TNA No Surrender 2024
February 23, 2024
Alario Center
Westwego, Louisiana

Watch: TNA+

TNA Wrestling’s first monthly live special since their rebrand and Scott D’Amore’s departure as president, No Surrender, occurred this past Friday night (February 23rd).

Main evented by a No Surrender Rules match between Moose and Alex Shelley for the TNA World Championship, No Surrender emanated live from the Alario Center in Westwego, Louisiana.

Countdown to No Surrender
The Rascalz (Trey Miguel & Zachary Wentz) def. Speedball Mountain (Mike Bailey & Trent Seven)

Functionally this was fine but it lacked any real urgency or sense of intrigue, particularly when compared to their previous meeting at Final Resolution 2023.

Ultimately this was a TV-level match with a TV finish. Steve Maclin, who has been allied with The Rascalz, ran out to hit a chop block on Mike Bailey behind the referee’s back. Bailey, who had been selling the leg throughout, was then caught in a kneebar by Zachary Wentz and had no choice but to tap.

I suppose this added something to the broader Nic Nemeth and Steve Maclin programme but there’s not much else to say. **

Countdown to No Surrender
The System (Eddie Edwards & Brian Myers) (w/Alisha Edwards) def. The Intergalactic Jet Setters (Kushida & Kevin Knight)

Another tag team match that existed as part of a broader program, this was much better than the opener.

I’ve said this before but I really like Eddie Edwards and Brian Myers as a team. It’s the best use of both guys at this moment in time and their extensive tag work means that they’ve meshed so well from the jump. Even though there is a bit of interference from Alisha on the outside, they also mostly win clean.

Kevin Knight, on the other hand, has looked great in all of his TNA appearances this year and with him officially being done with New Japan, I’d love TNA to sign him up full-time. Whether they will, given the current state of play, remains to be seen but it’s a shot I’d shoot.

In a moment that would foreshadow the outcome of the World title match on the main show, Kushida selflessly tried to save Kevin Knight in the closing stretch by pushing him out of the way of a Roster Cut lariat. That only bought his side more time though, as soon afterwards Knight was taken out with a Roster Cut and a Boston Knee Party. ***

Singles match to determine the No. #1 Contender for the TNA World Championship
Eric Young def. Frankie Kazarian

Considering the history that these two have got between them and the story coming in, this ultimately felt quite flat and was a disappointing start to the main show.

The whole focus of the match and what came after was getting over Kazarian’s new heel act. He asked ring announcer Jade Chung to call him “The King of TNA” and he was ultimately beaten with a crucifix pin because he spent too long berating the referee after hitting the Fade to Black on Young for a nearfall.

Post-match, Kazarian cemented his status as a real bad man by beating up the referee. In one of those continuity gaps that really frustrates me, it took ages to break up the beatdown – even though Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt kept talking about how it’s out of bounds to hit an official. **1/2

Final match in the Best-of-Three series for the TNA World Tag Team Championships
The ABC (Ace Austin & Chris Bey) (C) def. Grizzled Young Vets (Zack Gibson & James Drake)

After a middling start, this was exactly what this show needed.

As you would expect, these four guys went much more balls to the wall here than in their previous two matches (both of which I had at ***1/2), really giving off the energy of this being a rubber match between two teams that had come to know each other well.

There were some tremendous nearfalls down the stretch and I think credit has to go to the GYV because their great heel work helped the ABC to fulfil the role they needed to of the sympathetic babyfaces.

The finish was fantastic and elevated this to my notebook. The first match in the series was influenced by GYV using one of their scarves to attack the ABC. Here, Ace Austin got revenge by using a scarf to break the GYV’s flow, allowing him and Chris Bey to get back on top and hit the 1, 2, Sweet for the victory. ****

PCO def. Kon by disqualification

This was an extended angle rather than a proper match, which is great because what I needed more than one PCO v Kon match was the prospect of two.

These two brawled a bit on the outside before Kon attacked PCO with a chair to get himself disqualified. He hit a neck snap on PCO to seemingly knock him out, only for PCO to hulk up and make the comeback. Kon finished on top though, low blowing PCO on the ramp before hitting the neck snap again to presumably set up some sort of gimmick match at Sacrifice in Canada.

TNA Knockouts World Tag Team Championships
MK Ultra (Masha Slamovich & Killer Kelly) def. Decay (Rosemary & Havok) (C)

While this was probably a bit more polished than their first meeting at Hard to Kill, I’m struggling to say much more than this was a professional wrestling match that happened.

MK Ultra didn’t cheat to win, instead regaining the titles thanks to Masha Slamovich breaking up a pin on Killer Kelly before pinning Rosemary with a Snow Plow. **1/4

Slamovich and Kelly attacked Decay after the match, only to be run off by Dani Luna and Jody Threat to presumably set up some sort of multi-team match for Sacrifice.

Josh Alexander def. Simon Gotch

I might be the high man here but I thought this was a ton of fun. It was dudes being dudes and ultimately everything I wanted it to be.

It wasn’t a notebook match or anything like that but it was just a lot of good old-fashioned brawling and grappling between two guys that work the style well. Alexander is always great but Gotch more than pulled his weight and felt more credible than I thought he would.

If we get more matches like this while Josh Alexander is away from the title mix, just like we did in late 2021/early 2022 when he worked with Jonah, Minoru Suzuki and Charlie Haas, I’m in. ***1/2

No Surrender Rules Match for the TNA World Championship
Moose (C) (w/Eddie Edwards & Brian Myers) def. Alex Shelley (w/Kushida & Kevin Knight)

Sometimes new gimmicks are winners. And sometimes, well, sometimes they’re not. Sadly, this very much fell into the ‘not a winner’ camp.

While I think it could work conceptually, it ended up falling into the same hole that Last Man Standing, and I Quit matches do – the commentators belabored the stipulation so much that it completely took me out of it. To be honest, all I had in my head after a certain time was the Flagship segment where Rich Kraetsch kept repeating the “perfectly legal Cole” line.

With Chris Sabin’s X-Division title defense going on last, the trite and melodramatic outcome of him throwing the towel in was out the window. That was good but it required the match to reach a suitable emotional crescendo for Kushida or Kevin Knight to chuck it in instead and it never did.

Shelley worked hard over Moose’s leg and fingers and I thought both men used the limited plunder well but Moose’s selling, particularly of his hand, wasn’t great. The finish then seemed a bit off, with the Jet Setters getting involved a bit early and then Kushida panicking because Moose hit a few spears.

Some people will have liked this but it wasn’t for me. **

TNA Knockouts World Championship
Jordynne Grace (C) def. Gisele Shaw

These two only got a shade over 10 minutes and that disappointed me as I felt they were short-changed. What they did with the time was pretty decent and I honestly think 4-5 more minutes would have taken them from ‘good’ to closer to their November 2022 TV match and likely my notebook.

Now, that’s not to say what we got was perfect. I thought the strikes from both women looked a bit weak and Shaw very much overdid the mid-match talking. However, they also worked hard and there were some great high spots, like the Spanish Fly from the apron to the floor and Jordynne Grace pressing out of a diving Cutter attempt. The Grace Driver to win also looked dangerous, which always helps. ***1/4

Next up for the champion seems to be a showdown with Ash by Elegance, the former Dana Brooke.

TNA X-Division Championship
Mustafa Ali def. Chris Sabin (C)

For the first time in 19 years, an X-Division title match closed out a TNA show. While it wasn’t to the level of that Unbreakable three-way (I mean what is), this was really good.

It was probably Mustafa Ali’s strongest showings since his current indy run started, no doubt helped by him being the most over person on the show. However, the booking of the match didn’t quite match the natural crowd reactions – TNA tried to make him the heel by having the Good Hands come out and run a little interference on his behalf. I get that they were part of the build but I think jettisoning that spot wouldn’t have taken anything away from the match and actually would have probably taken it to four stars.

As it was, I’ve come in at ***3/4 and that’s almost entirely down to the top-drawer finish. After Chris Sabin’s attempt at an Avalanche Cradle Shock hadn’t worked, he ran back to the top turnbuckle to hit a Superplex or something to that effect. We’ll never know his plan though because as soon as he got there, Ali nailed him with a Sunset Bomb and then skinned the cat to hit a 450 splash for the win. The whole final sequence was so smooth, quick and crisp – I think I’ve watched it 10 times already.

Final Thoughts

No Surrender was a solid show from TNA. There were no disasters, even if I wasn’t a big fan of the World Championship match, and both the tag title match and main event are worth your time.

My assessment of the new booking team is still a work in progress. This show was already laid out and I didn’t think there were any obvious missteps – the follow up TV, next month’s Sacrifice special and the Rebellion PPV in April will give us a greater insight.