January 20, 2007
â€“ Larry Goodman
TNA Wrestling from Zamora Temple in Irondale. Alabama was an outstanding night of pro wrestling entertainment. It was everything the
TV show is not. The accent was on the wrestling.
If they play their cards right, Birmingham could become a great town for TNA. It was the first house show run under the TNA name (co-
promoted by Linda Marx/NWA Wrestle Birmingham), and it was a major success on every level, with a full house, great atmosphere and
solid wrestling. The paid attendance was quoted to me at 985, although it looked more like 1100-1200. Not a bad take figuring that the
average ticket price was at least $25. Start to finish, this was one hot crowd. It was heavily 18-35 male. Clearly, these were avid TNA fans.
Every intro got the star reaction with the entire ringside area on their feet. The pacing was spot on, finishing up at just under 2 and Â½
Jeremy Borash opened the show by mentioning that TNA did their first show in Alabama (Huntsville) back in 2002. Borash said the Spike
TV cameras were in the house.
(1) Petey Williams beat Sonjay Dutt in just under 15 minutes
Fast-paced X Division action without the mindless speed of the Impact stuff. The crowd took to Petey as the babyface. Dutt went into full-
blown heel mode with a disgusting display of arrogance. The crowd chanted that Dutt was gay. Williams did a duck under roll up and Dutt
cut him off with a reverse elbow, a nice change-of-pace from the same old sunset flip/lariat spot. They battled on the top rope. Dutt took
the bump. Williams flew. Dutt moved. Williams rolled through, and Dutt nailed him with a dropkick for a near fall. Williams incapacitated
Dutt out with a devastating maneuver that I missed. A satellite Russian legsweep by Williams popped the crowd. Petey reeled him in.
Dutt escaped from the Canadian Destroyer, but Williams got the sharpshooter. Dutt made the ropes. Dutt hit a top rope springboard
lariat. He followed up with a quebrada for a near fall. Dutt applied the camel clutch but Williams made it to the apron. From there,
Williams hit a slingshot reverse lungblower and finished Dutt with the Canadian Destroyer. Dutt sold the finish like he was channeling
Terry Funk. Great opener.
(2) Eric Young beat Austin Starr in 13:57
Starr got a â€œprimadonnaâ€� chant. Youngâ€™s character was as over in Birmingham as he is in Orlando. The crowd was totally into
his antics. One of the reasons it works it that Young wrestles smart, using counter moves to maintain the advantage. Starr caught Young
with a springboard reverse elbow. But Young took the Flair flip bump to the apron, shoulder blocked Starr through the ropes, and crawled
through his legs to hit a reverse atomic drop. At 5 minutes in, Starr stunned Young across the top rope. The crowd chanted for Young, but
he ended up on rubber legs and fell out of the ring. Starr hit a top rope double ax to the floor. Starrâ€™s wicked bridging reverse chinlock
got a pop. This crowd was into the wrestling. Starr cut off one comeback with an STO. Starr did the pendulum elbow. Starr tried to dump
Young. No go. Young started clubbering away from the apron and hit a top rope elbow for a near fall. Young went up top again, but Starr
shook the ropes to crotch him. Starr hit a running corner dropkick for a near fall. Young made the full-fledged comeback with a press
slam. The finish was a sunset flip with a tug on the tights to expose the crack of Starrâ€™s ass on the way down. The crowd loved it.
Starr got into it with an old man that was giving the heels hell all night long.
(3) B. G. James pinned Robert Roode at 11:56 with the pumphandle drop
This is Armstrong country, so B. G.â€™s intro was way over. He did the â€œwelcome to the dog houseâ€� stuff and referred to TNA as
the â€œCircus de Soleil of pro wrestling.â€� James got a mild â€œVKMâ€� chant going. The crowd preferred â€œDX sucks.â€� This
was wrestled in an old school heavyweight style. The work was nothing to be ashamed about, but this match lacked the electric
atmosphere of the first two. James molested Roode with a doggie style go-behind. James did the robot punch, but Roode rolled out of
the ring to escape the Shake, Rattle and Roll kneedrop. James dragged Roode in over the top rope and dropped him on his face when
Andrew Thomas called for the break. James got up for a dropkick. Roode knocked James through the ropes with an elbow in the chops.
Roode took over but the crowd wasnâ€™t behind James like they were for Young and Williams. Roode used a flying knee off the middle
rope. Both men down for a count of nine on a shoulder block collision. James hit the epileptic kneedrop for a near fall. But Roode
managed to counter the pumphandle with a stumbling DDT for a near fall. Roode went for another DDT and James countered with his
finisher. James had some parting words. â€œThatâ€™s how we do it in Alabama, bitch.â€�
Borash hyped Against All Odds on 2/11 and said the cameras would be rolling for the next match. He challenged the crowd to get louder
than Orlando. A massive â€œTNAâ€� chant ensued.
(4) James Storm beat Chris Harris via count out
This was a killer angle to set up Storm vs. Jake Roberts for the next Wrestle Birmingham show. Harris doesnâ€™t make the worldâ€™s
greatest babyface, but Stormâ€™s sheer awesomeness as a heel more than makes up for it. Truly a tour de force performance by
Storm. Harrisâ€™ music played but no Harris. When Storm was announced as the winner, he acted like he had just been through a
tough match. The crowd chanted bullshit. â€œI could tell you people how stupid you are, but you already know it.â€� Storm said they
probably thought MCI was a rapper. Storm addressed a female. â€œYou keep that glory hole shaved for me. Iâ€™ll be back at the hotel
waiting.â€� The heat was off the hook. Harris (wearing the eye patch) entered the ring from the other side and waited for Storm to turn
around. Storm charged. Harris decked him. Storm raked the eyes and went for the beer bottle. But Harris gave Storm a lariat and grabbed
the bottle. Storm jumped the rail and ran to the back of the building. Harris said Storm knew he wasnâ€™t medically cleared to wrestle.
He just gypped the fans out of a match. Harris said Storm would have to face Roberts on 2/9. â€œSorry about YOUR damn luck.â€�
Storm vs. Harris would put some asses in seats for Wrestle Birmingham. I donâ€™t know about Roberts. Itâ€™s not a match that was
going to appeal to the TNA crowd. Maybe a little if they had Harris in Robertsâ€™ corner. I hope Roberts cut some hellacious promos for
the Wrestle Birmingham TV show.
(5) A. J. Styles pinned Rhino with his feet on the ropes at 9:05
I thought Styles had potential as a heel from his first run on the dark side with Jeff G. Bailey in NWA Wildside. Styles said he was
misunderstood. The crowd said Styles sucked. Styles denied that he was married to his sister. Rhino said Styles was telling the truth
because his sister told him so the night before. â€œAnd she sucks, too.â€� Crowd was split for this match. Styles went to the ropes to
force breaks. Styles bitch slapped Rhino and started to shit his tights. Styles bailed out to avoid the gore. Rhino took over on the outside.
Back inside, Styles got a pop for his signature dropkick and sucked in the applause. A picture perfect pescado got a â€œTNAâ€� chant.
Styles did the springboard forearm smash for a near fall. Styles hit the Pele for a great near fall, hooking the near leg with his leg at the
count of one. Dueling chants erupted. Styles talked trash. Rhino fought up from a sleeper. Rhino connected with a flying lariat. Rhino
speared Styles in the corner. Rhino hit a belly to belly suplex and went for the Gore. Styles pulled referee Rudy Charles in front of him.
Rhino put on the breaks. Styles capitalized with the cheap pin. The finish didnâ€™t exactly make Rhino look like the brightest bulb in
Birmingham. Rhino gored Styles, so he got the satisfaction of walking out with Styles laying at this feet. Huge pop for the Gore, second
only to the finish of the Angle match.
(6) LAX (Homicide & Hernandez) beat The Naturals (Chase Stevens & Andy Douglas) to retain the NWA World Tag Team
Championship in 11:14
A heavy dose of LAX love as the crowd gave them a total cool heel response. LAX attacked Naturals before the bell. Naturals cleared the
ring but not much pop for their efforts. Stevens suplexed Homicide back to the inside and Naturals hit a facebuster double team. Stevens
traded stiff chops with Hernandez. The tide turned when Douglas tried to monkey flip Hernandez, and LAX turned it into a double team
hotshot. The heat on Douglas was a showcase for Hernandezâ€™s power moves. Hernandez hit a powerslam and Homicide followed
with a cannonball senton. Hernandez applied a camel clutch and Homicide pasted him with a basement dropkick. Hernandez hit a
bigtime powerbomb. Homicide and Douglas battled on the top rope. Homicide took the bump, and Douglas didnâ€™t get all he wanted
with his missile dropkick. Stevens cleaned house. Stevens suplexed Homicide into the turnbuckles. Hernandez gave Stevens the
Crackerjack. Douglas hit a high knee on Hernandez, and Homicide gave Douglas a shining wizard. With all four laid out, the crowd
chanted â€œthis is awesome.â€� Hernandez gave Douglas the Border Toss. Douglas landed on his neck, a sick and scary bump.
Homicide did the three amigos for an â€œEddieâ€� chant. Homicide went for the frogsplash, but Stevens rolled out from under it.
Stevens hit a brainbuster on Homicide for a near fall. Homicide caught Stevens with a small package to score the pinfall. Steven threw
the ringsteps towards LAX. Terry Taylor and Linda Marx both came to ringside to check on Douglas, who was down for a very long time
before being helped to the back.
Borash said it was time to fire up the Spike TV cameras again. Borash said the 1/18 edition of Impact drew the highest rating ever.
(7) Number one contenderâ€™s match for the NWA World Heavyweight Title: Kurt Angle defeated Abyss via ankle lock submission
Angle got the superstar reaction. Everyone on their feet for the loudest entrance pop of the night followed by a â€œUSAâ€� chant. Abyss
blocked Angleâ€™s first takedown attempt. Abyss blasted Angle with a shoulder block. Angle took a walk to think things over. Angle
started to offer his hand and smacked Abyss across the face. The crowd liked it. Angle lit him up with an uppercut forearm. But Angle
speared the post when Abyss stepped aside. In a heartbeat, the crowd was chanting for Angle. Abyss hit a stalling suplex but failed to
hook the leg. Abyss pounded Angle in the corner. Angle fired back. Abyss took a charging chest bump into the buckles and Angle hit a
german suplex. Angle pulled the straps down. Abyss escaped from the Angle Slam and hit Shock Treatment, but Angle rolled a shoulder
at 2 and Â½. Abyss went for a piledriver, and Angle countered with the ankle lock. Abyss kicked him off. Abyss hit the Blackhole Slam.
Angle kicked out just before the three count. Abyss was in a state of shock. Abyss goozled him for the chokeslam. Angle rolled through
into a grapevine ankle lock. Huge pop for the tap out.
Along with Storm vs. Roberts, the 2/9 Wrestle Birmingham show at Zamora has B. G. James vs. McNasty in an Alabama Street Fight,
David Young & Elix Skipper (with Robert Fuller) vs. Fire & Flame from Memphis for the Wrestle Birmingham tag titles, â€œExoticâ€�
Adrian Street (with Miss Linda) vs. Aeon Flex, Brickhouse Brown & Dan Sawyer vs El Mexicano & The Dragon, Brad Armstrong vs. Dennis
Condrey for the Wrestle Birmingham TV Title, â€œBulletâ€� Bob Armstrong vs. â€œWildfireâ€� Tommy Rich in a Loser Leaves Town,
Mike Jackson challenges Daffney for the Alabama Junior Heavyweight Titleâ€¦Wrestle Birmingham aired McNasty beating James for the
title from 7/22/06. It ran head-to-head with TNA Impact due to the TNA show being moved an hour later.
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