Yes yes I know Halloween was on Monday but in honor of the occasion I got caught up watching a horror movie marathon (Okay okay I was watching The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror marathon) so the review goes up today instead. Happy Halloween from Chris Smith!
Title: Best of the Bloodiest Brawls: Scars and Stitches
Synopsis: TNA’s follow up to the very well received Best of the Bloodiest Brawls Vol 1 (4.5 STARS). A single disc featuring nine hardcore gimmick matches from December 2005 to February 2008 spliced with interviews with Abyss, Rhino, Christian Cage, Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, Jeff Jarrett, AJ Styles, James “Former Champ” Storm, Christopher Daniels, Homicide, Hernandez and Tomko
Not that it affects the quality of the DVD but whoever said “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” clearly hasn’t seen this cover. It’s awful.
Reasons to Buy this DVD:
Jarrett’s Army vs Sting’s Warriors Lethal Lockdown (Lockdown 2006)
The second best Lethal Lockdown in TNA ever (the best for me was the 2007 match). The heel team is Jeff Jarrett, Scott Steiner and America’s Most Wanted. The face team is Sting, AJ Styles, Rhino and Ron “R-Truth” Killings. It’s a long but lively match with a variety of styles. Rhino’s brawling, AMW’s tag team dominance, Steiner’s power moves and AJ’s spectacular high flying are all on display. Gail Kim shows nerves of steel (no pun intended – unless it was funny) when Styles dropkicks the cage door into her shoulder. I’m assuming that spot was planned, but it was timed so perfectly you could absolutely believe it was an accident. Either way she sold it like a pro. Even better (for very different reasons) is when she tries to climb the cage and gets her skirt pulled off by Jackie Gayda Hass. That was funny. The “Tower of Doom” spot wasn’t exactly smooth but it looked awesome on the replay. The greatest LL ceiling spot ever occurs when AJ drops from the scaffolding and splashes Storm through a table on top of the ceiling. Five years later that still looks incredible and both men deserve a round of applause for going through with it. Really the only gripe I have is that Scott Steiner audibly says “This sucks” to a ringside camera man (did he not realise that particular camera was filming him?) and that the match ends with Sting making Chris Harris tap out to the Scorpion Death Lock. The whole reason for this match was his feud with Jarrett and Steiner. You could argue that booking Harris to take the loss gave the feud a reason to continue since Jarrett got off easy, but then the Lethal Lockdown match is supposed to end feuds, not prolong them. Besides that, it’s an awesome match for the set.
AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels vs LAX Six Sides of Steel (Bound for Glory 2006)
This match wasn’t as good as their legendary Ultimate X match from No Surrender, but then that match doesn’t belong on a DVD called Best of the Bloodiest Brawls. So for that reason this match is a perfect addition to the DVD. Wild brawling, high flying stunts, and a crazy Detroit crowd make this one of the best TNA matches of 2006. Homicide sums it up perfectly when he says: “It was one of the best matches I ever had.” Special moments include AJ’s cross body off the top of the cage, Daniels hip toss to Homicide off the top rope and a wicked Gringo Killa finish that is probably the sickest moment of the DVD not to feature any weapon use.
Christian Cage vs Rhino Barbed Wire Steel Cage match (Impact 2006)
Also on Instant Classic: The Best of Christian Cage (3 STARS). This match to end the feud between Cage and Rhino is heated and bloody, and the spots are sick (watch out for the TKO on two chairs!). Although I could have done without the “Weapons or Escape” stipulation where each man had both a weapon and a tool for escaping the cage. Basically Rhino’s weapon was a straight jacket and his means of escape was a key to the door. Cage’s weapon was a steel chair and his means of escape was a pair of bolt cutters to cut the barbed wire at the top of the cage. The wrestlers can call for the tools or weapons at any time, but only their own. There are so many things wrong with that stipulation, I don’t even know where to begin! Luckily the match still manages to deliver and the finish is spectacular.
Kurt Angle vs Samoa Joe (Genesis 2006)
This match technically isn’t a hardcore gimmick match but it does feature a lot of blood. It’s Angle vs Joe in the best match of their series where Joe’s undefeated streak was finally ended. This is easily the best match on the DVD, even if it is a peculiar choice, given the rest of the content. But who cares? It’s freakin’ Angle vs Joe! This match is up there with the Unbreakable 3 – Way.
Chris Harris vs James Storm Texas Death Match (Sacrifice 2007)
This more than made up for their infamous Blindfold match at Lockdown the previous month, which everybody should avoid like the plague! In this throwback to the old school Rasslin days the former AMW members squared off in a Texas Death Match (think Last Man Standing with pin falls). And believe me when I say they tore the house down … and each other! Okay you can clearly see both men blading but I can overlook that in a match of this calibre. This was an epic brawl filled with blood, stunts, blood, weapons, more blood, drama and um … did I mention blood? Seriously Storm’s face by the end is the most accurate example of the phrase “Crimson Mask” I’ve ever seen. The best match on the set behind Joe vs Angle.
Reasons to Avoid this DVD:
Sting vs Abyss Last Rites match (Destination X 2007)
Wow! I believe this match was the first time the Impact Zone ever chanted “Fire Russo!” Yeah the match was that good. TNA’s answer to the casket match saw Sting fighting for Abyss’ soul or something (the angle was actually pretty good to begin with but after four months we get to this match). Admittedly the spot where Abyss chokeslams Sting through the casket gets a great response and the effect of seeing Stings blood against his white face paint is striking. But really this match was just wrestlecrap and another for Vince Russo’s Hall of Lame. Worst of all they use a Styrofoam tombstone as a prop. When Abyss – who’s billed as the bigger and stronger of the two – lifts it he sells it as if it’s a real tombstone, you know, heavy. But later when Sting uses it, he lifts it as if was made out of … well Styrofoam. And smashing it with his bat didn’t help either!
Abyss vs Tomko No DQ (Slammiversary 2007)
I’d love to say that TNA dropped the ball with Tomko, but then again, who haven’t they dropped the ball with? This match was average at best. It is worth seeing for Tomko taking a bump off the Titantron (and Abyss diving off to Titantron onto him!) but that’s not enough to make me want to buy a whole DVD. For the second time in one set, we audibly hear something that should have been edited out: The ref telling Abyss that: “We gotta take it home.” Incredible!
Abyss vs Judas Mesias Barbed Wire Massacre 2 (Against All Odds 2008)
This match was nowhere near as good as the first match between Abyss and Sabu. The story that Abyss and Mesias were half brothers was obviously based on the Undertaker/Kane story (there’s a difference between inspiration and downright plagiarism guys!) and the whole story with Mitchell was ripe with inconsistencies. Infuriatingly, Tenay and West both insist that Abyss was victorious in the original BWM match. What? The match did have it’s moments and far be it from me to criticise guys who are willing to take bumps onto barbed wire (by the way why was Mesias only wearing standard wrestling trunks for this match?) but this match was just a flat ending to the DVD.
And of course we come to my favourite part: the Kayfabe interviews. Here we have an odd mix of real, kayfabe and downright confusing comments. Genuine observations come from Jarrett: “You can smell your blood different from other guys’ blood.” Daniels: “When I’m bleeding, the knowledge that my daughter and my son saw me bleed on television, it angers me.” And Joe, in regards to the taste of blood: “You want to throw up, you want to get it out of there.”
However those genuine comments are hard to take seriously when shown alongside what can only be described as comedy gold. Fake comments come courtesy of Daniels (in the same interview no less!): “We didn’t know how violent LAX could get. And we found out at Bound for Glory.” Rhino: “I seen him laying in a pool of his own blood, I thought, you know, this is my opportunity.” And most confusing of all Tomko: “I can guarantee you if it’s one of my matches it’s not fake blood.” So can we assume that every other wrestler in the universe uses fake blood? Come on Tomko!
The MVP of the DVD (and I use that term ironically!) is Abyss who for some reason refers to himself in the third person. I swear to God I could fill this entire page with his ramblings but since it’s getting late, here are some highlights: “Abyss likes pain and he likes to deliver pain.” he … reveals. He later contradicts himself: “Abyss doesn’t enjoy bleeding but bleeding seems to be a lot of what’s happened to Abyss.” Alright Abyss. Whatever you say!
This was obviously not as good as the first BotBB DVD but there are some great matches on here. The three cage matches, the Joe vs Angle match and the Texas Death Match all come highly recommended. If you can wade through the Abyss matches (kinda sad since this is a DVD where he should really shine) then this one should more than meet your standards.