9/15 TNA in York, Pa.: Jeff Hardy back on the road, Kurt Angle struggles during match with Mr. Anderson for the TNA Title, Bully Ray vs. Bobby Roode, James Storm vs. Gunner, Winter vs. Mickie James for the Knockouts Title
TNA Impact Wrestling live event
York, Pa. at the York Fair
Report by Dot Net reader Erik Beaston
The show took place at the York Fair for the second year in a row. Last year's show featured a steady, heavy rain throughout. No precipitation this year but it was could enough, about 45-50 degrees by the end of the show, that you could see your breath.
Prior to the show, Mr. Anderson signed autographs for free at the merchandise trailer.
The show started with Jeremey Borash doing his typical, pre-show speech about giving the loudest fans backstage passes throughout the show. The merchandise stand was also selling the passes, as well as a number of quality sale packages. The Brown Bag Special, with a t-shirt, four DVD's, and drawstring bag for $20 continues to be a hell of a deal.
1. Austin Aries beat Brian Kendrick and Robbie E to retain the X-Division Championship. Not nearly the quality of match most would have expected. Prior to the bell, all three took turns dancing and fist-pumping for the fans. I did not keep track of match times but if this one went five minutes, I would be surprised. Aries picked up the pin-fall victory in a highly unimpressive match.
2. James Storm beat Gunner. Not much of a reaction for Gunner but a big pop for Storm. Guy has such a charisma about him that I am still surprised the company chose Roode to push towards the TNA title instead. Perfectly acceptable wrestling here as Gunner grounds Storm before the "Cowboy" makes his comeback. Finish sees Gunner fireman carry Storm but James fights out and finishes the Immortal member with a superkick.
3. Winter beat Mickie James to retain the TNA Knockouts Title. Another big pop, this time for Mickie. Maybe the biggest pop of the night to this point. Believe it or not, the longest match of the show. Very solid wrestling between the two Knockouts, far better than anything they have done on television or pay-per-view. Maybe the lack of time restrictions helped them slow down and have a better, more coherent and less sloppy match. Considering the rapidly-decreasing temperature, there is no way Mickie and Winter were comfortable considering the lack of attire and the cold. Anyway, Winter wins with a roll-up while holding onto the middle rope. Another big pop for Mickie on her way out. Probably the best match of the show, pre-intermission.
4. Bobby Roode beat Bully Ray. Bully Ray may very well be the business' most consistent heat magnet. He is absolutely gold on the microphone and has the abilty to make even the smartest of marks hate him. Just brilliant and something I never saw coming when the company split Team 3D last year. Nice pop for Roode but not on the level of Storm. I understand that Bobby has a certain look about him, and he is a solid professional wrestler, but I continue to take the stance that James Storm is a comparable worker and has a much more impressive charisma and character about him than Roode. Anyway, a solid outing from Roode and Ray that sees Bobby force Bully Ray to tap to the cross face.
At intermission, Mickie James signed autographs at the merchandise table and those receiving backstage passes were allowed to go and meet the TNA stars.
5. Mexican America defeated The Pope and Devon to retain the TNA Tag Titles. The Pope continues to be one of the most over stars in TNA. This is the third time I have seen him live and every time, he is one of the three or four most over stars on the show. He has a way of captivating the audience and keeping them entertained that others just do not. Bad match. The two teams just did not click and it showed. I have absolutely no faith in Mexican America having a good or great match because I just do not believe Anarquia is ready for the spot, yet. Does anyone else remember how cool Hernandez was with LAX? Finish saw Pope small package Anarquia, only for Hernandez to sneak in and reverse the roll up for the win. Again, a bad, disjointed match. Pope deserves better.
At this point, Borash entered the ring and asked how many saw last week's Impact and Jeff Hardy's return. He announced that Hardy was here and that he wanted to address the fans. Jeff entered to a HUGE pop, as one would expect. He made his way around ringside, slapping hands, before taking the microphone. He said he knows there are a lot of people that don't believe in him right now but that's okay. He said he believes in himself now more than he ever has in the past. He believes in himself as a performer, a son, a brother, a husband, and most importantly, a "charismatic father." He was cut off by Jeff Jarrett, who said Hardy hasn't asked him, the Founder of TNA, for forgiveness. Jarrett said he won't get it, either. Jarrett challenged Hardy to a match and promises to "beat some forgiveness into him, like his daddy should have a long time ago."
6. Jeff Hardy beat Jeff Jarrett. Again, perfectly acceptable wrestling here. Jarrett jumped Jeff before the bell and spent the majority of the contest working him over. Hardy made the comeback to a huge ovation. He countered the Stroke with the Twist of Fate and finished with the Swanton Bomb for the win.
I just want to take a minute to point out something I have noticed, both in the past and in the present. For whatever reason, and I am as guilty as anyone else, it seems as though fans are very quick to forgive Jeff Hardy for his mistakes whereas we are hesitant to forgive his brother for his. I would like to think it is because Jeff does not have nearly the abrasive, overall asshole personality that his brother does. Maybe it's something else. I do not know. What I do know is that there were very few, two or three from what I could tell, that were overall negative towards Hardy. A very small fraction of what I expected.
7. Kurt Angle defeated Mr. Anderson to retain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Nice pop for Anderson, although nowhere near the reaction that Hardy received. He did his whole, stale "asshole" spiel before the match. Rinse and repeat anything you've seen from him on Impact in the past year and you know what I mean. Angle entered to considerable heat but it also seemed as though fans did not know whether or not to cheer or boo him. This would be, really, the only time that the weather played a factor in any of the night's matches.
With Angle's history of neck issues, the cold could not have been good for him. From the minute he was Irish whipped into the corner for the first time, you could tell he was affected, rather dramatically. Every single bump looked like it nearly crippled Kurt. I have never seen a wrestler, in person, appear to be as hurt as Kurt was on several occasions in one match. He appeared hesitant to take the bumps and at times, the match seemed disjointed.
It was a disappointment because as a fan, I respect and admire Angle so much and to see him in the shape he was in after taking that first corner bump was sad. Kurt retained, clean, after the Angle Slam but even after the bell, you could tell just how pain he was in.
After the show, Jeff Jarrett signed at the merch trailer and Angle took pictures with fans in the ring for $20.
Notes: Overall, the show was very fun, as most TNA house shows typically are. With Angle, Hardy, Anderson, Jarrett, Beer Money, and Mickie James on the card, it was filled with as much star power as one could expect from TNA's regular touring roster. The fans were very into the action all night long and I would be incredibly surprised if they did not return to the fair for a third consecutive year in 2012.
Biggest Pops of the Night:
1. Jeff Hardy (by far)
2. Mr. Anderson
3. Mickie James
4. Beer Money
1. Bully Ray
2. Jeff Jarrett
No other act got nearly enough heat to be included
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