TNA House Show review
By Goofy Villain

Our TNA fan and Wrestling Encyclopedia of TTR, James (GoofyVillain) went on assignment to a TNA house show in January, below is his review.

Friday the 27th January 2012, I headed to Manchester England, for TNA’s Maximum Impact Tour. This was to be my 4th TNA live show, and I was absolute buzzing for it. Partly down to the fact I was front row, and I had Fan Interaction tickets too. Mainly for the fact I would be seeing talent like Austin Aries, Alex Shelley and the addition of two big names in the business in “the Icon” Sting, and “the Immortal” Hulk Hogan.

Having got to the Manchester Evening News Arena for 4pm, the queues for Fan Interaction were already quite big, which was surprising considering they supposedly hadn’t sold many tickets for this. 20 to 30 minutes later, they finally opened the doors and let us in, taking us into the arena to wait to meet the stars.

It didn’t take long for us to get called down to the queue, where we were given a free TNA autograph book. I also took the chance to purchase a programme at £10. Getting closer to the table, I could see that nearly everyone on the show was there. Gunner was first, who was polite but softly spoken. Next up, Bully Ray, he didn’t say much but I made him laugh from a comment to do with a recent TNA episode. He also looked heavily tanned. Next to him was the World Champion Bobby Roode, who appreciated my comment of being pleased he was Champion. Following Roode was Austin Aries, who I really wanted to meet. Told him I was a big fan of “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived” and he said I was the first to get his catchphrase right. He was very cool, and appreciated me being a fan. Knockout Tag Champs Madison Rayne and Gail Kim were sat next to Aries. Madison was so sweet considering how she acts on TV, but Gail seemed like she didn’t want to be there. Samoa Joe was the politest man there, thanking me for coming out to see them, and for supporting TNA. Finally the chance to meet Sting. He was amazing, great guy and thanked me for being a long time fan, as well as happily posing for a photo with me. James Storm was by the Icon, and loved the fact I wore his “Sorry Bout Your Damn Luck” shirt, before meeting Crimson who was another softly spoken guy with a soft handshake too. Meeting Mickie James and Tara was brilliant, Mickie was so bubbly, and Tara was in a fun mood, causing for a great photo of these two! At the end of the table were Alex Shelley and AJ Styles. Shelley seemed so hyper, while Styles was talkative, and laughing at a hen party who were dressed up as wrestlers. Last up was Christy Hemme, she was so lovely, and so down to earth. Managed to grab a great picture with her!

At 6:45pm, they opened the doors and allowed us to go down to our seats. Getting to my front row seat, the view from it was fantastic. Looking around, I could see the blocks at the very back of the arena were completely blocked off. Getting closer to the 7:30pm start time, there were still gaps in the blocks around ringside, and the blocks surrounding us too. It’s obvious this wasn’t a sell out, and nowhere near as full as TNA would have hoped.

As we got to 7:30pm, Jeremy Borash and Christy Hemme came out to open the show, and we went into the opening match, an X-Division contest as Austin Aries took on Alex Shelley and England’s very own Mark Haskins. This was a perfect way to open the event, with 3 fast paced, high spot and talented superstars. Aries tried to pick his spot, avoiding the action in the ring and letting Haskins and Shelley battle. Haskins hit a suicide dive on Aries, which the Champ would have been proud of, while Shelley took a few high risks. Aries retained with the Brainbuster on Haskins, after a dropkick to Haskins against a trapped Shelley.

Up next came another Brit, Douglas Williams who got a great ovation. He took on the undefeated Crimson, who like the night before in Nottingham, got jeered. This time, Crimson played up to the boos, giving disgusted looks back at the fans. This turned into a bit of a brawl, both guys giving hard shots to each other. Williams tried for the Chaos Theory but failed, before Crimson hit the Red Sky to defeat the Brit on his home soil.

Gunner came out to boos, and like Crimson, he gave some stick back to the fans. Those boos turned to cheers though, as the Phenomenal AJ Styles entered. In this clash of styles (no pun intended), Gunner tried to ground the high flyer, even using dirty tricks to take advantage. At one point, Gunner whipped Styles to the barrier in front of us, causing Styles to leap over, stop right in front of me, and then leap onto the barrier, hitting a flying forearm smash to Gunner. Despite all the tricks from Gunner, Styles hit the Pele Kick and got the 1-2-3. During his celebrations, Styles mouthed to the fans applauding “I love you guys”, great to see after the respect shown to him.

We were treated to Knockouts action, as Madison Rayne and Gail Kim took on Mickie James and Tara. This didn’t go as I’d expected, with Mickie enduring the majority of the match, and Tara waiting to make the tag. Gail and Madison used heel tactics to keep Mickie in. When Mickie finally made the tag, Tara cleaned house, until all 4 were once again in the ring. Madison argued with Earl Hebner and went to slap him, only for the ref to kiss her. Madison rolled out in disgust, and Tara turned Gail to hit the Widow’s Peak and gain the win. Afterwards, Mickie and Tara kissed Hebner, and he passed out, before Tara kissed Mickie too (and passed out).

JB informed us that it was interval time, but after it, we’d have a surprise. Samoa Joe won a tournament on Xplosion for a Title shot in England, and he’d be taking it tonight, with the cameras filming it for TNA Xplosion.

As the interval ended and the cameras came down for filming, it was World Title match time. Samoa Joe received a fantastic reaction, fans chanting “Joe! Joe!” as he made his way down. Bobby Roode got a mixed reaction, but as the match began, it turned into boos. Joe dominated this match, using his strength to his favour. As the action left the ring, Joe hit a suicide dive and a running boot to Roode as he sat in a chair against the barrier. Despite Joe being in control and trying to end with the Muscle Buster, Roode hit a low blow and the Pay Off to retain his title.

Dixie Carter was introduced, and thanked the fans for their support, and said how much she enjoyed being in England. She spoke of coming back in 2013, and then discussed an elderly lady in the front row who fought off burglars.

Main event time, and Bully Ray came out first, abusing the fans and showing off a Liverpool FC shirt (rivals of both Manchester football clubs), before Kurt Angle joined him. James Storm and Sting entered, the Icon getting the best reaction of the night. Bobby Roode interrupted, saying Sting had got in his business, so he wanted in now. Sting said this didn’t work last night, and won’t now, as he has a friend to join them…out came Hulk Hogan! To my surprise, Hogan got involved in this, not doing much, but what he did, was good. Sting looked in good shape as well, but Storm took most of the match and beat down from the heels. This match worked, and was enjoyable, ended with Hogan and Sting hitting key moves, and a Super Kick from Storm. Hogan ended the night doing his poses, before the show came to an end.

I felt both the fan interaction and events were worth it, and glad I went to this. TNA put on an excellent and enjoyable show, from top to bottom. I felt I got my money’s worth from this night, and I can’t wait for 2013 and TNA in Manchester. Thanks for taking the time to read this review.