Rob Van Dam def. Zema Ion to Win the TNA X-Division Championship
RVD as a member of the X-Division never made much sense to me, but I guess TNA really wanted more star power in the title picture at the time. A lot of RVD's work was uninspired, but truth be told, this was one of his better bouts, probably because of Ion. They put together a pretty good match and worked a nice pace. It was smart for this to be positioned as the opener since the title change kicked off the event on a high note.
TNA World Television Champion Samoa Joe def. Magnus
These two teamed up for the first half of 2012 and even reigned as TNA World Tag Team Champions for a brief period, so they already had great chemistry together. Magnus was really coming into his own as a singles competitor at this point and Joe was the perfect opponent for him. They produced a very clean, well wrestled match that I really enjoyed. Joe retained the title, but Magnus had solid showing in defeat. This was probably the only time in the history of the TNA World Television Championship that it was actually important.
United States Champion The Miz def. MVP
Miz was still early into his reign as United States Champion at this point but was quickly finding his footing as a heel on his own. He generated great heat from the fans in attendance and MVP was a fun foil for him. They weren't given a ton of time to work with, but it was a nice little match while it lasted with the right result. Championships have changed hands in Madison Square Garden before, so it's not like the outcome was entirely predictable.
Santino Marella def. Chavo Guerrero
As you would probably expect, this was complete comedy. In fact, it was less of a match and more of a bit with Santino spending the first minute or so trying out different jerseys that appealed to the New York fans. Admittedly, Santino rolling to the other end of the ring whenever Chavo attempted to go for the Frog Splash was pretty funny. Hornswoggle (who feuded with Chavo all summer in 2009) distracted Chavo long enough to allow Santino to pick up the victory.
JBL and Chris Jericho Confronted Raw General Manager Mike Adamle
Adamle was named the new general manager of Raw one week earlier and fans were not happy. Not only did the development not make any sense, Adamle was terrible! I mean, my god, the guy brought out a script with him on stage so he could remember all of his lines for this segment. It came out years later that he was dealing with medical issues at the time (and to this day) that prevented him from remembering things correctly, but they should have never put him in that role to begin with. Nevertheless, this was a solid segment that set up JBL and Jericho vs. CM Punk in a 2-on-1 Handicap match for later on in the night.
Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston def. Paul Burchill
I can't imagine many people truly saw Burchill as a threat to the title here, but I always thought he should have gotten a run with a midcard championship at some point during his career. This was the closest he came to winning one. He and Kingston had a nice little match, though the finish felt a bit abrupt with Kingston hitting the Trouble in Paradise out of nowhere.
World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Hardy Addressed CM Punk and John Morrison
Hardy was fresh off his big World Heavyweight Championship victory over Punk at Night of Champions, and what was so surprising about it was that it was being reported at the time that Hardy was on his way out of the company, so no one expected him to beat Punk. Sure enough, he did, and the crowd loved seeing him make his grand entrance as world champ here. Hardy has never been the best promo guy, but you could tell he was speaking from the heart. I liked how he addressed Punk's recent actions before then turning his focus to Morrison, who he'd put his world title on the line against later on in the night.
Cryme Tyme def. The Hart Dynasty in a Unified WWE Tag Team Championship No. 1 Contender's Match
Mere days earlier on Raw, Cryme Time had a colossal clash with tag champs Jeri-Show that also involved the night's guest host Shaquille O'Neal. WWE thankfully rode with the momentum Cryme Tyme had at the time and put them in the tag title picture by having them beat Hart Dynasty here in a well-wrestled match. I feel like the post-match promos from Cryme Tyme and Jeri-Show were longer than the actual matchup was, but at least they successfully built up their SummerSlam encounter.
WWE Champion CM Punk def. World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus (Non-Title)
This marked the first-ever one-on-one encounter between these two, and although both men were world champions, it was comical for Michael Cole to call it "one of the biggest matches in WWE history." That said, they did give this a big fight feel with the video packages for Punk and Sheamus, the pre-match interviews, and the in-ring introductions. I loved all of that, because it was so different than anything happening on Raw or SmackDown back then. The actual match was excellent and given a ton of time. I expected it to end in a non-finish because WWE heavily wanted to protect them both, so Punk winning following a head shot to the turnbuckle post to Sheamus was a pleasant surprise.
Team CoBro def. Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd in a WWE Tag Team championship No. 1 Contender's Tournament Quarterfinal Match
Team CoBro had to have been one of the dumbest team names I've ever heard for Zack Ryder and Santino Marella. Man, that was brutal. What's interesting is that their tandem didn't last very long, so they likely had a team name solely because WWE was in the middle of a brief tag team renaissance at the time and wanted to make them feel official. Compared to Punk vs. Sheamus, this was a nothing match, though it was fun for what it was. If nothing else, it had some significance with it being a quarterfinal matchup in the WWE Tag Team Championship No. 1 Contender's Tournament.
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