The following report was originally published 10 years ago this week on PWTorch.com…
KELLER’S TNA IMPACT REPORT
SEPTEMBER 11, 2008
TAPED IN ORLANDO, FLA.
AIRED ON SPIKE TV
-A video montage previewing the show focused primarily on the Sting drama of the past two weeks along with a recap of the line-up of challengers at this Sunday’s PPV to Samoa Joe. The narrator closed by asking, “Will Jeff Jarrett answer Sting’s challenge?” The show is titled: “Double trouble for Sting.”
-Jeremy Borash caught up with Sting as he got out of his not-so-green gigantic SUV with sunglasses and his bags. Borash asked him what he has in store tonight. “Two words, J.B.: Jeff Jarrett.”
-The TNA Impact opening aired with the video game footage still being used. Then Mike Tenay and Don West introduced and previewed the show. He hyped a the “Bimbo Brawl,” a ridiculously demeaning name for a match. West said Jarrett returns after being away for more than a year and he wondered what he’d have to say.
-Samoa Joe walked out with security and the belt over his shoulder. The security escort was actually a really cool touch that created a sense of a VIP making his way through the crowd. It didn’t make him feel like a “man of the people,” but it did add a sense celebrity to his arrival. Samoa Joe entered the ring and addressed Sting instantly. He snarled and yelled and said he doesn’t care that he has a big X on his chest and everyone is gunning for him, yet he’s not focused all because of Sting. He said he won’t be happy tonight until he has Sting’s head on a silver platter. Kevin Nash walked out and said Joe may not care, but he does. He said he invested six months of his life into him and he cares. Joe interrupted and said by laying his hands on him, that changed everything. Joe said after Sting, he’s next. Nash said, “You’re right, I feel like the father with a cigarette in one hand and a drink in the other and tell you not to smoke or drink.” He admitted he lost his temper after preaching to him not to lose his temper. Nash said there is no doubt Joe is the World Champion, but as he looks up at the rafters for Sting, there are three guys gunning for his title.
Nash told Joe that he was wrong and hasn’t led by example, but he has set something up for him tonight to prove that he’s not ready. He said he has three competitors for him, and if he goes through them tonight, he’ll know he’s ready. Joe said when he won the belt, he vowed to defend it with honor and his life, so he’ll do that for the fans. “Just to prove to you and the world that I keep my promises, tonight Kev, I’ll take you challenge.” He said when he’s done with his “three pieces of trash” he sends his way, he’s coming after Sting.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good segment for the most part. Nash tripped over a couple words, but the delivery overall from both was believable and the content was strong. Joe came across as a prick for calling Nash’s three challengers “pieces of trash.” Seriously, Joe has no idea who they are, so why would he call them that? Heavy-handed language like that should be saved, especially coming from a babyface, for when it’s meant to based on knowledge that the challengers are actually “pieces of trash” based on knowing who they are. It’s just one of those undisciplined lines, either scripted or made up by Joe on the spot, that made Joe seem like a jerk. He’s a top babyface and here are much better ways to come across as a tough guy than flippantly calling other wrestlers “pieces of trash” for no reason. It might seem like a small thing, but a lot of little things like that come up, often in Joe’s character, that send mixed signals and undercut the core of his persona.)
-Lauren interviewed The Beautiful People and Kip James. Lauren asked if they’re overly concerned with the “bogus beauty pageant.” Angelina Love said beauty is everything. She said it’s not about family, friends, or money. Great line. This act is so good because they’re heels by mocking vacuous values that drive a lot of pop culture. Love vowed to humiliate Taylor Wilde in front of the whole world. Christian walked behind Lauren after the promo. She seemed surprised and bewildered by his presence. Maybe a little too bewildered.
1 — ABYSS vs. CHRISTIAN CAGE
Christian was the surprise challenger to Abyss. Tenay said Christian answered the open challenge because he wanted to prepare for the World Title shot this Sunday. Nice try, but it’s ridiculous. This isn’t a sparring session. This is a chance to get seriously injured. The idea that Christian would think so little of his title shot that he’d voluntarily submit to a “warm-up” match against Abyss is incredulous. To try to pass it off as a “good strategy” reflects poorly on Tenay. Abyss tossed Christian hard and fast to the mat. Christian came back with some largely ineffective looking chops against the barrel-chested Abyss. Abyss caboose splashed Christian in the corner seconds later. Christian avoided another caboose splash a minute later and hit some hapless looking clotheslines. He leaped off the second rope with an elbow, knocking Abyss down and scoring a subsequent two count. The flurry continued with Christian leaping off the top rope with a frog splash. Abyss lifted his hand and caught Christian on impact by the throat. Cool spot. As Abyss rose, holding the grip on Christian’s throat, Christian slipped out and went for an Unprettier. Abyss blocked it and hit a chokeslam. Christian kicked out at the last possible split second. At 5:00 Christian slipped out of Abyss’s grip and hit an Unprettier. Kurt Angle charged into the ring followed closely by Booker T. They attacked Christian during his cover, prompting a DQ.
WINNER: Christian via DQ in 5:00.
STAR RATING: *1/4 — Good for a short match.
-Angle and Booker beat on Christian. Then Angle handed Abyss a chair and he and Booker held Christian for Abyss to hit. They apparently haven’t been paying attention to Abyss’s refusal to use a chair lately. Abyss dropped the chair and punched Angle, then Booker. Within seconds, Booker and Angle double-teamed Abyss. When Booker grabbed a chair, Matt Morgan made the save. Angle and Booker bailed out. Morgan said he has a real problem with them jumping his partner two-on-one. He challenged them to a tag match. Angle shook his head no. Morgan is still trying too hard to talk and act like Goldberg and he’s just not Goldberg. It’s not a matter of being better or worse, it’s a matter of being inauthentic, and Morgan still seems inauthentic, as if he has to figure out who he is and stop overdoing it with the gravelly voice and speed reading his lines.
-Jeremy Borash stood center-ring and introduced the Beauty Contest featuring an evening gown competition, a talent competition, and bikini competition. He introduced the judges – Curry Man, Super Eric, and Shark Boy. This should make for interesting quarter hour ratings feedback. They’re mixing their top draws, the Knockouts Division, with the acts that typically drive away viewers, the masked cartoon characters. Angelina Love, Velvet Sky, and Kip James came out to their entrance music. Then Taylor Wilde. The evening gown competition was first. Curry voted for Love. Shark and Eric voted for Wilde.
-A brief video profile aired on A.J. Styles.
-Backstage, Lauren interviewed Sonjay Dutt regarding the “Ladder of Love” match where he faces Jay Lethal with a wedding engagement to So Cal Val on the line. Dutt said he will go to any means necessary to win at No Surrender. Dutt said his wealthy father told him to always be sure he has more than the next guy even if that next guy is your friend. He maniacally said, “No mercy!”
-Karen’s Angle: Sting was her guest. She asked about him demanding that younger wrestlers respect veterans. He corrected her and said he wasn’t demanding respect for veterans, he was demanding respect for the whole business. She sounded super-scripted as she said, “I apologize for that,” then shifted to asking him about contemplating retirement. He said he really was worried about what would happen to wrestling if he walked away. He said he remembered early in his career that when Ric Flair walked in, younger wrestlers gave up their chair, but now when a veteran walks in the room, a younger wrestler typically doesn’t present the same respect. Sting said he remembers where he came from and he respects those who paved the way for him. “If respect doesn’t come back into this, it’s going to disintegrate,” he said. Karen said from what the younger guys are saying, the veterans won’t step aside. Sting said he knows what it’s like to be the pion in the back or the quiet one without any say, “to be the jay-brone.” He said when he was in that spot, he had respect. His voice badly cracked, worthy of a retake, I’d say. He said he has tough love for them. She said she had two final words for him: Jeff Jarrett. “What a history there,” he said. “His dad gave him his break.” Sting said he doesn’t know where he stands, but he’s on the edge of his seat and he can’t wait to hear. Karen said she feels the same way.
-Tenay told us Sting’s comments were “interesting.” He then ran down the line-up of No Surrender with West.
-A.J. Styles entered the ring with a mic in hand. He said Frank Trigg should be in the ring “right now.” He said he should be beating the piss out of him right now. Tenay said they’d find out after the break of Trigg would respond.
-Trigg walked out during the break. He said Styles had a mouthful of words for him, but he didn’t have his kick meter on, so he couldn’t understand half of them, “you hillbilly.” This show is scripted from such an East Coast male-centric perspective with the digs at anyone with a Southern accent or any ethnicity or non-straight-beer-swigging-strip-club-loving male or under-six-feet-tall. At least usually heels are being the asses. Trigg talked down to Styles for some of the backwoods amateur titles he won in wrestling. He talked up his accolades as a pro MMA fighter. He said he’ll fight him at No Surrender his style, where the only way to win is by tapout in three five minute rounds. Styles shook his hand. Trigg said, “Not a bad handshake for a little [bleep].” Styles said, “You said before you didn’t understand me. Oh, I speak your language.” He slapped Trigg. Trigg tackled him to the mat. Both did a nice job on the mic.
-Lauren interviewed Christian backstage. Christian was worked up and he said everyone saw what happened. He said it’s the basic law of survival – fight or flight. He said he may not be the biggest, strongest, or fastest, but he always fights. “I’m not going to stand here and scream and yap my mouth,” he said. How will any viewer take him seriously if he’s not yelling at the top of his lungs like almost everyone else on TNA Impact? He said this PPV is in his backyard in Canada, one hour from where he grew up as a child. He said as soon as he stumbled upon it, he was hooked. He talked about backyard wrestling in snowbanks bigger than him. He talked about going to college and being so broke, he couldn’t afford wrestling school, so he took his school loan money to pay for it. He said he fought hard to achieve that dream. He talked about being paid ten dollars for his first professional match. He said it all comes full circle at No Surrender because he’s three seconds away from becoming the World Heavyweight Champion. “If you don’t know, now you know,” he said. Good promo from the serious version of Christian.
-Borash continued the Beautiful People Beauty Pageant. Taylor was still smiling about her first round win. Borash said he checked and both women are wearing regulation bikinis. Tenay commented on that. West said he wants the role of bikini inspector. Love reacted like she was going to throw up at the sight. Hilarious. Love consoled her. (They’d really lose their lunch if they saw the absolutely horrible horrible picture of Taylor in the TNA website stars home page. She looks like a 60 year old cosmetic surgery victim with greasy bed hair and make-up plastered on her face by a someone who normally applies clown make-up. She’s actually quite pretty in a World Class Championship Wrestling 1995 type of way, so the photo on the website does not at all do her justice.) Love then showed off her bikini. West said he thinks she’s done this before. West said: “Only thing missing. Stripper pole.” She whispered something to Kip and Sky. They laughed. She left the ring and walked over to the judges. Curry stood up, followed by Shark Boy. West insisted they be fair and partial. Tenay said they’re sweating through their masks. She disrobed. West said, and I quote: “Winner winner chicken dinner.” That’s right up there with Mike Adamle’s silliest statements. She bent over in front of them. Tenay said, “Someone get oxygen for Curry Man.” Tenay said it’ll be tough for Curry and Shark to vote for anyone by Love after that. Shark and Curry indeed voted for Love. That made it 1-1.
-A vignette aired on Awesome Kong. We learned she’s “fueled by the destruction and terror of others.” Also, her “penchant for violence and carnage has been unquenchable.” It billed ODB as the only woman “man enough” to deal with her.
2 — ROXXI vs. AWESOME KONG – Knockout Bimbo Brawl
Has it every taken longer for a second match to start on an episode of a two hour wrestling show? Roxxi brought a shopping cart to the ring. Kong knocked her and the cart over at ringside and then tossed her around ringside. Roxxi is coming across as the Spike Dudley of the TNA Knockouts division, being tossed around like a rag doll. They actually cut to a break right at the start of the second hour, so anyone flipping channels to decide what show to get invested in would have their choice of literally every other scripted or pre-taped program on TV other than Spike TV’s Impact, the only cable network at commercial break at the top of the hour.
Roxxi made a comeback in the ring after the break. It was short-lived as Kong came back and climbed to the top rope. Roxxi moved, and Kong splashed a chair instead. Kong kicked out. Roxxi argued with the ref. Kong threw a chair at Roxxi. Roxxi suffered a deep gash and blood poured out of her forehead. Kong finished her with an Awesome Bomb for the pin. Kong wiped Roxxi’s blood with her hand and then licked her hand.
WINNER: Kong in 8:00.
STAR RATING: *1/4 – Pretty brutal mostly squash match for Kong, getting her brutal style across.
-Afterward, Kong set up Roxxi for a powerbomb on two chairs set up next to each other. ODB made the save with a chair of her own. Kong left the ring. ODB hit the ref with a chair. That was just stoopid. She should be suspended for weeks for that. If she isn’t, it’s just a ridiculous lack of law and order or any sense of their being consequences to actions that are completely outside of the rules and sportsmanship. It sounds quaint, but it’s not just that, because without a sense of consequences for breaking rules, there’s no thrill in it for the viewers. If that’s just brushed off as no big deal, it diminishes what anyone can do to get heat or create a sense of outrage. Totally unnecessary, undisciplined, and counterproductive booking. Things like that add up and undercut the effectiveness of any booking approach.
3 — SAMOA JOE vs. JOHNNY DEVINE & LANCE ROCK & TOMKO
Borash introduced the Kevin Nash Booking Challenge. Johnny “Piece of Trash” Devine jumped Joe from behind. Joe finished him second later. Then Lance Rock came out next. Tenay said Nash is “preparing Joe for difference styles, different sizes.” Yeah, that’s the least bit believable that the five seconds it took Joe to beat Devine “prepared” him for someone of Devine’s size. Rock got in an early elbow, but Joe sidestepped his subsequent dive, avoided a distraction from Christy Hemme and Jimmy Rave, and then hit him with a running kick to the chest. He finished him with the rear naked choke.
Nash applauded. Joe gave him an icy stare in return. The third challenger was Tomko. Tenay said Joe’s reaction indicated the Nash challenge just moved up a notch. He said Tomko was fresh while Joe has “been through two matches.” Um, more like he’s been through two minutes of action, but hardly two matches. They began with a slugfest center ring. Tomko took control with a short-arm clothesline, then settled into a chinlock briefly. Joe stood up and hit a senton back splash for a two count. Then Joe hit a snap powerslam for a two count. Tomko came back with a slam. He went for a powerbomb. Joe backdropped out of it. Joe went for a corner splash, but Joe moved. When Tomko charged at him, Joe caught him mid-air and slammed him to the mat. Joe then hit a Muscle Buster for the win.
WINNER: Joe in 8:00.
STAR RATING: *
-Nash entered the ring afterward. He told him he proved him wrong. “You’re more than ready,” he said. “I feel sorry for those sons of bitches in Toronto.” He said as far they go, he taught him all he knows, so he’s on his own now. Joe seemed to accept Nash’s compliments. They shared a few private comments as Nash hugged him and patted him on the head. Tenay said Nash has been instrumental in explaining the mental aspects of the wrestling business to Joe to combine it with his physical knowledge. Tenay shifted to plugging Sting’s calling out of Jeff Jarrett later.
-Borash introduced the third and final round of the Beautiful People Beauty Pageant. Borash said the Beautiful People would present an “oral presentation.” West said, “Why wouldn’t it.” Sky did a knock-knock joke. “Knock knock… Who’s there… Orange… Orange who? Orange you glad you’re not Taylor Wilde.” Love said she has a hidden talent nobody knows about. She said she wrote a poem specifically for her. “There once was a girl named Taylor who went a school named Baylor. She scored first rank in the class of skank because the whole football team nailed her.” The heels broke into laughter. West said he liked it. Tenay cracked his voice as he asked, “You liked that?” West said, “I have a warped sense of humor.”
They then sang “Row Row Row Your Boat” round-style. Taylor plugged her ears. So did the judges at ringside. Kip directed them. The crowd booed. Borash introduced Taylor’s talent – playing a drum set. Borash said she plays no less than seven instruments. Taylor rocked on the drums. Curry danced. Tenay’s voice cracked as he said, “Damn, she’s pretty good.” He really needs to drop that voice cracking gimmick. He sounds like Shaggy on Scooby Doo cartoons. The heel trio covered each other’s ears. Borash threw to the judges for a decision. Curry again voted for his crush, Love. Shark and Super Eric voted for Taylor. The heel trio threw a fit, then attacked Taylor. Rhino ran out and made the save. Tenay plugged the main event tag match. Did they announce Booker and Angle agreed to the match and I missed it?
4 — ABYSS & MATT MORGAN vs . BOOKER T & KURT ANGLE
Morgan got in early offense against Angle. Abyss tagged in. Angle poked him in the eyes. Abyss fired back with a big boot. Booker entered the ring, then Morgan did, too. Morgan knocked Booker to the floor, then went into a big celebration as if he had just done something mega-spectacular. Viewers are just going to look him and wonder why he makes such a big deal out of routine happenings and accomplishments. He comes across like he can’t hit the knob on a water fountain without showboating and celebrating afterward that water then came out.
The heels beat on Morgan for a few minutes. He hot-tagged Abyss at 6:00. After another double-team by the heels, Morgan nailed Angle with a running boot to the face. Abyss caught Booker with a Black Hole Slam in the ring as Morgan beat on Angle at ringside. Abyss was unable to make a cover right away. Brother Ray came to ringside and held Abyss in place as Brother Devon nailed him flush with a chairshot. Seriously, those have to stop. And if they don’t, and Abyss ends up with complications from concussion syndrome, that’s on Dixie Carter and Jeff Jarrett – and they’re leaving themselves open to a lawsuit from Abyss or his family for paying him as he took flush chairshots to his skull time after time within two years of the high-profile concerns that concussion syndrome contributed to Benoit’s state of mind in the end. Angle then moved in for an easy pin.
WINNERS: Angle & Booker in 7:00.
STAR RATING: *
-They showed Sting headed to the entrance tunnel from the rafters.
-Sting came out to his full ring intro. Tenay recapped what Sting has said the last two weeks, his desire to bring respect back to wrestling and teach the spoiled young brats who paved the way for them. Sting called for Jeff Jarrett to come out. He did a riff on his old oral spelling of his name with the “double-F… double-R, double-J” bit. He said he has no problem Jarrett. After a seconds of nothing, Sting shifted to calling for Joe. He asked him to join the roundtable. He drew an imaginary line in the ring and challenged him to cross it. Joe spoke from the rafters. Joe asked if Sting’s sure he’s disrespectful and a punk, or does he just view him as a threat. Joe welcomed him to come to No Surrender, but he said he wouldn’t come alone. Jeff Jarrett’s music played. He stood on the roof of the entrance set as pyro blasted and lasers shot out into the crowd. The good news is Jarrett wasn’t wearing white jeans. The bad news is that pro wrestling’s notoriously worst dresser was wearing a flower-print shirt with weird folds at the cuffs. They didn’t move in for a close-up. He held a guitar in the air as Tenay said, “Jeff Jarrett is ready to step back into his world.”
-A highlight video closed out the show promoting the No Surrender line-up to “Soul Crusher” by Operator.