Report by Anthony Ardolino & F4WOnline.com:
Borash did the typical backstage pass pandering, but someone came out and told him they couldn’t give backstage passes because AJ Styles hates New Jersey and doesn’t want anyone backstage, but JB said no one cared what AJ thinks, and gave out passes. This was straight out of 1987, but I laughed.
MATCH 1: AMAZING RED vs HOMICIDE vs BRIAN KENDRICK
Homicide is from Brooklyn, obviously, but I forgot Red was from Brooklyn, too. People seemed to like all three of them equally, which meant there wasn’t a ton of heat for the match. Match was a little sloppy, lasted about 6-7 minutes, with Red getting the pin.
They did the Earl Heber "You Screwed Bret" thing with the t-shirt. They were selling the shirts for half price, and I noticed quite a few people buying them. That’s too bad.
MATCH 2: ANGELINA LOVE vs SARA DEL REY (!)
This was announced as a #1 contender’s match, and SDR was announced as the JAPW women’s champion. I was surprised and happy to see her, but it sounds like it was only a one-off thing. Match was brief (4-5 minutes) and just okay. Not Del Rey’s best, but she wasn’t going to have a stiff joshi match with Angelina anyway. Angelina won with a kick to the face. After the match, Madison Rayne came out and said her title shot she just won would be right now.
MATCH 3: ANGELINA LOVE vs MADISON RAYNE
Angelina made a nice comeback, but for the most part, this was Madison beating up Angelina. At one point, they did a spot where Madison landed in Hebner’s arms, and he dipped her like a dance partner and kissed her, then did the Ric Flair "I just kissed someone dance". Then he did the same thing to Angelina. Madison used this distraction to roll up Angelina for the pin and retain the belt. I dunno, match was okay, but the finish kinda buried Angelina.
MATCH 4: DESMOND WOLFE vs JAY LETHAL
Lethal was announced as from Elizabeth, NJ; I wonder if he’s actually from there, or if it was a nice little inside joke from when he was Black Machismo. I’m too lazy to look it up. He was over huge from this crowd. Desmond came out, sans-Chelsea, and got some "Nigel" chants at the beginning. Match was awesome, easily the best of the night, work-wise. They got time, too, or rather, by TNA standards, 10 minutes was a lot of time. Lethal pinned him clean.
Angle came out in street clothes and said he wasn’t wrestling due to injury. After the promo he cut, I think he wasn’t wrestling due to intoxication. He picked it up at the end, but he seemed pretty out of it; the highlight was "When I came here from WWE four years ago… (crowd boos) Now, I’m not gonna say anything bad about Vince McMahon… but… TNA’s better." It was a little sad, but whatever, the people liked it. He just said that TNA had grown in the four years he was there, and that he was sorry he wasn’t going to be wrestling, so he’d be signing autographs for everyone, so that was nice.
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MATCH 5: JEFF HARDY vs ABYSS
This wasn’t very good. And surprisingly, Hardy wasn’t nearly as over as I thought he would be. He got a huge pop when his music started playing, but I was surprised how relatively quiet it was while he was making his entrance. I dunno, for someone who was the biggest star in wrestling a year ago, I was kinda surprised by the lack of heat he had. Crowd liked him, though, obviously. Match was sloppy; Jeff hit a twist of fate that looked more like an RKO, except he lost his grip on Abyss and Abyss took his own bump. Then he hit one of the worst swantons I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t so much a Swanton as it was a flipping leg drop; I’ve seen a lot of sentons in my day, and I’m pretty sure its your shoulders and/or the top of your back that hits the opponent, not your ankles. I wasn’t expecting them to tear down the house, and the match was funny in its own sad, trainwreck kind of way (Abyss was fine, but that character is so low-rent, they might as well call him ManKane), but the crowd liked it, so I’ll stop talking. Hardy won, by the way.
Hardy took like 10 minutes to celebrate and leave, then they had an insanely long intermission, like half an hour.
MATCH 6: TEAM 3-D vs INK INC
As this was the tri-state area and ECW territory, the Dudleys were super over. Ink Inc got a nice reaction coming out, but when people realized they were facing the Dudleys, they immediately shifted to heel mode. Bubba told the crowd to tell Hebner to make it a tables match, and he obliged. I don’t know why the crowd wanted a tables match; they’re always anti-climatic and you only get one table getting broken. Why not just make it no-DQ? Oh well. After some brawling, they got the heat on D-von for a while and set up a big hot tag where Bubba ran wild and did the Balls Mahoney punches. Only a few in the crowd picked up on it. Then they beat the crap out of Inc Ink some more and 3-D Jesse through a table. I remembered at the time thinking it was a squash, but in hindsight, they actually gave Ink Inc quite a bit. They broke up some pieces of table and brought some kids in the ring and let them keep the pieces.
MATCH 7: RVD vs AJ STYLES
AJ was awesome here, cutting a short promo about how he now understands why Snooki got punched in the face. He spent about 10 minutes stalling, including threatening to leave if they didnt stop booing him (Brian Hebner said he’d be suspended if he got counted out), and then went on to have a really great match. Along with the Desmond/Lethal match, it was one of only two really good matches on the show, although this was a much more old-school, southern-style match with lots of stalling and shenanigans. This is old news, but AJ takes the greatest bump off a monkey flip ever. RVD won clean with the frog splash; AJ didn’t hit the 450 or the Clash, just the Pele Kick, so there wasn’t even all that much drama or nearfalls towards the end. Match went about 20-25 minutes total, including AJ’s stalling.
All in all, slightly disappointing, considering there were really only two great matches and all I had heard about how great TNA house shows were, until I realized that a lot of those great TNA house show guys I’d heard about weren’t there or even with the company anymore (Daniels, Kazarian, Young). But the people got to see RVD, Angle, Hardy and the Dudleys, so everyone else was happy. Hardy and Angle were kinda sad, for different reasons, but what can you do.