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TNA Impact
KELLER'S TNA IMPACT WRESTLING REPORT 10/6: Hulk Hogan's "retirement" ceremony, Storm vs. Roode, Kaz vs. Gunner in Knoxville

Oct 6, 2011 - 8:50:27 PM
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KELLER'S TNA IMPACT REPORT
OCTOBER 6, 2011
KNOXVILLE, TENN.
AIRED ON SPIKE TV


-A clip aired from Hulk Hogan's speech last week. Then they showed Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff arriving at the venue. Despite Sting's skepticism last week, Mike Tenay and Taz acted like there was no reason to doubt Hulk Hogan's sincerity. Taz even said, "Thirty years in the making, the last time we see Hulk Hogan in a wrestling ring again." They panned the Knoxville Coliseum crowd. The arena looked good on TV.

-Beer Money - Bobby Roode and James Storm - walked out together. Tenay said it's not often you see two men scheduled to wrestle each other walking to the ring together. He explained that Kurt Angle booked the match. He didn't remind us of the logic behind him having the ability to do that, though. Storm asked the crowd, "Are there any beer drinkers in this building tonight?" He said he heard it was supposed to be Hulk Hogan's retirement show. "I think we're on the same page when I say it's about time he take a back seat and give the young guys" a chance. He said Hogan is going to have a tough time following his match against Roode later "because we plan on tearing this son of a bitch down in Knoxville, Tennessee!"

Roode said since Storm is the "Tennessee Cowboy," welcome home. He addressed that Angle used the power he has with Bischoff and Hogan to book Fortune against once another. He said Fortune aren't just friends, they're also family. He said the matches he's had with A.J. Styles and Kazarian the last few weeks were mentally and physically exhausting, but that's what he needed. He said he needed them to give him their best because if he could beat them at their best, he'd prove he was ready for Kurt Angle. He said he beat them and tonight he needs Storm to be the Tennessee Cowboy ass-kicking son of a bitch those fans know he is. He said he needs him to get him ready for Angle. He said the last four years he became not just his partner and best friend, but most of all his brother. He said ten days from now he's going to the main event at Bound for Glory to face Angle for the World Title. He said the only thing he can think about is tonight's match and how important it is to both of them.

Storm said it's very important to him because when they formed Beer Money four years ago, when he shook his hand he knew he was shaking the hand of a future World Champion. He said Roode felt the same way about him. Storm said he's surely going to bring it tonight and he might just be a little better than him tonight. Roode let out a smile and nodded. Storm said he's not trying to disrespect him because he always knew he was "one of the greatest workers in the game today." He said it's time for him to do the same thing. He closed with "Sorry about your damn luck." They fist-bumped and smiled. Tenay said the mutual respect and spirit of competition is great.

(WK Reax: Very good segment. Great at setting up the TV main event and hyping the BFG World Title match. Two good performers who know who they are and are part of a program they believe in right now.)

-They showed Sting wandering backstage. [c]

-Taz threw to clips of Hulk Hogan history in TNA starting with January 4, 2010. Boy were there high hopes on that Monday night that haven't exactly played out as imagined. There was even the six-sided ring that night.

-They showed Taz and Tenay at ringside. Taz talked about this being the end of the most historic era in this industry's history. Tenay hyped Storm vs. Roode.

[Q2]

1 -- GUNNER vs. KAZARIAN

Tenay reminded Taz that Sting is skeptical of Hogan's claim that he's retiring. Taz blew past that and just said "most of us are in this industry because Hogan laid the groundwork," which is a nice little myth Hogan has perpetuated over the years, ignoring that more fans bought tickets to live wrestling events in the U.S. in the five years before he joined the WWF than in the five years after. Nice use of the crane camera tonight. This arena looks old, but good for wrestling except for the tall wall opposite of the hard camera behind the dozen rows of fans on the floor. The lighting and camera angles were great otherwise. They ran fan Twitter comments on the bottom of the screen including someone claiming they were at the arena the night Hulk Hogan beat The Iron Sheik for the WWF Title. Nobody that old knows how to use Twitter, do they? Gunner bailed out to ringside in frustration early. A few minutes in Kaz went shoulder-first into the ringpost when Gunner moved. Gunner then applied an armbar and Kaz frantically submitted. Taz said there's no shame in tapping, especially if you have an injury. Gunner attacked Kaz after the match, so the ref reversed the decision. Gunner yelled, "Broken!" When the fans booed, he yelled back, "Screw you all!"

WINNER: Kaz via reversed decision in 4:00. [c]

-Mr. Anderson walked out. Taz and Tenay noted that Anderson "doesn't play well with others." Anderson said he's wearing his hat because he has "hat head." He said he has only done this a couple times in his life, but he's come out to apologize. He said not to Hogan, Bischoff, or Dixie Carter, but to the people who mean the most to him whom he turned his back on in a moment of weakness, "my assholes." He asked if there were some assholes in the crowd. Some fans cheered. He said he's not the best at playing the political game. He said he's seen others "swing from the boss's nuts" and get everything they wanted, while he's had to scratch and claw to get anything. He said in that moment of weakness he joined Immortal. He said he has no regrets and life is a learning experience, and he learned a lot from that mistake. "For instance, Bully Ray is a giant frickin' douche bag. Out walked Bully Ray.

[Q3]

Ray took a dig at a local college team and said let's make it quick. Anderson said he hit him with a big chain and asked if he's overcompensating for something. Nobody laughed. It's not Mr. Anderson's type of crowd tonight. Anderson told Ray he's always getting one up on him. Ray agreed that he's beat him down time after time in front of his jackoffs. Anderson said, "They're not jackoffs, they're assholes." Ray said he's not getting another match against him. Anderson challenged Ray to a Phildealphia Falls Count Anywhere match. He dared him to back down from that challenge. Anderson music magically began playing instantly, so someone somehow knew that was the final thing he had to say and that Ray wasn't going to respond. It feels overly rehearsed when it's timed so tightly like that. Instead, why not wait for a pause and for Ray to begin leaving the ring to play Anderson's music? Nothing is lost and something is gained. [c]

-They showed a split screen of both Roode and Storm warming up backstage.

-The roving camera caught up to Bischoff and asked where his head is at. Bischoff said on a personal level it's tough. He said he started as a fan of Hogan through the early '80s and began working with him in the '90s. He said it's a bittersweet feeling and really tough.

-Brian Kendrick spoke more New Age gibberish and said he knows Austin Aries's weakness. He said he spent a lot of mental energy to clean up the X Division, but now Aries is doing his thing and that's inspiring Kid Kash to beat up a young kid like Jesse Sorensen. Kash walked up behind Kendrick and told him to say it to his face. Kendrick agreed to do that, but before he could start, Kash attacked him. Kash said if he disrespects him, this is the price he pays. "If you want to clean something up, clean up your own blood, bitch."

(WK Reax: This show is turning sharply this week away from the more "mixed company friendly" version back to the one you have to hide in the basement to watch if others are around.)

-Mickie James made her ring entrance. Velvet Sky did a less risqué version of her crotch rub on the middle rope as she entered the ring, but gave a better cleavage shot from the front camera angle. They cut to a break after ring intros. [c]

[Q4]

-Winter, Madison Rayne, and Angela Love made their ring entrance next.

2 -- MICKIE JAMES & VELVET SKY vs. WINTER & MADISON RAYNE (w/Angelina Love)

Tenay said Kaz is on his way to the hospital after suffering the arm injury earlier at the hands of Gunner. The heel duo isolated Mickie early in the match. Sky hot-tagged in at 3:00 and took Winter down with a head scissors takeover. Sky followed with a face-driver for a near fall, broken up by Rayne. The ref went to ringside to stop a Mickie vs. Rayne brawl. Love tripped Winter by mistake from ringside, giving Sky an opening. Sky then took a shot at Love, but that opened up Winter to schoolgirl Sky for the win.

WINNERS: Rayne & Winter in 5:00.

-They showed Jeff Hardy backstage. Tenay wondered what Immortal thought of that. [c]

-They showed a clip of Hulk Hogan & Abyss (remember him?) from March 8, 2010 - another very big night with high hopes - walking to the ring with an emotional Dixie Carter at ringside.

-Angle complained to Bischoff backstage that he thought he made it clear to Jeff Hardy to never show his face there again. Bischoff said that level of administrative detail was beneath him because he's the World Champion. He told him he shines at it, so please allow him on his behalf to get rid of this cockroach once and for all. He said, "Trust me, I'm good at it." Angle shook his hand and told him to go do his work.

-They cut to a camera shot from the upper deck fueled of fans and then panning down to the ring. TNA hasn't been able to do that much at all if ever over the years.

-Bischoff walked out to the ring and said he promised Angle to get a little detail taken care of. He told Jeff Hardy to "get his ass to the ring now." Hardy made his first full ring entrance since his return, coming out to the same music as before. The crowd chanted "Hardy! Hardy!"

[Q5]

Bischoff told him that he's had the honor in his 25 years in the industry to work with some of the greats such as Verne Gagne, Wahoo McDaniels, Ray Stevens, Nick Bockwinkel, Hulk Hogan, and Kurt Angle (no current WWE guys were named). He said those men paved the way for people like him so they could feed their families and take care of friends who were in need and live an amazing lifestyle. He said he took advantage of his opportunities and never let anyone down. He said Hardy was given the same chances and made dropping the ball an artform. He said God gave him gifts and he's one of the most charismatic stars he's ever met, but he's one of the biggest screwups ever, too. He said he keeps asking people for forgiveness and give him another chance. He said he is out of chances with him. He told him officially that he is done. "You dropped the ball for the last time at Victory Road when you came to the ring so pilled up you let Hulk Hogan down, you let me down, you let everyone down," he said. "Why don't you 12 step your way right out of my ring." Good line.

Hardy told Bischoff he's glad he got that off his chest in front of everyone. He said deep down maybe some of the fans agree with him. He said he has one more thing to say, then he's out of there. Bischoff said he'd let him say goodbye. Hardy instead punched Bischoff and gave him a Twist of Fate, then yelled in his ear, "Screw you!" Hardy leaped into the crowd when Ray and Gunner ran out to attack him. Jeff Jarrett and Scott Steiner also came out to stare at Hardy as he retreated.

(WK Reax: Good performances by both Bischoff and Hardy. The bigger arena setting is really helping the wrestlers seem like bigger stars. I don't believe people watch or don't watch a show because of an arena, as long as the lighting is good and overall production values are strong, but I do believe fans will watch or not watch a show based on whether they feel the wrestlers are big stars. The residual effect of being in a larger setting is that Hardy and Bischoff and Storm and Roode and Anderson, et al, feel like bigger stars by playing in front of more people in a full fledged sports arena and not a sound studio.) [c]

-A worked up Jeff Hardy backstage looked at the camera and said he came back to apologize to everyone one by one and admit he made a mistake and he's so sorry for it, but what just happened out there was wrong. "If I'm outta here, I'm outta here on my terms." Taz said Hardy is straight up pissed.

-Taz threw to another clip of Hogan from March 3, 2011 when he told Dixie Carter that he now controls 100 percent of TNA. "It's all mine!" he said. "From everything that happens in this ring to everything that happens in my office in Nashville, I make all the decisions."

3 -- SAMOA JOE vs. CRIMSON

Crimson took the early control with a corner attack, but Joe poked Crimson in the eyes and then piston punched him over and over. They posted more Twitter comments from fans who were asked to Tweet their favorite Hulk Hogan moments. A fan said forming the NWO at Bash at the Beach. Another said Hogan slamming Andre the Giant at WM3. Joe took control at ringside, focusing on Crimson's right ankle. Back in the ring Joe applied a partial heel hook. Crimson upkicked to try to escape. Joe called him a bitch. Crimson small packaged him for the win.

WINNER: Crimson in 5:00 to stay undefeated.

[Q6]

-The roving camera caught up to Bully Ray. Jason Hervey asked him about Anderson's challenge. Ray said he started his career in Philly and that's where he's going to end Anderson's. He said Anderson may think he has him right where he wants him, but he doesn't. [c]

-Hervey asked Storm how he feels. He said he's happy for Bobby that he gets to wrestle Angle at BFG for the World Title, but he's also ready to show people what he's always known, that he's one of the best in the business. He said they always knew this day would come and it is what it is. He closed with, "Sorry about your damn luck."

-A video package aired on Roode, showing him working out in the gym. They showed pics of him in Team Canada with hilarious hair. He said it's 2011 and guys like to step up and get the torch and carry the torch for years to come. He said he believes he can take the company to bigger and better places. He went into the arena where he watched wrestling as a kid where he dreamed of one day walking in as World Champion. His mother, Sandy Roode, and his father, Bob Roode, talked about his dreams and determination. He said all he's thinking about is beating Angle and he doesn't think anyone can hold him down right now.

-Ring entrances took place for James Storm and then Bobby Roode. The Jeremy Borash did formal ring introductions.

[Q7]

4 -- BOBBY ROODE vs. JAMES STORM

They went into the babyface vs. babyface series of spots such as tests of strength and armdrags. At 2:00 it got more intense and they went nose to nose and yapped at each other. They cut to an early break. [c]

As the Roode-Storm match was joined again, Tenay said the A.J. Styles vs. Christopher Daniels match was made an I Quit match as Daniels's request. At 12:00 Storm went for a superkick, but Roode ducked and then he took Storm down into a crossface submission. Storm's foot reached the bottom rope to force a break. Storm came back with a double leg backbreaker for a near fall. The crowd chanted "This is awesome!" as the pace and intensity picked up. After a collision involving both wrestlers and the refs knocking heads, everyone went down. Angle then ran out and threw Storm head-first into the ringside steps. Then he threw Storm into the ring and left. Taz said he didn't understand why Angle would do that to Storm rather than Roode. Roode draped his arm over Storm, but Storm kicked out right before three at 14:00. Roode staggered to the ropes and pulled himself to his feet. Storm shoved Roode and went for a superkick, but lost his footing. Roode then hit a fisherman's suplex into a bridge for the pin.

WINNER: Roode in 15:00.

STAR RATING: ***1/4

(WK Reax: Nice match. Why did Angle help Roode? Not sure. But booking-wise, it kept the mystery of who would win a clean match between those two a mystery, so it served that purpose. At least Taz did ask aloud why Angle would help Roode win since everyone at home was wondering that, too.)

[Q8] [c]

-Hulk Hogan made his ring entrance to ostensibly officially retire. Hogan milked the journey to the ring. They showed parents with kids dressed up in Hulkamania gear. There were a bunch of strategically placed yellow and red Hulkamania shirts. Hogan said he knew this ovation would happen in Knoxville. A loud "Hogan! Hogan!" chant broke out. He said when his feet hit the ground this morning, he realized today was the final day he'd be in the wrestling business. He said after the 30-plus year run he's had, it was a tough cup of coffee to drink. He put on his game face and came to Knoxville and from the moment he came to the airport, everyone in Knoxville welcomed him with open arms. They went to a wide shot as Hogan accepted more cheers from the fans. He said they made him feel so much love today, it was like it was his first day back in the business. He thanked Knoxville for that, officially breaking Mick Foley's record for mentioning the city he's in within a three minute stretch.

Hogan said he never thought about what he'd do after wrestling, but now he has to find something to replace the love he feels in these buildings. He said it got so crazy as he was going through Twitter and Facebook reading messages from fans. He said he told everyone he really is retiring. He said it's the greatest career he ever dreamed of. He thanked everyone for everything over and over. The crowd chanted "Thank you, Hogan! Thank you, Hogan!"

(WK Reax: I suppose Hogan is a big enough star to mitigate what I'm about to say somewhat, but shouldn't the last however many months of Hogan being a nasty heel count for something with TNA's ticket buying public? It shows how the fans just don't take anything on Impact seriously that they're so willing to hear him, even in the face of TNA's top babyface Sting calling b.s. on it last week.)

Hogan said it's time to let the celebration begin. Sting's music then played. Hogan looked upset by the interruption. He walked out in a yellow and red Hulkamania t-shirt and red jacket and pants. Where does one buy that color suit? Hogan told Sting he isn't welcome out there and he's not going to turn this into "a damned clown show." Sting said he really is so sorry, but he wanted to know if anyone in Knoxville is buying any of this stuff about retirement. The fans who were chanting his name a minute earlier shouted, "Nooooo!" Hogan told Sting nothing lasts forever in the industry and it's time to leave him alone. He said he's said his goodbyes and he's retired "my brother."

Sting said maybe he's become so jaded and hardened that he can't let him have his just due, or maybe he knows him better than anyone else on Earth. He said it's amazing how the cameras around every corner on every building everywhere, including in this building right here. He said nothing is sacred in this business any longer. He said he caught Hogan on tape. Hogan said the games are over. He asked him leave because he has one last thing to say.

The footage aired, and it was Hogan asking Bischoff, "Do you really think they bought the fact that I'm retiring tonight. I'm so worried." Bischoff assured him they were buying it hook, line, and sinker. Bischoff said the head of the network even bought it, even calling him and asking him why he didn't tell him first. They made fun of the Knoxville hillbillies.

Back in the ring Hogan demanded that they cut the footage. He told Sting he broke every damn rule. He said he's pushed him too far, he won't wrestle him, but if he wants a fight, he'll fight him. He said if he beats him, he'll give the company back to him and Dixie Carter. Hogan immediately covered his mouth in disbelief that he just raised the stakes like that. Sting smiled and said he got what he wanted, then left the ring. Tenay said, "Oh my God, how could the stakes get any higher?!"

(WK Reax: Okay, the last thing with Hogan agreeing in the midst of his rage to give the company back to Sting and Dixie at the end was a little corny. They went so quickly from the secret video to the reveal to the end of the show, the announcers didn't even have time to digest and react to the deception by Hogan.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: Another good show from Impact. Not everything worked, and the raunch factor was ratcheted back up a few notches, but in general a nicely paced show that made me want to see Roode challenge Angle, plus it hyped effectively the Anderson-Ray and even Styles-Daniels matches. The thing that's helping is they're fitting the right amount of content onto the show so some of it can really stick. That comes at the expense of the X Division more often than not, but at least they had the Kendrick-Kash angle to keep it on the map a little. Overall, an entertaining show worth another look for those who gave up on it in the past for good reason.


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