Date: January 7, 2015
Location: Manhattan Center, New York City, New York
Commentators: Taz, Josh Mathews
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It's a new era in TNA as they're off SpikeTV and onto Destination America, meaning they'll be lucky to have half the audience they had before. However, they seem to actually be trying to have a new beginning, which may help them a lot in the long run. The main story here is Roode vs. Lashley III for the title, which should be a solid main event. Let's get to it.
Before we get started, remember that next week the show moves to its regular time slot on Friday at 9pm EST.
We open with a very cool video showing the roster coming to the arena and looking over New York City. Roode, Storm and MVP give the roster pep talks before we get a Lashley vs. Roode staredown. Kenny King throws a punch at Roode and the brawl is on outside the arena. I mean the entire roster is brawling and being recorded by handheld cameras. They head into the arena and it's just a massive war. After about five minutes, TNA boss Kurt Angle comes out and asks the fans if they want this fight to continue. He asks where all the champions are and says all titles are on the line tonight.
Angle has one more announcement to make but MVP gets in the ring and cuts him off. The fans tell MVP to shut the F up and the censoring is just a big off. MVP turns his back on Angle to offer him a free shot but Angle just spits. This isn't the same Angle who used to make people tap out and threw people everywhere, because his in ring career is over. Angle says he's stepped down as executive director, but he's been reactivated as a wrestler, meaning it's him vs. MVP tonight in a street fight. Starting NOW, even though both guys are in street clothes.
Kurt Angle vs. MVP
Both guys are in street The bell rings and Kurt knocks him to the floor as we go to a break eight seconds in. I really wish they would cut that out and just start the match after the break. Back with MVP kicking Angle in the face and no commentary. Kurt rolls some Germans but gets caught in something like Lesnar's Kimura.
Angle counters with a headscissors and grabs more Germans, only to have MVP go after the knee that put Angle on the shelf for so many months. The commentary here is light years better than with Tenay and Taz as there aren't any lame jokes and they're actually focusing on the match. It's nothing great but I'll take average over whatever TNA had before any day. Back in again and Angle grabs the ankle lock, only to be pulled down into a side choke. MVP is wrestling a submission styles here and it's only kind of working. Kurt counters into the ankle lock again but MVP gets up, only to take the Angle Slam for the pin at 11:20.
Rating: D+. This was quick and didn't need to be a street fight. I understand the idea of bringing Angle back in but I really hope he wraps up his in ring career soon. He just gets hurt way too easily and I really don't want to see him get hurt even worse next time. The match was too short though and the stipulation wasn't necessary.
MVP rants to Kenny King after a break and wants to talk to Lashley.
Taz and new commentator Josh Mathews welcome us to the show. The new idea is there are cameras everywhere and they're pulling the curtain back. I can hear Cornette's rants from here.
Ethan Carter III (with Tyrus) doesn't like not being on the show yet. He's a man of honor and doesn't break commitments he made. His first commitment: to take Rockstar Spud apart piece by piece, starting tonight. Tyrus is sent to secure the target.
Matthews is glad to be here and throws it to Tenay, who is hosting a new show called Impact Wrestling Unlocked, which sounds like Impact with stats and facts etc.
Tenay had an interview with James Storm about the Revolution and how surprising it's been to him. Storm says that was the idea, because he's knocked everything this company has given him out of the park. The group's members just flock to Storm because he's preaching the truth to them. Tenay loved the Feast or Fired cash in but wants to know about the future. Storm gets in his face and talks about the devil being less scary than he is before whistling a lot. I still really like this idea and I want to see where it goes.
Tag Team Titles: James Storm/Abyss vs. Wolves
The Revolution took the titles from the Wolves back in late 2014 using a Feast or Fired contract (TNA's version of Money in the Bank). Actually we're not done though as the Hardys come out in street clothes as we go to a break before the bell. The match starts with the Hardys just on the floor as spectators as Edwards backdrops Storm onto Abyss, setting up stereo suicide dives. They work so well that the Wolves hit them three more times in a row as the rest of the Revolution (Manik and Sanada) just stand around watching.
Back in and the Wolves start double teaming Storm until Abyss pulls Richards to the floor and chokeslams him onto the apron. I love stuff onto the apron. Richards is in trouble for a good twenty seconds before he rolls over and tags in Edwards to fight off both champions. Storm misses a charge into the corner but gets kicked in the head and caught in a backpack Stunner for two. They're keeping a very fast pace here and it's working quite well. The Wolves' painted claw marks on their chests are working as well.
Abyss tries a double chokeslam but the Wolves backflip out for a cool counter before a top rope double stomp gets two on Storm. Richards is pulled to the floor and Abyss catapults Edwards into a Storm DDT for two. Sanada and Manik try to come in but the Hardys make a save to prevent the DQ. Jeff and Abyss get in a tug of war over Storm's noose and the distraction lets Storm superkick Edwards to retain at 6:13.
Rating: C. Nice fast paced match here but it didn't have the time to go anywhere. I'm not sure why we needed the Hardys out there and I really don't care to see them in the tag division. Storm has something here with the Revolution but does he need to be stuck in another tag team? Let him go after something on his own for a change.
Package on Roode vs. Lashley I.
Carter tells a camera to come with him.
Back from a break with MVP yelling at Lashley about not having his priorities straight. He takes credit for all of Lashley's success and says he leads this team. Lashley pins him up against the wall and says this is about getting the title back. This calms MVP down a bit.
Jeremy Borash tries to bring out someone for an interview but gets cut off by Ethan Carter III. He brags about his accomplishments and does Tyson's Kidd's FACT bit. Carter does one up him a bit though by going to some fans with a mic to do the dueling chant lines. Carter apologizes for slapping JB a few weeks back and asks Spud to get out here right now. Tyrus drags Spud through the entrance and throws him into the ring, where Carter says it's time to cut the rest of Spud's hair. His SCALP chant doesn't quite get off the ground.
JB tries to intervene and actually slaps Carter, earning him a splash from Tyrus. Spud tries to cover him up, but Carter has another idea. It's going to be Borash getting his hair cut and Carter busts out the clippers to shave off a big chunk of JB's hair. Spud freaks out but this didn't have the emotion they were going for.
King talks to MVP in the back but the audio is so low I can't make out what they're saying. MVP holds up his phone and that's enough for King.
Video on Lashley vs. Roode II with Roode taking the title.
Package on the history of the X-Division and the sound quality is lacking again. The voiceover is barely audible unless I turn the volume up far higher than it needs to be on the rest of the show. The video turns into a focus on Low Ki, who has been in the division since it started.
X-Division Title: Austin Aries vs. Low Ki
Ki is defending. Feeling out process to start as Mathews mentions Low Ki being the first ROH Champion and plugging WWE Hall of Famer Edge being on Taz's debut podcast in the span of ten seconds. They trade headscissors as Taz lists off some Brooklyn landmarks. Aries kicks Ki to the floor but charges into a kick to the head for a nice counter. Back up and Aries fires off forearms to send Ki to the floor for a suicide dive. That's a move they need to tone down as it's the fifth use of it in less than an hour.
The missile dropkick looks to set up the brainbuster but Ki counters into a kind of dragon sleeper. Aries grabs the ropes and heads up top, only to get kicked in the head again. Not to be outdone, Aries kicks Ki down from the top and plants him with a brainbuster to win the title for a sixth time at 6:18.
Rating: C+. Good but not great match here and I'm not wild on Aries getting the title back. Again, it's something we've seen before and nothing I really need to see repeated. The matches are going to be entertaining, but they need some fresh talent in that division. Swap some of the roster around and give Aries some fresh competition, because they can only do the same matches so many times.
Knockouts Title: Battle Royal
Angelina Love, Velvet Sky, Taryn Terrell, Madison Rayne, Gail Kim, Havok, Rebel
Taryn Terrell is defending. Before the match, Robbie E. is welcomed back to TNA after competing on the Amazing Race. He didn't win a million dollars due to his horrible partner, but at least he still looks like a million dollars. Robbie rips on Brooke a bit more until Taryn's entrance cuts him off. Gail goes after Havok to start before the Beautiful People put Rebel out. Madison saves herself on the apron but get dumped by Havok.
Velvet eats defeat and Taryn knocks Angelina out as this is a very lame battle royal. Like even lamer than most battle royals. We're down to Havok, Terrell, Kim and Sky with Havok taking a double dropkick. Brooke comes in through the crowd and jumps Robbie. Terrell and Kim dump Velvet before Havok throws out Gail, only to get thrown out by Terrell to retain at 4:58.
Rating: D-. This was REALLY dull stuff and just there to get to the ending. I know they're trying to make Havok out to be a monster, but I don't think she's had ten matches in TNA so far. How dominant of a monster can she be with such a short resume? I mean, it's not like she's Kong or anything.
Post match Havok jumps Terrell and puts her in a bearhug but the lights go out. They come back up.....and KONG IS BACK! She stares Havok down and chokeslams a referee for old times' sake.
TNA World Title: Lashley vs. Bobby Roode
Roode is defending and starts fast, only to be driven into the corner for some hard shoulders to the ribs. A delayed vertical suplex gets two on the champ but he comes back with the Crossface to send Lashley to the ropes. I hope they're not going with the idea of using the same hold over and over again until the other guy taps out. Mix things up a bit and build to a finisher instead of just starting it at first.
They head outside with Roode being sent into the barricade but coming back with a hard clothesline. We get an inset camera shot of MVP and King in the back with two masked men. Security won't let the masked men come in so the security guy gets beaten down as we go to a break. Back with Roode in a chinlock followed by a bearhug. Taz and Mathews actually explain how Lashley is softening up the midsection for the spear later on. I haven't heard actual analysis from TNA since I don't remember when.
Roode fights out and they stare each other down for a cool visual. The champ takes over with a clothesline and a big spinebuster for two, only to jump into a Davey Boy powerslam (to go with the delayed vertical suplex from earlier. Nothing but good can come from watching British Bulldog matches) for the same. Lashley hammers away in the corner but gets powerbombed down for another near fall. Now we get to something new as they hit each others' finishers for two each.
Cue MVP, King and the masked men as Roode grabs the Crossface. Lashley just stands up for the break, only to walk into the Roode Bomb for two. Back to the Crossface (cross forehead actually) but King pulls the referee out and decks him with a right hand. Angle comes out to brawl with him but gets beaten down. The masked men unveil themselves as Low Ki and Samoa Joe. Eric Young comes in with a chair....and turns on Roode with a bunch of chair shots. Lashley spears Roode down for the pin and the title at 20:00.
Rating: B-. I liked the match utnil the ending, which feels like yet another heel stable. Eric Young as a potential big bad drives me insane because.....how do I put this.....NO ONE CARES ABOUT ERIC FREAKING YOUNG! The match was good and I'm assuming this sets up Lethal Lockdown with Team Roode vs. Team MVP or Lashley. Not the worst idea but I'm terrified of another heel stable, especially if there's going to be a leader with authority.
Overall Rating: C+. I'm torn on this one as I really liked the energy and some of the tweaks they made (commentary was WAY better tonight), but it feels like they're resetting a lot of what they did back in December. Aries is X-Division Champion again and Lashley has the World Title back? So why put it on Roode in the first place other than to just give it a feel good moment?
The ending.....erg. This is the frustrating part about TNA: they can't help but go back to the same ideas that we've seen so many times before to diminishing results each time. The idea might work for awhile at first, but then it overstays its welcome and turns into the same idea they've always had. Hopefully that's not where they're going with this, but TNA doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt.
The rest of the show worked pretty well though as they focused on the wrestling and advanced stories where they needed to. The Revolution is still awesome and Storm is nailing the cult leader character, especially with that creepy whistling. They also did a good job of introducing a lot of the new people. I'd call this a good first effort on a new channel, but the ending makes me nervous.
Kurt Angle b. MVP – Angle Slam
James Storm/Abyss b. Wolves – Last Call to Edwards
Austin Aries b. Low Ki – Brainbuster
Taryn Terrell won a battle royal last eliminating Havok
Lashley b. Bobby Roode – Spear
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