New year may offer plenty of changes
As we arrive at the end of 2009, the pro wrestling landscape appears set to change once again with the New Year bringing back the Monday Night Wars, some of the major names from the past and an unimaginable number of surprises.
Before we look ahead though, we should run down the results from the last pay per view of the year from TNA and Ring of Honor's Final Battle. Both were very solid shows in terms of wrestling action for the discriminating fan who appreciates work rate, logical booking and athleticism.
Final Resolution saw A.J. Styles manage to successfully retain the TNA heavyweight title over Christopher Daniels after a Styles Clash from the middle rope. Both guys delivered in terms of timing and execution in a well-paced bout that went about 12 minutes. Kurt Angle defeated Desmond Wolfe in their two out of three fall event.
Wolfe captured the opening fall after a lariet and his Tower of London finisher. Angle took the second fall with a heel hook submission and the third by escaping the cage to end a very good match that went about twenty-seven minutes. The British Invasion retained the tag team gold by besting the Motor City Machine Guns in a heated contest.
Mick Foley and Abyss defeated Raven and Dr. Stevie in a Foley's House of Fun match that included a varied assortment of weapons and some free-flowing crimson.
Tara won the Knockouts crown by beating ODB. Bobby Lashley defeated Scott Steiner, despite an impressive Frankensteiner by the Genetic Freak.
The Feast or Fired Battle Royal saw Samoa Joe secure a TNA title match, Kevin Nash a tag title match and Rob Terry an X-division opportunity. Sheik Abdul Bashir takes the powder, as he drew the out-the-door, you're-fired briefcase.
Ring of Honor's Final Battle turned into a real battle against the elements last weekend with the blizzard in New York City. Just about everybody made it up from a Manassas, Va., show Friday night, with the storm starting there and riding with the crew up the coast.
Larry Sweeney returned as a guest commentator. Claudio Castagnoli captured the Four Corner Survival Match, and Eddie Kingston upset Chris Hero. The Young Bucks defeated Generico and Steen, and Steen turned on his partner afterward. Roderick Strong took the measure of Kenny King.
The Briscoe Brothers knocked off the American Wolves to regain the tag team titles, but were laid out post-match by the reuniting Kings of Wrestling tag team of Hero and Castagnoli. Jack Evans and Teddy Hart arrived late from Mexico due to the weather problems, but had an impromptu spotfest of a ten-minute match won by Evans.
With the card already running close to three hours long, the main event title match with Austin Aries defending against the challenge of Tyler Black ended up going to a sixty-minute time limit draw. The drained crowd lacked the energy normally present for such epics and, while the match was very solid, it was probably not the right time to go so long and finish with a non-finish.
Raw will feature a rematch between John Cena and Sheamus for the WWE title this Monday, but everybody is gearing up for Jan. 4 when Hulk Hogan takes over at TNA and Impact runs head to head with Raw. WWE has countered nicely by bringing in Bret Hart in a major coup for them as the company has kept alive the memory of the infamous Montreal double-cross of 1997 with the hope that it might some day pay off in a program involving the major adversaries.
Reports are that Scott Hall and possibly Sean Waltman will be joining TNA for the resurrection of the Monday Night Wars. Word is that Ric Flair also has an offer on the table, but the dollar amount is holding things up. Seems to me that they would be wise not to bring everybody in at once, but you know they desperately want a good rating for the first night and will try to figure a way to sustain it later.
Tommy Dreamer has apparently given WWE notice and finished up at the ECW taping last week. His name has been mentioned as being interested in TNA, but he likely has at least a 90-day non-compete clause to wait out.
Things are about to get mighty interesting again. One of the questions that remains would be, for how long? Happy New Year everybody.
(Shamokin's Bill Gilger "arranges" the interview each week with The Insider)