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   September 20, 2014



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The Weekly SLAM!: WWE, TNA live events vastly different
By MATT BISHOP - SLAM! Wrestling


There really is nothing like going to a live wrestling event.

In the past week I've had the chance to go to both a TNA house show in Windsor, Ontario, and a Smackdown TV taping in Cleveland, Ohio, and it really was quite the contrast.

Now, up front, it's not fair to compare a house show to a television taping, but the differences were stark.

TNA came to Windsor with what can generously be described as their B-crew. It was the who's-who of who isn't on TV right now because TNA booked the Windsor show, plus another in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., with Impact still being live on Thursdays. So that meant the crew who worked the house shows couldn't be anyone who was on TV. That results in a show that was 5.5 matches long, only lasted two hours, and that includes a 20-minute intermission, and featured Gunner of all people in the main event.

The two biggest stars on the show were Rob Van Dam and Mr. Anderson and RVD didn't even have his X Division title with him.

The crowd was about 500 people strong and not particularly heated for much of the night, no big surprise on either front considering the card. Kid Kash, however, did a fantastic job of going old school on the fans, welcoming some of them to jump the rail to fight him and other various heel techniques. Then he and Garett Bischoff had about a 15-minute match.

The TNA show did have its merits.

While the house show experience with them has diminished since Don West left the company, the pre-show meet-and-greet with some of the wrestlers is a great innovation that many in attendance took advantage of. And their sale of the "Brown Bag Special," which includes four DVDs, two shirts and two programs for $30, is a genius marketing program that not only gives the fans a great deal but allows TNA to clear out its warehouse quicker.

And a big boost was getting to break bread with SLAM! Wrestling's own Bob Kapur at the fantastic Tunnel BBQ in Windsor after the show.

Comparing it to the Smackdown taping in Cleveland, however, just isn't fair.

It featured many stars and saw matches taped for Main Event, Saturday Morning Slam and, of course, Smackdown itself.

Although the crowd was not as big as it was back in March when more than 16,000 people packed Quicken Loans Arena to see The Rock, the seats that weren't tarped off were completely full and the fans were into the show. It was a healthy crowd for a Smackdown taping.

Ryback even made an appearance on Saturday Morning Slam, beating up two jobbers. What was great is that the jobbers came out without an entrance and when the people saw them in the ring, they started chanting "Feed me more!" and exploded when Ryback's music hit.

After Smackdown went off the air, Sheamus challenged Big Show for the World Heavyweight Championship. It ended in about a minute by DQ when Show low-blowed Sheamus. Of course, Sheamus (in jeans) laid him out with the Brogue Kick to send everyone home happy.

I won't say too much else about the show because none of it has aired on TV yet, but it was a great night that had some very good wrestling and some excellent talking, as well.

So if there's wrestling in your town, whether it be WWE, TNA or even Ring of Honor or CHIKARA or your local independent promotion, go check it out. There's nothing like live wrestling.

Star of the Week: The Miz

This has been a weird week for The Miz, but one that earns him our Star of the Week. Possibly in the midst of turning face, Miz was named to Team Foley at Survivor Series and then teamed with Kane to beat the Rhodes Scholars on Raw. Then, on Main Event (taped Tuesday in Cleveland, his hometown), he engaged in a great promo battle with Dolph Ziggler and was involved in a match where he played the face on Smackdown, which was quite the odd sight to see after seeing him be a heel for so long.

It's certainly a new role for him, and if it sticks, one that will take quite a bit of getting used to. But at the same time, it seems to have some potential.

Random Thoughts

Impact goes back to its former taped format this month due to American Thanksgiving. We'll see if being taped for the first time since May alters the product at all ... Although I didn't have a chance to see the Turning Point pay-per-view due to work, I heard great things about the Jeff Hardy/Austin Aries ladder match. Also, the Bobby Roode/AJ Styles match from Impact last week deserves praise ... I really enjoying Todd Keneley on the Impact broadcasts. Nothing against Mike Tenay and Taz, but hearing two fresh voices on the show (Keneley and Jeremy Borash) in the first hour is welcome. I'd be in favor of WWE doing something similar on Raw, potentially using Michael Cole and Jim Ross for the first half of the show and then bringing in Jerry Lawler with Cole for the second half. Back to the TNA team, though. Borash is a fantastic talent who knows their product inside and out. He's a valued addition to the TV crew.

Tweets of the Week

We have a few tweets this week talking about the seventh anniversary of the death of Eddie Guerrero:

Vickie Guerrero ‏(@ExcuseMeWWE): I will love you Eddie....always and forever

Chavo Guerrero ‏(@mexwarrior): 7 yrs ago,I lost my uncle,brother friend.The whole world lost a hero, but heaven gained a returning son. Eddie Guerrero, gone not forgotten

Jim Ross ‏(@JRsBBQ): Complex & talented Eddie Guerrero died 7 yrs ago today. 1 of my greatest signees. Challenging man. Was his own worst critic. A star. RIP

Matt Hardy ‏(@MATTHARDYBRAND): It's been 7 years since we lost Eddie Guerrero. He was a great man & an incredible performer. I learned from working w/ Eddie. God bless EG.

William Regal ‏(@RealKingRegal): It's seven years ago today that my friend Eddie Guerrero passed away.My favourite all round performer in the Wrestling.I still miss him.

Lisa Marie Varon ‏(@TARALiSAMARiE): Eddie Guerrero will never be forgotten. Latino Heat.

Brian Heffron ‏(@TheeBlueMeanie): Still not over the fact that the world lost Eddie Guerrero 7 years ago today. Rest in Peace Eddie!!

David Lagana ‏(@Lagana): Felt lucky to have seen Eddie Guerrero wrestle in ECW and honored to worked with on Smackdown. You are missed Eddie and never forgotten.

Jimmy Korderas ‏(@jimmykorderas): 7 years ago today we lost Eddie Guerrero. My thoughts & prayers are with Vickie, the girls & Eddie's family. Miss you buddy!

Gabe Sapolsky ‏(@BookItGabe): We all miss you Eddie Guerrero. More and more every year.

YouTube of the Week

This week's video highlights, to me, Eddie Guerreo's greatest moment in wrestling: Beating Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship at No Way Out 2004. This was an extremely emotional moment for all involved and I still get a little misty-eyed watching it today.

Matt Bishop can be reached at bishop20@gmail.com. Please include your name and hometown. Click here to follow Matt on Twitter. Should be a good one!.