TNA Wrestling presented TNA Live at MCU Park in Brooklyn, NY. This was my first time attending a live TNA event, mainly because it’s located in Orlando, Florida and rarely makes its way to New York. This was also my first time experiencing a wrestling show… on a baseball field. The TNA ring was set up on home plate. And the net used to protect baseball fans from fly balls was still hung up and, at times, disoriented our vision of the wrestlers.
Four-Way match where the winner earns a title shot at the X-Division Title
Even though Brian Kendrick is in line for another X-Division title shot, TNA Live hosted a 4-Way match to determine another contender for Douglas Williams’ title. The contenders were Brian Kendrick, Jay Lethal, Brooklyn’s own Homicide and Amazing Red. Plenty of New York flavor jammed packed into the opening match.
Seeing Jay Lethal in the match was disappointing. Why is he competing for a shot at the X-Division title when he’s currently feuding with Flair and the members of Fortune (TNA’s new Four-Horseman)? And he’s been ranked No. 7 in TNA’s June Top 10 Ranking, which puts him in favor of a future TNA World Heavyweight Title shot.
Brian Kendrick seemed like the odds on certainty to win the match, definitely not the favorite. He was comedic though, because when he made his entrance, he started running the bases before reaching the TNA ring at home plate. This is my second time watching Brian Kendrick wrestle live. The first was at ROH’s 8th Anniversary Show against Roderick Strong.
Of course, the two favorites were New York’s Homicide and Amazing Red. Homicide may be remembered as a member of LAX, but I will remember him as the guy who won the ROH World Title from Bryan Danielson, which was a major upset. Yet, it was Amazing Red who got the win on Brian Kendrick via the Red Star Press.
A nice way to jump-start the night. With Amazing Red claiming victory, it totally got the fans at MCU Park pumped to see what else was in store for the rest of the night.
Non-TNA Women’s Knockout Championship Match
Originally scheduled to be a TNA Women’s Knockout Title match, was changed due to the champion Madison Rayne. Seeing as Angelina Love will have a title shot at Victory Road, no sense in providing her with a second title match.
The New York fans were really behind Angelina Love; and by behind I mean her rear-end. The majority of the male audience rushed to the net to take photos of Angelina and her wiggling in between the ropes. As for Madison Rayne, her screeching did not garner her any fan-ship. However, Madison did rely on her sex appeal to gain fans for only a moment when she executed the Push up facebuster.
The match barely got any pop, which is a shame because the Knockout Division use to be the best in main-stream women’s wrestling. But the match did have a happy ending, as senior referee Earl Hebner made out with Madison Rayne, who kept shoving him throughout the match. And Angelina picked up the win off of the distraction with Light’s Out. If this was a title match, we would then have seen a new TNA Women’s Knockout Champion.
Desmond Wolfe vs. Kurt Angle
No, Chelsea was not at the show. Thankfully I left my “I came to see Chelsea” sign at home. But to see Kurt Angle, forget that he’s pro-wrestling’s only Olympic Gold medalist, but he is The Wrestling Machine, was a real treat. And then to set him up in a match with Desmond Wolfe (Nigel McGuinness) promised a superb wrestling contest.
Which is exactly what happened. Desmond managed to escape The Ankle Lock and counter the Angle Slam. He even executed the Tower of London, which hardly anyone ever kicks out of. But Angle managed to do just that. Sadly we didn’t get to see Angle perform the moonsault, but he did force Wolfe to tap out with Phase 2 of the Ankle Lock.
Monster’s Ball match
A rematch of Impact!’s main-event, Jeff Hardy versus “The Monster” Abyss in a Monster’s Ball match. Abyss generated a lot of heat from the fans by mocking Hulk Hogan’s gestures, and filling the ring with steel chairs. Jeff Hardy arrived late to his own entrance music, leaving fans to either believe he was going to make a crazy entrance from the bleachers, or was simply trying to sober up after pre-gaming at the bar next door to the stadium.
Jeff Hardy, clad in his original wrestling gear, brought back memories to my first-ever wrestling event. I went to watch Jeff Hardy challenge Randy Orton for the WWE Title at Madison Square Garden (Royal Rumble). I recall that everyone at MSG rose to their feet as Jeff was climbing for the Swanton Bomb. Would we see the charismatic enigma become the second WWE superstar in history to hold both the WWE Title and the Intercontinental Title at the same time? Side note: Triple-H was a World Heavyweight Champion, not WWE Champion when he unified Kane’s I-C belt. Randy Orton knocked Hardy off and I never got to see the Swanton Bomb live in-person.
Abyss seemed to have had the match won as he stopped Jeff from the executing the Swanton Bomb, and poured thumb tacks into the ring. He was looking to powerslam Hardy from the top turnbuckle and into the tacks. But in my mind, and after witnessing countless Hardy matches throughout his career, I foresaw him punching Abyss, pushing him off the turnbuckle and into the tacks, followed by the Swanton Bomb. But TNA has changed Hardy, because instead of simply pushing Abyss, he jumped over Abyss and went for a Sunset flip powerbomb, driving Abyss through the thumb tacks. Then, it finally happened, I got to see Jeff Hardy go for the Swanton Bomb on Abyss for the win. It was a dream come true for this life-long Hardy fan.
Photo can be viewed here.
Tag Team Tables Match
Entering the ring first was Shannon Moore and Jesse Neal (Ink Inc.). I’m still not a fan of theirs, because they have yet to grab my interest. Just because Neal and Moore both have tats and Mohawks doesn’t necessarily make them tag team material. Yet, I do have to give Moore credit in making a more appealing tag team than that of Jimmy Wang Yang back in WWE.
With 2008 being the first year I started going to live wrestling events, I never got a chance to see the greats like Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam, or even The Dudley Boyz. How appropriate in TNA’s biggest live event of the summer than to have Brooklyn’s own Brother Ray and Brother Devon (Team 3D) competing in New York.
Unlike what we are used to watching every Thursday Night on Impact! Brother Ray and Brother Devon were playing to what the crowd wanted. There was no arguments between Ray and Devon, or Ray and Jesse Neal, it was a good old fashioned Dudley match. And of course, what did the fans wanted? A Tables Match!!! Ray stuck Neal with a steel chair, while Devon went to work on Moore with a crutch from an actual fan. It was no work, the fan in the audience actually needed crutches to walk around. But as a true fan, he lent his support, literally, to keep the match going. The match ended with Team 3D dropping Neal through the table with the Dudley Death Drop.
TNA World Heavyweight Championship Match
The challenger from Gainesville, Georgia, “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles did not stride into the ring in his pathetic Nature Boy robe, but in his Phenomenal AJ Styles hoodie. Love him or hate him, AJ Styles should be at the top of the company. At this live show, AJ Styles brought his raw talent back to the playing field. No short-cuts, no Ric Flair, just simply Phenomenal. And even though fans were booing Styles, I took the risk in cheering “You’re PHENOMENAL!”
Hogan and Bischoff knew what they were doing when they put the title on Rob Van Dam, but the man is simply overrated. Sure, we all enjoy gesturing to his entrance music “Rob Van Dam!… The Whole F’n Show!” but being the Champion should mean more than that. RVD simply executes a couple of impressive moves and that’s it. Throughout the match he keeps getting the fans to chant his name. While AJ Styles is trying to get the best match possible from RVD. And that’s what AJ Styles is about, putting on the best matches when he’s allowed to. Yet, we did see some impressive moves from both, Styles going for the pele kick, and RVD going with his own pele kick. Finally, Rob Van Dam retained his title with Rolling Thunder, followed by Five-Star Frog Splash.
Author’s Notes: This happened to be my first experience attending a TNA Wrestling event, having previously only watched it on Spike TV. Sadly, it had to occur during Hogan-Bischoff’s regime of the company. Before Hogan-Bischoff, TNA was truly Total-Non-stop Action. When did we start incorporating a 30-minute intermission at a wrestling event? It’s understandable in independent shows because they make most of their money on ticket and DVD sales, but TNA should have run a full show.
Not only that, at the merchandise stand, why in the world is Hulk Hogan’s t-shirt $10 more than everyone else’s? And what kind of business decision is it to sell RVD’s new t-shirt, along with 4 TNA DVD’s only for $20. That is roughly an $80 value for only a fourth of the price. How is TNA expected to make money if they are making poor business decisions? Even though in this economy, wrestling fans would be stupid not to bank on that deal.
Then of course there were the autograph signings before the show started. Jeff Hardy selling autographs for $50? Are you serious? This had to be Hogan’s doing. Because when I got Jeff’s signature, during WWE’s promotion of SmackDown’s move to MyNetwork, I got it for free. Then J.B. and Don West plugged away at Rob Van Dam by telling fans to buy the t-shirt/brown bag special, and purchase an additional $20 yellow ticket in order to take your picture with RVD in the ring after the show?
Then forcing fans to cheer for TNA because you promised them that they can go to the dugout to meet the TNA stars? When fans cheer in ROH, it’s because the product is worth cheering for, not because we are being bribed. And when fans cheer in the WWE, it’s because we want to cheer or jeer for the superstars, not because McMahon begged us to.
The overall product of the matches was nothing special. But then again, most non-televised live events tend to simply be about the worthwhile experience of seeing wrestlers perform live with other wrestling fans. Which it was, because aside from the blatant prostitution of their wrestlers to make up for the millions of dollars lost during the failed move to Monday Nights, it was a wild experience to witness “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles, The Dudley Boyz in a classic Tables Match, Jeff Hardy performing the Swanton Bomb, and “The Wrestling Machine” Kurt Angle.
The company announced that they would be returning to New York City at Manhattan Center’s Hammerstein Ballroom on Thursday, September 23. Maybe your’s truly will cross the line once again to witness TNA Wrestling Live!