TNA House Show, Houston, TX 5/22/10By Drowgoddess · · 2 Comments
Your friendly neighborhood Drowgoddess attended a TNA house show on Saturday night, and the following are thoughts and impressions thereof:
The show was held at the Verizon Wireless Center, which is a good venue for concerts, but I was uncertain about how well it would work for a wrestling show. It turned out to be a great place to hold a wrestling show, as there wasn’t a bad seat in the house, and it’s a small enough venue to feel like you aren’t watching it all on tv. We were up in the balcony (I had to be cheap about this), but the view was excellent. Though my bf is enough of a wrestling fan to be able to comment on ROH with no prompting from me, circumstances have prevented him from attending a live event of any kind until now. Some of his observations as a first-time live attendee have been included as well.
Jeremy Borash came out and hyped up the backstage passes for the loudest fans. They certainly gave away a lot of them! Borash is so awesome in person on the mic. His energy and enthusiasm are contagious, and he doesn’t get nearly enough credit for being the true voice of TNA. He announced every match, and came out several times over the course of the night to pump the audience into an even greater frenzy. JB introduces “the most infamous referee in all of professional wrestling,” Earl Hebner. A fan at ringside was wearing one of the new Hebner t-shirts. It’s a white shirt with black referee stripes, and it says “Damn Right I Did!” on the front and “Hebner” on the back. Hebner pulls off his actual referee shirt to reveal that he is wearing one of his own t-shirts as well. He wore it for the rest of the night.
1. Douglas Williams vs. Kazarian (X-Division title match): Williams entered first. I hate when the champion enters first. Nice match, with Williams using the technical and grappling style to counter Kazarian’s more athletic style. Kazarian is a good wrestler, but he’s just lacking something. I still say that he looks like Antonio Banderas’s younger brother. Williams retains the title with the Chaos Theory suplex.
2. Madison Rayne vs. Hamada (Knockouts title match): Hamada didn’t get much of a reaction, but she can’t be blamed. So many people won’t have any idea who she is because she isn’t on tv much. Rayne got a huge, screaming reaction, and was pretty funny in her entrance, making Hebner hold the title belt so she could check out her own ass. All the same, most wrestling audiences are going to cheer for the hot chick regardless of her face/heel status, and most American audiences find Rayne more attractive than Hamada, hence the disproportionate reaction. Hamada did the best she could with an improved, but still limited in the ring, Rayne. Gorgeous Asai Moonsault from Hamada. The in-ring work from Hamada gained her a new fan for life in Xander, and he now worships her awesomeness. I think he’s a bit smitten. 🙂 Rayne gets the win and retains the title when Hamada lands a huge flying crossbody, and is carried over by her own momentum. No way could Rayne have beaten Hamada without a fluke like that.
3. Motor City Machine Guns vs. Beer Money: Match of the night. This is what tag team wrestling is and should be. I was hanging over the balcony railing for the duration of the match, holding my sign that read, “I’m Here for the MCMG.” Right before the match started, Chris Sabin pointed up at my sign and waved at me. I waved back, and life was groovy. Alex Shelley was beaten down by Beer Money for most of the match before Chris Sabin finally tagged in and cleaned house. Double teams and reversals and mad ninja action everywhere. At last, two of the best tag teams ever get to simply wrestle at length. Fantastic match, all around. The MCMG scored the win, and life was even more groovy. YES! Both Beer Money and the MCMG have a new fan after tonight as well.
Jeff Jarrett came to the ring, thanking the fans for coming out.
4. Kurt Angle vs. Mr. Anderson: Anderson tried to do the mic bit, but no mic was forthcoming. He took JB’s mic, and ordered him around. This match was everything that one would expect from Your Olympic Hero. Excellent wrestling here. Angle took a lot of punishment from Anderson before slapping on an Angle Lock, followed by grapevining the leg. Anderson tapped. It was real. It was damn real!
Intermission: We spent all of intermission standing in the line to meet the Motor City Machine Guns. I didn’t have anything considered “TNA merchandise” to get signed, and my phone doesn’t take close-up pictures very well, so I was out of luck in those regards. The guy in charge was a bit of a jerk, rushing people along and herding us through so fast that even making eye contact was barely possible. When we got to the table where the Guns were sitting, I said hi and told them, “You guys are why we’re here.” Both Sabin and Shelley smiled at me and said “Thank you very much,” and shook my hand. Booyah!!! Life was super-extra-mega-groovy!
5. Samoa Joe vs. Desmond Wolfe: Wolfe entered first. When Joe came out, the place exploded. Joe was in old-school Joe mode, rocking out to his own entrance music as he sauntered to the ring. Massive, massive chants of “Joe! Joe! Joe!” Great, great match between these two, with all the classic Joe moves, including the walking away from an attempted high-impact move and shaking his head. Wolfe was no easily-beaten opponent, though, and the match went back and forth. Stiff and brutal on both sides. My second-favorite match of the night. Joe picks up the win with the Muscle Buster. Joe bowed to all four corners of the ring before leaving. Just great stuff here. So far, Joe has the biggest reaction of the night.
6. Rob Van Dam vs. A.J. Styles (World Heavyweight Championship title match): AJ came out in traditional AJ ring gear, with no trace of Nature Boy influence. RVD may have gotten a bigger reaction than Samoa Joe, but it was very close. Good match between these two, with AJ not using much high-flying or “OMG!” moves. Loved how RVD kicked AJ in the face while standing inches from him. RVD gets the win and retains the title with a huge Five-Star Frog Splash. His is th eonly Frog Splash that hurts him as much as it does his opponent. Shouting along with RVD’s entrance music is fun.
Post-show: The whole locker room came out, in street clothes, and wandered the ringside area, signing autographs and posing for pictures. Pictures in the ring with RVD (and he would let you hold the title belt) were $20, regardless of how many people were in your group. JB announced that all pictures taken would be printed out and given to you on the spot, and would also be uploaded onto the TNA website. Everyone who wanted a picture with RVD would get one, no matter what. Pretty much everyone did. As I had no more cash, I did not get one.
This is the kind of thing that prevents me from completely giving up on TNA. This was an excellent house show with great matches and lots of consideration given to being accessible and fan-friendly. It’s as far away from an episode of “Impact” as one can get. If TNA would just put these house shows on tv, they’d have a chance at being perceived as a serious alternative to WWE and actually being worthwhile. When a first-time attendee of ANY live wrestling event says that he’s never imagined an event to be so positive and fan-oriented, and that he would totally support the company if they did this all the time, that should be an indicator to TNA as to the direction in which they should go. We had a great time, and would definitely go again. I just wish that I could look forward to watching “Impact” this much.
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