Friday, 13 February 2009

TNA Against All Odds on Bravo 2 - TV Review

It’s that TNA time of the month again, and this men, four men, Kurt Angle, Team 3-D and current champion Sting are fighting it out over the TNA World Title. It’s time to take a look at Against All Odds, shown on a three day delay here in Britain on Bravo 2. It’s the usual suspects at the commentary table, Mike Tenay and Don West.

The show begins with title action, with Alex Shelley defending the X Division title against Eric Young. As many of you will know by now I’m not exactly a fan of Young, but thankfully Super Eric seems to be no more. A very good opener saw both men going at it tooth and nail, and while Shelley has impressed me in tag-team competition lately, he’s impressed me just as much in singles action. Of course, it takes two men to make a good match, and I’m not ashamed to admit that Young’s performance was just as good as Shelley’s. There were plenty of false finishes in this one, with both men getting near falls and some great looking moves, until Shelley got the win with the most simple of moves - a schoolboy roll-up as Young was arguing with the referee. A very enjoyable match.

Next up, it’s the old student versus teacher scenario, with Petey Williams taking on Scott Steiner. It was the proverbial David v Goliath battle here, Steiner’s power against Williams’ speed and high risk moves. I always dread watching Steiner matches these days, but this one wasn’t actually that bad. Williams had some success early on, but Steiner came back and took the smaller man apart, pulling him off the mat when he had sure fire pins on several occasions. Williams made a spirited comeback, but in the end the victory went to Steiner, who finished Williams off with a sit down piledriver. Steiner wasn’t finished afterwards though, punishing Williams with a fall away suplex. He was about to lock in the recliner for a second time, until Samoa Joe’s music started playing, and the man himself appeared on the video wall threatening to take Steiner down. A good little match here, and good to see Joe back on the scene.

Then it’s on to the pay-per-view debut of TNA’s resident Brit, Brutus Magnus, with Chris Sabin answering his open challenge. Now, a few years ago Nick Aldis, the man behind the gimmick, threatened me with legal action if I said anything negative about him on the internet. So because of this, here’s a picture of a cute dog instead;The second title match of the evening follows, with Awesome Kong defending the Knockouts title against ODB. Kong came to the ring with her Kongtourage, even though they had originally been banned from ringside. This brought Jim Cornette to ringside, and threatened to strip Kong of the of the title if the Kongtourage didn’t leave the ringside area. Reluctantly, the lovely ladies agreed, which resulted in Kong threatening Cornette until ODB jumped her and began the match. Once again the Knockouts proved just how important they are to TNA, with Kong and ODB putting on another great match. ODB took it to Kong early on before Kong began to exert her control. ODB made a good comeback, even managing to slam her massive opponent at one point, but it wasn’t enough as Kong came back and soon took ODB out with the implant buster. Good stuff here.

The third title match of the evening follows immediately, with Booker T defending his Legends title against Shane Sewell. Yep, the referee is challenging for a title now. You know, when Sewell defeated Abdul Bashir last month, I thought, or perhaps hoped, that it would be a one time deal. Looks like I was wrong. But anyway, back to the matter at hand. For some reason I just couldn’t get into this one. The action was okay, but what got me was how a someone with seemingly little training was able to stand toe-to-toe with a former multi-time world champion. Sewell looked okay, but I don’t think this match should have happened. The finish came when Sewell mounted a comeback, but ended up getting tripped by Sharmell at ringside, allowing Booker to seal the deal with the axe kick. Booker then tried to torment Sewell afterwards, but was stopped by the returning A.J. Styles. Sadly, what happened after the match was a lot better than the match itself.

It’s the battle of the former tag-team partners next, with Matt Morgan taking on the monster himself, Abyss. This one was nothing more than a brawl, with the two big men trying to beat the hell out of each, which included the monthly brawl through the crowd at the Impact Zone. In truth, it just wasn’t that entertaining, and I kind of agreed with the fans when the referee stopped Abyss from using the weapons he’d thrown into the ring, because if this was meant to be a so-called clean match, why weren’t both men counted out while they were fighting in the crowd? A chair came into play briefly after the ref took an accidental hit, and the referee took a second accidental hit when Abyss clobbered him with a chair. A second referee came down to the ring, and Abyss got the count after taking Morgan out with the black hole slam. The monster then went to slam Morgan into some tacks, but the former gladiator managed to get away. Overlong and not that entertaining.

The fourth title match of the evening follows, with Beer Money defending their Tag-Team titles against Lethal Consequences. After two somewhat lacklustre matches, this was just what the doctor ordered. I’ve developed something of a soft spot for Beer Money. They’ve really matured as a team, and this was a good example of how far James Storm and Robert Roode have come since they began teaming. Creed and Lethal proved to be good foils for their talents as both teams put on a good showing. Sadly, there could only be one winning team here. Beer Money came out of this one with their titles intact. When it looked like Lethal would get the win for his team, Storm clobbered him with a steel chain when he was about to take Roode out of the corner. Roode got the winning pin straight away. A really enjoyable match, and a good example of modern tag-team wrestling.

Main event time, with Sting defending the TNA World title against his Main Event Mafia team-mate Kurt Angle and Brother Ray and Brother Devon on Team 3-D. As main events go, this one just wasn’t that good. Although I’m a big fan of the former Dudleys, I can’t really justify them getting a shot at the title. As for the match itself, it had some good moments, but overall it just kind of boring, and lacked any sort of intensity, despite the fact that it was for TNA’s biggest title, and despite the fact that Angle and Sting were meant to have had their falling out. The match seemed to go on forever, but thankfully, it came to an end when Sting finally got the pin after taking Brother Ray out with a scorpion death drop.

In conclusion - over the past few days I’d read a couple of reviews, and they weren’t exactly complimentary. But as always I decided to disregard what others had written, because I wanted to form my own opinion.

For the most part, the other writers were right. The 2009 version of Against All Odds won’t go down in history as one of TNA’s best pay-per-views. Out of the seven matches here, only three of them got me excited. The rest of them left me scratching my head a little. They just didn’t do it for me, and the main event was a good example of this, so while it seems that TNA have overcome their addiction to multi-man matches, they’ve taken something of a step back as far as overall show quality is concerned. But with the returns of Samoa Joe and A.J. Styles, maybe they’ll get a bit of that quality back.

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