By Jake Barnett
TNA Impact Wrestling on SpikeTV
Taped 6/20 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
[Q1] A video package was shown to open the show that hyped TNA's Champions Showcase. Kurt Angle opened the show and walked to the ring. Taz and Tenay checked in on commentary, and crowd members were shown doing crowd things.
Kurt said all of the matches tonight would have TNA Title ramifications. Angle got out his cheat sheet, and said the first match would be The Wolves defending against Bram and Magnus. Gail Kim would defend her title against Brittany, Madison, and Angelina. Austin Aries will challenge Sanada for the X Division Championship. Kurt then announced the main event would be a 20 man Battle Royal for a TNA Title Shot next week and New York.
Kurt moved on from his cheat sheet and said there was one main eventer that he wanted to talk to. He asked Willow to make his way to the ring. Willow entered to a strong reaction and did a few laps around the ring. Kurt told Willow that he had wanted to talk to him for some time, but it wasn't his place, but it is now. He said he understood Willow, and what Jeff Hardy had to do to respond to Dixie Carter screwing him over. But there was no Dixie Carter or MVP anymore, and he could trust the words coming out of his mouth.
Kurt told Willow that the 20 man Battle Royal would be dangerous, and he wanted to see the most competitive man the business, Jeff Hardy. Kurt then said he didn't want to see Willow go away forever, just for tonight. Kurt offered his hand, and Willow shook it. Angle then left the ring and walked up the ramp. The Wolves were shown backstage walking towards the ring. They then cut to another backstage area to someone off screen asking Austin Aries about his opportunity at the X Division Title tonight. Aries said he didn't have to beat 20 men tonight, he just had to beat one, and that was Sanada. He called Sanada a good X Division Champion, but he was a great one, and that's what he'd be after tonight. He then said at Destination X, he would have all the options.
Bram and Magnus made their ring entrance, followed by The Wolves...
My Take: A pretty fast paced opening segment, but good performances from everyone. I really wish they'd let things sink in a bit before jetting of to the next quick cut to another segment.
[Q2] 1. The Wolves vs. Bram and Magnus: Magnus and Davey started the match, and Magnus overwhelmed him early with power. Davey quicky collected himself and got back into the match with a kick. He knocked Bram off the apron and he and Eddy hit multiple kicks on both Bram and Magnus. They hit more double team offense on Magnus, and covered for a two count.
Bram tagged into the match and distracted the match. Magnus pulled Davey inside the apron skirt and hit rabbit punches. A dazed Davey returned to the ring and Magnus took control with a head lock. Magnus walked around the ring and took a shot at Eddie Edwards and pulled him off the apron. Davey recovered in the ring, but Eddie wasn't there for a tag. Bram took advantage with more strikes, and tagged Magnus back into the match.
Magnus and Bram worked quick tags and isolated Davey in their corner. Davey hit a head kick and made a desperation tag to Eddie, who quickly got the advantage on Bram with kicks and a clothesline. He went up top and hit a missile dropkick and played to the crowd. Eddie then hit a top rope rana and the match broke down a bit. Eddie and Davey dumped the heels to ringside and hit a double suicide dive.
Davey went for a double foot stomp on Bram, who moved. Richards spun out of a gutwrench attempt, and Eddie returned to the ring as legal man. Richards had Bram in a back slide, but the ref wouldn't count. Eddie jumped over Eddie into a bridging pin and got the victory. After the match, Bram and Magnus took some shots at The Wolves, until the ref finally got them to leave the ring.
The Wolves defeated Bram and Magnus at 7:17.
Backstage, Bobby Roode said he was still looking for MVP, and he was heading to the ring to call him out...[c]
My Take: A solid match from these teams, but it definitely felt like they could have done more with some time. I hope we get to see them on PPV at some point, because they need more than 7 minutes to build real tension for their near falls.
Bobby Roode made his entrance while footage was shown of Roode defeating Kenny King last week. Roode asked the crowd if they've ever wanted something so bad in their life that they'd do anything in your power to have it. Roode said he was that way with the TNA Championship, but he was told to go sit at home by the boss at the time MVP. He said MVP views him as a threat, and that threat was waiting for him in the middle of the ring.
[Q3] Last week, he wanted a match with MVP, but he hid behind a doctors note. Roode then said he didn't give crap about a doctor's note, and he was going to give him a count of ten to come out to the ring so he can beat his ass. If he doesn't come out for a count of ten, he was going to come backstage and to the same. Roode counted down and MVP came out at 5. MVP said he did Roode a favor, and probably prolonged his career. MVP said he was days away from coming back to the ring when Roode assaulted him, yet all Roode can do is cry about what he took from him. MVP said his knee is so swollen he can't even get an MRI, so he doesn't know when he'll be back.
Roode said he was heading up the ramp to kick MVP's ass. Kenny King attempted an assault form behind, but Roode hit him with a clothesline. Roode threatened to wheel MVP into the side of the ring, but he stopped him short. King hit Roode from behind with a chair, and took some free shots. Eric Young made the save, but Lashley assaulted him form behind. MVP and his crew stood tall in the ring.
They went immediately backstage to James Storm taking to Sanada. He told him that losing would shame not only his culture, but his mentor The Great Muta. Storm asked him what happens if he loses? He then told him not to choke, and walked away...[c]
My Take: Roode doesn't really impress me on the microphone. He's got a great look and he's not bad at delivering lines, but for whatever reason it just doesn't come across as believable to me. I'm sure plenty of people disagree with me and that's fine by me. MVP is entertaining as a chicken heel.
Video was shown of earlier in the show where Angle asked Willow to be Jeff Hardy in the main event. Backstage, Angle said he thought he really got to Jeff Hardy earlier in the show. He wants to see the most competitive man on the roster, and he thinks we'll see him later tonight.
In the arena, Austin Aries made his way to the ring, followed by Sanada.
[Q4] 2. Sanada vs. Austin Aries: Some nice chain wrestling and reversals from both men to start the match. They traded backslides and pinning predicaments until Aries locked in the last chancery, but Sanada reached the ropes. Sanada blocked and irish whip, and then applied an abdominal stretch. He then fell back into several somersaults, taking Aries with him, and stopped for a pin and got a near fall.
Aries got up dazed and they both spilled to the outside. They did quite a bit of back and forth in the middle of the match, with some nice acrobatic spots from both men. Sanada hit a nice head scissors and then hit a somersault senton onto a standing Aries on the floor. Sanada went for a pin in the ring, but only got a one count. Aries avoided two double underhook throws, but ran right into a kick to the face in the corner. Sanada then went for a Moonsault, but Aries stopped him and dropped him on the top turnbuckle.
Sanada avoided a Brainbuster, and went for a briding suplex for a near fall. He then hit a Moonsault for another close near fall. Sanada showed frustration, and Aries took advantage. He hit a back suplex and a running kick in the corner. He then hit a brainbuster and got another near fall. Aries looked shocked, and climbed to the top rope to hit a 450 splash. That finally put Sanada away, and we have a new X Division Champion.
Austin Aries defeated Sanada to become the new X Division Champion at 8:19.
Aries celebrated post match, and the announce team put over the main event for later in the show. Bully Ray was shown backstage, and he was asked to talk about Rhino next...[c]
My Take: A very good match that really could have used more time to let those near falls breathe a little down the stretch. This could have been so much better with five more minutes, but they made excellent use of what they had.
[Q5] Backstage, Willlow was shown in the rafters or something. Footage was shown of Rhino's return and gore of Bully Ray last week. Bully was shown backstage, and acted disgusted at the mention of Rhino's name. He said he called Rhino family, and detailed their history together. He screamed and said he would see Rhino face to face, man to man in the ring.
They cut to EC3 and Rhino, who said Bully Ray's "brother" would reveal to the world who he really is. They showed footage of the gore again as Bully Ray got to the ring. Bully Ray said that when he was just breaking into the industry, Bam Bam Bigelow gave him some good advice. He told him that he'd be able to count his true friends in the wrestling industry on one hand. He thought Rhino was one of those friends, and he wanted an answer from him face to face.
Rhino came to the ring with Spud and EC3. Bully Ray looked confused and then disgusted. A "You sold out" chant broke out as Rhino got in the ring. Bully Ray said that Rhino knew damn wel lthat he should just beat the crap out of him right then and there, but he wanted answers first. Rhino told him to shut his mouth if he wanted answers. Rhino told the crowd to go to hell. Rhino said that when he was sitting at home watching the Hall of Fame induction, he realized that Bully is a con artist.
Rhino asked why D-Von wasn't standing there next to him. He accused Ray of swindling Dixie Carter and Paul E. Heyman. Bully then said it wasn't his fault that Rhino got fired from WWE and TNA, it was his own fault. EC3 then stepped in and said that Bully Ray deprived Rhino of a job by stealing the spotlight. He said what Rhino's family needed was a living, and he would continue to give him one to take Bully Ray out. Bully Ray then said he would take out EC3, but he got a gore instead.
After a short beat down, Tommy Dreamer came out and cleared the heels from the ring with a kendo stick. Backstage, The Beautiful People complained about their flirting with Kurt Angle and buying off Ref Stifler not paying off. They then complained about the title match being a fatal four way. They agreed that they would prove everybody wrong and Angelina would get her title back anyway. They both headed towards the ring for the match coming up next...[c]
My Take: Rhino is willing to believe anything for money. If I lived in Detroit, I might consider that option myself. The performances were ok, but the story they were provided with strains credulity. Dreamer seemed like he got a pretty good reaction for the save, but I don't know how all these ECW storylines would play outside of the Northeast.
Backstage, Willow was shown in the rafters. In another part of the arena, the Menagerie strategized for the battle royal, and Rebel was excited about possibly getting a shot at the TNA Title because of all the money that would come their way.
In the arena, Angeline Love and Velvet made their entrance. Madison Rayne started her entrance, but Brittany attacked her from behind. The Beautiful People joined in as Gail Kim ran out to made her entrance. All four women eventually made their way into the ring.
3. Gail Kim vs. Madison vs. Angelina vs. Brittany: Early on, Gail and Madison fended off Brittany and Angelina working together. That broke down quickly as Madison tried to roll up Gail, and got a two count. Gail got dumped hard onto the floor by Angelina, and Madison got worked over by both heels. The Angelina and Brittany relationship broke down when Angelina went for a pin on Madison. They argued, and Gail took advantage with a double dropkick from the top.
Madison hit a huge kick to the side of the head on Angelina. Madison hit her finisher on Brittany, and Angelina hit the Botox Injection on Madison. Gail recovered and hit Eat Defeat on Angelina and covered for the victory.
Gail Kim defeated Madison, Angelina and Brittany at 6:32.
My Take: A pretty flat match from my perspective. Maybe it was just the way it was laid out, but nobody really shined here. The finishing sequence was nice, but everything else just felt really formulaic.
Austin Aries was shown backstage and cut a promo. He said it seems everytime Destination X comes around, it seems like he's holding the X-Division title. He claimed the title would return to greatness, because he is great, and when it comes time for Option C, he would rise to the occasion once again.
[Q7] Bobby Roode was then shown, and he talked about his drive to regain the TNA Championship, and the importance of the Battle Royal. A Bobby Lashley video package was shown, with MVP hyping his training and conditioning. The entrances started for the Battle Royal. First came Eric Young, then Spud and EC3, and then Bobby Roode...[c
All the competitors but two were in the ring. Bully Ray got a televised entrance, as did Jeff Hardy.
4. 20-man Battle Royal for a shot at the TNA Championship: The Freak, DJ Z and Jessie Godderz were eliminated right away. Knux was eliminated soon after by James Storm, who then nearly eliminated Jeff Hardy. Bram eliminated Tigre Uno with a forearm shot, and Sanada got eliminated by a Magnus clothesline. Magnus was eliminated immediately afterward by a clothesline from Gunner, and James Storm knocked out Anderson and Gunner in rapid succession. Bully Ray tried to double clothesline Bram and Jeff Hardy, but only succeeded in eliminating Bram.
[Q8] After Bram was eliminated, Abyss ran down and ran him off from ringside. Suicide was eliminated by Kenny King with a drop kick. There really was no action speak of outside of eliminations...[c]
Roode and Storm battled briefly, and Roode picked him up with a fireman's carry and dumped him to the outside. Spud and EC3 isolated Bully Ray. Ray caught Spud coming off the top, and press slammed him to the outside. Bully Ray then hit a running clothesline on EC3, but took himself out of the match along with him. The final four were Roode, EY, Kenny King and Jeff Hardy.
Roode hit a spinebuster on King, and then picked him up in a fireman's carry. MVP took a cheap shot at Kenny King from the floor, and and then King dumped him to the floor. EY eliminated King right after. Hardy and EY had a brief staredown and hand shake. They tied up, and did a tackle and drop down into a hip toss. Hardy and EY both reversed a hip toss until Hardy was on the apron. Hardy scrambled back into the ring.
Both men reversed irish whips and EY ended up on the apron. He avoided elimination the first time Hardy collided with him, but Jeff hit a drop kick from the top that send EY to the floor.
Jeff Hardy won the Battle Royal and earned a title shot at 19:20.
Borash talked to Hardy mid ring. Hardy said it feels great to be the number one contender, and said he would be the next World Champion. JB asked him about Lashley, and Hardy said he was tough, but Hardy gets rougher than most. Lashley made his way down to the ring wearing the TNA Heavyweight Championship. Hardy and Lashley went nose to nose, with Lashley holding the title in his face...
My Take: A fairly pedestrian battle royal that did a nice job of focusing on the final four, but everyone else felt pretty inconsequential. That's not just a TNA problem, but it was evident here when the first half of the match was simply moving quickly from elimination to elimination. I think TNA's smaller ring doesn't allow them to do much else with that many competitors in the ring. Overall, a show that had some solid action, but it was in between way too much talking. I understand that you have to move stories forward, but this just wasn't the right mix. The other thing that was jarring was that TNA continues to make strange quick edits that feel way too much like crash TV. Make no mistake, though, TNA continues to be better than they were a month or two ago. The lack of authority figure drama and the focus on feuds is refreshing.