TNA Impact Review
May 27, 2005
Taped May 17, 2005 in Orlando, FL at Universal Studios
Aired on Fox Sports Net
Report by James Caldwell, Torch Team Contributor
- We opened with a video recap from last week's show when Dusty Rhodes announced that A.J. Styles would defend his NWA Title against Jeff, Jarrett, Abyss, Monty Brown, and a wildcard in a King of the Mountain match. We saw Abyss decline an alliance with Jeff Jarrett by delivering a Black Hole Slam on Jarrett at the conclusion of last week's show. Good to see NWA Champion A.J. Styles involved in the opening video package.
- From the Impact Zone, Mike Tenay said A.J. Styles would team with Sean Waltman to take on Jeff Jarrett and Monty Brown in a mega-main event match. Tenay said, "TNA is in turmoil." Don West said there's so much going on that things are absolutely crazy and not worth the time trying to sort out.
(1) B.G. James & Ron Killings defeated America's Most Wanted (Chris Harris & James Storm) at 3:29. Prior to the match beginning, B.G. James tried to do his usual mic work, but Ron Killings grabbed the mic and interrupted. Killings said, "Welcome to ain't that a shame." Killings told James to talk to him and not the people. Killings passed the mic to Jeremy Borash leaving James shaking his head in disbelief. AMW came to the ring with a half-hearted attempt to acknowledge the fans – another sure sign that a heel turn is imminent. We saw video from last week where Harris and Storm had a verbal disagreement and showed immense frustration with the other following their loss to Team Canada in a #1 Contender's match.
The match began with James and Storm. James went for a handshake, but kicked Storm in the gut instead. James sent Storm to the ropes then missed with a clothesline but recovered with a series of "shake, rattle, 'n roll" punches to the face. James dropped a knee to the face then made a cover, and scored a two count. Killings received a "tag" then stomped on Storm. Killings was preoccupied talking to James giving Storm the opening to land a punch and make the tag to Harris. Killings ran over Harris with a shoulder block then bounced off the ropes and ran into a Lou Thesz Press leading to right hands to the face. Killings ducked a clothesline and scored a twisting fist smash to the head. After sending a crotch chop in James's direction, Killings tagged in James. AMW managed to score a tag as well, leading to a double team beat down on James. Storm landed right hands to the face then missed with a clothesline leading to both men running into each other in the center of the ring. Both men recovered to their feet and scored hot tags – but more like cold tags because the crowd didn't pop. James and Storm battled to the outside while Killings was run over by Harris with a stiff left arm clothesline. Storm picked up a chair and slid it into the ring for Harris to use. Harris wasn't sure why Storm gave him the chair and didn't want anything to do with it, but he leaned over to pick up the chair anyways. After an awkward moment of Harris standing over the chair, Killings delivered an axe kick to the back of Harris's head, sending Harris headfirst into the chair. Killings made the pin for the win as James held off Storm from re-entering the ring.
- After the match, James celebrated with Killings, trying to establish some unity. Meanwhile, outside of the ring, Storm and Harris bickered over the chair usage. Killings left the ring indignantly then took the mic and approached James back in the ring. Killings said it's time for James to answer some questions. James shoved Killings out of the way just in time to avoid The Outlaw, who ran in from behind and clotheslined James. Outlaw briefly stood over James's body without indicating that he accidentally knocked down James or was gloating over the fact that he did knock him down. Killings immediately pounced on Outlaw with stiff right hands then ran into a tilt-o-whirl side slam. Konnan ran into the ring and attacked Outlaw with stiff right hands before delivering a knock down clothesline. Konnan took off his shoe and threw it at Outlaw's stomach. Fans threw shoes into the ring. I guess they got them at the 2 for 1 special at Payless and weren't so hesitant to part with their footwear. For no apparent reason, Killings picked up a shoe and – well, we will never know since the camera completely missed the shot – but apparently, Killings smacked James in the corner with a shoe. Killings went back over to Outlaw and pounded on him with a shoe. James approached Konnan and Killings and was promptly shoved to the mat for his efforts. Outlaw rolled out of the ring as all three members of 3 Live Kru stared each other down. James was left standing in the ring by himself as everyone else parted his separate ways.
Nuggets from Tenay & West: Don West and Mike Tenay built up a storyline of mass chaos and confusion at the top of the show and followed through with this match by describing the fact that AMW and 3 Live Kru were not on the same page going into the match, and certainly weren't on the same page after the match. West indicated that he doesn't understand what's going on between 3 Live Kru – with Killings seemingly an out of control wreck, while not sure who to trust. West and Tenay agreed that B.G. James is a loner without a member of the Kru to trust.
Match View: The problem with the actual match was the lack of character definition for either team. Both teams used traditional heel tactics regularly during the match and neither team was able to get the crowd into the match because there was no one to cheer for. With both teams struggling to act as a cohesive unit – a set-up for some form of a true heel turn by someone – the fans were apathetic to both teams. When trying to build up a storyline or storylines, it's essential to have someone play a heel and babyface role, and that simply was not the case here. The post-match action offered another opportunity to see TNA production staff screw up a major storyline advancement when Ron Killings appeared to strike B.G. James with his shoe – as the first major physical act of dissention within the Kru – only to have the camera switch over to other action. It is imperative to match camera shots with key action points that are known ahead of time to get across the message that needs to be sent. TNA has consistently failed in that department and will have to clean up its act, especially when going live once every two weeks on WGN while trying to sell storylines.
On the topic of the actual storyline, there was finally some advancement after weeks of stagnation when Outlaw clotheslined B.G. James – the first physical interaction between the two former tag partners. Of course, we're left to wonder whether Outlaw meant to clothesline James or if Outlaw accidentally clotheslined James when James pulled Killings out of the way. This storyline really needs to find its end at Slammiversary – where all four parties are involved in a match of some sort with each other – to allow everyone involved to move on to better programs. This has gone on way too long, especially considering the fact that none of the characters are red-hot babyfaces or heels who fans are lining up to see interact with each other over the progression of the storyline.
- Backstage, Terry Taylor was with America's Most Wanted. Taylor asked Chris Harris if they were in a slump. Harris told Taylor not to go there because tag teams can have slumps just like football or baseball teams. Harris said it's a matter of picking things back up again after being stuck in a slump to make things right again. Storm – who was red-hot with passion – said they should start to make changes and start acting as a team by facing 3 Live Kru at the PPV on June 19. Storm said AMW should be able to get back on the winning side by facing 3 Live Kru because "they argue more than we do!" Storm and Harris quickly left on opposite sides of the camera leaving Taylor searching for some answers. Solid follow-up promo to set up the PPV match. Good intensity.
(2) Zack Gowen defeated Romeo at 2:39. Gowen shoved Romeo before the match then delivered a one-legged clothesline to the chest. Romeo lured Gowen into the corner then shoved him headfirst into the corner turnbuckle. Romeo stomped on Gowen then ran him over with a running foot stomp to the face. Romeo dragged Gowen to the center of the ring then made a cover. Gowen kicked out then was clotheslined straight to the mat. Romeo kicked Gowen in the back then delivered a stiff suplex. Romeo made a non-chalant pin attempt, which Gowen kicked out of. Romeo took Gowen to the corner and delivered two weak chops to the chest. Romeo imitated Rick Rude's hip swivel pose then ran into a boot to the face. Gowen took Romeo up top then delivered an absolutely textbook Tornado DDT. Great snap in mid-air to make the move look very impressive. Gowen sprung off the middle rope with a back leg smash then made a cover for a two count. Romeo fought back with stiff right hands then delivered a side belly to back suplex. Romeo took Gowen to the corner turnbuckle, but he was thrown off the top to the mat. Gowen balanced himself atop the top turnbuckle then delivered a nice moonsault. Gowen laid on Romeo and scored the three count for the victory.
Nuggets from Tenay & West & Daniels: Tenay said Gowen's appearance in TNA is a "human interest story" that is a great testament to Gowen's desire to be a successful pro wrestler. Don West said Gowen is an example for anyone who wants to fulfill his or her dreams, but may not think he or she is able to do so. West said Gowen's moonsault to win the match reminded him of Trinity's moonsault at Lockdown off the top of the steel cage.
Match View: Zack Gowen's appearance at Hard Justice and subsequent appearance on Impact epitomize everything that is holding TNA back – a lack of back-story. Why is he in TNA? Why did he return to the national wrestling scene? What are his goals in TNA? Is he just collecting a paycheck? Does he have something to prove? What is it about Gowen that makes him worth investing emotions in? TNA has failed to offer any semblance of a back-story for Gowen's two appearances in TNA, merely presenting him as a "human interest" story to make us feel inspired. An interview or video package with comments from Gowen should complement his appearances in TNA to give viewers a sense as to why Gowen is in TNA and what he is looking to accomplish.
- Terry Taylor was backstage with Chris Sabin. Sabin speaks! Who would have guessed it?! Taylor brought up Chris Sabin's opportunity to challenge for the X Division Title at Slammiversary then asked what Sabin was feeling towards Michael Shane and his former manager, Tracy. Sabin said he knows there is an opportunity to capture the X Division title waiting for him at the PPV. Sabin said he would be focused on the title, but hadn't forgotten what Shane and Tracy did to him at Hard Justice. Sabin said, "I shouldn't have trusted a girl like that." Sabin placed the blame strictly on himself for falling prey to their ames then said he would not make the same mistake twice. Trinity interrupted and said she wanted to work with Sabin to take care of Tracy and Shane. Sabin wasn't so quick to trust Trinity. Trinity talked about Shane and Tracy's vile comments from last week then Terry Taylor introduced the footage of Tracy and Shane bad-mouthing Trinity and Sabin. We came back to the live interview where Trinity told Sabin that they need to put their differences aside to work together. Trinity said she would take care of "that wench, Tracy" if Sabin would take care of that "good for nothing liar, Michael Shane." Trinity asked if they had a deal. Sabin wasn't too sure, so Trinity teased walking away. Sabin stopped her progress and told Trinity to do her part because it "was a deal and nothing more." Sabin offered a handshake agreement, so Trinity did a chest shake and walked off. Sabin shook his head and left.
- Mike Tenay and Don West discussed Trinity and Sabin making strange bedfellows despite having a common cause in getting back at Tracy and Shane. Coach Scott D'Amore came to the broadcast table to join Tenay and West for commentary. Tenay mockingly said he was glad D'Amore joined them for commentary.
(3) Lance Hoyt defeated Bruno Sassi (w/Big Till) at 2:13. Prior to the match, the "Lance Hoyt section" on the front row led a boisterous "Hoyt, Hoyt, Hoyt!" chant, which Hoyt acknowledged. Hoyt played to the hard camera then was attacked from behind by Bruno, beginning the match. Bruno's offensive advantage was short-lived as Hoyt delivered a knock down clothesline. Till distracted the referee giving Bruno the opening to deliver a kick to the groin. Bruno landed hard right hands to the face then sent Hoyt to the outside. Till choked Hoyt ringside as Bruno distracted the referee. Back in the ring, Bruno sent Hoyt headfirst into the corner turnbuckle then choked him using the Hoyt's long hair as leverage. Bruno dropped a boot to the top of the head then took a stiff right hand to Hoyt's head. Bruno went for a clothesline, but Hoyt ducked and ran over Bruno with a hard clothesline. Hoyt sidestepped a quick punch then connected with a big boot to the face, dropping Bruno to the center of the ring. Hoyt climbed up top and scored a beautiful top rope moonsault, leading to pin for the victory.
- After the match, Till ran into the ring and jumped Hoyt. Till landed stiff right hands then missed with a clothesline and took a big boot to the face. Hoyt played to the "Hoyt Section" then Coach D'Amore came to the ringside area to challenge Hoyt to a fight as a set up for Hoyt's match against Bobby Roode at Slammiversary. D'Amore unbuttoned his Team Canada jersey and teased entering the ring, giving Bobby Roode the opportunity to come into the ring from behind and smash Hoyt across the back with a hockey stick. Roode smashed the stick over Hoyt's back as D'Amore taunted Hoyt on the mic. Roode asked Hoyt how it feels to be beat down as Roode delivered more hockey stick shots to the gut. D'Amore told Hoyt to enjoy his time until Slammiversary, because "June 19, you'll be done!" D'Amore smiled at the camera as Roode laid into Hoyt some more.
Nuggets from Tenay & West & D'Amore: Coach D'Amore put over Bobby Roode at the expense of Bruno, by saying that Hoyt has no chance against Bobby Roode at Slammiversary if he's struggling with a guy like Bruno. Tenay countered that Till's interference was a very large reason why Bruno held the offensive advantage early on. Tenay put over Hoyt's immense popularity with the Impact zone, citing the constant "Hoyt" chants.
Match View: Both members of PDS work a traditional heel role, taking the "big man" bumps for the babyfaces, but the rest of their performance borders on uninspiring and "a step slow." There's just nothing about PDS that gives off a sense of excitement. Yet, at the same time, they can be used to put over babyfaces like Lance Hoyt by taking heel bumps and showing ass in the ring. Bruno did his job in putting over Hoyt, but I would still prefer not seeing PDS on TV. The post-match beat down was effective in building up heat on Bobby Roode, giving Hoyt the opportunity to capture even more heat for himself after making the babyface comeback at the PPV. Hoyt and Roode both benefit from working off each other because both men have potential to be main eventers in TNA one day. These types of feuds are steppingstones along the path and certainly can be useful for building up character and storyline elements that add up to a nice, neat package for both men's characters.
- Mike Tenay discussed last week's incident where Raven quit TNA after "going over the line" by inflicting a vicious attack on Larry Zbyszko because he wouldn't put Raven in the King of the Mountain match. West said he stopped trying to figure out Raven a long time ago, but figures Raven simply snapped last week. Tenay introduced exclusive footage involving Raven immediately after quitting TNA.
- The footage began with a cameraman trying to ask Raven for comments on what happened with Larry Zbyszko. Raven offered no comments, so he hopped into his car and ran over the cameraman. Raven got out of the car and told the cameraman to get up and focus on him. Raven told Dusty Rhodes that he was preventing Raven from fulfilling his destiny of capturing the NWA Title. Raven said, "Now that I've quit, I have no allegiance to anyone or anything." Raven said he would hurt who he wants, when he wants to do it. Raven said he would make TNA scream blood and cry tears of pain, while also making every single person suffer. Raven said, "I nearly ran over a cameraman and I don't even know him. Imagine what I'll do to somebody I don't like!" Raven said his reign of terror was beginning because his human cancer status makes him the most evil, vile person ever. Raven said he is not going to let up until he receives his NWA Title shot against A.J. Styles. Raven told Rhodes, "The blood is on your own hands; give me a shot!" Raven told the cameraman to get out of his way before hopping back into his car.
- Terry Taylor was backstage with the Tag Champs, The Naturals. Taylor said The Naturals were in for a tough road ahead considering the challenge of Team Canada at Slammiversary. Chase Stevens said he was ready for the challenge and didn't want it any other way than to be challenging. Andy Douglas said The Naturals were ready for Team Canada and Scott D'Amore. Douglas said, "He sat us down; he had a talk with us; he gave us the game plan. It's up to us to execute it." Stevens and Douglas walked off before Taylor could find out who "he" is.
Impact Note: The Naturals seem to have a lot more confidence in the portrayal of their characters and certainly come across as a legitimate tag team force. Their promos have been solid as of late and they handle themselves very well. The idea of using this secret legend seems like a throwback to the early '90s WCW days when Harlem Heat had a secret manager delivering tips on one of those old school cell phones when Harlem Heat was in trouble during a match. The phone would ring and the hot tip for victory would come over the phone leading to another Harlem Heat victory. I foresee a similar situation – just not with Sherri Martel on the other end of the advice.
- Mike Tenay speculated as to who "he" is. West said The Naturals had hinted at this person twice before. Tenay said the legendary figure The Naturals hinted at during a sit-down interview at Hard Justice could be a mere illusion, where The Naturals are using mind games on their opponents as a way to make opponents think The Naturals are receiving advice from someone who Tenay described as a person The Naturals couldn't believe would give them the time of day. Interesting storyline.
(4) The Naturals (Chase Stevens & Andy Douglas) defeated Lex Lovett & David Young at 2:24 in a non-title match. The Naturals were attacked from behind prior to the match beginning, but The Naturals fought back with dual back body drops. Douglas went to work on Young and connected with a high-elevated drop kick. Douglas laid into Young with stiff right hands then was shot off to the ropes where Young followed up with a sidewalk slam. Lex tagged in and dropped Douglas with a running leg whip. Lex dropped a leg across Douglas's head, while Douglas was positioned neck-first across the middle rope. Lex slammed Douglas into the heel corner then tagged in Young for a double team back elbow smash. Young suplexed Douglas then made a cover, but scored a two count only. Lex tagged in and delivered a stiff right hand before missing with a clothesline. Douglas ran over Lex with a running knee lift then tagged in Stevens. Stevens ran over both heels then played to the crowd. However, the play to the crowd gave Lex the opportunity to smash Stevens from behind with a forearm blow. Lex went for a reverse DDT, but Douglas smacked Lex in the back before teaming up with Stevens for the "Natural Disaster" double-team stunner leading to a pin for the win. Good babyface pop for The Naturals following the victory.
- After the match, Petey Williams and Eric Young attacked The Naturals from behind. The Naturals tried to fight back, but A-1 Ralphz intervened on Team Canada's behalf to lay out The Naturals. Petey took Chase Stevens and delivered the Canadian Destroyer, laying out one-half of the tag champs. Petey made the title belt signal around his waist then raised his arms as Team Canada celebrated over the fallen bodies of The Naturals. Tenay said Team Canada was doing Coach D'Amore's dirty work.
Nuggets from Tenay & West: Don West said both members of The Naturals work very well together considering their similar body types and in-ring styles. However, that served as virtually the only discussion of The Naturals during the match because Tenay hyped matches for Slammiversary while also offering the first substantial hype of the show for the main event tag match. West talked about Raven flipping out last week, almost as if he was having a mental breakdown.
Match View: Can you tell that Coach D'Amore is on the booking committee? Goodness, after months of taking bumps for everyone else, Team Canada is now delivering the heel beat downs on every babyface in sight. Certainly, D'Amore buys into the Kevin Sullivan theory of getting heat on the heels to set up the huge babyface comeback. That is obviously what is happening with the Team Canada vs. The Naturals feud, but unfortunately for The Naturals, they won't have an opportunity to get their heat back before the PPV because there will be no Impact broadcasts prior to the PPV in which to regain heat. Nevertheless, TNA has done a nice job setting up the basics of the feud heading into the PPV.
- Backstage, Terry Taylor was with Monty Brown and Jeff Jarrett to hype their involvement in the main event tag match. Taylor said Jarrett should be concerned considering that things have not been going his way lately. Jarrett denied any concern on his part and said Abyss made the worst decision of his entire career by not choosing to be part of the King Mountain's side. Jarrett said Monty Brown knows which side to be on and said he would regain the NWA Title because he and Monty Brown would have the numbers game at Slammiversary. Jarrett said the war between himself and A.J. Styles was beginning today. Brown stayed behind as Jarrett left to the ring and said he doesn't know much about being King of the Mountain, but knows what it's like to be the only Alpha Male. Brown teased not being on the same page with Jarrett, hinting that he may be looking out for himself rather than Jarrett.
(5) A.J. Styles & Sean Waltman defeated Jeff Jarrett & Monty Brown at 8:37. A special 15-minute time limit was assigned to the match Tenay hyped as "arguably the biggest main event in Impact history." During Styles's entrance, I couldn't help but notice someone twirling an umbrella next to the entrance ramp. Those wacky Orlando fans with their shoes and Abyss chants. Prior to the match beginning, we went to a commercial break.
The match began with both sides exchanging verbal barbs prior to Styles and Jarrett squaring off. The fans began a loud "A.J. Styles" chant before Styles dropped Jarrett with an arm drag take over and chop to the chest. Jarrett fought back with a knee to the gut then shot Styles to the ropes, but Styles merely set Jarrett up for his trademark "leap frog, step over, back flip drop kick" combination, which got the crowd amped up. Styles stared into the hard camera then walked into a thumb to the eye from Jarrett. Brown tagged in and charged Styles, but he was over-powered into the babyface corner. Waltman took a tag and teamed up with Styles for a double team knock down. Waltman went to work on Brown in the corner then walked into a hard clothesline from Brown. Brown choked Waltman after scoring a nearfall then dropped Waltman with a side belly to back suplex. Brown made a cover, but scored a two count only. Jarrett tagged in and went to work on Waltman's back with forearm shots and foot stomps. Brown tagged in and landed forearm blows to the back. Brown missed with a clothesline then ran into a standing dropkick. Waltman pounded on Brown in the corner then Jarrett ran into the ring and took a spin kick to the face. We saw Abyss standing atop the entrance ramp a good minute after the "oooh, oooh, ooh Abyss" chants started up from the Impact zone crowd.
The action broke down into a four-man brawl with Waltman stomping Jarrett down to a seated position in the corner while Styles slipped out of a running snake eyes attempt in the opposite corner by Brown to kick the big man down to a seated position. Waltman ran across the ring for a Bronco Buster on Brown, but Brown put his foot up in time to block Waltman. Brown grappled Waltman and delivered a snap suplex as Jarrett and Styles watched from the apron. Brown locked in a reverse chinlock then chopped Waltman in the corner after Waltman broke the hold. Brown tagged in Jarrett, who knocked over Waltman with a high-elevated drop kick. Jarrett mocked Styles's mannerisms then stomped on Waltman with a series of foot stomps to the chest. Jarrett choked Waltman across the middle rope then bounced off the ropes and crashed down on Waltman's throat. Jarrett did his old school Double J strut then tagged in Brown. Brown sent Waltman to the opposite corner with a hard Irish Whip then dropped Waltman across his knee with a back breaker, repeatedly. Jarrett took a tag as Tenay said Waltman needed to get Styles into the match. Jarrett locked in a sleeper hold, wearing down Waltman. Waltman fought out with stiff elbow smashes then walked into another sleeper hold. However, Waltman escaped the second sleeper hold with a side belly to back suplex. Styles rallied the crowd behind Waltman from the apron as Brown took a tag from Jarrett.
Waltman made the hot tag to Styles and Styles entered the ring like a House of Fire running over both heels with martial arts kicks and clubbing clotheslines. Styles ended up on the apron then flew off the top rope with a springboard clothesline on both heels. Styles bounced off the ropes for a move on Brown, but Jarrett pulled the ropes down sending Styles flipping backwards over the top rope to the floor. Back in the ring, Waltman ran into an overhead fall away slam from Brown leading to Jarrett making the cover for a nearfall. Brown called for the Pounce but Jarrett told Brown to hold up Waltman for his own idea. Jarrett picked up his guitar and measured Waltman, but the referee pulled Jarrett's arm back, preventing him from using the guitar. With the referee distracted, Waltman mule kicked Brown then spun around and held Brown's arms back. Jarrett wrenched the guitar away from the referee then blindly turned around to smash the guitar over who he thought was going to be Waltman, only to smash the guitar over his partner, Monty Brown. Jarrett held his head in his hands in disbelief as Brown crashed to the mat after being knocked out. As Waltman held Jarrett down in the corner, Styles recovered from the floor to the ring and delivered the Spiral Tap from the top rope resulting in the pin for the win. The Impact zone went crazy as Styles's arm was raised in victory.
- After the match, Waltman took the NWA Title from the referee and looked over the belt as Abyss stared on from the entrance ramp. Jarrett tried to talk to Monty Brown from the apron, but Brown was out cold and not able to hear Jarrett's pleas for forgiveness. Waltman continued to gaze at the NWA Title before Styles turned around and caught Waltman staring a little too intently. Waltman handed over the title belt to its rightful owner and praised Styles with a round of applause as Styles mouthed, "thank you." We closed with Jarrett trying to console Brown and Waltman clapping for Styles.
Nuggets from Tenay & West: Mike Tenay and Don West broke down the rules of the King of the Mountain match which consist of pinfalls placing wrestlers in a two minute penalty box while the victor is determined by whomever can place the NWA Title atop the hook hanging above a ladder in the ring. Tenay and West used the match to discuss the storylines involving all four men in the match as well as Abyss, while also hinting that Sean Waltman may be involved in the King of the Mountain match in some capacity – most likely as the wildcard entrant.
Match View: There was definitely chemistry between all four men that shone through in a solid main event tag match. The action was quick and fast-paced, keeping the flow of the match at a rapid-fire pace throughout. A.J. Styles carried himself as a Champion before, during, and after the match and the Impact zone responded in turn. Styles has a good amount of momentum going into the PPV and should be treated as a superstar at the PPV to turn him into the face of the promotion as TNA goes into a new era. With the next few weeks of Impact cancelled, we won't be able to see how Brown follows up the guitar shot from Jarrett, and we won't see whether there is tension between the allies that could jeopardize Jarrett's numbers advantage. With Abyss on his own, Jarrett and Brown inherently at odds by virtue of the finish of the match, Waltman apparently looking out for his interest of holding the NWA Title, and Styles always presented as a lone wolf, TNA has set up a "free-for-all, no alliances needed, every man for himself" King of the Mountain match for the NWA Title at Slammiversary. That makes the title match more interesting and more open to storyline changes and advancements. Unfortunately, TNA won't have the luxury of a few more weeks of build up to solidify the storylines in concrete leading to the PPV, but this week's broadcast certainly gave enough "just below the surface" level build up to be effective in selling the PPV.
Matches Announced on Impact for the June 19 Slammiversary PPV.
- NWA Title Match: A.J. Styles vs. Jeff Jarrett vs. Abyss vs. Monty Brown vs. Wildcard in a King of the Mountain Match
- NWA Tag Title Match: The Naturals vs. Team Canada
- X Division Title Match: Christopher Daniels vs. Michael Shane vs. Chris Sabin
- Bobby Roode vs. Lance Hoyt
- Ron Killings vs. The Outlaw
- 3 Live Kru vs. America's Most Wanted
Weekend Replay Factor: Three out of five hamburgers. Just not quite the same solid effort as last week's show, but enough to keep your interest for an hour. The backstage promos were effective in selling PPV feuds, and considering that this is the last Impact on FSN, I recommend checking it out one last time.
Closing Thoughts: With the conclusion of this week's broadcast comes the conclusion of an era in TNA history. Impact will no longer be seen on Fox Sports Net and the next stage is a probable slot on WGN immediately after the Slammiversary PPV. TNA obviously has some issues to clean up before they can truly compete with Raw on a Monday Night basis. Production values top the list of what TNA needs to focus on improving during their few weeks off in between the final Impact broadcast on FSN and the June 19 PPV. The overall feel of the show – from camera shots to video presentations to interview segments – still has the feel of a minor-league production. Missing important storyline developments by not having the right camera shot in place is also a major issue that needs to be ironed out. WWE's production values are top-notch and if TNA truly wants to compete with WWE on a head-to-head basis, they can't walk into their first Impact on WGN and look bush league. Viewers who actually find TNA will need to see something different and unique that will make them tune into Impact rather than the Triple H hour. If viewers don't see a crisp, clean set with good camera shots and nice graphics that is at least comparable to WWE, TNA might lose a potential new audience right off the bat. It's time for an upgrade in production values because viewers are too used to quality wrestling presentations and won't take a promotion seriously if they appear below the standard of the industry.
James Caldwell welcomes any and all reader feedback and comments on this week's Impact Review at the usual address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Caldwell will be back on Sunday night in the Lounge with his Sunday Brunch column. In the meantime, he accepts all blame, little or small.
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