Homicide and Rave began, with a tag in to Hoyt at 1:00 followed by Hernandez. They collided a couple times in the ring. Hernandez backdropped Hoyt to the floor, then dove over both Rave and Homicide to dive onto Hoyt on the floor. West and the crowd went crazy. The crowd chanted "That was awesome!" Tenay said that was like someone from the X Division. By 3:00 the heels isolated Homicide, but he slipped out of the ring and Hernandez sling shot clotheslined both heels at once. Hernandez gave Rave a sitout powerbomb. A minute later, Homicide flip dove onto Hoyt on the floor. Back in the ring, Tenay said Hernandez was going to "try and exploit" his size advantage. (He meant "try to exploit.") Christy interfered to help Rave take control on Hernandez. They showed the masked mystery member of LAX. West slipped up and said, "What does she have in her hand?" He "gave away" what's been obvious to everyone but he and Tenay for the last few months - which is the mystery masked LAX member with a woman's counters was a woman! Hernadez shoved Rave into the top turnbuckle, then took him to the mat with a Super Border Toss (Razor's Edge) off the top rope for the three count.
WINNERS: LAX in 5:00.
STAR RATING: *1/4 -- Some big dives to pop the crowd, but otherwise a bit of a mish- mash that didn't last long.
-After the match, Hoyt clotheslined Hernandez and Homicide out of the ring, then he grabbed the mystery member by the throat. The mystery member gave Hoyt a low-blow, knocked Christy out of the ring, and unmasked. Tenay got all crackly voiced as he said "What? What?!" - the only person in the universe surprised that the mystery person with huge boobs turned out to be a woman. Tenay was scripted to look like a complete idiot throughout this, especially tonight. West fit that description by slipping up on the pronoun just a minute before the long-anticipated reveal. Tenay said they'll never confuse that LAX member with being "a male" again.
-They went to footage of a drinking contest Eric Young and James Storm had last night. Storm said if he says something that he's done, he has to take a drink, and vice-versa. Jeremy Borash said no lying was allowed. Storm said, "Never have I seen Ms. Brooks's boobs." They both drank. Young said, "Never have I ever gone to the moon." Storm and Miss Jackie laughed. Storm mumbled something. Young said, "Never have I ever killed a lion with my bare hands." Storm drank. Young was impresed. Storm said he's the lion master. Storm said, "Never have I ever bought condoms at 1 a.m. in the morning." Young laughed and said it was 3 a.m. and Borash was there. Young said, "Never have I ever been responsible for the riots in Detroit in 1967. Storm said that was him. I can't believe I'm bothering to detail the questions of this. I'm not drinking and I don't really get what's going on. Storm won and hugged Miss Jackie. I'm sure Dutch Mantell and his friends really enjoyed that skit.
-Tenay and West were shown on camera. They previewed the rest of the card.
-Crystal interviewed A.J. Styles and Tomko. She asked Styles for his decision. Styles said he would yet tonight, but he hasn't yet. Tomko yelled at him that he better not screw up tonight and he needs to make a decision.
2 -- BLACK REIGN vs. KAZ
They brawled to ringside early in the match. Kaz took control including nailing a clothesline off the ring apron and a running boot to Reign's face. West said the fear of Misty the rat includes the diseases it might include. Back in the ring, Reign controlled Kaz for a couple minutes. Kaz came back and scored a near fall at 5:00. Then he hit a DDT off the ropes for another near fall. Reign came back with a Light's Out for a near fall. Reign went for an inverted DDT, but Kaz reversed it for the win. Tenay said it's all about momentum for 2008. Kaz set the rat cage on Reign's body, but then had second-thoughts and actually stole the cage, walking to the back with it.
WINNER: Kaz in 7:00.
STAR RATING: *1/4
-Backstage, Borash said, "All all we've done for A.J. Styles, he still can't side with us. I've seen some things in my day, but this is ridiculous." Angle took exception with him saying "we." Angle said, "There's you and there's us, especially when it comes to my wife. You're an interviewer. That's what you do." When Angle wondered what they'd do if Styles chose to side with Christian, Borash offered an idea. Karen immediately interrupted and said they're going to do what they usually do at a time like this. Karen said she knew exactly how to deal with A.J. Angle told her Borash to go follow her and see what she was up to. Borash scurried after Karen.
3 -- GAIL KIM vs. AWESOME KONG -- TNA Knockouts No DQ Title Match
In the talking points before the match, Tenay noted that TNA waited five years to launch a women's division, and now that they have, they've done it right and sparked a women's wrestling revolution. They started at ringside, the third match in a row with opening minute action at ringside. Kong harassed Tenay and West briefly. Kim recovered enough to block an Awesome Bomb attempt. Kong controlled the match when it entered the ring at 2:00. At 4:00 Kong hit Kim with a spinning backfist, then battered her at ringside including swinging her by the legs into the security railing. Kong dragged Kim into the bleachers and continued to beat on her. Kim smacked Kong with a plastic bottle a few times; sadly, Kong sold it. At 7:00 Kim attempted a comeback, but Kong fended it off, grabbed a chair, and swung it at Kim. Kim avoided it and kicked it back at Kong. Kim then dove off the top rope, but Kong caught her and dropped her onto the ring apron. Back in the ring, Kong took Kim down with another spinning backfist. She went for an Awesome Bomb, but Kim escaped and went for a sunset flip. Kong blocked it and sat down, but Kim moved to avoid being squished. Kim dove off the top rope seconds later, but Kong caught her and planted her face-first onto the mat for a very near fall at 10:00. Kong got upset at referee Slick Johnson and gave him an Awesome Bomb. She then hit the ref in the back with a chair. Kim yanked the chair away and hit Kong with it across the shoulder once and flush across the skull twice. Unbelievable. She followed with a frog splash, but there was no ref to make the count. A replacement ref finally arrived, but Kong had the time to recover from the chairshots to kick out. Kong came back with a chokeslam for an expected three count, but Kim kicked out. Kong attacked the second ref, Rudy Charles, but before she could execute the Awesome Bomb, Kim schoolgirled her for the three count.
WINNER: Kim at 13:00 to retain the Knockouts Title.
STAR RATING: ***3/4 - Excellent women's match. It's a shame it was third on the card because it diminishes the value of what these two are putting together in this feud. They really deserve a semi-main event slot, and just that gesture would do wonders for how seriously fans took this feud and thus elevate its drawing power. It's a shame TNA management and wrestlers are so callous as to allow Kong to take stiff chairshot to the head like that. These two do not need to resort to such geek show extremes with real life consequences to get their matches over to the exact same degree.
-Borash followed Karen to the men's bathroom. She said she got a tip-off that Styles was in there getting ready for his match. Borash suggested breathing exercises first. She said Borash has gawked at her breasts enough already. Styles said it's a men's room. She offered to "relieve him of his tension." Styles asked if she was saying she liked him. ODB flushed and walked out of the stall with a cigar and newspaper. That was funny. She suggested they light a match. Karen told Styles she's always had a thing for him. Angle naively asked if Kurt knows, then got suspicious and said she's lied to him before. She kissed him on the cheek and said if he makes the right decision, there's plenty more where that came from. Styles took a deep breath and said she really likes him.
-A video feature aired on the James Mitchell-Abyss saga. Crystal then interviewed Mitchell backstage. Judas Mesias stood in the background. She asked if he planned to reveal the secret. Mitchell said that duty belongs to Chris (Abyss). He said the secret will change the landscape of TNA wrestling. He said Chris is scared to death of it. He said Mesias may torture Chris until he tells the truth tonight. He said the "crazy bitch he called a mother" used to tell him that boys who don't tell the truth are doomed to burn in hell.
4 -- JUDAS MESIAS (w/James Mitchell) vs. ABYSS
They brawled a ringside a minute into the match, so make it four-for-four on that. Mesias controlled early and worked over Abyss's legs. When Abyss went looking for his black bag or tacks or glass, Mitchell held it up showing Abyss he stole it. Mitchell ran to the back. Abyss began to follow, at which point Mesias clipped him from behind. Back in the ring, Abyss made another comeback. He grabbed a chair, but the ref argued with him. Abyss wedged it into the corner and the ref couldn't unwedge it. Mesias recovered enough to make a comeback with some chops. Abyss reversed Mesias into the chair head-first in the corner followed by a chokeslam for a two count. Mitchell walked back to ringside at 8:00 with a bigger black bag. Abyss looked under the ring and pulled out a chair wrapped in barbed wire. That got a small crowd pop. The ref took it from him. He carefully removed it. Meanwhile, Mesias slammed Abyss flush across the skull with a chair. Unbelievable. Mesias hit a top rope splash on Abyss because that's what monsters who spit blood do in fights for a near fall. Abyss surprised Mesias with a Black Hole Slam a minute later, but Mitchell distracted the ref. A frustrated Abyss yanked Mitchell into the ring. He grabbed both Mitchell and Mesias by the throat. Mesias sprayed a mist at Abyss, then drove his head into the barbed wire chair on the mat, his "Straight to Hell" finisher, for the win.
WINNER: Mesias in 11:00.
STAR RATING: *1/2 -- Decent brawl.
-After the match, Mitchell asked Abyss if he was ready to tell the truth. Mesias held him by his bloodied mask. Mitchell brought the bigger bag into the ring. He pulled out a gas container. Tenay said it looked like a gasoline container. I can confirm, with confidence, it is a gasoline container. Mesias poured its contents onto Abyss's head, open cuts and all. He screamed in pain. Tenay said they could smell the fumes. Mitchell held up a lighter. Security charged into the ring and yanked it away from Mitchell. Tenay said it was a good thing security got there to "prevent that accident." Uh, if someone lights someone else on fire, it's not really an "accident." It's an "on purpose."
-Crystal interviewed Kevin Nash backstage, asking about the evolution of his relationship with Samoa Joe. He said he's the type of guy who will smack you one day, kiss you the next. He said nothing is for sure in wrestling, and both he and Joe know that, and anything can happen and usually does. He said he'll do what he always does which is put asses in seats, win championship belts, and make tons of money. Nash asked what she was doing later. She got weak-kneed and said she's hungry. Nash said, "Cool."
-A video package aired on Booker T's feud with Robert Roode. Crystal then interviewed Booker and Sharmell. Booker cut a promo, then Sharmell said she'll do her talking in the ring.
5 -- BOOKER T & SHARMELL vs. ROBERT ROODE & MS. BROOKS
Roode and Booker wrestled the first four minutes. Brooks didn't want to tag in. She did trip Booker coming off the ropes, but immediately she showed regret. Tenay said if she didn't do what Roode told her, he'd hold it against her. West said she feels compelled to do things she doesn't agree with. At 6:00 Roode held Booker for Brooks to punch him. She refused. Roode dropped Booker and yelled at her, slapping her pointing-finger away from his face. The ref said that counted as a tag. That brought Sharmell into the ring, and she immediately tackled Brooks, with whom she really doesn't have a major issue. Roode hit Booker with a forearm at ringside as Booker tried to catch his breath. Roode grabbed Sharmell's leg from ringside. Brooks schoolgirled her for a two count. Sharmell powered out and sent Brooks into Roode. She fell back and Sharmell scored the pin. Roode yelled at her in the ring. Brooks slapped Roode. Tenay gasped and said she finally did it. Roode grabbed her by her hair to control her and threw the ref down. Sharmell looked on with sympathy. She ran into the ring. Roode turned and punched Sharmell. He didn't know it was her. He grabbed his head in shock. Booker's eyes bugged out and he ran to the ring to check on his wife. Roode looked like he just broke something really, really valuable and his parents were going to find out. The crowd chanted, "You suck!" at Roode. Tenay said TNA management had mandated no male on female violence. He predicted repercussions. Actually, Spike TV did, and this is PPV, but it makes for a good story. Booker tended to Sharmell as she came to. The crowd reacted how the bookers would want, with a sense of real concern for her. West got up with a serious look on his face to sell the seriousness of what happened. If TNA only applied this kind of selling for things like chairshots to the skull, faces being rammed into broken glass, huge highspots with massive impact, etc., they'd have a roster that was a lot healthier as they age and would be able to sell things without having to constantly top themselves.
WINNERS: Booker T & Sharmell in 9:00.
STAR RATING: *1/2 -- Basic stuff.
-Crystal interviewed Christian backstage. He said Karen slobbered all over A.J. like a cougar in heat. He said the only thing he made clear to Styles is that up close through that make-up caked on her face, she's starting to show her face. He said it's "quite hideous." He added that she can't even please her husband and "make him..." He trailed off, but then added, "The only thing that's going to be hard tonight is when you have to slink back to your husband and explain to him why your little seduction didn't work." He said Styles will realize where his loyalties really lie. He also predicted he'd regain the World Title. Oh yeah, that thing.
-Tenay and West were still super-selling Roode punching Sharmell. It's now bordering on overselling. I mean, it was one punch. This is a case where TNA is a victim of its own disregard for selling much bigger moves and impacts in its history, including blunt chairshots to the skull earlier.
-Part two aired of the Storm-Young drinking contest. Storm spilled on his pants, but everyone said it smelled like pee. Ha! Ha! Ha!
-Tenay and West filled time as the crew set up the Ultimate X set. Team 3D came out and talked about how long they've been training for this match. Ray said they're in the best shape of their careers. He said he has the speed of a gazelle. The crowd laughed. He said Devon can move around like a black panther. Get it, "black" panther. Johnny Devine climbed to where the ropes cross like an "X" and sat there. Ray said Devine was born to participate in a match like this. He said the whole world knows So Cal Val is a two-bit tramp. She made a cartoon face so everyone knew she was offended. Ray called the ref into the ring. The crowd chanted "Shut up!" at Ray. Ray told the ref to keep his eyes open because the Machine Guns and Jay Lethal are "nothing but little cheating bastards." Black Machismo's music interrupted and the ring intros finished.
6 -- TEAM 3D & JOHNNY DEVINE vs. ALEX SHELLEY & CHRIS SABIN & BLACK MACHISMO
They brawled at ringside in the opening minutes. That five out of six matches that went to ringside in the opening minute. A six-way brawl broke out at the start. Team 3D set up two tables at ringside and set up powerbombs on Shelley and Sabin. Machismo intervened. Shelley climbed to the rope, but his hands were still too sore for him to grip it, so he fell to the mat. Sabin gave it a shot, but he couldn't do it, either. Devine climbed to the belt, but Shelley and Sabin yanked him down. He landed awkwardly on the side of his head. That could have been bad. Brother Ray clotheslined Sabin and Shelley. The jumped from the mat to try to grab the belt. After a few attempts, they gave up. Brother Ray clasped his hands to give Devon a boost, but his back gave out. Ray told Devon to get on all four and stood so he could stand on his back. Devon collapsed under his weight immediately. The whole sequence was pretty funny, and enough with the tone of the match - since it was the most logical way for them to try to get the belt - that it didn't seem like out-of-place comedy. Ray climbed to the rope. As he was about to make his way to the belt, Machismo leaped to the rope and dared him to try to get him. He slipped and fell, which may or may not have been planned. Ray then made his way to the middle, but fell almost immediately upon letting his feet swing. He went for it again, but Lethal dropkicked him and set up a superplex. Ray blocked it, then went for an elbow off the middle rope. Machismo moved and climbed to the rope. Devine intervened and yanked Machismo to the mat at 7:00. Shelley spanked Devine as he made his way toward the belt, then yanked him to the mat. Sabin then gave Devine a spike DDT. Shelley went for a dive over the top rope onto Ray on the floor, but Ray moved. He bashed his hands with the kendo stick. Sabin failed again to hold his grip as he hung from the rope. Devon stood on Ray's shoulders and made his way to the belt as Ray walked under him. Shelley sidekicked Ray out from underneath Devon, then Machismo dive tackled Devon to the mat. Tenay gave Team 3D credit for that strategy. It was pretty inventive. When Devine climbed onto Ray's shoulders, Machismo took him down with a head scissors off the top rope. Ray then nailed Machismo with a clothesline; Machismo took a crazy-ass flip bump. They showed So Cal Val making cartoon faces at ringside. The camera super-close-up didn't help matters. The ref went down when Shelley mistakenly clotheslined him. It's a dangerous night for referees. Ray pulled a ladder out from under the ring. Tenay said there's an unwritten rule among X Divison wrestlers that a ladder isn't used in Ultimate X matches. Why is it unwritten. The ref is down. Just say it's prohibited. The Gunns returned and took Ray and Devon down. Devine hit Shelley and Sabin with a kendo stick. Devine then climbed the ladder. Tenay said he's an X Division traitor. Selley dumped Devine off the ladder, over the top rope, and onto a table at ringside. He slid off the table, which didn't break. Team 3D blocked a dive by Machismo with a ladder, then Devon climbed the ladder and pulled off the belt. Ray threw the ladder out of the ring. The ref came to and saw Devon with the belt and called for the bell. The fans tried to tattle on him. Tenay said, "This is crap." So, is the ladder legal or not? Why did Ray have to hide the ladder from the ref if it's legal, as Tenay said it was. Tenay said this was a low point in the history of the X Divison. West said they made a mockery out of one of the most innovative matches in wrestling history.
WINNERS: Team 3D & Johnny Devine in 13:00.
STAR RATING: *** -- It was a fun match, actually, with Ray and Devon adding an entertaining twist with their in-context comedy attempts to get to the belt.
-A video recap aired of the Nash-Joe relationship evolving in recent weeks.
-Crystal interviewed Joe backstage. She said it appears he and Nash have worked out their differences. Joe said maybe he was wrong originally about Nash and maybe even Scott Hall. He said he and Kevin have been training together and he learned a few things, including mind games. He said he appreciates it. He said he is on a mission to win the tag titles. He said maybe the old guard and the new guard will make history.
7 -- A.J. STYLES & TOMKO vs. SAMOA JOE & KEVIN NASH -- TNA Tag Team Title match
Tenay said trainers are fearful that Sharmell suffered a broken jaw. He said they'll update viewers on Thursday. What about that thing called a website? It'd be a good time to insert a plug for their online information source. Joe and Styles began. Joe tagged in Nash right away. West said it was a good idea for Joe to get Nash involved early and establish rapport. Styles took Nash down by going after his legs. Tenay noted Nash has had more than a dozen knee surgeries. West said it's amazing how many things Nash has to put on his knees to prepare for a match. He said it shows how dedicated he is. There's a reason Steve Austin never let announcers acknowledge his heavy knee bracing. When Tomko tagged in, Nash threw some elbows in the corner. Tomko fired back with a hard clothesline leading to a two count. Tomko applied a leglock as the announcers continued to talk about Nash's knee surgeries. Styles tagged in and worked over Nash's legs. Nash crawled over and tagged in Joe at 5:00. Joe nailed Styles with a flying boot and a senton (an actual senton, not a Michael Cole "senton"), then tagged in Nash. Nash whipped Joe into Tomko, and then Joe sent Tomko face-first into Nash's boot. West praised the teamwork between them. The heels worked over Joe for several minutes. He made a comeback at 10:00, snap-slamming Tomko. Nash reached for a tag. As Joe reached out to tag Nash, Nash dropped off the ring apron, gave Joe a crotch-chop, and walked to the back. Styles and Tomko went after Joe, but Joe ducked a Tomko kick and set up a Muscle Buster. Styles intervened, but Joe one-arm chokeslammed him. Joe then gave Styles a Muscle Buster for a two count. Tomko broke up the pin, forcing the ref to roll away before the third count. Joe applied a choke, but Tomko threw him off. Styles then hit Joe with a Pele Kick. Tomko hit a big boot. Tey double-teamed Joe and scored the pin.
WINNERS: Tomko & Styles in 13:00 to retain the TNA Tag Team Titles.
STAR RATING: **3/4 -- Good action. The Nash turn wasn't completely unforeseen, but not totally predictable, either - at least not at this stage of the storyline. The key will be the follow-up. Joe put up a respectable fight before losing.
-Back to the drinking contest between Young and Storm. Young presented a card game where the first person to pass out loses. Why was Young shirtless during the entire drinking contest? Borash seemed to be as drunk as they were, but he was holding a water bottle. Jackie flashed Young as he was drinking beer out of a funnel. Young tipped over and passed out, making Young the new drinking champion. Storm celebrated with Jackie, saying that means they get their choice of a match.
-Back at ringside, Tenay and West were smart enough not to be laughing like Michael Cole usually is when they throw back to him after a stupid skit. They talked about Storm getting to pick the stips for the next match, then they wondered about Styles's decision.
-Crystal interviewed Angle backstage. All the talk continued to center around Styles, not the World Title. Borash told Angle how his wife tried to seduce Styles. Angle didn't find it funny. He said, "Are you saying my wife tried to seduce A.J. Styles like Mrs. Robinson." Angle said nobody can resist his wife. He smiled and said Borash looks at his wife like a dog in heat. He said he's the brawn and his wife is the beauty and the brains. He said confidently that Styles would now choose to be on his time, and that stacks the odds on his favor against Christian. He closed, "It's shake and break time, baby."
8 -- KURT ANGLE (w/Karen Angle) vs. CHRISTIAN CAGE -- TNA World Hvt. Title match
The crowd chanted "Instant Classic" early in the match. Angle looked pretty rough in the face, including sporting a black eye - but mostly looked really aged. In the mach, he seemed off a step early, like he was having to really concentrate to do what normally came natural. At 4:00 the match slowed down and Angle slapped Christian. Christian spit on him. Christian took control and knocked Angle to the floor and then dove onto him with a forearm. Christian chopped him at ringside, threw him into the ring, and came off the top rope. Angle caught him and threw him over the top rope to the floor. Angle took control with stomps to Christian's body. Then he settled into a mat hold for a while, fought at ringside briefly, then went back to a chinlock/body scissors on the mat. Christian escaped and applied a sleeper out of nowhere. Angle tossed Christian off of him, but Christian speared Angle for a two count. Christian climbed to the top rope. Angle rushed over to Christian and punched him, then backdropped him to the mat (instead of a suplex), then moonsaulted Christian for a two count at 10:00. Angle set up an Angle Slam, but Christian escaped with a DDT. A minute later he hit an inverted DDT, then played to the crowd on the top rope and went for a splash. Angle moved and side-rolled Christian for a near fall. Angle went into his unreleased German suplex series. He dropped his straps and applied an anklelock. Christian escaped and set up an Unprettier, but Angle leveraged out into another anklelock. Christian escaped again and small packaged Angle. Angle rolled through into another anklelock. Christian maneuvered Angle into a leverage pin for a very near fall at 13:00. Christian went to te top rope again. Angle actually applied an anklelock there, but Christian quickly kicked him off of him. Angle ran up to the second rope and gave Christian an awkward belly-to-belly suplex off the ropes for a near fall. Angle applied an anklelock mid-ring. Christian turned it into an Indian deathlock into a sharpshooter. Angle teased tapping. Instead, he grabbed Christian's ankle and pulled out of it. He reapplied the anklelock. Christian grabbed the ropes to force a break at 15:00. He set up an Unprettier. Angle esecaped, but Christian dropped Angle into another leverage two count. Angle went for a suplex off the ropes. Christian shoved Angle to the mat and hit a frog splash for a near fall. Karen climbed onto the ring apron as a distraction. Christian almost hit the ref by mistake. Angle gave Christian a low-blow. He made the cover, but Christian kicked out. The fans weren't popping like the match deserved because they're trained to expect interference to be the deciding factor. Karen distracted the ref, but Christian surprised Angle with an Unprettier for a near fall. The fans stood for that. Christian told Karen to get off the ring apron. The ref also talked to her. Christian slipped Angle into an anklelock. Angle tapped, but Karen distracted the ref. Styles came to ringside and carried Karen down to the floor. Styles stood on the ring apron and hugged Christian. Christian turned. Styles springboarded onto Christian with a flying elbow. Angle then gave Christian an Olympic Slam for the win.
WINNER: Angle in 18:00.
STAR RATING: ***3/4 -- The first half wasn't stellar, but the second half was very good. The finish took away from it because everybody was waiting for Styles and thus the nearfalls that should have meant something in the final ten minutes meant a lot less.
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