Welcome to the 12/15/11 edition of Impact Wrestling. We start the show with highlights from Final Resolution, which sounded like a pretty terrible show overall. Tonight isn’t looking better, as we will see the start of a wild card tag team tournament to determine new #1 contenders for the World Tag Team titles. In the Impact Zone, Mike Tenay informs us we will be starting things off with a Final Resolution 5-minute “Overtime” match for the World title as Roode will once again defend the belt against AJ Styles. Wait. You mean they’re not waiting 30-60 minutes to feature the first match? Another Festivus miracle!
MATCH 1-World Championship (5-minute time limit): AJ Styles vs. Champion Bobby Roode
While I applaud TNA for finally starting a show with not only a match but a World title match, the fact that this match is only guaranteed a maximum of 5 minutes isn’t a good sign. Something’s wrong with the camera work here. It feels, for lack of a better word, fuzzy. After the bell, Roode immediately goes to the floor. Styles follows and lands a punch. Styles gets Roode back in the ring and hits a springboard cross body for 1. Pair of hard corner whips and a back body drop gets 2. Styles goes into a hip throw, followed by a side headlock. Roode reverses into a headscissors, and the sequence is repeated 2 more times. Styles goes for the side headlock again. Roode tries for a leg breaker, but Styles reverses into a sunset flip for 2. We’re down to less than 3 minutes. Roode with a single-leg takedown, but Styles kicks Roode off into the corner. He lays in some punches, knife edges and stomps. Roode kicks at Styles’ injured leg, taking him down immediately. Roode drags Styles to the ring post and goes outside to wrap the leg around the post, but Styles pushes him off into the guardrail. Styles gets back up and goes for a slingshot dive, but Roode sees it coming. Styles lands on his feet on the apron, but Roode clips the bad leg and sends Styles to the floor before sliding back into the ring. Styles gets back in, where Roode grabs the bad leg and slams it into the mat before stomping on it a bit. Styles kicks him off and hits a hurricanrana from the mat. He goes to the middle rope and hits the moonsault inverted DDT. He goes for a pin, but Roode gets his foot on the rope for 2. One of the best moonsault DDTs Styles has ever hit, honestly. Roode thumbs Styles in the eye and slides to the floor as we’ve got less than 20 seconds. Roode tries to do it again after getting back in the ring, but Styles Pele’s him from the floor, knocking him out. There’s less than 10 seconds left. Styles hits the springboard 450 splash, but the bell rings right as Styles gets back up.
WINNER: No contest via time-limit draw. After the match, the crowd is once more chanting “5 more minutes”. Of course, this causes Sting to make his way out, complete with one of the ugliest jackets you have ever seen in your life. It makes Sting’s old Sgt. Pepper jackets look like Armani suits in comparison. Sting says we can do this all night long, and says that the first fall wins it. I guess this means the match is restarted.
Bell rings and Roode immediately clips Styles’ bad leg before locking on a sweet single-leg Boston crab. He’s sitting down on Styles as much as possible, and Styles quickly taps.
Back from commercials, we see Bobby Roode in the back, talking to Anonymous Interviewer. He says it doesn’t matter how long it takes as long as you get the job done, and tonight, he got the job done. Sting wants to come out and put another 5 minutes on the clock, guess what? Roode did it again. This cuts over to AJ Styles, who says he was “that close” to winning the belt again. Cut back to Roode. Styles tried to beat him, but he couldn’t get the job done. The difference between them is Roode gets the job done. Jeff Hardy wants a shot? Good. He’s ready for Jeff Hardy.
MATCH 2-“Wild Card” Tournament Quarterfinal: Hernandez and Robbie T (with Rosita and Sarita) vs. Abyss and Scott Steiner
I guess Terry is officially going by “Robbie T” now. That’s so original. Before Abyss and Steiner come out, we see them talking in the back. Steiner says he’s under direct orders from Mr. Bischoff to make this work tonight, but he still owes Abyss. “I agree with Bischoff that you’re better, you make us better. I got your own music. Team, right? Team, right? Let’s go get ‘em! You’re a monster, let’s go get ‘em! We’re a team, right? Come on!” Not one of Steiner’s best efforts there. I’m very disappointed. Perhaps he can redeem himself later. They make their way to the ring, and the match gets started. Steiner and Hernandez start for their teams. Steiner with a boot to the gut, a throw to the corner, some boots, a chop and a punch. Another chop. Corner charge and corner clothesline send Hernandez to the floor in the corner. Hernandez boots Steiner and backflips up to the top rope, but Steiner cuts him off with a middle rope overhead belly-to-belly superplex. Robbie runs in, but Steiner catches him with a belly-to-belly, followed by a clothesline on Hernandez. Steiner hits the posing elbow drop, but breaks it to do some pushups. Why do referees always yell at him for breaking his own pin? Since when is that illegal? Steiner asks Abyss for a tag, but Abyss doesn’t care. Steiner turns around into a clothesline from Robbie. Hernandez chokes Steiner with his t-shirt. For a second there, it looked like Hernandez is missing some teeth. Hernandez with some shoulder thrusts in the corner before tagging in Robbie. Hernandez whips Robbie into Steiner in the corner, then follows up with an avalanche. Hernandez whips Steiner into Robbie, who catches him with a bodyslam before dropping Hernandez into a gourdbuster onto Steiner for 2. Hernandez tags in, and they hit a double shoulder block on Steiner. Abyss made a blind tag in off the rope bounce. The heels turn around into a double clothesline. Abyss with more clotheslines and a pair of avalanches. Hernandez gets hit with a chokeslam. Robbie attacks from behind, but runs right into the Black Hole Slam. He points at Steiner instead of going for the pin, then tags him in. Steiner makes the pin and gets the 3. Great, except Robbie T wasn’t legal.
WINNERS: Abyss and Scott Steiner. Steiner goes to leave the ring, but Abyss pulls him back in and raises his arm in victory. Steiner looks on in confusion before going back to celebrating.
We see Kurt Angle walking around backstage, being followed by Anonymous Interviewer. Angle turns toward the camera and says he’s had just about enough of Sting. It’s time for him to do something about it.
Kurt Angle makes his way out to the ring. He calls Sting out immediately, because he’s got a few things to get off his chest. Sting’s music hits and he makes his way down. Do you find it funny that Sting immediately stopped being crazy the second he beat Hogan? Apparently, TNA forgot all about the crazy man gimmick. Angle says he’s going to tell Sting why he called him out, but for the first time in his life, Sting’s going to shut up and listen. First of all, he gets booked in a World title match with James Storm with less than 90 minutes to prepare, and Storm screws him with a loaded boot to the chin. Same thing happened in their rematch at Final Resolution. He’s Kurt freaking Angle, the master of every submission hold known to man. He could make Sting cry for his mommy, but he’s not going to do that. All he wants is his rematch with James Storm, and Sting’s going to give it to him. Sting thinks Angle is kidding. Storm says it’s time for everyone to cowboy up around here, including Angle. Sting says Storm is done with Angle, and it’s time for him to move onward and upward to Bobby Roode. Ta-ta for now. Angle tells Sting it seems like he has it out for him and Bobby Roode. He likes the way Storm plays cowboy. Maybe Angle should play cowboy. Maybe he’ll go to Storm’s hometown and beat the crap out of everyone there. Maybe that will make Storm accept and see he’s a bigger badass than Storm could ever dream of being. Ta-ta for now.
MATCH 3-Match 1 in a Best-of-3 Series: Anthony Nese vs. Zema Ion
Apparently, the winner of this 3-match series goes onto Genesis in a 4-way for the X-Division title, which also includes champion Austin Aries, Kid Kash and Jesse Sorensen. Nese immediately with a waistlock takedown. Ion battles out, but runs into a pair of arm drags. Nese hits a modified shining wizard for 2. Ion comes back with a knee to the gut, but runs into a jumping spin kick. Nese trips him up and hits an inside-out Asai moonsault, followed by a running knee to the gut in the corner and a running knee on the mat, sending Ion to the floor. Nese follows up with a running somersault plancha to the floor. Nese throws Ion back in and hits a springboard clothesline for another 2. Nese looks like a smaller Chris Masters. Nese runs into a boot out of the corner. Ion goes up top, but Nese hits a kick and a roll into a European uppercut while Ion is still on the turnbuckle. Nese jumps to the top and goes for a hurricanrana, but Ion holds on and hits a seated missile dropkick. Ion follows up with an inverted atomic drop and a strange-looking dropkick. He goes for the pin, but pulls Nese’s head up to break it. Ion hits a back suplex into a facebreaker and goes for a pin, but pulls Nese up again. He drags Nese to the corner to set up for the 450, which does connect. Ion holds onto the pin this time and gets the 3.
WINNER: Zema Ion. Not a bad match, although Nese completely dominated until the last 60 seconds or so. The score is 1-0 for Ion.
Backstage, we see Karen and Jeff Diet Shasta Orange walk into the building. Karen’s already in mid-sentence by the time they open the door. She says everything tonight stinks. Jeff calls it the biggest “clustermess in the entire world”. 2 days before his match with Hardy, Sting added the stipulation that if he got beat, Hardy became #1 contender to the World title. Actually, going by TV, it was 3 days, Jeff. Anyway, Jeff continues onto say that Sting is firing one of them tonight. Karen says that won’t happen because she’s bowing out and going home. Jeff says he’s going to do it. They then argue about who’s going home. A stagehand comes up and says Sting wants to talk to Jeff in about an hour. They continue to argue over who’s going home.
Meanwhile, back at the Hall of Justice (I feel really old now)…Zema Ion is celebrating backstage. Anonymous Interviewer is following him. Ion tells him he has the prettiest wrestling gear, the prettiest wrestling moves, and tonight, you saw the prettiest wrestling match by the prettiest wrestler in the company. He’s sick of waiting at home for opportunities, and tonight, he made the most of this one. From now on, it’s all about “Me, myself and Ion.”
Backstage, we see Ric Flair and Gunner. Flair says tonight’s the night he makes a name for himself. Jesse Neal’s a great wrestler, but in Gunner’s world, he doesn’t exist. Tonight, they make an example out of him.
MATCH 4: Jesse Neal vs. Gunner (w/Ric Flair)
I’m expecting Neal to take a botched piledriver on the floor tonight after he gets squashed. Call it a hunch. Gunner starts off with a trip and some punches to the head. Neal gets back up, and Gunner tackles him into the corner. Gunner with some punches, sending Neal to the mat. Gunner throws Neal into the opposite corner, sending him to the mat once again. Gunner stomps Neal’s wrist, then throws him over the top rope to the floor. Gunner follows him out. Earl Hebner tries to get between them, but Gunner throws him down, leading to the disqualification.
WINNER VIA DISQUALIFICATION: Jesse Neal. Ric Flair grabs Neal’s legs and knee drops him in the ‘nads. He pulls the floor mat up for Gunner, who instead of hitting a piledriver, only slightly botches a DDT on the floor instead. Well, I was close. EMTs and officials come out to check on Neal as Gunner screams “Broken!” at the crowd. Whatever. So long, Jesse Neal. We hardly knew ye.
Up next, Jeff Hardy. Great.
Holy hell. Just under an hour into this show and we’ve already had four matches. What universe is this? Back from the break, we see Sting and Karen Jarrett together. Karen is telling Sting he looks amazing, and this is the best he’s ever looked. Sting wants to know what she wants. She says he can’t fire her. There’s a hundred Jeff Jarretts out there. A hundred guys could take his spot. When God created her, he broke the mold. When he created Karen Jarrett, he broke the mold. She needs someone to watch the kids so she can be here and help him run the show. Sting says he’s known Jeff Jarrett since Jeff was a little kid. There’s no way we’re going to go through with this without hearing from him. He’s heard from her, so he’ll hear from him as well. Karen says she understands, but wants to make sure Sting knows where she’s coming from. He runs the show while she runs the Knockouts division. Sting says he does see where she’s coming from, and they’re good. After she leaves, Sting stops smiling and says, “Poor Jeff.” That whole segment really made sense when Karen Jarrett was begging Jeff to be sent home a few minutes ago. And yes, I get that her whole character is supposed to be an ass kisser and a gold digger. Too bad she has no idea how to play the role.
Jeff Hardy comes out. He says he’s still sore from the cage match on Sunday. He bit his lip on the way out here (must’ve had a little bit of coke left on it), and now he’s the #1 contender. On the 8th day, Genesis, creatures become champions. Yeah, okay. He’s going to do everything in his power to make 2012 the most memorable year in his career. For some reason, Sabu’s music hits. Oh. It’s Blubber Ray’s music. Never mind. Blubber comes out and says Hardy is in an awfully good mood for somebody who has no clue who they’re fighting tonight. Blubber talks about tweeting and Twitter. Maybe if Hardy had more of a life, he’d be doing something more creative. He’ll give Hardy three guesses as to who he’s fighting tonight, but he’ll only need one. The biggest, baddest, most feared guy in this company today. Him. Someone who knows him better than just about anybody else, someone’s who’s been kicking Hardy’s head in for 15 years. Blubber’s not really that pissed off at Hardy. Actually, he has to thank him. Remember last year when Hardy couldn’t make it to that PPV main event because of his little “problem”? Remember that? The next day, Blubber took Hardy’s place in Immortal. He’s better than Jeff Hardy, and is going to prove it tonight. He’s not a stepping stone; he’s a freight train, and Hardy’s standing on his tracks.
Backstage, we see Samoa Joe talking to Magnus. Remember him? Joe says he doesn’t know anything about Magnus, and he doesn’t care to know Magnus. Magnus is the anchor attached to this opportunity, an opportunity for him. He doesn’t go around talking his way where he should be fighting his way, and Magnus better not stand in his way. Magnus tells Joe that, first of all, Joe needs to back up out of his face. He’s using the word opportunity a lot. He’s talking to somebody who doesn’t get any opportunities around here either. It’s either piss or get off the pot, and they need to go out there and win this tournament.
Up next, Joe and Magnus will face TV Champion Robbie E and Magnus’ partner, Douglas Williams, another guy that hasn’t been seen in months for no reason.
MATCH 5-“Wild Card” Tournament Quarterfinal: World Television Champion Robbie E and Douglas Williams vs. Magnus and Samoa Joe
Magnus looks a hell of a lot like Hugh Jackman. Just saying. Magnus and Williams start things off with a tie-up. Williams goes into a waistlock. They trade a few moves, including the headlock/head scissors sequence, leading into a stalemate. Williams with an arm wringer, and he tags in Robbie. Robbie with a kick to the arm, but gets cut off with a clothesline. Magnus goes to bounce off the ropes, but Williams knees him in the back. Williams tags in and whips Magnus into the corner, hits a running knee and a snap suplex. Robbie tags back in and hits a…a…well, I’m not sure. It looked like a headbutt, but then it looked like a forearm drop. Tenay says it’s a fist drop, so we’ll go with that. Granted, Tenay doesn’t know his ass from his elbow at this point. Robbie gets 2 before Joe breaks it up. Robbie hits a side-Russian legsweep into an STO for 2. Robbie goes for another move, but Magnus backdrops out of it. Robbie tags in Williams, who prevents Magnus from making the tag. He goes for the Chaos Theory, but Magnus holds onto the top turnbuckle and tags in Joe. Joe takes Williams down with a clothesline, a forearm shot, an inverted atomic drop and a running boot. He follows up with a running senton for 2. Williams hits a forearm, but runs into a powerslam. Joe goes for a pin, but Robbie tries to break it up with an elbow. Joe sees him coming and moves, causing Robbie to drop the elbow on Williams. Joe corner whips Robbie, but Robbie reverses. He goes to the middle rop again, but Joe casually walks out of the way. He gets Robbie in the corner, hits a back kick and a jumping kick to the head. Joe hits a snapmare, and Magnus hits a middle rope elbow from the opposite side. Williams climbs to the top rope, but Magnus sees him coming and falls into the ropes, crotching Williams. Joe picks Williams up in the Muscle Buster, hits it and gets the 3.
WINNERS: Magnus and Samoa Joe. Wait…what? Joe won a match? Really? Well, I’ll be damned.
Backstage, we now see Jeff Jarrett and Sting talking. Jeff says they’ve known each other for 25 years, and now it’s come to this. Who would’ve thought? He compliments Sting on the jacket. It’s been tough these last four days, and he knows Karen’s been talking to Sting and blowing his phone up. He says she’s anxious and nervous, and Sting has to know where she’s coming from. Sting has to know what firing Karen will do to her, so he begs Sting to let her down easy. Jeff says a woman has no place in this business, and besides that, Karen wants to be home with the kids. When Sting breaks the news to her, be as gentle and nice as possible. Sting asks if Jeff is sure Karen wants to stay at home with the kids. Jeff says the last year has been tough on her, and she’s understanding about being let go tonight, so be gentle with her. This whole double backstabbing angle is just so wonderful and creative and original. How much you want to bet Sting fires them both tonight instead of picking one? I mean, who the hell wouldn’t see that coming?
Back from commercials, we see Eric Young talking to Anonymous Interviewer. He’s in the tag tournament, then rambles on about a China hat and Chinese restaurants, then something about talking to his mom every morning. He continues to ramble on as ODB walks in on him. ODB informs him she’s his partner in the tournament. Young likes the idea as ODB shakes her jugs at him. Young continues his rambling.
Back in the Impact Zone, Devon makes his way out. We see some still photos of him and Pope getting beat by Crimson and Matt Morgan at Final Resolution. Devon calls Pope out, saying they need to talk about their situation. He wants to settle things right now. Pope makes his way out, accompanied by Devon’s kids, Terrence and Terrell. Devon says he doesn’t know what’s going on here, or why his boys are with Pope. They are his kids. Like any parent out here, he will take a bullet or stand in front of a bus to make sure their safety is number one. He was there when they were born, when they came home from the hospital, when they were sick, to put clothes on their back, to put food on the table. He gets up every morning to take them to school. He’s the one who is training them now. He understands Pope has to do what he has to do, but these are his boys. He’s going to train them his way, and bring them up his way. No disrespect to Pope, but this is over starting now. Let’s go home and train the right way. He loves his sons, and that’s all they need to know. He starts to drag his kids out of the ring, but Pope says Devon is going to listen to him now. These boys want a cool dad. They want someone who is with the times and can move forward. The difference between Devon and Pope is Devon wants to chauffeur them to parties, but when they’re with Pope, he gets them a limousine and let them be chauffeured. With Devon showing them old tapes of the “Bingo Hall”, what the hell are they supposed to learn from that? Devon can lose all the weight he wants, but he’ll never be as fly or as pimping as “The Pope”. That’s just the way it is, and they know that. Devon starts to walk away. Pope tells him not to walk away like Devon’s wife did. Pope says they should have been his seed, but don’t worry, because he and their mom are working on that. Devon’s had enough, and he decks Pope repeatedly. The boys step between them and hold Devon off. They share a group hug, which allows Pope to kick Devon square in the nuts from behind. Pope looks at Terrence and Terrell and smiles. They smile back and let Pope beat on Devon. They each put on a pair of Pope’s sunglasses and pick Devon up. Pope chalks up his hands for some reason, then begins smacking Devon around. The three of them stand over Devon triumphantly.
Up next, Traci Brooks vs. Madison Rayne.
Jesus Christ monkey balls. Who in the hell thought giving iJustine her own show was a good idea? Seriously, if you don’t know who this woman is, look her up on Twitter some time. I’d call her retarded, but that would imply that those who are mentally challenged aren’t smarter than her. Leave it to Spike TV.
Back from the break, we see Karen and Jeff Jarrett trying to calm each other down. Karen tells Jeff she told Sting that he’s irreplaceable here. No one can take his place. She, on the other hand, is replaceable. She says she told Sting she needs to be at home with the kids. Jeff says he told Sting that he knows a star when he sees one, and Karen Jarrett is a star. Women are put on a pedestal in this business. The stagehand from before shows up and says that Sting would like to see both of them immediately.
MATCH 6: Traci Brooks vs. Knockout Tag Team Co-Champion Madison Rayne
As Rayne makes her way onto the stage, Brooks runs from the ring and tackles her on the stage. She whips Rayne gut-first into the ring apron, then throws her in the ring. The match officially starts. Brooks with a hair whip and a clothesline in the corner, sending Rayne to the mat. Brooks chokes her with a foot, then her hands. Rayne trips Brooks, sending her into the middle rope. Forearm to the back, followed by a rope choke. Rayne puts Brooks on the bottom rope and chokes her with her knee. Rayne hits a neckbreaker across the middle rope, sending her to the floor. Brooks gets back in the ring on her own, and gets slammed face-first into the mat for 2. Rayne with a foot choke on the bottom turnbuckle. She props Brooks up, but misses a corner charge. Brooks hits a jawbreaker and a running knee into the ropes. Clothesline after that, but Rayne comes back with the knee. Rayne hits the Rayne Drop, but Brooks kicks out at 2. Stomp to the head after that, and that’s it.
WINNER: Madison Rayne. Win via a standard kick to the head? Really? Whatever.
Up next, Meth Hardy vs. Blubber Ray.
I love these commercials for limited edition coins. They talk about how in demand they are, how limited the supply is, etc., yet you NEVER see these commercials stop airing.
After the break, we see the Jarretts in Sting’s office. Jeff says he’s spent the entire night consoling Karen Jarrett, and 2012 will be the year of Karen Jarrett and Impact Wrestling. Karen says the opposite, saying she needs to be with the kids. Sting looks at them both and says he takes it neither one of them have seen a single segment of the show tonight. He’s confused because both of them said the opposite earlier tonight. Sting tells Karen what Jeff actually said. He then tells Jeff what Karen actually said. The happy couple accuses him of being a liar and just stirring the pot. Sting responds by showing them footage from earlier when he was with Karen, except it’s from a different camera angle than we saw. Because, you know, we needed TWO hidden cameras for those segments. We then see footage from Sting and Jeff, as the Jarretts yell and scream at each other incoherently. This is giving me a splitting headache. Sting tells them both to be quiet. He’s going to help them both right now by (wait for it) firing both of them.
Back in the Impact Zone, Taz and “Professor” are arguing about what just happened. All of a sudden, Bobby Roode’s music hits and he makes his way to the announce desk for some color commentary.
Hardy comes out and not only high-fives one of the camera guys, but one of the stupidest-looking fans you’ve ever seen who is sitting in the front row. Just point that out. Bully Ray is now doing JBL’s cow moo as his taunt. I guess he needs to build his finisher meter early. As the bell rings, Ray immediately goes to work on Hardy with punches. He gets Hardy in the corner and fires off more punches. More punches, this time to the kidney. More punches. Ray ties Hardy up in the tree of woe and…hits more punches. Ray finally varies his offense for the evening and hits a delayed vertical suplex. Ray locks in a bearhug. Hardy elbows his way out, but runs into a back body drop for 2. Ray tries to pin him a couple more times, only getting 2 each time. Bodyslam near the corner, but Ray misses the Vader Bomb. Hardy comes back with punches, a running forearm, a clothesline and a hooking clothesline for 2. Ray reverses a corner whip, but takes a spinning headscissors out of the corner. Ray goes for the Bully Bomb, but Hardy reverses into the Twist of Fate for 2. Ray catches Hardy off the ropes with a sidewalk slam for 2. He misses a splash off the ropes. Hardy hits the Twist of Fate a second time, getting the 3.
WINNER: Jeff Hardy. After the match, Hardy points at Roode. Roode makes his way down as Ray and Hardy punch each other some more. Despite setting my DVR to go an extra five minutes here, it cut off at the punches, so I’m not sure what happened after that. I doubt I missed much.
End of show.
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