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KELLER'S TNA IMPACT REPORT 1 YR. AGO (10-23-08): One-year anniversary of the Main Event Mafia formed in Las Vegas, Kevin Nash & Sting vs. A.J. Styles & Samoa Joe main event

Oct 22, 2009 - 12:02:51 AM
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TNA IMPACT REPORT - 1 year ago
OCTOBER 23, 2008
REPORT BY WADE KELLER, TORCH EDITOR


-A video package aired with the highfalutin tone, talking about TNA's history, where critics saw it as a doomed concept destined to fail, but each year goals were met and progress was made, with each passing year seeing the dream further blossom and legacy expand. Tonight is another bold step forward for this global phenomenon.

-A new TNA Impact opening aired with Mick Foley, Jeff Jarrett, Sting, and the rest of the cast. Then they showed the exterior of the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, Nev. Mike Tenay and Don West introduced the show as the camera panned the intimate setting for the show, reminiscent of Spike TV's "UFC Fight Night Live" specials.

1 -- VELVET SKY (w/Angelina Love, "Cute" Kip) vs. CHRISTY HEMME

Wow, the backdrop behind the hard camera is just terrible. The whole setting of the hard camera view hasn't been worse on a pro wrestling show since the AWA's empty room matches in their dying days. It's unfortunate, because other angles are pretty decent of the intimate facility, but it's basically a big tarp behind six rows of standing fans. It's really a small-time look, but unnecessary as other camera angles were okay. It's almost GLOW-like (the 1980s women's group promoted by David McLane). West said TNA Knockouts were being requested for personal services last night in Vegas. TNA just couldn't resist getting right to it. The action had that frenetic pace that's just not pleasant to watch. It's like watching a movie in fast-forward. The most memorable spot was Velvet mounting Christy in the corner and ramming her head into the turnbuckle and then into her crotch on the repeated rebounds.

WINNER: Christy Hemme in 2:00.

-They showed Mike Tenay and Don West at ringside previewing upcoming matches. If you were waiting to see a close-up of those two in Hi-Def, this is your lucky night! They plugged the texting to determine the order of the gauntlet match by texting your "favorite wrestler" and that will automatically move them up in order. Like so much TNA does, they even make texting more complicated than it has to be. They managed at this point to get around to plugging that Mick Foley would have a big announcement later.

-Jeremy Borash sat backstage with Kurt Angle. Borash said Angle is promising an announcement that would trump Foley's later. Angle said he's going to change the face of professional wrestling, not just TNA, forever. He said he made a few phone calls to some "very, very, very important people." He said as of midnight last night, the deal was done. Borash asked what that had to do with Booker T. Borash turned and asked Booker, sitting next to Sharmell, what he had to do with this. Booker said from this point on they take what they want, and they want respect. His accent has never greatly bothered me before. This week is was almost unlistenable.

The camera panned over to Kevin Nash who was also in the room. Nash said wrestling has always been about money, power, and respect. As Nash talked about Joe not respecting him, Booker interjected with "respect" in his hideous accent three times. Nash said Joe made it personal, which is why he came back. Borash said all three are icons, but elsewhere backstage there seems to be uprising against them. He said he thinks the odds may be stacked against them. Angle said this business was built on honor, dignity, and respect. He said they are three of the greatest wrestlers of all time, but there is one more. He then revealed their fourth alliance member - Sting. He walked in wearing a suit sans facepaint. Sting said, "J.B., you look like you've seen a ghost. Why look so surprised, J.B." Sting said they tried it the nice way, but it didn't work. He said they have 75 years of experience between them. He said they asked nicely, but there will be no more asking - only demanding. He said it'll be all business from now on. He then walked away. Angle laughed. Angle toasted Booker and Nash and christened themselves The Main Event Mafia. Could Sting's first full-fledged official heel turn have been more anticlimactic? He half turned and the turned back and then went ambiguous, and now we're supposed to be shocked and care? Really poorly done in the micro and macro. However, if the end result is a solid heel faction without all of that ambiguity, then that's ultimately good going forward.

[Q2]

[Commercial Break]

Lauren interviewed "The Adorable One" Mick Foley outside the Hard Rock after he drove up in a teal and white VW Bug. She asked about his announcement. Foley bragged about getting 40 MPG in it. She begged for details on the announcement. Foley said he's going to wait until he's in the Hard Rock and until TV sets are standing room only, whatever that means. She asked how big. He said, "Real big. Real big."

-Booker T and Sharmell walked to the ring with the briefcase. Tenay said that mystery is about to be revealed. Some fans chanted "Respect" (or was it "Reject" or "Reset"?). Booker talked in his accent about immortalizing Booker forever. The crowd began to chant, "No more accents! No more accents!" Those damn smart-ass know-it-all fans follow TNA everywhere. He pulled out a new championship belt with the TNA logo on it with a pinkish-red strap. A chant began of "Booker T! Booker T!" He said it is called the TNA Legends Championship. He said the title belongs to him and him only. He introduced himself as the TNA Legends Champion. Christian Cage's music began.

Christian walked out onto the stage, then entered the ring and said: "When I think of legend, it isn't some guy who looks like a second-rate cheap Little John impersonator who speaks with some ridiculous accent." He said a legend is a person whose track record is so great, they command respect. He said he has the career and track record, but he asked if he has that respect he desires right now. "Not so much," he said. He then mocked him for inventing a championship and expecting fans and his colleagues to respect that. Booker retorted that tonight is a celebration. He asked if he could axe Christian a question. Christian said yes. The camera work and directing was really awkward in general tonight, and especially here, with ill-timed cutaways, drunken zoom-ins, and oddly placed jumps to crowd shots. Booker said tonight is about legends, so it should be about Christian joining the Main Event Mafia. He said he's not really interested, but he told him what does interest him is wrestling someone for the Legends Title, such as him at Turning Point. The crowds cheers cut off when it wasn't for tonight. Christian said, "In my country, Boo-kah, we call that a challenge." He stepped out of the ring and headed to the back. Booker told him he does deserve a title shot, so he will face him for the title at Turning Point. He said if Christian wins, he gets the title, but if he wins, Christian must join the Main Event Mafia. Christian smiled and walked away. Booker told him to think about it.

-Lauren interviewed Matt Morgan and Abyss backstage regarding their Gauntlet match. Morgan he's the only one going to the ring. Abyss said, "I'm fine." Morgan said he's not okay and he won't let him get near the ring. Morgan said he was right there when a doctor told him he suffered third degree burns over ten percent of his body. Morgan doesn't just talk fast, but somehow he begins his next sentence before he finishes the first. What kind of special Red Bull does he drink before he goes out there and when does he breathe? Morgan said if it weren't for him, he wouldn't have gotten burned. He shouldn't have let him be part of that match. Abyss said Morgan said he is his best friend. He said his therapist made him realize that he needs to think for himself and make his own decisions. He said the burns that cover his back and lower torso, "the puss filled, bleeding, synged skin," hurt now, but will be okay. He said what he and Morgan need to worry about is their tag team gauntlet. Morgan insisted that Abyss listen to him. He said he isn't going to that ring. Morgan said Kurt Angle will replace Abyss.

[Q3]

-Borash interviewed Jeff Jarrett backstage. He reiterated that they're live in HD from Vegas. He then asked what Foley's big announcement is. Jarrett said it's Foley's announcement to make. Borash asked Jarrett if he will give Kurt Angle the rematch against him that he wants. Jarrett said he doesn't always get all he wants in life, but he'll get over it. He said Angle will get over never getting a rematch. He said he has business to take care of, so he had to leave.

2 -- SHEIK ABDUL BASHIR vs. "BLACK MACHISMO" JAY LEHAL -- X Division Champion

No follow-up on Sting's turn nearly a half hour after it happened. They did talk about the text voting. Tenay said Beef Money have received the fewest votes so far. The crowd chanted for Lethal early. He hit a dive through the ropes at 1:00. Lethal went for a top rope elbow. Bashir moved. The he finished him clean with his snap DDT. That might be one of the least justifiably short matches in history unless that's Lethal's final match in TNA and he's leaving for some reason. It's maddening that they'd book an X Title match on TV between two equals and have it end in less than two minutes. What's almost as bad is the announcers treated it as if it was no big deal. I wish there were keystrokes that could combine to express how horrible a booking approach this is.

WINNER: Bashir in 1:00. TNA's utter lack of confidence in good wrestling holding a cable wrestling audience is only a reflection of their poor promoting of their wrestlers' characters and the sense that in-ring action means something and building anticipation among viewers to see wrestlers battle it out inside the ring.

-Lauren interviewed A.J. Styles backstage. He said TNA is falling apart because of the tension between the young guys and the veterans. Joe said, "Nash, you scumbag." He brushed off Styles when he tried to calm him. Joe said, "Frankenstein is coming home. You made this." Actually, Frankenstein was the doctor; the monster is Frankenstein's Monster. Joe told Nash he will take his career in exchange for him taking his title. He said if any of his new friends want a piece of him, he'll take their, too.

-A very disappointing start to the show. As frenetic, anti-wrestling, talk-heavy, impact-free, angry/sexist a mess as ever. It's like they do more Red Bull in the booking room when scripting big shows.

[Commercial Break]

[Q3]

-A vignette aired on Suicide.

-As they went back to the arena, Tenay said he just got word of an altercation backstage between Rhino and Bashir. Rhino said he's sick and tired of hearing the political crap coming out of his mouth. He yelled at Bashir that this is his country and he loves it. He threw him against the wall by his neck and vowed it's about time somebody deprt him, and it might as well be in a bodybag. When Rhino released his grip, Bashir kicked him between the legs. Bashir chopped him from behind with a headdress as Lauren panted in the background as if she was giving birth. She checked on Rhino and called out, "Help!"

-A TNA video aired with random comments from wrestlers.

-The Beer Money Inc. ring intro began as they cut to a break.

[Commercial Break]

3 -- GAUNTLET MATCH

It began with James Storm vs. Brother Ray. Fans apparently voted for Brother Ray to be the first entrant. Tenay shifted to asking fans to text which weapon they want legal in the match: tables, ladders, or chairs. I wasn't crazy about texting in general before, but this month of pro wrestling has made me hate the whole concept. Robert Roode entered the match a minute later giving the heels a two-on-one advantage. Tenay plugged Nash & Sting vs. Styles & Joe, plus Foley's "huge announcement." Devon entered a minute later to even the odds. Fifth entrant was Hernandez followed by Homicide. More frenetic non-stop mind-numbing action. Next in was Matt Morgan. He began tossing people around the ring. He eliminated Homicide over the top rope, then Devon. Hernandez caught Morgan with a kick, but Morgan then backdropped him over the top rope to the floor. Then Abyss entered. He got double-teamed at Beer Money at ringside. Ring announcer Dave Penzer announced that tables are legal. The crowd chanted "Tables, Tables." Team 3D liked what the heard. Devon fetched a title from under the ring.

[Q5]

Devon pulled out lighter fluid (because it went so well at Bound for Glory). He sprayed it all over the table set up in the ring. Abyss entered the ring and stopped Brother Ray from setting it on fire. The crowd booed. Abyss is the babyface, Team 3D are heels, but bookers continue to set up 3D for cheers with table spots. Abyss held up a lighter and was about to set the table on fire, but Team 3D knocked him out of the ring first. That made it a tag team match for some excessively convoluted reason I don't care to think about. The crowd chanted, "We want fire!" Team 3D put Roode through the table with a 3D and scored a near fall. Jacqueline yanked he ref out of the ring before he could count three. Storm then sprayed a mouth full of beer in Devon's face leading to the pin.

WINNERS: Team 3D in 10:00.

STAR RATING: 1/4* -- Just a clustermess of rushed action.

-This show is like being put on a roller coaster after a big meal while you are getting over the flu. It's hard to enjoy something that should be a lot of fun and afterward your head is spinning and you just want quiet time.

[Commercial Break]

-Tenay and West plugged the Foley announcement again. Tenay then got really overly worked up about how there's no way Angle's big announcement is bigger than Foley's later.

-Angle walked to the ring with a mic in hand. He said even though the Main Event Mafia has been created, he hasn't forgotten about Jarrett. He said he doesn't care about Foley's announcement, he wants to get his hands on Jarrett tonight. He again brought up his promise to "pay his daughters a visit," a not-so-veiled threat aimed at pre-teen girls who are known to be mother-less, and said he still means it. He said he "doesn't give a sh--." They must be on delay as they bleeped him saying it.

Jarrett interrupted and walked onto the stage. He was in a rage, red-faced, and told Angle that he will not tolerate him threatening his daughters again. He said he's going to use his authority as an owner of TNA to void his contract, take him off TV, and alert authorities to put a restraining order on him because that is going too far even for a wrestling show where limits are pushed all the time. He said nothing else matters more to him than his daughters and they will never be brought up again.

Oh, wait, none of that above paragraph actually happened. Instead, Jarrett walked out and seemed relatively calm. He talked not about the threat to his daughters but instead about how talented TNA's roster is. He said it's not about him anymore and he's gong to pass the torch. He said it's about Styles, Joe, Lethal, and the Motor City Machine Guns. (Boy, that carries no credibility. Three of those five younger stars he mentioned are treated like jobbers, and Lethal just lost in less than two minutes earlier in the show and everybody treated it like it was pretty much expected and no big deal at all. That's what TNA is going to build around? This argument has to have some basis in reality to have credibility, and it needs to be credible for this reincarnation of the Millionaires Club vs. New Kids on the Block feud to work. Another example of how thin the veneer is to TNA's low-IQ booking execution.)

Angle said he doesn't give a damn about Jarrett or his company. He said all he cares about is whipping his ass tonight. Jarrett said whether he likes it or not, he'll have to accept no for an answer. He said there is someone standing behind him who is ready for a fight. Abyss attacked Angle from behind. As he set up a Black Hole Slam, Angle avoided it and slipped out of the ring. Jarrett smiled and laughed at what just happened.

-They showed Foley admiring some memorabilia at the Hard Rock as Tenay plugged his big announcement again.

[Commercial Break]

[Q6]

-A commercial aired for the new TNA DVD, Ultimate Matches.

-A video package hyped Awesome Kong vs. Taylor Wilde. Lauren then interviewed Awesome Kong and Raisha Saeed. Saeed asked how many times Kong has to plow through Taylor. She vowed that Kong would take back her title and be done with her. She said tonight won't just be Taylor's last match with Kong, but her last match, period.

-Borash interviewed Taylor backstage. She said she can only go out there and do what she does best. She said Kong will have to end her career to beat her.

-The ring intro for Kong took place.

[Commercial Break]

4 -- TAYLOR WILDE vs. AWESOME KONG (w/Raisha Saeed) -- TNA Knockouts Title match

Taylor's ring intro took place after the break. Kong took Taylor down with a clothesline for a two count at 1:00. There were competing chants for each wrestler. TNA still has that terribly unflattering picture of Taylor on their website roster page that doesn't even look like her. Taylor threw a couple dropkicks and then a third off the top rope for a near fall. She scored a believable nearfall right afterward with a huracanrana. Saeed tripped her coming off the ropes. As Taylor turned to her, Kong grabbed her from behind and gave her an Awesome Kong for the win.

WINNER: Kong in 3:00 to capture the TNA Knockouts Title. Another ridiculously short match. You know they'd have preferred the Gauntlet match last just three minutes, too, but they were stuck going ten minutes because of the format of the match.

-They showed the Mafia backstage.

[Q7]

[Commercial Break]

-They showed Nick Bockwinkel in the front row. He looked good. I can only imagine what he thought of what he was watching. Oh boy.

5 -- "BIG SEXY" KEVIN NASH & STING vs. A.J. STYLES & SAMOA JOE

Nash opened against Styles. When Styles tagged in Joe at Joe's request, Nash tagged in Sting immediately. At 3:00 they cut to a break. Back from he break, Styles hot-tagged Joe in against Nash at 7:00. Joe kicked and senton splashed Nash for a two count. Tenay invited viewers to join them for a post-show special on Spike TV's website. Sting attempted to interfere against Styles, but Styles moved and Sting splashed Nash by mistake. As Styles turned to fight Sting, Nash KO'd him with the championship belt and scored the pin.

WINNERS: Sting & Nash in 9:00.

-As Sting and Nash celebrated, Styles took a shot at Nash's legs. Joe got up bleeding from the forehead and applied the rear naked choke on Nash. Styles, meanwhile, beat on Sting in the corner. Angle and Booker ran out and made it four-on-two. The heels bloodied Styles and continued to beat on Joe. All four stood together in the ring, arms raised.

-They showed Foley heading toward the entrance tunnel.

[Q8]

-Foley walked out in a grey t-shirt, white button up shirt over that, a leather western-style vest, blue sweat pants, and sneakers. Foley said in his meeting with Jarrett, the first thing Jarrett said was he must have a lot of money. Foley said he confirmed he had. Jarrett then brought up the rumors that Mick Foley was "the cheapest, tightest, more frugal wrestler who ever laced up a pair of boots." Tenay needlessly interjected, "I don't know that that's a rumor; that's a fact." Foley said his taste in cars are modest and when it comes to clothes, "I'm not exactly Palinesque, if you know what I mean." Jarrett asked if he's made a lot of money, but spent none, perhaps I'd like to invest some of it. Before he could elaborate, the Main Event Mafia walked out. Angle held the mic and walked to the ramp as the other three remained on the stage. He entered the ring. Angle asked Foley if he really said last week he was going to "take a Kurt and wipe his Angle." As Foley laughed and began to explain himself, Angle headbutted him to the mat. Angle asked if he thinks it's funny now. Foley said, "Actually, Kurt, it's kinda funny. You see, were you under the impression Jeff Jarrett was offering me a stock tip?" He said what Jarrett wanted to ask him was whether he'd be willing to make a major investment in TNA. He said he's a major shareholder in TNA. He turned up the intensity of his tone and said, "It's kind of funny because you just headbutted your new boss!" Tenay and West exclaimed "Whoa!"

Foley then said his first action is to fire the entire booking crew. The crowd chanted, "Russo sucks! Russo suck!" And then they sang the "Na na na, good bye" song. Foley said things are going to change around here for the better and it's going to begin with a whole new approach to presenting the wrestling and taking advantage of the deep talent pool they had.

Okay, that previous paragraph didn't happen at all. Foley actually teased firing Angle, but he stopped short of the "You're fired" phrase and turned it into "You're frrrrr...eee to work here if you want." He said he's invested in it because he believes in it. He said they've had their ups and downs over the years. He said he loves "this business" and believes in the fans (all five rows of fans between the ring and the pastel pink cheesy backdrop). Foley said he knew back in WWE they had that feeling that something major was about to happen. The mention of "WWE" drew boos. Foley said they were all there to witness the explosion of the business. (Actually, Angle arrived about the time things began to cool down, through no fault of his own.) Foley asked Angle if he wants to be a part of history or just be history. He said the choice is his. Foley's music played and some streamers blasted into the air, something you'd see at a kids birthday party. Fans have to wonder if Foley's storyline ownership role in TNA will lead to major budget cuts, low pay for wrestlers, no more catering, cuts in production values, and other "frugal" management decisions. The show opened with Tenay recapping the happenings on the show as the Mafia stared back at Foley in the ring. Tenay said TNA hit the jackpot tonight.


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