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Thread: TNA Against All Odds 2006 Review

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    TNA TNA Against All Odds 2006 Review

    Against All Odds
    February 12, 2006

    Earlier today - Christian Cage arrived at the building!

    Also earlier today - Scott D’Amore and Eric Young talked prior to Jeff Jarrett’s arrival to the building! Much to D’Amore’s frustration, Young had to sour the great mood that Jarrett was in by spouting out his conspiracy theory that Sting is coming back. Hogwash! Jarrett has rid the world of Sting!

    Generation Next vs The Naturals
    A rematch from the #1 contenders tag tournament which Gen Next won prior to losing in the finals. This is a bit of an infamous night for Roddy and Aries as this was the night after ROH’s Unscripted II. Due to an incoming snowstorm that weekend, TNA ordered all of their stars to arrive back in Orlando early in order to ensure that they wouldn’t miss the PPV. While men like Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, and Alex Shelley listened, the ROH Tag Team Champions chose not to out of their loyalty to ROH. Obviously, Gen Next managed to catch a plane to Orlando in time, but their disregard for orders would result in suspensions by TNA. In the case of Strong, he’ll pop up a few more times after this before never showing up on TNA TV again. Meanwhile, Aries didn’t immediately return after his suspension, instead waiting until the end of the year to make his return as Austin Starr. Sadly, this meant the short-lived unnamed Generation Next stable in TNA would be done despite all of its great potential. Watching this match, it really stands out the difference in value between Gen Next and The Naturals. Obviously, Roddy and Aries are better workers, but it’s more than that. For starters, Aries’ personality here is Austin Starr-like, which seems like a big positive to me in that Aries is offering TNA a very different Aries than he’s giving ROH. Considering TNA is sort of a middle ground between ROH’s workrate based company and WWE’s sports entertainment, that’s a valuable thing to bring to the company. The Naturals are practically sleepwalking through the match. There’s no energy or sense of urgency in their movements. I guess you can say there’s a sense of complacency there while Aries/Strong are trying to impress. Crowd reaction wise, it’s all Gen Next with Aries clearly being the most popular of the four men. This stands out as being significant to me as The Naturals have been on TV for longer and are the babyfaces, but the fans don’t care. They only care about Gen Next. This exposes a problem in TNA that may have been their biggest weakness in their entire run - nothing matters unless you’re considered to be a “Name”. For TNA, since Aries and Strong disregarded orders, they have to be punished and they have to lose tonight. Does that mean they’re going to push The Naturals instead? Absolutely not. So TNA punishes a team that the fans actually care about, but even if Aries/Strong decided to stay in TNA, where does losing here help them? But hey, you have Christian Cage and The Dudleyz now, who cares about any other newcomer? Anyways, Gen Next carried this match by dominating in the early going with the highlight being Aries hitting a Heat Seeking Missile out of nowhere in the middle of the match. Stevens played the face-in-peril for a while before finally making the mild tag to Douglas. With Naturals in control, Gen Next still managed to block their attempts at finishing the match first by blocking a power bomb combo move that saw Stevens apparently in his own world on the apron, unaware that Douglas was waiting for him and later when they first attempted the Natural Disaster. In a call back to their previous match, Aries tried to cheat to win by holding onto the ropes, but this time the referee caught him. Soon after, Aries sustains the Natural Disaster and the never over Naturals score a PPV victory. Despite the fact that The Naturals were clearly not in Gen Next’s league, this was a solid enough opener. In terms of this super short program, The Naturals winning does make sense since they were screwed in the tournament match, but man did TNA screw up by giving up on Generation Next. ***

    Petey Williams vs Alex Shelley vs Matt Bentley w/Traci vs Jay Lethal
    At this point in time, Lethal had yet to win in TNA. In fact, I would go as far as to say that he was nothing more than a glorified jobber. BUT he was impressive in his role and he was being treated as basically the best jobber. Looking back, Lethal absolutely made the right call by skipping ROH Unscripted II in order to follow TNA’s orders because he’s on the cusp of becoming more than a jobber and perhaps with Strong/Aries ignoring orders, TNA will become impressed with Lethal’s loyalty to them. Onto the match and I find it pretty underwhelming. Seeing as Petey and Shelley are both members of Planet Jarrett, the match ended up being an unofficial tag match. Worse yet, other than one spot where Shelley teased punching Williams, we never got any real interaction from the two heels. That alone limited the match quite a bit. I know that Bentley was a real stalwart of the X-Division in its NWA years, but by 2006, his act is tired. I think he could have really benefited from taking a year off of TNA, perhaps going back to ROH, before making his return. On the plus side, Lethal’s really popular with the crowd despite his spot in the company. The finish is pretty silly as Petey is in control of Bentley in the ring when Jackie Gayda heads out to the ringside to confront Shelley for his recent video of her. She slaps him around while Petey, in position to hit the Canadian Destroyer, looks on laughing at such a sight ends up being back body dropped by Bentley. Suddenly, Lethal pops into camera view to surprise Petey with a Jackknife cover to steal the pinfall and to finally score his first victory in TNA. It may not seem like it, but considering this was Lethal’s PPV debut and his first victory in the #2 company, you could possibly make the argument that this was his biggest victory thus far in his career. Too bad the match wasn’t anything special. ** ½

    The James Gang vs LAX w/Konnan
    This is the debut of Machete, without notice taking the place of Apollo in LAX. Despite popping up on iMPACT as recently as February 2006, Apollo’s standing in TNA had fallen quite a bit when he no showed Final Resolution 2006. Machete would prove to be a place holder member until TNA brought back Hernandez to be the third partner of Homicide where the tag team would finally find a good combo. The video package for this match really made it seem as if it was all about Ron Killings as his former 3 Live Kru brothers, Konnan and BG James, found themselves at odds and Truth not knowing what to do. There’s really nothing of value to speak about in this match. It’s short with Konnan interfering to help out LAX. Still, Machete ended up receiving a pump handle slam from BG James to give the James Gang the victory. I would say that LAX should have won the first match in the feud, but with Apollo out and Machete being a temporary replacement, I wouldn’t say it hurts LAX. Considering what an incredible program Homicide was currently involved in with Colt Cabana in ROH at this point, it’s a pretty big let down when you watch his debut program in TNA be against The New Age Outlaws. * ½

    After the match, Konnan attacked BG until Bullet Bob Armstrong came out to cause Konnan to bail.

    Backstage, Mark “Slick” Jackson approaches Larry Zbyszko backstage to inform him that he noticed that The Living Legend hadn’t assigned a referee for the main event. Zbyszko confirms that he has a referee, but it’s going to remain a secret.

    America’s Most Wanted © vs Chris Sabin and Sonjay Dutt - NWA Tag Titles
    Sabin and Dutt earned this title shot by winning a four team tournament against Generation Next, The Naturals, and Team Canada. Although they weren’t much of a full time team, Sabin and Dutt had teamed quite a bit in larger tag matches. For example, in the last three PPVs, they teamed together in six man and eight man tags. Their partnership of sorts even dates back to being on Team NWA in the America’s X Cup back in 2004. As far as finding a filler team for AMW to defend the titles against, Sabin/Dutt isn’t a terrible option. Mind you, skipping the finals of the tournament and instead booking AMW vs Generation Next vs Sabin/Dutt appeals to me more simply to allow a small taste of what a AMW vs Gen Next match would have been like. Unfortunately for Sabin, he’s going into this match at less than 100% after twisting his ankle in a sliding spot in the tournament finals. The real injury ends up actually helping the match by quickly creating a story as Harris, on the outside, takes advantage of Sabin being too near the champions’ corner, tripping him and targeting the bad ankle before Storm tagged him back in. Harris is pretty ruthless as he pulled down Sabin’s kick pad (Which Tenay annoyingly kept referring to as a ‘Wrap’) to further gain access at further weakening Sabin’s ankle. Eventually, that sets up Dutt getting the hot tag and having to work at a frenzy pace as he takes on both Storm and Harris. Sabin tries to help out, but all he can do is climb back into the ring for a spot or two, but he makes it worth it first by preventing the Hart Attack by flying off the top rope with a kick to Harris and later delivering a Tornado DDT to Storm on a chair for a nearfall. Storm would have the last laugh though as Storm fights Sabin on the outside and takes the cheap shot of slamming the steel railing onto Sabin’s ankle, effectively taking him out of the match. Dutt is then quickly finished off with the Death Sentence to give AMW the win. Good little match that over delivered. Instead of being a meaningless match just to give AMW something to do on the PPV, it was a meaningless match that gave AMW something to do on PPV...but with a story. *** ¼

    Rhino vs Abyss w/James Mitchell - Falls Count Anywhere
    A rematch from Final Resolution 2006, which was won by Abyss. I imagine this is a match I would have dug more back when it originally happened rather than now in 2020. It’s the expected ECW style garbage brawl throughout the building. On one hand, they kept things interesting by always changing things up, whether in location or the choice of weapon. On the other hand, it didn’t feel organic in nature. Deliberately wander outside of the arena to battle next to a car, go back to the ring because you’re done with the car spots, climb up the bleachers so that you can head towards the finish of a big spot with the double decker tables, ect. It feels less like a wild brawl where they’re just trying to kill each other and more than a carefully laid out match where they both knew where in the building they’d next fight. There are some fun weapon spots though. Rhino was choke slammed through a table while Rhino Gore’d Abyss through a table leaning up in the corner, both in the ring. The big finish saw the pair fighting on the bleachers when Abyss decided to destroy the wooden wall/barrier to open up the end of the bleachers to just over where a pair of double decker tables were stacked up. There’s a tease of an Abyss choke slam off the bleachers, but Rhino blocked it and then Gore’d Abyss to cause Abyss to fall off the bleachers and through the tables while Rhino remains safely on the bleachers. Due to how it was performed, it looked less like a Gore and more of a shoulder ram though. You can’t fault Rhino for not wanting to perform a proper Gore with both men falling from the bleachers, I suppose. Anyways, Rhino climbs down and covers Abyss to gain the three count to win the match and presumably the feud. If nothing else, this match felt different from everything else thus far on the show, which is a good thing. ** ½

    Samoa Joe © vs AJ Styles vs Christopher Daniels - X-Division Title
    Five months after their legendary three-way at Unbreakable, we get a rematch that practically no one even remembers happened. Seriously. I remember their Ultimate X from Destination X 2006 and the other three-way at Turning Point 2009, but this one? Nada. This was originally announced as just Joe vs Styles, a rematch of Turning Point 2005, my TNA MOTY before Daniels was added to the match. The big difference storyline wise between this and going into Unbreakable is that Styles and Daniels are starting to become friends, but both men’s desire to be X-Division Champion makes things pretty darn difficult. In some ways, I prefer this match to the Unbreakable bout. Part of it could also be that this one doesn’t have the insane expectations of being a five star classic so it’s easier to overdeliver. The fact that it was laid out so much differently than most triple threats, especially since this, that I found myself really digging it. So much of the match revolves around three-way spots. Whether that means a spot where all three are directly involved or a case where a planned spot doesn’t go right for a wrestler, but in the process they find themselves in a spot involving the other wrestler. For example, Daniels attempted a dive to the outside on Styles, but Joe interrupted it by striking Daniels just as The Fallen Angel was attempting to fly through the ropes. Another great thing is that it doesn’t rely on that tired multi-man trope of having wrestlers rest on the outside to essentially cause the match to become a series of one-on-one battles. If someone is selling, they’re typically selling by the ropes inside of the ring. Occasionally, someone will go to the outside, but they’re only on the outside long enough that the other two men are able to get in 2-3 spots at most. A lot of this is going off of pure memory, this match was less cutesy than the Unbreakable one. AJ, in particular, frustrated me some in the Unbreakable match by insisting on performing flips instead of just focusing on interrupting covers. While there were certainly cool looking spots, I wouldn’t say they ever got too cute for their own good. Although there is a lot about this match that I prefer over their Unbreakable bout, where my vague memory does tell me Unbreakable was better came out in the second half of the Against All Odds bout. All three men became exhausted in the second half resulting in a lot of resting and slowness before spots would occur. It doesn’t get to the point that it’s actively bad, but my memory of the Unbreakable match is that they kept a fast pace throughout it all. I really dig the ending to this match though. Joe, the unbeatable monster of the X-Division found his undefeated streak in jeopardy as Daniels picked him up in a Fireman’s Carry while Styles surprised both men by performing a Phenomenal Forearm to the back of Joe’s head. From there, Daniels completed his Death Valley Driver, dumping Joe on the back of his head. With that, Joe is officially knocked out. His undefeated streak is now ready to be broken as Daniels covered him only for Styles to break up the cover. AJ tried to steal the pin, but obviously Daniels broke up his cover as payback. Styles then hip tossed Daniels out of the ring and attempted to re-focus on Joe by climbing to the top rope and possibly hitting a Spiral Tap, but Daniels quickly follows, holding onto Styles’ boot. Finally, the worst thing for both challengers then happened - Joe woke up. One running boot to Daniels to send him flying off the apron and a Muscle Buster to AJ and Joe has retained his X-Division Title. They had him, they had him beaten, but their own infighting caused Styles and Daniels to come up short against Joe...again. Hell of a match though and more than lives up to the Unbreakable match. Mind you, I find the Unbreakable match to be overrated, but both matches were among the best in X-Division history. ****

    Team 3D vs Team Canada w/Scott D’Amore
    After Team 3D were named TNA tag team of the year (HOW?! They were active for like...2 months!), they decided to let the fans decide their next PPV opponents - AMW or Team Canada. Considering AMW were the tag team champions, it seems Team 3D’s fans did them dirty by voting for Team Canada instead. If you watch this match on its own, I think it ends up being a solid bout. Where I feel it suffers is that it told practically the same story as the NWA Tag Titles match. Similarly to Chris Sabin, Brother Devon was hurt on yesterday’s episode of iMPACT when he was badly busted open. Unlike Sabin, that was part of the planned build-up to this match. After Team 3D initially got in some offense, Devon’s injury was focused on with D’Amore removing Devon’s head wrap allowing Roode and Young to re-open the cut and cause Devon to bleed quite a bit in the match. The entire heat sequence is focused on the injury before building towards Brother Ray’s hot tag to clean house with Devon not doing much for the remainder of the match. Didn’t any of the TNA producers realize that their two main tag matches were laid out to be extremely similar? Despite this being the bigger of the two tag matches, you wouldn’t know it based on how little excitement Mike Tenay and Don West are showing. Multiple times during the match’s most dramatic moments, they called the action with a monotone reaction. The finishing stretch saw Team Canada try to cheat time after time to pin Brother Ray including using a low blow and the hockey stick, but he fought them off until Team 3D could hit the 3D on Young to abruptly end the match with the victory. Put this match on a different show where we didn’t just see the same story played out and with a couple of commentators that put any shred of effort into trying to add excitement into this and it’d be a solid addition to that event. Instead, it ends up being this weird showcase from TNA. ** ½

    After the match, AMW ran out to attack Team 3D. Team Canada joins in on the attack before Ron Killings runs in for the save.

    Prior to the main event, the reveal of the referee takes place as...Earl Hebner makes his TNA debut and TNA proves that they will literally sign anyone if they have WCW/WWE name value of any sort. This reveal allows Mike Tenay to scream about the WWE and Survivor Series 1997. I would criticize TNA for trying to hype up an event that occurred nine years earlier, but the WWE would be starting up a Shawn Michaels/Mr. McMahon program at the very end of 2006 that was kicked off with mentions of the same event.

    Jeff Jarrett © w/Gail Kim vs Christian Cage - NWA World Title
    The build-up to this match ignores a lot of things. The main talking points were that Cage is receiving this title shot too soon/he doesn’t deserve it and Jarrett believes Christian is nothing more than a midcard comedy act. The narrative is that Christian is only receiving this title shot because Sting up and retired after Final Resolution, forcing TNA to go into panic mode. Newsflash - Cage defeated Monty Brown at Turning Point 2005 to become the #1 contender! Meanwhile, I’m left frustrated by Cage’s promos leading into this title shot by just wanting to prove Jarrett wrong with the claims that he’s just a midcard comedy act. What I really wished TNA would have punched home is the fact that prior to Jarrett first winning the WCW World Title - he was seen as a midcard comedy act. Cage is, in a lot of ways, the same person Jarrett was six years earlier when he left the big money in the WWE in order to receive a fair chance at becoming a World Champion in WCW. This fact, that Jarrett would then refuse to acknowledge is a way for Jarrett to heel it up because he’s a total hypocrite for not giving a “Midcard comedy act” a chance when he was given a chance years earlier. As for the actual match - leave it to TNA to somehow take something incredibly simple and mess it up. At this point in time, putting a World Title around the waist of Cage is one of the most universally popular things a wrestling company could do. It’s foolproof. It’s rare for a company to be in such a position where every type of fan, whether a diehard or a casual fan, are in complete agreement. Yet, TNA managed to overbook this until it’s a mess. It begins well enough with Jarrett trying to throw Cage off his game by riling him up and then roughing Christian up with Gail Kim interfering here and there. The middle of the match is where things completely fell apart for me. It began with Jarrett locking in the Sharpshooter. Now, given that the big program is Sting vs Jarrett, you’d think that the emphasis would be on Jarrett stealing Sting’s finisher which will lead to Sting coming out of retirement, but oh no. This is TNA and it’s Earl Hebner’s debut. As soon as Jarrett turns Cage over into the Sharpshooter, Hebner goes to motion for the bell to be rang in yet another attempt to play off the Montreal Screw Job. Instead, Cage grabbed at Hebner’s ankle and begged him not to do it. And Hebner doesn’t. Which begs a question, why was Hebner going to screw over Christian if he wasn’t going to heel it up? That moment doesn’t make any sense whatsoever other than TNA just having to playing off the Montreal Screw Job. From there, it gets worse as Jarrett later slides between Cage’s legs and inadvertently takes out Hebner for the first referee bump. That allows Kim to openly interfere more before Hebner is fully knocked out while holding his leg in the corner as Jarrett collides against him. A new referee comes out, but after he spots Jarrett delivering a low blow and goes to call for the bell to DQ Jarrett (Which would have resulted in a new champion), Jarrett gave him a low blow for the next referee bump. More Gail Kim interference with steel chairs and guitars coming into the picture. Jarrett seemingly had the match won with the guitar shot, but Christian managed to kick out before Hebner could wake up and make the count. Finally, Jarrett attempted another Stroke, but Cage countered it into the Unprettier to win the match and become the NEW NWA World Champion. Was it a feel good moment to finally see Christian win a World Title? You betcha. Was this a good match? Absolutely not. Had TNA been smart, this would have been Jarrett’s farewell from the main event scene and then immediately move Cage into defending the title against good workers. Watching Christian be dragged down to Jarrett’s level isn’t fun for anyone. **

    After the match, the ring is flooded by fans and Rhino as everyone celebrates Christian’s big title victory.

    Seeing as I’ve been watching a good deal of Ring of Honor lately, I was curious to see how TNA, from the same time period, held up. From a star ratings perspective, Against All Odds holds up really well against ROH’s Milestone Series events that I’ve covered thus far (4th Anniversary Show, Arena Warfare, Best in the World, and Dragon Gate Challenge). In fact, when I determine the overall match rating average per show, Against All Odds beats out Arena Warfare and Best in the World. Indeed, from a workrate perspective, TNA was still really solid in 2006. Considering Against All Odds was TNA’s answer to WWE’s No Way Out 2006, TNA managed to put on a superior PPV. At the same time, and this is where TNA really differs from ROH of the same time period, I can’t say I’m all that invested in the angles. Rather than being a true alternative to the WWE, they instead come off as a weaker version of WWE’s Sports Entertainment mixed with a weaker version of ROH’s top workrate based style. When you just focus on TNA’s amazing series of matches with Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, and AJ Styles (Which I would argue ended up hurting the X-Division more than help it due to the lack of attention on the other X-Division stars) and AMW trying to carry the NWA Tag Titles division, it’s an enjoyable company. While this show may be best remembered for being the night that Christian Cage finally won a World Title, I’ll remember it as being the night that TNA forced a Montreal Screw Job sub-story into that big moment for Christian. I do want to make this clear though. For as much as TNA acted like TNA on this PPV, Against All Odds 2006 is still an easily watchable event with a few good matches. It’s just frustrating watching TNA during their peak and witnessing stupid failures that kept them from living up to their true potential.

  2. #2
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    Re: TNA Against All Odds 2006 Review

    I know I've seen this show before when it aired..........and I must of forgotten that there was an Unbreakable rematch on this show. Like you say, 2009 is the one I always think of as the rematch.

    I think I dug the main event more than you because I didn't mind Jarrett too much.
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  3. #3
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    Re: TNA Against All Odds 2006 Review

    I remember the triple threat rematch happening, but only because of the Ultimate X match it then leads to next month.

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  4. #4

    Re: TNA Against All Odds 2006 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed View Post
    I think I dug the main event more than you because I didn't mind Jarrett too much.
    I wouldn't even say that the problem was directly Jarrett, but rather Jarrett's TNA main event booking. I'd compare it to Sting/Hogan from Starrcade 1997 where both matches could be extremely easily booked. All the fans wanted to see was the babyface beat the heel champion to win the belt. Instead, both matches overbooked everything. And hey, both Hogan and Jarrett was champion again in just a few months.

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