If you follow TNA Wrestling in the media at all, you knew there was a lot of hype coming into this episode: celebrity signings, at least one new acquisition, and what TNA was calling the most shocking thing you will see in the company this year, to be shown at the very end of the broadcast. Did they sign Goldberg? Is Angelina Love really a man? Hold your breath, fans of second tier wrestling.
MR. ANDERSON OPENING. This segment got off to a decent start but was eventually hindered by wonky writing. Anderson came out to do a sit-in until he received a legitimate explanation as to why he was being “buried” in the title race. Rob Van Dam appears and claims that he got screwed by Anderson when he didn’t catch that Hardy low blow from a week ago. Woah, woah, woah, timeout, RVD. As a referee, even if Anderson saw the low blow, what was he supposed to do other than ring the bell for a DQ?
So, because every TNA opening segment must have at least one brawl, RVD and Anderson laid into each other while Eric Bischoff and Immortal appeared on stage and told the fighting pair that they would be squaring off tonight. Jeff Jarrett chimed in with the brilliant idea of having Kurt Angle join the match to make it a triple threat. Alright, a decent match has been set up…don’t screw it up, TNA.
JARRETT NONSENSE. In case you didn’t get enough of it last week, Impact ran more of these around town with the Jarretts segments. Not too much to see here, but there was one particular scene in a church when a Father asks the couple “who is Kurt?” and becomes completely disgusted at the two for putting the ex-husband through this ordeal. Whatever, Father (who might be the sound guy or something), say that with more conviction. I’ll have to admit though—the annoying scenes of the two lovebirds are actually making me anticipate the big renewal, but mostly because I want to see what kind of havoc Kurt Angle will unleash on the Jarretts.
GUNNER and MURPHY vs. ORLANDO JORDAN and ERIC YOUNG. I guess Gunner and Murphy are big time now because TNA has sprung for some really fruity tights for the pair. This was an okay match, but Beer Money being on commentary completely spoiled the ending. Storm and Roode kept talking up their match with the Immortal Security next week for the belts, and what do you know, Gunner and Murphy quickly scored the pin. Since we have uniforms for the two, can we also give them a name while we are at it? How about Security Detail? And we outfit them with tasers, too.
DEVON IN RING. The Devon/Ray feud that no one cares about continues on. To his credit Devon did deliver a pretty emotional spot when apologizing to his two children for allowing Ray to put his hands on them. Bully Ray came on the Dixie-tron and basically said how great it felt to put Devon’s kids through tables and concuss them. He was also in the midst of beating up one of Devon’s “brothas” before Tommy Dreamer had seen enough and intervened. Wait, did this just get racial on all our asses? I guess it makes sense—Ray has been dressing and acting like he would belong to something called a Militia lately. Dreamer hustled Ray to the ring where Devon embarrassingly fudged his spot to miss Ray with a chair shot while Ray weaseled his way out of harms way, yet again.
MAGNUS vs. CRIMSON. Wow, on name alone this has a shot to be my favorite match of the night. Magnus started on the mic with some nice Narcissus heat and capped it with a direct shot at Crimson: “at least I’m not carrying Kurt Angle’s bags around.” It’s too bad this match was only about two minutes long because Magnus is so fresh and Crimson displayed a couple killer moves, including a winning finisher called Red Alert, a swinging side slam into a facebuster. I’m thinking the glass is half full and this was just a teaser for more to come from these two, whether it be a solid feud or they each find other veterans to push them over the top. Either way, keep these two on screen.
ROB TERRY vs. SCOTT STEINER. This was the “posedown” that we all have been waiting for…err, maybe just conceited girls who refer to their dream guys as juice heads. In the end, this needed more posing for an alleged posedown. I’m talking zero poses here, people. Rob Terry was passable on the mic, but it always becomes quickly apparent that he stays on because of those softballs sitting atop his shoulders and not his lingual nuances. Steiner soon followed and called out Terry for stealing his “Genetic Freak” moniker and told him his new nickname should be Chernobyl, the pun being that he’s “a couple of vitamins away from being a chemical disaster.” While that last line was pretty funny, the bit lost all steam when Terry blindsided Steiner with a dumbbell and strength cord.
RIC FLAIR IN RING. Listen, as much as I hate the logjam of aging, broken down wrestlers in this company, Ric Flair is still one of the best guys in the business to cut a heelish promo. Hell, the first thing he uttered was directed at a girl in the audience who couldn’t have been a day over 20 years old, bragging that he was going to take her on Space Mountain later tonight. Later, he gets to the heart of the matter and demands an apology from AJ Styles and Fourtune for breaking away from Immortal without asking him first. Styles hits the ring and promptly nails Flair, which causes Hernandez to run out and attack Styles.
This was one of the more watchable segments tonight, with Styles having to thwart Hernandez off of him time after time, while making the mistake of going back to attack Flair each time. When the two eventually overtook Styles, Fortune hit the ring to make the save while a pissed off Matt Morgan hunted down Hernandez and squashed him. After watching this I now understand it was the right choice for Flair to betray Fortune and remain a heel.
MADISON RAYNE OPEN CHALLENGE. Even though I expected a new face to show up for this thing, we weren’t completely disappointed when ODB stormed the ring and accepted Rayne’s challenge. The writing and booking here was solid: ODB started out very strong and not till the very end did Madison gather herself and become victorious. Also, I like this ODB character, who was a TNA mainstay for a few years. She’s unique looking, has powerful moves, and can definitely throw a monkey wrench into TNA’s plans of trying to completely replicate WWE’s Divas division.
ODDS AND ENDS. Velvet Sky goes backstage to accept Sarita’s career challenge for next week. Sarita promises a fair fight, but as Velvet leaves she laughs it off and tells her cousin Rosita that she is going to screw her so bad that she won’t be able to walk straight. I’m not really looking forward to this match…while Sarita can entertain, there is no way Velvet gets fired.
Matt Morgan announces that he will destroy Hernandez next week, which will set up for a decent match. Hernandez has a loose alliance with Immortal, so it’ll be interesting to see if Bischoff plays the numbers game against The Blueprint.
It’s official: Tenay and Taz reported that Angelina from Jersey Shore will call out J Woww next week, while Bart Scott of the New York Jets will also make an appearance. I love the idea of a fairly famous football player getting in on the action, but the Angelina angle bores me to tears. If Angelina aligns herself with Robbie E and Cookie than this will all but kill whatever it was that made Shore interesting. TNA fans like the idea and parody of Jersey Shore, but not the genuine article.
Regardless, the match was long enough and boasted serious star power to justify a main event. Later, the Jarretts would come out to distract Angle, who had fallen prey to a Mic Check from Anderson, costing Angle the match. You would think this would cement Anderson as the new number one contender for Jeff Hardy’s belt, but something tells me this won’t be the case.
To end the broadcast, we see a vignette that is almost a carbon copy of WWE’s return of the Undertaker from Monday night. 3.3.11 flashes on the screen, signifying that something will most definitely go down next week on Impact.
VERDICT. This certainly wasn’t a top heavy show, but I loved seeing Magnus, ODB, Crimson and others steal the spotlight from the wash-ups for a change. This episode was also clearly a set-up for next week’s Impact on the road, so much so that champion Jeff Hardy didn’t even make an appearance. 6/10.
NEXT WEEK (SPOILERS AHEAD). As reported on this site and several others, TNA shot itself in the foot once again and had one of its bigger moments taped earlier in advance. Sting resigned with TNA and promptly won the TNA Championship from Jeff Hardy up in Fayetteville, NC. I can’t even count how many things are wrong with this, but the fatal error is not doing your highly hyped “on the road” show live. In an age where the Internet is king, this stuff just won’t fly anymore. I just don’t get it—when Impact was live for those couple of months in 2010, the show was executed fairly well. So, when you promise the biggest event of the year, it should probably happen in real time and I shouldn’t have to hear about it from a wrestling site.
Joe Leininger lives in Gainesville, FL and writes on The Playing Field.
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