Tournament of Champions
Date: November 1, 2013
Location: Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Tazz
After a month off from this series due to Bound For Glory, we’re back in Orlando for an eight month old show. The idea here is pretty simple: it’s a bunch of former world champions in a tournament to determine who is the BEST CHAMPION EVER. There really isn’t much else to it than that but did you expect TNA to not hold a tournament? Let’s get to it.
The opening video is exactly what you would expect: shots of the entrants who are apparently putting it all on the line (nothing is on the line) in a night of hardcore wrestling (nothing is hardcore) action that will be taken to the extreme (nothing is extreme).
Here are the brackets.
Mr. Anderson/James Storm
Anderson and Storm have a play in match to get us down to the final eight. Again, no AJ Styles because of the storyline that was ongoing at the time because you wouldn’t want 900 people to have their realities shattered by seeing AJ wrestle in a tournament that Tenay calls “invitation only.”
Anderson is proud to be a part of this tournament, even though none of the entrants are at the same level of he and Bully Ray (Aces and 8’s members). He’s been mistreated since he arrived in TNA and tonight he’ll prove why.
We get a video package on Anderson’s career which will likely be happening for everyone tonight in a way to fill in the nearly three hours they have for this show.
Storm’s package talks about growing up watching Tennessee wrestling which means he’s a very lucky man. He mainly talks about tag team wrestling, which has almost nothing to do with tonight’s theme. This also includes stuff about Storm teaming up with Gunner which didn’t happen for months after this show was taped.
Tournament of Champions Wild Card Match: Mr. Anderson vs. James Storm
Storm takes him into the corner to start and we get a clean break. Anderson gets headlocked down to the mat but he fights up with forearms to the ribs. Not much to see so far. Storm gets pulled out to the floor for no action and it’s right back inside for a nearfall from Anderson.
Mr. pounds in right hands before hooking a top wristlock as Tazz wants to see an actual professional wrestling resume. Tenay references the Global Wrestling Federation of all things in another of those unfunny moments between the announcers. Storm fights up but gets taken down in the corner, giving Anderson a rollup for two. The Mic Check is countered into a Last Call to send Storm into the actual tournament.
Rating: D. We could be in for a very long night. This was short and rather boring with about four out of the six minutes being spent in a headlock or arm hold. You could argue that they’re saving energy for later on in the night but it doesn’t do much for the audience watching the early matches. Nothing to see here.
Jeff Hardy likes the idea of finding out who the best of the best is and is ready to fight Samoa Joe in the first round.
Video on Jeff Hardy, which is just a package from before Bound For Glory 2012. These are nice shortcuts to talk about what the title means, but they make the shows look low rent. You can’t have Hardy do a 40 second voiceover about what the title means to him with some highlights of him in title matches? We get a clip of him pinning Aries to win the belt which is more of the right idea. As usual though, the clip goes on too long and even includes a replay because they need to fill in more time.
We get a much better treatment for Joe, with just him talking about being champion and narrated clips of him winning the title at Lockdown 2008. MUCH better here. This eats up about three minutes, which again just feels like filler. You shouldn’t be able to make a sandwich and pour a drink in the amount of time spent on a video package.
Tournament of Champions Quarter-Finals: Samoa Joe vs. Jeff Hardy
They circle each other for about a minute as the fans’ support is split. Joe gets taken down by a headscissors and a clothesline before Hardy cranks on his arm a bit. Joe comes right back with a hard elbow to the face which Hardy sells like he was shot. The left hands in the corner and the enziguri drop Hardy again but he comes back with a running clothesline. Jeff misses a splash in the corner so Joe chops him in the back and drops a knee to the face for two.
Joe gets frustrated and sends Jeff into the corner but gets caught by the Whisper in the Wind. Tenay says Hardy is spent, which is a bad sign considering he’s been in the ring five minutes. They slug it out with Hardy taking over and hitting some of his usual stuff. The basement dropkick gets two and a middle rope splash gets the same for Jeff. There goes Hardy’s shirt to pop the girls a bit but Joe tries the Clutch. Hardy spins out and hits a jawbreaker, only to have Joe grab a rollup for the pin to advance.
Rating: C-. Better but this was still nothing you wouldn’t see on any given Impact. Joe is going to be the dark horse in the tournament but at the end of the day, that’s the role he’s always in. He’ll be the guy that people say you can’t underestimate but he’ll come up short in the end. It’s been YEARS since Joe won anything of note, so why should I buy him as a big threat now?
Package on Austin Aries climbing the ladder in TNA and becoming champion at Destination X 2012. They just show highlights instead of the end of the match here again thank goodness.
Angle says the greatest man that ever lived better be ready for the greatest wrestler that ever lived.
The title win video for Angle is from Slammiversary 2007 for Angle’s first title win and again they show WAY too much of the match. As in they show about six minutes of the match here before going to Angle’s entrance for tonight’s show. This doesn’t even focus on Angle but rather AJ, Joe, Christian and Chris Harris and THEN Angle comes back in to win the title.
Tournament of Champions Quarter-Finals: Kurt Angle vs. Austin Aries
Angle is very passive to start and lets Aries dance around for a bit. Aries tries basic stuff like headlocks and wristlocks but Angle just smiles and doesn’t move at all, so Aries goes and lays on the top rope. Aries even offers to get down on the mat amateur style but Angle laughs him off. Instead Austin makes the referee get down on all fours as a demonstration of what he wants Angle to do.
Aries gets down again but this time Angle kicks him in the ribs to really get things going. Angle pounds away in the corner and we get a Flair Flop from Austin. A suplex gets two for Kurt but Aries kicks him low to block a German. Angle comes back with right hands to knock Aries through the ropes but Austin’s feet hang onto the top rope to keep him off the floor. He still manages to pull Angle to the outside and drops a top rope ax handle to take over again.
Back in and Aries hits some lame forearms to the back before mocking Angle’s lowering of the straps. From his back, Angle easily kicks him through the ropes to the floor before launching him back in from the apron. Aries flips out of the German suplex and puts on the Last Chancery.
That doesn’t last long as always so it’s off to a front facelock, only to have Angle grab the ankle lock. Austin kicks away again but gets caught in the Angle Slam for two. They fight for a suplex with Aries on the apron but he snaps Kurt’s throat on the top rope to take over. Angle avoids a missile dropkick but his Angle Slam is countered into a rollup for the pin out of nowhere.
Rating: C+. Yeah Angle vs. Aries was just a C+ match. I’m a bit surprised as well, but what in the world can you expect when the match has about ten minutes and the first few are spent on comedy? This is the kind of pairing that could tear the house down with twenty five minutes but here they’re stuck in a relatively quick match because we need to spend so much time on video packages.
Video on Bully Ray who hadn’t been champion or even a heel long at this point. This is more of a package on all of Ray’s heel run instead of just being champion. A lot is from the show where Ray explained the Aces and 8’s plan throughout the show which is still pretty cool.
Tournament of Champions Quarter-Finals: Bully Ray vs. James Storm
Before the match, Ray grabs the mic and throws out both So Cal Val and the referee. He goes on a rant about how the tournament is a waste of time because he’s clearly the greatest world champion ever. The fans seem to disagree, even though Bully swears that people always tell him how great he is. Ray jumps him in the corner to start and whips Storm hard into the corner. Now it’s off to the knee with the slow pace continuing to dominate the night.
Storm comes back with some shots to the ribs and rams Ray’s head into the buckle to take over. Ray fires off an elbow to the jaw and is already demanding to be named the winner. We hit the bearhug for a bit followed by a neck crank as Ray keeps changing targets. Storm avoids an elbow drop but gets taken down by a big boot and a bad looking corner splash. Taz references King Kong Bundy to go with the Ted Arcidi (strongman wrestler from the 80s) references he made in the bearhug. Storm comes back with a Codebreaker…..but here’s D-Von to attack Storm for the DQ.
Rating: D. Can we PLEASE get a match to last fifteen minutes? These quick finishes and rest hold marathons are really getting tedious with no one looking especially good whatsoever. Storm got destroyed for most of the match but at least he was making a comeback at the end. Still though, this show needs something good and it needs it fast.
Post match D-Von holds Storm down so Ray can blast his arm with the hammer. Ray doesn’t seem to mind being eliminated.
Video on Bobby Roode from the buildup to Bound For Glory 2011. We also get a look at Storm winning the title (not mentioned in his video earlier) from Angle before Roode turned on him to win the belt.
Sting’s video package is about his Hall of Fame induction. This is much more about sucking up to Hogan and Flair than anything else. There was no match footage nor any reference to Sting being a world champion at all here.
Tournament of Champions Quarter-Finals: Sting vs. Bobby Roode
Feeling out process to start until Sting wins a shoving match and no sells some chops. Instead Roode elbows him down and stomps away before going into the chinlock. Bobby brags a bit too much though, allowing Sting to wrap up his legs to try a Scorpion from the mat. That gets him nowhere so Roode takes him into the corner and mocks the yelling Stinger Splash.
Sting gets out of the way and hits the real splash to set up the horrible Deathlock. Bobby makes a rope as Tazz keeps making jokes about people being old. Back up and Roode grabs a DDT on the arm and slaps on the Crossface, only to have Sting make a VERY long crawl to the ropes for the break. Sting escapes a slam and hits the Death Drop for two, only to have Roode counter the Scorpion into the Crossface for the submission.
Rating: D+. Yet again time kills the match. They only had about seven minutes and that’s simply not enough time to get anything special going. Sting tapping out nearly clean (Roode raked the eyes to break the hold) is a rare sight so points to him for putting Roode over, but the match had no fire to it at all.
Aries talks about how people were expecting Angle vs. Joe again, but now we’re getting Joe vs. Aries who have some history of their own. Tonight, Aries will beat him again.
Another Aries video, this one from the build to Destination X. This includes a repeat of a promo from his first video. They’re THAT long on time tonight? We also see him winning the title from Roode in 2012 and get his ENTIRE post match celebration.
Joe’s second video focuses on his feud with Angle and Joe finally beating him for the title over a year after Angle debuted. This even includes sound bytes from various talking heads and about the last five minutes of the title match.
Tournament of Champions Semi-Finals: Austin Aries vs. Samoa Joe
After over fifteen minutes (seriously) of videos we’re ready to go. Feeling out process to start with Joe shoving him around and an elbow sending Aries to the apron for a breather. Back in and Aries gives Joe a chance to run him over, only to try a surprise hiptoss. Joe is just too fat though so all three of Austin’s tries fail miserably. Instead a drop toehold puts Aries on the floor as we get more stalling. Austin walks all the way to the back but comes running back to the ring at seven to kill extra time.
Back in and Joe kicks him in the face before snapping off right hands. Another kick to the head sends Aries to the floor but he gets in a kick to the leg as they come back inside. A top rope forearm to the head puts Joe down and they head back inside for more leg work including a leg drag for two.
Joe shrugs it off and comes back with another big boot to the face and the running senton backsplash for two. The MuscleBuster is blocked and Aries scores with a missile dropkick that can’t drop Joe. Aries misses the running dropkick in the corner but comes back with the same rollup he used to beat Angle. It’s only good for two here though and a few seconds later it’s the Koquina Clutch to send Joe to the finals.
Rating: C. This was one of the better matches of the night as they had a bit more of a story, but it still suffered from the broken record of the night: not enough time to do anything of note and too much time being wasted on nothing. It’s like they’re trying to do the big match formulas but don’t have enough time to get where they want to go.
Since we haven’t had one in about eight minutes, time for a video package! This one focuses on Storm winning the title (what a concept!), including most of his match with Angle (whole thing wasn’t even two minutes long).
Roode’s third video of the night talks about how Roode turned heel to take the title from Storm. By talks about, I of course mean show the turn in its entirety.
Tournament of Champions Semi-Finals: James Storm vs. Bobby Roode
Storm has a bad arm coming in. Another feeling out process to start, even though they know each other so well already. James is tentative because of the bad arm so Roode grabs at the injury. Roode asks for a test of strength as we’re about two minutes into this with no significant contact. Storm pops him in the jaw to get things going and hits a running neckbreaker to send Roode out to the floor. Bobby is sent into the barricade and hit with a soda bottle as the face version of the beer bottle I guess.
Roode reverse a whip to send Storm’s bad arm into the steps (almost no noise for some reason). Back in and Roode stomps away on the arm for a few moments before sending Storm to the apron. James comes back with an enziguri and goes up top, only to have to break up a superplex attempt. A top rope elbow (with the good arm) gets two on Roode but the Last Call is countered into the crossface. Storm rolls out into a cradle for two but the referee goes down, allowing Roode to hit a low blow. Back to the crossface and Storm finally taps out.
Rating: C+. The arm work helped here and it was good to see Roode get a submission win. In this case it was the history that hut them a lot, as their matches before had been so epic that it was hard to live up to their level. Still though, this is probably the match of the night so far, but that’s not saying much.
Samoa Joe says Hardy and Aries said they were going to stop Joe, but he took care of both of them. That leaves him with just Aries in his path to prove he’s the greatest TNA Champion of all time.
Bobby Roode, dry as a bone here instead of sweating after finishing a match, says he’s beaten Storm and Sting so Joe won’t be a problem.
Tournament of Champions Finals: Samoa Joe vs. Bobby Roode
This gets big match intros to kill even more time. Yet another feeling out process to start until Joe shoves Roode into the corner and snaps off a right hand. Bobby goes to the floor for a breather but comes back in and gets chopped even more. Joe’s corner enziguri sends Roode back outside as the match stays in its slow pace. Roode comes back in again and tries a headbutt, only to hurt himself in the process. Joe drops a knee for two and Bobby goes to the apron one more time.
This time though he snaps Joe’s neck across the top rope to take over and adds a thumb to the eyes. Roode goes after the arm to set up the crossface before going to a reverse chinlock. Joe fights back up and hits the backsplash for two but Roode counters the MuscleBuster into the DDT on the arm. There’s the crossface but Joe gets his foot on the ropes for a pretty fast break.
Roode can’t get him in the fisherman’s suplex but manages to break up the Clutch. Back to the crossface but Joe rolls back for two. The Rock Bottom out of the corner puts Bobby down but he counters the Clutch by climbing the corner and flipping back for the pin and the tournament.
Rating: C. Not bad again but the fans were just gone by the end. The ending wasn’t bad but it wasn’t like there was much of a build to it. This also wasn’t the big match that the show needed as it only ran about 12 minutes with a few of those spent on Roode being on the floor over and over again.
Overall Rating: D+. Well this…..happened. This just didn’t do it for me at all. WAY too much time was spent on videos when the matches desperately needed more time. I have a hard time believing you can’t extend one or two of these matches to seventeen minutes or so, just to make one feel special. It’s certainly not the worst show ever, but it was REALLY dull for the most part. It only cost $15, but you would be better off looking up the matches they showed highlights of online.
James Storm b. Mr. Anderson – Last Call
Samoa Joe b. Jeff Hardy – Rollup
Austin Aries b. Kurt Angle – Rollup
James Storm b. Bully Ray via DQ when D-Von interfered
Bobby Roode b. Sting – Crossface
Samoa Joe b. Austin Aries – Koquina Clutch
Bobby Roode b. James Storm – Crossface
Bobby Roode b. Samoa Joe – Pin while in the Koquina Clutch
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