By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Bram def. Abyss in a Monster's Ball Match
We haven't seen much from Bram as a singles competitor since his debut, but he truly shined here against Abyss. It's hard to care about anything involving Abyss these days because his character is so watered down, but he has good performances in the right match, and the extreme environment allowed him to have one. The crowd was red hot for everything they did and were very much into the action. The thumbtack spot always feels unnecessary to me, but it's become a staple (no pun intended) in Monster's Ball matches over the years. The use of Janice was also too goofy for my taste, but I'm at least glad Bram picked up the win.
Bobby Roode Interrupted MVP, TNA World Heavyweight Champion Lashley and Kenny King
Lashley as champion with MVP as his mouthpiece has worked out very well over the last two months and this was proof of that. It's no secret Lashley has terrible mic skills, so for him to just stand there and look intimidating while MVP does all the talking for him works to his strengths. Roode also played his role well and built intriguing for a future title match between the two. The save from Austin Aries and Eric Young set the stage for a six-man tag team match for next week.
The BroMans def. Mr. Anderson, Gunner and Sam Shaw
The Shaw character still isn't doing anything for me and neither is his apparent partnership with Gunner. I thought we saw the last of his feud with Anderson? The match was fine for what it was but was basically a backdrop in order to further the story between Anderson and Shaw. I surely hope this doesn't lead to a double turn for those two because Lord knows I can't sit through another series of matches between them.
Team 3D, Tommy Dreamer and Al Snow def. Ethan Carter III, Rhino, Rycklon Stephens and Gene Snitsky in an Eight-Man Hardcore Weapons War Match
Since when was it ever made clear beforehand that this match would have the rules of a Lethal Lockdown match without the cage? It made it more suspenseful who the mystery partner was going to be and while the payoff wasn't great, it wasn't like they hyped it up all that much so I can't say I'm disappointed. It was fun to see Snow in action and it looked like the fans felt the same. It had too much of an ECW vibe to it, which is what they should be straying away from, but hopefully this was the end of it on this show. The hardcore stipulation was meaningless but the action was enjoyable, nevertheless.
Knockouts Champion Gail Kim and Taryn Terrell Interrupted The Beautiful People
This was a logical follow-up to the events of last week, but a strange one. Why would Kim put herself in a situation where the chances of her dropping the title are very likely? It didn't make her seem brave at all. It'd make sense if she established that she did it in order to get her hands on The Beautiful People or drive a wedge between them, but that didn't seem to be the intent. At least it set up the next Knockouts title defense in a meaningful way.
Samoa Joe def. Low-Ki and Sanada in a Triple Threat Match to Win the X-Division Championship
The crowd loved any interaction between Joe and Low-Ki (thus giving me hope their clash on a future taping will be an instant classic), but they didn't care much for Sanada, and it's not hard to see why. Outside of turning on The Great Muta just recently, he hasn't had any connection with crowds, but if his association with Storm continues, he will over time. The final few minutes were very fun and I like the idea of putting the belt on Joe. He can do a lot to help the division in the long run as long as doesn't drop it too quickly (see: the TNA Television Championship).
Bully Ray Put Dixie Carter Through a Table
Ah, the moment we've all been waiting for. It was weird that they advertised that it was happening in advance (which I have no problem with, it's all about viewership these days), but made it seem like it was in doubt over the course of this show. Did Ezekiel Jackson and Snitsky really last all of one week in TNA? Really? Anyway, the way this was all executed was excellent. The locker room coming out to witness out made it feel like a major moment and the crowd... my god, the crowd! What more can be said? They were absolutely off the charts! Bully putting Dixie through the table was a tremendous visual and although Bully's butt took a majority of the impact through the table, Dixie took a nasty bump with her head hitting the mat and I give her major props to that. Here's hoping TNA delivers in making this the "end of an era" by never featuring her on TNA TV again. This was the perfect blow-off to the angle and to her bring her back would completely ruin it.
I know I've said this several times over the last two months, but this was definitely one of the best shows TNA has had all year. Not all of it was perfect, of course, but there was a lot to like and very little to complain about. A deserving new X-Division Champion was crowned, the Monster's Ball match was entertaining and Dixie Carter getting put through a table delivered. The New York crowds these shows have had have been terrific and I can't wait for what else TNA has in store in the months ahead. It was also a smart move on their behalf to promote what's on tap for next week as it gives viewers all the more reason to tune in live to see it.