TV REPORTS 4/1 TNA Impact on FSN: Caldwell's review of Amazing X Division Shoot Out, Abyss vs. Styles
Apr 1, 2005 - 7:15:00 PM
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By James Caldwell, Torch Team Contributor
TNA Impact Review
April 1, 2005
Taped March 15, 2005 in Orlando, FL at Universal Studios
Aired on Fox Sports Net
Report by James Caldwell, Torch Team Contributor
- We began with a clip from last week when Jeff Jarrett orchestrated a sneak attack on Kevin Nash away from the eyes of Diamond Dallas Page. Jarrett indicated the first shot in the war between Nash, DDP, and Sean Waltman and Jarrett, Monty Brown, and the Outlaw had been fired. Mixed in was a clip from two weeks ago when Monty Brown explained why he turned on DDP to join forces with Jarrett.
- From the Impact Zone, Mike Tenay and Don West welcomed us to the show, where Tenay indicated we would be seeing a four-man X Division shoot out in the main event with the winner facing Christopher Daniels at Lockdown on April 24. Tenay also said he had received a memo from Director of Authority Dusty Rhodes indicating that A.J. Styles vs. Abyss had been signed for Lockdown as the second "six sides of steel" cage match. West complemented Dusty on his decision-making by seizing the heat between Styles and Abyss and signing a match. Tenay said Dusty had received tons of emails from fans all over the world convincing Dusty that Styles vs. Abyss had to happen in the other "six sides of steel" cage match.
- A.J. Styles entered the Impact Zone to join Tenay and West for commentary on the opening bout. Styles indicated he wasn't looking forward to facing Abyss inside the steel cage, but was anxious because of the stakes in the match. Tenay confirmed that the winner of the cage match would receive an NWA Title shot. Tenay reminded viewers that Abyss desperately wants a shot at Jeff Jarrett's NWA Title, especially since he earned the opportunity at the "Against All Odds" PPV.
(1) Abyss defeated Cassidy Riley at 1:28. Riley ducked a series of clotheslines from Abyss then locked up with Abyss only to be head butted backwards. Abyss landed punches to the chest, but missed with a clothesline. Riley scored punches to the head, but none of them could knock down Abyss. Abyss scored a powerful clothesline then ran over Riley with a clubbing forearm smash in the corner. Abyss picked up Riley and dropped him with a torture rack slam – the Shock Treatment. Abyss dragged Riley to his feet and sent him to the ropes leading to his devastating Black Hole Slam. Abyss scored the pin for the win as Styles looked on concerned form the broadcast table.
- Abyss left the ring and stared at Styles, before returning to the ringside area. Abyss looked under the ring and pulled out a black bag full of thumbtacks. Styles looked concerned and said, "This shouldn't have to happen." Out of nowhere, Jeff Hardy ran into the ring and dropped Abyss face-first into the bag of thumbtacks with a Twist of Fate. From through the stands, Raven ran into the ring and attacked Hardy from behind. Raven and Abyss double teamed Hardy until Styles finally mustered enough grapefruits to leave the broadcast table and even the odds. Styles flew off the top rope with his patented flying forearm smash to Abyss, clearing the heels out of the ring. Styles and Hardy stood tall in the ring as Abyss shook the camera ringside.
Match View: The match served the purpose of giving Styles a chance to offer commentary on his Lockdown opponent, but it really hurt Styles in that he sounded way too scared at the prospect of facing Abyss. Furthermore, having Styles talk about his nervousness and actually sit ringside afraid of what Abyss might do with the thumbtacks hurt his credibility as a strong babyface. If that wasn't enough, Jeff Hardy ran into the ring, as Styles stood ringside entirely too pensive for my taste, allowing Hardy to show absolutely no fear of Abyss despite the presence of thumbtacks. There's no need to have Styles put over the monstrously intimidating persona of Abyss because we've been reminded of that several times before. It just really hurts Styles's credibility, and the fact that he looked as if he was poolside not wanting to get into the pool because the water was too cold when the fight broke out did no good at all.
- Tenay and West talked up the big main event X Division shoot out involving Prime Time, Michael Shane, Petey Williams, and Chris Sabin. West said Prime Time is the most dangerous in today's X Division match because of his knowledge of and past history with X Division Champion Christopher Daniels. (JC Note: How would Prime Time's knowledge of Daniels help him in a match where Daniels isn't even wrestling? The conclusion West drew lacked internal or common sense logic. Very poor use of a common fallacy in the argumentative process.)
- We saw a clip highlighting the history of Triple X – Christopher Daniels and Prime Time. The video clip highlighted the success achieved by Triple X leading to the "six sides of steel" cage match pitting Triple X against America's Most Wanted with the losing team disbanding forever. We saw clips from the amazing high spots from the match, including Prime Time's huricanrana from the top of the cage and Daniels's elbow drop from the top. The video clip effectively captured the struggle and pain all four men endured, followed by the image of Daniels visibly frustrated as a result of losing the match and his partner. The video described how Daniels and Prime Time went their separate ways in singles competition after being split apart until their paths crossed at the Destination X PPV when Christopher Daniels turned his back on Prime Time in the Ultimate X Match. We saw the way in which Daniels captured the X Division Title for the first time in his career leading to the final piece of the video package explaining that Prime Time will face Daniels at the Lockdown PPV when their paths cross once again, this time in one-on-one competition.
Impact Note: This was by far one of the most effective video packages put together by TNA in quite some time. It amounted to a great description of the relationship between Prime Time and Daniels, effectively highlighting their past and future encounters. The only problem is the fact that TNA outright said Daniels would be facing Prime Time, despite the fact that this week's main event features a match with the winner facing Daniels at Lockdown. Why would they give away the result of the match prior to the match ever taking place in real time? That's unacceptable and something that really ruined a terrific video package.
- Mike Tenay was with Monty Brown inside an empty Impact Zone. Tenay said Brown is a stand up guy, but wanted to get some truth as to why Brown joined Jeff Jarrett at Destination X. Brown said, "I'm still a stand up guy," and would still be honest with Tenay. Brown said Tenay should be asking about what he did to Diamond Dallas Page at Destination X when he gave him something to think about with a Pounce out of nowhere. Tenay asked Brown what Jarrett owes him in exchange for his assistance at Destination X. Brown said he didn't like the line of questioning from Tenay and would slap him if he felt like it. On the topic of what Jarrett has offered Brown in exchange for his assistance, Brown said, "The only thing that he owes me is something that two champions have – mutual respect for one another. It's all about choice and chance." Brown indicated that he didn't want to sit around and take a chance that someone would give him a Title shot. Brown pointed at Tenay and said, "I'm doing big things in this business and it starts with the respect I command and demand from you." Tenay brought up the "six sides of steel" cage match at Lockdown and Brown's role in the match. Brown said, "I got two words – survival and pain. Kevin Nash will feel a lot of pain. Sean Waltman is going to get a lot of pain." Brown said DDP only got a taste of the Pounce at Destination X, but DDP will receive even more of a taste at Lockdown. Brown said Team Jarrett would survive at Lockdown, because that's what champions do. Brown finished, "It will be like Peewee Herman at the movie theater – we will hold our own."
Impact Note 2: Once again, a nice job by TNA in following up on a major storylines with a more serious, "direct" look at Brown's heel turn. I just wish Brown had been more direct and not so elusive in explaining his decision to turn. Has Jarrett guaranteed a title shot or just given him an opportunity to earn a title shot? It still felt vague, but that is expected since Brown is a heel, and heels are elusive by nature. On a positive note, Brown looked much more comfortable playing a heel and came across much more authoritative than when he was a babyface. Brown's heel turn appears to be beneficial to his character development, but he could be even greater as a heel if he was more direct in his statements.
- Mike Tenay was ringside with Don West to discuss the six-man "six sides of steel" cage match between Team Nash and Team Jarrett. West was worried about how much damage Nash sustained on last week's show following Jarrett's "first shot in the war" as DDP looked on, helpess. (JC Note: Could this be a possible storyline reason to explain Nash's removal from the cage match if he were to quit?) Tenay introduced a video clip recapping the history between all six men.
- We saw a video clip from the "Against All Odds" PPV when Jeff Jarrett defeated Kevin Nash to retain the NWA Title with assistance from the Outlaw and a cello. We saw clips from the in-ring brawls involving Nash, Jarrett, the Outlaw, and DDP leading to Jarrett's defeat of DDP at the Destination X PPV, with assistance from Brown, to retain the NWA Title. We saw Brown hug Jarrett following the victory and then saw a clip from Team Jarrett's victory celebration following the Destination X PPV. We saw a clip from last week's show where Dusty Rhodes announced the "six sides of steel" cage match had been officially signed. We saw Jeff Jarrett's orchestrated attack on Kevin Nash from last week's show before showing close up video clips of all six wrestlers in action.
- The opening video package from the "Destination X" PPV aired, highlighting amazing feats of strength and effort from the entire roster of TNA wrestlers.
- Christopher Daniels joined Tenay and West ringside for commentary on the X Division shoot out. Don West reiterated that the winner of this match would face Christopher Daniels at the Lockdown PPV. In light of the fact that a video package earlier indicated Daniels would be facing Prime Time at Lockdown, I guess we already know that Prime Time will be winning the match. Very inexcusable to make such a dumb mistake because it is entirely too reflective of "WCW circa 1993" when their Worldwide tapings gave away entirely too much.
(2) Prime Time defeated Chris Sabin, Michael Shane, and Petey Williams (w/Coach Scott D'Amore) at 21:21 in an X Division Shoot Out. The match began at 4:36 PM, giving a full 20+ minutes for the match. Tenay pointed out that the match had been given a special 30-minute time limit as authorized by Dusty Rhodes. The match began with Prime Time and Sabin as Shane and Petey looked on from ringside. Sabin scored a back body drop, but Prime Time landed on his feet and dropped Sabin with an arm drag take over. Sabin rolled up Prime Time after reversing a head scissors, leading to a nearfall. The two stood off, drawing a round of applause from the crowd. Petey and Shane tagged in leading to Petey scoring an arm drag followed by a chop to the chest. Petey and Shane proceeded to exchange several chops to the chest, drawing "whoos" from the crowd. Petey knocked down Shane with a side kick then played to the crowd. Shane seized the opening to slam Petey headfirst into the mat. Shane went up top, but Petey caught him and hung him upside down in the Tree of Woe. Petey stood on Shane's crotch then tagged in Prime Time. Prime Time clotheslined himself and Shane over the top rope to the outside. Petey flew off the apron with a huricanrana onto Prime Time as Tenay indicated we were going to commercial. Tenay called for an audible to keep the cameras on the action as Chris Sabin flew off the ring ropes with a back flip splash onto all three opponents. Tenay and West screamed in excitement at the action as Tenay decided now would be a good time to go to commercial.
Back from the break, Chris Sabin was in the ring with Petey Williams. Petey missed with a clothesline, but then scored on his second clothesline attempt. After a replay of the action prior to the commercial break aired, we saw Petey set up for the Canadian Destroyer on Sabin, only to be kicked in the head by Shane. Sabin took the kick as an opportunity to roll up Petey and score a three count to eliminate him from the match.
*Petey Williams eliminated at 6:27.
Prime Time entered the ring, as did Michael Shane. Prime Time placed Shane crotch first on the top rope then climbed up top and walked the ropes to deliver his patented huricanrana. Prime Time came up with a huge grin on his face, and then turned to taunt Christopher Daniels. Daniels told Prime Time to focus on the match. Prime Time should have taken the advice because Shane jumped Prime Time from behind and sent him through the ropes to the outside. Shane followed up on the outside with an Irish Whip into the guardrail. Shane sent Prime Time back into the ring, and then played to the crowd. Back in the ring, Shane landed stiff double axe handle blows to the back of Prime Time's head. Shane choked Prime Time across the middle rope, using his right knee as a driving force. Shane choked Prime Time with a big boot to the throat then played to the crowd some more. Prime Time fought back with stiff right forearm blows, but then was doubled over by a kick to the gut. Shane delivered a textbook snap suplex then climbed up top and scored a Shawn Michaels-style top rope elbow drop. Of course, due to Shane's character deficiency, he didn't ham it up for the crowd as HBK does. Shane locked in a sleeper hold on Prime Time, driving Prime Time to the mat. On commentary, Daniels asked Tenay to refer to him as "Mr. TNA." Prime Time escaped the sleeper hold then was sent to the ropes. Both men went for a cross body block, causing a mid-air collision. Both men laid on the mat until Shane and Prime Time each tried to tag in Chris Sabin. Prime Time eventually grasped Shane and hoisted him up in the air for what appeared to be the "Play of the Day" only to turn it into his newest finisher, the "Sudden Death," which amounts to a fireman's carry into a backdrop neck crunch. Prime Time made the cover for the three count, eliminating Shane.
*Michael Shane eliminated at 18:33
Chris Sabin leapt off the top rope with a missile drop kick onto Prime Time as Shane rolled out of the ring. Tenay took the opportunity to send us to the final commercial of the show.
We came back to see Sabin working over Prime Time in the corner. Sabin scored a flying fist smash in the corner then hoisted Prime Time into the air and connected with a textbook suplex. Sabin made a cover, but scored a two count only. Sabin locked in a neck-wrench submission hold, placing Prime Time's head in a leg grapevine. Prime Time escaped the head scissors, only to be planted on the mat with a high impact back breaker. Daniels indicated Prime Time was having a difficult time focusing on the in-ring action considering his presence ringside. Sabin worked over Prime Time with forearm smashes to the head then sent Prime Time to the ropes and caught him with a powerslam. Sabin dropped Prime Time with a back elbow smash, and covered Prime Time but only scored a nearfall. Daniels said Sabin has a bright future, but only if he can take knowledge from people like himself. Sabin locked in a sleeper hold, but Prime Time fought to his feet and connected with a spin kick out of nowhere. Prime Time tried to send Sabin to the ropes, but Sabin reversed the whip and caught Prime Time off the ropes with a high impact clothesline. Sabin covered Prime Time, but scored a two count only. Sabin snap mared Prime Time to the seat of his pants and locked in another sleeper hold. Just a little too reliant on the sleeper hold as a rest hold if you ask me.
Prime Time broke the hold and sent Sabin to the corner. Prime Time ran into the corner and ran into a back elbow smash. Sabin grasped Prime Time then leapt off the top turnbuckle with an amazing Tornado DDT, sending Prime Time face first into the mat. Sabin made the cover, but didn't secure a strong enough cover resulting in a kick out by Prime Time. Both men fought to their feet and exchanged right hands. At 19:00, Sabin scored an enziguiri kick to the side of the head after Prime Time ducked the initial attempt. Sabin picked up Prime Time and dropped Prime Time to the mat with an amazing running sit down powerbomb. Sabin made the cover, but scored a two count only. At 20:00, Sabin perched Prime Time on the top turnbuckle. Sabin climbed up top and set up for a superplex, but Prime Time blocked it and threw Sabin off the top rope, sending him face first into the match. Prime Time flew off the top turnbuckle with a spin kick to Sabin's face. Prime Time, gasping for air, made the cover, but scored a two count only. Sabin and Prime Time battled in the corner until Sabin caught Prime Time off the ropes and went for the Cradle Shock. Prime Time slipped out sent Sabin to the ropes. Sabin went for a spinning head scissors off the ropes, but Prime Time prevented the finishing sequence of the move and scored his "Sudden Death" neck crunch to earn the pinfall and the victory. Absolutely amazing finishing sequence with the fans on their feet in full anticipation of the final fall.
- After the match, Prime Time walked over to Daniels and pointed at the X Division Title, saying it was his for the taking. Daniels held on to his X Division Title, indicating it was staying home with Christopher Daniuels.
Match View: Wow. The final minute of the match was pieced together perfectly, capturing the true essence of what all four wrestlers had spent the previous 20 minutes building up to. The final one-on-one battle between Sabin and Prime Time captured that build up by displaying a series of reversals and breathtaking nearfalls highlighted by great high spots that truly meant something. They didn't just throw a bunch of high spots into the match at random just for the sake of popping an "ooh" or "aah," but really integrated each spot into the match to where it made sense. Additionally, I truly believe Chris Sabin had a breakthrough performance in the match, with the booking of the match making Sabin seem like a star because of how many times he reversed or put a stoppage to Prime Time's offensive attacks. Sabin may not have walked out of the match with a victory, but he made a very impressive showing. If they could put a character on Sabin and give him a speaking line or two, he could really be the next A.J. Styles because of how well he works in the ring.
The commentary from Christopher Daniels added a superb dimension to the match where we soaked in some "insider analysis" from a wrestler commenting on his style of match. Great booking as far as the match goes, but if you paid attention to the Triple X video clip earlier in the show, you already knew the outcome of the match. If they didn't blow the finish by giving it away, this really could have been the "hands down, no doubt about it" best match of all time on Impact, but because of that slip up, I'm knocking it down a slight notch to "Top Five" material. To finish my Match View on a positive note, I felt like the commercials were placed nicely into the match, without distracting from the key elements of the match. Unlike Styles vs. Kash from a few weeks back when there were two mid-match commercials, this match felt different because the commercials came at true "pauses" or "rest breaks" in the match.
Matches Announced or Already Announced for the April 24 Lockdown PPV.
- Six Sides of Steel Cage Match: Kevin Nash & DDP & Sean Waltman vs. Jeff Jarrett & Monty Brown & The Outlaw.
- Six Sides of Steel Cage Match: Abyss vs. A.J. Styles with the winner receiving an NWA Title Shot.
- X Division Title Match: Christopher Daniels(c) vs. Winner of next week's 4-Man Shoot Out.
- NWA Tag Team Title Match: America's Most Wanted(c) vs. Team Canada.
- Dustin Rhodes vs. Bobby Roode.
Matches hinted at, but not yet announced.
- Raven vs. Jeff Hardy.
Closing Thoughts: There's a fine line between showcasing effective video packages and showcasing too many video packages that drag down the show. With that in mind, they may have gone a little overboard in the first half hour of the show with so many video packages and highlight clips. However, I don't think the constant use of video packages was substantial enough to really hurt the overall show, as they effectively highlighted storylines and hammered home the back story behind key matches. The "Triple X" video clip was nicely done, except for the bush league mistake in indirectly giving away the finish of the main event. I can't say enough how ridiculous of a mistake that is.
The main event match is what TNA should be doing on a night in, night out basis. They don't necessarily have to feature a 20-minute X Division shoot out on every show, but there should be certain steps taken on every show to make sure viewers understand that this is the core product we offer and this is what makes our promotion tick. WWE doesn't focus on their cruiserweights enough, leaving TNA with a major opportunity to create a market niche for their company that differentiates its product from WWE's. That's what TNA needs to focus in if they're going to get the Spike TV deal when Raw moves off the network, because that's what TNA can use as their core competency to draw in regular WWE viewers. Today's main event match took TNA a giant step forward in achieving that necessity.
Weekend Replay Factor: If you don't catch the final half hour of this week's show, you're really missing out. The fantastic X Division shoot out is well worth staying up late on a Saturday night to watch.
As always, feel free to send me feedback on today's show at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm open to any and all reader comments. I'll be checking in with more TNA commentary in this week’s edition of the Sunday Brunch, so keep your eyes peeled for that. In the meantime, I'll be gunning down the 101 Freeway to Hollywood for tonight's big PWG All Star Weekend show!
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