The Impact (11/26) Insight

HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
The TNA Impact Insight
Our resident philosopher looks at a Thanksgiving edition of TNA Impact

TNA offered up a Thanksgiving night filled with plenty of action and minimal amounts of turkey. They presented the TNA Championship Series, a group of matches to determine a number one contender to either the World, X-Division or Tag Team titles.

The show opened with a look at the changes in TNA. In case you’ve been living in an alternate universe for the last month of so, Hulk Hogan has joined TNA. Jesse Neal has had a major attitude adjustment. Mick Foley is ticked off that Dixie Carter has kept him out of the loop, so to speak.

This Week’s Episode: Is Mick the Turkey?

Mike Tenay and Taz ran down the night’s brilliant card. The opening round matches included:

Abyss v Bobby Lashley
Desmond Wolfe v Suicide
Kurt Angle v The Pope
Homicide v Robert Roode

“The Boss”, Bobby Lashley, along with his wife, Crystal Lashley, came out for the first opening round match. Abyss then came out, alone, to battle Lashley.

Bobby Lashley d Abyss
TNA Championship Series — Round One

The Finish:

Abyss missed a Splash in the corner. This allowed Lashley to open up on Abyss with punches and kicks. Abyss hit a Running Clothesline when the ref pulled Bobby back. Abyss yelled at Bobby and pounded on him. Abyss choked Bobby on the ropes. Bobby began to fight back but Abyss clubbed him. Abyss twisted Lashley’s neck and head. Lashley fought free and went to the ropes. Abyss caught Lashley in a brutal Bear Hug. Lashley “Hulked Up” and fought back. Lashley used a Drop Toe Hold to drop Abyss’ neck over the ropes. Lashley hit a Fore-arm and Clothesline. Lashley hit a Spinebuster and a La Bandera Clothesline on Abyss. Abyss, from the floor, pulled Bobby to the outside. crystal took an accidental Back Elbow tot he face. She seemed to have hurt her ankle. Abyss tripped out when her realized what he had done. Lashley hit a Spear and slapped on the Dragon Sleeper. Abyss tapped out!

Grade: B+

Jay’s Thoughts: I’m ready for Lashley to send the ball and chain back home. I didn’t care for the “wife” gimmick when Sharmell did it. Crystal just ain’t no Sharmell. I know she’s got that Halle Berry look and such but she’s already annoying.

Mick Foley was in his office with JB. Foley was cranky about the concept of Hogan coming in. Foley felt Hogan’s arrival was done all sneaky and clandestine. JB said that Dixie was pulling some underhanded stuff with Hogan and others coming to TNA. Foley said he would go talk to Kurt Angle about all this.

Suicide came out for the next Opening Round match in the TCS tournament. His opponent was Desmond Wolfe. The wolf howl heralded the Englander’s arrival.

Desmond Wolfe d Suicide
TNA Championship Series — Round One

The Finish:

Suicide went to the apron and hit the Flying Legdrop, over the ropes. Suicide missed a Splash. Wolfe kicked the back and Clotheslined Suicide. Wolfe then placed Suicide on the top rope for the Tower of London. Suicide got out of the devastating finisher. Wolfe went to the ropes and ended up getting nailed with a Running Dropkick. Wolfe reversed an Irish Whip but Suicide slid between the ropes to avoid Wolfe’s charge. Suicide went to the top rope, only to get caught. Wolfe went for the Tower of London. Even though they botched the move, Suicide still sold it.

Grade: B

Jay’s Thoughts: In the WWE, they would have re-filmed that finish. In TNA, they let the screw-ups happen. Suicide really needs to retire the skull mask. Actually, I could see Homicide blackmailing Suicide into joining him in a new tag team. Call them the Partners-in-Crime.

“The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero came out for the third TCS match. The crowd absolutely loved the street preacher. Dinero bucks fell from the ceiling. Kurt Angle then rose from the depths of the Impact Zone. Kurt got a monster pop from the Orlando crowd.

Kurt Angle d D’Angelo Dinero
TNA Championship Series — Round One

The Finish:

Kurt reversed an Irish Whip but dropped his head. Pope knocked Kurt into the ropes and then hit the Fly-by Buster. The crowd cheered for Pope. Pope called for the Outer Limits Elbow Drop and hit it. Pope drooped the kneepads and tried for the D-D-E. Kurt dodged it and slapped on the AngleLock. Pope rolled over and kicked out. Kurt came back to nail the AngleSlam to advance.

Grade: A-

Jay’s Thoughts: Seeing both Kurt and Pope as faces seems so strange. Both of these guys are really excellent ring performers. I’d like to see Pope get a shot at the X-Division title.

Kurt and Pope shook hands and hugged, after the match. Everyone was shocked, especially Pope.

Mick talked with Kurt. Kurt really pushed Dinero. Foley wanted to know where the rest of the Main Event Mafia was. Kurt said that the Mafia was no more. Foley said that Hogan was coming in to take his spot. Kurt said that Foley was mistaken. Kurt said Hogan was coming in to push things to the next level. Foley reminded Kurt that Hogan was bringing in someone, according to Kevin Nash. Kurt dismissed the Nash suggestion that Hogan was bringing in someone.

Homicide arrived for the final first round TCS tournament match. His opponent was Robert Roode. Roode came out to the Beer Money theme music. Roode left Storm in the back.

Robert Roode d Homicide
TNA Championship Series — Round One

The Finish:

Homicide hit a Running Clothesline and punched away. Roode came back with Knife Edge Chops. Homicide reversed an Irish Whip and yelled at the crowd. Homicide drove his knees into Roode’s back and slapped on a Kabuki Klaw to the taps. Roode got free but Homicide hit a Flying Back Elbow. Roode reversed an Irish Whip but dropped the head. Homicide Field Goaled the face of Roode. Homicide tried for the Gringo Kutta but Roode shoved out. Roode gut a Running Clothesline and then a Tilt-a-Whirl Backbreaker. Homicide tried for the Gringo Killa but couldn’t lift Roode. Roode then tried for Pay-Off but Homicide countered into an attempt at a Gringo Kutta. Roode pushed out of the move. Homicide hit a Back Elbow and then charged at Roode. Roode caught Homicide with the Anderson Spinebuster to seal the deal and move on to the next round.

Grade: A-

Jay’s Thoughts: Could TNA be getting ready to split Beer Money and bring back Chris Harris?

Homicide was livid as it dawned on him that he’d just been beaten. Tenay announced the second round matches:

Bobby Lashley v Desmond Wolfe
Kurt Angle v Robert Roode

JB talked with Kurt Angle. JB announced that the TCS tournament was now a holiday tradition. Kurt threw major respect to his next round opponent, Robert Roode. Kurt said that he was determined to go past Roode and then either Wolfe or Lashley to earn a shot at A.J. Styles.

Traci Brooks, Alissa Flash, Hamada, and Daffney were already out for a Knockout Battle Royal. They were joined by Madison Rayne, Velvet Sky, and Lacey Von Erich. Lacey came out with her pink nightstick that she calls her “Ugly Stick”. Sarita and Taylor Wilde then ran out to join the party. Tara also arrived for the Battle Royal. ODB came out as the Special Ref for the match. The winner of this match would face ODB at Final Resolution.

Tara dTraci Brooks, Alissa Flash, Hamada, Daffney, Madison Rayne, Velvet Sky, Lacey Von Erich, Sarita and Taylor Wilde
Knockout Battle Royal — Special Guest Ref: ODB

The Finish:

Lacey Von Erich was tossed out by Tara. The remaining Beautiful People hit a Double Leg Sweep on Sarita. They tossed her out of the ring. Sarita’s chin struck the apron hard. Taylor tried to flip Hamada to the outside but ended up sending herself out as well. Both Taylor and Hamada were gone. Rayne and Sky pounded on Tara. Tara hit a Flying Clothesline on both women. Tara started pounding away on Rayne but Sky made the save. Tara was slammed into the corner. Sky whipped Rayne at Tara. Tara flipped Rayne over the ropes and onto the apron. Sky then charged at Tara, who moved. Sky knocked her partner off the apron, eliminating her. Tara and Sky blasted each other. Tara flipped Sky onto the apron. Sky went for a Slingshot move but Tara kicked Sky and sent her to the floor.

Grade: B

ODB joined Tara in the ring. Tara wanted a slug from the flask but ODB slapped her hand away and dissed her next challenger.

Jay’s Thoughts: Finally, TNA decides to give Tara a shot at the title. The Knockout title has lost a lot of prestige since Cody “Cooter” Deaner took it. This gives ODB and Tara the chance to bring the title out of the hole that it’s been shoved down into.

In the back, JB talked with Kevin Nash and Eric Young. JB noticed that the Global title wasn’t in jeopardy by the TCS tournament. Eric turned it into a conspiracy theory thing. Eric dissed the whole Thanksgiving traditions. Eric reminded that his Global title would never be defended against an American or on American soil.

TNA then ran a promo for Hulk Hogan. Hogan suggested that talent would follow him into TNA. Hogan even thought that TNA would catch WWE. Foley was talking with someone in Dixie Carter’s office. Scott Steiner was screaming about wanting to make more Main Event Mafia stuff. Steiner refused to accept the demise of the Mafia. Foley wanted to know what Steiner knew about Hogan. Steiner said Hogan was a master manipulator. Steiner said that there was a storm on the horizon. Foley wanted to know who Hogan was bringing with him. Scott didn’t know but knew that if Nash said Hogan was bringing someone, it had to be true.

Foley found Kevin Nash. Foley mentioned that he was still looking Nash’s money. Foley talked about setting up a school for kids in Africa. Foley wanted to know what was going on with Hogan and Dixie. Nash gave Foley a hint about who was coming with Hogan…”Virgil”. Hmm… this is turning into a “Million Dollar Mystery”. Foley suggested Scott Hall. Nash made a move like the Nasty Boys old “Pit Stop” move. Nash said that as soon as he heard, for sure, what Hogan was doing, he’d let Foley know. Nash and Eric then talked about Foley being pathetic, after Foley left.

Back at ringside, Tenay tried to grill Taz for info on who’s coming with Hogan. After Taz repeatedly told Tenay that he didn’t know, Desmond Wolfe arrived for the first Semi-Final tournament match. Bobby and Crystal Lashley then came out together to face Wolfe.

Bobby Lashley d Desmond Wolfe (by DQ)
TNA Championship Series — Semi-Finals

The Finish:

Lashley threw a brutal Spear in the corner. Lashley hoisted Wolfe onto his shoulder and hit a nasty Drop-Down Gutbuster. Lashley then planted Wolfe with a Full Nelson Slam. Wolfe, somehow, kicked out of the pin attempt. Lashley with the Front Face Lock. Wolfe converted it to the Underspin Snap Down. Wolfe tried for the Tower of London but Lashley slid into the Dragon Sleeper. Wolfe grabbed the ropes to force the break. Wolfe then punched Lashley in the ribs and brought the throat down over the middle rope. Wolfe Keylocked Lashley’s arm, in the ropes, and refused to listen to ref, Earl Hebner, who called for the break. Earl counted to five and then called for the DQ.

Grade: A-

Jay’s Thoughts: Good booking. Wolfe gets pushed as a brutal battler that doesn’t give a darn about the rules. Lashley gets to move on to the finals.

Lauren talked with Bobby and Crystal Lashley. Crystal bragged about her man’s future in TNA (and MMA).

Robert Roode came out for the other semi-final match. TNA looked back at how Roode moved past Homicide to get to this match. Kurt than rose from the the Impact Zone bowels. TNA looked at Kurt defeating The Pope, earlier in the night.

Robert Roode d Kurt Angle (by Count-Out)
TNA Championship Series — Semi-Finals

The Finish:

Roode hit a Flying Fore-arm out of the reversed Irish Whip. Kurt went for the AngleLock but Roode kicked out. Roode nailed the Anderson Spinebuster for a two plus count. Roode went for the Perfectplex but Kurt Floated Over. Kurt nailed a German Suplex and set for the AngleSlam. Roode flipped over the slam and Arm Dragged Kurt across the ring. Roode missed a Corner Splash and Kurt nailed the AngleSlam. Roode kicked out! Desmond Wolfe walked out to taunt Kurt. He spat at Kurt. Kurt jumped out of the ring and attacked Wolfe. Kurt hit the European Uppercut and punched away. Kurt realized, too late, that the ref was counting him. Kurt actually slid under the rope at 9 but the ref still counted to 10 and called for he Count-out loss.

Grade: B+

Jay’s Thoughts: It’s a good way to push the whole Angle v Wolfe storyline but it sure wrecked the finish of a great match. Roode deserves a decent push and maybe know he’ll get it.

A.J. Styles came out to talk to the crowd. Styles asked Sting to give him a call. Daniels crashed the segment to stroll out tot he ring. Daniels mocked Styles’ friendship with Sting. Daniels said that Styles’ friendship costs people, especially him. Daniels sounded like Raven with his whining about “What about me?” Daniels wanted to know where Styles was when Daniels was fired. The crowd started yelling “Shut the Hell up” in unison. Daniels claimed that he was a better wrestler than Styles and A.J. kept him close to avoid him. Daniels said Styles has been an anchor around his neck for years. Daniels told Styles to tell his wife and kids that “Uncle Chris has to put Daddy into his place”. Styles screamed at Daniels that at Final Resolution, Daniels would learn what A.J. Styles was all about.

Hogan was back, by way of tape, to push the changing world of TNA. He mentioned how boring wrestling had become and how the Hulkamaniacs and TNA fans (apparently Hogan sees them as two different groups) Hogan said he had a lot of surprises.

Lauren talked with Robert Roode. Roode threw major respect to Lashley but was determined to win for himself and James Storm. Roode went off on the British Invasion for ducking them. Roode said he wanted Lashley’s best. He told Bobby “it pays to be Roode”.

TNA threw out, yet another, Hogan promo video. Dixie Carter would be at TNA, next week, to give more answers.

Robert Roode arrived for the finals of the TNA Championship Series. TNA showed Roode’s journey to the finals. Bobby Lashley, with Crystal, then came out to face Roode. TNA also looked at Lashley’s previous battles to get to the finals.

Bobby Lashley d Robert Roode
TNA Championship Series — Finals

The Finish:

Roode side-stepped Lashley and took him down with a Fujiwara Arm Bar. Roode didn’t have it fully locked it. Lashley got his foot on the ropes to force the break. Roode punched Lashley in the head. Lashley fought back but Roode went to the eyes. Roode stomped down on Lashley. Lashley caught Roode with a Full Nelson Slam. Lashley hit a pair of Running Clothesline and Chokeslammed Roode for a two. Lashley tried for a Shock Treatment move but Roode countered into a Flying Arm Bar to take Lashley off his feet. Roode tried for the Perfectplex but Lashley turned into a Back Body Drop. Lashley charged the corner, but missed. Roode went for the Pay-Off/Perfectplex, again, but Lashley kicked out at two. Lashley reversed an Irish Whip but took a boot. Roode missed the Buffbuster. Lashley nailed a Spear to take out Roode and earn a future World title shot.

Grade: A

Jay’s Thoughts: While Lashley gets to move on to face the World champ, Robert Roode gets to look really strong in this battle. Roode brought out several new moves in the battle. I’d hate to see Beer Money split up but Roode really does deserve a singles push.

Peace.

— Jay Shannon
[email protected]
(11/30/2009)