TV REPORTS D'ACHINO'S TNA IMPACT TV REPORT 4/5: New specialist covers Impact in-depth - show recap, What Worked, What Didn't Work
Apr 7, 2010 - 10:52:23 PM
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TNA Impact TV Report
April 5, 2010
"Advantage Team Flair"
Live from Orlando, Fla.
Report by Nick D'Achino, Torch Impact specialist
-First off, how does TNA title a LIVE show that hasn't taken place yet?
-Though I'm fairly certain TNA is building to a big split or swerve partnership between Hogan and Bischoff eventually, they really need to get into what exactly Eric Bischoff's motives in TNA are sooner rather than later. It's time to reveal exactly what Eric Bischoff is all about, and have it make some kind of a real 'impact' on Impact every Monday night. It needs to be something beyond booking one guy he doesn't like each week in a handicap match. It's been several months now, and we still don't know much more than the fact that he doesn't like Foley and Jarrett, and that he in general is kind of an obnoxious jerk.
Bischoff said in promos that he wants TNA to succeed, but hasn't done anything on-camera to help that cause, unless you count bringing in Shannon Moore. The storyline unfolded with Hulk Hogan being named the man responsible for bringing in all the big stars (Hardy, RVD). So what is Bischoff's role? Does he actually not want TNA to succeed? How would they possibly explain why he would want that?
When Bischoff turned heel and became a heel authority figure in WCW, his motives were very clear. He was trying to take over the promotion on a weekly basis and put over "his guys" a/k/a the NWO. Even when it became stale and they should have long ended the angle, Bischoff's motives never ceased being crystal clear. In TNA thus far, Bischoff and the writing team have positioned Bischoff's character to be nothing more than the same motiveless heel authority figure/GM types WWE has presented for years, after the success of Mr. McMahon. Yes, the same WWE that all the powers that be in TNA have been very critical of.
-The prelude to the Impact video intro tonight was Christy Hemme backstage explaining some Lock Box challenge thing. Well, she tried. The rules were simple, she said. Except they weren't. At least it's the women's division they are doing this with. According to Lacey, tonight everybody wins.
-Hulk Hogan, Abyss, and Jeff Jarrett walked out onto the stage. Together they make up Team Hogan. Taz said Eric Bischoff wouldn't be there tonight. Are Bischoff and Hogan going to take turns showing up? Tenay pleaded with fans to get on the phone and tell them Impact was on at 8:00 p.m. for this Monday night. Hogan was excited about how his team was shaping up. Abyss got the microphone, so it was time for the camera lens to get another spit shower. He did another one of those really heavy monster heel promos. I really wonder sometimes how over Abyss would be as a babyface OUTSIDE of the Impact Zone. He said he's going to punish them all over the cage, and teach them the definition of "pain and suffering." He finished off by saying Team Hogan will "KICK! YOUR! ASS!!!!" You could barely see Abyss in the camera there was so much spit accumulated by this point.
Old Man Flair was wheeled onto the stage by Chelsea. I think the wheelchair has about run its course at this point. It's time to get him out of that. Flair was with Desmond Wolfe, Sting, and Beer Money. Flair said regarding Hogan's team, "You've got to be kidding me!" Flair put over Wolfe by calling him quiet but effective, and Beer Money as "cowboys" and "bad asses," He said there's more history between he and Sting than "there is in the entire wrestling world," which doesn't exactly explain the partnership.
Jarrett told Sting to come into the ring like a man, without the baseball bat. Sting obliged. Mixed reaction for Sting from the crowd. Jarrett told Sting the fans deserved an answer to the big question. The question that was on everyone's mind: "Why, Steve, why?" Yes he called him "Steve." How many times has the WWE had someone call the Undertaker "Mark" over the years? It's probably best to protect Sting's mystique, since he is the closest thing they have to a legend similar to Undertaker. Sting chose to not take the opportunity to address the fans about why he turned heel, and instead chuckled, causing Jarrett to slap him. Sting then fired back at Jarrett, then Scorpion Death Drops him.
-Flair yelled for his team to charge the ring. Wolfe attacked Abyss with Sting's baseball bat. Beer Money and Wolfe cornered Hogan. Jeff Hardy's music played, as he and RVD were in the crowd. Someone in control of the music knew this. Yes, it was LATE SAVE time. This week it was actually unintentional as a bunch of people in the audience happened to be clogging up the aisle, not allowing Van Dam and Hardy to pass. The other funny part about that was that these "cast members" did not seem to care in the least that JEFF HARDY and ROB VAN DAM were in the crowd with them, and they were on camera. They just wanted to find their seats. This all left the heels standing there in the ring, waiting on them. Taz said these must be the two final team members. Finally, they got to the ring and cleaned house. Tenay said RVD vs. James Storm was next! Impact went to a commercial.
Good opening segment. It's good that they got the Lockdown teams out in the open early on. I feared they were going to announce the final members at the finale of the last show before Lockdown. The best part about this was that it was all centered on the Lockdown main event. The problem is that outside of this giant Lockdown main event picture, there is absolutely nothing compelling going on in TNA. This would become abundantly clear as the night went on.
1 -- ROB VAN DAM vs. JAMES STORM
The match was joined in progress. Van Dam did his usual flips and kicks offense, with Storm getting brief offense. Tenay and Taz plugged Dixie's Twitter complete with an on screen graphic, which Dixie was looking quite seductive in. Van Dam is one of those guys whose constantly flipping and spring boarding offense has always worked to me because he is clearly a showoff. Van Dam switched things up from the Frog Splash and finished him off with the Split Legged Moonsault.
WINNER: Rob Van Dam at 6:00.
STAR RATING: *1/2 -- Kind of an unexpected match, but it was decent. The crowd was really into it.
-Van Dam couldn't celebrate for long however, as James Storm unexpectedly broke a beer bottle of Van Dam's head and injured his eye. Security tended to Van Dam while Storm was pulled off of him, and Impact went to a commercial break.
-The Van Dam injury scene was still going on after commercial break. Storm mocked RVD's taunt and said "Beer-Mon-E." Jeff Hardy came out and got himself some of Storm. This caused Storm's partner Robert Roode to run down and spine buster Hardy.
-Christy Hemme was backstage with the babyface Knockouts. ODB was there this week so there is no Samoa Joe disappearance angle with her. Tara said TNA was "using her to get ratings" and that "this entire thing is a joke." Angelina Love said, "There's no such thing as fair in wrestling. Sometimes life is a BITCH and you just have to deal with it." Tara said if that's how she wants to roll, let's roll, and then walked off. OBD got on the microphone, started squeezing herself, and said there's some "PMSing" going around. She said her "box is going after the contract" and that when she wins she is going after A.J. Booty-Bam. Who? Christy tried to interview Hamada. She spoke in her native Japanese and Christy was like "what?"
2 -- ROB TERRY vs. HOMICIDE
Homicide came out with a bandanna covering his face and covered in a giant Puerto Rican flag. Remember how over LAX were as heels? Homicide was the baby face here, facing Rob Terry. On commentary, Taz and Tenay tried to label Terry was "The Freak". Not much offense for Homicide here as he got power thrown around the ring throughout the match. As his last resort he tried one of those stupid highflying moves that never work, and was promptly caught and squashed.
WINNER: Terry at 2:45. TNA is going to have to squash A LOT of guys to get this Terry guy over.
-Homicide wasn't finished yet though, as he hit the ring with a chair. He whacked Terry in the back, which jarred him, but he no sold it. Terry turned around and Homicide blasted him with a brutal chairshot to the head with the top edge of the chair. It nearly wrapped around Terry's head, but he no sold this as well bless his heart. This guy's career has Andrew "Test" Martin written all over it if he keeps allowing himself to be hit with chair shots like that. He picked Homicide up and threw him down, finally causing Homicide, who was now out of weapons, to bail.
They cut to Orlando Jordan on the stage wearing a mask, and squirting thick white lotion on his chest. At least I think it was lotion. Might have been ranch dressing. He licked some of it. Terry stared him down. Terry was bleeding from a sizeable gash caused by that chair, delivered by the guy who got squashed and bailed. They were focused on Jordan, however, acting like a weirdo on the stage, until again we cut away from Jordan prematurely before it could go anywhere. Time to explain that character as well probably. If they decide to just drop it entirely however, I will not take issue with them whatsoever over it.
3 -- TARA & ODB & HAMADA & ANGELINA LOVE vs. DAFFNEY & THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE (Velvet Sky & Lacey Von Erich & Madison Rayne) -- Eight Knockout "Lock box" match
The rules were that the winner gets a key to open a lock box and there is something inside each of four boxes. I guess Russo's new obsession is now KEYS rather than poles. They are plenty of TNA concept matches that I never need to see again, but this one in particular needs to be trashed and never used again. They had a graphic flashing on the bottom of the screen explaining the rules. Out of place doesn't even begin to describe Hamada in this match. There was a commercial break in the middle of the match. Imagine UFC going to commercial in the middle of a fight.
After the commercial, Hamada missed a moonsault and Daffney pinned her to earn a key herself. The girls were trying hard. None of this was the fault of any of their performances. Sky pinned ODB to win a key, and then Love then pinned Rayne to get the final key. Nothing mattered here; it was all about the keys and what would happen afterward. The announcers said the chances were now very good that Tara was going to lose her Knockouts title when the box's get revealed later tonight, which is good because the chances of me remembering any of the stipulations won in this match by next week or beyond is 0 percent.
WINNERS: Tara, Daffney, Sky, and Love at 7:00.
-They showed the boxes backstage that would be opened later on. This has already received more attention than any TNA main event in the past several months.
-A really well done package aired recapping the Mr. Anderson vs. Kurt Angle feud up to this point.
4 -- MR. ANDERSON vs. KURT ANGLE -- Ladder Match
For some reason, there was a referee in the ring for this. He never did anything. Tenay explained that there's the key that will opens the cage door at Lockdown is at stake, which in theory gives Anderson an easy escape. Angle is getting bigger and more muscular again by the week. The Impact crowd was really hot. This probably should have been the main event, but it was put here because TNA decided to program around when Raw was going on the air. Angle hit the Angle Slam on Anderson off the top of the ladder. Angle stomped Anderson out of the ring then went to climb the ladder. Angle was doing one of those agonizingly slow climbs. The Rock's ladder climbing thought this was slow paced. Taz did a good job explaining it by saying Angle hurt his back on the Angle Slam.
That actually foreshadowed some legit back pain which was about to come next as Anderson came in, pushed Angle off the ladder, and Angle plunged toward the outside of the ring. He caught part of the rope on the way and it caused him to hit the apron hard before also hitting the outside floor. I don't know if he overshot or undershot, but he landed hard and awkwardly. That isn't going to feel good for anybody, but that's a really bad fall for Angle, with his history of neck problems, to be taking. Angle looked to be legitimately hurt. Anderson took awhile to climb up the ladder. Somehow Angle was able to make the save. How? A missile dropkick, which nearly killed both Anderson and Angle during the fall. Once they recovered, Angle was still clutching his abdomen as he struggled to drag Anderson onto the ladder for his next big move. Angle climbed up top and did his moonsault onto Anderson and the ladder. That's about the last thing I would do if I had injured ribs, so make of that what you will. Angle climbed the ladder. Anderson notice Angle's Warrior Tag chain hanging in the corner and grabbed it. He climbed up behind Angle, wrapped it around him and choked him with it. Angle kept climbing though. Angle's head was turning colors as he climbed a ladder despite Anderson choking him with the chain from behind several rungs below. He nearly powered his way to the key, but once he was a reach away, he collapsed, allowing Anderson to get the win. If there was a cheap way to win a ladder match, that was probably it.
WINNER: Mr. Anderson at 10:30.
STAR RATING: *** -- Very brutal match, and it was by far the match of the night. I really liked the finish. This should have been the main event.
-Jeremy Borash was with Hulk Hogan backstage in what looked like a storage room. He asked Hogan if he was unhappy with Bischoff. Hogan said what happens between them stays between them. He said he's not always happy with his actions and doesn't like when he has to rein him in, but he doesn't air that dirty laundry on Impact. Bubba the Love Sponge burst on the scene and told Borash to hit the bricks. Borash sheepishly walked away. Hogan questioned Bubba about why he was running with the wrong crowd and hanging with The Band instead with him. Bubba: "I'm having fun brother, and I wasn't having fun with you. It sucked quite frankly." Ha. Bubba told Hogan "later," apparently ending their friendship, and left the scene. Hogan still had a friend in Jay Lethal, who then approached Hogan doing his Savage impersonation. They acted buddy buddy. Lethal said he's going to go find his trunks with "Mega Powers" on the back. Hogan told him that he needed his old trunks as well. Lethal then walked off. Hogan kind of shook his head in amazement. Neither men were seen again for the rest of the night.
-They cut to The Band arriving, who then met up with Bubba. Bubba was apparently leading them toward the ringside area as Impact went to commercial. We may be getting the first interview of the night with no screaming.
-They continue to advertise ShopTNA.com like it is a porn website, which it actually may have been before they bought the domain name.
-Christy Hemme introduced Matt Morgan as one-half of the tag team champions since Hernandez wasn't there yet. I guess Morgan's big explanation interview is going to be this little backstage thing. Morgan took exception to being called "one-half" of the champions. He said he "IS" the tag team champions. He called the Hernandez injury an accident, which prompted Christy to say "You set up a steel chair and kicked him in the head!" That was funny. She asked him who his new partner would be. Morgan kept referring to himself as "we" and said "we will continue to defend the tag team titles." She told Morgan he is the only one she see's standing in front of her. He said, "Yes we are…" I sincerely hope this isn't leading up to a Matt Morgan vs. Hernandez match where the winner gets the tag team titles. I even more sincerely hope it doesn't lead to Morgan defending the tag titles on his own and doing imaginary tag-ins to himself.
Fan Sign: "Nasty's Own Team 3D" held up by a man in a Hulkamania T-shirt.
5 -- TEAM 3D vs. MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS -- Winners Face Morgan Next Week For Tag Titles
The Machine Guns were on the offensive early and the crowd chanted for tables. Point them to Office Depot, then, this is a WRESTLING show (technically). Sabin was absolutely on fire on offense, but finally gassed out with an enziguri kick to Bubba's lower back. Team 3D eventually came back and Devon hit the diving head butt to the groin. They "got the tables." At this point, The Band had finally made their way to the stage area (they aren't the fastest of walkers, understandably, especially with Bubba leading the way). They came in the ring and cleaned house. Syxx went after Devon and posted him. Ref called for the disqualification. Ray ran toward Nash for the save, but Nash blasted him off. Hall hit the Outsiders Edge on Sabin. With everyone out, Syxx wiped out the spray can. Sadly we didn't see the return of the "body outline," and Syxx Pac just spray-painted something on one of the Machine Gun's backs as Impact went to a commercial.
WINNERS: Team 3D via DQ at 4:00.
-The bodies had been cleared from the scene after the commercial break, and only The Band remained. Bubba had joined them. Hall was rocking the old-school red Wolfpack bandanna here. Taz explained the Band does what they want, whenever they want to do it, to whomever. That's why they are cool. Hall got all chummy with Bubba which really infuriated the Impact Zone, which was already chanting "Fire Bubba!" Nash cut a promo directed specifically at Hogan. He wasn't yelling for the record, but he was talking pretty loud. He said that they have been carrying his ass for years now. He mocked Hogan for his radio comments that "nobody liked them," and that they were "bad guys" because Nash said Hogan was the biggest snake of them all. Nash paused. After a few moments, the music played, seemingly catching Nash by surprise. That's actually the way it should always happen, rather than music playing the second the wrestler takes his last breathe. This of course was merely a miscue however.
-Borash was backstage with Pope D'Angelo Dinero. He gave an interview about his title match against A.J. Styles at Lockdown. He said tonight he's going to paint a new picture in his match against Wolfe. Before he could do that, Wolfe walked in with Jezebel Chelsea and asked if he's "bloody Picaso." Wolfe said he didn't know why they were wrestling again this week. It's always funny when Russo pokes fun at his own booking. Wolfe said he should be getting the title shot against Styles at Lockdown. He said he can do double duty and win twice in one night. Pope's demeanor changed and he told him he could face Styles at Lockdown if he beat him tonight. Borash looked absolutely dumbfounded by this decision.
-Tara was backstage worrying over whether the key will get her that stupid tarantula back, as Impact went to a commercial. They've already spent far too much time on all of this tonight.
-Doug Williams came out and started doing his best William Regal impression, bobbing his head, and checking the wrists. He then got on the microphone and sounded even more like Regal. It was actually a very good impersonation. He told the X Division to go back to the circus where they belonged, with the rest of the monkeys. He did them one better and told them to go back to wrestling school. Apparently Douglas had arranged a gauntlet match with the X Division. I can still recall when Jarrett was booking and there was a gauntlet match practically several times a month.
6 -- DOUGLAS WILLIAMS vs. The X Division - Gauntlet match
Spot monkey #1 hit the ring in the form of Jeremy from Generation Me. In all seriousness, I can give or take a lot of these X Division guys and their wrestling styles, but these Generation Me guys really deserve something better than this. Jeremy got pinned by Williams after a few cool moves. Then Max from Generation Me hit the ring. He didn't fare much better as Williams quickly tapped him out. Back to wrestling school with them. Could this not have been accomplished by just using two local guys? Why have they given up on Generation Me so quickly? Thankfully this demolition didn't continue long enough to encompass the entire division, although with Christopher Daniels leaving TNA, they don't have much more left. There was still Shannon Moore, though. He scared Williams out of the ring, then did some weird interview and said the X Division shouldn't have "boring wrestlers" like Williams. Moore then challenged Williams to a title match at Lockdown. "Welcome to Glam Rock!" I don't care how many times he says that, it's NEVER getting over. Next to Orlando Jordan, Moore's may be my least favorite gimmick in all of TNA right now.
Winner: Doug Williams at 4:30.
-They showed Angelina Love smiling and pacing backstage with her key as Impact went to a commercial.
-While promoting TNA house shows, Tenay refereed to the TNA wrestlers as "Superstars." This coming from the "alternative." Say what you will about WCW and Tony Schiavone, but he went out of his way to refer to wrestling as "a sport" and the wrestlers as "athletes" in a time when the WWE was presenting well, sports entertainment.
-Christy Hemme interviewed Team 3D backstage. Bubba said what happened was uncalled for, but he wanted revenge next week. He said in 15 years, their paths have never crossed. He called them "disrespectful, unethical pricks." Coming from Bubba Ray, that means so much. Devon said they've been a cancer to every promotion they've been in, and he is going to beat them up next week. Just when you think Team 3D's run in TNA is finished, and they've done all they can do, TNA somehow manages to find another "dream match" for them.
7 -- 'THE POPE' D"ANGELO DINERO vs. DESMOND WOLFE
Last week, I complained about Wolf and Pope wrestling far too often in a short period of time. Well, they wrestled again this week. Add that to the fact that the matches are always very short. Wolfe went for the Tower Of London early but missed, leading to Dinero finishing off Wolfe with the D.D.E. Even-steven booking.
WINNER: The Pope at 2:00.
-A.J. Styles ran out, without Flair. The new 'Nature Boy' was wearing a TNA Lockdown shirt and jeans. He looked more like the next Eric Young than the next Ric Flair. I realize I'm not the first to mention this idea for turning and that the more people that mention it means it will be less and less likely to happen, but it would really be a good idea to have Dinero go heel on Styles, with Flair siding with Dinero and proclaiming him the REAL new Nature Boy.
-With the show nearly over, Jeremy Borash was on stage with the Knockouts, who were at podiums. This is the finale of the show? The main event? Borash was playing game show host on a mock game show setup. There were four boxes that contained the following: a spider, a match against anyone, the TNA Knockouts Title belt, and a forced striptease. Russo no doubt slept easy having found a way to LITERALLY make a title belt into a prop. So, did TNA take the spider back away from Tara after she regained it last week? Ugh, why am I even asking, IT'S A SPIDER. So Borash had Velvet Sky reveal first what was 'inside her box.' She said hoped it wasn't the spider. She won the open contract to face opponent, anytime, any stipulation. Doesn't pretty much everyone in TNA have that ability?
Borash then directed the attention to Tara and her box. This was channel changer material. It went on and on. Tara opened up her box to Borash, and yes it had the stupid spider in it. She freaked out and called it "her baby." This meant she was no longer the Knockout champion. She made a face then moved on. It was down to Angelina Love and Daffney, whom Borash told to open up their boxes at the same time. Oooh. Love opened up her new TNA title in the box. Could you imagine Jim Ross calling this? "New champion, new champion, new champion!" Daffney had the strip tease stipulation. She had to strip tease or she'd be fired. Daffney tried to walk away but Borash pulled her back and ordered her to get in the ring and get to stripping. She walked to the ring and unenthusiastically took off her hat. She took off her dog collar and chewed on it. She pulled down her strap reluctantly.
Lacey Von Erich ran in and bopped Daffney on the head with "the ugly stick." Daffney was out. She stripped to her lingerie. Tara and Love burst on the scene on the ramp. Lacey was still dancing. Taz said he can't blame Tara for being livid, but it's not the fault of Love she got the luck of the draw. We are really ending with this? As all this went on, Sky was on the stage with a microphone and told Lacey that rule no. 1 of the BP Club is that no Beautiful Person upstages the other, so next week she's cashing in her contract and it's going to be against her in a Leather & Lace match. She told her to bring her lace and she'll bring her leather and "I'll kick your ass all over that ring, bitch!" Is that supposed to be a compelling match or something? Someone is so angry with someone they want to dress up in leather and lace for the match? And fight someone they are partners with? With that, we were out of time and Impact went off the air. This entire had to be one of the worst endings to Impact that I can recall. Did they think they were going until 11?
-It was puzzling that after his re-appearance last week, there was no Samoa Joe follow-up. Even if it was going to be another enviably lame "grainy video" from him, at least that would have been something. Even a mention from the announcers of "Folks, last week we were caught by surprise of a strange video showing the resurfacing of Samoa Joe. We haven't heard anything since." SOMETHING. God knows that there was more than enough time to do this. We could have done without one of the dozens of segments featuring the Knockouts couldn't we?
-This is a promotion that has an incredible asset like Samoa Joe under contract and ready to go, yet they have him inactive and sometimes off the show entirely.
-If they were going to do something new and feature the Knockouts so prominently, the least they could have done was give them a simple story people could identify with. Needless to say, they did not do this. Lock Box Challenge? A match that leads to an angle? I've watched every Impact in its entirely for the past year or so with no exception. If this stuff is confusing me, that is a very bad sign for a promotion trying to gain new viewers.
- Opening Segment: The main event at Lockdown is one of the few things to look forward to at the upcoming pay-per-view. Naming RVD and Hardy as the final members of Team Hogan was a no-brainer, but the right decision. I think both sides have been very well built up and Lockdown will actually be one of TNA's better PPVs.
WHAT DIDN'T WORK
-TNA Knockouts ending: I was watching the clock figuring the segment was running late, yet it just kept going on, and on, and on. It was a long, bad segment on any scale, but to have it close out the show is just going to magnify how bad it was.
-Lack of Follow-up: This is a pretty frequent problem. One week it's not having any follow up on a pay-per-view that occurred the night prior, another week it's having no follow-up on a guy getting kidnapped, etc. This week it was things like Eric Young, who got the big spotlight on him last week on Impact main event, not being featured whatsoever.
-Pushing Knockouts, Jordan, and Terry at the expense of bigger stars: I found this to be baffling. TNA now has guys like Jeff Hardy and Rob Van Dam under their roof, and they choose to use them in two segments (RVD) or one segment (in Hardy's case). There was no time you see, because the Knockouts took up eight segments throughout the course of the show, including a 15-minute segment to end the show. It's all for naught anyway. None of these acts are going to get any kind of sustained pushes. In fact they may get put right back down to their normal spot as soon as next week's show, since the second Impact of the tapings always seems to feature something quite different from the first.
-Convoluted gimmick matches: As if the Knockouts ending the show wasn't enough, they were also apart of one of the worst parts of the first hour as well. The fewer they have of these matches, the better. They spent more time explaining the rules and stipulation of the Lock Box match tonight than the actual match itself went.
Thanks to everyone who gave me feedback on last weeks Impact Report, both here on the website, and through email. It got posted late due to some technical difficulties that have since been remedied. As always, let me know what you thought below, or send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading.
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