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By: Daniel Wilkenfeld, PWTorch Contributor
Where We've Been: As I'm sitting here, I have absolutely no recollection of last week's show. There are two really great main events scheduled for the next PPV, in addition to a bafflingly booked but awesome sounding tag team match, but TNA did nothing last week to advance my interest in either one. Looking back, the only feud that seems to have developed at all last week was Dixie Carter & EV 2.0 vs. Fortune, which does not strike me as a big money feud going forward. On the bright side The Motor City Machine Guns have brought the tag division off of life support for the first time in six months, and might very well do the same for the X Division if given half a chance. I'll be watching tonight's show mostly to see The Guns and to have TNA cruelly tease me with the prospect of a pimp'n Bound For Glory main event. If we don't get much of either I might just switch over to the Buckeyes' opening night. Go Bucks!
The Show: 10.10.10.
We hype the Mr. Anderson & The Pope vs. Kurt Angle & Jeff Hardy main event tonight. Hogan says that he wants to make sure that the guy who's going to lead this company can stand up to any situation. Hardy (elsewhere) doesn't know why Hogan and Bischoff would do this. Angle expresses how intense one gets when in there with the very people you'll have to beat to get a world title.
I like this early main event build up, though I'm not as confident in the main event itself. It could be great, but I doubt they'll really let them go.
They appear to have remixed the opening credits.
Hogan, Tessmacher and Bischoff come out to a loud..."Hogan sucks" chant? Wow, that grew faster than even I expected. Okay, now they're cheering him. Hogan asks the TNAmanicas what's up. Every time he comes to work he loves hanging out in the back, cause behind that curtain are the best talents in the world. And now that we're down to the semi-finals in this tournament, they have four people in the back they've taken to calling the "Fatal Four", and he'd like to bring them out now. It'd seem like a bigger deal to be at the semi-finals if the quarter-finals had consisted of more than 20 minutes of total wrestling. Hogan calls down Anderson first, followed by Pope, followed by Hardy, followed by Angle (who Hogan called "the baddest man on the planet"--is Tyson about to make a return to wrestling?) They have to stop pointing out that Angle's career is on the line—I keep suppressing that. Hogan says that everyone in TNA world knows what happened to RVD. Whoever becomes the TNA champion needs to raise the bar. Whoever becomes the champion will be able to effect the way things are done in TNA. We can't have anything like what happened to RVD happen again. How will "raising the bar" ward off homicidal monsters? Bischoff says that he knows the decision to book them in this match was controversial, but he knows how much they all thought of RVD, so they know what they have to live up to. As Bischoff talks, Abyss comes to the ring, sporting Janice. Hulk says that he wasn't invited. Abyss says that he comes here tonight bearing news-worthy revelations from "them". Hogan says that everyone in the building knows that "them" is Flair and his cronies, so why doesn't Abyss tell him something he doesn't know? But Abyss lets him know that the "they" that he referred to was never EV 2.0. It was never Fortune—Flair is a liar. But all the pieces are in place, and they are ready to reveal their plans. They have even given him the date of their revelation, and it's a date that comes only once a century—10/10/10. Hulk says that they better tell him to get out of Hulk's face. Abyss says that on 10/10/10, when they arrive, they will not only take TNA over, but they will turn TNA upside down—starting with the removal of president Dixie Carter, and continuing with the systematic extermination of everyone in the ring, just like he shredded up RVD. Hardy pops to Abyss as we cut to an oddly timed
We recap Love—Rayne. It would be really cool if they brought back Roxxi, and it turned out that Rayne retired her and Tara so that she could control their careers and build her own posse. Has there ever been a serious female heel stable?
The Beautiful People's music hits. Love and Sky are coming to the ring, but Rayne and Motorcycle Lady also come in. We're told that Rayne has promised to reveal the identity of Motorcycle Lady. Tenay refers to Love as a five-time TNA Knockouts Champion, which is bullshit. Rayne and ML approach the ring, and the BP run out to jump them.
(1) THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE vs. MADISON RAYNE & MOTORCYCLE LADY
Love and Sky dominate the outside. Love backs Rayne into the ring. She tries to beg off, but Sky blocks her. She shakes her ass, attempting to demonstrate that it's just like the old days. Sky and Love tee off. Love holds Rayne while Sky goes for a riding crop, but ML knocks Love and Sky down before she can use it. The match officially starts now—I'm not sure why. Love stomps Rayne's midsection, then tags in Sky. Sky pounds Rayne's head against the mat, then takes her over to Love for the tag. I believe the crowd is cheering for Lita--either I'm about to be surprisingly excited by the reveal or the crowd's about to be really disappointed. They hit Rayne with a double-Suplex and pop ML off the apron. ML gets back in in time to break up Sky's cover. Love Spears her out of the ring, but there she finds her helmet. She whacks Sky in the back from outside, and Rayne rolls into the cover for the win.
WINNERS: Madison Rayne and Motorcycle Lady in four minutes (three after the bell).
Love attempts to come to Sky's side after the match, but ML nails her in the back of the head with the motorcycle helmet. The heels go to work on the Beautiful People. Rayne raises ML's hand. ML takes her mask off to reveal Tara. Rayne jumps up for a hug with her.
Stevie Richards says that he's been being asked all day today whether he's scared to face the Monster Abyss. No, he's not afraid, because of all the adversities he's been through. He runs through his list of career injuries, which is surprisingly terrifying. Tonight will also be a chance to step out from the shadow of his colleagues.
We recap Abyss talking about "them", along with reactions from Reaction. Did someone at TNA decide that since Raw was a flashback show, this should be too? Anderson was surprisingly eloquent, saying that they all know they're going to get hurt, but what we saw from Abyss was @$#ing ridiculous.
RVD will speak next week.
(2) ABYSS vs. STEVIE RICHARDS
Richards pops Abyss before he can get into his ring, banging his head against the steps twice. Abyss comes back with a Big Boot. Abyss finally gets his jacket off, then rolls Stevie into the ring to draw the opening bell. Stevie dodges a charge in the corner and unloads with punches to the back of Abyss's head. He goes for the Stevie Kick, but Abyss catches it and hits a short-arm clothesline. We're told that he'll face Rhino on Sunday in a Falls Count Anywhere match. Abyss squishes Stevie in the corner. Stevie tries to chop his way out, but Abyss beats him down to the mat. Abyss hits a front Power Slam. We talk about who "them" are. I do not care. And it'll probably just be Sting, Jarrett, or someone else no one's cared about since 1986. Abyss goes to the outside to get a chair. The ref tries to stop him, but he goes through the ref—and right into a Stevie Kick into the chair into his face. The ref counts three.
WINNER: Stevie Richards (no, really) by pinfall in about three minutes. I did not foresee that.
As the ref raises Stevie's arm, Abyss clubs him in the back of his head. He hits the Shock Treatment. In the back, EV 2.0 are brawling with Fortune. Foley is selling an ankle injury (sort of—something looks off about it).
That comment about Jarrett and Sting was unfair—I'm just sick of their current plot.
In the ring, Abyss tosses the ref from the ring and Black Hole Slams Stevie. Anyone want to take bets on whether there will be any consequences for Abyss having an unprovoked assault against the referee? Abyss goes for Janice, but on his way back to the ring he's cut off by a Baseball Slide from...Brian Kendrick?
Anderson is talking to the camera about how it's no secret that he's had his issues with the Pope. He doesn't understand why Pope doesn't like him, since he's saved him like 10 times. He should be his best friend by now! Pope comes up behind him, saying that even though Anderson's sold it to Hardy and the fans, Pope's not buying it. Anderson says that he's not selling anything. They can beat each other up in three days, but tonight they need to work together. Pope doesn't like Anderson, and warns him against screwing Pope tonight. Anderson points out that screwing Pope would mean screwing himself, and he just needs to know that when he reaches out for a tag Pope will be there. Pope says that he's just going to get in his gear, and they'll have to see what happens out there.
Dreamer, Rhino, Foley and Sabu are in the ring. Dreamer's ticked about being jumped in the back, but he's sick of talking. He suggests Fortune come out so they can do this (I believe there's an 8-Man Tag coming) [NOTE: though the 8-Man tag was billed on TNA's website, it's announced as a surprise later--curious]. Fortune hit the top of the ramp. AJ wants to know if Dreamer has something to say to him. He tells him to say it, but then says to shut up. You do not call AJ out here, in the house that AJ built. Look at Dreamer—I mean really look at him. Does he think he has a chance at No Surrender? Does Sabu really think he has a chance to beat Douglas Williams for the X Division title? Williams will slaughter him. Does Rhino think he has a chance against Abyss? Again, Abyss will slaughter him. And Dreamer vs. AJ in an "I Quit" Match—how sweet will it be to hear Dreamer, in the house that AJ built, say "I Quit". AJ will embarrass Dreamer in AJ's own house (is that so impressive?). Dreamer says there's no reason to wait. This is Fortune's house, but it's a house full of people who think that Fortune sucks. So the four of them should face the four in the ring, and EV 2.0 will make it their house, cause Fortune does suck.
Jarrett is trying again to get Joe in his corner. Before he gets his butt handed to him again, he wants to make it perfectly clear to Joe that he doesn't owe Jarrett anything, but Jarrett's not doing it for himself. He's doing this for TNA and all of Joe's friends in the locker room. It's up to Joe to do the right thing. Joe's amused by calling it "the right thing"--if there's one thing he's learned in this business, it's that you should mind your own. He walks off.
I really hope this plot culminates in an annoyed Joe just Muscle Busting the hell out of Jarrett, then maybe Sting (Austin style).
Nash tells Sting that he has is back. Sting says that they should really mess with Jarrett tonight. Sting knows who will show up tonight, and he'll pull him into the ring.
Jarrett is doing this because Nash and Sting will tear down everything that he's built. But can he do it alone? Hell no.
Incidentally, if I weren't recapping I'd be switching over to The Buckeyes right about now.
(3) JEFF JARRETT vs. STING (w/KEVIN NASH)
Sting's sporting the red face paint. Nash trips Jarrett right at the start as he tries to run the ropes. We're told that EV 2.0 vs. Fortune will be an elimination match. Jarrett and Sting lock up. Sting hits a knee to the mid-section, then a couple hard rights. Jarrett blocks the third and nails three of his own. Nash trips him up again behind the ref's back. Jarrett goes out to chase him away, then gets whacked by Sting on the way in, then hits a series of elbows to the back of the head. He lowers his head early on a Back Body Drop, and Jarrett kicks him in the face. He runs to the outside to pop Nash. Sting follows. Jeff fights them both off for a second, but Sting takes control and rams Jeff into the guardrail a few times. He hits a short-arm clothesline on the mat, then takes Jarrett back to the ring. That was the longest ten-count. Jarrett thrusts shoulders at Sting on his way into the ring and runs his head into both adjacent ring posts. He tries to take Sting over with a Suplex, but Nash trips him up and Sting falls into the cover for three. Nash walked away before the cover, so I have no idea how that got three.
WINNER: Sting in about three minutes.
After the match Jarrett takes the fight to Nash in the ring, but Sting comes up behind him and chokes him with the baseball bat. Hogan's music hits. He comes out, taking off his watch at the top of the ramp. Sting teases Hogan with a choked Jarrett. Joe comes in from the crowd and takes down Nash, then goes to ward Sting off Jarrett. He tells Hogan that he's got this. Sting tells Joe that he's putting himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. So Joe being convinced to get involved in a random fight not involving him? That plays out over two weeks. Sting's heel turn? That plays out over six months and counting. Abyss's mystery crazy will apparently top out at 5 months. They should focus group these things or something, as clearly no one in TNA has a sense of what ambiguities are interesting over long periods of time.
We get a quick add for the PPV.
"Shore" is coming soon.
We start to go over the card, but it's cut off (conveniently right when it's about done anyway) by London Brawling in the ring. Wolfe has the mic. While "Queer Money" and "The Motor City Cap Guns" have been killing themselves trying to prove who the best tag team is, London Brawling has been beating every pair of wankers put in front of them on Xplosion (X what now?), proving that it's them. Magnus, sporting a Beret, says that he sees it in our eyes—we're embarrassed to have The Motor City Machine Guns as our champions. But they're here to save us—he highlights one woman he'd be willing to save any day. Those belts are coming off the boys and onto the men. The Guns' music hits, and they come down to the ring. Shelley asks if London Brawling think for one minute that The Guns killed themselves in five matches against Beer Money—he has to pause here for applause, noting the crowd's appreciation—just to lose the belts now? They're the best in the world, and if LB don't believe it, they can ask any of these people. Sabin says that maybe LB are the #1 Contenders, but he's never seen them beat anyone. From the looks of things, the only tag-teaming they've been doing is each other. Wolfe says that he gets it—Sabin thinks that he and Magnus fancy each other, that they're a couple of poofs? (Wolfe's delivery is so great it's hard to believe.) He hates to ruin the Guns' comedy routine, but they're the only fellows in the ring with a "bird". Magnus says that maybe they should focus a bit less on their jokes and a bit more on growing some hair on their nuts. Shelley points out that he's five minutes older than Magnus. And if they're such big men, why does she always have such a lousy look on her face? He tells her what—he has ten dollars, five minutes, and one dog tag—what can that get him? She smirks. Sabin asks Shelley to back off, since obviously she doesn't want to be with them—she just needs the money, like any other call girl. Wolfe tells Chelsea to tell The Guns how he rocks her world, and how he's the biggest man in this ring. She looks amused. If there were a sword fight in this ring right now, his weapon would come up a little short. Wolfe starts to yell at her, but then smoothly turns around to pop Shelley as Magnus takes down Sabin. Magnus tosses Sabin from the ring, and they hit a Side Drop/Fame Asser on Shelley.
Dreamer's talking to Rhino, Sabu and Mick, ticked about what they're losing. They lost Guido, they lost Tony, and now they're losing Mick. Mick says that he's not lost yet, but a nearby trainer says he can't go tonight. Kendrick walks in, saying that he's here to help. They tell him to get lost. Kendrick says they need each other. Kendrick loves what they've created, and wants to co-create reality with them. Mick says that if anyone's going to name his replacement, it'll be him. Kendrick thinks he knows about reality? He's absolutely crazy—and therefore perfect for EV 2.0. He has Mick's blessing. Dreamer says that if Mick said he's in, he's in.
We get an ad for the TNA live experience. Hey, they're coming back to Ohio in September. I wonder if I'm a significant part of their revenue stream.
Hardy is talking to Angle, saying that it'll be hard to focus on their match tonight when in three days he'll be coming one step closer to winning the title in his best friend's name. But Kurt must have that match even more on his mind, since if he loses he's going home. Kurt agrees that that's true, but he is focused, since he has no plans for losing. Tonight if they lose focus someone could get injured, and that could effect Sunday, which Kurt won't let happen. They clasp hands.
(4) FORTUNE (AJ STYLES, KAZARIAN, ROBERT ROODE & JAMES STORM w/DOUGLAS WILLIAMS, RIC FLAIR, & MATT MORGAN) vs. EV 2.0 (TOMMY DREAMER, SABU, KENDRICK & RHINO) 8 Man Tag Team Elimination Match
Rhino starts things off with a side headlock on Storm. Rhino takes him down with a shoulder block. Storm goes for a hip toss--Rhino blocks it, so Storm just slugs him. He tags in Kazarian, who does a bit of trash talking before walking into a dropkick from Rhino. Sabu tags in, pops a few heels off the apron, then hits a Springboard Bulldog on Kazarian, followed by a Springboard Tornado DDT for two. AJ tries to run in, but Sabu trips him down and Buzzsaw kicks him. When he goes for another Spingboard move Williams trips him from outside the ring. Kazarian gets a quick roll-up for three. An unhappy Sabu slugs Kazarian, then hits a Suicide Dive to Williams. He and Williams brawl to the back. In the ring Kazarian misses a dropkick, and Dreamer locks him in a Texas Cloverleaf. AJ quickly breaks up the hold. Kendrick tags in. He takes Kaz down with a flying forearm and a beautiful dropkick. A leg lariat gets two. Kendrick tries to come off the middle rope with a Cross Body Block, but Kazarian catches him with a knee to the gut. Roode tags in and continues to work the mid-section with knees. He hits a high back drop for two. Kazarian tags in and gut wrenches Kendrick for two. Kazarian sets Kendrick up for his Inverted Pile Driver, but Kendrick reverses into a roll up. They trade quick roll ups, till Kendrick nails a leg lariat as he pops out of one. That gets three. AJ comes in, but walks right into a double leg takedown, choking AJ. After the ref pulls him off, Kendrick comes back with a Lou Thesz Press and and chokes AJ again. Referee Brian Hebner pulls Kendrick off again, so Kendrick nails him with a high dropkick. As soon as the ref goes down, all six men run at each other and start brawling. Mick Foley starts making his way down the ramp.
Beer Money are hitting a Double Team Flapjack on Dreamer as we get back. During the break the ref came to and DQed Kendrick. Storm whips Dreamer into the corner, then stomps on his hand. He stomps his head, then tags in Roode. Roode Body Slams Dreamer. He comes off the top rope with a move that couldn't have possibly connected, but Dreamer gets his boot up to block it anyway. Roode charges, but right into a Spine Buster. Rhino tags in and goes to town on AJ and Roode. Storm tries to catch him with a Last call, but Rhino blocks it and hits a Belly-to-Belly Suplex. He Gores the hell out of Storm , but Roode breaks the ensuing cover (when did Storm become legal?) up at two. Rhino ducks below a clothesline from Roode and hits another Belly-to-Belly. He sets up for the Gore, but sees Abyss running down to the ring and goes out to meet him. They brawl around the ring and into the crowd as the ref counts Rhino out. Roode tags back in and clotheslines Dreamer. A cover gets nothing. AJ tags in and punches Dreamer in the face while Roode holds him. He tags Roode right back in. Roode hits a couple strikes, then tags in Storm (who seems to be favoring his ribs). They go for the Beer Money Suplex, but Dreamer blocks it. He knocks down Storm. AJ goes to the top rope, but Dreamer DDTs Roode below AJ, and AJ ends up nailing Storm with a Cross Body Block. A cover on Roode gets three. I'm pretty sure Storm was legal. Dreamer flings AJ from the ring and eliminates Storm with a School Boy. AJ comes in, and they brawl. AJ gets the upper hand, whipping Dreamer into the corner. Dreamer gets a boot up, but AJ stops himself and chops Dreamer. AJ goes for a Styles Clash, but Dreamer reverses it into a Crippler Crossface. AJ gets to the ropes. He hits a knee to Dreamer's mid-section as he gets up. Dreamer still goes for a Death Valley Driver, but AJ slips out and nails an amazing dropkick. AJ goes for a knee drop, but Dreamer gets out of the way. Dreamer wants a DDT, but AJ hits his Rolling Armbar Takedown. Tommy quickly gets to the ropes. AJ hits a Body Slam. He goes to the top rope, but Dreamer meets him with a right hand. Dreamer nails a Superplex. He grabs a leg and stares down Flair. He starts to get the Figure Four, but Matt Morgan climbs to the apron. Dreamer releases the hold to crotch Morgan on the top rope, but turns into an eye poke and the Pele for three. Foley and Flair are brawling around the ring.
WINNERS: Fortune in 19 minutes, with about four during a commercial. I can't tell whether Tommy's still got it or AJ's just that damned good.
The main event is up next.
The Fatal Four come out for the main event in the same order we saw them earlier: Anderson, Pope, Hardy, and Angle.
(5) KURT ANGLE & JEFF HARDY vs. "THE POPE" D'ANGELO DINER & MR. ANDERSON
As Pope tells Anderson to leave the ring, Kurt comes up behind Pope and back drops him. He hits a European Uppercut and a haymaker in the corner, then tags in Jeff Hardy. Kurt played the part of Matt Hardy in Poetry in Motion, then Jeff hits his delayed dropkick for two. Jeff lowers his head early on a Back Body Drop, and Pope hits a mean knee to the his face. Pope hits his uppercut, then, after a quick stare-down, tags in Anderson. Hardy blocks a right hand and nails one of his own. He hits an Inverted Atomic Drop, then transitions into a double leg takedown and his double leg drop. Pope comes in to help out, but just gets Hardy's Inverted Ensuguri. The distraction lets Anderson nail a Decapitator Clothesline. Pope blind tags himself in. He Snapmares Hardy down, then lowers one knee pad for a knee drop. A cover gets two. Pope Front Chancery's Hardy over to his corner, and forcefully tags in Anderson. Anderson grudgingly comes in. A Body Slam gets two. The crowd is at least 80-20 behind Hardy. Anderson works a front headlock. Hardy powers out—Anderson tries to stop him with a Mic Check, but Hardy reverses it with a Twist of Fate. Pope and Angle tag in. Angle hits a couple quick clotheslines. Pope creates some distance with a boot, but then walks right into Kurt's Belly-to-Belly Overhead Suplex. Anderson runs in, but just gets German Suplexed. Kurt hits the Olympic Slam on Pope, but Anderson forcibly breaks up the cover. He and Angle go for clotheslines at the same time. As they both stagger to their feet Hardy goes for a Whisper in the Wind—Anderson sidesteps and Hardy nails Angle. Anderson follows up with a quick Mic Check on Kurt, and Pope makes the cover for three.
WINNERS: Mr. Anderson & D'Angelo Dinero in 5 minutes.
Anderson does not seem thrilled that Pope's music is playing at the end of the match. Pope gives him a conspicuously innocent look, but Anderson slugs him. Pope fires back and takes Anderson out of the ring with a Spear. Angle and Hardy face off in the ring, and just start brawling. Security to swarm to try to break up the double brawl.
Where We're Going: The main event picture for the foreseeable future should be greatly cleared up by this time next week. I clearly have my favored scenario, which is a Pope win over Jeff Hardy at Bound for Glory, but that seems by far the least likely of the eight possible outcomes. Besides, it certainly seems like whatever is going on with that pesky World Heavyweight Championship, all that we'll really focus on will be Sting, Jarrett, Hogan, Fortune, and EV 2.0. Bleh.
Star of the Night: AJ Styles. There was only one full match on the show, and little doubt as to who carried it.
Overall: This show had ups and downs, but really more downs than ups. I like that Abyss's plot is coming to an end, but don't like that they're dragging it out for another month first. The Tara reveal was fine, but would have been better without the pointless match that just underscored the flaws in the division right now. Stevie Richards winning the shocking upset basically cleanly was an awesome moment. We know from ECW and Right to Censor (and his WWE relationship with Victoria) that Stevie has a mad-upside when used properly, and from Dr. Stevie and the rest of his WWE career that he's just awful when used badly. Pope—Anderson was played perfectly all night, for all 4 minutes that was the focus of the show. I really liked the new character they were building for Joe of apathetic ass-kicker, only to have them immediately change gears. Does anyone notice that the crowd is hardly madly behind Jarrett right now? Why throw good wrestling after bad? Brutus Magnus is the smartest man in wrestling, since after this Sunday he'll look like gold. The 8 man tag was surprisingly enjoyable. In particular, I think Kendrick as part of EV 2.0 is a stroke of genius. They needed someone to carry matches, and his character makes it seem perfectly natural for him to team with them. The main event went exactly as I'd expected—not enough time leading up to a brawl to end the last show before the PPV. The first 90 minutes were pretty forgettable (outside of the Stevie upset), and the last 10 were pretty predictable, which does not make for a killer 2 hours. C-
Daniel is a graduate fellow at The Ohio State University. The perceptive among you might have noticed a subtle change in job title. Congratulations can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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