Thursday, 16 February 2012

TNA Against All Odds on Challenge - TV Review

It’s time to enter the Impact Zone once again as we take a look at TNA’s latest pay per view offering as Bobby Roode faced three challengers in the main event of Against All Odds, shown this past Wednesday night on Challenge here in Britain.

The show began with Zema Ion taking on Jesse Sorensen, with the winner getting a shot at the X Division title.

This match will be remembered for the unfortunate accident. After some great opening exchanges Ion connected with a moonsault as Sorensen stood at ringside, his knees connecting with Sorensen’s head.

Sorensen went down like a sack of spuds, and after the referee counted him out he gave the “X” sign, signalling that it was a legitimate injury. A rather sad ending to what was shaping up to be a good encounter.

So after a lengthy delay it was on to the first title match of the evening as Robbie E, accompanied by Robbie T, defended his TV title against Shannon Moore.

This was all part of E’s new gimmick, the Robbie E invitational, where he challenged anyone who was on his list to challenge him. When E issued his open challenge Moore was the man who answered the call.

As much as I dislike E’s gimmick I have to admit that this was a pretty decent match. Both guys put in good efforts throughout here, putting together some good sequences throughout, especially Moore.

There wasn’t much interference from the big Welshman at ringside until the final few seconds when E catapulted Moore into the ropes where T connected with a big right hand while the referee wasn’t looking. A DDT later and E had successfully defended his title.

The title action continued with Tara challenging Gail Kim, accompanied by Madison Rayne, for the Knockouts title.

As our champion made her entrance it was obvious that she was having some issues with her tag partner, so much so that the two of them continued their argument through the early stages of the match until Madison shouted “screw you” to Gail and hit the high road.

While all of that was going on Gail and Tara were putting together a good match with some nice back and forth action. The turning point came when Tara hurt her braced knee when she executed a moonsault on a prone Kim.

It marked the beginning of the end. Kim kicked out of the pin before connecting with a shin breaker on the injured knee. She then connected with her eat da-feet finisher for the title retaining pin.

Yet more title action followed as Magnus and Samoa Joe challenged Crimson and Matt Morgan for the Tag Team titles.

Once again I won’t be review this match. If you want to know why click here.

Even more title action followed as Alex Shelley challenged Austin Aries for the X Division title.

Now this was good. We haven’t seen this kind of X Division match for ages.

Aries and Shelley were made for each other. They put together what could end up being TNA’s match of the year, an intriguing and engaging back and forth encounter that had many on the edge of their seats. It was a prime example of how good Aries is and how much Shelley has been missed.

There certainly was plenty of action in this one, and plenty of near falls as each man kicked out of pins time after time, including when they went for their respective finishers.

It was a submission that decided the outcome in the end. After taking Shelley down with a second brain buster Aries went right into his Last Chancery submission hold, with Shelley tapping out within seconds. Something tells me Aries/Ion won’t be anywhere as good as this was.

Then it was on to the battle of Fortune buddies as Frankie Kazarian, accompanied by Christopher Daniels, took on A.J. Styles.

With Kazarian playing the role of the reluctant heel this proved to be a pretty decent encounter. There were a couple of dodgy moments early on, which is kind of unusual for these two, but apart from that it was filled with well executed and solid action.

The only problem for me though was that it seemed a little overlong and lacking in intensity. What this probably needed was occasional interference from Daniels, which would have given Styles more reason to take him out with a moonsault late on in the match.

A few seconds later Kazarian countered another Styles top rope attempt to take him down with the Fade to Black for the three count.

The action continued with Gunner, accompanied by Eric Bischoff, taking on Eric’s son Garett, accompanied by Hulk Hogan.

I’d heard quite a bit about this match, none of it good, and to be honest it wasn’t as bad as I’d heard.

Okay, it wasn’t a five star classic, or even a two star classic, but it’s execution can’t be faulted. The one thing that can be faulted was the amount of time it was given.

As well as the okay action in the ring we had the obligatory Hogan/Eric confrontation as Gunner worked over Bischoff’s previously injured neck. At one point Hogan wanted to thrown the towel in until Bischoff told him not to.

It didn’t matter much though as Gunner finally took the pin after taking him down with a DDT.

The main event saw Bully Ray, James Storm and Jeff Hardy challenging Bobby Roode for the World title, with Sting as the special guest enforcer.

This certainly proved to be a very interesting encounter. Before the match began Roode tried to get Ray to join him in taking out Hardy and Storm. The only problem was that Ray was having none of it as he took up a position at ringside when the action began.

From there we saw a ton of great action. All four men put in good efforts here, and once again I was more than impressed with Ray’s performance. That guy has improved so much over the past year or so it’s incredible.

With all of these bodies flying around it was inevitable that the referee would take a hit, or a hit or two in this case, and while the stripy one was taking a snooze and while Sting was trying to revive him both Ray and Hardy could have had title winning pins.

Eventually, and somewhat reluctantly, Sting assumed the referee’s role, snatching the title belt away from Roode as he was about to clobber Hardy with it. The champion taunted him, goaded him in an attempt to get the Stinger to hit him with the belt, even spitting in his face at one point.

Then, in a scene that reminded me of the main event at Summerslam ‘97, Sting went to clobber Roode. The champion ducked and Hardy took the hit instead. The Stinger tried to revive the fallen enigma, and as Roode made the cover Sting made the count, giving Roode the title retaining pin.

In conclusion - TNA’s second big offering of the year was okay, but it wasn’t exceptional.

As seems to be the case with many TNA pay per views recently the action was okay, and the majority of it can’t be faulted. But that’s the main problem, because hardly any of these matches will be fondly remembered in the long term.

But despite this I’m going to give this year’s Against All Odds a thumbs up. Not a big thumbs up, but a thumbs up nonetheless. I’d also like to end by wishing Jesse Sorensen a speedy recovery from his neck injury.