TNA should change the name of Sunday’s pay-per-view from “No Surrender” to “Surrender.” After all, if TNA isn’t going to bother promoting its show, it shouldn’t be any surprise when fewer people purchase it.
As I write this edition of “Heel Turns,” 5 days before “No Surrender,” TNA has not announced a single match. On its Web site, there’s a message: Matches coming soon!
No kidding. If they don’t come soon, there won’t be any matches for Sunday’s pay-per-view.
We know the Bound for Glory Series semifinals and final will take place Sunday, but that’s it. It’s as if TNA discovered “No Surrender” is going up against the Steelers-Broncos game Sunday night, which is Peyton Manning’s regular-season debut with the Broncos, and decided it wasn’t worth the time and effort to promote their event.
If TNA doesn’t care, why should the Greek god of wrestling care enough to preview “No Surrender,” which I can’t do without any matches? More importantly, if it doesn’t seem like TNA cares about its pay-per-view, why should the fans care?
IMPAIRED DEVELOPMENT: Compared to TNA, WWE seems way ahead of the game, having announced three matches for “Night of Champions” on Sun., Sept. 16. C.M. Punk will defend the WWE Championship against John Cena, Sheamus will defend the World Heavyweight Championship against Alberto Del Rio, and Layla will defend the Divas title against Kaitlyn.
But who will The Miz face when he defends his Intercontinental Championship. Whom will United States champion Antonio Cesaro battle at Night of Champions? Which team will get an opportunity at Kofi Kingston and R-Truth, the tag team champions?
WWE couldn’t bother to address these questions during its three-hour RAW Monday night. We didn’t even see the tag team champions. On the other hand, Miz did commentary, in place of Jerry Lawler, for most of the show. Couldn’t someone besides Layla have come to the broadcast table and given Miz some attitude? Couldn’t Zack Ryder have turned around after defeating Heath Slater and challenged Miz to a match?
The fact that I mentioned Ryder, who I listed as the most overrated wrestler in WWE in last week’s Heel Turns, highlights another problem for WWE. There aren’t many good challengers.
Who would be a good challenger for either the Intercontinental or U.S. championship? Randy Orton, Dolph Ziggler, Kane and Daniel Bryan are involved in higher-profile feuds, so they’re not likely challengers. Brodus Clay is a possibility, but he wasn’t on RAW this week. Former U.S. champ Christian would be a good challenger and produce a good match. Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara don’t currently have matches at Night of Champions.
The paucity of logical challengers highlights WWE’s failure to develop mid-range stars. It also indicates how little WWE seems to value its secondary belts. Night of Champions has been on the calendar for many, many months. How can the entire card not be announced yet? How could WWE have failed to produce challengers for these championships? And if they bring a challenger off their roster, wouldn’t the match benefit from properly building an issue between the challenger and champion?
Without the proper buildup, fans won’t care about the Intercontinental, U.S. and tag team title matches at Night of Champions. And I already think they don’t care about the Divas title match that night.
JERSEY DOUBLEHEADER: The NHL may be headed for a lockout, but the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J., will be a busy place Saturday. Combat Zone Wrestling and EVOLVE are teaming up for a doubleheader Saturday at the Flyers Skate Zone.
EVOLVE kicks off the action at 5 p.m. The main event of the CZW show (8 p.m.) features CZW world champion Masada defending his title against El Generico, and CZW World Junior Heavyweight champion A.R. Fox battling CZW Wired TV champion Dave Crist in a Chri$ Ca$h Memorial Ladder match to unify the titles.
Although separate tickets will be required for the shows, some wrestlers will appear on both shows. Fox will battle Ricochet during EVOLVE, which will also feature El Generico vs. Samuray Del Sol. Masada will also be in action, taking on Sami Callihan. Fans voted for the El Generico-Del Sol match to be the main event.
THREE OF A KIND: In contrast to WWE and TNA, CHIKARA has posted all of the first-round pairings for its King of Trios tournament, which takes place Sept. 14-16 at The Palmer Center in Easton. For a surprisingly good article – surprising because of the source – on the uniqueness and importance of King of Trios, read Eric Fisher’s article prior to last year’s event.
The first-round pairings Friday (7:30 p.m.) are: Team Extreme (Tommy Dreamer, Jerry Lynn, Too Cold Scorpio) vs. Team WWF (Tatanka, Aldo Montoya and, yes, the 1-2-3 Kid); Ring of Honor (The Young Bucks, Mike Bennett) vs. The Faces of Pain (Warlord, Barbarian, Meng); Team JWP (the all-woman Japanese team of Commando Bolshoi, Tsubasa Kuragaki and Koari Yoeyam) vs. The Throwbacks (Young Lions Cup winner “Mr. Touchdown Mark Angelosetti, Dasher Hatfield, Matt Classic); The Spectral Envoy (Hallowicked, Frightmare UltraMantis Black) vs. the “four-man trio” of the Submission Squad; Osaka Pro (Kikutaro, Ebessan, Takoyakida) vs. F.I.S.T. (Chuck Taylor, Johnny Gargano, Icarus); two-time defending champions The Colony (with AssailANT joining Fire Ant and Green Ant instead of Soldier Ant) vs. Team Sendai Girls (Dash Chisako, Meiko Satomura, Sendai Sachiko); Mike Quackenbush, Jigsaw and Manami Toyoto vs. The Swarm (CombatANT, DeviANT and the aforementioned Soldier Ant); and Scott Parker, Shane Matthews and Gran Akuma vs. The Batiri (Obariyon, Kobald, Kodama).
There are quite a few intriguing first-round matchups in this wildly unpredictable tournament. The quarterfinals will take place Sat., Sept. 15 (7:30 p.m.), along with Grand Champion Eddie Kingston defending his title against Tadasuke. There will also be a Fan Conclave at the Palmer Center on Saturday afternoon (2:30 p.m.). The King of Trios semifinals and final take place on Sept. 16 (4 p.m.).
BUSY WEEK: In addition to King of Trios, next weekend will kick off a busy week for local wrestling. TNA clashes directly with CHIKARA with shows in Bethlehem on Saturday and Wilkes-Barre on Sunday. On Tues., Sept. 18, WWE Smackdown comes to Wells Fargo Center. As if that weren’t enough, Ring of Honor’s “Death Before Dishonor X” takes place in Chicago, but it will available as an Internet pay-per-view. Night of Champions, of course, is at night on Sun., Sept. 16.
HUGE REACTION: Or should I drop the “E” and make it “Hug Reaction.” Either one would be correct. Achilles Heel could not believe the fantastic fan reaction to Daniel Bryan and Kane having to “hug it out” to solve their differences, an option chose by the “WWE Universe” via Twitter. That just goes to show what kind of reaction you can get with the proper buildup. WWE and TNA should take notice of the reaction Bryan and Kane received – and apply that logic to their pay-per-views.