TNA’s primetime debut on Thursday night was a great couple hours of TV, and could have been a new beginning for the company. Unfortunately, Sunday night’s Genesis pay-per-view, marred by illogical booking and occasionally sloppy in-ring work, wasn’t able to deliver, and as far as any momentum goes, the company was close to throwing it all away.
The first main event saw Sting putting up his NWA Heavyweight Championship for the first time against the monster Abyss. Before the introductions could begin, Sting would attack Abyss, and the two began brawling on the floor for an extended period. Abyss used a chair and tried to introduce barbed wire into the mix, but Sting was able to foxtrot his way out of danger and bring the action back into the ring. There, he hit a Stinger Splash, but couldn’t keep the big man down for the count. A Black Hole Slam nearly saw Abyss as the new champion, but not quite. The ref took a bump, and then both men went for weapons. Sting hit Abyss with his bat, then took a page out of the big man’s book and poured thumbtacks into the ring. This nearly caused his misfortune, though, as he was the one who got chokeslammed into the tacks. He Stinged up before the three count could be made, slammed Abyss into the tacks, then clamped on a Scorpion Death Lock. Abyss tapped, but the ref was distracted by James Mitchell and didn’t see it. In a major waste of time, Sting went outside, and tied Abyss’ ankles to a rope connected to a pulley system, hanging him upside down and slamming him like a piñata with a chair. This was a debacle — Sting tired out trying to lift up Abyss’ dead weight, and it just looked silly. Sting continued his attack, and in a loss of temper, clotheslined the referee before throwing Abyss off the rampway onto a barbed wire board.
The ref disqualified Sting for the clothesline. As a result, thanks to TNA’s little-cited stipulation which, to my knowledge, has never been used before in TNA, he lost the title, since it can change hands on a disqualification. Sting and the fans were stranded in a land of confusion as the announcement was made.
As strange as that finish was, perhaps even stranger was the one of the one TNA billed as the “Dream Match of the Decade” between Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle.
The crowd was really hot for this one, even starting a “This is Awesome” chant for the first lockup. The match went to the floor early, and Joe got a quick advantage by swinging Angle against the ring barrier by his legs, then squashing him with a flying dive from the ring, and busting open the Olympian. In the ring, Joe continued the beating with several slams, and mocked his opponent by wearing Angle’s blood like warpaint. Angle fought back with a big DDT and a pair of German suplexes, nearly dumping the big man on his head on the second attempt. Joe recovered and a Muscle Buster nearly earned him a victory. Nice exchange here, as Joe tried to lock on the Kokina Klutch, and Angle escaped and hit the Olympic Slam and then an ankle lock. Joe escaped, and clamped on the Klutch, but Angle managed to grab his ankle again, wrenching it hard until Joe tapped out. Joe acknowledged that Angle was the better man, and asked for a rematch. Joe extended the hand of respect, but Angle refused, much to Joe’s chagrin.
This was really questionable booking. This was the first meeting between the two, and they had a clean finish by the good guy. It seems really underwhelming to have Joe lose his first match in over a year in their first encounter, particularly if the feud is only going to go on. This was meaningless, and really lacked the impact that it should have had.
Overall, the Genesis pay-per-view was a poorer-than-usual for TNA. It’s too bad, since Thursday night’s offering on free TV was much stronger. Hopefully, with respect to the good that they did a few days ago, they can turn it on again.
During the pre-show, as Christy Hemme was interviewing fans, LAX came out, only to be taken away by TNA security.
Eric Young came out to make the big announcement that he tried to make on Thursday. Before he could get it out, he was interrupted by Robert Roode and Miss Brooks, who announced an open challenge to anyone in the building. Spotting Eric in the crowd, Roode decided that Young would be his opponent, punctuating the challenge with a microphone shot to the head, and dragging the paranoid one into the ring.
Preview Match: Robert Roode w/ Miss Brooks vs. Eric Young
A back and forth affair between the two former Team Canada teammates. With the crowd solidly behind him, Eric nearly wins with some quick rollups, but soon falls prey to the power of Roode. Miss Brooks distracts Young, and Roode takes advantage to get the pin. The crowd protests, noting that Roode had his feet on the ropes, so the referee restarts the match. Within seconds, Young turns the tables, using the ropes to help him pin Roode, and this time the pinfall stands. Roode yells at Brooks after the match.
Next up is a promo for what is being billed as the Dream Match of the Decade, Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle.
LAX bully Christy again in the locker room, cut a promo against their opponents America’s Most Wanted, Petey Wililams for betraying them, and then threaten to burn the American flag, much to the chagrin of Mike Tenay.
Christian Cage comes out to whine about having to fight AJ Styles later tonight — AJ comes out to confront him.
A series of promos and interviews before the show, including a lengthy video.
Match One: Kazarian, Bentley and Johnny Devine vs. Voodoo Kin Mafia
The new movement of TNA use their quickness and their numbers advantage to beat down the former James Gang. BG gets beat down for a little while before making the hot tag to Kip who cleans house, ultimately getting the pin on Johnny Devine. The crowd seems to be into them, but putting VKM over the youngsters seems an illogical move to me. After the match, VKM promise the ground war will begin against Vince McMahon and DX, telling them to watch Impact on Thursday for the first skirmish. This whole concept seems a bit suspect to me, as you know that WWE will never respond — so where’s the payoff to the angle?
Match Rating: 3/10
Kazarian and Bentley bring Devine back to the ring with a hood covering his head. A Rayden-clad Raven blasts Devine with a Singapore cane, presumably his penance for losing the match.
Backstage, Shane Douglas mocks Team 3-D for losing to The Naturals on Thursday, and vows that his team will continue their winning ways.
Match Two: Sonjay Dutt and Jay Lethal vs. The Naturals w/ Shane Douglas
Dutt and Lethal do some high-flying early, landing simultaneous planchas onto the Naturals on the floor. Beyond that, it’s a pretty standard tag team match. Andy Douglas tries for one too many moves off the top and gets caught, and Sonjay catches on fire. Sloppiness galore in this match, including the finishing move; notwithstanding one Natural kicking the other off the top rope, they get the pinfall victory.
Winner: The Naturals
Match Rating: 4/10
LAX with another anti-American rant, and more threats to burn the American flag. It’s revealed that Jim Cornette will be in the building, presumably to admonish them for their recent behaviour.
Christopher Daniels promises to teach a lesson about respect to Chris Sabin.
Match Three: “Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels vs Chris Sabin
For the TNA X-Division Championship
Nice quick action, as should be expected from these two. Solid and crisp moves. Sabin ties up Daniels into the tree of woe, but before he can use a chair on the Fallen Angel, AJ Styles comes into the ring to prevent such chicanery. Sabin confronts AJ on the floor, only to get hit by Air Daniels, who flies from the top turnbuckle to the floor with a beautiful flying body press. Lots of near-falls, including a very close one after Daniels hits a DVD followed by a BME. Daniels gets a quick roll-up out of nowhere for the pin. After the match, Jerry Lynn asks Sabin to shake Daniels’ hand as a show of sportsmanship, but Sabin hits him with a Cradle Shock instead.
Winner and still X-Division Champion: Christopher Daniels
Match Rating: 7/10
In a pre-taped segment, Kevin Nash tries to motivate Alex Shelley and Austin Starr.
Match Four: Ron Killings and Lance Hoyt vs. Austin Starr and Alex Shelley
Kevin Nash helps out on commentary on this one, and they play up his claims that he’s an X-Division star. This one starts off slow, and doesn’t ever become interesting. The match goes on too long with no direction. Shelley tells Starr to move the camera to capture him getting the win, but that plan is foiled by Hoyt who rolls up Shelley for the pin. Nash berates his team for their loss.
Winner: Lance Hoyt and Ron Killings
Match Rating: 3/10
Backstage, Christian Cage says he will beat AJ and then go on to beat the winner of tonight’s title match between Abyss and Sting.
Match Five: Christian Cage vs. AJ Styles
|WHAT YOU THINK|
What match has you most excited for TNA Genesis? Sting-Abyss – 5%
Kurt Angle-Samoa Joe – 79%
Christian Cage-AJ Styles – 12%
LAX-AMW – 1%
Chris Sabin-Christopher Daniels – 1%
Other – 2%
Another good match here, as the speed and aerials of Styles meet the more traditional mat-based Cage. AJ hits a daredevil somersault dive to the floor, but his momentum doesn’t last long. Christian works him over, and the wily veteran thwarts much of Styles’ offense, except for short spurts. A desperation move sees AJ hit a hurancarana off the top ropes, and follows that up with a sweet dropkick. His momentum hits a wall in the form of a cutting spear by Christian. Cage tries to introduce a chair, but Daniels stops him, repaying the favour for Styles from earlier. However, this time it doesn’t work, and Cage sneaks the win. Daniels and Styles argue heatedly after the match. Rhino comes out to break it up, and warns the friends to put aside this misunderstanding lest they end up like he and Christian did. Styles rejects this advice and storms off.
Winner: Christian Cage
Match Rating: 7/10
Backstage, AMW and Gail Kim stand up for their country with a patriotic speech against LAX and giving them notice that it will be no fun being an illegal alien.
America’s Most Wanted w/ Gail Kim vs. LAX w/ Konnan
For the NWA Tag Team Champions
AMW starts off hot, and the crowd is solidly behind them. They draw first blood by heaving Homicide over the top rope, dumping him onto Hernandez. But the dirty tactics of LAX soon gives them the upper hand. A bit of a fuster-cluck, with all four men in the ring more often than not, and nothing going really smoothly. With the referee’s back turned, LAX use the blackjack to get the win. After the match, LAX are going to destroy Gail Kim until Petey Williams makes the save.
Winners and still NWA Tag Team Champions: LAX
Match Rating: 5/10
Jim Cornette hits the ring, and tells LAX that as a result of their deplorable behaviour, they have been stripped of their titles. They have until Thursday to return the belts or they will be fired from TNA. This is a lame angle, as it makes the heels the sympathetic characters. Even the crowd was dumping on this, so whatever they were trying to accomplish seemed to backfire.
In an undisclosed dark area, Jim Mitchell warns Sting that Abyss is coming for his belt.
Winner and new NWA Heavyweight Champion: Abyss
Match Rating: 3/10
Match Seven: Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle
Winner: Kurt Angle
Match Rating: 7/10
Overall rating: 5/10
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“Bloodthirsty” Bob Kapur can be e-mailed at [email protected].