Monday, May 23, 2011

WWE RAW 5/23/11 -- Raw is Savage (Kind Of)

WWE RAW 5/23/11
May 23rd, 2011
Rose Garden Arena, Portland, Oregon
Attendance: ???

We're less than 24 hours removed from the Over the Limit PPV as RAW continue's it's tour of the Northwest, stopping in Portland tonight. Tonight's show is expected to also be in part a tribute to the late Macho Man Randy Savage, so it should be an interesting evening in the WWE. We open the show with the same "Rest in Peace" graphic that they displayed before last night's PPV before cutting into the usual intro package.

Your hosts are Josh Matthews, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler

We open the show officially with Jerry Lawler making his way out to the ring. He grabs a mic and celebrates his defeat of Michael Cole at last night's PPV. King says he knew Cole would try to weasel out of the stipulation of the match, but he had an ace up his sleeve. Or rather, a "Hart". Chuckle chuckle. Bret Hart's music hits and the Hall of Famer comes down to the ring and joins Jerry. King joins Josh at the commentary table while Bret says it was his pleasure to make sure that Michael Cole suffered the agony of "de-feet". Suddenly R-Truth's "music" hits (which is still just a clip of him saying his catch phrase and no actual music) and he makes his way down to the ring with a mic in his hand to some big boos. Truth complains about never getting a title shot like Bret got and then takes his sunglasses and goes to ringside to give it to a fat kid at ringside. He snatches the glasses off his head moments later though and the look on the kid's face is priceless. Truth says maybe he needs to beat up a Hall of Famer to get noticed, and Bret just tells him to bring it on. Truth tries to walk off but John Cena's music hits and the WWE champion makes his way out to the ring, walking gingerly after the punishment he took the night before. Cena exchanges pleasantries with Bret and then turns his attention to Truth, asking him when exactly he went insane. Truth cracks on Cena's acting career, shouting the "I want my son back!" line from the Legendary trailer. Truth blames Cena and Bret for his troubles, calling them propaganda tools in the conspiracy against him. Suddenly the lights flicker and the RAW GM has sent an e-mail. Josh Matthews reads it and announces that tonight's main event will be R-Truth and CM Punk against John Cena and Rey Mysterio with Bret Hart as the special guest referee. Decent opening segment, Truth's heel turn continues to be one of the more interesting things in the company right now and it appears like he may be Cena's next title challenger.

Backstage Kane and Big Show are hanging out on Alberto Del Rio's car, which looks like one of those racecar beds kids have in comparison to how big they both are. Ricardo Rodriguez runs up to get them off but gets shoved down, so Del Rio walks up and says a whole lot of stuff in Spanish that apparently is enough to make them get up and leave. Okay then.

WWE Tag Team Title Match
Big Show/Kane
© vs. David Otunga/Michael McGillicutty

CM Punk joins the commentary team for this match much to my delight. As usual, he's better than both Josh and King at this point. Kane and Otunga start us off with Kane dominating. Big Show tags in and does the same to McGillicutty, making them both look like total jobbers (not that I'm complaining). Nexus looks to regroup outside the ring as we cut to commercial. When we return Otunga is choking Kane in his corner with the heel of his boot. Nexus isolates Kane in their corner for a bit, trading quick tags as he plays the role of your sadomasochistic babyface in peril. Kane hits a big boot and gets the hot tag to Big Show, who quickly cleans house on Nexus. Mason Ryan tries to get involved but gets clotheslined out which distracts the ref long enough for Punk to come up and kick Show in the back of the head, and Otunga and McGillicutty give him a sloppy double DDT, giving them the cheap win and the titles at 5:25 (shown). Oh joy, more of the Nexus jobbers hold tag team gold again. Is WWE creative really so out of ideas for Kane and Show that they resort to booking them in identical feuds one after the other against ex-Nexus members? We just saw this feud on Smackdown, and it sucked. As did this match. *

Backstage Scott Stanford asks Show if he's frustrated and Show flips the hell out on him before Alberto Del Rio walks up and slaps him in the face. Show chases after him and the camera conveniently takes a few moments to catch up as we see Show's leg underneath Del Rio's car when the camera man turns the corner. Oh, fun, another "hit by a car" angle. Gotta have one of those atleast once a year. After what seems like an eternity of Big Show writhing on the ground, groaning like a dying cow we finally cut to commercial. When we return the camera is STILL on Show as he struggles to get to his feet and eventually does despite clearly being injured.

Jack Swagger vs. Evan Bourne

Well would you look at the time, it's half past Evan Bourne jobbing time again. Atleast he gets an entrance this week. Hurricanrana from Bourne to start but Swagger responds with a boot to the face. Swagger works an armbar and Josh Matthews stupidly asks King how many matches he's had in his career, like that's even a question he could possibly answer correctly. Bourne tries a jumping kick but Swagger grabs his ankle and tries for the ankle lock. Bourne fights it off and tries another hurricanrana, but Swagger counters with a huge gut-wrench suplex and that's enough to put Evan away at 2:11. After the match Bourne gets a measure of revenge with a spinning heel kick on Swagger as he celebrates and then takes runs off. Not bad for a squash match, but if this was supposed to be the start of a Swagger/Bourne feud, having Swagger dispose of Bourne like he's a total jobber isn't the way to go about that. ½*

Backstage a dejected Michael Cole is walking around. He offers a handshake to Eve, and she offers her foot instead for him to kiss presumably as we cut to commercial. When we return Cole makes his way out to the ring to a chorus of boos. Cole says he doesn't deserve the fans attention and then he apologizes to Jerry, Josh, Justin Roberts, time-keeper Mark Yeaton, and the fans themselves. The fans aren't buying any of it though of course because Cole has been the most over-the-top uber heel for the last 6 months and a quick apology isn't going to make them forget that. It's clear they're trying to press the "reset" button on Cole, throw out his heel character and bring him back to the table as the play-by-play man. King says he's glad Cole is apologizing and then rubs in last night's loss by putting up a still of King's foot in Cole's mouth. King gives him a box of Altoids and Cole says he deserves that as King allows him to re-join the commentary table. I've never been a Cole fan, but him as the neutral play-by-play man is so much more tolerable than over the top heel Cole at the booth, burying the talent in the ring constantly.

The Miz's music hits and the former champion comes out to the ring next with Alex Riley at his side. Miz says the only reason he didn't win the title last night was because of Riley. He replays the mistakes that Riley has made over the last few weeks and then turns his attention to the anonymous Raw general manager, asking for a one on one title match against John Cena with Alex Riley banned from ringside. The GM responds with an e-mail denying Miz another title shot and Miz again blames it all on Riley. Riley says he wasn't the one who said "I Quit" last night and The Miz flips out and fires him. He shoves Riley and Riley attacks The Miz to a nice pop, ripping off his shirt and throwing him around the ringside area. A "Riley!" chant breaks out as he continues to attack Miz back inside the ring, screaming at him the entire time before storming off and leaving Miz laying in the ring. This worked well in getting Riley over as a potential face (surprisingly), but it also made The Miz generally look like shit. Losing to Cena is one thing, but getting totally punked out by a rookie like Alex Riley is another. Luckily Miz is over enough and talented enough that this shouldn't be much of a setback for him though.

Kelly Kelly/Beth Phoenix/Eve Torres/Gail Kim vs. Maryse/Melina/Brie Bella/Nikki Bella

Before the match starts Cole puts over the Divas like they're the greatest thing he's ever had the honor of calling in a wrestling ring to try and press the reset button on his constant burial of the division on commentary over the last few months. Before the match can really even get started though Kharma's music hits and she makes her way down to the ring. She gets into the center of the ring and falls on her knees and begins...crying? Huh? We cut to commercial with her crying and when we return the match is over apparently. Interesting development in the Kharma angle. No match rating obviously. [N/R]

Kofi Kingston vs. Drew McIntyre

Drew is back on RAW and has pyro again, so I guess they're going to try pushing him again. Probably helps that Bret Hart was talking him up on Twitter and is in the building tonight. Fast pace to start as Kofi does a nice leap-frog before apparently botching the second leapfrog, though that may have been planned as Drew goes right to work on Kofi's leg afterwards. He wrenches away on Kofi's leg until Kingston fights him off and hits a russian legsweep, favoring his leg in the process. Boom Drop from Kofi and he looks to set up for the Trouble in Paradise, but his leg gives out from under him as he tries to perform the move and Drew covers him for a two count. Running powerbomb from Drew but again Kofi kicks out. Kofi gives him his signature arm-trapped somersault STO and pins Drew clean at 4:25. Well that was an odd ending. They focused on the limb-work with Kofi to apparently set up a win for Drew in his official RAW return, but then just had him lose clean in minutes anyways. Decent enough while it lasted, questionable booking aside. *¾

Backstage Dolph Ziggler watches on. It's worth noting he's dyed his hair back bleach blonde again, thank God.

The King says he wonders what it would be like if the President were involved in the PPV next month, and they do the whole dream segment seque into the same corny over-edited video package of Obama at a press conference clipped in with actors asking WWE-related question.

The New Nexus celebrate backstage with CM Punk and their new tag team titles as Punk tells them to watch him wrestle next.

After the commercial break Alberto Del Rio fawns worry and panic about Big Show getting hit by a car earlier in the night with Scott Stanford. He blames it on Ricardo and storms off.

Back at ringside Josh, King, and Michael hype the main event and then finally mention the passing of Macho Man Randy Savage this past week. King puts him over and we cut into a nicely put together video package on Randy's life and career, set to Coldplay's "The Scientist", which happens to be one of my all time favorite songs. Touching video package. I highly recommend checking out the tribute video that Diamond Dallas Page posted to his YouTube channel as well while you're at it. After the video airs the crowd gives a huge standing ovation and a big several Macho Man chants break out as we cut to commercial. You know I was expecting more than just one video package, but atleast it was a well done video package. We're going to miss the hell out of you Randy, we truly are.

John Cena/Rey Mysterio vs. R-Truth/CM Punk

Bret Hart is YOUR special guest referee for the match. Cole agrees with Truth's attitude change and so does Josh, so maybe Cole isn't going to be fully turning face after all. Punk comes out in a pair of old-school Macho Man trunks in a sign of respect to the fallen legend, making me love him even more. The faces dominate in the opening minute of the match as the heels try to re-group on the outside while we cut to commercial. When we return Punk is laying in elbows on Cena in the corner. Cena responds with some right hands and Punk tries to hide behind Bret Hart in classic heel fashion. Truth tags in and rocks Cena with a big right hand as the dueling Cena chants start up in the crowd already. Punk beats down on Cena for a bit until John gets the hog tag to Rey, who explodes on Punk with a hurricanrana and a stiff kick for a two count. Rey tries for the 619 on Truth but Punk grabs him and tries for the GTS only for Rey to counter out and nail Punk with the 619 and Punk turns around to meet a right hand from Bret Hart, who then puts Punk into the Sharpshooter. Rey hits a springboard legdrop and that finishes Punk off at 6:51 (shown). After the match all the babyfaces celebrate together while Cole flips out about Hart's actions. That was a strange ending since Punk didn't attack Bret or anything, he just hid behind him. I guess that was enough reasoning for Bret to attack him though. Decent main event, but too short and the ending was a bit silly. **

Bottom Line: Pretty weak show after a lackluster PPV event the night before. The Macho Man tribute video was nice and worth checking out and there was some nice angle advancement through out the evening, but aside from that there's absolutely nothing of note here and nowhere near enough in-ring time for a two hour broadcast. Not an awful show or anything, but not really worth your time either. Thumbs Down.

Score: 4/10

Sunday, May 22, 2011

WWE Over the Limit 2011

WWE Over the Limit 2011
May 22nd, 2011
KeyArena, Seattle, Washington
Attendance: 6,500*

Tonight's PPV recap/review is dedicated to the memory of the Macho Man Randy Savage. I'd wax all nostalgic here, but there will be plenty of time for that in other places. Before the usual pre-PPV promo begins, we get a graphic of Savage and the "In memory of" bit. The opening video package is actually fairly good, just focusing on the two main title matches of the night. I'm a big Rise Against fan, but hearing "Help is on the Way" doesn't really pump me up for a wrestling match.

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, Booker T, and Josh Matthews

R-Truth vs. Rey Mysterio

Truth's old "What's Up" music is gone obviously, as now he has no music at all, just a quick soundbite of his new catchphrase. Truth gets some great heat here actually as he cuts a rambling promo about his parking spot and how he's going to take Rey Mysterio's spot for the show tonight. Rey ducks an early clothesline attempt and Truth crashes to the outside floor. Mysterio hits a running headscissors takedown off the apron onto Truth on the floor and then tosses him back into the ring. Truth catches Rey in the tree of woe position and stomps away at the mid-section as the boos continue to reign in for everything Truth does. He tosses Mysterio head-first into the ring post and Rey crumbles to the floor so Truth rolls him back in the ring for a two count. Beautiful sitout gourdbuster from Truth gets him another close two. Both men climb to the top rope and Rey hits a huge bulldog off the top for a near fall of his own. He follows it up with a springboard cross body for another near fall and then just kicks Truth square in the face. Seated senton off the top from Rey, but Truth responds with a twisting elbow as things are starting to pick up here. Truth manages to avoid the 619 and then crotches Rey on the ring apron. Big reverse STO from Truth (I believe he calls it the "Shut Up" now) and Truth gets the clean pin at 8:13. The crowd is shocked and frankly so am I. The only way Truth's heel turn was going to be able to work long-term was if he started with a clean pin tonight, and that's exactly what he got. The match itself was fast-paced and exciting while it lasted and could have easily used a few extra minutes. **¾

After the match Truth grabs a bottle of water for a drink in a nod to his heel turn, and then smashes it over Rey's head.

Backstage The Miz says he has a game plan tonight for John Cena and that once again he's going to silence the doubters by making Cena say "I Quit" tonight.

Cole goes into a severely disturbing tangent about how he shoved his foot into dead fish to make it extra raunchy for the Kiss My Foot match later that night. Cole can be good as a heel sometimes, but he was way too over-the-top here.

WWE Intercontinental Title Match
Wade Barrett © vs. Ezekiel Jackson

The Corre Explodes! Sounds like a cheesy drive-in Sci-Fi movie. Not much of a reaction for either man as this title has been straight up dead since Kofi won it back in January. Big Zeke overpowers Barrett early with a gourdbuster and huge, clubbing forearms. Barrett hits the floor to catch his breath but Zeke continues his offensive onslaught. Barrett gets in a cheap shot behind the ref's back and then...goes for the Macho Elbow? Well, not quite, but he did hit an elbow drop off the top rope and the crowd booed him for it. Barrett slaps on a chinlock and things slow down. Barett tries for the Waste Land but can't deliver it, so he delivers a nice pumphandle slam instead for two. Look at Barrett, he's actually starting to improve in the ring finally. Big Zeke shoulderblocks him and then gives him not one, not two, not three, not four, but FIVE scoop slams. He lifts Barrett up into the torture rack submission but Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater hit the ring to break it up and the ref DQs Barrett at 7:27. This was actually better than I was expecting as it was like a reversal of your classic big/little man formula, with the big man being the babyface here for once and the little man being the heel. It made for a moderately entertaining match until the lame finish, but I actually wouldn't mind seeing a rematch down the road. **

Backstage Mason Ryan and CM Punk walk into the locker room and see McGillicutty and Otunga laying on the floor, apparently from a beatdown by Kane and Big Show. Punk doesn't seem to think it's too big of a deal and tells Ryan they need to go win the tag team titles and then comes back to tell the fallen McGillicutty and Otunga to "walk it off" in a funny moment.

Sin Cara vs. Chavo Guerrero

Excellent, I was hoping this would make the PPV. Not necessarily a "dream match", but it is the first time these two have ever wrestled each other on TV/PPV (not counting the house show matches they've been having). Both men lock-up to start and go into a basic feeling out process, with Cara dragging Chavo around with an armdrag and a headscissors. Chavo hits the floor and Cara follows him out with a twisting splash over the top! He sends Chavo into the barrier with a headscissors as well and the crowd loves it. Back inside Chavo hits a spinning heel kick and goes to work on him in the corner. Huge moonsault off the top gets Cara a close two count. Cara springboards into a takedown but Chavo nails him in the gut and starts to work on Cara's leg. The action spills to the floor where Cara springboards onto Chavo with a big splash. Springboard cross-body block gets Cara two Chavo responds by putting him into the Gory special. Cara counters into an armdrag. Cara hits him with a hurricanrana and Chavo just face-plants from it, so Cara covers him for the win at 7:23. They fit a lot of high spots into a short amount of time, but there wasn't much of a build to any of them and the finish looked botched. High flying fun for the most part though. **¾

Backstage Todd Grisham is with both Christian and Randy Orton, where he tries to stir some drama up. Christian says he knows tonight he's going to defeat Orton and that Orton knows it deep down as well. Randy responds by telling him if he fights Christian's feel-good story there won't be a "Happily ever after" for Christian.

Alberto Del Rio comes out to cut a promo on the crowd about how miserable their lives are, and how glamorous Del Rio's is. He says he could easily make John Cena or The Miz say "I Quit" with his cross armbar. He tells the fans there's nothing they can do, because destiny cannot be stopped. Before he can finish his promo though the Big Show and Kane come out Kane says he's already angry because the rapture didn't come yesterday, and that Del Rio should exit the ring or end up like McGillicutty and Otunga. Del Rio obliges and we transition right into our next match.

WWE Tag Team Title Match
Big Show/Kane
© vs. CM Punk/Mason Ryan

With Punk's contract about to run out, this isn't exactly the kind of booking you'd want to be giving the former world champ. A big "Batista!" chant breaks out as Mason Ryan enters the ring and starts the match with Kane. They slug it out and then Ryan bodyslams Kane. Punk and Show tag in and I have flashbacks to their horrid series of matches last summer as Show clubs Punk around like a child. Ryan tags back in and takes down Show with some big kicks and then tags Punk in so he can try and get the pinfall. Punk tries a headlock but Show holds him up in a bearhug and lets Kane big boot him in the face afterwards. Kane hits the flying clothesline off the top and tries for the chokeslam but Ryan breaks it up and tags back in. Punk and Ryan try to isolate Kane in their corner while Big Show gets the crowd pumped up for the comeback. Ryan gives Kane a running powerslam for a two count. Kane responds with a big suplex and both men are down. Punk goes to the top for an elbow drop and hesitates, pointing to the sky obviously in honor of Randy Savage and he tries for the Macho elbow but Kane moves out of the way and tags Big Show in. Show cleans house. Punk gets tossed out of the ring and then both Show and Kane hit a double-chokeslam on Ryan to retain at 9:05. A whole lot better than you'd think, this just flew by and Punk's antics are always fun. The Macho elbow was a nice tribute too. **

The commentators announce the WWE Capital Punishment PPV name and then run a funny little video with WWE writers asking questions to Obama in a heavily edited faux press conference, complete with dream-like effects.

WWE Diva's Title Match
Brie Bella
© vs. Kelly Kelly

I believe this match was added on Smackdown, along with the Sin Cara/Chavo Guerrero match earlier. Kelly immediately goes into her handstand headscissors submission on the apron and then kicks her into the corner and gives her a Rikishi-like stink-face. Well that was certainly random. Brie goes to work on Kelly's arm, stomping on it and applying an armbar. The Twins eventually make the switch behind the ref's back and Nikki gives Kelly a facebuster for the win at 4:02. The usual piss-break nothing match you expect from this division. Where's Kharma when you need her? ½*

World Heavyweight Title Match
Randy Orton
© vs. Christian

Orton had crushed the dreams of Christian and his many fans by winning the title off of him a few days after he initially won it, but since then Christian hasn't made any excuses and he believes he can defeat Randy Orton. This match is also important because it should give us an idea of the direction they're going to go with Christian after this. They start off with some basic feeling out stuff, leap-frogging each other. Crowd is split in fan support, chanting for both men. Christian applies a rear chinlock and both men trade dropkicks. Huge superplex off the top gets Randy a two count. Christian responds with a big spinebuster for a two count of his own. Christian nails Orton with a series of forearms and then delivers an inverted DDT for two. This crowd is red hot for everything these guys are doing. Orton counters a senton attempt into a rollup.Christian nails his signature slide-out punch and then hits a diving headbutt off the top for another two count. European uppercut and a backbreaker gets Randy two as well, and Booker seems shocked for some reason. Orton then locks on the Billy Goat's Curse submission! Orton's taking pages out Colt Cabana's book now? He could use some of the personality Colt has. Christian gets the rope break and then rolls Randy into a sunset flip for a close two count that the crowd buys into big time. Orton counters Christian's second rope flip kick with his own signature second rope DDT in a creative sequence, but again Christian kicks out! Orton tries for the RKO but Christian escapes it and he starts chanting spear in honor of his former partner Edge, which the fans pick up on and join him in. Christian goes for the spear but Orton counters with a snap powerslam for yet another close two count. Orton looks to attempt his infamous Punt kick, but he hesitates, thinking about the ramificiations for too long and Christian nails him with the spear! 1-2---NOO! Orton somehow kicks out, and even I bought into that near fall big time. Orton counters the Unprettier twice and then RKO's Christian to retain at 16:51! This blew their Smackdown match out of the water (and that match was great in it's own right). These guys have uncanny chemistry together and this was downright incredible with each man countering each other's signature spots in ways never seen before while the crowd went crazy for every last thing they did. Simply put, a fantastic match. ****¼

After the match Randy tries to shake Christian's hand and Christian initially shoves him away and walks off, but then he returns to the ring to shake hands in a sign of respect, begrudgingly. Oh those teasing bastards, they know they can turn Christian heel at any moment but they seem to be unsure of whether to pull the trigger on that move yet.

Kiss My Foot Match
Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole

Like the faux fungus on Cole's foot this feud has overstayed it's welcome. Cole comes out to the ring to massive heat and gets on the mic he actually has a note from his doctor to excuse him from the match. He says if Lawler kisses his foot he'll suffer from hoof in mouth disease. The ref just tears his note up in front of Cole and calls for the bell. Jerry immediately begins to rip Cole's suit off and then hits him with a nice dropkick. Cole suckers King into the corner and throws him into the steel steps and guard barrier. Cole takes off his shoe now and tries to make King kiss it, but Jerry tosses him into the Cole Mine, destroying the plexiglass structure. King hits the fist drop off the second rope back in the ring to get the pin at 2:59. After the match King calls out Eve, who Cole has made fun of quite a bit. She delivers a moonsault to him and then Jerry takes his boot off but he has some more guests as Jim Ross comes out next! He brings out a bottle of JR's BBQ sauce, which is delicious by the way, and then dumps it all down Cole's throat and face. Cole retreats to the stage with a mic and tries to claim he didn't lose tonight. He says he will never kiss King's foot and suddenly Bret "The Hitman" Hart's music plays! Bret Hart comes out and the crowd explodes for him as he grabs Cole and throws him into the ring and applies the sharpshooter as Lawler sticks his foot into Cole's mouth at the same time. Thank God they finally realized this feud needed to end, and this was quite possibly the most over-the-top blow-off to a feud I've ever seen, but it was all entertaining in a perverse kind of way. The match itself was shit obviously, but hopefully this finally ends the chapter on heel Michael Cole and his feud with The King. ½*

After the match Jim Ross joins the commentary team! Damn right, Vince would you just please put Ross back on TV and stop teasing us man?

Trailer for "That's What I Am". Apparently my comments last time about this movie looking terrible offended some people as I was bombarded with angry comments defending the film. Well guys, I've seen it now. And guess what? It sucks. It's one cliche after another.

WWE Title I Quit Match
John Cena
© vs. The Miz

They've got a tough task ahead of them with this match in trying to make the viewer think Cena could lose here, because all signs point to this being a slam-dunk title defense for Cena because of the gimmick. Miz gets on the mic as the match starts and says that because of the rules of this match both he and Alex Riley can do whatever they want to Cena. He offers Cena a chance to say I Quit right now, but Cena says "Hell No" and takes them both on. So this is like a handicap match now basically? Cena tries locking in the STF on Miz but Riley breaks it up. Miz hits a knee strike/neckbreaker combo but Cena counters with the Attitude Adjustment! Riley hops in the ring with his steel briefcase though and batters Cena with it. Miz and Riley continue the beatdown outside the ring, tossing him into the steel barricade. Cena won't quit this early though. They ram some of the table monitors on Cena and then toss him into the steel steps. Miz hits a DDT on the steel steps Miz asks Cena if he wants to quit and when he refuses he instructs Riley to slam him with the steel steps again. Next he grabs a singapore cane and we go through the same routine. "You want to quit?" "No" *THWACK*. They brawl up to the staging area and Miz suplexes Cena on the steel stage. Miz snatches a leather belt off of a camera man and has Riley hold him over the camera crane as he asks him if he quits. Cena tells Miz he "has no nuts" and Miz starts whipping Cena's back. Cena fights out of it eventually though and looks like he may have caught a second wind, but Miz hits him over the back with a steel chair to stop that. Back in the ring the referee gets bumped in all of the ruckus and Cena tries an Attitude Adjustment on Riley, but Miz hits him with an inverted DDT instead. Miz sets up a steel chair between the ring ropes and then gives Cena the Skull Crushing Finale onto the chair! Miz goes to a ringside Cena fan and tells him to beg Cena to quit, but the kid says "no way!". He slams Cena in the face with a steel chair and they pull the Rock/Foley trick of having Cena's pre-recorded voice say "I Quit" over the speakers. The ref initially calls for the bell and awards the title to Miz, but he finds Alex Riley's cell phone at ringside and apparently learns of his plan by pressing a button on the phone. The ref rings the bell again and the match re-starts as Cena gives Riley the Attitude Adjustment through the Spanish announcer's table! Cena pulls out his own leather strap and beats Miz with it all the way up the ramp, where he locks on the STF and forces Miz to say I Quit at 27:08. There were so many problems with this match, it's hard to believe. Making it a handicap match from the start immediately dragged this down as Cena was never given the chance to mount any offense whatsoever and the results were a very boring match in which the Miz and Riley just beat down on Cena for nearly twenty minutes. They threw in a dusty finish as if that was going to keep things interesting, and then when Cena finally did get his hands on Miz, the Miz quit immediately from little punishment. This made The Miz look like total shit. Just totally overbooked nonsense that dragged down what could have been a promising gimmick match and turned it into a total debacle. Still, points for effort from everyone involved.

We close out the show with John Cena celebrating with his title.

Bottom Line: I came into this show with low expectations, but somehow this show still managed to fall well below them. Some matches weren't given enough time while others were given too much, and the main event was overbooked to the point of redundancy and gravely disappointing. The one bright spot on this show was the Randy Orton vs. Christian match, which was absolutely fantastic, but otherwise there's really nothing here you need to go out of your way to see. I've seen much worse shows and I was moderately entertained through out most of the show, but not even that great World Heavyweight title match can make me give this show the recommendation, so we're going with the rare Thumbs Down for the show as a whole.

Score: 5/10

*Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter September 12th, 2011 by Dave Meltzer

EVOLVE 7: Aries vs. Moxley iPPV (4/19/11)

EVOLVE 7: Aries vs. Moxley iPPV
April 19th, 2011
BB Kings House of Blues, Manhattan, New York
Attendance: ???

This is EVOLVE's first i-PPV since they helped create the WWNLive i-PPV provider to compete with GoFightLive, but it's also the last scheduled indy wrestling appearance for Jon Moxley at this time, as he's been signed up to a WWE developmental deal. Tonight he faces Austin Aries in our main event.

Your hosts are Rob Naylor, Austin Aries, and Jimmy Jacobs

Jimmy Jacobs (4-2) vs. Shiima Xion (0-0)

Shiima is making his EVOLVE debut here and he's got a tough task ahead of him in the veteran Jacobs, but he shows no respect to Jimmy as the match begins, slapping him in the face. Jacobs explodes on him and stomps away on him in the corner. Xion hits the floor for a breather but Jacobs follows him out with a big tope suicida. Xion responds with a moonsault off of the guardrail onto Jimmy and they bring the action back into the ring. Jacobs dominates Shiima in the ring, curb-stomping him on the mat. Shiima fights back with a dropkick that entangles Jacobs nastily in the corner and starts to trash talk him and show off to the fans, hitting a backbreaker for a one count. Jimmy tries for Sliced Bread #2, but Xion counters out so Jimmy hits him with a leaping ace crusher for two. Big spinebuster from Xion followed by a superkick, but Jacobs responds with a spear for another near fall. Jacobs tries a back-elbow off the second rope but Xion catches him and rolls through right into a crossface in a neat transition. Xion rolls Jimmy up with a la magistral cradle though and gets the clean upset at 7:28. Decent opening contest and a great debut for Shiima Xion, who showed a lot of personality and character in his short time in the ring. **¼

After the match Shiima gets on the mic and says it's safe to say that he's arrived in the company. He leaves Jimmy some napkins and tells him he can use them to either wipe off his mascara or stick them in his trunks to atleast pretend like he's got something down there. This guy could make a great heel for the company.

Silas Young (1-1) vs. Tony Nese (0-1)

Silas is a guy that's been growing on me over the last few months as I looked more into his work in AAW. Intense lock-up to start and both men trade knees and high kicks. A leg lariat gets Nese an early two count. Both men look impressive in the early going, countering each other at a lightning fast pace. Nese misses a frog splash off the top and eats a fisherman's brainbuster from Silas for a close two. Silas starts some trash talking and nearly boots Nese's head off for another near fall. Nese flips out of a back suplex attempt and lays out Silas with a kick to the face and a spinning heel kick. Nese blocks a tornado DDT attempt and hits a frankensteiner off the top, but Silas gets the shoulder up. Young hits a fireman's carry on Nese and then finishes him off with the PeeGee Waja Plunge at 5:47. This definitely could have used another five minutes as both guys were wrestling at a rapid and crisp pace, showing off their impressive athleticism. I see big things in both guy's futures in the company. **½

After the match Silas threatens to walk over to Larry Dallas' table and smack the taste out of Reby Sky's mouth.

Johnny Gargano (4-2) vs. Jon Davis (0-0)

Davis is one half of the popular Dark City Fight Club tag team out of Florida and is making his debut here, trying to play the spoiler for wins leader Gargano. Basic speed vs. power match-up here. Gargano tries some armwork in the early going but Davis just shakes it off with his power, slamming Gargano to the mat. Big snap suplex gets Davis a two count. Davis slams Gargano several times and then gives him a backbreaker for another near fall. Davis continues to work away on Gargano's back and the crowd surprisingly begins to rally behind Gargano. Gargano starts to mount a comeback with quick kicks and an ace crusher from his knees, but he's still favoring the back. Davis lays in stiff right hands and then lariats Gargano right out of his boots, but Johnny kicks out. Gargano tries for a slingshot spear but Davis catches him and tries for a powerbomb only for Gargano to counter with a hurricanrana that sends Davis to the floor. Gargano follows him out with a tope and then gets right back up and somersaults off the apron onto him! Gargano finds another platform and somersaults off that as well, wiping out Davis for the third time on the floor. Gargano comes off the top but Davis grabs him in mid-air and delivers a devastating spinebuster and a jack-hammer suplex, but somehow Gargano still kicks out. Jumping ace crusher from the second rope and a superkick set up the Diced Bread but Davis kicks out this time. Gargano applies the Gargano Escape and Davis tries to power out of it, but Gargano sinks it back in and Davis taps out at 13:38. Great power vs. speed match with two very talented guys, though I'm surprised the armwork ended up paying off for Gargano. Great debut for Davis too. ***

After the match Gargano celebrates with Larry Dallas and Reby Sky. Larry tries to convince Gargano to share the role as wins leader with stablemate Chuck Taylor if he wins later tonight, but Gargano doesn't seem to like the idea.

Jigsaw/Frightmare (2-0) vs. Facade/Jason Gory (0-0)

Now onto some action in the tag team division, which unfortunately hasn't done much to impress me so far. Facade and Gory are making their debuts here and I can't say I'm familiar with them. Jigsaw and Facade start us off with some arm-drag exchanges. Gory and Frightmare tag in and do virtually the same with a few nip-ups and headscissors thrown in. Frightmare delivers a jumping neckbreaker and then tags Jigsaw back in, though all four men quickly jump in the ring and begin wrestling anyways. Big double dropkick to Gory and Facade in the corner and they both hit the floor for a breather, but of course Jigsaw and Frightmare take them out on the floor with a tope suicida and tope con hilo respectively. Back inside the CHIKARA boys double team Gory with a Gory special/double-stomp combo. Gory plants Jigsaw with a unique leg-sweep DDT and both men tag out to their partners. Facade flies off the top rope with a somersault senton and takes out both of his opponents on the floor. Back inside they double-team Frightmare and a springboard spinning heel kick gets Facade a near fall. The Eclipse gets Frightmare a near fall of his own, but he eats a Yoshi Tonic and a German suplex that Jigsaw breaks up with a double-stomp off the top rope! Jigsaw finishes Gory off with the Jig 'n' Tonic to go 3-0 at 8:48. Now that's more like it, this was wall-to-wall non-stop action from all four men and Gory and Facade still came off well in the loss. One of the best straight tag matches in EVOLVE yet. ***

After the match Frightmare and Jigsaw lay out an open challenge to anyone who thinks they have what it takes to defeat them.

Sami Callihan (2-1) vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (0-0)

Now this is an interesting match-up. Sabre is making his debut here, and from what I've seen of him in the past he should fit right into the company with his in-ring style. Both men charge at eachother as the opening bell rings and immediately begin exchanging stiff chops. Sabre quickly tries for his signature cross-armbar but Callihan counters out quickly with a powerbomb into the turnbuckle. A big kick sends Sami to the floor but Callihan sweeps out Sabre's legs from under him, sending him crashing to the floor, which by the way has the two smallest floor pads I've ever seen on a wrestling show. Seriously they barely cover 1/4 of the floor. Both men fight onto the stage nearby and Sabre again tries to lock in the armbar, but Sami counters with the Stretch Muffler. Exploder suplex from Sami right onto the hardwood floor! Back inside Sami hits a big splash for a two count. Sabre grabs Sami's arm though and begins twisting and bending his fingers, which sends me into a flashback of countless Destroyer matches in Japan in the 70s. Things break down into a stiff slap-boxing match all of a sudden and Sabre lays in some kicks to the midsection for good measure. Callihan springboards in to a face full of boot and Sabre gets a two count off it. Sami hits a pair of Saito suplexes and pulls down the straps, as it's CLOBBERIN' TIME! They trade unique bridging cradles for a lengthy series of near-falls and and Sabre locks in the cross armbar once again. Sami counters back into the Stretch Muffler and then just boots the ever loving shit out of the back of Sabre's head, causing the ref to stop the match and award it to Callihan at 12:01! Just the kind of unique match-up you expect out of EVOLVE, both men came in with a game plan focused on strikes and limb-work. Good debut for Sabre, and I love that ending as EVOLVE continues to take cues from MMA. ***¼

Intermission is next, and in a cool move they decide to play a Larry Sweeney vs. Sal Rinauro from the 2008 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup. Decent match too, but I won't review it since it's not exactly canon.

After the intermission break, Jon Davis comes out for some promo time. He gets into it with Larry Dallas at ringside a bit and then tells the fans he appreciates their support tonight and he promises not to lose again.

AR Fox (0-0) vs. Rich Swann (0-1)

Excellent match choice to come back from the intermission, though in a funny moment the on-screen graphic accidentally refers to him as Sami Callihan before quickly changing to Rich Swann. Well, it is live. Both men quickly run the ropes and do a leapfrog sequence. Swann hits a dropkick and tries for a springboard, but Fox nails him in the face with a dropkick of his own, sending him to the floor. Fox tries a moonsault off the top and lands on his feet as Swann literally flips out of the way, onto the nearby stage podium, which he then moonsaults off himself onto Fox. Yes this match is flippies heaven, and if you can suspend your disbelief a bit there's nothing particularly wrong with that, especially as a match to pump the crowd back up after the intermission. Back inside Swann goes to work on the mid-section and then flips eye-poke. Awesome. Fox tries for an ace crusher but again Swann just flips his way out of it and then hits a Rolling Thunder frog-splash for two. Fox backflips off the top rope into an ace crusher that sends Swann to the floor, where of course he meets him moments later with a huge somersault plancha over the top. Swann delivers a leaping hurricanrana from the top and then follows it with a standing shooting star press, but Fox kicks out again. Fox hits a unique release northern lights suplex for a two count of his own but Swann responds with a rolling stunner for a near fall of his own. Swann climbs to the top but Fox leaps up next to him and delivers a leaping Spanish Fly to get the pin at 6:01! Without a doubt probably the best six minute match I have ever seen in my life. Yes, there was an ungodly amount of flips and rotations. No, it didn't detract from the match because that's exactly what this was supposed to be. I have never seen two guys go all-out and fit so much action into such a short frame of time, and this crowd is rabid and red hot after witnessing it. ***½

Chuck Taylor (4-2) vs. Akira Tozawa (0-0)

Tozawa continues to work for pretty much every independent promotion in the United States, and that's A-Okay with me. Both men start with some basic mat-wrestling, exchanging holds and countering out of them. Tozawa hits a nice back senton but hesitates and only gets a two count. Taylor transitions from an armdrag into a unique bridge for a two count of his own and then drills Akira in the face with a dropkick. Taylor gets a powerslam for another two and starts kicking Tozawa in the ropes. Tozawa misses a bicycle kick but hits a dropkick that sends Taylor to the floor. Tozawa goes for his pair/trio of topes to the floor but Taylor has it scouted, cutting him off on the second tope attempt and hitting a pescado of his own to the floor. Tozawa will not be denied his topes though, hitting another huge one into the guardrail. A towering Saito suplex gets Tozawa a two count of his own. He attempts (and of course misses) the springboard diving headbutt and Taylor just side-slams him to the mat. Taylor misses a second rope moonsault attempt but hits Tozawa with the Sole Food. Tozawa counters with a vicious knee to the back of Taylor's head and both guys are out for the count. Back on their feet they trade vicious forearms and bicycle kicks while generally screaming like mad men possessed. Taylor kicks out of a German suplex then counters a second one with a superkick and follows it with the Awful Waffle to pin Tozawa at 10:49! Another great match here as these two have similar styles and worked excellently together. Some fantastic transition sequences mixed with both men's over the top personalities equals a fun match. ***¼

After the match Larry Dallas, Reby Sky, and Johnny Gargano all hit the ring to celebrate, but because both Chuck and Johnny are tied in the win columns now, we have to have a tie-breaker right now between both men. Dallas tries to weasel out of it

Chuck Taylor (5-2) vs. Johnny Gargano (5-2)

Taylor hits a superkick to start and tries a quick roll-up for two. He tries for the Awful Waffle but Gargano counters into a standing Gargano Escape. He delivers the Hurts Donut to Chuck but Taylor somehow kicks out! Taylor responds by nailing Gargano with the Awful Waffle, but it takes him too long to cover and Gargano kicks out. Gargano launches Taylor into the post like a lawn dart, superkicks him in the face and delivers another Hurts Donut, but again Taylor kicks out! Gargano locks on the Gargano Escape and Larry Dallas gives Reby Sky a white towel that she then throws into the ring to stop the match and give Gargano the cheap win at 2:33. Fans hate that, but it's a smart move booking-wise as you obviously tease at a re-match between the two stablemates down the line. Match wise this was just two minutes of finishers. *

After the match Gargano savors all of the fans boos as the fans chant "You screwed Chuck!"

Jon Moxley (1-1) vs. Austin Aries (1-0)

This is Moxley's final show on the independent scene here as the WWE signed him up to a developmental deal recently. He's a good worker and can be absolutely incredible on a microphone and in his creative promos, so he should do fine in the WWE system. Aries is still fighting off sickness, having apparently lost ten pounds just this week alone. They start on the mat and Moxley one-ups Aries and slaps on an armbar. Aries sends him tot he floor though and comes shooting out after him with the huge tope, sending the guard-rail flying back a few feet. Hilo and a power-drive elbow back in the ring gets Aries two. Aries tries for a suplex and Moxley tries countering it but they both tumble nastily over the top rope and to the floor. They landed pretty bad on that one, and they even bring a doctor out as Jimmy Jacobs leaves the commentary table to check on them, but they slide back into the ring anyways. Big lariat takes Aries inside out and Moxley collapses. Ace crusher gets Moxley a near fall, so he tries a brainbuster but gets the same result. Aries responds with a brainbuster of his own. Moxley hits a superplex off the top, but Aries rolls into a cradle for two. Moxley gives him a big piledriver but once again Aries kicks out so Moxley gives him a cradle piledriver, and this time Aries gets his foot on the rope. Mox is pissed now so he goes to ringside and grabs a wrench from the ring bell, but he can't bring himself to use it. Aries gives him another brainbuster and tries a cross-body off the top, but Moxley rolls through for two and then applies a Fujiwara armbar, really wrenching away on the arm. Moxley tries the Muta Lock on him next but Aries still won't quit and he counters into the Last Chancery. The ref checks to see if he's out but Moxley gets back up and they trade forearms back on their feet. Aries hits his famous brainbuster-450 splash combo, but Moxley kicks out at two!.Aries hits a trio of dropkicks in the corner but Moxley fights back with headbutts and reckless swinging. Aries rolls him up off the ropes though and gets the three at 15:36. The only thing holding this back was the abrupt finish. This was a great way to send Moxley off as he fought a clean match for once and both guys wrestled an extremely fun mix of an old school brawl and the modern indy "main event" formula. ***½

After the match the locker room come out as Aries gives Moxley the mic and lets him say goodbye to the fans. Moxley says he usually gets off on the people booing him, but it was great tonight to have some of them cheering for him just as hard. He puts over EVOLVE and Sami Callihan grabs a mic and puts him over as one of the best wrestlers in the world as the locker room and fans say goodbye to him to close out the show.

Bottom Line: The one thing this show (and most EVOLVE shows) has going for it is consistency. There's nothing on this show that's going to make your Match of the Year ballot, but there's not a single bad match on the show either and several very good ones. A solid i-PPV debut for the EVOLVE brand, and an easy Thumbs Up.

Score: 7.5/10

Friday, May 20, 2011

Rest in Peace Macho Man Randy Savage (1952-2011)

Normally I don't make non-review posts on here, but this time I felt the need to. This is some of the saddest and most shocking news I've heard in a long time, and I'm absolutely devastated by this loss. We've lost one of the all time greats today gentlemen. May he rest in eternal peace.

Macho Man Randy Savage Dies in Car Accident --- TMZ

Thursday, May 19, 2011

CHIKARA King of Trios 2011 Night Three (4/17/11)

CHIKARA King of Trios 2011 Night Three
April 17th, 2011
Asylum Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 700+

After two nights of great wrestling and comedy, it's time to crown the winners of the 2011 King of Trios tournament. Tonight we have the semi-finals of The Colony vs. The Osirian Portal and Team Michinoku Pro vs. FIST with the winners facing off in the finals in our main event. Also tonight we have the finals of the mini singles tournament of the Rey de Voladores as two different generations of high-flyers face off in El Generico and the 1-2-3 Kid.

Your hosts are Bryce Remsburg, Gavin Loudspeaker, Ultramantis Black, Leonard F. CHIKARAsan, and many others.

King of Trios 2011 Semi-Finals Match
The Colony (Fire Ant/Soldier Ant/Green Ant) vs. The Osirian Portal (Amasis/Ophidian/Hieracon)

Good choice for the opener as these are two teams of beloved babyface veterans in CHIKARA. Green Ant and Ophidian start us off with some basic hold exchanges before Amasis and Soldier Ant tag in to do the same. Fire Ant and Hieracon are next in the conga line of hold exchanges, which Hieracon gets the better of and tags Ophidian in. Fire Ant takes a headscissors and both men nip back up. The Portal blocks the Ant catapult attempt by the Colony, but they end up triple-teaming Ophidian anyways. Ophidian wipes out Soldier and Fire ant on the floor with a suicide dive, giving the Portal a chance to triple team Ophidian for a two count. Tag rules are already out the window as both teams exchange unique double and triple team combinations for a series of close near falls. Ophidian and Amasis take out Fire and Green Ant with a pair of stereo cross-bodies on the floor while Soldier Ant gets a two count inside the ring on Hieracon and then locks him into the CHIKARA special briefly. The Lightning Spiral gets Ant another two count. Green Ant slams both Hieracon and Ophidian at the same time, playing off of his body-slamming antics from the night before. Green and Fire Ant take out Amsis and Ophidian with stereo pescados to the floor as Hieracon counters a TKO into a DDT on Soldier Ant. Shooting star press from Hieracon, but Soldier Ant kicks out much to the crowd's shock. They jockey for position on the top rope and then Soldier Ant delivers a TKO off the top rope (holy shit!) to put away Hieracon and send The Colony to the finals at 16:01. This was exactly what you'd expect from these six, and I mean that in the best way possible. Signature trios action from CHIKARA here with two of their best teams, and the last five minutes or so was just wall-to-wall action. ***¼

After the match the Portal tell the Colony that it's all up to them to win the tournament now for CHIKARA.

F.I.S.T. (Chuck Taylor/Johnny Gargano/Icarus) vs. Team Michinoku Pro (Great Sasuke/Dick Togo/Jinsei Shinzaki)

This could wind up an historical match if Michinoku Pro loses, as that would make this the last match Dick Togo ever wrestles in the United States with his retirement on the horizon in the coming months. Taylor and Togo start us off with Taylor totally disrespecting the veterans and getting sent to the floor for it. Shinzaki and Gargano tag in and Shinzaki gets the better of him as well, ducking a lariat and responding with a stiff superkick and his signature rope-walking spot. Mean Mark wishes he could do that spot as well as Shinzaki. Icarus, being the typical dipshit heel he is, stalls for a bit to take off his jacket and then locks up with Sasuke. I'm not the biggest Icarus fan but he knows how to heel it up well. Sasuke locks on a reverse sharpshooter and then tags Togo back in, who comes in with a signature slingshot hilo. Shinzaki gets in on the Icarus bashing next, standing upside down on the top turnbuckle and then using all of that force for a nasty double-stomp, followed by a Vader bomb. Gargano and Taylor have had enough though and triple-team Sasuke and this crowd is all over FIST's case so far in this contest. Gargano beats down on Sasuke for in a heat sequence until Sasuke gets the hot tag to Shinzaki, who cleans house. Gargano hits him with a slingshot spear for a two count though. Flying shoulder-block off the top gets Shinzaki a two count of his own and tag rules go out the window as usual. Togo counters a cradle with the crossface briefly, but Taylor fights out of it and slams him. Superkicks and lariats start flying and suddenly all six men are wiped out on the mat in a great sequence. The M-Pro boys all deliver simultaneous sunset flips for a triple two count and then they all hit the floor, except for Sasuke who comes off the top with a swanton bomb, wiping everybody out again. Icarus tries for his finisher (a pedigree called the "Wings of Icarus") but Togo counters with a back body drop and then delivers his own pedigree to Icarus, which the announcers freak out about since it's Icarus's finisher. But here's the thing; it's also been one of Togo's finishers for over a decade, which they don't seem to realize. Gargano takes Togo off the top with a steel chair behind the refs back and then Sasuke finally succeeds in delivering the Swanton bomb to someone sitting in a chair after trying and missing that move the two previous nights. Taylor throws a hand full of powder into Sasuke's eyes though (still behind the ref's back) and Icarus rolls Sasuke up with a small package to steal the pin at 16:13. Another fun outing from the M-Pro guys and a match that managed to still let them show off in a losing effort. The finish gives FIST even more heat too, so no complaints there either. ***

Backstage Ultimate Spider Jr. cuts a promo in Japanese, which still manages to sound amusing.

Jigsaw vs. Ultimate Spider Jr.

No special stips or titles here, just an exhibition. They trade backslide attempts to start and then trade armdrags. A spinning heel kick sends Jigsaw to the apron, but he sends Spider to the outside with a missile dropkick and then takes him out the tope suicida on the floor. Keep in mind Spider is yelling at Jigsaw in broken English throughout all of this. Spider shows off his aerial prowess next with a swanton bomb to the floor that nearly destroys him on a guard-rail. A cross-body block back inside gets Spider two, and Jigsaw answers with an elevated DDT from the top rope for a near fall of his own. Falcon Arrow gets Spider another two, so Jigsaw responds with a torture rack bomb. He feeds Spider a superkick, gives him a brainbuster, and then finishers him off with a double-stomp off the top at 7:51. Too short to really get a good groove going, but this was certainly fun while it lasted. **½

10 Team Gauntlet Match
Acid Jaz/Willie Richardson vs. Arik Cannon/Darin Corbin

Another match without any special stips or titles at stake, this is mainly just a way for them to use wrestlers who's teams had already been eliminated from the tournament on the third night. Jaz and Cannon feel each other out with your basic hold exchanges. Big Willie overpowers Cannon and hits a leg lariat for two. Jaz takes out Cannon on the floor with a pescado while Corbin unsuccessfully tries to superplex Willie, who counters with a top rope inverted atomic drop. Both men go into slow-motion for a moment but Willie gets sick of it quickly and spears him out of the ring. Willie goes back into slo-mo mode, but Cannon rolls him up for the full-speed pin at 5:36. *½

Arik Cannon/Darin Corbin vs. Obariyon/Kodama

The Batiri hit the ring immediately, so no rest periods or anything. They quickly take out Cannon and begin to isolate Corbin immediately in the corner. Slingshot hurricanrana and a big boot get a near fall on Corbin. He eventually manages to get the lukewarm tag to Cannon, who powerbombs Kodama into the corner and lariats him for two. Cannon then grabs Obariyon and sends him into the corner as well with a leg cradle suplex! Stiff slap and kick to the face of Obariyon and then Total Anarchy from Cannon, but he gets his foot on the rope. Cannon misses the Glimmering Warlock and eats a reverse hurricanrana. Corbin no-sells a lungblower but eats a top-rope DDT from Obariyon to eliminate his team at 13:34. **

Obariyon/Kodama vs. Dasher Hatfield/Sugar Dunkerton

The Throwbacks are the next team out and they immediately lay punches into the Batiri in the corner. Huge dragon suplex from Hatfield only gets two. Obariyon low blows Hatfield in full view of the ref though and he DQs them, allowing the Throwbacks to advance at 14:16.

Dasher Hatfield/Sugar Dunkerton vs. Sara Del Rey/Daizee Haze

Great to see the women of the BDK get a chance to wrestle tonight. Del Rey immediately delivers the Royal Butterfly to Hatfield and pins him to advance at 15:18.

Sara Del Rey/Daizee Haze vs. Darkness Crabtree/Matt Classic

Classic is Colt Cabana under a mask while Crabtree is Mike Quackenbush, and the crowd knows this and explodes upon seeing Crabtree in particular. Classic wants to warm up with Crabtree but he can't hack it because he's so old. This is basically nothing but comedy from Crabtree and Classic, but lord is it funny comedy. Classic chews out Crabtree and the ladies aren't sure what to make of their opponents. Del Rey and Haze try several times to take Classic down but he applies a double-claw to them instead. Daizee sneaks up behind Crabtree and gives him a bridging German suplex for the win at 20:43. ¾*

Sara Del Rey/Daizee Haze vs. Brodie Lee/Grizzly Redwood

The Roughnecks are out next and Del Rey quickly takes out Brodie on the floor with a somersault senton while Daizee chops the hell out of Grizzly inside. I love that they're being treated as equals to the men here. Redwood tries overpowering out of an armbar, but Del Rey dropkicks him back down into a cradle for a two. Powerslam by Del Rey and she just tosses Daizee onto him for another two. Brodie pulls out Del Rey and slams her into the guardrail and then slams Daizee back inside the ring. Brodie misses a big boot and Del Rey begins to kick the hell out of Grizzly, but Brodie hits her with a sidewalk slam. Somehow Sara still kicks out though.and Daizee is able to deliver a German suplex to Brodie Lee with an assist via superkick by Del Rey! That's crazy considering Lee's size. Redwood rolls up Daizee and uses his feet on the ropes for leverage to advance his team though at 26:32. **½

Brodie Lee/Grizzly Redwood vs. Atsushi Kotoge/Daisuke Harada

The Osaka Pro contingent are out next, but Kotoge immediately eats a big boot from Brodie and then gets dropkicked in the electric chair position for two. Harada escapes a powerbomb attempt and takes out Brodie on the floor with a somersault while Kotoge nails Grizzly with a Yakuza kick and then delivers a C4 suplex off the top to eliminate the Roughnecks at 28:56. *¼

Atsushi Kotoge/Daisuke Harada vs. Shane Matthews/Scott Parker

Kotoge and Harada meet 3.0 with a pair of pescados on the floor. 3.0 take out Harada with a double STO but Kotoge takes them both out with a springboard dropkick. Matthews eats an ace crusher from Kotoge and this whole gauntlet has really flown by at a fast pace so far. 3.0 hits the Sweet Taste of Professionalism on Harada and then a powerbomb gets a close two count on Kotoge. Kotoge rolls up Matthews and gets the 3 count at 32:50. *

Atsushi Kotoge/Daisuke Harada vs. Super Shisa/KAGETORA

The Dragon Gate guys are the final team and a small KAGETORA chant starts up. Kotoge manages to fight off both Shisa and KAGETORA and tags Harada in, who throws him into Shisa like a cannonball. Shisa locks in a unique Indian deathlock/STF variation on Harada while KAGETORA works an armbar on KAGETORA. Enziguri on Kotoge gets a two, so Shisa hits him with a missile dropkick but again he kicks out. Osaka Pro hit a series of fast kicks and pin Shisa at 39:53, though it looks botched. The Osaka Pro boys have earned themselves a shot at the Los Campeonatos de Parejas. Entertaining gauntlet, but these matches never do much for me.

Backstage Madison Eagles says she wants to be the best female wrestler in the world, and to do that she has to beat Manami Toyota tonight.

Manami Toyota vs. Madison Eagles

Eagles is an Australian wrestler who recently defeated MsChif for the Shimmer World title, so she's no slouch and we all know (or should know) how respected and talented Toyota is. Both ladies shake hands before the bell. Eagles hits a clothesline early but Toyota responds by tying her up in the ropes and dropkicking her back. Toyota applies a nasty kama gatame submission hold for a bit and then Eagles responds by locking in one of her own. Eagles blocks a double-underhook powerbomb but Toyota just wraps her legs around Eagles with a leg scissors. Eagles counters with a nasty Chinese torture rack submission but Toyota just punches her in the nose in a funny moment. Toyota delivers a pair of missile dropkicks but Eagles kicks out. Eagles baits Toyota into the corner and then lays in a series of vicious kicks, the last of which is just ungodly stiff sounding. A bridging northern lights suplex only gets two for Eagles and she begins to get frustrated, getting caught in the rolling cradle pin from Toyota. Toyota goes to top rope and Eagles gives her a German suplex off the top but Toyota just gets right back up and gives Madison a bridging back suplex for two. A moonsault gets Toyota another two as Quack puts over Toyota's experience being the reason she's able to get back up from that top-rope suplex so quickly. A sick death valley driver neckbreaker gets Madison a near fall of her own, and it seems like nothing will work on Toyota. Manami tries for a brainbuster but doesn't quite get all of it. Both women try for lariats and are out for a five count. Toyota spins and nails Eagles with the Ocean's Cyclone suplex but Eagles somehow kicks out! Toyota delivers the Queen Bee bomb on Eagles and finally that's enough to give Toyota the win at 11:37. Fantastic female wrestling showcase here as Madison Eagles held her own with a legend in the ring and both women wrestled at a frenzied pace for over ten minutes, fitting a lot of stuff into a relatively short match. Fun stuff. ***½

Backstage Eddie Kingston laments about his recent loss to Claudio Castagnoli and tells Akira Tozawa that he respects him, but he plans on defeating him.

Eddie Kingston vs. Akira Tozawa

Tozawa trips on his way out of the curtain in a funny moment. Tentative lock-up to start and Kingston quickly escapes a grapevined ankle lock attempt. They trade stiff chops and Tozawa gets sent to the floor. Kingston tries for a tope but Tozawa kicks him in the face instead. Back inside Kingston gives Akira a nice belly-to-belly suplex and a roaring elbow gets him a two count. Tozawa escapes a unique sleeper and a dropkick sends Kingston to the floor where Tozawa delivers a pair of rapid-fire tope suicidas and a somersault senton to him! Tozawa, as usual, misses the diving headbutt but gets a back senton for two before just dropping Kingston right on his head with a crazy high-angle back-drop suplex. Tozawa misses a bicycle kick and Kingston gives him a bridging trapped-arm German suplex for a two count of his own. Sloppy Northern Lights bomb gets Kingston another near fall and he looks frustrated now so he goes to the top rope. Tozawa gets right back up and takes him down with a big bicycle kick to the face! Tozawa gives him another bicycle kick, this time to the back of the head, and then a huge release German suplex, but Kingston struggles back up to his feet and takes Tozawa inside-out with a lariat. Tozawa elbows the ever loving fuck out of Kingston's head, but Eddie responds with a stiff spinning back-fist and a back-drop driver to finish him off at 12:47. After the match both men bow to each other in a sign of respect. Another fun match, but it could have definitely used a few extra minutes I thought. Stiff, hard fought contest. ***

Rey de Voladores Finals Match
1-2-3 Kid vs. El Generico

This is a dream match in the eyes of many, myself included. This is to be the final match that Waltman ever wrestles under the 1-2-3 Kid moniker, so you can add that real-life drama onto the fact that this is the finals of a mini junior heavyweights tournament as well. Quack joins us on commentary as the Kid shows his veteran skills in the opening seconds, taking Generico down and riding him around in circles amateur style (but still being nice enough to offer him a hand to get back up afterwards). Both men exchange basic wrist holds, and Kid gets the better of Generico once again with a little help from the referee Bryce Remsburg.Kid tries for the Bronco Buster but Generico has it scouted and avoids it. Kid sends Generico to the floor and then follows him out with a tope con hilo! Generico responds by launching Kid crotch-first in mid-air into the steel post! Back inside the ring Generico gets a pair of two counts from it. Generico misses a split-legged moonsault and the Kid applies a vice-grip sleeper. Generico responds with a leg lariat and Kid slides to the apron and looks for a springboard, but Generico boots him in the face with the Yakuza kick, sending Waltman flying into the guardrail! Generico follows it with an absolutely beautiful reverse springboard moonsault for good measure and the crowd is split in fan support. High cross-body back in the ring from Generico, but Kid gets the shoulder up. A huge Blue Thunder Bomb gets Generico another nearfall. Kid counters a hurricanrana attempt with a powerbomb but Generico is right back up. He tries for the top rope brainbuster and Kid attempts to counter it, but slips on the top rope and they land nastily on the mat into a cradle by the Kid for two. Kid hits the X-Factor, but Generico kicks out. Kid crashes and burns with a splash attempt into the corner and then eats a Yakuza kick/brainbuster combo from Generico, but Kid kicks out as well. Generico, getting desperate, pulls out Scott Hall's old Razor's Edge finisher on the Kid, but Waltman reverses into a cradle of his own for a near fall instead. Crowd goes nuts for that sequence. Kid hits another X-Factor and climbs to the top only to deliver a SUPER X-Factor (the move that got him to the finals) to Generico off the top rope, but Generico still somehow kicks out! Kid misses a somersault senton off the top eats another Yakuza kick and this time Generico is able to successfully deliver the top rope brainbuster to win the tournament at 17:47! That was everything I was hoping for and then some. Waltman bumped his ass off like it really was 1995 again and Generico had to use every last trick in his book, even taking a page out of longtime friend/rival Scott Hall's book, to put the Kid away. An early match of the year candidate for the indy scene. ****¼

Waltman presents Generico with the winner's plaque after the match and both men hug in a nice moment. Waltman gets on the mic afterwards and puts over the promotion, the wrestlers, and the fans.

King of Trios 2011 Finals Match
The Colony (Fire Ant/Soldier Ant/Green Ant) vs. F.I.S.T. (Chuck Taylor/Johnny Gargano/Icarus)

This is a big match for the Colony not just because of the obvious reasons with it being the finals of the prestigious King of Trios tournament, but also because The Colony were screwed out of the finals the year before by BDK and a corrupt official. FIST won the King of Trios two years ago, while the Colony have never been able to. Big brawl to start as all six men pair off on the outside and trade big chops. Finally things settle down as FIST work over Soldier Ant in the corner. Soldier Ant gets chopped to the floor so Fire Ant hops in and winds up being triple teamed as well. Icarus even tries to rip off Fire Ant's mask in the ultimate sign of disrespect. Green Ant tags in only to meet the same isolation strategy from FIST and the crowd continues to boo FIST to the high heavens. The crowd rallies behind Green Ant after an extended heat segment and he gets the tag to a rejuvenated Soldier Ant. Both teams trade sequences of triple team moves, but every pinfall attempt gets broken up. Assisted ace crusher from Gargano and Taylor gets a two on Green Ant, who counters with a pescado to Gargano on the floor. Taylor drags a table to ringside and tries for the Awful Waffle on Fire Ant, but he blocks it so Taylor just gives him a piledriver right on the side of the ring apron. Icarus breaks up a pin attempt back in the ring by pulling out the ref and then delivers a death valley driver into the corner on Soldier Ant for another close two count. Icarus drags Green Ant to the apron and gives him the Sliced Bread, taking out Soldier Ant on the floor as well. Gargano launches Soldier Ant into the steel post like a lawn dart while Taylor plants Fire Ant with the Awful Waffle, but Fire Ant gets the shoulder up at two and the crowd EXPLODES! Green Ant slams Gargano on the concrete floor and breaks up a single leg crab from Taylor in the ring. Icarus breaks up a torture rack by Green Ant and just drills him with a big pedigree, but now Green Ant gets the shoulder up and the crowd explodes again! FIST delivers a crazy triple team combo of moves on Green Ant but again he kicks out. Taylor grabs a hand full of powder again and tries to throw it in Soldier Ant's face, but he moves and hits Gargano instead, who blindly superkicks his own teammate. Fire and Soldier Ant deliver stereo TKOs on both men but now it's FIST's turn to kick out at the last possible second. Ant Hill catapult double stomp on Icarus and still Icarus kicks out so Fire and Soldier Ant climb to the second turnbuckle and they launch Green Ant into the air from there with a towering splash onto Icarus which is enough to get the pin and give the Colony the 2011 King of Trios crown at 20:51. The crowd is ecstatic as the Colony finally win the King of Trios, something the fans had been clamoring for since it's inception. The Colony thwarted the same tricks that got FIST to the finals and the crowd was going crazy for some of the near falls down the stretch. An excellent way to finish the tournament. ***¾

Bottom Line: This was my first time watching CHIKARA's King of Trios tournament after hearing so much about it for years, and I can see what all the hype is about now. Tons of great tag team wrestling, an emotional and incredible dream match between El Generico and Sean Waltman and a great woman's match probably make this the best show of the entire weekend, but all three shows are worth looking into. An easy and resounding Thumbs Up for Night 3, as well as the entire weekend.

Score: 8.5/10

Sunday, May 15, 2011

TNA Sacrifice 2011

Sidenote: This review is in a different format than my usual one because this was my live report/review of the show on 411mania (by the way, check out 411mania for LIVE coverage of every TNA PPV with yours truly doing the reporting/recapping). I'll only be using this format for the TNA PPV recaps I do.

TNA Sacrifice 2011
May 15th, 2011
TNA Impact! Zone, Orlando, Florida
Attendance: 1,100

We open the show with a nice little video package focusing mainly on Rob Van Dam and Sting's title match tonight. Pretty decent song to go with it as well, though I'm not sure who it's by.

Your hosts are Mike Tenay and Taz

Mexican America vs. Ink Inc

Jesse Neal comes out waving an American flag as Ink Inc gets a nice reaction from the fans. Big "USA!" chants to start as this seems to have been a good choice for the opener based on crowd reaction. Shannon and Anarchia start us off with a basic wristlock exchange sequence. Shannon keeps him down with a few deep arm-drags. Shannon hits a big cross-body off the top and seems to be in control, but Rosita hops up on the apron to distract the ref and the heels take a cheap shot on Shannon. Hernandez tags in but Shannon is able to get the quick tag to Jesse anyways, who he hip-tosses onto Hernandez for a near fall. Sarita takes her turn distracting the ref next as the heels get another cheap shot on Jesse. Shannon tags back in with a springboard cross body for another two count. Big springboard moonsault from Shannon onto Hernandez on the floor! The Mexican American women continue to take turns distracting the ref though, and Sarita even gets involved physically with Shannon to give the heels the advantage once again. Shannon hits another moonsault off the top on Anarchia and then nails Hernandez with an enziguri, allowing him to get the hot tag to Jesse. Jesse cleans house on both of the heels and hits a springboard cross-body onto Hernandez for a close two count as Shannon and Anarchia fight to the floor. Jesse evades the Border Toss from Super Mex and Ink Inc go for a double team move, but Rosita hits the ring again to distract the ref. Hernandez delivers Ron Simmons old Dominator powerbomb variation on Jesse and that's enough for the 3 count to give Mexican America the win at 9:37.

Winner: Mexican America @ 9:37
Rating: **3/4 - Fun opener for the most part, Ink Inc did a good job of flying around and bumping for the heels and this fired the crowd up just like any good opener should. My only complaint is the constant interference by Rosita and Sarita, but that's a minor one. Solid opener.

Jeff Jarrett's music plays after the match suddenly, and Jeff and Karen Jarrett begin making their way down to the ring, Karen limping with crutches and a comically large walking boot on her ankle. He grabs a mic and explains that Karen slipped and fell on a Jeff Jarrett action figure and had to be rushed to the hospital. The crowd chants "Bullshit!". Jeff says that the doctor has ordered that Karen cannot wrestle tonight and tries to call off the tag team match later tonight, but before he can leave Mick Foley, the Network representative, comes down to the ring with a mic. Foley says he saw the X-Ray of Karen's angle and while the injury is real, he says that you can tell a lot from an X-Ray, like the race and gender of the person being X-Rayed. Foley busts Karen's case and says she's a lot of things, but she's not a 6 foot 6 African American man. He manages to slip in the new "Wrestling Matters" slogan and says that even though Karen's not prepared, he's had wrestling gear made up for her anyways. Big "Chyna" chant as he mentions her. So the match IS on tonight. Foley makes his exit and Karen rips off the boot in anger and tosses it out of the ring.

Jeremy Borash is backstage with Brian Kendrick to get a few words with him about his match against Robbie E tonight. Kendrick in typical fashion cuts an absolutely baffling promo discussing the definition of language and how the X-Division is being held down. Just bizarre stuff from Kendrick.

Brian Kendrick vs. Robbie E

Kendrick does his usual pre-match meditation which doesn't go over great with Robbie and Cookie, so Kendrick hits him with a big dropkick that sends Robbie to the floor and then follows him out with a tope suicida. He hits a cross-body onto Robbie back in the ring and he still hasn't taken off his robe yet. Robbie bails to catch his breath with Cookie but Kendrick follows him out and tells Cookie that "God has a plan for you". Ohhhhkay. Back inside Robbie takes control of the match with a neck cravat on his opponent. An elbow drop from the second rope gets Robbie a two count. The action spills to the floor and Robbie delivers a suplex to Kendrick on the floor. Cookie gets some cheap shots in while Robbie distracts the ref. Kendrick blocks a second suplex attempt and then hits Robbie with a missile dropkick back inside. Kendrick blocks a neckbreaker attempt and hits another big dropkick to Robbie and that's enough to give Kendrick the win at 6:44.

Winner: Brian Kendrick @ 6:44
Rating: **1/4 - Decent little X Division match here that wound up being not much more than a squash for Kendrick. Too short to amount to anything memorable, but solid while it lasted.

Backstage Jeremy Borash is with Tara. He wants to know who she's rooting for tonight in the Knockout's Title match, but before she can answer Madison Rayne interrupts her wearing the most obscenely large tiara I have ever seen in my entire life. Seriously, you have to see this thing to believe it.

TNA Knockouts Title Match
Mickie James © vs. Madison Rayne

If Mickie wins here, than Tara is free from Madison's control forever. Madison comes out alone, but I expect we'll be seeing Tara before this match is through. Speak of the devil, she comes down to the ring as soon as the bell rings, much to Madison's chagrin. Tara looks great tonight. All three women do really. Mickie nails Rayne with a baseball slide as she's arguing with Tara on the floor, but she tosses Mickie into the steel steps. Back inside she tries to pin Mickie with her feet on the ropes but the ref sees it and breaks the count. She begins choking Mickie on the bottom rope right in front of Tara and then gets into her face again. Back inside Mickie hits a few forearms and a neckbreaker. Mickie tries a few different rollup attempts but to no avail. Madison knocks Mickie righ tinto the ref and then goes underneath the ring to grab her "loaded glove". Tara yanks it off her hand though before she can use it. Mickie flapjacks Madison and then nips back up. She tries for a Thesz Press off the top rope, but winds up nailing the ref instead. Madison tries to egg Tara on to nail Mickie with the loaded glove, but she turns her sights onto Madison instead and nails her with the glove. She wakes the ref up and Mickie gets the pin to retain at 6:50.

Winner: Mickie James @ 6:50
Rating: *1/2 - Certainly an improvement over last month's match, but this was still pretty sloppy stuff. Lots of ref bumps and some strange logic from Madison, but otherwise, probably one of the best matches Madison has had. Still not saying much though.

Backstage Jeremy Borash is with Fortune. He gets a few words with all four members about their respective matches tonight.

TNA X-Division Title Match
Kazarian © vs. Max Buck

Max Buck won this title shot last month at Lockdown in the opening contest, and he comes out to the ring tonight without his brother and tag team partner. Nice feeling out process between both men to start, exchanging quick holds and counter-holds. Kaz flips out of a side headlock and applies a front facelock. Kaz gets sent to the floor and Buck hits him a with a dropkick through the ring ropes onto the floor. Back inside the ring Buck begins to talk trash to Kaz while he hits him with a jawbreaker. Buck is in total control here surprisingly, beating down Kaz and talking smack while he does it for several minutes. Kaz comes back with a gut wrench suplex to Max off the second rope though and both men are down for the ref's count. Kaz decks Max with a pair of clotheslines and follows it with a spinning heel kick. Max tries for a monkey flip in the corner but Kaz just tosses him off and hits the springboard legdrop for a two count. Max counters out of the Fade to Black attempt from Kaz and hits a snap neckbreaker for another near fall. Max blocks the Fade to Black again and counters into a powerbomb into the turnbuckle. Ace crusher out of the corner from Buck, but again Kaz gets the shoulder up at two. He nails him with an elevated DDT from the top rope and then hits a 450 splash, but again Kaz gets the shoulder up! Max continues the trash talk but Kaz blocks the suplex attempt from him and then hangs him up on the top rope stomach-first. Buck is on the apron now and Kaz leaps over the top rope with a sunset flip powerbomb off the apron onto the floor! Great spot and Buck's head hit the floor pretty nastily. Back inside Max is able to get the shoulder up though. Yet again the Fade to Black is blocked by Buck, but Kaz drills him with the Shining Wizard and that's enough to give him the win and retain his title at 11:22.

Winner: Kazarian @ 11:22
Rating: ***1/4 - Great X-Division match here that still managed to make Max Buck look damn impressive even in the loss. I'm actually shocked he got as much offense in this as he did, and blocking the Fade to Black three different times was a nice touch. The sunset flip spot was sick as well. All in all, good old fashioned X Division fun.

Backstage Jeremy Borash is with Abyss, who quickly flies off the handle and cuts a surprisingly good and intense promo, showing off all of his scars and the giant gap where his front teeth used to be until recently. He promises to take out his frustrations on Crimson next.

Abyss vs. Crimson

They're still pushing Crimson's undefeated streak, though honestly I can't actually recall too many matches he's even had so far in the promotion. Abyss overpowers Crimson early with big forearms to the back. The action spills to the floor quickly as Abyss just lays in right hands on his younger opponent. Crimson sends Abyss head-first into the guardrail and tries for a clothesline, but Abyss moves and Crimson wraps his arm around the steel post in painful fashion. Abyss sends him head-first into the steel steps and the ref finally begins to start his count, getting up to seven before both men return to the ring. Abyss maintains control, slamming Crimson into the corner and then applying a loose variation of a chinlock. Crimson starts his comeback now, hitting a big lariat on Abyss and then delivering the knee-strike/neckbreaker combo he's been using recently for a two count. Crimson misses a splash in the corner and Abyss choke slams him, but Crimson kicks out at two to Abyss's total shock. Abyss looks under the ring and pulls out his old trusty gal Janice (a board full of nails for those unaware). He scares off the ref and tries to hit Crimson with Janice, but he ducks and hits a spear on Abyss for another close two count. Boot to the midsection from Abyss and he tries for the Shock Treatment, but Crimson counters and delivers a nice double-arm DDT for another very close two count. Abyss hits a big Vader Bomb on Crimson in the corner, but he still can't keep the rookie down for three. Abyss runs right into the Red Sky High powerbomb from Crimson though, and that's enough to give him the win and keep the streak alive at 10:40.

Winner: Crimson @ 10:40
Rating: **1/4 - I am downright shocked by how good this was. Going in I expected this to be the weakest match on the card, but both men had a good power vs. power match up that keeps the streak alive and puts Crimson over very well. Not a great match or anything, but considering who was in the ring, this was way better than you'd expect.

TNA Tag Team Title Match
Beer Money © vs. Matt Hardy/Chris Harris

This would be the Wildcat's first match in TNA since late 2007, and everybody knows how big of a disaster his WWE run was, so we'll have to see what kind of shape he's in tonight. Speak of the devil, he looks pretty bloated as he takes his shirt off. We're not ten seconds in before the "Braden Walker!" chants start at Harris. He looks to start it off with his former partner Storm, but in a classic heel move he tags Hardy in quickly before any contact is made and Matt hits a few forearms on Storm. Roode tags in quickly and both he and Storm hit a series of kneedrops for a near fall. Harris tags himself into the match now but eats a flying forearm from Roode for his troubles. Harris is wearing AMW trunks by the way, just noticed that. Matt tags back in and Beer Money continues the double-teaming. Harris tags in when Matt has Storm in a wristlock and then spits a mouth full of beer right into his face. Well hey, Harris might not be in great shape here but he's doing a great job of playing the cowardly heel here so far. Nice teamwork from Hardy and Harris and a double team bulldog, an old trick from the AMW playbook, gets a two count. Storm fights off Matt with a Codebreaker and tags Roode back in as Harris hops in as well. The fisherman's suplex gets another two count on Harris and Roode looks to tag Storm in for some payback on the Wildcat, but Matt breaks the tag up and Harris hits a full-nelson slam for another near fall. The heels begin isolating Roode in their corner at this point as Hardy slaps on a bear hug (never thought I'd say that) and the crowd begins to rally behind the tag champs. Harris tags in and Roode gets the hot tag to Storm, so it's payback time for James Storm. Storm delivers the Lou Thesz press to his former partner and just starts laying in closed fists on the Wildcat. Harris tries tossing Storm, but he skins the cat and hits a sloppy elevated DDT from the second rope that Matt Hardy breaks up the pin on. Matt and Roode begin fighting on the floor as Storm hits a tornado inverted DDT out of the corner on Harris for a two count. Creative move from Storm there. Beer Money tries for the DWI, but Hardy breaks it up and delivers the Side Effect to Roode. Harris tries for the Catatonic side slam on Storm but eats a spinebuster from Roode instead as tag rules are totally out the window at this point. Harris eats a superkick from Storm and the champs look to hit the DWI again, but Harris would rather they deliver the old AMW double team finisher the Death Sentence! They deliver the move to Harris and Storm gets the 3 count on his former partner to retain their tag titles at 13:51.

Winner: Beer Money @ 13:51
Rating: *** - Solid title defense for the champs here, and though Harris still doesn't look to be in very good shape, he played the role of the cowardly heel perfectly here, avoiding James Storm at all costs, getting in his cheap shots, and then paying for it in the finish. Picked up nicely towards the end as well. Solid stuff.

Backstage Jeremy Borash is with Bully Ray, who cuts a great promo on AJ Styles, although I'm pretty sure at one point he basically threatened to toss AJ up against the wall and rape him. He promises to take out AJ, his friends, and then even threatens to basically rape AJ's wife to finish it off. Good promo from Ray, but a bit overboard with the rape implications. Kind of creepy.

No DQ Match
AJ Styles vs. Tommy Dreamer

Not exactly how I'd be using one of the most talented men in the company, but what are you going to do? These two faced off in an I Quit match last September, and Styles was able to get the best match out of Dreamer that I've seen from Tommy in years, so there's some hope this could wind up being pretty good. The announcers and ref mention that this is a No DQ match, which is the first I'm hearing about this. So expect a Bully Ray run-in at some point. AJ is all over Tommy's case to start but the veteran turns the tables quickly and drops AJ face-first on the turnbuckle. AJ sends Tommy to the floor and then follows him out with a pescado. He grabs a fan's drink at ringside and dumps it over Tommy's head, but gets sent into the steel steps. AJ crotches Tommy on the steel guardrail and AJ leaps off the guardrail with a flying forearm in a great display of athleticism. Things deteriorate into a brawl from here as both men begin fighting into the crowd and up the steps. AJ gets sent into the Impact wall in the crowd (you know the one, it's used in every single TNA brawl ever) and Dreamer slams AJ through the wooden railing as well. Dreamer's shirt is ripped to shreds at this point and we get a peek at one of the ugliest shirts I've ever seen. Tommy goes under the ring and grabs a steel trash can, but AJ kicks it right back into his face before he can use it. AJ goes under the ring and pulls out a table next, bringing it into the ring and suplexing it onto Tommy for a two count. AJ sets the table up like a ramp and runs up it, leaping off and nailing Tommy with a forearm in the corner. Don't think I've ever seen that before. "This is Awesome!" chant breaks out as Tommy blocks a suplex attempt from AJ and hits the DDT on him, but his foot is underneath the rope so the ref won't count. Tommy pulls out a damn FORK now, harkening back to their I Quit match, but AJ prevents him from using it. Trash can shot from AJ and he tries to set the table back up again. AJ hits the pele kick and looks to deliver the Styles Clash onto the table, but here comes Bully Ray into the ring, knocking AJ out with a steel chain. Christopher Daniels runs out to chase Ray off but Tommy gives AJ a piledriver through the table and that's enough to give Tommy the win at 13:05.

Winner: Tommy Dreamer @ 13:05
Rating: **3/4 - Pretty fun hardcore match here between these two, which was really the best route to go considering how limited Dreamer is in the ring at this point. The stipulation was pretty much just an excuse to let Bully Ray interfere, but it did it's job and continues the feud between AJ and Ray. Entertaining brawl.

Kurt Angle/Chyna vs. Jeff Jarrett/Karen Jarrett

And now we arrive at this match, the one alot of people have been waiting for, mainly to see how Chyna will fare in the ring considering she hasn't wrestled in roughly 9 years. Christy Hemme notes that the rules are "girl on girl and guy on guy" in this match, which sounds alot dirtier than it should. Chyna gets probably the biggest pop of the night so far and actually looks to be in pretty decent shape. Mike Tenay notes the history between Jarrett and Chyna, as they did actually manage to have a great feud back in the fall of 1999. That was twelve years ago though. Kurt and Jeff start us off and the crowd is already hotter for this match than probably any on the card yet. Big hip-toss and a snap suplex from Kurt gets a quick two count and Kurt tags Chyna in as a "Chyna's gonna kill you!" chant starts up. Karen takes forever to get into the ring but before she can interact with Chyna, Jeff hops into the ring and brings Angle in with him, telling Chyna to get out. The ref obliges...umm, what? There was definitely no tag there at all ref. Kurt picks up his ex-wife and looks to tag Chyna in, but Jeff takes him out with a chop block. Jeff continues the beat down on Kurt as the crowd keeps chanting for Chyna. Kurt starts to mount a comeback, delivering a release overhead belly-to-belly on Jeff for a two count. Jeff avoids the Angle Slam but Kurt gives him the trio of rolling German suplexes instead. Jeff avoids the ankle lock, but Kurt hits him with the Angle Slam. Jeff kicks out at two though. Finally Chyna gets the tag and she just wipes out Karen with a big clothesline. She gives Karen the pedigree (which Tenay calls a "DDT style move", I assume because the Pedigree is copyrighted?) and then both she and Kurt slap on a pair of ankle locks on the Jarretts and both husband and wife tap out to give Kurt and Chyna the win at 10:27.

Winner: Kurt Angle/Chyna @ 10:27
Rating: **1/4 - This wasn't very good to be honest. Lots of stalling and they made Kurt and Jeff here seem totally secondary to Chyna. Chyna was only in the ring for a few seconds so you can't really gather much from this match about her in-ring work, but the pedigree was fun to see again. This did it's job of popping the crowd for Chyna, but as a wrestling match this was really average stuff.

Taz and Mike hype the main event for tonight, and Taz says that RVD wrestles the Japanese strong style. No, he really doesn't at all Taz.

TNA World Title Match
Sting © vs. Rob Van Dam

These two had a flat-out bad match last year at Slammiversary, so hopefully this will be better. Before the match begins Mr. Anderson's music hits and he joins Taz and Mike at the booth for commentary. Crowd seems split in support here, not surprisingly. Sting blocks the monkey flip attempt from RVD early and Van Dam bails to take a breather. Back inside RVD gets a few cradle attempts and then nails Sting with a spin kick. Sting ducks RVD as he runs into the corner and Van Dam tumbles to the floor. Sting tries for a Stinger Splash outside the ring but RVD moves and he slams into the guardrail. RVD looks to hit his signature leg-drop off the guardrail, but Sting moves as well and his leg slams on the rail nastily. They brawl into the crowd for a bit and take turns slamming each other into the Impact Wall. RVD hits a dropkick but slips on the floor and slams his head in the process. RVD hits a cross-body off the steps on Sting and the crowd starts a "This is Awesome!" chant. Not quite guys. Finally they make their way back to the ring and RVD hits a springboard sidekick. Sting blocks the Rolling Thunder with his knees. Sting tries for another Stinger Splash attempt but Rob hits him with a spinning heel kick to block it. He misses the Five Star Frog splash and Sting rolls him up for a two count then hits him with the single sloppiest Scorpion Death Drop I've ever seen. So sloppy in fact that Sting gives Rob another one for good measure, and that's enough for Sting to retain the title at 12:43.

Winner: Sting @ 12:43
Rating: **1/2 - Much better than their match last year at Slammiversary, but still leaving a lot to be desired for a main event. Points to Sting and Rob as they tried hard, but Sting is just too far gone at this point to have anything more than an average match. Some really sloppy bits dragged this down as well, but this was definitely better than I was expecting.

After the match Mr. Anderson says he has a surprise for Sting on Thursday. He makes his way down to the ring and we close out the show with Sting and Anderson staring eachother down.

Bottom Line: This was a pleasantly surprising show tonight, and much better than I was expecting going in. There's nothing on this card that you really NEED to see and the highest match only clocked in at ***1/4, but unlike most TNA PPVs the action was consistent through out, with a lot of solid (if unspectacular) matches. Overall an entertaining show though, so I'm glad to go with the slight Thumbs Up here.

Score: 6.5/10