Written by: Arnold Furious
We’re in Southaven (Memphis), Mississippi. Hosts are Mike Tenay & Don West.
X title – Petey Williams (c) w/Scott Steiner/Rhaka Khan v Kaz
Kaz won the Terrordome the previous month to earn this shot. A match that also saw him get a shot at Samoa Joe’s TNA title. Because Steiner was also in that TNA title 3-way match that gives this situation a little background. Kaz has held the belt twice before and this is Petey’s second title run. Kaz is on the cusp of greatness but keeps coming up short, which turned out to be an angle where he ended up “retiring” and coming back as Suicide. Much like previous Petey efforts as Steiner’s protégé he gets more than a little help through the distraction of Rhaka Khan. That’s level one distraction and its enough to give Petey an extensive opening. They tell a nice little back and forth X match with the occasional fun spot but perhaps unusually it’s the heel Petey that seems to hit the fun stuff. Like a slingshot rana to the floor. Another storyline in this match is Petey wearing a head guard to protect his injured face. But that hasn’t really changed Petey’s approach so its more an actual distraction for him than a storyline one. If anything its ‘main event’ star Kaz who looks to be choking under the pressure. He muffs a backroll and his offence looks a little off. The slingshot DDT isn’t great but then that head guard probably prevents Petey from having his peripheral vision. Kaz starts to build though and hits a great move where he uses the ropes to boost Petey into the air and then cutters him back down. They run some nice counters and Petey gets a lovely cradle DDT for 2. He’s totally stepped his game up during this match. They tease some moves off the top, which culminates in Kaz picking up an arm injury. Which means he can’t get a backslide but he switches to the AXE GUILLOTINE DRIVER!!! That should be a finish but Petey kicks out. Rhaka Khan promptly runs in so Kaz dropkicks her! Steiner throws the lead pipe in and that levels the challenger. Kaz juiced off that and Petey takes ages on the pin…for 2. Now Kaz has blood going against him and he’s strapped in the Sharpshooter. BLOOD FROM STONE! That spot is starting to get a little overused but Kaz powers right out. Kaz makes the mistake of going up top with all that blood pouring out of him. Petey uses Steinerference and hits the CANADIAN DESTROYER to retain. ***1/4. Lots of stuff happening here. We got a storyline with the numbers game and Kaz choking before Petey just took the match by being smarter and better. This does make Kaz look like a bit of a chump but seeing as that’s what TNA was going for I guess it’s a positive?
POST MATCH Scott Steiner gets the mic to bitch about not getting another title shot. He decides to beat Kaz out his title shot on Impact, which he choked and lost to Joe, but out comes ABYSS! He’s back! Steiner charitably feeds Petey to him; BLACK HOLE SLAM! Steiner beats on him; BLACK HOLE SLAM! Rhaka is still in there; BLACK HOLE SLAM! And that marks the difference between a midcarder like Kaz that TNA have no intention of putting over and Abyss who’s one of their main dudes.
POST, POST MATCH Eric Young says he’s found Elvis Presley and has reserved him a front row seat.
BACKSTAGE JB has Kevin Nash. He wonders whether Nash being enforcer in Joe’s title match is a conflict of interests. Nash delivers the usual cryptic response about money and such. What I took from that was Nash wants Joe to retain, which is a conflict of interests. We’ll see how that plays out.
The Beautiful People/Moose v Gail Kim/ODB/Roxxi
Moose is Mickie Knuckles who you might know from IWA:MS. Her TNA career was limited to this match a few others before she broke her leg working for IWA:MS and got released. She’s a hard worker. Roxxi has very little hair after getting shaved last month. She’s also dropped her Laveaux and much of her voodoo gimmick. Roxxi POUNDS Moose with mounted strikes and Mickie should know when she’s being stiffed coming from IWA:MS. The heels isolate Roxxi and work her over. That’s your match. The crowd aren’t particularly into it as is evidenced by Gail’s hot tag coming to little reaction. Gail does gets pops for her high spots until the numbers game the heels are rocking takes her out. She has a bad knee and Angelina Love wipes it out on the apron. Heat on Gail but with far more focus on one body part. To their credit the ladies keep on telling that strong story and the crowd are biting on it. ODB gets fed up and gets a huge reaction for just strolling in there and booting Moose in the ribs. Moose then allows the hot tag, which shows her inadequacy to her teammates and ODB mangles everyone to huge pops. Beautiful People save after the Super Thesz Press. Oklahoma Stampede finishes. **. They sure ran tag formula 101 on that bad boy. It didn’t work to start with but got better as Gail got into trouble. The finish puts ODB over huge and you’d think it’s only a matter of time until they put her in with Kong.
BACKSTAGE Rhino gets an interview saying this title shot is a chance for him to prove himself.
Tag titles – LAX (c) w/Salinas/Hector Guerrero v Team 3D
Team 3D have 20 world tag title reigns in various companies. They ran the Deuces Wild tag tournament last month, which put LAX over. It seemed like a long-winded way of doing it but the result is right. LAX are their best tag team right now. The addition of Hector Guerrero is to give them smarts on top of the skills they have. Salinas provides them with a tremendous rack. Crowd impatiently wants tables from the bell. Devon discovers, perhaps to his horror, that Hernandez is not only a lot faster than he is but he’s stronger too. Crowd wants tables again. This normal tag match environment is rather exposing Team 3D as somewhat one-dimensional. They have more game in hardcore or relaxed rules match ups. Bubba has fun mocking Homicide but then Hernandez just walks in there and destroys them both. SUICIDE DIVE. Bubba is still standing. TOPE CON HILO!! The announce team are crushed by the desk. Homicide goes up again and Devon pushes him off to the floor, which sets up a heat segment on Homicide. Crowd wants tables again. Should have made this no DQ. Bubba knocks down Hector Guerrero! More heat on Homicide and he gets the hot tag but the ref misses it. More tag formula. As this match progresses I keep thinking they should run this match on Impact with a goofy DQ finish and then done the PPV match as a no DQ. It would have benefitted both teams. LAX love crazy and Team 3D love brawling and hardcore. And the crowd love tables. Everyone wins. Hot tag and Hernandez throws 3D around with FREAKISH POWER. Crowd wants tables again. Waasuuup is broken up. Johnny Devine runs in but Hector Guerrero pulls him out and hits him with his own kendo stick. Wow, Devine is completely useless. Salinas with WAAASSUUUP on Bubba. With everything breaking down its producing the most entertaining spots of the match. There hasn’t been a tag in ages. Ace Crusher on Devon off Hernandez’s shoulders. Frog splash on Bubba but Devon pulls the ref out to save. 3D cheat heavily to get back in charge but as they line up the 3D Homicide rolls up the unsuspecting Bubba to retain the titles. Devon didn’t see shit! **1/2. It was passable. Its just that I’ve seen so many tag team formula matches that they need to be either awesomely good or different in some way. This wasn’t. But it wasn’t bad either and the right team went over. TNA’s most pressing issue in the tag division is to establish several good teams to challenge for the belts. Oddly enough they’d do just that. Who actually saw Beer Money coming?
BACKSTAGE Robert Roode has words with JB. He wants to prove he’s a main eventer. Good luck with that.
$25,000 Fan Challenge
Seeing as they’d run out of logical challengers for Awesome Kong’s title they ran this deal where any fan could get a shot at Kong and various plants got title shots. $25k to the winner. Its like WWF’s slamming John Studd challenge from back in the day. Serena Deeb and Josie Robinson are the two challengers. Raisha Saed selects Serena.
Awesome Kong v Serena Deeb
You may recognise Serena as CM Punk’s shaven headed acolyte until she fucked up by not actually adhering to the straight-edge lifestyle. Its actually weird seeing her with a full head of hair. Kong just straight up murders the shit out of her. Kong stops off to shove over Josie. Impact Buster sees Serena pinned. Kong wants Josie too so we’re ON!
Awesome Kong v Josie Robinson
Josie slaps KONG IN THE FACE! This is actually awesome as she wails on Kong and the crowd are loving the whole hometown girl gets a shot thing. Its Santino Marella all over again. She gets way more offence than Serena but pisses Kong off in the process. BACKFIST! Josie’s buttcrack is showing. AWESOMEBOMB! Kong wins again. Josie obviously impressed and got signed as Sojourner Bolt later in the year. Oddly enough switching sides to eventually become part of the Kong-tourage.
POST MATCH Eric Young introduces the world’s worst Elvis Presley impersonator. Crowd are not pleased. AWESOMEBOMB! That’s almost a face turn.
BACKSTAGE Christian Cage gets his talking time. He says he’s taken some time away from the title picture to re-assess his priorities but he wants the belt back.
Jay Lethal & So Cal Val Wedding
Sidenote; TNA seem to be having format issues. Like putting tag matches back to back and then non-match segments together like the challenge & the wedding. From a viewing POV it seems they don’t know what they’re doing. Hey, I once criticised a guy running his first ever show for putting tag matches together. TNA should know better.
American Idol finalist Ace Young is out here with the other groomsmen; Kamala, Jake Roberts (having seen Savage’s marriage to Liz this is the last guy you’d want to invite to your wrestling wedding), Koko B. Ware and George “The Animal” Steele. Sonjay Dutt is the best man. He’s been a bit of a dick recently, which is what we call “foreshadowing”. Jay, like any good wrestler, arrives at his wedding with his own entrance music. Back to music though; why would you hire Ace Young to do it? What a waste of money. Crowd hates him. So Cal Val looks lovely and does a brilliant sell of how scared she is of Kamala. Shame TNA never did anything major with her. Maybe she’s limited in the ring but so was Stephanie McMahon. Crowd supportively shout “don’t do it Jay”. Sonjay then sticks his big size 9 in and tells Val that he loves her. Talk about inappropriate. The best man isn’t supposed to propose to the bride. Its like an unspoken rule of wedding etiquette. Also hitting the groom over the head with anything is frowned upon. Ace Young runs in for the, haha, “save” but Sonjay lays him out to a huge pop (again, stupid booking TNA – heels shouldn’t lay out people the crowd hate). The legends then make the real save and everyone takes it in turns to kick Sonjay’s ass thus damaging months of potential pay-off feud between Sonjay and Jay Lethal. They went on to have three matches until Val turned on Jay and Sonjay got released. I can’t help feeling those matches would have had greater significance without this beat down.
BACKSTAGE Booker T gets his interview time. He cuts a delusional promo where he claims his signing has pushed TNA to the next level. He goes on to wonder why the locker room smells of elephant urine and claims he’ll win the title. Seriously Booker, lay off whatever you were taking before this interview. I don’t care if it was coffee, just knock it off. I’m aware he’d turned heel since the last time I saw him but this promo was just all over the place.
Kurt Angle w/Tomko v AJ Styles
This whole angle has been great for TNA as its taken AJ Styles and pushed him to the level where he’s one on one with Kurt Angle. They need their best talent in these marquee matches. The background has AJ supposedly taking Karen Angle from Kurt. He denies it and Kurt has mental issues. Tomko meanwhile is out here as backup for Kurt. The basic storyline they tell is whether AJ can match Kurt with the technical stuff. He’s quicker and throws a few armdrags. As per usual Kurt is great at selling his opponents strengths. Kurt bails out and when he comes back in; DROPSAULT! AJ has so far kept Kurt off balance with his speed. However he stops off to argue with Tomko, which is for another time, and that gives Kurt the window of opportunity. Kurt is made to miss in the corner though and AJ follows up with the awesomeness of the springboard elbow smash. I LOVE that. Kurt throws him out to Tomko but Earl Hebner has seen enough intent from Tomko and throws him out. Kurt goes out to complain but AJ is back up; FLIP DIVE! Oh that was sick. He didn’t stop to see if Kurt was looking or anything. Angle sacrificed himself to stop AJ landing badly and looks to have hurt his neck. Don West claims that AJ is more focused now Tomko is gone, which is probably true. He did get distracted a few times. Duelling chants now and the crowd are really into this.
Kurt decides to turn this into his sort of match and grounds AJ. He’s bleeding from the nose too presumably caught by one of Kurt’s forearms. AJ tries to fire up but runs into a belly to belly overhead. Angle essentially works on wearing AJ down and trying to cut off his high impact, high risk offence. But of course that isn’t 100% of AJ’s game as he’s an able striker and technically solid. But against an Olympic gold medallist? Kurt will have the edge on the mat. Kurt feels he has this one in the bag and gets a little unfocused. Almost as if he’s begging AJ to make a comeback so he can hurt him again. AJ counters a superplex into the gourdbuster off the top and that shows that Angle is also prone to using high risk and it counting against him. After all the ropes are AJ Styles territory. Pumphandle gutbuster! AJ has a lot of fun stuff in his arsenal. Stalling suplex into the neckbreaker. He’s popping off some spots but the crowd are strangely silent. As if they know this match has another gear. ROLLING GERMANS but AJ counters into a release German suplex. I think its Kurt who looks ill prepared at this point. He should know when he’s got a match won he should stay on top of his opponent. It shows AJ as the more prepared as he’s clearly scouted Kurt’s trademark spots and is prepared with counters for them. AJ then makes a mistake and telegraphs a discus elbow and Angle hits the release German for 2. GAMENGIRI! AJ just kicks you out of nowhere. Angle is back up; belly to belly into the buckles for 2. Big difference here; Angle is going for pins. AJ is wrestling defensively. Speaking of which, he counters the Angleslam into a DDT for 2.
The pace hasn’t quite quickened but the moves are getting more and more important. Angle avoids the Styles Clash into the Anklelock. AJ drags him into the buckles to get out. AJ was suitably quick getting out of it and hits the quebrada inverted DDT for 2. I’m happy enough with AJ’s lack of selling because he got out of the hold quickly. AJ goes up top but Angle runs the buckles into a superplex for 2. Anklelock applied again. AJ counters out again into a roll up for 2. PELE! Kurt uses the ropes to save himself. Angle counters the Styles Clash into the Anklelock and this time AJ spends a while in it. AJ kicks Kurt off and the ref is bumped. Karen Angle comes down and teases Kurt with a chair. AJ sneaks him into the STYLES CLASH to win! ****. It never quite hit that higher gear that could have pushed it into MOTY territory but he was a great back and forth. It left me wanting more. Interesting to note that Kurt very rarely went to his usual formula, which made the match more interesting if less exciting.
POST MATCH Kurt chair shots AJ so Karen slaps him. Kurt considers a spot of wife beating. He actually spits on her at one point. Yeah, they’re not getting along at home. Security runs in but Tomko lays them out leaving Angle alone to destroy AJ’s ankle.
BACKSTAGE Samoa Joe isn’t happy with wrestling nowadays. He says the politicians and opportunists win not the heroes or the hard workers. Perhaps taking shots at Kevin Nash in the process. Perhaps being precogniscient.
RULES for King of the Mountain match. You have to beat someone to hang the belt. Whoever hangs the belt is the champion. If you lose a pin you spend 2 minutes in a penalty box.
TNA title/KOTM – Samoa Joe (c) v Rhino v Robert Roode v Christian Cage v Booker T
Kevin Nash is the special enforcer. Not the strongest of line ups for this match. Cage is a former 2 time NWA champion but everyone else is looking to prove themselves in TNA. I think the match suffers from a lack of the big, big names like Sting, Angle, Abyss and AJ Styles. Rhino is a former NWA champion but that was in 2005. He only held the title for 2 days. Booker has won world titles everywhere he’s gone and has 6 world titles altogether. Roode is trying to make himself a main eventer and hasn’t succeeded so far. I could see him as makeweight if there were bigger names in there too.
Most of the guys bail out to start leaving Joe v Booker. The latter discovers that Joe chops harder than him. Cage & Rhino meanwhile are working as a team. What would make great logical sense is if they both used Roode as a job guy to qualify them both one after the other. Booker throws Cage out of the ring though and he injures his leg. Joe-Rhino is actually one of the better potential match up’s out there. They have similar styles. Roode takes over from Rhino and doesn’t fare well. Joe has Roode in his pocket. Cage takes over having recovered and Joe dominates him too. Booker runs in and gets powerslammed! Joe considers a dive but Booker trips him. The subplot is Joe-Booker with Booker getting frustrated with how good Joe is. Rhino runs in and Booker just levels him with the BOOK END. Booker is eligible to hang the belt.
I like that Booker gets in Nash’s face when grabbing the title. Booker & Joe battle over possession of the ladder so Cage dropkicks it into both of them. Rhino’s 2 minute penalty has expired. Its handy for giving him a rest. Cage-Rhino and this is a friendly rivalry. Because Rhino is rested he’s able to switch out of the Unprettier. Rhino wants the Gore but Joe pulls him out of the ring. As champ Joe is having to keep tabs on everyone but especially Booker who can win NOW. Joe hits a dive onto both him and Roode. Cage goes on top of the penalty box; NO LOOK DIVE! Holy shit! That looked like total madness. Cage’s insanity doesn’t stop there as he pulls out a table. Cage tries to hit Roode with a ladder but Roode chair shots the ladder into him and gets the pin! Roode is eligible to win now.
As Roode considers going up the ladder Rhino rolls him up! Rhino is eligible. Nash lays out Roode who refuses to go into the penalty box. Both he and Cage are in there.
With less guys around Rhino can climb but Booker recovers in time to push the ladder over. So its back to Joe & Booker, which seems to be the crux of this whole match. Cage and Roode are fighting inside the penalty box! Cage uses the penalty box and frogsplashes Booker off it! He wins the pin. Now only Joe isn’t eligible to hang the belt.
Cage heads up but Roode is out of the box and stops it. Roode heads up but Joe suplexes him off. Cage goes up and JOE HITS THE ACE CRUSHER OFF THE TOP! GOOOOOOOOOOREEEEEEE for Joe! Booker is back out but he looks exhausted. He’s got the belt and he LAYS OUT KEVIN NASH! He starts knocking people out with the belt. Everyone down and Book wants the win. Nash has taken offence however and walks in there to save Joe’s title with the powerbomb off the ladder! Cage escapes the Musclebuster but Rhino GOOOOOOOREEEEEEES him off the apron through that table he set up earlier. Rhino is thrown out. Roode wants the win but Joe finishes him with the MUSCLE BUSTER and quickly climbs up to hang the belt. ***1/2. Some fun high spots although only Booker seemed a threat to Joe’s title. Everyone else was there to do spots and make up the numbers. Especially Roode who was only there to job.
• We see the ring crew setting up the show.
• JB interviews Ace Young. Nothing of note.
• JB interviews Jake Roberts. Put a shirt on.
• JB interviews So Cal Val an hour before the marriage. AJ’s crack about her dress looking like it was from a yard sale is kinda weird for a babyface. Jay’s really been working on his Savage impression and his backstage promo is spot on.
• Dixie Carter also gets the interview treatment during the King of the Mountain match. Dixie talks about going to Chicago for Bound for Glory.
• Promo for Bound for Glory IV.
• JB does some post-main event interviews. Booker warns Joe to watch his back. Rhino looks somewhat distraught but says he’ll be back. Roode says he proved he belonged in the main event. Cage looks disappointed and says his time will come soon. JB tries to interview Joe but he’s in a bad mood. AJ comes in to shake his hand. Now there’s a match you’d want to see for the TNA title. Kaz comes in to preview the Impact match, which he lost.
Final Thoughts: There’s nothing to really hate on these shows but likewise there’s nothing mind-blowing at the other end of the scale either. There were three good matches on the show so that’s probably enough for a thumbs up but not an enthusiastic one. TNA do have a lot of talent that I enjoy watching but when it comes to booking them they seem unsure of how to get the best from the talent they have.