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TNA iMPACT! Results & Report 03-17-11

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

The Immortals confront Sting on ImpactAfter the Jeff Hardy debacle at Victory Road Sunday, I was really expecting TNA to put on an excellent show in the face of adversity and criticism. In case you weren’t one of the handful of people who watched the potentially great PPV, Hardy was nearly incapacitated to the point that he had to be held up on each arm right before coming out for his Heavyweight title match against Sting in the main event. He stumbled to the ring, almost tripped twice, got into altercations with fans, saw more in-ring action with his t-shirt than Sting, and was eventually pinned in a mere 90 seconds without landing an offensive move.

Once again, that was the main event at their pay-per-view, a show that ended a good 20 minutes before the three hour mark and saw the other high profile match, Rob Van Dam and Mr. Anderson, end in a double count out. Many people speculated about Hardy’s drug use, conditioning, and overall commitment to the sport, but whatever it was it led to Hardy being sent home for all three Impact tapings this week. Ouch.

So what could TNA do to make up for such a blunder? I mean, not too many people see the PPV’s anyway; Impact, however, remains the top rated show on SPIKE, so an explosive show with coherency and PPV-worthy matches should cure what ails them. It’s just too bad this show was a load of crap served on the plate Hardy uses to bump lines off of day in and day out.

STING OPENING. This was one of the silliest, most contrived openings I’ve seen in a while. Hey, did ya check out wrestling to take a break from March Madness or that tumbler of green colored Miller Lite? Switch back to UCLA-Michigan State now, because it’s about to get lame. Sting is the first out, showing off a new Heavyweight title and limply carrying the old Immortal title (that’s three different TNA belts since September, people). The champ demands that Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan join him ringside and they oblige.

The only redeeming part of this segment was the frank discussion about Jeff Hardy letting down Immortal on Sunday. Even though Bischoff spun it to sound like Hardy just had his worst, unluckiest match of all time, it was clearly an analogy for Hardy’s shortcomings behind the curtain, and all three guys justifiably teed off on the former champ. Hogan even showed his sense of humor, telling Sting, “put that in your Stinger pipe and smoke it!”

After the Hardy roast, for no apparent reason Bully Ray came out and demanded a title shot from Sting. This prompted AJ Styles and the rest of Fortune, followed by Mr. Anderson and his best Jim Carey impression, with all parties once again demanding a title shot. Like tossing a bunch of random ingredients into a crock pot, tonight’s main event came together swell—Styles, Ray, Rob Van Dam, and Anderson in a 4-way for the No. 1 Contender spot.

MADISON RAYNE vs. ALYSSA FLASH. I think they said the girl’s name was “Alyssa Flash” but you wouldn’t know otherwise because Madison came out to ambush her as she was coming down the ramp, threw a couple of punches and landed the Rain Drop, winning in a cool 20 seconds. As expected, Mickie James came out to the ring and demanded a title shot at Lockdown. Madison counters with a brilliant point about her being something like 76-0 against Mickie at TNA, so why would she deserve the match? Rayne explicitly stated that she wants Mickie’s head—more precisely, her hair. So, if Mickie loses, she’ll have her head shaved by Madison at Lockdown. As much as I love Madison, that’s just gross. Cool match TNA, now Alyssa, go back to selling Abyss masks at the merch table.

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THE POPE HEALER. In a more blatant attempt to become more heel, The Pope holds a healing ceremony and it features a blind man, a cripple, and a comically obese woman, replete with fat suit. Although this made me chuckle a couple of times, it was still gratingly corny and surprisingly ended when Samoa Joe crashed the party with Okada. Pope gained the upper hand, kidnapped Okada and tortured him backstage until Joe found them and made the save. Man, those guys are always meddling in each other’s business. They should probably settle this in a steel cage, huh, Russo?

JARRETTS IN RING. Jeff and Karen arrive and say they want to extend the olive branch to Kurt Angle after these past few turbulent months. In an event so shocking that you have to change your pants, Angle comes out with present in tow, revealing it to be a guitar. Said guitar is then smashed over Jeff’s head and he is bleeding everywhere! Clean up on aisle snore. Later, Karen would freak out and demand that Kurt be arrested.

GUNNER vs. MURPHY vs. ROB TERRY. Bischoff set up this match as a triple threat to fill the vacant TV title, last held by a very MIA Abyss. How bad has this episode been so far? This is the first men’s match and we are 75 minutes into the program. Sheesh. This match was also extremely short, ending with Gunner’s sweet overhead slam on Murphy to win the belt. I’ll give ‘em credit here…this match was so out of left field that it worked, possibly vaulting Gunner as a legitimate lunatic heel (he bent down and grasped the belt with his mouth like a dog).

HERNANDEZ, SARITA, and ROSITA vs. MATT MORGAN, ANGELINA LOVE, and WINTER. Grrr, street fight! Jeans! Mexicans! This match had it all! Dying to hear Hernandez cut a sociology-driven promo in the ring? In stock. In desperate need of another two-minute, house fire of a match? Got ya covered. Yearning to find out what four-foot-nothin’ Rosita would look like wrestling against the seven footer, Matt Morgan? Sorry, get a rain check. Winter ended up pinning Rosita, but the team’s celebration was cut short when a plant jumped the ring to assist Hernandez in what I hope Russo dubs The Mexi-vasion.

AJ STYLES vs. ROB VAN DAM vs. BULLY RAY vs. MR. ANDERSON. Star power was bountiful in this first pin four-way main event, but it just started off sloppy. Styles even tried the classic move steal by attempting the monkey flip, but to no avail. At one point, each guy hits another with a signature move and goes for the pin attempt. This was one of the better executed moments of the night, but it’s still horribly predictable as nothing more than space filler. Eventually, referee Earl Hebner saw both Anderson and RVD lying down, just kind of next to each other and decided to count a pin for no one in particular. My brother and I put on more coherent endings to matches in our living room as kids.

Because he wants people to know he’s a dick, Bully Ray smashes both Hebner and ring announcer Jeremy Borash over the head before turning his attention to Styles, who he eventually beats down thanks to an assist from Ric Flair. Flair then coerced Ray to hit Styles with a Bubba Bomb, dropping from the stage onto a table down below.

Then this stuff happened: Styles is being treated by EMTs while Ray celebrates and wants more of a lifeless AJ…the producers show almost TWENTY replays of the bomb, even while selling that someone potentially broke their neck…there is still no definitive number one contender, while I mumble something about throwing Eric Young’s name into the fold (hire me, Dixie)…while AJ is being lifted into the ambulance, Kaz gets into his car and on his phone, clearly distressed. That last part was so random and out of place, it almost makes me think that Kaz is some sort of Immortal mole, something I’d have to see to believe. While I would vehemently hate the idea, I wouldn’t put it past creative to pull a swerve like that.

VERDICT. Annnnd, that was the show. I think we saw a grand total of 12 minutes of wrestling, which couldn’t hold a candle to that last 15 minutes of awkward post-Ray clean-up. This was TNA’s chance to right the ship after an abysmal PPV, but we were treated to nothing better than the cutting room scraps. Perhaps it was already waiving the weekly white flag in the face of NCAA basketball, or perhaps this was just a sign of things to come. Whatever it was, I can guarantee you that WWE’s The Miz wouldn’t come close to calling it “awesome.” 2/10

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

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TNA iMPACT! Results and Report 01-27-11

January 28, 2011 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Scott Steiner returned to TNA iMPACT with a vengeanceWow, TNA. After a couple of mailed in showings, you guys really bounced back nice with a soothing blend of unpredictability and a hint of ridiculousness. You not only gave us the back and forth matches that loyal TNA fans deserve, but also a shocker (to me, at least) ending.

KURT ANGLE IN RING OPENING. A bit of a rough start as Angle comes out, only to be interrupted by all 40 guys in Immortal, who rush the ring in typical Foot Clan fashion. Fortunately, Crimson comes out to somewhat even the score with a 2×4, scaring Immortal away. Immortal’s disruptive ways are getting stale fast, but what really surprised me was Ric Flair’s on point rant. He turned bright red, his veins popped, and he was on the verge of belligerent before calling Crimson “dumbass” about four times. That’s about the right level of crazy I like my Flair. Too bad for Ric he may have worn out his welcome in TNA—for more on that, read Eric’s thoughts on his recent antics.

SARITA, TARA, and MADISON RAYNE vs. MICKIE JAMES, VELVET SKY, and ANGELINA LOVE. This match is elimination style rules, and thank you for that. This is one of the best gimmicks in wrestling, so why have the big boys in wrestling run away from it? I was reading up on last year’s Survivor Series and the WWE only scheduled one Survivor Series-style match, it being a mid-card to boot. Anyway, we were treated to a pretty lengthy match this time, which surprisingly saw both Madison and Mickie eliminated early. There were some rough patches, for sure, but Angelina eventually scored the win after overcoming Sarita and a hapless Tara. Afterwards, Velvet is seen backstage holding her head, and all signs point to a jealous Winter as the assailant.

PROMOS. Kurt Angle is shown in his locker room, talking to someone about having his back later tonight. This should be good, considering the recent payrolls slashes the Carters have made and the opportunity to bring in cheap talent like ROH’s El Generico. After the break, Matt Hardy came on and cut a dreadful promo, threatening Mr. Anderson and talking about their match later tonight. What a haphazard investment-at this point, give the mic to Gunner or Murphy over this clown.

AMAZING RED vs. MAX BUCK vs. CHRIS SABIN. This match could have been so much more exciting, but it’s still ran circles around anything Jeff Jarrett or Abyss have done in months. This is the first of three matches to determine a No. 1 Contender for Kazarian’s X Division belt, who ended up being fairly amusing on the broadcast with Tenay and Taz. The producers threw us something new to chew on, as each wrestler coming to the ring cut a mini-promo that was shown picture-in-picture during their entrances. Nothing said was prophetic, but I really appreciate the curve ball.

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In the end, Max Buck took the win, thanks in large part to interference run by his partner, Jeremy Buck. It was good to see the slightly older Red put over the other guys, but his arsenal seemed stunted and buried. Also, this no doubt means that we know Alex Shelley will win one of the other two qualifying matches, with Robbie E or Jay Lethal taking the other spot. Unless the writers have plans to have Jeremy winning, leading to a potential X Division schism between Generation Me. I’m in favor of the latter.

JEFF JARRETT and KAREN BACKSTAGE. Nice little package to add on to Jarrett’s heel persona. Everything from him inquiring about his wife receiving half of Angle Foods to Jarrett getting fresh with Karen and demanding a shoulder rub provided us more reason to dislike Double J. Nothing like good old spousal abuse to get the blood running.

JEFF HARDY and MR. ANDERSON IN RING. Hardy comes out looking full blown ‘emo’ and delivers an angry rant that never quite settled. My guess is somewhere around that taping is when the realization sunk in that he is probably going to jail. While I don’t blame him, he was by no means entertaining nor did he legitimize the title match he is about to receive next week. Luckily, Mr. Anderson and his superb mic skills killed all the negativity Hardy brought to the table. Anderson is slowly getting better in the ring and his peripherals are among the best I see in wrestling today, so don’t be surprised if when his TNA contract is up, the boys up north blow up his phone.

VELVET SKY and WINTER IN RING. Velvet comes to ring, clearly upset and calls out Winter, who comes out and destroys the Beautiful People member. Not much to see here, but Angelina comes out to separate to two, while the crowd laughably chants “she’s a screamer!” I like Winter’s character—she often goes into banshee mode and does it ten times better than Madison Rayne. Bonus points for extended Knockouts action, which could lead to two Knockouts matches at February’s Against All Odds.

POPE IN RING. The Pope comes out and more or less says that he doesn’t like Samoa Joe. Hmm, nice development in the riveting Pope/Joe feud, TNA. This was definitely prime time to grab a beer, but at least Pope wasn’t subjecting us to his sophomoric humor.

IMMORTAL BACKSTAGE. What, more Immortal? It should be said at this point that Flair arranged a match featuring Angle and Crimson against every healthy member of the evil faction. So, as cohesive teams are wont to do, they huddle up to rally spirits, only Eric Young is there to join in. More crazy Eric Young moments like these, please, but at this point I am just feeling bad for the guy. What could he have possibly done to incur the wrath of a mentally challenged character as punishment? If it was punishment, that’s too bad; it’s working well on a comedic level (supplemental reading: Perry Saturn falling in love with a mop and why you shouldn’t piss off your boss).

DIXIE CARTER ON THE PHONE. For something that they promoted during the run down this was a huge disappointment. Carter joined us via phone for no more than 30 seconds and told us all what we could have safely assumed: by God, she’s going to take back control of this company, and those knuckleheads Bischoff and Hogan will pay. Next time, guys, don’t even bother.

MATT HARDY vs. MR. ANDERSON. This was predictably awful and awfully predictable. Not only can Hardy no longer convince us on the mic but he is mind-numbingly slow in the ring. Whereas Anderson brought Jeff Hardy up earlier, Matt Hardy tore down Anderson and brought him to his bloated level. Anderson would end up winning after a slow developing cradle, and of course Jeff Hardy came down to attack the champion. Rob Van Dam would even the score, but this was a throwaway.

KURT ANGLE and CRIMSON vs. IMMORTAL. Main event time and there is about eight minutes left so you know this is going to be one of those crash and burn matches. Seriously, what else would you expect from a 6-on-2 match? Crimson looked great and showed promise as a legit star for the company, but the match halted when James Storm “accidentally” super kicked the ref in the face. Bedlam broke loose soon enough it was nine or ten guys beating up Angle and Crimson. Cue Matt Morgan, who was also quickly detained. All of a sudden, the lights vanish and a police siren is heard….Scott Steiner appears with lead pipe in hand and chases the whole gang from ringside, clearly with some vendetta against any number of the members of Immortal.

VERDICT. While I enjoy the brand name of Scott Steiner, I wasn’t familiar with any of work after his late 90’s departure from WCW. I know he had a somewhat successful tenure in TNA before, so what did everyone think of the surprise ending? Without seeing his recent work, I still yearn for someone a bit younger, but maybe that promise will be fulfilled with Crimson. The writing tonight was on par with what TNA should strive to be—a smaller company that utilizes the element of surprise and splices it with in-ring results that aren’t the status quo. It wasn’t perfect, as evidenced by Mike Tenay and Taz, for whatever reason, patronizing us by reporting and reviewing the very thing we saw not ten minutes ago.

BONUS POINT: That group of girls in the front row that have seemingly become Impact Zone “regulars.” Good looking girls…who love TNA…and show up for every taping? How bizarre. Tonight gets a 7/10.

Joe Leininger is based out of Gainesville, FL and writes on The Playing Field.

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TNA iMPACT! Results and Report 01-13-11

January 14, 2011 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Val Venis does not like Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, or Hurricane HelmsThis week’s TNA iMPACTt! set the stage for two monster storylines right off the bat-the fallout from Mr. Anderson’s surprise victory over Jeff Hardy for the TNA World Heavyweight title and the conclusion of Jeff Jarrett’s underwhelming MMA angle.

OPENING SEGMENT. The broadcast opens with a bright-eyed Jeff Jarrett stepping out of a limo with his wife, Karen Jarrett, in tow. At this point I will take anything other than those lame and disjointed MMA exhibitions that someone in TNA corporate thinks is cool. Cut to the Impact Zone and we are treated with a well-deserved Mr. Anderson promo, his first since winning the TNA title on Sunday.

There were some high parts of the segment, including Anderson ranting about his stint in WWE and how he was asked to tone down his quirkiness at times. One particularly weak moment worth mentioning was when Anderson said the name Bischoff and he had to wait a couple of seconds for the seemingly tired crowd to begin jeering. Matt Morgan came out to claim a good chunk of Anderson’s victory, which made little to no sense. At TNA Genesis on Sunday, Morgan and Anderson wailed on each other for a good 15-20 minutes, and the only damage Morgan did to Hardy during the title match was clothesline him. Weak angle, TNA.

At some point, Eric Bischoff came out and announced a rematch between Hardy and Anderson for the belt on February 3rd at Impact!. Later, Jeff Hardy came on the big screen to talk his noise, but was quite rudely interrupted by Rob Van Dam planting a flying forearm across his dome. Cue Anderson, Matt Hardy, and the rest of Immortal to brawl backstage and you have an opening segment that’s way too long. At these Impact! tapings right after PPV’s, wouldn’t it serve TNA to start the night with a match right off the bat and have the announcers do a mini-recap of the PPV during the match? Mike Tenay and Taz already banter enough as it is about pigeons and whatnot; can’t they at least let us know who won that surprise match between Matt Hardy and RVD, or what the result of that clash between Bully Ray and Brother Devon was?

BEER MONEY Vs. MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS. Finally, wrestling, and a title match to boot. A rematch from Genesis, Motor City showed why they are still the best tag team in TNA, but not before cutting a quick Q-n-A right before the match started. In it, Alex Shelley dropped a reference to getting kicked in the mouth by his teammate, essentially costing them the belts. Sure enough, after a well scripted match between the two, Shelley accidentally returned the favor on partner Chris Sabin and delivered a superkick to Sabin’s face, leading to a Beer Money victory.

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POPE SEGMENT.
The Pope comes out next to gather some cheap heat from Samoa Joe, who has been “spying” on Pope and claiming donated money has been going to strip clubs and gambling. The Pope rambles on about this and that before directing fans to the “Dixie-tron” (nice) and telling us he caught Joe and his wife making love, and up pops two rhinos mating. His second joke isn’t even worth mentioning, because it all but killed the humor of the first gag. Overall, this was still eons more thought out than Kazarian’s deplorable bit on Jay Lethal’s family two weeks back.

RVD and KEN ANDERSON BACKSTAGE. Throughout the evening, Rob Van Dam and Mr. Anderson had been pacing through the backstage in preparation for their tag team match against the Hardys later that night. They ended up finding Beer Money in their locker room and pulled off a somewhat comical bit where the door slammed shut and all we could hear was RVD and Anderson beating the crap out of the tag team. Good stuff.

JEFF JARRETT – KURT ANGLE SHOWDOWN. Didn’t Jarrett promise a ceremony at Genesis? As per most of the stuff Jarrett has been involved with lately, this was a waste of time. Jarrett and his Goon Squad come out to introduce his wife Karen, but when the music drops Kurt appears and demolishes all SIX guys on Team Jarrett. Before Angle can reach his target, Karen Jarrett comes out to tell us how big of a jerk Kurt is and that we will hear “her side of the story”…next week. This lame teaser and Karen’s horrible acting skills only compound my frustration over this angle. I could really care less what she has to say next week, but I’ll be damned if she didn’t look amazing in that dress.

ANGELINA LOVE and WINTER Vs. MADISON RAYNE and TARA. In other words, two-thirds of the Knockouts fighting for two of the three belts available. In what could be a volatile situation, Love’s other partner Velvet Sky, expressed her concern over Love’s relationship with Winter, which more or less came off as jealousy. You didn’t take much from this match other than that the writers continued to develop Winter’s insane personality, capped off by a sweet sleeper hold applied to Tara after Mickie James chased off Madison. By the way, this was the second match of the evening, a whopping hour and twelve minutes into the two hour show.

ABYSS with RIC FLAIR Vs. MATT MORGAN. You know right away any match with Abyss is going to be slow, so WHY IN THE HELL would you put him up against the only guy bigger than him? Snore. Morgan wins after a Carbon Footprint, but in typical TNA fashion Immortal storms the ring to beat up Morgan. Also, why do the announcers keep referring to Rob Terry as the Immortal enforcer? Isn’t that what Abyss is for?

HARDY BROTHERS and CRIMSON PROMOS. This is worth noting-before the Abyss match, Matt and Jeff cut a promo behind a chain link fence and dropped this one-liner: “our bloodline…is immortal!” Wow, fellas, you write that yourselves? After the Abyss match, the Monster is attacked by a figure who calls himself Crimson, but we recognize him as the wrestler who portrayed Amazing Red’s younger brother a couple weeks back. He tells Abyss that “They” are coming. My bold prediction: a faction of only red-headed wrestlers called “The Ginger Dead Men.” C’mon, TNA, do it.

ROB VAN DAM and KEN ANDERSON Vs. MATT and JEFF HARDY. On paper this would seem like a solid match, but before the match even starts Anderson is busted open and Matt Hardy just…is. He looks terrible and these two no longer have the cohesion that we were used to in the late 90’s. For a main event, this was disappointing. The short bout was interrupted by yet more Immortal guys coming to the ring to attack RVD and Anderson. What the hell, are these guys breeding or something?

VERDICT. 5/10. Four matches in two hours! Step it up, TNA. Television, especially Thursdays, has been getting real good lately and episodes like these are how you lose viewers.

Joe Leininger is based out of Gainesville, FL and writes on The Playing Field.

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