Written by: Jake Ziegler from InsidePulse
Universal Studios – Orlando, Florida
MATCH #1: TNA X Division Championship – Alex Shelley vs. Eric Young
Shelley has been the champion since 1.11.09, and this is his second defense. Young pinned the champion in a tag team match on Impact to earn this title shot. The challenger takes the early advantage and the champion takes a powder. They take the battle to the ring apron, and Shelley knocks Young down. Back to their feet they exchange punches, and then Shelley knocks him off the apron and hits a jumping knee to the chest. Young recovers quickly and drives Shelley into the guardrail. He goes to the top rope but Shelley moves out of the way and Young crashes into the guardrail. Back in the ring Shelley is in firm control. Young gets a brief bit of offense but Shelley is just dialed in here. They make it back to the apron and Shelley tries to catapult Young off, but that just looked stupid. Young charges but Shelley moves and Young crashes down to the floor. Back in the ring again and Shelley remains in control. Young comes back with a flapjack. He’s in control now and hits a flurry of moves. A big clothesline gets two. He goes up top but Shelley stops him and hits a super jawbreaker. I think that’s the first time I’ve seen that. Young comes back and tries a Death Valley Driver but Shelley avoids it. The challenger stays in control and hits a Cena legdrop for two. Young tries a moonsault but it misses and Shelley gets the toilet flush for two. Shelley hits the Shellshock for two. He goes for the Sliced Bread but Young catches him and goes for the wheelbarrow neckbreaker. Shelley avoids that and hits a standing Sliced Bread #2 for a near-fall. That would have been a good finish. They head up top and Shelley hits a super bulldog. The champion follows up with a Frog Splash but Young kicks out at two! They go back up top and Young drops Shelley’s face right on the top turnbuckle. Shelley jumps up and gets a rollup to retain the title at 13:02. They hit a lot of big moves on each other and used a rollup finish, which gave me flashbacks to 2002 Ring of Honor. The match was decent enough most of the way through though.
MATCH #2: Scott Steiner vs. Petey Williams
They ran this match at last year’s Against All Odds as well. Steiner obviously overpowers Williams in the early going. Williams comes back with a missile dropkick for about a one-count. Steiner rolls to the floor for a breather. They’ve done almost nothing so far. Williams hits a baseball slide, sending Steiner into the guardrail. Back in the ring Williams hits a jawbreaker (sort of) and a spinning kick. He goes back up top, but this time Steiner stops him and hits a belly-to-belly suplex all the way down to the mat. Steiner throws Williams around now, and generally acts like a jerk about it. He hits another belly-to-belly suplex for two. Williams makes a comeback and hits a tornado DDT. He goes up top and hits a diving headbutt for two. Steiner comes back with a Michigan Slam. Williams comes back with an enziguiri. He then hits the springboard Code Breaker from the apron. He misses a charge in the corner, and cleverly feigns a shoulder injury. Steiner looks confident, and Williams gets a quick rollup for two. He gets up and dropkicks Steiner to the floor. He tries the slingshot rana, but Steiner blocks it and powerbombs him hard. Back in the ring it’s all Steiner once again. He then hits a brutal Steiner Screwdriver to get the pin at 11:18. That was pretty dull all in all, and Steiner didn’t really make Petey look like he ever had a chance.
MATCH #3: Brutus Magnus vs. Chris Sabin
Magnus cuts a pretty decent promo, but unfortunately he’s saddled with that ridiculous helmet and gladiator gimmick. They start off slowly, trading holds and counters in the opening minutes. Sabin tries using his speed and agility, but Magnus overpowers him. He wears Sabin down, grounding him with a chinlock. Sabin comes back with an inverted atomic drop and a couple of clotheslines. Magnus stays on his feet so Sabin goes to the apron and hits a springboard clothesline for a two-count. The battle spills to the floor and Sabin hits a springboard cross body block and has the crowd behind him. Back in the ring Sabin goes to the top rope, but Magnus bounces into the rope to knock Sabin down. Then he picks him up and hits Tormentum to score the pin at 6:50. Magnus wasn’t really all that impressive, but again, how do you expect a guy wearing that ridiculous gladiator getup to get over?
MATCH #4: TNA Women’s Knockout Championship – Awesome Kong vs. ODB
Kong has been the champion since 10.23.08, and this is her second defense. Jim Cornette makes the Kongtourage go to the back. Kong is upset by this and confronts Cornette in the aisle, and ODB attacks from behind to start the match. Back in the ring the challenger is actually in control. ODB goes up to the second rope but Kong catches her coming down with a clothesline. The champion goes on offense now, and wears the challenger down with a bearhug. You know what I just realized? These two wrestled for the title at last year’s Against All Odds event as well. Kong goes up to the top rope and misses a splash. ODB fires up now and tries to take Kong off her feet. Finally ODB hits a body slam, no small feat, but it gets a two-count. They get back up and Kong hits the Implant Buster to get the pin and retain the title at 5:32. Kong is awesome and everything and that was a decent match, but how many times can Kong beat everyone in the Women’s Division? They need to find a way to freshen up the whole thing.
MATCH #5: TNA Legends Championship – Booker T vs. Shane Sewell
Booker has been the champion since 10.23.08, and this is his fourth defense. Why on Earth is Sewell wrestling in jeans? He’s a “wrestling referee,” not a “guy who wrestles in jeans.” Booker is not at all taking this match seriously. They start with some basic chain wrestling. Booker backs Sewell into the corner and takes control. That goes on for a bit before Sewell does his Hulking Up thing and hits a bunch of moves. He hits a bulldog, but before he can follow up Sharmell trips him from the floor. Booker then hits the Axe Kick for the pin to retain the title at 6:01. I’m not interested in either of these guys as wrestlers, and this match seemed ultimately pointless.
MATCH #6: Abyss vs. Matt Morgan
These two used to be partners and now they’re not, so we get this grudge match. They charge at each other right away and it’s on. Referee Rudy Charles tries to get between them, and Abyss is having none of it. Morgan tries a big boot but Abyss moves and the Blueprint is crotched on the top rope. Abyss goes go the floor and grabs a kendo stick. Charles is able to take it from him, which is pretty weak. Morgan charges once again and Abyss sidesteps him and tosses him to the floor. They battle through the crowd, with both guys getting some shots in. They make it back to the ring, and Abyss throws a bunch of weapons into the ring. This isn’t technically a no-DQ match or anything. Charles takes a chair away from Abyss, and Morgan is able to recover and hit the Carbon Footprint. The weapons are cleared out now as Morgan takes control. Morgan tries a leap off the top rope but Abyss catches him by the throat. Abyss tries a Chokeslam but Morgan avoids it and they clothesline each other. They get back up and Abyss hits a side suplex for two. Abyss grabs his bag of thumbtacks, allowing Morgan to recover and hit a big clothesline. The referee accidentally gets bumped by Abyss, and now Morgan brings the chair into the ring. He blasts Abyss in the skull with it, and then wakes the referee up for a two-count. Morgan tries to use the chair again but Abyss avoids it and this time hits the Chokeslam for a two-count. Abyss sets the chair on Morgan’s chest and goes for an Earthquake splash, but Morgan puts the chair up for a low blow. Morgan then hits a Chokeslam right on top of the chair, right in front of the referee. It only gets two. Abyss has the chair and goes to hit Morgan, but Morgan pulls the referee into the way and Charles is OUT now. With no referee, Abyss hits the Black Hole Slam, and Slick Johnson comes out to make the count but Morgan kicks out. Morgan hits a low blow and goes for the Carbon Footprint, but Abyss avoids it and hits another Black Hole Slam for the pin at 15:40. That was decent enough for a power match, but ran a little bit long for what they were going for.
MATCH #7: TNA World Tag Team Championship – Beer Money, Inc. vs. Lethal Consequences
Beer Money has been the champions since 1.11.09, and this is their first defense. Lethal and Roode start the match, and Lethal gets a quick advantage. The champions try to use their power but the challengers are able to weather the storm and use their athleticism to control the champions. They get in the requisite “gay” spot, which I’m just really tired of. Beer Money is finally able to isolate Lethal on work him over for a bit. Lethal gets a few almost comebacks but mostly the champions wear him down. Finally Lethal makes the hot tag to Creed, who comes in on fire. Creed hits a double rolling clothesline and then goes up top to hit Storm with a cross body block for two. Jacqueline interferes to halt Creed’s momentum, and now Beer Money goes to work on Creed’s injured arm and shoulder. After a few minutes of abuse Creed makes the hot tag to Lethal. Black Machismo goes to the top rope and hits the elbow drop on Roode, but Storm breaks it up. Jacqueline tries to interfere again but it backfires. Lethal hits the Lethal Combination on Roode, but it only gets two. Jacqueline gives Storm a chain, which he uses to punch Lethal in the face, and Roode gets the pin at 15:43. That was solid formula stuff, but the finish seemed a little unnecessary. No one gave Lethal Consequences a chance to begin with.
MATCH #8: TNA World Heavyweight Championship – Sting vs. Kurt Angle vs. Brother Ray vs. Brother Devon
Sting has been the champion since 10.12.08, and this is his sixth defense. Mick Foley joins Tenay and West for commentary. They’re calling Angle a 12-time World Champion, but I can only count nine (two TNA World Titles, one IWGP Third Belt, one WCW Title, one World Heavyweight Title, and four WWE Titles). Meanwhile, they call Team 3D 21-time Tag Team Champions, and that’s much more accurate (they actually have won 22, but I’m guessing they’re not counting the Hustle Super Tag Team Championship). The buildup to this match takes forever. Tenay tries to sell this match as having a “big match feel,” which it really doesn’t. Team 3D takes the early advantage, with Devon battling Angle in the ring while Ray takes Sting to the floor. Everyone gets back in the ring and 3D continues to control the match, working as a team. In fact, when they knock Sting and Angle out, they try to steal a quick pin on each other, which Tenay refers to as “cunning.” Yet when Hogan and Nash did it people were up in arms. Wrestling is dumb sometimes. Speaking of dumb, Ray and Devon trade a few holds and then get tired of it and start slugging. Ray hits a bodyslam, and Devon hits one of his own. Then they clothesline each other and get right back up in the Indy Standoff. Really guys, really? This gives Angle and Sting the chance to get back in the ring and take over. The match spills to the floor and it’s all Mafia now. Ray and Sting fight into the crowd. Devon and Angle fight around the broadcast table. Speaking of the broadcasters, West asks Foley what it’s like to be announcing without someone yelling in his ear. I would guess it’s like being a part of a subpar, bush-league promotion. Back in the ring Angle and Sting have a disagreement and 3D resumes control. Angle is bleeding, and it looks like it was hard way. Devon puts Angle in a crappy Boston Crab while Ray puts Sting in a crappy figure-four leglock. Angle and Sting escape the holds and dispatch of Team 3D. The Main Event Mafia members start fighting it out now. Angle goes after the leg. Sting fights back and hits the Stinger Splash and tries the Scorpion Death Drop. Angle avoids that and puts on the Ankle Lock, but Team 3D makes it back in to break it up. Sting takes Ray and Devon down with simultaneous clotheslines, and then Angle hits Sting with the Angle Slam for a two-count. Devon then hits Angle with Saving Grace for two. Ray hits Devon with the Rock Bottom for two. Sting hits Ray with a DDT for two. I see what they did there. Angle throws Sting to the floor, and winds up taking the Doomsday Device for his troubles. Devon covers but Sting breaks it up. Angle takes a breather on the floor while Sting gets beat up by 3D. They go for the What’s Up but Angle springs up and suplexes Devon down to the mat and pulls the straps down. Ray clotheslines Angle over the top. That gives Sting the chance to hit Ray with the Scorpion Death Drop to get the pin and retain the title at 14:35. That was a lot of dull brawling from four guys I’m not particularly interested in. And like the last title match, no one bought either of Team 3D having a shot at the belt, and most of the match was worked like a tag anyway.