TV REPORTS 5/15 Impact Review by Wilkenfeld: Tag teams and women continue to dominate post-Sacrifice show
May 16, 2008 - 12:13:35 AM
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By: Daniel Wilkenfeld, PWTorch Contributor
Where We've Been: This past Sunday marked a card with great potential becoming only a so-so PPV. Three big ticket items came out of Sacrifice: 1) Steiner proved he could still hold his own on the top, 2) Roxxi Leveaux got her head shaved, and in so doing somehow became the top face on the roster, and 3) LAX regained the prestigious Tag Team Championships, or, more accurately, the Tag Team Champions regained the prestige of LAX. Also Kaz got pushed back into the main event, but we all know that won't last more than a week. Nor should it—he once again reminded me why he's a bankable mid-carder, but as a main-eventer he's still just a poor man's AJ Styles. Finally, Gail Kim won a Knockouts Title shot, but with the buzz around Roxxi they'd be crazy not to move her into the top contender's spot. Kim won with the help of Angelina Love, who would have had her head shaved had Kim lost (if you don't follow why, don't worry). Many took this as a questionable move, as it put Kim in a position to get booed. I actually like it, in part because Kim proved in her AMW days that she could play a decent heel, but moreover because it made perfect sense that Love would try to interfere. All the time people interfere when it's least conducive to their interests—a la a champ interfering with a #1 Contender's bout (or #1 Contender Scott Steiner interfering in Joe-Angle) in such a way as to invariably get themselves into a triple threat match. This at least made sense.
The Show: What's Up With Booker?
Joe is walking in the hall with Nash, with whom he shakes hands.
All the wrestlers surround the ring for an announcement from Samoa Joe. Tenay runs down the card for the rest of the night: LAX will be in action, there'll be an interview with Sting, Gail Kim will take her shot against Awesome Kong, and, dear lord, there's "shocking footage" of Abyss. I had actually read about that, but repressed it on the grounds that it's bound to be phenomenally stupid.
Joe comes down to the ring, mic in hand. He says that he's here to offer the wrestlers a chance of a lifetime—Cornette will pick four wrestlers for the chance to qualify for the King of the Mountain match, but Joe will pick the other four. Cornette picked Tomko, Matt Morgan, Robert Roode, and James Storm. Oh, Tomko's back. Neat. Joe points out that what these four men have in common is that they've never gotten a chance at the belt. He says he'll pick his four next week, but he'll be scouting tonight for the four baddest men on the roster. Joe says that with all people backing him, whomever he faces will be up against an army of one. Huh? Booker's music hits, and he wants to know why he, the most decorated champion in wrestling history, didn't get an invite to this party. I'm about to make fun of his claim to be the most decorated, but didn't he have like 25 tag titles in WCW? Booker wants to know why Joe hasn't been talking to him, and why every time Joe sees him he turns his back. I guess Booker is lonely. He says if he's not picked next week there will be consequences and repercussions. At least I assume that's what he said—he might have said that "there will be Consequences and repercussions", but that seems less likely. Joe says he doesn't care about Booker's repercussions, but Booker sucker punches him. Rhino and Cage run in to pull him off and throw him out of the ring. He says that he doesn't like this three-on-one, but if they meet him back there a little later he'll have partners. He stands conspicuously close to Team 3D as he says this.
JB finds Angle in the back, who is talking to Frank Trigg. Angle starts to talk about his neck, but JB seems bored. He asks about the Angle Alliance—apparently Tomko's not happy that Styles entered the tournament with another partner, and Styles hasn't shown up to confront him. Angle has a "speech" to read later tonight; now that he's out of the title picture, he's going to allow his wife and kids to move back home.
Not-Crystal is in the back with Kaz, Jay Lethal, and Sonjay Dutt. Tonight they'll be fighting The Rock & Rave Infection & Johnny Devine. Before Kaz can say anything substantive, he notices Lethal distracted in the background. Lethal says he has some big things on his mind, bigger than Bundy and bigger than the Giant. He has to go do some thinking.
(1) KAZ, "BLACK MACHISMO" JAY LETHAL (w/SOCAL VAL), & SONJAY DUTT defeat JOHNNY DEVINE & THE ROCK & RAVE INFECTION (w/CHRISTY HEMME).
Hoyt starts thing off beating down Dutt, before tagging in Rave. Dutt takes a big Arm Drag and a kick to the head for two. Devine comes in, but Dutt See-Saw Kicks him in the corner and gets the tag in to Lethal. Lethal goes for his Hip Toss/Dropkick, but Christy grabs him from the outside to break it up. Devine hits a cool Twisting Suplex. I'm slowly starting to get what they see in him. Hoyt comes in and gets Lethal with a Fall-Away Slam for two. Lethal goes between the legs and gets a tag in to Sonjay. Hoyt catches Sonjay with an attempted Choke Slam, but he slips out. Hoyt tries to hit a Tilt-a-Whirl something, but it's reversed into a DDT. Rave breaks up the count at two, and things break down. Lethal and Dutt double team Rave, then Dutt makes the tag to Kaz. Kaz hits a kick to the face of Hoyt and gets the pin. It's interesting that Kaz did nothing but still got the cover—they could go for some tension between him and the "pure" X Division athletes.
After the match, Lethal gets on one knee and (still in Savage voice) asks if SoCal Val will marry him at Slammiversary. She gives him an "Ohhh Yeahh" and they share a deep kiss. Dutt has a look of rage in the background, which transforms into a generic stupefied look.
We recap the history of Abyss. Then we go to the video of him in an asylum. They've allowed him to have a camera because of his good behavior, but he thinks he's just fooled them. They poked him, and prodded him, but he committed himself because he's addicted to pain. The doctors say he's almost cured and can go home soon.
Not-Crystal is in Joe's locker room with Steiner. Nash says there was no real misunderstanding, and that they're on the same page. She wants to know who Joe will pick for the King of the Mountain Match, but she's going to have to wait till next week. Joe says he respects what Booker has done, but he doesn't have to like him. Booker wants the old glory back, but he can't have it because Joe has that glory now. He talks about how great he is, but Joe just sees a shell of what he used to be. So Booker can bring whomever he wants, cause Joe will fight through them all. Now can Booker dig that, sucka?
They recap the Kong-Kim feud.
(2) AWESOME KONG (w/RAESHA SAEED) defeats GAIL KIM.
Kong unsurprisingly dominates the opening lock-up. Gail rocks Kong a bit with some forearms, and dodges a charge in the corner. She goes for a Hurricanrana off the top rope, but they blow the spot. Kim tries to roll up Kong, but Kong gets out. She hoists Gail for an Awesome Bomb, but Kim again reverses in a roll up for two. Kim bounces off the ropes, where Saeed trips her up. As Kong takes it to Kim the women come out of the locker room one at a time. Kong tosses Kim across the ring as the ref goes to break up a showdown between the faces and heels at ringside.
Kong is still tossing around Kim as we come back. The other women are still at ringside too. Kim tries to roll Kong up again, but when it doesn't work Kim settles for an Arm Bar. Kong picks up Gail's whole weight with the one arm, and Kim eventually has to break the hold. Kim goes for a Cross Body Block, but I don't believe that move has ever worked on Awesome Kong. Kong locks in a Camel Clutch, but Kim fights out. She starts to land some blows, but Kong just destroys her with a Short Arm Clothesline. Kong goes for an Awesome Bomb, but Kim escapes and…that's another blown spot. I wonder what that was supposed to look like. Kong hits an Impact Buster for two. She goes for a Splash off the top, but Kim rolls out of the way. She starts attacking, eventually fazing Kong with a Codebreaker and finally taking her off her feet with a Spear for two. Kong hits the Spinning Back Fist as she gets up for a long two count. Kim gets some separation with a kick and then hits some sort of leaping Neck Breaker off the middle rope for two. She hits a Senton Splash off the top rope for two. Saeed goes to distract the ref, but ODB pulls her off as the women start fighting. Kim rolls up a distracted Kong with a Scool Girl for two. She goes to follow up off the top rope but Angelina Love shoves her off as the ref is distracted by the fighting women. Kim lands on her knee, and can barely stand long enough to eat an Awesome Bomb for three. Finally with Love-Kim we seem to have a women's feud that doesn't revolve around the title or Robert Roode. ODB tries to rouse Kim with booze as the other women call for referees to help Kim out. That was a fun match—I wonder how awesome it would have been without the couple of sloppy moments.
As they reshow Kim's fall and ensuing Awesome Bomb, it really does look much more brutal than I would have guessed.
They recap "As the Angles Turn." At least they seem to appreciate how silly it all is. Kurt hits the ring with a bunch of red balloons. Sadly, he doesn't seem to have 99 of them, which would have been much funnier. Angle says that Karen didn't kick him out of the house, but rather left him. He asks for support from the crowd. When they boo, he says that he wrote his wife an apology letter, and that he injured his neck in Korea. He says they should have more compassion, and I kind of agree. I think we should reward him for not wrestling this time with the broken freak'n neck. He says he's sorry, and knows that he drove her back to her parents. He understands that she feels like she's been neglected, but everything will be fine once she gets her priorities straight. It's the TNA World Heavyweight Championship first, the gold medals second, the kids third, and her fourth. Well, technically she's third since she takes care of the kids. He's not very good at these romantic apologies, but he's trying. He wrote the apology speech and even got these stupid red balloons. He's willing to be the bigger person and forgive her for her mistakes, or, more nicely, her failures as a wife. So all he's asking is that she show up next week… "and I'm Joe and I bought this machine from Toyota direct." Whaaaaat? We're into commercials somehow, at least in Columbus. They cut back for a split second to ask whether Karen will be there next week, before cutting back to commercials. I wonder if this was a national or local problem.
JB is in the back with LAX. Homicide said that no one had faith in them, but all they needed was that little touch of spice Hector Guerrero. Hector punks out JB for looking down Salinas's shirt, then says that they've restarted the revolution and that Latinos the world over should come join them.
The Motor City Machine Guns come out, and are they fighting LAX? Shouldn't that be, like, the main event at Bound for Glory instead of an unannounced TV match? Also, I could be wrong, but I think LAX got new music for approximately the forty-third time this year.
(3) LAX defeat The Motor City Machine Guns
Homicide starts things off working some chain wrestling with Alex Shelley. It breaks down to a contest of forearm shots, till Homicide hits a release Overhead Belly-to-Belly Suplex. He hits two of the Three Amigos, and uses the third to get Shelly onto Hernandez's back for a wicked Back Breaker for two. Sabin catches Homicide from the outside. The Guns follow up with a joint Missile Dropkick/STO on Homicide, and then a Poetry in Motion on Hernandez on the apron. The crowd is completely behind LAX. Sabin comes in and hits a Leapfrog Double Axe Handle onto Homicide. He hits a running elbow in the corner, but when he goes for a Slingshot Clothesline Homicide reverses into a T-Bone Suplex. That lets him get the tag into Hernandez, who eats both Guns for a couple minutes, hitting his Great Moves of Awesomness (including some new Suplex I couldn't place). He goes for the Border Toss on Sabin, but Shelly runs up Sabin's back to hit an Ensuguri. The Guns go for the Stereo Superkick, but Homicide comes in to make the save. They toss Shelley and hit The 5150 on Sabin, which seems to be an Electric Chair by Hernadez into a Gringo Cutter from Homicide off the top rope. That's enough for the win.
JB is in the back with Booker T, and he wants to know why Booker has changed in the last couple months. Team 3D walk into the picture and shove JB aside. Booker explains that everyone else has been disrespecting him, despite the fact that he came to TNA as the most decorated champion in history. So now he's going to take his respect, and it starts with Rhino and Christian. Booker announces that he's still heir to the throne, and Devon echoes the sentiment that they'll be in the ring with royalty. I guess King Booker is back.
We go to Eric Young looking for Elvis. They play banjo music as we see him hitchhike through what appeasr to be Ohio. He hitches a ride with a creepy masked man, as EY explains at length how he knows how to keep quiet. Apparently his goal is to prove that heroes still exist. By day four he's made it to Tennessee. That was short and moderately amusing, if abnormally stupid.
We start Tenay's sit-down interview with Sting. He talks about how he was recruited into the business, and how he and the Ultimate Warrior got their first jobs from Jerry Jarrett. He says that he and the Warrior parted ways a couple years later, and it wasn't a happy parting.
Not-Crystal is in the back with The Beautiful People, and says that she has to step back for a moment from being a professional. After years of responsible journalism it's nice to see Not-Crystal's lighter side. Anyway, she asks how they can be so mean to Roxxi. Velvet Sky points out that they're the hottest thing in TNA, which is why they got more screen time. Holla. That's a decent point—especially the "holla". Love says that it's not her fault Roxxi's a bald hideous freak, she didn't shave her, but next time Not-Crystal gets in their face they'll make her over. She reminds the camera that it can shoot but never touch.
(4) THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE defeat ODB & ROXXI LEVEAUX.
The faces come out to ODB's music, which strikes me as a mistake. ODB takes it to Velvet Sky to start, before tagging in Roxxi to unleash a world of hurt on both opponents. Eventually Love dodges a dropkick to gain control. She hits a kick to Roxxi's head as the crowd comes alive for Roxxi. Sky comes in and they hit a Double Elbow Drop for two. Velvet Sky hits some strikes and then locks in a weird looking Octopus. Roxxi escapes, but Love pops ODB on the apron before she can make a tag. Roxxi creates enough distance to tag in ODB, who comes in with a dropkick off the top rope. She hits another dropkick, and then Scoop Slams Velvet Sky onto Love. She hits her Running Power Slam on Sky, but Love breaks it up at two. Roxxi comes in, but only ends up distracting the ref as Love kicks ODB and Sky rolls her up. The ref turns around to make the three count. That was about the worst use of Roxxi I could have imagined. At least The Beautiful People came off well.
Not-Crystal's in the back with Christian & Rhino, and Christian can't believe that people ever thought Booker T was a good guy. Christian remembers how Booker used to put himself on a pedestal and laugh at Christian, but now the whole world knows that he's an asshole. Rhino reminds Team 3D that they have history too, as they worked together to build a company based on extreme. So tonight he's going to beat them to a bloody pulp for the sake of one more trip down memory lane.
(5) TEAM 3D & BOOKER T defeat CHRISTIAN CAGE, RHINO, & SAMOA JOE
I should probably mention that as we start our main event we've had a somewhat reasonable 19 entrances. Joe starts things off with Devon, but immediately charges Booker T on the apron. Devon takes control, but Joe fights him off and hits a dropkick off the top rope for two. Things immediately break into a pier-six brawl. Somehow Christian ends up hitting a Cross Body Block from the top rope to Brother Ray on the outside. Joe fights Devon up the ramp. Booker T and Rhino, as near as I can tell, now no longer exist. Ray and Christian fight to the Spanish announce table, where Ray shoves Hector Guerrero. According to Rachael, Hector actually hadn't been talking till then, and after they were just trying to calm him down.
Everyone seems to have gathered back in the ring, where Devon is beating down Rhino. Devon has a surprising fan base in the Impact Zone. He hits a random Hogan Leg Drop for reasons I don't fully understand. He tags in Ray, who hits a Neck Breaker for one. Hector on commentary says he's not in the mood to talk much. Ray hits a big Yurinagi on Rhino for two. Booker comes in and hits a back kick for two. Devon and Ray quickly tag in as the crowd rallies for Rhino. He hits a Spine Buster out of nowhere, and slowly makes his way to Samoa Joe. We're told that Gail Kim's been taken to the hospital to check on her condition, as Joe beats the hell out of the twenty-time tag team champions. He stacks them up in the corner, charges them both, and then hits Devon with a jumping kick. Booker comes in, but Joe fights him off with body shots and a Leg Lariat. Devon tries to capitalize on the distraction, but eats a T-Bone for his trouble. Ray comes back into the ring, and things break down again. They whip Joe and set up for a 3D, but he hangs onto the ropes. Christian picks off Ray with a Missile Dropkick and Joe catches a charging Devon with a Snap Power Slam for three.
After the match, Ray goes right after Hector Guerrero. They beat him up the ramp, conspicuously close to LAX's entrance. The Spanish play-by-play guy calls on Joe to help, and he somehow gets the message. He chases off the baddies with a chair. The last shot is of a bloodied Hector Guerrero.
Where We're Going: It's good to see the show closed off by what was essentially a tag-team angle. As discussed on prior occasions, it's open season for any company that wants to stake a claim to tag team wrestling. The next obvious step is to push the titles even more by having LAX defend in a main-event, as TNA did for the women's title with Kong vs. Kim in January. Unfortunately, the best way of doing that would have been to hype and build-up a MCMG-LAX feud, which might be tricky after the Guns were so thoroughly trounced tonight. Still, there's a way to go about it—the Guns can get bitter about their loss and turn heel. Sabin has proven himself extremely capable of playing a detestable jerk in late 2006, and Shelley can certainly pull off a lighter variety of heel. In effect, Shelley could be James Storm to Sabin's Chris Harris. That will probably take a while to work though, so in the meantime just a plain old LAX-Team 3D rematch seems perfect for an Impact main-event. The beating of Hector Guerrero indicates they're heading that way, but they also need a plan for what to do after the LAX-3D feud runs its course.
Star of the night: The Beautiful People. In a crowded women's division, they stood out tonight as some of the strongest pure heels on the roster.
Overall: This show had a weird mix of some high highs and some low lows. The highs were most of the matches, and the lowest low was Abyss. The other two questionable segments, Angle and Young, for some reason didn't inspire as much ire in me as their stupidity would seem to warrant, so I probably enjoyed this show more than most will. I guess that's good news for me, as I give it a B+.
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