Best: AJ Styles vs. Austin Aries
I wasn’t actually hugely thrilled with this match, but I feel like these two did enough good things that warrant giving this a best. If you’ve read the report before, you’ll know that I’m not in any way a fan of AJ Styles. His barfy pele kicks, his video-game style wrestling, his Mickey Mouse gloves, the way he kicks back his legs (a perfect example of this being the cross body to Aries outside of the ring), it just doesn’t jive with me. When he first started going full Sh-t Donst, that toned down a little, and he benefited. His calf slicer looked mean and great, and there was more of an edge, and urgency if you will, to win instead of hitting his moves, rolling to the left, rolling to the right, flying high and all of that. Now, just like his entrance, he’s caught somewhere in between. Instead of blending together, it seems a little incongruous.
Aries also didn’t look as sharp as he usually does. I liked the forearms back and forth, but there were times where it felt less like two people shoot fighting each other to get what they want, and more than a little sloppy. If there’s one thing that drives me bonkers, it’s someone just patiently putting their head between the others legs and waiting to have a move done. Absolutely bonkers. Aries does this at one point, and the camera angle showing him forcing himself between the legs of Styles and waiting for him to play out to the crowd before the move is…incredibly frustrating. I know TNA does absolutely nothing in terms of camerawork to enhance a match, but come on.
That said, there are a lot of things I did like: Styles countering Aries’ crucifix attempt into a nasty looking backbreaker. Aries countering the Styles Clash by holding his arms in so he couldn’t hook his legs, AJ trying to pin him in that position, then lifting him up to powerbomb him only to get caught in a headscissors from Aries. Aries putting Styles into the last chancery, then AJ getting out of it by kicking at Aries’ legs to make him fall out of the bridge. The pin looked a little awkward (mostly because AJ had to scoot his butt like a dog with a sh-tty asshole), but the Styles Clash from the second rope, while still having the wherewithal to pin him from the legs so he doesn’t get a chance for a rope break? Great, great stuff.
Worst: Your first reminder than no one at TNA watches their own show
One of the most hilarious and truly “TNA” things about this match is how often it’s pointed out that these two know each other, and how well-scouted the match is. Remember when Magnus was all “I don’t really know this guy” about Samoa Joe not too long ago? Aries and Styles have wrestled each other in some capacity ten times in the past eight years. Magnus and Samoa Joe, prior to the formation of the Main Event Mafia, wrestled twenty-eight times in two years, mostly as tag team partners. Magnus is the pits.
Best: Speaking of…
Backstage, Sting tries to give Magnus a pep talk by reminding him that everyone (with the unnamed exception of Hercules) in the Main Event Mafia is a former World Champion, but they took a chance on Magnus. It’s not about who Magnus is, but it’s who he will be. Magnus, ever the worst, stops Sting to say that with all due respect, he IS super awesome, but he’s sick of being called the future, and tonight, the future is now.” Yes. Really. What turns this into a worst is Sting’s responding with “Yeaah, the future is now!” like that one time Uncle Alec realized that the medium is the message. Personally I would think that Sting would make a much better Aunt Hetty, but it’s still pretty hilarious. Note: If you got any of that, thank you for also being super-duper Canadian. Together we can turn this into the Road to Avonlea crossover fanblog it should have been from the beginning.
(Note: Yes, Joseph Park would be a smashing Jasper Dale.)
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