As reported earlier, TNA's January pay-per-view, Genesis, opened up tonight with a new look. Gone is the long-time staple six-sided ring, exchanged in favor of the traditional 'squared circle' that has defined the sport for over a century.
-Thank God. The six-sided ring, no doubt meant to evoke images of the legitimacy of the UFC Octagon, was a ridiculous creation. If you ever watched many matches in the hexagon, it's clumsy and dangerous to wrestlers more accustomed to the four-sided ring.
The first match out of the gate was the 'X' Division championship, with champion Amazing Red facing someone billed only as a 'mystery opponent'. Turns out the mystery opponent was none other than Brian Kendrick, a.k.a. the former 'Spanky' from the WWE. Red defeated the debutting Kendrick with his 'Code Red' finisher.
-I really figured this would be Jeff Hardy's debut, seeing how he arrived to much fanfare at the live 'Impact' on January 4. Of course, in the interim, Hardy was indicted on multiple drug related felony charges, including trafficking, so he may be on ice for TNA until those issues are resolved. You'd hate to put a belt on him just to have him take it to the pen with him.
During the course of this match, it was announced that Bobby Lashley was refusing to wrestle Abyss later on the card.
-No kidding. There have been comments by Hogan lately that he wasn't happy with Lashley moonlighting in the legitimate world of MMA at the expense of his 'rasslin' commitments. I wouldn't expect Lashley back soon.
After the match, there was a backstage interview segment with Hall and Nash, with Eric Bischoff and Sean 'X-Pac' Waltman. Curiously, Waltman begged Hall to let him wrestle in his place. After being hesitant, Hall and Waltman engaged in a rock-paper-scissors contest, which Waltman won. It appears Waltman and Nash will face Beer Money later.
-Read, Scott Hall showed up tanked, so the fans that didn't want to see The Outsiders get double screwed by now having to see Waltman wrestle as well.
Sean Morley (Val Venis) defeated Chris Daniels with his 'Money Shot Splash'. No, you read that right. A guy that hasn't wrestled regularly for a major promotion in years cleanly pinned one of the most talented wrestlers on the planet today, for no reason.
-Hulk Hogan stated the new TNA would be different than the WCW he helped bury. Really? Morley pins Daniels? What's next in the new TNA? David Arquette wins the world title? That would be different.
Tara defeated ODB two falls to zero to recapture the Knockouts title.
Nobody cares. Moving on.
Matt Morgan and Hernandez defeated the British Invasion to win the TNA World Tag Team Championship.
Thank God, at least something happened that people can get excited about. Hernandez and Morgan are good athletes, good wrestlers and both share a fair amount of charisma. They aren't necessarily strong enough for either of them to win the World Title yet, but this is a good start. As far as British Invasion is concerned? You won't see them again. They don't fit into Hogan's plans.
Desmond Wolfe defeated The Pope with a lariat. This was a pretty decent match technically speaking.
-It's a shame these two are working on the mid-card. Wolfe is probably the greatest independent signing for a big-time promotion since Chris Daniels or Samoa Joe. These two have amazing chemistry and charisma. I just hope Wolfe going from main event with Kurt Angle to mid-card status isn't a sign of bad things to come.
Beer Money defeated Kevin Nash and that little twerp Sean Waltman. After a cluster where Scott Hall came out and distracted Beer Money, resulting in Nash attacking both of them with clotheslines, Nash somehow got pinned when Waltman had to go to the floor to hold back Hall, who had grabbed 'a fan' from the ringside area and started attacking him.
-Good lord. How is this booking anything but the end of WCW redone? Not only were people stuck with the Oldsiders reuniting, then screwed with 'Crap-pac', but then treated to a typical 'Dusty' finish. Ah, the new good-ole days.
Now for the good news. After this fiasco of a 'match', Hogan was seen backstage griping on the NWO and pledging to call them out on the next Impact. This can only be going in a direction where Hogan swerves the fans, again, and joins his OLD buddies in a full NWO reformation. Let the good times roll.
Abyss was set to then face Bobby Lashley. We know he's no-showed, screwing the fans out of yet another announced match. However, Abyss' opponent for the night would be none other than Ken Anderson. Not the famous Bengals' quarterback of the 70s, but the man formerally known as 'Mister Kennnnnnnnnnnnnedy!'
Kennedy--er, Anderson--wrestled Abyss and beat him cleanly, with the help of the old brass knuckles in the tights routine. The Impact audience, always known to protect their own, showed their mass disapproval with a major chorus of boos.
-Anderson did his entire WWE Kennedy routine, complete with dropping microphone, except substituting his real name for Kennedy. That aroused a chorus of major pops. From there it went down hill. This was a fairly well-kept secret, in that his arrival was not leaked to the public. The match itself was a major letdown in that the match was mediocre and he cheated for the win. While this is setting things up for a heel turn, it's a major letdown and less than a stellar debut on a major pay-per-view.
With 35 minutes left in the program, the only match left was the World Title defense by A.J. Styles against Kurt Angle. The two men put on another instant classic of back-and-forth scientific, Olympic style and mat wrestling. Then, as Angle had Styles in the Angle Lock ankle hold, Ric Flair ran to ringside and pulled referee Earl Hebner out of the ring as Styles tapped out. Angle, upset at Flair, let go of the hold and chased Flair into the ring. Flair tossed Styles the title belt, who nailed Angle in the head. Flair then tossed Hebner back in the ring to make the final three count. Styles, the new heel, then celebrated with Flair to close the show.
-While I understand turning Styles heel due to the thin nature of the main event heel ranks, and while I really like putting him with Flair because Flair is still awesome on the stick and Styles, well, isn't...this sucks. Another classic match screwed over by the 'Dusty' finish.
I also don't see the point in all of this storyline-wise. The past few weeks have seen Styles battling a semi-heel Daniels, then confronting his long-time masked attacker, Tomko, just to toss those down the can with no follow up. While it will make for an interesting continuing feud with Angle and Styles/Flair, it's sloppy at best to shotgun all of this at a pay-per-view.