By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Havok Won a No. 1 Contender's Battle Royal for the Knockouts Championship
Half of the competitors in this match are horrendously green in the ring, which made for a lot of blown spots and awkward action. That said, why was Velvet Sky the last one taken out? Are they trying to push her as a babyface again and prematurely split The Beautiful People? The eliminations came quickly and none of them packed a punch. The only good thing that came out of this is that Gail Kim vs. Havok with the title on the line should be stellar.
Chris Melendez def. Kenny King
Melendez hasn't wrestled many professional matches up to his point, so his lack of experience is to be expected, but he performed better here than he did in his debut bout against DJ Z. Granted, King should be credited for carrying him to a passable match, but it takes two to tango. The roll-up win for Melendez protects King (if he hasn't already been damaged already) and Mr. Anderson making the save afterward made sense given his military background.
X-Division Champion Samoa Joe def. Homicide
Similar to Joe vs. Low-Ki from a few weeks back, Joe and Homicide made the most of the time they were allotted, but it didn't come close to being the barn burner of a bout I thought it was going to be. It even seemed like the crowd was waiting for it to heat up before it prematurely ended. The post-match attack from James Storm and Sanada might set up a tag team feud between Homicide, Joe, Storm and Sanada, but my god, why is Manik still masked! We already know what he looks like! His new look is even worse than his old one, which I didn't think was possible.
The Wolves def. The Hardys and Team 3D in a Ladder Match in the World Tag Team Championship Series
Of all the matches these three teams have had so far, this was easily the best. They all thrived in the environment and there were several spots that popped the crowd. They were engaged in the action the entire time, even if there were some recklessness (Jeff crashing through one of the ladder comes to mind) involved. The Wolves needed the win and it keeps the series alive. I'm anxious to see what stipulation the fourth match will have. TLC.. er, I mean Full Metal Mayhem, perhaps?
Bram def. Gunner
Both guys have a generic look and putting them in the same match together didn't do either guy any favors. The match was mediocre at best and I lost all interest (if I was even interested to begin with) when Sam Shaw came out. It's mind-boggling to me that his story is still going and his character is beyond repair at this point. Worse yet, he "accidentally" hit Gunner right in front of the referee's face, yet the bell wasn't called for. Only in TNA, folks.
TNA World Heavyweight Champion Lashley def. Bobby Roode
Similar to most of Lashley's title defenses so far, this match truly captured the big fight feel. They were given of plenty of time to go out there and have a great match and they definitely made the most of it. Their similar styles made for a very solid matchup with suspenseful nearfalls down the stretch. I didn't have much doubt that Lashley was going over, but they had me buying into Roode's nearfalls at some points, so kudos to them for accomplishing that. Roode looked strong in defeat via his "injury" and Lashley gains credibility with another clean victory. His booking as champion has been brilliant and it will certainly mean something when he finally loses the title.
This was definitely a two-match show with the Ladder match and the main event for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, but the rest of the card was solid enough that it made for a pretty good "special" on the whole. The three title matches and No. 1 contender's Battle Royal made it a newsworthy episode and an enjoyable two hours. My only concern is that Bound for Glory is only a few weeks away and nothing has been confirmed for the card yet. This is the kind of problem TNA will run into when taping their shows so far in advance. Hopefully they can began to build toward their biggest event of the year starting next week. Better late than never, right?