Date: December 5, 2014
Location: Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Taz, Mike Tenay
We’re still doing these things for some reason and yet again it’s a bunch of qualifying matches for a gauntlet later in the night. These things are almost interchangeable as they’re either a gauntlet match or a tournament of some sort and they’re really getting old. In this case the winner gets $50,000 and a future World Title shot, which I’m sure will be remembered later. Let’s get to it.
The opening video shows everyone in the competition tonight over a slow song. There isn’t much to say about this one.
There’s no thirty minute intro this time. All matches are qualifying matches for the gauntlet.
Kenny King vs. Austin Aries
Feeling out process to start with King going for the leg to escape a wristlock in a nice counter. Aries rolls out of a wristlock as well and grabs a headlock, only to have King send him off and nip up before rolling outside for some reason. Back in and they speed things up with a headscissors taking King down and setting up a basement dropkick. King sends him out to the floor for a crash before slapping on a chinlock back inside. In case you’re wondering the announcers’ first totally off topic discussions are about Taz kicking people in Texas and Tenay having wanted posters in casinos.
King puts on another chinlock and mocks the Austin Aries chants as things slow down. A knee to the ribs puts Aries down but King misses a slingshot knee. Aries rolls to the apron and runs Kenny from buckle to buckle about ten times in a row. This is accompanied by the announcers making fun of Southwest Airlines. King bails to the floor and takes a top rope ax handle to the head, setting up a running elbow for two back inside.
Aries’ missile dropkick gets the same but Kenny blocks the brainbuster attempt. Austin wins a slugout but walks into a spinning kick to the face for two. The Royal Flush is countered and Aries blasts him with the discus forearm, followed by the corner dropkick and the brainbuster to send Aries to the gauntlet.
Rating: C+. Nice match here, assuming you can ignore all of the horrible commentary. King is a guy that can have a good, athletic match more often than not, even though most of his stuff here was based around chinlocks. Aries was doing his usual stuff but the fans ate it up, which is the entire point.
The Wolves are ready for their singles matches tonight because sometimes they hunt in packs and sometimes they hunt on their own.
Davey Richards vs. Bram
Taz about Christy: “She was late. That’s a thing guys don’t like saying about women.” Bram shoves him up against the ropes to start and knocks him down with a clothesline. Davey comes right back with a low bridge to the floor, a baseball slide and a missile dropkick to put Bram down. Back in and some kicks to the chest have Bram in even more trouble as Tenay and Taz are talking about going to the mall and yogurt shop. A belly to back suplex puts Davey down again and we hit the chinlock.
Davey gets stomped to the floor as Bram is having a great time hurting him. Off to another chinlock before Davey grabs a sunset flip, only to pop up and hit a quick double stomp. Back up and Davey nails his handspring into a kick to the chest followed by a release suplex for two. The top rope double stomp misses but Davey gets two off a rollup. Davey is all fired up but Bram pulls the referee in front of a charge to stop a charge, allowing him to nail an implant DDT to pin Richards.
Rating: C. Another decent match here with both guys looking solid. Bram is a guy that has a good look and can back it up in the ring, which I’m sure is why he’s been stuck feuding with Tommy Dreamer and now Al Snow. I still can’t get behind Davey as a singles guy but the Wolves are good enough as a team.
Kazarian and James Storm are teaming up later to face the Menagerie. Storm yells about having to face a freak show, which he calls a one hit wonder. Kazarian says he was the first man in the gauntlet and the last man out at the first Victory Road. This is when Storm is just an evil cowboy, meaning he’s not quite as entertaining yet.
Menagerie vs. Kazarian/James Storm
It’s Freak/Knux here with Knux starting off against Kaz, who slaps Knux in the face to start. We get a chase scene on the floor before Knux kicks his head off back inside. Knux has to fight out of the heel corner but Storm kicks him in the back of the head to take over. James comes in legally and hammers away as the fans freak out over something. Back to Kaz to rip at Knux’s face in the corner. Tenay and Taz are of course talking about Rebel.
Knux scores with a powerslam and the hot tag brings in the Freak. Storm is thrown around with ease as Tenay thinks Knux’s mask is a black and white cookie. A Jackhammer plants Kaz down and we get an old school double noggin knocker. The heels try the Wrestlemania V ending with Kaz playing Heenan but Freak just muscles Storm off. Not that it matters as Kaz breaks the beer bottle over Freak’s head and the Last Call sends them both to the gauntlet.
Rating: D+. Standard tag match here but I like that they’re mixing things up instead of just doing the same singles matches throughout the night. Storm and Kaz going on to the main event is the right idea, even though Kaz was almost gone at this point. It’s also a problem when Storm is a totally different character now but here he’s doing the old cowboy stuff.
Video on Lashley, who is listed as the champion here.
Bobby Lashley vs. Samoa Joe
Lashley doesn’t have belt as he comes out, which makes far more sense for this show. Joe gets shoved into the corner to start before Lashley gets behind him and throws the big guy down. A shoulder doesn’t send either guy down and Lashley tells him to bring it. Taz is actually offering some analysis here, meaning he’s likely running a high fever. Lashley gets pounded down in the corner and takes the Facewash, only to take Joe’s head off with a clothesline.
A series of crossface shots gets two on Joe and a suplex gets the same. Off to a nerve hold and Taz actually explains why it should work. Joe fights up and hits a big boot followed by the backsplash for two. A middle rope dropkick gets the same and Lashley is in trouble. There’s the Clutch but Kenny King comes out for a distraction, allowing Lashley to get out of the hold and spear Joe down for the pin.
Rating: C. When Joe is motivated, he’s as fun of a guy as you’ll find in TNA. When he’s just going through the motions though, it can make for a long match. It was more towards the latter here as there was no fire in Joe, but to be fair, can you really blame him? He hasn’t done anything outside of midcard stuff in like six years but we’re supposed to buy him as meaning something here? I still don’t get why he doesn’t get a bigger push.
Mr. Anderson vs. Abyss
Anderson jumps him on the floor to start and sends him into the barricade. He drives Abyss into the apron and fires off right hands before slamming Abyss face first into the barricade again. Now the bell rings as they get inside and Anderson hammers away in the corner. A big back elbow drops Anderson and Abyss drives fists into Anderson’s head.
The announcers debate which meal they saw Abyss at as he cranks on Anderson’s neck. Anderson avoids an Earthquake splash but his regular splash hits knees. Back to the neck crank for a bit before Mr. fights up with a spinwheel kick, only to have the Mic Check blocked. A quick chokeslam is enough for Abyss to advance.
Rating: D. I really was expecting more from a pair of former World Champions. This started quick and ended out of nowhere with Abyss just hitting his secondary finisher for the pin. Anderson is very much like Joe, in that he just hasn’t had anything important to do for a long time.
The BroMans are excited about winning the money because DJZ needs a mail order bride, Jesse wants a home gym and Robbie might buy a bunch of hampsters.
Here are the BroMans for their match and one of their opponents is…..Spud. The Brans mock Spud for trying to compete until his partner comes out to back him up.
BroMans vs. Bully Ray/Rockstar Spud
If this is half as great as the previous match with Ray and Spud, it’s going to be a classic. Before the match, Ray has something to say to the BroMans. He makes Spud stand in the corner and says he doesn’t like him, but he likes the BroMans even less. Therefore, he and Spud can team together for one night only. Ray says the fans have to convince the referee, which takes all of two seconds, and we’re ready to go.
Spud of course starts on the apron as Jesse poses at Ray. The fans want Spud and Ray is nice enough to give them what they ask for. We get more posing from Jesse, sending Spud right over to tag Ray, who facepalms as a result. Taz thinks Ray and Spud will split the winnings 40/10 tonight. Everything breaks down and the good guys do a double Flip Flop and Fly with Spud losing his mind, thrusting both the air and the mat and Ray just looks on in awe. Ray finally drags him over to the corner by the ear but gets beaten down by both BroMans.
A double clothesline puts the BroMans down as Ray really doesn’t seem that worried. Some Bionic Elbows drop the BroMans and Spud plays D-Von in What’s Up on Robbie. Spud is all dizzy as Ray slaps his chest for the tables, only to knock Spud down to the mat by mistake. It’s table time and Spud comes back with a pink kid’s table and Ray is stunned.
Spud tries to climb on it and crushes the thing, allowing the BroMans to get in some cheap shots. DJZ throws in a real table but Ray suplexes both BroMans down. Ray pulls DJZ in and pulls up his underwear, only to have Spud turn on Ray by nailing him with the chain. The BroDown sends the BroMans to the gauntlet.
Rating: C. This was fun at times but they just killed the crowd with the ending. Spud and Ray are one of the best comedy teams in the company but instead of going with the fun ending, they go with the storyline ending that no one wants to see. Granted no one was watching this show in the first place so it doesn’t matter as much.
Spud yells at Ray post match and of course gets powerbombed through the table.
Gunner thinks tonight is a great opportunity and can’t wait to get another chance at Magnus, who he almost took the title from earlier in the year.
Magnus vs. Gunner
The Brit grabs the arm to start as the fans just go silent. A front facelock into a headlock puts Gunner down before a back elbow to the jaw sends Magnus to the floor. Things slow down a bit with Gunner chasing after Magnus and getting shvoed off the apron and into the barricade. Back in and an elbow to Gunner’s shoulder drops him again and we hit a camel clutch.
That goes nowhere so Magnus rams him into the barricade for the standard non-effect. A slingshot suplex plants Magnus and a running knee to the chest gets two. Both guys try cross bodies and go down as Tenay can’t figure out what HSM means (Human Suplex Machine). Gunner gets crotched on the top and superplexed down for two. Magnus walks into a slam but raises a boot to stop the flying headbutt. Back up and Magnus tries a sunset flip but Gunner drops down ala Davey Boy Smith for the pin.
Rating: C. The match wasn’t bad but again, as I’ve said a few dozen times in this series, there’s no reason for me to care about these guys. One guy gets into the gauntlet and another doesn’t and they had a watchable match to get there. Nothing much to see here but it was an acceptable match.
Ethan Carter III and JB say “sup” a lot and Carter isn’t worried about Sanada. More sups are dropped.
Ethan Carter III vs. Sanada
This could be interesting and Sanada isn’t evil yet. Before the match, Carter says he’s fluent in Japanese. Sanada says something in Japanese and Carter “translates” and I’m sure you know where this is going. Sanada finally calls him a stupid idiot and starts an idiot chant to get the match going. Some chops put Carter down and Sanada rains down right hands in the corner, only to get caught in snake eyes for two. Taz complains about eating bad Mexican food as Carter chops the skin off Sanada’s chest.
Sanada comes back with chops of his own and stomps Ethan down in the corner. The crowd dies as Ethan sends Sanada face first into the middle buckle to take over again. We hit the chinlock for a bit before Carter just slams him face first into the mat. Back up and Sanada grabs a hurricanrana followed by three straight springboard chops to the head for two. A missile dropkick sets up the moonsault but Sanada jams his knee, allowing Ethan to nail the 1%er for the pin.
Rating: C-. Anytime I get to hear Ethan’s song twice in a row, it’s a good day. Carter continues to be one of the major bright spots in the company and Sanada is no slouch either. Unfortunately this match had to take place at this show instead of somewhere that, you know, matters.
Bram is ready for the gauntlet because he’s here to hurt people.
Samuel Shaw vs. Crazzy Steve
OH COME ON NOW. They really need to have THIS match on the card to fill in time? There was nothing else that could have taken these few minutes instead of making us sit through this? Eh at least I get to look at Rebel twice in a night. Shaw misses a charge to start so Steve gets right down in front of him to mimic Shaw’s pose. Knux offers a distraction to send Shaw flying over the top as the crowd is dead again.
They fight over balloons but Shaw stops to look at Rebel. That earns him a bite to the leg until Samuel throws him off to the side with ease. A clothesline puts Steve down and about 18 fans think Shaw is creepy. Shaw chokes on the ropes and screams in a high pitch until Shaw floats over and hits some headbutts to the chest. Steve stops his comeback to get the balloons and dives into the side choke for the submission.
Rating: D-. They just fought over balloons. Get to the next match please.
The BroMans are are excited about the match and Robbie has already spent what sounds like millions. Jesse, somehow the smart one of the team, has to explain reality to him.
Tigre Uno vs. Eddie Edwards vs. DJZ
Feeling out process to start as everyone locks up with everyone. DJZ wants to stop for a second and we get a three way lockup. Now we get a three way headlock until Tigre dropkicks DJZ to the floor, only to have him pull Edwards out with him. Back in and Tigre bounces into a hurricanrana to take DJZ down but the spiky haired one comes back with a headscissors.
A spinwheel kick drops DJZ again and a Mysterio sitout bulldog has him in trouble. Edwards comes back in with a double missile dropkick before chopping Tigre in the corner. DJZ is sent outside again as Edwards puts Tigre into a fireman’s carry and throws him into an X Factor of all things. Everyone is back up now with DJZ sunset flipping Tigre who Germans Eddie at the same time. DJZ hits a pair of running knees to Tigre’s back but Uno punches his way to freedom.
Edwards gets dropped into a neckbreaker from DJZ for another near fall but Eddie sends both guys to the floor for a moonsault off the apron. Tigre pops up for a springboard corkscrew plancha to take over again. Back in and Tigre gets crotched on the top and superplexed down, allowing DJZ to get two counts on both guys.
Tigre does the overly complicated spin around Eddie into a headscissors but Edwards counters his springboard hurricanrana into a half crab. DJZ breaks that up too and sends Eddie into the post, only to get kicked in the head. Eddie misses a top rope double stomps and gets DDT’ed for two before Tigre botches a springboard hurricanrana for two on DJZ. Uno gets shoved off the top and Eddie grabs the half crab on DJZ for the tap out.
Rating: C+. Match of the night so far, mainly due to it just being different. It’s still nothing we haven’t seen a dozen times or so before, but at least the right guy won and it was entertaining enough. Edwards comes off as the far better singles wrestler of the Wolves, but that could just be due to Richards coming off like a jerk most of the time.
A music video recaps the night so far.
Winner gets a World Title shot and $50,000. It’s the Royal Rumble style with twelve entrants, two minute intervals and the final two having a singles match for the title. Edwards is in at #1 and Aries in at #2 with Eddie nursing a sore shoulder. Speaking of shoulders, a block from one is enough to put Eddie down and Aries goes for an early elimination. That goes about as well as you would expect this early on so Edwards starts busting out some chops. Neither guy can eliminate the other until it’s Kazarian in at #3.
All three fight each other and this is already going nowhere. Aries kicks Kaz in the head but Edwards tries to dump Austin instead of Kazarian. Edwards and Kazarian are on the mat and Robbie E. is in at #4. He walks around doing the money sign and they just pummel him with forearms and chops. They pair off again though with Robbie actually knocking Aries down for a breather.
Samuel Shaw is in at #5 and of course takes his sweet time to get to the ring. Robbie hides from him in the corner so Shaw reaches through the ropes to get to him. Kazarian puts Eddie in a sleeper but Aries puts a sleeper on Kazarian at the same time. Robbie does it to Aries and Shaw does it to Robbie for a five way sleeper. Tenay thinks this is original because just adding two more people to the same spot that’s been done in multi-man matches for twenty years is innovative.
Lashley comes in at #6 to clear out some bodies but everyone goes after him in a smart move. Aries’ brainbuster is easily blocked though and Lashley puts him out. Edwards quickly follows him with a big beal sending him to the floor and Kaz is the third elimination, all by Lashley. A spear is enough to dump Shaw, leaving Lashley vs. Robbie. The killing is postponed though as Abyss is in at #7.
The big guys slug it out and Lashley manages to suplex the masked one. A chokeslam stops Lashley cold but he comes back with a spear. Ethan Carter III is in at #8 as Lashley and Abyss get in a brawl near the ropes and are eliminated by Carter and E. in a big surprise. Robbie and Carter are apparently cool until Carter nails him in the face. They brawl on the mat for a bit as the fans have now died for an unprecedented 485th time tonight. Carter can’t throw him out and Gunner is in at #9.
Gunner goes right after Carter as Robbie hides in the corner again. Robbie gets up and saves Carter which he makes sure to point out to Ethan. Gunner can’t put either guy out but he can chop Carter’s chest into some pretty colors. We get the stupid “comedy” spot of Robbie landing between Carter’s legs. Carter is reeling until Jesse is in at #10. The BroMans double team Gunner as the announcers talk about the 80s. Ethan starts directing traffic until Gunner fights all of them off at once. James Storm is in at #11 but is fine with watching from the stage for awhile.
He finally comes down and says he wants Gunner for himself before choking him with the tag rope. Nothing happens for awhile as Bram is in at #12, giving us a final grouping of Jesse, Robbie, Carter, Storm, Gunner and Bram. Carter says he has an idea as the match just stops again. That goes nowhere as the BroMans dump Carter in just a few seconds. Jesse rams Gunner into the buckle so he can do that same I’M INTENSE spot again.
The BroMans accidentally collide and Gunner dumps Robbie with ease. Unfortunately he doesn’t freak out over not winning the money to pay his bills. Storm Last Calls Jesse to the floor and we’re down to three. A headbutt eliminates Bram and of course we’re down to the only rivalry in the match for the final two.
It’s a one on one match now so they stop for the big serious staredown. They slug it out with Storm clotheslining him down and dropping a leg for two. James goes outside for a beer but the bottle was used earlier. Instead he wedges a chair into the corner but of course goes face first into it, setting up the F5 to give Gunner the pin.
Rating: D. To the shock of no one and in keeping with the theme of the night, this was long and dull. The singles part lasted all of two minutes and ended with the same thing that almost every match in their feud ended with: Gunner winning without any real doubt. Unfortunately his push has died since this match was taped due to a six month feud with Samuel Shaw that has dragged Gunner through the floor.
Gunner promises to win the title before a long recap video ends the show.
Overall Rating: D. It’s not even that the shows are bad or anything as they usually have some watchable wrestling. I’d just like to see SOMETHING besides a tournament or gauntlet match to give me something fresh. I mean…can’t we just have a card of matches with a main event where some guys get to have some twenty minute matches that tear the house down? As usual these shows come and go and nothing sticks with me after about ten minutes. In other words, they’re very forgettable and that’s not the kind of show I’d drop money on.
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