Report by Zach Baker and F4WOnline.com …
First, the setup was unique, as the “arena” in Akron they used is a theater. The ring and set were ON the stage. Madison Rayne was signing autographs and posing for pictures before the show. About five minutes before the show, Joe Park arrived and took his seat. He was shaking hands and the fans loved him.
Jeremy Borash acted as the emcee. First match was a battle royale, with all the male competitors involved. The winner got a shot at Aries later in the show.
Angle, who was as popular as anyone there, won the battle royale, eliminating Bobby Roode, who hid during the match itself and tried to jump Angle after everyone else was eliminated.
Miss Tessmacher pinned Madison Rayne. Earl Hebner was introduced and checked on his kayfabe (I hope…) girlfriend.
Mr. Kennedy scored a sharp shooter submission over Magnus in a BFG match. Earl Hebner officiated the match, doing his Bret Hart impression and showing his “Damn Right I Did” shirt.
Joe Park did an interview which was stopped by Kaz and Daniels. They got into a fight with him, but Garret and Devon made the save.
Daniels and Kaz beat Devon and Garret Bischoff by pin in a tag title match. Devon really is a good babyface. At the beginning of the match Bischoff was booed, but Devon did a good job (as did Kaz and Daniels) at working spots to get him a babyface reaction.
Jeff Hardy beat the Pope with a twist of fate.Hardy was the only one to go into the “orchestra” area and greet the fans during his entrance. Big-time over of course.
Bobby Roode pinned RVD. Roode was over like nuts as a heel. Came across as a huge star.
Aries pinned Angle. Not a long match, but a good one with Aries winning with the brain buster. Crowd was split, I think because Angle is not only a former WWE guy, but because he’s from Pittsburgh, which is close. Aries had plenty of supporters, though.
After the match, Aries got in the ring and posed for pictures at $20 a party. Of course we did that. Gotta say, Jeremy Borash has to be one of the hardest working men in the industry. He did introductions, warmed up the crowd, took pictures during the matches, then checked on the pictures that were given to the fans after the Aries signings.
Miss Tessmacher signed autographs during intermission; Earl Hebner signed after the show.
It seemed to be a good crowd for TNA, with much of the lower area filled, and a few people in the balcony. Fans seemed pretty up-to-date with the product — at least the people near me.
Good show, totally different than the WWE shows I’d been to.