Let me make one thing very clear, friends and readers. My title of “Empress of ‘Impact'” exists for a reason.
Of all the staff here at boredwrestlingfan.com, I am the Clarence Darrow to TNA’s Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb. I support this company, and have staunchly done so since 2003. I defend them when the rest of the wrestling world, both on and off the internet, condemns them to oblivion and responds to everything they do with “TNA sucks.” I try to find something good in every episode of “Impact,” every TNA pay-per-view, and every TNA house show. I have a massive emotional investment in TNA, many of my favorite wrestlers work there, and few people outside of the company itself wish it greater success than I. Raving about how mad ninja awesome a TNA pay-per-view was feels so very good.
I can’t do that this time. Sure, I rail against others who mindlessly criticize anything and everything that TNA does, and I don’t enjoy it when TNA brings such bashing upon itself. Sometimes a show is just plain bad. This is one of those times. Buckle up.
Match #1: Angelina Love (w/Velvet Sky & Madison Rayne) defeats Tara: This was a TNA Knockouts title match. Poison was brought to ringside, causing much wailing and general freaking out of The Beautiful People. The match action wasn’t bad, but took send place to the other shenanigans. Madison Rayne tried to spray something in Tara’s eyes as Angelina Love held Tara’s arms, but Tara dodged and Rayne sprayed Love instead. Tara went for the pin and cover, but referee Slick Johnson didn’t see it, as he was too occupied with sending Velvet Sky and Madison Rayne to the back. Love gets another cover, and Johnson makes the three-count, despite the fact that Tara’s leg was clearly on the bottom rope. Johnson was on the opposite side, and didn’t see it. Love is handed the title and declared the winner. Tara protests most mightily, kicks Johnson to the mat, and hits Love with the Widow’s Peak. Tara gets Poison out of his box, but Velvet Sky and Madison Rayne pull Angelina Love out of the ring. Tara puts the tarantula on a prone Slick Johnson instead. Angelina Love is the new Knockouts champion.
RANT: Why bother letting Tara win the belt on “Impact,” only to let Angelina Love win it back a week later on the ppv? Sure, it’s under dubious circumstsances with a crooked horndog referee, but that’s not the point. What was served by giving Tara a title reign that short? Hot-potatoing the belt isn’t necessarily the way to go. Something about this match just didn’t click. These two can both have good matches, but something was missing. Assaulting a referee should be a huge deal with consequences. Just because the face does it does not make it ok. The announcers should make a big deal over it and there should be follow-up.
To the back! Jeremy Borash interviews the Main Event Mafia. Kurt Angle says that no one should expect a pay-per-view quality match. He intends to maul Foley, not wrestle him. Angle tells the other MEMbers that anyone who does not win his match by pin or submission gets fired from the MEM.
RANT: Thanks for the heads-up, Kurt. Just how much more could be done to let us know that the Main Event Mafia will be winning all the belts? Seriously, if this was going to be a stipulation, it could have been built to by having at least one person/team lose tonight, the MEM is embarrassed at the weak link, and whoever lost here has to win at “Hard Justice” or be kicked out of the group. Then the MEM would actually have to try harder to win all of the titles. Except for the X-Division and Knockouts titles, as those two belts don’t actually exist.
Match #2: Matt Morgan defeats Daniels: Morgan is all power and Daniels all speed and finesse. Daniels eventually downs Morgan with a split-legged moonsault to the floor. Daniels gets several near-falls, but Morgan fights out. Daniels sold the hell out of his injured leg, to the point where he attempted the Best Moonsault Ever, and couldn’t put the weight on his leg. He falls to the mat, allowing Morgan to hit the Carbon Footprint and the Hellevator for the pin and three-count.
RANT: Morgan may have needed this win to continue his quest to join the Main Event Mafia, but Daniels just hasn’t looked like the main eventer that his fans all know he is since he came back. Morgan beating him seemed almost a given from the first bell, and with the overall set-up of “Victory Road,” was it really necessary to have Daniels go into his match injured? “Great, Matt Morgan can beat a guy whose leg was almost snapped in half. What a wonderful addition to the group he’ll make.” Morgan winning wasn’t the problem here, it was how weak Daniels looked against him.
Match #3: Abyss defeats Dr. Stevie: This was a “No DQ” match. Dr. Stevie used a baton-type stick as a weapon early on. It didn’t help much, as Abyss took control and dominated Dr. Stevie, who tried to run away through the audience. Abyss caught him, and the brawl spilled through the crowd and back to ringside. Dr. Stevie was opened up and bled a good deal. Abyss continued to dominate. Abyss pulls off Dr. Stevie’s shirt and slams him into a chair, which he had jammed in the corner between the ring ropes. Abyss follows this up with the Shock Treatment. He makes the cover, but pulls Dr. Stevie up before the referee can count to three. Daffney rushes the ring with a taser gun in hand. Lauren runs out and pulls her from the ring apron. Dr. Stevie grabs the taser while Lauren tries to talk down Abyss. Dr. Stevie and Abyss charge at each other, but Abyss hits the Black Hole Slam first. He picks up the taser and uses it on Dr. Stevie’s chest. Much smoking of said taser. Abyss finally makes the cover and pin, and Lauren hugged him afterward.
RANT: Not much of a rant here, actually. Daffney was involved, so that was good. Abyss needed a “No DQ” brawl that could make him look like a dominant monster, and he got it here. It’s about time Abyss had a new and improved look, even if it’s really his old look. Dr. Stevie’s new gear that says “Professional Therapist” makes me chuckle. Anyone else have thoughts of SNL’s “Celebrity Jeopardy,” where Sean Connery says, “I’ll take ‘The Rapists’ for $500.” What about “Arrested Development,” where Tobias has cards printed up for his combined services of analyst and therapist, called “analrapist?” No? Ok, maybe it is just me. Daffney loves Dr. Stevie. Hmm.
Team 3D defeats the British Invasion: This match was for the IWGP Tag Team titles. Mike Tenay made a big point that if Team 3D lost the IWGP titles, that they would also lose the big paydays and scheduled New Japan bookings associated with said belts. Brother Ray got worked over by the British Invasion first. He wouldn’t stay down, and scored a few two-counts on Doug Williams in return. Team 3D rallies and hits the “Wazzup?” on Brutus Magnus. Brother Ray counted to three and the entire place shouted at Devon to get the tables. He obliged. This proved unnecessary, as the 3D got the win. Post-match, Kiyoshi and Sheik Abdul Bashir stormed the ring, and went after Team 3D. Kiyoshi was thrown out of the ring and into the railing, and Bashir was put through the table.
RANT: Team 3D are the good guys, yet we’re supposed to feel bad for them possibly losing big paydays from another company. Does TNA not pay enough to its top-tier legends these days? Where was all this concern when the Motor City Machine Guns held the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team titles? The ones that barely got mentioned on tv or on the website? The ones they lost in Japan two weeks ago? Those titles? Just being in the ring with legends like Team 3D does not automatically give “the new guys” the rub or make them look good. There has to be conscious give and take.
Match #5: Jenna Morasca (w/ Awesome Kong) defeats Sharmell w/ Sojourner Bolt): Sharmell actually wrestled inan evening gown-ish outfit. Jenna Moresca wore something more suited to a pole. This “match” was kicking and slapping and shouting. Some of Sharmell’s weave got pulled out, and she actually leaned over the ropes, begging Kong to give it back. Kong hit Sharmell, and Morasca shoved her crotch onto Sharmell’s face for the pin. Post-match, Morasca tried a little dance. She got in Kong’s face and slapped her. Kong knocked Morasca down, splashed her, and left.
RANT: This “match” violates the Geneva Convention. Horrible, atricious, awful, and brutally, painfully terrible don’t do it justice. Let’s take a look at who got left off the show tonight so that a cheap skank who won a trashy reality show in 2003 by getting naked for peanut butter (And I wouldn’t know THAT much without research.), someone with absolutely NO instant name recognition, relevence, or mainstream crossover credibility, could get the pay-per-view payday and screen time. Jay Lethal, Consequences Creed, Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley, Suicide, Homicide (who just won the X-Division title in controversial fashion), Amazing Red (who is touted as the Second Coming), and Eric Young (who has done his best work lately) all got nothing. Not even a free pre-show match. TNA should be ashamed of themselves. Call it a “creative” decision all you want. It only shows fans that those guys and that title aren’t worthy of anything.
To the back! Kevin Nash buries every babyface on the TNA roster by letting us know that after seven years, they’re all in the same places they were when they started, and not on the level of the Main Event Mafia. Cheers, Kev.
Match #6: Kevin Nash defeated AJ Styles: This match was for the Legends title. AJ goes on the offensive, but Nash hits him with a big boot, and he crashes to the floor. Nash attempts the Jackknife Powerbomb, but AJ gets out of it. AJ gets the upper hand again, and takes down Nash with the Pele, but Nash kicks out. AJ goes to the top rope and springboards over the referee, where Nash grabs him in mid-air by the throat and chokeslams AJ for the pin. Kevin Nash is the new Legends champion.
RANT: Tenay tried desperately to plug a “mutual respect” issue by insisting that in a previous interview, Nash had compared Styles’s in-ring ability to that of Shawn Michaels, but that the footage had been edited out due to time constraints. That’s the most insipidly stupid reason ever! Better off saying nothing at all. AJ did his best to work around a 50-year-old near-cripple, but even AJ can only do so much. Nash beats AJ on “Impact” in about two minutes, buries the roster in a promo, and beats AJ again on ppv. Again, just putting someone in a match with a big-name legend does not automatically pass the torch or put the “new guy” over. This is the theme of the night. One can lose a match and still be put over. That’s not happening here. Nash isn’t elevating AJ, he’s dragging him down.
To the back! Lauren, in the Knockouts locker room, tries to get a word with Tara concerning the controversial finish to her title match. What she gets is referee Slick Johnson exiting the shower area, shirt in hand. He claims that he was getting his spider bite looked at, and exits stage left. Madison Rayne comes out of the shower, adjusting her clothing. Lauren puts six and nine together, and Rayne tells her to mind her own business and keep her mouth shut. Because, you know, the whole thing wasn’t just captured on film.
Match #7: Scott Steiner and Booker T defeat Beer Money: This match was for the Tag Team titles. Action was pretty back-and-forth, though in-ring prowess was clearly on the side of Beer Money. About ten minutes in, James Storm nailed a kick on Booker T, followed by Beer Money’s double-teaming. Storm spat beer in Steiner’s eyes before Beer Money hit the Drinking While Investing, but referee Earl Hebner had beer in his eyes as well, and didn’t see it to count. Booker landed his axe kick on Robert Roode for the win.
RANT: NO! Just plain NO! This was the one match that the MEM did not need to win, and that they did is rubbish of the highest order. Stupid, stupid ref bump again! An axe kick? Beer Money lost the titles to an axe kick? How many times must it be said? Having multiple tag team title reigns does not make you a great tag team wrestler with anyone and everyone. Team chemistry matters, and Steiner and Booker do not have a history of teaming together. They should not be able to beat guys who have teamed with each other for long periods of time.
Match #8: Samoa Joe defeats Sting: Joe took it to Sting, and they brawled out of the ring, into the audience. Eventually, they return to the ring, and Joe punches Sting repeatedly. Joe plants Sting with the snap power slam, but Sting kicks out and starts taking it to Joe, with the no-selling of offense. Sting catches Joe in the Scorpion Death Lock, and JOe looks like he just might tap. Cue Taz’s music! Taz marches to ringside, sporting dark glasses and the black suit that makes him look like a legit Mafia guy. A switch flipped inside Joe, because as soon as Taz came out, Joe escaped from the hold. Joe caught Sting on the top rope and went for a Muscle Buster, but Sting seemed either unwilling or unable to take it, and the sequence fell apart. Joe got Sting in the Kokina Clutch on the mat, and Sting tapped out. Post-match, Joe and Taz bump fists and leave together. The chants of “Joe’s gonna kill you” were much louder during the second half of this match than they’ve been in a long time.
RANT: Wait, so it’s not of concern to anyone else that the same ref who was apparently bribed through sexual favors to throw a title match at the start of the show is continuing to referee matches? Not even worth a mention? Um, ok. Joe should have been able to completely annihilate Sting in the first place, and whatever went wrong with that Muscle Buster spot looked to be all Sting’s fault. Not that it will matter, TNA will keep paying half a million dollars a year to a guy who can’t/won’t take the finishing move of the guy who should have been one of the top three guys in the company three years ago.
To the video! Bobby Lashley announces on ESPN RAdio that he has signed with TNA, and goes on to talk about wanting to fight Brock Lesnar.
RANT: What is wrong with these people? Bobby Lashley will do nothing positive for TNA. Firstly, every chance he gets, he publicly states that his main focus is on MMA, and that TNA’s schedule will allow him to focus on that and still make extra money to support his family. Excuse me??? Say what you will about Vince, and I certainly have, but he would never hire someone and allow him to publicly disrespect the company in such a manner. TNA should not be ok with this. The guys who actually made TNA as a company and didn’t have another “real job” must feel foolish right now. They get left off pay-per-views entirely, while a guy who doesn’t even hold working for TNA as his top priority gets to waltz in and be involved in the top-level group because he was pushed heavily in WWE? Brock Lesnar is not in TNA, and as such, should not be mentioned. Period. That Lashley says these things with no consequences is bad enough, but that TNA airs them is inexcusable. Secondly, Bobby Lashley brings nothing to the table. In WWE, he was just another green musclehead who got pushed to the moon too quickly because Vince drooled over his look. Even if he were a competent wrestler who had a huge fan following, it’s well-documented that Team 3D, Kevin Nash, Mick Foley, Kurt Angle, Booker T, Scott Steiner, and Christian Cage didn’t do much for ratings or building the company. Bobby Lashley is seriously expected to succedd where all those guys have failed? No.
Match #9: Kurt Angle defeats Mick Foley: This match was for the World Heavyweight championship title. Foley gets backdropped onto the ring steps early on. Angle limited his offense to mainly kicks and punches, but if he has a groin injury, it isn’t surprising. Angle misses his moonsault. Has he ever landed that? Foley takes advantage and tries theMandible Claw, but Angle gives Foley a groin injury of his own with a kick to the family jewels. Angle applies the Angle Lock on Foley, but Foley manages to grab the bottom rope. Angle kicked Foley’s arm off the rope and dragged him back to the middle of the ring, keeping him in the Angle Lock. Foley tapped out. Kurt Angle remains the World Heavyweight Champion.
RANT: So Angle was injured in real life. Why did he still have to win? If the only thing that matters in TNA is the Main Event Mafia, some of whom are cheered as faces anyway, why not have Angle lose, refuse to fire himself from the MEM, and two factions start to form around that? Hey, Angle told us not to expect a ppv-quality match! I guess we were warned.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This show was beyond a disappointment. It’s by far the worst that I’ve seen from any company in some time, and that says a lot. There’s foreshadowing, and there’s blatant stupidity. This was the latter. Lance Storm may be right, and no one in TNA with any power to actually do something will hear that they are doing anything wrong. Maybe they’ll wake up when all the guys who built the company with their sweat and dedication leave (some of whom have talked openly about life after wrestling), and all that is left are the vultures picking the carcass clean. That the MEM has “all the belts” and now completely runs the show would not be a bad thing if an opposing faction existed. It doesn’t. There’s no one to stand up for TNA except people like Sting, Mick Foley, and Jeff Jarrett, because everyone else on the roster has been made to look completely weak and worthless. Who does this help, exactly? This will all, no doubt, be justified by those in TNA creative and their blind supporters with the assertion that this will all ultimately lead to the big name stars from days past putting over the new guys. Yeah, we’ve heard that before. It’s now indisputable. TNA cares nothing about the homegrown talent, the X-Division, or long-term growth. That’s a bitter pill to swallow for those of us who have tried to defend it at every turn. Part of me hopes that this week’s “Impact” tapings start us down a new path, but the rest of me has lost all hope.
Tags: Angelina, Beautiful People, Clarence Darrow, Emotional Investment, Empress, Nathan Leopold And Richard Loeb, Oblivion, Pay Per View, Poison, Protests, Rayne, Referee, Ringside, Shenanigans, Slick Johnson, Tara, Tna Knockouts, Velvet Sky, Victory Road, Wrestlers