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College Park Center – Arlington, Texas – June 10, 2012
Mike Tenay and Taz are on commentary.
MATCH #1: TNA X Division Championship – Austin Aries (c) vs. Samoa Joe
Aries has been the Champion since 9.11.11, and this is his eleventh defense. The weight limit for the X-Division at this point was 225 pounds, but since Aries had no one credible in the division to face, Hulk Hogan said it would be okay if Joe challenged for the title. Seems kind of lame, but given the choice of Aries versus Joe or Aries versus someone like Zema Ion or another X-Division goof, I’ll take Aries versus Joe.
Here’s a question – if Joe wins the title what do they do with the weight limit? They start with some chain wrestling. Joe tries using strikes and power, while Aries to to use his quickness and out-wrestle Joe. Aries knocks Joe to the floor with a hurricanrana. He tries the Heat Seeking Missile but Joe cuts him off with a kick to the face. Back in the ring Joe presses the advantage. Joe realizes Aries’ face is dirty, so he helpfully washes it for him. He hits a snap powerslam for two. Joe continues to beat on Aries, but when he tries a senton splash Aries gets his knees up. Even so, Joe quickly comes back and kicks Aries to the floor. Joe goes for a dive but Aries avoids it and is able to drill Joe with the Heat Seeking Missile. Back in the ring Aries hits a missile dropkick. Aries goes for the IED but Joe catches him and hits the Island Driver for two. They rise to their feet and trade strikes. Aries tries a rana but Joe catches him in a powerbomb for a near-fall. Joe turns it into the Samoan Crab and then the STF but Aries will not give up. The challenger adds a new wrinkle when he turns it into the Rings of Saturn and then turns that into a cradle for two. Joe puts Aries on the top rope and tries a superplex. Aries pushes him down and hits the 450 Splash but Joe kicks out! Back on their feet Joe puts on the Choke and Aries is successfully able to counter it into a cradle for two. Aries runs into the STJoe, and the challenger is fired up. Joe goes for the Muscle Buster but Aries slips out and hits a Crucifix Bomb. Aries lands a kick to the head and a discuss forearm shot. He follows up with the IED and a Brainbuster to get the pin at 11:47. That felt like a truncated version of their classic series in ROH. It certainly woke the crowd up, but everything else may have a hard time following.
MATCH #2: Hernandez vs. Kid Kash
This is a random match with no back story. They start brawling right away and they’re cutting a fast pace. Hernandez shoulderblocks Kash to the floor and looks for a dive but Kash moves out of the way before Air Mexico takes flight. Back in the ring Hernandez continues throwing Kash around. Kash fights back with a drop toehold into the ropes. The former X Division Champion focuses on Hernandez’s arm, which is good strategy to neutralize the strength of his larger opponent. Kash hits a tornado DDT that sends Hernandez to the apron. Hernandez is able to come back in with a slingshot shoulderblock. Back on their feet Hernandez unleashes a series of strikes that send Kash to the floor. Hernandez hits the dive this time and Kash is laid out. Back in the ring Kash counters the Border Toss. They fight up on the top rope and Hernandez shoves Kash down. Hernandez comes down with a Superfly Splash to get the win at 5:51. This was fine and all, but belongs on TV and not the second biggest pay-per-view of the year. And there is no way Hernandez is going to be taken as a singles threat if he has that much trouble with Kid Kash. No offense Kid. But for real, give me back those beers you and Noble took from my fridge you dick.
MATCH #3: Robbie E & Robbie T vs. Devon & Garett Bischoff
Bischoff and E start the match, and Bischoff is all fired up, sending E reeling to the corner to make a tag. T tries to use his power but Bischoff is able to out-maneuver him. E has to cheat to give his team the advantage. Meanwhile, Madison Rayne is looking on from the entrance. She looks weird, and I have no idea where (if anywhere) this ever went. The Robbies double-team Bischoff for a while but can’t put him away. Oh wait, was this the thing where Rayne was obsessed with referee Earl Hebner? I don’t think that really went anywhere either but I could just be forgetting. Finally the hot tag is made and Devon comes in. Yes, Devon has the second most important title in the company. Devon is a house afire, throwing the Robbies around and looking dominant. Yes, Devon. In 2012. Devon hits E with a big splash and a uranage slam. He follows with a squash in the corner and a flying shoulderblock for two. T had to break that one up. He takes a few more shots at Devon but then goes off the ropes and Bischoff pulls the ropes down. Bischoff then takes T out with a cross body off the apron. Devon hits E with the spinebuster to score the win at 5:57. Watching Devon and Garett dance together after the match is almost worse than the match existing in the first place. I will admit that it’s nice when four guys I don’t care for are in one match instead of spread throughout the card.
MATCH #4: Three Way No. 1 Contender Match – Rob Van Dam vs. Mr. Anderson vs. Jeff Hardy
The winner of this match gets a shot at the title on the next Impact. All three men try to set the pace early on, and Hardy is the one most successful at doing so. Hardy uses Anderson’s back to hit the Poetry in Motion on RVD for a two-count. Everyone gets their shot to be in control, but no one’s lasts too long. They try to work in a Tower of Doom spot but Anderson instead throws RVD to the floor and then brings Hardy down with a superplex. RVD tries to sneak back in with a Five-Star Frog Splash, but both men move. What’s dumb about that is that RVD just kind of jumped in between them – who was he hoping to hit? The boners in the crowd chant “This Is Wrestling.” RVD takes control for a bit, hitting Anderson with a split-legged moonsault for two. Momentum continues to shift and Kennedy takes brief control. RVD and Anderson end up on the floor and Hardy wipes them out with a dive off the top rope. All three men are down outside the ring. Back inside Hardy hits RVD with Whisper in the Wind but it only gets two. Hardy hits the Twist of Fate and goes up top. He hits the Swanton but Anderson pulls the referee off the count. Anderson pitches Hardy to the floor. RVD kicks Anderson right in the face. He goes for Rolling Thunder but Anderson pops up and hits the Mic Check for the win at 11:24. Anderson got his title shot four days later and lost, and this match was never thought of again. None of these three are my favorite but the action was non-stop and it was fun to watch.
MATCH #5: Crimson issues an Open Challenge
Crimson has been undefeated for 470 days. James Storm, who has not been seen since losing to Bobby Roode at Lockdown, makes his return to accept the challenge. Storm doesn’t even wait to take off his jacket, hat, and sunglasses. He unloads with right hands and clotheslines Crimson to the floor. Storm suplexes Crimson back in the ring and unleashes more right hands. Crimson fights back and slugs Storm down. He chokes Storm with his own jacket. Storm shoots out of the corner with a clothesline. He is a house afire, hitting a series of moves including an inverted atomic drop and the Codebreaker. Storm then drills Crimson with the Last Call superkick to definitively end the Streak at 2:11. Not that I’m the world’s biggest Crimson fan, but if, as a company, you had invested almost 500 days into an undefeated streak, wouldn’t you want to do something bigger to end it than wasting it on a guy who would have gotten a huge pop no matter how he returned? Crimson took this loss by doing nothing about it and not appearing on TV anymore. I think he’s still under contract but he has done nothing of note since this.
MATCH #6: TNA Knockouts Championship – Gail Kim (c) vs. Miss Tessmacher
Kim has been the Champion since 11.13.11, and this is her eighth defense. Tessmacher is in her home state here, so she may have an advantage. They go back and forth and the fight quickly spills to the floor, where Kim takes advantage. Back in the ring Tessmacher quickly reclaims control with a turn around clothesline off the second rope. Tessmacher hits a hurricanrana and goes for a victory roll but Kim drops her neck-first on the top rope. Kim goes on offense and hits a shoulder breaker for two. She continues to work the arm and do other stuff to the plucky challenger. Tessmacher comes back with a swinging neckbreaker. Back on their feet Tessmacher unloads with a series of offensive strikes. Tessmacher hits a dropkick and then goes for a Back Drop Driver and Kim tries to counter it but they blow the spot into something unrecognizable. Kim hits an straightjacket neckbreaker and Tessmacher rolls to the apron, allowing Kim to knock her to the floor with a shoulderblock. The champion looks confident here. In fact, she gets so confident that Tessmacher is able to snatch her in a victory roll to get the pin and win the title at 7:02. They had a good structure for the match, but Tessmacher isn’t so good and they blew a couple of key spots down the stretch.
MATCH #7: Anything Goes Match – Bully Ray vs. Joseph Park
Neither man is in a hurry to get going here – Ray because he’s confident, Park because he’s nervous. Ray slaps Park across the face and dares the attorney to hit him back. Park swings wildly but can’t connect. Ray dares Park to hit him and offers a free shot. He spits on Park and continues to abuse him. Ray charges into the corner but Park avoids him and then slaps Ray in the face! That just angers Ray and he takes Park down. Ray tries to bring a chair in the ring but Park kicks the rope on the way in and Ray trips. Park picks up the chair but hesitates, and then turns his back. Big mistake. Ray unloads on Park with the chair. They take it to the floor and Ray is just being abusive here. Back in the ring Ray goes for a senton off the second rope but Park moves out of the way. Park takes Ray down with a flurry, but Ray quickly cuts him off with a boot to the face. Ray brings a table and a kendo stick into the ring. Park catches Ray with a shot to the gut, and then he blasts Ray with the stick! That gets a two-count. He tries a charge in the corner but Ray hits him with a back elbow. Park rolls to the floor and crawls under the ring. Moments later, Abyss comes out the other side and Chokeslams Ray through the table. Abyss goes back under the ring and Park comes back out. Park gets in the ring and scores the pin at 10:24. That wasn’t a technical classic or anything, but it was way different than anything on the card and Joseph Park is a great character that is very fun to watch.
MATCH #8: TNA World Tag Team Championship – Christopher Daniels & Kazarian (c) vs. AJ Styles & Kurt Angle
Any storyline directly involving Dixie Carter is one I’m automatically not interested in. Daniels and Kazarian have been the Champions since 5.13.12, and this is their first defense. Styles charges the ring and gets beat down. For some reason his partner just stands there and does nothing. Is Angle on drugs? Styles and Kazarian go back and forth to start. Kazarian gets taken out with a dropkick, and when Daniels charges into the ring he gets the same treatment. Styles goes to the floor and hits Kazarian with a springboard flying forearm off the guardrail. Elsewhere, Angle flies off the apron to take Daniels out. Back in the ring the challengers are looking good. Kazarian rakes Angle’s eyes to take control. It doesn’t take long for Angle to fight back and tag out. Styles goes to work on Daniels. Again, that doesn’t last long and the Champions isolate Styles in their half of the ring. After several minutes of abuse Styles reverses a suplex and hits the suplex into a neckbreaker. Or as Tenay calls it “Suplex Over, Then Straight Down Neckbreaker Style.” I hate how he uses his words. Anyway, tags are made and Angle is a house afire. Angle hits Daniels with the Angle Slam and Kazarian breaks up the cover. He then hits Daniels and Kazarian with a German Suplex, at the same time. The straps come down and Angle puts Daniels in the Ankle Lock! Kazarian breaks it up. Daniels goes for the Angel’s Wings but Angle counters into a back body drop. Styles gets the tag and he’s all over the place. All four men end up in the ring and the referee has lost control. Styles takes Kazarian up top and Kazarian shoves him down. Angle runs up and takes Kazarian down with a super belly-to-belly suplex. Daniels takes Angle down with an STO. Styles and Daniels trade shots now and Daniels hits a uranage slam. Daniels goes up but misses the BME and Angle grabs him in a huge German Suplex. Styles takes Kazarian down with the Pele. Angle hits Kazarian with an ugly as sin Frog Splash but Daniels pulls the referee to the floor. Styles takes Daniels out with a springboard Shooting Star Press to the floor! That was awesome. Back in the ring Kazarian goes for the Fade to Black but Angle counters to the Ankle Lock and Kazarian taps the titles away at 14:22! That was crazy non-stop action from four of the best athletes in TNA. They never really got much of a structure going and just went back and forth a lot, but that style works with these guys and the crowd was super hot for it.
MATCH #9: TNA World Heavyweight Championship – Bobby Roode (c) vs. Sting
Roode has been the Champion since 11.3.11, and this is his twelfth defense. The champ stalls quite a bit before the bell, and then continues stalling and avoiding Sting even after it rings. When contact finally is made, Sting brushes off Roode’s attacks and goes for the Scorpion Deathlock, so Roode bails again. Sting goes outside with him and throws him into the guardrail repeatedly. Back in the ring Sting continues the assault. Sting goes for the Scorpion Deathlock again but Roode again slips to the floor, and Sting again follows him out. Zzzzzz. Roode snaps Sting’s neck off the top rope and goes to work on him now. Some stuff happens and when Roode goes up top Sting knocks him down and hits a superplex. This time Sting is able to cinch in the Scorpion Deathlock. Roode makes it to the ropes and goes back to the floor. Sting goes out with him again and chases the Champ up the aisle. He hits Roode with a Stinger Splash against the guardrail, which is a pretty cool spot. Sting then puts Roode in a weak ass Scorpion Deathlock on the announce table. Roode taps out but it doesn’t count since it’s not in the ring. Sting, even with all his years in the business, doesn’t understand the difference between a regular match and a falls count anywhere match. Roode successfully gets the referee out of position and hits Sting with a beer bottle to get the pin at 10:53. That was a truly terrible main event, with lots of stalling, no real structure, stupid spots, and an awful finish. Why would Roode still be using a beer bottle, his feud with Storm is over and Storm is a midcarder. I just HATE HATE HATE how much this company relies on Sting in main event matches when he clearly is past the point of being able to keep up his end.