The chant “this is b.s.” should never, ever be heard during an A.J. Styles match, the man is far too talented to ever have fans react in such a manner. However, that is exactly what the crowd at GM Place in Oshawa, Ontario, chanted during his “MMA” bout with Frank Trigg. TNA’s pay per view debut in Canada was one of the weakest shows in recent memory, overwhelmed by horrible overbooking by TNA that once again proves that they do not know what their fanbase wants.
Having an MMA contest on a wrestling show is like screaming “No, this one is real.” It just is not effective. Taking Styles out of his element for the match backfired, and, bless his heart, he tried, but the first five-minute round felt like an eternity. Styles managed to lock on an armbar on Trigg as the clock counted down, but Trigg held on until the round ended. Shortly into the second round, Styles started punching away on Trigg and accidentally kneed him in the groin, resulting in the referee declaring a no-contest. The crowd again chanted b.s, and rightfully so. Hopefully TNA listens to their fans and doesn’t torture us with a rematch.
The highlight of the show was the “Ladder of Love” match between “The Black Machismo” Jay Lethal and “The Guru” Sonjay Dutt. Despite the terrible angle that has surrounded the feud between the two over SoCal Val, the two busted their asses. This was the match that should have been showcased in New Jersey last month in front of Lethal’s hometown crowd. The ladder match genre has become rather tired and overdone, but you have to give credit to both men for coming up with some incredibly creative spots that had the crowd chanting “This is awesome.” Dutt trapped Lethal upside down with his head in the ladder on the ropes and dropkicked it, and moments later dropped Lethal across a ladder sitting on two chairs with a neckbreaker. Lethal managed to swipe Dutt’s arms away while Sonjay tried to keep Lethal trapped in a camel clutch on top of two ladders and grab the ring. He finally escaped by snapmaring Dutt off the ladder to the mat. Lethal was trapped in the ladders and Val came in and freed him, prompting Dutt to get in her face. Lethal went to Val in the corner, then began to climb the ladder opposite where Dutt was reaching for the ring atop a platform. In a moment that surprised absolutely nobody, Val turned on Lethal, connecting with a low blow while he was on the ladder and allowing Dutt to get the win, and her heart. The close ups of a sweaty Dutt making out with Val will likely haunt me for the rest of the week.
Due to Hurricane Ike, Booker T did not make his scheduled main event match. Why, when he knew a hurricane was coming, did he not make the show when talents like Sheik Abdul Basir and Hernandez are also from the Houston area did isn’t for certain. What was for certain was that the original “Four ways to glory” match became a triple-threat with the rest of the participants – Kurt Angle, Christian Cage, and TNA champion Samoa Joe. TNA wasted almost 12 minutes before the match with a video package, then a video package about each individual participant, then their physical entrance, and finally an in-ring introduction. Not surprisingly Cage got a huge hometown reception, just an hour from where he grew up in Orangeville, which was mentioned several times. Sting, who had opened the show talking about making Joe and Styles respect him, made an appearance and Joe slapped him before AJ held him back and Sting went to the back.
The match itself was solid, but felt like all three men were going through the motions. These three have wrestled each other so many times in the past year, it doesn’t feel fresh or exciting. In writing this review, I really can’t remember many specifics of the match, and considering the talent level that is surprising. Cage seemed to have the belt won with an unprettier on Joe, but Angle pulled referee Earl Hebner out of the ring and threw him into the barricade. You’d think this would result in a DQ, but no. Angle tossed Cage with an Angle slam over the top rope, hit Joe with a chair and locked in the ankle lock. Enter Jeff Jarrett, who blasted Angle with the guitar, busting him open and leaving him open for a muscle-buster by Joe to retain the belt. Try and remember the last time a TNA main event ended without some kind of interference, guitar shot, or overbooking, because I can’t.
It was pointed out by Mike Johnson at PWInsider.com recently that many within TNA were unhappy with the draws in New York City and Long Island recently. The house show in London, Ontario, also did not draw what would be expected. The funny thing is, reviews of house shows have been extremely positive as the shows focus solely on wrestling. Shows like what TNA presented on pay per view are drastically different from their house shows, and people are proving more and more that they are not willing to spend money to watch their product. With the incredible level of talent that TNA has on its roster, the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the TNA creative team, and owner Dixie Carter. Until they realize this, the company will never be serious competition to WWE.
TNA No Surrender 2008 Results
The show kicked off with Sting cutting a promo, talking about being excited about being in Canada and name-dropping Bret Hart. It took 15 minutes for them to actually have the opening match. Time wasting was a theme throughout the night.
Match 1: The Prince Justice Brotherhood (Super Eric, Curry Man and Sharkboy) vs. The Rock n Rave Connection (Jimmy Rave, Lance Rock & Christy Hemme)
No complaints about this being an opener, as it was fun if goofy. Watching Curry Man react to Christy Hemme’s headlock with his face in her chest was amusing, as well as when Curry kissed Hemme and she liked it. Super Eric took out Rock and Rave with a double death-valley driver while Sharkboy connected with the chummer on Hemme, allowing Curry Man to pin Hemme for the win.
Winners: The Prince Justice Brotherhood
Match 2: Falls Count Anywhere – Awesome Kong vs. ODB
ODB spent a lot of time on her entrance, chugging a beer before Raisha Saied attacked her. Kong followed and dragged ODB around and into the ring, and then around ringside. ODB came back and wedged a chair in the corner. Kong charged and went headfirst into the chair. In an impressive spot, ODB powerbombed Kong off the buckles onto a table that didn’t break. A second table in the corner ended up being ODB’s undoing, as Kong caught her attempted Thesz press and rammed her through the table for the win.
Winner: Awesome Kong
Christian Cage cut an incredible promo about how much being world champion meant to him, promising to win the title for the third time in front of his family and friends.
Match 3: Team 3D vs. Abyss and Matt Morgan
TNA doesn’t seem to know what to do with Morgan, Abyss is dead in the water, and Team 3D is fresh off of signing a new contract, which of course means they lose the match, despite interference from Johnny Devine, who eats shock treatment as a result. Devon went to use a chair on Morgan, but had the chair punched into his face. He walked into a black hole slam for a three count. Afterwards Team 3D attacked and hit Morgan with a chair from behind and planted it on Abyss. Morgan questioned if Abyss attacked him. The camera then cut to a shot of SLAM! Wrestling’s Bob Kapur at ringside, one of the best moments of the night. No, I am not kidding.
Winners: Abyss and Matt Morgan.
Match 4: TNA X-Division Championship: Petey Williams (Champion) vs. Consequences Creed (Challenger) vs. Sheik Abdul Bashir (Challenger)
I watched this show with a friend who moved here from the U.S., and we shared our disgust with Bashir’s theme music opening with the sound of a plane crashing. TNA has probably lost a few viewers at that lame attempt to garner heat. Earl Hebner was the referee, and you could loudly hear the fans chanting “You screwed Bret.” Match-wise, this was the other highlight of the show with some fast paced-solid wrestling. Petey Williams was insanely over with the Canadian crowd, and with Cage not going over, this was the chance to give us Canadians a feel good moment. Of course, this is TNA we are talking about. Williams caught Creed with the Canadian Destroyer, Bashir pulled Petey out and tossed him into the ringpost, and snuck out the win and the title. Don West mentioned that Bashir screwed Williams out of his title. Outside of Canada, isn’t Williams’ supposed to be a heel? Why book a finish that makes him sympathetic, like a babyface? Yet another head shaker in an evening full of them.
Winner: and new TNA X-division champion… Sheik Abdul Bashir.
Match Rating: 7/10 – it loses a point for the lousy finish.
Match 5: TNA Knockouts Championship: Taylor Wilde (Champion) vs. Angelina Love (Challenger)
The video package promoted Wilde as “The youngest Knockout champion in TNA history.” Wow, out of three people! Michelle McCool is the youngest diva champion in Smackdown history too I guess. The Beautiful People are awesome, despite including Kip James. Wilde hit the ring and grabbed the microphone, saying “I may have been born at night, but I wasn’t born last night” prompting a groan from everyone who was watching. Wilde is terrible on the microphone, especially when matched up against Love. In response to Love having James and Velvet Sky in her corner, Wilde brought out Rhino to back her up. The two Canadians didn’t mesh well. Traci Brooks (another Canadian) took notes from ringside as Sky hit Wilde with a makeup box to give her partner the advantage. When Kip tried to interfere, Rhino took him out with the gore. Sky held onto Wilde, who escaped as Love charged, colliding with her partner and allowing Wilde to score the pin with a Northern Lights suplex.
Winner:… and still TNA Knockout champion… Taylor Wilde.
Match 6: Ladder of Love Match: “The Black Machismo” Jay Lethal vs. “The Guru” Sonjay Dutt
Winner: and SoCal Val’s new love… Sonjay Dutt
Rating: 8/10 – losing a point for the predictable finish
Jeremy Borash interviewed Kurt Angle backstage.
Match 7: TNA Tag Team Championship: Beer Money (Champions) vs. LAX (Challengers)
This match should have been held off a month, it really doesn’t mean much so soon after the title change. Salinas didn’t come to ringside with Homicide and Hernandez. Mike Tenay said Jackie Moore attacked her in the bathroom and sent her to the hospital. Mike Johnson at PWInsider is reporting that Salinas quit the company. The four men worked hard and it was a decent tag match, but by this point the show wasn’t salvageable. Homicide tried to hit Storm with a beer bottle and missed, shattering it on the ring steps and hurting himself. He recovered and set up Roode for the gringo killer, but Moore threw powder in his eyes and Roode hit the payoff for the win.
Winners:… and still TNA Tag Team Champions… Beer Money
Match 8: MMA amateur wrestling match: A.J. Styles vs. Frank Trigg
Winner: No Contest
Samoa Joe was interviewed in the back, and after talking briefly about the match, his attention turned to Sting, who would be facing the champion at Bound for Glory. Joe made a lot of valid points, mainly about how he had traveled around the world for TNA house shows and events while Sting, one of the highest paid men in the company, sat at home.
Match 9: TNA Heavyweight Championship: Samoa Joe (Champion) vs. Kurt Angle (Challenger) vs. Christian Cage (Challenger)
Winner:… and still TNA Heavyweight Champion: Samoa Joe
Overall Event Rating: 3/10