It’s Wednesday night which means it’s time (on tape delay) to take a look at the 1st TNA PPV of the year. How will it fare?
The X-Division Championship is on first as Austin Aries (the best thing to watch in TNA right now) defends his title against Jesse Sorenson, Kid Kash and Zema Ion in a 4-corner elimination match. Aries begins the match by leaving the ring and letting the others get on with it. Kid Kash got sent flying out of the ring leaving Sorenson and Ion to fight it out in the ring. Aries goes back in to try and eliminate Sorenson but Sorenson kicked out. This was followed by a lot of near falls. There was a cool bit when Ion went up onto the top turnbuckle, Kash hit him and attempted to reverse superplex him. However, Sorenson hit Kash and hit him with a powerbomb, sending them all crashing to the mat. When that happened, Aries tried to pin each one in order to eliminate them but was not successful. Eventually, Kash was the first to be eliminated after getting hit with a 450 splash by Ion. Aries then tried to upstage Ion with a 450 splash on Sorenson but once again, Sorenson kicked out. Ion then got eliminated with a small package by Sorenson. Sorenson hit Aries with a Rolling Cutter and thought he got the win. However, the referee was distracted by Ion protesting about his elimination, leaving time for Aries to recover and kick out. Sorenson tried to hit a move from the top turnbuckle but was pulled down by Ion. Aries took advantage hitting Sorenson with a missile dropkick to the back of the head followed by a brainbuster from the top rope to get the win. This was a really enjoyable match and a great way to start the PPV
Winner: Austin Aries Predictions: 1 for 1
Next was Devon taking on D’Angelo Dinero. I really liked the story between the two, which has been going on for a few months, effectively fighting over Devon’s twin sons. Devon gets the early advantage before Dinero, with some accidental help from the referee, got some offence in. Dinero was completely dominating Devon, with Dinero being relentless. Dinero gets Devon’s sons to go into the ring and asking them to attack Devon. They are understandably reluctant, which pisses off Dinero who then attacks one of them (I’m sorry, I don’t know which one is which) and sends him flying out of the ring. Dinero then punches the other. This gave enough time for Devon to recover and destroy Dinero, culminating in Devon hitting the Saving Grace for the victory. Afterwards, Devon reunites with his sons. This was a decent match. However, I thought that the reunion between the three of them would not happen for at least another PPV and I have to wonder if they have ended this storyline a bit too abruptly.
Winner: Devon Predictions: 1 for 2
Jeremy Borash then attempts to interview Sting but is then interrupted by Velvet Sky, who is requested to become the new VP of the Knockouts. Isn’t Velvet a bit young for this position? Anyway, Velvet proposes a plan to prevent Madison Rayne from interfering in the Knockouts Championship match, which Sting approves. I wonder what that could be?
The next match was between Gunner (with Ric Flair) and Rob Van Dam. There was a lot of high flying offence as you would expect from a RVD match. Gunner managed to get a little momentum before the match went to the outside. Gunner started to expose the concrete floor, prompting the referee to stop him. The action goes back into the ring and RVD got in some offence. Gunner rolls out of the ring and RVD attempted to splash him but he landed onto the exposed concrete floor. Flair got into an argument with the referee, allowing Gunner to DDT RVD onto the exposed floor. Gunner then rolls him into the ring and gets the win. Afterwards, RVD leaves the ring on a stretcher. I guess Gunner has just added another name to his own version of the Hall of Pain.
Winner: Gunner Predictions: 1 for 3
After an interview with Jeff Hardy, Gail Kim defends her Knockouts Championship against Mickie James. We find out what Velvet’s plan was, which is to put Kim’s lackey Madison Rayne in a cage and then suspend it in the air. I hope Rayne doesn’t have a fear of heights. Kim gets the early momentum before James starts to make a comeback. Rayne drops some brass knuckles to help out Kim. However, they land outside the ring and the referee picks them up. Rayne drops another set of brass knuckles for Kim. However, James manages to grab a hold of them and knocks out Kim with them. The only problem is that it was right in front of the referee, who promptly disqualifies James, giving Kim the victory. I sense that we will be getting Kim vs James part IV in the near future.
Winner: Gail Kim Predictions: 2 for 4 (back on track)
Next was a Monsters Ball Match(?) between Abyss and Bully Ray. It turns out that a Monsters Ball Match is basically an extreme version of a no-disqualification match. The match starts with Bully continually leaving the ring when it looks that they were going to lock up. Bully grabs a chair which prompts Abyss to grab a chair. After some wrestling involving the chairs, Abyss starts to throw other weapons into the ring, including a cheese grater(?) Bully starts to gain some momentum before Abyss brings out Janus (a piece of wood covered in nails). Bully goes “Fuck this!” (I would too, to be honest) and decides to leave. Abyss follows and fights Bully back down the ramp towards the ring. Bully sends Abyss into a barbed wire board and then gets another one thrown onto his head. This actiosn results in a cut arm and fingers for Abyss, who brings out thumbtacks and hits Bully in the groin with the cheese grater. Abyss then chokeslams Bully through a table, resulting in a near fall. Bully sent Abyss crashing onto a barbed wire board and then sandwiched him with another one then splashed himself on top of them. Despite that, Bully only got a 2 count. Bully grabs Janus and tries to use it but Abyss counters and chokeslams Bully onto the thumbtacks, resulting in another near fall. The end was when Abyss did a Black Hole Slam sending Bully crashing onto a barbed wire board, getting the win. The crows were chanting “This is Awesome”. However, I didn’t really enjoy the level of violence involved in this match, especially with the barbed wire. I do normally extreme rules type matches but I was cringing at some of this. I felt that it might have gone a bit too far.
Winner: Abyss Predictions: 3 for 5
The Tag Team Championships were on the line as Crimson and Matt Morgan defended their titles against Samoa Joe and Magnus, who had a Wild Card Tournament to get this opportunity. This was a decent match as Joe and Magnus wore down Crimson for a while. During the match, we see Bully Ray attacking Abyss backstage. Don’t get why they would show that during an unrelated match but I assume that it was because they had no other time to show it. Anyway, back to this match, Crimson gets the hot tag to Matt Morgan, and they get the win by hitting a double team Spinebuster on Magnus.
Winners: Crimson and Matt Morgan Predictions: 4 for 6
The penultimate match was Kurt Angle taking on James Storm. I can see being a good match. Storm tries to hit the last call early but Angle avoided it. Angle starts to dominate Storm before Storm hits a Russian Legsweep to slow the offence down. Angle hits the 3 German suplexes then a moonsault followed by an ankle lock which Storm got out of. Angle hit the Angle slam but it only got a 2 count. Storm hit the codebreaker then a RKO to get a near fall. After some more near falls, Angle eventually gets the win by pulling the referee in the way of a Last Call then hitting a low blow followed by a kick to the head.
Winner: Kurt Angle Predictions: 4 for 7
The main event was for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship with Jeff Hardy challenging Bobby Roode. After a little back and forth between the two, the match goes to the outside, sending Roode into the steel steps. Roode gets the momentum when the action goes back inside the ring and starts to focus on Hardy’s leg. Roode tries a move from the top turnbuckle but is hit in the face by Hardy, leaving both men down for a while. Hardy starts to get the advantage before Roode hits a Spinebuster. Roode decides to leave but he’s stopped by Hardy and is thrown back into the ring. Roode hits a Fisherman suplex but he only gets a 2 count. Hardy hits the Twist of Fate followed by a Whisper in the Wind to get a near fall. Roode tries to leave again and grabs his title but is once again stopped by Hardy. When Roode is thrown back into the ring, he tries to hit Hardy with the belt but he is kicked in the stomach, making him drop the belt. Hardy tries to hit a Twist of Fate which would send Roode’s face onto the belt but the referee stopped it in order to grab the belt off the ring mat. Roode does a roll up and uses the rope for leverage but the referee sees it and stops the count. Hardy then does a roll up and gets a close near fall. In the end, Roode pleads for mercy then kicks referee Brian Hebner in the balls, disqualifying him and giving Hardy the victory, to a chorus of boos from the crowd. Due to the fact that Roode keeps the title, Hardy is understandably not happy and hits Roode with a Swanton Bomb. I sense a rematch.
Winner: Jeff Hardy Predictions: 4 for 8
I enjoyed most of the wrestling in this event but not really the booking. The Monsters Ball Match was a bit too brutal for me and we had 2 Championship matches end in a disqualification and at least the 4th PPV in a row that didn’t have a clean finish. I understand Roode’s determination to do everything he can to keep the title However, you can’t have him cheating to do that at PPVs, in which people are paying money to see (not me, luckily). I have a suspicion that all TNA PPVs will be like this for the foreseeable future.