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Universal Studios – Orlando, Florida – May 13, 2012
MATCH #1: TNA Tag Team Championship – Christopher Daniels & Kazarian vs. Samoa Joe & Magnis (c)
Joe and Magnus have been the Champions since 2.12.12, and this is their sixth defense. Magnus and Daniels start the match with some chain wrestling. The more powerful Magnus dominates, keeping Daniels on th emat and throwing him around. Magnus hits a swank vertical suplex, and soon tags out. Joe is in and he’s all over Daniels, a man he’s had some of the best matches in TNA history against. Kazarian pulls his partner to the floor to regroup a bit. Back in the ring Kazarian tags in officially and Joe swats him right down. The Champions show some excellent double-team skills and are able to keep Kazarian down. Daniels takes a cheap shot on Magnus from the apron, finally giving his team control. The challengers keep Magnus isolated in their half of the ring and wear him down. After several minutes Magnus is able to level Kazarian with a clothesline and make the tag. Joe is a house afire and he’s hard to stop when he’s in the zone. Magnus tags back in and and Kazarian takes Joe out with a jumping DDT. Daniels flattens Magnus with an STO for two. Joe and Kazarian brawl on the floor while Daniels hits Magnus with a uranage slam. Daniels can’t hit the BME and the Champions hit the snap mare / diving elbow drop finisher. Kazarian breaks up that cover. The challengers are able to isolate Magnus long enough to hit their version of Total Elimination to get the win and their first Tag Team Titles together at 10:53. To the shock of no one, these four showed good chemistry and had a rock solid opener to get the show started on the right note. I’m a little sad to see Joe and Magnus’ title reign end so soon, but they had a nice run and have obviously gone on to better things.
MATCH #2: TNA Knockout Championship – Gail Kim (c) vs. Miss Tessmacher
Kim has been the Champion since 11.13.11, and this is her sixth defense. The Champ sneak attacks her challenger to get the match going. Tessmacher awkwardly fights back and tries Kim’s own finisher, Eat Defeat, but Kim avoids it and slips to the floor. She gets lazy though and Tessmacher pulls her back in the hard way. Tessmacher tries Eat Defeat again and Kim slides to the floor. This time Kim is able to hang Tessmacher on the middle rope and take advantage. Kim dominates, focusing on Tessmacher’s back. After a few minutes Tessmacher is able to come back with a flying forearm. Both women are down. Back on their feet Tessmacher unleashes a flurry of offense. Tessmacher hits an X-Factor out of the corner and the crowd is behind her. She goes up top and hits a huge Diving elbow drop but it only gets a two-count. A series of reversals ends with Tessmacher finally hitting Eat Defeat, but Kim falls to the floor. Tessmacher brings her back in and covers but only gets two. She walks over to Kim, who scoops the legs and puts her own feet on the ropes for leverage to get the pin at 6:53. That was decent for the time given, and showed that Tessmacher was improving leaps and bounds.
MATCH #3: TNA Television Championship – Devon (c) vs. Robbie E vs. Robbie T
Devon has been the Champion since 3.18.12, and this is his sixth defense. Technically this is a three-way match, but I would expect the Robbies to work together. That’s exactly what happens in the early going but Devon is able to thwart their dual attacks and clothelines T to the floor. Devon unloads on E, the man he took the TV Title from about two months ago. He delivers a Thesz Press and then a Rock Bottom for two. T recovers and pulls Devon to the floor. That allows the Robbies to take control back in the ring. They double-team Devon a bit, and it seems as though they have agreed that E will be the winning Robbie tonight. Devon fights back and unleashes a flurry of offense, throwing E all over the place and then to the floor. He foolishly forgets about T and takes a Running Powerslam for his troubles. T covers but E pulls the referee off! Dissension in the Robbies! Devon takes advantage of thei arguing and rolls T up for the pin at 5:35. That was too short to be offensive or anything, but none of this match belongs on a show that a few people paid for.
After the match, T is still pissed at E. T looks like he may attack, but in the end he forgives his little buddy. The Robbies live to fight another day.
MATCH #4: “The Charismatic Enigma” Jeff Hardy vs. Mr. Anderson
It’s a feeling out process in the early going, which Mike Tenay says should come as no surprise. The pace begins to quicken and that puts the advantage on Hardy’s side. Hardy goes to work on the arm, and Anderson responds by doing the same. The fight spills to the floor and Hardy continues to control. Back in the ring Anderson makes a brief comeback but gets cut off and beat on some more. Finally Anderson makes the comeback for real and now he keeps Hardy on the mat. Anderson focuses on the arm for a good little while. Hardy comes back and lands the Mic Check and both men are down. Back on their feet Hardy puts a series of moves together and has the crowd juiced. Hardy tries Whisper in the Wind but Anderson avoids it. Anderson hits a Twist of Fate just to be a jerk and he gets a two-count. He goes for the Kenton Bomb but Hardy gets his knees up. Hardy goes to the top rope and lands the Swanton Bomb for a near-fall. They rise to their feet and exchange right hands. Hardy goes for the double legdrop but Anderson blocks it and traps Hardy in a cradle to get the surprising pin at 11:37. The finish was pretty awkward, but the match was okay up to that point. Anderson just isn’t very good though.
MATCH #5: Crimson vs. Eric Young (w/ ODB)
Crimson comes out and puts over his undefeated streak and then issues an open challenge. He brings a referee out and asks him to count his non-existent opponent out so he can add to his win total. Unfortunately for Crimson, his night off is ruined when Eric Young and ODB interrupt him. ODB wants to accept the challenge but Young won’t let her do that, and he takes the challenge himself. They miss the opening bell as Crimson attacks. I hate it when things screw up my match time. Anyway, Young puts together a series of offense ending in clotheslining Crimson to the floor. Back in the ring Young uses his unorthodox offense but gets caught by the throat and heaved to the floor. Crimson beats on Young on the floor, and gets in ODB’s face when she gets too close. Back in the ring Crimson covers for two. Crimson continues to dominate, so ODB tries to rescue her husband again. Crimson has no problem shoving ODB down, and she’s willing to put her hands on him so she has to accept the consequences. Young gets angry and strips down to his speedo. He unloads on offense, even hitting a beautiful Diving elbow drop. Young goes to check on ODB, and Crimson shoves him from behind, knocking ODB to the floor. Crimson then hits Red Sky to get the pin at 4:11. That was fine for the short time it ran.
MATCH #6: Austin Aries vs. Bully Ray
Aries is the current X-Division Champion, but the title is not on the line here. Bully talks some trash right away and Aries doesn’t back down from him at all. They stall some more, with Bully avoiding Aries by going to the floor and such. Aries finally gets his hands on him and he unloads with a flurry. Bully is able to cut him off and he spits right in Aries’ face. Aries answers with an open hand slap. They continue to trade control until Aries goes up top and Bully kicks him al the way down into the guardrail on the floor. Back in the ring the match is all Bully Ray, as Aries struggles to get back into the fight. Every time Aries tries to fight up, Bully has an answer for him and is able to keep him grounded. Bully hits a Rock Bottom for a near-fall. He follows with a pop-up Bubba Cutter for another two-count. This time Bully is shocked that Aries kicked out. Bully grabs his steel chain, and Joseph Park comes up through the crowd to the front row to argue with him about it. The distraction allows Aries to hit the Heat Seeking Missile. Back in the ring Aries goes with the theme by hitting a Missile Dropkick. Aries hits the IED and the Brainbuster but it only gets two! Back on their feet Bully goes for a Liger Bomb but Aries slips out and locks on the Last Chancery. Bully taps out at 13:16! I’m glad the Joseph Park stuff didn’t directly lead to the finish, as Aries still went over super clean there. This was a very good David versus Goliath match, that defintiely helped establish Aries as a main event level guy in TNA.
MATCH #7: Kurt Angle vs. “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles
They start with some mat wrestling, and AJ makes a good showing but of course he’s no Olympic Gold Medalist. AJ switches up the strategy and goes for an early Styles Clash but Angle counters to the Ankle Lock and AJ counters out of that. They continue to wrestle back and forth, with Angle using a headlock to keep AJ on the mat. AJ fights back and hits a vicious powerbomb. You know, one of these days Angle is going to take a move like that and his neck is just going to snap. The powerbomb leads to nothing, and then they fight on the floor because of reasons. Back in the ring AJ misses a Stinger Splash and Angle hits a belly-to-belly suplex. Angle is in control now and he pours the pressure on. After several minutes AJ is able to power up and he and Angle collide in mid-air when they both try cross body blocks. Back on their feet AJ is a house afire. AJ hits the Death Valley Neckbreaker for a two-count. He goes to the apron and comes back in with the springboard flying forearm for another near-fall. AJ throws Angle to the floor and follows him out with another springboard flying forearm. They make it back to the ring it’s actually Angle taking control. Angle hits a super belly-to-belly suplex for a two-count. AJ comes back with the Pele and then hits the Styles Clash! Angle kicks out at two. He pops up and hits AJ with a release German Suplex for a two-count. Both men rise and they trade punches. After a series of reversals Angle hits the Angle Slam for a near-fall. I don’t know why he’s surprised, he generally has to hit four or five to actually beat anyone. Angle hits a Styles Clash for another near-fall. He goes up for the moonsault but of course doesn’t hit it. AJ goes to the apron and looks for the springboard 450 but he can’t get all the way around so it ends up as more of a senton for a two-count. He goes back up top but Kazarian and Christopher Daniels come down to distract the referee and trip AJ up. Angle recovers and hits an Angle Slam for two. The straps come down and Angle puts on the Ankle Lock with the grapevine. AJ has no choice but to tap out at 20:42. You know, there was a time when that probably would have been regarded as great, but the fact is that Angle wrestles the exact same match every time now, with no selling, tons of finishers, and at some point he misses the moonsault. It just felt like one of those matches where they were trying to force an epic and it just didn’t work for me.
After the match, Daniels and Kazarian get in the ring to put the beatdown on AJ. Angle watches on briefly, and then decides to clear the ring of the Bad Influence.
MATCH #8: TNA World Heavyweight Championship Ladder Match – RVD vs. Bobby Roode (c)
Roode has been the Champion since 11.3.11, and this is his tenth defense. They exchange heated words to start and RVD takes first control. RVD throws Roode to the floor and then looks for something under the ring before going after the ladder. Roode fights back but RVD cuts him off and throws him into the barricade. RVD drapes him over the barricade and hits the 360 legdrop. Back in the ring Roode is able to catch RVD with a DDT. Roode goes out for the ladder and RVD dropkicks it back into him. RVD follows with a somersault dive over the top rope to wipe Roode out. It’s been almost all RVD for the first five minutes or so. RVD brings the ladder into the ring and sets it up, but Roode sneaks in from behind and throws RVD into it. Once again it doesn’t last long and RVD is right back in control. RVD wedges the ladder between the top and middle rope, but it backfires when Roode catapults him face-first into the ladder. Roode sets up the ladder at a slant using the ropes and tries a suplex. RVD reverses it (of course) and follows with a beautiful quebrada. He sits Roode in the corner and puts the ladder over him, and then delivers a chair-assisted dropkick. RVD brings out another ladder and climbs up, but Roode joins him and knocks him down. Of course RVD is able to knock Roode off as well, but Roode responds with a hard clothesline. Roode connects with a spinebuster right onto the second ladder, which looked brutal (in a good way). RVD comes back with a monkey flip onto the first ladder, and then he follows with Rolling Thunder. He hits the step-over spin kick, and Roode lands on top of the second ladder. RVD goes for the Five-Star Frog Splash but Roode moves and RVD hits nothing but ladder. Ouch. RVD rolls to the floor, and when he tries to get back in Roode hits him with a ladder to knock him off the apron. Roode goes up the ladder and RVD leaps off the top rope and tries to land on the ladder, but had too much momentum and he horribly twists his knee in the process. That looked really painful. Roode climbs back up and RVD tries to trail him, but Roode kicks him down and the back of RVD’s head cracks off a steel chair. That’s finally enough for Roode to climb up the ladder and retrieve his title belt for the win at 15:26. I thought the finish was exceptionally cool and I have not seen it done in a ladder match before so bonus point there, but the match was pretty dull. RVD never seemed to be in any danger until the very end when he lost, and he just kept making comeback after comeback. It really made for a lack of drama.