Thursday, 17 February 2011

TNA Against All Odds 2011

Hardy beats the odds and Knockouts Challenge a blackout!

By Phil Allely

TNA’s first PPV event on its new UK channel Challenge proved to be the night that not only the company finally came home (even with a slight technical hitch), but the one where former World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Hardy would regain his gold from Mr Anderson in the main event. The main event was an exciting and entertaining one, but it wasn’t the only highpoint in this event, that came hot on the heels of TNA’s best received UK tour to date.

Elsewhere on the card Robbie E claimed his spot as number one contender to Kazarian’s X Division Title after Generation Me were stranded due to travel issues. Fortunately the champ decided he would defend his belt anyway and he took Robbie to one of his best outings to date. Even with Cookie’s interference the Fortune member had the upper hand and retained with a good looking inverted tombstone piledriver.

Next up the boozed up trio of Scott Steiner and TNA Tag Team Champions Beer Money took on the team of Rob Terry, Gunner and Murphy. AJ Styles on colour commentary and the presence of Fortune’s ring masters Roode and Storm all helped ensure the lesser in-ring experienced Immortal members looked decent throughout. Steiner’s first match back in TNA went well too, with him nailing an impressive Frankensteiner for the win.

The ongoing Pope and Samoa Joe feud continued next, with both men trading the offensive and Joe’s cameraman Okado stopping Pope‘s hasty escape early on, Joe eventually took the advantage and struck with a ‘rear naked choke’ to gain the submission win. The cocky Pope’s post-match assault leaving Joe bloody and furious, this personal battle is one that will continue it seems.

In a bout missing from the UK broadcast due to a technical fault (which saw Challenge lose it‘s feed for a short time) TNA Knockouts Champion Madison Rayne faced Mickie James in a Last Knockout Standing brawl. Holding nothing back the pair battled around the ringside area and both went for it with gusto. James saw her title aspirations slip away once again after Rayne’s partner in crime Tara and the ever present loaded glove became involved in proceedings. Rayne nailed a brass knuckles shot to put James down for the ten count and end this chapter of their bitter war for the gold.

Hernandez and Matt Morgan took to the mic next, Supermex’s new pro-Mexican stance, heel status and anti-white stance had the crowd riled up and Morgan in pain with ease.

The RVD versus Matt Hardy scrap that followed was every bit as involving as their previous encounters and the pair were able to bring new depth and creativity to it as well. The back and forth action saw both unleash their trademark moves, neither holding back and Van Dam being fortunate enough to dodge a Hardy moonsault attempt and hit his ‘Five Star’ Frog Splash finisher to put Matt down for the three count.

Former tag team greats Team 3D’s separation has become increasingly violent and with Devon’s sons now involved it got worse. The former team mates Street Fight saw Ray take great delight in punishing his former set up the ‘what’s up’ head butt, Ray’s nasty side soon took over and he nailed Devon with a chair, decked his sons and handcuffed Devon to the ring, he won the match with ease and still decided to brutally put one of the boys through a table for good measure.

Kurt Angle’s very sanity was on the line in the penultimate match-up, he was placing the custody of his own children up against his walking ex wife Karen up the aisle for her wedding vow renewal with current husband Jeff Jarrett. Karen’s involvement, referee distractions/bumps and a lot of emotion played a big part in this one. The back and forth action saw numerous near falls, nice set-pieces and some great moves, Kurt however failed in his quest and lost the match and a chance at custody of his kids. As Jarrett gloated and vacated the ring a despairing Angle removed his boots and (in a move reminiscent of an amateur grappler retiring) he left them in the ring.

The main event for the TNA World Championship was everything it was expected to be, a violent, high-spot heavy ladder-based match up that saw challenger Jeff Hardy in his element and any limitations between him and his opponent become lost amongst the in-ring spectacle. Hardy after a few attempts was successful in regaining his grandiose gold belt and once again hold the title for his faction Immortal.

Against All Odds was a very good effort by TNA, it may have had a few moments where things could have been smoother and better produced, but overall the hits far outweighed the misses. With Jeff Hardy as new champ the chase is once again on to wrestle the gold away from Immortal’s clutches. The returning Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair may have a big part in who does that and where it happens. With a new home on UK TV and some heated re-matches and feuds in the works 2011 just got hotter for TNA.

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