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TNA Impact
BAX’S TNA IMPACT REPORT 2/24: Alt. perspective review of Angle-Anderson-RVD main event, “Big Surprise” revealed, March 3 hype

Feb 24, 2011 - 11:08:16 PM
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By Matt Baxendell, PWTorch Specialist

TNAImpactlogo_172.jpg
BAX’S TNA IMPACT REPORT
FEBRUARY 24, 2011
TAPED IN ORLANDO, FL
AIRED ON SPIKE TV


Where We’ve Been: Last week’s episode of Impact was bad. While I initially rated it as a C+, I found more reasons to critique the show as this week went on. TNA filled the show with cringe-inducing vignettes of the Jarretts, introduced an infuriating ‘network’ excuse to hot-shot RVD-Jeff Hardy, a match which should have been their big feud this spring, and jammed a month’s worth of storylines involving Ric Flair into the first hour. Needless to say, TNA needs to pick up some serious momentum with their big March 3 show only a week away. On top of that, they have been hyping a big surprise this week: will it pay off?

[Q1]

-The opening montage focused on Mr. Anderson’s fury last week at not being given a re-match for the TNA Championship he lost at Against All Odds, showing his role as the special guest referee. After showing him hit Mic Checks on everyone at the end of the show, it transitioned into Ric Flair’s attack on A.J. Styles, culminating in A.J.’s challenge of Flair for this week. Cringe-inducing name of the show: “Hot At Teacher.”

-Mr. Anderson kicked things off, walking to the ring with a steel chair. Taz & Tenay talked up his fury at not getting a re-match for the TNA Championship. Anderson set up his chair in the middle of the ring and sat down a la Macho Man waiting for Sting in 1996 in WCW.

“I don’t care who is calling the shots right now,” he began before reeling off every authority figure in the TNA universe. He said that he is going to sit in the ring until he gets his contractually-obligated rematch. He wanted to know why the network doesn’t like him. He asks if it is because he’s...

This leads to a big cheer of ‘asshole’ from the crowd before he finishes the sentence, punctuated by about a half-dozen repetitions of ‘asshole.’ He said that if that is the case, then the network should be aware that Rob Van Dam isn’t exactly a law-abiding citizen.

At this, RVD’s music hits to a nice pop, probably the best reaction he’s had in two months. RVD takes his sweet time to get to the ring, while Anderson picks up the steel chair and waits for him. Van Dam got on the mic and says he wants to make sure that ‘his hearing wasn’t distorted, man.’ He then talked about honor and ethics before telling Anderson that if it was his job to officiate a match, then he should do it fairly regardless of how it affects his own title chances.

RVD said that Anderson knows that his big plans weren’t going to happen if RVD won the title last week, saying that his re-match disappeared if Hardy were beaten. He said that while Anderson will always be a force with the mic in his hand, he’s not the whole F’ing show. RVD said that if he got the chance to screw over Anderson the way he was screwed over last week, then watch out, because he’s all about balance.

Anderson replied that he didn’t care whether RVD felt he was screwed or whether he felt that he was a better wrestler, all he cared about was whether he was going to get back what was rightfully his, which was a re-match at the TNA Championship. Anderson told him before they both do something that they’re gonna regret.

As he said that, Van Dam hauled off and decked him, leading to both men swinging at each other. Taz & Tenay both said that they weren’t remotely surprised that RVD had boiled over and had gone after Anderson. The wrestlers didn’t swing back and forth for long before a horde of security hit the ring to break them up.

However, Immortal’s music hit and Bischoff came on stage with Matt Hardy, the Jarretts, Rob Terry, Gunner & Murphy (in wrestling tights instead of their security shirts; about time they tried to make these two look legitimate). Bischoff said that he thought that he saw a Main Event in the ring. Bischoff said that he was going to give Anderson his re-match but now (pause for RVD to make a jump at Anderson) instead of the re-match, he was going to make Anderson vs. RVD the Main Event.

At this, Jarrett whispered something in his ear. Bischoff said that his suggestion was awesome, so with the network wanting ratings he had a re-write: Anderson vs. RVD vs. Kurt Angle in a three-way dance. Cue Immortal’s music. Taz & Tenay then ran down the lineup: Terry vs. Scott Steiner in a ‘pose down’ & A.J. v. Flair were the other two matches hyped.

-Backstage to Scott Steiner, who said something about ‘James Storm beer’ before Eric Young started posing behind him. Steiner finally noticed him and Young suggested a neck pose before Steiner told him that he looked terrible and threw him out of the locker room. [c]

BAX REAX: Well, at least they’re trying to frame this ‘posedown’ as nothing more than comedy with an Eric Young appearance. As for the events of the opening segment, I thought the RVD-Anderson showdown was nice and I enjoyed seeing Anderson start to act more heelish, which is where he’s at his best. Bischoff didn’t hog the spotlight too long, though he spent way too much time referencing the ‘network’ and talking about ratings. What I didn’t like was Jarrett randomly throwing Angle into the match: what was his reasoning? If this is for the #1 contendership for the TNA Championship (something they didn’t mention, but sure seemed likely when it was initially only RVD vs. Anderson), then why would Double J put Angle in position to possibly challenge Hardy? Speaking of which, where was the TNA Champion during that segment? Jeff Hardy was conspicuously absent from the Immortal gang. Either way, I hope they continue their trend of giving the final match plenty of time to shine.

[Q2]

-TNA showed a pre-recorded vignette from ‘Earlier This Week’ where the Jarretts were trying out wedding dresses with a guy with a lisp, none of which were to Karen’s liking. Something about her being a princess.

From there, they threw backstage to Angle watching on a monitor and the roving camera guy asked him what he thought about the Jarretts’s wedding prep. He said that it was only a matter of time before the world saw them for what they really are since they’re not exactly the Von Trap family. He said that he couldn’t give Karen away quickly enough but he’ll give them a wedding that they’ll never forget on March 3. As for tonight, he told RVD and Anderson that he wasn’t in a very good mood.

-In the Impact Zone, Gunner & Murphy were in the ring across from Orlando Jordan & Eric Young. Beer Money’s music quickly hit and the Tag Team Champions came out to join in on commentary.

1 – GUNNER & MURPHY vs. ERIC YOUNG & ORLANDO JORDAN

Right off othe bell, Murphy went to tackle E.Y. but he moved, sending Murphy face-first into Orlando’s crotch. Naturally, he rubbed his junk in Murphy’s face, leading to a quick roll up by E.Y. for a one count. Gunner was quickly tagged in and he went for a running clothesline. Young ducked again and started running the ropes in opposite directions. EY went from left to right and Gunner went from north to south. They kept running until Gunner got tired and put his hands on his knees to huff and puff.

Unfortunately, he did this right in front of Jordan, who smacked him on the rear. Right as Gunner was getting slapped, Tenay announced that Beer Money would defend the Tag Team Titles against Immortal’s Gunner & Murphy at next week’s big show. Young tried to start the criss-cross sequence again, but Gunner quickly dumped Jordan to the side, decked E.Y., and tagged in Murphy.

Meanwhile, Beer Money did their best trying to talk up G&M as threats to their titles next week. Roode said that they’ve hung out with them before and know they’re for real and Storm chimed in to remind everyone that they were in Immortal with them and they had been in plenty of bar fights on the same side. Storm said that Beer Money was responsible to prove they are the best.

Back in the ring, Murphy had Young in a tight headlock. After Young fought out, Gunner tagged in and was quickly hit by a jawbreaker. Murphy tagged back in and then Young managed to push him into the corner. Bizarrely, Young then dropped his pants to reveal his old Team Canada trunks before Gunner clotheslined him from the ring apron.

As Jordan came into the ring to protest the interference, Murphy leveled him with a clothesline. Roode was in the process of telling the announcers that Flair made a really bad decision crossing Fortune last week as Gunner hit a flying elbow off of the top turnbuckle into E.Y., who was being held up for a side slam by Murphy. I guess Immortal’s tag team now has a tag team finisher. That ended things, as Gunner & Murphy picked up their first win in TNA.

WINNERS: Gunner & Murphy in 3:00.

BAX REAX: Well, it looks like TNA is serious about attempting to make Gunner & Murphy seem like real wrestlers. First, they appeared on stage during the opening promo in ring gear, then they beat the comedy tag team of Young & Jordan. While I’m not sure a match that was loaded with laughs was the best way to position the pairing as a real threat to Beer Money, it looks like TNA might start to give the Tag Titles a bit more prominence. While I understand their move to the background after Alex Shelley’s collarbone injury, the division has more than enough depth to keep it relevant on a week to week basis. I’m sure plenty more people would rather see Beer Money face Generation Me than Gunner & Murphy, though.

Right after the match, the winners stood on the nearest turnbuckle to the announce stage and pointed at Beer Money, who displayed great confidence as they told them that they’d see them next week in Fayetteville.

-Backstage, Angelina Love & Velvet Sky were shown in the ladies’s locker room. Angelina asked Velvet if she was seriously considering putting her career on the line. She wanted to know if she was sure about risking everything. Velvet asked what she was supposed to do. Love warned Sky about Sarita cheating to win the match. Velvet asked to be alone to make her decision. Taz & Tenay plugged the two big matches on the card as we went to break. [c]

-Back from break, Devon came out to the ring with a very somber expression on his face. Taz reported that one of his sons had a concussion and the other was in a neckbrace after being thrown through a table. While Devon sold emotion about his sons, the crowd started a weak ‘Devon’ chant.

He said that he had come out there tonight to apologize to his sons: a father’s worst dream is his inability to protect his own sons and he didn’t protect them at Against All Odds. He told Ray that those boys called him ‘uncle,’ they loved him and he put his hands on them.

[Q3] Devon apologized again to his sons, saying he should have been there to protect them. He said that this wouldn’t go unanswered. At this, Bully Ray interrupted from the video screen. He told Devon to listen to him before kicking a random dude on the ground in front of him. He asked how his kids were doing. Ray then picked up the random dude, calling him one of Devon’s “brothers” and told him that he was going to put him through a table to remind him what he did to his sons. He told him again that he was the leader of Team 3D, closing by saying ‘Oh my brother, Mother Effing Testify.’

As he set the dude up to powerbomb him through the table, Tommy Dreamer showed up behind him and started slugging him. As Ray ran away, Dreamer drove him into the Impact Zone and made him fall on the ramp. Devon grabbed a steel chair and just missed decking him while he was on the ground. Security quickly appeared as Ray ran backstage. Tommy went to calm him down but when he went to grab him from behind, Devon decked him too. Immediately showing remorse, he swore and went to help Dreamer up.

-Backstage, Madison Rayne & Tara were shown. Madison said she was tired to death of people telling her she couldn’t win without Tara’s help. So she told Tara that she wanted her to stay backstage regardless of what happened tonight in her open challenge. The announcers sold the two big matches again before break. [c]

-Returning from commercial, A.J. Styles was backstage. He said the message he's sending is that he isn’t taking a backseat to anyone anymore, not even Ric Flair. Tonight on Impact, he was going to take care of business.

-In the Impact Zone, Magnus was already in the ring. His opponent is going to be...Crimson! The announcers talked him up before Magnus got on the mic. He told Crimson that they were alike. He said that he was ambitious (not as ambitious as Magnus), but ambitious none the less. He said that he was impressive (not as impressive as Magnus), but still impressive. He said that he had a great physique (but he was no Mag-Daddy), but he looks well. However, where they differ: Magnus isn’t carrying Kurt Angle’s bags around. At this, Crimson clotheslined him down and the match was on.

2 - CRIMSON vs. MAGNUS

Crimson quickly hit an exploder suplex on Magnus before landing a big neckbreaker. Magnus tried to bail out of the ring, but Crimson grabbed him over the top rope by the head. However, Magnus guillotined him on the top rope, which allowed him to slither back into the ring and hit a big boot to knock Crimson to the ground.

Magnus then played to the crowd, saying he was going to hit a move (didn’t catch the name), but Crimson sprang up and hit the impressive-looking finisher not yet seen on TNA TV (Tenay called it the Red Alert). The Red Alert is a move where Crimson picks his opponent up like he’s setting up for the World’s Strongest Slam but instead spins him to his left and then uses the momentum to hit a powerful DDT. Needless to say, the debut of this move was enough for him to get the quick pinfall victory.

WINNER: Crimson in 1:00.

BAX REAX: While I like them building up Crimson, do they have to job out Magnus in less than a minute? While Magnus hasn’t been on Impact much recently, he’s still a talented guy who can cut a nice promo, as we saw before this ‘match,’ which was shorter than a lot of 80’s squash matches. Why didn’t they just get some random jobber from the Team 3D Academy to prove that Crimson is a badass? Or even better, why couldn’t they have put him into, you know, an actual feud to build towards his in-ring singles debut? I feel like a lot of people would have been interested in seeing him wrestle his first singles match on PPV considering the way he debuted. Crimson had a prominent role in the company leading up to Fortune’s turn, and I feel like they’ve wasted his mystique by tossing him out there for a random match.

-Rob Van Dam said he had no idea what to expect in tonight’s match. He said that he’s going to get closer to the championship belt tonight because he won’t be the last guy laying on the mat. Wait, is this an elimination three-way match? Anyways, they quickly showed Rob Terry walking down a hallway and the ‘Posedown’ is next. [c]

[Q4]

-Terry entered the Impact Zone with dumbbells in his hands and a rubber cord around his neck. Tenay sold how impressed everyone was with his physique, saying he was in awe of how built Terry is. Terry jumped on the mic and told Steiner that he didn’t know who the hell he was but he was looking at the future, calling Steiner an old man. He said that he was going to prove that he was the best built man in the history of the wrestling business and that he was the real genetic freak of TNA.

Steiner came out wearing a suit. Tenay said that Big Poppa Pump’s physique was the body that everyone wanted to have for years in the wrestling biz (???) while Taz put over his amateur wrestling credentials.

Steiner said that the best thing that Terry could have hoped for was for him to come to the ring in a good mood. But, when Terry called himself the Genetic Freak, he really pissed Steiner off. He said he’s the only genetic freak in pro wrestling. He told him to call himself something original, suggesting ‘Chernobyl’ and told Terry that he was a couple of vitamins away from a chemical disaster. Steiner told him that he earned his stripes in pro wrestling while Terry is nothing but a bodybuilder who wasn’t going to take his name.

He asked Terry if he expected him to come out all oiled up like a Chippendale. Terry asked him if he was afraid and Steiner told him that he was going to go in the back and get his wrestling stuff on and if Terry was still out there when he came back then he would kick his ass. As Steiner climbed out of the ring, Big Rob responded that it was so typical of an American to run away with his tail between his legs when faced with someone bigger, stronger, and smarter.

This started a big ‘USA!’ chant in the Impact Zone and caused Steiner to stop on the ring apron and climb back in. Steiner agreed to show him who the genetic freak was and turned his back to put his jacket in the corner. Bad move, Scott. Terry picked up one of his dumbbells and decked him with it (not in the head but in the shoulder) and knocked him down before choking him out with the rubber curling band. Steiner’s bright red face against his white shirt and white hair was quite a visual. Terry got one big punch in before security came out to pull him off of Steiner. Taz said that security would need a crane to get him off Big Poppa Pump. Eventually, he let go and Terry stood tall with his hands in the air.

-Velvet Sky re-entered the locker room to see Winter, then immediately turned to leave. However, Winter got her to come back and offered to let bygones by bygones. She told Velvet that she didn’t doubt her abilities against Sarita next week, telling her that she should go out to prove herself. Just like when she and Angelina won the Women’s Tag Titles. Velvet Sky told her that when she was done with Sarita, she was coming for her.

-Right before break, Flair was shown walking backstage in street clothes. Taz sold confusion, saying that Flair was supposed to wrestle tonight, but he’s coming out next. [c]

[Q5]

-Back from break, the Jarretts were meeting with a priest and were trying to explain to him the stipulations of the wedding. The priest pretty much took everyone in the world’s position on this feud, asking them why they would put their kids up in a match? At least someone at TNA has realized the concern that, well, everyone has expressed concerning this mess.

-In the Impact Zone, Flair hit the ring and no one was booing him just a week after attacking A.J. Styles. He said that it is hard to be humble when you’re the "Nature Boy" Ric Flair. This got a lot of ‘WOO’ cheers and a quick ‘Nature Boy’ chant. He said that A.J. Styles had avoided him all day backstage and, in the ring, he's a god. He told ‘The Franchise’ ‘Mr. TNA’ to get out to the ring to get down on his knees before God himself and apologize.

Styles came out in his ring gear. Flair tried to tell So Cal Val to hold the ropes for A.J. like she did for Flair, but A..J sat her back down in her seat and climbed in on his own. A.J. asked Flair if he thought he was avoiding him. A.J. said he was ‘avoiding’ him because every cell in his body wanted to beat the piss out of Flair and peel his head like an onion. But, he wasn’t going to do that because if Flair got to him then he won, right? He asked Flair if that was how his game was played.

Flair replied that the game was played by Fortune not moving an inch without talking to him. A.J. told him that there was one reason that they didn’t tell him: because Flair would try to talk them out of it. Flair replied that the reason that he would have talked them out of it was because he was trying to teach him about greatness. However, now, he was going to teach him about respect.

With that, he slapped the crap out of A.J. Immediately, Styles tackled Flair and started wailing away. However, Hernandez quickly intervened with a big double sledge to his back. A.J. was dragged to his feet and thrown across the ring before Hernandez lined up for a big splash. But, when he jumped, A.J. propelled him over the top rope down to the floor and then went right back after Flair in the corner. Styles started stomping a mudhole into him before Hernandez came back in to drag him to his feet.

Hernandez held Styles up for Flair to hit with his shoe, but A.J. kicked him low and then hit a low blow on Flair. Styles then quickly turned and hit a big Pele Kick on SuperMex before chasing Flair at ringside. Flair was slammed face-first into the barrier and his pants leg was torn wide open.

A.J. then rolled Flair into the ring and kicked him right in the face. However, before he could go much further, Hernandez got up and kicked him out of the ring. Quickly following him out to ringside, Hernandez military pressed Styles onto the ring apron before rolling him into the ring. But, A.J. recovered quickly, knocking Hernandez back down to the floor, decking Flair in the corner, and then hitting a big springboard cross body splash onto Hernandez at ringside.

Flair laid in the ring, begging A.J. off, but Styles kicked him, ripped his suit and then came the infamous Flair Flop. Styles set up the Styles Clash and threw up the Fortune hand signal, but Hernandez came back into the ring to make the save. With a brutal toss on A.J., the heels finally got the upper edge and Flair started to wail away. However, Fortune came out to the ring to make the save and Flair & Hernandez quickly abandoned their assault and fled the ring.

As a bloodied Flair was escaping back up the ramp, Matt Morgan appeared to attack Hernandez on the other side of the Impact Zone. Morgan beat him up and threw him hard into a wall before telling him ‘this is just getting started.’ The segment ended with the Fortune Four holding up their hand signal in the middle of the ring.

BAX REAX: That should be the end of the Styles-Flair confrontation tonight because it was quite clear throughout that long set of action that A.J. is a machine. This was what I was hoping to see instead of a match between the two: a confrontation where A.J. had to fight to get his hands on Flair, but was left wanting when it came to actually leaving Flair laying. I’m still hoping to see these two meet on Pay-Per-View with the title of ‘Nature Boy’ on the line. I also really liked Hernandez’s involvement as the Monster Heel, showing some serious power for the second straight week. Overall, this was a nice segment moving last week’s rushed turn by Flair at a more reasonable pace.

-Backstage, Mr. Anderson was shown, saying that he had to get past the crap that Bischoff was feeding him over the last couple months. He said that he didn’t care about anyone else tonight, he only cared about the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Taz & Tenay plugged the Main Event before break. [c]

[Q6]

-Hulk Hogan & Dixie were shown at the introductory press conference at Madison Square Garden in 2009 to kick off another montage summarizing the back story that led to the founding of Immortal last year. It featured the twists and turns of the ‘legal case’ against Hogan to hype up the conclusion of the Dixie vs. Hulk storyline for control of TNA in the courts.

-Back in the Impact Zone, Madison hit the ring as the announcers hyped her request for proper competition. She told the Impact Zone that she has shown great pleasure beating everyone who has stepped up to face her in the ring as champion, mentioning Love, Sky, and Mickie James by name. She said that she’s getting a little bit bored so she issued an open challenge to any woman on the planet to ‘step into the Queen’s Court’ and try to dethrone her.

With that, ODB’s music hit and the Redneck Knockout was back to a nice ovation. After slugging her flask, she charged the ring and tackled Madison and the match was on.

3 – Knockouts champion MADISON RAYNE VS. ODB

ODB got a big cheer early from the crowd and was in control early with a big bodyslam followed by a huge Flair chop on Rayne’s chest. She stomped Madison in the corner and then went for the Bronco Buster, but Rayne moved in time.

Madison jumped back into dominant position by putting a stunned ODB’s face between her knees and slamming her face repeatedly into the mat. After ODB got back up, Rayne hit her with a backstabber. Madison tried to set up another series of face slams, but ODB managed to fight out and deck Madison in the face. After a couple of stiff punches, she hit a series of clotheslines on the Knockouts Champion.

ODB was really feeling at as she hit an overhead fallaway slam on Madison before kipping back up and playing to the crowd. She realized that Madison was down in the corner and ODB finally hit her Bronco Buster. As ODB put Madison on her shoulders, Rayne managed to fight out and hit a with some sort of swinging knee to the back of the head for an abrupt victory.

WINNER: Madison Rayne in 5:00.

BAX REAX: This is what they could have done with Crimson if they were bent on him debuting on free TV: find someone who used to work at TNA that is still able to wrestle and have him beat him in a nice five-minute match. Jay Lethal hasn’t been on TV lately, why not him? Anyways, fun match from ODB, who dominated the pace. Madison’s finisher was pretty abrupt after getting beaten for five straight minutes, so I wonder whether these two will wrestle again in the near future.

-Velvet Sky was shown telling the camera that she wanted what she was about to do to be documented. She approached Sarita, who asked if she came to wave the white flag. Velvet said that she was going to accept her challenge and face her next week on Impact with her career on the line. Sarita said that she was impressed, so she was going to give her word that she wouldn’t pull any tricks. Sarita and Velvet shook on it, but as she walked away Sarita laughed and told Rosita that she was going to screw Velvet so hard that she was going to have trouble walking. Tenay quickly plugged the Main Event, which was up next.

[Q7]

-Morgan was shown backstage telling the cameraman that Hernandez had taken away his chance to become TNA Champion from him and his family. What just happened to Hernandez was called ‘comeuppance’ and he was going to take a chunk out of him on March 3. Morgan said that payback was a Mother (bleep) and so was he.

-Another Jarretts segment, this time at a tuxedo shop. More bickering between the married couple where they took a few more shots at Kurt. It ended with Jarrett in a tuxedo.

-They recapped J-Woww of the Jersey Shore appearing on Impact last year. The announcer asked if it was the last they’d see of her in TNA. Robbie E. and Cookie were shown telling everyone that some girl named Angelina from "Jersey Shore" was going to be on the show to call out J-Woww. Great, another potentially poor segment for TNA’s big Impact on the road.

-Back to actual wrestling that I want to watch. RVD made his entrance for the Main Event with 22 minutes left in the show. As he walked to the ring, last week’s Main Event was recapped. After him came Mr. Anderson, who did his usual self-announcement at the top of the ramp with the falling microphone. Finally, Angle came up through the stage on his rising platform and the combatants are ready to go right after the break. Still unanswered: Is this for the #1 contendership and is this an elimination match like RVD seemed to indicate? [c]

[Q8]

4 – MR. ANDERSON vs. ROB VAN DAM vs. KURT ANGLE

No answer to either of my questions, so I’m guessing No and No. The bell rang directly upon return from break as both Angle and RVD jumped Anderson right off the bat, taking turns punching and kicking him around the ring before hitting a double back body drop in the middle of the ring. They then followed that up by hitting a double vertical suplex. Angle then stood back and let RVD hit three consecutive shoulder blocks on Anderson in the corner. However, Angle went for a spear and missed as Anderson moved, sending Kurt out to the floor.

RVD didn’t let Anderson get far, though, as he threw him into the corner and hit a big monkey flip across the ring. He then lined Anderson up in the corner and hit a few punches before Anderson shoved him off. However, Angle re-entered the ring at that point to clothesline Anderson to the mat. However, RVD had enough of cooperation and clotheslined Kurt down next to him. With both men lying side by side in perfect position, RVD went for a double Rolling Thunder. However, as RVD was flipping onto them, Anderson rolled out to ringside to leave Angle to take the full blow.

This allowed Anderson to get back into the ring and hit RVD hard before throwing him into the ropes and nailing a swinging neckbreaker. However, as he was getting up, Angle had recovered enough to grab him and hit him with a snap suplex. At 3:00, Angle was whipped into the corner but hit Anderson with a big boot before exploding out of the corner with a big clothesline to send Anderson to ringside.

RVD and Angle then stared each other down before going head to head. This didn’t last long as Angle went to bounce off the ropes near the ramp and Anderson pulled the top rope down, spilling Kurt to the floor. Anderson climbed back into the ring but RVD was ready for him, hitting a spinning heel kick followed by a spinning leg drop. This was good for a two count. RVD then Irish-whipped Anderson across the ring but Angle tripped him and pulled him out to ringside. The two men started brawling but were both quickly taken out by RVD flipping over the top onto both. All three combatants were laid out at ringside as the Main Event went to break. [c]

-Back from a three-minute commercial, Van Dam was tangled on the top rope before kicking Angle in the chest. A quick standing moonsault gave him a two count on Kurt. Both men fought back and forth before a charging Angle was back-body dropped over the top rope by RVD.

Immediately, Anderson appeared back in the ring (I guess he was still sprawled outside when they returned from break) and hit a big double sledge on RVD from behind. He then hit a backdrop suplex on RVD before dropping a big knee onto Van Dam’s face. Anderson then locked in an armlock as the crowd cheered on RVD to get back to his feet.

Eventually, RVD managed to elbow his way out and managed to kick Anderson in the chest before hitting a springboard kick off of the second rope. With both men down, Angle managed to get back in the ring and clothesline both men twice. RVD blocked an attempt to whip him into the corner at 10:00, but Angle caught him charging out with a big suplex. Angle immediately turned to Anderson and hit him with one, two, three big German Suplexes before catching a recovered RVD with a big release German Suplex to cap off just a flurry of Angle awesomeness.

Angle then stalked Anderson and hit him with the Angle Slam as soon as he got to his feet. Kurt pulled the strap down to go for the Anklelock, but RVD hit him with a Super Kick. RVD sold exhaustion on the ropes before trying to climb up top for the Five-Star Frog Splash. He ended up taking too much time as Angle charged up to the top and hit his signature Super German Suplex from the top turnbuckle that actually propelled Van Dam out of the ring after hitting the mat on the far side.

But, Kurt was feeling the effects of the move as well, which allowed Anderson to try to hit him with a Mic Check. However, Angle elbowed out of the move and promptly hit Anderson with a overhead throw. Kurt was fired up and pulled down both straps, going for the Anklelock on Anderson.

The match was then interrutped by the sound of wedding music hitting and the Jarretts coming out on the ramp in wedding regalia. This distracted Angle, who dropped his focus on the match to yell at them. This gave Anderson the opening to quickly hit the Mic Check on him for the pinfall victory.

WINNER: Mr. Anderson in 13:00 (10:00 Televised).

Afterward, Taz said that he didn’t think that Anderson cared about any of the Angle-Jarrett drama, he was just aiming for a victory in this match. From there, Taz & Tenay plugged next week’s huge show, saying that Bart Scott from the New York Jets would be at the show as well as the random "Jersey Shore" female castmember who was mentioned before the Main Event.

Other matches: Velvet Sky vs. Sarita (Career Match), Morgan vs. Hernandez, Beer Money v. Gunner & Murphy (TNA Tag Titles). On top of that, the Jarrett Wedding & the Hulk-Dixie resolution would be coming. Taz then said that the production truck had just received new footage and they played it. Here comes the big surprise...

Bluish Rainfall was shown against a black backdrop. Boots were walking in the rain as lightning flashed. A man walked up metal steps and the swish of a black cloak was seen. Then, a very familiar number script (if you’ve been watching Monday Night Raw in the last month) was shown that spelled out 3-3-11. In a complete take-off from The Undertaker’s return vignettes that had many wrestling fans fired up for the possibility of Sting vs. Taker at this year’s Wrestlemania. Alas, TNA is clearly hyping the return of Vampiro.

Just kidding. Sting is back next week in Fayetteville.

BAX SHOW REAX: Jeff Jarrett interrupting the main event was another example of him taking up TV time in what I thought was a groan-inducing manner, rather than in a heelish manner. The pace of the Main Event was excellent, all three men were having great performances, and then Jarrett showed up in his tuxedo to prevent a clean finish to the main event.

Anyways, now that I’ve expressed my opinion that Jeff Jarrett, who takes up more time on TV than his drawing power should ever allow, let’s look at the rest of the show. If TNA is going to give Gunner & Murphy a tag title shot next week (which they clearly haven’t earned but I guess they expect everyone to assume they’re up first because of Immortal) then they had to finally treat both guys like real wrestlers on TV instead of glorified security guards. Beating E.Y. & Orlando was good, and Beer Money did a good trying to put them over as much as possible on commentary. I’d still rather see Beer Money face Generation Me, but I’ll admit I’m mildly interested in this match.

I also liked the Styles-Flair showdown where Flair had a 300-pound roadblock in place for A.J. I hope they can draw this one out with Flair dodging A.J. all the way up to Lockdown, where these two men can fight inside the steel cage for the right to the title ‘Nature Boy.’ Not a lot of people know that’s a moniker that Flair won from Buddy Rogers back in the '70s and there could be no better way for him to elevate Styles than to officially give the best wrestler in the world today his famous title.

As for things that I'm critical of, what is TNA doing bringing in two celebrities for next week’s already jam-packed show in North Carolina? Are there going to be seven matches under two minutes next week to fit in all of the talking segments? Plus, where was Jeff Hardy on this week's show?

Going forward, I’m not really excited about next week’s big show like I was for the February 3 show that TNA hyped up to feature Anderson’s re-match with Hardy after beating him for the TNA Championship. The show looks very heavy on attractions and light on wrestling. On the plus side, I'm not concerned about TNA ripping off WWE’s stylistic promos hyping the return of Taker. I actually like them playing on the hype of Sting potentially going to WrestleMania by having their own little vignettes hyping his return to their company.

Even though the ‘SURPRISE OF THE YEAR --- GUARANTEED’ was a letdown considering that it was a tease, I enjoyed this show. There was a very good Main Event until Double J's appearance, TNA did a nice job building to next week’s Free Pay-Per-View Impact in Fayetteville, and they continued to build toward A.J. Styles getting his hands on Ric Flair. Overall, better than last week, but still a lot of room to improve.

SHOW GRADE: B-

Matt Baxendell is one of the Torch’s new contributing writers covering TNA Wrestling. He’s also live on air as one the Young Guns on Sports Radio 790 The Zone in Atlanta. If you want to talk wrestling, hockey or football with Bax, please email him at matt.baxendell@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @MattBaxendell


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