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|TNA wrestling stars bring battles to Monroe|
A small but energetic crowd converged on the Monroe Civic Center last Friday night as Total-Nonstop Action Wrestling brought their internationally known product to the area with a six-match lineup.
About 600 local fans spent their Friday night with the stars seen on the Spike television station each week.
The opening match of the evening saw TNA X-Division champion Homicide defending his championship against Sheik Abdul Brashir. Brashir was accompanied to the ring by ESPN 97.7 FM radio show host Nick Harrison while Homicide was escorted to the ring by 103.1 FM radio personality of the local air waves, Eddie Coyle.
The two men went back and forth in their match and Brashir looked to be close to winning the championship when Homicide was able to stun his challenger just enough to score a pin and retain the championship at just under eight minutes.
The second match of the evening was a women's showcase match where the TNA company refers to their female competitors as being in the "Knockout Division."
Two-time Knockout champion Awesome Kong squared off with long time nemesis Taylor Wilde in a hard hitting contest that saw Awesome Kong score the pin after a brutal slam in the center of the ring. Kong was in control of the match for most of the eight-minute contest. Toward the end, Wilde took control and actually did what few have been able to do the past two years - get Awesome Kong off of her feet with a big forearm shot to the side of the head.
The third match of the evening was to determine the No. 1 contender for the TNA tag team championship currently held by the team of Scott Steiner and Booker T.
Former title holders Beer Money, Inc. scored the victory over the British Invasion after nearly 10 minutes of hard hitting action
Next up for local fans was wrestling superstars Rhino and Kip James going one-on-one in the six-sided ring.
Rhino and James were both made famous in the late 1990s with work they did for Extreme Championship Wrestling and World Wrestling Entertainment. Each man held multiple championships while wrestling in the WWE.
Rhino hit his famous move known as the Gore to win the contest and send the local fans into a happy hysteria.
Nearly 20 local fans were given backstage passes for a backstage meet-and-greet party with the wrestlers. Fans won the passes by being selected as the loudest and most energetic and passionate fans in the building.
Abyss beat Scott Steiner with a Black Hole Slam in the center of the ring in the first of the co-main event lineup.
Steiner got the crowd heated up and the two big men delivered a hard hitting match that got fans excited and on their feet for much of the contest.
The main event of the evening was two-time heavyweight champion Samoa Joe facing off against up-and-coming heavyweight Shawn Hernandez.
A.J. Styles was scheduled to face Samoa Joe in the match but was scratched at the last minute because of a staff infection.
Hernandez scored the surprise victory over Joe with a powerbomb. The finish came after Scott Steiner tried to interfere and help his friend Samoa Joe only to be turned away on the ring apron by Hernandez.
After the show, several of the wrestlers came out to sign autographs and take pictures with any fans that wanted to stick around and meet their favorite performers.