KNOCKOUTS CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
ODB (c) vs. GAIL KIM vs. BROOKE TESSMACHER | ***
Most of the match is ODB and Brooke, as Gail plays the girl on the outside for more than half the match. There's a ref bump near the end, when ODB splashes him, and then Gail kicks him in the face; all "accidental" of course. Lei'd Tapa comes out, kicks ODB in the face, and powerbombs Brooke from the outside back into the ring. Gail covers for the 1-2-3. NEW CHAMPION!
I love it. Yeah, it's a pretty obvious rip-off of the current AJ Lee and Tamina alliance, but Gail Kim and Tamina, at least in this instance, impressed me. Not a bad match either, with Brooke taking center stage in a lot of the action. ODB continues to be the most over Knockout in the company. Three matches in, three new champions. Either that doesn't bode well for AJ Styles tonight, or TNA is hitting the reset button on their programming.
Robbie E, Jessie Godderz and Mr. Olympia are backstage, spraying their "protein shakes" all over each other. Seriously, I love these guys.
BOBBY ROODE vs. KURT ANGLE | ****
A very slow, old school match full of submissions, battling between Angle's Ankle Lock and Roode's crossface. After about 20 minutes, Angle grapevines the hold, and Roode refuses to tap out, and instead passes out. Hebner raises his hand and accidentally drops it on the ropes. The crowd doesn't like that one bit, and while it was accidentally it was still a bit of sloppy referee work. Angle takes Roode up to the top turnbuckle and hits a massive Angle Slam that knocks them both out. Roode makes it to his feet at a count of nine, falls on top of Angle and wins the match.
This is probably just one guy's opinion, but I've seen too many people get hurt, or worse, in this business to appreciate when they do a good old fashioned self-inflicted knock out to end a match. Playing up potential paralysis at the end didn't make me wonder if Kurt was fine, it just made me remember all the people that have actually been paralyzed in really similar situations. Earlier in the day I listened to Steve Austin and Sean Waltman talk about all their neck injuries and getting paralyzed in the ring, and that kind of thing scares me too much to appreciate what TNA was trying to do here, to make the end of the match more emotional.
On a side note, the accidental referee botch with the hand on the ropes was a big distraction. It kind of killed the momentum of the match at exactly the worst possible moment to do so. It doesn't help that my favorite thing in a technical wrestling match is the moment when a guy in a submission gets his hand raised, and stops it just before it hits the mat. It's been a part of a lot of damn fine wrestling matches.
Everything TNA did with Kurt Angle during this pay-per-view was just weird. I love that he put over Bobby Roode. I'm not so excited that he didn't REALLY put over Bobby Roode; Kurt knocked himself out, and that's what we're going to remember. Roode didn't even get screen time after the win. It was all abotu Angle. I guess that wouldn't have bothered me so much if he didn't just make a scene refusing the Hall of Fame an hour ago.
ETHAN CARTER III vs. NORV VERNUM | *
Squash match with a local jobber gives EC3 his "big debut". Carter hits a few arm drags and a T-Bone Suplex, which Taz takes exception to. Norv gets in some offense – two dropkicks and a top rope crossbody – but gets caught with the Headlock Driver for the 3-count. Boy, that move looks awfully familiar…
So, Derrick Bateman is in TNA, and he's officially beat up a local jobber. Obviously the match here doesn't matter. The crowd didn't care at all; either they didn't recognize him, or they just couldn't be bothered. That being said, this crowd has been terrible all night long, so I would wait until Impact to figure out if EC3 is catching on or not. I liked Bateman, so I'm cautiously optimistic.