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TNA Impact
TNA IMPACT WRESTLING REPORT 2/2: Wembley Arena Edition - Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of TV show

Feb 2, 2012 - 9:04:26 PM
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By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

TNA IMPACT WRESTLING REPORT
FEBRUARY 2, 2012
TAPED IN ENGLAND AT WEMBLEY ARENA
AIRED ON SPIKE TV


(This is a straight-up report on the TV show. Look for my blog with added commentary on the entire show later.)

[Q1]

-The show opened with a video package touting the first-ever Impact Wrestling episode on another continent in front of the largest crowd in TNA history. Sting was shown talking about the loyalty of the fans and they showed some wide shots of the arena including one of fans running to ringside to watch the action up close.

-Mike Tenay introduced the show alongside Taz.

-Bully Ray and Robert Roode walked out. Ray covered Roode's ears so he couldn't hear negative chants aimed at them. Ray asked how many fans came to see Jeff Hardy. He said Hardy won't be there. He said they finished him off and you'll never see him again. Roode took command of the mic and said it's great to be back in Ireland. That drew boos. Roode said, "Ireland, England, same different." Roode then touted Bully Ray's calves. He said they may be proud of what they did to Hardy last week, but they didn't get the job completely done. As the crowd, a little off topic, chanted "We Want Devon," Roode called James Storm out to the ring. "Come on, Cowgirl," Roode said. Storm's music played and the crowd shifted from a dated '90s chant for Devon to popping for Storm. They went to a wide shot of the crowd reacting, then close-ups of fans handing Storm bottles of beer as he walked to the ring.

Sting then walked out just as Storm faced Ray and Roode. Sting announced a four-way match for the World Title at Against All Odds with those three in the ring plus Hardy. Ray and Roode immediately began bickering. Storm interjected and said he wants Roode and Storm tonight. Sting said he's running the show tonight, starting with Roode and ending with Ray. He didn't explain what that meant, but presumably Storm had to wrestle both of them one after another.

Tenay recapped the big announcements Sting just made. He also hyped that Hulk Hogan was returning to Impact. [c]

[Q2]

-Tenay welcomed fans back as they showed the London Bridge and gave a little history on it.

-Garett Bischoff was backstage talking on the cell phone talking to someone who was on their way to the building.

1 -- SAMOA JOE & MAGNUS vs. CRIMSON & MATT MORGAN -- Buckingham Brawl

A coin toss by Jeremy Borash determined that Joe and Magnus got a two-on-one advantage the entire match, being allowed in the ring at the same time, whereas Crimson and Morgan had to tag in and out. Joe and Magnus beat up Crimson for a minute. Crimson avoided a Joe charged in the ring, then one-arm slammed Magnus, then tagged in Morgan. Morgan got in some big spots against both wrestlers. Joe broke up a pin attempt by Morgan on Magnus after a big side slam with a kick to the head. Crimson speared Joe and then brawled with him at ringside, as Magnus battled Morgan. Morgan missed a big boot in the corner, then Joe nailed him with a running elbow in the corner followed by a drop-down roundkick to the head. He snap-mared him into center ring, where Magnus hit a flying elbow from the top rope for the win. Tenay said, "What else but a tag team title shot could be in their future?"

WINNERS: Joe & Magnus in 3:00. The whole concept of the match itself was ridiculous, but the way it played out and the finish itself just made it worse. Nobody came out looking good.

-They showed Eric Bischoff arriving backstage in the parking garage area. Tenay said they might be minutes away from finding out who his son's trainer is. [c]

[Q3]

-Eric Bischoff called his son Garett Bischoff to the ring. Garett walked out. Eric said his goal to be a wrestler is a fantasy, not a goal, because goals are grounded in reality, not fantasies. He said if he thinks he can get this training from this particular trainer and become an actual wrestler, he's mistake. He said it'll never happen. He said his trainer will never back him up and do anything for him. "It's just a bad choice and I'm disappointed in you," said Eric. Garett said if he has such a problem with his choice of trainer, take it up with him. Eric said his trainer wouldn't travel all the way to London to back him. Garett got on the phone, told his trainer it's "off the hook, brotha!" and then told Eric, "When you're right you're right, but when you're wrong you're so dead wrong." He said "he" is in the building and he wants to see him later tonight. Eric went from smugly self-satisfied to deathly worried. Taz said we're all going to find out tonight. I hope it's Les Thatcher or Al Snow!

-Taz plugged London's own Mark Haskins vs. Austin Aries up next. [c]

-A brief video package aired introducing Haskins, who talked about dreaming of being an X Division star since he first got into wrestling. He said he's traveled the world including Japan and Europe facing a lot of top level talent. He said this is his house and he will prove he's a level above the American-based X Division wrestlers. He said he'll become champion. Good, basic sports-like profile that showed he's confident and has title aspirations.

[Q3]

2 -- AUSTIN ARIES vs. MARK HASKINS

Tenay noted they previous saw Haskins in an X Division Rankings match last year in the U.S. Taz took exception to Haskins saying when wrestlers want to learn how to wrestle, they should come to England. He said Aries will prove that in this match. Nice spots and great crowd heat for every spot, including oohs and ahhs for two counts. The chant for "Austin Aries" got rolling again at 4:00. Haskins went for a shooting star press off the top rope, but Aries moved. Haskins landed on his face. Tenay gasped with fear, bt Haskins was okay. That was scary looking. Aries kicked him in the face with a low front kick, then hit the brainbuster followed by his submission. Haskins tapped out. He had mat-burns on his nose and forehead from coming up short on the shooting star flip. They replayed the missed shooting star press from five angles. Taz said he hoped he didn't break his neck or have a spinal injury.

WINNER: Aries in 4:00. Good pace and action. Aries is really, really crisp. He wrestles a style fans are going to cheer. [c]

-A commercial aired for a new TV series put on the staff of the website MMAJunkie that is going to air after Impact starting on Feb. 23. This presumably will be similar to ESPN's MMA Live program.

-A commercial aired for the Lockdown PPV showing a bunch of cage match highlights.

-They showed Eric Bischoff calling for a cab in the most obnoxious way possible. Sting walked up behind him and grabbed Bischoff's phone and canceled the cab. Sting told Eric "he's not coming way, that's what you said, right?" and then he led him through the doors into the arena, with a wide smile on his face the whole time.

[Q5]

3 -- JAMES STORM vs. ROBERT ROODE

After some early chain wrestling, they cut to an early break at about 2:00. [c]

Back from the break Storm was punching Roode as the crowd "ohhh'd" along with each punch. Tenay pushed that next week would be a special "Star Wars Edition" of TNA Impact. Spike is airing "Star Wars: Episode 1" next Friday, so it's part of a promotion for that. When Roode had Storm in a bear hug, they went to a floating crane camera shot of three sides of the arena that accentuated the big crowd. Storm took Roode off the top rope with a head scissors. Taz pointed out that Storm still has to compete against Ray later. Yes, a babyface authority figure (Sting) gave Storm his overzealous wish of fighting two men on one night. Usually that's a move a heel authority figure would do, in essence protecting the babyface from himself, but Sting gave Storm both top heels in one night as if he was doing him a favor.

Storm got a near fall at 11:00 with a top rope elbow. Roode rallied two minutes later and grew frustrated after a Storm kickout at two. Roode grabbed the title belt and brought it into the ring. Storm, though, caught him with his "Closing Time" (dropdown knee's to chest) before Roode could use the belt. Ray walked to ringside and grabbed Storm's leg, then Roode speared Storm and scored the pin.

WINNER: Roode in 14:00. Good match, elevated by the crowd being really into it. (**3/4)

[Q6]

-Afterward Ray gave Storm a one-arm slam. Sting ran out to stop any more double-teaming by the heels. [c]

-They showed more scenes of London as Tenay hyped that February is going to be the biggest month in TNA history, including Hulk Hogan's return tonight.

4 -- TARA vs. GAIL KIM -- Non-Title Match

Tenay wondered if Tara risked showing too much of her strategy against Kim tonight in a non-title match such a short time ahead of her title shot at Against All Odds. At 4:00 Madison Rayne mistakenly hit Kim, which led to Tara hitting her Widow's Peak for the win.

WINNER: Tara in 5:00. Good action. Crisper and stiffer or more realistic looking than most women's wrestling matches, with a nice pace start to finish. A good sign of what they might produce with more time on PPV.

-They showed Garett walking backstage. Tenay hyped the big reveal as if it really was a big deal that everyone was on the edge of their seat over. [c…]

[Q7] […c]

-Garett walked to the ring to reveal whom his trainer is. He thanked the fans for their support. Just as he was about to introduce the man who has been training him - "the man I look up…" Eric's music played and he interrupted. He was joined by Gunner. Tenay said Gunner hospitalized Garett with the piledriver at ringside orchestrated by Eric. Eric said since there's two of them and one of him, give it up before he gets hurt. Then Hogan's music played and he marched out to the ring to a big pop. Garett and Hogan took turns punching Gunner as Bischoff stood in the corner and watched. Hogan and Eric turned to Eric who begged off. Of course, he had ever chance to leave. He pleaded, "I'm your father; how could you do this to me?" Gunner yanked Eric out of the ring by his leg. Garett smiled as Eric and Gunner left. Hogan's music played as Hogan shook hands with Garett. As they walked to the back, Tenay said they just found out the Impact cameras would be following them to the back to talk to them after the break. He also plugged Ray vs. Storm. [c]

-More scenes from London at night as Tenay threw backstage to Hogan and Garett.

-Hogan said now that Eric has crossed a line, he knows he has a monster target on his back. He said at the end of the day Eric can run, but he can't hide. Garett was giddy over the look on Eric's face when Hogan walked out. He said he wasn't thinking straight and he didn't buy that Hogan was actually there. Hogan said Eric has almost no time left. He said it's been 18 years since he's been out in front of his U.K. Hulkamaniacs. "The love affair lives on. They are loyal to a fault. They're with me," he said. "I'm going to tell my maniacs to sniff this dirty dog out, sniff Eric Bischoff out, and when they sniff him out it's not going to be pretty." He said first he'll feed him to his son, then he'll take the leftovers. He added: "I smell blood with TNA. They're right on the verge, the cutting edge of rolling right off the top of the mountain onto what we call the greatest company of all-time." He said they're so close, there's no stopping them now. He said he's got his feet back underneath him and he's willing to be the "hood ornament on the front of the ship to bust through the ice and see through the fog and feel through the darkness of the night, I can be the guy because I can smell the greatness." He said "greatness" is TNA's destiny.

[Q8]

5 -- JAMES STORM vs. BULLY RAY

Storm came out with his ribs taped, looking determined to go after Ray. Ray saw the expression on Storm's face, and stalled by ducking between the ropes. He then trash-talked Storm, vowing to break his ribs and bust him up. Storm spit at Ray, then hit him with a barrage of punches and a big backdrop to pop the crowd. He sold that his ribs and back hurt after propelling Ray into the air. Taz explained why it would hurt someone with a hurt back or ribs. Ray took control and ripped the tape off of Storm's mid-section. Roode began to walk to the ring as they cut to a break. [c]

Back from the break Ray was in control. Sting came to ringside to offset the presence of Roode at ringside. Ray worked over Storm's ribs with a bear hug as Tenay plugged the "Star Wars Impact" next week. Taz said Ray is like Dart Vader. Ray delivered two elbow drops for a two count. Ray grinded his knee into Storm's ribcage on the mat. Ray splashed Storm and scored another two count. The crowd chanted "We Want Devon." They're way behind on storylines here. Taz said there might not be any fight left in Storm since he's been put through hell tonight. He said it was his own idea, which is true, but Sting allowed it to happen, which makes Sting look somewhat bad. Ray leaped off the top rope and went for a sexton splash, but Storm moved. Sting pointed the mat with a cricket bat to get the crowd to come alive. Storm made a comeback, feeding off the crowd cheers, and nailed Ray with two clotheslines. Ray fed his comeback really nicely. Storm then climbed to the top rope and hit a high crossbody for a near fall at at 13:00.

[Q9]

Ray came back with a sideslip. The crowd chanted "Let's Go Cowboy." Storm bounced out of the corner and hit Ray with a back elbow but also knocked the ref down. Roode slithered into the ring, but Sting then entered with the cricket bat, so Roode retreated. Storm got up first and surprised Ray with the superkick for the win.

WINNER: Storm in 15:00. Another good, basic, fundamentally sound match that told the story it needed to tell as told by two pros. (**1/2)

-Tenay hyped the Star Wars edition of TNA Impact next week as Roode fretted over Storm's win and they took one last wide shot of the arena.


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