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TV REPORTS
KELLER'S TNA IMPACT REPORT 4/26: Flair comes out of retirement against Abyss with Hall of Fame rings on the line, RVD celebrates

Apr 27, 2010 - 11:34:23 PM
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By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

StaffKeller08_120_15.jpg
KELLER'S TNA IMPACT REPORT
APRIL 27, 2010
TAPED TUESDAY IN ORLANDO, FLA.
AIRED ON SPIKE TV


[Q1]

-A video package aired on Rob Van Dam's TNA World Title win last week with Hulk Hogan comments spliced in about "proving you're the best." The show is titled "Mr. Monday Night." At least they didn't give away anything about the pretaped show with that title. It's even worse when they tell you before a LIVE SHOW hints of WHAT HASN'T HAPPENED YET within the title, just throwing in your face that while it may be live, it's all preordained.

-The TNA opening then aired followed by Mike Tenay introducing the show as the cameras panned the crowd. He hyped Ric Flair vs. Abyss and A.J. Styles & Sting vs. Jeff Jarrett & Jeff Hardy. Could there be too more opposites of charisma and coolness than images of Jarrett and Hardy next to one another? Maybe Michael Cole next to Mick Jagger or something like that would be as big of a contrast. And even worse, Jarrett practically blocked out Hardy in the on-screen graphic.

-Hulk Hogan walked to the ring and said things are really changing around TNA. He said he knows what it's like being the World Hvt. Champion, but to be the "hood ornament of this great company, it means more than even I dreamed it could be."; He said to be RVD right now means you've got a big target on your back and every week you've got to up your game. He said every talent in TNA is stepping up and Eric Bischoff has a new Top Ten Ranking System that fans have an influence over. He said when he saw RVD go tit-for-tat against Hardy, he was on the edge of his seat. He said even RVD admitted it could have gone either way. Once he got past Hardy, "one of the greatest wrestlers of all time," RVD stepped back into the again and took on "one of the greatest wrestlers of our time," A.J. Styles. He then called our RVD.

RVD came out to his intro music. He invited RVD to call him, "Mr. TNA, Rob Van Dam." Mr. TNA sounds so terrible for reasons obvious to anyone outside of that denial bubble in Nashville and Orlando regarding the name of their company. RVD said he came to TNA because he knew Dixie Carter, Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, and everybody in the organization would give him "a fair opportunity to just be Rob Van Dam." He told Hulk, "Look where that got us?"

He said a lot of people will never understand their connection (pointing at Hogan) or "my connection to Mother Earth's finest." He said they don't get the balance that it takes to be such a cool, laid back dude and at the same time, kick so much ass. RVD said you don't have to understand what it's like to be RVD, you just have to know he's one of the toughest guys you'll ever run into, he's the best at what he does, and he will be the best World Champion that TNA has ever had. "And that's why I'm the whole F'n show!" he concluded. Great promo from RVD. It's what he needs to say and he's a dose of cool and a fresh face for fans who really want to get behind TNA to rally behind.

A.J. Styles walked out onto the stage followed a few seconds later by Ric Flair. Taz said he knows how upset and angry Styles is because being TNA Champion was a lifestyle for him. "It was everything to A.J. Styles," Taz said. They continue for the second week in a row to do a fantastic job building this show around that title. It's so the opposite of Vince Russo's philosophy over the years, and this is evidence of why this title-centric approach works so well.

Styles told RVD that he sounds like a Hallmark greeting card. Styles said he's right, there are millions of people who don't understand him or his lifestyle. "You're just a hippy freak from Southern California, and nobody understands you, dude." Styles mockingly asked him if he said he is going to be the greatest TNA Champion ever. "Are you high right now?" Styles asked. Taz said, "Good chance." Styles said last week he had RVD right where he wanted him, but he slipped on the top rope, and that's how he become TNA Champion. He said he probably greased up the ropes. Styles said he's stuck in some b.s. tag match instead of getting a rematch for his TNA Title. He told RVD he will get his title rematch when he wants it, not when RVD wants it. "Put that in your pipe and smoke it," he said.

[Q2]

Flair spoke up and told Hogan that he has a new deal with God and begin a family man. He said he doesn't care about RVD's lifestyle. He said he and Hogan have a personal problem over who they are and what it will accomplish and where they're going to end up. He said Hogan gave Abyss the ring and instead of handing off his work to others, he's taking care of it himself. He said he's taking out the scars on his head on Abyss. He said tonight Abyss is done and this mockery of who he is will be over. Flair said he's going to walk that aisle looking only as he can look, stylin' and profilin'. He said spent a career specializing on big guys. It was so nice to see a Flair promo where he wasn't yelling at the top of his lungs. He was a bit all over the place with his syntax, though.

-The Beautiful People chatted backstage. Madison Rayne complained about her first TNA Knockouts Title defense being against two top contenders at once. Velvet Sky called it BPD. Lacey Von Erich said, "Boston Police Department." Sky corrected her: "Beautiful People Discrimination." Lacey said, "They can screw us!" Sky said, "Over, honey. They can't screw us over." Rayne said she's not really that worried about her title defense given how Tara and Angelina Love have been barking at each other lately. She said she'll cleanse TNA of two ugly people tonight. [c]

1 -- MADISON RAYNE vs. ANGELINA LOVE vs. TARA -- TNA Knockouts Title Match

Tenay plugged Dixie Carter's Twitter page. (Dixie Carter = 41,000 followers compared to Dana White at 1,047,000 followers) Tara worked over Love early. Rayne went for a surprise Oklahoma roll on Tara for a two count. Then she kicked her in the head and sent her to the floor. They cut to a break at 1:00. [c]

[Q3]

Late in the match Tara gave Love a spinning sideslam. Rayne shoved Love into Tara, then schoolgirled her for the win.

WINNER: Rayne in 7:00.

STAR RATING: *1/4 -- A commercial ate up half the match, but what aired was solid.

-Afterward security had to pull Tara and Love apart. Tara ended up hitting a security guy by accident. He threw her into the corner afterward, leaving her easy prey for a Love attack. [c]

-During the break, they cut back to Shannon Moore reading from the Book of Dilligaf.

2 -- SHANNON MOORE vs. KAZ

Tenay said that next week Doug Williams will comment on being stripped of his title for reasons that were out of his control. Taz said he disagreed at the time and disagrees now with that decision. Tenay hyped the new ranking system, also, with details coming later in the show. A crawler updated Daffney, saying she is at home recovering from a stiner, a concussion, and a bruised sternum. The crawled also plugged weekend house shows in Jeff Hardy Country. Also, a plug for Hulk Hogan on The View and Howard Stern on Thursday, The Today Show on Friday, and others. And Jeff Jarrett will face Sting one-on-one at Sacrifice. At 3:00 Moore climbed to the top rope. Kaz went for a top rope huracanrana, but Moore blocked it. Morgan then ran out and shoved Moore off the top rope, retaliation for turning down his offer to be his partner. Morgan looked at the camera and said nobody turns him down. Take notice, women in bars. Kaz and the ref missed the interference, so Kaz finished Moore easily seconds later.

WINNER: Kaz in 4:00.

[Q4]

-Afterward, Samoa Joe walked out with a towel around his neck, a light beard, and no other gimmickry. Joe entered the ring and attacked Kaz with a barrage of rapid-fire kicks. Joe gave him a Muscle Buster as his music played. Taz said Joe attacked another victim "who just happened to be the X Division Champ." [c]

-A vignette aired with Abyss talking about facing Flair later. He said when Hogan gave him his Hall of Fame ring, he gave him more than the history involved in it. He said the ring doesn't have magical powers, but it does give him confidence to believe in himself. He said there's nothing he can't do with that ring because it triggered him believing in himself. He said he could lose the ring that means so much to him tonight, but he will never lose what the ring has given to him. It's a little odd to have Abyss basically say he won't be devastated if he loses the ring since the ring isn't what gives him power. It's a good thing to acknowledge, but not right before the TV match.

-Morgan approached Jesse Neal backstage about becoming his partner. He told Neal he makes Moore look like a paperboy. He said he made a promise to his best friend who gave his life on the U.S.S. Cole bombing to be a World Champion some day. Morgan said, "We're done asking anyone else to be our partner... You know where to find us." He told him to think with his heart. [c]

-Ring intros took place for the tag match.

[Q5]

3 -- JEFF JARRETT & JEFF HARDY vs. STING & A.J. STYLES - Falls Count Anywhere

Jarrett and Sting promptly began brawling inside the ring at the start. Hardy and Styles took it to the ramp where Hardy suplex Styles. Jarrett hit Sting in the back with a chair on the floor among the fans leading to a two count. Sting fired back seconds later by whipping Sting back to ringside. The crowd chanted for Hardy as he battled Styles back inside the ring. Styles flailed and hit the ref while in a Jarrett sleeper. It settled into a regular tag match in the ring. At 3:00. Taz and Tenay said Jarrett still seeks answers from Sting. It's been so long, what was it he wants an answer for again?

With Sting and Jarrett both down, Jarrett crawled over to make a hot-tag. The ref disallowed it because he was distracted by Styles. Tenay just got done saying this is an "anything goes tag match," so what authority does the referee actually have to insist Hardy leave the ring and Jarrett tag out. Could he DQ them in a no-DQ match? Hardy must have thought the same thing as he stayed in the ring. Sting walked out on the match as Hardy beat up Styles. Styles took control of Hardy on the ramp. Jarrett marched to the back to find Sting, leaving Hardy to fend for himself. Jarrett and Sting brawled up the steps toward Sting's hangout in the rafters. Sting hit Jarrett with his baseball bat and then scored the pin. Meanwhile, Hardy stood on top of a ladder on the stage, but the ref moved Styles before he could launch at Styles and crush him over a table.

WINNER: Sting & Styles in 7:00.

STAR RATING: *3/4 -- That was a bit of a clustermess with exciting moments thrown in.

-Backstage with a weird video filter effect and handheld jerking of the camera, Jesse Neal and Team 3D chatted. Neal asked 3D for their blessing to join Morgan and become a tag team champion for the first time. Brother Ray asked him how he plans on becoming a tag team champion. Neal said, "By being the best." Team 3D laughed patronizingly at him. Brother Ray said they're going to bring it harder at him than anyone if they face off. Devon said not to fully trust Morgan.

-They showed "The Pope" D'Angelo Dinero walking backstage with his right arm in a sling and his left eye with a patch over it. [c]

[Q6]

-The Pope walked out to the ring. Pope told Styles that he's "nothing more than a gas bubble on Pope's sour stomach." He said even without the title belt, he hasn't forgotten about him. He said there are no excuses for his actions. He says the Gospel of the Pope says "tooth for a tooth and an eye for an eye." He said he's watching him and he's not done with him. He said Styles is nothing more than the obstacle that he tripped over, but he is back up. He said if Styles or anyone was expecting the Congregation to dwindle after Lockdown, it won't because it represented then and is represented now. He closed with leading the crowd in "Pope is Pimpin'... Amen." That's a little too Godfather-ish of a catch-phrase and feels dated and mid-card.

Mr. Anderson walked out and said he's going to start calling The Pope the "Kool-Aid Man," like Jim Jones, not the big guy who busts through walls. As he went on and on, Pope interrupted and told him to hurry the hell up and get to his point. He asked him if he's going to lick his wounds or take his "little testicles out of his mom's purse, sack 'em up, and get in the ring with yours truly as Sacrifice?" He asked if he's get an "Amen" or chicken noises. These are two really good talkers who deserve a bigger audience than this show is getting. But if they keep giving them this kind of time and clear out the bad stuff, they'll be a reason the audience grows. Pope slapped Anderson. Anderson fought back and gouged Pope's eye with his thumb. Security quickly ran in and pulled Anderson off of Pope. [c]

-Team 3D was late coming to the ring for their tag team title match. They cut backstage where Syxx-Pac was laid out on a broken table with a huge puddle of blood next to his head. Team 3D said he should have never shown up after no-showing at Lockdown.

4 -- MATT MORGAN & JESSE NEAL vs. TEAM 3D -- TNA Tag Team Title Match

Team 3D went after Neal at the start. Then music played for Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. They walked out onto the ramp. Tenay said Hall and Nash wanted their music to be played so Team 3D knew they were coming. Team 3D went after Hall and Nash. Neal joined in and beat on Nash. Morgan didn't like that and walked up to Neal and punched him. Morgan threw him into the ring and gave him a chokeslam.

WINNER: No contest in 1:00.

[Q7]

-After the break, Team 3D and Neal were in the ring. Neal threw a fit in the ring and called Morgan to the ring so he can kick his ass. Christy Hemme approached Morgan and said Neal is calling him out. Morgan said Neal is still his partner and they're off the clock. Hogan walked up to Morgan and told him to either go out there and deal with Neal or deal with him. Morgan chose to go back to the ring and deal with Neal. Neal went after Morgan aggressively on the ramp. He knocked him down and then threatened to hit him with a tag title belt. Morgan begged off at first, but then used a low blow to stop Neal and then KO'd him with the belt. Shannon Moore charged to the ring and hit Morgan with a missile dropkick.

-Bischoff sat at his desk backstage and said he would now announce the new TNA ranking system. He said this is something new, different, and never been done before. He said fans will help them determine who is in the top ten ranking. He said all fans have to do is go to TNA's website and vote for who deserves a title shot. He said much like politics in Chicago, feel free to vote early and often. Jay Lethal walked in and said he was ready to vote. He said Andre is no. 1, Koko B. Ware is no. 2, then Red Rooster, One Man Gang, and Hart Foundation. They cut to a break as he kept talking. [c]

-Mid-break they showed Styles giving Flair a pep talk.

-Orlando Jordan stood wrapped in colorful feathers. He said he is misrepresented and misunderstood. He said his art represents his body and soul and passion. He said there is one man in TNA who transcends other wrestlers - Rob Terry. He said he has demolished every obstacle that has come before him, so next week he will bring forth art and beauty with the debut of his new talk show, "The Ozone." He said it will be delicious. Taz said there will be more than one freak in "The Ozone" next week.

-Tenay and Taz hyped the main event. Then they went to a video package of Flair talking about coming out of retirement again. He was barely audible and could barely talk, so they captioned it. He said when he's in a bad mood, he doesn't mind hurting somebody. He said Abyss offends everything he has worked 38 years to be. He said when he walks that aisle, everyone watching will know he is the greatest wrestler who ever lived. "And that's the bottom line because Ric Flair said so, and I was saying that before Steve Austin," he said.

[Q8] [c]

-Someone backstage chased down Hall and Nash backstage. He asked what is next for The Band. Nash was the first to yell on the show, and given the context it made sense and stood out because he was the first. He was upset with Borash asking them about that when Syxx was laid out in his own blood. Hall told the guy he's asking for a beatdown. He said he's the nice one. He said their beef is with Team 3D, then encouraged Nash to join him in checking on Syxx Pac.

-A video package aired on Hogan giving Abyss his ring. [c]

5 -- RIC FLAIR vs. ABYSS

Flair threw chops early. Abyss took it to Flair at ringside. He reopened the cut on his forehead. At 3:00 Flair climbed to the top rope. Abyss slammed him to the mat, then gave him a big boot and a side slam. Flair shadow boxed after a corner splash, then fell face first to the mat. He was a bloody mess at this point. Flair mule kicked Abyss, but also kicked the ref at the same time. He then pulled out brass knuckles and punched Abyss. Abyss no-sold it. Flair dropped to his knees and begged off, but then punched Abyss in the crotch. He covered Abyss. The ref came to and counted to three. Hebner decided to restart the match when he saw brass knuckles drop out of Flair's hand when he raised his arm in victory. Flair punched at Abyss who was on his knees. Abyss made his Hogan-style comeback, no-selling Flair's chops. he then punched away at Flair, then gave him a Black Hole Slam for the win. That meant Abyss got Flair's Hall of Fame ring.

WINNER: Abyss in 5:00.

-Hogan walked to the ring with a smile on his face. He celebrated with Abyss in the ring. Taz said Flair worked his whole life for that ring. Tenay said he put it on the line to get a chance at Hogan's. Hogan said next week he's going to present the ring to someone special. Tenay said tune in next Monday night to find out.

FINAL THOUGHTS: After last week's vastly improved show, this held steady and gave reason for optimism. The stress on the title, the new framing of backstage interviews, the lack of back office discussions, etc. But is it too late to get disgruntled fans back even with this talent base after years of bad booking?


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