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TNA iMPACT! Results & Report 03-31-11

Chris Daniels returned to TNA ImpactLong standing and faithful fans on TNA Wrestling rejoice—Christopher Daniels has returned to fight the good fight with Fortune and take down Immortal.

Christopher Daniels had been away from TNA television since late March, which was right around the time I started really watching this company. Up until then he had been a mainstay with the organization, having spent eight years with them before being released.

While Fortune, minus the kayfabe injured AJ Styles, was getting mauled by Matt Hardy, Abyss, and Bully Ray in a steel cage, Daniels appeared from the crowd and delivered a massive cross body from the top of the cage that took out all three Immortal goons.

Backstage promos throughout the show had hinted that Fortune was calling in some sort of backup on account of Styles’ absence, but a surprise of this magnitude paid off because Daniels was treated to a loud pop from the crowd. This was probably really cool to see live, but the multiple hints at the reinforcement somewhat dampened the effect of a twist ending.

Sometimes, constantly watching wrestling can have negative effects on your overall enjoyment. For me, I appreciated the surprise visit from Christopher Daniels for two reasons: my unfamiliarity with him doesn’t bore me, and TNA showing the fans respect by bringing back one of their hardest workers caused my heart to grow two sizes bigger tonight.

While the Abyss return was a nice addition, everyone figured he would be back very soon, leading to minimal online buzz from the wrestling community. However, a 40-year-old Daniels, who was thought to be somewhat buried toward the end of his TNA career, returning amidst the tame atmosphere of stale main events that include Matt Hardy? This could be the kick in the teeth that TNA so desperately needs.

I can’t imagine the rating for this episode to be very high, especially the first half hour. In the ongoing Anderson/Sting/RVD story arc, the show kicked off with Mr. Anderson dragging referee Earl Hebner to the ring and demanding he reverse his DQ decision from Anderson’s No. 1 Contender match last week against Rob Van Dam. Poor writing, and I’ll be damned, plot holes sunk this very early. Initially, Hebner stood up for himself and said he WOULDN’T reverse the decision. When confronted by RVD just minutes later, Hebner calmly said he COULDN’T reverse the decision.

Errors like that are excusable during mid-show commercial break promos, but this was dead square in the middle of the opening segment, when casual viewers have antsy trigger fingers on their remotes. The Dodgers are playing the Giants six channels over on Opening Night in Major League Baseball…come a little harder than that, guys.

Even if you have been keeping up, the constant whining, match reshuffling, and overall antics involving Sting, Eric Bischoff, Hulk Hogan, Rob Van Dam, Mr. Anderson, and various other members of Immortal are about enough for me to ruin every opening segment, but the story also ate up a portion of the show at the hour mark.

Mr. Anderson came to the ring and demanded an apology from Sting, and surprise, the two fought. Over what? Who knows. Probably respect. Maybe a parking spot outside Universal Studios. All this nonsense probably ate up a quarter of the show, all to announce a Steel Cage Main Event featuring Hardy, Abyss, and Bully Ray against Sting, RVD, and Mr. Anderson.

Needless to say, when the match finally starts, there is no cohesion between the faces, especially between Anderson and his two tag team partners. One slightly amusing bit was when Anderson refused to enter the cage to help his team, instead opting to grab a chair, sit down and watch the match like a fan. Hell, he even flipped around the chair and sat A.C. Slater style, really channeling his anti-hero character, electing to not help the two guys who he feels have wronged him the past couple of weeks.

The structure of the match was a mess. It looked as if not all parties knew that the match was official tag team rules. At the beginning, RVD looked lost as he huddled behind the ropes, waiting to be tagged in as the Immortal guys stomped a mud hole in Sting. When Anderson was finally thrown in the ring by Hogan, the match looked more like a standard tag bout, but at that point no one cared. Eventually, Anderson pushed RVD off the top rope, leading to Ray giving RVD a Bubba Bomb for the win.

If this wasn’t bad enough, the writers questioned are ability to count, adding the three healthy members of Fourtune to the cage to fight Immortal, making it 5-on-3 in favor of the good guys. Sadly, all five men were overpowered (including the company’s Heavyweight champ, mind you) by two jobbers and an out-of-shape, former tag wrestler. After what seemed like every member of Fortune had been busted open, The Fallen Angel, Chris Daniels made his appearance and saved this story from completely sucking.

THE OTHER STUFF

In a move I hoped for and predicted a couple of months ago, the two brothers of Generation Me finally came to blows over their individual quests for the X Division title. While neither Max nor Jeremy Buck can cut a great promo, the match they put on was a solid exhibition of fast aerials, character growth, and story telling. Max came off as the smarter, older brother who insisted on keeping his younger in his shadow to answer to his every demand. Jeremy fought valiantly, but was overcome with Max’s trickery, leading to a powerbomb into the turnbuckle, following by a running, top rope bulldog for the pin. While this is a nice change of pace, I really hope the end result is Generation Me putting aside their differences and re-entering the tag fray. Neither is ready for the singles division.

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The Kurt Angle and Jeff Jarrett story lives on, with this installment seeing Jeff sending out Rob Terry to weaken Angle before their match at TNA Lockdown. In a three minute awkward bump session, Kurt wrenched the ankle lock and claimed the victory. Afterwards, Angle chased Jeff from the ring, only to be confronted and arrested by police for violating the restraining order held against him by Karen Angle. It was a nice little chapter that wasn’t entirely corny, but the 50 million Jarrett promos during the show made me nauseous.

In a Knockouts angle I thought would lose steam, Velvet Sky battled Winter, aka the psycho that is brainwashing Velvet’s best friend, Angelina Love. The promos for this were generally effective, yet surprisingly creepy. Angelina was seen drinking something, seeming under the hypnotic control of Winter. This pisses off Velvet even more, who ended up giving it her all, but succumb to a nasty winding backbreaker and subsequent chin lock submission from Winter, who earned the win. Angelina’s dead-behind-the-eyes, completely subservient gaze during the match was so great that I am actually excited to see what’s next. An adaptation of The People’s Temple? Mark me down as ‘supportive’.

The opening bout saw Shannon Moore lose to Scott Steiner, who exacted some revenge for Shannon’s defacing of Steiner’s head dress. After Steiner executed a rarely seen Frankensteiner on Moore for the pin, the real story unfolded as Magnus and Douglas Williams attacked Eric Young and Orlando Jordan, who were on commentary during the match. This sets up a four-way tag match at Lockdown between all teams involved, with Williams and Magnus serving as de facto heels against Steiner and Crimson, Ink Inc., and Young and Jordan. I think this brings the count of Douglas Williams’ vascillation between heel and face to somewhere around five or six in the past year alone. Yikes.

TNA March 31 Impact Results
Scott Steiner def. Shannon Moore, pinfall
Max Buck def. Jeremy Buck, pinfall
Winter def. Velvet Sky, submission
Kurt Angle def. Rob Terry, submission
Bully Ray, Matt Hardy, and Abyss def. Rob Van Dam, Sting, and Mr. Anderson, pinfall

VERDICT. While the Daniels return, the rift between the Bucks, and Winter’s personality growth are all signs of an entertaining product, this Impact episode served as the perfect example of limiting the action on television to cheaply warrant a PPY buy. Most of this crap seems forced and riddled with random, brief, and sometimes useless interview-style promos. The quantity of the backstage segments was at an all time high while the quality flickered between uninspired and poor. In one of the earlier promos, Bully Ray dropped this gem: “I’m a bad BMF!” Apparently chino vests with customizable biker stickers and beanies trump a general understanding of acronyms. Damn, his bully character is spot on! 4/10

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

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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