TV REPORTS CALDWELL'S TNA IMPACT REPORT 3/15: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of Spike TV show - A.J. Styles vs. Jeff Hardy
Mar 15, 2010 - 10:12:25 PM
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TNA Impact Report on Spike TV
March 15, 2010
Taped 3/9 in Orlando, Fla.
Report by James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor
Tonight, TNA completes the build-up to the Destination X PPV and delivers Jeff Hardy vs. A.J. Styles for the first time since June 2004 when Hardy first debuted in TNA for his first run with the company. Follow the live coverage of TNA Impact tonight. For live coverage of WWE Raw, click on Wade Keller's report in the TV Reports listing below...
The show opened with a video package from last week's live official debut on March 8 when Sting returned, Rob Van Dam debuted, Jeff Hardy returned, and Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair debuted in the ring for TNA. They focused on RVD's debut and Sting's attack on him leading to clips on Hulk Hogan & Abyss vs. Styles & Flair in the main event. "Hogan's Heroes" is the show title, dating TNA three decades.
Backstage: They showed a burnt-orange Hummer pulling up in garage area. Roger Clemens was nowhere to be found as the babyface group of Hulk Hogan, Abyss, RVD, and Jeff Hardy walked out. Jeff Hardy looked like a clown with the Smackdown facepaint and a hat on. Hogan was serious. Abyss was serious. RVD was RVD.
Impact Zone: A.J. Styles and Ric Flair walked out to the ring in suits and started the show in the ring with a promo...of course. Styles quickly called Abyss a silly, stupid monster and talked up their TNA Title match at Destination X. He told the audience to shut up as Flair stared into the ring. Flair had a giant blade mark across his forehead, of note. Styles referenced their classic battles in the past, with the result always the same: Styles up and Abyss...dooooown. Styles chuckled and said he doesn't believe in the Easter Bunny, Santa Clause (boos from the tourists), and he doesn't believe in magical rings. Is he referring to the wrestling ring or Hogan's HOF ring? Anyways, Styles said he believes he's the best wrestler in the world and a gift from God. He said this Sunday, Abyss will find out first-hand.
Flair then took the mic and said he wishes he could be under control like A.J. because last Monday night...pause for the removal of the jacket...he pointed to the cut on his forehead and said it was because of a guardrail, not a fist. "This is real, brother, this is wrestling," Flair said. Flair was bleeding like crazy and they hadn't even done anything. "Along comes Jeff Hardy...I hate Hardy! He means nothing!" Flair said. Flair told Hardy if he wants to play ball, he should expect this (the blood) every day of his life.
On cue, out came Jeff Hardy with his silly facepaint, hat, jacket, jeans, and chain. Just a collection of looks from Hardy here. Hardy stood in the ring and Styles asked who he thinks he is. He called him a nobody who has done nothing - Flair interrupted to tell Hardy to look him in the eyes. Styles said Hardy has done nothing here in TNA. He asked Hardy if he really wants to come in here and put his hands on Flair and The Champ? Hardy stood there as Styles continued to berate him. Styles said since Hardy likes to put his hands on the champ, they have the match tonight. "Whooo!" Flair added. "I'm the spotlight!" Styles said. Hardy pointed to the crowd as they chanted his name. I get it with Hardy. He's Sting 1996. "It'll be a breeze," Hardy said before removing his hat. Flair told Hardy to go back there and paint a picture, get as high as he can...as he high as he can on the paint and get ready for Styles. "Whoo!" Hardy shouted back. "I'm going to be flying high on my creatures of the night!" He did some tribal yelling or screaming as the blue lights filled the arena. It felt like Ultimate Warrior when he debuted on WCW Nitro to confront Hulk Hogan. Oddball opening segment, but it set the stage effectively for Hardy and Styles later. Newsflash for TNA, though: Charges still pending vs. Hardy for drug possession.
Backstage: Mick Foley was in a suit approaching Eric Bischoff. Bischoff recapped what happened last week. He told Foley to forget about last week because there's no hope for him and he's going to change him anyways. Bischoff said they're going to shave the head and beard so he gets the corporate executive he wants out of Foley. End segment 8:13 p.m.
Announcers: Mike Tenay and Taz plugged Hulk Hogan confronting Sting tonight and Foley's haircut.
Earlier today: Nasty Boys and Jimmy Hart randomly jumped Jesse Neal in catering. They powerbombed Neal through a catering table, wasting some perfectly good lasagna.
Impact Zone: The Nastys and Jimmy were in the ring after they rolled that footage. Knobs took the mic and said it looks like they're going to have a handicap match instead of a six-an tag match. What tag match? How was this set up? What's going on here? Team 3D's music hit and out came Team 3D for some sort of randomness. This is what's so frustrating about TNA - just throwing stuff out there without explaining why it's happening. Anyways, Brother Ray said they found a partner. Out came Brother Runt bouncing to the ring doing his gimmick. Six-man tag up next.
1 -- TEAM 3D (BROTHER RAY & BROTHER DEVON & BROTHER RUNT) vs. NASTY BOYS (JERRY SAGS & BRIAN KNOBS & JIMMY HART)
The Nastys isolated Spike early on and slowly worked him over. Hart then tagged in and landed boots on Runt. Next thing Hogan's going to tell us is TNA has the competitive advantage of Jimmy...Hart compared to WWE having Bret...Hart in the ring like the whole "hey, we've got Earl Hebner!" spiel when they tried the Montreal Screwjob. The action broke down and Hart used the motorcycle helmet on Runt for the pin and the win. Post-match: Nastys slowly tried to attack Team 3D, then Hart slid a table into the ring. This took forever. Suddenly, Jesse Neal hobbled to the ring selling the ribs as he attacked the Nastys and Hart. Sags then took an ugly-looking 3D through the table. Haven't we seen this before on Impact? Team 3D stands tall to close the segment.
WINNERS: Nastys & Hart in 4:00. What was the line from Russo about every segment of every show having to be TNA's absolute best? I could think of about 1,001 better segments featuring the TNA talent than this. How did any of this sell a PPV on Sunday or set up future storylines when the Nastys received their comeuppance yet again...in the same show?! It's classic rushed TNA booking where they pack in Weeks 1-3 in about five minutes. At the end of the day, a complete waste of time. Absolute waste. (1/4*)
Backstage: Jeremy Borash brought in Scott Hall and Sean Waltman. "We've been kicked out of better places than this," Waltman said. Waltman then acted like an eight-year-old making poo-poo noises with his lips. Hall then addressed Nash and Young that they're going to win at the PPV and earn their TNA contracts. Nash and Young then walked in and Nash said he wants five minutes with Hall tonight. Hall said it's on. Nash made a healthcare joke and walked off. Poor Eric Young just stood there like a mute with no opinion.
Impact Zone: Mr. Anderson's music hit and he came to the ring with Desmond Wolfe for a random match. To the 90 percent of the audience not aware of what was advertised ahead of time, no explanation was given for why this match was taking place. Anyways, Kurt Angle and a limpin' Pope Dinero came out to face Anderson and Wolfe with virtually no hype for this match.
2 -- KURT ANGLE & THE POPE D'ANGELO DINERO vs. MR. ANDERSON & DESMOND WOLFE
Wolfe and Anderson isolated Angle early on as Pope watched from the ring apron not 100 percent with the ankle injury. Angle then came back with a suplex and tagged in Pope, who hobbled into a clothesline on Wolfe. Pope followed with a back body drop and the crowd fired up behind him. He landed Dusty Rhodes elbow smashes before Anderson tried to interfere. All four men were in the ring as Angle hit a suplex on Anderson before Wolfe blocked a suplex and dropped him to the mat. Wolfe tried a figure four on Pope, but Pope scored with an inside cradle for the pin and the win.
Post-match: This being TNA, there was a post-match beating where Wolfe took apart Pope and slammed him to the entrance ramp. Wolfe landed a European uppercut on the stage driving him toward the back. Back in the ring, Anderson dropped Angle with the Mic Check. Anderson then retrieved Angle's Warrior medal and stuffed it in Angle's face. Anderson then took the mic and told Angle this is what's in store for him on PPV this Sunday. He said this post-match beating was brought to him in part - no wait, in full - by Mr. Anderson...And-er-son. Angle was bleeding at this point with Anderson busting him open to get a flow of color in the ring.
WINNERS: Pope & Angle in 3:00. As expected, the match result meant nothing and the emphasis was on the post-match. I don't even know why TNA presents wrestling matches on TV if they're not going to hype the action and just throw out matches with no meaning attached to the competitive action inside the ring. Anderson was great post-match, although TNA has seriously over-done the blood the last two weeks. (*)
Backstage: Hulk Hogan was talking to Jeff Hardy and...oh look, there's Rob Van Dam. Hogan talked down to them condescendingly and told Hardy he'll take care of Ric Flair tonight. RVD had a word or two, then walked off with Hardy. What a waste of RVD thus far. Eric Bischoff then walked in and asked Hogan for some communication on bringing in Hardy and RVD. Hogan said Bischoff's been really busy himself, so he didn't want to trouble him. Bischoff said he has some business to take care of tonight and it's time for certain people to be reminded who's in charge. Hogan said Bischoff's sounding like his ex-wife, but he's got Hardy and RVD in here to take care of this "situation" here for them. Bischoff acted cool, then walked off. "That was weird," Hogan said. Yep.
Impact Zone: Angelina Love walked out for a "special challenge match" against the Beautiful People, who walked out as a trio with possession of the Knockouts tag titles. Suddenly, Daffney jumped Angelina from behind in the ring.
3 -- ANGELINA LOVE vs. DAFFNEY (w/the Beautiful People)
Daffney continued to be in control of the situation after the pre-match attack. She then tried to retrieve an object, but the ref reprimanded her. The action broke down at this point with Daffney leaving the ring for the BPs to inflict damage. They were looking to inflict more punishment on Angelina, but Tara ran out to the ring to make the save. She delivered a Widow's Peak and stood tall in the ring to close the segment.
WINNER: No Contest in 3:00. (n/a)
Video package: They recapped RVD debuting last week and getting a quick pin on Sting before Sting beat up RVD for a good while. They showed RVD clutching the ropes in pain and stayed with that camera shot for a bit. "What is going through Sting's mind?" was the question posed by Taz last week.
Impact Zone: Six minutes before the top of the hour, Hulk Hogan's music was cued up. Hogan did his slow, painful walk down the ramp to the ring. Over his shoulder with a big "EXIT" sign in the Impact Zone. Hogan made it into the ring and asked for the damn music to be hit. He said game time is over. Hogan said what went down last week was more than just a train wreck. No, this is week is, actually. Hogan said he's felt like he was run over by a train all week. He said the one image he can't let go was Abyss going "Why, Sting, why?!" Hogan told Sting to bring it on out here to get an answer. He asked why Sting would stab Dixie Carter in the back after building the compay from the ground up. Wow. That's hilarious. Hogan said he can smell Sting and he wants the spotlight in the rafters. They cut to a shot of Sting walking around in the rafters. He kept walking like he was on an indoor track over a basketball gym. The camera lost sight of him a few times as Sting kept on walking. Eight laps = a mile. Sting eventually made his way down the steps as the announcers tried to fill time. Sting then reached another set of stairs. "You better take your time, Sting!" Hogan shouted.
Suddenly, RVD jumped Sting near the entrance ramp. RVD put him on the entrance ramp and delivered a martial arts kick. Of course, they cut to a shot of Hogan doing the R-V-D thumbs-to-shoulder signal before they cut back to RVD delivering a beating on Sting. RVD with another random martial arts kick before sending Sting into the ringpost. They walked arund the ringside area before Sting retrieved his baseball bat and took another martial arts kick. RVD then tossed the bat to Hogan in the ring.
[Q5 -- second hour]
Bischoff interrupted with security as Hogan measured Sting with the bat. "No, don't do it!" Bischoff said, with his voice trailing off. He told Hogan he's not a wrestler anymore because that part of his life is over. Sting was escorted away as Bischoff turned to Hogan to berate him, with the second week of big-footing RVD. Bischoff said it's not about Hogan fighting the same battles again. He said Hogan made a promise to his daughter to be done with it. They cut to a shot of Brooke on the front row. Bischoff left the ring and Hogan gave that old teary-eye look to the crowd before taking a deep breath. He stared at Brooke and looked for a comforting word. Hogan then walked to the outside and hugged Brooke.
Backstage: Hernandez caught up with Jeff Jarrett to talk about some b.s. with Beer Money last week. Eric Bischoff lurked in the background as Hernandez and Jarrett agreed to get things done. Bischoff then barged in and said they're not making matches here. He booked Hernandez in a match by himself against Beer Money. Jarrett told Bischoff that enough is enough and he needs to take his frustrations out on him, not Hernandez. Bischoff told Jeff he'll get his opportunity tonight when he's the ref for Hernandez's match against Beer Money. He told Jeff if he screws up, he's done. Another threat storyline. Bischoff said he's sick of this and he better be right down the middle tonight.
[Commercial Break. During the cut-in, Tenay plugged Styles vs. Hardy tonight. They cut to a split-screen of Nash and Hall walking down the hallway with Nash putting $25k on the line tonight. Hall was sporting a giant sweatshirt at least one size too big. Apparently he's going to walk around Sting's track in the rafters.]
Impact Zone: Kevin Nash's music hit and out came Nash for the five-minute, $25,000 challenge against Hall. No sign of Eric Young. Hall was suddenly already in the ring. Wow, that was super fast. This was an example of the lack of continuity with TNA's pre-taped shows.
4 -- SCOTT HALL vs. KEVIN NASH -- $25k five-minute challenge
Hall threw a toothpick at Nash to start the action. Hall bounced off the ropes and took an elbow to the back, then another. Hall then gingerly bounced off the ropes and landed a right hand with Nash bumping into the corner. Hall then walked into a clothesline and Nash landed elbow strikes in the corner. Suddenly, Waltman stormed the ring and dropped Nash with a chopblock. Waltman acted saddened...or something. I don't know. He then pulled out handcuffs and Waltman cuffed him to the middle rope. Nash tried to fight back with his one good leg. Young finally hit the ring sans leather jacket. Apparently he was trying to sell it in the back. Young was then quickly beat down by Waltman and Hall. Waltman hit a faceplant and did some sort of weird crotch dance over Young. And...Hall grabbed the cash without really winning? Who knows.
WINNER: Your guess is as good as mine in 3:00. After seeing Hall hobble around the ring and Young again booked to look like a bumbling, over-matched, under-sized young wrestler with no credibility, who's going to order a PPV to see this tag match? Are they even selling a PPV on Sunday? There's been little-to-no-hype for the PPV thus far. It's like they don't even want your money.
Backstage: They came back to a backstage promo with Beer Money. Who uncuffed Nash from the ring? Who has the secret key from Waltman's keys? Why isn't this a big deal? Oh yeah, it's throw it all against the wall with no consequences in TNA. Anyways, Robert Roode cut off Borash and said they felt dissed by Bischoff and Hogan. Storm said Bischoff gave them an opportunity to whip someone's ass, but the opportunity was Jeff Jarrett. He said they have another opportunity with Hernandez again tonight. Storm said they're sick and tired of catering to the fans. So, apparently it's an official heel turn after a brief babyface turn. Heel. Face. Heel. Face. Turn after turn after turn in TNA.
Impact Zone: Jeff Jarrett walked out to the ring sans ring music while dressed in a referee t-shirt. Beer Money then came out ripping up signs. Hernandez came out alone to face them one-on-one. No sign of Matt Morgan.
5 -- BEER MONEY (ROBERT ROODE & JAMES STORM) vs. HERNANDEZ -- handicap match -- Jeff Jarrett as special referee
I still want to know who uncuffed Nash from the corner. If TNA doesn't bother to explain these details, they turn into larger issues over time where the audience doesn't emotionally invest because TNA basically tells the audience it's all b.s., silly angles that don't really matter anyways. Horrible consistency to the writing. Anyways, Morgan then walked out on stage and went to the announce table to join commentary. Beer Money beat down Hernandez as the announcers and director focused on Morgan. Hernandez made a comeback at 2:00 and dropped Roode with the Pounce before splashing Storm in the corner. Beer Money then blocked Hernandez on the offensive and executed a double suplex, which made him look good. Hernandez wanted the Border Toss on Roode, but Storm gave him a superkick. Beer Money then hit the DWI double-team move and forced Jarrett to count a pin for the win.
Post-match: Jarrett went to check on Hernandez, but Beer Money wanted their hands raised. He thought it over, then raised their hands in victory. Jarrett checked on Hernandez before Beer Money landed an attack on Hernandez. Jarrett tried to intervene, but they threw him down. Jarrett then ripped off his t-shirt and landed rights on Roode and Storm. He did a double noggin-knocker before Hernandez came off the apron with a slingshot double clothesline. Jarrett and Hernandez stood tall in the ring staring back at Beer Money to wrap. Well, they effectively built up Hernandez & Jarrett vs. Beer Money at the PPV, but it's actually tag champs Hernandez & Morgan vs. Beer Money at the PPV.
WINNERS: Beer Money in 3:00. Fine. Again, post-match took precedent over the in-ring action, but the audience was into it and it helped elevate Jarrett. (*)
Backstage: Bischoff was shown walking down the hallway with a mirror and clippers looking happy with himself. Jarrett just foiled his plan standing tall in the ring; why is he walking around happy with himself instead of being upset watching on the monitor backstage? Again, the holes in the writing are unbelievably obvious this week.
Impact Zone: Bischoff was in the ring standing next to a barber's chair. Now, he's upset with Jarrett and he's going to have a word for him next week. But, for this week, it's Mick Foley's turn for a word. He told Foley to come down and get cleaned up in the chair once and for all. Cue up Foley's music to bring out...no one. Bischoff kept waiting for Foley, then he slowly walked out with his head hung dejectedly.
[Q7] Foley entered the ring as Bischoff held out the clippers. Tenay and Taz debated Foley's image as this grizzly bear-type figure before Foley's music stopped and he sat down in the chair. Bischoff said it's coming off. He started to trim, but Foley grabbed his hand and pulled out Mr. Socko. He stuffed it down Bischoff's throat and put him in the chair. Foley chucked the sock into the chair before grabbing the clippers. He then started working over Bischoff's head with the clippers. Bischoff was KO'ed in the chair as Foley methodically worked over the frosty white locks. Foley then woke up Bischoff, who had half of his hair when he came to. Imagine this, WWE made millions of dollars off Vince McMahon getting his head shaved. TNA gave away Bischoff's head-shaving for free. Apples and oranges? Perhaps. The segment ended with Foley gloating and Bischoff covering his head in disgust. We sure could have used Larry Zbsyzko or Roxxi for a cameo here.
Recap: The announcers recapped Mick Foley's barber-shop job on Eric Bischoff.
Backstage: Christy Hemme brought in Shannon Moore for an interview on facing Doug Williams for the X Division Title at the PPV. Shannon referenced some book and told Christy to Google it. He said he represents the freaks behind him and will become the new X Division champion at the PPV. He welcomed him to Glamrock.
Impact Zone: Ultimate X was suddenly set up in the ring as random music was playing. Already in the ring were Motor City Machineguns in dark lighting. Chris Sabin said this Sunday is not only the return of Ultimate X, with the winners becoming #1 contenders to the tag titles, but the rise of the Machineguns. He called out Generation Me and asked who they think they are coming into their company competing against them. Sabin asked what they've ever done to deserve a spot in this match? Cue up GenMe's music. Out came the Young Bucks to address the Guns's questions. Matt looked around and said they've beaten a little team called the Motor City Machineguns. Shelley said they remember that, but there's a thing called luck and anytime someone steps into the ring, he can beat someone else. Shelley said the Bucks are good, but not great. He said they're the Xbox to their Atari; Ferrari to station wagons. Shelley went for the women, then GenMe jumped them and the brawl was on.
Suddenly, Brian Kendrick hit the ring and attacked GenMe. Amazing Red stormed out and splashed Kendrick in the ring. Daniels, in a dressy outfit, hit the ring and attacked Red. Tenay suddenly referenced "that ladder match" occurring at the PPV. What ladder match? (For casual viewers at home who don't know anything about this being announced on TNA's online show last week.) Kazarian then hit the ring with a ladder and men were brawling all over the place. Red then scaled a ladder and took out all the heels on the floor. The babyface team of Kaz, Red, and the Bucks stood tall in the ring to close the segment. Tenay said they'll determine the future of the entire X Division on Sunday. That's their big selling point for the PPV? That would require TNA actually making people care about the division. Two weeks of slight re-emphasis doesn't make up for 104 weeks of non-emphasis.
Backstage: Abyss was with Jeremy Borash. Abyss said he's so excited because someone's jealous of him! He vowed to take A.J. Styles's World Title at the PPV. He said he hopes Flair gets involved in the main event tonight with Styles because he can't wait to show him what it's like to be involved with the Monster of the Ring. He did Hogan's lines like a fan in a YouTube video and asked what they're going to do when he runs wild on them.
[Commercial Break. They cut to a shot of Jeff Hardy warming up backstage. He has Styles in the main event.]
Impact Zone: Abyss came out to the mix of his old theme music and the Hulk Hogan "Real American" WCW theme. He's special enforcer for the main event per Hulk Hogan. A.J. Styles's music then hit to bring out Styles followed by Ric Flair. Jeff Hardy then came out for his first match back in TNA. He did an extended ring entrance, then TNA cut to a break six minutes before the top of the hour.
6 -- TNA World Hvt. champion A.J. STYLES (w/Ric Flair) vs. JEFF HARDY -- non-title match -- Abyss special enforcer
They came right back from commercial with the bell sounding two minutes before the top of the hour. Tenay was produced to talk about this like it was the first time this match happened. Hardy was on the offensive early on and slapped on a rear chinlock. The audience started a rally chant...with the heel on the disadvantage. Styles reached his feet and drove Hardy to the corner to land a round of chops. Styles then shoved Hardy over the top rope on the opposite side of the floor. Flair then took off his jacket and wanted to go after Hardy, but Abyss chased him away.
[Q9 -- over-run]
Hardy re-entered the ring and Styles beat on Hardy while talking trash to Brooke on the front row. Styles then hit the classic Styles dropkick taking out Hardy and making a cover for a two count. Flair yelled at the ref to make a three count as Styles continued to work over Hardy. Styles tried a seated splash on the leg, but Hardy kicked him over the top rope onto the ramp. No matter, as Styles recovered and worked over Hardy. Suddenly, Taz talked about the importance of being World champ, making money, and if you're not in TNA to be World champ, you don't belong. Why isn't that message stressed throughout the rest of the show and the working narrative?! Hardy then made a comeback at 5:00 and landed a facebuster that sent Styles flying to the corner. Hardy followed with a running double boot to the chest for a two count only.
Styles came back with a chop and elbow smash before executing a snap brainbuster suplex for a two count only. Nice nearfall. Flair licked his lips in frustration before Styles rammed Hardy into the corner ringpost, only to have Hardy bust out the Whisper in the Wind for an awkward nearfall that took the crowd down a bit. Hardy then pumped up the crowd and teased the Twist of Fate, but Styles countered with a great Pele kick. Some of the audience tried to get themselves over doing an "Ole, ole, ole" soccer chant. Styles then charged Hardy after a nearfall, but the ref was taken out. Styles then went to the floor and grabbed a steel chair. Suddenly, Abyss stepped in to block Styles. Styles placed the chair down, then went back to the apron and missed with a springboard 450 splash. Hardy then hit the Twist of Fate and went up top. He wanted the Swanton Bomb and connected with a great camera view. Abyss then slid into the ring and counted a three count for Hardy to give him the win.
WINNER: Hardy in 10:00. Excellent ten-minute TV main event. Good chemistry between Styles and Hardy, with the outside players not becoming too much of a distraction, but adding to the drama of the match. Of course, the post-match took precedent once again, which wouldn't be that big of a problem if the ENTIRE SHOW beforehand wasn't filled with the same booking. (**1/2)
Post-match: Abyss helped Hardy to his feet in victory. Flair then entered the ring with a chair and smashed it over Hardy's back, then Abyss's back several times. Flair landed another shot on the ramp, but Abyss started to no-sell. Flair drove Abyss down the ramp with repeated chair shots before Abyss turned around and yelled in his face. Flair did a cartoon sell before Abyss chokeslammed Flair into a portion of the entrance ramp. The camera zoomed in a bit too close to reveal a ton of padding below the crushed-in section of the ramp. They cut back to Styles looking scared and nervous and afraid clutching his TNA Title belt in the ring. Abyss vs. Styles at the PPV on Sunday. The show closed nine minutes past the top of the hour.
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