The day after the night before, and your Xplosion reporter is here to give you the details of last night’s action-packed Maximum Impact show in Manchester.
The few hundred that were quick enough to snap up the Fan Interaction tickets were queuing at the arena way before the doors opened at 4pm, and as people were let in two-by-two, they were then taken to the part of the arena behind the entrance-way and curtain, where desks were set up and a one-way guardrail directed fans through the line of stars, and then out. This process took around two hours, however the fans were allowed a brief chat with the stars and a quick photograph.
Jeremy Borash and Christy Hemme came out shortly after the event had started to sign for fans and take photos. Gunner, Bully Ray (who remained silent and grumpy throughout, which was brilliant kayfabe), Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, Madison Rayne & Gail Kim, Samoa Joe, Sting (who came out after some had already been through), James Storm, Crimson, Mickie James & Tara (who were really chatty and very friendly to everyone), Alex Shelley and AJ Styles were sat at the table to sign for fans, and TNA President Dixie Carter came out later on, but over half of the fans had left by that point.
Unable to leave the venues lobby, we loitered there for around an hour before the doors were opened for people to take their seats, and we were underway at around 8pm.
Before we got started, we were offered the usual “loudest fan gets a backstage pass” from JB and Christy, and then we got into the action as a scorching hot British wrestling audience was anticipating the night in store.
Maximum Impact Tour – January 26th, 2012
From the Manchester Evening News Arena, Manchester, UK.
Presented by Jeremy Borash and Christy Hemme
X-Division Championship Match.
Austin Aries (c) vs. Mark Haskins vs. Alex Shelley.
Starting out, Alex Shelley was the clear fan-favourite here, even though Haskins is from Manchester. Aries garnered big heat from the crowd, although there was lots of appreciative applause from them too.
Aries spent a bit of time out of the ring as Shelley and Haskins fought in-ring, the the match flowed well when the three were in the ring, synchronising moves with ease.
Aries took the win with a Brainbuster on Mark Haskins to retain the title.
Doug Williams vs. Crimson.
Williams got an amazing pop from the crowd, obviously being from England himself. That left Crimson to deal with the boos of the crowd. Maybe part of that is down to his latest feud with Samoa Joe and Magnus.
Crimson did nothing to deserve the heat he got from the crowd, but going against half of the British Invasion meant this wasn’t going to be a walk in the park for him. Doug threw Crimson out of the ring early, diving through the ropes to keep the onslaught on, however Crimson was able to turn the tide using his power. Williams kicked out of the Red Alert.
Williams got moments of technical prowess into the match, however Crimson was victorious in strong fashion, finishing Williams with the Red Sky.
Gunner vs. AJ Styles.
Gunner’s entrance took a long time, riling the crowd up even more. However, the roof was almost blown off when AJ’s music hit. AJ is massively over here.
Gunner was excellent at keeping the heat on him. AJ was very passionate throughout, taking a lot of punishment, but getting the vital moves in. Particularly the forearms, which got massive reactions from the crowd.
AJ got the win with a much-anticipated Pelé kick. A nice touch to a nation of soccer-fanatics!
Madison Rayne & Gail Kim vs. Tara & Mickie James.
I managed to miss Madison’s entrance, however Gail Kim got an appreciative reception from the crowd, but it was absolutely knocked out of the park by their reaction to Mickie James, who received a massive ovation.
Rayne and Kim used cheap tactics throughout, while my friends talked about who was hotter. The tag match mainly consisted of Mickie taking punishment, teasing the crowd for the tag of Tara, who got a huge roar when she was finally tagged in.
Tara and Mickie took the win after Hebner had kissed Madison Rayne, sending her flying out of the ring, and Tara got a Widows Peak on Gail Kim.
The two embraced and celebrated with the applauding crowd, then sharing a short kiss and a very LONG kiss in the ring, to the delight of most of the British crowd.
20 Minute Intermission.
After the intermission, Dixie Carter came out and thanked the crowd for coming out, as well as for the company’s success in the country. She was accompanied by a couple who had won a competition to accompany her to the ring.
TNA World Heavyweight Championship Match.
Bobby Roode (c) vs. Samoa Joe.
To be seen on TNA Xplosion in the next 18 days.
Report to be written when Xplosion airs.
James Storm, Sting and Hulk Hogan vs. Bully Ray, Kurt Angle and Bobby Roode.
Bully Ray came to the ring to cut a small promo, calling Christy Hemme a “dirty little sl*g”. Ray wore a long-sleeved flannel shirt to cover up what he was wearing underneath, which was a Liverpool shirt. (Liverpool are the sworn enemies of Manchester United.)
James Storm came out to a warm reception, but the place went nuts for Sting.
As the four competitors prepared to get started, Bobby Roode’s music hits, and he tells the people that he’s not done fighting yet, interjecting himself into the match as the tag partner to Bully Ray and Kurt Angle.
It was then Storm’s turn to talk to the crowd, and he reminded everyone of the last time they were there. This time, he got the crowd to chant “BEER… DRINKERS!” numerous times, before handing the microphone to Sting. Sting declared that they had prepared themselves for Roode to come down, lining up their partner, before saying “WHAT YOU GONNA DO?!”, to which Hogan’s theme (Eye of the Tiger) hit, and he came down to the ring. The crowd was insane for Hogan.
The match itself was part showmanship, and very limited wrestling from Hogan, however he did get a big boot in, before smacking Bully with an old lady’s cane. Sting and Storm shared the workload, Sting still looking good in the ring, Storm picking up the pace with Angle in particular.
The end came when Bully Ray received one final cane shot from Hogan, staggering him into the corner for Sting to deliver a Stinger Splash and for Storm to finish him off with a Last Call super kick, and the pin.
The three posed in the ring, and played with the crowd. Hogan “Hulked up” many times for the crowd, and Sting and Hogan listened to see which side of the crowd was the loudest. Storm climbed the turnbuckles and wafted his beverages into the air to create a shower of beery goodness.
The three individually walked to the back, all raising their hands to the crowd before going behind the curtain one by one. Sting was the final one to leave, shaking every fans hand at ringside, before pointing a couple of times to the crowd from the ramp, then disappearing into the darkness.
I felt that Doug Williams should have been opposing somebody more technically sound than Crimson, and Crimson should have maybe been put against someone less over. Nevertheless, the Manchester crowd made sure that TNA’s creative knows they want him back on TV more often.
The main event was average for wrestling, but really entertaining and brought many memories back for me.
The crowd was hot all night, and the reactions for AJ, Joe, Williams, Sting and Hogan were immense.
The opening bout was a great way to start a show.