By Graham "GSM" Matthews
James Storm def. Mr. Anderson in a Qualifying Match
While the video package for Anderson was a bit dated, the one for Storm was well done. Granted, he only held the TNA World Heavyweight Championship for merely two weeks in 2011, but it did a nice job of establishing the fact that he wants to be involved in the chase for the title sometime soon. This made for a fun opener and the superkick finish seemed to come out of nowhere, but not in a bad way. As much as I like Anderson, he felt like the odd man out of this tournament considering at the time this was taped (in March), he wasn't as relevant as most of the other competitors.
Samoa Joe def. Jeff Hardy in the Quarterfinals
The commentators billed this as a dream match, despite the fact they have clashed several times in recent years. My hopes were high for this bout, and I was ultimately disappointed with it. It was a good what for what it was, but I expected much more out of these two. They were still in first or second gear when the match abruptly ended, so it could have benefited from more time. It was a pleasant surprise to see Joe go over cleanly given the fact Hardy is one of the company's top babyfaces (especially at this time, when he had just dropped the TNA title).
Austin Aries def. Kurt Angle in the Quarterfinals
Similar to the previous matchup of Hardy vs. Angle, I expected this match to be an instant classic, and was slightly disappointed with what we ended up getting once it was over. Aries, who has since turned tweeter, was comical as a heel, and his antics with Angle early on in the matchup were entertaining, but I would have liked to see him take the bout a bit more seriously. It was definitely a well wrestled match with a handful of highlights, but I was slightly underwhelmed by it. I initially thought Aries won the match clean, but the commentators made mention of Aries holding Angle's tights when he rolled him up, so it wasn't exactly clear if the win was clean or not. Aries and Angle are set to clash in another tournament match on Impact Wrestling, so here's hoping that contest is better than this one.
James Storm def. Bully Ray by Disqualification in the Quarterfinals
The match was good while it lasted, but I was surprised to see it cut short. They work well together, so this was yet another example of a match that could have used extra time to feel more memorable. Ray getting himself disqualified was logical in allowing Storm to advance while also protecting Ray, but the interference from Devon was absolutely asinine. I understand Devon was still a part of Aces and Eights back in March, but the commentary was done more recently at a time where Devon was already kicked out. The announcers hardly mentioned it and it came off as confusing. However, Ray targeting the arm of Storm after the match ended was a nice touch.
Bobby Roode def. Sting in the Quarterfinals
It is getting harder and harder for Sting to have good matches at this point in his career. His match with Roode was decent, but his in-ring work has been really lacking as of late. Being over 50 years old, Sting should consider retirement sooner rather than later, or at least a non-wrestling role. Roode carried him for most of the match, but the Scorprion Death Lock looked horrendous. If nothing else, Roode winning cleanly via submission was great in making Roode look like a credible heel.
Samoa Joe def. Austin Aries in the Semifinals
Of all the "dream" matches on this show, this one was the closest in living up to my lofty expectations. It wasn't by any means perfect and I still enjoyed their match from 2012's Slammiversary event better, but both competitors put forth a strong effort and delivered a great match. Again, Aries mocking Joe was humorous, but I like his matches more when he is taking his opponent seriously and isn't joking around. Aries passing out was done rather quickly, but it was a smart way of making him look strong in defeat without having him tap out.
Bobby Roode def. James Storm in the Semifinals
I was fitting to watch this event (I watched it on Sunday night) two years to the day that Roode turned on Storm to win the world title. Their longtime rivalry was among my favorite feuds in TNA history, so I was looking forward to these two clashing at some point in the tournament. The commentators did a nice job of foreshadowing it earlier on the evening as well. They have had better matches in the past (specifically their Street Fight from 2012's Bound For Glory), but this was still a very entertaining match that proved to me the best bout of the night in my opinion. Storm had an injured arm going into this contest, and they didn't even have the match tell a story regarding that until the very end, which was strange. I didn't understand why Roode needed to cheat to beat Storm, especially after he defeated Sting cleanly earlier in the show (and later Joe). Nonetheless, Roode was the better choice of the two to advance and they worked a much better match at this event than they did at TNA 10 a few months ago.
Bobby Roode def. Samoa Joe
The in-ring action was enjoyable at points, especially toward the end with the reversals of the submission maneuvers. Aside from that, though, the match was nothing special, as these two simply don't have that good of chemistry together. In what was a common theme throughout the night, the finish was completely unexpected, but it was nice to see Roode win cleanly and emerge as the victor of the tournament. It was mentioned multiple times throughout the show, but with Roode being the longest reigning TNA Champion in company history, it was only fitting to have him win it all.
Most of the matches ranged from decent to excellent, but none of them were worth going out of your way to see. Cramming an entire tournament in one night certainly didn't help matters, as the reaction each of the competitors received was quieter every time they entered. Then again, the Impact Zone is partially to blame, as it is one of the most jaded and overexposed arenas in all of wrestling right now, which is why I fear TNA going back there soon. The video packages that aired before each of the matches were very well done and helped the tournament feel more meaningful, although some of them unnecessarily dragged on and were recycled from past shows. The commentary from Mike Tenay and Taz was also obnoxious and distracting, but I guess they feel they don't have to take it seriously since they know many people won't be watching it anyway. Of course, airing this event eight months after it was initially taped was mind boggling, but there weren't many storyline inconsistencies from the most part disregarding Devon's interference. That being said, they should invest in taping these shows much closer to when they will actually air to prevent said errors from occurring. Despite some of the matches being underwhelming, this was by far the best One Night Only pay-per-view TNA has produced yet that featured plenty of solid wrestling and smart booking decisions throughout the night.
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