Written by: Arnold Furious
May 24th 2009. I got married the day before this show. True story.
We’re in the Impact Zone. Hosts are Mike Tenay & Don West. Pre-show had Amazing Red go over Kiyoshi. Nice to see Red back in the game after missing 3 years with a knee injury that could have permanently ended his career.
EARLIER we see the main eventers arrive. Kurt Angle’s monstrous Humvee limo is an absolute American eyesore. I like that Foley’s car is a banger. It’s a real piece of shit. I would say that was blatantly staged but with Mick you never know.
Motor City Machineguns/Sheik Abdul Bashir v Lethal Consequences/Eric Young
This is an X division showcase of sorts. West debates the identity of Suicide telling us he used to be Daniels and now he has to beat his gimmick to get the title back that he won himself, which is actually quite clever. But it does rather make Suicide a gimmick and nothing more. Oh, and I think it’s telling that the commentators are more interested in that rather than this throwaway opener. West then rides Tenay in his quasi-heel commentary mode and like the comments section last time I’m now of the opinion that heel-ish Don West is a good thing. It makes them sound less stupid for starters. Now West can point out stuff that before, as a good babyface, he was forced to ignore. Bashir gets the most out of this whole boring scenario because everyone hates him so when he’s in there the crowd cares. I think TNA shoots itself in the foot by putting on so many multiple person matches like this. Not like NOAH where they throw out a bunch of multiple person matches but it all just feels random. Ok, perhaps NOAH is a bad example. At least there are two tag teams in this. The Guns work in some nice teaming but they’re heels. At least they’re acting like dicks but people are popping their cool looking offence. Its all a bit backwards. Everything good comes from the Guns and yet they don’t dominate the match. Just use their good shit to set up easy stuff for the less competent opponents. And Bashir feels like dead weight in that equation. They use him for the odd spot that a tackling dummy could manage.
Lethal hardly sells a brainbuster, which irks me. I know the X division sometimes has a shortage in selling but when you get one massive move among a bunch of pretty stuff you HAVE to sell it or everything else means nothing. It’s the kind of thing that Disco Inferno gets upset about. 6 seconds. Crowd chants “this is awesome” showing there must be something weird in the Kool Aid they serve down in Florida. “This is passable” or “this is a bit of a mess” would be more appropriate. Its like when Heyman used to announce some shit awful tag team main event in ECW and the crowd would go insane for it because they knew New Jack would dive off a balcony. The Guns work in some more nice Tree of Woe stuff and their double teams are owning this one. Bashir hits the WMD Driver for 2. Creed had to save there because you don’t kick out of moves like that. ASCS Rush on Creed. EY stacks the Guns up for a double DVD. Lethal then finishes Bashir off with a sunset flip, which only works because the ref kicks Bashir’s hands off the ropes. All that crazy high spot stuff for that finish? ***. They were popping off spots like this was Wrestling Society X towards the end. They did get some cool stuff in and I’m sure people will complain that I don’t care for this but dig on Ring of Honor when they do the same sort of match. But there’s a world of difference between the storytelling. Why does Lethal win here? Because the ref helps him. That’s like the crowd popping Manny Pacquiao because the ref got in another boxer’s way and left him open for the knock out. There’s no storyline reason why anyone gets over on anyone else here. The Guns have been long established as the best tag team in the cruiserweight division and yet they never seem to win anything because of…the booking. Nothing makes common logical sense. Which is why TNA is so incredibly frustrating.
POST MATCH I finally understand what’s going on here as Eric Young sees the hypocrisy in celebrating ‘that’ as a win. They should have teased this a little more effectively during the match but at least they have a storyline to go forward with. On the other hand we just ignored everything else in this match in yet another attempt to get Eric Young over.
We get a recap of how many spots were in that match. Two things; match needed relevance/gravitas and either build up to the finish or a better finish.
Monster’s Ball: Taylor Wilde v Daffney w/Abyss
First ever Knockout’s Monster’s Ball. Its happening so Abyss can channel his aggressive into Daffney and cure himself. Daffney turned on Taylor because she’s a loon. An important message frequently delivered by wrestling (and sports) is that if you look different you must be weird and therefore mentally unstable. Taylor takes a DETOUR sign to the head. Daffney’s main approach is screaming and choking. Which could make her a healthy sidebar as a dominatrix. Taylor gets feisty and uses the weapons better including a great FU onto a trashcan for the pin. *1/4. It went well but was really short at three and change.
POST MATCH Dr Stevie comes in to coach the girls on the correct use of violence to give Abyss the correct therapy. In this case: let’s slam Taylor on thumbtacks! Its fairly solid therapy; showing Abyss the consequences of violence on a prettier target. Interview Girl runs in to try and talk Abyss out of it, which gets her a pieface from Dr Stevie. Which is just too much therapy for Abyss to take and he chokeslams Stevie into the tacks instead. Some good facial reactions from everyone out there! Well done on the segment folks.
BACKSTAGE Borash shills three “big names” for Impact. You need to text TNA to find out who they are, thus ruining Impact as the names got out immediately via the internet. Those people were Shane Douglas, Raven and Victoria (aka Tara). 1/3! He moves on to Jeff Jarrett who’s been sat around back there. He says the company is taking steps backwards so he has to change that by beating Foley for the title. Its YOUR company idiot, just strip him of the belt. Or book him against 50 other guys. I don’t buy the whole “I have to do it myself” thing.
X title – Suicide (c) v Daniels
This is a crazy scenario TNA ended up in. Daniels WAS Suicide and won the title as him but then in order to avoid the obvious ‘Daniels is Suicide’ story he’s now challenging Suicide for his title. The one he won as Suicide. Technically its his title. He could just come out and say; I am Suicide, now give me my belt. Who cares if it was him under the mask? Don West figures this is just a setup so Daniels can win the title off some scrub in a mask. But its not; Kazarian now has the hood on. They run through a tentative felling out process. I guess Kaz was having difficulty recovering from injuries but also finding it hard to mask (pun intended) his usual movements and trademarks, which Daniels so routinely failed to do. Perhaps deliberately. So with him fishing for an approach its left to Daniels to do his thing instead. Kaz is trying SO hard not to do anything to give himself away but its leading to an awkward display. A legdrop looks just like Kaz but there aren’t enough tells for the average Impact Zone member. They fail on a standing reversal. Just didn’t get enough momentum and the crowd sense the fuck up. But this is a hardcore TNA crowd and they don’t ride them on such an obvious screw up. They run a Finlay Roll spot on the ramp, which Suicide delivers but goes down hard afterwards (doing an awesome Suicide pose as he collapsed). They run another awkward spot, this one deliberate, where Daniels gets knocked to the floor. That brings out Chris Sabin for the distraction and Alex Shelley for the interference on Suicide. Daniels rolls him up to thankfully end this whole abortion of an experiment BUT…
TNA show the replays on the big screen and Daniels sees the interference for the first time. He therefore refuses the title because its bullshit. But you can’t just re-start the match! You’re just a wrestler. And why do referees only see the replay sometimes? Daniels wants five more minutes and we re-start. BUT Daniels won the title. So if the five minutes ends even doesn’t he win the title still? Crowd is still markedly indifferent to all of this. They popped the finish, barely. Kaz doesn’t improve in OT. He let’s Daniels control things and tries to focus on not giving anything away. I can actually hear the boredom of the crowd thanks to seeing Daniels Vs CAW. Kaz has had to strip away anything entertaining he does. Suicide tries his finish but Daniels gets a rana out of it. BME is countered into a Cutter but it was hard to see. Time is running out and neither guy can get anything so it’s a tie. A 17 minute draw. **. The idea of doing all this was clever on paper, like I’m sure a lot of TNA’s ideas are, but the execution was less than thrilling. Kaz found it extremely hard to adjust to this new character and the result was clumsy. Both in execution and in storyline. Daniels had to carry this and sometimes you just can’t do that. Its take two to tango. A better idea would have been hiring a new but competent wrestler to wear the mask.
Knockouts title – Angelina Love (c) v Awesome Kong
I’m contractually obliged to point out that Kong kills bitches dead. Having snuck the belt off Kong and onto the more attractive Love they’re not intending on switching that again. This really begins the build of Love’s title run. Kong has destroyed Angelina’s backup over recent weeks to create the illusion that her experiment will be short lived. Love’s tactics mostly involve running away, which is fine as she’s the heel. She gets caught though and Kong begins a protracted beatdown. Angelina starts to use both her speed and environment to her advantage by ducking a backfist near the ring post. Angelina gets a little confidence but Kong then starts no selling. Angelina decides to take the count out but gets stopped by Raisha who’s gotten a lot sexier since Kong turned face. Kong misses off the top giving Angelina an opening to get some deodorant or silly string or some shit. Kong takes it to the eyes, although nothing comes out of the can, and Angelina rolls her up for the win. *1/2. Some good ideas although Kong didn’t amp her game up to get the title back, which kinda hurt this. It didn’t give Angelina the opportunity to try an array of different tactics. She was pretty much on her third or fourth way of trying to win by the end. Rather than 9th or 10th. It makes her a less creative champion. Still a good showing for the champ. If they were aiming to build her up here it was mission accomplished.
POST MATCH Angelina takes a pair of Implant Busters.
BACKSTAGE Borash talks about the Book of Sting (it’s a best seller in Georgia) and how this might be the final chapter. Sting says it won’t be because he’s hell bent on returning honour to wrestling. Maybe he should just tell people to watch ROH. They have “honor” in their title.
Kevin Nash v Samoa Joe
Nash managed to beat Joe one-on-one courtesy of an assortment of cheating but that was before the whole Nation of Violence thing and not even TNA is dumb enough to book Joe to lose to Nash two times in a row. However NOV Joe is a horrible idea and I pretty much loathe the whole storyline now. TNA can fuck anything up if they put their mind to it. While Joe looked good losing to Nash its Nash who looks good here. Joe lets Nash work his kind of match where its slow paced, methodical and has impact moves highlighting it. When speed is required however Joe avoids a chair shot and then connects with one because he’s faster. Nash got busted and it looked hardway. They run some back and forth before Nash gets caught in the Koquina Clutch and taps out *. An underwhelming revenge story considering how long this has been going on for. Joe hardly scraped the surface of his skill-set in a plodding encounter. Their first match was miles better.
POST MATCH Joe continues the assault so security has to get him off. The crowd ride him with “you still suck” and “overrated” chants. Nice work, fellas! You’ve managed to turn the babyface into such an asshole that he’s now a heel and your heel group are looking less sinister by the minute. If they were going for a double switch here ala Bret-Austin it could easily have worked.
BACKSTAGE Team 3D talk about how good TNA’s tag division is. Bubba calls Beer Money “one of the greatest tag teams in the world today” because they’ve both ended up in a mutual respect scenario after their feud, which was still going on last time I checked in. Bubba turns his attention to the British Invasion who they’ve now got an issue with. Bubba hopes for a Beer Money win because he likes them better. Which for me is weird because the winners face Team 3D. Surely they’d want to face the team they have taken issue with. I guess the cash for the win makes a difference.
3D Tag Team Invitational finals – Beer Money Inc v British Invasion
Team 3D join the commentary. BI are Doug Williams & Brutus Magnus with Rob Terry at ringside. Beer Money are defacto babyfaces because they’re not some yellow toothed limeys. Did I get that right? That’s what Americans say about British people right? Crowd get a little patriotically rowdy with an “England sucks” chant. In the ring they get Doug to do the leg work, which is for the best. I assume they added him because he’s such a good worker. Magnus is a better speaker and is there to rile the crowd. Angry up the blood. Doug & Storm do some good stuff. So much so that at times its not even a tag match. Roode gets a hot tag and cleans house so Rob Terry tries to even it up by going after Storm. Super rana & frog splash combo should finish but Terry saves and that gets him ejected. Doug threatens to use the distraction to waffle Storm with the Feast or Fired case but Roode spots it, steals it and nails Doug with it for the pin. ***1/4. That was an extremely solid encounter. Having Doug Vs Storm for the majority was a real bonus. I think this shows that TNA does have a tag team division and can tell stories within it. Which is one up on WWE. They’ve got to be better at something, right?
BACKSTAGE Kurt Angle gets his promo time. I’m immediately reminded of the cover of the movie River of Darkness. Any movie starring Angle, Nash and Sid has to be worth a look. Angle says he’s not losing and instead he intends to take over TNA but then says he wants the title. He can’t do both! He can do one or the other. I think no one explained the stipulations to him.
I Quit/Legend’s title – AJ Styles (c) v Booker T
Booker decided he didn’t want Sharmell out here so he could be completely focused. The end of their last match; the last 2 minutes, was awesome. They start in a similar vein in this match with AJ ducking some of Booker’s more obvious attacks. I like that they’ve drawn on Booker’s weaknesses to tell a stronger story. I still think less of his offence should land because he’s too slow to be doing the shit he’s doing. They run a tasty spot where AJ goes to springboard and Booker sees him coming and runs into him. Just runs into the ropes and AJ so he can’t do anything but fall to the floor. The problem with AJ selling heavily is that the whole pace of the match slows. Which is to Booker’s benefit. With AJ grounded Booker uses his weight and experience to twist the arm and lie on top of AJ. AJ powers up but Booker holds on! They roll around trying to find counters and this is all very MMA. Booker gives up on that for a slugfest. AJ ducks a kick and the PELE KICK lands because Booker is so, so slow. Great sequence though right out of the first match. AJ continues to use his speed to keep Booker down but at the moment his offence is coming in bursts so he can conserve energy. He’s hoping a few massive moves will be enough to keep Booker down. Sharmell comes out here for moral support and to yell at AJ to stop the Style’s Clash. Booker almost runs into his wife and gets caught in an armbar. Booker refuses to quit but Jenna Morasca runs out here to throw the towel in. What the…? ***1/2. They kept a high standard here with Booker showcasing everything he’s got left against AJ’s incredible moveset. The result was stunning at times but the finish left a sour taste in the mouth. Why is Jenna even out here? Is she just fucking with Sharmell? That really shouldn’t be the finish, IMO. Unless Booker refused to do another clean job. But that shouldn’t be against AJ; who’s blatantly being groomed for a title run.
BACKSTAGE JB has Foley. He says everyone has put something up and while he’d love all these other things he just can’t lose the title.
Ultimate Sacrifice: Mick Foley v Sting v Jeff Jarrett v Kurt Angle
Ok; Foley’s title is on the line but the only way to get it is by pinning the champ. Sting has put his career on the line, Jarrett his controlling interest in TNA and Angle has put up his leadership of the MEM. Interesting to note everyone in this match, bar Kurt Angle, debuted the same year. At least according to TNA. In actuality they debuted in 1983, 1985 and 1986. Which last time I checked is three different years. I would accuse TNA of sticking all their main event eggs in one basket but the undercard was pretty good.
Sting-Foley and Jarrett-Angle pair off. Don West tries to sell the importance of this but the crowd don’t seem to be buying into it as a big match. Sting makes a terrible mistake when he falls over kicking Foley in the gut and then falls over again attempting the Scorpion Deathlock. Not his night. But hey, if he gets pinned he has to retire right? I’m not a wrestler but doesn’t everyone basically want Foley’s belt here? And yet Angle & Jarrett are so caught up in their own feud that the title is no longer important. But that to me devalues the title. Having all these stipulations in one match just makes us confused as to what actually matters. Are TNA saying the ownership is more important than the title? That shouldn’t be. This is the problem with TNA. Foley takes a breather to join the commentary team just in case you were confused as to how good his conditioning isn’t and how important this match actually is. Of course Foley can just sit this out because of the stupid stipulations. As long as the others don’t care about the title as much as Foley doesn’t care about their stupid shit he’s set. Angle & Sting get a brief team going until Angle miscues. After Angle German suplexes everyone else he realises Foley is sat doing commentary and that enrages his Olympian spirit. Or something. He drags Mick off commentary and Angle Slams him on the floor. Foley stays down for all of two seconds before getting in the ring and taking the Stroke, which he can’t do. We run a quick finishers sequence to get to Scorpion Deathlock on Angle. Jarrett saves so they can work in a comedy groin injury spot. Gotta love those when its ULTIMATE SACRIFICE! Mr Socko comes out but Angle sneaks back in with the Anklelock. Ref is bumped. BOOOO! Sting has Angle pinned right off the back of that. Guitar for Sting. Jarrett has him pinned. Foley chair shots Jarrett and the ref is back up…for 2. Should have clotheslined him, Mick. He sells those for like 10 minutes. Crowd thinks this is “awesome”. Geez, get off the Kool Aid people. Angle then does bring the awesome by Anklelocking Jarrett AND Sting at the same time. Jarrett sets up a convoluted Stroke off the ropes onto a chair on Angle but Sting steals the pin to become the leader of the Main Event Mafia. **1/2. An entertaining enough mess. Sting got control of the MEM just as the other members were slowly turning face. Nothing else of import happened here but the crowd are happy because Sting isn’t retired. Meanwhile Foley retains his title by lying on the floor outside the ring. Way to go, Mick.
POST MATCH there’s clearly a lot of tension between these four and this isn’t the end of anything. Angle is totally overselling the finish btw. He stayed down a Jarrett amount of time.
• Amazing Red Vs Kiyoshi is on here. Would have been a good choice for PPV opener as it warms the crowd up. Red looks a little bit rusty. His timing is out on strikes. Nothing major but he used to be so smooth that it’s a little noticeable. Kiyoshi helps matters by slowing the pace and allowing the crowd to beg for flashes of Red’s explosive offence. Also you can tell he’s being careful and doing some of the luchaesque moves at half speed to make sure he gets them right. On someone slower it wouldn’t be so noticeable. He gets over ok on the Red Star Press though and that finishes. Nice to see Red back.
• Red interview. Not a promo but rather him just talking about how his knee is good now and he feels great to be back in TNA. He names a bunch of X talent he’s interested in wrestling and says he wants the belt.
• Daffney promo. You can notice the shift from out of character interview to promo right from word one. They probably shouldn’t mix to the two up.
• Taylor promo. She’s getting a buzz off the hardcore stuff.
• Dr Stevie shows us the damage that thumbtack spot caused. He looks like a pincushion. Also Kevin Nash gets treatment on his cut. If you don’t like the word “needle” anywhere near the word “eye” you may want to avoid this. That confirms a hardway bust up though as there’s no way you’d blade there.
Final Thoughts: This was actually a pretty good show. Not a work of art or anything but they showcased enough talent through a series of exciting, car crash style matches that the show felt good. Surprisingly so. Its true that the booking was more miss (Jenna Morasca, Joe’s Nation of Violence, the main event) than hit (tag teams, Suicide) but that’s not a reflection on the efforts of TNA’s talent pool. AJ-Booker & BI-Beer Money were both really strong. I think it’s a reflection on TNA’s PPV standard that if they achieve anything useful it’s a pleasant surprise.