9/5 TNA No Surrender PPV Live Coverage: Jeff Hardy vs. Kurt Angle, and Mr. Anderson vs. D'Angelo Dinero in TNA Title semi-final tournament matches, Douglas Williams vs. Sabu for the X Division Title
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Live from Orlando, Fla.
At Universal Studios
The show opened with a video that focussed on the four TNA Title tournament semi-finalists... Pyro went off inside the Impact Zone and then Mike Tenay and Taz checked in on commentary. They stressed that Kurt Angle was putting his career on the line against Jeff Hardy.
Tenay also announced that Desmond Wolfe and Magnus were out of the tag title match due to a personal matter....
1. The Motor City Machine Guns defeated Generation Me to retain the TNA Tag Titles in 12:50. At 5:00, Alex Shelley locked Jeremy Buck in an inverted Boston Crab. Cool hold. Max Buck had to run in and break up the hold. A "this is awesome" chant broke out for no real reason, as there was solid yet unspectacular action up to this point.
After some back and forth action, The Guns hit their finisher on Jeremy Buck and got the clean pin. Afterward, Generation Me attacked The Guns from behind. They threw Chris Sabin to ringside and put the boots to Alex Shelley. The fans chanted "You suck" at Generation Me. They pulled Shelley off the edge of the ring apron and performed a double DDT on the floor. Sabin was helped to the back by medical personnel...
Powell's POV: Good action, yet not a particularly memorable match. I liked the post-match attack in that it gives these teams something to feud over. Here's hoping they get a long term program, and Generation Me gets a chance to establish individual personalities.
The announcers ran through bullet points for the X Division Title match...
Powell's POV: I'm not big on the placement of the first two matches. I can live with getting the show off to a fast-paced start by having the tag title match go on first, but I wish they'd try to make the title belts more prestigious by holding title matches later in the show.
2. Douglas Williams defeated Sabu to retain the X Division Title in 11:15. The match was essentially fought under ECW rules, as Sabu was allowed to bring a chair inside the ring and use it as a springboard for his usual spots. Referee Earl Hebner eventually slid it out of the ring after Sabu was finished using it.
Williams went on the offensive, but Sabu got back in control with a tornado DDT. The chair ended up back inside the ring and Sabu went to use it as a springboard, but suddenly Hebner cared about the chair being inside the ring and stood in his way. Later, Sabu attempted to splash Williams through a table, but Williams moved.
Sabu climbed back inside the ring. Williams picked up the chair and teased using it as a weapon, but Hebner grabbed it from him. Hebner turned his back to get the chair out of the ring. Meanwhile, Williams picked up the X Division title belt that was lying in the corner and struck Sabu with it. Williams covered Sabu and then Hebner made the three count when he turned around...
Powell's POV: Good effort. The finish was flat and made the referee look like a doofus, which is par for the course in TNA.
Backstage, Christy Hemme interviewed Mr. Anderson, who tried to get the live crowd to chant "We are assholes." A few people joined in, but it was hardly a Dwayne Johnson moment...
3. Velvet Sky (w/Angelina Love) defeated Madison Rayne (w/Tara) in 4:40. Rayne and Tara exchanged a kiss as part of their entrance. Velvet had the pin at one point, but Tara pulled her to ringside. She picked up the giant motorcycle helmet and teased hitting her with it, but Love kicked her from behind. Back inside the ring, Velvet DDT'd Rayne and pinned her clean...
Powell's POV: Forgettable match, but at least it concluded with a clean finish.
Backstage, Hemme interviewed Jeff Hardy, who pointed out that Rob Van Dam never lost the TNA Championship. He said he would defeat Angle and then take back the TNA Title in honor of Van Dam...
4. Abyss defeated Rhino in a falls count anywhere match in 11:50. Rhino came out first and then met Abyss in the aisle. They brawled at ringside and quickly headed to the backstage area. They headed back to ringside and eventually made their way inside the ring, where Rhino had previously set up a trash can in the corner. Abyss whipped him into the can.
They headed back to ringside. Abyss went for the first pin attempts next to the stage. Rhino ran Abyss through the thin wood of the platform set up next to the stage. They fought underneath the stage. A camera man tried to follow and was apparently knocked down. The crowd booed when they disappeared.
The cameras cut to the announcers. Tenay said he could hear them fighting underneath the stage. Suddenly, Rhino came crashing through the other side of the stage. Abyss followed and covered Rhino for a near fall. They fought back inside the ring where Abyss set up a guardrail in one corner of the ring.
Rhino made his comeback by hitting Abyss with a cookie sheet three times. A short time later, Rhino set up for the gore, but Abyss grabbed him by the throat and chokeslammed him onto a trash can for a near fall at 9:00. Abyss got frustrated because he couldn't get the pin, so he headed to ringside to grab the weapon he can't hit anyone with because he'd kill them.
Abyss brought Janice inside the ring only to take a gore from Rhino for a near fall. Another small "This is awesome" chant broke out from fans who desperately want to feel like they're seeing something special. That said, a loud "Rhino" chant broke out momentarily.
Rhino set up for a gore. Abyss was conveniently standing in front of the guardrail that was leaning in one of the corners. Of course, Abyss moved, causing Rhino to crash into the guardrail. Abyss followed up with a Black Hole Slam for the win. After the match, Abyss kept saying 10/10/10 and "they're coming"....
Powell's POV: A hard fought brawl. About as good as you can expect from these two, but the whole hardcore brawling thing is just tired at this point. The finish was painfully obvious given that Abyss was standing in front of the guardrail. At least we didn't get the stupid tacks or glass from Abyss this month.
A video package recapped the Samoa Joe and Jeff Jarrett vs. Sting and Kevin Nash feud...
5. Samoa Joe and Jeff Jarrett beat Sting and Kevin Nash in 6:15. Sting wore the red face paint for those keeping score at home. Tenay sent a shout out to Hulk Hogan. He said Hogan couldn't be at the show because he was at home recuperating from further back issues.
There was some bickering at the start of the match about Sting's baseball bat. Nash teased using it. The referee stood in the way. Rather than take the bat away from Nash, the referee actually let him take it to their corner. Good lord. Could they make the referees look any dumber?
The crowd got behind Joe when he hit Sting with an early flurry, but they quieted down when he tagged in Jarrett. Tenay told viewers that there will not be a new edition of Impact this week, but the show will return one week from Thursday. In fact, the fans cheered Sting when he got the better of an exchange with Jarrett.
Taz pointed out that the fans were getting behind Sting. He also said it seems like the wrestlers in the ring know something the rest of us don't. He said he's not sure whether Joe knows or not. Late in the match, Nash, Joe, and the referee ended up at ringside. Inside the ring, Jarrett grabbed Sting's bat and struck him with it twice.
Jarrett went to ringside and grabbed Nash. Joe returned to the ring and applied his submission finisher on Sting for the win...
Powell's POV: Okay, so the idea here was that we're supposed to wonder why supposedly babyface Jarrett would use a weapon on the supposedly heel Sting. That's what the announcers seemed to be trying to get across. The problem is that we've seen Sting beat the hell out of Jarrett with the bat that it really doesn't seem wrong for Jarrett to use it. I'll be happy when Bound For Glory is over so they can finally explain whatever the hell it is they've been trying to tease us with for so long.
A video package showcased Tommy Dreamer and A.J. Styles...
6. A.J. Styles beat Tommy Dreamer in an "I Quit" match in 17:00. Styles wore the TNA TV Title to the ring, but there was no mention of the belt being on the line. Styles tried to attack Dreamer during his entrance, but Dreamer saw him coming. They fought to the ring to start the match.
The announcers tried to emphasize how hard it would be for Styles to make Dreamer quit. The crowd started dueling "Let's Go Dreamer" and "Let's Go A.J." chants. Dreamer went for two submission attempts early. The ref put the mic in Styles's face. Styles responded with, "Screw you, Dreamer."
They went to ringside. Styles went for a figure four on the ramp, but Dreamer used a stage light to fight him off. Yes, another brawl. Later, Styles targeted Dreamer's knee and briefly applied the figure four around the ring post. There was another chair in the ring, which is legal in this match.
Styles dropped Dreamer's knee onto the chair and then applied the figure four. Dreamer rolled it over to break the hold around 13:00. Styles placed Dreamer's head on the chair and went for a kick, but Dreamer moved. Dreamer wrapped Styles's legs in the chair and then pulled out a fork. The fans chanted, "He's hardcore."
At 14:35, Styles went for a dive on Styles at ringside, but Dreamer hit him with a kendo stick. Dreamer hit Styles with the kendo stick and then stood up and removed his shirt to show off his new black and gold ring gear. Um, sure. Dreamer bladed and then Styles jabbed a fork into Dreamer's eyelid until he quit. Pussy. Kidding...
Powell's POV: Taz talked about how he'd never heard Dreamer say those words. They didn't stick with the post-match scene long enough to sell the significance of Styles beating Dreamer with the "I Quit" stipulation. Good effort by both men. The EV2 faction is 0-3 tonight. No, I'm not complaining. It's just not clicking and they make the entire company look low budget by being featured so prominently. There's a place for one or two of those guys, but it's not near the top of the card in a big faction war. By the way, Dreamer's old look is dated. I give him credit for trying, but he needs to go back to the drawing board.
Backstage, Kurt Angle told Christy Hemme that he's going to defeat Jeff Hardy and go on to Bound For Glory to win the TNA Championship...
Powell's POV: Anyone else surprised they're going with Angle vs. Hardy now rather than in the main event slot?
7. Kurt Angle fought Jeff Hardy to a no-contest a TNA Title tournament semi-final match in 35:00. A shot aired of Dixie Carter sitting at ringside. Tenay said security advised her not to be at ringside, but she said there was no way she'd miss it. She's one of the biggest babyfaces in the entire company. Good lord. Two security guards were shown standing behind Dixie.
The fans with bass in their voice chanted, "Let's Go Angle." The higher pitched and outnumbered fans chanted, "Let's Go Hardy." Angle hit a vicious powerbomb on Hardy at 3:00. Angle backed off and the referee checked on Hardy before they went back to work.
After some quality back and forth action, both men fought to ringside where Hardy hit the Twist of Fate. He followed up with a Swanton onto Angle on the floor. Both men stayed down for a bit, but eventually rolled back inside the ring.
At 12:30, Angle hit a frogsplash on Hardy for a near fall. Hardy came back a minute later with a Twist of Fate for a near fall of his own. He hit a leg drop and then followed up with a Swanton for another near fall. Hardy went back to the top rope and hit another Swanton, but Angle kicked out again.
At 14:35, Hardy went up for a third Swanton, but Angle got his knees up this time. Kurt came back with an Angle Slam, but Hardy kicked out this time. The fans chanted, "This is awesome" for roughly the 10th time tonight. This is as close as they've come to being right.
Angle applied the ankle lock at 17:00, but Hardy reached the ropes. Angle dragged him back to the middle of the ring and held the hold. Hardy kicked him away to break the hold, but Angle came right back with a clothesline for a near fall. Angle applied the ankle lock again.
Hardy reached the ropes, but Angle dragged him back to the middle of the ring and lied down to wrench in the hold. Whatever happened to referees making wrestlers break holds when their opponent reaches the ropes? Anyway, Hardy was on the verge of tapping out when the referee awkwardly pointed at his risk.
Jeremy Borash said from ringside that the time limit had expired and thus the match was a draw. What?!? Eric Bischoff's music played and he headed out to talk with Carter. Bischoff did all the talking and then Dixie nodded in agreement. Bischoff said they had no choice but to add another five minutes on the clock.
Powell's POV: Samoa Joe is probably beaming with pride backstage, as I didn't hear a bell, let alone a countdown chant to set up the draw. So I guess it never even occurred to TNA's storyline brain trust that these matches might go longer than 20 minutes.
The match restarted at 22:15. Hardy got caught on the top rope. Angle ended up hitting his Angle Slam off the top rope. Taz sounded excited. The fans chanted, "Holy shit," but Tenay called it as if it were as routine as a headlock. Furthermore, Dixie Carter was shown with her chin resting on her hand at ringside. A countdown clock was added to the screen with roughly a minute left in the added time.
Both men were on their back in the middle of the ring with 10 seconds to go. Bischoff was not happy at ringside. Angle put his hand over Hardy, but Jeff kicked out and then the time limit expired again. Bischoff said they didn't have a choice. He said they needed a winner, so they were adding five more minutes.
Powell's POV: Why not just say there must be a winner and they'll go until someone emerges victorious?
Hardy controlled the first couple minutes of what they called the second overtime. Angle bled following an exchange at ringside. Angle rolled back inside the ring and Hardy looked to the fans for approval. Hardy applied a Boston Crab. Kurt teased tapping out as blood dripped from his head.
With one minute left in the second overtime, Angle countered by sliding under Hardy and applying the ankle lock. Hardy scrambled to reach the ropes as the time expired again.
Eric Bischoff climbed inside the ring. Angle wanted five more minutes. Bischoff started waving for someone to come out and look at the cut on Angle's head. This may have worked better if we haven't seen Ric Flair and others bleed buckets on Imapct so many times.
Bischoff knelt down and spoke to the television production truck. Bischoff took the mic and said physicians advised them that Angle's cut was too deep for him to continue. He said the match was officially a no-contest. The crowd ranged from not happy to silent...
Powell's POV: There it is, folks. You're only in TNA moment of the night. They cleaned up angle while checking on him, which made it worse because he didn't look bad. This is the type of finish you have to set up over time. You can't just pull it out of your ass. For that matter, you can't have guys like Flair blade so heavily and so many times on Impact and then expect people not to feel like this was a lame finish. Aside from the overbooked bullshit, this was easily the best match of the night.
Backstage, Hemme interviewed D'Angelo Dinero, who essentially said Anderson is a smelly asshole...
Powell's POV: Weak promo. Dinero is better than that. He was too concerned with the asshole theme to sell the actual match and the importance of the TNA Title.
The announcers ran through the tale of the tape...
8. Mr. Anderson pinned D'Angelo Dinero in a TNA Title tournament semi-final match in 17:00. Back and forth action early on. The crowd was slow to respond because they just sat through the best match of the night and what most would consider the main event of the show. There was a pocket of fans cheering, but the rest of the crowd still flat eight minutes in.
At 11:50, Dinero went on the offensive and got more of the crowd into the match. Both men ended up on the ropes. Dinero headbutted Anderson, who then crotched himself on the ropes. Anderson went to ringside and then Pope dove onto him.
At 16:00, they traded positions in the ring and both appeared to be going for the Mic Check. Anderson ended up getting the better of the exchange and hit the Mic Check for a near fall. Moments later, Pope went for the DDE, but Anderson avoided it and hit the Mic Check for the clean pin.
After the match, Anderson picked up one of the Dinero dollars at ringside and spat on it. He came back to the ring with one of the dollars in his hand. He made a paper airplane out of it and threw it at Dinero. After Dinero left, Anderson called for his mic.
Anderson asked the crowd if they had a good time. They cheered. Anderson introduced himself as the winner of the match and said he's one match away from being the TNA Champion.
Powell's POV: Disappointing match. I had higher expectations for those two. They were put in a tough spot by having to follow up the strong Angle vs. Hardy match, but they never got the entire crowd into it. That said, Anderson the crowd fired up afterward with his mic work.
I am curious to see where they go now with the TNA Title match at Bound For Glory. Will we get a three-way at Bound For Glory for the TNA Title? Will there be a rematch between Angle and Hardy on television?
Overall, this just didn't feel like a big event show. Angle vs. Hardy was as good of a singles match as we've seen in TNA this year, but it just wasn't enough to make me recommend a replay at full price. I'll have more to say about the show in the TNA No Surrender Hitlist on Monday.
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