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TV REPORTS
CALDWELL'S IMPACT REPORT 3/8: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of Spike TV show

Mar 8, 2007 - 9:05:00 PM
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by James Caldwell, PWTorch columnist

TNA Impact on Spike TV
March 8, 2007
Taped February 26 in Orlando, Florida
Report by James Caldwell, Torch columnist


We open with a recap of Samoa Joe losing to Tomko last week. Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe were then in the ring to start the show. Angle said Steiner's ass is his at the PPV. He then said Christian wouldn't be going through the back door on him like he did to Joe last week. Angle said he's going to be Joe's biggest fan at Destination X when Joe beats Christian Cage for the NWA Title. He then said Joe and himself can solve their issues when that happens. Angle called out Christian and Steiner, then Christian, Tomko, and Steiner came out. Christian reminded Angle that they're an inseparable family: the Christian Coalition. The fans paid tribute to Steve Austin with the "What?" chants. Christian then told Angle and Joe to find themselves a tag partner so they can't say the odds were stacked against them when they kick their asses later in the match. So far, the bleep count on "ass" is about five or six. Network for men, right? More like PBS. Angle then said he has a partner in mind that might be a little crazy. He teased that they would find out who the person is later in the show. Joe, the #1 Contender to the NWA Title, gets no speaking parts in the opening segment.

The usual Impact intro aired, then Tenay plugged two other six-man tag matches on the show tonight.

1 -- B.G. JAMES & KIP JAMES & LANCE HOYT vs. SEROTONIN (KAZARIAN & BENTLEY & DEVINE)

Tenay let us know that Raven has re-named his group Kaz, Martyr, and Havoc. Kip took a chop block from Bentley to start the match, then Kaz tagged in and took a weak Ace Crusher from Kip. The announcers talked about everything else but the match, then Hoyt tagged in and cleared Serotonin. He then gave Havoc (Devine) a "Texas Tornado" slam from the fireman's carry position for the win. This time, B.G. gets no ring time. Afterward, Raven walked to the ring and caned all three men.

WINNERS: James Gang in 2:00. I'm sorry, but how is Raven caning three men who have one victory in 2007 going to sell a PPV? Ridiculous waste of time. (1/4*)

Borash was backstage and found Christian Coalition for a promo. Christian wanted to know who Joe and Angle's partner is. Steiner, didn't know, which led to him and Christian forcing an exchange about the Hunchback of Notre Dame. And you think I'm making this up. Christian said he thinks their partner is Abyss, then he discussed strategy with Steiner. This brings up the issue of why Christian and Steiner are discussing strategy in front of the camera when Angle and Joe are presumably watching on the monitors backstage. Steiner bailed, then Tomko said he would help Christian when he gets his NWA Title shot. Tomko left, then Christian told Borash that they need to go find Abyss. Borash said he has to go to the ring.

[Commercial Break]

[Q2]

We saw a video package on Elevation X featuring Styles vs. Rhino.

Tenay was in the ring with Borash, Leticia, and the lovely So Cal Val to present an award to Hector Guerrero. As Hector walked out, West did a voice-over complementing Hector on his accomplishments as part of the Guerrero family. Hector thanked TNA and Eddie for inspiring him. He cut a promo in Spanish, then Val was about to present him with a plaque, but Abyss's music interrupted. Abyss walked out and West, again, had to carry the broadcast alone. Once Abyss entered the ring, Hector dropped his jacket and stared him down. Val then slowly handed the plaque to Abyss, who accepted it before giving Val the Black Hole Slam. He posed for the hard camera. Again, I'm not seeing how this segment is selling a PPV match with Sting.

We saw a pre-tape promo exchange from Samoa Joe and Christian Cage about their title match at the PPV.

[Commercial Break]

Tenay then recapped Abyss giving Val the Black Hole Slam before the break.

They suddenly went back to Cornette's office where random people were screaming and hollering. Cornette granted James Storm & Jackie Moore a double bull rope match against Petey Williams & Gail Kim. Cornette then addressed Chris Sabin, who was doing the old man gimmick. He gave Sabin a two-out-of-three falls match against Jerry Lynn. Backlund jumped onto Cornette's office and wanted to know if he could special referee the Austin Starr vs. Senshi match. Cornette rejected that offer, then said the match could only be won by using the Chicken wing. Backlund left, then we saw Christy Hemme sitting in the corner waiting for her turn. She said she said she wanted VKM at the PPV. Cornette made some sexist jokes, then Christy said she had a surprise team to face VKM. Cornette gave her the match, then shooed her away. And Leticia just stood there the whole time holding the mic.

2 -- SONJAY DUTT & JAY LETHAL & PETEY WILLIAMS vs. ERIC YOUNG & ROBERT ROODE (w/Ms. Brooks) & JAMES STORM (w/Jackie Moore)

Tenay talked about Lethal's "character development," then Dutt asked Lethal to do a Savage impersonation. He did a brief impersonation at Young's encouraging, but Roode jumped him from behind. Young then did a Hogan-like slow walk towards Lethal, who accepted a handshake. So, the match is based around TNA wrestlers having no unique personalities, and trying to "develop character" by imitating former wrestlers.

[Q3]

The match broke down at 3:00, then Petey hit a slingshot huracanrana onto Roode on the outside. Gail Kim then came to ringside and brawled with Moore. Back in the ring, Storm gave Dutt a superkick for the win. Afterward, the camera focused on Gail vs. Jackie before the men broke up the fight.

WINNERS: Roode & Storm & Young in 4:00. Inconsequential match trying to get in too many things at once. WWE has stepped up its quality of programming the last few months, while TNA is content doing the same running gags that don't work. TNA is apparently content with status quo right now, otherwise they would be raising their level of play. (3/4*)

Suddenly, we went backstage where Christian and Borash found Abyss rocking back and forth in a chair while staring at a picture of James Mitchell. Christian reminded Abyss that he kept Abyss's secret, but Sting blurted it out. Abyss nearly ripped Christian's throat off at the mention of "Sting". Christian said Sting is just like Angle and Joe because they all look at Abyss like a piece of meat. He told Abyss that he's a friend to him and he'd like to help him out. Abyss calmed down, then Christian said he brought a peace offering. He nodded toward Borash, then Christian grabbed Borash and threw him to Abyss, who slammed him into the wall before locking him inside a temporary cage. Christian was great here with his Gob-like demeanor.

[Commercial Break]

We came back for footage of LAX beating down Brother Ray last week. Devon then cut a pre-tape promo challenging LAX to a ghetto brawl where any weapons go. Ray said they would keep fighting LAX until they finally have revenge.

Tenay and West, with his heavy breathing, plugged the Destination X card.

We saw a video package on Sting vs. Abyss in the Last Rites match. Sting told Abyss not to choose death now that he doesn't have the devil (Mitchell) in his ear any longer.

Scott Steiner, then Christian Cage and Tomko came to the ring for the main event.

[Commercial Break]

[Q4]

Samoa Joe came to the ring and Tenay talked about Joe's quest for the NWA Title. It sounded like completely empty words since the focus of the show has been nowhere close to Joe's title quest without a new video package, no interview with Joe, and too many other angles muddying the water on the show. Angle came out, then Rhino showed up as Joe and Angle's tag partner.

3 -- KURT ANGLE & SAMOA JOE & RHINO vs. CHRISTIAN CAGE & SCOTT STEINER & TOMKO

They fought on the outside to start the match. Back in the ring, Joe gave Steiner an atomic drop followed by boot to the face and sentaun splash. Joe then caught Christian with a sidekick to the head before Christian sent him to the outside. Angle picked up where Joe left off and gave Christian a European uppercut. As Rhino set up for the Gore on Tomko at 2:00, A.J. Styles hit the ring in street clothes. Rhino cleared him to the outside, though. Styles then climbed the Elevation X structure and Rhino chased him up top. They cut to a break.

[Commercial Break]

Back from the break, the "dream six-man tag match" that all of 30 minutes of build-up continued with Christian holding Rhino in a chinlock. Tenay thanked the tens of thousands who voted in the Styles or Rhino text messaging poll. Considering they're following "American Idol", which has millions of millions of people voting for their contest, Tenay just made the company sound completely minor league. Angle took a hot tag at 8:00 and gave the Tomko and Steiner a series of German suplexes. He then gave Christian a belly-to-belly suplex. The action broke down and Angle put Steiner in the Anklelock, but Tomko gave him a big boot. Rhino then gored Tomko, but Christian caught Rhino with the Unprettier. Joe then took Christian to the corner and gave him the Muscle buster. Steiner and Joe then faced off with Steiner giving him a belly-to-belly suplex. Angle then took a turnaround belly-to-belly suplex and Steiner put him in the Steiner Recliner, but Angle slipped out and hit the Olympic Slam. He followed with the ankle lock before Abyss hit the ring and jumped Angle to give us yet another No Contest in a main event prior to a PPV.

Angle and Abyss fought center ring before Abyss gave Angle the Black Hole Slam. The lights went down and up, then we saw two different Stings sting atop each entrance tunnel. Suddenly, the real Sting was in the ring standing behind Abyss. He attacked Abyss as the show faded to a video package complete with more heavy metal and screaming and yelling.

WINNERS: No Contest in 10:00. Just way too much happening in one match trying to sell a PPV in three days. The finishing sequence was fine to give viewers a taste of "non-stop action" before the PPV, but none of it mattered when the focus at the end was on Sting vs. Abyss. It just amazes me how horrible of a job they've done building up Joe these last four weeks, and they made matters worse by digging into the NWO bag-of-tricks for the "multiple Sting" trickery at the end. On a show that featured X Division wrestlers trying to imitate other wrestlers, it was only fitting that TNA's writers tried to imitate one of the most successful angles of the Monday Night Wars era, but completely botch it in the process by doing a five-minute show-closing angle in ten seconds. Conspiracy theorists who say Vince Russo is trying to sabotage TNA have new material to work with this week because 99 percent of wrestling fans watching this show and last week's show could have come up with better ideas to sell a PPV. (*1/4)


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