Monday, 17 September 2007

TNA No Surrender 2007 on Bravo 2 - TV Review

Kurt Angle is in for a busy night as he defends all three of his titles in one night in three gruelling matches. Yep, it’s TNA’s latest pay-per-view offering, No Surrender, shown on a three day delay here in Britain on Bravo 2. As usual, our hosts for the evening are Mike Tenay and Don West.
Angle’s first title defence kicks off the show, as he teams with Sting to defend the tag-team title against Ron Killings and Pacman Jones, otherwise known as Team Pacman. So I’m assuming that Killings is now one of Pacman’s buddies now. Not watching Impact does kind of hamper things a little. Anyway, back to the action. With a non-wrestler as part of this match, I wasn’t expecting much. Angle, Sting and Killings did their stuff, but Pacman did nothing, and the match was more about what happened outside the ring than inside the ring. As Karen Angle and Sting argued outside the ring, Karen fell to the floor like a sack of spuds when Sting pointed to the entrance ramp. 
Then, as Sting tagged himself in and began to clean house, Karen told her old man “what had happened”, and Angle turned on Sting, taking him down with the Olympic slam as he was about to face off against Pacman. Jones capitalized by getting the pin (a pin that we actually didn’t see), on a fallen sting. Yep, Team Pacman won the titles. Was this a good way to open the show? Definitely not, and once again Pacman Jones proves that there’s absolutely no point in him being on the TNA roster, because his grid iron paymasters won’t allow him to do anything, and if this continues, he’ll end up dragging every match or angle he’s involved in down.
Rhino and James Storm renew their rivalry next. The Professor and DW once again remind us that Rhino is a recovering alcoholic before the obligatory brawl around the Impact Zone begins, before they eventually make it back to the ring and the match officially begins. It’s once the action is back in the ring that things get turned up a notch. Storm continues to improve as a singles wrestler, and works well with Rhino, giving us a match that’s enthralling to watch throughout, mainly because you really believed that these guys hated each other. Rhino took a nasty shot when Storm executed an ace crusher onto a couple of chairs, and Storm survived the gore, and later, Rhino got the win after goring Storm through a table. Afterwards, as Rhino was about to attack Storm with a beer keg, Jackie Moore tried to stop him, only to get thrown into the ring and gored herself. This was a really enjoyable match, just the antidote that was needed after the disappointing opening.
The third match sees Robert Roode, with Tracey Brookes as always, taking on Kaz. Well, at least they’re not putting Roode with Eric Young anymore. The story here is that Brookes has been favouring Kaz in recent weeks, and is growing tired of Roode’s antics, and it’s a story that plays out throughout the match. It’s a solid match between Roode and the former X Division champion, one that’s good to watch, with Brookes playing her part extremely well, especially when she hid the chain Roode brought into the ring after Kaz kicked it out of his hand and sent it flying out of the ring. Plenty of false finishes here as no matter what Kaz and Roode did to each other, they couldn’t put each other away. But sadly, Kaz came out on the losing end. Although he almost got the pin after a top rope face buster, Roode got the winning pin with a cradle suplex. Afterwards, Roode didn’t look too happy as Brookes showed concern for Kaz’s condition, shoving her up the ramp.
With his wife having been thrown out of the building by Jim Cornette, Kurt Angle then makes his second appearance of the evening, defending the X Division title against Macho Man wannabe Jay Lethal. A distinct clash of styles here, Angle’s technical and ground game against Lethal’s fast paced and high flying attack in what is a very different kind of X Division match, with the Professor and DW more or less saying that Lethal doesn’t stand a chance against Angle. Well, guess what? The kid held his own against the former Olympian and put on a damn good match in doing so. The two different styles complimented each other perfectly, with Angle getting more and more frustrated as time went on, unhappy that, no matter what he did, he just couldn’t put Lethal away, and after what seemed like an age of great moves followed by great moves, Lethal got the “upset” victory, countering Angle’s ankle lock attempt with a roll-up for the three count and the title winning pin. Now if they’d only give Lethal a title reign that lasts longer than four days, he might be able to prove himself a bit more.
Chris Harris then resumes his rivalry with Dustin “Black Reign” Rhodes. You know, this new character is taking some getting used to, because no matter how you dress him up, Dustin Rhodes will always be Dustin Rhodes, the grandson of a plumber. It’s an okay match, nothing special, with both guys using the usual moves, before Harris got the pin with a roll-up as Rhodes was about to use that weapon of his. Mind you, it says something when what happens after the match seems a little better than the match itself, with stuff involving handcuffs and a rat in a cage.
Then it’s on to one of those multi-men type of matches that we get at least one of on every TNA pay-per-view, this one being a tag-team gauntlet match, with the winners winning a shot at the tag-team titles. As usual, it’s over-burdened with rules, with everyone competing in a Royal Rumble-style match, with the last two men being rejoined by their partners to compete in a normal-style match at the end. The entertaining rumble sees Alex Shelley and A.J. Styles survive, meaning it’s Tomko & Styles against the Motor City Machine Guns in the final match, a heel v heel encounter. Sabin and Shelley put in some excellent team work, and in a way it was a shame that they didn’t come out on top, with Styles getting the pin by reversing a roll-up with a handful of tights. I’m really starting to warn to the MCMG’s, and hopefully they’ll get a run at the title soon. Overall, an entertaining match.
What looks like an excellent match on paper follows, as Samoa Joe faces Christian Cage. The best match of the evening by far. Joe forgoes the dancing routine with his countrymen before the match and attacked Cage straight away, dominating for five or six minutes before the Instant Classic came back well, doing his part in putting on a great showing, as the fans chanted “this is awesome”, a statement which I agreed with. You really believed that these two hated each other as they went at it, so much so that the ref took a hit when Joe locked in the rear naked choke and wouldn’t release the hold when Cage made it to the ropes. Several security guards and wrestlers tried to stop Joe’s rampage, but they all met with the same fate before he tried to hang Cage over the top rope with a T-shirt. In fact, it took Jim Cornette’s new enforcer Matt Morgan to stop the rampage as Cornette tried to calm him down. And for the record, Cage won by disqualification. This is one match TNA have got to put on again.
Main event time, as Kurt Angle makes his third appearance of the evening, defending his World title against the monster Abyss. It’s the slow methodical approach from the Olympian here, with some nice comedy moments thrown in early on, as he work’s over the monster’s knee in an attempt to keep him grounded. No matter what power moves Abyss uses, Angle continually comes back by attacking the knee and ankle, even removing Abyss’s boot so he can inflict even more punishment. Eventually Angle synchs in the ankle lock for a final time, and with Abyss refusing to tap, referee Earl Hebner decides to end the match, awarding the title retaining win to Angle, and after the match finished, Father James Mitchell appeared on the screen, promising to take Abyss down to hell. It was then the a hole appeared in the bottom of the ring, and a hand reached out and grabbed the monster, dragging him down. The match itself was awesome, the best of Angle’s three efforts of the evening.
In conclusion - a couple of sore points, but overall the 2007 version of No Surrender was a good show, clearly highlighted by Angle’s Herculean effort in two of the three matches he competed in, and the great fight between Christian Cage and Samoa Joe which must be a match of the year candidate, with a show ending that left many wondering just what has happened to TNA’s favourite monster. Definitely one to watch again.