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By Gregory Davis on 2011-06-11 10:49:40
Here is my live report of the TNA Basebrawl event at Rent One Ball Park in Marion, IL.

The first thing that should be noted is that it was hot. Easily in the 90s all day. In fact, someone started getting sick right in front of Don West due to heat exhaustion when he was explaining the ground rules before the doors opened.

As I noted, Don did come out before the doors opened. He announced several things you can do, before the show even begins. First, those with the $50 tickets will get to huddle around ringside and get several autographs. I believe Eric Young, Robbie E, Cookie, Devon, and Tommy Dreamer, and Kazarian came out for that. Then, Matt Morgan was signing at the merchandise table for free. Next, you could get a posed photo with Velvet Sky for $10. Finally, if you bought an AJ Styles figure for $20, you could go down into the dugout, and he'd sign it for you. Again, this was all before the show even started. As the signings were going on, Don also announced that they were selling backstage passes for two adults or an adult and two kids for $50.

This was not even close to a sellout. I'd say there were no more than 1,200 people there. The field seats did sell out, but there were a lot of empty seats in the seating bowl.

Unlike the Brooklyn show last year, the field seats were setup more like a traditional show, meaning you were much closer to the ring. An inflatable S.L. Miners entry way was used in conjunction with the standard TNA set for the entrance. It was actually off to the side a bit as a stage was being built at 2nd base for a concert that was going to occur within a few days. The show was being recorded by the Miners, and the live footage was being shown on the jumbotron. Set wise, just about everything was "TNA Wrestling" and red as opposed to "Impact Wrestling" and blue. The Impact Wrestling logo was occasionally on the jumbotron, but that was pretty much it.

Jeremy Borash welcomed us to the show. He did his usual bit about the backstage passes. Due to the heat, I think the crowd wasn't as loud as I've seen at arena shows, but they were certainly into everything. Robbie E and Cookie came out to interrupt the ceremony. Of course, they didn't want anyone to go backstage. This let to T.N.T. playing, and a Miners' mascot, Dynamite, brought out Eric Young. A challenge was made for Eric and Robbie to fight. If Robbie won, no one would go backstage, and he would win the Television Championship. If Eric won, the fans would indeed go backstage.

1. Eric Young w/ Dynamite defeated Robbie E w/ Cookie to retain the Television Championship. Decent match. The crowd was all over Robbie and Cookie. Toward the end, Eric was thrown to the field, and Robbie and Cookie decided to start dancing to their music. But at one point, Cookie was pulled out of the ring, and Dynamite went in and started dancing, with Robbie not realizing what was going on. Once he did, Eric recovered and I believed he rolled him up for the win. Eric and Dynamite handed out a few backstage passes before heading to the back.

Jeremy introduced Earl Hebner. From what I heard, no one was chanting "You Screwed Bret," and they were mostly cheering him. So it seemed awkward when he tried to act offended, and reveal his "Damn Right I Did" T-shirt. Perhaps it's time to retire the shirt, since we've all moved on.

2. Velvet Sky w/ Kevin Hunsperger defeated Angelina Love w/ Winter. Kevin won the "Be a Manager" contest from ESPN Radio. He's an anchor for WSIL TV. What could be said about this match. There was a ton of interference from Winter, and Angelina was doing a bunch of no selling due to her zombie character. Combined with Velvet's slow-looking offense, and it just wasn't a good match. Plus, the ringside fans seemed more interested in chanting for Kevin, as he's a well known personality, at least in the section I was at. I believe the ending saw a failed interference attempt form Winter, which led to Velvet rolling Angelina up for the win.

3. Matt Morgan defeated Scott Steiner. Steiner received a lot of cheers at first, until he started picking fights with various people in the crowd. This was a decent big-man match. At point, while brawling outside, Matt took my friend's crutch (he torn his achilles tendon) and being choking Scott out, until he apologized for what he said to him before the match. I believe the Carbon Footprint led to the victory.

4. AJ Styles and Devon defeated Bully Ray and Tommy Dreamer. The heels came out to Dreamer's Man in the Box. Ray also took time to personally insult specific fans. For one particular fan, he said he's rather sleep with Dreamer than sleep with her. By far the match of the night. It mostly consisted of AJ versus Ray and Dreamer. As usual, Ray was acting scared of Devon. Devon pinned Dreamer for the win. Afterward, the faces got the crowd to chant "Na Na Na Na" to the heels, although it didn't explicitly come across as saying goodbye to Dreamer, and I don't believe that was the intent. Either. Devon also said that it's now clear who the weak link of Team 3D was. Then, Styles challenged Ray to start Sunday's match now, but Ray refused.

Intermission. While those with backstage passes went behind the stage, Angelina Love and Winter, along with Earl Hebner, signed at the merchandise table. Yes, Love was still in a zombie state for the signing.

5. Kazarian defeated Matt Hardy. You had your usual set of Hardy fans that'll always cheer for him, although none of them recognized his music, and didn't start cheering until they said his hometown. The match started out slow, as there seemed to be some miscommunication at times, but it did pick up as it went along. Kaz won with the C4 Driver, and Matt sold it for a good five minutes before finally getting up.

6. Kurt Angle defeated Jeff Jarrett. I found this to be a bit disappointing, as it seemed like they were holding back in anticipation for Sunday. Also, I believe Kurt arrived late due to missing a flight (and I heard from other fans that there were significant traffic delays as well), so he might have been a bit out of it. There was a lot of stalling early on, as Jeff got angry at Earl, and this led to the two locking up, with Earl hitting a hip toss. The action itself was fine, but it just seemed like they were trying to get through the match quickly. I did notice that Kurt had his right leg taped up, so that might have been part of it. Jeff tapped to an Ankle Lock / grapevine combo.

Kurt stayed in the ring for the $20 photo op (and they had a huge line for it). While that was going on, we had our fireworks show. Surprisingly, they did NOT have a post-game autograph party. Instead, we just had Jarrett and Hebner sign at the merchandise table.

BaseBrawl is a good concept, although I feel that the weather put a damper on the experience.

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