Written by: Jake Ziegler from InsidePulse
Impact Zone – Orlando, FL
Mike Tenay and Taz are on commentary.
MATCH #1: TNA World Tag Team Championship Match – Motor City Machine Guns vs. Generation Me
The Guns have been champions since 7.11.10 and this is their second defense. They were supposed to be defending against London Brawling (Desmond Wolfe and Magnus), but something weird that I don’t remember prevented them from making this show, so Generation Me gets the nod instead.
Alex Shelley and Jeremy Buck start the match for their respective teams. They engage in some chain wrestling, which Shelley excels at. Jeremy quickly tags out to Max, and Shelley takes him to the mat as well. Sabin tags in and they wrestle to a standoff and then get right in each other’s faces. Tags are made and Shelley and Jeremy go toe to toe again. Gen Me goes to work on the arm and isolate Shelley in their corner. The Guns come right back with some rapid fire double team tactics and submission holds. Jeremy creatively comes back and tags his brother. They work on Sabin briefly and then Shelley makes a blind tag and comes in off the top rope with a thrust kick on Max for two. Shelly then traps himself in Gen Me’s corner, and that ends badly for him. Gen Me works Shelley over, wearing him down in their half of the ring. After a few minutes Sabin gets the hot tag and he’s a house afire. Sabin hits a nasty springboard DDT on Max and Jeremy breaks up the cover. Shelley seems to have fully recovered, as he throws Jeremy to the floor and hits a sweet suicide dive. Sabin and Max are trading hands, and Max counters another DDT attempt by forcing Sabin back into his corner. Jeremy hits a unique Sliced Bread #2 but Shelley breaks up the pin. Gen Me then goes right back to work on the weakened Shelley. They try More Bang for Your Buck but Shelley avoids it. Superkicks start flying everywhere and the Guns win that battle. The Guns then hit the Skull & Bones on Jeremy to get the pin at 12:17. That was a hot opener with some great tag team action. There was no real story to it but it was really fun.
MATCH #2: TNA X Division Championship Match – Douglas Williams vs. Sabu
Williams has been the champion since 5.16.10 and this is his third defense. Sabu actually scores the first takedown, and seems willing to engage Williams in a mat wrestling contest. He takes Williams down again and hits a slingshot somersault legdrop. He locks on a Camel Clutch and Williams inches toward the ropes and takes a powder. That doesn’t go well, as Sabu hits a dive over the ropes and then sets up a table. That gives Williams the chance to recover and avoid the table. Back in the ring Williams hits a European Uppercut off the second rope. Why can’t Tenay just call it a “European Uppercut,” why does he have to say “European Style Uppercut?” Williams hits a running knee to the chest in the corner and then goes up top. Sabu knocks him down and goes for the super springing rana but they blow it. The crowd chants “Sabu” anyway. That’s kind of them. Sabu brings a chair in the ring but capitulates to referee Earl Hebner’s demands not to use it. He then uses the chair to spring off for a moonsault (off the second rope, which looked weird) and it gets two. Williams trips Sabu up, causing his face to hit the chair. Hebner finally gets rid of it. Williams blatantly kicks Sabu in the balls but for some reason doesn’t get disqualified. He hits a clothesline for two. A knee drop gets another near-fall. Sabu fights back with a springboard DDT, which Tenay calls “a variation of a DDT.” I like to pick apart his commentary. Sabu gets two and then follows up with a springboard back elbow for another two. He grabs the steel chair again and hits the solo Poetry in Motion. The idiot referee can’t get rid of the chair and Sabu sets it up again, only this time Williams dropkicks it right back into Sabu’s groin. Williams hits a gutwrench suplex for two. Sabu fights back with a clothesline so Williams takes another powder. He sets up the chair again and Hebner tries (but not too hard) to stop him, and Sabu can’t complete the triple jump, so he settles for a house show dive. Sabu sets Williams up on the table and tries another dive but Williams avoids it and Sabu crashes through the table. Back in the ring Williams tries to use the chair but Hebner stops him, and when Hebner’s back is turned, Williams cracks Sabu in the face with the belt to get the pin at 11:12. That was a clash of styles that didn’t really work, and Sabu blew a handful of spots, which never helps. I do love seeing Williams get a push though.
MATCH #3: Knockouts Grudge Match – Madison Rayne vs. Velvet Sky
Rayne is accompanied by Tara, and Sky by Knockouts Champion Angelina Love. Tara distracts Sky right away and Rayne takes the first advantage. Sky fights right back but Rayne shoves her down and slugs away. Rayne locks on a Camel Clutch and Sky escapes by flipping over and kneeing Rayne in the crotch. Sky slaps Rayne across the face, and Tara gets up to distract the referee so he can’t immediately make the count on Sky rollup and she only gets two. Rayne reclaims control and executes the Skull F*cker for a two-count. Sky comes back by dropping Rayne out of the corner right on her face. Both women rise to their feet and Sky hits a series of clotheslines and a back elbow. Sky hits a Spear and slams Rayne’s head into the canvas multiple times. She follows up with a bulldog for two. Rayne kicks Sky to the floor and Tara goes to attack her with the motorcycle helmet. Love luckily prevents that from happening. Rayne goes for the Zack Attack but Sky reverses it to a DDT for the win at 4:43. That was acceptable but not particularly engaging.
MATCH #4: Falls Count Anywhere – Abyss vs. Rhino
The fight starts in the aisle, and Rhino throws Abyss into the guardrail a couple of times. They take it into the ring and Rhino introduces a bunch of weapons into the fight. Rhino sets up a trash can in between the top and middle rope. Meanwhile Abyss is trying to catch his breath outside the ring and Rhino flattens him with a house show dive. They start fighting through the crowd and a camera man gets knocked down. Now they’re backstage, a TNA staple. They walk around and throw each other into stuff. Abyss takes control and brings Rhino back into the Impact Zone. Back in the ring Rhino blocks a hiptoss with a clothesline. Rhino then tries to whip Abyss into the garbage can but it gets reversed and he crashes into the trash can he set up earlier. They go back to the floor and Abyss whips Rhino into the guardrail for a two-count. Rhino comes back by hurling Abyss through a piece of the stage. They fight under there and the camera man has trouble following them and we lose sight of the wrestlers. After some dead air they come bursting out of the other side of the stage, and Abyss once again covers for two. Back around ringside Abyss grabs a guardrail and sets it up in the corner of the ring. Rhino fights back with a clothesline and then cracks a cookie sheet on Abyss’s head three times. He hits a belly-to-belly suplex and signals for the Gore. Abyss catches him by the throat and hits a chokeslam on a trash can but Rhino kicks out at two. He goes to the floor and grabs Janice. The idiot referee tries to talk him out of using it as if this isn’t a no-disqualification match. That gives Rhino the chance to hit a Gore but Abyss kicks out. Moments later Rhino runs right into a Black Hole Slam but it only gets two. Why does every match in TNA need to have multiple finisher kick outs? Tenay says you don’t see that very often but he lies. Abyss sets up for a powerbomb into the guardrail setup in the corner but Rhino escapes and hits another clothesline. Rhino goes for another Gore but Abyss sidesteps it and Rhino goes crashing into the guardrail. Abyss then hits the Black Hole Slam to get the pin at 12:39. That was okay, but I feel like they’ve had this exact match multiple times over the years.
MATCH #5: Kevin Nash & Sting vs. Jeff Jarrett & Samoa Joe
Sting and Joe start the match for their teams. Nash illegally interferes about 10 seconds in, but Joe dispatches him and then drills Sting with a running back elbow in the corner and an enziguiri. Jarrett tags in and hits Sting with a clothesline. Nash takes a cheap shot from the apron and Sting takes Jarrett down with a clothesline. Now Nash is in the ring legally and he starts slowly working on Jarrett, wearing him down. Nash hits a side suplex for two. The t-shirt wearing Sting comes back in and continues the beating on Jarrett. Sting hits a Stinger Splash and then goes for a Vader Bomb but Jarrett gets his knees up. Jarrett is able to make a tag but Nash distracts the referee so it won’t count. Finally Jarrett makes the tag for real and Joe is on fire for the lukewarm crowd. Joe is all over both guys. He knocks Nash off the apron and follows him out with an elbow suicida. That leaves Sting and Jarrett in the ring. Jarrett grabs the baseball bat and uses it to counter the Stinger Splash, and then jams it into Sting’s throat. Joe gets back in the ring and locks Sting in the Choke and Sting is out at 6:13. That was surprisingly short but that worked to the match’s advantage, as I don’t want to see Sting and Nash go much longer than that.
MATCH #6: I Quit Match – AJ Styles vs. Tommy Dreamer
Styles is the current TNA TV Champion, but the title is not on the line here. The match starts up in the aisle, and as they make it toward the ring Dreamer is able to snap Styles’ arm off the top rope. Dreamer tries an early Texas Cloverleaf but Styles kicks out of it. Styles charges but Dreamer backdrops him all the way to the floor. They trade shots back and forth for a bit, and then roll back in the ring. Dreamer locks on the Sugar Hold but Styles won’t quit. Styles fights back and uses a fishhook, which wouldn’t be legal in a normal match. Dreamer comes back and throws Styles’ shoulder into the ring post and goes for a submission, but Styles wisely rolls to the floor. He follows Styles out and hits a running clothesline off the apron. They take it over by the entrance ramp and Styles reverses a suplex, causing Dreamer to land back first on the ramp. Styles goes for a Figure-Four Leglock but Dreamer grabs a light off the set and bashes Styles with it. Dreamer then wraps a cable around Styles’ throat and mouth. Styles gets out of that and tries a Styles Clash on the unprotected floor but Dreamer avoids it; Styles then tries to charge but Dreamer moves out of the way and Styles rams his already injured shoulder into the post. Dreamer hits a shoulderbreaker and then throws Styles and a chair into the ring. He wraps the chair around Styles’ arm and then legdrops it. He then locks on a key lock around the chair and Styles pokes him in the eye to get out of the hold. Styles grabs a fork but Dreamer blocks it and hits a flying armbar (according to Taz anyway) and then tries a Crossface but Styles rolls to the floor.
Dreamer tries to use the guardrail to coax a submission but no such luck. Styles then drops Dreamer nuts-first on the guardrail, because Dreamer apparently loves to do that spot. Now Styles is firmly in control, working on Dreamer’s leg. Styles locks on the Ring Post Figure-Four but Dreamer won’t quit. Back in the ring Styles uses the chair to further weaken the knee, and then puts on the Figure-Four Leglock. Dreamer turns it over, and Styles gets out of it and slams Dreamer’s head into the chair. Styles then sets Dreamer’s face on the chair and goes for a dropkick but Dreamer moves out of the way and that traps Styles’ leg in the chair! Dreamer uses the chair to use advantage and then grabs the fork. Luckily for Styles he avoids it and hits the Pele. Dreamer rolls to the floor, and when Styles goes for a dive Dreamer whacks him with a Kendo Stick. Back in the ring Dreamer uses the Stick to further inflict damage, and then takes his t-shirt off to reveal a singlet. Tenay tells me I have to love the new ring attire, but I really don’t. Dreamer then locks on a Kendo Stick-assisted Crossface, and the stick breaks across Styles’ face. Styles pulls out another fork and gets Dreamer in the eye. He hits a dropkick and then attacks the eyeball with the fork. That’s enough and Dreamer says “I Quit” at 16:27. For what I expected this was actually really solid, and the fork to the eyeball is a sick finish.
MATCH #7: Semi-Finals in the TNA World Title Tournament – Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Hardy
Angle beat Douglas Williams and Hardy beat Rob Terry to get here. Dixie Carter is shown in the crowd looking like the concerned mark that she is. Angle and Hardy start off slowly and take it to the mat, which is Angle’s forte. Hardy fights back and tries to quicken the pace. He gets a couple of moves in before Angle absolutely flattens him with a hard powerbomb. For some reason Angle just sits there not covering Hardy, even though he appears to be out for much longer than three seconds. Instead, Angle locks on a headlock and keeps Hardy on the ground. Moments later Hardy fights back with some fast paced offense and someone somewhere is cursing because they have to bleep out a bunch of stuff. Angle responds with a belly-to-belly suplex for two. He locks on a chinlock and Hardy fights out with a chinbreaker and the Twist of Fate. Hardy just hit one of his finishers and the crowd didn’t pop and the idiot commentators didn’t even call it. He goes up top but Angle pops up and hits the super belly-to-belly for another two. Instead of putting over the move, Taz puts over the production crew for the shot they got of it. I hate you Taz. Hardy fights back and hits the Twist of Fate again and goes for the Swanton, but Angle rolls out of the way. Angle hits the Angle Slam, and even with stacking him up he couldn’t get the three-count. The straps come down but Hardy kicks off the Ankle Lock so Angle hits the three rolling Germans instead. Hardy kicks out at two. Angle goes up for a Moonsault but Hardy avoids that and hits the Whisper in the Wind for two.
They roll to the floor and Hardy hits the Twist of Fate. Hardy then hits the Swanton Bomb from the top rope to the floor! I think that’s what dislocated Angle’s rib. Both men struggle to get back in the ring and trade weak punches as they try to recover. Hardy tries the Twist of Fate but Angle counters with another German suplex. Angle goes up top and hits a Frog Splash but Hardy kicks out at two. Hardy recovers and hits a back body drop and another Twist of Fate for two. He immediately follows up with a legdrop and goes up top for the Swanton but Angle kicks out at two! He goes right back up and hits yet another Swanton but it still isn’t enough. The third time is not the charm, as Angle gets his knees up. Angle hits an Angle Slam and Hardy kicks out at two. He locks in the Ankle Lock but Hardy uses momentum to kick Angle to the floor. Hardy brings Angle right back into the ring and Angle traps him in another Ankle Lock and won’t let go. After some time in the hold Hardy kicks Angle away, but even tenacious, Angle hits a clothesline for two. Angle goes right back to the Ankle Lock and keeps it cinched on for a ridiculously long time. Hardy briefly reaches the ropes but Angle pulls him off and adds a grapevine to the hold. After about three minutes in the hold, the time limit expires at 20:00 and the crowd is pissed. Why was there only a 20 minute time limit?
Eric Bischoff comes out and announces that they are going to add another five minutes on the clock. Why not just make it sudden death? Angle viciously attacks the ankle until Hardy is able to kick him to the floor. Hardy kicks him into the guardrail and then brings Angle back in the ring. He goes up top but it takes him too long because of his ankle and Angle knocks him down. Angle hits a super Angle Slam but it only gets two. He charges at Hardy and gets backdropped to the floor. The clock is once again winding down as Angle barely avoids getting counted out. Back in the ring Angle gets an O’Connor Roll for two. Both men get up and clothesline each other. Angle is able to roll over for a cover but Hardy kicks out, and then the time limit expires again at 5:00. Bischoff announces that once again they are adding five more minutes. Seriously, just do Sudden Death.
Both men are looking exhausted but Hardy is definitely worse for wear. Angle drives a couple shoulders into Hardy’s midsection, and then goes for a charge but Hardy moves and Angle crashes into the ring post. Hardy now attacks the shoulder, ramming Angle into the ring steps and then slamming his face into them. That last move has busted Angle open. Back in the ring Hardy locks on a Boston Crab and Angle appears ready to pass out. Miraculously Angle reverses the Boston Crab and locks on the Ankle Lock. Hardy doesn’t give up so once again time runs out at 5:00.
Bischoff and the referee and that red-headed mark who always interjects herself into the storylines are trying to decide what to do as the trainers clean Angle’s bloody wound. Bischoff announces that the doctors have decided that Angle should not continue, so the match is officially a draw at 30:00. That was a pretty extreme example of the Kurt Angle “just hit a million finishers with no rhyme or reason,” but that style works in front of the iMPACT Zone so at least the crowd was hot so that made it fun. I think these two could have an amazing match if they told a story rather than kicking out of each other’s finishers for half an hour, but that’s what Angle does.
MATCH #8: Semi-Finals in the TNA World Title Tournament – Mr. Anderson vs. The Pope
So, this is the main event eh? They lock up intensely and Anderson issues a clean break. The story of this match is mostly that Pope thinks everyone is crazy for trusting Anderson as a babyface. But Pope is still a babyface, so it’s all muddled, as usual. Both men try to one up each other on the mat, which eventually devolves into a slugging contest. Anderson wins that battle and stomps Pope down in the corner. Pope comes back and starts working on the arm. Anderson fights back and hits the spinning enziguiri for two. Taz makes jokes and I’m bored too. Pope misses a flying charge and lands on his shoulder. I can’t believe they chose this for the main event. What does anyone see in either of these two? Anderson continues to control the match but can’t put Pope away. After a few minutes Pope fires up with a flurry of offense, including the Coronation. Pope goes up top but Anderson cuts him off and goes for a superplex. Unfortunately for Anderson, Pope blocks it and Anderson falls nuts-first on the top rope. Pope then hits an ugly dive to the floor. Back in the ring Pope gets a two-count. They trade finisher attempts and Anderson strikes first with the Finlay Roll for two. Pope comes back with the Codebreaker but Anderson kicks out at two. How could Anderson kick out when Pope Stacked Him Up?!? A reversal sequence ends with Anderson hitting the Mic Check but Pope kicks out. Pope fights back with punches in the corner, which somehow equates to Anderson being Stacked Up in the corner. He goes for the DDE but Anderson moves out of the way and hits another Mic Check to get the win at 17:22. That was brutally boring and a horrible choice for a pay-per-view main event. It’s like they’re obsessed with showing that WWE misused guys like this, but in this case I think that worked against them because neither of these guys are very good at all.