Date: January 9, 2015
Location: John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, Virginia
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Taz
Believe it or not they’re actually changing things up here with a series of matches instead of some tournament or series of qualifying matches for a gauntlet at the end of the show. There doesn’t seem to be an overarching theme for the show but they’ve come up with some random ideas before. Let’s get to it.
We open with shots of the people appearing on tonight’s show without a voiceover. I can’t imagine all these people will be on the card.
We immediately go to a clip of X-Division Champion Rob Van Dam defending against Kenny King from Impact on February 23, 2013 with Van Dam missing a 450 splash and King hitting the Royal Flush for the pin and the title. This explains the theme: we’re going to see clips of the turning points of everyone’s career.
Samoa Joe’s career turning point is beating Kurt Angle for the World Title at Lockdown 2008. These clips are two to three minutes each and seem to be used to fill in time.
Kenny King vs. Samoa Joe
The arena looks incredibly small, even though the record attendance is over 15,000 people. As a result, the lights are turned way down and only the first few rows can be seen. Joe grabs a wristlock to start but King bails to the ropes and then the floor. Back in and King quickly takes Joe down with some nice spins and flips before heading outside to brag about it. Even Joe gives him a nod to say “well done”. Joe sends him into the corner for the enziguri and running knee drop for two.
Tenay and Taz are already on their tangents as King hits a great looking springboard Blockbuster for two. We hit the chinlock as Tenay is actually trying to get the commentary back to something pertinent but Taz uses the opportunity to brag about himself. A spinwheel kick gets two more for Kenny and we hit the son of the chinlock. Joe fights up and catches King in an atomic drop. The backsplash and snap powerslam get two each. A nice Pele puts Joe down but King charges into the release Rock Bottom out of the corner, setting up the Muscle Buster for the pin at 7:50.
Rating: C-. I have a very bad feeling about this show as they were only going through the motions out there. There are two versions of Samoa Joe: the guy that took TNA by storm about ten years ago and the version where he has no interest in being out there. There’s almost no in between the two either, so you’re either getting the good or the bad. This was more of the latter as Joe was just doing his greatest hits instead of really trying. King was his usual self as well, meaning the match was passable but nothing I’d ever want to see again. In other words, this is going to be your run of the mill One Night Only shows.
Music video on the Beautiful People, Gail Kim and Madison Rayne. I guess this is the substitute for their turning points, though it seems to be more of a standard hype video.
Gail Kim vs. Angelina Love vs. Madison Rayne
The fans are behind Gail here but Angelina insists she get to do her dance before things get started. That earns her a forearm to the jaw as the announcers make fun of Earl Hebner’s age. Love gets knocked to the floor and Rayne rolls Kim up for two. Kim escapes the scissor stomp (Rayne’s move where she slams someone’s face into the mat) and knocks Angelina to the floor.
Back up and Kim hits the running cross body to the ribs in the corner but Angelina pulls her down to the floor. It settles down to Madison vs. Angelina as the match gets back to your standard Impact Knockouts match. Love pulls on Madison’s hair while putting a boot in her back, only to get rolled up by Gail for two. A hot shot onto the buckle puts Kim down again as this match is in the “two in one out” formula. Love puts her in the Tree of Woe to give us a Kevin Sullivan reference.
Madison finally remembers that she’s in the match by tripping Kim but gets in a fight with Love over who gets the pin. Now the announcers talk about the Jumping Bomb Angels to keep up the joke that Hebner is old. Kim puts Madison in a headscissors but Love puts Kim in a full nelson but with her legs. Taz: “It’s like one giant, hot worm.” Tenay drops the required Scotty 2 Hotty joke. The hold is broken up and Kim dropkicks both girls down at the same time for two each. Angelina’s Botox Injection takes Madison down but Eat Defeat gives Kim the pin at 8:56.
Rating: C. Oh yeah this is a One Night Only show. This was another watchable yet uninspired match with the standard triple threat formula in full swing. These three plus Velvet have been around the division for so long that it’s hard to care about seeing them again. We’ve seen each combination so many times that just throwing most of them together doesn’t do much for me. The match was fine but again, nothing I’ll think about ten minutes from now.
Austin Aries says he’s had a lot of turning points in his career, starting with a phone call asking him to come down for a tryout. Then he became the longest reigning X-Division Champion and cashed it in with Option C. Sanada’s turning point was when he turned his back on Great Muta. Sanada’s turning point tonight will be his last.
Video recapping Muta mentoring Sanada until James Storm got in Sandad’s head and turned him to the dark side.
Austin Aries vs. Great Sanada
This is the third time these two have fought on One Night Only shows. Storm is at ringside with Sanada. Tenay and Taz build this up as a huge rivalry and for once they’re actually on point. Sanada hammers him down in the corner to start but Aries is perfectly capable of brawling with him. Aries runs Sanada over with a shoulder but Storm trips him up to stop the momentum. That’s enough for an early ejection and we’re getting a one on one match.
It’s still Aries in control with the slingshot hilo and an elbow drop for two. A middle rope dropkick to the back of Sanada’s head gets two more and one to the face sends Sanada to the floor. He’s shaken up but not bad enough to avoid a plancha to send Aries crashing to the concrete. The announcers actually get into an interesting discussion of the difference between American and Japanese training. Discussions like that make their usual commentary so much more frustrating because it’s clear they can be interesting but just don’t do it. Sanada chokes away back in the ring and throws Aries back to the floor to keep control.
Aries comes up holding his arm so Sanada sends him into the steps a few times. Back in again and a springboard chop to the head gets a few two counts for Sanada as he’s starting to get frustrated like any heel would in his situation. Sanada gets caught choking with wrist tape so he throws Aries outside again.
A Saito suplex gets two on Austin and it’s off to the chinlock. You know, I wonder why so many people use chinlocks over the years. Wouldn’t you think they would pick up on the idea that they ALWAYS lead to a comeback? I mean, it’s one of the few universal truths in wrestling but they always do it and seem surprised when it doesn’t work. Almost on schedule, Aries pops up but Sanada puts him back down with a slam.
The moonsault is broken up as Aries takes the legs out to send him face first into the buckle. Now it’s Aries sending Sanada to the floor but he bites Aries’ finger to slow him down. That’s quite the intelligent counter. Sanada comes back in with a springboard but Aries mistimes the dropkick to knock him out of the air, meaning Sanada has to bail out for no reason and the whole thing looked bad.
Aries neckbreakers him over the middle rope and dropkicks him into the corner. Sanada escapes the brainbuster but gets taken down by a nice plancha. Back in and Aries goes up, only to have Storm come down and shove Aries off the top. As usual the announcers ruin the moment by making it sound like the least interesting thing they’ve seen in months. Sanada superkicks Aries for the pin at 15:35.
Rating: B. Hit and miss commentary aside, this was one of the best matches this series has ever had. These guys know how to work together so well and they were showing off out here. I was hoping for a clean finish but this version plays into the Revolution idea, which is the more logical ending. Really good match, as I’ve grown to expect from these two.
We look at Ethan Carter III beating Sting at Genesis 2014, with a major assist from referees Spud and Magnus.
Ethan brags about beating all the legends, such as Norv Fernum, Shark Boy and Dewey Barnes. Oh and Bully Ray, Sting and Kurt Angle. He’s been part of a loss, but it was Spud getting pinned in a tag match. Ethan blames Spud for his aunt going through a table, but tonight is Spud’s chance at redemption.
Rockstar Spud/Ethan Carter III vs. Gunner/Mr. Anderson
The curse of taped in advance strikes again. Anderson shrieks his intro this time to scare the announcers, triggering a Motley Crue discussion. Carter and Anderson get things going but Spud tags himself in before any contact. With Anderson closing in, Spud tags out to Carter. Spud: “I got in his head sir!”
We finally settle down to Anderson and Carter trading wristlocks until Anderson armdrags him down into an armbar. Gunner tags himself in but gets pulled down by the hair. It’s off to a terrified Spud but he tags right back out to Carter. As the announcers talk about reforming the Rockers because they think their job is to riff on wrestling matches, Gunner misses a charge at Carter in the corner, allowing for the tag to Spud for a bunch of lame forearms to the back.
Gunner no sells being rammed into the buckle so Spud tries it himself, knocking himself silly in the process. Spud chops his partner by mistake, but that counts as a tag. The boss isn’t happy and chops Spud down, only to get caught in a double hiptoss. Everything breaks down for a minute with both villains ramming Anderson into the apron.
Back in and Carter puts on a chinlock for a few moments before Anderson kicks away and tags Gunner. He throws Spud at Carter but it turns into a big hug. What else were you expecting? Everything breaks down again with Spud accidentally knocking Carter to the floor, setting up a Mic Check and flying headbutt for the pin at 11:26.
Rating: D. The Spud comedy match is getting played out and it’s gone downhill ever since the first match with Ray. Spud and Carter work well together, but it’s kind of hard to laugh at them after seeing them feuding so heavily over the last few months. The wrestling was an afterthought to the comedy, but it was really just dull outside of a few funny lines from Spud.
Video on Eric Young overcoming people saying he was just a comedy guy and becoming World Champion. He tells a very good story about how surreal it was when the title was presented to him and the adrenaline that flowed through him when reality set in.
As soon as the three count went down, Magnus was immediately thinking about how he could get the title back. He has to get back on the horse.
Magnus vs. Eric Young
Young is back to being goofy and checks the referee for weapons. There’s no opening bell for this match. After a forty second long crisscross, Young holds onto the ropes and Magnus keeps running. Oh yeah we’re in a comedy match. Young takes him down into a headlock and is so pleased with it that he does it two more times in a row. Magnus tries a waistlock but gets sent to the floor in frustration. He counters Eric’s baseball slide by catching him under the ring skirt and hammers away to take over.
Back in and a knee to Eric’s ribs sets up the chinlock. An elbow to the back has Young in trouble but he’s able to strut down the apron. Magnus, apparently not a Flair fan, puts on the sleeper before switching it up to a chinlock. A belly to back suplex finally gets Young out of the hold and a belly to belly gets two on Magnus. They trade rollups for two each before Magnus puts him on top, only to have his superplex broken up. Young drops the top rope elbow for two but Eric’s piledriver is good for the pin at 11:31.
Rating: D-. We went from lame comedy to a long series of chinlocks before getting to the finish where a guy that gets on my nerves wins. This was the weakest match they’ve had all night but it was more due to how it felt like they weren’t trying. Unfortunately that’s the case with most of the matches on these shows and it gets tiring in a hurry.
We look at the history between Bram and Abyss, focusing on all of their violent matches, primarily Monster’s Ball.
Abyss vs. Bram
Bram grabs the mic and says Abyss is lucky this is a normal match. Abyss says he’s the 6’8 350lb weapon of mass destruction and wants to make this Monster’s Ball, which is reluctantly accepted. The bell rings and we’re already bringing in the weapons. They slug it out on the floor with Bram slowly sending him into the post. Abyss reverses a whip to send Bram much harder into the steps. More weapons are brought in as this is strictly following Monster’s Ball procedure.
Abyss knocks a chair out of Bram’s hands and nails him in the ribs with a kendo stick. Bram cracks him over the head with a trashcan and it’s table time. I’m so glad all these weapons were under the ring just in case a Monster’s Ball match was signed on the fly. The table is set up in the corner but Abyss would rather hit Bram with a chair than send him through the wood. Bram blocks a running Earthquake splash by raising a chair and both guys are down.
The monster gets busted open by a few chain shots but he low blows Bram to knock the pry bar out of his hand. Of course, this warrants a discussion of basketball. Janice is brought in but Bram hits the worst looking spear into a table I’ve ever seen. The table gives a bit but doesn’t break and Abyss is up at two. Back up and Abyss sends him head first into a chair in the corner but a chokeslam sends Bram out to the floor. Back in and Abyss loads up a Janice shot but gets rolled up with Bram grabbing the ropes for the pin at 10:57.
Rating: D+. This was every Monster’s Ball match you’ve seen in the last few years but toned down a bit. Much like the Knockouts match earlier, I’ve seen these two fight time after time in hardcore match after hardcore match and I really don’t need to see it again. Nothing to see here and it’s another match of the same length keeping the show at the same dull pace.
We recap Roode vs. Storm, which you should know by now. They were friends, the World Title split them up, they’ve feuded over and over and over again since.
Storm says he doesn’t care what the fans think while Roode dies on every word they say. I don’t think they’ve ever had Storm as the heel in this feud.
Bobby Roode vs. James Storm
Before the match, Storm has a mic in his hand. Tenay: “Something tells me we’re going to hear from James Storm.” James doesn’t want to fight because Roode can see the light and be part of the Revolution. Storm won’t die for a brotherhood, but he’ll live for a revolution. This doesn’t sit well with Roode, who says Storm isn’t the same man that he knew back in the Beer Money days. The answer is no so Storm decks him with the microphone and we’re off to a fast start. Also, the referee is fine with Storm hitting Roode with a foreign object before the bell.
Roode fights back and clotheslines Storm to the floor before hitting another on the outside. There’s a drink to Storm’s head and a knee drop gets two back inside. Storm tries to play some mind games and the distraction lets him send Roode right back to the floor. That goes nowhere so we hit the chinlock as the match slows down again. A low DDT gets two more for Storm but Roode sends him into the buckle to get a breather.
The Blockbuster only gets two and Roode escapes the Eye of the Storm for good measure. Storm kicks out of a spinebuster and dives off the middle rope for a Codebreaker. Instead of covering off a good looking move, he misses the Last Call and has to get out of the Roode Bomb. Now the Eye of the Storm connects for two but the referee takes the bottle away. Storm misses another Last Call and the Roode Bomb is good for the pin at 11:45.
Rating: C. I know this is one of the biggest feuds in the history of TNA but COME UP WITH SOMETHING NEW! How many times do I have to sit through the same missed finishers and a beer bottle playing into the finish? It was one match over three years ago and they’ve used that exact same idea time after time now with the same two guys and almost always the same ending. Either stop having them fight or come up with a new formula. And can Storm win one for a change? Other than Bound For Glory, I don’t ever remember him beating Roode. They’ve fought four times at One Night Only alone and Roode is 4-0.
Jeff Hardy’s turning point was beating Austin Aries at Bound For Glory 2012.
MVP praises Jeff Hardy (because everyone in TNA respects everyone else. You almost never hear a promo without someone praising their opponent. Give us some more hatred.) but says he owns both Hardys. Jeff has had his ups and downs, his turning points if you will, but tonight Jeff is taking a turn for the worse.
We get a clip of MVP turning heel by attacking MVP and becoming yet another corrupt authority figure.
MVP vs. Jeff Hardy
JB does big match intros and calls this the Turning Point main event of the evening twice. MVP bails to the floor just after the bell to put JB in charge of the jewelry. After a minute on the floor (and somehow not even a one count from the referee), MVP heads back to the apron for more stalling. Jeff starts clapping and they lock up nearly two minutes in. A headlock has MVP in trouble but he shoulders Jeff down with ease.
The threat of a Twist of Fate sends MVP bailing again. He back in and goes back out again to make the fans hate him even more. Hardy won’t let MVP leave and takes him out with a big dive to try to wake the fans up. Back in and Jeff gets crotched going for the Whisper in the Wind, sending him out to the floor for a change. MVP sends him into the barricade a few times and Hebner is more than willing to count Jeff. Racist.
Back in and a big boot gets two for MVP and he follows up with right hands. We hit the chinlock because what else would you expect them to do? The Ballin Elbow gets two, likely because it’s just an elbow drop. Jeff starts his comeback and gets two of his own off a basement dropkick. The Whisper in the Wind gets the same but MVP counters the Twist of Fate into the Playmaker for another near fall. He tries the same move but this time Jeff counters into the Twist, followed by the Swanton for the pin at 16:05.
Rating: C. The problem here is there’s no reason for these two to be fighting, and a match based around MVP stalling for five minutes isn’t really going to get the job done. It’s certainly not bad and the ending sequence was pretty good, but there’s nothing here worth going out of your way to see. I know I’ve said that several times but it’s the only thing that keeps sticking out to me.
Celebrating and a highlight package takes us out.
Overall Rating: D. That highlight package was very telling. By the time I was done with this show, I had already forgotten a lot of the earlier matches on the card. That really shouldn’t be happening on a show that doesn’t even make two hours and forty five minutes. The wrestling is mostly acceptable here and the show isn’t the worst, but there’s no reason to want to watch it. That’s the case with so many of these shows: they’re clearly just filling in contractual requirements and the lack of effort and story really drags these things down.
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