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8/5 TNA Impact: Caldwell's review of Joe vs. Shelley, Raven & Sabu, Naturals vs. Canada

Aug 6, 2005 - 5:16:00 AM
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By James Caldwell, Torch Columnist

TNA Impact Review
August 5, 2005
Taped July 19, 2005 in Orlando, FL at Universal Studios
Aired on TNAWrestling.com
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch.com Columnist


- We began with a storyline recap of the feud between Jeff Jarrett and Rhino against Raven, which led to last week's surprise appearance by Sabu, who aligned himself with Raven for a tag match at Sacrifice.

- After the opening video package, Mike Tenay and Don West introduced the show before bringing in X Division Champion Christopher Daniels for commentary on the opening match, a semi-final Super X Cup (pardon, Christopher Daniels Invitational) match between Samoa Joe and Alex Shelley.

(1) Samoa Joe defeated Alex Shelley at 9:04 in a Super X Cup semi-final match. Prior to entering the ring for the match, Joe stared at the Super X Cup trophy and Christopher Daniels. Don West put over Alex Shelley for his victory over a thorn in his side, Shocker, in the first round of the tournament. Joe landed a stiff kick to Shelley's left knee before a standard lock up could occur. Shelley hobbled around before taking Joe down with a leg trip into a modified ankle lock. Joe took Shelley's right leg and bent him backwards in a half crab as a counter to the ankle lock. Nice technical exchange early on. Shelley broke free and locked in an arm bar, which Joe turned into an arm bar of his own.

[Promo Break]

We came back to find Shelley standing over Joe's fallen body with a wristlock. We saw Petey Williams standing atop the entrance ramp staring down at the action. After a shot of Petey, we went backstage to see A.J. Styles carefully watching Joe vs. Shelley on a monitor. Nice touch showing the other semi-finalists watching Joe vs. Shelley. Back in the ring, Shelley and Joe were locked in a submission exchange with Shelley blocking Joe's counters to various submission holds. Shelley took Joe onto his stomach with a leg grapevine causing Joe to reach the ropes to break the hold. Joe stalked Shelley in the corner then charged and missed with a clothesline allowing Shelley to land a series of forearm blows. Joe blocked a forearm off the ropes before landing sickeningly stiff kicks to the chest and body. Joe landed one knock down kick to the side of the head generating a voracious "Joe, Joe, Joe" chant. Joe stared into the crowd then surveyed the damage he inflicted on Shelley before staring directly into the hard camera with a cold-blooded stare that would send chills down a normal man's spine. Tenay talked about the look in Joe's face and West said it looked like Joe was possessed.

Joe missed with a move out of the corner then took a kick to the face before Shelley landed a bulldog out of a wheelbarrow. Shelley made a cover, but scored a two count only. Shelley landed forearm blows to the face dazing Joe. Shelley bounced off the ropes for an offensive move, but Joe was ready and delivered a spinning leg sweep taking Shelley to the mat. Joe used his large posterior to crash down on Shelley's back before sending Shelley to the corner for a large leg whip. Shelley slumped to the corner and Joe used Shelley's face for a shoeshine before running out of the opposite corner for a running boot to the side of the face. Joe picked up Shelley and paint brushed him across the face before placing him in a seated position up top. Joe caught Shelley in position for the Muscle Buster and spun around before dropping Shelley square in the middle of the ring. Joe locked in his reverse choke hold submission hold and Shelley passed out giving Joe the victory.

Match View: Another outstanding Samoa Joe match. For me, personally, I can always tell whether I enjoy a match by the ease of writing a recap. If a match features strong characters and great action, watching and recapping at the same time is easy and delightful at the same time. For every Samoa Joe match that I've recapped since he's been in TNA, it's been enjoyable to watch him perform and recap a match. Joe's character is perfectly in tune with what TNA needs as the cold-blooded tough guy to break from the mold of what wrestling fans see on a regular basis. His ability to draw interest in the methodical, technical aspect of his offensive attack builds up so much heat that when Joe delivers the rapid fire stiff kicks, chops, and punches, the crowd reacts in a such that way makes Joe seem like the toughest individual to step into a wrestling ring. It's just great to watch him work in the ring.

- We saw a recap of the feud between Sean Waltman and Jerry Lynn with TNA throwing in some old school video clips of Waltman and Lynn squaring off back in the days of the GWF. Nice touch on adding some substance to the spoken words between Waltman and Lynn.

[Promo Break]

- Shane Douglas was backstage with Cassidy Riley to ask Riley about his morbid curiosity for Raven. Riley said the first time Raven saved him was considered a coincidence. Riley, obviously disillusioned, said it wasn't coincidence because Raven saved him last week. Douglas said Riley must be happy that Raven is teaming with Sabu. Riley said he was disappointed he was looked over by Raven for his tag partner, but figures that he can solace that he was looked over for a great partner like Sabu. Riley, still disillusioned, said Raven and Sabu will represent the best tag team in wrestling history. Riley said he had to leave to get tickets for Sacrifice so he could have a front row seat to watch Raven and Sabu vs. Jarrett and Rhino. Douglas said Sacrifice is over one week away. Riley, still disillusioned, didn't heed Douglas's warning, and took off to search for a local ticket scalper to find a good deal on a free ticket.

- The NWA Tag Champs, The Naturals, came to the ring with Jimmy Hart to defend their titles against Team Canada's Bobby Roode and Eric Young.

[Promo Break]

(2) The Naturals (Chase Stevens & Andy Douglas w/Jimmy Hart) defeated Team Canada (Bobby Roode & Eric Young w/A-1 Ralphz) via DQ at 8:28 to retain the NWA Tag Titles. The match began with Roode and Stevens in center ring with Roode taking Stevens down with a waist lock. Roode slapped Stevens so Stevens slapped him back. That led to a fast-paced exchange with Roode taking a knock down clothesline. Douglas tagged in and dropped Roode face-first across his knee. Stevens and Douglas double teamed Young, sending him over the top rope to the outside. Stevens and Douglas went to the outside and attacked Team Canada under the direction of Jimmy Hart. A-1 attacked Andy Douglas from behind with the referee's back turned giving Team Canada the advantage in the ring. Roode went to work on Douglas in Team Canada's corner before tagging in Eric Young. Young and Roode exchanged quick in and out tags wearing down Douglas. Don West, showing a flash of brilliance on commentary, accurately described Team Canada's reliance on outside interference as a hindrance to the team when he said, "You don't need to go that route. People will respect you if you win on your own merit." After several minutes of Team Canada dominating Douglas, Douglas was finally able to score the hot tag to Stevens when Roode accidentally launched Stevens in the air to The Naturals's corner.

Stevens entered the ring and knocked down Roode and Young before sending A-1 off the apron to the floor. Roode took a flying forearm blow from Stevens before Stevens sent Young upside down into the corner. In classic Ric Flair style, Stevens ran the apron before taking a clothesline sending him to the floor. Petey Williams ran to the ringside area from backstage and stood on the apron cheering on Team Canada. Stevens chased Petey off the apron then turned around and took a full nelson slam from Roode. Roode made a cover and scored a two and nine-tenths count to his sheer disbelief. Roode grabbed Jimmy Hart's mega-phone (Hart didn't put up too much of a fight) and measured Stevens for a head shot, but Douglas stole the megaphone and laid out Eric Young. In a complete role reversal from the No Surrender PPV in July, Douglas threw the mega phone to Roode then dropped to the mat as if to indicate he was laid out by Roode. Jimmy Hart screamed at the referee to turn around. The referee turned around and saw Roode holding the smoking gun while Douglas was flat on his back in the ring. The referee called for the bell and disqualified Team Canada for the phantom mega phone shot.

- After the match, Team Canada jumped The Naturals and beat down the tag champs as Jimmy Hart tried to call for the troops. Of all teams, America's Most Wanted ran to the ring to make the save for The Naturals. Chris Harris and James Storm chased off Team Canada then picked up the tag title belts. Harris and Stormed offered to hand back the belts, but not before making their intentions known that they felt the belts belonged around their waists, not The Naturals. Eventually, Harris and Storm handed off the belts and The Naturals collapsed to the mat from exhaustion as Jimmy Hart checked on his boys.

Match View: Jimmy Hart's megaphone continues to be the top story where Canadians and the tag champs are involved. Unlike the match at No Surrender last month, Hart's megaphone didn't contribute to the downfall of his team; however, the sheer fact that Bobby Roode easily picked off the megaphone continues to play into the conspiracy theory that Hart is going to turn on The Naturals. With AMW making the save for The Naturals, TNA should rename the upcoming PPV "Strange Bedfellows" with AMW siding with The Naturals and Raven teaming with Sabu. Of course a PPV entitled "TNA Strange Bedfellows" may earn a curious response from the cable operator when ordering the PPV.

[Promo Break]

(3) Abyss (w/James Mitchell) defeated Apolo (w/Sonny Siaki) at 7:08. Abyss and Apolo went nose-to-nose for the opening stare down. Apolo and Abyss locked up with neither man giving any ground early on. The two men exchanged shoulder blocks with neither man yielding an inch. Apolo broke out with a series of punches to the face followed by a series of chops. Apolo caught Abyss with a kick to the face in the corner before sending Abyss over the top rope with a clothesline. Apolo chased Abyss to the outside and sent Abyss face-first into the ring apron before sending Abyss into the guardrail. Abyss reversed a whip to the guardrail and sent Abyss crashing into the barricade. Abyss picked up a steel chair and went for a chair shot, but Siaki grabbed the chair from behind and prevented Abyss from using the chair. The fans booed the babyface for preventing the heel from using the chair. Apolo sent Abyss back into the ring.

[Promo Break]

We came back to see Abyss on offense working over Apolo in the corner. Abyss went for a chokeslam, but Apolo fought out with a swinging neck breaker. Apolo made a cover, but scored a two count only. Apolo went off the ropes, but James Mitchell held Apolo's foot. Apolo shook of Mitchell then turned around to find a knock down clothesline from Abyss. Abyss locked in a neck wrench submission hold as Apolo was seated on the mat. Apolo fought back to his feet and drove Abyss to the corner before landing a series of chops to the chest. Apolo fought out of the corner and landed a series of chops of his own. Apolo rolled up Abyss out of the corner before landing a full nelson slam. Apolo ran over Abyss with a clothesline as the fans booed. Apolo ducked a clothesline and went for a side kick, but Abyss blocked. Apolo ducked another clothesline and scored a knock down clothesline. Apolo had Abyss pinned, but James Mitchell was using his sinisterness to distract the referee. Abyss brought a chair into the ring and Apolo ducked a chair shot then super kicked the chair into Abyss's face. Apolo had yet another pin, but the referee was still distracted. By the time the referee came back to the in-ring action, Abyss was able to kick out of a pin attempt. Apolo tried to send Abyss out of the corner to the opposite corner, but Abyss countered with the Black Hole Slam out of nowhere. Abyss made a cover for the victory.

- After the match, Lance Hoyt jumped Abyss from behind with three straight right hands. The Impact zone exploded with "Hoyt, Hoyt, Hoyt" chants as Hoyt clotheslined Abyss over the top rope to the floor. Hoyt took the house mic and told Mitchell that he made the wrong choice in choosing the wrong man as an opponent. Hoyt led a chorus of "Hoyt" chants to remind Abyss exactly who he is. Tenay said he hopes Larry Zbyszko was taking note so he could add Hoyt vs. Abyss to the Sacrifice PPV line up.

Match View: Let's face it, if TNA has any cause for using Siaki and Apolo as more than just pre-show warm up wrestlers, Siaki and Apolo need to turn heel. After several months of being offered Siaki and Apolo as babyfaces, there's just no way the fans in Impact zone are going to take a sip of that kool-aid. Apolo goes on the offensive advantage. Boo. Abyss picks up a chair to use on Apolo. Cheer. Siaki prevents Abyss from using the chair. Boo. Apolo has shown tremendous ability in his last few matches, with this match representing his finest performance on Impact. Abyss helped, but Apolo looked strong in the process. If TNA wants to use Apolo and Siaki to whatever potential exists, a heel turn is necessary. Whether it's a scathing promo on the fans for relentlessly booing even though they have tried to please the audience for the last several months or Apolo and Siaki attacking a babyface or two, a heel turn represents the most definitive option for giving Apolo and Siaki meaning in TNA. Final note: Hoyt was solid on the mic in a rare promo opportunity. It should be no surprise since he showed tremendous ability to talk in the PCW promotion in Texas.

- Backstage, we joined Monty Brown and Larry Zbyszko in progress for a spirited debate. Brown said he would not accept B.G. James as special referee for his tag match with Kip James against 3 Live Kru. Brown said he has delivered the Pounce to James repeatedly, therefore he does not expect James to call the match right down the middle. Zbyszko said he had no choice because the referees had threatened to walk out on him citing unsafe working conditions. Brown said that's not his problem, but if Zbyszko wants to put James in the match as referee, Brown said the battle is going to be even more unsafe than any previous encounters because, "The Serengeti is going to become a much more dangerous environment." Zbyszko pleaded with Brown that he has no options.

- Simon Diamond and David Young came to the ring for their main event job - check that - match against Raven and Sabu. The lights went out leading to Sabu's ring entrance. With Sabu in the ring once the lights came back on, Raven made his entrance with the NWA Title around his waist.

(4) Sabu & Raven defeated Simon Diamond & David Young at 4:10. Raven started the match with Diamond. Diamond took Raven to the corner and landed knock down kicks to the gut before taking Raven to the ropes where he landed a clothesline. Young tagged in and attacked Raven before going for a DDT. Raven countered with a DDT attempt of his own, but Young slipped out. Sabu tagged in and entered the ring like a house afire with knock down right hands. Sabu sent Young to the corner then flew off the nearby ropes for a springboard double foot drop kick to Young's chest. Sabu flew off the top rope with a springboard leg drop to Young's throat. Sabu locked in a reverse chin lock and Diamond ran into the ring and broke up the submission hold. Diamond held up Sabu in the corner with a tree of woe before running in with a knee to the gut. Diamond scored a triple series of snap suplexes before hanging Sabu out to dry across the top rope. Diamond kicked Sabu off the ropes then tagged in Young. Young scored a sick spinebuster off the ropes then made a cover, but Raven broke up the pin attempt.

Young took Sabu to the corner turnbuckle and went for a high-risk move, but Sabu countered with a somersault splash that resembled a bowling ball crashing into the corner ten-pin. Raven took a tag and ran over both opponents before choking Young with a towel. Raven grappled Diamond in position for a running bulldog then drop kicked Young simultaneously as he dropped Diamond with the bulldog. Raven made a cover on Young, but Diamond broke up the pin attempt. Sabu perched himself atop the top turnbuckle then flew off the top with a double clothesline on both opponents. Raven dropped Young with the Raven Effect DDT. Sabu, with steel chair in hand, flew off the top turnbuckle with a magic carpet splash into Young's face. Sabu made the cover for the three count as Diamond stared into the ring from outside the ring with disappointment that his protégé could not fend for himself.

- After the match, Rhino and Jarrett hit the ring leading to a four-man brawl. Raven chased Jarrett to the outside then Sabu back body dropped Rhino over the top rope to the floor. Security hit the ring and tried to break up the brawl, but Sabu set up a chair near the ropes then flew off the seat of the chair over the top rope onto both Jarrett and Rhino with a flying leg smash. Nicely done. With carnage outside the ring, we closed with a preview of the Sacrifice main event tag match.

Match View: Just your standard warm up match to showcase the main event players at the next PPV while allowing Tenay and West to put over the storyline. Of course, the match was merely a set up for the four men to be involved in the Sacrifice main event to exchange blows and create some heat for their match. Sabu looked fired up to back in the ring while Raven seemed to be a non-factor as his presence as NWA Champion was overshadowed by Sabu.

---

Super X Cup Tournament Bracket

Sonjay Dutt
--------------------> Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe
------------------------------------------> Samoa Joe
Alex Shelley
--------------------> Alex Shelley
Shocker

Matt Bentley
--------------------> A.J. Styles
AJ Styles

Petey Williams
--------------------> Petey Williams
Chris Sabin

Matches announced for August 14 Sacrifice PPV
- Raven & Sabu vs. Jeff Jarrett & Rhino
- Finals of the Super X Cup Tournament (Samoa Joe vs. A.J. Styles-Petey Williams winner)
- Jerry Lynn vs. Sean Waltman
- Monty Brown & Kip James vs. Konnan and Ron Killings with B.G. James as special referee.
- Christopher Daniels vs. "The Internet Selection" as to be voted on TNAWrestling.com.
- Lance Hoyt vs. Abyss
- Jeff Hardy vs. ???

James Caldwell writes from Southern California where he is eagerly awaiting Saturday night's PWG show in Hollywood, but not the drive on L.A.'s congested freeways. Feel free to drop any feedback, opinions, or comments on this week's Impact review to jamescaldwell@pwtorch.com.


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