Written by: Arnold Furious
We’re in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios. Hosts are Mike Tenay and Super Shill Man. The could really use a bigger venue for PPV’s. A building with 900 people in hardly screams “rival to WWE”.
Little Italy Street Fight – Team 3D v LAX w/Konnan
For those new to TNA Team 3D would be the former Dudley Boys. LAX are Hernandez and Homicide. There are crappy little tables in the ring to try and make it look like a little street café. I’m reminded that LAX are the tag champs but this is non title. Homicide breaks out a tope con hilo, which Super Shill Man calls! He’s been learning. Hernandez goes for the suicide dive but D-Von nails him in the head with a chair. Homicide then gets backdropped into the ring post on the floor. Fucking hell this is a little extreme isn’t it? Brother Ray hits a fall away slam on Homicide on the ramp then Hernandez gets a suplex on there from D-Von. The cage dancers come over to give Brother Ray a lapdance. It really IS Little Italy? Is that Marisa Tomei? Homicide lines up a few lame looking plunder shots. If there’s one guy I don’t expect to whiff on plunder shots its Homicide. Another lame shot with a trashcan follows. Out comes the pizza cutter. New Jack 2K7! Or Vic Grimes. Whatever. Homicide takes the pizza cutter to D-Von. That’ll be blood then. Homicide has this great look where he genuinely looks disturbed. Ray hits him with a cheese grater. In comes a bunch of Hispanic thugs. 3D make short work of them. Tenay refers to them as the “Latino nation”. 3D set up the waaaasuuup headbutt, which scores. Eww, blood to the groin. Someone is going to catch hepatitis out there. D-Von gets sent out for tables. Crowd wants tables. There’s a table right there in the ring. Are you blind or something? D-Von planchas onto the Latino nation. That leaves Ray alone for Homicide to hit a sloppy diving rana. Hernandez hits a spinebuster through the table and Homicide adds in a Savage Elbow for 2. This match has lost me now. It’s dragging. D-Von hits inverted DDT for 2. I’ve never bought that as a finisher. It never pins anyone for starters. Border Toss from Hernandez on D-Von gets the pin at 9.26. That’d be a Razors Edge. **. Decent opener. Certainly got the crowd hot. Wasn’t much in the way of psychology or anything. The brawling got a bit disjointed after the hot start too.
BACKSTAGE Jeremy Borash gets a word with Austin Starr (that’d be Austin Aries with a lot more gimmick). Bob Backlund strolls past. Awesome. Starr says David Caradine from Kung Fu is more of a warrior than Senshi. He warns Backlund not to touch him again. Backlund throws some big words at Borash. “Was that young man trying to exacerbate me with his discourse YOUNG MAN”? Bob Backlund really creeps me out sometimes. Like when he’s onscreen.
Austin Starr v Senshi
Senshi is Low-Ki although I’m not sure that’s even been acknowledged. I figured he’d be wearing a mask or something. But no, it’s just Low-Ki. I’ve never gotten Ki’s attitude. He comes off like an arrogant jerk all the time but he’s doing it without achievement. In terms of honours he’s won the X title and the ROH title before that was something important. Hell, he lost it to Xavier. In my mind Starr is the bigger, er, star. Although he’s also changed his name since being ROH champion. I don’t know if I’m in the minority but I’d rather just see a straight up match between the two with no attempts at gimmicks and whatnot. Starr with a few back rakes. West is annoying me already by deliberately referring to Aries as “The Austin Starr”. I know that’s the gimmick but it’s annoying as hell. Senshi with a few kicks but Starr puts him on his back and works the pendulum elbow only for Senshi to move. More kicks from Senshi. Starr cuts him off into a gutwrench powerbomb for 2. This match is so detached and cold. I don’t feel like I’m being drawn into it emotionally. That’s been a big failing of Low-Ki for some time. Which is a shame because he used to be great at it but as soon as his moves didn’t come across as innovative anymore his inability to connect with people became more clear. He’s better as a heel these days. Senshi with more kicks for 2. Senshi with the springboard kick. I always liked that move but TNA got the camera angle wrong and showed Starr just standing there waiting for it. They run an awkward spot near the ropes before Ki breaks out another kick. Starr gets the crossface chickenwing. Bob Backlund won’t like that. Senshi gets out anyway and hits a dropkick. Warriors Way (double stomp off the top) misses. Back to that chickenwing. They then botch a horrible roll up reversal sequence where Ki gets the pin at the second attempt at 8.19. *1/2. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. The match wasn’t great but that finish was brutal. It looked to be deliberate in terms of booking as both guys ended up with shoulders down and then both got a shoulder up but the referee counted three anyway. It just sucked. No need for sucking in finishes.
POST MATCH Starr starts lobbing chairs into the ring. He grabs the mic and bitches about the finish. He stages a sit in but that brings out Bob Backlund. He’s clearly upset about something. Starr backs down then slaps Backlund. At the second attempt. When you’re fucking up a slap it’s time to start thinking about the direction of your career. Backlund chickenwings him and drags him out the back.
BACKSTAGE JB interviews Christian Cage, the NWA champion. Tomko complains about how Scott Steiner is a complete egomaniac. Tomko wants Steiner to know Tomko is #2 in this stable. Steiner walks in to call Tomko a “muscle bound idiot”. HAHAHAHAHA. He says that Tomko is incompetent. “Clean my glasses, bitch”. HAHAHA. Scott Steiner owning in the promos here. Cage turns it around to blame Kurt Angle for taking Steiner’s spot. Steiner realises the flaw in that logic and wants a piece of Cage instead. Cage demands Tomko go and fix this.
CLIPS – We see Krusty Hemme. Sorry, Christy Hemme. She has a fair few whiny promos on here until Kip James lays down the law with a few sexist cracks. Is he the babyface then? Jim Cornette books her in a match to shut her up. Jesus, way to whine like a total bitch Christy.
Tuxedo match – Christy Hemme v Big Fat Oily Guy
So why isn’t Hemme wearing an evening gown? I take it BFOG is just here to mock the WWE for using Big Dick Johnson. Because that’d be ok if they weren’t booking him in matches. This is brutally bad on all fronts. I mean WCW bad. Christy gets the upper hand the crowd boo the shit out of it. “We all love Christy Hemme” says Tenay. Speak for yourself. I think she’s worthless. BFOG struggles with taking her clothes off, which would be in line with his inability to score with chicks. The only positive thing about this match is it’s making me feel better about my beer gut. BFOG can barely keep his trousers up. Christy low blows him and takes the trousers off for the win at 2.28. -*. Did he have to be wearing a g-string?
POST MATCH Christy gets on the mic and complains some more. Wah, wah, wah, wah. Sick of this whining is Kip James who comes out to have words. The former Billy Gunn strips Christy of her shirt to point out she’s only good for T & A. Bingo. Bye, Christy.
BACKSTAGE Alex Shelley makes fun of the blonde interviewer. “Debbie Harry is proud of your tribute”. He has some assorted backstage folks around to show a video package of Tracy Brooks. That’ll continue later. Great. Looking forward to it. Hopefully more Alex Shelley and less video.
CLIPS – Lance Hoyt wants AJ Pierzinski to “step into my ring”. Oo er missus. Dale Torborg? Who cares about Dale Torborg? Hey, it’s Johnny Damon. He wouldn’t be on the babyface team if TNA was based in Boston. I can tell you that much.
Dale Torborg w/AJ Pierzinski v Lance Hoyt w/David Eckstein
This match is labelled BaseBrawl. See, I don’t get this. I don’t particularly object to the White Sox or Pierzinski but I can’t stand the Cards and I hate Eckstein. Although this is kind of because I support the Astros. But then when it comes to the wrestling I hate Torborg because I was so irritated by the KISS Demon in WCW. Pierzinski isn’t the most hated man in baseball either. Barry Bonds anyone? Everyone outside of San Francisco hates Barroids. Torborg reminds me of a mini me version of Great Khali. Pierzinski gets more involved during the match and hits a low blow on the floor to let Torborg take over. Hoyt runs the ropes and fucks up something off the top. The commentators do a fine job of covering for the botch. Pierzinski chair shots Hoyt in the back. How does the referee miss that? Torborg pins and it’s over at 4.19. DUD. The really did suck something fierce.
POST MATCH Eckstein tells the ref that Pierzinski that there was a chair shot and he believes him. So then Eckstein, like the cheating St Louis son of a bitch he is, chair shots Torborg and the Hoyt gets the real pin at 5.04. -* for running such a horrible finish.
BACKSTAGE we get more Alex Shelley. Hey, that old man is Kevin Nash! Shelley tries his best to break the microphone. Eric Young shows up on the video package to meet with Tracy Brooks. Her claims to be a virgin are fooling no one. She persuades Eric to sign a contract that puts Bobby Roode in charge of him. Well, he goes to sign it and we cut away again. This really is a big waste of time.
Motor City chain match – AJ Styles v Rhino
Motor City? Orlando? When the WWE names matches after places it’s because they’re in those places. You can tell Russo is booking this. There are two poles in this match as well as the chain. One pole has a key to the chain. The other pole has a nightstick on it because Ray Traylor is dead and that gimmick is up for grabs. If you can ignore how that makes no sense you still must question why there are three stipulations on this match. AJ is playing chickenshit here, which isn’t in line with his personality. I feel generally heel turns fuck with characters too much. Outside where AJ gets run into a bunch of stuff. Rhino is looking ECW wide again. They play tug o’ war around the ring post. AJ tries to stand off the post but Rhino fails to pull hard enough and AJ falls on his back. Ouch. Are there usually this many fuck up’s in TNA? They go inside again for a really contrived low blow with the chain spot. Rhino with a belly to belly. He sets up for a Gore. After four minutes? I think not. AJ dropkicks him as Rhino charges. Is AJ going bald? He gets a clothesline with the chain. He aims to get the key down but Rhino uses the chain to haul him back down. Heel AJ doesn’t have much of a moveset does he? He does the springboard flying forearm. That chain seems to be putting him off a little too. I think the major problem TNA has is every match has a bunch of stipulations, which makes the stips on this seem less important. Rhino comes back with a nice spinebuster for 2. Rhino is at his best when he’s just throwing people around and breaking them. Rhino gets the nightstick down. AJ uses the chain to go low. Why not just kick him in the balls? I don’t get the need for something so convoluted. The set up always feels very deliberate. AJ wails away with the nightstick making it look useless. AJ chokes away with it instead. I don’t get using a weapon and then not having it have any effect. It’s an XPW thing to do. With all these stipulations the nightstick should be the finish. Otherwise what was the point in having it? AJ gets the key and unlocks himself to hit a frogsplash. AJ takes a walk but the crowd screaming chicken at him gets him to go back. He cuffs Rhino to the ropes and he has the key round his neck. AJ does the carrot/donkey spot then clocks him with the Pele Kick. It’s not Pay-Lay West! What the fuck are you talking about? Rhino hits the GORE but he can’t reach the key or AJ. Referee Earl Hebner totally heels on AJ by kicking the key over to Rhino. “You screwed AJ” – Orlando. That is SO true. Rhino bails for a table. What is this? XPW? You have a weapon in a match so obviously you break out a different weapon that has nothing to do with the three existing stipulations. Talk about overbooked. Rhino goes to Gore AJ through the table but AJ ducks and Rhino only gores the table. It knocks him out, or something, and AJ pins for the win at 15.05. **1/4. Boy was that ever overbooked. If there’s a guy who doesn’t need stipulations to make him look good its AJ Styles. Rhino didn’t even hit the table that hard. There’s a lot about this match that doesn’t sit right with me. I can’t put my finger on everything but the major thing that bothers me was the multitude of stipulations that then didn’t figure into the ending of the match. So why bother?
BACKSTAGE Alex Shelley makes fun of the blonde interviewer again before chatting to Kevin Nash. What’s the point of this again? In the video Tracy threatens to take a walk forcing Eric Young to sign the contract. Tracy suckers him into closing his eyes while she leaves the hotel. Well, they sure made him look like a total moron. Bobby Roode doesn’t seem too thrilled even though she achieved her goal. Bob Backlund comes in to rant at Alex Shelley and Kevin Nash. “You’re trying to destroy our world”. When they all leave he keeps ranting at the empty chairs. Kooky. Could have easily been done as one segment and not three though.
CLIPS – Chris Sabin mocking Jerry Lynn’s age. “You kids with your pacman video games”. Someone has seen BASEketball! That looked like a fun build up.
X title – Chris Sabin (c) v Jerry Lynn
The commentators talk about the psychology behind this. West suggests the longer it goes the better it is for the younger Sabin. Not sure what he wants to do when he “takes him out behind the barn” though. Sabin bails a few times to frustrate Lynn but he’s experienced enough to know mind games when he sees them and doesn’t bother chasing. Lynn with an armdrag and he then fakes out Sabin on an armdrag the other way before applying a headlock. Sabin stamps on his foot and then gets the headlock himself. Great shit eating grin from Sabin. He knows where his cameras are. Sabin pulls the hair and hides in the ropes and that does irritate Lynn. Sabin bails out and Lynn follows but Lynn fakes him and Sabin misses a pescado. For UK viewers – I’m getting sick of Joe Hachem’s face. Going back inside Sabin boots the rope into Lynn’s groin. That’d be the first time he’s left himself open. Hair assisted backbreaker gets 2. Backbreaker gets 2. His focus is quickly becoming apparent. He works the back some more and does a few shoulder charges into there. Another backbreaker gets 2. Sabin with an armbar. You’d think that would be bad psychology but he only does it so he can use Lynn’s hand in a mocking hand clapping spot. I like that. Sabin with a disgusting spithand to the face. Urgh. Just…urgh. How do you come up with shit like that? Lynn is pretty upset and fires back. Crowd doesn’t seem to care, which is frustrating. Lynn with a few dropkicks. He’s all fired up now. Lynn with a spithand of his own. Urgh, again. I just never want to see that again. Lynn gets hung up on the ropes to turn it around again. Sabin breaks out the SPIRALBOMB. I love that move. That gets 2. Sabin goes for Cradleshock but Lynn flips out for 2. Lynn hits the TKO for 2. Looks like we’re going into spots for the run in. Lynn goes for the Cradle Piledriver but can’t do it because his back hurts. Sabin reverses him and pins using the ropes for the win at 13.50 (using Csonka’s time seeing as my version has an ad break in it). ***1/4. Finally a good match with good psychology that actually leads to a finish. Now, how hard was that? Predictably the crowd doesn’t care. The X division does seem to have lost some of its steam these days.
SHILL – Destination X and Impact. They’re naming a new match apparently.
BACKSTAGE Samoa Joe has been to see Kurt Angle.
PROMO TIME – Robert Roode w/Miss Brooks
Roode is out here to explain the purpose of all those segments. Robert Roode Incorporated now owns Eric Young. Roode rambles on and on and on about how much the crowd sucks and how much Eric Young sucks. Eric can’t make any kind of rejoinder because Roode owns him. I understood that some time ago. I don’t really feel the need for four segments about this angle. Especially on PPV.
BACKSTAGE Cage gets another interview. Do we need two interviews? Cage tells us he feels everyone is trying to drum up trouble to sell tickets but the Christian Coalition is still together. Christian calls Angle “Dr Evil”, which tickles me. He says he’ll be on the gold medal podium tonight. In comes Jim Cornette to point out the title changes hands on DQ.
James Storm/Jackie Moore v Petey Williams/Gail Kim
The heels are playing the Tennessee link. The Tennessee Cowboy and Miss Tennessee. Makes sense to put them together. I’ve always liked James Storm. It’ll be interesting to see whether a singles push plays out for him. Storm works a headlock and deliberately pulls Petey’s hair a bit. Petey comes back with a bulldog and a rana. Crowd doesn’t care. Storm panic tags Jackie in. She gets in Petey’s face. Hey Petey, someone your height! Jackie gets atomic dropped and in comes Gail. She hair mares Jackie around. Women’s wrestling eh? I love how people complain about the WWE’s women’s division being no good. You want good women’s wrestlers – hire some Japanese girls. They’ve lived and breathed it their whole lives not done a bunch of modelling and then got themselves trained in their late 20’s. Storm shoves Petey around some more. Jackie kicks at him in insulting fashion. The crowd’s attention span is really being tested here. Storm realises no one cares and works at a chinlock. Whirlybird slam from Storm. Jackie tags in to elbow drop Petey for 2. Big kick out on that. Jackie with a headlock but Petey suplexes out of it. They run some nice counters with Storm and Petey. The latter calls for his finish. Jackie goes to the eyes to stop the destroyer. Gail jumps in there with a headscissors to stop that. Gail still looks pretty inept in there. Missile dropkick scores. That was better. Pin gets 2. Gail with a roll up but the ref misses it. Storm nails her between the eyes and Jackie gets the pin at 8.48. *. If anything it was too long. I was certainly losing interest on it in a hurry.
POST MATCH Storm bails for a beer bottle. Petey sees it coming and knocks him over. Petey grabs the bottle. Hey, there’s still beer in there. Careful! Storm gets the superkick in after Jackie jumps on Petey’s back. The referee tries to stop this so Jackie DDT’s him. The heels go for the Death Sentence but out comes CHRIS HARRIS for the big comeback. Storm is scared shitless and runs away like a coward. I love the angle but the match wasn’t up to much, which is a pity but then it is just a means to get from A to C.
BACKSTAGE JB has Sting who’s wearing Abyss’ mask. This makes him hard to understand. He talks about Abyss needing to put the past behind him and calls Jim Mitchell “the devil”.
Prison Yard match – Abyss w/Jim Mitchell v Sting
I think the name of the match is stupid. Are they in prison? No. Are they in a yard? No. It’s basically a brawl match backstage and in the ring is a “solitary confinement cage”. You win by locking your opponent into said cage. So we start backstage where they have a bunch of fans and something vaguely resembling a prison yard. Well, they tried I guess. Sting gets chucked into a dumpster but finds plunder in there to hit Abyss with. Then Abyss inexplicably sets himself up on a table so Sting can splash him through it. Just a LITTLE convoluted. That apparently does it for the all the crap they had backstage. Not even three minutes worth of stuff. Waste of time if you ask me. Out to ringside and Sting breaks out the barbwire baseball bat. The bat I like, the barbwire I don’t. He hits Abyss with it a few times. Why not just use the bat? Isn’t that bad enough? Sting turns his attentions to Mitchell who gets laid off the apron, opened up and strangled. Sting forgets about Abyss who is able to jump him. Abyss breaks one of the flashing red lights off the turnbuckles and bashes Sting with it breaking the light. That was cool. Sting gets thrown in the cage but Abyss can’t get the door shut. Abyss decides to give up for some inexplicable reason to get a barbwire board. Sting is still in the cage btw recovering. Abyss looks like such a mong for not doing anything. Sting gets out of the cage but runs into the Black Hole Slam. So throw him in the cage and lock the door right? Well no, because Sting is still strong enough to block it. Sting kicks the door at him and it misses but Abyss sells it anyway. Sting runs out of the cage with a Stinger Splash and the Scorpion Deathdrop. Mitchell jumps into the ring but gets slapped in the Scorpion Deathlock. Wow, how dumb is Sting? Abyss jumps him from behind. Quelle surprise. Sting gets dumped on a table and appears to be unconscious. Erm, then throw him in the cage? Mitchell tells Abyss to climb the cage. Idiot. Sting puts the barbwire board on the table and powerbombs Abyss off the cage through the table. That’ll do it. Abyss gets thrown into the cage and Sting wins it at 11.56. **3/4. Well they sure tried hard. I’ll give them that. Some of the booking made both guys look stupid though, which I found quite irritating.
POST MATCH Sting chokes the unprotected Mitchell and out comes security to save him. That Sting is an asshole man. What’s wrong with a bit of devil worship?
BACKSTAGE JB talks to Kurt Angle. He says Kurt is focused and “in the zone”. Yeah, the KERAZZY ZONE! Angle says he saw Joe as the best, which is why he spent three months fighting him.
NWA title – Christian Cage (c) w/Tyson Tomko v Kurt Angle
I heard a few complaints about how both these guys were WWE cast offs and shouldn’t be the main event because of that but if it draws in new fans then what the hell. TNA has to look after its bottom line. Cage’s music totally owns Angle’s. Referee Andrew Thomas takes exception to Tomko being here and threatens to DQ Cage and take his title away if he doesn’t leave. Angle goes amateur style to start with and takes Christian down. Christian ends up having to grab the ropes because he’s completely being schooled. This brings out Samoa Joe so he can be the unofficial enforcer. I’d have preferred a match from him to be really honest. Joe’s arrival kills about a minute of action. Couldn’t he have turned up before the match started? How hard would that have been? Christian makes this about striking where he figures he has more of a chance but Angle just drops down into the anklelock. Christian bails out of the ring because he’s so worried about that hold. On the floor is Samoa Joe though. This allows Angle to pick Christian up and bash his back into the post. Back inside he adds a backdrop. Interesting he’d choose the back to work on when he almost always uses the anklelock to finish. I guess it does set up the Angleslam but nothing else. Angle misses a charge and careers into the ring post. Christian with a chinlock but Angle drags his way out of it. Christian throws him outside. This match has really slowed up. The back work seems to have gone nowhere. Christian’s offence meanwhile has been thanks to two Angle mistakes and he’s had zero focus. Angle busts out the rolling backdrop suplexes but Christian escapes on number two and the whole thing looked awkward. Christian goes for the Unprettier but Angle drops out into the anklelock. Christian has too much left and climbs over the referee to get the ropes. This allows Christian to go low because the ref has his back turned. UNPRETTIER~! That only gets 2. I think they telegraphed that being a kick out by putting it so early in the match. Like they’d only go 10 minutes on the main event. 15 minutes is believable but not 10. Not for a company that prides itself on its wrestling matches. Christian lifts the Steiner bicep kiss elbow and the push ups. Angle picks the leg though. Christian blocks an anklelock only to get catapulted into the buckles. Christian goes up top but Angle runs the ropes for the belly to belly superplex. Both guys stay down. Christian staggers backwards into the Rolling Germans. Angle, machine like, pops off seven of the fuckers. That gets 2. AJ Styles is out here. Angle sees him coming and Joe scares him off. Back in the ring, and missed by the camera as well as the referee, Christian hits a chair shot. The only inclination that it happened was the sound of it. Frogsplash gets 2. Christian goes for the Unprettier and hits it for the second time. Pin only gets 2 and the crowd buy it as a near fall this time. Joe beckons Christian to come out and fight him. Why didn’t Christian just go for the Unprettier again? Angle gets the anklelock but the referee is bumped to the floor. Joe tries to bring the referee around but can’t get him up. Angle has the straps down. Angleslam. Christian is down and out but by the time the referee gets back in there Christian has recovered and kicks out. Christian goes to the eyes and the referee is bumped AGAIN. Tomko runs out here and throws Joe into the steps. He gets met by Angle with the Rolling Germans though. Scott Steiner runs in with a lead pipe. Angle battles him off too. Joe is in there and he clotheslines Tomko out of the ring. Joe tells Angle to finish this. Joe does the elbow suicida to take out the Christian Coalition. Steiner tries for a chair shot but Joe takes it off him and bashes him with it. They brawl backstage. Angle and Christian are left alone now. Christian tries for the Angleslam to take the piss but Angle counters into the anklelock. The referee is STILL down as Christian taps out. Christian uses the lead pipe and nails Angle in the shoulder. The ref is stirring now. Christian on one leg but that’s enough for the Unprettier and that’ll do it at 19.02. ***1/2. Good match with some overbooking elements taking it down.
Final Thoughts– 5.0
It’s been compared, unfairly I feel, to December to Dismember because it’s not very good. That’s a little unfair because there are at the very least two good matches here, maybe three if you can overlook the downside to Sting-Abyss. The problem is that this wrestling is no better than the WWE’s, which is TNA’s prime reasoning for their PPV’s being worth purchasing. While it’s clear this isn’t one of their better shows it’s a fine example of how too much booking can kill interesting ideas. They could really do with keeping Russo more in check or if it’s not him whoever keeps coming up with unnecessary crap like the three stipulations and the stupid finish on AJ-Rhino. Or dragging out Roode-Eric Young to four segments with no wrestling in. There were some very bad matches on this show. Two real shockers in Hemme-BFOG and Torborg-Hoyt were particularly offensive. I’m going thumbs in the middle but there’s no reason to buy this show, which has to hurt TNA. No really great wrestling or exciting occurrences. Keep in mind they’re battling against the Royal Rumble, which was really good. I wasn’t terribly impressed with my return to TNA but that won’t stop me checking out future PPV cards.