Can a wrestling promotion try to turn back the clock and embrace the future at the same time? Logic would suggest that it’s not possible to have it both ways, yet that’s exactly the tightrope that TNA is walking as 2009 draws to a close.
The biggest TNA news in recent weeks, of course, was the announcement that Hulk Hogan was coming aboard in some capacity. A mixed reaction from fans and observers followed, and reports of other possible signings of aging stars created the impression that the company was in a state of flux.
That may still prove to be the case, but Sunday night’s Turning Point show from the Impact Zone in Orlando turned out to be one that featured none of the foolishness or publicity stunt-type gimmicks that some feared but instead presented a series of title bouts and grudge matches. And while not every contest was a showstopper, the top two matches on the card were both excellent.
The main event saw AJ Styles defend his TNA World Heavyweight Championship against both Daniels and Samoa Joe in a higher stakes sequel to their highly regarded X Division Championship match from 2005. Much of the build-up centered on Joe’s attempts to sow distrust between the other two men, though in his pre-match interview he scoffed at the notion that he was playing mind games.
Daniels took a shot at Styles as soon as the bell rang, ending any thoughts that the former partners might try to work together. The champ went right to work on both challengers, hitting a jumping forearm shot on Joe and decking Daniels with a right hand.
Joe unloaded kicks on Styles, but he recovered to get the first near fall by rolling up Daniels. He used big dropkicks on both opponents and took Daniels down to the mat to slow the pace.
Samoa Joe turned his attention to Daniels but soon found himself on the receiving end of a suplex and a chinlock from the champ. Daniels nailed Styles with a drop toehold and a knee drop, then slammed him onto Joe. In a really cool spot, Daniels put Styles in a Boston crab while simultaneously locking a camel clutch on Joe, who turned to finger biting to escape.
Seizing the advantage, Joe dropkicked AJ while hitting a senton on Daniels. He didn’t stay down long, leaping with a suicide dive to take out Joe on the floor.
Dusting off a move not seen in a while, Styles hit a Fosbury Flop on both challengers. He rolled Joe back into the ring and went for the pin but could get only two.
Styles got in some offense, but Daniels monkey flipped him into Joe’s power bomb before trying a Boston crab and an STF. The champ reached the ropes but had to fight off a series of near falls from Daniels.
AJ finally built some momentum with a neckbreaker and a Pele kick on Daniels before dropping both of his foes with strikes. Daniels ended up out on the floor as Styles earned three straight near falls on Joe.
Daniels returned to the ring and planted Styles with the Last Rites, forcing Joe to make the save. Joe’s muscle buster kept Daniels down so he and Styles could roll through numerous pin attempts. Styles finally used a spin kick to break the stalemate and looked for a Styles Clash, but Daniels hit him with an enzuigiri.
Another series of reversals gave Joe an opening to hit a superkick and clothesline his enemies to the canvas. Styles and Daniels went high-low to take him down, though, and acted like they would shake hands before hostilities resumed.
Homicide drives Amazing Red into the mat.
After battling on the top turnbuckle, Daniels knocked AJ off his perch. He used a judo takedown to set up the Best Moonsault ever on Joe, but Styles followed with a springboard 450 splash on both men that allowed him to cover Joe and retain his gold.
The next TNA pay-per-view is Final Resolution on December 20.
Full Results and Commentary
Homicide (challenger) vs. Amazing Red (champion) w/ Don West – X Division Championship Match
Nothing against these two guys, but they just don’t make X Division title matches like they did in the old days. Also, Don West has to be the loudest manager/valet ever. You can clearly hear everything he’s saying. Red comes out flying but is eventually grounded for a bit. There are a couple of cool spots along the way, but nothing too amazing, no pun intended. With both men up top, Homicide is thrown off during a hurricanrana attempt. A Code Red seals it for the champ.
Winner… and still X Division Champion… Amazing Red at 10 minutes and 11 seconds.
Still the champs: Sarita, ODB and Taylor Wilde.
The Beautiful People (challengers) vs. Sarita, Taylor Wilde and ODB (champions) – Women’s Knockout and Knockouts Tag Team Championship Match
Sarita can really wrestle. I’m not as certain about Lacey Von Erich. The fans apparently agree, as there are “You can’t wrestle!” chants and a sign in the front row that says “Lacey Von Botch.” Lots of suggestive comments from Mike Tenay and Taz. Just before the five-minute mark, ODB cleans house. She eventually pins Velvet Sky and the champs win.
Winner… and still Knockouts champions… Sarita and Taylor Wilde and ODB at 5 minutes and 54 seconds.
Jeremy Borash gets a word with Desmond Wolfe, who vows to devour every scrap that remains of Kurt Angle tonight. Why does Kurt want more? Desmond doesn’t know, but he’s going to oblige. Now bow to my howl, wanker. That’s British for… well, wanker, I guess.
Beer Money, Inc. (challengers) vs. Motor City Machine Guns (challengers) vs. The British Invasion (champions) – TNA World Tag Team Championship Match
This is not a cluster despite having three teams, but only because the teams all work so well together. Eric Young comes in to interfere with Beer Money, so Earl Hebner sends him to the back. Kevin Nash waits for Young on the ramp and takes his Global Championship, but he uses it to take out James Storm, confusing even Eric himself. The Brits double team the isolated Roode and pin him to keep their belts.
Winner… and still TNA World Tag Team champions… The British Invasion at 10 minutes and 20 seconds.
Where is Mick Foley? A video package explains. It has something to do with Raven. Yes, that Raven.
Borash asks Nash what the hell that was about. Nash says this is about Hulk. We’ll find out what it’s about this Thursday if Hulk says it’s okay. Who knows what that means coming from Big Sexy?
Tara w/ Poison vs. Awesome Kong – Six Sides of Steel Match
Tara’s spider cheers her on as only spiders can in a match with some cool spots. Those include a physics-defying missile dropkick by Kong. Even cooler is when Tara climbs to the top of the cage, then uses a cross body to pick up the win. Tara gets interviewed, and she’s pretty happy about what she accomplished. She issues a warning for ODB and celebrates a bit with Poison.
Winner at seven minutes and 53 seconds… Tara.
A video package recaps the arrival of Hulk Hogan and some of the recent comments made by TNA President Dixie Carter. I don’t care if he’s around, but I’ve already told my editor that if he wrestles, I won’t be doing any more PPV recaps.
Rhino and Team 3D vs. D’Angelo Dinero, Hernandez and Matt Morgan
Early signs are that The Pope isn’t on the same page as his teammates. Later he takes a move intended for Hernandez, so maybe he is. At the 11-minute mark, Hernandez finally gets in. He hits an awesome no-touch dive to the floor on all three of his opponents. Rhino tosses Morgan out and he sells a rough landing on his knee. Ray crotches Dinero, Devon uses a steel chair to break up the Border Toss, and Rhino Gores Hernandez to get the pin. As an aside, it’s strange seeing Team 3D as the bad guys.
Winner at 14 minutes and 27 seconds… Rhino and Team 3D.
Lauren talks to Scott Steiner in the back, accusing him of stalking and harassing Krystal Lashley. Steiner says it’s not his fault Bobby Lashley can’t satisfy his woman, and that he’s all show and no go. He’s going to pin Bobby in his own front yard and cover his wife too.
Scott Steiner vs. Bobby Lashley – No DQ Falls Count Anywhere Match
This isn’t bad for what it is, probably because there aren’t matches like this every week like there once were. One part that’s not so cool is when they fight to the back, only there isn’t a camera there right away. Poor planning. A chair, a trash can, tables, boards and an electrical cord all get in on the fun. Once the battle goes back to the stage, Steiner rips part of metal scaffolding off and uses it to club Lashley in the head. That’s enough to get the pin. I suppose Lashley is either leaving or this feud is going to continue.
Winner at 11 minutes and 27 seconds… Scott Steiner.
Borash speaks to Angle, who says Wolfe is operating under prison yard rules: find the biggest, baddest dog in the yard and take him out. If he wants Angle, he’s got him. A video package recaps their feud, which boils down to a newcomer wanting to make a name for himself.
Desmond Wolfe has Kurt Angle tied up.
Desmond Wolfe vs. Kurt Angle
This is a great match for people who like the actual wrestling part of pro wrestling. Wolfe controls Angle on the ground in the opening. Angle rallies with methodical offense that ends when he misses a shoulder charge and hits the ringpost. Desmond works Kurt’s left arm. More ground work, and Wolfe kicks away from Angle’s attempt at an Ankle Lock. Fans enjoy the fundamental wrestling. Angle hits not three, not four, not five, but six German suplexes in a row! An Angle Slam is countered by a hip toss, and Wolfe hits a clothesline for two. Kurt counters a neckebreaker off the ropes with an Angle Slam for a near fall. A key lock by Wolfe is answered by an Ankle Lock by Angle. Wolfe reverses it into an armbar with his legs. Kurt rolls through into a second Ankle Lock, and Wolfe has to lunge to grab the ropes. An Angle Slam is countered with a jumping DDT that leaves both men down. Wolfe hits a neckbreaker off the ropes, but Kurt kicks out again at two. Angle beats Wolfe to the lariat, but Wolfe rolls away from the moonsault. Desmond applies the key lock again, forcing Angle to scramble to the ropes. Both men go up top, where Wolfe is punched down. Kurt connects with a frog splash and still only manages two. Tombstones are reversed twice, and Angle ends up with the Ankle Lock applied. He transitions to an armbar, and then to a side triangle choke that makes Wolfe tap.
Winner at 16 minutes and 21 seconds… Kurt Angle.
|WHAT YOU THINK|
What did you think of TNA Turning Point?
It was great – 30%
It was okay – 10%
It sucked – 7%
Didn’t see it – 53%
JB talks to Samoa Joe in the locker room. Joe says it’s a false perception that he caused problems between Styles and Daniels. He simply shined a light on the truth. Joe says it doesn’t matter if the guys are friends or not, because he’s sent them both to the hospital numerous times. He only has to beat one of them tonight, and that’s exactly what he plans to do. A video montage details some of what he was talking about.
Daniels (challenger) vs. Samoa Joe (challenger) vs. AJ Styles (champion) – TNA World Heavyweight Championship Match
Total Event Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
Event Rating: 7/10
Nick Tylwalk has been writing for SLAM! Wrestling for over a decade but has never covered back-to-back TNA pay-per-views… until now. He also enjoys writing about non-scripted violence as the co-founder of BoxingWatchers.com. Email him at [email protected] or follow his twitter feed @Nick_Tylwalk.