DATE: February 14, 2010
VENUE: The Impact Zone (Orlando, FL)
COMMENTATORS: Mike Tenay & Taz
Against All Odds 2010 features a one-night tournament, the winner to receive a World Title match at Lockdown in April, plus said World Title on the line as Samoa Joe cashes in his Feast or Fired briefcase to challenge AJ Styles and Team 3D takes on…The Nasty Boys?!? We…we sure this took place in 2010?
- TNA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles
- TNA KNOCKOUTS CHAMPION: Tara
- TNA X-DIVISION CHAMPION: Douglas Williams
- TNA GLOBAL CHAMPION: Rob Terry
- TNA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: Hernandez & “The Blueprint” Matt Morgan
- TNA KNOCKOUTS TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: Awesome Kong & Hamada
- 8 CARD STUD TOURNAMENT – QF: D’Angelo Dinero vs. Desmond Wolfe (***1/4)
- 8 CARD STUD TOURNAMENT – QF: Hernandez vs. Matt Morgan (**3/4)
- 8 CARD STUD TOURNAMENT – QF: Kurt Angle vs. Mr. Anderson (***)
- 8 CARD STUD TOURNAMENT – QF (NO DQ): Abyss vs. Mick Foley (**)
- Team 3D vs. The Nasty Boys (1/4*)
- 8 CARD STUD TOURNAMENT – Semi-Finals (**3/4)
- 8 CARD STUD TOURNAMENT – Semi-Finals (**1/4)
- AJ Styles [c] vs. Samoa Joe for the TNA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP w/ Eric Bischoff as Special Guest Referee (***3/4)
- 8 CARD STUD TOURNAMENT – FINALS (***)
-An angry Ric Flair enters the arena, Christy Hemme begging him to calm down. Flair is FURIOUS because Eric Bischoff made himself the Special Guest Referee in the World Title match tonight; he HATES his GUTS. Flair says he’s like a GOD around here, Bischoff and Hogan will both recognize this, and tells Hemme to tell Bischoff he’s looking for him OR ELSE. OR ELSE.
-Opening video hypes tonight’s tournament as well as the Styles/Joe World Title match.
-Pyro and ballyhoo in the Impact Zone. The truss above the ring still has six sides and it makes me SAD.
8 CARD STUD TOURNAMENT: QUARTERFINALS
“The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero vs. Desmond Wolfe [w/ Chelsea]
Dinero and Wolfe met last month at Genesis with the latter coming up victorious. Wolfe’s valet has gained a name in the past month as well, going by Chelsea. Sadly he’s ditched his weird velvet tracksuit and looks more normal heading to the ring, booo. That doesn’t look as comfortable and stylish. D’Angelo is OVER in the Impact Zone, brother. He even gives his shades to a kid at ringside, Bret Hart-style.
Dinero and Wolfe exchange holds to start, loud “LET’S GO POPE” chant from the crowd. Wolfe connects with a European uppercut, Dinero answers with Bionic Elbows and a right hand. Wolfe with a shoulderblock, Dinero with a flying forearm. Wolfe sends Dinero to the floor, then WHIPS THE TOP ROPE INTO HIS EYES which is something I’ve never seen before and want to see more of that ruled. Dinero escapes the Tower of London but Wolfe maintains control, throwing him into the corner shoulder-first with a hammerlock. Dinero fights back with a chop, Wolfe catches him quick with a quit and snap DDT for the 1…2…Pope kicks out. Dinero connects with a slam but Wolfe hangs on and rolls through with a cravat. Dinero connects with a string of strikes leading into an inverted atomic drop and forearm shiver. Dinero sends Wolfe into the ropes with a Pope Slam and follows up with the Coronation and a flying crossbody for the 1…2…Wolfe kicks out. Wolfe sweeps the legs, Dinero blocks the slingshot but Wolfe crotches him and goes for the Tower of London again. Dinero fights him off, Wolfe chops him in the throat and connects with a TOP ROPE superplex for the 1…2…DINERO KICKS OUT. Dinero ducks a lariat, rolls Wolfe up for the 1…2…Wolfe kicks out and snaps him down to the mat shoulder-first. Wolfe misses a corner splash, Dinero connects with a hanging neckbreaker. Kneepads down, Dinero connects with double knees to the back in the corner (DDE) for the 1…2…3!
D’Angelo Dinero defeated Desmond Wolfe via pinfall (7:39)
- These two had a great match last month at Genesis and this was no different. Excellent way to open the show, with a white-hot babyface getting a big win; I didn’t get the PPVs back then so I was blissfully unaware just how big of a deal Dinero was becoming at the time. Wolfe kicked ass too, that rope fling to the eyes being one of my new favorite moves ever. What a simple but effective thing, can’t believe no one uses that now. Such a joy to watch. I’m feeling MUCH better about this PPV already than I was about Genesis, let’s see if it holds up. (***1/4)
Chelsea walks off, leaving Wolfe in the ring by himself, while Dinero celebrates with his Pope chalice. Dinero faces the winner of Matt Morgan & Hernandez.
–Ric Flair storms the office of Eric Bischoff. Flair says if Bischoff wants to make a decision he needs to do it through him as he’s AJ Styles’ manager. Bischoff says he’s going to call it right down the middle and advises Flair to keep his distance. Flair stares him down as he leaves his office, Bischoff back to scrolling through Facebook or whatever.
–Jeremy Borash brings in the Tag Team Champs, Hernandez & Matt Morgan. They do battle against each other next. Hernandez says they will both make the most of this opportunity, Morgan says they’ll be the Tag Team Champs for a long time to come but for tonight they want to see which one of them is the best athlete for bragging rights.
- Borash apparently has his job back after being taken off the air last month at Genesis. Good for him.
8 CARD STUD TOURNAMENT: QUARTERFINALS
Hernandez vs. “The Blueprint” Matt Morgan
Tag Champs fistbump and lock up, Morgan backing Hernandez into the corner and breaking clean. Second lockup goes in favor of Hernandez, who also breaks clean. Morgan drops Hernandez with a pair of shoulderblocks. Morgan hits the ropes, Hernandez sends him flying with a shoulderblock of his own. Hernandez dodges the Carbon Footprint, Morgan escapes the Border Toss and sends him into the corner for rapid-fire elbows. Hernandez catches Morgan with a kick and skins the cat to the top buckle, hitting a SORTA crossbody for a one-count. Morgan tried to catch him but that didn’t go too well. Hernandez charges, Morgan levels him with a discus clothesline for a two-count. Morgan splashes Hernandez in opposite corners, following up with a sidewalk slam for the 1…2…Hernandez kicks out. Morgan works heel a bit, choking Hernandez on the top rope and connecting with a leg splash against the cable. Morgan hangs Hernandez off the apron, connects with a legdrop for the 1…2…Hernandez gets the shoulder up. Morgan hangs onto the wrist, connecting with a pair of short-arm clotheslines for the 1…2…still not enough and Morgan yells at him to stay down. Morgan favors his ribs, Hernandez reverses a corner whip and gets elevated to the apron, slingshotting back in with a shoulderblock and both men are down. Hernandez goes on a comeback string, ripping his tank top off and splashes Morgan in the corner and following up with a spinebuster throw for the 1…2…Morgan kicks out. Morgan tries a backdrop, Hernandez rolls his eyes and counters it into a delayed vertical suplex, showing off the SUPER part of his SuperMex name. Morgan rolls to the SKINNY ramp, Hernandez flattens him with a tope which hurts them both, Hernandez rolling off to the floor clutching his shoulder. Morgan tells the ref not to count Hernandez out, not wanting to win that way. WHAT A GUY I guess. Morgan opens the ropes so his partner can get back in then rams him shoulder-first into the buckle and covers, holding the tights, for the 1…2…3.
Matt Morgan defeated Hernandez via pinfall (9:01)
- I liked this a lot more than I was expecting, to be honest. Good big man match, both men showing off some freakish athleticism for their size. Morgan going heel and winning with a handful of tights was strange though; feels like the Impact Zone crowd WANTS to cheer the guy but they’re having him do heel-ish stuff? Doesn’t make a ton of sense. Also that can’t be good for team morale. (**3/4)
Morgan tries to celebrate with Hernandez, but he gets brushed off for obvious reasons. Morgan faces Pope in the semi-finals.
-RECAP VIDEO: Clips of Angle/Styles from Genesis. Styles gets the win thanks to help from his new manager Ric Flair. Angle was not supposed to get another shot at Styles in 2010 but Hulk Hogan gave him one anyway due to the interference on an episode of Impact. Styles wins thanks to CROOKED REF EARL HEBNER CALLING FOR THE BELL. THE MONTREAL SCREWJOB IS IN. Angle spits on Hogan and destroys the set. Hebner says he did what he did because of the money. Angle APOLOGIZES to Hogan for spitting on him but says anything that happens in the ring is the responsibility of Hulk Hogan. The Band attack Angle after the apology, Angle accuses Hogan of hiring them to do his dirty work. Angle refuses to be screwed the way Hogan has screwed others over the years. Angle beats on The Band, Syxx-Pac beats on Angle with brass knuckles. Out comes Hulk Hogan who teases joining The Band but instead ATTACKS THEM. Angle and Hogan now have an understanding I guess?
- Appreciate TNA bringing me up to speed with this video but OH BOY this doesn’t sound like worthwhile TV to have sat through.
–Christy Hemme interviews Kurt Angle. Angle once again apologizes to Hulk Hogan for doubting his character and decisions but he proved him wrong this past Thursday by attacking The Band. Hemme asks if Angle has been able to prepare for tonight’s tournament given everything that’s gone on; Angle says he’s a pro and can walk and chew gum at the same. He vows to mow through the 8 Card Stud tournament and become the #1 contender to the World Title. Angle will introduce Ken Anderson to TNA the only way he knows how: by beating his ass in the middle of the ring.
8 CARD STUD TOURNAMENT: QUARTERFINALS
Kurt Angle vs. Mr. Anderson
Angle catches a kick and goes for the Ankle Lock, Anderson quickly scrambles to the ropes to prevent it. Angle stays in control, dropping Anderson with a shoulderblock and taking it to the mat with a side headlock takeover. Anderson escapes and clobbers Angle with strikes, choking him with his boot. Angle reverses a whip, connects with a backdrop followed by a snap suplex for a one-count. Angle with a corner whip but Anderson sidesteps him on the way in and the Olympic Gold Medalist goes shoulder-first into the post. Anderson grabs Angle’s pendant and busts him open with it, celebrating before going after the cut with kicks and forearms. Angle tries to battle back, Anderson ducks a clothesline and connects with a DDT for the 1…2…kickout. Anderson slows it down with a choke, wrapping his legs around the midsection to further restrict the breathing, blood dripping everywhere. Gross. Angle drills Anderson with a pair of clotheslines and a release overhead belly-to-belly for the 1…2…Anderson kicks out. Anderson reverses a corner whip, Angle bounces out with a clothesline for the 1…2…not yet. Angle ducks a clothesline, connects with a trio of German suplexes but is too dazed to immediately cover. Anderson escapes an Angle Slam, connects with a rolling senton for the 1…2…Angle gets the shoulder up. Anderson distracts the ref by trying to take off a turnbuckle, allowing him to take off a different one across the ring. Angle blocks a shot and hits the Angle Slam for the 1…2…Anderson with the shoulder up! Straps go down, Anderson kicks Angle off an Ankle Lock. Angle charges, Anderson dodges sending him into the exposed steel of the buckle, Anderson follows up with the Mic Check for the 1…2…3!
Mr. Anderson defeated Kurt Angle via pinfall (9:49)
- Anderson stunk the joint out last month in his TNA debut but made up for it here with a damn good match with Angle (who probably deserves some of the credit for that). I liked Anderson faking out the ref so he could remove a different buckle. Angle bled real gross here, not quite Muta Scale but enough for it to be dripping everywhere, which seemed like a little too much for a match like this. Didn’t need to happen but I’m a mark for blood so I went with it. Anderson picks up the surprising win and moves onto the semi-finals. (***)
Anderson grabs Angle’s pendant (they keep calling it a medal but come on) and drops it across his fallen opponent’s chest. GET THAT HEEL HEAT, BRO.
–Eric Bischoff is with Abyss and Mick Foley in his office. Bischoff says running a wrestling company is a tough job, has a responsibility to deliver the best product he can on PPV. He wants to make sure there will be NO SHENANIGANS in their match tonight, and reminds them that if he senses any “gamesmanship” Bischoff is going to take Abyss’ mask. Foley tells “Chris” the mask is safe, and asks Bischoff if his shenanigan meter is objective or not. Bischoff raises the bar for them, making the match “No Disqualification” because he wants to see the barbed wire baseball bat he hands Foley to be used. If it’s not used then the mask comes off. Abyss pleads, saying he can’t hurt Foley.
- Well TNA turned the corner on making Abyss wrestle “real” matches super quick. Smart move. Also I thought Foley was already gone from TNA by the time Hogan and Bischoff showed up so this is a surprise. Foley working for a company being headed up by Eric Bischoff again, what a real hell frozen over scenario.
-Tenay and Taz discuss the Abyss/Foley match we’re about to see.
8 CARD STUD TOURNAMENT: QUARTERFINALS (NO DQ)
Abyss vs. Mick Foley
Abyss cradles his black bag of thumbtacks during his entrance. He doesn’t want to hurt Foley but he doesn’t want to lose his mask. Foley brings the barbed wire baseball bat with him. TACKS VS BARBED WIRE. LET’S GET BLOODEH. No flannel shirt for Foley either, Bischoff apparently hates it and made him change it. Hogan/Bischoff Era: changing the WRONG things about TNA.
Abyss drops Foley with a shoulderblock, Foley grabs the bat but gets clobbered from behind. Abyss with a corner Avalanche, Foley crumples to the mat. “USE THE BAT” chant as Abyss grabs it but he drops it, not wanting to do it. Foley argues with Abyss, slapping him in the face and telling him to do it. Abyss fights back with rights, Foley falls to the floor. Foley rams Abyss on the guardrail, a lady in the front row giving a very awkward thumbs up, wishing she was anywhere else. Pretty funny. Foley cracks a chair across Abyss’ back and rams him on the step, telling him again to use the bat or lose the mask. Foley grabs the bat and charges, Abyss catches him with a boot. Foley counters a backdrop with a neckbreaker, connects with a running knee in the corner. Foley pours out the bag of tacks in the center of the ring (camera-side because he’s a professional). Foley charges, Abyss goozles but won’t chokeslam on the tacks, instead of finding a bare part of the canvas to hit the move and covers for the 1…2…kickout. “USE THE BAT” chant starts again, Abyss grabs Mr. Socko and the chant changes to “USE THE SOCK”. Foley dodges, connects with a double-arm DDT. Foley trips the ref and STEALS HIS SOCK. Foley grabs a Mandible Claw (F*CKING GROSS) and Abyss starts fading. Ref checks the arm once…twice…Foley lets go to make sure the match doesn’t end yet. LOOKS LIKE SHENANIGANS TO ME. Abyss crawls to the corner, Foley grabs the bat, Abyss sends him into the tacks with a Black Hole Slam for the 1…2…3!
Abyss defeated Mick Foley via pinfall (7:44)
- Abyss got the win but the bat wasn’t used so I guess he’s losing the mask come Impact. I’ll see if that happens when the next PPV hits, Impact Plus doesn’t have a complete collection of their TV on their site I pay money for so even if I wanted to I can’t check it out. MOVING ON this one was more story-ish driven and wasn’t as bloody as I was hoping, but at least we got some thumbtacks I guess. There HAS to be a good hardcore match between these two somewhere in the TNA library, I can’t imagine Mick Foley spent time in this company and didn’t face Abyss in a match like that. (**)
Foley hands Abyss the bat again trying to get him to use it but Abyss refuses and instead helps takes the tacks out of his back. Abyss takes on Mr. Anderson in the semi-finals and if you watched Genesis or read my recap you know that I’m DREADING this one.
–Christy Hemme interviews The Nasty Boys. Brian Knobbs sets the story straight: they know why they’re here in TNA but everybody else just THINKS they know. Jerry Sags says they aren’t bottom feeders, they go right to the top where Team 3D happens to be. Knobbs tells everyone to get ready because Team 3D is going to Nastyville BABY. Cue feud recap video.
Team 3D (Brother Ray & Brother Devon) vs. The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags)
The Nasty Boys. On PPV. In 2010. What a world. My own opinions of THE NASTY BOYS ON PPV IN 2010 notwithstanding I am actually kind of looking forward to this one as these two teams can brawl their asses off. Maybe we’ll get something good out of this. F*ck it, ya know?
Team 3D charge the ring and a brawl immediately breaks out. Are The Nasty Boys wrestling in sweatpants?!? Yikes. Glad Sags recovered enough from his originally career-ending injury to make a little comeback. Nasty Boys get the better initially, Team 3D fight back and connect with a double clothesline on Sags and the Boys bail to the floor to regroup. They take their time, slowing it down while Taz admonishes the ref for not bothering to make a count. Things turn into a regular wrestling match, Sags sending Ray to the canvas with a cheapshot. Sags rakes the eyes, connects with a corner clothesline and Ray flops down. Knobbs tags in, Ray fires off a series of jabs until an eyepoke puts a stop to that. Sags tags back in, Ray sends him into Knobbs and connects with a side belly-to-belly suplex to avoid PITY CITY. Devon tags in, Team 3D connect with a double shoulderblock, Knobbs pulls Sags to the floor so he can get a breather. “WE WANT TABLES” chant pops off from the Impact Zone crowd. Devon fights out of the Nasty Boys’ corner, connecting with a clothesline on Knobbs. He charges at Sags who pulls the top rope down and sends him crashing to the floor. Sags clotheslines Devon, Ray clobbers him from behind and sends him into the cameraman. Nasty Boys keep control, hitting a double shoulderblock of their own and Knobbs appears to be busted open in the corner of his eye. Not sure how that could’ve happened but okay. Ray gets goaded in the ring, Nasty Boys take advantage and put the boots to Devon. Knobbs misses a corner splash, Devon drops Sags. Ray gets the hot tag, clobbering both Nasties with rights and scoop slams. Ray whips Knobbs into Sags, corner splash to both and an attempted urinage to Sags but it…does not go well. WAZZZZUP headbutt to Knobbs, 3D to Sags and Ray covers but the ref is distracted with Devon. JIMMY HART shows up and gives Knobbs a motorcycle helmet to clobber Ray in the back of the head with, Sags covers for the 1…2…3.
The Nasty Boys defeated Team 3D via pinfall (10:43)
- …okay maybe my optimism was misguided here because this was NOT good. Nasty Boys are well past their prime and looked damn-near lost within seconds of the match starting, Team 3D having the shoulder the burden of making it watchable. Only so much you can do. Also OF COURSE Jimmy Hart showed up to do the WrestleMania VII finish. OF COURSE. This is Hogan’s TNA after all. Hogan is the ultimate politician in pro wrestling, never forget it. Match bad, result bad, bad bad bad. (1/4*)
–Eric Bischoff discusses tonight’s World Title with Samoa Joe. Joe says a company needs a champion they can believe in and AJ Styles is not that man which is why he is cashing in the briefcase. Bischoff says he’s in a tough spot, saying he should be calling everything down the middle since he’s representing TNA. Joe tells Bischoff to take care of Flair and he’ll take care of AJ. Bischoff tells Joe to also keep control of his “Samoan” temper. Joe agrees to shut him up most likely.
8 CARD STUD TOURNAMENT: SEMI-FINALS
“The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero vs. “The Blueprint” Matt Morgan
Morgan throws Dinero into the corner, points out his size advantage just in case no one was paying attention. Dinero isn’t deterred, going after Morgan’s legs and connecting with a dropkick. Morgan blocks a whip, easily tosses Pope to the floor. Morgan continues the heel-ish path he started earlier in the night, choking Dinero on the guardrail while talking a little trash. Dinero tries to fight back, Morgan stops the flurry with a knee to the midsection. Corner elbows in the corner followed by an Avalanche into a one-arm sidewalk throw, saying it’s not time to finish him quite yet. Is Morgan a heel and I just couldn’t tell because the Impact Zone crowd likes him so much? SHADES OF GREY or whatever, maybe. All Morgan’s offense only gets him a one-count when he decides to finally make a cover, surprising the big man. Dinero boxes Morgan’s ears to escape a bearhug, Morgan catches him mid-crossbody and turns it into a fallaway slam, brushing his shoulder off like it’s no thing but wasting too much time and Dinero kicks out of the lateral press. Dinero counters Morgan with a DDT, both men down. Dinero brings Morgan to his knees and connects with a series of forearms and elbows. Dinero drops Morgan in place for the Coronation, Morgan quickly bounces up and drills him with a rolling lariat for the 1…2…POPE KICKS OUT. Morgan throws all sorts of strikes at Dinero, Dinero dodges a corner Carbon Footprint and hits the DDE for the 1…2…3!
D’Angelo Dinero defeated Matt Morgan via pinfall (8:31)
- Good match, Dinero finding a way to pull it off despite the height and weight disadvantage he came into the match with. Morgan had it won in spots but decided to boast instead and in the end it cost him. I am into this show being all about The Pope. (**3/4)
-Jeremy Borash interviews Mr. Anderson ahead of the next match. Anderson makes Borash repeat the fact he beat Kurt Angle earlier tonight, then corrects him saying he DESTROYED Kurt Angle. Anderson says he’s the guy everyone is looking at to lead the company to greatness and is the guy who’s going to go all the way tonight and garb the title shot, then the title at Lockdown. Anderson is the guy they call….MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIISTER ANDERSON. Anderson leaves, Borash tries to sum it up and Anderson pops up on the OPPOSITE side with another ANDERSON. Goddammit that was pretty funny.
8 CARD STUD TOURNAMENT: SEMI-FINALS
Abyss vs. Mr. Anderson
Anderson still has the blood of Kurt Angle on his face, showing off the fact he doesn’t shower between matches. Gross dude. Abyss brushes off Anderson’s strikes and a crossbody attempt, like flying into a brick wall. An embarrassed Anderson calls for a test of strength and suckerpunches Abyss instead. Abyss responds with a slam and they reset. Anderson charges, Abyss greets him with a big boot followed by a clothesline out to the floor. Abyss blocks a guardrail shot and sends Anderson into the steel. Anderson catches a charging Abyss with a back elbow and a dropkick to the knee to ground the big man. Anderson tries to pull the mask off, Abyss squashes him in the corner to prevent it but once again his knee gets taken out to bring him back to the canvas. Abyss goozles Anderson, Anderson escapes with elbows but runs right into a backdrop. Abyss goes on a comeback string, clotheslining Anderson in the corner and connecting with a sidewalk slam for the 1…2…Anderson kicks out. Abyss blocks the Mic Check, connects with Shock Treatment for the 1…2…still not enough. Anderson moves Abyss’ mask to blind him, Abyss accidentally goozles the ref and Anderson attacks from behind with the Mic Check for the 1…2…3.
Mr. Anderson defeated Abyss via pinfall (8:10)
- Anderson and Abyss had an all-timer awful match at Genesis and thankfully there was nowhere to go but up from that. This was MUCH better and god help me I enjoyed Anderson’s antics throughout, from his sarcastic waving at the ref when he broke the ring count to his using Abyss’ mask to blind him and pick up the win. Not bad at all. Pope/Anderson is our 8 Card Stud final which is kinda cool to see. At least for Dinero. (**1/4)
–Christy Hemme interviews AJ Styles and “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. Styles hits on Hemme and is not worried about Samoa Joe; he’s beaten him before and will do it again. Styles says a wrestler like him once in a lifetime so take a good look and excuse the champ while he takes out his 30,000 dollar diamond earrings. Flair says they’re going to walk that aisle and make history.
-FEUD RECAP: AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe. Joe mad at Styles for giving up his fighting spirit for a suit and “overpriced hookers”. Joe wants to remind Styles how to be a man and that’s why he’s cashing in his title shot at Against All Odds.
–Hulk Hogan stops Eric Bischoff backstage. Hogan tells him to drop his animosity for Ric Flair, Bischoff says he’s cool. Hogan asks for no shenanigans, saying the talent need to believe in them and tells Bischoff to call it down the middle. Hogan walks off, Bischoff mutters “Dammit”, forced to actually do the thing he said he was going to do.
-After Bischoff and Samoa Joe make their entrance, we go backstage where AJ Styles is adorned in a Nature Boy robe, courtesy of Ric Flair…and it’s got an AJ STYLES HOOD SO HE CAN STILL DO HIS PEEK THING. Tremendous. Jeremy Borash handles in-ring introductions for that big fight feel.
“The Phenomenal” AJ Styles [c] [w/ “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair] vs. “The Samoan Submission Machine” Samoa Joe for the TNA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP w/ Eric Bischoff as Special Guest Ref
Styles backs Joe in the corner, Joe quickly escapes and the champ bails to the floor to prevent a counterattack, bragging about being smarter. Joe counters a headlock with a whip and sends Styles stumbling into the ropes with a shoulderblock. Styles tries for another shoulderblock, same result. Styles teases trying again, catches Joe with a right hand instead. Joe responds with a running shoulderblock and a series of left jabs in the corner. Joe continues the onslaught, connecting with a running knee in the corner but the resulting lateral press only gets him a one-count. Styles dazes Joe with a jawbreaker, Joe responds with a knee lariat for a two-count. Almost looked like a standing Shining Wizard. Also AJ Styles has blonde highlights like he’s in N’Sync and I can’t believe I’m just noticing it now. Joe knots up the muscles with hamstring kicks, Styles catches one and counters with a dragon screw legwhip. Styles focuses his offense on the right knee with repeated stomps and goes for a Figure Four, Joe kicks him out and Styles shoots out into the guardrail on the floor. Joe follows up with a tope suicida but clutches his knee after, putting too much pressure on it during the run.
Styles stops the flurry with a poke to the eye, sending Joe into the ring post. Styles rips up the protective mats, exposing the concrete floor of the Impact Zone. Joe blocks a suplex and tries one of his own, Styles escapes but walks right into a chop from the challenger. Joe stalks Flair around the ring, Styles catches him on the way in with a basement dropkick. Styles slows things down with a chinlock, dueling chants from the crowd. Joe escapes, Styles sends him running and connects with one helluva dropkick but doesn’t even get a count when he goes for the cover. Joe blocks a top rope hurricanrana and comes off the buckles with a flying knee for the 1…2…Styles kicks out. Joe plants Styles with a urinage, Styles catches him charging in with a pair of boots and drops down for full mount rights. Bischoff pulls Styles off, Flair sneak attacks and rams Joe’s leg into the post. Styles clips the knee and goes back to weakening it with repeated elbowdrops and a Muta Lock in the center of the ring. Styles breaks it and locks in the Figure Four Leglock, Joe almost turns it but Flair helps Styles regain control. Bischoff catches it and physically breaks up the hold, Flair throws his jacket in disgust. Styles charges, Joe backdrops him out to the floor.
Joe wakes up, going on a comeback string of clotheslines and countering a flying nothing into an inverted atomic drop. Joe drops Styles with a boot followed by a senton for the 1…2…champ kicks out. Corner whip, snap powerslam for the 1…2…Styles kicks out again, Bischoff not happy about it but he’s calling it down the middle. Styles gets sent to the apron, connects with a springboard forearm and connects with more full-mount rights despite Bischoff making the count like it’s a cover anyway. Joe fights back with open-hand strikes (aka SLAPS), Styles stuns him with an elbow followed by a backflip into inverted DDT for the 1…2…Joe kicks out and Styles immediately accuses Bischoff of counting too slow. Joe counters a Styles Clash into a rear-naked choke, turning it into a suplex that the champ takes on his head. Joe goes for the Muscle Buster, Flair grabs Joe’s leg and Bischoff gets in his face. Joe hits the Muscle Buster and covers, Flair pulls Bischoff out to prevent the count and Bischoff knocks him on his ass with a right hand. OH DAMN. Joe pulls Bischoff back in and asks him what he’s doing, shoving him. Bischoff shoves back, Joe backs him into the corner and yells at him, Styles catches him with a Pele Kick followed by a Styles Clash for the 1…2…Bischoff doesn’t want to do it but he has to…3!
AJ Styles [c] defeated Samoa Joe via pinfall to retain the TNA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (21:28)
- GREAT match slightly ruined by Bischoff/Flair shenanigans at the end. Styles and Joe work really great together and were a safe bet to put another clinic here, and they did not disappoint. It was a fascinating mix, as Styles/Joe was like pre-Hogan TNA but then they threw in the Hogan-era TNA stuff in there so it was like it had a foot in two worlds. That probably didn’t make any sense, but ANYWAY great match if you take out the rest of the bullsh*t. Styles’ highlights are still making me laugh. (***3/4)
Flair gets on the mic and demands Bischoff raise Styles’ hand in victory. He does, albeit very quickly, and they get the last laugh.
-Tenay and Taz review the action of the 8 Card Stud tournament.
–Christy Hemme interviews Mr. Anderson. Anderson sarcastically wishes Hemme a Happy Valentine’s Day and says he’s on a quest to check things off his bucket list tonight, one match away from securing a title shot at the most prestigious championship in the entire freakin’ world. Anderson tells Pope to say his little prayers because he’s about to be excommunicated.
–Jeremy Borash interviews D’Angelo Dinero. Dinero does not respect Anderson so from now he on he’s going to call him “junior”. Dinero says the business needs to change, consider him the cashier and Anderson’s check voided. Dinero is cut off by a surprise attack from Scott Hall and Syxx-Pac. Hall tells Hogan not to turn his back on the Wolfpac…all while wearing an ICP jersey. Woop woop. Apparently they don’t work for TNA but keep getting backstage to sneak attack people, TNA needs to up their security budget.
-The music hits for D’Angelo Dinero but he doesn’t come out, so Mr. Anderson makes his entrance instead.
8 CARD STUD TOURNAMENT: FINALS
“The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero vs. Mr. Anderson
Anderson tells the ref to ring the bell and start the count. At the count of six Dinero emerges from the back, limping, and Anderson meets him on the ramp with a clothesline. Anderson sprints back to the ring to break the count, then runs back to put the boots to him some more and deliver crossface forearms. Anderson gets in Dinero’s face, Dinero slaps him and fights back with strikes. Dinero and Anderson roll into the ring then roll out, Anderson sends Dinero into the ring steps, and breaks the count to keep the punishment going. AJ Styles and Ric Flair are shown watching the match backstage LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE and not at a side angle. THANK YOU. Finally Anderson decides to let the ref count, feeling he’s done enough damage. Dinero gets to the apron, Anderson sends him crashing back to the floor with a headbutt. Dinero puts together some strikes but his ribs are in too much pain for a suplex and Anderson easily counters with one of his own for the 1…2…kickout. Anderson tries for another pair of covers after dropping a series of elbows but Pope kicks out of each. Dinero lays into Anderson with a flurry of jabs, Anderson catches him with a right under the jaw and repeatedly stomps him, slowing it back down with a chinlock.
Dinero escapes and ducks a pair of clotheslines, Anderson connects with a knee to the ribs for the 1…2…Pope still in the game. Anderson stomps the ribs some more, drops him back to the mat with a short-arm clothesline for the 1…2…Dinero kicks out, Anderson goes back to the chinlock. Dinero finds his third win, connecting with an inverted atomic drop and a leaping shoulderblock. Pope connects with a German suplex and a driving clothesline right into a pin for the 1…2…Anderson kicks out. Anderson goes back to the ribs to stop the offense, Dinero floats over in the corner and drops down for a MASSIVE uppercut. Dinero pulls the kneepads down, DDE right to the chest for the 1…2…Anderson gets the shoulder up! Anderson connects with a clothesline and calls for his ceiling mic. Anderson tells the crowd they’re one Mic Check away from the next number one contender…hold that thought…Anderson hits the Mic Check for the 1…2…DINERO KICKS OUT AND THE CROWD THAT STILL CARES POP! Anderson connects with a rolling senton but MISSES the Swanton, Dinero dodges a corner splash and hits the DDE for the 1…2…3!
D’Angelo Dinero defeated Mr. Anderson via pinfall to win the 8 Card Stud Tournament (15:47)
- The attack on Dinero before the match felt a little unnecessary; he already wrestled two hard-fought matches, he didn’t additional odds to overcome in my opinion but it is what it is. Match was okay, following up Styles/Joe was going to be a tough task for anyone, and while it did drag the final stretch was pretty great and Anderson had some great cocky moments. Right guy won, awesome to see The Pope get his shine to conclude the PPV. (***)
Dinero celebrates on the ramp as we see clips of his three wins over the course of the night, as well as the attack by Scott Hall & Syxx-Pac. Dinero reenters the ring to soak in the win and the adulation, Anderson looking like someone just sh*t in his cereal on the floor, as the show concludes.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Much MUCH better PPV than Genesis last month. I’m a sucker for a one-night tournament and the 8 Card Stud was a good time, with a fresh new-ish face getting the chance to stand tall at the end of the show. The only truly awful part of the show was Team 3D/The Nasty Boys from a wrestling perspective so I don’t regret putting time into this one. The Hogan/Bischoff stuff already feels suffocating two PPVs into their reign though and probably won’t let up, but hopefully I’ll get used to it. Eventually.
- MATCH OF THE NIGHT: AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe
- MOMENT OF THE NIGHT: D’Angelo Dinero wins the 8 Card Stud tournament and stands tall amongst his congregation.