Written by: Jake Ziegler
Universal Studios – Orlando, Florida – January 13, 2013
Mike Tenay, Taz, and Todd Keneley are on commentary.
MATCH #1: TNA World Tag Team Championship – Chavo Guerrero, Jr. & Hernandez vs. Matt Morgan & Joey Ryan
Chavo and Hernandez have been the Champions since 10.14.12, and this is their third defense. They defeated Morgan and Ryan by disqualification back at Final Resolution in December. Ryan and Chavo start the match. Chavo takes the early advantage and he works with Hernandez to wear Ryan down. Ryan comes back by slingshotting Chavo into a Morgan forearm. Momentum quickly shifts back to the Champions. Of course it does. Former Tag Team Champions Morgan and Hernandez finally square off and Ryan takes a cheap shot on Hernandez from behind to give the challengers control. After several minutes Hernandez catches Ryan with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and makes the hot tag. Chavo hits Ryan with the Three Amigos. The referee loses control and all four men are in the ring. Chavo and Hernandez send Morgan to the floor, and then Hernandez flattens Ryan with a very dangerous looking powerbomb. Seriously, what the hell was he doing? Chavo follows up with the Frog Splash to get the pin at 11:30. That was fine-ish tag team formula stuff, but I just don’t buy Chavo Guerrero, like at all. Seriously, his two big spots he ripped off from his dead uncle, give me a break.
MATCH #2: Mr. Anderson vs. Samoa Joe
They jaw at each other right from the start, as apparently there is some kidn of personal issue here that I don’t recall. The brawl begins and Joe handily wins the opening battle, stomping Anderson down in the corner. Joe keeps the pressue on, beating Anderson down with a variety of strikes. Theyh take it to the floor and Joe continues to dominate. Anderson weathers the storm and is able to reverse the momentum. He focuses on Joe’s legs, always a good strategy. Joe comes back and knocks Anderson to the floor, and then follows him out with the elbow suicida. Back in the ring Joe unleashes the offense but can’t yet put Anderson away. Joe goes for the Choke but Anderson breaks it with a jawbreaker. Anderson charges into the corner and gets caught with an STJoe. Knux from the Aces & Eights shows up at ringside to distract Joe, which allows Anderson to hit the Mic Check and score the pin at 10:44. That was fine and all but not exciting, and the finish was exceptionally weak.
MATCH #3: X Division Number One Contender’s Match – Christian York vs. Kenny King
Winner gets an immediate shot at the title. York beat Kid Kash to get to this match, while King got by Zema Ion. They start with some chain wrestling, and of course they wrestle to a standoff. York takes control and King rolls to the apron. King comesback in and dumps York to the outside. He tries to follow with a dive but misses and lands on his feet. York is able to connect with a headscissors. They head back to the ring and York maintains the advantage. King fights back and dumps York out. Momentum continues to shift back and forth, as neither man can maintain control for very long. King tries to cheat to get a pin but the referee catches him. Some stuff happens, and after a series of reversals York is able to hold King down in a cradle to get the pin at 10:13. I understand what they were going for in making these two look evenly matched, but the problem with those kind of matches is they don’t tend to be very interesting because there is nothing to get invested in. It’s just moves and counters for 10 minutes and then somebody wins. I can’t fault the effort involved though.
While York is celebrating, King sneaks up behind him and delivers a Coronation, because he’s a sore loser. RVD makes his way out and he looks concerned about York’s condition. York is ready to go and wants the match.
MATCH #4: TNA X Division Championship – Christian York vs. Rob Van Dam
RVD has been the Champion since 10.14.12, and this is his sixth defense. York is quite obviously the worse for wear here. RVD takes him down and hits Rolling Thunder for a two-count. He locks on a surfboard, and continues using a variety of holds and strikes. This is like a public workout for the X Division Champion. Finally York is able to get to the second rope and drill RVD with a flying knee. RVD responds with a springboard thrust kick. York grabs a quick schoolboy rollup for a close near-fall. RVD cuts him off with the stepover spin kick. He goes up top and misses the Five-Star Frog Splash, and York rolls him up for two. RVD lands a nice thrust kick, and then sets York on the top rope. He hits a thrust kick from the top rope, and then goes up and connects on the Five-Star Frog Splash this time. That’s enough to get the pin at 5:30. York got a tiny bit of offense in but RVD basically toyed with him and then pinned him. That kind of booking would make sense with a heel Champion, but with a face Champion it was just weird and counter-productive.
MATCH #5: Devon vs. Joseph Park
Devon is the TNA Television Champion, but the title is not on the line here. They start off slowly, and it’s obvious that Park is nervous and Devon is confident. Devon offers Park an amateur wrestling match, and Park actually takes him down. That angers Devon and he’s able to reclaim control. Devon abuses Park outside the ring, and when they go back in he removes a turnbuckle pad. He tries to ram Park into it but Park avoids it. Devon connects with a back elbow to keep Park on the defensive. He goes to the second rope but misses a dlving headbutt. Park takes Devon down and flattens him with a splash off the second rope. That only gets two. Devon is able to slam Park’s face into the exposed turnbuckle. That bloodies Park’s nose, and the transformation begins. Park unloads on Devon and hits the Black Hole Slam! Park goes for the Chokeslam but apparently snaps back to reality and can’t complete the move. Devon rolls Park up with a schoolboy to get the pin at 11:16. While 11 minutes is not THAT long in the scheme of things, for the story they were telling in this match it was. It was a dull match with a supremely lame and unsatisfying finish.
MATCH #6: Number One Contender Gauntlet Match – Velvet Sky vs. ODB vs. Miss Tessmacher vs. Mickie James vs. Gail Kim
We start with Kim and Tessmacher. These two have a well documented feud according to Keneley. Taryn Terrell is the referee. Tessmacher controls the early going but misses the twerk and Kim takes advantage. Kim goes up top and Tessmacher knocks her down. Tessmacher unleashes a flurry of offense, including an X-Factor out of the corner for two. Kim hits Eat Defeat from out of nowhere to score the first elimination at 2:43.
ODB is next. She is one half of the Knockouts Tag Team Champions with her husband Eric Young. Kim tries to meet ODB in the aisle but she pays for it. ODB is firmly in control, throwing Kim around from pillar to post as they say. She hits a fallaway slam and then goes up to the second rope for the Dirty Dozen. Kim blocks it and poulls her down, and then hooks the “tights” to score her second elimination at 5:54.
Mickie James is the fourth entrant. Kim takes the first advantage but James is fresher and able to fight back. James sends Kim to the floor and follows her out with a headscissors. Back in the ring James tries a victory roll but Kim rolls through it and holds James down and gets her third straight elimination at 9:02.
The last entrant is Velvet Sky. Kim hides from her and then pops out to throw her into the steel steps. Back in the ring Sky tries to fire up but Kim is able to subdue her. Kim tries a pin using the ropes for leverage but Terrell catches her. That gives Sky the chance to hit In Yo Face to get the pin at 11:48, even though Kim’s foot was under the bottom rope. Gauntlet matches are generally bad, as this was just a collection of four two to three minute matches that had no time to develop into anything. The booking is again ass-backwards, as the hell overcomes all this adversity, beats three opponents, and then loses unfairly to a babyface in about two minutes. Why would I want to cheer for Velvet Sky or think she deserves a title match after that? None of this makes sense.
MATCH #7: Number One Contender Match – Christopher Daniels vs. James Storm
Winner gets a shot on the January 24 episode of IMPACT Wrestling. Daniels has his tag team partner and hetero life mate Frankie Kazarian in his corner. They start with some chain wrestling, with Storm using his size and power advantage to control the early going. Daniels takes a powder and Storm follows him out, continuing to press the advantage. Back in the ring Storm continues to dominate. Finally Daniels distracts the referee, which allows Kazarian to interfere and give Daniels the advantage. Daniels focuses on the arm, using a variety of maneuvers to neutralize it. After several minutes Storm fights his way back and hits a Side Russian Legsweep. Back on their feet Storm unleashes a flurry of offense. Storm goes up top and hits Hail to the King for two. He tries Closing Time but Daniels counters and hits a flying clothesline for two. Daniels charges into the corner and Storm avoids him. Storm pulls Daniels out with The Eye of the Stormand it gets a two-count. He hits the Tennessee Slam and this time lands the Closing Time. Storm misses the Last Call and Daniels hits Angel’s Wings but only gets two! Daniels goes for the BME but Storm gets a boot up. Storm hits a backstabber and then another Closing Time. He signals for the Lsat Call but Kazarian gets on the apron to distract him and Kazarian takes the Last Call. Daniels hits a quick STO and puts his feet on the ropes to get the pin at 13:24. This was getting pretty good and exciting down the stretch, but that finish was pretty cliché and uninspired. Daniels and Storm are two guys TNA should have pushed on multiple occasions, so this was a nice little effort but it didn’t end up meaning much in the long run.
MATCH #8: Sting vs. D.O.C.
This one starts as a brawl outside the ring before the bell can even ring. That allows other members of the Aces & Eights to attack Sting from behind and not cost D.O.C. the match. They finally make it to the ring and D.O.C. is firmly in control, both in and out of the ring. After a good long while Sting hits a mini Scorpion Death Drop for a two-count. Sting follows up with a flurry of offense, including a Stinger Splash to the back. He then hits another Scorpion Death Drop to get the pin at 5:53. That was supremely boring. D.O.C. controlled the match for four minutes, and Sting go in 90 seconds of offense and scored a pin. What was the point of putting this on PPV?
The Aces & Eights come out and look ready to attack, but luckily for Sting he has some backup when Bully Ray comes out with a chain and chases the bikers off.
MATCH #9: Triple Threat Elimination Match for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship – Jeff Hardy vs. Bobby Roode vs. Austin Aries
Hardy has been the Champion since 10.14.12, and this is his fifth defense. Aries and Rood immediately start working together on the Champion. Hardy is able to thwart them and send both challengers to the floor. He takes Roode out with a clotheline off the apron. Back in the ring Roode hits a spinebuster for two. Roode is in control now, but Hardy makes a comeback attempt, going to the top rope. Aries makes his way back in by knocking Hardy off the top rope. Now Aries tries to capitalize but he can’t quite put Hardy away. Roode comes back in and Hardy is able to fight off both challengers, using Roode to hit Aries with Poetry in Motion. Hardy goes up top but once again gets knocked down. Aries and Roode work together to wear down the Champion. With Hardy on the top rope Roode sets Aries on his shoulders for some kind of superplex, but Hardy fights it off and takes both men down with a Whisper in the Wind. Every time Hardy tries to build momentum, one of his challengers is able to put a stop to him. The battle spills to the floor and Hardy is bale to throw Aries into the guardrail and then use the steps to hit another Poetry in Motion. Hardy then hits Roode with a House Show Dive and then throws him in the ring. He goes up top and Aries shoves him down yet again. Hardy is able to grab Aries off the apron and front suplex him right on top of Roode. He goes to the second rope and hits a big splash on Roode for two. Hardy tries Poetry in Motion again but Roode cuts him off with a Spear. Roode and Aries go back to work, and I love that these two have been laser focused on eliminating Hardy, not caring which of them actually does it. Aries hits Hardy with the IED and a Brainbuster but Hardy somehow kicks out! Roode tries to hold Hardy down for Aries to hit the 450 Splash but Roode moves Hardy at the last minute so that Aries crashes to the mat. Then Roode tries the Payoff to eliminate Aries, but he only gets two. Now Roode and Aries finally go at it. Roode goes for a Spear but Aries catches him and locks on the Last Chancery, which Roode counters to a Crossface. Aries escapes and they continue to batter each other while Hardy has a chance to rest on the floor. They battle on the top rope and Aries knocks Roode down, and follows him with a Missile Dropkick. Aries hits an IED and goes for the Brainbuster but Roode counters with an O’Connor Roll for two. When Aries executes a backslide, Hardy makes his way in and helps hold Roode’s legs down and that’s enough for the first elimination at 18:49! That was cool. Aries talks some trash, allowing Hardy time to recover. Hardy hits a Twist of Fate, and then hits another one between the ropes. I’ve never seen that before. Hardy goes up top and flattens Aries with the Swanton Bomb to get the pin and retain the title at 20:20. These three have historically had great matches together, and none of the chemistry was lost by having all three of them out there. Aries and Roode working together right until the end, and Hardy’s resilience were simple yet effective stories, and the action almost never stopped.