HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
The TNA Impact (08/20) Insight
Our resident philosopher looks at the all-new Impact that came about after Hard Justice.
The fall-out from Hard Justice came into full view on this week’s episode. TNA also made one of the biggest changes in it’s 7-year history. TNA Impact would never be the same.
The show opened with the winners and losers at Hard Justice. Samoa Joe took the X-Division title from Homicide. Cody Deaner began His first run as Knockout champion. Yes, you read that right. Kevin Nash regained his Legends title, while Kurt Angle retained his.
This Week’s Episode: Blueprint For Disaster
Mike Tenay opened the show, alone. He made the special announcement that Don West was promoted within TNA, moving into the merchandising department. He will no longer be on the announce team. Mike introduced the his new announce partner, Taz! Taz came down and was quite pleasant as he took his place. Expect this tandem to surpass all others to become the ultimate announce team of all time.
The Main Event Mafia came out, in force, for a little chat with the fans. Mike wanted to know what Taz’s relationship was with the Mafia. Taz said he had a loose association with the group. In the ring, Kurt started to speak. He was cut off by the arrival of Matt Morgan. Matt carried an ax handle as he entered the ring. Morgan told Angle to shut his mouth. Morgan told the Mafia to try and jump him and he’d bash their skulls with the ax handle.
Morgan talked about Angle’s sales pitch at Hard Justice. Morgan said that Kurt pushed a “Win-Win” situation if Morgan pinned Sting or if Kurt pinned Sting. Morgan said that Kurt decided to go with a third option, Screw over, Matt Morgan. Morgan said he had Sting beaten but Kurt ripped him off. Morgan gave Kurt 10 seconds to answer him or he would start swinging (the ax handle). Kurt blamed Morgan for “going into business for himself”. Kurt claimed that he pulled the ref out of the ring because he thought Morgan was getting pinned, not that Morgan was making the pin. Kurt said he got the steel chair to take out Sting. Kurt said Morgan’s rookie mistake made Kurt hit Matt, instead of Sting. Kurt said he fell on Morgan, mostly by accident, to take the pin. Kurt said he would give Matt the chance to make it up to the Mafia. Kurt wanted Matt to partner with him to face Team 3D in a Tables Match.
Morgan tripped out at Kurt’s words. Matt drew back to split Kurt’s head open. Kurt offered a spot in the Mafia if Matt would play along. Matt said it was his fault that things went down like they did on Sunday. He, sarcastically, said that Kurt always has had Matt’s best interests at heart.
Lauren ran into A.J. Styles in the back. She tried to ask him about his big announcement for this week. Styles ignored her and walked towards the locker room. TNA went to break.
The British Invasion, along with Kiyoshi and Sheik Abdul Bashir of the World Elite arrived for the opening contest. The ref stopped Bashir, Kiyoshi and Rob Terry and sent them to the back. Brutus Magnus and Doug Williams were irate that Earl Hebner would do that to them. The Brits were still recognized as the IWGP Tag Team Champions, despite the fact that New Japan has never accepted the title change from Team 3D to the Brits. Williams and Magnus faced Beer Money in a non-title match. By the way, James Storm‘s old partner, Chris Harris was at Hard Justice. Definitely starts the mind to thinking…
Robert Roode & James Storm d Brutus Magnus & Doug Williams
Non-Title (IWGP Tag Team) Street Fight Match
Roode was rocked with a European Uppercut as Storm remained tied on the outside. Roode was choked with a Singapore cane and then waffled in the face with a can lid. Roode began to kick and punch his way back into the match. That came to a screeching halt, when Williams struck Roode between the eyes with the can lid. Magnus pulled out a plastic grocery bag like you’d get at your local market. On the outside, another ref was busy cutting Storm loose. Williams and Magnus were suffocating Roode with the bag. Storm slid in with a board and shattered it over the head of Williams. Storm then took the pieces and bashed Magnus with them. Storm was flipped out of the ring as he pounded on Magnus in the corner. Williams was also a bloody mess. Roode caught Williams with fists to the face and planted Magnus with the Anderson Spinebuster. Williams missed with a wild trash can shot. That allowed Storm to slide in the ring and bust a beer bottle over Williams’ bloody forehead. Beer Money drove Magnus into the bent-up can with the DWI finisher to take the win.
Jay’s Thoughts: I’m wondering if TNA is considering splitting up Beer Money, since Harris is floating around. Roode has suggested a feud with Eric Young. I think that would be a foolish choice. Beer Money is one of the best tag teams to come along in years. Bringing back America’s Most Wanted would be a move in the wrong direction. AWM were great but they pale in comparison to Beer Money. As far as the British Invasion, I’m bored with them, already. Let Brutus go back to doing his UK Gladiators bit.
Lauren interviewed The Beautiful People. Lauren mentioned that they lost Madison Rayne in their little group. Angelina Love was not amused by all the craziness. Love said Rayne cost her the title and revenge was going to be dished out, later in the night. Velvet Sky did her best Frank-n-Furter impression with her “We made you…we can break you.” comment. TNA went to break.
TNA showed a highlight reel of Deaner taking the Knockout title. JB talked with Mick Foley, as Cody and ODB walked up, yelling at each other. Cody thought that he earned the title and was “King of the Knockouts”. ODB tried to explain to Deaner that she was the champ. Cody pulled out some Benny Hill logic with the whole Assume thing. Foleysaid he would look over the whole situation with the Knockout title and make a decision, next week.
Abyss then walked up to talk to Foley. Mick wanted to thank Abyss for helping him on Sunday. He gave Abyss a paper bag that Abyss thought contained groceries. Mick had Abyss look in the bag. Inside, was a blue flannel vest, similar to Foley’s red one. Abyss was like a kid at Christmas as he quickly donned the vest. Foley told Abyss to wear the vest with pride, like he does. Foley and Abyss had a creepy little conversation about how bleeding wasn’t the worst feeling in the world (Yeah, it is). Foley then asked Abyss to return Barbie, the barbed wire baseball bat.
Tenay and Taz ran down the rest of the night’s card.
Madison Rayne came out to the Beautiful People’s music. She was jumped by Angelina Love, out of nowhere.
Angelina Love d Madison Rayne
Battle of the Beautiful People
Love ran Rayne into the steel steps as the bell sounded. Love kicked her former buddy and rammed her face into the ring apron. Love kicked at Rayne and taunted her. Love refused to put Rayne in the ring, until the ref demanded it. She looked at him and said “Fine!” and rolled Rayne into the ring. Love easily pinned Rayne.
Jay’s Thoughts: That was the most pathetic showing I’ve ever seen. Love rams Rayne into the steps, kicks the crap out of her a few times, rolls her in the ring and pins her. Ok, I’m insulted by that crap. I know not to expect much from the Bimbo People but that was totally absurd. That’s about all I have to say about that.
Velvet Sky then ran down with the brown paper bag. They placed it over Rayne’s head. Suddenly, the music of Tara rang out. Tara and Christy Hemme rushed down to protect Rayne from further humiliation. TNA went to break.
Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley did a promotional piece to explain why the Motor City Machine Guns haven’t been on television. The Guns wanted to offer their services to the fans, at $2,000 an hour. Shelley said they were happy to bleed the fans bank accounts dry. They threw out a phony phone number to get the fans to call.
In the back, the Beautiful People continued their trashing of Madison Rayne.
Homicide came out for his rematch for the X-Division title. He faced the new champ, Samoa Joe. Taz joked about getting his towel back from Joe. TNA went to break before the Hour Turner battle began.
Samoa Joe d Homicide
X-Division Title Match
Homicide punched Joe and backed up to rush the corner. Joe hit a Uranage when Homicide charged. Homicide got up and jumped on Joe’s back to slap in a Sleeper. Joe rushed back into the corner to dislodge Homicide. Joe then hit the Enziguri. Joe lifted Homicide and placed him on the top turnbuckle. Joe finished off Homicide with the Muscle Buster.
Jay’s Thoughts: Joe shouldn’t be wasting his time with the X-title. That should be left to the cruiserweights, like Lethal, Homicide, Dinero, Suicide, etc… TNA pushed that there would be a “New” Samoa Joe. Sadly, the “New” Joe is a pale imitation of the former brutal version. Now that Joe has lost Taz as a manager, he will likely flounder. Homicide will help to push Joe before ending up feuding with his old partner, Hernandez.
The various Knockouts stood in the back and Poison, the tarantula. Lauren was the only one who didn’t look thrilled with the arachnid.
“The Pope”, D’Angelo Dinero arrived at the Impact Zone. Well, his Judy Garland red (and white) shoes did. The camera only showed his feet and his walking stick.
Lauren talked with Christy, Tara, Taylor Wilde and Sarita. Lauren announced that a tourney would be held to crown..you are not going to believe this…the Knockout TAG TEAM champions. Tara and Christy ridiculed the WWE for never having the insight to create a women’s tag team division. (Face it, the WWE barely has a men’s tag team division, these days). Tara talked about coming to TNA to face the best. Taylor mentioned that she and Sarita would be forming another team in the tourney.
Jay’s Thoughts: Who the Hell came out with this silly idea? I thought the Cruiserweight tag team title in WCW was dumb. Ok, Let’s check out the 8 teams:
Taylor Wilde and Sarita
Christy Hemme and Tara
Awesome Kong and Raisha Saeed
Angeline Love and Velvet Sky
Sharmell and Traci Brooks
Plus, three teams to be announced, later.
I would love to see the Apache girls from Mexico and a team or two from Japan. I’m just not all that impressed with this concept. I’m expecting Traci and Sharmell to end up taking the primary run with the straps. Either that, or Kong/Saeed will take it.
Awesome Kong came to the ring with Raisha Saeed. Kong was the first to arrive for the Four Way match. Traci Brooks, who represents the Main Event Mafia, arrived next. She had Sharmell at her side. Sharmell and Traci will be one of the 8 teams to go for the new titles. Sarita was next to come out to a very Santana-esque theme (No, not Tito Santana). She had her partner, Taylor, with her. Finally, the vicious and delicious, Christy Hemme, came out with Tara.
Traci Brooks d Christy Hemme v Sarita v Awesome Kong
Fatal Four Way Knockout Match
Hemme was setting for the F-F-G onto Traci, but Kong intercepted her. Kong went for a Powerbomb but Sarita and Traci tripped Kong. Hemme slammed into Kong on landing. Hemme tried for the pin but Kong still had enough to kick out. Traci and Sarita then double teamed Kong, with hard kicks to the upper body. Sarita came up off Kong and tried for the Tilt-a-Whirl Arm Drag. Traci slightly botched the move but followed through, anyway. (That came across as seriously sloppy). Traci hit a Senton onto Kong. Hemme caught Sarita with a Flying Face Plant. Hemme dropped Traci with the Slop Drop and then climbed the ropes. Hemme connected with the F-F-G but Kong then lifted the much-smaller Hemme up into the air. Hemme initially slipped free, but Kong would not be denied. She latched onto Hemme and used her Implant Buster to annihilate Christy Hemme. Sarita made the save with a Flying Dropkick. Sarita hit a Crossbody but Kong wouldn’t be moved. Kong hit her version of Mark Henry‘s World Strongest Slam and then hit a huge Splash. Kong started to climb the ropes but Traci noticed Hemme on the mat. Traci slid over Hemme’s lifeless form and stole the win.
Jay’s Thoughts: Seeing Traci steal the win has me almost convinced that the Main Event Mafia will take the gold. Since I could care less about the new titles, it doesn’t really matter which pair takes the belts.
Kong came out and grabbed chairs to throw at everyone in sight. Kong almost attacked her partner, Saeed. It was announced that Kong and Saeed would face Sharmell and Traci, next week, in the tag tournament. Backstage, The Pope walked towards the entrance way.
Consequences Creed was out to welcome D’Angelo Dinero to the Impact Zone. Creed had Jay Lethal at his side. Dinero, the former Elijah Burke, came out to a decent pop. He reminded me of Cyrus from The Warriors. Dinero unloaded all his bling into the waiting hands of SoCalVal, as Andrew Thomas sent Lethal to the back.
D’Angelo Dinero d Consequences Creed
Creed Elbowed his way free and went to the ropes. Dinero went for a kick but Creed caught the foot. Creed ducked a Clothesline, ala R-Truth, and dropped Dinero with one of his own. Both men were stunned. Dinero asked for a Time-out. Dinero grabbed Creed and slung him into the corner. Dinero nailed his old Outer Limits Elbow. He then dropped the kneepads and waited . He nailed the Elijah Experience (it hasn’t gotten it’s new name, yet) to take the win.
After the match, Suicide showed up to attack Dinero. The two men fought in the ring for a second, before Dinero took a powder. Dinero had that “Deer in the Headlights” look as he screamed at Suicide.
Jay’s Thoughts: I like the idea of Dinero v Suicide. It will keep Kaz’s character alive and will give Dinero a good solid feud to kick off his TNA career. Somebody had their act together when they planned this one out.
In the back, A.J. Styles walked slowly towards the entrance way. He had a huge announcement to make, in the next segment.
Lauren talked with Matt Morgan. She wanted to know if Morgan really bought Kurt Angle’s comments from earlier. He played up that he really believed all of what Kurt had to say. Morgan slipped and said that, at the end of the night, Kurt would get Morgan’s boot. He “meant” to say that Morgan would have Kurt’s back. Sure, he did.
A.J. Styles came out in street clothes to make his major announcement. Styles was on the verge of tears as he talked about how tough things have been for him, especially lately. Styles said that he has never quit. Styles talked about his father and his life as a kid. Styles was proud of the man that he has become. The crowd busted loose with an “A-J” chant. Styles wasn’t proud about losing the Legends title, the title shot to Morgan and his friends, like Eric Young and Samoa Joe. Styles was upset that his business life was starting to negatively affect his home life. Styles just wanted to know if it was worth it. His answer was “No, it’s not worth it.” Styles said he was tired of the disappointment and disappointing the fans. Styles announced that it was time to say good-bye to pro wrestling. He did tell the fans that he loved them.
Sting came out to talk sense to Styles. He berated Styles for wanting to quit. Sting said Styles was quitting his family and friends. Sting said that the kids wanted to be the next A.J. Sting said Styles was quitting him, as well. Sting said that Styles was turning into a quitter. Sting said that he suffered during his 20-year career. Sting said that he never quit. Sting wanted to know if Styles really wanted to end his career as a quitter. Sting said that he was about respect. He wanted to “Pass the Torch” to Styles. Styles was taken aback by Sting’s comments about Styles being the Chosen One. Sting demanded that Styles tell him “I Quit” or “I Give Up” or “I’m a Loser”. Sting screamed at Styles to either admit that he was a quitter or go to the back, lace up your boots and claim what is supposed to be yours (the torch).
Styles thought about it for some time and then turned and hugged Sting. Sting just didn’t know what to think about it. Sting reminded styles that he was destined to be “The Man”. Sting took Styles out of the arena. Sting chatted with Styles as they walked up the ramp.
Segment Grade: B-
Jay’s Thoughts: You could have poured that segment over pancakes, it was so syrupy. Sting and Styles are now best buddies and Sting is ready to pass the torch to A.J.? I thought the Twilight Zone was on SyFy, not Spike. Styles is probably the best over-all wrestler since Bret Hart but this whining version was just darn annoying.
Lauren talked with Hernandez. She congratulated him for taking back his Feast or Fired briefcase. She wanted to know when he would cash in the World title shot. He wasn’t sure when it would be, but he was sure that when he did, he would take the World title. Eric Young came in and pushed Hernandez’s pride in his Mexican heritage. Eric tried to recruit Hernandez to join the World Elite. Hernandez wouldn’t commit to joining the group, but did agree to talk with Eric, later.
Bobby Lashley came out to the ringside area. He joined Taz and Tenay at the announce table. Taz and Bobby made peace as he joined the announce team for the main event. Bobby said that Dixie Carter would be at TNA, next week, to let everyone know what Lashley’s role in TNA would be.
Team 3D came out to face Angle and Morgan. Taz told Tenay that he had no issues with Lashley and had known Bobby for some time. Lashley remained quiet. Morgan came out, alone, for the main event. Kurt then rose from the bowels of the Impact Zone. No one mentioned Kurt’s legal issues. Kurt walked over and got in Lashley’s face. Kurt Pie-faced Bobby, who came back with one heck of a shot to the face. Security rushed out to keep them apart. Bobby was asked to leave the ringside area.
Team 3D d Kurt Angle and Matt Morgan
Tag team Tables match
Ray hit a series of Clotheslines and readjusted the wobbly table. Ray went for the BuhBuhBomb but Kurt countered. Kurt went for the AngleSlam but Devon moved the table. Devon attacked both Morgan and Angle. Team 3D set up the table for the Double Suplex. Angle tried to move the table but Morgan caught part of it. The table didn’t break, only the leg of it gave out. Kurt went out to find a table but there weren’t anymore under the ring. Someone from backstage had to rush a table into play as Devon slammed Kurt into the ring steps. Ray was ticked that someone forgot to put enough tables under the ring and threw the broken-legged table over the top rope. It broke into several pieces when it struck the arena floor. Ray and Devon sat up the fresh table and started to beat on Angle. Kurt fought back and he and Morgan sat Devon on the table. Kurt told Morgan to go up top. Ray and Devon caught The Blueprint and Rocket Launchered him off the top rope…and through the table.
Kurt was shocked at the miscommunication. Morgan yelled at Kurt for telling him to climb the corner. Fade out.
Jay’s Thoughts: Morgan just doesn’t work as a face or even a tweener. Everything is up in the air, thanks to Kurt getting into trouble for stalking Rhaka Khan (WPIX in Pennsylvania did reveal that Khan was the woman who charged Kurt with breaking a protective order). Morgan migh end up taking the belt, at least short term, to remove Kurt from the top spot.
Final Grade: B+
Final Thoughts: TNA is struggling. Jeff Jarrett has been MIA for weeks while he deals with his relationship with Karen Angle. Kurt is riding a razor’s edge with his legal issues. TNA is flooding their product with far too many titles. Dixie Carter’s appearance, next week, could really throw the whole show into chaos. I haven’t heard any spoilers or rumors about what Dixie has to say. I’m only assuming that she plans to address the Jarrett situation and/or Kurt Angle’s position in the company. Calling Lashley “The Boss” makes me think that he might end up as the new figurehead leader of the company. That might not be the wisest of ideas. TNA just signed on for an expanded TV deal with Spike, so she’s not coming to shut down things. Guess we’ll all have to wait and see.
— Jay Shannon