Written by: Jake Ziegler from InsidePulse
The opening video focuses on the importance of being a World Champion, and making Kurt Angle look like a giant jerk. He’s claiming to be an 11-time World Champion but that sounds like fuzzy math to me.
MATCH #1: Ultimate X Gauntlet Match
This is like a regular gauntlet match except that once all 10 men enter it becomes an Ultimate X match. If you get eliminated before all 10 men make it out there, tough luck. We’re going with one minute intervals here. Christopher Daniels drew #1, and Jay Lethal drew #2. Daniels attacks right away and beats Lethal down. Lethal comes back with some jabs and elbows as #3 comes out and it’s Puma. The crowd is pretty excited to see him. Daniels is kind of hiding so Puma goes to work on Lethal. Daniels comes back to double-team Lethal, but he ducks a double-clothesline and knocks them both down with a clothesline of his own. Homicide is next out at #4. He hits Lethal with a back body drop and a dropkick. He follows up with a Gringo Cutter as they all triple-team Lethal now. We’re halfway home as Sonjay Dutt comes out at #5. He immediately uses his speed and agility to his advantage, taking everyone out. Puma comes back with a solid kick to Dutt’s head. Next out is #6, Petey Williams. The action is getting pretty tough to call with six guys out there now all running at 100 miles per hour. Williams hits Puma with the Canadian Destroyer and throws him out, but then Homicide tosses Williams out! Shark Boy comes out at #7. More brawling happens and Elix Skipper is #8. He immediately makes an impact in his first match since December by eliminating Boy, and moments later eliminating Dutt. That makes four eliminates as #9 comes out and it’s Kaz. He hits Daniels with the springboard legdrop. The final entrant, #10 is Senshi. Now it’s a six-way Ultimate X match. The action is hard to call as people are climbing and beating each other up all over the place. Kaz, Daniels, Lethal, and Senshi all climb towards the X and kick away at each other and they all fall down. Next to try grabbing the X is Daniels, and he ends up hanging upside down by his feet, and Kaz executes a perfect Ace Crusher from the top rope. The setup was contrived but they pulled off the move beautifully, so respect. Senshi sends Kaz to the floor with a kick to the head and then turns his attention to Homicide. That leads to the requisite Tower of Doom spot and everyone is down except Kaz and Skipper. They climb to the very top of the scaffolding, and there’s no longer a platform there so it looks even scarier. They stop to realize what they’re doing and then start trading punches. They sit down for more leverage and then try to drop down and grab the X but they fall to the mat and now all six guys are down. One of them grabbing the X there would have been a cool finish. Now begins the parade o’ finishers. Kaz brings back the Flux Capacitor and once again everyone is down. Daniels pitches Kaz through the ropes and into the steel truss holding up the structure. That’s awesome. Lethal disposes of Daniels and goes for the X. Daniels recovers and goes up as well. Skipper pulls Lethal down and then he and Senshi double team him with their own version of the Hart Attack. Daniels then scurries over and pulls down the X for the win at 18:47. Skipper, Senshi, and Daniels then celebrate together, officially reuniting Triple X! That was an awesome spot fest and I think reuniting Triple X was a great move.
Jeremy Borash is in his favorite place, the men’s locker room, to interview the TNA World Tag Team Champions Team 3D. Brother Devon proclaims that he will win the TNA World Title from Kurt Angle. Brother Ray disagrees, saying he will win the X-Division Title from Samoa Joe. They yell at each other, and then Borash sends it over to Leticia Cline (wearing a ridiculous hat), who is with Joe. The X-Division Champion promises that he will be a tag team champion after tonight’s main event, and then he’s going after Kurt Angle’s title.
Back at ringside, Mike Tenay and Don West run down the rest of the card. Sadly they neglect to mention Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin taking on Jerry Lynn and Mr. Backlund. They go back to Leticia, who is now with the Voodoo Kin Mafia. They say they have a surprise for Christy Hemme, since TNA will no longer allow man-on-woman violence. They also promise to hurt Lance Hoyt. Based on that promo I have no idea who they are actually wrestling, because it’s not going to be Hemme and Hoyt that’s for sure.
MATCH #2: Voodoo Kin Mafia vs. Basham & The Damaja
This was one of the stupider feuds TNA ever ran. BG James introduces the newest member of the Voodoo Kin Mafia, Roxxi Laveaux. Apparently she’s some kind of voodoo queen from Congo Square in New Orleans. BG and Damaja start the match and take it right down to the mat. Of course BG takes the early advantage and fights off Damaja, Basham, and even Hoyt. Kip James and Basham tag in and Kip uses his size and power advantage to control Basham. Hoyt even interferes but James overcomes it and goes outside the ring to confront him but can’t catch him. He gets back in the ring and Hemme meets him there with a slap to the face. Laveaux comes in the ring but referee Earl Hebner prevents girl-on-girl violence. Basham sends BG to the floor and Hoyt throws him into the guardrail. Back in the ring Basham gets a two-count and then tags Damaja. They briefly work BG over before Kip gets the lukewarm tag and starts throwing Damaja and Basham around. Kip hits Damaja with a jackhammer for a two-count. He then hits a Stinger Splash but Basham catches him with a leg lariat and Damaja gets a two-count. The referee gets distracted and Hoyt throws a chair in the ring and kicks it into Kip’s face and Damaja gets another two-count. Now Hoyt argues with the referee, allowing BG to hit Damaja with the chair and Kip gets the pin at 7:04. That was a solid little tag team match, and much better than their previous efforts. Hemme is angry and sends Hoyt after VKM, but he gets disposed of. She gets in the ring herself and Kip holds her for Laveaux, who hits a Dominator.
Borash is backstage with TNA World Champion Kurt Angle, who is also the holder of the IWGP Third Belt. Angle cuts an arrogant promo, taking his sunglasses off and on, and concluding with “tonight it’s shake and break time.” Oy vey.
MATCH #3: James Storm vs. Rhino
This was basically a re-telling Jake Roberts versus Jerry Lawler feud, where Storm refused to take Rhino’s past alcoholism seriously. Storm is accompanied by “The Pride of Tennessee” Miss Jackie Moore. Referee Rudy Charles sends Moore back to the locker room before the opening bell. Rhino attacks Storm outside the ring and throws him into the guardrail and then the announce table. They take it up into the crowd and Rhino is dominating. They make it back to ringside and Storm tries to fight back but to no avail. They finally make it to the ring to officially start the match.
Rhino pretty much picks up where he left off, but when he goes up top Storm clobbers him, knocking him down to the floor. Back in the ring Storm gets a two-count. He focuses on Rhino’s neck, and tosses him back to the floor. He drives Rhino’s back into the guardrail and then brings him back into the ring for another near-fall. Moments later Rhino fights back with a clothesline and a shoulderblock in the corner. Storm cuts him off with a boot to the gut and a swinging neckbreaker for two. Rhino comes back with a superplex. He tries a short-arm clothesline but Storm ducks and the referee takes the blow instead. Storm tries the Superkick but Rhino ducks and hits the belly-to-belly suplex. Rhino goes for the Gore but Storm breaks the beer bottle on his head and gets the pin at 7:29.
Rhino is busted open pretty badly, and Storm goes out and grabs a rope to tie Rhino to the ring ropes. Storm calls Moore back to ringside and she’s got a little keg with her. He pours beer in Rhino’s face, and this is EXACTLY like the CM Punk versus Raven feud in ROH in 2003. I mean I know everything in wrestling is stolen but this is pretty damn blatant. Storm brings a chair in the ring and cracks Rhino in the head with it. As far as the mach it was actually pretty solid, with Storm focusing on the neck and Rhino just being Rhino (it’s about all he can do).
Backstage, Leticia Cline and her stupid hat are with Jerry Lynn and Mr. Backlund. Lynn talks about keeping tradition alive in wrestling. He says they’re going to take Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin to school, and show them that family is the most important thing. Um, what? Backlund then gets his crazy two cents in, and I love it.
MATCH #4: Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley vs. Jerry Lynn & Mr. Backlund
Sabin and Shelley were basically doing the Motor City Machineguns shtick without the name at this point. They are accompanied to the ring by Kevin Nash. Sabin and Backlund start for their respective teams. Backlund stalls and it takes just over a minute before first contact, an armdrag. Sabin pops up and locks on a Full Nelson. Backlund escapes and reverses to a Full Nelson of his own, and Sabin reaches the ropes. Shelley and Lynn tag in and Shelley blows a snot rocket. Lynn comes back with an armdrag into an armbar. Shelley goes to the eyes and tags Sabin, who walks right into an armdrag. Sabin tags Shelley and they double-team the veteran. Once again Lynn fights back and the Guns comfort each other. The Guns try to double-team Lynn but the crafty veteran stays one step ahead of the youngsters. Lynn spikes Sabin with a hard DDT for a two-count. Finally the Guns are able to double-team Lynn down to the mat and they gloat hilariously. Shelley throws Lynn to the floor, and he comes back in with his legdrop and then a sunset flip for two, broken up by Sabin. Shelley makes the tag and they continue to wear Lynn down. Sabin uses an abdominal stretch and Lynn hiptosses his way out of it and makes a tag but the referee was distracted so he won’t allow it. Backlund overpowers the referee and enters the ring illegally. He throws elbows all over the place as the referee doesn’t even try to stop him. He hits Sabin with a double underhook suplex, and it looks like he landed on Lynn’s ankle and may have injured him. Nash enters the ring, and when the ref finally decides to get Backlund back to the apron Nash levels Lynn with a big boot. Sabin and Shelley hit a series of double-team kicks on Lynn to get the pin at 8:44. The finishing sequence was a little contrived but I’ll be damned if Shelley and Sabin didn’t make Lynn and Backlund look like a credible threat.
Backstage Borash is following Kurt Angle around while Angle looks for backup tonight since he thinks it’s going to be a three-on-one situation. He finds Jay Lethal, who doesn’t seem too interested, so Angle beats him up and throws him into a shower. The sunglasses thing is getting really old already.
MATCH #5: Eric Young & Gail Kim vs. Robert Roode & Ms. Brooks
The men are feeling chivalrous so they start the match. I think this was the longest feud in the history of wrestling. Young starts off hot so Brooks tries to come to the rescue but to no avail. Kim and Young work together on the Robert Roode, Inc. team and send them retreating to the floor. Young will have none of it, hitting Roode with a suicide dive, and Kim follows suit! Back in the ring Kim hits Brooks with a backbreaker and drives her into the corner. Brooks hits a kneelift and then tags Roode. Kim has no problem hitting Roode in the face, and then she tags Young. Brooks trips Young from the floor, and then they pull his groin into the ring post. Now Roode and Brooks are in control, working Young over. I’m pretty sure they were just talking about not allowing man-on-woman violence anymore earlier on this very show but I must have dreamt it. After several minutes of abuse Young makes the hot tag and Kim is on fire. You know, for wrestling as long as she has, Brooks often looks lost out there. Roode catches Kim in a rana attempt with a Boston Crab, and Young breaks it up with a DDT. Brooks shoves Young to the floor and sets Kim on the top rope. Kim pushes Brooks down and hits her with a missile dropkick. She goes for a cover and tricks Roode into falling onto Brooks twice. Young and Kim hit Roode with a double dropkick to send him to the floor, and Kim gets the pin on Brooks at 8:17. That seemed to entertain the live crowd but it didn’t do much for me.
Borash is backstage with Christian, Tomko, and AJ Styles. Cage cuts his usual awesome promo about how awesome he is, while Styles plays the bumbling fool. Tomko gets angry and tries to fire Styles up about their tag team match tonight. TNA World Champion Kurt Angle busts in and wants to borrow Tomko and Styles for backup, but Cage says they have their own problems. Sonjay Dutt comes in with his tambourine, collecting money for the Ebola virus breakout in Kenya. If you don’t know how the rest goes, have you ever watched wrestling before?
MATCH #6: Christian Cage vs. Chris Harris
They have an intense lockup and aggressively chain wrestle. Harris scores a knockdown with a shoulderblock for a two-count and they face off. The Wildcat stays in control, scoring a delayed vertical suplex for another near-fall. Cage takes a powder but Harris follows him out. They fight up the aisle and Harris back body drops Cage on the ramp. Back in the ring Harris comes back with a flapjack for another two-count. Cage slips out of a powerslam and pulls Harris’s groin into the ring post. Now the veteran Cage takes control, locking on an abdominal stretch. He breaks the hold and pitches Harris to the floor. Harris reverses an Irish whip and Christian’s knees crash into the steel steps. Back in the ring Harris misses a flying clothesline and Cage covers for two. Harris comes back with a bulldog and a lariat. Cage tries throwing Harris to the floor but the Wildcat lives up to his name and jumps up to the top rope for a cross body block for two. Cage begs off in the corner and scoops the legs for a two-count. Harris comes back and tries a superplex but Cage reverses to a gourdbuster for two. They trade finishing hold attempts and neither man can land his own, but Harris hits the Unprettier for two! Harris hits a Spear for another two-count. He tries another Spear but Cage leapfrogs him and Harris crashes into the post. Cage hits the Unprettier but Harris kicks out at two! He removes a turnbuckle pad but that gives Harris time to recover and he catapults Cage into it. Harris hits a Full Nelson Slam for another near-fall. The referee inadvertently gets knocked out of the way, giving Cage the opportunity to blast Harris with a chair and then he hits a Frog Splash for two! For some reason Dustin Rhodes is watching from up by the entrance, distracting everybody, referee included. Tomko comes out to further distract the referee and Rhodes hits Harris with something (the camera manages to miss it) and Cage gets a cradle for the pin at 12:29. That was going along just fine until the colossally stupid finish.
Borash gets a word (mostly yelling) with Sting and his tag team partner Abyss. They spent most of the end of 2006 and the beginning of 2007 in a bloody (and stupid) feud, and now they’re together. Why are strobe lights flashing in the background?
MATCH #7: Sting & Abyss vs. AJ Styles & Tomko
Abyss and Styles start the match. Styles uses his speed and agility to avoid the Monster. He tries a cross body block but it’s more like running into a brick wall. Sensing he can’t match up with Abyss at this point, Styles makes the tag to Tomko. The two big men square off and trade punches and then Sting tags himself in. Sting manhandles both Tomko and Styles and then tags Abyss for some double-teaming. Styles valiantly fights back against the much larger Abyss, but it’s Tomko who boots the big man down. Now Tomko and Abyss work Abyss over in their corner. After a few minutes Abyss makes the tag. Sting clotheslines Tomko to the floor and Abyss goes up to the top rope and Styles knocks him down right into Tomko. Styles goes for a springboard move and Sting pushes him to the floor, and then the Icon wipes out all three men with a dive. Back in the ring Styles blasts Sting with an enziguiri for two and then makes the tag. They work Sting over now with a variety of offense and near-falls. Styles tries a super hurricanrana but Sting blocks it and follows him down with a clothesline and they’re both down. Abyss gets the hot tag and goes to work on both guys. He chokeslams Tomko for a two-count. Styles fights back with the Pele and Tomko gets a two-count as Sting makes the save. The referee has lost control, as Tomko and Sting take it to the floor. Abyss hits Styles with the Shock Treatment and Tomko gets back in the ring to hit Abyss with a Khali Chokeslam. Sting is back in as well and takes Tomko down for the Scorpion Deathlock. Styles distracts the referee while Tomko taps out, and then he breaks up the hold. Sting dumps Styles to the floor while Abyss hits Tomko with the Black Hole Slam to get the pin at 15:33. That was a solid tag team match but I hate how referees in TNA at some point arbitrarily stop enforcing the rules in every tag team march. Jim Mitchell comes out afterward to make some cryptic comments.
MATCH #8: Match of Champions – Kurt Angle & Samoa Joe vs. Team 3D
The stipulation is that whoever gets the pin will win the title of the person he pinned. If Kurt Angle or Samoa Joe gets the pin on Brother Ray or Brother Devon, they will get sole possession of the titles and get to choose their own partner. Angle is been the champion since 6.17.07 and this is his second defense; Joe has been the X-Division Champion since 6.21.07 and this is his first defense; Team 3D have been the tag champions since 4.15.07 and this is their sixth defense. On his way to the ring Angle runs into Havok and Martyr and asks them for backup, and when they laugh at him they get beaten up.
Joe and Devon start the match. They trade holds and strikes, and Joe looks to be the stronger competitor. He takes advantage and brings Devon over to the corner and begrudgingly tags Angle into the match. Devon comes back with a thumb to the eyes and tags Ray. Angle throws Ray around (no small feat) until Ray drives Angle back into the turnbuckles. The World champ comes back with a release German Suplex for two and then makes the tag. Joe and Angle are working surprisingly well together as a team. They continue making tags and work Devon over in their side of the ‘gon. After getting beaten up for a while Devon comes back with a spinebuster on Angle and goes for a cover but Ray pushes his own partner off the pin! Ray tags in and Angle tags Joe. Turnabout is fair play, as Ray hits Joe with a uranage and Devon pushes Ray off the pin. The crowd is chanting for Devon! The tag team champions get into a shouting match and Ray pushes Devon down slaps him, and then walks up the ramp. Of course Ray comes back and delivers a low blow to Joe and then the throw Angle from the ring to the floor. They reveal that the whole thing was a ruse and now they’re firmly in control. Joe fights back with a flying knee off the second rope but before he can make the tag Ray knocks Angle to the floor. Finally Joe avoids a charge in the corner and he makes the tag. Angle is fresh and fired up here. He throws the tag team champions around with belly-to-belly suplexes and the straps come down. He hits Devon with a super belly-to-belly suplex and Joe comes back in with a powerslam on Ray for two. Angle then gets a two-count on Devon, but HOW IS EVERYONE IN THE MATCH LEGAL EARL HEBNER? I hate that. Angle slams Devon down and hits the moonsault but Ray breaks up the pin. Ray tells Devon to get the tables, but that gives Angle a Joe the chance to grab them with dueling Ankle Locks. Ray breaks out of his and then Angle accidentally breaks up Joe’s. The tag champs hit Angle with the 3D but Rick Steiner pulls the referee to the floor – WTF? Devon goes to the floor to fight Rick, while Scott Steiner sneaks in the ring to blast Ray with a lead pipe. Joe covers for two and Angle breaks up that pin and slugs away at his own partner. Angle goes for the Olympic Slam and Joe takes out his knee and then steals the pin to take sole possession of the TNA World Tag Team Titles (he never did pick a partner) at 18:25. That was going along pretty well (though it would have been more effective with a better team than Team 3D), but then the finishing sequence completely took the match off the rails, which was sad.
BONUS MATCH: Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe & Team 3D vs. Christian Cage, AJ Styles, Tomko & Robert Roode, Impact, 7.12.07
Brother Devon and Roode start the match. They go back and forth for a bit and Devon hits a back elbow for two. Roode tags Cage and Devon takes him down with a shoulderblock for a two-count and then tags his brother. Team 3D hits Cage with a flapjack for another two-count. Ray hits a delayed vertical suplex for another two-count. Joe tags in goes to work, hitting Big Joe Combo #2. Then he hits the original Big Joe Combo. Tomko tags in and the big men start throwing haymakers. They trade kicks and Tomko tags Roode. Joe is all over Roode as well, looking dominant on everyone. He tags Devon and then argues with Ray. They take a commercial break and come back to Roode working on Devon. The heels take turns working Devon over in their half of the hexagon while Ms. Brooks cheers them on from ringside. Devon comes back with a tornado DDT on Tomko and makes the hot tag to the X-Division Champion. Joe is all over everyone, hitting Styles with a snap powerslam for two. He follows up with a powerbomb into the STF. The match breaks down to a brawl bur conspicuous by his absence from the fight is World Champion Kurt Angle. Team 3D hits the double-team neckbreaker on Roode, and then the Doomsday Device on Cage. Then they hit the 3D on Roode but Tomko prevents a cover. Joe grabs Tomko with a Death Valley Driver. Styles hits Joe with the Pele but then runs into a monster lariat. Joe hits Cage with a kick to the head and then he goes back to Styles. He catapults Styles into Cage, knocking him to the floor. Joe looks to finish Styles off with the Muscle Buster, but Angle tags himself in and clips Joe’s knee to take him out, and then makes the cover himself to get the win at 8:36 (shown). That was a hot TV main event and did a good job building tension between Angle, Joe and 3D.