1. Homicide vs. Amazing Red - B:5 A:5
Brian: It starts off quick and Homicide hops out of the ring and shoves Don West's inept ass out of the way. Red does a hurricanrana off the apron and Homicide sells it like someone poured cold water down his back. A Mikey Whipwreck reference on commentary? What flea market is he selling dragon statues at I wonder? Red does an awesome sell on a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Don West at ringside is ridiculous, yelling, "fight through the pain!" relentlessly. Homicide works good when playing the bully, unfortunately in TNA he's too small to really pull that role off against anyone except Red. The absolutely giant "SHOPTNA" banner in the background screams desperation. I can see a child now, "I want some toys, a football, and a 3Live Kru DVD!" I don't know how big Red would get over elsewhere, but Orlando crowd is popping huge for all of his stuff. Homicide hits a "Bronx Bomber #27" which is a Michinoku Driver #2 and it looks sick. Red does a moonsault from the top and Homicide catches him in mid-air with a "187", his cutter-variation (I prefer Susumu Yokosuka's) but the timing doesn't synch up well. A fast-paced match with some good nearfalls and action, definitely a suitable opener.
Adam: This was a hard fought match and each guy looked good. Red’s flippy offense works good in front of the Orlando crowd but I’m not sure that it would work well in ROH or any place else for that matter.. On commentary, Mikey Whipwreck and Abdullah the Butcher are referenced in the same sentence. Why? Being trained by Mikey isn’t something that I would be particularly proud of this day in age. I wasn’t buying Homicide as anything more than a generic heel. Homicide tried to intercept Red off the top turnbuckle in mid-move and attempt a cutter-type move but it doesn’t come off well. Don West was a focal point of the match early on with his crazy yellng and cheerleading for Red. I heard Mike Tenay say that Homicide hit a “Bronx Bomber” and my first thought was that he finished off a whole giant pizza with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, and black olives. (That’s a Dewey’s Pizza reference for those of you that don’t get it.) There are a bunch of dorks in the front row popping for everything. The “Code Red” move to finish was kind of cool but the X-Division guys are treading water in this spot and don’t seem to be going anywhere fast.
2. The Beautiful People vs. ODB, Taylor Wilde, and Sarita - B:1 A:3
Brian: ODB drops a headbutt in-between Velvet Sky's legs and she sells it like she just opened an unmarked envelope containing a nude photo of Dave Meltzer. Watching Lacey works makes one really miss the days of Angelina Love. This is so bad I want to pull a Theresa Duncan, too bad I don't have any champagne handy to wash down this pills with. A huge "You can't wrestle!" chant directed at Von Erich--maybe this Orlando crowd isn't all bad! Tenay compares Velvet to Antonio Inoki. He deserves to get slapped like a bitch by Inoki like Machida did when he bombed in his debut. I liked ODB in OVW but this isn't cutting it. Things break down, it ends mercifully and I weep wishing Hamada could have gotten on the show instead.
Adam: O.D.B. does a muff dive right at the beginning … let’s hope she doesn’t get some rancid flesh-eating disease on her face from that. Then again, it might make her look a bit better. Madison Rayne looked the best out of any of the Beautiful People tandem. Lacey gets very minimal ring time, maybe 30 seconds worth and the whole arena is chanting “you can’t wrestle” at her. Velvet Sky hits the ropes with a frightening look on her face like she’ll get Swine Flu from touching the ropes. O.D.B. fought out of a 3-on-1 spot to win the match for her team. This was better than the matches of the previous two months but still nowhere near good.
3. Beer Money, Inc. vs. British Invasion vs. Motor City Machine Guns - B:3 A:3
Brian: Either Tenay really thinks Taz is a funny guy, or, he's getting worse than Michael Cole on scripted laughter. This starts off quite nicely, with Storm taking it rather physically to the Brits, than Shelley and Roode working a nice section together. Sabin enters and he's like the bean sprouts on top of a warm bowl of Phở, they don't really add anything, but usually don't ruin the dish either. I guess the Machine Guns have been watching some KroniK matches, as they busted out "High Times". Magnus looks like an idiot feeding himself to Storm's clotheslines. I wonder if Sabin watches UFO Hunters? He used to rock those trunks with the dumb alien head on the ass--looked like a patch my stoner brother would have had on his backpack circa '97. A bunch of far too genial stuff, a series of spot after spot, doesn't evoke any hate or feel like a fight, just the Brits doing physical comedy like they're auditioning for a vaudeville show. I'd like to see Rob Terry in blackface. Shelley and Sabin disappear for the last several minutes of the match. Young and Nash both come out, get involved, there's a swerve, and this is officially an overbooked mess.
Adam: I thought this was going along pretty good until the Machine Guns totally disappeared from the match. From there, it was legal man issues until the end of the match with the ref standing there looking like a blind man trying to direct traffic at the corner of 5th and Vine in downtown Cincinnati. Speaking of the Guns, their double team moves looked pretty cool, at least better than the other guys in the match. Beer Money did their typical pose while the Brits just laid in the ring dead. The final part was totally devoid of anything resembling a tag match with the participants entering the match at will and the Brits and Beer Money just doing double team moves to one another. Eric Young interferes and chases James Storm from the ring. Why? So Nash comes out then, takes the Legends … um, Global title belt and then whacks Storm? Ok, I’m confused. Doug Williams almost misses the elbow from the top rope in a bland finish to a bland match.
4. Tara vs. Awesome Kong - Six Sides of Steel Match - B:5 A:6
Brian: The girls start with the best strike exchange thus far on the show. I wonder if Kim Couture could through a better worked punch than Kong? I also wonder what her thoughts were on Randy's portrayal of Sargon. Kong busts out a missile dropkick from the top! Kong sandwiches Tara against the cage than jumps into her after a running start. Tara sells it like she saw a ghost. Kong suplexes her into the cage then drops her with no regard. They've actually used the cage to elevate the violent aspect of their feud. Both stand on the top rope and end up getting crotched, they then exchange strikes while straddling the rope in a nice moment. Tara powerbombs Kong off of the turnbuckles in a spectacular spot. Tara tries leaving, decides against it, then leaps off the top onto Kong. They called it a "crossbody" but it looked a lot more like a "Thesz Press", albeit a gigantic one. This was quite good, they used the cage effectively, and the ending felt appropriate. I'd have liked it more if they'd given it some more time.
Adam: Women in cages … it’s not just for the grindhouse anymore! Ok, I’ll admit, this was a hell of a lot of fun to watch. These two just beat the shit out of each other. Kong’s missile dropkick was totally cool. She also swings Tara headfirst into the cage. One thing that I did notice about the cage is that it’s really, really close to the ropes and there is hardly any room to bounce off them. They had to do a spot twice where Kong suplexed Tara into the cage. The first time, she totally dropped her by accident but they got it right the second time. I liked them exchanging strikes on the top rope. Damn, that powerbomb from Tara was awesome. Wait, what, a fucking Thesz press from the top of the cage? Holy shit! Tara got really emotional after the win and made it feel special. Tara calls out O.D.B. afterward, so if this was the only match of the feud, why was it in a cage? I’m not complaining though, this was probably the best women’s cage match I’ve seen in a long time.
5. Team 3-D and Rhino vs. D'Angelo Dinero, Matt Morgan, and Hernandez - B:1 A:2
Brian: Hernandez sells D-Von's opening strikes like he just got woke up from sleeping on the couch because his mother was vacuuming. Hernandez also blows his one bit of offense in that segment, falling on his ass during a shoulder block. Damn! Dinero does a double-leg takedown on Brother Ray that'd make Gleison Tibau envious. I guess that'd make Ray be Jason Dent. D'Angelo's backhand is awesome. Dinero sells a "Bubba Bomb" like a newbie getting introduced to the boys at the county jail. Anybody feel like Rhino has been the same, exact thing since '98? Like, literally, has he changed up or added anything to his repertoire? Wait, another swerve? Now come on, Russo, you rancid farm animal phallus! This is falling apart faster than the speed of stupidity. So, Dinero knocked his partner Hernandez out of the ring, now we're back to rest spots? The crowd is losing interest faster than a homeless man with a blindfold made of a douche watching a screening of Dance Flick. They promised him a hot meal if he'd fill out a comment card. Rhino runs face-first into several Morgan punches. Hernandez doing just basic stuff looks as awkward as a girl trying to hula hoop with her father's casket. I really wish this'd end. It seems so directionless that I'm actually disorientated watching it.
Adam: I’m not sure why a mid-card Impact match made in on pay-per-view. Tenay played up the fact that Pope might turn on his teammates but that idea was quickly dropped. I’ve already soured on Hernandez’s singles run and he’s got a stupid gimmick. Come on, really, “Super Mex” is the best you could come up with? Rhino and Team 3-D are so rancid and stale that they need to be in a landfill and not in a wrestling ring. Does anybody else find it amazing that Rhino has made a career out of doing nothing since 2001? Awful give-away by Morgan where he is clearly starting at Brother Ray on the outside of the ring while attempting a pinfall. Dinero was the glue that held this jumbled mess somewhat together. Without him, this match would’ve been almost completely unwatchable. Just a month ago, Morgan was in one of the marquee matches at TNA’s biggest show of the year, now he’s relegated to mid-card status in a throwaway six-man. D-Von gets off a terrible chair shot behin the referee’s back and Rhino hits a gore to end this lethargic laugh-fest of a match.
6. Bobby Lashley vs. Scott Steiner - Falls Count Anywhere, No DQ Match - B:3 A:2
Brian: This starts off in the aisle and Steiner takes nasty bump into some chairs. Lashley runs right into Scott's boot in the corner even though Steiner was holding his foot up there for like ten seconds. Maybe Lashley had his sights elsewhere, like maybe Scott Coker was in the crowd holding a sign saying, "Get the hell out of here!" Steiner is trying to set-up a "Frankensteiner" from the top but looks like a bear mauling a human who fell into a honey pit. Lashley hoists Scott up and drops him stomach-first on the top rope, Steiner lands uglily and bounces out to the floor. They brawl to the back where there's a convenient array of props awaiting them. A guy harasses his wife and Bobby gets vengeance by hitting him with a 2x4 made of cardboard? They brawl towards the Spanish commentators and Steiner hits Lashley with a pipe to end this. This felt like a truncated, wimpy-version of what should have been a hell of a street fight. I'm not sure why you'd put Steiner over anybody these days either.
Adam: On paper, Steiner vs. Lashley sounds like a match where two guys are going to throw down and trade some hard shots. Well that wasn’t the case here. Frankensteiner almost killed Lashley and then they brawl to the back. Of course they would! Do you really think a falls count anywhere match would stay in the ring? Odd moment where they cut to a new camera backstage and Steiner is bleeding. How the hell did that happen? Randomly, there are some tables sitting in the back and Lashley puts Steiner through one very sloppily. Steiner retaliates and throws Lashley onto a pile of wood and casually strolls back into the arena. This is bad. These two are moving slower than the Carbon Glacier on Mount Ranier. A pipe shot ends this pile of dogshit and Steiner pins Lashley clean. Yes, you read that right. Steiner just pinned Lashley clean in a falls count anywhere match. Ten bucks says Lashley pops up on the next Strikeforce CBS special, any takers?
7. Desmond Wolfe vs. Kurt Angle - B:7 A:7
Brian: So, allegedly Russo came up with the name Desmond Wolfe after doing a Google search. I wonder if that was before or after he downloaded videos of German girls eating turds? Russo's wife is calling him into the dining room for dinner, Vince responds, "Honey, I'll be there in the a minute, I'm trying to finish this clip of Katarina gurgling this Bolsheviks' diarherra!" I wonder how these two guys would have worked this match in ROH, or anywhere else, for that matter. Wolfe starts off with some work on the arm, Angle is game to sell early, getting in some acting practice in preparation for his future career. "Kurt, thanks for coming for this audition, we're going to need you to act upset and give us some tears." "Do you guys have a Hardcore Holly?" "Wait, what? No. Just act." "Could somebody at least hit me with a chair? Something?" I'm hoping we get a Wolfe and Brutus Beefcake feud in 2010. Taz drops Billy Robinson's name and I guess I'll accept that. Even though it feels different than the bulk of the product the crowd seems to be into it thus far with several appreciative chants. Desmond eats multiple German suplexes and I'm wondering if he's concussed or not yet. Taz mentions something about the last time he saw somebody do that many suplexes in succession, but trails off, I'm guessing that was a subtle Benoit reference? Kurt counters the "Tower of London" by landing on his feet and nailing an "Angle Slam". I thought Angle was doing some real amazing stuff selling facially, then figured he was probably just remembering foreplay with Trenesha Biggers. "Call me Karen!" "Oh, alright--call me Hunter?" Kurt gets some huge air on a "Frog Splash". The finishing sequence was real nice, a series of "Tombstone Piledriver" reversals, playing up the drama of Angle's bad neck, Kurt rolled out into an ankle lock, transitioned it into a side triangle choke and got the submission. I thought this was really good, not great, though. I don't feel it was the right crowd to work a classic for, and they didn't, but that aside, everything was executed solidly and Desmond still liked good in defeat.
Adam: This was exactly the way it should’ve been. It started off with a feeling out process and built from there to a nice creshendo. Wolfe was working over Kurt’s arm the entire match with keylocks and his trademark London Dungeon hold. Kurt hits six Germans suplexes right in a row and the crowd loves it. Kurt tries a frogsplash to no avail as the match builds to it’s finish. Wolfe goes back to the arm and applies another London Dungeon hold, this time putting his knee in Kurt’s back for additional leverage. I dug the reversals on the mat work with Wolfe reversing an ankle lock into an armbar. The anguish on Wolfe’s face when he was in the ankle lock was tremendous. There’s a tombstone reversal sequence at the end that was real cool. Kurt locks in an ill side triangle choke for the win. An ROH crowd would’ve eaten this match up but the regular Orlando cretins were more concerned about their precious little smark chants of “this-is-wrestling”. I’d say this would rank at least in the top 10 TNA matches of the year.
8. Daniels vs. AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe - B:7 A:6
Brian: The first segment seems destined to get Styles some credibility coming in as champion, he's been booked terribly, but looks good laying in some strikes and getting the best of both men early. Joe crushes Daniels' head with a running high knee--made Triple H's look flaccid. The last time these three worked together four years ago many championed it as one of the best matches in TNA history. I'm not keen to handing over. So far, so average, with Joe laying on the mat waiting patiently for Daniels to slam AJ onto him. It's hard to do a match like this without being too showy, I'd suggest they ratchet up the brutality. Joe dropkicks Styles while simultaneously landing a senton on Daniels. AJ is a guy who, if you've never seen him live, really does have some vicious strikes; here, he lays some great forearms into Daniels' face in the corner. Daniels does a dive onto Joe but overshoots it and gets mostly concrete. AJ busts out a "Fosbury flop", or, running "Shooting Star Press" over the ropes as Joe has Daniels in a rear-naked choke on the floor wiping them both out. I think all of them were in agreement beforehand to work stiff. Even Daniels, who's usually looser than Stephanie McMahon, is trying to make his stuff look nasty. Some of the spots are too contrived, like, you can imagine them rehearsing this stuff in Joe's garage after a lunch of pork tacos. I liked the striking sequence where everyone was drilling each other, especially Joe warming up their faces' with tons of open-hand slaps. Somebody should get Samoa Joe a bra for Christmas. This is the second TNA pay-per-view in a row that AJ has botched his aerial finish. Daniels hit the "Best Moonsault Ever" on Joe, then Styles did a springboard 450 onto them, but it didn't look real good, they were positioned too close and all that landed was Styles' knees on Daniels' back. Overall, I'd call this a really "good" match, possibly "very good" depending on your familiarity with their stuff, but definitely not something to herald as great. They kept a good pace, the physicality and athleticism was there, but it seems like they've done this now, and did it again, and that's about as much mileage as they're going to get out of it.
Adam: Ok, so this was pimped as the re-match of the “best TNA match ever” from four years ago. This went from move to move to move without any real selling or storytelling. Joe seemed like he was back to his old ass-kicking ways. Maybe somebody offered him some free burrito coupons if he put forth a good effort. A.J. busts out the Fosbury Flop move that he hasn’t used in years. Daniels got in his usual stuff like the B.M.E. and a bunch of “judo takedowns” as they were called on commentary. A.J. really helped this match get over the hump thanks to the effort he put forth when he was getting his stuff off. Some nice three-man spots but nothing that hasn’t been seen or done before on low-level indys in the northeast. I really didn’t like the finishing sequence with Joe laying on the match like a beached whale after Daniels got off an STO. A moonsault from Daniels onto Joe is followed up by a springboard 450 from A.J.. that he overshoots and drills Daniels in the back with his knees. A.J. celebrates with Daniels talking shit while backing up the ramp and Tenay and Taz jiz their pants over what they’ve just seen. While this was fun, it felt forced in spots and these three have done much better against each other. If your not familiar with their stuff, this is a good starting point, but if you know their stuff well, you can probably take a pass. Overall, three matches on this show broke the recommendable barrier and saved this from being an utter disaster.