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TNA Impact
KELLER'S TNA IMPACT WRESTLING REPORT 9/29: Hogan makes his huge announcement, Roode vs. Styles, more BFG hype, another good show

Oct 2, 2011 - 12:25:07 AM
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By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

StaffKeller08_120_74.jpg
KELLER'S TNA IMPACT WRESTLING REPORT
SEPTEMBER 29, 2011
TAPED IN ORLANDO, FLA.
AIRED ON SPIKE TV


[Q1]

-The show opened with a video package centered around Bobby Roode winning the Bound for Glory tournament and facing weekly challengers assigned by Kurt Angle. This is good because it makes Roode out to be the center of Impact Wrestling right now, not Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, or other older or non-wrestlers. It's even more impressive since this show was, in part, built around Hulk Hogan's "big announcement."

-Sting's ring intro took place as Mike Tenay talked about Hulk Hogan promising an "industry-shaking announcement later." Sting said not long ago he stood in the ring and "put over" (wrestling jargon alert) the positive things he believes about Angle personally and professionally. He said he believed everything he said about Angle, but since then Hogan has brainwashed Angle. He said instead of focusing on the things that got him to the top, he's changed to lies and deceit. He said his newest, latest game is trying to get Fortune to turn on each other, including booking A.J. Styles vs. Robert Roode tonight. He called Roode to the ring so he could discuss how to make sure Angle's plan backfires.

Roode walked out as Tenay talked up his winning the BFG Series. (This would have been a good time to explain and remind viewers who missed it or forgot how Angle has the power to book Roode against anyone since on the surface that makes no sense.) Sting asked Roode if it felt great to have the fans on his side like they are. Sting said he believes he can beat Angle at BFG for the World Title. He said he's fought hard for 13 years and he believes he's looking at Championship Caliber. He told him to stay focused and not let Angle get in his head or else he'll fall short. He asked Roode to convince him that he's focused and ready for Angle.

Roode said the last few weeks of his life have been amazing thanks to the support from the fans and the guys in the back. He said those words Sting told him mean so much because "you're the freaking' man, Sting." Sting stopped him and said this is his time. Roode said he agrees with him that Angle is trying to get in his head. He said he also knows, after 13 years wrestling, opportunities like this don't come around every day. He promised to walk out of BFG the World Champion. Sting got excited and said that's what he wants to hear. Roode asked Sting to make him a promise. He asked him to take care of Hogan. He said if they each take of their business, they can get this company back to where it belongs.

(WK Reax: Very good segment. Sting is doing the best mic work of his career at a good time, having toned down the Jim Carray "Joker/Riddler" derivative and made it his own. Roode is ernest and believable and likable in this role. The story is good, the way they tied each of their matches together as part of a larger goal is tremendous.)

Styles walked out and told Roode to beat Angle because unless he's friends with the right people, who knows when he'll get another shot. He told him he knows because it's been so long since he's had a World Title shot.

Angle walked out with the World Title belt over his shoulder. Angle told Styles this is exactly why he booked him against Roode. He told him if he beats Roode tonight, he will get his title shot after BFG. Angle then told Sting that he's pissed off that his former boss made him look like a jackass and she will never, ever take control of the company again. He said he knows all that matters to Styles is getting that World Title back. Roode and Styles exchanged some respectful off-mic words about their match later and their common enemy in Angle.

(WK Reax: One small thing. I'd like to see TNA move away from playing music for the wrestler as they start the last sentence of their scripted promos. It makes everything feel choreographed or produced and less spontaneous. It gives away that somebody knows ahead of time what Angle is going to say and when he's finishing it. There's no big downside to playing their music as they drop the mic rather than as they begin their last sentence.) [c]

[Q2]

-A commercial for Bound for Glory hyped Roode's first World Title match ever would headline the event.

-They showed X Division Champ Austin Aries sitting between Mike Tenay and Taz at the announce table.

1 -- ZEMA ION vs. ALEX SHELLEY vs. BRIAN KENDRICK vs. JESSE SORRENSEN vs. KID KASH - Ladder Match for X Division Title Shot at BFG

Taz asked Aries what his strategy in this match would be. He said: "Climb the ladder as fast as I could.," At 3:00 Zema knocked Shelley off the top of the ladder with a top rope flying dropkick. Kash used a chair to knock Sorrensen off the ladder at 4:00. Kendrick dove off the top rope and yanked Kash off the top of the ladder. Kendrick fought off Shelley and then grabbed the contract and leaped to the mat to win. Kendrick immediately signed the contract. Aries stomped on it at ringside and wiped his nose with it. Does that invalidate it?

WINNER: Kendrick in 5:00.

(WK Reax: The match was fine, but at just five minutes, it really diminishes any drawing power the ladder match has since it was so short and forgettable overall. I get they wanted to get five X Division contenders on TV in a single segment and not eat up too much TV time, but the consequences of force-feeding a short ladder match into the show to accomplish those goals may be greater than the benefit in the long-run.)

-Kaz talked about having mixed emotions about the match coming up later between two friends, Styles and Roode. Karen and Jeff Jarrett walked up. Jarrett told Kaz to get his ass to the ring. Karen said he should have known better than to mess with her.

-They showed Hulk Hogan backstage. Tenay talked about his big announcement. [c]

-Ric Flair told someone on his cell phone they couldn't possibly make that decision. He said he needs to be part of the consultation process. He said he was headed to their office right away.

[Q3]

-Jeff and Karen walked to the ring. Jeff called for Kaz and his "skanky old lady" Traci to the ring. They're all acting like it was commonly known to viewers that Kaz and Traci are in a relationship. Jarrett told Kaz he hand-picked him from the indy circuit and welcomed him to the big time. He said he also left for "the other company" and found out real quick the grass wasn't greener and he came begging for his job again, and he gave it to him. Jarrett asked if he remembered asking for his release because he wasn't getting the spotlight, but three days later he begged for his job back again because he wasn't thinking clearly. Jeff said he once again gave him his job back. Jeff turned to Traci and called her a "skank." (It was so nice not having to hear that word for several weeks in a row on Impact.) Jeff said Karen chose her to assist her, yet she's an ungrateful bastard, just as is Kaz. TNA agents D-Lo and Pat Kinney ran out to keep them apart. Jarrett called Traci a ten-cent white, which led to Kaz going after him. They had a pullapart brawl with Karen vs. Traci and Jeff vs. Kaz. Gunner ran in and gave Kaz his finisher during the chaos.

(WK Reax: I could have done without Jarrett giving the impression Kaz couldn't cut it in WWE and that he's a hot-head. He made Kaz out to be pretty pathetic. But the good part is the idea of a Jarrett-Kaz feud makes sense as it's the right level for Jarrett to be and it gives a sense of Kaz-Jarrett being a grudge match with real personal issues. I'd like to see wrestling bookers move away introducing "reality" into storylines for no good reason when that reality-based storyline has drawbacks. They could have made up a better story about Jarrett's recruiting of Kaz that made Kaz out to be admirable and Jarrett a weasel. The way it played it, by needlessly drawing from reality, Jarrett seemed gracious and Kaz seemed sad and desperate and wishy-washy and undisciplined and pathetic and ungrateful.) [c]

-Mexican America attacked Ink Inc. before the bell at ringside and the scheduled singles match between Jesse Neal and Hernande never got started. They brought the beating into the ring. Some fans chanted "USA! USA!" Rosita and Sarita spray painted the backs of Ink Inc. Taz said he doesn't blame them for what they just did because they were getting their revenge.

-Brother Ray told the roving reporter that he knows what Hogan's announcement is because he was the first person he called. He told him to get out of his face.

[Q4] [c]

-James Storm told the roving reporter that every keeps asking if he's mad, but no not at all. He said he's happy for Roode. This shows that they are the best either singles or tag team wrestling. "Part of me is going to be in that ring with him when he wins that World Heavyweight Championship." He said Beer Money will live forever and Bobby will show the world why it pays to be Roode (or rude).

-Hogan told a protesting Flair that his decision is a done deal. He told him he's a franchise and an industry and everything that wrestling has ever been. Hogan firmly said, in a resigned tone, that he's going to do it. Flair said they've had their differences, but this is not a good decision. He said at the end of the day he's the biggest star in the history of the business. He stormed away.

(WK Reax: At one time Flair calling Hogan th biggest star in the history of the business would have been big news and broken some hearts of NWA/WCW fans from the 1980s. Now it's a throwaway line quickly forgotten.)

-A video package aired on the feud between Tara and Madison Rayne with clips going back to April. [c]

-They showed Crimson backstage. Tenay said he promised to be back this week, and there he is.

3 -- MADISON RAYNE vs. TARA -- BFG Qualifier

Madison flirted with ref Dave Hebner before the match, even giving him a shoulder rub. TNA is putting Twitter comments from viewers on the screen reacting to storylines. Madison tricked Hebner into thinking Tara was physically messing with him.She took a swing at Hebner. She blocked it and Rayne knocked Tara down. Rayne shoved her boot into Tara's throat, then rubbed Hebner's chest and face and made him smile and melt. "There's almost rigor mortis setting in with Earl Hebner. Don't get me wrong, I like him."

[Q5]

At 4:00 Hebner realized it was Rayne who had been messing with him and so he turned his back and let Tara "get her." Tara attacked Rayne as Hebner looked away for a few seconds. Tara came back with a snap suplex. Rayne, though, won seconds later with her legs on the second rope for leverage.

WINNER: Rayne in 4:00. [c]

-The roving reporter (Jason Hervey) asked Christopher Daniels where he was going. He said he was leaving because he didn't have a match and there was no reason to stick around. Hervey asked him if he heard he might face Styles again at BFG. Daniels asked, "Why, does he have heat with the office or something," implying that would be punishment for Styles. He said he beat him decisively once between and left him lying last week, so if he beat him again at the biggest annual PPV, "that would be a real kick in the nuts." He laughed and said Styles knows about that. He laughed and walked away.

-Crimson walked to the ring and addressed Samoa Joe, the person who injured his ankle in a backstage attack which took him out of the BFG Series. He said he didn't knock him out for good. He called him to the ring. Joe walked onto the stage and asked how he dares say his name after what he did to him. He said he should consider himself lucky that he allowed himself to walk and that he's not still in the hospital. He called his undefeated a streak a farce and then insulted the fans who cheer him. He said the only reason he allowed Crimson to avoid hospitalization is "without Crimson in TNA, who else is gonna be my bitch." Crimson charged after Joe and beat him up in the aisle. Joe made a comeback and ended up stomping on Crimson's leg in the ring. Then he applied a submission hold. Matt Morgan charged out and made the save. Morgan cleared the ring of Joe, then helped Crimson to his feet. They had a bit of an intense staredown. Morgan slapped Crimson on his chest in a show of friendship and then walked out of the ring.

[Q6] [c]

-Backstage Styles says he's not going to cut Bobby Roode any slack and they'll all find out if he has what it takes to cut it as World Champion.

4 -- "THE POPE" D'ANGELO DINERO vs. MR. ANDERSON

Pope greeted Devon's kids in the front row on his way to the ring. Anderson did his mic work on the stage. Anderson is apparently sponsored by IKEA now as his trunks match that color scheme. One of Devon's sons grabbed Anderson's arm at ringside as he was about to punch Pope. THe other shoved Anderson in the chest and they both yelled at him. I have no idea how the viewer is supposed to feel about this. Devon ran out and yelled at his kids. He didn't want to be talked down by Pope, either. Meanwhile, as Anderson stood in the ring, Bully Ray hit him from behind with a bundle of kendo sticks. Pope slipped into the ring and made the pin.

WINNER: Pope in 3:00.

-Backstage Roode said he's thinking about that World Title, but he's also thinking about facing Styles, who has beat Angle in the past. He said if he can beat Styles, he knows he can compete with Angle at BFG. He said nothing and nobody will stop him from capturing his dream and becoming World Champion.

-Tenay plugged the big Hogan announcement. [c]

[Q7]

-They followed up backstage as Devon demanded to know what his sons and Pope were up to. Pope said Devon is the one training them to become wrestlers. Pope said they're becoming men and they're going to do that stuff. Devon said he wants to be on the same page with him for once. He demanded that he let him call the shots. "I'll tell you when to jump!" he told his sons. "Do you hear me?" Devon demanded that they not do that again. Devon is the one looking like an overreacting hot-head, even though he's right that his sons acted in a way that wasn't respectful.

-A training video aired with Roode talking about what this World Title opportunity means to him. They showed Tracy Roode, his wife, talking about how much this means to him. She said he is studying old "wrestling movies" of Angle to prepare for the match. They showed him arriving home and his two young sons running up to him and hugging him. He talked of his sacrifice being on the road 250 days a year is something many fathers and husbands don't deal with or understand. Codi Yale, his sister, said the whole family is excited for him and they all believe he deserves it. He said Angle should remember how he felt going into his first World Title match because that's how he feels. He said Oct. 15 in Philadelphia will be his time. Roode said his card is better than it's ever been and he's confident and ready. He said it will be a match for the ages and go down as one of the best matches of all time.

(WK Reax: Fantastic video. That's high-end UFC preview show level material. They've done just a great job making this World Title match feel like a true big deal. It's a glimpse of how different this industry would be if the World Title was only defended 4-6 times a year on PPV and every match got this type of hype and every title shot felt this scarce and valuable. This entire voyage is a star-making effort for Roode by TNA.)

5 -- ROBERT ROODE vs. A.J. STYLES

Jeremy Borash handled the ring intros from inside the ring. A sportsmanlike early few minutes, with Styles settling into a headlock. Roode escapes and arm tossed Styles over the top rope. Styles landed on the ring apron, then shoulder blocked Roode. Roode caught Styles springboarding into the ring and dropped him stomach-first over his knee. Roode came up limping. He continued to have trouble with his leg the next few minutes of the match, even while maintaining control against Styles.

[Q8]

At 8:00 Styles springbaarded into the ring with a flying forearm and then gave Roode a backbreaker. Up next Styles went for a 450 springboard from the ring apron, but Roode moved. Styles went for a Styles Clash seconds later, but Roode countered and rolled up Styles for a near fall. Styles missed with a Pele a second later, then Roode applied a crossface immediately and Styles tapped out. They hugged in friendship next.

WINNER: Roode via submission in 10:00.

STAR RATING: **1/2

(WK Reax: Good ten minute match. A solid slow build that really up-shifted nicely in those final few minutes. It was the right finish, too, as they avoided the temptation of doing an angle with Styles hinting at a heel turn or just having Styles beat Roode to make him the no. 1 contender coming out of BFG.)

-They showed Hogan backstage again walking toward the entrance tunnel. [c]

-Backstage Hervey asked Styles what was going through his mind. Immediately Roode walked up and asked Styles how he was. Styles told Roode he showed he is ready. He said he came at him, but Roode is clearly in the zone. Styles gave him a pep talk and told him that he did what he had to do. Roode said that match helped him. Styles told Roode that after he beats Angle, he hopes he gets a title shot.

(WK Reax: More great, realistic interaction between two likable characters. This just doesn't seem like it could be the same booking team as this is everything good that TNA showed glimpses of in recent years coming together minus the tawdry crap and undisciplined rushed hotshotting.)

-Hogan walked out and said he feels like he's had a million pounds lifted off his shoulders. He said he's done some soul searching in recent months, and everything is about having a run that eventually comes to an end. He said the Hulkamaniac run has been the best run of all time. Some fans cheered. Hogan said when he started thinking about things, he goes back three decades with a lot of fans the other wrestlers in the back. He talked about Hiro Matsuda breaking his leg on day one of training camp. He said he wrestled the little high schools and eventually got a big break culminating in wrestling Andre the Giant in front of 93,000 people. He brought up Mr. T, Roddy Piper, Cindy Lauper. He said Hulkamania could go on forever, but after all of the indoor attendance records at homes across the world, he had a chance to come to Impact Wrestling with three decades of knowledge, step into the company, and make a difference. He said all he saw were eyes, and all the eyes were hungry. He said he's seen so many guys step up. He listed Styles, Daniels, Roode, Roode, Storm, RVD, and Jeff Hardy "who is finally back on track." He said he realizes that every moment he spent in TNA was worth it. He said he taught everyone everything he knew about getting by in the ring and not getting hurt and how to survive in the business. He said he gave them his life and soul and blood. He said he gave them everything he could to help them.

They cut to Sting watching on a monitor. Sting asked if he's the only one who sees through this. He said ever since he saw him in "Suburban Commando" he knew he was a terrific actor. He said he deserves an Oscar for this one.

Back to Hogan, he said he finally made a decision that enough is enough. He said it's the end of the road. He said he wanted to tell the fans first. He said he hasn't even told his wife Jennifer yet. He said at the end of the day, when everything went down and he bottomed out and lost his family and healthy and had eight back surge eries in a row, the only thing he didn't lose were the fans. They showed a woman in the crowd crying. Heteared up as he talked about this being the end of the road.

They cut to Sting who asked if Hogan was really crying.

Hogan said next week he wanted all of the fans to be there to celebrate with him the end of his career. Sting said he'd be there.

(WK Reax: Fun final angle, actually. Yes, there's the obvious downside of Hogan's fake retirement making it seem like TNA's "biggest legends match ever" may not take place, and that could in theory hurt the butyrate, but the thing is, with the Sting cut-in, nobody (or almost nobody) is going to take it seriously, so that shouldn't be much of an issue. Hogan and Sting both played their parts well. I wish Sting was a little more explicit in saying Hogan is retiring to avoid wrestling him, as viewers were left to connect those dots and wonder if Hogan could and would get away with this. But they have two weeks to do the necessarily follow up.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: Another strong show from Impact Wrestling. I don't think they've had a string of three better shows ever, actually. They've had better matches, probably, over the course of three weeks. They've certainly had more shocking shows with big surprises and debuts. But in terms of creating entertaining, logics, engaging, good-for-business shows that forwarded storylines, built stars, and hyped a PPV, they are on a track I haven't seen before.


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