WWE… be afraid. TNA has truly cemented the formula needed for delivering great pay per views and last night was no exception. TNA’s Unbreakable PPV was an astounding buffet of action, catering to the variety of tastes among professional wrestling fans.
Topped off with a certified match of the year candidate and what you have is simply the best damn wrestling product on the planet. Some will no doubt disagree… well, I guess you haven’t seen any TNA PPVs lately, have you?
Unbreakable came to a close with mind-boggling main event, featuring a three-way dance between Samoa Joe against AJ Styles against X Division champion Christopher Daniels for the championship title. Now, this is the part where I go into a detail review of the match, but I’m not going to that. Fact is there is no review that could do justice in describing just how stellar this bout was. All three were in the zone — gathering that unique brand of focus and discipline channeled from the depths of a higher, inner consciousness that most of us will never know. The myriad of action from all three was blurring at times; one competitor would defeat the other in a confrontation, only to then be taken down by the third and so on it went. From the opening moments when Styles & Joe were using Daniels for soccer practice, you knew this was going to be special as did the audience in attendance, on their feet almost from the get go. No shortage of highlights in this battle — moves like Joe’s double suplex from the top rope, Styles springboard shooting star press to the outside of the ring, Daniels’ Death Valley Driver on Joe, Styles’ spiraling plancha on Daniels and Joe to break up a pin attempt, Joe’s suicide dive over the top rope — it was the kind of drama that grabbed you by the heart and would not let go. In the end, it was Styles who scored the pinfall on Daniels by reversing the Angels’ Wings and bridging into a pin. That makes Styles a five-time X Division champion, but the match made all three immortals. Want more details? Get the replay or wait for the DVD.
Match 1: Cassidy Riley versus Jerrelle Clark
A pre-PPV match up, which starts off with some basic back and forth moves from both wrestlers. Alpha Male Monty Brown decides it time to get on the mic and address some issues he has with TNA, and in the process of doing so, clobbers both Riley & Clark. Match is thrown out by the ref.
Match Rating: None – match only got started before it ended
Match 2: Mikey Batts versus Shark Boy
Shark Boy pretty much dominated this one. Of course, what would a Shark Boy match be without the patented Buttocks Shark Bite (in keeping with the current trend of enforcing copyrighted names in wrestling, I do hereby declare Buttocks Shark Bite to be the sole property of SLAM! Wrestling — use it without our permission and Greg Oliver will sue your ass!). Shark Boy fakes the top rope crotch shot and takes out Batts with the Dead Sea Drop (not sure if that’s copyrighted or not). Short but fun.
Match Rating: 5
Match 3: Diamonds in the Rough versus 3LK
Prior to match, Konnan welcomes back BG James to the Kru. Match ensues, with Elix Skipper showing a serious mean streak in him, compliments of the new Bobby Knight School of coaching, with chief counsellor Simon Diamond. 3LK take back control and engage in their unique hybrid of Wrestle Dance Offence (we’ll copyright that too and hey, if you got a better name for it, I’m all ears). Skipper and partner David Young isolate James for while, but the tide turns, mandatory shoe throwing incident by Konnan who also scores the pin on Young.
Match Rating: 4
Match 4: Austin Aries versus Roderick Strong
Aries comes to the ring with that cult leader look on his face… wait, I think I saw the same guy profiled on America’s Most Wanted. Aries and Strong deliver a wrestling clinic in this one, tight counters and innovative offence — crowd was just eating this one up. Both wrestlers were very smooth in their move sets, showing no signs of intimidation before a major PPV audience. Was hoping to see more of Strong and his diverse arsenal of back breakers — ultimately it was Aries getting the win with the 450 splash. Great match.
Match Rating: 8
Match 5: Kip James & Monty Brown versus Apolo & Lance Hoyt
Hoyt picks up where he left off at the last PPV — on fire and clearing house. Of course, he’s helped by the fact that James and Brown are arguing with each other. Brown in particular is in a foul mood and once he’s in the ring, promptly punishes his opponents and the The Serengeti Slaughter is on (that’s most definitely a copyright, I’m on a roll!). Highlights include Hoyt hitting his moonsault and a miscue by James that sends Brown sailing to the outside of the ring. But Brown shrugs it off and rebounds, scoring the touchdown for the win via The Pounce on Apolo.
Match Rating: 5.5
Match 6: Petey Williams versus Chris Sabin
D’amore’s Cam-Am wrestling school in Windsor always gets great advertising when these two go at it. We’ve seen these two go at before; perhaps we’ve seen this match one too many times and I can only imagine there pressure they’re feeling to innovate their matches with each other. Don’t get me wrong, both athletes went out and gave a good performance in the ring. Sabin in particular was really intense with his moves — but that’s the norm for him. Williams’ singing of the Canadian national anthem actually seems to be improving as he applied the Standing On Crotch While Singing Oh Canada maneuver (I’ll copyright that name too thank you very much). Sabin takes it with the Cradle Shock.
Match Rating: 7
Match 7: Abyss versus Sabu
AaaaaaOh… AAAAAAbyss. It got violent early (oh, there’s a shock) with Sabu bringing in the steel chairs. Abyss gets dumped outside and it’s now time for Air Sabu (how many copyrights is that now?). Momentum swings back to the favor of Abyss, who sends Sabu over the top rope and through a table. If you’re worried about Sabu breaking his back on that move, don’t — he broke his back a long time ago. Sabu delivers a nice steel chair leg drop on Abyss through the table in the ring. Abyss manages to get his hands on his bag of thumbtacks, then planting Sabu into the tacks with his Black Hole Slam and wins the match.
Match Rating: 7.5
Match 8: Booby Roode versus Jeff Hardy.
Coming to the ring is Cirque de Jeff Hardy, painted body and all. Before the match, Roode called Hardy a half-baked nut job. Roode was already pissed off before the match, now he’s even more livid with Hardy’s body paint all over him. Roode just beats on Hardy, who counters with his half-baked aerials. Petey Williams shows up with a hockey stick to help out his fellow Canuck, but Hardy takes him out. No worries, Jeff Jarrett gets his hand on the hockey and promptly smashes it to pieces over Hardy’s back (obviously that stick wasn’t made from Canadian softwood lumber). Roode rolls up Hardy for the pin.
Match Rating: 6
Match 9: America’s Most Wanted versus Team Canada versus The Naturals versus Alex Shelley and Sean Waltman for the NWA Tag Team Championship.
We’re advised that Waltman is a no show. That leaves Shelley to fend for himself and does an admirable job until Team Canada gets the better of him. Then, the brother of the late Chris Candido steps onto the apron and tags in, taking it to Team Canada. He winds up getting pinned for his efforts — it was a nice gesture, can’t help but wonder if they could have come up with something else, preferably outside of the match. From there, it’s Team Canada and AMW going at it — The Naturals stay out of it. Man, Eric Young has some of the best facials in the business! A-1 highsticks Wildcat Chris Harris and Young scores the pin — it’s now Team Canada against The Naturals for the belts. Back and forth action from all four, with Jimmy Hart providing the assist by taking out Eric Young, allowing The Naturals to hit A-1 with the Natural Disaster.
Match Rating: 7
Match 10: Rhino versus Raven for the NWA Heavyweight Championship
It’s announced that the match will be under Raven’s Rules (bet you were drooling when you heard that eh, Bloodthirsty Bob?). This was a really great technical bout — NOT! It got bloody early with Raven busting open Rhino with the Pizza Cutter From Hell (back on the copyright roll). Action spills outside where Rhino hammers on Raven with a beer keg near the broadcast table (I thought Mike Tenay and Don West were slurring when calling the matches). Raven gets Rhino in an ankle lock, but the hold is broken when Rhino grabs the ropes (don’t ask me why they would allow rope breaks in a match where there are no rules). Raven eventually gets busted open and there’s blood everywhere. Now it’s time for Rhino to break out the staple gun and goes to work on Raven — did I mention this match is sponsored by Staples Office Supplies? Raven power bombs Rhino into a ladder and bends it all to hell. Rhino gets a shopping cart, only to have Raven ram it into Rhino’s midsection (clean-up in aisle 4 please). Jeff Jarrett enters the fray, but Hardy is there to save the day. Raven plants Rhino into the mat with the Even Flow for the victory and retains the title.
Match Rating: 7.5 (although I’m sure Kapur gave it a 10)
Samoa Joe versus AJ Styles versus Christopher Daniels for the X-Division Championship
Match Rating: 10
Overall Event Rating: 8
If you missed it, get the replay. Don’t think, just do it — the main event is well worth the price.
I thought it was a really smart move to have the heavyweight title match as the semi-main event and let the X-Division contest finish off the show. It did nothing to remove any luster from the belt. Amazing how TNA has opened the flood gates when it comes to letting the roster innovate in the ring while WWE is telling the cruiserweights to tone it down.
We should soon see some shakeups coming soon in the form of some new roster additions. I think this will be healthy in building new feuds, especially in the tag team ranks.
My one cautionary note: the fans are becoming accustomed to seeing great matches and TNA will have to remain vigilant in ensuring that they keep doing just that. Anything less, and everything they’ve built up could be in jeopardy.
TNA’s next PPV will be Bound For Glory on October 23.