The Katz Files – Arnie Katz
Against All Odds: Recap & Analysis!
The Kingfish Arnie Katz brings you a report on what happened at TNA’s February pay per view and analyzes the meaning of what we saw and heard!.
Against All Odds
<Against All Odds turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. The line-up didn’t look that strong and the actual matches weren’t as good as might’ve been expected.
Let’s look at the matches and dramatic framing…
The pre-show put a surprisingly strong push behind some of the undercard matches: Abyss vs. Matt Morgan, Shane Sewell vs. Booker T, and Petey Williams vs. Scott Steiner and Awesome Kong vs. ODB. The voice-over related each of these struggles to the overall “Against All Odds” concept.
The World Tag Team contest between Lethal Consequences and Beer Money got a very clever video with an extended science-math-test metaphor.
Natural, the Four Way Dance for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship got the most attention.
The Kingfish comments: There are two types of pay per view names. One is the “WrestleMania,” “Genesis” and “SummerSlam” type. These names don’t connect to amy particular kind of action or specific theme. Then there are pay per views with names like “Lockdown,” “Royal Rumble,” and, yes, “Against All Odds.” They seem to promise a specific kind of action. It was good to see TNA recognize this and connect the underdogs’ sin the four matches to the idea of upsetting the favorite and winning despite their seeming disadvantages.
A trio of videos showed early arrivals at the Orlando arena, site of Against All Odds. The Main Event Mafia pulled up in a limo, but when they emerged, they didn’t have Sting with them.
Team 3D arrived in a pick-up truck and, a little later, Sting roared up in a snazzy yellow sports car.
The Kingfish comments: This was a little heavy-handed, but it got across the point that Sting and the MEM aren’t exactly on the same page..
The opening video for the show, which followed, reiterated the underdog theme while also pushing the top two matches and suggesting that Samoa Joe will have an involvement.
Alex Shelley d. Eric Young
X Division Championship
The Story: When Eric Young rushed to the ring to help Lethal Consequences against the Machine Guns when Beer Money took out Creed, he made himself a target for the reigning X-Division Champion.
My Prediction: This match should be the springboard to the next pay per view Destination X, which should translate into a disputed and highly controversial finish for this match. What if Chris Sabin interfered and Suicide came to Eric Young’s assistance? That’s my prediction.
Predicted Grade: A-
The Actual Match: After some bullet points, the combatants came to the ring for the match. Alex Shelley, for one of the few times in the last year or so, didn’t have Chris Sabin walking the aisle with him.
They ran the ropes, avoiding contact, until Eric Young connected with a Cross-Body Press and Clotheslined Shelley. He Dropkicked the champion to the ringside area and then flattened him with an out of-ring Cross-Body Fly.
They fought on the apron until Shelly fired Young into the ring post. Then Alex jumped off the apron to stun the challenger with a High Knee.
Young made the mistake of trying another out-of-ring Cross Body Fly when Shelley was ready for him. The popular blond crashed and burned against the guardrail.
Shelley hit a knee to the midsection, a kick to the head and a Kneedrop to the sternum. He couldn’t translate it into a successful cover, though.
Young missed an outside-in Shoulder Block, which gave Shelley the chance to launch an extended offensive run. He hit a couple of vicious Elbow Blocks in the corner and a Low-Altitude Dropkick, but it still didn’t lead to a three count.
Alex Shelley scored with Sliced Bread (Acid Drop) and then a Reverse Suplex. Still, Showtime refused to let the curtain come down on his chance to take the X Division title.
After failing with the Death Valley Driver, Young appeared to suddenly and unaccountably lose focus. Alex Shelley quickly rolled him up for the pin and the win to retain the belt.
Actual Grade: B+
The Kingfish comments: What an atrocious finish! Both men worked hard and put on a good match only to have it ruined by an out-of-thin-air ending that made little sense. It would’ve been “A-” with any sort of decent wind-up.
When Jeremy Borash asked Kurt Angle why Sting didn’t arrive with the rest of the Main Event Mafia, the spokesman claimed that HV didn’t understand them. He said that he expected to push Sting in the match as sting would push him. He vowed that the Main Event Mafia would be closer than ever after tonight.
The Kingfish comments: Kurt Angle did a nice job with weak, warmed-over material. This has all been said, and more than once, but he got across his arrogance while not entirely dispelling the idea that he might turn on The Icon to capture the gold if he could.
Scott Steiner d. Petey Williams
The Story: Once Petey Williams considered Scott Steiner is mentor. That changed when Big Poppa Pump joined the Main Event Mafia. Steiner orchestrated a couple of hideous beatdowns, but now Williams has a chance to get some revenge.
My Prediction: If this is the opening match, fans of Petey Williams will see Maple Leaf Muscle dole out some payback to Steiner. It would go well with the theme of the pay per view. Otherwise, Williams will get in his moves, but Steiner will use despicable tactics to gain the win.
This could well be a good match, but I haven’t liked what I’ve seen of Steiner and Williams squaring off against each other. The similar visual look coupled with the tremendous size difference doesn’t make for pleasant watching.
Predicted Grade: B
The Actual Match: Steiner’s strength dominated until Williams landed a Low-Altitude Dropkick and then a Missile Dropkick. It didn’t set up a pin, but it did show that Maple Leaf Muscle was there to fight.
Big Poppa Pump shook his former protégé with a Belly-to-Belly Suplex, a Clothesline and an Elbow Drop. When Petey missed an aerial move, Steiner made him regret it with another Belly-to-Belly. Scott draped Williams’ feet over the top rope and yanked him to the canvas with ferocious DDT!
Williams fought off a second-rope Suplex and hit a Cross-Body Block from the top. Williams hit a couple of Clotheslines and a DDT from the second rope when the cable transmission failed, briefly, in Las Vegas.
When the show returned, Williams was playing possum. Steiner wanted to use the Recliner, but Petey pulled him through and almost took the match with a Roll-up.
Steiner disrupted an attempted Huracanrana and transformed it into a ring-shaking Powerbomb! Williams survived the Steiner Recliner, but he couldn’t withstand the Steiner Screwdriver, a nasty version of the Piledriver.
The Teacher covered and finished the Student.
Actual Grade: B
The Kingfish comments: Petey Williams and Scott Steiner played their parts well, but the whole wasn’t all that great. The size discrepancy emphasized Williams’ underdog role – and the booking subjected him to little more than a squash.
You wouldn’t think they’d present this kind of “size wins” match just before they expect fans to buy Destination X in March
After the match, Scott Steiner pulled out all the stops in beating up his former friend.
Samoa Joe appeared on the Jumbotron to warn Big Poppa Pump that he is coming for him.
Mick Foley and Sting talked with Jeremy Borash shortly after an announcement that Foley would present the winner of the main event with the TNA World Heavyweight Championship belt.
Sting defended Angle when Foley started to disparage him. Mick then expressed his admiration for Sting and wished him good luck. The Icon seemed to be overcome with emotion by the gesture.
Brutus Magnus d. Chris Sabin
The Story: This new addition to TNA from the United Kingdom came out on iMPACT and issued a challenger.
My Prediction: They didn’t start this storyline so that their new heel could lose. The victim will be someone like Shark Boy.
Predicted Grade: C+
The Actual Match: Brutus Magnus came to the ring dressed as a modern-day Gladiator and repeated his challenge. Chris Sabin came to the ring to accept it.
Magnus pretty much had his way with Chris Sabin and showed he could do some moves. Brutus Magnus finally ended with the match with Tormentum,
Actual Grade: B-
The Kingfish comments: Fans must see Brutus Magnus beat a few people like Chris Sabin if he is to gain the stature needed for bigger matches. The actual match, though, proved a disappointment. Magnus is still a work in progress. By American standards, he still needs some polish.
Team 3D talked to Lauren. Devon said there was something inside any real competitor that made him want to be the champion.
Brother Ray said his brother was a great motivational speaker. He said this might be a new chapter in the story of team 3D as the brothers try to see if one or both can get it done as a singles wrestler.
“Dudley blood is thicker than water,” said Ray.
The Kingfish comments: I’m sure all the old fans loved the “Dudley” reference, but there was little reason for this the interview. It just repeated stuff already covered.
Awesome Kong d. ODB
Kong-tourage Banned from ringside
The Story: The Trailer Park Princess has not lost faith in her ability to go head-to-head against the TNA Women’s Champion. In recent times, the dreaded Kong-tourage is banned from ringside, so this is ODB’s chance to make her case/
My Prediction: An ODB win would be a “feel good” moment, but it won’t happen, at least not at this pay per view. Since there don’t seem to be any other viable challengers for Kong’s belt, TNA will likely want to preserve ODB for at least one pay per view rematch. The easy way would be to have the Kong-tourage violate the ban, causing Kong to be disqualified. They would administer the required group mugging so that ODB would have a reason to battle each of them on <IiMPACT before taking on Kong at a PPV. It would be a big mistake for TNA to show ODB beating Kong one on one at this stage; the champion’s invincibility is a large part of her appeal.
Predicted Grade: B+
The Actual Match: The Kong-tourage came out with the champion, but quickly got banished to the back.
Kong pounded ODB on the mat and tried to squeeze the breath out of her with a Bearhug. Kong threw her into a turnbuckle, caught her on the rebound, and went right back to the Bearhug!
The first time ODB tried to Bodyslam the champion, Kong fell on her and nearly got the pin! ODV smashed Kong’s head into every turnbuckle before, finally, Bodyslamming her. She couldn’t keep those massive shoulders on the canvas, though.
Kong hit the Implant Buster and scored the pin.
Actual Grade: C+
The Kingfish comments: This was a short, surprisingly uninteresting and uninspired match. ODB looked pretty helpless against the Awesome One, though the champ really only did the one move.
Team 3D, accompanied by Lauren, went to talk to Sting.
After he recapped the team’s recent history with Sting, Brother Ray told him that, if he wanted to do the right thing, Team 3D would have his back.
When Lauren told Sting that Kurt Angle wanted to talk to him, Sting expressed impatience and walked out of the picture.
The Kingfish comments: This interview had an important element, Brother Ray’s promise to back Sting if he decided to break way from the Main Event Mafia.
Booker T d. Shane Sewell
The Story: Shane Sewell has drifted into a feud with Booker T as a result of his refusal to accept a bribe to slant his officiating. The gauntlet has been laid down and they will settle their score in the ring.
My Prediction: I wouldn’t have made this match, because Sewell has possibilities and there’s no way he should beat Booker T. My guess is that Booker, with some aid from the Main Event Mafia, will keep the title by walking away from the match and taking a count out loss.
Predicted Grade: B
The Actual Match: Booker T talked trash constantly as he beat Shane Sewell from turnbuckle to turnbuckle throughout the early portion of the match.
The man in the striped shirt got mad and Sewelled Up. He went on a nice run that climaxed with a Bodyslam. Sewell was going great guns when Sharmell tripped him from her post in the ringside area. Booker T hit the Ax Kick from behind and pounced on Sewell for the pin.
Actual Grade: B-
The Kingfish comments: This match didn’t give the fans much. It was short and went straight for the screw job ending.
Just as Booker T prepared to attack the vanquished Sewell, AJ Styles roared into the ring to make the save! He went right at Booker and quickly chased him from the ring.
Styles, holding the Legends belt, told fans from center-ring that he has always dreamed of being a legend. At the end of a highly emotional speech, Styles challenged Booker to put up his belt.
The Kingfish comments: I don’t know what plans, if any, TNA has for Shane Sewell, but it sure looks like Booker T’s next opponent will be The Phenomenal One. It should be a very good match, if the promotion doesn’t get wrapped up in the idea that Booker has to hold that strap at all costs.
This would actually b a good spot for some of that “parity booking.” Styles could win the Legends belt, briefly, at Destination X and then lose it in a three-way with Booker T and, maybe, Shane Sewell at the April PPV.
Lauren offered to moderate reconciliation between Matt Morgan and Abyss, but the Blueprint had no interest in making peace.
Abyss d. Matt Morgan
The Story: Former partners often turn into enemies in pro wrestling. There’s something about the inevitable friction of working closely with someone over a long period of time that can sunder friendships and estrange brothers. Matt Morgan claimed to be Abyss’ true friend, but he grew impatient with the Masked Man’s unwillingness to embrace his bloody past.
How ironic, then, that Abyss is ready to do just about anything to vanquish The Blueprint.
My Prediction: TNA loves those brutal, bloody big man matches and this will certainly fill the bill for this pay per view. Both combatants will bleed and take a lot of damage. This would be a bad loss for either Abyss or Morgan, so a good outcome might be a Double DQ after a furious battle gets out of hand.
Predicted Grade: B
The Actual Match: After an introductory video, the announcers talked about the match. They emphasized Morgan’s strep infection that had necessitated surgery and Abyss’ over-the-top actions with the bags of tacks and glass shards on iMPACT.
Abyss attempted a Chokeslam, but Matt cut him off with a well-placed knee and then rained down overhand punches on Abyss in the corner. Abyss smashed Morgan’s head into a couple of turnbuckles and drove Morgan from the ring with a barrage of punches and forearms.
Abyss grabbed a stick to use as a weapon, but referee Rudy Charles took it away from him before it came into play. Morgan’s cross-ring charge hit nothing but rope and he sailed into the ringside area with Abyss in hot pursuit.
The fight carried into the stands with the advantage seesawing between the two behemoths. They went all the way to the top row in the back, where Abyss banged Morgan’s head against the chain link fence.
The Blueprint headed back toward the ring. Abyss followed him down the stairs toward the ringside area, but Morgan crossed up his former partner with a deadly Mule Kick! The exchange continued, though Abyss did begin a comeback. The Masked Monster stopped to toss some weapons into the ring, but he became embroiled in a tussle over a chair with Rudy Charles. Morgan capitalized with a Carbon Footprint! Morgan pounded Abyss in the corner and caught him with a Russian Leg Sweep, but the cover didn’t succeed.
Despite his injury, Morgan showed no reluctance to risk life and limb against Abyss. He hit a nice top-rope move, but, again, it wasn’t enough to force the pin.
Both men went down from simultaneous Clotheslines. Abyss won the punch exchange and put Morgan on the mat with a Side Slam. He couldn’t keep him there for the three count.
Abyss brought one of his ominous black bags into the ring. He got into another argument with the referee. Once more, Morgan took advantage, this time with a Clothesline! Abyss’ Corner Charge miss-fired and hit Charles instead of Morgan. The Blueprint dealt Abyss a hellacious Chairshot and pulled the semi-conscious Charles into position to count a potential pinfall. By that time, though, Abyss had recovered enough to pick out of the predicament.
Abyss Chokeslammed Morgan, but Rudy Charles was still groggy and couldn’t make an efficient count. Morgan retaliated with a Chokeslam, but the official still wasn’t really ready to do his job.
Rudy Charles tried to take a chair away from Matt Morgan, but Abyss ended up with the weapon. He swung at Morgan, but he connected with poor Rudy Charles!
Abyss looked penitent, but it didn’t stop him from pulverizing Morgan with a Black Hole Slam. A substitute ref zoomed into the ring, but the count stopped at “two.”
Matt Morgan used a low blow to set up Abyss for a possible Carbon Footprint. The Masked Man anticipated the move and turned it into another black Hole Slam. This tie, it brought him a three-count victory!
After the match, Abyss spilled a bag of tacks on the canvas. Abyss ripped off Morgan’s shirt, revealing Matt’s taped shoulder. He intended to Bodyslam his former friend on the tacks, but Morgan rolled out of the ring and left.
Actual Grade: B
The Kingfish comments: Matt Morgan did a creditable performance, but he probably would’ve been better off if he had some time to recuperate from the surgery.
The booking struck me as really strange. The announcers and the finish of the match seemed like an effort to whip up sympathy for Matt Morgan, Yet if that was the aim, why did he fight the match as a heel?
The Main Event Mafia seemed to be going nuts, shouting and babbling as the time for the Four-way Dance approached. Things calmed down when Sting arrived and he and Angle had a heart-to-heart conversation. Kurt tried to convince The Icon that they were all family. At the end of the discussion, Sting hugged Kurt to show that he was with the MEM.
After Sting left, Angle told Nash to keep an eye on The Icon.
The Kingfish comments: The opening of the scene wasn’t promising, but the dialog between Sting and Angle brought it home. It might’ve been more effective without one or two of those preliminary scenes with the Main Event Mafia. Angle telling Nash to watch Sting injected just the right note of doubt.
After a recap video and some bullet points, it was time for the big tag team match.
Beer Money d. Lethal Consequences
TNA World Tag Team Championship
The Story: These two teams have battled in and out of the ring. This time, it’s a war for the coveted World Championship.
My Prediction: Beer Money will win when Jacqueline hands James Storm a bottle, which he will immediately use on Consequences Creed. Robert Roode may do his finisher to seal the deal. The announcers will excuse the loss on the basis of the fierce attack on Creed on iMPACT.
Predicted Grade: B+
The Actual Match:Beer Money now has two vehicles for Roode and Storm to ride to the ring. Creed had a damaged shoulder, incurred on iMPACT, which Don West sold as a decisive factor in the match.
Beer Money displayed superior tag team strategy, tagging frequently to keep the pressure on the fan favorites. Both Creed and Lethal spent a lot of two absorbing two-against-one damage.
Roode and Storm hi a Stereo Suplex from the top and gave the “Beer Money!” cheer. Lethal broke up the next combo move before it executed, but he still had a lot of trouble tagging his partner.
Jay Lethal was working on Robert Roode when Jacqueline charged into the ring. She wanted to help her team, but instead suffered a Back Body Drop. Black Machismo pulled off the Lethal Combination, but Roode raised his shoulder before the ref’s hand came down for the third time.
Jacqueline gave Storm a length of chain, which the Tennessee Cowboy wound around his fist. One solid punch was all it took to pave the way for a pin against Jay Lethal.
Actual Grade: B+
The Kingfish comments: The teams have the fans a good match with a lot of good moves and realistic selling. Presumably, the screwjob ending is intended to set up some kind of TNA gimmick match between the two duos, but it would be nice to see Beer money win a couple of matches without Jacqueline as the decisive factor.
As Robert Roode left, he leaned into the camera and said, “Take that, Front Line!”
The Kingfish comments: This was either extremely clever or fairly stupid; we’ll know better after we see the nextiMPACT. f this foreshadows Beer Money lining up with the Main Event Mafia, the quip makes sense. If he was just talking, it would be better to base the program with Lethal Consequences solely on the heat generated between the two teams.
After a video, Mick Foley joined the announce team for the main event of the evening.
Jeremy Borash did the introductions, as he usually does for the big match on each pay per view.
Sting d Kurt Angle & Brother Ray & Brother Devon
TNA World Heavyweight Championship
The Story: The struggle between the Frontline and the Main Event Mafia continue in this four-way battle for supremacy. Recently, there has been a lot of heat building up between Sting and Angle and it is far from certain how the two MEM members will behave towards each other once the bell rings.
<y Prediction: Kurt Angle will steal the title from Sting by pinning Devon after The Icon has him ready for the kill. Kevin Nash and Samoa Joe will both get involved in the match and, at first, end fight each other. Then a new member of the Maine vent Mafia will come out to help Nash, which will draw Mick Foley and perhaps AJ Styles into the fight. At that point, Joe will go for Angle to set up a title match at the next pay per view.
Predicted Grade: A
The Actual Match: The story of the match was that Brother Ray and Brother Devon stayed pretty true to each other, while Sting and Kurt Angle suffered the effects of mutual mistrust.
Ray and Devon did a nice little spot when they cleared the ring of their two adversaries. Ray dropped to the ground and Devon covered. He would’ve been champion if the MEM hadn’t interfered.
Ray and Devon did fight each other a little, but only a little. They clearly didn’t want to hurt each other. Sting and Angle weren’t nearly as restrained. Angle took a couple of shortcuts and even tried to pin Sting!
The match exploded out of the ring. Angle and Ray fought in the stands while Devon and Sting went at it in the ringside area. Angle took a vicious chairshot, while Sting was on the wrong end of Devon’s attempt to choke him with a microphone cord.
Team 3D maneuvered Sting and Angle into a collision. Kurt came away with his noggin busted open. The blood flowed freely, but it didn’t stop the former Olympian’s burning determination to capture the gold.
Sting and Kurt got into some serious fighting. Sting tried for the Scorpion Death Drop, but Kurt reversed into an Anklelock. Team 3D disrupted it. Angle gave Sting an Olympic Slam, but The Icon raised his shoulder in time.
Team 3D had Sting ready for a Wassup. Angle intercepted and Suplexed Devon! Sting worked a Scorpion Death Drop on Ray and pinned him.
Mick Foley came to the ring after the match and presented Sting with the TNA World Heavyweight Championship belt.
Actual Grade: A-
The Kingfish comments: After all the build-up, this rates as an anti-climax. Angle and Sting did display more antagonism, but this was the place where it should’ve broken loose.
Predicted Grade for Against All Odds: B+
Actual Grade for Against All Odds: B-
The Kingfish comments: This came across as a “bridge” card with little to recommend it, especially at prevailing pay per view prices.
Not much happened. That’s unforgivable for a pay per view. This could’ve been an episode of iMPACT if they’d tossed the three worst matches.
The underdogs lost every match to the favorites. You can argue that Sting triumphed against all odds, but it wasn’t reflected in the actual match.
With Destination X coming in March, it seemed incredible that Suicide wasn’t on the card.
That’s it for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with another installment of the Internet’s fastest-rising daily wrestling column. I hope you’ll join me then – and, please, bring your friends.
— Arnie Katz