TNA Impact KELLER'S TNA IMPACT REPORT 9/8: Jeff Hardy returns, Anderson gets his title rematch against Angle, No Surrender final hype
Sep 9, 2011 - 12:12:35 AM
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By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor
KELLER'S TNA IMPACT WRESTLING REPORT
SEPTEMBER 9, 2011
TAPED IN HUNTSVILLE, ALA.
They opened with a video package on Jeff Hardy's return tonight with footage of Hardy and then soundbites from several wrestlers. Highlights:
Jeff Jarrett: "To move forward, you've got to let go of the past. With him not being in the condition he should have been, to put it quite frankly, a huge letdown."
On Screen: "Will His Comeback Be…"
James Storm: "Everybody has their demons."
Sting: "Jeff had personal troubles and things going on. I know what that's like. I've been there."
On Screen: "A Humbled Redeption?"
Matt Morgan: "Jeff has a hell of an opportunity to twist and turn this around and turn this into one of the greatest stories this business has ever had."
-Next clips aired of last week's show-ending exchange between Hulk Hogan and Sting.
-Mr. Anderson then made his ring entrance as Mike Tenay and Taz introduced the show. The camera angles inside the full-fledged arena rather than theme park sound stage again made it seem like a much bigger promotion. You could sense greater energy, perhaps, even from Tenay, who said he's never seen Anderson "so pissed off and so focused."
They did that jarring junp-cut that they did last week where he went from entering the ring in one camera shot to standing mid-ring mic in hand a second later, after the briefest of a crowd shot. It seemed obviously edited. It would have been worth it to edit out three fewer seconds just to make it seem more natural.
Anderson explained that he agreed to join Immortal as a business decision, but he admits it wasn't a good decision and he owns that. He encouraged the fans to boo him and lay it on thick. He asked them to stop, but they kept booing for a while. He said if Immortal hated him before and thought he was annoying, they'll really hate him now. "I'm going to be such a royal pain in your asses," he said. He reminded everyone that he still has a rematch in line for the Impact Wrestling Title, and he's cashing in tonight against Kurt Angle. He told Immortal that he won't be alone, though, he has a new friend, Sting. Sting then made his full ring entrance. Sting revealed that he will be the special enforcer tonight, thanks to The Network.
-Tenay and Taz hyped upcoming matches on the show: Winter & Angelina Love vs. Mickie James & Velvet Sky and Bully Ray vs. Gunner vs. Robert Roode vs. James Storm, and Anderson challenging Angle for the World Title, plus Jeff Hardy's return. [c]
1 -- BRITISH INVASION (Brutus Magnus & Douglas Williams) vs. BROTHER RAY & "THE POPE" D'ANGELO DINERO
Mexican America joined Tenay and Taz on commentary, with Anarquia doing all the talking. Anarquia said Jarrett is the Mexican Heavyweight Champion and now "he's one of us." Devon pinned Williams clean. This teaming of Devon & Pope came out of nowhere without any backstory provided before the match and words from Devon explaining his decision to team with him. British Invasion, at last glance, were babyfaces, and here they were basically jobbers. Devon and Pope seemed all friendly with each other, no teasing of tension, and handshakes afterward.
WINNERS: Devon & Pope when Devon pinned Williams in 3:00.
-Backstage Angle said he'll believe Jeff Hardy when he sees it, and he added he doesn't need any help to offset Sting being the enforcer in the main event later. Bellator MMA fighter Eddie Alvarez walked in and said, "What if that enforcer was me?" He plugged, at Angle's request, the date of his next fight. [c]
-A video package aired on Gunner vs. Bobby Roode and Bully Ray vs. James Storm at Bound for Glory in the Bound for Glory semi-finals. Roode is still using the outdated catch-phrase: "You'll find out it pays to be Roode." It's a heel line, but more so it's based on his Wall Street gimmick. Puns are just bad all around, but especially when they don't apply to his current character.
-Bully Ray, Gunner, Storm, and Roode all stood mid-ring. Ray said he's the be all and end all God of tag team wrestling. He said Beer Money is a great tag team, one of the greats "not just in TNA, but all over the world." There's a rare TNA reference. Also, isn't TNA all over the world? Saying it that way makes TNA sound regional, when they present themselves as worldwide with clips of their overseas tour. Ray said great tag teams don't look around and say "I wonder how good I'd be by myself?" He said Hawk, Animal, Rick, and Scott all did it. He said Gunner will do whatever it takes to help him (Ray) go on to become the BFG Champion and win the World Title at Bound for Glory. Ray asked if Roode and Storm are going to share the title if one of them wins it - share the money, the glory, the women, the belt? Ray said he wants to wear them down and inflict pain on both of them so they can't compete in the BFG Series semi-finals.
Roode took the mic and, responding to a crowd chant, said, "I think they want you to shut the hell up." Roode said none of that crap he said is going to affect him. He said he is right about one thing - Beer Money will go down as one of the greatest tag teams of all time. He said he and his partner have their eyes on something new and different - becoming the next World Hvt. Champion. He said to ask any of the "boys in the back," their dream is to become the World Champion. He said Sunday at No Surrender, only one man can walk out the no. 1 contender, and they get that. He said that man will be known as the better man on that night. He asked Ray who will be the better man. "Will it be me, will it be James, it obviously won't be Gunner, and it sure as hell won't be your fat ass," he said. Roode said whoever wins - he or Storm - they'll both be there to share the celebration. He said no one will ever come between them and no one will ever kill Beer Money. Storm simply said he couldn't have said it better himself, but added, "Sorry about your damn luck." [c]
-A clip aired of Eddie Alvarez fighting as Tenay plugged his defense of the Bellator Lightweight Title. Alvarez joined Tenay and Taz at ringside for the next match.
2 -- ERIC YOUNG vs. ROBBIE E. -- TV Title Match
Robbie tried to score a pin early with a foot on the middle rope for leverage. They plugged the Bellator tournament on MTV2 and EPIX. Taz said the X Division is like the Lightweight Division in Bellator. Alvarez said he's partial toward smaller guys because of their athleticism and conditioning. Young finished Robbie with a leaping piledriver.
WINNER: Young in 3:00 to retain the TV Title.
-Afterward Rob Terry attacked Young from behind, officially signaling that he had joined Robbie E. after all. He powerbombed Young and then made a mean face at the camera.
-RVD confronted Lynn backstage and said he screwed him. Lynn said he's tired of being in his shadow. He said they have great matches, but all promoters call RVD and offer him contracts. He said he had to work in a warehouse in heat slinging crates and boxes for 8-10 hours. Lynn said Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan smartened him up. He told them he'd better than RVD. RVD attacked Lynn when Lynn got in his face and said, "Yes, Rob, I screwed you."
-Backstage Sky said she always wondered what it'd be like to feel that belt around her waist. As she held the belt up to her, Mickie took it nicely and said maybe someday. Karen walked in and saw Mickie's dog in her arms and asked, "Is that a dog? Does that look like a kennel?" She said two dogs in a room is enough, they don't need three. Karen told Sky she better walk to the ring and bring down the house; there's more to Knockout wrestling than going out there and shaking her ass. She told her it would do her some good to lose a few pounds. She said management says "lay off the cupcakes." [c]
-They showed a brief glimpse of Jeff Hardy backstage arriving at the building. Tenay said they'd find out what he has to say later tonight.
-Sting came out for the main event, then Mr. Anderson, then champ Angle.
3 -- KURT ANGLE vs. MR. ANDERSON with Sting as special referee - World Hvt. Title Match
Jeremy Borash handled formal ring introductions. Angle was announced at 225 pounds, qualifying him for the X Division. TNA should have defined the X Division at 205 to match the UFC's Light-Heavyweight Division as 225 is UFC Heavyweight level size, which is just silly as a limit for the X Division. Anderson scored a very near fall at 4:00, but Angle fired back with three unreleased back suplexes for a near fall. Angle applied an anklelock. Anderson winced, then rolled out of it and hit a Mic Check for a believable near fall at 6:00. The ref got mistakenly hit. Angle then hit an Angle slam. As the ref counted, Sting yanked the ref out of the ring by his leg. Angle got up and complained. He was bleeped as he yelled at Sting. Anderson then hit Angle with the Mic Check. The ref was still at ringside arguing with Sting. Gunner then attacked Anderson, prompting the DQ call.
WINNER: Anderson via DQ so Angle retained the title. Very good seven minutes of action, but it didn't quite add up to a whole full fledged World Title match.
-Immortal beat up Anderson and Sting afterward. [c]
-Backstage Immortal celebrated. Bischoff got a call and he told everyone to take the party outside. Jarrett said he was just about to dance and called Bischoff a party popper. Bischoff acted like he had the worst hangover ever and he couldn't find the off button to his alarm. Bischoff yelled, "You've got to be kidding me. Is this a prank call? No! No!"
4 -- ANGELINA LOVE & WINTER vs. VELVET SKY & MICKIE JAMES
Taz wondered what that phone call was all about. Tenay said next week is Sting vs. Ric Flair, and said, "Top that!" Well, 80 minutes into the show and that's the first plug means it's being undersold by TNA because they have so much else going on. At 4:00 Winter sprayed blood-like liquid into Mickie's face leading to the pin. Tenay noted Winter challenges Mickie for the Knockouts Title at the PPV on Sunday.
WINNER: Winter & Love in 4:00. [c]
-Austin Aries walked to the ring. Taz said he looks like he'd ready to be on the cover of GQ Magazine. At least they got the right guy now; the short-lived stint of saying Kaz was a GQ model didn't fit at all. Aries told the crowd to shut up. He said everyone knows Kendrick is a "strange little man," but he's also a big hypocrite. X Division guys have enough working against them, they shouldn't be calling each other "little" during promos. He called out Kendrick. Kendrick immediately strutted onto the stage to his hilarious entrance music. Kendrick wore a nice suit and began to resemble Jonny Depp a little the way he's just odd.
Kendrick said he's been made fun of his whole life. He said people sometimes don't understand his peculiar vocabulary and dress. He said today's trying to dress like Aries, "dress for success." He said the definition of success is those who die with the most toys "in this materialistic world we live in." He said he's received all sorts of compliments today for "cleaning up well." He boasted, "I'm even wearing shoes today!" Aries said he should thank his dad for dressing him.
Kendrick asked the fans if they like this version of him. The crowd booed. He said that works out well because he hates this guy. He tossed down his briefcase and took off his jacket "which represents the materialistic world that cowards strap themselves to." He said he's wearing shoes because society tells him, but that blocks him from his Mother Earth's energy. He said the Buddah teaches that "life is suffering" and "suffering stems from desire." He said he sheds desire and his monkey suit. He said the God voice in him is stronger than any fear. Aries said he doesn't understand anything he said. Aries chewed out Kendrick for tossing the belt on the mat. Kendrick said it's materialistic. Aries said he's a phony, a fraud, and afraid. Kendrick said Aries is awfully lucky he's a peace-loving man. He then attacked Aries before finishing the sentence. Aries bailed out and backed up to the stage. I don't quite get how the Kendrick character is a babyface and Aries is the heel here, at least in the context of pro wrestling characters. Aries is the guy who seems to share more in common with fans, and Kendrick comes off as the goofball who doesn't even value the title he is defending on PPV. All of that said, it's nice to see that much mic time and character development time given to the X Division. Even if the characters aren't clearly face and heel, that's often typical of TNA top to bottom, but at least the fans see them now as more than just uncharismatic spot monkeys.
-Backstage Bischoff looked stressed out as Hogan began posing in the background and celebrating that Immortal destroyed Sting and Anderson. He said their toes rolled up like the wicked witches in "The Wizard of Oz." He said it's time to go to the beach and tan. Bischoff looked up and said, "Maybe not." Hogan said the fans were freaking out, it was so heavy. Bischoff said what Hogan did was bump the bear, the bear being The Network. He said he just got a call saying that because of what they did, they made No Surrender a three-way for the title with Angle vs. Sting vs. Anderson. Hogan's demeanor changed. He threw a chair and yelled, "They can't do this!" Bischoff said it's done. Hogan said they can't put their foot down like this. Hogan said the party is over and they can't do this. Bischoff said they're down to three days to figure this all out. Hogan breathlessly said this can't get any worse. [c]
-The Bound for Glory video package aired.
-They showed Jeff Hardy backstage again.
-Tenay and Taz then hyped the No Surrender PPV line-up.
5 -- BULLY RAY vs. GUNNER vs. BOBBY ROODE vs. JAMES STORM -- Four-Way
As the match was about to begin, Joe walked to ringside. Morgan attacked him from behind before he got to the ring. At 2:00 Storm and Roode just looked at each other after dropping both Ray and Gunner. Ray got up and jumped them. When Gunner went for a pin seconds later, Ray yelled at him and said, "Hey, I'm the one who's supposed to win!" After double-suplexing Gunner, Roode and Storm stopped and posed and yelled "Beer!… Money!" That gave Ray a chance to recover at ringside and re-enter and double-clothesline them. Ray gave Storm a urinage for a two count. Tenay said Beer Money's celebration may come back to haunt them. Ray gave Roode a Bubba slam. Gunner, though, then gave Ray a running knee to the chin for the win. Taz said he never saw that coming, then said, "Way to go, kid!"
WINNER: Gunner in 6:00. [c]
-A video package hyped Flair vs. Sting. The narrator asked: "Will this be the last time these two wrestling immortals come face to face in the ring?" There was a World Title match on this show with Sting as the enforcer, a three-way World Title match on Sunday with Sting, and a Flair vs. Sting match on Thursday. That's a lot of Sting storylines and matches to try to push in one show.
-Jeff Hardy walked to the ring to his entrance music, but looked more sullen and humbled not showing the charismatic gestures and enthusiasm he usually does. He stood mid-ring and waited for his music to switch off. He got a mixed reaction from the crowd. He told the fans, "I do not deserve that, but thank you." He was presumably talking to those cheering him, not those booing him. He said he wanted to thank The Network first and foremost. He said the last time he was in the ring, "I was pathetic, I was messed up." He said he had a main event match against someone he's looked up to a long time and he failed miserably. "I let everybody down; I let myself down because I wasn't the main evener I know I am. I got here today in Huntsville and the stress, the doubt was overwhelming." He said he almost felt hated. He said he felt epode were still mad at him in the back, and he said they had every right to be. He said he can't change what happened at Victory Road, but he said he considers Victory Road his rock bottom and he asked for one more shot. He said he doesn't expect everyone to forgive him, but he said he can at least ask. He dropped the mic and left the ring as the show ended.
FINAL THOUGHTS: A lot was packed into that two hours. There were some good individual performances throughout. It's tough when they put themselves in a position to promote big matches on the show, big matches at the PPV, and a big match on next week's show, especially when they all involve Sting. Jeff Hardy's speech was about as well said and executed as you could ask, but whether he lives up to what he's saying or he's just at another stage of using his charisma and charm to eek out one more con job on everyone remains to be seen. But he said what needed to be said in order to be given even a smidgen of a reason to be taken seriously. Saying he went to rehab in the last several months would made this request for redemption even more credible. I think this show is one that TNA officials, given what they're trying to do, would be the most happy with of any in recent months.
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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.
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