TNA One Night Only: Live! (1/8/2016)- Bethlehem, PA
Josh Mathews welcomed us to this show “live from the entertainment capital of Pennsylvania!” which made the entire promotion look so minor league. This is quickly shaping up to be quite the poor night for Josh, as in his second paragraph for the evening, he forgot to say the word “championship” in the phrase “the X-Division Championship will be defended” so instead of Tigre Uno defending his title, it sounded like we were going to get some sort of match where one team was supposed to stop the other team from beating up the X-Division.
FOUR-WAY ELIMINATION MATCH TNA X-DIVISION TITLE MATCH: Tigre Uno(c) vs. DJ Zema Ion vs. Crazzy Steve vs. Mandrews- 6.75/10
Crazzy Steve must be working these shows for free. It’s the only way to explain why TNA keeps using him when there are so many other, much more talented guys on the indies who can fill the same role, and who don’t have a stupid name and a stupid clown gimmick.
Tigre Uno’s shoulder is HEAVILY taped up. Josh said that this was because of the “high-octane” style of the X-Division. Fine.
Okay… Mandrews needs to put that skateboard away forever. First of all, I know that he’s only twenty-three, but the skateboard and the WAY TOO BIG backwards cap make him look like he’s about fourteen. Second of all, the skateboard entrance just makes me think that he is some kid that the Dynamic Dudes adopted while they were on the road. Also, that spot where he rode the skateboard down the ramp to do a tilt-a-whirl headscissors looked SOOOO f*cking stupid.
Tigre Uno looked like he pretty much missed everyone on his big dive and landed on his ass on the ramp, but he managed to get up and immediately hit a diving leg drop on Steve. If anyone is crazy in this match, it’s Tigre Uno.
Steve was actually getting most of the chants from the crowd, which shocked everyone. Unfortunately for him, he was not only booked to be eliminated about a minute later, but also to turn heel after that by assaulting Tigre Uno.
Josh tells us that Mandrews often loses matches because he pays too much attention to the crowd to talks to the referee at inopportune times. When has this ever happened? And to make Josh look even worse, it didn’t happen in this match, either.
The match itself was actually pretty great (skateboard spot aside). It was a spotfest, but that’s fine for an opener. I usually rail against it whenever TNA throws a bunch of guys in a random title or #1 contendership match for no reason, and also when they make something an elimination match for no reason because that means a lot more guys are getting beaten than necessary, but this match was booked well enough that I was fine with it by the end.
Basically what happened was that for the first elimination, Steve had Tigre Uno in a crossface chicken-wing, really working over his injured shoulder, but Mandrews came off the top rope with a shooting star press onto both of them, which resulted in Steve’s hold being broken. Tigre rolled out of the ring so Mandrews went to pin Steve and got the three. Steve was angered by this and attacked Tigre, once again working over his shoulder with the crossface chicken-wing on the outside until referees stopped him. While that was happening, Mandrews and DJ Z wrestled in the ring until Mandrews eliminated DJ Z, which gave Tigre Uno enough time to recover so that he and Mandrews could do stuff until Tigre got the final pin.
In this one match, they turned Crazzy Steve heel, got over a new finisher for him, and made him a credible challenger for Tigre Uno (because if it wasn’t for Mandrews’ shooting star press, Tigre Uno would have tapped out), started a feud between Steve and Tigre in a way that made it a bit more personal than just a heel going for a babyface’s title while also making Tigre look like a tough valiant babyface in this match. Additionally, DJ Z and Steve were able to keep their wins over Tigre Uno from the World Title Series so you can still justify them getting title matches, and Mandrews got too look strong in defeat by getting two of the three eliminations in this match. This is the sort of booking that could actually help turn this company around. This is like Gabe Sapolsky level stuff right here.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- Gregory Helms (wearing what was clearly a Hurricane t-shirt) came out to congratulate Tigre Uno, which also happened at Bound For Glory. Josh said that Helms was “the greatest Cruiserweight Champion in professional wrestling history,” which shows that Josh knows nothing about Japan, or Mexico, or even WCW. Helms pointed to his wrist, I guess to indicate that he will be coming after Tigre Uno’s title soon.
ERIC YOUNG & BRAM PROMO- okay. Aside from the Beer Money match, EY also pushed his feud with Jeff Hardy.
ROCKSTAR SPUD & AIDEN O’SHEA SEGMENT- terrible.
These two are apparently supposed to have a match now. Wasn’t this supposed to be O’Shea vs. Shera? Anyway, before the match got started, O’Shea grabbed a mic and suggested to Spud that he save himself a beating and take a count-out loss. This went on for almost three full minutes of nothing but O’Shea saying the same exact thing a million times in a million different ways while Spud just stood there, looking pathetic and dejected, and even teased actually taking the loss TWICE and then reconsidering before announcing that he would stay and wrestle the match by flipping O’Shea off. Not only was this an annoying waste of time on a PPV, but it’s such a step backwards for Spud. Rockstar Spud already learned to stick up to bullies. That happened OVER A YEAR AGO against EC III and it was a HUGE moment for Spud. Having Spud stand here and look sad and pathetic while being told that he was a “mutt” and a weakling and a loser who had no chance, and even thinking about walking out of a match without even trying because he’s afraid he might get hurt craps on Spud’s great journey and also shows an inability for creative to use Spud as anything more than this one-note character.
ROCKSTAR SPUD vs. AIDEN O’SHEA- DUD!
So Spud has now made his big show of standing up to the bully and what happens? He gets punched in the face and beaten up with ease, as each time he tries to get back up, O’Shea is easily able to just kick or pie-face him down again, taunting him on the mic the whole time. The ref is just standing there while Shea punches Spud and throws him around. Isn’t this supposed to be the scheduled match? Then why isn’t he telling the timekeeper to ring the bell? Even after O’Shea drops the mic he doesn’t call for the bell.
While this is going on, Josh finally gives us an answer about the Shera thing. Apparently this was supposed to be O’Shea vs. Shera, but someone “let the air out of the tires on Shera’s car” so he couldn’t make it to the show. Not only is this angle both lame and stupid (when DDP and Johnny B. Badd did it in WCW it made sense because it made Johnny miss a title match, but there is nothing on the line for Shera here), but the way they framed it in the context of Spud’s story, it was also done to make us think “poor Spud, he wasn’t even supposed to be in this match, but now he is getting beaten up so badly by this bully,” and the problem with that is that said bully did, in fact, give Spud a chance to walk away and not get his ass kicked, but Spud chose not to take it. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying Spud should have taken the count-out loss. That would have been moronic. What I’m saying is that Josh using that particular avenue to try to get me to feel sympathy for Spud idiotic.
Now O’Shea’s got the mic back and he’s beating Spud up while also hitting on one of the production people at ringside and looking for all the world like kind of a cool dude (although definitely still douchy). Spud’s chance comes when O’Shea gets cocky and takes too long setting up a knee drop and Spud moves out of the way… but then O’Shea immediately counters the Underdog into a sick backbreaker and kills all of Spud’s momentum.
Spud gets another hope spot in because O’Shea is too cocky but now he’s getting the sh*t beaten out of him on the outside and apparently despite the lack of the bell ringing, the match has officially started, because the referee is counting them both out (Josh wasn’t sure if the match had started yet, either). If the match was going on the whole time, why didn’t the ref ever try to get the microphone (a foreign object) away from O’Shea?
So O’Shea got a bit more offense in, but then Spud started no-selling everything, made a Superman comeback and won. This was f*cking atrocious, but the worst part of it is that if they had just used all of this time (including the pre-match segment) to have a wrestling match telling the standard “big-man vs. little man” story, it probably would have been pretty damn good… but instead they had to give us this idiotic segment which resulted in Josh saying stupid stuff and then Spud makes this completely ridiculous comeback that destroys any credibility this all could have given O’Shea.
REPLAY OF THE SEGMENT FROM IMPACT THAT SET UP THE TAG TITLE MATCH- pointless filler.
REPLAY OF THE FINISH OF THE WORLD TITLE SERIES FINALS- as if there is anyone who bought this PPV but didn’t see this week’s Impact.
EC III PROMO- not bad. It just made no sense to put this here on a freakin’ PPV.
Josh Mathews tells us all that he and Pope are Periscoping the show and posting it on Twitter. Three MAJOR problems with this:
1. That’s video piracy.
2. Not only is what they are doing illegal, but it is also detrimental to their own company because they are pirating a TNA show!
3. Josh telling us viewers this does nothing because the only people who can hear Josh right now ARE ALREADY WATCHING THE SHOW JOSH IS PERISCOPING!
ROBBIE E. vs. “THE MIRACLE” MIKE BENNETT (w/Maria Kanellis)- 4/10
As a random match, this wasn’t terrible or anything, but if the idea was to get Bennett over, they totally failed because Robbie got about 95% of the offense.
MIKE BENNETT PROMO- bad.
He concluded it by saying he want “to build a kingdom of miracles, where everyone involved says ‘yes we do!’” Not only do I have absolutely no idea what any of this could possibly mean, but did he really have to say “kingdom?” Is originally thought really that hard for TNA?
JB INTERVIEWS GAIL KIM- this wasn’t terrible or anything, but it just kind of felt like a waste of time, especially when she started running down her thought on the various Knockouts and giving what felt like pre-scripted answers for each woman. Her comments felt like the sort of thing you’d see in one of those poorly-written articles on a promotion’s official website.
KNOCKOUTS VIDEO- pointless and annoying. They actually felt the need to give you a brief introduction to all of the women (including Gail, who isn’t even in the damn match) like they were expecting that a bunch of people who had never seen TNA before were to buy this PPV despite its pathetically weak hype. And even if we put the pointlessness of this aside, it was filled with such obvious clichés that there was no way to enjoy it if you didn’t have it on mute.
And despite this video package telling that these women were both beautiful AND dangerous, as well as the earlier standard “sexy, powerful, athletic” video (or whatever the exact adjectives they use are), from the moment the first Knockouts came out to start the match, Pope was drooling over them like pieces of meat (and to make things even more awkward, the first woman Pope was drooling over was his broadcast partner’s wife).
KNOCKOUTS #1 CONTENDESHIP GAUNTLET: Madison Rayne vs. Jade vs. Rebel vs. Chelsea vs. Marti Belle vs. De’ana vs. Awesome Kong vs. Velvet Sky- 1.5/10
When they said Chelsea, I assumed it was Desmond Wolfe’s girlfriend from the early Hogan-Bischoff Era. My next thought was Chelsea from STARDOM, but it turns out it’s Chelsea from Tough Enough. I’m pretty sure I saw this De’ana lady on NXT recently. Josh claimed that she is “one of the hottest free agents” in wrestling, and yet somehow no one in the crowd had any idea who she was, so she got no reaction at all on her entrance.
Rebel tried to do… something athletic off of the turnbuckle but she botched so bad it was unrecognizable. I almost hope that Chelsea eliminating her right afterwards was a shoot because Chelsea got so annoyed at her botchery.
They had a bit of a story here with Madison staying in the whole time always fighting the numbers against the Dollhouse, but other than that, this was pretty boring. Neither of the new girls got the chance to show anything or look impressive in any way. They were just generic bodies to fill out the already short eight-woman line-up.
JB INTERVIEWS THE WOLVES- decent.
Then Eli Drake and Jesse Godderz showed up and Drake cut a good promo to hype up the tag title match. Then Godderz cut a bad promo, so Eli Drake had to take the mic and cut a better one for him. Then Jesse Godderz started a shoving match. The whole thing was pointless.
TREVOR LEE vs. PEPPER PARKS- 5.5/10
Pepper Parks is a fine worker, but that idiotic name is not a name that should be seen in a national promotion. I’ll assume that TNA is booking him here for the same reason that ROH booked him a few months ago: they’re hoping that doing so will butter up his wife that she’ll work for them when she returns from her injury.
The match was short, but GREAT for the time it got. I’d never seen Lee as a heel before, but he made it work. Props to Josh for his commentary, which really helped give Trevor Lee some character.
JB INTERVIEWS THE DOLLHOUSE- this was F*CKING AWESOME. Marti, Rebel, and Jade were ridiculously over the top, but for some reason it just totally worked. Then Kong got to speak and she cut an AWESOME promo on Gail.
POPE CALLS OUT GRADO- BOOOOOO! Send him back to Scotland! No more Grado!
Josh criticized Pope for the way Pope has been burying Grado on commentary but as soon as Pope was gone, Josh himself started to bury Grado. Grado then buries himself, fondly reminiscing about the first time he met Pope, which was in 2011. They took picture together, which Grado brags about having a whole twenty-six likes on Facebook. This was apparently supposed to be funny.
Grado actually cut a decent babyface promo once he (mostly) stopped trying to be funny. The result of this was Grado making an open challenge to “prove himself” to Pope. The challenge was answered by Abyss (which Josh implied was a set-up all along). Then Abyss came out and buried both Grado and fans and said this match would be a Monster’s Ball (because it’s always got to be a Monster’s Ball with Abyss) and apparently he has the booking power to make that happen. This was yet another talking segment which would have made the show better if they had just given the time to the match instead.
MONSTER’S BALL MATCH: Abyss vs. Grado- 4.75/10
Okay… can someone explain to me why they keep a cheese grater or boards covered in barbed wired under the ring?
We’ve got a “SAVE! THE TABLES!” chant from the Impact Zone crowd, which is apparently about five months behind the rest of us.
We got the cheese-grater to the balls spot which you know is coming every time it comes out in a match and which now feels like it means nothing. We also got the "Janice misses and gets stuck in the turnbuckle" spot which means equally little at this point. They did some more stuff. It was hardcore. Abyss bled from his arms and so did Grado. It will all mean nothing by tomorrow morning.
JB INTERVIEWS KURT ANGLE & DREW GALLOWAY- decent
TNA WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: The Wolves(c) vs. Kurt Angle & Drew Galloway vs. Eli Drake & Jesse Godderz- 7.5/10
Pope accidentally said WWE instead of TNA. I laughed.
Easy match of the night so far, but I felt like it could have been so much more if they had just let Drew, Angle, and the Wolves have a regular tag team match and given them more than ten minutes and eighteen seconds (that’s right- this match barely even got ten minutes).
JB INTERVIEWS BOBBY LASHLEY- short and sweet.
BOBBY LASHLEY vs. TYRUS- 4/10
Tyrus worked over Lashley’s back and they told a story using the exposed turnbuckle. The match was pretty boring, and there was no possible way Hebner could even see one of Tyrus’ shoulders from the position he was in (which was half way across the ring and to one side of them).
BEER MONEY VIDEO PACKAGE- once again, this was totally pointless. The Beer Money reunion was the only selling point of this PPV that got anything resembling substantial hype, which means that no one ordering this PPV doesn’t know who Beer Money or why it would be such a big deal that they are back together again.
BEER MONEY PROMO- fine
BEER MONEY vs. ERIC YOUNG & BRAM- 7.5/10
How the f*ck is this the main event over Kurt Angle teaming up with Drew Galloway to challenge the Wolves for the TNA World Tag Team Titles in the first match of Kurt’s retirement tour?!
The announcers won’t let it go that Bram accidentally said 2006 instead of 2016 on Tuesday.
Standard tag team story, but that story is one that always works. A good first match back for Beer Money.
A bad show from TNA. There was some very good stuff on here, but there was WAY too much pointless bullsh*t, filler, and just plain boring matches. Once again TNA has the chance to show the world that they are turning over a new leaf, and once again they completely squander it.