For an easy to navigate archive of my TNA reviews, please visit Total Nonstop Ziegler!
Universal Studios – Orlando, Florida – June 12, 2011
MATCH #1: TNA World Tag Team Championship Match – James Storm & Alex Shelley vs. The British Invasion
Storm and Robert Roode have been the Champions since 1.9.11, and this is their sixth defense. Alex Shelley is being allowed to sub for the injured Roode for this important title match. Roode accompanies the makeshift team to the ring, and then joins Mike Tenay and Taz on commentary. Douglas Williams and Magnus are back together for lack of anything better to do.
Storm and Williams start the match with some chain wrestling. Shelley quickly tags in and I have flashbacks to Ring of Honor circa 2004 and the Pure Title. They don’t last long though as Magnus tags in. Storm tags himself in and the champions effectively double-team their challengers. Shelley is all over both opponents, but the Brits are able to cut him off with some crafty double-teams. Williams and Magnus keep Shelley isolated in their half of the ring. Magnus hits a nice vertical suplex as the crowd tries a USA chant to get Shelley going. Shelley avoids the Chaos Theory and makes the hot tag. Storm is a house afire, throwing the Brits around the ring. He dumps them to the floor and Shelley wipes Williams out with a dive. Back in the ring the champs use more double-team moves. Shelley rolls to the floor and then Magnus tosses Storm through the ropes. Storm and Williams are the legal men, and they trade finisher reversals, and then Williams gets kicked in the head from both sides by the champs. Shelley throws Williams into a lungblower by Storm, and then Shelley follows with a double stomp off the top rope for a two-count. The referee has lost control of this one. Storm gets a mouthful of beer and accidentally spits it into Shelley’s eyes. Shelley then accidentally superkicks Storm in the face. The Brits then hit their version of the Hart Attack but it only gets two. After some heel miscommunication Storm hits Magnus with the Last Call and Shelley follows with Sliced Bread #2 for the win at 10:56. That was a great way to open the show. Why do I get the feeling it will be the best match of the night?
MATCH #2: Matt Morgan vs. Scott Steiner
Morgan scores the first knockdown, and follows with a bodyslam. They spill to the floor and Morgan slams Steiner back-first into the apron. Back in the ring Morgan signals for the Chokeslam but Steiner is able to counter with a low blow out of the referee’s line of sight. Steiner goes to work now, even hitting the belly-to-belly suplex for two. After a few minutes Steiner runs into a boot in the corner and Morgan unloads on him. Morgan crushes Steiner in the corner and then hits a side slam. He follows up with a Michinoku Driver of all things for a two-count. Steiner comes back with a t-bone suplex for two. Morgan cuts him off with a clothesline for two. Steiner comes back with a Flatliner for two. He locks on the Steiner Recliner and Morgan powers his way to the ropes. Morgan stands up and Steiner counters him with a victory roll for two. After a series of reversals Morgan is able to land the Carbon Footprint to get the pin at 9:22. That was a solid power match and way better than I thought it would be.
MATCH #3: TNA X Division Championship Match – Abyss vs. Brian Kendrick vs. Kazarian
Abyss has been the Champion since 5.19.11, and this is his second defense. The challengers take it right to the Champion, desperately trying to take the gold from him. Abyss of course is able to thwart them both in the early going. He throws Kendrick on top of Kazarian on the floor. The challengers regroup and both charge back into the ring and take Abyss down in the corner. They spill to the floor and continue taking it to the Champion. Back in the ring Abyss uses his power to resume control, throwing Kendrick and Kazarian around. Abyss focuses on Kazarian and hits him with the Shock Treatment. He goes for a Vader Bomb but misses. Kendrick goes low with a dropkick to the knee. He continues with a flurry of dropkicks, including one from the top rope for a two-count. Kendrick hits a tornado DDT for a two-count. He goes for Sliced Bread #2 but Abyss blocks it and hits a hard Chokeslam. Kazarian busts in and hits a rana from the top rope. He follows with a handspring elbow, and then joins Kendrick for a double-dropkick. They continue the double-teaming, as Kazarian hits a flying elbow drop and Kendrick hits a Frog Splash. Both men cover but only get a two-count. Abyss recovers and rams Kazarian’s head into Kendrick’s head. The Champion rolls to the floor and the challengers tear into each other. They fight to the top rope and after a series of reversals Kendrick hits a single-leg dropkick. Abyss pulls Kendrick to the floor and covers Kazarian for the win at 12:03. I was digging the match and think the finish is okay in principle, but a single-leg dropkick was enough to put Kazarian down? What a pussy.
MATCH #4: Samoa Joe vs. Crimson
Crimson charges the ring and the brawl is on right away. Joe pitches Crimson tot eh floor but tries a dive and runs right into a hard forearm shot. Back in the ring Crimson starts wearing Joe down. Joe catches a knee and executes a dragon screw leg whip. He goes to work on the leg, keeping Crimson on the mat. Crimson fights back with an armbar. Joe gets the ropes. They get back to their feet and Crimson hits a t-bone suplex. Crimson follows up with a double-arm DDT for a two-count. Joe fights back with a hard release German Suplex and a clothesline for two. He goes to the second rope and hits a leg lariat for another near-fall. Joe hits a powerbomb and rolls it into a half crab. Crimson reaches the ropes to break the hold. They trade slaps and Crimson hits a Spear. Both men rise again and trade strikes. Joe gets Crimson in position for the Muscle Buster but Crimson jumps over him. Instead Joe goes for the Choke but Crimson breaks that and hits the Red Sky for the pin at 10:32. That was another decent power match, but I can’t shake the fact that Joe is capable of so much more.
MATCH #5: TNA Knockout Women’s Championship Match – Mickie James vs. Angelina Love
James has been the Champion since 4.17.11, and this is her third defense. Love (accompanied by Winter) is a lovely shade of orange tonight. She uses her orange powers to take it right to the Champion and bring her down to the mat. Love works on the arm and stomps James down in the corner. James comes back with a hurricanrana but gets distracted by Winter at ringside. Love hits a suplex for two. Winter interferes and slams James down to the floor. Love goes outside and continues the abuse. James counters and whips Love into the steel steps. Back in the ring they slug it out and the crowd couldn’t care less. James unleashes a flurry of offense, including a Flapjack. She goes up top and hits the Thesz Press. James sets up for the Mick Kick but Winter grabs her leg. The distraction doesn’t help, as James hits the kick anyway. James covers but Winter puts Love’s leg on the bottom rope to break it. Love hits the Botox Injection but only gets two. James comes back and signals for the DDT, pausing first to knock Winter to the floor. She then hits a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Love gets a rollup with extra leverage for two. James then manages to blow her finishing move but gets the pin anyway at 8:02. That was dull and uneventful, with a blown finish to boot.
Winter attacks James after the bell, and Love gets in on the beat-down as well. Referee Earl Hebner is able to run them off.
MATCH #6: Last Man Standing Match – AJ Styles vs. Bully Ray
They try to psyche each other out and then Styles takes it right to his larger opponent. Ray comes back with a hard knockdown but Styles is game for a fight. They continue to trade control back and forth in the opening minutes. Ray is in control as the fight spills to the floor. He throws Styles around into the guardrails and steel steps. Back in the ring Ray continues the abuse. Styles asks for more, standing up to the Bully. He’s able to finally fight back with an enziguiri and the springboard flying forearm. They take it to the top rope and Styles hits a Pele. Styles hits some mounted punches but Ray counters with a sitout powerbomb off the ropes. Both men are down. They get up and take it back to the floor, where Ray tries to hit Styles with the chain from his awesome chain wallet, but Styles avoids it and uses the chain himself. Ray is busted open. Back in the ring Styles hits the springboard 450 splash for an eight-count. Styles then slams Ray down to the floor and follows him out with a house show dive. He signals for the Styles Clash but Ray picks him up and drops him face-first on the apron. They fight up the aisle and Ray signals for the powerbomb but Styles avoids it and hits an enziguiri and the Pele. Ray rolls off the stage and Styles leaps down with a flying forearm! Styles sets up a table and then cracks Ray with a chair before setting him on it. He goes back to the top of the stage and then climbs up the truss of the set and delivers a huge flying elbow! That should be the finish. It sort of is, as Ray is able to kick Styles through a piece of the set and then is barely able to get back to his feet before the count of 10 at 20:19. They established a good dynamic early on and stuck with it. The violence and spots built as the match went on, which is always a plus. Unfortunately the finish was a bit deflating. This was the time to give AJ Styles a big win, not Bully Ray. At least the match was really good.
MATCH #7: TNA World Championship Match – Sting vs. Mr. Anderson
Sting has been the Champion since 3.3.11, and this is his sixth defense. He attacks Anderson during his pre-match introduction, but not soon enough for my liking. They make their way to the ring and Sting is in control. The fight quickly moves back to the floor and Anderson fires back. They fight through the crowd. Eventually they make their way back to the ring and Anderson begins working on Sting’s arm. Anderson gets a schoolboy rollup for two. The arm work continues as the crowd goes to sleep. Anderson tries a Stinger Splash but misses. He then goes right back to work like nothing happened. Sting fights back with punches. He takes Anderson down and tries the Scorpion Deathlock, and Eric Bischoff makes his way out to distract him. Sting tries a Stinger Splash but misses. Anderson hits the Finlay Roll for a two-count. Sting responds with a DDT for two. He tries a Vader Bomb but Anderson gets his knees up for another near-fall. Anderson hits the Mic Check but Sting kicks out. He goes up top and Sting knocks him down. Sting hits a Stinger Splash to the back and then the Scorpion Death Drop. Bischoff awkwardly interferes and Sting only gets a two-count. Anderson gets a low blow and the Mic Check to get the pin and win the title for a second time at 15:51. That was long and dull with a pointless result, as Sting won the title back about a month later. Anderson is horrible.
MATCH #8: The Final Battle – Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Jarrett
Angle’s Olympic Gold Medal is on the line, and this is also a #1 Contender’s match. Both men are cautious in the early going. They take it to the mat, which is obviously to Angle’s advantage. Angle dominates to start, keeping Jarrett off balance. Jarrett backdrops Angle to the floor to get a reprieve. Now Jarrett goes on offense. He tries a cross body block but Angle has the same idea and they collide with each other. Back on their feet Jarrett uses the Sleeper. Angle breaks it up and hits a release German Suplex. They both rise and start trading punches. Angle gets the better of it and hits a belly-to-belly suplex for two. He hits a dropkick off the second rope for a two-count. Jarrett does that stupid spot where it looks like he’s trying a rana just so Angle can powerbomb him. Angle tries the Ankle Lock but Jarrett rolls through to break it. Jarrett hits a DDT for two. He goes for the Stroke but Angle counters to the Angle Slam for a near-fall. Angle goes up for the moonsault but Jarrett rolls out of the way. Jarrett hits the Stroke for a two-count. He tries a Tombstone Piledriver but Angle counters to the Ankle Lock. Jarrett rolls through again and Angle runs into the referee. That gives Jarrett the chance to hit a low blow. Jarrett then smashes a guitar on Angle’s head. Earl Hebner makes his way out and counts two. Jarrett argues with Hebner and Angle rolls him up for two. Angle then hits three rolling German Suplexes for a two-count. He goes for a superplex but Jarrett pushes him down, so Angle pops up for the belly-to-belly suplex. That only gets two. Angle charges into the corner but misses and cracks his shoulder. Jarrett hits a Super Stroke but it only gets two! He then locks on the Ankle Lock, but Angle reverses it to one of his own. Jarrett taps out at 17:39! That was a good wrestling match but as the end to a bitter feud it felt lacking in emotion. At least it was a far better choice for a main event than Sting versus Anderson that’s for sure.
Tags: Jeff Jarrett, Kurt Angle, Slammiversary, Sting, TNA