Angle-Styles good, but not enough to save Genesis
By BOB KAPUR -- SLAM! Wrestling
In Star Trek II, Mr. Spock said in reference to Project Genesis that “As a matter of cosmic history, it has always been easier to destroy than to create.” Tonight’s pay-per-view offering, Genesis marks the start of the Hulk Hogan era of TNA -- it remains to see whether it will help create a new industry leader, or destroy everything that the company has accomplished to date.
The influence of Hogan and his business partner Eric Bischoff was front and centre, as they started the show by making their way to the new 4-sided ring. Yes, that’s right -- the company has scrapped their 6-sided ring and gone back to a traditional squared circle. While the crowd in the Impact Zone didn’t seem to be pleased with the change, chanting “We want six sides!”, their concerns were summarily dismissed by Bischoff and Hogan, who said that this marked one of several changes to come. The two of them took potshots at Vince McMahon and the WWE term “sports entertainment," and essentially declared war on that company, asking Vince “Whatchoo gonna do?”
Fortunately, the change didn’t seem to affect the combatants in the main event match for the TNA Heavyweight Championship, AJ Styles and challenger Kurt Angle. The two put on the best match of the night, going nearly a half hour, and waking up the crowd which had been uncharacteristically quiet for much of the night.
After several minutes with no man being able to get an advantage, Styles was the first to get something started after a beautiful high dropkick and a hard backbreaker. Angle avoided an aerial attack on the floor, and managed to stun AJ with a clothesline on the outside. Back in the ring, Kurt used his wrestling skill to slow things down. As Styles fought back, Ric Flair came down the ramp (now elevated and extending all the way to the apron -- another change) and stood ringside to watch the action. His appearance seemed to trigger something, because things picked up quickly. AJ hit a flying somersault dive over the top onto Angle on the floor, and in the ring, nailed Kurt with a flying forearm smash from the top. Angle persevered and hit a series of Germans on AJ, and nearly getting the pin. A missed Spinal Tap by AJ and a missed moonsault by Angle were highlights, as was a sequence where each man used his opponent’s own signature move for a near-fall. After an Angle Slam from the top, Kurt clamped on his patented ankle lock submission in the centre of the ring. As AJ was tapping, Ric Flair pulled referee Earl Hebner to the floor where he was unable to see the submission. Angle came out to confront the Nature Boy, allowing AJ to take advantage of the situation and clothesline Angle down to the mat. Flair then threw in AJ’s title belt, which Styles used to smash Angle in the head, knocking him out. Flair rolled the ref back in the ring, and he counted the pinfall on behalf of the winner and still champion, AJ Styles. After the match, Styles seemed to turn heel, gloating with Flair about the cheap victory, yelling that it was all about the championship, and now the champ is here.
TNA Genesis 2010 Results:
The show started off with a stellar opening video, harking back to the days when those were one of the company’s hallmarks. It really highlighted the importance of the championship, ending with images of AJ Styles and Kurt Angle, with the voiceover of both of them saying “I was born to be a champion.”
Match 1: Amazing Red vs. Brian Kendrick
For the X-Division Championship
Brian Kendrick drops an elbow onto Amazing Red.
Kendrick was announced as the surprise opponent for Red, and the crowd seemed to be happier to see him than the 4-sided ring. This was a pretty uneventful match, given what both men can do, and it was mainly Kendrick applying moves on the mat, stifling Red’s aerial arsenal. After a match that seemed longer than it was, Red hit a springboard into a Code Red, getting the pinfall to retain his belt.
Winner and still X-Division Champion: Amazing Red
Match Rating: 6/10
Backstage, Bischoff and Hogan were with Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Sean (Six-Pac) Waltman, now collectively known as “the Band”. Though it had been announced that Hall and Nash would be teaming up later tonight, Hall and Pac played Rock, Paper, Scissors, for the right to compete, since they both had to impress Hogan and Bischoff enough to earn a contract. Six-Pac won. This was like a land of confusion, and seemed to be a lame last-minute way to get Hall off the show. The promo itself was incomprehensible and Mike Tenay had to explain what had happened afterward.
Match 2: Sean Morley vs Daniels
Before the match, Morley gave his towel to Brooke Hogan who was conspicuously seated in the front row, and cut a Val Venis-esque promo. Daniels countered by telling him that “This is TNA, and this is wrestling!” in what one assumed would be a babyface move. But, even though the crowd appreciated this sentiment and cheered loudly for this, Daniels turned on them, telling them that he was going to slap their faces. Thank you, Eric and Hulk. The match itself was fairly solid, with Morley using some power moves against Daniels’ innovative offensive blend of aerials and submissions. In a funny moment, the crowd started a “Sit down, Brooke” chant, because she kept standing up from her front row seat, blocking the view. The ending came when Morley shoved off a top rope hurracarana attempt, and then hit a Money Shot superfly splash for the win.
Winner: Sean Morley
Match Rating: 6/10
Match 3: Tara vs ODB
2 out of 3 falls for the Knockouts Championship
The two started off hard-hitting, with Tara nearly getting a win after a big enziguri. Out of nowhere, Tara rolled up the champ for the first fall. ODB took control early in the second fall, knocking Tara to the floor. Brooke tried to help up the challenger -- it’s bad enough her father is running the company, now she has to try to steal the spotlight, too? Back in the ring, ODB clamped on a body scissors, trying to squeeze the life out of her opponent. As ODB tried to hit a huge back body drop, Tara blocked it, and hit the Widow’s Peak to get the win and capture the title in two straight falls.
Winner and new Knockouts Champion: Tara
Match rating: 7/10
Backstage, Christy Hemme interviewed The Pope D’Angelo Dinero, who said he would beat Desmond Wolfe later on.
Match 4: Matt Morgan & Hernandez vs the British Invasion
For the Tag Team Championship
New tag team champions Matt Morgan & Hernandez.
WHAT YOU THINK
What did you think of TNA Genesis?
It was great - 13%
It was okay - 14%
It sucked - 22%
Didn't see it - 50%
Interestingly, as the Invasion make their way to the ring, instead of showing any of the numerous fans that don’t like them, the camera focuses on the one person in the crowd who is cheering for them, apparently one of their grandmothers. This was pretty much a standard big man, little man contest, with Morgan and SuperMex using their strength against the Brits. The champions tried to overcome the power with a double superplex, but still get owned for the most part. During this match, the commentators pointed out Nick Hogan in the crowd, and Taz later made a slightly veiled dig at Michael Cole. The ending of the match saw Morgan hit one of the Brits with the Carbon Footprint and get the pin to crown new champs.
Winners and new TNA Tag Team Champions: Hernandez and Matt Morgan
Match Rating: 6/10
Bobby Lashley stormed into Eric Bischoff’s office, only to get flattened by Abyss, who was in there for some reason, with a chair. Bischoff admonished the monster for taking out his opponent and ruining one of the semi-main events. Hogan then walked in and told Abyss that he would have a replacement opponent for later tonight, but that he should put aside his hardcore urges for the night.
Match 5: Desmond Wolfe vs The Pope
Wolfe was accompanied to the ring by an attractive mystery woman, but the announcers didn’t know who she was. Not sure why they would bring in a new character without giving her a name. The way she was dressed and her haircut made her look like Stephanie McMahon. My guess is that they’ll name her Steph, which would be Bischoff’s M.O. Anyway, after Pope makes his way to the ring and his music continued to play, the woman helped Wolfe strip down for the match. Pope then kissed her. What the heck is going on? This show has made me break my New Year’s Resolution to cut down on the calories, because it’s making me drink. The match was pretty good, with Wolfe using some nasty offense, including hitting a snapmare right against the ropes, whiplashing Pope hard onto the mat. At one point, Wolfe looked at the camera and said, “I know what I’m doing. I ain’t no dummy.” Reflect on that statement for a moment and appreciate the irony. Wolfe used his intelligent ground-game to apply pressure on Pope’s knees for most of the match, which ultimately played out in the finish. A solid back and forth affair, with both getting bursts of momentum with strong technical wrestling and some great looking high impact moves. After a nasty neckbreaker by Pope, he was trying to charge Wolfe to hit his Dinero Express, but his knees prevented him from getting the necessary speed. Wolfe charged out of the corner and hit Pope with a vicious lariat, taking Pope down and out for the three-count.
Winner: Desmond Wolfe
Match Rating: 7/10
Backstage, Eric Bischoff told Jeremy Borash that he would no longer be appearing on TV, and then had a staredown with Ric Flair. The Nature Boy talked to Christy about being in TNA, but didn’t reveal what he would be doing here.
Match 6: Kevin Nash and Six-Pac vs. Beer Money
If Nash, Hall and Waltman are the Band, here’s hoping this PPV will be their Last Waltz. Seriously, they should really be banned... from my TV. The match started off with Beer Money in control of Waltman, and even gave it to Nash when he got tagged him, downing the big man with a flying tackle by Roode. Storm had the move of the night in this one, when he mocked Nash by pretending to hobble with a walker. After some miscommunication by the Band, hit the double suplex. The crowd yelling “Beer! Money!” must have woken up Hall backstage, because at that point, he staggered his way down to ringside. He slapped a fan sitting at ringside and pulled him over the top of the barricade before hitting him with some kicks. Six-Pac went out to stop him, leaving Nash prone for a Last Call by Beer Money to end the match.
Winners: Beer Money
Match rating: 6/10
Backstage, Bischoff and Hogan lamented the actions of The Band, and said they would address the situation on Thursday’s Impact. Bischoff congratulated Hogan on his selection for Abyss’ mystery opponent. Hogan then said people shouldn’t ask what TNA can do for Hulk Hogan, but rather what Hulk Hogan can do for TNA. My answer: leave.
Match 7: Abyss vs. Mr. Anderson... Anderson
The former Mr. Kennedy made his debut tonight, starting off with his traditional self-announcing at the top of the ramp. The crowd was into the gimmick, chanting along with him as he announced his home town of Green Bay, Wisconsin. He teased calling himself Mr. Kennedy, but then corrected himself. Hopefully he can live up to his potential in TNA, after dropping the ball a few times in WWE. The crowd certainly seemed to be behind him, vocalizing their support early on. He didn’t disappoint, getting the edge early on after clipping Abyss’ knee. A chokeslam by Abyss couldn’t end the match, nor could a Shock Treatment. The latter move was enough to turn Anderson desperate, though, and with the referee’s back turned, Anderson dug into his tights to pull out a pair of brass knuckles which he used to cold-cock Abyss and get the pin. After the match, he declared himself the winner.
Winner: Mr. Anderson... Anderson
Match rating: 6/10
Match 8: Kurt Angle vs AJ Styles
For the TNA Heavyweight Championship
Winner, and still TNA Heavyweight Champion: AJ Styles
Match rating: 8/10
Overall show rating: 6/10
Bob Kapur has never danced on a volcano, but one time, after drinking too much in New York, he did lie down on Broadway. E-mail him at email@example.com.