Friday, 29 July 2016

TV Review: TNA One Night Only: World Cup of Wrestling

It’s time to step into the Impact Zone once again as we take a look at TNA’s most recent One Night Only show, the fourth World Cup of Wrestling, shown recently on Challenge here in the U.K.

The show began with the captains for the evening, James Storm, Eli Drake, Jeff Hardy and Mike Bennett picking their teams for the event. Now is it just me or does this segment need to be cut drastically? Over here it lasted about thirty minutes if you cut out the ad breaks, and that’s a sizeable chunk of air time with a show lasting two hours fifty (without ad breaks).

So after what seemed like an eternity the tournament finally got under way with Team Storm’s Trevor Lee taking on Team Drake’s Drew Galloway.

Well, it took us a while to get to this point, but as far as show openers go it wasn’t too bad, with both guys looking good in this interesting speed versus power battle.

Galloway got off to a very good start as he used his power advantage to good effect, but once Lee got the upper hand he pulled off some impressive moves. However, his particular advantage wasn’t enough against the Scotsman, who eventually took the win with the future shock DDT, earning a point for Team Drake.

Next up we saw Team Storm’s Basile Baraka face Team Bennett’s Ethan Carter III.

I quite liked this one. Sure, it won’t go down as one of the best matches of the year but for what it was it was quite entertaining.

Both guys looked in decent form, with Baraka showing that he’s more than capable of going it alone. He gave the former champ a pretty hard time of it, and looked quite good in doing so.

But once again it was the more experienced TNA guy that came out on top, with EC3 taking down the Frenchman with the one percenter for the pin.

A battle of team captains followed with Eli Drake going up against James Storm.

This was another of those that fits into the quite good folder. Like the previous encounter it will probably be forgotten by the time the year end awards come around, but it was a solid enough match with solid enough performances from both guys.

Perhaps the one thing missing was the build-up to a good finish. Instead we had Drake showboating a little after controlling the majority of the action, spitting Storm’s own beer into the Cowboy’s eyes. But when he tried the same trick again Storm took him down with the last call super kick out of nowhere for the three count.

It was back to the rank and file for the next match with Team Drake’s Mahabali Shera facing Team Hardy’s Eddie Edwards.

How best to describe this one? Well, if I’m to be honest it was another interesting speed versus power battle. Edwards put in his usual performance, but for me Shera looked a little out of sorts, a little rough around the edges if you will in what was an okay performance.

In truth the big Indian never really looked like winning, and it came as no real surprise that Edwards took the win after taking Shera down with a leg lariat.

The weirdoes were up next as Team Bennett’s Crazzy Steve, accompanied by Rosemary, took on Team Storm’s Bram.

Another speed versus power battle? Mmmm, interesting booking that made for another interesting match, another of those in which both guys looked okay, with the mad guy in particular pulling off a few good moves.

Rosemary, as expected, played her part in the proceedings, but not even her outside interference could stop the Crazzy one going down as the big Brit took him out with the brighter side of suffering for the winning pin.

With all the speed versus power battles over it was on to Team Drake’s Baron Dax and Team Hardy’s Jesse Godderz.

This one looked promising at first, especially with the technical exchanges early on, but like others before it suffered a little as the match went on. The action was okay, but like the Storm/Drake encounter there was no build-up to the actual finish. Godderz went for his Boston crab variation out of nowhere, with Dax tapping almost immediately to give the Pec-tacular one the submission win.

The second captains match followed, with Maria guy Mike Bennett taking on Jeff Hardy.

Now this was a lot better. These two matched up well against each other in a match which was well-paced and with both guys looking in good form throughout.

Bennett looked good as he worked over the former World champion. Okay, he may not be the Bennett who caused a storm in Ring of Honor a while back, but he was more than capable of handling his more illustrious opponent.

As expected the lovely Maria got involved after Hardy took his man down with the twist of fate, laying across her fallen husband’s body as he prepared to come down off the top rope with the swanton, and when he did Maria rolled out of the way as Bennett brought up his knees. As Hardy writhed in pain Bennett took him out with his miracle in progress finisher for the winning pin.

The Knockouts were up next for their fatal four way match, featuring Team Drake’s Sienna, Team Storm’s Madison Rayne, Team Hardy’s Jade, and Team Bennett’s Rosemary.

You know what? For the first time in ages I really enjoyed a Knockouts match, and it surprised me because it came on one of these One Night Only shows. This was a very entertaining encounter from start to finish. All four women played their parts extremely well.

I loved the exchanges between Sienna and Jade early on, and when Rosemary and Sienna had their games of one-gunmanship as they both tried to take Jade down with a superplex. It would have been nice to see those two heels go at it a little more, but then again you can’t have everything.

The end saw Jade and Rosemary putting together a nice sequence until Jade took her down with the package piledriver for the win, giving Team Hardy enough points to make it to the final.

The penultimate match saw Team Hardy’s Robbie E going up against Team Bennett’s Grado.

Well, this certainly was an interesting one. With Team Hardy already through to the final Team Bennett were desperate for a victory to get them there. You wouldn’t have thought that was the case the way this match began as Grado and E engaged in a spot of comedy.

The match continued in this vein until Mike Bennett and Maria came down to the ring, clearly unhappy with the way things had been going, and as Maria distracted the referee Bennett tried to get the lost Scot to use a chair. Grado was having none of it though, and even though Bennett tried to convince him again Ethan Carter III came down and convinced him not to.

So with things getting a little more serious, but after Grado threw E down from the top rope he climbed up to the top strand himself and sealed the deal with a big splash, winning the match and booking his team’s spot in the final.

And so it went down to the final, an elimination match between Team Bennett and Team Hardy.

Did they save the best for last? Well, I wouldn’t exactly go that far. Let’s just say that this one had a little of everything in it, from the crazy antics of Grado and Robbie E again, to EC3 taking a time out to joining the commentary team, to some nice back and forth exchanges and double team moves.

Eventually it got down to Hardy and Godderz against Bennett and EC3. By this time Bennett was getting really annoyed with his baby-face partner, especially when EC3 did a Mega-Powers and jumped off the ring apron when Bennett went for the tag.

The Miracle got his revenge a few moments later though when Maria distracted the referee so he could clobber Godderz with a chair. He then threw the chair to Carter, and when the referee turned his attention back to the proceedings he promptly disqualified EC3.

Unfortunately for Bennett this left him at a slight disadvantage, especially when EC3 got his own measure of revenge when he took Bennett down with a cutter. Hardy followed this up with a twist of fate before Godderz finished him off with a cross body block off the top rope for the winning pin.

In conclusion – so how did TNA fare with their latest pay per view contractual obligation One Night Only show.

It wasn’t too bad I suppose. All of the matches delivered to varying degrees, although none of them will probably get any nominations during the obligatory awards seasons at the end of the year. The performances of those can’t be faulted, and in a way it’s a shame that none of these matches will have any effect on the current storylines.

As for my prestigious match of the night no-prize, there’s a couple of contenders, but in the end I’m giving the nod to the Hardy/Bennett encounter.

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