After witnessing a TNA PPV that wasn’t laden with ridiculous stipulation matches and seeing just how good it was, one can only hope that this is a page turned for the boys in Orlando.
Though the King of the Mountain match was a gimmick bout, it wasn’t so horrible as to detract from the rest of the night’s action, which featured two high-level matches and overall good action everywhere else.
The action was fast and furious for the start of our main event, as one would expect, with the bout eventually settling into the WWE Triple Threat Formula (copyright World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.), with two men inside the ring and the rest outside “recovering”.
At 9:40 central, Booker T gets the first pin, with Rhino heading into the penalty box. That’s kinda late…
It’s 9:43 now and here hasn’t been another eligible wrestler. Soon after I type that, Cage goes retro with some TLC goodies, setting up a table outside and puts a chair in the ring, only to eat it from Robert Roode (with a ladder in between the two). Cage gets pinned, then Roode gets rolled up by Rhino. Nash gets involved by ensuring Roode goes in the box. Joe tries to get his eligibility with the Kokina Clutch, but in the interim, Cage gets out of the box and hits both men with a Frog Splash. That was admittedly cool.
As Cage climbs, Roode gets out of the box and interferes. Once Booker is out he grabs the belt from Nash and nails the big man with the belt. He then KO’s everyone else with the gold and climbs, only to be stopped by Nash. Schmozfest begins, with Cage going through the table in the process. Joe and Roode fight in the ring as the last two in the ring. Joe hits the Muscle Buster to gain eligibility and quickly climbs with the belt and succeeds.
The opening segment, as always, is a superb rundown of the action, with a great Memphis theme and strong voiceover. A few Elvis impersonators are shown interplayed with past action. No Eric Young though.
Match 1 – Kaz vs. Petey Williams
Petey is wearing a nose protector for the bout tonight. Both men get some strong offense early before Rhaka Kahn distracts Kaz. Petey then takes over, and has a strong run, including a wicked highspot with a Pescado into a Rana before Kax gets back into the match. As Petey is in trouble, Khan gets in the ring and eats a dropkick. Scott Steiner takes advantage of the distraction and shoots the lead pipe to Williams, who gets the near fall. Kaz, now bloody, slowly recovers as Williams tosses the facemask in disgust. The match continues as Kaz is not able to keep Petey down after the Wave of the Future. Soon after, Steiner gets involved again and eventually Williams is able to regain his advantage and gets the duke after the Canadian Destroyer.
Winner: Petey Williams
Rating – 7 out of 10 – well done match with minimal interference.
Post-match, Kaz gets more of a beatdown and Steiner complains about not getting a title shot rematch. He continues the beating and taunting until Abyss returns and hits both Williams and Steiner with Black Hole Slams. He then BHS’s Rhaka Kahn for good measure. Good return, accentuated with a new mask for the monster.
We then go to the desk for Mike Tenay and Don West, with an accidental funny moment as Williams wanders into the shot.
Eric Young then purposely wanders into the shot and says he found Elvis and shows a seat at ringside reserved for the King.
Backstage, Kevin Nash and Jeremy Borash chat.
Match 2 – Beautiful People/Moose vs. Gail Kim/ODB/Roxxi Leveaux
Yes, it’s true – Mickie Knuckles new name is Moose. Mark Messier and Johan Hedberg just threw up.
The match starts with a three-way beating on Moose and the BP’s almost escape the match. So much for the intimidating muscle that was Ms. Knuckles. Match then goes into the usual tag team formula with hot tags and heat exchanges. Kim gets an extended segment, holding off all 3 heels for a short time before Love resorts to cheap tactics and starts a segment of work on Kim’s knee. Eventually, the faces get their revenge as ODB gets in for her heat segment and, after a pier sixer, gets the pin on Moose with a Bulldog Powerslam.
Winners: ODB/Gail Kim/Roxxi Leveaux
Rating – 4.5 out of 10 – Overall this was a solid match, but “Moose” is now completely killed as a character.
Rhino then has a backstage chat with Crystal.
Match 3 – Team 3D vs. LAX
Strong back and forth action to start as Memphis calls for the tables early. All four men get in the exchange before Hernandez gets the Tope Suicide and Homicide hits the Top Con Hamiltilo. Team 3D soon after takes over and gets some shots in on Hector Guerrero for good measure. 3D get and admittedly strong heat segment on Homicide as the match goes on. Soon, we go back to back-and-forth. Salinas gets involved for the Wazzup Drop, preceded by momentary interference from Johnny Devine before being pulled out by Guerrero. Later, as 3D set up for… the 3D… Homicide recovers from an outside spill and rolls up Devon (both of them being the legal men), for the duke.
Rating – 4 out of 10 – You have to like the great call at the end of the match with consistency of the legal men.
Backstage, Borash chats with Robert Roode. These heart-to-hearts really should’ve been on Impact, not on the PPV.
Match 4 – Awesome Kong vs. Serena Dee
Saeed’s choices are Josie Robinson or Serena Dee, who says she has an MMA background, and Dee is picked.
Serena charges in – mistake #1. Kong quickly takes over with hard action, including a vicious Big Swing into the guardrail. Josie taunts Kong from behind the rail and gets pushed around for her effort. Soon after, the Implant Buster ends this match.
Winner: Awesome Kong
Rating – 1 out of 10 – Horrid squash.
Post-match, Josie gets in Kong’s face and we get a second challenge.
Match 5 – Awesome Kong vs. Josie Robinson
Robinson gets some strong offense before falling victim to the Demon Bomb.
Winner: Awesome Kong
Rating – 2 out of 10 – Better, but still bad.
Post-match, Eric Young brings out his Elvis find. The obvious impersonator struts down to the ring and eats a Demon Bomb for his trouble. This was beyond bad for the build-up.
Next up, backstage we see Crystal and Christian Cage for a sit-down interview.
Back to the ring we go for the wedding. David Penzer introduces everyone as they come down to the ring (now I know what my wedding was missing!). Kamala’s character is killed as he’s wearing a tuxedo and Jake… uh oh… he’s not looking so good… Both George Steele and Koko B. Ware don’t look like they’ve changed at all.
Dutt and Sarah Duggan come out, then Jay Lethal comes out, followed by Val. During the vows, Dutt interrupts and proclaims his love for Val and says he should marry Val. Young comes in but gets popped, then the wrestling legends come in, with Ware and Kamala getting their licks in on Dutt. Roberts then brings out the snake and Steele eats a turnbuckle. I’ll give them points for originality for the wedding breakup, but the legends stuff was slow and weak and Young was shown to be absolutely useless.
Backstage we then go for another heart-to-heart, this time with Booker T.
Match 6 – Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles
Angle has Tomko in his corner tonight and AJ is all by his lonesome.
As one would expect, the match starts out incredibly hot. Angle looks healthy so far, which is a very, very good sign. At one point, Styles takes a spill on the outside, which gives Tomko a quick opportunity to interfere. This gets him tossed. In the melee, Styles gets a Tope Con Hilo on Angle with his leg landing across the back of Kurt’s neck. Needless risk there.
More RoH dueling chants now as Angle takes over. AJ gets a legit bloody nose as these two are really working stiff within their great technical work. The match quickly becomes a strong back-and-forth bout with neither man able to truly get a strong heat segment but getting wicked offense in at every turn. It’s the match we all expected. Let’s hope we don’t get a lame finish.
The amazing action continues and AJ’s nose is a mess of red. Now into the finishing move reversal segment, the match continues at its hot pace. Eventually, Angle gets an Ankle Lock but AJ kicks Kurt off… right into Earl. Karen Angle then comes out with a chair. Oh…crap. Karen calls for Kurt to take the chair, but she refuses to let it go, allowing AJ to regain his bearings and hit Kurt with the Styles Clash for the duke.
Winner: AJ Styles
Rating – 9 out of 10 – Great match, slightly soured by the outside interference, but on the plus side it was kept to a minimum and worked well both on the current story and the past interference that Karen has played in Angle bouts.
Post-match, as Styles and Karen celebrate (only hugging), Kurt hits AJ with the chair, then chases Karen off. Tomko then comes back out after beating off security. The two then taunt AJ until Kurt’s music hits.
Backstage, it’s time for Samoa Joe’s love-in with the belt and Crystal.
Match 7 – King of the Mountain Match (special enforcer: Kevin Nash) – Samoa Joe vs. Christian Cage vs. Booker T vs. Rhino vs. Robert Roode
Yeesh. The intros, with dedicated videos for each competitor go on for a good 10 minutes before JB comes into the ring for the official introductions. This must’ve been a good 10 minutes wasted.
Winner: Samoa Joe
Rating – 6 out of 10 – There was some good drama and solid action, but it’s still a lame gimmick.
Post-match, Joe and Nash shake hands to close the PPV.
Overall, TNA put on a strong PPV tonight, thanks in large part to little gimmickery. Hopefully this is the start of good things to come for TNA. We really only had one true surprise tonight and there’s plenty to move on for the tapings on Tuesday.
Final rating: 7 out of 10