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A Corner Turned?
December 6, 2004

by Jason Longshore
Guest Recapper for OnlineOnslaught.com


TNA made their big debut on the Sunday PPV stage last month with Victory Road.  The show received strong reviews, but I thought it was lacking a bit.  It's not that I wasn't satisfied with the show, it's just that I've seen TNA have better shows.  I have no such feelings after Turning Point, it  was one of the best PPV's of the year.  

Here's the rundown:  
  • On the pre-game/countdown show: The Naturals defeated Mikey Batts/Jerelle Clark. Nice touch to have a live match on the pre-show.  It's a shame the Naturals aren't higher up the card, they're a great heel tag team.  Unfortunately for them, TNA actually puts some effort into their tag division and it's a little crowded.  The Naturals get the win over the local favorites in about five minutes.
  • The Turning Point PPV opened with a bizarre segment featuring AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy talking about the defending TNA while the Kings of Wrestling were dressed like Elvis making bad jokes.  The less said about this, the better.  Then, to take the strange factor up a notch, a pseudo-Vince and pseudo-HHH showed up backstage in an attempt to stop TNA from showing the controversial tape. [The background of that tape goes like this.  WWE was at Universal Studios in Orlando, where TNA is based, recently to shoot their Royal Rumble commercial.  TNA sent a welcoming party of Abyss (with balloons), Traci Brooks (with cookies), Shane Douglas, and the 3 Live Kru.  TNA shot footage of the whole thing.  WWE pulled their guys into the sound stage, and then sent someone over to threaten TNA with a lawsuit if they used the footage.]
  • Team Canada ("Showtime" Eric Young & Bobby Roode) defeated 3 Live Kru (B.G. James & Ron "The Truth" Killings) for the NWA World Tag Team Titles. The Orlando crowd really loves 3LK, even more than the Nashville crowd did.  It's good to see Young with his faux-hawk back.  He tried to rip off the former Road Dogg's Shake, Rattle, and Roll punches, but James doesn't allow it.  The Canadians took control, working over Killings.  Their double team backbreaker was a sick move.  James eventually got the hot tag, but the patented Canadian interference evened things out.  Eventually, Killings crotched Young on the turnbuckle, then hit his axe kick on him in one of the best spots of the night.  James had Roode set up for the pumphandle slam, but "Hotshot" Johnny Devine made his return to break a hockey stick over James' back.  Roode gets the pin and the Canadians regain the titles.  It was a solid match, even if the finish has been used too many times by the dastardly Canadians.  3 Live Kru's popularity made it a good choice for the opener.
  • Shane Douglas interviewed the new Director of Authority Dusty Rhodes backstage.  It was a battle between the facial expressions of Douglas and the gibberish of Rhodes.  The judges declared it a draw.  Rhodes announced that the "Cookiegate" footage would be shown tonight.  
  • Sonjay Dutt, Hector Garza, and Sonny Siaki beat Kid Kash, Frankie Kazarian, and Michael Shane (with Traci Brooks). Sonjay was sporting some new Pay Per View tights, but they could not upstage Kash's robe.  After some nice exchanges involving all six men, Kazarian gained the advantage on Dutt.  The heels began working over Sonjay's arm for quite a while.  It was the most varied series of attacks on a single body part I've seen in one match.  Nice touches with the fake tags by Kash and Shane, they really worked the crowd up.  After quite the beating, Dutt eventually got away long enough to get the hot tag to Garza.  He hit a giant moonsault on Kazarian, but the pin was broken up.  Traci tried to interfere, but missed and hit Kazarian with her Pie in the Sky.  Garza then hit the Torneo (a corkscrew splash) for the win after about eleven minutes.  Nice, fast-paced match, that really highlighted Dutt and Garza.
  • Scott Hudson interviewed the Macho Man.  From what I could make out, he was trying to talk like Snoop Dogg.  That's never a good thing. 
  • Monty Brown defeated Abyss in a Sernegeti Survival Match. You could win this match by pinfall, submission, or throwing your opponent into thumbtacks.  Brown came out with a mic, talking junk, and goading Abyss into starting the match on the ramp.  After they got into the ring, Abyss takes control with a chair.  A sit down splash onto the chair and Brown  got a two count.  Monty hit an impressive running powerslam onto the chair.  When Brown went for the Pounce, Abyss countered it into his Black Hole Slam for a two count.  Brown regained control, eventually hitting the Pounce, knocking Abyss out of the ring in the process.  By the time Monty rolled him back in, Abyss kicked out.  Abyss avoided a second Pounce, which resulted in Brown Pouncing the table set up in the corner.  There was a nice shoulder-shaped break in the table, that can't feel good.  Both guys went to bring the thumbtacks into play.  After a series of reversals, Abyss had Brown set up for a powerbomb into the tacks.  Monty countered it into an Alabama Slam onto the thumbtacks for the win.  Abyss' head slammed pretty hard into the tacks, but his back pretty much missed it entirely.  This made the stipulation kind of silly, but the match was still a good one.
  • Pseudo-Vince and Pseudo-HHH continued on their hunt for the tape.  They threw in a crack about the WWE dress code that I'm sure made a few people happy.
  • Pat Kenney and Johnny B. Badd beat New York Connection (Glen Gilberti & Johnny Swinger) (with Jacqueline as the special referee). Jacqueline has issues with the NYC after her match with Trinity at Victory Road.  Speaking of which, where was Trinity tonight?  I guess this was the "let's calm the crowd" match, and it did just that.  It was a basic tag team match that Badd won with a TKO after about eight minutes of action. 
  • The Kings of Wrestling attacked the Macho Man backstage and threw him into a car that sped away. 
  • Diamond Dallas Page beat Raven. Erik Watts joined Mike Tenay and Don West on commentary for this one.  This match is under Raven's Rules, which means there are no rules.  Page got the biggest pop of the night so far on his entrance.  He attacked Raven to start, beating him all over the arena.  Once back in the ring, he went for the Diamond Cutter, only to have Raven hang onto the ropes to block it.  Raven took control, even hitting his drop toe hold onto a chair.  Out of nowhere, DDP hits the Diamond Cutter, but only for a two count.  Raven's hooded henchmen came to ringside, which upset Watts.  Raven hit the Evenflow DDT, but only got a two count.  Watts ran in and took out the henchmen, then turned heel on Page.  He then went for a chokeslam, but DDP turned it into a Diamond Cutter.  Raven took advantage of the distraction, set up for the Evenflow, but DDP countered that into another Diamond Cutter for the victory at the twelve minute mark.  This was one of Raven's best matches in TNA and DDP looked like he hasn't lost a step.  Hopefully, there will be more to come with this feud. 
  • Traci brought cookies to our pseudo-Vince and pseudo-HHH, but Vince threw down the tray.  This upset pseudo-HHH, who dove into the floor for as many cookies as possible.  I guess he likes more than Ho-Ho's. 
  • Petey Williams (with Scott D'Amore) beat Chris Sabin for the X Division Title. They started out a little slower than you would expect from the X Division, which was a good thing.  The crowd was mostly split in their support, with dueling "Let's go Petey" and "Let's go Sabin" chants.  Sabin had a counter for most everything Williams threw at him early.  At ringside, Sabin powerbombed Williams into the safety rail.  Then, Sabin dove over the top of the pit area, about three rows, onto Williams at ringside.  D'Amore got involved to even things up.  Williams put Sabin into the Tree of Woe and sang the Canadian national anthem while standing on his crotch.  That's not nice.  The action began to speed up, highlighted by Sabin's vicious running powerbomb.  Williams got Sabin back into the Tree of Woe and went for a baseball slide to Sabin's face.  Instead, Sabin skinned the cat and hit a somersault dive outside the ring onto Williams.  That got a "This is awesome" chant from the crowd.  West and Tenay were going nuts, saying that there's no time for replays.  They were right.  Williams signaled for the Canadian Destroyer (flip piledriver), Sabin countered it into his own Cradle Shock, Williams countered that into a sharpshooter, which Sabin broke by reaching the ropes.  After more back and forth action, Sabin had Williams in the Cradle Shock again, only for D'Amore to interfere.  The distraction gave Williams time to pull out some brass knuckles.  One punch later, Williams wins in a little over eighteen minutes.  Even with the weak ending, it was a great match, one of TNA's best of the year.  It more than made up for the short Styles/Williams title match at Victory Road. 
  • AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy, and the Macho Man Randy Savage beat Kings of Wrestling (Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Jeff Jarrett). Hall and Nash liked their Elvis gear so much that they wore it for the match.  Nash worked in some nice karate-style taunts.  They even ripped off the old Flying Elvises music, which resulted in Jorge Estrada breaking his television at home.  Savage is still incognito to open the match, so it's three on two.  After some early success, the KoW eventually gained the upper hand.  Styles was killing himself in there, really getting the crowd behind him.  Hardy finally get a hot tag and hit the Twist of Fate on Jarrett.  Nash pulled the referee out to stop the count.  Hardy went up for the Swanton, but Hall cracked him with Jarrett's trusty guitar.  Savage finally escaped his kidnappers and made his way to the ring.  He looked much smaller than he did in the past.  After a couple of punches, he gets a sleeper on Jarrett.  Styles and Hardy like the idea, and put sleepers on Nash and Hall.  Jarrett breaks away and goes for a sunset flip, which Savage countered into a pin for the victory.  The crowd didn't seem overly excited about the ending.  The match surpassed my expectations, but the ending was really weak.  They already starting setting the table for a Jarrett/Savage NWA World Title match. 
  • It was finally time for the "Cookiegate" footage.  All the WWE employees were blurred out.  Shane Douglas, B.G. James, and Konnan made some cracks about Vince.  Someone who looked like Rey Mysterio threw up the 3 Live Kru sign, hugged Konnan, and was laughing about the whole thing.  James said to him, "By the way, you're fired."  The funniest thing on the tape was Ron Killings eating some of the WWE's food from their buffet.  Tenay said it best, "Why would WWE threaten to sue us over that.  It's not like we drove a tank up to WWE headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut or anything."
  • America's Most Wanted (Chris Harris & James Storm) defeated XXX (Christopher Daniels and Elix Skipper) in Six Sides of Steel, the losing team must disband. These two teams have been feuding for about two years now, and tonight is the final chapter.  The early action was very intense.  Daniels was the first to eat some cage and be busted open.  XXX gained control after handcuffing Harris to the corner.  He was smashed into the cage, and busted open as well.  Daniels had the key, and taunted Harris by keying Storm's forehead.  Of course, this lead to Storm bleeding all over the place.  I can't think of many bloodier matches in TNA history.  After lots of abuse, Storm was able to get the key to Harris for the hot un-handcuffing.  Harris cleaned house, ramming Daniels head into the cage repeatedly and then hitting a slingshot suplex, using the cage.  All four guys did a great job with the intensity of the match-up, it really put over how important the match was to both teams.  XXX regained control, hitting  AMW's Death Sentence finisher on Harris, but only getting a two count.  Daniels hit the Angel's Wings on Storm, but he kicked out as well.  Daniels and Storm fought at the top of the cage, with Daniels crotching Harris on the top.  Skipper then climbed the cage and hit one of the craziest moves I've ever seen.  He tightrope walked across the top of the cage and hit a hurricanrana on Harris back into the ring.  He barely made it to Harris, he probably would have fallen with another step.  Daniels followed that up with an elbow from the top of the cage.  After a series of reversals, they did a four man combination powerbomb/superplex spot which nearly made the crowd explode.  Harris was able to get some revenge, handcuffing Daniels to the corner.  He had to watch as AMW ended the match by hitting the Powerplex, XXX's finisher, on Skipper.  Hey guys, you're forgiven for what happened at Victory Road.  You know you're doing something right when the crowd starts a "Best match ever" chant.  That was incredible, even topping their first cage match seventeen months ago.  It was TNA's match of the year, and one of the best cage matches I've ever seen anywhere.  

Final Thoughts

Turning Point was quite the improvement over Victory Road.  While the backstage skits were mostly lame, the in-ring action was the best in TNA in a long time.  That's what can set them apart from WWE.  Williams/Sabin and XXX/AMW were great matches, two of the best in the company this year.  The replay would be worth it just to see those two matches.  This show stacks up well against the majority of the WWE PPV's this year. 

It was a great call to go with the cage match to close out the show rather than Savage's pin on Jarrett.  Other than a potential Jarrett/Savage match, I like where most things are headed.  We'll see how things shake out on Impact and on the next PPV, Final Resolution, on January 16.  Hopefully, the rumors of TNA's financial problems are just that and this show can be a true turning point for the company.  


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