Written by: Bob Colling
National Wrestling Alliance/Total Non-Stop Action presents Impact
From: Orlando, FL
This episode of Impact is aired on primetime and would proceed to be in primetime for the remainder of their run on Spike TV. It’s a two hour special instead of the normal one hour.
Eric Young is outside the arena with fans as they chant for Young to not be fired. They enter the venue with signs around ringside and we get a big pyro display and confetti to celebrate the move to primetime.
NWA Tag Team Champions LAX and Konnan make their way out, which scares Eric Young thinking that it’s a sniper with the gunshots playing at the start of their theme music. Konnan says they are thugs 24/7, 365 and notes they’ve had people turn their backs on them forever. Konnan has a message and he’s going to burn the American flag. There’s nothing anyone can do about it. America’s Most Wanted theme music hits and they come out to confront LAX. This leads to a brawl in the ring with Storm and Harris taking LAX out. Konnan is backed into a corner. LAX manage to get some offense in, but Gail Kim hits a top rope hurricanrana on Homicide. Kim tries to hit a hurricanrana, but Hernandez counters looking for the Border Toss. Storm enters and superkicks Hernandez to make the save as Harris pulled Kim off. That ends the segment.
Opening Contest: Jay Lethal vs. Samoa Joe: Joe attacks from behind and jabs Lethal several times followed by an uppercut. Lethal ducks a clothesline, but not a running kick to the face. Joe kicks Lethal a few times followed by a knee drop. Lethal punches Joe from the apron and hits a missile dropkick. Lethal dropkicks a seated Joe for a one count. Lethal dropkicks Joe into the corner, but Joe plants Lethal with an STO. Joe clobbers Lethal with slaps in the corner and plants Lethal with the Muscle Buster. Joe locks in the choke and Lethal taps out. (1/2*. Lethal had a few hope spots, but this was just an extended squash, which is to be expected since Joe has a major match at Genesis with Angle.) After the match, Sonjay Dutt tries to make the save, but is eventually choked out. Chris Sabin hopes onto the apron, but decides to not help Dutt. Samoa Joe remains in the ring and says he wants Kurt Angle’s blood.
Outside the arena, Christy Hemme chases LAX saying it’s a federal crime to burn the flag. Konnan says they will give her a scoop to make her famous. Petey Williams shows up and he’s down to burn the flag.
Paparazzi Productions with Alex Shelley and Austin Starr peeing and arguing about Shelley costing Starr a win last week. Kevin Nash appears in the stall and says he has a Harvard law degree. Nash is wearing a white wig. Starr says that Shelley cost him the match next week. Shelley objects to that and Nash says someone will be found guilty tonight.
Backstage, Jeremy Borash is with Team 3D to promote a tables match against the Naturals tonight. Brother Ray says everyone has a night where they can look back and say that was when they made their mark. That happened last week for the Naturals because they stepped up and did something meaningful for the first time in their careers. Ray gives them credit for trying to take them out. Ray welcomes them to their world, or their jungle. The last thing they will hear is Devon get the tables.
Second Contest: The Naturals vs. Team 3D in a tables match: They start off with brawling in the ring to start the match and the Naturals are tossed over the top to the floor. They brawl into the crowd with Team 3D keeping control of the contest. Bubba slams Douglas and they hit the Whats Up. Brother Ray gets a table and Devon gets one from the other side. Shane Douglas gets involved and is put through a table with a 3D. Naturals gain control on Team 3D with right hands as the referee tries to get Shane Douglas out of the ring. Naturals hit the 3D on Brother Ray. Devon is slammed through a table and the Naturals win. (*1/4. That is a shocking development. I had zero expectation that the Naturals would prevail. This is a huge thing for them as it shows that TNA is trying, seemingly one last time, to get them over at the expense of their top team.)
Eric Young is leading a group of people through the crowd to not have him be fired. Young enters the ring and cuts a promo. Young is cutoff by Kazarian and Maverick Matt. They have a drastic new look and there’s also Johnny Devine. They have kendo sticks and circle Young. Kazarian has a microphone and says they are the genesis of a new movement. They have had a great redeemer to open their eyes. It is no longer about winning or losing but rather how much you’re willing to sacrifice.
James Gang run down to the ring with steel chairs and take out the new group of guys. BG James cuts a promo saying that they are back. It was only two weeks. BG says they are back for one reason and that is for creative control. They have permission to do whatever they want. They are declaring war on Paul Levesque, Michael Hickenbottom and Vince McMahon. Kip chimes in and says they started a group and said they weren’t good enough to be in it, but they bailed them out. Kip says they bring back the group and it’s sinking faster than the Titanic. Kip believes that means they are good and HHH/HBK are not good. BG takes the microphone away from Kip. BG is serious about this declaration of war. They will come anyway possible. The war is coming to their front door.
Paparazzi Productions with Kevin Nash saying that he’s heard everyone and he’s going to go into his chambers to make a decision.
Backstage, Jeremy Borash is with Rhino for an interview. Rhino says that Cage walks around with a smug look and we’re going to see how he looks inside the steel cage. Rhino is going to remember everything that Cage has done to him and issue a lot of punishment to him. Rhino is going to cut him in half with a GORE.
Third Contest: Christian Cage vs. Rhino in a barbed wire steel cage match: They trade right hands to start with Rhino getting the better of the exchange. Rhino backdrops Cage and tries to send Cage into the cage, but that is avoided. Cage works over Rhino with chops in the corner, but Rhino counters with some of his own. Rhino tries for a press slam, but Cage counters with a reverse DDT. Rhino tries to get a steel chair, but he’s not permitted to use that weapon. Rhino shoulder rams Cage in the corner to maintain control of the contest. Rhino delivers another shoulder ram in the corner. Cage tries to escape, but the barbed wire stops him. Rhino yanks Cage down and tosses Christian into the steel cage. Rhino press slams Cage into the cage face first. Rhino is handed the key to escape, but doesn’t use the key. Rhino taunts Cage with the key and tosses it outside the ring as the show goes to commercial.
Cage is stopped by the barbed wire and knocks Rhino off the top to hit a frog splash. Cage has been busted wide open and this point and used the bolt cutters on the barbed wire during the commercial. Cage has an opening, but Rhino stops Cage at the top, again. Rhino presses Cage into the barbed wire. Rhino hits a back suplex off the middle rope and Cage lands on his stomach. Rhino tries to put the straightjacket on Cage, but Cage breaks free and drops Rhino to the mat. Cage tries to climb over the top again, but Rhino catches Cage. They trade a few chops on the top rope. Cage hits a top rope Un-Prettier! Cage puts the straightjacket on Rhino. Cage ties Rhino over the top rope and means Rhino is trapped and defenseless. Cage is given a chair, but Rhino stops Cage with a low blow. Rhino manages to get loose and clotheslines Cage a few times. Rhino plants Cage with a spinebuster and is able to pull the straightjacket off. Rhino lays Cage’s head onto a chair on the mat and tries to smash Cage with another chair, but misses. Cage whacks Rhino over the back with a steel chair. Cage sets two chairs up and tries for the Un-Prettier, but Rhino counters with a TKO onto the chairs! Rhino smashes Cage with a chair shot to the face. Rhino GORES Cage through the cage door and Cage lands on the floor to win the match. (***1/4. I enjoyed the match and the finish doesn’t bug me. Rhino cost himself the match, but did so by destroying Cage. Rhino kind of looks like a winner, as a result. So, I like how it’s presented here. Cage should be winning since he’s got to be a top contender to the NWA World Championship and I’d be shocked if he’s not the next challenger to Sting.)
A video promoting various talents involved in the X-Division is shown.
Jim Cornette interviewed World Series MVP David Eckstein is aired. It took place at the Louisville slugger venue. It was very brief, but Eckstein looks forward to being at the Impact Zone.
Fourth Contest: NWA X-Division Champion AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels vs. Chris Sabin: Sabin and Styles go at it to start with Styles hitting a dropkick. Daniels just stood there waiting. Sabin arm drags Daniels after avoiding a suplex by Styles. Daniels and Styles collide allowing Sabin to gain the advantage. Daniels hit a slam on Styles while also driving Sabin down to the mat. Daniels hits a moonsault onto Sabin for a near fall. Daniels headbutts Sabin in the corner. Daniels and Styles hit a rolling sweep and clothesline to double team Sabin. Sabin kicks Daniels and sends Daniels into Styles. Sabin kicks Daniels after stepping on Styles back. Sabin dropkicks a kneeling Styles to keep control of the contest. Sabin keeps Styles on the mat, but Daniels clubs Sabin from behind. Sabin eye rakes Daniels and is met with an elbow by Styles in the corner. Sabin grabs Styles on the middle rope with a go-behind. Styles hits a reverse DDT and DDT on both Sabin and Daniels! Styles decks Daniels and Sabin and drives Daniels to the mat face first with a wheelbarrow slam. Sabin kicks Daniels in the corner and hits a tornado DDT for a near fall. Daniels lands on the apron, but is decked by Sabin.
Sabin hooks Daniels for a superplex, but Styles comes over to hit a back suplex on Sabin, who still hits a superplex on Daniels. Christian Cage is crawling down to ringside with a microphone. Cage is covered in blood and stands on the apron. Cage brags about being undefeated and being the real number one contender. Styles dropkicks Cage off the apron and pummels Cage on the floor. Sabin tries for Cradle Shock, but Daniels counters with a rollup to win the match. After the match, Styles returns to the ring and he’s pissed about losing the title but it was his own fault. (**1/2. A fine match, but they are switching the title a lot in recent weeks. Sabin probably should have won here and they could properly build to a title match with Jerry Lynn. Daniels winning just feels like they have nothing for him so lets put a title on him. A match between Styles and Cage could be fun, even if it lacks a strong story.)
Paparazzi Productions continues with Kevin Nash coming to a conclusion. Nash says that a similar case happened between Shawn Michaels and the Blu Brothers. Nash found for the plaintiff then and does so again awarding Starr the win. Nash orders Shelley to pay Starr $100. Shelley asks if he can appeal and we see Kevin Nash’s bare ass.
Christy Hemme is running up to LAX as they are about to burn the flag with Petey Williams. Konnan shoves Hemme away to allow them to do this. Konnan is going to let Williams burn the flag. Williams has the blow torch and says the flag represents a lot of bad things. Williams says it also represents opportunity. Petey fakes them out and throws the torch away and is beaten up by LAX. They pour gasoline onto Petey and they are going to light him on fire. We hear fake sirens and LAX runaway.
Mike Tenay knows that he said we had to respect LAX, but he was dead wrong. Tenay puts over Petey Williams for not giving into peer pressure. Tenay considers Williams to be a hero.
Main Event: Abyss vs. Kurt Angle: This is Angle’s first TNA match, ever. Abyss backs Angle into a corner and delivers a right hand. Angle responds with a right hand of his own. Abyss shoulder blocks Angle coming off the ropes. Angle leg sweeps Abyss to the mat and keeps leg control, but doesn’t get a submission. Abyss tries to kick Angle away and succeeds on a second attempt. Angle uppercuts Abyss against the ropes a few times. Abyss delivers a few strikes in the corner and chokes Angle briefly. Abyss chases the referee to the floor. Abyss runs into an elbow in the corner and Angle chop blocks Abyss to the mat. Angle stomps on Abyss before going back to leg control. Abyss gouges free by tearing at Angle’s face. Abyss drives Angle down with the Shock Treatment. Father James Mitchell has a wheelbarrow full of thumbtacks and pours them on the floor as we go to commercial.
Abyss sends Angle to the floor to continue the match. Abyss has Angle over his shoulder and is nearly sent into the guard railing. Angle sends Abyss into the ring post and ring steps face first. Angle axe handles Abyss from the apron. Abyss sends Angle into the guard railing. Abyss hits a vertical suplex managing a two count. Abyss keeps a neck vice on Angle for a few moments. Angle hits a back suplex to break free. Abyss misses a clothesline and Angle hits a series of German suplexs. Angle lowers his straps and tries for the Olympic Slam. Abyss avoids it and plants Angle with the Black Hole Slam for a two count. Abyss tries for a chokeslam, but Angle reverses and locks in the ankle lock. Abyss is in the middle of the ring, but crawls to the ropes. Angle pulls Abyss back to the middle. Angle sits down in the middle of the ring and Abyss has nowhere to go. Abyss is forced to submit in the middle of the ring. (***. A good match and one that I was entertained by more than I was expecting. Abyss having not submitting ever in his career and doing so in Angle’s first match is likely indicator as to how Angle’s initial run in TNA is going to play out. This kind of hurts Abyss as he’s the number one contender Sting, which oddly, was hardly mentioned on the show.)
Samoa Joe is in the ring and Angle finally notices him. Angle takes Joe over with a belly to belly suplex. Joe nails Angle with a kick to the head after avoiding the Angle Slam. Joe tries for the choke, but Angle counters with the ankle lock. Joe rolls through and sends Angle to the floor. Joe has gotten a chair and smashes Angle in the face. Joe rolls Angle into the ring, but Abyss has gotten up, as well. Abyss confronts Joe in the ring and taunts him. Joe points down to Angle and they double team Angle. Angle is sent into the ring post shoulder first. The lights go out..
NWA World Champion Sting comes down from the rafters and leaps off the announcers table to crossbody Abyss onto the tacks! Sting rolls Abyss into the ring and hits Joe with a baseball bat. Sting jabs Abyss with the baseball bat a few times. Sting clotheslines Abyss over the top to the floor. Sting continues to beat on Abyss on the aisle. Joe returns to the ring as Angle is laid out. Joe puts the ankle lock on Angle, but Angle is seemingly knocked out.
Backstage, Abyss has gotten Sting upside down and Abyss is beating on Sting with the baseball bat. Kurt Angle has been busted open in the ring and Joe locks in the choke to end the program.
A very good debut into primetime for Impact as I was entertained by most of the show. It felt like each segment served a purpose and they did some proper build to the PPV taking place on Sunday. A job well done.
Thanks for reading.