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My TNA house show experience

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Went to the TNA show at the Eastwood Expo Center Saturday night. For the record, the Expo Center is actually about 20 minutes outside of Youngstown in Niles, OH, but they advertised the show as being in Youngstown for like six weeks. I guess they figured nobody would have had any clue where they were referring to if they said "Niles". Now, this is a horrible building for wrestling, as the ceiling is low so top rope moves, while possible, are a bit risky. Think Bobby Eaton trying to do the Alabama Jam at the TBS Techwood Drive Studios.


One note that impeded my enjoyment of the show early on: "general admission" tickets were all standing room only. I don't necessarily mind if you say it up front, but they didn't bother to mention it until we got into the building. So my "general admission" ticket forced me to stand for three hours. And with people bringing their kids, they end up putting their kids on their shoulders so they can see, which means nobody else can see behind them. Again, not a big deal since I got there early...


...only to get told 20 minutes before the show that, despite the "stand wherever you want" edict that my "general admission" ticket granted me, I had to move because I was in the "handicap section". Only one wheelchair in the entire building, and that was already in front of me. Oh, and nothing roped off or marked in any way to tell me that before hand either. This was not going well.


So now I'm pissed because I lost my spot anywhere near where I might be able to see the ring. So I wind up going as far back as I can (defeating the purpose of arriving two hours early to get the best "seats" with my "general admission" ticket), and Jeremy Borash comes out and says "the loudest fans will get to go backstage". Cool for the kids. So of course, a mother brings her six kids (I think only one was hers and she just happened to drive) back to where I'm standing, and they're screaming in my ear so they can go backstage. Mind you, had they acknowledged it was standing room only I would have been home with my daughter and a whole lot less pissed off than TNA and the Expo Center had made me by this point.


My mood improved slightly (only slightly) about five minutes before the show when a guy walked in with his family...and his seeing eye dog. I swear I'm not making that up.


Anyway, let's get to the show itself.


While I'm horrible at guessing attendance figures, I'd estimate at least 1,000 people. All the chairs were sold out (approximately 600) and there were a ton of people standing.


1. The Motor City Machine Guns defeated Petey Williams (sub. for Johnny Devine) and Elix Skipper in 10:03 when Alex Shelley pinned Williams following a double enzuigiri. After the match, Skipper and Williams argued over the finish when Skipper hit a spin kick. Skipper went for a chair, and Scott Steiner showed up unannounced to make the save. Good opener, probably the best match of the night.


2. Shark Boy (doing his Stone Cold impression) pinned James Storm in 11:19. The Bret Hart sleeper finish where Storm had the sleeper locked in, only for Shark Boy to kick off the turnbuckle into a pinning combination. This was largely comedy, centered around a couple of spots involving Earl Hebner "wrestling" both guys. Early on, he locked up with Shark Boy and pushed him back to the corner, then broke it with a "whoo" and a Ric Flair strut. He also got Storm into a headlock, which led to Hebner and Shark Boy taking Storm down with a double hiptoss. After the match, Storm and Shark Boy toasted each other: Storm drinking beer, Shark Boy drinking water. This ended with Shark Boy taking Storm down with a stunner, then drinking bottled water on the turnbuckles.


It should be noted that during the match, a couple of families walked out, with one mom going "fifteen bucks a person and my kid can't see a fucking thing."


3. Awesome Kong pinned Jacqueline (sub. for Ms. Brooks) with an Awesome Bomb in 3:38 to retain the TNA Knockout Title. Kong was actually pretty over with the crowd. Essentially a squash and the worst match of the night. Early in the match, Earl Hebner walks by me to go out the front door and grab a smoke. During this match, a family of four walked out of the building, taking their chairs with them. I guess they thought it was a WWE PPV where the first eight rows got to take the chairs home.


4. Booker T (sub. for Samoa Joe) pinned Robert Roode with a scissor kick in 9:50 after Ms. Brooks, who didn't wrestle as advertised before this, prevented Roode from hitting Booker with a chair. Good match. Booker was insanely over. Roode got some boos for his promo about hitting Sharmell at the PPV, which I felt should have included some blowjob references. Alas, it was not to be.


Intermission with the Motor City Machine Guns signing autographs. I thought about sneaking up front, but the standees in the first five or six "rows" never moved. I can't say I blame them.


Just prior to the match starting, Jeremy Borash tells people "if your standing in front of a chair and it's not yours, please stand somewhere else." So of course, the mom had taken the kids to stand in front of the front row, and she comes back complaining about the decision. These people paid 50 bucks for a front row seat, let them watch the show unimpeded. By this point, the kids realized they weren't going backstage and started cheering and booing because they wanted to, and they were actually quite entertaining the rest of the night.


5. Tomko and AJ Styles defeated LAX to retain the TNA World Tag Team Titles when Styles pinned Homicide with a roll up and a handful of tights at 7:54. This was on its way to match of the night had it had a few more minutes. Insane dives to the floor by everybody but Tomko in this one, and an awesome sequence of wrestling early by AJ and Homicide. Heard by the kids during the match: "Raw, SmackDown, and ECW are fake, but TNA's real." They must be doing something right, even if it isn't "writing logical storylines".


6. Johnny Devine (sub. for Petey Williams) pinned Jay Lethal with a rolling cradle and a handful of tights at 8:39 to retain the X Division Title. A good match with surprisingly great heat, as Lethal was way over and Devine drew good heel heat. Why do the same finish two matches in a row? Welcome to TNA.


Before the main event, they filmed crowd reactions for Impact, then asked if we wanted TNA to bring a PPV here. If they get the Chevy Center or Packard Music Hall, sure. If they book the Expo Center? Not on your life.


7. Kurt Angle pinned Samoa Joe (sub. for Booker T) in 9:24 to retain the TNA World Title when he hit Joe with the title belt after AJ Styles interfered. Referee Andrew Thomas actually had to stop short on a three count about 7 minutes in because Angle forgot to kick out. Solid but disappointing concering who was in the ring. After the match, Joe laid Angle out with the muscle buster. When Angle came to, he cut a promo about wanting to stick it up Vince McMahon's ass, so TNA will be number one, by God.


After the show, Jay Lethal, Johnny Devine, LAX, Elix Skipper, and Earl Hebner signed autographs at ringside as Kurt Angle posed for polaroids in the ring. Twenty bucks for a polaroid of Kurt Angle, and they made an awful lot of money off of it. I didn't pay for the Polaroid, but I did stick around for autographs and to chat. I ragged on Jeremy Borash for asking Jay Lethal "What do you think of the fans in Youngstown, Iowa?"


Me: "You realized you called this Iowa, right?"

Borash: "That was Lethal."

Me: "Only after you did it."

Borash: "I feel like I'm in Iowa."

Me: "That's not a compliment."

Borash: "I grew up in Iowa."

Me: "You're lying, but nice try."


Shark Boy posed for a picture with a fan, then made sure to pose for a picture with his cute girlfriend, even going so far as to ask "Are you sure you got it? Take another one." Half man, half shark, but the right half is man, I guess. Hey, I don't blame him. If she would have been by herself, I'd have hit that.


Hernandez signed autographs by the curtain, and one of the fans saw James Storm walk by. The fan asked Hernandez to call Storm over, and Hernandez goes "hop the rail". The fan points out the security guard, and Hernandez goes "If you all jump the rail, he can only shoot one of you. Most of you will be safe." See, had they actually been in Youngstown, someone would have shot the security guard, then hopped the guardrail.


Overall a very good show (and the postshow meet and greet literally kept me from writing a huge anti-TNA rant) and I hope for a return to the area, but for the love of god book a building that believes in chairs for general admission and a high enough ceiling for the X division.


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Speaking of house shows, does anyone know the official attendence of TNA and ROH shows in Dayton. I've heard that TNA beat ROH, which is pretty surprising.


From what I've heard ROH did 500-600 while TNA did about 1500 (though there were some reports that suggested a bigger crowd).

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