TV REPORTS 9/4 TNA Impact Recap by Wilkenfeld: Sting, AJ, and Christian try to save the show from itself
Sep 5, 2008 - 1:01:44 AM
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By: Daniel Wilkenfeld, PWTorch Contributor
Where We Have Been: TNA seems to be building to some young/old faction warfare, with Sting leading the old, Joe leading the young, and Jarrett doing whatever he bloody well wants. I am about 75% confident the original plan was for the older wrestlers to be the heels, but if the reaction Sting got last week holds up through the pre-taped episodes, we will probably be flipping to a tweener-tweener feud (which is what I think TNA does best anyway). The wildcard is Jeff Jarrett, whose return I am looking forward to far more than I would have guessed a week ago. I suppose that is one point for the TNA bookers. Anyway, this will be an odd show to watch, since I believe it was taped before the biggest free agent acquisition since at least Kurt Angle (the biggest for TNA anyway—right now Jericho is on pace to be the biggest acquisition since WCW picked up Hulk Hogan). I wonder if they will remix the show at all to add some build-up? In any event, the person I really feel bad for is Kaz, who was presumably getting ready to debut as Suicide, except that now no one will care cause they will be watching Foley. Wait—no one ever cared.
The Show: Sting vs. the Fans
So based on that title I am thinking I was right about who was supposed to be the heel here. I would have thought they would change on based on what the fans actually did. Tonight Sting will be addressing the fans. I hope he cuts the patented Kurt Angle racist promo to get the fans to boo him. We also have Abyss hosting an open-challenge, and AJ Styles vs. Christian Cage in a “find out if Christian has re-upped his contract and so gotten a title shot” No Surrender qualifying match (SPOILER ALERT: he has not).
Kurt Angle, Booker T, and Sharmell come down to the ring. I really like the Angle shades and suit combo—it reeks of slime. Angle says Joe should cast his eyes towards the ring to see what real champions look like. Angle would never presume to speak for Sting, but everything Sting said last week was directed at Joe. Booker agrees. The crowd chants for Joe, which is a good sign I guess. They also boo Booker saying that Sting spoke the truth. I wonder what accounts for the turn-around. Booker says that at No Surrender the title will be decided between two real champions, Booker T and Kurt Angle. Angle says they will first take out the winner of Styles vs. Christiaan, then they will hunt down Jeff Jarrett and shove a guitar up his @$$, then they will make an example of Samoa Joe. I will never be able to figure out the bleeping rules on Impact. How is referring to women as sluts less harmful to the youth of America than referring people’s backsides? I guess Angle could have been saying something more vulgar, but if so I doubt it would be a particularly credible threat. Christian hits the entrance-way, and he does not understand why Angle even mentioned AJ Styles when we all know Christian is going to win later. Christian reminds us that No Surrender is in Canada—I had forgotten about that. Maybe he can win tonight. He says that while Booker and Angle are distracted by politics he will take advantage to become a three-time World Heavyweight Champion. Booker points out that Christian always talks about how he rolls, but he should really be rolling with Angle and The Royal T. Christian wants to know if this is really about respect, or if Booker is just worried about losing his spot. We can only hope. Angle says they can do this the easy way or the hard way. Cage asks what the hard way is, so Angle takes off his jacket and rushes the entrance way. Cage goes right through Angle and attacks Booker in the ring, which is just a really stupid idea. Sure enough, Angle attacks from behind, and they work over Christian for a minute before The Phenomenal One comes down to make the save. Angle and Booker T bail, but Angle grabs a mic and says that he and Booker will make sure neither AJ nor Christian make it to No Surrender. Cornette does not like the sound of that, so he tells Angle and Booker that if either of them interferes tonight both of them will lose their spots at No Surrender. Christian extends his hand to AJ in the ring, and AJ takes it.
JB is in the locker room with Samoa Joe, who questions the sagacity of Kevin Nash he blew his match last week. JB asks if Joe will take the opportunity later tonight to confront Sting. Joe says that if Sting wants his respect, he has to earn it, here in TNA. Umm…dude? He already has two world titles in TNA, winning back-to-back Bound for Glory main events. Joe says that Sting just shows up and preaches, does not give the fans their money’s worth, and takes money away from the boys in the back.
We have another Rough Cut featuring Consequences Creed. Terry Taylor says that they signed Creed 30 seconds after Bound for Glory, but told him to finish his education first. He majored in philosophy? Score. I did not realize that qualified you to be a pro wrestler. AJ Styles predicts that Creed will hold some titles in TNA. Creed wants to learn everything about the business, from the X Division performers, heavyweight veterans, and even the caterers. Wow is he likable.
Not-Crystal is in the back with Sheik Abdul Bashir, and she wants to know why, given how well he was accepted here, he is so annoyed at the USA. He gives her props for her chutzpah in asking the question. He talks about he got a lot from this country, and gave back even more by pumping money into the American economy. He loved this place, but then a few years ago a heinous act of terrorism he knew nothing about took place, and we took everything away from him. So now he no longer loves America, and will take back what is his. And he does not mind torturing innocents on the way. That last line was just completely unnecessary.
(1) CONSEQUENCES CREED defeats SHEIK ABDUL BASHIR
Creed takes control early with a series of Arm Wrenches. Apparently this is an X Division #1 contenders’ match. Creed goes to the top rope, but Bashir yanks him back down to the mat. A Belly-to-Back Suplex gets two. Bashir decides 40 seconds into the match would be a good chance to work the Chin Lock. Creed reverses into the Sleeper, Bashir shoots him off into the ropes, and they crack heads. Bashir gets up first, but Creed blocks an attempted shot to the corner turnbuckle and starts hitting his series of clothesline. The Splits-Shot gets two. The Rolling Clothesline gets two more. Creed goes for a Stinger Splash in the corner, but Bashir sidesteps. Creed bounces off the turnbuckle, and Bashir makes a cover with the aid of the ring ropes for three. The fans call shenanigans, so the ref restarts the match. Creed goes for a Slingshot Sunset Flip. Bashir grabs the ropes, and tries to grab the ref for more leverage. That was a mistake, as the ref kicks Bashir’s hands off the rope. Creed completes the Sunset Flip for three.
After the match, Bashir gets in the face of TNA referee Shane Tzul (?), who I do not remember seeing around much. Bashir offers Shane a free shot, but Shane demurs. Bashir slaps him, and Shane explodes with a series of Knife-Edged Chops and a Back Body Drop. A shocked Bashir rolls out of the ring. Earl Hebner comes down to calm Shane down. The match was a wreck, but the aftermath was surprisingly enjoyable.
JB is in the back with Kevin Nash, who acknowledges that he failed to practice what he preached last week when he let his temper cost him a match. JB wants to know if it is too late for Nash to defuse the Sting-Joe feud, but Nash thinks Sting has a point, and so maybe he will be able to talk some sense into Joe himself.
Not-Crystal is in the back with Beer Money, who make the major announcement that they have been added to the Impact video game. For some reason this leads to Storm patting Robert Roode in the ass. You understand that as well as I do. As Roode tries to explain the concept of royalties to Storm, The Prince Justice Brotherhood shows up and says that they will try to get them banned from the game because of their unsuitable behavior. Curry Man tries to explain the benefits of moderation as he looks down Jacqueline’s shirt. Shark Boy calls them kissing cowboys, which I guess are fighting words. They have a quick pull-apart brawl.
They recap the story of Abyss in a way that actually makes some sense of it. That is fairly impressive really.
Not-Crystal is in the back with The Beautiful People, who, after rebuking her, make the announcement that next week Angelina Love will be challenging Taylor Wilde to a beauty pageant. The events will be a talent contest, a nightgown showdown, and a swimsuit competition.
(2) BEER MONEY INC. defeat SHARK BOY & SUPER ERIC
Shark Boy comes out to Curry Man’s music, as CM is mysteriously absent. It turns out he is in the back getting hit on by Christy Hemme. Roode works over Shark Boy to start. A Back Drop gets two. Shark Boy creates some distance with a knee to the face, but the ref misses the tag and does not let Super Eric into the ring. Rock & Rave are beating up Curry Man in the back. The ref misses another tag to Super Eric, but this time he comes in anyway. He just gets in a Back Body Drop before Hebner asserts his authority. Meanwhile, Storm hits the Last Call on Shark Boy, who then eats a Pay Day for three.
After the match LAX’s music hits. Hernandez chases Roode & Storm out of the ring—and right into an eye-patch wearing Homicide. Mr. 187 tosses them back into the ring, where Hernandez eats them.
Abyss is in the ring, and Team 3D (w/Johnny Devine) come out with a shopping cart full of weapons. Brother Ray accepts a hardcore match on behalf of Johnny Devine, who is not a happy camper. Team 3D distract Abyss while Devine sneaks behind him with a pan. Abyss no sells it, so Ray gets back up on the apron. Devine gets a trash can, but Abyss no sells that too and tosses him from the ring. Abyss, not the sharpest knife in the drawer, again gets distracted by Brother Ray on the apron. Devine comes in with a chair, and nails a gratuitous shot to the head, which Abyss—slightly sells? He punches the chair back into Devine, but when he picks it up his conscience gets the better of him. Brother Ray takes advantage of the hesitation to hit a low blow from behind, and the 3-on-1 ensues. Matt Morgan comes down to make the save. He tosses all three heels from the ring, then tosses the chair to Abyss, who throws it down in disgust.
ODB is in the back selling some bad beans from earlier in the day. She goes into a stall, and fart noises ensue. For the second week in a row, we have a segment that singe-handedly costs the show a grade. To make matters even better, it hit exactly at the strike of ten o’clock.
Not-Crystal meets an arriving Sting, who has nothing to say.
(3) ODB defeats RAISHA SAEED
Awesome Kong has been banned from ringside. ODB pulls Saeed out of the ring and whips her into the barricade. Saeed reverses a second attempted whip, and stomps ODB around the ring. She is getting in offense way sooner than I would have anticipated. Anyway, ODB fends her off and rolls her into the ring. When she tries to follow her Saeed dropkicks her from the apron to the barricade. I think these WHOISSUICDE.com frames are going to give me a seizure. The action moves back into the ring, where Saeed is somehow still in control. She nails a Body Slam, but whiffs on an attempted Moonsault. ODB is up and hits a series of clotheslines and a Fall Away Slam. She takes a swig from the flask, then nails a Running Power Slam for the win. That was pointless.
After the match ODB tries to unmask Raesha Saeed. It would be funny if she had the cheerleader garb on underneath. Saeed gets away, so ODB chases her backstage and gets her mask there. She comes back to show it off, which was not a wise move. Kong attacks from behind and rams her back into the ring post.
Interesting fact: There is actually more action at the Republican National Convention than this episode of Impact. We get back just in time to see Kong nail an Impact Buster on ODB. Roxxi runs down with a steel chair to make the save, but Kong has a chair of her own. They duel for a minute, till a re-masked Saeed attacks from behind. After weeks of trying, Kong finally succeeds in hitting an Awesome Bomb on someone onto a chair, drilling Roxxi.
Kurt Angle tells us to Cross the Line.
Not-Crystal is still hanging out with The Beautiful People. Angelina, with her back to the camera, shows everyone else her swimsuit. There is a random, unprofessional camera-cut for no clear reason.
They recap the AJ-Christian feud. I think this particular recap is a good idea, but it sure feels like there is a lot of filler tonight. I think if I were not recapping this show I could get through it in 45 minutes at the most.
JB is in the back with AJ Styles, and he wants to know if AJ will be able to focus tonight after his altercation with Sting last week. AJ does not like being reminded of last week. He echoes the sentiment that Sting needs to earn his respect, since he (AJ) was the one who built this company. Sting should thank him. He should thank his wife for taking him to get MRIs after wrestling every week. He should thank his kids for playing alone while AJ was out touring. Sting is no different from Angle or Booker T, waiting for the Spike TV deal before showing up for the money. There is one person AJ respects backstage, and that is Christian Cage. This was the first good segment of the show, and we are an hour and a half into it. It was a really good promo though.
(4) CHRISTIAN CAGE defeats AJ STYLES
The crowd seems fairly split as AJ and Christian lock up. They jockey for position, with AJ eventually gaining the edge with a shoulder block. Christian returns with one of his own. He goes for a Suplex, but AJ reverses with a Small Package for two. They trade quick covers. AJ goes for the Leaping Inverted DDT, but Cage sidesteps and takes a breather. AJ starts to fly out after him, but Cage rolls into the ring and AJ lands on the apron. He goes to come back in with the Flying Forearm, but Cage knocks him down off the top rope. Christian tries to nail a Cross Body Block to the outside, but AJ slides into the ring and Cage lands on the mat. AJ comes back out with a Baseball Slide into a Hurricanrana.
We get back just in time to see Cage hit a Neck Breaker for two. AJ fights his way back to his feet, but Cage knocks him back down with an elbow for two. Cage hits a Snapmare, kicks AJ in the back, and beats him up against the corner. AJ turns it around though, but when he goes for the Leaping Inverted DDT Cage fights it off with a punch to the face. Undeterred, AJ just tries for it again, and nails it for two. They brawl to their feet, and AJ gets control with his high dropkick. He whiffs on an attempted Stinger Splash and eats a Decapitator Clothesline. Christian tries to follow up with a Frog Splash, but AJ rolls out of the way. AJ goes for the Styles Clash, Cage fights out and goes for the Unprettier, AJ reverses into a Back Body Drop, Cage lands on his feet, but then AJ nails the Pele for two. That was a cool sequence. AJ tries to follow up with the Flying Forearm, but Cage dodges and then nails AJ with a Corkscrew Elbow for two. AJ gets up and tries to hit a Superplex, but Cage shoves him off and follows up with an immediate Frog Splash for two. Cage goes back to the top rope, but AJ catches him with a Back Body Drop. AJ tries to follow him with a Spiral Tap, but Cage rolls out of the way. Christian tries to hit The Unprettier, but AJ shoves him off and into the referee. While the ref is down, Frank Trigg runs down and nails AJ Styles with a kendo stick. AJ falls back into an Unprettier, and the ref comes to his senses just in time to count the three. I did not foresee that outcome.
They air a package about Jeff Jarrett and the mysteriously appearing guitars. They still do not say his name.
They recap the mystery of the black baseball bat. Did they forget to film an actual episode this week or something?
Sting hits the ring, and I reiterate my belief that they should hold off on the video-game entrances before dark segments. Sting acknowledges the fact that he got cheered last week, and thanks the fans for the pleasant surprise. He knows that we want to bring respect back into this business. He knows that without us, there is no wrestling, there is no TNA, and there is no Sting. This is not where I thought we were going with this. However, he says that at Victory Road there was a percentage of wrestling fans that wanted to see Booker T taken out, and then last month at Hard Justice there was a percentage that wanted to see Angle taken out. I doubt there was a single person who wanted that latter one, what with the likelihood that if he were taken out he would not be coming back. Sting wants to know where we all stand, and Samoa Joe comes out to answer. He says he will be standing on Sting’s throat. Sting gives Joe the bat and turns his back. He says that there is a percentage of fans out there who want him to do it, so he should. Joe tells Sting that just like his respect, he doesn’t need his damn bat; he tosses it down. But he also tells Sting that he should never turn his back on the next generation, and he whips out a club. Nash comes down, and says that if Joe wants to do this he should do it without the weapon. Joe goes to talk to Nash, but behind his back Sting picks up the back, whacks him, and then nails the Scorpion Death Drop. Jarrett’s music hits, and they finally say his name. Sting tells Jeff that he has managed to get his attention, so maybe he should come by next week for a chat. That was not as dramatic a moment as I had anticipated.
Where We Are Going: I am not sure I like this beauty pageant next week. Rachael commented weeks ago how impressed she was that TNA never did the equivalent of a Bra & Panties Match. Well, there goes that. In their defense, it does fit in well with gimmick of The Beautiful People specifically, so this might be an understandable and isolated incident. I do not like the precedent of using the women as eye-candy; they are attractive enough when they do what they do best. There is no real reason to go out of their way to make them something they are not.
Star of the Night: AJ Styles. Sting was stronger on the mic, but AJ had both a good promo and a rock-solid match.
Overall: This was an extremely divided show. The first hour and a half was unmitigated garbage, but the last half hour had some really good stuff. Unlike last week though, the dull parts were actively bad, instead of just neutral, and the Sting elements did not have the same freshness. On the strength of strong work by Sting and AJ Styles, we would have been looking at maybe a C-, but after we take off for the bombardment of filler and the ODB bathroom segment, I think we end up with a flat D.
Daniel is a grad student in philosophy at The Ohio State University, who has finally remembered to add one of these bylines after a year writing for PWTorch.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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