Jeff Hardy overcame the odds at TNA No Surrender, defeating Bully Ray in the finals of the Bound for Glory tournament, despite suffering a severe shoulder earlier in the night at the hands of the Aces & Eights faction. Hardy was able to surprise his opponent with a number of Twist of Fates and get the pin after a swanton to win the tournament and earn the right to a title match at next month’s Bound for Glory show.
It was a true surprise, since it looked like the match was going to be deferred until Thursday’s episode of Impact. Or at least that’s what was suggested by Hulk Hogan who came to the ring while Hardy’s music played during the main event introductions. Hogan challenged Hardy’s opponent Bully Ray to do the right thing and wait to face Hardy only when he was at 100%. Before Bully could answer, though, Hardy’s music hit again, and out walked – or rather, limped – the charismatic enigma, holding his arm in agony. To his credit, Ray offered a fist bump to Hardy before the match to show his respect for Hardy coming out at all. The two circled each other tentatively, before Ray started smashing Hardy’s injured shoulder. Ray punished the arm, smashing it repeatedly with punches and stomps, and locking on several submission holds. At one point, Ray even tore off the protective tape to deliver more damage, but Hardy wouldn’t quit. After rolling out of the way of a splash, Hardy hit a Twist of Fate out of nowhere, and then hit the Swanton for a near fall. Hardy got some momentum with a Whisper in the Wind for another near fall. Then it was Bully with a Bubba Cutter, but to no avail. Later, Hardy surprised with another Twist of Fate, but he missed a Swanton, and ate another Bubba Cutter for the one, two, thr- no, he kicked out! Hardy reached deep and hit two rapid fire Twists, but it took him so long to climb to the top rope, he got caught. Ray climbed to the top to end it for good, but Hardy fought back. They slugged it out on the top rope, and Hardy got the edge, sending Ray crashing to the mat. A Swanton later, and Hardy got the upset miracle pin, to win the tournament and the title shot at Bound for Glory.
TNA No Surrender – Full Results
Match 1: Jeff Hardy vs Samoa Joe – BFG Tournament semi-final
I think Hardy’s painted eyelid deal is pretty cool – but I believe he stole that from Jughead in the Archie comics, who did that so he could sleep in class and not get caught. The match spilled to the floor very early, and Hardy was able to get the edge by hitting a running press off the apron. Back in the ring, Joe used his power game, hitting a series of punches, a senton splash, and a big kick in the corner. Joe locked on a nerve pinch to ground Hardy for an extended period, and thwarted any attempt by Hardy to get out of it. Hardy eventually fought back, kicking Joe’s injured arm to break loose, and then hit a few clotheslines. There was a great sequence near the end, where Joe went for a Muscle Buster, but Hardy blocked it and hit a Twist of Fate. Hardy then scaled the ropes to get a Swanton, but got crotched. Joe tried for the Muscle Buster again, but after a series of counters and reversals, Hardy rolled up the big man for the pin.
Winner: Jeff Hardy
Match Rating: 8/10
Match 2: Bully Ray vs James Storm – BFG Tournament semi-final
This was a rematch from last year’s semi-final match that Bully won, so undoubtedly Storm was looking to even the score. Storm started off aggressively, slapping Ray hard, unnerving Ray. Some people are tired of Ray, but in my view, he’s really come into his own as a great singles star, notwithstanding the “Devon’s better” chants that the crowd brought out early and often during this match. Storm was in control early, with Bully repeatedly leaving the ring and stalling. Storm missed an early Last Call attempt and got tied up in the ropes, allowing Ray to take control. Ray used some brute strength in the form of a bearhug to wear out Storm, and punishing him with punches, stomps and kicks. Ray went for punches in the corner, so Storm head-butted him in the Dudleys, and then powerbombed him to escape. Storm tried to follow that up with a big running clothesline, but Ray moved and Storm flattened the ref instead. A short while later, Storm tried for another big clothesline, but the replacement referee ate it instead of Ray. With both referees down, Storm had Ray pinned, but nobody saw it. Storm tried to wake up one of them, and with his back turned, he didn’t see Bobby Roode run to the ring. From behind, Roode smashed Storm in the head with a beer bottle, knocking him out. Roode then put Ray on top of Storm and woke up the ref to count the pin.
Winner: Bully Ray
Match rating: 7/10
Backstage, JB interviewed Knockouts Champion Miss Tessmacher. “Tess” gave kudos to her opponent Tara who she said was a friend and a mentor to her. The champ noted that she had called out Tara once before and lost, but she was confident she could pull out a win tonight.
Match 3: Tara vs Miss Tessmacher (c) – Knockouts Title match
Early on, Miss Tessmacher tried a number of holds to wear down the challenger, but the crafty Tara would always be one-step ahead. Miss Tessmacher got a bikt upset when Tara rolled her up from behind, and yelled at Tara for it. Tara told her that this was a title match and that she wasn’t going to give any quarter, summarizing her argument with a slap to the face. This fired up the champ who landed a series of clotheslines. Her offensive flurry ended after a Tara muscled up, and started using some power moves, including a spinning side slam and a nice looking superplex. Tara tried to end her opponent with the Widow’s Peak but Tessmacher reversed out of it and rolled up Tara for the pin. After the match, Tessmacher offered her hand in a show of respect – Tara shook it, but didn’t seem happy.
Winner and still Knockouts Champ: Miss Tessmacher
Match Rating: 7/10
Backstage, Hulk Hogan yelled at Bobby Roode who was being carted away by the cops. Storm attacked Roode from behind, and he got arrested too. Roode and Storm threatened each other as they were carted off through separate exits.
A video package detailed the feud between Austin Aries and the Aces & Eights faction. Then Austin went to the ring and called them out – no titles, no ref, no rules. A&E’s Armbreaker came out to answer the call, but Aries kept kicking him every time he tried to climb into the ring. Finally, Austin took it to him directly, diving out to the floor and going full tilt aggression. He threw Armbreaker into the ring and continued to waylay him with punches in the corner. But Armbreaker broke out of it with a nasty crotch shot that had Aries crawling in pain. Armbreaker kept up the beating, pummeling Aries with punches. When he tried to finish things with a powerbomb, Aries opened up a hidden bag of white powder and poured it into Armbreaker’s eyes. Blinded, Armbreaker rolled to the floor, only to get hit with a top rope dive. In the ring, Armbreaker managed to fight off Aries, and had the champ prone. He went for a running chair attack, but Aries ducked it, and clocked Armbreaker with a roll of quarters, leaving him prone for a Brain Buster that knocked him out. As Aries tried to remove the big man’s mask, the rest of Aces & Eights came running out to start a gang assault on the champ. This brought out several other members of the locker room who chased A&E away. Hulk Hogan then came to the ring and ordered a building lockdown. A replay showed that during the melee, one of the A&E members drove Hardy’s shoulder into the ring post, causing the injury.
Match 5: Sonjay Dutt vs Zema Ion (c) – X-Divison Championship match
This one started off with some fun sequences, too quick to call, so I won’t try. Sonjay got cut in a springboard attack, and ended up on the wrong end of a gutbuster. Ion then took control, whipping Dutt from pillar to post, working on the arm and shoulder of Dutt, which was braced from it separating at the last PPV. During the match, the video feed showed the police pulling in to lock down the building. Meanwhile, Ion kept up the punishment. Ion took his eyes of Dutt for a second, and that let Sonjay mount a comeback. Dutt hit a great running kick, and then followed that up with a hurancarana into a pinning attempt. Ion tried to reverse the tide with a superplex, but Dutt pitched him to the floor and then hit Ion with a moonsault from the ropes to the floor for a near fall. Dutt tried for one too many fancy moves and got caught. After a number of pin attempts and potential finishers, Ion ultimately putt Dutt away with a Gori-driver-esque face-smasher that I don’t even know what to call – but it looked really cool.
Winner and still X-Division Champ: Zema Ion
Match Rating: 8/10
Outside the building, Hulk Hogan was directing the cops on locking down the building. Not sure why they would take orders from them instead of their sergeant, but whatever.
Match 6: Magnus vs Rob Van Dam
This one started off fairly evenly, with Magnus going for locks and holds, and RVD using his “educated feet” to get out of them. RVD tried for legbomb off the apron, but Magnus moved and RVD hit ringside barrier. Back in the ring, RVD wasn’t able to catch his breath between offensive moves from Magnus, and his beating lasted for several minutes. Finally, RVD fought out of it, and hit some of his patented moves, including Rolling Thunder and spin kicks. After a little while, RVD landed the 5-star Frog Splash for the pin.
Winner: Rob Van Dam
Match Rating: 6/10
Backstage, JB interviewed the “World Tag Team Champions of the World”. They complained about having to defend their titles against AJ Styles and Kurt Angle and other things. This was very funny.
Match 7: AJ Styles and Kurt Angle vs Christopher Danels and Frankie Kazarian (c) – Tag Team Title match
Kurt Angle was visibly favouring his leg during this one, so his reported injury that he tweeted about last week seems to be pretty bad. AJ and Kurt took control early, hitting both opponents with some big moves. A well-timed eye poke by Kazarian on Styles gave the WTTCOTW the edge. They double-teamed AJ, using a variety of dirty tactics to isolate him from his corner. AJ finally broke out of their clutches and made the hot tag to Angle who fared much better. He took control, punishing Kazarian with a pair of German suplexes, but his attempt for a threepeat got stopped with a double-team DDT and soon he was in trouble, with AJ in the corner looking on in vain. Angle surprised Kazarian, running up the ropes as Kazarian was scaling them and hitting a super Angle Slam. Angle got the tag, and then business picked up. Angle dropped both opponents with Angle Slams and would have got the win if Daniels weren’t within reach of the bottom rope. Styles nearly ended things as well after alternating moves on both guys, including a Pele. Close to the end, AJ hit a springboard 450 on Kaz while Daniels was in Angle’s clutches, but surprisingly, Kazarian kicked out. Styles tried for a top rope finisher, but ate Kaz’s boot instead and then the Spanish Fly – but only for two! In the following melee, Kurt got thrown to the floor where his injury had him in great pain, prompting the ref to go check on him. With his back turned, the ref didn’t see Daniels sneak into the ring and splash his appletini into AJ’s eyes, blinding him and leaving him prone for a rollup pin.
Winners and still Tag Team Champs: Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian
Match Rating: 9/10
Outside, Hogan told the cops that they had to guard the ring during the main event from any potential intruders.
Backstage, Bully Ray said that a little part of him actually felt bad for Jeff Hardy, and that the A&E problem has to end, but that he was going to win the tournament anyway. He said that people have to respect his accomplishments, both in the past and in the past 18 months – that he’s completely reinvented himself in an effort to achieve singles success like he’s done over his tag team career. He ended with a great line – that while many wrestlers are bound for glory, he’s destined for greatness. This was a tremendous promo.
Match 8: Bully Ray vs Jeff Hardy – BFG Tournament final
Winner: Jeff Hardy
Match Rating: 7/10
Overall Show Rating: 7/10
Bob Kapur is happy that the Detroit Lions are 1-0 after week one of the NFL season, only 15 games away from a perfect season. E-mail him your football predictions at firstname.lastname@example.org..