TV REPORTS WILKENFELD'S TNA IMPACT REPORT 1/21: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of Spike TV broadcast
Jan 21, 2010 - 10:01:22 PM
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By: Daniel Wilkenfeld, PWTorch Contributor
Where We've Been: Let's recap some of the pros and cons of Genesis:
PRO: Angle and Styles had another high quality main event (though I actually thought it was the worst of their last four matches, that really doesn't say that much).
CON: The ring had four sides.
PRO: AJ has an interesting program with Flair.
CON: The last pure TNA roster member has turned heel.
PRO: They came up with something interesting to do with Morgan & Hernandez.
CON: It's not that interesting.
PRO: Ken Kennedy debuted.
CON: That was Hogan's major acquisition. I was actually pretty confident that he couldn't be the real acquisition, since as a value he ranks slightly above Val Venis but several orders of magnitude below Ric Flair, let alone Jeff Hardy.
CON: The commentators treated Hogan as a face while he was insulting TNA history.
CON: Daniels jobbed to Sean Morley.
CON: Before jobbing to Morley, Daniels got the cheapest heat in world history. He dissed Morley for not respecting wrestling, but then had to explicitly insult the crowd for no reason in order to get booed.
CON: The ring had four sides.
CON: The ring had four sides.
CON: The ring had four sides.
The ring issue and the Daniels issue are both symptoms of a plague that's always infected WWE, but has only come to infect TNA recently—the need to control who the crowd roots for. There was a time when the only real heel in TNA was Jeff Jarrett—everyone else was a flawed person who the crowd could root for or boo at their leisure. That's why TNA has a tradition of dueling chants. Now, they're telling us who to cheer, but worse then that, they're doing it badly. It really did not take an oracle to see that people who watch a particular show probably do not want to boo that show, or what has made it unique. Not only should this have been incredibly obvious to anyone who gave the matter more than 15 second's thought, but it should have been incredibly obvious to anyone who didn't even think but saw WWE make the exact same mistake in version 1 of the Invasion angle. In that story, WCW wrestlers were supposed to be the good guys, but fans were not surprisingly a bit reluctant to cheer people who represented everything they'd always hated about WCW (Buff Bagwell, I'm looking at you here). It took WWE about 2 weeks to realize their screw up and call an audible. Sadly, flexibility has never been a hallmark of TNA. The Impact Zone turning on the show is a far bigger problem then I think anyone at TNA realizes. You can't expand if your old audience abandons you en masse, and they (we) will. In general I never make guesses as to short term ratings, cause as near as I can tell they're way too variable. Here is I believe my first ever ratings predictions then: if TNA doesn't do a massive realignment by the next PPV, the buy rates for Against All Odds will suck and the ratings will go into a death (or at least serious injury) spiral. I could be wrong, but I'd give anyone who wants even money on it.
The Show: AJ Styles...Whooooo!
I'm running late tonight, so I'll skip recapping the Genesis recap.
AJ, clad in a suit, leaves Ric Flair's limousine with a young lady on each arm.
Flair hits the ring with a woman on each arm. I think they're the same two women, but I could be wrong. Taz, on commentary, thinks that it makes perfect sense for AJ to have aligned with Ric Flair. Has AJ lost a match since September? This might be the least motivated heel turn ever. That's assuming it is a heel turn. It's hard to picture the crowd booing Flair this close to his debut, but I'm sure he'll find a way. He asks if we've ever noticed how some things never change, presumably referring to the women. There are three reasons he came to TNA. First, he hates Hulk Hogan, and their lifelong feud won't be resolved till they finish it in TNA. Second, for the past 20 years, people have been asking him who would be the next Nature Boy. The answer was always nobody. Then six months ago he staretd watching TNA. He saw Kurt Angle, the greatest wrestling technician of all time—nope. He saw Sting, and as great he is, he's no Ric Flair. Then about a month ago he noticed the man he'll be working with as long as he's in the business—AJ, “styl'n and profil'n” Styles. He will be the next Nature Boy. Changing gears, Ric Flair talks about meeting a beautiful southern woman in the Hard Rock Hotel. All you could hear at midnight was this beautiful woman hollering “whooo!” and saying he was moving way to fast. Then Dixie Carter gave him a contract and told him to write down whatever number he wanted. Without further ado, it's time to introduce us to the soon to be greatest Heavyweight Champion of all time, the new AJ Styles. He comes down, and apparently there's a third woman. Tenay asks whether aligning with Flair was worth throwing away seven years of integrity—you'd think AJ had never been heel before. AJ introduces himself as the champion, to mostly boos but still a few cheers. He asks if we have a problem with what we see; it doesn't matter, cause what he sees is three beautiful women. AJ says that he's been here for almost eight years, but no matter how much he achieved this is has never been known as the house that AJ built. Actually I think that was a t-shirt in 2005. He was an original, but do they give him the credit? They give it to the Jeff Jarretts, the Mick Foleys, the Samoa Joes, and the Kurt Angle. One of those names is not like the others. AJ's not taking a back seat anymore. He's TNA's only Grand Slam Champion. In fact, he's a kiss steal'n, wheel'n deal'n son of a gun. Whoo!
Kurt Angle comes out to the ramp, followed closely by Hulk Hogan. Hogan reminds us that he said that Genesis was Kurt Angle's last title shot in 2010, but because of what happened he decided to change his mind—because he can, brother. Wow, usually WWE at least waits a month or two before they overturn their own booking of themselves into a corner. Anyway, Kurt gets a shot tonight, and if Ric Flair gets involved Hulk will be happy to grand slam him, DQ AJ, and award Kurt the title. Hogan points out that it's real—it's damn real.
Hmm...maybe they're going to go with the Hogan heel turn after all. Maybe I didn't give booking enough credit.
Mick Foley's arriving backstage, screaming about Bischoff and throwing furniture around.
Tonight we'll see the debut of the Nasty Boys (yay?) against Eric Young & Kevin Nash and hear from Mr. Anderson.
(1)MATT MORGAN & HERNANDEZ (c) vs. THE BRITISH INVASION Tag Team Championship Match
Morgan starts things off with some shots to Williams, but Magnus immediately interferes to give his partner control. Williams hits a European Uppercut, but when he goes for a running start he runs into a back elbow. Morgan takes Williams in the corner for his series of back elbows, then a big charge. He lifts up Williams, checks his watch, but decides it isn't time and drops Williams to the mat. He does his float over leg choke thing in the ropes, but on his way back into the ring Magnus tries to kick his head. He blocks it, but it lets Williams take him down with a Baseball Slide. Magnus then connects with some strikes on the outside before rolling Morgan in, then tags in himself and hits an elbow off the top rope for a one count. Magnus goes for a running start, but gets goozled by Morgan. He rakes the eyes and goes for another running start, this time hitting a 360 degree clothesline. Maybe they should stop trying that. Morgan makes the tag, and Hernandez comes in with his slingshot shoulder block. Hernadez hits his Dominator like slam, but it only gets two. The Brits work a quick double team, connecting with a joint Superkick/German Suplex which Morgan breaks up at two. Rob Terry comes down to the ring and tosses Magnus his Feast or Fire Briefcase, but Hernandez steps aside and Magnus pastes Williams. Morgan stalls Magnus as Hernandez makes the cover for the win.
WINNERS: Hernandez & Morgan in 4 minutes. That was pretty good, though the ending was fairly telegraphed.
After the match, Magnus blames Terry for getting involved. While they're arguing, Mick Foley comes down with a steel chair. He clobbers all three members of the British Invasion, culminating with a Double Armed DDT onto the chair for Williams.
Unprotected head-shot counter: 17 (I think—I've lost track).
Mick Foley grabs a mic and tells Bischoff to schedule an appointment for him, since he'll be coming to see him later tonight. Bang bang!
We hear a clip from Jarrett on Bubba the Love Sponge. Didn't they fire him? Jarrett hangs up on him at 6:30 in the morning. He tries again at 8:30 in the morning. Jarrett says that TNA was doing fine before The Love Sponge, and maybe they should go their separate ways.
Bischoff is in Hogan's office. Hogan says that there are two things they have to deal with tonight, starting with Cactus Jack. Bischoff says that he has that covered, and Hogan promises to hand “that other thing”. Kevin Nash walks in, and asks if Hogan has something to talk to him about. Hogan's not thrilled by the rock-paper-scissors and the crowd attacking. One of those two seems like a much more serious deal than the other. Nash is not pleased to tag with someone other than Pac or Hall, but Hogan says that they still haven't earned their spot. Nash isn't pleased, but Hogan assures him that he wants to sign the rest of The Band more than anyone.
Orlando Jordan hits the ring.
Christy is in the back with The Pope, who's feeling good about this match. He's been watching Whoopi Goldberg's movies all night, so he's ready, and he'll be exposing Whoopi as a fraud with two pimp slaps here tonight. Welcome to Orlando, Jordan. The Pope has spoken. He had better win this match.
(2)ORLANDO JORDAN vs. D'ANGELO “THE POPE” DINERO
The crowd, not surprisingly, seems to want to see the same thing I want out of this match. They assert that Pope is Pimp'n. Dinero and Jordan lock up; Jordan eventually takes advantage with an arm drag. They lock up again. Pope tries to get leverage, so Jordan picks his leg. Pope goes behind, but Jordan gets a quick rope break. They face off in the ring, and Jordan slaps Pope's face. Dinero hits a quick double leg take-down and rains down with punches on a fallen Jordan. Jordan gets up and right into a slap by Pope. He falls into the ropes, where Pope hits his flying guillotine choke. As Pope gets back into the ring though, Jordan takes him down with a Dragon Screw, re-injuring his knee from Wolfe's attack Sunday. Jordan finishes him off with a Flatliner.
WINNER: Orlando Jordan in four minutes. For those keeping score at home, Jordan just beat Pope, who two weeks ago beat Wolfe, who was a credible challenger to Kurt Angle. It's still not as stupid as jobbing out Daniels to Val Venis.
Christy is interviewing Kurt Angle in his locker room. Angle admits that we shouldn't be seeing this match again, but then we're seeing a new AJ Styles. He's sick to see what Flair has done to AJ, but AJ's a big boy and is responsible for his own actions. Hogan made sure justice was done tonight, and Angle will complete the just outcome by winning the title in the end. It's real, it's damn real.
The Love Sponge is calling Jarrett again. This is really boring. Jarrett doesn't want Sponge piling any more crap on his head. Who drove WCW out of business anyway—was it Bischoff's bad management or Hogan's big contract? TNA was profitable without those guys.
Eric Young joins Kevin Nash in the back, and he wants to know if Nash is with him or with “them”. Nash says that he came to Eric, but there was no way he could have known Hall & Pac were coming back. Anyway, once they see what Eric can do, they'll fit right in. Does World Elite no longer exist?
We see a weird recap of Angelina Love's departure from the Beautiful People, which shows Rayne and Sky blaming Love for all their misdeeds, but neglects to show the second half of that same promo where they go on to say that they're not really sorry at all and that they miss Love. Huh.
More Jarrett and Love Sponge? Why? Jarrett becomes the first person to point out that the crowd thinks Hogan's full of shit. Oddly enough, I think Bubba the Love Sponge is still trying to be a face. He then asks why Jarrett doesn't just meet with Hogan—dude, you called him, you can't complain about the fact that he's talking to you. Jarrett says that he's happy to have a meeting, as long as Bischoff isn't there. He thinks that Bischoff is feeding Hogan a load of crap. Sponge says he can get Jarrett to Hogan, and Jarrett accepts the meeting.
Lashley is in Bischoff's office—when did Bischoff get an office?--and says that things have gotten out of hand with his wife talking for him, and so now he wants to talk to Bischoff man-to-man. TNA is a great company, and he just wants to wrestle. Bischoff is impressed that Lashley is willing to admit to his mistakes, and offers to talk to Hulk. They'll have an answer next week. If that was a face turn, it might be the lamest one in history. Okay, maybe that Slaughter face turn after WrestleMania VII still has it.
Madison Rayne comes down to ring. Angelina should join Wilde and Sarita in “The Beautiful But Less Obnoxious People”. Love has new music, but still has her ring straddling entrance.
(3)MADISON RAYNE vs. ANGELINA LOVE
Rayne starts things off quickly with a kick to the gut, taking Love down to the mat. The crowd is nuts for Love. Rayne whips her off into the ropes, but lowers her head too early and gets yanked by the hair down to the mat. Love pounds her down a bit, then whips Rayne off into a bicycle kick for the kill. She has a cover that looks kind of dirty, though I can't quite put my finger on why.
WINNER: Angelina Love in 2 minutes. I think Rayne is actually the best wrestler of the new Beautiful People, so I might have saved this one for last.
After the match Sky and Von Erich hit the ring. Von Erich and Rayne attack evil ninja style, but when Sky goes for a hit with the ugly stick Love looks up and she hesitates. That joint hesitation gives Rayne a chance to grab Love's leg, which in turn gives Von Erich the chance to nail her with the ugly stick. A three-on-one beat down ensues.
Bubba the Love Sponge asks what X-pac and Hall were thinking at Genesis, but Pac says that that's the sort of thing that draws ratings. When they're around, stuff happens. Hall says that they'll be leaving tonight with official TNA contracts.
Hogan and Bischoff come down to the ring. The crowd is chanting for Hogan. He says that one could say that they have some momentum, and things are moving kind of quick with the TNAmaniacs. There are a bunch of things he has to take care of, and that need to be addressed right here and right now. He's so tired of clowns doing rock-paper-scissors—he wants them to wrestle, since we're not fooling around in TNA. Nash, Hall, and Waltman hit the entrance-way. Hogan says that they don't work here, so they should hit the road. The crowd boos that. A loyal few try to start the “hey hey hey goodbye”; most of the crowd doesn't want to play at first, but eventually it catches on. Mick starts towards the ring, but Bischoff tells him to make an appointment, and gets security to ward him off. He promises to talk to Mick in his office.
Security are still trying to get Hall and Pac out of the building. Nash finally has enough, and promises to take care of things. Hall says that Nash has never let him down before, so they'll go peaceably.
(4)THE NASTY BOYS vs. ERIC YOUNG & KEVIN NASH
For those who are curious, Eric Young is still Global Champion. You might have wondered, since we haven't seen him in like a month. Anyway, Young starts things off with Sags. The crowd is behind Eric Young. I wonder if anyone in TNA booking even listens to the crowd. EY gets taken to the corner and pounded some. Knobbs and Nash tag in. I wonder what's happening on The Deep End? Oh wait, I'm told it's awful. Nash runs into a back elbow from Knobbs. Sags tags in and hits a clothesline for two. Nash takes him down with a Big Boot. EY tags in and drops an elbow off the top rope for two. Knobs comes around on the outside and takes Nash into the ring post. He comes in and they work the double team, at one point shoving EY into one of their arm pits. Sags hits a Pump Handle Slam—actually he seemed to barely be able to do it—and it's enough for three.
WINNERS: The Nasty Boys in among the longest three minutes ever. For those keeping score at home, since the influx of talent, its been TNA 1, Random Has-Beens 3. The only loss by a new talent has been X-Pac on Sunday, who arguably has the most upside of the bunch.
Here's Mr. “Ken Kennedy” Anderson. It's just as well he had to change his name—this is not a good week to be a Kennedy. He looks like he might have dropped the 'roids, which is nice. He says that he's not here in the Impact Zone because of all our tweets and emails begging him to come, but because Hulk Hogan called him and said “I believe in you brother”. It turns out Anderson does a pretty good Hogan. He was also promised opportunities that he maybe didn't get so much elsewhere. He's not going to come out here like all the other new talent and say “I'm the biggest, I'm the strongest, wha wha wha wha wha”. He's always believed that actions speak louder than words, and on Sunday his actions spoke loud and clear. He beat The Monster Abyss. Abyss sneaks up behind him as he talks, shushing the audience. It's actually kind of funny. Anderson says that he didn't appreciate how tall Abyss was (amazingly holding his hand up to exactly the right height), but also didn't realize how clumsy and stupid he was. So he took advantage of that to beat Abyss clean, 1-2-3. Abyss does not look happy. Anderson says that while actions speak louder than words, some words can speak plenty loudly, especially when they're spoken by Mr...Abyss taps his shoulder, then unloads on him. Anderson flees as Abyss looks for a Black Hole Slam.
Abyss is in the back, telling Bishcoff how sorry he is. Bischoff says that Hogan might like him, which is the only reason he still has a job, but this is two shows in a row he's messed up. Abyss wants to know if he's going to be okay, and is told that it depends that on what his buddy Mick has to say. Bischoff strolls into his (or is it Hogan's?) office, where Mick Foley is being restrained security. Mick talks Eric into having security leave. Mick says that Bischoff is awfully slick, but that Mick sees what he's doing, and he won't let him destroy him or his company. Bischoff says that they have a lot to discuss, so he asks the cameras to leave. The last thing we hear is Foley yelling at Bischoff.
(5)AJ STYLES (c) vs. KURT ANGLE World Heavyweight Championship Match
AJ has different lighting on the way to the ring, with a spotlight on him before the pyro. AJ jumps the bell with some punches to Kurt, but when the ref pulls him off Angle comes back with some European Uppercuts. The crowd is wholly behind Angle. He elevates AJ with a Back Body Drop. AJ gets Kurt to chase him around the ring, stomping him on his way back in, but then runs into a Tilt-a-Whirl Back Breaker for two. Angle stomps AJ, then pounds his head into the turnbuckle. He stomps him down in the corner. AJ reverses a whip that sends Kurt into the corner, but Kurt just bounces off with a Decapitator Clothesline anyway. AJ goes to the ropes, where he connects with a Flair style back kick low blow where the referee can't see it.
[Commercial Break—the cut-away shows Angle powering out of a side headlock but then running right into AJ's high dropkick]
AJ is in control when we come back. Kurt fights back with right hands, but AJ pokes him in the eyes and clips his leg with a chop block. AJ cinches in a nice Figure Four Leg Lock, which leads to several two counts. Kurt pulls himself over to the ropes, getting the break. AJ tries to hit him as he gets up, but Kurt blocks it and connects with right hands of his own, followed by a series of clotheslines. AJ gets some distance with a raised leg, but then runs right into a belly-to-belly suplex. Kurt looks for an Olympic Slam, but it's reversed into an arm drag. AJ tries to follow up, but Angle goes behind and hits a trio of German Suplexes for a long two count. Kurt drops the straps, but AJ slips out of another attempted Olympic Slam, ducks a clothesline, and connects with the Pele. He picks up Angle for the Styles Clash, but Angle rolls through and cinches in the ankle lock. AJ crawls to the rope, but Kurt pulls him back. He does it again. AJ rolls through and connects with an Angle Lock of his own, at which point Earl Hebner calls for the bell. Ric Flair runs down, as Angle stays in the ring confused and angry. Hulk Hogan comes down, not looking happy either. Angle screams that this is bullshit and that he can go back to the WWE. He spits in Hogan's face and says that he quits. Just when I'm about to give up on the show for its attempt to recreate old segments shot for shot (on the off-chance there are any new wrestling fans reading this, google “Montreal Screwjob”), the crowd again redeems the company by thanking Kurt for spitting in Hogan's face. Awesome. They then start the more predictable “You Screwed Kurt” chant.
WINNER: AJ Styles in 8 minutes, I guess.
During the break, Angle swore a lot, then inexplicably tried to take out his anger on Mike Tenay's chair.
Eric Bischoff walks out from the back, blood flowing from his face. The crowd is confused, and some start to chant for him. He grabs the mic, and yells to Mick Foley that he's fired.
Star of the night: Kurt Angle. Aside from his usual in-ring awesomeness, he sold that rage at the end like the pro that he is. AJ gets an honorable mention for his solid effort at retroactively motivating his heel turn.
Where We're Going: I don't know anymore. Hogan and Jarrett both seem like they're headed into more tweener territory again, which is where they should have been all along. That bit with Bischoff at the end was something of a curve ball, but I can only assume that it'll turn out he did it himself for an excuse to can Foley. In any event it seems like the main event picture will be dominated by AJ and Angle for another month, which is fairly good news.
Overall: I liked this show more than last week's, if only for the absence of Jarrett's half-assed heel ranting and Morley's no-assed attempts at being a face. I have absolutely no idea what to make of the last segment. At first I was annoyed by the Montreal redux, but it was actually so blatant that it came off as more of an homage than a rip-off. I do have to say that this is an odd month to do that, since it comes off as TNA just trying to mooch some of the “Return of the Hitman” rub, which in turn makes it seem like they're not confident they can create anything on their own. Still, Angle's performance was spot-on; even if it turns out the booking for this plot is a mess, I have some faith that he, AJ, and Hogan will be able to make it pretty fun anyway. The matches were good, though nothing special. The main event was of course fun while it lasted. I like what they're doing with The Beautiful People, but don't know why they were the only women (wrestlers) on the show. It's a little absurd that Orlando Jordan beat The Pope, but at least he did it heelishly by exploiting an injury. The only parts of the show I didn't like were the first couple Bubba The Love Sponge bits, but even they proved their worth when Jarrett finally acknowledged the crowd reaction, and The Nasty Boys doing pretty much anything. I could give a long list of people who deserve air time more than the Nasty Boys—pretty much every name from the Knockouts or X Divisions would work. The Bischoff bit at the end I found a moderately intriguing teaser, which I assume is all they were going for. B+
Daniel is a graduate instructor at The Ohio State University. He's taking his second exam on his way to his Ph.D. tomorrow. Well-wishes, questions about why he hates the switch to a four-sided ring so much, or other comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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