TNA Impact TV report
3.8 TNA Impact
The Big News: The second Monday night show featured the debut of Rob Van Dam, the returns of Sting and Jeff Hardy, and Hulk Hogan pushing himself as saying tonight would be his final match. It appeared his daughter actually believed him, which may make her the most naïve human being on the planet. It was a so-so show that only had two lengthy matches combined with some nonsensical stuff.
Hulk Hogan and Abyss came out to open the show. Brooke Hogan and Dixie Carter were shown at ringside. Hogan did all the talking and Abyss appeared as his tag-along, which is hardly the way to build a new star. Hogan did the same interview he’s done in recent weeks about how Ric Flair and A.J. Styles had changed the rules of the game. Hogan called them out, so we were supposedly getting the main event in the opening segment.
1. Abyss and Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair and A.J. Styles went to a no contest in 2:21. Abyss gave Styles a Manhattan Drop, and tagged in Flair, who threw some of his trademark chops. Abyss nearly killed Flair by barely getting him over for the backdrop. Hogan came in after Flair poked Abyss in the eyes, and Styles gave Hogan a Pele kick. It was a four-way brawl right away. Then the lights went out and Sting’s music played. Sting appeared in the ring with his baseball bat, and it appeared he was going to go after Styles and Flair. Then Sting hit Abyss in the midsection with the bat, and followed with another shot to Hogan. Abyss and Hogan juiced, and Sting then walked out with a cocky smirk on his face. Flair and Styles continued to lay the boots down, and Flair gave Hogan a safe chair shot over his head. Hogan got on the microphone and said that Styles and Flair would still have to wrestle him and Abyss tonight, and this time it would be a no DQ match. You know what the cliché is about those that don’t learn from history, and it’s not like Sting hasn’t already failed as a heel in this company. DUD
Sting went backstage, where Carter confronted him. Sting started to grab her around the throat, but it was clear Carter didn’t want anything too violent looking, so he gently pushed her against the wall. It looked so awkward. He told her he owed her nothing, then walked away. Carter is fun to look at, but she’s just not a wrestling character.
Hogan and Styles did an interview. Styles says there are no do-overs in wrestling, but would give Hogan and Abyss another match if they wanted one. Flair did his usual great promo about sending Hogan and Abyss out in the ambulance, and said that he always knew he owned Sting, so he’s happy he’s joined him in a battle against Hogan.
Abyss was shown backstage with blood all over his head screaming about Sting’s betrayal.
Brooke Hogan was backstage distraught over Hogan bleeding. His fiancé Jennifer, who looks like Linda Hogan at 33, was trying to console her. Brooke was surprisingly effective here.
Kazarian was in the ring saying he left the company two years ago. That deflated the crowd because you could tell no one was buying it. Kazarian did a speech trying to propel the X Division, which actually prompted a “X Division” chant. Daniels came out and proclaimed himself the king of the X Division, and bragged about being the longest reigning X Division champion of all time. That would have come off better if the current X Division champion hadn’t jobbed in 62 seconds just four days ago. Daniels did his new catchphrase of “I Am X.” Then the aforementioned X Division champion Doug Williams came out, which spawned a “USA” chant. Kazarian and Daniels continued to argue, and finally Eric Bischoff came out. He came out and put over the X Division strong, saying the group wasn’t the heart of TNA, it was the adrenaline of TNA. Bischoff ordered a three-way X Division title match between Williams, Daniels and Kazarian immediately.
1. Doug Williams defeated Daniels in a three-way match that also included Kazarian to retain the X Division title in 6:48. All three men traded near falls at the opening bell. Daniels gave Williams a leg lariat. Kazarian did a rolling reverse cradle. As Daniels tried to make the save, Kazarian gave him a northern lights suplex, pinning both men, but they both kicked out. Kazarian gave both Williams and Daniels a combination head scissors/sidemare takedown. Kazarian then followed with a somersault tope on both men to the floor. Daniels stayed on the floor for awhile after that one. Kazrian missed a somersault legdrop back into the ring, and Williams gave him a running knee to the jaw. Daniels returned with a slingshot elbow drop on Kazarian into the ring. Daniels gave Kazarian a quebrada and a death valley driver for near falls.
Daniels and Williams started exchange stiff forearms and clotheslines, but Kazarian knocked them both down with a missile dropkick. Williams tried a chaos theory, but Daniels rolled both Williams and Kazarina up with a schoolboy cradle, but both men kicked out. Daniels delivered a uranage on Kazarian, but missed the moonsault ever. Daniels landed on his feet, but Williams came up from behind, sandwhiched Kazarian in the corner, and got the pin on Daniels with a chaos theory. Best match in several weeks, and it’s great to see the company actually gave solid workers some time to shine. ***
Shannon Moore, with his hair spiked like a punk rocker, did a run in and laid out Williams with a spin kick. Crowd didn’t appear to know who Moore was. Bischoff announced that Moore would face Williams at Destination X. Sure makes Williams look bad to get chased away by a guy who was never anything more than a prelim wrestler in WWE.
Carter did a promo, calling him “Steve.” She said Sting would face a surprise opponent tonight. She can’t deliver a promo either.
Mike Tenay announced that Awesome Kong and Hamada had been stripped of the titles because they had not been defended within a 30-day span. This was the first time since New Year’s Eve that the Knockouts tag team titles were referred to.
2. Velvet Sky and Madison Rayne won the vacant TNA Knockouts tag team titles in a three-way match over Tara and Angelina Love in a bout that also included Sarita and Taylor Wilde in 2:12. The Beautiful People actually did some double team moves, so it appears they could be a team for the long haul. Sarita and Taylor Wilde did stereo schoolgirl cradles on Tara and Angelina Love at the opening bell. Sarita tried a stratisfaction on Tara, but turned it into a diamond cutter, which was cool. Madison Rayne and Velvet Sky did a double side Russian leg sweep on Tara. Love ran in and gave Rayne a scissor kick. Finish came when Tara tried to give Rayne the widow’s peak, but Daffney ran in and hit Tara with the TNA Knockouts title, and Rayne got the pin. Finish was rushed, so it appeared they were told to go home early. ½*
Pope D’Angelo Dinero started to do a promo, but Desmond Wolfe attacked him backstage and attacked his already injured left leg. Wolfe took a chain and slammed Dinero’s knee against the steps. It was announced at the end of the show that the Dinero-Wolfe match set for tonight had been cancelled because of this angle.
The Beautiful People were backstage celebrating with Jeremy Borash, whose speech pattern resembles Gene Okerland more and more. Borash called for some champagne, and Sky grabbed the bottle and said things were ready to explode. When she said that, she popped the cork and champagne was supposed to come out. Instead, nothing came out, so in an unrehearsed moment Sky dumped the bottle on Borash and left him soaked. Pretty funny. It’s clear Sky is the life of the party away from the ring.
Sting came to the ring for a match with a surprise opponent. It turned out to be Rob Van Dam, who got a huge pop. His arrival in the company had been anticipated since the day he left WWE two years ago, so he got a monumental pop.
3. Rob Van Dam defeated Sting in :09. Van Dam ran through the crowd, then knocked Sting down before the bell with a rider kick. Van Dam then got the pin with rolling thunder. So Sting did one of those Kevin Nash/Lex Luger jobs where he loses in ten seconds to make it feel like a fluke. DUD
Crowd was on fire at this point, which made the following ten minutes all the more mind-boggling. As Van Dam posed in the corner, Sting knocked him down from behind with the baseball bat, and followed with several more shots to the knee and chest. Sting then clotheslined him with the bat and walked up the ramp as the referees ordered him to back off. Even though he was still laid out, the crowd was still chanting “RVD.”
Sting then pushed down the ref on the ramp, then went back to the ring to resume his attack on Van Dam with several more bat shots. Sting finally got some heat at this point, but you could tell the crowd doesn’t want to boo him. The referees ordered Sting to leave, but he tagged two more refs with bat shots, and went back to the ring again. Crowd was begging Van Dam to make a comeback, but Hogan came out.
It was amazing in 2010 that Van Dam, in his first match on national television in two years, could be the set up man for a 50-year-old and a 56-year old. It got worse when Bubba the Love Sponge came out to try to hold him back, along with security. As they did Sting hit Van Dam with the bat some more. Hogan finally got to the ring, but Sting hit him in the stomach with the bat. As security tried to carry Hogan away, Sting hit him with the bat. Hogan had to be helped to the back, and the deal was Hogan still had to wrestle tonight. What happened to Van Dam, you ask? I don’t know, because the camera was solely on Hogan. And they’ve dropped the ball on Van Dam ten minutes into his stint in the company. All for a Sting heel turn that has never gotten over anywhere else, and won’t this time.
Kevin Nash and Eric Young came out to the ring. Nash announced that he’s been granted a contract for one night only so that Scott Hall and Six-Pac (since they aren’t officially in the company) can wrestle Nash and Young in a tag team match at Destination X. Nash called out Hall and Six-Pac to accept. Hall and Six-Pac where shown walking backstage. As Nash and Young were waiting, crowd was chanting “Hall is crazy.” Hall and Young emerged from the back of the building. Tenay wondered how they’re able to get in the building every week when they supposed to be banned. That’s another loose end that should be tied up soon.
Nash is usually very good in non-wrestling segments, but you can tell by looking at him he’s still tight with Hall. So it’s hard to take this program seriously. Hall appeared in better condition than January 4th. He said that he and Six-Pac wanted to be in TNA now that it was cool. It so weird hearing Hall say that in 2010, because he’s become a parody of himself. Hall said if he and Six-Pac went at Destination X, then they get TNA contracts. Bischoff appeared on screen and agreed, but announced that if Nash and Young win, Hall and Six-Pac leave town. Hall and Nash shook hands, but Six-Pac slapped Young, leading to another pull-apart. Bischoff ordered a match between Six-Pac and Young.
4. Eric Young defeated Six-Pac in 1:12. Crowd was hot at the start of the match, but Young mistimed some spots that would have made them hotter. Finish came after Six-Pac missed the bronco buster and Young pinned him with a piledriver. Good heat. ¾*
An army humvee with several soldiers in camouflage pulled up in the back of the arena. They walked out to the ramp flanked to the sides, making way for Kurt Angle’s introduction. Angle did a great promo as the soldiers came out to surround the ring. He said the soldiers put their lives on the line every day for what he and Mr. Ken Anderson believe in. He said Anderson spit in the face of every one of those soldiers when he stole the dogtag from Angle.
Anderson appeared on the big screen, and got some major heat when he referred to the troops as a bunch of high school dropouts. Angle then ran backstage and jumped Anderson, who’s head appeared to bump into the ramp. Angle then followed him to the ring, but Anderson hit him with the dog tag. As Anderson started to leave up the ramp, some of the soldiers stopped him.
Anderson, feeling trapped, ran into a recovered Angle, who laid him out with punches. Angle then threw him out of the ring, where the soldiers put some poorly timed forearms and stomps to him. This cycle repeated several more times. To their credit, the troops all kept their game faces on. Angle finally ended the segment by giving Anderson the Olympic slam, then stood over Anderson with the American flag as all the troops hoisted Angle into the air. A good angle, though they still need to get Anderson’s heat back. Angle’s promo was so solid, Anderson really got some big time heat from the crowd.
Up to this point, the show had largely made sense. That changed quickly. Bubba was trying to talk Hogan out of wrestling again tonight. Didn’t we see 100 of these segments on Thursday? Then Earl Hebner walked in. The announcers never reminded us that Hebner had been suspended for screwing Angle in a match with Styles that hardly anyone remembers now.
Hebner was begging for a second chance. At first, Hogan didn’t want to think about it. But Bubba talked Hogan into it. So Hogan arranged for Hebner to referee his match against Flair and Styles. Let’s just count the ways in how this doesn’t make sense. First of all, Hebner screwed Angle based on a payoff from Flair (since he’s Styles’ advisor). So how do we know Flair hasn’t paid him off again to screw Hogan? This reminded me of so many of Hogan’s angles in WCW that were the biggest booking clusterfucks ever. My favorite was the time in 1995 when Hogan booked himself as a face in a tag match against a heel Flair—in Charlotte. Amazing to watch the crowd totally against Hogan, and yet he had the arrogance to still pin Flair with the legdrop. The fans responded by throwing Hogan’s own planted merchandise at him.
The nonsense didn’t end there. Jeff Jarrett confronted James Storm backstage. Apparently, Bischoff arranged for Beer Money to face Jarrett tonight in a handicap match with Mick Foley as the special referee. None of this was brought up beforehand, and the match was treated like a time killer. That’s particularly amazing since Jarrett has headlined more TNA main events than anyone, and Beer Money might still be the most over act in the company. Jarrett wanted to know if Bischoff forced Beer Money to be in the match. Storm said they volunteered.
Jarrett brought up the fact that he hand picked Storm to be among the original workers in TNA, and Storm even trained as a wrestler in Jerry Jarrett’s backyard ring. Storm responded it was all about him. It came off like Beer Money had turned heel again, thought they were faces the last time we saw them. Jarrett punched Storm, but Robert Roode jumped Jarrett from behind. Foley broke it up and told them to take it to the ring.
5. Beer Money defeated Jeff Jarrett in a handicap match in 3:41. I guess Beer Money are heels again, because that’s how they wrestled. Crowd seemed really confused at first, but picked up on it eventually and started booing. Good spot where Jarrett teased giving Storm the running knees to the back, but Roode cut him off with a spinebuster. Roode gave Jarrett a catapault into a Storm DDT. Jarrett made his comeback by throwing Roode out of the ring and backdropping Storm over, as well.
Foley pulled out a barbed wire baseball bat and tried to hand it to Jarrett. Then referee Mark “Slick” Johnson, who refereed Thursday’s falls count anywhere match that Sean Morley won over Jarrett (and look how that propelled Morley in the company), grabbed the belt from Jarrett. Johnson must be a heel now, too. That allowed Storm to give Jarrett a low blow, and Roode got the pin after the DWI. *1/4
Brooke Hogan came into Hogan’s dressing room in tears, and it turned into another one of those endless segments where she begs Hogan not to wrestle again. This would have been better if it hadn’t already been done to death and back. Hogan promised his daughter this would be the final time he would wrestle again. Well, aside from the match they’re now teasing with Sting that ruined the RVD debut.
6. Hulk Hogan and Abyss defeated A.J. Styles and Ric Flair in 7:55. When Hogan was in, it was mainly punch and kick spots. Hogan and Flair move like two men their age move nowadays. Keep in mind, they had programs in 1996 that looked like old timers matches, so you can only imagine what it’s like now. Hogan got all the early offense on Flair, including brawling around ringside where Brooke was seated. Flair got rammed into the barricade and juiced buckets like he was facing Dusty Rhodes in the Greensboro Coliseum.
Styles got the tag and went on offense after a low blow. Finally, Abyss got the hot tag and went one-on-one with Styles to set up the Destination X main event. Styles hit the springboard flying forearm and went for the cover, but Abyss kicked out. At that point, Hogan and Abyss started doing the Superman comeback simultaneously. It led to Abyss doing Hogan’s trademark comeback spots (five punches, big boot to the face) on Styles at the same time Hogan was doing them to Flair. Well, roughly the same time because they were off, which even Taz mentioned. Abyss pinned Styles with a black hole slam. Just like Saturday Night’s Main Event from the 80s. *1/2
Postmatch, Wolfe ran in and hit Abyss with a chair, and Flair cut off Hogan with a kick to the chest. Dinero ran down to go after Wolfe, but then he got beat down. This brought out Jeff Hardy, who ran in and gave Wolfe a gordbuster. Wolfe landed at a horrid angle. Hardy climbed the top rope and appeared to be going for a swanton on Styles. Just as he got to the top, the picture went to black and everything ended.
SUMMARY: Show had its high points and low points. It was better balanced, but pushing Hogan to this extinct is just a death knell because it brings the perception they can’t make new stars. Certainly a better show than Thursday, but it’s hard to compete when the WWE has A game going building toward Wrestlemania, which is largely the case right now. The treatment of Van Dam in his debut was wretched. Trying to turn Sting has been futile for years, and it was ironic that Flair was on hand for it tonight. On Flair’s shoot interview from 2008, he laughed about TNA trying to turn Sting heel during the Main Event Mafia days because it just doesn’t work with him. Yet he and Hogan were the two hardest pushed men on the show. The real story comes in a month to see where the ratings are then. I don’t imagine it will be pretty.