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THE SPECIALISTS
UNDER THE MICROSCOPE - TNA Impact 6/25: The return of a former interviewer, Kurt Angle's outdated commercial, Record Name-Drop Night for Sting, Who is Sarita?

Jun 26, 2009 - 11:11:03 AM
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By Curtis Shanks, Torch specialist

Welcome to the TNA Impact edition of Under the Microscope. We're here to review all those little observations and tidbits you may have missed. This is not a detailed recap of the show, but a review for those of you that saw the show but didn't actually "watch" it.

After last week, we know that Mick Foley still has a clown fetish, Lethal and Val will not reconcile, and Cute Kip has been watching This Old House. But what else is there to notice? Let's see what we can spot. Cue the opening pyro.

It's time for year number eight to get under way, as Slammiversary is over. Slammiversary is the celebration of the June 2002 birth of TNA, and they dug into the past to start off this year's show. The opening music video was credited to Goldilocks, a name some long-time TNA fans may remember.

Goldilocks was the backstage interviewer on the very first TNA show seven years ago. She was seen in TNA throughout the first couple years, eventually moving from the interviewer role to ring-side valet. After starting with storyline love interest Erik Watts, she later went on to manage Abyss before dropping him for "Baby Bear" Alex Shelley. What are the odds that TNA found a music group with the same name as a former employee? It's not a coincidence, as Goldilocks the former wrestling valet and Goldilocks the musician are in fact the same person.

Speaking of past references, as customary with TNA's Slammiversary PPVs, the referees were attired in old-school blue shirts and bow-ties. This was the usual look for wrestling referees in the '80s and '90s, but aside from the Slammiversary PPVs, a look not often seen in TNA. If you look back at the very first TNA show, their refs donned the modern-day zebra stripped shirts, not the powder-blue seen in wrestling from the past. Doesn't seem fair to me, as it's sort of like a new sports team wearing the throwback jerseys of a different franchise.

Looking specifically at this week's episode of Impact, we get an unusual start to the show as Brother Ray faces Brutus Magnus in a NYC Street Fight. This is not only an odd way to start off the follow-up show after one of the two big PPVs of the year, but it also breaks the long streak of X-Division openers. Before this week, we saw 16 consecutive episodes where the opening match involved at least one wrestler from the X Division. It's not that the X guys are getting a better spot in the show, it's only because they were taken off the show completely this week.

A vignette aired this week for "Sarita," who appears to be a Latino female wrestler that will debut in TNA in three weeks. Sarita is better known as Sarah Stock, who has made a name for herself south of the border for the AAA promotion as well as CMLL. She wrestled as Dark Angel in CMLL under a mask, before leaving the promotion for AAA. Stock is actually Canadian born, as she wrestled on the independent circuit there before moving to Mexico in 2003. Stock has wrestled two dark matches for TNA thus far, a loss to Awesome Kong and a victory over Taylor Wilde at a set of TV tapings in April.

Christopher Daniels made a run-in during the ending moments of the Samoa Joe-A.J. Styles face-off late in the show. Daniels's roster spot is safe, as he defeated Shane Douglas at Slammiversary to keep from being fired for the third time. Shane Douglas wanted his second chance after a long layoff, and got that chance last Sunday vs. Daniels - his first ever match on a TNA monthly PPV. I pointed out two weeks ago that Douglas had previous TNA experience, but was only a manager and backstage interviewer during the last part of his stay. His last match during his previous run was in May 2004, a full six months before the first TNA monthly PPV.

As mentioned earlier, the X Division was absent from this weeks episode. The champion of the division is still the masked Suicide, as he defeated four others last Sunday. The King of the Mountain match was built as a huge mountain to climb for Suicide (pun intended) because it was four-on-one as Lethal Consequences and The Guns had all previously worked together to unmask him. There were two teams in the match along with Suicide, but they still put over the fact that it was every man for himself in the end, as only one person can win the match.

TNA further emphasized this with the ring intros, as all five competitors entered individually rather than as tag teams. However, the every-man-for-himself feel seemed to go by the wayside as the match got under way. You may have noticed the spot where Chris Sabin laid down for Alex Shelley to give him a chance to win. But that was not the only instance where tag team allegiances were put ahead of X gold. In fact, I had a hard time finding any spot in the match where Sabin fought Shelley or Creed fought Lethal. Every hit, punch, and kick was against a person other than a tag team partner for each competitor.

Also missing from this week's episode of Impact was the number one contender for the Knockout title. Tara was unsuccessful in her quest for the title last Sunday, but it was still an accomplishment to just be in a big match for the former Victoria. She left WWE earlier this year, unhappy with her very limited role and lack of TV time with the company. Her match at Slammiversary was her first title match in over three years, as a March 13, 2006 loss to Trish Stratus on Raw was the last time Victoria even had a shot at winning a title belt.

It looks as though TNA Impact's newest sponsor, Stacker 2 Six Hour Power, will have to redo the commercial they air during Impact. The commercial features Kurt Angle shelling the product, including graphics such as the familiar "12-time world champion" one we see in his entrance video on Impact. Angle is now a 13-time world champ, but only has eleven if you ask me. One IWGP, one WCW, five WWE, and four TNA World Title runs is a little less than the exaggerated thirteen TNA is proclaiming.

After a few less-than-stellar weeks, the bleep counter was once again productive this week. We got a total of seven - one during the PPV recap to open the show, two during the Beautiful People segment, and three during the main event segments. But seven is a far cry from the Sting name-drop counter, which was tallying names like crazy this week.

Sting delivered his promo to close the show and the name-drop counter hit an astronomical 29 during his time in the ring. One "Joe," five "Kurts," three "Bookers," one "Scottie," and an amazing 19 "Kevins" gives us a number that will hopefully not be matched for a long time to come.

Numbers crunched harder than an unprotected chair shot to the head: TNA currently has five different titles for their wrestlers to compete for. With the Legends and Knockout titles only a couple of years old, you could consider the World, Tag Team, and X titles the most important in the promotion, as they have been around since day one. There have been tons of times those three titles have been defended or changed hands in seven years, but how often does it happen at the same time?

Throughout all the weekly PPV shows, TV Impacts, and monthly PPVs, those three titles have been defended on the same day 45 times. We've seen this 14 times on the old weekly PPV shows and 30 times on a monthly PPV, but only once on an episode of Impact (November 13, 2008). The longest drought between occurrences was almost eight months - from October 2003 to June 2004. The shortest was a span in October and November of 2002, when five of seven Wednesday PPVs featured all three titles on the line, including a span of three weeks in a row.

So what have the results been during those 45 instances of all three major titles on the line? Eleven times we've seen all three titles successfully defended on the same night, but only once have we seen all three change hands. Bound For Glory 2006 saw Sting win the World Title from Jeff Jarrett, Chris Sabin defeat Senshi for the X title, and LAX over Styles and Daniels to win the tag titles.

Curtis Shanks is a self-described wrestling nerd. Who else understands what Matt Striker is talking about all the time. Feedback is welcome, as comments, suggestions and questions can be sent to Curtis at curtisshanks.torch@gmail.com or in the comments section below.


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