Just like I promised, a thorough rundown of the biggest show on A1E's calendar. Unlike CIII or CTC though, this one's mostly all matches. I think there may be two segments on the card. This is the one event where it feels like the matches are king and everything else is a jester. A1E is very good at making their PPVs center around the action in the ring, one of the many positives they've got going for them. Anyway, onto the action, shall we?
The video montage and the pick for opening song are choice here. Nothing says "mega pro wrestling event" like KISS (that's not sarcasm either). They've got that big arena rock sound that fits perfect with a wrestling event. The trendster in me says they should have picked a more contemporary song, but I'd like to kick my inner-trendster's ass every time he rears his ugly head.
I'm not a huge fan of the litany of celebrities though. I mean, you never saw DeNiro or Scorsese at WrestleMania, and the Clinton that showed up to WM VIII was an imposter :p. I know that WM has had celebrity guests in the past, but it wasn't this litany of über-stars. I think if they had kept it to maybe two Yankees, Spike Lee and someone else of lower-key status, they might have been on to something.
I must admit, I marked out at Sal's pimp suit :)
Ooh, my match :)
I like how Sal and Kayla opened things up with the main event-to-curtain jerk transition. It plays into my angle very well. In the past, the A1E matchwriting crew was very slow to include such nuances in the write-ups, but this is one place where they've improved exponentially in the last 18 months or so.
One thing I'm baffled at though is the positioning of Hida as A1E's "MVP." Unless this is a storyline device that Jeff gave in, I'm not sure why Sal would get behind him as such. Maybe someone like Farnsy or another strong heel, ie, Spoiler, but I don't think Hida should be called that just yet.
As for the action, it was pretty tight. It showed good psychology from Hida, a wrestler who would go for a body part and break it down. The writer also captured JA pretty good too with an all-for-broke, head-droppy style. The finish leaves future heat between the two wrestlers, although I don't know if either Jeff or I have plans for a feud right now. Still, the door's open.
Two things right off the bat that put me off to this match. One is sort of a recurring problem with continuity and segueing between matches. The intro to the match is Kayla Wilson saying that we just watched a great match between Hida and JA, when seconds before, she was blasting Hida and calling the match tainted. If there was going to be no segment between the two matches and perhaps just an implied advertisement for Warfare or ShopZone or whatever, then I think you still need to have Kayla be somewhat angry, or at least have the lead in from the first match be something like this:
"Folks, after witnessing Hida Yakamo stealing a match from JA, we're going to move onto our next match."
Then you could have had Sal come in and defend Hida's actions before going into his thoughts about Duchess and Damon. You don't need to change around any more than just a few words, and the intro becomes ten times more effective.
The next thing that bugged me was this line:
SS: Well, you have to realize Kayla, Damon is used to facing much more challenging opponents than Duchess when he went on to wrestle in UCW for awhile.
I understand that Damon being that much better than Duchess was trying to be put over here, but you never, NEVER EVER EVER have any of your announcers/company men say that there are more challenging opponents in another fed. It doesn't matter if the guy doing it is a heel or if he's a former manager of the guy in question trying to apologize for his shortcomings, you never put over your competition like that. No, never. I know it's easy to lapse like that since we're all friends here and since the rules for us are totally different than the rules for WCW/WWF/ECW back in the heyday, but there should still be some semblance of kayfabe maintained here.
Match was standard fare. Solid effort, and I liked the Hollywood 90210 spot. Other than the two miscues in the beginning, this was a nice match.
Eh, this match was just kinda there. I liked the end sequence, but the rest of it was just blah.
First off, I think the Kayla and Sal banter here should have gone in the beginning of the first match, but I was impressed by how well they got across the gravity of the event without sounding forced or cheesy. The intros were also very well-crafted, and really, every match should have had something like this.
I also must say I was a huge fan of Elim's entrance and subsequent kidnapping and face-licking on Erin. Very amusing way to make James want to burst out of his nice guy role and kick some ass.
Onto the action, and I really liked in the beginning having James outsmart and outgrapple the much larger Elim. The strategies and implementation of moves in this match is superb, the best of the night thus far, but it felt too short... the match was over and I was left wanting more. But I guess that's a good thing, at least better than having some boring slobfest that goes on far too long. Other than that, job well done here.
Tag Title Match
Yawn with the intros. More generic banter and celebrity sightings.
Match itself wasn't too much to write home about, but then again, not a very good RP effort from the challengers at all. I don't blame them for shorting this match, but at least the action was okay. I wonder if Ryan and Dog are going to face any stiff competition in the near future? Does anyone want the A1E Tag Belts?
Nice recap by Sal at the beginning of the match to run down the animosities. Honestly, I think if all the matches had something like this and maybe one sentence about the match before it, the entrances could work a lot better. Plus, Lilian should be announcing everyone, not just in random matches. More on this later.
The match itself was really good for a middle PPV match in a series along a prolonged feud. Judging from the finish, it looks like this feud is quite a ways from being over. That's a good thing, as even though most feuds should finish up at your flagship (seeing as it's like New Year's Eve for your fed), it's cool to carry over one or two. Besides, Chip and Slambo is a feud that I don't have a problem seeing continue.
Taking the pulse
Now this is how segments on the card should be done. This is a straight hype piece for the sub-main event (and arguably the biggest match on the card). Interviewing the fans gives it such a "real" aura. Fantastic work.
Triple Star Championship
I hate to keep harping on the intros, but I feel this one was done half-right. I like how they had Bob Sheppard come out and do the ring intros for this match. I think that's the kind of celebrity you need for a wrestling event. In theory, I liked Mr. A! coming out with the Mets, but once again, I just think the star power was too great. I don't know, I'm probably crotchety, and this probably doesn't matter in the long run, but I think it sort of cheapens the show. I mean, you insert DeNiro and friends in the crowds and people think you're trying to mask the quality of the event by having all these stars come. It wouldn't do this event justice because I feel it's a very strong card so far.
The match itself, I like the intensity and I like Red using his smarts and attaching that bag, and then having the face crew come out and light all those tables. Personally marked out for Mr. O!'s appearance as well. It was also good to see Red win this match, because every time you turn around, he's getting beat by Mr. A! I mean, it's no fun to see one guy winning all the time in a long term feud like that.
This is how you do an intro. Seriously folks, take note of this match and use it as a formula if you have to.
This match is the best on the card so far. I think the psychology behind having two Anti-Crosses works well. My one qualm is that they didn't give the poor jobber a name. Jobbers are people too :p
Now, for the revelation... wow. Didn't see that one coming at all. Honestly, I thought it was Lindsay Troy because of the history she had with Cross, but Beast... man, that's a shocker. I hope this isn't over, because I'd love to see what Cross is going to do now.
Well, they certainly treated this like the match of the night. Lots of big spots, lots of underdoggedness from Fly, lots of brutality from Spoiler. I think this match was a little hard to read following the total mindfuck that was Cross/Anti-Cross. Matches with lots of extracurriculars are easier to read, I think, than just straight wrestling matches. However, I think if you invest the proper attention to this match, you'll be rewarded.
Also, I think there's nowhere else for Spoiler to go than to the World Championship. Hopefully, he gets there sooner rather than later and doesn't get to miss out on his shot when he's really hot enough to get it like another Dan West character did.
World Championship Match
I thought this match was largely unsatisfying, especially the finish. I think you needed to blow this feud off right here right now with Andy getting his heat back in a major way. If he wasn't going to win the title, that's fine, but I think maybe he should have cleaned house after the match. From what I understand, he's not getting the return program, so why not let him stand in the middle of the ring with glory at the end of this match?
I think it's a bad idea to continue this feud. I think that your main event level feuds kinda need some kind of closure after your flagship, and this match reeks of continuance (yes, I stole that phrase from William Morgan and no, I'm not sorry for it). I also think that if this was going to be the booking of it after the voting came in, I think there could have been some kind of switch in the match order so that Spoiler/Fly, a match with a much more definite outcome and better atmosphere should have closed the show.
Honestly, A1E's bugaboo continues to be segues and flow. By and large, the matches seem to be very good in and of themselves, but when you read the show all the way though, it can be pretty irritating to see discontinuities. Some parts were good in this regard, but others needed some help.
I think this was a good show, not a great show, but definitely not a bad show. I think the pieces were there for it to be great and befitting of being A1E's flagship. There was some great action. Particularly, I thought the TST, Cyber Title and Spoiler/Fly matches were all top rate and should get some love for MOTY when that time rolls around. I also thought that JA/Hida and James/Elim were pretty good writeups for what they were. But it doesn't help when the end of your show falls flat like that and you still have problems going from one match to the next.
I think A1E needs to have someone just go through and make sure that everything flows after its put together.
Other than that, it was a very good show. Congratulations to Dan for his big dream match win, and to Jarret and Shane for their title wins.