Credit: Adam Testa & Prowrestling.net
The venue has hosted a number of WWE events in the past, and I believe this was TNA’s first outing there. The crowd was an estimated 400-500.
Upon arriving at the building, I began hearing rumblings of issues with talent and a card reshuffling. As the event was set to begin, a TNA agent came to the ring to make the official announcement. Because of regulations of the Missouri Athletic Commission, several of the scheduled talents would not be able to compete. This list included new World Champion Chris Sabin, Garrett Bischoff, Wes Brisco, Gail Kim, Brooke Tessmacher and Jay Bradley.
They announced refunds would be available through the end of the second match. Later in the show, they announced all ticketholders would receive access to a post-show meet-and-greet with the full locker room, including those talents who couldn’t compete. VIP ticket holders were supposed to get a pre-show meet-and-greet, but with the issues, they opened it to everyone and moved it to the end of the show.
The show itself ran 90 minutes with five matches.
1. Bully Ray defeated James Storm by hitting him with a chain behind the referee’s back.
2. D-Von defeated Gunner by hitting a low blow behind the referee’s back. This set up a tag team title match later in the night.
v3. Samoa Joe defeated Robert Roode by submission.
4. James Storm and Gunner defeated Team 3D in a no-DQ, falls count anywhere match. Despite the no DQ stipulation, the referee enforced tag rules.
5. Jeff Hardy defeated Kurt Angle.
Despite the issues with talent and the card reshuffling, the crowd was into much of the show and was a lively crowd. They seemed to generally appreciate TNA’s efforts to make good in the wake of a bad situation. The meet-and-greet happened after the show, as announced.
One other observation, after the show, people were lined up looking at the merchandise stand, but the workers there were telling people they were closed for the night, as they were packing away boxes. There were probably 20 people in line, not being allowed to spend money on merchandise.
In my personal opinion, the show offered a fun night of entertainment. It was disappointing to not see some of the guys I hoped to see wrestle, but TNA did what they could to make the situation better. I had received free tickets to the event; if I had paid, my reaction might be different, but I enjoyed the evening.
From the perspective of a former wrestling promoter/booker and analyst, though, the experience raised a number of questions about TNA’s handling of the business side of things. The licensing issue is a major oversight, and they’re very fortunate this didn’t happen in September at the Impact taping in St. Louis. I truly feel TNA is the victim of much undeserved criticism, but on this night, people – myself included – were absolutely justified in their critical response.