TNA Impact WILKENFELD'S TNA IMPACT REPORT 10/21: Complete "virtual time" coverage of Spike TV's live broadcast [updated]
Oct 21, 2010 - 10:35:29 PM
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By: Daniel Wilkenfeld, PWTorch Contributor
Where We've Been: Most Torch readers seem to have hated last week's Impact. (The two classes of exception are people who emailed me as opposed to posting comments, and people from Ohio—check the reax. I'm not sure what these two groups have in common.) I'm not surprised, since there were only like four minutes of wrestling on Impact proper. Usually I find myself gravitating to the group's opinion over the course of a day or two, but this week I think I actually liked it better in retrospect. Tara vs. Rayne and Pope vs. Fortune, which both seemed bad at the time, now look better in retrospect. The former, which was bad because of its making a mockery of the Knockouts Title, seems to have been set up to end that very process of mockery. The Pope's match, which seemed pointless and short, was very good structural set-up for The Pope becoming a major player as the only remaining member of the original resistance. I was wondering why they didn't send out help then, but I think that would actually make more sense tonight—Lethal would be the most obvious choice, or they could send out Kurt as a sort of non-sanctioned avenger. The absence of a finish in the main event did not really bother me, because I (like most of you) didn't really think it would reach a finish anyway. A well-done heel-heat-generating non-finish courtesy of Hardy is extremely preferable to a silly ending featuring Hogan or wacky stereo-counting referees—I still don't know what the hell they were thinking with that.
The Show: Rob Van Damned!!!
We recap last week's developments. They're sticking with the Hardy=anti-Christ bit, which I'm not sure I would have pushed.
Mr Anderson comes down to the ring, his arm in a sling. The crowd's chanting that they're assholes—I don't know if they're failing to pick up on his serious face, or if that's their expression of solidarity. He tells Jethro to get his balls out of Bischoff and Hogan's purses, put on his mascara and his arm panty-hose, and get out here right-freaking now. RVD's music hits, and he comes down to the ring. He wants to know if Anderson wants Hardy. Why? Cause he cost Anderson a shot at the title that he (RVD) never lost? By all means, bring Hardy out, and Anderson can get in line while RVD kicks his ass. That gets boos. Hardy appears on the monitor, talking about the need to forgive those who have done wrong. He's done both of the men in the ring wrong, by having Abyss attack RVD and taking out Ken's arm. Can they find it in their heart to forgive him? He chuckles a bit. That's a nice heel vibe. Bischoff comes out next. He invites them to join him on Reaction where they explain how they pulled off this coup. (I wonder if that includes explaining why they randomly gave Sting a title shot against fan voting, despite his being their arch-nemesis.) Bischoff says that he also feels like he owes Anderson an apology, since he didn't give him a chance to live up to his potential. So tonight he's giving Anderson that chance against Kazarian, in an X Division Match. If anyone can grab that X, Anderson can. If Anderson can survive, he'll get Hardy at Turning Point. As to RVD, Bischoff can only imagine how he feels. A man who he thought was his best friend served him up like a piece of ham to Abyss. Bischoff doesn't want him to get paranoid or anything, even though everyone's trying to call him to get into the Immortals, even RVD's friends. He really shouldn't worry about the man he thinks is one of his best friends in Sabu, as they team up against Beer Money.
[Intro—remixed with footage from Bound for Glory and last week]
We're told that in addition to the two matches just announced (for which they already have convenient graphics!), Mickie James will be beating...I mean, um, facing, Sarita.
Robbie and Cookie arrived earlier today...sigh.
D-Lo Brown is trying to talk down RVD as he storms into the EV 2.0 locker room, wanting to know who's been talking to Bischoff. Raven tells him to calm down and smoke another bowl, at which point RVD blows a gasket and shoves him into a locker, calling him a traitor. Dreamer talks him down and points out that he probably shouldn't let Bischoff mess with his head like this.
We recap Jwoww's appearance, complete with interview footage where she says that she might be willing to get in the ring now that she got the TNA bug. When asked whether he'd leave Cookie for someone on Jersey Shore, Robbie suggests that the interviewer (JB?) doesn't get the nature of their relationship.
(1) AMAZING RED vs. ROBBIE E. (w/COOKIE)
Is Amazing Red the X Division's go-to jobber now? What happened to Shark Boy? Robbie jumps Red and stomps him down in the corner. He pulls Red up into a Short Line Clothesline. Red tries to fight out, but gets knocked back down. Robbie backs Red up into the corner and punches him. Red ducks a clothesline and hits a Twisting Leg Scissors, then runs up Robbie's back in the corner. He goes for a spin kick—the first misses, but the second leg connects. Red dives off the ropes but Robbie steps aside, then RKO's him.
WINNER: Robbie E. in two minutes. That was bullshit. Red deserves better, and if Robbie E. wants to get over despite "boring" chants he needed to utilize this sort of opportunity to show a more diverse move-set than an RKO and some lame strikes.
After the match Robbie E. calls out Lethal. I think I repressed that this feud is happening. He says that what he did to Red he'll do to Lethal, then he'll bling out that X Division title. Because they're tan, they're hot, and bro, he's not. She informs us that Jersey's in the house, bitches. The crowd lets them know that they're boring.
Seriously, when was the last time someone got this bad a reaction this quickly?
The Pope was with a stripper in Harlem. He says that after the wolves left the building last week, he got attacked by a bunch of hyenas in Fortune. They want gang-warfare, and that's something he knows something about. But he's not planning to start at the bottom—he's going right to the top, to the man with the title, the man making the money, AJ Styles. So he suggests to AJ that they fight—they should just fight.
Mick Foley signed his new book for some baby. He figures out the date by counting how many days it's been for Bound for Glory and adding ten. He fields a question from Brian Kendrick asking whether Mick's work is supposed to be reminiscent of "poets who write for the heavens" like Bob Dylan John Lennon and Lewis Carroll. He wants to know if that was intentional, whether there's a deeper meaning he'd like to discuss, or whether it's supposed to exist on a more abstract level? Mick, looking dazed, says that his book can be read on many levels, and he wouldn't want to ruin it by foisting his interpretation onto Kendrick. It was a nice exchange really.
Fortune are laughing over the forthcoming match with Sabu and RVD. Storm wants to know what "STD" is thinking. Kazarian says that we all know that a one-legged man can't win an ass-kicking contest, so how is a one-armed asshole going to win an Ultimate X Match. AJ's amused by Pope's challenge, and is happy to put his title on the line. I think he says it'll be a street-fight, but it's hard to be sure over the hooting. Ric Flair pretends the belt is his penis and then chugs a bottle. The other order would have made more causal sense. Bischoff comes by, and says that since this is a fair regime—someone asks when that happened—if any of Fortune interfere in AJ's match with the Pope he'll be disqualified and stripped of his title.
The Beautiful People are hanging out in make-up. Ms. Tessmacher comes in and says that she really needs their help. Velvet Sky tells her to kiss their ass, cause it's not happening. She and Love keep dissing Tessmacher after she leaves, though Von Erich says that she thinks she deserves a second chance. Sky and Von Erich leave the room, at which point Love sees a mysterious, monotone-speaking fan named Winter. Sky comes back in and asks who Love's talking to, but now there's no one there. She says that Love needs to get some sleep. Um...check the tape? If they start pretending that there's no camera there (or worse: that there is a camera which can somehow see from Love's perspective), I riot.
(2) "THE POPE" D'ANGELO DINERO vs. AJ STYLES TV Championship Match Street Fight
Pope doesn't get his Dinero drop during his entrance. Pope meets AJ at the top of the ramp and drives him into the staging. AJ tries to whip him off, but Pope reverses with a back elbow. He grabs the title and swings, but AJ ducks and connects with rights. They fight back to ringside, where Pope drives AJ's head into the steel steps. He catapults AJ into the ring post. The crowd informs Pope that he is pimp'n. He beats AJ all the way around the ring, periodically slamming his head into the apron. He takes some tape off his wrist and chokes AJ a bit, then rolls him into the ring. AJ catches Pope on his way back in, then low blows him. He lays in with stomps and right hands. He Snapmares Pope down, then starts wrenching his face. Pope powers out and hits a flurry of strikes, but AJ rakes the eyes. Pope tries to punch out, but AJ keeps ducking. AJ proclaims that he's too fast for Pope. Pope feigns a punch to the head, then jabs AJ in the stomach and unloads with a series of strikes for two. AJ hurls Pope from the ring as he gets up. He vaults the ropes to fly out after him, but Pope gets out of the way. He slugs AJ and rolls him back into the ring. AJ tries to beg off. Pope hesitates, and Abyss comes from out of nowhere to jump Pope from behind. He connects with a Black Hole Slam. AJ thanks him and pats his ass, which Abyss does not seem to take kindly to. AJ makes the cover, and Earl Hebner grudgingly counts the 3.
WINNER: AJ Styles in 7 minutes. I would have given these two more time, as they have great chemistry, but maybe they thought that no one would be into the match till the requisite run-in? I'm not sure why Pope stayed down for ten seconds off one Black Hole Slam. This was mostly a good story though.
After the match, Fortune and Eric Bischoff come out to celebrate.
Earlier tonight Sarita pointed out that for all Mickie's done, she hasn't done it here and she hasn't done it against Sarita.
Pope is smarting backstage, where he bumps into Samoa Joe. He wants to know if Joe enjoyed the view while he was getting his ass beat. Joe says that first, Pope needs to calm down before he gets it beat a second time. Second, why would Pope think Joe would help him? Pope says that they're in this together, and that it's bigger than the two of them. They could have each others' backs. Joe says he doesn't have anyone's back, and walks off. Pope mutters that everyone needs somebody sometime. That 12 second interaction was probably the most interesting part of the show thus far.
We recap Team 3D's retirement announcement. Ray talks about how Alexander the Great looked at all he conquered and cried, because there was nothing left to do. He and Devon have nothing left to win, but they do have lots of other things in their lives to look after. Turning Point will definitely be their last match. It'll be win-win—either they'll retire as 24-time tag team champions, or the Guns will be able to say that they retired the greatest tag team of all time.
The Motor City Machine Guns are playing catch with...is that Velvet Sky? I'm confused, sorry. Generation Me come up and start trash talking, so the Guns pop them.
We recap interviews with Jarrett and Joe last week during Reaction—way to incentivize watching that show, TNA.
Jeff Jarrett is talking about how things got out of hand last week, and he shouldn't have gone there, so he's going to come out now and apologize to Kurt Angle. Kurt deserves more than an apology, but that's what Jeff has to give.
Double J comes down to the ring. The crowd informs him that he sold out. Technically he did that eight years ago. He says that he came out here tonight to publicly apologize for what he did to Kurt last week. The crowd, not being idiots, boos. He wants to apologize for humiliating Kurt in front of the entire world. The crowd informs Jarrett that he sucks. If Kurt were standing right here in front of Jarrett, he'd tell him just how much he regrets--the crowd cuts him off for a minute with a "King of nothing" chant—he'd tell Kurt how much he regrets that he didn't kick his ass worse than he did. Because the king is back on top of the mountain! (I'd hate to be the guy to tell him that they canceled that match). Like so many others before, and no doubt many more to come, Jarrett made Kurt, and then he broke him. And the thing is that Jarrett gave him a job when no one else wanted him. Jarrett took his honor and his precious, precious career (nice fake-out there, as I'm sure everyone thought he would say "wife"). Joe's music hits, and he storms down to the ring. Gunner and Murphy try to jump him, but he fights through. Then Jarrett attacks, and they're able to cuff Joe and beat him up the ramp. Joe's still able to slip out and strangle Joe with the cuffs, but Jeff fights out and tosses Joe off the ramp on not-camera-side (least impressive visual ever). Tenay gets up and yells at Jarrett. After a good thirty count we finally cut to a shot of Joe, who's fallen down an improbable distance and is lying prone on the concrete. Okay, we went over this with Janice: if an event is too ridiculous to fake on camera, it's just silly to fake it off-camera.
We recap what happened moments ago.
(3) BEER MONEY INC. vs. ROB VAN DAM & SABU
It's funny: Tenay on the mic is trying to sell that if Hardy can turn on RVD anyone can, but Taz, not realizing that he's supposed to forget logic and continuity in favor of storytelling, points out that Sabu and RVD have been friends way longer. Taz rules. Storm starts things off with a side headlock on RVD. RVD shoots him off into an attempted Arm Drag. Storm tries to reverse it into one of his own, but RVD blocks that and kicks him in the face. He hits a Monkey Flip, then tags Sabu in for some Poetry in Motion. RVD hits a Spinning Heel Kick on his way out, and Sabu covers for two. Roode tags in, but Sabu dropkicks his ankle. He comes off the ropes for a clothesline for two. He hits another clothesline, but Roode no sells it and slams Sabu down. He tags in Storm, who hits a couple punches before tagging back out. Roode comes in and hits an Inverted Atomic Drop, a Vertical Suplex, and a knee drop for two. He tags back in Storm, who drives Sabu's head into the top turnbuckle. When Storm charges Sabu gets a leg up, and uses the time to hit a quick Springboard Tornado DDT. Both men crawl into tags. RVD floors Roode with some kicks, flips Sabu onto him, then hits a standing Moonsault for two. He hits Rolling Thunder as Sabu connects with a Slingshot Leg Drop. Storm breaks up the cover at two, so Sabu fights him out of the ring. In the ring, Roode nails a Spine Buster out of nowhere. Storm has gotten back into the ring. They go for a DWI, but RVD kicks Storm off. Storm tries to spit beer into RVD's face, but RVD ducks and Storm catches Roode. RVD hits a quick School Boy for two. Sabu comes back into the ring and hurls a chair at Storm's head—Storm sidesteps, and Van Dam gets whacked. Storm takes Sabu out of the ring as Roode makes the cover.
WINNERS: Beer Money Inc.in six minutes. They packed a lot into that match, both story- and action-wise. I'm not sure if RVD was able to deflect the chair at all, but at least they sold the shot as a big deal.
After the match RVD gets into Sabu's face. They shove each other a couple times before the rest of EV 2.0 run down to break things up. I could be wrong, but I think Stevie Richards is limping.
Earlier this week, Mickie James, on a mechanical bull, announces her Impact debut. She knows that Sarita is a world class athlete, but Mickie is a world class champion, and that's no bull.
Bischoff is talking to Kazarian, saying that he came highly recommended by the man himself (points to Flair), and Hogan has full confidence in him to get it in. Kazarian says that he'd argue with that if he could, and that what Ric Flair was to sixty minute matches Kazarian is to Ultimate X Matches.
(4) SARITA vs. MICKIE JAMES
Sarita gets a standing Arm Bar. Mickie flips out, then nails a standing Monkey Flip. She kicks Sarita, then gets shot off into the ropes. She hits a shoulder block. Mickie comes off the ropes, but Sarita hits the mat beneath her. Mickie stops herself with a cartwheel and hits a dropkick for two. Mickie goes behind Sarita, who runs into the ropes to bounce Mickie off, then stomps her. She runs to the top rope and comes off with a Cross Body, which gets nothing. Mickie nails another dropkick, so Sarita rolls out of the ring. The crowd comes alive for Mickie, who tries to hit a Baseball Slide. Sarita catches her legs, but then Mickie flips out with a Hurricanrana. Sarita begs off, then yanks Mickie into the steps. She rolls her in for a couple of covers at two each. She drives some knees into Mickie's back. Taz and Tenay bicker on commentary over whether Taz has sold out to the new regime. Sarita stands Mickie up in the corner and hits a couple of knees to the back, before working a twisting Torture Rack. Mickie reverses into a quick School Girl for two. Mickie gets up firing with forearms, then a couple leaping clotheslines. Sarita gets some distance and tries to charge in a corner, but Mickie catches her in her legs and hits a Twisting Leg Scissors. Mickie goes to the top rope and nails a Lou Thesz Press. She finishes Sarita off with a Spinning Back Kick.
WINNER: Mickie James in five minutes. This was great, but another missed opportunity—how awesome would it have been if they'd let these two have a 15 minute match out of nowhere? Still, they're both fantastic, quite possibly the best two wrestlers in the division right now, and also quite possibly the two hottest, so this was certainly enjoyable. I'm not sold on Mickie's new finisher though. What was wrong with the Impaler DDT? Is this a safety concern or just an attempt to not have her be too similar to what she was in WWE?
Tara jumps Mickie from behind, and nails her with a Widow's Peak. She kicks imaginary dirt onto Mickie. Are they actually going to make Mickie earn her title shot by beating Tara, like the women's title was a real thing? Neat.
Anderson is asking whether we admire his sling. His old buddy Jethro gave it to him, and now he gets to show it off in an Ultimate X Match. He has a busted shoulder and a broken leg? That's okay. There are only three certainties in this life—death, taxes, and that he's gonna beat the #@$! out of Jeff Hardy.
Mickie James is looking for Tara in the back.
Anderson, on his way to the ring, gets jumped by Fortune. They pick him up and carry him out to the top of the ramp, then stomp on the shoulder some. They leave, and Kazarian comes out.
(5) KAZARIAN vs. MR. ANDERSON Ultimate X #1 Contender's Match
In a nice visual, Anderson is slowly crawling down to the ring as Kazarian climbs. He gets in just as Kazarian is about to grab the X, and yanks him down with his good arm. He hits a bunch of back elbows with the good arm, then rolls out of the ring. He's looking for something under the ring, but before he can find it he eats a Baseball Slide to the face.
Anderson is again yanking at Kazarian. Kaz kicks him off for a second, but then Anderson swings Kazarian back and forth by the leg, dropping him down to the mat. Anderson goes to the top rope. He tries to climb across the ropes, but the bad arm gives out. Kazarian hits some kicks, then a Hammerlock Slam. He nails a Slingshot Leg Drop. He signals for a mic to drop, which gets massive boos. Anderson takes advantage of the delay to ram Kazarian into the corner. Kaz flips out of the ring and wrenches Anderson's arm. He springboards into the center of the X, but again Anderson yanks him down, and smoothly transitions into a Mic Check. He goes back under the ring, from which he gets a ladder. The crowd comes alive for him, but Taz thinks its cheating (which is consistent—that's what they said when Team 3D did the same thing). Anderson climbs, but right before he can get the X Fortune run out and pull him down. Morgan nails him with a Sit Out Powerbomb. Kazarian sits on Morgan's shoulders, and Morgan carries him over to grab the X.
WINNER: Kazarian in 10 minutes, 4 of which was during commercial. This was another decently told story, but the ending was a bit tired.
Anderson gets a lead pipe out from under the ring, and beats down Fortune. Jeff Hardy runs down to the ring and nails him with a chair from behind. Anderson's busted open. Hardy has Fortune pass him up the ladder. He sandwiches Anderson's arm in the ladder, and whacks the chair into it. Then, for no clear reason, he rips his shirt open. He looks off into the distance heelishly, and at that moment seems so much like Raven it's scary.
Bischoff and Flair are going off to celebrate. For some reason there's a camera in their car. Kurt Angle gets in front of it with a pipe, and rips out the driver. Flair locks the door, so Angle busts in the window. Gunner and Murphy ward off Angle. Flair tells them to call the cops and get Angle thrown in jail.
Where We're Going: I appreciate the motivation behind the slow-burn heel dominance, but I am really not sure how that can jive with monthly PPVs. At some point they need a Turning Point main-event, and at this rate RVD—Hardy won't be ready. I can't believe they'd think Team 3D's "retirement" match would be a main-event—no one believes in wrestling retirements anymore. Pope also needs a one-on-one match with AJ. All of this seems to imply the need for a face authority counterweight to Bischoff, but adding one so soon would undermine the big Bound for Glory move.
Star of the Night: Mickie James. The in-ring debut was short, but still made a strong statement.
Overall: The show started slow, picked up immensely, and then crashed back down. RVD sold the emotional distress of the Hardy turn well, but it was still hard to buy that he'd listen to Bischoff so readily. I liked all things Pope, though I'm not totally sure what the point of the stripper was. Sarita and Mickie did the best they could with the time they were given, the tag match was well-done, and Anderson looks more and more like a main-eventer every week. Then there was the rest of the show. Angelina Love's invisible friend, the Amazing Red job-a-thon, and the Jarrett—Joe toss "off the stage" were all just awful. I tend to be heavily biased towards the main event, so things were starting to look up with Anderson's good storytelling, but then they killed all momentum with the last shot of Bischoff and Flair. The camera in the car was a suspension-of-disbelief-killing moment, and Angle just breaking some windows then sauntering off was anti-climactic. Also, having the main-event occur backstage is always a pretty questionable booking move. Since my happiness with the Pope and women's push is almost exactly countered with my annoyance at the Amazing Red burial, what's left only gets a D+. I could be grumpy because of the cold though.
Daniel is a graduate fellow at The Ohio State University. He has a cold. Well-wishes and other comments can be sent to email@example.com.
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