The WWE Hall of Fame is seemingly feeling comfortable by putting in the WWE Divas from the past in the WWE Hall of Fame the night before Wrestlemania. It started with Sherri Martel back in 2006, then it went to Wendi Richter in 2010, Sunny in 2011, Trish Stratus in 2013 and recently, Lita this year for the hall of fame. Talks for the Hall of Fame for next year have already begun and there were two names that were brought up for the Diva selection for next year’s hall of fame.
The names? Mickie James and Victoria. Immediately, it caused the biggest uproar and a lot of mixed feelings. Many people believed that Victoria should be in the hall of fame over Mickie James first. While I agree with what people are saying about Victoria, I wouldn’t want her to be in the hall of fame just yet. The same goes for Mickie James. I wouldn’t want her in the Hall of Fame. The reason why I say that is there are girls prior towards Mickie James and Victoria that I feel deserve to be in the Hall of Fame over the both of them.
I’m not sure you guys remember, but early in the year, I did an article for here titled “5 things I want to see in 2014 for the Divas and Knockouts” and one of the selections were which Diva from the past deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. I put down Lita (which came correctly) as well as putting the likes down of Chyna, Sable, Miss Elizabeth and other divas prior towards Lita to go in the Hall of Fame. Down below is a list and reasons on why I think these women should be in the Hall Of Fame before Mickie James and Victoria. I’m sure that most of you guys would agree with some of the selections I give out.
Miss Elizabeth: She is on the top of my list for a reason. Miss Elizabeth should be inducted into the Hall of Fame. I know this may cause a stir, but I truly believe that she should’ve went in before Sherri. Miss Elizabeth was well-known for being the “first diva” in WWE and being the manger and wife, on and off-screen of Randy “The Macho Man” Savage. However, with reports going around that they are considering of putting Macho Man in the class of 2015, I really hope that they really take the time and put Miss Elizabeth in the Hall of Fame with him so that the both of them can go in finally….together.
Another one is Jacqueline. Jacqueline is a female wrestler I consider to be someone who is very underrated and someone I feel deserves to have a lot of credit regarding her ring work. Jacqueline is the first ever African-American Women’s Champion, a title that she held twice in her career. She is the first ever female to receive a referee’s license and referee matches Jacqueline paved a way for most of our divas today, especially the ones that are African-American like Naomi, Sasha Banks and Cameron.
Sable is another diva that should be in the hall of fame. She was a part of the reboot of the Women’s Division. She held the Women’s Championship twice in her career. Even though her history with WWE maybe negative regarding the sexual harassment case back in 1999 (She returned in 2003 and it seemed to bury the hatchet, though Stephanie did bring it up in a backstage segment during the summer when she was feuding with Sable). Not really one of the best wrestlers out there, but she was over with the male portion of the crowd. Despite that, she did pave the way for the Divas that we have today and she set an example that there is no problem showing off what you got and there is not a problem being sexy on top of that.
The last one is the obvious and that is Chyna. Even though that Chyna has done some controversial things in the past and if she was even considered to be in the Hall of Fame, she would likely go in with DX, but you need to look at her accomplishments outside of DX. She was the first ever women to be a part of the Royal Rumble and enter in at number 30. She would take part in the King of the Ring tournament back in 2000, she is a three-time Intercontinental Champion and the first and only women to hold a male championship as well as being a former Women’s Champion as well. Sadly, I don’t see Chyna going in on her own because of the stuff that happened with her, Triple H and Stephanie. I feel like they really need to let it go as I am quoting the Frozen song in this post and let bygones be bygones and move on.
I could list more divas such as Alundra Blayze, Bull Nakano, Jazz, Molly Holly, Ivory and many others before Mickie James and Victoria that should be in the Hall of Fame, but knowing the WWE, they have their favorites, sadly and we possibly won’t see the girls I’ve listed ever in the Hall of Fame. I really don’t have a problem with Mickie James or Victoria, but I feel like they need to wait before putting them in. We all know that Mickie James is a five time Women’s Champion and a one-time Divas Champion as well as becoming one of the most popular Divas in WWE. Victoria is a two-time Women’s Champion, wrestled in the first ever Divas Steel Cage match with Lita, but I have no clue why WWE would put Victoria in the Hall of Fame when she basically bashed them when she was in TNA during ODB’s angle and she was beat up for being a “diva” according to ODB. That’s what making me raise my eyebrow.
To close this out, I really think that WWE needs to wait until either 2019 or maybe 2020 to put one of those two in. They really need to take a look at the Divas prior towards the both of them before deciding to put them in the current generation of where twitter is known for being crazy regarding wrestling. That’s what I would do to be honest, but then again, it’s the WWE’s call, not mine.
The WWE Hall of Fame ceremony may be many months away but that hasn’t stopped the rumor mill from keeping busy. A new report cites several names in consideration of next year’s honors, with the Attitude Era dominating the field.
The Rock tops the list as the featured star rumored to headline next year’s class. The Rock is an obvious choice as the induction is no shock. It has always been a matter of when and not if with Dwayne Johnson. Rock’s induction would likely indicate the end of his in-ring wrestling career or maybe it coincides with an official retirement match at WM 31. There aren’t any bigger stars left that could bring in the mainstream pub that The Rock can with this honor.
Randy “Macho Man” Savage is back in the rumor mill. Savage’s name has popped up here and there over the last couple of years. Vince McMahon had banned the idea of Savage going into the Hall of Fame for years. Many have speculated that this circles back to a dark urban legend while others claim that Vince just felt betrayed when Randy left to go to WCW. Savage’s death has of course smoothed over some of those hard feelings.
It has always been reported that Savage turned down the Hall of Fame in the past citing that he would only go in if his whole family went in, like the Von Erich family. Savage’s brother Lanny Poffo has confirmed those beliefs and while he has said that the family would be disappointed if the WWE didn’t honor Savage’s request, they also wouldn’t stand in the way. I think it would be a bit of a waste to induct Savage and Rock in the same year when Savage could be a future headliner. Yet the push for Savage to go into the Hall has definitely gotten stronger over the years.
Kevin Nash is another guy who while expected to go in, is a bit of a surprise. I say surprise because I think Nash could be a co-headliner. Nash third from the top doesn’t seem like the best utilization of his star power. This would also indicate that the rumors of D-X or the N.W.O. going in are without merit. I am sure Nash would have a great speech. As much as many people dislike the man, you can’t argue with his Hall of Fame worthiness.
Rikishi is also under consideration according to rumors and reports. It’s hard to argue with anyone at this point when you look at previous classes. I think he was a serviceable hand but he isn’t someone I think of when I think of Hall of Fame WWE stars. He wasn’t a headliner, other than a brief run against Steve Austin yet he was a solid mid-card star.
There are two former WWE Divas under consideration. Mickie James and Victoria are both under consideration for the honor. The way I read the report is that it is between the two of them and not necessarily both. I’d certainly lean towards James on this one. Yet again I am not sure I’d call them Hall of Fame Divas. I’d probably reach out to Kelly Kelly before I’d go down either road.
One name not in the rumor mill is Sting. With Sting expected to sign imminently with the WWE, I assumed he would be a no-brainer to go into the Hall of Fame, especially with his California connection. There is always 2016 but with rumors of him being a big part of WWE 2K15, I just assumed that he was a logical candidate.
Anything can change and these rumors change constantly throughout the year. Come back in six months and we could have a whole new slew of possibilities.
-We are LIVE from the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ on March 28, 2010 for WrestleMania XXVI. Well, not me. I’m inside a one story house with a decently-furnished living room in South Jersey that belongs to my brother Josh, and we’re joined by friends Dave and Rob for this historic evening. Funny that our childhood heroes are all wrestling: Undertaker for Rob, Bret Hart for Dave, Shawn Michaels for me, and Vince McMahon for Josh (don’t ask).
-It should be noted that my feelings on this show may change in six months, as I’m writing this while coming off of the fumes of adrenaline from having just watched the show live. It’s like on IMDb when the users go see a hit movie, and then all run home to vote “10” on it immediately. So tune in this September when I re-review the show and go back on everything I said.
-Fantasia Barrino does America the Beautiful, although she’s merely billed as “Fantasia” on her title card. Good to see the rules of one-name WWE divas also apply to guest singers. You could apply this logic to any diva from American Idol: Fantasia, Kelly, Katherine, Carrie, Clay….
-Missed the opening video, because our food just arrived. Mmm, buffalo chicken wrap….
-I should note the ominous Aztec-ish tower that makes up the entrance way. Very chilling, in a sense. One year, they should have a giant wicker man at the entrance way. Then they can invite Nicholas Cage and attack him with bees. That’d just be epic.
– Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Matt Striker helm the desk this year. Presumably, Striker’s there to explain to Lawler what the storylines on Smackdown are. Hey look, the Spanish Announce Table’s back! You know what THIS means.
-The show kicks off with ShowMiz defending the Unified Tag Team Titles against John Morrison and R-Truth. I would assume that if Truth wanted a surefire tag team partner, he would have just gone with Pacman Jones, since Jones was undefeated in TNA. Besides, WWE can overplay the kiddie element and dress Big Show as one of the ghosts from the Pacman game and….alright, I’m rambling.
-They’re really rushing through this, which is the perils of a 10 match show with lots of downtime being squeezed into four hours. On an up note, at least The Miz made it onto the actual show this year. I’d think after a year of stabbing a Kid Rock voodoo doll with pins, he’s earned this showcase.
-After hearing the story that John Morrison went into some online chat and called John Cena a boring champion, I was ready to lay some odds on who was getting pinned. Will Justin be right?
-Big Show pins Morrison with the KO punch. Hey, Justin was right! Match was rushed, not even four minutes long. I think that was the fastest opener in WM history to be honest. Eh well, at least Miz got a chance to shine. He came to play, you know. Good to Show win a match at WrestleMania, since that happens about as often as TNA making through a show without production gaffes.
-AXXESS footage. Seeing Bret Hart at the annual WWE fan fest just seems….wrong.
-Next is the triple threat between the members of Legacy, they being Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, and Ted Dibiase. You know you’re the jobber of the group when you’re demoted from your normal theme song to a stock theme that you haven’t used in two years. Poor Cody Rhodes. His creamsicle go-go dancer look just isn’t going to cut it.
-This reads like a handicap match, as Rhodes and Dibiase are united against Orton, who, despite playing a borderline psychotic for about two years, gets the big face pop. Then again, the fans pop whenever a female heel gets beaten up, regardless of the who the attacker is. WWE: making antisocial behavior acceptable since 1958.
-Orton does his best to fend off both men, and the crowd’s getting kinda lukewarm to this. I think it’s partially because no one’s ever taken Rhodes and Dibiase seriously as heels, despite their great matches with DX last year.
-Legacy has a miscue on a high-low on Orton. Is it just me, or could Dibiase’s father have afforded to buy him some coordination and timing training? Dibiase’s about as awkward as a Fritz Von Erich Father’s Day card.
-Dibiase and Rhodes have the inevitable rift and have a fight outside the ring that vaguely resembles the slap fight that Will Ferrell and Bruce McCulloch had in the movie Dick. They were playing Woodward and Bernstein, which means that Orton better make like Ben Bradlee and interject himself before this thing falls apart.
-Orton spikes both of his former flunkies with the double rope hang DDT, which Cole has never seen before. Damn it, Cole, what were you doing at WrestleMania 24 during the Raw matches? Have a VINTAGE FLASHBACK and let me know.
-Punt for Cody, and an RKO for Dibiase ends it for Orton. Decent match, but it was hard to take Rhodes and Dibiase seriously as threats. Orton’s got the face momentum now, so it’ll be interesting to see where they go with it.
-We get a backstage segment involving Santino Marella where Mean Gene Okerlund winds up in a dress. I knew Mean Gene’s Burgers was a money pit, but how low WILL Okerlund stoop to recoup his lost funds? Call the hotline to find out!
-Next up, the sixth annual Money in the Bank ladder match, with ten, count em, ten participants: Christian, Kane, Matt Hardy (back to regular pants due to his waistline expansion), Evan Bourne, Kofi Kingston (who did…..something…..with his hair), MVP, Shelton Benjamin, Drew McIntyre (thankfully without overdone entrance), Jack Swagger (only missing “Living in America” for his song), and Dolph Ziggler.
-Is there a kayfabe reason for Kane’s black eye? Or did he get accused of breaking up Randy Savage’s marriage to Miss Elizabeth?
-Match begins with a mad scramble up the ladders, looking like a TNA X Division match. Except in the X Division rendition of such a match, you’d have to hang the briefcase, pin 3 people, and then recite the alphabet backwards to win. Oh, TNA, you wacky innovators.
-Swagger, it occurs to me, looks like Charlie Haas if Haas was Corky on Life Goes On. I apologize to all mentally challenged people. I didn’t mean to compare you guys to Jack Swagger.
-Dolph messes up a Zig Zag off the ladder, and shortly after Kane powerbombs Kofi onto a leaning ladder. This is a rather ambitious MITB match, as we’re hoping to set a new standard for collective amount of nerve damage.
-In a swank spot, Swagger gets impaled under a ladder by Christian and Hardy wielding ladders, and Christian, Hardy, and Bourne try to climb, but Swagger manages to bring the tower down. Well, innovative, if nothing else.
-Kofi Kingston decides to top everyone by using a ladder that was broken in half, and tries to use it as a pair of stilts to walk toward the briefcase, but sadly it was not meant to be. Man, how high do you have to be to come up with THAT spot? Well, it IS Kofi….
-Kane and Hardy fight on the ladder, as I wonder if the hand of Lita is once again at stake between these two brooding Romeos. Christian helps Hardy take Kane out, and then Matt goes by the wayside, and Christian goes for the goods, but Swagger belts him with the briefcase, before taking forever to unhinge it and….gets the win? If you had Swagger in your pre-show prediction list, congratulations you LIAR. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes. My guess is he’s going to try to get his ECW Title back from Ezekiel Jackson in a match that would kick off just about any decent edition of Smackdown. Great spots, but lacking connection. Still, I loved it.
-I’d like to thank Drew McIntyre for his 48 seconds of participation. No wonder the office has faith in him.
-The Hall of Famers get their due: Stu Hart, Wendy Richter, Mad Dog Vachon, Antonio Inoki, Bob Uecker, Gorgeous George, and Ted Dibiase. The viewing party is convinced that Stu’s actually still alive, and just made sure that Smith Hart went to the ceremony just to get him out of the house so he can change the locks. It’s a good theory as any.
-By the way, Howard Finkel…..#26! Go Howard!
-Triple H and Sheamus is next, and Hunter’s entrance is longer than the opening match. Take that Morrison, you entrenched midcarder, you. Lawler mentions that losing at WrestleMania to Triple H has the power to change your life for the worse. Finally, Lawler and Booker T can agree on something.
-Triple H manages to slap on a figure four, and Michael Cole even talks about how Hunter learned that from Ric Flair. He can say Flair’s name?!? I think Vince is too busy warming up, so Jim Ross is on headset feeding these things to Cole and is trying to get him fired.
-Sign in the crowd: “HHH FEARS DIVORCE”. Why, wouldn’t he want custody of Lucy, the chronically crapping dog?
-Just before Triple H hits Sheamus with a face-to-knee buster, a fan screams “FACE BUSTER!”. It’s like that TV show Early Edition, except people under 35 are actually watching this match. Crowd’s really divided too, which is a bit shocking, since they haven’t booked Sheamus right. Maybe it’s all just sympathy cheers? Maybe.
-Sheamus manages to land the pump kick, but it’s not enough, as Hunter rallies with the Pedigree to win. Decent match, even if the Great Satan did win. Maybe Hunter should put his career on the line against Taker’s streak next year. Wait, no, then Taker won’t have a streak left! Think, Justin, think. Don’t make rash suggestions like that!
-I truly think Sheamus’ next step is to form a tag team with Rikishi called Potato Salad. The kids will love it!
-Slim Jim ad, which features the two kids turning into ninjas. Were they the same ninjas who kidnapped Samoa Joe on camera? Tune into Impact and find out!
-CM Punk and Rey Mysterio is next, and Punk preaches on the way to the ring. Always a good listen. Rey’s costume du jour: Avatar. But if he was truly Avatar, wouldn’t he be engaged to Tiffany and display no sense of human emotion whatsoever? I know, I’m mean.
-Rey gets caught in a tree of woe, but Punk slides in and winds up splattering his crotch against the ring post. Punk would regain the upper hand, however, and cover Rey for what should have been a three count, if not for a timing miscue. Crowd’s starting to die off a bit, which is a growing trend for these stadium events. If you’re not a real fan and you’re not into the characters, then maybe you just shouldn’t go. Hey, if I plunk down hundreds of dollars on a ticket, I’m gonna be screaming during Zack Ryder vs. Santino Marella, ok?
-Where was I? Ah yes, Punk nails Rey with a sick roundhouse kick. Always good to hear the sound of boot on vinyl mask.
-Rey manages to springboard off the ropes and land a DDT on Punk, although it was botched as Punk’s head got flattened too much. They show it on replay twice, and Lawler comments on how “beautiful” it was. Hey, if the man thinks that botches are beautiful, then certainly I’m not one to argue.
-Despite the best efforts of the Straight Edge Society, Rey gets the 619 and falling headbutt to finish Punk off. Match was abbreviated, but still really good. At least Rey doesn’t have to pledge to a straight edge lifestyle now. BRING ON THE QUAALUDES!
-Next up, Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon in a no holds barred match. I always loved that the fans who love Bret the most bring signs for him, and then spell his name “BRETT”. Way to show your devotion and appreciation, you miscreants.
-Vince brings out the Hart siblings and the Hart Dynasty as lumberjacks, since he’s paid them all off to help screw Bret over. Legendary loser Bruce even gets to be the referee. Great, expect about 15 low blows in this one. At least Bruce finally found work in WWE after, what 20 years of campaigning?
-In a twist, Bret reveals that the Harts are all on HIS side, and that Vince has been conned. Let the beatdown begin!
-So Bret proceeds to beat the crap out of Vince, and the current generation gets their shots in on the floor. David Hart Smith and Tyson Kidd land a modified doomsday device on the outside, and Kid BOUNCES Vince’s head off of the floor. Tyson Kidd, we wish you well in your future endeavors. I look forward to seeing him in TNA with his new name Holyfield Mann.
-The match is slow, but who cares? It’s Bret beating up Vince. The only way to make this more entertaining would be if the Harts pulled a Blue Blazer costume onto Vince and then threw him out of the rafters. Wait, is that wrong? Screw it, I’m enjoying myself. Perhaps too much.
-Bret gives Vince about 58 low blows and then slaps on the Sharpshooter for the win. If the match isn’t going to be any good, then it better cater to my base instincts. In this case: Bret beating Vince up. Five stars, Justin’s happy, onward we go.
-Justin “Softspeak” Roberts announces the crowd at 72,219. Nothing’s going to top the drawing power of WrestleMania III, let’s face it. Hercules and Billy Jack Haynes is just too strong from a historical standpoint, anyway.
-Edge-Jericho highlights. We even get footage of renowned sports surgeon Dr. James Andrews as he works on Edge. Do you think Dr. Andrews watches TLC and Money in the Bank and Hell in a Cell matches with glee, knowing that he’s one botched move away from some wrestler going to Birmingham and financing his next house? I’ll bet he subscribes to Botchamania on Youtube. What a sadist.
-It’s just a weird premise for this feud, basing it around Edge saying “spear” to Jericho to try and get into his head, and then getting the fans to play along. Chanting “spear” would be good right about now, since the crowd’s more reserved than my room in Hell.
-The fight spills outside and Edge slams Jericho into the table. I think our Spanish co-horts are in for a shortened evening, like always.
-Back inside, Jericho manages to apply the Walls to try and weaken Edge’s bad leg. The last time Jericho defended a World Title at WrestleMania against a muscled up blonde babyface with a bad leg with a dead crowd….well, it didn’t end well for Chris.
-After Edge won’t give in, Jericho tries a lionsault, but lands on his feet, only to eat an Edge-o-Matic for 2. Good spot.
-Jericho’s spear fails, and then Edge tries one, but flies right into a Codebreaker. Jericho goes back to the Walls, and applies a single leg version on Edge’s bad wheel. Crowd’s finally coming to life through sheer will of the performers.
-Both men fall to the outside off of an Edge clothesline and, after Edge accidentally hits the ref while on the apron, Jericho waffles him with the belt for 2. A Codebreaker, however, ends it and Jericho shockingly retains. Afterward, an irate Edge sets up Jericho on the American announce table, and then runs off the Spanish one to spear him into the timekeeper’s pit. What a sore loser. Match was really good, best of the night so far.
-You know you’re insane as a fan when you think Jack Swagger’s gonna run in right now and win the belt from Jericho. Sadly, the moment is lost.
-Highlights are shown of the pre show battle royal, which was won by…..Yoshi Tatsu? Man, Linda McMahon’s really aching for that Asian-American vote, isn’t she? The last time a Japanese born wrestler won ANYTHING at WrestleMania, Funaki had a 2 minute reign as Hardcore Champion. Sad, really.
-Time wasting ten diva tag is next, with Mickie James, Beth Phoenix, Gail Kim, Kelly Kelly, and Eve facing Michelle McCool, Layla, Alicia Fox, Maryse, and Vickie Guerrero. About time, we’d waited all night for this.
-After a sequence of nothing but finishers (some of which almost hit properly), Vickie lands a frog splash onto Kelly Kelly, who can’t even take a pin properly. Thankfully, Vickie does get the pin and becomes the third Guerrero to win at WrestleMania. Junk match, but who cares? In a moment of blind hysteria, Josh, Dave, and I ran around celebrating Vickie’s big moment. Because that’s what WrestleMania does to us civil, working-class folk.
-Still, thank you, WWE, for Mickie James in jeans. I won’t complain as much this coming year, I promise.
-Cena/Batista video. All it was missing was Batista’s immortal “HUGGING FAT GIRLS” line. Cena should have hugged Vickie Guerrero, just to drive the point home.
-Cena’s super special entrance: an Air Force crew performs an honor guard routine. The fans boo, and I think it’s funny that fans in Arizona boo military personnel in a city where Pat Tillman is such a hero. If you’re going to boo Cena, wait till he comes out. Show some class, please?
-Signs in the crowd: “NORWAY HATES CENA”. Things I know about Norway: it had the Olympics once, and it’s way the hell far away from my house. So there you go.
-Slow start to a match I was really looking forward to. Cena tries to Adjust Batista’s Attitude, but Batista spikes him with a sick DDT for 2.
-We get the boo-yay-boo-yay spot, and of course Cena’s on the losing end of it. Hey, it’s not Cena’s fault that Santino Holmes got both feet in the end zone last year. Deal with it.
-Batista spinebuster = one of the most underrated moves there is, especially when he does his sudden stand up after hitting it. Good stuff.
-Cena lands a Five Knuckle Shuffle off the top, which could be a tribute to Shawn Michaels and his flying fistdrop as a Rocker. I’d like to think so.
-Batista lands the Batista Bomb for 2, and makes the greatest face in the history of faces. Cena then lands the Attitude Adjustment for another 2 count. Another Batista Bomb fails, and Cena hooks the STF to make Big Dave tap and to give Cena his ninth World Title. Really good match, up to the standard of the Summerslam match. Cena cheeses next to a fan in the front row who’s wearing an anti-Cena shirt. Say what you will, but John Cena knows how to roll with the punches. It’s why I like him.
-Shawn-Taker video is next. I’ll bet the crowd’s fully awake now.
-Shawn makes his standard HBK entrance, and the fans are behind him almost 100% The question is, can they have enough guts to have Shawn end the streak? Either way, it’s going to be talked about for a very long time afterward, I can assure you.
-Undertaker rises up through the stage, wearing a hood like some giant, gothic version of AJ Styles. All Undertaker needs is Ric Flair to show him how to cut whacked out promos.
-Taker and Shawn have a staredown. If Taker’s going to win, he’d BETTER say “I’m sorry….I love you” before the final Tombstone. I repeat: he’d BETTER say it.
-Taker manages to land Old School early on, which plays into the usual theory of “get everything out of the way that’s minor, so that the slate is clear for the REALLY heavy stuff”. Brace yourself, folks, history’s about to be made.
-Shawn attempts a Crossface on Taker. I’d make a tasteless joke, but I’ll just say that it’s already been proven effective in the real world, so you know it’s just as deadly in the kayfabe planet as well.
-Taker gets a legdrop on the apron, prompting what I believe is Cole’s first “VINTAGE” of the night. Shawn does get a Figure Four though, paying homage to the man whose retirement apparently isn’t sacred. Just saying.
-Shawn lands the forearm and the kip up, but Taker drops him with a chokeslam for an early near fall. Shawn begins to work Taker’s leg, and even manages to snare him into an ankle lock. What, is Shawn going to do the finishers of everyone in TNA? If Shawn hits the Gringo Killer on The Dead Man, I’m a fan for life.
-Taker kicks off the ankle lock with two boots. The first kick straightened Shawn’s eyes, and the second one distorted them again. Shawn’s eyes are like a demented snow globe.
-To the outside, where Taker manages to spike Shawn with a Tombstone on the concrete. First one since I believe Jake Roberts ate one at WrestleMania 8. Trainers try to tend to Shawn, but Taker’s having none of it. He brings Shawn in for 2. Taker tries the Last Ride, but Shawn counters into an X-Factor for 2. It’s TNA Appreciation Night! Someone come up with some kooky stipulations!
-Taker applies the Hell’s Gate, and Shawn counters it into a pinning predicament for 2. Once up to their feet, Shawn pastes him with Sweet Chin Music for 2. Shawn tries for another one, but Taker turns it into a Last Ride for 2. I’m starting to sweat, and I’m not the only one in the room.
-To the outside for what could be Shawn’s last deadly spot ever. He lays Taker out on the table with Sweet Chin Music and then goes up top, coming off with a moonsault to put Taker through. SICKNESS. If Shawn’s going out, he’s doing it the only way he knows how: stealing the show.
-Back inside, Shawn gets another Sweet Chin Music, and can only get 2. Shawn tries for yet another superkick, but Taker clasps the throat and sends Shawn to Hell with a chokeslam. No pinfall attempt, as Taker scrapes HBK up and drops him with a Tombstone for 2, just like last year. Taker’s livid and frustrated and this place is unglued.
-Taker drops his straps, but stops, as he’s now hesitant to finish Shawn off, due to the respect involved. Taker implores Shawn to stay down, but Shawn mocks him with the throat cut gesture, and then hauls off and smacks Taker across the face. Taker goes into beast mode, lifting Shawn and hitting a deadly leaping Tombstone for the win and the end of Shawn’s career. After a slow getting-up period, Taker embraces Michaels and the crowd, of course, eats up this moment.
-Taker leaves so that Shawn can have his curtain call, and he does so mostly with a smile, as, unlike most, he has no baggage left. He’s the best at what he does (or did), and has a family at home waiting for him, with plenty of money in his savings. If this is the end of Shawn Michaels as an active wrestler, then it’ll be a long time before any single performer comes along that can top him in this line of work. When that happens, my grandkids may be in a nursing home.
-CYNIC SAYS: Again, I’m completing this review just hours after the show ended, so there’s nothing to look back on with stern 20/20 hindsight and definitive judgment. From a live perspective, a good time was had by my friends and I, which is positive. The two World Title matches featured great story telling, Shawn and Taker may have hit ‘five stars’ (ask me again in six months), Money in the Bank was exciting, Rey/Punk and Hunter/Sheamus were both good matches, and Bret beat the crap out of Vince. For the most part, as of the morning after, I feel like I’d gotten my money’s worth.
Again, time will tell on WrestleMania XXVI. But for right now, let’s call it a thumbs up show with a smile.
Justin Henry has been an occasional contributor to Camel Clutch Blog since 2009. His other work can be found at WrestleCrap.com and ColdHardFootballFacts.com. He can be found on Twitter, so give him a follow.
One of the biggest differences between WWE and TNA is that when WWE utilizes older wrestlers, it’s to their maximum.
In the fall of 2009, TNA went ahead with a considerable end-run to bolster their roster, with the target of running a monster three-hour episode of Impact, live on Monday, January 4, up against Raw.
To sweeten the pot and lure in casual fans not familiar with TNA, the company brought in Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff to be major players, while negotiating with Scott Hall, Sean Waltman, Ric Flair, and Jeff Hardy, as well as other familiar faces.
WWE, knowing that TNA was going to bring their best laid plans to that Monday night, countered with something that would shock fans all over the world.
On January 4, 2010, for the first time in over twelve years, Bret “The Hitman” Hart would return to Monday Night Raw.
WWE Fans didn’t know what to think. Bret Hart, really? The same man who, while he’d done a few side ventures with WWE in recent years, had a rocky relationship with the company that embarrassed him on PPV with the “screwjob”? The same Bret Hart that locked horns with the company when the two sides became embroiled over who was responsible for the death of Bret’s brother, Owen?
Indeed, Hart showed up on January 4 in Dayton, OH, where he’d won the 1993 King of the Ring tournament.
To add to the surreal nature of Hart even standing in a WWE ring, he called out longtime nemesis Shawn Michaels. Hart had Michaels removed from the 2006 Hall of Fame ceremony, not wanting him there to witness his speech.
On this night, Hart and Michaels shook hands, and then embraced with a hug, dropping the jaws of fans around the world.
Only in WWE.
Edge made a surprise comeback after a near six-month injury layoff, and won the 2010 Royal Rumble from the #29 spot. Edge waited to pick the champion he would face, and it paid off when he selected Chris Jericho, who won the World Heavyweight Championship three weeks later at Elimination Chamber.
Jericho and Edge had won the Unified Tag Team Titles in the summer, and then Edge bowed out with the mentioned injury. Jericho chose Big Show as his replacement, and then would off-handedly slag Edge for his shortcomings. Edge would taunt Jericho with threats of spearing him, getting the fans to yell, in Pavlovian fashion, “SPEEEEEEEEEAR”. Jericho’s improbable title win on February 21 meant he might have to eat his words at WrestleMania.
On the opposite brand, John Cena won the Raw Elimination Chamber match, winning Sheamus’ WWE Championship. Immediately after the grueling contest, Vince McMahon, who was on bad terms with Cena after he’d stood beside Bret Hart (explanation forthcoming), sent Batista to the ring for an immediate title match. Batista mauled Cena to win the belt within seconds.
Cena had a chance for a WrestleMania rematch if he could beat Batista in a non-title rematch the next night on Raw. Batista got himself disqualified intentionally, due to his hatred of Cena, his success, and what he stood for. In fact, Batista made it clear that when the two men had their skyrocketing career paths parallel each other just several years earlier, Cena got more love and Batista admitted that he was jealous.
Batista also made it clear that Cena had never, ever beaten him, and promised that WrestleMania, in front of the world, would be no different.
But back to Hart, Vince McMahon had assaulted him at the end of the January 4 Raw, continuing the bad blood that had existed since 1997. McMahon would spend over two months ripping Hart for hanging onto the past, claiming that he’d made “The Hitman”. Bret, however, would get a chance at revenge as he’d challenged Vince to a street fight.
McMahon accepted, but after Bret attacked him, Vince would renege. After Hart was then injured in a car accident backstage, McMahon would accept, thinking Bret was too hurt. However, after Vince signed the contract, Hart proved that his injuries were merely a ruse to get Vince to agree, and that the accident was all a set-up. Hart would have his chance to get 12 years worth of revenge after all.
Speaking of revenge, Shawn Michaels had some in mind as well.
Michaels lamented not ending The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak one year earlier, and became obsessed with doing so.
Shawn Michaels had cost The Undertaker the World Heavyweight Title at Elimination Chamber, doing whatever he could to get a rematch at WrestleMania, so that he could end the streak. After weeks of hounding “The Dead Man”, Michaels finally got Undertaker’s attention. However, Undertaker would only accept the match if Michaels agreed to put his career on the line.
Michaels implied acceptance, saying “If I can’t beat you….I have no career.”
Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Matt Striker called the action from ringside. Fantasia Barrino performed “America the Beautiful”. Entering the WWE Hall of Fame were Ted Dibiase, Antonio Inoki, Wendi Richter, Mad Dog Vachon, Gorgeous George, Stu Hart, and Bob Uecker.
Unified Tag Team Championship: The Miz/Big Show def. John Morrison/R-Truth in 3:24
(Miz and Morrison get a “make up call” from one year earlier, and get to be on the actual show. Of course, it gets 1/3 of the time as their dark match from last year. Life’s just not fair)
Triple Threat Match: Randy Orton def. Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase in 9:01
(This was decent, and did what it was supposed to do in elevate Orton, but Rhodes and DiBiase’s slap fest was so horribly goofy that it became hard to take either man seriously. Some Mania debut for both)
Money in the Bank: Jack Swagger def. Kane, MVP, Christian, Dolph Ziggler, Matt Hardy, Shelton Benjamin, Kofi Kingston, Drew McIntyre, and Evan Bourne in 13:44
(Swagger was an interesting choice for a winner. And by “interesting”, I mean “odd”. He’d become World Heavyweight Champion two nights later in one of the most forgettable reigns in recent memory)
Triple H def. Sheamus in 12:09
(Ever feel like Orton and Hunter were punished for their crappy main event from last year by being stuck in the first half of the show? Match was pretty good, actually. Sheamus deserves more love)
Rey Mysterio def. CM Punk in 6:30
(Damn good match, but way short. Mysterio had to go “straight edge” if he lost, as if that were a heelish thing to have to do. “How dare that villain infringe on Rey’s right to take HGH! That cad!”)
Lumberjack Match: Bret Hart def. Vince McMahon in 11:09
(All of the Hart siblings, as well as the Hart Dynasty, surrounded the ring for a match in which Bret slowly and meticulously stomped Vince and beat him with a chair for eleven minutes. Well, it’s fine by me. By the way, look at the match’s time. What date was Montreal again? 11/09! CREEPY!)
World Heavyweight Championship: Chris Jericho def. Edge in 15:48
(Like Jericho’s previous WrestleMania World Title match, this had no heat, seemed a bit awkward, and is not often remembered. It’s a shame, because it was a pretty good match, but Edge’s entire face schtick centered around him bellowing “SPEEEEEEEAR!!!” which does nothing for anyone)
Michelle McCool/Layla/Vickie Guerrero/Maryse/Alicia Fox def. Mickie James/Beth Phoenix/Kelly Kelly/Gail Kim/Eve Torres in 3:26
(The last major WWE appearance of Mickie “Lesbian Stalker” James. I’ll always have the memories)
WWE Heavyweight Championship: John Cena def. Batista in 13:31
(A bit abbreviated, but still a damn good outing. Cena and Batista have pretty good chemistry when they’re not bogged down by pointless stipulations, as they were in subsequent rematches. Batista’s face when Cena kicked out of the Batista Bomb is a sight to behold)
Career vs. Streak: The Undertaker def. Shawn Michaels in 23:59
(Not quite as “epic” as last year’s match, but epic nonetheless. Gah, I’m splitting hairs here. This was a great match, and a great way for Shawn Michaels to go out. I hope, unlike Flair, he stays retired and lets his tremendous legacy tell the story of how amazing a performer he was. I hope when Undertaker retires one day, he has the sense to do the same. Great ending to the show)
ITS PLACE IN HISTORY
I never would have guessed, in 2010, that we’d see Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels wrestle on the same show ever again. Hart and Michaels were, at one point, both retired simultaneously, until Michaels found the itch to wrestle again in 2002.
Hart’s match wasn’t really a match as it was a slow beating. Michaels’ match was an enthralling epic, considered the best match of 2010.
For Hart, it was about giving the fans “one more match”, the one he’d wished for at his Hall of Fame speech in 2006. Sure, it wasn’t anything great, but it was one more Sharpshooter in front of millions of fans, as a way of putting some of his bitterness into his past.
For Shawn Michaels, it was one last great performance. The most talented wrestler the world has known stole the show once more, from peers young and old. He could now rest his battered body forever.
A photo surfaced one day after WrestleMania with both Hart and Michaels smiling, congratulating each other after the show had ended.
If you can think of a more appropriate portrait for this show, I’d like to see it.
Justin Henry has been an occasional contributor to Camel Clutch Blog since 2009. His other work can be found at WrestleCrap.com and ColdHardFootballFacts.com. He can be found on Twitter, so give him a follow.
-Imagine my delight when I discovered that Peter Gabriel’s “Big Time” was the primary theme for this show. It’s cheesy, it’s campy, it reeks of the eighties, and thus it conjures up many great memories of my youth watching wrestling. It’s the perfect little ditty to get myself into the wrestling spirit, especially an event as grand as WrestleMania.
-And so it was, the 22nd version of WrestleMania, taking place at the Allstate Arena in Chicago, IL, on April 2, 2006. For the fourth straight (and final) year, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler handled Raw and Michael Cole and Tazz did Smackdown, crossing over for one match. In two months, there’d be a third child born in the Brand family, although it’d be dead before age 4. But the kid was an outmoded concept anyway, so no need to shed tears.
-Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child sings the National Anthem. If Destiny’s Child was Legacy, she’s definitely not the Randy Orton of the trio.
-The show kicks off with the Show. Big Show, that is, as he and Kane defend their World Tag Team Titles against Carlito and Chris Masters. Laugh all you want, but three of these men were in the same World Title match just three months before at New Year’s Revolution. No, I don’t need to put the hash pipe down, this actually happened.
-Question: Why does JR always compare Big Show’s hands to skillets whenever he lands a chop? My guess is that he can hold six egg yolks and six sausage links in one of his mitts. He’s probably seen it, too.
-Since the only worker of the four I really like is Carlito, I had low expectations going in, but it’s actually a fun match. Kane lands a nice diving clothesline to the floor on Carved Apples and the crowd seems to be enjoying themselves. Really, that’s all that matters.
-Show lands a nice double suplex on the heels. I think Carlito and Masters would be great bumbling henchmen in some WWE film. They fit the bill, I think.
-Finally, after a miscue, Kane takes out Carlito with a chokeslam to retain the titles. Fun enough opener to set the pace for the card, even though it’s not a match I particularly get excited about seeing over and over. But for what it was, it was a welcome opener.
-Shawn Michaels assures us that tonight will not be a classic match when he faces Vince McMahon. So his match in 1993 with Mr. Perfect was a guaranteed five stars, but his match with Vince tonight isn’t. Using the law of opposites, that means tonight’s match will be the greatest match ever. I’m excited.
-Next is the second annual Money in the Bank ladder match, and this time it’s an interbrand affair, with Shelton Benjamin, Rob Van Dam, and Ric Flair for Raw, and Matt Hardy, Bobby Lashley, and Finlay for Smackdown. So, in other words, it’ll be 50% spotty.
-As per usual, we get the “dive parade”, which is just two dives this year: An RVD diving cross body, and a Benjamin leap off of the ladder ramp. Must have been a low budget this year for percocets.
-Hardy superplexes Flair off of the ladder and Flair suffers an “injury” to his leg, which actually looked legit this time. Although when the referee does an over exaggerated “X” signal with his arms, it kinda hurts the effect.
-Let’s face it, Lashley just wasn’t ‘ready’ yet. The tentative look on his face every time he climbs the ladder resembles a man who fears that one of the rungs has a land mine full of hydrochloric acid. Though being a burn victim would give him his first layer of character interest ever. Though the three man powerbomb spot off the ladder was nice.
-Speaking of ‘let’s face it’, this match was not in Ric Flair’s wheelhouse. He returns and the most interesting thing he can do is throw chops. A shillelagh from Finlay ends his night. Remember when Flair was an iconic main-eventer? I ask that question now.
-After RVD lands a Five Star on Finlay, he begins to climb, but Benjamin tops his own insane ingenuity by springboarding onto the opposite side of the ladder in a spot that has to be seen to be appreciated. Hardy climbs an additional ladder next to RVD and Shelton’s, but Benjamin steps over to repel him. That’s the final undoing, as RVD kicks it over to send both men crashing to the floor, and RVD snags the briefcase to earn a World Title match. Solid match with some great spots, but not quite up to last year’s standard. I was definitely pleased to see RVD win, though my Spidey sense figured he’d somehow blow it. I was half right.
-Meanwhile, Randy Orton scares Mean Gene off, and an injured Batista talks down on Orton. Remember when Batista getting a long term injury was a new concept? Was this really just four years ago?
-Howard Finkel (#22) introduces the Hall of Famers: Bret Hart (not here), Mean Gene Okerlund, Sensational Sherri, Tony Atlas, Verne Gagne, William Perry, The Blackjacks, and Eddie Guerrero, who is represented by Chavo and Vickie. Vickie actually looked elegant here, and this was well before her character run, so the fans are happy to see her. I feel worse for nobody in this business than Vickie Guerrero.
-Chris Benoit defends the United States title next against JBL, who makes his entrance until the steel ramp. At this point JBL had Jillian Hall with him, who was his “image consultant”. How far gone must you be as an image consultant that you develop a hopeless need to become a pop singer? Of course, she’s consulting a man who went from cowboy to drunken bodyguard to Wall Street guru, so anything’s possible in WWE lore.
-The most annoying part about this match is that JBL continuously has to resort to using Eddie Guerrero’s mannerisms to draw heat from the crowd. Here’s the thing: we know that it’s fake. We know JBL liked Guerrero. Guerrero’s death is a sore point for a lot of fans. What these acts say is that you can’t find a better way to draw heat for this match. It’s a testament that there wasn’t a bigger uproar about this match, which shows that a lot of people tuned out the antics. I say good.
-Decent enough match, but every time JBL gains control, he’s doing the Guerrero shimmy or trying to rip off the Three Amigos. God, enough already.
-Finally, Benoit latches on with the Crossface, but JBL rolls through and grabs the ropes for the cheap win and the US Title. Well, I guess that means that JBL’s smarter than HHH. Decent match, but enough to leave a sour taste in your match. Sadly, JBL isn’t even the most deplorable man in the match.
-Since Joey Styles did his homework and ate his vegetables, he gets to do commentary on the forthcoming hardcore match between Edge and Mick Foley. We need an arbitrator to determine once and for all the intricate differences between a hardcore match, a street fight, an extreme rules match, and a no holds barred match. You know, just to have it written down somewhere.
-The match begins with a tribute to hardcore matches circa 1999 with cookie sheets and road signs. All we’re missing are run-ins from Test and The Mean Street Posse.
-However, we up the CVQ (Creative Violence Quotient) when Edge tries to spear Foley, only to come away in serious pain, as it’s revealed that Foley has wrapped himself in barbed wire! And to think, Vince could have saved on Foley’s appearance fee and hired some moronic backyarder to do it for free.
-As Foley gets Barbie (his barbed wire bat), Lita jumps on his back, and it leads to all three individuals tumbling over the top rope. That would be a nifty Royal Rumble elimination.
-Ah, there’s a classic: Edge grabbing Foley by the hair and bouncing his skull off the entrance ramp. Oddly enough, I think it was Triple H who brought that to prominence in WWE by doing it to Mick. Yes, I’ll give Satan credit sometimes.
-Edge pours lighter fluid all over Mick Foley. I’m pretty sure that was in day six of Tony Condello’s camp. Then Foley fights back and hits a piledriver, getting two. You know what’s sad? Piledrivers are banned in WWE due to the neck injuries, and Foley does one and I’m stunned….just minutes after the man had LIGHTER FLUID doused on him. I’ve watched wrestling WAY too long.
-Edge does a number on Mick with the baseball bat, and then gets the magical bag of thumbtacks. Meanwhile, Joey Styles acts aghast, like he’s seen none of this before, and he called every Tommy Dreamer match from 1993 to 2001. Was Joey blinded by a particle beam thingie moments after he signed his WWE contract?
-Edge, in a cruel twist of irony, not unlike rain on one’s wedding day, is the one who lands on the tacks. Then Foley wraps Socko in barbed wire, because he’s completely insane, and shoves it into Edge’s mouth. Then Lita tries to interfere, so he shoves it into HER mouth. Great, now Lita’s going to have sores all around her lips. Er, new ones.
-But this just leads to the coup de gras (coup disgrace?) as the table at ringside is set on fire and Edge spears Foley off the apron, through the ropes, with both men landing in the giant fireball. Edge covers Foley for the win, because only two men could kick out of that: No one, and Stu Hart (Ehhhhya fire ain’t got ter uh nuttin on me, ya bum). Oh. My. God. That was absolutely crazy. Edge and Foley can barely move, and Edge is twitching, looking like Beavis after a stunt gone wrong. One helluva match that helped solidify Edge as a player, but that’s some cost. Foley does it again, making a new star.
-Meanwhile, Goldust takes the opportunity to freak Booker T out one last time. I don’t ask for much.
-The best way to describe the next match between The Boogeyman taking on Booker T and Sharmell is this: I would rather have sex on my back on a vibrating bed of nails than to try and comprehend the booking. Sharmell runs off, and Booker eats the Boogeyslam to give the Pit dweller the win. Yep, bed of nails, bring it on.
-And now, the greatest feud of all time, as Mickie James’ obsession with WWE Women’s Champion Trish Stratus led to a title match at WrestleMania. The feud was wrought with so many lesbianonic overtones that I’d love to show this to Linda McMahon’s male detractors. Because they’d probably end up supporting her. It’s THAT AWESOME.
-The crowd is 90% behind Mickie, who was the heel. Hey, if there’s one thing that’ll make the fans sympathize with you, it’s when Trish spurns your advances. How dare Trish, that hussy! Look, you can see her roots!
-Mickie works the knee and we get a “LET’S GO MICKIE” chant. I wholeheartedly concur.
-After Mickie dominates (and nearly drives all of Chicago to a flood-creating smarkgasm), Trish takes over and manages a headscissors. The crowd boos. How could WWE surprised? When you have a crazed lesbian in a revealing top and loose skirt, she could be fighting a 10 year old with leukemia and that kid is going to be the villain, whether his sickly bloodstream likes it or not.
-Mickie blocks the Stratusphere by dropping Trish’s injured leg across the ropes and then lets out a guttural scream to a huge pop. This is like watching a hybrid of “Carrie” and a women’s prison flick.
-Trish attempts Stratusfaction, and then, we get my favorite part in wrestling history as Mickie grabs—wait, what the Hell? Why did they edit that off the DVD? Hang on.
-(At this point in the story, Justin drove to his brother Josh’s house, since he has the original tape of the event. Justin knocked on his door at 8:45 at night, uninvited, with his foot. Josh answered and Justin, perfectionist that he is, bloodcurdlingly screamed for Josh to put in his copy so that they could watch a mere 15 second clip. Josh was unamused, but did as he was told. Finally, after rewatching the clip 57 times to make sure they understood the relevance, Justin thanked his brother and drove home.)
-So yeah, Mickie grabs Trish’s nether regions to break the hold, and then licks her fingers in a V-shape to indicate something naughty. God, these cushions are sticky….
-After a botched Stratusfaction by Mickie, she finishes off Trish with a weird looking Chick Kick to win the Women’s Title. You know the crowd wants to jump your bones when they ignore the blown spots in the ending just to cheer like crazy. Fun match, although certainly not PG. Not that I care.
-Vince McMahon, with enough spray-on tan to win the George Hamilton lookalike contest, leads the McMahons in a prayer for Shawn Michaels. There’s just something oddly amusing about Linda as a heel.
-Up next, we get a casket match where Undertaker puts his streak on the line again….my cousin, Mark Henry. Asking “Who will win at WrestleMania between Undertaker and Mark Henry?” is a lot like asking “What will happen when it rains, you get wet or a safe falls on your head?”.
-It’s your typical hossfest for Taker, who has to slow down his generally amiable style just so Henry can keep up. A lot of clotheslines and a lot of clubbing down. I never understood Henry’s appeal, other than the fact that he was a former Olympian, and can possibly generate positive press. In WWE, he’s just been a fat and lazy mook who had about 3 combined months in 14 years where he was interesting. I think it’s time to cut the cord on him.
-Usually, when you face Undertaker in a casket match, one of two things is implied: either it’s a major storyline and the casket gimmick is a way for Taker to lose with a ton of interference to keep him strong, or it means that the only way Taker’s opponent can build heat is have the casket lid opened and try to stuff Taker in. Guess which category Henry falls in?
-Punch. Kick. Headbutt. Punch. Splash. Club. Kick. Punch. Good to see Mark Henry is a proficient follower of Dance Dance Revolution: Andre the Giant edition.
-Just to add a little bit of life to the match, Undertaker hits his super dive onto Henry. If this match was a conveyer belt at a pickle factory, you saw about 200 mundane jars of pickles before getting one with a bag of really awesome fireworks in it. That’ll catch your eye everytime.
-Taker manages to get Henry up for a Tombstone, and then rolls him into the casket to end it. Wasn’t terrible, but I wouldn’t call it good either. If the streak was full of Batman villains, Mark Henry is definitely The Puzzler. I’m puzzled as to why he got a match with The Dead Man in the first place. Let’s just move on.
-Highlights of the Shawn Michaels-Vince McMahon saga. Get ready, kids. Vince is going to bleed and get beaten up for the amusement of all. Frankly, I’m excited.
-Indeed, one of the first moments out of the gate is Shawn smashing Vince with a portrait sized picture of Vince’s Muscle and Fitness cover that was at ringside for some reason. You just don’t get these moments in UFC.
-For a bonus, Shawn beats the crap out of the Spirit Squad, including a young and relatively unknown Dolph Ziggler. Shawn lays them all out, which anoints him for sainthood next to Mickie James for her performance earlier tonight.
-Vince mounts a comeback and chokes Shawn with his belt, and this leads to an attempt at Sweet Vin Music, but Shawn catches the boot and goes back to annihilating the boss. As he gets ready for Sweet Chin Music, son Shane arrives on the scene and whacks HBK with a kendo stick. Just for fun, they go to induct Shawn into the Kiss My Ass Club again, but Shawn shoves Shane’s face into his own father’s sphincter. I’m enjoying myself far too much.
-Shawn cuffs Shane to the ropes and then mocks his Shane-O-Mac dance before beating him senseless with the kendo stick. Shawn Michaels is once again my favorite wrestler ever and, if he retires after WM26, there’s still no topping his legacy. Hell, how can he even top HIMSELF?
-How about bashing Vince’s head in with a chair? Because he just did that.
-So the story is that Shawn keeps teasing a finish with the SCM, but opts not to, instead placing a trash can over Vince’s head, laying him on a table, and then climbing a 12-15 foot ladder (or 35 feet if you’re Tazz), and then dropping the big elbow off of it. At this point, Vince’s head looks like someone poured a bucket of Dutch Boy Red #4 on him. This is awesome.
-Shawn pulls Vince up and yells at him before hitting the Chin Music for the win. In terms of an actual match, it was nothing. As an absolutely comedic AND horrific beating, it was awesome. Just as awesome is Vince giving Shawn the finger from the stretcher as he’s taken away. I hereby dub this “the worst five star match ever”. Just good times.
-World Heavyweight Title recap. Rey Mysterio’s first legit chance to become a World Champion and it was marred by the ridiculous exploitation of Eddie Guerrero’s death. Sigh, let’s just get this over with.
-POD plays Mysterio out, and Rey decides to dress like a tropical hawk. Yep.
-Kurt Angle defends the World Heavyweight Title against Randy Orton and Kurt Angle. Did I mention that Rey, whom all the crowd sympathy was shuffled behind, isn’t even the hero here, as the in-the-know fans have rallied behind Angle, who ISN’T exploiting a dead guy? True stuff.
-Spoiling the ending a bit, this match was only nine minutes long. With three participants, there’s not enough time for Rey to tell his story of his quest to win one for his friend. Why not just have Orton beat Angle for the title, then do Angle-Taker II, have Rey beat Orton here, and have Mark Henry sit home and order Dominos? Who loses?
-Rey tries for a 619 on Angle, but Kurt gets the ankle lock and the crowd cheers. See what I mean?
-Angle gets Rey with the Angle Slam over the top and then locks Orton in the ankle lock. This is all well and good….if they were trying to turn Kurt into a machine again, but the POINT was Rey’s quest. Remember that?
-Orton gets Angle with the RKO, but can only get 2. Then, just to turn this into a bigger train wreck, Rey blows a 619 around the post. Way to rise to the occasion, Rey Rey.
-After Angle is arm dragged to the floor, Rey gets Orton with the 619 and Dime Drop to win his only World Title to date. If that match was any more rushed, it would have collided with Dagwood Bumstead’s mailman on the door step. Rey celebrates with Vickie and Chavo, and my lone consolation is that Mysterio got the big prize for his years of hard work. It’s a shame it was clouded by the garbage. Decent match, but yeah, rushed.
-Cena and HHH are seen warming up, and JR tries to convince us all that Cena’s going to get booed tonight because he’s controversial. Yeah, and Chicago fans cheer the Cubs because they’re convinced they’re going to win it all one day. Oh wait, they really believe that?
-Another waste of time match, as Torrie Wilson wins a Playboy Pillow Fight over Candice Michelle, wherein the loser was doomed to receive 12 catastrophic injuries over the next three years. Then for fun, Torrie rubs her dog’s butt on Candice’s face. I think Torrie has issues.
-Main event time. Hoo boy, get ready for this one.
-Triple H enters first, via through the stage, on a throne, dressed as Conan the Barbarian. Around this time period, a list of WWE wrestler salaries and perks was leaked to the net, and one of Hunter’s perks was that he got 10 free uses of the corporate jet per year. My brother and I theorize that he took ELEVEN trips, thus sending Vince over the edge and making him wear this outfit as punishment. There’s no other possible explanation.
-To top that, a video about Al Capone and various Chicago thugs plays to precede Cena’s entrance. Then out comes a thirties style car, complete with various OVW guys dressed as gangsters on it, including….CM PUNK! Wait….Punk’s fighting AGAINST prohibition? Punk, what the hell! YOU CAN BE SAVED!
-Then Cena comes out dressed in a trenchcoat and fires off a gun to the loudest booing I’ve EVER heard. Seriously, I cackle everytime I see this. Vince is the first aid room, getting stitched up with his fingers in his ears, going LA LA LA LA CAN’T HEAR YOU.
-Remember, Cena’s controversial, and the fans don’t like controversial people. Which is why they cheered Al Capone when he showed up in the video. Good one, JR. WWE Title’s on the line, so let’s enjoy the insanity.
-HHH outwrestles Cena in the early going. Hey look, the crowd’s chanting Cena’s finisher name, only they’re not saying the initials, they’re saying….well, nevermind what they’re saying.
-Cena gets a chinlock, and then out comes the “YOU CAN’T WRESTLE” chant. I’m sure Cena’s crying himself to sleep at night over that one. Unless that big pile of money he has keeps him awake at all hours.
-The fight spills outside and Cena backdrops Hunter onto the ramp, but screw it, the wrestling is not the story here. This is one of the most fascinating crowds I’ve seen in ages. This isn’t like Hogan/Rock where Toronto was caught up in the nostalgia of Hulk’s comeback, but this is just sheep mentality of booing a guy because they don’t like how he’s booked. And yet, the Allstate Arena will still sell out for PPV’s and Raw, even with Cena there today. Funny.
-The match is good, but unspectacular for a main event. The story is that HHH planned to outwrestle the decidedly showy Cena, and that Cena had to prove capable of outwrestling the cerebral assassin. Between the elementary story and the far gone crowd, this was too weird to be the main event. But hey, at least no dead bodies were exploited.
-After a ref bump, HHH manages to introduce a sledgehammer and nails Cena in the gut, which delights the fans. Cena should’ve brought Steve Bartman out as his cornerman.
-After HHH kicks out of the FU, the challenger tries the Pedigree, and is taken down into the STFU for the shocking submission loss. As I mentioned, it was a pretty basic back and forth match, but the crowd made it seem more grand than it really was. It’s a fun atmosphere, and I love how Cena just takes it all in stride.
-Shinedown and Peter Gabriel play us out. Brent Smith couldn’t wax Peter’s jock.
-CYNIC SAYS: There’s a whole lot of good on this show. Both World Titles matches, Money in the Bank, the hardcore match, women’s title match, and Shawn vs. Vince were all quality affairs in their own right. Everything not mentioned was not mentioned for one reason or another, either because it was too bland or it just outright sucked. But hey, every WrestleMania has a blemish or three. No harm, no foul.
It’s a forgotten classic because, other than Edge vs. Foley, it didn’t have the blowaway match of the year candidate. As it stands though, it’s a great show overall. Big Time indeed.
Justin Henry has been an occasional contributor to Camel Clutch Blog since 2009. His other work can be found at WrestleCrap.com and ColdHardFootballFacts.com. He can be found on Twitter, so give him a follow.
A scant fourteen hours before he would have won the World Heavyweight Championship from Batista at a rare Sunday SmackDown taping, Eddie Guerrero was found dead in a Minnesota hotel room at the age of 38.
Despite beating the alcoholism that plagued much of his life four years ago, Guerrero’s weakened circulatory system, a body worn down by the rigors of the ring, and a life numbed by drugs, both prescription and elicit, all came back to haunt him at a time when his diligence and courage were heralded as one of wrestling’s greatest fairy tales.
Guerrero’s death was a blow to not only his family, friends, and fans across the globe, but to WWE itself. Guerrero’s rise to the main event scene in World Wrestling Entertainment wasn’t just a reward for cleaning up his life. Statistics showed that Smackdown’s TV ratings were ballooning, heavily so in Latin markets. With Guerrero, his nephew Chavo, and the dynamic Rey Mysterio, Smackdown was able to cater to the fastest growing ethic demographic in the United States.
It was Guerrero’s natural charisma, however, coupled with his silky-smooth in-ring performances that made him a standout to fans who couldn’t, in any faith, boo his “cheat to win” heel act. Instead, the gimmick was retooled to make him into a cunning and clever hero, outwitting villains left and right to remain on top.
With Guerrero’s death, the company was losing a considerable lifeline to a market that didn’t explode until “Latino Heat” helped WWE tap into it.
However, all was not lost.
Except for WWE’s sense of decency.
For the next six months or so, Guerrero’s name was used by Rey Mysterio in infinite tribute, while Mysterio’s opponents actually defamed Guerrero’s name just to further storylines.
Sadly, the Eddie Guerrero exploitation would grow more disturbing.
With “Eddie Guerrero” becoming a buzz phrase after the man’s demise, coupled with Mysterio’s constant evocation of his name, Mysterio dedicated his performance at the 2006 Royal Rumble to his deceased friend.
Rey Mysterio would enter the match at #2 and set the longevity record, lasting over one hour to surprise #30 Randy Orton with a hurrachanrana elimination to win. Mysterio could now further his tribute to Guerrero by winning the World Heayweight Championship at WrestleMania XXII.
However, Orton goaded Mysterio into putting his contender’s spot on the line at No Way Out, getting Mysterio to agree by declaring that Eddie Guerrero was in Hell. Tasteless as it was, the match was signed, and Orton cheated to win. However, GM Teddy Long made a concession: since Orton had to use nefarious means, the match would now be a triple threat between Mysterio, Orton, and champion Kurt Angle.
Over on Raw, John Cena was WWE Champion, and not a popular one. Fans were either heavily divided on his goofy superhero schtick, or they outright booed him out of the arenas. After winning feuds with heels who were cheered over him (Angle, Chris Jericho, Edge), Cena was locked in to face Triple H, who won a tournament to earn the shot.
The Game, for reasons unclear, was allowed to declare Cena a bad champion due to a lack of wrestling ability, as well the unfavorable crowd reactions.
Oddly enough, none of this did anything to improve Cena’s cracked image.
In one of the more bizarre builds for a marquee match, Shawn Michaels had confronted Vince McMahon late in 2005, after McMahon attempted to publicly embarrass Bret Hart. Michaels, from whom Hart was estranged from after a litany of controversies, came to the ring and told Vince “move on”.
McMahon didn’t take the perceived insult lightly, and became hell-bent on ruining Michaels’ life. This included enlisting Shane McMahon to toss Michaels out of the Royal Rumble match after a distraction, and then later trying to force Michaels’ former partner Marty Jannetty to join his “Kiss My Ass” club in exchange for employment. Michaels intervened, and took a chair to the head from Shane. Then, while Shawn was out cold, Shane lifted Michaels and forced him to perform the kiss unwittingly.
McMahon and Michaels would then sign for a street fight, McMahon’s typical style, in which Michaels promised that it wasn’t going to be one of his five-star classics.
Speaking of brawls, Edge and Mick Foley had fallen into a skirmish. After Edge won the WWE title in January by cashing in his Money in the Bank chance on a wounded John Cena, Edge lost the belt three weeks later back to the man he’d felled. Foley refereed a rematch between the two and Cena won, prompting Edge to cry foul. He agreed to lock horns with Foley in a hardcore rules match to create his own WrestleMania moment.
Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler called Raw’s action, while Michael Cole and Tazz brought us Smackdown. Joey Styles filled in for Ross during the aforementioned hardcore match. Lillian Garcia sang “America the Beautiful” to kick off the show. As for the Hall of Fame, 2006 saw Bret Hart, Eddie Guerrero, Mean Gene Okerlund, Sensational Sherri, The Blackjacks, Verne Gagne, Tony Atlas, and William “Refrigerator” Perry inducted.
World Tag Team: Kane/Big Show def. Carlito/Chris Masters in 6:41
(Wasn’t expecting much out of it, but it turned out to be a decent opener, all things considered. Besides, it was Big Show’s first win in WrestleMania history. So there’s that)
Money in the Bank: Rob Van Dam def. Shelton Benjamin, Matt Hardy, Finlay, Ric Flair, and Bobby Lashley in 12:21
(Not up to the level of last year’s, but still featuring some craziness. Lashley and Flair seemed out of place, but everyone else was game. Shelton’s springboard onto one side of the ladder still amazes me to this day)
WWE United States: JBL def. Chris Benoit in 9:44 to win the title
(This would have been a fine enough match with a normal face/heel dynamic, but JBL had to mock Eddie Guerrero with his arm swivel taunt about fifteen times. Just not necessary)
Hardcore Rules: Edge def. Mick Foley in 14:37
(The earliest a “match of the night” has ever occurred at ‘Mania, I believe. Lita taking barbed wire to the mouth was crazy, but Edge spearing Mick Foley through the flaming table was beyond insane. Edge going into the flames makes me think he was telling Vince “Gimme the belt back, or I’ll kill myself on your show.” Looks to have worked)
Handicap Match: The Boogeyman def. Booker T/Sharmell in 3:52
(Much as I like both men for different reasons, the less said about this match, the better)
WWE Women’s Title: Mickie James def. Trish Stratus in 11:48 to win the title
(It’s the best women’s match in WrestleMania history, and perhaps Mickie’s finest hour as a character. Sadly, the DVD release omits Mickie’s finest moment, but it’s burned into my brain forever anyway)
Casket Match: The Undertaker def. Mark Henry at 9:26
(That’s fourteen. That’s also Mark Henry’s second WrestleMania match in ten years with the company. Makes you think forces have conspired against him. Or maybe he’s just that bad?)
Street Fight: Shawn Michaels def. Vince McMahon in 18:28
(One of Vince’s most entertaining matches ever, and it’s fun to watch Shawn beat the hell out of him for about fifteen straight minutes. The highlight was Vince McMahon being stretchered out, giving Shawn the finger while near death and bloodied on the gurney. It’s worth watching for the belly laughs)
World Heavyweight Championship: Rey Mysterio def. Kurt Angle and Randy Orton in 9:18 to win the title
(All of that forced build with Guerrero’s exploitation for a nine minute match? And it didn’t even finish the show? Chavo and Vickie Guerrero coming out to celebrate with Rey just made a decent match muddled by a bad angle worse. I was just glad that the angle was finally over….sort of)
Playboy Pillow Fight: Torrie Wilson def. Candice Michelle in 3:54
(Much like the Booker/Sharmell/Boogeyman fiasco, the less said about this, the better)
WWE Heavyweight Championship: John Cena def. Triple H in 22:02
(Forget about the match, which was decent and enhanced by a virulently anti-Cena crowd. The highlight was Triple H making his entrance dressed as a Nordic barbarian, and Cena trying to suck up to Chicago with a fleet of faux gangsters while dressed like Al Capone. One of those gangsters was CM Punk, which begs the question: why would the straight-edge Punk associate with anti-prohibitionists?)
ITS PLACE IN HISTORY
Rey Mysterio, for his contributions to the business in terms of opening doors for smaller athletes to thrive on an international level, deserved very much to win a World Championship at an event the caliber of WrestleMania.
However, the ham-fisted, intelligence-insulting fashion in which WWE paved his road to said title will go down as perhaps the most jaw-droppingly insensitive booking that WWE has ever used to sell an event of WrestleMania’s standing.
I truly believe that, to this day, when WWE mentions Guerrero in reverent terms, or when they showcase him as part of a positive video package, it’s to deflect any negative thoughts one may have about the undignified manner in which Guerrero died, as well as to try and make fans forget about the horrible way in which WWE bungled the aftermath of his passing.
But Mysterio, Chavo, and Vickie to this day have more detractors than they’ve ever had, and much of it is kneejerk. Their direct involvement in a year (a YEAR) of exploitation is something that hasn’t washed off easily.
WrestleMania XXII was a decent show, one that is stained by feeling the need to tie in a real death to a fictional production.
Justin Henry has been an occasional contributor to Camel Clutch Blog since 2009. His other work can be found at WrestleCrap.com and ColdHardFootballFacts.com. He can be found on Twitter, so give him a follow.
Mickie James has always been a popular with pretty solid fan support for the last several years. Some of those fans had hoped that Mickie would be given the chance to steal the show in TNA Wrestling. Unfortunately she has been able to make little impact and according to her, it’s frustrating.
Mickie’s jump to TNA has turned into a case of grass not always being greener on the other side. Mickie was given the ball in the WWE and shined in her feud with Trish Stratus, arguably making an entire career off of one feud. Her fans have always been vocal and most were excited when she ditched Piggy James for the bright lights of the Knockouts division. A few years later I think it is fair to say that the bloom is off of the rose.
I thought I was the only one but it appears that I am joined by many who find that Mickie hasn’t been used enough in TNA. Mickie gets it herself and to her credit, is responding to those frustrated fans and interviewers during her most recent media tour. Time off is nice but Mickie is also not quite sure why she isn’t getting the ring time these days that most expect from the former Divas and Knockouts champion.
“I think this is a conscious decision I’ve made within myself,” James told Scott Fishman in an interview with the Miami Herald. “I wanted to be more real with myself and my fans because I feel like I have been sitting at home a lot lately and more than I should. Especially, while knowing who I am in the ring and what I’ve done and accolades I have and the level of wrestler that I am when it comes to females in this industry. I feel like often times that gets overlooked, which is bull because if I was a male in this industry that would not happen. But because I’m a woman in this ever-changing cycle of sex sells, this sells or that sells.”
“At the end of the day there are very few and far between of those who can stand toe-to-toe at the same level…That is what frustrates me. I can’t stand sitting on the sidelines and watching. I don’t think anybody as a professional or as an entertainer or as an athlete can stand. If I was injured, then that’s one thing, but to be completely 100 percent healthy and be doing absolutely nothing. To me, it built up my frustration up to the point of being just pussyfooting around as the girl-next-door with a big smile on my face and happy about every little thing when in reality I’m frustrated.”
The frustrations are clear and I can’t say I blame her. I look up and down the Knockouts roster and in terms of star-power I don’t think there is anyone as well known in the division than Mickie. In addition to her wrestling fame I can’t find anyone on the roster who is a better entertainer and/or worker in the ring. With declining ratings you’d think that TNA would want to spice up the broadcast more with Mickie yet they haven’t.
I have watched Mickie going back to her days on the independent circuit as Alexis Laree and I have always found her to be one of the most solid workers in pro wrestling period. I watch Impact from time to time and I just don’t see anyone there other than Gail Kim who can hang with her. How she wound up on the outside looking in is a good question someone needs to answer in TNA.
The funny thing about the ratings in TNA is that the Knockouts have always done well. Dixie Carter seemed to be a big fan of Mickie when she first came in so unless something has changed I would have to assume she has support from the boss. Her lack of airtime is just another one of those inept strategies and missed opportunities you see weekly on Impact Wrestling.
The easy answer here is a hope that she’d return to the WWE. I doubt that is going to happen. She described the Divas division in this same interview as being different as when she wrestled there and doesn’t believe they have the level of trust from the company that she and her colleagues had during her run.
Shock of shocks, Hulk Hogan is opening this week’s Impact. On a side note for a moment, I would like to thank friend of CCB Brett Clendaniel, Jr. for his kind words in regards to my writing, especially in regards to my Impact recaps. Loyal support such as his makes this gig worthwhile. Anyway, Hogan says things almost came to blows between him and Sting last week, so we need to find out exactly what’s up with Sting right now. Sting makes his way out, and he very cautiously approaches the ring. Hogan tells him that all the business between them is out there, so let’s call things like we see them. Last week didn’t end with a pretty picture, and they almost came to blows. Before that, though, Hogan knows when he is right and wrong.
He got caught up between a bunch of personal stuff and business stuff. At the end of the day, when it came to making choices, Hogan was wrong, and he ran some of his friends off. The one he made the biggest mistake with was Sting, so he’s apologizing for that right now. Hogan offers a handshake, and Sting accepts. Hogan continues on, saying he should have been pulling Sting closer, and they should have been working together against Aces and Eights. Sting tells him they are together right now. It’s water under the bridge, and now, he has a request. He wants a 6-man next week against A and E, with him picking two partners. Hogan agrees to it. Tonight, however, the business at hand is to determine who faces Bully Ray at Slammiversary for the title.
Matt Morgan comes out and says that this is the part when Hogan hands a jerk-off another title match. Has he learned nothing? Hogan tells him his biggest fault is him running his mouth without knowing everything. From now on, there are no more handouts, and everyone who wants a top spot has to earn it. Before Morgan got in his face, he was going to say that the man who faces Bully Ray will not be Sting or Morgan. The man who takes that spot will be the winner of the main event tonight when it’s Matt Morgan vs. Sting. That’s what Hogan sees in his crystal ball, brother.
Video package for Chris Sabin, and he reflects on his back-to-back knee injuries and the rehabilitation process following them. Sabin has rehabbed for two full years worth of time across the two injuries. He is in action up next in his first match back.
Kurt Angle is pacing in the training room. He says Aces and Eights have taken over the company and taken the title, and tonight, he challenges any of those sonsofbitches to faces him in the ring one-on-one. They can beat him, but they can’t stop him.
MATCH 1-3-Way X-Division Match: Sonjay Dutt vs. Zema Ion vs. Chris Sabin
Dutt gets the jobber non-entrance, so hope for him is already very low. Sabin finally has new music. Ion slaps Sabin, and now Sabin & Dutt punch him, knocking him to the floor. Crisscross ends with a running hurricanrana by Dutt, followed by a deep armdrag into an armbar. Dutt breaks the hold to knock Ion off the apron before going back to Sabin. Sabin with a sunset flip, but Dutt lays on top of him. Sabin escapes and hits an enziguri for 2. They trade waistlocks with Sabin ending up on top. Ion comes in with a slingshot sunset flip, sending them both over and getting 2 on Sabin. Ion chokes Sabin in the corner, then hits a double kneedrop to the back. Dutt gets a hotshot from Ion, and Sabin comes back up and hits some chops. Ion pulls Sabin down by the hair, and the three end up in a weird backslide pin for 2. Sabin turns Ion into a modified surfboard, and Dutt breaks that up with a dropkick to Ion’s face. We learn that, in next week’s 3-way, Suicide makes his return. Yay. Wonder which member of Bad Influence will be playing the part? Anyway, Dutt hits some forearms on Sabin and goes for the Asai DDT, but Sabin counters into a fireman’s carry. Dutt escapes and hits a spinning headscissors that he turns into a DDT. Running shooting star press by Dutt, but Ion breaks up the pin. Dutt gets up and hits Ion, but Ion blocks a kick and hits a quick DDT for 2. Ion goes for a back suplex, but Dutt escapes and blocks a roll-up. He hits a thrust kick on Ion and Sabin hits a kick on Dutt before dropping Ion with a clothesline. Sabin counters a hurricanrana into a powerbomb on Dutt, then holds on and turns it into a DVD. Dutt gets placed in the Tree of Woe, and Ion gets overhead belly-to-belly suplexed into Dutt. Sabin hits a sit-out Y2K Bomb on Ion for 3.
WINNER: Chris Sabin.
We see Jesse and Robbie E in the back rambling about some movie Jesse is starring in, then it turns into something about facing Rob Terry in a 3-on-1 handicap match. He holds up a picture of Joey Ryan, telling E that he should be their other partner.
Elsewhere, we see Bully Ray, with A and E behind him. He talks about Hogan and Sting mocking the group. They’re the frickin’ Aces and Eights. Nobody mocks them. Now he’s gotta worry about Morgan vs. Sting. Newsflash: he ain’t worrying about either one. No matter who he gets in Boston, he’ll get the job done. That brings us to Kurt Angle. Angle has been a thorn in the club’s ass since day one. No matter how hard they knock him down, he keeps getting back up. He wants Angle taken out, the same way Ray took care of Hardy. Who’s it gonna be? Wes Brisco steps up and says he wants it. Garett Bischoff then volunteers. D’Lo Brown steps between them and says he’ll do it. He’s been responsible for Aces and Eights, and he’s going to be the one responsible for taking out Angle. He guarantees he’ll get the job done, then swears his “colors” on. You know, I’ve wanted D’Lo in a main event since never. Good for TNA for making a nightmare into reality.
MATCH 2-3-on-1 Handicap Match: Jesse, Robbie E and Joey Ryan vs. Rob Terry
Ryan starts the match for his team and immediately gets clubbed down. He crawls to the corner, and Terry hits him with a running back elbow, followed by a back body drop. Jesse distracts Terry by pulling his tights, and Terry kicks him to the floor. Ryan attacks Terry’s knee and tags Jesse in, who hits some shots. E tags in and hits some forearms to the back. Jesse back in, and he begins kicking Terry. E back in, and he hits some forearms before applying a sleeper. Terry picks him up on his back, then rams E into the corner to break the hold. Terry misses a corner charge, and E capitalizes with some shoulder thrusts. Ryan tags in, and he has words with E for a moment before getting hit with a front powerslam. The three attack Terry, and he shoves them all off before hitting them with clotheslines and back elbows. Double back suplex on E and Jesse, and Ryan gets hit with what is apparently now called the Beast Bomb for 3.
WINNER: Rob Terry.
We see Austin Aries and Bobby Roode in the building. They’re apparently on their way to the ring.
Roode and Aries make their way out. Roode says Bad Influence played their mind games last week, and it got into his head a bit. They talked about reforming Fourtune, but this was never really about that. This was about BI’s jealousy of Roode and Aries & the World Tag Team titles, the same titles BI cost them last week. Aries says he didn’t believe BI for a second. BI are best friends. He and Roode barely like each other. But, they like each other enough to achieve a common goal. They don’t tell jokes; they go out to win championships. They are a team of World Champions, something Christopher Daniels and Kazarian will never know a thing about. BI make their way out on this note. Daniels tells Roode he was right about one thing: it was about the championships. However, Roode and Aries were wrong about being the next champions or even being a good team. Everyone knows they are a pale imitation of the best team in the business. Next week, the two teams face off with a title match on the line. Spoiler alert: it’s Bad Influence. Roode reminds us he cracked a beer bottle over his best friend’s head to be World Champion, and he’ll do whatever it takes with Aries to become champions again. Kaz says they can never “out-us us”, and Aries/Roode are nothing but Bad Influence-lite.
Now it’s time for Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez to make this segment intolerable. Chavo says time for talk is over, and it’s time for action. Next week, there will be action. Hulk Hogan named a special referee for next week’s match. As much as he or Hernandez would love that spot, it’s neither of them. The referee likes to count in 6 and 12-packs. Yep, it’s James Storm.
Sting enters the training room, where Kurt Angle is taping his knee. Sting asks him if he’s ready, then says he needs a minute alone with Angle.
Tara and Gail Kim are in a dressing room somewhere, complaining about Taryn Terrell. Kim says they need to embarrass her and Mickie James tonight, and she’s going to make sure she gets the victory.
We get another Chris Sabin video, with this one filmed just after the match from earlier tonight. He’s glad to be back, and it’s the greatest feeling in the world.
Angle/Brown is up next. As the two are in the ring, the fans begin chanting “U-S-A!”. Makes sense, since we all know D’Lo Brown is from Lichtenstein. Before the match, Brown says he told his brothers he’d beat Angle in the middle of the ring. But as he stands here, that won’t be good enough. He needs to humiliate Angle, so tonight, he’s going to do something no one has ever done before: he’s going to beat Angle in an “I Quit” Match.
MATCH 3-“I Quit” Match: D’Lo Brown vs. Kurt Angle
Ugh. I can’t believe I have to recap this. Oh, wait. It’s TNA. Of course I can believe it. I just wish I didn’t have to. As Angle agrees to the match stipulation, Brown hits him in the head with the mic. Angle comes back with rights and a clothesline. Single-leg takedown by Angle, and he turns it into a modified STF. The ref asks if Brown wants to quit, and he won’t. We see Mr. Anderson and a couple other A and E members come to ringside through the crowd. Angle gets distracted, which allows Brown to hit a suplex. He rolls to the outside, dragging Angle to the floor and throwing him shoulder-first intot he ring post. He grabs the ring bell hammer and goes to nail Angle, but Angle moves. Brown continues the attack on the left arm, wrapping it around the post. Angle won’t quit, so Brown slams the arm into the mat and rolls Angle back in the ring. Snapmare by Brown, and he begins stomping on the arm before hitting a legdrop. Brown with an arm wringer now, but Angle fights out before running into a jumping side kick. Thanks to the extra 100 lbs., Brown could barely get himself up there. Brown applies a jujigatame, and Angle says, “Hell no!” in response to whether or not he wants to quit. Angle breaks the hold by countering into the ankle lock, but Brown kicks him off and hits a clothesline. Taz tells us Brown has never looked better. Uh-huh. Brown applies a cobra clutch, and Angle still won’t quit. Angle armdrags out of it, ducks a clothesline and hits the Murder-Suicide. After three, Angle holds on for a fourth. Then a fifth. Brown tells the referee to kick his ass, and Angle hits a sixth German suplex. I remember a dead guy once doing that. Wonder if he somehow stole it from Angle, despite doing it several years beforehand? I’m sure we’ll find out in a supposedly drunken tweet. Angle applies the ankle lock, but Brown kicks him off once more. Angle charges in, and Brown counters into a Samoan drop. Brown is back up first, and he sets Angle up for a powerbomb. Angle counters into a sunset flip and rolls through into an ankle lock. Brown tries to fight out, but Angle cinches it in and grapevines the leg. Brown taps, but that doesn’t count, and the ref reminds him of such. Brown then screams “I quit!” into the mic.
WINNER: Kurt Angle. Aces and Eights head back through the crowd without taking Brown with them. Christy Hemme stops Angle on the ramp and asks if this was revenge for him. Angle says he won a battle, but now he has his mind on someone else, and that is AJ Styles. He wants AJ out here right now and knows he’s here. Commercials.
Back from the break, Angle is still in the ring calling for AJ Styles to come out. Another “U-S-A!” chant breaks out. This also makes sense, since AJ is originally from Vatican City. AJ finally comes down the ramp and gets in the ring, getting in Angle’s face in the process. Angle backs up and says AJ doesn’t look the same, like he wants to take Angle’s head off. Before he does that, he won’t get very far since this is Angle’s hometown (it’s actually not). So, everyone wants to recruit AJ. Going with A and E would be the easy way out. Angle has taken the easy way and gotten a lot of success, but that’s not AJ’s way. AJ is the reason he came to TNA, and they had some of the greatest matches of all time. He knows AJ is in a dark time and he understands that, but next week, he and Sting are taking on A and E, and they need him. If AJ stands with them, that’s cool. If not, they have problems. Next week, the choice belongs to AJ.
AI asks Matt Morgan about waiting for tonight’s opportunity. Morgan screams and rants about how he’s pissed off, and tonight, he’s taking the ball. Tonight, he “guts through” Sting, and at Slammiversary, he “guts through” Bully Ray, and you’re looking at the next World Champion. GAARRRRRHHHH!
MATCH 4: Gail Kim and Tara vs. Taryn Terrell and Mickie James
Taryn begins attacking both heels until Tara holds her for a shot. James grabs Kim from behind, and the faces ram their heads together, knocking them to the floor. Kim and Tara argue as Taryn kicks them both through the ropes before rolling Kim back in the ring. Kim gets sent to the corner for a clothesline. James makes a blind tag. Taryn hits a snapmare, and James hits a seated dropkick for 2. James botches a rolling jujigatame, but Kim gets to the ropes. As James argues with referee ODB, Kim nails her with a shot. They trade punches until Kim kicks James in the gut and hits some forearms to the face. James ducks a clothesline and botches an enziguri for 2. Kim backs James into the corner with a shoulder thrust, but James blocks a charge with a back elbow. Kim blocks the Tunacanrana, but knocks James to the floor as Tara causes a distraction. Tara rolls James back in the ring, where Kim hits a short-arm clothesline. She throws James into Tara’s boot, and now Tara tags in, with the heels double-stomping James to the mat. Tara hangs James by her hair, then drops her on her face. Tara drops an elbow for 2 before knocking Taryn to the floor. Back to James, Tara applies an inverted STF, and Taryn breaks up the hold with a stomp. Kim back in, and she throws James to the corner. This time, James connects with the Tunacanrana, and then both women go for a cross-body at the same time, crashing in the middle of the ring. Tara and Taryn tag in, and Taryn hits a couple of clotheslines, a back elbow and a snap suplex. Up top, Taryn connects with a cross-body for 2 as Kim breaks it up. James comes in and botches a roundhouse on Kim. Tara knocks James down, and Taryn rolls Tara up for the 3.
WINNERS: Mickie James and Taryn Terrell. It’s a bit disturbing that Kenely kept referring to Taryn as a “hot mess”. After the match, Tara and Kim attack the faces. James and Tara brawl up the ramp as Kim beats on Taryn in the ring, hitting Eat Defeat and ramming Taryn’s head into the mat before dragging her to the ringpost for Bret Hart’s figure-4 around the post spot until ODB and several other referees break up the hold.
We see Aces and Eights in the back once more, and Bully Ray is pissed about D’Lo Brown saying “I quit” earlier tonight. Brown swore his “colors” on victory and said, “I quit”? Garett starts talking smack, and Ray says that, just because Brown was a douche to him doesn’t mean he can be a douch to Brown. He’s going to take care of Brown next week. Also next week is the 6-man, and he’s picking Devon and Anderson as his partners.
Bobby Roode talks about Bad Influence and how neither member has been World Champion while he and Austin Aries have. They will, without a shadow of a doubt, walk into Tupelo, MS and become the new #1 contenders, and Chavo & Hernandez know they can’t hold a candle to Roode and Aries.
MATCH 5-Winner becomes the new #1 Contender for the World Championship: Matt Morgan vs. Sting
Looks like TNA is having Morgan wear Hogan’s cape again. Lock-up to start the match, and Morgan immediately backs Sting into the corner for a kneelift before headbutting Sting to the mat. Morgan with a foot choke near the ropes, but Sting begins to fight back. Morgan cuts him off with a kneelift, then follows up with a clothesline. Morgan chokes Sting in the corner, then hits another headbutt. Sting fights back with punches and backhands until Morgan goozles him and hits a chokeslam for 2. Commercials.
Back from the break, Morgan is dominating sting on the outside. Sting tries a comeback and manages to slam Morgan into the steps. Morgan no-sells it, hits a kneelift and rolls Sting back in the ring, where he foot-chokes him. Morgan rolls outside and drags Sting’s head to the apron, where he hits an apron legdrop. Morgan gets back on the apron for another one, but misses it when Sting rolls out of the way. Sting throws Morgan into the guardrail, then throws him into it on the opposite side of the ring. Sting rakes the eyes and slams Morgan’s face into the steps before rolling him into the ring. Morgan reverses a corner whip and hits Sting with a sidewalk slam for 2. Morgan chokes Sting, then sits across Sting’s back a couple of times. Morgan then goes for the pin after mocking Hogan, getting 2. Morgan hits a short-arm clothesline, and Sting comes back with some rights. Morgan cuts him off with a kneelift again and hits a bodyslam before missin an elbow drop. Sting avoids a corner charge and hits some rights, followed by a pair of clotheslines. Sting with a slo-mo Stinger Splash, but Morgan shakes it off and throws Sting to the corner for some back elbow strikes. Sting no-sells and throws Morgan to the corner for a clothesline and goes for the Stinger Splash once more, but runs into the Carbon Footprint for 2. Sting goes to the corner and Morgan calls for the Footprint again. He very weakly misses it in the corner, and Sting kicks him in the leg a few times before applying the scorpion deathlock, barely getting it on. After a minute or so, Morgan manages to get a rope break. Sting drags him back into the ring and reapplies the hold, getting him into the center of the ring, but still applying it pretty weakly. Sting eventually sits all the way down onto Morgan’s back, and Morgan eventually passes out.
WINNER AND NEW #1 CONTENDER: Sting. TNA basically lifted the Austin/Hart spot from Wrestlemania 13, minus the blood, only it wasn’t nearly as good. As Sting is celebrating, Aces and Eights come to the ring and surround Sting, with Bully Ray talking trash.
TNA Impact Wrestling opens with Aces and Eights entering the building and being stopped by security. Bully Ray isn’t impressed and tells them to get out of their way, or “Mr. A#$hole” will bite their faces off. Uh, yeah…
We’re apparently in Indiana, PA this week. In the arena, James Storm makes his way out. Storm is limping from AJ Styles’ “Calf Killer” from last week. Yes, that’s the name for AJ’s new finisher. Storm talks about fighting AJ last week, and we see AJ standing in the crowd. Storm tells him the new hold hurt like hell, and he can also admit AJ was the better man. However, he’s not going to cry over spilt milk because he’s a beer drinker. What he didn’t sign up for last week was the “Aces and Idiots” that jumped him from behind. If they wanted a fight, all they had to do was ask. He knows if he calls one of them out, all of them will come out. That’s fine. Bring all you want, because he’ll take you out.
Bad Influence make their way out. Christopher Daniels says BI wants to weigh in. Last week, they were victims of A and E as well. Hulk Hogan doesn’t have an answer to this problem. However, the two smartest men in the room know the answer. Aces and Eights has been playing a numbers game. TNA has the magic number, and that’s four, as in “Fourtune”. Kazarian tells AJ that life can be better, and first off is forgiving himself for his cheap shots on them last week. They forgive him. The next step is to walk down the stairs, get in the ring and reform Fourtune tonight, because it’s the right thing to do. Storm says the fans want BI to shut the hell up. Kaz won’t shut up because the people don’t concern them. Just like these people, Storm is irrelevant. He starts brawling with BI until Kaz absolutely botches a Golden Globes spot in the corner. AJ is still staring on as A and E come through the crowd into the ring. BI have left, and Storm is alone in the ring. They surround him and Mr. Anderson grabs him in the powerbomb position as the other members bring a table into the ring. Joesph Park runs down and takes down a couple members of the group until they gang-attack him. D’Lo Brown sets the table back up, and DOC & Knux go to double chokeslam him. Bully Ray tells them to back off so he and Devon can hit the 3D through the table, which they do.
Back from the break, Park is being hauled out on a stretcher. Bully Ray has a mic and says he told everyone A and E weren’t screwing around. They are the Aces and Eights. They are the men responsible for all of the carnage. They are the men responsible for taking out everyone’s heroes. Look around. You ain’t got no heroes left (his words). No Samoa Joe. No Magnus. No James Storm. No Joseph Park. Nobody. Last week, he called out one man, and that was Hulk Hogan, his next victim. Dad, you’ve got ‘til the end of the show to answer the challenge. When you ride with the Aces and Eights, you never walk alone.
According to Mike Tenay, Hulk Hogan has left the building and didn’t tell anyone why.
Video for tonight’s Knockouts Championship match with comments from Mickie James. She talks about being tired of being ignored in TNA. Just a thought, but maybe if she wasn’t off recording awful country music that no one likes, maybe she wouldn’t get ignored.
AI sees Hulk Hogan entering the building, and asks him where he went. Hulk ignores him.
MATCH 1: Taryn Terrell vs. Tara
Taryn ducks a clothesline and hits some forearms, followed by a corner clothesline and a flipping neckbreaker. Pair of hairmares by Taryn, and she then rams Tara’s head into the top turnbuckle until Tara hits her with a Stun Gun. Tara slams Taryn’s face into the mat a few times, then hair-whips her across the ring. Catapult in the corner by Tara, and she goes back to slamming Taryn’s face into the mat. Tara applies an inverted STF, then snaps back to break the hold and goes for the cover, getting 2. Another pin, and another 2-count. Taryn blocks a back body drop, but runs right into a tree slam. Taryn fights back from her knees until Tara forearms in the back of the head, getting 2. She rolls Taryn over for another pin, getting 2 once more. Tara rolls Taryn under the bottom rope and catapults her into the rope for another 2. Tara once again goes for an immediate second pin attempt, then does it again. Bodyslam near the ropes, but Tara misses the Arabian Facebuster. Taryn fights out of the corner and hair-whips Tara, hits a clothesline, a back elbow and a suplex. Up top, Taryn misses a cross-body, and Tara begins with the trash-talk. She picks Taryn up in the Spider’s Web, which connects. Taryn counters the standing moonsault into a schoolgirl and gets 3.
WINNER: Taryn Terrell.
Robbie T is in the back texting someone. Didn’t know he still worked here. Jesse enters the room, and he’s apparently taking on Rob Terry. E verbally fellates Jesse and tells him that, when he beats Terry, he’ll go down as one of the greatest bros of all time, and E will be there right by his side.
Before the next match, Robbie E comes out to introduce the man who will beat Rob Terry, bro. He’s a real Hollywood superstar unlike all of the hamsters in Indiana, PA: “Mr. Pec-Tacular”, Jesse Godderz, bro.
MATCH 2: Rob Terry vs. Jesse (w/Robbie E)
Terry immediately hits a pair of clotheslines and a back elbow. Corner whip into a running powerslam by Terry, but he drops Jesse as E jumps up on the apron. Jesse charges in, and Terry goozles him and backs him to a corner before throwing him across the ring. E jumps on the apron again as Terry charges in, and Jesse hits him from behind with some kicks and elbows. He tries to throw Terry into the corner, but Terry blocks it and throws him in for some forearm shots. He misses a running elbow, and Jesse hits a dropkick. Jesse hits some forearms to the chest and gets a 1-count. Terry shoves him off, so he mounts the middle rope. Terry catches the cross-body attempt and hits an over-the-shoulder powerslam for 2 as E pulls at the referee’s leg. Terry goes outside and stalks E. Jesse tries to attack from behind, but Terry sees it coming and throws Jesse into E before pressing Jesse back into the ring. Terry hits the Freakbuster and gets 3.
WINNER: Rob Terry.
Bad Influence approach Bobby Roode in the locker room area. Kaz says there’s only one way to stop A and E, and that’s Fourtune. They were a dominant faction, and that dominance was taken away from them. Daniels cuts in and says that no one knows AJ better than him. If the three of them stand together, there’s no way AJ can say “no” to them. Think about it. The camera pans over, and we see that Austin Aries has been eavesdropping on the conversation.
Video package for Chris Sabin, who is set to return any time now. I just hope he took enough time away this time. If you recall last time, he was out with an injured knee, came back, and injured it again only a couple of weeks after his return.
We see Aries and Roode warming up in the back. Aries asks Roode about the Fourtune reunion. If Roode wants to do that, that’s his business. They’re not best friends; just dominant champions. If Fourtune was so great, how come they vanished? If BI are so great, how come Aries was the man who beat Roode? Tonight, he wants the tag belts back, and if Roode doesn’t want to work with him, he’s screwing himself.
MATCH 3-World Tag Team Championship: Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez (Champions) vs. Austin Aries and Bobby Roode
Christopher Daniels is on commentary for this match, with Kazarian at his side. Aries and Chavo start the match, and the crowd is not even remotely into the champions. Lock-up to start, with Aries going into an arm wringer. Chavo counters into a snapmare, goes for the pin, and we get a stalemate immediately. Aries applies a side headlock into a waistlock takedown, then shows off a bit before Chavo dropkicks him. Chavo hits a European uppercut, then fires off some rights in the corner. Aries gets sent hard into the opposite corner, and Chavo hits a back suplex for 2. Chavo ducks a clothesline and goes for a headscissors, and Aries counters into a pancake. Roode reluctantly tags in and gets hit with a hiptoss. Hernandez in, and they do their bodyslam/Warrior Splash spot for 2. Hernandez goes for a suplex off a back body drop attempt, but Hernandez counters into a delayed vertical. Aries comes in and chops Hernandez, so Hernandez Warrior Presses him before heading outside to the ramp. He goes for Air Mexico, but Roode moves out of the way and Hernandez eats canvas. Roode gets 2 off a pin, then throws Hernandez to the corner for some punches and kicks. Aries tags in as Roode hits a suplex, and Aries hits a tope con hilo for 2. Back up, Aries boxes the ears and tags in Roode. Hernandez tries to fight out of the corner, but Roode cuts him off and hits a pair of Venis kneelifts, followed by a side-Russian legsweep for 2. Aries tags in and stomps Hernandez in the chest as Roode holds him in a modified surfboard. Aries applies a front chancery, then breaks it to knock Chavo to the floor. Roode back in, and sends Aries in for the corner dropkick. Hernandez catches him, however, and then sends him to the corner. Chavo tags in and hits a tope con hilo on Aries, followed by a spinning headscissors on Roode. Chavo goes for the 3 Amigos, but Aries escapes the second suplex. Chavo comes back with a rolling kick, then hits a tornado DDT on Roode for 2 as Aries breaks it up. Hernandez comes in and clotheslines Aries to the floor. He goes for the Border Toss on Roode as Chavo climbs to the top. Kaz causes a distraction as Aries pushes Chavo off the top. In the ring, Roode hits a spinebuster on Hernandez, and now Aries goes up top. Hernandez kicks Roode off into the corner, which sends Aries crashing to the floor. Hernandez goes for the Border Toss on Roode once more as Kaz is back up on the apron. Daniels slides into the ring and kicks Hernandez. He goes for a clothesline, but Hernandez ducks, causing Daniels to collide with Roode. Hernandez sends Daniels to the floor, and Chavo hits a frog splash on Roode for the 3.
WINNERS AND STILL CHAMPIONS: Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez.
AI approaches Matt Morgan in the weight room. Morgan recites the same promo he always does. He then says he has a solution to the A and E problem, and he’s going out to the ring to tell everyone what it is.
Matt Morgan comes out and says his issues over the last year have been about one issue (?): Mistakes made by Hulk Hogan. He then lists off Hulk’s mistakes. Bully Ray won the title, A and E are stronger than ever, and the company is imploding around Hulk. Sting was ejected from TNA, and now, Jeff Hardy has been laid out. You see, Hulk, before you come out and go face-to-face with Bully Ray, allow Morgan to present to you the ultimate solution to all of your problems. I hope he’s not talking about Jeep Swenson. Hulk Hogan comes out. Morgan tells Hulk he has no more backup, so by going out against Ray by himself, he’s delaying the inevitable, which is that A and E are going to destroy him. Hulk has no one left, so Morgan presents the solution: himself. Hulk, at the end of the day, no one wants this opportunity more than him. No one on this roster can eliminate A and E better than him. He is Hulk’s 7’ knight in shining armor. And, if given the opportunity tonight, he will Carbon Footprint Ray’s head into the 5th row…for a small price, of course. Morgan is all Hulk has, so he’ll handle Ray, and in turn, Hulk names Morgan the #1 contender at Slammiversary. Hulk says Morgan has brought him up to the edge, and a lot of what is being said is true. Morgan has the goods to get the job done, and he probably could do it. At the end of the day though, he was hoping Morgan would do the right thing. Morgan stole his robe and has verbally abused him day-after-day. Hulk hoped Morgan would be the 2nd coming of “The Mania”, brother. At the end of the day, though, Morgan wants to do it for the wrong reason. If he agrees to Morgan’s demands, it’ll be a bigger mistake than what happened with Ray. At the end of the day, he’s going to step into the ring with Ray and do this by himself. He’s not going to hand over anything to Morgan, and he never heard Andre the Giant whine like a bitch.
We see A and E in the back somewhere, celebrating taking out Joseph Park. Ray then says Hulk is held together by spit and glue and wants to go face-to-face with Ray. He then tells the rest of the group that he doesn’t want them out there with him.
Now, TNA is doing this where fans can vote who will be involved in the next triple threat match for the X-Division championship. The three options are just wonderful: Rashad Cameron, Rockstar Spud and Suicide. Yes, they’re trying to dust off that pile of crap gimmick again. Guess they didn’t learn from the fact that basing a character on a character from one of the worst wrestling games of all time wasn’t a good idea.
MATCH 4-Knockouts Championship: Mickie James vs. Velvet Sky (Champion)
Lock-up, with Sky going into an armbar. James counters into an armdrag for 1, then applies an arm wringer. Sky flips through and trips James for 1. James dodges a dropkick and gets 1 off a pin. Sky applies a side headlock, then shoulders James off the ropes. Crisscross ends in a Snapmare by Sky, followed by a kick to the back and a seated dropkick for 2. Sky hits some forearms and shoulder thrusts in the corner. James counters a whip, and Sky leaps over her back to avoid the charge. However, she acts like her knee hurts, and James goes for the pin, getting 2. James then applies a step-over toehold as we go to commercials.
Back from the break, James has Sky in a legbar, then yanks on the knee before going back to the toehold. Sky rolls up and counters into her own, and James counters into a sloppy STF. Sky breaks the hold with the ropes, then kicks James off. Sky elbows out of the corner, hits a pair of jumping clotheslines, then remembers to sell her knee. Some chops to the chest, but James blocks them and goes for a corner whip. Sky collapses to the mat before she gets to the corner. She blocks a roll-up attempt and hits a side-Russian legsweep for 2. James gets back up, kicks the bad knee and botches an enziguri. Up top, James hits a Thesz Press for 2. Sky gets back up, boots James in the stomach and goes for In Yo Face, but James counters into a back body drop. James boots Sky in the stomach and goes for the standing tornado, but Sky pushes her off into the corner. James dropkicks the bad knee, then goes for a roll-up, but Sky counters into her own roll-up for the 3, despite the fact that James was in the ropes.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Velvet Sky.
We see Devon and Bully Ray in the back, and Ray tells Devon he’s done with Brooke, so Devon can have her. He reminds Devon they’re the greatest team of all time and are both now singles champions, leading a pack of wolves. He took out Jeff Hardy last week, and Hardy may be done for good. In a few minutes, he’s going to look straight into his father-in-law’s soul, and he’s going to be the guy who puts the final nail in the coffin of Hulkamania.
Brooke and Hulk Hogan are in the back, and Brooke is trying to talk Hulk out of going to the ring. Hulk says Bully Ray screwed over their family and the business, and he needs to stop it. Brooke reminds him he just had a knee replacement a few weeks ago, and that he can’t do this. Hulk tells her she can’t stop this, then asks for her hand and gives her his necklace, saying he’ll be right back.
Bully Ray makes his way out alone with a paper in his hand. It’s a list of everyone A and E has taken out, and D’Angelo Dinero is mentioned. I realize they took him out, but it’s odd hearing his name since he hasn’t been seen on TV in months. I honestly had forgotten he still worked in TNA. Anyway, Ray says what all these names have in common is that he and his boys took them all out, and there’s only one victim left. Hulk Hogan, get out here right now. Hulk comes out with his fists taped up, and he stands face-to-face with Ray. Ray asks how his knee is. Look at you. You got your fists taped up. You’re raring to go, aren’t ya? You can’t wait to hit the big boot and drop the big leg, huh? It ain’t gonna happen. You can walk down that ramp and step in this ring and try to fool the fans, but you will never fool him. As Ray looks into your eyes, he sees one thing and one thing only: pure fear. Hulk Hogan fears Bully Ray. You know why, Hulk? Because Ray reminds you of you. Ray is the last of a dying breed-your breed. Did you ever think Ray would be standing here? He’s Bull Ray. He’s the president of A and E. He’s the World Champion. He’s your son-in-law. He’s the guy that’s going to put an end to Hulkamania. Hulk finally talks and says Hulkamania will never die, brother. Ray turns his hat backwards and spits in Hulk’s face. Hulk starts ripping his shirt off, showing his physique that is approximately 812 years old. The two then point at each other, and Ray goes for a punch. Hulk blocks it, hits a couple and goes for a clothesline, but Ray bails to the outside. The rest of A and E come out and surround the ring. They start to climb in the ring when the lights go out. When they come back on, surprise surprise, Sting is in the ring, and he’s pointing his bat at Hulk. Ray is egging him on, so Sting begins pointing his bat at Ray. He knocks Ray’s hat off, then proceeds to take everyone out with his bat. Sting then points at Hulk with the bat again before walking away.
This week, TNA is once again in Corpus Christi, TX. The X-Division title will be on the line, and AJ Styles makes his in-ring return against James Storm.
We see Devon approach Tomax and Xamot somewhere in the back. He asks if they know what’s at stake tonight. Wes Brisco says he can beat Kurt Angle again. Garett Bischoff agrees. Devon doesn’t care what they say; he just wants them to get the job done.
MATCH 1-2-on-1 Handicap Match: Garett Bischoff and Wes Brisco vs. Kurt Angle
Apparently, the gang sign for Aces and Eights is the same as the Van Buren Boys. Now TNA has resorted to ripping off sitcoms. Wes starts off for his team, and Angle applies a waistlock before firing off some rights in the corner. He corner whips Wes, and Wes crashes to the mat. Angle then knocks Garett off the apron. Stomps in the corner on Wes, and Angle follows up with a suplex. He throws Wes to his own corner, where Garett tags himself in. Garett charges in and gets hit with a hip toss. Angle hits various strikes before stomping Garett to the mat, then picks him up and hits a back elbow. Wes comes in and gets hit with a back body drop. Commercials.
Back from the break, Angle is in control of Garett in the corner. Wes rolls into the ring and low-blows Angle behind the ref’s back. Garett begins stomping and punching Angle. He picks Angle up for some more punches, then grinds Angle’s face across the top rope. Garett flips off the crowd before hitting a suplex for 1. “You can’t wrestle!” chant starts at Wes tags in. He whips Garett into Angle in the corner, and Garett sends Angle into a clothesline by Wes for 1. Wes hits some punches and a clothesline in the corner, then rolls Angle over for another 1 before applying a rear chinlock. Angle counters with a back suplex. A “USA!” chant breaks out, despite all three of these guys being from the same country. Garett tags in and runs into a pair of clotheslines. Wes gets hit with the same. Overhead belly-to-belly for Wes, and a release German for Garett. Angle hits Wes with the Murder-Suicide. Garett tries to block it by letting Wes grab him, so Angle suplexes them both at the same time. Angle Slam on Garett for 2 as Wes breaks up the pin. Angle sends Wes shoulder-first into the post as D’Lo Brown makes his way to ringside. Angle applies the ankle lock on Wes as Mr. Anderson distracts the referee. D’Lo throws a chain to Garett, and he hits Angle in the back of the head, getting the 3.
WINNERS: Garett Bischoff and Wes Brisco. D’Lo orders Wes to pick Angle up, and he & Garett give Angle a spike powerbomb. Anderson gets on the mic and says this is the way things are going down from now on. Sting left Hogan’s side a few weeks ago and hasn’t been seen since. Jeff Hardy was decimated last week, and now Angle lies in shambles. If you’re not wearing one of these “cuts” tonight, “you in a bad frickin’ way”. One more thing: AJ Styles, they’re rooting for you, buddy.
We get comments from Zema Ion and Petey Williams in regards to their title match up next.
MATCH 2-3-Way Match for the World X-Division Championship: Zema Ion vs. Petey Williams vs. Kenny King (Champion)
King finally has some new music. Of course it’s generic hip-hop, but it’s still an improvement over his old theme.
King attacks the other two at the opening bell and hits Petey with a back elbow. We get our first look from TNA’s “X-Cam”, and I already hate it. You’d think they’d know better than to bring this back after it was partially responsible for killing Chris Candido. Anyway, Petey hits a dropkick to King’s back, and Ion comes off the top with a seated missile dropkick on Petey. Petey goes to the corner, and King stops Ion charging with a jumping roundhouse. King goes for the Royal Flush on Ion, but Petey yanks Ion off King’s shoulders. King hits a spinning Ghetto Blaster on Ion before going for the Flush on Petey. Petey counters it and hits the Canadian Destroyer, but only gets 2 when Ion breaks up the pin. Ion goes for the pin, but Petey breaks that up. Petey attacks Ion with rights before hitting a spinning headscissors. Ion sets Petey up in the corner, where Petey hits a hurricanrana for 2. Ion hotshots Petey into the ropes before hitting a jumping neckbreaker for 2. The fans are not into this match at all. Petey hits some knife-edge chops before Ion blocks an Irish whip and counters into a modified half-Boston crab. Petey gets a rope break, and now the two trade punches. Petey dominates, ducks a clotheslines and turns a headscissors into a side-Russian legsweep and then into a crucifix for 2. Petey hits a hoisted complete shot for another 2 as King is trying to get back in the ring. Petey calls for the Destroyer again, but Ion counters with a jawbreaker. Petey ducks a clothesline and hits a suicide dive on King. Ion charges in, but Petey shoulders him and hits an outside-in release German suplex before hitting an inside-out hurricanrana on King. Ion hotshots Petey before hitting the outside-in tornado DDT for 2. Ion drags Petey to the corner and goes for the running Asai moonsault. Petey blocks with his knees and goes for the Destroyer, but Ion counters into a roll-up for 2. Petey counters into a scorpion deathlock as King comes in. He hits Petey with a running dropkick, then covers Ion for 3.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Kenny King. Decent match, but King did mostly nothing the entire match, which is why I hate this style of match. One guy is always on the floor.
AI stops Magnus in the back, who has a TV title match tonight. Magnus says there’s history, but he’s confused about this situation. A and E are talking about creating so much chaos, but what they don’t realize is that tonight, Magnus is the one who is doing the taking, as he’s taking the title he’s been waiting five months for.
We see Brooke Hogan and Christy Hemme in the back talking about the new KO website. Apparently, Christy is running the site. And I should care why? Brooke calls Mickey James and Miss Tessmacher into the room. She tells them they’re both special and that’s why they’ve been chosen for their match later tonight. James leaves after a minute, and Tessy stays behind to talk to Brooke about Bully Ray, saying all of the Knockouts are there for her.
MATCH 3-World Television Championship: Devon (Champion) vs. Magnus
Wow. We get our first TV title match in what, six months?
Before the match, Knux and DOC try to attack Magnus on the stage, but he fights them both off. Devon then runs up and nails Magnus with a chain. DOC and Knux hold Magnus up and Devon hits him in the gut with the chain. Magnus tries to fight back, but gets hit with a double chokeslam on the ramp.
WINNER: No match, which means that the title will remain un-defended for the next six months or so. As A and E continue the attack, Samoa Joe comes out on stage and gets between them and Magnus. Just get rid of the title already, TNA, as it’s obvious you know how meaningless it truly is.
Samoa Joe is screaming at the camera in the back, calling all of A and E cowards. You come out and claim to be the best and put titles on the line, but then you pull that. It’s okay, Devon. He’s told the “powers-that-be” what he wants, and he’s got it. See you in the ring.
We get a video from a couple of weeks ago where Velvet Sky supposedly injured her knee.
MATCH 3-Winner becomes the new #1 Contender for the Knockouts Championship: Miss Tessmacher vs. Mickie James
ODB is once again the referee. Lock-up to start, and Tessy backs James into the corner before giving a clean break. Another lock-up, and now James backs Tessy into the corner, and another clean break. ODB calling both of these women “bitch” is pretty funny. Another lock-up, and James turns it into an armdrag. Tessy hangs on, and they go back into the lock-up. Tessy now armdrags James, who also holds on. It turns into another lock-up and James finally breaks it with the ropes. ODB grabs the arms of both women and tells them to fights. Tessy takes James and schoolgirls her for 2. James comes back with an arm wringer, then botches the piss out of a rolling jujigatame, which Tessy immediately breaks with the ropes before rolling to the floor. She drags James to the floor, where they trade forearm shots before grabbing each other by the hair. ODB breaks it up and tells them both to get back in the ring. Back in, Tessy ducks a clothesline, kicks James in the knee, then knocks her down with some punches. James sends Tessy into the corner, but Tessy ducks a charge and kicks her in the gut before hitting a Mug Shot for 2. In the adjacent corner, Tessy hits a running clotheslines, then hits a Stinkface. She whips James onto the mat for 2, then goes for another cover, getting another 2. James blocks a throw to the corner, then does a pair of them herself before hitting a flapjack. Up top, James hits a Thesz Press for 2. Mounted punches by James until ODB pulls her off. James turns around, and the two simultaneously clothesline each other. ODB begins the standing 10-count, and they manage to make it up at 8, taking turns slamming each other’s face into the mat. We then get full-screen replays mid-match. Genius. Tessy goes for Tessticular Cancer, but James blocks it and sends Tessy into the corner. She goes for the standing Tornado DDT and Tessy counters that into a sunset flip. James just sits down on Tessy and gets the 3.
WINNER AND NEW #1 CONTENDER: Mickie James.
We see AJ Styles in the back, and Bad Influence is hanging out in the background, with Christopher Daniels holding a t-shirt. As AJ walks off, Daniels says “the band is back together”. They then start singing “The Best Friends Song” from The Hangover.
Elsewhere, Joseph Park is on the phone. Devon approaches him and grabs the phone before telling him to stay out of family business. Park says he’s doing this for Brooke, and Bully Ray nails him from behind. He says he’s her husband and knows what’s best for Brooke. Ray says consider this a threat and not a promise: stay out of our family business. Devon then takes him into the bathroom and slams him into the shower wall before turning the water on him.
We now get a video package for Mickie James, talking about winning the belt back. God, I hate her voice.
James Storm is in the locker room, talking about trying to talk to AJ Styles. Now, it’s time to just kick the crap out of each other.
Bad Influence make their way out into the arena, ,and Daniels has the shirt he was holding tucked into his pants. Apparently, it’s just one of their shirts, but in a different color. Daniels says the year of Bad Influence continues. It is great to be them. The fans love them. They’ve got these sweet new shirts. The BI movie is in-production, and Morgan Freeman is in talks to play the role of Dixie Carter. But, the cherry on the sundae that is their lives, is they are THIS CLOSE to convincing AJ Styles to side with them. Kaz says they got him his own BI shirt in black and yellow. Now, their first matter of business involves their old amigos, “Churro Guerrero” and “Juan Hernandez”. As soon as you muchachos give them their title match, they will become World Tag Team Champions of the World, Part Tres. Now, you all have permission to worship them.
Bobby Roode and Austin Aries come out, and Roode says that he has to be the bearer of bad news. He’s sorry to say it, but BI aren’t the #1 contenders for the titles. Last week, Chavo and Hernandez fluked a victory over him and Aries, so before anything else happens, the former champs get a rematch. Daniels says Roode’s opinion would matter more if he wasn’t a Canadian. Aries says that, lucky for them, his opinion is more valuable than anything, and it comes down to this: BI have been a more successful team than they have. And maybe if he and Roode were “closer” to each other like BI, maybe they’d be a more “well-oiled” machine like a BI. Kaz makes fun of Aries for being a vegan, so Aries makes a joke about Kaz putting meat in his mouth. The four of them then scream incoherently at each other as Chavo and Hernandez enter the ring behind Aries and Roode. BI sees them and bails. As Roode and Aries turn around, they’re attacked by the champs and thrown to the floor. Chavo holds up a belt and says THIS is why they’re better. And…well, that’s it. That was literally Chavo’s whole promo.
Overly long video packages for Aces and Eights about how dangerous they are. This segues into a recap of Angle losing earlier tonight, and then it’s footage of Magnus getting attacked. As someone on FB once said, TNA should change their company motto to “We Are Recaps”.
We see Matt Morgan watching all of this, and it turns into a long promo about how stupid Hulk Hogan is. I’d recap it, but honestly, if you’ve heard Morgan do this promo once, you’ve heard every Morgan promo since then.
MATCH 4-World Television Championship: Devon (Champion) vs. Samoa Joe
Let’s see if it actually happens this time. Christy Hemme botched Devon’s intro. Devon attacks Joe as the bell rings, so looks like the match will indeed happen. Joe begins to fight back with some quick lefts before stomping Devon down. Joe hits a running leg lariat and follows upwith a snapmare, a chop to the back, a kick to the chest and a jumping knee drop for 2. Joe calls for the Kokina Clutch, and Devon counters out before hitting a spear. He chokes Joe over the bottom rope, but Joe gets back up and hits some rights. Devon rakes the eyes, then steps on Joe’s stomach in the corner. Snapmare by Devon, and an elbow drop gets 2. Devon applies a rear chinlock, and Joe fights out. Devon hits a right and corner whips Joe, but Joe counters, hits a running hip bump and a spin kick to the head. Joe sets Devon on the top rope as Garett and Wes comes to ringside. Joe takes them both out and goes for the Muscle Buster, but they get on the apron and distract the ref. As Joe goes for the move, Anderson runs into the ring and hits Joe with a pair of brass knuckles. Devon falls on Joe and gets the 3.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Devon. Devon props Joe on his knees after the match. Anderson puts the knuckles back on, gets on his knees and nails Joe in the face.
Next week, Mickie James gets her KO title match, and Roode/Aries vs. Chavo/Hernandez in a championship rematch from last week.
MATCH 5: James Storm vs. AJ Styles
AJ starts to bail on the match before the bell rings, but Storm attacks him from behind. He goes for a suplex on the ramp, but AJ blocks it. Storm goes for a powerbomb, but AJ escapes and hits Storm with a right. Storm comes back with an uppercut, and the match officially starts in the ring. AJ beats Storm down in the corner, then hits some elbows to the back of the head. AJ ducks a clothesline, but runs into a high knee. Storm hits some mounted punches before applying a side headlock. AJ comes back with a chopblock and a clothesline. Commercials.
Back from the break, AJ hits a vertical suplex on Storm before applying a rear chinlock. Storm eventually fights out, and now the two trade punches. Storm hits a forearm off the ropes, an inverted atomic drop and a clothesline. Back body drop off the ropes connects, and the old Eye of the Storm gets 2 (I say “old” because he uses that name for a different move now). Storm props AJ on the top rope and goes for a superplex, but AJ slides out and crotches Storm. Storm gets hung up in the Tree of Woe in the process, and AJ hits a running seated dropkick to Storm’s face for 2. Bad Influence come out on the ramp, cheering AJ on. AJ picks Storm up in a fireman’s carry, but Storm escapes, ducks a clothesline and hits a backcracker before sending AJ to the floor with a clothesline. Storm follows out, and AJ rams him into the apron before throwing him into the guardrail. Back in the ring, AJ misses a running boot and gets hit with Closing Time. Storm calls for the Last Call, but AJ blocks it and rolls through into a heel hook. Storm taps out.
WINNER: AJ Styles. Bad Influence enter the ring to congratulate AJ, who then attacks both of them. He stares at Storm and leaves the ring as A and E attack Storm from behind. BI roll back into the ring, and they get attacked as well. Kaz gets hit with the World title by Bully Ray, and Daniels is hit with a double chokeslam by Knux and DOC as Storm gets hit with a Sky-High by D’Lo. Ray gets on the mic and asks if we know who he is or who they are. They are the Aces and Eights. They are the men responsible for destroying all of your heroes. He is the man responsible for defeating and taking out Jeff Hardy. His brothers are the men responsible for taking out these three pieces of trash. You have no heroes left. Look around. All of your heroes are now just victims, and there’s one man you can blame this on: you can blame this on Hulk Hogan. Hulk is the reason why “all of your heroes are just another victim”. Dad: next week, live on Impact, Ray is calling you out in the middle of this ring. He wants to stare deep into your soul and tell you to your face you are the reason why all of their heroes are nothing but victims of Aces and Eights. And when you ride with the Aces and Eights, you never walk alone. Well, I would certainly hope not, since riding is an entirely different activity than walking.
This week, TNA is once again in Chicago, and the show opens with Hulk Hogan coming out on one crutch. He says he’s been around a long time, and we’ve been through hell and back together. However, he’s never had the wool pulled over his eyes like this. Not only did Aces and Eights fool the fans, they fooled him, his family, Sting, and everyone else in TNA. When he thinks of what happened last week and how A and E ran roughshod over the TNA roster, he’s realized this is a war for survival. Out of all the men that were left laying last week, the four guys that led the charge are the warriors. They are the men he loves and respects, and they lead the rest of the pack in the back, jack. At this time, he wants nothing but respect for these four, and he wants to bring them out here right now. First out is Samoa Joe, second is Magnus, third is “the scariest man I’ve ever looked into his eyes” Kurt Angle, and fourth is Jeff Hardy. As Hulk speaks to these men, he’s also speaking to everyone in the back. The reason these four are here is because he wants them to put A and E out and bring the World title back to TNA. Jeff Hardy, you took us to a place Hulk never thought they’d be. But after the attack last week, can he pull off a rematch? Hardy says he’s in bad shape, but Bully Ray stole the title, and we, “the creatures”, need it back. These other men are ready, and tonight, let’s have a four-way between everyone in the ring, with the winner getting a shot at Bully Ray. Hulk says the last time he picked a #1 contender, it was a mistake, so he loves this idea. Looks like we’ve got our main event.
MATCH 1-World Tag Team Championship: Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez vs. Austin Aries and Bobby Roode (Champions) This is the match that was supposed to happen at the top of the show last week. Chavo and Roode start the match. Chavo counters a waistlock in to an arm wringer. Roode counters into a hammerlock, and Chavo counters once more into the wringer. Roode punches his way out, but gets hit with a European uppercut before rebounding with punches. Chavo comes off the ropes with a spinning headscissors before beating Roode down in the corner. Hernandez tags in, Chavo hits a bodyslam, Hernandez bodyslams Chavo onto Roode and then hits a Warrior Splash for 2. Roode fights back and tags in Aries, beating Hernandez down in the corner. Aries boxes the ears, then hits an open-hand chop to the chest. Roode back in with a kick before tagging Aries in once more. They go for a double suplex, but Hernandez counters into one of his own before tagging in Chavo, who hits a pair of dropkicks on Roode. Commercials.
We’re back, and Aries throws Chavo to the floor, where Roode slams him into the steps. Roode holds Chavo up, and Aries comes off the top with an elbow. Back in the ring, Aries gets 2. Aries applies a front chancery, but Chavo fights out. He goes to the ropes, where Aries catches him with a kitchen sink. Roode in, and he hits a back suplex for 2 before applying a rear chinlock. Chavo fights out once again and sends Roode to the corner. He goes for a monkey flip, but Roode blocks him and props him on the top rope. Chavo strikes from this position and hits a tornado DDT. Aries and Hernandez tag in, and Hernandez with the hot tag offense before hitting a Warrior Press on Aries. Hernandez goes up the ramp and hits an outside-in Air Mexico on both champions. He goes for the Border Toss on Aries, but Roode boots him in the gut. Roode gets hit with a Pounce, sending him to the floor. Aries blocks a corner charge and goes for a cross-body, but Hernandez catches him. He tags in Chavo and goes for a powerbomb, but Aries takes him to the floor with a hurricanrana. Back in the ring, he mocks Chavo as he goes for the brainbuster, but Chavo counters into the 3 Amigos as the crowd dumps all over him for it. Chavo goes up top, but Kazarian runs down to distract the referee as Christopher Daniels shoves Chavo off the top. Aries rolls him up with a handful of tights and gets the 3.
WINNERS AND STILL CHAMPIONS: Austin Aries and Bobby Roode. After the match, Bad Influence attack the champs from behind.
Apparently, all X-Division matches will now be contested in 3-way matches. G*ddammit, TNA. Why do you continue to piss me off?
We see an interview from Kenny King from earlier today. He says he should be mad about the new changes to the X-Division, but this kind of stuff has always been happening to him. If TNA wants to be this way, so be it. If they put two guys in front of him, TNA better set up two funerals. This just gives him a chance to shine even brighter. The interview then turns into a commercial for 5-Hour Energy as TNA rubs more salt in the wound.
MATCH 2-3-Way Match for the World X-Division Championship: Sonjay Dutt vs. Zema Ion vs. Kenny King (Champion)
I didn’t realize Dutt still worked here. Just shows how TNA has no idea what to do with talent in most cases. Apparently, the belt will be defended each week in these kind of matches, and the person who doesn’t get pinned or doesn’t submit moves onto the 3-way the following week. Just keep digging that grave, TNA. Ion applies a side headlock on Dutt, but gets shouldered by King. Dutt hits a spinning headscissors on Ion, and the three botch a spot in the corner. King runs into Ion, and Dutt takes them both down with a hurricanrana/armdrag combo, sending them to the floor. They drag Dutt outside and ram him into the barricade. King then does the same to Ion before hitting a somersault plancha from the apron. He rams Ion into the apron and throws him back in the ring, getting 2. Jumping hip bump in the corner by King before he foot chokes Ion. Float-over suplex into some mounted punches by King before stopping Dutt from entering the ring. He runs into an elbow by Ion but catches him in a fireman’s carry. Ion fights out but runs into a jumping roundhouse. Dutt hits a springboard dropkick on King, then goes up top. King shoves him off onto the ramp, and now Ion begins to fight back until he runs into a modified Ghetto Blaster. Ion rolls to the apron and hits the inside-out DDT, and Dutt comes back in and sends Ion to the floor with a hurricanrana. Both heels are outside now, and Dutt hits a top rope moonsault before throwing Ion back in. Bodyslam by Dutt, and he goes for the Hindu Press. King blocks him, and Ion goes up for a back suplex. Dutt elbows him off and hits a moonsault into a double stomp. King comes back in with a springboard blockbuster on Dutt and gets the 3.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Kenny King. Dutt is now out of the title picture for a while. Smart move TNA. Instead of getting rid Ion’s worthless ass, you bring Dutt back for one night and then remove him from the title hunt for a while.
AI stops Brooke Hogan to ask about her husband, and she says she’s only here to run the KO division tonight.
We get an interview with Bully Ray as he talks about “plan B” going into effect, that being him using the Hogan family to become champion. Joseph Park became the bait, and we basically get a video package highlighting the entire stupid storyline involving A and E. I kid you not, this video package is almost ten minutes long. It’s ridiculous.
We see Sting entering the building. Moments later, he enters Hulk Hogan’s office. He says he doesn’t care about the title; this is about making things right. Give him Bully tonight. Hulk says things haven’t changed in his mind, so why doesn’t Sting do what he does best and go hide up in the rafters for a couple of years. Whenever Sting is around, he causes problems, so get out.
Video package for the meaningless Gail Kim/Taryn Terrell feud.
Taryn Terrell comes out to Traci Brooks’ old music and says she knows she’s on probation, and her job is to control chaos, not create it. But when Gail Kim put her hands on Taryn twice, she had to retaliate. So, she guesses it’s time for her to accept the consequences. Gail Kim interrupts this little speech, takes the mic and says she’s glad Taryn learned her lesson, and that’s you don’t mess with Gail Kim. Gail Kim is the greatest female wrestler to have ever lived, and the greatest knockout in company history. She created the division, and without her, Taryn wouldn’t exist. Now, she’s going to call out Brooke Hogan to do what she should have done a long time ago, and that’s to fire Taryn. So Brooke, come out and do what we’ve been waiting for. Brooke says this was a hard decision for her to make, and she’s thought long and hard about it. Taryn, you know she loves you, but she has to be fair as the V.P. of the knockouts division, so she has to terminate Taryn as knockouts referee. She asks Kim if she’s happy, then says she has good news that might make everyone here happy. That news is that Taryn has been signed to the knockouts roster as an active competitor. Big surprise there. Taryn immediately spears Kim and knocks her to the floor before chasing her to the back.
Bully Ray comes out of the crowd and approaches Brooke on the ramp. He shows her he’s wearing his wedding ring and says, “’Til death do us part”. Brooke responds by saying, “I hate you” approximately 812 times.
We get another A and E video narrated by Bully Ray, and this time, he describes each unmasked member of the group and why they turned on TNA. A ridiculous amount of this video is spent on Wes Brisco and Garett Bischoff. Once again, nearly 10 minutes long.
Kurt Angle talks about tonight, and his match tonight is the most important in a year and a half, as it’s been that long since he was champion. He needs to prove he’s the best wrestler alive and the one to take down A and E, and that starts with the World title.
MATCH 3: Matt Morgan vs. Joseph Park
Morgan immediately shoves Park away, then piefaces him into the ropes. Park swings at him, but Morgan moves and shoves him into the turnbuckle. Morgan shoves him again, and Park shoves back before putting his fists up. Morgan drops him with a body blow, then screams “Forearm!” at him before hitting one across the back. Morgan continues to call his own moves as he does them. He hits a back elbow and a clothesline to the back of the head. Park climbs up to his feet in the corner, where he dodges an avalanche. Morgan rebounds and hits a discus clothesline. Headbutt by Morgan, and now he rakes the eyes over the middle rope. Morgan applies a modified surfboard stretch through the ropes. He calls for the Carbon Footprint, but misses and ends up crotching himself on the top rope. Park bounces Morgan back into the ring, hits a few punches and a clothesline. He ducks a clothesline and hits a running shoulderblock. Park goes to the middle rope and goes for the Closing Argument, but Morgan moves. He drops Park with the Carbon Footprint before falling on his own ass and gets the 3.
WINNER: Matt Morgan. Morgan should never use a pump kick as a finisher ever again. After all these years, he still can’t do it right.
AI stops Jeff Hardy to ask about Bully Ray. He says it means everything to get that belt back, but if it’s not him tonight, he knows Magnus, Joe and Angle are all ready to do it.
Mike Tenay is in the ring, and he brings out AJ Styles. Tenay says he’s known AJ for over 10 years and called every one of his matches in TNA, and considers them friends. Now he wants to know what’s been going on with AJ lately. AJ just stares at him. Tenay asks him about the rumors about alcohol and drug use. Taz cuts him off and says to let a professional do it. Taz says he saw the video on wherever the hell it is he’s from. Life’s about opportunities, and he was talking to the boys in A and E. So, he has a “PROSPECT” vest for AJ. He’d have to start off at the bottom, but the spot is his if he wants it. Taz makes fun of AJ’s motorcycle for a moment until James Storm comes out, mic in hand. He asks if this is the new AJ Styles, a guy who can’t even face who’s talking to him at the moment. That’s fine. He can be the new AJ with his new look, because the old AJ that Storm knew would say exactly what he thought about someone to their face. He can be the new AJ, but Storm is still the same douchebag. AJ can think about suckerpunching him again, but when you think about it, Storm is going to knock his teeth down his throat and spit out his stupid catchphrase. AJ stares at Storm for a minute before backing out of the ring. Storm says everyone wants to know what’s going on, but AJ isn’t listening.
Yet ANOTHER Bully Ray video, and this time it’s about Brooke Hogan and Sting. This one is a little shorter, only going about 5 minutes.
MATCH 4-4-Way Match to determine a new #1 contender for the World Championship: Samoa Joe vs. Magnus vs. Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Hardy As I said on Facebook, Magnus may be the most underrated guy in this company. All four men are legal at all times, it looks like. Magnus attacks Hardy as Joe attacks Angle. Hardy and Angle get beaten down in opposite corners until Hardy ducks a punche and ifres off some of his own shots. Magnus pushes Hardy into Joe, and Joe hits a clothesline. He clotheslines Magnus, then hits a hip bump on Angle in the corner, followed by a spin kick to the head. Snapmare by Joe, and he chops the back, kicks the chest and drops a jumping knee for 2. Magnus and Hardy are brawling on the outside as Joe hits a chop on Angle. Joe dodges Angle and sends him to the floor, where Hardy and Magnus beat him down. Joe takes them all out with a suicide dive. Commercials.
Back from the break, Angle is hitting Magnus with punches, but runs into an inverted atomic drop by Joe. Magnus hits a running boot and Joe hits a running senton as Magnus gets 2 on Angle. He hits the misdirection clothesline on Joe, then a running knee on Angle. Hardy goes for a cross-body on Magnus, but gets caught with a modified northern lights bomb. Magnus drops a couple of elbows, getting 2. Magnus applies a rear chinlock, and Hardy fights out until Magnus whips him back down. Outside Angle rakes Joe’s eyes. Back in the ring, Magnus hits a running elbow across Hardy’s back. He stops Angle and Joe from getting back in the ring, then stomps Hardy down in the corner. Joe gets back in, and Magnus meets him with some knee strikes before getting hit with a back elbow. Joe with a series of headbutts, but runs right into the MGD by Magnus. Magnus rams Hardy into the corner and hits some forearms. He sends Hardy into the opposite corner, where Hardy hits a spinning headscissors. Hardy with an inverted atomic drop, double legdrop and seated dropkick. He hits sit-out Twists on both Angle and Joe, then hits the standard version on Magnus. Hardy goes up top for the swanton bomb, but Angle cuts him off. Hardy shoves Angle down, and Magnus drops Hardy with a shot to the face. Angle hits an overhead belly-to-belly on Magnus and a release German suplex on Joe. Ankle lock is applied on Joe, and Joe kicks him off into Magnus. Hardy hits a swanton on Joe and gets the 3.
Tonight, not only do we get the return of AJ Styles, but it’s also the first show after Lockdown, one of the most predictable cards TNA has put on in years. More on that throughout the recap. For now, the show is actually opening with a match.
Oops. My bad. No, it isn’t. What was supposed to be a tag title match with Aries and Roode defending against Chavo and Hernandez turns into Aces and Eights attacking Chavo and Hernandez right after they get into the ring. Oh, and the show is in Chicago tonight, BTW. Just pointing that out. Watching D’Lo and Knux (formerly Mike Knox) blubber it up in the ring is embarrassing. Devon grab the mic, and he tells the crowd to sit down and shut the hell up. This is the group that will dominate from now on. So, without further ado, let him introduce to you, the NEW World Heavyweight Champion, his brother, Bully Ray.
Ray makes his way out through the crowd, and some generic lyrics have been added to the A and E theme. Not only is Ray the new champion, but he was announced as the president of A and E. Big surprise there. D’Lo puts a vest on Ray, and Ray asks if we know who he is. Not a damn clue, no. He’s Bully Ray. He is the president of A and E. And he is the TNA World Heavyweight Champion. He’s the guy that used Sting. He’s the guy that screwed Brooke. He’s the guy that made a fool of Hulk Hogan. But you know what? He’s also the guy that made a fool out of every frickin’ one of you. For nine months, you bought into it. For nine months, they pulled the wool over your eyes. For nine months, you bought it. Devon, he cannot tell you how proud he was of Devon & A and E when they threw the hammer to Ray and he drilled Jeff Hardy in the back of the head. Ray never felt so proud. But it wasn’t supposed to go down that way. Remember at Lockdown when Wes and Garett came over the top of the cage? That when he was supposed to leave the cage. That’s when it was supposed to happen. Why didn’t happen? Because of Hulk. An hour before that match, Hulk sat him down and had a “father-to-son-in-law” talk. Hulk started to ramble about how Andre the Giant gave him advice to do something memorable. Ray couldn’t give a damn about Hulk’s advice, but he did something memorable. In one night, he did something the nWo could never accomplish during their entire run. Hulk, if you’ve got the balls, come out here and fire them. He dares you. It won’t happen. You can chant his name all you want, Hulk’s not firing them. They’re A and E, and when you ride with them, you’ll never walk alone.
Sting is in the back, saying Ray is digging his grave and the grave of TNA. Now Ray is in the fast lane, and it’s pissing him off. He’s going to get Bully, and he’s going to start by talking to Hulk.
MATCH 1: Gail Kim and Tara (w/Jesse) vs. Mickie James and Knockouts Champion Velvet Sky
Velvet Sky is still the Knockouts Champion, yet they showed Gail Kim with the belt in the opening graphic. Gotta love TNA and their screw-ups. Kim does a cut-away promo about Taryn Terrell being put on probation for putting her hands on Kim at Lockdown. Mike Tenay calls this a hometown welcome for Tara, despite the fact that she is from California and runs a business in Kentucky. Chicago is in neither of those states. Kim and Sky start the match. Sky blocks a kick and applies a side headlock. Kim shoves her off and shoulders her off the ropes. Sky dodges a legdrop, hits a Japanese armdrag and a standard version. She blocks a hip toss and hits a short-arm clothesline before tagging in James, and the faces his the old Tajiri/Whipwreck double leg whip. In the corner, James hits a kick to the gut and some mounted punches before knocking Tara from the apron. Enziguri by James for 2. Commercials.
We’re back, and the heels are in control with Tara being legal. She hits some shoulder thrusts in the corner on James, but James fights out with punches, but Tara manages to apply the Tarantula for a 4-count. Outside, Kim throws James to the ground before rolling her back in the ring. Tara goes for a pin, getting 2. Kim tags in and the heels hit a double slingshot suplex for 2. In the corner, Kim applies a foot choke before getting in Taryn’s face. James uses the distraction to hit the Tunacanrana, and the two hit simultaneous clotheslines. Tara and Sky tag in. Sky hits a pair of jumping clotheslines and a back elbow. She ducks a clothesline and hits a headscissors into a side-Russian legsweep for 2. Petey Williams, she isn’t. Kim breaks up the pin before shoving Taryn down. Taryn slaps Kim, and James comes off the top with a Thesz Press on Kim. Tara back in, and she hits the Widow’s Peak on James. She turns around and gets hit with In Yo Face for 3.
WINNERS: Mickie James and Velvet Sky.
We’re now in the A and E clubhouse, and they’re drinking beer. Ray says Hulk doesn’t have the balls to fire them, but if he does, he wants to propose a toast to all them and to the guys who stuck by him, A and E. Ray then remembers he hasn’t heard from his wife in a while, so he calls her. It immediately goes to voicemail, so he leaves a sarcastic message, then puts the phone on speaker so A and E can say “hi”. He tells her to tell her dad “hello”.
Before the next match, Robbie E tells Robbie T that what happened on Sunday was a fluke, bro, and tonight, T won’t be so lucky, bro.
MATCH 2: Robbie E vs. Rob Terry
E tries to attack from behind, but Terry shoulders him down before hip tossing him out of the corner. Pancake by Terry, and E goes to the corner. T hits a running back elbow and a delayed vertical suplex into a powerslam. He grabs E on his shoulders and hits the Freakbuster for 3.
WINNER: Robbie Terry. Terry does some stupid fist-pumping and dancing after the match to music that would make Fandango embarrassed.
Sting goes to the elevator.
Back in the clubhouse, Ray is complaining about no A and E merchandise at the tables tonight. He tells one of the guys to open up a TNA roster book, and whoever the page is opened to pays the price tonight.
We see Sting and Hulk Hogan in an office. Hulk is pissed and blaming Sting for everything. He knew all along Ray was rotten to the core, and now he has the World title. Now A and E has the whole company hostage. Now, his daughter is married to Bully. Sting says he has an idea. Don’t fire A and E yet, especially Bully. Let him have Bully tonight. Hulk says there is no more “we” anymore. He knows how this movie ends. This is the end. A and E has the title and his daughter. The movie is over, and so is Sting. Hulk has business to take care of and he doesn’t want to see Sting right now. Get out. You make him sick.
We see Austin Aries and Bobby Roode approach Sting as he’s leaving. Aries says you can’t blame Hulk for being upset, because it really is all Sting’s fault. Everyone told Sting Bully Ray was no good, and he didn’t want to hear it. He’s the reason why A and E are running things right now, and also the reason why they can’t wrestle tonight, thanks to their opponents being attacked by A and E. After that match, they were going to give Sting and Hulk a title match, too. Sting cuts them off and says he’s tired of talking, but instead wants to fight. He wants one of them, and Roode slowly backs away. Sting challenges Aries at that point.
Christy Hemme welcomes AJ Styles into the ring. His music hits, but no one is coming out. After a few moments, Bad Influence’s music hits instead, and they come down to the ring, dressed like The Road Warriors, Daniels as Hawk and Kaz as Animal. Kaz says that tonight isn’t just the first live Impact on the road, and it’s definitely not the first time AJ has disappointed his fans, but tonight Bad Influence brings back “Throwback Thursday”. Since they are in the “Second City”, they’re paying homage to the second-best tag team in wrestling history. Tell ‘em Chris! WELL…those warriors, that Legion of the Past, they were fake tough guys. Fake tough like AJ Styles and fake tough like every one of you. Bad Influence, however, are the real deal. They’re the original “ring warriors”, and they are the “Legion of Boom”. Oooh…what a tush! And on that note, you have permission to worship them now.
James Storm comes out, mic in hand. He tells BI they don’t have to run. He was listening to them run their bottle suckers, mocking AJ Styles and mocking one of the greatest teams in history. He’s pretty sure AJ will come out and let them know what he thinks of them. As for LOD, they’re bigger and more over than BI will ever be. And unlike these two douchebags, they were actually from Chicago. Now, onto the tough part, he can help with that. He’s going to decide which one of them wants to have the crap kicked out of them. Before they can decide, Storm slingshots Daniels into the ring.
MATCH 3: Christopher Daniels (w/Kazarian) vs. James Storm
Storm blocks a hip toss and hits his own before nailing a corner uppercut and a back body drop. He blocks a kick and hits a discus punch. Storm sends Daniels into Kaz on the apron and rolls him up for 2. Kaz trips Storm behind the ref’s back, and Daniels connects with a running knee. He stomps Storm down in the corner, then sends him hard into the opposite corner. Double stomp to the back, followed by some kneelifts. Daniels applies a waistlock, but Storm elbows out. He runs right into a shoulder, and Daniels follows up with a snapmare and a split-legged moonsault for 2. They trade some punches, and Storm comes back with a forearm, inverted atomic drop and a bulldog. He calls for the Eye of the Storm, but Daniels escapes and hits an uppercut, followed by a standing uranage. BME misses as Daniels lands on his feet. Storm hits Closing Time and calls for the Last Call, but Kaz causes a distraction. Daniels attacks from behind, but Storm sees him coming, ducks and hits a backcracker for 3.
WINNER: James Storm. BI double teams Storm after the match, stomping him down. AJ Styles walks down to the ring, still trying to look drunk and strung out. He clocks Kaz, and Daniels bails. AJ then nails Storm before heading towards the back.
Wes Brisco stops Kurt Angle in the back. As he turns, A and E jump Angle from behind and beat him down.
Joseph Park makes his way out. He says it’s an honor to be standing here tonight. It’s no secret it’s been a couple of crazy months for Park. In the UK, he got his first big win over Robbie E, and he even won again last weekend at Lockdown. With all of this early success he’s had, it’s made him reflect on the highlights of his life. Number one has to be graduating law school at the top of his class. Number two would have to be when he finally made partnership at the law firm of Park, Park & Park, who are here tonight in the nosebleeds. The highlight of his life to this point, though, has to be right here in front of his hometown of Chicago, IL. He grew up watching all of the Cubby games, which results in boos from the crowd. He panders to the Blackhawks fans after that before saying nothing has been as exciting as his time in Impact Wrestling, and he can’t wait for what’s next.
Matt Morgan interrupts things. He tells Park to back off before saying that Hulk making mistake after mistake is an understatement. Did the Bully Ray situation turn out the way you hoped? That being said, with all of the mistakes Hulk has made, none are bigger than this walking joke standing in front of him. The fact that you signed this clown to a pro wrestling contract on Impact is an abortion to the sport of wrestling. Here’s what he’s going to do, old man. He’s going to start eliminating Hulk’s mistakes one-by-one, starting with Park. So, unless Park wants his teeth knocked down his throat, he is strongly advised to get the hell out of Morgan’s ring now. Park starts to leave, but hesitates after Morgan calls Chicago a “dump city”. Park tells Morgan that, in Chicago, they never back down from a fight. So, if you want a fight, let’s do it right now. Morgan asks if he’s serious then says they don’t do things on Park’s time; they do them on Morgan’s time. Morgan leaves, but as Park turns around, he gets back in the ring and drops Park with a big boot. You can tell he was going for the Carbon Footprint, but they botched the spot. Morgan then tells Park his time is next week.
Back in the A and E clubhouse. Ray asks Hulk if he’s going to fire them. Chavo’s out. Hernandez is out, and now so is Angle. Grow some balls and fire them. If Hulk doesn’t come to them, they’ll go to him. They destroyed his family, and they’ll destroy his show as well. In fact, that sounds like a good idea. Let’s start right now.
MATCH 4: World Tag Team Co-Champion Austin Aries (w/Bobby Roode) vs. Sting
Sting immediately backs Aries into a corner and shoves him down. Aries takes Sting down and spins across his back before posing in the corner. Aries boots Sting in the midsection before applying a side headlock. Sting counters by picking Aries up and setting him across the top turnbuckle, where he punches and kicks him in the gut. A running kick causes Aries to hotshot himself and Sting goes for the Stinger Splash. However, Aries sees it coming and rolls to the outside. Back in the ring, Sting blocks a kick and strikes Aries several times before hitting an inverted atomic drop. Behind the ref’s back, Roode trips Sting and pulls him to the outside. Sting fights back with punches and throws Roode into the guardrail, where he hits a Stinger Splash. Aries comes off the top with a double axe handle, but Sting moves and Aries hits Roode. Sting throws Aries into a chair before celebrating on the apron. Commercials.
We’re back, and Sting is still in control. Go figure. Aries forearms him to the back off a Roode distraction, but Sting comes back with punches before clotheslining Aries to the floor. Roode causes another distraction, so the ref ejects him from ringside. Aries kicks the ropes as Sting is climbing back in, essential low-blowing him. Sting rolls to the outside, where Aries nails him with a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Aries goes for the cover, getting 2. Aries hits a jumping elbow drop for another 2. Foot choke near the corner by Aries before nailing Sting with a left jab, hitting a snapmare and a missile dropkick from the middle rope for 2. Spinal tap by Aries for another 2. Sting begins to fight back out of the corner with his weak-looking backhands, but Aries dropkicks him in the left knee before stomping it for 1. Aries boxes the ears, and Sting does the same to him. He goes for a dropkick, but Aries holds onto the ropes, sending Sting back-first to the mat. Aries goes for the scorpion deathlock, but doesn’t know how to apply it. Sting kicks him off, hits more backhands and turns him inside out with a clothesline. Sting hits an uppercut and goes for the scorpion, but Aries escapes and rolls to the apron, where he hits a hotshot. Up top, Aries hits a missile dropkick. Sting no-sells as Aries mocks him. Sting boots him in the gut and hits a weak gorilla-press slam. Aries crawls to the corner, where he dodges a Stinger Splash and follows up with a running corner dropkick. Aries hits a Stinger Splash of his own, then goes for the brainbuster. Sting counters into the Scorpion Death Drop, but only gets 2. Aries crawls to the corner again, and Sting connects with a slo-mo Stinger Splash. He applies the scorpion deathlock, but A and E attacks.
WINNER VIA DISQUALIFICATION: Sting. A and E beat Sting down in the ring as Aries heads for the hills. Ray tells two of them to hold Sting up. Ray tells Sting he used him. Is that what Hulk meant by “do something memorable”? Do you think you’ll remember A and E now, Hulk? Where are you? Are you going to fire them? Where is everyone’s hero? Where are you, dad? Come on, Hulk! This is memorable. They have taken over Impact!
Hulk’s music hits. Why do I get the sickening feeling they’re building to a Hulk/Ray match for the title? Oh, because it’s TNA and Hulk Hogan. Duh. Anyway, Hulk comes out on crutches and stops on the stage. You know something, brother? Firing you would be the coward’s way out. It’d be too damn easy. For everything you’ve done to everyone, you’re not getting the easy way out, brother. Every dog has its day. It might not be today, it might not be tomorrow. Live by the sword, die by the sword. And from this day forward, Hulk is empowering everyone in the TNA locker room to band together, to fight, and to eliminate A and E, brother. Jeff Hardy’s music hits, and he, Magnus, Samoa Joe, Joseph Park, RVD, Kurt Angle, Rob Terry and Hernandez. After a few moments, A and E dominate the TNA roster. Chavo Guerrero is also in tere apparently, and they get rid of him pretty quickly. Angle gets back in the ring after being beaten down by Ray, but they beat him down as Ray climbs back in. He has a mic, and he asks “dad” if this is what he meant by something memorable. How’s this for memorable, you old bastard? Ray begins whipping the TNA guys with his wallet chain before heading up the ramp towards Hulk. He says that was Hulk’s cavalry, and they just got killed by A and E. What are you going to do now, dad?
End of show.
Well, for that being TNA’s first live Impact on the road, it was pretty much a throw-away show. Not a good start.