1. Kevin Nash Open Invitational X-Division Gauntlet Battle Royal – 3
2. James Gang vs. Team 3-D vs. AMW vs. Naturals – 2
3. Abyss vs. Samoa Joe vs. Brother Runt vs. Raven – Monster’s Ball – 4
4. Eric Young vs. Larry Zbyszko – Retirement Match –1
5. Senshi vs. Chris Sabin – 6
6. Christian Cage vs. Rhino – 8 Mile Street Fight – 4
7. LAX vs. AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels – Cage Match – 7
8. Sting vs. Jeff Jarrett – 5
This was TNA’s first-ever pay-per-view outside of Orlando, and one that they sincerely hyped to the point of nausea. The Detroit crowd was pretty raucous, which helped the show have much needed energy. Would they succeed in what they promised to be their biggest show ever?
The opening battle royal had too much going on in it for my tastes. There were so many people involved, nobody even considering psychology, and I won’t even touch on the one-legged guy and dwarf. The subsequent four-way tag team match was also a mess of massive proportions; there were eight guys involved, and yet I still can’t recall anything that anybody did. That’s how little I, as well as the general viewer, care about these teams – and the writing staff of TNA is largely to blame.
Monster’s Ball was a ball, and also a complete melee of sloppy brawling and void of any structure. Granted, there were a couple highlights, one being legend Jake “the Snake” Roberts as referee, or as he liked to be referred to, “guide.” The less said about the retirement match debacle the better.
Senshi and Sabin was definitely more up my alley – although I know they’re capable of even better, this was still arguably the best bout of the show. Senshi is intense and I love it, all though he’s seemed homogenized since joining the ranks of TNA. Sabin, well, ever since he frosted his hair and started putting lame alien heads on his tights, I’ve kind of lost a little respect for him. When he’s on, he’s on, but he’s definitely lost that fire I admired in him in this past.
Christian and Rhino had a pretty lame brawl, very reminiscent of late-90’s WWF hardcore division crud. My favorite moment was Rhino giving Cage a piledriver off of the apron through a table. The finish, seeing Christian pile a bunch of garbage (literally) on top of Rhino, then repeatedly bash it with a chair was inexcusably bad. The steel cage match was pretty awesome; I definitely applaud all of these guys for their efforts and hard work. LAX are really becoming the team to watch on the scene this year, and Daniels and Styles are almost always a joy to watch. I kind of don’t want this feud to ever end.
The main event was surprisingly good, not great, mind you, but perfectly okay. At their age, you can’t expect much better out of them honestly. There were a couple miscommunications, but ultimately, this felt like a main event and was delivered like one. Jarrett took a delicious suplex on the entrance ramp, and came off for once looking like he belonged on the top of a card. The ending saw Sting win his first major championship in a long time, which was kind of a nice moment, even if Kurt Angle lurked around the entire match getting himself over at the expense of the guys busting their asses in the ring.
Overall, it might sound like I didn’t enjoy the show, but that’s not necessarily true. Like almost all wrestling, I had a lot of fun watching it, and was entertained throughout the duration of the pay-per-view. The quality of matches wasn’t as strong as I’d hoped, especially given the heavy hyping. One nice surprise was seeing three clean finishes in all three title matches – something exceedingly rare these days. We renamed the show as “Bound for Gloryholes” -- if you don’t get that reference, go to the seedy public bathroom of a nearby truckstop in the middle of the night. It’s an interesting time to be a TNA fan right now; they’re potentially on the cusp of becoming huge, or failing miserably. Either way, I’ll be watching intently, and never handing over.