Sunday, 20 February 2011

TNA Against All Odds - Download Review

So this was the plan. With TNA having found a new home on British television in the form of Challenge TV I set my DVD machine to record it this past Wednesday night, intending to sit down on Thursday evening to review the show.
But the best laid plans and all that. Challenge TV suffered from an unexplained technical fault, completely missing one match. So once again I succumbed to the inevitable and went for the download option. So, later than planned, is my review of Against All Odds.

The show began with the first title match of the evening, with Robbie E challenging Frankie Kazarian for the X Division title.

Originally E had been set to compete in a number one contenders match with Generation Me, but with the Bucks absent due to travel problems E and Cookie came down to the ring and insisted that the referee count the bucks out and declare him the winner.

It was then that Kazarian entered  the arena, saying a few insulting words and setting up the impromptu match with his new number one contender.

With all of that out of the way what followed was a highly entertaining opener. Kazarian, with the fans firmly behind him, really took it to E at first, until the former champion made his spirited comeback with a little help from Cookie along the way.

But in the end the underhanded tactics weren’t enough to put the champion away as Kazarian took the pin after his inverted pile driver.

Tag team action followed as Rob Terry, Gunnar and Murphy went up against Beer Money and Scott Steiner.

This proved to be another enjoyable encounter. Despite looking a bit limited at times Gunnar and Murphy looked okay, although my fellow Brit Mr. Terry still looks very lost whenever he steps into the ring.

As for their opponent, James Storm and Robert Roode put in their usual solid performances, and even old Steiner looked good at times.

It was Steiner who took the win for his team, taking down Gunnar with a Frankensteiner from the top rope.

It was back to singles action for the next match as D’Angelo Dinero faced Samoa Joe.

The third enjoyable match in a row saw Joe dominate the Pope early on. But when he headed for the hills Joe’s masked buddy blocked his way.

We then got a very enjoyable affair, with Dinero going all out to get the win, and Joe coming back and countering a roll-up attempt with a rear naked choke, with Dinero tapping immediately to save himself from further damage.

Dinero then offered Joe his hand as a gesture of friendship, before clobbering him and ramming his head into the turnbuckle he’d exposed during the match. Needless to say that Dinero didn’t stay around for long as Joe made his recovery.

The second title match of the show followed as Mickie James challenged Madison Rayne for the Knockouts title in a last woman standing match. This was the match that Challenge TV didn’t show because of their technical problems, and rumour has it the blackout was intentional because of the nature of this match.

Two good performances in this brawl, and once again you got the feeling that the two competitors in the ring really hated each other.

In between punches James tried to get the loaded glove from Rayne, and when she eventually succeeded she used it to clobber Tara as she tried to interfere.

But as the referee was trying to usher Tara out of the way Rayne took a set of brass knuckles out of her boots and knocked James out. A ten counter later and Rayne was still the champion.

After an in-ring confrontation between Matt Morgan and Hernandez (are those two feuding again?) it was back to the action as Matt Hardy once again went up against Rob Van Dam.

This was certainly a lot better than their previous encounter, and it also had to go down as Hardy’s best match in ages.

Hardy’s better physical condition was definitely a factor in this match. Although it seemed a tad too long at times it was a good outing for both men as pin attempts were exchanged a number of times before RVD sealed the deal with the five star frog splash.

The big grudge match followed as Bully Ray took on Brother Devon in a street fight.

It was pretty obvious what sort of match this was going to be. These two began brawling before they entered the ring, and it wasn’t long before the weapons and Devon’s kids came into the equation.

Despite being warned not to the kids ended up helping their old man, but that didn’t last long when Ray handcuffed Devon to the turnbuckles.

It didn’t take much time to take the kids out, and then, for some strange reason, Ray was announced as the winner after he pinned one of them.

Their night didn’t get much better as Devon watched Ray power bomb one of them through a table.

Well, it was what it was, and that was a well executed and emotional brawl.

The grudge match action continued as Jeff Jarrett, accompanied by his new bride Karen, faced Kurt Angle, with the custody of Angle’s kids up for grabs. You read that correctly, Screw the courts, let’s settle things in the squared circle!

Say what you want about the art imitating life aspects of this rivalry, but you have to admit that this was a hell of a match, a highly charged affair on a par with their matches during the heyday of the Main Event Mafia.

They tore strips off each other, both pulling out all the big moves as they tried to put each other away.

They almost got the job done several times, and it looked like Angle was going to get the win when Jarrett tapped out to the ankle lock. The only problem was that the referee was distracted by Mrs. Jarrett.

The action continued from there. As Angle went for a sunset flip he went for an ankle lock. Jarrett then sat down on the attempt, and a three count later Jarrett was the winner, meaning that Angle had to adhere to the other stipulation of this match, to give the bride away when the Jarrett’s renew their vows.

But the most symbolic moment came afterwards. As the happy couple celebrated on the ramp Angle removed his boots and left them in the middle of the ring, signalling the possible end of his career.

The main event saw Jeff Hardy challenging Mr. Anderson for the World title in a ladder match.

Well, I can’t fault the execution on this one. Both guys put in solid enough performances, and there were plenty of big bumps, but as the match progressed the action just seemed to drag on and on.

In the end it was Hardy who came out on top. After both men came crashing down from the top of a couple of ladders in what many are saying was the supposed finish Hardy scaled the ladder again to claim the belt as his own, beginning his second reign as champion.

In conclusion - you know what? This show actually wasn’t that bad. Okay, there were a couple of blips along the way, and the main event seemed to be a few minutes too long, but overall Against All Odds was an enjoyable and entertaining show, which means a thumbs up for this one. Not a big thumbs up, but a thumbs up nonetheless.