TV REPORTS WILKENFELD'S TNA IMPACT REPORT 7/16: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of Spike TV broadcast
Jul 16, 2009 - 8:18:01 PM
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By: Daniel Wilkenfeld, PWTorch Contributor
Where We've Been: TNA has lots of feuds going, exactly zero of which will be represented at this Sunday's PPV. Foley-Angle, which maybe could have been sold as a dream match, has been treated as an afterthought and devalued by Foley's subpar performances at the last few PPVs. Also, heel-heel feuds are notoriously difficult to do well, and Foley was a mostly-heel as of like four hours ago. The show might still be decent, especially if the X Division does their old job of bailing the rest of the card out, but I'm guessing the buy rates will not make TNA execs happy.
The Show: On the Road to Victory
Mick comes out to the ring. He feels naked without the belt. He knows that the last thing any of us want is to see Mick naked, so he'll do his best to win it back on Sunday. The title is more than just a piece of hardware, since, as we all know, as goes the champion so goes TNA. When Kurt won the title at the King of the Mountain Match—without ever really beating Mick—the company started to go a different direction. Mick knows it's not generally the place of the challenger to ask favors of the champion, but he's going to do so here. He asks Kurt to come down to the ring unaccompanied, and Kurt complies. Mick reminds Kurt of how he made fun of Mick for crying when he lost the title. Mick wears his heart on his sleeve, so that kind of hurt, but he knew Kurt was playing mind games, so he let it slide. Then they had him wrapped in barbed wire, and he knew they could have torn him to shreds, but they didn't—he knew Kurt was playing more mind games, so he let it slide. But last week, when Mick Foley was in the Angle Lock and was clearly yelling "no no no" Kurt's hand-picked referee Eric Young claimed he'd tapped out. Mick's lost a lot of things over the years, but he's no quitter—he remembers the last time he tapped out 18 years ago to Dory Funk Jr., and it still makes him sick. Mick knows he'll be up against not just the greatest wrestler today, but possibly the greatest of all time. He might not have what it takes to win, but Kurt should not expect him to tap out. As to favor #2, Mick appreciates that Kurt came out alone to the ring tonight, and wants him to show that same respect on Sunday. He'll leave his security in the back, Kurt'll leave behind the MEM, and they'll see who the real TNA champion is. Kurt says that the reason he runs with the Mafia is that they believe in the same things, which, ironically, Mick believes in too. It's not just about the money. Kurt's sick of all these young punks who get paid too much and then take the night off because of a blister. Kurt points out that Mick knows what it's like to work hurt day in and day out. These kids are trying to change the business, and the MEM is fighting for it to be what it always was. Kurt's fighting a battle for Mick and Jeff and TNA. Kurt sounds almost like a face for a moment, which apparently is enough to draw out the Stinger. He hits the entranceway, skeptical about what he just heard. It's the same bull Kurt fed him when he first persuaded him to join the MEM, but it was really all about the money and the backstabbing. Mick right when he says the direction of TNA will be determined Sunday—Sting will be busy with his own agenda, taking Joe and his "handler" up one side and down the other. But that's Sunday, and Sting wants a favor from Mick tonight. One last time, in that ring, he wants Kurt Angle. Mick starts to respond hesitatingly, but Kurt cuts him off. He says that Mick says yes, and not only that, but he's adding a tweak—it'll be in the six sides of steel. Kurt is almost literally foaming at the mouth. That was a really good segment, both setting up the feud for the PPV and laying the groundwork for Sting-Angle.
Tonight we'll see the Six Sides of Steel, Amazing Red vs. Samoa Joe, the debut of Sarita, and the MEM vs. Beer Money & AJ Styles. I know a lot of folk don't like unannounced matches, but I much prefer retaining the feel that anything can happen—even Sting-Angle in a cage. This was a solid opening.
In the back, Joe is tossing Amazing Red around. Don West says that clearly Red must have done something to provoke Joe.
(1) SAMOA JOE vs. AMAZING RED
Joe is still beating down Red, knocking him all the way down the ramp with a Superkick. West talks about how Red's always been a smart ass. Joe flips Red over with a Decapitator Clothesline then rolls him into the ring. Joe lays in with stomps in the corner. The ref tries to pull him off, so Joe knocks him across the ring. That's enough to draw the DQ.
WINNER: Amazing Red in about 45 seconds. I'd object to the beating, but I'll just take an Amazing Red victory over Samoa Joe.
Joe hits a Muscle Buster on Red and continues the beat down. Three members of TNA security hit the ring with nightsticks, but they seem a lot more scared then Joe. He makes them jump a little, then just leaves.
Joe tells us to cross the line, and that he will become.
Lauren is in the back with Sarita, who's been preparing for her debut tonight for a long time. She'll be wrestling another newcomer, Alissa Flash, but neither she nor Lauren knows anything about Flash is. How awesome would it be if they debuted Trish Stratus that way, after weeks of hyping Sarita? Yeah, I know it's just some jobber. Sarita says something in Spanish. If I'm not mistaken, it had something to do with playing my chicken…I'm probably mistaken.
We recap the Sharmell-Jenna "feud." I don't know why either. It will be worth it though if Sharmell's willing to take an Awesome Bomb at Victory Road. Earlier today Don West had a sit down with Sharmell, Sojourner Truth, Jenna Morasca, Raesha Saeed, and Awesome Kong. West points out that from his perspective, Sharmell's the instigator here. Why did Sharmell get her claws out right away? Sharmell says it should be obvious. She was the first, and only, woman in the Main Even Mafia, and suddenly some skinny-ass white girl comes in, disrespects her place, and never even apologizes. West turns to Jenna and says that first, yes, she could put on a few pounds. Okay, that was kind of awesome. She points out that she was invited into the MEM locker room by Kevin Nash, and acted like a lady—she just didn't have a lady to deal with. West notes that Sharmell has an obvious advantage in being married to Booker T—she clearly knows her way around the ring. Jenna mutters that she knows the way around a lot more than that, but West calms everyone down when tempers flare. Sharmell starts talking about the Booker T Academy. Jenna says something about a cheap hoe, and everyone jumps up. West calms everyone down again. He respects how Jenna won Survivor (Jenna says that Sharmell wouldn't have lasted one day in the Amazon), but doesn't know how she thinks she can defeat Sharmell. She says the answer's simple, and points to Awesome Kong. That makes Sojourner Bolt angry, and this time West can't make people happy.
Suicide is preparing for his match, apparently by sitting in a cage.
JB is in the back with Kurt Angle, who he says he probably knows pretty well. Angle seems annoyed to have to say yes. JB runs over their time together, then says that he doesn't understand what Angle's thinking with tonight's main event. He wants to know what Kurt is up to. Kurt laughs off the question—he only wants to prove to Sting and everyone else that he's the real icon in TNA. JB wants to know if Kurt has any final thoughts on his match Sunday. Kurt says that Mick was absolutely right when he says that the future of TNA depends entirely on Victory Road, and for the MEM to take control they'll have to win "all the titles." Kurt counts the Legends' Title but not the X Division Championship? That's sad. Kurt says that after they win all three of their title matches, next week even JB will be calling him boss. I could be wrong, but I think he already called Kurt boss while he was a de facto member of the Angle Alliance.
(2) CHRIS SABIN (w/ALEX SHELLEY) vs. SUICIDE
Suicide just walks in through the crowd—his entrances really are getting lazier and lazier. Soon he'll be coming down to the ring on a beer cart with James Storm. He starts things off with an Arm Drag on Sabin, but Sabin comes back with one of his own. They trade quick chops, Suicide flips over Sabin's back, takes him to the mat, and locks in a modified arm bar. Sabin flips him over, but Suicide keeps his grip. Sabin gets to his feet, but Suicide drives off the corner turnbuckle and still maintains the hold. Eventually Sabin gets to the ropes. Shelley grabs Suicide's legs from the outside—Suicide stomps on his fingers, but the distraction is enough for Sabin to hit a driving dropkick. Sabin takes Suicide over to the ropes—Shelley goes for the mask, then gives up and just kicks Suicide in the head. A cover gets two. Sabin tries to hit a Flying Forearm off the top rope, but Suicide dodges and comes back with a series of clotheslines and his weird Spinning Inverted DDT. Sabin rolls to the apron, but Suicide slingshots him back in and Diamond Cutters him in mid-air for a long two count. Suicide whiffs on a clothesline, and Sabin takes him down with an Ensuguri. Sabin comes off the ropes. Suicide catches him in an Oklahoma Roll and flips over the top rope onto Shelley in one smooth motion. As he comes into the ring though, Sabin catches him with a Roll of the Dice Neck Breaker for two. Suicide blocks an attempted Cradle Shock, but eats a high kick to the face. Sabin puts him in a Tree of Woe, but when he goes for the Hesitation Dropkick Suicide blocks it and drives his head into the middle turnbuckle. He hits the Suicide Solution and it's over.
WINNER: Suicide in five minutes. This was an awesome match, though it again makes one wonder about the decision making abilities of whoever took away from this to push Sharmell-Jenna.
After the match Shelley attacks from behind. Sabin gets a steel chair. As Shelley puts him in a Surfboard Sabin slides the chair under his chin and Leg Drops Suicide onto it from the top rope. Homicide runs down and wards off the Motor City Machine Guns with his briefcase. He notices the belt, and suddenly seems to remember that the briefcase he's holding entitles him to an X Division Championship match at any time of his choosing. He toys with both the briefcase and the belt for a moment, then calls for a bell.
(3) HOMICIDE vs. SUICIDE X Division Championship Match
Homicide goes for a quick cover, but Suicide kicks out at two. Suicide comes back with right hands, but he stumbles. That's enough of a window for Homicide to nail The Gringo Killer, and no one kicks out of that.
WINNER (and NEW X Division Champion): Homicide in 1 minute. Remember how I said I liked the feeling that anything can happen? This was a work of art.
The Beautiful People are walking around in the back. Angelina Love is in a beekeeper's suit.
Lauren is in the back with Homicide. I'm still excited, and so is he. She wants to know if the way he won it is a bit questionable. He says that he didn't make the rules, he just used them. He invites "Snowflake" to drink some tequilas with him to celebrate. She begs off—he acts offended that she won't date a Latino, then laughs, says it's cool, and grabs her hand anyway. He gives a shout-out to Brooklyn, then leads Lauren away by the hand.
The Beautiful People hit the ring. Somehow the beekeeper's suit is still almost skintight. Love says that she put in a complaint to "PETER" for a certain Knockout's use of an animal. Tara is an ugly freak, and there's not enough room for her in TNA. She should also know that The Beautiful People do not recognize Tara as champion. It wasn't a recognized match last week, since there was no contract. However, Love will give her another official shot at the title on Sunday. Tara hits the entranceway, and points out that the name on the belt indicates she is the official champion. If they don't believe it, she'll prove it again in their rematch Sunday. As for Poison, they shouldn't worry about her. Poison only likes dark places. For example, earlier today Tara snuck into the Beautiful People's dressing room and decided that Love's new beekeeper suit would be a perfect place for Poison to take a nap. Love starts freaking out, but Tara recommends she doesn't move around too much—if she barks, Poison bites. She starts barking a bit, and Love starts rolling around on the canvas. Tara runs into the ring and hits her with a quick Widow's Peak. I seriously don't get why she's the face here.
(4) SARITA vs. ALISSA FLASH
Alissa is not, in fact, Trish Stratus, though she does have her own music. She also has a bit of personality, as she insists that she wants to be known as "The Future Legend". Sarita is listed as originally from Winnipeg, so I can only assume that she's one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. Flash spits her gum at Sarita and comes after her with punches to start. Sarita comes back with some chops to the chest, and—(deep breath): climbs from the middle rope to the top rope, jumps 180 degrees around while on the top rope, then comes back down with a huge Arm Drag. Hole. E. Shit. She dropkicks Flash out to the floor and follows her out with a Suicide Dive. The crowd is pleased. As Sarita tries to take Flash back into the ring, Flash shoves her into the ring post and Body Slams her onto the canvas. She breaks up the count ref's ten count, then kicks Sarita into the guardrail. She rolls Sarita into the ring and lays in with some stomps. She hits another Body Slam, which barely gets a two count. Sarita comes up firing with quick punches to the abdomen. Flash shoves her back into the corner, climbs to the top rope and kicks Sarita a few times in the side of the head. The commentators note how this was supposed to be Sarita's big debut, but apparently Flash had other ideas. She tries to whip Sarita into the corner, but Sarita jumps to the top and comes back with a Cross Body Block for two. Flash stops her rally with a quick Decapitator Clothesline, then uses Sarita's own arms to choke her. She goes for a couple of hip tosses, but Sarita lands on her feet and goes for a Rolling Arm Bar. Wow. Flash locks her arms and breaks it up. She looks for a Bow and Arrow, but settles for a stomp to Sarita's back that gets two. Flash sets up for a Vertical Suplex, Sarita reverses into an attempted Backslide, but Flash re-verses into a Back Drop for two. Sarita gets up fighting. She goes for a Mysterio-style Wheelbarrow Face Plant, but it's reversed into a straight Wheelbarrow Toss that whacks her head against the top turnbuckle. Sarita again kicks out at two. Flash looks for a Pile Driver, but it's reversed into a Victory Roll for the 1-2-3.
WINNER: Sarita in six minutes. That was only six minutes long, with two people we've never seen, one who we've never heard of…and was quite possible the best Impact match in months. I am pleasantly surprised. **1/2
After the match Sarita goes for a handshake, but Flash just nails her with her finisher. It's apparently a Power Slam, not a Pile Driver—my bad. That might have just been the most unexpected debut since Taylor Wilde last year—simply incredible.
Lauren is in the back with AJ Styles. I guess the tequilas didn't go well. She can't imagine what he's going through, since he still has issues with Joe, has a tag team match today along with a team he doesn't even know he can trust, and has a Legends' Championship defense against Kevin Nash on Sunday. He agrees that everything she said is true. He draws attention to Nash's promo about his history in the business, changing companies. Well he did change them—for the worse. TNA was better off without him. For Nash it's all about the money, but AJ swears to G-d he'd wrestle for free, for the love of the game. Well, on Sunday night Kevin Nash cashes his last paycheck. I just realized—AJ might not be the best promo artist in the world, but he might very well be the most underrated. He can always make a feud, even when there's really nothing there (as in this case).
(5) KEVIN NASH (w/JENNA MORASCA), SCOTT STEINER, & BOOKER T (w/SHARMELL) vs. BEER MONEY INC. & AJ STYLES Tag Team Elimination Match
I guess the crowd agrees with me regarding AJ's promo, as they're going nuts for him from the moment he comes out. Steiner starts things off with an arm wrench on AJ, which he segues into a side headlock. AJ shoots him off, but Steiner comes back with a shoulder block. Steiner comes off the ropes again, but this time is floored by a back elbow. AJ hits a standing Knee Drop, and tags in Robert Roode. Steiner whips Roode into the corner, but Roode floats over him, knocks him down, and nails the Throwback. Booker T tags in, but walks immediately into a Drop Toe Hold. Storm tags in, and he and Roode hit the Beer Money Suplex on Booker. Nash and AJ tag in. Beer Money tee off on Nash for a second, which enables AJ to nail a big Flying Forearm. Steiner and Booker both break up the count at two. Beer Money and Booker & Steiner fight to the outside. In the ring, Nash hits a poke to the eye and a quick Jacknife for 3. Really? (AJ Styles ELIMINATED at 2 minutes.) Roode comes in as the next legal slam, but eats a Side Slam for two. Steiner tags in, and works over Roode with some chops and clotheslines. He hits his push-up Elbow Drop. Booker tags in, and continues working over Roode's torso with strikes. Roode ducks an attempted Leg Lariat and comes back with some punches, but then Booker reverses an attempted Back Body Drop. Booker looks for another Leg Lariat, and this time gets nothing but top-rope. As Booker tags in Steiner, Roode gets in the tag to Storm, who takes it to all three members of the MEM. He hits a Back Stabber on Steiner, but Nash breaks up the ensuing count. Storm kicks Nash in the back of the head, and Roode fights him to the outside. Storm goes to the top rope, but Booker trips him up from the outside. Steiner hits a quick Flatliner on a fallen Storm for the elimination. (James Storm is ELIMINATED at 5 minutes).
When this match started, I can honestly say that I did not expect Robert Roode to be the last man standing for his team. Roode is somehow in control when we get back. That's weird. He hits all three of his opponents with clotheslines, but eventually gets caught by a Bookend. Booker pulls him up after a two count and kicks him in the head. Steiner tags in and stomps on Roode a bit. He hits a Do-Se-Do Suplex and rests a single finger on Roode, who kicks out at two. Nash tags in and hits his high knees and elbow shots in the corner. He clotheslines Roode down to the mat and goes for a cover, but Roode kicks out at two. Booker and Steiner seem annoyed. When the ref goes to deal with them Roode nails Nash with a low blow—the ref turns around just in time to count the three. (Kevin Nash is ELIMINATED at 11 minutes). Steiner comes in and hits a quick Release Overhead Belly-to-Belly Suplex. He whiffs on an attempted Elbow Drop, but Nash grabs Roode's leg from the outside to keep him from rallying. Storm runs down to deal with Nash, but gets cut off by Matt Morgan. In the ring, Steiner and Booker whip Roode off into the ropes, but Roode ducks below them and comes back with a Double Clothesline. He ducks an attempted clothesline from Steiner, which connects to Booker. He hits Steiner with an Inverted Atomic Drop and a high dropkick, forearms Booker T down to the mat, then gets Steiner with a Neck Breaker. Booker tries to punch back, but Roode nails him with a Spine Buster that Steiner has to break up at two. Steiner sets Roode up on the top rope, but Roode fights him off and comes back with a Float Over Neck Breaker. Booker attacks and tries to hit the Axe Kick, but Roode dodges and hits a quick Pay Off. It looks like it should have three, but Sharmell has the ref distracted. Roode goes get her off the apron. He turns right into the arms of Steiner, who holds him up for Booker to nail with a high Leg Lariat for the three count.
WINNERS: The Main Event Mafia in 15 minutes. I don't even know what show I'm watching anymore. **
The MEM celebrate in the ring, but then Sharmell and Jenna quickly come to blows.
JB is in the back with Team 3D. First he pushed TNA's twitter account. He points out that Team 3D brought The British Invasion into TNA for their invitational tournament. Devon agrees that that shows ingratitude, but supposes that's just how those bitches roll on the other side of the pond. But the truth is that when you swim in it, you drown in it. I don't know what that means. They actually thought that The British Invasion had potential, with their size and skills. But they have the same problem that Beer Money did before they ran into Team 3D. They beat respect into Beer Money, and they can do it again. Ray yells about them costing Team 3D the tag team titles, and swears that they'll get revenge. The British Invasion come by, looking amused. They say that for once they agree with Team 3D about something, since they're looking forward to their match on Sunday too. In fact, they just signed the contract in Mick Foley's office, where he added one of his signature tweaks by putting the IWGA Tag Team Championship on the line. They ask Rob Terry what he thinks, and he flexes his muscles. He might just be the greatest promo artist of all time. Team 3D jump The British Invasion and security pulls them apart.
We run down the card for Victory Road.
Sting tells us to cross the line, and that he will become.
Lauren is—somewhere?—with Abyss. He's so sorry for what happened, and will never let anyone hurt her again. He then addresses Dr. Stevie, who tased him, beat him, and drugged him. That's how they treat animals. He knows, since he saw it on a documentary once. But he's not an animal; what he is is a pissed off monster. For years Dr. Stevie tried to get him to get over his lust for pain, but he failed. Abyss brings out a bag of tacks. Throughout the rest of the promo, he pulls them out one by one and drives them into his arm. Abyss doesn't need therapy anymore, and he doesn't need the white scrubs. He'll be filling one last prescription, and it's for a Dr. Stevie ass-kicking. On Sunday they'll have one last session, and this time, it's on Abyss. The tacks were incredibly creepy.
Jeff Jarrett joins the commentary booth. I can see how Jarrett, who's wrestling Eric Young Sunday, would want to comment on a match between Kurt Angle, who's wrestling Mick Foley Sunday, versus Sting, who's wrestling against Samoa Joe Sunday. I'm very confused.
(6) STING vs. KURT ANGLE Six Sides of Steel
Sting starts things off with a side headlock on Kurt. He gets shot off into the ropes, but comes back with a shoulder block. Sting and Kurt trade go-behinds, with Sting eventually getting the better of things with a gut wrench and the Front Chancery. Kurt rolls out and into a hammerlock on Sting. Sting elbows him off and starts whacking him in the corner. Kurt gets some distance and whips Sting into the opposite corner, but when he tries to follow Sting gets up a leg. He hits a quick Suplex for two. Angle gets up swinging, then drives Sting face first into the steel cage. Jarrett, on commentary, is doing a good job putting over the PPV.
I get the feeling they're testing whether these two can still main event Bound for Glory after their lackluster performance at Destination X. Angle is still tossing Sting around the cage when we get back. Those could not have been a pleasant few minutes for Sting. Kurt stomps him some in the corner, then foolishly stands him up in the middle of the ring for a punch. Sting starts firing back. Kurt charges, and Sting lifts him up and face first into the cage. Sting follows up with a Stinger Splash. He looks for a Scorpion Death Drop, but gets shoved off into the corner. He comes out of the corner firing, then bounces Kurt around the cage a few times. A cover gets what looks a lot like three. Angle goes-behind and hits a German Suplex out of nowhere, then drops the straps. He goes for an Olympic Slam, but it's reversed into an Arm Drag. Sting locks in the Scorpion Death Lock in the corner. Suddenly we cut to Samoa Joe ambushing Jeff Jarrett. He attacks the ref on the outside, steals the key to the cage, enters, then chains it shut. Sting sees what's happening and ominously looms behind Joe. Joe turns around into some punches and a Scorpion Death Lock. Suddenly the lights go out. "FTW" appears on the screen!!! When the lights come back there's a night stick in the ring, the ref is down, and Sting's in the Kokido Clutch. Jarrett and Mick Foley come down to the ring, but when they try to scale the cage they're cut off by the rest of the MEM. As the show goes off the air Foley, Sting, and Jarrett are all having their heads handed to them by the Main Event Mafia. Where We're Going: The main story that's clearly being pushed heading into Victory Road is the possibility of the Main Event Mafia winning "the the championships" (ignoring the two that put TNA on the map). That seems to imply that they'd have to win the first two to keep the story going. That doesn't quite work though, since, lest the MEM get the sweep they've been hyping, it would require Mick Foley to win the main event. That would either lead to another ill-advised Foley title reign or a cheap DQ finish, neither of which sounds promising. They could mix things up a little and put Nash vs. AJ on after Angle vs. Foley, which might serve the dual purpose of making the Legends' Championship at least appear to be less of a joke than the pink Divas' Championship.
Star of the Night: When it rains it pours. Homicide would get it any other night for his shocking X Division Title win, as would Roode for his 10 minute standoff with the MEM. Angle had stellar mic work and an above average Impact main event. I'm going to cheat though and pick two, Sarita and Alissa Flash, for elevating each other from obscurity to the top of the women's division in a single night.
Overall: Let's review: Taz was finally (unofficially) announced as debuting in TNA. Homicide won the X Division Championship. We had two multi-segment matches, both of which were at fairly good. Two women came from out of nowhere and stole the show. Abyss managed to pull off a good-creepy vibe instead of that plot line's typical creepy-creepy vibe. Even the Jenna-Sharmell business, while still a questionable use of time, was fairly well handled. I don't care what it did or didn't do for the upcoming PPV—this might just be my favorite episode of Impact, period. The lack of one marquis match on which to hang one's hat is all that keeps it from getting my first ever perfect score. A
Daniel is a graduate instructor at The Ohio State University. He really misses the feedback from the commentary section, and hopes people instead sends their thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
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