Before I begin the 5-17-12 Impact Wrestling recap, it should be noted that, just after Vince McMahon announced RAW would be three hours every week starting with the 1000th episode, Dixie Carter announced that, starting on May 31st, Impact will now be live every week, and start an hour later. I really don’t get either of these moves, especially the live every week thing. It works for RAW, but that is because Vince is very meticulous with the show and does everything he can to make sure nothing goes wrong.
One of the reasons Impact is taped every week is so they can attempt to edit out mistakes. Going live each week, TNA will no longer have that luxury, and we are going to see all of their mistakes in their unintentionally hilarious glory. Aside from that, I have a feeling a lot of TNA stars are going to be pissed. One of the allures (and probably the only real one) with the company is that, aside from house shows, most contracted stars only work about three days a month since everything is taped over a span of two days plus one pay-per-view. On top of that, going live every week is much more costly than taping, and it’s not something TNA can really afford to do, since they’ve been hemorrhaging money for a decade now. And if you guessed Hulk Hogan is the major driving force behind this in his latest suggestion to turn the company around, congratulations, you win. Well, you don’t really win, since, when it comes to TNA, no one actually wins. No one.
Anyway, the show immediately opens with Bobby Roode heading down to the ring, still World Champion. Thank L. Ron Hubbard for that. Time after time within this company, people have stacked the odds against Roode. But YOUR World Heavyweight Champion overcomes the odds every single time. RVD, you had an opportunity to take the belt away from him, in a match you chose, a ladder match, a match you have seemingly perfected over your career. Roode says RVD lived up to his “Mr. PPV” moniker, because he put Roode through hell in one of the most grueling matches of Roode’s career. But at the end of the night, the “It Factor” in wrestling climbed that ladder and retained the championship, proving everyone wrong again. Say it loud, say it proud, Roode is YOUR World Heavyweight Champion. In seven days, Roode goes down in history as the longest-reigning World Champion in the history of the company. Next week, Roode is throwing the biggest party this business has ever seen, and he’s going to call it “The ‘It Factor’s’ Celebration of Domination”. To make sure it goes off without a hitch, he needs the cooperation from one man. Hulk Hogan, get you’re a** out here. If they bleep it, I’m bleeping it too, just so you can see how stupid it is.
Later tonight, AJ Styles will speak on what happened last week. There will also be a 3-way for the Knockouts Championship as Gail Kim defends against Brooke Tessmacher and Velvet Sky. Also, we get a detailed look at King Mo’s signing. Mabel and Oscar must be pretty pissed off they weren’t included in this deal.
RVD/Ray is up next.
We get a clip from Abyss’ “return” last week, warning his “brother” about getting too close to the situation, and spitting all over the camera in the process.
MATCH 1-Open Fight Night Qualifier: Bully Ray vs. Rob Van Dam
Ray’s back to doing his stupid calves gimmick. Sorry, but a lot of fat guys have big calves. Get to the gym and start developing the other parts, and I might eventually be impressed. Maybe. Probably not, though. As RVD comes out, you can see fans in the audience trying to figure out what they’re supposed to chant, as there are several fans in the front that are all chanting different things and looking confused. RVD’s arm and leg are heavily taped. He must’ve been lit on fire by Kane or something. Tie-up starts, with RVD turning it into a side headlock. Ray reverses into a top wristlock, followed by an arm wringer. Injured arm, BTW. RVD throws a few week punches, but Ray knees him in the arm. RVD blocks a corner slam with a high kick, follows up with a jumping roundhouse and Rolling Thunder for 2. RVD misses an enziguri, and Ray drops an elbow across the bad knee. Ray attempts a leglock on RVD, but has no clue what he’s doing. Taz and Mike Tenay are talking about a “big surprise” on May 31st. It’s what I told you about in the opening. Some surprise, eh? Anyway, Ray misses a splash off the ropes, allowing RVD to hit some punches, a pair of clotheslines and a superkick. RVD goes to the top for the jumping side kick, but Ray sidesteps him, causing RVD to land on the bad leg. Ray hits the Bubba Cutter and gets the 3.
WINNER: Bully Ray.
Up next, the video for King Mo’s signing. I’d keep making Sir Mo jokes, but there’s only so much material to work with there. So, “random MMA asshat” it is.
Anonymous Interviewer is in the back, wanting to know why Bully Ray is so pissed despite winning his match. Ray says AI knows why, and it’s because of the Kardashians. They want to jump on the “anti-bullying” bandwagon before challenging the Kardashians to come to the Impact Zone and stop them. Yes, Bully Ray just challenged three female “reality” “stars”. Man, this show is captivating. Joseph Abyss walks up and says he’d like to apologize for interjecting at Sacrifice, but Ray was going to cheat in his match. His “brother” said something interesting the other day about getting “too close to the fire”. Ray’s the fire, isn’t he? Ray tells him to stay away before flicking his tie.
According to Tenay, the signing of King Mo is unprecedented. Yeah, because former or active MMA stars haven’t been signed by wrestling promotions. Bobby Lashley, Brock Lesnar, Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn and even Alberto Del Rio have never signed with wrestling promotions in the past. We see footage from “MMA Uncensored”, where the toolbox who hosts the show is talking to the Bellator promoter, Dixie Carter and King Mo, saying that no one has ever wrestled and fought MMA at the same time in the past. Apparently, he doesn’t know a damn thing, as both Lashley and Severn have done this.
Gail Kim is talking to Madison Rayne in the back, complaining about her match. Rayne says she’s listening, but she’s clearly not. Kim asks her if it’s about this supposed guy she’s seeing. Rayne doesn’t know a thing. There’s a surprise. Brooke and Velvet confront her saying it’s fair that one of them will in the title tonight before smacking Kim on the ass. Brooke and Velvet walk away hugging each other, despite the fact that they are also opponents in said match tonight. TNA logic is flawless.
MATCH 2-Open Fight Night Qualifier “Wild Card” Battle Royal; Participants: World X-Division Champion Austin Aries, Garett Bischoff, Crimson, World Television Champion Devon, Gunner, Magnus, Knockout Tag Team Co-Champion ODB, Robbie E, Robbie T, AJ Styles and Knockout Tag Team Co-Champion Eric Young
Who’s betting on Garett Bischoff? I am, but because he really totally deserves it and is no way involved in nepotism in this company. No, sir. Everyone is brawling with everyone, except ODB, who just chops people. ODB and Young eliminate Crimson early, but the momentum takes them out as well. Crimson and the Knockout Tag Team Champions are gone. Aries eliminates Magnus with a dropkick. Madison Rayne is on the stage. Supposedly, one of these guys is her crush. T tries to throw Bischoff out, but Bischoff holds on. Of course he does. T tries again, and winds up getting thrown out by E from behind. Robbie T is eliminated. Devon then quickly throws E out. We’re down to five as we go to commercials.
Back from the break, no one else has been eliminated (Tenay: “Down to the final five, if my math is accurate.” Because counting to five is really difficult). Devon and Bischoff trade blows. Bischoff eats a shoulderblock. When Devon charges again, Bischoff low-bridges him over the ropes. Devon is eliminated. Devon offers a handshake, but Bischoff is supposedly too smart to fall for that, tapping his head to signal that he’s thinking. He turns around and ever so smartly gets nailed with a Ghetto Blaster from Styles, resulting in his worthless ass getting thrown out. That’s a relief. We’re down to three now as Aries and Styles trade shots. Aries blocks a throw attempt and lands a rolling elbow before trying to throw Styles out. Styles tries to counter with the Asai moonsault/inverted DDT combo. Aries counters into a brainbuster. Styles counters into a waistlock. Aries counters. Styles counters and shoves Aries into the ropes. Styles lands a jumping forearm before charging in. Aries tries to back drop him over the top. Styles lands on his feet on the apron and goes for a springboard. Aries moves, and Styles lands on his feet. As he’s distracted, Gunner quickly throws Aries out. Styles then does the same thing to Gunner with a fireman’s carry over the ropes, winning the match and qualifying for next week.
WINNER: AJ Styles.
Despite announcing that there is a “big surprise” for May 31st, we’ve already seen two commercials announcing that the show will be live. The best part of these commercials is the announcer saying “No edits! No do-overs!”, which more or less tells everyone who watches this show, “Yes, this show is pretty heavily edited.” I realize kayfabe is pretty much dead, but basically telling your audience that you edit your own show is even more insulting than just not saying anything at all.
We get video for the Styles/Daniels/Kazarian feud. This is such a stupid and tired angle. After the video, we see Styles still in the ring. Roode is on the verge of becoming the longest-reigning World Champion in this company’s history. If it’s up to Styles, he’ll end it. He wants Hogan to put him in the ring with Roode next week. Styles is now going to address the pictures. Things aren’t always what they seem. He and Dixie Carter have been business partners for 10 years, and they are both happily married. Dixie Carter is a beautiful (?), wealthy (well, her dad is) woman, but things aren’t always what they seem. We have to believe him on this one. Christopher Daniels’ music hits, and the new World Tag Team Champions make their way out. Daniels says Styles has a great move set, but those pictures show what kind of moves Styles used to get where he is today. Kaz grabs the mic and tells “CD” (what a stupid nickname) to calm down. Kaz says this hasn’t been about humiliating Styles or trying to destroy anyone’s life. This has been about exposing the truth, a truth Styles has benefited from while they were left in his wake. Styles is a man of his word, so what’s the deal with the pictures? Daniels is a reasonable man, so let’s say we’ve taken a photo out of context. That’s why they invented video. Daniels produces an iPad, which Kaz holds up for the camera. The video shows Styles and Carter walking arm-in-arm at a hotel somewhere. The video then shows Styles pull Carter into a hotel room. Daniels says there’s affection, then there’s passion. Styles shoves Daniels. Daniels says the truth hurts as Styles storms off.
We get a video for the Angle/Joe feud over the years, specifically Angle ending Joe’s undefeated streak at Genesis 2005. We see Joe approach Angle in the back by the trailers, saying it’s a shame he has to go through Angle to get his belt back. Business is business. Angle says there’s a long history between them, and it’s all about who makes the first move. Angle then slaps Joe, which leads to Joe beating the hell out of him. A group of wrestlers, referees and D-Lo Brown miraculously appear to separate the two.
Anderson/Hardy is next. We see Anderson in the back, messing around on an iPad. Anderson says he’s looking at things from all angles, leading to some pictures from his match with Hardy at Sacrifice, which saw the referee count Hardy down, despite one shoulder being up. Anderson says he was surprised, but…”do these shorts make my butt look big?” Is that supposed to be funny. Anderson says, because of the consummate professional he is (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!), he’s going to give Hardy one more shot tonight. Funny, I thought Hogan made this match?
Slammiversary hype video, featuring Dixie Carter and some guy from 2010. We then get another video, this time of the match between Joe, Styles and Daniels for the X-Division title at the first official Slammiversary show in 2005.
MATCH 3-Open Fight Night Qualifier: Mr. Anderson vs. Jeff Hardy
Tie-up to start, with Hardy shoving Anderson off. Hardy goes into a waistlock, and Anderson reverses. Anderson ducks a clothesline and tries for a swinging neckbreaker, which Hardy slides out of. Another tie-up, with Anderson backing Hardy into a corner. Three shoulder thrusts by Anderson. Hardy reverses and hits a few of his own, as well as boot to the stomach. Hard with an inverted atomic drop and a double legdrop for 2. Hardy clotheslines Anderson to the floor. Anderson blocks the dropkick through the ropes and snaps him off the ropes for 2. Anderson with some stomps and an elbow drop before going into a rear chinlock. Hardy elbows out, but Anderson drops him with a clothesline for 2. Hardy slides to the apron and shoulderblocks Anderson a couple times. Anderson tries for a neckbreaker through the ropes, but Hardy blocks it and hits a springboard dropkick for 2. Anderson ducks a clothesline and hits a swinging neckbreaker for 2. There is no flow to this match at all, and the crowd is dead. Anderson misses a roundhouse, allowing Hardy to chop-block the left knee. Hardy with some punches and a back body drop, followed by a clothesline and a back elbow. Hardy hits a flying forearm off the ropes for 2. Hardy sends Anderson sternum-first into the turnbuckles and follows with a side-Russian leg sweep. He tries for the double legdrop pin, but Anderson catches him and rolls through for 2. Anderson sends Hardy into the corner, but is met with a back elbow and a Botch in the Wind for 2. Hardy needlessly pulls off his shirt. He goes for the Twist of Fate, but Anderson counters into the rolling fireman’s carry slam. Hardy holds on and turns it into a crucifix for the 3.
WINNER: Jeff Hardy.
Another Angle/Joe video from their “shoot fight” at Lockdown 2008.
MATCH 4-Triple Threat Match for the Knockouts Championship: Velvet Sky vs. Brooke Tessmacher vs. Champion Gail Kim
Looks like Anonymous Brooke has raided Candice Michelle’s wardrobe with that jacket. Just as type that, she takes it off the exact same way Michelle used to. I guess that means she’s in for insane amounts of cosmetic surgery next, rendering her completely unrecognizable. Kim tries to leave the ring, but is whipped back in by Brooke. The faces take turns punching her, before Sky hits a clothesline and her stupid facebreakers. Brooke sends Kim out of the ring before tying up with Sky, resulting in a schoolgirl by Brooke for one. Sky counters with a small package for 1. Sky goes into a side headlock before completely whiffing a kick off the ropes. A second bounce off the ropes sees Kim trip her up and pull her to the outside. Kim gets in the ring and levels Brooke with a clothesline. She follows up with some stomps before choking Brooke over the middle rope with her knee. Sky tries to get back in the ring, but Kim forearms her off the apron. Backbreaker for Brooke and a foot choke. There’s one guy in the crowd chanting “This is awesome.” Kim locks Brooke in a Boston crab, and Sky comes in with a version of the Dragon Sleeper on Kim at the same time. Kim shoves her off and continues to work on Brooke, turning the move into a single-leg Boston crab. Sky breaks the hold up before sending Kim into the corner. She misses a charge, and Kim turns her attention on Brooke, locking in an Iron Octopus off the ropes. Sky comes in from behind and pulls both down into a schoolgirl, getting a 2 before Kim breaks the hold. Brooke then tries to pin Kim, but only gets 2. Kim slides to the apron. Sky goes after her, but Brooke is holding onto her foot. Sky stomps Brooke and looks for In Yo Face, but Brooke reverses and goes for the Brooke Shield. Sky blocks it several times, and they both turn to face Kim at the same time, who comes off the top with a double seated dropkick. Kim goes for Eat Defeat on Brooke, but Brooke shoves her off into the corner. Sky lands In Yo Face on Brooke (and Brooke botched the holy hell out of the landing), but before she can get the pin, Kim throws her out of the ring and gets the pin on Brooke herself.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Gail Kim.
MATCH 5-Open Fight Night Qualifier: Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle
Joe needs to get rid of the faux-hawk something fierce, as that’s one of the dumbest hairstyles in history. Joe backs Angle into a corner and punches him down, sending him to the floor. Joe looks like he may have dropped a little bit of weight, which is a good thing for him. Angle gets back into the ring and tackles Joe. Back up, Angle goes for the side headlock. Joe shoves him off and shoulders him down a couple times. Snapmare by Joe, followed by a chop to the back, a kick to the chest and a running senton for 2. Angle crawls to the corner, where Joe gives him the Face Wash. Angle catches Joe in an overhead belly-to-belly suplex off the ropes. Bobby Roode makes his way out and heads to the announce desk as we go to commercials.
Back from the break, Angle is stomping Joe down in the corner. He picks Joe up and hits a suplex for 2. Angle with a rear chinlock now. Joe better be careful in this position, especially if he’s seen Angle’s film “Endgame”. Joe fights out with elbows, but runs into a back elbow off the ropes, giving Angle a 1-count. Angle goes back to the rear chinlock as he thinks about Jenna Morasca. Joe fights out yet again, whipping Angle into the corner. Angle gets his boot up, but jumps off the middle rope right into an inverted atomic drop. Joe lands a big boot and another running senton for 2. Joe hits a powerslam off the ropes for 2. I just noticed Angle’s only wearing one kneepad, despite the knee without a pad being heavily taped up due to a legitimate injury. That’s smart, Kurt. Joe picks Angle up for a powerbomb, but Angle slides out and hits the dead guy suplexes. Angle pulls the straps down and looks for the Angle Slam. Joe slides out and goes for the Kokina Clutch. Angle slides down and counters into the ankle lock. Joe kicks him off into the corner and hits a jumping roundhouse against the turnbuckles. Joe with another inverted atomic drop. He goes for the boot again, but Angle blocks it and hits the Angle Slam for 2. Joe gets back up, and they trade some punches. Joe knocks Angle down with a kick. He goes for a kick to the chest, but Angle again blocks and turns it into the ankle lock. Joe tries to roll out again, but is having no luck. Joe eventually rolls through and sends Angle into the corner before going to the opposite corner. Angle charges in and is caught by a standing uranage. Joe sets Angle up for the Muscle Buster, but Angle blocks it. Joe chops him in the chest. Angle counters with a headbutt. Joe charges in, and Angle comes off the ropes with a sunset flip for the 3.
WINNER: Kurt Angle. After the match, as Roode is talking trash to Angle, we see Jeff Hardy coming down to the ring through the crowd. Roode begins heading to the back, where’s he’s cut off by Bully Ray, swinging a chain. AJ Styles then makes his way out onto the stage.
End of show.
In just seven days, we get “Open Fight Night, Part 2”. I find it funny that the concept of this is that anyone can challenge anyone, and if a champion is challenged, he/she has to defend the titles, yet only one title match-not counting the TV title-gets defended, and Hogan hand-picks the challenger. How is that any kind of an open challenge? Speaking of the TV title, it was not defended this week despite Hogan making a big deal that it would now be defended EVERY week, no questions asked. Also next week, round two of the “Gut Check” as another scrub from OVW gets his shot. Maybe it’ll be like last time where, despite Al Snow repeatedly saying the contestant has to get 2 out of 3 votes to land the contract and Alex Silva got his two votes before Bruce Pritchard even opened his fat mouth (Flair changed his original decision from “no” to “yes” after Al Snow had already said “yes”, thus negating the need for a third vote), and everyone looking stupid because they forgot that rule and didn’t act accordingly. Ooh! Maybe we’ll get “Jersey Shore” cast-off Jesse Godderz. How about Johnny Spade, who has been in OVW for over a decade? Or the extreme marketability that is Trailer Park Trash? Man, it’s going to be great.
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Thanks for reading, and as long as Spike TV still fronts the bill, I’ll see you next week.