Katz Files: My Weekly TNA Notebook!

The Katz Files – Arnie Katz

My Weekly TNA Notebook

The Kingfish Arnie Katz presents his analysis of topics raised by the 10/30 episode of iMPACT

The opening video spotlighted the Main Event Mafia. Footage showed the group’s formation, the attacks on Samoa Joe and AJ Styles and Booker T’s attempt to coerce Christian Cage into joining the MEM.

The Kingfish Comments: The previous week’s show set up this episode’s main event tag team match. TNA appears to be elevating a group of semi-heels and heels to main event status. It seems likely that, before too long, there’ll be a babyface counter-force, which would put its members into a main event class.

I really hope that’s what TNA is doing and that it doesn’t fall victim to the almost weekly changes in direction and booking plans that have held back the promotion for so long.

AJ Styles took the mic to open the first new segment. He expressed disappointment that no one had come out of the locker room to help him and Samoa Joe when the Main Event Mafia attacked them.

AJ challenged fellow wrestlers to “cross the line” and stand with him and Joe.

Wrestlers began parading to the ring, led by Black Machismo, Consequences Creed, Petey Williams and ODB,

The Motor City Machineguns joined the throng in the ring, but they didn’t rush to get on board with the TNA Originals. Samoa Joe tried to explain that it’s everyone fight.

Speaking directly to Alex Shelley, Joe stressed that everyone’s career is on the line. When Shelley wanted to know what Joe had “done for him lately,” the big Samoan slapped his face!

The Main Event Mafia came to the top of the ramp. They called the babyfaces ridiculous and reiterated that what they want is respect.

Nash took the mic to jab the needle into Joe. He said that Scott Hall hadn’t shown up for the match 10 months ago, because he didn’t think Joe was “worth the rub.”

The war, they said, would start on this episode.

Booker T said, somewhat enigmatically; “It’s all about the five.”

The Kingfish Comments: The Machineguns are an interesting situation. Based on this segment and one that took place in the back a few minutes later, it’s possible that the big feud will separate Sabin and Shelley. Alex led the negative response in the ring and Sabin came back with a much more conciliatory attitude when they met again in the backstage area.

The booking for the Motor City Machineguns has been so shoddy and inconsistent, though, that it’s hard to know if this is good booking or bad writing. Alex Shelley has always been more of a heel and Chris Sabin is a natural face, so the idea has some merit.

I certainly hope that they won’t simply attach Shelley to the Main Event Mafia as a junior member. That’s what killed the nWo in WCW and turning the successful faction into a mob scene.

Jeff Jarrett told Jeremy Borash, in answer to the interviewer’s question, that he didn’t plan to “fight their wars for them>”

Mick Foley said that he wanted to talk to Sting in the ring later in the show. He then left, saying: I’ve got to take a Kurt and wipe my Angle.”

The Beautiful People told Lauren that, in HD, everyone could see her wrinkles. They also wondered when Christy Hemme became a wrestler.

Velvet Sky said that ODB is “as female as Rosie O’Donnell.”

“We didn’t ask to be beautiful, we were just born that way,” Velvet Sky said, making an oblique reference to Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

ODB & Christy Hemme d. The Beautiful People

Christy Hemme knocked Velvet Sky off the apron, She turned back to Angelina Love just in time to take a vicious kick that almost led to a pin.

ODB hurt Sky with a Clothesline, a Back Elbow and a Corner Splash. The Trailer Princess then dealt a ring-shaking Fallaway Slam. Still, it was only a near fall.

As Christy Hemme struggled with her old nemesis Cite Kip at ringside, ODB gave Velvet Sky her version of the Chokeslam to pave the way for a winning cover.

Grade: B-

The Kingfish Comments: The Beautiful People wore distinctly drab and unflattering costumes this week. The outfits looked like track suits and did not flatter either f these two undeniably alluring women.

The match got a bit haphazard toward the end, so the grade might strike some as over-generous. I love ODB; what else can I say. Well, maybe she and Velvet need to practice that Chokeslam a little more.

The Motor City Machineguns met Samoa Joe backstage. They told the leader of the TNA Ori9ginals that they’d thought about it and had decided to cast their lot with the Young Lions of TNA.

The Kingfish Comments: As mentioned, Chris Sabin did all the talking in this short vignette. This is either the set-up for a feud between the teammates or a hint that the Machineguns might turn on the TNA Originals at some crucial point. If it’s the latter, they would then presumably fight Black Machismo and Consequences Creed.

Eric Young told Jeremy Borash that he knew that everything is on the line. More Importantly, he admitted that he hardly knew who he was these days.

The Kingfish Comments: If this is a way of saying the Prince Justice Brotherhood is finished, I would be a very happy pro wrestling journalist. That is one of the lamest angles in the history of TNA, which is really saying something.

Eric Young d. James Storm (with Robert Roode & Jacqueline

When Eric Young came to the ring for his match, the pyro did not cause him to flop on the ramp in shock.

Young took it to Storm with a pair of Dropkicks, but the Tennessee Cowboy got back into things with a tremendous kick to the head on an EY Corner Charge.

As Storm backed the referee’s line of sight, Robert Roode helped out his partner by attacking Young from ringside! Storm attacked from behind. He couldn’t make the cover stick and settled for punishing Eric with a Rear Chinlock.

The Tennessee Cowboy hit the Eye of the Storm, but the finisher didn’t finish Eric Young.

With Jacqueline keeping referee Shane Sewell busy, Robert Roode tried to spit beer in Eric Young’s face. Showtime ducked and the liquid missile struck James Storm full in the face! Eric rolled up Storm and got the pin and the win!

Grade: B

When Beer Money attacked Eric Young after the match, the Motor City Machineguns rushed the ring to save him.

The Kingfish Comments: It was nice to see Eric Young return to the character that won him so much fan support. The cringing coward and the super hero each had a brief moment of popularity, but neither gimmick would’ve provided the basis for continuing success.

The victory, tainted as it was, may be a harbinger of a fresh push for EY. He’s fairly talented in the ring and not bad with the microphone, so using him more effectively would certainly benefit the show.

Lauren met Roxxi and Taylor Wilde and asked why they were there on a night they weren’t supposed to wrestler – and why they were carrying weapons.

They didn’t say much, but they made it plain that they were hunting for Awesome Kong and Raisha Saeed.

As Jeremy Borash was about to start an interview with Kong and Saeed ion the dressing room, Roxxi and Taylor Wilde broke in and beat up both women!

The Kingfish Comments: The attack was a little clumsy, but the idea is good. The hardcore gimmick looks like it’ll work for both babyfaces, at least in the short run, so expect quite a few matches among the four women in this segment.

After a video recapped his run-in with Rhino, Sheik Abdul Bashir came to the announce table to observe the next match.

Motor City Machineguns d. Tanahashi & Volador

Mike Tenay and Don West reminded fans that Volador won the Ultimate X match that gave the World X Cup to Team Mexico. (And you thought the World X Cup was ODB’s bra size….)

Tanahashi and Volador attacked at the opening bell and set the Machineguns back on their heels. Volador did a terrific out-of-ring Hilo to blast Chris Sabin in the ringside area.

The announcers got into a side conversation with Bashir about his coming match against Rhino. The Sheik claimed that Rhino started the fight and that he should stop acting like he’s the only American involved, since Bashir is from the US, too.

Volador stunned Alex Shelley with a Powerbomb, but his top-rope follow-up hit nothing but canvas!

Grade: B

The Kingfish Comments: It would be an understatement to say that Tanahashi and Volador looked good. The fact that they lost their first match as a team bodes ill for both continued employment or in-ring success in TNA. That’s a shame, because this pair can do a lot to make any match more exciting with their fast-paced style.

After some highly efficient double-teaming, they put down Volador with Cradle Shock and covered for the three count victory.

Sheik Abdul Bashir hated the result so much he demolished a chair.,

When Bashir attacked Volador, Rhino rushed the ring and Gored the Turncoat Nightmare.

The Kingfish Comments: Is there any mark so dense that they didn’t expect Rhino to come out to attack Bashir? TNA seems to have forgotten the War Machine, but a program against Bashir might be a tonic for his career.

Christian Cage told Lauren that he was accepting Booker T’s challenge for Turning point.

He will fight Booker for the Legends Belt. If he loses, he must join the Main Event Mafia.

The Kingfish Comments: While I’ll hold my prediction of the match for my Turning Point Preview, it sure is an intriguing situation. Having Booker lose his shiny mew belt doesn’t seem likely, yet the idea of Cage joining the MEM under duress is hokey and artificial.

One possible outcome would be a DQ win for Christian Cage as a result of interference by the Main Event Mafia. That would let Booker keep the belt without making Christian Cage join the group.

Samoa Joe & AJ Styles d. Booker T * Kevin Nash

Kevin Nash and AJ Styles started the match in a style reminiscent of 1970’s WWF. It stayed very tentative until Big Sexxy kicked AJ in the midsection and began bashing him around the ring.

Styles leveled Nash with a Springboard Dropkick. At the same time, Samoa Joe took out Booker T with a Suicide Dive through the ropes into the ringside area!

Nash stunned the Big Samoan with a Back Elbow and turned it over to Booker T. Booker tried mightily to line up Joe for the Ax Kick, but he never quite got it set up to his satisfaction.

Samoa Joe jumped over Booker’s attempted Leg Trip, but Nash got the Samoan from ringside! That let Booker nail the Ax Kick, which nearly led to a pin. Nash Sideslammed Joe and Booker added a Round Kick, but that still wasn’t enough.

They double teamed Joe until the big man could hardly stand. When Booker T went for the Ax Kick, Samoa Joe turned it into a Powerslam. Styles replaced Joe and made life miserable for both heels.

With Samoa Joe temporarily sidelined after a vicious attack,. Booker T thought he could put away AJ Styles. The Phenomenal One had a surprise for the multi-time former champion, though. He connected with the Pele and pinned him!

Grade: B

The Kingfish Comments: Kevin Nash did a lot better than I anticipated in light of his age and numerous infirmities. When the Artist Formerly Known as Diesel hits a move, he still makes it look awesome. TNA could get some very good work out of Kev if he doesn’t succumb to the injury jinx again.

Abyss thanked Lauren for asking about his health and assured everyone that he was fine. Matt Morgan showed great concern about this and worried about what would happen to his buddy out there all alone against Kurt Angle.

After reminding fans about Kurt Angle’s attack on Mick Foley the previous week, Sting told Lauren that he would accept Mick Foley invitation for a meeting in the ring to talk about the situation.

Mick Foley praised the new “iMPACT Zone” set and then took credit for the change.

He then announced a double main event for Turning point: Samoa Joe versus Nash and Sting versus AJ Styles.

The Kingfish Comments: Turning Point will have to score with the entire line-up, because the top two matches are not nearly as compelling as usual. Unless Styles is going to capture the title, the pairings don’t seem all that exciting.

Mick Foley declared his respect for Sting, but then asked; “Why, Sting, why>”

Foley said that Sting had become a wedge instead of glue and called upon TNA’s champion to help lead TNA to a new, higher level.

Sting rejected Foley’s counsel and wanted Mick to but out of the feud.

“How long are you going to hide behind Abyss>” Angle screamed as he shoved Jeremy Borash out of the scene. Speaking directly to Jarrett, Angle vowed to go to any lengths to get TNA’s founder back in the ring.

The Kingfish Comments: Angle versus Jarrett, here we come. It’s true. It’s damn true.

Abyss d. Kurt Angle via DQ

Abyss bulled Angle into the corner, where he battered him with lefts and rights. The referee ordered him to back off, which he did. Then he Clothesline the former Olympian out of the ring!

Kurt Angles started to leave. He walked up the ramp with every apparent intention of quitting the match. Abyss followed him and, with a barrage of punches, forced Kurt back inside the ropes.

Angle got in a few punches, but Abyss overwhelmed him with a Sideslam and a Clothesline that again sent him to the outside.

When the show came back from a commercial break, fans saw Angle and Abyss battling through the arena stands. Kurt Angle tried to create some distance between himself and his tormenter, but Abyss pursued tenaciously.

Back in the ring, Kurt took aim at Abyss’ knees and soon had the big man in trouble. He seized am Anklelock, buy he couldn’t wring a submission from the Masked Colossus.

Both men went down after Abyss scored with a Clothesline. He seemed to have new resolve when he stood up again, because he shrugged off Angle’s volley of punches. He used punches and a Corner Splash to prepare Angle for the Shock Treatment. Kurt got his shoulder off the mat just in time!

When Abyss tried for a Chokeslam, Angle rolled through and emerged with the Anklelock! Abyss shook him off and ,I>did pull off a Chokeslam, but the referee’s count stopped at “two.”

Angle softened up Abyss with more kicks to the knees and then shocked his opponent and the fans by dishing out an Olympic Slam! Somehow, Chris Park got his shoulder up before the final slap of the canvas.

Angle climbed the ropes for a Moonsault. Abyss came up behind him and brought him low with a Powerbomb! Angle narrowly escaped the pin.

Abyss went to the outside. Angle followed and hit him with a chair to the midsection. Rudy Charles called for the bell and awarded the match to Abyss.

Grade: B+

After the match, Angle went wild, scratching at Abyss’ back through his shirt in an effort to open the burn wounds.

Angle then applied the Anklelock. Who knows how much damage he might’ve done if Matt Morgan hadn’t run into the ring to help his sidekick.

That brought the Main Event Mafia into the fight. Nash swatted Morgan with a chair and then used it to choke Abyss.

A crowd of wrestlers erupted from the dressing room and routed the Main Event Mafia before they could do more damage.

That’s when the meaning of “It’s all about the five” became crystal clear. Scott Steiner came out swinging a pipe. He did horrible damage to a lot of the rescuers.

Sting came to the ring and, after a little stalling, subjected AJ Styles to the Scorpion Deathdrop.

The Kingfish Comments: The most important thing TNA can do for this mega-feud right now is to define the group that will oppose the Main Event Mafia – and then get the rest involved in something else.

If everybody gets in on it all the time, then no one can stand out very much.

Overall Grade for This Show: B-

That’s it for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with another installment of the Internet’s fastest-rising daily wrestling column. I hope you’ll come back to join me – and bring your friends.

— Arnie Katz
[email protected]
(11/03/08)