TNA 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.
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.
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?
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
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