There was a meet and greet before the show with Ethan Carter III, Gunner, Gail Kim, and Madison Rayne. My friend told EC3 that he looked like a “poor man’s Rick Martel” to which Carter stayed in character and simply responded with “How disrespectful!”. Funny moment.
Christy Hemme was announced as the ring announcer to a nice reaction.
1. Chris Sabin defeated Austin Aries to retain the X-Division Championship. An OK match. Lots of stalling at first from Sabin, though the match never seemed to get out of first gear and there wasn’t much in the way of high risk movies from either man. Sabin pinned Aries after a roll-up with his feet on the ropes after a fairly short match. Not much of a reaction from the crowd, but they were into Aries and booed Sabin after he cheated to win. I definitely expected better from these two.
Christy introduced referee Earl Hebner to a nice reaction. He took off his standard referee shirt to reveal his ‘Damn Right I Did!’ t-shirt. My friend and I tried to get a “You Screwed Bret!” chant going, but sadly it didn’t take.
2. Madison Rayne defeated Gail Kim to retain the Knockouts Championship. I will start by saying this, Gail Kim is absolutely beautiful in person and according to my friend who attended the Meet and Greet earlier, she’s always a really sweet person. Madison is really pretty as well. Another ok match that was similar to the first with lots of stalling from Gail to begin and then some nice action from both ladies. Finish came when Rayne blocked the Eat Defeat and hit the Rayne Drop for the pinfall in another short match. Gail argued with Earl after the match.
3. Gunner defeated Bobby Roode. Gunner didn’t receive much of a reaction during his entrance. I don’t think much of the crowd knew who he was at first. Roode received pretty good heat during his entrance with a few noticeable cheers. He appeared to get into an altercation with some moronic drunk redneck in the crowd during his entrance. Security started holding Roode back so I don’t know if he was simply heeling it up or legit pissed. A good match with some nice nearfalls by both men down the stretch, with the crowd eventually getting fully behind Gunner due to Roode getting tons of heat. Gunner ended up winning the match after a roll-up while Roode was jawing with the ref.
4. Ethan Carter III defeated Eric Young. EC3 came out to little reaction, but got a nice amount of cheap heat after cutting a promo running down people from Mobile. Eric Young came out to probably the biggest pop of the night so far. He was especially over with the kids. Not too much comedy from EY tonight as he played it straight for the most part. EC3 got the clean win with the One Percenter after some pretty good back and forth action.
5. Magnus defeated James Storm to retain the World Heavyweight Championship. Huge pop for Storm from the heavy redneck crowd. He easily got the biggest pop of the night. Magnus came out to a lot of heat and antagonized the crowd to even bigger heat. Probably the best match of the night with the crowd super into Storm. Storm appeared to have the match won after he hit Magnus with the Last Call, but EC3 came down to ring to put Magnus’s foot on the rope. Storm chased Carter into the ring only Magnus to hit him with the title belt while the ref was trying to eject Carter from the ring. Magnus got the pin and the crowd wasn’t happy. Carter got in the ring and attempted to talk trash to Storm, only to receive a Last Call to make the crowd happy. Magnus had tons of heat by the end of the match. This guy is gonna be a star.
There was a brief intermission so the crew could put the cage up for the main event. Earl and Brian Hebner were at the merch table for pictures and autographs.
6. Samoa Joe defeated Bully Ray in a Cage Match. Joe came out first to a good reaction, but was attacked by Bully from behind before he could enter the cage. Really disappointed we didn’t get a promo from Bully. He easily could have had this crowd ready to murder him. A solid match, but could have been better considering who was involved. There also wasn’t much use of the cage which made me wonder why it was needed, even though it was cool to get to see a cage match in person. There was a ref bump and Joe made Bully tap to the Coquina Clutch. Joe checked on Earl Hebner, which gave Bully enough time to recuperate and hit Joe with the chain. Earl finally got up to make the count with Bully exclaiming “I love you Earl!” to get a laugh out the crowd. Surprisingly, he only got a two-count. Joe eventually locked in the Coquina Clutch once again to make Bully tap and get the submission victory.
Notes: After the match, fans were invited to get a picture with Joe for $20 a group no matter how big the group was. Since it was just my friend and I, we decided to pass on it. Still, a nice deal for parents who brought their kids out.
It was actually my first time seeing a pro wrestling show live (aside from some crappy local promotion shows), though I will be attending Wrestlemania this year, which I realize will be a completely different animal. The lack of Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, Bad Influence, and Sting was disappointing (especially after reading that Sting made an appearance at a house show in Bristol), but other than that I can’t really complain. Very small crowd who were strictly behind the babyfaces and were very vocal during the matches which made for a fun atmosphere. My friend and I even got some pretty mean looks by the mostly redneck, mark-heavy crowd for applauding Magnus after his win. Overall, it was a very fun show and I wouldn’t mind going to another TNA show should they decide to come back to the area.
James Storm (by far)
Magnus (the crowd absolutely HATED this guy)
Ethan Carter III (after his promo)