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8/14 TNA Impact Review by Wilkenfeld: TNA teases Jarrett and Sting

Aug 15, 2008 - 12:55:47 AM
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By: Daniel Wilkenfeld, PWTorch Contributor

Where We've Been: So for those who missed it, Hard Justice ended with Samoa Joe wielding a guitar, a sign saying "Jarrett's back", and several notarized affidavits from Jarrett's friends and family. I never like playing returns this way—a completely unannounced appearance can create a lot more interest than an announced one—see Cena, John, Royal Rumble 2008. Of course, that's assuming he is coming back; in this case a "swerve" would be incredibly annoying. If this is just Joe's response to "Sting's" mind games, proving that anyone can use any other star's signature weapon, then Hard Justice will be retroactively rendered pointless. Also at the PPV, Sting ambushed AJ Styles after the latter attacked a downed Kurt Angle. So I guess Sting just doesn't like people who cross the line. Does that mean, if I buy TNA's marketing, Sting's coming after me?

The Show

Samoa Joe arrived with Kevin Nash, and implies to Not-Crystal that he has more backup coming. Nash says that if Joe thinks things are going to get interesting, he only knows half of it.

(1) CHRISTIAN CAGE & RHINO defeat THE ROCK & RAVE INFECTION

So if one of the men is Rock and the other's Rave, does that make Christy the Infection? I just got that. One of the teams gets in pretty much all the offense here. See if you can guess which. Rhino is briefly isolated, but nails a sudden Spinebuster as the crowd demands Cage. Cage beats the hell out of both opponents, till they finish off Rave with a GORE and a Frog Splash. I assume the point of this was just to get them over as a real tag team.

JB is in the back with Kurt Angle, who's sporting his gold medal and holding a neck brace. This is Olympics Week, also known as Kurt Angle week. Twelve years ago he took on all comers and sent them packing, proving that he was the best wrestler of all time. Everyone recognized that, except for TNA, which booked him in a Last Man Standing Match at Hard Justice. A Last Match Standing Match has nothing to do with wrestling, and everything to do with violence. Like a good wrestler, Kurt followed the rules, but AJ cheated his way to a win and tried to end his career. So tonight he's challenging AJ to a good old-fashioned freestyle-wrestling match, and he's putting up his Olympic gold medal. JB wants to know if that's a good idea, since the medal's the most important thing in his life and he can barely move, but Angle reminds us that he did, after all, win a gold medal with a broken freak'n neck.

[Commercial Break]

JB is in the back with AJ Styles, and wants to know what he was doing going back into the ring on Sunday after Angle was down. AJ reminds us that he made a guarantee that Kurt Angle would not be walking out after the match, and that's what he made sure of. I don't think there was much chance of Angle getting up anyway, but okay. As for Sting, AJ's understandably annoyed that a man he's worshiped and defended decided to use him to make some point. He guarantees that he'll take Angle's gold medal tonight.

Not-Crystal is in the back with Matt Morgan, who's been waiting to realize his potential. But here in TNA you don't wait for opportunities, you make them. So he's happy to go through everyone to achieve his goal of becoming TNA World Heavyweight Champion.

[Commercial Break]

(2) "THE BLUE PRINT" MATT MORGAN defeats JOHNNY DEVINE

Devine slaps Matt Morgan in the face, but that just makes him mad. Realizing what he's done, Devine tries to run away, but Morgan stays on him. There's a spot of hope for Devine when Morgan misses a Big Boot and crotches himself on the rope, but then he just shoves Devine off and hits the Hellavator for the win.
After the match, Matt Morgan is ambushed by Team 3D. I'm not sure why, since Morgan didn't seem ready to press the attack. Abyss hits the ring, and suddenly Team 3D seem less eager to defend Devine. After the ring is cleared, Morgan extends his hand to Abyss, who takes it.

They show a clip of the Beautiful People on Karen's Angle, up next.

[Commercial Break]

The Beautiful People are on Karen's Angle, who requested this appearance. Velvet Sky says that they're just heartbroken cause no one wants to hang out with them. Love sheds crocodile tears. Angle starts to suggest they be nicer people, but they just break out laughing. They're really here to introduce their new stylist, Kip James. I could see this working for him.

Gail Kim's sister is in attendance at the Impact Zone, and wow do I hope she's a wrestler cause, well, just wow.

Not-Crystal's in the back with Jay Lethal, and she wants to know if it's true that there's trouble between him and SoCal Val. Lethal says that he knows she has a big heart, but it's time to choose between him and Sonjay. He also asks Not-Crystal to deliver a message to Val—this isn't over till he says its over. Did he mean the feud with Sonjay or the relationship? If the latter, I would think that would constitute a heel turn.

[Commercial Break]

Sheik Abdul Bashir is back, and he says some stuff in Arabic (or maybe Farsi). He invites the crowd to boo or cheer as they see fit, cause he doesn't care. He understands that he came to America and has taken everything we have to offer while the rest of us were lazily waiting for our handouts. We shouldn't get him wrong, he doesn't love Lady America—he just loves raping her. WHAT?

(3) SHEIK ABDUL BASHIR defeats "BLACK MACHISMO" JAY LETHAL

Lethal comes out a ball of fire, so Bashir takes a breather. Lethal doesn't let up though, following him out of the ring with a Suicide Dive. He rolls Bashir into the ring and hits a Double Axe Handle off the top rope for two. He goes back to the middle rope, but Bashir trips him for a quick two count. A pair of Neck Breakers gets two. He goes for a Slam, but Lethal turns it into a cover for two. He goes for a Back Body Drop, but Lethal lands on his feet and takes control with a clothesline. A Back Body Drop of Lethal's gets two. Bashir hits a Jaw Breaker on his way up, but Lethal busts out his new Roll-Though Suplex for two. Lethal goes for some stomps in the corner, and when the ref pulls him off Bashir grabs a spike out of his boot. He covertly nails Lethal in the face, then kicks him down and hits Lethal with a DDT from his (Lethal's) knees. We're told that move is "The WMD", and it's Bashir's finisher. This one is over.
After the match Sonjay Dutt runs down and hits a 450 Splash. Why doesn't he use The Hindu Press anymore?

JB is with Sharmell and Booker T in their locker room, and Booker wants to know what was up with the guitar on Sunday. He alludes to Jarrett's business interest in TNA, which I think might be the first time that's been mentioned in-plot (unless it came up during the first Russo era). Anyway, when you mess with the bull you get the horns, and when you mess with Booker T you get his foot up your… In any event, Booker's not going to take this sitting down.

JB tells us we'll have footage of Sting and Nash interacting, up next.

[Commercial Break]

We see new footage of Nash talking to Sting on Sunday. Sting says the difference between them is patience—he's running out of it. His clock's ticking, and he's realized it's now or never.

(4) TEAM 3D defeat KEVIN NASH & SAMOA JOE

Joe starts things off against Devon, but a quick tag allows Team 3D to work the double team. Ray goes for a Yurinagi, but Joe reverses into a Snapmare and just pounds Ray to the mat. He tags in Nash, who bullies Ray till Devon interferes.

[Commercial Break]

Is it just me or is 10 o'clock a ridiculously stupid time to go to commercial? Team 3D are in control when we get back, tagging in and out and working Nash's left leg. Eventually Nash stops a charge in the corner with a Big Boot, which lets him get the tag to Joe. Joe takes it to Ray and Devon for a minute, but eventually loses the numbers game and eats a Double Team Neck Breaker. Team 3D set up for a 3D, but Nash pulls Ray out of the ring, and a confused Devon gets trapped in the Kokido Clutch for game.
After the match Joe gets a chair and starts pounding on Devon. Nash grabs the chair away, but it's too late. Earl Hebner reverses his decision, disqualifying Samoa Joe. I don't think I've seen a post-match DQ since WrestleMania XIV.

[Commercial Break]

(5) TAYLOR WILDE defeats CHRISTY HEMME

This is a non-title match, with special guest referee Traci Brooks. Wilde hits a series of Arm Drags to start, then segues a Drop Toe Hold into some sort of pretzel-like submission. Christy dodges a charge in the corner and gets a Facebuster for two. She works Taylor's hair, standing on it and yanking the body and then just yanking the hair directly. Wilde fights back, but Christy slams her to the mat by the hair again. Christy stomps her a bit till Taylor is able to fend her off. A Northern Lights Suplex by Taylor gets two. Christy Matrix-es under a clothesline and hits a standing FFG for two. She goes for one off the top rope, but Taylor dodges and nails a German Suplex for two.
After the match Awesome Kong's music hits, and she and Saeed hit the ring. Kong goes on the attack, but Traci pulls her off. Kong nails Traci with the Spinning Back Fist and a Choke Slam. The distraction is enough for Wilde to go on the offensive, but Saeed intervenes and knocks Taylor down. She grabs a chair, which she sets up in the middle of the ring. I bet Abyss is wishing he'd saved his rescue for this. As it is, Gail Kim has to make the save, which isn't quite the same. Actually it turns out to be more effective than I'd anticipated—Kim gets her hands on the chair and just brains Kong with it. Kong retreats. Lest people worry overmuch about the unprotected chair-shot, I'm pretty sure that was a well-disguised plastic chair.

[Commercial Break]

Tonight's Rough Cut is about Consequences Creed. He always wanted to be a wrestler, and people used to scoff because he was the smallest kid around. That made him determined to overcome genetics. He joined the high school wrestling team, where he worked the crowd, and joined show-choir to learn how to entertain. That was one of the best of these segments.

Not-Crystal is in the back with LAX, sans Homicide. Hector explains how you don't take out one of their blood, when Hernandez takes demands the mic. Last Sunday they took everything from him, and he doesn't mean the tag team titles. They messed with his brother, and when Homicide hurts, he hurts. So tonight he's going back to his roots and go 5150 on the white boys. It'll be a prison yard brawl, and he'll treat Storm like the new guy on the block. They're either going to give it to him, or else he'll make them into his prison-punk and just take it.
Okay, the only logic I saw for not making Hernandez not being in the main event was that he couldn't talk, and now that's gone. That man should be the next big thing, period.

[Commercial Break]

Not-Crystal is in the back with Beer Money. She tries to warn them regarding Hernandez's mood, but they laugh it off. Storm knows he's upset, but that's no reason to "go all queer" on them. All Hernandez needs to know is how to take their order at the local Taco Bell.
That was actually amazingly effective—I haven't wanted a heel to get his comeuppance this viscerally in ages.

(6) HERNADEZ (w/HECTOR GUERRERO and SALINAS) defeats JAMES STORM (w/ROBERT ROODE and JACQUELINE)

Hernandez doesn't play with the crowd on his way to the ring, but just charges Storm. He whips him into the barricade, rolls him into the ring, charges him in the corner, tosses him back out of the ring, flies out after him, rolls him back into the ring, floors him and beats him down before a surprise kick from Storm and interference from Roode finally make him pause. Storm hits a Knee Drop for two and goes for the Chin Lock. Hernandez powers out, but Storm takes him back down with a High Knee for two. He tries to kick Hernandez's head, but Super-Mex reverses it into an Electric Chair Drop. They both get back to their feet, and that doesn't bode well for Storm. After a couple of clotheslines, an ugly looking Dragon Suplex-like thing gets two. Hernandez sets Storm up for a Superplex, but Jacqueline interferes. Storm reverses into an Inverted Tornado DDT, but it only gets two. Hernandez gets up and looks for a Border Toss, but Roode interferes. Hernandez knocks Roode off the apron, and turns around just in time to catch Storm with a Sit Out Power Bomb for three.

[Commercial Break]

Jim Cornette has got a mic by the announce table. He announces that next week we'll get Hernandez vs. Robert Roode, and Gail Kim vs. Awesome Kong in a Street Fight. Samoa Joe will be defending his title at No Surrender in a Fatal Four Way, with the challengers qualifying on Impact over the next three weeks. The first qualifier will be Roode vs. Booker T next week.

(7) AJ STYLES defeats KURT ANGLE

You can win this match by pin fall or points, with three two-minute periods. Angle nails a Single Leg Takedown for two points. He gets up smirking. A leg-trip gets two more. A Hip Toss gets him another two. AJ goes for Angle's legs, but Kurt just brushes him off as the first period ends 6-0. Kurt goes for a German Suplex, but AJ reverses it into a Victory Roll for a two count. The takedown gets two, as does the count. Angle comes back with another takedown for two points. Angle goes for a Single Leg Takedown, but AJ reverses it into something like a Small Package for a two count for four points. The second round ends 8-8. In the third period, Kurt goes for a leg, but AJ gets behind him. Angle hits an elbow behind the ref's back, and gets a Gut Wrench for two points. Angle locks in a Front Chancery to kill time. AJ reverses it into a Northern Lights Suplex, but it takes out the referee. Angle, quick to take advantage, nails a clothesline. With sixteen seconds left the lights go out and Sting's music hits. When they come back on Angle's holding a black baseball bat. Before he can use it, the lights go down again, and this time Jarrett's music hits. They come back on again, and AJ's standing behind Angle with a guitar, which he promptly uses. The ref comes to just in time to count the three, though I'm pretty confident that all must have taken more than sixteen seconds. Security gives AJ "his" gold medal.

Where We're Going: First off, I'm going to go out on a limb and make a universal generalization—I'm going to guess that the word "rape" and its conjugates will never be good to bring up in the context of a professional wrestling broadcast. As I've said, Bashir has a fine line to walk, but getting booed will be incredibly easy anyway, so there's no need to bust out anything even the slightest bit over the top. In fact, the less heelish they make him, the better the character will work. As Mick Foley has so rightly pointed out, it needs to be plausible that a heel believes everything he does is right.

Star of the Night: Hernandez. Whatever "it" is, he's got it.

Overall: This was a pretty good show. In general, I don't like being toyed with, as it tends to get annoying: there's a certain point where ambiguity is just a mask for bad writing. For tonight though, I enjoyed the give and take. There weren't any real matches to sink one's teeth into, but I don't mind that so much, and the final contest should help allay the concerns of some purists. I was amused. A-


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