THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne – now in it’s 10th year!
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It’s time to step back into TNA territory for my latest review, as I take a look at their latest DVD release, Best of 2009, which features the likes of A.J. Styles, Sting, Kurt Angle, Jeff Jarrett and more, in the eight best matches from last year. But are they really the best?
July 16: Sarita takes on Alissa Flash on an episode of Impact in what is touted as the best Knockouts match of the year. It’s your typical TV kind of match here, very short but filled with tons of fast paced action, and good performances from both as Sarita got the pin with a victory roll. It was good, but I’ve seen better efforts from the Knockouts on pay-per-view.
January 22: More Impact action as A.J. Styles faces Kurt Angle in a tables match, touted as Impact‘s best match of the year.. Flawless performances from two of TNA’s best, even though it does seem a tad too short. But apart from that it’s pretty good, a nice back and forth encounter with Angle getting the win after Angle slamming Styles through a table. Sadly I can’t tell you if it is actually Impact’s best match of the year, as I’ve never actually watched an episode in full!
February 19: The final Impact match, and a second outing from Kurt Angle, taking on Sting in an empty arena match, touted as the best grudge match of the year. It’s basically one big fight around the empty Impact Zone, with the best moment coming when Sting threw Angle over a balcony, with Angle, according to Don West, falling fifteen feet to the floor. The brawl ends when Scott Steiner and Kevin Nash come out and stop them fighting, with a handshake sealing the deal – until Angle breaks that deal by spitting in the Stinger’s face, re-starting the brawl, before it’s ended by security. Well, it was okay, but nothing special. I’d hardly tout it as the best grudge match of the year though.
January 11: Kurt Angle’s third appearance, taking on Jeff Jarrett in a no disqualification match at Genesis. Now this is what a grudge match should be like. It begins with some nice wrestling before progressing to the more intense brawling around the arena, with both men bleeding for their art. It’s a real balls to the wall affair, with both men kicking out of pins after finishers, with Angle getting the pin after Jarrett’s own pin attempt. An exceptional match, even better than their first encounter.
October 18: Touted as the best X Division match of the year, Amazing Red defends the X Division title against Homicide, Suicide, Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley and Christopher Daniels in the Ultimate X match at Bound for Glory. This is the third time I’ve reviewed this match, and it’s just as good as I remember it, with Sabin and Shelley putting in some great teamwork, Suicide doing his usual crazy stuff, and tons of big bumps before Red dropped down through the top of the scaffold, grabbing the belt and retaining his title in the process. Great X Division fare here.
October 18: The second Bound for Glory match, as Sting challenges A.J. Styles for the TNA World title, in what was supposedly Sting’s final match….possibly. As with the previous match, this is the third time I’ve put this encounter through the review process, and this battle of the generations is just as good as I remember it, a nice, sporting, back and forth encounter filled with all their signature moves, with Styles retaining the title after a big splash from the top rope. Sadly, Sting’s great post-match promo has been edited out.
November 15: Kurt Angle makes his fourth appearance, taking on newcomer Desmond Wolfe at Turning Point. Nigel McGuinness had made a tremendous name for himself in Ring of Honor and beyond, and by putting him straight into a feud with the best wrestler in the company was a massive gamble. It paid off. Angle and Wolfe put on what was possibly the best wrestling match on American soil last year, with the fans roaring their approval with their “this is wrestling” chant. Their exchange of submission holds was excellent, with Angle finally getting the tap out win with a triangle choke. To paraphrase the crowd – this was awesome.
November 15: The second Turning Point encounter, with A.J. Styles defending his TNA World title against Samoa Joe and Christopher Daniels. These three had a tremendous series four years before, and they simply picked up where they left off, with three outstanding performances involving some innovative three way moves. All three put in a tremendous effort with tons of near falls and submission attempts, and Styles retaining the title after breaking up Daniels’ pin attempt with a 450 splash off the ropes, before getting the pin on Joe himself. The powers that bee consider this TNA’s best match of 2009. It was awesome, but Wolfe/Angle just edged it in my opinion.
DVD extras come in the form of a 2009 highlight video, Hulk Hogan’s press conference from Madison Square Garden, and an interview with Dixie Carter.
In conclusion – TNA Best of 2009 has it’s good and bad points. While it contains best matches from the Knockouts and X Division, there’s nothing from the tag team division, which for me has always been one of it’s strong points. It’s also kind of odd that, according to whoever compiled this, the matches got better as the year went on, and there wasn’t anything that good between January and October. Finally, given the many hours of television and pay-per-view programming they had over the year, surely they could have chosen more than just eight matches, turning this into a two disc set. This release is good, but it could have been so much better.
With thanks to the powers that be at TNA for supplying a copy of this release. TNA Best of 2009 can be purchased online at www.tnawrestling.com.