TV REPORTS WILKENFELD'S TNA IMPACT REPORT 10/15: Ongoing (but suffering an hour lag) "virtual time" coverage of Spike TV broadcast
Oct 15, 2009 - 9:13:35 PM
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By: Daniel Wilkenfeld, PWTorch Contributor
After last week, lots of people offered to help out with my overbooking issues. I am not authorized to pick guest columnists, but the gestures were appreciated.
Where We've Been: We're rushing headlong into Bound for Glory. TNA (justly) took a while to build up the AJ-is-despondent plotline, but that hardly left any time to build up the Sting-AJ title feud. Meanwhile, Morgan-Angle is where it should be, though Angle is also feuding with AJ, Sting, World Elite, and several small African nations. I like the interweaving plots though, so that's cool. Finally, there is no X Division Championship match scheduled for BFG. I think I'm going to keep mentioning that for a while. AJ is scheduled to defend tonight against Kurt Angle [note: this turns out to be a non-title match]. This would certainly not be the appropriate time to move the title around, but I wouldn't put it past TNA booking. Let's start in on tonight's, ugh, "Super Impact."
The Show: Angle's Revenge
They're selling this show as "three hours of wrestling", which is promising. I'll believe it when I see it though.
The MEM is in the ring to open the show. Wow, it didn't take long to break that "three hours of wrestling" promise, now did it? Angle points out that he's in his wrestling gear. Normally he comes out in a suit and tie to preach the greatness of the Main Event Mafia, but tonight's a bit different, since he's here to wrestle AJ. He's not here to talk about that though. He wants to talk about the one year anniversary of the greatest alliance in wrestling history, which is this Sunday. Wasn't the MEM founded about two weeks after BFG last year? Angle's here to rally his troops for the biggest PPV of the year. He addresses Nash first. He points out that Nash is the Legends' Champion because he's an actual legend, unlike Eric Young and Hernandez. He expects Nash to prove it on Sunday. He asks if he's clear, then goes to Joe. He gives Lashley credit for being one of the most dominant MMA fighters, but suggests that if Joe brings the Nation of Violence he'll show why he's the most dominant man in TNA today. He again asks if he's clear. He doesn't have much to say to Booker T & Steiner, since they've held more titles "than any person combined." So he'll just ask them to do what they do best, which is win on Sunday. And he'll take Matt Morgan from a giant to a mouse, and then get his shot at his World Heavyweight Championship. Um, did Kurt accidentally just spoil the result of tonight's main event? AJ's music hits. He's followed by all the MEM's opponents Sunday (save Eric Young and The British Invasion). Brother Ray asks if everyone is as sick and tired of hearing Angle talk as he is. Maybe it's time to time to hear from our World Heavyweight Champion, AJ Styles. The crowd goes ballistic. AJ says that Sunday isn't a "make or break" PPV for the MEM—it's a break PPV. We're three days away from the end of the MEM. Matt Morgan says that he doesn't want to wait. There's a massive pull-apart brawl, somehow broken up by security.
The Beautiful People come down to the ring, with a new three person entrance. It is fairly hot. They're apparently here to face the women in the Knockouts Championship match.
(1) THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE vs. TARA, ODB, & AWESOME KONG
Awesome Kong squishes ODB to start, then goes after Tara on the outside. I'm not sure they properly explained the rules of this match to her. Kong and Saeed walk away. Is Kong the heel of this trio? I don't know why. A dropkick by Sky on the now isolated ODB gets two. Madison Rayne comes in, and they get a Double Suplex for another two. ODB creates some distance with a clothesline, and both women tag out. Tara comes in with shots to everyone. Sky gets the brunt of her fury; Tara hits her with a Snap Suplex, but when she goes to the top rope ODB blind-tags herself in. Tara's not happy, so she Superkicks ODB in the chest. Sky makes the cover for the win.
WINNERS: The Beautiful People in four minutes. This was effective, but nothing more.
Tenay says that Lethal Consequences will face The Motor City Machine Guns on the preshow this Sunday. Here's a fun game: go through TNA's year, and count how many of their best matches Alex Shelley was in. Then ponder the fact that Lashley gets a spot on the card over him.
Lauren is in the back with Dinero, who gratuitously plugs Six Hour Power. I like that bit. I really cannot make out most of what he says—I think I preferred his promos as Elijah Burke. He puts Lauren's hand to his chest to prove that he has the heart of a champion, the sort of heart that can never be contained. It's about to be time for everyone in the X Division to learn to kneel down and kiss The Pope's ring.
Lauren is in the back with Bobby Lashley, who's scheduled to face Rhino in a Stretcher Match tonight. She doesn't understand how he can be so cool about this. He says it's cause he is cool—that's actually a really good character for him (ie. faux-RVD). Before he can say any more, Rhino Gores the hell out of him. Rhino says that there won't be a Bound for Glory for Lashley.
They hype Ultimate X 17. I wonder if that counts the one where the structure broke. I could be wrong, but I think either Shelley or Sabin was in every clip but maybe one. That's awesome.
Amazing Red comes down to the ring with Don West. I did not foresee that.
(2) AMAZING RED vs. SUICIDE X Division Championship Match
Suicide takes Red over with a throw to start. Red goes between the legs, Suicide blocks the Sunset Flip, Red dodges the attempted Leg Drop, and both miss with dropkicks. We get the standoff of mutual respect. They tangle. Red Arm Drags Suicide into the corner, but Suicide dodges the follow-up. Suicide goes for a Tilt-a-Whirl Back Breaker, misses, but then hits his running head to the middle turnbuckle. He hangs Red up on the top rope, but Red flips over as he charges and Suicide goes to the outside. Red follows him out with a Vaulting Corkscrew Splash. Red rolls him back into the ring and tries to follow up off the top rope, but gets (literally) caught by Suicide. Red slips out and connects with a Trouble in Paradise for two. Red punches Suicide into the corner, but when he looks for a Monkey Flip Suicide catches him with an Oklahoma Roll. Suicide goes right to the apron and hits a Slingshot Leg Drop for a long two count. He goes to the top rope, but Dinero runs down and shoves him off right in front of the ref.
WINNER: No contest in 4 minutes. You know what would be tragic? The beloved X Division Champion winning a match cleanly. The action was great till the finish—I had to watch the whole match twice just to type up most of it.
After the match, Dinero continues the beat down on Suicide. Dinero looks for a DDE, but Red cuts him off with a leg lariat. Don West celebrates with Red in the ring.
JB is in the back with Don West and Amazing Red. Don West says that he has been the biggest Amazing Red since the beginning (that's true, at least within TNA). Red came to him and asked him to be his promoter, and West said "of course." It starts Sunday. There's going to be an Ultimate X Match at BFG, and that's a match that's made for Red. So that match will happen, but it will include a fifth person, and it'll be for the X Division Championship. Neat. Red seems happy as well. So am I, though I'll be annoyed if they take the strap off him, and I'm kind of getting a heel-turn vibe from West.
Eric Young joins Tenay and Taz on commentary.
Hernandez tries to channel his inner Batista on his way down to the ring, but it's not working for him. He goes over to Eric Young. He says that out of respect for Mike and Taz he won't do anything tonight, but at Bound for Glory he'll break every bone in EY's body. He goes to the ring, and EY says that he's glad to see Hernandez knows when to walk away, since Young was just about to end his night.
3) HERNANDEZ vs. THE BRITISH INVASION Gauntlet Match
3a) HERNANDEZ vs. DOUG WILLIAMS
Doug Williams tries to start things off with a Sunset Flip, but Super-Mex takes him over with a Cracker Jack. He places Williams on the top turnbuckle, but Williams creates some distance with a boot and takes him down with a diving European Uppercut for two. He tries to follow up with some strikes. Hernandez looks for a Suplex, but Williams slips out. Hernandez Pounces his head in, and that's enough for the elimination.
3b) HERNANDEZ vs. BRUTUS MAGNUS
Williams clotheslines the back of Hernandez's head on his way out of the ring. Magnus comes in with some quick kicks, but a cover only gets two. A Belly-to-Back Suplex gets two, as the crowd comes alive for Hernandez. Hernandez reverses an attempted whip into the corner, charges, floats over to the outside, and comes back in with the Slingshot Shoulder Block. He charges down Mangus in the corner, hurls him across the ring with his shirt, and Border Tosses him for the kill.
3c) HERNANDEZ vs. ROB TERRY
Rob Terry sneaks into the ring from behind, slugging Hernandez down. Hernandez comes back punching, but gets knocked right to the mat. Terry hits some shoulder thrusts in the corner, the goes for some mounted punches. That seems like a bad idea. Sure enough, Hernandez nails him with a Sit Out Power Bomb for pin #3.
WINNER: Hernandez in five minutes. Hernandez is one of the most fun people to watch squash some folk, though this doesn't help TNA's attempt to build up World Elite as a rival to the MEM.
After the match Eric Young runs into the ring as Hernandez celebrates. He's gotten a kendo stick from somewhere, and he uses it to beat the hell out of Hernandez. Williams hits his Spinning European Uppercut as Magnus holds Hernandez up, and the World Elite celebrate.
Mike Tenay is joined by the captains of the four teams, panel-style. Ray points out that he and Devon are no strangers to TLC…er…Full Metal Mayhem matches, and they're going to be fully focused on getting both titles they've been screwed out of. Tenay asks Roode if he can work together with Team 3D. Roode acknowledges that it would be a good idea, but points out that in a match like this it's every team for itself. Tenay goes to Booker T, who's offended that he didn't get the first question. Tenay asks something about this being their final encounter, but Booker's not worried. Beer Money are rookies, the Dudleys are just title-hungry, and The British Invasion are a joke. Brutus Magnus jumps in, saying that it's impressive Booker T got more ridiculous that he already was. Tenay interrupts, saying that he's gotten word that their partners are brawling in catering. We cut away to "catering", which consists of four tables and some paper plates. Remind me never to hire whomever caters the Impact Zone. The four people being interviewed run down and join in the brawl. Various objects are thrown around haphazardly. I really hope "Full Metal Mayhem" includes a pogo stick, but it was sadly absent tonight.
[Commercial Break—we see Angle working out in the middle]
Lauren is in the locker room with AJ Styles. Does she usually interview in there? What if someone's changing? She asks why he took the match with Angle before settling things with Sting. AJ points out that Kurt's not good at taking "no", and that he's a fighting champion. Sting is the Icon, Angle is one of the greatest, but what is AJ? He's the World Heavyweight Champion, and he's going to act like it. He and Kurt both need to know who's the best. Will this effect his match with Sting on Sunday? Only if Kurt Angle's right, but AJ seriously doubts that.
We go back to Homicide attacking Willie Urbina last week. Earlier tonight he was prevented from coming into the Impact Zone as a consequence.
Dinero hits the ring, and "money" rains from above.
(3) D'ANGELO DINERO vs. DANIELS
Dinero gets Daniels into the corner and charges. He works some chops, but whiffs on a charge and gets taken down by Daniels. He tries to come back with a knee, but then walks right into a dropkick. Dinero goes to the corner; Daniels follows him, and while the ref tries to break it up Dinero pokes Daniels in the eye. He takes Daniels down to the mat and stomps on his head. He drops an elbow for two. Daniels fights back from his knees, but Dinero hits his big uppercut to take Daniels down. Dinero grabs a blindfold. I don't know why, and Daniels knocks it out of his hand before we can find out. He takes Daniels down with a Snapmare and works over Daniels's eyes. He drives his knee into Daniels's face, then locks in a Camel Clutch. Daniels powers out, ducks a punch, and connects with a quick Neck Breaker. He sledges Dinero down to the mat, then takes him down again with a Leg Lariat. He sets him up on the top rope. Dinero pushes him off, but when he comes off the top rope Daniels catches him with a Ura-Nage. Dinero gets up and hits a quick STO for two, but then Daniels gets up and gets him with an STO of his own. He goes for a Sunset Flip, they trade quick covers, and Daniels ends up getting Dinero into the Angel's Wings for the win. Wait, was that a clean finish?
WINNER: Daniels in six—it's nice to know that sometimes matches just end.
After the match, Suicide's music hits. He comes down to the ring, then suddenly attacks Daniels. Hah—it's Homicide! Okay, this time they got me. Sure enough, he nails Daniels with a Gringo Killer, then takes off his mask. Security guards chase him away.
Foley is walking around backstage.
Foley hits the ring with a tub of popcorn and some weird paper mask on his head. This week he's getting booed. He lowers the mask, and sits down on an easy chair in the ring. He makes an "ooooh" noise, and says how scary it is. He used to wear one of these things for about three years. Then he found out that they were being mass marketed, and that for a few dollars anyone could pretend to be him, including Chris Parks. Mick has to agree that as blatant Mick Foley knock-offs go, he's pretty good, so he's going to treat us to a movie of Abyss's greatest hits. Clip one ("Cheap Imitation") is of Abyss making his debut with his spooky manager, wearing a mask the likes of which had not seen since Mick debuted with one in 1996. Clip #2 is from the family favorite "Carbon Copy", and it's of "Santa reaching into his bag of goodies" to unload some tacks, as not seen since Mick invented that match in 1995. From "Blazing Rip Off", we see Abyss get set on fire, bearing a remarkable similarity to Mick Foley with Edge in the 2006 Match of the Year. And now it's time for an original clip. Abyss runs down to the ring and hits Mick with a barbed wire bat. Mick says he's glad to see him, since now he can watch the new clip first-hand. Dr. Stevie is in the back with "Lauren". Damnit!!!! That had better be Daffney in a wig—we almost got through a whole Bound for Glory build-up without anyone stalking anyone else's family/pseudo-girlfriend! Oh well. Mick says that Abyss should run to her, rather than waste his time with Mick. Abyss runs off.
JB is in the back when Homicide comes to take the mic. No one's going to send him home. He shows us what he's got—Suicide's mask. Suicide was going to ambush Dinero, but Homicide got to him in the locker room, knocked him out, and took his mask. So at BFG all three of his opponents (it actually sort of makes sense that he wouldn't have heard Red was added to the match) better watch out, cause he'll be more than representing. He also points out that this means he knows Suicide's secret, but then claims he knew who he was all along. Security guards try to trap Homicide, so he scampers off.
(4) HAMADA vs. ALISSA FLASH Falls Count Anywhere
Flash ambushes Hamada on her way down to the ring. She kicks her down the ramp, then covers her for two. She gets a table out from under the ring. Tenay claims that this feud started when Flash interrupted Hamada's interview, but didn't Hamada floor Flash first? Flash sets up the table by the ringpost, but Hamada stops her from putting her through it. Hamada looks for an Asai Moonsault, but Flash cuts her off. Flash works a Surfboard, then stomps Hamada into the concrete. She starts beating her back up the ring, but Hamada begins brawling back. Flash grabs her hair. She looks to Power Slam Hamada off the ramp, but Hamada slips out and shoves her down to the concrete. As Flash gets up Hamada does a somersault flip into her, but the cover only gets two. Hamada takes Flash over to the table, which she sets up normally. She tries to drive Flash into it, but Flash blocks it. Flash tries to strike back, but Hamada nails her with a Spinning Heel Kick. She sets Flash up on the table, then goes to the top rope. Flash was just playing possum though. She cuts Hamada off, takes her to the apron, and tries to Suplex her through the table. Hamada blocks it and DDTs her onto the apron. She sets Flash up on the table, goes to the top rope, and Moonsaults her through it for the three count.
WINNER: Hamada in five minutes. It might seem weird to have two people who aren't on the upcoming PPV compete, but I think it's a nice way of emphasizing the depth in the division. I would have given Flash the win, but didn't expect TNA to.
JB is in the MEM locker room with Kurt Angle. He wants to know if his match tonight has shaken his focus off Matt Morgan at Bound for Glory. Kurt says that it won't, because he'll be sailing into BFG with a big win over AJ Styles. Let's face facts: Matt Morgan is good. So is AJ Styles. But neither of them is Kurt Angle. So Kurt will beat the "champion" tonight, then prove to Matt Morgan Sunday why you don't cross the godfather.
I guess that match tonight is non-title. That does make more sense, though I could have sworn Kurt said last week he was challenging for the title—maybe I just misunderstood. My apologies.
[Commercial Break—we see the ambulance arrive for the Stretcher Match]
Lashley comes down to the ring with a taped up torso. Rhino is already in the ring. Poor, poor, Rhino.
(5) RHINO vs. LASHLEY Stretcher Match
When Lashley goes up to the apron Rhino knocks him down to the barricade. He takes Lashley back into the ring and starts pounding down on the injured torso. Rhino stomps on the tape a bunch. Unlike in their last match, there's a vocal minority backing Rhino—so the revolution begins. Lashley creates some distance with a back elbow, then takes Rhino down with a brutal clothesline. He tosses Rhino out of the ring, then follows him. He plants Rhino's face against the apron. Rhino fights back, but Lashley whips him into the barricade. Lashley slams Rhino's head into various parts of the barricade, then puts him on the stretcher. He doesn't get very far before Rhino gets up. Rhino hits some right hands and some chops to the tape. He charges with a Gore, but Lashley dodges and Rhino hits the wall beneath the entranceway. Lashley rains down punches, then sets Rhino up again on the stretcher. They cut to a replay as Lashley wheels him out, which is a bit odd. Lashley is almost to the ambulance when Rhino slips out and drives the stretcher into him. Rhino looks for another Gore, but Lashley gets a boot up. Lashley hits a Full Nelson Slam onto some conveniently placed metal. He puts Rhino on the stretcher, and we once again cut to a replay. Did they think he'd have trouble getting it into the ambulance? Or, since this is tape delayed, did he? Anyway, he does in fact get Rhino in for the win.
WINNER: Lashley in five minutes. Poor Rhino.
Abyss is looking for Dr. Stevie backstage. He hears a woman's screams.
We see a video hyping BFG.
SoCal Val catches up with Lashley in the back. She asks if he has any words for Joe. You see Joe waiting with a chair behind him as Lashley asks whether Joe's ready to tap out. Joe pounces, putting the chair to the injured torso before locking in the Kokido Clutch. Joe releases the hold, saying he left Lashley with one last breath to lose at BFG. So Lashley's going with injured ribs into a submission match with the Samoan Submission Machine? If he wins, I riot.
We run down Sunday's card.
Abyss catches up with Dr. Stevie in the back, and he is in fact holding Daffney with a wig. Foley comes from behind and whacks him (Abyss) with a barbed wire baseball bat. As he drives the barbed wire into Abyss's face, he amuses himself with the irony that Abyss was tricked by a cheap imitation. Not-kidnapping Lauren makes a lot more sense, given Foley's character, but where the hell was Lauren when Abyss was storming around and SoCal Val was interviewing Lashley?
We have 1:10 left in the program, and are told that AJ vs. Angle will be up next.
(6) AJ STYLES vs. KURT ANGLE
There's no way they're really going to let this go for over an hour three days before their biggest PPV, are they? The opening bell rings at 10:56. AJ soaks up the cheers to start. I can't remember the last time there was no pro-Angle contingent. Kurt backs AJ into the corner, where the ref breaks them up. Angle locks AJ's waist, they trade a pair of go-behinds, and AJ rolls over to the ropes for the break. They do seem to be settling in for a long one. They lock up again. AJ tries to pick a leg, but Angle blocks it with a headlock. He then gets AJ down with a Headlock Takedown. AJ gets to his feet, shoots off Angle, leap frogs him, and connects with his high dropkick. Angle rolls out of the ring for a breather. Angle comes back in, kicks AJ in the abdomen, works some European Uppercuts, and shoots AJ off into the ropes. He lowers his head for a Back Body Drop, so AJ kicks it and takes him down with a Body Slam. A Knee Drop gets a one count. Kurt rolls out of the ring. Angle comes back in, and signals that he wants a Test of Strength. AJ complies, and Angle gets the immediate advantage. He brings AJ to his knees. AJ gets back up, and when he starts to gain the upper hand Angle kicks him in the gut and tosses him to the apron. AJ comes back in with a Slingshot Rolling Clothesline. Angle rolls out of the ring. AJ is about to vault after him, but Angle rolls into the ring. AJ stops himself on the apron. He tries to come back in with a Springboard-something, but Kurt knocks his legs out from under him. AJ falls to the outside. He's gets back to the apron at a seven count. Angle knocks him back down. As AJ gets up at ringside, Kurt flips over the ropes with a Somersault Plancha that catches AJ with his heel. He drives Styles into the apron, then rolls him in for a cover that barely gets two. A Back Breaker gets two. Kurt puts his knee to AJ's back and wrenches back on his head. AJ powers out, but walks right into a Tilt-a-Whirl Back Breaker. Kurt hits a quick Vertical Suplex for a pair of two counts. Kurt works what Taz calls a "Reverse Gutwrench", which is a bear hug to AJ's back. AJ gets to his feet, powers Angle into the corner, and breaks the hold with a series of back elbows. He tries to whip Kurt into the corner; Kurt reverses, but AJ gets his boot up and takes Kurt down. AJ connects with a right hand, but then Kurt flips him over with an Overhead Release Belly-to-Belly Suplex. Angle chokes AJ against the ropes as the crowd tells him he sucks. A Back Suplex gets two. He cinches in the Body Scissors. AJ almost has the grip broken when Kurt converts it to a Rear Naked Choke. AJ jockeys for position, so Kurt transitions into a Side Headlock. AJ powers out, but Kurt immediately gets him into a Sleeper. AJ slips behind Kurt and nails a back Suplex of his own. Both men get to their feet. Kurt looks for a clothesline, but AJ ducks it and connects with a pair of his own. He charges Kurt, gets elevated out to the apron, but comes back with his Flying Forearm for two. He sets up for the Styles Clash, but Kurt shoves him into the ring post and nails a brutal Release German Suplex for a long two count. Angle tries to lock up again as AJ gets up, but AJ ducks below his arms and connects with a Pele for a long two count. AJ goes to the top rope, but takes way too long. Angle cuts his off with a Belly-to-Belly Superplex (sort of—it became a hip toss about half way through) for yet another long two. Angle looks for the Olympic Slam, but AJ reverses with an Arm Drag and connects with a Decapitator Clothesline for two. AJ looks for the Styles Clash again. Angle starts lifting him up, AJ reverses into a Victory Roll, but Angle rolls through and gets in an Angle Lock. AJ reverses into a cover for two, but as they get up Angle locks his waist and gets his series of German Suplexes for a long two count. Angle drops the straps, but when he attempts an Olympic Slam AJ slips over him and somehow rolls him into a Styles Clash for a very long two count. AJ goes to the top rope. He goes for a Flying Forearm from there, but Angle gets a boot up and hits a quick Olympic Slam for two. Angle goes to the top rope, but whiffs on the big Moonsault. AJ rolls out to the apron, and comes back with his Slingshot 450-Splash for 1, 2…NO! The crowd thinks that this is awesome, and I agree. AJ lifts Kurt up onto the top turnbuckle. Angle fights him off, but AJ gets right back up and pulls Angle down into a Pile Driver position. Kurt reverses and gets AJ into that position, AJ re-reverses, and Angle rolls through and cinches in the Angle Lock. He grapevines the leg, and AJ looks ready to tap, when…the bell rings? Are they really going to screw this up with something Montreal-y? Not quite—it turns out that 20 minute time limit has just elapsed. Angle is not happy, but he leaves. Sting comes down to the ring.
WINNER: Draw in 20 minutes. That was a worse ending than I'd hoped for, but far better than I expected. The action was pretty damn good all the way through. I think I have an idea where they might be going with this though (see below)—if I'm correct, then they're actually doing something right. ***1/2
We see Lashley training outside of Denver. They try to convince me I should care. I do not. We also hear from Samoa Joe, who says that he is pro-wrestling. We hear from Taz. Is Bound for Glory supposed to be a Triple Main Event? Even if it is, I'd think either the Legends' or Tag Team Championship Matches are bigger deals than this. We see Lashley's family. That's nice. I wonder how Superstars was today. Maybe I should start reading Stephen King. Wow, this is still going. I could totally go for a drink right about now. I wonder if those people who volunteered to help out with my column are slowly trying to sneak out of the back of the room. Oh, wait, we're done. That was…five minutes? Really, that's it? That might very well have been the longest five minutes of wrestling I've ever watched.
We now go to a preview of Monster's Ball—this is also not the third match I would have hyped, but it's a whole lot closer. We recap Abyss and Foley's history. I hope they're doing all this recapping now so that Bound for Glory can be almost entirely wrestling. I'll pause now for the hysterical laughter. Abyss says that getting in the ring with Mick Foley is going to be an honor. Mick thinks that this is the biggest match of Abyss's career, and Mick is glad to be able to step onto the biggest stage of the year and prove he's still got it, just like he did in 2004. Abyss suggests that he and Mick Foley leave it all in the ring just one more time. Mick's hope is that at the end of the day people are asking themselves whether that was the greatest hardcore match of all time. Abyss says that it's not a matter of whether Abyss or Mick Foley will get hurt Sunday—it's a matter of how bad. That's a good line.
Yay—it's time for more recapping/previewing? Incidentally, you know that guy with the deep voice who usually does these promos, making everything sound cool? Apparently they couldn't afford him, cause the voice-overs are done by a woman who sounds like she's trying really hard not to botch her lines. Angle points out that he's never won at Bound for Glory, and that if he really wants to go down as the best he has to win at the biggest show of the year. Morgan says that he's the only giant in the industry with six-pack abs, and they're not just for show. He knows that his wife won't like him saying this, but right now this match is absolutely the single most important thing in the world to him. The throw-away about his wife was a nice touch of realism. We also see footage of him doing cardio in a snorkel; he says that the reason he was willing to look like such an idiot is because he'll do whatever it takes to prove that there's no glass ceiling for Matt Morgan. Kurt thinks that more people will be watching BFG than any other show before, and so he has to put on his best possible show. Morgan won't just settle for facing Kurt at Bound for Glory or having a good match—he plays to win.
We come back to "real time", with JB in the MEM locker room with Kurt Angle. He calls the main event perhaps the best match ever on Impact, which seems like a stretch; I can't think of a counterexample though. Kurt says that the tap out was a formality. We all know who the winner was. There was no official winner, but we know. When two wrestlers leave the ring, they always know who the winner was—AJ knows. JB says that he's never seen Kurt more confident, and Kurt questions why he shouldn't be—he just beat the TNA World Heavyweight Champion. Next he'll beat Matt Morgan, and then he'll take back his title.
It's time to preview the main event Sunday. Sting talks about his journey and near-breakdowns. He says that the job is not as glamorous as it might seem, and that after 20 years the negative aspects start to wear on you. What always keeps you going is the crowd. They're your bread and butter—it's hard to say goodbye to those cheers. He went four years without that, and he missed it. Tenay says that Sting is TNA's Mr. October, having won the Bound for Glory Main Event the last three years in a row. AJ admits that to beat Sting he'll have to be at the absolute top of his game. He knows that if he gives Sting even one opening, Sting has more than enough devastating moves to put him away. AJ concedes that he's concerned about Sting's BFG streak. Sting confesses that the streak matters to him, and that he wants to keep it going. AJ says that this match is "one of the biggest" of his career—I would have gone for "the biggest" myself. Tenay says he hopes that it isn't Sting's last match. Sting hasn't really decided yet, but he knows that the time is coming soon. He never wants to get to the place where he's embarrassing himself. Dixie Carter says that every year she has to convince Sting to give them one more year, but she's not sure if he's going to this time.
Back in real-time, JB says that even though there was no winner or loser tonight, AJ seems to be taking it like a loss. JB starts to say ask whether AJ would have tapped, but AJ wants to be clear that he did not lose that match. He probably didn't have any business wrestling Kurt tonight, but he didn't lose it. All he can do is learn from it. AJ storms off.
They one yet one more hype package, this time for Bound for Glory as a whole. It's really fun watching them avoid saying "WrestleMania" while clearly drawing the comparison. They make a big deal of the fact that this is their first time on the west coast, which I hadn't noticed. Rhino says that this is one PPV we don't want to miss, which is a little awkward, when you consider that he's missing it. Poor Rhino.
Where We're Going: I think I have an inkling of where this is headed, and I hope I'm right. AJ was down in the dumps. Sting handed him a world title. Angle almost beat him. AJ is wrestling Sting at Bound for Glory, an event where Sting has never lost. There is an obvious end-game here—AJ wins cleanly on Sunday. He finally proves himself, and that's the climactic moment of the year. I actually suggested something similar for the BFG main event last year. It would justify his not-beating Angle tonight if they wanted to save his first real big win for the main event Sunday. There is always a small chance these sorts of cycles of frustrations can lead to a heel turn, but I sincerely hope they're not going that way this year. I hereby officially do something I don't think I've ever done before, which is to predict that Sting will lose at BFG. At least I hope this is a year. A streak is often best remembered for how it ends, and it would be hard to engineer a better time to end it.
Star of the Night: AJ Styles. It's clearly either him or Angle, and AJ gets a slight nod for his selling of frustration at the end.
Overall: I really don't think it would be fair to criticize tonight's performers for the fact that 43 of the last 45 minutes of the show were giant holes of suckitude, as they presumably had no control over that. Maybe all that hyping will lead to higher buy rates than more programming would have, but I would certainly be surprised if that is the case. It also made the claim of "3 hours of wrestling" an even bigger lie than I'd imagined it would be. For my purposes, then, I'll treat the show as having ended at about 11:15 (with the Angle and Styles interviews tacked on). That show was pretty damned good. There was nothing really game changing, but there was a lot of rock-solid action. The main event alone was worth the price of admission. Counting only that, I think tonight's episode merits an A-. The rest of the "show" I've decided to simply repress from memory.
Daniel is a graduate instructor at The Ohio State University We're all just going to have to plod along till he's through this double-duty quarter. For those who are in any way saddened by this column's spottiness lately…well, he actually would think it's kind of cool if anyone cared enough to be. Professions of such sadness or upset can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
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