It's time to step into the Impact Zone once again as we play the latest round of "Guess Who Still Works for the Company", or in other words as we take a look at TNA's latest One Night Only show, World Cup of Wrestling, shown this past Wednesday night on Challenge here in Britain.
It's a four team tournament with teams representing the USA, the United Kingdom, an International contingent, and from Aces & Eights.
Match #1 saw Aces & Eights' Mr. Anderson taking on UK's Magnus. Moving swiftly on.....
Match #2 saw USA's Kenny King facing International's Sonjay Dutt.
The first X Division match of the show proved to be a very entertaining contest. By now you should all know that I'm a big fan of King's work, and Dutt's performance once again makes you realise how much he's missed from this division.
Both guys put in good performances throughout in this fast-paced encounter, and there were tons of great moves throughout as they both came close to getting the pin. But in the end it was King who emerged victorious after he avoided Dutt's top rope splash and connected with his shotgun knees in the corner. A roll-up later and he had the win.
Match #3 saw UK's Hannah Blossom going up against International's Lei'D Tapa.
This match followed a rather simple formula, the small guy trying to take the big girl down, and it was pretty well executed.
Tapa put in a dominating performance as my fellow Brit tried to put her away, but no matter what Blossom threw at her big Tapa just wouldn't go down, except when she dropkicked her knees that is.
But those few fleeting moments of offence ultimately led absolutely nowhere as Tapa came back to take Blossom down with an ace crusher for the winning pin.
Match #4 saw Aces & Eights' Doc and Knox facing International's Funaki and Petey Williams.
This one began when the A&E guys attacked Funaki just after he made his entrance, and from there the big guys went on to dominate the action as they used him as their punching bag, and even though they gave him a pasting the former #1 announcer kept coming back.
Eventually he managed to get back to his corner and tag Williams, who proceeded to take Knox down with a variety of moves with some nice hit and run tactics. But just when Williams was on a role a still groggy-looking Funaki tagged himself back in.
It proved to be a big mistake. Although he almost got the pin on Knox with a top rope cross body the A&E guys went back to their old tricks while the referee was trying to usher Williams out of the ring when they clobbered Funaki with a hammer. The next thing the referee saw Knox going for the cover, and three seconds later the A&E guys had the win.
Match #5 saw UK's Rockstar Spud taking on Aces & Eights' Wes Brisco.
Having followed Spud's career for a number of years I was eager to see how he'd get on in this match, and I have to say that I was pretty impressed with his performance.
From start to finish this was a very entertaining encounter. Spud did what he's done throughout his career, and that's play the part of the plucky underdog to perfection as Brisco treated him like the proverbial rag doll before making a very spirited comeback.
The comeback looked great, especially when he took to the air. Unfortunately for fans of his it didn't last that long. After Spud took his man down with a cross body off the top he tried to psyche himself up. Sadly it didn't work because when he came off the ropes Brisco caught him in a powerslam for the winning pin.
By the way, a little unknown fact for you: I actually met Spud before he became a rock star, way back at a show in Birmingham in 2005. One of the nicest guys I met during my time in the British wrestling business.
Match #6 saw UK's Doug Williams and Rob Terry facing USA's Bad Influence, Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian.
Something strange happened in this match, and I don't think it's something I've experienced before. You see, I actually enjoyed Rob Terry's performance here.
Okay, he didn't actually do much, but his performance early on, playing the part of the proverbial brick wall as Daniels and Kazarian bounced off him and quickly tagged each other so they wouldn't have to face him was pretty good.
Thankfully for the Americans Williams soon came into the match, and although he put together some good sequences with both of his opponents it wasn't long before they began using him for target practice.
Inevitably after taking a ton of punishment Williams managed to get the tag to Terry, who did his impression of a wall once again, but his latest tenure in this match only lasted a few moments before his tagged Williams back in. The former Anarchist then went to take Kazarian down with his chaos theory suplex, but that particular move was stopped when Daniels held on to his partner. The Bad Influence guys then took Williams down with their high/low move for the winning pin.
Match #7 saw USA's Mickie James taking on Aces & Eights' honorary member Ivelisse.
I quite enjoyed this one. It was a nice little encounter that was given a decent amount of time, and it was enough for both women to show what they can do.
It began with some nice technical exchanges, and as the action went along both combatants put in good performances, with Ivelisse, someone I haven't seen that much off, looking pretty decent.
Of course, with this match involving an A&E member there had to be some underhanded doings in it, and this came after James took Ivelisse down with a one-woman flapjack. After James climbed to the top rope Mr. Anderson came rushing down to the ring, and while he distracted the referee Wes Brisco pushed her off the top rope, giving Ivelisse the chance to make the cover and take the pin.
Match #8 saw USA's James Storm taking on International's Judas Mesias.
The final regular tournament match was another that fits firmly into the entertaining category. Once again we had two good and solid performances, and these two were probably the most evenly matched opponents of the night.
Mesias controlled the early going until Storm instigated a ringside brawl that featured a bit of fan interaction. Back in the ring they put together some good sequences, with Storm in particular looking in top form.
The finish came out of nowhere. As Storm ran towards the corner Mesias did a float over. Seconds later Storm took him down with the last call superkick for the winning pin.
This meant that points-wise Team USA and Aces & Eights were the top two teams, although the one major flaw of this format meant that the UK and International Teams actually competed in one fewer match.
So it was on to the final five-on-five elimination match between USA & Aces & Eights.
It seems kind of ironic that I'm reviewing yet another elimination match, and while this one wasn't as dramatic as the one I looked at a few days ago it was still quite good.
All of those concerned looked good here, and there were some nice exchanges throughout, as well as a nice slice of drama when two team members headed for the hills are a slight miscommunication. More on that later. As for the eliminations.....
King was the first man to go. Brisco had taken quite a bit of punishment, but when King went to suplex him back into the ring Ivelisse tripped him up and held on to his foot as Brisco made the cover.
Ivelisse was next. Tagged in after Brisco had taken even more punishment, the honorary A&E member briefly worked over James' arm before James took her out with a Thesz press off the top rope.
James followed just a few seconds later when Brisco came back in and rolled her up for the three count. Storm then came in and took Brisco out with a backstabber for the pin.
Knox was the next one to go back to the clubhouse, with Bad Influence doubling up on him to good effect as Daniels sealed the deal with the BME.
The next elimination was a self inflicted one. Daniels held Anderson as Storm came off the ropes, but when Anderson dodged the bullet Storm accidentally clobbered the Fallen Angel. This led to a somewhat heated exchange before Daniels and Kazarian abandoned their partner and went backstage.
This left Storm against Doc and Anderson. It looked like the odds were against the Cowboy as the A&E guys dished out the punishment, but when a double team move failed and Storm rammed Anderson into Doc he then rolled Anderson up for the three count before taking Doc out with the last call superkick for the pin, winning the entire tournament for Team USA.
Daniels and Kazarian then quickly returned to the ring to celebrate the win. Needless to say that Storm was none too pleased with their presence, and he soon sent them packing.
In conclusion - TNA's last One Night Only show of the year was quite entertaining. Even though it had it's flaws the tournament format was well played out, although given those aforementioned flaws it was a little obvious which two teams were going to make the final.
There was one really annoying thing about this show though, and once again it was the commentary of Mike Tenay and Taz. It seemed to be more annoying than ever, and I must admit I actually considered turning the sound down.
As for my match of the night no-prize this highly prestigious award goes to the Kenny King/Sonjay Dutt encounter. It was, by far, the best of the bunch.
So with all of that out of the way there's just one more thing left to do, and that's to give this show the thumbs up.