It’s time to step into Hulk Hogan’s backyard again as we take a look at TNA’s latest pay-per-view offering, Sacrifice, shown this past Friday night on the Extreme Sports channel here in Britain, with Taz and Mike Tenay handling commentary duties.
The show began with a match to determine the number one contenders for the Tag Team titles, and featured the Motor City Machine Guns, Beer Money and Team 3D. This wasn’t the usual TNA opener I’ve become accustomed to over the past few years. Of course, you had Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley putting on their usual impressive display, but overall this was quite an enjoyable encounter, with all three teams looking good, and Sabin getting the title shot for his team, pinning Brother Ray after their great looking neck breaker/cross body block combination.
The first title match of the evening followed as Orlando Jordan challenged Rob Terry for the Global title. The Welshman certainly has improved over the past couple of months, and this was evident again in this performance. Jordan’s performance was okay, but for me he’s always been one of those Marmite kind of wrestlers. Terry retained the title in this one, taking Jordan down with his freak buster from out of nowhere for the title retaining pin. The action continued after the bell when Jordan attacked Terry as he made his way back up the ramp, doing further damage to the knee he’d been working on during the match.
The title action continued as Doug Williams challenged the champion without a belt, Frankie Kazarian, for the X Division title. Now this was a match. For over a decade British wrestling fans have known what a great technical wrestler Williams is, and now no longer saddled with the dead weight of a tag team partner, the former Anarchist is really coming into his own in TNA. This wasn’t the usual X Division style match, but that didn’t matter, because what we had here was Williams and Kazarian putting on a great technical encounter, which more than made up for TNA’s bizarre title stripping decision last month. Plenty of near falls here, before Williams countered Kazarian’s electric chair attempt with his chaos theory suplex, earning the pin and the right to call himself champion once again.
Yet more title action followed, as Tara faced Madison Rayne for the Knockouts title in a career versus title match. Well, this had some messy moments in the early stages, but as the match progressed things got better, developing into a good match, with Madison showing some great improvement on her recent performances, and Tara again proving just how good she is. We kind of knew who was going to win this one though, with Rayne getting the pin after taking Tara down with her finisher, whatever the hell it’s called.
Then it was on to the Tag Team title match, with Ink Inc challenging Kevin Nash and Scott Hall for the titles. As this match began I wondered which Scott Hall would turn up this month. This time it was the one who couldn’t be bothered. His poor movement and even poorer selling really hurt this match. Nash looked okay as always, and Jesse Neal and Shannon Moore looked promising, but overall this was a disappointing affair, with Nash pinning Neal after Eric Young and Brother Ray got involved, with Ray clobbering Neal with a kendo stick.
The first non-title match in a while saw Desmond Wolfe taking on Abyss in a Chelsea versus Hall of Fame ring match. You know, I had big doubts about this match, mainly because of the clash of styles. Wolfe is a tremendous technical wrestler, while Abyss is an entertaining brawler who sadly seems to think he’s the second coming of Hulk Hogan these days. It was an okay match, but didn’t really float my boat as it were, with Abyss taking Wolfe down with the black hole slam, earning the services of Wolfe’s lady for the next thirty days.
The match I was looking forward to the most was next, with Jeff Hardy going up against Mr. Anderson. Now while this wasn’t on the level of Anderson’s recent series against Kurt Angle it was still a pretty good match. Anderson and Hardy worked well together, and it was fun to watch. As usual, Hardy pulled off a couple of good looking high flying moves, and Anderson was as solid as ever, countering many of his opponent’s signature moves early on. Hardy got the win here, finishing Anderson off with the swanton. Afterwards Anderson offered his hand, which Hardy promptly refused.
The battle of the veterans was next as Sting faced Jeff Jarrett. This actually began backstage when Sting attacked Jarrett, bloodying him up. After using his baseball bat to injure Jarrett’s left shoulder, Sting soon dragged him into the arena, inflicting further damage as the referee urged Sting to get in the ring. Eventually he threw Jarrett into the ring, and a scorpion death drop later Sting had the three count and the victory, prowling around the ring as Jarrett was put on a stretcher, attacking him again as he was carted away before Hulk Hogan appeared on the scene to halt the carnage. Well, the brawling was okay, but the actual psychology was kind of screwy. For instance, why didn’t security try to stop the attack in the first place?
The main event saw A.J. Styles challenging Rob Van Dam for the TNA World title. There was an absolute ton of stalling at the beginning, and I actually considered shouting “get on with it” at the television at one point. Then we had Ric Flair doing his usual taking his jacket off and stomping his feet routine when the referee banished him from ringside when he interfered. Thankfully, things were turned up a notch when all of that stuff was out of the way, and although this wasn’t really as good as it could have been the action was okay, and the execution couldn’t be faulted. Late on Flair left his new position at the commentary table and headed back to the ring, only to be halted by Jay Lethal and a figure four leg lock. Seconds later RVD secured the win with the five star frog splash to retain the title. It was entertaining, but it just lacked that something special.
In conclusion - I’d read a couple of reviews the day after this show took place, and they weren’t exactly complimentary, and while there were some aspects of this that left me scratching my bald sun burnt head again, there were some good moments here, and it was nice to see that Hogan didn’t insert himself into the main event storyline again. So while this was an okay show, I couldn’t help but think that with the talent that was on display it could have been so much better, so much more special. Instead we saw some of the stars simply going through the motions, as if they were content just to earn their pay so they could get home as soon as possible. I really hope that this attitude changes soon, because at the moment it seems that TNA has taken a couple of steps back from where they were at the end of last year.