1. Opening video promo was very nWo, including distortion, odd voice effects, and basic promises if destruction. Not saying that’s good or bad, just saying.
2. Opening match was the X-Division ultimate X match, Chris Sabin v Suicide v Kenny King (c). Let the spots begin! While this match was great with some stuff that was damn impressive, moves that should have killed them were sold as though they’d merely been bitch-slapped by Tom Cruise (stings a bit, but does no real damage whatsoever), and the set ups were obvious in too many spots.
3. One of the few 3-way matches I’ve seen that was a 3-way the whole way through, not a series of 1-on-1 matches with some 3-way bits as linking sequences.
4. Sabin wins, and that was a fun match and a great opener to get the crowd on side. 7/10
5. Hogan comes out to congratulate a bloodied Sabin, and the pop was rather anaemic. The response did improve, though. It is announced that at Destination X the X-Division champ will get a title shot. He then rambles on, and calls the crowd Macho Man. WTF? He is interrupted by Anderson and the rest of Aces & Eights and this just dropped another three notches. Anderson rambles. Hogan rambles. This lasts waaaaaaaaay too long.
6. Hogan announces a 6-man match: Mr Anderson, Garrett Bischoff and Briscoe v Magnus, Samoa Joe and Jeff Hardy. All that talking to set up this match?
7. Hardy’s make-up is just Egyptian eyes and Shawn Michaels’ beard. Oh, and body paint. And his pop is not roof blow-off.
8. Why is Anderson still employed? He sucked at Jokers Wild, and he sucked here. He was the worst wrestler on the A&8s side. Yes, worse than Bischoff.
9. Magnus is one of the most underrated wrestlers in either company. Joe is one of the most over wrestlers today. And this seems to be one case where the break-up of a tag team has not resulted in absolute hatred between the former members.
10. Look, this was an okay match, with a nice finishing sequence, and the crowd got into it. 6.5/10
11. Borash does a nice bit about 11 years ago. I like Borash. But he interviews Joseph Park, and, sorry, but after Jokers Wild I’ve had enough of him, and I had already had enough of Abyss. A&8s jump him before Devon’s match with him, though.
12. Gut check tournament final – Jay Bradley v Sam Shaw. Crowd doesn’t seem to care for either guy. Match was not a good one. Bradley wins with the “boom stick” lariat and goes into the Bound For Glory series. 3.5/10
13. Borash’s backstage interview with Roode and Aries was actually entertaining.
14. TV Title match doesn’t happen because Joseph Park can’t answer the 10-count to even make it to the ring. Devon then runs down Park, and his brother Abyss and says that if Abyss was there, he’d beat him too. Of course, that brings out Abyss, so instead we have TV title: Devon (c) v Abyss. Interesting way to do this.
15. Well, good to see that Abyss is still just Abyss. Abyss wins with the usual. New champ. 4/10
16. TNA hall of fame announcement is next, and all the TNA stars (except Aces & Eights) come out to hear it, which is a really good touch. Makes it feel less corporate.
17. Kurt Angle is a good choice and he looks genuinely surprised by it. He delivers a really good speech, and even thanks Jeff Jarrett. Everyone sort of breaks Kayfabe – even Taz – and that adds a strangely surreal touch. So positives and negatives for doing the Hall of Fame this way.
18. Bad Influence with Borash and they deliver a very fine promo. The tag team promos have been really good tonight.
19. Video recap of Storm picking Gunner. Having seen him at Jokers Wild, I think it’s actually not a bad choice.
20. Four team tag team elimination title match: Bad Influence (Kazarian and Daniels) v Austin Aries & Bobby Roode v James Storm & Gunner v Hernandez & Chavo Guerrero Jr (c). Elimination rules is a great idea.
21. Long opening sequence before Bad Influence are first eliminated via belt-assisted DQ. Then Aries rolls up Chavo straight away for the second elimination so we will get new champs. This match has been non-stop. Aries eats a Storm superkick into a Gunner torture rack for the submission win, giving us new tag team champs – Storm & Gunner. 7.5/10. Yeah, good match, though I question Gunner kicking out of a 450 and using a torture rack as a finisher.
22. Borash with Brooke Hogan. She’s getting better with her delivery. Not great, but better. Borash asks about her still loving Bully Ray and she excuses herself and leaves. Short and made its point without belabouring it.
23. Last knockout standing match: Gail Kim v Taryn Terrell. ODB is new Knockouts ref, and it’s odd having a ref bigger than the competitors.
24. This match has been getting a lot of love, and that’s because it is probably the best women’s match on TNA or WWE for a long, long time. Terrell wins when Kim can’t answer a 10-count after a diamond cutter from the ramp to the floor. According to the audience: “holy sh*t.” Holy sh*t indeed. 7/10
25. The video recap of Styles v Angle did not help me make sense of the reason they’re fighting.
26. Kurt Angle v AJ Styles, from a wrestling standpoint, was the match of the night. By far. A very mat-based style of match – different to the fights they’ve had in the past – and damn if the counters and reversals of submission moves didn’t look fine. Angle won with a double leg takedown into a stack-up pin (according to Taz). 8.5/10
27. The wrong guy went over. AJ is a lone wolf, and that’s the storyline, and that’s cool. It’s vaguely different. So why in the hell did he lose? It said he might be a loner, but he’s also a Loser. How does that elevate the storyline? I guess we’ll wait and see but it felt counterproductive to me.
28. Bully Ray tells the camera that he’s going to piledrive Sting. Interestingly different promo.
29. Main event world heavyweight championship no holds barred match: Sting v Bully Ray (c), where if Sting loses he can never wrestle again for the TNA heavyweight title (whew!). The first 80% of the match was an intense brawl, although Sting kicking out of things like a powerbomb through a table and a piledriver on the exposed wood of the ring seemed a little over the top. Still, the brawl concept well hid the deficiencies of both men.
30. Brooke coming out and looking concerned was an odd distraction.
31. To the crowd: ECW is dead and the corpse is owned by Vince. Chanting “E-C-Dub” is really meaningless nowadays. On the other hand, your “Holy sh*t” chant was more than warranted, and then the “TNA” chant was much better.
32. The ridiculously overbooked ending actually detracted from the start of the match. What could have been a great, different sort of match become an nWo styled beat-down. All that was missing was a can of spray paint.
33. Where in the hell were the rest of the good guys when Aces and Eights were beating down on Sting?
34. Bully Ray won with a Greco-Roman hammer shot to Sting’s head. 6.5/10
35. Average match rating: 6.3
36. Actually this was a good PPV. A few low points, and a stupidly overbooked ending, but generally an entertaining show.
DISCLAIMER: I have been accused in comments and by email of not knowing what I am talking about when it comes to professional wrestling. So these simple thoughts are merely those of someone who has been watching wrestling for more than 30 years and has been stepping into the ring as an appallingly underskilled indy jobber for nigh on 20 years, as a former state level gymnast and as one of the worst boxers in the history of the sport. I apologise for knowing nothing.
Tags: 2013, Aces & Eights, AJ Styles, Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, Brooke Hogan, Bully Ray, chavo guerrero, chris sabin, Gail Kim, Hall Of Fame, Hulk Hogan, James Storm, Jeff Hardy, Knockouts, Kurt Angle, nWo, Samoa Joe, Slammiversary, Sting, TNA, X-Division