Greetings once again and welcome to your one stop shop for everything you probably missed on this week’s TNA Impact because of better stuff like, oh, the WWE. I wouldn’t hold it against you; January to April is prime WWE season and with nothing to compete against except a convoluted Jeff Jarrett and Kurt Angle storyline, it’s slow watching round these parts.
KURT ANGLE OPENING. I should start by noting that this is the first part of many, many segments involving Angle, Jeff Jarrett, and that dime piece of a wife, Karen Jarrett. Kurt storms the Impact Zone, demanding the befuddled production truck guy to play his music, which was a modestly humorous way to open the set. Once in the ring, Angle jumps right into the meat of the situation, dropping lines about his family and even starts sobbing a bit. This was a little awkward—acting or not, that is still your actual ex-wife you are talking about, and she has your kids. It seems like he is hitting too close to home but either doesn’t realize it, or has moved past it completely, which I doubt. I’ve also heard that Jarrett and Angle aren’t really “tight” so I have to commend Angle for really sucking it up for the company this time.
In a similar fashion as last week, Angle quickly dismisses Jarrett’s MMA “Goon Squad, sent out by Ric Flair and Eric Bischoff. I was actually able to see one of Jarrett’s guys, “The Stimulus” Sam Shaw, wrestle on Saturday at WrestleBrawl 2 in Sanford, FL, and was more than impressed with his strong heel play and ability to stick out in a Fatal Four Way that also featured Jesse Neal. Hopefully the kid gets more opportunities to be on the program, even if TNA is phasing out the MMA story.
SARITA vs. MADISON RAYNE vs. VELVET SKY vs. MICKIE JAMES. Holy tacos, a four-way match in the Knockouts division? That seems awfully busy for my tastes, Vince Russo. The bulk of the action was actually pretty well executed, especially the improvement I’ve been noticing in Velvet’s repertoire. Mickie James still carried this match, which ended with interference by Tara, Madison using that absurd glove as a weapon again, and Mickie eventually pinning Madison in what looked like a botched finish. Consider my interest now piqued, especially after seeing that hilarious “Giggity Madison Rayne” fan sign.
BEER MONEY AND SAMOA JOE PROMOS. We get a look into the Immortal locker room as Beer Money is getting psyched for their match against Rob Van Dam and Mr. Anderson later tonight. Of note: James Storm and his 8 oz. curls, and actually showing Robert Roode that he’s working out with these beer bottles he is also drinking from. A solid Beer Money gag indeed and I can only think of that spot on quote by Kazarian, “he enjoys beverages.” After the break, we catch Samoa Joe talking to some Asian guy about the Pope tailing, revealing this tourist looking dude to be the guy that is stalking Pope. Damn, that’s pretty ‘meta’ right there—a candid camera taping Joe talking to the guy who tapes Pope!
MATT MORGAN vs. ROB TERRY. Really, TNA?! Last week they send Abyss against Morgan, and now it’s Rob Terry? This must be there new “XL” division, huh? However, in a lucky stroke of genius, Morgan lands one move, that nasty Carbon Footprint, and pins Terry for the win. You think it’s over? Sit down, because Ric Flair is about to run some interference, including but not limited to two non-consecutive low blows and an illegal chop block from Terry. Ref, where’s the flag? 15 yards, fool! Good call on making this more of an assault, but Flair’s below the belt antics are getting out of control.
AJ STYLES BACKSTAGE. The injured Styles is hyping up Kazarian for his match, but afterwards is garroted by Crimson, whom we saw last week attack Abyss. Crimson now warns AJ of the impending arrival of “They” on February 3rd; even though some people have spilled the beans online about this, I am really interested in seeing who Crimson is putting together to mount a front against Immortal.
KAZARIAN vs. JAY LETHAL. X DIVISION TITLE. I’m not going to beat a dead horse and tell you that these guys have good chemistry, but thank you for at least making this third billing. For their standards, though, Kazarian was a bit sluggish and this match was drowned out by Mike Tenay and Taz constantly talking about the Kurt Angle and Jeff Jarrett story. The best part of the match was at the beginning when Kazarian pulled a classic heel move and tried to high tail it after only 30 seconds or so of getting whooped. Later, Kazarian sun set flips over the top rope to pin Lethal, while blatantly holding the rope. I felt confused as to what exactly this match accomplished—Kazarian landed no more than five offensive moves the entire match, while phoning in a win and making referee Jackson James look foolish. As my roommate who knows nothing about pro wrestling would ask, “why aren’t there more refs to catch that chicanery?”
KAREN ANGLE AND JEFF JARRETT IN RING. The married couple came out to the ring and Jeff called Karen a victim of Kurt’s abuse, but not before telling us all how beautiful Karen was on the outside and inside. Snore. The best part of this whole thing was the fans chanting in unison, “sloppy seconds!” Angle is back in the arena to attack Jarrett and stare down Karen, who slaps her ex. Angle then falls victim to a Jarrett low blow (that’s THREE, count ‘em, three Immortal nut shots tonight for those keeping score) and continues to laughably oversell Jarrett’s punches. This story is going nowhere so far and all the time spent on it could have been replaced by an extra match or two.
ELIMINATE THE HATE. This is a commercial with good intentions featuring many TNA stars talking on behalf of an anti-bullying campaign. Unfortunately for them, one of the wrestlers is Jeff Hardy, the self-glossed Antichrist of Professional Wrestling. It’s worth a good chuckle coming about a guy whose about to be sentenced to some jail time and portrays someone who openly mocks wrestling fans.
POPE BACKSTAGE. We cut to Pope trying to ask some staffer permission to use his laptop for internet purposes. He eventually gets a hold of it via the old, reliable prank call, but we have no idea why he needs it or why TNA decided to include this in their program. My guess is porn.
RIC FLAIR AND AJ STYLES BACKSTAGE. This featured more modern shenanigans as Ric Flair finally gets his revenge and “ices” Styles. AJ takes the prank like a man, but as he is chugging the Apple flavored drink Kurt Angle reappears and takes a lead pipe to the back of AJ. Man, Styles is getting destroyed left and right this episode. Angle chokes out Flair and demands Jarrett meet him in the ring. Sigh.
BEER MONEY vs. ROB VAN DAM AND MR. ANDERSON. This was the “main event” and I use that term loosely. You can now take bets on just how soon Immortal will eventually ruin this match, but for now the match features a whole lot of Mr. Anderson getting his nards kicked in by Beer Money. Nice job building up your champ, TNA. Eventually, Robert Roode lands a low blow on Mr. Anderson, James Storm half-asses it in the ring and the Hardy Brothers distract the ref, allowing for Beer Money to score a pin.
Wait, there’s more show? [checks DVR] Hot damn, there’s like 25 more minutes!
BULLY RAY AND DEVON ANGLE. After the break we come back to Kendrick trying to teach Bully Ray about yoga and anger management, which is met abruptly by a swift shove into the lockers, knocking Kendrick out. Later, Devon comes to the ring and calls out Bully Ray on his “bullying” of Kendrick and demands he come to the ring. I demand Bully Ray watch that awkward Eliminate the Hate commercial like the rest of us. The climax came when Ray cheap-shots Devon yet again and lays his head inside a folding chair before whipping it with a chain. It was an innovative move, but not nearly enough to save this story that sucks out loud.
ANGLE AND JARRETT…AGAIN. In typical bad guy fashion, Jarrett comes out to the ring where Angle is waiting, but sends his henchmen, Gunner and Murphy, to eliminate the Angle threat. Angle dispatches them quickly, but because it’s not a TNA party unless a faction of ten or so guys crash the ring, Eric Bischoff sends out every member of Immortal and Fortune to beat up Angle. The overkill of the situation was only slightly salvaged when Abyss emerged from the entrance ramp looking to raise havoc, only to fall to the ground with his weapon Janice firmly implanted in his back. Crimson soon follows and lays claim to the presumably lifeless body of Abyss, sending out another warning to Immortal about “They.”
Verdict: Far, far too much Angle nonsense, especially seeing as how we were just teased and didn’t hear anything substantial from Karen. Unlike last week where there was hardly any wrestling, the matches were plenty but the execution was poor and some storylines are beginning to fray at the seams. At this point the only thing I’m really looking forward to is Crimson’s big reveal. 5/10
What did everyone else think about the show?
Joe Leininger is based out of Gainesville, FL and writes on The Playing Field.
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