Mike Reviews TNA Bound For Glory 2009
By Michael Fitzgerald on 4th November 2023
Happy Saturday Everyone!
We’ve got a TNA review for you this week, as we take a look at Bound For Glory 2009, an event that you can view for free on IMPACT Wrestling’s YouTube page, which is very nice of them. Search it out and give em some clicks if you like the sound of this. The main reason I’m reviewing this one is that Matt Morgan apparently has a 4 star match on it, and that’s something I just HAVE to see to believe.
The lads over at OSW Review are actually going to review this, although I’m writing this before their review has been posted. If it is up by now, then seek them out, as they do some cracking long-form reviews of wrestling shows and they’re always good fun. Plus, I’ve totally nicked some of their verbiage in my reviews, so I feel it’s only fair to direct you to them so you can enjoy things like “Aloha-enter-wrestler-name-here” from the pros.
Bound For Glory 2009 took place either during or just after the whole Main Event Mafia Era of TNA, where established stars such as Kurt Angle, Sting, Kevin Nash, Booker T and Scott Steiner all aligned with one another in order to take on the younger less established stars of TNA, with the idea being that the TNA guys would defy their more decadent superiors and eventually knock them down a peg. I honestly can’t remember if that happened or not as I tapped out on TNA somewhere around 2008 and never really got back into it after that.
Thus, most of this will be new to me!
If you’d like to view the card for the event, you can do so by clicking below!
The event is emanating from Orange County, California on the 18th of October 2009
Calling the action are Mike Tenay and Taz (BOOOOOOOO. No offence to Taz, but I was hoping for some awesome Don West commentary)
The opening video package is set to a moody song that suits the general theme of the package itself. There seems to be a suggestion that the Main Event might be Sting’s last ever match (not bloody likely).
Some dude ruins the national anthem on a guitar.
Ultimate X Bout for the TNA X-Division Title
Champ: The Amazing Red w/ Don “Oh My Gosh He Creamed Him” West Vs Chris Sabin Vs Alex Shelley Vs Daniels Vs Suicide Vs Homicide
Ultimate X is a match where they set up a scaffold and put cables across the top of it in order to form an actual “X”, before then placing the belt in the middle of the X and forcing wrestlers to assail the scaffold and then clamber across the cables in order to grab the belt. No ladders are allowed. TNA first started doing this match in 2003, and it became one of their trademark matches from that point onwards due to how it would allow some of their more high flying wrestlers to just cut loose.
Red was a big name on the independent circuit in the early 00’s for some of the crazy high flying he’d do, but he wasn’t much of a promo man, so they’ve put West with him because West was originally a salesman on television before entering wrestling, and thus one of the best hype men you could ever hope to have. Sabin and Shelley were already tagging as the Motor City Machine Guns at this point, but they’ll have to fight one another here in order to win the belt. Daniels is just Christopher Daniels, but they took away his first name for reasons I don’t remember. Suicide is Frankie Kazarian under a mask based on a character from the TNA Video Game.
Homicide is apparently representing World Elite tonight, which was Eric Young’s Heel faction I believe. Wasn’t Daniels originally the guy playing Suicide until they switched the gig over to Kazarian, or did I imagine that? I don’t generally like the term “Video Game Wrestling” as I feel it’s used too often as a derogatory term for high spot matches like this. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want a show full of this stuff, but as part of a balanced card it can be an enjoyable diversion, so just saying it’s a Video Game kind of takes away from the skill of the wrestlers involved. That being said, Suicide is a character quite literally based on someone from a Video Game, so I think this might be one of the rare occasions where the description would be fair.
There’ll be little in the way of play by play here, as the match is a high octane sequence of exciting moves from the opening bell, with it being like a conveyor belt of high spots. It’s one of those matches where if you like this style of wrestling then you’ll likely enjoy this bout due to the talent of the individuals involved, but if you hate this sort of wrestling then this match will be unlikely to convert you. There are plenty of dives, some cool double team manoeuvres from The MCMG, and some wild sequences where multiple wrestlers are involved in a big combined wacky spot. The crowd seems to dig it and reacts with the expected “oohs” and “ahs” to all of the action taking place before them.
Strangely Red seems to be one of the most unsteady and uncomfortable folks to assail the cables, even though he’s one of the most exciting performers in the whole X-Division. It just goes to show that the cables are no joke to negotiate. I don’t think there’s enough money in the world to get me to try and climb those things. It would have to be at least enough for me to be able to afford the services of a top level surgeon to repair me after I fell from the cables like a bowling ball getting thrown off a scaffold onto a trampoline (I wonder if that YouTube channel is still going?). (EDIT, it does)
Eventually Daniels and Suicide end up taking a nasty looking spill from the centre of the cables, which leads to MCMG going for the belt. However, Red has managed to make his way on top of the scaffolding that holds up the cables and then drops down to intercept them and grab the belt in order to win the match. That was a creative way to finish the match, although I could have done without Daniels and Suicide splatting onto the mat like that.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: THE AMAZING RED
Thoughts: Some of the bumps were a little too gnarly for me and I started to worry for the wrestler’s actual safety at points, which hampered my enjoyment somewhat. Those of you less bothered by that sort of thing will likely enjoy this one more though. This was a very particular kind of match that appealed to a very particular kind of wrestling fan. It won’t be for everyone, but as a high octane way to kick off the show I thought it delivered on the brief
Lauren the interview chick interviews The Beautiful People (Velvet Sky, Madison Rayne and Lacey Von Erich) about the upcoming match. The Beautiful People are mean to her and then talk about how they are going to win the tag belts tonight. This was a pretty annoying promo, and not in the good way.
Jeremy Borash is with Sarita and Taylor Wilde, who give their response to the previous promo we just saw. It’s a pretty generic promo but it works for what they are going for. I wasn’t desperate for the promo to end in order to get the annoying people off my screen at least, so that’s a step up from the previous promo.
Mike Tenay and Taz do the WCW-like thing where they hype up the upcoming matches on a show that we’ve already paid to see. I can only imagine that they’re taking the scaffolding down from the opener and they are just doing this stuff in order to kill some time?
TNA Knockouts Tag Team Titles
Champs: Sarita and Taylor Wilde Vs The Beautiful People (Velvet Sky and Madison Rayne) w/ Lacey Von Erich
Sarita was a star from lucha who made a name for herself in CMLL before finally snagging a role in TNA. Wilde had entered the company to some fanfare by going toe-to-toe with the monstrous Awesome Kong and actually defeating her for the singles belt. As of me writing this, Wilde is now back in IMPACT doing a wiccan gimmick and tagging with KyLyn King. The Beautiful People are vain Heels who think everyone else is really ugly, which is a gimmick TNA got a lot of mileage out of and when I speak to most casual TNA watchers from this era it’s an act they always remember, and it’s usually with reasonable fondness too.
Sarita and Wilde have a very detailed dance routine as part of their entrance, which is both impressively performed but also feels a little bit artificial. Von Erich (daughter of the Texas Tornado) puts a smooch on the referee before the match starts, which leads to the ref deciding not to send her to the back and instead getting her a chair so that she can sit at ringside. This leads to Earl Hebner storming down and getting a smooch as well. However, Earl is IMMUNE to Lacey’s womanly ways and sends her to the back. I guess Lacey Screwed Lacey? That was a cute bit actually, as Von Erich couldn’t wrestle for toffee but she was entertaining as a dim-witted comedy character.
There’s someone on the front row with a Union Jack flag with an Arsenal badge on it, but sadly it doesn’t appear to be Troopz from Arsenal Fan TV, as him yelling at Taz that he was a ham roll would officially make this one of the greatest pay per views of all-time Fam-Blud. This is a pretty abbreviated match, as the challengers work a little bit of heat on Sarita until Wilde gets the hot tag and pins Rayne with a German Suplex following a Sarita dropkick. There really wasn’t much else to say about that one, as they didn’t really get a lot of time to tell a story.
WINNERS AND STILL CHAMPIONS: SARITA & WILDE
Thoughts: This was too short to really be any more, but it was okay for what it was
Video package for the next match.
Lauren is backstage with Kevin Nash and Eric Young. Young says that he has made a deal with Nash to take out Hernandez tonight. Nash seems cool with the arrangement. Young was good here but Nash seemed like he was thinking more about the bottle of wine he was going to enjoy at the hotel later rather than this match at TNA’s equivalent of WrestleMania.
TNA Legends Title
Champ: Big Sexy Kevin Nash Vs Super-Mex Hernandez Vs The Leader of World Elite Eric Young
The Legends belt was brought into the promotion by Booker T, and kind of operated as the main secondary singles belt for anyone who wasn’t able to work X-Division style. Dixie Carter was supposedly a big fan of Hernandez, so they were trying to push him at the time. EY had been a comedy figure for years but they were starting to try and make him a more serious character around this time. Young had set up his own faction called World Elite, where they were essentially putting all of the foreign and ethnically diverse wrestlers into one big group. Hernandez had refused to be a part of it though, thus setting up a feud between him and Young.
Young had helped Kurt Angle get the better of things in a match with Hernandez and then suggested that his and Angle’s factions come together in order to take out Hernandez once and for all. However, this being TNA where everyone hates everyone else and alliances can crumble in an instant, that friendship between the two factions didn’t last very long, hence why Angle’s stablemate Kevin Nash has ended up being dragged into this match. Angle put a $30,000 bounty on Young’s head, but Young told Nash that he’d double that if Nash agreed to work with Young in this match in order to take out Hernandez, with Nash getting to retain his belt in the process. Nash, a lover of all things green, agreed.
I have to say, the pre-match video package did a LOT of heavy lifting there, but kudos to whoever put it together because I at least understand everyone’s motivations for this one now. I don’t need a VP for every match, but when there’s a lot of storyline stuff going on like here then it’s appreciated. This one is the old fashioned “glorified handicap match”, as Hernandez is essentially fighting both men by himself whilst Nash and Young are actively working together. In some ways this is almost the perfect way to book a Kevin Nash bout in 2009, as Nash can cycle through the spots he can still do whilst Young can take all of his bumps for him.
Hernandez has to do a lot of selling seeing as he’s at the disadvantage here, and he does a solid job, although his hope spots don’t really get the sort of reaction you’d like them to. Nash and Young have a bit of tension at one stage when Young tries to pin Hernandez, but he explains it away by saying that it was just instinct, and Nash seems to accept it. Hernandez ends up coming off the top with a dropkick onto Nash, which is very impressive for a dude his size, and he makes the full comeback following that, with Nash actually taking quite a few big flat back bumps for him. Nash must have really liked Hernandez!
We get some near falls, with Hernandez seemingly having Young pinned but Nash breaking up the count. Hernandez continues to do impressive feats of agility, including a fantastic TOPE CON HILO onto Young outside the ring at one stage. The crowd has been a bit difficult in this one, although they have popped for all of Hernandez’s big moves. That’s possibly going to happen when you open the show with a wild spot fest and then you try doing a story driven match like this one so soon after. If the crowd’s pulse is up then it’s sometimes harder to get them to settle down into a story based match. Eventually Young gives the cue to Nash to deliver the Powerbomb to Hernandez, but before Nash can deliver the move, Young shoves Hernandez head first right into Nash’s crotch, before pouncing on the now falsetto’d Champ with a pin for three.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: ERIC YOUNG
Thoughts: The crowd blew hot and cold for this one, but the actual action in the ring was fine and I thought the match itself told a good story, with Hernandez almost overcoming the numbers game until it became too much, only for Young to then spring his plan into action and get the better of both opponents. Young looked like a devious villain, but neither Nash or Hernandez ended up looking too weak, as Hernandez almost defeated two other wrestlers all by himself and hit some hot moves, whilst Nash only lost because he got struck right in his Big Daddy Cool’s. They achieved pretty much everything they wanted to there and the match itself was watchable
Lauren is backstage trying to interview Beer Money, but The British Invasion and Main Even Mafia are having a pull apart. The British Invasion try and get all of the other teams on board with their plan to take out Team 3D, seeing as they are specialists in the upcoming gimmick match. This was an effective way of putting Team 3D over and hyping up the next match.
Full Metal Mayhem for the TNA World Tag Team Titles and IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles
TNA Champs: Booker T and Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner Vs IWGP Champs: The British Invasion (Brutus Magnus and Doug Williams) Vs Team 3D (Brother Ray and Brother Devon) Vs Beer Money (Robert Roode and Cowboy James Storm)
Full Metal Mayhem is essentially TNA’s version of a TLC match, where the team that climbs the ladder and grabs the belts is declared the winners. TNA had a working relationship with New Japan at the time, hence why New Japan’s belts are on the line as well. Booker and Steiner are members of the Main Event Mafia. Magnus would go on to win both the IMPACT and NWA World Titles, and is better known today as Nick Aldis. Williams is one of the UK’s all-time best wrestlers, turning his judo background into an impressive Pro Wrestling career where he was renowned for his technical acumen.
Roode would eventually become the TNA/IMPACT and NXT Champion as time wore on, whilst Storm would have a cup of coffee in NXT before returning to IMPACT. Their gimmick is that Roode is a rich stockbroker and Storm is a beer guzzling Tennessee Cowboy, yet they make a surprisingly good team. Team 3D wrestled for years as The Dudley Boyz and are one of the few teams to have won Tag Team Title belts in ECW, the WWF, TNA/IMPACT and a major Japanese company. They were WCW Tag Champs at one stage too, but that was when the WWF owned WCW so I’m not sure that one technically counts towards the grand slam as they didn’t actually win them in WCW.
From listening to Wrestling Observer Radio from this time period, apparently TNA wasn’t interested in renewing Scott Steiner’s contract around this time, so everyone else in the match got together and decided to try and make this a showcase for him by giving him loads of stuff to do so that he’d get really over and TNA would consider keeping him. I’m not sure if that particular story was ever confirmed, but it was nice of everyone in the match to try and do that for someone if it is indeed true. This sort of weapons filled brawl isn’t really in the UK wrestler’s wheelhouse most of the time, but they acquit themselves well enough, whilst Beer Money and Team 3D look far more comfortable in this kind of environment.
This is similar to the Ultimate X match, in that there’ so much going on that doing detailed play by play would be next to impossible. It’s generally exciting stuff though, with something happening almost all of the time and everyone working hard and taking some nice bumps, with the possible exception of Booker T, who seems to just be trying to survive as best he can. Steiner gets really over the longer the match goes on, especially when he starts busting out Frankensteiners and suplexes from the ropes. Whilst that is going on, Booker is outside the ring selling that he’s injured, which leads to a stretcher coming down to take Booker away. Booker overdoes it with the selling to the point that it comes across like he’s faking, but I’m not sure if we’re supposed to think that or not.
The British Invasion goes on a bit of a tear at one stage, taking out Steiner and then mocking Team 3D’s WASSUPP head butt spot, with Williams doing a forearm instead. This is of course Team 3D’s cue to recover and mount a comeback, with someone from Black Label Society clocking Magnus with a chair at one stage. I’m not sure you want to be encouraging that sort of behaviour, even though the band member is an invited guest to the show, as all it takes is for one regular fan to think it’s acceptable and try it for themselves and you to have a serious issue on your hands.
Team 3D tablises everyone, with the exception of Steiner, who clonks both of them with a chair before going for the belts. 3D manages to rally though and puts Steiner through a table as well, seemingly setting them up to grab both belts. D-Von succeeds in procuring the IWGP belts, but Rhino puts a stop to Team 3D winning the TNA ones by attacking both of them with a chair, apparently for reasons to do with Team 3D wrestling school graduate Jesse Neal. The British Invasion try to use this opportunity to win the belts, but Beer Money prevent that and then give Magnus an UGLY looking double superplex from the ladders. Ooof, that did NOT look fun!
The ugly bumps continue, as Rob Terry (British Invasion’s resident big Welsh bloke) enters the ring to help out his stablemates, and he flings Roode out of the ring through a table. However, they overshoot the table a bit and it looks like Roode takes the majority of the bump on his spine on the floor outside of the ring, which kind of goes against the whole reason you do a wacky table spot like that to begin with as the table is supposed to break your fall and minimise the impact onto those parts of your body. Terry then helps Williams up to the top of the ladder, leading to Williams slowly unhooking the TNA belts to win.
WINNERS AND NEW IWGP CHAMPIONS: TEAM 3D
WINNERS AND NEW TNA CHAMPIONS: THE BRITISH INVASION
Thoughts: I enjoyed Steiner in this one, as he was one man show at points, but the match itself overall didn’t quite do it for me. It could just be that I’ve seen so many of these Car Crash TLC matches now that they have to be something really exceptional in order to stand out and this one didn’t really hit that mark for me. I appreciated all of these guys risking their bodies in such a dangerous bout, and some of the big bumps were truly spectacular, but at the same time there was a lot of sloppiness on display and some of the bumps were really ugly. I just don’t think the majority of the wrestlers in this match were really suited to working this kind of bout, and that became clearer the longer it went on. You might happen to think it’s much better, and that’s just dandy, but I couldn’t really get into it. I’ll see how I feel on any potential future viewings
Bobby Lashley and Samoa Joe are warming up backstage in their respective locker rooms.
We get a video package for the next match. There doesn’t seem to be much of a storyline for it, with TNA instead throwing three women together for a Title match.
TNA Knockouts Title
Champ: ODB Vs Tara Vs Awesome Kong
ALLLLLLLLLLLL the multi-person matches! ODB’s thing was that she was a trashy wrestler who liked drinking hooch and rubbing her chesticles in people’s faces. Tara used to be Victoria in WWE and was a level above pretty much everyone in this division at the time. Kong is a big scary monster who usually had good matches owing to her getting seasoning in the demanding world of Japanese Wrestling before making a name for herself in North America with TNA. ODB apparently managed to defend the belt against both of her opponents here in singles matches, but now she has to beat them both at the same time.
Kong does Monster Heel stuff in the early going, bulldozing through both opponents and just generally being big and scary. Eventually Kong tries to squish both of her opponents with a splash from the second rope, but they move and manage to knock Kong down with a double shoulder block, followed by a suplex. Strangely the big double team power spots on Kong don’t get much of a reaction from the crowd, possibly because they didn’t really build up to them that much. It might have been better to see ODB and Tara try that a few times and fail until finally getting it.
Kong stays down for a bit following the suplex, which leads to ODB and Tara doing a bit together, with Tara looking good. The crowd seems to like Tara the most out of the wrestlers in the match. However, Tara gets knocked to the floor and seems to go after someone in the crowd. I’m not sure if that was actually part of the match, but they shot most of it, so I’m thinking it was probably planned. Normally if something real like that happens then they tend to cut away for legal reasons. Tara leaves following that altercation with the person in the crowd, which leads to ODB and Kong doing a bit together until Tara randomly comes back down to re-join us.
Maybe something real happened there and Tara went backstage for a bit to cool down? Anyway, Kong splashes ODB and seemingly has it won, but Tara breaks up the count at two. Kong knocks Tara to the floor and then gets ODB with The Implant Buster, but ODB actually kicks out at two, as they’re putting The Champ over pretty strong here. Raisha Saeed (Cheerleader Melissa/Alissa Flash dressed in something resembling traditional Arabian attire) comes down with a chair to try and help Kong as they were aligned at the time (I think). Kong doesn’t want to use the chair though, and gives Saeed the death stare until trying to Powerbomb ODB, only for ODB to do the Kidman Counter onto the chair for the three count.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: ODB
Thoughts: This was a bit of a mess, with the crowd not really caring and the weird thing with Tara kind of killing off any momentum that was being built. I had a look on Google and apparently it was Kim Couture (as in the former wife of Randy) who Tara got into it with. I also didn’t really like the booking either, as they paid lip service to making ODB look like a strong deserving Champion by having her kick out of Kong’s finisher, but then they had Kong lose to a banana peel finish in an effort to protect her, which only took away from ODB’s victory and ensured that neither of them actually got over. Honestly if they were serious about ODB they should have just had her rally and win it clean with her finish rather than going for the weaker “Kong gets distracted by her mate and then accidentally lands on a chair” finish they did instead
Kong is NOT happy with her Saeed following that, whilst Saied looks suitably worried about how unhappy Kong is.
Lauren is backstage with Matt Morgan, who says that the issue with Kurt Angle is personal because Angle was stringing him along for weeks prior to this event. This was a solid promo from Morgan, which he usually delivered. I think his promo skills were sometimes exaggerated though.
Special Submissions Match
The Samoan Submission Machine Samoa Joe Vs The Boss Bobby Lashley
I have no idea what the backstory to this one was or who the babyface is supposed to be, so I’m going to entrust myself to TNA in order to nourish me with the information. Lashley comes out second and has taped ribs, so I’m guessing that he’s supposed to be the babyface here seeing as he’s bravely fighting on anyway? However, this is TNA, so all bets are off. They work this UWFi Style at bit at first, in that they are trying to make it look like a shoot fight as opposed to a more standard match. They go for the sort of submission attempts and counters that you’d see in an MMA fight, but then Lashley starts throwing some Pro Wrestling styled punches, which ruins the illusion somewhat.
Joe fires back with some leg kicks, which leads to Earl Hebner catching an errant one and selling his leg. Lashley is distracted by this and that allows Joe to set an enziguri before sending Lashley to the floor for a TOPE SUICIDA, as they are just doing a regular wrestling match now after teasing something interesting and different in the early exchanges. The crowd seems to like Joe far more than Lashley, even though Lashley is pretty clearly being positioned as the babyface here. Joe even goes to the eyes to stop an attempted Lashley comeback at one stage, and the crowd CHEERS it! To his credit, Lashley sells well whilst getting worked over, with Joe’s offence looking decent for the most part.
Joe ostensibly is going after the ribs of Lashley here, but he doesn’t really have any signature submission holds that target that part of the body, unless you count that modified Boston Crab he likes to use. As a result there’s a bit of a disconnect when Joe attacks the ribs but then tries to win it with an arm bar. Lashley keeps attempting to make comebacks, but Joe manages to keep getting back on top of things. They try to do a flash submission win for Lashley, as he mounts a very brief comeback and then catches Joe in a head and arm choke OUTTA NOWHERE, leading to the ref stopping the match. The pro-Joe crowd HATES this and they don’t do a really good job of getting across to them what happened, so it ends up being a flat finish.
WINNER: BOBBY LASHLEY
Thoughts: The actual wrestling here was fine, although I think the structure of the match itself didn’t really work and neither did the finish. They really needed to have Joe go for a big submission tease with a rib targeted submission hold rather than having him attacking the mid-section and then going for other holds. Heck, if he could have muscled Lashley up to the Torture Wrack it would have been awesome, but even a Boston Crab or camel clutch would have worked given the taped ribs Lashley was sporting. Lashley getting a desperation win with a flash submission is a decent idea for a finish, especially as he was an MMA fighter at the time and those kinds of finishes happen in that sport all the time. However, if that was what they were going for then they needed to do a better job of getting the finish across, as even the commentary team didn’t seem to understand what happened, and one of them is freaking TAZ!
Lashley briefly celebrates and then it’s TO THE BACK! I thought I’d go the whole show without having to type that.
Jeremy Borash is backstage with Mick Foley ahead of the next match. Foley does a wacked out crazy promo (as he’s want to do) and it does a good job of getting me interested in seeing the bout. If Abyss wants to be a Hardcore Legend then he’ll have to earn that Title the hard way.
Monster’s Ball with Dr. Stevie Richards as the guest referee
The Hardcore Legend Mick Foley Vs The Monster Abyss
Monster’s Ball is essentially a No DQ match, as they keep loading this show up with stipulations. I believe the original Monster’s Ball gimmick said that both wrestlers had to spend 24 hours in a darkened room with no food or water (sounds like an average day in Chepstow in all honesty) before the match took place, but I don’t know if they kept that as a thing after the first few of these. Foley had some authority in TNA at the time and brought in Abyss’ former psychiatrist Dr. Stevie as the referee here. The story for this match is that Abyss hero worshipped Foley, but Foley didn’t appreciate it and attacked him, setting up a battle to decide who the real King of Hardcore in TNA is. Simple stuff that makes sense.
Foley jumpstarts the bout by attacking Abyss with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire, and then tries climbing the entrance stage to do a death defying spot of some kind. Abyss follows Foley up and ends up getting knocked off the stage through the entrance ramp, as they are already smoke and mirroring the absolute crud out of this one, which makes sense as it looks like Foley can barely walk here. I think Foley has since had hip surgery since retiring from in-ring action and he’s supposedly moving around a lot better, which is good to know as he looks to be really struggling here. Despite that, Foley still gets a flying elbow drop onto Abyss on the now collapsed entrance way, although I think there was some padding involved at least.
Abyss does the movie monster trope of coming back to life though of course, as he busts through the entrance ramp and heads back down to attack Foley, with Foley taking a flat back bump on the entrance ramp that a guy in his mid-40’s with a litany of injuries like him really didn’t need to be taking. The match heads back into the ring following that, with Foley giving Abyss a Double Arm DDT onto a barbed wire board, leading to Abyss coming up bleeding, because it’s a day of the week ending in a “y”. I must admit that I’m kind of getting Foley Vs Funk vibes from watching this, with Foley ironically in the Funk role as the aging Master of Hardcore Wrestling that can still unleash the punishment despite being near physically broken, whilst Abyss is the younger fighter coming for the crown.
Foley, assisted by Stevie, gets some heat on Abyss with a series of brutal weapon based spots, with Abyss selling it all well. Foley ends up bringing thumbtacks into the match, which will be a DQ if Abyss uses them due to a previous decree from Foley. Abyss decides to take out Stevie, which leads to Daffney (RIP) showing up with a tazer, that Foley uses on Abyss for two from a replacement referee. The fans boo the kick out and there looks like there was a cut of some kind there, so I’m guessing the ref botched the count somehow and TNA have edited that out? Either that or the fans are really unhappy that Mick Foley didn’t win after frying Abyss with a tazer (literal smoke appeared when he used it).
Things turn into the old Raven Dog and Pony Show following that kick out, with Abyss taking out the lackeys, including throwing Daffney through some barbed wire boards at one stage, that the director either misses or chooses not to shoot properly because a woman getting flung through barbed wire by a burly bloke probably isn’t a good look. Stevie then takes a Blackhole Slam into the tacks and Foley gets choke slammed onto a barbed wire board, leading to Abyss grabbing Stevie’s limp hand and counting the three for the victory.
Thoughts: This was pretty uncomfortable to watch at points, with Foley really struggling to even move at times, and Daffney taking an all-time gruesome bump through the wire. The stuff with the fans booing the two count was super weird as well, so I can only assume there was some kind of botch that they edited out. Despite all of that though, this was still a watchable spectacle and the crowd seemed to enjoy it, so it was a success overall. I just personally didn’t dig it that much
Jeremy Borash is backstage with Kurt Angle, who is confident that he’ll win tonight because Matt Morgan is a disrespectful punk who defied the leader of The Main Event Mafia. Angle also wants a TNA World Title shot, which he can’t get if he loses here to Morgan.
The Olympic Hero Kurt Angle Vs The Blueprint Matt Morgan
Let’s see if Big Daddy Meltz was onto something with his high rating for this one. The storyline here is kind of a version of the Ric Flair and Lex Luger feud from the 80’s, as Morgan was a member of Angle’s faction but has now branched out on his own and is looking to get one over on his former boss. That works well as a story. The pre-match video package is done more like a UFC one, as they are focusing more on doing a sports styled build for the bout, which TNA was actually quite good at when they could be bothered to do it, such as the great hype for the Kurt Angle Vs Samoa Joe match at Lockdown 2008.
Angle was apparently in really rough shape at the time, but then he’d walk out there and have a great match seemingly at will, almost as if his life had become the living embodiment of Armour King’s ending from Tekken 2. Morgan gets the better of things in the early going, using his size to pummel Angle from one side of the ring to the other. Angle sells all of this big in an effort to make Morgan look devastating, and Morgan looks good on offence as well. They do another bit of classic Flair Vs Luger/Sting booking as well, as they do a few false cut offs where it looks like Angle is going to take over, only for Morgan to shake it off and continue working his babyface shine.
Morgan eventually misses a kick in the corner and that allows Angle to get a chop block and start working over the appendage. Angle even busts out a Figure Four of all things, as they go even deeper into the Flair/Luger well. Morgan sells really well whilst on the defensive, which isn’t always something bigger wrestlers like him can do because they just can’t seem to get their heads around it. Morgan sells in a very believable way though and manages to get the balance right between looking vulnerable without looking weak at the same time. Morgan eventually manages to fight out of the hold and makes a comeback with some clotheslines into a Side Slam for two.
In a nice touch, whenever Angle tries fighting back he always kicks the leg first before trying whatever else he wants to do, as that’s still the easiest way to restore parity between the two wrestlers. Morgan eventually manages to shake off some of the damage to his leg and starts doing some more power stuff like a Fallaway Slam and a Choke Slam, but Angle survives those and keeps coming. Angle manages to get the Olympic Slam at one stage, but Morgan kicks out at two, as they’re working a very tidy closing stretch here after a well-worked Heel heat segment. Morgan’s leg ends up going out on a Powerbomb attempt, and that leads to Angle locking in the Ankle Lock. Hey, they called back to the leg work so that it actually mattered!
Morgan manages to fight his way out of the Ankle Lock and gets the Hellavator (kind of a suplex into a Rock Bottom) but Angle kicks out at two. Morgan’s desperate facials following that near fall suggests that this was either Morgan’s finisher at the time or at least one of his biggest moves. Morgan tries to give Kurt Angle and his injured neck a Tombstone Piledriver following that, but Angle manages to counter it into the Ankle Lock, only for Morgan to scramble out of it again and get a big clothesline for two, as they’re having a really entertaining back and forth home stretch here. The crowd seems more into Angle than Morgan, and Angle pops up with a suplex from the top rope and then gets the Olympic Slam followed by a Frog Splash for two in a great near fall. Morgan tries an Electric Chair Drop following that, but Angle counters to a Victory Roll and that’s enough for three.
WINNER: KURT ANGLE
Thoughts: Yup, Big Davey Meltz got that rating spot on in my opinion, as Angle was excellent here and Morgan did a great job of keeping up with him, leading to a very entertaining match. I appreciated how they kept calling back to the injured leg, and Morgan gained something from this match even in defeat because the match itself was so good and it was clear that Morgan held up his end of it. Angle wasn’t the sole reason this was good, and that was a big deal for Morgan
Angle and Morgan shake hands following that, which would appear to a babyface turn for Angle, as well as a further endorsement for Morgan.
We get a Tale of the Tape for the Main Event. As usual with TNA, it’s rubbish.
TNA World Title
Champ: The Phenomenal AJ Styles Vs The Icon Sting
Sting was on a decent streak at the time where he usually won the World Title at Bound For Glory (He’d done it in 06, 07 and 08) so he’s going for four in a row on this show. Styles had actually considered quitting wrestling earlier in the year in storyline, but Sting had played a big role in convincing Styles to stick around, with the eventual payoff being Styles winning the World Title again. Sting wasn’t the Joker yet at this stage, although that would eventually happen when he feuded with Hulk Hogan.
They work this as Face Vs Face, with neither really playing Heel but neither showing any mercy to the other either, with both wrestlers going at it at a quick clip. The action is generally good, with Styles taking some nice bumps for Sting in order to make the challenger look good. As the bout wears on, it seems like Styles is starting to get a bit frustrated at Sting’s resilience, especially when he’s unable to put Sting away with pin fall attempts. It’s done in a subtle way, but you can see the match gradually go in that direction, as the momentum ebbs and flows between the two wrestlers like a bout in Japan, with neither really getting heat on the other but rather controlling the other for periods of time.
Sting of course ends up missing a Stinger Splash on the metal railings outside of the ring, which I think is roughly the 7865th time that he’s missed that move during his career. I swear, when Sting finally decides to retire then his retirement match HAS to feature him finally getting that Stinger Splash out on the floor. I’ll lose my mind! The action continues to be good back inside, as both of these two are really putting the effort in here and it’s been an energetic back and forth match featuring some fun action. The finishing stretch is done really well, with both wrestlers having a chance to win it and the crowd getting into it, even chanting “This is Wrestling” at one stage.
Sting starts Stingering up at one stage, with Styles of course taking some impressive bumps on the receiving end of it, but Styles eventually gets knocked onto the apron. Sting goes after Styles in order to bring him back in, but Styles catches Sting with a Pele Kick and then follows with a big Springboard Splash in order to get the three count. I liked that finish as it was clean as a sheet but it was presented as Styles being quick to the draw and catching Sting to swing the match back in his favour when it looked like Sting was heading into the ascendency.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: AJ STYLES
Styles goes through three mics following the match trying to show Sting respect, and he eventually manages to, getting the crowd to chant for Sting whilst he tries to leave. Styles leaves the ring and says Sting should have the spotlight, which leads to the fans chanting for Sting not to leave. Sting says that if he had to lose, he’s glad he lost to such a great Champion as AJ Styles in front of his hometown crowd. Sting says he doesn’t know if he’s going to stay, but the fans make him want to stay for ever. This was a nice moment and probably the best way to leave it seeing as I think Sting legitimately didn’t know if he was signing on for another year at this stage.
I didn’t like this show quite as much as others seem to, but I still thought it was a solid enough use of 3 hours. There was nothing really on the show that I thought was actively bad and the last two matches were a strong way to close things out. Overall I’d say it was a mild thumbs up but I don’t think it’s a show that you have to go out of your way to watch it or anything.