Jeff Hardy vs. Austin Aries vs. Bobby Roode from TNA 2013
Post by JP Nichols:
This would be the last live PPV main event from TNA’s first venue at Universal Studios (SoundStage 21) before TNA would go on the road in 2013, returning to a (couple) different SoundStage(s) at Universal Studios in 2014 and 2015.
These three occupied the main event scene of TNA for the better portion of 2012 and all three had very strong years for different reasons. Bobby Roode was the longest reigning TNA World Heavyweight Champion and re-solidified himself after being in the tag division for the better part of his TNA tenure. Austin Aries ended that reign at Destination X 2012 (the event where one year previously he earned a contract) after cashing in his X-Division Championship, of which he had the longest reign. Aries defeated Bobby Roode at Hardcore Justice 2012, ending Roode’s chances at getting a shot at Aries as long as he was champion in what would be his only televised title defense until Bound For Glory.
Jeff Hardy redeeming himself following his 2011 by winning the 2012 Bound For Glory Series at No Surrender 2012 and went on to defeat Austin Aries to start his second reign of the TNA World Heavyweight Title in a very good match at Bound For Glory reviewed here. They had an even stronger rematch in a Ladder Match at Turning Point the next month also reviewed here. Roode won the #1 contendership from his rival James Storm on Impact before Hardy retained over him at Final Resolution 2012. Aries had cost Roode his shot at Hardy while Aries got one more shot at Hardy and Roode cost Aries the match. Aries and Roode had a #1 contender’s match on Impact in December that did not have a decisive winner and now we are at this match with all three facing each other.
The match is elimination rules.
TNA Genesis 2013
January 13th, 2013
Universal Studios SoundStage 21, Orlando, FL
Bobby Roode’s theme from this period is still one of the best themes that TNA has produced and it’s a shame that he went back to a remix of the version with the lyrics. Hardy was substantially the fan favorite in the initial stages of this match, with some cheers for Austin Aries as well. Aries and Roode got into words before going 2v1 against Hardy. They whipped him into the corner. Hardy countered, hitting a headscissors on Aries. A pair of splashes in the corner on both opponents followed by a Raven esque bulldog/clothesline. Atomic drop/legdrop low from Hardy on Roode. Aries broke the fall while Hardy went low on Aries again. Roode grabs Hardy and drops Hardy on the back of his head. He calls Aries over and the two go to work on Hardy again. The crowd gives Roode a rather potty-mouth filled chant. Hardy sends Roode to the outside then plants Aries with the AlleyOop~! Aries rolls to the floor. Hardy flies off the apron with a splash attack on Roode. He puts Roode back in the ring and goes for a Twist of Fate. Roode shoves him to the ropes and hits a Spinebuster. Back suplex by Roode for a two count. Charge by Roode in the corner and Hardy counters with a back elbow. He goes to the top for Whisper in the Wind and out of nowhere Aries clotheslines the feet out from Hardy sending Hardy crashing to the mat and immediately went for a cover for two. Aries hits a slingshot corkscrew splash over the top rope for another two count.
Aries continuing to enhance the urgency of the match goes to work with a snapmare followed by a diving back elbow off the middle rope to Hardy’s back for another two count. Hardy gets Aries back into the corner. Irish whip counter by Aries into the corner who goes for a splash and misses. Ten punches onto Aries in the corner. Hardy sends Roode into Aries in the corner who drops down and sets up Hardy for an inadvertently planned Poetry In Motion on Roode~! Hardy plays to the crowd too much when going to the top rope and both Aries and Roode hit the top rope sending him down to the mat. Both continue to attack Hardy. Double team elbows by Aries and Roode and Roode and Aries both go for covers one after the other, both receiving two. They set Hardy up on the top rope and exchange punches and chops on Hardy. Aries goes to the top after Hardy but Roode tells him he has got this. Roode scores a Superplex on Hardy but only gets two. Aries grabs Hardy and Hardy tries to fire back to no avail. Aries puts Hardy in a Back Suplex position on the top rope. Roode says he gets an idea and puts Aries on his shoulders. Aries goes to grab Hardy for a tandem Back Superplex. Hardy fights Aries off and the two back up. Whisper In The Wind from Hardy on Aries while he is still on Roode’s shoulders~!
Hardy strikes both of them. Clothesline on Aries. Kick on Roode and a dropkick through the ropes. He goes for a body press over the top but Aries blindsides him sending Hardy crashing onto the apron. Aries gets Roode to set up Hardy for the Heat Seeking Missile. He goes for it but Hardy moves, making Aries hit Roode inadvertently. Hardy sends Aries face first into the corner then over the steel steps. Hardy then uses the steel steps for an assisted Poetry In Motion on Aries into the guardrail. Hardy then hits the body press he originally went for on Roode, this time hitting it. He rolls Roode into the ring and goes for a Swanton. Aries shoves him off the top, Hardy lands on his feet. Shoulder block through the middle rope by Aries on Hardy and he aims for a suplex. Hardy counters and hits a front suplex on Aries, dropping him onto Roode. Hardy then immediately goes to the middle rope for a body splash onto Roode for a two count. Roode goes to the corner. Hardy goes for Twist of Fate on Aries. Aries counters shoving Hardy into Roode. Aries charges and also gets shoved into Roode before dropping down. Hardy went once again for an inadverted team Poetry In Motion this time off of Aries on Roode, but Roode stepped off Aries back to score a spear on Hardy~! “This is awesome” chant from the crowd.
Roode picks up Hardy and sets him up for a discus elbow. Aries traps both of Hardy’s arms for the pin, but Hardy still kicks out. Roode hits a Vader Bomb on Hardy`! Only gets a two count. Both strike Hardy in the corner. Aries tells Roode to hold him. Roode goes to the floor and holds Hardy by his feet. Aries scores IED followed by a Brainbuster~! Another two count on Hardy. At this point, Aries and Roode are going crazy. Roode tells Aries to go up top and “hit the thing” to finish him. Roode grabs Hardy’s feet. Aries attempts the 450 Splash but Roode moves Hardy out of the way. Roode scores the Payoff/Fisherman’s Suplex for a two count. Aries shoves Roode off and lays into Roode with strikes. Charge from Aries, duck under a Roode clothesline, discus elbow by Aries on Roode for a two count. Aries sets up Roode for a Brainbuster. Roode drops Aries with a front suplex across the ring. Roode goes for a spear, but Aries counters into The Last Chancery! Crowd tells Roode to “tap” but Roode went to the eyes of Aries to break the hold. Roode then puts Aries into the Crossface.
Aries goes back with a pin but two count. Roode puts Aries in a Fireman’s Carry but gets shoved in the corner. Aries charges with IED and ends up in a Powerslam position but Roode puts Aries on the top rope. Superplex set up by Roode but Aries boxes the ears and comes off the top rope with a missile dropkick. Aries scores IED this time and goes for a Brainbuster. Roode counters into a cradle pin but Aries shoves Roode off into the middle turnbuckle. Aries then gets a backslide on Roode and Hardy comes in to with a legdrop down on Roode for a tandem pin and elimination of Bobby Roode from the match~!
Aries taunted Roode as the match continues as Aries vs. Hardy. The ref does not give Aries the credit for the pin which annoys Aries. This distraction sets up Hardy time to recover and hit a Twist of Fate sending Aries into the middle rope. He goes for a second Twist of Fate but Aries shoves him into the corner. Hardy goes for his headscissors counter but Aries pushes Hardy onto the apron. While standing on the apron, Hardy quickly grabs Aries out of a shoulder thrust attempt and hits a Twist of Fate from the apron, sending Aries across the middle rope and headfirst across the apron~! Hardy goes to the top rope and hits a Swanton Bomb for the pinfall to retain his championship.
I really enjoyed this match at the time and it still holds up three years later. These three all brought their best game for this match. On paper, this match was like TNA’s equivalent to Wrestlemania XX in that Roode was Triple H (he even wore white boots for the match like how Triple H did in that match), Jeff Hardy was the Shawn Michaels that many compared him to years previously pulling out all the stops that he could to the acclaim of the fans, while Aries was comparable to Chris Benoit going in as the best wrestler in TNA at the time. However, the match was certainly structured differently from that particular match with those comparisons in mind with Hardy being the name in peril and he largely took the brunt off the offense, like how Benoit did in that match.
Often times, it felt like a handicap match and it took some time before the egos of Aries and Roode finally clashed enough to where they would face one another. I appreciated that because in most matches like this, that moment would happen much sooner. The match had a sense of urgency to it from all three competitors doing their best to get their respective eliminations and had a number of unique set ups that all got paid off as the match progressed. Removing my feelings towards Hardy being champion at this time, my only qualm with the match is that I would have liked to have seen more of Aries vs. Hardy after Roode got eliminated as those two have shown that they have great chemistry with one another and they simply did not get much time after Roode got eliminated to showcase that. With that being said, it played into the sense of urgency that the match had throughout.
If nothing else with Hardy being champion, the fans took to him but it would not last much longer following this while Aries and Roode would go on to team and become TNA Tag Team Champions, winning the former the TNA Triple Crown in the process and neither would be in the World Title contention for over a year afterwards. It is a shame that TNA did not treat both of them as higher caliber threats because both have all of the tools to have added to the division if they had continued to allow them to contribute to the main event scene around this time.
Very good match match worth checking out/re-visiting this match especially if you like the competitors and want to see a well-done triple threat match.