TV REPORTS 6/24 TNA Impact: Caldwell's review of Daniels vs. Prime Time, Joe's Impact debut, Raven & Abyss
Jun 25, 2005 - 6:21:00 AM
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By James Caldwell, Torch Team Contributor
TNA Impact Review
June 24, 2005
Taped June 21, 2005 in Orlando, FL at Universal Studios
Aired on TNAWrestling.com
Report by James Caldwell, Torch Team Contributor
Three hours and one huge 120 Megabyte file later, it's time for Impact on TNAWrestling.com! Boy, the pay off had better be worth the build up and downloading problems.
- After the usual TNA opening, we went straight to still-shot photos from Sunday's Slammiversary PPV narrated by Jeremy Borash. The highlights of the video package were Samoa Joe's debut, Trinity vs. Traci, Larry Zbyszko dropping the bomb that Dusty Rhodes was out as DOA, Jarrett attacking a fan causing himself to be removed from the main event match, and Raven capturing the NWA Title in the King of the Mountain match.
- From ringside, Mike Tenay and Don West welcomed us to the show for a discussion on Raven capturing the NWA Title at Slammiversary in a match he wasn't even scheduled to compete in. Tenay and West, who was sporting an uncharacteristically high-pitched voice that was gradually corrected as the show went on, discussed Jeff Jarrett losing his cool and losing his opportunity to try to recapture the NWA Title.
(1) Michael Shane (w/Traci) defeated James Storm (w/Chris Harris) at 8:46. After Shane ducked out of the ring following the opening bell, Shane dropped a thumb to the eye before a standard lock up could occur. Shane went to work on Storm in the corner, but Shane took too long playing to the crowd allowing Storm to land stiff chops to the chest. Storm caught Shane out of the corner with a double axe handle smash to the chest then missed with a clothesline, but didn't miss with a hard powerslam. Storm made a cover, but scored a two count only. Storm took Shane to the corner for a high-risk move, but Traci punched Storm in the crotch to prevent an offensive move by Storm. Shane followed up with a Joey Ryan-quality top rope neck breaker. Meanwhile, Chris Harris tried to handcuff Traci to the ringpost, but Shane distracted Harris. The momentary distraction gave referee Rudy Charles enough time to intervene and boot both Harris and Traci from the ringside area. With the match down to the two competitors, Shane snapped Storm's back across the top rope then shoved him off the apron to the guardrail outside of the ring.
[Commercial Break featuring a two-second pitch black screen. Well, I guess that solves where TNA's advertising revenue will be coming from.]
Back to the match, Shane was in control of Storm with a sleeper hold in the middle of the ring. Storm fought to his feet by driving elbows to the gut then walked right into a hip toss by Shane. Shane made a cover, but scored a two count. Shane drove a knee to the back of Storm's neck while Storm was on the middle rope, continuing his wear down assault on Storm. Shane drove a boot to Storm's throat then dropped Storm to the mat with a scoop slam followed by a knee drop. After a nearfall on a pin attempt, Shane locked in a sleeper hold. Storm fought to his feet, but Shane was still in control so he shot Storm off the ropes where he caught Storm's foot in mid-air. Thinking he was cool, Shane smiled to the camera then turned his attention back to Storm, where he found a sweet enziguiri kick to the side of the head. Shane dropped straight to the mat. Both men laid on the mat until Storm reached his feet to deliver stiff right hands to the side of the head. Storm shot Shane off to the ropes then scored a back body drop. Shane reversed a whip to the ropes and sent Storm over the top rope, but Storm skinned the cat and flipped back into the ring for a tilt-a-whirl head scissors take over, which resulted in a pin attempt for a nearfall. Storm questioned the pin count then we saw Traci talking to Alex Shelley at the top of the entrance ramp.
Meanwhile, back in the ring, Storm picked up Shane and dropped him with the "Eye of the Storm" airplane slam. With Storm distracted by the presence of Traci and Shelley at the top of the entrance ramp, Shane managed to hit Storm from behind with a stiff right hand. After shooting Storm off to the corner, Shane walked into a big boot to the face followed by a swinging reverse DDT, which resulted in a nearfall. Alex Shelley ran to the ring and got on the apron to argue with Rudy Charles. This distracted Storm for the umpteenth time, allowing Shane to hit Storm from behind with a double axe handle smash. Storm reversed a whip to the ropes and sent Shane crashing into the referee, who knocked Shelley off the ring apron to the floor. Shane turned around and walked right into a spinning side slam. With the referee down, Storm scored a visual three count, but not the official three count. Alex Shelley returned to the ring and took a super kick to the face by Storm. After yelling at Shelley, Storm turned around and walked right into a super kick to the face by Shane. Shane made the cover and the referee came back around to count the three count for Shane.
- After the match, Chris Harris ran to the ring to scream at the heels, while Shelley, Shane, and Traci regrouped outside of the ring. Traci smirked in AMW's direction as she held back her men.
Match View: TNA just has this obsession with placing Alex Shelley with a female manager. First, it was Goldylocks and the "Baby Bear" gimmick, now it's Traci and the "gimmick to be named later." As one of the top drawing methods in the recent era of pro wrestling, the formation of factions is something TNA has yet to utilize in a way that could draw interest to the product. A hot faction centered around two solid wrestlers and one bombshell manager is something TNA could develop into a major act. Throw in another up and coming heel such as a member of Team Canada, and there is potential to create a solid second tier faction of major importance. As for AMW, they continue to sit in no-man's land as a tweener tag team that shifts from babyface to heel depending on the opponent. TNA needs to decide whether to go the split-apart route or fully turn the team heel or babyface. The match result allowed Storm keeps his heat with a visible three count while Shane helped himself with a victory over a larger opponent. Good action, but very formulaic.
- Backstage, Sinister Jim Mitchell was talking to Abyss. Mitchell asked Abyss how close he came to capturing the NWA Title at Slammiversary. Abyss grunted something. I have no idea what he grunted. Mitchell said Abyss came so close to capturing the NWA Title, but four other men stood in his way. Mitchell reminded viewers that Abyss has never had a one-on-one opportunity to capture the NWA Title, as he deserves. Abyss grunted. Mitchell told Abyss that he would provide the opportunity because "you've never had anybody to cross the t's and dot the i's. You've never had anybody to keep that parliament of swine in the championship committee at bay." Mitchell whispered that he would take care of Abyss's problems in exchange for one chance to earn his trust.
[Commercial Break…of sorts.]
- Inside an empty Impact zone ring, Mike Tenay was with Ron Killings, Konnan, and the notorious empty chair. The chair, apparently reserved for B.G. James, sat in silence as Tenay asked Ron Killings about mistrust and unity. Tenay pointed out the empty chair and said he thought of separation when James decided to no-show the sit-down interview. Killings said James gave him his word and his trust that he would be here for the interview. Konnan said it hurts because he doesn't know where James's head is. Konnan said he made a mistake at Slammiversary when he distracted by The Outlaw. Konnan apologized, but wanted to know what was going on with James. The Outlaw interrupted and said he had answers to their questions. Outlaw said the answer to their questions was from B.G. James himself. Konnan and Killings turned around to find Monty Brown – dressed in B.G. James's ring gear – trying to do James's opening ring introductions. Konnan and Killings tried to jump Brown, but Brown and Outlaw quickly beat them down. Brown took the mic and ran off B.G. James's ring introduction with his own version, calling himself and The Outlaw the next tag team champions. He also threw in "TNA entertainment." That's a good one. Outlaw sent a crotch chop to Konnan as Brown saluted an empty arena.
(2) Shark Boy defeated David Young at 3:39. David Young jumped Shark Boy before the bell and stomped down on Lava Girl's co-star in the corner. Young played to the crowd then walked into a stiff chop to the chest. Shark Boy took a clothesline after having a corner whip reversed then walked into a powerslam by Young. Young slapped on a sleeper hold, but Shark Boy easily fought back to his feet to break the hold. Young stopped Shark Boy's momentum with a knee lift to the chin followed by a nice neck breaker off the ropes. Young locked in another sleeper hold, but Shark Boy fought out and caught Young off the ropes with a drop kick to the chest. Shark Boy caught Young off the ropes with a neck breaker then made a cover for a two count. Shark Boy drove Young to the corner then mounted him for nine punches to the side of the head followed by a shark bite. You won't find that in any Disney movie. Young reversed a whip to the ropes and scored a tilt-a-whirl side slam. Young made a cover, but scored a two count only. Young sent Shark Boy to the corner as Tenay and West danced around the fact that Young is a glorified jobber. Shark Boy fought off a top rope move attempt and went for the Dead Sea Drop, but Young blocked it. Young momentarily lost his concentration allowing Shark Boy to quickly roll up Young for the pin and the win.
Match View: Basic Impact match between a guy TNA is trying to build up as being a hot commodity because he's in the news for a lawsuit against Disney vs. a guy who lost to Jeff Hammond. Shark Boy is limited by the fact that TNA has done nothing to develop his character into something other than a novelty act to get the pre-teen audience excited.
[Commercial Break featuring that darn pitch black commercial again. Where's Mike Jones and those "get cash now!" commercials with Gary Coleman?]
- Backstage, Jeff Jarrett was complaining to Larry Zbyszko about wanting his NWA Title shot. Jarrett asked, "When do I get my rematch? When do I get my title shot?" (JC Note: Well, I can answer that one. How about that check of reality that's been missing for three long years.) Zbyszko said Jarrett got his title shot at the King of the Mountain match and it's not his fault that Jarrett assaulted a fan…ahem…cried and went home. Jarrett claimed to be the #1 contender, but Zbyszko said Abyss was in line for a title shot as well as the other wrestlers from the King of the Mountain match. Zbyszko dropped a teaser that "new talent" was in line for a title shot as well, meaning Jarrett has a long line to stand in before gaining another title shot. Jarrett asked who the new talent is then cried some more about not getting his title shot.
- Mike Tenay and Don West speculated as to who the "new talent" could be. I'll give you one guess and I'll spot you cult-like fans...on a message board...with lots of pictures.
(3) Samoa Joe defeated Delirious at 3:34. Delirious ran in and out of the ring as if he was on a permanent adrenaline rush as Joe stood in the ring waiting to drop Delirious to the mat with a sick leg sweep. Joe delivered a stiff chest to the chest then sent Delirious to the corner where he delivered a stiff running kick to the chest. Joe washed Delirious's face in the corner then ran out of the opposite corner with a running kick to the face. Tenay talked about Joe's history in Ring of Honor as Joe worked on Delirious with some more stiff chops and kicks to the chest and back. Joe drove Delirious to the mat with a modified abdomen stretch as he stretched Delirious's neck into an unnatural position. Joe sent Delirious to the corner and missed with a corner clothesline. Delirious seized the opportunity to run into the corner, which Joe promptly responded with a sick lift up Rock Bottom – the same move that nearly took off Sonjay Dutt's neck at Slammiversary. After the fans gasped at the impact of the move, Joe made a cover, but Delirious kicked out at two. West asked what Delirious was thinking by kicking out to continue the match. Tenay said Delirious should live to see another day. Delirious ducked a clothesline then scored a drop kick, but couldn't take Joe off his feet. Joe shook off the offensive attack then dropped Delirious with a powerslam. Joe took Delirious to the corner then screamed out, "Muscle Buster!" Joe took Delirious off the corner turnbuckle then sent him to the mat with a sick Muscle Buster. Joe locked in a rear naked chokehold, which Delirious tapped out to in a few seconds. Apparently, the move was a little lost on West, who counted to three despite Delirious visibly tapping out.
- After the match, Joe kept the hold locked in until referee Slick Johnson forced Joe to break the hold. Joe screamed into the camera as the crowd applauded and Tenay described Joe's awesomeness.
Match View: Another solid performance by Joe, who TNA has done a nice job building up as a legitimate tough guy with the ability to run over opponents. Certainly, TNA wants to establish Joe's tough streak before moving him into a notable feud, so I applaud the way in which TNA has booked Joe, while I also applaud Mike Tenay for giving Joe the necessary hype to legitimize him as a "major league" talent. Joe's intensity and unique style separate him as someone TNA can bank on to stand out amongst the crowd of all-too-similar wrestlers.
- Before the main event match of Prime Time vs. Christopher Daniels could take place, Prime Time made his entrance, but instead of going to the ring, Prime Time sprinted to the opposite entrance tunnel to wait for Daniels. As Daniels came out through the entrance tunnel, Prime Time jumped Daniels from behind and drove him down the entrance ramp with hard right hands to the face.
(4) Christopher Daniels defeated Prime Time Elix Skipper at 11:58 in a non-title X Division match. After the opening bell rang, the match began with Prime Time driving Daniels to the guardrail with stiff right hands. Prime Time absorbed a thumb to the eye then caught Daniels with a hip toss, sending Daniels crashing to the mat outside of the ring. Back in the ring, Daniels pounded on Prime Time with clubbing forearms to the back. Prime Time caught Daniels off the ropes and scored a nice overhead suplex. Prime Time stomped on Daniels with kicks to the chest then drove his knees to Daniels's stomach. Prime Time snapped Daniels over then kicked him square in the back. Prime Time made a cover, but scored a two count only. Daniels responded with a stiff elbow to the face then walked into a fireman's carry into a throw down by Prime Time. Prime Time continued to get his babyface shine by stomping on Daniels as he laid on the mat. Prime Time delivered a forearm smash to the head then chopped Daniels in the chest. Daniels took his customary easy way out with a thumb to the eye, but walked right into a drop kick to the chest. Prime Time drove a shoulder to the gut then landed a stiff forearm blow underneath the chin. Prime Time exposed Daniels's chest then delivered a forearm blow to the sternum. Daniels stumbled to the outside and Prime Time followed him outside where he slammed Daniels headfirst into the ring apron. Prime Time drove Daniels into the guardrail as we went to pitch black.
After the pitch black, Prime Time continued to work on Daniels until Daniels dropped Prime Time neck-first across the top rope, sending Prime Time flying back to the mat. Let the heel attack psychology begin. Daniels went to work on Prime Time with a neck twist followed by a forearm blow to the back of the neck. Daniels continued to work on Prime Time's neck with a running knee drop to the back of the head before exposing Prime Time's head across the edge of the ring apron. Daniels drove running knees to the back of Prime Time's head then went back into the ring for a pin attempt, which resulted in a nearfall. Prime Time tried to fight back from his knees, but Daniels quickly ended that with a kick to the head. Prime Time took the momentum by slipping out of a back body drop followed by a kick to the gut, but then telegraphed a back body drop allowing Daniels to kick Prime Time in the face. Daniels slammed Prime Time to the mat then made a cover for a nearfall. Daniels drove a knee to the neck and throat, continuing his focused attack. Daniels wrenched Prime Time's head in between the top and middle rope until referee Rudy Charles forced him to break the hold.
Daniels went for a suplex, but Prime Time slipped out and caught Daniels off the ropes with a spin kick to the head. Both men laid on the mat as the crowd rallied behind both competitors. Daniels was the first man to his feet and approached Prime Time, who responded with forearm blows. Prime Time drove Daniels to the corner and landed a kick to the gut followed by a series of chops to the chest. Prime Time dropped Daniels with a back body drop then ran over Daniels with a clothesline followed by a flip over slam. Daniels slid out of the ring and walked up the entrance ramp, so Prime Time threw him back into the ring. Once back in the ring, Daniels left through the other side. Prime Time decided to take an alternative route to stopping Daniels, so he flew over the top rope with a nicely executed plancha, sending both men crashing to the floor. Prime Time threw Daniels back into the ring then re-entered with a flip over clothesline that took Daniels back-first to the mat. Prime Time made a cover, but scored a two count only.
Daniels reversed a whip to the ropes then went for Angel's Wings, but Prime Time slipped out and went for his "Sudden Death" finisher, but Daniels blocked the move by taking the momentum of both men to the corner turnbuckle. Prime Time dropped Daniels to the mat then waited for Daniels to get up and turn around before scoring a swinging side slam. Prime Time made a cover, but Daniels draped his foot across the bottom rope to break the pin attempt. Daniels got to his knees and begged off while sliding towards the corner turnbuckle. Prime Time walked right into Daniels's trap as Daniels pulled Prime Time neck first into the corner turnbuckle. Daniels scored an STO then locked in his trademark neck vice submission hold. After Daniels worked on his neck for the majority of the match, Prime Time was forced to tap out.
Match View: Excellent match from a ring psychology stand point. Often times, I become frustrated when wrestlers try to integrate ring psychology into a match by focusing the attack on an arm or some other body part that will not be affected by a potential match-ending maneuver. It doesn't make sense to work on the wrist if a wrestler's finisher involves the legs. That wasn't the case with this match as Daniels effectively built his offensive attack around his finishing neck wrench submission hold. To his credit, Prime Time came out strong because he continually outsmarted Daniels in the opening portion of the match, refusing to give Daniels the opening to deliver a continued heel attack. Tenay and West did a credible job describing the psychology of the match with two former tag partners doing battle in a match that was determined by who would make the first fatal mistake the other former friend could recognize and exploit first. Subsequently, Daniels saw his opening first and exploited it to the finish. Very smart match that even meant something by virtue of Tenay adding commentary that Prime Time was looking for pride and the chance to outsmart the guy who's always had his number since splitting apart.
- Mike Tenay reminded us that Raven won the NWA Title at Slammiversary. On cue, Raven came to the ring through the side entrance as the crowd cheered in approval. Raven stood in the center of the ring with the NWA Title around his waist. Raven said he had risen from the ashes of a disgruntled youth. Good for him. Raven went into a diatribe of broken homes, emotional abuse, and a violent past to fulfill his destiny. Raven said he has become TNA's worst nightmare by becoming the NWA Champion. Jim Mitchell interrupted and said he had something to say if Raven was done with his incoherent ramblings. Mitchell asked Raven if he was surprised to see him again after Raven left him bloodied and battered. Mitchell said he was alive and well. Mitchell said, "I'm going to personally see to it that the only thing you're destined for is failure." Raven said he's always been amused by the mutterings of a half-wit. Raven said Mitchell's tears of pain have brought him joy. Raven said Mitchell has returned for a second helping, which Mitchell responded with a quaint return statement that Raven was talking big for a soon-to-be ex-champion. Raven said he hopes Abyss is smart enough to realize Mitchell doesn't have his best interest in mind, which Mitchell responded by saying that "revenge is a dish best served cold...and dinner is served." Raven dropped the mic as Abyss entered the ring from behind, leading to Raven running over Abyss with a stiff clothesline. Raven kicked Abyss in the gut to set up the Raven's Effect DDT, but Abyss reversed it and sent Raven to the ropes for a Black Hole Slam. Mitchell entered the ring with his walking cane in hand, as Abyss picked up his trademark chain and wrapped it around Raven's throat. Raven gasped for air as Mitchell smiled in heinous joy to close the show.
Matches Announced for the July 17 No Surrender PPV.
- NWA Title Match – Raven vs. Abyss
- Samoa Joe vs. Chris Sabin
Closing Thoughts: Well, after two #1 Contender matches and one five-man NWA Title match, Abyss finally receives his one-on-one opportunity for the NWA Title. Even better is TNA finally realizing that the only way for Abyss to sustain main event status is for someone to speak for him. It's been a long time coming, but TNA finally saddled Abyss with Mitchell, who has the ability to be the right kind of mouthpiece who is equally sadistic and inane to match Abyss's character.
Where was A.J. Styles? Seemingly, the former Champion has been brushed aside without even the discussion of him receiving a return match for the NWA Title. Did Styles cut in line in front of someone on the booking committee at the "Back to the Future" ride? This is the guy who was the first one to take the NWA Title from Jeff Jarrett after Double J had nearly a one-year stranglehold on the belt. That, in and of itself, was something TNA could have turned into Styles's calling card for being a phenomenal asset to TNA. Now, he's barely a footnote in the list of NWA World Champions? Someone explain that genius maneuver.
With four weeks worth of Impact in the can and ready for post-production, it's difficult to adjust the video footage for the build up to No Surrender, but there has to be some more effort put into developing storylines and importance for the PPV matches. Video packages, voice-over promos, and video profiles could all help advance the stories surrounding the PPV matches. I'm sure TNA has some of these features in mind, but it wouldn't hurt to bring those out sooner rather than two days before the PPV.
James Caldwell welcomes any and all reader feedback and comments on this week's Impact Review at his official Torch feedback email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Caldwell will be back on Sunday in the Lounge with his Sunday Brunch column. In the meantime, Caldwell will be looking for ways to get Mike Jones and his free computer back on commercials during Impact."
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