TNA Live Event (London, Ontario at the John Labatt Centre)
Report by John Canton of TheJohnReport.net.
They billed the event as the “Impact Wrestling World Tour” although all the signs say “TNA Wrestling” during the show. The meet and greet was at 5:30pm. My ticket didn’t cover that. Doors opened at 6:30pm. The John Labatt Centre holds about 9,000 for major events. They used half the arena. The floor area where I was sitting was full around the ring. The first level had a decent amount of fans, but wasn’t full. I’d guess there were about 1,000 fans or so. They had the red and black TNA set all around the ring. I guess the Impact Wrestling set stays in Orlando for now.
Before the show, Mickie James took pics with fans for $10 in the lobby while Kazarian signed autographs.
Jeremy Borash welcomed us to the show. He said he was looking for the loudest fans to be able to go backstage later.
1. Matt Morgan defeated The Pope. Lots of comedy early by Pope. Pope was on offense for most of the match. Morgan made his comeback won with the Carbon Footprint. The crowd was hot right from the start.
Before the next match Earl Hebner got introduced as a heel. He took off his ref shirt to reveal his “Damn Right I Did” shirt in reference to the Montreal Screwjob in 1997. He put on his Hitman shades, did a DX chop and I could hear him call a fan a “f’n jackoff” in the front row. During the match he didn’t act like a heel, though. The act isn’t new if you’ve been to a TNA show before.
There was a “Be A Man Hulk” sign in the crowd. I guess somebody thought he’d be there.
2. Mickie James and Tara defeated Angelina Love and Winter. No home province bias for Angelina. I’ve seen her wrestle dozens of times. She looks as thin as ever. Mickie and Tara got huge pops. Tara got worked over for much of it, Mickie got the hot tag and pinned Winter with the leaping DDT.
3. X Division Title: Abyss defeated Kazarian. They had a really good back and forth match. Abyss won with the Black Hole Slam. Kazarian’s wife Traci Brooks was in the crowd with her family because she’s originally from the area.
4. Alex Shelley and James Storm (w/Robert Roode) beat British Invasion. The crowd was really hot for the Beer Money act as well as Shelley. Roode had his left arm in a sling. At one point as Shelley tied up Hebner, Roode slipped in the ring, gave a double suplex with Storm and they did their Beer Money yell. Shelley got the pin with Sliced Bread #2. Very enjoyable match.
They had a 20 minute intermission. Some fans got backstage passes to meet the wrestlers. Buy the $50+ tickets if you want those. Winter and Angelina Love were signing autographs in the lobby. She’s a zombie with a caring heart, I guess. They also had Earl Hebner signing autographs and his “Damn Right I Did” shirt. I think Earl refereed four of the seven matches. He was all over the place.
D-Lo Brown could be seen walking around the building watching the matches. He was on his phone texting a lot. You’re texting with the real deal now.
5. Jeff Jarrett defeated Eric Young. A very fun match. Jarrett cut a timely heel promo pre-match by telling us not to riot like the fans in Vancouver after the Canucks lost. Young got the hometown pop since he grew up only an hour away. They did a lot of comedy spots. When Young Hulked Up he pulled off his tights to reveal tights with a Canadian flag on them. Earl Hebner took a very weak bump. In a Jeff Jarrett match? Shocker. Orlando Jordan came out and prevented Jarrett from using a chair. Jeff managed to win with The Stroke anyway.
6. AJ Styles defeated Scott Steiner. Steiner did a heel promo before the match saying our women are ugly. He threw in a few swear words too. It was funny to see a mom cover the ears of her son during his promo. They worked a decent match where Styles was bumping all over the place. He barely had any offense. Steiner didn’t bump much at all, which is wise for a house show. He ended up winning with the Pele Kick.
7. Kurt Angle defeated Ken Anderson in a non-title match. Much like the previous two matches, Anderson cut a heel promo. He said his favorite part of Canada was leaving it. The crowd was super hot and very loud for Angle. We’ve always loved him even during his heel days. They worked a very solid, basic match for about ten minutes with Angle putting him in the Ankle Lock. Anderson fought out, but Kurt came back with Angle Slam for the win.
After Angle’s match, he stayed in the ring and took pics with fans. It didn’t matter if you had two people or if you had five in your group. For $20 Canadian (stronger than US dollar by two cents!) you could get your picture with Angle in the ring. My buddy Steve and I got a pic with him. I told him I thought he was one of the best ever and thanked him for all the great memories over the years. We were some of the first to take pics with him. The line was long. As we left, Jeff Jarrett was signing for fans in the lobby.
The crowd was energetic all night. They were into the faces, they booed the heels and there were a lot of chants during the slow spots. A typically strong Canadian wrestling crowd. Considering TNA barely advertised the event (no print advertising and very little radio ads) it came off well. I always enjoy TNA/Impact Wrestling World Tour house shows and they do a good job of making it a fan friendly experience. The whole show lasted about two and a half hours.
Biggest Pops: Kurt Angle – By far, Eric Young, AJ Styles
Biggest Heat: Jeff Jarrett, Ken Anderson, Scott Steiner