WWE Extreme Rules is only a few years old but it has had its share of great matches. With the 2013 edition looming, I thought it would be fun to take a look back and countdown the top five matches in WWE Extreme Rules history.
Why five and not ten? Well the simple answer is that I didn’t have a lot to work with. I only had three pay per views to work with, so coming up with ten great matches would be a stretch. I could have done it, but I felt that 6-10 would have been just matches to pad the list.
As always these are my favorite matches in Extreme Rules history. Yours may be different, so if you think I missed one leave a comment and let me know. Otherwise grab a chair, lay out a table, and climb the ladder because these are the top five matches in Extreme Rules history.
Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena Extreme Rules Match (Extreme Rules 2012) - I don’t know if it was the hype, the intrigue, or just the excitement of seeing Brock back but this worked on every level. The match played out in the ring exactly as you’d expect a match between a former UFC fighter who knows how to wrestle would against an experienced WWE wrestler. It was one of the most brutal matches of either man’s careers and blew away Brock’s other matches with Triple H since returning. I know Cena won and I know that has tarnished the match for some, but for me it didn’t get better than this in Extreme Rules history.
Jeff Hardy vs. Edge in a Ladder Match for the WWE world heavyweight championship (Extreme Rules 2009) – I sat here and tried to think of a reason not to rank this one at the top of the list and just couldn’t think of any. This match is probably remembered for the aftermath which saw CM Punk cash in. However, before Punk cashed in, Hardy and Edge had one of the great matches of this past era in WWE history.
Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio in a No Holds Barred Match for the WWE Intercontinental championship (Extreme Rules 2009) – I was a big fan of this feud as it featured a great storyline, strong promos, and some fantastic matches. This one may have been the cream of the crop for these two former WCW superstars. The finish of the match is still one of my favorites with Jericho countering the 619, tearing off the mask, and rolling up Mysterio when he tried to cover his face. This was just a fantastic match and a real showcase of their talents.
John Cena vs. Batista in a Last man Standing Match for the WWE championship (Extreme Rules 2010) – I may be a little biased here because this was one of my favorite feuds of the last couple of years. The dynamic between Batista and Cena was awesome and it worked like a charm at Extreme Rules. The big spot was John Cena hitting Batista with an Attitude Adjustment through a table. Batista worked over Cena’s leg throughout the match. The finish was a little goofy with the masking tape, but otherwise I thought they had a heck of a match.
Sheamus vs. Triple H in a Street Fight Match (Extreme Rules 2010) – This is probably a dark horse as opposed to some of the other matches you were expecting but I loved this one. This was one of the hottest matches of the event. I loved the finish here. Sheamus wound up pinning Triple H after a series of bicycle kicks. After the match, Sheamus continued attacking Triple H. As security walked Triple H to the locker room in a neck brace, Sheamus attacked him once last time. In the end, Triple H was stretchered out. Sheamus came off as a ruthless killer here, especially attacking Triple H as he was being helped to the back. I know some Triple H-aters may disagree, but this was a great one.
Bonus: Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio in a Ladder Match for the WWE world heavyweight championship (Extreme Rules 2011) – In my Extreme Rules 2011 recap I listed this as my favorite match of the night. Looking back I wish that these guys had more time to feud because they had tremendous chemistry on this night. The highlight of the match was Christan getting knocked off the top rope, flying onto a ladder on the outside, readjusting, and hitting a reverse plancha on Del Rio on the outside. This was just an absolutely great match and probably one of the most underrated matches of 2011.
This week’s TNA Impact opens with Jeff Hardy entering the building. Hulk Hogan stops him in the backstage area and asks if he’s ready for tonight. Hardy says he was born ready for this kind of match.
TNA now has credits for their opening video. Kill me.
Full Metal Mayhem happens tonight, as does Gail Kim vs. Taryn Terrell, and we will also get AJ Styles’ “big decision”. Now, to the ring for the opening match.
MATCH 1-Best-of-3-Falls Match for the World Tag Team Championship (If the challengers lose, they must split): Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez vs. Austin Aries and Hernandez (Champions)
The challengers are led to the ring by some boxing legend. I don’t pay attention to boxing, so I don’t know who he is, nor do I care. Roode and Aries attack before they even make their official entrance, with Roode throwing Hernandez into the steps several times. The bell rings, and in the ring, Roode sends Aries into Chavo for a corner dropkick. Aries then sends Chavo into Roode for the spinebuster, which gets 3.
Aries tags in after the rest period and goes up top, mocking Chavo. He takes too long, though, and misses the frog splash. Chavo gets in a quick Oklahoma roll for 3, tying up the series. We’re now into the third fall, and Hernandez is still laid out on the floor. Roode tags in and stomps Chavo down in the opposite corner before dragging him to his own for more stomps and a foot choke. Aries chokes Chavo over the bottom rope behind the ref’s back, and Roode hits a quick back suplex for 2. Aries tags in and hits a tope con hilo, then stomps the face and hits a fist drop for 2. Roode back in, and he corner whips Chavo. Chavo blocks the charge and goes for a tornado DDT. Roode blocks that, but gets hit with a dropkick. Chavo looks for a tag, but Hernandez isn’t there. He eventually crawls up and tags in, hitting a slingshot shoulderblock on Roode, who has tagged in as well. He takes out both champs before hitting Roode with a Pounce. Warrior Press on Aries, and now Hernandez goes outside to the ramp for an outside-in Air Mexico on both the champs. Commercials.
Back from the break, Aries hits a double axe handle from the top to the floor on Hernandez. Roode throws Hernandez back in and goes for the pin, getting 2. A rear chinlock is applied now, and Roode turns it into a snapmare. Aries tags in and hits a spinning European uppercut from the middle rope to the back of Hernandez’s head for 2. Roode back in as Hernandez tries to fight back from his knees. Roode drops him with a forearm, then nails Chavo on the apron, knocking him to the floor. Hernandez tries to fight back once more, so Roode rakes the eyes. Aries comes in illegally, and Hernandez blocks a double clothesline before hitting one of his own. Chavo tags in, and he hits a tope con hilo on Roode before knocking Aries to the floor. Spinning headscissors on Roode sends him out as well, and Chavo drops them both with a slingshot cross-body. Back in, Chavo gets 2, but Aries breaks the pin. He goes for the brainbuster, and Chavo counters into the 3 Amigos. He hits 2 before Roode breaks it up, and Chavo hits him with the 3 Amigos. Up top, Chavo goes for the frog splash. Aries pushes him off onto the ropes, and Roode gets 2 with a handful of tights. Roode applies the Bowflex, and Hernandez breaks the hold up. Aries sends Hernandez to the ramp, but he lands on his feet and hits another outside-in Air Mexico. However, the champs move, and Hernandez hits Chavo. Aries sends him to the floor, and Roode gets 2 on Chavo. Roode sends Aries in for another corner dropkick before Chavo counters a spinebuster by Roode into a DDT for 2. Aries breaks up the pin and sets Chavo up on the top rope. Hernandez comes in and grabs Aries in the Border Toss, but Roode boots him in the gut, preventing the move. The champs go for a double suplex, but Hernandez counters into his own. Chavo up top now, and he hits a frog splash on Roode for the 3.
WINNERS AND NEW CHAMPIONS: Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez. Taz just said Texas is the only state that has their own flag. Jesus tap-dancing Christ…
In the back Brooke Hogan is stopped by Joey Ryan. He says she doesn’t have to apologize for how the knockouts acted last week. He has his ref gear again tonight and volunteers to do the job again. Brooke says he doesn’t have to worry about it. Ryan embarrassed her last week, and this week, he has a match, and we’ll see who the “bigger man” is.
Outside, Aces and Eights have arrived on their motorcycles and are just hugging each other repeatedly.
Joseph Park makes his way into the arena. He has asked for a few minutes to discuss a few points of business. His main issue is with A and E, and Bully Ray specifically. What Ray and his band of hooligans has perpetrated on TNA is felonious, and it stops now. The crowd has completely turned on Park in just a few seconds. Park wants justice, and tonight, it will be served when Jeff Hardy brings the title back to TNA. Justice doesn’t end there, though. Park is well-versed in divorce law and marital code in this country. He holds up a piece of paper and says he’s written up annulment papers that will officially end the marriage between Brooke and Ray. Before he can finish, Devon enters the ring and rips the mic out of Park’s hand before ripping up the papers. Devon says that, if Park has a problem with his brother, he’s got a problem with Devon. Go back to the rock you crawled out from, and stay out of family business. He doesn’t give a damn what Park thinks; stay out of the family business. You’ve been warned. Devon leaves as Park is picking up the shreds of paper, then gets back in the ring with a chain around his fist and decks Park in the gut.
MATCH 2: Gail Kim vs. Taryn Terrell
At least Taryn decided to invest in a pair of kneepads. I don’t know why, but wrestlers not wearing kneepads really, really bothers me. It just looks strange, not to mention it’s kind of stupid when you consider how much damage is done to the knees in this profession. Before the match begins, ODB is announced as the referee. Kim immediately gets in ODB’s face, and Taryn snaps her into the ring. Clothesline by Taryn, followed by a suplex. Monkey flip out of the corner, but Kim counters the spear. Taryn puts on the breaks and mounts the middle rope, so Kim trips her. In the corner, Kim strikes Taryn several times. Taryn tries to fight back from her knees. She ducks a clothesline, but gets hit with a back elbow. Kim picks her up for a fireaman’s carry, then drops her face-first on the mat. Kim foot-chokes Taryn over the middle rope, then gets in ODB’s face. Taryn reverses a corner whip, but Kim counters the charge into a roll-up with a handful of tights. ODB counts 2, but sees the cheating and breaks it. Taryn quickly schoolgirls Kim and gets 3.
WINNER: Taryn Terrell. Todd Kenely called this a “PPV quality match”, further establishing his lack of credibility. Kim continues to yell at ODB after the match, so ODB chases her to the back. Christy Hemme stops Taryn for an interview after the match. She says she has waited a long time to get physical with Gail Kim, but now, who wants to get physical with Taryn?
We see Adam Pearce and Magno in the back, ready for Gut Check. I already know how this part turns out, and it’s total bullsh*t.
Pre-recorded footage of Al Snow, Bruce Prichard and Danny Davis talking about Gut Check is aired, and they focus on Magno botching spots, as well as Pearce cheating to win the match. Davis calls Pearce “technically sound”, and he appreciates that, as does Snow. They question Pearce’s personality, as they haven’t heard him talk yet.
Back to the arena, the judges are with Pearce and Magno. Prichard talks about the hype for these two, and only one of them can go to the ring to face Gut Check tonight. Magno, you have your entire career ahead of you. Adam, you are a 17-year veteran, and that can be viewed either negatively or positively. Decision time: Magno, your decision will be made in the ring later tonight. Adam Pearce walks off, and you can hear the crowd booing in the background. As I said, pure bullsh*t.
AI stops Hulk Hogan in the back to ask about Bully Ray. He says it’s important for TNA to get the belt back, but right, it’s time to deal with AJ Styles. AI asks about Sting, and Hulk doesn’t have an answer.
Other AI stops AJ Styles outside to ask about A and E. He shoves the camera away. Mr. Anderson stops him and hands him another vest.
Hulk Hogan makes his way into the arena, and he’s here to get a decision from AJ Styles. There’s a lot of things going on tonight, but the man he needs to talk to is a man that needs to get out here right now. AJ Styles, you need to get out here and let him know what’s going on right now. AJ makes his way out, the vest still in his hand. Hulk says they’re in the middle of a crazy war. AJ is playing the middle, so he needs to know which side AJ is on. This is an ultimatum, brother. AJ says he doesn’t respond well to ultimatums. Once again, James Storm interrupts the proceedings. He’s not out here to give AJ an ultimatum or hear what side he’s on. But, what he is out here for is because he and AJ are going to fight. Bad Influence then joins the fray. Kaz tells “Toby Keith” to step aside, as this doesn’t concern him. They’re not out here to fight; they’re out here to men fences. They also see through all the poop happening in the ring. They’re sexual and intellectual, so they know what’s going on. “Thunderlips” is going to try to get AJ on his team since A and E has dismantled his team. A and E, at the same time, wants to recruit TNA’s best soldier for the last 11 years. Daniels tells AJ that both sides will use him up and spit him out. BI has another proposition: they want AJ on their side. They know AJ thinks the whole thing with Claire Lynch was bad, but wasn’t it worse when Dixie Carter, Hulk and the fans all turned their backs on AJ? Don’t stand with either of these strangers; come stand with your brothers. Think of all the titles of they’ve won together. Wouldn’t it be great if the three of them stood together and it was them against the world? Storm shoves AJ to get his attention, then begins screaming in his face. AJ once again walks away from Storm. He stares at BI for a minute, then walks past them as well. Hulk yells at him and tells him that, since he won’t make a decision, Hulk will. Next week, AJ will fight Storm.
Joey Ryan is on his way to the ring for a match.
In the locker room, Kurt Angle is saying the feud between A and E and TNA has only begun, and the balance of power switches when Hardy wins the title. Next week, Angle has asked Hulk for a handicap match against Tomax and Xamot, and he plans to show them he is the baddest SOB in pro wrestling.
MATCH 3: Joey Ryan vs. Rob Terry
Remember that tag team Ryan had with Matt Morgan? Neither does TNA. Ryan runs into a shoulder as Mike Tenay tries to make the claim that Terry outweighs Ryan by 100 pounds. Terry hits another shoulder, and Ryan rolls to the apron. Terry pulls him back in and beals him across the ring. Terry hits an open-hand chop in the corner, then does the same in the adjacent corner. Same thing in the third corner, and Terry caps off the chops with a hard corner whip. Bodyslam by Terry, followed by a corner clothesline. Terry hits an over-the-shoulder powerslam, then picks Ryan up on his shoulders, turning the fireman’s carry into the Freakbuster for 3.
WINNER: Rob Terry. At least Terry didn’t botch his finisher this week. Terry is doing a guest appearance at a local show here this month. Guess where I won’t be that night?
Brooke and Hulk are in the back, and Hulk says he has a suite here tonight, and he wants Brooke with him there to watch the main event. Brooke says she wants to be at ringside for that match so she can see Hardy win the title up-close. As Hulk and Brooke part ways, Matt Morgan stops Hulk and asks if this is what things have come down to for Hulk. He should have done the right thing and named Morgan the #1 contender at Lockdown. Bully Ray wouldn’t be champion, and Hulk wouldn’t be responsible for breaking Brooke’s heart. Instead, he did what he does best, and make another Hulk Hogan mistake. One day, all of these mistakes will come crashing down on him.
It’s Gut Check time. JB introduces the three judges, followed by Magno. Despite being from Texas, the crowd immediately turns on Magno once he’s introduced. Good. He doesn’t deserve any accolades after last week’s performance. Danny Davis is up first as the crowd chants “No!” He says the fans here have made a decision, but he hasn’t yet. If Magno was in OVW, Davis would make him a star. Unfortunately, they’re on Impact, which is nationwide, and he has to agree with the fans. His answer is no. Magno gets his 30 seconds now to convince the other two judges he deserves it, and he says there are a lot of goals in life. He’s been in work all around the world, but that’s not enough for him. All the people know him. But he wants the whole world to know him as Magno, Impact luchador. That was the English half of the promo. I don’t speak Spanish, so I don’t know what else he said. However, what he said in English was complete garbage, and the fans in the building let him know it as well. Bruce Prichard is up next. He tells Magno he’s here because he has his entire career ahead of him. He has the physical attributes and a marketable look. However, his experience in the ring could cost him. He doesn’t know who Magno is and he needs more seasoning, and his answer is in both English and Spanish: no. Good. Magno flat-out sucks.
Outside, A and E are having a party with their motorcycles. Anderson asks Bully Ray if he’s ready, then gives him the group’s catchphrase. Ray says he needs to walk alone tonight. He needs to beat Hardy alone so he can shove it up Hardy and Hogan’s asses. He asks A and E to swear they will let him do this alone tonight. He’s not doing this just for him; he’s doing it for all of them. He then asks Anderson to hold his wedding ring.
The main event is up next.
MATCH 4-Full Metal Mayhem for the World Championship: Jeff Hardy vs. Bully Ray (Champion)
We see Brooke sitting in the front row. Ray walks over to her and tells her he’s glad she could make it before blowing her a kiss. Hardy immediately hits a sit-out Twist of Fate, then follows up with an avalanche in the corner and some punches. Hard corner whip by Hardy, and he grabs a chair, striking Ray over the back twice. Hardy brings a ladder in and props it in the corner, where he sends Ray in face-first. Hardy sets the chair up and hits Poetry in Motion. Ray falls down, lands face-first on the chair, and the ladder falls across his back. Hardy sets the ladder up in the middle, but Ray tips the ladder over. Hardy lands on his feet and hits a reverse enziguri. He goes to clothesline Ray over the top rope, but Ray counters with a back body drop, sending Hardy back-first on the ramp. Ray grabs his chain and begins whipping Hardy on the ramp. He goes back into the ring and sets up the ladder before throwing a chair to the corner. Ray begins climbing, but Hardy recovers and climbs as well, hitting Ray with some punches. Ray punches back, then rakes the eyes. He goes for a suplex, eventually hitting it. Commercials.
Back from the break, Hardy is on a table in the middle as Ray is on the middle rope. Hardy slides off, grabs a chair and cracks Ray with it. He moves the table, then sets a ladder against it upside-down. Hardy goes for a superplex, but Ray blocks it and knocks Hardy back down. Hardy catches a boot and goes for a Twist, but Ray blocks it as the ladder falls. He knocks Hardy down and sets the ladder back in place, hitting a gourdbuster across the supports of the ladder. Ray throws a chair to the floor in front of Brooke, then throws the broken ladder to the floor. He grabs another chair and strikes Hardy in the leg. The table is set up on the side of the ring closest to the ramp, and Ray then goes outside for another ladder, throwing it in the ring. The ladder is propped in the corner next to the table, and Ray then tells Brooke he will slap her in the face after he wins the belt. Hardy gets back up and hits some rights, followed by a flying forearm, an inverted atomic drop, a double legdrop and a seated dropkick. He throws a chair at Ray, and Ray catches it, so Hardy grabs another chair and hits the chair into Ray’s face, knocking him to the floor. Hardy goes for a plancha, but Ray moves, and Hardy crashes into the guardrail. Brooke and Ray scream at each other once more, with Ray calling her “stupid”. He slams Hardy into the steps, then it’s time for more screaming. He asks for a kiss and sticks his tongue out, so Brooke slaps him. Hardy grabs Ray and slams him into the steps. He sets Ray on the table, but the table breaks in half. Hardy hits a quick legdrop and begins looking for another table. The closest one is all the way up on the stage. Good planning here. Hardy brings the table back to rinside. Ray attacks Hardy before moving the broken table. Hardy comes back with another sit-out Twist and sets Ray on the good table. Hardy goes into the ring and climbs to the top rope, hitting a swanton bomb through the table on the floor. Hardy rolls back in the ring and moves the table that is still in the ring. He sets up the good ladder as Taz hands Ray the hammer for the ring bell. Ray brings it back in the ring as Hardy is climbing the ladder. He climbs up as well, and the two trade punches. Hardy grabs the belt, and Ray smacks him in the face with the hammer, sending Hardy off the ladder and through the table before grabbing the belt.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Bully Ray. A and E come through the crowd to celebrate the victory. Ray yells for the music to be shut off as we see a replay of what just happened. He asks if everyone knows who he is, or who A and E are. They are the Aces and Eights. He is the World Heavyweight Champion and when you ride with the Aces and Eights, you never walk alone.
Someone the other day referred to Impact Wrestling as “TNA: We Are Recaps”. I think that’s extremely accurate. It’s ridiculous how much TNA recaps their own shows. It’s one thing to do a recap video of the previous week’s show at the beginning. It’s another to show video recaps of things minutes after they happened throughout the show.
This week on TNA Impact Wrestling Gut Check returns, and because Adam Pearce is involved, I’m actually somewhat looking forward to it.
The show opens with Aces and Eights (save for Bully Ray) making their way through the crowd. Anyone else notice that, since guys started getting unmasked, the amount of men in this group dropped from nearly 2 dozen to about 10? Mr. Anderson calls everyone douchebags (he is an expert on the subject), and he’s gotta package. He says that AJ Styles had TNA turn their back on him when he needed them. They have a “cut” for him, and hope he makes the right decision. Devon has an envelope in his hand, and it belongs to Brooke Hogan. When Bully Ray brings her out later, that envelope will bring a new meaning to the phrase “change of relationship”. D’Lo Brown also has a present for someone. It’s something he received, and it’s a letter from TNA Headquarters. Inside the letter was his notice of termination from TNA. After all of his years of hard work, he thinks he deserved more than a plain envelope. He didn’t get a phone call or a meeting. He doesn’t want a text or a tweet; he wants someone to come out and tell him to his face why he’s been fired.
Kurt Angle comes out, and he has something to say to Brown’s face. He’s going to walk down the aisle, get in the ring, look Brown in the eye and tell him how he really feels. Angle gets in the ring and tackles Brown for some mounted punches, and the rest of A and E immediately jump on him. Joseph Park, Magnus, Samoa Joe and Eric Young hit the ring to even things up, and they eventually clear the ring. Apparently, there will be a 10-man involving these guys later.
Joey Ryan stops Brooke Hogan in a locker room, offering her a favor. He knows she has a need, and knows he can fill it. She just fired the KO ref, and she needs a new ref for a match tonight, offering himself up for the job. Brooke agrees, but Ryan can’t touch the girls.
MATCH 1: Gail Kim and Tara (w/Jesse) vs. Knockouts Champion Velvet Sky and Taryn Terrell
Taryn looks decent until she smiles. She has too many teeth or something. Joey Ryan is patting down all of the competitors for “weapons”. Tara attacks Sky from behind, then chokes her over the top rope and hits a chop. Sky ducks a clothesline, hits a jumping one, followed by a second, and then applies a side headlock. Ryan begins massaging Sky, which causes her to break the hold. Kim and Taryn tag in, and Ryan is hitting on Taryn. Tara tags back in and Taryn reverses a clothesline into a backslide, followed bya schoolgirl. Ryan is doing no counting. Taryn pins Tara with a jackknife, yet still no count. Sky back in, and the faces hit a double shoulderblock and a double elbow drop. Sky goes for the pin, and Ryan stares at her butt while massaging himself. Kim runs in and clobbers Sky with a double axe handle. Tara stomps Sky down before throwing her into Kim’s foot. Kim tags in and hits some kicks to the gut, followed by a fireman’s carry into a pancake. She goes for the pin, and Ryan is still just petting himself. Tara back in, and she begins ramming her shoulder into Sky’s gut in the corner. Ryan steps between them and stares at Tara, so Jesse jumps on the apron out of jealousy. Sky rolls Tara up with no pin counted. Tara pops up with a clothesline and goes for the standing moonsault, but Ryan stands in the way. She pushes him aside and then misses the move. Kim and Taryn tag in, and Taryn hits a pair of clotheslines and a back elbow. Snap suplex by Taryn, and she goes up top, hitting a cross-body. She slams Kim’s head into the mat, and Tara comes in, hitting Taryn with a clothesline. Sky dropkicks Tara to the floor, and Kim clobbers her from behind. Ryan is making a pass at Kim, and she seems to like it, shoving him into the corner and playing with his mustache. Ryan starts stripping his clothes off as Taryn rolls Kim up from behind. Kim reverses the roll-up with a handful of tights and Ryan makes a fast 3.
WINNERS: Gail Kim and Tara. Ryan tries to celebrate with Kim after the match, but she leaves him hanging. He gets back in the ring to check on Taryn and Sky while massaging baby oil into his chest. Sky pretends to be interested, and Taryn low blows him from behind.
We see the World Tag Team Champions in the building. They’re headed out to the ring.
Back from the break, the tag champs are in the ring, along with Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez. They are facing off for the titles next week, and they’re signing the contract tonight. Austin Aries tells JB to shut up. Bobby Roode asks if either Chavo or Hernandez have been the World Champion. The reality is, is that neither one of them can hold a candle to either Roode or Aries. Chavo reminds us he’s a Guerrero, and calls Hernandez “strong as a son of a gun”. Stop letting this man speak. Aries asks if they’re bored with him and Roode beating them all the time. These contracts aren’t ironclad, so let’s make this more interesting. Aries adds a fruit basket, green M&Ms and more money for the winners. Chavo adds something, and the champs seem amused. Roode and Aries add one last thing, and Chavo agrees to it. Aries then asks JB to make everything official. JB announces that the titles are on the line next week in a Best-of-3-Falls Match, and if the challengers lose, they will never team again in TNA. Everyone signs the contract, with Hernandez being hesitant.
Video package for Adam Pearce, a 17-year veteran of wrestling and a former NWA World Champion and the former booker for ROH. He also reminds us he’s already faced nearly everyone in TNA at some point or another, which is true.
We then get a video for Magno, who I had never heard of until last week. His whole video is in Spanish, as he apparently doesn’t speak English. It’s subtitled, but I’m not going to give all the details. He basically talks about what a luchador is, and that his mask defines him.
MATCH 2-Gut Check: Adam Pearce vs. Magno
Magno is a 13-year pro, and was trained by Gory Guerrero, apparently. Pearce reverses an arm ringer and turns it into an armbar. Magno counters into an armdrag. Pearce goes into a hammerlock and takes Magno down. Magno counters into a headscissors, and we get another standoff. Pearce goes back to the arm and forearms Magno in the face before stomping him. In the corner, Pearce hits a European uppercut and sends Magno to the opposite corner. Magno blocks the charge but gets hit with a back body drop for 2. Magno botches a spot in the corner before rebounding and hitting a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. He botches a springboard moonsault for 2. Not off to a good start for the luchador. He goes for a springboard cross-body, but Pearce counters and turns it into a spinebuster for 2. Pearce nails a forearm and sends Magno into the ropes. Magno flips over and hits a headscissors from the apron. A pair of clotheslines connect, as does a corner kick. Pearce gets clotheslined to the floor, and now Magno goes to the top, botching another moonsault to the floor. Oy vey. Back in the ring, Pearce trips Magno and pins him with a rope assist.
WINNER: Adam Pearce. Wow. For as good as Pearce is, this was a really lousy performance. Not all of the blame can be placed on Magno, either. There was just no flow to this match at all.
We see AJ Styles in the back, and he’s approached by A and E. Mr. Anderson says AJ has had a change on his outlook on life. They like it and could use a guy like him in his organization. They had a vest made for him, and Anderson tells him to try it on and just think about joining them.
Sting/Bully Ray video package.
AI stops Hulk Hogan and asks about Sting. He says Sting isn’t here. He needs warriors here, not more politicians. He’s going to the ring to call another warrior out, because he needs to know where this person stands.
Kurt Angle is approached by Joseph Park in the back. He tells Angle he’s here for a fight tonight. He and his classmates watched Angle win his gold medal. A and E did him wrong, and he wants to stand by Angle’s side against A and E tonight. Angle tells him to follow his lead, and if he sees an opportunity, take it.
Hulk Hogan makes his way into the arena. We’ve heard him talk a lot about past mistakes. He won’t make those mistakes anymore. He’s going to lead with his gut, as well as make decisions with it. TNA is being held hostage right now, and there’s one man his gut is telling him to call out, and he’s going to do that right now. That man is none other than AJ Styles, brother. AJ comes out, and he’s still got the A and E vest in his hand. Hulk asks AJ is joining A and E, because if that’s the case, they are way off the page. He understands the personal crap AJ went through. He made the stipulation about the title match, and when AJ lost, he drifted off and turned into a different person. This roster is his family, and AJ has never strayed from them. He’s looking at AJ right now, and he sees a different guy. He’s praying he’s not joining A and E, because AJ is the man he needs right now. TNA needs help, and they need someone dangerous like AJ, brother. Hulk needs AJ Styles, and needs the dangerous version. He hands the mic to AJ. AJ looks at the vest for a moment and asks if Hulk wants him to help. Before he can go further, James Storm interrupts. He remembers the match stipulation where the person who got pinned didn’t get a title match for a year. He also remembers that he was the guy who pinned AJ. That’s how it goes. Everyone loses big matches. What really bothers Storm, though, is that last week, AJ stood there and watched as A and E jumped him. Storm has known AJ for 17 years and has been in TNA since day one as well. They helped build this company. He’s done everything AJ has done. Every time they clock in and get in the ring, they wrestle and perform because it’s what they love to do. From the Asylum in Nashville, to Europe, to San Antonio, to here in Jonesboro, they built this. And now AJ wants to join A and E? Go ahead, because you’re not the same guy he remembers at the fairgrounds. So, AJ better clock out before he gets knocked out. AJ dropes the mic and leaves the ring, still holding onto his vest. Anyone else think this angle is almost exactly like Sting/nWo in 1997?
MATCH 3-3-Way X-Division Qualifier: Sonjay Dutt vs. Mason Andrews vs. Petey Williams
Andrews pokes the other two in the chest, so Petey slaps him. Dutt applies a side headlock before shouldering Williams down. Series of pinfalls by all three, and now we have a standoff. Andrews goes to the floor, and Dutt dropkicks Petey for 2. Drop toehold into the ropes by Petey, and he nails Andrews on the floor with a suicide dive. Dutt goes for a plancha, but Petey moves and Dutt hits nothing but air. Andrews rolls Petey into the ring and hits an elbow for 2. Stomps by Andrews, and a spinning backbreaker gets 2. Andrews knocks Dutt off the apron, and now Petey hits some chops. Andrews cuts him off with a kneelift and rams him into the corner. Snapmare out of the corner, followed by an elbow to the shoulder from the second rope for 2. Dutt comes back in and applies an abdominal stretch on Petey. Andrews throws Dutt to the floor and goes after Petey. Dutt comes back in with a springboard dropkick on both competitors. Andrews sends Dutt in the corner, and Dutt counters with a Pendulum, followed by a legdrop across the middle rope. Springboard falling splash by Dutt on Andrews gets 2. Dutt goes for an Ace Crusher, but Petey blocks that and hits a spinning headscissors into a side-Russian legsweep for 2. Dutt counters into a crucifix for 2, and Petey pops back up with a kick. He goes for the Destroyer, but Dutt shoves him into the corner. Up top, Dutt goes for a super hurricanrana, but loses his balance. Andrews pops up with his own version on Petey, and Dutt hits Andrews with an Asai DDT. He goes for a moonsault double stomp, but Andrews moves. Dutt lands on his feet and gets nailed with a running knee, sending him to the floor. Petey gets back in the ring and quickly snaps off the Canadian Destroyer on Andrews for 3.
WINNER: Petey Williams.
We’re in the A and E clubhouse now, and Bully Ray is pissed. He blames Kurt Angle and all of his friends for his bad mood. He knows his boys will get the job done tonight in the 10-man. Let’s go out, kick their asses, take their names, and take their frickin’ souls. Devon has something to ask, and that’s if he’s ready to deal with Brooke. Ray says to be honest, he misses his wife. She took good care of him, and Devon asks if she likes “tag teams”. Ray is going out there, will look her in the eyes, hand her the envelope, and after that, they will all be able to move forward.
MATCH 4: Aces and Eights (Garett Bischoff, Wes Brisco, World Television Champion Devon, DOC and Knux) vs. Kurt Angle, Magnus, Joseph Park, Samoa Joe and Eric Young
Angle whips Wes into the ring, then hits some clotheslines. He beats Wes down in the corner, then foot chokes him. Snap suplex gets 2. Wes rakes the eyes and tags in Garret, who gets hip tossed. Angle knocks Garett down with punches, then beats him down in the corner before choking him with his knee. Magnus tags in and fires off some rights. Garett ducks a clothesline before getting caught. Magnus hits him with a modified northern lights bomb, then tags in Joe. Joe hits an inverted atomic drop, Magnus follows with a running boot, and Joe hits a running senton. Garett rakes the eyes and tags in Devon. Joe ducks some punches and hits a series of rights, followed by a running hip bump in the corner and a spin kick to the head. Devon gets dropped with a chop to the chest, and Jo follows up with a chop to the back, a kick to the chest and a jumping kneedrop for 2. Devon fights back and tags in Knux, who hits some rights. Joe ducks a clothesline and hits a running knee. EY tags in, and he comes off with a double axe handle to the arm. EY hits some rights in the corner until Knux hits him with a kneelift. Rights by Knux (noticing a trend here), and he sends EY into the corner, where he hits more punches. EY suckers Knux into the ropes, sending him to the floor, where EY hits a slingshot cross-body. Commercials.
We’re back, and EY gets a 2-count on Knux. Knux fights back in the corner, hitting a forearm to the face and sending EY to the floor with a big boot. Devon rolls EY back in the ring, and Knux hits a legdrop before tagging in DOC. DOC drops an elbow, then hits some body blows in the corner, followed by an uppercut. Short-arm clothesline connects, and DOC follows up with a Warrior Splash for 2. Devon tags in and fires off rights in the corner before hitting a snapmare and applying a trapezius claw. EY fights out, but runs into a spinning back elbow. DOC tags back in and hits an uppercut. EY counters a back suplex and hits a jawbreaker. DOC and Knux knock all of the faces off the apron, preventing a tag. In the corner, EY avoids an avalanche and hits an enziguri. Joseph Park is the only guy on the apron for EY’s team, so he tags in. Park hits some lefts and rights on DOC before clotheslining him to the floor. He knocks Wes down, then the rest of the heels off the apron. Bodyslam on Wes, who apparently tagged in, and a jumping splash gets 2. Both sides fill the ring and brawl now, and guys get sent to the floor, one-by-one. Joe, Park and Devon are the last three left in the ring. Devon hits a right on Joe, but Joe ducks a clothesline and hits a suicide dive to the floor. Devon ducks a clothesline by Park and hits a standing spinebuster. He goes up top for the headbutt, but Park moves out o fthe way. Park mounts the middle rope for the Closing Argument, but Wes and Garett run in. He double clotheslines them, and DOC hits Park with a low blow before getting the 3.
WINNERS: Aces and Eights.
Hulk is in the back with Brooke. He doesn’t feel right about tonight. Brooke says she can handle things tonight, and she’ll even bring security with her. She just wants to get this over with and have no more drama.
Bully Ray makes his way out through the crowd, manila envelope in hand. In seven days, the biggest World Championship rematch in wrestling history (ha!), Ray/Hardy in Corpus Christi, TX, Full Metal Mayhem. Hardy, you have to be the stupidest person he’s ever met. Why on L. Ron Hubbard’s green Earth would you challenge him to a match involving tables, ladders and chairs? Oh, my. That’s in seven days, though. Tonight, Ray wants to take care of some personal business. He would like his beautiful wife (double ha!) Brooke to come to the ring. Brooke comes out with two Atlas Security guys. Ray asks her how she is, then wants to know why she isn’t wearing her wedding ring. He’s still wearing his. It’s a sign of his love and devotion to her. He expects her to do the same for him. He’ll give her a pass this week, but from now on, do what your told and where your ring. He asks what the security guards are for. They should be here for Ray’s protection. After Lockdown, Brooke was a crazed woman, yelling and screaming, kicking things, knocking over tables…she was insane. She should have been happy that night, since her husband became champion. She should have acted like a good wife, but no, she’s an insane woman. That’s okay, though, as he forgives her. He asks if she knows what the envelope is. She guesses it’s divorce papers. Ray says he loves her, and couldn’t have done this without her. She’s the woman behind him that makes him so great. He couldn’t have done this without her. He tells her to open it, and inside is a ticket. It’s a front-row ticket for next week’s Impact. He wants her to sit in the front row and defeat Hardy for the second time. He wants her by his side, cheering him on, looking as beautiful as possible, because lately, she’s let herself go. Brooke slaps Ray on that note, and he laughs. He says he can’t help it, because she’s pathetic. She just smacked him in the face, and he’s laughing at her. He’s in her head so bad, it’s not funny. To be honest, he’s been in her since day one. He dares her to smack him again when Jeff Hardy’s music hits. He orders Brooke out of his ring as Hardy charges in. They brawl until Ray low blows him. Hardy no-sells it and starts fighting back.
There have been many to criticize WWE for not knowing their history, often distorting facts and erroneously relaying anecdotes with the frequency of a con man on the witness stand. But this time, WWE is going to be taken to task for its poor math skills as well.
WrestleMania XXV was dubbed “The Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of WrestleMania”, which implies that WrestleMania began in 1984. While one may argue that the idea for event’s inception may have come from the year of Ronald Reagan’s re-election, the first event, clearly, took place in 1985.
“The Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of WrestleMania” was a repeated phrase, used dozens of times per broadcast in the weeks leading to the April 5 bonanza. It seemed almost apropos that a company would get something wrong, and then to their guns, continuing to get it wrong night after night, week after week, in every medium in which WrestleMania was advertised.
WWE can make its audience run a gamut of emotions, from “high satisfied to the point of pledging lifetime loyalty” to “wow, what made them think THAT was a great idea?” A misnomer in advertising would merely be the tip of the iceberg for a show that held high expectations.
Since WWE was demonstrating their ability to make continued miscalculations, it makes sense that they would bungle a number of other roads to their grand spectacle.
In the two world title matches, one would feature a nonsensical home invasion incident that would serve to take the story’s villain and reduce him to being a weakened oaf. The other would see the hero reveal a love triangle that featured the champion, his shrill authoritarian wife, and a seven foot monster.
Thankfully, there was one historically great match that would keep the show out of the landfill of wrestling’s mismanaged atrocities.
THE EVENT Randy Orton would win the 2009 Royal Rumble, adding another brick to his well-built newer persona. Orton had ditched his generic “evil jock” routine, and was now bent on playing an unstable creep, whose deplorable random acts of violence were facilitated by intermittent explosive disorder (IED). The condition came to the forefront six days before the Rumble when Orton, about to be fired by Vince McMahon for insubordination, struck the boss, and then delivered a vicious punt to his head.
Orton would then target the McMahons further, horribly injuring Vince’s son Shane, and then dropping daughter Stephanie with an RKO. The latter act was done as a message to the WWE Champion, Stephanie’s husband Triple H.
After Hunter broke into Orton’s house and attempted to maim him with a sledgehammer, Orton one-upped the champion by DDTing Stephanie a week later, while Hunter was handcuffed to the ropes. Then, to punctuate his misdeed, Orton kissed Stephanie’s lifeless face while Triple H could only scream at him helplessly.
Over on Smackdown, Edge had finagled his way into becoming World Heavyweight Champion the same night he lost the WWE Title. After being eliminated from Smackdown’s Elimination Chamber at No Way Out three minutes into the match, Edge attacked Kofi Kingston and took over in the Raw match, outlasting champion John Cena and others to win the title.
In order to keep Cena out of the title picture, Vickie Guerrero inexplicably announced that Edge would defend the World Heavyweight Title against Big Show at WrestleMania. Cena, however, interrupted the signing by whispering something to Vickie, who then canceled the signing abruptly. Cena then was inserted into the match, as it was revealed that Vickie and Big Show had been having a discreet affair, and Cena had used video proof to extort his way into the match.
Speaking of depravity, Matt Hardy had double crossed his brother Jeff, costing him the WWE Title in January. Hardy had tired of Jeff stealing the spotlight designed for both Hardy Boyz, and would sign to face him in an Extreme Rules match at WrestleMania.
Also on the demented side, Chris Jericho’s obsession with the movie “The Wrestler”, starring Mickey Rourke, had brought him to rail against legendary figures who hang on for too long. Jericho would violently assault Ric Flair, Jimmy Snuka, Rowdy Roddy Piper, and Ricky Steamboat, leading to him signing for a three-on-one elimination match against the latter three Hall of Famers. Rourke would be in attendance as well.
On February 16, Shawn Michaels def. JBL in a match where the winner would have the right to challenge The Undertaker for WrestleMania, with a chance to end his streak at stake. Michaels would try to outduel Taker with the mind games, pointing out how “The Phenom” never once pinned him, and also tried to get in his head with religious overtones. Michaels was content to break his nice-guy facade, one upping The Undertaker with sneak attacks in the winding weeks as well.
Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, and Michael Cole called the entire event as a trio. Nicole Scherzinger performed “America the Beautiful”, while Kid Rock performed a song medley. The Hall of Fame saw inclusion of Stone Cold Steve Austin, Ricky Steamboat, Cowboy Bill Watts, The Funk Brothers, The Von Erichs, Koko B. Ware, and Howard Finkel
THE RESULTS Money in the Bank: CM Punk def. Kane, Shelton Benjamin, MVP, Finlay, Christian, Kofi Kingston, and Mark Henry in 14:24
(The fans actually booed when Punk, still a face, won. That may have been the catalyst for one of my all time favorite heel runs in wrestling history. Match was solid, but nothing great, thanks to some very awkward spots)
25 Diva Battle Royal: Santino Marella won, last ousting Beth Phoenix and Melina in 9:26
(I refuse to dignify this crap any further. You can’t make me)
3 on 1 Handicap Elimination Match: Chris Jericho def. Rowdy Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka, and Ricky Steamboat in 8:53
(Jericho’s point about legends needing to go away was vindicated by Piper and Snuka wrestling like, well, Piper and Snuka. Steamboat looked amazing for having a 15 year layoff, and he and Jericho salvaged a crap match with just four minutes of work)
Extreme Rules: Matt Hardy def. Jeff Hardy in 13:13
(An underrated match sees both men have as violent a spotfest as possible. Hilarious moment: Jeff misses a pointless ladder leg drop, Matt hits a chair-wrapped Twist of Fate (which looked SICK), wins, and JR screams of how Matt has ruined the moment for Jeff. Uhh, Jim? Matt’s trying to win too)
WWE Intercontinental: Rey Mysterio def. JBL in 21 seconds to win the title
(The first time the Intercontinental belt is defended in the “WWE” era at WrestleMania, and it goes twenty one seconds. What a way for JBL to go. I did enjoy Rey’s “Joker” tribute though)
The Undertaker def. Shawn Michaels in 30:41
(If not for this match, we’d be talking about WrestleMania XXV the same way we talk about WrestleMania IX, or even an orphanage burning down. Just dramatic as could be throughout, and it deserved all the accolades that it received. It’s one of the five or ten greatest WrestleMania matches ever, and it saved the show)
World Heavyweight Championship: John Cena def. Edge and Big Show in 14:42 to win the title
(It wasn’t as bad as it could have been, as it did have a number of creative double teams and wild moments. But Cena winning (again), Show jobbing (again), and much of the action just seemed so derivative. It was alright)
WWE Heavyweight Championship: Triple H def. Randy Orton in 23:34
(They decided to blow off one of their hotter angles with a slow, awkward, punch-filled alleged brawl in which the crowd, all 70,000+ of them, was totally dead. Orton losing failed to get any kind of reaction, and you’ve noticed that Triple H hasn’t been involved in a major World Title program since)
ITS PLACE IN HISTORY
There was a Tag Team Title unification match scheduled for the show, with John Morrison and The Miz taking on Carlito and Primo, but due to time constraints, the match was relegated to the pre-show. Those fans who didn’t check the internet during the show didn’t realize the match had already taken place until near the end of the night.
It seems about right that WWE would take four hard working young talents and excise them from the main card in favor of the Divas Battle Royal, which had a 10 minute concert that no one liked, followed by 10 minutes of insulting “wrestling”.
This is one of those nights where WWE seemed to not know what the fans wanted. Triple H won to no reaction. John Cena won, again, to the misery of his detractors. Piper and Snuka waddled through the motions while the two aforementioned teams got pushed aside.
But at least, with Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, the fans were treated to a half hour of no pointless swerves, no cutesy self-congratulation, and no overbooking to build to another show. Instead, two of the greatest wrestlers in history wrestled, and they wrestled well.
Being World Wrestling Entertainment has its share of diverse ways in which it can present its product. With an impressive active roster, a tremendous amount of classic legends willing to appear, expansion into wrestling-starved foreign countries, and a stranglehold on social media and merchandise licensing, even when the product falters, WWE still manages to thrive.
In 2006, WWE found itself spinning its wheels. John Cena, while a popular champion to youthful audiences, was getting choruses of boos from the more “time tested” fans who were used to wrestling being more coarse, bloody, raw (pun intended), and risqué than a near-thirty year old man in rainbow-ish t-shirts, trucker caps, and sneakers running his mouth as if he were the Disney Channel’s version of Eminem.
Since WWE was keen on keeping Cena champion long term (a strategy that has paid off if you consider merchandise sales and Cena’s cross-promotions), Vince McMahon needed something to keep the “hardcores” happy.
And the answer WAS hardcore. Well, rather, Vince’s definition of “hardcore”.
In June 2006, WWE opened a third brand, resurrecting the five-years-dead ECW, complete with Paul Heyman in charge. Joining Heyman were Joey Styles and Tazz on the stick, as well as classic stars of ECW’s past, such as Rob Van Dam and The Sandman. While the new ECW (dubbed WWECW by smart alecks) lacked the unpolished feel of the previous incarnation, ECW would serve as a nice alternative to Raw and SmackDown, creating a number of new stars in the process.
Also in the spring, WWE brought back another uncouth concept: D-Generation X. Triple H turned face for the first time in four years, reuniting with Shawn Michaels to recreate some old mayhem, albeit with less controversy.
With this mix of classic chaos and modern marketing, WWE was on the road to Detroit.
For the first time since WWE allowed for two world titles to exist, the two title matches at WrestleMania would be exclusive to babyfaces only.
The Undertaker, after a decade and a half of raising Hell in WWE, finally could add a Royal Rumble victory to his resume. Being the first #30 entrant to win the January classic, Undertaker brawled with Shawn Michaels for the final eight or nine minutes, ousting his legendary counterpart by avoiding Sweet Chin Music.
Undertaker now had his pick of opponent. Choosing between WWE Champion John Cena, World Heavyweight Champion Batista, and ECW Champion Bobby Lashley, “The Phenom” settled on Batista, who reigned supreme over Undertaker’s home show, SmackDown.
With SmackDown’s main event locked in, Cena’s opponent was determined by a triple threat match between Shawn Michaels, Edge, and Randy Orton. Michaels managed to beat the former World Tag Team Champions to earn the spot.
Making this match interesting was the fact that, long before Michaels had become Cena’s #1 contender, he and Cena had beaten Orton and Edge to become World Tag Team Champions. This marked the first time in WrestleMania history that tag titlists would fight over a singles belt.
Orton tried to stir the pot between the two men, showing a video of how Michaels had turned on every tag team partner he’d ever had, including Marty Jannetty, Diesel, and Hulk Hogan, among others.
Michaels tried to smooth things with his unlikely partner by saying that “this time is different”, but Michaels would still taunt Cena with a feint attempt at a Sweet Chin Music.
At No Way Out in February, Undertaker actually teamed with Batista to face Cena and Michaels in a non title match. The Raw brand team won, and things looked to still be copacetic between the two men.
Six days before WrestleMania, however, the two teams would have a rematch. This time, Michaels came through on Cena’s paranoia by blasting the WWE Champion with Sweet Chin Music. Michaels left Cena laying, and his partner fell victim to the loss. Michaels’ well-timed double cross fueled the fire for the main event match at WrestleMania XXIII.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to build mainstream interest in his annual money-making machine, Vince McMahon began a feud with real life media mogul Donald Trump. The two had a disagreement after Vince used an actor playing Trump (indy wrestler Ace Steel) to beat an actress playing Rosie O’Donnell on Raw. The match was so ill-received, that Trump himself taunted McMahon by saying that Vince didn’t know what the fans wanted.
The two bickered further, each picking a man to represent him at WrestleMania. Vince chose WWE Intercontinental Champion Umaga, while Trump chose ECW Champion Bobby Lashley. Stone Cold Steve Austin would be the guest referee, and the losing cornerman (Trump or McMahon) would have their head shaved bald after the match.
Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler handled Raw, Michael Cole and JBL called Smackdown, and Joey Styles and Tazz covered ECW, with all six men coming together for the opening match of the night. Aretha Franklin performed “America the Beautiful” as she had twenty years earlier at WrestleMania III. The Hall of Fame inductions saw the inclusion of Ross, Lawler, Dusty Rhodes, Mr. Perfect, Mr. Fuji, The Wild Samoans, The Sheik, and Nick Bockwinkel.
Money in the Bank: Mr. Kennedy def. Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, Edge, Randy Orton, King Booker, CM Punk, and Finlay in 19:05
(Highlights including Kennedy’s annoyed face at Hornswoggle when he tried to interfere, as well as Matt encouraging Jeff to do a crazy dive onto Edge through a ladder. “Do it Jeff! He stole Lita from us! Now no one’s there to make you ramen noodles!” Second best MITB match in WrestleMania history)
The Great Khali def. Kane in 5:31
(I like how Kane slamming Khali was juxtaposed with Hogan’s legendary slam of Andre from twenty years earlier in the show’s closing highlight package. As if they had the same memorable value)
WWE United States: Chris Benoit def. MVP in 9:19
(This, of course, would be the final WrestleMania for Benoit, as three months later he…..well, we all know what he did. It was a good, not great, match to go out on, and I still miss the man)
World Heavyweight Championship: The Undertaker def. Batista in 15:48 to win the title
(That’s fifteen. This match was a pleasant surprise, as Batista and Undertaker have this weird chemistry that simply cannot be explained. The two men exchange crisp power moves and ramp up the intensity with their above-average brawling. Great match, and the best feud of a dismal 2007)
Rob Van Dam, Tommy Dreamer, Sabu, and The Sandman def. Matt Striker, Marcus Cor Von, Elijah Burke, and Kevin Thorn in 6:25
(Seven men had their first WrestleMania match here. Those seven also had their last WrestleMania match. Oh, don’t act so surprised)
Battle of the Billionaires/Hair vs. Hair: Bobby Lashley def. Umaga in 13:04
(If Undertaker/Batista was a good surprise, then this was the opposite. Lashley was given a feud with McMahon and an endorsement from Austin and Trump, and still brought none of the energy or personality needed to make it to the next level. Lashley was overpushed, plain and simple)
WWE Women’s/Lumberjill Match: Melina def. Ashley in 3:13
(The bad news: this match was about 3:08 longer than Ashley is capable of working. Good news: Mickie looked great in her tight jeans at ringside. Shame she wasn’t wrestling)
WWE Heavyweight Championship: John Cena def. Shawn Michaels in 28:20
(The fact that Cena won turned a lot of fans off, but this is up there with the greatest matches in WM history. Michaels brought a more reserved, but grinding, personality to this, which included the awesome piledriver on the ring steps on Cena. Cena and Michaels worked their asses off here, and both of them deserve for this match to get a lot more credit than it does)
ITS PLACE IN HISTORY
The two World Title matches, as well as Money in the Bank, featured twelve men who worked their hardest to make WrestleMania as special as it’s meant to be. However, most of the hype going into the show revolved around Donald Trump‘s involvement, as well as his feud with McMahon, who was seriously getting out of control at this point regarding on-camera time.
When you have the three aforementioned matches on your show, you should walk away feeling great. But when you watch that Battle of the Billionaires, and you see how the fans barely reacted to Vince being shaved bald, and how they barely got behind an anemic talker like Lashley, who never looked like he wanted to be there, you feel a bit sour.
It’s like a concert. If you hype up Guns n Roses as the headliner, and you have three popular, but not yet legendary, acts (say Disturbed, Godsmack, and Saliva) performing, what if those three bands (who got less hype) rocked, and then GNR came out and absolutely sucked?
Do you hate the show because GNR sucked, or do you love it because the other bands owned it?
Much derision has been uttered about John Cena and The Rock’s WrestleMania XXIX rematch, especially as it flies in the face of the “Once in a Lifetime” tagline from last year. But as WWE aficionados will tell you, this isn’t the first major rematch in WrestleMania history.
Listed are ten cases of WrestleMania rematches throughout time, ranked from worst to best, with explanations as to how each rematch came to be. In all cases, except for one, the rematches took place within 2 years of the previous meeting.
10. Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant (WrestleMania IV)
One year earlier, The Hulkster and the Eighth Wonder of the World filled the Pontiac Silverdome with over 90,000 fans. In what’s still considered by many to be the biggest main event in wrestling history, the WWE Champion slammed the turncoat Giant to a massive roar, and handed Andre his first pinfall loss of note (at least in the United States).
Ten months later, Andre won Hogan’s title on a Friday night NBC special, thanks to Ted Dibiase orchestrating chicanery with the referees. Andre surrendered the championship to Dibiase, as per the agreement between the two. WWE President Jack Tunney invalidated the transaction, and held the championship up for a 14 man tournament at WrestleMania IV.
Hogan and Andre were awarded automatic byes into the second round, due to their status as the previous champions. They faced off, with the winner getting the winner of Dibiase and Don Muraco. The abbreviated match ended in a double disqualification after a chair got involved, but it was mission accomplished for Andre: Dibiase drew a bye to the finals.
9. Undertaker vs. Kane (WrestleMania XX)
This one’s cheating a bit, due to the gap between matches, but I needed a credible tenth match. At WrestleMania XIV in 1998, Undertaker had his first ever meeting with Kane, nearly six months after the demonic brother attacked The Dead Man at Badd Blood. Undertaker narrowly won the brawl, extending his perfect WrestleMania record to 7-0.
Through the next six years, the two men would demonstrate a complex relationship, both assaulting one another at random, and then aligning through their brotherly bonds. However, in November 2003, an increasingly-unhinged Kane aided Vince McMahon in burying Undertaker (in his biker phase) alive, and the Dead Man was seemingly gone for good.
Over the next several months, Kane was taunted by Undertaker’s classic gong sound, as well as caskets, an urn, and a ring that shook via supernatural powers. At WrestleMania, a restored Undertaker, once more led by Paul Bearer and druids, annihilated Kane, his first repeat WrestleMania victim. After the final Tombstone, the Phenom improved to 12-0.
8. Triple H vs. Randy Orton (WrestleMania XXV)
One year earlier, Orton was in a tough predicament, having to defend the WWE Championship against Triple H and John Cena in a triple threat match. The Legend Killer managed to survive the challenge, striking Helmsley with a punt after he’d Pedigreed Cena. With both men prone, the champ covered Cena and scored the victory.
One year later, Orton won the Royal Rumble, last ousting Triple H. But The Game would become WWE Champion at Elimination Chamber, giving Orton a desirable target. These events came after Orton attacked Vince, Shane, and Stephanie McMahon in different incidents, including kissing the downed Stephanie with a handcuffed Hunter forced to watch.
Helmsley was justly livid, attacking Orton in a home invasion like something out of the Attitude Era. After weeks of attacks that included Orton’s henchmen Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase, as well as Vince and Shane, Helmsley decisively beat Orton in a rather slow WrestleMania main event, striking with the sledgehammer, and winning via Pedigree.
7. Mr. T vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper (WrestleMania II)
B.A. Baracus’ teaming with Hulk Hogan at the inaugural WrestleMania was a huge part of WWE’s hefty windfall and spoils of the 1980′s “Rock n Wrestling” era. After hosting Saturday Night Live together, and making other media rounds, Hogan and Mr. T defeated Rowdy Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff in a star-studded main event at Madison Square Garden.
One year later, Vince McMahon spread the second WrestleMania across three time zones, and needed a suitable main event for each. Hogan would face King Kong Bundy in Los Angeles for the WWE Title, Chicago would get both an NFL player-laden battle royal and a Tag Team Title match, while Piper and T would headline the Long Island portion.
Rather than have a wrestling match, The Hot Rod would be boxing the pop culture icon. Joan Rivers was guest ring announcer, while judges included Cab Calloway, G. Gordon Liddy, and Darryl Dawkins. T won via disqualification in a fight that was mostly a farce, but it was a heated one, filled with some legitimate punches between the two (who had real heat).
6. Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna (WrestleMania X)
At the ill-fated WrestleMania IX, WWE Champion Hart had his six month reign as WWE’s hero ended after Mr. Fuji tossed salt into his eyes, allowing the massive Yokozuna to capture the gold. In a moment indicative of Hart’s, and WWE’s, place in 1993, Yoko dropped the title minutes later to Hulk Hogan, who had merely returned for a cup of coffee in Stamford.
Hart was sidetracked from the chase via feuds with Jerry Lawler and freshly-turned brother Owen, but The Hitman managed to co-win the 1994 Royal Rumble with Lex Luger. In a unique decision, both men would get a shot at WrestleMania X in two different matches. Luger would get Yoko first, and to compensate, Bret had to wrestle earlier in the night vs. Owen.
Hart lost a scientific clinic to Owen in the opening match, while Luger was controversially disqualified against Yokozuna mid-show. Yoko had been rendered unconscious via Luger’s steel forearm, but got the upper hand on an injured Hart early. The mighty champion slipped off the ropes on a Banzai Drop attempt, and Hart pinned him while he lay stunned.
5. Undertaker vs. Triple H (WrestleMania XXVIII)
Their battle at WrestleMania X7 was largely wiped from history in 2011, when Triple H challenged Undertaker’s streak. Presented as a fresh matchup, The Game planned to avenge Shawn Michaels’ retirement the year before. After brutalizing Undertaker into near oblivion, Hunter slipped up and fell victim to the Hell’s Gate submission, bringing Taker to 19-0.
In 2012, Undertaker issued repeated challenges to Triple H, wanting to avenge the beating he’d been given. Helmsley, now settled into his role as Chief Operating Officer, repeatedly refused until Undertaker finally goaded him by saying that Helmsley was never as good as Shawn Michaels. Triple H made it a Hell in a Cell match, and Michaels would be the ref.
Helmsley got the upper hand early, despite having a wound opened near his eyebrow. Michaels tried to stop the match when Undertaker was vulnerable, but The Dead Man came back with a fury. After bashing Helmsley with his own sledgehammer, Undertaker finished with a Tombstone. The Dead Man and Michaels helped Helmsley away to a standing ovation.
4. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock (WrestleMania XIX)
At WrestleManias XV and X7, the two cornerstones of the 1990s wrestling boom waged war for the WWE Championship, both times with Austin reigning supreme. As a matter of fact, other than eliminating Austin in the WWE vs. Alliance match at Survivor Series 2001, Rock had never pinned Stone Cold, while Austin slayed him twice under the brightest of lights.
In January 2003, Austin was named Superstar of the Decade by WWE, a selection that irked a Hollywood-tainted, self-indulgent People’s Champion. Rock lamented never beating Austin at WrestleMania, and challenged Stone Cold (freshly returned from an infamous eight month hiatus) to one more round on the grand stage, with nothing at stake but pride.
Austin ended up having the final match of his thirteen year career with Rock, who withstood Austin’s last ditch offense before dropping him with three Rock Bottoms. In the aftermath, Rock broke character to check on his real-life friend and peer, before leaving with tears in his eyes. Austin then made his exit, the camera tracking him to the stage and into retirement.
3. Edge and Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz (WrestleMania X7)
Tag team wrestling in WWE experienced its greatest resurgence since the days of the Harts, Rockers, Bulldogs and Demolition when the aforementioned six brought WWE audiences the slickest stuntwork in years. A series of ladder and table matches between them culminated at WrestleMania 2000, with Edge and Christian winning a triple ladder match.
Through the next year, the teams would battle off and on, including the first true “TLC” match at Summerslam 2000, with the Canadians reeking of awesomeness yet again, while all six set new standards for high-risk wrestling. By X7, the Dudleyz were champs, and each team had an ally: they had brother Spike, Edge and Christian had Rhyno, and the Hardyz still had Lita.
A TLC match was arranged for the three teams once more, and their accomplices all got involved. Edge speared Jeff off of the skyhook with the titles, while Rhyno knocked Bubba Ray and Matt off the ladder through a stack of four tables. D-Von was kept at bay in the end, as Rhyno aided Christian up the ladder, with Captain Charisma pulling down the straps.
2. Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (WrestleMania XXVI)
In 2009, Michaels, building on his reputation as “Mr. WrestleMania”, tore down Houston with The Undertaker in an attempt to break the unbreakable streak. For thirty minutes, the two icons threw everything at each other, with Taker nearly wiping out on a dive to the floor. In the end, Taker caught Shawn on a moonsault and Tombstoned his way to 17-0.
Both men took months off, and went on different paths upon their August returns. But come Royal Rumble time, Shawn attempted to win with sole purpose of getting Taker (now World Heavyweight Champion) in a rematch. When Shawn lost, he went on a mission to get Undertaker anyway, and cost him the title at Elimination Chamber weeks later.
Undertaker finally acknowledged Shawn’s challenges by accepting on the condition that Michaels retire if he lost. The match was as dramatic as their 2009 battle, concluding with Michaels refusing to lay down despite the beating. Shawn mocked Taker and smacked him, leading to one giant Tombstone to end HBK’s in-ring career in heart-stopping fashion.
1. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock (WrestleMania X7)
Mentioned earlier in the third match of their trilogy was this clash in Houston. Two years after Austin vanquished Rock in Philadelphia, effectively destroying The Corporation’s stronghold on WWE, both men rose to greater, near-immortal heights in the time after. Rock even eclipsed Austin’s popularity while Austin recovered from spinal surgery.
In early 2001, Austin won his third Royal Rumble, while Rock defeated Kurt Angle to become champion at No Way Out. The two icons were on a collision course for WrestleMania once more, with no corporate blockade for Austin to break. Instead, it was a battle for pride, respect, and gold. Ominously, Austin reiterated in interviews that he “needed” to win.
The match was possibly each man’s greatest performance, exchanging Attitude Era-brawling with submission wrestling. Toward the climax, Vince McMahon made his way out for unknown reasons. After breaking up a Rock pinfall attempt, he and Austin worked together to dismantle Rock with a steel chair. Austin won, and thanked new friend Vince afterward.
TNA Impact is in Jonesboro, Arkansas this week, and man, these shows have been total throw-away lately. Not good, especially when this is the beginning of TNA being on the road full time.
Before I get into the recap, I would like to express my deepest sympathies to the family of “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. For those that might not have heard yet, Flair’s youngest son Reid was found dead earlier today (Friday) at just 24 years old. Cause of death is unknown at this time. It is truly a tragedy when a father has to bury his son, but when the son is so young, it’s even worse. I can’t even imagine what is going through Ric’s head right now. I have a feeling I know what caused the death, but it really doesn’t matter right now. This is horrible news, and my thoughts are with Ric and his family at this time.
It is OFN once again, and you can probably guess I’m thrilled. The show opens with the new #1 contender for the World title, Jeff Hardy, making his way into the arena. Hardy says that, last week and tonight, he’s not 100%, but he still feels better. He tested himself against Kurt Angle, Magnus and Samoa Joe, and he now stands as your #1 contender. With that said, it’s OFN, and he’s gotta call someone out. Before that can happen, though, Bully Ray cuts him off. Ray makes his way out through the crowd, flanked by the rest of Aces and Eights. Ray says that everyone in this arena needs to sit down and shut their mouths. He’s sick and tired of hearing Hardy’s voice, and he’s sick and tired of listening to Hardy bitch and moan. Do you know who they are? Hardy, they are the Aces and Eights. You want to call him out, Jeff? Why would you want to do that? This title wouldn’t be on the line, and he wouldn’t want to see anything bad happen to Hardy in front of all of his moron “creatures of the night”. Mr. Anderson steps in and asks Ray if Hardy is getting another second chance. No, no, no. That would never happen in a million years. Oh, wait. That happens all the time. This guy gets tons of chances. Remember all of those free passes you and he got? That didn’t happen, because they don’t need them. But hey, as long as Hardy isn’t burning down building and is still selling “merch”, the rules don’t apply to him. Hardy is a disappointment, and was a big one when he lost fair and square to Ray at Lockdown. And in Corpus Christi, he’s going to be a disappointment yet again. Hardy’s had enough, and he knocks the two off the apron. The rest of A and E hit the ring and beat Hardy down. Ray goes to swing his chain at him, but Eric Young, Magnus, Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle run down and clear the ring. Ray calls for the gang to regroup and head back through the crowd. Hardy then grabs a mic and calls Anderson out for later tonight.
We see Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez in the back, complaining about Bad Influence costing them matches. Chavo then reminds us it’s OFN, son. Hernandez whistles at the camera. The two then make their way out in to the arena, and you can pretty much guess where this is going.
After the break, Chavo and Hernandez are in the ring. Chavo says that, last week, they was robbed. They were cheated out of the titles by Bad Influence. That’s cool though, because tonight is about payback, son. Do you know what tonight is? It’s OFN, holmes. They’ve talked to Hulk Hogan, and there’s a stipulation added to the match tonight: the winners will be the new #1 contenders for the tag titles. Bad Influence, you better be ready, because they’re going to kick your butts all over Jonesboro, essas. It’s bad enough that Hernandez can’t talk for sh*t. Replacing his former mouthpiece Anarquia (who also couldn’t talk for sh*t) with Chavo (who can’t talk for sh*t, either) is not helping the situation.
MATCH 1-Winners will be the new #1 contenders for the World Tag Team Championship: Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez vs. Bad Influence (Christopher Daniels and Kazarian)
Chavo and Kaz start the match with a lock-up. Chavo breaks free, hits a hip toss and an armdrag. Hernandez tags in, and he bodyslams Chavo onto Kaz before hitting a Warrior Splash for 2. Kaz rakes the eyes and tags in Daniels. Daniels runs right into a bearhug suplex. Chavo back in, and Chavo hits a hilo as Daniels is stretched across Hernandez’s knees. He beats Daniels down in the corner. Daniels reverses a corner whip, but gets back dropped to the floor as he charges in, hitting the back of his head on the ring steps on the way down. That was a bad spot. Thank Chavo for being careless and not paying attention to where he is. Chavo goes for a dive, but Kaz low-bridges him from the other side before BI begins a double-team on Hernandez. Hernandez fights out of the corner and backflips back to the apron. Chavo is back in, and he hits a forearm on Daniels, and the faces hit a pair of Air Mexicos from the ramp into the ring. Chavo goes for the 3 Amigos, but Kaz blocks them and sends Chavo into the corner. The heels do an illegal double-team in the corner as the ref is distracted, and Daniels hits a shoulder stunner on Chavo as we go to commercials.
Back from the break, Kaz is the legal man for his team now. He mocks Chavo, but it sucks compared to how Austin Aries does it. Daniels tags in, and he hits a slingshot kneedrop. Kaz tags back in, and hits a slingshot legdrop for 2. Kaz has a top wristlock applied, but Chavo breaks free and hits a spinning headscissors. Daniels tags in, knocks Hernandez off the apron and goes for a double-team on Chavo, but Chavo ducks and Kaz collides with Daniels. Hernandez makes the hot tag and sends both members of BI into the corner for a double avalanche. He picks Daniels up on his shoulders and Chavo suplexes Kaz onto the other one, which Hernandez turns into a double over-the-shoulder backbreaker for 2. He suplexes Daniels back in from the apron, but Kaz trips him, and Daniels lands on top as Kaz holds onto Hernandez’s foot. The ref goes to count 3, but sees Kaz holding the foot and breaks the pin. Hernandez blocks a double clothesline and hits one of his own, sending Kaz to the floor. Daniels boots Hernandez in the corner and goes for the pin with his feet on the ropes, but the ref sees it once again. Daniels ducks a clothesline, but gets caught on a cross-body that Hernandez turns into a sit-out powerbomb. Chavo tags in and goes for the frog splash, but Kaz knocks him off the top rope. Daniels rolls him up with the tights for 2 as Kaz and Hernandez brawl on the outside, with Hernandez Pouncing Kaz off the ramp. Daniels goes for the Angel’s Wings, and Chavo blocks it. Hernandez hits him with a slingshot clothesline, and Chavo comes off the top with the frog splash for 3.
WINNERS: Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez.
Taryn Terrell comes out of the women’s locker room and tells AI she has a good idea for who she’s going to call out for OFN.
Taryn makes her way out to the ring, and really needs kneepads. She’s excited, as tonight marks her first official night as a Knockout, and Brooke Hogan told her she can get physical with whoever she wants, and it’s OFN. There’s one woman who has assaulted her, mocked her, and cost her her job as a referee. It’s no secret that woman is Gail Kim. Kim’s music hits, and she takes her sweet time coming out. Kim has had generic lyrics added to her music for no reason. She grabs a mic and tells Taryn that first off, this was a rookie mistake. Her first night here, she’s going to call out the greatest female wrestler that ever lived? Do you really want to embarrass yourself like that on national television? Besides, not only have you rubbed Kim the wrong way, but several other people as well. Particularly, one person who wanted to call Taryn out tonight, and she happens to be a former champion. Tara, why don’t you come out and help her take care of business tonight? Tara and Jesse make their way out now, and Tara talks trash to Taryn, which allows Kim to hit Taryn in the back of the head with the mic. The heels double-team Taryn until Velvet Sky’s music hits. She runs down to the ring and fights off the heels with clotheslines and kicks, knocking Tara to the floor and chasing Kim off. Glad we wasted time with this segment.
Sky and Taryn are now in the back, complaining about what just happened. Taryn runs off, as she sees Kim and Tara in the hallway. She attacks both of them until Sky holds her back.
We get a video for Gut Check, which returns next week. This segues into Jeremy Borash introducing next weeks contestants, that being Magno and former NWA World Champion and ROH booker “Scrap Iron” Adam Pearce.
Sting is in the back, headed to Hulk’s office when a security guard stops him and tells him he can’t enter. Sting says he’ll have to try a different approach.
The camera is now in Hulk’s office, and he’s talking to Jeff Hardy. He says he’s already booked the rematch for Hardy/Ray, and that’s Hardy’s night for him to redeem everything Hulk has done wrong. For Hardy to step up like he did last week and that he’s destined to lead this company, he’s never seen anything like that before. And to try and make up for the mistake Hulk made with Ray, he’s sorry for that. Hardy says he lost the title and made mistakes, but he doesn’t live in the past; he lives for the future, and in Corpus Christi, he’s taking the belt back. Hulk then tells Hardy that he gets to make the stipulation for the match that night. We hear Sting’s music hit, and Hulk excuses himself, saying Sting isn’t supposed to be here.
Sting enters the ring and says Bully Ray swerved the whole world. He told Hulk he could trust Ray, and he was wrong. Now he needs to fix this problem, but the only way that can happen is if he’s on the same page as one person who he has tried to talk to, to no avail. Since it’s OFN, Hulk, he’s calling you out right now. Hulk makes his way out and circles Sting in the ring. Sting says he’s tried to apologize a few times. Right now, he’s going to try again, and if Hulk doesn’t accept, things could get a little nuclear here tonight. Hulk tells him he started out “soft-shoeing” the situation. He should have listened to his gut about Bully Ray, but everyone around him, including Dixie Carter, tried to convince him otherwise on numerous occasions. Because of Sting, he didn’t listen to his gut, he made a decision that messed up the whole company, brother, and it’s all because of Sting. Sting reminds him that HE made the decision, not Sting. Hulk needs to stop pointing fingers, and most of the weight rests on his shoulders. Hulk is the GM and he makes the decisions, so he needs to man up and take ownership. Hulk admits he’s accountable, and he made the final decision as the GM. Now, as GM, he’s tired of hearing about said decision. He’s tired of Sting being in his face, and now as GM, he’s telling Sting to get the hell out of his face, and get the hell out of his ring, brother. Sting turns sad pants at this before telling Hulk to make him. Security steps in between the two of them as Hulk rips his shirt up, showing his awesome flabby physique in the process. Security eventually gets Sting out of the ring and backs him up the ramp. Sting grabs Hulk’s crutch, which was on the ramp, but then drops it. Not sure what the point of that was. He heads to the back, security in tow.
During the break, Sting was escorted out of the building. As he was leaving, Matt Morgan appeared, clapped and called the situation another Hogan mistake.
Video recap of the AJ Styles storyline. This leads into James Storm entering the arena. Two weeks ago, AJ Styles made his big return. It wasn’t the return Storm was looking for. Then last week, he tried to talk to AJ, and AJ just walked off. Since tonight is OFN, Storm thought he would take the time to call out AJ Styles. AJ shows up somewhere in the crowd. Storm tells him he knows what he’s going through. He was in that spot last year, but he picked himself back up and got back in the ring to do what he does best, and that’s what AJ needs to do. Being a man from the south, he’s pretty sure AJ can relate to this: they can drink some beers and talk things out, or they can fight about it. Either way, Storm is good. The choice is AJ’s. Before AJ can make a choice, DOC, Wes Brisco and Garett Bischoff hit the ring and beat Storm down. As this is going on, AJ just leaves. Eric Young hits the ring to virtually no reaction and gets assaulted by DOC. Kurt Angle comes out next, and he clears the ring. He grabs a mic and wants to know where A and E are going as they try to leave. He sees three of them and three TNA guys, and it’s OFN. Angle then challenges A and E to a six-man.
Hey, we’re already over an hour into this show, and we finally get a second match. L. Ron Hubbard help me.
MATCH 2: Kurt Angle, James Storm and Eric Young vs. Garett Bischoff, Wes Brisco and DOC
Garett starts off by getting assaulted by Storm. Thesz Press into some punches by Storm, and he throws Garett to the corner for an uppercut. Garett reverses a corner whip, but gets hit with a forearm. EY tags in, and the faces hit a double back elbow for 2. EY goes to the ropes, but gets hit with a clothesline. Garett stomps EY and gets 2. Wes tags in and throws EY into the corner for some punches and a shoulderthrust. EY does the Flair Flop out of the corner, gets back in the ring and hits a flying forearm for 2. Angle tags in and beats Wes down in the corner before stomping him. Back elbow of the ropes by Angle, and he tags EY back in. EY throws Brisco to the corner for some stomps, then hits a bodyslam and a running elbow for 2. Garett hits EY from behind off the ropes, and Wes hits a clothesline and some stomps for 2. Garett tags in and punches EY before DOC tags himself in. Commercials.
Back from the break, Wes is legal once again, and he has a rear chinlock applied on EY. EY breaks the hold with a jawbreaker and tags in Storm. Storm hits a clothesline and a back body drop on Garett. Running neckbreaker on Wes, but DOC stops the momentum with a shot from behind. Wes stomps Storm down before tagging DOC in. DOC sends Storm into the corner and hits an avalanche before choking Storm over the middle rope. DOC goes for the pin of a Garett cheap shot, getting 2. DOC hits a butterfly suplex for another 2. Garett back in. Storm hits a few punches before running into a back elbow for 2. Garett hits some mounted punches before tagging in Wes, and they hit a double corner whip before Garett whips Storm into a Wes clothesline. Wes foot chokes Storm in the corner before hitting a suplex for 2. Rear chinlock is applied now, and Storm tries to fight out before being whipped down by the hair. DOC in, and he hits a series of body blows in the corner before knocking Storm down with a straight right. Storm blocks a corner charge twice, ducks a clothesline and hits a flying forearm. Angle tags in, and he suplexes everyone in the ring. Angle Slam on Wes as D’Lo Brown comes down through the crowd and throws a chain to Garett. Garett is wrapping the chain around his fist, but Angle ducks a shot and applies the ankle lock. Wes comes in from behind and schoolboys Angle with a handful of tights for 3.
WINNERS: Garett Bischoff, Wes Brisco and DOC.
In the A and E clubhouse, Bully Ray is toasting his guys for winning their match before telling Mr. Anderson he can’t believe Jeff Hardy’s balls for challenging Anderson tonight. He also can’t believe the balls on Hulk for Hardy letting him make the stipulation for their rematch. Anderson says that won’t happen because Hardy won’t make it to that match. He then begins hitting the table with a hammer and throwing furniture around. Devon says he feels sorry for Hardy.
Funny to see a commercial for WrestleMania come on during this show.
Another video for all of the stupid changes that have been made to the X-Division. I swear TNA is doing everything they can to destroy the division that put them on the map in the first place.
JB is in the back with Sonjay Dutt. He tells Dutt he has to win next week’s 3-way to get back into the title hunt. He will face Mason Andrews (Scorpio Sky) and-HOLY SH*T!-Petey Williams next week. I can’t tell you happy I am to see “The Canadian Destroyer/Maple Leaf Muscle” back on TV. Seriously. TNA blew it when they released him a few years ago. Big surprise, I know.
MATCH 3: Jeff Hardy vs. Mr. Anderson
Hardy begins slugging away at Anderson until Anderson rakes the eyes. He attacks Hardy before sending him into the corner. Hardy counters the whip with a headscissors, sending Anderson to the floor, where Hardy hits an apron clothesline. Hardy drags Anderson around the ring, where he slams him face-first into the apron. Anderson pulls Hardy stomach-first into the steps, stopping Hardy’s momentum. On the apron, Anderson chokes Hardy over the middle rope. He goes for a running clothesline, but Hardy counters into a back body drop, sending Anderson into the ring. Commercials.
We’re back, and Anderson is back in control with a wristlock. Hardy eventually fights out and sends Anderson into the corner. Anderson blocks a charge and hits an armbar takedown for 2. Anderson goes back to the armbar, but Hardy armdrags out after a few moments. They trade punches until Hardy comes off the ropes with a flying forearm. He hits a double legdrop and follows up with a seated dropkick for 2. Hardy sends Anderson to the corner, blocks a charge off a whip reversal, then hits a middle rope splash for 2. Anderson blocks an Irish whip with a rolling fireman’s slam for 2. Hardy counters a corner charge with a back elbow, but misses the Botch in the Wind, which allows Anderson to get in a pin for 2. Anderson goes for the arm again, and Hardy shoves him off, knocking him into referee Earl Hebner. As Hebner is down, Garett Bischoff comes down and gives Anderson a hammer. Hardy ducks a shot with the hammer and hits a sit-out Twist of Fate. He grabs the hammer and nails Anderson in the gut, causing the DQ.
WINNER VIA DISQUALIFICATION: Mr. Anderson. Hardy then knocks Garett off the apron with the hammer. As Anderson is crawling up the ramp, Hardy grabs a chair and cracks him over the back. Anderson is against the ropes, and Hardy sets up the chair on the ramp, hitting Poetry in Motion over the top rope and back into the ring. Hardy goes for a table now and sets it up in the ring. I’m guessing we’re now going to find out Hardy wants a TLC match. I’m pretty sure my suspicions are confirmed when Hardy brings a ladder into the ring and sets it up in the corner opposite the table. Anderson begins to fight back and goes for a suplex through the table, but Hardy blocks it and hits a Twist of Fate. He sets Anderson up on the table then climbs the ladder. Before he can dive, Bully Ray hits the ring, knocks Anderson off the table, then knocks the table over. He pulls Anderson to the floor and the two of them head through the crowd. Hardy grabs a mic and, sure enough, calls for Full Metal Mayhem, which is TNA’s name for the TLC match. I win.