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TNA Impact
BAX'S TNA IMPACT REPORT 5/5: Main-Eventers Take The Week Off, Hype For Next Week's Show

May 5, 2011 - 10:00:51 PM
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TNA Impact TV Report
May 5, 2011
Taped in Orlando, Fla.
Report by Matt Baxendell, PWTorch contributor



Where we've been: Last week's episode of Impact was the lowest rated in 2011 for good reason: There was yet another unannounced championship match and a half hour of the Jarretts interrogating the Knockouts to start the show that might have been outside the box but certainly didn't maintain viewer interest.

[Q1]

Last week's episode was recapped to start the show, focusing mostly on the network storyline. Title: "The Network is Coming". At least it isn't the 3rd straight title mentioning Karen Jarrett......

-Out in the Impact Zone, Immortal was already in the ring while Sting and RVD were making their way down. The backstage agents prevented them from meeting Immortal in the ring as the crowd chanted "Let them fight!" Hogan told the crowd that RVD/Sting didn't want to fight.

Hogan then told Sting that if there was going to be a network rep on Impact then he wanted to know about it or Immortal would wipe them out and ask questions later. Sting said that he didn't need to speak to him about the Network because a representative would be at Impact the next week, implying it was a woman.

Immortal started beating up the backstage agents in frustration and Fortune came flying out to make the save. Roode got on the mic and called Hogan a coward as Immortal tried to make their way up the ramp. Roode told Hogan that he wasn't there to talk about how Fortune built the company or how Hogan robbed their blood/sweat/tears over the last 18 months.

Roode said that Hogan was the guy who inspired him to be a pro wrestler but there was one big difference between them: Roode had pride. He was proud to come down the ramp every week and bust his ass. He said he was proud that he earned every cent he earned. Roode said that he was a blue collar worker like half of America and were proud that they earned a paycheck. "What the hell have you earned, Hogan?" asked Roode.

As Hulk tried to run down the ramp, Roode told him that Hogan had raped and stolen from his wrestling company in the last 18 months. Roode said that Hogan crushed people's dreams --- like firing his good friend Jay Lethal last week. Roode put Lethal over as a hard worker who didn't deserve what he got.

Roode said that the games were over. "My name is Bobby Roode and I'm the man who is going to stand up to you because next week things are going to change!"

BAX REAX: Everytime Roode gets on the mic, he looks and sounds like a star. Considering he was the only Fortune member to speak while the whole gang was in the ring and judging by his neo-Dusty Rhodes comments about working America, he could be in line for a bit of a singles push. Wonder how that affects Beer Money in the future? This entire segment set up one thing and one thing only: Watch next week's Impact! In the meanwhile, we'll see if it holds viewers for tonight.

-Backstage, the Jarretts were banging on a door looking for Velvet Sky. Velvet eventually came out dressed in nothing but a towel. Karen accused her of being Kurt Angle's hired mistress then told her to go out to the ring because they had an offer she couldn't refuse.

-Up next was the debut of Sangriento (who looks like Amazing Red with a frilly mask) against Suicide in the X Division. They're putting Sangriento over as one of Mexico's hottest stars. [c]

-Matt Hardy was talking backstage back from break. He said that he was one half of the greatest tag team in the history of wrestling, so tag team star Roode needed to be taught a lesson. Hardy said that he was going to call someone important and they were going to challenge Beer Money for TNA Tag Team Titles at Sacrifice.

[Q2]

-In the Impact Zone, Suicide came out first as Taz & Tenay speculated who would be Hardy's tag partner, heavily implying it was Jeff Hardy. Sangriento came out as Tenay put him over as the hottest independent luchador in the world.

1 --- SANGRIENTO vs. SUICIDE

Suicide was in control early over the newcomer (name apparently means bloodthirsty) before a hurrancanrana onto the floor put Sangriento back into control. It didn't last long as he climbed onto the ring apron for another move but Suicide knocked his feet out from underneath him and rolled him into the ring for a two count.

As Suicide held Sangriento into a headlock, the reunion of the AJ Styles/Daniels tag team was announced for later tonight against Bully Ray and Gunner. Meanwhile, Sangriento was in trouble as Suicide continued to control things with a big dropkick and a powerslam for another two count.

Sangriento fought out of it and knocked Suicide to his knees and hit a dropkick off the the turnbuckle before hitting a top rope hurrancanrana onto Suicide. Both times he earned a two count. Suicide rebounded with a face first move into the turnbuckle and looked to be in control. However, Sangriento countered mid-move into another hurrancanarana before hitting a cool looking springboard move that led directly into a mid-air cutter for the victory.

WINNER: SANGRIENTO in 4:00

BAX REAX: That has to be Amazing Red under a mask. Either way, Suicide had a lot of offense in this match but Sangriento had his spots as well. A four minute match is too short to get over a new high flyer but it isn't as big of a deal since TNA hasn't made the X Division Championship seem important in two years. But it is a shame because it felt like this match was just starting to kick into high gear when the end came.

-Hogan was raging backstage in his office with Bischoff. They started speculating who the network guy was, starting with Ric Flair. Both men discounted it being Flair before saying they were going to go through the whole roster. [c]

-Back from break, Mexican America was in the ring and it was decked out with Red, White and Green. Hernandez had the Mexican flag dropped from the ceiling and called it the new national flag of the USA. Both he and Anarquia had friggin' sombreros hanging from strings around their neck. Anarquia said the Mexicans would soon take over the USA.

Sarita & Rosita then brought down the Spanish broadcast team, who brought tequila with them to the ring. Hector was put over by Anarquia as a member of the greatest wrestling family in Mexican history. Hernandez whispered into Anarquia's ear as they turned to Willy Urbina, who they then jumped because he was Puerto Rican.

[Q3] Hector stood over Willy trying to protect him before Anarquia told Hector that if he wasn't with them then he was against them. They went to pull out American flags before Ink Inc came flying down to the ring and cleared them out.

Jesse Neal got on the microphone and told them they weren't allowed to disrespect his country and his flag. Jesse then said that he would translate for Anarquia: Get a green card and let the door hit him on the way out. Neal and Moore held the US flag up high as their music hit.

BAX REAX: I guess Shannon Moore is back to being a face after his heel tease for a couple months. But it makes sense that Jesse Neal would defend the USA's honor in this case since he is a former serviceman. I guess they're a replacement for the Motor City Machine Guns since Sabin tweaked his knee. Only one question: What happened to the #1 contendership for the TNA Tag Titles they won in the four way match at Lockdown? I hope TNA doesn't fall in the the old WCW trap of forgetting match outcomes because they thought of something better.

-Taz & Tenay plugged the AJ Styles/Daniels vs. Bully Ray/Gunner match that is up next. [c]

-Back from break, Christy Hemme was introducing Bully Ray & Gunner. Taz & Tenay recapping highlights of Ray injuring AJ two months ago, followed by Daniels' defeat to Gunner last week in the TV Title match. As AJ & Daniels came out, Styles' interference in Bully Ray's title match last week was shown.

2 --- TV CHAMPION GUNNER & BULLY RAY vs. AJ STYLES & DANIELS

Daniels & Bully Ray started things off. Bully Ray started talking trash at AJ, so Daniels tagged him in but Ray scurried out and tagged in Gunner before AJ could touch him. AJ hit his signature picture-perfect drop down, jump over dropkick onto a running Gunner before tagging in Daniels.

The two Fortune men kept control for a moment before Daniels was hit by Ray as he came off of the ropes, allowing Gunner to level him and tag in Bully Ray. Ray beat Daniels in the corner before Gunner was tagged back in to hit a bodyslam for a two count.

The crowd got behind Daniels as Gunner had him in a headlock and the Fallen Angel fought his way out and leveled Gunner with a flying clothesline. He tagged Styles into the match and AJ eventually decked Gunner with a flying clothesline.

AJ then nailed Gunner with a Pele Kick. Surprisingly, Styles climbed back outside the ring for a springboard move and Ray leveled him onto the top rope. Daniels took out Gunner but Ray came into the ring and clotheslined him down.

Bully Ray picked up his chain and looked like he was ready to hit AJ with it. Suddenly, Tommy Dreamer charged out to the ring to make the save. Except after a short staredown with Ray, he turned and hit a piledriver on AJ Styles and the ref called for the bell as the crowd booed Dreamer.

WINNERS: AJ STYLES & DANIELS in 4:00 via DQ

After the match, Dreamer looked like he regretted his action but left at Bully Ray's side. Ray looked in the camera and told Styles that he was going to hurt him. Commercial hit as Tenay promised follow up on Tommy's actions. [c]

[Q4]

-Backstage, Tommy Dreamer was smashing up lockers and kicking things over.

-AJ was then shown saying that he couldn't feel his fingers as Kazarian and Daniels tried to make sense of what just happened. They were surprised and said that they would go get answers. AJ said he needed some ice for his neck as they walked off.

-Bully Ray found Matt Hardy on the phone before Hardy hung up. Ray asked him how 'he' was doing before he said that he just put Dreamer between a rock and a hard place because Tommy has a wife and children. Hardy smirked about it with Ray.

BAX REAX: There's heavy implication that Dreamer attacked AJ because his job was on the line. That could be interesting to watch play out because we haven't really seen Immortal really pushing their weight around with wrestlers that weren't directly aligned against them. One thing I'm very concerned about: TNA teasing the return of Jeff Hardy with all of Matt's actions tonight when it seems highly unlikely that Jeff has taken care of his personal issues that ruined the Main Event of a Pay Per View less than two months ago.

-The Jarrets and Velvet Sky were shown approaching the ring before Winter was shown giving Angelina a pill. Winter said something about their souls connecting long before and Winter had crossed eons of time to find her. She said Angelina would stop fighting it soon as they stood up to leave the room. [c]

-Back from break, the Jarretts made their way out to the ring as the announcers discussed Karen's certainty that Velvet Sky was Angle's business partner. Karen called Velvet out immediately by saying, "Get your skanky wannabe Knockouts champ ass out here."

Velvet came out and Karen said that the mystery was over and she knew it all along. The crowd then started a 'sloppy seconds' cheer as Velvet led them on. Karen continued by saying that everyone in the Knockouts locker room had been the Knockouts Champion....except Velvet. Karen said that Velvet's plan was to hitch herself to Kurt Angle's wagon and became a champion like him.

Karen said that wasn't going to happen, Kurt wasn't going to use her relationship to hurt her. Velvet stopped Karen and told her very sarcastically that she had no idea what Karen was talking about.

Velvet told Karen to get real because she would never sink so low as to sleep with someone to get ahead in TNA since it was more of Karen's style. Velvet Sky said that she hasn't been the Knockouts Champion but since she wasn't BFFs with Angelina anymore and her new goal was to become the Knockouts Champion.

[Q5] Velvet went to leave the ring but Karen accused her of leaving to give Kurt a lap dance. Karen said that her 'big daddy' has arranged for there to be a handicap match tonight featuring Winter & Angelina Love versus Velvet Sky.

Winter's creepy music hit and out came Zombie Love and Winter, both wearing all black, as Karen & Jeff mocked Velvet Sky. Karen told them to take Velvet Sky out.

Then Kurt Angle's music hit and the Olympic Gold Medalist came out to the ring to interrupt the proceedings. Hilariously, Jeff Jarrett snuck out of the ring behind Karen. Angle promised the network that he wouldn't do anything he regretted until the Main Event.

Kurt told them that the Network representative he just spoke with had trumped Hulk Hogan and it would be a mixed tag match between Kurt & Velvet versus Winter/Angelina & Jeff Jarrett. Kurt said he was going to get JJ's head on a platter.

Velvet Sky then told Karen to come out to ringside for the match so that once she was done with the Zombie duo then she was going to bend Karen over her knee and spank her.

BAX REAX: This wasn't completely awful. Actually, it was better than I expected since Velvet Sky held her own on the microphone. I'm not so sure that a mixed tag match is going to draw major ratings gold but I'm at least intrigued to see if Velvet really does spank Karen. By the way, we're 70 minutes into the show with eight minutes of wrestling......

-Backstage, Hogan & Bischoff were furious that Angle now had the power to call the Network. Murphy & Rob Terry showed up offering to take care of whatever Eric wanted but Bischoff told them that they hadn't done a damn thing for him and told them that he was going to thin the herd and the two of them were facing each other tonight and the loser was out of Immortal. [c]

-Backstage, Crimson was shown backstage looking for Samoa Joe.

-In the Impact Zone, Murphy was already in the ring.before Rob Terry made his way out as the announcers put over that the loser was out of Immortal.

3 --- ROB TERRY vs. MURPHY --- LOSER LEAVES IMMORTAL

Not much happened early as both men tried to knock each other over without success. Eventually, Rob Terry tossed Murphy into the corner for his usual lumbering shoulder blocks that Taz & Tenay put over as dominating. Of course, anyone with two eyes can tell they're slow and thoroughly unremarkable.

[Q6] Murphy moved before Terry could hit him running in the corner and then hit a backdrop. Murphy went up to the top rope and hit a flying clothesline on Terry for a two count. The crowd seemed to be somewhat getting behind Terry as he tried to get back to his feet and then back body dropped Murphy when Murphy took too long to play to the cameras.

Terry fought out and hit Murphy with a spinning heel kick before a shoulder carry powerslam earned him the pinfall victory.

WINNER: ROB TERRY in 3:30

Murphy is out of Immortal.

-Backstage with Hulk & Eric. To quote Bischoff: "That was bad, bro" as they both acted like they just saw a trainwreck in the ring. They continued to debate the identity of the network representative.

BAX REAX: While Hulk & Eric were absolutely right that the Murphy/Terry match was absolutely brutal and devoid of any ring action worth watching, it really doesn't help their cause to openly admit how poor of a showing it was. It just continues to position parts of Immortal as worthless as the old nWo B-Team, circa 2000. But it is a question worth repeating: TNA fired Jay Lethal but decided to broadcast a Terry-Murphy match on Impact?

-Mickie James was shown approaching the ring. Her first title defense is apparently next. [c]

-Backstage, Crimson finally found Samoa Joe. He thanked Joe for turning his head when Abyss was beating him down last week. Joe laughed at him and told him when he was young and undefeated, he never asked anyone for help. Crimson said that the next time that he saw Joe getting beaten, he was gonna turn and walk away too.

-In the Impact Zone, out came Miss Tessmacher. Apparently, her second ever TNA match is for the Knockouts Championship? Really? Anyways, she did her best stripper routine heading out to the ring by pulling off her top and skirt on the way out in a way that would make Marissa Tomei jealous. Mickie came out next for her first title defense.

4 --- TNA KNOCKOUTS CHAMPIONSHP --- MICKIE JAMES (CHAMPION) vs. MISS TESSMACHER

Does anyone remotely believe Miss Tessmacher is going to beat one of the greatest women's wrestlers of all time in her first televised match? Tessmacher 'dropped' her glasses for another cheer for the crowd. She fits great into the WWE Diva playbook with her ability to shake her ass far exceeding her ability to wrestle. She's like a dark-haired Kelly Kelly.

A couple of headlocks and armbars started things off before Mickie hit a running shoulder block on Tessmacher before a dropkick got a one count. Tessmacher fought back and they exchanged half of a dozen forearm shots.

Tessmacher climbed onto the top turnbuckle and jumped onto Mickie's shoulders. Instead of the electric chair drop, Tessmacher got a two count on a victory roll. She then hit an ugly enziguri that led to a wristlock on Mickie. James fought back but Tessmacher hit a knee to the gut to kept her in control.

But not long thereafter, Mickie hit a pair of running clotheslines followed up with a hangman's neckbreaker that stunned Miss Tessmacher. Mickie then hit her tornado DDT for the win.

WINNER: MICKIE JAMES in 4:00

Tessmacher didn't take the tornado DDT very well. In fact, it looked pretty bad on her end. Still, she didn't look quite as bad in this match as I had expected.

[Q7] Afterwards, Madison Rayne came out with Tara and said that she had once been the longest reigning TNA Knockouts champion. She said that she gave Mickie a rematch when she didn't have to, so it was time for Mickie to return the favor.

The crowd chanted their approval and Mickie agreed, with a catch. Mickie said since she had to put her hair on the line at Lockdown, what would Madison put on the line at Sacrifice? Madison said anything, so Mickie said that her stipulation was that if Madison lost at Sacrifice, Tara was freed from her exclusive contract with Madison Rayne and could freely resume her career without being attached to Rayne.

Madison agreed and stormed off as Tara mouthed 'thank you' to Mickie in the ring.

-Four X Division guys were shown storming down a hallway, led by Brian Kendrick. BK said that they were the best wrestlers at TNA and they were tired of how they had been treated, mentioning how Jay Lethal had been fired. Think TNA is aware that Lethal's departure wasn't popular news last week? Kendrick said that they were going to meet with Bischoff next. [c]

-Backstage, Kendrick, Generation Me and Amazing Red found Bischoff and started asking questions. They said they were the most talented guys on the roster and wanted more of a chance. Bischoff laughed at them and told them that the way that they were going to achieve their potential was to grow a foot and a half.

Bischoff told them that he was tired of hearing from a bunch of sawed off runts and told them that drinking his coffee was more important to him than dealing with them and told them to leave.

-Taz and Tenay plugged next week's reveal of the Network before running a montage on the RVD-Sting Main Event at Sacrifice. Sting said that he picked RVD as his opponent because he hadn't forgotten about RVD being laid out by Abyss last year and having to forfeit his championship.

Sting and RVD played the mutual respect card throughout the montage and put each other over by using the word 'respect' about a dozen times. Sting said that he still had plenty to give and he was taking the TNA Championship deadly seriously before ending on a note of concern about Hogan & Bischoff interfering.

BAX REAX: This montage was better than any of the in-ring segments these two have had since Lockdown. TNA would be best served to keep RVD in nothing but pre-tapes and let him just go out and wrestle: It would be much, much better for his character because his mic skills have been woefully bad recently.

[Q8]

-The Impact Zone greeted Winter and Zombie Love, meaning the Main Event was on tap. They were followed out by Jeff Jarrett, who had Karen in tow. More plugs for the Network reveal next week.

Velvet Sky led the challengers out for the handicap match and paused at the bottom of the ramp, waiting for Kurt Angle. The Impact Zone went dark as a big 'Angle!' chant broke out and Kurt rose up from underneath the stage.

JB introduced his first match of the night. I guess he's the new Main Event Ring Announcer for TNA. I bet he's a lot more affordable than Michael Buffer. Kurt clearly got the biggest reaction of the five participants.

5 --- KURT ANGLE & VELVET SKY vs. JEFF JARRETT, WINTER & ANGELINA LOVE

Velvet and Winter started things off and the first move of the match was a monkey flip that didn't get much air by Velvet, followed by a big clothesline that put Winter down. However, Winter slammed Velvet face first into the middle turnbuckle and tagged Love in.

Love continued her no-selling of Velvet's offense before Velvet hit a running spear that finally did the job of putting Zombie Love on her back. Velvet then went after Karen, which distracted her long enough for Angelina to hit a dropkick out of the ring, leading to a commerical break. [c]

Back from break, Velvet was taking a beating from a stoic Zombie Love. She tagged in Winter and they hit a double team suplex as the crowd chanted 'We Want Angle!' as Jarrett comically waved his arms no. However, Velvet managed to crawl through and tag Kurt in.

Angle came in like a house of fire and took JJ down before hitting him with a big belly to belly suplex. He went for the Angle Slam but Jarrett countered into an arm drag before hitting Kurt with a DDT for a two count.

The men swung back and forth before Kurt turned a roll-through pin attempt into the Ankle Lock. Karen tried to drag JJ out but Kurt pulled them both back across the ring. As Karen sat complaining, Velvet tagged herself in and went after Karen.

Unfortunately, Velvet must not be very good at math because she got double teamed. But then surprisingly, she caught both women in a DDT under each arm and pinned Winter for the win.

WINNERS: in 8:30 (5:00 televised)

Kurt congratulated Velvet and told her he hoped this would lead her towards her dream of becoming the Knockouts Champion. The then told JJ and Karen that his chosen one wasn't Velvet but Karen's nightmare would be at Impact next week.

-Backstage, Hogan and Bischoff were discussing whether it could be Vince Russo as the Network liason. Unless involving Russo means he is finally taken off of the creative team, I hope to god they don't put him on TV --- there are enough non-wrestlers taking up time on Impact. However, the two men were distracted when they got to Hogan's car and it had "You're Next!" painted on the side.

Hogan immediately freaked out and said, "What? Is it Goldberg now?" He and Bischoff argued whether it could be Goldberg before they drove away. The show went off the air with the X Division guys laughing at Hulk & Eric's reaction to what was apparently their graffiti.


BAX SHOW REAX: This episode of Impact was nothing more than a big hype job for next week's go-home show before the Sacrifice Pay Per View. Considering TNA typically doesn't do a good job hooking people for the next week's show, much less a Pay Per View, I'll give them credit in this regard.

But the show still only contained 20:30 of televised wrestling. Look, in a 2 hour show, TNA has an hour and thirty minutes of content time to fill, so is it too much to ask to have just a third of that devoted to actual bell to bell action? I'm immediately behind the X Division gang who confronted Bischoff tonight because they represent what fans (especially TNA's hardcore audience) are looking for: MORE WRESTLING!

There were also a ton of notable absences tonight: No Mr. Anderson, Matt Morgan, Scott Steiner or The Pope! Meanwhile, RVD & Sting had a two minute cup of coffee at the start of the show and weren't seen again. TNA can't fit their Main Event scene onto Impact but they can give Mexican America another long segment, multiple backstage segments to Bischoff & Hogan, a worthless match between Roid Terry & Murphy and another ridiculously long talking segment to Karen Jarrett?

The truth of the matter is that so few people in TNA are really over because they continue to throw a ton of stuff against the wall while hoping it sticks instead of focusing on their copious talent level, picking some guys to be the focus of their company and building around them. Can you ever imagine an episode of Raw with such little focus on most of their biggest feuds? Believe me, I'm not a Raw defender as I can't stand the repetitiveness of SuperCena but at least they have a clear vision and a couple of core guys they build around every week. TNA jams as many people into Impact as possible instead of giving many of their best performers time to make an impression.

On the plus side, Robert Roode shined early in the show and teased a confrontation with Hulk next week. Sting & RVD's montage for their match was better hype than anything they've done since Lockdown and Dreamer's motivation will be interesting to watch develop. Like I said, next Thursday night will be a big deal that people will likely have an increased interest in but it didn't really help tonight be anything more than a transitional show.

Finally, I have one more topic that I cannot ignore. Multiple times tonight, TNA teased that Jeff Hardy was going to return at Sacrifice to team with his brother against Beer Money in the TNA Tag Title match. First and most importantly, if Jeff comes back less than two months after giving TNA an enormous black eye by showing up hammered and unable to wrestle, they're they most irresponsible wrestling company in history. Jeff couldn't possibly have taken care of his drug issues in that short of a time period.

Second (and far less importantly in the grand scheme of things), I hope that TNA doesn't line up the first ever meeting between one of the greatest tag teams of all time in the Hardyz and the current best team on the planet in Beer Money this way. The potential of a Beer Money vs. Matt & Jeff Hardy Tag Championship Match is the kind of matchup that could generate TNA serious interest and actually draw if they build it up right. That's a PPV Main Event match, or at worst a co-headliner at a big show like Slamiversary.

In the end, I have a lot of reasons to tune into next week's show but not a lot of reasons to remember anything about this week's Impact. Not one match was longer than five minutes (I'm not giving TNA credit for wrestling during commerical breaks) and one of the matches was the pointless Murphy v. Terry match that serves as a prime example of time that could have been better spent on other performers. With the serious lack of core players on tonight's show and an excessive amount of time dedicated to non-wrestlers, this was one of the most unremarkable Impacts I can remember in a long time. The only reason it avoids 'D' range is because of the fact I'm intrigued by next week's multiple reveals on the go-home show for Sacrifice.

BAX'S SHOW GRADE: C--


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