Over the years, many of Jeff Hardy’s career highlights have been in ladder matches. The one he had at TNA Wrestling’s Against All Odds pay-per-view on Sunday was no exception, as his win over Mr. Anderson earned him the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. His victory marked the ending of an overall mixed bag of a show that had some hits, some misses, and some moments that just fell flat.
The main event started off on the floor, with ladders coming into play within 30 seconds. Hardy’s experience in ladder matches helped him get the advantage early on, as he pounded Anderson with the ladder. When the battle continued in the ring, Anderson mustered up some fire of his own, and smashed Hardy into a ladder that was propped up in the corner with a side Russian leg sweep. He made his way up the ladder, but Hardy went over the top and powerbombed him hard off the top. Hardy tried for a legdrop off the ladder, but it was his turn to crash and burn when Anderson moved. The middle of the match saw a lot of hard-hitting action, including Jeff hitting Anderson with a running leg bomb and smashing him against the guardrail, and an ugly spot where Anderson suplexed Hardy into the upright legs of an upside-down ladder. Anderson then climbed the ladder, but Hardy got up and hit him with the Twist of Hate to take him down. The two exchanged some more ladder punishment, with Hardy ultimately getting the edge. He scaled a pair of ladders, and was on his way to victory, but Anderson scaled to the top and hit him with a Mic Check. Hardy tried to grab the belt on the way down, and actually had his hands on it before gravity took over, which would have been an impressive way to win. Even though that didn’t work out, it didn’t faze him, and he immediately got up, kicked Anderson out of the ring and scrambled up the ladder to grab the belt for the win.
Match 1: Robbie E vs Generation Me — Three-way match for the number one contendership for the X-Division Championship
This was originally scheduled to be a three-way match against the members of Generation Me for the number one contendership to the X-Division Championship, but travel issues prevented Gen-Me from making it to Orlando for their match. Robbie E came out with Cookie and told the referee to raise his hands due to a forfeit victory. The ref did, and then Robbie E seemingly won the title by forfeit. As he headed up the ramp in celebration, he was cut off by the X-Division champ, Kazarian, who told him they were going to have a title match “right now”.
Winner: Robbie E by forfeit
Match rating: 0/10
Match 2: Robbie E vs Kazarian – X-Division Championship
Kazarian started off hot, but a distraction by Cookie turned things around for the brash challenger. She would continue to interfere on her man’s behalf whenever she could, almost helping him win on a couple of occasions. Eventually, Kazarian fought back and hit the Fade to Black inverted tombstone piledriver to get the pinfall victory.
Winner and still X-Division Champions: Kazarian
Match Rating: 7/10
Backstage, Christy Hemme interviewed Beer Money and Scott Steiner. He may been gone for a while, but Steiner hasn’t lost any of his incomprehensible promo skills.
Match 3: Rob Terry, Gunner, and Murphy vs Beer Money and Scott Steiner
AJ Styles joined Mike Tenay and Taz for commentary for this one. This was kind of a waste of Steiner, making his in-ring return here, and the stellar Beer Money, pitting them against the Immortal B-Team. The strength advantage of the jobbers… er, Terry, Gunner and Murphy, helped them last longer than they had any right to. This one was highlighted by a hot sequence by Robert Roode (who continues to be one of the best all-around performers in any company) where he took out all three opponents with a Double-A spinebuster. After that, Steiner hit one of the security goons with a top rope Frankensteiner for the pin. Decent match, but the Immortal members involved hardly deserve to be on PPV, especially when guys like the Motor City Machine Guns aren’t used.
Winners: Scott Steiner and Beer Money
Match Rating: 6/10
Backstage, Brother Devon and his sons were interviewed. Devon said that he regretted agreeing to his sons being involved in the match, and told them to stay in the back and away from the ring during his match against Bubba.
Match 4: Samoa Joe vs “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero
Both of these guys seem to be an afterthought recently, not being used in any prominence. Pope tried to leave early, when a guy dressed up like Kato from The Green Hornet stopped him from heading up the ramp. What the deuce? This was an even matchup, with the two exchanging moves throughout. Pope went for a rollup off the ropes, but Joe reversed it and locked on a Kokina Klutch, to which Pope immediately tapped. Even the commentators commented that he may have given up prematurely. Strange ending. After the match, Pope offered to shake Joe’s hand, but then sucker-punched him. Then, Kato tried to leap into the ring, but he got clocked as well. After, Pople rammed Joe’s head into an exposed turnbuckle, busting him open. Not sure that this whole post-match beat down had any point — and what was the point of having the completely ineffective “Kato” character there?
Winner: Samoa Joe
Match Rating: 5/10
Backstage, Christy Hemme interviewed Mickie James.
Match 5: Mickie James vs Madison Rayne – Last Knockout Standing for the Knockouts Championship
The outfits the women wore made me long for the days when all wrestling wasn’t TV-PG. Get it? Makes me long. This one spilled to the floor early, and they brawled out there for a while. When they eventually got in the ring, James took over. About this time, Tara came to Madison’s aid. When James dispatched Tara, Rayne slipped on some brass knuckles, and clocked James in the head, putting her down and out for the 10-count.
Winner and still Knockouts Champion: Madison Rayne
Match Rating: 4/10
Backstage, Jeff Hardy wished good luck to Mr. Anderson — but I don’t think he really meant it.
Matt Morgan came to the ring and demanded Hernandez explain his actions from last Thursday where he cost Morgan a title shot. Hernandez came in, and cut a pro-Mexican, anti-American promo, and then gave Morgan a Death Valley Driver. Not sure this couldn’t have waited for Thursday’s TV.
Backstage, Christy Hemme interviewed a glazy orange Matt Hardy. He’s not fat anymore, but he still can’t cut an interesting promo.
Matt Hardy levels Rob Van Dam.
Match 6: Rob Van Dam vs Matt Hardy
This one started off with RVD using his unique flashy offense to fluster Hardy. Notable in this one was Matt Hardy using Randy Orton’s DDT off the middle rope. That gave him the advantage, and he grounded RVD with some stomps, kicks and submissions. He made a costly error, though, as he went for a top rope move and got caught with a thrust kick. RVD got his second wind, and evened it up, resulting in a series of moves and counters. Hardy went to end things with a moonsault, but RVD was able to get out of the way. He then hit the 5-Star Frog Splash for the win.
Winner: Rob Van Dam
Match Rating: 7/10
Backstage, Bully Ray bullied Christy Hemme while he disparaged Devon’s family.
Match 7: Bully Ray vs Devon and his sons — Handicap match with streetfight rules
This one started off hot on the outside, with Devon using anything he could find as a weapon, including a camera cable. Bubba tried to escape by going into the ring, but Devon pulled in a garbage can full of plunder. As Devon was going for the coup de grace, his kids came down to the ring. He scolded them for disobeying him, and when Devon had his back turned, Bubba hit him from behind. He then was going to put Devon away for good, but Devon’s kids came in to make the save. One hit Bubba with the garbage can, then they wishboned him so Devon could hit the Wasssap! headbutt to the groin. As they went for the tables, Bubba attacked again, and handcuffed Devon to the turnbuckles. With Devon dispatched, Bubba flattened both of the kids, and covered one of them for the pin. After the mtach, Bubba powerbombed one of the kids through the table, while Devon could only look on helplessly, begging Bubba to stop. Bubba yelled at him and called Devon weak. Give the Emmy to Devon right now for his reactions to his sons getting battered. This was a good way to further the feud.
Winner: Brother Bubba
Match Rating: 7/10
Backstage, Jeremy Borash interviewed Jeff and Karen Jarrett. Meanwhile, Christy interviewed Kurt Angle. Using kids in a wrestling storyline seems to be a trend on this show. Maybe they’ll put one of Angle’s kids through a table, that’d be cool.
Karen Angle rakes the back of Kurt Angle.
Match 8: Jeff Jarrett vs Kurt Angle
The stipulations for this one were that if Kurt won, he gets custody of his and Karen’s kids; but if Jeff won, Kurt has to walk Karen down the aisle on March 3 when she and Jeff renew their wedding vows. Some funny action here, with Kurt merely shrugging off Jarrett’s headlocks, and then daring him to put it on again. The third time, Angle hits a Shiek suplex. That was the story throughout — Kurt out-wrestling Jarrett and constantly getting the edge. During the action, the referee got knocked out, allowing Karen to get involved, distracting Kurt long enough that Jeff could capitalize. Jeff hit the Stroke off the middle turnbuckle, but Angle kicked out. Soon thereafter, Angle locked on the ankle lock, and Jeff tapped, but the ref was dealing with Karen who got dragged into the ring. Later, out of nowhere, Kurt went for a sunset flip, but simply Jarrett sat down on his chest, cradled him and held him down for the surprising pinfall. After the match, Angle left his boots in the middle of the ring, suggesting this could be the last time he would ever see in-ring action.
Winner: Jeff Jarrett
Match Rating: 8/10
Backstage, Christy interviewed the TNA Heavyweight Champion, Mr. Anderson. He cut his usual smug promo, referencing Justin Bieber (talk about an a-hole).
Match 9: Mr. Anderson vs Jeff Hardy — Ladder match for the TNA Heavyweight Championship
Winner and new TNA Heavyweight Champion: Jeff Hardy
Match Rating: 7/10
Overall show rating: 6/10