The following report was originally published on PWTorch.com ten years ago this week…
KELLER’S TNA IMPACT REPORT
SEPTEMBER 19, 2008
TAPED IN ORLANDO, FLA.
AIRED ON SPIKE TV
-A brief video package aired on the TNA No Surrender PPV. The title of the show: “The Return of Double J.” The Impact opening montage aired. Then Mike Tenay and Don West introduced the show, hyping the main event of A.J. Styles & Christian Cage vs. The Motor City Machine Guns and Booker T vs. Jay Lethal. West said there are so many questions since No Surrender including fallout from the return of Jeff Jarrett.
-Samoa Joe’s ring entrance took place. Joe complained about how Sting is at home with his kids while he and Styles are on the road. He asked when was the last time he was away from his family to entertain the fans. He said at Bound for Glory, “It won’t be about respect. It’ll just be me, you, the air we breathe, and the hate we share for each other.” He said Sting will be the one asking for respect, but Joe will reply to his handshake offer with a size 13 boot to his face. Joe had a nasty black eye. Good delivery. The foundation of this feud is still shaky as I just don’t think fans are going to get worked up about Sting having a lighter schedule than other younger wrestlers or deciding to be at home with kids instead of “entertaining the fans.” If this was framed around Sting not winning as many matches and taking on a soft schedule, that’d be sports-oriented and register more with fans, but the way it’s framed is “too insider” and as often is the case then doesn’t make sense in the context of wrestlers fighting for a title as their ultimate goal.
-A clip aired from earlier of Jeremy Borash asking Jeff Jarrett as he got out of his car if he had anything to say. Jarrett said he does have something to say and he hopes Sting is listening. He walked away after that.
-Tenay and West were shown on camera. Tenay said Sting is on his way. He wondered what Jarrett’s message for Sting would be. West said Kurt Angle must think Jarrett cost him the TNA World Title at No Surrender. Tenay plugged Booker T vs. Lethal and the Styles & Cage vs. Guns match again. Out walked Kurt Angle, interrupting Tenay and West. He walked up to the announce table and said he has a message for Jarrett. He said first he has a message for Styles. He vowed to rip the gold medal off of Styles’s neck and kick his ass. Security came out to try to get Angle away from the entrance ramp. Ring intros began for the Machine Guns. Then the Christian ring intro took place. Then out came Styles without incident.
1 — A.J. STYLES & CHRISTIAN CAGE vs. THE MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNNS (Alex Shelly & Chris Sabin)
Styles and Sabin were just a pleasure to watch at the start of the match. Christian hot-tagging Styles at 3:00. Styles took Sabin down with a spin wheel kick. Styles went for his armbar submission. West said Styles learned that from Trigg, although it was Styles who used it against Trigg in their match. Christian evened the odds with a frog splash on Sabin, then a fallaway slam on Shelly. Christian dove onto Shelly at ringside as Styles finished Sabin with a Styles Clash.
WINNERS: Styles & Christian in 4:00.
STAR RATING: *3/4 — Really good four minutes of action. It’s an example of why the Guns deserve better than being basically jobbers to the stars on Impact.
-Afterward, Shelly gave Christian the finger in the midst of what appeared to be a handshake session. Tenay said that sign of disrespect is what Sting has been talking about. An argument ensued between the two teams.
-A “Cross the Line” video package aired on Booker T. Are viewers supposed to know what “Cross the Line” means?
-Borash interviewed Booker T and Sharmell in their plush locker room. Booker talked about facing Lethal later, saying he knows Randy Savage and Randy would not appreciate Lethal demeaning him. Borash said Lethal portrays the Macho Man as a sign of respect for a wrestler he looked up to as a kid. Sharmell said Booker will listen to what Jarrett has to say and then react.
-Tenay told Chicago to get ready because Oct. 12 at Bound for Glory, the “dangerous and diabolical dome, the Steel Asylum” returns. A video then aired on the Asylum. The narrator compared the shape to a mushroom cloud and the color “red as a fresh kill.”
-Lauren interviewed Sheik Abdul Bashir regarding winning the X Title. He snarled and said the American people cried when the stock market fell 500 points, “but try losing your life.” He said the two presidential candidates are saying what they can do for Ameica, but what about what they can do for him. He said the belt is step one of him getting his life back together. He said he used to be a peaceful man, but now there is just a deep hatred “and this belt is my hostage.” He broke into farsi now and then. He dared anyone to try to take the belt away from him. He said he has nothing left to lose so he will put everything on the line to defend that title. Well, at least the promo made the belt seem important.
2 — “MAPLE LEAF MUSCLE” PETEY WILLIAMS & JOHNNY DEVINE & JIMMY RAVE (w/Lance Rock, Christy Hemme) vs. SUPER ERIC & SHARK BOY & CURRY MAN (“The Prince Justice Brotherhood”)
At 2:00 Devine got cocky as he went on a flurry against Curry. When he charged at Curry as Petey held him, Curry broke free and he collided with Petey. Super Eric hot-tagged in and fended off an attack by all three heels. Devine broke up a pin attempt on Petey. In the midst of the chaos, Super Eric hit a bodyblock off the ropes onto Petey after Devine and Rave mistakenly clotheslined him as he was setting up a Canadian Destroyer, which led to Eric scoring a three count.
WINNERS: Brotherhood in 4:00.
-Afterward, Devine and Rave blamed Petey for losing. Petey shoved back. Rave, Devine, and Rock attacked Petey. Rock shoved the ref down. The ref, Shane Sewell, hulked up and took off his ref shirt. He kicked Rock between the legs. Rave and Devine jumped Sewell. Chaos ensued with Shane and Petey eventually clearing the ring of the heels. Earl Hebner ran out to check on the situation and talk Sewell down.
-Borash talked to Sting in the rafters. Sting told Jarrett to speak tonight or forever hold his peace.
-Tenay threw to a video package on a press conference regarding Matt Morgan’s DNA being sent into space in digitized format. Jim Cornette, Don West, Tenay, Morgan, and two reps from Operation Immortality DNA space program were present at the podium in front of a TNA backdrop. Operation Immortality officially recognized Morgan “as the blue print that demonstrates the absolute potential of human genetics.” He also added that if something happened to destroy the human race on Earth, his DNA would survive in space. Okay, so there will be tall muscular people to repopulate the human race, but will any of them be able to tie their shoes?
-Lauren interviewed Morgan and Abyss backstage about a potential misunderstanding between Abyss and Morgan. Morgan said he went back and watched the match on tape and realizes he was wrong. He said he’s man enough to admit when he’s jumped to a wrong conclusion. Abyss forgave him, but did so in a way that would make most people run in fright. He yanked out some of his hair and handed it to Morgan while snorting. Morgan asked Abyss if he can imagine what kind of dominant tag team they can be. Abyss said, “I don’t know, Matt. I’d have to speak to my therapist first.” Morgan told him to screw his therapist. (Most would recommend against that, actually.) He said he signed on the dotted line for both of them that there would be a tag team invitational tournament at Bound For Glory. He asked if he’s in. Team 3D barged in and then were instantly held of by security. Brother Ray said they lost because they had a bad day because Devon was exhausted from spending the night with a big white woman and he was sore from pulling his groin in the weight room. He said if they’re in a match at BFG, they want to be in the same match.
-They showed Jacqueline headed to the entrance tunnel of LAX. Tenay wondered what that was all about.
-Jackie slapped Hector Guerrero at the announce table. Beer Money Inc. jumped Hector from behind. LAX ran out for the save a minute later. Jackie and Beer Money retreated quickly. Traci Brooks stepped out onto the stage and ordered Hector and Jackie into Jim Cornette’s office right now.
-A “Rough Cut” video profile aired on Roxxi. She talked about how she was trained with men, so she may be more intense as a result. Terry Taylor said she’s one of the sweetest, most down to Earth people he’s ever met. Taylor said Roxxi has brought hardcore style to the Knockouts Division. Close-ups were shown of her bleeding. Roxxi said she wasn’t intentionally hardcore, but others told her style fit that term.
-They showed Joe pacing backstage in his locker room.
-Backstage Jackie and Hector were arguing in front of Cornette and Traci backstage, with Lauren holding a mic. Cornette asked what the yelling was all about. Traci told Jackie if she wants to mess with the boys, she’s allowing that, but she’s booking Beer Money Inc. & Jackie vs. LAX & Hector next week. Loser of the match, though, loses their manager for good.
-A brief video recap aired of Sting’s promos recently. Sting then walked out to his full ring intro and summed up Joe’s complaints as, “You’re ticked off that I’m going to my son’s football games.” He added: “The truth is you’re naive and immature and not smart enough to know what’s going on around here… When you were this big and sucking your thumb, Joe, I was running up and down the roads 340 days a year wrestling in front of a few hundred in a small gymnasium for 20 bucks, Joe. Fifty dollars on a good day, Joe.” That’s not entirely true, and in some ways not even close to true, given how coddled Sting was for high pay on a light WCW schedule early in his career. He said he learned from the greatest. He asked Joe what he’s going to do if he has the longevity and durability to be around in 15 years if a young punk gets in his face. He said he learned from Nikita Koloff, Magnum T.A., Dusty (Rhodes), Tully Blanchard, and “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. He said at Bound for Glory, he may be older and slower than Joe, but he has a few tricks up his sleeve. He said ’06 and ’07 were phenomenal nights at Bound for Glory, and ’08 would be no different. Better than average promo for Sting. He seemed to be present and buying into what he was saying, and not half-hearted nervously rehearsing lines he tried to memorize.
-Once again they went to a commercial at exactly the top of the second hour, which just can’t be good for Q5 ratings as people shop for what to watch at the top of the hour.
-West plugged upcoming dates including Bound for Glory IV. Tenay and West then hyped Jeff Jarrett showing up later and the Booker-Lethal main event.
-A “Cross the Line” video short aired hyping the TNA Knockouts division. Various knockouts took digs at WWE’s Diva’s division, stating “We don’t settle grudges with pillow fights… Bikinis and lingerie, screw that… We’re not Barbies playing dress up… That’s for Divas. We’re real athlete,s we take real risks. We embrace physicality every time we enter the six-sided ring.”
-Borash interviewed Styles and Christian backstage. Styles said people are choosing sides and they’ve definitely chosen their side and are on the same page. Christian seemed surprised and asked Styles, “And what side would that be, A.J.?” Styles said, “Our side.” Christian said that seemed backwards to have him calling the shots. He said he doesn’t like people making decisions for him that he’s capable of making himself. He told him not to forget who put him in the spotlight. Styles blamed Borash for starting that. So, Styles and Christian do one whole promo together since their breakup months back and they’re already breaking up again? It’s impossible to parody this show.
-Lauren interviewed Lethal backstage. He was upset and took it out on Lauren. He said at No Surrender he was screwed by his “ex-fiance and tramp.” He said he wants to kill So Cal Val and Sonjay Dutt. He said he takes great pride in honoring “Macho Man” Randy Savage every time he steps into the ring. He said he idolized him and memorized every phrase he said. He doesn’t like Booker accusing him of disrespecting Macho Man. He said he’ll disrespect Booker’s ass all over this arena. Lethal is coming along on promos. Vowing to kill someone is a little much. Well, a lot too much. That should be a new TNA rule: No vowing to kill anyone. On the bright side, they’ve fleshed out Lethal’s “Black Machismo” character finally, explaining that it’s a tribute to Macho Man and Lethal is “in on it” and not delusional or suffering from a split personality. They never addressed that adequately in the past.
3 — “BLACK MACHISMO: JAY LETHAL vs. KING BOOKER (w/Sharmell)
Machismo knocked Booker over the top rope in the opening minute. Then he slide out of the ring and forearmed Booker from behind. Booker kicked back and took control. Lethal came back with a springboard dropkick. Lethal climbed to the top rope, but Sharmell distracted the ref, which distracted Lethal. Booker recovered and caught Lethal coming off the top rope to take over the match. At 5:00 Lethal made a comeback. Sharmell tripped Lethal from ringside seconds later and Booker caught Lethal suddenly with a scissors kick for the win.
WINNER: Booker in 6:00.
STAR RATING: *1/2 — Good pace and execution and energy.
-Lauren interviewed the Beautiful People and Cute Kip. Velvet Sky was crying. Lauren asked why. She said it was because she woke up with a “blemish” on her face. She said that hasn’t happened since third grade. Lauren said, “You mean a pimple?” Love reacted almost violently to the word “pimple” and said those are for skanks and scrubs like her. She called her an “idiot hole.” Sky said she had to go see her dermatologist.
4 — VELVET SKY & CUTE KIP vs. RHINO & TAYLOR WILDE
How did they resist calling him “Kute Kip” instead of “Cute Kip”? West and Tenay hyped the return of Jarrett after nearly two years. West said Jarrett’s been in “the business” as long or longer than Sting (it’s longer), so what does he think of Sting’s problems with the younger generation’s respect. Kip was swung into ref Slick Johnson in one of the lamer ref collisions you’ll ever see. Kip basically stopped before he got to him, then Johnson held his arm like someone whacked it with a baseball bat. Sky choked Rhino and kicked him at 2:00 once Kip had beaten him down. Kip punched Rhino from the floor to help her retain the advantage and then tag Kip back in. Taylor and Sky tagged in at 3:00. Rhino gave Kip a Gore seconds later when Kip tried to interfere. Love handed Sky a pipe. Taylor kicked it out of her hands before she could use it, then leveraged her to the mat for a three count. Tenay said Taylor answers any challenge she’s given.
WINNER: Taylor & Rhino in 4:00.
-Afterward, Kip attacked Rhino. The heels stood center ring together afterward. Taylor, though, snuck behind Love and Sky and double clotheslined them down. Kip went after Taylor, but then Awesome Kong’s music played. She walked out to ringside. Taylor leaped of the top rope onto Kong. They cut away as the brawl continued.
-Back from the break, the heels had Rhino and Taylor on the mat and put paper bags over their heads. Kip’s face was on the bag put over Rhino’s head. Sky’s face was on the bag put over Taylor’s face.
-A video package aired on Jeff Jarrett, including him talking about co-founding TNA with his father, making a dream come true. We got to see the clip of Jarrett hitting Hulk Hogan over the head with a guitar in Japan again. He also broke down as he talked about his late wife Jill who died of breast cancer last year.
-Jeff Jarrett walked out with his guitar in hand. Does he go anywhere without that thing? West said it must be really special for Jarrett to see how far TNA has gone since starting it. Tenay said Jarrett carried TNA on his back since its inception. Off-air, there’s some truth there. On-air, there’s an argument to be made he hurt more than he helped a lot of the time by defining down the new stars and booking in a way that kept anyone else from emerging as a bigger star than him. The fans chanted “Welcome back!” He said after watching things go on the last few weeks, he felt he had no choice but to come out and address a few things, including something he never said before. He said six years ago when he first arrived on TNA, fans weren’t just watching Jeff Jarrett the Wrestler, but also Jeff Jarrett the Founder. Fans applauded. A “TNA, TNA” chant broke out. He said when WCW went out of business, he had a vision for a wrestling organization to be created to give young hopefuls their big break. He said he started in “this business” when he was 16 and “I know better than anybody how tough it is to get a break in this business.” What? He worked for his dad despite weighing 100 pounds at 5-9 and looking like someone who would have been laughed out of any other locker room. He thanked “the Good Lord,” his wife Jill, and “a great financial partner.” He thanked the fans. This started to feel like an announcement of TNA shutting down. The crowd chanted “Thank you, Jeff.” Jarrett called for Sting to come out. Sting’s entrance music played and he walked out with the usual fanfare.
Jarrett told Sting they’ve been in wrestling a long time. He reminded Sting that his father gave Sting his first break. He said he’s proud of it. He said his father extended the olive branch to him just as he does now to the guys in the back. He said he’s been listening to Sting lately. He said he has just one thing to say: “You are so full of crap.” Not much of a pop. Some cheers, but mostly interested silence. Jarrett said Sting is on a high horse. He said his dream became a reality which is now becoming a phenomenon “overnight” because of guys like Styles and Joe. He said there are guys like Joe and Styles who literally carried this company on his back and every step of the way, they showed him the utmost respect, just as he showed them. Jarrett said this isn’t about disrespect, it’s about reality. He said it’s time to pull the curtain back. He talked about working with him in WCW, watching it go out of business because the veterans wouldn’t pass the torch to the young guys. “You know why? Because they wanted to hold onto their spots, their positions, their fat paychecks.” He said 20-30 guys in that locker room aren’t a day over 30 years old, nipping at his heels every day. He said he can’t believe he’s putting Sting in the same category of Booker and Angle because he’s now like them, wanting to take, take, take and not give, give, give. Jarrett said he had a news flash for him. “This isn’t WCW, it’s TNA, and I’m not going to stand for it.” The lights went out and Angle’s music played. Kurt Angle walked out to his music.
Angle confronted Jarrett over having a face-to-face with Sting, but talking about him behind his back. Jarrett interrupted and said he wants to get something off of his chest. He said Kurt knows his story as much as anyone. Jarrett said two years ago he had to step away because of personal health issues and he hand-picked one guy to “replace” him. He said it was someone who had the same passion that he had. “And that guy was you. I handpicked you to fill my shoes. And guess what? As the founder of TNA wrestling, it’s the worst decisions I’ve made in my life.” He said he’s ashamed to say this, but he’s lost his family, his wife, his TNA Title, and even his precous gold medal. He said the only thing he has left is his “stinkin’ dignity.” Angle asked if it was his turn. He sarcastically called him “boss,” then said he left TNA two years ago because he was over the hill and “expired.” He said Sting kicked his ass. Angle said Jarrett had personal issues, but he had no heart. He said he went out and found a younger more talented main eventer. He said he carried the show for the last two years, not Joe, not A.J. He said not once has he thanked him for saving his damn company. He said he and the fans are nothing but assholes. He said he’s an Olympic gold medalist and he demands respect. He suggested instead of trading words, they trade punches at Bound for Glory. A soft “Angle sucks” chant began.
Jarrett said he walked out as the founder of TNA Wrestling, not a wrestler. “I have nothing left to prove.” Jarrett turned, but Angle said he’s not done talking. Angle said if he’s not a wrestler anymore, get out of his ring because the ring is for wrestlers, not washed-up has-beens like him. Jarrett told Kurt not to push him. He said, “You don’t want no part of htis pain that I’ve wearing for the last two years.” Then Jarrett pointed to the big screen and Mick Foley’s barbed wire smiley face showed up. After a few seconds, Mick Foley appeared, standing in front of a TNA backdrop. Foley said, “I think what Jeff is trying to say is it’s real it’s damn real. Bang bang!” The show then ended.
Good segment in many ways. There’s some aspects of this that just seem self-indulgent and a little too wrapped around Jarrett’s life (and Vince Russo’s life) eight and ten years ago, and there’s a big question of whether anyone really cares about that at this time. But Jarrett held court well and emanated more authority and star power than usual. Sting was solid, Angle was good, and the Foley surprise at the end is the latest dose of star power to get TNA faithful energized and perhaps entice inconsistent viewers to tune in every week, which might be the key to getting ratings above the 1.0-1.1 range it’s usually falling in. The danger is that TNA begins to focus on older names and seems like a lighter version of WWE, and it starts feeling like WCW Thunder with Jarrett, Booker, and Sting. There’s a lot to work with, but TNA needs to be sure the younger wrestlers really are in the mix as A-level talents.