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Liacouras Center – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – October 16, 2011
Mike Tenay and Taz are on commentary.
MATCH #1: X Division Championship – Brian Kendrick vs. Austin Aries
Aries has been the champion since 9.11.11, and this is his second defense. They start with some fast-paced back and forth, as the Philadelphia crowd supports the heel Champion. Kendrick dropkicks Aries to the floor and then dropkicks him off the apron and hits a house show dive. Back in the ring Kendrick continues on offense but Aries blocks a second monkey flip attempt and then hits a clothesline. I just noticed Kendrick is wrestling barefoot; he has these shin guards that kind of make it look like he has boots on. Either way Aries is fully in control now. Aries goes for the Pendulum Elbow but Kendrick blocks it and gets a quick rollup for two. Kendrick now unleashes a series of flying forearms and a couple of dropkicks. He hits a sledge to the back of the neck for a two-count. Aries comes back with an STO and this time hits the Pendulum Elbow for two. He goes for the IED but Kendrick kicks him out of the air and hits a Tornado DDT for another near-fall. Kendrick tries Sliced Bread #2 but Aries sends him to the floor and wipes him out with the Heat Seeking Missile. Back in the ring Aries hits the IED and goes for the Brainbuster but Kendrick knees his way out of it and gets a cradle for two. Kendrick hits a Superkick and tries Sliced Bread #2 but Aries blocks it, leaving Kendrick prone on the top rope. Aries goes up there with him, but Kendrick is able to reverse the momentum to a Super Sliced Bread #2! Unfortunately Aries rolled next to the ropes so that only gets a two-count. The crowd bought that one. Kendrick tries Sliced Bread #2 on the apron but Aries dumps him to the floor. Back in the ring Aries drills him with a kick to the head. Aries follows up with the IED and the Brainbuster to get the pin at 10:26. That was a good choice for the opener and both men brought the energy. The crowd is really into Aries.
MATCH #2: Full Metal Mayhem – Rob Van Dam vs. Jerry Lynn
Was the world really dying to see another feud between these two? I get that they’re in Philadelphia, but give me a break, please. They wrestle to a standoff to start, as if they would start any other way. Can you tell I’m not a fan of these two? The chain wrestling with counters continues in the opening minutes until they manage to bow a cross body block to the floor spot. Good job guys. RVD hits a legdrop on the ring apron and they both tumble to the floor. They fight around ringside and RVD tries a moonsault off the barricade but Lynn avoids it. Lynn brings out a ladder and baseball slides it into RVD’s face. He then brings a chair into the ring but it backfires when RVD hits a turn-around cross body block and Lynn’s back lands right on said chair. RVD throws Lynn into the ladder, which helpfully falls right back onto Lynn and RVD follows with the Rolling Thunder. Amazingly, RVD does a back flip off the ropes for NO REASON and picks up the chair just so Lynn can kick it into his face. This is just silly. They continue using the ladder and the chair in their offensive attack. Lynn hits a German Suplex with a bridge for a two-count. RVD counters with useless somersaults. Good idea bro. Lynn goes outside and brings out another ladder and leans it against the barricade to hit a sunset bomb. RVD didn’t quite land on the ladder and hit against the barricade too. That was a sick bump. Back in the ring Lynn gets a two-count. RVD comes right back with the Van Daminator for two. Sure, don’t sell the death bump on the floor. RVD then sets the ladder against Lynn’s face and hits the Van Terminator, which is enough for the pin at 13:13. That was the usual ECW garbage over 10 years after the fact. RVD and Lynn have no interest in selling or telling a coherent story, just doing stuff. If that works for you, I’m happy for you. It doesn’t work for me. It also doesn’t work for me that they built this feud up as “they don’t respect each other anymore” and then they hug and stuff after the match. Get over yourselves, marks.
MATCH #3: Triple Threat Match – “Samoan Submission Machine” Samoa Joe vs. Crimson vs. “The Blueprint” Matt Morgan
Morgan and Crimson are both wearing white so they decide to attack Joe together to start. Crimson accidentally hits Morgan, allowing Joe to take control. Joe tries to get Morgan to team up with him but that goes nowhere and the two big guys in white go back to working together. Crimson gets low-bridged to the floor. Morgan hits Joe with a side slam and Crimson sneaks back in and tries to steal the pin. Joe sends Morgan to the floor and then dumps Crimson out right on top of him. He follows them out with an awesome elbow suicida on Crimson. Morgan goes up top and wipes out Crimson with a high cross body block. Back in the ring Joe tries to pin Crimson but can’t hold him down. Crimson comes back with an exploder suplex and Morgan tries to steal the pin. Now Crimson and Morgan argue over who’s going to get the pin and they start slugging at each other while Joe recovers on the floor. Joe pulls Morgan to the floor and slams him into the guardrail, and then hits Crimson with a kick to the head from the floor. Man, Joe is awesome. Joe sets Crimson up for the Muscle Buster but Morgan breaks it up. Morgan hits Joe with a running knee but somehow gets himself tied up in the top rope. That gives Crimson the opening to hit Joe with a Spear to get the pin at 7:14. That was better than I remembered it, as all three guys looked motivated and the crowd was with them.
MATCH #4: Falls Count Anywhere – Mr. Anderson vs. Bully Ray
Anderson charges the ring and they tear into each other right away. This isn’t just a Falls Count Anywhere match – it’s a Philadelphia Falls Count Anywhere match, which is different. Anderson gets the first near-fall off a spinning neckbreaker but Bully quickly cuts him off with a big boot. After taking some hard chops Anderson is able to hit an enziguiri for two. Anderson grabs a sign from the crowd and blasts Bully with it. He reveals that it was a dead end sign wrapped in paper, which is why Bully sold it. Nice gimmick there. They take it to the floor and Anderson throws Bully around and into the guardrails. Bully reverses a whip and sends Anderson into the steps for a two-count. He then pulls out a table but nothing happens with it yet as they fight up to the stage. Bully hits a suplex for two and then asks for Anderson’s microphone to be dropped. He starts introducing himself, which gives Anderson time to recover and get a couple of shots in. Anderson hits Bully with the microphone for a two-count. They take the fight backstage and Bully hits a piledriver for two. Now they wander into the crowd and back toward ringside. Anderson brings a piece of guardrail into the ring but Bully cuts him off with a clothesline. Bully brings a new table in the ring, leaving the first one set up at ringside. Anderson backdrops Bully right onto the guardrail. He then tries a Kenton Bomb but misses. Bully follows up with a Bubba Bomb through the table but it only gets two. He goes up to the second rope for a senton but misses and falls right on the guardrail. Anderson hits the Mic Check onto the guardrail but that only gets two. They go back to the floor where Anderson pulls out a trash can and waffles Bully with it. That sets Bully perfectly on the table (remember that?) and Anderson goes up top for a Kenton Bomb, but he overshoots it and the table doesn’t break. Ha! Anderson improvises with a Mic Check through the table and that’s enough for the pin at 14:32. Blown finish aside this was much better than the hardcore match that already happened on this show (and we’re only four matches in), as the hatred stayed true throughout the match and they didn’t hug afterward. The spots also made more sense as it was two guys that dislike each other trying to hurt each other rather than just pop the crowd.
MATCH #5: Knockouts Championship – Winter vs. Mickie James vs. Velvet Sky vs. Madison Rayne
Karen Jarrett has inserted herself into this match as the special guest referee. She heavily favors Madison Rayne. Winter has been the Champion since 9.11.11, and this is her first defense. She’s accompanied by Angelina Love. Mickie, the former Champion starts with Winter, who immediately starts using rest holds. Sigh. Mickie comes back with a headscissors and a neckbreaker. Winter rolls to the floor so Madison comes in and goes to work. Why is she wearing camouflage? Whatever the reason, she knocks Mickie to the floor. Madison then turns around into a couple of knees to the face and a bulldog from Velvet, but the referee is tying her shoes and doesn’t notice the cover. Karen continues to be the focal point of the match as stuff happens that no one cares about. The crowd starts to care now, but in a negative way. Seriously, this is just bad. More meandering brawling happens and Winter accidentally spits the red mist into Karen’s eyes. Mickie hits Winter with a jumping DDT and Traci Brooks bounces her way out to presumably take over the referee duties. Madison pushes Mickie and Winter to the floor, but then Velvet hits a double-arm DDT to get the pin and the title at 8:40. Sorry Knockouts, but that was in no way shape or form a good match.
MATCH #6: I Quit Match – “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels
Much like Jerry Lynn and Rob Van Dam, haven’t these two wrestled each other enough? They start right away with a flurry of punches and whatnot. Basic submission holds are not enough to coax an I Quit out of either guy, as one might suspect. Momentum shifts back and forth until AJ knocks Daniels to the floor with The Dropkick and then follows him out with a somersault dive. Daniels goes under the ring and pulls out a toolbox. He throws a wrench at AJ but thankfully misses. Daniels then decides to try a screwdriver attack but AJ fights it off. They take it to the apron and Daniels sort of hits a Blue Thunder Driver on the edge of the ring frame. Back in the ring Daniels tries to get AJ to quite but it’s not happening so he hits the Best Moonsault Ever right on the back. Daniels locks on a single-leg crab and AJ reaches the ropes as the crowd tries to get AJ back into the match. A sizable group is cheering for Daniels too. Daniels goes out and gets a chair and sets in on AJ’s throat and tries to get him to Quit again but AJ still won’t. Daniels is spending too much time on the microphone, and even tells AJ’s wife to take the kids out of the room. This is getting ridiculous. It gives AJ time to recover and he unleashes a flurry of offense. AJ hits the back flip inverted DDT and an enziguiri. He follows with the springboard flying forearm and signals for the Styles Clash but Daniels blocks it with a uranage slam. Daniels tries another BME but misses and AJ hits the Pele and the Styles Clash. AJ grabs a chair but then changes his mind and grabs the screwdriver. Daniels pulls a JBL and quits before AJ can hit him at 13:48. It started off solid but there was way too much talking from Daniels and a ridiculous, ripped-off finish. How can this feud still be going on over five months later? I’ll live if these two never wrestle each other again. But since Daniels attacks AJ up on the ramp, that is obviously not going to be the case.
A Tale of Two Jeffs
Jeff Jarrett unexpectedly makes his way to the ring and immediately calls out Jeff Hardy, who has a DVD coming out in two days. He’s annoyed that Hardy keeps getting chance after chance and says the fans don’t want Hardy to be back. Hardy answers the challenge and attacks Jarrett right away. The brawl is on and security comes out to break them up.
MATCH #7: For Control of the Company – “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan fights “The Icon” Sting
Referee Jackson James is actually Eric Bischoff’s son, they revealed to us earlier. I don’t understand why they keep referring to this as a “fight” rather than a “match.” Before any contact is made, Hogan calls out Ric Flair to be in his corner. Dixie Carter, watching from ringside, is very upset with this development. Then, like all good fights, it starts with a headlock. Hogan takes Sting down with a shoulder block and throws his bandana at him. Oh, it’s on now. Hogan continues slowly abusing Sting, even throwing him to the floor, where Flair liberally interferes. Sting gets busted open and that fires him up. Flair distracts Sting for a while and then Sting gets back in the ring and bloodies Hogan’s head. Sting hits a couple of Stinger Splashes and then locks on the Scorpion Deathlock. Hogan taps away control of the company at 9:40. That was the kind of overbooked mess it needed to be, but if you need to book a match in that vein, why book it at all?
The Immortal crew of Eric Bischoff, Gunner, Bully Ray, and Scott Steiner come out and abuse Sting with chairs. Jackson takes a chair away from his dad, and then gets hit with a different chair by his pop. Abyss is watching from backstage, which they don’t explain at all. Hogan fires back and helps Sting clean house on his former stable mates.
MATCH #8: TNA World Heavyweight Championship – Kurt Angle vs. Bobby Roode
Angle has been the Champion since 8.7.11, and this is his fourth defense. Roode tries an early Crossface so Angle takes a powder. Back in the ring Angle kicks Roode low and goes to work. Angle starts using submission moves and suplexes, which brought him to the dance, so to speak. He goes up for a moonsault and Roode jumps up there and suplexes him down. Angle looks like he took a nasty bump there. They rise to their feet to slug it out and Roode wins that battle. Roode goes to the second rope and hits a Blockbuster for a two-count. Angle comes back with a DDT for two. Roode avoids the Angle Slam and hits a Spinebuster for a two-count. Tenay actually called it a “Spinebuster Style Move.” It’s just a spinebuster dude. Roode goes up top and Angle takes him down with a super belly-to-belly suplex. Not caring to sell it, Roode grabs Angle in the Crossface, which Angle reverses to the Ankle Lock, and Roode reverses right back to the Crossface. Angle gets out of that and hits the Angle Slam for two. He locks on the Ankle Lock but Roode kicks off and hits another Spinebuster. Roode then hits the Payoff for a two-count. Angle grabs the Ankle Lock again and Roode counters to a rollup for two. Roode goes up to the second rope and Angle repositions the referee in order to hit a low blow. Angle hits the Angle Slam and gets another two-count. He goes for rolling German Suplexes but Roode counters it into the Crossface, again, and Angle reaches the ropes. Angle reverses an Irish Whip and hits a Spear for two. He goes up top and jumps right into the Crossface. Angle slips out and they trade reversals until Angle hits the Angle Slam and he grabs onto the ropes for additional leverage to get the pin at 14:14. The referee looked confused about whether or not to make the third count, which makes the finish even more annoying. In the long run I’d say they did okay with Roode, but he REALLY should have won the title here rather than on Impact. He still could have turned heel on Storm and done all the same programs they did with him, but to have your big babyface get built up like Roode and not win the title on your biggest show of the year, that’s a mistake. The match itself was the usual barrage of finishers with almost nothing holding them together. So it was like every other Kurt Angle match.
BONUS MATCH: TNA World Tag Team Championship Match – Mexican America vs. Ink Inc.
Hernandez and Anarquia have been the Champions since 8.18.11, and this is their second defense. They’re accompanied to the ring by Sarita and Rosita. Ink Inc. is accompanied by their valet Toxxin. Anarquia and Shannon Moore start the match. Moore uses his speed to get an advantage and quickly makes the tag to Jesse Neal. The challengers try to isolate Anarquia in their half of the ring. Sarita and Rosita distract the referee, allowing Hernandez to illegally sneak in the ring and hit Moore with a backbreaker. Now the champions take control. They work Moore over for several minutes before “the Prince of Punk” is able to catch Anarquia with a moonsault off the top rope. Tags are made and the crowd goes mild. Neal is a house afire, hitting Hernandez with a Spear for a two-count. Moore clotheslines Anarquia to the floor and then tries to backdrop Neal onto him but they miss, so Moore hits him with an Asai Moonsault instead. Hernandez then goes for a dive but hits only his partner. Sarita and Rosita tease dives but Toxxin cuts them off. Anarquia gets back in the ring to confront Toxxin and gets his pants pulled down for his troubles. The referee loses control and Hernandez traps Neal in a schoolboy rollup to get the pin at 8:02. That was passable but I have no problems with this match being relegated to the preshow.
The Pulse: Once again TNA’s biggest show of the year falls flat, with an unbelievably absurd ending to the main event when all conventional logic dictated they should do the opposite. Sometimes the obvious ending is the right one. And like I said, Roode ended up fine but he still could be in the same place he is now had he won that match, and that’s what should have happened. The semi-main event was also a train wreck and a good microcosm of what’s wrong with TNA. There were a few bright spots on the undercard, and all the bonus material is a good addition to the DVD package, which you can purchase at ShopTNA.com.
Tags: Bobby Roode, bound for glory, Hulk Hogan, impact wrestling, Kurt Angle, Sting