Review: TNA Xplosion 17/04/2013

Another week and another International-only episode of Xplosion. Sometimes it pays to be in the UK! Beginning proceedings, we have ourselves a singles match between Big Brother's Jessie Godderz (accompanied by the always lovely Tara) and one half of the Tag Team Champions, Hernandez.

May I just say the Impact Zone looks far better from last week. I don't know when exactly they taped that Tara/Tessmacher bout, but it may as well have been an empty arena match. This week the Impact Zone is respectably filled once again and they've even turned the big video screen back on, so they're obviously not embarrassed about a potential lack of audience.

Both talents, who typically lack any real airtime to themselves, start off with somewhat of a pose-down. Jessie, "renowned" for his muscles, showed off his proverbial guns, only to be trounced by Super-Mex's. Jessie tried to take control of the match early, but the momentum was always going to be Hernandez'. There was lots of interaction with Tara on the outside, trying to give support to her boyfriend, to little success. The match mostly came down to Jessie's pathetic offense being swotted away and a retaliatory show of strength from the Tag Team Champion. I'm always a little worried whilst seeing Hernandez dominate so utterly. His feats, while looking impressive to the casual audience, can go wrong exceptionally easily and I've lost count of the times I've seen him drop guys on their head. The finish of the match came after a devastating shoulder block to Jessie, sending him flying across the ring, allowing Hernandez to make the three count for the win.

An interesting quirk of the segment was the addition of Gut Check judge, Al Snow, to the commentary team. I was always a fan of he and Head, so to hear him get a little more airtime is a welcome treat. While commenting on the match, he also gave us an update on recent British Boot Camp winner, Rockstar Spud. Apparently, the little guy has taken OVW by storm, won the Television Title straight out of the gate and is proceeding to dominate the division. Glad to hear Spud is doing well. After spending a month watching his journey from the British Independents to an honest to god episode of Impact Wrestling, it's good to know the success wasn't fleeting.

With this week's exclusive match over with, we move onto another go-around on JB's Spin Cycle! Thankfully, we've moved away from the episodes taped during the Lockdown fan-fest in March. Not that they were bad, it was simply annoying to spend a whole month watching Jeff Hardy paint one single thing. Filmed in Jonesboro, our host is joined by So Cal Val, Jessie Godderz and the returning duo of Sonjay Dutt and "Canadian Destroyer" Petey Williams. Setting his panelists a challenge - for $100, which one of them has the best picture with a celebrity on their phone. Val starts out strong with Micky Dolenz from the Monkees, Petey offers up soap actress Lisa Rinna, Sonjay proudly submits Beetlejuice (from Howard Stern, not the evil spirit), the genuine reality star Jessie fires back with...himself and last but not least, JB himself has a double header of Hulk Hogan and Shaquille O'Neal. A fun little segment, really short, probably could've run longer to no harm.

The real meat on the bone this episode comes in the form of ImpactWrestling.com's match of the week. Replaying Slammiversary 2007's King of the Mountain, it featured Kurt Angle, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Christian Cage and Chris Harris competing for the newly-created TNA World Heavyweight Championship.

The match begins with Angle and Joe throwing each other from the ring in short order, while Christian and Styles team up to take down Chris Harris. This alliance continues as Styles willingly lays down in the centre of the ring, offering the first pinfall to Christian. However, before the referee can count to three, Angle leaps in to make the save, scuppering Christian's chances of early eligibility. Rather than focus on the heels in the ring, Angle is once again pulled to the outside, continuing his heated feud with bitter rival Samoa Joe. The alliance between Styles and Christian quickly breaks down inside the ring, as Styles attempts a roll-up pin on his supposed ally.

A hilarious spot sees Joe casually waiting to grab Styles' foot in mid-air, pulling the Phenomenal One down hard onto the canvas. The Samoan Submission Machine follows this up with a nasty swinging power-bomb onto the steel railing. Joe goes on a tear around the ring, taking out Christian and even being used as a human cannonball onto Kurt Angle by Chris Harris.

The Wildcat becomes the first to be eligible to climb the ladder and place the belt on the hook after a series of impressive power moves on Styles, leading to a quick pinfall. Both Angle and Joe almost became eligible at the same time after applying simultaneous submissions to a pained Cage, but were denied once Styles and Harris came to break up the maneuver.

There's a particularly painful looking spot where Harris has Christian backed onto a ladder bridging the ring and the railings, only for Christian to fall between the steps. A move that is compounded when Styles is thrown over the ropes and lands on the whimpering Cage.

After a flurry of pinfalls, the finish comes as Kurt Angle and Christian Cage battle back and forth atop the ladder, when suddenly Chris Harris flies into frame and takes Christian off the ladder with a perfectly aimed spear. This leaves the Olympic Gold Medalist alone and undisturbed at the top of the ladder, TNA Title in hand, placing it on the hook for the win. Making for an excellent pay-per-view main event from some years ago, well worth tracking down the episode of Xplosion just to watch again.

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