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The Katz Files – Arnie Katzenjammer

My Weekly TNA Notebook

The Kingfish Arnie Katz makes his debut on OWW

Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself…

Since this is my first column for OWW, I want to introduce myself to the vast audience of knowledgeable pro wrestling fans that clustered around this site. I hope we’ll get to know each other and my inbox is wide open for your questions and comments.

I’ve been a wrestling fan since I was a little boy and remember watching Lou Thesz and Verne Gagne on TV as they tried to dismember each other. I co-edited Main Event with Bill Kunkel in the late 1970’s. It was the first magazine devoted to coverage of the WWE (or WWWF as it was then) and was sold on all major arena concession stands in the Northeast. Bill and I also hosted a weekly pro wrestling radio show on New York’s WHBI.

I returned to pro wrestling around 200, when I became a columnist for Pro Wrestling Daily. That quickly led to me becoming the site’s editor-in-chief. IPWD became part of the Black Pants, Inc., family at the beginning of 2008. Now Pro Wrestling Daily has merged with OWW.

I’ll be fairly visible as a daily columnist and the Executive Editor of Online World of Wrestling I hope you’ll also look out for our other new regular columnist Jay Shannon. His HeadLocker column is always informative and interesting – and he has quite a knack for analysis and predictions.

That’s enough biography for now. Let’s get to the 7/31 iMPACT and my commentary on what happened on the two-hour show.

My Weekly TNA Notebook

The 7/31 edition of iMPACT opened with Booker T, Sharmell at his side in a skimpy gossamer dress, ready to give Jeremy Borash a dressing room interview. Booker announced that, on this iMPACT, he wanted to give Samoa Joe a personal tour of the weaponized Six Sides of Steel.

Beer Money (with Jacqueline Moore) d. Rhino & Christian Cafe
Number-one Contenders Match

As both men struggled for control on the top of a turnbuckle, Christian Cafe brought James Storm down to the canvas with a Bulldog. Robert Roode tried to Whip Cage into his partner, but the elusive Instant Classic zipped right between Storm’s legs!

The Instant Classic got some revenge when he orchestrated a collision between the two heels. Rhino knocked their heads together and fans began to think that the babyfaces would take the decision and get the title shot at Hard Justice

James Storm spit beer in Christian’s eyes, temporarily blinding him. Roode took advantage of Cage’s disorientation and banged him off the ring apron all the way to the outer barrier!

Back from a commercial break, Beer Money jolted Cage with a Stereo Suplex. Rood set up Cage on a turnbuckle, but the Instant Classic shocked him with a ring-shaking DDT. Rhino cleaned house after getting the hot tag. The War Machine had Storm with a Spinebuster and would’ve won the match if Roode hadn’t broken up the cover!

Just as Christian Cage seemed poised to end the match with a top-rope move, he saw Team 3D coming to the ring! Emotion triumphed over ring strategy; Cage took out Ray and Devon with an out-of-ring Cross Body Press.

Storm advanced on Rhino with a kendo stick in hand, but the War Machine struck first with a Gore! Earl Hebner would’ve counted the victory then and there, but Johnny Devine dragged him out of the ring before he could slap canvas for the third time.

Brother Devon zoomed into the ring to attack Rhino. The War Machine would’ve Gored him, but Jacqueline grabbed his hair to spoil the move!

Roode went after Cage and Rhino with the kendo stick! Q dazed Rhino staggered right into a 3D! The Tennessee Cowboy quickly covered for the pin and the win.

Grade: B

After the post-match melee, Christian Cage challenged Team 3D to a New Jersey Street Fight at Hard Justice.

The Kingfish Comments: This match had a lot happening, maybe even a little too much, but it achieved the desired effect. Beer Money, the hottest heel tag team, is now involved with LAX in a program revolving around the belts, while Rhino and Cage will return to their program with Team 3D.

The Rock and Rave Infection thought Lauren was there to give them an Emmy, but it turned out that they were scheduled to be part of a six-man match.

Black Machismo, Curry Man and Sharkboy (with SoCal Val) d. The Rock & Rave Infection & Johnny Devine (with Christy Hemme)

During the match, announcers Mike Tenay and Don West spent a lot of time talking about the impending Hard Justice Black Tie Ball & Chain match against Sonjay Dutt.

Lance Rock tried to Chokeslam Sharkboy and Curryman at the same time with the expected negative consequences. They threw Lance out of the ring and Sharkboy smeared him and Rave with an out-of-ring Dive!

Meanwhile, back in the ring, Jay Lethal made quick work of Johnny Devine to nail down the win for his team.

Grade: B-

After the match, Black Machismo brought SoCal Val into the ring. He got down on one knee, ready to propose again, but then he noticed that her ring wasn’t on her finger! She didn’t have much of an explanation.

The Kingfish Comments: The bookers have done a terrible job on the Black Machismo-SoCal Val-Sonjay Dutt angle. SoCal Val’s character, or perhaps lack of character, remains a total mystery. Why did she accept Lethal’s marriage proposal so enthusiastically and then not simply re-start the ceremony after Dutt stopped the first try> Why was she furious at Lethal one week and then came out for this match all smiles and affection?

TNA has not pushed this potentially hot feud effectively, seeming to forget about it for weeks at a time. And most of what they did do about it turned out to be nothing more than a series of brief, dull skirmishes in a variety of phony-looking locations.

As an extra bonus, this stillborn feud has pretty much killed the heat for both Black Machismo and Sonjay Dutt. The pair should have a good match at Hard Justice if TNA doesn’t book it to death, but nothing is going to turn it into a feud-of-the-year candidate.

Backstage, Jeremy Borash tried to interview Lance Smith of Country Music Television without notable success.

Super Eric crashed the scene to tell everyone that the three costumed guys are looking for SoCal Val’s ring, “to save the love.”

The Kingfish Comments: What do you do when you have two angles that aren’t working, If you’re TNA, evidently the answer is that you mash them together into an even more ridiculous mess.

The super hero group is yet another comedy spot for a promotion that doesn’t need them and can’t do them very well.

When Jeremy Borash told Samoa Joe about Booker T’s planned tour of the Six Sides of Steel, the champion quipped that he’d like it to be a party of three.

Jeremy Borash found Kevin Nash and encouraged him to calm down Samoa Joe.

Samoa Joe accused Sting of attacking him, but Nash cautioned his protégé that there really wasn’t a lot of evidence to prove it.

Booker T, speaking from the middle of the Six Sides of Steel, invited Samoa Joe to take the tour. He promised that the lights would not go out.

Joe warned Booker that, if he got into the cage, it would be to beat his a$$.

Kevin Nash stood guard at the cage door while Joe suddenly Clotheslined Booker T and began pummeling him on the mat!

Sharmell reached ringside just in time to see Samoa Joe smash her husband’s face against the cage wall. She looked like she wanted to do something more active to help Booker, but Nash slung her over his shoulder and carried her to the backstage area.

As Samoa Joe watched his mentor depart, a back bat was lowered from the rafters! Booker smacked Joe senseless with it.

The Kingfish Comments: Even the inconsistency of the potting and Booker T’s awful attempt to sound highbrow can’t kill the intrinsic appeal of Samoa Joe versus Booker T. Someone should send the TNA bookers one of those crochet samplers with the homey motto: “Less Is More.” This feud doesn’t need so many swerves and twists at this stage; now is the time for that total nonstop action.

A pre-taped segment featured newcomer Sheik Abdul Bashir. He castigated Americans for allow their government to go so bad.

AJ Styles stood in the middle of the Six Sides of Steel when the show returned after a commercial interlude. He wanted to know what’s happening with Sting and, speaking on behalf of the fans, begged Sting to come forward and explain himself.

“Sting is a coward,” declared a frustrated Styles. The lights went out, but when they came on, it was Kurt Angle who attacked!

Angle subjected Styles to three Olympic Slams. He stood over the fallen Phenomenal One, triumphant and taunting.

The Kingfish Comments: I liked this swerve from the Sting plotline, because it might start to rebuild the lost heat for the Kurt Angle-AJ Styles-Karen Angle story. This is another case in which TNA left a plot on “idle” until the fans’ interest in it withered. It’s more excusable here, though, because Angle reputedly had an injury that kept him from more active work.

Sharkboy and Curry Man went to the Beautiful People’s locker room and demanded that they return the ring. They didn’t have it and told them masked men so in the most insulting terms.

Curry Man, speaking heavily accented broken English, tried to arrange a post-match date with one or both of the Beautiful People. They didn’t seem terribly interested.

The Kingfish Comments: This actually went pretty well, though it seems highly inadvisable for Curry Man to talk in racially stereotyped broken English since he’s an American.

When Lauren asked Petey Williams, accompanied by Rhaka Khan, how he had prepared for his match against Consequences Creed, the X Division champion made it plain that he wasn’t taking Creed very seriously. He told Lauren that he had exercised and eaten breakfast, which is presumably his normal daily routine.

Williams then did his Arnold Schwarzenegger imitation and told Lauren that his favorite Batman villain is Mr. Freeze.

Consequences Creed d. Petey Williams (with Rhaka Khan)
Non-Title Match

Hermie Sadler joined Tenay and West at the announce table.

Maple Leaf Muscle tried to embarrass Creed in the early going, tossing him around the ring and beginning him to the mat with a Waistlock Takedown. The rookie came back quickly and refused to let Williams run him out of the match.

Consequences Creed got the fans chanting, “USA!” as he bounced off the ropes and flattened Williams with a Cross Body Block. It translated into a two-count cover.

Petey blasted Creed with a Double Knee to the chest. When hat didn’t lead to a pin, the champ rocked Creed with a Jawbreaker! He stopped to celebrate, which gave the victim a few precious moment to revive.

Creed connected with a Round Kick, a Splash and an Elbow off the ropes! When Creed hoisted Williams onto his shoulder, preparing for a Pumphandle Slam, Rhaka Khan distracted the official, Slick Johnson. Creed executed the Pumphandle, but when he tried to come off the top turnbuckle with a Legdrop, The Definition of Definition moved off Ground Zero in time.

Williams went for the Canadian Destroyer. Consequences Creed disrupted the maneuver. He sat down on Williams and pinned his shoulders to the canvas for the required one-two-three!

Grade: B

The Kingfish Comments: The victory sets up Consequences Creed as the next contender for Williams’ X Division belt. They should have a very exciting match, possibly in the B+ range, but Creed’s real importance may prove to be more long-term.

He is a very appealing performer and the fans seem to take to his bubbly personality. He has good size and moves reasonably well in the ring. He’s a bit rougher on the microphone, but that most likely would improve with practice.

He’s a live prospect. Now let’s see if TNA can turn him into a rising star.

Sharkboy and Curry Man took their investigation to LAX, where Salinas gave them a chilly reception. She and Sharkboy mouthed off at each other and Curry Man’s halting attempts to communication in a more reasonable way didn’t make much of a dent, either.

Elsewhere backstage, Lauren asked AJ Styles if he thought Sting had attacked Samoa Joe earlier in the show.

He promised that he would e the first man to greet Sting when the Icon returned to the world of TNA – and that he would be there to get some answers.

AJ then hyped the Last Man Standing match that will pit him against Kurt Angle at Hard Justice.

On “Karen’s Angle,” Katz talked about his second, more successful sting in TNA. He then shocked the hostess with the announcement that he has officially withdrawn his name from the TNA roster.

After Kaz left the interview set, Tomko arrived to threaten Karen Angle and trash the furniture.

The Kingfish Comments: For someone allegedly leaving TNA, Kaz has gotten a tremendous amount of attention since his loss in the Ultimate X match that ended the World X Cup with a victory for Team Mexico. Without “inside info,” my guess is that Kaz will return in the not-too-distant future to do a comeback gimmick on the way to challenge for the TNA World Championship.

The less said about Tomko’s part in the scene, the better. It simply did not work. It looked like a half-hearted after-thought. It’s also a waste of Tomko’s talent and a missed opportunity to capitalize on his popularity coming out of Global iMPACT.

Kevin Nash expressed a certain amount of bewilderment about Sting to Lauren. Samoa Joe showed no such ambivalence. He said he’d go up into the rafters to search for him.

Matt Morgan d. Sal Raunello

Morgan won this squash match against a man about half his size with the Hellavator.

Grade: F

After the match, Matt Morgan chastised Tomko for picking on a girl and challenged him to a match at Hard Justice.

Tomko came to the ring, took off his shirt and pie-faced Morgan! Security moved quickly to break it up before much contact occurred.

Morgan shouted for Tomko to return to the ring. When he turned his back on the heel, however, Tomko rushed the ring to attack him! Morgan responded with a Back Elbow and the Hellavator.

The Kingfish Comments: What a waste of time! This did nothing to advance Morgan, while providing no real entertainment for the fans.

Matt Morgan needs to start fighting matches that excite and involve the fans. The match against Tomko is a step in that direction. It would’ve been even better, though, if TNA hadn’t brought Tomko to just about the bottom of the roster with mishandling.

The post-match booking seemed a little off, too. It might have been better if Tomko had overcome Morgan with his sneak attack to make him look better for their match, It would’ve been even better if they’d figured out a more convincing way for him to make that sneak attack. This version looked improbable and unconvincing.

The Prince Justice Brotherhood had a break in the case. They had a video that showed Sonjay Dutt taking the ring from SoCal Val.

The Kingfish Comments: I like comic books and even collect the, but this must have an end.

Team 3D and Beer Money got together with Jeremy Borash to announce an eight-man tag team match for next week. Brother Ray said there might even be a glass table in the futures of LAX, Rhino and Christian Cage.

Taylor Wilde, on “Rough Cut” continued to play the underdog card. “I’ve always fought from the bottom up!” she declared.

Taylor Wild & Fail Kim d. The Beautiful People

Taylor Wilde sent Velvet Sky scurrying for cover and did the same with Angelina Love. Fail Kim replaced her in the ring and, after a Float Over to dodge a corner charge, Dropkicked Love.

Angelina Love cut off the ring and isolated Kim in the wrong corner for some extensive punishment. Gail reversed and went for a pin, but Love easily lifted her shoulder in time.

Taylor Wilde finally got a tag from Gail Kim. She roared into the ring and shook Angelina Love with a Tilt-a-Whirl Backbreaker and then took out Velvet Sky with a Belly-to-Belly Suplex!

The Beautiful People double-teamed Taylor. When they tried for the pin, Gail Kim Dropkicked her partner to freedom – and then scored the pinned Velvet Sky.

Grade: C+

Angelina Love kicked Gail Kim out of the ring after the match, so the Beautiful People could concentrate on pounding the Knockout Champion.

Gail Kim returned to the ring and went right after the heels.

Awesome Kong came to the ring. Kim went on the attack immediately, but the former champion blasted her with a Headbutt!

Kong clobbered both babyfaces with a Wingspread Clothesline and then dealt Kim an Awesomebomb. She then turned on Taylor Wilde and gave her an Awesomebomb, too!

ODB, followed shortly by Roxxi with a chair, came to the aid of Kim and Wilde. Even Awesome Kong had to back away when faced with such powerful reinforcements.

The Kingfish Comments: The Beautiful People didn’t do a great job on the finish, which was booked badly in the first place. I applaud the increased visibility of the Knockouts, but this wasn’t up to the level of a main event match.

The cameras followed Samoa Joe into the upper reaches of the arena in his search for Sting.

The Kingfish’s Final Comments: There’s always some good ring action on iMPACT and that was true for this show as well. The booking and dramatic scenes, as well as time-wasters like the Morgan squash match, made it one of the worst episodes in recent memory.

Overall Grade for this episode of iMPACT: C+

I’ll be back tomorrow with another installment of the Internet’s fastest-rising daily wrestling column. I hope you’ll join me then.

— Arnie Katz
Executive Editor
[email protected]