Credit: Tony Spivey & PWinsider
They opened the show with a title match! Bully Ray vs. new champ Chris Sabin. Bully cut a promo about being screwed out of the title, demanded a rematch before the night was over. Sabin came out and said we didn’t have to wait, he would make Bully “Hail Sabin” right now. Decent match with Bully continuing to work on Sabin’s knees. Sabin gets with win with some sort of surprise rollup. Don’t really know what to call it, but it looked cool.
Second was BFG match, Samoa Joe vs. Jay Bradley. Surprising amount of offense for Bradley, I thought. Joe is a freakin’ machine. How a man that size pulls off the moves he does, I don’t know. Joe teased the muscle buster, Bradley countered, Joe gets a pin for the win.
I have to note some of my memory is clouded by the distraction of Christy Hemme as the ring announcer. Frankly, TV does none of the Knockouts justice, they are beautiful, but Christy…wow.
Note from Dave: Who wouldn’t be distracted?
Next up, a Knockouts match with Gail Kim and Miss Tessmacher. Tess was really over with the crowd, probably because of her autograph/photo session prior to the show. She knows how to work a crowd, and is extremely likeable. The match was pretty back and forth, nothing spectacular, Gail getting the win. Tess put on a little dancing show for the crowd, post match.
Next was the tag match, Gunner and James Storm vs. Bischoff/Brisco. Really a fun match until Storm apparently got hurt. Bischoff was pulling hair constantly with Storm, Earl Hebner (who is much funnier than I expected) would never catch it. Then when Storm would go on offense, Bischoff would loudly complain that Storm was pulling hair, continually whining to Earl. Storm said something to Earl, threw Bischoff into the ropes. Storm AND Earl gave him a two-man hip toss. Crowd ate that up. Towards the end of the match, Storm took a move from Bischoff (I believe, was taking photos, watching for Gunner to come in and clean house). Storm tagged Gunner, rolled out of the ring, and just lay on the floor for a long time. To me, it was obvious Earl figured out what was going on, told the boys to take it home, and Gunner ended up with the pin for the victory. Storm was beginning to move a little obviously in pain, couldn’t really tell what body part he was favoring. A stretcher was rolled out, but after EMT’s worked with him for a while, he was able to make it to the back with Gunner’s help. The man was obviously in pain. Intermission was quickly called.
After the intermission, Devon vs. Kurt Angle. I should point out all Aces and Eights members (except Bully) made their entrances from the crowd, not the aisle. Atlas Security leading the way, of course. This was probably my favorite match of the night. No one throws a suplex like Angle. Textbook brawler versus wrestler kind of match, good back and forth action. One thing young guys could learn from Devon and Bully Ray, is how to continue being a heel during the match. The joy of sitting first row is being able to hear all the chatter. Bully and Devon NEVER stop talking. I was expecting Angle to go over. The crowd was big on Angle, and it just felt like from a booking standpoint, we were due for a face win. Sad to say, Devon got the win, and I’m not sure exactly what happened, other than it was a pinfall. Kind of caught me off guard. Angle sold for quite a while, then gave a very nice “thank you” speech to the fans, seemed very genuine in appreciation for the chants that broke out.
Then time for the main event. Yeah, a little on the short side tonight, which would be my only complaint. Then again, they just did live TV the night before. Probably not the best scheduling. Main event was Jeff Hardy vs. Bobby Roode. Biggest pop of the night for Hardy. I was surprised he was on the card, since he’s not been on TV much lately. I’m not the biggest Hardy fan, but he is good with his fans. He made his way around the ring slapping hands, and took some time to hug a few, and made sure kids and folks in wheel chairs got a chance to say hi. Match was decent, but to me not as good as Angle/Devon. Didn’t tell a story as much. Both men got in signature moves (no Swanton though). Roode nailed a spinebuster and someone in the crowd yelled “Triple H does it better”. If looks could kill….Roode was not happy! Roode picked up Hardy almost like setting up for a pile driver, Hardy got free, shot Roode off the ropes, then caught him for the Twist of Fate for the win.
To sum it up, Sabin over Bully Ray, Samoa Joe over Jay Bradley, Gail Kim over Miss Tessmacher, Storm/Gunner over Bischoff/Briscoe, Devon over Angle, Hardy over Roode, all by pinfall.
Not good at estimating crowd size, but it wasn’t much. I will say it was a buying crowd. Merchandise table was pretty busy, lots of people carrying items around with them. I did the pre-show meet and greet, and could not pass up a chance for a photo with Miss Tessmacher. Yes, some of the extras cost a few more dollars, but you will not get treated better at any wrestling event. For all the things they do wrong, Impact does their best to make the fans feel special.