TNA ran a Live Event at the Consul Energy Park (baseball stadium) in Washington, PA on Saturday, August 16th. The six sided ring was in use and set up approximately on top of where home plate would be; allowing for seating on the field of about 300 with the rest of the crowd in the stands behind home plate and running down each base line. Total attendance 1000 estimated, with a surprising amount in the upper deck.
The first match saw DJ Zema Ion versus Sanada. Many in the crowd initially thought of Sanada as the heel and began to chant “USA”, however, DJZ turned the crowd against him and pro-Sanada with his antics and comments. As expected, the match was athletic and entertaining, with the gimmick being DJ Z’s head phones playing the part of the prop to distract DJ Z and provide for some comedy moments. After a couple of near falls, DJZ took the advantage over Sanada and then played to the crowd with a pseudo strip tease act of unbuckling his belt and teasing dropping his pants. Sanada approached DJZ from behind, depantsed DJZ to his pink underwear, and hit him with his belly to back suplex and body bridge finisher. (I think it’s called the Tiger Suplex)
Up next were the Beautiful People who let the Pigeons Loose to an appreciative crowd and lots of photos taken. Madison Rayne came out to face Velvet Sky with Angelina Love playing the role of evil outsider. The match was a bit non-descript, in part because these two have worked together often. Disappointedly, Madison did not get Velvet in her Rayne Storm (pushup face-buster move that is so entertaining) but got the win when Angelina Love jumped up on the ropes to distract Rayne, however it backfired when Rayne dodged a charging Velvet Sky who then accidentally hit Angelina, allowing a distracted Sky to be pinned by Rayne.
The third match was between Cowboy James Storm and Gunner. Gunner came out to nice applause and passed on tiny flags to the small kids at ring side. He led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. Storm came out and stalled – building heat by bantering back and forth with the crowd, challenging folks in the upper deck to come down and fight him. Eventually, they got into the match with Storm taking it to Gunner. There was back and forth action with Storm escaping Gunners gun rack several times and for the most part maintaining match dominance. Eventually, Storm crotched himself on the ropes and Gunner went on the offensive. Storm bailed out of the ring with Gunner following, took a swig of his beer, re-entered the ring, and then sprayed Gunner with beer as Gunner followed him back into the ring. Gunner managed to escape at 2 and Storm went outside to get a chair. His chair swing was ducked by Gunner, but the chair struck the top rope and bounced right back into Storm’s face, dropping him to his back where Gunner covered him for the pin.
Next up was EC3 versus Abyss. EC3 was great on the mike, causing my wife to laugh out loud. He alluded to Dixie going through a table and his own adventures in a NYC jail where he had to “fight to protect this (his face) and this (his butt)” He held up the handcuffs saying “no one handcuffs a Carter and gets away with it.” He then invited Abyss out and indicated that he (EC3) “was tired and just didn’t want to fight and Abyss was a nice guy who really didn’t want to fight either and since Abyss didn’t really care about wins or losses, how Abyss should just lay down for Carter and then match would end and both of them would be happy.” Abyss looked at the crowd who responded with uncoordinated chants, to which EC3 yelled, “Stop telling him to kick my butt” and naturally the crowd replied with a “kick his butt” chant. As it appeared that Abyss would actually wrestle EC3, Carter took out some money to bribe Abyss. Abyss took the money, which pleased EC3 and then offered his hand to Abyss. Abyss took his hand and then stuffed the money in EC3’s mouth and the match was on. EC3 took some bumps early, but then took control of Abyss by working on his legs and getting him off his feet. They went back and forth with EC3 repeatedly escaping from Abyss’s clutches. Abyss got the choke slam on EC3 who rolled out of the ring, then nailed Abyss on the ring apron with the handcuffs, stunning the big man and giving EC3 the win with the cover.
Before intermission, Kurt Angle came out and did the Ice Bucket Challenge – but did it with milk instead of water. He challenged some other folks I didn’t know and departed.
Following intermission, with Brian and Earl Hebner signing Hebner T-Shirts at the merchandise table, it was Bobby Roode versus Magnus. As this was the first match after intermission, I think Magnus could have worked the crowd a bit more, and heeled himself out, belittled Bobby Roode (maybe something along the lines of “Canada has always been a British imitator and nothing is like the real thing – that’s why it’s called “Great Britain”) but the patter was a bit canned with the only thing Magnus saying is how much he hated Washington PA. Both worked the crowd a bit more and Magnus threatened to leave before coming back to begin the match. As you would expect, some decent back and forth with hard hitting and hard slamming action from these two. Roode nailed Magnus in the corner with the ten fists of fury as the crowd counted them down. Magnus made a comeback and each kicked out or escaped the other’s finishers multiple times, including Roode kicking out of the flying elbow to an incredulous Magnus. After some heated and heavy shots, kicks, and drops, Roode applied the cross-face and Magnus tapped out – giving Roode the win. This match was very solid, but as they were pretty much straight up wrestling, there wasn’t any of the humor that was incorporated into the other matches. And you sensed that everyone was kind of waiting for the main event.
They then announced a $20 special photo op with Kurt Angle for any in attendance (your entire party for $20) and promised to stay there until everyone had a chance for a photo.
An entertaining show with good wrestling, but the outdoor venue made the crowd sound sparse, even though they were very engaged in the matches.