Date: February 2, 2012
Location: Wembley Arena, London, England
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Tazz
I was going to make a bunch of jokes about being in England tonight but I’ll try to find something funny to say instead. We have two shows in London before heading back to Orlando for Against All Odds on the 12th. I don’t think many matches have been announced officially yet but for the most part you can guess a lot of them which is fine. These shows outside of the Impact Zone are always interesting, so let’s get to it.
We open with a video of the fans who talk about how awesome wrestling is.
Hogan will be back tonight.
Roode and Ray open the show. The place looks great. Ray talks about how the fans aren’t going to see Hardy tonight because they took care of him last week. I think that was done because Hardy has visa issues due to the legal history. Roode says it’s great to be back in Ireland. He insists it’s not them that sucks and praises himself and Ray. I think the fans are chanting for D-Von.
Roode calls out Storm and here’s the Cowboy. Ray gets between them and there’s Sting’s music. The ring looks a lot smaller than usual. Sting says he talked to Hardy yesterday and Jeff will be back at Against All Odds. Sting announces the four way main event that I think we all knew was coming for the title at the PPV. As for tonight, Storm gets both of them in singles matches.
Garrett calls his trainer who will be here tonight.
Samoa Joe/Magnus vs. Crimson/Matt Morgan
Non-title here and it’s a Buckingham Brawl which is a new twist on things: there’s a coin flip to start and the winners get to be in the ring without having to tag, meaning it’s a handicap match in a way. Crimson starts and the numbers game starts up quick. The non-champions dominate for the opening minutes with a power/speed combination.
They set for their double team combination out of the corner but Crimson takes Joe down and Magnus jumps into a suplex. Hot tag brings in Morgan and everything breaks down. Crimson is sent to the floor and the Carbon Footprint misses in the corner. That allows Joe and Magnus to hit their finishing sequence on Morgan and the middle rope elbow gets the pin at 3:56.
Rating: C. Quick match but this was a good way to let Magnus/Joe get one up on the champs. Crimson and Morgan have beaten them I think twice now so why should we buy them having a real chance again? The rule twist was a nice addition and it lets the champs save some face. Decent match and the crowd was way into it.
Eric Bischoff is here.
Here’s Eric in the ring. A kid flips him off at ringside. Eric says he thought the British people were civilized. He says he’s here to burst the bubble of Garrett with a little dose of reality. Eric asks Garrett to come to the ring and then demands it. The arena is a very different setup as the entrance is on the hard camera side, making it almost like the old MSG setup for those of you familiar with it.
Garrett gets here and Eric tells him that no matter who is training him (remember that Eric knows who it is) it’s not going to matter because Garrett is never going to be good enough. Garrett asks why Eric doesn’t take it up with the trainer and Eric says that the trainer will never be here. The trainer (presumably) calls Garrett and Garrett doesn’t look that pleased. The trainer is here tonight and wants to speak with Eric.
Mark Haskins, a British guy that was in some X-Division series that was put on last year, talks about how he’s here to do whatever it takes to win. He says he’ll win the title.
Mark Haskins vs. Austin Aries
This is non-title I believe. The entire front row has its back to the ring for somer eason. Aries takes him to the mat and the fans still like Aries more than the hometown boy. Haskins is sent over the top but he skins the cat into a headscissors to take over. Aries skins the cat as well but Haskins dropkicks him down. Haskins sets for a plancha but Aries slides in. A springboard attempt is countered, resulting in Haskins being crotched.
A top rope shot to the floor takes him down even more and the fans are all for Aries. Back in and Haskins gets crotched again. A low dropkick misses and Haskins starts his comeback. A monkey flip puts Aries down but a second is countered. Haskins nips up and runs the ropes for a springboard crossbody. A cutter gets two on the champ.
Haskins goes up for a Shooting Star and lands Lesnar style, landing right on his head. Since he’s pretty much dead, Aries hits the brainbuster and holds onto him, flipping over to hook kind of a dragon sleeper hold but with Aries behind and under Haskins and pulling back on him for the tap at 4:45.
Rating: C+. Aside from the near neck breaking botch, this was a fun match. Haskins is fast but you would think he would get cheered in his hometown. I don’t know if that’s more praise for Aries or a bad thing about Haskins, although I’m leaning towards the former more than the latter. Good match though.
Eric Bischoff is yelling on the phone about getting a cab and Sting comes to bring him back inside.
James Storm vs. Bobby Roode
Feeling out process to start and Storm takes over. He takes Roode to the mat but the champ heads to the floor to avoid a Last Call. We take a break and come back with Storm hitting a facebuster but walking into a clothesline. There’s going to be a Star Wars Special next week. As long as it’s not the Holiday Special I’m all good with that. Spinebuster gets two. Storm comes back and they slug it out.
Roode goes up top but Storm gets in a big right hand to slow him down. Storm’s trunks have something that looks like the Brahma Bull on it. Storm snaps off a rana to send both guys down. Storm starts his real comeback and hits a Backstabber for no cover. Top rope elbow gets two.
Russian legsweep by Storm is countered into the Crossface but Storm rolls into the ropes. Roode sets for the Payoff but Storm counters into the Eye of the Storm but Roode counters as well. There’s the Payoff but it only gets two. Storm comes back with a Codebreaker to avoid a belt shot. He loads up the Last call but here’s Ray to break it up. That opening allows Roode to spear Storm for the pin at 13:50.
Rating: B-. If I never see another spear it’ll be too soon. This was a good match between two guys that should be facing each other for the title in a big time PPV program but that spot goes to Hardy because Storm never got high during a PPV and made the company look like a joke. Quite a good TV match though.
Post match Ray gives Storm a Rock Bottom onto the title belt. Sting makes the save.
Tara vs. Gail Kim
Tara is #1 contender but from what I can tell, this is non-title. Tara takes over to start and strips her top off for the standing moonsault. Gail takes over with some choking and a knee to the back for two. She hooks a leg lock by bending Tara’s leg over Gail’s neck then a clothesline gets two.
Mike thinks if Tara beats Gail here, it might be an advantage for her going into the rematch at the PPV. A missile dropkick misses for Gail and Tara hammers away. Powerslam (called a snap slam by Tenay) gets two but Rayne runs in for the…not DQ. She ran into Gail but it doesn’t count for some reason. Widow’s Peak ends this at 4:57.
Rating: C-. The match was ok but I really don’t get the theory here. What purpose did this serve? Why not have Rayne take the loss here rather than giving us the match ten days before its on PPV? I really don’t get this company’s thinking at times but then again, why bother trying to get people to buy the TV show when you can give the matches away for free?
Here’s Garrett to reveal the trainer but Eric comes out with Gunner. Eric talks some trash and to not a ton of shock, Hogan is the trainer. The fans of course love him because he’s an old school guy and if you’re loved once, you’re always loved. Hogan and Garrett beat Gunner up for a bit while Eric stands there. Gunner is knocked to the floor and Eric is terrified and runs. Of all the people that Hogan could give a rub to, they picked Garrett Bischoff?
Hogan and Garrett talk about how they’re coming for Eric.
Bully Ray vs. James Storm
This is Storm’s second match of the night and he has bad ribs. Ray works on the injury with some hard shots before draping Storm over the top. Off to a camel clutch for a few moments and then a slam. Here comes Roode and we take a break. Back with Sting coming to the ring with a cricket bat and Ray holding Storm in a bearhug.
Ray lets that go and hits a big boot followed by some elbow drops for two. A splash gets the same. The middle rope backsplash misses and Storm starts his comeback. He wins a nice countering sequence on the apron and a middle rope cross body gets two. Ray tries to grab Storm but gets knocked into the referee. Sting chases Roode out of the ring and the Last Call beats Ray clean at 14:00.
Rating: C+. Not as good as earlier but it was nice to see someone using basic psychology here like Ray was doing. Storm getting a win keeps him strong which is something he needed going into the PPV. Not a great match or anything but Ray has really impressed me in his singles run.
Overall Rating: B. This was pretty good here as the pretty strong string of non-Orlando shows continues. This moved us towards the PPV and gave us a big development in the Bischoff feud. Now if you don’t care for the Bischoff feud or the main event, this wasn’t the show for you because that was the majority of the focus tonight. Hogan being back isn’t a bad thing but hopefully he actually gives someone a rub for a change. That talk of a Star Wars show next week though scares me.
Magnus/Samoa Joe b. Crimson/Matt Morgan – Middle rope elbow to Morgan
Austin Aries b. Mark Haskins – Reverse Dragon Sleeper
Bobby Roode b. James Storm – Spear
Tara b. Gail Kim – Widow’s Peak
James Storm b. Bully Ray – Last Call
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