WILKENFELD'S TNA IMPACT REPORT 10/14: Complete "virtual time" coverage of Spike TV's live broadcast
By: Daniel Wilkenfeld, PWTorch Contributor
Where We've Been: Bound For Glory was dominated by the big reveal of "them" and Sting's conspiracy, both of which turned out to be Hogan, Bischoff, and Jarrett backing a heel-turning Jeff Hardy. That actually makes a lot of sense, and indicates that they have actually had a plan since March. I feel somewhat bad about my rampant skepticism, but, given how badly the slow-burn was executed, only a little bad. I do want to take a moment though to point out a couple nice touches of artistry in TNA. First, they pulled the trigger on the Jeff heel turn just before the Hogan turn, which was brilliant. That way, during the stand-off-of-someone-about-to-turn-heel that is legally obligated to telegraph every turn, Hardy's was less than obvious. I just assumed Hulk was about to whack him and back Angle. The best moment though was RVD coming out at the end of the show to talk to Hardy. It had that rare combo that is said (I think by Aristotle) to be the essence of good drama—inevitability but also surprise. You knew Hardy had to whack him, but there was something still so unthinkable about the Jeff Hardy heel turn that the strike with the belt was still jarring. Also, had RVD not come out there was always the chance that the crowd would cheer Hardy as a face—they found the one person on the roster they could be reasonably confident the crowd would back over Hardy. So, while 7 months of build-up was overkill, I think the actual finale was very well done. It's drawn a lot of analogies to Hogan's Bash at the Beach turn, but, given it's placement on the card of the year, it reminded me a lot of the finale to WrestleMania X-7—there are worse things to be compared to.
By the way, for those keeping score at home: I (like many of you) called the Bischoff, Jarrett, and Hogan turns, but missed the Hardy one. What's remarkable is that the Hardy turn didn't even occur to me as a possibility.
The Show: They Have Arrived!!!
Eric Bischoff has stopped Dixie Carter's attorney in the back, who says that the contract he gave her to sign was not the contract he sent over. Bischoff says that she signed it in front of millions of people, and if he wants to fight it in court Bischoff is happy to see him in front of a jury in five years. Until then, this is Bischoff's building, and the lawyer is trespassing.
Hogan and Bischoff come down to the ring, with Hogan still on crutches. Tenay tells us that the contract in question ceded control of the majority stake in TNA to Hogan and Bischoff. The crowd briefly boos Hogan, but then decides that, what with him showing more personality in the last week then he had the previous year, they'll cheer him. Hogan gets in the ring and uses the crutches to rock out. Now they're booing him again. Bischoff introduces us to his mentor and brother, Hogan. Hogan welcomes all the TNAManiacs to his company. He says they'd had enough of the gaga (?), and that it was time to take what was theirs. He wants to know where Dixie Carter's hiding. There is a motive to this madness. They tried to do it the easy way, but Dixie didn't want to do it that way. She conned him down to TNA. She promised him the keys to the car, and that she'd take all his ideas to take this company to the next level. So he just took what was promised, and this is now the company of Hollywood Hogan's Immortals. Bischoff says that what they did would normally be known in the business world as a hostile takeover, but it was more like a work of art. Most people in the company didn't see it coming, so he'll just walk us through it. It all started with Abyss. Nobody could figure out why Abyss would turn on Hogan, who'd taken him under the wing. (Actually if you check my column from the Abyss heel turn, I reasoned that he was taking orders from Bischoff and possibly Hogan). In any event, we should welcome the first and biggest domino to fall—Abyss. Abyss comes out. Hogan calls him "my son". Abyss says that they're here. For months he prophesied that they would arrive to take total control of TNA, and all we ignorant sheep didn't believe him. The crowd chants for RVD. Abyss is their soldier, and he follows their orders. He will destroy anything or anyone that stands in their way. Hogan says that it is his destiny, now that he is Hogan's, to live forever. (Who wants to live forever?) Bischoff says that they couldn't have done it without another individual who he's come to believe is one of them. They didn't start off on the same page, but they've figured out that they're cut from the same cloth. Most importantly, he knows where the bodies are buried. So he would like to welcome down someone he has ultimate respect for—Jeff Jarrett. Double J comes down. I do have to say—the universe is a better place when Jarrett is heel. The crowd informs him that Joe is gonna kill him. He asks if we know what it felt like to watch Dixie Carter use daddy's money to take a company that he founded right out from under him. It has been a pleasure to work with Eric Bischoff. It has been a joy to work with Hulk Hogan. They gave the entire Carter family exactly what they deserved, and now everyone in TNA has to play by the new rules, and those new rules are dictated by the new regime. Out for a comment is...Fortune? This should be interesting. They hit the ring. He knows that Hogan's been watching the show, but in case he hasn't heard, this company is run by Fortune. Their the guts of TNA. The crowd is chanting "Fortune". Flair's hated Hogan's guts for 25 years, and one of them is leaving tonight. Flair says that his men are ready to die tonight. I bet it's a swerve. Hogan says they should just do it themselves. Flair takes off his jacket...and gives Hogan a hug. I'm glad they didn't drag that out. Bischoff asks if we can believe that 25 years of bad blood was ended by Dixie Carter having the nerve to bring in some washed-up has-beens and compare them to Fortune? Flair says he loves Hogan more than anything. Hogan asks if that means more than five ex-wives, and Flair responds that they can go screw themselves. Anyhow, Bischoff says that it's the moment we've been waiting for. We see the star of the show, the most important man in TNA, and the lynch-pin of the new regime—Jeff Hardy. Hardy comes out, sporting a jacket, slick-backed hair, and no face paint. He and Hogan share a hug. The crowd informs him that he sold out. He says that first of all, he didn't sell-out, he sold-in. Popularity doesn't mean a damn thing. He blames our cheers for his pain. All these years he's broken his body and for what? Herniated disks. These men care more about him than that. RVD is just like someone else Hardy knows—a politics playing ass-hole who doesn't know he's an ass-kisser. He bets the Whole F'n Show wants to know the whole f'n deal, and the deal is that Hardy is the reason Abyss put RVD on the shelf. Because in order for this moment to happen, RVD had to be removed. Sting and Nash are watching in the back. Bischoff tells them to come on out, and that it'll be just like old times. Hogan agrees that they have two empty seats at the table, and that this is the future. Sting and Nash get up.
Sting and Nash hit the ring. Bischoff says that he knows this must seem over the top and like they're gloating, but in all seriousness this is a company, and it's about money. It's a whole new day, and they want those two guys on the team—no, they need them on the team. Nash says that it's almost a perfect fit for him, since his whole career has been about money. He didn't care if somebody starved, or if somebody had the roof taken from over them. But a funny thing happened as he came here—as he got older, he got wiser. The bible says that gray hair is a sign of wisdom. With wisdom came compassion. Those guys in the back—that he would have taken every dollar from in the back—they're his friends, they're his family. So this time, he's gonna pass on the money—he wants nothing to do with them. If they want to run this company into the ground they can do it without him. I love Nash promos. Sting says that when he came here five years ago he didn't come for this. He came because he loved TNA. He wouldn't have sacrificed his body like he has unless he loved TNA—those aren't just words. This right here (gesturing at Hogan) is called a no-win situation, and Sting's not going to repeat history again. The answer's no. Nash and Sting leave the ring. Bischoff asks if they're nuts. It's always about money, and it's always about power. It's being handed to them on a silver platter. If they change their minds they know where to find the Immortals—they'll be the ones in the ring printing money as Sting and Nash sit at home getting fat. Where's The Pope?
Oh—speak of the devil. Pope is in the back trying to talk Nash and Sting out of walking out. They finally got everything rolling, and now those two are walking out? Isn't Nash the one who told him never to walk away from an ATM while it's spitting out cash? They're still paying him. He's going to listen to what Sting had been saying and keep fighting. Dixie comes up and asks them not to leave her. Sting says that she didn't leave them much choice—he tried to warn her. That's fair. They stalk off, and Bischoff and Hogan come by. She slaps Bischoff. She tells Hogan to look her in the eye and say he screwed her. He says that if she wants to have this conversation, they can have it in his office.
We're back in Hogan's office, where, oddly enough, only Bischoff seems to have a desk (and a cigar). Dixie asks whether Hogan did this on purpose. He looks her in the eye and says that yes he screwed her out of the company. He reminds her that she promised him this would be the happiest he'd ever been. When Hogan calls, people answer, and there were times she was busy. She tells Bischoff that this is his fault. She thought he'd changed, but she never really trusted him. Hogan says that this is his company. She says this'll be their company over her dead body. She tells Gunner and Murphy to escort Hogan out of here, but Hogan tells them to take her out. They apparently are impressed by the desk and the cigar, since they pull Dixie out of the room kicking and screaming. Someone I don't recognize ("Surge?") tries to help her and gets slugged down.
Someone from Jersey Shore arrives. I was all set to make fun of this as the worst crossover ever, but about ten minutes before showtime I got a text message from a lapsed wrestling fan excited about this prospect—maybe TNA understands their demographics better than I do?
Madison Rayne comes out, with a referee in hand. Sunday night was the biggest night in company history, and she had a plan. That plan involved her becoming a three time champion, but that didn't happen, since her title is around Tara's waist right now—the same Tara who has Rayne to thank for getting her job in TNA. So she's demanding that Tara come out and give her what she deserves—a Knockouts Title Match. Tara comes out to mostly cheers. Rayne wants to remind her of one thing she thinks Tara forgot on Sunday—she's the reason Tara's even here. If it weren't for "me", she wouldn't even have been in that match on Sunday--"me me me!" They had a deal, and Tara owes her. Tara takes off the belt, nodding, and hands it to the ref.
(1) MADISON RAYNE vs. TARA (c)
Knockouts Championship Match
Rayne points to the mat, and Tara lies down. Rayne makes the cover. The ref looks confused for a moment, then makes the count.
WINNER (and new Knockouts Champions): Madison Rayne in 5 seconds.
Rayne has a huge celebration, jumping for joy and giving a shout-out to her mother. She says that she has to give Tara credit. She knows that was the hardest match she ever had to...she's interrupted by Mickie James's music. Mickie can't believe that Rayne calls herself a champion. That's disgraceful—not just for her but for anyone who ever held a championship. Rayne tries to talk over her, but Mickie shuts her up. How dare she make a mockery of any championship? Mickie said she was coming to make history, and she'll do it right now. Rayne invites her down, but then hides behind Tara. Tara attacks, and Mickie tosses her from the ring. Rayne bails, but drops the belt. Mickie hoists it up for a moment before giving it back.
Some-chick-from-Jersey-Shore walks into the makeup area, where the Beautiful People are glad to see her. She's looking for some bitch named Cookie who she hears is talking smack. Love says that she's new, so she doesn't really know her yet. Jersey-Shore-woman suggests they make this her last night. Sadly, she cuts a better promo than the wrestler she's feuding with.
The Beautiful People and...J-Wow?...are looking for Cookie. They bump into Eric Young, who's super excited and asks "Bow Wow" for her autograph. Orlando Jordan comes by, and says that she looks fabulous and that he'd love to put his lollipop in her mouth. She takes it, then drops it on the ground.
Kurt Angle walks out to the ring, unaccompanied by music and clutching his ribs. He says that he came to the Impact Zone a little late tonight, uninvited. But before he makes his official statement of retirement, he'd like to get a few things off his chest. The crowd begs him not to go. He says that he appreciates that, but he's a man of his word. For the past six months he busted his ass. At Bound For Glory he gave everything he had, busted his ribs, re-injured his neck, needed stitches and got a swollen eye, and what he wants to know is why Hogan and Bischoff screwed him. He doesn't really expect them to come out right now, but he's not leaving till he gets some answers. And actually, while he didn't win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship on Sunday, he didn't really lose either, so he's in a bit of a dilemma. Jarrett's music hits, and he hits the top of the ramp. He doesn't understand what dilemma Kurt's in. Kurt said that if he didn't win the title, he wouldn't wrestle any more. He didn't win the title, so he shouldn't wrestle anymore. He doesn't remember anything about what happens if Kurt doesn't get pinned or gets screwed. Is Kurt Angle, of all people, making excuses? Kurt Angle, the Olympic Gold Medalist, the father, the husband—well, now the ex-husband...the crowd goes nuts there, and tells Kurt to kick his ass (for those who missed it, Jarrett is living with Kurt's ex-wife). Jarrett will never, ever, ever forget how Kurt made his life a living hell, when he's the one who brought Kurt into TNA (Jarrett got a five month suspension over the ex-wife-living-with). He vowed that he would turn the tide at any cost. Kurt tells him to slow down. First of all, Jarrett can have the !#$R. Dude! That's you're children's mother! The crowd enjoyed that moment though. He wants to know how he made Jarrett's life a living hell: by putting TNA on the map? By talking up TNA every chance he got? By teaching the kids in the back how to do things? Or is it that once Kurt got here it wasn't all about Jarrett anymore? How many titles did Jarrett win before Kurt got here? One dozen? Two dozen? Jarrett held everyone down, but he couldn't hold down Kurt Angle. Jarrett says that it wasn't about that—it was about getting back what was his. He made a deal with the devil to take Kurt's career, cause he'd taken everything else. Kurt starts to walk up the ramp, but Gunner and Murphy jump him from behind and handcuff him. The crowd chants for Joe. Jarrett taunts Kurt, who manages to spit in his face. Jarrett drives Kurt's head into the area under the announce table. He backs up, as if worried about the neck, then starts hitting the next overtly. The crowd goes nuts for something...and Taz has gotten up! He stands over Kurt. Jeff says that this has nothing to do with him. Taz agrees, but says that Jarrett's taking it to far—the man has a broken f!@#ing neck. Jarrett looks angry, but back away.
Ignoring the psychological harm almost certainly done to Kurt's kids by this segment, it was actually really really good. Though I do, like the crowd, wonder what the hell was keeping Joe.
We recap what happened moments ago. I hate it when we do that. Tenay says that no one came out because Hogan and Bischoff are in charge, but I don't really get how that would stop Joe.
We see Joe by video cutting a promo earlier this week. It's not often Joe makes mistakes in this business (uhh...not really—check the record), especially when it comes to people he trusts. But Jarrett came to him begging and pleading, and he sided with him. But the reason Jarrett came to Joe is that he knew Joe is a person who would demolish everything and everyone in his path. And now that person is after Jeff.
(2) SAMOA JOE vs. ABYSS
Joe storms the ring and unloads with a series of jabs in the corner. Abyss connects with a knee lift, but then whiffs on a charge and eats a Pele. Joe goes with a Face Wash. Abyss dodges a clothesline, but then Joe nails a new high side-kick. He drops a Senton Bomb on Abyss, then beats him over to the ropes. Abyss comes back with a Choke Slam out of nowhere, then leaves for a chair. Before he can get back in with it Joe Suicide Dives the chair back into Abyss. Abyss grabs the ring bell and whacks Joe in the head.
WINNER: Samoa Joe by DQ in 2 minutes.
Joe is busted open. Abyss rolls him back into the ring, but Joe can't get to his feet. Abyss starts to unload with punches when RVD's music hits. Abyss flees as RVD hits the ring. RVD calls down some trainers to help out, but Joe's in no mood to accept help—he shoves them away and storms off. RVD grabs a mic. He calls out Jeff Hardy. There's no need to drag this out. Jeff owes RVD and all Jeff's fans an explanation. But that's not on the agenda tonight. Jeff Hardy had his friendship, his respect, and, for all his accomplishments, his full support. Hardy appears on the monitor. What is friendship? In this business, it's just how you draw your opponent in closer, then destroy him. Jeff's words are biblical—some are even calling him the new anti-christ. I get it—he's the high-flying Raven! RVD wants a a piece of Jeff—but who doesn't? An inverted color scheme adds some creepiness to the Hardy promo. Bischoff comes out. He says that if RVD wants Hardy at Turning Point, he can have him. But first he has to do beat Mr. Anderson in tonight's main event, it'll be a #1 Contender's Match. RVD says that's fine—send Anderson out first, and then RVD will kick Hardy's ass. Man, the promos are spot on tonight. Bischoff says that RVD has no idea what he's getting into.
Bischoff is telling Ms. Tessmacher that he loves her pearl necklace. She wants to know what she can do for him. He says that they have lots of stuff to talk about, and they should meet at his place. She agrees. He's amazed that it's that easy. She's confused. He says that she's so easy she almost ruined everything, because she can't keep her mouth shut while !@$@! #ERR@$#R@! with Pope and Nash. That almost cost Bischoff everything. Well they're done. If she wants to stay in TNA, she needs to lace up some boots and find some tights, cause that's all she's good for. She won't be running the show—she'll be lucky to be in the show. For now she needs to take her 38 triple Ds and get lost. Anderson comes up behind him and grabs his hand, squeezing hard. He never thought he'd meet a bigger asshole—well, he's really more of a douche-bag—then himself, but Bischoff proved him wrong. Just so he knows, he won't win this war.
(3) "THE POPE" D'ANGELO DINERO vs. JAMES STORM, ROBERT ROODE, KAZARIAN, DOUGLAS WILLIAMS, & AJ STYLES (w/RIC FLAIR & MATT MORGAN)
Williams starts things up locking up with Pope, who the crowd is back behind. Pope hits some quick strikes, but Williams brings him up short with a knee lift and a European Uppercut. He then runs squarely into a leaping forearm from Pope and a big uppercut for two. He tags in Kazarian, who gets knocked around the ring with some shoulder blocks before he tags in AJ. Pope knocks AJ down into the ropes and hits him with The Coronation, taking a moment to pop Flair at ringside. Morgan knocks him from behind and beats him down. He rolls Pope in to AJ, who covers for two before pulling Pope up. Roode tags in. Pope tries to rally, but can't. Roode tags in Storm for the Beer Money Suplex. Kazarian tags back in and hits a beautiful high dropkick for two. Kazrian whips Pope into the heels' corner—Pope elbows the heels. Kazarian holds Pope still for AJ's flying forearm. Pope dodges, but AJ stops himself short. Pope knocks him; AJ tries to come back with a Pele, but nails Kazarian. Pope runs AJ into Williams and gets a School Boy on Kazarian for a long two count. Beer Money come back in and hit the DWI, and Kazarian rolls into the cover.
WINNER: Fortune in four minutes.
Robbie and Cookie are coming out to the Impact Zone.
Elsewhere, J-Wow and the Beautiful People are walking towards the Impact Zone too.
Robbie E and Cookie hit the ring. The crowd chants something--"who are you?" maybe? He says that they're on at the same time as Jersey Shore, and he's sorry—ever since he debuted last week no one wants to watch Jersey Shore. They're done. Cookie talks about how there'll be no more of that disgrace Snookie, no more Situation, and no more "J Cow". J Wow hits the ring with the Beautiful People. I am so bored right now. Taz (about Cookie and J Wow): "They can't even get face to face—there's no room." Okay, that was a little funny. Cookie is impressed J Wow decided to show up. She knows "J Cow's" a bit slow, but she should take her weave, her fake nails, and her "very fake dollar store fun bags" and get out. J Wow jumps Cookie as The Beautiful People low blow Robbie and roll him from the ring. The crowd expresses mild-enthusiasm for the cat fight, which is a better reaction than TNA had any business hoping for.
We recap what happened moments ago with the The Shore. Somewhere, Harley Race just died a little inside.
Anderson is prepping for his main event match. He comes out. His mic drops, but he shoves it aside and walks purposefully to the ring. RVD comes out next. I wonder why they don't mention that he's still undefeated (unless you count eliminating himself from that Battle Royal last week).
(4) MR. ANDERSON vs. RVD
#1 Contender's Match
They trade forearms to start. The crowd sounds evenly split. Anderson goes to a knife edged shot, so RVD kicks him in the gut. Anderson tries to kick back, but RVD catches it and does his reverse Ensuguri. RVD beats Anderson into the corner and nails his Extreme Monkey Flip for two. Anderson rolls out of the ring for a breather, but eats a Baseball Slide. RVD flips out to the apron. Anderson tries to cut him off, but RVD kicks him off and nails a Moonsault from the apron to Anderson's head.
Reaction starts with RVD rolling Anderson into the ring. He goes to the top rope, but Anderson knocks the rope and crotches him. Anderson looks for a Superplex, but RVD shoves him off. RVD gets back up, but again Anderson crotches him, and this time nails the Superplex. A cover gets two. Another one gets two too. Anderson drives the tip of his boot into the side of RVD's temple. He whips RVD's off into the ropes, misses a clothesline but then connects with a back elbow for two. Anderson gets some strikes and then cinches in a chin lock. The crowd is chanting for RVD, who powers out before getting kneed back down for two. Anderson lays in with stomps, then chokes RVD against the middle rope. He drives RVD's head into the top turnbuckle, then Stomps a Mudhole in him. He yanks him out of the corner onto his back. RVD fights back from his knees. RVD ducks a clothesline and connects with a few of his own. He follows up with a Superkick and signals for Rolling Thunder. Anderson gets up and catches RVD in a Fireman's Carry position in one motion. RVD slips out and nails a Front Power Slam, then a Split Legged Moonsault for two. Anderson connects with a quick Green Bay Plunge for two. He goes to the top rope and goes for a Swanton Bomb (the announcers completely miss the point of that). RVD rolls out of the way and quickly goes for a Five Star Frog Splash, but Anderson gets his knees up. Bischoff comes down to the ring, where he whispers something to Brian Hebner. Hebner doesn't seem happy, as apparently he's been ordered away from the ring. Bischoff and Hebner walk off. As soon as the ref is gone Hardy runs down with a chair. He whacks RVD in the back, then Anderson. He puts Anderson's arm into a chair, then Twist of Fates RVD into the chair.
WINNER: No contest in eleven minutes.
Where We're Going: I know this angle is very retro, but I kind of like it. I'm not totally sure how they'll justify getting a face into the main event by Turning Point, but, if they can, more power to them. I'm not totally sold yet on Hardy's ability to keep up the heel turn on the mic, but tonight was a reasonable start. Everyone else was spot-on though.
Star of the Night: RVD. His match never really into high gear, but since he cuts an awesome promo and had the only full length match of the night he kind of wins by default. Eric Bischoff, Kevin Nash, and Mickie James get honorable mentions.
Overall: The show started out red-hot, and kept the momentum going really well till into the second hour. Then things started to slow down with a bit with the beatdown of the Pope, and ground to an absolute dead halt with the Jersey Shore crap. I wouldn't mind the lack of wrestling if the time were well used, but it really wasn't. The one full match was missing something, but I can't quite put my finger on what. Still, there was a decent amount of energy, particularly early in the show. I tend to weight things towards the end though, and it just really didn't click for me.B-
Daniel is a graduate fellow at The Ohio State University. He's typing this while eating a pizza, so it'd be awesome if y'all wanted to do him a favor and sent word of any glaring mistakes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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