A Reporter’s Reflections
TNA Commentary for the October 25, 2008 House Show in St. Charles, MO
by Kari Williams
I have waited a lifetime for the chance Josh Ray and Mark Bland gave to me in the last weeks of October. Josh called me and said that Mark had two extra tickets for the TNA Live show in St. Charles on Oct. 25. I planned to meet Mark outside of the front doors to retrieve the tickets, not knowing how good the seats would be. Once I finally found my way to them with help from attendants at the arena (you see, I am not very good a directions) I could not have been more pleased.
Noticing that I still had over an hour until bell time, I decided to take stroll around the arena—that is, until I saw “Future” Donovan Ruddick talking to Mark. After some contemplation, I made up my mind to talk to him about a profile for Missouri Wrestling Revival. So, be looking for something about the most dominant LWA champion in recent history.
At the show, I ended up sitting with Chuck from Slamzone and his daughter, who were a blast to hang out with. While making small talke before bell time, Chuck asked me when I would start wrestling. He said he figured I would be wrestling at Broadway by now. I jokingly replied that I plan to start training once I got to SIUE.
Soon, the lights dimmed and I began to witness my first-ever TNA show. Jeremy Borash came to the ring and welcomed everyone to the show and helped get the sub par crowd pumped up.
The first match was a three-way X-division match pitting “The Guru” Sonjay Dutt against “Maple Leaf Muscle” Pete Williams and Shark Boy. Shark Boy’s whole persona was a complete rip-off of Stone Cold’s, including the entrance music, where a crashing wave substituted the shattering glass. The match was good, but I thought more high-flying antics would ensue. Shark Boy appeared as the fan’s pick to win, but, nonethless, everyone rejoiced as the Canadian Destroyer put Dutt down for the three count.
After giving out a Lockdown 2007 DVD, Borash announced that the next match would be a Knockout Tag Team match—Velvet Sky and Angelina Love (The Beautiful People) v. Roxi and ODB. Having never seen either team compete, I was very impressed. The Knockouts have incredible athletic ability and each has a unique persona that they adapt to nicely. In this instance, ODB got the pin for team against Angelina Love.
The other portion of The Beautiful People emerged in the form of Kip James, as he battled “The War Machine” Rhino. Kip looked to stall the match, but Rhino would have none of it. He was hellbent and determined to succeed. At one point, Kip went for the fame-asser and Rhino countered, connecting with a punishing gore, prompting Kip’s cohorts to come to ringside.
Beer Money, Inc. (James Storm and Robert Roode), accompanied by Miss Jacqueline, planned to take on a no-name tag team because they thought no worthy opponents would face them. Storm and Roode proclaimed that they were “establishing themselves as the best of all time”—that is, until Borash announced Team 3-D as their opponents. Fans cheered and chanted, “We want tables!” in unison, as Beer Money, Inc. demanded respect or they would never wrestle in St. Louis again. They tried to escape with titles in hand, but referee Earl Hebner said that Roode and Storm had until the count of 10 to get back in the ring otherwise they would forfeit the titles. For obvious reasons the two men rushed to the ring by the count of eight, and nearly lost the belts, but due to Miss Jacqueline’s interference, they had just enough time to regain their bearings and sneak away winners.
TNA gave out numerous backstage passes and told fans that following intermission portions of the night would be recorded live for tnawrestling.com and the next week’s television show on Spike TV.
X-Division Champion Sheik Abdul Bashir wrestled one of the best athletes in TNA, “Phenomal” AJ Styles, in what I considered the best match of the night. Bashir told the fans that they were American scum and that they did not deserve to witness him wrestle. He went to say that he would not wrestle someone wearing red, white, and blue on their body, which prompted the American-clad Styles to toss his TNA t-shirt to the crowd. The heated bout gave fans everything they could hope for an more, including fighting their way out of the ring, through the barricade and into the crowd. After the Styles Clash, Styles secured himself a victory and as a beaten and bruised Bashir made his way to the back, Styles shouted, “That’s how we do it in America!”
Prior to the main event, Borash announced that TNA is looking to make St. Louis a city that has held two TNA pay-per-views.
The moment I can safely say everyone in attendance had waited for finally arrived—Christian Cage vs. Kurt Angle. Having not seen either man live since they were in WWE, I was anxious to see the two men go at it. They delivered a classic main event match as only they could. In the end, Angle’s tenacity won out as he forced Cage to tap to the ankle lock. Angle went one step further as he got on the mic in the aftermath of the match and said, “Every time I wrestle I know I’m the best damn wrestler in the world.” He then went on to name wrestlers such as Shawn Michaels, Triple H and The Undertaker and proclaimed that Cage is the best of all of them.
Just as I thought this amazing night would end, Borash said that a few of the wrestlers would come to ringside for pictures and autographs, and that for only $20 you could step in the ring and get your picture taken with Kurt Angle. I was ecstatic! I made my way to ringside and met Roxi, Shark Boy and Jeremy Borash. Attempting to promote MWR, I quickly wrote down information about the site and gave it to Borash as I got my picture taken with him. I doubt that he will do anything with it, but I figured what better way to promote the site?
With much unnecessary contemplation, I decided to get in the ring with the Olympic hero, who I also gave information about MWR. When I approached him and gave him the slip of paper, he looked at me like I was not even old enough to write for a website and said, “Thank you, honey!”
Once I got out of the ring, I just happened to glance back at Angle, and he still had the paper in his hand. He then looked from one side to the other and put the slip in his singlet.
So ended one of the best live show experiences of my life. A lot of people may not like TNA for one reason or another. I myself am not an avid viewer, but I will say this. They make their live shows seem like a big deal, like if you would not have been there for one reason or another you know you would have regretted it.