The following report was originally published on PWTorch.com ten years ago this week…
KELLER’S TNA IMPACT REPORT
OCTOBER 6, 2008
TAPED IN ORLANDO, FLA.
AIRED ON SPIKE TV
-A video package opened with clips of last week’s show to Smashing Pumpkins “Tarantula.”
-After the TNA Impact opening, Mike Tenay and Don West introduced the show as pyro blasted in the arena. West hyped the TNA debut of Mick Foley – not counting his previous appearance on Impact two weeks ago, apparently.
1 — ANGELINA LOVE (w/Velvet Sky, Cute Kip) vs. ODB
Tenay and West still don’t talk enough about what an odd transformation Kip has gone through recently. I mean, he’s been around a very long time and has been through a lot of gimmicks, including Billy & Chuck, but overall his image wasn’t anything close to this current incarnation the majority of his years in the national spotlight. It’s as if Tenay just started wearing a dress and a long blond wig and lipstick (ponder that image) on Impact and nobody said anything. As ODB entered the ring, she did the crotch rub on the middle rope that is the trademark of the Beautiful People. Tenay brought up that Jarrett will be responding to Kurt Angle’s comments made to the UK Sun and Daily Star. West said as someone who works in the office every day, he knows Jarrett was livid that Angle said such things on what was supposed to be a promotional tour. They didn’t say what the comments were. When ODB was distracted by Kip and Sky at ringside, Love knocked her to the floor from behind. Sky hit ODB as Love distracted the ref by flirting with him. ODB made a comeback at 2:00 with a fallaway slam and a nip up. A little boob patting helped psych her up. She lifted her for a running slam, but Kip distracted the ref as Sky sprayed a mouthful of liquid from ODB’s flask in her face. Love then finished ODB with a faceplant.
WINNER: Love in 3:00. More of a comedy sketch than a match. There was never more than 20 seconds before something happened involving outside interference. The whole thing just cheapens the entire concept of a “wrestling match” which is, by the way, ultimately what TNA tries to get its viewers to spend money to see on PPV and house shows. They should protect the commodity of name wrestler vs. name wrestler match-ups, not turn them into three minutes of ridiculousness. Spread out into 10 minutes, all of the interference could work fine, but when it’s the entire substance, it’s a cake that’s all frosting.
-Backstage Jeremy Borash asked Jarrett if there will be repercussions for what Angle said in the UK newspaper. Jarrett said, “Damn right there’s going to be.” He said he was headed to the ring to address the issue. What he was thinking: “Yes, how dare someone on our payroll point out everything that all of those ‘smart marks’ in the wrestling media have been harping on for years. It gives credibility to what they’ve said and makes me look bad in front of Dixie, my money mark who I’ve convinced of my philosophy all of these years.” What most viewers are thinking: “What in the hell are they talking about and why won’t anyone tell me?”
-Backstage ODB was yelling about her eyes hurting. Lauren held the mic as Traci told her she can have a tag match against the Beautiful People later if she can find a partner. Traci told her she can’t team with Roxxi, Taylor, or Awesome Kong since they’re wrestling for the title at Bound for Glory. ODB went into character at the end and said something about balls and nuts then slapped Traci’s ass. ODB often rushes her lines and did so again here. I think she said, “I like authority with some balls,” but it took listening to it four times to make it out. Traci told Lauren, “Her parents must be so proud.”
-A video package aired on Jarrett and Angle. Then Jarrett walked to the ring to his intro music with his guitar in hand. As pro wrestling’s all-time worst dresser and biggest fashion offender over the last 25 years, I’d say nothing stood out as embarrassing this week. No white jeans, no odd color mismatches. Jarrett talked about how his whole career his back has been against the wall. He said when he started as a skinny punk kid, people told him he had a lot of heart, but was too small to make it. He said six years ago when he founded TNA, people said he didn’t stand a chance. He said people told him hundreds have been buried going against “the big machine up North.” (They should never, ever, ever refer to WWE as “up North” because it defines them as “down South” and that – for strictly business reasons as a national company – is a crippling perception to reenforce. He said six years later, TNA has never been as strong as it is today. Seriously, let’s get to wrestling and less masturbatory in-house discussions about the business side of things. Jarrett said no one will ever bring down TNA.
Jarrett said Angle was supposed to be promoting TNA in Europe, but instead he made harsh comments about the locker room and the front office. He said he aired dirty laundry, and he said if that’s how he wants to play, he can too. Jarrett read an excerpt where Angle spoke about considering his options when his TNA contract expires next year. He read a quote from Angle saying he’ll consider his future based on how he feels about TNA. He read a quote from Angle about Vince McMahon, talking about a mutual respect the two have for one another and that no one can break that bond. Jarrett said now that they have a match at Bound for Glory, he doesn’t want to be in TNA anymore. Jarrett said Angle couldn’t thank him enough two years ago when Angle said Jarrett “freed him from that living hell.” Jarrett said there were comments Angle made about McMahon that he didn’t air at the time because he used his judgment and thought he should protect him. He said his judgment has changed. He played a video clip of Angle saying: “I had the CEO of the WWE tell me right to my face that an Olympic Gold Medal and a cup of coffee don’t mean sh–. Well, that pissed me off. I wanted to beat the sh– out of him right there. Does he think he’s a genius? The guy has his head up his ass.” He continued to say it took everything to stop him from knocking him on his ass. He said, “He’s a complete piece of crap.” He vowed to knock him on his ass next time he sees him. “You’re a stupid son of a bitch. You watch why I do in TNA, Vince, because to me you’re dead. I disrespect you so much, you’re going to be kissing my ass two years from now.”
Jarrett said that Angle claimed that “not even Jeff Jarrett could break that father-son bond you have with Vince. Well, it looks like I just broke it.” He said at Bound for Glory he’ll beat his ass so bad, not even Poppa Vince will take it back.” Tenay needlessly and annoying then immediately interjected: “Broke it? I think he just shattered that bond!!!!” How about they let the impact of Jarrett’s statement sink in before the announcer immediately hits us over the head with that kind of comment. Tenay’s commentary, scripted for him, is just like Russo wrote for WWE Magazine. If one exclamation point is good, then four are four times as good. Ugh.
Jarrett’s delivery was good. There are some good aspects to this, too, but the problem is ultimately people are going to watch TNA because it’s a good pro wrestling product that offers an alternative to the established dominant brand, and pay umbrage to WWE, which is what this type of attention does, just makes TNA look bush league and desperate. If this were an aside as part of a larger storyline, it might add a little extra spice, but as the centerpiece, it’s just too insider and too far from the core of what makes wrestling word: Two wrestlers fighting, fans care about both, and want one to lose and the other to win, and they anticipate the battle being thoroughly enjoyable to watch. I do applaud them for resisting any temptation to interject Vince Russo’s name or talk too insider about “booking decisions” or “storylines” and such. At least so far. Instead, it was presented as Angle publicly angling for contract leverage, and Jarrett foiled it by airing unaired comments. So clearly some thought was put into presenting it in a way that actually would intensify the rivalry between Angle and Jarrett. There’s still the big picture problem of a wrestler who founded and owns the company wrestling for it.
-Borash caught up to Angle backstage as he arrived. Angle didn’t see what Jarrett said. Borash told Angle that he just put that old interview where Angle ripped on Vince on the air. Angle freaked out. Borash said Jim Cornette wants to see him in his office right away.
2 — MOTOR CITY MACHINEGUNS vs. LAX (Homicide & Hernandez) – Monster’s Ball Qualification match
West said you don’t win a Monster’s Ball match, you survive it. West said he’s not sure how Abyss can survive the match without using weapons. Tenay agreed. Tenay also plugged upcoming matches later on Impact. Hernandez caught a springboard diving Sabin in mid-air and turned it into a sitout powerbomb for the win. Afterward, Shelley bowed and honored LAX for a good match, but as soon as they turned their backs, he gave them the middle finger.
WINNERS: LAX in 6:00.
STAR RATING: *1/2 — Some good action in this one.
-TNA Rough Cut aired on Roxxi. This focused on Roxxi getting her head shaved at Sacrifice. They focused on how badly cut her skull was. Roxxi said she’s terrified of needles and was asking everyone backstage to tell her it wasn’t so bad she’d need stitches. Then footage aired of her getting stitches. Roxxi said her mother called her freaking out. They aired audio of her mother, listed on screen as Cheryl Raczynski, saying she was concerned, but Roxxi tried to calm her down and told her her hair will grow back. Roxxi said if something like that happens in the ring, she knows you just have to push through.
-Tenay and West previewed the entire Bound for Glory line-up.
-They went backstage where Borash held the mic as Cornette scolded Angle for his public comments in the UK newspaper. “This was too much. These comments were ill-advised, to say the least,” Cornette said. Cornette said he’s given him leeway, but he’s been told by “you know who” (the Powers that Be – thank God they don’t use that term) that he’s been fined $25,000. Angle asked to know who the man is who ordered that fine. He asked if it’s Jarrett. Good question, and a complicated one, because it’s quite a conflict of interest if Angle’s opponent at BFG can also fine him and mess with his head in that way. The whole thing of admitting Jarrett’s role in the company as an active wrestler is just a mess.
-A vignette aired with Suicide comparing himself to a cockroach who would survive nuclear holocaust. Shouldn’t his name be Survivor, not Suicide, if he’s talking about being the last survivor? Mostly gibberish that’s just too convoluted to have any meaning with the average viewer. He seems self-loathing and a real downer, hardly someone to be excited about arriving on the scene.
3 — SHEIK ABDUL BASHIR vs. JIMMY RAVE vs. ERIC YOUNG — X Division Title match
West said this is a match with three very different personalities. He said he likes that management gave Young and Rave a title shot (without earning it and without any hype) as a way to make Bashir earn the title before Bound for Glory (on the same show where Traci told ODB couldn’t choose as a partner any of the women in the Knockouts Title match at BFG since it’d be inappropriate to make them wrestle just a week or so before the big PPV title match). Well, at least West showed it is a big absurd to have an X DIvision title shot with unlikely contenders (losers), so he did his best to cover once again for lousy big picture booking schemes that are all-too-common on this show. Bashir finished Rave with the WMD (DDT).
WINNER: Bashir in 3:00 to retain the X Division Title. Kudos to TNA once again for taking the sound of airplanes crashing into buildings out of Bashir’s intro song, one of the most offensive lapses in judgment and taste I’ve ever seen in pro wrestling.
-Afterward, Bashir argued with referee Shane Sewell about raising his arm in victory. Tenay said Sewell is boiling. West said he’s upset, but he’s a professional. Bashir smiled when his hand was raised. This whole thing is being handled clumsily.
-Borash interviewed Christian Cage, A.J. Styles, and Jay Lethal backstage. Christian was at a loss for words and handed off the mic to Lethal. Lethal thanked them for letting him run with the “big dogs” tonight (said the former X Division Champion). He promised not to let them down (because the X Division is such a lowly division, he’s barely worthy of being in the same ring with Team 3D?). Lethal said he’s going to take out a legend tonight in Booker T, and after speaking in his usual voice all promo, then shifted into a Macho Man “ohh yeah!” Styles then asked Christian if they’re cool. Christian said he’s always cool. Styles said, “I’ll take it.” Styles moved very close to crossing from vulnerable to pathetic in how badly he wanted Christian’s approval there. Styles’s character is another one with no rudder right now from week to week.
-Ring intros took place for the six-man tag match. Tenay and West talked about the mysterious briefcase Sharmell is carrying around. West said Booker won’t hint about what’s inside and won’t let anyone touch it, “which makes us want to know much more.”
4 — BOOKER T & TEAM 3D vs. CHRISTIAN CAGE & A.J. STYLES & JAY LETHAL
After Lethal and Booker battled early, they cut to a break at 3:00.
Booker made a comeback after the break thanks to Team 3D yanked Lethal crotch-first into the ringpost. West said Lethal needed to show better ring awareness than to leave himself vulnerable in the opponents’ corner. Christian tagged in and got in a flurry of offense. Six-way chaos broke out at 10:00. Ray was backdropped by Lethal and Styles, then Christian leaped off the top rope with a crossbody block for a near fall at 11:00. Booker nailed Lethal mid-dive with the briefcase. Booker tagged himself in and blind-sided Christian. Christian rolled up Booker in a reversal, but Ray distracted the ref. Styles dove at Ray, but instead hit Christian, leading to Booker rolling up Christian for the win. Tenay said they wondered before the match if Styles and Christian could coexist, and they did until the “miscommunication” at the end. Not technically a “miscommunication,” but the point was the same. Styles checked on Christian afterward. Christian and Styles talked through potential issues mid-ring.
WINNERS: Booker & Team 3D in 12:00.
STAR RATING: **
-Angle threw a fit backstage and shouted that Jarrett can’t hide from him forever.
-Tenay and West were shown on camera and hyped Foley’s “Impact debut” later. Tenay threw to a point-counterpoint segment with Samoa Joe and Sting.
-Sting said in 2001, his career ended in a bad way when WCW went out of business. He said a few years later when TNA called, he was glad to return because he saw TNA as the future. He said the more he got to know TNA’s crew, he realized they don’t have the respect they should have. Joe said Sting is concerned with people like him because he’s the future of wrestling and he feels threatened. Sting said it’s all about respect for those who “paved the way.” He said he also realized without the fans, there would be no Sting or Hulk Hogan. (Mentioning Hogan now really seems dated. He’s really yesterday’s news and shouldn’t be talked about as some sort of current-day power broker because he’s not. He’s a couple generations in the past now. Also, Sting loses his entire mystique wen he sits there in Adidas jogging pants and a Nike baseball cap sans make-up talking like a normal guy.) Joe made the point again that he’s busting ass while Sting never shows up for the fans. Sting asked if he’s saying he’s been coasting the last four years. Joe said he knocked him off his pedestal and he can’t get back on. Sting said he’s tired of talking and it’s time to walk that aisle. Joe said he’s holding back choking him out now to show him he has some of those traits he thinks he doesn’t have, but at Bound for Glory they’ll be rolling him out.
-Lauren interviewed Matt Morgan and Abyss. She asked Abyss about his treatment and commitment to not use weapons. Abyss said she’s pretty and funny. He said an asylum is for crazy people. “Do I look crazy to you?” he asked. He said he’s been assured by his partner Morgan he won’t have to use weapons. Morgan said that’s true, he’ll handle the weapons himself. Morgan said Team 3D failed to mention last week they lost their tag titles 20 times, so they are 20 times losers. Morgan continues to talk twice as fast as he should on these promos. He needs to lay off the Red Bull or whatever his energizer of choice is. He said he’s going to show Team 3D that in this business, size definitely matters. Abyss said his therapist says he can be a “top guy around here” if he succeeds at BFG. Morgan assured him that’s true.
-Beer Money Inc. (James Storm & Robert Roode) walked out with Jacqueline. Roode said they’re doing well, but some aren’t, such as “that little wench, Selinas.” He said since her little meeting with Jackie, nobody’s heard from her. He then bragged about sending Hector Guerrero back to the announcers’ booth. They showed Hector being held back by his broadcast partner. Roode challenged any tag team in the world from any wrestling company on the planet to try to take their belts. Team 3D’s music played and out walked Brother Ray and Brother Devon. As Devon began to talk, out walked Abyss & Morgan, followed by LAX.
Jim Cornette rushed out. “Before everything blows up like a meth lab, let me just interject something,” he said. He said he doesn’t want their “alligator mouths overload their hummingbird asses.” He called off the three-way Monster’s Ball contender’s tag match and said instead they’re going to have a four-way Monster’s Ball for Beer Money’s tag team championship. As Beer Money protested, Cornette said, “I can, I will, and I did.” Cornette said he bets one of those teams will beat them.
-The showed Love, Sky, and Kip backstage heading toward the entrance tunnel for the Knockouts tag team match. A vignette aired on the Knockouts Division.
-Ring intros took place for the Knockouts tag match. ODB introduced her partner, much to the amazement of the BP.
5 — THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE (w/Cute Kip) vs. ODB & RHAKA KHAN
Tenay and West wondered what Foley was doing in TNA and specifically whom will he be addressing. Khan was in briefly at 1:00 and was about as awkward in her offense as awkward gets. At 3:00 ODB hot-tagged Khan again and she punched Love and Sky who were nice enough to walk right into her fists. She also kicked them with her super long legs. She then gave Sky a legdrop type move for the win.
WINNERS: ODB & Khan in 4:00.
STAR RATING: 1/2* — They did their best to protect Khan from anything too disastrous. Overall, clunky throughout.
-As Kip, Sky, and Love jumped ODB afterward, Rhino charged to the ring for the save. Rhino is one of those guys who could be a money player if given a gimmick makeover that includes a mask. His slicked back hair into a ponytail and facial expressions are so limiting.
-Mick Foley walked out to the ring to his official TNA (generic sounding) intro music. Tenay called it a historic occasion. Tenay said he’s one of pro wrestling history’s most interesting characters. Tenay listed his resume bullet points including author, documentary subject, and most recently a color commentator. West said nothing there. The crowd chanted Foley’s name as he smiled. He said it is absolute honor to stand in the same ring where a few short minutes ago Cute Kip just did. “Absolute honor!” he said. He said obviously it is a huge night for him, one of the biggest in his entire career. He thanked the fans in the Impact Zone and at home, including those who just tuned in from watching “that incredible vice presidential debate.” (Fans in the arena who follow politics just had a panic moment thinking they forgot all about it and thought it was on Thursday.) He thanked Jarrett for referring to him as the greatest acquisition in TNA history. He also thanked Vince McMahon, “without whom this moment wouldn’t have been possible.” He thanked him for all of the opportunities he gave him. He thanked him for making his decision to leave WWE “an easy one.” Before he could elaborate, Angle walked out to his music.
As Angle entered the ring, Foley said he didn’t have a chance to say his line: “I told Vince McMahon, thanks but no thanks on that bridge to nowhere.” Angle apologized for barging in, but he said Jarrett pissed him off by showing an interview of him ripping on Vince McMahon two years ago. He complained about Jarrett saying Foley is the greatest acquisition in TNA history. “Jeff Jarrett is full of sh–.” Foley said he can’t say that on TV. Angle chastised the fans for buying into that crap. He said two weeks ago Jarrett told him that he lost everything. “You’re right, Jeff, I did lose everything,” Angle said. He listed the things Jarrett said he lost: the TNA Title, the Olympic Gold Medal, and his wife. Angle said, “Well, Jeff, I’m not the only one to lose their wife.” He took off his sunglasses and looked into the camera. Totally totally out of line. Not for Angle, but for Jarrett to let that be included on TV. Using the death of his wife, the death of the mother of his young children, as a one-liner for a heel character on his TV show is despicable and sad. Yeah, it’s his personal tragedy and you could say he can use it how he wants to, but even if that’s the case, I can say it’s despicable and sad.
Angle turned to Foley and asked what he ever did. Angle said he is the greatest acquisition in the history of TNA. He said he carried TNA on his back the last two years. Foley interrupted and said, “How are you diminish the accomplishments of a guy like Samoa Joe. How dare you belittle the efforts of a guy like A.J. Styles.” He said he knows who was doing the heaviest lifting. He said the main reason he’s in TNA is him. Foley said, “Yeah, I poked a little fun at Vince McMahon. Maybe I didn’t care for a bellicose billionaire yell, ‘Say it! Say it! Say it, dammit!’ in my earpiece every week.” He said there was an aspect of that job he appreciated and loved, though, including sitting that close to some amazing wrestling matches. “I saw Edge and the Undertaker, I saw Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho, I even saw the great Triple H and John Cena. And then I got to thinking about you, and I realized that not only had you torn the house down with all of those WWE superstars, but you defeated them all as well. And that’s when I came to realize maybe Jeff Jarrett was wrong about you and wrong about me, because I’m not the greatest acquisition in TNA history, Kurt, you are.” Angle let out a wide smile. Foley said he may be the greatest “performer” in the history of “this business.” He said he thinks it’s so, but he doesn’t know. He said at BFG he needs to be that close again to see for sure. Angle asked if he wants to take West’s place. “Go ahead, he’s replaceable,” said Angle. Foley said he didn’t come to TNA to take Don West’s place, “even though he can be a little overbearing at times, but always passionate.” They showed West wiping sweat from his brow and then laughing.
Foley said he needs to be right next to the action. Angle nodded and said he gets it: “You want to be in my corner at Bound for Glory, right?” Foley said “the powers that be” (oh dang, he said it) have granted him the opportunity to be the special enforcer in his match with Jarrett. Angle protested. Foley said, “Read my lips. It’s true, it’s damn true.” Tenay needlessly asked us, “Did you hear that?” Uh, yeah. That’s pretty much guaranteed we heard it. Thanks for asking. Tenay recapped the announcement by Foley.