Hardy-Aries ladder match elevates TNA Turning Point
BOB KAPUR - SLAM! Wrestling
Heading into the main event, Sunday's TNA Turning Point pay-per-view was a decent show, with some solid matches, but nothing truly spectacular. But when the final bell rang, the ladder match that saw Jeff Hardy defend the World Heavyweight Championship against Austin Aries took the show to a new level. The match was filled with many crazy, scary moves, and ranks right up there among the best of the company's matches this year.
The match started off intense, with the two exchanging aerial moves early on, such as Aries leaping from the top rope to stomp on Hardy’s head on the apron, and Hardy hitting a flying dive over the top to the floor. The ladders came into play fairly early, with Hardy climbing to the top after only about 6 minutes to try to retrieve both belts (the official Heavyweight belt and the Hardy-face belt). Aries joined him on the ladder, and then hit Hardy with a Russian Leg Sweep off of it. Some heart-stopping moments throughout this one. At one point, Aries shoved the ladder out from underneath Hardy, sending the champ down hard. Later, Hardy sent Aries into a ladder that had been propped up in the corner and then followed that up with a dropkick, squashing the challenger. Later, Hardy stood on top of the ladder and rode it down to the mat, splashing Aries on the landing. In one scary sequence, Hardy was near the top when Aries hit the ladder with a missile dropkick, sending Hardy crashing to the mat on his head. In one false finish, Hardy hit Aries with a Twist of Fate off the ladder, and followed that up with the Swanton, sending Aries rolling to the floor. But when Hardy was at the top of the ladder and actually touched the belts, they suddenly rose up several inches – it was shown that while on the floor, Aries had grabbed the controller and raised them to thwart Jeff’s attempt. So Hardy found an even taller ladder. The two fought atop that one, and then they both rode that one down, landing atop a ladder that was straddling the corner ropes. They used that ladder as a platform for more fighting, culminating in a Twist of Fate that saw Aries bounce off the ladder and fall down to the floor. The challenger dispatched, it was only academic that Hardy climbed the ladder and retrieved the belts to retain his championship.
TNA Turning Point - Full Results
The show kicked off with Taz in the ring and he was joined by Bully Ray and Florida radio personality Buckethead. They asked everyone to donate to the American Red Cross to help people in the Northeast United States who were affected by Sandy, by texting “REDCROSS 1041” to 90999. Classy move to start the show.
The opening video focused on the Heavyweight Championship ladder match between Austin Aries and champion Jeff Hardy.
Match One: Samoa Joe (c) vs Magnus – No DQ match for the Television Championship
A good match that was actually pretty even throughout. Joe hit some of his patented moves early on, like the face-wash boots and running kick to the face. Joe went for a flying dive through the ropes, but Magnus stopped him with a chair to the face. Magnus escaped a Muscle Buster set-up, kneeing Joe down off the rope and following up with a Macho Man elbow. After a big power-slam-driver, Magnus hit another big elbow off the top, but Joe refused to be pinned, and actually came back, slamming Magnus hard. Joe thwarted another chair shot, this time changing his attempted flying dive through the ropes to a complete rolling dive over the top. He followed that up with a Muscle Buster, but Magnus shockingly got his arm up. But after Joe locked on the Kokina Klutch, Magnus’ arm dropped to the mat to end his quest for the gold.
Winner and still TV Champion: Samoa Joe
Match Rating: 8/10
Backstage, ODB expressed some frustration at Eric Young’s recent absence. But after a face-sucking session, all was forgiven.
Match Two: Tara and Jesse (Godderz) vs ODB and Eric Young – Mixed Tag Team match
The crowd with a ‘Welcome back’ chant for Young to start – hopefully his return isn’t short-lived, as his recent Tweets suggested it could be. ODB got the early edge against Jesse, and she and Eric comically beat up the former Big Brother star, until a distraction from Tara gave Jesse control. Godderz looked pretty good here, surprisingly. If Tara’s association with Jesse results in more skimpy shorts like she was wearing in this match, then I’m all for it. ODB saved Eric by spitting the contents of her flask into Jesse’s eyes. She cleaned house, and after she took control, it wasn’t long before Eric dropped trou, and then he and ODB dropped Jesse for the pin after a flying elbow drop (third of the night for those of you playing the Turning Point drinking game. Based on the outcome of this match, here's hoping that EY is sticking around. If not, all the best, Showtime.
Winners: ODB and Eric Young
Match Rating: 7/10
Backstage, Jeremy Borash interviewed James Storm, who said he was prepared for his three-way match against AJ Styles and Bobby Roode. The winner becomes the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship, and the man who takes the pin or submission is ineligible for a title shot until at least next year’s Bound for Glory.
Match Three: Rob Van Dam vs Joey Ryan – for the X-Division Championship
On Thursday, Hulk Hogan banned Matt Morgan, Ryan’s bodyguard, from ringside for this one. Ryan addressed that, saying before the match that he’d asked Morgan to stay in the back, but that was his choice, not Hogan’s. The commentators dismissed Ryan’s chances in this one, saying that he was severely disadvantaged against someone with RVD’s experience and talent. RVD was well in control, but Ryan scrambled and pushed him from the top rope down to the floor. Then, Ryan took control, nailing RVD with a huge spike DDT. He followed that up with the Moustache Ride (an elevated rolling hangman’s neckbreaker), but RVD was able to kick out, and finding his second wind, followed up with a series of kicks and Rolling Thunder and a standing moonsault. RVD then hit a flying leg bomb, and then finished off Ryan with the Five Star Frogsplash. After the match, RVD was celebrating on the entrance ramp, when Matt Morgan came out of nowhere and flattened him with a vicious Carbon Footprint.
Winner, and still X-Division Champion: Rob Van Dam
Match Rating: 7/10
Backstage, Joseph Park confessed he was a bit fearful of having to face Aces & Eights member DOC, the man who put Sting on the shelf. I really like the Joseph Park character – one of my favourites in TNA right now.
Match Four: Joseph Park vs DOC
Not sure why they wouldn’t let DOC keep his name from Ring ka King, “Outlaw” Isaiah Cash; it was much better than DOC. Anyway. Park was billed as being the big underdog here, and he did what he could to avoid going toe-to-toe with DOC. After some ugly brawling, DOC pulled out a ball peen hammer, the weapon he used to take out Sting on Thursday. Park picked up the weapon, but hesitated and paid for it. DOC pummeled Park, grounding him with punches and kicks, and then punching him with a studded belt shot to the head, opening up Park. The sight of his own blood put Park into berserker mode. He temporarily channeled his "brother" Abyss, unloading with punches and the Black Hole Slam. Then his blood-trance came to an end and he was confused by where he was and what had happened. DOC then hit the chokeslam and got the pin. After the match, DOC waylaid Park with some more punches, but before he could use the hammer, Bully Ray ran in for the save. He helped up his one-time nemesis Park and raised his arm in a show of respect.
Match Rating: 7/10
Backstage, Jeremy Borash interviewed Bobby Roode, the second of the three participants in the match to determine the number one contender. Roode said that winning the match would put him back in the game.
Match Five: Christopher Daniels & Kazarian vs Chavo Guerrero Jr. (c) & Hernandez – for the Tag Team Championship
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The match started off pretty basic in the opening minutes, with all four getting a chance to show off a little bit. The referee seemed to not care about guys coming in without tagging, as both teams did that repeatedly early on. After some time, the challengers took control, keeping Chavo isolated in their corner. They beat him down for several minutes, taking time only to dance Gangam Style for a bit – that was funny. Chavo finally escaped their clutches after a big Tornado DDT on Kazarian, and tagged in SuperMex. The big man was a one man gang in there, hitting both opponents with a clothesline off the top. From there, business picked up all over, with Chavo hitting two amigos on Kazarian and then all three on Daniels. Hernandez then dumped Kazarian over the top to the floor, leaving Daniels prone for a Doomsday Device-like high cross body and the pin.
Winners, and still Tag Team Champions: Chavo Guerrero Jr. & Hernandez
Match Rating: 7/10
Backstage, Jeremy Borash interviewed the third participant in the three-way stipulation match, AJ Styles. Styles said that after a year of distractions, it was his time to focus on being the champion again.
Match Six: AJ Styles vs James Storm vs Bobby Roode
The high risk stuff started early enough, with Styles flying over the top to take both opponents down. This became a typical three-way battle, with one guy usually on the floor while the other pair would fight it out in the ring. Lots of stuff happened, but the crowd was quiet for much of the middle of the match. The story was that AJ kept missing his moves and something was off about him. Roode and Storm hit a double suplex, and teased reuniting for their ‘Beer Money’ yell, but then caught themselves and started fighting. A series of moves by all three, including AJ’s Pele and a Crossface by Roode. In the end, it looked like Roode was going to put AJ away with the Fisherman’s Suplex. Instead, Storm came up from behind and hit Roode with a backstabber. With Roode dispatched, Storm hit AJ with the Last Call Superkick, and pinned him, knocking Styles out of title contention for the coming year. AJ was disappointed, nearly crying, at the result.
Winner and number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship: James Storm
Match Rating: 7/10
Hulk Hogan and TNA President Dixie Carter urged everyone to order a ‘Make an Impact’ T-shirt to help the victims of Sandy. All proceeds from the sale of the shirts will go to the American Red Cross. Again, a classy move – too classy for me to make a comment about how good the shirt looked on Dixie.
In a pre-taped vignette, Devon testified about Aces & Eights and told Kurt Angle that the beating he would deliver in their match was only business.
Match Seven: Devon vs Kurt Angle
After the earlier Aces & Eights match, this one was pretty unnecessary. Devon looked pretty good here, and it Kurt with some big moves, but there was never the sense that he was going to win unless the rest of A&E came out to help him. Kurt hit a few of his trademark moves, and locked on the ankle lock, but Devon would not quit. They exchanged a series of high-impact moves. Finally, a bunch of A&E guys came down and circled the ring. Sensing an attack was imminent, Angle clamped on the ankle lock another time, and Devon tapped out immediately. Given that this finish came almost out of nowhere, it would seem that this ended earlier than planned due to time issues, or Devon’s ankle injury was legit.
Winner: Kurt Angle
Match Rating: 6/10
Backstage, Austin Aries predicted a win over Jeff Hardy.
Match Eight: Austin Aries vs Jeff Hardy (c) – Ladder match for the World Heavyweight Championship
Winner, and still TNA World Heavyweight Champion: Jeff Hardy
Match Rating: 9/10
Overall Show Rating: 8/10
Bob Kapur gives his thanks to all of the people in the Canadian armed forces, past and present - and especially to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Lest we forget. He can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org..