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By James Johnson on 2009-01-20 20:08:02

I just got back from the TNA show in Manchester and it was a pretty good show, not as fun as when they came to Liverpool last year but that’s just my opinion.

Prior to the show I asked at the ticket office and at that point there had been 7,000 tickets sold but it didn’t look so bad; ringside seemed to be a sell out, the lower bowl had scattered seats about and the whole upper bowl was curtained off. To quote WWI’s Aaron Wood, it was a fun show but it did come across a bit bush league at times.

Before things got underway there was the TNA Fan Interaction Event which could have been handled a bit better; each wrestler/team had their own queue and out first were Beer Money, The Beautiful People, Brutus Magnus (making his debut), Earl Hebner, Sheik Abdul Bashir, Alex Shelley and of course Kurt Angle who the majority of people flocked to see. Then about halfway through they switched wrestlers and the second Mick Foley came out, EVERYONE flocked to his queue! At this point the organizers changed the set up and instead had a conveyor belt going through all the tables starting with Foley. They also stopped people taking photos at this point which kind of sucked but was understandable. Along with Foley were Team 3D, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Rudy Charles, Matt Morgan, Abyss, Consequences Creed, ODB and Taylor Wilde. Overall it was alright, everyone seemed nice and courteous. Mick seemed tired but really wanted to talk to everyone and Brother Ray and Joe were laughing it up, Abyss seemed a bit bored by it all though, possibly as he was at the furthest end of the table.

For the event itself there was the “feed you to Shark Boy if you film this” stuff that was reported in the Dublin reports and of course JB and those backstage passes. One thing I noted was that the whole sound system was being controlled via iTunes on a laptop at ringside which may have played a part in our first match.

Alex Shelley b. “Black Machismo” Jay Lethal in an X Division Title match. Shelley came out to “Song 2” by Blur but at the end had reverted to the MCMG theme. It was a fun match for what it was, the crowd seemed much more into Shelley than Lethal during the match. At the end Shelley was flipping the fans off in any attempt to get heat but Manchester loves Alex Shelley!

ODB & Taylor Wilde b. The Beautiful People. Not much to say, the crowd felt kind of dead but for The Beautiful People’s entrances and ODB getting a hot tag. Nothing really special, ODB got the win with a powerslam to Velvet Sky. Post match The Beautiful People got on the mics and cut a promo of how disrespected they felt and how they would never return to Manchester, this lead into a chorus of “Na Na Na Na, Goodbye” by the crowd.

Brutus Magnus b. Consequences Creed. Magnus has a decent build to him but I don’t really see him as being anything special. The best way to describe this match would be a WWF Superstars/WWF Metal type match in that there was solid wrestling to it and nothing to complain about but it’s not the sort of thing to get excited about. The crowd sat on their hands mostly, but for some fans referencing Magnus being in Gladiators here. They botched the finish as Creed came off the top rope for a crossbody and Magnus caught him but fell backwards and out of the ring. When they repeated the spot with a running crossbody, Magnus picked up the win with a World’s Strongest Slam. For a debut match it could have gone a lot worse, in fact given time and polish Magnus won’t be a bad addition to TNA’s roster.

Matt Morgan & Abyss b. Eric Young and “The Anarchist” Doug Williams. Why oh why isn’t Doug Williams being used by TNA? The fans who knew him where really into him but the majority of the match saw Abyss and Morgan using heel tactics to work over Eric Young and accidentally attack one another until Williams got the hot tag, but ultimately fell to the Black Hole Slam. Post match there was a shoving match between Morgan and Abyss with Morgan getting a decent amount of heat.

Sheik Abdul Bashir was out next and cut a promo in Farsi which probably got the most heat all night. He then said how he is not shocked that “his people” could try and spend over $100m on Brazilian footballer Kaka and still not bring him to a dump like Manchester. Local sports heat! Too bad he got the currency wrong but never mind. He then issued an open challenge which brought Samoa Joe out.

Samoa Joe b. Sheik Abdul Bashir. Alright match, the crowd was heavily in to Joe. Bashir with a lot of rest holds and Joe with a lot of brawling and power moves. At one point Joe hopped out of the ring, grabbed a fans Union Jack and ran around ringside with it which was kind of cool. Bashir got dropped on his head at one point which looked nasty but he continued, in the end Joe got the win with a Muscle Buster.

We went into intermission with JB saying that they have TV cameras which they would be using afterwards, probably for Youtube.

After the break Dixie Carter was introduced and after a short promo putting over the UK fans (who I’m guessing aren’t 40 Year Old Virgins) introduced Mick Foley who cut a pretty fun promo about how there were fans all around who were trying to look like him, then how two terribly dressed guys wanted to look like Beer Money. He put over the fans and compared TNA to Barrack Obama by saying that just like America spoke with one voice that they believed in change, he believes in change and that starts with TNA. JB also put over the TNA Impact video game which was kind of funny as it evoked one of two responses “What’s that?” or “That game sucks!”

Next out were Beer Money, Inc (if Robert Roode is Teddy Debuse, does that make Eric Young Virgil?) to a nice reaction. James Storm got on the mic and said how great it is to be back in London! Roode corrected him, he asked for the houselights to come on and then quickly off again when he saw how hideous the crowd were. Next out where Team 3D with a table.

Beer Money, Inc b. Team 3D in a TNA Tag Team Title match. Very good entertaining match with all the usual Brokeback Mountain spots and one great spot where Brother Ray kept going into a test of strength with James Storm only to swap hands which got some great reaction from the crowd. They eventually sped up and started dosey-do-ing and having a mini dance off before Brother Ray eventually clocked Storm in the jaw. Towards the end Storm threw Roode the belt only for Ray to catch it and knock out Roode. Earl Hebner was outside arguing with Devon which gave Storm time to superkick Ray and put Roode in place for the cover. Post match there was a brawl with Team 3D putting Roode (I think) through a table and then giving away a chunk off the table to a young boy who I think said his name was Zack but Ray said was Scott. Either way the fans were split chanting between the names.

AJ Styles & Jeff Jarrett b. Kurt Angle & Scott Steiner. If Steiner or Jarrett were in the ring it seemed like there were more rest holds than anything, but whenever AJ was in the ring the match picked up. Steiner got quite a bit of heat but Kurt Angle got a great reaction leading to dueling Jarrett/Angle chants with the Angle chants winning, when AJ came into the ring though the crowd was more AJ than Angle. Maybe that says something about Jarrett at the top? Sure he got some nice “Thank You Jarrett” chants but little else of a reaction really except when he went for the figure four. Angle locked in the Ankle Lock a few times only for Jarrett to escape. Steiner looked pretty blown up after about 10 minutes. The finish came when Jarrett hit Angle with The Stroke and at that point the person in front of me jumped up so thank you to them, I think AJ got the pin with a 450 Splash or a Frog Splash, either way AJ got the pin. Jarrett got onto the mic at the end and said there’s been too much talking all night so he’ll keep it short, he put over the fans and TNA.

Overall it was a good show, I was happy that Angle was wrestling on this tour but I don’t think it held up well compared to the Liverpool show. From the Dublin report stating that the venue was a 2,000 sell out to this, a potential 18,000 seat arena (for wrestling) not selling out, it took away from the atmosphere so although the wrestling was good the show itself didn’t feel as special as maybe it should have due in part to the relatively small crowd in the huge arena. I hope TNA learns from this in future but aside from that I have no other real complaints, it was a good show that could have been better in a smaller venue.

Biggest Pops (in no order):
AJ Styles
Mick Foley
Samoa Joe
Kurt Angle
Team 3D

Biggest Heat (in no order):
Sheik Abdul Bashir
Earl Hebner (11 years people, get over it!)
Matt Morgan

Take care guys and keep up the awesome work!

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