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KELLER'S TNA IMPACT REPORT 1/8: Ongoing coverage of Spike TV show including Angle vs. B.G. James

Jan 8, 2009 - 10:04:53 PM

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

JANUARY 8, 2009


-The Impact opening aired. No Christian Cage, but we did see Suicide and Sheik Abdul Bashir. Mike Tenay hyped the TNA Genesis line-up right away. Don West then hyped the actual show, featuring Awesome Kong in action, Kurt Angle vs. B.G. James, and the X Division semi-finals.

1 -- ALEX SHELLEY (w/Chris Sabin) vs. ERIC YOUNG - X Tournament Semi-Finals

Young scored a very early near fall with a powerslam. Sabin yanked Young by his feet off the ring apron a minute later. Shelley dove at Young with a flying knee at ringside. He followed with a running spear through the ropes into the guard rail. The crowd chanted "TNA, TNA." Young made a comeback at 3:00 and went for a top rope move. He played to the crowd after merely bodyslamming Shelley, which was pretty ridiculous looking on multiple levels. First, he needed to do more than jab his shoulder into Shelley and bodyslam him before having any reason to believe Shelley would stay on his back as he climbed to the top rope, but even worse, he played to the crowd as if he had time to kill. It's little things like that which undercut any ability to suspend disbelief that they're really fighting and it becomes just a series of moves with no realistic meaning to them. Such is the price wrestlers pay for having 12 minutes matches shoved into four minutes of TV time by bookers who don't respect or appreciate what's necessary time-wise to tell a story within a match. Young hit the top rope elbow, by the way, as Shelley lay there waiting to be elbowed, which felt completely unrealistic. If they think viewers at home don't notice that kind of thing, they're wrong. There's that tinge of "why did Shelley just lay there" that breaks that fourth wall, so to speak. Seconds later Young shoved Shelley into Sabin on the ring apron. Sabin came back with a kick to Young as Young complained to him. Shelley then gave him Sliced Bread and a leverage pin for the win.

WINNER: Shelley in 4:00 to advance.

-West plugged upcoming matches on Impact.

-As the referee from the previous match, Shane Sewell, walked up the ramp, Sheik Abdul Bashir blocked his path. Sewell tried to avoid confrontation, but Bashir slapped him. Sewell toned down his cartoon faces a bit this week. Bashir then attacked him with punches and stomps. Tenay said it's riduclous Sewell has to put up with this. There's little doubt that Bashir should be suspended from this within the storyline. Sewell made a comeback on his own and ripped off his ref shirt and rought back. Sewell ducked a charging Bashir, who flew over the top rope. He then threw him into the security railing. West said Bashir deserves this beating. Back in the ring Bashir begged off. Tenay said Sewell was warned he'd be terminated if he had one more such incident, although Tenay should be scripted to say the obvious, which is Sewell was merely defending himself outside of the ring after a match.


Jim Cornette walked out and acted like a total idiot. He confronted Sewell and said, "What are you doing? You just don't get it, do you? You're a referee, not a wrestler." Sewell, though, didn't instigate and he was just defending himself against Bashir, and it came across as if Cornette thought Sewell just attacked Bashir as a referee during a Bashir match without being instigated. Cornette said he had to be a man of his word since he had previously said Sewell had just one more strike. He said, with some reluctance, "Shane, you're fired!" Cornette turned to Bashir and told him to wipe the smile off his face. Cornette said Bashir must think he's an idiot and a moron. He said he knows he's been playing his words against him and egging Sewell on. Bashir smiled and nodded yes. Cornette said he may be happy Sewell is fired, but he's only fired for three days. "Because, Shane, as of Sunday at Genesis, you're back on the TNA payroll as a wrestler." Shane liked that. Earl Hebner congratulated him. Cornette added that his first match would be one-on-one against Bashir at Genesis. Bashir, thankfully, didn't act scared. He seemed a little dejected, but not scared, which was the right tone to take. Be heelish, but don't act overly scared of having to face Sewell. Cornette's logic was flawed early, but by the end, hiring Sewell as a wrestler made it forgivable.

[Commercial Break]

-The entire Main Event Mafia walked out. West talked about their recent despicable actions. He said there's tremendous pressure on Rhino, Mick Foley, and the TNA Frontliners to keep the power from shifting totally toward MEM. Booker had a cigar in his mouth. Angle wondered who would be left to run the company after Jeff Jarrett and Mick Foley are taken out of the company. They showed a clip of Jarrett and Foley backstage, hanging out with Jeremy Borash watching the show. Angle said that's why they formed MEM - to put people with honor, respect, and dignity running TNA. He said he's feeling high and giddy because he's anticipating a chance to hurt him, tear him apart, and do everything he can do to bring him down. He said he feels sorry for Jarrett since he didn't give him any other options and he has no way out. He said at Genesis his whole world as he knows it will come to an end.

They cut to Sting in what seemed like a jump cut after a brief shot of the locker room with Foley and Jarrett again. Sting said it's still all about respect. He said he had nothing against Rhino until the day he sided with "them." He said that means he believes and represents what they believe and represent. He said he swore he would get respect no matter how much blood is shed. He said there's a big war going on, but it will come to an end, possibly at Genesis. He said it will be "showtime" at Genesis.

Time for Kevin Nash to speak. He took the mic and said he doesn't think the war will be over at Genesis. He said when he was a little kid, his dad would come up to him and say, "You know, Big Sexy [funny], don't put off... today what you can do... tomorrow." Yeah, and, "Fool me once, shame on me, fool me again... can't fool me twice." He said since they formed MEM, they've taken out who they wanted to when they wanted to. He said they took out Petey and Brother Ray and Samoa Joe. He said why wait, why not take out Mick and Jeff tonight. Scott Steiner then yelled, "Foley, you hit us first, and that was your mistake, so no longer are you untouchable."

Booker took the mic and said he knows Jarrett and Foley are watching them in the back right now. He said they're coming for them tonight. "Tonight your punk asses belong to Mafia. Now can you dig that?" he closed. The Mafia music played as Tenay and West summarized their threats. West said Jarrett and Foley are in trouble tonight.

-Borash interviewed Jarrett and Foley backstage. He asked how they can survive. As Jarrett began to talk, Devon and A.J. Styles walked in. Devon said they're going to survive by sticking close to them. Devon handed Foley a plaid shirt. Foley said, "Testify!" Styles said because Jarrett hired him and allow him to feed his family and do something he loves to do, he's got his back.

[Commercial Break]


-Lauren interviewed The Beautiful People and the Sarah Palin impersonator, referred to as "The Governor" by Tenay in his intro, on set on a farm. Angelina Love and Velvet Sky were scared by the farm animals. The Gov said it's time for their charity work. A crawler on the screen distractingly announced that Jesse James is coming to Spike TV and viewers can submit a stunt for him to do and he'll do it on a future episode. Palin said manure is great for growing tomatoes. Sky didn't know what dung was; Love said, "It's horse(bleep), Velvet!" Sky began to dry heave.

2 -- MADISON RAYNE vs. AWESOME KONG (w/Raisha Saeed, Rhaka Khan, Sojourner Bolt)

Tenay said it's good news and bad news for Rayne. She gets to make her TNA debut, but she has to face Kong. Tenay said Christy Hemme's in-ring skills are so improved after months of training with Styles (while she was also, apparently, partying and doing drugs on the road with her rock band mates who are never spoken of now, Lance Rock and Jimmy Rave. Or was that her same-named twin?). West said Rayne wants to become the next Taylor Wilde. Kong dominated, with help from ringside, and won with the Awesome Bomb.

WINNER: Kong in 1:00.

-Lauren interviewed Abyss backstage. She said she was hoping to talk to Matt Morgan, too, but he was getting ready to face Robert Roode later. Abyss said "it's bad right now" and Matt is done talking with him about everything. He said he was really upset with Beer Money taking advantage of him. He said he can't make things right with Matt, so now Robert Roode and James Storm should not mistake his kindness for weakness. He said the key to every good relationship, according to his therapist, is communication. He said at Genesis "the old Abyss may revert and come back out." He asked Lauren if she was mad at him. She said no. "Oh, good, because I don't know if I could handle my girlfriend and best friend maad at me at the same time," he said, closing with crazy laughs.

[Commercial Break]

-An ad aired for the TNA Bound for Glory PPV with a lot of extras including the post-match interviews backstage and the creating of the gangster-style commercial.

-Lauren interviewed Hernandez and Homicide backstage. She asked about their briefcase wins. Homicide said he's the next X Champion and Hernandez is a future heavyweight champion. He said for now they're lying low. Lauren said the rumors are flying that this could be the end of LAX if they win singles titles. Homicide said they're forever. He said it's time to go party LAX style.

-Tenay and West were shown on camera. It does look cool to have the crowd in the background on this shot, but it does seem strange their backs are to the ring. They ran down the entire Genesis PPV line-up. Sting vs. Rhino got top billing over Angle vs. Jarrett in their rundown.


-Borash interviewed Sabin and Shelley. He talked about how they'll be facing each other in the finals of the X Division Title tournament. He asked if it'd get into the way of their friendship. Sabin said the bond they hold will go up against becoming a champion. Shelley said he can take over from there. He said he gets Mick Foley and Duke the Dumpster Droese confused because they both smell like garbage. He said good things come in pairs like "Rock and Roll, Mick Foley and hygiene, and Mick Foley and hypocrisy." He said they are a great team and their bond is unbreakable. Foley walked in and said, "I was listening there. A couple good zingers." He said they'll wrestle a great match. He said he can't worry about whether they're going to stink up his PPV. He said they have the potential to shine in there, but also "to enter levels of suckatude not seen since Kazmaier and Oz in '92. I was there and it wasn't pretty!" He said if they mess it up on purpose, they will be on a one-way bus back to Detroit and never get an X Division Title opportunity again. So we're supposed to buy the PPV to see the possibility of these two throwing their match and laying down for the other? That was a non-money segment.

[Commercial Break]

-A video aired on the Main Event Mafia.

-Rough Cut with Beer Money Inc. Storm said wrestling is all about having fun. He said they're making a lot of money and having a lot of fun. They showed them playing pool together and laughing over drinks at a bar. Roode said however he has lived his life, he's been dedicated to pro wrestling. Storm said he's a simple guy dedicated to having fun with his little girl. "She's the most important thing in the world to me," he said. "I like living out in the country, riding my horses, playing with my dog." What an asshole! He said when he wrestles his last match, he wants people to think he wasn't that flashy, but he was a tough SOB and entertained the hell out of us. Seriously, John Cena was less likable than these two have been in these Rough Cut videos, and they're supposedly heels. It's one of the most confounding decisions of the year on a wrestling TV show unless they're turning Roode & Storm babyface very quickly.

3 -- MATT MORGAN (w/Abyss) vs. ROBERT ROODE (w/James Storm)

Morgan beat up Roode at ringside a minute into the match. Tenay said Borash had huge news from the annual Tokyo Dome show in Japan. Tenay said "they announced 40,000 fans at the Tokyo Dome." Abyss bashed the heads of Roode and Storm together at ringside, then threw Roode back into the ring. The referee ordered Abyss to the back. Jacqueline poked Morgan in the eyes, giving Roode an opening to take control. Morgan made a comeback at 3:00 with a high dropkick and a big boot.


Morgan fended off interference by Storm with a spray of beer to his face. He knocked him off the ring apron, then backdropped Roode to the floor. Storm tried to help Roode to his feet, but Roode clutched his knee and limped to the ring apron. The ref checked on him. He indicated to the ref he couldn't continue. He called a TNA trainer to check on his knee. West said it was just one of those things where someone lands wrong. The ref called for the bell. West said Morgan obviously thinks its a Roode. Abyss celebrated the win as if it was some sort of achievement, which was kinda funny.

WINNER: Morgan via countout in 4:00.

-They showed Jay Lethal and Consequences Creed walking out with their briefcase for a tag title shot. They cut to a break.

[Commercial Break]

-Lethal and Creed stood in center ring. Lethal said everybody knows the rules to Feast or Fired, and then went on to explain them, which always seems a bit redundant one way or another. He said they were going to cash in their tag title shot right now. Roode and Storm protested. Tenay said Abyss & Morgan at no. 1 contenders, so this affects them.


West said Storm will do the brunt of the work in this match and suck it up. Roode knocked Creed off balance on the top rope. Storm made the cover for a two count. They cut to a break right then at 4:00.

[Commercial Break]


Back from the break, Storm was beating up Creed. He tagged in Roode, who limped into the ring and tried to continue the momentum. Jackie beat up Creed briefly after Storm threw him to the floor. Lethal got a hot-tag and went on a flurry of offense. Storm came back with a flurry of offense himself at 11:00. After a top rope elbow by Lethal on Storm, Jackie distracted the ref. Roode entered the ring with the briefcase, Lethal stole it and KO'd Storm. The ref turned in time to count to three. Tenay said that win was the definition of "opportunistic." Abyss and Morgan didn't look happy since they just lost their shot at the tag team titles. Shouldn't they, as no. 1 contenders, face the new champs instead of the former champs?

WINNERS: Creed & Lethal in 12:00 to capture the TNA Tag Team Titles.


[Commercial Break]

-A replay aired of the finish of the tag team title match. Tenay wondered how this would affect the no. 1 contenders, Morgan & Abyss.

-Lauren interviewed Lethal & Creed celebrated in the locker room with fellow Frontliners. Lethal said, in his Black Machismo persona, that the Million Dollar Man is missing some gold, they were bigger than the Megapowers, and they're now champs just like Rocky Johnson & Tony Atlas. Creed said this is a great time in his career. He thanked Styles, Rhino, and Devon, saying they were his inspiration. Lauren turned to Devon and asked what was going on in their minds three days away from Genesis. Devon said the most important thing now is to let Creed & Machismo enjoy the moment.

-Tenay and West were shown on camera again, backs to the ring, crowd cheering behind them. They hyped the revised line-up with three-way match for the tag team titles with Abyss & Morgan still in the mix. That's a good solution.

-Borash approached Jarrett and B.G. backstage. Jarrett said he didn't have to face Angle. A weepy B.G. said he's listened to Angle spout off about ophaning his kids. He cried and said he has to lay his head on his pillow tonight and he's got to do this. "You've always taken care of me and I love you for that, but I do have to do this," he said. Jarrett buried his head in his hands to express his conflicted emotions. Wrestlers crying is always a little risky and it rarely works. This wasn't an exception.

[Commercial Break]


-Back to Lauren following the Beautiful People with "The Governor." Their clothes were dirty and they had shovels in hand. The Gov said their time serving Green Peace will be remembered around the world for a long time to come. Love said this just doesn't feel right. Sky continued to dry heave. The Gov said they can't get by on their looks in Washington. "Look at Barbara Bush, look at Hilary Clinton, they're not exactly the cat's meow." She said next week she'll make them official members of her cabinet and then it's off to the White House. Sky and Love celebrated and danced, but then slipped and fell in hay.

-A vignette aired on Jeff Jarrett with him saying he's always been champion wherever he's gone, and then he founded TNA. "Adversity introduces a man to himself," the sage concluded.


B.G. went after Angle before the bell at ringside, attacking him from behind on the entrance ramp. The ref ordered the bell to ring. B.G. bashed Angle's face into the ring apron and punched him. Angle reversed B.G. into the ringpost at 2:00. B.G. came up bleeding from the forehead. They cut to a break as Angle pounded away at his forehead. That's too many commercials at times that would naturally frustrate viewers. The viewer has to be wondering why TNA slots commercials at the worst possible times, the equivalent of cutting away just as a winning field goal is about to kicked.

[Commercial Break]

Angle continued to beat on B.G. inside the ring. West said to Angle, B.G. is Jarrett. At 7:00 B.G. made a comeback with a series of punches. He wiggled and danced and dropped a knee on Angle's forehead leading to a soft two count. B.G. gave Angle a pump-handle slam for a two count. Angle reversed B.G. into an anklelock attempt, but B.G. kicked out. Angle gave him an Olympic slam for a two count. Angle went into a back suplex series, but B.G. elbowed out after one. Angle backdropped B.G. and floated over into an ankle lock center-ring. When B.G. touched the bottom rope, Angle dragged him back to mid-ring. Tenay said it's a no-DQ match, so Angle wouldn't have to break it anyway. B.G. tapped out.

WINNER: Angle in 10:00.

STAR RATING: ** -- Not bad. That's the hardest B.G. has worked in a while, and Angle carried him to a solid match.


-Afterward, the rest of MEM sans Sting joined Angle in the ring as Angle continued to beat on B.G. He stomped on his leg while it was wedged into a chair. Foley and Jarrett ran to the ring. Foley's run to the ring was as unathletic a sight as you'll ever see, even counting Howard Finkle's rare in-ring action. Foley just doesn't look like an athlete at all, and although that was never his bailiwick, it's kinda ridiculous now.

[Commercial Break]

-They showed Jarrett sitting on a chair mid-ring in shock with a mic in hand as Foley, Rhino, Styles, and Devon paced behind him. Jarrett address his comments to Angle while rubbing his forehead. He said words can't describe how he's feeling right now. He said, "This was between you and me. It had nothing to do with Brian. Nothing!" He said as the leader of TNA, he had "prided himself" on setting an example on the right way to do things every time. "Kurt, that's character," he said. "But this Sunday, Kurt, all I can think about is beating the [bleeped] out of you." He stood up and hung his head in the corner of the ring. He could barely keep his composure. Foley took the mic from him. The crowd chanted, "TNA, TNA." Foley said with all of this emotion going on, and seeing B.G. sacrifice himself for the well-being of his friend, he can't help but stand there and feel a little ashamed. He said two weeks ago he told the MEM that at Genesis he was crossing the line. He said he saw his face in brilliant high definition and in the back of his mind he couldn't help but think he looked pretty bad. He said one of his teeth is kinda gray, his beard is turning white, his skin is looking a little bit haggard. "Then I thought about all the reasons this was so," he said.

He went into yelling mode and said that tooth was jammed up his nose in one of the most famous matches ever. He said the tooth never quite took, but that was okay because it's the story of his life. He said, "I walk a little slower, I stumble a bit when I talk, and I'm not a handsome man, but I am the Hardcore Legend." He said on Sunday he is coming home. He talked about each of their matches on Sunday. Foley told Devon he will draw strength from Brother Ray. He told Styles he is the gutsiest performer of this generation. He told MEM to take a look at him. "I may not be as good as I once was, but for one night I will be as good as I ever was," he closed. Good final sell from Foley. He stayed away from any of the cloying cutsy stuff he usually relies on went back into money-mode. Acknowledging his weaknesses was key because if he acknowledges them, that gives him a chance to explain them away as being irrelevant, and he did a good job with that. The downside was that once again, his promo was very self-centered. He didn't focus much on who he was facing or what his motivation was. It was all about answering for his weaknesses at this point. He tried to make people want to see him, but he didn't try to make people want to see him beat up anyone in particular.

-The show closed with a final video pitch for Genesis. They did what they could to sell this PPV, which feels like more of an off-brand event than one featuring the long-built-up Jarrett-Angle rematch and Foley's return to the ring should. It was missing any attempt to sell Rhino as a legitimate threat to beat Sting. The World Title match took a backseat to two skits with "Sarah Palin," a Rough Cut segment that essentially turned heel tag team Beer Money babyface, and a lot of time on Shane Sewell. There was no Christy Hemme appearance, either, which was odd since the TNA Knockouts draw top ratings for this show most weeks and yet it was as far from the focus of final PPV hype as you can get. A bigger deal should have been made out of this perhaps being the last chance to see Foley wrestle, or at least hype what a rare occasion this is. They treated Foley like it was Shane Douglas coming out of retirement or something.

-They went right into an unannounced replay of the Best of 2008 "New Year's Special" featuring PPV matches never aired on basic cable before.

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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.

He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.

He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).

He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)


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