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TV REPORTS
KELLER'S TNA IMPACT LIVE REPORT 3/27: First-ever live edition with Sting's return, Kong match, Angle MMA demo, more

Mar 27, 2008 - 10:17:11 PM
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor

KELLER'S TNA IMPACT REPORT
MARCH 27, 2008
LIVE ON SPIKE TV


WHAT HAPPENED: 1ST HOUR

-They opened live with a brawl in the crowd between Booker T and Robert Roode. Peyton Banks ran to the ring followed by Traci Brooks (the former "Floatation Floozy." They had a brief scrum in the ring before Banks slipped to the floor. Matt Morgan and TNA black-shirted security ran out to separate everyone. Booker eventually did the obligatory "break free from security to brawl some more" bit.

-They went to Mike Tenay and Don West at ringside. Tenay said it's the biggest Impact in history. They plugged an X-scape match between Johnny Devine and Alex Shelley, Kurt Angle vs. both Tomko and A.J. Styles, and Awesome Kong vs. fan voting. West also said Sting may return. Jim Cornette walked to ringside and announced Booker T vs. Roode with the fans picking the stipulation: Last Man Standing, I-Quit, or First Blood. Tenay laughed at the monumental nature of that announcement. He sent everyone to TNAwrestling.com to vote.

-Jeremy Borash interviewed Styles and Tomko backstage. Tomko was warming up with kicks. Styles said it's just a workout and he said he didn't sign up for all of this. He said he's lost touch with Karen Angle again. He complained about Brother Ray stealing his belt and his food at catering like some fifth grade bully. "It's ridiculous, honestly," he said. Styles said there are rumors Sting was showing up. Tomko said he doesn't sweat Sting. Angle walked in and said he needs Tomko for his size and strength. He gave him a pair of gloves to wear. He said he needs Styles for his strength and speed. "I'm not going to hurt you guys, but I don't you guys to hold back. Come at me with everything you have or else I'll hurt one of ya' or both of ya'. You got that?" It's not every day you have a wrestler give a pep talk to his opponents. Angle then looked at Borash and told him to start working out because next week could be his turn. Borash looked nervous.

1 -- JOHNNY DEVINE (w/Team 3D) vs. ALEX SHELLEY

A fan held up a sign that said, "Twinkies Not Allowed" to taunt Team 3D. The crowd loudly chanted "Alex Shelley." The lights began to flicker to indicate Sting's spiritual presence. Team 3D acted scared and fled to the back. Shelley dove onto Devine with a spear through the ropes, driving him back-first into the railing. Fans at ringside went nuts with a mosh pit like atmosphere followed by a loud "TNA, TNA" chant. With the brawl continuing at ringside, they cut to a locker room where Crystal stood by with arguing TNA Knockout women.

[Commercial Break]

Back live, the match continued with Shelley dominating. Devine eventually avoided a sliced bread. Devine was knocked to ringside where he grabbed the camera stand Shelley brings to the ring. He followed with his (dangerous looking) Devine Intervention and scored the pin.

WINNER: Devine in 9:00.

STAR RATING: *1/2

-So far, Black Machismo, Curry Man, Sonjay Dutt, and Johnny Devine have qualified for the X-scape match with two more slots to be filled.

-They went to the latest video chronicling the courtship between Black Machismo and So Cal Val. He had her spot him for a bench press. He complained she didn't have a weight belt. Dutt ran up and distracted Val, leaving Machismo breathless with the barbell crushing his chest. That was a little more campy than usual for skits with those three. It's tough to have any sympathy for Val for being so oblivious. It just wasn't believable, even in the context of a lite comedy skit.

-Tenay and West were on camera again plugging the online poll for Kong's opponent later and the stip for Booker vs. Roode.

-Crystal interviewed Booker T and Sharmell backstage. He was in a rage and said directly, "I want Robert Roode's blood." Then fans best not vote for "First Blood" match because, ironically, despite the name of the match, it never had much blood because the match stops as soon as someone bleeds. They should vote for one of the other two options.

[Commercial Break]

-Brother Ray congratulated Devine for advancing by beating Shelley. He said he should destroy the X Division. Then he shifted to Team 3D business. He said their paths have never crossed, but when he was being coddled in WCW, he and Brother Devon were carrying ECW. "When you were there putting that company out of business, we were stealing the show in WWE night after stinkin' night." He said they wanted to keep it nice and sweet and simple: "You stay away from us, we'll stay away from you." He said he showed up tonight, they'll slap off his stupid clown make-up. The lights began flashing. Ray told Devon to stop screwing around. Devon said that wasn't him. Ray got scared and ran off.

-They showed Dereck Graham-Couch, billed on screen as a "Dereck Graham-Couch, WWE wrestler" sitting in the crowd.

2 -- PETEY WILLIAMS & SCOTT STEINER & RHAKA KHAN vs. LAX (Hernandez & Homicide & Cenlinas)

They showed that last week backstage Steiner zapped Petey's nipples while he was in handcuffs. LAX got in the initial flurry of dominant offense with a variety of creative moves led by Homicide. Tenay plugged that TNA Mobile had news of a specific confrontation that took place among wrestlers in Orlando, implying it involved WrestleMania weekend related happenings. Steiner came back and gave Homicide a belly-to-belly off the ropes. Petey tagged in and Homicide surprised Petey with his Gringos Stunner. Tenay went back to plugging online voting. Hernandez gave Petey a sitout powerbomb. Khan interfered, kicking Hernandez on the back. Celinas jumped Khan from behind. Khan tossed her off and slammed her to the mat hard. Hernandez then dove over the top rope, with a shove for momentum from Homicide, onto Steiner on the floor. Homicide set up a Gringos Killer against Petey. Petey scaped and went for a Canadian Destroyer. Homicide escaped and T-bone suplexed Petey into a bridge for the pin.

WINNERS: LAX in 6:00.

STAR RATING: *1/4

-Afterward, Steiner scolded Petey again. He handcuffed him again. Petey stood and let Khan put the black mask over his head. He likes it and he's throwing the matches; that's my theory.

-Another "Rough Cut" video aired of B.G. James and Kip James talking about a misunderstanding they had in the four-corners briefcase mach. Kip expressed disappointment that B.G. chose his dad over him. B.G. said he doesn't understand how he could be jealous of that given the circumstances. Kip said they are in the business to win the tag titles and he gave their chance to someone else. B.G. said he loves him like a brother, but he's letting his ego get in the way of their legacy.

-Another plug aired for the Roode vs. Booker and Kong online voting.

[Commercial Break]

-They showed Joel Zumaya of the Detroit Tigers in the front row. They also showed a couple fans dressed up as Sting with facepaint.

-A sitdown interview aired with Tenay and Karen. He asked about her moving herself and her kids out. She said when she married him she knew he would put his career first, but she needs to set an example for the kids. She says she knows in her heart she made the right decision. She said Kurt is like a possessed person these days. "It's all about Joe 24 hours a day, seven days a week." She said when they get home the kids are so excited to see them, but Kurt expresses no feelings toward the kids. He doesn't even hug his daughter when she leaps into his arms. She said she understands she has to take a backseat, but the kids don't deserve to. Tenay asked about rumors that she's seeing someone on the TNA roster - someone close to her and Kurt. She confirmed she's met someone who is treating her the way she should be treated and the way Kurt used to treat her. She said otherwise she can't confirm anything.

-Back to the arena live, panning the crowd as fans went nuts and Tenay and West once again plugged the online voting. It will be very nice when the online voting ends so they can shift their focus toward the TV show's content.

[Commercial Break]

-A video package aired on Samoa Joe training for the Angle match. He said Kurt's trainers won't buy him heart or desire. Macus Davis, an MMA fighter, compared watching Joe fight to watching Mike Tyson. He said he's fast and explosive and pulls out moves you wouldn't expect to see from him. Joe said it's never been Kurt vs. Joe, it's been him against Kurt with back-up like his wife or his cohorts. He said in the cage, nobody else is going to be in the ring. Davis said Joe is just an absolute animal who goes for the kill. He said it will fit really well with the Six Sides of Steel and he won't get out alive. Great delivery and tone from Joe and the entire video package.

-Tenay interviewed Joe live via satellite from Big Bear, Calif. He asked how his training was going. Joe said it's probably been the most extreme thing he's ever been through. He said every day he gets closer to taking him out and he promised a war on Apr. 13. Tenay pointed out Tenay has won three of their four previous matches. Joe said he can come up with a 1,001 excuses why Angle won previous matches, but the fans don't want to hear that. He said Angle will have to win by the sweat of his brow and what he does in the ring, not being a snake behind the scenes. Tenay asked him about vowing to leave TNA if he loses. Joe said since he made that proclamation he's regretted it because this is what he loves. He said, though, that if he can't be The Man and the best, it's not worth doing. He said he's going to take it by any means necessary and at Lockdown he will win the title. He got real intense at the end after being relatively low key up until then.

-Frank Trigg joined Tenay and West at ringside on commentary. He said sitting betwee Tenay and West makes him feel like "the best piece of meat any sandwich could possibly be." Okay. He grinned, acknowledging his strange analogy. Cracks began to show in the live aspect of the show as there have been a few sound problems with the wrong feed or mic and here, they just had an awkward pause with Trigg on camera a few seconds longer than normal.

[Commercial Break]

3 -- KURT ANGLE vs. A.J. STYLES & TOMKO

Tomko talked about emulating himself after Kurt. He said he didn't win an Olympic Gold Medal and he didn't end up as good as him, but he had the same body type and tried to follow his lead. The sparring began with Angle vs. Tomko. Angle connected with a punch to the face that sent Tomko backwards. Tomko shot in. Angle reversed him into an arm triangle. Trigg said Angle is the type to learn something in practice and try it the next day in an actual match. Tomko may have bled hard way from Angle's first punch unless they went to the trouble to blade to sell the punch's impact. Angle held him down for the rest of the minute. Styles entered next with the Rick Steiner wrestling headgear and red singlet. Styles circled away from Angle to avoid being punched. Angle got frustrated. Styles mostly avoided Angle for the full minute, avoiding a takedown and ducking a punch. Tomko re-entered the ring for a second minute. They showed the gash above his right eye. Tomko shot in. Angle clutched his neck, then released. Trigg said if Angle promises not to hurt them, that doesn't mean he won't bang them up. Tomko applied another overhead guillotine choke. They were in the ropes so the ref forced a break. Tomko almost mounted Angle, but Angle slipped on an anklelock, but Tomko held on a few seconds until the minute expired. Styles came in for his second minute right away. Angle applied another guillotine. The crowd chanted for both Tomko and Styles during this sparring exhibition. Angle applied a guillotine on Styles as the second round ended. Styles and Angle shouted at each other afterward. Tomko had to step between them. In some ways this was really well done, in other ways it's just a bit strange to see pretend MMA sparring sessions in the pro wrestling context. Trigg was good on commentary, which is no surprise. He has a personality tailor made for pro wrestling.

WHAT HAPPENED: 2ND HOUR

Christian Cage, Kevin Nash, and Rhino stepped out onto the stage. Christian said, "This is a joke, right?" Christian said Joe is training at high altitude taking his title shot seriously, and here is Kurt trying to humiliate and embarrass Styles and Tomko. He said they are offering their services to help him warm up "right here and right how." Angle bailed out as they headed to the ring. Nash, Christian, and Rhino beat up Styles and Tomko. Team 3D ran out switched the numbers advantage. They set up a table. The lights went down. Sting appeared in mid-ring as West yelled at the top of his lungs. He cleared the ring of the heels with a baseball bat. Sting grabbed a mic and said, "It feels great to be back in Orlando and it feels great to be live!" He said, "Let's get it on tonight!" Tenay harrumphed, "Yessssss!" Tenay said we don't have to wait for Lockdown, we're going to see them fight tonight. Tenay said he loves that mindset. He thanked Trigg for joining them on commentary.

[Commercial Break]

-Borash interviewed Roode at the interview set. He asked him about fan voting in his match resulting in a "First Blood" stipulation. The fans listened to Booker's request. Roode said he knows what his gameplan is. He said it won't work because at Lockdown he will get his wife inside the "Six Sides of Steele" and there's nothing he can do about it. (Well, he could leave Sharmell at home.) He said to Booker if he wants his blood, they're on the same page because he wants his wife's.

4 -- BOOKER T vs. ROBERT ROODE -- First Blood Match

Booker took control early. The ref held a white towel to get across the fact that he'd be wiping blood from someone before the match was over. Tenay was handed a note that the main event Team Tomko vs. Team Cage would be commercial-free brought to them by a movie sponsorship. Booker backdropped Roode to the floor as they cut to a break.

[Commercial Break]

Roode had control after the break, ramming Booker into the ring apron and then back into the ring. He slid a chair into the ring, then punched away at Booker's head. When he set up a chair, Booker recovered enough to fight back. Roode, though, gave Booker a drop toe hold into a chair set up mid-ring. Roode wedged the chair into the corner of the ring between the ropes. Booker reversed Roode hard into the chair. Roode came back and grabbed a chair. When he swung it at Booker, Booker ducked. Booker tossed the chair to Roode and went for a spin wheel kick into it. Roode ducked and then hit Booker with the chair. Roode swung the chair again and Booker ducked. The chair bounced of the top rope into Roode's head. Booker then clotheslined Roode to the floor. A loud "Booker T! Booker T!" chant rang out. The ref checked, but Roode wasn't bleeding. Booker blocked a Roode piledriver attempt at ringside, then he catapulted Roode into the ringpost. Booker showed fire at ringside. West said he knows he's in control of the match. Roode came up bleeding. The ref called for the bell.

WINNER: Booker in 9:00.

STAR RATING: **1/2 -- For under ten minutes, really good feature match with strong intensity from start to finish.

-Crystal interviewed Raisha Saeed. Saeed read a statement from Kong. She said it doesn't matter who she faces because whatever the fans vote for, it will be a vote for defeat and destruction. She said Kong will destroy all those in her way. She will show why she is champion. The interview area was mic'd really poorly. It seemed they had the volume turned up really loud to pick up the sound and there was distortion as a result.

[Commercial Break]

-Borash brought ODB and Gail Kim to the interview set. He said only 500 votes separated them, and ODB was the winner. ODB moaned/groaned at the news.

-Tenay said they are "live" and "interactive," the two buzzwords of the night, and now the match they voted for was about to start.

5 -- AWESOME KONG vs. ODB - TNA Knockouts Title match

ODB went for a slam in the opening minute. Kong didn't go up and fell onto ODB for an early two count. Tenay plugged the Team Tomko vs. Team Cage match again. Kong put ODB in a camel clutch. Tenay said he's been trying to find out info on Saeed's background. The crowd chanted for ODB. They collided mid-ring. Kong went for a big splash mid-ring, but ODB moved. ODB kipped up to her feet and hit Kong with a barage of forearms. ODB flew off the second rope with a Thesz Press for a near fall. Kong came back with a charge into the corner. ODB moved and then face-planted Kong leading to a near fall. Kong fired back right away with a spinning backfist into an Awesome Bomb for the clean win.

WINNER: Kong in 6:00.

STAR RATING: ** -- Good intensity. It felt a bit rushed. If they had 12 minutes, that would be a three-star-plus match in the making. I'm not crazy about ODB losing clean in such a short match on TV, but I'm also not crazy about a run-in or copout finish. Giving away their singles match on TV is giving something substantial away, and I wish they reserved more time for it. The quarter hour rating will be interesting as the streak of the women in TNA drawing the best ratings continued last week.

[Commercial Break]

-Crystal interviewed Christian, Rhino, Nash, and Sting backstage. Christian talked about accomplishing a lot over the past two weeks. He said he aligned himself with the biggest and best politician in wrestling today, Kevin Nash; then last week he renewed his friendship with Rhino; and this week he secured Sting as his partner. He said people say nobody really changes, but he has been. He said every day ends with him as The Champ, and he strives every day to be the best. He closed with, "If you don't know, now you know."

6 -- TOMKO & A.J. STYLES & TEAM 3D vs. CHRISTIAN CAGE & STING & RHINO & KEVIN NASH

Sting got the final ring intro. West yelled, "It's going to be commercial-free, Mike!" Tenay plugged the movie sponsor of the match. It began with 13 minutes left in the hour. Styles and Christian opened against each other. Tomko tagged in, then so did Nash. Nash looked intensely at Tomko and called him in for a test of strength. Tomko punched away at Nash in the corner. Nash reversed Tomko into the corner, then gave hi a big sideslam. West said, "You always wonder about Nash's knees." Only because the constantly, needlessly remind us of them. Ray and Devon took turns against Rhino. Tomko and Styles yanked Rhino crotch-first into the ringpost. Ray gave him a splash off the second rope. Rhino remained isolated by the heels, who rapidly tagged in and out of the match. At 7:00 Sting got a hot tag. He cleaned house. It led to an eight-man brawl. He splashed both Team 3D members in the corner. Styles dove at him, but Sting caught him and applied the Scorpion Deathlock. Ray and Tomko broke it up. Tomko tried to suplex Sting, but Sting surprised Tomko with a Death Drop. Team 3D jumped Sting and gave him a double-team neckbreaker. Nash gave Team 3D a double clothesline, then chokeslammed Brother Ray. Tomko clotheslined Nash. Christian charged at Tomko. Tomko caught him and shoved him into the corner. Christian caught Tomko with a boot to the face, then gave him a DDT. West sold it huge. Styles surprised Christian with a flying forearm off the ropes. Sting then surprised Styles with a press slam onto Tomko at ringside. Team 3D went after Sting. Rhino gave a Gore to Ray. Sting then put Devon in the Scorpion. Christian and Nash protected the hold, keeping everyone else outside from getting in. Devon tapped out. As they soaked up the cheers of the fans, West said they'll have a home field advantage wherever they go. As they celebrated and pyro shot off, James Storm broke a beer bottle over the back of Sting's head. They said they hadn't seen him since the Elevaton X match at the last PPV. Storm yelled in Sting's face. The heels all returned to the ring and stood over Sting's fallen body. Tenay said he never saw that coming. "James Storm of all people spoiled an incredible night for TNA," he said. "How will Team Cage answer? We'll find out next week. You've got to join us on Impact."

WINNERS: Sting & Nash & Cage & Rhino in 10:00.

STAR RATING: *** -- Really good TV match. Especially Strong chaotic final few minutes with a ton of big moves well-timed and executed.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Really good show. Without post-production time to screw things up too badly, this was paced better and featured much more (good) wrestling than usual with positive moments for fans to cheer, but heat on the heels at the end. They gave a lot away, though, for a TV show, but this felt like a special occasion being live and being part of WrestleMania weekend - the unofficial kick-off, in fact. So as a one-time thing in that respect, it's understandable.

We welcome your 1-10 score and comments on this show for a "TNA Impact Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of PWTorch.com. Just to add a twist to this feature, include not just your hometown, but also your occupation (mechanic, lawyer, stay-at-home-dad, college student, etc.) so readers get a flavor for what everyone does as "day jobs." To contribute your thoughts on Raw, click here.


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