Written by: Arnold Furious
After TNA’s last, amazing, show I quickly rushed off and obtained this one via rental. While the signing of Hogan doesn’t interest me the promise of AJ Styles Vs Daniels and the continuation of the Angle Vs Wolfe series is enough for me to buy into this show. That’s all you need to do, TNA! Put on good matches and I’m back immediately.
We’re in Orlando, Florida @ the Impact Zone. Hosts are Mike Tenay & Taz.
Tag titles – British Invasion (c) v Motor City Machineguns
Tenay points out that MCMG have never won the tag titles. Brutus is the only weak link in this thing and I think we’ve all seen enough classic tag matches to know you can work around one dude. Unfortunately MCMG decide to work heat on him (reverse heat, as they’re faces). But its not long before all the stereo moves arrive. Crowd is lively and digs MCMG innovative double teams. It’s a little annoying that they can’t fit them into the rules of tag wrestling. Doug takes over with British Excellence. Handshaking follows. I saw Doug wrestle a match with Johnny Moss once where, on a dare, he worked in a handshake with both guys doing headstands. Now THAT was awesome. Heat on Shelley as the crowd goes seriously old school with a “they are cheating” chant. Organised pantomime. Sabin & Doug should be great but its not. Mainly because all of Sabin’s stuff is so telegraphed. Its too intricate so Doug is standing around waiting for stuff. He can’t afford to look away or they’ll blow a move. I miss Dean Malenko and his FANTASTIC peripheral vision. Guns do the split legged tope where Shelley extends the ropes. Shiranui on Brutus but he kicks out. Why no save? Kickouts just devalue perfectly good moves. We head into a finishers bit where its no selling until everyone is down. This match is fun but its so flawed. Like TNA is trying to shoehorn these guys into the match they want instead of letting them put on their match. It means Brutus not selling and the Guns spending more time teaming than as singles. Doug tries to hold everything together to his credit. Normally Alex Shelley would be a go-to guy for that but TNA want the high-spot Alex Shelley so he can’t do it. Guns spend most of the match doing illegal double teams in front of the ref but when BI do ONE double team Shelley has to be restrained by the ref to allow it. Hypocrisy, Machineguns. Instead of making it look like Sabin got beaten by illegal double teams it makes him look less capable than Brutus who kicked out of 2 or 3 more severe situations earlier in the match. **3/4. Good action but the finish doesn’t make sense to me. If you’re going to put BI over as cheaters then their cheating has to be different to MCMG normal moveset.
POST MATCH Tenay & Taz plug the card, Hogan and the debut on Spike TV. January 4th; they go head to head with Raw. One word, amigos; mistake.
Knockouts title – ODB (c) v Tara
So, ODB has turned heel, which doesn’t suit her character in the slightest. That’s another good character TNA have spent months working to perfection and then turned them heel for no reason. ODB abandons any fun moves for choking and stomping. Tara, by comparison, does…nothing. She’s looked rusty attempting complex sequences and high spots in previous matches so she opts to avoid potential mistakes. She just gets beaten up. Tara gets a few trademarks in, including the jigglesault, before eventually getting a roll up for the pin. ½*. Well, that sure sucked.
POST MATCH Christy Hemme (does she still work here?) gets a word. Tara says she did this for the peeps and she loves us. Aww. Hemme just retired and signed a multiple year contract to become the new backstage interviewer. Interview Girl, we hardly knew yea! Seriously, I don’t know who you were.
Feast or Fired: Jay Lethal v Consequences Creed v Cody Deaner v Robert Roode v James Storm v Eric Young v Homicide v Abdul Bashir v Kiyoshi v Big Rob v Kevin Nash v Samoa Joe
Why on Earth would Beer Money be in this match? I’m sure they could get another title shot without risking the sack. World Elite have to be favourites to clear up because they have SIX guys (Nash, EY, Homicide, Bashir, Kiyoshi, Rob Terry) in this thing. But if they grab all the cases one of them gets fired. Which is why Feast or Fired makes no sense at all. Its just about luck. Finally; Joe was IN a world title match last month. Why would he risk unemployment? World Elite might have a numbers advantage but Joe, Beer Money and Lethal Consequences are all opposed to them. The only guy who’s completely useless is Cody Deaner, which makes him an ideal candidate for being fired. Crowd is rampant in its support of Samoa Joe. Which kinda means his heel run is over, I guess? Hard to say. Most of TNA’s guys are falling into areas of grey at the moment. Bashir & Deaner fight over the “you’re fired” case. Can’t they both be fired? Bashir knocks Deaner out to claim the case. Oops. You’ll regret it!
Rob Terry meanwhile has pulled down another case unopposed. Which pisses off EY who ordered them to NOT take the cases down. Strangely enough he wasn’t bothered that Bashir managed to grab one. Like he knows Bashir is a dead man walking.
Beer Money jumps World Elite. Double suplex on EY. BEER! MONEY! Yeah, you could have pulled down both remaining cases while you did your pose. Nash wipes out Roode on the buckles and pulls down another case.
Joe is left to mangle the remaining guys as there are no other big dudes. Finishers sequence kicks in. Homicide finishes it with an Ace Crusher off the top on Lethal. Deaner goes after the final case but Joe boots him off the ropes and grabs it instead. **.
POST MATCH Jeremy Borash plays game-show host as we find out who got what. But first…
BACKSTAGE Hemme has Angle & AJ. Angle puts Wolfe over but says he’s more talented and more devious than Desmond. AJ says as long as he breathes Daniels will NEVER take his title. Both guys says they’ll take care of some unfinished business thus setting up the next PPV main event of AJ v Angle.
FEAST OR FIRED. So Cal Val and JB do some case opening. Nash gets a tag title shot. Where’s that Scott Hall? Joe gets a TNA title shot, which is good because he’s the only viable contender. Crowd pop that. Terry & Bashir open at the same time and Bashir is fired. Mainly because Bashir wanted out of TNA because of the management change. Oh and Rob Terry gets an X-division title shot. Luckily that switched to Doug Williams.
Elimination match: Team 3D/Rhino/Jesse Neal v Hernandez/Matt Morgan/Suicide/The Pope
Neal is a Dudley’s trainee. He looks like Shannon Moore, which TNA later exploited by turning them into a shitty tag team. The setup is that Hernandez has to go 5 minutes alone before he gets help. Which is a bad idea. Having an elimination match is fine but stacking the odds against Hernandez is a strange move. If they want Hernandez to look like Super(man)Mex then have his team reduced in numbers by eliminations. It doesn’t help that the veteran team (plus Neal) doesn’t have great workers. Rhino is your top guy. He nails Hernandez with the GOOOOOOORRE for 2. Hernandez sidesteps another and pins Rhino with a rollup.
Hernandez gets a kicking from the three remaining Americans. Neal threatens a chair shot but takes SOOOOO long over it that the other members of Hernandez’s team show up. Not that he needs them. Neal was about to get himself disqualified and Hernandez survived 4 guys so is 2 guys that much of a reach? Plus losing Rhino makes this feel like a done deal. The heels having a man disadvantage isn’t done often FOR A REASON. Neal chair shots Suicide so in comes Hernandez to MURDERDEATHKILL Neal with a stiff unprotected chair shot. That was uncalled for. In confusing fashion Hernandez is disqualified but Neal isn’t.
3D on Suicide. He’s out.
Now the heels have a 3 on 2 but Neal must have a concussion from that retarded chair shot. XPW levels of stupidity from TNA for allowing that. Tenay confirms Neal was disqualified even though the ref didn’t call for a bell at the time. So it’s a tag match. 3D on Pope and he’s out.
Morgan is left 1 on 2. Incidentally does anyone else find Morgan’s ‘big scary face’ tattoo kinda distracting? Morgan brings the elbows but D-Von clips the knee. No tags ever since it went 2 on 1, which makes you wonder if tags were pointless for the rest of the match too. Carbon Footprint for D-Von. He’s done.
Bubba v Morgan. Not exactly a dream match. Not like they had a better match in the line ups. Bubba at least counters that stupid Hellavator set up into a DDT. Bubba goes for a chair but Morgan kicks it back into his face this getting himself disqualified. Oh, apparently when Matt Morgan uses a chair its legal so he wins. *. Incredibly boring waste of time with a stupid nonsensical finish. On the upside they got most of the boring guys in the company into one match but it was 16 minutes long.
Bobby Lashley v Scott Steiner
Last Man Standing rules. Can’t say I wanted a re-match after last month’s encounter where Steiner won with a pipe shot. He’s brought said pipe with him this time. Lashley brought his wife along. Which is like bringing your child covered in blood to a shark hunt. Steiner uses her as bait but promptly get his butt kicked. Crowd chants for Steiner (apart from the women and children). This match is a little clunky with both of them going after normal wrestling holds. But they both know its more personal than that and can’t find second gear. Steiner tags him with that pipe and while he’s down for 3 he ain’t down for the 10 count. Then they casually go back into wrestling holds. The thing with ‘Last Man Standing’ is you should really raise the odds and go for nastier and nastier stuff to keep the other guy down. They’ve already gone to the pipe now Steiner is hitting superplexes, like that’ll work. Lashley comes back with the Running Powerslam (ala Bulldog or Dr Death). For some reason he opts to wait the count out on the ropes so Steiner pops up and punches him in the balls. FRANKENSTEINER! He even set it up. Or rather Lashley’s stupidity did. Steiner bails for his pipe but Kristal gets it first, throws it to Lashley…who drops it. TWO SPORT STAR! Neither of them involve catching. He improvises a spear and waffles Steiner at the second attempt for the win. Urgh. *1/4. Sporadically entertaining thanks to Steiner although the daft pipe shot in the middle of the match ruined the finish. This kind of match needs to be epic and build and this did neither.
Ok, time to get this fucking show going.
Raven/Dr Stevie v Mick Foley/Abyss
This feud has been awesome. The whole Abyss Vs Stevie thing has been gold. Raven & Stevie bring weapons so Foley makes this a Foley’s Funhouse Rules match…no rules. Raven greets him with a Singapore cane. Foley brings his knee to the face spot on Raven and the faces generally boss this. They have a big size advantage. Aside from Abyss these guys have history that goes back some 15 years. Foley & Raven brawl to the back to allow Abyss time to put a beating on Stevie. Abyss has EVIL INTENTIONS. He sets up a table and heads up the ramp but Raven breaks a Singapore cane over his head. Raven starts biting at the burnt leg of Abyss (they set fire to it on Impact and you can see the hole that’s burnt in the trousers). Mmm, man-flesh. Raven has the gasoline but Foley breaks it up by returning with a shopping cart of plunder. TAKE IT TO THE PAY WINDA! Heels take barbwire bat shots. Piledriver on Raven and a double arm DDT for Stevie. MR SOCKO! But Raven greets Foley with powder. Taz questions what kind of powder that was. It can’t have been cocaine. Raven wouldn’t throw that away. SHOCK TREATMENT for Stevie. Socko is back in action. Abyss has his own. Mr Abysso? Stereo Claws! Both guys get out. DDT from Raven! Abyss kicks out. Stevie gets tied up in barbwire so he’s unable to move. Foley throws him on that table from earlier and Foley ADDS THE BIG ELBOW OFF THE RAMP! Turning back the years there. Daffney runs in with a chair shot but Abyss ignores it. Raven uses it to set up the DDT but that’s countered into the BLACK HOLE SLAM and this is over. ***. Sure, these matches are messy but they’re always entertaining. One crazy high spot from Foley plus the usual cool storyline stuff with Abyss. Its just a pity they can’t carry on doing Abyss Vs Stevie + friends forever because its been the most entertainment TNA have gotten out of Abyss.
BACKSTAGE Samoa Joe cuts a promo stating that when he decides to cash in his title shot he WILL become the new champion.
Three Degrees of Pain: Desmond Wolfe v Kurt Angle
1st Fall: pinfall. During these first two falls you can’t use the cage as a weapon or you risk a DQ. Wolfe goes after the arm, countered and Wolfe counters back. Angle switches and gets the leg. All of this is aiming towards the second fall where its submissions only. Wolfe misses a kneedrop at one point reminding me of Flair’s classic matches where he’d bait opponents into something like that to give him an injury opening. Wolfe puts this one in the cooler with a wristlock. Perhaps to give him recovery time on the leg while also taking it to Angle’s bad arm. Angle gets out and POWERBOMBS Wolfe into the buckles, which is the first big spot of the match. Even though Wolfe has controlled the whole match that one spot was almost an equaliser. DIVORCE COURT. Massive defensive move from Wolfe. Wolfe wrestles his way out of a sunset flip (as he did in the first match). Wolfe escapes the Angleslam right into the DIVORCE COURT again. Shame this isn’t the submissions section because Angle is ready. He ducks the lariat into the Rolling Germans, which I’m not keen on because his arm shouldn’t allow that. Angle struggles up top with his bad arm and gets flattened with the TOWER OF LONDON…for 2. Sloppy kickout. Angle ducks the slowly set up lariat again then wrestles out of the Tower of London into the Angleslam for 2. They’re already shooting for epic and its only the first fall. Angle wants the moonsault but Wolfe rolls out of the way. Lariat and a frustrated Wolfe hits a second TOWER OF LONDON for the pin. 1-0 Wolfe.
2nd Fall: submission. Angle is not only a fall down but has a hurt arm and a permanently injured neck. Wolfe goes right into the stretching on the mat but Angle wrestles out into the Figure Four. Earl Hebner counts 2 with Wolfe’s shoulders down. Erm, submission match Earl. Wolfe has difficulty moving so he grabs the arm and makes it about mat wrestling where he doesn’t need as much mobility. Wolfe gets an armdrag out of the Angleslam. He’s certainly got that Angleslam scouted. Not so much with the Anklelock but Kurt has more than one submission in his locker. Anklelock is on but Wolfe counters right into the Thames Barrier. Kurt rolls through that into the Anklelock. Wolfe breaks out a sick British counter by pulling Angle nearer into a Kimura. I’ve seen that used before but not to get out of an Anklelock. Speaking of which, Angle counters back into the Anklelock and Wolfe counters out into his own. That’s the 4th time he’s countered that. Angle switches out into an armbar but Wolfe rolls out of that into the Thames Barrier again. Crowd appreciate the wrestling although they are just countering from one submission hold to another. Wolfe gets a TRIANGLE! Angle switches the leverage and floats over into the Anklelock. Wolfe can’t kick him off, like he did at Turning Point, and Angle drops into the heel hook for the submission. Wow, that was an awesome series of counters.
3rd Fall: Escape the cage. Wolfe starts out by smacking Angle’s arm into the cage. For an encore he hits a superplex. Wolfe climbs and Angle bashes his knee into the cage. Wolfe does a bladejob. Luckily they cut away just as he’s doing it. Angle tries to follow up with a frogsplash, Wolfe knees him in the arm to block it BUT HE USES THE WRONG KNEE. Both guys roll around in agony having fucked up their injuries in that spot. Wolfe crawls out the door but Angle drags him back in with the HEEL HOOK! Wolfe taps out but this is a cage match! Angle can hook that shit all night long, baby. Wolfe is bleeding a gusher. Angle climbs out of the cage but Wolfe sees him and goes out the door. Angle drops down first for the win. ****1/2. Three totally different matches. I think I prefer the basics of the previous month and yet Wolfe brought more counters to the Anklelock in this match. Still, great stuff all round. The selling and the psychology made sense. Perhaps my only concern is that Angle has just beaten Wolfe again. Sure, Wolfe hung but he still lost both matches. Maybe they’re aware that he has flaws and Angle is one of the best at hiding them. Still there are other dudes in the company who could bring that out of Wolfe too.
POST MATCH We go to Mick Foley who’s going to be asking questions of Hulk Hogan come January 4th.
TNA title – AJ Styles (c) v Chris Daniels
These two have been working 20-30 minute Indy main events for more than a decade and they usually come in at least ****. I remember a great match back at the TPI in 2002 and one of the UK Supershow’s in Coventry was main evented by them. I forget which because I lent the show to Conscience and never got it back. Daniels leads off with a slap and then begs off to avoid AJ’s strikes. Ah, he’s definitely wrestling heel as well as behaving like one. AJ goes for a nip up to escape an armbar but Daniels just leans in and stops it. They know each other so well. Daniels targets the arm. Shame his transitions are a bit loose. Some people are in such a hurry to get to B they forget the journey. They go to some standing counters with AJ happy just to show Daniels he was aware of the dropkick that was coming rather than counter into a move. Daniels can do nothing about the dropsault. Which goes to show that AJ’s offence is so fast that even if you know its coming you can’t so squat about it. Nip up rana follows. He’s not done that in ages but he knows that speedy offence is too fast for Daniels. AJ fakes two dives to confuse Daniels and then hits a suicide dive after Daniels hurts himself missing a wild swing. He’s just too fast for him! DISCUS CLOTHESLINE! Its like AJ is hitting his trademark stuff and saying to Daniels; I’m better than you and there’s nothing you can do about it. Its Daniels who’ll need to change. Daniels wants a chair shot and when the ref is busy taking that away Daniels hits an STO on another chair. Good spot. Ref is a bit thick but hey, zebras are bred for speed not intelligence. Daniels now has a target and every time AJ tries something Daniels goes after the back. They battle up top and Daniels breaks out a backbreaker over the top buckle for 2. That was COOL. AJ’s bump was kinda sick but the replay shows how safely he took it. Good stuff again. Daniels continues his back assault with the added bonus that AJ is now less mobile. Arabian press to the back and Daniels hooks a chinlock. He’s really gotten focused since that chair spot. AJ gets a nice counter into a hammerlock back suplex to buy himself time. Daniels goes for a slingshot rana on the floor but AJ sees him coming and counters into a POWERBOMB ON THE FLOOR. BOOM! Shrug that shit off! Daaaamn. Daniels begs off again. He’s like a bald new age Flair. Quebrada inverted DDT gets 2. They worked that in nicely. Daniels breaks out a superplex from the middle of the rope to surprise AJ. VENUS HAMMER! Damn, Daniels should use that more often. He fucking nailed it. FRANKENSTEINER. SHINING WIZARD! Daniels is breaking out all manner of shit here to try and get a pin. Like he had a few other finishers in mind to complement the dozen he already has and needed a title match to work them in. AJ retaliates with a BRAINBUSTER to buy himself some time. Flying Springboard Forearm should finish but Daniels knows where the ropes are to save. Daniels avoids the Styles Clash but gets caught with the PELE. OH, IT JUST COMES OUTTA NOWHERE! Daniels uses the ropes again. This time to avoid the Styles Clash. Daniels positions the ref for an eye poke, which indirectly sets up the BEST. MOONSAULT. EVER…for 2. Daniels gets caught in a rollup but AJ rolls through it into the STYLES CLASH…for 2. It must be a big title match for a finisher kick out. AJ calls for the Spiral Tap but Daniels hits that VENUS HAMMER again. He needs to do that in every match now. He tries a super rana but AJ counters him into the AVALANCHE STYLES CLASH to retain. ****1/2. Just 20 minutes of cool counters. Another great match between these two to go into their archive of great matches. Its about time TNA put this on as a PPV main event. With this level of main event awesomeness you have to ask the question; is AJ Styles the greatest TNA champion of all time?
A comedic holiday season video.
Plus some backstage interviews.
Final Thoughts: The undercard was a yawner but the two main events rescued this one. Much like Turning Point it was just back to back instant classics. Between those two matches are the two mains at Turning Point you’ve got the four best matches of the year from TNA.