TNA Bound For Glory, Arena at Gwinnett Center, Duluth, GA, 14 October 2007
After the intro tape, we cut to Mike Tenay and Don West at the announce booth on the arena floor, just off the entrance ramp. Both men look concerned.
“There’s been a lot of talk about the main event,” Tenay says, “but even more about the event following it: We just found out tonight that the match between ‘Showtime’ Eric Young, and Robert Roode, for possession of the contract of Ms. Brooks, has been moved to after the main event between Sting and Kurt Angle. I understand Management Director Jim Cornette will be — ahh, there he is now.”
Cornette descends the entry ramp as rapidly as he can manage, waks to the announce booth, and grabs a seat next to Tenay. Once equipped with a headset and mike, Cornette says, “Thank you — nice to be here with y’all.”
“Nice to have you, “Tenay replies, “but let’s face it — some folks are wondering why the sudden move of the Young-Roode match to after the main event. Is this a double-main?”
“No, no,” Cornette replies. “I put the contract match after the main because frankly — selfishly — I don’t want to chew up thirty mnutes of pay-per-view airtime cleaning up the mess.”
“You think it’s gonna be that bad?” West asks.
Cornette shoots him a glare. “You’ve seen what Young’s done to the bait Roode’s thrown in front of him — you think it’s not gonna get that bad? Roode’s already made it clear he figures to end Young’s career; Young’s made it clear the only way he gets off Roode’s case is if Roode kills him. Hell, we have a Monsters’ Ball match scheduled, and I think that will be less bloody than what Young and Roode are gonna do to each other! So best to leave it until the end of the night, and deal with the aftermath after the show.”
West follows up. “We saw Roode throw Kong at Young because he knew Young couldn’t lay a hand on her; I wonder why Ms. Brooks didn’t try that approach herself.”
Cornette’s voice drips with sarcasm. “You know full-well what Roode is like — he’d have just hired one of the other girls to beat the tar out of her, then claim the win himself. Make no mistake: Roode is clever; he’s managed to duck Young for something like three months. The only reason Young’s kept up with him is because they both came from Team Canada — may that team rot! — and Young knows as many tricks as Roode does. I expect the low-blows to come fast and furious in that match; all the referee has to do is raise the hand of whoever’s standing at the end… if anyone’s standing.”
“Well, thank you for filling in those blanks, Jim, and we’ll see you post-show,” Tenay says. Cornette nods, and departs.
The other events pass in the course of the evening — there is much rejoicing when Sting removes Angle from the World Heavyweight Championship — but then the crowd falls silent as the screens play a recap of events leading up to the final match of the evening. Footage of Roode verbally savaging Brooks; footage of Young interfering with Roode’s attempts to become a heavyweight contender; footage of Roode having to look over his shoulder in his matches; footage of Young destroying every hired-gun placed in his path. The montage ends, and the ring announcer’s voice rings out across the arena:
“The following is a Last Man Standing match — no pinfalls, no submissions, and no disqualifications! The winner gains control of the contract of Ms. Brooks.”
At this point, Ms. Brooks walks down the ramp; behind her is Jim Cornette, holding a sheaf of papers — the word “CONTRACT” is just readable at the top of the first page. They take seats at the announce table. Behind them stand no fewer than four TNA Security personnel, and not-insubstantial men they are. Cornette seats Ms. Brooks behind the announcers, then take a position on the flank of the announce table, where he can keep a weather eye of Brooks… and anyone who might try anything hinky.
The ring announcer continues, “Our first competitor — ROBERT ROODE!”
Roode appears in the mouth of the entrance tunnel; the smirk on his lips contrasts with the manner in which he edges carefully out of the entranceway, and down the tunnel, his head swiveling. It is hard to tell if the crowd’s booing and catcalling affects him at all.
The ring announcer continues, “And his opponent — ‘SHOWTIME‘ ERIC YOUNG!”
The crowd’s roar of approval distracts Roode for a moment… and a figure wearing a hooded sweater leaps to the top of the security rail, then springs off it, crashing into Roode bodily, and sending him careening into the ring steps.
The figure whips the hood back in one swift movement.
Eric Young has arrived.
The next ten minutes can only barely be termed a “wrestling match”; Earl Hebner ordering the bell ringing is almost an afterthought. As Roode caroms off the steps, Young delivers a foot to Roode’s midriff, launching him into a shoulder-roll which ends on the safety rail. Roode is up quickly, blocking a right-hand chop, and gets in a heel-of-the-hand strike to Young’s chin, snapping his head back and sending him staggering into the side of the ring. Roode descends with a flurry of open-hand strikes to Young’s head and shoulders; then a knee to the groin doubles Young over. Roode rains down the blows on Young’s unprotected head and neck, until Young suddenly grapples Roode, lifts him off-balance, and carries him across the apron, slamming Roode’s spine into the safety rail.
Now it is Roode who feels the brunt of chops and kicks — a palm-strike to his chin straightens him up; then another strike to the midsection doubles him up again. Roode flails; Young grabs his arm, and whips him into the side of the ring, then stuffs a foot into the back of Roode’s knee. As Roode crumples, however, he is able to lash out and rake Young’s eyes, forcing Young to break off.
Around the ring apron they go — first Roode with the advantage, then Young; back and forth it goes. Both men are of similar build and weight, and both come from Team Canada; as predicted, low-blows and shortcuts are the order of the day. It is some four minutes into the match when Roode commits a colossal error; after slamming Young’s head into a ring post and sending him sprawling against the safety rail, Roode goes for a superkick to Young’s skull… which Young dodges at the last moment, leaving Roode with his foot wedged in the railing.
Young does not hesitate — he grabs a folding chair from ringside, and brings it down on Roode’s leg, leaving Roode screaming. Roode’s screams are cut short by the chair-shot to his head, leaving him dazed on the floor, and bleeding profusely. Young untangles Roode from the rail, then drags him along the floor by the injured ankle, eliciting more screams.
Interspersed with the fight, shots of the entrance tunnel are shown; a collection of TNA talent is gathering at the top of the ramp, watching, and commenting — Samoa Joe is seen; Team 3D as well; even the likes of newly-minted champion Sting, Christian, and Kurt Angle are present (though noticeably keeping their distance from one another).
Young releases Roode’s leg, and goes for an elbow-drop; Roode has enough left to dodge, forcing Young to take the hit on the thin apron pad. Now it is Young’s turn to howl in agony. Roode staggers to his feet, and notices the deranged ring-steps. A grin made even more evil by the volume of blood coating his face and matting his hair appears; Roode grabs the ring-steps, totters over to the prone Young, and delivers a vicious blow to Young’s head, then another.
As Young’s face comes into view, the TV views split-screens to show the reactions of the non-combatants; Brooks looks horrified, Cornette grim; even Joe looks appalled. And for good reason — Young’s normally-peroxide-blonde hair is now almost solid red, and his face looks like a warped parody of Sting’s face-paint. But the blood cannot mask the expression on Young’s face — and that expression is one of unconfined rage.
Young charges Roode once more; once more, Roode is slammed bodily into the safety rail. Another arm-whip sends Roode caroming into the announce desk. Announcers and others scatter. Roode grabs an unattended folding chair, and swings it wildly; his chair is met by another being wielded by Young. For the next couple minutes, like some strange medieval battle, the men swing their chairs, and block each other’s efforts to score a hit.
In the end, it is the leg hit scored by Young which decides the fight. Young blocks a shot to his head, then takes the opportunity to sweep Roode’s injured leg. Roode staggers, dropping his guard — and Young catches him full in the face, rocking him back. Roode falls backwards onto the announce table, glassy-eyed.
Young shows no mercy. Swiftly, he climbs onto the safety rail near the announce table, chair in hand. The TV feed cuts over to the crowd at the entrance tunnel; most are wide-eyed, and Ray can be seen (but not heard) saying “No, no — don’t do it”. But Young cannot hear him… and would not listen even if he could.
Young pauses but a moment, sizing up the distance.
Then, holding the chair in front of him like a surfboard, he leaps.
The effect is devastating. The table shatters under the blow. Young bounces heavily onto the ring apron. Roode is all but buried under the wreckage of table and chair. Blood from various wounds spatters everywhere. Reaction shots from the stage reflect the horror-show occurring on the floor, and language which could never be used on Spike is heard, if muffled.
Neither man moves. Referee Hebner steps up, looking at the two battered forms on the floor, waiting for any sign of movement.
For nearly a full minute, nothing.
Then, a sign of movement… and the crowd roars its approval.
Eric Young is slowly, painfully, getting to his feet.
Roode, conspicuously, is not.
Young sways as he gains his footing. His gaze is fixed on Roode’s form — even though one eye is swollen shut. Hebner begins to count: One… two… three… four… five… six… seven…. Now the crowd begins to count with him — eight… nine….
Hebner signals for the bell; it is drowned out by cheers from the masses, and from not a few of the wrestlers on the stage.
But Young pays no attention — his head swivels, and his gaze locks onto a horrified Cornette… then to his hand, where the contract, forgotten, has been badly wrinkled by his death-grip on it. Young shambles over to Cornette, reaches out his hand. Cornette, stunned, takes a moment to grasp what Young wants; then hands him the contract.
Young turns, searching. Brooks appears from where she’s been hiding in the crowd, and approaches Young. Young holds out his hand, presenting the crumpled, now-bloodstained contract to Brooks.
The crowd begins chanting: “DO IT!”
Brooks hesitantly takes the contract from Young. She turns to look at the pile of wreckage containing the inert form of Robert Roode. She turns to look once more at Young.
Young nods… and gives her that crooked smile he’s famous for.
Brooks also smiles — then takes the contract in both hands and tears it in half, and tears the halves in half.
The crowd’s roars and cheers shake the rafters. The wrestlers on the stage applaud. Brooks looks around, smiling for what seems like the first time in months.
Young nods, then moves toward the ramp, slowly. He gets halfway up the ramp, turns to face the place where Roode lies, being tended to by medics… then, like a tree in a wind, sways and topples face-first onto the ramp.
A collective gasp escapes the crowd. But almost instantly, Young finds himself surrounded by a crowd of wrestlers — Samoa Joe leading; Ray and Devon close behind; Abyss; Rhino; and finally the new champion himself, Sting. Carefully, with Joe providing direction, they lift Young to their shoulders, and carry him up the ramp. The other talent make a hole, and make it wide.
As the PPV ends, more-observant viewers comment on one fact: As Young is carried to the back, his head is dangling such that, even now, his face is turned toward the ring….
TNA Turning Point, IMPACT! Zone, Orlando, FL, 2 December 2007
The preview clip plays, advertising the main event of the evening — the “Angle Alliance” of A.J. Styles, Tomko, and reigning World Heavyweight Champion Kurt Angle; versus Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Samoa Joe. The entrance for Styles and Tomko (the reigning Tag Team champs) plays; but over it, Mike Tenay points out one major problem: “Scott Hall is not here tonight.” As Angle’s entrance plays out, Tenay and Don West further discuss the effects of Hall’s absence — particularly as it affects the already-fragile trust between Nash and Joe. Nash’s entrance plays, and the big man comes down the ramp — but his expression echoes Tenay’s remarks: “Where’s his head right now?”
Then Samoa Joe’s theme plays… but Joe does not appear. The members of the Angle Alliance at first act surprised, then confident as it seems the match is a non-starter with only one of the opposing team present. Nash’s posture and expression are those of a man who is watching his world collapse.
It is not until the second play-though of Joe’s music that he finally appears — and it is clear from his manner that he is in a truly foul mood. As he climbs into a ring now empty save for Nash, he shoots a glare at the seven-footer, then walks to the edge of the ring to collect a microphone. Stalking back to drop off his towel on the turnbuckle next to Nash, he then stomps to the center of the ring, and says “Cut my music.”
The arena echoes to chants of “Joe!”; Joe simply stares at the main ring camera, then turns to the Alliance, and says, “You’ll get your time.” He then points to the main camera… then drops his hand, smiles and begins wandering the ring.
“You know what,” Joe says. “You know what… I’ll tell you what. Backstage, I was told to come out here, and they said, ‘Joe — the fans love ya, and if there’s one thing they trust, it’s you, and we want you to go out there, and we want you to tell these people something that’ll make them satisfied with the fact that Scott Hall no-showed this event tonight!” His face twists into a look of abject disgust. Shots of the Alliance laughing mockingly, and of Nash looking stonily, are shown.
“And, you know, I would love — I would LOVE — to tell you people that he’d be comin’ down that ramp a little bit later on, but the fact of the matter is: He punked out on me, and he punked out on every single fan in this building tonight!” Mike Tenay is only able to comment “Wow…”; West says “Strong words.”
“And then, it got me thinking,” Joe continues. “I was back there and I said, ‘Y’know what, I could walk out there, I could go two-on-three with Kevin, and make the best of it’. But y’know what else — I realized another thing.” Joe leans on the ropes, and stares directly into the camera: “They just gave me a live mike on Pay-Per-View.”
Tenay’s and West’s reaction is simultaneous, and likely reflected by TNA’s executives: “Uh-oh.”
Joe stalks around the ring, then faces the camera, sneering. “So if you-all don’t mind, I’d like to get a few things off my chest.” Nash’s expression is that of someone who realizes he is about to be publicly humiliated
“Number One,” Joe continues, “In TNA, we have two types of wrestlers: We have TNA Diehards, who come out here and entertain and bust their asses for these fans every night of the week –” here he pauses, then turns to glare at Angle, as the crowd chants “TNA!” “– and we got Superstars–” this delivered with heavy sarcasm — “who think they can come and do whatever they want, however they feel like.” The camera shifts to Angle, who is clearly surprised, and angered, by Joe’s unsubtle remarks.
Joe turns back to the main camera. “We have Superstars whocome out here, and not only screw us, the hard-working wrestlers of TNA –” and here he turns to face Nash “– but they screw each and every fan who paid to see them, no matter how old they are.” Nash in his turn looks angry — but with a hint of resignation, as if he knew this was coming.
“So lemme make this real simple,” Joe goes on, “lemme explain to you what TNA is: TNA is the Motor Ma — the Motor City Machine Guns comin’ out here and bustin’ their ass and tryin’ to make a break in this business. TNA is Black Machismo doin’ his damnedest to entertain every single fan in this building, and showin’ what’s up! TNA is Samoa Joe comin’ in here and doin’ what he does best: Wrestle, and be the best damned professional wrestler in the world! TNA is a bunch of hard-working young athletes who are looking to change the wrestling world — guys who held down this business while others –” another look at Angle “– profiteered from it! TNA… is the men who come in here, risk their lives on scaffoldings and wires, while others show up –” and now Joe turns to glare at Nash “– and pad their pensions.” Conspicuously, Nash does not look at Joe; so Joe turns back to the camera. “So, I’ll tell you what: Scott Hall… chico… kiss my ass; you punked out, and you’re a punk.”
Joe pauses, then looks at Dixie Carter, who is down on the floor. “Are you mad?” he says causally. “No, go ahead — fire me. I don’t care.” He retusn his attention to the camera. “So tonight, I went into that locker room, and I said, ‘Hey, they called everybody in the world tryin’ to get me a new partner’, but I said ‘No, I don’t need anybody; we got everybody we need in the back right now’. So I walked into the back, and I said ‘Hey — who wants to go out there in the Main Event tonight, and who wants to get into a fight?’, and every damn one of the X Division wrestlers stood up! I walked to the back, and I said ‘Who wants to get into a fight in the Main Event tonight?’, and every single young wrestler whose first TV contract was here at TNA stood up and said ‘Me’! But one in particular — bloody, beaten, battered, bruised, and overlooked by everyone in the world — looked at me and said ‘Joe — please give me the shot’. And without further ado, I announce my partner — a man who will show up; a man who will be here and do what he needs to do; a man who’s ready for a fight; and a man who will be,” and here Joe once more turns to face Nash, “even when he’s an Old Man.”
Joe turns to the main camera one last time. “Without further ado, I bring out my tag-team partner: ‘SHOWTIME’ ERIC YOUNG, GET OUT HERE AND LET’S KICK SOME ASS!“
And to the sound of driving guitars, with white gauze wrapping his left upper-arm, and a butterfly bandage on his left temple. Eric Young appears at the top of his side’s entrance ramp….
…and that’s why I told this tale. — The Author