The superstars of pro wrestling were out in force on Saturday, as TNA came to Wembley Arena for the penultimate stop on its annual UK Tour.
On an explosive night in the ring, the line-up for one of TNA’s biggest nights of the year, Lockdown, was finalised – while arguably the company’s greatest ever performer, Kurt Angle, was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Former Sports Personality of the Year Mark Cavendish, Olympic Gold Medallist Anthony Ogogo and Brit-Award winning music star Tinie Tempah formed part of a hugely enthusiastic crowd, who were treated to nearly four hours of total nonstop action.
Excitingly for TNA fans, it has recently been revealed that the company will be returning to Glasgow, Manchester and London in January 2015 as part of a seventh anniversary tour. The Wembley event will once again be a double TV taping and will include, for the first time in this country, an Ultimate X match.
Tickets for the MAXIMUM IMPACT 7 Tour go on general sale at 10am on Friday February 7. For the first time ever, ALL tickets will be on sale right away – meaning that fans can ensure they get the best seats by buying early. Prices start from just £20 (plus booking fee).
But for now, the focus is very much still on the events of last weekend. And so, with a spoiler alert in place, here’s a breakdown of all the stories and key moments from TNA’s 2014 UK Tour:
Fighting for Control: A Hero Returns
TNA’s new mystery investor is Montel Vontavious Porter, known better as MVP.
Porter, 40, is also known from his time with WWE where he won the United States Championship, holding the title for the third longest stint in company history, and the Tag Team Championship alongside Matt Hardy.
After counteracting many of Dixie Carter’s moves in recent weeks, MVP revealed himself in Glasgow on the first night of TNA’s UK Tour. He was accompanied by TNA’s newest tag team, the Wolves (Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards), whom he signed without Dixie’s permission. This also revealed that it was MVP who had attempted to help Sting defeat Magnus in the pair’s World Title match at Genesis, by allowing the Icon to have Samoa Joe in his corner.
Since his arrival, he’s already had a huge impact on the company. At Wembley, he began the evening by rubber stamping Magnus’ World Title defence against Samoa Joe. He informed the pair that the match, to be fought at Lockdown on the 9th March inside a steel cage, would be a submission only match, heavily favouring the Samoan submission machine.
In attempt to win back a majority share in her company, Dixie has recruited Bobby Roode. The It Factor will lead a four man team in the Lethal Lockdown match, against a team captained by MVP. Victory will earn Roode a 10% stake in TNA.
Roode earned the match with victory over MVP at Wembley. Porter was denied success in the contest by the intervention of guest referee Austin Aries. TNA’s new investor had recruited Aries to officiate the match as he believed him to be a neutral party, but the self-proclaimed ‘greatest man that ever lived’ turned heel when he elbowed MVP and allowed Roode to land the pin. Aries then revealed that he would be siding with the It Factor at Lockdown.
Completing ‘Team Roode’ will be the World Tag Team Champions: The Bro Mans, who defeated the Wolves and Bad Influence in a three-way tag match at Wembley. There is already dissent in the ranks of TNA’s newest quartet however, with all three of Roode’s teammates demanding their share of his 10% stake, should they win at Lockdown.
During their debate in the Wembley ring, MVP emerged with two of his three teammates, the Wolves. Dixie Carter also arrived to join Roode, telling her rival owner that the identity of his final partner was irrelevant, that he would lose and she would regain control.
Despite Dixie’s pretence that she didn’t care, her curiosity had been tweaked. And her curiosity quickly turned to verminous anger when MVP revealed that he and the Wolves would be joined by a returning World Champion: the Charismatic Enigma, Jeff Hardy.
Carter attempted to reason that Hardy would not be allowed to compete, due to his contract with TNA being suspended following his match against Magnus at the conclusion of the World Title tournament, but MVP revealed that he had overturned her decision, and the legendary three-time World Champion would return at Lockdown.
Following the confrontation a three-on-three contest began, with the prize for the winner being a crucial advantage during the Lethal Lockdown match. In such a match two competitors, one from each team, start in the ring. Further wrestlers are allowed into the caged arena every two minutes. The advantage goes to the team who gets to add wrestlers into the match before the other, as they would hold a two-on-one, three-on-two, and four-on-three man advantage before all eight men were in the ring.
Competing for that advantage were MVP and the Wolves, against Roode, Aries and Robbie E (representing the Bro Mans) in an elimination tag match. Robbie was the first to be removed from the contest when he was pinned by MVP, but Roode and Aries proved far more difficult to handle, as the former tag team partners combined to remove Edwards and Porter.
Fighting on alone as the sole remaining Wolf, Richards stunned Roode by manoeuvring him into the position for a submission attempt. Aries, broke-up the attack by slamming Richards’ right arm with a steel chair. Aries was disqualified for his actions and the match was suspended for one hour to allow Richards time to recover.
Richards did eventually return to face Roode in a one-on-one, winner takes all match-up, but with his injury still restricting his movement, it was the It Factor who eventually came out on top, winning via submission.
A Tale of Two Champions: Paper, Rage
In Glasgow, Samoa Joe became the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship when, in partnership with Kurt Angle, he won a tag match against Magnus and Ethan Carter III. The stipulations of the match cited that if Joe and Angle won, the man that made the match-winning pin or submission would get a title shot, while if they lost they would have to leave TNA.
With the mystery investor ensuring that there would be no outside interventions, by threatening any culpable party with instant dismissal from TNA, Joe and Angle comfortably won the match – with the Samoan submission machine making Magnus tap out.
At Wembley, the World Heavyweight Champion and the number one contender underwent multiple, heated exchanges. Joe became the latest wrestler to accuse his former Main Event Mafia colleague of being a ‘paper champion’, while the Brit responded by telling the Samoan that his weakness was his inability to control his rage, and that it was that weakness that would ensure the continuation of his reign as champion.
Joe, who won his one and only World Championship title at Lockdown in 2008, easily defeated German wrestler Bad Bones (winner of TNA’s GutCheck challenge) in a match set-up by Magnus, and told his former tag team partner that not only would he not walk out of the cage at Lockdown as World Champion, but that he wouldn’t walk out at all.
The Legend vs. The Young Pretender: Kurt Angle’s Hall of Fame
Kurt Angle became the second member of TNA’s Hall of Fame. He will sit proudly alongside his close friend, the Icon, Sting, who became the maiden member of the company’s legendary assembly in 2012.
The Warrior, who turned down his first induction offer at Bound for Glory last October – citing personal and professional problems, informed Dixie Carter that he would be taking up the offer, after helping Samoa Joe defeat Magnus and Ethan Carter III.
After a touching ceremony and speech, in which Angle thanked his UK and US fans for all their support, EC3 came to the ring. Carter Jr, who attacked Angle backstage earlier in the week, claimed that the Olympic Gold Medallist had a torn acl and mcl as a result of the confrontation, and that if rumours were to be believed he was on the verge of retirement.
Despite clearly carrying an injury, having been limping throughout the evening, Angle rebuffed EC3’s accusations, and knocked him from the ring with a single critical blow. Angle told EC3 that the company’s new investor had sanctioned a steel cage match between them at Lockdown.
In the pair’s next clash, EC3 boasted that he had created a new submission hold that was better than Angle’s iconic ankle lock… the leg lock. He added that having beaten the Icon, Sting, he had become pro wrestling’s new icon, the ‘American Icon’. Angle laughed off Carter’s suggestions, but was attacked for his trouble’s, with his already injured knee the predominate target.
EC3 also won a singles match at Wembley, defeating British representative Douglas Williams via pin-fall.
Best of Enemies: Storm’s Revenge
James Storm and Gunner could yet steal the show at Lockdown, with the former tag team partners set to fight in a last man standing steel cage match.
The pair’s feud began during the World Title tournament when Gunner threw in the towel during Storm’s quarter-final defeat against Bobby Roode. Gunner then climbed over the Cowboy during the Feast or Fired match, to win a briefcase that entitled him to a World Title shot.
After several failed attempts to win the briefcase from the Modern Day Viking, Storm offered up an apology to Gunner in Glasgow, and the pair seemingly confirmed their reconciliation with a tag match victory over Bad Influence.
However, Storm turned heel in Manchester when he cost Gunner a shot at the World Title. At Wembley, the Cowboy informed Gunner that his actions were all part of an elaborate plan. He wanted Gunner to know how it felt to come within an inch of having your dreams fulfilled and then to have it snatched away.
You So Creepy… Samuel Shaw
TNA new guy Samuel Shaw went from bad to worse, or rather, from creepy to creepier over the course of the UK Tour, as his obsession with Christy Hemme reached new levels.
In Glasgow, Shaw was revealed to have a room at his home full of posters and pictures of Hemme. At Wembley, Shaw claimed he wasn’t like most guys, that he wanted more than one thing from Hemme – he wanted everything.
Mr Anderson came to the ring and attempted to defuse the situation. Despite his efforts, Shaw accused Anderson of chasing Hemme, due to the fact that ‘girls like Christy Hemme are always available’. The statement caused the ring announcer to slap Shaw and run from the ring, while her fanatical admirer clashed with Anderson.
Later in the evening, Anderson returned to introduce both Shaw and his opponent Eric Young, taking the place of Hemme in order to protect her. Shaw was eventually disqualified from the match for attacking Anderson.
The Beautiful People: Sabin’s New Crush
Chris Sabin’s relationship with Velvet Sky is over. Sabin forced his girlfriend into intervening in several of his matches in recent months, including three X Division title matches – two of which he won. But Sky renounced her loyalties to Sabin at Genesis when she failed to come to his aid against Austin Aries, who as a result re-claimed the X Division title.
In Glasgow, Sky emerged victorious from a tag team match against Gail Kim and Lei’d Tapa, where she was partnered by Knockout’s Champion Madison Rayne, who was also her former partner in the duo known as ‘the Beautiful People’. Following the match, Sabin came to the ring and asked Velvet to apologise for her actions. But she refused, slapping Sabin and telling him they were finished.
At Wembley, Sabin emerged with a new squeeze: Alpha Female, a German TNA debutant. Following intervention from Sabin and Kim, Alpha and tag team partner Tapa defeated the Beautiful People via pin-fall. Sabin attempted to attack Velvet in the aftermath of the match, but his outburst was halted by ODB.
Later in the evening, Sky, Rayne and ODB combined to win a three-on-three match against Kim, Tapa and Alpha, with the former attacking Sabin after his attempted intervention.
It was a wonderful night of TNA Wrestling, as Wembley Arena was treated to an outstanding show by a vast selection of extremely talented athletes. A sell-out crowd were fully entertained as they got the chance to see all their favourites in action.
From start to finish people were on the edge of their seats, from Magnus and Joe’s suited punch-up at the top of the night, to the Samoan crunching Bully Ray through a table to close the show. The events of TNA’s UK Tour leaves the company perfectly poised for one of their biggest nights of the year, Lockdown, where the World Title match, and Lethal Lockdown match, will be far from the only highlights. Keep right up to date with all the news and action from TNA right here on GiveMeSport.
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