Credit: Michael Palmer & PW Torch
Final count – there were around 1,300 (out of 1,500 capacity) fans. The overall show was very refreshing, with lots of fan interaction from the wrestlers, which made for a more enjoyable night.
One thing that did make the experience a bit annoying, though, was that I had Second Row seats… on the normal floor. The venue is a theatre and not an arena, so the ring and about 3-4 rows of ringside seats were on the stage, which was raised off the normal floor. So, if you had front row seats in the general audience area then you really couldn’t see the action all that well. Basically that type of seating severely undervalues the more expensive front row seats and causes the much cheaper mezzanine seats to actually be valued more because you could actually see everything from there.
TNA did a special Jeff Hardy meet and greet prior to the start of the show for anyone who bought a Jeff Hardy action figure from the merch desk. This is a pretty great deal for TNA to help drive sales at live events. The show started around 7:30 p.m. following introductions from Jimmy Jay and Christy Hemme.
Pre-show match: Hangtime beat Dirty Hector. This was advertised as a special TNA Gut Check match for the crowd. Hangtime was billed from Roanoke Rapids to get the face nod, and I believe the other wrestler’s name was Dirty Hector, though I’m not entirely sure because I couldn’t make out his name when he came out. The “local” guy won the match to get the crowd revving.
There was a short five-minute intermission while someone from the ring crew worked on the ropes, tightening them up. After that the normal show started.
(1) X Division champion Kenny King beat Zema Ion to retain the X Division Title. This was a pretty good set-up for the crowd with Kenny getting Zema’s hairspray can at one point and spraying the ref’s head. Zema did a lot of spots where he yelled at Kenny to not touch his hair, but of course Kenny then threw him down to the mat by his hair seconds after that, so it got the crowd going early on.
(2) KO champion Velvet Sky beat Gail Kim to retain the Knockouts Title. Pretty slow match, unfortunately, with a few awkward spots. The match wasn’t really as interesting as the rest of the night would be.
(3) Wes Brisco (w/D-Lo Brown) beat Christian York. Brisco came through the crowd with D’Lo in tow. Pretty good spots during this match, as Aces & Eights worked well with the live crowd. For the finish, D-Lo distracted the ref, which allowed Brisco to low-blow York and get a roll-up victory.
(4) TNA tag champions Austin Aries & Bobby Roode beat Samoa Joe & Magnus to retain the Tag Titles. Austin and Joe started in the ring, but before they officially got rolling Austin did some heelish acts by picking fun at Joe’s lack of physique. This prompted Austin to turn around while trying to show off his body, but Joe tagged in Magnus, and when Austin turned back around, he was shocked and surprised to see Magnus pumping up as much as he could to show off his physique. The match started after that, and, overall, this was a pretty good match with the champs retaining.
During the intermission, they did the VIP backstage pass meet and greet. They offered anyone who didn’t buy the expensive tickets a chance to go to the merch stand and buy a separate backstage pass (good for two) for an additional $50. TNA also advertised what they called a “brown bag” sale where for $30 you got an Impact Wrestling t-shirt, four DVDs, an action figure, a program, and a collectors bag. I ended up getting one of these, and my bag included the Best of X Division Volume 1 and 2, Best of TNA 2007, and Bound for Glory 2011 PPV DVDs. The funny part of the bag was the action figure I got was Jay Lethal, which shows that they’re mainly only doing this sale to get rid of their back-logged merch. The program though was worth the price, I thought, and the t-shirt looks pretty cool, so I think it’s worth buying for anyone else that goes to a live event.
As the intermission ended they announced only two matches were remaining (there were three more according to the website advertisement, but we later found out that they actually merged two of the matches into a tag match when the main event started).
Coming out of intermission, it was Joseph Park vs. Robbie E. Pre-match, Robbie went off on the mic about how Joseph was never going to be a “Bro” and that he’d prove it. After that Robbie’s music started playing and he started dancing in the ring. Robbie got back on the mic after the fans booed and asked if the fans thought Joseph could do better, and of course the fans all cheered. Joseph took his glasses off and asked for the “DJ” to play something that everyone would know and asked everyone to stand up and dance with him. At that point, Harlem Shake started playing and this got cheers from the crowd. Joseph began dancing some, but he was cut off when Robbie attacked him from behind.
(5) Joseph Park beat Robbie E. Joseph was well over, but, overall, this match was a bit awkward. I think that’s what they’re going for, though, with the Joseph character being green and all. He seemed like he was doing things for the first time, which once again I think is the point. There were times when Robbie tried to shoulder-block or bodyslam Joseph and Park just stood there scratching his head as well. Park eventually won with a second-rope splash.
Main Event time. They merged the advertised one-on-one matches of Devon vs. Angle and Hardy vs. Bully Ray into a tag match for the main event. Aces & Eights got a killer heel reaction and Bully Ray got on the mic to eat it all up. He talked about how he fooled the wrestling world for a year and went on to bad-mouth North Carolina. He first said he’d rather be in South Carolina instead of North Carolina, but when that didn’t get a lot of heat he rephrased it by saying, “You know what, actually I’d rather be in New York City than North Carolina,” which got the heat they wanted. Angle and Hardy came out to great reactions; Hardy did a lap around the theatre slapping hands pre-match as well which got everyone excited.
(6) TNA World Hvt. champion Bully Ray & TNA TV champion Devon beat Kurt Angle & Jeff Hardy. As for the match itself, there were the usual spots you’d expect from these guys. A hot tag after Angle hit an Angle Slam on Ray got Hardy into the mix. But, the match ended after D-Lo and Wes Brisco came out. D-Lo used a chain to knock out Angle, I believe, and Ray/Devon got the pin after that.
After the match, A&E entered the ring and started beating up Hardy and Angle. At that point, the rest of the TNA faces in the locker room (those that were there for the show anyways) came out and cleared the ring. Ray got on the mic again and asked if A&E wanted to fight all of them right now, and they all said yes. Ray then stared at the ring and started to count to three for them to run in at the same time. He got to two and then went “Oh, forget it” and dropped the mic. They left, giving the crowd a fake-out moment.
After the general show was over, TNA did the same “Hardy Party” that had been done at other live events lately where anyone could get a picture with Hardy in the ring for $20.