KELLER'S TNA IMPACT TAKE 5/28: Ongoing "virtual time" analysis of Spike TV show including return of Raven, Sacrifice fallout
By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor
KELLER'S TNA IMPACT TAKE
MAY 28, 2009
TAPED MONDAY IN ORLANDO, FLA.
AIRED ON SPIKE TV
BOX SCORE BASICS
Sacrifice highlights aired. Show title: "Shake-up within the ranks."
(1) Suicide defeated Amazing Red to retain the X Division Title in 5:00. Some good athleticism on display. (*1/4)
A Main Event Mafia promo took place in the ring with Sting acting as the new leader. He said the Mafia lost sight of their mission, to bring respect back to the profession at any cost. He banned women (Sharmell, Jenna) and fired Angle's security team.
Samoa Joe walked out and said he has been ordered to take out the Mafia one at a time until it's down to just Angle. He added: "I've been ordered to kill you."
Jeremy Borash chatted with Mick Foley backstage. Foley told Borash to auction the "Jeff Jarrett - TNA Founder" door sign, saying they don't need it anymore. He announced Jeff Jarrett vs. Eric Young and A.J. Styles vs. Daniels in King of the Mountain qualifying matches. Borash wanted details on the board of directors meeting, but Foley just said, "Have a nice day" and walked away.
Borash interviewed the British Invasion. Borash asked why they were hanging out with Sheik Abdul Bashir and Kiyoshi last week over dinner. Brutus Magnus denied it.
Lauren confronted Jenna about costing Booker T his "I Quit" match at Sacrifice. She said Sharmell is upset at her. Jenna said her husband was going to lose anyway and she's blinded by her ignorance. Sharmell burst into the room and choked her. Booker pulled them apart.
Lauren was going to interview Sojo Bolt, but Stevie Richards walked up to her and said she invaded his office last week, so he's getting even. Richards said he's going to give her "boyfriend" a live therapy session called "Mind Control." Lauren called him sick and twisted.
(2) Doug Williams (w/Brutus Magnus, Rob Terry) beat Cody Deaner (w/ODB) in a ladder match in 5:00. (1/2*)
Borash interviewed Jeff Jarrett backstage. Jarrett said it's time for Eric Young to grow up and prove himself. He said they'd have a fresh start after their match later.
Stevie Richards told Abyss mid-ring that they have to start their therapy all over based on his recent actions. He ordered him to put his straight jacket back on. As he was about to hit Abyss with a kendo stick, Raven walked over the ringside barrier and then whipped Abyss with the stick as Lauren cried. After a commercial, Borash asked Raven why he was there. He listed a bunch of possible reasons without revealing which it was.
(3) Angelina Love (w/Cute Kip, Velvet Sky, Madison Rayne) pinned Sojo Bolt in 2:00 after Love sprayed something in Bolt's eyes as Sky distracted the ref. Too short to amount to much of anything. (1/4*)
Love fired Kip, then asked for more competition. Victoria came out and cleared the ring of Rayne, Sky, and Love.
Borash interviewed Eric Young about facing Jarrett. He vowed it'd be a night Jarrett never forgets.
Borash interviewed Lethal Consequences and the Motor City Machine Guns. Lethal referred to the Guns as "The Rockers." He also made the obligatory Kim Chee reference and then vowed to "get to the bottom of the Suicide."
Foley entered the ring and said his honeymoon with TNA management is over. He announced Samoa Joe vs. Kevin Nash in a Lethal Lockdown rules match next week. He then said he'll only defend the TNA World Title once a year because it's important for the health of TNA that he remains champ for many years.
Borash interviewed Daniels and A.J. Styles. Samoa Joe walked up to them and apologized. He said he snapped and lost it, but he's "right in the head now." He said he wants to make things right. Styles said they'll talk after the match.
(4) Jeff Jarrett pinned Eric Young in a King of the Mountain qualifier in 2:00. Young offered a handshake to Jarrett afterward. Jarrett accepted and applauded for Young to return to the ring for a hug. Young, though, then clipped Jarrett from behind and stomped on his "bad leg."
Borash interviewed Young after the commercial. Young said he warned him he wouldn't forget about tonight.
Team 3D presented Beer Money with two trophies and winner's check for $100,000. Then they drank beer together.
(5) A.J. Styles pinned Daniels in 9:00. Revolution sang to Styles's intro song live in the ring as he walked out. Very good action in the six minutes that aired. (**1/4)
Afterward, Shane Douglas came out of the crowd and entered the ring and hit Daniels with a chain. Daniels bled from the mouth. Douglas left through the crowd and smiled.
ANALYSIS & RANDOM THOUGHTS
SUICIDE VS. RED: It's too bad they've done zero to create any idea of who Red is as a person or wrestler. He's just that guy who did cool moves years ago who's back to do more cool moves. It's just a waste to have him in an X Title match without any bond being formed with viewers so they feel more invested in him. Were we supposed to root for him here? Or is Suicide the hero we're supposed to admire and cheer on? Or is this supposed to split the crowd? Or is it just a lopsided gimmie for Suicide so don't bother assuming anything but a win for him? TNA is so worried about splitting the screen to show the Main Event Mafia showing up backstage that they leave out setting the stage and making the match in the ring seem relevant and giving it some context... Red loses and no big deal is made of it, so he's now firmly defined as a jobber or a small step above. Why did he get a title shot if his loss was so unremarkable that they instantly cut backstage to the Mafia walking around? TNA established the X Title win for Suicide as an apparent foregone conclusion and not a big deal at all. It's part of the mentality that "fans know it's fake, so we can't take what happens in the ring seriously or they'll think we're fools" mentality that's so frustrating and bad for business...
STING ADDRESSES MAFIA: Sting stumbled a couple times over his words early in his addressing of the Mafia, but otherwise did a nice job seeming to be plugged into what he was saying. Kurt Angle's facial expressions were great, coming across as if he could barely control his contempt and depression over the turn of events... The crowd chanting "You Got Fired!" at Angle's security guards was pretty funny. How cool would it be if the lazy, office-supply-stealing, trade-secret-selling, illness faking employee who gets fired at the office got that chant from his co-workers as he packed his desk and left after being fired?... Joe declaring that he's been ordered to "kill" Kurt Angle is now the dumbest thing that's ever been said on a wrestling show. It's just jaw-droppingly stupid to raise the stakes like that because nobody viewing buys that's a possibility. It's just out of the context of pro wrestling's universe. What's even more ridiculous, if that's even possible, is that Tenay and West barely batted an eyelash. Instead, they immediately wondered who gave the orders - as if the "who" is even close to an important as the "what," which is that someone has ordered a murder of Angle. This is just head-shakingly stupid on two levels: it shouldn't be done, but if you're going to do it, this couldn't be done worse...
DEANER VS. WILLIAMS: Deaner's character is so slapstick, it'd be considered too over-the-top for "Dukes of Hazard" or "Beverly Hillbillies" or, heck, even "Pee Wee's Playhouse." He makes ODB's character seem subtle and nuanced... Deaner's bump off the ladder (after doing that ridiculously slow climb and slow reach as he waited for Williams to finally return to the ring and tip him over) was wild. He seemed to be going for a straddle, but came up short, and just landed on his ribs and springed to the floor... The hand-shaking after the match with Kiyoshi and Bashir and the three Brits is supposed to be this uniting of non-U.S. forces against the U.S., but it just seems like a lame jingoistic cliche to see the "foreigners" all shaking hand as if all "foreigners" are the same. I hope there's more to it...
RAVEN'S RETURN: At the risk of getting a phone call telling me how big the pop really was in the arena, the crowd reaction to Raven didn't seem to be what someone of his stature and history with the company deserved. Is it a newer crowd that doesn't remember him? If so, that'd be a tell-tale sign for TNA to consider that fact with everything they do and everyone they push, making sure no assumptions are made about their audience recognizing wrestlers or knowing what references to 1997 or 1999 are about... The reuniting of Richards and Raven isn't something I thought I'd see in 2009. It's a potential nice payoff to Richards being brought back as a regular character. At least Tenay noted that Raven and Richards have a long history...
KIP FIRED, VICTORIA DEBUT: The crowd got to chant "You've been fired!" against after Love said what everyone's been thinking for a long time - that Kip didn't fit in with the BP and was an embarrassment to TNA. Love is among the top three or four talkers in the company... Victoria is what the TNA Knockouts division badly needed - a lead babyface for fans to rally around who has some gravitas that's been missing since Gail Kim was shoved out the door with an insultingly low contract renewal offer...
JARRETT VS. YOUNG: After weeks of hype building up the simmering rivalry between these two, they only gave them about two minutes. The action was nicely paced and okay. It doesn't do Jarrett any good to look equal or even smaller than Young, who's been portrayed for years as a smaller wrestler suited for the X Division... Young seemed so content with the handshake with Jarrett, so what exactly did Jarrett do to him when he insisted on a hug? Did he goose him or whisper something mean in his ear that caused him to decide to attack him? Would Young have turned at a later time had Jarrett not called him back for a hug? Or did the hug change the course of Young's professional career? That's the question I would have asked if I were Borash...
TEAM 3D-BEER MONEY SEGMENT: It's uncanny how much Brother Ray sounds like Paul Heyman when he cuts promos... Everybody, of course, was waiting for things to go wrong with Team 3D and Beer Money. The fact that there was no blindside attack or turn or anything like that was refreshing because it worked toward making the next breakdown of an apparent happy situation seem less predictable...
STYLES VS. DANIELS: It's disappointing that they started this match with only ten minutes left in the show, but still had to sneak in a commercial break two minutes into the match. From what aired, they could easily held the attention of viewers for 20 minutes with one break, especially had they done more during the show to build it up and talk about it as a special match-up with great possibilities...
OTHER THOUGHTS: Good to see TNA give a number to Slammiversary, calling it "Slammiversary Seven." Events seem like a bigger deal when they have a number attached. You don't want to do it to every event, but the bigger ones should have it... When Foley limped away after Borash pressed him for info, he looked decrepit, like a man with a freshly sprained ankle badly dehydrated in the desert. And he's Your World Champion, TNA fans. At least he can go "splat" on cement and take chairshots to the head to earn his keep...
Rob Terry is ridiculously muscular. He either better be the best wrestler and best promo to come along in ten years of else all he's doing is making Magnus and Doug Williams look like midgets who don't work out much... Cody Deaner vs. Doug Williams was a ladder match. Unbelievable. It's like handing out a trophy the size of the Stanley Cup to the winner of a pre-season NHL game in Iowa. It just diminishes the whole idea of what trophies represent. In this case, it just waters down the whole concept of a ladder match being something special. I mean, why not add two hostages backstage and one of them will be shot live on TV depending on who wins. I mean, if you're just throwing extra stips into matches because "more is better," why just add a ladder?...
Jeff Jarrett is back to dressing himself apparently. What was the deal with those shiny clown cuffs on his button up shirt?... When Borash asked Jarrett about details of Foley's conduct at the board of director's meeting, Jarrett said he wouldn't even dignify that question with an answer. That just makes no sense. That's not the type of question to which people say they won't dignify that with an answer. Had Borash asked Jarrett if he trims down there or what his private sexual fantasies are, that's the type of question that someone says that phrase to. The way it went, it just sounded scripted and unnatural. Had Jarrett said, "Borash, I'm not going to comment on that at this time," that would work... If the rating drops during this show, part of the blame can be placed on those pesky Orlando Magic players who don't get that if you're down 20 points to the team with the best home record almost ever and the best overall record in the past season, you're supposed to fold, not come back and make it a one point game at halftime...
The funniest line of the night was also the most subtle (hint, hint, TNA creative), when Chris Sabin told Lethal, "You don't have to yell, man." Amen. That can be expanded to the entire TNA booking philosophy. It doesn't have to constantly yell (prelim ladder matches, vows to kill people, etc.)... Why is Nash vs. Joe a Lethal Lockdown style match? It's a TV match between two top stars with a King of the Mountain slot at stake. Isn't that enough?... Foley's declaration that he's not going to defend the TNA Title very often in order to make sure he keeps the title for years is a great heel move. Declaring he's only going to defend the title once a year does prompt the question of whether he is required to defend it every 30 days, which has long been the tradition... Shane Douglas looks kinda like Ricky Gervais now. I'm open to both Douglas and Raven on the roster. I fear some sort of ECW brotherhood could result, but if not, let's see what each of them can bring at this point. As long Douglas isn't conducting interviews, but is giving them, there's hope for him as he was one of the best promos in the mid-1990s as ECW was emerging. In fact, he was about as important as any ingredient in ECW getting on the map in the early months. If they're both inspired and cast well, they could (somewhat ironically) be a breath of fresh air. But they could also tumble into stale derivative cliches of their former selves, so hopefully they look forward and don't try to draw on their past exclusively...
FINAL THOUGHTS: Well, a lot happened, that's for sure. A newsworthy show that forwarded a number of storylines, and probably the lowest dose of Main Event Mafia in months, which was refreshing. A terribly flawed show in all of the usual categories, but much more interesting to watch than a bland, lazy, underbooked show, but the potential TNA management and creative leaves on the table each week due to the "Low Booking IQ" undisciplined tics and bad habits never ceases to be disappointing... Foley's "one title defense per year" proclamation is awesome. The missing piece is for the announcers to begin to address the pink elephant, which is that Foley's body is broken down and he has no business in a wrestling ring, and he's using his deviously attained corporate power to cling onto an in-ring career that should have ended years ago... How do you score a show that was both much better and much worse than Raw on Monday, which I regretfully scored a 3.5 but deserved a 2.0? I guess I'll revise my Raw score to a 2.0 and give this show a 4.0. I'm intrigued with a few storylines and enjoyed the few minutes we were gifted of Styles-Daniels and some good one-liners, plus some return/debuts to spice things up, but remain so frustrated by the unnecessary droppings they step in throughout the two hour show...
Samoa Joe: "Kurt, I've been ordered to kill you."
Don West on Cody Dieter: "Children, this is an example of why you don't do Crystal Meth."
Don West regarding Stevie Richards threatening to his Abyss with a kendo stick: "It's just a kendo stick, not a baseball bat."
Raven on why he returned to TNA: "Why? Why does anybody do anything? Maybe I did it for the attention. Maybe I did it for the glory. Maybe I did it because I miss TNA. Maybe I did it because TNA missed me. Maybe I did it because Dr. Stevie wrote a prescription for Abyss and somebody needed to fill it. Or maybe I did it for one simple reason - because I can. Quote the Raven, nevermore."
Angelina Love to Cute Kip: "Why are you still hanging around the Beautiful People? Didn't I fire you a month ago? The days of you riding the Beautiful People's coat tails are over. You are an embarrassment to TNA and an embarrassment to yourself. Security, get this icky creep away from me right now. He's a stalker! Get him out of here!"
Mick Foley: "For the good of the business, I need to retain World Heavyweight Champion for as long as possible. I'm not talking about weeks or months. I'm talking about years."
Don West on the huge $100,000 check Team 3D awarded Beer Money: "Good luck cashing that."
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