By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Fun Ultimate X match with Chris Sabin defeating Kenny King and Suicide to win the X-Division Championship. I was unaware that this was going to be an Ultimate X match going into it, so I was pleasantly surprised we ended up getting it. There were points of the match that the live crowd died down for, but they were still responsive for Sabin winning the strap, which is nice to see. I love the idea of Sabin cashing in the title for a shot at the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, as it gives the belt more meaning and importance.
Good six-man tag team match with Jeff Hardy, Samoa Joe and Magnus defeating D.O.C., Garrett Bischoff, and Wes Brisco. Hardy's return was well received by the live crowd and were hot for him (as well as Joe's entertaining offense) throughout the bout. These are lesser known members of Aces and Eights, so I was fine with them losing here.
Fine match with Jay Bradley defeating Sam Shaw to earn a spot in the Bound For Glory Series. Boston didn't care for either guy, and who can blame them? The fans have been given zero incentive to care about either guy up to this point. I like the idea of having a Gut Check contestant compete in the tournament, but Bradley will need to be built up more if he wants to be considered a threat.
Decent match with Abyss defeating Devon to win the Television Championship. Joseph Park's inability to compete allowed Abyss to take his place, which made sense from a story-line standpoint. The match were mere minutes long, but at least the live crowd was receptive towards Abyss capturing the title. The belt has never had any prestige whatsoever, but it's a nice treat for Abyss to win it given his recent return.
Nice segment with Kurt Angle being announced as the newest inductee into the TNA Hall of Fame. Some may say that AJ Styles and Jeff Jarrett should have been the ones to be inducted, but Angle is also very deserving of the honor. He's done a lot for the company since signing with them in late 2006, so I understand why he was inducted this time around. Not only that, but TNA might fear that Angle could possibly jump ship to WWE at some point, so inducting him now is a smart move if case that happens.
Entertaining Fatal 4 Way Tag Team match with James Storm and Gunner winning the World Tag Team Championships. The action was non-stop and with the pace being kept consistent throughout. I'm not particularly high on the random pairing of Storm and Gunner, but anything is better than Hernandez and Chavo Guerrero holding the titles at this point. If nothing else, holding the tag titles gives Storm something to do for the foreseeable future.
Strong Last Knockout Standing match with Taryn Terrell defeating Gail Kim. Both women put forth an incredible amount of effort in this match and it certainly showed. There were a number of big spots that the live crowd was hot for and the hard-hitting action was fun to watch. Terrell performing a running bulldog to Kim off the ramp was a cool visual and a great way to conclude the contest. I found this bout to be the highlight of the night as well as one of the most entertaining women's matches in quite some time.
Great match with Kurt Angle defeating AJ Styles. These two never cease to amaze me with their excellent chemistry and well wrestled matches. There were plenty of false finishes and both competitors looked strong coming out of it. We've seen better bouts from the two, but they made the most out of the time they were given. I would've liked to see Styles emerge victorious here, but Angle's win was logical given the fact he was inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame earlier in the evening.
Solid No Holds Barred match with Bully Ray defeating Sting to retain his TNA World Heavyweight Championship. I wasn't blown away by the bout, but they managed to put together a good match that kept me engaged. Having both competitors go for the piledriver towards the end (normally a barred move in most matches) was a nice touch and told an intriguing story. The Aces and Eights interference was expected, but it still made for a weak finish. Nonetheless, I'm happy to see Ray retain and happy to know Sting will never be able to contend for the TNA title again.
Overall, an awesome show that featured exciting action, logical outcomes, and plenty of things to go look forward to in coming weeks. The three title changes made the show noteworthy and important with this being TNA's second biggest event of the year. I'm enjoying the direction TNA is taking at the moment with most of their story-lines and I highly anticipate what they have in store for the upcoming summer season.