PPV REPORTS CALDWELL'S TNA AGAINST ALL ODDS PPV REPORT 2/14: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of A.J. Styles vs. Samoa Joe, Nastys vs. 3D
Feb 14, 2010 - 10:00:02 PM
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TNA AGAINST ALL ODDS PPV REPORT
February 14, 2010
Report by James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor
The TNA PPV started with Ric Flair barging into the building with Christy Hemme chasing him down. Flair was pissed about Eric Bischoff being the special referee for A.J. Styles vs. Samoa Joe tonight. Flair said he hates Bischoff's guts and he's going to grab him by the neck and yank him around and make him pay the respect he owes him. Flair said he's Ric Flair - a god around here - and Bischoff better recognize. "Or else!" he shouted in Hemme's face before walking off. Apparently this is what he meant about TNA taking the muzzle off?
After the standard TNA PPV video aired, they rolled a Las Vegas themed intro before fireworks shot off in the Impact Zone. Mike Tenay and Taz welcomed us to the show and plugged the Eight Card Stud tourney. They're opening with a first round match. Cue up Desmond Wolfe's theme music. Wolfe came out accompanied by Chelsea, who received all the focus and talk from the announcers. The Pope then came out to a babyface reaction to face Wolfe. Pope did the Bret Hart gimmick giving out his shades to a kid on the front row. The announcers talked up the tournament format and the high stakes before the bell sounded.
1 -- DESMOND WOLFE (w/Chelsea) vs. THE POPE D'ANGELO DINERO -- First Round #1 contender tournament match
The crowd was hot for Pope after the opening bell before they locked up to begin the match. Hot start to the match with each man exchanging control before Wolfe cut off Pope near the ropes and targeted the shoulder. Wolfe went to his submission offense continuing to maintain the control, then Pope made a comeback and Wolfe looked completely awkward and wobbly. It's like he couldn't bend his knees or something. Pope then hit the Coronation running splash while Wolfe was across the ropes. Pope wanted a top rope move, but Wolfe blocked and executed a big superplex from the top. Both men sold the effects before Wolfe made a cover for a two count. Wolfe and Pope exchanged control again before Pope hit a neck-snap out of the corner. He then wanted the running DDE knee smash in the corner and he connected flush to Wolfe's back. Pope with the pin and the win.
WINNER: Pope at 7:38 to advance in the tournament. Pope was way, way over with the audience in Orlando. He gets Hernandez or Morgan in the semi-finals. Wolfe just looked so awkward mid-match, as if he lost focus on where he was. Weird. (*1/2)
Backstage: Ric Flair stormed into Eric Bischoff's office telling him he has a problem with Bischoff acting like he's god making himself special referee. Flair told Bischoff that if he wants to make an executive decision, he goes through him. Bischoff let Flair say his spiel, then he said Flair must be upset because Flair can't actually buy the referee this time. Bischoff said when Flair sees him in the black and white stripes, he's going to call it right down the middle. "Keep your distance," Bischoff said. He said he has work to do and so does Flair. Flair slowly backed away from Bischoff's desk before walking out. Bischoff threw his readers down in frustration and rubbed his forehead.
Backstage: Jeremy Borash is back. He brought in Hernandez and Matt Morgan to talk about facing each other tonight. Hernandez said they're the tag champs, but the best man will win tonight. "Exactly," Morgan said. He said no one is going to beat them as tag champs because they're the best athletes in the company. Morgan said they're going to find out who the best athlete is between them tonight.
Impact Zone: Hernandez, then Matt Morgan came to the ring with Tenay saying it's Hernandez's football background vs. Morgan's basketball background. Taz said he's not buying it at all.
2 -- TNA tag champion HERNANDEZ vs. TNA tag champion MATT MORGAN -- First Round #1 contender tournament match
They started off with a friendly exchange feeling each other out before Morgan cornered Hernandez and did his rapid-fire elbow smashes without the elbow pads. Almost looked like he was doing aerobics after extending the sequence to eight or nine elbow smashes. Morgan then did his running splash across Hernandez's neck as Hernandez was draped across the top rope. Morgan followed with his Undertaker leg drop across the ring apron. Morgan back to the move-sharing gimmick. Morgan then hit a short-arm clothesline and a second. He couldn't score a three count, though, and screamed at Hernandez to stay down. Hernandez then blocked a charging spot near the ropes and ripped off his t-shirt for a big pop they were waiting for.
Hernandez proceeded to execute a very impressive delayed vertical suplex holding Morgan in the air for a good 15 seconds. Morgan then rolled to the entrance ramp connected to the ring and Hernandez flew over the top rope with a flying spear. Hernandez then sold a left shoulder injury as Morgan re-entered the ring. Morgan stopped the ref's ten count, then he lowered the ropes for Hernandez to re-enter. Morgan then rammed Hernandez's shoulder into the top turnbuckle and rolled him up with a handful of tights for the pin and the win. Taz just chuckled at Morgan hooking the tights there. Morgan then took the tag belts and handed one to Hernandez, who continued to sell the shoulder and shake his head at Morgan.
WINNER: Morgan at 8:58 to advance. Had some really awkward moments, but there was a good story and a good comeback from Hernandez. They set up the classic storyline where the only way the big-star tag champs can lose is if they beat themselves, ala DX. Fine. (*1/2)
Angle video: They recapped the last two months in the life of Kurt Angle with him getting screwed by A.J. Styles and Ric Flair, then ref Earl Hebner. And, alas, Hulk Hogan taking out The Band to save Angle on Impact this past Thursday.
Backstage: Christy Hemme was with Kurt Angle to talk about the tournament. Angle interrupted and said he owes Hulk Hogan an apology after questioning his character and agenda. He said Hogan could have let Pac and Scott Hall tear him apart in the ring, but now he will not doubt Hogan again. Angle said he's a pro and this didn't take away his focus from Mr. Anderson tonight. Angle said he's going to show everyone that Anderson can't beat him just because he has a big mouth. He said he's going to introduce him to TNA by beating him in the middle of the ring.
Impact Zone: Mr. Anderson came to the ring and did his ring intro while Taz lamented Anderson not cutting a promo here. After a wait, the mic dropped and Anderson missed the mic completely. The crowd laughed at the gaffe. Anderson covered by saying it was intentional. Anderson then said the winner of this next contest and the one after that and the one after that - he interrupted to tell the audience to shut up - will be Mr. Anderson...Anderson. After a pause, Kurt Angle's music hit to bring out the machine. Angle stoically walked to the ring and stomped into the ring to do a Steve Austin babyface intro raising his arms to the crowd in the corners.
3 -- KURT ANGLE vs. MR. ANDERSON -- First Round #1 contender tournament match
Angle took early control and landed corner punches with the crowd counting along. Angle then missed with a corner attack and sold a shoulder injury. Angle remained face-down on the middle turnbuckle selling the effects, then Anderson taunted him and choked him with Angle's dog tags. Angle came up bleeding from the forehead and Anderson went to work on Angle. Anderson tried a sleeper hold, but Angle broke free and mounted a comeback. He executed a release belly-to-belly suplex for a two count, then slowly reached his feet and limped over to Anderson to shoot him off to the corner and execute a clothesline. Angle then executed a German suplex, a second, and a third. Angle tried to follow with the Angle Slam, but Anderson rolled out, slipped, and hit a rolling gutbuster for a two count.
Anderson went to the corner at 8:15 to loosen a top turnbuckle, but the ref reprimanded him. The ref re-tied the turnbuckle, so Anderson went to the opposite turnbuckle and exposed the steel. Anderson tried to ram Angle into the steel, but Angle blocked and hit the Angle Slam for a close two count. Angle then dropped the singlet straps and slapped on the anklelock. Anderson kicked Angle away, though, and went to the corner with the exposed steel. Angle charged, but Anderson moved and Angle ate the exposed steel face-first. Anderson then hit the Mic Check and scored the pin and the win. Post-match: Angle had a second cut on his forehead with a close zoom on Angle's beaten forehead. Anderson then grabbed Angle's dog tags and dropped them on Angle before spitting clean on his face. Angle stared up at the lights as Anderson cockily walked off. He gets the Abyss vs. Foley winner in the semi-finals.
WINNER: Anderson at 9:49 to advance. Interesting match finish after a pretty good match. Angle was obviously the sympathetic figure with the "out" that he was bleeding, injured, and took the exposed steel to set up the loss. Anderson is being built up nicely as a heel right now. (**1/4)
Backstage: Bischoff talked to Mick Foley and Abyss. He said running a wrestling organization is tough and he wants to make sure he presents the best PPV product possible. He talked up Foley and Abyss to have the best match possible tonight. Bischoff said if he senses any shenanigans, then Abyss's mask is coming off. Abyss started to freak out, but Foley calmed him down and asked Bischoff whether his "shenanigan meter" is going to run wild tonight. Bischoff said he's adding the stipulation that it's No DQ tonight. He said he wants to make sure this...he grabbed a barbed wire baseball bat...is legal. Bischoff said he wants to make sure Foley and Abyss beat the living hell out of each other and if the bat isn't used, the mask comes off. Foley nodded along while Abyss continued to freak out.
Impact Zone: Abyss came out first still wearing his indy-level outfit with the sweatshirt and hood. Mick Foley then walked out with barbed wire baseball bat in hand. Foley posed for the crowd and Abyss shook his head not wanting Foley to use the bat.
4 -- MICK FOLEY vs. ABYSS -- First Round #1 contender tournament match -- No DQ match
The bell sounded and they had a brief exchange. Abyss then picked up the bat and the audience told him to use it. Foley then slapped and punched and screamed at Abyss, who snapped to attention and landed blows that knocked Foley to the floor. They brawled to the outside and battled near the guardrail. Foley then popped Abyss across the back with a steel chair as some disinterested TV exec-type fans sat there disinterested. Back in the ring, Foley entered Cactus Jack mode landing right hand blows on Abyss while doing his jibberish noises. Foley followed with a running knee to the face as the announcers talked about how fugly Abyss looks. Nice endorsement.
Foley then grabbed the thumbtack bag and poured them out in the ring. We're back to 2008 and 2009. Foley then rocked Abyss with right hand blows while they stood over the tacks, but Abyss blocked and teased a chokeslam into the tacks. Abyss then shook his hand and instead chokeslamed Foley in the corner. Abyss then made a cover for a two count. Apparently Abyss wants the mask to come off. Who knows. Abyss then pulled out Foley's Mr. Socko, but Foley blocked and stole the ref's sock from under his shoe. Foley applied the ref's sock to the throat and choked Abyss into the ropes. Foley, done with that, grabbed the barbed wire bat to hit Abyss, but Abyss hit the Black Hole Slam into the tacks. Abyss shook and shook, then scored the pin for the win. Post-match: Abyss took the barbed wire bat away from Foley and tried to console Foley, who sold the tacks. Abyss then took the tacks out of Foley's back trying to help him. Abyss gets Anderson in the next round.
WINNER: Abyss at 7:44 to advance. So, um, Abyss's mask comes off on Impact since the bat wasn't used? This was all kinds of messed up with the pre-match throwing things off, although the match was "more organized" and not nearly as bad as their Bound for Glory match. Of course, they had the usual Abyss bag of tricks garbage wrestling with the apparent built-in excuse that it's been a few months since they did this kind of match. (*)
Backstage: Nastys were interviewed by Christy Hemme about why they're here in TNA. Knobs said Hulk Hogan called him up to come show all the tag teams in TNA what tag wrestling is all about. Sags backed up Knobs that they aren't bottom-feeders, but they go straight to the top. Sags said if they can't beat Team 3D, then why are they even here. Um...Knobs told Team 3D they're going to Nastyville tonight.
5 -- TEAM 3D (BROTHER RAY & BROTHER DEVON) vs. NASTY BOYS (KNOBS & SAGS)
The "last dream match of not-epic-proportions" began with a four-man brawl with the Nastys on the advantage. Team 3D then took control and cleared the Nastys to the floor. The Nastys stalled on the floor, then re-entered the ring. Sags and Ray went at it with Tenay calling the former "Knags." Taz and Tenay had a good laugh as the two big men traded blows. Ray then shoved Sags into Knobs on the ring apron and Ray executed a suplex on Sags for a two count. In came Devon to help with a double-team clothesline. Knobs then dragged Sags to the floor to avoid a 3D, prompting the audience to chant for a table. The action moved to the floor and the cameraman took the first major bump of the match with Ray shoving Sags directly into the cameraman, who was taken off his feet. Back in the ring, Devon landed right hand blows on Sags that Sags no-sold before landing a boot to the gut. Knobs then entered the match without a tag and applied an old-school abdominal stretch.
Devon broke free and made the hot tag to Ray, who cleaned house. Ray executed a scoop slam on Knobs before doing the same to Sags. Ray then stacked up the Nastys in the corner with Knobs wandering back into the corner to take a double splash. Ray tried a suplex of sorts on Sags, but Sags kinda fell down. Knobs took elbows, then Devon went up top for the Wassup? headbutt to Knobs's crotch. Sags then entered the ring and took the 3D. Ray had the pin, but the ref was occupied with Devon. In the confusion, Jimmy Hart made a surprise appearance and tossed a helmet to Knobs to smash Ray in the head with. Nastys with the pin for the win. Post-match: Hart celebrated with the Nastys on the entrance ramp as Ray held his head in the ring.
WINNERS: Nastys at 10:40. Right at expectations: ugly and slow. They couldn't do a straight brawl since Foley and Abyss took that slot in the previous match, so they attempted a standard tag match with the usual bag of tricks. This set a really low bar for TNA featuring "tag team wrestling" on PPV. It's unfortunate that tag wrestling on TNA PPVs used to be synonymous with excellent tag wrestling beyond anything WWE was offering. (3/4*)
Backstage: Eric Bischoff stood with Samoa Joe, who clutched his #1 contender briefcase. Bischoff said he has tremendous history with Ric Flair and he wants to call this right down the middle against Styles, but... Joe told Bischoff to take care of Flair while he takes care of Styles. Bischoff told Joe not to let his "Samoan temper" to get in the way. Bischoff told him good luck.
6 -- MATT MORGAN vs. THE POPE D'ANGELO DINERO -- #1 contender tournament semi-final match
Morgan used his size advantage early on to overpower Dinero and knock him to the floor. Morgan taunted Pope a bit, then rolled him back into the ring where Dinero tried to fight back with right hands before Morgan knocked him down to the corner. Morgan then did his rapid-fire aerobics elbow smashes in the corner before hitting a corner splash into a sidewalk drop. Morgan continued to act cocky here, which drew a mixed reaction from the crowd. Morgan then stepped on Dinero's throat in the ropes and broke at a four count. Morgan followed by choking Pope across the top rope before hitting his big running seated splash. Pope came back with a DDT as Morgan became lackadaisical, then Pope landed forearm shots as Morgan was positioned on his knees. Pope followed with some obviously-worked elbow blows as the crowd rallied behind him.
Pope landed a slap, but Morgan fired up and creamed Pope with a discus clothesline for a close two count. Nice sequence. Morgan stalked Pope in the corner at 8:00, then landed successive blows as the ref reprimanded him. Morgan then measured Pope for the bicycle kick, but Pope moved. Morgan was caught in the ropes and Pope immediately nailed the DDE exposed knee smash to the back. Morgan fell back to the mat and Pope made the cover for the win. Pope going to the finals.
WINNER: Pope Dinero at 8:30. A good tournament match with Pope continuing to be elevated with this tournament. Morgan was fine playing the cocky heel, which should play into where they take his character going forward on TV. Two really strong sequences at the end boosted this to a solid two-star level. (**1/4)
Backstage: Borash brought in Mr. Anderson, who giggled at Borash reminding him that he beat Kurt Angle. Anderson soaked it in, then Anderson said he destroyed him. He said he beat the so-called greatest wrestler in the world and everyone is looking at him to lead this company into greatness. Anderson said he's going to grab the title shot tonight, then grab the title at Lockdown. Anderson did his over-the-top voice inflections before annoyingly announcing his name. Borash met him with the Furley Eyes. TV was about to explode. Borash then tried to wrap up his segment, but Anderson barged back into the shot and shouted his name again. That was pretty funny, actually. From utter annoyance to good comedy timing.
Impact Zone: Abyss came out for the next semi-final match. Anderson then strutted out feeling pretty good about himself. He still had a blood spatter on his right cheek as a war token from Angle. And commence the re-match from last month's TNA PPV semi-main event.
7 -- ABYSS vs. MR. ANDERSON -- Semi-final #1 contender tournament match
Anderson wanted a test of strength early on, which Abyss bought and Anderson used to kick Abyss in the gut. Abyss then came back with a body slam and they stared each other down. The match moved to the floor where Abyss smashed Anderson into the guardrail before returning to the ring. He tried to charge Anderson in the corner, but Anderson met him with an elbow and landed a dropkick to the knees that took Abyss off his feet. Anderson went to work on the left knee, busting out a Ric Flair chopblock in the process. Styles, Anderson, and Flair would have the makings of a solid heel stable. Anderson took too much time trying to follow up on Abyss, giving Abyss an opening for a corner splash and sidewalk slam for a two count only. Abyss then tried a chokeslam, but Anderson grabbed Abyss's mask to confuse him. Abyss grabbed the ref instead, then Anderson kicked Abyss in the leg and hit the Mic check. Anderson rolled over Abyss, who was more concerned with the mask than kicking out, and scored a three count for the win.
WINNER: Anderson at 8:07 to advance to the finals. They worked a basic singles match with Anderson using his heel tactics to take advantage of Abyss's weaknesses as a babyface. Good storyline-driven match that sets up Anderson vs. Pope in the finals. (*3/4)
Backstage: hemme was with A.J. Styles and Ric Flair. Styles had a little blonde streaking going on with his hair. Styles said he's the champ, which is why Hemme really wanted to interview him. Styles said you can take Joe, Angle, the Funks, and even Hogan, but you still wouldn't have a wrestler good enough to shine his boots. Styles told her to take a good look because a wrestler like him only comes around once in a lifetime. Ric Flair soaked in that statement before putting over Styles and painting the picture for the title match coming up. Classic Flair here.
Backstage: Eric Bischoff was shown walking down the hallway in the ref stripes. Hulk Hogan stopped him in the hallway and told him to let the animosity with Flair go. "No shenanigans, no ga-ga," Hogan said. Hogan said the talent need to believe in them, so he needs him to call it down the middle. Bischoff nodded and promised he wouldn't let Hogan down. Hogan slapped him on the back and walked off. Bischoff looked to the ceiling and muttered, "Dammit." There was a sign over his shoulder along the lines of: "Please keep elephant door closed when not in use." Those darn elephants.
Impact Zone: Bischoff came to the ring, then they cut to Samoa Joe walking backstage with possession of the Feast or Fired briefcase for the World Title shot. Joe then came out sporting his soccer-style shorts and shinguards. Joe posed for the hard camera and they cut to Styles's locker room where Flair put Styles in a classic Ric Flair robe. Styles slowly walked out with Flair right behind him looking at him approvingly. Styles even had the classic A.J. hood to go with the Flair robe. Cue up Styles's music to bring out Styles and Flair. Styles posed half-way down the ramp soaking in the moment as Flair stared down at the fans ringside with contempt. Flair so great. Once the parties were assembled, Jeremy Borash handled the formal ring intros. Bischoff then took the World Title belt and displayed it for everyone to see. Even Flair got a good look at the belt. Wait, is the match Bischoff vs. Flair or Styles vs. Joe? Can't tell here. Let's get the bell.
8 -- TNA World Hvt. champion A.J. STYLES (w/Ric Flair) vs. SAMOA JOE -- TNA World Title match -- Eric Bischoff special referee
Styles immediately dipped to the floor to avoid an initial lock-up and work on Joe psychologically. Styles re-entered and Joe blocked a shoulder attack, then again. Styles teased a third before nailing a right hand blow. Joe then shot Styles off to the ropes and blasted him with a big clothesline that popped the crowd. Joe landed right hand blows rapid-fire style in the corner before hitting the signature step-back enziguiri kick. Joe followed with a high-knee to the corner for a one count. Styles tried a comeback with a jawbreaker, but Joe came right back with a knee to the face for a two count. Joe followed with a knife-edge chop and taunted Flair ringside. Joe then tried kick strikes, but Styles blocked a third and executed a dragon-screw leg whip. Joe sold the left knee and Styles went to work on Joe's limb.
At 5:00, Styles teased the figure-four, but Joe kicked him clear out of the ring to the floor. Joe then charged the ropes and hit a suicide dive flying forearm smash. Both men sold the effects before Joe rolled Styles back into the ring. Styles begged off, then bailed to the floor and surprised Joe with a thumb to the eye to take control. Styles then removed the ringside padding to expose the concrete floor. Styles teased a suplex, but Joe blocked. The sequence ended with a teased spot and nothing more. Joe then intimidated Flair down the ringside area before returning to the ring to take a kick to the mouth from Styles. Styles followed with a trademark drop-down, leap frog, and high dropkick with the Styles pose.
At 10:00, Styles and Joe exchanged loud Ric Flair chops in the corner with Styles winning that exchange. Styles then put Joe on the top turnbuckle and wobbled him with right hands. Styles tried a huracanrana, but Joe blocked and came off the second rope with a leaping knee smash to the face for a two count. Styles then tried to fly at Joe in the corner while shouting "I'm gonna kill you, you stupid Samoan!" but Joe caught him in mid-air with a frontslam. Moments later, Styles distracted Bischoff to allow Flair to wrap Joe's ankle around the ringpost. Styles then went to work on the lower leg area with repeated elbow smashes. Styles then slapped on the figure-four and wrenched back to sell the hold.
At 15:00, Joe began fighting the hold by trying to turn it over as Bischoff leaned in close to miss Flair adding pressure from ringside. Flair then went nuts on the fans in the front row trying to tattle-tale on him. Flair ripped off his jacket in the process. Classic. In the confusion, Joe broke out of the hold before back-dropping Styles clear over the top rope with Styles splatting on the ring mat. Styles then rolled back into the ring and Joe landed right hand jabs and a clothesline, then a second and third. Styles with another cheap jab, but Joe absorbed and nailed a boot strike and sentaun splash for a two count. Joe then hit the classic snap powerslam out of the corner for a two count only with the announcers selling Bischoff having perfect cadence and not giving favoritism either way. Joe followed with right hand chops before Styles came off the apron with a springboard flying forearm. Styles pounded on Joe's forehead before Joe came back with a palm thrust. Styles then hit a perfect back-flip reverse DDT out of the corner and scored a two count. Styles teased the Clash at 19:20, but Joe countered into a standing sleeperhold. Joe then turned it into an exploder suplex dropping Styles on his head.
At 20:00, Joe screamed toward the crowd for a pop, then he set up the Musclebuster. Joe connected as Bischoff went to the floor to argue with Ric Flair, who dragged Bischoff back to the outside as Joe had a pin on Styles. Bischoff then decked Flair on the outside and screamed at him while the crowd counted the visual three count. Joe then grabbed Bischoff by the shirt and dragged him back into the ring. Joe and Bischoff had a mild exchange with Joe yelling at Bischoff that he had the pin. Joe then turned around and Styles smashed him with the Pele kick, followed by the Styles Clash. Styles rolled Joe over, then Bischoff slowly counted one, then two, then paused to think things over, and counted three to give Styles the win. Post-match: Flair demanded Bischoff raise Styles's arm in victory, which Bischoff did reluctantly.
WINNER: Styles at 21:27 to retain the TNA World Title. There was a lot of excess involvement that distracted from the match in an effort to enhance the match, but this really didn't need much enhancement. It was fine to give Joe an "out" and set up the TV follow-up with Hogan possibly upset with Bischoff and Joe upset with Hogan & Bischoff and Joe maybe taking someone hostage and/or stringing someone up backstage. Oh wait, that was two turns ago. If TNA is going to ask for $34.99, they need to deliver at least one big match with a clean finish where the match is settled in the ring. They haven't delivered that thus far. We'll see how Pope vs. Anderson fares. (***1/2)
Backstage: Christy Hemme brought in Mr. Anderson, who cut a promo ahead of the main event final. Anderson said he already checked off a few items on his TNA bucket list tonight, including beating Kurt Angle and putting Abyss to beddy-bye. Anderson began to introduce himself, but cut short and said you know who he is.
Backstage: JB was with Pope, who said Anderson is trying to cash a lot of checks with his mouth that his butt can't cash. Pope said he's the cashier and he's putting Void on "Junior's check." Pope vowed to deliver a Pope slap, then the DDE. Suddenly, Scott Hall and Pac jumped Dinero backstage and Pac rammed him into the TNA set. Hall and Pac fought off security, then more security tried to intervene. Hall then talked into the camera and told Hulk Hogan not to turn his back on the Wolfpack. Pope sold pain on the floor as The Band stormed off.
Impact Zone: Dinero's music hit, but no sign of The Pope. They cut his music, then Mr. Anderson walked out ready for the tournament final match. Anderson immediately walked up to the ref and asked for the bell and a ten count to begin.
9 -- MR. ANDERSON vs. THE POPE D'ANGLEO DINERO -- #1 contender tournament finals
Pope showed up at a seven count and Anderson jumped him on the walkway to deliver a beat down. Anderson kept running back and forth between the ramp and the ring to deliver a beating and stop a ten count. The announcers sold Pope having no chance at this point, of course. Anderson continued to work over Pope around the ringside area as they cut to a shot of Styles and Flair standing backstage watching the match on a monitor. Anderson had enough and told the ref to count out Pope, who struggled to his feet and slowly reached the ring apron. Anderson met him with a charging attack that knocked Pope off the apron to the floor. Anderson continued to work over Pope for a long while as Pope would tease comebacks every once in a while before Anderson would cut him off again.
Anderson then took the mic and announced that he was one Mic check away from victory. Anderson hit the Mic check, but Pope kicked out to a huge pop after the announcers tried to sell it as the ending. Anderson flipped out and shouted, "no, no, no, no" before attacking Pope in the corner. Pope then slowly dragged himself to his feet and Anderson landed a rolling gutbuster before going up top. Anderson then missed with a big somersault splash. Anderson tried to follow with a corner attack, but Pope moved and followed with the running DDE smash in the corner and Anderson fell back to the mat. Pope with the pin and the win with the crowd going nuts for Pope. Post-match: Pope stood on the walkway and celebrated with money pouring down from the ceiling. Anderson was beside himself with shock that he lost as the announcers closed by saying Pope won...against all odds tonight.
WINNER: Pope at 15:45 to become #1 contender. Star-making night for Pope, who pulled off the Willis Reed comeback to win. The match seemed to drag at times with TNA feeling the need to make this "PPV main event worthy" going 15+ minutes. Feel-good win for Pope tonight, which should translate into two months of interesting build-up to Styles vs. Pope at Lockdown. The main event wasn't particularly memorable, but it was effective. (**)
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