love from the crowd who instructs him to “walk it off”. After a match dominated by Kash, Dustin hits a bulldog for the win.

Winner: Dustin Rhodes
The match had nice psychology with the smaller Kash trying to keep the bigger Rhodes off of his feet.

Thumb Position: In the middle, it had nice psychology but led to nothing and I could’ve lived a normal life had this match not happened.

IMPACT: None, Kid Kash was back to tag team matches the next month and Dustin Rhodes was feuding with Raven.

We go backstage to Johnny Fairplay. He finds Dusty’s hat and plays around with it. He also finds the clue inside the hat. If this sounded entertaining, you must’ve read a different paragraph.

A video package airs setting up the Dallas Page, Monty Brown and Kevin Nash match. Nash’s involvement caused problems between he and Jarrett who along with Scott Hall were at the time Known as the “Kings of Wrestling”.

You’d think that this would mean that match was next. You’d be wrong because we go to a package between Raven and Erik Watts. These 2 were involved in a 3-way feud with DDP that was a lot like the 3-way feud in WCW with Chris Benoit; accept unlike that one this one was not good.

Match 4: Raven Vs. Erik Watts

As I said, both men were involved in a 3-way triangle with DDP at shows prior to this event.

The match is the first of the night to utilize crowd brawling. The crowd seems to like the stuff outside the ring in the early going but my prediction is it doesn’t last. Raven controlled early, but Watts eventually turned the tide. I feel at this point it is important to mention that during this match West and Tenay found time to plug the TNA website and merchandise and I found time to get myself a yogurt.
It occurs to me at this point that while I find fault with much of TNA these days, at least Erik Watts is not prominently involved. It also occurs to me that I feel the same way about Johnny Fairplay, Trytan, Scott Hall and Dallas Page who were all major or minor parts of this show.
In yet more foreshadowing of Kurt Angle’s arrival in TNA, Raven uses an anklelock on Watts. Unfortunately, Watts is able to get up. The crowd is significantly less involved in the match now than they were at the beginning. I’m not sure, but I believe that it was just a few days before this particular PPV that Erik Watts reportedly attempted suicide. Erik Watts hits a chokeslam and pins Raven.

Winner: Erik Watts
This was not a good match at all. I feel that I must also point out how horrible Erik Watts’ music is.

Thumb Position: Way Down went longer than it should have, it involved Erik Watts and the crowd died in the middle.

Raven gets on the mic and says he’s sorry for disrespecting Watts. Watts is stupid enough to accept the apology and gets laid out. Good-bye and good riddance.

IMPACT: none, Raven was off to a new feud and Watts was out of the company almost as soon as this match was over. Had Raven won it might’ve been minor.

West and Tenay hype up the rest of the card; then talk about the new iMPACT timeslot on Fox Sports. Apparently, it had great ratings. I must have blocked that part out of my mind.

Rowdy Roddy Piper heads out to the ring to referee the next match.

Match 5: Scott Hall Vs. Jeff Hardy w/Roddy Piper as referee

Holy wellness policy Batman! Hall and Hardy were feuding as an offshoot of the feud between the Kings of Wrestling and TNA’s younger stars that went nowhere. I don’t remember why Piper was added as referee to this match but I think it was to get the company’s top users all in the ring at the same time. If only we had Jake Roberts on commentary to just complete the visual.

The match starts with an extended search of Scott Hall by Roddy Piper. Piper finds a few foreign objects, but no needles, Bongs, or flasks of alcohol. The search ends when Hall tells Piper that the good stuff is in the back.
Tenay says that Jeff Hardy’s first opponent in the WWF was Scott Hall. So, this match has been what, 9 years in the making? The crowd is so in to this match you can almost hear individual conversations. It’s funny because it clearly sounds like Jeff Hardy’s biggest fans in this crowd are about 12 years old. Jeff Hardy goes for the Swanton, Hall tries to counter with the Brass Nucks and Piper nails him allowing Hardy to get the win.

Winner: Jeff Hardy
The best part of this match was my jokes. Even if you didn’t think any of them were funny they were still the best part.

After the match, Hardy says that he’s coming for Jeff Jarrett. Piper says Hardy has a shot at the title so he should get out while he can, then he declares Hardy the next world champion.
Abyss comes out, returning to the company after an entire month away. It was rumored he was headed to the WWE. Don West was funny, just matter-of-factly saying that Abyss was headed to the ring before then suddenly going in to shock.

Thumb Position: Down, would’ve been way down but I did get to make some jokes so that has to count for something.

IMPACT: Middle of the road, it ended the Hardy-Hall program after 3 months and the post match angle started a feud that went strong for 2 months and would be resumed later in the year.

Trinity and Traci and Fairplay are backstage and stuff happens. I could barely hear the conversation and don’t care enough to go back.

Match 6: Monty Brown Vs. Kevin Nash Vs. Diamond Dallas Page

We’ve sort of already detailed where these men were before this match. DDP was in an extended feud with Raven and Erik Watts, Nash was a member of the Kings of Wrestling, and Monty Brown had just been victorious in a feud with the likes of Abyss and Raven at the past 2 monthly shows.

Page’s TNA theme couldn’t have been a bigger knock-off of Smells Like Teen Spirit if it tried.

This is being competed under elimination rules and sending your opponent over the top to the floor constitutes an elimination, as do pinfalls and submissions. Think of it as the ever-present wacky TNA rulebook very much in play.

The match in the early stages consists of 2 men fighting and the other man resting. You’d be stunned to learn that Nash was the first man resting. A dueling “Lets Go Monty”, “DDP” chant involving maybe 10 people total breaks out for all of 5 seconds. Cena Vs. Hunter level heat at Wrestlemania XXII this wasn’t. Nash was also the first man eliminated as he was knocked over the top by DDP. Page then hit a Diamond Cutter on Monty and would’ve gotten a 3-count if not for Nash pulling him out of the ring. Match continues for a few more minutes before Monty wins with the pounce.

Winner: Monty Brown
After 2 fun matches, and 1 that was at least a sound psychology based match, the next 3 matches were the equivalent of jumping in to the empty end of a swimming pool head first.

Thumb Position: Down, Nash was lazy not funny so that does this no favors. Plus, it had wacky stips, which means that it started out from behind and had to try to recover.

IMPACT: Middle of the Road, it had a profound iMPACT on the rest of this show, setting up the main event. After this night though not much else came of it. However, an interesting trivia note, Brown headlined for the title at this show, Nash headlined for the title in February while DDP got the title shot in March. So there is that for however little it’s worth to you.

Next we move on to a video package for the America’s Most Wanted Vs. Team Canada feud. This match was well before this feud was played out to death. At this point, disc 1 of the DVD ends and we must move to disc 2.

Match 7: Team Canada Vs. America’s Most Wanted for the NWA Tag Team Championship

Team Canada represented by Bobby Roode and Eric Young won the tag titles at Turning Point from the 3Live Krew. America’s Most Wanted was coming off of the main event performance at that very same show against Triple X.

The match is the second to start outside of the ring. I enjoy this brawl significantly more than I enjoyed the Erik Watts Vs. Raven brawl. After a few minutes of that the fight goes back to the ring with AMW starting out in control. After a strong fast start it settles down in to tag formula wrestling with the bad guys getting the heat on James Storm. I want to clarify that in general I love the tag formula so when I say that we get back to that formula it is not meant as an insult. The crowd is also awake again after the middle third of this show put everyone in to a deeper sleep than your typical college lecture.
Storm after being beaten for 3 or 4 minutes or so, I’m not a time keeper finally makes the hot tag to Chris Harris. AMW goes for a death sentence but Eric Young breaks it up. Storm hits the Superkick but Scott D’Amoore breaks up the pin. AMW decides to eliminate the D’Amoore factor by using handcuffs to cuff D’Amoore to the Ultimate X structure. I believe those handcuffs were brought out during the Hall/Hardy match as Hall did have a pair on his person during Piper’s weapons search. Nice callback to something earlier on the show. D’Amoore yells and shakes the cuffs to emphasize to the stupid that he is indeed handcuffed to the post.
AMW may have taken out D’Amoore but that doesn’t stop the interference as Johnny Devine heads out and uses the hockey stick for things it was not meant for. That gets a near fall for Team Canada and Devine’s next attempt at interference gets him a spinebuster. AMW gets a very close near fall and the crowd chants bullshit. Catatonic on Young but Roode distracts the referee. Harris manages to get his foot on the ropes to break up a pinfall attempt. Devine hits his own man with a steel chair and that allows AMW to pick up the victory and regain the titles.

Winners: America’s Most Wanted
I want to say that I love this match, it brings me great feeling I have all-time all this show so far. Good nearfalls, good crowd heat, solid action…you don’t see too many like this one anymore.

Thumb Position: Way up, hey I loved this one. It might not be the type of match everyone digs and some may have thought the interference was a bit excessive and that’s fine. This was my cup of Coke however.

IMPACT: Profound, This was the beginning of the long-running AMW Vs. Team Canada feud, and would eventually include the Naturals. Those 3 teams would be the focus of the tag division and title scene for the entire year of 2005. So for better or worse this match set the stage for a year’s worth of programs.

We go backstage. Fairplay is excited about finding the clue. Trinity and Traci beat him up and steal the clue taking it to Dusty Rhodes. Dusty gives them their next task. He wants each of them to find a tag team that has not competed in TNA and bring them to Dusty. I guess we’ll find out later what the Teams are needed for. Fairplay was laid out sulking about losing his clue. Apparently, he is out of TNA but I’ll bet he’s not. Trust me this did have a payoff and that payoff sucked but we’ll get more into that in future months.

We go to a video package for Ultimate X. It highlights the exploits and impressive moves of each of the 3 competitors.

Match 8: Petey Williams Vs. AJ Styles Vs. Chris Sabin – Ultimate X
Petey Williams enters as the X-division champion for the past 5 months, the longest reign in history at that point. Petey defeated AJ Styles at Victory Road and Chris Sabin at Turning Point. AJ Styles was apart of Team TNA at Turning Point defeating the Kings of Wrestling along with Jeff Hardy and the Macho Man Randy Savage. Chris Sabin was feuding with Williams and had been quite successful in prior Ultimate X matches.

The Match is not 5 minutes old before our first “Holy Shit” and “This is Awesome,” chants. Its not that it hasn’t been good so far, but I think this is a very easy crowd to please tonight. Although as I said its light years better than the middle third of this show. D’Amoore who was handcuffed during the last match is back interfering in this match. The referee kicks D’Amoore out and the crowd sings him the goodbye song. So does the supposedly impartial Mike Tenay.
A nice spot comes when Sabin is on AJ’s shoulders and is taken off with a rana from Petey Williams. Crowd busts out the “Holy Shit” chant for that as well but I’m not sure that it was deserved not that this wasn’t cool. A match like this is hard to comment on just because it is such a spectacle.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I prefer this type of match to the ladder match for a variety of reasons. I think the use of the cables allows for some of the crazier moves to make sense in the context of the match. I’m too tired to expound further on that right now, however. Perhaps during a future Ultimate X match I’ll explain further. Finish comes when Sabin and Williams fight over the belt, but AJ leaps in and steals it for the victory.

Winner: AJ Styles
This is probably the best Ultimate X match ever.

Thumb Position: Way Up, wither have ye gone X-division?

IMPACT: Profound, what the prior match did for the tag division this did for the X-division. It set up AJ Styles feuding with Christopher Daniels over the belt and that would eventually evolve in to AJ Styles Vs. Christopher Daniels Vs. Samoa Joe

Jeff Jarrett and Larry Zbyszko are arguing about something but as with most of these skits, I don’t care.

Match 9: Jeff Jarrett Vs. Monty Brown
Jarrett has been champion since June 2 2004. He was feuding with Jeff Hardy for the latter half of 2004 along with the other members of the Kings of Wrestling Hall and Nash.

The Match contains plenty of chants of Triple J and other not so nice things about Jeff Jarrett. The fight spills to the floor and they take out the broadcast team for a minute or so. This is a typical Jarrett match crowd brawling, multiple weapons including a chair the belt and the guitar. Monty Brown pounced the referee so that ads the ref-bump to the formula. Monty gets the visual pin after a guitar shot with the referee down. A second ref comes in to count the pin but Jarrett kicks out at 2. The crowd is not pleased by this turn of events chanting one of their favorite phrases. Jarrett hits a low blow and then hits 3 strokes in succession to get the win.

Winner: Jeff Jarrett
This was the typical Jarrett formula match but it wasn’t half bad. Many people thought that an opportunity was wasted by not putting the title on Monty Brown at this show. In hindsight having Monty win may not have been a good idea after all.

Thumb Position: Slightly Up, The match was fine for the Jarrett formula. I didn’t want to chop my leg off and beat people with the stub so we’ll go with thumbs slightly up.

IMPACT: Depends, for Jarrett it was minimal it was just another title defense in his reign that lasted from 06/02/2004 to 05/15/2005. For Monty Brown this was probably the peak of his TNA run. Consider that he did not headline another Pay Per View in a singles match the rest of the year. Consider that his next 1-on-1 shot at the title would not come until 03/12/2006 against Christian Cage at Destination X. Brown headlined Slammiversary 2005 as part of the King of the Mountain match and then teamed with Jeff Jarrett against Sting and Christian Cage to headline Final Resolution 2006.

Final Thoughts: The show was a tale of 3 thirds so to speak. The first third was a bit of fun, nothing major really happened that would carry over past this show but outside of some dumb Dusty skits nothing offensive took place. The crowd was awake and contributing and for me that plays a role in my enjoyment of a show.
The middle third was a complete waste of time. None of the matches were good, only 1 thing happened that would have a real affect on future storylines and the crowd was disinterested.
The last third could’ve gotten the rare “This is Awesome” rating from me had Jeff Jarrett’s formula title matches not been prominently involved. Instead it rates a strong pretty good final third.

Show Ratings out of 10

Match Quality: 7 (5 matches got a thumbs up, 2 of those got a big thumbs up, 1 a thumbs in the and middle the middle 3 a thumbs down)

Backstage interviews and Angles: 1 (completely terrible)

Crowd Heat: 7 (middle third prevented this from being a 9)

Announcing: 5 (not their worst night, but they didn’t make me laugh either so average)

Booking: 6 (No needless swerve, and the right guy went over in a majority of these matches. At no point did I curse this company with a quick death so this show had that going for it)

IMPACT Scale: 6 (You had a couple of minor things on the undercard, a couple of profound things in the title pictures and not much else of note)

Replay Factor: 4 (really, the tag and X-title matches are the only 1’s I’d want to watch when not doing so for a review of this show, so each of those matches gets 2 points.)

Overall (average of all above categories): 5.14 for slightly above average score

Worth buying the DVD: Depends on the price

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