Credit: Zim and pwtorch.com
I would estimate 500-700 in attendance here at the Times Union Center. They had a small stage set up with a frame, curtain, lights, and steps; similar to some of the old ECW sets. Not elaborate, but professional looking.
Christy Hemme came onto stage with an acoustic guitar and performed a pretty good National Anthem. She would also be the ring announcer for the evening.
The new (not) Don West got the fans absolutely crazy for free merchandise. I will always be loud for wrestling, but I refuse to get shamelessly rabid over free merch.
Jesse Godderz came out with Tara to start the show. They were followed by Robbie E., who said that he gave Bigger Rob the weekend off after winning the Bro-Off on Impact. He then announced Bro-Off Round 2 tonight. They repeated the segment from Impact, only instead of Bigger Rob posing, a match started. Robbie is the babyface apparently.
(1) Jesse Godderz (w/Tara) beat Robbie E. after a roll-up with a handful of tights. About five minutes; nothing special. Robbie played to the crowd pretty well, though, so perhaps a turn is in the near future…
Post-match, Jesse held Robbie for Tara to slap him, but Velvet Sky’s music hit and she took it to Tara. The ref called for the bell and match number two was underway.
(2) Velvet Sky pinned Knockouts champion Tara in a non-title match by reversing the Widow’s Peak into a roll-up. Probably seven minutes and better than anything from any Diva not named Paige down in NXT.
Joey Ryan and Matt Morgan came out next. I was quite excited to see Ryan live, as he hasn’t had much, if any, exposure (no pun intended) to wrestling fans in the Northeast. Earl Hebner came out next to Alice in Chains’s “Man in the Box” and played up the Screwjob with a t-shirt and Hitman sunglasses. He was followed by Mexican America 2.0, who came out to LAX’s music. One fan was vocally calling for Homicide to return through the entire match.
(3) TNA tag champions Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez beat Joey Ryan & Matt Morgan to retain the Tag Titles when Chavo hit the Frogsplash on Ryan. The match probably went about 12 minutes and the crowd liked Chavo and Hernandez. Impressive PWG-esque spot where Hernandez held a vertical suplex for 25 seconds on Joey Ryan.
Post-match, Chavo felt the need to grab a mic and mention that he had many tag matches in this building with his old tag team partner. This led to “Eddie” chants. While I miss the heck out of watching Eddie, I resent Chavo for mentioning him to get himself over all the time.
Austin Aries came out, followed by Bully Ray. They bickered back and forth, which ended in Aries refusing to wrestle because he thought Hebner wasn’t an impartial ref. Hebner grabbed a mic and said that if Aries got counted out, he would be fined $5,000. Okay?
(4) Bully Ray pinned Austin Aries after an awesome one-man 3D. Some comical spots in the opening minutes before it got serious for the last five or ten mins. The crowd was almost entirely behind Bully from entrance to exit. Disappointing action considering the abilities of the two men involved, but Aries made the finish look fantastic.
[ Intermission. Not-Don West announced that Earl Hebner recently refereed his 100,000th match. He was at the merch stand signing his “Damn Right I Did” t-shirt. ]
Devon and D.O.C. came to the ring, Devon with Sting’s bat in-hand. James Storm was out next to the pop of the night so far, followed by Samoa Joe. Devon grabbed a mic at ringside and said that when Aces & Eights are in the building, we should bow down to the two men in the ring, apparently missing that Joe and Storm were the only two men in the ring at the time. Unintentionally funny moment.
(5) Aces & Eights (TV champion Devon & D.O.C) beat James Storm & Samoa Joe after the V.P. came to the ring and hit Storm with the hammer, allowing D.O.C. to pick up the win. The crowd was really into Joe’s signature spots and seemed very impressed by him in general. Very good match.
Storm sold the hammer strike by laying unconscious in the ring for more than five minutes before being helped to the back. The crowd became restless and one fan yelled “Beer guy, get the Cowboy a beer!” This led to a large “Beer!” chant.
Bobby Roode came out to some heat, followed by Jeff Hardy, who got the expected pop of the night.
(6) TNA champion Jeff Hardy pinned Bobby Roode after a Twist of Fate stunner variation followed by the original to retain the TNA World Title. Roode took control from the start and kept it for most of the match. Slow spots, but the crowd came alive for Hardy’s offense. Believable nearfall when Roode brought both title belts into the ring – when Hebner went to dispose of one, Roode struck Hardy with the other, but Roode couldn’t put Hardy away. The finish came shortly thereafter.
Overall, a fun night of wrestling. No action stood out as particularly great, but all of the wrestlers put forth a good effort and put together a solid show. It was interesting to hear and see the reactions of fans who may not be as familiar with the Impact product as many people reading this probably are. The reactions for James Storm, Samoa Joe, and of course, Jeff Hardy stood out above the rest of the card. I hoped for another match, as six seems to leave the card just a little bit short, in my opinion. But for a $23 ticket, I can’t complain. Until next time…