Credit: Mike R and Pwinsider.com
The Cabarrus Event Center is a nice venue for a wrestling show, but it is actually fairly far out from Charlotte proper. It was amusing to hear the location changing between Charlotte and Concord throughout the show.
Floor was sold out and lower levels were about 80 to 90% full. The upper levels were less than 25% occupied. It was a hot crowd though, especially the section behind Josh Matthews and the Pope. Yes, there was a group of guys cosplaying as the Avengers at the show which led to a “Use the Shield” chant during the Kurt Angle/Eric Young match.
Before the show, Dixie Carter came out and took pictures with fans in the floor sections. Jeremy Borash did his usual warm ups with promises of backstage passes to the loudest fans with Christy Hemme throwing in a tour of the Knockouts Locker room.
The dark match was local wrestler John Skyler vs. John Sholz (?). Skyler is one of the heels with the local AML Wrestling promotion, so he got a lot of heat from the crowd. Sholz worked face and won with an Impaler style DDT.
Borash then introduced the announce team with Josh Matthews getting booed while The Pope D’angelo Dinero got a nice sized pop. I don’t think the WWE could even show anything remotely similar to Pope’s entrance video now. Also, I don’t know if it just his style or if there was something else, but Matthews looked like he wanted to be anywhere but at the show. He was slouched down with his chin in his hand with very little emotion showing while Pope had huge gestures, was popping up and down in his chair, and was even standing during parts of the Angle/Young and Heavyweight title matches.
Not sure if it was shown on the air, but Tigre Uno had to be helped down from the Ultimate X cables by three of the support staff. Shane Helms got the first surprise reaction from the crowd, but there was some disappointment that he didn’t chokeslam Uno.
The Bound for Gold gauntlet match was actually a lot better than expected with the majority of the wrestlers getting some good spots and reactions from the crowd. Mr. Anderson can still pull a response from an audience, and he was visibly exasperated, rolling his eyes, and throwing in some pelvic thrusts during the Sheera dance spot. There were loud receptions for Al Snow and Tommy Dreamer and crickets for Sheera. Tyrus was clearly showcased during the bout, and the former Brodus Clay turned in his best performance in a LOOOOOONG while. He did get some cheers with his declaration to go after the Heavyweight Title even if he said he would still have EC3’s back.
Roode vs. Lashley had the dueling “Let’s Go Bobby” and “Bobby Bobby Bobby” chants throughout, but it also had the chant of the night early on with “Bobby’s Headband” (referring to the headband Lashley wore for the first ten minutes or so). This was probably match of the night with a “This is Awesome” chant starting after the exchange of submissions and finishers.
Huge pop for Angle, and while it was a good match, he did not seem to interact with the audience that much. It almost looks like he has already mentally checked out. Eric Young is great in the crazy heel role and should be added to the Wyatt family.
Of course, the biggest reactions were for the hometown Hardys. If you did not know they were from NC, you certainly did by the end of the show between all the mentions on and off the show. EC3 and Galloway are great to watch live, and a true one on one match with them would be incredible. Matt’s victory had the crowd standing to close the show. Once the show went off the air, the Hardys brought Reby Sky and Matt’s son along with their father into the ring to celebrate. The face side of the locker room (minus Angle) also joined them in the ring for a quick celebration. Matt finished off with a speech thanking all the fans for being there for him as he achieved his dream.
There were no post show pictures in the ring, but they did have Earl Hebner signing at the merchandise booth.
Overall, it was a really fun show that was definitely better than any WWE house show and probably half of PPVs this year. It will be a shame to lose this quality of pro wrestling if TNA goes away.