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KELLER'S TNA IMPACT REPORT 3/19: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of Spike TV telecast

Mar 19, 2009 - 8:29:21 PM
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By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

KELLER'S TNA IMPACT REPORT
MARCH 19, 2009
TAPED IN ORLANDO, FLA.
AIRED ON SPIKE TV


[Q1]

-The show opened with highlights from the Destination X PPV. It's the PPV that fell in a forrest and nobody except those getting paid watched. The name of the show is: "Sting... whose side is he on?"

-The TNA Impact opening aired. Mike Tenay introduced the show and asked if Kurt Angle could coexist with Sting. He could have said that at the start of every episode this year.

-The Main Event Mafia walked out to their music. Angle was flanked by his two security guards. Scott Steiner covered his face with a mask to hide whatever it is Samoa Joe did to him. Kevin Nash, Booker T, Sharmell, and Sting also entered the ring. Angle said everything he predicted would come true. He predicted that Sting would show his true colors. "There you stood, Sting, in the middle of the ring, Mick Foley raising your hand just seconds after Jeff Jarrett screwed me." He said it was without a doubt the biggest screwjob since Montreal. He said Sting tried to cover it up by having Mick Foley hit him with a chair, but he's smarter than that. "You can't work a worker!" he said. "Because I am the best worker there ever was." He gave him "exactly ten seconds" to explain himself before the Mafia has to do what the Mafia has to do. He began to count. Sting yanked the mic out of his hand after a few seconds.

Sting told Angle he's accused him of being disloyal for the last time. He said he's been true to the Main Event Mafia since day one. He said his only problem is with him. He said he owes him nothing. He repeated himself at the top of his lungs because it's not TNA Impact officially until someone yells at the top of their lungs. Sting said, "I'm all in."

Nash stepped up and said, "Now, Sting, I do agree with one thing." He turned to Angle and said, "You owe Kurt nothing." The crowd chanted, "Nothing! Nothing!" That may be a first. He said Sting does owe the Mafia something. He said the three of them, other than Angle, have been with him. He said they've known each other a long time, but two PPVs in a row Foley has raised his hand. He said he suspects something is up, so he has something to prove to them.

Sting took the mic back and said, "Kevin, this is you and me. Nash and Sting." They did the WolfPac hand touch. He asked what he wants him to do to prove himself, and he asked him who he is to question him. Angle stepped in and said, "I'll tell you what I want you to do. I want you to be my partner tonight." He said their opponents are Jeff Jarrett and Mick Foley. Jarrett's music then played.

Jarrett (who's the TNA Founder, by the way) strode to the ring with a purpose. He said he told Angle once and he's not going to tell him again... and then he immediately went on to tell him again: "You don't have the authority to tell anybody to do anything." He said he's a wrestler on the TNA roster and maybe the greatest wrester he's ever seen, but he's still a wrestler. He said only TNA management can make matches.

Angle said, "What you mean is you and Mick, right Jeff?" Angle said Jarrett won't book that match because he wants to protect Sting. Angle looked a Sting and said at the top of his lungs he doesn't have one ounce of integrity in his body. He said, "If I'm going to screw you, I'm going to screw you to your face. What kind of example are you trying to set, Sting?" He said he's nothing more than a liar.

Sting yanked the mic back and said he'd love to have the opportunity to be in the ring with him again, and Jarrett and Foley. Sting said Foley is on the inactive and he's wrestled his last match. "Can't be done!" he yelled. Foley's music then played.

Foley strode to the ring 13 minutes into the show at this point. Foley told Angle, "You kicked me in the nuts, and I hit you with a chair. And for that, I'm sorry. With all due respect, Sting, since when did you start calling the shots around here? Who made you The Decider? Do you make decisions regarding my future? I don't recall saying I had my last match here in TNA." No, but he did retire once and swear he wasn't going to be one of those people who comes out of retirement over and over. Sting asked what he was trying to say. Foley said deep down he's not a guest enforcer or a business. "Deep down in here, I am a wrestler and every once in a while wrestlers wrestle," he said with a tooth-gapped smile. He said, "As far as tonight goes, I'm all in."

[Q2]

Jarrett said: "Mick, Mick, Mick, Mick, Mick, Mick, Mick, Mick, ho-ho-ho-ho-hold on, hold on, hold on, Mick, this is not the reason you came to TNA. This is not what you want." Angle asked if this was not what Foley wants or not what Jarrett wants. Jarrett said there is a locker room full of wrestlers who'd love to kick his ass tonight. Angle said he doesn't want them, he's wants him. Jarrett said, "Kurt, you want me, you got me. One way or another, this thing ends tonight." Yeah, right. Tenay hyped the apparent tag team main event.

[Commercial Break]

-Don West joined Tenay in hyping the main event. It goes without say it's ludicrous to give that tag match away on TV with 90 minutes notice. It's insanely inefficient and goes against any historical indication of how to maximize ratings impact for a big TV match. Foley coming out of retirement alone should be treated as a big deal, hyped for weeks. Same with Sting and Angle teaming up after being opponents recently including an empty arena match where Angle vowed to kill Sting and end his career before spitting on him. It's this short-attention span instant-gratification-addiction that Jarrett and Russo developed during the rush of the Monday Night War era to try to top the latest record rating with an even bigger one, at the expense of the long-term ability to build their audience three weeks from now. They should have been planning and hyping a main event for this show three weeks ago and started hyping this tag match (assuming they presented it on TV at all, which they shouldn't) to take place in two or three weeks.

1 -- MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNNS (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin) vs. NO LIMIT (Yujiro & Nito)

The Gunns beat Nito to win the light-weight version of the IWGP Tag Team Titles, and this is a non-title rematch. Tenay said the main event tag match later is like an all-star game. Tenay hyped that Foley has never wrestled on Impact and it'll be Jarrett's first match on Impact in over two years. I rest my case.

WINNERS: No Limit in 4:00.

STAR RATING: * -- A bunch of cool spots and high-paced action. It's one of those matches where four wrestlers are told specifically to go out there and burn the house down in four minutes and they do as they're told, then they're criticized in the aggregate for being all about highspots and not telling a proper story in the ring.

[Q3]

-After the match, Beer Money attacked No Limit. They called out Team 3D. Team 3D came out right on cue as their music played. They brought the heavyweight version of the IWGP Tag Team Titles with them. Robert Roode said he and James respect them and everything they've done in their careers and for tag team wrestling. "In our eyes, you guy are the best that's ever been." Ray and Devon nodded in agreement. Roode said they've proven themselves night in and night out, yet to this day they get disrespected. He said people consider them a joke and a flash in the pan. Who says that? The crowd chanted, "You suck!" Roode said they want to put their titles on the line against Team 3D at Lockdown in the six-sides of steel in a city near and dear to their hearts - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He said when they beat Team 3D and retain the titles in their own back yards, then they'll get the respect they deserve.

Ray said they're not blowing smoke, they're telling the truth - they've done it all and everybody knows it. He said in Philadelphia at Lockdown he wants to do it the right way. He offered to put their IWGP Tag Titles at stake, too. Ray said Philadelphia is their back yard and where they became one of the most legendary tag teams in the world. He said it's home to the violent tag team that's ever existed. And in Philadelphia, he said they'll become the 22-time World Tag Team Champions. Devon yelled: "On my brother, testify!"

[Commercial Break]

-Jeremy Borash interviewed Foley in the back office. He said he's one-fourth of the biggest main event in TNA history. Borash said first he has hot news. He said it's about one of the most notorious celebrities in television today wanting to be a major part of the Lockdown PPV. To find out, you have to sign up for TNA's text messaging service.

Jarrett barged in and yelled at Foley. As Foley began to answer, he cut him off and said, "I didn't bring you in here to do this. You backed me into a corner and made me accept the match." Foley joked, "Borash, do that thing with the eyes. I love when he does that!" Foley said he loves pumpkin pie, too. He said he could probably go a full month of October without eating pumpkin pie unless you put right in front of him. He said the same thing about roller coasters. He said he didn't get in TNA to be handed bottles of water or be a ringside enforcer. He said he stayed out of wrestling for so long and it wasn't tough because he wasn't so close to it. He said now he's so close, he just wants a little piece of that pie or one trip on that roller coaster, then he'll go back on the roller coaster. He said they did it because it made them happy. He said he wanted to do it for the right reason. He said Sting is the current TNA Champion, and the rest of them are former champions. He said this could be the greatest Impact in history, and that's good business, and good business makes everyone happy. He said, "Let's have some fun!" Jarrett took it in and walked away.

-They went to West and Tenay at ringside, who discussed the Foley-Jarrett situation.

[Commercial Break]

[Q4]

-A highlight package aired of the ODB segment on Destination X. They showed the winner of the date with ODB cheering in the crowd.

2 -- AWESOME KONG & RAISHA SAEED vs. ODB & TAYLOR WILDE

Tenay said he can't get his mind off of the Impact main event tag match. He asked West if it seemed to him that Sting was being a spokesperson for Foley. West said Sting is going to have to put up or shut up tonight. No signs of tension between Tenay and West this week. I'm not usually in favor of abandoning a storyline mid-stream, but if they pretend that tension never occurred, I'm fine with it. Just pretend they talked it out behind the scenes. Taylor hot-tagged in at 2:00 against Kong and hit two dropkicks. Kong didn't go down. Kong did go down after a top rope dropkick. Saeed interfered with the save, but Taylor went after her. They fought at ringside. Kong pressed Taylor, but Taylor slipped out and cradled Kong for the win.

WINNERS: Wilde & ODB in 3:00.

STAR RATING: 3/4*

-Afterward, Kong attacked Taylor, then gave ODB an Implant Buster. ODB's date, Cody Deiter, jumped into the ring and put up his dukes. Kong backed out of the ring. West said Kong was smart to walk away because if she didn't, there could be legal issues.

-West hyped the main event tag match. They showed Samoa Joe backstage walking.

[Commercial Break]

-Borash interviewed Angle backstage. He said they've been friends a long time. He said he likes to hang out and observe what's going on. He said he had an epiphany. He talked about what happened at the PPV between he and Foley and Jarrett. He said he had to kick nuts and spit in faces and use chairs because he was attacked by all sides. He said later they'll find out what side Sting really is on and he'll be sure Sting knows who he is dealing with because he is the Godfather of the Main Event Mafia.

3 -- SHEIK ABDUL BASHIR vs. SAMOA JOE

Joe went after Bashir immediately and aggressively. The ref scolded Joe. Joe punched the ref and then threw Bashir into the announce table. He then put him in a cobra clutch and dragged him to the back.

WINNER: No contest.

[Q5]

[Commercial Break]

-Lauren interviewed Velvet Sky, Madison Rayne, and Angelina Love. Lauren asked where Cute Kip is. Sky said he's been put on special assignment to prove he's not above them. She got upset and said he's not to be spoken of again. Love said Madison is going to be tested by the Beautiful People because you don't just walk in one day and become one of the Beautiful People. She said it took years and years of hard work and dedication to being the most beautiful creates to ever grace God's Green Earth. She said they are so hot, God can't even touch them. She asked Madison if she understood, then wouldn't let her talk. Sky said they're interested not just in winning, but leaving the mark of the BP "on that grotesque governor." She said tonight the initiation and hazing begins. Love said, "This week, the Governor. Next week, the Beast." When Lauren asked if she was talking about Kong, Sky said, "Who said anything about Kong?"

-A highlight package aired of Booker T vs. A.J. Styles at Destination X.

-Mid-ring, Jim Cornette interviewed Styles. He congratulated him for winning Booker's belt. He said it began as a vanity title, but when Booker signed a contract without reading it carefully, by losing the match he signed away ownership of the belt he created. Good for them for addressing that finally. Too bad the announcers didn't first, since they should be the voice of the fan asking the obvious questions fans are thinking. Styles said with all that the Main Event Mavia has done to the TNA Originals, this is taking a piece of it back. He said the Legends belt now represented faith, hope, and respect. He said it represents TNA and as long as he's champion, he'll give any deserving competitor a shot at it because he's a fighting champion. He said he is the one and only and original A.J. Styles.

Booker and Sharmell walked out. West complained that Booker should have put that title at stake under his terms rather than tricking Booker into signing the documents. Tenay said that's a lame excuse. Booker got in Styles's face. He said he spent a lot of money on that belt. He began rambling incoherently at the end of each sentence. He said Styles may have the belt, but he doesn't have the title. He said he wants the first match against him. Styles told him to back off. "I have no idea what you just said," Styles retorted. "So let me make myself perfectly clear. I said a deserving wrestler." The crowd oohed and ahhed. He said Booker was a paper champion who made up the belt. He said he won't do anything because he's the champ now and he can't do anything about it. Sharmell got in Styles's face and said he stole the belt from him and he'll get it back on his terms at his time.

[Q6]

[Commercial Break]

4 -- MADISON RAYNE vs. THE GOVERNOR

West and Tenay began arguing. Shoot. Sky interfered to help give Rayne the advantage early. A minute later The Gov surprised Rayne with a leverage pin. West accused the ref of a fast count. Tenay said, "Aw, come on!"

WINNER: The Governor in 3:00.

STAR RATING: 3/4*

-Afterward, Sky and Love attacked The Gov. They pulled out a pair of scissors and handed them to Rayne. She had to cut her hair. She began snipping away.

-Tenay and West said the TV main event is a "once in a lifetime match." West wondered if Angle and Sting can work together, but said it's also debatable whether Foley and Jarrett will get along.

-They cut backstage to Joe who had Bashir hanging upside down backstage. He held his sword to him and said, "Nobody want you here, Bashir." He suggested he go back to where he came from and when he does, he should tell everybody if they get in the way of his Nation of Violence, the same thing will happen to them. Bashir shrieked, "Yes, yes, yes." He told him to hold his knife in his mouth. He placed it there as Bashir hyperventilated. Joe took the knife back and told him to take care of himself. Bashir said, "I'm sorry! I'm sorry." Joe then whipped him with a cane repeated as Bashir yelled in pain. Ugh.

[Q7]

[Commercial Break]

-A Rough Cut segment aired on Team 3D's Brother Devon. He talked about being a fan of wrestling as a kid. He said when he found out about Johnny Rodz's school, he was surprised at how much it cost, but he got a loan from his grandfather and the rest is history. He said he and Ray only lived about ten minutes from each other, but didn't know it. He said when Ray got in ECW, they wanted him to be his partner. He said they wanted him to have a Mike Tyson edge to him so he cut his hair. He said they get along great and balance each other out. He said he's a hardcore edge kind of guy, whereas he's the softer guy who makes their mistakes right. He said they survived so long because they're on the same page - wanting to be the greatest tag team in the history of the business. "The art of this business is dancing together. You don't dance together, you're through, and that's one thing we understand."

-West plugged upcoming TNA house show line-ups and the Lockdown PPV. He also said Foley will be at Fan Interaction on Apr. 18 before the PPV. Tenay threw to a video package on the history of Sting and Angle. Then they showed Jenna, the winner of "Survivor: Amazon," in the crowd applauding.

-Kurt Angle's ring entrance took place. Then Sting, Jeff Jarrett, and Mick Foley. Tenay said the Dream Match would take place after the break.

[Commercial Break]

5 -- KURT ANGLE & STING vs. MICK FOLEY & JEFF JARRETT

Angle and Jarrett began the match. West said he can't believe this match is airing for free. Tenay said during the break Cornette informed him that next week on Impact there will be a 20 man six-sides-of-steel gauntlet to determine the two captains for Lethal Lockdown on Apr. 19 on PPV. Jarrett ducked an Angle clothesline and threw a dropkick. Jarrett twisted Angle's arm and played to the crowd. The crowd chanted for Foley and Jarrett tagged in Foley at 2:00. Foley moved in toward Angle, grabbed him, and outwrestled him to the mat. Angle crawled to the bottom rope. Foley yelled "Bang! Bang!" Tenay asked if anyone ever thought they'd see Foley out mat-wrestle Angle. Foley clotheslined Angle over the top rope to the floor. When he went after Angle on the floor, Angle's security members, Sal and Rocco, went after Foley. Foley banged their heads together. Angle hit Foley from behind with a chair, then Angle back suplex Foley onto the mats at ringside. Team 3D came out and beat up Sal and Rocco. West said Foley was out. Jarrett called for help.

[Q8]

[Commercial Break]

Angle beat on Foley in the ring, kicking at his leg. He whipped him toward the ropes, but Foley just collapsed. Sting asked for a tag. Angle teased it, but then pulled his hand away. Angle took Foley down with a hard clothesline. Sting told Angle to get the pin if he could and leave it there. Angle stomped Foley between his legs. Sting walked into the ring and got in Angle's face. "That's enough, Kurt," he said. West said there's no chance of them getting onto the same page. Angle knocked Sting off the ring apron. Jarrett got into the ring and gave Angle a Pedigree and enzuigiri. Tenay noted that Jarrett's not legal. Jarrett went for The Stroke, but Angle blocked it and went for an ankelock. Jarrett powered out and lunged at Angle, but Angle moved and Jarrett took down the ref. Angle ran to ringside and grabbed a chair. Jarrett kicked Angle in the gut to block the chairshot, then brought his guitar into the ring. Jarrett reared back, but Sting yanked it away. Foley stood up with a chair in hand. Angle bailed out of the ring. Foey then bashed Sting with the chair and made the cover. A second ref came out and counted the pin. West said that was no accident when Foley swung the chair and hit Sting. Tenay asked, "What have we just seen here?"

WINNERS: Foley & Jarrett in 11:00.

STAR RATING: *1/4 -- Foley's still really crippled looking at he moves around the ring. Sting didn't tag in. So it was mostly Angle with rudimentary solid early work against Jarrett and then beating down Foley before the chaos broke out.

[Commercial Break]

-They came back for the fallout. Sting said, "Mick, if you wanted back in the game, all you had to do is ask." He said whatever inspired him, he knows now he is inspired. He said two times a chair hit him in the back of his head from his hands. He said it was ironic that two weeks ago he said he made his career back in the day. He said now he's going to be responsible for ending his career. He challenged Foley one-on-one at Lockdown, "back to school for old time's sake. Lights, camera, action. It's Showtime, Mick!" Sting's music played as Angle backed up the ramp with a smile on his face.

-They went to the back with Borash interviewing Jarrett and Foley. Jarrett yelled that he doesn't know what the heck just happened. Borash asked Foley if he snapped. Foley acted punch-drunk and told Borash to do that thing with his eyes. He said he's proud of his actions. He said if he had to say what inspired him, it'd be Sting who inspired him. Foley threw the ice pack off of his head and threw a fit over Sting whispering to Angle that he had enough and Angle should just pin him. He complained that Sting declared himself The Decider. "What you call hell, I call home!" He said he was looking for happiness and he's found it. At Lockdown, he'll tear him apart. "Have a nice day," he said as the show ended.

FINAL THOUGHTS (6.5): Better than average Impact for sure. Foley stepped up with his best mic work yet and a real sense of being engaged in the product. Jarrett was fine. Angle was his usual strong self. Sting also continues to seem as engaged and believable on the mic as he ever has in his entire career. Nash was good at the start of the show, too. So from a performance standpoint, at least on the mic, there was a lot of solid to good stuff among the top teir guys.

TNA's booking is paced in a way where it's tough to plan ahead with a main event like this because this tag match was booked as a result of what happened at Destination X four day earlier, and they have other things to move on to next week. They should work really hard in the future to give themselves at least a week's notice on a match like that so it doesn't get defined down as just another match. The announcers can call it a dream match, but dream matches don't just happen 90 minutes after being booked. That's not enough time to really build anticipation.

The Joe-Bashir angle was disturbing and disgusting. The whole "go back to where you came from" deal is always touchy, and going about it during a torture scenario with a knife was just unpleasant to watch. I wouldn't be surprised if that really turned off a significant percentage of the audience who just aren't comfortable seeing that type of intensity and scenario in the context of a wrestling show.

The Beautiful People did strong mic work, too, and I doubt Cute Kip will be missed. The Rough Cut with Devon was nice background and an enjoyable feature to watch. The Booker-Styles thing was fine, and it was respectful of TNA to the audience to explain the Legends Title situation.

The in-ring wrestling wasn't particularly strong. The main event was more of an angle than a match. The Gunns tag was fast-paced but ultimately frenetic and forgettable. The women's match were probably better than usual lately, but they haven't been close to good most of the time lately. I do like the initiation angle with Rayne.



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