TV REPORTS CALDWELL'S IMPACT REPORT 1/28: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of show
Jan 28, 2006 - 9:59:00 PM
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By James Caldwell, Torch columnist
TNA Impact on Spike TV
January 28, 2006
Taped January 17, 2006 in Orlando, Florida
Report by James Caldwell, Torch columnist
- We opened with video from the bait and switch involving Sting last week. Countdown to Sting's first words on Impact in 50 minutes. Countdown until Jeff Jarrett in seconds.
1 -- JEFF JARRETT (w/Gail Kim) vs. JAY LETHAL
This would be the match to pull a 1-2-3 Kid upset special over Razor Ramon to get heat on the new babyface. Jarrett attacked Lethal before the opening bell. Jarrett took Lethal to the outside. Jackie Gayda bounced to the ringside area and gave Gail Kim a tape recorder. It's 2006, why not an iPod? Jarrett told Gail not to listen to the tape. Gail walked away as Jarrett returned to the match with Lethal. Lethal hit a standing drop kick followed by a diving headbutt for a nearfall. Jarrett went for an atomic drop, but he couldn't even get his knee out to complete the move. Jarrett hit the Stroke for the win.
WINNER: Jeff Jarrett at 2:07. That's all from the promotion's champion?
- Christian Cage walked out as Jarrett celebrated the victory. Christian said he didn't have comedy tonight. Good to see he's expanding his repertoire. Christian said he has a promise from TNA management that he will face Jarrett for the NWA Title at the February PPV. So much for the suspense of the open contract. Christian said he would fulfill his destiny of becoming NWA Champion and relieving TNA fans of watching Jarrett as champion.
[Commercial Break. There are no steroids in Morphoplex products.]
2 -- TEAM 3D (BROTHER RAY & BROTHER DEVON) vs. KENNY KING & BUCK QUARTERMAIN
I'm predicting less than two minutes here. Team 3D ran to the ring and jumped the competition. Devon beat down on King in the corner. Lumberjack Ray worked over King with help from Devon. Quartermain took a tag and took a 3D. Devon with the cover for the win.
WINNERS: Team 3D at 1:35.
- Brother Ray took the mic huffing and puffing after 30 seconds of hard work. Ray held up the Tag Team of the Year award for only two months of service. Ray said he and Devon have thought long and hard about who to face - Team Canada or AMW. "One of the hardest decisions we've had to make," Ray said. The fans chanted for both teams. "We're going to leave the most important decision of our lives up to you," Ray said. Oh boy. Ray asked the fans who they would rather see get their asses kicked. Ray said he would send Team Canada back to their country.
- A.J. Styles, Christopher Daniels, and Samoa Joe discussed the towel throwing situation on video. Joe said that when wrestlers get in the ring with him, people get hurt. Joe was the silent assassin. Styles admitted that what goes around comes around. Daniels played the tweener who didn't need someone deciding when he's had enough. Zbyszko said the Against All Odds X Division Title match will be a three-way. Great video package to set up the story.
- Speaking of which, Austin Aries, Alex Shelley, and Roderick Strong were backstage with Jerry Lynn and Shane Douglas. They pointed out their two victories. Jerry Lynn said they cheated to win. That's funny because with so much outside interference and so many screwball finishes on the last PPV, the X Division match that GenNext won was one of the only three matches without interference. Matt Bentley walked in with Tracy. Bentley said he's tired of the young ring crew guys complaining about not having a spot when he's been around longer. Yet, Bentley has been with the company for three years and he's still jerking the curtain because he hasn't developed a personality. Go figure. Bentley put over the Bentley Bounce from the front row fans. Bentley asked Lynn when he gets his opportunity. Lynn told Bentley it was lucky day and took everyone to the ring. Bentley actually had some character here. Alex Shelley, with video camera in hand, with the line of the year to Shane Douglas: "Has anyone ever told you have a perfect face for radio?" Thank goodness for the X Division.
3 -- MATT BENTLEY (w/Traci) vs. SAMOA JOE -- Non-Title match
The fans booed Bentley on the way to the ring. Don West tried to subtly discuss Traci's boobs. Bentley had a nice smile on his face when he walked to the ring. Samoa Joe's music hit and the smile turned upside down. This is great. The fans chanted, "Joe's gonna kill you." Don West turned on the fans and said the greatest match he's ever seen was Joe-Daniels-Styles at Unbreakable. The fans voted for the barbed wire Sabu-Abyss match for TNA match of the year. Bentley went for a dropkick, but Joe just casually walked away. Great. GenNext walked out to watch the match. Dave Hebner was looking for someone as always. Joe planted an elbow to the chest at 1:20. Bentley connected with a bulldog then hit a huricanrana for a nearfall. Bentley missed with a corner splash and Joe caught him in the sternum with a knee lift. Joe went for the Muscle Buster too early. Bentley slipped out and went for a superkick, but Joe caught his foot. Joe dropped Bentley on the mat and locked in the Kokina Clutch. Bentley tapped out.
WINNER: Samoa Joe at 3:03. Joe dominates again.
- We saw video recapping Abyss and James Mitchell's alliance with Team Canada. Mitchell discussed Abyss's path of destruction.
4 -- ABYSS (w/James Mitchell) vs. RHINO
Jeremy Borash billed this as a "Final Resolution re-match." Tenay listed Rhino's numerous nicknames. TNA Rule #3: The more nicknames that Mike Tenay can list during your ring introduction, the more important you are to the company. Rhino chased Abyss to the outside as we went to a break.
[Commercial Break. A doctor holding a bottle of Morphoplex while standing in front of a candy vending machine promoted the fat-burning quality of the product.]
We came back with Rhino attacking Abyss in the corner. Abyss ran over Rhino with a boot to the face out of the corner. Dave Hebner is still looking for someone. Mitchell called for the end. Rhino didn't comply. Rhino went for a Death Valley Driver, but Abyss slipped out. Rhino hit a spinebuster off the ropes. Rhino set up for the gore, but Abyss threw him over the top rope to the floor. Abyss cracked a chair over Rhino's back on the outside. The referee let it all go. Tenay said the referee is intimidated by Abyss. He commended the referee for allowing things to go. I thought Tenay was supposed to the babyface announcer who stands up for rules, regulation, truth, and justice when the heel cheats. Oh yeah, that's right. Rule #4: There are no rules in TNA. The action spilled to the outside and to the backstage area. Rhino gored Abyss through a breakway wall backstage. Shane Douglas was backstage looking on in horror. Conveniently, there was a camera placed directly behind the breakaway wall to capture the entire scene. The referee decided this was the right time to throw out the match. Paramedics and officials checked on both wrestlers. What would have made the breakaway wall moment great would have been Shane Douglas doing something ridiculous like picking his nose or zipping up his fly to get over the unpredictable nature of Abyss and Rhino since Douglas wasn't expecting to be on camera during the match. It would have been better for establishing the angle than TNA conveniently having a camera pointed right at the breakaway wall to capture the crash.
WINNER: No Contest at 9:40. Fun big man match-up. But, see above for Rule #4 for why the finish lost some of its edge.
- Mike Tenay was center ring. Tenay said Sting's return at the PPV was a "magical moment." Tenay introduced Sting. The lights went out then a flash of lightning followed by Sting imagery. Sting came out to "Yours" by Toby Mac. Don West said he had goose bumps. The crowd continued cheering Sting. Tenay welcomed Sting. Tenay said Sting has a major announcement. The fans chanted, "Welcome back." Sting did his traditional yell. Sting said he had something to get off his chest. He went back to March 2001 when he wrestled Ric Flair on the final Nitro. Sting said his wrestling career flashed before his eyes. He went back to the Baltimore Arena where he won his first title against Flair. He went back to the first Clash in Greensboro against Flair. He went back to Chicago and Panama City when he repelled from the ceiling. He said he remembered the fans and the roar of the crowd. "The one thing that happened to me that night that was pretty bogus was that I never got to say good-bye to the fans," he said. Sting said he heard the stories from the fans about not saying good-bye. He said he missed the smell of the arena. Really? Sting dropped the same quotes from the Conference Call.
He put over A.J. Styles to a John Cena reaction. He said the dressing room is full of future champions. He put over Abyss and Samoa Joe. The fans chanted, "T-N-A, T-N-A." He agreed with TNA. He talked about his first match back in five years at the Final Resolution PPV. Sting said he heard the "you still got it" chant and the red blood cells started flowing. Sting said the one thing that missing was that he didn't get to say good-bye. Sting said the PPV was his chance to say good-bye. "I want to take this opportunity to say 'thank you' to TNA and Dixie Carter and the Carter family," he said. "But most of all - and I mean this - I want to say 'thank you' to you (fans in the crowd). I gotta do this. It was a memory that I do not want to forget nor do I want it to be tainted. For you fans out there in TV land, for me, and I want to take this opportunity to say good-bye. I want to say good-bye. Thank you." The fans chanted, "Please don't go." He continued. "I love you guys," he said. "Thank you for the memories. I love each and every one of you, but I'm saying good-bye." He dropped his baseball bat in the center of the ring. A.J. Styles, Chris Sabin, and Sonjay Dutt walked out and shook his hand. Christian Cage walked out confused. Christian said he still had it. Sting said he didn't want to mess it up. Sting patted him on the shoulder and left.
JC Take: Well, this one's a deep issue. First, Sting showed flashes of brilliance on the mic. There was intensity behind his words, although the issue is the storyline. After last week's bait and switch, this one falls into the category of exploiting the genuine reaction from the fans during his return at the PPV and his return on Impact to advance some retirement storyline. Granted, that's not a bad thing if TNA plays its cards right. This will make for a great storyline if TNA doesn't try to play its crowd for dummies to turn a genuine emotional response into a storyline. Of course, there was a sense in the audience that TNA tried to pull the rug out from under them by building up this huge announcement, only to have Sting do a retirement angle when the most vocal people in the building know he still has eleven months left on his six-figure contract. Instead of trying to build up an intriguing storyline just playing to the basic good vs. evil storyline that Sting plays well, TNA is trying to get the fans thinking one way so they can switch and go another way. Still, this was a good TV cliffhanger. TV viewers will want to see what's next. I'm just not sure Orlando will feel the same way based on TNA using them and a genuine reaction to set-up the storyline. Tuesday's TV taping will be interesting to say the least. Fans in Orlando, drop me a line with your thoughts on TNA using a real and genuine emotional response for the storyline. Exploitative? Within reason? Great to be part of a storyline? Feel used and duped? It's one thing watching it play out on TV, but it will be interesting to see reaction from fans in attendance and how the fans react at the TV taping.
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