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TNA Impact
BAX’S TNA IMPACT REPORT 1/20: Alt. perspective review of Angle & Jarrett domination, unhyped matches, overall show

Jan 21, 2011 - 1:04:41 PM
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by Matt Baxendell, PWTorch Specialist
TNAImpactlogo_110.jpg

BAX’S TNA IMPACT REPORT
JANUARY 20, 2011
TAPED IN ORLANDO, FL
AIRED ON SPIKE TV


Last Week’s Recap: The show was headlined by the Hardy Boys versus Mr. Anderson and RVD, a good solid 15-minute Main Event. Other notable happenings were significant time given to advancing the Jarrett-Angle love triangle storyline, Beer Money winning their return match against the Motor City Machine Guns for the TNA Tag Team Championships, and February 3 being established as a must-see Impact with Jeff Hardy getting his re-match against Anderson for the TNA World Title.

[Q1]

-Impact opens with a long extended promo of the Jarrett-Angle saga, ending with Karen Jarrett’s promise to tell the whole world her story in the ring this week. Episode is titled ‘Dirty Laundry.’

-Angle is shown live pulling up to the show. He walks through the door, orders the sound crew to play his music, and enters the Impact Zone to kick off the show. Taz & Tenay recap the feud while selling discomfort at the whole situation.

Angle tells everyone that he wants to set the record straight. He says this is all about Jeff Jarrett, not himself and Karen. He says that she was an asset when he came to TNA with her, but she always was hanging out with Jeff Jarrett, claiming they were talking business. He didn’t have any proof of her infidelity while they were married, but Double J made things personal a few months ago when he kept throwing the whole situation in his face.

Kurt says that the only thing neither of them can take from him is his character. He says he was a great husband and an incredible father. Kurt looks like he was on the verge of tears while saying this. He says his only failing was that he didn’t spend enough time with his family but that was because he wanted to provide them with everything they could ever want. This drew a big “Angle! Angle!” chant.

Angle tells Karen that they can do it the easy way or the hard way. Easy way is that they make amends, go their separate ways and get along for the sake of the kids. Or she can continue to provoke him and he will pull out every skeleton in her closet.

Double J’s music hits and Team Jarrett comes out instead and surrounds the ring. They try to climb into the ring from each side but Kurt knocks them all down from the apron. Angle gets on the mic and asks Jarrett if that’s all he got.

Instead, Immortal’s music hits and Flair and Bischoff appear at the top of the ramp. They’re quickly joined by five police officers, who walk down to the ring and ask Angle to leave the building while Flair and Bischoff mock him. Taz and Tenay are sympathetic to Angle’s cause, saying that he is being intelligent by not getting into a confrontation with the police officers. Kurt is escorted out of the building by the police. Tenay tells the viewers that the Jarretts are just moments away from arriving at the Impact Zone, so don’t go away. [c]

BAX REAX: Angle-Jarrett to start off the show? Really? While Angle gave a nice promo to tell his side of the story, TNA is going to end up devoting a quarter of the entire show to this feud tonight and that’s entirely too much time for any feud involving Jeff Jarrett.

-As Tenay recapped the events from the opening segment, the Jarretts arrived backstage. Karen sarcastically said she was so disappointed that Kurt wouldn’t be able to be there in person.

[Q2]

First match of the night is going to be four-way Knockouts action. Taz & Tenay hyped the one-sided nature of the Sarita-Velvet Sky rivalry before putting over Madison Rayne as the Queen Bee of the Knockouts Division. Madison came to the ring with a prom queen tiara on her head and a loaded glove on her hand.

1 – MICKIE JAMES VS. VELVET SKY VS. MADISON RAYNE (Knockouts champion) VS. SARITA -- non-title match

This is a four corners match, which means that only two women are legal in the match at any point in time and the first pin or submission wins. Mickie James and Velvet tease locking up early after arguing about which one of them gets to go after their rival before splitting and taking both the heels to ringside.

During the match, Taz and Tenay announce that RVD & Anderson will face Beer Money later in the night. The fact that the Main Event is announced in an offhand fashion during a Knockouts match is infuriating on a number of levels. More on that in a moment.

At 3:00, Tara runs in and knocks Mickie James off the top turnbuckle with her giant elbow brace while the ref was at ringside splitting up Velvet and Sarita. This gave Madison the chance to load her glove before going for knockout blow on Mickie. However, James ducked and Rayne took out Velvet, who appeared to be setting up her finisher on Sarita. Mickie took advantage of the confusion by rolling up the Knockouts champion for an ugly-looking three count and the win.

WINNER: Mickie James in 4:00.

BAX REAX: Another example of TNA’s "throw as many Knockouts into one segment as possible" strategy, though the four ladies jammed in ten minutes of action into a four-minute match. It looks like another Mickie James vs. Madison Rayne Knockouts Championship match is in the works, so that’s a good sign. More infuriating was TNA casually tossing out the main event announcement during the match. First, TNA just dedicated the entire opening 15 minutes to the Angle-Jarrett feud without mentioning the biggest news from the week before: Anderson & RVD’s battle against Immortal. Second, this is a really good match-up, but it isn’t treated as such by TNA with this kind of announcement.

-They cut backstage to Beer Money, where Roode is doing curls with the rubber arm bands while Storm is doing curls with beer bottles. Roode says that they get another opportunity with Anderson & Van Dam and they’re going to prove that they’re the greatest tag team in the world. Storm says that he might drink his beer and act a little goofy, but as he always says, "It's not about how the fight starts, it's about how it ends." Roode closes a solid promo by saying that, tonight, Beer Money is going to finish it.

-Taz and Tenay talk up the Main Event before the camera shows Kurt Angle skulking outside of the Impact Zone. Taz says that he isn’t leaving any time soon. [c]

-Back from break, Samoa Joe is talking to a Japanese man with sunglasses on. Joe tells him that he’s doing a great job and to keep following him (Pope) around and he’ll give them what they want. The Japanese man is shown holding a very small video camera.

-Back in the Impact Zone, Rob Terry’s music is playing. As he makes his way to the ring with Flair, Taz tells Tenay that Okada is Joe’s cameraman. That’s right, I forgot that Okada was still working in TNA. Flair gets on the mic and asks if there is anyone in the building that wouldn’t take Terry home before telling the same planted girls in the front row that Terry would take all three of them and hurt them at the same time. Flair then tells Matt Morgan that he knows that he is in the building somewhere, challenging him to face Terry tonight.

[Q3] Morgan’s music hits and Taz and Tenay recap Morgan’s victory over Abyss from last week, including the post-match save from Terry that prevented Morgan from chokeslamming Flair.

2 – MATT MORGAN VS. ROB TERRY (w/ RIC FLAIR)

The second that Terry turns away from Flair, Morgan hits the Carbon Footprint for the pinfall victory.

WINNER: Matt Morgan in the time it took to count the pinfall.

After the match ends, Morgan goes right after Flair at ringside. Naitch tries hitting the knife edge chops on Morgan but he no-sells it, causing Flair to roll back into the ring to try to get away. Flair attacks Morgan again but the Blueprint continues to no-sell Flair's offense. Morgan is ready to decimate Flair in the corner before Abyss runs in and makes the save. Abyss puts Morgan into the corner but misses the running splash, allowing Morgan to hit the discuss clothesline on him. He follows that up by hitting a side slam on a recovered Terry before shaking the ropes a la Batista and turning his attention back to Flair at ringside.

But, Abyss manages to take advantage of Morgan’s focus on Flair and attacks him from behind. While Morgan is up against the ropes, Flair hits a low blow and it looks bad for Morgan. However, after Terry and Abyss Irish whip him into the ropes, Morgan explodes by clotheslining both to the mat. Unfortunately, the Blueprint didn’t learn from his earlier mistake of focusing on Flair at ringside, allowing Terry to chop block Morgan while he was staring down Flair again.

Now the beatdown is in full effect, as Terry holds Morgan’s legs in place so that Abyss can hit a big splash. Flair comes into the ring and hits a brutal-looking low blow before Abyss and Terry take down Morgan with a double team chokeslam.

BAX REAX: TNA has done a good job making Morgan look strong the last two weeks, squashing both Abyss and Terry. Morgan is going to have to fight through Flair’s goons to actually get his hands on him, so I like where this is going. Flair-Morgan Part II on February 3 perhaps? Either way, I’m really glad that Morgan is continuing to be pushed as a top star despite moving out of the TNA Championship picture.

-Taz and Tenay sold TNA’s international appeal, first hyping their upcoming European tour before featuring TNA’s involvement in New Japan’s Tokyo Dome show, which drew 47,000 people. A quick highlight package was shown of Beer Money, RVD, and Jeff Hardy’s involvement in the show.

-The announcers threw out that Jeff Hardy was going to face Tommy Dreamer tonight before going backstage to see A.J. Styles hyping up Kazarian for his re-match with Jay Lethal for the X Division Title. Kaz asks A.J. about Bischoff, but he shrugged it off, telling Kaz what was important was the X Title and to take care of business for Fortune.

Right after Kaz walks away, Crimson appears with his garroting wire and chokes A.J., telling him that he has two weeks because “they’re coming and no one in Immortal is safe.” A.J. is left laying on the ground as the commercial break hits.[c]

BAX REAX: I’m burying my head in my hands right now. Not because anything they just showed was bad: the highlight package from Japan and the A.J.-Kaz interaction were fine. What drives me nuts is that a week after TNA did such a good job building up their Main Event and hyping a strong February 3 Impact, they haven't done the same tonight in promoting their matches. Jeff freakin' Hardy is wrestling tonight, but it barely earns a casual mention 40 minutes into the show? I spent the last week believing that TNA had turned the corner in terms of building up their matches, but instead it looks like last week was an aberration. I haven’t even mentioned the absolute lack of promotion for the upcoming X Division Title match. Ugh.

-Back from break, Jay Lethal’s music is playing and he’s getting his re-match for the X Division Title that he lost at Genesis. While Kaz stalked the outside, taking his time getting into the ring, Taz and Tenay talked up the Jarrett-Angle situation and the attacks perpetrated by Crimson instead of the upcoming X Division Title match. Shows how much TNA values a title that was once their calling card.

[Q4]

3 – X Division champion KAZARIAN VS. JAY LETHAL --- X Division Title match

Lethal started things off by slingshotting Kaz into the ring from the apron, ending his stalling, followed by a huge back body drop. Lethal was clearly in control early and Kaz bailed from the ring, trying to leave up the ramp. However, Jay chased him down and dragged him back down to ringside. Lethal beat Kaz in a circle around the ring, smartly rolling through the corners to avoid the countout.

Once Kaz was rolled back into the ring, Lethal hit a big springboard dropkick for a nearfall. Once Kaz got up, he cheap-shotted Lethal in the face and took him down with a spinning heel kick. But Kaz’s control didn’t last long as Lethal hit a back handspring elbow off of an Irish whip. Not long thereafter, he hit the Lethal combination and went to the top turnbuckle for the big Black Machismo elbow. He hit it but Kaz kicked out at 3:00 for a believable nearfall.

Lethal sold shock and questioned referee Jackson James (remember, he’s the completely inept one), giving Kaz the chance to roll out of the ring. Lethal picked a limp Kazarian up and pushing him into the ring but Kaz gouged Jay’s eyes, giving the champion time to recover. Lethal climbed back up on the apron and went for a sunset flip but Kaz kept his balance and sat down for the pin. When the ref went down to count the pinfall, Kaz held the ropes and got the three count.

WINNER: Kazarian in 5:00.

Taz and Tenay talked up James’s continual mistakes and Tenay questioned how much longer TNA would put up with his rookie errors.

-Backstage, Anderson, RVD, and Tommy Dreamer were shown. Anderson (who wasn’t holding the purple Title Belt) said that he knows that he has Jeff Hardy in two weeks but they need to focus on Beer Money tonight. RVD tells him that at least Anderson gets Hardy in the ring, they won’t let Van Dam anywhere near him. Dreamer tells RVD that he does have Hardy tonight and he’ll take care of business. Yeah, right. Anderson tells him that he’ll get his hands on Hardy eventually. Anderson said he’ll take care of Hardy because he’s the whole f’ing show before saying that he is the World Heavyweight Champion.

-The Jarretts are shown approaching the ring as Tenay says that Karen Angle’s expose is up next. Before they went to break, Kurt Angle re-entered the Impact Zone as Tenay questioned who opened the door for him. [c]

-Jarrett’s music hits and he walks down to the ring with his new wife. Tenay says this feud is so personal: Angle’s children are being raised by Jeff Jarrett. Taz put over the situation, saying it was unfathomable to him that someone else would raise his children.

Double J said that Karen was a lovely wife and a caring mother, someone who was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside. A big ‘sloppy seconds’ chant broke out. It appeared to make Jarrett lose his spot for a second. When he found his spot, he called Karen a victim of Kurt Angle.

Karen was booed heavily as she was handed the microphone. She said that she had a presentation prepared but she heard her ‘pathetic ex-husband’ earlier, so she had to address a few things. First, she said that Kurt was right: Jeff was a part owner of the company, so what does that make her? As for his character, she went back to 1997 after he had won his Olympic Gold Medal, calling him a lost little puppy.

[Q5]

However, she was cut off when Kurt snuck into the ring behind them and hit Jarrett with a big suplex. Karen pulled off her shoe to hit Kurt but he stopped her. She then slapped him in the face before screaming at him, distracting him from the "down but not out" Jarrett. This gave Double J the chance to hit him with a low blow and hit him with a few big punches while he was down. The crowd was behind Angle but that turned quickly to heat on Jarrett once Kurt was downed. [c]

-Back from break, the announcers recapped the Angle beatdown in very somber voices before Angle was shown smashing up a trash can backstage in the interview area.

4 – JEFF HARDY VS. TOMMY DREAMER

Before the match, Tenay talked up Hardy’s habit of avoiding RVD at all costs, saying that Dreamer was stepping up to the plate tonight for his friend. They also did a nice job actually bringing up the fact that the TNA Title that Anderson is carrying around was designed for Hardy, something they didn’t even mention last week.

Dreamer got in the early offense, hitting a low blow leg drop on Hardy before throwing him over the top. Tommy followed this up by hitting a running clothesline from the apron to the floor. Dreamer dragged Hardy around the ring but Jeff threw Dreamer from the apron hard onto the ringside area using Dreamer’s injured wrist, something the announcers pointed out immediately.

At 3:00, Tommy avoided a Whisper in the Wind move, allowing Dreamer to climb to the second turnbuckle. Hardy avoided the double axe handle but Tommy turned an attempted Twist of Hate into a Dreamer Driver, forcing Hardy to put his foot on the rope to avoid being beaten. Hardy then hit a low blow using the ropes before quickly hitting the Twist of Hate on Dreamer for the victory.

WINNER: Jeff Hardy in 4:00.

-Apparently Kurt Angle isn’t done with the Jarretts, as he was shown backstage walking around with a Louisville slugger. The Main Event is next.

BAX REAX: Dreamer got in way more offense than I expected, but the right outcome was really all that mattered: a Hardy victory. Much more concerning is the fact that TNA is going to give Jarrett-Angle another segment, because there’s no way that the Main Event is going to take up the final 45 minutes of the show. That means that three out of the eight segments on this show are going to go towards the Double J-Karen-Kurt love triangle. Ridiculous.

[Q6]

-Pope was shown backstage with some random TNA employee, trying to use his computer to set up hotels and limos for TNA’s live events. Pope dialed the employee's phone to get him to get up so that Pope could steal his computer.

-A.J. was shown telling Flair that he had been choked out and ‘they’ were coming on February 3. Flair didn’t believe him and told him to grab his coat. Turns out that there was a Smirnoff Ice underneath: A.J. just got iced. A.J. was furious that Flair wasn’t taking him seriously and had barely started to drink when Kurt Angle took him out with the Louisville Slugger. He stared Flair down, who told him that he wasn’t part of it. He’s Kurt’s biggest fan! Angle choked Flair with both hands, telling him that if he didn’t have Double J in the ring when Angle went out, then he was going to go after Flair instead.

-In the Impact Zone, Beer Money’s music hits and the Main Event is set to start. They’re followed out by RVD. Taz and Tenay remind everyone that Van Dam never lost the TNA Title, saying that he’s been after a singles match-up with Jeff Hardy for months but he’s run into the Immortal road block.

Anderson appeared on the ramp, holding the Purple Belt high in the air. He introduces himself as the Total Nonstop Asshole and the Total Nonstop Champion. The Main Event starts after the commercial break. [c]

[Q7]

5 – TNA champion MR. ANDERSON & ROB VAN DAM vs. TNA tag champions BEER MONEY -- non-titlematch

There was a lot of really good action in this match early, followed by a prolonged time period where Beer Money isolated Anderson and focused on his head and neck. Taz and Tenay did a good job reminding the viewers of Anderson’s recent concussion issues.

The end came with RVD & Storm in the ring while Roode and Anderson were brawling at ringside. Van Dam climbed up to the top turnbuckle for the Five Star Frog Splash, but Roode came flying across the apron to try to break it up after smashing Anderson’s face into the ring steps. However, RVD kicked Roode in the face and knocked Roode to the floor. This allowed Van Dam to hit the Five Star on Storm and it looked like the match was over.

But, the referee was nowhere to be found, leaving the ring to keep Jeff Hardy from interfering. Taz was on point in his announcing, wondering why a referee would leave the ring like that. Of course, it is Jackson James again. While James was distracted dealing with Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy came through the crowd and hit the Twist of Hate on Van Dam. This eventually allowed Storm to make the cover after a long while. I actually expected RVD to kick out after all of that time. Beer Money gets the three count and the win.

WINNERS: Beer Money in 9:00.

BAX REAX: Another strong tag team Main Event for TNA, though this match was shorter than last week’s solid showing between the Hardys, RVD, and Anderson. I honestly was expecting RVD to kick out of the final Twist of Hate, especially with all of the time remaining in the show, which would have really got a big pop from the crowd. While I absolutely hate that the Main Event ended with 20 minutes left in the show, I’m not going to complain too much about a very good nine-minute tag match that told a lot of stories effectively.

Taz and Tenay repeated that they felt that referee made a mistake in leaving the ring as the Hardys stood tall with Beer Money on the ramp. The tag champions held the belts high after their victory.

-Apparently TNA really doesn’t care when their Main Event takes place in the show since Brian Kendrick was shown backstage trying to tell Bully Ray that he needs to let go of his anger. Kendrick tells Ray that anger management didn’t work and suggested yoga to realign Ray’s chakras. Kendrick told him that he needed to breathe deeply with his eyes closed. Ray had him do it again and then threw him into a locker. Guess he’s living up to his name. [c]

[Q8]

-Back from break, Flair is yelling at Jarrett in Bischoff’s office. Flair told Jeff he wasn’t part of this. Flair said that he got choked out when he wasn’t part of this feud. Bischoff told him to go to the ring; he had his back. Flair screamed that he wasn’t going to take an ass kicking for him and that Jarrett was going to go meet his maker.

-Back in the Impact Zone, its...Brother Devon? Why is Devon coming to the ring after the Main Event? The crowd seems just as confused. He tells Ray to get down to the ring so he can finish what he was doing at Genesis: whooping his ass.

Ray comes to the ring in street clothes, but stops at the bottom of the ramp. Kendrick comes flying down to attack him from behind and throw Ray into the ring. Kendrick’s Gi is open so it looks like he is an insane old man in his underwear.

Ray and Devon start swinging at each other and Ray pulls out a chain. However, Devon turns the tables on him and takes the chain. Unfortunately, TNA’s worthless security runs out to the ring to hold him back, so of course Devon gets laid out by Ray, who then beats up TNA security as well. Ray goes to ringside and gets a steel chair and places Devon’s head in between the back of the chair and the seat. Ray swings the heavy-looking chain and smashes the chair into Devon’s head, leaving his leg twitching grotesquely. [c]

BAX REAX: Why was this on after the Main Event? This could have easily been plugged into the first hour of the show where it belongs. Furthermore, I find it a bit ridiculous that TNA allowed Ray to smash Devon’s head inside of a steel chair with a chain when they spent the last couple months emphasizing responsible treatment of concussions with Mr. Anderson. While Bully Ray is actually a pretty decent character, this was placed at the wrong time in the show and didn’t get time to put over such a vicious attack leading into the Jarrett-Angle closing segment.

-Back from break, Kurt Angle is waiting in the ring for Jeff Jarrett. For the third time in the show, Jeff’s music hits and he appears on the ramp, still getting dressed for the match. He has got Gunner and Murphy with him, but he seems reluctant to go to the ring, stalling on the ramp. He tells Gunner and Murphy to attack Angle.

Like usual, Angle takes both men down and beats them up individually in a corner while Jarrett watches on from the rope. Eventually, Murphy recovers to attack Angle from behind while he is beating down Gunner. Jarrett takes this opportunity to finally jump on Angle, like any good heel would. Gunner holds Angle’s arms behind him while Double J swings away at him. However, Angle ducks the third punch and takes out Gunner and Murphy, then locks in a savage-looking rear naked choke on Jarrett.

This causes Karen Angle to run to ringside to try to pull Jarrett out of the ring. She’s screaming at Kurt to release the hold before the entirety of Immortal runs through the crowd to Jarrett’s aid. Kaz was the first into the ring but Flair jumped right onto choke Angle as payback for Kurt’s earlier attack.

Apparently, it wasn’t all of Immortal in the ring as Abyss appeared at the top of the ramp. Flair gestured for him to come join in the beatdown in the ring, but Abyss spread his arms wide and fell forward onto his face, revealing Janice (his nail board weapon) stuck into his back. Crimson appeared behind him in a dark suit with a red tie and pocket liner. He actually looked pretty impressive. Crimson yelled at Immortal that ‘they’ are coming.

This was the opening that Angle needed to get back on his feet and he took out a couple members of Immortal before they realized he was back up. The show closed with Immortal stuck in limbo between a furious Angle in the ring and a dangerous looking Crimson standing over Abyss’s prone body at the top of the ramp.

BAX SHOW REAX:
First of all, why did the audience not find out Jeff Hardy was wrestling 40 minutes into the show? He’s one of the most marketable names in all of pro wrestling, yet TNA didn't think some fans would stick around to see him in action? The same goes for the Main Event, which was casually mentioned during a Knockouts match instead of hyped like last week’s solid showdown.

Furthermore, what was TNA doing when they concluded the Main Event with 20 minutes left in the show? Shouldn’t the main event close out the show? While I enjoyed the tag match immensely, it should have been the show-capper, not placed before the Ray-Devon feud sprinkled in with naked, old man Kendrick.

Then there’s the absolutely ridiculous domination of the show from the Jarrett-Angle storyline. I get that it is a heated feud, but did it need two entire quarter-hours and the end of the show? Plus, how rushed is the booking when Angle gets escorted out of the building, sneaks back in, gets beat down, smashes up the backstage area, gets his nemesis in the ring, beats him up, and then gets beat down again in one show? Compounding this, Karen didn't even tell her "story," it's apparent the audience will be stuck listening to it next week or the week after as well.

Finally, how can TNA justify giving a third of their entire show to two guys over the age of 40, one of whom really doesn’t draw in Jarrett, especially when talent like Motor City Machineguns, Generation Me, and Ink, Inc. were absent and Joe and Pope were just in backstage spots? I’m sick of seeing Jeff Jarrett get multiple full ring entrances every show like he’s The Rock. This is just a reminder of TNA being a promotion built to unsuccessfully get over Jeff Jarrett as a main eventer.

In the end, there were some positives about this show. I definitely like where they’re going with Morgan, and the Main Event was a nice match. Furthermore, I like Crimson more every time I see him. But, I can’t overlook the ridiculous amount of time dedicated to the Jarrett feud, the strange order that things were presented on the show, and the complete lack of hype for matches featuring the X Division Title and Jeff Hardy. Not a great night for TNA.

SHOW GRADE: C-

Matt Baxendell is one of the Torch’s new contributing writers covering TNA Wrestling. He’s also live on air as one the Young Guns on Sports Radio 790 The Zone in Atlanta. If you want to talk wrestling, hockey or football with Bax, please email him at matt.baxendell@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @MattBaxendell


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