TNA Impact WILKENFELD'S TNA IMPACT REPORT 12/23: Complete "virtual time" coverage of Spike TV broadcast
Dec 23, 2010 - 10:39:21 PM
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By: Daniel Wilkenfeld, PWTorch Contributor
Where We've Been: Impact has been on cruise control lately, not doing anything too horrible but failing to overwhelm (or even regular whelm). No word yet in the show about what, if anything, the champion will be doing at the PPV, so hopefully that's something we can address tonight.
The Show: All the Gold is Worth a Fortune
Immortal come down to the ring, with special Matt-Morgan-replacement Rob Terry (now in custom-style clothes) in tow. We're told that the ring has been prepared for the official weigh in for the upcoming #1 Contender's Match, and sure enough, there are two scales in the ring when Immortal get there. Ric Flair asks for our attention please. We have an opportunity to look at greatness all in the ring at the same time, Fortune, Immortal, etc. But there is a stranger in their midst, a man who people—the girls mostly—call the Freak. He's not sure why. But now Terry has a once-in-a-lifetime chance to prove that he's ready for the big-time—to be a bodyguard. Bischoff takes the mic. They're going to have a weigh in, and we all know that this is no ordinary match. They also have doctors at the ready to make sure that both competitors are fully ready at Genesis. Morgan's music hits and he starts to come down to the ring. Bischoff mutters about how he should have waited to be invited. Morgan hits the ring with a mic. The crowd is pretty alive behind him, which is impressive across the ring from Flair. Flair tells him to be patient and wait. Morgan says that this is a sham. He knows it, Bischoff knows it, and we people know it. Being a glory whore and wanting that all the power is a certain kind of low, but to continue to put an athlete's health at risk, knowing he has a concussion and knowing he has brain trauma is a whole new level, even for Bischoff. Morgan knows what this is, and he is not going to stand for it anymore, job or no job. Bischoff says that Morgan's reading this all wrong, and there's a doctor in the ring to take a physical right now. Morgan suggests they take Bischoff's temperature with a boot up his ass. Bang Bang? Foley's back? Yep, there he is. Dixie representative maybe? He hits the ring and asks Morgan to back off—if he hits Bischoff he'll be fired by the book, so he should let Mick handle this. Mick hasn't been back in the Impact Zone since he and Flair tore the house down in October. That was a great moment, but Foley has to admit that it was probably his last great moment. (The crowd disagrees.) He's just not the man he used to be, and it's cause of those damned concussions. And we know now it's not just about the number, it's about the healing time. And Ken Anderson is a lot like Mick, in that he's his own worst enemy. Mick saw him try to wrestle last week, and as long as Mick's breathing that match isn't happening. Flair goes nuts. Foley is a whiny bitch. He's the one who raised the bar by jumping off a roof. It's because of him every wrestling company got heat, and it's cause of Mick kids are in hospitals today. Because he didn't have the balls or the talent to actually wrestle he ruined it for the rest of them. Meanwhile Ric was wrestling every day and not complaining about it. Mick says that he does not disagree with everything Ric's saying—he was part of the problem. Flair corrects that he was the start of the damned problem—but now he wants to be part of the solution. He and Morgan haven't always seen eye to eye, but they do share one thing in common now. Flair starts to lift his mic, but Mick tells him to put it down. He's hot, cause he's speaking from the heart. He and Morgan share that they know where they're going to die—their going to a mortuary to have their heads chopped open since they're giving their brains to science. Flair says that when he dies it'll either be in the ring or on top of a woman. Bischoff sees what this is—Mick is trying to redeem himself. Now that he can't wrestle anymore, no one's buying his books, and no one's going to his stand-up comedy routine, he has time to reflect, and now he wants to be a hero? This is the pro wrestling equivalent of eating your dead, since he's feeding off the injuries and pain of people who were trying to live up to him. He's not stopping any match in this company, now hit Bischoff's music! Foley and Morgan confer as Immortal leave the ring.
Tonight we'll see Douglas Williams vs AJ in an Iron Man Match for the TV title, The Beautiful People vs. Rayne & Tara to fill the vacant Knockouts' Tag Championship, and The Motor City Machine Guns & RVD & Matt Morgan vs. Beer Money & Abyss & Jeff Hardy for the Tag Team Championship.
So I was wondering why we're getting this card on what I'd think would be a low rated night. Then I wonder why we don't get a card this cool every week. And then I realize—they don't know that this is a good card (or will be if they actually give those three announced matches decent treatment).
Jeff Hardy comes down and sits on a bench in the locker room next to Morgan, but he just wants to talk about wrestling. Hardy knows he has the title and it's something Morgan's chasing. Morgan's surrounded by people like Anderson who admits he's an asshole and Foley who started all this craziness with the barbed wire, and who are they to tell Morgan what to do? He needs to follow his own heart and forge his own destiny. People like Bischoff and Flair will look you in the eye and tell you when they're gonna screw you. Hardy just wants Morgan to think about that while he's in the ring for the tag match tonight. Morgan seems to be thinking as Hardy leaves.
Jarrett comes to the stage through Angle's elevator for his MMA Challenge. Team Jarrett follows him out. He reminds us that his challenge means that if any man, woman or child can make him tap out he'll pony up $100,000 of his own, hard earned cash. This would be the most awesome way ever to bring back Awesome Kong. He's painfully disappointed in all of us, cause it's painfully obvious that no one can make him submit. The crowd tells him that he sold out. So what Jarrett's going to do is open this up to the professionals. One person really caught his eye last week, and that was someone who went up against the mean and nasty Brother Ray. Yes, he's talking about Amazing Red, and he wants to give him a chance to earn big money. He yells at Red to come down. Red is happy to comply, but first Hebner has to pat him down and Jarrett's trainer puts that gunk on him, getting it in his eyes. Jarrett grabs Red, yanks him into the ring, and unloads with knees. He sends him to the mat and strikes the back of Red's head repeatedly. Jarrett locks in the Ankle Lock and immediately works the Leg Grapevine. Red holds on a few seconds, then taps. Jarrett celebrates. He lifts up Red, telling him what a great job he did, and that he should find a friend. Red that he has a younger brother, and Jarrett's excited. He tells Red to bring his "baby brother" next week.
Rayne and Tara are dishing backstage. Tara reminds Rayne to feed the Beautiful People to her elbow brace, which she's a bit concerned makes her look fat. She has a party to go to later with Generation Me.
RVD is excited. Tonight's the night. It's only a matter of minutes; after months of going through Bischoff's obstacles and mazes, he'll be looking across the the ring at Jeff Hardy.
Lethal joins the commentary booth for the next match, which is for a shot at his X Division Championship.
(1) MAX BUCK vs. JEREMY BUCK vs. ROBBIE E. (w/COOKIE) vs. KAZARIAN Four-Corners X Division #1 Contender's Match
We have two tag wrestlers, a train-wreck of a heel, and someone who they try to give a monster push to roughly once a year. I wonder who's going to win this match. Jeremy Buck quickly tags out Kazarian to square off opposite his brother. They walk around the ring, then pose. Robbie E hits a pose of his own on the apron, so they pull him and and double team him. I guess Jeremy tagged out. Cookie grabs Max's leg and Robbie knocks him down. Robbie drives him into one corner—he tries to float over in the corner opposite, but Robbie catches him with that Flashback-like yank. Kazarian breaks up the cover. Max pokes Robbie's eye as he gets up. Robbie looks to tag out to Kazarian, who steps off the apron. Max rolls him up, but now Kazarian comes into the ring to break it up. Max grabs Robbie's head with his legs and uses his hands to climb up the corner ringpost. Jeremy tags in, goes to the top above Robbie and comes over in a Sunset Flip. That move looked cool but didn't really accomplish much, since Robbie just gets up and kicks him in the head. He's still near the wrong corner though, so Max and Jeremy tee off. Robbie goes for the tag to Kazarian, who just slugs him in the face. Max holds Robbie up with his torso in the ropes, and Jeremy coolly leaps off the rope, stomps Robbie in the mid-section, then smoothly transitions into a Springboard Dropkick to Kazarian. Neat. Max goes for the cover, but Kazarian gets by Jeremy and breaks it up. Jeremy tries to go to the top rope, but Robbie shoves Max into the ropes. Max and Robbie crack heads on the rebound, and Kazarian takes that opportunity to finally tag out Robbie E. He tosses Robbie, knocks down Max, then lifts Jeremy off the top rope and quickly hits his Reverse Pile Driver for 3.
WINNER: Kazarian (I can't get match lengths on the DVR here—sorry). It was a clever story, with Gen Me dominating and Frankie actually taking advantage of Four Corners rules. After the match he mouths threatening things towards Lethal, who invites him to come do what Flair couldn't.
Someone is walking with a belt behind her back. It turns out to be Sarita, who closes the door on Velvet Sky in the dressing room.
Sarita beats up Velvet Sky in the dressing room during the break. Did she really think she was going to step into her ring without Angelina and take it to Sarita? They're in that same mysterious living room like area where Rayne was last week. Velvet rallies a bit, but Sarita chokes the hell out of her with the belt. They bang each other into walls, but Sarita keeps regaining the upper hand, swearing that she's gonna kill her. Eventually Love comes in and Sarita escapes, but Sky isn't getting enough air.
Bischoff is talking to Immortal. Dixie Carter, her lawyers, and a bunch of judges she probably paid off have them in checkmate. If this doesn't work out for them—and he's not saying it won't (isn't that what checkmate means?)--they need to have the belts for leverage. They need to do it for Hogan, who's sitting at home being forced to watch from afar. There's no one in this room who can't live up to the standard Ric Flair has set, the standard Hulk Hogan has set, and the standard the man sitting among them who stepped up and captured the most coveted title in wrestling has set. So they need to do this as a team. Everyone puts their hands in and says that they'll do it for Hulk. It's kind of interesting to see a heel pep rally.
Se this is why Kendrick comes to talk to (whomever he's talking to), it's not just cause she makes great cookies but because of that beautiful pink aura. She's a person he can trust in this world of lies; they say the sun is hot when upon investigation it's cold and they say the world is solid when it's really hollow. "Angela", seemingly some woman in catering, gives him a cookie, and he happily wanders off.
Madison Rayne & Tara come out first for their match. Love comes out first for the Beautiful People. Apparently she's not getting a replacement partner (at least not yet).
(2) MADISON RAYNE & TARA vs. ANGELINA LOVE Knockouts Tag Team Championship Match
Love gets a quick roll-up for two. Tara distracts her from the apron and she turns into a hard forearm from Rayne. Love reverses a whip attempt into a Front Power Slam which Tara breaks up at two. Love hits her version of a Stunner and then a Neck Breaker, which gets two. She locks in a standing Sleeper, but Rayne is able to back her into the heels' corner. The ref calls for the break, and while the ref backs Rayne off Tara grabs Love by the hair. Rayne yanks her down and chokes her for a four count, then covers for two. Love tries to fight back from her knees, but Rayne backs her into her corner and chokes her with a boot to the throat. Tara tags in for a few seconds to connect with some strikes, then tags right back out. Rayne covers for two. She tries hooking both legs but still only gets two. She tosses Love into her corner and tags back in Tara. This time Tara works a choke before tagging right back out. Rayne wraps her legs around Love and pounds her into the mat a few times. She sets Love up in the ropes. Love gets some distance with a back elbow, but then Tara knocks her with the brace and she goes down hard. Winter comes down to the ring and gets in Love's corner. Rayne, confused, allows Love to make the tag, which the ref is counting as legal. Winter connects with a Big Boot on Rayne, then slams the back of Rayne's head against the mat a few times. Tara comes in, but Winter ducks the brace and kicks her leg out from under her. Rayne takes a swing, but Winter catches her fist and nails what looks like a Black Hole Slam. The ref counts the three.
WINNERS (and new Knockouts Tag Team Champions): Angelina Love & Winter. When Love gets up she's confused and mostly trying to avoid hugging Winter. I get the logic behind this booking, but I think the last second switch came off more as trick-booking then genuinely exciting. We'll see how people take to it.
The Pope is on his cell phone. He needs to make sure that this goes down the way he wants it to go down, cause otherwise he'll have some unsatisfied people. Orlando Jordan in a Mrs. Clause suit and Young in some sort of reindeer suit (with the discarded championship belt over it) raised money for Pope's congregation. Jordan hands Pope a check. Pope tells whomever is on the other end of the phone to "make that deal happen". I really hate where this is going—Pope was so cool like two months ago.
(3) DOUGLAS WILLIAMS vs. AJ STYLES "Iron Man" Match for the TV Championship
The scare quotes are because the clock starts at 15 minutes. Wow is that annoying. What should that be, like a Cheap Tin Match maybe? Meh. I knew I shouldn't have gotten excited by this card. Well, this should still be enjoyable for what it is. Williams gets a quick hammerlock, which AJ reverses, but he re-reverses. AJ nails a Snapmare, but Williams holds on to the wrist and wrenches it. AJ picks a leg, but Williams braces himself with his other leg and gets up into a chin lock. AJ shoots him off into the ropes, but he stops himself and goes back to the chin lock, wrenching AJ to the mat. AJ rolls him into what would be a cover, but Williams rolls right through. AJ does it and gets a one count, and is able to briefly get a wrist lock of his own as they get up. Williams reverses it. AJ tries to flip out, but Williams smoothly grounds him with a Headlock Takedown. That was actually beautiful. AJ reverses into a head scissors, turning Williams's head bright red. Williams pushes out with his neck, then he and AJ trade forearms. Williams locks in a front chancery, then transitions into a hammerlock. I'm just thinking of how smooth his transitions are when Taz and Tenay point out the same thing. Williams drives his knee to AJ's back a couple times. The crowd's pretty split by now. AJ powers to his feet and shoots Williams off into the corner, but Williams jumps back and nails a high knee to AJ. He nails another in the corner, but when he goes to follow up AJ elbows him in the abdomen.
AJ is in control with a face lock when we get back. We're told AJ got the first victory with a Styles Clash during the break. Williams powers to his feet, and they trade forearms. Williams hits a quick shoulder block and a European Uppercut. AJ rolls out of the ring and declares that since he's winning he's got all the time in the world. He breaks the count at four, but still doesn't really come back in. Williams comes over and AJ yanks him to the outside and shoves him into the steps. AJ goes back into the ring. Williams follows, and AJ stomps him a few times as he comes in. AJ kicks him in the chest, stands him up and into a Snapmare, then kicks him in the back for two. A clock would be nice here. AJ clubs Williams in the back. We're told that there are 4 minutes left. AJ hits a Body Slam and his high knee drop. A cover gets two. AJ works a nerve hold. Williams powers to his feet, nailing shots to the face and abdomen. AJ flips over him, but then Williams gets him with a Back Body Drop. AJ rolls out of the ring and makes Williams chase him back in. Williams thrusts a shoulder on his way in and comes over the rope with a Slingshot Sunset Flip. AJ holds onto the top rope, but Hebner kicks him off. The cover gets two. Williams hits a Backslide for two. A Crucifix Rollup gets two. Williams hits some forearms in the corner, but when he tries to take AJ to the corner opposite it's reversed. AJ charges, Williams catches him with a Back Body Drop over the top rope, but AJ lands on the apron. He tries to come back in with his Flying Forearm, but Williams catches him in a T-Bone Suplex as he lands. Awesome. Williams hits a clothesline as both men get up, then a pair of back elbows with one minute remaining. Williams hits a couple strikes in the corner. AJ sidesteps a charge and tosses Williams, but he then relaxes for a second as Williams runs in and nails Rolling Chaos for three with fifteen seconds left. Williams tries to go for a second cover, but AJ's hand is under the rope as time expires. The crowd chants for five more minutes, which AJ says he wants. Williams says that he only needs one. Hebner listens to his ear piece, then announces that this match has a five minute over time.
They air the audio hyping TNA on Demand as the video shows an ad for Genesis. It's awkward.
Williams is unloading on AJ in the corner. AJ whips him into the opposite corner and Williams nails a Tornado DDT for a long two count. Williams sets AJ up on the top rope and hits a couple uppercuts. He goes for the Superplex, but AJ knocks him down. AJ drops to the apron and nails his Flying Forearm for two. AJ looks for a Styles Clash, but Williams reverses to his feet and hits a big Spine Buster Alabama-Slam-style. Williams lifts AJ to his feet, but Styles blocks the Suplex attempt, gets loose, ducks beneath a clothesline and hits the Pele for a very long two count. AJ snaps Williams down to the mat and climbs to the top rope, but Williams meets him there with a punch. Williams spins him around with 30 seconds left. He's going for some kind of Back Suplex, but AJ hangs on. Williams connects with the move, but it was just as time expires.
WINNER: 1-1 draw in 20 minutes. That would have been all kinds of awesome if they hadn't run a pretty similar finish in September (for Hardy vs. Angle). ***1/2
AJ gets a mic and says that these people want a winner, so they should do it one more time—at Genesis. Lame. Williams takes the mic and responds that he's sorry, but AJ had his rematch, and he couldn't win back the belt. AJ yells at him, asking what type of fighting champion Williams is supposed to be. AJ took on all comers. Williams admits that AJ has a point, and so he has his rematch. But if Williams loses, he's losing the TV Title. But what does AJ have to lose? Williams suggests that AJ put up his Fortune membership. AJ says that that'll never happen. Eric Bischoff hits the stage though, and says that, as a matter of fact, AJ will meet Williams at Genesis, and if he fails to bring the Television Title back to Immortal there won't be a place for him in Immortal anyway.
Team Beer Money are getting revved up for their match, which is for the Tag Team Championship.
Live via satellite we have Mr. Anderson. Tenay asks for his medical status. Anderson says that they run the tests, and he's talked to his doctors, and he's cleared to wrestle. Taz asks what tests he had done, and Anderson says there were many, including an MRI. Taz asks if he got a second opinion, and Anderson says that he talked to multiple doctors. Taz points out that he didn't look so great last week. Anderson says that he doesn't answer to Tenay and Taz. Taz says that they're just concerned, and asks whether he's getting headaches. Tenay says that if Anderson's cleared he expects to see the paperwork next week on Impact. Anderson get ticked that they won't listen and storms away.
The Motor City Machine Guns and RVD are getting worked up, but Morgan is worried about what he just heard from Anderson. They tell him to keep his mind on the present business.
Team Beer Money come out together to Jeff Hardy's music, and then Team Motor City Machine Guns come down one by one (Morgan last).
(4) THE MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS (c), RVD & MATT MORGAN vs. BEER MONEY INC., JEFF HARDY, & ABYSS 8-Man Tag Team Championship Match
To be clear, if The Guns' team wins they retain, whereas if Beer Money's team wins Beer Money gets the titles. We miss the opening bell, so Storm is wailing on RVD when we get back. RVD stops him with an Ensuguri, then a Leg Lariat. He tags in Morgan, who floors Storm with a right hand. Morgan looks for a Power Slam, but Storm slithers out and nails a Code Breaker. Roode tags in and they whip Morgan into the corner, but he comes back with a Cross Body Block that takes down both of them. Roode gets some distance with a boot, but when he comes off the middle rope Morgan catches him and hits a Fall Away Slam. Sabin tags in. Roode runs him into the ropes, but Shelley blind tags as Sabin rolls him up for their Facelock Dropkick. Shelley hits a back kick on Roode as he gets up, but Roode shoves him off when he goes for Sliced Bread #2. Shelley goes to the top rope, but Storm knocks his feet out from under him, then tags in. He hits a couple rights before tagging in Abyss. Interesting note: with the two faces who have got the biggest pushes TNA's had in the last six months right next to them, the crowd is cheering the Guns. Somebody with the book should make a note of that. Abyss hits a couple shots to Shelley's body, then some shots to the head in the corner. The ref gets him to back off, but then he just charges back into him. Hardy finally tags in. He hits a right to Shelley and taunts RVD into the ring. Hardy hits an Inverted Atomic Drop and then drops some legs to the abdomen. He teases RVD with a tag, then whips Shelley back into his corner. The heels stomp on Shelley for a few seconds, then Hardy tags in Abyss. Abyss hits an elbow to the back of Shelley's head. Shelley tries to fire back from his knees, but Abyss no-sells and clubs him in the back. Roode tags in, hits a kick to the mid-section and follows up with a Snapmare and a knee drop. Storm tags in, and they hit the Beer Money Suplex. The crowd tells Beer Money that they suck. Storm goes for the Eye of the Storm, but Shelley lands on his feet and hits a quick Ensuguri. Hardy tags in and stops Shelley with a Sleeper.
Shelley powers to his feet, but Hardy clubs him back down. Hardy looks for the Twist of Hate but Shelley slides between his legs and tags in RVD. Hardy flees, tagging Roode on his way out. RVD hits a Spinning Heel Kick on Roode, pops Abyss and Storm off the apron, goes to the middle rope to look for Hardy outside, then comes back onto Roode with a side kick when he doesn't see him. Rolling Thunder gets two. Storm attacks RVD. Sabin blind tags in and hits a Flying Forearm to Roode. Storm gets him with a swinging Cutter, Shelley dodges a charge from Storm and kicks him in the corner, Abyss Big Boots Shelley but then in turn is Carbon Footprinted by Morgan, who eats a Twist of Hate from a returning Hardy. RVD charges at Hardy but gets cut off by a Spine Buster from Roode. Roode tosses RVD out to Hardy, but before Hardy can do anything Shelley comes out of nowhere with a Suicide Dive. Shelley rolls over Roode's back back into the ring but then eats a one man Flapjack. Roode then turns around just in time to get nailed by a Springboard Tornado DDT by Sabin, and there's no one there to break up the three.
WINNERS: Team Motor City Machine Guns. That was really a pretty enjoyable main event, with a clean finish no less. ***
Where We're Going: The implication is that Anderson is trying to fake his way back into the ring, which could set up a potentially interesting dynamic. Is someone who lies to fake his way into a match heel or face? II like my characters ambiguous.
Star of the Night: There are actually a lot of possibilities here, but I think the nod has to go to the man who kept up with AJ Styles for 20 minutes, Douglas Williams.
Overall: I liked this show a lot. I'm a bit worried about the Pope bit, and I didn't feel like the Winter debut came off quite as was hoped, but overall there was a lot of good stuff. Foley's return was probably the first thing I popped for since Morgan's face turn at the end of October, and he and Flair really have chemistry on the mic. The X Division Match was good, even if the outcome was fairly predictable. Williams vs. Styles was excellent right up until the ending, which still probably would have been okay if they hadn't done something fairly recently similarly. The main event didn't do much in terms of storyline, but it did give RVD—Hardy a bit of a push, as that feud had languished seemingly forgotten till RVD brought it back up last week. More importantly, it was a pretty enjoyable match, with the sort of high octane offense that would be right at home in a PPV. A-
Daniel is a graduate fellow at The Ohio State University. Suggestions for what to call a fifteen minute "Iron" Man Match and other comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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