Friday, 16 December 2011

TNA Final Resolution on Challenge - TV Review

It was the penultimate wrestling pay per view of the year, as A.J. Styles challenged Bobby Roode for the World title in a 30 minute iron man match in the main event of TNA Final Resolution, shown this past Wednesday night on Challenge here in Britain.

The show began with Rob Van Dam taking on Christopher Daniels.

Last month these two had a pretty good encounter, and it was as if they’d just picked up where they’d left off at Turning Point.

Daniels seems to be one of the few TNA stars who can take RVD to a good match, and he did it again this month. This isn’t meant to be demeaning to RVD in any way, it’s just that the only really enjoyable matches he’s had in TNA have been against other former ECW alumni.

In the end Van Dam emerged victorious, taking Daniels out with the five star frog splash at the second time of asking. Nice stuff all round.

The first title match of the evening saw Eric Young challenging Robbie E, accompanied by Robbie T, for the TV title.

From a character standpoint these two remain the most annoying characters in TNA history, even more annoying than the Johnsons (look it up on Wikipedia), but from an action viewpoint this was quite good. No possibilities of an appearance in Botchamania for this one as E and Young put together some good sequences.

There was, of course, attempted interference from T at ringside, and he ended up getting drop kicked for his troubles, but all this interference led to E taking Young out with his knees to the chest finisher thing for the title retaining pinfall.

By the way, wasn’t Robbie T meant to be the next “big thing” in TNA?

The title action continued with Brother Devon and D’Angelo Dinero challenging Crimson and Matt Morgan for the Tag Titles. Hang on! Weren’t these two feuding last month?

These two relatively new teams continued the sequence of entertaining matches. Crimson and Morgan looked pretty good as the used the Pope as their punching bag, with Crimson just edging it for me.

As for their opponents they looked just as good, with Devon looking revitalised for the first time since he split from Brother Ray.

Sadly the challengers couldn’t get the job done, with Crimson taking Devon down with a double choke slam for the winning pin.

The X Division stars were up next as Kid Kash challenged Austin Aries for the title.

I think you know how I’m going to describe this one. Without Jesse Sorensen these two put on a pretty good match which at times seemed like they were taking part in a constant game of one-gunmanship, but I guess that’s what you get when you have two villains going at it.

Both guys put in solid performances, with Kash really doing a good job with his high intensity high impact moves, particularly when he took Aries up into a suplex move only to slam him down face first.

We also had some nice comedy touches involving a pair of brass knuckles and the title belt towards the end before Aries took the pin after taking Kash down with his trademark brain buster. Nice work.

The ladies followed as Mickie James challenged Gail Kim for the Knockouts title.

I haven’t said this in a while, but this is one thing that TNA does better than WWE at the moment. Whereas their Divas only get a small amount of time for their matches the Knockouts get a lot more time, enough to tell a good story.

Kim and James looked well made for each other, the two former Divas putting together some good sequences, and or the first time in ages James didn’t seem to blow anything.

It certainly was an intense back and forth battle, with both girls coming close to getting the pin. But the interference of Kim’s partner Madison Rayne as she stopped James from getting back into the ring gave the champion the chance to put her challenger away with her eat-da-feet finisher for the pin.

Then it was on to the return battle between Kurt Angle and James Storm.

The hamstring injury-free Angle was able to put in a longer stint this time around, and along with the tag team specialist put together a well executed encounter.

The story surrounding this one was simple, with Angle targeting Storm’s head, having previously taken him out and given him a concussion, with the Cowboy looking like he was down and out several times, coming back into the match time and time again.

It was great to watch, and great to see Angle elevating the ever deserving Storm up to his level. It may not have been overly flashy but it didn’t need to be, and in the end Storm came out on top after taking Angle down with his last call super kick.

The steel cage match saw Jeff Jarrett, accompanied by his wife Karen, taking on Jeff Hardy.

As is TNA’s way this one had a ton of stipulations. If Jarrett beat Hardy then Hardy had to leave the company, but if Hardy won he’d not only get a title shot but he’d get to fire one of the Jarretts. Also, Jarrett’s missus would be handcuffed to Sting at ringside.

This match showed that although Hardy may not be back to his best he’s certainly close. It was another solid performance from the Charismatic Enigma as he joined Double J in putting on a very enjoyable encounter.

We had the staple cage match moves, with each man using the cage as a weapon, several close calls as they climbed the cage, and the big move from the top of the cage when Hardy went upstairs and missed a swanton.

We also had the obligatory cage door move, first as Sting got accidentally clobbered, which gave Karen the chance to retrieve the keys so she could release herself. Seconds later she slammed the door into Hardy’s head as he made his escape. Sting then stopped Karen from entering the cage and giving Jarrett his trusty old guitar.

Moments later it was all over as Hardy took Jarrett down with the third twist of fate in the match for the winning pin. Afterwards Sting entered the cage to tell the Jarretts that one of them would be fired on Impact.

The main event saw A.J. Styles challenging Bobby Roode for the World title in a 30 minute iron man match.

This was another match that involved a previously sustained injury, with Roode centring his attack on the left knee of Styles, an injury Styles sustained when Roode attacked him. This cast Styles in the role of the plucky underdog, looking to overcome his handicap in an attempt to win the big prize.

Roode scored the first fall around the ten minute mark, pinning Styles after taking him out with a chop block to his injured knee. He double his score about five minutes later when Styles tapped out to his figure four.

Styles got one back around the 18 minute mark. Having countered another leg lock attempt by shoving Roode into the corner he took the submission by applying a cross face, taking advantage of Roode’s injured left shoulder.

With ten minutes left Styles evened the score. Roode went to lift him up with Styles countered with a small package for the pin.

Three minutes later and despite his knee injury Styles used the ropes as a springboard for a 450 splash, taking the pin and a 3-2 lead.

With five minutes left Styles went for a sunset flip over the ropes, Roode countering by holding onto the ropes for the pin, equalling the scores at three apiece.

From there the one legged challenger and the one armed challenger tried to take the win, and both went close at times, with Roode looking to stall as the time limit approached only for Styles to take him down with a suicide dive. But the challenger then managed to run down the clock, getting out of the ring time and time again as the time limit expired, and with the score tied the match was declared a draw, with Roode keeping a hold of his title.

In conclusion - although this probably won’t feature in any of the major match of the year polls TNA’s final big show of the year proved to be a solid and very enjoyable affair.

From top to bottom the matches delivered. They weren’t overly spectacular but they didn’t need to be. They all succeeded in telling their own particular story, and at the end of the day that’s what a wrestling match is supposed to do.

Match of the night for me was the Roode/Styles encounter. It may not have featured a ton of fast paced back and forth action but given the stipulation it didn’t need to be.

So in all this year’s Final Resolution gets the thumbs up from this particular writer for it’s solid all round effort.