THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
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When you compare the WWE to TNA, there are some areas where WWE are on top, but others where TNA do so much better. One example of this is TNA’s tag-team division. This is why they’ve recently released a two-disc set entitled “Second 2 None: World’s Toughest Tag-Teams”. But as far as tag-teams go, are TNA really “second 2 none”? That’s what I’m hoping to find out by reviewing this collection.
The collection focuses on TNA’s four main teams at the moment – Team 3D, Beer Money, Inc., The Motor City Machine Guns, and the Latin American Xchange, and as with other TNA releases, the interviews with those concerned are mixed in with the matches.
Lockdown 2007: LAX defend the NWA Tag-Team titles against Team 3D in an electrified cage match. I don’t think I need to tell you how different this is from a normal cage match. Conspicuous by his absence at ringside when this match started was Konnan, LAX’s resident mouthpiece. If I’m to be totally honest, this match was okay, but it wasn’t overly exciting, and didn’t really get going until Konnan was wheeled down to ringside. With his crony having knocked out the ringside referee, Konnan was going to get involved in the match, but was stopped by Spanish broadcaster team member Hector Guerrero. But what got me about this one was that the actual gimmick, the electrified steel cage, wasn’t actually used until late on, when Hernandez used his border toss to thrown Brother Devon into the cage, accompanied by a flickering of the lights and sound effects. Now despite, as Mike Tenay kept telling us, the cage having ten thousand volts surging through it, Devon recovered pretty damn quickly. Highlight of the match came when Hernandez, complete with rubber gloves and boots, climbed to the top of the cage, intending to put Devon through a table, with Devon moving out of the way and Hernandez crashing through. In the end, the brothers emerged victorious, taking Homicide out with a 3D after he’d been thrown into the cage. Not bad, but there were certain aspects that just didn’t make sense.
Slammiversary 2007: Team 3D defend the NWA Tag-Team titles against Rick Steiner and Road Warrior Animal, a late replacement for the injured Scott Steiner. This one’s quite a quick match, and entertainment-wise it’s not too bad, especially seeing Steiner and Animal teaming together. Not really much to talk about here, with Team 3D getting the win after taking Steiner down with the 3D.
Turning Point 2007: NWA Tag-Team Champions Team 3D and Johnny Devine take on The Motor City Machine Guns and X Division Champion Jay Lethal in a tables match. This match was a part of their feud, which saw Team 3D and Devine trying to destroy the X Division. This was one of the best feuds TNA have ever produced, and this particular match was probably the best in this series. The Guns and Lethal looked superb in this match, with the Guns in particular putting together some great double team moves. Some of the spots did look a little contrived, but overall it was a great match. The end saw Team 3D screwing their opponents out of the win. After the referee took an accidental hit, Lethal put Devine through a table with a top rope table. But Team 3D came into the ring, took the Guns out, and then changed positions so it looked like Devine had put Lethal through the table. The referee made the count, and the bad guys won. Best match on the collection so far.
Victory Road 2008: A.J. Styles, Christian Cage and Rhino take on Kurt Angle and Team 3D in a match where the fans pick the stipulation. Their choice – full metal mayhem. So what we have here is basically a hardcore match, and a mass, six-man brawl, with both teams using an array of toys to beat the hell out of each other in a match which is actually very entertaining. We have guys hitting each other with chairs and ladders, getting put through tables, and jumping off high platforms onto their opponents below, as well as attempted interference from 3D’s running buddy Johnny Devine. Devon actually suffered an ankle injury in this match, and kudos to him for continuing, especially as it was obvious that he was having a great deal of trouble moving around. The end saw Frank Trigg, who had been commentating at ringside, attack Styles as he climbed a ladder, intending to put Angle through a table. This gave Angle the chance to recover, as he put Styles through a the table from the ladder, getting the pin for his team afterwards. A very good match, even better than the previous one.
Impact, 3rd January, 2008: A gauntlet match, featuring the Rock ‘N’ Rave Infection, the Voodoo Kin Mafia, Team 3D, the Motor City Machine Guns, and LAX, It’s a Royal Rumble type match, with one man entering at a time, and when two men are left, they bring their partners back out for a normal tag-team match. It’s another example of an overbooked TNA stipulation match. It’s your usual battle royal type action here, with Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin going up against Lance Hoyt and Jimmy Rave making it to the final match. This part doesn’t actually last long, mainly because a great deal of the match was cut out because of a commercial, with Shelley taking Rave out with Sliced Bread #2. But their celebration doesn’t last long as Team 3D return, along with Johnny Devine, to attack their foes, trying to injure their hands, before Jay Lethal and the rest of the X Division run in to make the save. This could have been a whole lot better, if the commercial break hadn’t cut out the end of the battle royal segment and the beginning of the tag-team match. Really poor planning and editing there.
Impact, 10th May, 2007: Alex Shelley and X Division Champion Chris Sabin (they haven‘t been named the Motor City Machine Guns yet) face Jay Lethal and Sonjay Dutt. This is one of those matches you just wish had been given more television time. There’s some tremendous action throughout this one, but at a shade over five minutes long, with Shelley pinning Dutt with his version of Nova’s old kryptonite crunch, or whatever the hell it’s called.
Genesis 2007: The Motor City Machine Guns take on Team 3D. If this match had taken place in WWE, then we’d have seen a dominating performance from Brothers Ray and Devon, and Shelly and Sabin would have been treated like jobbers. Instead the Guns were treated as equals, and that’s one of the things that made this match great. Shelly and Sabin’s team work was second to none, and Team 3D were just as good, playing the role of overgrown bullies to perfection, thinking that they can push around their smaller opponents, but finding that it’s not about the size of the dog in the fight….well, you know what I’m getting at here. Team 3D basically throw everything they can at the Guns, but their attempt to put Sabin through a table backfired when Sabin somersaulted off the table, ducking out of the way of a charging Devon, who ended up going through the table himself. The Guns then attacked Ray with a series of kicks, before Sabin got the pin for his team, ending a tremendous match.
Impact, 27th December 2007: TNA Tag-Team Champions A.J. Styles and Tomko go up against the Motor City Machine Guns in a non-title match. It’s another short television match which doesn’t really do either team justice, with a lot of the action cut out because of a commercial break. The Guns do a good job of dealing with the massive Tomko, but a distraction from Eric Young, trying to offer advice as to who Styles should align himself with (Angle or Christian?), sees both Sabin and Shelley pinning Styles at the same time. If only they’d been given more time.
Impact, 10th January 2008: Senshi (aka Low-Ki) and Elix Skipper face the Motor City Machine Guns. It’s another match sadly curtailed by television time constrictions. The action is fast, furious, and exciting to watch, but I’m again left to wonder what would have happened if they’d been given more time. Shelley got the pin on Senshi after the trademark kicks.
Impact, 12th June 2008: Speed Muscle, Naruki Doi and Masato Yoshino face the Motor City Machine Guns in a World X Cup preview match. The best of the Impact matches so far, with an impressive showing from the Dragon Gate team. At times they looked like a Japanese mirror image of the Guns, especially with some of their double team moves. Sabin got the pin on Yoshino, after the Guns took him out with a double super kick. Short, but awesome.
Impact, 30th October 2008: Hiroshi Tanahashi and Volador take on the Motor City Machine Guns. The Japanese/Mexican team put on a good display against the Guns, pulling off some great double team moves, although they’re obviously not as good as the Guns, with Sabin pinning Volador after the cradle shock. As with some of the other television matches, a bit too short.
Hard Justice 2008: LAX, defend their TNA World Tag-Team titles against Beer Money, Inc. You can tell this is one of Beer Money’s early outings, because Robert Roode is still wearing his spangled entrance robe. This feud started after Roode and James Storm won a number one contenders match. Later, they put Homicide through a glass covered table, injuring his eye. As for the match, it’s a great example of two teams at the top of their game, with Hernandez looking absolutely tremendous here. His dive over the top rope onto his opponents and landing on his feet was a thing of beauty, while Roode and Storm showed some great chemistry in the fledgling tag-team. Beer Money got the win and the titles in this one. While the referee was outside the ring trying to stop a catfight between Jackie Moore and Salinas, Homicide was about to take Storm down with the gringo killer, only for Roode to come into the ring and to hit Homicide right in his injured eye with a beer bottle. A few seconds later, Roode got the win, ending a great match.
No Surrender 2008: Beer Money, Inc. defend their TNA Tag-Team titles in a re-match with LAX. The Beer Money image is more or less set in stone now, with James Storm coming to ring with his foam dome helmet on. It’s a good match, but nowhere near as good as their previous encounter. One great moment saw Homicide almost gain revenge for the beer bottle incident, only for Roode to move out of the way, with Homicide smashing the bottle on the ring steps. Beer Money retained when, while the referee was dealing with a brawl at ringside, Jackie Moore came into the ring and threw powder into Homicide’s face, with Roode getting the pin with a bridge suplex.
Bound for Glory 2008: Beer Money Inc. defend their TNA Tag-Team titles against Abyss & Matt Morgan, Team 3D and LAX in a Monster’s Ball match, with Steve “Mongo” McMichael as special referee. It’s basically an eight man brawl with weapons, and Steve McMichael wandering around the ring with a gormless look on his face making the occasional very slow count. He even got involved in a face-off with stance with Storm, and clotheslined Roode. So apart from McMichael’s very poor performance, the action was good, with eight good performances, interference from 3D’s running buddy Johnny Devine, Abyss gets put through a flaming table, Hernandez gets put through a table with thumb tacks on it, and Roode stealing the pin to retain the titles. Good stuff, but if only Mongo was so bad as a referee!
Genesis 2009: Jay Lethal and Consequences Creed defend the TNA Tag-Team titles against Matt Morgan & Abyss and Beer Money, Inc. in a three way match. Lethal and Creed won the titles just a few days before this show by cashing in their feast or fired option. Not the best match on the collection, but still good in it’s own right. The exchanges between the champions and Beer Money were the best thing about this match, while Abyss and Morgan just seemed like bystanders most of the time, not really adding anything to the match until the final few moments, when Abyss accidentally clobbered Morgan with one of the title belts. Lethal looked like he was going to get the pin on Roode, but the referee was distracted by Jackie Moore on the outside. Back in the ring Storm super kicked Lethal, and draped Roode over the fallen Morgan to get the winning pin.
Against All Odds 2007: NWA World Tag-Team Champions LAX face Team 3D in a non-title Little Italy Street Fight. It’s basically a hardcore match, which begins with the ring looking like a cheap restaurant. They hit each other with rubbish bins, steel chairs, and the cheap looking tables, before Homicide cut open Devon with a pizza cutter, after which Brother Ray challenges Homicide to a cheese grater/pizza cutter showdown. There’s also interference from a few members of the Latino Nation, but in all it’s nothing really special. There isn’t even the trademark TNA brawl through the crowd, which is what this match was crying out for. Plenty of false finishes near the end, after Brother Ray kicked out of a pin after Hernandez put him through a table, with the big guy soon getting the win after taking Devon with the border toss, getting the pin with a little help from Homicide.
Destination X 2007: NWA World Tag-Team Champions LAX face Team 3D in a non-title Ghetto Brawl. It’s basically a hardcore/tables match, where you can win by pinfall or by putting someone through a table. This one is a little more entertaining, with both teams hitting each other with whatever they can get their hands on, and unlike the previous match, we get the trademark TNA brawl through the crowd. We even have Mike Tenay quoting punk legends The Clash after Hernandez got thrown into a wall. “He fought the wall and the wall won!” Eventually they got back to the ring, hitting each other with various weapons again, before the Latino Nation attacked Ray and Devon again, only for Devon’s mentor Johnny Rodz to come down to the ring to clean house, and when the Latinos came back, Devon’s “brothers from Brooklyn” came down and attacked the Latinos, and as they brawled around ringside, the match finally returned to normal. It wasn’t long before the brawlers came back, with Brother Ray taking them all out with a top rope dive. Then, of all people, Alex Shelley came down to the ring with his camera, and helped Homicide take Devon down, putting him through a table with a frog splash, with the referee counting Homicides pin. As I said, this was a little more entertaining, but way too overbooked towards the end.
Bound for Glory 2007: Triple X (Senshi and Elix Skipper) face LAX in an Ultimate X match, with the winner becoming the number one contenders to the TNA Tag-Team titles. Now this was more like. Ultimate X matches always promise a lot, and they always deliver. Four great performances here, with, for me, the highlight being the exchanges between Senshi and Hernandez, and once again it was Elix Skipper who supplied the death defying moment, diving off one of the structures and taking Hernandez out with a cross body block. The end came when, after border tossing Skipper on to Senshi at ringside, Hernandez climbed along the wires to grab the big “X” to win the match and get the title shot. Out of the three matches to focus on LAX so far, this is the best.
Victory Road 2008: TNA World Tag-Team Champions LAX face Beer Money, Inc. in a fans revenge match, with numerous marks…I mean fans around the ring carrying leather straps, with orders to whip the wrestlers if they leave the ring. It’s another early match from James Storm and Robert Roode’s tenure as a team (they’re not wearing matching outfits here), and while the action in the ring is good, outside it’s kind of sucks. I reviewed a similar match on the Jeff Jarrett DVD recently. I didn’t like that aspect of it, and it’s the same here. Thankfully the mark’s attempts didn’t amount to much, and the title didn’t change hands when Homicide took Roode down with a cutter off Hernandez’s shoulders. Good match, but please don’t let the marks get involved.
Impact, 20th November 2008: Sonjay Dutt and Hiroshi Tanahashi face Consequences Creed and Jay Lethal: Very quick match with Creed pinning Dutt after taking him out with the TKO.
Impact, 8th January 2009: Lethal Consequences cash in their Feast of Fired shot and challenge Beer Money, Inc. for the TNA World Tag-Team titles. With Robert Roode having just injured his knee in a singles match, James Storm, dressed in street clothes, began this one alone. Roode does eventually get involved in the match, but his inability to run interference leads to his team’s downfall, as Lethal is able to stop Roode hitting him with a steel briefcase, with Lethal himself using the case to take out Storm while the referee is distracted by Jackie. A three count later, and new champions are crowned in a very good and well executed encounter.
In conclusion – while the majority of the action on this collection is good, I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed.
Let’s begin with the interview segments. Apart from the interviews with Team 3D, the rest of the interviews are carried out with the separate members of the team, and while they were okay, it would have been nice to see Homicide and Hernandez, Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley, and Robert Roode and James Storm interviewed together instead of alone. We could have seen how they played off against each other away from the ring.
As for the matches, while there were no five star classics, most of them were good. However, I was a little disappointed that those putting this collection together didn’t look a little deeper into the TNA archives. It would have been nice to see matches involving some of the teams that are no longer around, such as America’s Most Wanted, the original Triple X, and the excellent team of Christopher Daniels and A.J. Styles. But I suppose I can be thankful that The Johnsons weren’t featured.
So in all, it’s a good enough collection, but it was somewhat lacking in certain areas. It’s worth having a look, but be prepared to be a little disappointed.
With thanks to the powers-that-be at TNA for supplying a copy of this release.