TNA heads to New York City for a series of tapings. Tonight, Bobby Lashley defends his TNA World Heavyweight Championship against Jeff Hardy, and Austin Aries defends the X-Division Championship.
Show Open, Taped at the Manhattan Center in New York City
We get some hype for the TNA World Championship match. Kurt Angle is at ringside and he introduces the six sided ring, asking fans if they're ready for "some TNA." Taz appears on the balcony, putting Angle over as the right guy to be in charge because Angle understands how important wrestling is. He says he was the part of the greatest revolution in wrestling history. That gets an ECW chant. Taz implies that TNA is where ECW was when they turned the corner in the 90's.
Bully Ray and Tommy Dreamer come to the ring. This place is standing room only. Ray says that the reaction they got is why New York is the best wrestling city in the world. He repeats his promise to put Dixie Carter through a table. The fans chant "tables" and Ray says they will get tables. Dreamer comments that it was in this building where they got their first national attention and thanks the fans. He says the guys in the back remind him of the ECW guys and will work balls to the wall.
EC3 and Rhyno come out. Carter says no one will put Dixie through a table - Ray hasn't done it yet and he will only do it over Carter's dead body. Rhyno tells the fans to stop booing EC3. He gets a "you sold out" chant for his troubles. Carter calls it true because he paid Rhyno a lot of cash. He calls New York the "Big Crapple."
They get in the ring and Dreamer tells Carter he doesn't get New York. He says this isn't "a little PG show, kid." He says the one thing he likes in wrestling is less talk and more action. He and Ray attack the heels and knock them outside.
That was a little disjointed. Ray and Dreamer helped to settle it down though. I hate it when TNA says anything about being a second coming of any other promotion - they need to focus on being the first of their own brand. But, they did play to the market for those ECW-related comments.
Match #1 - Tommy Dreamer and Bully Ray vs. Ethan Carter III and Rhyno:
Joined in progress, the heels control the action. Ray and Dreamer start to mount a comeback but Rockstar Spud runs out and distracts Dreamer, which allows Carter to hit a slam and keep control.
Fans chant "you can't wrestle" as Ray gets the hot tag and clears house. He and Dreamer team up for a back suplex for two. Rhyno gets in and drags Bully outside. Dreamer drags Spud in hard-way, but Carter rolls Dreamer up for the win.
The live crowd loved this, and it was pretty hot. It didn't advance any story though - more like a holding pattern here.
They show an "earlier today" video where Lashley and his entourage enters the building. Jeff Hardy is shown arriving alone.
Backstage, Angle bumps into Austin Aries. He tells Aries he booked him in an eight man gauntlet match, which Aries puts over as an opportunity. Angle tells him he's on next.
To me, Aries as the confident babyface doesn't seem believable.
Backstage, James Storm stops Sanada, telling him he is smart, fast and strong. He says he's disciplined and slaps him. Storm says that was what Great Muta taught Sanada, but he would be a loser if he keeps listening to Muta.
Match #2 - Austin Aries (c) vs. Sanada vs. Eddie Edwards vs Manik vs. Davey Richards vs. DJ Z vs. Crazy Steve vs. Tigre Uno; Gauntlet Match for the X-Division Championship
Over the top rope eliminations here, with a new person running in every 90 seconds. Last two men fight a regular match to the pinfall win. Aries attempts to shake hands with Edwards but he's not having that. Manik comes out next and starts flying around.
Davey Richards comes to the ring and he and Eddie team up on Aries and Manik. DJ Z comes out and it's rapid "big shot" moves leaving the six men out there down. Manik and DJ Z get to their feet first, and Manik ends up eliminating both of them with a flying head scissor off the ropes.
During the break, Crazy Steve and Tigre Uno have joined. Sanada was out last, flying in with chops and strikes to take everyone out. Sanada goes after Aries while Steve and Uno go at it. Steve hip tosses Uno over the ropes and that fires off some eliminations quickly. Uno first, then Steve, then Eddie Edwards then Davey Richards. It's down to Aries and Sanada.
Sanada tosses Aries out, and the referee waves his arms to let everyone know the elimination rule is out now. Aries locks on the Last Chancery, but Sanada crawls to the ropes. Sanada locks in an O'Conner Roll into a bridge for two, then hits a tiger suplex with a bridge for two.
Sanada tries a moonsault but Aries moved. Sanada lands on his feet, but Aries hits him with discus elbows. He follows with a corner drop kick then the brainbuster to get the win. Afterward, Aries helps Sanada to his feet and they shake hands.
That was just crazy. It settled into a solid final exchange between Aries and Sanada though. I am also confused why they'd go "Option C" with Aries again, but maybe there's a bigger plan.
Backstage, Bobby Roode and Eric Young talk about all the offenses that MVP has committed against him. They agree to fight MVP together.
Elsewhere, Storm attacks Sanada and beats the hell out of him. He calls Sanada a loser and demands he fight back. He says Muta is afraid and storms away.
I don't get Storm's motivation here, but it's alright.
Dixie Carter is shown arriving.
They show a compilation of Bully Ray putting people through tables.
Backstage, HerveyCam asks Jeff Hardy why he has returned as Hardy. He says it's because Angle asked for it. He says Willow was a way to handle the darkness that tormented him, but now the light was shining again and Hardy is back.
MVP and Kenny King are in the ring. MVP is on crutches and protests that Angle booked him in a match while injured. King grabs the mic and says it's not about the match because he can beat both guys himself, but they are complaining about Angle abusing his power.
Match #3 - Bobby Roode and Eric Young vs. MVP and Kenny King
Young starts with King, but Roode tags in and takes a quick slam. MVP calls for the tag as Roode recovers so MVP drops to the floor to sell the knee. MVP gets back to the ring, but King tags himself in to protect MVP.
King hits EY with a hangman and MVP tags back in. He lands a couple fist drops and a slam before tagging out. EY hits a crossbody and hot tags Roode. MVP tries to distract, but MVP runs from Roode. Roode starts a comeback on King. MVP runs in again, and Roode locks on the crossface. King breaks it up, but things break down from there. MVP hits Roode with his crutch to cause the disqualification. The heels keep up the beatdown after the bell.
That was fun and they did a nice job of protecting MVP with the injury. EY and Roode aren't working for me as a team, and his earlier promo seemed more like heel whining. But, until MVP heals up, this works and hopefully they'll break away to more singles matches.
They hype Muta making an appearance next week, then roll the Bound for Glory in Japan video.
Match #4 - Brittany vs. Madison Rayne; No Disqualification, no count out match rules
Christy Hemme puts this over as "there must be a winner." Brittany hooks an armbar in over the ropes. Madison escapes and hits a cross body from the apron to the floor. Madison takes Brittany to the ramp and tries a piledriver, but Brittany counters to a backdrop.
Action moves back to the ring, and Brittany slams Madison face first to the mat. Ouch, in a six sided ring. Brittany tosses Madison to the floor, where she tries for an inverted DDT but Madison counters to a northern lights suplex. The fans are chanting for Christy? In the ring, Madison hits Brittany with a package DDT to get the win.
I was confused as to why they said "there must be a winner" here, because there haven't been several matches with them where there's not been one. In fact, I think aside from house shows this is the first time these two have worked a match. I also think they buried Brittany here a bit, at least it seems, as this loss will make it a bit harder for her to get over as a credible heel threat. All in all though, entertaining match - just a couple logic bugs I didn't get.
They show Hardy and Lashley backstage.
HerveyCam asks what Dixie is doing there. She says she owns the company. He asks about Ray and she says when she barks, she bites. She calls Ray a fat St. Bernard but he really is just a toy poodle that barks, then tells the HerveyCam to stop asking questions.
HerveyCam goes on to ask Aries a dumb question. Aries starts to answer, but Angle interrupts to congratulate him for his earlier win. He says he never doubted Aries. Aries says Angle was the first guy in leadership to believe in him, which shows how stupid they were. Angle says Aries will announce if he will cash in the X-Division Championship for the World Title shot.
Match #5 - Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Jeff Hardy; TNA World Heavyweight Championship
Hardy comes out first, then Lashley. The fans are clearly chanting "you f**ked up" over something.
Spoiler reports said that Lashley screwed up his leap to the apron, hence the chants.
Lashley breaks clean on an early lock up, but Hardy hits him in the mouth. Lashley fights back and sets up a spear, but Hardy hits a mule kick instead. Lashley ends up on the floor. Hardy hits a slingshot dive over the ropes.
Hardy sets up the stairs away from the ring. He tries for an Irish whip into them, but Lashley reverses the whip. Jeff jumps onto the stairs, but Lashley sweeps his legs and Hardy bumps hard. They run a recap of the stair spot while Lashley continues to toss Hardy around.
Hardy hits a flying forearm to start his comeback. He hits Whisper in the Wind (with Lashley out of position and he had to run into it) then hits a pair of Twists of Fate. He rips his shirt off and hits a Swanton to get a good near fall.
Lashley rolls out, and Hardy goes after him. He slams Lashley's face into the stairs a couple times and leaves him laying there. Hardy goes up top and tries for the Swanton from the top rope to the stairs. Lashley moves and Hardy crashes on the steps. Ouch. Lashley throws Hardy in, then sets up and hits the spear to get the win.
That was really good, and I was entertained by it. I thought the Swanton to the stairs was unnecessary, but I respect that Hardy would take that kind of a risk. Lashley looked good with a solid, clean win as well. Well done.
Backstage, Kurt Angle is with HerveyCam when Dixie walks by. Angle grabs her and asks where she is going. She says she owns the place and can go to the ring if she wants. Angle asks if she's crazy because she is going out there in front of his people. Dixie says she's tired of Ray's stunts and is going out to speak to her people.
MVP and company celebrate Lashley's win. Angle storms up and says he's had enough. He books MVP in a falls count anywhere against Bobby Roode for next week. He storms away, and they all complain about Angle abusing his power.
There's a fine line here with the Angle approach. He came off a bit heelish with Aries, and now this adds to the fire.
Rockstar Spud introduces Dixie Carter, who comes out with EC3 and Rhyno. She calls them "yous guys" in New York style and calls them foul-mouthed and bitter people. She runs down New York and says she had to wear extra sparkles to give it shine. She says no one in the room has class and they cheer people with no class.
She mocks Tommy Dreamer's promo earlier and brags about kneeing him in the nutsack. She says she's embarrassed for people who cheer for Bully Ray. She says the reason he keeps asking if people know who he is is because he's irrelevant. She says she will put him through table after table until he got it through his skull that he will never put her through a table.
Ray's music cuts her off, and here he and Dreamer come with a table with Dixie's name on it. They slide it in the ring and jump in, then dump EC3 and Rhyno. Dreamer sets up the table as Ray takes out Spud. Ray goes up top and Dreamer picks up Dixie. EC3 runs in, hits Dreamer with a nut shot, then dumps the table. Dreamer drops Dixie.
Everyone but EC3 escapes. EC3 backs up the ramp, but Devon's music hits. He runs out and drives EC3 back to the ring. Devon pulls out a table with EC3's name on it and they set it up. Devon and Ray hit 3D on EC3 to close the show.
That was good. Dixie's heat is still pretty much go-away heat, but the place will explode when the day comes that she does go through a table. Fans don't react to what she says, they just boo her. Also, Devon looked good in his return, and it's always fun to see them hit the 3D into a table.
This was a good show, and probably the best in this year so far. Granted, they used a lot of nostalgia, but they used it well and kept the New York City crowd from turning on them. They mixed their stuff together well so that people have something to look forward to as well next week. The gimmicks will eventually run out, but if they do a decent enough job of building on their other stories, it shows some promise. If this is a reboot of the company, it's off to a sound start.
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