TNA X-Division champion Jay Lethal vs. Kazarian
No Ric Flair with Kazarian. Lethal chased Kazarian around the ring and back into it. He snapped off a huracanrana and drilled Kaz with several punches. He hiptossed Kazarian, who retreated to the floor, only to be nailed with a suicide dive. Lethal chopped away at Kazarian, then hit a moonsault off the apron to the floor on Kazarian.
Lethal tossed Kazarian back into the ring for a near fall. He worked over Kazarian in the corner with chops. Kazarian reversed a whip and nearly tossed Jay into referee Earl Hebner but Lethal stopped himself. Kazarian grabbed Lethal and tossed him into the opposite corner.
Lethal and Kazarian went back and forth. Kazarian went for a kick but Lethal caught it and shot him into the top turnbuckle with a beautiful catapult. Lethal scored several near falls, then nailed a back suplex for another. Kazarian came back with an elbow to the face, then elevated Lethal into a hard spinebuster.
Kazarian mounted Lethal and beat him down with punches. He nailed a standing Gutwrench suplex, then forced a knee over Lethal’s throat. He then choked Lethal against the ropes. Kazarian slammed Letha and nailed a springboard legdrop for a two count.
Kazarian worked over Lethal, who fired back and nailed a handspring elbow. Both men were down as the referee began counting them down. They made it to their feet and fired back and forth with Lethal getting the better of the exchange. Kazarian thumbed Lethal in the eye but was still caught with a chop.
Lethal ended up on the apron outside the ring. He was slingshot into the ring and caught with an Ace Crusher for a two count. Kazarian placed Lethal on the top rope and prepared him for a superplex. Lethal began nailing elbows to fight off Kazarian and nailed a sunset flip powerbomb for a two count.
Lethal drilled him with an enziguiri and the Lethal Combination for a two count. Lethal went for a piledriver but Kazarian escaped and went for the Kryptonite Krunch. Lethal escaped but was caught with a DDT for another near fall.
Kazarian pulled Lethal to his feet and slapped him. It fired Lethal up and he began destroying Kaz with a ton of offense. Lethal nailed a suplex and went to the top rope for the elbow. Kazarian drilled him with a kick to the head as Lethal spent too much time playing to the crowd. Kazarian went for the Kryptonite Krunch off the ropes but Lethal fought him off. Kazarian was knocked off and bumped the referee. Kazarian crotched Lethal and nailed the Kryptonite Krunch off the ropes for the pin.
Your winner and new X-Division champion, Kazarian!
Strong opener and the thing that really stood out to me is how much both has improved in terms of using their facial reactions to try and bring the crowd into the bout. Technically, it was very good and I really enjoyed it, minus the ref bump, but that fed into the finish.
Backstage, Ric Flair and AJ Styles informed Eric Bischoff that AJ Styles wouldn’t be able to wrestle tonight. Bischoff was pissed and said that after what Dixie Carter has pulled and Hulk Hogan’s back surgery, they needed to win all the titles tonight. He demanded Styles explain what happened. AJ said that it’s been an issue bothering him for some time and he ended up hurting it when his kid took a spill on his 4x4. Bischoff went nuts, saying that’s what babysitters are for. I wonder if this verbiage was Vince Russo channeling the comments that caused him to leave WWE for a moment. Bischoff warned Styles he had better show him something because now he’s out 6 to 8 weeks and is useless. Styles was pissed and threw stuff off of Bischoff’s desk. Flair told Styles to get off the leg and said none of this will accomplish anything. He said to Bischoff that Eric is a smart man and will think of something. The delivery from all three was great. Say what you will about Bischoff but he’s a hell of a promo in his role.
TNA Knockouts champion Madison Rayne vs. Mickie James
They played up that Tara was out due to the elbow injury in the Cage Match.
Rayne tried to beg off but was nailed with several armdrags and snapmares to garner some early near falls. Taz said Mickie’s boots reminded him of the Lumberjack in the AWA. James dropkicked Rayne, who bumped out of the ropes to the apron. Rayne began complaining to the referee but James snapped her back into the ring. James locked on a reverse top wristlock into a keylock on Rayne.
Rayne used the ropes to try and escaped, pulling herself up with her legs. James dropped her and she took a bump. Rayne was really good as the vocal heel and took James down. James came back with a Thesz Press and peppered her with punches. Rayne begged off to the outside and was nearly counted out. James followed her out but Rayne rolled into the ring. James followed and had her neck snapped over the top rope.
Rayne began choking James against the ropes. James ducked a kick and caught Rayne with a low dropkick for a two count. James did a nice rana using the ropes for leverage. She goes for the ropes but Rayne snapped her off by her hair. Rayne covered James but James bridged up. James reversed the pinfall for a near fall only to get nailed in the back of the head.
Rayne locked on a cravate, wearing down James’ neck. She tore at James’ face and continued to work her over, screaming every step of the way. Rayne’s facial expressions and vocal stylings have taken a step forward in recent weeks. She cinched on a side chinlock but Rayne made a comeback and rolled up Rayne for a two count.
Madison cut her off and went for the scissor driver but James turned it into a wheel barrow face-first plant and drilled the champ with clotheslines and forearms. James went for a neckbreaker but Rayne dropped down and ran for the corner. James grabbed her and began spanking her in the corner. James nailed a neckbreaker and went to the ropes, nailing the Thesz Press.
James called for her DDT but Tara came out, complete with theme music. James went to the floor and the referee held her and Tara apart. Tara backed off, but the distraction gave Rayne a chance to load her Barry Windham glove. Rayne played it like she was out, then drilled James and scored the pin.
Your winner and still Knockouts champion Madison Rayne.
Backstage, Kazarian celebrated his title win. Ric Flair said that it was one title down, two to go. He and Beer Money left. Christ Hemme asked Eric Bischoff who the mystery opponent and who would replace AJ Styles. Bischoff announced Abyss would replace AJ, but said the mystery opponent would remain that until match time. He then guaranteed that Fortune would win every TNA title tonight.
TNA Tag Team champions Motor City Machineguns vs. Beer Money
Alex Shelley and Robert Roode went nose to nose at the bell. They had some nice back and forth wrestling. Storm tagged in but the Guns nailed some nice stereo moves, culminating with stereo suicide dives to the outside on opposite sides of the ring.
Shelley came off the top with a double stomp but James Storm rolled out of the way. James avoided a sliced bread #2 but Roode nailed the Northern clothesline after Storm slipped out. Beer Money gained control and began working over Shelley, getting several near falls. Solid so far.
Storm cinched in a rear chinlock as the crowd rallied Shelley. Storm drove himself down on Shelley to cut off any escape attempt, then spit at Chris Sabin. The referee stopped Sabin, allowing a doubleteam. Shelley finally hit sliced bread #2. Shelley went to make the tag but just as they would have touched, Roode pulled Sabin off the apron, slamming him to the floor.
The beating of Shelley continued as Beer Money kept control. Roode cinched in a chinlock. Beer Money nailed Shelley with a double suplex. They maintained control, antagonizing Sabin at the same time. Roode nailed a neckbreaker for a two count.
Shelley finally began to mount a comeback, drilling Storm with an enziguiri and sending Roode into the corner. Shelley went for the tag and Sabin caught Storm trying to prevent it, nailed a kick and made the hot tag. Sabin began cleaning house on Roode with a series of hot moves and tied Roode to the tree of woe. Sabin nailed the Hesitation dropkick for a two count. Storm tried to get involved, only to be suplexed on his own partner and sent back out. Sabin nailed a rana on Roode.
Shelly came off his partner’s shoulders, flipping Roode into a Tornado DDT for a two count. Roode broke up the pin. Storm sent Sabin into the barrier outside. Shelley and Roode battled on the top. Shelley fought off Roode and Sabin came out of nowhere to drill him. Shelley came off the top with the double foot stomp for a two count.
Storm spit beer in Sabin’s eyes as Roode kicked out of a rollup. Roode snapped him with a spinebuster and scored a two count. Shelley attacked Roode and drilled him with chops. Shelley hit a slingshot plancha to the floor on Storm. Sabin hit a running boot to Roode in the corner.
The Machineguns went for their crossbody/neckbreaker combination but Storm pulled Brian Hebner out of the ring. Shelley hit a dive on Storm. Sabin went for a springboard into a tornado DDT but Roode turned it into a beautiful Northern Lights suplex. Somewhere, Hiroshi Hase smiled. Sabin kicked out. The Guns worked on Roode but Storm drilled Shelley with a superplex. Beer Money nailed DWI on Sabin, who kicked out. Roode’s reaction and body language was classic.
Beer Money tried to continue but the Guns worked over Roode, Sabin went for the running boot in the corner but screwed up and nailed Alex Shelley. Roode rolled him up and hooked the tights for the win.
Your winners and new TNA Tag Team champions,. Beer Money!
Another very good match with some great back and forth action. This wasn’t at the level of their Best of Three Falls match but was also designed to be a different style of match. So far, smooth sailing on this PPV. Really enjoying it.