Total Nonstop Abyss: TNA Doomsday DVD Review

February 20, 2011 by Chris Smith

Title: Doomsday: The Best of Abyss.

Synopsis: A single disc comprising 8 of Abyss’ best matches held between March 2005 and November 2006. There’s also a documentary of his 2007 angle with Kayfabe father James Mitchell, Sting and Christian Cage. As you may have guessed, every match on here is a gimmick match used to hide Abyss’ limited in-ring skills, while focusing on what he can do competently: Bump, brawl and bump some more. I should probably warn you that the good folks at the BBFC  have rated this feature as 18 (for obvious reasons).

Reasons to Buy this DVD:

Abyss vs Jeff Hardy Falls Count Anywhere (Destination X 2005)

Far superior to their botch-filled attempt at Against All Odds the previous month, Abyss and Hardy (during his original run in TNA) took to the crowd early and brawled their way to the back where Hardy hit a spectacular Swanton on Abyss from a scaffold structure from about twelve feet up sending them both crashing through two tables. But they weren’t done there. Fighting back to the ring they traded more high impact spots including a leaping leg drop over a ladder from Hardy and an awesome top rope power bomb from Abyss which drove Hardy through a table. I hate to spoil the ending but I will say that the Twist of Fate Hardy uses on a ladder shows more light than John Cena’s STF, but apart from that the match was very exciting and the aftermath results in one of the sickest bumps ever (at least back in days when the thumbtacks spot hadn’t been done to death). Later on there’s another Falls Count Anywhere match against Rhino at Against All Odds 2006 which isn’t quite as good, but still worth seeing anyway as the finish is awesome. Good opener!

Abyss vs AJ Styles Six Sides of Steel (Lockdown 2005)

Easy to see why this was included as it is probably the greatest match of Abyss’ career. He and AJ showed great chemistry, they both sold each others offense brilliantly and the story-telling was done to perfection. I loved how they fought outside the cage first because (as the announcers rightly pointed out) AJ would never be able to out-power the Monster, so he would have to use his agility and high flying, of which Abyss has none, to beat him. But at the same time the cage favoured Abyss’ style and so AJ was forced to use the outside environment to his advantage. And boy did he! He was a human highlight reel during the first half of this match. Also the shot AJ takes in the face from the cage door is sickening! Once they finally enter the cage the match just gets better as AJ refuses to stay down after taking everything Abyss has to offer, and believe me he offers a hell of a lot of offence. And just for the record, the Abyss of 2005 is incredibly agile. Frankly it’s hard to imagine the 2011 version selling a hurricanrana so crisply.

Abyss vs Rhino vs Sabu vs Jeff Hardy Monsters Ball (Bound For Glory 2005)

Back when the Monsters Ball was an annual tradition it was always a treat to see the hardcore division throw the rulebook out the window and have at it. This match to me still remains the best Monsters Ball in TNA history as all four men tore the house down. Of course the highlight of he match is Jeff Hardy’s Swanton off the entrance ramp which made it into TNA’s 50 Greatest Moments DVD. But that doesn’t take away from the efforts of the high-flying Sabu and the power-houses Abyss and Rhino. And the finish? How often to you see a pile driver from the second rope these days?

Abyss vs Sabu Barbed wire Massacre (Turning Point 2005)

Personally I still think it’s bogus that TNA named this their 2005 Match of the Year but it’s still pretty good, if not MOTY material. The build up to this match as I recall was that Abyss was deathly afraid of barbed wire and refused to touch it, even to use it against Sabu as he once had a chance to use a barbed wire wrapped steel chair and instead used a regular one. So by the time he was forced into the ring surrounded by barbed wire on all six sides, the fans were craving to see Abyss face his fear. Both men took some nasty bumps in this one and the finish was very clever and innovative. Incidentally I met Chris Parks once on one of TNA’s Maximum Impact tours and he showed me his arms. The scars have healed but the skin has grown over his tattoos so you can still see lines of clear skin exactly where his arms were cut during this match!

Abyss vs Christian Cage Six Sides of Steel (Lockdown 2006)

Very similar to the Abyss vs AJ Styles match a year earlier, except in that match they were fighting for a title shot. This time Abyss got a shot at the actual title and Christian wanted revenge on Abyss for stalking his wife and drowning him in his own pool (which by the way is on here in it’s entirety as a bonus feature and is much better than the Tripe H/Randy Orton Home Invasion angle of 2009). This match is highlighted by a series of near falls towards the end, the best of which comes after a stunning frog splash by Christian off the top of the cage. Bonus Trivia: For those who watch the TV show House M.D. starring Hugh Laurie, you may remember seeing a glimpse of this match in the Season 3 episode when Dr House was watching wrestling. I know I did! Just so you know!

Documentary

This 41 minute feature is made almost entirely out of Impact segments which chronicle the story of Abyss’ relationship/feud with Sting, his past with James Mitchell, the story of how he shot his Father (or at least took the blame to protect his mother), and his feud with Christian’s Coalition. This may be a put-off for some to be perfectly honest, and it does take some patience admittedly to get through it but for me it was fun to relive one of the most intriguing albeit far-fetched angles in TNA history where Abyss had gotten his biggest push to date. It ends with a so-so match against Christian Cage from Impact, (after Abyss returns from a gruesome beating, which is also on here) which ends in a DQ, but gets over the point of Abyss’ official face turn.

Reasons to Avoid this DVD:

Abyss vs Brother Runt vs Raven vs Samoa Joe Monsters Ball (Bound For Glory 2006)

Unfortunately this match couldn’t follow the previous Monsters Ball. Part of the problem was that Abyss, Runt and tweener Raven, who had all been feuding for the last several weeks, had now decided to forget their own rivalries and focus on Joe so the match went back and forth between Free-for-all and Handicap match. Joe was only in here to occupy his time before his upcoming feud with the debuting Kurt Angle, so the other three were pretty much irrelevant. The camera crew missed Abyss pulling off a rare dive off the scaffold onto Brother Runt who then disappeared for the rest of the match to sell the effects. Jake the Snake Roberts was thrown in as the Special Guest Referee to “maintain order”. IT’S THE MONSTERS FREAKIN’ BALL! If there was ever a match where there was no need for order it was this one! And finally they cut away to the next match before Jake dumps the Snake on Raven, which to me is irritating.

Abyss vs Sting (Genesis 2006)

The final match of the DVD doesn’t feature a gimmick, but that didn’t stop them from brawling through the crowd and bringing in the thumbtacks (to be fair Sting allows Abyss to chokeslam him onto the tacks which was a sick looking bump and a testament to Stings professionalism). The match just drags in the beginning, and feels anticlimactic even when Sting shoves Abyss off the stage through two barbed wire tables. It’s here that Abyss wins his first and only NWA Title, so I guess it belongs on the DVD for that reason, but then again he won it by DQ. I mean who wants to win a world heavyweight championship because they were thrown off a stage through barbed wire tables and their opponent got disqualified? The only worse way to win a title would be to have it presented to you by Vickie Guerrero only to lose it 5 minutes later and then get fired…Oh wait a minute!

Bonus Features

Aside from he documentary, there’s not much else. The home invasion of Christian Cage is pretty good, but otherwise all you get is a forgettable handicap match where Abyss squashes Delirious and some other guy, a “profile” which probably aired on Impact, and some childhood photos that are blighted by attempts to stay Kayfabe: eg we see a photo of Chris on his 10th birthday, but in the background we hear a crying woman (his mother) getting smacked around repeatedly and then three gunshots. Okay then.

Seen it before!

The first four matches can all be found on Best of the Bloodiest Brawls Vol 1. The Steel Cage matches against Styles (which is also available on Best of AJ Styles Vol 2) and Christian, along with the 2 Mosters Ball matches can all be found on Ultimate matches. The Falls Count Anywhere match with Jeff Hardy is already on the Best of Jeff Hardy. Only the matches against Rhino and Sting are excluive to this DVD. What’s more is that it starts in 2005, when Abyss has been in TNA since 2003. His matches back then weren’t that bad!

Final Verdict:

You could argue that this set hardly features the best of Abyss since Abyss loses 7 of the 8 matches here (He wasn’t even involved in the decision in the two Monsters Ball matches, and the one match he actually does win is by DQ). You could also argue that there’s too many gimmick matches and that Abyss is hopeless at standard wrestling matches, but then again why would anyone buy this DVD if they were expecting standard wrestling matches? This DVD is targeted to fans of Abyss and so you get exactly what you pay for: Hardcore, violent, stunt-filled insanity. It’s not for everyone, but those who are into that sort of thing will find this one very enjoyable I can assure you that.

3.5 STARS

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  1. SRB says:

    Good review. I felt that this could hardly be his best work since day one. Totally agree.

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