Credit: Rodger Sweat and prowrestling.net
I haven’t watched TNA in 2-3 years (and I don’t watch WWE either); I spend most of my time watching Japanese wrestling on Youtube, but I have been an avid fan of pro wrestling since the early ’80s, so I wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to see it in my backyard (especially a PPV). This was my first live wrestling event in about five years, and the first time I ever experienced TNA live. Going into it I was pretty pumped; on my way out, not so much…but it was definitely a fun night. Viejas Arena seats about 12,000 and more than half of the arena was empty (I guesstimate about 3,000 – 4,000 in attendance), but the crowd was definitely into it.
-Ultimate X was a complete disappointment. No “story” told with the match (other than Velvet “accidentally” costing Jeff Hardy the match) and it all seemed to be pointless. No big spots, no “Holy Shit” moments, nothing. A huge letdown as this was the match I was most looking forward to.
-The tag title match was good (as was the pre-show gauntlet), but everyone in attendance was disappointed with the outcome (the post-match protein shake celebration got a good reaction though). James Storm suffered a nice gash on his left thigh: he took a cheap shot from one of the BroMans dudes and as he fell from the corner, his leg slipped between the apron and ring. Must’ve been something sharp in there! And speaking of the gauntlet match, Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez vs. Christopher Daniels and Kazarian was surprisingly good and I walked away wanting to see more of Daniels. Their “Brokeback Mountain” line later in the show was the funniest of the night. And Eric Young is GREAT.
-I was also disappointed in the Knockouts match, mainly because ODB is my favorite Knockout and she just didn’t live up to my expectations (nor did the match). Gail Kim did nothing, Brooke did nothing. My wife clawed my leg during this match when I leaned over to her and told her I was going to start a “Bull Nakano” chant (she’s not a wrestling fan and doesn’t “get” it, but she had fun). Lei’D Tapa is a monster, plain and simple, and the powerbomb she delivered to Brooke leading to the finish got a nice reaction. Again, I was thinking Bull Nakano and would love to see Tapa do something big (I know we’ll never see anyone of Nakano’s ability in an American wrestling ring, but I can dream).
-Kurt Angle vs. Bobby Roode easily stole the show. The only true “wrestling” match on the card. Good back and forth action, good storytelling. A couple of their reversals were very well done and if it wasn’t for the guy two rows behind me screaming over and over about Kurt Angle and his drinking problems, I would have been really into it (that guy ruined the Hall of Fame “induction” too). Some wrestling fans could screw up a wet dream, I swear. Bobby Roode should be a STAR. He’s got that IT FACTOR for sure. Hated the finish. Understood it (especially with the stretcher gimmick they pulled), but they could have easily done something better to make Roode appear to have really gone over Kurt (how about reversing the Olympic Slam into a pinning predicament?)
-EC3 = WASTE OF TIME. I will point out that these are the little things that tick me off about American wrestling…no attention to detail! Following Angle’s match, they did the whole stretcher routine as Angle appeared to be injured. Following the EC3 match, the little scrawny guy he fought was laid out after a pretty vicious looking finisher. Earl Hebner rolled the runt out of the ring as if he was a sack of potatoes, didn’t check on the guy once. The kid rolled under the ropes and off the apron to the floor…didn’t land on his feet, laid out on the concrete and no one even checked him. DETAILS!
-Sting vs. Magnus…what was the point? Oh yeah…to get Magnus over. FAILED. Should have been Samoa Joe vs. Magnus (seeing as Joe seemed to have no business in the X match). That may have worked if you ask me.
-Bully Ray vs. AJ Styles was decent. There seemed to be a lot of “dead” time during the match, but the crowd was into it. Styles’ bump through the table was ridiculous. There was a point where we were all screaming “WE WANT TABLES” and Bully was looking to the crowd as if he was going to comply, but he didn’t. I would have lost my mind if he screamed, “BROOKE…GET THE TABLE!!!!” I will say that was the first time I’ve ever seen the wood base of the ring displayed, so I’ll give them a plus for that. The whole Dixie Carter thing is just…eh. I mean really TNA…are we still trying to pull off Montreal Screwjob nonsense in 2013? When Earl Hebner hesitated and kept counting, the “Kurt Angle is a drunk” fan screamed out, “Hey Dixie…you just don’t have Vince’s power!!!” That got a nice laugh from our section.
All in all, it was a fun night. The wrestling didn’t live up to my expectations (then again it hasn’t in a LONG time), but I always seem to have fun regardless. I would definitely go see TNA again, mainly because I spent $60 for two tickets and was sitting in the first row after the floor seats. Can’t beat it.