Quick news item before the recap: Jenna Morasca is gone from the company (pwinsider.com). Good riddance, I say. I did really like the reveal of her as the financial backer behind the Main Event Mafia who allowed them to buy Samoa Joe's loyalty; that was an instance of the threads coming together in a pleasing way. On the other end of the spectrum, there was her match with Sharmell at Victory Road, which was the worst match in TNA history, undercutting my exceedingly low expectations by a wide margin. (It was even worse than Cheex vs. Frank Parker, the previous title holder!) In between those two extremes was, well, nothing at all -- Jenna never did a single other thing of note, good or bad, except cash a paycheck which could've gone to someone who could have added to the show on an ongoing basis.
If her exit is a good omen, tonight's show was a better one: wall-to-wall matches, no bullshit. We start off with a match, even -- no time for Main Event Mafia promos tonight!
Sting vs. Rhino: This, like all of the men's matches tonight, is a qualifying match to get into the 4-way for the World Title at No Surrender (September 20 on PPV!) along with Kurt Angle and Matt Morgan. Rhino has already been announced as Bobby Lashley's opponent at the PPV, but he wanted in on this opportunity; in fact, according to Mike Tenay, he threatened "legal action" unless he was entered into the tournament! Rhino is more litigious that I would have guessed!
Energetic little match. Sting dodges a gore and grabs the Scorpion Death Drop for the pin. Afterward, a peevish Rhino hits the GORE -- and ANOTHER GORE -- and leaves Sting laying. He may have cracked ribs!
In the Main Event Mafia Lounge, Kip James is installing a phone line. Booker T points out that he has a cell, and doesn't need some phone from the '70s. I am amused by the ritual humiliation of the down-on-his-luck Kip,but am starting to wonder what the point is -- part of me wants it to lead to something, but part of me doesn't.
Chris Sabin vs. AJ Styles: Qualifier. Alex Shelley is on commentary and is pretty funny. A blast of a match -- it's been too long since these guys last met up. There's three or four counters here that I've never seen before. Sabin looked great but Styles is Styles and hits the Pelé and the Styles Clash for the pin.
Lauren interview Hernandez in the back. He says Homicide is his brother, but business is business -- he faces him in a qualifier match later tonight. Eric Young shows up and tries to convince Hernandez to join the World Elite; Hernandez seems unimpressed.
Daniels is in the ring and calls out Samoa Joe. Daniels lectures Joe at some length -- upshot is, the X Division rules and Joe's a sellout. Daniels turns to Taz (who's at the announce table) to make a point, and Joe is all "this looks like an excellent time for a half-nelson suplex!" He leaves Daniels writhing in the ring.
Suicide vs. Doug Williams: Qualifier. The rest of the British Invasion is not at ringside, due to the "power to the refs" edict. I was thinking about how weird it is not to have run-ins every match when out came D'Angelo Dinero -- so there's that streak broken. Suicide decides to dive from the top onto Dinero! Suicide gets back in the ring, but is still distracted, allowing Williams to grab him from behind and hit the CHAOS THEORY (roll-through German suplex)! Williams gets the pin! Dinero is amused.
Sojo Bolt & Hamada vs. Tara & Christy Hemme: This is a Knockout Tag Title Tournament match. Hamada and Tara start out and honestly seem like they're not on the same wavelength. Tara bows (respect? mockery?) and Hamada kicks her in the face. Tags all around and Taz doesn't like to say "Flying Firecrotch Guillotine" because he doesn't like to say "crotch" on TV. "Do girls got groins?"
Tara KILLS Bolt with a clothesline. Hemme takes out Hamada with a reverse DDT, allowing Tara to get the Widow's Peak on Bolt for the pin. Hamada, upset by this turn of events, Hamadadrives Bolt for good measure.
Matt Morgan is clearly sarcastic when he promises Kurt Angle that they'll work together at No Surrender, but Angle seems to buy it.
Homicide vs. Hernandez: This starts with a nice video package running down the history of LAX. Homicide gets his licks in, but Hernandez is just too powerful and defeats him with a sit-out Dominator. Homicide reluctantly shakes Hernandez's hand afterward.
Doug Williams vs. AJ Styles: Winner gets into the No Surrender Main Event. Great little match; good choice by TNA to give us a match that's not on any horizon in the future. Williams sure likes those European Uppercuts, dropping AJ from a Fireman Carry into one -- neat -- among many others. Angle is on commentary and is rooting for Williams, but Styles prevails, reversing a Chaos Theory attempt into his springboard reverse DDT (has that ever gotten a pin before?).
Team 3D is in back with Jesse Neal. We hear about the USS Cole again -- it's a good story but it just feels more and more insincere every time they repeat it. Anyway, 3D is taking Neal under their wing and training him at their school (which I think is where he was training in real life in the first place). Also, 3D doesn't like the British Invasion OR Booker & Steiner.
Hernandez vs. Sting: Winner gets into the No Surrender Main Event. Nothing match; Hernandez goes after Sting's ribs but seems hesitant about really exploiting Sting's injury. Hernandez asks Earl Hebner to check and see if Sting just wants to quit. Sting rolls out of the ring and is attacked by HOMICIDE, wielding a baton -- wait, Homicide looks pretty pale. Hernandez gets disqualified and "Homicide" is pulled away by the "tough" security guys and is revealed to be Eric Young.
Hernandez is upset with Eric, who comes out with the rest of the Elite for the beatdown. Styles is out for the save, but the odds are too much for him as well. Beer Money's out next, and the heels start to head up the ramp -- but out comes 3D, sandwiching the World Elite in the middle. BRAWL! Booker & Steiner join in and they double-chokeslam James Storm through a table -- all the heels pose and that's the show.
(edited by Karlos the Jackal on 4.9.09 0231) Last 5 movies seen: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince *** - Sin Nombre ***1/2 - The Hurt Locker **** - I Love You, Man ***1/2 - Watchmen **1/2
Anyone else get a kick out of this visual? For those who didn't see it, at the very end of the Rumble you had Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam, and John Cena teaming up to pick up the Big Show to throw him out of the ring.