Sunday, 21 October 2007

TNA Bound for Glory on Bravo 2 - TV Review

It’s a main event that promises much, as Kurt Angle defends the TNA title against Sting in Total Non-Stop Action’s biggest show of the year, Bound for Glory, held in WCW’s old stomping ground in Atlanta, and shown on a three day delay here in Britain. As usual, our hosts for the show are Don West and Mike Tenay.
The show begins with tag-team action, as the Triple X team of Senshi and Elix Skipper take on LAX, Homicide and Hernandez, in an Ultimate X match, with the winner getting a shot at the tag-team titles. It’s a hell of a way to start off the show. Hernandez again proves that he has the makings of a great big man as he tosses Triple X around the ring for fun. And the other three in the match don’t do too badly either. In the end it’s the big man who proves to be the major factor in this match. After taking Skipper out with his border toss, powering him over the top rope onto his Senshi (and his own partner), Hernandez shimmied across the cables to grab the “X”, and to earn LAX another shot at the tag-team titles. This was a great way to start things off, and it certainly got the fans fired up.
The gimmickry continues with something called the “Fight for the Right”. It’s the obligatory over-booked and over-burdened with rules match that starts with sixteen wrestlers outside the ring, with the first eight to get over the top rope and into the ring moving on to the next stage of the match, a normal battle royal. Then, when two are remaining, they compete in a normal match to determine the number one seed for the tournament to determine the number one contender for the TNA title.. Now I’ve got that out of the way, I’m going to forgo reviewing the first two parts of the match and stick to the final one-on-one encounter - Eric Young v Robert Roode - again - for the umpteenth time on pay-per-view. Sadly, Young wins and gets the number one spot, pinning Roode with a small package. You know, this is the thing that really annoys me about TNA, when they put these matches on that have too many rules and stipulations that lead into other things that also have too many rules and stipulations. What ever happened to good old fashioned wrestling matches?
It’s the first title match of the evening next, as Pacman and Ron Killings take on Tomko and A.J. Styles, except that Pacman still isn’t being allowed to wrestle, instead we get some Apollo Creed wannabe, called Rasheed Lucius Consequences Creed. This Creed bloke showed some pretty good moves, especially when Styles was on all fours and Creed launched himself off his back before coming down with an elbow drop on the phenomenal one. Styles and Killings, as always, looked great in this one, but Tomko was once again allowed to show us some of the stuff he wasn’t allowed to in WWE. Given the right booking, Tomko could become one of the major players in TNA. Pacman tried to interfere with a wad of cash, which Styles ended up trying to snatch, which in turn ended up flying into the air, with the referee gathering the cash instead of counting the pin as Killings covered Styles. The end came when, after Styles caught Killings with a flying forearm, they both took him down with their corkscrew finisher. A good title match here, certainly improved with the withdrawl of Pacman, and it certainly will be interesting to see Tomko going up against Hernandez in the near future.
The second title match follows immediately, as Christopher Daniels challenges Jay Lethal for the X Division title. Now this was a tremendous match, a perfect example of the X Division at it’s best. Fast paced moved following fast paced move executed by two of the best in the business at the moment. Daniels and Lethal certainly turned things up a notch for this match, and it showed in their performances. Both men executed their finishing moves, but they were still unable to put each other away. In the end Lethal came out on top, unleashing his Lethal Combination finisher from the top rope to get the title retaining win. An awesome match, the X Division at it’s finest.
Following this great encounter, the Steiners and Team 3D face off in a tables match, fought under 2 out of 3 rules. This one was nothing more than a fight. It started off with the obligatory brawl through the crowd, with the Steiners dominating as the fight eventually got back to the ring. But then the former Dudleys came back and quickly put Rick through a table to score first. Scott then evened the scores up when he put Brother Ray through a table with a top rope Frankensteiner. The brutality continued, and eventually Team 3D were about to attack Scott’s throat again, only to be distracted by Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin. This was enough for Scott to recover, and after Brother Ray was on the receiving end of a botched con-chair-to, the Steiners took Brother Devon out with a top rope bulldog, putting him through the table in the process and winning the match. Another good match to continue the show with, and although I’ve been very critical of Scott Steiner in the past, it’s obvious that he’s far better off in the tag-team division with his brother. Great job all round here.
Time for more title action, as it’s time to determine the first TNA Knockouts Champion. Why they couldn’t call it a Women’s Championship I’ll never know. Anyway, it’s basically a Royal Rumble style match, with the final two having to compete in a normal rules match. So once again TNA are over-burdening things with rules. Oh well. Back to the match, all I can say about Awesome Kong is WOW! She was absolutely dominant, and a big part of me wanted her to walk away with this, but sadly, it wasn’t to be. The final two women in the match were Gail Kim and Roxy Layveaux. It was a good little match, before Gail got the pin with a move that looked like Nova’s old Kryptonie Krunch move. Not a bad little match here, but I do hate the name of this title!
The rivalry between Christian Cage and Samoa Joe then continues, with Matt Morgan serving as the special enforcer. Now this is the sort of match that makes it great to be a wrestling fan. This was a back and forth encounter that really had you believing that they actually hated each other, the kind of match we rarely get to see these days. I could list all the great moves and moments but there are really too many, it was that good. Tomko and A.J. Styles tried to interfere, but Morgan chased them away. With the referee also distracted, Cage connected with a low blow, but it wasn’t enough to put the submission machine away as, a short time later, Joe synched in the rear naked choke, and for the first time in his TNA career, Cage lost, tapping out, giving Joe the victory.
The Monster’s Ball match follows, featuring Raven, Rhino, Abyss and Black Reign. This one is nothing more than a brawl, as the four of them hit each other with anything they can get their hands on, and then some. Rhino tried to gore Abyss on the stage, but ended up going through a wall. Raven elbow dropped Abyss through a table, having leapt off a high platform. When they finally got back to the ring, James Mitchell came down to the ring and handed Raven a bag full of broken glass, which he added to the thumbtacks he’d laid out seconds earlier. But as he tried to take Abyss down, the monster reversed and black hole slammed Raven onto the glass and tacks, getting the winning pinfall, and his first ever victory in a Monster’s Ball match. A very enjoyable brawl here, and personally, I think it’s great to see Raven back in the mix of things.
Main event time, as Sting challenges Kurt Angle for the TNA title. Now this is what a main event should be about, full of action and drama throughout, with two of the greatest wrestlers in the history of the business going at it. This is one of those matches that you just can’t fault. The wrestling from Sting and Angle was flawless. The drama involving the interference from Karen Angle and Kevin Nash fitted in perfectly, with two referees getting clobbered. But in the end Sting came out on top, taking Angle down with a second scorpion death drop, getting the three count and the title winning ring. This was a hell of a match, a definite match of the year candidate.
In conclusion - the 2007 version of Bound for Glory certainly delivered. Despite one match being over-burdened by rules, every match achieved what it set out to do, with the main event clash between Sting and Angle proving to be the best of the lot. Bound for Glory is the best TNA this year, perhaps in any year, and let’s hope that Dixie Carter and her crew can build on this for the future.

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