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Grand Canyon University Arena – Phoenix, Arizona – October 14, 2012
MATCH #1: TNA X Division Championship – Rob Van Dam vs. Zema Ion (c)
Ion has been the Champion since 7.8.12, and this is his sixth defense. For a while there was a weight limit on the X Division Title, but then they just kind of stopped that because it’s dumb. RVD controls the early going and sends Ion reeling to the floor. Back in the ring Ion fights back and shows off some of his unique offense. Ion gets too cocky and RVD makes him pay for it, kicking him to the floor. The champ gets back to the apron and leaps in with a swank tornado DDT for a near-fall. Ion continues to dominate, hitting a missile dropkick for two. The crowd wills RVD back into it, and he hits a pop up dropkick. RVD hits Rolling Thunder and then lands the Five-Star Frog Splash to get the pin and win the title at 8:04. That was solid and all, and Ion’s heat segment really worked. But the finish was just kind of abrupt. Putting the belt on RVD sadly didn’t help make the X Title more prestigious.
MATCH #2: TNA World Television Championship – Magnus vs. “The Samoan Submission Machine” Samoa Joe (c)
Joe has been the Champion since 9.27.12, and this is his second defense. This is a feud based on hatred, so they start with some chain wrestling. Joe takes the first control and starts wearing Magnus down. Magnus repositions the referee so he can poke Joe in the eye. He takes control now and almost puts Joe away with a Michinoku Driver. Joe comes back with the Big Joe Combo for two. He follows with the snap powerslam for another two-count. Magnus tries a leap frog but Joe catches him in a powerbomb for two and then Joe turns it into the STF. Joe turns that into the Rings of Saturn and Magnus just makes it to the ropes. They fight up on the ropes and Magnus knocks him down with a knee. Magnus goes up top and hits the Top-Rope Elbow Drop. He covers Joe is able to kick out. Joe gets fired up and unloads with a series of strikes. He locks on the Choke and Magnus turns it into a cradle for two. Joe goes right back to The Choke and Magnus breaks it this time with a jawbreaker. Magnus takes out the knee. He goes for a figure-Four Leglock but Joe counters it and locks on The Choke with a body scissors to get the win at 9:15. These two had surprising chemistry as partners and have shown the same as opponents. This was a bit on the short side but they worked it smart and the finishing stretch was hot.
MATCH #3: Street Fight – “Cowboy” James Storm vs. Bobby Roode
Senior Official Earl Hebner is handling the action in the ring, while some guy named King Mo is the outside enforcer. Storm is the aggressor early on. They quickly spill to the floor and they battle each other under Mo’s watch. Roode is able to avoid taking the Eye of the Storm and he catapults Storm into the ring post. That of courses busts Storm open. Roode brings some weapons into the ring but Storm is the first one to use the kendo stick. Storm takes Roode over to the entrance walkway and delivers the Orton DDT! That’s sick. A fan hands Storm a crutch, so he makes that fan’s night by using it as a weapon. They then trade shots with a trash can lid, just destroying each other. Storm wins that battle and levels Roode with a trash can. He charges at Roode but gets caught in a huge spinebuster. Ouch. They fight over to the announce table and Roode spears Storm off and through another table. They make it back to the ring and Roode covers but only gets two. Roode gets in Hebner’s face about it and Mo comes to the rescue. A shoving exchange gives Storm the chance to hit Roode with a big Codebreaker. Storm drills Roode with the Last Call but it only gets two! He goes for another one but Roode catches it and throws Storm face-first into a chair for a two-count. Roode even had a handful of tights there. He goes out and grabs a chair to hit Storm with, and then he produces a bag of thumb tacks. Roode goes for a superplex onto the tacks but Storm pushes Roode down into them instead! Storm hits a flying elbow but Roode kicks out! Roode is able to hit a low blow and then he brings a six-pack of beer bottles into the ring, but Storm repays the favor with a low blow of his own! Storm breaks a bottle on Roode’s head and then destroys him with the Last Call. Roode lands on the tacks and Storm gets the pin at 17:32. That was a terrific brawl and a fitting end to the feud. They were doing big spots and kicking out of each other’s finishes because their feud had been built up over a year and they HATED each other, it wasn’t just two guys going out there and doing it to pop the crowd. Matches like this prove that Roode and Storm should be on top of TNA.
MATCH #4: Joey Ryan vs. Al Snow
Joey Ryan participated in the Gut Check and 87% of TNA fans polled wanted him to be offered a contract. So TNA did not offer him a contract, so he has to fight Al Snow to get his deal. How does that make Ryan the heel in this situation? Snow dominates the early going by showing off that he’s a wily veteran. Ryan fights back and shows some fire, according to Taz. Snow of course makes a quick comeback and hits the trapped headbutts. He hits the Snow Plow and Ryan kicks out at two. He goes outside the ring and grabs a mannequin head. The referee stops him from using it and Ryan shoves Snow directly into the idiot referee. While the referee is down the enormous Matt Morgan comes out and drills Snow with the Carbon Footprint. Morgan shoves Snow back in the ring and Ryan gets the pin at 8:27. That was an okayish TV-style match, but I don’t know if they ever bothered to explain why Morgan would help Ryan in the first place.
MATCH #5: TNA World Tag Team Championship – Chavo Guerrero, Jr. & Hernandez vs. Kurt Angle & “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian (c)
Daniels and Kazarian have been the Champions since 6.28.12, and this is their fourth defense. This is likely to be action packed. AJ and Chavo start the match. Angle and AJ take the early control, even thwarting the rule-breaking attempts from the Champions. Chavo and Hernandez work on AJ briefly, and then Kazarian tags himself in. Many tags in and out happen as all three teams try to set the pace. Finally the Champions successfully cheat to gain an advantage on AJ, and they isolate him from his partner and their other two opponents. After several minutes Angle gets the tag and he is a house afire. The referee loses control and bodies are flying all over the place. After a series of dives to the floor, the only one unaffected was Chavo, so he tries to take advantage. Angle hits him with the Angle Slam but Hernandez breaks it up. The action continues coming from everywhere and I don’t know how the referee has kept track of the legal men. Hernandez tags himself in at an opportune time and hits Daniels with the Border Toss. Chavo follows with the Frog Splash to get the pin at 15:33. That was good fast-paced action from three solid-good teams. Styles and Angle were clearly slumming it, but they did manage to class up the match just by being there.
MATCH #6: TNA Knockouts Championship – Tara vs. Miss Tessmacher (c)
Tessmacher has been the Champion since 8.16.12, and this is her second defense. Things get heated between the two combatants in this student versus mentor match. Tessmacher scores a little bit of early offense but Tara withstands the punishment to deliver plenty of her own. After a few minutes Tessmacher is able to catch Tara in a tornado DDT. Tessmacher unloads with a flurry of maneuvers and the crowd is sort of getting into it. The champion goes up top and hits a nice hurricanrana. Tessmacher goes back up top and this time misses the big elbow. Tara hits the Widow’s Peak and gets the pin to win the title for the fifth time at 6:21. Tessmacher has gotten passable in the ring but this never got much chance to develop and then it just ended.
Tara gloats about her win and finally introduces her “Hollywood Boyfriend” and it’s Jesse from a show called Big Brother. I have no idea who this guy is. I mean I do now that he’s been in TNA, but before that I have no clue. The crowd chants “Who Are You?”
MATCH #7: No Disqualification – Sting & Bully Ray vs. Aces & Eights
The masked, unidentified members of the Aces & Eights (I think it’s Mike “Knux” Knox and Luke “D.O.C.” Gallows) bring their hostage Joseph Park with them and handcuff him to the ringside barricade just to be jerks. Sting and Bully jump them on the floor and away we go. The brawl continues out on the floor, with Bully and Sting each paired off with a different gang member. Bully and Sting dominate and the crowd wants tables. The rather sizable A&8s are able to absorb the punishment and they focus on Sting in the ring, keeping him away from Bully Ray. After several minutes Sting hits one of them with the Scorpion Death Drop and the hot tag is made. Bully is a house afire. He tries to use a chair but a third masked member of the group comes out (probably Wes Brisco) and hits Bully in the nuts. The third man spits on Joseph Park, and that makes Park so angry that he rips the handcuffs right off!Park gets in the ring and unloads on the third man, chasing him to the back. Meanwhile, back in the ring Bully and Sting hit a Doomsday Device. Bully and Sting then hit Stinger Splashes on the other one. Sting tells Bully to get the tables. Before they can use said table a fourth member of the group comes out and slams Bully through the table, and that’s enough to get the pin at 10:53. That was an okay garbage brawl, but not knowing who Sting and Bully were fighting kind of dulled the impact.
More Aces & Eights come out to continue the beating, so of course Hulk Hogan comes to the rescue and starts taking out everyone with a simple punch. They focus on one of the masked guys, and are able to unmask him to reveal Devon. Yep, that’s it. Devon’s contract had supposedly run out a few months back so he left quietly and vacated the TV Title, so this was supposed to be a big surprise. But it’s just Devon.
MATCH #8: TNA World Heavyweight Championship – “The Charismatic Enigma” Jeff Hardy vs. Austin Aries (c)
Aries has been the Champion since 7.8.12, and this is his second defense. The crowd actually seems to be more behind Aries than the conquering hero challenger. They start out on the mat but it’s pretty clear that there is some tension between these two. The momentum shifts several times in the opening minutes. Whenever Hardy goes on offense the crowd mostly boos, as they are solidly behind the Champion. Aries takes control and acts ultra cocky about it, angering his challenger. Hardy kicks the middle rope as Aries is getting in the ring. He takes control now and sends Aries back to the floor. Hardy appears comfortable heeling it up a little. He works Aries over on the floor, even hitting Poetry in Motion. Back in the ring Hardy misses Whisper in the Wind and Aries hits an elbow drop from the top rope. Aries controls the match now, thwarting Hardy’s comeback attempts for several minutes. He goes for the Brainbuster but Hardy counters with the sitout gourdbuster. Aries quickly squashes Hardy’s advantage, but then Hardy comes back with an Alley-Oop powerbomb. That looked awesome. The pace quickens and Hardy is just a step ahead of Aries, looking like the next TNA World Champion. But Aries isn’t done yet. Hardy hits (sort of) Whisper in the Wind for a two-count. They spill to the floor and Hardy tries a house show dive but misses. Aries follows with the Heat Seeking Missile, and then hits another one. Back in the ring Aries tries the pin but Hardy kicks out. Aries puts on the Last Chancery and Hardy reaches the ropes. They fight up the entrance ramp and Aries goes for a Brainbuster. Hardy avoids it and tries the Twist of Fate, but Aries is able to avoid that and take Hardy down against the ropes. Hardy’s neck snapped awkwardly there, so Aries follows up with an elevated neckbreaker right down on the ramp. That was cool. Back in the ring Aries hits a missile dropkick and then goes for the IED but Hardy gets a boot up. Hardy is able to connect with the Twist of Fate but Aries kicks out! The challenger goes up top and Aries knocks him down on his junk. Aries goes up top and delivers a super hurricanrana! The Champion is locked in now and he drills Hardy with an IED. Aries hits the Brainbuster but Hardy kicks out! He goes for the Warrior’s Way of all things but Hardy avoids it. Hardy hits a Stunner out of the corner and then another Twist of Fate. The Charismatic Enigma heads up top and hits the Swanton Bomb to get the pin and win the title at 23:03! The crowd made this pretty interesting with the mixed reactions, but Hardy did get a pretty sizable pop for the win so I think the crowd did appreciate the match for as good as it was. Both guys wrestled liked they legitimately NEEDED to beat the other guy, and this felt much bigger than I thought it would when I first heard this match announced. They won me over.