With less than two months before they make their national debut on Spike TV, Total Nonstop Action needed to show everyone in the wrestling business that they are prepared to do what needs to be done to elevate their product above everyone else. Last night at TNA’s Sacrifice pay per view the promotion clearly did so, showing everyone they have a vision and are willing and able to take it to a new level of intensity.
The main event contest featured a war with Jeff Jarret & Rhino facing off against Sabu and the current reigning NWA champion, Raven. Prior to the start of the show, Jarrett wanted a guarantee that should he pin Raven, he will automatically earn a title shot. The flip side to this however, is if Raven pins Jarrett, then Double J will not be permitted to have another title bout for one whole year.
At the start, it’s Rhino and Sabu slugging it out. It doesn’t take long before all four competitors take it outside and the ECW love-in is on. Raven sends Jarrett up and over the announce table and proceeds to cut The Chosen One open with a pizza cutter. Meanwhile, Rhino and Sabu are brawling up the ramp, both men eventually making their way back into the ring. Sabu nails Rhino with a chair shot (one of countless many to come) and follows up with a springboard Huracanrana. Sabu then goes for the three step-spring board moonsault, but Rhino trips him up. A series of chairs on Sabu comes next, compliments of both Jarrett and Rhino. A bloody Jarrett then takes control and delivers a superplex on Sabu to the mat. Rhino is back in and hammers on Sabu, who fights back and makes the desperate tag to Raven. The former leader of The Flock cleans house, nailing Rhino with the Raven Effect. Pin attempt is made by Raven, but Jarrett pulls the ref out of the ring.
Not wasting any time, Jarrett makes his way back into the ring with guitar in hand. Before he can make the shot on Raven, Cassidy Rile (newly converted disciple of Raven) enters and snags the guitar away from Jarrett. Undaunted, Jarrett gets The Stroke on Raven, but only scores a two count. It is Rhino’s time for some pay back, biting down on the forehead of Raven, blood soon follows. Jarrett is back in and slaps on the figure four leg lock on Raven, who reverses and escapes. Jarrett sets up a chair and attempts Raven’s drop toe hold maneuver. Raven avoids it and nails Jarrett with the chair. Hot tag is made and the Homicidal One is back in, throwing the chair at both Jarrett and Rhino. Sabu goes airborne and gets the three step-spring board leg drop on Rhino. Sabu takes it outside of the ring with Rhino while Jarrett connects the drop toe hold, sending Raven into the steel chair face first. Raven reverses the momentum and gets The Raven Effect on Jarrett. Pin attempt is made, but Rhino makes the save. Rhino looks to gore Raven, who ducks out of the way, leaving Rhino to pounce on the referee. Sabu comes back and lands a steel chair leg drop from the top rope on Rhino. Pin attempt is made, but the referee is out cold.
From out of nowhere comes Abyss who presses Sabu over the top rope and sends him flying through a table on the outside of the ring. Not to be out done, Jeff Hardy enters the fray, taking out both Abyss and Jarrett. Pin attempt by Raven and again, Rhino makes the save. Rhino then gets a table and gores Raven through it, scoring the pin fall. A well-executed, high-octane, hardcore match with all four giving a good performance.
Here are the results from the under card.
Match 1: Apolo & Sonny Siaki vs Mikey Batts & Jerrelle Clark
Strength versus speed, as Batts and Clark use fast-paced offence to counter the overwhelming height and power of Apolo and Siaki. Both teams actually meshed well with the time they were given, with no missed spots to speak of. Thus far, the team of Apolo and Siaki has done well for themselves in the tag team ranks and it will be interesting to watch if they get elevated to a title shot in the near future. Siaki scores the pin fall for his team
Match rating: 6/10
Match 2: Simon Diamond, Elix Skipper & David Young vs Shark Boy, Sonjay Dutt and Chris Sabin
Simon Diamond announces that he has taken Elix Skipper under his wing, thus the Diamonds in the Rough faction grows once more. Diamond’s team does well with utilizing traditional tag tactics of isolating their opponents. But their opponents are not to be outshined and bust out their own show stealing moves. Sabin scores the pin fall on Skipper, much to the disapproval of Diamond.
Match rating: 5/10
Match 3: Alex Shelley vs Shocker
This one was a real treat for wrestling connoisseurs as both men engaged in some great mat wrestling and submission attempts. Shocker in particular displayed some sweet looking submissions; although I dare say Shelley was not impressed. Both wrestlers worked well in this contest, giving a healthy back and forth contest that truly stood out from all the other matches. Shelley gets the pin, using his legs on the ropes to counter Shocker’s La Magistral pinning attempt.
Match rating 7/10
Match 4: Abyss vs Lance Hoyt
It wasn’t an X Division match up, but the way the crowd was eating this up, you would have thought it was. Lance Hoyt truly elevated himself to the next plateau of his career, giving a show stealing performance against Abyss. It was a back and forth, big man slugfest, with Hoyt delivering his all too smooth looking moonsault. If that weren’t enough, the big man caught air once again, giving Abyss a Van Terminator. That’s right people… A Van Teminator! Needless to say, the Hoytamaniacs (and me) went ape sh*t for this. Abyss wins with a second black hole slam on Hoyt, but this loss does no harm to Hoyt.
Word is out people… Hoyt is product!
Match rating 8/10
Match 5: Monty (The Alpha Male) Brown & Kip James vs Ron Killings & Konnan with BG James as the referee.
On par with their previous encounters, both teams presented their typical brand of tag team scrapping. This contest furthers the current angle of where the allegiance of BG James lies with. It was revealed when Kip goes for a chair shot on Konnan, only to have it taken away by BG. BG then hammers on his former New Age Outlaw partner, while Konnan connects with the chair shot. BG makes the count and the 3 Live Kru are back together.
Match Rating 4/10
Match 6: Christopher Daniels vs Austin Aries
Pretty much what you would expect from these two as Aries is looking to make a name for himself in front of the viewing public. Aries delivered some slick moves during this one, including a beautiful 450 splash on Daniels, making it a fun X Division match to behold. But there was no doubt that Daniels was coming out on top and did so with his finisher, Angels’ Wings. A good debut from Aries who I only hope will be brought on board the TNA roster.
Match Rating 7/10
Match 7: Sean Waltman vs Jerry Lynn
The promotion did a good job in educating the fans on the history of these two, crediting both for creating a viable market for cruiserweight wrestlers in the business today. This match had the right formula of competent grappling and emotion, aroused in particular with Waltman going after Lynn’s previously injured arm/shoulder. Both athletes really gave a great performance, including Lynn suplexing Waltman from the ring apron to the outside. Lynn would eventually get the win with a victory roll. Waltman initially offered respect to his opponent, only to then submarine Lynn, hammering his arm with a steel chair.
Match Rating: 7.5/10
Match 8: Team Canada vs AMW & The Naturals
No doubt there are many who are sick of watching these teams clash, but there’s no disputing their ability to produce good tag matches. Team Canada was up to their old tricks as usual to gain the advantage whenever they could. But a miscue by AMW and The Naturals gives the Canadians the opening they need, with Bobby Roode getting ahold of the tights and getting the pin on Chase Stevens. Post match confrontation ensues with AMW and The Naturals, with security stepping in to separate the two.
Match Rating: 6.5/10
Match 9: Samoa Joe vs AJ Styles
They should call this one “What Could Have Been.” As in, what could have been a certified Match of the Year contender if someone in the back had not decided to make Daniels interfere in this contest. Joe and Styles were just magical, delivering a very stiff, almost flawless match against each other. It was ruined when Daniels (who was commentating with Mike Tenay & Don West) came to the ring and hit Styles with the X Division belt. Joe takes advantage of the situation and gets the Muscle Buster on Styles, followed by a choke out submission and thus, wins the X Division Cup. I understand TNA will eventually need to focus on storylines when they start on Spike TV in October and certainly this interference by Daniels can potentially do so. But this match was a thing of beauty that got stained.
Match Rating: 8/10 (would have been 9.5/10)
Rhino & Jeff Jarrett vs Sabu & Raven
Match Rating: 7.5/10
If you can get the replay for this PPV, do it. There was not a single bad match, which says a lot considering how WWE goes out of its way to have a minimum of stinkers on their shows. I would hope by now that fans that have yet to take in the TNA product should start doing so now. TNA seems to have the right game plan for giving fans what they have been starving for. With WWE continuing to insult fans with their soap opera crap product, the time is right for TNA to usher in the next era of professional wrestling popularity.
TNA’s next PPV is entitled “Unbreakable” and will take place on September 11.
Visit the SLAM! Wrestling store!