TNA’s One Night Only pay-per-view series was live from across the pond Sunday, Feb. 2, in Birmingham, England. The PPV did much to revitalize the brand with the superb Joker's Wild II, the followup to the wildly successful event that made its debut last year.
The framework for the event once again proved unpredictable and entertaining. The first round of tag team action, where teams were picked at random, delivered in a big way. As always, the winners of each tag match were subsequently entered into the main event.
When all was said and done, it was Ethan Carter III who walked away the winner of the gauntlet Battle Royal with £100,000.
The rave reviews from fans on social media speak for themselves:
Fans have yet to learn when the event will actually air, but it sounds like TNA has stepped up its game after a lackluster 2013 pay-per-view campaign.
Note: All results courtesy of Wrestling Inc.
The British Invasion (Douglas Williams and Magnus) Defeated Chris Sabin and Gunner
In somewhat of a surprise, Magnus was actually booed by his hometown crowd, which should tell observers that TNA has succeeded in booking him as a monster heel.
Magnus paired with former partner Douglas Williams, which meant The British Invasion was back in action.
As expected, the duo of Chris Sabin and Gunner were used to put over Magnus in a big way. Sabin provided the comedic relief in the bout, but there was no way the company was going to let its top heel lose to start the night.
Samoa Joe and Bad Bones Defeated Daniels and Robbie E
Even before the event, longtime TNA star Samoa Joe was one favorite to win the main event:
Joe lived up to the hype in this match, despite being paired with Bad Bones, a man he had already defeated once on the current overseas tour at an Impact taping.
Daniels and Robbie E served their purpose here, which was to simply get a legend into the main event.
Rockstar Spud and Bully Ray Defeated Mr. Anderson and Austin Aries
No match was more highly anticipated on the night, as hometown hero Rockstar Spud was a major sell for the event. As one fan put it, the arena was set to explode before his entrance:
The match did not disappoint. Spud was paired with Bully Ray, one of TNA's more popular figures. Ray was able to continue his beef with Mr. Anderson, while the addition of Austin Aries provided some sound technical wrestling to the mix.
While the result was perhaps a bit predictable given the presence of Spud in front of his hometown faithful, it was a sound match from a technical and entertainment standpoint, with some comedic relief mixed in for good measure.
Kazarian and Ethan Carter III Defeated Curry Man and Eric Young
More smart booking from the TNA brass here (this has been said a lot lately!), as this match was purely one to let the crowd recover after Spud's performance.
This was as predictable as it gets, with Ethan Carter III being one of the company's biggest young talents who needs as much of the spotlight as possible.
Besides, as much as this was a cool-down bout thanks to the match prior, it also served as a way for the fans to be lively for the next match, which turned out to be a classic.
The Wolves Defeated Beer Money (James Storm and Bobby Roode)
The word "random" in the draw to pick teams at this event is used very, very loosely.
Which is fine, because fans got to see Beer Money, perhaps the biggest tag team in company history, reunite to take on The Wolves.
By all accounts, James Storm and Bobby Roode, now fierce rivals, put on quite the show. Wrestle Inc writes that it "was described as one of the best tag matches our correspondent has ever seen live."
Despite being majorly over with the crowd, Storm and Roode surprisingly took the loss here and did not qualify for the main event.
Sam Shaw and Abyss Defeated Zema Ion and Jessie Godderz
Not much of a surprise here. Abyss is another legend within the company who is simply not going to lose a match like this unless it is to put over a rising star worthy of the pay-per-view spotlight.
That is not meant to discredit Zema Ion or Jessie Godderz, but the time is simply not right for them to win this sort of match.
Ethan Carter III Wins Joker's Wild Gauntlet Battle Royal
TNA did right by its overseas fans to put the biggest stars in the final match, although it did seem a bit predictable that Rockstar Spud would somehow pull off the upset in front of his home crowd.
Today is my childhood dream come true as I get to wrestle in my hometown at NIA Birmingham...Your Chief Of Staff is coming home!— Rockstar Spud (@RockstarSpud) February 2, 2014
Will you purchase Joker's Wild II PPV?
That simply did not come to fruition.
As was an apparent theme for the show, there was a lot of comedy to be had, but it was Ethan Carter III who rose above the rest as the last man standing.
EC3 continues his gigantic climb up the company ladder and is clearly the name to watch in the early goings of what is shaping up to be a fantastic year for the company.