Ah, Genesis: the birth of something new. Sure enough, the 8th annual Genesis PPV was the first big event of 2013 for TNA, and also marked the first show after the company made the move to quarterly PPV extravaganzas, cutting back from the monthly format they’d previously followed.
Three of the big titles were up for grabs at Genesis, with Chavo and Hernandez defending the tag straps, Rob Van Dam putting up his X-Division title, and World Champ Jeff Hardy defending his belt in a triple threat main event. So did Genesis help make 2013 a Happy New Year? In our spoiler free review, the Armchair Bookers Club finds out.
Running Time: 206 mins
• TNA Tag Team Championship Match: Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez (Champions) V Matt Morgan and Joey Ryan
• Mr.Anderson V Samoa Joe
• Winner Receives an Immediate X-Division Title Shot: Christian York V Kenny King
• X-Division Championship Match: Rob Van Dam (Champion) V The Winner of the York / King Match
• Devon V Joseph Park
• Gauntlett Match to determine the Number One Contender for the TNA Knockouts Title: Velvet Sky V ODB V Miss Tessmacher V Mickie James V Gail Kim V Mickie James
• Winner Gets a TNA World Title Match: Christopher Daniels V James Storm
• Sting V D.O.C
• TNA World Heavyweight Championship Three Way Elimination Match: Jeff Hardy (Champion) V Bobby Roode V Austin Aries
• TNA Before The Bell: Genesis Documentary
• Exclusive Post Match Interviews
You can almost hear the discussion amongst the TNA bookers as they were planning Genesis…
Booker 1: “OK, here we go, it’s the New Year, the event is called Genesis, let’s kick things off in an exciting new direction! Let’s give the fans something they’ve not seen before! Yeah, let’s do that!”
Booker 2: “Yeah, we could do that… Or we could just open with a rematch from Final Resolution?”
Booker 1: “Brilliant! I love that Let’s do that instead”
And so with that we open with a second helping of Chavo and Hernandez defending their TNA Tag Team titles against Matt “I’ve still got Hogan’s Cape” Morgan and Joey “Ravishing Rick Rude and Val Venis’s Love-Child” Ryan. As well as clashing in the last TNA PPV, the four men had met on episodes of Impact leading into the PPV too. I could cut and paste my summary of the last time these two guys met, but that would take lots of effort, so instead, here’s a link to that article instead. When you’re done, head on back. This is essentially the same match all over again. I’ve said it before, but TNA need to reinvigorate the Tag Team Division. There’s lots of guys who are treading water doing very little in the mid and lower card. Guys like Chavo, Hernandez, Daniels, Kazarian and co. have done great things to put a shine on those titles, but it’s time those guys all had their solo moments to shine. Bring up the younger guys, put them in regular teams and freshen things up, TNA. Please, please, please. And yeah, Morgan still wears that cape…
Next up is Samoa Joe taking on Mr. Anderson. As usual, Joe is an absolute beast in this match. Hard hitting and intense as ever. Anderson plays the part of the face-turning-heel brilliantly, teasing the crowd with a much shorter version of his normally well-received self-introduction on the mic. The two guys really tear up the ring in this one, showing great chemistry, taking some crazy risks and really delivering in a good, hard-hitting match. The ending is somewhat marred though by the appearance of a member of the Aces & Eights faction. I wondered which one it was but Taz cleared things up for me: “It’s that big… nasty…” Long pause. “Member of…” Not quite as long pause. “Aces & Eights.” Awesome. Thanks buddy. Surely Todd Keneley won’t let me down. “It’s the Aces & Eights member!” Ugh. Seriously now. If you want people to invest in your stars, give them names. Even the Conquistadors in the WWF were called 1 & 2. Give these guys an identity before I stop caring. Oops. Too late.
Next up are two wrestlers who actually have names, fighting for a shot against a third who also has a name, but one that the crowd like to chant – a lot. Christian York, who looks more like an extra from a Mad Max movie every day, faces off against the rising star of Kenny King. York landed this number one contenders decider for the X-Division title by picking up a win over Kid Kash, while King did the same with a victory over Zema Ion. Nice moment where Mike Tenay acknowledges that York was actually on the very first TNA broadcast, but had found his career had gone off-track since then. That’s what commentators should do: add some meat to the bones of the story we’re being told in the ring. Nice job, Professor. Both guys show great athleticism, delivering a suitably high-flying, high risk and fast-paced X-Division match. Great stuff. After the outcome is determined, RVD comes straight out to kick off the title match against the winner of the previous match, who for the benefit of spoiler-free content, we’ll call “RVD Opponent”.
RVD offers to postpone the match for the exhausted “RVD Opponent”, but to his credit, the wrestler in question insists he has his title opportunity there and then, pulling double-duty at Genesis. A fresh RVD reluctantly mixes things up with “RVD Opponent”, taking an early lead and dominating the early stages of a shorter, but still good X-Division title match. The contrast between the fully-rested RVD and drained “RVD Opponent” adds a unique twist on this one, and bestows more credibility to TNA’s second title – no bad thing at all.
Devon faces off against Joseph Park next, in a match which is difficult to really review as if it was a competition between two pro’s. The angle of a Lawyer turned Rookie Wrestler means you’re never going to get a technical masterclass from Park, so Devon does his best to humiliate the wannabe, outwrestle and outshine him at every given opportunity. As a means to moving on the “why does he turn into a monster when he sees blood?” storyline, it does the job. Likewise, if it was meant to add another chapter to Park fighting to right the wrong of his kidnapping and abuse at the hands of Aces & Eights, it does that too. More of a storyline advancement than a match, this still delivers what it intended to – so in that respect, it’s a job well done.
The Knockout’s Gauntlet match kicks off next, with Gail Kim and Miss Tessmacher the first two in the ring. Tenay points out that Kim became the first TNA Knockout Champ by winning a Gauntlet Match back in 2007, and ponders if she could win this one too. Gotta love Tenay on the show tonight. The winner of this match will earn a shot against the absent Tara for the Knockout’s Championship. There’s a little hint of “Survivor Series” syndrome in this one, where wrestlers get pinned a little easier and quicker than they would in a normal match, but that aside, the women of the Knockout’s Division put on a great showing. You have to wonder if the WWE could deliver an equally healthy roster of Divas with the same pedigree as this line up.
The always good Christopher Daniels faces off against James Storm in a match to determine the number one contender for the TNA Championship next. Daniels is accompanied to the ring by Frankie Kazarian, who waves his “managers licence” around to justify him being at ringside. Sure, they can say this is for a shot at Hardy’s title, but we all really know it’s because Storm spat in Chris’s Appletini. This is surprisingly the first time the two men, both long-term members of the TNA roster, have faced each other in a one-on-one PPV match. They’re certainly no strangers, though, competing on opposing tag teams many times, and even teaming together to win the NWA World Tag Team Championships together back in 2004. See? It’s not just Tenay who can share the wrestling trivia. Although these guys have quite contrasting styles – Daniels, comfortable on the main roster or competing within the X-Division, Storm with a more hard-hitting, smash-mouth approach, they gel together very well in this hard-fought contest. Frankie does his best to be as much of an annoying distraction as possible to Storm throughout, with the end coming after an attempted bit of interference from the non-competing half of Bad Influence…
Back after being on the shelf since November of 2012, Sting returns to exact revenge against the man who put him there – D.O.C. of the Aces & Eights. It’s a surprisingly one-sided match, with Sting getting in very little offence at all throughout. He’s looking really tired from early stages of the fight – there’s certainly a lot of ring-rust there. Indeed the crowd is surprisingly quiet too – so much so that when D.O.C. misses a running knee in the corner, you can clearly hear a kid in crowd shouting “Ha HA!”, so apparently Nelson from the Simpsons was in Florida that night. The action spills out of the ring a couple of times, leading to some scrappy brawling on the part of both men. It’s a disappointing match in a lot of ways: if you’ve got a veteran star, he might need a certain type of worker to make things flow well to deliver a really good match. Sadly, D.O.C’s not that guy.
To close out the night is the Three Way Elimination match for Hardy’s TNA Heavyweight title. With two former World Champs facing off against Hardy, there’s no shortage of experience in the ring for this one. This match came about after Roode failed to capture the title from Hardy at Final Resolution, discovering that his hired muscle Aces & Eights had been paid more to not interfere by Austin Aries. To be honest thought, with three of the best performers in the ring at one time, you can pretty much ignore the story and just sit back and enjoy it. All three have their moments to shine: Roode brings a suitable array of very hard-hitting power moves (special mention to his spear, superplex and spinebuster. Seriously), Aries pulls off a sickening brainbuster, dangerous looking suicide dive and awe-inspiring 450 splash, while Hardy does what Hardy does best – fly around the ring (and outside of it), with a range of career shortening high-risk manoeuvres. The chemistry between these three is just great. The only slight critique is the two deciding eliminations come very close together, but for the most part I’m with the crowd on this one, who spent most of the main event shouting “this is awesome”. I have to agree.
Very light collection of Extras on Disc Two – you get the usual post-match interviews with a selection of TNA stars – the highlight of which is a brilliant promo by Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian, where Daniels talks about declaring his “ass” at Customs when arriving in the UK because it’s a “National Treasure.” Sadly, there’s also the most frustrating, repetitive and annoying Before The Bell documentary you will ever, ever see. At around 30 minutes long, the feature, focusing exclusively on the Hardy / Roode / Aries main event (nothing necessarily bad about that, you might rightly say), but recycles the same soundbites and quotes from the performers over and over again. Within that 30 minute window you will hear Jeff Hardy say: “I am willing to hurt myself, like I always am, to retain and still be the World Heavyweight Champion” so often, it will lose its impact completely. In fact, you’ll go from thinking “Wow, he really is determined” to “Good grief, Jeff, shut up!” Not Hardy’s fault, of course, but surely the editors should have realised if they’re having to reuse material so frequently in a short featurette, they either need to make the thing shorter or get some new footage. And I feel like I’ve actually been on a road trip with Roode for the amount of times I’ve watched him drive around and around in his car while being interviewed. Just… bizarre.
Bit of a mixed bag from TNA, here. The main event is absolutely the highlight of the night. Aries, Roode and Hardy did a fantastic job of keeping the action coming during their three-way match for the TNA Heavyweight Title. The “haven’t we seen this all before?” curse strikes the Tag Division yet again with another reworking of a previous encounter, the Joseph Park / Devon clash falls pretty flat as a match, but works as an angle advancement, while Sting / D.O.C. sends a pretty clear message that this particular pairing doesn’t make either man look good. The X-Division continues to excite, and the two for the price of one back-to-back matches brought something fresh to the mix. So some genuinely enjoyable moments, but they’re outnumbered by the mediocre. And that extras disc? Let’s just try and forget about that, shall we..?
Armchair Bookers Club Rating: 6 out of 10