Welcome to the 12/29/11 edition of Impact Wrestling. Before I begin, I want to thank Eric for letting me write my piece on “Dr. Death” Steve Williams earlier today, and I would also like to thank everyone for their positive feedback on the piece. Writing that article meant a lot to me and was very cathartic, and I’m glad that you guys enjoyed reading it.
This week’s show starts off with a recap of the events last week, namely the Jarretts getting fired and Madison Rayne being named the new executive V.P. of the Knockouts division.
In the Impact Zone, Knockouts Tag Team Champions Madison Rayne and Gail Kim (who is also the Knockouts Champion) make their way down to the ring. Jeebus, help me, as Madison immediately grabs a microphone. She calls TNT out oh so eloquently by screaming “Ring! Now. NOW!” Tara and Tessy make their way out, holding hands for whatever reason. Tara is complaining about how her ears hurt from listening to Rayne. For the first time in a long time, Tara looks damn good right now. They get in the ring, and Rayne addresses them as “Ladies. Or not.” Is that supposed to be clever? Madison says the longer they drag this out, the longer they are susceptible to the diseases TNT are carrying right now. She told them last week that if they screwed with her, they were both going to be fired. They screwed with her, and now they’re fired. Rayne continues to scream that they are fired as Sting’s music hits.
Sting comes out, microphone in hand. Rayne tells him there’s no need for him to be here, as she’s totally in control. Sting says it’s not over until he says so. When Karen Jarrett was the V.P. of the division, she was so because she had a legally binding contract, something Rayne does not have. Sting tells Rayne she has no power. Rayne responds by screeching. Sting screeches back in her face. He then screams at Gail Kim that she will be defending the Knockouts title tonight. Mickie James’ music hits as Rayne continues to scream. Mickie comes out and blows a kiss to the ring. Is it just me, or does she look a hell of a lot like Karen Jarrett right now? What is with her, Karen and Rayne all resembling each other lately? Sting tells Rayne he’s keeping his eye on her tonight.
Backstage, we see Scott Steiner consorting with his “Wild Card” tournament partner, Abyss. Steiner says, “Piss off says thanks. Two down. We’re were were at.” Steiner tells Abyss they’re the best team in the tournament, and he needs “The Monster” in this thing. Abyss calmly pats him on the shoulder and very quietly says “We’re a team.”
MATCH 1-“Wild Card” tournament semifinal: Abyss and Scott Steiner vs. Kazarian and AJ Styles
You know, I really miss when promotions would actually show tournament brackets on their TV shows. As a kid, I used to love copying them down on paper and keeping track of them. I guess that’s just me, though. Steiner and Kaz start things off. Steiner flexes the biceps a bit, then yells at Styles. Kaz and Steiner finally tie up, with Steiner powering Kaz down. Boot to the stomach and a corner whip send Kaz down again. Steiner lays in a chop. Kaz ducks a clothesline and hooks Steiner in a crucifix for 2. Steiner telegraphs a back body drop, allowing Kaz to hit a spinning heel kick for 2. Styles tags in and he lays in some punches. He runs into a back elbow, but hits a nice dropkick off the ropes. Steiner rakes the eyes and tags in Abyss. Styles goes for chops and kicks to the leg, but Abyss pushes Styles back to the corner with one hand. Styles gets the feet up on a charge, but runs right into a clothesline. Abyss with a forearm to the back. He goes for an over-the-shoulder powerslam, but Styles slides out and hits an enziguri. Abyss is dazed, but still on his feet. Steiner kicks Styles in the back as he goes to bounce off the ropes, and Abyss picks him up for the Shock Treatment, which connects. Abyss chokes Styles over the middle rope before tagging in Steiner. Steiner comes in with a boot to the gut and a spinning belly-to-belly suplex for 2. Steiner goes back to the forearms and chops. Styles comes off with a sunset flip for 2 off the ropes, and follows with a small package for another 2. Steiner gets back up and lands an overhead belly-to-belly. Styles ducks a clothesline and hits the Pele. Abyss and Kaz both tag in. Kaz hits a springboard back elbow and a dropkick. He slides out of the way of a corner charge and hits a springboard seated missile dropkick. A springboard tornado DDT gets 2. Kaz goes for a move off the second rope, but Abyss catches him by the throat. He goes for a chokeslam, but Kaz reverses into a victory roll for 2. Back up, Kaz runs right into Abyss’ hand, allowing Abyss to hit the chokeslam. Abyss knocks Styles off the apron, then tags in Steiner. Steiner goes towards Kaz, but Abyss pulls him back right into the Black Hole Slam. He drags Kaz over Steiner, and the referee counts 3.
WINNERS: Kazarian and Styles. After the match, Bully Ray immediately comes down to the ring and starts yelling at Abyss. Before we can see what happens next, we get commercials.
Go to hell, iJustine.
Backstage, we see Sting and Kurt Angle talking. Angle talks about what he did last week in the bar. He wants to know what he’s supposed to do tonight. Sting wants him to have a wrestling match tonight, and since Angle’s so into kicking, he needs to face someone who does kicking really well. Folklore has it that, in the past, this person once kicked Angle so hard in the face he split him from his forehead to his knows. Angle stops smiling and says he’s not doing this. Sting tells him he is. Angle says he’s not getting in the ring with RVD tonight.
Up next, Anthony Nese and Zema Ion face each other in the final match of their 3-match series.
Backstage, Ric Flair and Gunner are talking to Anonymous Interviewer, who apparently asked them what was on their minds prior to the cameras actually rolling. Flair says what’s on their mind is making Gunner the biggest name in wrestling, and how you do that is sending people out of the building every night saying “holy you-know-what”. Flair lists everything Gunner’s been doing lately, saying it all makes him a really, really bad man. Gunner points at an ambulance behind him and says tonight, it will be the third time someone gets carted out of here because of him. TNA will realize Gunner’s a killer and going to the top. Flair says he’s going to be the man. L. Ron Hubbard help us.
Before the next match, we see that X-Division Champion Austin Aries is on commentary.
MATCH 2-Match 3 in a best-of-3 series, with the winner moves onto the 4-way for the World X-Division Championship at Genesis; Contract-on-a-Pole Match: Zema Ion vs. Anthony Nese
I still say Nese looks like a smaller version of Chris Masters. I just now see that there’s a pole in the corner with a contract hanging from it. Just so we’re clear, the item-on-a-pole match concept is one of the stupidest match concepts in pro wrestling history. Nese immediately goes toward the pole, but Ion blocks him. He knocks Nese down and goes for it himself. Nese blocks him. They trade a few holds. Nese mule kicks Ion in the gut out of the corner and goes up, but Ion whips him down to the mat face-first. Ion hits a boot. Nese escapes a clothesline by falling back to the mat and kipping back up. Nice little move there. He hits a series of kicks on Ion, knocking him down. He looks towards the pole, but Ion grabs him by the foot. Nese kicks him off, hits a corner back elbow and a face wash. Nese goes towards the corner, but Ion dropkicks him in the back, sending him into the turnbuckles. Nese looks like he may have busted his nose or lip open. Ion goes to charge at Nese, but he low bridges, sending Ion to the floor. Ion pulls him to the mat and sends him into the apron, but Nese blocks with his foot, hits a back elbow, and an Asai moonsault off the apron. Nese walks back to the ring and begins to climb the post. He almost gets the contract, but Ion gets back in the ring and crotches him on the top turnbuckle. Ion tries to climb up Nese’s back to get the contract, but Nese grabs him by the waist and throws Ion off into a release German suplex while staying hooked on the turnbuckles. Nese gets back to his feet and almost gets the contract, but Ion pops up and shoves him off, sending him to the guardrail. Ion easily climbs up and gets the contract.
WINNER: Zema Ion. Decent match, despite the stupid stipulation.
MATCH 3: Douglas Williams vs. Gunner (w/Ric Flair)
Based on Gunner’s new gimmick, I’m going to assume that Williams has been released and will be injured here in order to remove him from television. I haven’t heard anything about Williams being released, but until a week or so ago, I had forgotten he still even worked here. Damn shame, too, as he’s one of the best all-around performers in this company. Anyway, they trade some moves right off the bat, and Gunner goes for a knee lift and some elbow strikes. Williams gets him in the corner and lands a couple of European uppercuts and a kick to the knee. Gunner gets back on offense with a clothesline from behind and a foot choke over the bottom rope. Gunner hits some rear crossface shots, but Williams comes back with another pair of uppercuts. He goes for the Chaos Theory, but Gunner reverses and sends Williams shoulder-first into the post, sending him to the floor. Gunner pushes referee Brian Hebner to the mat as he goes outside, leading to the DQ.
WINNER VIA DISQUALIFICATION: Douglas Williams. Gunner goes outside and holds Williams up, allowing Flair to kick him in the nuts. Gunner pulls up the mat on the outside and hits a DDT on the concrete, only slightly less botched from last week.
Backstage, we see that World Champion Bobby Roode has made his way into the building.
We get the same Bobby Roode video package we’ve been seeing for weeks, with commentary from his friends and family. It’s crap like that that’s making it hard for a lot of fans to take Roode seriously as the top heel.
Back in the Impact Zone, Roode is making his way down to the ring. Roode says that over the last several weeks, a lot of people have been expressing their opinions of him, and some of those opinions have been from his family and friends. There is one friend in particular who took the time to come on the show and say something about him, calling him selfish. Tell him something he doesn’t know. He’s the leader of the selfish generation, the ‘it’ factor in professional wrestling and the World Champion. He spent some money and flew this friend in from Toronto tonight, and he can tell him face-to-face how he really feels. His name is Tracy Kaleski, someone who Roode has known for over 20 years. He’s also apparently a pro athlete, as he’s a pro lacrosse player. We see Tracy in the crowd, who climbs over the guardrail and into the ring. Roode apologizes, as Tracy’s been trying to contact him, but Roode’s been busy being the World Heavyweight Champion. He’s flown Tracy here so he can tell Roode how he really feels to his face. He gets a microphone for Tracy. Tracy asks who this person is that Roode has become. His family doesn’t know who he is anymore. Roode is the least selfish person he knows, and wants to know who he’s become. It’s obvious this guy has never done an interview before, as he’s like a deer in headlights here. Tracy says Roode’s family has been asking about him and where he’s been. He can still come home and make things right. Roode says he’s wearing a $3,000 suit and has a $25,000 piece of gold over his shoulder. Where? All I see is a gold-plated hunk of metal that’s falling apart on his shoulder. Roode says Tracy’s been his lackey all these years, and the only reason anyone would ever talk to him was due to his association with Roode. Let’s talk about Roode’s family. His parents say they miss him, but where have they been his whole life? They’re only coming out now is because they want his money and his success, just like Tracy. Where’s his sister been the last 35 years? Nowhere. Don’t ever talk about his kids. Everyone has had their fifteen minutes of fame, and according to his Rolex, time’s up. Tracy tries to leave the ring, so Roode grabs him by the throat and slams him into the mat. He begins stomping on Tracy as Meth Hardy runs down to the ring, chasing Roode off. I find it funny Hardy is still in his street clothes, yet managed to take the time to paint half his face.
Backstage, we see Eric Young talking to ODB about their match in the “Wild Card” tournament tonight. He calls them the best team in the company, then rambles about tag team wrestling and strategy. ODB is drinking from a flask as Young continues to ramble about nothing. Young asks for a kiss. Someone please script his promos for him. Quit letting him riff like this.
John Carter? What the hell kind of name is that for an action movie? I don’t care if it’s made by Disney; it still sucks.
Kurt Angle is in a locker room, bitching to Anonymous Interviewer about wrestling Rob Van Dam tonight. Oh, and the incident Sting was talking about earlier, where RVD split Angle open from his forehead to his nose some years ago? According to Angle, that split started at the top of his head and went all the way down to his chin. You would think the guy would have one hideously massive scar as a result of an injury that severe. Angle says RVD doesn’t know how to wrestle. This is not fair, and Sting is not fair. His career has turned south since Sting took over. He is a wrestler. He is better than ever. If guys like RVD and James Storm want to wrestle him, wrestle him. Get in the ring and wrestle.
Christy Hemme looks dumb as hell in her “Happy New Year” top hat, contrary to what Taz thinks.
MATCH 4-“Wild Card” tournament semifinal: Magnus and Samoa Joe vs. ODB and Eric Young
Young locks up with Mike Tenay on the way to the ring. Tenay does what he does best, and that’s look like a complete tool. Young and Magnus will start the match off. Before Young does a thing, though, he tags in ODB, whose jugs appear to get larger with each passing week. Magnus circles her, checking her out in the process. ODB then does the same to him, smacking him on the ass, before slapping him in the face and chest. Magnus goes for a clothesline, but ODB ducks and motorboats him. Magnus seems to like it. ODB hits a Thesz Press, and upon landing, her and Magnus roll around on the mat for a bit. Joe is looking on with a look that says he’d rather be any place else in the world right now. Young tags in, despite ODB not wanting him to. He immediately takes off his wrestling shorts. It’s times like this we need Art Donovan on commentary again. Young spears Magnus down. Magnus goes for a corner whip and charge, but Young hops over the top rope onto the apron, gets back in and hits a spinning belly-to-belly for 2. Young bounces off the ropes, and Joe kicks him in the back in the process. Magnus hits a big boot and some stomps, followed by a running back elbow in the corner. Joe tags in and punches Young a bunch of times, followed by a hip bump in the corner and a spinning enziguri. He snapmares Young over as Magnus comes off the middle rope with an elbow drop. Joe goes for the pin, but only gets 2. Joe hits a big clothesline off the ropes for another 2. Joe fires off more punches, but misses an avalanche. Young hits a running forearm for 2 before Magnus breaks it up. ODB dropkicks him out of the ring. She takes a swig off her flask while looking at Joe as Young climbs the top rope from behind. Magnus gets back in the ring and throws her shoulder-first into the corner, sending her to the floor and crotching Young on the top rope. Joe picks Young up for the Muscle Buster, and this one’s over.
WINNERS: Magnus and Samoa Joe. As strange as it may be, Magnus and Joe could actually be a solid team if they continue teaming after this tournament. They actually have a bit of chemistry together.
Angle/RVD is next.
Back from the break, Anonymous Interviewer is asking Mickie James what she learned from her last match with Gail Kim, and how she’ll use that knowledge tonight. James says she already knew Kim was a great competitor, but this last time, she got a better feel for the way she moves and her motions and stuff. Yes, she actually said “and stuff”. She feels like she has a better grip on things, and has a pretty good idea of what tactics Gail Kim will “distort to” to win this match. She’s pretty confident, she knows Gail Kim is a great competitor, but she also knows she’s better. Interviewer asks her some question about “gear”, and James responds by saying every woman on the roster has been champion at some point, and the Knockouts title is what they’re all fighting for. I’m not sure what that had to do with gear, and I’m not sure what gear it was Interviewer was even talking about.
MATCH 5: Kurt Angle vs. Rob Van Dam
Angle’s out first, and he looks skinnier and sicker than ever. Well, except for his stomach, which appears distended. RVD settles on a side headlock to start. Angle throws him off, and they trade a couple reversals. Another tie-up, and Angle backs RVD into the corner before raking the eyes. RVD stops a corner whip and goes for a roundhouse. Angle catches the foot, so RVD brings up the other leg. Angle ducks, and RVD keeps moving, turning it into a pin attempt for 2. Back up, Angle eats a thrust kick to the chest and a spinning corner dropkick for another 2. RVD hits another kick, this time to the head, and follows with Rolling Thunder for 2. Another kick in the corner and a forearm shot. Angle comes back with punches, but RVD gets a corner whip and a roundhouse in the corner. He bounces off the ropes and gets caught by Angle, who hits an overhead belly-to-belly. Angle with a standard suplex for another 2. He goes into a waistlock now as RVD fights his way back to his feet. RVD tries to elbow out, but Angle breaks the hold and hits a forearm to the back of the head. He whips RVD in the corner, but runs right into a spinning dropkick. RVD with some punches, a pair of clothesline and a corner whip. He goes for a monkey flip out of the corner, but Angle counters into a back suplex for 2. Angle sets up for the Last Call and attempts to connect it, looking completely ridiculous in the process. RVD ducks and hits a roundhouse kick. He goes up for the Five-Star Frog Splash, but Angle rolls out of the way and puts RVD in the ankle lock. As the referee is checking on RVD, James Storm comes into the ring and knocks Angle out with the Last Call, causing the DQ.
WINNER VIA DISQUALIFICATION: Kurt Angle. Looking at the replay, Storm didn’t even come within six inches of hitting Angle in the face with that move, and Angle didn’t even try to hide the fact that he was blocking the move with his hands.
Knockouts title match is next.
These commercials featuring the Knockouts trying to sell TNA merchandise while dressed up like slutty elves are not hot or sexy, no matter how much TNA would like you to believe they are. This is especially true when half the Knockouts have really goofy looks on their faces the entire time.
Back from the break, we’ve got RVD talking to Anonymous Interviewer backstage about what just happened. RVD says wrestling Angle is a test and he loves to test himself. They’ve already got a video package put together for the match that just happened, complete with ominous music. You know, this would be fine if the match happened several months ago or a feud had been going on for months, but this match JUST HAPPENED. It’s been over for less than 10 minutes, yet this is the type of video you would normally show for a feud lasting at least a month. Anyway, segue over to Angle in another backstage area, who calls Storm a moron who is messing with the wrong guy. He makes one of the stupidest comments I’ve ever heard when he says that “The Last Call isn’t a wrestling move; it’s a bar fight move.” When have you EVER seen someone attempt a superkick in a bar fight? Angle says kicking someone in the head isn’t wrestling, and Storm isn’t a wrestler. Segue over to James Storm. Anonymous asks him about the Last Call. Storm makes some comment about how, when you mess with a person’s close friends, you’re messing with their family, and Kurt Angle “drank a Last Call cowboy boot.” Yeah, I don’t know, either. Back to Angle, who says the first match with Storm didn’t count, and he’ll win the last one.
Apparently, the Knockouts are getting the main event slot here. Based on that, I’d be willing to bet that the title changes hands here tonight, despite Gail Kim barely getting a chance to run with it.
MATCH 6-Knockouts Championship: Mickie James vs. Champion Gail Kim
Have I mentioned I hate the jerky way Mickie James moves during her opening routine? It looks really stupid. Just saying. JB announces this match is for the Knockouts Ladies Championship, as opposed to the Knockouts Gentleman’s Championship. Thanks for clearing that up, Bloated Ken Doll. We get the formal introductions here, and I learn that Mickie’s name is actually “Mickie Chames”, and she’s from “Richman, Farchinia”. Can anyone tell me where Farchinia is? Is it anywhere near the Crimson Chin’s home of Chincinnati? After the bell rings, James gets in a couple of quick pin attempts. After some forearms, she hits a Thesz Press and some mounted punches. James with a kick and a forearm. Kim gets her in the corner and charges, but winds up eating a Tunacanrana from James (pun fully intended). James hits a low dropkick, sending Kim to the floor. She misses a baseball slide to the floor, but manages to hit a neckbreaker on the outside. Commercials.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Gail Kim. After the match, the camera zooms in on the woman, who has poked her head out to give Kim a thumb’s up. Shock of shocks, despite the face paint, you can clearly see it’s Madison Rayne, which pretty much defeats the entire purpose of this. And, now that I’ve seen this, I have to laugh at all the idiots who were wondering if this “mystery woman” was Melina.
End of show.
So, that’s the last episode of TNA for the year. Only about 20 more episodes to go since the world is ending in May according to the Mayan calendar. And as we all know, the Mayans have never been wrong. Except for, you know, all the times they were, which was more often than the times they were right.
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Thanks for reading, and as long as Spike TV still fronts the bill, I’ll see you next week.