TNA Impact WILKENFELD'S TNA IMPACT REPORT 1/6: Complete "virtual time" coverage of Spike TV broadcast
Jan 6, 2011 - 10:08:35 PM
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By: Daniel Wilkenfeld, PWTorch Contributor
Where We've Been: Last week saw more focus on Anderson's injured head. I'm not totally sure how this works to sell the PPV. Am I expected to pay $35 to see if someone can work a good match? That doesn't seem like a good investment. The under-card looks very strong, with excellent looking matches for the Knockouts, Tag Team, and even Television Championships (though I smell a screw-job coming for the women's match at least), but the top of the card just seems like dead weight. The concussion plot-line I still think is original and has potential, but the is-Anderson-lying-about-his-health-subplot just doesn't have the same sort of legs. Anyway, last week's main event involved Jeff Hardy booking an oddly fair tag-team match about which I could not have cared less. Let's see what random main event we get tonight.
Immortal (sans Hardy) hit the ring to start. On behalf of Immortal Eric Bischoff wishes us a happy New Year. In a few days Genesis will be upon us, and, as the name implies, Genesis isn't the end of anything, it's the beginning, (Is this a graduation speech?) not just for the people in the ring, but for all of us and for the athletes who aspire to one day reach the level of the people before us now. He knows he put a bounty on all the titles Immortal do not currently possess and put a lot of pressure on his people, but that doesn't mean there will be any underhanded tactics or shenanigans. There won't be anything that wouldn't hold up before a judge (he scowls) or a team of lawyers. Speaking of champions, this is a night for champions, and Bischoff would like to invite them down now. First he'd like to welcome the phenomenal X Division Champion, Jay Lethal. Lethal comes down to ringside, then stops. Bischoff swears that with millions of people including judges and lawyers as witnesses, he promises that nothing bad will happen to Lethal. Lethal does something the camera doesn't catch, and Bischoff says that he can't promise anything unless Lethal acts like a champion. Lethal gets into the ring. Bischoff calls down The Motor City Machine Guns, followed by the international superstar and one hell of an athlete, TV Champion Douglas Williams. When they get in the ring he thanks them for trusting him and coming out in these circumstances. Everyone recognizes that they earned the titles they're wearing. They have their differences, but first and foremost they are TNA champions. And we're all looking forward to ***** matches, because they can all deliver. (Bischoff pauses for applause that doesn't come—it's a bit awkward). In the interest of fairness he'd like to give each of them the opportunity to sharpen their competitive skills and be sure they're ready in three days. Lethal will be facing the monster Abyss, Douglas Williams will be facing Rob Terry, and the tag team champions will be facing AJ Styles and Kazarian. The crowd is completely not into this. In the interest of sportsmanship and what those titles mean to all of them, they should please shake hands. None of the champions look eager to do that, and before Bischoff can talk them into it Immortal jump them. Bischoff says (though not with much conviction) that this is not what they discussed, and there will be fines. Immortal do not take this seriously, but everyone gets serious when RVD's music hits. He bowls through Gunner and Murphy, and the rest of Immortal bail to the top of the ramp. Week after week Bischoff is delaying the inevitable, and he's ready to end these games just as soon as Bischoff is ready to put Jeff Hardy in the ring with him. Now Bischoff needs to tell him who his opponent is Sunday. Bischoff says he'll tell him when he's good and ready. RVD responds that he will get his answer tonight, even if it means beating it out of Bischoff. Bischoff angrily yells that RVD is nothing but meat for the grinder.
Bully Ray (sigh) says that week after week Devon has been trying to get to him, but Ray's always one step ahead. Ray's been using him for 15 years, and he can't keep up. But this week, if he wants his shot, he should meet Ray in the parking lot.
We recap the Double J Double M A challenge.
Jarrett comes out to the ring. In addition to the Angle elevator, he is now accompanied by remarkably Angle-like pyro. Usually I dig the Impact Zone chants, but the "You sold out" bit is getting a bit old. Jarrett says that he's had to make some tweaks to the challenge to satisfy TNA legal. The first tweak is that no one who answers the challenge can be taller than him, because he doesn't want anyone to get seriously hurt. Also, from now on the contest is just an exhibition—there will be no real competition, again because he does not want anyone to get seriously hurt. He has a stack of contracts ready to go. First he notices Booboo Stewart, who apparently is a celebrity of some sort. But he's too young. Then Jarrett has second thoughts. He has JB verify that Booboo is not taller than him. He then acknowledges that Booboo is in the Junior Black Belt Hall of Fame. Then he notices Booboo's giant father and disqualifies him on the grounds that he will one day be taller than him. There is still the same conspicuous big guy in the front row, but he could just be a regular fan. Jarrett invites a fan from the back row on the grounds that he "looks healthy", who sells having trouble getting over the barricade. He signs the contract. Jarrett asks his name. He first gets amazed by the speakers near the ring. His name is Jonathan Cruise, and he's from San Juan Puerto Rico by way of Florida. Jarrett starts to ask him something else then suddenly knees him in the face. He unloads with a series of knees, then mounts the guy and pummels the back of his head. He locks in the ankle lock with grapevine, and Cruise taps. Jarrett doesn't break the hold. Kurt Angle comes in through the crowd, but Jarrett gets wind of him, breaks the hold, and runs out of the ring. Kurt gets a mic. Jarrett yells that he has no business being here. Kurt says that he's in. They're about the same height, and since it's an exhibition he doesn't have to worry about anyone getting hurt. He finds a contract left in the ring. All he has to do is sign this contract and it will be legally binding for Genesis. Jarrett reminds him that he promised to never wrestle again. Kurt acknowledges that, but thankfully he's not talking about a wrestling match—it's just an exhibition. He signs, says that he'll see Jarrett's ass at Genesis, and walks back out through the crowd.
We recap what happened moments ago.
(1) AJ STYLES & KAZARIAN vs. THE MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS Non-Title Match
For those who are curious, we get the opening bell for the first match of the night at 9:35. The Guns come in brawling, then toss both AJ and Kazarian from the ring. They follow them out with stereo Suicide Dives. Shelley drives AJ into the ring post, slams him against the apron, then rolls him back in. They work a quick double team culminating in their face lock/dropkick. When Shelley leaves the ring AJ rakes Sabin's eye and elbows him away. He goes to pop Shelley—Shelley catches his arm and hits a forearm, but when he tries to follow up the ref gets in his face. That gives Kazarian the chance to hit a quick Slingshot Leg Drop behind the ref's back. AJ goes for a cover that gets one. He drives an elbow into the back of Sabin's head, then stomps on him. He chops him to the corner and tags in Kazarian. Sabin briefly fights them both off, but when he runs for the tag AJ gets him from behind with a Back Breaker and holds him in place for a Slingshot Guillotine Leg Drop. Kazarian drives Sabin's throat into the bottom rope, then gets a cover for two. Sabin gets up firing, but Kazarian stops him with another Eye Rake. Kaz charges him in the corner and connects, but then tries it again and eats a boot and a Decapitator Clothesline. Both men tag out. Shelley gets the jump on AJ with a series of strikes. He tries to pop Kaz, gets caught, but then back kicks AJ, knocks down Kazarian, dodges a charge from AJ who bounces off the ropes, goes over onto Kazarian with a Cross Body Block, then comes back and flips over AJ into the ring. Wow. How has he never been champion? AJ gets a standing switch and goes for a Rolling Chaos Theory, but Shelley blocks it right before the Suplex. Shelley goes for Sliced Bread #2, but AJ tosses him off, then AJ flips off the middle rope looking for an Inverted DDT; Shelley stops him and hits a Brain Buster. A singles feud between these two would be the greatest thing since Sliced Bread (#2). Kaz breaks up the cover at two, so Shelley Back Body Drops him out to the floor. AJ grabs a belt and swings at Shelley. The ref is right there, but it doesn't matter since Shelley ducks and Sabin hits AJ with an enzuigiri. AJ falls back into Sliced Bread #2, which is enough for the win.
WINNERS: The Guns in about as much awesomeness as can reasonably be squeezed into five minutes.Kazarian grabs a chair.
Bischoff appears at the top of the ramp with a disappointed look for AJ Styles, and as the Guns stare him down Beer Money jump them from behind. Storm chokes out Shelley, and they hoist up the title belts.
Pope knows that someone's been following him around with a camera while Pope's tending to his business. So tonight he's going to make it part of his own business to call out whomever is following him around and, after being falsely accused, demand an apology from whomever it may be.
I just double checked, and Pope did in fact say "whomever", which I'm about 80% confident is correct in this case. Fantastic.
Bischoff and Flair are looking at AJ in Bischoff's office. Biscoff really tries to control his temper, but when you consider the fact that they have less than 72 hours to get done what they need to get done and AJ's job was so simple just to soften up the Guns...AJ points out that there's nothing simple about beating the tag team champions, which seems like a reasonable point. A calm Flair says that they're just trying to make him the best that he can be. AJ complains that Bischoff expects him to win every match—did the greatest wrestler of all time win every match? Flair admits that he didn't. Bischoff says that this isn't about Flair, and AJ has three days to pull through or else. AJ asks "or else what?", but Bischoff says that he doesn't want to know. Flair signals for AJ to just let it go.
Pope hits the ring. Unless we've been living under a rock and haven't been paying attention, someone has been following Pope around with a video camera while he's been tending to Pope's business on Pope's own time. Now Pope doesn't know what this person is implying, but Pope wants him to know that Pope's congregation is strong, and cause we trust in our Pope even with our hard earned money. So now he needs to come out. After a pause, Joe's music hits. Joe saunters down to the ring. Joe says that if there's one thing he's learned in the last few months it's that the war isn't won in the ring, it's one by the people who control perception, who come out here and act like something they're not. Pope claims he's a street saint, but Joe thinks he's nothing but a scum bag. He claims to be out helping the community with all his time when he's not wrestling, but what we saw was him in the back of a strip club at the "nipple booth." Then he asks everyone to donate to Pope so he can provide goods for the needy, but Joe's checked all the local shelters and the needy aren't getting their goods—Joe's starting to wonder what kinds of goods Pope's buying. Then he goes to the shelter and tells them that he's buying up their puppies for the local orphanage, but Joe's been to the local orphanages and they don't have puppies—meanwhile Pope's had 35 noise complaints. So is he really a street saint or a scumbag? The crowd votes for scumbag. How dare Joe come out and try to pass judgment on him? He's been judged all his life, and he doesn't need some Samoan judging him. When he went to those strip clubs he told those girls that they didn't have to sell themselves to make a buck. Pope wants to give kids hope, and he has a pitbull of his own and knows that they're the best friend a kid could have. Pope's not new to the game, but he's true to the game, and the next time Joe tries to put him in a picture where he doesn't belong he better check himself before he wreck himself, cause if he falsely accuses Pope again they're gonna have a problem. Pope has spoken. Tenay claims that Pope had an answer to all Joe's charges, but I didn't quite follow that. I really hope they swerve here and have Pope stay face.
Mickie James and Velvet Sky are on the way out to the ring.
Devon is glad to hear that Bubba's calling him out. A month ago he tells him about a retirement angle, and then he gets attacked from behind. So if tonight Bubba wants to meet him in the parking lot he's going to get his ass kicked. I hope there's another swerve here and Devon turns out not really to be a giant moron [there is not].
(2) MADISON RAYNE (w/TARA) & SARITA vs. MICKIE JAMES & VELVET SKY
Sky shoves Sarita down to start and dropkicks her in the face. She drives her knee into Sarita's face and then hits a couple chops. Sarita reverses a whip attempt, Sky tries to do a Spinning Head Scissors which is sort of reversed into a Side Slam before Sky just sort of falls out and hits a School Girl. I don't know if that was supposed to look like that. Another cover gets two. Sarita taunts Sky and eats a clothesline for her troubles. Sky drives Sarita's head into the mat a few times. She looks for a DDT, but backs to close to Madison Rayne, who grabs her hat and hits an inverted Guillotine Drop. A cover gets two. Rayne tags in and drives her shoulder into Sky in the corner. Rayne chokes her with her boot, then gets the ref focused on Mickie not quite being in her corner while Sarita comes in and stomps Sky. A cover gets two. Rayne taunts a tag to Mickie, then tags in Sarita. She works a wrist lock while she does some more taunting, then tags Rayne back in. Rayne wraps Sky up between her legs and pounds her face against the mat. She tags in Sarita who hits a stomp and drops an elbow. She sets up as if she's going for a Pedigree, but it's reversed into a DDT. Rayne breaks up the ensueing cover at two, which draws James into the ring. She nails a Lou Thesz Press and mounted punches, then unloads with some knees and a Neck Breaker. While the ref is talking Mickie out of the ring Tara whacks Sky in the face with her elbow brace. Rayne rolls Sarita into the cover and the ref turns around just in time to count the three.
WINNERS: Rayne & Sarita in 5 minutes. I'm in a pretty good mood about this Sarita win streak.
RVD is in Eric Bischoff's office—putting forward a rational argument about how he never lost the belt? Bischoff says that RVD needs to focus on his match tonight. RVD wants to know who his match is with, but Bischoff hasn't quite figured that out yet. That's fine, there are more head games. RVD's not sure how he's avoided them so far in his career. But whatever, he'll kick this guy's ass and then he'll kick Jeff Hardy's ass.
(3) DOUGLAS WILLIAMS vs. ROB TERRY Non-Title Match
Williams ducks Terry to start, then does it again. Terry does not seem happy. Williams does it one more time and hits a couple strikes and a head butt to the abdomen. He gets a cravat and nails a few more knees, but then runs into a shoulder block from Terry that sends him out of the ring. AJ Styles comes in from nowhere and shoves Williams arm first into the ring post. That draws the bell.
WINNER: Douglas Williams by DQ in about a minute.
AJ rolls Williams into the ring, where Terry helps him work over the arm. AJ comes off the middle rope and stomps Williams's hand.
Ray is heading to the parking lot, surrounded by security.
Devon gets to the parking lot, where he's swamped by security. Ray slaps him and taunts him. Devon says that Ray's a coward and a bully, but Ray responds that Devon's a nobody—he's a sidekick and Ray's bitch. Devon starts to leave, but Ray yells that his problem is that he used to be tough, but now he's just a @#!@$. Devon charges and gets yanked down by security, where Ray gets in a quick shot to his head. He says that he could stomp him down right now. He should go home to his family and not show up at Genesis.
Jarrett is telling Bischoff how excited he is for Sunday—he has a game plan and an insurance policy and an insurance policy on the insurance policy. Bischoff responds that he has a problem of his own that Jeff can help with—RVD. Jeff says he'll be glad to deal with him after Sunday, but Bischoff wants it done tonight. Jarrett's worried that Kurt is still in the building, so Bischoff says they'll stack the deck a little bit by making the match No DQ. Besides, Kurt got what he wanted already. Jarrett is feeling it.
Abyss and Lethal come out for their match.
(4) JAY LETHAL vs. ABYSS Non-Title Match
Lethal goes for a waist lock but Abyss twists him off. Lethal tries to pick a leg, but Abyss tosses him back. Lethal goes behind. Abyss tries for a reverse elbow, but Lethal ducks and slugs Abyss in the face. He hits him again, but then Abyss shoves him back. Abyss charges, but Lethal goes out to the apron and drives Abyss into the turnbuckle. Lethal comes off the ropes with a Cross Body Block, but Abyss catches him. Abyss hoists him up for a Running Power Slam but Lethal slips out. A big dropkick fails to take Abyss off his feet. Abyss goozles Lethal, but Lethal fights out and hits a Handspring Elbow. Abyss still doesn't go down, so Lethal hits the top rope and nails a Missile Dropkick for two. Lethal goes back to the top rope, but Abyss gets there too and tosses him across the ring. Abyss charges. Lethal ducks out of the way and comes off the ropes, but runs right into a Black Hole Slam. Abyss covers for two, then lets Lethal up. He tosses him into the corner and pounds him down. He chokes him with the boot, and doesn't break at five.
WINNER: Jay Lethal by DQ in 3 minutes.
Referee Jackson James tries to pull Abyss off but just gets shoved down. Kazarian saunters slowly down to the ring. Abyss chokes Lethal some more. Kazarian grabs a mic and laughingly tells Abyss to stop—he's hurting this man. Abyss doesn't stop. Kazarian asks Abyss to leave some for him, so Abyss desists. After all, if Lethal doesn't have a pulse than Kazarian can't beat him at Genesis. This was designed to be a highly competitive warm-up match, and that's what was delivered. He asks Lethal to stand up, but Lethal is out. Being a competitive sportsman he wants to look Lethal in the eye. Abyss lifts Lethal to his feet. Kazarian just wants to shake his hand, so Abyss sort of wobbles it a bit.
Next up will be a sit-down interview with Ken Anderson and Matt Morgan.
We run down the card for Genesis, complete with music video. It's okay.
In the interview, Tenay says that neither of them realizes the predicament the other one is in. Ken doesn't seem to realize what Matt did for him. Anderson says that he thanked him for that. What was he supposed to do, hire a marching band? He's sick and tired of hearing about it. Tenay reminds Morgan that Bischoff said that if Anderson doesn't wrestle he's out of the title picture. Morgan does appreciate that, but Anderson's one of the smartest wrestlers he knows and so shouldn't be worked by Bischoff like this. Anderson has a family. If Morgan were faced with the same choice it'd be a no-brainer—he'd put his family first. Anderson's going to put his next 25 years in jeopardy for a single match? Tenay says that they should talk about Anderson's family, but Anderson tells him to mind his own damned business. Tenay asks what Anderson would do in Morgan's shoes, and he yells that he'd shut his mouth, he'd mind his own business, and he'd wrestle! Cause that's what they do, and that's what they signed up for. Every once in a while they get hurt. He took two months off, and now his doctor tells him that he can get back in the ring and wrestle to better the lot of his family than that's what he's gonna do. Tenay points out that he hasn't seen the clearance. Morgan asks who has, and Anderson says no one. Morgan's not buying it. Tenay says that he's been in this chair with hundreds of great wrestlers, and Anderson's the one guy he doesn't have a read on. Is it possible that he's working Tenay and working the fans? Anderson admits that it's possible. We'll find out when he gets in the ring in three days, and assholes always finish first. Morgan says that if Anderson does show up the gloves are off—he's an athlete and he has to compete. Anderson's glad to hear it.
(5) JEFF JARRETT (w/TEAM JARRETT) vs. RVD No DQ Match
Jarrett runs in circles around RVD, then gets distracted by the crowd informing him that he sold out. He dances around some more. RVD gets frustrated. Jarrett goes for a kick, but RVD catches it and hits his reverse enzuigiri. Jarrett pokes him in the eye, but then goes for another kick and eats a Spinning Heel Kick. RVD thrusts his shoulders in the corner, forearms Jarrett down, then comes off the middle rope with a side kick. RVD goes for Rolling Thunder, but Jarrett rolls out of the ring. Jarrett does laps around the ring, then comes back in and right into an RVD forearm. Murphy grabs RVD's leg and Jarrett pounces, beating him down. RVD fights back from his knees, but Jarrett catches him in a standing Sleeper. Jarrett brings RVD down to the mat. The ref checks, but RVD's arm doesn't drop. He powers to his feet and gets out with elbows to the abdomen. He hits straight right hands, a series of clotheslines, and a Superkick. A random Jarrett goon attacks but RVD just tosses him from the ring. RVD brings in a chair, when the rest of Team Jarrett attack. Eventually Gunner and Murphy get him down. The crowd chants for Angle as they hold RVD up for Jarrett. Jarrett hits some right hands, then tells Gunner and Murphy to back off. RVD hits a leaping kick out of nowhere and fights back Gunner and Murphy, but Jeff Hardy runs out and hits his Twist of Hate. Jarrett makes the cover.
WINNER: Jeff Jarrett gets yet another inexplicable win over a top contender in six minutes. The story was okay.
After the match Jarrett and Hardy go back on the attack. Morgan's music hits, and he comes to the ring. He takes down both Hardy and Jarrett, then slams Jarrett into the turnbuckle. Hardy gets up with the chair, eying the back of Morgan's head. Anderson runs down and grabs the chair, then swings. Hardy ducks, and the chair connects to Morgan's back. Hardy and Jarrett flee. Anderson walks out calmly. Morgan is not happy.
Where We're Going: So looking at this show it seems like someone finally remembered that RVD should have the hottest program in the company right now, and would if they hadn't had him fighting Dreamer and Rhino for no reason. That does even more to take away the big match feel of Sunday's main event. It's interesting that they teased the Anderson heel turn, which is what I was kind of hoping for (the turn, not the tease).
Star of the Night: Kazarian. Aside from solid work in the ring, he cut a decent promo that made the X Division Championship appear to matter for a bit.
Overall: This show maintained the holding pattern from the past couple weeks. With the possible exception of the Jarrett bits there was nothing eye-rollingly bad, but with the definite exception of the Motor City Machine Guns bits there was nothing particularly good either. I'm off. C
Daniel is a graduate fellow at The Ohio State University. This is going to be his last virtual-time column for a while, since the show hasn't really been as much fun anymore. Expect him back roughly when the X Division Championship is taken seriously again. Requests for an earlier (or later) return can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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