Universal Studios – Orlando, Florida – May 14, 2006
MATCH #1: World X Cup Match – Jushin Liger vs. Petey Williams
This is a second round match in the World X Cup Tournament. Team USA is in first place with five points, followed by Team Mexico with two points, and Team Canada is tied with Team Japan for last place with zero points. These men are the captains of their respective teams. This is Liger’s second appearance with TNA. He’s accompanied by the other three members of Team Japan: Black Tiger, Minoru, and Hirooki Goto. Winner of this match gets three points, so the winner of this match puts his team in second place. Later on they’ll have a 16-man gauntlet, in which five points goes to the winner and two points go to the runner up. They trade holds and maneuvers early on. Liger sends Williams to the floor and follows him out with a leap off the top rope. Williams comes back by ramming Liger into the barricade. Behind the referee’s back Liger’s teammates get a couple of cheap shots in on Williams. Back in the ring Liger hits a senton for two. Liger locks on the surfboard, and then pulls back on the neck. He pushes Williams off and bodyslams him and goes up top. He tries a Frog Splash but Williams gets his knees up. Williams hits a spinning heel kick and then mocks Liger. He misses a charge but hits an enziguiri and a dropkick to the back of the head. Williams hits a Tornado DDT for two. The crowd chants for Liger and Williams looks offended. That allows Liger to make the comeback, but Williams cuts him off with the Canadian Legsweep. Williams motions for the Canadian Destroyer but Liger blocks it and hits a pal strike. Liger hits a Liger Bomb for a two-count! Williams comes back with a spinning neckbreaker and once again goes for the Canadian Destroyer, but Team Japan uses the numbers advantage to distract the referee and Goto sneaks in the ring to hit Williams with a low blow. Liger slams Williams down on the mat face-first to get the win at and earn three points for Team Japan 7:17. That was way too short but it was certainly fun while it lasted. It seems like a bit of a waste to have Liger work less than eight minutes.
MATCH #2: NWA Tag Team Championship – America’s Most Wanted vs. AJ Styles & Christopher Daniels
America’s Most Wanted has been the champions since 10.22.05 and this is their ninth defense. The champions are awesomely mean to Jackie Gayda during their pre-match promo. Storm even threatens to kill her. Then he’d be murdering two, because Jackie admits that she’s been crying for weeks because she’s pregnant. Gail responds to that happy news by firing her. Well, okay. Oh, Storm also said they’re not worried about Gail being barred from ringside because they’ve got friends in high places.
Styles and Daniels attack before the opening bell and seize the early advantage. Daniels chases Storm around the ring and right into a Styles dropkick. The Phenomenal Angels double-team Storm and Daniels gets a two-count. Storm comes back and tags Harris, but Daniels takes him over as well. Daniels hits a dropkick for a two-count and the challengers continue to dominate. Styles locks Harris in a Muta Lock and Storm comes in to break it up. Daniels tags in and hits an STO for two. The champs come back with some dirty tactics and take control of Daniels. They isolate Daniels and work him over in their half of the hexagon. After several minutes of abuse, Daniels is able to make the tag. Styles is a house afire, leveling everyone in sight. Daniels tags himself back in quickly and hits Harris with a high cross body block off the top rope for two. He and Harris take it to the floor, and Daniels throws him into the crowd. Styles hits a springboard forearm on Harris all the way into the crowd. Storm snaps Daniels’s neck off the top rope. Back in the ring Daniels gets Harris in position for a Death Valley Driver, but before he drops him Styles hits a Pele right to the head. Styles tries another springboard dive but Storm moved out of the way. Daniels hits Harris with a uranage slam but misses the Best Moonsault Ever. Harris hits Daniels with a Spear for two. Daniels makes the tag to Styles, who hits a dual springboard clothesline on the champs. Storm goes for the Swinging Noose but Styles fights him off. Harris intervenes and puts Styles on his shoulders, allowing Storm hit the Super Swinging Noose. All four men are in the ring and the challengers take control. Daniels hits Storm with a uranage slam and this time hits the Best Moonsault Ever, and Styles follows with a huge Superfly Splash for two. The challengers are shocked. Storm hits Styles with a jawbreaker and scoops the legs for a pin attempt, but the referee won’t count with his feet on the ropes. Styles goes for the Styles Clash but Storm avoids it and hits a low blow. Storm blasts Styles with a Superkick but Daniels breaks up the cover! Daniels gives Storm the Angel’s Wings but Harris breaks up that cover. Who knows who the legal men are? Daniels, Harris, and the referee all take a tumble to the floor. Out of nowhere, er, actually from the ceiling, Gail Kim drops a nightstick into the ring. Ha ha, high places, I get it. Styles hits Storm with the Styles Clash, but Harris grabs the nightstick and bashes Styles in the back of the head with it, and Storm gets the pin at 15:30. All four guys went all out for this match and it resulted in a fast paced, exciting tag team match. The finish was pretty clever too.
MATCH #3: A1 vs. Raven
A1 is accompanied by Larry Zbyszko. For anyone wondering A1 got his name when a ring announcer mistakenly announced him as A1 instead of the name he was going by, “Al.” That’s a shoot. Zbyszko distracts Raven, allowing A1 to throw a chair at him, and Zbyszko takes a few cheap shots before going to join the commentators. The match officially starts as A1 has a tremendous advantage. The fight spills to the floor, with A1 throwing Raven around. Back in the ring A1 rams his shoulder into Raven’s midsection repeatedly. A1 thinks about taking off one of the turnbuckle pads and has a lot of difficulty doing so. That gives Raven the chance to come back with some jabs, but A1 pushes Raven back into the exposed turnbuckle and charges into him. Once again Raven fights back with the Raven Comeback. Raven hits a series of kicks and a lung blower (I don’t remember Raven ever doing that). Zbyszko is talking to the referee on the ring apron, allowing A1 to hit a low blow. A1 tries a charge in the corner, but Raven moves out of the way and A1 crashes into Zbyszko, sending him down to the floor. Raven then hits the Raven Effect to get the pin at 5:20. That would have been more suited to iMPACT!
Larry Zbyszko gets on the mic and challenges Raven to squash their beef. He attacks Raven as soon as he slides under the ropes, and security tries to break them up.
MATCH #4: Bobby Roode vs. Rhino
Roode is accompanied by Coach Scott D’Amore. Rhino is one of the most one-dimensional performers I’ve ever seen make it pretty big. They lock up and neither man gets an advantage, so they lock up again and jockey for position against the ropes. Rhino breaks clean. Roode starts going after the arm but Rhino will have none of it, knocking Roode down with a shoulderblock. Rhino goes after Roode, so the Canadian Enforcer rolls to the floor to take a breather. Back in the ring Roode slaps Rhino and pays for it. Rhino unleashes a flurry of offense, beating Roode down in the corner. He tosses Roode over the top rope to the floor and goes out after him. Rhino goes to the second rope and D’Amore distracts him, allowing Roode to dump him to the floor. D’Amore takes cheap shots as Roode distracts the referee. Roode is targeting the neck, which has been surgically repaired in the past. He hits a knee drop off the second rope for a couple of two-counts. He slaps Rhino a couple of times, which wakes up the War Machine. Roode is able to cut him off with a whip to the turnbuckles. Next time Rhino makes the comeback for real, with a series of clotheslines and punches and things. Rhino hits a spinebuster for two. The fight goes to the top rope and Rhino hits a superplex for a two-count. Roode comes back with a uranage slam for two. He grabs the hockey stick but the referee grabs it and tosses it aside. Roode kicks Rhino in the face and goes for the Northern Lariat but Rhino ducks (sort of) and hits a belly-to-belly suplex. Rhino sets up for the Gore, so Roode distracts the referee and D’Amore gets in the ring. The distraction allows Roode to hit the Northern Lariat for the pin at 12:06. That was a solid midcard match, though it didn’t really do much to get Roode over.
MATCH #5: Team 3D vs. The James Gang
I believe these teams only wrestled one time in WWE, when the Dudleys won the World Tag Team Title at No Way Out ‘00. Both teams are pretty much the same as they were then. TNA guys feuding over WWE history is kind of lame, but it’s not a horrible feud to run in the midcard. Kip James and Brother Devon start the match. They do some back and forth and Kip hits a dropkick but Devon just no-sells it. They make tags, so the more annoying half of each team is in the ring. BG teaches Ray how to do an armdrag. He continues the offense, hitting a hiptoss and a dropkick. Ray comes back with a dropkick of his own and BG takes a powder. They both execute their goofy punch sequence on each other. BG takes a cheap shot, so Devon responds by tripping him from the floor and pulling his groin into the ring post. Ray and Devon work BG over in their half of the ring now. After a few minutes BG makes the hot tag to Kip, and he’s a house afire. Kip hits a couple of Stinger Splashes, and the match breaks down. The James Gang delivers simultaneous mounted punches, but Ray is able to drop Kip to the floor. Ray puts BG on his shoulders and Devon hits a clothesline but BG kicks out. Kip gets in the ring and takes a flapjack. Team 3D hit BG with a double-team neckbreaker and Kip makes the save. Devon backdrops Kip to the floor, but Kip lands on his feet and Sends Ray to the floor. The referee gets distracted so BG pulls out a lead pipe and hits Devon with it to get the pin at 9:36. At least they kept it relatively short.
MATCH #6: X Cup Gauntlet Match
Team USA is in first place with five points, Japan is in second with three, Mexico is in third with two, and Canada is pulling up the rear with zero points. The winner of this gauntlet gets five points, and Christy Hemme will present them with a trophy. #1 is Minoru Tanaka of Japan, and #2 is Puma from Team Mexico. These two wrestle for two minutes and then after that the intervals go down to one minute. Elimination is over the top rope until the last two men, and then it goes to regular one-on-one rules. Tanaka controls Puma, and Petey Williams, the captain of Team Canada, comes in at #3. Williams and Tanaka work together for about 30 seconds before Williams turns on him. Chris Sabin is entrant #4, the captain of Team USA. He is all over everyone, totally controlling the action. The next man out at #5 is Hirooki Goto. Tanaka and Goto fail capitalize on their brief advantage and Incognito is out at #6. He focuses on Williams, sending him to the floor and following him out with a dive. #7 is Johnny Devine. The ring is starting to get a little cluttered. Sonjay Dutt is out at #8 to even the odds. He’s all over everyone, throwing Devine down with a reverse hurricanrana. Team Japan reclaims the man advantage when Black Tiger comes out at #9. Not much happens until Magno comes out at #10. The next entrant is #11 Eric Young. It looks like Dutt and Magno have been eliminated. Dutt appears to have injured his ankle. #12 is Alex Shelley. He and Sabin are on the same team but are not yet the Motor City Machineguns. In fact, Shelley accidentally distracts Sabin and Devine clotheslines Sabin to the floor, and then Shelley dumps Devine out. Jushin Liger, Japan’s Team Captain is out at #13 and the whole Team Japan is in the match now. Captain of Team Mexico, Shocker, is #14. He comes out just as Magno gets eliminated by Liger. More stuff happens at #15 is Tyson Dux. Shocker eliminates Black Tiger. Shelley eliminates Goto with a superkick. Moments later the field is complete with #16, Jay Lethal. The Clock is still running, even though no one else is coming out. I love TNA. Lethal eliminates Tanaka with an enziguiri. Shelley and Shocker renew their rivalry from last year, and Shelley gets the better of him by eliminating him. Dux and Young eliminate Liger, and Team Japan is done. Lethal eliminates Young. Shelley then works with Lethal to eliminate Dux. We’re down to the final four – Lethal, Shelley, Puma, and Williams. Shelley charges at Williams in the corner and misses, and then sails over the top rope to be eliminated. Puma eliminates Lethal and Team USA is done. Puma and Williams now compete in a regular singles match. Within seconds Williams hits the Canadian Destroyer to win the gauntlet and earn five points for Team Canada at 18:35. That puts Canada into a tie with Team USA. That was never boring but I don’t like the fact that they had it end in a tie so you would have to watch iMPACT! to see who would win the Cup. I think Sabin beat Williams to win it for Team USA, by the way.
Kevin Nash comes out and delivers a big Jackknife Powerbomb to the worn out Puma. He then picks Puma up and drills him with a big boot. He gets on the mic and mocks the X-Division. This was one of the most interesting feuds TNA ever did and the blowoff was completely unsatisfying.
MATCH #7: Jeff Jarrett & Scott Steiner vs. Sting & Samoa Joe
Joe is the X-Division Champion at this point and still undefeated. Sting and Jarrett start the match. Nothing Jarrett’s doing has any impact in the opening minutes. Sting is firmly in control so Jarrett takes a powder. Jarrett gets back in the ring and tags Steiner. He goes to work on Sting, but that doesn’t last too long before Sting comes back and takes both Steiner and Jarrett down. He tags in Joe. The crowd is pumped to see Joe versus Steiner. Joe piefaces his much more experienced opponent. Steiner backs Joe into the corner and hits some chops. Joe reverses and hits some chops of his own. Steiner catches Joe with a belly-to-belly suplex. Both men are back to their feet and they trade blows once again. Steiner knocks Joe down and hits the elbow drop for two. Joe comes back with a series of strikes, and Jarrett hits him from the apron, allowing Steiner to hit another suplex and dump Joe to the floor. Jarrett throws Joe back in the ring and Steiner gets a two-count. Steiner tags Jarrett in, and he hits a nice dropkick to the face. Jarrett whips Joe into the corner and charges, and Joe hits the STJoe. Joe makes the tag to Sting, and he’s on fire. Steiner and Jarrett are both in the ring and Sting manhandles them both. He puts Jarrett in the Scorpion Deathlock but Steiner breaks it up, so Sting puts it on him instead. This time Jarrett breaks it up. Jarrett hits a DDT and then resumes his spot on the apron. Steiner gets a two-count. He hits a belly-to-belly suplex on Sting for two and tags in Jarrett. Jarrett locks on a front facelock, and when Sting goes over to make the tag Steiner distracts the referee so it doesn’t count. The two men collide, and Sting’s head falls into Steiner’s balls. Joe and Jarrett tag in and Joe is in control. Jarrett goes to the eyes but Joe fights back with a powerslam. Steiner breaks up the count. Jarrett and Steiner double team Joe, but he clotheslines them both down at the same time. He and Sting work together now. Sting dives on Steiner outside the ring. Inside, Joe hits an Island Driver (I think) for two. Jarrett hits a low blow and the Stroke on Joe. He celebrates about it and that allows Joe to kick out at two. Jarrett tries a Super Stroke but Joe blocks it and hits a kick to the head. He follows up with the Muscle Buster and pins Jarrett at 14:25. I love that this was a straight up tag match with no interference or weapons or anything like that. Joe looked like a major player already at this point. It’s truly scary how over he was and how badly they ended up blowing it with him. Joe heads toward the back as Steiner and Jarrett jump Sting and beat him down with a chair. Joe teases going back to help, but then decides to walk out of the arena instead without helping Sting. Chris Sabin, Rhino, BG James, Jay Lethal, Christopher Daniels, and Kip James all come to Sting’s aid.
MATCH #8: Full Metal Mayhem Mach for the NWA Heavyweight Championship – Christian Cage vs. Abyss
Cage has been the champion since 2.12.06, and this is his third defense. Full Metal Mayhem translates to Tables, Ladders, Chairs, and Chains, so Cage has plenty of experience in this type of match. Cage uses his quickness to take an early advantage, taking Abyss down with a spear. Abyss comes back and charges at Cage in the corner, squashing him. He tries to introduce the ladder but Cage baseball slides it back into Abyss’s ribs. Even so the challenger maintains control and wears the champion down. Cage continues fighting back but Abyss just has too much power for him. They take the battle into the crowd. They don’t stay out there too long, and back in the ring Abyss sets up a ladder in the corner. Abyss sets Cage on the ladder and charges towards him, but Cage slips out of the way and Abyss crashes into the ladder. Cage tries to do the same but Abyss throws the ladder at him. Mitchell hands Abyss a chair, and he wedges it in between the turnbuckles. He tries to throw Cage into the chair, but the champion comes back with a low blow and then throws Abyss’s head into the chair. Cage makes the first attempt at reaching the belt but Abyss stops him and hits a big boot. Abyss sets up the ladder at an angle against the turnbuckles, and hits a belly-to-belly suplex onto it. He goes outside the ring and sets up two tables side by side. He also brings one table in the ring and goes for a powerbomb but Cage fights it off, only to get whipped chest-first into the turnbuckle. Abyss charges at Cage in the corner again and ends up running into the ladder. Cage puts Abyss on the ladder and goes for a Frog Splash but Abyss moves! The match spills to the floor and Abyss tries to hit Cage with a chain but the champ ducks. Cage gets control of the chain now and uses it to choke his challenger. Abyss uses the chain as a rocket launcher and sends Cage through one of the tables he had previously set up. He goes to the ring and sets up a ladder, but Cage stops his climb with a chair shot. Cage climbs to the top as well, and they knock each other down. Abyss recovers first and Mitchell hands him a bag of tacks. They take forever to spread them out, so Cage recovers and hits the Unprettier right onto a ladder. Cage then grabs Mitchell with a uranage slam onto the pile of tacks. He takes a chair and cracks Abyss’s head against a table with it. He sets Abyss on the table and then climbs the ladder. He could grab the belt but first decides to splash Abyss through the table. Then he climbs back up and retrieves the belt to retain at 16:10. That was pretty good for a garbage brawl but the recovery time was a little too fast across the board.
The Pulse: Half of the matches are three stars or higher, and the Tag Team Title match is excellent so this is another solid show from TNA. There was a little bit of everything with the hardcore main event, the big time tag team matches, and the World X Cup matches. It’s not an all time classic but it went by very quickly and was generally fun to watch.