TNA Wrestling kicked off 2009 with their Genesis pay-per-view from the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina last night. The company got bad news when it was revealed that Christy Hemme has two herniated discs in her neck and that she would be unable to go, Awesome Kong had an injury and would be unable to go, and Kevin Nash was hospitalized yesterday afternoon. This left TNA officials scrambling to fill the gaps in the card in order to try and salvage the show. Before I get into reviewing the matches I wanted to comment on the crowd reactions. While the crowd was hot, it was obvious that they are not followers of the current TNA storylines as the cheered people based on their past, and could have cared less about what is happening on TNA television. Sting was 100% babyface with Rhino getting booed every time that he landed any offense what-so-ever. Kurt Angle got several babyface chants as well even a “thank you Kurt” chant after he beat down Jeff Jarrett. Below are my thoughts on last night’s pay-per-view on a match by match basis:
The show opened with a 6-Man Elimination Tag Team Match that was announced earlier in the evening, probably to fill time for the number of absences on the card. The crowd was into the match and it was a solid enough opener that was a spot fest at certain points. There were a lot of cool suicide dives to the outside when the match broke down and Hernandez was booked to be superior. After Homicide and Eric Young were eliminated, Hernandez had to eliminate Kiyoshi, Sonjay Dutt, and Jimmy Rave by himself. Obviously TNA wanted to book Hernandez to look good as he will eventually get a TNA World Championship shot.
The storyline that progressed throughout the evening was Jim Cornette looking for Rhino. Now given the fact that Christy Hemme, Awesome Kong, and Kevin Nash couldn’t go, it made me think if TNA regretted doing the angle where Rhino was “attacked” earlier in the day by the Main Event Mafia. Nonetheless Cornette had some great segments on the mic. I like storylines that progress through the evening as it helps tie together the wrestling on the card and keeps you thinking.
Chris Sabin vs. Alex Shelley in the Finals of the X Division Championship Tournament was up next and I couldn’t help but laugh when Dave Penzer announced that both were representing the Motor City Machineguns as the same entrance video and music played for both. This could be nitpicking but did Penzer really have to say that they represented the Motor City Machineguns when they were facing off against one another? As for the match, it was everything that you would expect from these two. Despite what I think about Sabin and Shelley personally, both are outstanding in-ring talents and they shined in a fast-paced bout that made me even more frustrated with how TNA does not capitalize more on their X Division. The finish was very predictable with Shelley faking an ankle injury only for Sabin to come over to check on him and Shelley to screw Sabin out of the win to capture the title. Instead of Sabin getting upset, he shook hands with Shelley after the match which I found to be another one of those “what the heck” TNA creative moments.
Before I recap the next match, I wanted to comment on the ring gear that Shane Sewell wore last night. It was absolutely terrible, with the influence trying to be on the fact that he is a referee. I don’t even know how to describe it other than you need to try and find a picture if you didn’t see it. Sewell’s match with Sheik Abdul Bashir was nothing special and was more of a brawl with Earl Hebner siding with Sewell and giving him the victory. After the match the other zebras came out and celebrated with Sewell.
Beer Money vs. Jay Lethal & Consequences Creed vs. Abyss & Matt Morgan for the TNA Tag Team Championship was a good tag match with a goofy finish. The bout featured some very solid tag action but the finish was overbooked with Jacqueline distracting the referee and Roode and Storm stealing the win and winning back the tag titles. Roode and Storm are one of the best tag teams in the business today as TNA teased more dissention between Abyss and Matt Morgan after the match.
The next match on the card was the replacement for Kong vs. Christy Hemme which was a 6-Knockout Tag match with the Knockout that got the pinfall getting a future Women’s Title shot. ODB ended up getting the pin on Raisha Saeed (who wore new ring gear) to get a future shot at Kong. Kong came out after the match and there was a brawl between all the Knockouts in the ring as it looks they going with another ODB/Kong program. The match itself was forgettable for the most part with nothing very impressive from anyone involved. As I noted in my coverage last night, I hope the next series of matches between Kong and ODB are better than the first.
Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Jarrett in what was billed as “The Rematch” was by far the match of the night and was a tremendous effort from both workers. I mark out a lot of Angle but that’s because he’s the best wrestler in the world, hands down. Jeff Jarrett added color early on, bleeding from his forehead for the majority of the match. There were insane spots on the outside with Angle tempting fate by hitting the Olympic Slam on Jarrett off the stage and through a table. This had to be nothing short of a massacre to capitalize off how it was built and it lived up to expectations. Jarrett is a very solid worker but working with Angle can make it easy for anyone. The crowd was very appreciative of the bout, even chanting “thank you Kurt” as he continued to beat down Jarrett after the match. It looks like they are doing an injury angle as they had Jarrett taken out on a backboard with Mike Tenay doing a corny over-the-top segment about how upset he was that Jarrett got taken out.
Sting vs. Rhino for the TNA Championship was mediocre at best. With the way creative had Rhino booked because of “injuries”, he was never considered much of a threat. The most surprising thing to me in the match was how much that TNA tried to get Sting over as a heel yet how much of a babyface that he was. The crowd could have cared less about Rhino and booed him with every bit of offense that he hit. Sting locked in the Scorpion and eventually won with the Scorpion Death Drop for the pinfall victory to retain the title.
The main event of the night should have been Jarrett vs. Angle but I guess TNA wanted to showcase the in-ring return of Mick Foley so this went last. Booker T announced that Cute Kip would be Kevin Nash’s replacement which made me do more than roll my eyes last night. The match was sluggish for the most part as everyone seemed a step off for the exception of AJ Styles. Styles stole the spotlight of the match with his tremendous abilities including a Frog Splash off the top role to the outside through a table on Cute Kip. Need to see proof of how insane the spot was? Here is a picture on the official TNA website. I don’t know what it is about Booker but the last couple of matches that I have seen of his have looked pretty bad. Booker seems like a guy that doesn’t really want to be there and is just living off his name. The same went for Steiner, Mick Foley, and Brother Devon. It irritates me because TNA should focus more on guys like Styles that are willing to give 110% and carry the company to the next level. They had a goofy overbooked finish where the referee counted all men out and Jim Cornette came out to order the match be restarted. Foley ended up restarting the bout because he is “Executive Shareholder” and changed the rules to a hardcore match. It was badly planned out as the mic segment in the middle of a match didn’t do it for me nor did the rules change to a hardcore match after we had just seen two bloody encounters before this one. No one added juice and they gave Mick the pin on Steiner for the win. Foley made his return, but it wasn’t pretty in a lackluster pay-per-view main event.
TNA Genesis had a lot go wrong with it and we ended up getting three good matches with a bunch of fillers. I’m not sure if there was an error on my cable guide or if the price was dropped down for this pay-per-view but it said that I bought the pay-per-view for only $9.99 which will be interesting to see when I get my cable bill. If the pay-per-view only cost that, it was certainly worth the money for Angle vs. Jarrett alone. If not and I paid regular price, it was a very average effort from TNA. I understand they can’t help what happened with the injuries but the event was very thrown together for the most part. TNA has such a talented roster yet they choose to give guys like Mick Foley the spotlight, who with all due respect, are way past the prime of their careers. TNA needs to focus on guys like AJ Styles, Robert Roode, and Hernandez and put the company on Angle’s back until he absolutely cannot go any more. Angle still has it, but the other WWE transplants look old and a step behind.
Richard can be contacted at richard [at] grayinternet.com
Richard Gray is a professional wrestling journalist and frequent contributor to Rajah.com. He has been covering the world of professional wrestling since 1999 and has had the opportunity to cover ground breaking stories such as the demise of ECW, the WCW buyout, the Benoit tragedy, Bobby Lashley leaving WWE, and more. For more on Richard check out his web site, Wrestling News World.
– “Richard Reacts” Archive By WrestlingNewsWorld.com’s Richard Gray