Source: KB of KB’s Wrestling Reviews
It’s week two of the Best of 2014 which means we should be getting the Tag Team Title series, which is pretty easily the best thing that happened all year in the company. Unfortunately TNA cut so much out of the matches last week that you could barely get to the good parts and I can’t imagine anything else this week. Let’s get to it.
Just like last week, I’ll be posting the full versions of the matches, even though they’re clipped on the broadcast.
After a quick intro, we get right to the tag teams starting on Impact, July 31.
Tag Team Titles: Hardys vs. Wolves
Wolves are defending. Eddie and Matt crank arm work to start as the fans are split. The champions take over but Matt sends Richards into the corner to take over. Off to Jeff as the Hardys start working over Davey’s arm. A double suplex gets two and it’s back to a wristlock from Matt. Richards finally gets in a shot to the head and makes a tag off to Edwards to clean house.
A double hurricanrana puts both Hardys on the floor, setting up a double suicide dive to keep the champions in control. Back in and Eddie enziguris Jeff into a German suplex from Davey for two. Matt saves his brother from a double suplex before the Wolves are thrown outside. Poetry In Motion over the top puts everyone down before a regular one hits Eddie in the corner.
The Side Effect sets up the Swanton but Richards sends Jeff outside before a cover. Matt gets two off a moonsault to Edwards before both Hardys put on Ice Picks (double underhook guillotine chokes). Davey breaks Jeff’s hold and makes the save before sending him crashing to the floor.
The kick to Matt’s chest sets up the double double stomp for two on Matt. Back up and a Twist of Fate gets two on Davey and a backslide gets the same for Richards. Jeff is still down, allowing the Wolves to hit their powerbomb/top robe Backstabber for the pin on Matt at 10:08.
Rating: B. This was good but not great. The tagging part went away a few minutes into the match but that’s probably the best thing all around. I didn’t know who was going to win here and that’s a very good thing considering how this could have gone. The Hardys still looked good and Matt hasn’t looked like this in years.
Here’s the main event from that same show.
TNA World Title: Austin Aries vs. Bobby Lashley
Bobby is defending and it’s a staredown to start. Aries goes to the leg to start but it’s a very slow opening. More kicks have Lashley in trouble and Austin wraps his leg around the ropes for even more kicks. A dropkick to the back sends Lashley to the floor but his dive is caught in midair for a belly to belly suplex as we take a break. Back with Lashley taking over and putting on a reverse bearhug.
Aries fights up but gets caught in a regular bearhug. Austin escapes again but gets caught in a nice gorilla press drop. The Dominator is countered with a discus forearm and a series of regular forearms in the corner. Lashley is sent to the floor and Aries hits the top rope ax handle, setting up a missile dropkick back inside. The corner dropkick is caught in the Dominator though (sweet counter) but the spear is countered into the Last Chancery.
Lashley fights out and lifts Aries for a suplex but just throws Aries forward. Another spear attempt misses and there’s the discus forearm to send Lashley back into the corner. The running drokick sets up the brainbuster but Lashley is up at two. Lashley rolls away to avoid the 450 but Aries misses the suicide dive. Back in and the spear retains Lashley’s title at 16:28.
Rating: B-. Good match here as Lashley piles up another hero. This is basic wrestling booking as we’re waiting on the hero to rise up and take the title back to the good side. Lashley is little more than a dragon, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good story. Nice match here too with Aries playing the hero really well.
We recap Sanada turning on Great Muta after falling under the influence of James Storm as well as the formation of the Revolution.
From the “biggest show of the year”, here’s the main event of Bound For Glory.
Great Sanada/James Storm vs. Tajiri/Great Muta
Storm gives a great speech about turning one of Japan’s own against them. That little bit of storyline actually felt really refreshing. Muta sprays mist to start and gets things going with Sanada. They fight over a leglock on the mat until Muta comes up and works on the arm. It’s back down to the mat and Sanada sprays Mist at Muta but only hits air. Off to Tajiri vs. Storm with James taking a bunch of kicks. Tajiri grabs the beard but it’s quickly back to Sanada, only to have him get low bridged out to the floor.
Sanada kicks Tajiri to the floor and then under the ring as things slow WAY down. Tajiri has taken mist off camera and is blinded back inside. Storm and Sanada start slowly double teaming as we’re waiting on the hot tag to Muta. A dropkick gets two for Sanada and we hit the nerve hold.
Back up and Sanada pulls out a white stick of some kind of nail Tajiri again. Tajiri comes right back with a kick and tags in Muta to clean house. Muta hammers on Sanada and drops an elbow for two, only to get caught in Closing Time. Storm drops a top rope elbow and Sanada’s moonsault gets two. Everything breaks down and Storm is backdropped to the floor. Tajiri superkicks Sanada down and it’s a double mist and the Shining Wizard to give Muta the pin at 10:50.
Rating: D+. I just sat through this whole show for an eleven minute main event. Storm not taking the pin is a good thing, but it’s not like this match means anything at the end of the day. However, there’s one thing that stands out above all this: at the end of the day, the two oldest guys on the show stood tall to end the show. Some things never change.
We see the end of Roode vs. Lashley I on Impact from September 17.
Time for the Hardcore War on August 7’s Impact. We pick it up right before the last man enters but here’s the whole match.
Ethan Carter III/Rhino/Rycklon Stephens/Gene Snitsky vs. Team 3D/Tommy Dreamer/???
This is a hardcore war but entrances are staggered every 90 seconds and the win can’t take place until the last man enters. It’s Carter vs. Dreamer to get things going and both have weapons. They quickly head outside with Dreamer’s knees being sent into the steps. Back in and Dreamer hits a quick suplex with a Singapore cane before driving in a bunch of right hands in the corner. Rhino comes in to make it 2-1 and nails Dreamer with the trashcan lid. A bad looking spinebuster sets up some cane shots but D-Von ties things up with a trashcan. D-Von takes over with a few shots of his own and we take a break.
Back with Snitsky giving the Carters an advantage (and looking to weigh about 400lbs) until Bully Ray runs out to even things up again and clean house. Ray looks up at Dixie and Mo as the ECW guys keep dominating. Stephens comes in to complete Team Dixie and clean house with a chair. The heels destroy everyone until the big mystery partner is Al Snow.
The fans want Head (and have a bunch of mannequin heads of course) as Al beats up everyone again. Ray nails a top rope cross body (didn’t look bad either) to take out the mercenaries. Spud tries to make a save but gets What’s Up from Head. Snow moonsaults onto every heel not named Rhino as this just keeps going. Not that it matters as 3D ends Rhino at 17:37.
Rating: D+. This was just WarGames minus the cage and a lot of the talent. There wasn’t much to see here and Al Snow was about as uninteresting of a partner as there could have been. Also, I didn’t need a second hardcore match in an hour but this show is an ECW tribute show anymore so you have to have it.
From later in the same show.
Here’s all of Dixie’s team but she fires Stephens and Snitsky like the maniac she is. Cue Team 3D and Dreamer with a table but Dixie hides behind everyone she’s paid off. Ray promises to put Dixie through a table and Dreamer says Dixie is everything that’s wrong with this business. Mo nails Dreamer and the brawl is on with the ECW guys taking over. Suddenly Dixie is alone in the ring with 3D but runs when she’s about to take 3D.
Spud swears it’s never going to happen but the entire locker room comes out to throw Dixie to the wolves (Team 3D, not Richards/Edwards). D-Von loads her up (and grabs her in a rather personal spot) and Bully powerbombs Dixie off the middle rope through the table, in what I believe was Dixie’s first bump ever. We even get Bully’s old euphoric look and the announcers are WAY too happy to see this.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. I have no problem with a heel, male or female, taking a big bump to end a story. What I’m not wild on is how everything was announced in advance. This is going to cause some issues in the mainstream media given how violent it was, but that’s the nature of pro wrestling. It felt very scripted though and that’s not a good thing, but the ending was exactly what it should have been.
From August 20. Here are the Hardys to talk about wanting to become the top team in tag team wrestling again. They’re back because the fans want them to be, but they need Team 3D out here right now. Bully asks if the Hardys know who they are and the fans want to see them fight one more time. Ray knows both teams want to be Tag Team Champions, meaning they need the Wolves out here right now. Cue the Wolves for the required “we respect you” speech. They’re willing to put up the titles anytime and anywhere.
We see the end of the X-Division Title match on August 7.
From Bound For Glory.
X-Division Title: Samoa Joe vs. Kaz Hayashi vs. Low Ki
Joe is defending. Hayashi is probably best known in America as a low level cruiserweight guy about fourteen years ago. Ki takes over to start but Joe crushes both guys in the corner and kicks Kaz in the head. There’s the chop to Hayashi’s back but he fires off right hands to the champ’s face and knocks Joe to the floor. The fans are behind Low Ki as he kicks both guys down and gets two on Joe. Both challengers head to the floor and get taken out by a big dive as we see the crowd sitting still yet chanting at the same time.
Back in and Low Ki chops at Joe but the champ busts out his powerbomb into the crab into the STF until Hayashi remembers he’s in this match and puts Joe in a Crossface without breaking the hold on Ki. Hayashi hits a kind of Zig Zag for two on Joe with Ki making the save. A quick Warrior’s Way gets two on Kaz and they head outside so Joe can nail a double dive. Back in and Kaz charges into a Rock Bottom out of the corner but Low Ki breaks up the MuscleBuster. That earns him a Koquina Clutch and Ki passes out to retain Joe’s title at 10:30.
Rating: C+. Not bad for the most part here but it didn’t mean anything for the most part. This was the same three way style match TNA has done a dozen times with Hayashi just being a warm body to fill out the match. The fact that the winner was already spoiled with the TV tapings didn’t help either.
We see Joe vacating the X-Division Title, followed by Low Ki winning it on November 19.
Time for the girls on September 4 (it was the 3rd but whatever).
Gail is defending and quickly takes her down to start. A rollup gets two for Terrell and a middle rope clothesline gets the same. Gail comes right back with a top rope hurricanrana, followed by a DDT on the arm. She misses the charge in the corner though and falls out to the floor. Taryn loads up the steps but gets caught in a neckbreaker onto the steel which knocks both girls silly. Back in and Eat Defeat gets two, followed by an RKO for the same for Taryn. Gail is staggered so Terrell goes up for a high cross body, only to have Gail roll through to retain at 6:00.
Rating: C+. The match was decent but the fans chanting THIS IS AWESOME shows how lame womens’ wrestling has been lately. It was entertaining but awesome is a stretch to put it mildly. This was miles beneath the stuff they did a year or so ago but it still wasn’t bad. The division is pretty horrible anymore though as there’s barely a division to speak of.
We might get a solution to that here though as Havok debuts and destroys Taryn with White Noise and Gail with a one arm chokeslam.
Havok would win the title soon thereafter.
We see Taryn Terrell winning the title in a moment that didn’t mean as much as they wanted it to on November 19.
You knew this was coming. From October 8.
Tag Team Titles: Hardys vs. Team 3D vs. Wolves
The Wolves are defending and this is Full Metal Mayhem, meaning TLC. Richards has a somewhat bad leg coming into this but he seems to be fine. It’s a big brawl to start of course with Matt hitting what looked like the Side Effect to Eddie on the apron. Bully hammers on Jeff on the floor as weapons are being sets up on the floor. Matt goes for a climb but Ray comes in for a save with a Rock Bottom.
Davey breaks up Ray’s attempt and DDTs him, only to have D-Von nail Richards a second later. Matt gets enziguried into a German suplex onto a pair of open chairs. Eddie throws Jeff into the air and Ray catches him in a Cutter for a 3D. They chop it out but Matt is back up to take both guys down. We get the Tower of Doom with Ray electric chairing Matt who superplexes Edwards. D-Von bridges a piece of barricade between the apron and some overturned steps but Davey headbutts him onto the barricade.
Ray saves his partner from a dive and powerbombs Richards down, only to miss a middle rope backsplash. He comes right back with another powerbomb to send Richards onto the barricade, giving Richards one of the most shocked looks I’ve ever seen. Back with Jeff taking a ladder to the face and D-Von cleans house with a chair.
Richards comes back with a chair of his own but this time it’s Jeff popping up to take over. The Whisper in the Wind and Swanton have Ray in trouble but he pops right back up for a brawl with Jeff on the floor. The Twisting Stunner has Ray in trouble and Jeff brings out another table. He bridges it between the turned over steps and the apron with the legs up. Jeff misses the legdrop though and crashes through the table, leaving him in a huge heap on the floor.
Back in and Ray goes up, only to have Edwards set up a ladder of his own next to it. Bully kicks him down but Matt comes in with a ladder of his own. All three go up and slug it out with Edwards getting slammed off the top. Mat and Ray grab for the belts but send them swinging around before knocking each other off with Matt flying into a ladder.
Davey and Matt slug it out with Hardy getting the better of it and bringing in another table. Everyone heads outside again with Matt climbing about halfway up a huge ladder to legdrop Davey through a table. Richards has taken one heck of a beating here. D-Von cleans house with the ladder and brings in the big ladder to make thing even more fun. Team 3D loads up What’s Up but Edwards shoves D-Von to the floor.
Davey goes up the big ladder but gets shoved onto the floor and head first into the barricade. The Hardys make another save with chairs and put Ray on two tables. Jeff goes up top of the big ladder but Davey shoves it over, sending Hardy into a HUGE splash onto Ray for a horrible looking crash. Davey and Matt slug it out on top of the ladder but Edwards makes a save and powerbombs Matt through a table, allowing Davey to take down the belts for the win at 23:52.
Rating: A. I came into this show thinking this match wasn’t going to be able to live up to its hype and they got me. This was an AWESOME match with a ton of high spots and some insane looking bumps. The fact that they didn’t save this for Bound For Glory shows you just how much they don’t care about that show this year. Excellent match and one of the best things TNA has done in years.
We see like a minute of Roode beating Lashley on October 29. The celebration gets more time than the match.
Next week: we start counting down the top twenty moments in Impact history. That could be interesting. We’re off the air at 10:58 again.
Overall Rating: B. WAY better this week as they actually showed the good stuff (well for the most part at least) that TNA did this year. It’s far from perfect with the matches being clipped to death and a lot of stuff being shown that didn’t need to be there (Bound For Glory main event for example) but they focused on the best stuff and made me look forward to the series continuing. When TNA has their head on straight and stops trying to reinvent the wheel, they can be a very entertaining show.