TV REPORTS WILKENFELD'S TNA IMPACT REPORT 8/20: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of Spike TV broadcast
Aug 20, 2009 - 10:00:12 PM
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By: Daniel Wilkenfeld, PWTorch Contributor
First, a disclaimer: I've been warned that there are some TNA spoilers in the air, so I've been avoiding TNA news since the PPV. I hate spoilers. Anyway, I might therefore say all sorts of things that seem out of the loop, cause I am.
Where We've Been: This past Sunday, TNA made an odd booking decision by letting Kurt Angle retain his TNA World Heavyweight Championship, despite having admitted to, last I checked, being caught driving on a suspended license. Aside from the moral implications, it seems like an odd business move to keep someone who might have his travel rights curtailed as your number one signature star. Anyway, I already covered this at the start of my Hard Justice recap, where I speculated that it was merely proof of TNA's inability to act quickly on new information. If so, we should see something fun tonight.
The Show: Blueprint for Disaster
They recap the results of Hard Justice one by one. Damnit—if they do that after every month no one will ever read my recaps.
Mike Tenay calls our attention to an empty chair next to him. He says that Don West has been promoted to the TNA merchandise department, and that he "wishes him all the best in his future endeavors". I don't know if that was a slap in the face to West or WWE. Tenay introduces us to his new partner—Taz! I guess they did have a plan for him? It is a little weird that they canned West just when, for the first time in seven years, he was starting to get good. Oh well—West at his best is still no Taz, who might be my single favorite color commentator of all time.
The MEM hit the ring. Kurt starts to talk, but before he gets out a sentence Morgan comes down with an axe handle. Kurt should probably have seen that coming, given the title of the episode. Morgan tells the "little man" to shut up, and when Booker gets in his face he begs him to start something. Booker doesn't seem inclined to do so. Morgan recaps Kurt's sales pitch from Sunday—they'd work together to make sure one of them pinned Sting. But Angle chose option three, which was to go into business for himself and screw Morgan over. Kurt agrees that he said all that, but doesn't see his point. Morgan wants to know why, when he had Sting pinned, Kurt kept the ref from making the count. Kurt has ten seconds to answer before Morgan "swings for the fences". Kurt doesn't understand. Morgan asks if he stuttered, which is kind of funny, if only to the 10% of the audience that got the joke. Kurt says that Morgan was the one who went into business for himself when he hit the Carbon Footprint on Angle on the ramp. Moreover, when Kurt came to he heard the ref counting, and didn't know who was being covered, so he had to break it up. Then he got a chair, but, given Morgan's inexperience, he got in Kurt's way, and then Kurt just covered the fallen man. The Blueprint isn't buying it. Kurt says that he's going to give Morgan one last chance—Morgan is amazed by Kurt's audacity. Kurt proposes that Morgan team with him against Team 3D in a Tables Match. That was random. Morgan looks like he's about to kill Kurt, but then says that, on second thought, it clearly was his inexperience that cost him the match. He knows Kurt has his best interests at heart. So tonight he'll prove they can still work together. Kurt nods along happily. I thought the heels in TNA were supposed to be smart? Unless there's some sort of triple- or quadruple-cross in the works, I don't get this.
AJ arrives in the back, but is too focused to give Lauren a comment—either that or he really has to pee.
We come back to see Hebner banning Bashir, Kiyoshi, and Rob Terry from ringside. We're told that TNA management is cracking down on shenanigans, and to that end has given the officials more leeway to control matches. That's good I guess.
(1) BEER MONEY INC. vs. THE BRITISH INVASION
Beer Money sneak through the crowd and whack the Brits with trash cans to start. Apparently this match is No-DQ. They shove a can over Magnus's head and tee off on it with kendo sticks and leather straps. They then start strapping Williams. Storm uses a strap to hang Williams from the ropes as Roode goes to the outside to strap Magnus. With Williams down, Storm comes out to help Roode hit a Beer Money Suplex on the ramp. He goes back to keep down Williams on the outside, but gets whipped into the ring post. Roode takes Magnus into the corner of the ring and stomps on him, but Williams has gotten a rope and tied Storm to the ring post. He whacks Roode in the head from behind. Roode is down, and the Brits go to town with trash cans. Roode is busted open. Williams hits a European Uppercut then chokes Roode out with kendo stick. Magnus hits him with a trash can. Roode briefly rallies in the corner, but can't keep up with the numbers game. An official has come down to ringside to cut James Storm loose. That doesn't seem fair. In the ring, Williams is suffocating Roode with a plastic bag. Ah—the old "negligent parent" offense. Storm whacks him from behind with a piece of plywood, then attacks Brutus Magnus. Williams, busted open, recovers enough to toss Storm from the ring, but by now Roode is up. He hits Magnus with a Spine Buster, and Storm is back to take out Williams with a beer bottle. They hit the DWI on Magnus for the win.
WINNER: Beer Money Inc. in 6 minutes. That was a pretty cool way to start off Impact.
Lauren is in the back with The Beautiful People, now sans Madison Rayne. She points out that Love not only lost a bff, but the Knockouts Title. She comments on a random bear Angelina's holding. I don't get it. Neither does Love, but she says it's cause she doesn't speak ugly. She's not laughing though. For one thing, laughing causes wrinkles. But also, this is no joke—love didn't lose the title, Rayne did, and tonight she's going to pay for it. Velvet Sky says that Rayne is just a P now, without the V.I. The Beautiful People made her, and they can break her.
We recap how ODB won the title Sunday.
Foley and JB are discussing Mick's match Sunday when ODB and Cody Deaner come by arguing over who won the Knockouts' Champion. Mick doesn't see how a guy can hold that particular title. JB rips on NASCAR for no obvious reason. ODB says that the match was announced as "ODB with Cody Deaner, so she assumed she'd be the champ. Deaner explains what happens when you assume, complete with illustrations. Mick says that he'll retreat to his inner sanctum and rule next week. Deaner wants to know why he can't rule now, but Mick reemphasizes the importance of the inner sanctum. They leave, and Abyss comes by. Mick wants to thank him for the save Sunday, and he hands him a paper bag. Abyss is very excited to get groceries, but Mick explains that he'll be getting him groceries some other time, to be determined. Instead it’s a blue flannel, which Abyss puts on with pride. They talk about how good it feels to have blood run down one's face.
We run down the card for tonight. In addition the Tables Match and AJ's announcement, we also have an X Division Championship Match, the Impact debut of D'Angelo Dinero, and a four-way Knockouts' match. But first:
(2) MADISON RAYNE vs. ANGELINA LOVE
Love ambushes Rayne on the way to the ring. She beats her all the way around it, pounding her into the stairs and ring post. For some reason the bell rings while they're still outside. Love rolls Rayne into the ring and makes the cover for the win.
WINNER: Angelina Love in under a minute.
After the match, Velvet Sky comes down with the brown paper bag. They give Rayne the brown paper bag treatment. They look prepared to continue the humiliation, but Tara and Christy Hemme run down to make the save.
The Guns are hanging out in the gym with wacky infomercial music in the background. They say that they're not on TV cause they don't play politics. They're about three things—entertaining the fans, getting laid, and getting paid. Sadly, their paychecks have been getting smaller lately. So they have a special offer to us. For the low low rate of $2000/hr, they'll come hang out with us. They do it all—they play video games, they hang out outside—Shelley's seen District 9, but he'll see it again. So just call 1-696-696-6969. They'll even throw in a free Sham-wow.
Security guards are pulling The Beautiful People off Rayne in the back. Apparently Tara and Hemme have no follow-through.
(3) HOMICIDE vs. SAMOA JOE X Division Championship Match
Oh wait, first we have this
Things are in full swing when we return. They were supposed to wait till after the break, but Homicide couldn't hold back. He yanks Joe from the ring and gets a running start for a Suicide Dive. Joe walks away, so Homicide stops himself on the apron and somersaults onto Joe from there. The crowd is riotously loud behind LAX. Joe dodges Homicide in the corner and clotheslines the back of his head. He hits a series of quick strikes. Homicide tries to fire back, but Joe gets him with a Snap Slam for two. Joe locks in a Neck Vise, which really has to be one of the most boring moves ever. Homicide powers out, but Joe takes him back to the mat with a German Suplex. Joe hits a Power Bomb, but it only gets two. I don't know why he didn't transition into an STF. He goes for a second, but Homicide slips out and comes at him. Joe tries to reverse with a Tilt-A-Whirl Slam, but Homicide re-reverses into a Cross Body for two. Homicide looks for the Gringo Cutter, but Joe shoves him off. He tries to roll up Joe by bouncing off the ropes, but Joe ducks and Homicide hits his throat against the top rope. Homicide gets away again and does hit the Cutter, but it only gets two. He charges Joe in the corner, but runs right into a Ura-Nage. Joe looks for a Decapitator Clothesline, but Homicide ducks and tries to choke him out from behind, Princess Bride style. Joe backs him into a corner, hits his version of the Pele, and nails the Muscle Buster for the kill.
WINNER: Samoa Joe in between four and seven minutes. What we saw was great—I don't know why we didn't get to see the rest.
Various knockouts are playing with Tara's Tarantula in the back.
Lauren is standing by with Taylor Wilde, Tara, Christy Hemme, and Sarita. She announces that they'll all be competing next week in the first round of the tournament to crown the first ever Knockouts' Tag Team Champions. Christy and Tara act like they're ready for a slumber party. Christy says that WWE would never do something like this. Sarita and Taylor Wilde are also apparently bffs now. Everyone is happy and laughing. That was one bizarre segment. I can't wait till TNA gets more than a 1:1 title-to-wrestler ratio.
(4) AWESOME KONG (w/RAESHA SAEED) vs. TRACI BROOKS (w/SHARMELL) vs. SARITA (w/TAYLOR WILDE) vs. CHRISTY HEMME (w/TARA)
Kong is teaming with Raesha Saeed? Does that mean that Alissa Flash will not be in the tournament? It would be awesome if they both are. Kong squishes Traci and Christy to start, but can't get her hands on Sarita, who keeps flitting away. Sarita goes for a Hurricanrana, which Kong reverses into an attempted Power Bomb, from which Sarita escapes. Kong charges, and Sarita low-bridges her out of the ring. She hits a weird Twisting Leg Scissors on Traci—it looks really good. Kong gets up on the apron, but Christy is back and helps dropkick her back to the concrete. Traci knocks Sarita down from behind, then lures Christy out of the ring, where she whips her into a barricade. Going out of the ring was a bad idea though, cause that's where Kong is. She runs over Traci. Suddenly Sarita comes off the apron with a beautiful Somersault Plancha. I really can't remember the last time a wrestler has lived up to their pre-debut hype as well as Sarita has—maybe Carlito?
Christy is in control when we come back, but when she goes for the FFG Kong cuts her off and hoists her up. Traci and Sarita quickly roll under Kong's legs, causing her to fall back with Christy on top. She kicks out at two. Traci and Sarita double team Kong for a second, and then some craziness happens that I can't quite follow. Sarita kicks Traci, runs on top of Kong, goes for some Tilt-A-Whirl move on Traci, and seems to blow the spot? Dude, I just vouched for you eight seconds ago. Maybe I was right though, since she covers beautifully by kicking Traci's backside from the mat, causing Traci to fall onto Kong, which I'm guessing was how the original spot (if it wasn't this) was supposed to end. Christy yanks Sarita down by the hair and nails an Inverted DDT on Traci. She hits the FFG. Kong lifts her off the cover for an Awesome Bomb. Christy slips out, but gets caught by an Implant Buster instead. Before Kong can make the cover Sarita dropkicks her. Kong is not happy. She drops Sarita in the center of the ring, then Splashes her. She climbs to inflict more damage on Christy with a Splash off the top rope, but while she's still climbing Traci slips in and makes the quick cover for the win. Kong is ticked—she's throwing chairs.
WINNER: Traci Brooks in nine minutes. This was much better set-up for the tournament that the preceding promo was. We're told that Kong & Saeed will take on Traci & Sharmell in the first round next week.
D'Angelo Dinero is up next. All we see is a pimp-style cane.
Lethal Consequences are in the ring. I guess Consequences Creed is your sacrificial lamb of the evening. Dinero seems concerned that SoCal Val will steal his bling.
(5) D'ANGELO DINERO vs. CONSEQUENCES CREED (w/JAY LETHAL)
The ref sends Jay Lethal to the back before the opening bell. Creed and Dinero trade wrist locks to start. I guess Dinero's a preacher, not a pimp—I don't get cane and the bling then. Dinero gets the upper hand with some strikes, so Creed goes to the apron and comes back with a Springboard Clothesline. He goes for his Splits-Punches, but Dinero dodges the knockout blow and just plants Creed in the face. He jumps on Creed against the middle-rope, sliding through in the process. He hits a Fist Drop off the top rope for two. Taz notes the tight cover—wow he's good on commentary. Tenay just echoed that sentiment. Creed powers out of a rest hold, splits below a clothesline and knocks Dinero down. When he comes to follow up Dinero yanks him head-first into the bottom turnbuckle and hits his Suspended Elbow Drop in the corner. He pulls down the knee pads and hits the Move Formerly Known as The Elijah Express for the kill.
WINNER: D'Angelo Dinero in four minutes. This was a solid showcase of Dinero's skills.
After the match the lights dim and Suicide's music hits. He jumps down from the bottom ledge of the TitanTron. Dinero looks terrified. When Suicide hits the ring, Dinero flees. Suicide signals that Dinero is a dead man.
AJ is coming out for his major announcement.
Lauren is in the back with Matt Morgan, and she wants to know if Matt's really buying what Kurt said earlier. Matt says that of course he's buying it, hook line and sinker. Everyone knows that whatever Kurt says is gospel, cause he would never lie or stab anyone in the back. Tonight he's sure that he'll have Kurt's back and Kurt will have his "boot"…he means "back". Look, it just goes to show how inexperienced he really is. Oh, I get it now—they're making fun of how stupid they used to portray the faces as being. I can get behind that.
Speaking of faces who have historically been portrayed as idiots, AJ Styles hits the ring, mic in hand. He looks sad. The crowd is glad to see him. He says this is one of the hardest things he's ever had to do in this ring. The crowd begs him not to quit. I'm always amazed by how orchestrated the Impact Zone can get. The last few weeks have been rough, but then he's used to rough times. Times were rough as a kid, but he never quit. He moved from trailer park to trailer park with a father that didn't know how to express love, but he still didn't quit. He's not telling us this to gain sympathy, but to explain why he's proud of who he is. But he'll tell us what he's not proud of. He's not proud of losing the Legends' Championship, of losing one of his most important matches to Matt Morgan, and losing his friends like Samoa Joe and Eric Young. When you care about this company as much as he does, it starts to infect your personal life. He's on the road all the time, and then when he gets home he's dealing with work and starts yelling at his wife and kids for stupid stuff. The crowd starts an "AJ" chant, which seems heartfelt, but oddly timed after he mentioned lashing out at his kids. AJ says that there comes a time when every man has to look himself in the mirror and ask if it's worth it. It's not. It's not worth it. It's not worth another set-back, and it's not worth letting us fans down. The fans ask him to please not go. He's spent seven years in TNA, and he swears we're the best fans in the world. But he thinks that it's time to say goodbye to professional wrestling. He says that he loves us and he's sorry. Sting comes down to the ring without any make-up or entrance music. For the record's sake, this is one of the few times sending someone down without music is the right call—this promo isn't about creating one impactful moment. Sting wants to know if this is really the way AJ wants to leave. He's basically quitting. He's quitting on his wife and his little son. He's quitting on these fans who want to be him. Right now he's a loser, cause that's what losers do—they quit. Does AJ think that in 20 years Sting's whole career has been a bed of roses? He suffered both professionally and personally. But he never quit. For months he's been talking about bringing honor and dignity back to the business, of finding someone to carry the torch for him. All that time, he was talking about AJ. AJ is—no, was—the chosen one. But now it's not going to happen. They can just flush it down the toilet, because AJ wants to say goodbye. AJ starts to leave, but Sting says that before AJ goes he should look Sting in the eye and say "Sting, I quit. Sting, I give up, Sting I'm a loser." AJ can either do that or go to the back, lace up his boots, and claim what is supposed to be his. AJ tears up and hugs Sting. The crowd is loving it. AJ signals that he was just getting a little nuts. Sting reminds him that he's AJ Styles, and that he's supposed to be the man. They walk to the back together.
Depending on whether that clicked with you emotionally, that was probably either one of the best segments in ages or one of the cheesiest. I'm leaning towards the former myself.
Bobby Lashley is striding purposefully.
Lauren is in the back with Hernandez. She congratulates him for getting his briefcase back, but she wants to know when he'll cash it in. He says that it's a question of when the most opportune moment comes along. He does guarantee this—the night he cashes it in, he's walking out as champion. Eric Young comes by. Hernandez asks what he wants, but Young is here to help. He sees Hernandez go to the ring with his Mexican colors, and sees that he knows where he comes from. World Elite know where they're from too. The difference is that they're not playing our game anymore. Young can see that Hernandez thinks he's right, cause if didn't, he would have crashed EY's head in by now, or tried to anyway. He invites him to think it over and to come talk to him later.
"The Boss" Bobby Lashley sits down at commentary. He announces that we'll be seeing Dixie Carter's Impact debut next week, and that she'll be in turn be announcing Lashley's role in the company. Tenay asks him to stay on for commentary, and he agrees. Taz questions why he doesn't have anything better to do. Team 3D hit the ring for the main event, followed by Morgan. On Angle's way down he stops to shove Lashley in the face. Lashley slugs him, so security guards separate everyone and take Lashley to the back. I was wondering whether they were really going to let him talk for a whole match.
(6) KURT ANGLE & MATT MORGAN vs. TEAM 3D Tables Match
Angle and Brother Ray lock up to start. Taz calls Ray "Bubba", corrects himself, then basically says "screw it" and goes back to "Bubba" for the rest of the match. I missed Taz. Angle shoots Ray off into the ropes. Ray comes back with a shoulder block, but Angle catches him with a Drop Toe Hold. As Ray gets up he walks into a series of right hands. Taz says that they have exactly opposite styles, and then that Angle has unmatched credibility. Ha! Ray gets some room, but when he goes to the outside for a table Morgan slows him down and he can't do it. Ray makes the tag, and Devon takes it to Angle in the corner. A small but very vocal contingent is cheering for Angle. Morgan tags in and hits his Float-Over-Leg-Choke. He goes for a table, but Ray cuts him off. He whiffs on an attempted Leg Drop in the ring, and Devon clotheslines him to the outside. Kurt and Ray run in, and Kurt eats a Flap Jack for his troubles.
We get back just in time to see Devon nail the Wuzzup on Kurt. Brother Ray sends him to get the tables, and they finally succeed at getting one into the ring. They set up one in the center of the ring and one in the corner, but turn around into a Double Clothesline from Morgan. Morgan is now getting the Cena treatment, with dueling "Let's go Morgan" and "Morgan sucks" chant. Morgan hits a Ura-Nage on Devon, but Ray gets the table out of the way. Morgan clocks Ray right out of the ring. Angle looks for an Olympic Slam on Devon through the table, but it's reversed into a Saving Grace—Morgan gets the table out of the way. Morgan tries to Carbon Footprint Devon through the table in the corner, but Devon dodges. Morgan sells a knee injury. Ray's back and a house of fire. He looks to put Angle through a table with a Power Bomb; it's reversed into an Olympic Slam, but Devon gets the table out of the way. He knocks down Angle, and they go for a Double Team Suplex on Morgan—Angle's a bit late on getting the table out of the way, and Morgan's legs knock it over and break its legs. Angle goes to the outside to replace it, but they're out of tables. That's awkward. Ray kicks him on the outside, then gets a table from near the commentary booth. He brings it to the ring and hurls the broken one at a camera guy. That's not cool. Kurt Angle gets up swinging, taking down both Ray and Devon. Morgan comes back into the ring as Angle hits a European Uppercut on Devon. They set up Devon on the table, then argue over who should go to the top. Eventually Morgan does so. While he climbs, Ray gets up, knocks down Angle, and gets Devon up. Ray and Devon cut off Morgan on the top rope and hurl him through the table for the win.
WINNERS: Team 3D in 13 minutes. They finally give a match a decent amount of time, and it just sort of plods along. There was a lot of hit power move, have opponent move the table, then repeat action.
As Angle retreats up the apron, he and Morgan mouth blame at each other.
Where We're Going: There's a lot to talk about. I'd be annoyed at TNA for not addressing the Angle situation, and annoyed at TNA for stringing the Morgan thing along in a way that can't possibly make sense, but, oddly enough, those two annoyances cancel out. They both indicate that tonight was just the start of something, like a cliffhanger. Thus both lead me to defer judgment. AJ and Sting's interaction has the potential to be, well, phenomenal. And the Knockouts' Tag Team Division should be great, though at some point they really have to expand the roster or reduce the number of belts. IWGP titles, I'm looking in your direction here.
Star of the Night: AJ Styles. Your mileage may vary, but I thought he sold his part well.
Overall: This show was going along very well till the anti-climactic main event. I could take this week's episode as the first part of a two-parter, but even in that regard the non-ending failed to make me want more. Everything till then was solid-to-great. I might retroactively bump this up or down, depending on what they make next week of this week's ending, but for now let's go with a B.
Daniel is a graduate instructor at The Ohio State University. He just taught his last class for the summer of 2009 this morning. Now he's writing a wrestling column instead of grading papers. Students seeking to complain can reach him at email@example.com
Post-Script:. I just realized that the show after Hard Justice marks my official two year anniversary with Torch. Neat.
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