Date: December 3, 2014
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Tazz
Hosts: Christy Hemme, Jeremy Borash
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
This is a special Best Of 2014 show as TNA is out of new material to use and still has a month's worth of shows to air to wrap things up on Spike. The solution is a highlight show covering their best moments from the year. That could actually work well as TNA can have good material when they cut out the nonsense. Let's get to it.
I'll be posting the full reviews of the matches, even if only clipped versions were showns.
JB and Christy welcome us to the show and start things off with the safe bet of Kurt Angle from Genesis on January 16.
Kurt Angle vs. Bobby Roode
Roode has a new sleeveless full body vest. It's pin/submission/escape here. There's no bell after the break so we'll say this is joined in progress. Roode goes after Kurt to start but walks into a belly to belly suplex to give Angle control. He stomps Bobby down in the corner but his right hands are countered with a powerbomb into the cage. A suplex gets two for Roode and more choking ensues.
Angle grabs the legs and catapults Roode into the cage, setting up the Rolling Germans. The Angle Slam is countered and Angle is sent into the cage. A spinebuster gets a fast two for Roode but a Roode Bomb attempt is countered by Angle ramming Bobby into the cage. Now the Slam connects for two and there go the straps. Ankle lock goes on but Roode fights to his feet and takes Angle down with an enziguri.
We go old school with Roode's Northern Lariat (clothesline to the back of the head) for two. Roode goe sup but Angle makes a save and rams Roode into the cage over and over again until he falls down. Kurt is still on the ropes and goes to escape before looking back at Roode. Oh no. Angle busts out the moonsault but only hits mat in a HUGE crash. Roode crawls out the door but Angle grabs the ankle to pull him back in. Kurt is kicked away so they do the same thing again but this time Kurt puts on the ankle lock, only to have Roode whip him into the cage.
The Roode Bomb gets two and Bobby climbs the cage, so Angle runs the corner and hits the Angle Slam to put both guys down again. Kurt crawls over for a slow two before making a very slow climb to the corner. He gets a leg over but Roode pulls him back in onto the top rope. They slug it out until Roode is crotched on the top, allowing Angle to climb out for the win at 14:17, seconds before Roode makes it out the door.
Rating: B. Angle is going to die in a wrestling ring at some point and there's no way around it. This was a good but not classic cage match and there's nothing wrong with that. Above all else, this match was given time to develop and it worked much better as a result. I'd buy this as the ending of the feud but there's a chance they could get one more match out of them.
We jump back in time a week for this match on January 9, 2014.
TNA World Title: AJ Styles vs. Magnus
No DQ and both guys are champion coming in. Magnus immediately goes to the floor and does it again for a second time in less than ninety seconds. No contact yet. Magnus gets back in but here are Ethan Carter and Spud to jump AJ before any contact is made. AJ fights them off and superkicks Magnus in the ribs but Carter breaks up a Styles Clash attempt. Sting finally comes out for the save but doesn't do anything as AJ saves himself. Magnus bails to the floor and we take a break.
Back with the two champions still not making contact as the Bro Mans and Zema Ion come out to jump Sting and AJ and giving us six run-ins in less than eight minutes. Zema DDTs AJ and the Bro Down gets a delayed two on Styles. Sting comes back in as Magnus just chills at ringside. The Brit finally comes back in and AJ quickly loads up the Clash, only to have Bad Influence make the save and lay him out with a powerbomb/neckbreaker combo.
Earl Hebner refuses to count so Dixie and Brian Hebner get us to ELEVEN people coming out for this match. Bad Influence goes High/Low on AJ for two and Brian gets yelled at. Sting lays out the Bro Mans with a double Death Drop on the floor before putting Ion in the Deathlock. AJ fights back against Bad Influence as Sting comes in to help even more. We're down to Magnus vs. AJ with Styles getting the Calf Killer, only to have Kazarian take out the referee.
Kazarian monkey flips AJ into Daniels but AJ clotheslines him down and Peles Kaz. Now the Styles Clash takes out Magnus but there's no referee. Earl Hebner hobbles back out (we'll call that #12) to count two before AJ dives over the top to take out Bad Influence yet again. AJ goes up top but Bobby Roode makes it #13 by shoving Styles into the ropes. Three AA/DVDs lay AJ out for about the fifth time, giving Magnus the pin (thanks to referee #3 and the fourteenth person added to the match) and the undisputed title at 15:47. Sting was being held back by most of the heels in case you were wondering.
Rating: D. So they spent all night hyping up the match before going full Russo on it. That's what we spent months and months building to? The match was definitely energetic but we really had to spend all this time setting up Dixie with her corporate champion? Assuming AJ leaving isn't a HUGE swerve, this was one of the biggest wastes of time I can remember in years.
Video on Willow.
Video on Ethan Carter III.
From May 8, 2014.
Kurt Angle vs. Ethan Carter III
Angle goes after the arm to start but Ethan backs off. A snap suplex sets up the Rolling Germans to Ethan but Angle falls down holding his bad knee. Angle tries to fight back with a German suplex but the knee is just gone. Ethan gets in a quick chop block and pins Angle at 3:27.
Rating: D+. This didn't have time to go anywhere and the injury took up a good chunk of the match. I'll give them points for keeping Ethan so strong and I kind of like not having Angle beat him with ease. It's making Ethan look like a much bigger deal which is something TNA really needs to do.
We recap Gunner vs. Storm with James turning heel and attacking Gunner's father, setting up this match from March 27, 2014.
Gunner vs. James Storm
This is an Unlocked match, which is another name for a street fight. The fight is on in the aisle again and Gunner quickly sets up a table. Storm gets in a right hand before the table is completely set so he finishes Gunner's job. Gunner is whipped knees first into the steps as Tenay tells us we'll see Ethan and Willow's confrontation before the show ends. A running knee to Gunner's head knocks him from the apron to the floor. They haven't been in the ring yet.
Storm suplexes Gunner onto the ramp but gets sent into the steps for his efforts. Gunner nails him in the ribs with a chair and they finally get inside. The Cowboy comes back with a middle rope DDT of all things for no cover as we take a break. Back with Storm loading up a chair in the corner but getting reversed by Gunner. They slug it out with trashcan lids before Storm gets speared down for two.
Storm counters a sunset flip into a catapult, sending Gunner face first into the chair. A Backstabber sets up a VERY long top rope elbow to give Storm a near fall. Storm pulls out a beer bottle but the distraction lets Gunner spear him through the ropes and through the table on the floor ala Edge and Mick Foley. That only gets two so Gunner sets up two chairs (one of which is broken) in the middle of the ring.
A superplex through the chairs (Storm barely hit them) is enough for two in a nice throwback to the ending at Lockdown. Storm comes back with a Closing Time and a pair of Last Calls for two. James gets the beer bottle but Gunner finds his own to lay out Storm. An F5 is enough to pin the Cowboy at 15:03.
Rating: B+. This was one heck of a fight with both guys beating the tar out of each other. There's something awesome about two men just hammering each other until one of them can't get up. I don't like the story here though as the match was tacked on to the feud after the previous match should have ended things. Still though, awesome stuff.
Video on MVP debuting and promising to make it about the fans.
We see the very end of Lethal Lockdown at Lockdown 2014 where Bully Ray turned on Dixie Carter to give Team MVP the win.
From Slammiversary 2014.
Bully Ray vs. Ethan Carter III
Texas Death Match, meaning last man standing. Ray brings out a bullrope ala Stan Hansen for a nice tribute. Carter is thrown to the floor by the rope to start and Ray brings out a pair of tables. They're stacked next to each other on the floor but Carter recovers from the coma he was in to get in a few shots and take over. Ray fights right back and sets up another table in the corner but the fans want cowbell.
Carter avoids the table but gets his chest ripped off by more chops. Time for the cheese grater to rip up Ethan's chest (barely), which isn't something you often see. Carter gets in a few shots to take over and sends Ray face first into a chair on the mat. He goes up top but gets crotched and superplexed onto the chair to put both guys down. Ray grabs a Dallas Cowboys trashcan from under the ring before starting to cut up the mats to expose the wood under the canvas.
Joker Spud comes out with a kendo stick shot to Ray's back for no effect. Ray kicks him low and knocks Spud silly with the stick but Carter hits a quick One Percenter onto the exposed boards for our first count over twelve minutes into the match. Ray is up at eight so Carter pours out the glass in the trashcan. Carter goes up but dives into a Bubba Cutter, sending the injured chest into the glass for a cool spot. He's up at eight though so Ray takes the stick outside to knock Ethan silly again.
Ray puts him on the tables and goes up but here's Dixie for a distraction. Bully goes after her and sends Ethan into Dixie to knock her out cold. Ethan gets punched down and Ray puts Dixie on the table. He takes too long though, allowing Spud to pull her off and Ethan knocks Ray through the tables with a kendo stick shot for the win at 17:05.
Rating: C. It was a nice brawl with some nice spots but NO ONE CARES ABOUT DIXIE. After all this, if she doesn't go through a table in New York, this whole story has been a huge waste of time. Also, never accept an induction to the Hall of Fame unless you want to lose on a last second fluke the same night. At least D-Von didn't join forces with Dixie.
We breeze past Eric Young winning the title back in April and jump to the main event of Slammiversary.
TNA World Title: Austin Aries vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Eric Young
In a cage with Young defending with wins by pin or submissino, not escape. Lashley takes over to start but gets double teamed down. The smaller guys do a fast paced sequence until Lashley throws Aries into the cage. Young gets the same as well, allowing Lashley to stand tall. Bobby throws both guys around again but misses a charge into the post. Young and Aries go at it again until Eric hammers on Bobby in the corner.
Aries powerbombs the champion down but stops to go after Lashley again, only to be suplexed into the cage for two. We get a bad looking botch as Aries hits a running cross body in the corner but Young just lets him bounce off of him for some reason. Young gets to show off his freakish strength with a double Death Valley Driver but Lashley is up at two. He puts Young on top of the cage as the fans chant please don't die. Aries goes up top as well to take Lashley down with a hurricanrana, but Eric stands up on top of the cage for the huge elbow to Bobby.
Aries punts Eric in the head though and hits the brainbuster for a very close two. Lashley spears Austin down for two and spinebusters the champion, only to miss the spear and fall out of the cage. Remember that doesn't end the match though as escape doesn't count. Young hits the top rope elbow on Aries for another close near fall. The piledriver is countered with a low dropkick to Young's face and everyone is down. Young and Aries slug it out but both guys miss forearms. Aries hits some discus forearms and the corner dropkick but walks into the piledriver to retain Eric's title at 12:10.
Rating: B-. This got better near the end but Eric keeping the title made me roll my eyes. The reign has been far better than I expected it to be but he needs to be the focal point of the company instead of the other guy in the major feuds. To be fair though, I'd assume MVP was supposed to take the title tonight before the injuries.
In some actual storyline development, James Storm watches Veera train and looks impressed. He promises to take care of Veera and then attacks him.
We recap the Beautiful People reuniting and then going to war with Madison Rayne.
From Sacrifice 2014.
Knockouts Title: Angelina Love vs. Madison Rayne
Madison is defending and quickly knocks Angelina out to the floor with a shoulder. Angelina has a meeting with Velvet Sky and comes back in for a headlock and shoulder of her own. Madison takes her down with a nice trip but can't use the headscissors face slam into the mat. Instead it's a baseball slide to send Love back to the floor but she sends a following Rayne face first into the apron.
Back inside and the Beautiful People take turns choking on the ropes and in the corner to little avail. Madison gets a quick sunset flip for two but gets sent to the floor where she beats on Velvet a bit. Back in and the challenger puts on a figure four with her legs in a nice touch. An enziguri puts Love down again though and now the face slam works.
Velvet tries to help her friend but the champ dives on both of them in an awesome visual. They head inside again and it's the Rayne Drop for two. Angelina's Botox Injection (Brogue Kick) gets the same and the fit is thrown. Madison comes back with a spear but Velvet sprays her in the eyes with hairspray, allowing Love to roll Rayne up with a handful of tights for the pin and the title at 8:15.
Rating: C-. It's a Knockouts match so you've seen the whole thing before at least a few times. Angelina winning the title again makes sense in storyline terms but it's still nothing new. I don't really care about the Beautiful People reunion as it feels like we've traveled back in time instead of doing something that might get people to care. That almost never works in wrestling, at least when the past act is the focus.
From Slammiversary 2014.
X-Division Title: Sanada vs. Tigre Uno vs. Davey Richards vs. Eddie Edwards vs. Crazy Steve vs. Manik
Sanada is defending and this is a ladder match. Also keep in mind that Destination X and Option C are coming up soon. Manik dives through the ropes to take out Sanada before the bell. The Wolves follow suit with stereo suicide dives and Steve has apparently knocked Tigre Uno down. Steve gets a ladder from under the ring and uses it to climb back to the apron. Tigre dropkicks him down and mostly misses a corkscrew dive to take everyone out.
Sanada and Manik fight over a ladder in the ring with the champion taking over via a springboard chop to the head. Tigre replaces Manik and kicks Sanada in the back of the head but the Wolves double team him into a German suplex onto the ladder in the corner. Edwards throws in a fresh ladder but Manik dropkicks both of them down. Steve (very popular tonight) comes in for the Terry Funk spinning ladder spot, taking down everyone that comes into the ring.
Manik makes a save but Steve shoves the ladder over, only to have Manik land on the top rope and dive out to knock out the Wolves. Steve goes up again and touches the belt but of course loses his hand eye coordination since this is a ladder match, allowing Sanada to make the save. The ladder is busted so Sanada slams Steve onto it to set up the moonsault. The fans think this is awesome as Tigre enziguris Sanada off a better ladder.
Tigre wedges the broken ladder into the standing one to form a bridge, but the Wolves catch him in a powerbomb/top rope Backstabber combo. The Wolves both go after the belt but Sanada makes the save. Edwards Sanada clothesline each other to the floor and Eddie crashes into the barricade, leaving Davey on top. Manik makes the save and powerbombs Davey onto the bridged ladder in a SCARY landing. Sanada climbs up to retain at 9:40 before someone dies.
Rating: B-. The match was fun but some of those spots looked too dangerous for my taste. Richards getting powerbombed was way too scary looking and I didn't like how he landed. Hopefully everyone is fine, but I question having people go through a match like this without even giving the match hype on TV.
Storm tells Mania to throw Veera into something with just enough water to survive. He gives Manik what looks like a paper to give Veera when he wakes up. Storm leaves and Manik tells Veera that it's going to be ok before closing a door.
We see the ending of the Von Erich's match at Slammiversary.
From June 19, 2014.
TNA World Title: Bobby Lashley vs. Eric Young
Young is on his own while King and MVP are in Lashley's corner. A clothesline puts Lashley to the floor and a big cross body off the top puts Lashley down again. Back in and Eric's cross body is caught in mid air but he rolls Lashley up for two. A HUGE backdrop puts the champion down again and Eric is sent to the floor. Back from a break with Eric in trouble and getting suplexed down with one arm.
The champion makes his comeback and gets two off his third cross body of the match. Lashley stomps him in the corner but misses a charge, only to come back with a kick to the ribs. Eric nails the piledriver out of nowhere but King pulls the referee out at two. Lashley nails Kenny by mistake and Eric hits a quick DDT. The top rope elbow misses though and Lashley spears him down for the pin and the title at 8:45.
Rating: D+. This was just a step above a squash for Lashley and WHY DID THIS NOT HAPPEN ON SUNDAY? I'm sure there's some reason for it but given that it's TNA I doubt they can explain it to you. Thankfully Young doesn't come off as a worthless champion, but he's only a step above transitional.
We look at MVP being stripped of power and attacked by Roode. Kurt Angle replaced him as boss and asked Willow to bring Jeff Hardy back. Willow agreed and performed as Jeff Hardy later in the night.
We see the end of the battle royal from the same night with Hardy winning a World Title shot.
From July 17, 2014.
TNA World Title: Bobby Lashley vs. Jeff Hardy
Lashley is defending. Hardy tries to hammer away to start but realizes he has to speed things up. He sends Lashley out to the floor and hits a big dive, only to have Lashley trip him up on the steps and send Jeff face first into the steel as we take a break. Back with Lashley in control and choking Jeff on the middle rope. He puts Hardy in a torture rack but some right hands get Jeff free.
A running forearm drops Lashley and a dropkick does the same as the fans chant for CM Punk. Hardy's headscissors out of the corner is caught in the powerslam but Jeff comes back with a Twisting Stunner and Twist of Fate. The Swanton get two and Jeff takes it back to the floor and rams Lashley's head into the steps. Hardy goes up for a Swanton to the floor but lands on the steps. Jeff is done and the spear retains Lashley's title at 12:45.
Rating: C+. This was a win that Lashley needed to get as Jeff Hardy is the guy that is always hanging around the main event and could take the title at any time. They're actually building Lashley up as a major force and he's coming off like a monster instead of a guy just keeping the title warm for MVP. That Swanton the steps was insane too.
We're off the air at 10:58.
Overall Rating: C-. This special showed me one major thing: TNA really wasn't all that memorable in 2014. There's a part 2 next week though and I'm sure it's going to focus on the tag team series which really was excellent stuff. One thing here stood out to me more than anything else though. On and off throughout the show, the dates on the graphics were wrong.
I know it's rather minor, but think about this for a second: this is a best of show, meaning they had all of five minutes of new material to shoot and they get something as simple as a date wrong? They had to find the footage for the matches, so you would think the dates would be RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM, but somehow they got them wrong anyway. The worst part though: it wouldn't have felt right if TNA didn't have a mistake like that somewhere. It's the perfect way to sum them up: the wrestling isn't bad, the action is entertaining for the most part, but the people working behind the scenes are incompetent.
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