SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The following report was originally published on PWTorch.com ten years ago this week…
KELLER’S TNA IMPACT REPORT
SEPTEMBER 25, 2008
TAPED IN ORLANDO, FLA.
AIRED ON SPIKE TV
-A clip aired of last week’s confrontation between Kurt Angle and “TNA Founder” Jeff Jarrett, concluding with Mick Foley’s debut on the big screen.
-Mike Tenay and Don West introduced and previewed the show including Booker T vs. A.J. Styles in the main event.
-Jeff Jarrett’s intro song played. He stepped out onto the stage and did the Hilary Clinton “point at someone random in the crowd like it’s your old best friend who showed up to see you.” He walked to the ring. As Jarrett made his way to the ring, Tenay summarized what Jarrett said last week about hiring Angle being his biggest mistake. He said Jarrett has a big announcement. Jarrett then said that it gives him great pleasure and pride to announce that they’ve signed the greatest acquisition in the history of TNA, Mick Foley. He said Foley would be live in the Impact Zone next week. Tenay said he knew the announcement would be big, and it was. A short video aired on Foley. Very short. They don’t have much to work with yet. The footage of Foley posturing for the camera was a lot more like the Steven Colbert opening posturing for the camera than probably TNA and Foley intended. Angle’s music interrupted before Jarrett could say any more.
Angle walked to the ring, appearing to be befuddled at what was going on. Tenay recapped more of what Angle and Jarrett said last week. West said Angle has a lot of pride and he won’t take these words from Jarrett sitting down. He said Jarrett’s head has been up his ass the last 24 months, so he’s going to catch him up on what’s been going on in TNA lately. He said two years ago he left and he entered and he single-handedly made TNA what it’s become. “I carried this company on its back the last two years,” he said. He added, “I turned this outhouse into a penthouse,” not Joe or Styles. He said Foley is a has-been, and so is Jarrett. Jarrett said he had all intentions of letting bygones be bygones because he said some things to him last week and for that he ought to publicly apologize. He said some things around here haven’t been going according to plan, so it forced his hand to return to being in front of the camera. He said he’s not just talking about Angle and Sting. He said Styles, for instance, left two weeks in a row with his Gold Medal. He said he’s already told Styles he has to return Angle’s medal. He said they may have had their differences, but nothing changes that in 1996 he served his country proud and became an Olympic Gold Medalist. He said Angle was a true American hero. Angle smiled. The crowd chanted, “USA, USA.” Angle said, “That’s swell, Jeff. Thank you, boss. Now get the hell out of my ring.” As Jarrett left, Angle told him to stop because he’s not done talking to him. Make up your mind! Angle told him not to walk away like a “scared little bitch.” He said he’s “just like his old man, a washed-up failure.” He mentioned his three daughters by name and told Jarrett to tell them that daddy is a quitter. West asked how much he could take. Tenay said Angle just crossed the line. Jarrett turned and returned to the ring.
Jarrett entered the ring. West told him to be careful what he asks for. Jarrett said his whole life he’s been a warrior and competitor and fighter. He said he has no idea the trials and tribulations he’s been through in his life, and he wouldn’t wish them on even him. He said, “I never have and never will quit.” He said if Angle wants to goad him back into a match, he’s going to grant him his wish. He said again, “You don’t want any part of the pain that has pierced my body the last two years.” He said he’d see him at Bound for Glory in Chicago. They had a brief staredown, then Jarrett left the ring. Angle’s face quivered and then turned to a smile.
-They showed Tenay and West at ringside. Tenay said Bound for Glory “just became TNA’s biggest pay-per-view ever.” Because of Jarrett returning to the ring? Please. West said if Sting vs. Joe wasn’t big enough, now Jarrett returns to face Angle. Tenay also plugged that next week Mick Foley would be on Impact. Tenay wondered what Foley would have to say next week.
1 — ROCK ‘N’ RAVE INFECTION (Lance Rock & Jimmy Rave w/Christy Hemme) vs. MATT MORGAN & ABYSS
Rave said, “We love you, Toledo!” Rock told the guys and groupies that they’ve just been infected. Rave chopped and punched away at Abyss, and Abyss totally no-sold it. Rock tagged in and forearmed Abyss, also to no effect. Abyss then went on offense and splashed Rock in the corner. Rave dove at Abyss and bounced off of him. Morgan climbed to the top rope and hit a top rope crossboyd block, then celebrated like he just won a World Title. He and Abyss threw Rave into the air, and then Morgan celebrated like he just won a World Title. He tossed Rave out of the ring and then flipped to the floor. Christy ranked his fingernails on his back. Rock hit Morgan jumped him. Rave entered and kicked Morgan in the face. Morgan ran right through a double clothesline attempt by the heels and then dropkicked Rave. Abyss tagged in and gave Rock a Black Hole Slam. He then gave Rave the Shock Treatment backbreaker. Morgan tagged back in, played to the crowd, and gave Rave the Hellivator for the win. West said Rave is the latest addition to Morgan’s mile-high club. Yep, he said it.
WINNER: Morgan & Abyss in 3:00.
-As Abyss and Morgan celebrated, Team 3D’s music played. Tenay needlessly said, “I know that music. That’s Team 3D’s music.” Team 3D walked out. Devon said it was a fluke that Abyss & Morgan beat them. “Apparently you don’t know just who we are. We are the baddest tag team walking the planet,” he said. As Devon ran down their resume of title wins, Morgan mockingly acted amazed. He said they are undefeated in Japan. He said they are 20 times champions. “There isn’t a tag team in this business that has accomplished more than we have,” he said. Tag title reigns aren’t like winning Oscars or Super Bowls or World Series rings. You have to lose 20 times to have a chance to be 20-time champions. Brother Ray reiterated they’re the greatest, then revealed that their match at Bound for Glory will be a Monster’s Ball match. Abyss collapsed into the corner and shook his head no because he’s scared of reverting to his old violent self. Morgan tried to give Abyss a pep talk.
-A video played on Roxxi talking about being a hardcore-style woman wrestler. She said her style scares people at first. Terry Taylor said the question has been asked if there’s room for chairs, ladders, and weapons in the women’s division. “I’m conflicted on that,” he said. Traci Brooks said seeing a woman bleed is hard to watch. Wanger Brown audio played – he trained Roxxi – of him saying she shows women can be tough just like the guys. She said wrestling is a business she cares about and has a passionate for. She’s so damn likable.
-Tenay said later tonight either Hector Guerrero and Jacqueline must leave their team forever.
-Lauren interviewed Beer Money Inc. and Jackie about what’s at stake later. Lauren said if they lose, Jackie will be sent packing, never to return to TNA. That’s not the stip as previously explained, which is that Jackie just couldn’t be with Beer Money Inc. anymore. James Storm said they got the baddest woman on the planet to be with them even though they could have had Karen Angle or Angelina Love or some other pretty face, but they didn’t want a pretty face. Nice. Jackie folded her arms and pouted. Storm told her to grab his hat. She stormed off. Roode said if they tonight, she’s gone for good, so of course she’s on edge. Storm said they’re not losing on his watch.
-A vignette aired on the TNA Knockouts Division. “No Divas here!”
2 — AWESOME KONG vs. MERCEDES STEEL
Kong walked out alone. She looked behind her a few times. West said she was looking for Ryesha Saeed. Tenay said Steel is making her debut and looking to impress management with a strong showing against Kong. West said no disrespect to Steel, but Kong should have no trouble with her. Kong tossed Steel around the ring, to the floor, and hard into the security railing. Back in the ring, Kong finished her with an Awesome Bomb.
WINNER: Kong in 2:00.
-Afterward, Kong was going to give another Awesome Bomb to Steel. Ryesha Saeed showed up late and then hit Kong from behind with a chair. The announcers assumed what obviously wasn’t true – that this was the real Saeed. Instead, Saeed unmasked and revealed herself to be Roxxi. The real Saeed walked out onto the stage tied up and bloodied.
-West hyped Bound for Glory. A little scene aired of TNA wrestlers dressed as Chicago Gangstas including Styles, B.G. James, Booker T, Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, Homicide, and Hernandez. Glad to see everyone could put aside their differences that have caused them to beat each other bloody in the past to play dress-up.
-Karen’s Angle: Christian Cage was her guest. Karen said the locker room of TNA has completely divided lately between the veterans and the younger guys. (But remember, this is NOT – absolutely NOT – an attempt to redeem the ridiculous New Blood vs. Millionaires Club gimmick.) Karen said people are saying the veterans are coming in and reaping the benefits of the work of the younger guys. It sounded as if they actually spliced Karen’s questions like they do in infomercials to take out split seconds between phrases to speed up the pacing of the segment, probably since this weekly sitdown interview has been one of the biggest ratings failures of TNA history in terms of consistently turning away viewers. There’s a reason WWE almost never does sitdown interviews. Christian said he’s somewhere between. He said until someone like himself, Angle, or Nash came to TNA, there was no national TV deal and no two hour timeslot. He said they weren’t household names until the veterans arrived. He said once you start putting ratings and PPV numbers up, then you get the respect. He said he’s not sure if it’s respect of money. Christian said he understands the young guys’ perspective as he remembers when older guys weren’t doing the right thing and passing the torch, and instead going for one more paycheck. He said he saw that as a motivating factor to work his way up and win his way to the top. He said, “If these guys are saying, ‘Hey, give me the respect,’ it doesn’t work that way. You have to earn it. I’m not too far removed from being the young guy looking up; I’m not too far from being that veteran where everyone is trying to take your spot.”
Karen said last week he had some harsh words for Styles. Christian said it was taken out of context. He said Styles knows he’s not the type of person who likes to have decisions made for him. He said he and Styles talked it through afterward. Karen asked which side she’s going to choose. Christian said he’s like an unrestricted free agent and he’ll choose the side that has “the better package.” Karen asked him to pick a side. He said he doesn’t know if the sides have been clearly defined yet. Karen accused him of avoiding an answer. Christian got agitated and said he’s just going to watch. His phone rang, but the ring was a 1970s-style ring. He pulled out his iPhone and said it was his agent and he had to go. Karen said he can’t not take sides. Why the f not?
-Lauren interviewed LAX backstage. She asked Hector about having to leave LAX forever if they lose later. Hector said blood is thicker than water. He called Jackie a little wench and then broke into Spanish insults.
-Jeremy Borash interviewed Booker T and Sharmell. He said Styles was in TNA for six years and nothing happened. He said in his first six minutes he did much more than Styles. He said, “Ratings went straight through the roof.” He said Styles was a small time player. He talked in his silly accent the whole time. Borash asked about what was inside the briefcase. She slapped his hand when he reached toward it. Booker told him he “may go now.” Borash got up and left.
3 — HOMICIDE & HERNANDEZ & HECTOR GUERRERO (“Triple H”) vs. ROBERT ROODE & JAMES STORM & JACQUELINE
Storm wore a football helmet with two bottles of beer on either side and straws leading to his mouth. Hector got a flurry of offense early. He hit Three Amigos on Storm. Tenay said he was channeling his late brother Eddie. Jackie hit Hector from behind, then ran away. Hector chased after her. They cut to a break.
They showed that during the break, Beer Money took over control. Back “live,” Storm bit at Homicide’s forehead. Homicide DDT’d Storm off the top rope and then somersaulted over to hot-tag Hernandez. He went on a flurry against Roode and Storm. Storm gave the Back Stabber to Hernandez to slow him down in the midst of a two-on-one attack. West began pushing the Fan Fest event at Bound for Glory weekend. Tenay said the icon Sting will be part of Fan Fest. Tenay said, “You not only get an autograph, you get a lecture about respect at the same time.” Hernandez set up Homicide for a Border Toss onto Beer Money at ringside. Jackie ran in and broke it up. Hector followed. Jackie slapped Hernandez. Roode then jumped in and took on Roode one-on-one as the others dropped to ringside to fight. Hernandez got the better of him. He played to the crowd, then flew over the top rope onto Roode and Storm, landing on his feet. Cool spot. Homicide entered the ring and stalked a wobbly Roode before hitting the Gringos Cutter. Jackie distracted the ref. Homicide chased her to the back. Roode hit Hernandez with Storm’s football helmet for the win.
WINNERS: Beer Money Inc. in 10:00 so Hector is cut from LAX. Boo hoo. No more overacting and ridiculous facial expressions and gimmick-killing lameness from Hector, who seems like a nice enough guy, but not all Latinos fit in the same faction.
STAR RATING: ** — Good pace and energy. A little too frenetic, but it fit the stips of the match.
-“The Love In with Guru and Val” segment aired. Lauren said Guru and Val have apparently been in bed for ten days. She asked if she could interview them now. Guru told her to go ahead. Val said she doesn’t owe anybody any explanation. She asked Dutt if they’re heading to the palace to meet his father, “the richest man in India, right?” Guru said he’s the richest of them all. Then he kissed her. “When he goes, the money’s all yours, right?” He confirmed yes. Guru and Val began sanging (poorly) together, “All we are saying is give us a chance.” They made out some more. Val could make a much better heel than a babyface. We’ll see. Tough to tell right now.
-Sting walked out to his entrance music. That came out of nowhere. He grabbed a mic and entered the ring. Tenay talked and talked some more, recapping as much as he could about Sting’s recent promos, as if he gets paid by the word (or the script was overwritten). Sting said the gullible twentysomethings are “swerved” by Jarrett, but he knows the real Jeff Jarrett. He said it was Jarrett who called Sting and asked him to come out of retirement. “It was you, Jeff, who said, ‘Sting, I need some help.'” He said Jarrett told him Spike TV said they’d “pick them up” if he signed with them. He said around the same time he got a call from Vince McMahon. He said it didn’t take him long to decide on TNA. He said McMahon told him he was giving up a chance to make millions of dollars. He said don’t accuse him of being all about money because if he was, he’d have signed with McMahon. He said he chose TNA because he loved the brand “TNA.” He said he liked what he saw. He said he liked the moves of the young guys until he got to know them. He asked Jeff if he just doesn’t need him anymore. He said he has bigger things to worry about now and he’s going to try a different approach now. He directed people to watch the big screens in the arena.
A photo appeared of Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard. He said there was trust and respect between those two. Dusty Rhodes’s picture was up next. Sting said Dusty taught him how to involve fans and to never judge a book by its cover. Hulk Hogan popped up next. Sting said you could take a worldwide survey and ask fans who the greatest of all-time was and Hogan would be the answer. “Because of Hulk Hogan, wrestling became mainstream.” Some fans chanted, “Over-rated!” Sting said the difference between him and some of the people in the back, he’s not afraid to admit that. Up next was Ric Flair. He said Flair took a young jabroni and made his career. He said Flair had a choice to make or break him and he chose to make him because he knew he had respect. He said Flair taught him to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders and how to be champion. He said Flair taught him to travel the world and keep on going. Considering what an utter failure Sting’s first 1990 title reign was, this is just amazing re-writing of history. Up next was Samoa Joe. Sting got angry and said that guy doesn’t know how to be a World Champion. He said he needs to learn respect. Next up was a picture of himself. Sting said, “That’s a guy who’s going to get the job done.” Sting put the mic down and left the ring. Immediately – and I mean before Sting completed his next breath – Tenay interjected with analysis saying he’s never heard so much emotion in recent weeks from Sting, Angle, Jarrett, and Joe. They really need to let the final line by the wrestler sink in before interjecting that reaction and analysis. It’s just stomping out the emotions of the moment otherwise. Sting had much better deliver this time. If he cut promos with that level of passion and involvement back when he claims Flair handed him the torch, he would have drawn money and not had the title taken away such a short time later. Sting didn’t lose his train of thought and seemed to believe what he was saying despite it being a complete rewriting of history that inflated his success. Giving Hogan credit for being “the greatest ever” doesn’t make any of the other baseless self-aggrandizing legit. That said, what he says fits the storyline, so I’m not against it as long as people realize his story of the late-1980s and early-1990s is mostly fiction.
-Abyss bead his head into a wall and said, “No weapons! No weapons!” Morgan said he’s been waiting for this opportunity forever. “Major money! Major money!” Morgan said. Abyss said his therapist said no. Morgan said his therapist would want him to confront his fears. Abyss asked if he talked to his therapist. Morgan said he did and his therapist said he should confront his fears. He said he used to be scared of flying so he became a pilot. He said he used to be scared of bears. He said he went into the woods and beat the holy hell out of a thousand pound bear with his bare hands. That may be one of the dumber claims ever made on a wrestling show. Morgan told Abyss to take on his fear. Abyss asked Morgan if he thinks he’ll be okay. Morgan promised him he’d be okay.
-Tenay and West were shown on camera. They pitched Bound for Glory’s line-up.
-A video package aired on the Steel Asylum gimmick. Highlights aired of the first version of the match at Sacrifice. Kaz was shown crawling through the opening at the top to win.
-Borash interviewed Samoa Joe backstage. He said he was shocked that Joe didn’t interrupt his history lesson. He asked if everything is okay. Joe said he’s never been better. He said over the past few days he’s realized some things. He apologized to Kevin Nash. He said the lion is calm, cool, and collected before making his kill so he surprises his prey. He said that’s his state of mind now. He said his match with Sting has to do with fear, not respect – fear of being rendered obsolete and fear of being left irrelevant by him. He said he’s done making proclamations as he’ll do all his talking at Bound for Glory. Jay Lethal and Consequences Creed walked in. Lethal apologized for interrupting and said he wanted to come to him as a man and thank him for all he’s doing. He said they’re always there for him. Joe thanked them.
-A vignette aired where a masked wrestler, Suicide, says it’s time for him to escape his own self-destruction and self-hatred and show his face once more. “Patience, then payback. Who am I? I am suicide.”
4 — SHEIK ABDUL BASHIR vs. SAMOA JOE
Bashir came out to his music, minus the sound of planes crashing into buildings. TNA should be ashamed of ever letting that on the air in the first place, but they get credit for removing it, too, and not stubbornly holding their ground. It seems a shame to put these two out there to wrestle without any backstory or hype to set the stage. They’ve put a lot of time into Bashir, so he shouldn’t be a jobber to Joe or treated like a throwaway opponent. But with Joe headlining TNA’s biggest annual PPV in a couple weeks, he has to look strong and dominant against Bashir, who’s still relatively new and unproven. Joe got in early offense, but then Bashir managed to apply a leglock. Joe quickly powered out, but Bashir chopped his chest. Joe avoided a diving Bashir, then hit two clotheslines and an inverted atomic drop. After a big boot, he hit a senton splash for a two count. Bashir came back with a leg whip and then applied a half Boston crab. Joe caught Bashir, as Bashir was distracted by the ref, with a one-armed chokeslam. Joe then gave Bashir the Muscle Buster for the win. Joe applied his rear naked choke afterward until four referees pried him off, so the ref reversed the decision.
WINNER: Bashir via reversed decision in 4:00.
STAR RATING: 3/4* — Too short. Right finish, but the match shouldn’t have been booked as it really defines down Bashir as a lower card worker. Why spend all that time in vignettes only to have him lose with no fanfare to Joe. The “decision reversal” does nothing to offset that Bashir lost so decisively and quickly first. It’d be one thing if the match was hyped as being a bigger deal and Joe just had a fire in him and he dominated an unsuspected Bashir, and then that sparked Bashir in response. This, though, seemed like a situation where any jobber could have played Bashir’s role, a wrestler who hadn’t had all of the TV time invested in him lately.
-A “Cross the Line” vignette aired on Styles.
-Borash interviewed Styles backstage. Styles asked Borash if he’s sure he wants to talk to “this small time guy.” Styles said he’s proud of his background and hometown. He told Booker to get rid of that ridiculous accent he’s picked up in recent weeks. Styles said Booker is not going to drive a wedge between he and Christian. He said the wedge is going to be his boot driven up his… and then he stopped himself.
5 — A.J. STYLES vs. BOOKER T (w/Sharmell)
After Styles’s ring entrance, Christian Cage’s ring entrance played. Tenay said, “He’s not scheduled to be part of this Impact main event.” He said it like he was reading a children’s story to a toddler, overenunciating and weirdly inflecting the script. West said it seems Styles is constantly facing a lack of respect from veterans, but he has accomplished so much he shouldn’t have to prove anything anymore. Back and forth action early. At 2:00 Styles dropped Booker with an enzuigiri for a two count.]
During the break, Styles hit a dropkick. Christian continued to watch. Booker came bac with a spinebuster at 7:00 for a two count as Sharmell cheered on. Booker settled into a chinlock and caught his breath. Styles arm dropped twice, but not a third time. West made it seem dramatic. Styles made a comeback and hit a springboard flying forearm. Styles hit the Pele kick at 10:00 for a two count. After the two collided, Styles swung backwards and KO’d the ref. It was not the smoothest of ref bumps. Sharmell entered the ring with “that mysterious briefcase.” Christian entered the ring and yanked it away from her. Booker then forearmed Styles from behind, knocking Styles into Christian. Booker then KO’d Styles with the case and threw the case to the floor. That led to a three count. Christian was shown walking away from the ring right after the pin. Tenay said Styles had no idea that Christian was holding the briefcase because he took it from Sharmell, not because he intended harm. West said he hopes Christian explains it to Styles and that Styles believes him. Or – and this is just a suggestion – Christian show Styles footage on replay. I mean, it’s just an idea. Maybe I’m crazy. Styles yelleda t Christian as Christian tried to explain himself. Tenay snuck in a final plug that next week Foley debuts.
WINNER: Booker T in 11:00.
-A video aired hyping next week’s Impact featuring Mick Foley, “and you won’t believe what he has to say.” The narrator said a new chapter in TNA history is about to unfold.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS FLASHBACK: 10 YRS AGO – KELLER’S TNA IMPACT WRESTLING REPORT (9-11-08): Samoa Joe, A.J. Styles, Nash, Booker T, Abyss, Christian, Sting, Kurt Angle, Awesome Kong