The show begins with one of those no rules, no disqualification matches, this time dubbed a “shop of horrors” match, as Black Reign takes on Abyss. As always Mr. Rhodes Junior’s looks like a reject from Britain’s glam rock era. I soon get the answer to my second question, although the two monsters only have a brief foray through the first few rows. We get the usual hardcore match kind of shots, including Abyss getting a face full of rat traps, as well as James Mitchell getting a rat down his shirt for good measure. The end comes after the monster ducks a Black Reign brass knuckles shot, countering with a black hole slam. But things don’t end there. It is finally revealed just who is in Mr. Rhodes Junior’s box, as a well built guy who looks a bit like the Great Muta comes out and spews mist into Abyss’ eyes. Afterwards, Abyss is shoved into the box and pushed off the stage, bringing back memories of what happened to Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie all those years ago. So how was this one for me? Okay I suppose, but I’ll never be a fan of Mr. Rhodes Junior in this guise.
After Kevin Nash’s failed attempt to dismantle the X Division a while ago, Team 3-D have decided to take on this particular cause, and their first target is Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin, the Motor City Machine Guns. This is the kind of tag-team action we just don’t get to see anymore. You actually believed that these two teams really hated each other, it was that good. The Guns once again show how much they’ve improved as a team in recent months, and bring back memories of The Rockers in their prime. The former Dudleys are back to their evil best as well, which makes for a hell of a match-up, which isn’t hindered by the disparage in size between the two teams. I really can’t speak too highly about this match, and it was a shame that it had to come to an end, with Sabin getting the pin after some more excellent double team work on Brother Ray. More of this please.
Women’s action follows, as Gail Kim defends her Knockout’s title (why the hell couldn’t they just call it a woman’s title) against Roxy Laveaux, Angel Williams and ODB. Surprisingly, I found myself enjoying this one quite a bit, and not just because some of the cameramen seemed to enjoy getting some good backside shots here. Okay, Angel Williams made a couple of mistakes, but she still put in a good showing, and there was a unique power bomb/fall away slam kind of move in here as well. The young Ms. Kim emerged victorious, after the Voodoo Queen spit something into ODB’s eyes, before Kim got the pin after her variation of the neck breaker. We then get a brief visit from Awesome Kong. Did I say how much I enjoyed this one by the way?
More title action follows, this time in the X Division, as Jay Lethal defends the title against his running buddy Sonjay Dutt. Sadly Lethal is still suffering from some kind of multiple personality disorder, although I’ve yet to see a spoof video of him reading Dr. Seuss appear on YouTube. Mention must also be made of Lethal’s awful tasselled tights. It starts off as a friendly encounter between the two good friends before things get turned up a notch, and we get a good old-fashioned X Division-style encounter, with tons of fast paced action and high spots aplenty, which makes for great entertainment, which sees Lethal coming out on top, finishing off Dutt with the top rope elbow to end what was a great bout. With the friendship restored and So Cal Val invited into the ring for the celebrations, the fun then really begins as Team 3D hit the ring and clean house. Brother Ray then proclaims that Shelley and Sabin cheated to win, and that they’re taking the X Division title hostage. This will certainly be interesting.
Yet more title action follows, as A.J. Styles and Tomko defend the World Tag-Team titles against the Steiner Brothers. Now the good thing about the Steiners reunion is that it allows them to hide Scott’s shortcomings a little, because even I will admit that the old boy hasn’t looked that bad since his big brother came back in. It’s certainly not a bad match, even though the Steiners will never be as good as they were all those years ago. So what we get is tons of suplexes, power moves from Scott and Tomko, and Styles doing what Styles does best, added to a referee bump during which Rick pinned Styles for a three count which didn’t matter. Then, Styles cleaned house with a steel chair, taking the dog faced gremlin down and pinning him for the title retaining victory. Entertaining in it’s own way, but not the best tag-team encounter I’ve seen recently.
Sadly, Samoa Joe is shoved down to the mid-card, and is now facing Robert Roode, who brings along the somewhat unhappy Traci Brooks along for company. But despite my misgivings about Joe’s current place on the card, this is a good match, with plenty of back and forth action. Roode certainly has improved since the break-up of Team Canada, and matched up well with Joe. Mind you, the big Samoan can match up well with anyone. But while all of this great action was happening, Traci Brooks fainted at ringside (not part of the script). Eventually, Joe stops Roode’s attempt for the Pay Off suplex, and counters with his own Muscle Buster to get the win. Good match here, but Joe really should be fighting for some kind of title.
Then, it’s time for two wrestlers to “fight for the right” to get a title shot, as Frankie Kazarian and Christian Cage go at it in a ladder match, and given Cage’s past ladder match pedigree, this has the makings of a good one. And it was good, everything a ladder match should be, between two wrestlers at the top of their game, using the ladders as weapons in some unique ways, and providing several heart-stopping moments along the way. At one point it looked like Cage would get the contract hanging above the ring, but he ended up getting distracted by Styles and Tomko, annoyed that they had come down to ringside to cheer him on despite his instructions to stay backstage. In the end, with both Kaz and Cage on the ladder, they toppled it over and Cage went crashing over the top rope onto his henchmen at ringside, while Kaz saved himself by putting his foot on the top rope. He then swung the ladder back into position and grabbed the clipboard above the ring to earn himself a title shot. Normally I’d say that the ladder match is the best match on the show, but given the Team 3D/Machine Guns match earlier, this one will have to make do with a close second.
Main event time, a tag-team match with the World title on the line, with the man who gets the pin getting the title, with Kurt Angle and Kevin Nash taking on Sting and his mystery partner. And Sting’s mystery partner is…..Booker T! Well, I suppose the good thing coming out of this is that we don’t have to put up with Booker’s bloody awful English accent anymore. Now I have to admit that when I heard that Nash was in this one, I had my doubts, mainly given the fact that he hasn’t exactly been that active in the wrestling ring lately. But you know what? The old guy didn’t look too bad in there, and the other three didn’t look too bad either in what was a very good main event, with the stipulations making it even more entertaining. We even got interference from Tomko and Styles, and a battle of the WAGS between Karen Angle and Sharmell, and during all the confusion, Angle clobbered Nash with the title belt as he was about to power bomb Sting, before taking the man out himself with the Angle Slam. The end saw Angle celebrating in the ring with Styles and Tomko, and Christian Cage standing on the stage, not looking very happy at all.
In conclusion - a very good show from the TNA crew here. While the so-called “shop of horrors” opener could have been better, everything else just seemed to fit into place perfectly, especially the tremendous tag-team match between Team 3-D and the Motor City Machine Guns. Who knows, if they keep this up, TNA pay-per-views may become very good on a very consistent basis!
So is this worth watching again? Yes, even if it’s only to see that tag match again, and if you didn’t see it when it was on TV, then get the DVD when it’s released.