TNA Live Event (Biloxi, Miss.)
Report by Jeff Landry and ProWrestling.net
I waited until this morning to type this report, because the show left kind of a sour taste in my mouth and I wanted to chew it over and make sure I felt the same way today. While the crowd was hot all night, the show felt kind of flat to me. The wrestlers I did meet all seemed to be in a bad mood like they didn’t want to be there. More on this later.
We don’t get a lot of wrestling shows in Mississippi, much less here on the coast. In fact, the last time we got a TV taping, I believe, we found out Mr. America was really Hulk Hogan. The arena was less than half full. I’m not real good with numbers, but I’d say maybe 1500 people would be generous.
Half the arena was roped off and there was a big black curtain set up that was “backstage” where the people with the passes met the wrestlers. There were a LOT of kids in the crowd. I noticed at the start of the show, there wasn’t a lot of wrestling shirts in the crowd at all but by the end of the night, they were everywhere. Those brown bag specials sold like crazy. It was a Jeff Hardy white shirt that was included in the package, which helped. On to the show…
Jeremy Borash came out to start the show. Let me say here, this man works hard. Whatever TNA pays him, he needs a raise. He easily kept the crowd into the show throughout the night. He basically welcomed us to TNA and said he would be giving out backstage passes all night. Those backstage passes were like gold to some people. I’d say 80 percent of the people would scream their heads off on command. Between matches, before the show, after the show, he tried to hype us all night. If WWE ever gets a chance, they need to take this man and pay him to do the same thing for them.
1. AJ Styles beat Matt Hardy. Cheers for both men coming out. Matt Hardy took his shirt off and teased each side of the ring he would throw it, seeing who would cheer him the loudest. He kept pointing at the different sides faster and faster before picking one and then threw it on the floor. I have to admit, I laughed out loud at that one. The crowd turned on him after that. Good match between the two that saw AJ Styles hit Hardy with a Pele’ kick while Hardy was seated on the top rope. AJ played to the crowd a bit afterward.
2. Velvet Sky beat Sarita. Earl Hebner (who was one of the people I really wanted to see) came out first to some cheers but virtually no heat. He jawed with what was, I assume, a plant at ringside who tried to start a “You screwed Bret” chant, but it didn’t really work for him. Earl still did his spot where he took off his referee shirt and had the “Damn Right I Did” shirt. This got a good laugh when he put on his Bret Hart sunglasses. Velvet’s rope antics were cut off by Sarita, who I thought looked better live. The women tried real hard but this was the quietest the crowd was all night, except the older drunk guys in the crowd.
The funny spot of the match, Velvet kicked Sarita in the stomach and she stumbled back and Earl caught and planted a kiss on her and did what was the weirdest little dance I’ve ever seen. Velvet won and got to do her rope trick.
3. Matt Morgan beat Hernandez. Matt Morgan is a beast. The crowd chanted USA every single time a heel came out that even looked like they weren’t from America. Lord. I never understood why the chant would upset someone like Hernandez because I’m fairly certain he is American, but I digress. A lot of stalling in this match. Hernandez controlled a fair portion of it and even came off the top rope at one point with a leg drop. Morgan ended up winning with the Carbon Footprint. They both had local guys with them, who I guess are local high school students or something.
JB came out and told us we were going to a quick intermission at this point and Don West would be shilling merchandise in the ring. Let me say, I’ve been a fan of Don’s since he sold baseball cards at night while I battled insomnia. He still has it. He talked the entire intermission. He had Lockdown posters that had all 36 wrestler’s signatures on it for $50.
West said they’ll be on the TNA website soon for $200 but he had ten of them for Biloxi fans. I am pretty sure I saw more than ten of them, but I could be mistaken. Earl and Brian Hebner were signing the Hebner shirt and Sarita was signing autographs. The line from the merchandise stand was massive and long. I’d say half the people there were in that line during intermission.
4. Beer Money beat British Invasion. I’m a Doug Williams mark, so seeing him was nice. BI came out first and cut a promo saying that today was a big day for them and their countrymen. Doug acted like he was on the verge of tears. He talked about the wedding and asked the fans to please rise. They sang God Save the Queen until Beer Money’s music hit. Beer Money was definitely over huge in Biloxi. Drunk rednecks rooting for drunk rednecks, go figure. Pretty good match that had a lot of funny heel cheating by British Invasion. The crowd went crazy when Beer Money won.
5. Devon beat Bully Ray with special referee Mick Foley. Tommy Dreamer came out to cut a promo and said that when he heard TNA was coming to Biloxi, he had to come. He said that while people claim he’s hardcore, it’s the people in Biloxi that are for everything we go through (hurricanes, oil spills, etc.) He says this town is back and better than ever and he appreciates that despite everything we go through, we spend our hard earned money to come watch him and his friends bust their asses to entertain us. Boohoo.
Anyway, thankfully, Bully Ray (one of my personal favorites) came out and hit Tommy with the chain from behind and laid him out. Bully Ray then cut one of the most unintentionally funny promos I’ve ever heard. He said some bad things about Biloxi and said all of us were fat, stupid, etc. Then he started singling people out. That’s when, on my end, it got funny. He picked on some fat chicks and told the guys with them that they should’ve came without the girls. He challenged anyone in the building to come out and fight him since the fans in Biloxi were scared. Devon ran out and Bully left the ring. Bully acted like he didn’t want to fight.
Earl Hebner came out and Bully Ray tried to rough him up. Hebner got the mic and said something about Bully Ray maybe being a bully, but he’s also a punk ass. Mick Foley the came out to a massive pop. He asked Hebner if it would be okay if he refereed this match. A lot of jawing with the fans and Foley. Match went back and forth. Let me say that Bully was loud when he yelled at people, you could hear him clearly.
I never realized until this current run, but I think there’s money in a Ray push. Ray kept cheating until Tommy Dreamer came out, hit a DDT and Foley put Mr. Socko on him. Devon chokeslammed him and got the 1-2-3. The ECW originals then posed in the ring a minute and left. Devon gave us an “oh my brother, testify” too.
Jeremy Borash thanked us for such a great night. He said the crowd was hot all night and he said they would definitely be back. He said he was going to get us a pay-per-view, because the building and the crowd deserved the be on TV. That’d be cool, I guess.
6. Ken Anderson beat Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett got really good heat. Anderson came out and tried to get the mic to come down and it didn’t, so JB stood on a chair. The crowd helped him do his MISTERRRR ANDERR…. and the crowd did the second part. I have to admit that I did that part. It was a strange pace in this match. They stalled a lot. Jarrett got into it with referee Brian Hebner, shoving him a couple times and Hebner shoved him back to a good pop. Jarrett slapped Hebner and dude snapped. He took off his referee shirt and threw it to Anderson who put it on. They grappled and Hebner even got the better of Jarrett with a body slam.
Eventually the match settled into what you would expect. Hebner bumped when Anderson had Jarrett up for an airplane spin. He had Jarrett pinned but Hebner was still down. Jarrett got Anderson with a low blow and got a chair from ringside, hitting Anderson with it. Jarrett put it in between the top and middle turnbuckles and tried to whip Anderson into it, who reversed. He then his Jarrett with a mic check and got the 1-2-3.
The crowd started leaving before JB said that Anderson has decided that he’s going to do pictures in the ring for $20. Not a bad deal, really, when you split it with other people. My wife, son and I split with our friends ten each. The line wasn’t terribly long. It was pretty cool actually standing in a wrestling ring, too. Anderson didn’t say much, like I mentioned earlier, he was in a bad mood or something. He just seemed like he didn’t want to be there.
It was also announced they were going to have a good ol’ fashioned “Friday Night Autograph Party” in Biloxi. I saw people that had lots of signatures, but I never saw anyone out signing stuff. I went and got my son’s picture with Jeff Jarrett at the concession table and had the chance to meet Don West. Neither man had much to say either, just like Anderson. I don’t know if something may have happened that I’m unaware of or if they really just dislike being in Biloxi that much. The Hebners were really nice. I think Brian got a kick out of my “Human Beatbox” comment.
Overall, I guess I enjoyed my experience but it wasn’t really what I expected. I went in not really being a fan of the TV product, despite the fact I ordered all the old weekly pay-per-views. But after all the reports I’ve read of these amazing house show experiences, I was excited. It didn’t really live up to all of that.