TV REPORTS WILKENFELD'S TNA IMPACT REPORT 9/3: Ongoing (not quite) "virtual time" coverage of Spike TV broadcast
Sep 3, 2009 - 10:00:04 PM
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By: Daniel Wilkenfeld, PWTorch Contributor
Where We've Been: Last week's Impact made me think a lot about the "Towelie" episode of South Park. Whenever anything important would happen, Towelie would get high and just sort of wander off. That's how Impact felt last week. Two weeks ago, Morgan was clearly preparing some intricate mind game for Kurt Angle. Last week, he just sort of wandered off. Two weeks ago, Sting was going to guide AJ Styles through a turning point in his career. Last week AJ and Sting just sort of wandered off. Also, the episode made me really wish I had an Otaku Game Sphere to play. Thankfully the next day the Xbox 360 dropped its price, so at least if tonight's episode is weak, I have a backup plan.
The Show: Last Chance to Surrender
Tonight we'll see Homicide vs. Hernandez and AJ Styles vs. Sabin, Suicide vs. Doug Williams, and Sting vs. Rhino as part of a tournament to get a title shot at No Surrender. Didn't anyone tell them that all you had to do was ask Dixie Carter nicely?
We see the brackets for the tournament. As far as relevant people go, Hernandez is on the same side as Sting, both of whom are opposite AJ Styles. Not that I think those are the only people who should be relevant, of course.
(1) STING vs. RHINO
At least they're putting Rhino out of his misery early. Tenay says that we're doing both rounds tonight, which is cool. Taz tries to make sense of the fact that Rhino's in this match despite being already booked at No Surrender. It doesn't go well. Sting starts things off with a quick whip into the corner and a couple of Stinger Splashes. He kicks Rhino's legs out from under him, and holy shit, that's the Scorpion Death Lock. He reaches the ropes. I'm actually surprised it didn't end there—they really enjoy burying Rhino. Rhino comes back with a shoulder block in the corner. He hits some strikes to the kidneys and abdomen. Rhino works the Body Scissors, out of which Sting powers. Rhino comes up punching and chopping. Sting reverses a whip into the corner, but whiffs on the Stinger Splash and bounces back into a Belly-to-Belly Suplex. Rhino goes for a Gore, but Sting sidesteps and hits the Scorpion Death Drop. It's over.
WINNER: Sting in four minutes. At least I don't have to change my "poor Rhino" catch phrase.
After the match Rhino Gores Sting. I guess Rhino's the heel in his feud? And he's the heel against Lashley? I'm not really sure why. He keeps working over Sting with some more strikes. Slick Johnson tries to send Rhino to the back, but Rhino just hits another Gore. More refs come out to help deal with Rhino. He raises his hands in victory. A trainer checks on Sting.
The TNA trainers are taping Sting's ribs. AJ is checking on him. Are they going to job out Homicide to an injured Sting?
Booker is in his locker room, intent on going ballistic on Matt Morgan. Angle says to back off—Morgan is his project, and Booker just set him off last week. Booker espies Kip James, who's installing a phone line. How did he get there without Booker noticing? Booker points out that he has a cell phone, and no one needs a land line anymore. He looks at Kip with contempt, since he used to be somebody. Kip looks like he's about to start something, but Kurt once again calms Booker down. Steiner comes in. They're painting the MEM locker room, so he's crashing in Booker's crib.
Alex Shelley comes out to join the commentary booth. Taz thanks him for the tissue holder. Shelley takes AJ's fireworks as an opportunity to remind us all of that time TNA set a building on fire.
(2) CHRIS SABIN vs. AJ STYLES
AJ and Sabin trade Arm Drags to start, then Head Scissors. AJ eventually shoots Sabin off and nails his high dropkick. Sabin rolls to the outside. AJ comes after him with a Baseball Slide, but Sabin gets back into the ring and comes back out with a Twisting Leg Scissors on AJ. It's really very impressive. He hoists AJ up and into the barricade before rolling him back into the ring. AJ creates some distance, but Sabin follows him with a running knee. Taz says that this kind of wrester is why he came to TNA. AJ catches an attempted kick from Sabin and whips his leg out from under him. He connects with a couple big clotheslines. Sabin Back Body Drops him out to the apron, but AJ just comes back with a Flying Forearm for two. AJ looks for a Styles Clash, but it's reversed into a Victory Roll for two. Sabin tries to come back with the Cradle Shock. AJ fights it off and puts Sabin on the top rope. Sabin tries to come back with a Tornado DDT, but AJ catches him and reverses it into a Gut Wrench Suplex. Sabin comes back fighting; AJ looks for his Float Over Inverted DDT in the corner, but Sabin reverses it into a Snapmare and hits a high boot in the corner. Sabin tries to hit a Slingshot Flying Forearm of his own, but AJ dodges and nails the Pele. AJ follows up with the Styles Clash for the kill.
WINNER: AJ Styles in six minutes. Remember when TNA used to have this sort of match as their staple? Those were good days. Shelley gives Taz his MCMG dog tag.
Lauren is in the back with Hernadnez, who she suggests must have mixed feelings about his match tonight. He questions the "random" lottery that put him against Homicide in the first round, but he made a vow to become the first Latino TNA Champion and he's sticking to it. Eric Young comes by, and he doesn't by the randomness of the brackets either. He also came to the US with eyes on the prize, but eventually realized that the American Dream is reserved for Americans. Tonight he'll show Hernadnez that they're cut from the same cloth, and that they're really familia. So that's how they send Homicide on to job to Sting—wacky EY interference.
Here's Daniels in the ring with a mic. I can't remember if this was filmed before or after his DUI, but since TNA has demonstrated no willingness to hold any of its wrestlers to any standard whatsoever, I guess it doesn't really matter. He calls Joe down to the ring for a face-to-face before their title match. Joe obliges. The crowd thinks he sucks. Daniels said that he did not expect a title match between them happening under these circumstances. He remembers a time when TNA revolved around the X Division, and the X Division revolved around Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, and Daniels. What made that even more special was that he knew the three of them came up together, travelled together, and worked together. Remember how that feud started with Joe beating Daniels to a bloody pulp and carrying around the bloody towel for months? They didn't seem so friendly then. Daniels reminds Joe of their main-eventing Unbreakable 2005. That was the night that we learned that the names "Daniels" and "Styles" and "Joe" were synonymous with wrestling excellence, and that was the night that they realized that TNA was the future of wrestling. Joe is bored, so he starts to go to the back, since he has things to do. Daniels asks what those things are—sipping Cristal with Booker T and doing push-ups with Steiner? The truth is the other MEM members are afraid of Joe, since he beat them all. That's why they bought him off. Nash told us all that months ago—I don't know why Daniels thinks it's a peek behind the curtain. Daniels says that the rest of the boys in the back think Joe's a sell out, and that his wife and son must also. Daniels looks to Taz for a rejoinder. Turning his back on Joe was not Daniels's best idea, as Joe takes him down with a Tazplex.
Lauren is in the back with Matt Morgan. She questions whether Morgan really wants to play head games with Kurt Angle, since Angle's the expert at those. Morgan asks who is playing mind games. He just had another rookie mistake last week when he thought Steiner and Booker were going to set him up last week. Things are great between him and the MEM, and even better between him and Kurt Angle—nothing will come between them. He's sure Kurt has his back just like he has Kurt's. He suddenly gets a serious tone of voice and says the he can't wait to step into the ring at No Surrender.
(3) DOUG WILLIAMS vs. SUICIDE
Suicide and Williams do a bit of chain wrestling to start, trading wrist locks, hammerlocks, etc. Williams eventually connects with a kick to Suicide's head. He tries to leapfrog him, but gets caught in an Oklahoma Roll for what looked a lot like 3 but wasn't. Williams shoots off Suicide into the ropes and catches him in a Back Drop. He hits a fairly brutal looking knee to Suicide's head, then chokes him against the ropes. Williams then locks in some sort of Chicken Wing/Neck Vise. A Knee Drop gets two. Williams goes for a Suplex, but Suicide lands on his feet. He gets in a few shots before Williams gets him back down with a Spinning Elbow for two. He follows up with a straight punch and a choke. A Snap Suplex gets two. He hits a high knee in the corner, but when he goes to follow up from the top rope Suicide jump kicks him down. Suicide gets up first and connects with a series of right hands. Williams dodges a charge, but Suicide jumps onto the middle rope and comes back with a dropkick. He hits his wacky Reverse Neck Breaker, and D'Angelo Dinero decides that this would be a good time to hit ringside. Suicide goes to the top rope, and decides to go after Dinero first with a Cross Body Block. Unfortunately he walks back into Williams's one awesome move, the Rolling German Suplex, for three.
WINNER: Doug Williams in seven minutes. This might have been Williams's best outing, not that he's had many as a singles star.
JB is in the back with Sting. He says that the doctors are saying he has two or three cracked ribs. He questions whether Sting should be competing in this condition, especially when he's… He seems hesitant to finish, so Sting does it for him. He's not in his prime. But for that reason, how many more title shots does JB think he's going to get? He knows this is one of his last chances, and he knows the end is near.
Lauren is in the back with the Beautiful People. She asks if they know who Madison Rayne's mystery partner will be next week. She also trades some insults with Velvet Sky. Sky points out that they don't care who Rayne's partner is, cause they'll just kill them anyway. Love says that what would really help them would be for Lauren to shut up, since they no speak-y ugly. She also suggests that Lauren partner with Rayne next week, so that she can finally get the ass-kicking she so richly deserves.
(4) SOJO BOLT & HAMADA vs. CHRISTY HEMME & TARA
The heels come out separately. The faces come out to Tara's music and a mixed video. I wonder who's staying a team for more than five minutes? Hamada and Victoria lock up to start. Hamada has some fan base—I wonder if that's support for her father or that Moonsault last week? Tara rolls through with a bridge for two. She and Hamada trade covers and do the stand-off-of-even-matched-ness, but they didn't hit the covers that well so they only get some courtesy applause. Hamada hits a cheap shot. Tara whips her into the corner, but she comes back with a beautiful Spring Board Moonsault for two. Both women tag out. Christy hits a standing FFG for two, so Sojo tags right back out. Tenay and Taz argue over whether it's okay to say "crotch" on TV. Sadly that's more interesting than the match thus far.
We come back just in time to see Christy get between Hamada's legs to make the tag to Tara. Sojo tags in as well, so that Tara can floor her with a couple of clotheslines and a kick that Hamada breaks up at two. Christy deals with the interfering Hamada with an Inverted DDT while Tara finishes off Sojo with the Widow's Peak.
WINNER: Tara & Christy. DUD.
After the match Hamada glares at Poison, then decides that it's a better idea to hit Bolt with a Hamada Driver. Thus starts the most boring feud ever.
JB is walking around backstage with Kurt Angle. He suggests that Morgan is working him. Kurt says that no one works him—he's the master manipulator. He and Morgan will be working together, since Morgan needs him. Speaking of Morgan, here he is. He says that of course he'll be teaming with Kurt at No Surrender—just like they teamed at Hard Justice and just like he teamed with Booker T and Steiner last week before he lost his temper. That was his bad. Kurt asks if he's screwing with him. Morgan points out that it would be career suicide to screw with Kurt Angle, and says that when it's down to the two of them at No Surrender it'll be no questions asked. I don't know what that was supposed to mean.
(5) HOMICIDE vs. HERNANDEZ
I really don't want them to turn Homicide, though I guess if it led to a push it'd be okay. They share a handshake to start. They lock up, which doesn't go well for Homicide. He signals that he forgot that Hernandez is twice his size. Hernandez takes him over for a Back Drop, but he lands on his feet and nails some quick strikes. He looks for a Sunset Flip, but Hernandez lifts him up by the throat. Homicide fights it for a second, but he eventually connects with the Cracker Jack. He tries to follow up with the Border Toss, but Homicide reverses it with a dropkick to the knee then slams Hernandez head first into the mat. He tries to follow up with strikes in the corner, but Hernandez powers out. Homicide takes the leg out again, and stands on it a bit. Homicide hits a couple of shoulder blocks, then goes back to exclusively targeting the left leg. He tries to finish off Hernandez with a Tornado DDT, but Hernandez places Homicide back in the corner and hits the Overhead Belly-to-Belly Suplex. Homicide comes off the ropes, but Hernandez catches him with some sort of Front Slam whose name I forget.
WINNER: Hernandez in four minutes. They tried to make this look plausible, but Hernandez doesn't quite have the art of selling for a little guy down yet. Is Hernandez actually getting to a main event, or is the EY wackiness still to come?
After the match Hernandez extends his hand. Homicide takes it, and they share a hug.
Lauren is in the back with The British Invasion. Doug Williams calls AJ one of the best wrestlers in the world, but Williams thinks he's just a bit better. He claims that he'll give the fans what they want to see—no Rob, no Brutus, and no tricks.
JB is in the locker room with AJ, who says that his confidence is 100% back. AJ says that every man has to hit rock bottom before rising from the ashes. That's some good metaphor mixing. But now he's bounced back, and he will defeat Doug Williams tonight and win the main event at No Surrender.
Kurt Angle joins the commentary booth.
(6) DOUG WILLIAMS vs. AJ STYLES
Kurt, on commentary, acknowledges that it's in his interests for Williams to win. I like that he's not playing the generic "take-all-comers" card. Oh wait, I guess the match isn't starting yet.
AJ and Williams lock up to start, but neither gains an advantage. AJ gets a single leg takedown. We get our second round of chain wrestling of the night. Williams gets an ankle takedown. He looks for a Bow and Arrow, but AJ reverses into a quick cover for two. They get up brawling, but Williams stops it with a side headlock. AJ shoots him off, but Williams stops his momentum with another side headlock. AJ finally gets away, hits a Body Slam, a Knee Drop for two, and…an Indian Death Lock? Who knew he knew that move? Williams gets out, and they get up brawling. AJ dodges a charge in the corner, but when he tries to come back off the top rope Williams catches him and drops him into a European Uppercut. Williams locks in a head scissors and pounds his head into the mat. Does anyone know where I've seen that sequence before? It's annoyingly familiar. They get up brawling again, but crack heads. It did not look especially intentional, but they both look fine. They get up brawling yet again. Williams comes off the ropes, and right into the high dropkick from AJ. He rolls out of the ring, and AJ follows him out with a Somersault Plancha. AJ rolls him back in, but the cover only gets two. AJ locks in…a Torture Rack? Did I miss a memo about New Move Day? He transitions into a Neck Breaker for two. He sets Williams up on the top rope, but Williams shoves him back to the mat and comes off the top with a Corkscrew Elbow for two. Williams unloads with a flurry of impactful strikes but walks right into a 360 Degree Clothesline. AJ looks for a Styles Clash, Williams goes behind and looks for the Rolling German, but AJ gets to the turnbuckle and floats over into the Inverted DDT for game.
WINNER: AJ Styles in seven minutes. I think this would have been a good match if the conclusion had not been foregone—it's hard to tell. As it was it just felt dull.
After the match JB gets another word with AJ Styles. He's excited, and says that no one's gonna stop him—not even himself. This was not his best day on the mic.
Lauren is in the back with Team 3D and Jesse Neil, and she wants to know why. Ray says that she might be pretty, but that she sometimes asks weird questions. Team 3D are wrestling heroes to fans around the world, but Jesse's a real hero. He dedicated his whole career to his fallen friend, and Rhino knew that. What he did was leave him lying, and for whaat? Because he wasn't a superstar overnight? Because he wasn't the toughest wrestler overnight? Rhino wasn't tough overnight either. Ray used to beat the crap out of him fifteen years ago. Now Neal is going to the Team 3D Academy, where he'll learn to be a war machine. For now, he is under the protection of Team 3D. Lauren shifts focus to the tag division. Devon says that they haven't lost their focus. They'll be taking out The British Invasion tonight, and reclaiming the TNA Tag Team Championships at No Surrender. Ray finally gave me a reason to consider Rhino the heel in this feud. Good for him.
(7) HERNANDEZ vs. STING
Hernandez hits shoulder blocks to Sting to start, but then backs off and asks the ref to check on him. Sting comes back with a side headlock. He ducks below an attempted clothesline, hits a series of strikes, and then lands a dropkick. He lands on his ribs though, and writhes in pain. Hernandez doesn't seem sure what to do. Eventually he decides to go with flow and attacks the ribs. Hebner warns him off, but I'm not sure why. Hernandez Pounces Sting across the ring, so Sting rolls out of the ring for a breather. "Homicide" runs down to ringside and attacks Sting with a baton, costing Hernandez the match by DQ.
WINNER: Sting by disqualification, in two minutes.
Taz, not being a moron, notes that "Homicide" is white and missing his tattoos. It is, not surprisingly, Eric Young.
Hernandez is still in the ring, mic in hand. He's tired of EY's games, and calls him down to the ring to settle things once and for all. While Hernadnez waits for Young the rest of World Elite try to ambush him. All fail miserably, till Rob Terry gets him from behind. AJ runs down to make the save. World Elite attack evil-ninja style, till they realize that's a bad idea and pile on. Okay, we know Team 3D are coming out…but Beer Money beat them to it. That's finally enough to clear the ring. EY signals that they don't need Hernandez anyway as World Elite back up the ramp. Team 3D's music hits, and they cut off World Elite's retreat. Young, also not being a moron, realizes that space is 3-dimensional and runs off to the side. Hernandez chases him. The rest of World Elite stupidly get caught between Team 3D, Beer Money, and AJ Styles. The crowd wants tables. Ray drops an elbow on Bashir, then Back Body Drops him halfway to the lights. He Body Slams him, and they hit him with a Wuzzap? Remember when Bashir was X Division Champion? Anyway, they get a table to put him through. Booker T and Steiner amble down to the ring to make the save. Ray eats a T-Bone from Steiner, and Devon gets a Bookend. Beer Money try to come help out, but they in turn are stopped by World Elite. Roode gets hit with Williams's European Elbow off the top rope. That might be the dumbest move in pro-wrestling—all his momentum's directed a different direction from the vector of impact. Steiner and Booker T put James Storm through a table. The heels celebrate in the ring.
Where We're Going: After an all-night tournament, we end up with the two people advancing into the main event who we all figured were going to anyway. At least it made more sense than Dixie Carter adding more people to the title match by fiat. The people in the No Surrender title picture are all doing a moderately-decent sell, so there's some hope things will pick up in the near future. For now, they're not going well.
Star of the Night: Raven, for having been laid off (or possibly quitting) before this week.
Overall: I'm actually curious whether people who only read the recap think this show was any good, because on paper it really should have been. Tournaments are fun. Knockout matches are fun. Massive brawls are sometimes fun. Somehow, tonight, everything (outside of Sabin vs. Styles) just fell flat. It didn't help things that the one person who could not possibly win had a shot against AJ Styles (to his credit, Williams really tried to earn it). Overall though, everything just had a feel of going through the motions. This was exemplified by the show ending brawl. Attack, save, lather, rinse, repeat. There was just nothing there—no emotion. I looked back, and the most interesting thing to happen in the second hour was a Matt Morgan promo. Despite his recent strides, that is still not a good sign. To give some credit where it's due, teasing the Homicide heel turn before the EY-as-Homicide run-in was a clever way trick the audience, even if only for (literally) about three seconds. D+
Daniel is a graduate instructor at The Ohio State University. Information regarding who else has done that Leg Scissors/Face Plant thing can be sent to him at email@example.com
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