The Katz Files – Arnie Katz
My Weekly TNA Notebook
The Kingfish Arnie Katz presents his analytical report on the 8/21 installment of TNA iMPACT
The episode, “AJ Styles, Olympic Gold Medalist?” started with a video that reviewed the momentous match in which The Phenomenal One got Kurt Angle’s Olympic medal.
Jeremy Borash met Kurt Angle as he arrived at the arena. Kurt told JB that he was there for two reasons: To get back his medal and to do something about the man with the guitar. The irate Olympian said he know the guitar owner’s identity.
The Kingfish Comments: It is so incredible obvious that Jeff Jarrett is the one who has lent his guitar on several occasions that the way they harped on the mystery of it all made me wonder if a giant swerve was coming. It would be really something if they trotted out Honky Tonk Man instead of Double J. Oh, not good you understand, but it damn sure would’ve been something.
Hernandez (with Hector Guerrero & Salinas) d. (Robert Roode (with James Storm & Jacqueline Moore)
The Wall Street Wastrel tried to get off to a fast start, but his plans didn’t work out. Hernandez Splashed Roode in the corner and dealt him a mammoth Delayed Vertical Suplex, but the smoother half of Beer Money was far from ready to get pinned.
Roode Snapmared Hernandez to the mat and added a Neck Snapper, much to Miss Jacqueline’s delight.
Hernandez scored with a Catapult Shoulder Block from the apron. He fired Roode into the ropes and gave him a Back Body Drop on the rebound! Hernandez wanted to do a Gringo Killer, but Roode managed to evade the dire fate.
Hernandez blocked Roode’s attempted Suplex and rocked the tag champ with a Front Suplex! Roode’s face smacked into the canvas at top speed.
When Hernandez set up for the Border Toss, Jacqueline got into the ring and tried to stop it. Salinas flew through the ropes at her and the two women fought their own little war in one corner of the ring.
James Storm climbed onto the apron and seized Hernandez from behind. Roode took a cross-ring run at him, but Hernandez got out of the way and Money met Beer in a painful collision.
Hernandez subjected Roode to an over-the-shoulder Backbreaker and then an Inverted Back Suplex. He held Roode’s shoulder to the mat for the one-two-three.
The Kingfish Comments: The problem with making Hernandez look so awesome is that it marginalizes Homicide. There probably needs to be a match in which Hernandez takes some lumps.
AJ Styles told Jeremy Borash that “the soup opera” was going to end. He described his coming Ladder Match against Angle in which the Olympic medal will be suspended over the ring.
Kurt Angle barged into the scene. As security men held him in check, Kurt screamed at AJ to return the medal.
The Kingfish Comments: I’ll bet some fans are wondering why Kurt Angle used to get two medals taken away from him, but now has half that many. As it says in Highlander, “There can be only one.” In this case, I believe the Olympic committee may have suggested that he stop padding the number of medals.
Motor City Machine Guns d. BG James & Eric Young
Mike Tenay and Don West talked about the recent change in Alex Shelley’s attitude and behavior. During the match, Chris Sabin ostentatiously broke clean – and then doubled up Eric Young with a Low-Blow Mule Kick.
The Guns showed their usual incredible teamwork and kept their adversaries from mounting a consistent threat. When Sabin blew an aerial move from the top, Eric Young quickly reversed into a pinning cover.
Chris Sabin led the post-match attack on BG James.
The Kingfish Comments: Instead of using BG James to make Eric Young seem less clownish, the bookers have elected to go in the opposite direction. When the opening pyro hit, both fell on their asses. It wasn’t a good omen.
The turn of the Motor City Machine Guns continues. So far, the change is going very well, advancing a little each week. In the past, TNA has turned too many guys too often and too rapidly, but this seems to be somewhat better planned than usual.
Jeremy Borash and Kurt Angle conferred just outside Booker T’s dressing room. Borash wanted Kurt to be more respectful and take an easier line with Booker, but the medal-less former Olympian barged into the office.
Booker made both arrivals remove their shoes before allowed Kurt to ask for a favor. Booker T agreed to watch Kurt’s back during the match with AJ Styles.
Booker T offered Angle some champagne, but Kurt haughtily refused, saying that he is a former Olympian.
The Kingfish Comments: And as we all know, Olympic participants never drink or smoke pot or engage in casual sex.
An ad ran for TNA’s house shows.
The Kingfish Comments: Judging by the itinerary, TNA has decided to take advantage of the fact that WWE only plays the big venues in the large-population areas. TNA has targeted mid-size cities and somewhat smaller arenas for its tours.
That should give their house shows a decent chance for success, because they will be offering wrestling to people who seldom, if ever, get to see WWE live.
A video in which Jay Lethal expressed a thirst for revenge preceded SoCal Val’s guest shot on “Karen’s Angle.”
Karen told her that she has to make a choice, but Val whined that she shouldn’t be put in the middle.
Sonjay Dutt came in and sat down beside her. He proclaimed his love and asked what he had to do to make her choose him.
Black Machismo attacked and, as Val moaned for him to stop, beat up Dutt. In the furious fight, he accidentally hit SoCal Val.
The Kingfish Comments: C’mon TNA bookers, there are other things you can do besides these endless hit-and-run assaults. This doesn’t add to the excitement and the delay in anything happen, coupled with Val’s dislikable character, are killing what should’ve been a hot angle leading to a great series of matches.
Matt Morgan d. Frankie Capone
Long-time Pro Wrestling Daily columnist Frankie Capone got some national face-time, but had to do a no frills job for The Blueprint.
The end came with the Hellavator.
The Kingfish Comments: I’m wildly prejudiced, but I think Capone deserves a chance to do his well-developed and finely-tuned act on a bigger stage. Nothing was going to stop Matt Morgan, of course.
Brother Ray came to the ring and, after deriding Morgan’s victory, challenged him to a fight. Morgan immediately advanced toward Ray, only to have Brother Devon blindside him!
The beating began, but then came abyss’ music. He took a little time getting to the ring, but once he got there, Team 3D made a hasty exit.
Kevin pointed out that he was instrumental in bringing Samoa Joe to TNA and added that he considered Joe a friend.
A short clip showed Joe losing his temper, and the tag match, on the previous iMPACT. Nash admitted that he was having a tough time getting into Joe’s head.
JB asked about Sting. Big Sexxy said that the wrestling business has changed since he got into it 20 years ago. He told an anecdote about how, as a young wrestler, he had given up his locker room seat to veteran Harley Race, because it was the right thing to do.
The implication was that Sting’s behavior is a response to the lack of respect by current wrestlers.
Kevin Nash revealed that Sting will be on the next iMPACT.
The Kingfish Comments: Now that’s lame. I thought that Sting might be making a statement against excessive violence or something that would fit with his beliefs. If this is just an attack on young wrestlers, then it’s totally unoriginal and a complete waste of time.
Lauren Bright tried to interview The Beautiful People. They began by ridiculing her blonde hairdo and repeatedly insulted Lauren, though she brought Angelina Love the good news that she has a title shot against Taylor Wilde at No Surrender.
Kip James showed up and egged on The Beautiful People to attack and humiliate Lauren.
The Kingfish Comments: Lauren certainly takes a lot of abuse in the course of conducting her interviews. She is a good foil for the Beautiful People, but she should fire back a little more. Love and Sky would still have to come out on top, but fans would like to hear a few zingers going the other direction.
Rhino gave an impassioned interview in which he vowed to beat Booker T and get into the main event at No Surrender.
Booker T d. Rhino
Four Roads to Glory
Rhino had the edge in the opening portion of the match. He withstood Booker’s Shoulder Blocks and nearly stole the match with a quick pin!
Booker T roared out of the corner and nailed Rhino with a blast to the face, but The War Machine shrugged off the staggering blow and connected with a Spinebuster! It would’ve led to a pin, if Sharmell hadn’t placed her husband’s foot on the bottom rope to stop the count.
Sharmell screeched like a banshee, but she didn’t see Christian Cage come down the ramp behind her. The two had words, but then Cage slung her over his shoulder and carried her from the ringside area.
During the commercial break, Rhino missed a Gore. Booker made him pay with a concussive kick to the head! Rhino got in several punches, but a hard kick stopped him cold during a cross-ring charge.
Rhino was on a roll until he missed a Diving Headbutt from the top. Booker’s Ax kick to the head set up the winning cover.
The Kingfish Comments: The outcome of this match was so obvious, so predictable, that it was like watching a rerun. There was zero chance that Rhino would be one of the four instead of booker that they hardly needed to have the actual contest.
TNA’s new practice of showing key segments of the match as flashbacks to the commercial break may need a re-think. It certainly lessens the impact and drama of anything that occurs. Since most fans know that the shows are pre-taped, they may well wonder why important ring action gets swept aside to make room for inane comedy bits.
Lauren asked Gail Kim if it was a good idea for her to meet Awesome Kong in a street fight.
Kim bristled at the query and called Lauren “stupid” for asking. She asked the interviewer what else she could do. “What should I do, just pack up and go home?” she demanded.
The former Knockout Champion promised fans would see a new, more intense Gail Kim in the match.
After a video reminded fans of their Hard Justice match, it was time for a Williams-Creed rematch from that pay per view.
Consequences Creed Petey Williams (with Rhaka Khan)
X Division Championship
Consequences Creed worked on the champ’s legs early in the match, trying to cut down on the mobility that makes Petey’s strength so effective.
Creed caught Williams with a Somersault to a Clothesline. When the challenger followed Williams into the ringside area, though, Rhaka Khan attacked him. Creed Slingshotted over the top rope from the apron. He executed a Roil-up, but he couldn’t convert it into a pin.
Williams hit a Facebuster and a kick to the head, followed immediately by a Clothesline. He added an Elbow Drop, but his attempt to do a second one misfired. Creed Bodyslammed Williams and landed a Legdrop from the top. Petey raised the shoulder at “two.”
Petey Williams scored with a Side Russian Legsweep, but he couldn’t follow up with the Canadian Destroyer. He pulled off a Neckbreaker, but it wasn’t enough.
Creed hit a Springboard to a Face Plant and then a Military Press. That brought Sheik Abdul Bashir into the ring. Creed chased off the Sheik and hit an out-of-ring Senton on Williams!
It looked like Creed was about to win the title, when Bashir attacked form behind. The newcomer rained blows on Creed’s head, though the referee tried to stop the assault.
The interference caused a DQ loss for Williams.
After the match, Petey Williams and Sheik Abdul Bashir exchanged hard words.
The Prince Justice Brotherhood met the Rock ‘n’ Rave Infection in the backstage area. They argued a little, Curry Man propositioned Christy Hemme and the Rock ‘n’ Ravers kicked the masked men’s butts.
The Kingfish Comments: Who is this Prince Justice guy and why are these three masked stooges his brothers?
Awesome Kong (with Raisha Saeed) d. Gail Kim
Knockout Street Fight
Awesome Kong launched her attack before Hail Kim even got into the ring. Kim weathered the storm, low-bridged Long and sent her to the outside. Kim tried to match her foe’s punching power, which may not have been the soundest strategy. Kong picked up Kim and dropped her, painfully, across the outer guard rail.
When Awesome Kong missed a charge and banged into a wall, Kim jumped onto the top of the wall and dropped down on her hated foe. Kim bashed Kong’s head against the wall several times.
Kong obtained an umbrella from a fan and beat Kim with it as they struggle with each other out in the arena. Kong threw Kim back over the guard rail into the ringside area, clearly heading towards the six-sided ring.
Gail Kim came to life, grabbed a kendo stick and went after first Kong and then Raisha Saeed. Saeed ended up on the wrong end of Kim’s Neckbreaker. Kong had a chair, but Kim struck first and Dropkicked back into her face!
Kim hit three rapid Clotheslines and a Double Knee to the chest, but Kong remained standing. Fail stopped Awesome Kong on a Corner Charge, rolled up the larger woman and nearly gained the three count!
Gail Kim tried to come off the top, but Awesome Kong caught her on the fly! Kim wriggled out, but Kong gathered her in and dealt a match-ended Implant Buster!
When Kong and Saeed after the match, referee Rudy Charles got tossed out of the ring. Gail’s sister rushed into the ring and tried to protect her downed sibling. Kong toyed with the semi-hysterical sister until ODB and Roxxi came into the ring to make the save.
The Kingfish Comments: This is probably Kim’s last match before she departs for WWE and it was certainly a good one. For more about this major wrestling move, check out HeadLocker. Jay Shannon has some great observations that you’ll want to read.
AH Styles d. Kurt Angle
Olympic Medal Match
Kurt Angles came to the ring, carrying a ladder, with Booker T at his side.
Booker T tried to interfere, but Samoa Joe rushed to the ringside area to oppose his efforts.
AJ bulled Angle into a corner. He made the mistake of turning to look at the ladder, which gave Kurt the opening for a counter-attack. Angle scored with a Back Body Drop and, when Styles bounced into the ropes, caught him with a Release Suplex on the rebound!
The two men got into a tussle for control of the ladder in the ringside area. Angle used it as a battering ram to send his foe into the guard rail at high speed!
AJ used the tactic of throwing the ladder out of the ring at every opportunity to make it harder for the former Olympian to climb the ladder and reclaim the medal. When Angle went to retrieve the ladder, Styles smeared him with an out-of-ring Suicide Dive!
Sharmell came to the ring just before a commercial break. While the cameras were gone, Angle negated a temporary Styles advantage with a low blow. AJ resorted to the ropes, but Angle Legtripped him and sent him into the ladder. Angle executed a Suplex, but Styles recovered quickly enough to keep Angle from getting his hands on the prize.
Kurt used a Suplex to set up a Rear Naked Choke. Samoa Joe shouted some very helpful advice about escaping from it; Styles took the information and made it work, He broke out and countered Angle with a DDT!
When both men got to their feet again, Styles pulled off three rapid-fire Clotheslines and a Backbreaker. He set up the ladder for a try for the gold. Angle stopped Styles, but The Phenomenal One made him pay when he sent him careening into the ladder!
AJ Styles climbed the ladder. Kurt Angle caught him from behind and brought him low with an Olympic Slam! Kurt climbed and came within inches of the medal before Styles tipped over the ladder!
Sharmell tried to stop AJ on the apron before he could do his intended maneuver. Styles kicked her away and stunned Angle with a Springboard over the top rope to a Flying Forearm!
Booker T and Samoa Joe had their own private war blazing in the ringside area. Booker got a bat and used it on the champ with telling consequences.
The lights went out!
When the illumination returned, AJ Styles had a guitar! He used it on Angle and completed his climb to snatch the medal and put it around his neck!
The Kingfish Comments: TNA needs to move to a resolution of both the Sting-bat and Jarrett-guitar situations. It’s getting to look like live-action “Spy versus Spy” out there.
Overall Grade for this show: B+
I’ll be back tomorrow with another installment of the Internet’s fastest-rising daily wrestling column. I hope you’ll join me and bring your friends.
— Arnie Katz