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HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
The Impact (7/2) Insight
Our resident philosopher looks at all the craziness that is TNA

The new era of the Main Event Mafia began on this week’s Impact broadcast. Samoa Joe’s in and Sting‘s out. Sting would make his feelings clear about the nasty attack by his “brothers”, last week. Also, Team 3D would battle Scott Steiner and Booker T to determine who would get the next shot at Beer Money’s TNA World tag titles. Tara was back to make things hairy for the Beautiful People, along with Awesome Kong. Let’s get to all the fun and excitement.

The show began with a look at Samoa Joe’s surprising alliance with the Main Event Mafia. The Mafia took out Joe, several months back, only to have Joe return more savage than ever. He set his sights on eliminating the entire Mafia, until Kurt used Jenna’s (from Survivor) money to coax the Samoan Submission Machine to join the elite stable. The turn came at Slammiversary, where Joe handed the world title to Kurt Angle. Kurt did the whole thing with Joe without telling Sting. Sting was ousted from the Mafia after a vicious beating by all the Mafia members.

This Week’s Episode: Double J Takes Control.

The reformed Mafia arrived in the Impact Zone. Kurt had the stick and addressed Sting. He said that he knew Sting was at home. Kurt said it was all business, nothing personal. Kurt then turned his attention to Mick Foley. He demanded that Mick Foley come out and face “The Boss”. Foley didn’t have to be asked twice. Foley had his Security Team with him. Kurt cut off Foley, mid-sentence. Kurt said that Foley crossed the line when he gave Team 3D a shot at Beer Money. Kurt wanted to know why Foley would do over Steiner and Booker. Kurt said that there would be a penance to be pain. Kurt said it was all about the reputation of the Mafia. Kurt said it was time to “pay the band”. Foley wanted to be left alone. Kurt said that he couldn’t do that, because Foley lied to the “Godfather”.

Kurt instructed Scott Steiner to eliminate Rocco and Sally Boy with the steel pipe. Foley invited the Mafia to go ahead and take him out but leave enough of him for the fight at Victory Road. Kurt gave Foley the choice: Door 1-Kurt kicks his *ss, Door 2-Booker kicks his *ss, Door 3-Nash kicks his *ss or the curtain, where Samoa Joe waited. (It was a Let’s Make a Deal reference). Foley chose Door 1 (Angle) and went after the Godfather. The rest of the Mafia swarmed Foley and beat him senseless. The music of Jeff Jarrett brought a guitar-wielding Jeff Jarrett to the ring. He cleared everyone out of the ring. Foley, Sally Boy and Rocco were still down. Foley stumbled to his feet. Jeff then bashed Foley in the head with the guitar and left the ring. What the heck? TNA went to break as Kurt and the Mafia smiled.

Segment Grade: B-

Jay’s Thoughts: I don’t like change, never have. Throwing Samoa Joe in the Mafia effectively kills the unit’s uniqueness. Now that are just a cheap rip-off of the nWo. Sting was the Hollywood Hogan of the group. Steiner and Booker were the Hall and Nash. Kurt made it slightly unique. Nash was kind of the Konnan/Syxx of the group. Now, Angle, a full heel, is trying to play Hogan, and failing. Matt Morgan wants to be the Scott “Flash” Norton of the group. The Mafia is a lost cause, as far as I’m concerned. You can’t capture lightning in a jar. Russo tried to recreate the nWo. The mEm is a pale imitation.

Foley refused help in the back. West and Tenay sent it to JB. Jeff told Foley to “Get the Hell out”. Jeff said he couldn’t work with Foley.

Tenay sat down with Kevin Nash. Tenay talked about the 1996 jump by Nash and Hall to WCW. Nash talked about a lesser schedule for more money. Nash mentioned that “the boys” got tired of getting screwed over with their money. Nash said they changed the face of wrestling. Nash said that the Legends belt was important to him. Nash did throw major respect to A.J. Styles. Nash said being a champ ups the payday.

Jay’s Thoughts: Yawn!

Abyss looked backstage for Dr. Stevie. Abyss scared Lauren with his viciousness. When Lauren tried to talk to Abyss, he told her: “I never asked you to stop being a woman, don’t ask me to stop being a Monster”. She tried to tell him that he was a man, but Abyss just told Lauren to wait there and he would return for her, when this was all done. Abyss then stormed off, shouting for Dr. Stevie.

Cody “Cooter” Deaner and his main squeeze, ODB, came out for the first match of the night. Deaner actually used ODB’s rather large chest as a pair of punching bags. Disturbing. “Cooter’s” opponent was the Amazing Red, a TNA Original.

Amazing Red d Cody Deaner

The Finish:

Cody went to the outside. He grabbed his trucker’s hat and climbed to the top rope. ODB screamed at Deaner to get off the ropes. He did, by going for a Benoit Diving Headbutt. Deaner missed, landing with a splat on the canvas. Red finished off Deaner with a Modified Tornado DDT, called the Red-eye.

Grade: A-

Jay’s Thoughts: I actually liked this match. Deaner took his limited skills (he is really a talented star, playing rookie) and gave a decent show. Red always looks fantastic in the ring. I went into this match dreading a Red job to push Deaner. Plus, anytime I get to see the inflated bosom of ODB, I’m a happy camper. (grin)

ODB mouthed “Son of a B*tch” when she realized the Deaner lost. TNA then sent it to a Booker T promo video called “I Will Become”.

Backstage, Abyss was tearing things apart. Security walked up with baseball bats. The new head of security rushed up and got in Abyss’ face. He ranted that this wouldn’t happen in “His House”. TNA went to break.

JB talked with Jeff Jarrett about his attack on Foley. Jeff got out his wrestling gear. The Mafia came in to talk to Jeff. Kurt asked Joe to hold the World title. Jeff was on guard against the Mafia. Kurt offered a Peace Offering to Jarrett. Kurt said that a unified force could rule wresting within 10 years. Jeff rejected Kurt’s offer, due to history. Jeff talked about Kurt using TNA. Jeff said it was his company and his rules. Jeff put Kurt in a tag match. Samoa Joe would be Kurt’s partner. The TNA title would be on the line against A.J. Styles and Jeff Jarrett. If Styles of Jarrett took the pin, they would be the new World title holder. If Joe makes the pin, Kurt keeps the belt. Jeff then dismissed the entire Mafia from his locker room.

Don and Mike talked about the Main Event and a few upcoming shows. Lauren then talked with Jenna about Sharmell‘s challenge. Jenna accepted the challenge for a match at Victory Road. SoJo Bolt came out and dissed Jenna. Bolt said that if Jenna had a problem with Sharmell, she had a problem with her. Bolt said she would personally get Sharmell ready. She warned Jenna that she would have to survive Victory Road.

JB talked with Kurt and the Mafia. Kurt was livid that Jeff had pulled a power play on him. Kurt said Jeff signed his own death warrant in blood. Kurt said that while he battled Joe he always pondered what teaming with him would be like. Now, Kurt would get the chance to team with his toughest opponent. The Mafia started to leave but Booker stopped and asked Sharmell to go find Matt Morgan for him. Sharmell told Booker that he had two feet. JB brought up Jon and Kate.

Back to the arena, Eric Young showed up to battle Rhino. Eric had his permanent scowl in position. Eric has started to grow a beard. Rhino came out with the military guy, Jesse Neal, with him. Rhino hit the ring at Mach 4 to start the fight.

Eric Young d Rhino

The Finish:

Jesse Neal, with a modified Road Warrior Animal haircut, cheered for his mentor. Eric choked Rhino on the ropes and taunted Jesse. Eric popped Jesse in the face and went out to fight the war hero on the outside. Eric got back in the ring and threw a hard series of punches to the jaw. Rhino fought to his feet and “Hulked Up” Rhino threw hard fists and then hit a Flying Clothesline off the reversed Irish Whip. Rhino then hit a Double Sledge and sent Eric to the corner. Rhino rushed the corner to throw a solid shoulder to the ribs. Rhino reversed Eric’s reversal of an Irish Whip and delivered an Anderson Spinebuster to EY. Jesse Neal jumped on the apron to yell about being struck by Eric. This prevented Rhino from making the pin, as the ref was distracted. Rhino got up, furious, and went over to confront his protege. Eric slammed Rhino into Jesse and then rolled up the War Machine (with feet on the ropes) to take the upset win.

Grade: C

Jay’s Thoughts: Welcome to the world of lame feuds. Rhino has been cannon fodder for most of his stay in TNA. Now he’s jobbing to Eric Young. He needs a new attitude, or place to ply his trade. Eric’s heel turn leaves me cold. He’s comiong across as just a big wining baby that got picked last for the dodgeball team. Grow up, already. Throw Jesse Neal in the mix and this wouldn’t have made the old WCW Saturday Night show. Jesse Neal really turns my stomach. I’m all for supporting the troops but don’t shove it that far down my throat. I was bothered when WCW did the same thing with Firebreaker Chip and Chris Champion, 20 years back.

Rhino was horrified at the loss. Lauren talked with Sharmell about finding Matt. Sharmell told Matt to get off the cell phone and go see Kurt. Matt was thrilled, thinking that he was going to join the Mafia. He grabbed Sharmell and dragged her off camera.

Matt was in the Mafia locker room as TNA continued. JB asked Kurt if he would invite Morgan to join. Morgan was convinced he was a Mafia member. Kurt said that Morgan had a few more things to do, first. Kurt wanted Morgan to help him cover his bases. Kurt wanted Morgan to neutralize Daniels and keep Daniels away from ringside. Morgan told Kurt he needed to make the right decision, soon, as Morgan’s patience was running thin. Kurt mumbled “They never learn”.

TNA ran another quick promo for Sarita, who debuts in 2 weeks.

The Beautiful People waltzed to the ring to battle Kong and Tara. The girls shook their moneymakers as they got in the ring. Awesome Kong, with Raisha Saeed, made their appearance for the Hour Turner battle. The final competitor to arrive was Tara (short for TARAntula). The former Victoria will get a title shot, soon, against Angelina Love.

Awesome Kong & Tara d Angelina Love & Velvet Sky

The Finish:

Tara tagged back in but Rayne distracted the ref. Love and Sky double teamed Tara. Sky hit a Snap Mare and Love threw a Low Dropkick. Sky taunted Kong and then drooped a Powerdrive Elbow to Tara’s chest. Sky flung Tara across the ring and tagged Love back in. Love threw hard Fore-arm shots. Tara came off the ropes and planted Love. Love and Tara tagged out. Kong whipped Love to the corner. Love rushed in and got Clotheslined. Kong went for the Awesome Bomb but Love broke it up. Kong threw Sky to the ropes and Brick Walled her. Tara Posted Love on the outside. Kong dropped Sky with the Implant Buster.

Grade: A-

Jay’s Thoughts: There is about to be a shake-up in the Knockout divisions. I’ve gotten reports from the tapings but I don’t do spoilers, per se. Sarita and Tara are great additions to the Knockouts roster. I’d love to see Ms. Chif and a few Japanese and Mexican women join the company. I’d voted for the Apache sisters from AAA. Kong is still the best of the bunch. She doesn’t fit the WWE mold, so she won’t likely get a shot at Vince’s World. That’s a shame, because Kong v Beth would rival anything out there.

Tara grabbed her black box to get her pet tarantula out. Kong didn’t look thrilled as Tara pulled out the eight legged little critter. Tara placed the tarantula on Velvet’s stomach as Love and Rayne made tracks. West was about to have a conniption fit as he saw Sky with the spider on her chest.

Lauren talked with Angelina Love. Love was freaking out about the spider. Love was concerned that the spider could be on her. Lauren tricked Love into thinking that there was a spider on her.

TNA ran another I Will Become video, this time featuring Team 3D. Robert Roode and James Storm then arrived for the tag team match between Team 3D and Booker T/Scott Steiner. Don West was offended that Beer Money was arriving at the announce table. Suddenly, he became Dr. Scott from Rocky Horror and sucking up to Beer Money.

Team 3D then came out to try and earn their shot at Beer Money at Victory Road. Oddly enough, I’m wearing my Team 3D T-shirt as I type this. Booker T, Sharmell and Scott Steiner arrived to take their shot at becoming number one contenders to the tag belts.

Booker T & Scott Steiner d Team 3D
Number One Contender’s Match

The Finish:

Ray threw hard fists but Booker came back with a weak Bookend. Ray kicked out. Bashir and Kiyoshi came out and picked a fight with Beer Money. The tag champs took the fight to the Foreign Legion. Team 3D hit the 3D on Booker. Sharmell distracted Rudy Charles. Scott tried to Clothesline Team 3D but missed. Team 3D hit the Wazzup! on Steiner. Ray called for the tables. As Devon went for a chair, the British Invasion made their way down. Brutus Magnus slipped in and walloped Ray in the head with the stolen Feast or Fired briefcase. Magnus draped Booker on Ray.

Grade: B

Jay’s Thoughts:Scott and Booker, on paper, are possibly the greatest teaming in the history of wrestling. The truth is that if this was 1989, the duo would be unstoppable. Age, injuries and other factors have converted this duo into a mid-card team, at best. I seriously doubt that Steiner and Booker could beat Beer Money in a fair fight. I do expect Victory Road to end up a clean sweep for the Mafia, at least at this point.

Tenay started to send it to Lauren but suddenly sent it to commercial, instead.

Jay Lethal came out for the next match. He was set to battle Jethro Holliday. Abyss attacked Consequences Creed and Jay Lethal, backstage. Abyss kept calling for Dr. Stevie. Abyss stomped to the ring. Jethro attacked. Abyss took a few shots and then planted Jethro with the Black Hole Slam. Abyss grabbed the mic and demanded that Stevie come out to face him. Abyss said he no longer needed Dr. Stevie. Abyss said he was done with the daily therapy sessions and the shock treatments. Abyss said that he would introduce Stevie to his own form of Shock Treatment, snapping him like a twig.

Dr. Stevie came on the Tron. It was a night vision video. Dr. Stevie had a kidnapped Lauren with him. Lauren was crying. Stevie babbled about history and therapy. He said that he owned Abyss. Stevie demanded that Abyss come to his office, next week, for therapy…or else Lauren would get the therapy. Abyss jumped out of the ring and ran backstage.

It was time for the Main Event. Jeff Jarrett was the first to arrive for the championship battle. He had the silver guitar in tow as the crowd popped huge for the TNA founder. He was joined by the Legends champion, A.J. Styles. Kurt then rose from the bowels of the Impact Zone. He set off his patriotic fireworks as Samoa Joe strolled out to join him. They walked, together, to the ring.

Kurt Angle & Samoa Joe d Jeff Jarrett & A.J. Styles
Tag Team Match. If Styles or Jarrett win, they become new TNA World Champ.

The Finish:

Jeff climbed up to the edge of the apron. Styles tried to get to the corner. Joe went for the Kokina Clutch but Styles rolled backwards to get free. Styles nailed Joe with the Pele and tagged out to Jarrett. Kurt also made the tag. Jeff hit several Running Clotheslines on Kurt. Jeff Pedigreed Kurt with authority. Joe made the save. Jeff sent Kurt to the corner but Kurt Back Elbowed him. Kurt went for the AngleSlam but Jeff shifted his weight to deliver the Flying DDT. Joe rushed in but hit the Elbow Drop on Kurt, bu mistake. Jeff sat Kurt on the top rope. Jeff tried to set The Stroke on the top rope but Joe interfered and tried to lock in a Muscle Buster. Jeff slipped free and Styles hit the Springboard Flying Fore-arm. Joe crashed into the ref, knocking him out cold. Jeff went to the ropes and Stroked Kurt from the top rope. There was no ref to count. Jeff went for the guitar. Slick Johnson grabbed the guitar, which allowed Kurt to AngleLock Jeff. Kurt cinched it in deep. Kurt kept Jeff in the middle of the ring. Joe pulled Styles off the ropes to prevent a tag. Jeff missed an Enziguri, which allowed Kurt to Grapevine the leg in the AngleLock. Jeff fought valiantly, before passing out.

Grade: A

Jay’s Thoughts: What a great ending to the main event. Having Jeff pass out from the pain really set Angle as a dominant champion. I still expect Joe to turn on Angle, somewhere down the road. The lure of the championship gold will be too strong a pull to ignore. Nice to see Styles get a top spot on the card. He’s the most underrated star in wrestling. The aftermath of the match was a great set-upfpr a future feud between Sting and Angle. Read on for that.

The rest of the Main Event Mafia ran down to celebrate. Joe held Jeff as Styles came in with his Legends title as a weapon. Styles also grabbed the chair. Joe and the rest of the Mafia attacked Styles. It was a five on one mugging. Scott hit the Rolling Belly to Belly. In the back, Matt Morgan was assaulting Daniels. Nash picked up the Legends belt and went to smash Styles in the face. The arena blacked out. When the lights came back up, Sting was in the ring with the baseball bat. Sting attacked everyone with the bat. Kurt screamed that he wanted his World title belt. Sting picked up the belt. The lights went out again. Sting and the belt were gone when the lights came back up.

Final Grade: B+

Final Thoughts: While it wasn’t the best Impact, it was a decent card. The attack by Jarrett on Foley was a nice swerve. I’m thinking a Hardcore Match between Jeff and Mick is due at Victory Road. The “new” Angle has the passion that he lost somewhere near the end of his WWE run. Abyss may finally be moving towards a return to his brutal, animalistic roots. The next few months should be really interesting to watch.

I wanted to end this column with a slightly belated birthday wish to my good friend and fellow OWW journalist, Arnie Katz. Arnie was the man who first gave me a chance to let the world read my crazy rants. Thanks, my friend.

— Jay Shannon
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