TNA Impact BAX'S TNA IMPACT WRESTLING TV REPORT 7/7: Complete Coverage of 300th Episode, Will Mr. Anderson Join Immortal?
Jul 7, 2011 - 8:00:18 PM
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TNA Impact Wrestling TV Report
July 7, 2011
Taped in Orlando, Fla.
Report by Matt Baxendell, PWTorch contributor
Where We've Been: Last week's Impact saw some big developments in the Road to Destination X. First of all, the Daniels-A.J. Styles and RVD-Jerry Lynn matches are combining tonight in a four way showdown. On top of that, Low Ki officially earned a spot in the TNA contract match at Destination X alongside Zima Ion and Austin Aries. The fourth contestant will be decided tonight.
The other major developments saw the two Bound For Glory Series matches won by Devon and Gunner draw two of the three highest quarter hour ratings on the show. At the end of last Impact, Gunner led the BFG Series with 21 points.
Finally, Sting-Hogan took up a large portion of the show, including the opening quarter hour and the Main Event. What will happen this week in the life of Joker Sting?
-Joker Sting assaulting Hulk Hogan last week was recapped before Anderson was shown giving him the Mic Check. The montage ended with Kurt Angle coming to the ring.
-Right away, the show went to the Impact Zone, where the crowd was chanting "You suck!" Bully Ray was in the ring with Scott Steiner and Gunner. Ray immediately called out Mr. Anderson.
Out came the World Heavyweight Champion, who paused on the stage to do his self-introduction. Once he was in the ring, Ray told him that he wasn't impressed with Anderson and mocked his self-introduction by doing one for himself.
Ray told Anderson to do himself a favor and keep his mouth shut and listen. If he didn't, Ray said that Gunner would beat him down. With Hogan not yet at the Impact Zone, Ray said he was in charge right now.
Ray told Anderson that he made a good move last week dropping Sting on his head and this week he needed to make sure that he did the same thing. Ray said that next week on Impact, Anderson couldn't beat Sting --- He needs Immortal as much as Immortal needs him.
Ray said that the title would never be in jeopardy and Immortal would have his back if he made the right decision. Steiner got on the mic and told him it was time to put up or shut up. In his usual Steiner fashion, he eventually got around to telling Ken that he was either with Immortal or against Immortal and he had to answer tonight.
Gunner took the mic and said that Hogan told them tonight's Main Event: All of Immortal against Sting and Kurt Angle. By the end of the match, Anderson has a decision to make. "Hit our music," said Gunner.
But Sting's music hit and the lights went down. Suddenly, a spotlight showed Sting hanging over a truss in the rafters with a demented look on his face before the lights went down again.
When they came back up, Kurt Angle was in the ring and he hit Angle Slams on both Steiner and Gunner before Ray bailed out of the ring. Anderson stoically in the corner watching.
After Immortal was run off, Angle got in Anderson's face and said that he and Sting expected him to make an easy decision tonight.
BAX REAX: A nice, basic opener. Immortal quickly established the Main Event and the major storyline of the night. Now we have a handicap match involving some of the show's biggest players one week before Anderson faces Sting with the World Heavyweight Championship on the line. Very simple story: Will he join or will he fly solo? Good start to the show.
-Backstage, Beer Money was shown as Roode was preparing for his Bound For Glory Series match. Storm asked Roode if his shoulder was OK and Roode said that it wasn't, but the stakes were too high in the BFG Series to not wrestle. They joked about Storm teaming with Matt Morgan later in the show before Roode left for his match. Storm told him, "Get you some damn points!" Roode-Crimson is up next. [c]
-Back from break, the BFG Series points over the weekend were recapped. Devon and RVD won in New York at the Basebrawl event to earn seven points. The crowd looked great in the background. The next night, Bully Ray and Crimson won their matches via pinfall.
The current Bound For Glory Series standings have Crimson in the lead with 24 points, followed by Gunner with 21 points and a logjam at 14 points.
Tonight's matches: Roode-Crimson and Devon & Pope vs. Matt Morgan & James Storm.
-In the Impact Zone, Crimson came out for the first BFG Series match, followed by Roode, who was wearing his Tag Championship belt around his waist. As he came to the ring, Taz and Tenay put over the importance of the BFG Series, shown by Roode wrestling injured.
1 - CRIMSON vs. BOBBY ROODE - Bound For Glory Series Match
Right off the bat, Crimson hit a shoulder block that led Roode to favor his arm. Not long thereafter, Crimson hit some shoulder blocks to hurt Roode further.
Roode managed to fight back briefly but Crimson caught him attempting a floatover and guillotined him onto the top rope. As Roode was staggered, Crimson nailed another shoulder block to knock Roode to the apron.
As Roode got to his feet, Crimson suplexed him over the top rope into a sit down powerbomb for a near fall. Crimson earned another near fall moments later with some big knees out of a cravat before getting a third 2 count off of a T-Bone Suplex.
Crimson threw Roode into the corner but Bobby regained momentum at 3:00 with a nice reverse into a throw. Still favoring his shoulder, Roode fought back with some big right hands into a Double R Spinebuster for a two count.
Crimson tried to roll him up not long after, but Roode countered into a Fujiwara armbar that caused Crimson to scramble to the bottom rope. When he got back up, Crimson attempted his Red Sky powerbomb finishing move but Roode floated over.
But Crimson wasn't fooled and he whipped Roode hard into the corner, shoulder first. When he staggered back out, Crimson hit the Red Sky Bomb for the pinfall victory.
WINNER: CRIMSON in 4:40 to earn 7 Bound For Glory Series Points
-Tonight's X Divison qualifier features three men who have never wrestled in the Impact Zone. The first one profiled was Anthony Nese, who said that he could compete with the best in the world.
-Backstage, Abyss was screeching with a towel on his head as he was unable to find his mask. He attacked a stage hand backstage. The camera then cut to Brian Kendrick, who was wearing Abyss' mask as the show went to break. [c]
BAX REAX: Nice story told by Roode with the shoulder injury. Much like Samoa Joe, he's stuck at zero points and that is starting to create its own storyline. Amazing what happens when you base a show off of the results in the ring, isn't it?
-Back from break, Jack Evans was the second new X Division wrestler profiled. He said he was like a video game character in live action as video played of him wrestling a high-paced match. Evans said that he was going to win the contract.
-In the Impact Zone, Kendrick was walking around in the ring with his mask. He said that he wanted to share his thoughts with Abyss and asked him to come out the ring so they could talk.
Out came Abyss holding a towel around his face. Kendrick said he wanted no violence, just words. Abyss beckoned to get his mask back. Kendrick quoted Buddha, Pascal, Nietzche and some tenets of Christianity.
Kendrick was apparently trying to convince Abyss to be part of the X Division solution but he was being so florid in his talking that most people would probably have trouble following him. Kendrick said he was courage and Abyss was hiding behind his mask.
Kendrick said Abyss' mask was his security blanket and his mission was to defeat Abyss this Sunday at Destination X for the X Division Championship. He then gave Abyss the mask back and Abyss attacked him as soon as his mask was back on.
Abyss threw Kendrick through the ropes and into the ring steps. He then threw Kendrick back into the ring, where B.K. tried to fight back against the significantly larger man. Abyss picked him up and leveled him with the Shock Treatment back breaker.
Abyss teased leaving before nailing Kendrick with the Black Hole Slam. Taz said that he doubted that Kendrick would be one hundred percent heading into Destination X.
-The final X Division wrestler profiled was Jesse Sorensen and he said that he was the future of the X Division. [c]
-Back from break, the X Division Match was being introduced, as Jack Evans made his way into the ring and he started break dancing.
2 - JACK EVANS vs. JESSE SORENSEN vs. ANTHONY NESE - X Division Contract Series Match
The crowd started a "Jack" chant before it broke out into some high-paced action. Jack Evans eventually broke up a pinfall with a springboard splash and then hit a front flip drop kick onto Sorensen.
Nese hit a clothesline on Evans before Sorensen kicked him out to ringside. Nese hit a big flying flip onto Sorensen. While both men were recovering, Evans hit a 450 splash over the top rope onto both men.
Nese is the powerhouse of the trio while Evans is the pure high flyer. Sorensen is more of a hybird between the two. Nese suplexed Sorensen into a pin but Evans hit a standing backflip to break up the pin.
A moment later, Sorensen set Evans on the top turnbuckle and appeared to attempt a Frankensteiner. However, Evans threw him off. Nese then climbed up but Evans threw him down too.
[Q4]With Nese down in the ring, Evans hit what looked like an unbelievable double flip senton that Tenay called a Corkscrew 630 and that earned him the pinfall victory.
WINNER: JACK EVANS at 5:45 to earn a shot at a TNA contract at Destination X
The Destination X Four Way will be Austin Aries vs. Zima Ion vs. Low Ki vs. Jack Evans for a TNA Contract.
BAX REAX: Unbelievable finishing move by Evans. I've never seen that much rotation outside of a snowboard halfpipe competition. This was the fourth and final high-paced match that was given time to shine in this series and the X Division showcased extremely well. Let's hope that this isn't the last time we see all three men. But Evans was the clear star of this group and was over with the crowd for his high-flying abilities.
Tenay teased the RVD-Jerry Lynn-Daniels-Styles Four Way Match as they went to break. [c]
-Back from break, the British Invasion was shown backstage plotting how to defeat Mexican American and become the Number One Contenders.
Douglass Williams said that he was issuing an open challenge to anyone at Destination X.
-Ultimate X was announced with a cool video highlight package. Shannon Moore, Robbie E, Amazing Red, and Alex Shelley are going to meet for the #1 Contendership for the X Title.
-Velvet Sky was shown backstage and she said that she wasn't taking anything anymore. She said she was ready to cleanse Impact Wrestling two ugly hogs at a time. Jackie & ODB vs. Velvet is next. [c]
-Back from break, Sting was laying on top of the lockers while talking with Kurt Angle. Sting was singing Survivor before telling Angle that he was doing great. Next week was Midsummer's Nightmare and he was going to beat Mr. Anderson for the World Heavyweight Championship.
Kurt told Sting that they had to get through Immortal tonight. He said he wasn't sure if he could trust Sting. Stinger said that he knew what he was doing. More nuts Joker Sting throughout this segment. He said that he hasn't snapped, he feels good since he's getting to Hogan.
-In the Impact Zone, ODB & Jackie came out first. ODB mocked Velvet's entrance on the second rope while Jackie laughed. Velvet ran out behind them and hit Jackie in the back with the chair and then hit ODB in the stomach as the match started.
3- ODB & JACKIE vs. VELVET SKY - Handicap Match
If Velvet wins, ODB and Jackie are never allowed back in the Impact Zone. At the start, Velvet was in complete control. After a Velvet Bulldog on ODB, Jackie finally returned to the ring and elbowed Velvet in the head from behind.
ODB and Jackie double teamed Velvet for a while before Velvet fought back and dumped ODB to ringside. Velvet hit a powerslam on Jackie for a near fall that ODB got back to make the save on just in time.
After that, Jackie and ODB got back in control and ODB eventually climbed onto the ring apron to establish the tag team aspect of the Handicap Match. Jackie and ODB traded tags before Velvet managed to counter when both women went for a tag team back drop off of an Irish whip by kicking ODB in the face.
Not long afterwards, ODB went to hit Velvet Sky with a Steel Chair. However, Velvet ducked and ODB hit Jackie in the face by accident. This allowed Velvet to kick ODB in the knee through the chair and that knocked her out to ringside.
Alone with Jackie, Velvet hit a DDT on Jackie for the pinfall victory.
WINNER: VELVET SKY in 5:15 to banish ODB & Jackie from the Impact Zone
-Backstage, Pope was trying to make nice with Devon since they were paired together tonight for the BFG Series. Pope offered Devon a pair of his shades but Devon threatened that he would hurt Pope if he double crossed him. [c]
-A montage was shown for Christopher Daniels' career, where Daniels said that he felt lost in the shuffle, especially when his best friend A.J. had been so consistent. Styles and Daniels were shown training together and Daniels said that if he didn't love pro wrestling so much, he wouldn't put his body through such pain. He said it was time to remind the wrestling world about Christopher Daniels.
-In the Impact Zone, it was time for the four corners match. Out first was A.J. Styles, followed by Daniels, Lynn, then RVD. Before the match, Taz defending his old ECW buddy RVD as his pick to win the match.
4- A.J. STYLES vs. CHRISTOPHER DANIELS vs. JERRY LYNN vs. ROB VAN DAM - Four Corners Match
Jerry Lynn made an early blind tag into the match on RVD. Daniels and Lynn squared off and Daniels had the early edge with a nice drop kick. But Lynn countered with a whirling head scissors that tossed Daniels into the corner.
A.J. tagged himself in and Styles and Lynn went toe to toe. Nice catch style wrestling that culminated in a Lynn roll through for a two count. Lynn still looks pretty good despite his age.
The crowd chanted for RVD and Styles went over to tag him in at Lynn's behest. Van Dam posed while Taz complained about Styles willingly leaving the match.
Once Van Dam and Lynn got going, they had another great set of back and forth counters that resulted in another draw. After they both nodded, Daniels tagged himself in at Lynn's expense and clotheslined RVD down.
Daniels had the early control but RVD took the edge at 3:30 with a standing moonsault that he quickly turned into Rolling Thunder. It wasn't long thereafter that Daniels tried to springboard over onto RVD but got a big kick to the chest for his efforts.
Both A.J. and Jerry Lynn tagged in and Lynn eventually hit a top rope head scissors on Styles. The momentum threw Styles across the ring, which allowed Daniels to tag in. He hit a big boot on Lynn for a near fall that RVD had to break up.
However, A.J. surprised him with a big springboard flying elbow. Styles then went for his backflip DDT, but Jerry Lynn countered and suplexed Styles stomach-first into the top rope and hurled him onto the floor.
Daniels and Lynn continued to fight in the ring and Daniels had the edge. With Lynn down, he went for the B-M-E, but Lynn managed to move. Daniels landed on his feet and drove Lynn into the corner, where RVD managed to tag himself in and Lynn out.
This proved to be very important, as Daniels went for the Angel's Wings, only to see Lynn counter it into a slam. With Lynn unaware that RVD had tagged in, he laid exhausted a few feet from Daniels. While Lynn was oblivious, Van Dam hit the Five Star Frog Splash onto Daniels and pulled out the three count before Lynn could break it up.
WINNER: ROB VAN DAM in 7:10
Tenay plugged the athleticism on display at Destination X as the show went to break. [c]
BAX REAX: A very nice Four Corners Match that never really slowed down. It felt like a great PPV Match that was just getting started when it ended, but the pace was great while it lasted. Jerry Lynn looked surprisingly good.
-Backstage, Eric Young was talking about fighting TV stars for the TV Title. He said he was going to Hollywood to fight TV stars.
-In the Impact Zone, it was time for the second Bound For Glory Series Match of the night. Morgan and Storm came out alone but Devon and Pope came out together, though Devon didn't look happy about it.
The Pope's story of hanging out with Devon's kids was recapped and Pope gave his sunglasses to one of Devon's sons, much to Devon's consternation.
5- MATT MORGAN & JAMES STORM vs. DEVON & THE POPE - Bound For Glory Series Match
Reminder: The points only go to the winner of the fall, not the winning team. Storm and Devon started off first in the ring and Storm was in control for most of the first minute, getting a near fall.
While in his corner, Morgan blind tagged himself in on Storm. Morgan nailed a big bodyslam on Devon for a two count before throwing Devon back into their corner to go for his rapid-fire elbows. However, Storm tagged himself in as a comeback to Morgan's earlier blind tag.
This allowed Devon to make a comeback and he eventually tagged in Pope, who had some momentum on Storm. However, when Storm got back up, Pope quickly tagged in Devon and slid out of the ring.
Storm hit a few clotheslines on Devon before reluctantly tagging in Morgan. Morgan his his rapid fire elbows on Devon in a neutral corner before a side slam earned him a two count.
Storm was tagged back in and hit a flying forearm. But Devon countered at 3:45 and managed to make a hot tag to Pope. Pope hit a flying forearm and an inverted Atomic Drop on Storm before knocking Morgan to ringside with a drop kick.
Storm fought back after some mounted punches in the corner by hitting a Backstabber for what would have been a pinfall. However, Morgan broke up the pin, not wanting to lose BFG Series points to his tag partner. Devon attacked both of them while they were arguing and knocked Morgan to ringside.
Morgan laid clutching his knee on the floor and the ref bailed to check on him. While this was going on, Pope took Storm's title belt and bashed him in the head with the gold. As Pope posed over an unconscious Storm, Devon exhaustedly struggled to the apron.
But instead of taking the pinfall for himself after cheating, Pope tagged in Devon and gave him the pin over the downed Storm. Devon wasn't aware that Pope had cheated.
WINNER: DEVON in 5:50 to earn 7 Bound For Glory Series Points
-Anderson was shown backstage muttering angrily about not liking ultimatums. He said to ask his former employer. But tonight, he would have an answer, just not necessarily the one that Immortal wanted to hear.[c]
BAX REAX: I have no idea why Pope didn't take the match. Is he trying to make Devon look bad by giving him a tainted win? Or is he just trying to get into Devon's good graces so he can subvert his kids? I'm mildly interested now.
-Jeff Jarrett was shown at the Sporting Palace in Mexico City with Karen. He said that he would be back in the Impact Zone in a week's time and they were going to throw a big party for JJ's birthday. He said he was also bringing a huge prize back with him.
-The announcers ran down the Destination X lineup before the camera cut backstage to Hulk Hogan punching a giggling Sting in the face in the back area. Sting stood up against the wall after a few blows and said, "Oh crap," as Hogan hit him in the head with the baseball bat and knocked him out. [c]
-Back from break, Immortal made their way out onto the stage for the Main Event. Gunner, Steiner, Abyss and Bully Ray all were ready to go. Where's Matt Hardy? He hasn't been on television in over a month.
Angle came out alone and the announcers speculated whether Sting would be able to come out and help him in the four on one match. Sting's music played, he was introduced as the lights dropped, but the Stinger didn't come out. Angle was alone.
6- KURT ANGLE vs. BULLY RAY, ABYSS, SCOTT STEINER & GUNNER - Handicap Match
Scott Steiner attacked him right away and the bell rang. Steiner threw Kurt into the corner, but found himself suplexed out of his boots. Steiner managed to tag in Ray after recovering with a clothesline.
Ray came in talking trash. "Jarrett says hello from Mexico" was one of his lines. Ray slapped Angle on the chest and went for the Bubba Bomb, but Angle countered it into another suplex.
Ray rolled over to tag Gunner in, who fared as poorly as his teammates. Angle hit a big suplex and a snap suplex and then tossed Gunner back into his corner. "He just punked Gunner!" said Taz.
Abyss was in next and he went for the chokeslam, but Kurt floated over and rolled into an Ankle Lock. At that point, Immortal charged the ring and broke up the hold and Immortal finally took control after Angle held his own for so long.
Rapid tags ensued with Steiner, Gunner and Abyss all getting in some offense and making pinfall attempts. After slamming Angle's face into Ray's waiting boot, Abyss was in next.
Abyss hit a big powerslam onto Angle and Ray came in with his steel chain. As Ray stood with the chain in his hand, out came Mr. Anderson. Bully Ray stared him down and Angle snuck in to hit the Angle Slam on Ray.
Anderson climbed up on the apron to join Angle's corner and got the hot tag. He came out like a house of fire on Immortal and took every man down before coming up to Ray and setting him up for the Mic Check.
But then he pushed him off and picked up Kurt Angle and hit the Mic Check on him instead. As Immortal stared on in disbelief, Anderson dragged Angle into the corner and tagged him back in.
Bully Ray immediately dove onto Angle for the pinfall victory.
WINNERS: IMMORTAL in 5:50
After the match, Anderson stared down all four members of Immortal, who weren't happy that he had knocked them all over during the match. However, Anderson then jumped up into Abyss' arms and Immortal celebrated in the ring.
Hulk Hogan came out onto the stage applauding and the show ended with Anderson sitting on Abyss and Gunner's shoulders while holding the World Heavyweight Championship up in the air next to Ray and Steiner.
"Immortal's Mr. Anderson will face Sting next week for the World Heavyweight Championship!" said Tenay to close the show.
BAX SHOW REAX: The show began with Mr. Anderson being given an ultimatum and it ended with a nice payoff after teasing the status quo of him illogically fighting against Immortal. Honestly, I really liked the story told with Anderson finally joining up with Immortal to protect his championship after months of Hogan chasing him. The episode was built around that choice and actually having a focus was nice as well. Plus, there's the easy truth that Anderson is simply a much better pure heel than he is as a face or as a tweener. This was the right move in the long run.
Anderson's decision was also a much better topic than the endless Sting-Hogan shenanigans that dominated the open and close of last week's show. Happily, that storyline's time allotment was cut way down and it was a much better Impact.
In between, I really enjoyed this show on a number of fronts. First of all, it felt like there was always a match coming up and the 34:30 of in-ring time on this show was a real positive for me. That's literally double the wrestling that viewers have been treated to on some shows in the not-so-distant past and the increased focus on, well, wrestling was really nice to see.
The Bound For Glory Series matches continued to tell good stories based upon the action in the squared circle and there are a world of potential storylines to use going forward from all six men who competed in the BFG Series tonight. I didn't care at all about Pope and Devon, but I'm mildly intrigued why Pope willingly gave up seven BFG Series points when he had zero on his own ledger. Will Roode and Storm have friction with Roode' continued injury struggles? Is Matt Morgan's knee injury going to affect his seemingly years-long quest to get back into the title picture? So many ways to go in the weeks and months ahead and I like to be left guessing for once.
There were also two very good X Division matches tonight. First of all, Jack Evans looked awesome in his American television debut and all three men in the X Contract qualifier looked very good. The Aries-Ion-Low Ki-Evans match is going to be a show-stealer at Destination X.
On top of that, the Four Corners Match (which is a format that isn't used enough, in my opinion) was well on its way to being a very good match before TV time constraints brought it to an end. Like I said before, it felt like it was a really good PPV match that was just getting started and I would love to see those four get twenty minutes in the not so distant future. Jerry Lynn also looked surprisingly good for his age.
On the flip side, there were some small things that I had an issue with. The most obvious one was that the Destination X Pay Per View, while given plenty of advertisement, was still placed as a second-tier event to the Immortal-Anderson-Sting story that was being told. In fact, this episode spent almost as much time talking up next week's "Midsummer's Nightmare" as it did Destination X.
That makes what will undoubtedly be one of TNA's top-notch Pay Per Views of the year feel like it was a second tier feature and that's a problem. The way that the Ultimate X match was just casually tossed out there without any buildup (again) was frustrating as well. At least it will be for the #1 Contendership so that those four men have something on the line.
But overall, I'm excited for next week's Impact with Sting and Anderson facing off for the World Heavyweight Championship now that Ken has joined Immortal. I just hope the Jarrett 'return' is quick and painless since he supposedly signed a contract that required him to go to Mexico for a year. Maybe Angle will have him arrested and deported. Can we send Mexican America with him? Tonight's show was so much better without them on it.
I'm also looking forward to Destination X. Sure, this version of the X Division is spending more time pumping up the athleticism and competitiveness of the division instead of promoting matches that give people a real motivation to fight, but the card is going to feature some of the best wrestling that Impact fans are going to see all year. While it could have been more (where was Samoa Joe?), I still expect this to be one of TNA's best Pay Per Views all year.
Overall, it is really amazing how much more positive I am about the direction of TNA right now compared to where it was just a month ago. The introduction of the Bound For Glory Series combined with the X Division Qualifying Series and the increased focus on in-ring action has resulted in the best month of Impact shows since I started covering the product for the Torch in December.
It will be interesting to see if this positive momentum and focus on the X Division doesn't end after Destination X.
SHOW GRADE: B+
Matt Baxendell is PWTorch's specialist covering Impact Wrestling. He's an on-air personality for 790 The Zone Sports Radio in Atlanta and a football columnist for Bucknuts.com and NationalFootballAuthority.com. You can follow Bax on Twitter @MattBaxendell
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