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KELLER'S TNA IMPACT REPORT 3/15: Week two of Monday Impact with Jeff Hardy vs. A.J. Styles, Foley-Bischoff angle, Destination X hype, more

Mar 16, 2010 - 11:41:12 AM

By Wade Keller and James Caldwell, PWTorch editors

MARCH 15, 2010


-A video package aired on Hulk Hogan being bloodied by Sting on Impact last week, and then Rob Van Dam debuting against Sting, but also being bloodied afterward. Of course the highlights ended with Jeff Hardy's debut. The package did show some of the weakness in TNA's booking approach in that there was no singular focus. I know last week was a special episode of Impact that was more loaded than usual (or possible on a weekly basis), but that video package included the following major TNA headlines or storyline advancements: Sting turns heel, Hogan bloodied by Sting, RVD is Sting's mystery opponent, RVD bloodied by Sting, Abyss pins TNA Champ A.J. Styles, Desmond Wolfe jumps Abyss afterward, The Pope makes a save attempt, and Jeff Hardy returns to TNA and makes the final save. That's a lot to digest in a one minute video package. And that was just a slice of last week's TNA Impact's happenings.

-A copper colored Hummer drove up. Out of it came Hogan, Abyss, Hardy, and RVD. Environmentalists they're not.

-The TNA Impact opening aired. Then Mike Tenay and Taz introduced the show as Impact's pyro blasted and the camera panned the crowd.

-A.J. Styles's music played and Styles and Ric Flair walked out to the ring. Styles called Abyss a "scary looking but stupid monster." He asked if he thinks his magical ring is going to help him when they wrestle on Sunday. "I don't believe in magical rings," Styles said. "But I'll tell you what I do believe. I believe I'm the best wrestler in the world." He said he also believes he's a gift from God. He said this Sunday he'll find out first-hand. The crowd chanted, "Turn his mic off!" Styles told a "fat boy" to shut up.

Flair took the mic and said he wishes he could be as under control as Styles. He pulled off his jacket and showed off the cuts on his forehead. He pounded on his cuts and began to bleed again. He said, "This is real. This is wrestling." He bled into his left eye as he said, "I hate Jeff Hardy! I hate him." He said if Hardy wants to play ball in TNA, expect to get "this" every day of his life, pointing to his forehead. "Insane Clown" Hardy came out to his self-produced song. Tenay said nobody has more of a fan base today than Hardy.

Styles asked Hardy who he thinks he is coming into his house. He said he's a nobody and has done nothing. Flair yelled at Hardy, telling him to look Styles in the eye. Styles got worked up and said if he wants to be in the spotlight, the spotlight doesn't get any bigger than himself. He said since he likes to put his hands on him, he suggested they wrestle later tonight. "You want the spotlight, I doubt you'll know what to do with it," Styles said, getting on his tip-toes in Hardy's face. Hardy said, "It'll be a breeze." Flair yanked the mic away and told Flair to go backstage and paint a picture and sniff and get as high as he can on that paint because he's got to be flying high in the air to come to that ring tonight. He said he's be flying high on the backs of his Creatures of the Night. He yet out a barbaric yell and then the lights went dark and blacklight filled the arena. That lit up the facepaint on his "Creatures of the Night." Overall, an okay interview. I like Flair as a heel more controlled, saving the crazed outbursts for when it really matters. Its unbecoming of his stature to be so out of control and yelling like that constantly. Hardy was Hardy and doesn't really need to say much. Styles was good on the mic, but I'm still not fully buying him as Flair's protege. He's putting in a great effort and it's not a total flop by any means, but he just might not be the right person for that role.

-Backstage Mick Foley approached Eric Bischoff about last week. Bischoff cut him off and ranted about his helping Styles last week. Bischoff said, "Forget about last week. I want to seize the moment." He said he wants to try to make him a proper corporate citizen. He said they're going to clean him up by shaving his head and beard, turning him into the corporate executive he wants and needs. Foley said his hair is his trademark. Bischoff said not anymore. [c]


-Tenay and Taz hyped the TNA Impact line-up: Hardy vs. Styles, which Taz called a dream match; Hogan confronts Sting; Bischoff gives Foley a haircut.

-A video clip aired of The Nasty Boys and Jimmy Hart attacking Jesse Neal backstage earlier in the day and powerbombing him through a catering table.


Brian Knobs said they were going to have a three-on-three match, but now it's a handicapped match. He then laughed in a cartoonish manner. Brother Ray said Knobs has it wrong. He said they've got a new partner. Out came Brother Runt, the former Spike Dudley. How was it an advantage for the Nastys to have Jimmy as their partner against "just" Brother Ray and Devon? That makes no sense that Knobs would gloat about that. Tenay plugged Dixie Carter's Twitter account. With Runt down at 2:00, Jimmy tagged in and whipped him. Brother Ray interfered. Knobs KO'd Brother Ray with the bicycle helmet and then Jimmy made the cover for the win. The Nastys were going to attack Team 3D and drive them through a table, but Jesse Neal ran out with his ribs taped. Team 3D with Neal's help them gave Sags a 3D through the table.

WINNER: Nastys & Jimmy in 4:00.

STAR RATING: 1/2* -- Well, there went about four weeks of potential angles all shoved into six minutes of TV. But maybe, given the participants, it's better off that way. They're totally relying on really old memories of the Jimmy Hart character rather than reestablishing who he is. Even the Nastys, a relic team that wasn't even on national TV in the entire previous decade, haven't really been reintroduced. TNA continues to assume anyone watching them has seen all of the previous exposure the wrestlers once had. They rushed through Brother Runt's return, Jesse Neal's comeback, Jimmy Hart booked in a match he logically should have wanted no part of, a table spot that should be a blow off moment for the feud, and on and on. As Taz said, a lot of moving parts in that one. Just too many.

-Christy Hemme interviewed Angelina Love backstage. Christy asked Love how it felt to see her rivals, The Beautiful People, walk away with the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Titles. She said it sucks and it makes her mad, and when she's mad she needs to do something about it. She said she's the original Beautiful Person and it's time for her to start cleansing TNA one Beautiful Person at a time. [c]

-Jeremy Borash interviewed Sean "X-Pac" Waltman and Scott Hall backstage. Borash said if they don't win Sunday, they have to leave. Waltman said they've been kicked out of better places than TNA. He brought up Bischoff firing him by FedEx. Hall said Kevin Nash & Eric Young are going to get theirs. He said next Monday they'll be the two new big money players. Nash and Young walked in. Nash told Waltman that Young kicked his ass last week. Waltman said not true, which is why Young was hiding behind him. Nash challenged Hall to a one-on-one match. He said he gets 25K if he lasts five minutes.



It hurts the perceived prestige of this match to not have hyped it more ahead of time. Treat a match full of main eventers as a mid-card filler match and that's how it'll be seen by many viewers. At 2:00 Pope hot-tagged in. Angle was virtually a non-star here the way he was treated. In the end, during a four-way brawl, Pope gave Anderson a small package as he was trying to apply a figure-four for the win.

WINNERS: Anderson & Wolfe in 3:00.

-Afterward, Anderson beat up Pope on the ramp. Wolfe brawled to the back with Pope. Meanwhile, Anderson attacked Angle with the Warrior Medal. He then mockingly cried as he asked him if he was bleeding. He said that's just a small example of what he has in store for him on Sunday live on pay-per-view at Destination X. Blood dripped from Angle's head and puddled beneath him as Anderson repeatedly punched him. Impact is gambling based on this and last week that a lot of viewers are craving blood on cable wrestling. [c]

-Hogan told Hardy and RVD that he's got a special surprise Flair because he has Abyss assigned to be a special enforcer in the main event. He told RVD he looks ready for what he's got scheduled for him. They slapped hands and left Hogan's office. In walked Bischoff. He asked Hogan if Hardy and RVD are on the same page. Hogan said everyone is. Bischoff said he loves surprises such as bringing Hardy and RVD last week. He said it was brilliant and a stroke of genius, but he asked if he shouldn't have been told ahead of time. Hogan said Bischoff's been busy with Jeff Jarrett and Mick Foley. He said they're a team, but they've been busy with their own things. Bischoff said it's time certain people get reminded just exactly who's in charge. He walked out, but looked like he was trying to keep his cool and show a strong demeanor to Hogan. Hogan said, "That was weird." Taz said it appears Hogan and Bischoff have a communication issue.


3 -- ANGELINA LOVE vs. DAFFNEY (w/The Beautiful People)

Velvet Sky said before the match that Love may have challenged one of them to a match, but her surprise opponent is an honorary one-night-only Beautiful People member. Daffney snuck into the ring and attacked Love from behind. Sky, Lacey Von Erich, and Madison Rayne walked to ringside to watch. Taz said: "Daffney's kind of beautiful if you're into zombie hot kind of way - a pasty, sadistic tomato who screams, then she's for you." When the BPs yanked Love crotch-first into the ringpost, the ref called for the DQ. Taz asked, "Can that actually hurt a woman?" Tenay said, "Don't ask me." Daffney swung Love sideways off the ring apron into the side of the ramp. Taz said that was bad. Tara made the save through the crowd.

WINNER: Love via DQ in 2:00. [c]

-Clips aired of Sting's heel turn last week and his beatings of Hogan and RVD.

-Hulk Hogan made his full intro. Taz and Tenay agreed Sting had some explaining to do to wrestlers, the fans, and Dixie Carter. He told them to "cut the damn music." He said game time is over. He said feeling like he was run over like a train isn't new to him, but one thought he can't get over is "Why Sting, why?" He asked why Sting would stab Dixie in the back. He asked if he was jealous or the spotlight wasn't shining on him enough. He said he knows he's in the rafters. He said he can smell him and he can smell the fear. He said he's scared to death to face him. Sting took his time as he walked from the rafters to ringside. Hogan said when he gets to the ring he's going to get the ass-whipping of his life. RVD attacked Sting from behind at ringside and then choked him with his boot. He then gave him a flying sidekick. He threw Sting into the ringpost and then kicked him in the ribs. Hogan smiled and cheered on RVD from inside the ring. RVD threw Sting in the ring. Hogan was going to hit him with a bat, but Bischoff came out and yelled for him to stop.


Bischoff ordered security to get Sting out of the ring. Sting smiled as he left, showing zero signs of the beat down that RVD gave him just a minute earlier. Bischoff told Hogan that he's losing his focus. He said they came to TNA to lead the company, not fight their own battles. Bischoff said Hogan made a promise to his daughter that he was done with it last week. "Be done with it!" he said. The crowd chanted, "Hogan! Hogan!" They showed Brooke at ringside holding her face in her hands (or it could have been another bleached blond overly tanned twentysomething). Bischoff walked away as Hogan appeared to be thinking hard about what Bischoff said. They went to Taz and Tenay at ringside as they talked about Bischoff's comments. Hogan was shown hugging Brooke at ringside.

-Backstage Hernandez said Jeff Jarrett gave him his first shot, so he wants to help him deliver some payback. Bischoff, who was lurking in the background, told Jarrett his days making matches is over. He told Hernandez the match he has planned for him is a two-on-one against Beer Money. Jarrett said he shouldn't take his frustration with him out on Hernandez. Bischoff said he's going to give Jarrett his chance to be involved. He told him to put on his ref shirt, just like when he broke into the business. He told Jarrett that if he screws up even a little hit, he's done. He said his next step down is tearing apart the ring if he screws up. "Right down the middle, Jeff, right down the middle," Bischoff said as he walked away. [c]


Hall wore black jeans and a gray sweatshirt and tennis shoes. Who does he think he is, Shane McMahon? He threw a toothpick at Nash and then laughed. Taz said Nash looks to be in much better wrestling shape than Hall. Nash threw some elbows to Hall's ribcage and kidney areas. Hall punched back and sent Nash reeling. Hall worked over Nash's arm and then slapped him a few times. That taunting set Nash off, and Nash gave Hall a short-arm clothesline. At 2:00 Syxx ran into the ring and clipped Nash's knee. Syxx mock-apologized afterward, then handcuffed Nash to the middle rope. Hall and Syxx stomped on Nash. Young ran to the ring and made the save. Syxx and Hall fended him off and double-teamed him. Syxx gave Young a face plant. Syxx and Hall held up the 25K in cash.

WINNER: Nash via DQ in 2:00. I'm not sure what happened there with the challenge, and nobody treated it like it mattered, so I won't try to figure it out. Like the rest of the show, anything that happens in the ring just feels like a means to an ends, but otherwise void of any meaning. [c]


-Borash interviewed Beer Money Inc. backstage. Robert Roode said, "Shut up, Seacrest. Nobody wants to hear from you," Roode told Borash. Roode complained about how they were treated by Bischoff (the jerk) and Hogan (the hero). So in one sentence, we both sympathize with and reject what Roode is saying. He said they were treated like rookies and discarded in the back. He said that's not the way the greatest tag team should be treated. James Storm said Bischoff gave them a chance to beat up Jarrett. He said they're going to serve up this week's plate of ass-kissing to Hernandez. He said they're sick and tired of being the nice guys and catering to the "stupid fans." He said they're all about earning cash and getting trashed from now on.

5 -- BEER MONEY INC. vs. HERNANDEZ with Jeff Jarrett as special referee

Roode and Storm jumped Hernandez instantly. A minute later Matt Morgan walked out toward the ring. Tenay said Morgan walked out just in the nick of time. Morgan, though, stopped half way and decided instead to join Tenay and Taz on commentary. Roode went for an early cover, but Hernandez kicked out at one. Morgan put on a headset and said Tenay and Taz should be elated to have him join them. Tenay said he should be helping his partner. Morgan said he put himself in a tag match instead of concentrating on his tag team title match on Sunday. He said went into business for himself and this is what happens. Taz asked Morgan how he and Hernandez can defend the tag titles as a cohesive unit. In a bit of a non-sequitur, Morgan said he's not going to let Hernandez take too much of a beating. Taz said it's too late for that. Hernandez, though, made a comeback and single-handedly suplexed Roode and Storm. Taz said maybe Morgan should be at ringside motivating Hernandez. Morgan said he was doing just fine. Morgan was right. He was supposed to be a heel, but Hernandez appeared to be doing just fine at that moment. Seconds later, though, Beer Money finished Hernandez with the DWI (Drinking While Investing). The story of this match began as "would Jarrett be able to stand by and not intervene in a two-on-one beatdown," but then was shifted to Morgan not helping his partner. And as for Jarrett, Hernandez did just fine on his own until the end, so it's not as if Jarrett had any moral dilemmas to deal with during the match. After the match Jarrett had enough and pulled off his referee shirt and attacked Beer Money. Hernandez then helped Jarrett clear the ring.

WINNERS: Beer Money in 3:00.

-They showed Bischoff backstage with clippers in hand. [c]

-Bischoff stood in the ring with a barber chair and clipped. He first said to Jarrett, "Your ass is mine next week." That always sounds so odd. He said he's been trying to make something of Foley lately, but it's been impossible. He said he wanted to clean Foley up once and for all. Foley walked out to his music.


Foley sat in the barber chair. Bischoff turned on the clippers and was about to shave Foley when Foley stood up and blocked the clippers, then put Bischoff in the Mandible Claw with the sock that shall not be called Mr. Socko. After knocking Bischoff out, he began to shave Bischoff's head. It's just astounding to see TNA burn through so many angles that historically, when milked, draw money, but get comparatively little from them because they just rush through them. Foley then woke up Bischoff and shoved him his ridiculous haircut. Bischoff threw a fit, which was good for a little laughter from the crowd. Bischoff tried to cover up. Foley waddled out of the ring gloating, holding up the mirror. [c]

-Christy Hemme interviewed Shannon Moore. He said the X Division will be spotlighted more than ever on Sunday. He said on Sunday he represents "the tatooed, the brood (brewed?), and the screwed... Welcome to Glam Rock!"

-The Motor City Machine Guns stood in the ring under the Ultimate X structure. Alex Shelley said on Sunday the winners of that match become the no. 1 contenders for the TNA Tag Team Titles. He said Destination X will be remembered as the beginning of the rise of the Machine Guns. He asked what Generation Me did to deserve a spot in that match. He asked what dues they ever paid or who they had ever defeated. GenMe walked out to polite applause.

Max from GenMe told the Guns that they defeated them in their TNA debut. Shelley said sometimes luck factors in. He said they lost that night, but they are still great. "We are the X Box to your Atari," Shelley said. "You are the station wagons to our Ferraris." He added, "While we're on the subject of luck, how about we talk about the night we spent with your girlfriends." GenMe attacked the Guns, so Tenay needlessly said, "That got a reaction."

They rolled on the mat brawling. Brian Kendrick ran out and went after GenMe. Amazing Red ran out and went after Kendrick. Next Daniels ran out and clotheslined Red. "I'm beginning to see a pattern here," said Tenay. Kaz ran out with a ladder and threw it in Daniels's face as Daniels was gloating and posing. The Guns went after Kaz next. GenMe made the save. GenMe climbed a truss and dove onto the Guns on the floor. The brawl continued in the ring with everyone else. Kaz and Red cleared the ring. Red dove off the top of the ladder and flipped onto Kendrick, Daniels, and Sabin on the floor. They replayed it from several angles. Good segment to show off some of the athleticism unique to the X Division, plus they built a little personal issue between the Guns and GenMe. As usual, though, it was too focused on "the division" and not focused enough on what draws money in wrestling and hooks fans emotions - the personalities and conflict.


-Borash interviewed Abyss backstage. He said if Flair interferes in the main event, he'll show him what it's like to go face-to-face with The Monster in the ring. "Whatcha gonna do when the Monster Abyss runs wild... and crazy... on you!" In the hype for Hardy's in-ring TNA debut - against the TNA World Hvt. Champ A.J. Styles - they managed to make it feel about as important as anything else on the show. TNA has such trouble really focusing on something that will draw and then building it up throughout the show. Other than that opening segment with Styles, Flair, and Hardy, you essentially had 90 minutes to forget about the main event. Hardy's TNA in-ring debut (a return, actually, considering he worked for TNA before for a long stretch) should have been plugged coming in and out of every break. They should have had crawlers on the screen. Other wrestlers, such as the Guns and Beer Money, should have referenced it at the start of their promos. It should have seemed like the biggest TV main event in ages. The announcers should have talked about the incredible dream match TNA was presenting at the end of the show. They should have even took some shots at it being more exciting than two people sitting at a desk and signing paperwork (doing live commentary during pre-taped Impacts would be worth considering, by the way, which WWE did back when Raw was taped but up against live Nitros. [c]

-Ring intros took place for the TV main event. Styles and Flair first. Then Hardy. [c]

6 -- A.J. STYLES (w/Ric Flair) vs. JEFF HARDY

The match began immediately after the break 58 minutes into hour two. Tenay said this is a match "we have dreamed of." Hardy battled back form an early flurry by Styles.


At 4:00 Styles, after more sustained control of the match, settled into a chinlock. Taz explained that being TNA Champion means you make more money, so Hardy's incentive to beat the champion is to make more money. This was a long chinlock for a competitive segment at the end of a big show with in-shape (assuming Hardy is in ring shape, but maybe he needed the break) young great athletes trying to hold an audience against Steve Austin on another channel. This isn't PPV with a captive audience. Hardy made a comeback at 5:00. He did the corner swing kick into Styles's chest for a two count. Flair shouted at Styles, "He's tired!" Styles came back and hit a snap brainbuster suplex at 6:00 for a two count. Hardy came right back with a moonsault press for a two count at 6:00. Hardy countered a Twist of Fate with a Pele Kick. At 7:00 the ref got in the way of a bodypress off the top rope by Styles. Styles hit both Hardy and the ref. Styles rolled out of the ring and grabbed a chair. He admired it for a second. Abyss walked up to his and waved his finger "no no" at him. Styles set the chair down and instead went for a springboard 450 splash. Hardy moved. Hardy then hit a Twist of Fate. He showed fire as he climbed to the top rope and then launched with a swanton. Abyss counted to three.

WINNER: Hardy in 9:00.

STAR RATING: **1/4 -- Had its moments. Hardy may not have had his wrestling legs under him yet, though.

-Afterward, as Abyss and Hardy celebrated, Flair attacked then with a chair. Flair knocked Abyss to the ramp with repeated chairshots to his back. Tenay said Flair wants to weaken Abyss headed into Sunday's title match. Abyss began no-selling the chairshots to the back. Abyss "Hulked up" and turned around. He let out a barbaric yell and knocked the chair out of Flair's arms. Abyss then grabbed Flair by the throat and chokeslammed him through the stage to end the show. They showed Styles looking on in fear at what was in store for him on Sunday.

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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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