BONUS MATCH: King of the Mountain Qualifier – Chris Harris vs. James Storm, TNA iMPACT!, 6.7.07
Storm is accompanied by Ms. Jackie Moore. The fight starts on the floor and they take it right into the crowd. Storm throws a beverage into Harris’s face and clubs away at his former tag team partner. He drags Harris back towards ringside and they take turns whipping each other into barricades. Harris gets back in the ring and goes to the top rope and wipes out both Storm and a security guard. He grabs a chair but misses. Storm puts Harris’s head in one chair and bashes it with another chair. That’s a good move to go to commercial on. We’re back and the bloody Harris gets a hold of Storm and hurls him into the barricade, which busts him open. Jackie distracts Harris to stop his momentum. Both Harris and Storm go under the ring and grab tables. They add trash can lids, kendo sticks, trash cans, and handcuffs to the mix. They take turns cracking each other in the head with trash can lids. Harris wins that battle by using a trash can to get a two-count. Storm comes back and catapults Harris into a chair wedged between the top and middle ropes, which gets a two-count. We take another commercial break and come back to Harris throwing a trash can in Storm’s face. Harris charges but Storm hits him in the face with a trash can lid. He sets Harris up on a table and somersaults off the top rope to put Harris through the table. Storm tries throwing beer bottles but misses. Harris responds by Spearing Storm through a part of the set. Referee Rudy Charles finally decides to enforce a rule, noting that if they can’t make it back to the ring by the count of 10 the match will be over. That’s exactly what happens at 9:49 (shown). That was quite the intense brawl for free TV, with both guys just beating the hell out of each other.
Municipal Auditorium – Nashville, Tennessee – June 17, 2007
MATCH #1: Rhino & Senshi vs. The Latin American Xchange
Homicide & Hernandez are accompanied by Konnan; Rhino & Senshi are accompanied by Hector Guerrero. This is an odd paring to say the least. Homicide and Rhino start the match as Don West tells Mike Tenay he loves him (queer). Rhino uses his power advantage, pressing Homicide over his head and dropping him down. He looks to be going for a powerbomb but Homicide somehow got too much momentum and goes sailing to the floor! That looked nasty. Rhino goes to retrieve Homicide and the big nasty looking move that just happened gets no attention. The War Machine hits a vertical suplex for two and then makes the tag. Senshi hits an elbow and gets a two-count. Homicide backs Senshi back in the corner and makes the tag to the much larger Hernandez. Senshi is not intimidated and takes the fight right to him. Rhino comes in illegally and hits a clothesline, and Senshi gets a two-count. Senshi unloads with kicks and strikes. He knocks Homicide off the apron but then gets caught by Hernandez and hurled across the ring. Hernandez throws Senshi across the ring again and tags Homicide. The LAX works Senshi over, keeping Rhino on the apron. Hernandez throws Senshi around, including the Crackerjack. He tries a powerbomb but Senshi forces Hernandez down to the mat and hits a double stomp. Rhino gets the hot tag and he goes to work, hitting Homicide with a powerslam for two. He hits Hernandez with a belly-to-belly suplex. He gets Homicide with a spinebuster for two. Hernandez gets dumped to the floor and Senshi wipes him out with a dive. Homicide hits Rhino with an Ace Crusher, and Konnan distracts the referee. Konnan hands Homicide a weapon but Guerrero takes it away from him. Rhino then nails Homicide with the Gore to get the pin at 8:24. Two guys are so happy about this that they awkwardly hug. That might be the funniest thing I’ve seen in quite a while. As far as the match it was a solid opener.
MATCH #2: X Division Championship – Chris Sabin vs. Jay Lethal
Sabin has been the champion since 1.14.07 and this is his fifth defense. Kevin Nash joins Tenay and West on commentary. The challenger is on fire from the get-go, unleashing a flurry of offense on the champion and not letting him retreat. Sabin takes a cheap shot but Lethal comes right back with a headscissors that knocks Sabin to the floor. Lethal follows him out with a suicide dive, and then back in the ring hits a double axe handle off the top rope for two. He hits a back elbow for another two-count. Sabin comes back with a couple of strikes and a modified Raven comeback for two. He works Lethal over, not seeming to focus on one particular body part or anything. Lethal comes back with dropkick and a clothesline, but Sabin comes back with a poke to the eyes. Once again Lethal comes back with a flurry of offense, including a moonsault off the middle rope. Lethal hits a vertical suplex for a two-count. Sabin responds with a running big boot in the corner. He goes for a super hurricanrana but Lethal blocks it. Lethal hits a face plant maneuver but Sabin kicks out at two. Lethal tries an axe handle off the top rope but Sabin avoids it and hits a series of kicks for a two-count. Sabin goes for the Cradle Shock but Lethal avoids that. They continue countering each other’s moves. Lethal hits a superkick and the Lethal Combination. He goes up top and hits the big elbow to get the pin and win the TNA X-Division Title for the first time at 8:53. That was solid but it certainly could have been longer.
MATCH #3: Frank Wycheck & Jerry Lynn vs. James Storm & Ron Killings
I have no idea who Frank Wycheck is other than he used to be a football player. I have no idea how Jerry Lynn and Ron Killings got involved in this match. Storm and Killings are accompanied by Ms. Jackie Moore. Wycheck and Lynn are accompanied by Kyle Vanden Bosch, who is apparently another football player. Lynn and Killings start the match. Killings takes the first advantage and looks pretty angry about something or other. Lynn comes back with a jumping back elbow and an armdrag into an armbar. Killings comes back and tags Storm. Lynn is able to make the tag to Wycheck and Storm looks like he doesn’t want any part of Wycheck. Storm gets over it and takes Wycheck down with a shoulderblock. He then puts on a helmet and mocks football players for not being very bright. Well I can’t argue with that. Wycheck finally gets his feet under him and he and Lynn unleash some tag team offense. Storm outmaneuvers Wycheck and clotheslines him on the floor. He targets Wycheck’s head, which is smart strategy since he had to retire from the NFL due to concussions. Killings hands Storm a chair but the referee stops him from using it and Wycheck is able to make the tag. Lynn hits Storm with a headscissors, and then Killings pulls Lynn off the apron to the floor. Back in the ring Storm hits the Eye of the Storm, and then gets his beer and spits some in the face of Vanden Bosch. Storm runs away and makes the tag. Lynn and Killings crash into each other in mid-air and are down. They both make tags and Wycheck is a house afire. Storm blasts Wycheck with a Superkick but Vanden Bosch grabs Storm and pulls him to the floor. Jackie tries to defend her man but she gets tossed to the ground. Storm gets back in the ring with a beer bottle but Lynn stops him from using it. Wycheck then nails Storm with a Cradle Piledriver to get the upset pin at 8:55. Honestly Wycheck didn’t look bad at all, and this was a solid midcard formula tag team match.
MATCH #4: Mr. Backlund vs. Alex Shelley
This match is based on the fact that Kevin Nash beat Backlund for the WWE Title in nine second back in 1994. This happened in the WWE, not TNA for the record. Backlund is 58 years old. Even so, he scores a couple of quick takedowns on the 30+ years younger Shelley, who takes a powder. Back in the ring Shelley arrogantly hits a superkick. Backlund doesn’t seem interested in selling, so Shelley takes him down with a short-arm scissors. Of course Backlund powers out of it with one arm and then hits Shelley with a butterfly suplex. Backlund hits the atomic drop as Chris Sabin makes his way out to ringside. Shelley distracts the referee as Backlund fights Sabin off. Backlund drop toeholds Shelley’s head right into Sabin’s crotch, and then traps Shelley in an O’Connor Roll with a bridge for the win at 3:48.
The future Motor City Machineguns try to double-team Backlund but the 58-year-old thwarts both of them with the Crossface Chicken Wing. Kevin Nash and Jerry Lynn come out to break it up, and Nash blasts Lynn with a big boot. New X-Division Champion Jay Lethal comes out to make the save. I’m not sure who that match was supposed to get over.
Tenay and West try to run their stupid mouths about something, so Christopher Daniels interrupts them with a promo in the crowd. I don’t remember what this feud was about at all, so I’m not sure what Daniels is talking about.
MATCH #5: Voodoo Kin Mafia vs. Christy Hemme’s Team
Christy Hemme’s team is of course Basham & The Damaja. VKM enters the ring and Hemme’s Team attacks immediately. BG and Kip take them both out and then Kip chases Christy Hemme into the ring. Before any damage can be done Basham and Damaja come to her rescue. (3:02)The timing of the opening bell seems rather arbitrary. The match officially starts with BG and Basham in the ring. Basham takes control and tags in Damaja. They keep BG isolated from his partner in their half of the ring. Basham misses a diving headbutt and both men make tags. Kip is on fire, hitting Damaja with a tilt-a-whirl powerslam for two. Basham and Damaja recover and try a double-team maneuver on Kip but BG breaks it up. Kip traps Basham in a small package to get the pin at 2:48. That was nothing.
After the match Christy tries to escape but Lance Hoyt stops her and brings her back to the ring. Before Kip can chokeslam Christy, Hoyt turns on Kip, hitting him with a big boot. Hoyt has one for BG as well, and then he makes out with a Playboy cover girl. Why is Lance Hoyt so much luckier than me?
Backstage Jim Cornette is trying to tell Rick Steiner that he can’t fight Team 3D by himself since Scott got that serious injury in Puerto Rico. Steiner says he found a partner but only will tell Cornette who it is. Cornette says the match will happen.
Elsewhere, Konnan, Homicide, and Hernandez sneak attack Hector Guerrero and beat him down. I guess that’ll teach Hector for interfering in LAX business.
MATCH #6: Freedom Match – Eric Young vs. Robert Roode
Roode is accompanied by Ms. Brooks. I think this feud went on for about 16 years. Young is the aggressor early on, as he desperately wants his freedom from Robert Roode, Inc. He tosses Roode to the floor and follows him out with a dive off the top rope. Back in the ring Young gets a two-count. They show a replay of the dive and when we come back Roode is in control. They go back outside and Roode drops Young throat-first across the guardrail. Back in the ring Roode continues working Young over. Young tries fighting up but Roode is all over him. Roode uses a modified Camel Clutch and Young powers out of it and slams Roode down to the canvas. Both men rise and Young unleashes some offense finally. Brooks tries to interfere so Young pulls her pants down. I’m not one of those guys that feels compelled to make a joke about that, by the way. Back in the ring Young hits a flying elbow off the top rope but Roode kicks out! Roode comes back with a clothesline. He tries a knee drop off the second rope but Young gets his boot up. Brooks interferes again and Young catches her, and then piles Roode on top and hits them both with the Death Valley Driver. He goes for a cover but Roode kicks out. The referee is attending to Brooks, so he doesn’t see Roode crack a chair on Young’s head. Roode gets the pin at 8:10.
Roode immediately fires Young, but Jim Cornette comes out and tells Roode that it ain’t goin’ down like that, in so many words. The match re-starts and Roode goes after Young with mounted punches. Brooks tries to introduce a chair but Gail Kim comes out to chase Brooks to the back. Young appears to be lifeless and Roode gets arrogant. That proves to be his undoing, as Young was playing possum and he rolls Roode into a small package to get the pin and earn his freedom at 1:03 (total match time 9:13). These two were a very good team but didn’t seem to have good matches against each other. And also, to put over what an important moment it was for Eric Young, they immediately cut to Team 3D in the back with Jeremy Borash. Gee, thanks.
MATCH #7: TNA World Tag Team Title Match – Team 3D vs. Rick Steiner & Road Warrior Animal
Team 3D have been the champions since 4.15.07, and this is their fourth defense. Rick brings out his mystery partner, and it’s Road Warrior Animal! Oh wait, it’s Road Warrior Animal. Devon and Steiner start it off with some light wrestling. Steiner controls most of the early going, but misses a chance to tag in Animal, and Devon tags in Ray. Steiner responds by tagging in Animal, and he and Ray trade shoulderblocks. Ray tries a piledriver but Animal no-sells it of course. Steiner looks lost in there as Team 3D start working heel. They beat on Steiner for a bit until Animal makes the hot tag. The challengers signal for the Doomsday Device but Team 3D will have none of that. They hit the 3D on Steiner and retain the titles at 6:40. It was probably for the best that they kept that one short.
MATCH #8: Sting vs. Christopher Daniels
This feud looks like a big deal for Daniels. Sting controls the early going, thanks to having a counter for everything Daniels tries. He hits a dropkick and goes for an early Scorpion Deathlock but Daniels gets the ropes and then takes a powder. Daniels thinks he’s safe but Sting jumps off the apron and levels him with a clothesline. They fight on the apron and Daniels flings Sting back into the guardrail. Daniels then hurls Sting’s ribs into the guardrail. Back in the ring Daniels continues his attack. Daniels works the ribs for several minutes until he gets in an argument with referee Earl Hebner. He hits the Arabian Press for two. Tenay still calls it the split-legged moonsault, but it’s not. Daniels hits a Stinger Splash and Sting has decided to step selling at this point. Sting hits a flurry of his dated offense and gets a two-count. He sets up for a Stinger Splash but Daniels cuts him off with a dropkick. Daniels tries the Angel’s Wings but Sting blocks it with a backdrop. Sting tries another Stinger Splash but Daniels gets his knees up. Daniels goes for the Last Rites but Sting counters with a Scorpion Death Drop to get the pin at 6:34. I really don’t get the point of building up this feud so that Sting could essentially squash Daniels.
MATCH #9: No-Disqualification Match – Abyss vs. Tomko
They start off throwing hands and quickly take it to the floor. Abyss smashes Tomko’s face into the steel steps. Tomko comes back by reversing a whip to the guardrail and then hammering away at the Monster. Back in the ring Tomko goes for a big boot but Abyss blocks it and hits a big boot of his own. Abyss crushes Tomko in the corner and then hits the Umaga Running Butt Splash. He goes to the floor and grabs a bag of thumbtacks, but of course Tomko reverses it and slams Abyss into the tacks instead. Abyss comes back with the Black Hole Slam but Tomko kicks out at two. Not satisfied with the tacks, Abyss goes outside and brings in shards of broken glass. Tomko clotheslines Abyss and he falls back on the glass. He then uses a piece of glass to cut up Abyss’s forehead. Then Tomko stomps Abyss’s head into the glass. This is just gross. Abyss goes back to the floor and Tomko joins him, bringing the barbed wire bat with him. Tomko follows Abyss up the ramp, hitting him with the barbed wire bat along the way. They both climb the scaffolding but Tomko gets to the top first. That actually works to Abyss’s advantage, as he grabs the bat and flings Tomko off the top and through some padding below. Tomko’s selling is clipped, as we cut right to him stumbling back towards the entrance ramp. Apparently Abyss also jumped/fell off the scaffolding and landed on Tomko, but they didn’t show that for some reason. They make it back to the ring and Abyss is able to hit Tomko with the Black Hole Slam right into the pile of glass to get the pin at 12:17 (shown).
I remember that match getting good reviews at the time, but it’s mostly just the same old same old Abyss. The big fall spot didn’t make any sense (why would either guy climb up there in the first place?) and most of the violence just seemed for violence’s sake. Then to really show the importance of two guys sacrificing their body like this, they immediately cut backstage for a Kurt Angle/Samoa Joe promo.
Mike Tenay gets in the ring to introduce a special interview video of Jeff Jarrett, the man who founded TNA with his father Jerry. He talks about how difficult and rewarding the last five years have been. The most difficult thing was losing his wife to breast cancer just a few weeks before this show. This was a very emotional segment and easily the classiest thing I’ve ever seen on a TNA show.
MATCH #10: King of the Mountain Match for the Vacant TNA World Title – Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles vs. Christian Cage vs. Chris Harris
Kurt Angle beat Rhino, Samoa Joe beat Sting, AJ Styles beat Tomko, Chris Harris and James Storm fought each other to a double-countout, and Christian Cage beat Abyss in qualifying matches. That leaves one spot open, and Jim Cornette comes out to announce who got the final spot. He says there were only two men he considered for the spot, one of them was Jeff Jarrett, but he insisted that Cornette give the opportunity to the other guy – “Wildcat” Chris Harris. So why wouldn’t they just have Harris go over Storm in the qualifying match?
Cage and Styles team up on Harris while Joe battles Angle. They switch dancing partners briefly, and then Joe tosses Angle to the floor and they take the battle out there. Angle gets back in the ring and throws a few suplexes, and then Joe pulls him right back to the floor. Joe seems to be laser focused on Angle. Cage and Styles seem to not be on the same page as it relates to Cage walking out with the title. Joe grabs Styles off the apron and swings him into the guardrail. He gets back in the ring with Cage and takes him down for the Big Joe Combo. Harris gets back in the ring and hurls Joe right into Angle on the floor. He goes for the Catatonic, Cage reverses to an Unprettier, which Harris reverses to a Full Nelson Slam. Styles tries a tornado DDT but Harris catches him and hits Styles with the Catatonic to get the first pin of the match. The penalty box time starts right away, and it takes Styles almost 30 second to get into the box, so that hardly seems fair. Joe and Angle battle in the ring and Angle hits rolling German Suplexes. Cage tries to join them and Angle grabs him in an Ankle Lock, and Joe locks on the Choke at the same time. Styles gets out of the cage and breaks it up. The action is becoming insanely hard to follow. Styles tries the Styles Clash on Angle but it gets reversed to an Ankle Lock, which Styles is able to break out of. Harris has Cage laid out on a ladder between the ring and the barricade, and when Styles charges at him he gets backdropped right onto Cage. That’s a cool spot. Harris tries to hang the belt but Angle pulls him down with an Olympic Slam and gets the three-count. Joe comes back in and dispatches the ladder while Harris gets in the box. The Samoan Submission Machine is all over everyone. He hits Styles with the Muscle Buster but Angle breaks up the pin. Angle then accidentally clotheslines the referee and Joe locks him in the Choke. Joe actually gets Angle to tap out but the referee didn’t see it. Cage brings the ladder back in and cracks Joe in the face with it, and then he steals the pinfall on Angle! He goes up to hang the belt but Joe joins him and brings him down with an Ace Crusher. Harris once again tries to hang the belt, and he’s able to fight Joe and Cage off, but Styles springboard dropkicks the ladder to knock him down. Styles goes up to the top of the penalty box and Joe follows him there. Joe traps Styles in the Choke but a low blow breaks it. He then grabs Styles’ arms and flings him off the cage and through a table below. Harris and Cage end up on the cage next, and Harris drops Cage down to the ring chest-first. He then hits Angle with a clothesline off the cage. He pulls a Terry Funk with the ladder and takes out everybody. He tries to hang the belt but Cage knocks the ladder over and then just rams it into his face. Cage climbs the ladder but Angle is able to trap him in an Ankle Lock on the ladder! He’s able to escape the Ankle Lock and he reaches up to hang the belt, but Harris goes to the top rope and Spears Cage down to the mat. Angle was able to take control of the title belt, and he’s able to hang it to win the title and become the first-ever (official) TNA World Champion at 19:21.
After the match Samoa Joe offers his hand in respect, but Angle kicks him in the gut and hits an Olympic Slam. As far as the match goes, that was a phenomenal effort. They did a lot of cool spots that made sense, had several different stories going, and the pace was breakneck. This is easily the best King of the Mountain match, and makes me sad they’re not doing it this year.