Saturday, 15 September 2012

TNA No Surrender on Challenge - TV Review

It’s time to take another trip to the Impact Zone as we take a look back at the final two rounds of the Bound for Glory series at TNA No Surrender, shown this past Wednesday night on Challenge here in Britain.

The show began with the two BFG Series semi-finals, starting with Jeff Hardy against Samoa Joe.

For me this was a match between two guys getting back to their best. Joe came into this one with an arm injury sustained at the hands of that bloke I know, and although it hampered him at times his performance was top notch.

All the moves that made Joe a dominant force a few years back were there to see as he attempted to put Hardy away. The only problem was that the enigmatic one wasn’t ready to lay down as he survived each and every onslaught.

This meant that we got to see some great back and forth exchanges, and although neither man was able to put the other away with their big finishing moves the end was more than satisfactory.

Hardy tried to take advantage of Joe’s injury with an armbar variation. Joe survived this submission attempt and used his weight advantage to counter with a pin attempt of his own. Hardy quickly countered this counter with a counter of his own to get the win with a crucifix-like pin.

The second semi-final saw Bully Ray going up against James Storm.

This was just as good as the opener. The Bully played the part of the whiny heel to perfection early on, complaining about anything and everything, especially when Storm bitch slapped him.

Ray then began to take it to his man, once again showing how much he’s improved since ditching the other guy. Storm, for his part, also showed how far he’s come since he stopped hanging around with that rich bloke.

Despite the great action this match will be remembered for the way the referees kept dropping like flies, and for the interference from that rich bloke. Both guys could have had the winning pin had the two referees not been sleeping, and after poor old Earl Hebner took a second shot former champ Bobby Roode came down to the ring, beer bottle in hand.

So while Storm was checking to see if old Earl was okay Roode clobbered him with the bottle before pulling the Bully into a pinning position. The next thing that Earl saw when he came to was Ray covering Storm. A three count later and he was through to the final.

The first title match of the evening saw Tara challenging Miss Tessmacher for the Knockouts title.

As far as title matches go this wasn’t too bad, but it also wasn’t anything special. The teacher versus student rivalry made for a good storyline, and there were some nice sequences here, but that was about it.

In other words, this match kind of felt like filler material, falling into the trap that their Diva counterparts have fallen into more often than not.

Tessmacher got the better of her BFF in this one, countering Tara’s Widow’s Peak attempt with a sunset flip for the winning pin.

Then it was on to Austin Aries’ open challenge to any of the Aces & Eights members, with the guy known as the Arm Breaker answering the call.

What we basically had here was one big brawl with no referee and no title on the line. It was well executed, but it inevitably led to a mass brawl between the TNA guys and the rest of the masked gang until our esteemed General Manager Hulk Hogan came down to the ring, baseball bat in hand, ordering a complete lockdown. Wasn’t Lockdown back in April?

Then it was on to the second title match of the evening as Sonjay Dutt challenged Zema Ion for the X Division title.

This was pretty enjoyable, although I do worry if Ion is a major contributor to the hole in the ozone layer. Dutt pulled off some moves I’ve never seen from him before as he took to the air to take Ion down before the champion grounded the man from Bombay (or should that be Mumbai) with some good old fashioned wear down holds.

It was a nicely paced encounter, although I have to admit that it did seem a little long, but then again that may be because the crowd were kind of silent for the majority of the match.

Dutt came close to getting the win on numerous occasions, but once again the title eluded him as Ion took him down with that backward face plant thing of his for the winning pin.

The non-title action resumed with Magnus taking on Rob Van Dam. Moving on…..

The final title match of the evening saw A.J. Styles and Kurt Angle challenging Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian for the Tag Team titles.

This was good. In fact it was just as good, perhaps even better, than their previous pay-per-view encounter.

The champs proved once again how good they are as a unit throughout the match, playing the part of the sneaky heels extremely well throughout as they used both of their opponents for target practice.

Styles and Angle may not have had the continuity of their opponents, but they more than made up for that with their effort. Angle came into this one carrying an injury, and although it was more than obvious he was in pain it didn’t hamper him one bit.

Both teams came close to getting the win with their big moves, but in the end it was the heinous actions of the champions that took them to victory.

While the referee was checking on an injured Angle at ringside his partner tried to take Kazarian down with the Styles Clash. Daniels was having none of this though and threw water into his former BFF’s eyes. As the referee returned to the ring the first thing he was Kazarian rolling Styles up for the winning pin.

Then it was on to the main event, the final of the Bound for Glory Series between Bully Ray and Jeff Hardy.

There was a huge doubt surrounding Hardy’s participation in this match after the Austin Aries/Arm Breaker brawl when one of the Aces & Eights guys rammed his shoulder into the ring post. Our esteemed General Manager Hulk Hogan made another appearance in the ring as he asked the Bully to postpone the match until the following edition of Impact.

Just when it looked like we weren’t going to get our main event Hardy’s music hit as the enigmatic and charismatic man came down to the ring for his match with a heavily bandaged shoulder and arm.

All of this made for a simple, but well executed, storyline. Bully Ray was an almost reluctant competitor at first, but it wasn’t long before he began to target Hardy’s injured shoulder. Hardy was the proverbial one armed man, and Ray was hitting him with everything he had. But whenever he went for the pin Hardy kept kicking out.

Hardy had some moments of offence, but these were few and far between and mainly consisted of taking Ray down with the Twist of Fate, but in his weakened state it wasn’t enough to get the win.

And so it continued. Ray’s frustration continued to grow as he took Hardy down with his array of power moves with no pin in sight, with Hardy showing that he had more Twists than your average Chubby Checker.

Something had to give, and that something turned out to be Bully Ray. Hardy eventually took him down again and finally took him out with the Swanton for the three count, booking a title shot against Austin Aries next month.

In conclusion - various commitments, including a dental appointment where I was told I need a crown fitted to my front tooth (best wishes can be sent in the usual way) meant that I had to watch this show later than planned.

Was it worth the wait? Yes. Yes it was. While there were a couple of things that were hardly inspiring No Surrender was a good show.

The solid undercard and the drama surrounding the mystery men were the perfect compliment for the Bound for Glory Series matches. The opening encounter between Hardy and Joe would have earned my match of the night honours, had it not been for the Tag Team title match.

Now that was good, a great example of what tag team wrestling should be, which is why it gets this writer’s prestigious no-prize.

So with that being said let’s end this thing so I can take some pain killers for my sore tooth and give TNA No Surrender the thumbs up.

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