Sunday, 17 January 2016

TV Review: TNA One Night Only Live

It was the first wrestling pay per view of the year, but was it that good? That’s what I’m hoping to find out by watching TNA One Night Only Live, shown this past Wednesday on Challenge here in Britain.

The show began with the first title match of the evening as DJ Z, Crazzy Steve and Mandrews challenged Tigre Uno for the X Division title in an elimination match.

An X Division title match is always a great way to start the show. We saw the usual ton of high-flying action and great performances from all concerned, particularly from Mandrews, with my fellow Brit eliminating both Steve and Z.

This left him alone with Uno. Steve had attacked the masked man after his elimination, doing further damage to his already injured shoulder, so he wasn’t exactly in good shape when he reached the final two, and although Mandrews’ excellent work continued he soon fell prey that Uno’s somersault/suplex-type thing off the top rope, a move which gave Uno the title-retaining pin.

Afterwards, as Uno celebrated his win, there was a feeling of deja-vu ad Gregory Helms appeared on the scene though, but unlike last time Helms indicated that it was only a matter of time before he challenged for Uno’s title.

By the way, what creative genius decided to give Mark Andrews the ring name Mandrews? Boy I bet that was a long drawn-out decision.

The singles action began with Aiden O’Shea taking on Rockstar Spud.

The proverbial David versus Goliath battle began when O’Shea offered Spud the easy way out. The Brummie looked like he was going to take that offer at first, until he gave the O’Shea the bird.

The Thug then proceeded to throw the Rockstar around the ring like a stuffed toy, verbally taunting him on the microphone along the way, and although Spud came back with a few moves it looked as if this wasn’t going to be his night.

But as I’ve seen first-hand you can never count Spud out, and as he began to build momentum he moved out of the way as O’Shea came barging into the corner, hitting his head on the ring post. Spud then centred his attack on the Thug’s noggin before taking him down with his underdog finisher for the pin.

Up next was Robbie E, taking on former ROH star Mike Bennett, accompanied as always by the lovely Maria.

So how did the newly-named Miracle do on his TNA debut? He looked pretty decent in there. These two put on a nice competitive encounter, and although E was by no means jobber fodder he did a good job in putting the new guy over during his impressive performance.

It was kind of obvious who was going to win this one though, and Bennett duly came out on top when he took E down with his yet-to-be-named finisher for the win.

The Knockouts were up next, fighting it out in a gauntlet match for a shot at Gail Kim’s title.

Beginning with Madison Rayne and Jade, this was basically about the feud between the Doll House and the Beautiful People, although Angelina Love wasn’t entered into this one. There were a couple of newcomers as well in the form of Chelsea and Deanna, but they didn’t last long when Awesome King hit the ring.

Rayne made it to the final two along with Kong as the battle royal became a singles match, and although she put up a spirited fight Kong’s superior power soon came into play, and after connecting with a spinning back fist Kong finished her foe off with the implant buster for the winning pin.

Then it was back to singles action as Trevor Lee faced Pepper Parks.

This match kind of surprised me, mainly because I quite enjoyed it. It began when Lee attacked Parks as he entered the ring, and from there these two put on a sweet little encounter with some nice exchanges throughout.

Lee, the man who apparently doesn’t want a gimmick, put in a nice performance. I enjoyed his somewhat unique offence. When I first saw him I thought he looked nothing more than a glorified jobber, but once he got in the ring he looked pretty decent. As for Parks, he wasn’t too bad either.

As for the end, Lee proved that he wasn’t a job when he took Lee down with a fisherman’s buster for the winning pin. Nice work all round.

Then it was on to one of the more traditional TNA encounters, the Monsters Ball match, with everyone favourite lost Scot Grado taking on the monstrous Abyss.

All of this came about while Grado was being interviewed in the ring by Tangelo Diner. Turns up our Pope isn’t exactly a fan of Grado’s work, and in order to impress his detractor Grado said he’d fight anyone. Anyone turned out to be Abyss, who accepted Grado’s challenged and turned it into a Monsters Ball match.

So with all of that out of the way what we got was a very entertaining brawl. Grado gave us a little dance at the beginning before booting Abyss south of the border, and afterwards we were treated to a whole load of weapons-based action involving the likes of a table, a chair, a metal rubbish bin, and a couple of barbed wire boards.

Indeed, it was the barbed wire boards that gave us the holy you know what moment of the match. After a big boot sent Abyss crashing down into one of them Grado placed the second one on top of the monster before climbing to the top rope. The flying Scotsman landed right on the boards, crushing Abyss in-between, although it wasn’t enough to put him away.

Sadly for Grado it was all over a few moments later. His attempt to use Abyss’ favourite weapon Janice failed when he was countered with a chokeslam into a pile of thumb tacks. A three count later and Abyss had the win.

The championship action continued as the teams of Eli Drake & Jesse Godderz and Kurt Angle and Drew Galloway challenged Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards of the Wolves for the Tag Team titles.

The first stop on the Angle farewell tour was a somewhat frantic affair. The early stages saw Drake and Godderz doubling up on the Wolves to good effect, but when Edwards managed to tag Angle into the match it signalled an early start to the all hell breaking loose segment.

It seems as if Angle’s actions in the match were kept to a minimum. He took his opponents on a few trips to Suplex City, and pulled off a few other moves as well, but it seemed as if the lion’s share of the work was carried out by the other five competitors. I suppose that was to be expected given Angle’s apparently fragile body, but it would have been nice to see more one-on-one situations with either Richards or Edwards.

Our Olympic here wasn’t involved at the end though, with Edwards applying his Achilles lock on Godderz and Drake tapping out to Richards’ ankle lock for the title-retaining submission.

The penultimate match was the battle of the big boys between Tyrus and Bobby Lashley.

Well, this wasn’t exactly King Kong versus Godzilla. There was some nice technical work at the beginning when Lashley tried to work over his man’s arm, but for the most part it was just one big guy and one bigger guy beating on each other.

For what it was it was okay, but it was nothing special. The performances were credible, Tyrus’ use of the turnbuckle he’d exposed proved to be a pivotal to the match, especially when Lashley turned the tables on him and rammed his head into the metal on numerous occasions as the referee took a snooze.

This set us up for the finish, with Lashley coming off the ropes and taking Tyrus down with a spear, with the now-recovered official making the three count.

The main event saw Bram and Eric Young taking on the re-formed Beer Money, James Storm and Bobby Roode.

Much has been said about the Cowboy’s return to TNA, and while I admit that I wasn’t really that bothered about Beer Money getting back together it was nice to see them back in action again and turning back the clock with their signature moves.

They didn’t have it all their own way though. The crazy bearded guys did a good job in keeping Storm on their side of the ring, mixing in some sound moves with a few underhanded tactics, and keeping Roode out of the match as much as they could, especially when Storm came close to getting the hot tag.

Their efforts eventually came up short when Storm finally made it back to his corner, signalling the start of.....well, you know what I mean, and after plenty of back and forth action Storm and Roode took Bram down with their DUI finisher for the winning pin.

In conclusion – something strange has happened, because for the first time in I don’t know how long I actually enjoyed an entire TNA show. And before you ask, it’s not because I’m currently on a ton of medication because of my current health problems.

Seriously though, folks, I really did enjoy this show. From the opening X Division encounter right through to the triumphant return of Beer Money, each match delivered to varying degrees, the crowd seemed up for most of what they saw, and the overall vibe of the show was quite positive.

As for my match of the night while I tempted to go for the aforementioned X Division title match I’m going to give the no-prize to the Monsters Ball match between Abyss and Grado. Have I ever told you that I met him before he was a wrestler, at a show in Blackburn back in 2003? He probably doesn’t remember me, but it’s nice to be able to say that I’ve met a TNA star who hasn’t threatened me with legal action in the past.

So with all of that out of the way there’s just one more thing to do, and that’s to give TNA’s One Night Only Live the thumbs up.