Tag Team Tournament
Date: January 3, 2014
Location: Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Taz
We’re back with another of these shindigs though I have less faith in this one than in last month’s World Cup of Wrestling. I really don’t think I can make this any clearer than the title has already done. It’s just a tag team tournament to decide the BEST TEAM EVER in TNA, even though America’s Most Wanted isn’t here, making the whole thing inaccurate from the get go. Let’s get to it.
The opening video talks about the basic idea and lists off the teams in the tournament. Here are the brackets:
Hot Shots/Aces and 8’s
Austin Aries/Bobby Roode
Petey Williams/Sonjay Dutt/Generation Me
Petey Williams/Sonjay Dutt vs. Generation Me and Hot Shots vs. Aces and 8’s are play in matches. Much like the X-Travaganza show missing AJ Styles, no James Storm on this show with any of his three tag title partners (to be fair he and Gunner hadn’t teamed up when this was taped) makes this feel incomplete.
We’ll be having highlight packages of all of the teams throughout the night. Up first are Petey Williams and Sonjay Dutt, who from what I can find have been a two man team three times ever: Tonight, the X-Travaganza One Night Only show and an Impact in 2008. There’s no narration or anything and it’s just highlights.
Generation Me’s video is set to the old WWF Hardy Boys theme song. I wasn’t a huge Hardys fan, but this team couldn’t hold the Hardys’ drugs/extra helping of fried lard, let alone lace their boots.
Tag Team Tournament Play-In: Petey Williams/Sonjay Dutt vs. Generation Me
I can never remember which is Jeremy and which is Max. Then again I could never remember which Hardy was which at first so maybe they’re more comparable than I thought. Dutt starts with a headlock on let’s say Jeremy and gets a Let’s Go Senshi chant. Jeremy comes back with a Sin Cara armdrag out of the corner and a double seated dropkick puts Dutt down again. Sonjay tags in Petey to speed things up with a dropkick to Max’s back. Everything breaks down and the non-brothers are both knocked to the floor. A headscissors from Jeremy sends Sonjay into a Max dropkick for two in a nice double team.
It’s Dutt in trouble now as the crowd is trying to get into this. The Bucks work on the arm for a bit before Max hooks a chinlock. Sonjay fights up and tags in Petey to clean house again with a slingshot Codebreaker and a running knee to take the Bucks down. A spin into a Russian legsweep gets two on Max but Jeremy breaks up the Canadian Destroyer attempt. Sonjay comes back in with a springboard double dropkick for two as the cameraman is taken down.
Jeremy gets caught in the corner for some fast tagging by Williams and Dutt. Petey gets caught in a bulldog out of the corner and it’s hot tag to Max. Dutt gets taken down by a CM Punk running knee/bulldog out of the corner as everything breaks down. Jeremy dives through the ropes to take Petey down on the floor as Sonjay gets two off the standing Sliced Bread.
Petey comes back in for another Russian legsweep on Max but Jeremy superkicks him down. More Bang For Your Buck (fireman’s carry slam by Jeremy into a 450 by Max into a moonsault from Jeremy) gets two on Sonjay as Petey makes the save and hits the Canadian Destroyer on Max, only to have Jeremy kick Williams in the face for the pin.
Rating: C. Take four guys, let them do high spots on each other for eight minutes, listen to the crowd cheer for them. The match was nothing great but there were some nice high spots to wake the crowd up. Petey was the best guy out there as Sonjay looked slow and the Bucks were their usual sloppy selves.
Highlight package on the Hot Shots, an old team of Chase Stevens and Cassidy Riley, who never went anywhere and are here so TNA can talk about the past. They’re another team that could have been left out of this to keep it at eight teams but we need to fill time since having matches go longer is just crazy.
Video on Garrett Bischoff/Wes Brisco turning on Angle to join Aces and 8’s.
Tag Team Tournament First Round: Hot Shots vs. Aces and 8’s
It’s Garrett and Brisco in case that wasn’t clear. The fans are behind the Hot Shots as Tazz turns into the Aces and 8’s cheerleader that annoyed the Impact audience for months. Stevens cranks on Wes’ arm to start before it’s off to Cassidy as Tenay tries to convince us to care about Wes because of his family tree. Off to Garrett who gets armdragged down as the announcers completely ignore the match to talk about Eric Bischoff.
Stevens gets two off a front suplex and a legdrop to Garrett before bringing Cassidy back in. Cassidy gets caught by the bikers and choked against the ropes as the announcers try to find something to talk about here. Garrett gets two off a suplex and it’s back to Brisco for a chinlock. Taz gets the Aces and 8’s confused by calling Bischoff Brisco by mistake.
Wes comes back in for a chinlock as Tenay rips on Taz for his mistake. Cassidy finally fights up with a clothesline to put both guys down as we’re now discussing a referee’s spelling abilities. Chase gets the hot tag and everything breaks down until Stevens is left alone. Brisco distracts him from the apron, allowing Bischoff to hit Stevens low for the pin.
Rating: D. This was another match that didn’t need to exist. The Hot Shots could have been any two guys thrown together and it wouldn’t have mattered at all. On top of that, the commentary was even worse than usual. Even they were making it clear that there was no need for this match to happen and that there was nothing to it. That’s a really bad sign and doesn’t make me want to watch the rest of the show.
We now have our first rounds set.
Aces and 8’s
Austin Aries/Bobby Roode
Aces and 8’s
Chavo Guerrero Jr./Hernandez
Highlights on the British Invasion, comprised of Douglas Williams and Rob Terry tonight.
The Brits say they’ll win.
Video on Austin Aries and Bobby Roode, who were a team for how long? Three months? To be fair though they were champions when this was taped.
Tag Team Tournament First Round: Bobby Roode/Austin Aries vs. British Invasion
Roode poses to start in an effort to make fun of Terry. Aries and Williams get us going and lock up about 90 seconds after the bell. Austin bails to the corner to keep the stalling intact before Williams shoves Aries into the corner. We’re about three minutes into the match when Aries takes him to the mat for the first time. Terry comes in to chase Aries and Roode to the floor where they mock his physique again.
Back in and it’s off to Roode as we’re still killing time. Roode does his posing again but backs away from a test of strength. Terry finally gets bored and beals Bobby across the ring before bringing Williams back in. The Brits start working on Bobby’s arm before Douglas drops a knee for two. Aries’ knee drop to break up the cover hits Roode by mistake but he manages to shove Williams off the top to take over. Taz names the Brits the Yiddish Invasion for no apparent reason.
Aries takes over with an armbar on Williams as the fans try to clap him back to his feet. Back to Bobby who wraps the arm around the post before choking on the ropes. We actually get some insight from Taz as he calls Roode and Aries a modern day Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson. I wouldn’t go that far but it’s the closest thing to intelligence that we’ll get from him all night.
Williams finally blocks a charging Roode in the corner and takes him down with a middle rope European uppercut. Hot tag brings in Terry who shrugs off Aries’ forearms to the chest. Rob catches Aries in midair and kicks Roode down before dropping Austin on Roode for two. Terry tags Williams back in but gets taken down by a missile dropkick from Aries. Roode gets in a cheap shot to Williams and Crossfaces him for the win.
Rating: C. Match of the night so far and that’s not saying much at all. It’s still not a great match or even a very good one but it followed a formula and had clear cut heels and faces, putting it ahead of the first two matches. Aries and Roode worked well together, which is likely why they were split up so fast.
Video on Chavo Guerrero/Hernandez. Blast it I was hoping to avoid them on this show. Well any show actually.
We go straight from a boring team to one of the most entertaining I can remember in a long time: Bad Influence. Again, it shows the power of letting funny people be funny instead of writing lines to make unfunny people try to sound funny.
Bad Influence says Dixie’s trickle down of disrespect continues by making them be in a tournament instead of just naming them the best tag team ever. Daniels says this show should be called Foregone Conclusion because no one is better than they are. Tonight Chavo and Shawn are first but certainly not last.
Tag Team Tournament First Round: Bad Influence vs. Chavo Guerrero/Hernandez
Chavo and Daniels get things going by circling each other until Daniels hugs Kaz. There’s no contact a minute into the match. Now Chavo hugs the referee for no apparent reason before locking up with Daniels. Christopher demands and receives a clean break out of the corner. Hernandez bails to the floor instead of hugging Chavo so Daniels fires some shoulders into the corner. Chavo comes back with a series of backdrops but gets caught by the arm and dragged into the Bad Influence corner.
Kaz poses on the apron and thrusts the pelvis a bit before cranking on Chavo’s arm behind the referee’s back. Chavo can’t get over to Hernandez but reverses the armbar by Daniels and drags Daniels over to the Bad Influence corner where a not paying attention Kaz cranks on his partner’s arm by mistake. He sees Chavo and Hernandez on the floor and the wheels in his head slowly start to turn. This armbar is already more entertaining than most of the other matches tonight.
Chavo sneaks back in and uppercuts Daniels to take over before bringing in Hernandez for a bearhug into an overhead belly to belly suplex. Back to Chavo who allows a tag off to Kaz, who gets splashed by Hernandez for two. Chavo comes in again with a slingshot hilo and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two each on Kaz but a Daniels distraction lets Kazarian take over. Daniels comes back in for a front facelock before Kaz gets two off a slingshot legdrop. We hit the chinlock for a bit until Kaz lets go and hits a gorgeous dropkick for two. The announcers talk about the Guerrero Family as Chavo head fakes Kaz into a double clothesline to put both guys down.
Hernandez comes in to clean house with the big shoulder blocks but Kaz saves Daniels from the Border Toss. A missile dropkick sends SuperMex into Chavo for a tag and it’s Three Amigos time for Daniels. Kaz breaks up the Frog Splash attempt but Chavo kicks him down as Hernandez powerbombs Daniels. The second attempt at the Splash gets rid of the most interesting team in the tournament.
Rating: C+. Again, I rarely had a problem with Chavo and Hernandez between the ropes. They could have decent matches with the right opponents and Bad Influence would fit that description. As long as I don’t have to hear Chavo talk about his heritage I’m fine. Bad Influence deserves better, but that’s always the case.
Video on Samoa Joe and Magnus who were thrown together in a wild card tag team tournament and won the belts in a surprise. That’s about all for their story.
Tag Team Tournament First Round: Samoa Joe/Magnus vs. Aces and 8’s
Bischoff starts with Joe and is immediately caught in a wristlock and armbar. Garrett gets to the ropes twice in a row as we’re still firmly in first gear. The Aces finally get Joe into their corner for some double teaming, only to have Wes get punched away with ease. Off to Magnus for some right hands and a clothesline before Joe comes back in with a backsplash.
The bikers double team Joe down again by taking out his knee, allowing Garrett to use his wide array of knee drops. Back to Brisco for a leg lock before Garrett comes in for some right hands. Joe casually stands up and stares at Bischoff but a kick to the leg puts him down again. A t-bone suplex puts Bischoff down again and it’s hot tag to the Brit to clean house. Magnus gets two on Bischoff off a suplex before the enziguri into the snapmare into the top rope elbow are enough to end Brisco.
Rating: D. The result was what you would expect from two world champions with chemistry against two unproven goons. This was just a step above a squash but at least the horrible team is gone. I’m glad they kept this short at least because I can only take so much Bischoff and Brisco at once.
Generation Me says they’ll beat Team 3D.
Speaking of Team 3D, here’s their highlight video.
Tag Team Tournament First Round: Team 3D vs. Generation Me
This is a match I didn’t think I’d ever see and I was glad about that. The former Dudleys go right after Generation Me to start and the beating is on fast. Dropkicks have little effect on the bikers and they easily slam the smaller guys down. We start with D-Von vs. Max as the domination continues. A powerslam gets two on Max as Tazz is loving this stuff. Off to Bully who shrugs off right hands and shoves Max into the 3D corner.
Ray snaps off headbutts to the chest and follows them with a hard chop as this has been one sided so far. Max finally gets over for a tag to Jeremy who walks into a great looking big boot to stop any momentum he had. We hit the neck crank for a bit before D-Von comes in to clothesline the freshly tagged Max inside out. There’s another chinlock as this squash goes on a bit longer. D-Von charges into a boot in the corner but clotheslines Max’s head into Tampa Bay. Ray: “MY BROTHER JUST CLOTHESLINED YOUR HEAD OFF!”.
Ray comes in with a backdrop and knocks Jeremy into the barricade. Tazz pines for ECW for a bit until D-Von misses a middle rope headbutt. A hot tag brings in Jeremy to clean house for a bit until a double superkick puts D-Von down. Ray breaks up a cover and punches Max’s head off. Team 3D collides in the middle of the ring and the Bucks (Generation Me’s indy name) hit stereo missile dropkicks. That’s their highlight though as Max walks into 3D for the pin.
Rating: D+. I’m an old Dudley Boys fan and I’ve never liked Generation Me so this was a fun match. It wasn’t interesting for the most part but I could watch Bully kick little guys’ heads off all day. There was no way you could have the Bucks put up a legitimate fight here so the squash was the right path to take.
Post match Ray threatens to slap So Cal Val around if she doesn’t bring him the mic like she should. “Now go do my dishes like a feeble woman.” Ray gets in an argument with an old lady at ringside and says some woman is so ugly that he wouldn’t even let D-Von sleep with her. Jeremy Borash is in the aisle but Ray stops him by threatening to sleep with him. The look of shock and horror on Borash’s face is beyond description. Ray lists off Team 3D’s accomplishments and promises to win. D-Von loads up the TESTIFY line but Ray wants to say it instead. “Nah it’s your line you say it.” These guys have pure chemistry.
Here are the updated brackets:
Austin Aries/Bobby Roode
We recap how we got to the semi-finals to kill some time.
Joe and Magnus say never say never about their chances.
Tag Team Tournament Semi-Finals: Samoa Joe/Magnus vs. Austin Aries/Bobby Roode
This has a lot of potential. The heels are skeptical about getting into the ring until it’s Magnus vs. Roode. The fans chant for Beer Money and think that the Cowboy is better. Bobby grabs a wristlock to start but Magnus counters into a hammerlock. A shoulder block puts Roode down and it’s off to Joe for an atomic drop and backsplash. Magnus and Joe take out Aries as well as this is one sided so far.
Aries finally comes back with an elbow to the back of Joe’s head as Tazz reminisces about doing commentary with Mike Adamle. Magnus gets choked against the ropes and forearmed in the chest before it’s off to Roode. The announcers FINALLY talk about the match instead of explaining the Bolo Punch. Aries goes after the Brit’s knee with a chop block and a cannonball before it’s off to Roode for some stomping.
A top rope knee to Magnus’ knee gets two for Aries before the heels do some classic cheating with Roode giving extra leverage. Roode misses a middle rope knee drop and it’s hot tag to Joe. The Samoan cleans house and the good guys hit their finishing sequence on Aries, only to have Roode pull the referee out. Aries loads up a foreign object to blast Joe in the head for the pin.
Rating: C+. Match of the night so far but that’s not saying much at all. As is always the case with these shows, the match would have been way better with more time, but for some reason no matches on these shows can go longer than thirteen minutes. This was entertaining while it lasted but they had to rush to the finish instead of letting the match get there on its own.
Chavo and Hernandez say JB just found the best tag team in TNA history when he started talking to them. Team 3D will be Team 3-No Mas when they get done with them.
Tag Team Tournament Semi-Finals: Team 3D vs. Chavo Guerrero/Hernandez
Ray gets in an argument with a kid on his way to the ring. I miss old school heel work like that. Bully brings in a chair but Hebner takes it away from him. “IF I CAN’T USE MY CHAIR, HE CAN’T USE A CHIMICHANGA OR A BURRITO!” D-Von and Chavo circle each other to start until Chavo sends him to the floor for more stalling. It’s off to Bully who gets caught in a Guerrero headlock but Ray clotheslines his head off to take over.
D-Von comes back in but gets forearmed into the good guy corner for a tag off to Hernandez. A Stinger Splash in the corner gets two but D-Von jacks his jaw to take over. It’s back to Bully for some loud chops followed by D-Von with a front facelock. Hernandez easily drives him into the corner for the tag to Chavo as the match keeps meandering along.
Bully comes back in to send Hernandez into the corner and slap on a bearhug. SuperMex gets up top but Ray chops him down, setting up a D-Von superplex for two. Hernandez hits a quick shoulder for the not hot tag to Chavo for some house cleaning. Everything breaks down and Chavo has to roll through the Frog Splash, only to walk into the 3D for the pin.
Rating: D+. This was another match that never took off at all and felt like it rushed to the ending, though it wasn’t as bad as the previous match. At least we don’t have to listen to another promo from Chavo about the Guerrero Spirit or whatever else he wants to say that makes people think of Eddie.
We recap the semi-finals.
Aries and Roode drink coffee and water while talking about what a toll tournament take on their bodies. They may not have Team 3D’s experience, but they know each other as well as you can. Roode says they’re two of the best in the world today and that means they can beat any team.
Team 3D talks about beating two teams and having one win left. They run down the two teams they already beat and promise that Aries and Roode will take a 3D of their own.
Tag Team Tournament Finals: Team 3D vs. Austin Aries/Bobby Roode
This gets the big match intros as more time is killed. For some reason the lights have been turned off and there are only spotlights on the ring. Ray takes the mic from JB to make sure the intro is perfect, despite having a bit of a disagreement over how much they weigh. He challenges Aries to do a better intro if he can, leading to a weight dispute between the other team as well. Aries of course mentions beating Roode for the title before saying they don’t need a team name because they’re just that great.
The match starts with a brawl on the floor as the fans aren’t sure who to cheer for here. Who thought heel vs. heel was a good idea here? Aries takes over on Bully while D-Von and Roode stagger around ringside. D-Von is sent into the barricade as Aries hits an ax handle from the apron to Bully. Ray comes back with a low chop to take Austin down while D-Von chokes Aries against the post.
The pairings switch off and Aries takes over on D-Von. No one has actually been in the ring yet. Ray chases Hebner with a chain before bringing Aries inside for What’s Up, only to have Roode make the save. Aries gets in a low blow to Ray as we finally have some starters. Roode comes in to stomp on Ray’s ankle before Aries comes in for a top rope knee drop. A Hennig neck snap puts Ray into the wrong corner but he chops Aries from his knees.
Aries puts on a front facelock as the fans still aren’t sure who to cheer for here. They pick Ray at the moment, even though he’s the top heel in the company. Ray makes the tag to D-Von but a Roode distraction means it doesn’t count. Roode comes back in for a chinlock but Ray belly to backs his way out. Aries stomps away in the corner as the announcers talk about Howard Stern and Jesse Ventura running for President.
Ray fights up and collides with Roode, setting up the ice cold tag to D-Von. He cleans house for a few seconds before Aries and Roode double team him down. Aries loads up the foreign object but hits Roode by mistake, setting up the 3D for the pin. Tenay of course acts like this is the least interesting thing ever.
Rating: D+. The match wasn’t bad but the booking made next to no sense. Ray spent his previous two matches being the biggest jerk he could possibly be but we’re supposed to cheer for his team in the finals? The logical move would have been to put Joe and Magnus over by DQ or countout to protect the champions and give us a basic heel vs. face final, but instead they went with this and the crowd didn’t know what to do. The lighting was weird too.
A four and a half minute recap closes the show.
Overall Rating: D. This show wasn’t horrible but something even worse: boring. There’s just nothing to see here and the best match is decent at best. The lack of James Storm and the illogical booking of the main event didn’t help anything either. It felt like no one cared here and no one put in any effort, making this to be the least interesting of the entire series so far.
Generation Me b. Sonjay Dutt/Petey Williams – Spinning kick to Williams’ head
Aces and 8’s b. Hot Shots – Low blow to Stevens
Austin Aries/Bobby Roode b. British Invasion – Crossface to Williams
Chavo Guerrero/Hernandez b. Bad Influence – Frog Splash to Daniels
Samoa Joe/Magnus b. Aces and 8’s – Top rope elbow to Brisco
Team 3D b. Generation Me – 3D to Max
Austin Aries/Bobby Roode b. Samoa Joe/Magnus – Aries hit Joe with a foreign object
Team 3D b. Chavo Guerrero/Hernandez – 3D to Guerrero
Team 3D b. Austin Aries/Bobby Roode – 3D to Aries
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