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TV REPORTS
CALDWELL'S TNA IMPACT REPORT 3/20: Ongoing coverage of Spike TV show

Mar 20, 2008 - 10:03:21 PM
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By James Caldwell, Torch columnist

TNA Impact on Spike TV
March 20, 2008
Taped Mar. 11 in Orlando, Florida
Report by James Caldwell, Torch columnist


Tonight, it's "Strange Bedfellows". No intro video.

Backstage: Jeremy Borash was outside Jim Cornette's office to promote what's happening tonight. Kurt Angle will have a public work out later tonight in the ring. Christian Cage then walked out of Cornette's office and smiled. Cornette stepped out and told Borash to book Tomko vs. Rhino for tonight.

In-ring: Booker T walked out to the ring all-smiles. Tonight he welcomes back Sharmell to TV. In the ring was a little champagne and assorted items on a table. Booker said it's not about him tonight. He then brought out Sharmell, who had a strap in her hand. They showed video clips of Sharmell whipping everyone with a strap at the PPV. Booker welcomed her back to TNA, then swore he will never put Sharmell in harm's way again. They shared a hug and a kiss. Of course, this being wrestling, Robert Roode's music interrupted and he walked out on stage with Peyton Banks. Roode told him to settle down because Sharmell won't be in harm's way, at least not tonight.

Before anything could happen, Cornette and Matt Morgan stepped into the Impact Zone. Cornette said he needs to fill in Booker on something. He said there was a problem at the PPV because an unannounced, un-booked individual (Sharmell) came into the ring and took a belt to Roode and Peyton. Although they deserved it, that same person took a strap to refs, security, and himself. Cornette then booked Booker & Sharmell vs. Roode & Peyton at Lockdown inside the steel cage so they can get this settled once and for all. Booker wasn't too happy, while Roode was all-smiles. Booker then over-turned the champagne table and screamed at Cornette, who stopped in his tracks and booked Booker in a match tonight against A.J. Styles. Sure, let's give away another PPV-caliber match. At least there was a good set up for it, though.

Backstage: A.J. Styles screamed at Crystal because of Cornette's booking. He said he has other things to worry about with his special guest. Before Styles could say who his guest is, Team 3D interrupted. Brother Ray said Styles is part of the family now because they're partners at Lethal Lockdown. He said they're going to turn into a well-oiled machine and handle Christian and that old, decrepid Kevin Nash. He said Uncle Ray and Uncle Devon will be watching Styles in his match tonight.

[Commercial Break]

[Q2]

Backstage: Borash brought in Kaz and Eric Young for an interview. Kaz said Young has that alter-ego thing down to a T, and he's really proud of him. Young didn't know what he meant, then he said he feels a lot safer with that super hero guy in the building. So, basically he's the babyface version of Dustin Rhodes, who doesn't know about this Black Reign fellow.

In-ring: Petey Williams and Scott Steiner came to the ring to face Kaz & Young. They showed a clip from last week of Steiner dunking Petey's head under water as part of his initiation and punishment. Kaz and Young then came out, with Young still freaked out by his pyro.

1 -- KAZ & ERIC YOUNG vs. PETEY WILLIAMS & SCOTT STEINER (w/Rhaka Khan)

A few minutes into the match, Young started to feel his alter-ego, but he shook it off as just a flinch. Petey and Steiner worked on Kaz for several minutes until Young took a hot tag. The action broke down and Petey went for the Destroyer on kaz, but Kaz countered into a reverse Tombstone piledriver. Suddenly, Reign and Rellik came out on the stage to distract Young, who took a fallaway slam off the top rope from Steiner. Steiner pinned Young for the win.

Afterward, Steiner shook his head at Petey and called him over for another step in the initiation. Tenay told us to visit TNA's website to find out what Steiner does to Petey next. He then gave a very quick plug for their first live show next week. I hope they do more than that to promote next week.

WINNERS: Steiner & Petey in 6:00. Fine tag match to advance a few storylines. Nothing memorable, but it was a "building blocks" match to keep building up the respective programs. (*1/4)

[Commercial Break]

Sit-down interview: Tenay brought in Christian and Rhino for a pre-taped interview to discuss some lingering issues between them. Christian asked for a chance to reflect on some issues. He said he's stabbed a few people in the back on the way to becoming two-time champion, and it didn't bother him. Christian said he and Rhino were distant, but he still considers him a friend. He said he should have picked up the phone when Rhino was having some issues, but he wants to lead by example by giving Rhino a chance to be in Lethal Lockdown.

Rhino asked if he looks like a fool. Rhino said it's not just him that was hurt; but his entire family. He said there was a moment on TV when Uncle Christian was beating Rhino bloody, and his daughter started crying. Rhino said her daughter had to be told they were just playing. He asked how Christian is going to fix things with his daughter. Christian merely shifted in his chair without answering. JC: Very deliberate, poignant interview and a good change-of-pace from Rhino to show him in a different light other than yelling and screaming. The only issue is a lack of back-story with very vague references to their relationship in the past.

2 -- RHINO vs. TOMKO

Rhino started on the offensive and cleared Tomko to the outside before they cut to a break.

[Commercial Break]

Out of the break, Rhino was setting up for the Gore on Tomko, but Styles suddenly slipped into the ring and smashed Rhino with a flying forearm blow. Tomko then smashed Rhino with a clothesline for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Tomko in 5:00 (2:00 aired). Bridge match to the post-match. (1/2*)

Post-match: Hebner found Styles hiding under the ring and demanded an explanation. Hebner debated whether to reverse the decision, but before he could make a decision, Tomko and Styles jumped Rhino. Christian made the save for Rhino and cleared the heel tag champs out of the ring. Christian then stuck his hand out and asked for Rhino to shake. Rhino shook his hand after a few tense moments, but Team 3D jumped them from behind. Team 3D held the advantage until Kevin Nash hit the ring with a steel chair. Cornette then showed up and booked Team 3D vs. Christian & Rhino tonight.

[Commercial Break]

[Q4]

Video package: Part 2 of Lethal and Val's date was from earlier this week at a fancy restaurant. Well, I think it's fancy because there was an aquarium in the background. The server came over for drink orders. They both ordered water and Lethal made sure it's free. (See, he's poor because he's in the X Division.) Lethal asked for a kid's meal menu, but they don't have such a thing. Lethal told Val he wants to ask a question, but Sonjay Dutt interrupted with the drinks. Lethal asked him if he works here too. Dutt said he has to pay the bills. He kept hitting on Val while Lethal was more concerned about Dutt hooking them up with a discount. See, they're all dirt poor X Division wrestlers. Next thing you know they're going to be shown eating tuna out of a can.

In-ring: Sonjay Dutt came to the ring and collected wadded up dollar bills in his tambourine. Homicide then came out with LAX to face Dutt.

3 -- SONJAY DUTT vs. HOMICIDE (w/Hernande and Salinas) -- Ultimate Xscape match

A minute into the match, Dutt went for a springboard move, but Dutt slipped and ate the mat. He came up holding his right knee while Homicide looked at him like he's a joke. Val was concerned ringside. The ref asked if he can continue, then Dutt hobbled to his feet and tried to lock up, but he fell to one knee. Homicide then casually walked over to Dutt, who surprised him with a roll up for the pin. Val put her hands on her hips and gave him that "Oh, that Sonjay!" smile and look.

Afterward, Dutt did a crazy dance, then hugged LAX trying to make peace. LAX played nice, but then Homicide jumped Dutt and Hernandez gave him a super Border Toss all the way across the ring. On the way out of the ring, LAX took Dutt's tambourine and Salinas innocently stuffed dollar bills down her top.

WINNER: Dutt in 2:00. Your run-of-the-mill filler TV match to advance the characteristics of the wrestlers while putting the wrestling on the back-burner. (1/2*)

Backstage: Crystal brought in Booker and Sharmell to talk about issues going on. Booker said he promised Sharmell he would never put Sharmell in harm's way again, but now Cornette has booked this steel cage tag match at Lockdown. He said he doesn't know what's wrong with that fool Cornette, and if Roode even looks at his wife, it's going to get ugly. Booker then transitioned to Styles and said it's all business tonight. He told Styles to bring his A-game tonight.

[Commercial Break]

[Q5 -- second hour]

TNA Rough Cut: They went back to B.G. and Kip talking about the James Gang. B.G. said people were expecting them from 10 years ago, but they weren't able to deliver that. Kip said he was dropping hints to B.G. to get in the gym and get in shape, but B.G. said he has more important things going on these days. He said he has different priorities. Kip said he finally had to put his foot down and say enough is enough. B.G. said he thought their relationship had matured to where they're grown men who can handle issues between them. Kip said he got frustrated and mad because he felt like he was holding up more than 50 percent of the deal. JC:Good "week 3" storyline progression with the RC feature. I like the pacing of this, as they're taking the time with the videos to tell the story.

In-ring: A.J. Styles came out to the ring for the top-of-the-second-hour main event. Styles took the mic before entering the ring and addressed his special guest for tonight. Of course, it was Karen Angle, who had her own ring entrance music. Karen strutted out to the ring all-smiles, and they hugged. Styles led Karen to her reserved seat on the front row, then Booker came out with Sharmell to face Styles.

4 -- A.J. STYLES (w/Karen Angle ringside) vs. BOOKER T (w/Sharmell)

After a few minutes of Booker dominating the match, Robert Roode walked out on stage. Booker shook him off, then went back to work on Styles. Plenty of camera shots of Karen looking for concerned for Styles. Cut to a break.

[Commercial Break]

Back from break, Booker was on the outside and Styles flew over the top rope with a cross body splash. They showed footage from during the break of Cornette and Morgan booting Roode from the Impact Zone. Back to real-time action with Styles nailing a soccer kick for a nearfall. He then avoided the axe kick and nailed another soccer kick. Nice spot. Suddenly, Peyton Banks tried to jump Sharmell from behind, but Sharmell whipped her away from ringside with her signature strap. Back in the ring, Booker rolled up Styles and scored the pin with a terrible-looking finish. Just didn't look right. Suddenly, Karen bailed from ringside and they focused on the empty chair where Karen was. Styles slammed his fist on the top turnbuckle in frustration.

WINNER: Booker in 10:00. Just a lot of distractions and a bad-looking finish in a match that could be a PPV semi-main event down the road. They're advancing storylines tonight, but at the expense of the wrestling. Good thing they're not selling a PPV for a few weeks. (3/4*)

[Q6]

[Commercial Break]

Backstage: Crystal brought in Awesome Kong and Raisha to talk about some things last week. Raisha cut her off and read a statement from Kong regarding ODB and Gail Kim. She said their plan was doomed for failure from the beginning and Kong will destroy everything in her path, including them. Kong looked menacingly into the camera, then sneered at Crystal to close the promo.

In-ring: Velvet Sky and Angelina Love came to the ring while they showed clips of them giving Roxxi a beating last week. ODB then came to the ring and they showed clips of the knockouts brawl last week. Gail Kim came out as her partner.

5 -- ODB & GAIL KIM vs. VELVET SKY & ANGELINA LOVE

The knockouts locked up and Tenay used the time to talk about the live Impact next week - "biggest Impact ever". He said fans will have a chance to book Kong's opponent for the show. Gail had two minutes of just great-looking offense before Angelina caught her with a boot to the face. The heel knockouts then worked on Gail before ODB took a hot tag at 4:00 and cleaned house. The action broke down in the ring, then ODB caught Velvet with a running powerslam for the pin and the win. After the match, Roxxi came to ringside and chased Sky and Love from ringside.

WINNERS: ODB & Gail in 5:00. Gail is playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers. She just makes it look so easy in the ring with her very fluid offense. I'd put her right at the top of the list of female wrestlers right now. (*)

Backstage: Borash walked into Kurt Angle's locker room and casually asked about Karen Angle earlier tonight. Angle grabbed him by the shirt collar and screamed at him that Karen does not exist right now. He shoved Borash down on the couch, then cut a promo directed at Joe. Angle said Joe can do all the training he wants, but it won't matter because he's never been more focused in his entire life. He said he's going to punish not one, not two, not three, but four human beings tonight in the ring. (He better hope Daniel Puder isn't in the mix.) Angle screamed into the camera that it's real; damn real. That's a damn good promo.

[Q7]

[Commercial Break]

Video package: They went to clips of Samoa Joe's training with MMA trainers. The only thing here was his trainers did some introductory commentary on how they're getting Joe ready to win the TNA World Title. And that was it.

6 -- KURT ANGLE SPARRING SESSION

Kurt Angle came to the ring ready to spar against four opponents lined up. First opponent was Efraim Sims (sp?). Angle grabbed Efraim and pounded him into the mat, forcing a tap out with an arm triangle hold. Next up is John Davis. Angle blocked John's kick strikes, then forced John to the mat and applied a heel hook for a tap out. The announcers said Angle is showing off the various ways he can force people tap out. Frank Ciato (sp?) was up next. He tapped out to a guillotine choke. Tenay said Frank Trigg will be on the live show next week to talk about Joe's MMA training. Last was Cory Chavous, who took a headbutt, then Angle pounded him in the face before the ref called for the bell. Cory came up bleeding from the forehead.

WINNER: Angle in 3:00. Just a warm-up exhibition for Angle to look like a badass and give the wrestling-only portion of the audience a sample of MMA fighting. Just a "building block" angle, although I was expecting more in the previous segment with the introduction of Joe's training. (n/a)

Post-sparring: Angle took the mic and told Joe to keep training and training because it won't matter. He put his blood-stained fist into the camera and said it's real; damn real.

Backstage: Borash was with Team Tomko to hype Lethal Lockdown. Tomko said he should have been the leader the entire time, not Christian. He said Christian was the old man Nash and Rhino, who hates Christian's guts. Tomko said they don't have problems with Nash, but they will break him along with Christian. Devon stepped in and said this is the pack that's going to be at Lethal Lockdown. He said Team Christian doesn't have a chance. Devon said they can get the Machine Guns, Curry Man, or even Shark Boy as their fourth partner, but it won't matter. Devon and Ray then reversed roles with Ray closing it out with, "Oh my brother, testify."

[Commercial Break]

[Q8]

Video package: They showed a video on Consequences Creed walking the lonely train tracks in preparation for his April 10 debut. Nice intro video.

Video package: TNA delivered the back story on Christian and Rhino - exactly what was needed. The James Earl Jones voice-over announcer recapped their bitter feud in the past, but said time has healed the wounds. ... In-ring: Team 3D came to the ring for the main event, then Christian and Rhino in separate ring entrances.

7 -- TEAM 3D (BROTHER RAY & BROTHER DEVON w/Johnny Devine) vs. CHRISTIAN CAGE & RHINO

Ray distracted the ref in the early going, allowing Devine to trip up Christian from the outside. Rhino gave chase on the floor, but Ray dropped to the floor and smashed Rhino with a clothesline. Cut to break with 3D in control.

[Commercial Break]

They returned with Tenay announcing Angle in another sparring session on the live show next week with his opponents of Styles and Tomko. At 7:00, Rhino took a tag from Christian and gave Ray a big back body drop. He then landed a double clothesline on 3D. Rhino dropped Ray with a spinebuster, but Devon broke up the pin. He then dumped Rhino to the outside and Christian jumped Devon in the corner. Tenay then relayed info about Karen Angle requesting a sit-down interview with him next week to discuss stuff. Back to the action where Rhino shoved Devon off the top rope for a diving headbutt into Ray's crotch. The action cleared out except for Ray and Rhino, who delivered a Gore in center ring. Rhino covered Ray, but Tomko ran to ringside and yanked the ref out of the ring. Hebner called for the bell and a DQ.

WINNERS: Rhino & Christian via DQ in 8:00. Filler main event match to bridge the gap to next week's mega-live show and establish the main players for Lethal Lockdown. (*)

Post-match: Christian fought the heels by himself in the ring, but the numbers game eventually caught up to him. Nash then "stormed" the ring and landed forearm blows, but they took his knees out and beat him down in the corner. Suddenly, the cartoon characters hit the ring, but Tomko dropped Curry Man with a powerslam. Sabin and Shelley tried to get in the mix, but the heels beat them down as well. Curry and Shark then took 3Ds, leaving the four-man heel team standing tall. Suddenly, the lights went down and Sting's music hit. West screamed, "Could it be?!" They showed clips of Sting in action, then Tenay said Sting must be here next week in the biggest Impact in history. Nice teaser for next week.

We welcome your 1-10 score and comments on this show for an "Impact Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of PWTorch.com. To contribute your thoughts on Impact, click here.


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