Written by: Arnold Furious
I know I seem critical of TNA, along with a lot of other reviewers and recappers, but there is a reason for that. Its not a personal bias. They’re just not great shows in 2009. I don’t hate TNA because its TNA. I’m not a WWE mark or an ROH mark or any other companies mark. I’m a wrestling fan. Always have been, always will be. Truth be told, I don’t care what company puts on good wrestling as long as I get to see it. And for those who don’t like me reviewing TNA then feel free to email the WWE and Lovefilm, like I have, and request that they stock WWE titles for rental and I’ll quite happily switch over or mix the two up. I even emailed ROH but they’d never even heard of Lovefilm. The joys of being a Brit.
October 18th 2009. In an attempt to make this TNA’s alternative to Wrestlemania they have the National Anthem but its played on guitar, in Jimi Hendrix fashion, by Zakk Wylde (former Ozzy guitarist and founder of Black Label Society).
We’re in Irvine, California. Hosts are Mike Tenay & Taz.
Ultimate X/X division title – Amazing Red (c) v Alex Shelley v Chris Sabin v Suicide v Homicide v Daniels
MCMG’s won a pre-show tag match against Lethal Consequences to get into the match. Taz has trouble with their names. D’Angelo Dinero misses this one due to a “family emergency”. Red is being “promoted” by Don West. Publicised more like! The talent in this one is off the hook. Normally there are one or two weak links but everyone in this is great on their day. Homicide scores the first pop with a tope con hilo on Daniels. While he’s celebrating Suicide hits him with a pescado. Sabin hits a tope THROUGH SHELLEY’S LEGS to take him out. Whaaaaat? Nice of them to get the crowd fired up with dives before using the X. Red and Daniels are left to fight on the buckle and Red rana’s Daniels onto everyone else on the floor. Crowd are IN THE PALM OF THEIR COLLECTIVE HANDS! Hey, Daniels has gloves on because he knows you need some help with the X. Accessorising psychology! Homicide heads up solo, Suicide JUMPS OFF THE ROPES to get him but Homicide counters into an Ace Crusher off the X! This could be spotfest of the year! The Guns start taking over with double teams. Some of the spots have looked a little pre-planned but sometimes the level of danger is so high that you have to do it carefully first. You could argue that spots that dangerous shouldn’t happen anyway. This match is a career shortener. Homicide goes after the belt again but Daniels pulls him down into a DVD. Red struggles with the X and he is lacking in upper body definition. Suicide takes advantage of his slow climbing to hit a missile dropkick. Daniels and Sabin go up at the same time and I sense injuries happening. They both drop down to avoid the wheelchair spots. We’ll call it a draw! This plays into both of them knowing how dangerous it is to get caught in a spot off the X. They start into the quasi-finisher bit until everyone is down. That sequence needs to stop appearing in every single X match. They manage a Tower of Doom spot with a sunset flip/German superplex and crossbody all at the same time. Red takes out Homicide with the Red Star Press. Suicide modifies the Flux Capacitor, because he’s not Frankie Kazarian (*ahem*) and Sabin gets caught with the BME. No one can get a clear run at the ropes so Suicide and Daniels head onto the TOP OF THE STRUCTURE. DAAAAAANGEROUSSSSSSSSSSS. Red is up too and the crowd chant “please don’t die”, which is a distinct possibility. Red looks terrified. Daniels climbs down onto the X and he’s standing ABOVE the belt. Suicide climbs down with him and we’re about to see a crazy fucking spot. Suicide goes for, what I can only assume was a Flatliner, OFF THE X and Daniels lands on the top of his head. OWWWWWWW. The Guns climb across but Red climbs down from his vantage point and grabs the strap to retain. ****. If you like spotfests this is your bag, baby. Insane high spots. Dangerously so. The replay of that sick Daniels spot reveals that Kaz protected the shit out of him once he realised the spot wasn’t going to land clean. Well played that man.
BACKSTAGE The Beautiful People get interview time. The visa-troubled Angelina Love has been replaced by beanpole Lacey Von Erich (you’d think the Von Erich family would have moved on from wrestling by now). Velvet confused Interview Girl with Jeremy Borash. I guess that’s part of their “de-stankification” of TNA. If Borash is looking Lauren-good then some of the ladies will be super hot from now on. Velvet has taken over as mouthpiece but its Madison who makes the point that the Angelina disruption effected their preparations last month.
ELSEWHERE The champs get a word. While they are the wrestling talent the storyline is built around the Beautiful People.
Knockout tag titles – Taylor Wilde/Sarita (c) v The Beautiful People
Velvet Sky & Madison Rayne wrestle with Lacey Von Erich cornering them. The ref goes to kick Lacey out so she kisses him to stop that. Its just like watching Kerry. Earl Hebner decides he’ll ref this instead and a loud chant of “you screwed Bret” breaks out. He lays the liplock on Lacey and kicks her out anyway. Surprisingly that doesn’t result in a discus punch. Lots of “screaming and squealing going on” – Taz. “And that’s just Earl Hebner” – Tenay. BADDUMTISH! Squealing aside, the wrestling is actually ok. For the Knockouts division anyway. I’m guessing this has been a match round the horn since the last show. Just as I type that the match goes south with Sarita and Velvet blowing something or other. Madison get picked off with the German suplex/springboard kick combo and the champs retain in short order. Madison landed on Taylor’s face thus knocking her silly as well. *. It was short with a few screw up’s but I didn’t feel like it overstayed its welcome @ 3 minutes.
BACKSTAGE Interview Girl has Nash and Eric Young. The World Elite leader says he agreed the Hernandez Summit. Which basically means EY is paying off Nash to help him teach Hernandez a lesson. Nash thinks his part in the deal is to back up EY and keep the title. Originally there was a MEM bounty on Young but EY doubled it to get Nash financially onside.
Legends title – Kevin Nash (c) v Hernandez v Eric Young
This belt already seems superfluous. Hernandez is in here to get him away from the main event scene, which has gone in a different direction. Young’s World Elite is an interesting stable but both guys don’t seem like they belong in a “legends” match. They eventually re-named this title and I’m not surprised. It reeks of ‘old man’s title’. Not that there’s anything wrong with old man wrestling but TNA is trying to be fresh and new. Hernandez greets Young; POOOOOUNCE! Interesting dynamic with Nash saving Young for fiscal reasons. But Hernandez is too quick for Nash and too strong for Young. Its Nash who takes steps to alter that by slowing SuperMex down. While it makes good psychological sense it sure is boring. Hernandez finds it hard to make a comeback because Nash can’t bump or sell his shit. Young sneaks in a pin, which Nash is unimpressed with. NASH WANT TITLE! Title not for puny Canadian. Nash continues to fail on the bumping. He just can’t take the younger guys moves. Hernandez just keeps throwing all his moves out there and they only ever look good on Young. Especially when he jacks him up for the powerbomb. Whenever Nash gets involved this one is UGLY though. The finish is even uglier. Nash calls for the powerbomb. He’s sure spending ages setting it up. Stalling continues. Still no powerbomb. And Young rams Hernandez’s head into Nash’s groin and steals the pin. Quite why Hernandez didn’t just stand up and break the fall is anyone’s guess. *1/4. Ugly match with a bad finish.
BACKSTAGE the heels tag teams all argue until Brutus Magnus tells everyone to stop because this benefits Team 3D. British Invasion suggest taking Team 3D out and then sorting the belts out amongst themselves.
TNA tag titles/IWGP tag titles – Booker T/Scott Steiner (c) v British Invasion (c) v Beer Money v Team 3D
Two falls. The rules “Full Metal Mayhem”, which is basically TLC only both sets of titles are hanging over different parts of the X. Book & Steiner are TNA champs. BI are IWGP champs but at this point both sets of titles might as well be vacant. This match suffers from having too many guys out there. So some of them are just strolling around doing nothing. BI get sensible and just let everyone else fight while they get the ladders. Beer Money take them out with double teams. Booker runs in to get sloppy with Storm. So much so that Taz has to break out the “he didn’t get all of it” on a spinebuster. Director misses the Spinneroonie. A completely retarded spot follows where everyone walks up to Steiner one after another so he can belly to belly suplex them. Why would they do that? FRANKENSTEINER! Booker is calling for a trainer so Sharmell comes out here. Booker must have injured himself during the off-camera Spinneroonie! Not sure why they decided to go this route but Booker didn’t appear in TNA again after this. Steiner is STILL hitting suplexes. Steiner climbs the ladder and discovers its nowhere near tall enough. Where has Team 3D gone? BI lift the Waaasup headbutt and mock the Dudleys. Booker is doing a stretcher job, so presumably they were planning some sort of injury angle to explain his absence but he ended up in WWE doing commentary instead. Team 3D return to clean house. Brutus takes a chair shot off Zakk Wylde. Crowd interaction! Doug takes a table and the original Waaaassup headbutt. D-VON, GET THE TABLES! I notice one set up at ringside for a later spot. Beer Money both get tabled with chokeslams. BI are taking a breather. Steiner sets up a ladder and moves a table to make sure its in the right place for him to take a bump through. He couldn’t have telegraphed that spot more if he’d emailed everyone in the audience the week before the show to let them know he was taking a table spot off a ladder. Moments later he takes a table spot off a ladder. Rhino runs in to chair shot Team 3D down. D-Von actually has one of the IWGP belts. Does that count? Apparently it does. Team 3D are the new IWGP tags champs. Which presumably was Russo’s original plan to not piss off New Japan. Like they wouldn’t notice the belt switch to British Invasion?
TNA titles are still hanging. Taz criticises BI’s tactics suggesting someone should protect the ladder while the other climbs. Beer Money botch a double suplex off the ladder on Brutus. BEER! MONEY! Storm is clearly unhappy with the spot because he nips out for a beer, beer spits Brutus and hits a sunset flip bomb off the top of the ladder on him. That’s a better spot! Big Rob Terry runs in to stop Roode and throw him through that table I spotted earlier. Then he boosts Doug up to get the TNA belt down dropping him shortly after he’d unhooked it. ***1/4. I saw a lot of love for this but some of the big spots were sloppy as fuck or blatantly telegraphed. The basic match structure was fine but this lacked finesse. Kudos for some of the bumping but the Ultimate X was a much better executed spotfest. If the Dudley’s want to re-live their glory days one of them may have to take a bump.
Knockouts title – ODB (c) v Tara v Awesome Kong
The big story, for me anyway, is that ODB has never been able to beat Kong or even come close to getting a win over her. Tara is an unknown for both opponents because she’s a WWE girl. The lesser two team up on Kong, because she kills bitches dead. Add two more! They have to continue teaming. Tara blows a nip up and their double teams don’t go smoothly. ODB shows she CAN do the nip up. Shame everything else is so ugly. Even Tara’s Tarantula hold looks wrong. She has no strain on it. No torque. No crank. She does manage a moonsault press but Kong throws her out of the ring. Tara gets into it with a fan, which is MMA fighter (and Randy’s wife) Kim Couture. It was to set up an actual MMA fight but that never happened. Everyone seems distracted and Tara leaves. Urgh. Booking fail. Crowd is now dead. ODB actually gets Kong up for the Samoan Drop, which wakes them back up. Tara re-emerges from her hissy fit and saves ODB from Kong’s rope splash. Kong kills Tara with a chokeslam. IMPLANT BUSTER but now she’s the champ ODB gets to kick out. Raisha Saeed throws a chair in to give Kong a boost but Kong tells her to get lost. Saeed slides the chair in anyway and ODB reverses the powerbomb into a facecrusher on the chair. ½*. The booking on this was one was a mess. It didn’t help that the wrestling was a bit sloppy in places. Saeed’s failure makes no sense at all. If she’s so scared of failing Kong then why didn’t she just listen to her here?
BACKSTAGE Matt Morgan……..zzzzzzz……
Submissions match – Samoa Joe v Bobby Lashley
This is being billed as pro-wrestling v MMA, which is surely slanting crowd support towards Joe; the wrestler. Lashley has taped ribs and no pop. “Joe’s gonna kill ya”. See? They’re treating him as the outsider! Lashley tries for an armbar but Joe wrestles out of it and they fight over leg holds. Heavy MMA style. Lashley’s wife Kristal is shown at ringside. Tenay might as well hop in the ring and suck Lashley’s dick for how much praise he’s vomiting out about him. Its sickening. Joe accidentally kicks the ref and Tenay accuses Joe of taking a shortcut (which the camera missed anyway so I don’t know what he means). TOPE SUICIDA! Joe smartly lets Lashley jump for a leapfrog before punching him in the ribs. Hahaha. This match is getting smarter. Lashley hip tosses out to HEAT. They hate him. Joe comes back with a powerslam to a big pop and goes after the armbar with the crowd chanting “tap” before its even on! Joe gets a little too casual and Lashley hits the full nelson bomb. Lashley with AWFUL strikes. His punches and elbows suck something fierce. Crowd boo him and Joe counters into the S.T.JOE! TWICE! Lashley elbows out of a third into the Anaconda Vice for the win. **3/4. Joe dragged Lashley through this into one of the best singles matches of his career. Shame the wrong guy went over but at least the match was ok. I’d love to see a re-match with them throwing a bunch of potatoes but the face winning (well, the guy who’s booked as a face) means the feud is done.
BACKSTAGE JB gets a word with Mick Foley. He says he’s not worried about Abyss overshadowing his achievements.
Monster’s Ball – Abyss v Mick Foley
Special referee is Dr Stevie. Thumbtacks are banned. If Abyss uses them he loses. Foley jumps Abyss on the ramp to establish himself as the heel. Although this heel Foley is a bit of a mess. TNA have him being a different guy from show to show and it hurts the character. Foley’s initial success leads to him climbing the entranceway. Abyss follows but gets punched off through the ramp. If Foley was face he’d jump after him. He does follow up with an elbow but not off the entrance. Abyss breaks through the ramp! Cool visual. Abyss starts building with a barbwire board from rail to apron for a later spot. The problem with having Mick wrestle in matches like this is that he’s so much slower than he used to be. His stuff just doesn’t have the same impact as it used to. He’s had a few half decent outings in TNA but Abyss isn’t a guy who can carry someone with shortcomings. The setup for Foley’s double arm DDT onto barbwire is really slow as if Mick didn’t have a good idea of where the wire was. There’s nothing wrong with this. Its what I’d expect from a lesser talent but Foley has been so much better than this. They don’t scrimp on horrific barbwire spots here to compensate though. Abyss bleeds a lot and gets sandwiched between barbwire boards for the elbow drop. Crowd, clearly hardcore fans, think this is awesome. Foley brings in a bag of tacks, which Abyss can’t use. Dr Stevie reminds him, which gets the good doctor SHOCK TREATMENT. Daffney runs in with the taser for Foley. I hate that gimmicked taser. Abyss gets zapped and they botch the kick out. Mr Barbwire! Abyss trips him up into the wire but Dr Stevie pulls out the second ref. Daffney jumps onto the ropes but Abyss CHOKESLAMS HER OFF THE TOP THROUGH A BARBWIRE BOARD. HOLY SHIT! Dr Stevie gets irate and attacks Abyss but takes the BLACK HOLE SLAM ON THE TACKS! OH SHIT! CHOKESLAM ON THE BARBWIRE and Abyss forces Stevie’s hand down three times for the win. ***. Sick, violent match with cool high spots and some heavily booked storylines. I dig the booking on this series…apart from the fucking taser. But at least they’ve been consistent with it. I appreciate what Foley brought here even if he’d not the man he used to be.
BACKSTAGE Kurt Angle says he never underestimates anyone and he never wanted Morgan in the Mafia.
Matt Morgan v Kurt Angle
Morgan brings the power to start with, perhaps finally doing something useful with his size. Crowd chants “Morgan sucks”. I love California. Morgan counters by bringing his best spot; the corner trapping elbows. Angle is selling like Don Draper. He’s just taking the abuse and bouncing off Morgan ala Shawn Michaels. Not totally overselling either because of the size difference. Taz points out that most of Morgan’s offence has been aimed at Angle’s neck too. That surgically repaired one. Angle starts using his speed advantage and dodges the Carbon Footprint to chopblock the knee out. Angle with the Figure Four…on the wrong leg. He was having a little difficulty remembering how it was applied. Taz fields questions on longer legs and actually knows what he’s talking about because he’s been there. There are times when his presence pays off over Don West. Morgan, from his knees, brings a lariat. That’s height for ya. I bet he shops at Mr Freaky Big. Morgan tries to sell the knee but doesn’t really know how and just pops off power moves instead. Angle is looking a little rough but he is into his 40’s now. ROLLING GERMANS! Morgan keeps his feet on the ground to block the Olympic Slam. With his weight you have to hit him with quicker stuff. Angle then nullifies that statement by just hitting it anyway. Grr. STRAPS ARE DOWN! ANKLELOCK! Morgan, being strong, just kicks him off. They try for some powerbomb counter, which doesn’t really pay off but Angle gets the ankle at the end of it. Morgan kicks him off again. That’s all he’s really got in terms of defence. Hellevator, complete with irritating invisible watch checking, gets 2. Crowd is totally into this now chanting “TNA”. Morgan considers a Tombstone but Angle counters out into the anklelock, which is right out of the Taker-Angle match. Which explains why it happened even though Morgan never uses the Tombstone. Morgan kicks him off again. So, same reversal again then? “Morgan sucks” – California. “Duelling chants” claims the deaf Mike Tenay who must surely be sick of sticking up for the muscleheads TNA has been signing recently. Morgan stupidly goes up top, gets superplexed, Angleslam and Angle breaks out a frogsplash for 2. What the fuck? Frogsplash? Angle looks for the moonsault but Morgan gets back up so Angle switches to the victory roll for the win. ***1/4. Very WWE-esque match from two former WWE wrestlers. Probably the best singles match of Morgan’s career. The same night as Bobby Lashley having a good(-ish) match. What are the odds?
POST MATCH Angle offers a handshake, which is accepted. That shows you how dumb Morgan is. Angle’s only turned on him twice so far. I’m sure he’ll cut you some slack this time, ya idiot.
TNA title – AJ Styles (c) v Sting
Sting has won the title at the previous THREE Bound For Glory’s. 2 hours 42 minutes in as Borash introduces the competitors. Oops. Plan better! The respect between the two kinda eliminates some of the more intense potential aspects of the match. While Sting is considering retirement he’s not showing that ‘final match’ intensity. AJ uses his athleticism to avoid some of Sting’s bigger spots. Sting just stands there smiling. He’s clearly enjoying himself out there. How many wrestlers get the chance to cross generations like this AND be able to hang? The first one, loads, the second one…not so many. AJ must be loving that show of respect from TNA’s resident legend. They scrap the friendliness with strikes. Sting having to go full out to keep up and using his strength to get on top. The respect continues with Sting stopping a count out and holding the ropes for AJ to come back in. Taz talks about the impact of AJ’s moves because of how he executes them. Like leaving his feet on a suplex to make it more intense. Sting is going through his stuff knowing AJ will be able to counter but not having anything new to go to. While AJ feels he HAS to do something different because the last time he wrestled Sting for the belt he countered AJ’s signature Pele Kick to get the pin. Both guys, because of their aim to one-up the other, miss big spots to the floor. AJ refuses a count out win too. The crowd are feeling the babyface battle and neither of them has been turned, which is an achievement in itself. AJ blocks the Stinger Splash then Sting gets a boot up to block a charge. They’ve both done a LOT of homework to get these counters. AJ goes for a Tombstone, to try something different and surprise Sting, but Sting has the experience and power and counters into his own…for 2. I love the psychology of this. They’re combining respect, familiarity and determination into a web of intrigue. And they’re not going for obvious countering sequences but rather slipping them in where they logically belong. AJ tries his quebrada inverted DDT but that’s countered, back again, and Sting gets the Scorpion Deathdrop. Crowd LOVES this. STINGER SPLASH! Another SCORPION DEATHDROP…for 2. That’s the first time they’ve not done something smart. Why he’s kicking out? Surely there was a better way of doing that. Scorpion Deathlock but AJ hasn’t come all this way, back from the brink, to quit. He POWERS up perhaps showing how Sting is getting older and isn’t as powerful. Or maybe he just let AJ out. Sting fires up like its 1991! AJ slips off the top and Taz covers saying he’s got a bad ankle. Tenay thinks he was knocked silly by a headbutt. Sting goes to check on him; PELE KICK! AJ, rather disappointingly, finishes with a springboard splash. Not 450. Just a splash. While that’s disappointing it leaves the feeling that Sting really was just passing the torch. He wanted to get beaten. Like Flair & Shawn Michaels. Slightly subtler but the inference was there. ***3/4. Was going really well until AJ slipped off the rope and lost confidence. The psychology in the match was top notch but sometimes the execution left a little to be desired. Certainly if Sting was to retire that’d be a hell of a match to go out on.
POST MATCH AJ gets the mic and calls Sting back. At least he would if TNA could find him a working mic. They do, after 3 attempts, and AJ calls Sting back to “his spotlight”. Crowd chants “please don’t go” suspecting Sting will finish his career with that match. Sting says this moment isn’t his, its AJ’s; the new world champ. If he’s got to lose he’s happy its to AJ Styles. Crowd chants “one more year”. He says he’s not prepared to make a statement so he doesn’t know if he’s coming back but if the crowd keeps supporting him he’ll stay forever. He actually said the word “kayfabe”…which might be a first for a wrestling company that has PPV. Unless Russo said it in WCW.
Final Thoughts: TNA needs to start making Bound for Glory their ‘special’ PPV and this was a good effort and one of the best PPV’s they’ve done in some time. It should be a ‘can’t miss’ show like Wrestlemania, which its getting close to. They need consistency on the quality. Card was fairly loaded, to be fair, and I’d recommend the DVD.