Live from Orlando, Fla.
At Universal Studios
The show opened with a video that recapped all of the major story lines... Mike Tenay and Taz introduced the show and hyped that they were celebrating nine years...
1. James Storm and Alex Shelley beat The British Invasion to retain the TNA Tag Titles in 11:15. Robert Roode walked onto the stage and had his arm in a sling. He took the rest of Storm's beer and joined the announcers on commentary. Jackson James was the refere for the match.
Douglas Williams and Magnus wore new gear that was similar to the lettering used for the old WCW Uncensored pay-per-view. There were quick tags early on and Storm and Shelley showed no signs of discontent despite Shelley nailing Storm with the superkick on Impact Wrestling.
Storm and Shelley did the Beer Money dance routine. Roode stood up at the announcers desk and yelled the "Money" part. Storm hit a Codebreaker on Williams. Shelley came off the top with a stomp, but Williams managed to kick out of a cover.
Moments later, Storm tried to spit beer in the eyes of Williams, but he ducked and Shelley took beer in the eyes. A blinded Shelley caught Storm with a super kick. British Invasion performed a double team move on STorm, but he kicked out. Storm hit a super kick on Magnus, Shelley followed up with Sliced Bread No. 2, and Storm pinned Magnus to win the match...
Powell's POV: Good opener. It was laid out nicely with the tease of Storm and Shelley falling apart down the stretch, yet hanging on to win the match decisively. It was hard to take British Invasion seriously. Their new gear didn't look good, and we were not given a reintroduction to the duo before the pay-per-view. I always liked the duo and I hope we get more from them, but they really need to win some squash matches on TV.
A shot aired of a Kurt Angle arriving at the building... Backstage, Jeremy Borash interviewed Scott Steiner. The sound didn't mesh with the video. Steiner said the great part about winning is that he's going to take Morgan's girlfriend and show her what it's like to be with a real man...
Powell's POV: Really, that comes along with winning matches in TNA? Who knew? By the way, nine f'n years and TNA still hasn't learned how to mic the ring bell properly.
2. Matt Morgan beat Scott Steiner in 9:20. The production team tried to show off Morgan's size by having a camera man kneel down and shoot him from the naval up. It didn't work. Steiner caught Morgan with an early low blow. Morgan spent the next couple of minutes selling for Steiner, who did the bit where he blew off a pinfall attempt in favor of mocking his opponent with pushups.
Morgan came back and had a near fall with a sit-out slam. Steiner came back with a near fall of his own and then he mocked the live crowd before locking in the Steiner Recliner. Morgan fought out and got to his feet only to have Steiner perform a victory roll for a cool near fall.
Morgan ended up catching Steiner with the Carbon Footprint and got the three count. Morgan went to ringside and kissed a woman. Taz said it was Morgan's wife...
Powell's POV: Does Steiner's girlfriend know that Morgan gets to sleep with her tonight? I wonder how Morgan's wife feels about this? Does she know Morgan apparently has a girlfriend on the side in Steiner's world? I don't know who Velvet Sky is seeing these days, but I know a few readers who would challenge the guy to a match if Steiner rules are in effect. Bad jokes aside, a better match than I expected, though I don't think Steiner matches need that much time. Morgan's selling got the crowd fired up about his comeback. The right guy went over, and hopefully this means the feud is over.
Backstage, Borash interviewed Jeff Jarrett, who said he's going to take Kurt Angle's gold medal and have it placed around his neck. Jarrett said he knew his wife Karen was watching the match and dedicated it to her... A video recapped Abyss's destruction of the X Division...
3. Abyss beat Kazarian and Brian Kendrick in a three-way to retain the X Division Title in 12:00. Abyss no-sold Kendrick's offense early. Kendrick went for a cross body and just bounced off Abyss, who followed up by throwing him to ringside. The cross body spot drew laughter from the crowd.
Abyss beat up Kazarian while Kendrick sold. Kendrick eventually returned and hit a series of offensive moves on Abyss. At 10:45, Abyss went to the floor, and Kazarian and Kendrick came to blows. Kendrick caught Kazarian with a kick. Abyss reached in and pulled Kendrick to the floor, and then raced back inside the ring to pin Kazarian...
Powell's POV: This was essentially a handicap match since the babyfaces mostly together only to be repeatedly shot down. I didn't care for it. Kazarian and Kendrick sold so much for Abyss that they looked weak, and he didn't even come across looking any better than he went in because his opponents have been treated like bush leaguers on television lately, so getting the better of them meant nothing. I have no idea why Kazarian did the job rather than Kendrick, whose character just isn't over.
A Crimson vs. Samoa Joe video package was shown...
4. Crimson pinned Samoa Joe in 10:30. Crimson came out to very little reaction. He charged the ring and immediately started trading punches with Joe. Jackson James was the referee. One loud guy and four women (guessing) started a "Let's go Crimson" chant, and they were outnumbered by "Let's go Joe" chants.
Joe applied a leg bar a couple of times, but Crimson reached the ropes to break it. Joe continued to work over Crimson's leg/knee. Crimson came back with a lousy looking submission hold that Joe slid out of quickly. He came back with a T-bone suplex that Taz said was "pretty well done." Crimson hit a double-armed DDT for a near fall.
Joe came back with a suplex and a clothesline. He powerbombed Crimson and followed up with another leg lock, but Crimson reached the ropes. Joe shook his head in frustration. Joe and Crimson had a slap fest. Joe got the better of it, but Crimson speared him. They stood up and threw slow punches and then Joe fired away with slaps and a chop in the corner.
Crimson came back with the Sky High for the win. The announcers spoke about how physical the match was. Joe offered Crimson his hand. Crimson shook Joe's hand, but Joe pulled him in close. "We will do this again," Joe said...
Powell's POV: I know the undefeated streak is the story they are trying to tell, but the fans are not reacting to Crimson they way they should be reacting to an undefeated wrestler. Part of the problem is that the only thing we know about him is that he's Amazing Red's little brother, which is a work and doesn't mean anything. Granted, we didn't know much about Goldberg, but he had the "it" factor that Crimson hasn't shown. Good effort from both men, but Crimson hasn't shown enough to justify the push he's getting.
Backstage, Borash interviewed Winter and Angelina Love. Winter did the talking during the promo and said it was time for Love to take her medicine. Love stopped her and said: "I won't be needing that anymore, Winter. It took me a while, but I get it now. We're on the same page. I understand"...
Powell's POV: Congratulations to Angelina Love for being the first person in the world to understand what the hell is going on with Winter. I'm not sure what Winter has been feeding Angelina, but I'll take two.
5. Mickie James beat Angelina Love (w/Winter) to retain the TNA Knockouts Title in 7:55. They showed a fan who won a contest to be the guest timekeeper. Unfortunately for the fan, his bell ringing couldn't be heard either. Back and forth action through the first six minutes. Winter interfered and Love capitalized with a big boot to Mickie.
Love went for a cover, but Mickie grabbed the ropes. Winter removed Mickie's hand from the ropes, but referee Earl Hebner spotted it. Mickie punched Winter off the ring apron and hit a Northern Lights Suplex for a near fall. Mickie ended up coming back with a tornado DDT that was completely botched, yet that turned out to be the finishing move, as Mickie got the three count.
After the match, Winter attacked Mickie and choked her with a belt. Love grabbed the belt and choked Mickie as well. Taz said Love and Mickie are like "a couple of hell cats." Mickie sold in the ring while Love and Winter left the ring together...
Powell's POV: Good effort, but clunky in spots and an especially bad botched finish. Mark my words, Winter, not drugging Love will be the end of your relationship sooner or later. I can't tell you how many women left me once I stopped drugging them. I've been with the same woman now for 14 years, and it's been heavily medicated bliss. Fine, none of that is true except for the 14 years part. Anyone know where I can find... Never mind.
Backstage, Borash interviewed Bully Ray, who made him repeatedly say that it was a last man standing match. Ray said the key word is "man" and neither Borash nor A.J. Styles know nothing about being men...
6. Bully Ray beat A.J. Styles in a Last Man Standing match in 20:20. Ray had the first stretch of long offense following a big back body drop. He whipped Styles to ringside and roughed him up with shots to the back. Back inside the ring, Ray delivered hard slaps to A.J.'s chest. Styles stood up and asked for more.
Ray complied with another hard slap. Styles stood up and asked for another. The camera closed in and showed the red marks on Styles's chest. Ray granted the request and the fans broke out in a "holy shit" chant for slaps. Styles asked for a punch to the face. Ray complied. Mel Gibson is getting horny.
Styles came back with some of his signature offense, including the springboard forearm spot. Ray got back to his feet before the ref reached seven. Styles caught Ray with a Pele kick on the ropes and followed up with ten punches. He set up for a huracanrana, but Ray powerbombed off the ropes him instead.
Ray went to ringside and grabbed a chain. He swung and missed with the chain, which Styles picked up and wrapped around his own hand before blasting Ray with a punch. Ray was a bloody mess when he stood up. Well, either that or he found some of Sting's face paint. No, not really.
Styles hit Ray with a wild 450 off the ropes. Ray got back to his feet at the last moment. Styles threw Ray to the floor and then dove over the top rope onto him. Ray came back as the duo brawled onto the stage. Ray wanted to powerbomb Styles off the stage again, but A.J. broke it up.
With Ray on the ground, Styles got a running start and performed a big dive onto Ray. It wasn't pretty, but it looked pretty damn cool. The fans chanted "This is awesome." Styles grabbed a table and set it up near the stage. Styles placed Ray on the table. Styles went back to the stage.
Styles teased a running dive. Instead, he climbed onto a lighting structure and climbed ridiculously high up before dropping an elbow that put Ray through the table. "That was sick," Taz said. The ref started counting with both men down. Styles got to his feet, but Ray kicked him and Styles's head and body went through a wooden piece of the stage. The ref continued to count both men down, and Ray barely got to his feet in time to win the match...
Powell's POV: Very physical match with great effort from both men. This was easily the match of the night so far. Styles did a great job while climbing the lighting structure. I love the way he teased jumping from multiple points, only to climb higher. The announcers did a good job of putting over the physicality of the match, but they failed to make the outcome seem important. Tenay was too busy labeling Styles as "phenomenal" to sell frustration over Styles not winning. Why did the count on Styles continue even though he got to his feet before Ray kicked him?
Backstage, Borash interviewed Mr. Anderson, who grabbed his eyes and ears while telling him to open his eyes and his ears and "shut your big, fat mouth." Anderson grabbed Borash's mouth and said he could stand there all day and talk. "But actions speak louder than words," Anderson said before walking off...
A video recapped the Sting vs. Anderson feud. There was one hilarious clip early with Sting holding the belt above his head while making dumb faces...
Tenay ran through the tale of the tape... Anderson came out first and cut a promo on the stage in which he predicted that there would be a new World Heavyweight Champion. Anderson did his usual self-introduction. Sting suddenly appeared behind him, said the second "Anderson" line, and attacked him...
Powell's POV: They're going with Angle vs. Jarrett in the main event spot. Interesting move. I assume that will be the better match, but it feels strange to see the TNA Title defended in the semi-main event slot. Perhaps there's a story line reason that required the title match going on early.
7. Mr. Anderson defeated Sting to win the TNA Title in 15:35. Sting dominated the fight down to ringside and then dragged Anderson inside the ring to officially start the match. They headed back to ringside, where Sting whipped Anderson into the base of the lower deck. Sting, who was wearing red, looked like he had muscle spasms while putting his makeup on before the match.
The brawl continued up the stairs and near the top of the Impact Zone. Sting grabbed Anderson in a headlock and dragged him back down to the floor. After fighting at ringside for about four minutes, Anderson made it back inside the ring. He went back to the floor and fought with Sting, but rolled back in to break up Jackson James's count.
The punching and kicking continued in the ring with Anderson in control. He went for a splash in the corner, but Sting moved. Anderson applied a wrist lock. The crowd didn't care, but Taz did his best to make the move seem meaningful. Sting made his comeback and took control of the offense.
Sting was setting up for the Scorpion leg lock when Eric Bischoff walked to ringside at 12:15. Sting released the hold. At 13:40, Anderson hit the Mic Check for a near fall. Sting came back with a splash and a Scorpion Death Drop and went for a cover, but Bischoff reached in and hit the mat once. Apparently, the idea is that Sting thought he heard a three-count and gave up the pin.
Sting jawed at Bischoff, who backed away toward the entrance ramp. Sting picked up Anderson from the mat, but Anderson low-blowed him and hit the Mic Check. Anderson covered Sting and got the 1-2-3 to win the match and the TNA Title. Bischoff clapped at ringside before leaving alone.
The announcers spoke about how Sting losing the TNA Title affects the power struggle involving Hulk Hogan/Eric Bischoff against Sting. They then hyped the Angle vs. Jarrett main event.
Powell's POV: They made the right call in not going with that match as the main event. Ugh. It was the typical Sting shortcut of brawling through the crowd and then nothing special once they were back in the ring. That said, I'm happy the belt is off Sting. They tried to strike while the iron was hot when he returned to the company, but the main event match quality has really suffered since he won the belt, and I assume he'd be the first to admit that. Does Sting losing mean he'll become the face of The Network?
The announcers were joined by Karen Jarrett, who was listed as being live via satellite "from the Jarrett mansion in Hendersonville, Tennessee." Karen said she didn't just fall, it was a push by Angle. Karen said Jeff will win the match, become No. 1 contender, and bring the gold medal to her son Kody's room.
Karen said before the medal goes to Kody's room, she'll put the medal around her neck and "do what I do best." Tenay said Karen is an A-1 ball buster... A video recapped the Jarrett vs. Angle feud... Jeff Jarrett made his entrance, which was followed by Kurt Angle's entrance. Jeremy Borash handled the in-ring introductions for the main event...
8. Kurt Angle defeated Jeff Jarrett to become No. 1 contender to the TNA Title in 17:40. Angle's gold medal was on the line. Brian Hebner was the referee. No staredown to start despite this being listed as the final battle. Rather, the bitter rivals went for lockups and wrestling holds with Angle getting the better of the early exchanges. Strange.
Jarrett took control when the match spilled to ringside. He dropped Angle over the guardrail and headed back inside the ring. At 7:15, Angle hit a great German suplex on Jarrett inside the ring. Angle sold the punishment he took by taking his time standing up. Jarrett actually beat him to his feet and threw the first punch.
At 11:15, Angle applied the ankle lock in the middle of the ring. Jarrett flipped out of it, causing Angle to go flying. Ref bump!!! Jarrett reached underneath the ring and pulled out a guitar. Jarrett slapped it over Angle's head and then tried to clean up the debris. Jarrett motioned to the back. Earl Hebner ran out. Jarrett smiled as he covered Angle, who kicked out at two.
Angle came back with a couple of suplexes but couldn't put Jarrett away. At 14:30, Angle did the bit where he runs to the corner and up the ropes and then threw Jarrett off with another suplex. At 16:20, Jarrett applied the ankle lock. Tenay mentioned that Jarrett could become No. 1 contender and win Angle's gold by using his own hold.
Kurt teased tapping out, but he ended up rolling out of the hold and applying an ankle lock of his own. Jarrett eventually tapped out to give Kurt the win...
A video for TNA Destination X closed the show...
Powell's POV: Using Steiner logic, Kurt can have another run at his ex-wife since he won the match. Anyway, a strong TNA pay-per-view main event. Forget about the title match going on last, this was rightful main event. I'm not big on non-title matches headlining in most cases, but this match was better than the title match and this was the last match in a long feud. Kurt is the new No. 1 contender, but I'm curious to see where Jarrett goes from here.
Overall, it was mostly a no nonsense show in terms of the matches being overbooked or filled with the usual booking insanity. However, it was merely a decent show. The Styles vs. Ray match was certainly memorable, and the main event was entertaining. Everything else either fell flat or didn't feel all that significant. I'll have more to say in Dot Net Members' audio tonight with Will Pruett, and tomorrow in the TNA Slammiversary Hitlist.