Magnus Opening Segment
Magnus, wearing a fresh suit as always, came out and began by questioning Sting’s manhood, because he used his political pull with the ‘mystery investor’ as a way to get someone in his corner during the title match. Sting had heard enough, and he came down to confront Magnus. Magnus claims that Sting cannot pin him or make him submit, and he reminded Sting that at Bound for Glory he made him tap out in their match.
Sting acknowledges the defeat, but goes on to say that he had studied the tape, and that he knows Magnus better than Magnus knows himself, and that is what separates “real champions” from “paper champions”. This incited a “paper champion” chant from the crowd, and Sting informed Magnus that he had lost the respect of “everybody”. Magnus, none too happy hearing this from Sting, responded by slapping Sting in the the face. Sting at first laughed, but then began attacking Magnus with a series of punches and backhand chops. This resulted in a 3 on 1 attack on Sting after Spud and EC3 jumped Sting from behind.
Samoa Joe ran down for the save, cleaning house, and Sting announced that Joe would be the man in his corner for the main event match. This can help to further lay the groundwork for Joe to feud with Magnus once Sting is out of the picture, so I find this to be a solid booking decision.
Gunner vs James Storm
Because a ladder match would have made too much sense, this was a “briefcase on a pole” match with Gunner’s contract for a TNA World Heavyweight Championship match at stake. I have become a Gunner fan during his partnership turned feud with Storm, and I really think he has the potential to be a big time player in TNA. I’ve been critical of Storm’s character, but ultimately he has provided Gunner with a hell of a rub so my hat is off to him as well through all of this.
Despite me mocking the stipulation, it was a well-worked match by both men. Tenay and Taz sort of gave the finish away by constantly talking about “you must have full control!” meaning obviously the finish will involved a fumbled briefcase. There were some cool spots in the match: a middle rope fall-away slam by Gunner, a hurricarana by Storm and a top rope electric chair drop by Gunner that led to the aforementioned fumbled briefcase. As both men scrambled to grab the case, Gunner grabbed Storm’s foot and yanked him back before hitting him with a flurry of punches capped off by a big headbutt, enabling him to collect the case. I thought the finish was solid, and it fits in well with Gunner’s “Mr. Intensity” persona.
Austin Aries vs Chris Sabin- X Division Title Match
Now, due to her tendency to become involved in Sabin’s matches, gogo dancer/girlfriend Velvet Sky was forced to chill in a cage ringside while watching the match. I support this decision. For all of the flack TNA catches, this is the 2nd match of the card and it is the 2nd match that has been built up well between two good competitors.
For my money, Sabin is the best in ring performer in either TNA or WWE right now. His fluidity leaves no wasted motion, and he is so smooth when transitioning from move to move. His quickness and explosiveness are also unrivaled.
While entertaining, much of the match was detracted from due to Taz and Tenay’s overbearing approach to commentary. Taz spent 3/4 of the match talking about how he was the relationship guru. Aside from that , it was a solid back and forth match that you would expect from two great workers, with everything leading towards Velvet’s inevitable involvement.
She had been instructed by Sabin to bring a package he gave her to the ringside cage with her. She did have a package with her, but it apparently did not have the goods Sabin was looking for, as he was distraught over his findings inside the bag that Velvet had brought. As he was scolding Velvet, Aries came from the top turnbuckle and hit him with a double sledge.
Sabin would never recover, as Aries would hit his patented corner dropkick followed by a vicious brainbuster, getting the 3 count and becoming a 4 time X Division champion. Now, I would rather see Aries in the main event in 2014, but wherever he is in the card he will shine. I understand why TNA prefers to keep him closer to the X Division, it is a cheap and easy way for them to make the division feel relevant without having to actually put work into it.
Bobby Roode vs Kurt Angle- Steel Cage Match
The stipulation coming into this match is that if Kurt Angle loses, he can never be inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame. Roode has completely owned Angle in this feud, and he continues to feel like the biggest star on the TNA roster. He did come out wearing a goofy looking sleeveless trench coat, which I wasn’t feeling too much. Note to Bobby: Go back to the Flair-esque robes! Please! Thank you!
There are some match ups I would never tire of watching, and I have to say this might be one of them. Angle is obviously great, and Roode is my favorite heel in wrestling, he really is a throwback to the old school style of heel that I grew up loving to watch. There seems to be a long line of competitors for the World Championship; Magnus is the champ, Sting has his shot later, Joe will probably follow, Gunner has a guaranteed title shot, but really I hope to see Roode get another run with the strap in 2014.
The intensity was there in this match from the get go, as even in the early goings we were seeing cool spots like Bobby Roode powerbombing Angle into the cage. While Gunner/Storm and Aries/Sabin were good, and Magnus vs Sting will likely be solid, this match was always destined to steal the show. Roode showed his mean streak by targeting the head and neck area of Angle, knowing that Angle has had to have surgery on his neck multiple times.
Angle had plenty of offense as well, hitting his usual triple German suplex and the Angle Slam, which naturally only netted him a 2 count. The straps came down, the crowd went wild and Angle locked on the ankle lock dead in the center of the ring. Roode agonized for nearly a minute as Angle torqued the ankle, until Rood ewas able to stand up and counter with a version of an enziguri.
The two would continue battling, making their way to the top rope, before Angle dropped Roode by smashing his head into the cage, leaving Angle standing on the top rope with Roode now laying flat on his back. Angle looked down, and the crowd began to buzz, as they could sense what was about to happen.
Now, as a concerned human being I have to ask myself, why does Kurt feel the need to do these top of the cage moonsaults? He is going to kill himself one day. As a wrestling fan, I ask myself, why does Kurt do a top of the cage moonsault instead of simply escaping and thus keep his Hall of Fame eligibility. But as a simple spectator of what is going on, I take my hat off and salute Kurt for going up to the top of the cage to do a backflip 15 feet to the ground, because dammit his crazy ass thinks it is a good idea so more power to him!
Being the cunning genius that he is, Bobby Roode also knew that Kurt was a daredevil, and upon seeing Kurt leap from the top of the cage, he wisely rolled out of the way to safety. All things considered, Angle landed pretty well on the moonsault, I’d give him an 8.5. Roode tried to escape out the cage door following Kurt’s mishap, but Angle was able to grab hold of his foot and drag him back in, preventing the victory for Roode. After being stuck in yet another ankle lock, Roode made a dash to the corner to try and escape, but Angle countered with a top rope Angle slam. And we all mark for top rope Angle slams, baby!
Funny enough, even top rope Angle slams are only good for 2 counts these days, as Roode just would not stay down. The finish wound up looking a little awkward, as Kurt hung Roode up on the ropes, crushing his plums, and began scaling the cage to escape. He was climbing slow enough however that it allowed for Roode to have a chance to escape out the door. Roode was nearing an escape, and because Angle was going so slowly he wound up having to drop from about halfway up the cage, and it looked pretty bad the way he came down on his left knee. A great match nonetheless, Roode still comes out of this looking like a million bucks and Angle gets the last win to end the feud.
Sting vs Magnus- No Disqualifaction Match for theTNA World Heavyweight Championship Match
“Championship vs Contract’ was the tag line, since if Sting were to lose his TNA contract would be null and void. I’ve got to be honest, after a night of great matches being put on by Storm & Gunner, Aries & Sabin, Angle & Roode… this main event felt a little lackluster. You come into a Sting match knowing what to expect and he will generally deliver on that, he did here, but after the rest of those matches it didn’t feel like anything special.
The one thing I was hoping to get out of this match, to see Magnus fight on his own and pick up a clean win, didn’t happen. It became the usual overbooked main event that we’ve become accustomed to since Magnus became champion, with EC3 and Bad Influence coming down to attack Samoa Joe and Sting. Magnus, per usual, sat in the corner and watched. I understand what they are trying to do with the Magnus heel character, but I am just not a fan at all. After a super convoluted finish that involved the afore mentioned EC3 and Bad Influence along with Kurt Angle, Dixie Carter and Earl Hebner, Magnus eventually picked up the win and Genesis closed by showing Dixie and Magnus ripping up Sting’s contract into confetti.
Overall a great wrestling show, but with a subpar main event.