In its ongoing but ill-fated effort to create innovative match stipulations, Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling debuted a real clunker with its new All-Holds-Barred Match.
TNA has a long and dubious history of topsy-turvy match types — from reverse battle royals to inverted ladder matches — but the All-Holds-Barred match is the most disappointing flop yet (even worse than the hair-versus-mask match between bald non-luchadors).
The All-Holds-Barred match pitted current TNA champ Eric Young against longtime rival Magnus, and the rules forbade either man from mounting an offensive maneuver on the other.
“History is being made tonight,” commentator Mike Tenay raved disingenuously during the staredown that unfolded over the first five minutes of the match.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion.”
Fans hope Tenay’s words were prophetic, as the inaugural bout resulted in an insufferable 30-minute time-limit draw, with neither man laying a finger on the other.
The crowd temporarily perked up for a “criss-cross” spot, during which the wrestlers ran back and forth across the ring at perpendicular angles, but the excitement quickly wore off when it failed to result in any actual combat.
Thankfully, the match was held at a non-televised TNA “house show,” so only the 37 people in attendance actually witnessed the mundane spectacle.