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Universal Studios – Orlando, Florida – September 9, 2012
MATCH #1: Bound For Glory Series Semifinal – “The Samoan Submission Machine” Samoa Joe vs. “The Charismatic Enigma” Jeff Hardy
Joe finished in second place with 68 points, and Hardy finished in fourth place with 59 points. They start slowly with a feeling out process, since they just wrestled each other the previous Thursday on IMPACT Wrestling. Hardy executes a headscissors that sends Joe to the floor. He tries to follow him out but Joe catches him and slams him into the ring apron. Joe tries the ring steps but Hardy comes back and slams Joe’s face off the steel. Hardy then jumps off the ring apron to wipe Joe out with a clothesline. Back in the ring Joe fights back with the Big Joe Combo. Joe continues the assault and keeps Hardy on the mat. He hits the snap powerslam for two. Hardy tries to fight up but Joe sends him to the floor and wipes him out with the elbow suicida. Back inside Joe covers for two. Finally Hardy makes a comeback and takes Joe down with a clothesline. Hardy is fired up, unleashing a flurry of offense. He hits the Whisper in the Wind for a near-fall. Hardy charges into the corner and Joe grabs him for the STJoe. Joe goes for the Muscle Buster but Hardy fights it off and hits a tornado Twist of Fate! That was pretty cool. Hardy goes up top but Joe knocks him down. Joe goes for the Muscle Buster but Hardy counters with a sunset flip for two. Hardy locks on the same arm submission he used on Joe on Thursday but Joe escapes into a pin cover, which Hardy reverses to a crucifix to get the pin at 12:34! That was terrific stuff from two of the most unique wrestlers in TNA. Joe dominated with his power and Hardy had to persevere and fight back with his agility and his cunning, and it just happened to work out for him. It’s the kind of finish that helped both guys look good rather than coming off like one of them scored a fluke.
MATCH #2: Bound For Glory Series Semifinal – “Cowboy” James Storm vs. Bully Ray
Storm finished first with 73 points and earned the right to pick from the other three opponents who he wanted to face. He picked Bully Ray, who finished third with 62 points because Ray defeated him in a semifinal match at last year’s No Surrender. Ray stalls a lot, just like he did last year. Storm looks confident in the opening minutes while Ray stalls. Every time Ray tries something on Storm, the Cowboy fights back and unloads on his rival. They take the fight to the floor and Storm continues to dominate. Back in the ring Storm tries the Last Call but misses, and Ray kicks his leg out of his leg. Then instead of working the leg, Ray locks on a bearhug. Storm breaks free of that but Ray cuts him off with a big boot for two. Ray continues to beat on Storm, keeping him on the mat. You can’t superkick anyone laying on your back ya know. Ray hits some mounted punches in the corner and Storm counters with a powerbomb for a near-fall. Storm gets rolling now, landing an enziguiri and a high cross body block off the top rope for two. Ray counters with a side suplex for a two-count. Storm gets a crucifix for two, and then hits another enziguiri. He then accidentally bumps the referee. Ray hits the Bubba Bomb, and I love that they never changed the name of that move to the Bully Bomb. A new referee comes in but only gets a two-count. Ray goes up to the second rope and misses a back senton. Storm tries to fight back but knocks out the second referee as well. He revives the first referee and then hits Ray with the Codebreaker, which causes Ray to bump the referee. Storm hits the Last Call but there is no one there to count. Bobby Roode comes out and cracks a beer bottle on Storm’s head and pulls Ray over to make the cover. The ref recovers and makes the count, sending Ray to the finals against Jeff Hardy at 13:53. That was an okay back and forth match, and I do like that Ray has Storm’s number in the BFG Series. I seriously think they blew it with Storm, but at least all the shenanigans in this match helped further the feud with Roode heading into Bound for Glory, so at least it served a clear purpose. That leaves us with Bully Ray versus Jeff Hardy in the finals.
MATCH #3: TNA Knockouts Championship – Miss Tessmacher vs. Tara
Tessmacher has been the Champion since 8.16.12, and this is her first defense. Taryn Terrell is the referee for this Championship match. Tessmacher and Tara are former Knockouts Tag Team Champions, so this is a mentor versus student matchup. They start with some chain wrestling, both Knockouts trying to set the pace. Things get a little awkward and Tessmacher ends up on the floor. Tara invites her back in the ring and then surprises her with a rollup for two. Tessmacher looks irritated but she has no one but herself to blame. She responds with armdrags and an armbar. Things get heated and the pace quickens. The champion is looking good here, but Tara cuts her off. Tara hits the spinning side slam for two. She sets Tessmacher up top and hits a superplex for another two-count. Tara goes for the Widow’s Peak but Tessmacher counters to a sunset flip to get the flash pin at 6:35. That was perfectly adequate but not exciting or memorable in any way.
MATCH #4: TNA X Division Championship – Zema Ion vs. Sonjay Dutt
Ion has been the Champion since 7.8.12, and this is his third defense. They start off quickly, taking it to each other. Dutt scores the first big blow with a clothesline that sends Ion to the floor. Ion snaps Dutt’s neck across the top rope, but Dutt immediately recovers. Dutt hits a headscissors that sends Ion to the floor and follows him out with a baseball slide. He hits another headscissors. Back in the ring Ion catches a leaping Dutt with a gutbuster. Ion goes to work now, slowing the pace and keeping Dutt on the mat, focusing on his injured shoulder. Dutt almost makes a comeback but Ion cuts him off. Moments later Dutt actually does make the comeback with yet another headscissors that sends the Champ to the floor. He unloads with a series of strikes and the crowd is firing up. Dutt takes Ion down with a hurricanrana from the top rope and then lands a standing moonsault for two. A back and forth exchange ends with Ion on the floor and Dutt wipes him out with a moonsault from the second rope. Back in the ring Dutt hits a springboard Superfly Splash for a near-fall. Dutt tries a hurricanrana but Ion catches him in a powerbomb. Ion locks on the Rings of Saturn. That’s a great move given Dutt’s injured shoulder. Dutt reaches the ropes. He pops up and hits the Sonjay Cutter. Dutt goes up top for the Moonstomp but misses and that turns into a series of pinning combination reversals but neither man can get a pin. Ion is able to catch Dutt and hit him with the Gory Bomb to score the pin and retain the title at 11:31. That was solid stuff for the 2012 X Division, but it’s such a far cry from the glory days. These two had pretty good chemistry together but could have used some more juice in their feud.
MATCH #5: Magnus vs. RVD
They start with some mat wrestling and Magnus takes the advantage. RVD wisely plays to his strengths, coming back with a flurry of kicks that send Magnus to the floor. Out at ringside RVD whips Magnus into the barricade, and then sets him up on it to hit the spin kick off the apron but Magnus moves! That should change the momentum of the match. Back in the ring Magnus covers for two. RVD tries to fight back with kicks but that’s hard to do with an injured leg dummy. Of course RVD does all the usual running and flipping he normally does, never mind the leg injury. Magnus uses a Texas Cloverleaf and RVD reaches the ropes. The wear down continues and Magnus hits a flying elbow from the second rope for a near-fall. RVD fights back with kicks and doesn’t even show so much as a limp. He hits Rolling Thunder for a two-count. Magnus fights back and goes up top but RVD slams him down. RVD tries the stupid somersault monkey flip but Magnus drops him with a clothesline for two. Magnus tries the Cloverleaf again but RVD kicks his way out of it. RVD goes up top and hits the Five-Star Frog Splash to get the pin at 10:07. Magnus REALLY could have used a win there, as RVD was on the fast track to nothing at this point. The match was okay when Magnus was on offense, but RVD just refused to sell the leg at all and that shit annoys me.
MATCH #6: TNA World Tag Team Championship – Christopher Daniels & Kazarian vs. “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles & Kurt Angle
Daniels and Kazarian have been the Champions since 6.28.12, and this is their third defense. Daniels and Angle start the match. Angle takes the first control and immediately starts wearing Daniels down. The challengers work together and keep Daniels reeling in the opening minutes. Even when Kazarian tags in Styles and Angle continue to control the flow. Finally Kazarian is able to catch Styles with a monkey flip. That puts the Champions in control and they are delighted to isolate Styles in their half of the ring. After several minutes Styles is able to slip out of a belly-to-back suplex and make the hot tag. Angle is all over the Champions with strikes and suplexes. Kazarian cuts him off and hits the slingshot DDT. The Champions wear Angle down and keep him away from his partner. Kazarian goes up top and Angle takes him down with a Super release German Suplex. Tags are made and the two long-time rivals Styles and Daniels take it to each other. Styles gets the better of it but can’t yet put Daniels away. Angle tags in and hits a Superfly Splash but it only gets two. The straps come down and Kazarian takes the Angle Slam. Daniels gets one too and Angle covers him for two. Angle puts Daniels in the Ankle Lock and Kazarian breaks it up with an enziguiri. Styles gets the tag and he’s all over both Daniels and Kazarian. He hits Kazarian with the Pele for a two-count. Angle keeps Daniels subdued with an Ankle Lock while Styles hits Kazarian with the springboard 450 Splash. Somehow Kazarian kicks out at two! Kazarian and Styles battle on the top rope and Kazarian hits an ugly Flux Capacitor for a near-fall. The referee loses control. Angle clotheslines Daniels to the floor to leave just two in the ring. The referee checks on Angle, so Daniels throws the Appletini in Styles’ face. Kazarian rolls Styles up for the pin at 19:29. That was the good match from these four you would expect, but what a stupid finish. No wonder no one takes Daniels and Kazarian as a serious threat in any kind of environment.
MATCH #7: Bound For Glory Series Final – “The Charismatic Enigma” Jeff Hardy vs. Bully Ray
They’re really putting on a pay-per-view main event of Bubba Ray Dudley versus Jeff Hardy. Since Hardy was assaulted by the Aces & Eights earlier, he doesn’t come out when his music is played. Instead Hulk Hogan makes his way out. Hogan says they can wait until IMPACT Wrestling in four days, or Bully can take a countout win. Hardy makes his way out and we’re going to have the match tonight with Hardy injured. I would have loved it if TNA just screwed the fans out of a main event (such as it is) and just done the match on free TV instead.
Ray looks a little reluctant to take it to the injured Hardy, but he offers a fist bump and away they go. The match starts slowly, and Ray attacks Hardy’s injury, which is just good strategy. Ray doggedly attacks the left shoulder and the crowd tries to will Hardy back into it. Eventually Hardy is able to come back a little bit and hit the Twist of Stunner. Hardy goes up top and lands the Swanton Bomb but Ray kicks out at two! Ray comes back with the Bubba Bomb for a near-fall. He charges into the corner and hits nothing but feet. Hardy hits the Whisper in the Wind for two. He goes up for another one but misses and lands hard. Ray hits the Bubba Cutter but again only gets a two-count! Hardy hits a proper Twist of Fate and goes up top but misses the Swanton Bomb. Ray hits another Bubba Cutter for another two-count. Hardy avoids a charge in the corner and hits a Twist of Stunner and then the Twist of Fate. He goes up and Ray knocks him down on his nuts. Ray goes up but Hardy knocks him down and hits the Swanton Bomb to get the pin and win the Bound for Glory Series at 12:24. That was dreadfully dull, and maybe only six legitimate moves were used repeatedly throughout the match. I get what they were going for with Hardy, but putting him against Ray just made it a foregone conclusion. Knowing where the story eventually went it makes sense but that doesn’t make this main event immediately more compelling. It was bad.
Tags: Bully Ray, impact wrestling, James Storm, Jeff Hardy, No Surrender, Samoa Joe, TNA