Impact Zone – Orlando, Florida – April 23, 2006
The opening video focuses on Christian Cage versus Abyss for the NWA World Title, Samoa Joe versus Sabu for the TNA X-Division Title, and Team Jarrett versus Team Sting in the Lethal Lockdown match.
MATCH #1: World X Cup Preview Match – Team Japan (Hirooki Goto, Black Tiger & Minoru) vs. Team USA (Alex Shelley, Sonjay Dutt & Jay Lethal
I expect that this match will have a lot of Moves in it. Shelley and Minoru start it off. They trade some holds and Shelley scores the first big shot with a dropkick to the face. Minoru comes back with one of his own. Tiger tags in and Team Japan has the advantage on Shelley now. Shelley fights up with a headscissors and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Lethal tags himself in and Minoru tags Goto in. They take it right down to the mat and wrestle to standoff. For some reason Goto only wears one kneepad. Lethal takes offense to that and hits the hiptoss into the dropkick. Tiger tags back in and Lethal stays in control. Tiger gets stuck in the wrong corner and gets triple-teamed by Team USA. Shelley, Lethal, and Dutt work together as a cohesive unit. The storyline is that Team USA isn’t sure Shelley can be trusted so he’s going out of his way to show them he’s on board. Tiger comes back on Dutt and makes the tag to Goto. Team Japan takes control now, tagging in and out to keep a fresh man in the ring. Shocker, Puma, and Magno of Team Mexico come out to watch the match up by the entrance. Meanwhile Dutt gets triple-dropkicked but he’s able to kick out at two. After taking a beating Dutt comes back on Tiger and hits him with a rana off the second rope. Lethal gets the hot tag and he’s a house afire. He hits a leg lariat off the second rope for two. Tiger comes back with an elbow and a dropkick. Goto tag in and hits a Saito Suplex for two. Lethal reverses a whip and Team USA swarms, abusing Goto with triple-teams. Shelley delivers a beautiful Frog Splash but Goto kicks out at two. The referee has lost control. Lethal hits Goto with a bridging German Suplex but he kicks out again! Dutt hits Goto with the running Shooting Star Press and Tiger has to break up the cover. Minoru grabs Lethal and locks on the Minoru Special and Dutt breaks it up. Tiger tags in and Lethal drops him with a flapjack. Minoru comes in and hits a dropkick. Shelley comes in and drops Minoru face-first. Goto hits Shelley with a spin kick. Dutt drills Goto with a basement dropkick and an enziguiri. He picks Goto up and goes for the Asai DDT but Goto blocks it. Shelley accidentally hits Dutt with a superkick and Goto hits Shelley with a leg lariat. Lethal hits Goto with a superkick. Tiger whips Lethal into a nasty Minoru superkick and then hits the Tiger Suplex to get the pin at 12:02. Everybody was doing tons of moves but they all looked good and the energy was perfect for an opener. I love it when TNA brings in guys for the World X Cup and lets them go wild.
MATCH #2: Christopher Daniels vs. Mystery Opponent
This is the re-debut of Low Ki, who is now known as Senshi. I can’t remember why Daniels was booked to face a mystery opponent but this should be good so I’m not complaining. Senshi hits the first chop but Daniels keeps pace with him as they exchange strikes. Neither man can gain a sustained advantage early on, putting over how they know each other from being partners for so long. Senshi takes Daniels down with a flapjack and then hits a couple of kicks to the chest for two. He hits a gutbuster for another near-fall. Senshi then drills Daniels with a kick to the back of the head but again it only gets two. He goes for a Camel Clutch type submission but can’t really cinch it in so he goes back to the kicks. Senshi hits a vertical suplex for two. Daniels fights back with chops and Senshi responds in kind. Senshi cuts Daniels off with a Mongolian Chop. Daniels tries a sunset flip but Senshi counters with a double stomp for two. Senshi keeps Daniels grounded with a bearhug. He goes for the Tidal Wave but Daniels avoids it and hits an enziguiri. Daniels unleashes a series of strikes and suplexes Senshi right into the cage. He follows up with an STO for two. A Blue Thunder Driver gets another near-fall. Senshi fights back by dropping Daniels right on his face for a two-count. He goes for the Ki Krusher but Daniels blocks it. Senshi then hits the shotgun dropkick into the corner for a two-count. Daniels comes back with a Death Valley Driver and then connects with the Best Moonsault Ever but Senshi kicks out! He goes for the Iconoclasm but Senshi fights out and they battle on the top rope. Daniels sets up for Super Angel’s Wings but Senshi pushes him off. Senshi then goes for the Warrior’s Way but misses it. Daniels hits a Flatliner and then goes for Angel’s Wings but Senshi backdrops Daniels and holds him down while putting his feet on the turnbuckle for additional leverage to get the pin at 12:06. That was a really good match between two guys who know each other very well, and it lends itself to a rematch. I’m pretty sure they didn’t do one, but that’s TNA for you.
MATCH #3: Arm Wrestling Match – Konnan vs. Bullet Bob Armstrong
I don’t really do play-by-play for Arm Wrestling matches. I just find it unfortunate that the managers take precedence over wrestlers in any feud. The 66-year-old Armstrong beats Konnan in 0:54, and then LAX and the James Gang gets in the ring and face off. Bullet Bob and the James Gang get to deliver 10 lashes with a leather strap to each of their rivals. They hit them a couple of times and LAX bails. That was not interesting or entertaining in the least. Oh yes, I’m rating an Arm Wrestling Contest.
MATCH #4: Six-Man Xscape Match – Chase Stevens vs. Chris Sabin vs. Elix Skipper vs. Petey Williams vs. Puma vs. Shark Boy
Skipper is accompanied by Simon Diamond and Williams is accompanied by Scott D’Amore. Williams and Boy start the match with some chain wrestling. The camera decides to focus on D’Amore telling Tenay and West that he has made an agreement with Diamond that Williams and Skipper will work together to eliminate everyone else. That’s something that could be done in a pre-match promo rather than taking away from an ongoing match. Anyway, Puma tags in and Boy hits him with a dropkick and a headscissors. Puma comes back with a belly-to-back suplex and then goes up top. Boy knocks him down with a dropkick and hits a rana. He goes back up top and hits a missile dropkick. Skipper tags in and hits Boy with a spin kick. Boy comes back with a Stratusfaction bulldog off the cage for two. Skipper comes back with a belly-to-back suplex and a headstand legdrop for two. He goes up top and Boy joins him up there for a Russian Legsweep all the way down to the mat. Williams tags Skipper and immediately hits a prone Boy with the Canadian Destroyer to eliminate him at 5:03. Sabin comes in and takes it right to his old rival from Team Canada. Williams comes back and hits a tornado DDT for two. Sabin fights back with an enziguiri and then tags Stevens in for the first time. Everyone takes a shot at Stevens and he throws everyone around. Skipper hits the Coronation on Puma and everyone is down. Stevens is the first one up and he climbs to the top of the cage and everyone conveniently gathers together so that Stevens can execute a Shooting Star Press and somehow NOBODY catches him. I would be pissed at those other four guys. Stevens covers Williams and then Skipper but only gets two-counts. Skipper then hits Stevens with the Sudden Death to eliminate him at 8:53. He hits Sabin with a spinebuster and goes for the pin but Williams double crosses Skipper and rolls him up to eliminate him at 9:36! Williams catapults Puma right into Sabin’s arms and Sabin hits the Cradle Shock to eliminate Puma at 10:23. We’re down to the final two, so the winner has to escape the cage. They head right up top and try to climb over. Neither can make it at this point. Sabin throws Williams into the corner and hits a running Yakuza Kick. He follows up with the hesitation dropkick. Sabin climbs over the cage but D’Amore stops him from hitting the floor. That allows Williams to catch up and they fight on the side of the cage. Sabin knocks Williams down and he lands on D’Amore’s shoulders, not touching the floor. Sabin jumps down to win the match at 12:49. That was the usual hodgepodge of spots with nothing else going on.
MATCH #5: TNA X-Division Championship Match – Samoa Joe vs. Sabu
Sabu is coming into this match with a broken arm. Joe has been the champion since 4.13.06 and this is his first defense. Sabu throws a chair at Joe right off the bat but Joe ducks and we’re underway. He dropkicks Joe’s knee and locks on a Camel Clutch. Joe fights out and unleashes a series of kicks to the chest. Sabu picks up the chair and whips it at Joe’s face. He covers but barely gets a one-count. Joe fights back with a series of jabs. He throws Sabu into the cage and then chokes him down. He whips Sabu into the other side of the cage, and Sabu is busted open now. Joe hits the Big Joe Combo. Sabu fights back and throws Joe into the turnbuckles. He sets up a chair and hits Poetry in Motion. Sabu follows up with a chair-assisted legdrop, and then hits a triple jump legdrop. He pulls out a spike but Joe avoids it and locks on a Cross Armbreaker. The referee grabs the spike from Sabu, who reaches the ropes. Joe gets vicious in his attack on Sabu’s broken arm now. Sabu fights back and climbs up to the top rope. Joe joins him up there and hits a Super Ace Crusher but Sabu kicks out at two! He goes for a knee drop but Sabu avoids it and sets up the chair again. Sabu goes for another Triple Jump but Joe pops up and throws the chair at Sabu. Joe follows up with Muscle Buster to get the pin at 6:13. That was understandably short given Sabu’s condition, but they packed a lot in there. I think they were hampered by the cage, and could really tear it up if they had ringside at their disposal.
MATCH #6: Anthem Match – Team Canada (Bobby Roode, Eric Young & A1) vs. Team 3D (Brother Ray, Brother Devon & Brother Runt)
This is essentially a Capture the Flag match. Young and Runt stand on the top rope near their respective flags to play goalie. Meanwhile Roode and A1 battle Ray and Devon. Runt and Young get themselves involved briefly and then go back to their posts. That doesn’t last too long before both men are pulled into the fray. Ray and Roode battle up on the top rope and Ray takes him down with a Super Bubba Bomb. Then Devon takes A1 out with a Super Russian Legsweep. Runt knocks Young off the ropes and hits a double stomp. He goes for the flag but Roode cuts him off. Roode then hits Runt with a spinebuster. Team 3D grabs Roode and hit him with the Sidewinder. The referee gets bumped and Team 3D hits the double-team neckbreaker. Don West calls it the 3D even though it’s not just like Jim Ross used to do. They hit A1 with a double flapjack. Then they deliver the What’s up to Young. Ray climbs up and captures the flag but the referee is down so the match will continue. Runt tries the Acid Drop on A1 but Roode grabs him and powerbombs him into the cage. Young then replaces the American flag and D’Amore hits the gatekeeper and opens the cage door to throw a table in. They set Runt up on the table. Young goes for a Macho Elbow but he misses and crashes through the table. Runt hits A1 with the Acid Drop. Ray and Devon recover and they hit Roode with the 3D. This time they capture the flag for real to win the match at 8:45. That was exactly like every other Team 3D match but at least it was energetic.
TNA Management Announcement
Christy Hemme makes her TNA debut to deliver a message to Mike Tenay. That’s money well spent. Tenay announces that they are going to make another announcement in the near future that TNA will soon reveal the new public face of management, or some stupid title. This person has already put Larry Zbyszko on probation. Zbyszko of course is not pleased with this news. Secondably, Raven has also been reinstated. The man himself comes out and chases Zbyszko around ringside.
MATCH #7: NWA Heavyweight Championship Match – Christian Cage vs. Abyss
Cage has been the champion since 2.12.06 and this is his second defense. Abyss leaves the cage and attacks the champion in the aisle but Cage is ready for him. They battle around ringside and take it into the crowd. Abyss overpowers the champion and slams his head off the steel steps. He tries to swing the door into Cage’s face, but the champion avoids it and slams it repeatedly into Abyss’s arm. Cage gets distracted by Jim Mitchell and Abyss slams the door into his face.
They finally make it into the cage and Abyss is firmly in control. Cage fights back with punches but Abyss grabs him and press slams him into the cage. Abyss hurls the champion into the air and he crashes down hard on the mat. That gets a two-count. Abyss is looking dominant. He goes for Shock Treatment but Cage slips out, only to get picked up in a powerbomb and driven into the cage. Abyss then repeats the move. Cage fights back and sends a charging Abyss into the cage. The referee gets bumped for the second match in a row. Cage hits a Tornado DDT but there’s no referee to count. Mitchell tosses Abyss the NWA Championship belt but Cage avoids it and hits the Unprettier! The referee recovers but Abyss kicks out at two. Cage goes to the top of the cage and hits a Frog Splash! Amazingly Abyss kicks out again! Cage tries another Unprettier but Abyss reverses to the Shock Treatment. Abyss spreads out some thumbtacks now, but it gives Cage the chance to recover and wear Abyss out with Mitchell’s cane. Cage goes back to the top of the cage and this time Abyss throws the referee into the cage and Cage falls down in a repeat of last year’s spot with AJ Styles. Abyss climbs up top too and goes for a Chokeslam but Cage fights it off and hits a Sunset Bomb into the tacks. That’s the exact same spot they did last year. This time the referee is out though so no one can make the count. Referee Rudy Charles unlocks the cage door and referee Slick Johnson slides in to make the count but Abyss kicks out at two. Cage grabs the title belt and charges but Abyss hits the Black Hole Slam for two! Now Mitchell gives Abyss another bag of tacks. Abyss goes for a Chokeslam but Cage counters and hits the Unprettier right on the tacks to get the pin at an official time of 14:06. This was a smartly worked big man versus little man match with some good high spots. Cage really came into his own as a main event guy in TNA.
Cage celebrates for a bit before heading to the back. Then he foolishly goes back to the ring to try and get revenge on Mitchell, and Abyss takes him down from behind. Abyss then lays Cage out with a steel chain. He chokes Cage out with the chain over the ropes, and then they steal the NWA Title belt.
MATCH #8: Lethal Lockdown – Sting, AJ Styles, Ron Killings & Rhino vs. Jeff Jarrett, Scott Steiner & America’s Most Wanted
Chris Harris will start the match for Team Jarrett. AJ Styles draws number two and they’ll go one-on-one for the first five minutes. Harris takes the first advantage, but when he tries to throw Style’s face into the cage it gets blocked. Styles busts out of a headlock and goes for the dropkick but Harris avoids it. He’s not so lucky the second time though. They go back and forth exchanging moves while Jackie Gayda and Gail Kim look on from ringside. Harris is already busted open, as we get close to another entrant coming in. Harris hits the Catatonic but Styles kicks out at two. Styles then hits the Styles Clash for another two-count. The funny thing is that pins don’t count until all eight men are out there. James Storm is the next entrant. Styles kicks the door into Gail Kim, and she falls down hard. Then for some reason she gets right back up. The intervals are two minutes now. Storm works on a tired out Styles, hitting the Eye of the Storm. Styles is bleeding now too as the tag team champions double team him. Rhino is the fourth entrant. He is a house afire on both Harris and Storm. He hits a Spinebuster on Harris. He goes for the Gore on Storm, but he sidesteps it and Rhino crashes into the cage. AMW takes control now, and they have less than a minute until the third man for their team is coming out. That third teammate is Jeff Jarrett. Rhino leaves the cage and meets Jarrett up the entrance ramp. Looks like Rhino is busted open as well. Styles joins Rhino in beating on Jarrett outside the ring. They toss him into the cage and it’s three-on-two so Team Jarrett quickly gains control. The odds are evened up when Ron Killings joins the match. Truth goes after everyone and does some dancing. Harris grabs him for a suplex but Truth reverses it to a stunner of sorts. Styles goes to the top of the cage, and it seems like he only went up there to set up one of those Tower of Doom spots, because there’s no other real reason for him to have gone up there.
Scott Steiner enters the ring now, and it’s his TNA in-ring debut. He starts throwing suplexes left and right and does pushups. Sting finally comes out to even the sides, and now the ceiling will come down. He of course fights off all four men with little difficulty. He stacks all of them up in the corner and hits a Stinger Splash onto the whole team. The roof comes down, complete with a fireworks display. Okay. The good guys get control of the weapons and they deliver a beating. Pinfalls are now in play. Storm climbs through the roof and Styles follows, and now they’re on the roof. Good thing there’s a ladder and a table up there. Gail Kim tries to climb up there, but Styles steps on her fingers and Jackie pulls her pants off. Back in the ring Sting and Jarrett both have guitars, but then Sting switches to a baseball bat. That breaks Jarrett’s guitar, so Sting goes back to his. Steiner this a low blow before Sting can hit Jarrett. Back on the roof, Styles has Storm set up on a table and then sets up the ladder. He climbs up and grabs onto the steel truss holding up the cage and plashes Storm through the table. Back in the ring Jarrett hits the Stroke on Truth on a chair. Rhino hits the Gore on Jarrett. Then Steiner hits a belly-to-belly on Rhino and then locks on the Steiner Recliner. Sting breaks that up with the Scorpion Death Drop. Harris hits Sting with handcuffs. He puts on the Sharpshooter but Sting reverses it to the Scorpion Deathlock and Harris taps out at 23:49. That was a fun chaotic brawl, and that Styles spot on top of the cage was pretty wicked.
The Pulse: A trio of three-and-a-half star matches and a fun main event make this an easy show to get through. I love the focus on the X-Division, with literally half of the matches being X-Division encounters, which would be impossible to do today with the way they treat that division. Nothing here is essential but it’s a pleasant enough diversion.