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TNA Wrestling impacts huntington

By CHELSIE SCHULDIES
On February 19, 2012

It was total, nonstop action Friday at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena as TNA Impact Wrestling made a stop in Huntington on its 2012 World Tour.

Fans of all ages gathered outside the arena as early as three hours before the show for a special meet and greet.

Ada Herdman, 40, of New Haven, W.Va., came to the event with her son, Ethan Herdman, 11.

"I have followed wrestling off and on," Ada Herdman said. "Whenever Ethan wanted to watch wrestling, I would follow it. I am excited to be here, though."

Ethan Herdman said he was excited about meeting the wrestlers, especially "The Charismatic Enigma" Jeff Hardy.

"Jeff Hardy is just different compared to everyone else," Ethan Herdman said. "I can't wait to see him. I have liked wrestling for as long as I've been able to watch TV."

Ethan Herdman said he had been to another live wrestling show, but this was his first time seeing TNA in person.

Ada Herdman said she was looking forward to seeing Jeff Hardy as well.

"I think Hardy is a really great entertainer," Ada Herdman said. "He does everything - art, music and wrestling. He is very talented."

After learning "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair would make an appearance, both Ada and Ethan Herdman were thrilled.

"Ric Flair is a legend," Ada Herdman said. "He has been around a long, long time."

Among the Jeff Hardy and Ric Flair supporters were Shawna Rowe, 31, and Jayson Rowe, 11, both of Huntington.

"I am most excited to see Jeff Hardy, but I really hope Ric Flair is here, too," Shawna Rowe said. "I brought Jayson here for his birthday. We weren't sure if we would be able to because we didn't get our tickets until Thursday night, and they are in the front row. We are pretty excited, especially, because we also were able to get tickets for the meet and greet."

Jayson Rowe said he could not wait to see the wrestlers in person.

"I want to meet Jeff hardy, but I wish Sting was here, too," Jayson Rowe said. "I really like TNA. I like them more than WWE because their shows are a lot better. They have tougher wrestlers who can knock out all the other ones."

As fans were ushered into the arena for the meet and greet, insane dealmaker and former color commentator, Don West, surprised the audience with news about the meet-and-greet, as well as special deals on merchandise.

"For our fourth trip to Huntington, we are going to up the ante," West said. "We have more wrestlers here today than we do for a usual show."

Wrestling enthusiasts were informed that by purchasing rare action figures of Jeff Hardy and "The Samoan Submission Machine" Samoa Joe, they would be able to go backstage and receive two of the most difficult to acquire autographs of all TNA wrestlers, Samoa Joe and Jeff Hardy.

A second surprise included purchasing a replica of the TNA World Heavyweight Championship belt at a reduced price of $375. Included with this purchase was the opportunity to go into the ring after the show and have a picture taken with "The Cowboy" James Storm and Jeff Hardy and meet Ric Flair backstage.

Before the bell rang to signal the first match, the crowd was welcomed by Christy Hemme, former TNA Knockout and professional wrestling's most popular backstage interviewer.

The first match started with Sarita and the "Super Mex" Hernandez of the Mexican-America alliance versus ODB and Eric Young, who left victorious after a hard-fought match.

Shortly after the first win, it was revealed to be referee Earl Hebner's 79th birthday. Hebner proceeded to rip off his top shirt and revealed another underneath stating, "Damn Right I Did" in reference to his role in the "Montreal Screwjob."

The next matches proceeded with Austin Aries beating Kid Kash with a brain buster and Gail Kim beating out Tara, defending the TNA Knockout Championship.

Next up was Crimson and "The Blueprint" Matt Morgan versus Samoa Joe and Magnus. Despite Crimson and Morgan attacking before the match, Samoa Joe and Magnus defended their TNA World Tag Team title after a snapmare and diving elbow drop combination.

During intermission, Don West threw free merchandise to the screaming crowd.

Immediately after intermission, Gunner, accompanied by Ric Flair acting as his manager, wrestled Garett Bischoff, son of former president of World Championship Wrestling, Eric Bischoff.

"TNA wrestlers do a lot with this company," Flair said. "They give 110 percent. I hope you respect them as much as I do."

After some interference, Gunner hit Bischoff with a low blow, winning the match.

The night ended with a matchup of Bully Ray versus "The Cowboy" James Storm. TNA Heavyweight Champion Bobby Roode interfered to attack Storm. Hardy proceeded to enter the ring to save Storm from attack. It then became a tag team match, ending with Storm winning the final match of the night.

This was TNA Impact Wrestling's fourth time in Huntington.

Chelsie Schuldies can be contacted at schuldies@marshall.edu.

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