Report by Jeff Miller and F4WOnline.com …
You may have already received a report, but figured I’d send one just in case. I apologize in advance that I don’t regularly follow TNA, so perhaps some of it was lost on me. The John Paul Jones Arena seats about 14,000 for basketball and for larger concerts probably about 11,000.
For this show, about two thirds of the arena were curtained off, leaving the lower bowl of the side that would be behind a basketball goal and floor seating. This is the set-up they use for traveling “Broadway” plays. The only difference is for plays there is a larger stage area, and that area was used for ringside floor seating. The Impact entrance area came from the corner of the curtained area and it was a short walk to the ring.
I attended an Aziz Ansari stand-up comedy show, and there seemed to be about twice as many people for that show (his comedy appeals to college students though) as the whole lower bowl was filled. That could be perception though, as like I said there was a lot more floor seating for TNA, but in the lower bowl, crowd was sparse.
Crowd was into show though. Most of the crowd seemed to be TNA fans also, as they knew the characters and anticipated the big spots.
1. Austin Aries beat Alex Shelly. Announcer said it was an X-division Title match. Good opener, crowd was into it and good heel heat for Aries.
Earl Hebner got his own intro. Played up that he was from VA, so he got a big pop. He had the “Yes I Did” shirt on, and got heat putting on the Bret Hart glasses and doing the Hart mannerisms.
2. Mickie James/Velvet Sky beat Gail Kim/Angelina Love. Mickie got a big pop coming from Richmond. Mickie’s parents and some of Sky’s family sat next to us. Nice people. Mickie pointed to them at the end of the match. Someone in the crowd yelled to Earl, “Did you call the Carolina game yesterday?” A reference to the poor officiating in the UNC-UVA game the day before in the arena. Got a good laugh.
Crowd liked match, particularly Earl kissing all the girls, which I guess is a thing he does? Came off kind of creepy to some, but maybe that’s his gimmick.
3. Samoa Joe and Magnus beat Morgan and Crimson. Crowd died for this one, but some good spots and kicks. Samoa Joe got good heel heat.
4. Christopher Daniels beat AJ Styles EXCELLENT house show match. You could tell these guys have worked together forever, so well polished, but they also managed to keep it fresh. Lots of physical moves. Crowd was into the chops and AJ’s offense like the Pele kick. Daniels got heat before the match calling it Charlottesville, WEST Virginia. Gets them every time. After the match AJ hit Kazarian with the Styles Clash (is that what its called?) to a big pop.
Intermission where Austin Aries and Earl Hebner went to the Merch table and signed autographs
5. Robbie E. and Rob Terry vs. Eric Young and ODB. I’m not actually sure who won this match, but ODB and Eric Young’s music played at the end. Fans weren’t into it, except a dance off they did.
6. Jeff Hardy vs. Bobby Roode ended in DQ when Bully Ray ran in. James Storm made the save. Bubba and Bobby were headed to the back when the ref grabbed the mic and said if they didn’t come back and do a tag match they would strip Roode of the title.
7. Jeff Hardy/Storm beat Bully/Roode. Decent Main event. Crowd was really into Hardy and enjoyed yelling at Bully when he yelled back. Storm was getting beat a lot of the match and they did a hot tag to Hardy. some cool double team moves, and Hardy won with the Twist of Fate. Crowd cheered loudly as they celebrated.
Pretty good house show for somebody who hasn’t seen live wrestling in forever (got a free ticket from a friend). Crowd was pretty much into it from start to finish. As we were leaving, the merch guys were pushing signed Earl Hebner T-shirts for $10. didn’t make the impulse buy, and woke up today happy with myself for that.