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Universal Studios – Orlando, Florida – January 8, 2012
Mike Tenay and Taz are on commentary.
MATCH #1: TNA X Division Championship 4-Way Elimination Match – Austin Aries (c) vs. Jesse Sorensen vs. Zema Ion vs. Kid Kash
Aries has been the Champion since 9.11.11, and this is his fifth defense. The champ bails to start the match, since you can’t get eliminated on the floor. The remaining three competitors try to score a quick pinfall but no one is eliminated in the opening minute. Sorensen and Ion end up in the ring and they take it to each other. Sorensen looks like a template for a Create-A-Wrestler. He hits a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Aries trips Sorensen from the floor and hits the slingshot twisting splash for two. He tires the quebrada but Sorensen gets the knees up. Everyone tries pinning the Champion with a rollup but no one is successful. Kash knocks Aries to the floor and wipes him out with a dive. Sorensen gets up on the ropes and Ion kicks his leg out of his leg. Ion goes up top and Kash joins him. Sorensen powerbombs them down in a Tower of Doom spot. Aries tires to pin each guy but only gets two-counts. He pitches Sorensen and Kash to the floor. Aries goes up top and Ion pushes him down onto Kash. Ion takes both Aries and Kash out with a twisting body press off the top rope. Sorensen then flies out with a dive to wipe out all three. Back in the ring Sorensen covers Aries for two. All four men battle in the ring. Ion hits Kash with a 450 Splash to score the first elimination at 6:05. Aries hits Sorensen with a 450 Splash but Sorensen kicks out. That’s dumb. Aries takes Ion down and sets up for the Pendulum Elbow, but he turns around into a cross body block off the top rope from Sorensen for a two-count. Sorensen hits Aries with a Suplex Crusher and Ion stupidly breaks up the cover and goes for the pin himself. Ion tries a DDT but Sorensen pushes him off and gets a small package to eliminate Ion at 8:04. We’re down to Aries and Sorensen, who both have a chance to pin each other but Ion has the referee distracted. Ion hangs around ringside and pulls Sorensen down from the top rope when the referee’s back is turned. Aries hits a nasty IED and then the Avalanche Brainbuster to get the pin and retain the title at 10:49. That was a good choice for an opener and everyone got to do some stuff. I’m not much a fan of any of the three challengers, but a format like this works for them.
MATCH #2: Devon vs. “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero w/ Terrence & Terrell
Terrence and Terrell are Devon’s twin sons, by the way. Devon runs out and attacks right away, clobbering the Pope with strikes. The fight spills to the floor and Devon has the full court press on, according to Tenay. Back in the ring Pope begs for mercy but gets none. Devon hits a Thesz Press and a falling headbutt. He goes up top but Pope knocks him down and hits a dropkick. That’s kind of a neat spot. Pope is on offense now and he works the midsection. He also does some other stuff, because Pope isn’t known for his air-tight psychology. Pope calls Terrence and Terrell into the ring and wants them to attack their own father. They don’t do it so Pope beats both of them up. Devon channels the Ultimate Warrior and powers up. He almost kills Pope with a back body drop or a flapjack, I’m not sure what it was supposed to be. Devon hits a powerslam for two. Pope comes back with the rope-assisted neckbreaker. He goes for the D’Angelo Dinero Express but Devon avoids it. Devon hits the Saving Grace to get the pin at 10:19. That was like an iMPACT! match but twice as long. The only thing more boring than Devon and Pope as a tag team is Devon and Pope wrestling each other.
MATCH #3: Rob Van Dam vs. Gunner w/ Ric Flair
This is a main event anywhere in the country, Gorilla Monsoon might say to make me feel better about watching this nothing match. They do some back and forth stuff in the early going and RVD takes an advantage so Gunner takes a powder to talk to Flair. Whatever Flair said seemed to work because Gunner goes back in the ring and takes control. Gunner dumps RVD to the floor and bodyslams him hard. RVD catches Gunner with a dropkick. He follows up with a slingshot legdrop on the apron. RVD goes up top and Gunner crotches him. Gunner goes up but RVD drops him down in a front suplex. RVD follows down with a cross body block for two. He follows with the thrust kick off the top rope. RVD hits Rolling Thunder for two. Gunner rolls to the floor and RVD goes for a dive but misses. Flair distracts the referee and Gunner delivers a DDT on the exposed concrete. Gunner throws RVD back in the ring and gets the pin at 6:50. This was another iMPACT! type match, but at least Gunner went over pretty strong. Then again, the Gunner push never went anywhere, so who cares?
MATCH #4: TNA Knockouts Championship – Gail Kim (c) vs. Mickie James
Kim has been the Champion since 11.13.11, and this is her second defense. Velvet Sky is going to be at ringside for this match to make sure Kim’s cohort Madison Rayne stays locked into a little shark cage called “The Velvet Touch,” which is the name of a porn shop in Kalamazoo.
The champion takes control in the early going, keeping James on the mat. James comes back with an O’Connor Roll for two. She keeps up the pressure but Kim is crafty and is able to regain control. Kim tries a cross body block but James cuts her out of the air with a dropkick. Kim goes right back in control though and uses a Dragon Sleeper. James escapes it and unleashes a flurry of offense. Kim comes back with an Octopus Hold and James breaks it with a slam for two. James dumps Kim to the floor, and the Champion gets distracted by Sky. Kim walks into a hurricanrana. Back in the ring James hits a Thesz Press off the top rope for two. Kim comes back with a backbreaker. Rayne tries to toss Kim brass knuckles from the cage but she blows it and James gets a hold of them. James hits Kim with the knuckles right in front of the referee for the DQ at 6:18. That was typical Knockouts stuff with a stupid finish.
MATCH #5: Monsters Ball Match – Bully Ray vs. Abyss
Bully avoids Abyss in the early going, likely trying to play some mind games. He brings a chair back in with him and Abyss grabs one too. They swing at each other and Bully actually wins that battle. Bully clobbers Abyss with the chair to no effect. Abyss hits a Chokeslam but Bully pops up and hits a big boot, which Abyss gets right back up from. Bully grabs his chain and Abyss picks up the chair again. This time Abyss wins the battle. Abyss goes outside and starts hurling weapons into the ring. Bully gets a couple of shots in so Abyss goes outside the ring and finds Janice. Abyss swings and Bully wisely gets out of dodge. Bully heads backstage and Abyss follows him. They quickly start fighting back towards the ring. Bully whips Abyss into a barbed wire board set up at ringside, and then throws it at him. Abyss fights back but he’s bleeding from a few different places now. He finds a bag of thumbtacks. Before he can use them he uses a cheese grater on Bully’s nut sack region. The tacks get poured out and Abyss goes for a Chokeslam. Bully blocks it and hits a low blow. He goes out and grabs a table and brings it into the ring. Bully sets up the table but it backfires and Abyss chokeslams him through it. Abyss brings a couple of barbed wire boards into the ring but Bully slams him on one of them for a two-count. Bully stacks the other board on top of Abyss and hits a senton off the second rope! Amazingly that only gets two. Bully grabs Janice but runs right into a Chokeslam onto the tacks! Abyss covers and gets just a two-count! Bully fights back with a trash can lid. He grabs a kendo stick and hits Abyss with it repeatedly. Bully then walks right into a Black Hole Slam onto one of the barbed wire boards, and Abyss gets the pin at 15:28. These two have good chemistry together and this was a well worked hardcore match. The finish came a bit out of nowhere, but still a Black Hole Slam onto a barbed wire board is pretty definitive.
MATCH #6: TNA Tag Team Championship – Crimson & Matt Morgan (c) vs. Samoa Joe & Magnus
Crimson and Morgan have been the Champions since 11.17.11, and this is their third defense. Joe and Magnus beat three teams (Douglas Williams & Robbie E, Eric Young & ODB, and AJ Styles & Kazarian) in the Wild Card tournament to earn this title shot. Morgan and Joe start the match. They’ve had some decent singles matches in the past. Immediately they start throwing hands and Joe hits an enziguiri so Morgan responds with a hard clothesline. Magnus and Crimson tag in and the undefeated one takes control, hitting a neckbreaker. Morgan tags in and hits the elbows in the corner. Crimson comes back in and whips Morgan into Magnus. He hits an exploder for two. Magnus catches Crimson with a kick and makes the tag. Joe hits Crimson with the STJoe. The challengers are in control and have Crimson isolated in their half of the ring. Meanwhile, Bully Ray is beating on Abyss somewhere backstage. Back to the match, Crimson catches Joe with a Spear and tags are made. Morgan is a house afire and throws his opponents around the ring. He hits Magnus with the Hellevator but Joe breaks it up. The challengers focus on Morgan and almost get the pin on him. Crimson and Magnus spill to the floor, so Joe takes Crimson out with the elbow suicida. Crimson whips Joe into the steps. Meanwhile, in the ring Morgan comes back and tries a Chokeslam but Magnus escapes. Crimson gets back in the ring and they catch Joe with a double-team Chokeslam to get the pin at 9:12. Joe and Magnus are a good team and this match was was more fun that it had any right to be.
MATCH #7: Kurt Angle vs. “Cowboy” James Storm
Angle stalls to start to try and psychs Storm out. Storm tries an early Last Call but Angle avoids it and rolls to the floor. Back in the ring Storm continues to press the advantage and again goes for the Last Call and Angle takes another powder. Angle tries to get back in the ring but Storm knocks him right back out and follows him with a house show dive. Back inside Storm unleashes strikes in the corner. Angle comes back with a stun gun and a belly-to-belly suplex. Now Angle is in control and he keeps Storm on the mat, just like he promised he would. After a few minutes Storm catches Angle with a side Russian Legsweep. Storm follows up with a series of strikes and the crowd is firing up. He hits a lungblower for a two-count. Angle ducks a clothesline and starts the rolling German suplexes, hitting three of them. He goes up top and hits a moonsault for a two-count. Angle locks on the Ankle Lock but Storm kicks out of it, ducks a clothesline, and hits a boot to the gut and a DDT for two. Storm tries to hit the Last Call again but Angle catches it and goes for the Angle Slam, and Storm is able to slip out of that an hit an enziguiri from the apron. Angle hits a back elbow and the Angle Slam for a two-count. The straps come down and Angle signals for a Last Call of his own but Storm catches it and hits a Codebreaker. Storm follows with an Ace Crusher for two. Storm goes up top and hits an elbow drop for a near-fall. He sets up the Last Call but Angle pulls the referee in front and delivers a low blow. Angle then hits his own Last Call to get the pin at 13:42. For two talented workers that was sinfully boring and the finish was exceptionally weak.
MATCH #8: TNA World Heavyweight Championship – Bobby Roode (c) vs. Jeff Hardy
Roode has been the Champion since 11.3.11, and this is his fifth defense. The champ controls the early portion of the match, as Hardy seems slightly off his game. Just as I type that Hardy puts together a sequence of offense and scores a near-fall. Roode cuts him off with an eye rake. Hardy sends Roode to the floor and hits a clothesline off the apron. He throws Roode into the steps, and then runs and jumps off the steps to hit a leg lariat up against the barricade. Back in the ring Hardy covers for two. Hardy goes for Whisper in the Wind but Roode shoves him down and Hardy lands hard on his junk. Roode takes control now and starts wearing Hardy down. The beating takes place both in and out of the ring, as Roode just dissects Hardy. Roode goes to the second rope but takes time to mock Hardy and eats a couple of bots to the face for his troubles. Both men get to their feet and Hardy is firing up. Hardy unleashes a series of offense but then runs right into a spinebuster for a two-count. Roode puts Hardy up top and goes for a superplex but Hardy shoves him back to the canvas. Hardy looks for the Swanton but Roode rolls to the floor. Roode looks ready to be counted out but Hardy won’t allow it. Back in the ring Roode hits the Payoff but only gets two. Hardy hits a Twist of Stunner and then the Whisper in the Wind for a near-fall. He goes for another Twist of Fate but Roode rolls to the floor and tries to get counted out. Hardy pulls Roode back into the ring with the belt. Roode tries to use it but the referee takes it away. When the referee turns around he sees Roode covering Hardy with his feet on the ropes so he reprimands the champ. Hardy grabs a quick rollup and gets two. Roode asks for a timeout and then kicks the referee square in the nuts. Hardy hits the Twist of Fate but of course the referee called for the disqualification at 19:40. The match was fine and these two are decent opponents, but man that finish sucked. It led to a No-DQ match on free TV if I’m not mistaken, which is the exact opposite way that wrestling used to be booked. I miss those days. No wonder TNA is going to four pay-per-views a year, when they present stuff like this in the main event, who would buy it?
Tags: Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, genesis, Jeff Hardy, TNA