Squared Circle Reviews: TNA Against All Odds

Douglas Nunnally


Note: I know I’ve been gone a while and I’ve promised two book reviews and a DVD review, but trust me that I will make you forget my absence and that those three reviews will come. Book and DVD reviews are an entirely different entity than reviewing shows as it’s a different train of thought and organization and for me to start off writing those after a long break, they would definitely be sub-par which is not what you, the readers, deserve. I’ll start with this PPV and maybe a TV show and then will definitely get you those reviews. Trust me, they’re worth waiting for! Also, tomorrow, I will be reviewing No Way Out live for my website, TheWrestlingVoice.com. It’s always a fun thing to do as well. It’s not monotonous or a full-on report like other sites have; mine is more in-depth, quicker, and from what people tell me, better. I honestly don’t see it as bragging either because I have literally finished twenty minutes before some sites at times with my posts, summaries, and what-not being generally longer and more in-depth. Anyway, head over to TheWrestlingVoice.com and check that one out. It will start at 7:30 PM EST so don’t miss it. For more information on that, just click here. One more thing to plug, I also did an audio review of this PPV which you can listen to by clicking here. It’s on my show, The Wrestling Crossfire, which just made it’s comeback so I think you should all check it out. Onto the PPV:

Weirdly, we start off with footage of Christian coming to the arena to pump up the main event, which quite honestly, is the biggest main event in TNA history because it will (or should) signify a new era in TNA as far as the title picture is concerned. I actually agree with TNA for doing this, but the fact that I missed the weird little TNA video to start it off was just odd. TNA then shows some footage of Scott D’Amore and Eric Young arguing backstage while they wait for Jeff Jarrett. God, Eric Young just may be the best performer in TNA right now. Jarrett and Kim then show up while the Canadians pump him up. They talk about how Sting and Jackie are both out of the picture and Scott talks about the tape that will bring her down. I really can’t imagine what that tape could have that could really bring down a woman with the worst acting, strut (ugh), and overall talent in pro wrestling in a long time. This isn’t a new opinion either, guys, remember her WWE run? Jarrett then talks about how there’s only one problem remaining (Christian), but as he celebrates with Scott, Young says there are two problems. The best part is, as Jarrett turns around to face him, Scott’s giving him the “Shut up, you boob!” look that tells me these two could easily have a comedy show. Jarrett then asks Young what is wrong with him while Scott has a heart attack behind them and Young simply says that Sting isn’t gone. So that retirement speech was just a joke, huh? Damn you, Sting! I’ll never trust you again. Sorry for the outburst, but I still get mad at the Kiss reunion tour that’s been going on for half a decade! Jarrett starts to calm Young down by making Young say a mantra of “Sting is gone!” God, Young must be about half a point higher in IQ then Eugene with way better delivery. Jarrett then walks off to meet with Zybsko (goody) and we see D’Amore beat on Young like your stupid cousin who won’t shut up about making doody. As D’Amore walks out, we see Young repeat the mantra some more. I would literally love to see Young continuing that mantra all through the PPV and then onto the next episode of iMPACT!

We then see a nice video package of Christian Cage talking about his dream and how he left WWE to come here. Good try, Christian, but you can’t try and pull that card when you stress the point in every shoot interview that you were going to leave WWE no matter what. We then see Jarrett talking about how management is in shambles because of Sting. They start to go back and forth with the video being spliced. I really loved how Jarrett beat the point home that he’s beaten everyone including DDP, Rhino, Kevin Nash, and even took out Hulk Hogan. It’s really got the blood pumping for what should be a big moment in TNA history as all this Jarrett shit we’ve put up has been building towards the match where he will drop the title and make a star. Personally, I think they dropped the ball with Rhino who could have been that star, but with Christian here, it seems like we are going to get it tonight. The question though remains: how long until Jarrett’s ego yearns for gold? Personally, I find Christian to be very overrated, but having him as champion is definitely a good thing to push and drive home for a long reign. We are then welcomed to TNA Against All Odds and it’s time to go to another horribly packaged PPV which will probably not have one match go over twenty minutes again. Great job!

Generation X comes out first so I guess the tag is opening the match. I’ll be the first to say it: Austin Aries scares me now. Literally, he scares me with that look. Plus, he did the look at the camera like D’Amore does so I thought he was going to try and eat it like the Canadian. Anyway, this match should be really good and it’s nice to see TNA finally using The Naturals who have really been MIA since they dropped the titles back in October. Hopefully Generation X (not Next!) won’t be jobbed out for picking ROH over TNA the night before when they almost got trapped in a blizzard. God forbid these two wrestlers screw over a promotion that made them stars and already had a weak card with three no-shows going in. I’m literally surprised Alex Shelley opted out of staying for ROH considering how TNA has treated him in the past and how big of a star ROH has made him. I’m not going to rant on Homicide because the man’s got bills and if he has to get surgery, he’ll probably still get paid by TNA as opposed to ROH who doesn’t have that kind of money. Anyway, onto the match!

Generation X Vs. The Naturals

My worst fears were really realized in this match as Generation X jobbed to The Naturals for no other reason but to punish them. It’s not like TNA has any plans for The Naturals since they haven’t been using them at all in comparison to Generation X or any other tag team on TNA. Hell, the jobbing team of Helvis and his obscure partner have been used more on Impact than The Naturals. This is just sad and not what they need especially when TNA haven’t made any stars since Samoa Joe. I’m not counting Christian because that one wrote itself. As for the actual match, it was all right, but not as well as it should have been especially given the ending. This was basically a squash stretched out for time limits to cover up that fact because in all honesty, The Naturals basically blew off everything Generation X did and is that not the definition of a squash?

The ring work was good, but a lot of spots were just horrible and really bogged it down. At one point, Chase Stevens climbed to the top for a SSP to the outside to the heels, but the heels were literally looking at him for a minute before hand. Can’t you even act distracted so it doesn’t come off as fake? I know I’m nitpicking, but when a move requires that much set-up, you really got to question what good it will do to have the people on the receiving end just stare at him until it connects. To prove my point, notice the suicide dive Aries did to Stevens. It came completely out of nowhere simply because we know Stevens wasn’t staring at Aries for a minute before he did it. That was an excellent spot in terms of psychology (saving your partner) and total surprise. To finish the earlier point, in addition to that spot being horribly, the hot tag with Andy Douglas was literally the worst I’ve seen in months. While Andy Douglas is ten times better as a tag team wrestler than most out there today in tag team wrestling, I’ve seen hot tags with Viscera that were better. Viscera; the guy who does a move that basically is anal rape. At one point, Douglas whipped Strong too early so Strong ended up hitting Aries in a fumble that looked like backyarders in the ring. This was literally the low point of the match. I loved the false finish with the Hurricanrana to Aries, but it really lead nowhere especially with the finish of the heels getting killed. In the end, The Naturals went for the Natural Disaster, but Roderick pulled Douglas out. Aries then rolled up Stevens and tried to hold onto the ropes like the last match, but the ref caught him. Stevens then made a comeback as Douglas came in and they hit the Natural Disaster for the win in a match that did nothing except kill the heat for Generation X.

Winners: The Naturals

Star Wrestler: Austin Aries

Like I said, the match was all right. Decent at best. I think the main problems with it were the hot tag and the fact that two teams like that should be having a way better match. Overall, it really just disappointed me. Austin Aries really shone in the match though, unlike his partner and the opposing team who just looked to be going through the motions at one point. He had great psychology not just as a heel, but as a tag team wrestler which was really shown in that suicide dive he did. His heel tendencies, while nowhere near Alex Shelley, were also great in this match too, but I really wish that Roderick Strong would have stepped up his game in that area too as they would have complimented each other. In the end though, Aries was clearly the star in a match I want to see again. Yes, this one was disappointing, but I’ve seen a lot of matches disappoint on the first or second take and deliver on the second or third.

Mike Tenay and Don West then take over and break down the card with all the phrases and hype you’ve come to love and expect from the commentators. After they run down the card, they talk about how Zybsko laid down the law in the pre-show. We then see footage of how there’s going to be no outside interference, weapons, or crooked refs, and TNA management is serious. No offense, TNA, but I’ll believe it when I see it. There hasn’t been a Jarrett match on monthly PPV yet that didn’t have interference in it. West and Tenay then start to ramble on some more and kill some time, which I don’t understand anyway because it’s not like they have time to kill. They always go right to the three hour mark and are always cutting time from other matches. Last PPV, they didn’t even have one match go over twenty minutes. That’s sad.

Next, we go backstage to Jeremey Borash with America’s Most Wanted, as well as Team Canada, and they talk about their match with Sonjay Dutt & Chris Sabin tonight which looks to me on paper to be the worst tag team match AMW has had in months. Sorry, but I’m not a big fan of Dutt and he really does bog down these matches to me. AMW does their typical promo which is always good especially with Cowboy in the back drinking his beer and adding his drunken ramblings. Borash then asks D’Amore about Team 3D being voted to face Team Canada. The fact that TNA fans voted to see Team 3D go against Team Canada, and not against AMW when they would have won the titles, shows how great the fans are. Anyway, D’Amore first asks Gail Kim for an apology as he shows the tape he has and Kim gives him the apology and says he was right. He then says Jackie better be there next Saturday when the tables are turned.

Zybsko then comes in and lays down the law which is anyone interfering will be fired on the spot, which D’Amore laughs at. Zybsko then verbally lashes D’Amore about it and D’Amore’s face changes to reflect it. It’s good that we finally get a match with no interference, but there is one major problem I’m surprised no one else has thought of. If Christian wins tonight like he probably is going to, it will basically be proven that Jarrett can’t win without interference and if that’s true, I doubt anyone will ever buy Jarrett as a champ again. Wait, that’s not a problem. That’s great!

Fatal Four-Way

Alex Shelley Vs. Petey Williams Vs. Matt Bentley Vs. Jay Lethal

This isn’t exactly the four-way match I’ve come to love as they’re doing the bit where you have two in and the others have to be tagged in. If you want to do a tag match, do one, otherwise, screw tags. This was a great match that’s cracked into my top ten list so far of the year. There wasn’t much I didn’t love in the match and it was exactly the type of match TNA’s undercard should be having! Bentley and Williams started it off fairly well with the opening exchanges, accompanied by Shelley driving home the stipulation of them having to tag in. With that said though, as soon as Traci got up on the apron, the match definitely dropped a little and even the dropkick that came afterwards was pretty bad. When Lethal got in, TNA really erupted and this guy is massively over which I think speaks tons for a guy since he’s basically been squashed by three of the top guys in TNA: AJ Styles, Jeff Jarrett, and Samoa Joe. That last name was a really odd decision to me because I really don’t see how the TNA television audience is going to buy Lethal as an eventual contender to Joe when he was squashed by the guy his first night with the company.

Back to the great match, Shelley was good as usually, but it says something that I was really digging Lethal who I’m not that big of a fan otherwise. Shelley and Williams get major props for pushing over the stipulation of tagging though to the point where I bought it as an improvement to the match, not a detriment. At one point, Lethal had Shelley’s number so Shelley reached over with his foot and tagged Williams. That put over three things in one fluid motion: the stipulation, Shelley as a heel, and Lethal as a legit contender and force to mess with. Putting over one thing in one motion seems to ba problem for most at this stage of the game, so to put over three things: kudos, kudos, and more kudos. From there, the back working Shelley and Williams did on Lethal was great and I’m really surprised I’m commending Williams on psychology, but that’s just what this match did: surprise me! Highlight of the match to me had to be Williams and Shelley arguing which again put over their heel status and the stipulation as well as gave a nice transition away from Lethal’s trouble. Seriously, the exact outline of this match was something I was so surprised by. At one point, they went up for the triple power bomb/suplex spot we’ve seen over and over again in multi-man matches and I do admit I groaned in disgust since they were doing so well up until then, but they changed it up into a great series of spots that saw the suplex get broken and there just being a powerbomb. Then Lethal popped in with a German Suplex pin to Shelley to which Bentley responded to with a top rope elbow drop as he was already there. Perfectly executed, set-up, and definitely sold very well too. God, this match had it all. From here, we got some more great spots like a nice counter to a suplex by Williams with a knee to the face as well as an impressive looking flip over Full Nelson suplex. Of course, something had to go wrong as it does in every match and that was Jackie Gayda who interfered to mess with Alex Shelley, who even got punked out by her in a sad note. Just like MNM versus Batista and Rey Mysterio in the cage, this was a great match killed by the interference though this one wasn’t hurt as nearly as much as Mark Henry spending an hour trying to get into the cage. While the arguing ensued, Bentley countered the Canadian Destroyer with a back body drop and Lethal advanced on the opportunity for a quick roll-up and the win for a great match that really put over everyone, even Bentley.

Winner: Jay Lethal

Star Wrestler: Jay Lethal

It was really hard to just pick one especially since the mark in me loves Alex Shelley and Williams & Bentley surprised me as well, but Jay Lethal really shone as the star in this match with his selling of the back and great offense that was quick, well-placed, and just really impressive. Everyone was good in this match, so don’t get the wrong impression, but if Lethal ever becomes a major star in TNA like I think he will, I think this match will be the one people look back on as to what made him that star. Excellent match, excellent work, and I hope the other X Division match is just as good if not better.

To read the rest of this review, simply click here.

AIM – Douglas Nunnally

E-mail – douglasnunnally@thewrestlingvoice.com

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