“A Most Valuable Investment” ~Or~ “Great Scots”
Greetings, “True-Believers”! This week the scrappy vagabond of a wrestling promotion known as TNA presented the first show of it’s annual UK tour from Glasgow, Scotland. Coming off of last week’s show, there were plenty of questions raised. And since this is TNA, to paraphrase a great Scottish Icon, “Once you think you’ve got all the answers…They change all the questions”. Now onto the show!
The program kicks off with Mike Tenay & Jeremy Borash recapping last week’s main event which saw Magnus pin the Man Called Sting in a “Loser Leaves Town (And Headlines WrestleMania 31)” match. The show then cuts to a raucous Hydro Arena where Magnus, Rockstar Spud, and Ethan Carter III are in the ring. Magnus & Spud get a TON of heat and came across as total heels because apparently the Scots hate the Brits (can’t we all just get along?). Magnus takes the mic and talks about how this is a new era in TNA. The the old is gone & the new is here. He says he’s not sorry for ending Sting’s career because it’s not “Show-Friends”, it’s “Show-Business”. Magnus says he single-handedly eliminated Sting, Hardy, & Styles from TNA; which apparently makes ECIII to feel some type of way (shout-out to Rich Homie Quan). ECIII correctly states that without his help Magnus would not have been able to get rid of Sting (this prompts an “Ethan” chant from the Glasgow crowd). But before the dissension can grow any further, out comes the
Main Event Mafia, Upper Mid-Card Cosa Nostra, Kurt Angle & Samoa Joe. Angle got on the mic and flubbed a few lines before saying he can’t believe Sting is gone (me neither, Kurt). Kurt called Magnus a “Paper Champion” and said he can’t ever forgive him for turning his back on the MEM. Joe then cut a loud-yelling promo about their biggest regret is that Magnus is still breathing. Magnus challenged them to a tag match and said that if he & ECIII win the match, then Angle and Joe are gone from TNA just like Sting. Joe then flipped the script and said that if he & Angle win, whoever scores the victory will get a title shot against Magnus. This brings out Dixie who objects to this. But Magnus shows his pimp hand and keeps Dixie in check, saying that the match will go on as planned.
We then go outside for the first of many vignettes. A deluxe minivan (which Tenay called a “limo”) pulled up to the arena. JB wonders if that could be the secret investor. As we go to commercial. Back from the break we see the Wolves get out of the vehicle. They tell the cameraman that he’s going to have to wait just like everyone else to find out who the new investor is.
Our first match of the night is Gail Kim & Lei’D Tapa Vs. Velvet Sky & The TNA Knockouts Champion Madison Rayne. Prior to the match, Tenay & JB give us the hard-sell on the history Sky & Rayne had in the Beautiful People. Kim & Tapa attack the babyfaces before the bell, but Sky & Rayne soon get the advantage. Velvet gets the pinfall after hitting the “In Yo Face” to Kim. Winner: Vel-Vel & Madison at 2:00. Thoughts: A nothing match that just kind of served as a backdrop for the post-match shenanigans. After the match, Chris Sabin came out and confronted Velvet in the ring. Sabin yelled at Rayne to get out of the ring, and the KO champ obliged. Sabin then berated Velvet before offering her another chance to be with him if she apologized. And then Velvet told Sabin that they were done, striking a victory for women everywhere…Or something. Sabin said they’re done when he says they’re done as Sky walked up the ramp and this story continues.
Before the break we Joe & Angle barge into someone’s locker room and attack them. When we come back from break, we see that it’s Bobby Roode’s locker room. Joe grabs Roode by the throat and tells him not to get involved in the tag match tonight…Or else. We then go back into the ring where James Storm & Gunner are standing face to face. Gunner says that they were a good team, but the briefcase came between them (weren’t they feuding before the Feast Or Fired deal took place???). Gunner talks about his time as a Marine (which drew a “USA” chant from the Scottish crowd). Storm then says that they were a good team….but he hasn’t been a good friend lately. He says that one day his son asked him why he was fighting with Gunner (a question I’m sure many fans in the TNAtion have asked themselves over the past 2 months). Gunner & Storm are about to reconcile when Bad Influence interrupts them,. Kaz calls this a bunch of “Monkey Farts”. Daniels then says that Storm can prove his loyalty to Gunner tonight and challenges the pair to a tag match. He then proposes that if he or Kaz win, they get to have Gunner’s briefcase…to which Gunner agrees for some reason, as we go to a commercial.
Back from break we got our second match of the night, Gunner & James Storm Vs. Bad Influence (Daniels & Kazarian). Storm and Gunner took early control of the match, before the heels took over on offense. The finish came when Storm hit the Last Call on Daniels while Gunner hit Kaz with a diving headbutt for the win. Winner: Storm & Gunner at 8:00 Thoughts: It looks like the Storm-Gunner feud has officially been abandoned, which isn’t the worst idea in the world. Neither man seemed to be comfortable in their role, and the audience wasn’t invested at all. I thought the promos between the two were solid, and the match was decent…but I’m still not excited about a Gunner-Magnus program down the line.
After the joyous reunion in the ring, we head to the back where Dixie Carter is freaking out about the new investor. She tells Spud to go find out who the investor is. We then go to a video package highlighting the career of Samoa Joe before heading back to Dixie’s office. Dixie’s on the phone with her attorney when Bobby Roode bursts in and demands a title shot in exchange for helping Dixie get rid of Sting & AJ Styles. Dixie offers Roode a bunch of money (because it ain’t trickin’ if you’ve got it), but Bobby turns her down and tells her she has a week to accommodate him.
Rockstar Spud is in the ring where he demands that the Wolves come out and reveal the secret investor. Richards & Edwards come down to the ring. Spud pulled out a flashlight to investigate the mystery like on one of his favorite TV cops, “Magnum T.A.” (and somewhere Greg Phillips popped for that line). Spud continued to badger the Wolves, even going as far to slap Richards. The Wolves then pounce on Spud, culminating with an impressive gorilla-press/savant kick double-team move. Edwards then gets on the mic to say that Dixie will find out when everyone else does.
Next on tap is The Bro-Mans (w/DJ Zema Ion) Vs. Eric Young & Abyss for the TNA Tag Team Tiles. The Bro-Mans had the advantage early on as the isolated EY. Abyss then made the blind tag and cleaned house. Then the monster spotted D.J. Zema and attacked him. The ref got in Abyss’ face and Abyss hit him with the Shock Treatment on the ref, causing a DQ. After the match, Abyss chokeslams EY, who then challenges him to a Monster’s Ball match next week. Winner: The Bro-Mans in 6:00 Thoughts: Another throwaway tag match that was helped by the hot crowd. I’m really looking forward to next week, because this angle needs to end.
And now for something completely different…When we come back from break we’re treated to a video from earlier in the week featuring Samuel Shaw & Christy Hemme. Sam & Christy are enjoying some wine and Shaw doesn’t notice that his hand is right over the candle. Obviously this character is immune to drawing heat (shout-out to The LAW’s John Pollock for that zinger). Shaw is giving Hemme a tour of his house like it’s the worst edition of “Cribs” ever made. Sam takes out one of Christy’s hair extensions and excuses himself to another room. We then cut to what looks to b e security camera fed of Samuel Shaw’s secret Christy Hemme shrine (complete with a mannequin with a picture of Hemme taped to it). Shaw puts the hair on the mannequin and sniffs it before heading out of the room to meet up with Hemme. This was just a creepy segment. I know some folks are totally on board with this character, but I don’t see it working. Plus, how dumb/naive is Christy Hemme? And why don’t the announcers alert their co-worker to Shaw’s psycho schemes?!? Just when you think you’ve got all the answers…
Back in the arena, Bully Ray wheels a coffin down the ramp. He grabs a mic, gets in the ring, and asks if the crowd knows who he is. He says he’s Bully Ray, he used to be the President of the Aces & Eights, and he used to be the World Heavyweight Champion But one man took it all away from him…Ken Anderson. Bully calls Anderson out to the ring and challenges him to on final match to settle the score. He challenges Anderson to a casket match. Anderson’s music hits and he comes down to the ring where he accepted the challenge before attacking Bully. A nice way to escalate the tension between two guys that have quietly been having a pretty good feud.
Finally it’s time for your TNA Impact main event…TNA World Heavyweight Champion Magnus & Ethan Carter III Vs. Kurt Angle & Samoa Joe. Angle and Joe had the advantage early on before the heels took control, isolated Angle. Angle continued to play the Ricky Morton role for a few minutes before hitting ECIII with a German Suplex. Angle then was able to tag in a fresh Samoan Submission Machine. Joe squared off in the ring with Magnus while Angle got his second wind and fought with ECIII on the outside. Magnus was annoyed at ECII and Jo took that lapse in focus to catch Magnus in the Kokina Clutch for the submission victory, thus earning a future shot at the TNA World Title. Winner: Joe & Angie at 11:00. Thoughts: I thought this was a solid TV main event. They continued to build up the tension between Magnus & ECIII while simultaneously rebuilding Samoa Joe into a credible title contender.
After the match Dixie came down to the ring shouting at Magnus & ECIII. Joe said Magnus better be ready, because Joe is gonna kill him and take his title. Then Kurt got on the mic and said “The real Kurt Angle is back, and he’s finally ready to go into the Hall Of Fame!”. Kurt told Dixie that she needs to bring her checkbook, and invited the new investor to the induction ceremony. Dixie freaked out and demanded that the investor show himself. Then the arena lights went out and a clock started ticking. When the lights came back on, Montel Vontavious Porter – MVP was standing at the entrance; flanked by the Wolves. The crowd chanted for MVP as the show went off the air, minutes past the hour.
Final Thoughts: Despite an amazing crowd that made TNA feel like a truly big-time company, I thought this was a lackluster show. There was less than 30 minutes of actual wrestling on the show…and the fact that they were all tag matches didn’t help. I thought the Samuel Shaw stuff was too weird, the ECIII-Magnus beef came too soon, and the Joe Park/Abyss storyline has gone on for about 7 months too long. That being said, there were some positives on this show. Samoa Joe is starting to look like a big deal again, the Gunner-Storm feud is over, and I’m genuinely intrigued by MVP in this authority role. The key will be in the follow-up. Will TNA be able to tell simple, compelling stories…or will they simply continue to change the questions on us? And on that note, it’s time for me to make like a tree (or an aging TNA main event) and leave… As always, any feedback/constructive criticism is certainly welcome. I’ll see you back here next week as we talk week #2 of Impact Wrestling from Glasgow, Scotland!