Jeff Hardy retains the TNA Heavyweight title in a ladder match that wasn’t short of high-risk bumps.
Make An Impact appeal:
Taz openened the show cold with a charity spot for Storm Sandy. He introduced Bully Ray and local radio host “Bucket Head”, who suggests fans in the auidence and at home text the Red Cross number to donate $10. They aimed to break the Guinness World Record for the most simultaneous texts “on a PPV”.
Austin Aries vs Jeff Hardy recap video:
The MMA style sitdown interview clips have helped to build up this feud superbly. The real element of smart fans getting behind the “wrestler” Aries, as opposed to the spot monkey company favorite Hardy, has made this one of the better storylines in recent TNA history. I’m excited!
Tonight’s event will be called by the 3-man team of Taz, Mike Tenay and Todd Kennely. The new guy is a good addition, because Taz in particular has been phoning it in lately.
No DQ Match, Samoa Joe def. Magnus:
Joe is just not the monster he used to be. Since the tattooed face era he hasn’t been able to recapture the heat he once had. Maybe he just needs a new theme and a slightly different look. Has he ever grown a beard? Regardless, when it’s bell time there’s no doubt he can deliver. Magnus on the other hand is risking stock. He looks like a star and should probably be the one holding the belt.
Joe dominates early on but is caught out by an interesting spot where Magnus out-paces him off the ropes, turns, and hits a clothesline. The two go back and forth until Magnus halts Joe’s suicide dive with a flying chair.
Joe eventually hits an impressive dive out of the ring and drags the Brit back in for a Muscle Buster, but it’s not enough. Showing the fans that he’s got heart, Magnus fights through the pain and tells Joe to bring it with a flip-of-the-bird. Joe does, the Submission Machine locks on the Choke. Magnus does not quit but the referee decides he’s out of it and Joe gets the win.
For a No Disqualification match there was little extracurricular wrestling. With WWE being PG there’s nothing stopping TNA pushing the envelope a little. I suppose being the opener they didn’t want to burn the fans out. That may explain its relative shortness as well.
I called the outcome after Impact, but Magnus came out of the loss looking strong. The angle is there if they wish to continue the feud. He never gave up and deserves another title shot. If they choose to move both stars on, then Joe needs a long title reign, re-establishing his dominance and making the belt worth something.
ODB & Eric Young def. Tara & Jesse:
Backstage ODB cannot find Eric Young. She’s been calling him all week but he’s nowhere to be seen. Ohhh there he is, EY jumps in to view and she forgives him with a long smacker on the lips.
As expected this match generally consisted of comedy wrestling. And it should, that’s what the characters represent. Jesse plays his character well. He’s charismatic, has pretty good mannerisms and tonight he showed a believable mean-streak. He’s yet to miss a beat in the ring. Whether that’s through well-planned out matches or not, for a reality TV star he’s taken to wrestling well.
ODB and Young get the win. It seems his future with the company is still up in the air.
Recap of Doc taking out Sting:
After the video package we’re informed that Sting is still under medical following Doc’s vicious hammer attack on Impact.
James Storm Interview:
In a good old fashioned on-the-fly interview James Storm tells JB that he’s winning the match tonight and feels sorry about the “damn look” of whoever he pins.
X-Division Championship, RVD def. Joey Ryan:
A recap from Impact reminds us that Matt Morgan is banned from ringside in this one. What does Hulk Hogan have on Morgan?
In the ring Ryan says he doesn’t answer to anyone and the only reason Morgan isn’t ringside is because he chose it to be that way. He says he especially doesn’t answer to Hulk Hogan. TNA’s resident slime-ball vows he’ll be making the X-Division X-Rated.
It seems clear to me that RVD is winding down his career in terms of how far he pushes himself in the ring. That’s not to say he can’t get it done, but he hasn’t spike a rating and doesn’t bring anything new to the table. The point of using former WWE talent should be to elevate the next generation, not to please them with meaningless title reigns.
Ryan does the job in a pretty quick and lackluster bout. As RVD celebrates on the ramp Matt Morgan hits the Carbon Footprint from behind.
Doc def. Joseph Park:
Joseph Park has “it”, whatever it is. He’s a lovable character and believable when he talks. He’s not very confident about his match while being interviewed by JB, but the underdog reiterates that win or lose, he’s here to be a man.
Early on Park has the crowd eating out the palm of his hands. They believe in him and chant “you can do it”. However the match becomes a bit clunky with the overweight non-wrestler somehow escaping the trained bad-ass biker’s attack for a bit too long. At one point Doc somehow launched himself in to the guard-rail while park clumsily walked away.
It’s the story that’s the main thing here and it was told well. After some build Park finally snaps after seeing his own blood. We get shades of Abyss and there’s potential split personality explanation as the weeks and months go on.
Rightfully so Doc ultimately gets the pin, and beats down the lawyer until Bully Ray can make the save.
Bobby Roode interview:
It’s the “It Factor” Bobby Roode’s turn to tell us why he’s gonna win the match tonight.
Tag Team Championship, Hernandez & Chavo Guerrero def. Daniels & Kazarian:
Nothing special here and not a very well built feud. The video package mentioned something about illegal immigrants. In the end Hernandez and Chavo Guerrero managed to retain their titles after Chavo implemented a cross body on to Daniels.
For some reason I’ve never been a fan of Kaz and Daniels grew stale long ago. Hernandez & Chavo need a bit more character development. Why are they together? What have they been through? What do they do? There needs to be a little more depth for them to progress past the “oh they’re both Hispanic” angle.
AJ Styles interview:
The Phenomenal One it’s time to put all the year’s distraction to the side and get back in the title hunt.
#1 Contender Match, James Storm def. AJ Styles and Bobby Roode:
Each member of this match deserves to be in the main event and would be believable in the role. If anybody needs it the most at the moment it’s Styles, who needs to reestablish himself.
AJ got a near pinfall against Storm, but Storm was able to reverse things and build up enough momentum for a near pinfall on Styles. Roode came back into the fold and dominated both Styles and Storm. Strangely enough at one point Storm and Roode worked together and we almost saw what looked like a Beer Money reunion. It didn’t last long!
All three competitors could not seem to get the pinfall, but out of nowhere Storm took out Styles with a Last Call Superkick for the win.
It’s a tough call but Styles has been to the top, it’s now time for The Cowboy.
Kurt Angle def. Devon:
I’m glad they decided to bring Devon back. He’s been given a new lease of life and looks good as a member of Aces & Eights. Holding off on the inevitable Bully Ray match will only make it more effective when it happens.
Even with other members of the MC surrounding the ring, Angle still managed to get Devon to tap. Though cheap finishes shouldn’t be overused as they sometimes have in TNA, giving Devon the win here by cheating would have kept him strong. Instead there’s the possibility of him slipping back in to boring lower-card Devon again, which should be avoided at all costs. If he then loses to Bully all the momentum will have gone.
AJ Styles backstage:
Styles is asked by the roaming reporter what he’s going to do now that he’s not allowed a title shot for a year. He walks off a beaten man without answering. This could be the storyline that re-cements AJ as company top dog. An uphill battle that culminates in a year or so’s time.
TNA Heavyweight Championship, Jeff Hardy def. Austin Aries:
Here we go, this is it. Will Austin Aries, the legitimate wrestler, take Hardy’s Power Ranger title and melt it in to a belt buckle out of respect for the real title? Or will the veteran of the Ladder, the company favorite retain the belt to the delight of the screaming girls and marks?
The match started with the two facing off in the ring, the way Aries had hoped, but it couldn’t last. It’s a ladder match, and that’s what they go for.
Early on Hardy attempted to throw Aries in to the supports of the ladder, but had things reversed on him, leaving the fan favorite in a heap on the outside. Aries then trapped Jeff inside the ladder and under the steps outside of the ring while he climbed the ladder for the belts. Hardy escaped and scaled the other side. Aries soon sent him crashing and burning. Is he beating him at his own game?
Hardy came back with a vengeance, coming close to the belt several times. Several spots ensued including a Splash from Hardy off the Ladder and a dropkick by Aries to send Hardy crashing to the mat. In one of the spots of the night Hard hit Aries with a Twist of Fate off the top of the ladder! Hardy then hit the Swanton Bomb. However it was not over, the resourceful Aries took control of the belt lever and moved the titles up out of reach.
Fine said Hardy, who went and found a 20 foot ladder to bridge the gap. The both scale the larger ladder but fall to the smaller one set up in the corner. A Twist of Fate later and Hardy grabs both belts.
Something tells me Aries is not going to go away quietly
The undercard was strong on paper but nothing particularly stood out. Perhaps they should have scrapped Devon vs Angle, or the comedy tag match and given Magnus and Joe enough time to do something special.