The SmarK Rant for TNA Bound For Glory 2006
– So this one was being called their version of Wrestlemania, but the question remains whether it was their version of Wrestlemania III or Wrestlemania IV.
– Live from Detroit, MI
– Your hosts are Mike Tenay & Don West
Opening match: The Kevin Nash Open Invitational X Division Gauntlet Battle Royale.
OK, that’s great, but this needed to be the “First Annual…” to really hammer the joke home. So we’ve got Austin Starr (Aries), looking like a superstar right out of the box, taking on Sonjay Dutt. One minute intervals for new people in Royal Rumble fashion. Starr grabs a headlock and they criss-cross into a Dutt headscissors, as he dumps Starr but gets pounded in the corner. Dutt springboards in with a senton, and Maverick Matt is in next. Matt and Starr double-team Dutt and Starr drops the power elbow, but Dutt comes back as Jay Lethal is next in. He and Dutt double-team Matt with a low dropkick combo, but Starr catches Lethal with an elbow and prances. A1, who Tenay notes is not exactly X Division, is next out and pounds on Lethal with a spinebuster. Zach Gowen, still trying to stretch his 15 minutes, is next up, and he moonsaults Dutt while Nash makes Johnny Ace/Dynamic Dude jokes on commentary. How cutting edge. Kazarian is next as this thing flies by, and he teams with Matt to dump Dutt and eliminate him.
Lethal pounds on Gowen (hint: kick him in the leg) and Sirelda is next up. Well, it’s officially a freakshow now. Everyone gets to sell for her, but Starr goes low and A1 thankfully gets rid of her quickly. Tenay’s “That shouldn’t have any effect!” was pretty funny. Shark Boy is next and hits Starr with a neckbreaker but it’s a lot of nothing otherwise. Alex Shelley is next up, much to Nash’s delight, and he cleans house while Kevin protests that he had to do things on the up-and-up to satisfy the state athletic commission. I could totally live with Nash as a color commentator. D-Ray 3000 returns from the dead as Nash moves on to dated ABA references and Tenay calls him on it. D-Ray and Shark Boy eliminate Matt and Johnny Devine is next. He gets rid of Gowen right away and Elix Skipper is next. He throws kicks at Devine, apparently having turned face at some point, and Kazarian tries to come off the top and gets dumped out of the mat. Nash claims that his bad knees are due to his high-flying ways. And now it’s midget time, with Short Sleeve Sampson into the match. Shark Boy goes out off-camera while Starr deals with the midget. Norman Smiley is up next for more comedy as we just lose all pretext of a serious match, but thankfully Starr gets to javelin the midget out.
Slick Johnson joins the match as a wrestler while Petey Williams is the last guy in officially, and Skipper gets tossed, along with Johnson. Petey throws Devine into Shelley and hits Lethal with the Canadian Destroyer to showcase that for the new crowd, but gets tossed by Devine and Shelley. Starr tosses Devine from behind, however, then dumps Shelley for good measure. That leaves Starr and Jay Lethal and dissension among the Paparazzi. Tenay notes that it’s a battle for the bowling trophy. Lethal gets a german suplex, but Star follows with a brainbuster for the win.
(Austin Starr wins battle royale, brainbuster — pin Lethal, 17:13, ***) This was a fun, but silly, trainwreck that did a good job of showcasing Starr and making him look like a big deal, but the comedy was a bit much at times.
Team 3D v. America’s Most Wanted v. The James Gang v. The Naturals
What exactly does “having your ass franchised” entail, I wonder, and why would a crowd want to answer in the affirmative if asked? BG’s pre-match rap continues to suck as he fruitlessly searches for a replacement for the classic bit. The crowd chants “3D”, which the announcers assert is for Ray and D-Von, but maybe they just got back from a showing of “The Nightmare Before Christmas”. Storm starts with Ray and gets hit with a uranage, as Ray holds off both of AMW and they regroup. Ray and BG team up for some Flip Flop and Fly action on AMW, but then they turn on each other and spoil all the harmoniousness. Kip comes in and gets dumped and AMW go after Chase Stevens, and that turns into the Tower of Doom spot in the corner. It’s a neat spot, but incredibly contrived at this point. BG reverses Harris’s Catatonic into the pumphandle slam, but Douglas catches him from behind with a clothesline. Storm hits him with a helicopter slam, and D-Von hits him with the Cutain Call. Ray powerbombs him, and Kip gets the fameasser on him. All that leaves Stevens with a two count on Ray. This is turning into a mess and they need to get heat on someone fast. Team 3D hits Douglas with a Doomsday Device and the Whazzup for Stevens. The Naturals come back with the Natural Disaster for two on D-Von as everyone else has vanished to the back. 3D finishes Douglas.
(Team 3D d. AMW, James Gang and Naturals, D-Von 3D — pin Andy Douglas, 6:52, *1/2) Just a big mess that felt thrown-together and didn’t build to anything.
Samoa Joe v. Abyss v. Raven v. Runt
Raven is at least looking a little more human these days. Jake Roberts, also on a diet it seems, is the special referee. This begs the question: Does crack count as a diet? Raven cleans house and slugs away on Abyss to start, taking him down into the chair. Joe comes in and hits everyone with elbows in the corner, adding a high kick on Raven to set up the face wash. Abyss chokeslams him, however. Runt and Raven try a double-team but get destroyed, and Abyss tosses Runt into the crowd for good measure. Raven dumps Abyss and follows with a pescado, thankfully showing some movement for a change, and then Joe follows with his own dive onto everyone, landing on his feet. Raven brawls with Joe up the ramp, while Abyss takes Runt, and Raven tosses Joe off the ramp and through a table. Abyss and Runt fight up the set and Abyss dumps him onto the ramp and then jumps onto him, although the camera was on Roberts at the time. That’s just sloppy. Joe gets back onto the ramp, and Raven tosses him back off again through another table. Back into the ring, Abyss gets two on Runt, but Raven saves. Abyss gives Raven a butt splash for two. Joe recovers and joins them, slugging on everyone to get rid of Raven, but missing a senton on Abyss. Abyss grabs a chair, but Joe goes to the nuts and powerslams him on the chair for two. Raven gets rid of him with a drop toehold, but Abyss tosses Raven and retrieves his trusty thumbtacks. Jake, however, uses the power of the snake to prevent him from using the tacks, which the crowd boos. Raven takes out Roberts and allows Abyss to do his thing, as we’ve really hit a dead zone for the match. Joe returns, however, and finally gets his senton, thus smashing Abyss facefirst into the tacks. Now there’s some quality irony for ya. Raven hits Joe with a chair, but Roberts DDTs him and Joe gives him a Muscle Buster to finish.
(Samoa Joe d. Raven, Runt & Abyss, Muscle Buster — pin Raven, 11:06, **) Jake’s involvement didn’t make much sense, although Jake v. Raven would have been a dream match 10 years ago. The match was hot to start, but then once they blew their wad with the table spots it just died off and turned into the usual kicky-punchy brawl.
Eric Young v. Larry Zbyszko
The loser of this gets fired, although I thought Young was already fired. So I guess the loser gets fired again, but this time it’s PERSONAL. Larry’s hair weave makes him look like a spry 63. Larry uses the dreaded SEVEN MINUTE STALL OF DOOM to start. Once they finally lockup, Larry gets the spinkick and an abdominal stretch, which is quickly reversed by Young. The ref gets bumped and Larry goes right for the international object, but Eric goes low and retrieves it himself to KO Larry.
(Eric Young d. Larry Zbyszko, brass knuckles — pin, 2:35, DUD) Barely even a match.
Jim Cornette joins us to warn Samoa Joe not to interfere in the World title match tonight, and that brings out Kurt Angle, who says nothing of note before Samoa Joe charges in and attacks him. On one hand, they’re playing their hand with this match pretty quickly, but on the other hand, wrestling is unique to the world of sports in that you would never hear anyone in boxing saying something like “Man, we should hold off on doing that big Tyson v. Holyfield match so we can get a bigger buyrate”. So I guess it’s six of one and half a dozen of the other. However, if you’re going with the “Pull the trigger now” side of things, then the main event tonight should have been Joe winning the title from Jarrett to really hammer home that he’s the #1 guy in the promotion. The crowd was super-hot for this.
X Division Title: Senshi v. Chris Sabin
Sabin being the hometown boy makes this match more logical than I initially thought. Big lockup to start as neither guy wants to let go. Senshi hits him with a couple of kicks, but Sabin dropkicks him into the corner and rolls him up for two. German suplex is blocked by Senshi and he returns fire with a back kick and elbows Sabin down for two. Power elbow gets two. Senshi stretches him with an armbar and they exchange chops, but Sabin runs into a boot that gets two for Senshi. He goes to a bodyscissors, for two. A slam gets two. Another chop exchange, but Sabin goes down to a kick and Senshi follows with the crazy top kick for two. They totally blew the camera angle on that one. They need to steal a director or two from WWE. Senshi pounds him with kicks in the ropes, but Sabin comes back with a missile dropkick and tosses him. Tope suicida follows. Back in, Sabin gets the enzuigiri and hangs Senshi in the Tree of Woe, following with the dropkick for two. Powerbomb is reversed to a chokehold by Senshi, but Sabin goes to the ropes.
Senshi tries coming out of the corner with a handspring, but Sabin dropkicks him and follows with a DDT for two. NICE. Into the corner, Sabin gets a rana, but Senshi rolls through and double-stomps him in another awesome spot that gets two. Senshi keeps coming with a flying kick for two, but misses a blind charge and Sabin flies in with a big boot in the corner. Cradle Shock is reversed, but Sabin hangs on and gets it for two. They head up and Senshi throws kicks on the top rope to knock Sabin down, then dropkicks him into the turnbuckle. To the top for the Warrior’s Way double stomp, and that gets two. Senshi gets pissed now and chokes him out, but Sabin reverses to an inside cradle for the title.
(Chris Sabin d. Senshi, inside cradle — pin, 12:49, ***1/2) Too short and it really needed a good Ghetto Stomp to break ****, but definitely the match of the night thus far. Sabin’s reign would not be the long and glorious one that this seemed to forecast.
Backstage, Christian Cage goes back to his classic interview style, letting us know that Rhino’s aunt’s cooking sucks. Now that’s just low.
Rhino v. Christian Cage
This takes place backstage. Rhino’s entrance gives us the best sign I’ve seen in months: “Stop Sign Fears Cookie Sheet.” They brawl in the parking lot, using headlights for mood lighting, and Rhino rams him into a couple of cars and sends him into the dreaded CARDBOARD BOXES OF DEATH back into the arena. You can get a nasty paper cut from those! Rhino steals the Zamboni and drives Christian into the arena with it, and they fight down to the ring. Christian tries to use one of the plastic street lights, but gets hit with it instead. Cage plays dead while Rhino tosses weapons into the ring, and in they go, with Rhino armed with a live streetlight. That was a pretty cool visual, as it gets two. He sets up for the GOAR, but Christian hits him with a chair to block. Back to the floor and they brawl into the crowd, and Cage gets the worst of that. Rhino sets up a table at ringside, but it gets left for later as Christian brings him back into the ring. Rhino comes back with a belly to belly suplex and sets up another table in the corner, but Cage rolls him up for two. The ROAD SIGN OF DOOM turns the tide for Christian, and he brings a ladder in while Rhino bleeds. From a road sign?
Christian charges with the ladder, but Rhino takes him down, only to miss his own splash and get Unprettiered. That gets two for Christian, and he follows with a ladder to the face and goes under the ring for a straitjacket. Now there’s a spot you don’t see every day, but actually makes a lot of sense. Unless you’re fighting Harry Houdini or Chris Angel, but that’d just be silly. Actually, a Houdini gimmick might be pretty cool, as he’d be impervious to anything but a shovel to the gut. Rhino gets strapped in, but fights back using his head until the ref releases him. And the crowd BOOS that. That’s cold. Anyway, Rhino piledrives Cage through the aforementioned table on the floor, and back in that gets two. He sets up to finish, but Cage steers him into the table and gets two. Unprettier gets two. That should have been the finish unless they have something really big planned. Christian stacks all the weapons onto Rhino and then smashes a chair onto them in rather aggressive fashion and THAT’S the finish. OK, I guess that was pretty big.
(Christian Cage d. Rhino, chairshot — pin, 14:28, ***) Again, they had a problem with too much silliness in what was supposed to be a serious fight, but this was a pretty satisfying midcard brawl.
NWA World tag titles, cage match: AJ Styles & Christopher Daniels v. Homicide & Hernandez.
Big brawl to start and Daniels gets a tilt-a-whirl slam on Homicide, and they double-team Hernandez with a Styles elbowdrop. We start properly with Daniels dropkicking Hernandez, and Styles coming in for his own dropkick on Homicide. Another double-team from the champs gets two on Homicide. They keep switching off on him, but Homicide snaps AJ’s head back to the mat, only to walk into a backbreaker that gets two. AJ charges and runs into the cage, however. Hernandez pounds him down and chucks him into the cage, and they beat on Daniels for good measure. Homicide hits Daniels with a t-bone suplex and follows with a flying elbow for two. Overhead suplex gets two for Hernandez. Homicide knees Daniels down and uses the fork behind the ref’s back. Hernandez gets a sweet powerbomb into the cage and the a regular one, and that gets two. Homicide wastes perfectly good tequila by dumping it on Daniels, thus disinfecting his wounds at least, and they head up to the top where Daniels comes back with a flying hiptoss and makes the hot tag to AJ. Moonsault DDT for Homicide and a rebound elbow for Hernandez, but it’s BONZO GONZO and the brawl is on. The champs send Hernandez into the cage and hit Homicide with a high-low double-team, then hit Hernandez with a series of dropkicks into the cage. Pele Kick for Homicide and Daniels returns the fork action to Homicide, as does AJ. Man, Styles can master any style.
Homicide uses crazy fighting style to come back, but another kick from AJ puts the LAX down. AJ goes up the cage and fights off both LAX, but Homicide keeps coming. Daniels climbs up to help, which turns into a powerbomb by Hernandez to get right of him, and AJ coming off the top of the cage with a cross body on Hernandez. That gets two. Homicide hits AJ with the Ace Crusher, but Daniels gets the death valley driver, only to get laid out by Hernandez. Hernandez then goes up the cage (!!) and misses a splash. Geez, that was ill-advised to say the least. Daniels tries to finish with the Angel’s Wings, but Konnan gives Homicide a coat hanger, and Daniels gets choked out as a result. AJ fights them off alone, but gets CLOBBERED with a clothesline from Hernandez, and the Cop Killer ends it and returns the titles to the LAX.
(LAX d. Styles & Daniels, Homicide Cop Killer — pin Styles, 14:39, ****1/4) This was definitely the show-stealer, as Homicide is a rare combination of New Jack and someone else who can actually work. The LAX are deservedly getting a huge push and are probably one of the hottest acts in TNA. The finish involved a coat hanger, what more do you want?
NWA World title: Jeff Jarrett v. Sting
New look for Sting tonight, as he goes with more of an old-school look with half-tights and the Sgt. Pepper style ring coat. He should just ditch the facepaint at this point and go with a modern look if he wants to stick around. Kurt Angle is of course the “special enforcer,” which is the usual nebulous wrestling term for someone at ringside with nothing of note to do. Jarrett breaks a headlock with a hiptoss to start, then hiptosses him out of the corner. Sting overpowers him, but Jarrett slugs him down and Sting gets frustrated. Jarrett dropkicks him out of the ring, and Sting regroups. Back in, Sting tries slugging away again, and gets a powerbomb and Snake Eyes before dumping him with a clothesline to take over. We get some gravitas with Angle and Jarrett on the floor, and Sting heads out to brawl with Jarrett, but Angle prevents JJJ from using a chair. They brawl up the ramp, where Sting gets a suplex, but Angle prevents him from using a chair, too. Jarrett bowls them all over and beats on Sting at ringside, however.
Back in the ring, Jarrett gets the sleeper and they mess up a reversal sequence before doing a sloppy double cross-body spot for the double knockout. The match really hasn’t had the kind of pace to justify that kind of spot this early. Kurt Angle decides to take matters into his own hands and gets rid of the referee, which pops the crowd. They slug it out and Sting gets the Stinger splash and death drop for two. Jarrett comes back with the Stroke, which gets two. Tombstone is reversed by Sting for two. Sting goes up and gets crotched, but Jarrett’s Stroke attempt is blocked, as is Sting’s splash attempt. Figure-four is supposed to be the big killer move for Jarrett, but the crowd isn’t buying it. So he goes to an anklelock instead, which draws groans. Sting rolls out of it and grabs his baseball bat, but Jarrett uses the guitar. Thankfully, he no-sells it, and finishes with the Scorpion Deathlock to win the title.
(Sting d. Jeff Jarrett, Scorpion Deathlock — submission, 15:02, **1/2) This didn’t feel like a satisfying ending to Jarrett’s big heel run, which is what it was intended to be, and it didn’t feel particularly epic either, perhaps because of Sting’s diminished ringwork. Or maybe because of his moustache under the facepaint, like he was Cesar Romero on Batman or something. With Sting’s career on the line (even though that stip is meaningless in wrestling) I guess they had to put him over here, but this really should have been Joe’s big moment.
Overall, this was a pretty fun show with two obvious show-stealing matches and a lot of stuff that was too much along the lines of filler for a “Wrestlemania” type show. However, it was hampered by the wrong main event and some time management issues and some annoying camera work, which definitely prevents it from becoming the kind of instant classic show they were shooting for. It’s good and worth checking out, but this company still has a LONG way to go before they can compete at the same level as WWE.