An ex-WWE star is once again NWA champion as Christian Cage defeated Jeff Jarrett to take the strap at TNA’s Against All Odds pay per view. While the closing series of reversals and the closing shot of Christian in a ring filled with fans celebrating was cool, the match itself was once again marred by typical overbooking in the world title scene.

The usual series of run ins was blocked by Larry Zybysko, who threatened that anyone who interfered in the main event would be fired on the spot. Still, that didn’t stop several ref bumps, ample Gail Kim interference and the trademark guitar shot to just make viewers groan and roll their eyes. The match itself, when not marred by shenanigans, was a good match, but was tarnished by the run-into-the-ground method of having a million things happen in the match.

The true lowlight however was the tease of Christian being screwed by special referee Dave Hebner. Jarrett attempted to apply a sharpshooter on Christian early in the match – which looked terrible and was more like a Texas Clovershooter. Hebner teased ringing the bell as commentators Don West and Mike Tenay talked about “Not wanting another 1997.” 1. Why are you mentioning something that happened in another company on your show? 2. Why shoddily recreate an angle that is still being run into the ground by the competition? Christian eventually reversed it but the entire sequence looked sloppy.

The closing moments of the match had the crowd on their feet, as Christian was about to hit Gail Kim with the Unprettier but was smashed with the guitar. By the time Hebner went for the count Christian had recovered. A Kim hurricanarana off the top was turned into a powerbomb, and a series of reversals lead to the Unprettier on the champion and the three count as the crowd went insane.

Unlike Jarrett, X-Division champion Samoa Joe did walk out of Against All Odds with the belt still around his waist after fighting off AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels. Expectations were high for this match, and unfortunately it didn’t live up to their previous encounter but was still a great match. They didn’t play up on the tension between Styles and Daniels as much as the build to the match implied, and instead went with a straight up wrestling match.

Each time someone seemed to get the advantage, one of the other three would step in. In a cool moment early in the match all three men had a submission on the other. Later, Styles ran to dive onto Joe, who ducked and instead Styles took flight over the top onto Daniels. As the two battled outside Joe warmed up and then hit the ropes and took both men out with a tope. Styles seemed to have things in control at the end of the match when he connected with the moonsault inverted DDT on Joe for a two count. Daniels broke up a Styles Clash and dropped Joe on his head but Styles broke that pin attempt up and sent Daniels to the floor. Daniels received a boot to the face through the ropes by Joe, who then connected on Styles with the Muscle Buster for the three count to retain the belt.

While Christian finally getting a World Title is great to see, time will tell what his victory will mean. Overall, Against All Odds was a lackluster pay per view. The matches were solid but nothing felt special. That said, anyone who plunked down their $30 to catch this show got their money’s worth. I don’t expect we will be saying the same thing after next Sunday.

TNA Against All Odds 2006 results

Match 1: The Naturals vs. Austin Aries and Roderick Strong

Strong and Aries are probably one of the best teams out there right now, and their match with the Naturals was a great opening to the show. It’s taking some adjusting to Aries’ new look – the entrance gear reminded me of Randy Savage. Early in the match it seemed Aries hurt his ankle after Chase Stevens did a shooting star press on Strong and Aries to the floor. In a neat bit of booking, Aries tried to get the pin using the ropes like he did on a recent IMPACT, and was caught. This distraction allowed The Naturals to hit The Natural Disaster for the win.

Winners: … The Naturals in 10:23
Rating: 7/10

Match 2: Petey Williams vs. Matt Bentley vs. Jay Lethal vs. Alex Shelley

A solid four-way that saw Shelley and Williams team up early on, but fall apart. Lethal played the part of being in peril very well before coming back and surprising Williams with the pin while he was distracted by Jackie Gayda and Alex Shelley arguing at ringside. The crowd was very in to Lethal and were excited when he scored the pin.

Winner: Jay Lethal in 10:40
Match Rating: 7/10

Match 3: The L.A.X. vs. The James Gang

Instead of Apollo, Konnan introduced Machete as part of his posse. Despite the very talented Homicide, this match was pretty dull. Afterwards, Bob Armstrong of all people ran off Konnan.

Winners: Kip and BG James at 6:00
Rating: 3/10

Match 4: World Tag Team Championship: America’s Most Wanted (Champions) vs. Sonjay Dutt and Chris Sabin (Challengers)

It’s laughable that they pushed the challengers as a great up-and-coming team when they were pretty much thrown together. There was a great deal of emphasis on Sabin’s ankle injury, which played in the finish as James Storm wrapped Sabin’s ankle around the ringpost, disabling him long enough for AMW to hit the Death Sentence on Dutt for the win.

Winners: … and still World Tag Team Champions … America’s Most Wanted at 10:24
Rating: 5/10

Match 5: Falls Count Anywhere Match: Abyss vs. Rhino

A fun brawl, but it is getting repetitive seeing Abyss in hardcore matches every month. It isn’t special anymore. At least this one only teased the thumbtacks instead of seeing them. The two fought all over and used a lot of weapons before climbing into the stands, where Abyss tore apart a wooden guardrail, but was gored off the edge through four tables. Rhino climbed down and covered Abyss amidst the wreckage for the pin.

Winner: Rhino at 15:23
Rating: 7/10

Match 6: X-Division Championship: Samoa Joe (Champion) vs. AJ Styles (Challenger) vs. Chris Daniels (Challenger.)

Winner: … and still X-Division Champion … Samoa Joe at 16:00

Rating: 8/10

Match 7: Team 3D vs. Team Canada

Eric Young and Bobby Roode squared off against Team 3D as chosen by the fans. The other option was AMW, but apparently the fans said “No thank you, we don’t want a title match.” The match was there to give fans a breather between title matches and did its job. D-von was busted open early on the outside and sustained a beating before finally tagging in Brother Ray. The hockey stick came into play for a two count for Team Canada, but in the end the the 3D was too much. Afterwards AMW attacked 3D, but Ron Killings broke it up and poor Eric Young went through a table due to a top rope leg drop.

Winners: Team 3D at 13:50
Rating: 4/10

Match 6: NWA Championship: Jeff Jarrett (Champion) vs. Christian Cage (Challenger)

Winner: … and new NWA Champion … Christian Cage
Rating: 7/10

Overall Event Rating: 7/10