January 30th, 2009

HBK - Pointing

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I know it was a blatant ripoff of nWo's takeover of Monday Nitro, right down to the opening intro announcement. But last night's Impact was pretty damn cool. Booker T's gravelly voice didn't make for the best play-by-play, but having him announce during the middle of a match was wonderful. "Wow! Bookah's kickin' dat guy in de face! *kicks* Look at dat!" Kev's color commentary was spot-on to the point that he could do so regularly, given a little practice. Steiner was horrible in the booth but made for a fantastic ring announcer. It was a drastic departure from the clean, professional, Vegas-style ring announcers usually used, but people were laughing and cheering at his own, unique style. No "Ladies and Gentlemen"...rather, "Listen up, you hicks and white-trash rednecks!"

As a storytelling device, it actually went extremely well. The bad guys got to "take over" and have some fun, but the good guys fought back and regained control about halfway in. Plays up the struggle for power angle, as well as saves that night's show by allowing some legitimate matches to be booked for the main event rather than everything being horribly one-sided squash matches. Also provided for some much needed poetic justice, and helps to keep from giving the heels too much of a push when the point is to get the members of the Front Line over. Even in the segment where they were in complete control, they pointed out an internal power struggle within the group to keep it from being completely one-sided.

I also noticed something very interesting during the main event. The match featured a tough minority tag team called LAX - the Latin American Xchange. Their big gimmick has always been about how they're held back and oppressed, how they're fighting for all the Latino nation, and up until the recent set redesign they even came through a separate entrance next to the Spanish announce team in protest, while videos of Che Guevara and other struggles of the Latino people played in the background. Even their finishers are things such as the "Gringo Killa" and the "Border Toss".

Homicide and Hernandez came down the ramp, flashing gang signs while some hip-hop beats blared over the loudspeaker. "To Live and Die in LAX" was one of the key refrains, and one of the main slogans used on all their merchandise. I've seen and heard that numerous times in the past, never thinking much of it other than it sounded all tough and urban. But suddenly it hit me exactly where I've heard that phrase before:

You cannot imagine how hard I laughed once I made that mental connection. XD