Written by: Jake Ziegler
Universal Studios – Orlando, Florida – Sunday, March 18, 2012
Mike Tenay and Taz are on commentary.
MATCH #1: World Heavyweight #1 Contender’s Match – Bully Ray vs. “Cowboy” James Storm
Ray comes out and says he will hold this show hostage until his match later on with James Storm will be for the Number One Contender’s spot at the upcoming Lockdown pay-per-view. Storm comes out and agrees to put his title shot on the line, and he’ll do it RIGHT NOW! Ray attacks right away and the match is on. It looks like Storm has made a big mistake as Ray goes out and grabs the beer bottle. Ray takes a swig and then runs right into a Last Call superkick and Storm gets the pin at 1:11! This looks Storm look really strong going into his title shot against his former tag team partner in his home state next month. You’d almost think that he’d be a shoo-in to take the title, right?
MATCH #2: TNA X Division Championship – Austin Aries vs. Zema Ion
Aries has been the Champion since 9.11.11, and this is his eighth defense. Both men in this match are ultra-cocky, and they try to psyche each other out in the early going with slaps to the face and mind games. Ion gets to the top rope and Aries shoves him to the floor. Aries follows with the heat seeking missile, and then borrows SoCal Val’s phone to send a tweet. Back in the ring Aries hits a slingshot twisting splash for two and then a quebrada for two. The Champ looks firmly in control but Ion is able to come back and snap Aries’ neck off the top rope. A slingshot curb stomp gets a two-count for Ion. The challenger has the Champion reeling, and even hits him with the same moonsault that broke Jesse Sorensen’s neck. Back in the ring Ion continues on offense but can’t put Aries away. Ion tries the pendulum elbow but Aries avoids it. Aries slugs Ion down in the corner and Ion is able to sneak the hair spray bottle into his tights. As Aries continues the beating, Taz refuses to shut up about Twitter. Ion tries to use the title belt as a weapon but when that distracts the referee Ion is able to spray Aries in the eyes with hair spray. A rollup gets a near-fall for the challenger. Ion keeps the pressure on but Aries won’t stay down. He puts Aries up top but Aries reverses a superplex attempt into a sunset bomb. Aries is still having problems with his vision, but he’s able to grab hold of his challenger and hit the Brainbuster. He rolls that into the Last Chancery and Ion taps out at 11:09. Ion clearly is not on Aries’ level in TNA, but they did a good job of structuring the match to make him look like a nominal threat.
MATCH #3: TNA Tag Team Championship – “The Samoan Submission Machine” Samoa Joe & Magnus vs. Crimson & “The Blueprint” Matt Morgan
Joe and Magnus have been the Champions since 2.12.12, and this is their second defense. Magnus and Morgan start the match, but Crimson tags himself in before any contact can be made. There quite clearly is dissension amongst the challengers. Joe and Magnus take the early control and start wearing Crimson down. Crimson takes a powder and Morgan would rather have had him make a tag. Back in the ring Crimson rebounds and goes to work on Magnus, and also gets a little cocky about it. Morgan badly wants to tag in but Crimson isn’t going for it. Eventually Magnus is able to make a comeback and tag Joe, but Crimson still refuses to tag in his partner. Morgan is livid on the apron as Joe is building momentum. Finally Morgan is able to tag himself in and it’s on now. Morgan sets up for the Carbon Footprint but Crimson tags himself in. That doesn’t go over well with Morgan, who tags himself back in. An argument ensues and Crimson leaves Morgan high and dry. Morgan fights back on the Champions, but Crimson sneaks back in the ring and hits his own partner with a Spear! That leaves Morgan easy prey to the snap mare / flying elbow combo and Magnus gets the pin at 10:13. That was all about the challengers splitting up and very little about the Champions being awesome. These four still work well enough together to make a decently entertaining match though.
MATCH #4: TNA Television Championship – Devon vs. Robbie E
Robbie E has been the Champion since 11.13.11, and this is his sixth defense. He has Robbie T in his corner of course. The Champ says every wrestler backstage is already in a match, so there is no one to answer the open challenge. The crowd chants “Robbie T,” but E has a different idea – challenging anyone in the Impact Zone. He goes around looking at potential challengers and it takes forever. E decides no one deserves the shot at him and the Open Challenge is cancelled. Then Devon makes his way in through the crowd and he answers the challenge. The referee calls for the bell and Devon is a house afire. Taz continues to NOT SHUT UP ABOUT TWITTER. They’re worse than WWE. Devon sends the Champ to the floor with a clothesline and continues hammering away at him. E grabs a chair, which distracts the referee long enough for T to take a cheap shot and give the Champion control. Back in the ring E gets a couple of near falls but his control doesn’t last long. Devon destroys E with his basic offense, and knocks T off the apron and into the barricade. He hits a big spinebuster and gets the pin at 3:02. Devon’s reign would eventually kill the TV Title dead, to the surprise of very few.
MATCH #5: TNA Knockouts Championship – Gail Kim vs. Mickie James
Gail has been the Champion since 11.13.11, and this is her fourth defense. These two were recently best friends and Knockouts Tag Team Champions but their friendship has been on the rocks for weeks. They get aggressive with each other in the early going. Kim takes the first control but it only lasts briefly, as Rayne knocks her to the floor and takes the advantage. Rayne wears the Champion down for a bit, and then Kim is able to catch her leg and jam it into the canvas. Kim starts flying around the ring, landing a missile dropkick for two. Rayne hits a neckbreaker, which Tenay calls “straight down, neckbreaker style.” Who taught him to commentate in such a fashion? He’s terrible and I can’t wait for Josh Mathews to replace him. Rayne does some stuff and goes for the Zack Attack, but Kim counters into the Eat Defeat to get the pin and retain her title at 7:10. They had a solid story going in and they played it pretty well. The crowd was silent and the finish came out of nowhere, but it was fine aside from that.
MATCH #6: Mr. Anderson & “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian
Anderson and Daniels start the match, but Daniels quickly exits and lets Kazarian start. Nothing happens and tags are made, allowing the two hated rivals Styles and Daniels to square off. As soon as Styles starts building momentum Daniels takes a powder, but Anderson won’t allow it and throws him back in. The match breaks down to a pier-six brawl and the referee has very little control. Anderson and Styles control the match until Styles goes for the springboard flying forearm on Kazarian but Daniels sneaks over and knocks him off the apron into the barricade. The future Bad Influence keep Styles in their half of the ring and wear him down for several minutes. Daniels whips Kazarian into a monkey flip attempt, but Styles lands on his feet, clotheslines Daniels, and hits Kazarian with the Pele. That gives Styles the chance to make the hot tag and Anderson comes in all fired up. The referee once again loses control and all four men are fighting it out in the ring. Anderson takes Daniels to the floor with a Spear and Styles catches Kazarian with a Styles Clash and doesn’t break his neck to get the pin at 14:00. That was a fun tag team match but nothing extraordinary or memorable. They all did their stuff and that was that.
MATCH #7: “The Charismatic Enigma” Jeff Hardy vs. Kurt Angle
They start cautiously, as these two have faced each other many times in the past. Angle tries to keep Hardy on the mat while Hardy tries to quicken the pace and use more strikes. Hardy uses a headscissors to send Angle to the floor, and he follows him out to keep up the pressure. Back in the ring Angle cuts Hardy off and the momentum continues to shift back and forth. They head back to the floor, where Hardy attempts to leap off the steps and wipe Angle out, but Angle moves and Hardy makes contact with the barricade. Ouch. Now Angle is firmly in control and he begins to dissect the Charismatic Enigma. Surprisingly it doesn’t take too long for Hardy to fight back, and he unleashes a flurry of offense ending with a Whisper in the Wind for a two-count. Angle blocks the Twist of Fate and turns it into rolling German Suplexes. He tries the Angle Slam but Hardy counters it and hits the Twist of Stunner. Hardy goes up top and Angle pops up there to bring him down with a super belly-to-belly suplex for a two-count. The straps come down and Angle puts on the Ankle Lock. Hardy kicks his way out of it and avoids a charging Angle in the corner. He hits the Twist of Fate and Angle kicks out at two. Angle rolls to the floor and Hardy follows him out. Hardy slams Angle’s head into the ring steps and rolls him back in. The shirt comes off and Hardy goes up top. Angle tries to pop up again but Hardy knocks him back down and tries the Swanton, but Angle gets his knees up. The Olympic Gold Medalist takes advantage and hits the Angle Slam for a near-fall. Angle tries another Angle Slam and Hardy counters to a Twist of Fate. Both men are down. They rise and Hardy has as second wind, taking Angle off his feet and this time connecting with the Swanton. Hardy covers but Angle rolls him over and grabs the ropes for leverage to get the pin at 19:06. I’m not a big fan of the finish, as Angle essentially no-sold one of Hardy’s finishers. But like most Angle matches they did a bunch of finishers anyway. But aside from that this was a good clash of styles that kept the crowd engaged and lends itself to a rematch, so that’s fun.
MATCH #8: No Holds Barred – Bobby Roode vs. Sting
Roode starts off a bit slowly, as Sting is all fired up and the TNA World Champion wants to stunt his momentum. They head to the floor and Sting throws Roode around into the ringside furniture. Sting drapes Roode against the barricade and hits him with a Stringer Splash, sending him into the audience. Back in the ring Roode pokes Sting in the eyes, and then slams his legs around the ring post. Roode targets Sting’s leg with viciousness, even using the Figure-Four Leglock to wear the Stinger down. After several minutes Roode tries some chops but that just makes Sting angry, and the Icon is able to get a second wind and throw Roode around the ring. Now it’s Sting’s turn to attack the legs, which is smart to set up for the Scorpion Deathlock. Sting hits a Stinger Splash, but then misses a second one. Roode goes up top and Sting knocks him down and then brings him down with a superplex. Sting puts on the Scorpion Deathlock and actually sits back in it so it doesn’t look terrible. Roode reaches the ropes to break the hold. He is able to snap Sting’s neck off the top rope, and he follows with a spear for a two-count. The Champ brings a chair into the ring and goes for a powerbomb, but Sting counters out of it. Sting hits the Scorpion Death Drop, but the back of his head makes contact with the steel chair and that’s enough for Roode to steal the pin at 16:39. That was a fine albeit dull main event, with the No Holds Barred stipulation barely coming into play. The finish was somewhat clever but it does so much more to protect Sting than help Roode, and that’s pretty a pretty backwards line of thinking.
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.