TV REPORTS WILKENFELD'S TNA IMPACT REPORT 4/19: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of Spike TV broadcast--Whole F'n New Champion
Apr 19, 2010 - 9:51:04 PM
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By: Daniel Wilkenfeld, PWTorch Contributor
Where We've Been: I gave my thoughts on the PPV here--the short version is that TNA succeeded in giving the show a big PPV feel, which paid off for at least 2 of the 3 main events. As far as Lethal Lockdown goes—well, they get an A for effort, but an F for headshots and failing to emphasize characters people care about. With Dinero beaten semi-clean, there's room at the top for a new #1 Contender, though if they redo what they did last year the main event at the next PPV will involve multiple people who risk "sacrificing" something or other. I still think Dinero has proven he deserves the strap, but at the very least should be in line for another shot despite his loss. Hardy and RVD also have plausible claims, the latter for doing double duty last night and the former for being insanely over and jumping off a ladder on top of the cage. Therefore, I expect the newly face Hogan/Bischoff team to give a title shot to Abyss, on the grounds that it'll piss me off (poor Abyss). Anyhow, let's hope X-Pac is okay (it sounds like he is), and that Douglas Williams makes it back in time to do a decent work-up for a major X Division feud going into Sacrifice. Oh, and while we're hoping for things, it'd be neat if Madison Rayne got back to me about that interview she offered like 3 months ago, since I really want to see her shiny new belt. Hopefully she can do some good work with the likes of Sarita, Taylor Wilde and Hamada, and is not just going to drop the belt back to Love again.
The Show: What We All Fight For
We recap what happened last night. I forgot to note that Flair took three consective brass 'nuks shots, which used to be one of the few weapons wrestling actually respected as damaging.
We start at the top with the Prince of Phenomenal himself, in a suit but without any accompaniment other than the belt. Taz and Tenay sell how dirty AJ's win was, though by TNA standards a pen to the eye isn't all the bad. The crowd informs AJ that he sucks. He tells us that Ric Flair has been delayed by the aftereffects of last night's victory party. Speaking of victory, what a sweet one it was. Last night AJ proved that he is pound for pound the best wrestler in the world. If you're the Heavyweight Champion, shouldn't you be more than the best pound for pound wrestler? AJ concedes that Pope is one of the best wrestlers in the world, but he just couldn't keep up with AJ's athletic ability. Pope shouldn't feel bad—he's joined the likes of Jeff Jarrett, Sting, and even Kurt Angle. It doesn't matter where they go, from PPVs to house shows, AJ is the best looking and most impressive work horse of this company. Anyone in the back thinking of jumping on the AJ bandwagon should think again, cause it's not slowing down (I don't really follow the metaphor). That brings out, for no clear reason, Rob Van Dam. I guess his rumored match against Jeff Hardy tonight might become a #1 Contender's Match? RVD takes a moment to soak up the riotous reaction from the crowd. He then explains to AJ that that's what a crowd reaction is, since he figures AJ's confused. RVD was back there listening to AJ talk—and he does a lot of talking—and he got the impression that AJ thinks he's the best wrestler in TNA. The crowd responds with another "AJ sucks" chant. RVD says that he isn't. Maybe AJ was the best wrestler in TNA at a previous time, but it's obvious to everyone else that things have changed. RVD gets why he's upset—AJ put in all that time here, and he's used to being the center of attention. But, to tell the truth, RVD isn't as impressed by him as the rest of us, and he's damn sure not as impressed by AJ as AJ is. Weakening your opponent is a bid of an odd tack, but I guess AJ's got enough cred to be safe. RVD gets why AJ's confused. He's used to being the top, but now TNA is where all the best wrestlers want to be. How can AJ complain that he should have the top spot when he's in a company with the likes of [points—to—self]. Jeff Hardy comes to the ring to join the party. He says that AJ has a tiny head to be so big headed. Jeff Hardy has a huge head, but at least he's modest (I don't think it counts if you say that about yourself). The movement has begun, and Jeff Hardy has come to TNA to complete his collection of world titles by winning the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Here comes Hulk Hogan to settle matters. He says that this is exactly what he's talking about, and exactly the reason everyone's talking about TNA. That's why he brought these two guys in here. No matter how you cut it, it's all really about that title. Hogan tells everyone in the back, cause they're raising the bar here. Does he even listen to himself talk anymore? I think maybe one of those sentences had anything resembling actual meaning. Hogan says that AJ deserves props for being the World Heavyweight Champion, because being the champ means that you're the best in the world at what you do. RVD and Hardy grudgingly nod. Now AJ's learning that there's more to the title than that—it's about limousines, dumbbell curves (huh?), good looking girls, and big fat paychecks. But it's also about proving you're the best every single night, and becoming an even bigger star. AJ seems to like what he's hearing. Hogan asks how bad RVD and Hardy really want it—whether they're willing to put their friendship aside, get in that ring, and find out which of them is the very best? They both seem fine with that idea. That's great, because that's what Hogan wants to see. AJ is bored of Hogan's yammering. Hulk says that the man who gets the 1-2-3 will get a shot at AJ and his TNA World Heavyweight Championship. AJ's ticked that Hogan didn't consult with him, which he has to do. The truth is that AJ won't be ready to defend by Sacrifice. Hogan says that he made the match, but he didn't say anything about Sacrifice. AJ's glad to hear it, and sorry he misjudged Hogan. Hogan clarifies that the winner of RVD vs. Hardy will get a title shot right here tonight! The crowd goes nuts.
Ric Flair arrives in the back, where a camera guy informs him of what just went down. He is not a happy Flair.
We're told that Hogan has banned Flair from ringside for AJ's defense later.
(1)DAFFNEY & ODB vs. THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE (w/MADISON RAYNE) TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship Match
The Free-bird Rule (that any two members of a stable can defend their tag titles) is in effect. Taz tells us that Waltman did not just no-show last night, so I guess that was just a miscommunication. Daffney tosses Von Erich to the mat, so Sky tags in. Daffney gets her with a knee to the face, but is distracted and loses control of the match. Von Erich tags back in and hits a back flip into an elbow drop. Sky tags in again and stomps on Daffney a bit. ODB is still checking her pulse. Sky goes for a double sledge off the top, but Daffney stops her with a shot to the gut. Sky tries to prevent the tag, but Daffney kicks her off and gets the tag to ODB. ODB hits a Lou Thesz Press, a corner charge, and a Fall Away Slam on Velvet Sky. Madison Rayne distracts the ref, somehow knowing that ODB's about to get a roll-up, which she does. Von Erich takes advantage of the distraction to spray ODB in the face, then hangs on to Daffney as Velvet Sky makes the cover for the win.
WINNERS: The Beautiful People in about three minutes. Daffney and ODB are apparently now face by default.
AJ is yelling to Ric Flair about the injustices he's facing—JB and a camera crew wait just outside. Flair agrees that this is not the way things are supposed to go. Last night was a disaster—look what happened to Flair. Flair's not worried about AJ's match—he knows AJ will beat whomever it is, even without any help. What Flair wants is a rematch of Team Flair vs. Team Hogan. His team will be out there in five minutes, and if Hogan's isn't there to meet them, Flair will proclaim victory by forfeit.
Abyss and Jarrett are already in the ring. Jarrett grabs a Team Hogan sign from a ringside fan and holds it up. Abyss has a mic. This doesn't usually end well. He says that he and Jeff heard about Flair's little challenge, but apparently Flair hasn't heard that the war is over. It ended last night when Team Hogan did just what they said they were gonna do and beat Team Flair's ass(es?). If RVD and Hardy weren't already booked tonight Team Hogan would have had no problem beating Team Flair from pillar to post all around the impact zone. Team Flair appears at the top of the ramp. "Opening line: kiss my ass". Flair isn't gonna take craps from the likes of Abyss or Hogan—he's just gonna kick their ass. Team Flair attacks. Jarrett and Abyss hold their own for a few seconds, till Sting makes it to the ring swinging his bat. Out for the save comes...Rob Terry? That can't be good. He cleans house, almost dropping Desmond Wolfe, but catching him. Roode goes down to a clothesline, Storm to a Choke Slam, and then Wolfe gets tossed onto Sting. Flair, from the ramp, yells that they're all dead men, and wants to know who Rob Terry is anyway. Bischoff comes out behind Flair, telling him to calm down. He thought Flair had learned his lesson last night, but if he wants it, he's got it. It'll be Jarrett, Abyss, and Rob Terry vs. Team Flair, but Bischoff has a fourth partner just desperate to lace up his boots for Team Hogan. On a possibly (but probably not) related note, does anyone know if Hernandez is actually hurt?
Hardy vs. RVD is up next.
Matt Morgan approaches Shannon Moore backstage, saying that he's just the man "we're" looking for. The Book of Dilligaf—it looks pretty cool, he should send Morgan a copy. Anyhow, everyone knows that "we" don't need anyone to defend "our" belts, but TNA Management is making "us" get a partner. Moore would look great with some gold around his waist, unless he has something better to do next week then be a world champion. Moore says that actually he does, since he has an X Division Championship match coming. Why? Anyway, the Book of Dilligaf says that Morgan and his ego can kiss his ass.
Hogan and Bischoff are sharing a mutual love-fest backstage about tonight's booking. Hogan wants to make sure that "he" will be there, and Bischoff assures him that he won't let him down. Hogan asks about Bischoff's new ranking system. Bischoff acknowledges that he kinda dropped the ball on that, but he'll bust it out next week. He asks his assistant to get him the files, but she's a bit confused regarding whether those are the things in the brown thingees or the things in the green thingees. Hogan mumbles something about his thingee, and Bischoff defends the hire on the ground that she takes great dictation. They acknowledge how stupid that line was.
RVD is coming towards the Impact Zone, with a weird Reaction-style candid-like camera angle.
(2)JEFF HARDY vs. ROB VAN DAM #1 Contender's Match
We get a handshake and a feeling out process to start. RVD gets a rear waistlock. Hardy slips out, and RVD misses with a Spinning Heel Kick as he goes. They lock up. RVD gets a hammerlock, Hardy reverses, they trade a couple holds, then Hardy goes for a Twist of Fate. RVD gets out of the way.
[Commercial Break—we see Hardy hit his inverted Ensuguri]
RVD, now bleeding from the wound he got last night, plants Hardy on the guard rail before hitting his twisting leg drop off the apron. He rolls Hardy into the ring, hangs his head over the apron, and then hits a slingshot leg drop to his head from the outside. The crowd already thinks that this is awesome. RVD nails a Cross Body Block off the top rope for two. He lays in with some forearms to Hardy's face, then starts working the left leg with side kicks. Hardy suddenly ducks a clothesline and dropkicks RVD's knee out from under him. He drops his boots into RVD's abdomen, then, when RVD sits up, dropkicks his face. Hardy hits a clothesline that's halfway to a Flashback Neck Breaker for two. RVD reverses a whip attempt into the corner, but when he tries to follow up with the Monkey Flip Hardy takes his head off with an explosive clothesline. RVD gets to his feet firing. Hardy comes off the ropes—RVD tries to split under him, but Hardy jumps onto his legs for a painful looking two count. Hardy knocks RVD back down with a clothesline, then goes to the top rope. RVD catches him and yanks him to the top rope, where he's crotched. RVD kicks him in the head and then hits his leaping side kick off the top rope, knocking him out to the floor. Hardy rolls back in, and right into another spinning leg drop. RVD starts Rolling Thunder, but then ends with a Splash instead of a Senton Bomb. Hardy backs RVD into the corner as he gets up, but RVD dodges the mounting dropkick and follows up with a Split-Legged Moonsault for two. RVD kicks Hardy in the temple a few times as he gets up. He looks for a Vertical Suplex, but Hardy slips out and hits the far meaner Inverted Suplex. Hardy climbs to the top rope, but RVD is able to nail him with a Spinning Wheel Kick up on the top rope. RVD sets him up for a Superplex, but Hardy fights it off and shoves him back to the mat. Hardy tries to finish him off with a Swanton Bomb, but RVD rolls out of the way and quickly nails a Five Star Frog Splash for the kill.
WINNER: RVD in 13 minutes, 3 of which was during commercial. Not necessarily the best outing these two have ever had, but still all kinds of awesome. ***
Christy is in the back with RVD and Jeff Hardy. Hardy is there by RVD's invitation, since RVD wanted to be clear that they're just as tight as ever. They share a handshake and laugh over some clips of them beating the hell out of each other. They share a hug too, and Christy's glad to see it. RVD says that they agreed that whoever gets the title shot, the other would be supportive. So that means that now RVD can focus on AJ. Hardy says that if RVD has another match like that in him, it'll be a breeze. RVD admits that Hardy took a lot out of him, but he has a few minutes to recover, so whatever. Tonight Rob Van Dam will take home the gold.
Abyss is pep-talking Jarrett and Terry in the back. Last night was about winning, but tonight is about eliminating Team Flair. He thanks Terry for making the save earlier. Terry says that since Hogan told everyone to step up, he'll be teaching people tonight what the Freak is all about when he makes everyone feel him. Okay, so I still think the Terry push sends the wrong message about steroids, but I do love that Welsh accent.
Sting comes down to the ring. The rules to tonight are like Lethal Lockdown except without the cage, and with the match ending up as a tag match (seemingly as opposed to the usual tornado tag). Jarrett comes down to start things off for Team Hogan.
(3)STING, DESMOND WOLFE, JAMES STORM & ROBERT ROODE vs. ABYSS, JEFF JARRETT, ROB TERRY, & ??? Lethal Lockdown Style Eight Man Tag Team Match
Sting is beating Jarrett into a wall in the Impact Zone, so Slick Johnson just calls for the bell. This period lasts five minutes. Sting plants Jarrett face first into a fan's chair, then nils him twice with a chair to the back. See? It looks about as brutal. He drives Jarrett's head into the wall, then beats him into some of the slightly cheaper seats. He tries to fling Jarrett down the steps, but Jarrett stops him with a kick to the gut and an uppercut. Sting goes back to the floor, where Jarrett tosses him into the wall and nails him with another chair to the back. Sting reverses a whip that ends up sending Jarrett into the wall again, then tosses Jarrett over the guard rail to ringside. He lifts up Jarrett and plants him neck-first onto the guard rail, then finally rolls him back into the ring, where he lays in with kicks. Sting taunts Jarrett, staying just out of reach of right hands. Sting looks for a Stinger Splash, but Jarrett side-steps and comes back with right hands. He hits a jumping clothesline, but when he goes for a second one Sting has the same idea. They're both down when the clock hits zero on the first period. It's two minutes apiece from now till all eight men are in the ring. Wolfe comes in, and hits a European Uppercut to Jarrett. He drives Jarrett's face into the corner turnbuckle, then hits his running elbow into the corner—I don't remember the last time that move connected. Wolfe looks like he wants a Tower of London, but Jarrett blocks it and comes back with a clothesline. Jarrett wants to stomp Wolfe against the ropes, but Wolfe gets up too fast. Jarrett ducks a clothesline attempt, only to get caught in an arm wrench. Wolfe gets Jarrett up onto the top rope for a Tower of London, but Jarrrett slips out from behind him and knocks him to the mat. I guess they have to tag in and out already, since Jarrett makes the tag to Terry as the latter comes out. Terry takes Wolfe over with a huge Back Body Drop, then hits a couple of really stiff clotheslines on an interfering Sting. Wolfe eats a Front Slam, followed by what looked to me like a Jackhammer, but Taz said was a Power Slam (and I'd take his word over mine). Orlando Jordan appears on the top of the ramp.
Roode and Abyss have entered the match and are fighting in the ring. Abyss connects with a Big Boot and then a big charge in the corner. He nails a Choke Slam, but there's no point to a cover, so he just stands Roode up in the corner and starts punching him. He elevates Roode over with a Back Body Drop, then just sort of stands around as time expires on the period. Here's James Storm, who kicks Abyss on his way in. Roode gets a float over Neck Breaker off the middle rope, then makes the tag to Storm. Storm connects with knees to Abyss's face, but then walks right into a Side Slam. Wolfe and Jarrett tag in, and Jarrett's treating it like a hot tag, beating down both Wolfe and an interfering Roode. Storm breaks that up, and for some reason Team Hogan allows them to triple team Jarrett. It's not such a bad call, since Jarrett dodges a charging Storm in the corner, then takes down both Roode and Wolfe with a double clothesline. The clock winds down, and—here's Samoa Joe! Does this mean we'll just forget the "abduction"? Please? Jarrett is too stunned to make the tag, so Joe tags himself in. Roode eats a clothesline, Wolfe gets a T-Bone Suplex, Sting gets Joe's Pele, and Roode is just brutalized by a Ura-Nage. The crowd once again believes that Joe is gonna kill someone, as he finishes off Roode with a Muscle Buster.
WINNERS: Team Hogan in sixteen minutes. It looks like we're going for another reboot on badass Joe, which is always all kinds of awesome (as long as no tribal knives are involved). ***1/2
After the match Joe just walks away without saying a word. His own team seems confused, and a bit scared. Ric Flair comes out and grabs a mic, but we'll have to wait to see what he has to say.
During the break, Ric Flair challenged Abyss to a hall of fame ring vs. hall of fame ring match for next week.
(4)ROB VAN DAM vs. AJ STYLES TNA World Heavyweight Championship Match
AJ jumps the bell, knocking RVD down and stomping him in the corner. He tosses RVD out of the ring, then follows him out right away with a Sommersault Plancha.
I do not get the commercial timing on this show.
AJ is still in control when we get back. RVD fires back with punches to the gut, but AJ responds with elbows to the back of his head. AJ goes for a Back Body Drop, but RVD lands on his feet. AJ slides between RVD's legs, then leapfrogs him. RVD trips, but AJ nails his high dropkick anyway for two. AJ backs RVD into the corner for some knife-edged chops. He pulls RVD away from the corner, trips the right leg and then wrenches his left knee a couple times. RVD gets up firing again with rights and kicks, but AJ catches a leg with a Dragon Screw. RVD sells an injury to the left knee as AJ uses his boot to choke him out. AJ looks to plant RVD in the corner, but RVD blocks it with his leg, then just misses a kick to AJ's head that AJ sells anyway. RVD comes back with a Spinning Wheel Kick that does connect, and both men get up swinging. RVD gains the upper hand, taking AJ down with a series of clotheslines. He hits some forearms in the corner, and connects with a terrifying Monkey Flip wherein AJ made the final rotation at the last possible second. Rolling Thunder gets a long two count. AJ gets a double leg take down as he gets up, and immediately transitions into a Figure Four Leg Lock. RVD stretches out to reach the rope. AJ pulls him away from the ropes, but when he tries to reapply the hold RVD catches him with a Small Package for 2. RVD goes for a clothesline as he gets up, but AJ ducks it and nails the Pele. AJ looks for the Styles Clash, but RVD elevates him up and out of the ring with a Back Body Drop. AJ lands on the apron, but when he comes back in with a springboard RVD takes a step back and catches him with a Power Bomb. RVD quickly hits a Five Star Frog Splash for 1-2-HOLY SHIT!
WINNER (and new TNA World Heavyweight Champion): Rob Van Dam in 12 minutes—a bit short, but the dude is wrestling his fourth match of the last 25 hours.
Red and gold confetti falls from the ceiling. It's kind of a screw to Dinero, and a questionable business proposition to give this away unannounced on free TV, but their business model is not my problem—awesome, awesome show.
Jeff Hardy is out first with congratulations, followed by Hogan, Dixie Carter, Abyss, and Team 3D. Hogan gives him the belt, and Team 3D elevate RVD onto their shoulders as he celebrates.
Where We're Going: I have no idea. One would assume we get AJ-RVD II at Sacrifice, built around the idea that the dream match will be that much better when AJ can prep for it. I wouldn't be at all surprised if AJ gets the belt right back, since RVD, unlike Dinero, would be exactly the sort of person you'd go to for a quick face run to break up an otherwise absurdly long reign by a heel. Hopefully nothing more will be said about where Joe's been, cause I can't believe whatever will be said will be any good.
Star of the Night: RVD. Duh.
Overall: That blew January 4th away as the best Impact...well, probably ever. To reiterate, I expect many people will be annoyed by a random title change in an unannounced match—that's actually one of my favorite things in wrestling, and something I don't remember seeing in years outside of injuries, suspensions, and the usually awesome Money in the Bank cash-ins. Weekly shows are supposed to feel like anything can happen, but they rarely do. I actually think in the medium term this could do a lot to help sell Sacrifice, since people might have been getting fed up with AJ retaining. In the short term, though, this was just a great show. The title change was the first time I've literally let out a "holy shit" since, I believe, Cena's return in the 2008 Royal Rumble (though I think I might be forgetting one). Both his matches were very good, and Team Hogan vs. Team Flair was much more on point than last night. Those three matches, and the booking thereof, were pretty close to the entire show. I love that Morgan's character doesn't really change when he turns heel. The women's match was probably the weakest link on the show, and it was just mostly pointless, not bad. (Okay, also the timing of commercials was weird, but with three 10+ minute matches I won't complain too much about that). The Joe return will almost certainly lead to something awful next week, but for tonight it was just awesome to see Joe kicking ass again. Even Hogan was on point, capitalizing on the solidifying of power in his hands by immediately booking AJ in a title defense. Also, for those who forgot: RVD is now a World Heavyweight Champion again (and this time will hopefully remember his lesson about driving high). A+
Daniel is a graduate instructor at The Ohio State University. Complaints about how unannounced title changes cheapen the belt, as well as other suggestions, can be sent to email@example.com.
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