Impact Wrestling Results & Report 06-30-11 – A Lack of Impact

June 30, 2011 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Sting wrestled Scott Steiner on ImpactHello, everyone. Welcome to my first time recapping TN-Impact. While some of you might have noticed my sarcasm in my Smackdown! recap last week, strap in, because you’re in for an even bumpier ride this time around. Why will I be so hard on this show compared to others? Well, let’s be honest. Have you ever SEEN an episode of this show before? Okay, that’s what I thought. Now that we are clear with each other and you know what to expect, let’s get on with this train wreck.

We start the show with Hulk Hogan and Scott Steiner in the back. Apparently, Steiner is the new member of Immortal. Hogan praises Steiner for a minute or so before hearing Sting’s voice. We see Sting cutting a promo on a monitor backstage, and he’s basically just talking about how he’s going to get Hogan while doing the stupid Joker voice. This leads Hogan to come out to the ring.

BTW, the entrance “videos” TNA Wrestling-pact uses are terrible and cheesy. Hogan begins talking about how he can’t believe Sting’s turned into such a coward. He somehow segues this into World Champion Mr. Anderson, who comes out to the ring, complete with his Battle Dome title belt. On a side note, Anderson has completely made the word “a**hole” worthless. Hogan tells Anderson he needs Hogan as badly as Hogan needs him, and when Anderson has to face Sting at the PPV, he can either join Hogan’s Orange Goblins (aka Immortal) or face psycho Sting by himself. Anderson responds by discussing his cockiness. Okay. This promo seems to have no end in sight, as it’s already gone on for 8 minutes. Hogan tells Anderson that we can’t have Sting running around the company, and that Anderson joining the Goblins equals money and ratings. Anderson says he doesn’t care about Hogan or Bischoff, and that he plans on taking Sting on by himself.

Just then, we see Sting beating up Steiner, Bully Ray and Abyss in the back. The lights go out, and when they come on, Sting’s in the ring with a bat. He takes out Hogan and chases Anderson off. He continues to attack Hogan, and there seems to be a jar of protein in the corner for whatever reason. Sting begins talking about how he was a Hogan mark back in the day (as if Hogan needs another person to do so), and this promo seems to have no rhyme or reason to it. Sting grabs the protein, which is apparently a giant jar of vitamins, and he’s shoving them in Hogan’s mouth. This is a rather homoerotic visual, I have to tell you. Sting then locks Hogan in the scorpion death lock, but you can tell Sting’s not putting any force into due to Hogan being crippled.

We are now joined by Ray, Steiner, Abyss and Gunner. Yes, Gunner. Anyone else think Steiner kind of looks like Johnny Bravo? Ray calls Sting a wannabe and a nobody. Talk about the pot and the kettle. Bully Ray says he can’t stand bullies. Ray then challenges Sting to a match for tonight, and then Hogan says he’s going to wipe the smile off of Sting’s face. He better bring a heavy duty washcloth.

Mike Tenay reminds us approximately 1000 times that tonight’s show has limited commercials thanks to 5-Hour Energy. I sell 5-Hour Energy at my store. It’s garbage. We learn that Crimson, Gunner and James Storm picked up more points for the “Bound For Glory” series at house shows, as well as A.J. Styles. Crimson is in the lead at 17. Gunner will battle A.J. Styles in the series again, and Devon will face Samoa Joe. Now, 20 minutes in, because “Wrestling Matters”, we get our first match (but not before the first commercial break).

MATCH #1-Blades of Glory Series Match: Devon vs. Samoa Joe
You know why Samoa Joe loses all the time? Because he wears shoes. It’s science. Neither Joe nor Devon have any points yet, so the winner gets on the board with this match (not that either have a chance of winning the series). They trade holds for a few seconds, and Joe almost immediately goes for the Kokina Clutch, but is too close to the ropes. Devon gets Joe into the corner and starts punching, but Joe reverses and kicks Devon’s head off. Joe with a knee and is now punching Devon in the corner, followed by the Face Wash.

Devon’s back up with a spear and some clotheslines, reverses a whip into a spinning back elbow, uranage, headbutt and some more clotheslines. Kick out at 2 by Joe. Joe hits a leg lariat off the middle rope and then locks in a leg grapevine, but Devon gets the ropes again. Joe’s looking for a submission to get more points and locks in a key lock, but Devon’s in the ropes again. Apparently, Joe doesn’t realize where the ropes are. Joe back to the arm with a jujigatame, but no go. Joe catches Devon off the top with another kick and tries the clutch again, but Devon rolls out. He catches Joe in a standing uranage, and somehow, this is enough to get the three.

WINNER: Devon. Devon gets on the board with 7 points, while Joe is still at 0. Okay match. Longer than your average Impact fare, that’s for sure.

We go to the back where Pope is in the back with Devon’s kids, celebrating.

Back into another part, and we see Steiner yelling at Ray, Gunner and Abyss. Gotta love Steiner promos. Seriously, someone needs to give him and The Iron Sheik their own reality show stat. I’d recap what they are saying, but all you really need to know is Ray and Steiner are yelling nonsensically at each other.

Back to another part of the building, and Kazarian is telling Joe he’s too good to be sucking this badly. Joe calls him Tony Robbins. Joe calls everyone in Fortune “b*tches”. That’s really about it for that segment.

We get a recap of the X-Division Series, where Austin Aries and Zima Ion (ugh) have qualified, and tonight, Low-Ki, Matt Bentley and Jimmy Yang will be in the match tonight. Apparently, Jimmy Yang is doing the horrible “Flying Elvis” gimmick again.

MATCH #2-X-Division Series Qualifying Round: Matt Bentley vs. Jimmy Yang vs. Low-Ki

Bentley looks a little “special” without hair. So much for that retirement from wrestling, I guess. I’m picking Low-Ki to win this match, but I have a feeling that he’ll wind up being misused by this company once again. 3-Ways are hard to recap, so I’ll do my best. Yang is wrestling in the full jump suit. Ki with a cross body on Bentley for 2, but eats a kick to the head from Yang almost immediately. Yang lands another kick in the corner, and off the top with a cross body for another 2. Bentley back in (looking chubby, BTW), and he throws Yang out, who tries to skin the cat, but Ki is thrown into him by Bentley, leading to another nearfall. Bentley gets 2 off an elbow, and now we go to restholds. Tenay needs to shut the hell up about the limited commercials.

Ki is back out off a clothesline, followed by Bentley, followed by Yang who hits a very nice diving cross body to the outside (although he botched the landing). Yang and Ki back in to more restholds. Ki answers some knees with a crucifix, but another kick by Yang gets 2. Ki fires off some kicks of his own, and then hits a double stomp on Yang out of a sunset flip attempt. Ki hits the Tidal Crush on Bentlet and tries for a pin, but only gets 2. He goes back to Yang, who fires off yet more kicks. Bentley hits a really sloppy DDT/ace crusher combo on both guys before dropping Ki with a superkick for another 2. Bentley’s up top and tries a cross body on Yang, who turns it into a over-the-knee gutbuster. Yang misses Yang Time, but Ki lands the Warrior’s Way on Yang for the pin.

WINNER: Low-Ki. Solid match, but there were far too many kicks for my taste. That, and you can tell that Matt Bentley hasn’t been in the ring in a while. He’s looking pudgy, and he botched some basic moves that he shouldn’t have.

We listen to some of the X-Division guys talk about the upcoming Destination X PPV, including Kurt Angle, because nothing says X-Division like that nutcase. And where did Tenay lose all of his credibility?

Okay, apparently, the challenge Bully Ray made to Sting earlier was for him to face Steiner. Not sure when that changed, but alright.

We are then “treated” to a promo starring Madison Rayne, Winter and Angelina Love, who is apparently gotten over her zombie-ness. These three will wrestle Tara, Mickie James and Miss Tessmacher in a 6-knockout match later. Can we say workrate? Angelina Love starts rambling about how her relationship with Winter is no longer “synthetic” (whatever that means), and I can’t pay very close attention here because Angelina Love’s lack of body is making me nauseous. She could use a sandwich or ten.

Does Spike TV have a contract that states all of their original programming must be atrocious?

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We then see Kazarian and Samoa Joe in a bar. Kazarian makes a crack about how Joe found the bar, and has had no trouble finding Wendy’s. He’s right. Joe beats up Kazarian all over the bar, the same way he did to Crimson a few weeks ago. Not sure the point of these segments.

Hogan’s in the back, taping his hands up, rambling about beating up Sting. Yeah, okay.

MATCH #3-6-Knockouts Tag Team Match: Angelina Love, Winter and Madison Rayne vs. Miss Tessmacher, Tara and Knockouts Champion Mickie James

Winter’s music is appalling. I would rather hear the death rattle of my only child than have to listen to that music. Madison Rayne being from the same home town as me makes me sad. On top of that, you can barely tell the difference between her and Mickie James anymore. Not exactly sure what Tessmacher’s gimmick is supposed to be at this point, and I’d tell you what my nickname for Mickie James is, but it’s not appropriate here. Taz is rambling about all the hot chicks in the ring. Where?

The “match” starts off with James and Winter. Stupid hair whip that every woman does by James, followed by a Thesz press that has Lou rolling around in his grave. Angelina Love is in, and she’s apparently had 16 more boob jobs since last week. Now Tessmacher’s in, and she does what she does best-nothing. Tenay informs us this is an elimination match. Since when? Winter back in with a chinlock on Tessy, who gives Winter a stinkface. Winter lands a northern lights suplex and the 3.

Tessy is eliminated.

Tara in with her stupid standing moonsault, which gets 2. Winter picks Tara up in a fireman’s carry, and Love hits Tara in the face with the Botox Injection. Rayne tags in and gets the 3.

Tara is eliminated.

Rayne eats a Mick Kick while Love and Winter stare and do nothing. Mickie gets the 3.

Rayne is eliminated.

Love and Winter now double-team Mickie with punches and go for the Botox combo again, but Mickie reverses into a roll-up for 2. Mickie takes a backbreaker from winter, and then Love’s inverted DDT/lung blower move. She starts to go for the pin, but her and Winter start arguing over who’s going to do it. Mickie’s back up and hits her hurricanrana out of the corner on Winter, followed by a hangman’s neckbreaker on Love for 3.

Love is eliminated.

Mickie hits the standing tornado DDT on Winter, and this match is over.

WINNERS: Mickie James, Tara and Miss Tessmacher. This match was a mess. There was just no science to it, with the Knockouts title taking a backseat to the Winter crap. I guess this whole thing with Winter and Angelina has mostly been dropped, with Love getting over her drug addiction at a miraculous rate of just a week.

Gunner is in the back talking about how he and A.J. Styles are 1 and 1 in Blades of Glory matches, and that he’s the number 1 guy in the company and will prove it after he beats A.J. again tonight. He talks about proving to everyone that he will be world champion and a main eventer. Nothing screams main event more than a name like “Gunner”.

I don’t think I want to know the type of person who is excited about playing the Impact Wrestling fantasy game.

Another promo segment with Brian Kendrick and Abyss because, you know, “Wrestling Matters”. Kendrick’s doing his spiritual leader bit, while Abyss is rambling on about The Art Of War again.

Mike Tenay is STILL rambling on about the “limited commercials”. We’re now doing a contract signing segment with Daniels and A.J. Styles. Why? Oh, and Daniels now has his worst theme music yet. Listening to Taz and Tenay argue about ABSOLUTELY NOTHING is giving me a migraine. Nothing against Daniels and Styles, but did their non-title, semi-meaningless match at Destination X really require a contract signing bit?

Daniels says this match is about nothing else except the X-Division, and A.J. agrees. Daniels says there’s no better match to headline the PPV than Daniels/Styles, and for once, I actually agree with something on this show. They both sign the contract, and Jeremy “Toolbox” Borash announces is official. Out of nowhere, Jerry Lynn begins heading to the ring as Borash leaves. On a side note, I’ve met everyone in the ring right now (all great guys, BTW). Lynn then says that he’s sick of hearing guys argue about who built the division, and that the division is supposed to be about the wrestling.

Now, Rob Van Dam makes his way to the ring to his terrible music. He tells us all he’s the “Whole F’n Show”, in case we had forgotten that. He says he was X-Division before there was an X-Division. Lynn reminds RVD who feuded with him for a year, and who the “New F’n Show” is. Since Lynn and RVD will also be facing each other at the PPV, Daniels comes up with the idea of a 4-corners match involving all four of them next week. They all agree, so that will happen next week.

Lynn is still better than most guys half his age.

Gunner comes to ringside from nowhere and begins attacking Styles. A.J. gets the upper hand, and his match with Gunner will start now.

MATCH #4-Blades Of Glory Series: A.J. Styles vs. Goose
A.J. starts on offense with kicks and punches, followed by a jumping knee and a back suplex. He backs Goose into the corner, but eats a running knee as Iceman gets on the highway to the danger zone. Tom Cruise goes for a powerbomb, but A.J. reverses into a Pele and a dropkick sensds that guy from E.R. out of the ring. Alright, I’m out of Top Gun references for now. A.J. hits a flip dive on the outside. Back in the ring and A.J. eats a clothesline. Gunner’s got a little blood trickling from his left eye. He picks up A.J. for the Mr. Pibb (what I’m calling his version of the F-5), but A.J. kicks out of it. A.J. goes to the outside for a top rope move, but Gunner kicks the ropes as A.J. comes back in. He picks up A.J., lands the Mr. Pibb, and this one is over.

WINNER: Gunner, who earns 7 points and takes the lead in the series over Lance Sackless with 21 points. To the 5 of you that get that reference, kudos.

Dear god, I didn’t notice it before, but during this entire show, there has been a graphic in the upper left corner that says “Limited Commercial Interruption”.

Red Jump Suit Apparatus are horrible. It’s fitting they’d be featured on Impact Wrestling.

In case we’ve forgotten, Taz reminds us all that Impact Wrestling is presented with “Limited Commercial Interruption” by 5-Hour Energy.

We get a recap of all the nonsense going on between ODB, Jackie and Velvet Sky. It’s drivel.

Velvet Sky begins talking about how she is used to being bullied and blah, blah, blah. Tons of promos=”Wrestling Matters”. Apparently, Velvet Sky isn’t weak anymore, and that she has a handicap match against ODB and Jackie, where if ODB and Jackie lose, they’re gone from TN-er, Impact Wrestling. That will happen next week, and Velvet will lose. We will also see the 4-corners match next week, as well as Lance Sackless vs. Bobby Robert Roode.

No! We have to listen to Hernandez talk again?! Fortunately, he cuts it short and hands the mic to Anarquia, who is only slightly better than Hernandez. No one in this group is a full-blown Mexican, BTW. He rambles on about how they are not criminals, and why they can’t be in the BFG series, and how they’ve beaten everyone in the company (even though, you know, they’ve hardly beat anyone). I’d be pissed if I was one of the people in the audience who had seats across from the hard camera, as the giant Mexican flag hangs down the entire time Mexican America are in the ring.

The British Invasion come down to the ring, and Magnus mentions how they are also foreigners in the U.S., and how they are proud of how they are living in the U.S. I guess they just became faces now. Magnus says he doesn’t like people who come to another country and expect everything handed to them, and that Mexican America hasn’t earned anything. He says they have yet to beat the British Invasion, and that it won’t happen either. He asks for a tag team match to determine the real #1 contenders to the tag titles, and that Anarquia and Hernandez need to be men and leave the girls at home. He then calls the girls “los prostitutos”, and I’m inclined to agree. This leads to a brawl between the teams, which leads Big Roid Terry to come out. I guess he’s saving his former pseudo-countrymen and reforming with them, despite the fact that he’s from Wales.

Great. A segment with Karen and Jeff Jarrett. Jeff is like that can of Diet Shasta Orange in the vending machine at a roach motel that no one wants. The can is ancient, and the vending machine guy won’t replace it because he’s either too lazy or deep down, is really hoping someone will buy it one day. Basically, they talk about how they are in Mexico and will be back soon. For those that don’t know, Jeff Jarrett pissed off an entire nation of wrestling fans and won the AAA Mega Championship.

Back to Orlando and Abyss is pretending to read his book again. You know, a few weeks back, he was looking at that book and had it open on camera. You know what was inside? I kid you not, it was full of hand-written cue cards. All of a sudden, Abyss begins looking for his mask, which has apparently vanished. He starts to flip out about his mask as Gunner tries to calm him down.

MATCH #5-“Big Poppa Pump” Johnny Bravo vs. Sting Ledger
We start with Bloated Ken Doll doing the fancy introductions, but Johnny Bravo is having none of that. Spinning belly-to-belly gets 2. Bravo’s chest is almost concave at this point. He hits a clothesline and a posing elbow before going into push-ups. Because nothing says “strong” like an exercise that even the weakest child can do. Bravo’s dominating, and I think it’s because Little Suzy isn’t out here to distract him.

Sting Ledger gets a boot up in the corner and begins hitting weak chops and a facebuster for 2. Sting hits the Stinger Splash, but Steiner catches him in a reverse STO for 2. Steiner goes for the Steiner Recliner, but Sting reverses it into the death lock. Steiner catches the ropes and gets a thumb to the eyes. T-Bone Suplex, and both are down. I’m mad we didn’t get a real Steiner promo tonight. Sting gets a kick to the back, Scorpion Death Drop, and this one’s over.

WINNER: The dead movie star.

Sting pulls out another mini bottle of paint. Why in the hell did he have paint in his tights? Blubber Ray runs down to the ring, but eats some clotheslines and a Stinger Splash. Mr. Anderson comes in and hits the sloppiest Mic Check you’ve ever seen. Seriously, Anderson sucks a fat one. The Orange Goblins are now double-teaming Sting, and neither of them seem to know how to put on a submission hold. Blubber begins yelling for Hogan. Hogan gingerly walks to the ring and starts hitting Sting with some old man punches. He grabs Sting’s bat, which cause Kurt Nutjob to run into the ring and get the heels out of there. End of show.

This has definitely been more fun than the Friday Night Smackdown! recap. So much more raw sewage-I mean, material, to work with.

Thanks for reading, and as long as Spike TV still fronts the bill, I’ll see you next week.

TNA Impact Wrestling 6/30/11 Match Results…
Bound for Glory Series: Devon defeated Samoa Joe
Bound for Glory Series: Gunner pinned AJ Styles
In an X-Division tournament bout, Low Ki defeated Matt Bentley and Jimmy Yang
Mickie James, Tara & Miss Tessmacher defeated Madison Rayne, Winter & Angelina Love
Sting pinned Scott Steiner

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Impact Wrestling Results & Report 06-23-11

June 24, 2011 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Sting vs. Abyss in a non-title matchTNA Impact Wrestling continued Thursday night with more of the same from last week: the Bound for Glory Series trudging on, Sting rubbing facepaint on someone, and an X Division Triple Threat match. Surprisingly, as good as all these things were last week, this time around all three left you wanting way more as a wrestling fan.

The night ended with a flattering main event of Sting vs. Abyss in a non-title match. This was the result of Sting coming out to address Eric Bischoff’s claim of treason at the beginning of the show, to which Sting replied with a loony, Joker like monologue and subsequent Stinger signature moves and facepaint exploits. And is it me or is Sting looking like a Juggalo more and more with that smile design?

Abyss finally took to his character and started reading The Art of War book midmatch, which propelled him to take out a utility glove wrapped in barbed wire. Abyss went to use it on Sting, but Sting, somehow being the faster of the two, sidestepped the attacked and hit the Scorpion Death Drop for a pin attempt. Clearly frustrated, Sting took the glove and knocked Abyss over the head with it, splitting him open. Current champion Mr. Anderson comes out to have a stare down with Sting as Sting continues to beat Abyss over the head with “Glove Janice.” I really thought this match was going to stink up the joint but the clever use of Abyss’ character made it somewhat intriguing.

The Bound for Glory Series part of the show kicked off with several updates from house shows, including Gunner getting the pinfall upset on AJ Styles up in Canada. I understand you have to hold a large chunk of these matches at house shows, but at this time it seems that Gunner and AJ Styles would be one to feature at an Impact or pay-per-view. Gunner’s monster surge up the card continues and I still consider Styles the poster child of the company. This makes all the less sense considering the match we did get on Impact was Bully Ray versus Scott Steiner.

I think Ray and Steiner did okay with what they were working with, but this was still a rough match to watch. I had no idea one of Steiner’s signature moves was a “Steiner-line,” which just happens to be nothing but a clothesline. The worst part was whenever Steiner tried to hit easy moves like a belly-to-belly or armdrag toss on Ray. On the belly-to-belly, it looked like Steiner’s back was finally going to cave in, and on the armdrag Ray must have only cleared an ample two feet off the ground. Eventually, Ray accidentally bumped the ref, leading to Steiner getting distracted and Ray clotheslining his padlock chain over Steiner’s throat for the win. Steiner would later flip out backstage, swinging the padlock at members of Immortal before Ray offered him a spot in the group (perhaps to replace Matt Hardy). Steiner threw the chain and said he’d think about it.

The second BFG Series match was even more confusing with its booking and stipulation. Beer Money faced the patchwork face team of Matt Morgan and Crimson in a tag match, so you would think that whichever team won, the result would be both guys getting the points. Not so fast, my friend! Only the guy who scores the pin or submission gets the points, which seems totally unfair for all parties involved. Just like that, each of the four wrestler’s chances are cut in half, unless the off chance that all 12 guys will eventually compete in a match like this. On paper, this should have been a four corners match, because the obvious strategy of letting your tag partner get worn down and somehow tagging in to clean house and win was never utilized.

Robert Roode closed the match by attempting his armbar finisher on Crimson, causing to Matt Morgan to come in and make the save, deliver the Carbon Footprint to Roode and score the pin. James Storm was knocked out on the outside during all of this, so at least that made sense, but I don’t remember any sort of tag between Morgan and Crimson. I will give the writers credit for unpredictability here-I would have expected Roode or Crimson to get the 7 points before Morgan, who now tops the leader board with 14 points.

Impact hosted another X Division Triple Threat match to qualify another high flyer into a 3-way dance at Destination X. Unlike last week, we saw three entirely new wrestlers to the company: Xema Ion, the bulky Pacific Islander, Federico Palacios, the skinny guy who looked like a mid-90’s European Hardy Boy, and Dakota Darsow, the pretty boy and second generation wrestler. Darsow received the most promising promo and was the only one who got a televised entrance, so Impact was really trying hard to put this guy over as the guy to beat.

Unfortunately at least two of these wrestlers probably have to crawl back to the Indys whence they came. Xema went for a corkscrew dive off the top rope to the outside, but actually motioned Palacios and Darsow to come closer. Even with that gesture Xema only hit one guy and didn’t hit him cleanly, resulting in a flying leg thudding into the head and neck area. Ouch. Botch Central continued as I believe it was Xema again who messed up and jumped way late from the top rope to stop a pin attempt down below. The poor referee actually had to blatantly freeze his three count as to wait for Xema to land, even though the announcers played it off as a clean pin break. Perhaps Xema was extra nervous because he had been booked to win-the curly haired Islander pushed Darsow off the top rope and hit him with the clean 450 Splash for the pin. Expect Austin Aries to run circles around this kid.

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The Knockouts portion of the show was pretty bountiful, kicking off with Miss Tessmacher and Velvet Sky doing their best Extreme Expose impressions and fighting Jackie and ODB in what devolved into a brawl. Miss Tessmacher may be a looker, but last night her very brief mic work was the least threatening use of the phrase “bring it, b*tches!” I’ve ever heard in my life. Impact is also really pushing across the whole ODB and Jackie don’t have contracts so they have to fight in the ring but don’t get ramp and entrance music privileges. I guess that’s TNA’s version of dental coverage or something.

Even though Velvet told us that management told her the match was to be by the books, half of it took place outside the ring, and really only came to a head when Tessmacher and ODB cleared the ring, leaving Jackie to punt Velvet in the groin for the win. Really, you’re putting Jackie over here? I really want to know what Velvet did to deserve such a shameful run. In an unrelated backstage incident, Tara came across Madison and jettisoned her into a wall. That’s right, Velvet and Madison…back of the line with ya. This is the era of late 90’s Divas.

Winter squared off against Knockouts champ Mickie James in a non-title Street Fight, which also took a turn for the creative worse and quickly became some 12-year-old’s fantasy as Winter repeatedly whipped Mickie with a leather belt, all as senior referee Earl Hebner watched helplessly. I mean, I’m sure he could have stepped in a bit more, but I’m more than sure he was thinking, “man, I used to ref  WWF title matches in front of 50,000 plus at pay-per-views…”

Mickie mounted a comeback when she nailed a beautiful Lou Thesz Press off a ramp riser, parlaying that into a flying top rope drop kick. However, Angelina Love came in when Hebner was distracted and hit Mickie with a modified neck/back breaker, allowing Winter the easy pin. Winter has still yet to impress me in the ring, but it looks as if she’s next in line to challenge Mickie for her belt at the PPV.

We had an AJ Styles sighting, but it was merely a promo announcing that Destination X would be an X Division exclusive PPV and all matches would take place in the old 6-sided ring. Samoa Joe came out and challenged AJ to a match at Destination X, but was interrupted by Christopher Daniels, who also challenged AJ. I believe the possibility of the 3-way was clear as day, but AJ and Daniels agreed to a match, leaving Joe out of the fold. Huh?

There was also a Rob Van Dam backstage sighting with Jerry Lynn, who I hope doesn’t show up to wrestle any time soon. Dude looked washed up and haggard back in the original ECW run.

We also received a little more clarity to the Jeff Jarrett finishing street fight angle from last week. I guess it’s happening-Eric Bischoff is sending Jarrett down to Mexico to make the company more international. I love the possibility here-it’s a great way to get stale guys down to AAA in Mexico and bring some new faces up at the same time. However, points docked for Jarrett saying more than one time that last night was the start of the BFG Series. What, did he miss the RVD and Samoa Joe match?

VERDICT. Absolutely nothing stood out in this show, except perhaps the company’s obvious attempt to shoehorn more Knockouts programs into the fold. The Bound For Glory Series matches were dull and confusing, leaving fans no option but to cheer a heel Steiner and boo Matt Morgan and the potential LeBron James of TNA, Crimson. And that X Division match actually made me cringe and question just how successful a pay-per-view Destination X will be. Unless this all ends in Abyss competing in Ultimate X, considering me apathetic to the 6-sided venture. 3/10

Finally, I should note that my contract with Camel Clutch Blog Wrestling expires tonight. Fret not, though, because having won the CCB TV Title in a triple threat cage match against Justin Henry and Eric Darsie last month means I’ll be back, more focused and angrier and TNA-ier than ever. I am taking the belt with me, though. Consider this the Summer of Panther Joe.

TNA Impact Wrestling 6/23/11 Match Results
BFG Series. Bully Ray def. Scott Steiner, pinfall, 7 points
Jackie and ODB def. Velvet Sky and Miss Tessmacher, pinfall
BFG Series. Matt Morgan and Crimson def. Beer Money, pinfall, Morgan awarded 7 points
Xema Ion def. Federico Palacios and Dakota Darsow, X Division Triple Threat, pinfall
Winter def. Mickie James, non-title match, pinfall
Abyss def. Sting, DQ

Joe Leininger lives in Gainesville, FL and writes for The Playing Field and Destigeddon.

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Impact Wrestling Results & Report 06-16-11

June 17, 2011 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

anderson vs. gunnerImpact Wrestling was quite explosive Thursday night as upsets were abound, new faces were featured, and plans for future pay-per-views were unfurled, including next month’s TNA Destination X and Fall’s Bound For Glory.

Thursday marked the start of Mr. Anderson‘s second reign as World Heavyweight champion, and the opening segment featured him coming out to a ring adorned like a high school kegger (more on that theme later). He called it his “A$%hole Championship Reception” and no one showed up to celebrate except the uninvited Immortal hitman Gunner. Because he helped take out Sting last week on Anderson’s behalf, Gunner wanted return payment of one title shot, which Anderson replied in kind with a pitcher of apparently strychnine and fiber glass laced beer. Seriously, it looked like all he did was splash beer in his face and Gunner’s eyebrow and nose looked like they were on the receiving end of Cain Velasquez hammer fists.

Needless to say, this opened the door for a match later that night, just not a title match. As much as I thought the whole Rob Van Dam/Mr. Anderson/Sting series was pretty weak because it lacked a strong heel, I’m starting to love the writing of this current heel vs. heel series. Eric Bischoff clearly stated that he wouldn’t call off the suddenly pushed Gunner because Anderson refused to join Immortal. It may rub wrestling traditionalists the wrong way, but I like when there is a gray area and that’s probably why Anderson has been able to battle both sides so convincingly.

The match itself was okay and neither guy really showed us anything special—in fact, I dare say that Anderson looks a bit out of shape, especially for a World champion. Spoilers be damned, I was reading and listening to a few takes of the raw result of this match and how it makes no sense for a mid-card guy to pin the World champ but this ending was great. After Anderson took clear control, he actually called for the microphone mid-match, announced himself as TNA’s champion, went to pick up Gunner but Gunner quickly reversed and hit his fireman’s carry facebuster for the upset win on the champ.

I know when you compare him next to the booking of titans like John Cena and Randy Orton, it may seem silly that Anderson lose while champion, but the idea that the title holder is beatable and just had a bad night, or has become too cocky for his own good, is progressive and appreciated from fans who want different things in their squared circle.

Anderson’s clearly not a huge guy—he’s more of a class clown who outsmarts his enemies, but not this time. Gunner actually wasn’t bad on the mic this week and got a chance to cut his first real promo, but I’m just not sure fans will buy into him being outwitted by Eric Young just weeks ago for the TV title and now being pushed to the front of the Immortal line. Bully Ray must have really pissed someone off.

In huge PPV news, TNA announced their Bound For Glory series, which on paper sounds amazing. In a nutshell, the BFG series goes like this: 12 TNA wrestlers will all wrestle each other in a round robin format across all venues…PPV’s, Impact, Xplosion, live tour events, and each match’s outcome gives that wrestler so many points (10 for submission, 7 for pin, 3 for DQ win, -10 for DQ loss, etc.). These matches can be tag team matches, triple threat affairs, steel cage matches, but at the end of the series, the top four in points standings move on to some sort of four corners match at No Surrender, the PPV before Bound For Glory. The twelve competitors are: Rob Van Dam, AJ Styles, Gunner, Robert Roode, James Storm, Bully Ray, Crimson, Matt Morgan, Samoa Joe, Devon, Scott Steiner, and The Pope.

This seems like a fun, unique way to get all the guys involved and carry the program through the dog days of summer. As a sports nerd, I love anything with standings and this almost has a fantasy game feel to it. I do like how the format is not too stringent, because do we really need to see James Storm and The Pope in a singles match on Impact or a PPV? The points system is a little weird…minus 10 points for someone interfering in your match? That should allow for some breezy writing.

Handicapping the field, I think I can almost eliminate Devon, James Storm, The Pope right away. Crimson, Bully Ray, Matt Morgan, and Scott Steiner are good dark horses, but I wouldn’t make that bet. That leaves, RVD, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Gunner, and Robert Roode, who is looking more and more like a singles competitor by the hour. I’d say it’s a good bet that three of those five make it to the final four.

The first match in the BFG series saw Rob Van Dam best Samoa Joe with the Five Star Frog Splash. Nothing was too exciting from the RVD camp, but Joe went all out and did a suicide dive through the ropes on his opponent. Impressive stuff, but RVD still won and captured seven points.

Pertaining to the more recent future, Destination X is coming back next month and TNA promises to bring back a bunch of ex-employees for the gimmick PPV. How nice of them, don’t ya think? It was also announced that the entire PPV would happen inside the old 6-sided ring. Personally, I can’t really stand the hexagon but then again I never watched TNA with much conviction when they had the odd looking ring. On paper, it gets the old guard excited again, so the changeup is welcome in my household.

The first match leading into Destination X featured three guys I believe I’ve never seen before—Kid Kash, Jimmy Rave, and Austin Aries. Their high flying exhibition prevented you from looking away and was easily the most exciting match of the night. Rave looked to be the most technically sound and Aries had a nasty double suicide dive to the floor, but either way it looked like both were a cut above Kid Kash. Coming off as a bit clunky, Kash’s moves were slow developing, including his backflip off the top rope to the floor where both Aries and Rave were waiting for several seconds. Aries eventually hit a series of nasty kicks on Rave before finishing him off with the brainbuster for the win. Based on that match alone I hope they give Aries or Rave that X Division money left vacant by the released Jay Lethal.

In case you missed Slammiversary Sunday night, the Kurt Angle and Jeff Jarrett feud was supposed to end but that mess flared up again the very next event because while Angle was announcing that he’s training for a 2012 US Olympic run on the wrestling team, Jarrett came out to challenge Angle to one last fight. What?! Fortunately, Angle called Jarrett out on the same crap and said he had no honor by continuing the feud, which Angle clearly won and ended. Regardless, Angle accepted the parking lot fight, with odd stipulations about Angle taking back his kids and Jarrett moving to Mexico if he lost. Seriously. I can’t make that up.

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In what was straight from a high school coming of age film, Angle and Jarrett brawled in the parking lot around a circle of peers, at night, with headlights lighting up the fighting space. I seriously thought I was watching a modern adaptation of The Outsiders or something. Angle pretty much destroyed Jarrett in what devolved into an MMA style fight, even though Jarrett did hit his Stroke finisher at one point. Kurt started choking him out with a shirt, Jeff mumbled something and the fight was over. There appeared to be no definite winner..again, so expect this series to prolong.

Rosita and Sarita defended their Knockout Tag titles against Velvet Sky and Miss Tessmacher in what ended up being a thankfully busy night for Mexican America. I like the team of Velvet and Tessmacher, who could reform Beautiful People, because it’s a bleak, bleak time in TNA without money making factions like the Beautiful People and Beer Money. Hernandez and Anarquia were quickly thrown out by ref, leaving us with a par for the course Knockouts match which saw Sarita and Tessmacher with very similar outfits, which seemed like a bad wardrobe snafu.

Eventually, TNA wants us to think that Velvet has OCD because ODB appeared in the crowd, causing Velvet to completely lose focus and chase after her, leaving Tessmacher to get dominated and pinned by Rosita. Afterward, ODB and a black woman from the crowd, later announced as a returning Jackie, jumped Velvet and beat up male security guards. Cool security, Impact Zone.

Hernandez and Devon opened up the wrestling portion of the program. I thought I would have nothing to say about this match but Devon hit a spectacular spear on a jumping Hernandez that I’m calling the move of the night. Even though we haven’t seen much of the former Team 3D member, Devon looked particularly jacked for this match, so hopefully management rewards him with some sort of fruitful mid-card program. In a lame finish, Mexican America runs in for interference, ending the match and causing The Pope to come out and help Devon to standing cheers. Now Pope is a face again? What the hell is going on out there?! You should only be allowed two turns every two years, but Pope pulls the old 180 on the same schedule you change out your Brita filter. Really weak—I hope he goes 0-for in the BFG series.

Sting continued his cries for Hulk Hogan to turn back to his old ways and showed him he was serious by yelling random crap about “Stinger’s not done!” and smearing Hulk’s face in snapdragon facepaint. I guess this is what happens when you lose your title but still have months to go on your contract.

Eric Young was creeping around backstage asking guys to wrestle him for this TV title. Or wrestle for him…it wasn’t clear what the dude was asking. Eventually, he caught up with Austin Aries being interviewed after his match, but “wrestled” the unsuspecting interviewer and had Aries count the three for the win. While not one of his finer comedic performances, Young is still killing it with his 70’s and 80’s TV show references…”I’m coming for you, Scott Baio!”

Scott Steiner and Bully Ray cut promos against each other for next week’s BFG series match, including Steiner hilariously ranting about Ray wanting donuts, sugar, and burgers. It was amusing seeing a steroid-ridden, chain link wearing, sun glasses sporting man yell “I AIN’T GOT NO SUGAR!!” but your mileage may very. Once again, a match featuring an Immortal member against a non-Immortal heel will strengthen the field as a whole and make future results more unpredictable. On a side note, I always loved the idea of a guy innocently cutting a promo and then for no other reason the crew goes over to the other guy and says, “hey, look what he said” and causes the reaction promo. Such trouble makers, those cameramen.

VERDICT. Six decent matches tonight if you count the Sharks vs. Jets showdown in the parking lot between Angle and Jarrett a match. This was one of the more original, well thought out and tightly executed Impacts in a while. Anderson may not gotten off to an extremely rocky start as champ, but the stage has been set and I would think it would be hard to screw up foolproof plans of a Bound For Glory series and the setup for fan favorite Destination X. Even if half the performers tonight were from the B-Team, it was still an exciting show. 9/10

Full Impact Wrestling Match Results
Devon def. Hernandez, Interference DQ
Austin Aries def. Kid Kash and Jimmy Rave in a Triple Threat, pinfall
Sarita and Rosita def. Velvet Sky and Miss Tessmacher, pinfall
Rob Van Dam def. Samoa Joe, pinfall
Gunner def. Mr. Anderson in a non-title match, pinfall
Kurt Angle and Jeff Jarrett brawled to a no decision

Joe Leininger lives in Gainesville, FL and writes for The Playing Field and Destigeddon.

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TNA Slammiversary 2011 Results – Anderson Wins Gold, Angle Bests Jarrett

June 13, 2011 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Mr. Ken Anderson won the TNA championship at SlammiversaryI really thought Slammiversary had the makings of an instant classic, but thanks to continued head-scratchers like having your world title match not be the main event, TNA remains in a post Lockdown mini-slump. And to think I missed an NBA Finals clincher because of this nonsense.

Sting’s last PPV bout with Rob Van Dam exceeded expectations, so I had similar feelings towards a bout with Mr. Anderson, who bless his heart is genuinely trying to be the bad guy despite management fumbling with his psychology. When they started running previews for the title match and Kurt Angle and Jeff Jarrett still hadn’t fought yet I was surprised in that now I was almost positive that Sting was walking away champion.

Mr. Anderson came out and cut a long microphone intro which was interrupted by a creepy, more sinister looking face painted Sting. From there, the two brawled outside and in the stands, which quickly became annoying because any lack of Falls Count Anywhere type of rules, but a “logical” explanation from Mike Tenay that the ref was just being extra lenient tonight. In what was quickly turning into a clone of the RVD-Sting match from last month, the match luckily came back into the ring after seven or so minutes.

From here things got a little weird as Eric Bischoff came out looking to distract Sting. After Sting kicked out of a Mic Check, he thwarted Anderson’s offense and hit him with a Scorpion Death Drop. The ref counted two, looked over at Bischoff and actually shooed him away, slammed his arm down for a third count, but got up and said the count wasn’t completed. Bischoff then ran interference again, allowing Anderson to hit a Mic Check and score the pin, winning the TNA World Title for the second time this year.

While the Anderson win was surprising, this match was unbelievably awkward to watch. From the moment Bischoff arrived you could see every offensive move from both guys a mile away, and it just seemed that whoever scored the pin was the guy who won the coin toss backstage before the match. And the 3-count snafu was just unbearable—not only did referee Jackson James count to three, but the decision was never held up and TNA ran at least five or six replays of the clear three count. The fans in the arena hated the ending as much as the approximate tens of thousands watching at home…but wait, there was still one more match.

With emerging super heel Anderson as champion, it almost became elementary that Kurt Angle was going to win, no matter what. Cool booking, guys. They also found a clever way to shoe in Karen Jarrett into the program, with a via satellite look in at her home right before the match. Initially, I thought that Karen was just being pushed aside for once, but it turns out her absence from tapings is for post breast augmentation recovery. Really, Karen, who are you trying to impress still?

Although the Angle and Jarrett matches have been good this year, there wasn’t much else they could do to finish on top, so in comes old reliable, the referee bump. Brian Hebner was run into by Angle, causing a break in the match allowing Jarrett to obliterate Kurt’s head with a baby blue colored guitar. Jarrett proceeded to motion someone ringside, which I found odd considering that a ref answered his call, not another wrestler.

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Other than that move, Jarrett was the better performer tonight and his character did well to verbally break down Angle while finding new ways to fall prey to the Ankle Lock. And go figure, the first time in the match that Angle grapevines his submission is when Jarrett taps. The match ended suddenly with no fanfare, and just like that we have a new Mr. Anderson and Kurt Angle main event to dwell on.

While both of those matches read like bogeys, the Slammiversary MVP goes to The Phenomenal One, AJ Styles and his Last Man Standing match over Bully Ray. Despite Christy Hemme jinxing the guy and introducing him from the wrong city, Styles completely stole the show and carried Bully Ray through a match that will probably end up as a top ten for the year. My only issue with these Last Man Standing matches is the really early endurance checks, sometimes five minutes in the match. Come on, guys, if this match really ends because a guy can’t get up after a couple minutes worth of bumps, did you even think they deserved to be in the match to begin with? Not all wrestling fans are dullards.

The first great moment was AJ’s “thank you sir, may I have another?” reception of repeated open palmed chest slaps from Ray. The fans ate this up and only started to kick off the most well received match of the night. Shortly after, Ray hit AJ with a huge punch that sent him reeling backwards, a motion you might see from a disorientated, about to be knocked out UFC fighter. In what should have come off as hokey, the maneuver added that much more personality to the match and AJ was the right man for the job.

After Ray was split open from a chained fist shot, Styles got a running start and leaped off the entrance stage, hitting his forearm on Ray in what was quite the long jump. He would later outdo himself when he set Ray up on a table, climbed a set tower and hit an atomic elbow from easily 25 feet up in the air. Both guys were being counted when Ray mustered his last strength and kicked Styles, propelling him through the side of the ramp, allowing Ray to answer the ten count and win the match. As I predicted, Ray took a beating but still strengthened his resume, while Styles’ credibility will almost never take a hit, allowing for an easier resolution to this match.

In X Division Title action, Abyss defended the belt against Brian Kendrick and Kazarian. Mike Tenay and Taz really hyped the 2-on-1 aspect of this match and boy, that’s what we got. Abyss had a great monster moment early on when he no sold and no caught Kendrick’s cross body attempt, allowing Kendrick’s body to just fall to mat, limp and disappointed. Eventually, Abyss singled out both guys and the match quickly escalated into a true triple threat, which Abyss used to his advantage.

This match was going great until Abyss just pulled Kendrick out of the ring and covered Kaz for the win with no finisher or anything. He totally had time for a Black Hole Slam or something, but for whatever reason they made him out to look like an undeserving, vulture champion. This is all the more odd considering that at times Kazarian and Kendrick could barely muster any 2-on-1 offense against the big man, who suddenly looked (pun so intended) immortal.

The Knockouts match came and went as Mickie James defended against Angelina Love, despite Winter trying to interfere a million times throughout. Mickie looked rough in this match, but surprisingly Angelina outclassed her with poignant promos and decent ring psychology. Before the match, Angelina refused the “medicine” from Winter, saying she understands the situation now. Hey Angelina, drugs help you win in life, so buckle down and get back on the juice.

The opening match of the evening saw Gun Money defend their tag belts against a very game British Invasion. In what was a disturbing trend tonight, the losing party looked way better in their match, and the Brits were no exception. Magnus hit a beautiful cradle into overhead slam while Doug Williams threw in some suplexes that somewhat distracted from Alex Shelley’s lethargic performance. Towards the end, James Storm accidentally spewed beer in Shelley’s eyes and Shelley mistakenly hit Storm with the superkick. But after a kickout from Storm, he hit his finisher while Shelley followed it up with a Sliced Bread for the win and title defense.

Crimson kept his undefeated streak alive as he bested Samoa Joe after a surprise sit down powerbomb for the win. Joe carried a good chunk of the offense and really worked Crimson’s knee, slowing the big man considerably. After an entertaining slapping bout, Crimson speared Joe, started to take control and caught him with the deadly powerbomb. After the match, Joe promised that the rivalry was not over. Considering management is extremely hot for Crimson right now, I can totally see this being a foreshadowing to a potential title program down the line.

Scott Steiner showed up tonight but couldn’t overcome Matt Morgan’s sheer size and athleticism. Steiner was on point with this T-Bones and belly-to-belly suplexes, but he went to the well one too many times and Morgan blocked it, boxed his ears with his crushing forearms and set him up for a Carbon Footprint and the winning pinfall. This decision caught me off guard a bit…now what do you do with Steiner?

VERDICT. While there were probably about three and a half good matches here, it didn’t make sense that the World title match would not be the main event and all but kill the suspense of the final showdown between Jarrett and Angle. TNA is mired in a slump right now and this PPV could have been the one to jump start the saga. Consider this: the last show before Sacrifice last month, Impact promised us three blockbuster reveals for their episode. Well, in a matter of three weeks, all of those big surprises, Chris Harris, Chyna, and Mick Foley, are no longer with the company. And with all three, TNA is partially to blame. If you’ve been watching lately you know that these drops weren’t really ever mentioned, either. Wow. TNA has so many story holes right now that they are sweeping some under the rug to make room for others. Not a complete waste of time, but still an abject disappointment. 3/10

Full TNA Slammiversary 2011 Match Results
Gun Money (Champs) def. The British Invasion for the Tag Titles, pinfall
Matt Morgan def. Scott Steiner, pinfall
Abyss (Champ) def. Kazarian and Brian Kendrick for the X Division Title, pinfall
Crimson def. Samoa Joe, pinfall
Mickie James (Champ) def. Angelina Love, pinfall
Bully Ray def. AJ Styles, Last Man Standing
Mr. Anderson def. Sting (Champ) for the World Title, pinfall
Kurt Angle def. Jeff Jarrett for No. 1 Contender spot, submission

Joe Leininger lives in Gainesville, FL and writes for The Playing Field and Destigeddon.

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TNA Slammiversary 2011 Preview & Predictions

June 10, 2011 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

TNA Slammiversary 2011 previewAs of Friday morning, is only showing eight matches listed for the TNA Slammiversary with a “more to be announced” blurb at the bottom. They usually never have more than nine matches on the card, so expect either a Velvet Sky/ODB match to appear, or possibly something with Generation Me or Mexican America.

MATT MORGAN VS. SCOTT STEINER. I’m not sure what management wants to do with either of these guys and maybe it’s better that way. You could justify either guy winning this match, but if the rumors of a new wave of main event guys are true, it would only make sense that a heel Steiner stay on a hot streak. Steiner wins.

CRIMSON VS. SAMOA JOE. Poor Samoa Joe. Caught up in this winning streak that TNA will undoubtedly carry into the Fall. Crimson takes this and I’d bet the farm. Although outside interference from a new Joe adversary would be welcome here, as to kick off a new rivalry and not bury Joe.

BULLY RAY VS. AJ STYLES. Last Man Standing Match. TNA really wants Ray to get over as a monster, and AJ can afford to float around the midcard for a bit longer. I’ve heard rumblings about this being the night that Chris Daniels finally turns his back on Styles, but I’ve got a better heel turn in mind for a later match. Regardless, look for Ray to score a win for Immortal.

ABYSS (CHAMP) VS. BRIAN KENDRICK VS. KAZARIAN. X Division Title. I’m sticking to my guns and saying that Abyss is only a placeholder and will drop the belt. But who takes it? After being completely buried a couple of weeks ago, Fortune needs some credibility, so look for Kaz to pin Abyss and take back the belt.

MICKIE JAMES (CHAMP) VS. ANGELINA LOVE. Knockouts Title. This match should be stellar with all the makings of Winter trying in earnest to assist Angelina in her win. Mickie is prominent, and she can win back the title in a few months, but I think Angelina wins to strengthen the somewhat intriguing saga between her and Winter.

JEFF JARRETT VS. KURT ANGLE. If Kurt loses, he forfeits possession of his Olympic gold medal to Jarrett. They briefly mentioned that this was essentially a number one contender match for the World title and Kurt is in far better position to fight for it at this juncture. In a happy ending, Kurt Angle wins and Karen Jarrett is deported to Colombia.

“GUN MONEY” (CHAMPS) VS. THE BRITISH INVASION. Tag Titles. This all depends on whether you believe Robert Roode is legitimately hurt, which seems to be eluding me at this time. In an effort to shoehorn Alex Shelley in and keep him happy, I’ll say Roode is acting, which means there is more to this story in the future. The British Invasion have absolutely nothing going for them other than that four corners win at TNA Lockdown. Look for James Storm to get back on his feet and pin someone to represent Beer Money.

STING (CHAMP) VS. MR. ANDERSON. World Heavyweight Title. I’m calling Mr. Anderson‘s heelish ways as a witty red herring for Sting to turn and join up with Immortal. Think about it, the Sting farewell tour continues, it gives the company a strong, established, main event bad guy, and sets the stage for what should be a great feud between Kurt Angle and Sting. Sting retains the belt and Anderson begins a feud with someone like AJ Styles, Crimson, or Gunner.

The full TNA Slammiversary 2011 card…
Sting vs. Ken Anderson for the TNA championship
Gun Money vs. British Invasion for the TNA tag team championship
Jeff Jarrett vs. Kurt Angle…The Final Battle
Mickie James vs. Angelina Love for the TNA Knockouts championship
Abyss vs. Brian Kendrick vs. Kazarian for the TNA X-Division championship
Bully Ray vs. AJ Styles in a Last Man Standing Match
Samoa Joe vs. Crimson
Matt Morgan vs. Scott Steiner

Joe Leininger lives in Gainesville, FL and writes for The Playing Field and Destigeddon.

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Impact Wrestling Results & Report 06-09-11

June 10, 2011 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Gunner vs. StingIf you missed the last Impact Wrestling before Sunday’s Slammiversary then you didn’t see guys like Gunner and Eric Young featured in the main event. Decided last week, TV Champion Eric Young would buddy up with World Heavyweight Champion Sting against their two current rivals, Gunner and Mr. Anderson.

The match wasn’t anything to write home about, but it was just nice to see some fresh faces in the center stage. After a little back and forth that was surprisingly carried by Sting for the majority, Gunner pushed a distracted Eric Young into Sting, who fell prey to an F5 type maneuver from Gunner for the huge upset victory.

Like it or not, it was a huge risk to have such an undeveloped guy pin your Heavyweight champ. Personally, I’m happy about this – I read a couple of leaks that say that management is looking to push both Gunner and Crimson in this calendar year. I know that Crimson is ready, whose move set, athleticism, and penchant for winning streaks should make him viable. But what about Gunner?

Even if the match was decent, the writing for this program between the four main eventers was suspect at best. During a Mr. Anderson and Gunner backstage look in, Anderson was requesting that Gunner hurt Sting, to which Gunner responded with a well articulated thought. What? For weeks, he was Cro-Magnon, lunatic Gunner who would grip his title belt with his teeth and brawl first, grunt questions later. I believe Gunner is prime for a big push, but TNA will more than likely find a way to make him look bad. Then, the same “smart” fans who whine and complain about all the old geezers hogging the spotlight will hit the forums and say that “Gunner is rushed” or “Gunner is stupid, bring in Carlito!” or “Dixie and Eric and Hulk and Vince need to be thrown in a Mortal Kombat acid pit, boo TNA…”

The Anderson transformation from quasi-asshole to full blown heel has been so forced that it no longer makes his character feel genuine. He randomly threatens other wrestlers and says that he never liked anything Sting stood for. Sting’s whole gimmick from last year was about not trusting authority and deception, which are a lot of the same qualities that make a skeptical, gum smacking Anderson entertaining. Explain that logic to me.

On the other side of the match, you had Sting cut a promo telling Young to “knock off the comedy!” Are they even reading their own storylines anymore? He was conked in the head and is now a lovable three shades Of Mice and Men. After the loss, Sting shoved Young away and didn’t want any part of an apology or anything. Then, to top it all off, Stinger takes a play from the How To Be an Effective Heel playbook, stalks Anderson, assaults him, and covers him in face paint. Perhaps he just snapped, but for a guy who was so adept at sneaking around rafters and messing with people, Sting should have a little more mental resolve than that.

The upsets persisted through the night because earlier on Mexican America defeated the makeshift Tag Title team of James Storm and Alex Shelley. This ended up being a warm-up for Storm and Shelley, who will be defending the belts against The British Invasion at TNA Slammiversary. This match was a whole lot of fun, especially with Magnus on commentary, who was throwing out insults left and right, with a nod to him calling Mexican America “selfish pricks” in a good light.

The team of “Gun Money” dominated early and even combined some of their signature moves, but it wasn’t long before Sarita and Rosita ran interference. James Storm, ever the gentlemen, spewed Beer Money brand beer in Sarita’s face, but this distraction was long enough for Anarquia to regain health and avoid a Shelley superkick that landed square on the jaw of his partner. Anarquia threw Shelley out and covered Storm for the win.

Afterwards, heels butted heads as Mexican America stormed Hulk Hogan‘s office and in a round about way accused management of not giving them the title shot because “they were Mexican!” Hogan proceeded to sternly, but in that classic Hogan inflection, come back with something like “you’re about to call me racist, brother, and I don’t like it!” Come on, guys, Eliminate the Hate.

This wasn’t exactly a groundbreaking moment, but combined with other factors tonight it could be foreshadowing to a potential face turn for the Hulkster. The opening segment saw Sting address Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan, reminding Hulk of his glory days when the fans loved him and he wasn’t inflicted with the cancerous Bischoff. Fans will be quick to call this an all too surreal moment of clarity, because in actuality the company can’t change for the better with both Bischoff and Hogan, but I think it’s just a nod that their characters will probably divorce in the next couple months.

Bully Ray issued an open challenge which was summarily answered by Rob Van Dam. Nothing real memorable happened, but AJ Styles appeared up close in the crowd long enough to distract Ray so RVD could set up his signatures and end with a Five Star Frog Splash for the win. TNA is really trying to ham up Ray’s bullying – he actually chased Christy Hemme from the ring, called her a useless bimbo, and told her that her Playboy cover sucked. Now he’s picking on women, too? I’m calling it right now; we will see a promo soon where he steals a little kid’s lollipop from Universal Studios. Good luck in your match against monster heel, AJ.

ODB and Velvet Sky exchanged pretty funny promos before brawling in their second-to-last match of the evening. ODB continued with her “Velvet is a prissy, made up whore” routine, but then out of nowhere let out a large, guttural “BOOOM!” to no one in particular. Careful, Mrs. B, more stuff like that and you’ll end up on The Soup, but not under the “chicks, man” segment.

Velvet then cut a response wondering why ODB has to be so dirty and telling her “there’s an ointment for that.” I think the real story here was Velvet’s mess of a rug on top of her head. Her skunk curls looked like Medusa got in a fight with Shirley Temple at the Ale House for UFC night. I normally like textured hair, but Velvet needs to stick with the straight locks.

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When their match started it was all ODB, who began brawling outside with Velvet and throwing her into guardrails and steel steps and anything else that was chained down. Looking like yet another depressing Velvet job, she caught ODB with a surprise DDT and barely escaped with the win, landing an approximate four moves of offense. I was kind of hoping for ODB to get up and tell Velvet to “go back to her home on Whore Island!”

In yet another match where a champion was pinned, Madison Rayne ran interference on behalf of Winter and Zombie Angelina Love, causing Angelina to hit Mickie James with a reverse DDT to beat James and Tara. Angelina’s ring psychology was great here, and she actually carried the match, but man was she looking super skinny tonight. I understand her commitment to fitness, but it’s becoming dangerously close to unattractive. Winter should probably woman up, stop feeding her only spiked alcohol and get a Big Montana meal from Arby’s.

My stinker of the night goes to Tara for selling out and being all buddies with Mickie James. Despite your hatred for Madison, you still also hated Mickie James enough to do things like RUN HER OVER WITH YOUR MOTORCYCLE A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO. Tara was lip syncing and dancing to Mickie’s country song like they just came down for breakfast at a slumber party or something. Sure, you can tag together, but have a little more animosity towards each other to make it believable.

The various promos of the night included a halftime in ring war of words between Kurt Angle and Jeff Jarrett. Honestly, all you had to do was hear what they were saying because it was pretty much the same riffraff you’ve been hearing for the better of two months. Just a way to remind fans that, “hey, yes, we are indeed fighting at Slammiversary!” Jarrett claims that Karen won’t be in attendance Sunday…wait, is TNA wising up to the fact that no one likes Karen? Probably not – she’ll be there.

Don’t forget about the Crimson and Samoa Joe match. Mike Tenay and Taz really hyped this cell phone video of the two guys brawling at what looked to be a sports bar. My money? It was the Chicago Cubs themed Friendly Confines down there in Orlando. I’d brawl a large Samoan man, too, if I had to eat their food and drink their watered down beer again. I’ll give them credit here – it was a quick, somewhat effective, and original way to bridge the gap to their match on Sunday. Although, I don’t know many cellular phones that shoot video in widescreen.

Abyss continued his quest to be the number one fanboy of “The Art of War” by running off quotes and telling Kazarian and Brian Kendrick that he will not destroy the X Division belt, but try to rename it the Extreme Division title instead. In light of semantics this was all a set up for Abyss to challenge both Kendrick and Kaz to a three way for the X Division at Slammiversary.

VERDICT. The matches were all long enough for you to grab on to something and chew a bit, but the writing confused me at times. You have one guy, Sting, who in principle should still be a destructive heel, against fan favorite Mr. Anderson, who is just now realizing that management completely blows? Why take it out on the fans? Some of the other stuff was just loony and had me asking if the past show notes were recently lost in a house fire. But since wrestling matters, and that’s what we saw, I’ll give it a pass. 6/10.

Full Impact Wrestling Match Results
Angelina Love and Winter def. Mickie James and Tara, pinfall
Mexican America def. James Storm and Alex Shelley, pinfall
Rob Van Dam def. Bully Ray, pinfall
Velvet Sky def. ODB, pinfall
Gunner and Mr. Anderson def. Sting and Eric Young, pinfall

Joe Leininger lives in Gainesville, FL and writes for The Playing Field and Destigeddon.

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Top Ten Active Pro Wrestling Hotties

June 03, 2011 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Is Kelly Kelly the hottest Diva?It’s been almost two months since Michelle McCool lost her Loser Leaves Town match against former best friend Layla at Extreme Rules, and frankly, the industry took a head shot when it lost the blonde bombshell who had finally reached the pinnacle of her career.

Not only was Michelle a great looking girl with a heartwarming accent (just ask The Undertaker), but any time I tuned into SmackDown I actually bought into her bully persona, a program she worked nicely with a decent arsenal of moves and great chemistry with her partner in crime, Layla.

Living so close to where Michelle McCool used to teach middle school classes, her domination of the WWE Divas division actually had me wondering where all the hot teachers were when I was coming up through that system, but more importantly, had me rooting for the girl. But now, the teacher turned kayfabe pro trainer turned single white Christian female turned mean girl is finished, leaving me wondering just who the most attractive ladies of the squared circle were, and who would supplant Mrs. McCool as the apple of my eye. Of course, these are all a matter of taste, so feel free to blast off on anyone I missed.

10. Rosita (TNA) Even fair-weather viewers of TNA will recognize her as the girl that doesn’t even come up to the top rope in stature, on account of her billed height of 4’11’’. I’m not sure if she is that diminutive, but the disadvantage practically makes her useless in the ring. That said, I’m buying hard into the Mexican America faction as a legitimate heel front in TNA, which could continue to propel Rosita to the top of the Knockouts division. She’s already one half of the tag team champions, but who knows how much longer her partner Sarita will stick around? It doesn’t really matter, though; as long as they keep trotting Rosita out there in her skimpy two piece, let her throw a couple of girl punches and drop a DDT or two, I’m fine.

9. The Bella Twins (WWE) What a find in The Bellas, huh? A wrestling set of twins who always outsmart their opponents and look pretty good? I’m pretty new to the sisters, but I’m not new to the long standing alpha male fantasy stereotype of twin magic. As far as their in ring ability, I’m not that impressed, but Nikki and Brie have killer bodies and when they come out on the ramp and do that hip shaking thing, that’s about all I need to see. Come out, knife edge chop, switch out with your sister, and finish up so The Miz can tell us how awesome he is.

8. Kaitlyn (WWE) I’m using that affiliation with the top dog company very loosely because Kaitlyn is nowhere to be found! The girl can wrestle, has the looks to match Natalya, and even though she was worked as a heel on her season of NXT, I could totally see her reemerge as a contender for the WWE Divas title, or start a feud with Beth Phoenix when Brie Bella eventually drops the belt. I don’t normally dig women that look like they can disarm and disable me in a street fight, but there’s a certain charm about Kaitlyn that makes me wonder why the terrible Alicia Fox still gets work and the “winner” of WWE’s reality show can’t even get a two minute match anymore. By the way, if you’re still watching NXT, props to you for actually believing that the winners won’t soon be back in FCW and working at an IKEA.

7. Christina Von Eerie (Indys) I discovered this hidden gem earlier this year when she was escorting Jesse Neal into a Fatal 4-Way title match and all I can say is the girl has enough spunk, charisma, and athleticism to make it to the big time. Don’t let the sharply cut hair and punk rock tattoos fool you; up close, Christina is a great looking girl who commanded your live audience attention. If she ever does make it up north, she already has the look of someone who you would believe could be billed as Luna Vachon’s daughter. Someone pay this girl…those tats couldn’t have come cheap.

6. Angelina Love (TNA) I almost left Angelina off this list but soon remembered how much I loved her as a face, battling the Beautiful People in her alternative rock groupie attire. In my opinion, Angelina Love has one of the most impressive physiques of all the TNA Knockouts and looks to treat her body like a temple. That commitment to yourself on such low pay is admirable, but Angelina’s crisp ring work and dedication to character probably makes TNA not have to think twice about showcasing her every week on Impact. If you haven’t been watching what she’s been doing lately with her subservient, zombie character, tune in because it’s one of the better story lines management has handled this year. Oh, and she’s Canadian, so I could totally imagine her kicking off her boots, grabbing a Labatt Blue and settling in on a hockey game under a Snuggie (fan fiction alert!).

5. Eve Torres (WWE) Eve is also another Diva that I’m not too familiar with yet, but the more I see her the more I want her to moonsault everyone and everything. As for beauty, she’s probably the second prettiest girl in the company, but more on that later. I read several blogs that like to hate on Eve, but I just don’t see it. Sure, she may not be the greatest technical wrestler, but the WWE is smart. If every women’s wrestler was technically sound but had a busted face, a certain chunk of fans would tune out. Not to be sexist, but like football, I just think that the men put on a better show. So you find a drop dead gorgeous ex-dancer like Eve, teach her some gymnastics type moves, and set her free.  Eve still has to co-star in That’s What I Am 2: I’m Still Me.

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4. Maryse (WWE) The Canadian gold digger is the complete package for me: the looks, the killer body, and the personality of the girl who’s going to make fun of you, steal your boyfriend, and then probably beat you up (you don’t stand a chance, Gail Kim). This is all unfortunate because her program with Ted DiBiase has seemingly vanished and it’s really hard to find any trace of Maryse these days. I hear she’s on NXT a lot now, but the day I start watching WWE programming on my computer is the day I reevaluate my love of a business tailored for adolescence.  In a nutshell, I’d argue that Maryse is the prettiest girl in the industry today.

3. AJ Lee (FCW) If one of the coolest guys in the business, Jay Lethal, was getting down with AJ, what else more can I say? When I did record the Divas season of NXT, AJ was my personal favorite. She’s cute as a button, has ridiculously great abs, is a self proclaimed nerd, and hasn’t yet brought herself to make certain augmentations to her overall package. It’s really a shame WWE didn’t choose her as the winner, but with her innocent personality she could make a great valet while in the meantime tune her in ring maneuvers and eventually become a full time Diva. I had to work when FCW came through town a couple of weeks ago, and that really bummed me out. Along with Titus O’Neal, AJ was the other reason I would have paid out to see that show.

2. Kelly Kelly (WWE) Barbie Blank from Jackonsville, what’s up?! Of all these young ladies, Kelly Kelly is the probably the personification of “hot.” Blonde hair, fake tan, pearly whites, ear to ear grin, and the Vince mandated boob job. I also don’t know what’s funnier…that her real name is actually Barbie or that she really broke into the company as a stripper with Layla and Brooke Adams (TNA’s Miss Tessmacher). I didn’t really follow what Kelly Kelly did for the next three years after the banishment of anything R-rated, but you can tell the company is still hot for her, putting her in main events with Edge and the recent angle with Kharma. One part of Kelly Kelly’s signature moves that I always enjoy is her turnbuckle pose before her matches. She looks like she’s genuinely happy to be out there and entertaining the masses. It doesn’t hurt that I’m also a sucker for light blue eyes.

1. Madison Rayne (TNA) Right now, Madison is the most powerful heel in her company and her queen bee persona works on so many levels. She’s young, pushes older talent around, and has the build of a healthy, yet still beautiful in ring performer. Even though I only know her as a heel, it’s surprising to see that in only about six years she’s transformed herself from this to this. While I prefer the blonde skunk hair, I truly believe Rayne hits on all cylinders for me as a wrestling fan: pretty, great body, creative in ring arsenal, and the personality to get over on fans and keep us coming back for more. I’m not sure if it will ever happen, but I’m really rooting for Madison Rayne to parlay all her hard work into an eventual WWE contract. Doll her up in green and black and call her Acid Rain; she could totally be the next Kharma.

Honorable mentions: Velvet Sky, Miss Tessmacher, Karen Jarrett (as long as she doesn’t talk), Trish Stratus

Joe Leininger lives in Gainesville, FL and writes for The Playing Field and Destigeddon.

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Impact Wrestling Results & Report 06-02-11

June 03, 2011 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

eric bischoff and hulk hogan tell Impact viewers that Mick Foley is firedAs we inch closer and closer to TNA Slammiversary on June 12, it becomes increasingly important for TNA Wrestling to put on a good televised program, and by golly, I’m gonna call this one of the best Impact Wrestling episodes I’ve seen in a long time.

It wasn’t perfect by any means, but the matches were cohesive and coherent, the segments and promos were concise and intermittently funny, and Karen Jarrett injured herself so badly that she may never return…ever. Hopefully. I think this all begs the question: did Vince Russo go on vacation this week?

The main pipeline of the episode revolved around Eric Bischoff being “served” by the network and his impending firing. It wasn’t until the very end of the show that we found out that the letter was actually saying Mick Foley was being relieved of his position within the network immediately. While none of that makes much legal sense, the end results far outweighs any head scratching semantics. TNA has used the front office angle for far too long and more recently it’s been used as a crutch more so than a compelling plot thickener. Cutting a scab like Foley, who really has no vested interest in TNA anyway, is definitely welcome and should provide for less contrite legal red tape and more in ring action. It is wrestling, though, so we could easily see Foley back in action next week, wantonly making up rules and disagreeing with Eric Bischoff just for the sake of combativeness.

The main event combined two ongoing feuds and saw Jeff Jarrett and Scott Steiner defeat Kurt Angle and Matt Morgan, and if you thought for one second either Jarrett or Angle were getting pinned in this match, quit watching wrestling altogether because you still don’t get how these matches fool audiences into thinking they are important when in reality it means just as much as when half of the New York Mets play half of the New York Yankees and Billy Crystal down in Florida in March.

To kick things off, Karen Jarrett is ejected by three refs, because Earl Hebner can’t do it by himself and he’s just plain too old for this sh*t! For me, I’m sick of Karen to the point where I’m kind of wishing she gets the Morrie treatment from Goodfellas…except this time it’s Kurt Angle, Dixie Carter, and Velvet Sky luring her into the Buick. The match itself was a bit predictable and at no point was the feature attraction, as evidenced by the broadcast going split screen for a shot of Bischoff and Hogan looking at a piece of mail and scratching their heads. Eventually, Angle chased Jarrett from the ring, Karen comes out and BOOM! Jeff pushes Kurt who runs into Karen, knocking her off the stage and hopefully writing her off to Xplosion to mess with Desmond Wolfe or something. During the commotion, Steiner low blows Morgan and rolls him up for the win. After the break, Karen was shown being hauled off in an ambulance, so perhaps the writers are catching on and we can take a break from the harpy, albeit temporarily.

In the match of the night, Brian Kendrick and Kazarian fought to a no contest, with the winner receiving a shot at Abyss’ X Division title at Slammiversary. The bout was chock full of everything you wanted-high risk aerials, including a suicide dive by Kendrick through the second and third rope that found nothing but outside mat, submissions, slug fests, reversals and counters, and attempted finishers. Eventually, Kendrick went for the Sliced Bread, but Kaz reversed it into a running neckbreaker, followed by several rollovers that brought us to the ten minute time limit. I normally key in on the announced time limit, but this time I was really caught off guard by the intense action. TNA handled it well this time around-you didn’t see the draw coming, the announcers weren’t referencing the limit, and Jeremy Borash wasn’t leading the crowd in a lame countdown that would have all but killed the suspense. The writers have been guilty of all these things before, but alas, ten minutes passed, and after Earl Hebner went all NFL Instant Replay headset on us, he reported that Eric Bischoff had announced five more minutes.

A double cross body quickly knocked both guys out, leaving Kaz and Kendrick vulnerable to an outside attack by Abyss. The Monster delivered a Shock Treatment to Kendrick (which at this point I’m dubbing the least kayfabe move in TNA) and quickly hit Kaz with a Black Hole Slam. Although nothing was announced, I smell a triple threat match for the X Division title at Slammiversary from a mile away.

The more creative side came out tonight as Mr. Anderson continued his mockery of 90’s Sting and convinced Eric Young to fight him as one of Sting’s early WCW rivals, The Great Muta. Sure enough, Young answered the call and came out with loose black pants and Eastern themed red and black face paint. After initially playing along, Young tried to leave but Anderson assaulted him and the match really began. While most of the offense was on behalf of “AnderSting,” Young’s portrayal of The Great Muta was admirable, and it was only a matter of time before Young spewed green mist into Anderson’s face. Gunner came to run interference, causing Anderson to let his guard down and get misted, leading to an easy roll up for the huge upset victory for Eric Young. Gunner would come in after and attack Young, who then saw an onslaught by an enraged Anderson. Eventually, Sting came out to save Eric Young, setting up a tag match between the four next week on Impact Wrestling.

While the match was smartly executed, I don’t think I would have written Anderson to take a loss, considering he was being helped by another guy and still couldn’t best his opponent. At best this makes him look weak and vulnerable for the big PPV in a couple weeks and at worst this shows that Anderson can’t hang with a simpleton and tattooed Neanderthal from Gold’s Gym. Even if Anderson was unfortunately buried this week, Christy Hemme saved the day tenfold when she half-heartedly announced the match result, “and your winner, The Not So Great Muta!” I don’t care if Anderson looks like a buffoon mimicking Sting‘s rolodex of moves and has Ecto-cooler all over his face; if the impossibly cute Christy Hemme can drop at least one deadpan line like that per show, I’ll buy stock in the damn company.

The weak link tonight came when Crimson barely beat a sluggish Matt Hardy to keep his win streak alive. I don’t like to nitpick, but did they not even consider some sort of Crimson and Scott Steiner blow off? A month ago, those guys were best buds, with Steiner training Crimson to be the next wrestling supernova. Now, Steiner is awkwardly shoehorned in as a heel and Crimson plays keep away with Matt Hardy long enough to not completely convince me that Samoa Joe will steamroll him at Slammiversary. After a new near falls, Crimson countered Hardy’s Twist of Hate and hit his own finisher, the Sky High for the win. Afterwards, Joe came down to attack Crimson but was met with a spear to ward off the ambush.

I usually like everything Crimson does, but this chapter was weak. Guys who have undefeated streaks definitely need to be tested, but they mostly need to squash guys like Hardy. Matt should have been the one landing a move or two as Crimson hits every high impact signature move at his disposal, getting over and showing us that he will continue the streak against Samoa Joe. Now I’m thinking TNA is planning on Samoa Joe getting DQ’ed for their match, keeping the streak alive yet at the same time telling Joe that he’s still a top dog. Or, at the very worst, there are discussions of killing the streak and having Joe win the match. Either way, Crimson underperformed tonight on a highly competitive broadcast.

AJ Styles called out Bully Ray towards the end of the show and Ray absolutely killed it with his one liners and rebuttals. It started out rocky as he went for cheap heat and called the Impact Zone fans a bunch of inbred rednecks, followed by disowning Tommy Dreamer as a tag partner. Then, Styles starts to lay into Ray, who explains why he’s a man and AJ’s a boy: “after the show, AJ, you play video games on your computer, while I go to the strip club and get a whisky and a lap dance!” Not to be outdone…by himself, Ray loosely compares himself to God and says, “if God was a bully, he’d be me.” All of this showmanship allows AJ to point out that Ray’s recent transformation is due to Ray’s own insecurity about his penis size, which leads to Ray receiving random assurance from a blonde in the front row that he indeed “does not have a small penis.” It wasn’t wrestling, but the verbal seesaw was damn entertaining, and it led to an announcement that Styles and Ray will fight in a Last Man Standing match at Slammiversary.

Earlier in the show, Bischoff called out Beer Money and asked them to forfeit their titles due to Robert Roode’s arm injury. After they rudely decline, Alex Shelley comes out to inform us that fellow Motor City teammate Chris Sabin tore two ligaments in his knee and will legitimately miss the rest of the year. Shelley then threw down the proposal that he take Roode’s place on the team to defend the titles at the PPV, which Beer Money accepted. You could tell right away what was about to happen and at that point I was really hoping to call the union of James Storm and Alex Shelley the “Motor City Beer Guns,” but was only slightly disappointed when Shelley dubbed themselves “Gun Money,” which comes off more like a episode feature on Gangland rather than a face tag team.

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The Knockouts portion of the show featured Miss Tessmacher valiantly fighting Zombie Angelina Love. While Tessmacher looked like HBK compared to last week, she still came up short when Angelina dropped her on her tailbone and hit her with a double knee back breaker for the win. After the match it was announced that Angelina would be vying for Mickie James’ title at Slammiversary. An odd choice, considering Winter is the ringleader and Angelina thinks she’s in a 16th Century lesbian relationship. It’d be like if The Ministry of Darkness sent Mideon to defeat The Rock for his belt back in the day.

If you qualify my passing analogy with the argument that BP Angelina Love was more dominant than Phineas I. Godwin ever was, I’ll come back and tell you that you’re over analyzing the situation. They’re the knockouts, not the reason you just dropped 35 bucks on a PPV or spent three hours of your life watching Impact and reviewing it. They are the tacky sh*t on the wall of the fish camp or steak house you love, but you came for dinner my friend. In fact, by deduction the Knockouts division should make the least sense at all times. Have everyone ream Velvet until she’s an emotional shell, have Angelina morph into an Echidna and devour Winter because she sucks anyway, and maybe hire back Taylor Wilde but pay her a tenth of what you paid for Chyna’s forty minutes of work.

The show actually opened up with a brawl between my new favorite jobber (is it jobbess?) Velvet Sky and ODB that eventually spilled out into the Impact Zone and finished in the ring. For all intents and purposes, ODB demolished Velvet, took out three adult men with forearm smashes and kicks to the groin, and really, really enjoyed dominating Velvet. I mean, it got downright saucy at some points. ODB slapped and spanked Velvet’s butt on multiple occasions, poured water on her, mounted her, and even fireman carried her with her fingers dangerously nestled near the pigeon coop.

VERDICT. This episode was pretty much entertaining from start to finish, regardless of how bad they tried to make the final match. As for your “Wrestling Matters News Watch,” we saw five matches but none in the first 28 minutes of Impact…Wrestling. This doesn’t bother me that much, but TNA should probably kick off the next ten or twenty episodes with a match of some form to really drive home the point. You garner a lot of detractors when during the first quarter of your show no match has taken place.

It’s kind of like when the Boston Red Sox dropped their first seven or eight games of the season-even though everyone freaked out and ESPN reported it as the fall of Red Sox Nation, they failed to grasp that every team will at some point endure a similar losing streak during the season. TNA apparently does not subscribe to the hype, but more power to them if they continue showcasing Kaz’s skills, having Velvet groped and beaten for reasons unknown, having Bully Ray and his floating sideburns calling people punks for not enjoying topless venues, letting Eric Young do anything, whenever he wants, and hopefully eluding to AnderSting bringing back more of Sting’s old buddies. Com’monnnn, Vader! 9/10

Full June 06 TNA Impact Wrestling Results…
Crimson def. Matt Hardy, pinfall
Angelina Love def. Miss Tessmacher, pinfall
The Not So Great Muta (Eric Young) def. (Ken Anderson) AnderSting, pinfall
Kazarian and Brian Kendrick fought to a no contest, X Division No. 1 Contender match
Scott Steiner and Jeff Jarrett def. Matt Morgan and Kurt Angle, pinfall

Joe Leininger lives in Gainesville, FL and writes for The Playing Field and Destigeddon.

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Impact Wrestling Results & Report 05-19-11

May 20, 2011 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Ken Anderson as StingIn a landmark televised program put on by TNA, Thursday marked the first episode of the new look, new format, “wrestling matters” Impact Wrestling. Like it or not, not only was the set drastically different, but the booking was overhauled, seeing Knockouts matches bookend the program with every match in between featuring X Division competitors.

Beside the new, streamlined name of the program, it looked as if The Blue Man Group from across the lot got their hands on the Impact Zone and in the production truck, because everything was some shade of blue. Frankly, it put me in a time warp back to 1998 and made me feel like I was watching La Parka and Glacier fight it out on an episode of WCW Thunder. In a show of commitment to the TNA rebranding, the title card was also completely changed, reeling through close to all the wrestlers on the roster, essentially telling us that yes, more wrestling is about to happen.

The biggest angle of the night came at the beginning when Eric Bischoff announced the complete squash of the X Division, prompting guys like Generation Me, Brian Kendrick, and Amazing Red to call out the bigwigs and continue their push into the spotlight. Immortal answered in kind by setting up disadvantageous matches and eventually brawling with the X Division. Fortune, minus AJ Styles, rushed the ring for the save. I normally don’t care for these cheesy brawl openings, but the high flyers were involved this time, so you were able to see Gen Me and Red use guys like Gunner and Abyss as landing pads for their aerial assaults.

The match of the night was easily Kazarian dropping the X Division belt to Abyss. Kaz, now outfitted with the post-Sacrifice pants look, totally controlled the match, with Abyss doing his best ogre impersonation. I initially thought this match wouldn’t work, but it was lengthy, without commercial interruption, and aside from a ridiculous Kaz hurricanrana, set the table for what should have been wall-to-wall wrestling.

In an ending that completely caught me off guard, Abyss was favoring his knee after a failed splash, causing Kaz to take his eye off the monster long enough for Abyss to catch him with a bone crushing Black Hole Slam and the win. Kaz would later be announced as kayfabe injured, but after what I saw, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kaz takes the month off.

It was definitely time for Kaz to drop the belt, but to Abyss? I’ll get to the complete dismantling of Fortune later, but I can only hope that Abyss is keeping it warm for one of those other guys in that division. It made sense for Abyss to hold the TV title, and lord know he leaves it out there each and every night, but this could set a dangerous precedent for defining exactly what the X Division is if Abyss holds it for more than a couple of weeks. I’m predicting someone like Kendrick gets his shot at the title, with the other guys from the locker room, heel and face, running interference and taking back the belt.

While the first episode of Impact Wrestling was very enjoyable, I found it mindboggling that a show that’s really driving home the point of wrestling being main attraction books the last two segments as in ring promos. The first came when Ric Flair called out Robert Roode to talk about respect or some nonsense. In case you missed it, Flair’s arm surgery was written as Roode putting that nasty armbar on him at Lockdown and shelving him indefinitely.

I like Roode’s look as a potential main event guy for the company, and lately his mic work has been decent, but tonight he crashed and burned going on about it “just being business, Ric.” It wasn’t just business…he betrayed you and the rest of Fortune. Therefore, the booking called for you guys to murder his ass. Roode and Flair exchanged blows before Immortal came out and destroyed Roode.

The very brief closing segment saw Sting address the crowd and congratulate Rob Van Dam on their match last Sunday at Sacrifice. As a teaser for the entire episode, low cut shots of someone dressed as early 90’s yelling Daytona Sting paced through the backstage, and after Sting’s music hit again and the lights went out, it’s revealed as Mr. Anderson impersonating Sting, who gets dropped with ease. Instead of the tease throughout the episode, couldn’t this have been booked as a preliminary, feeling out type of match that gave the fans at home and in the arena a taste of what they could expect at Slammiversary? Give both guys five or six minutes, and at the end, BAM, show Anderson for the first time in the Sting gear and let them wrestle. That’s the kind of show I’m watching, right? Wrestling?

The other plans to rid TNA completely of the X Division included sending Amazing Red against Samoa Joe and have Generation Me fight the laughable team of Matt Hardy and Eric Bischoff. The Red match lasted all of a minute as Joe quickly overpowered the little guy and ended it with a brutal Muscle Buster finisher. Afterwards, Joe stuck around and continued attacking Red in what smells like another terrible heel turn until Crimson came out for the save.

Mike Tenay couldn’t have said it better when he described the night as featuring a “very rare Eric Bischoff in ring match.” On paper this looked like a throwaway disaster, but it turned out to be a well paced match where all the characters were used effectively and the match finish was clean. Matt Hardy dominated both Buck brothers early, but he really needs to nix that stupid, no leverage headlock he’s been using. If someone stood directly to my side and put my neck in between their forearms, I might piss myself laughing so hard. Throughout the bout, Bischoff was clearly avoiding the tag in, but eventually came in after Hardy incapacitated Max with the Icepick. Hardy held up Max for a couple of soft Bischoff karate blows, leading to Bischoff cleaning pinning Max for the win. Oy, that’s not gonna look good on the Buck brothers resume.

The two intermission promos saw Kurt Angle address the victory over the Jarretts and AJ Styles (with neckbrace) call out Tommy Dreamer. Nothing really to see here, other than it was announced that Jarrett and Angle would be fighting “one last time” at Slammiversary, with the winner getting the No. 1 Contender spot for the TNA World title. Also, because they apparently have been watching the Lawler-Cole segments on Raw, Jarrett asked Angle to put up or shut up and wager Angle’s 1996 Olympic Gold Medal, which he accepted. To add insult to Angle apparently not knowing how bargaining works, Karen Jarrett arrived through Kurt’s stage lift and announced that she’ll be in Jeff’s corner at Slammiversary.

What the H?!? What’s wrong with you, TNA? You had this match at Sacrifice where Chyna dismantled Karen and broke her ankle, leaving Angle free to fight Jarrett by himself. Either kill the deadweight and get Karen off TV, or let the Jarretts weasel out another win and continue humiliating Kurt. What was the point of bringing in Chyna if nothing has changed? This booking is dreadful and at this point I could care less about their blow off match at the PPV.

In the stinker of the night, AJ Styles and Tommy Dreamer had one of the more rambling, cheaply written confrontations I’ve seen in a while. Tommy Dreamer read straight from the playbook of “Cheap Heat and How to Get Fans Po’d at You!” and called them all “pieces of crap” and “crappy, unthankful fans” about a million times. A brawl eventually led to a Dreamer and Bully Ray beat down of Styles and the incoming Christopher Daniels. By golly, it was chains, low blows, and piledrivers everywhere you looked!

With Styles banged up and the announcements of James Storm having a concussion and Kazarian a hurt back (I think Christopher Daniels was assigned a random injury, too) TNA wasted no time in burying Fortune, which is one of their more marketable brands. I’m not sure where they are going with this Disabled List angle, but as much as I thought the X Division title was expendable for Kaz, the Tag Team belts are now a must keep for Beer Money in order to keep the face faction relevant.

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I hinted at a potential program between Gunner and Eric Young for the TV title and TNA came through for me. Gunner finally caught up to and assaulted Young, who was in the middle of a fake photo shoot with Miss Tessmacher. Despite the controversial character Young plays, I still think the guy is gold in the ring and working with a muscle head heel like Gunner should make for a great series of matches for the midcard.

In Knockouts action, Velvet Sky pulled the upset in the handicap match against Winter and her slave puppet, Angelina Love. Velvet absolutely killed it, utilizing her trademark Beautiful People trash talk on offense and really selling the tandem beating when necessary. As Angelina hovered over a laid out Velvet, Velvet rolled her up for the surprise win but was quickly attacked by a returning heel version of ODB. ODB is a pretty fun character to watch, so hopefully TNA inked her for a substantial contract this time.

The not so good portion came when Tara, Mickie James, and Miss Tessmacher defeated the team of Sarita, Rosita, and Madison Rayne. This match was kind of a train wreck—neither Madison nor Mickie landed much in the way of any offense and when the ball was given to Tessmacher she looked completely uncoordinated in the ring. Tara carried the end of the match, delivering a couple of high impact slams on tiny Rosita for the win.

VERDICT. While Mick Foley may claim that wrestling matters now, we still only saw five matches, two of which were Knockouts and one that didn’t break the minute mark. Universal Studios wasn’t built in a day, so it’s probably going to take a couple of months for the promise of a new, energized product to grab us by the thoughts and tell us how different they are from the boys up north. This is what I’m hoping happens. However, we could easily see the demise of civilization and see someone like Eric Bischoff and his “karate robe” win a belt in the near future. Paul E. Dangerously, save us all. 6/10

Impact Wrestling 05-19-11 Results
ABYSS def. KAZARIAN for the X Division title, pinfall
VELVET SKY def. WINTER and ANGELINA LOVE in a handicap match, pinfall

Joe Leininger lives in Gainesville, FL and writes for The Playing Field and Destigeddon.

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Shocking Story on TNA Wrestling Working Conditions

April 18, 2011 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Shocking allegations about TNA Wrestling Working has a fascinating look at the inner workings of TNA Wrestling. This well documented report exposes TNA Wrestling as anything but the family friendly company that you would expect being run by a 46 year old mother of two.

Camel Clutch Blog contributor Brett Clendaniel alerted me of a very interesting article that has popped up online about TNA Wrestling and its working conditions. Ironically Tom just recently wrote a piece about TNA’s questionable working conditions here for Camel Clutch Blog. S. Bruce over at Cage Side Seats goes further, documenting a nine year history of working conditions that would make Kathie Lee Gifford proud.

I don’t want to re-write the entire article, but I do want to touch on a few major points of the piece. The piece documents numerous discrepancies between TNA’s policy in paying for their wrestler’s medical expenses and not. The article also documents the incredible differences in pay between men and women in the company and the hypocrisy of the company when it comes to working conditions. It is a heck of a piece and well worth going out of your way to read.

A few of the highlights that Mr. Bruce uncovers is for one, the settlement in the Konnan lawsuit. Former TNA star Konnan sued TNA Wrestling a few years back for racial discrimination and refusing to pay his medical bills. According to this article TNA actually settled with Konnan for a rumored $1 million (hope he paid back some of those donations) because of initial findings that the company did not want to get out.

Another big topic of the piece is the safety of the pro wrestlers in TNA Wrestling. According to the piece, Alex Shelley and Brian Kendrick were encouraged to perform a more high risk style, even though the company refuses to pay for most wrestlers’ medical bills. The company paid for Ron Killings’ surgery for an injury he received through a TNA booking and then demanded their money back, while the company reportedly paid for Scott Steiner’s surgery on the house. Dixie Carter allowed Eric Bischoff to pressure Rob Terry into taking an unprotected chair shot to the head, even though there is plenty of medical evidence pointing to chair shots to the head causing concussions. Angelina Love who is one of the biggest stars of the company says she worked a few days after receiving a concussion on a TNA show because she couldn’t afford time off. OSCHA, I think we have a problem.

The subject of pay is also brought up and whether the girls who wrestle in TNA are the victims of discrimination. The article points out that while the girls are consistently the highest ratings draw in the company, they are also some of the least paid girls on the roster. According to the piece, Awesome Kong was being paid $400 a match while Survivor star Johnny Fairplay made $300,000 for 40 minutes of work and Sting was being paid $10,000 per appearance. As unfair as that may sound, I don’t think the girls would have a case because I can almost bet Mickie James is making a nice nickel and Christy Hemme reportedly signed a $150,000 year contract a few years back. Sorry ladies.

One of the most humorous anecdotes and I am still laughing at this one goes back to the Voodoo Kin Mafia’s DX challenge a few years ago. To refresh your memories because if you are like me you barely remember what happened on TNA Impact last week, Brian Armstrong and Kip James issued a $1 million challenge to Triple H and Shawn Michaels to come to TNA and “fight them.” The kicker is that Dixie Carter allegedly set $1 million aside and was surprised that Degeneration X never showed up. Ah, to be a fly on the wall in Hogan and Bischoff’s office after a Dixie Carter booking meeting.

There is also a real interesting story regarding Ric Flair’s shenanigans a few weeks ago when he missed the bus on the European tour. According to the story, Flair told a friend that the company pressured Kurt Angle to stay on the tour after Kurt found out that his pregnant girlfriend went into labor and both she and the unborn baby were in serious danger. While Angle made it home in time, the company allegedly held him up from leaving which forced Kurt to arrive home much later than expected.

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Hey, it’s a horrible story but it was just last week that Kurt Angle announced on Twitter that he is re-signing with TNA Wrestling and that he loves Dixie Carter. If it doesn’t bother Kurt I guess it shouldn’t bother anyone, but the Nature Boy wasn’t very happy to say the least.

The article goes on and on and chronicles other issues like reported drug use within the company, harassment, drug testing, the road schedule, and a lot more. It is certainly a scathing piece and one of the most comprehensive looks at the inner workings of TNA Wrestling over the last nine years.

I will conclude by saying this. While I think a lot of what is reported in the story is terrible, nobody is holding a gun to anyone’s head to work there (although Vince Russo must have pictures on someone). At the end of the day everyone in TNA Wrestling knows what they are getting into when they step into the TNA rings and if they want to work under those conditions, I really don’t sympathize too much with them. I can’t imagine anyone in TNA Wrestling being surprised the next time they get injured and receive a medical bill or shocked that Sting makes more than them.

There are other options out there. What did Gail Kim, Ron Killings, and Awesome Kong do? They left the company. Only Kim had a deal in place when she left, as the other two just had enough. I guess the thought of losing $400 a week wasn’t too terrifying for Kong. Point being, that there are other options out there for pro wrestlers besides TNA. Even if the WWE isn’t an option, there are international and independent options. And believe it or not, there are other options other than being a pro wrestler. It may not be fair, but again you know what you are getting into when you join TNA.

The medical bills issue has been a point of contention for some time in TNA. The WWE does pay the medical bills of injured WWE superstars. However, I never understood why none of the professional wrestlers from either company went ahead and pursued insurance through AFTRA. Heck, you have the WWE now calling themselves entertainment television and TNA wrestlers are performing on television every week. There are people that make a living doing television extra work sitting in the background that get AFTRA insurance so why can’t a professional wrestler who puts in hours of television time per week?

The author of the piece sent TNA Wrestling a few emails for comments. He got a very quick response from Terry Taylor but nothing more. I think it would be to TNA Wrestling’s benefit to either a) respond to the story or b) acknowledge it and improve their working conditions. Keep in mind that this is not your average independent pro wrestling company here. This is a company funded by Panda Energy, a multi-million or even billion dollar energy company. Heck, they found $1 million to pay two WWE wrestlers that don’t even wrestle there!

If you don’t believe any of this and while the writer backs up all of his claims with citations, just check out what Hulk Hogan wrote last week after Edge retired. Keep in mind that Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff probably work closer with Dixie Carter than anyone else in the company. When he signed with the company, Dixie Carter referred to him as a partner.

WWE superstar Edge retired last week because he was told that if he wrestled again, he could be paralyzed. Like Edge or not, that is pretty serious stuff and it was enough for Edge to hang them up. This is how “Dixie’s assistant” Hulk Hogan responded to the news on Twitter.

if any of the guys like me,Flair,Hardy,Andre,AA,Blanchard,orndoff,Henning would have listened to doctors we would have quit15yrsago – @hulkhogan4real

I don’t know Edges working environment because they are a media company not a wrestling company. HH wrestlers work hurt! – @hulkhogan4real

What about Foley! I bet EDGE still wants to keep wrestling,he’s one of the boys big time!!! – @hulkhogan4real

Think there is any pressure in TNA to work hurt? “Wrestlers work hurt!” This coming from the guy who now has to walk around with rods in his back while Edge is planning on climbing Mount Everest.

Will any of these issues change? I think it will take more than a $1 million lawsuit by Konnan or an article online to do it. It is going to take a serious and I mean serious lawsuit from a current or former TNA star, an expose’ by a major news organization, public pressure on Panda Energy, a tragedy, or an outright revolt by the roster. Unless any of the above happens, as fans and viewers there isn’t much you can do. If you disagree with it, don’t watch and make your statement through your lack of business. If you do watch, enjoy it and remember that these guys and girls aren’t forced to be there.

I would also like readers to keep in mind that I am only commenting on what is in Cageside Seats’ article. I’d recommend heading over to their site and leaving a comment if you have any issue with specifics from their article. In other words, don’t kill the messenger.

Read the full article at Cageside Seats for citations and more fun about the wonderful world of TNA Wrestling.

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