Sunday, 16 September 2007

TNA Against All Odds 2007 on Bravo 2 - TV Review

It’s that time of the month again where it’s the turn of Total Non-Stop Action to put on a pay-per-view show with the 2007 version of Against All Odds, headlined by Christian Cage against Kurt Angle for the NWA World title, and shown on a three day delay in Britain on Bravo 2. As usual, our hosts at the Impact Zone are Mike Tenay and Don West.
We begin with a non-title tag-team match, as NWA Tag-Team champs LAX take on Team 3-D in a Little Italy Street Fight, with Konnan making his first appearance since his hip surgery in a wheelchair. It’s an entertaining weapons filled brawl in which both teams beat the crap out of each other with anything they can get their hands on, including a pizza cutter and a cheese grater. There’s also appearance from the Latino Nation henchmen, and eventually the numbers are too much for the former Dudleys. As Devon is about to super-plex Homicide off the top rope, Hernandez, again an impressive presence in this match, grabs him and sends him flying across the ring with a border crossing, before both LAX members get the winning pinfall. Damn good stuff to get the show started here.
Backstage, Jeremy Borash chats with Austin Starr about his upcoming match with Senshi. While Star is talking, Bob Backlund walks past a couple of times, before Starr threatens him. After Starr walks off, Backlund says some words that I probably couldn’t even spell, but I get the feeling he was asking Borash if Starr was threatening him.
Then it’s on to the match itself, as Senshi goes up against Austin Starr. These two guys looked like they were made for each other, putting on a fast paced high impact match that would have been worthy of an X Division title match, with move for move and hold for hold, and a double-pin (almost) to end the match, with Senshi reversing a Starr roll-up for the win, although it looked like both sets of shoulders were down for the count to end the second great match in a row. Afterwards Starr went ape, throwing chairs into the ring, and then grabbing the microphone demanding that the match is re-started, despite the fact that Senshi had long gone. Enter Bob Backlund, who proceeds to shout at Starr, and gets a slap for his trouble. Enraged, Backlund applied the cross-face chicken wing, dragging Starr backstage.
Backstage, Borash chats with NWA champ Christian Cage, or at least he tries to, as Tomko complains about Scott Steiner. Then Steiner appears, complaining about Tomko as much as Tomko complained about him. Cage does his best to try and calm the situation down, but it looks like his attempt failed.
Back in the arena, it’s time for Christy Hemme to make her in-ring debut in a tuxedo match against….the big fat oily guy. Yep, you got it, TNA are promoting women’s wrestling by putting Christy against a big fat guy known for oiling himself up. I wonder who came up with this idea? After what has to be one of the worst things I’ve seen in a TNA ring (even worse than the Johnsons tag-team), Christy eventually one. Afterwards, Christy grabbed the microphone, and after saying a few words, Kip James came down to the ring. James pretends he’s going to take his shorts off, until he strips Christy of his remaining clothes.
Backstage, Alex Shelley premieres the latest film from Paparazzi Productions involving Eric Young and Tracey Brooks. It doesn’t look that good, and it’s to be continued…..sadly.
Back in the ring, it’s time for the TNA/baseball cross-over, as the former Kiss Demon Dale Torborg, who has some guy I’ve never heard of before called A.J. Pierzynski with him, takes on Lance Hoyt, who has another guy I’ve never heard of before, David Eckstein, with him. Nothing special to write home about as the two big guys go at it, with both guys looking a little rusty, and Torborg getting the pin after Pierzynski clobbered him with a chair behind the referee’s back. But then Eckstein told the referee what had happened, and after the match was re-started, Hoyt soon got the win. Move along. Nothing more to see.
Back to the Paparazzi viewing party, and we have to put up with more crap with Eric Young & Tracey Brooks. Something involving Eric Young being a virgin and a contract. Sadly, it’s still to be continued.
Normal service is soon resumed….thankfully, as A.J. Styles faces Rhino in a Motor City Chain match. This series of matches has been one of the highlights of TNA in the past few months, and this one promised much. While not as entertaining as their previous encounters, this was still quite a good match as both men, connected at the wrist by a chain, used all of their skills to try and get the key that was hanging from a ring post. Eventually both wrestlers freed themselves from the chain, before Styles got the win after Rhino missed a gore through a table.
Back to the Paparazzi viewing party, and…well, you can guess what’s happens. Eric signs the contract, Tracey leaves him high and dry and meets up with Robert Roode in the corridor. The viewing is then interrupted by a ranting and raving Bob Backlund, screaming something about pornography and destroying civilization. Surely they could have found something better for a former World champion.
On to the first title match of the evening, as Chris Sabin defends his X Division title against Jerry Lynn. You know, I really don’t like what they’re doing in this angle. So what if Jerry Lynn is 43 years old? For many wrestlers that’s still quite young. Anyway, back to the action. Lynn rolls back the years, putting up a good fight even though Sabin dominated the bout, constantly working over Lynn’s back, to the point where Lynn was unable to execute his cradle piledriver. Opting to try for a sunset flip instead, Sabin countered and got the winning pin with the help of the ropes. Quite a good match here, and Sabin did okay for an old guy.
Backstage, we see Samoa Joe leaving Kurt Angle’s dressing room with a rather sullen look on his face. Then, back in the Impact Zone, Robert Roode and Tracey Brooks make their way to the ring. Basically, Roode now “owns” Eric Young. I’m getting flashbacks to the WWF of 1988 here. If Roode is so good, why hasn’t he had a PPV bout in ages?
Borash then chats to Christian Cage about the so-called animosity between Tomko and Scott Steiner. Tomko walks away, while Cage tries to tell us that everything is rosey. He then promises to defeat Kurt Angle in the main event. Jim Cornette then appears, and reminds the champion that he can lose the title via disqualification.
Mixed tag action follows, as James Storm and Jackie Moore face off against Petey Williams and Gail Kim. It’s great to see Miss Jackie back where she belongs, as she’s probably one of the best female wrestlers in America at the moment. Some great action from all concerned here, although I couldn’t help but feel that this was little more than filler material. Jackie and Kim again proved how good they are, and Jackie got the winning pin on her counterpart after she pushed Kim into Storm on the apron. Chris Harris, complete with eye patch, then made his return, saving Williams and Kim from a post-match beat down.
Backstage, Sting, complete with Abyss-style mask, chats with Borash about his upcoming encounter with the monster. He once again tells Abyss to leave the demon that is James Mitchell behind.
Then it’s on to the match itself, Sting and Abyss going at it in a Prison Yard match. To win, one man has to put the other in the solitary confinement cell. These two knock seven bells out of each other in another entertaining encounter between the two of them, and once again James Mitchell takes a few shots for the cause as well. Sting emerged as the winner here. After power bombing Abyss from the side of the cell onto a barbed wire table, he managed to get the monster locked inside, before taking out even more of his frustration on Mitchell, locking him in the Scorpion Deathlock for the second time in the evening.
Backstage, Borash catches up with a very solemn looking Kurt Angle. Angle talks about the opportunities he’s had since arriving in TNA, vowing to win the NWA title.
Main event time, as Kurt Angle challenges Christian Cage for the NWA World title, with Samoa Joe serving as unofficial special enforcer. Cage arrives with his bodyguard Tomko, but the big guy is made to leave the arena before the match begins. Despite a strong build-up and the pedigree of the two wrestlers involved, I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed with this match. There was a distinct lack of drama throughout, and we had the usual TNA overbooked main event ending as Styles, Steiner, Tomko, and Joe brawled around the ringside area. Eventually, Cage emerged as the winner, clobbering Angle with a pipe that Steiner had brought down to the ring while Angle applied the ankle lock. A competent match which for me just didn’t deliver on it’s promise.
In conclusion - some good and bad points here from TNA folks. Awful segments involving Young & Roode which really would have been better on Impact, the continued appearance of the naked fat guy, the appearance of the baseball contingent, a ranting and raving former World champion, the constant putting down of Jerry Lynn because of his age and an indifferent main event soured Against All Odds for me. If TNA was to stop trying to out-WWE WWE then it might provide a viable alternative to the McMahons right now. But that just isn’t going to happen with a certain Mr. Russo running things at the moment.
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