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TNA London TV taping onsite report: Detailed notes on the live crowd's reaction, frustration with TNA booking, yet a positive overall experience
Dot Net reader Jamie (@epic_problem) attended the TNA Impact Wrestling television taping in London on Saturday and sent the following report.
Wembley Arena must have been at least a 90 percent full. From my spot on the floor I could see that a few of the highest levels seats were vacant but really not many.
The promise of a steel cage match felt slightly unfulfilled when it transpired to be a brief, spot-lite match between Kenny King and Zema Ion that was taped for Xplosion. King was over and didn't do anything to discourage the cheers. Later in the second TV taping he faced RVD for the X Division title and heeled it up and was greeted with mostly boos, yet there were still some audible pro King chants.
The London crowd often doesn't follow the script and had a lot of love for Austin Aries throughout the night. I'd say when he first came out he got one of the biggest pops of the night. Some faces were resoundingly booed, notably Chavo and Hernandez. I've been to all the London shows and there was a time (a while back) when Supermex was over with the fans... Times have changed.
Brooke Hogan came out to lots of heat and looked a little sheepish when on the mic.
The boos for Garret Bischoff weren't heat, people just can't stand him and there was a very loud and genuine 'you can't wrestle' chant whilst he was in the ring. I'm not sure that guy will ever be over.
The London crowd is always loud and they made all the right noises. The problem with filming two episodes is that the crowd became a little jaded by the end of the night and whilst guys like Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle still got great reactions each time they appeared, they never quite resembled the pop they got the first time around. Joseph Park was one of the few guys in the second taping that hadn't already been out and got some of the loudest chants of the latter part of the night.
Needless to say, all the UK stars were over. Rockstar Spud more so than others and he seemed genuinely humbled by it all. Party Marty took a nasty looking bump with a suicide dive gone bad that I couldn't really see but he left on his own steam, which was a relief.
Spoiler Warning: TNA booking leaves me scratching my head sometimes. The premise of show one was a series of matches to allow Hulk Hogan to pick the number 1 contender to face Hardy at Lockdown. Not a tournament, just whoever 'impressed' Hogan. We then got heel vs. heel and face vs. face matches. The crowd didn't really know who to invest in. I won't go into some of the overbooked finishes (double count out anyone?) but the set up didn't work for me. Then, to top it all off, Hogan gives the number one spot to Bully Ray...who didn't compete! He just saved Hogan from and Aces and Eights beat down.
The aforementioned beat down that never was made no sense either. Hogan was alone in the ring, seven (count them, seven) members of A&Es surround the ring and take all day about it. Bully Ray came out swinging his key chain and they backed down. Seven guys vs. a key chain and a pensioner and they back down. Eventually Sting hit the ring with baseball (and cricket) bats and A&Es finally scarpered.
Even in the make believe world of pro wrestling that was a bit hard to swallow.
I was praying for a Bully Ray turn last night that never came. I think it will, but pulling the trigger last night (once Ray had secured the title shot) would have worked for me and there would have been a cacophony of boos from the noisy crowd that would have sounded great on television.
TNA has its flaws, lots of them, but these shows are always fun and, given the scarcity of high end wrestling shows over here, they will always get a hot crowd. A couple of screens to show the in-ring action would go a long way though.
Chavo and Hernandez
Aces and Eights
Garett Bischoff (if that really counts as heat)
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