HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
The TNA (9/3) Impact Insight
Our resident philosopher looks at one of the best Impact episodes in recent history.
The Knockout Tag Team Tournament continued, this week. In addition, two more people were added to the TNA World Title match at No Surrender. Two long-time partners were forced to face each other. Would their friendship survive the match? Read on, my friends.
This Week’s Episode:Last Chance to Surrender.
Mike Tenay opened the show by explaining the qualifying matches to face Kurt Angle and Matt Morgan at No Surrender. He also announced the next two teams to square off in the Knockout Tag Team Tournament.
That led to Rhino coming out for the first of the four qualifying bouts. TNA ran a video piece about Rhino’s attack on Jesse Neal, last week. Rhino was ticked that Jesse cost their team a tag team match. Rhino’s opponent was the legendary Sting.
Sting d Rhino
World Title Qualifying Match — Round 1
Rhino sent Sting into the corner and hit a Flying Shoulder. Rhino worked over Sting’s ribs and yelled at the crowd.Rhino switched to pounding on Sting’s back and moved him to the corner. Rhino went back to the ribs and then choked the Stinger.The ref threatened to disqualify Rhino. Rhino flipped Sting to the mat and cinched in a Body Scissors. Sting used Stinger Strikes to get free. Rhino answered with Knife Edge Chops. Sting reversed another Irish Whip but missed the Stinger Splash. Rhino planted Sting with the Rolling Belly to Belly Suplex. Rhino set for The Gore! but Sting side-stepped it. Sting locked on and delivered the Scorpion Death Drop to end the match.
Jay’s Thoughts: You have to feel sorry for Rhino. He was the final (Original) ECW World and TV champion. He got ripped off in WWE but that was child’s play compared to the shafting that he’s taking in TNA. Has the poor soul won a match in the last 2 years? As for Sting, hang up the Sgt. Pepper jacket already. His career has pretty much ran its course. He was a fantastic star, back in the 80s and 90s. He’s still a decent performer but his age is catching up with him.
After the match, Rhino nailed The Gore! on Sting.Rhino flipped off Sting and continued to beat on Sting in the corner. Slick Johnson tried to force Rhino to leave, but The War Machine wanted to deliver an additional Gore! to Sting. Refs and the trainer came out to check on Sting as TNA went to break.
Tenay and Tazz looked back at Rhino’s post-match assault on Sting, from the opening segment. In the back, the trainer/medic was taping up Sting’s ribs. A.J. Styles was there to check on The Icon. Tenay said that Sting likely had broken ribs.
In Booker T’s locker room, Booker T screamed that he wanted to take out Matt Morgan. Kurt Angle tried to calm Booker down and reminded him that he (Kurt) has to face Morgan in two weeks at No Surrender. Kurt said he needed to reprogram Morgan.
Everything came to a halt as Kip James came in to install phone lines. Booker tore into Kip, saying that Kip used to be somebody. Kip got fed up with being called a “Punk-*ss Janitor”. Scott Steiner came in to crash in Booker’s locker room, because the Main Event Mafia locker room was being painted. Booker wasn’t thrilled about the idea but when Steiner reminded Booker that they were tag team champions, Booker relented. He did tell Steiner that his “freaks” would have to leave. Steiner then went to Booker’s putting green area and nearly sent a golf ball through the wall with a power swing. Kurt said it was a zoo in there and he left.
Chris Sabin, along with Alex Shelley, came out for the next Qualifying Match. Shelley joined Tazz and Tenay at the announce desk. Sabin’s opponent was A.J. Styles.
A.J. Styles d Chris Sabin
World Title Qualifying Match — Round 1
Styles sent Sabin to the corner but missed his version of the Stinger Splash. Sabin caught a Back Elbow to the face as he charged Styles. Styles went for his Springboard Reverse DDT but Sabin countered the move into a Snap Mare. Sabin hit a Running Boot in the corner as Shelley shrieked with glee. Sabin Snap Mared Styles out of the corner and went to the apron. Styles ducked a Springboard move from Sabin and Pele’d him into the middle of next week. Styles sealed the deal with the Styles Clash.
Jay’s Thoughts: This is what makes TNA so great. Styles and Sabin are amazing performers. Forget the goofy Motor City Machine Guns antics, Sabin is one of the top 5 performers in the company. Styles is just a step ahead of him. This match should be headlining PPVs. I’m glad TNA sees the value of putting top stars on regular TV.
Lauren talked with Hernandez about his mixed feelings about facing Homicide, later in the night. They will square off in a World Title Qualifying Match. Eric Young walked up and tried to recruit Hernandez for the World Elite. Eric spouted his Anti-American rhetoric and said he would open Hernandez’s eyes about how they were “Familia” (Family). TNA went to break.
Christopher) Daniels came out to talk with the crowd. He is set to face Samoa Joe for the X-Division title at No Surrender. It is unclear if Daniels’ arrest on DUI will affect the title bout. Daniels wanted to speak with Samoa Joe, so he called him out. Joe obliged and stomped to the ring.
Daniels talked about how the X-Division revolved around three people: himself, Samoa Joe and A.J. Styles. Daniels went on to talk about the fantastic matches that happened in the past. Joe listened for a few minutes and then got bored with the history lesson. Joe wanted to know if Daniels had a point to make that Joe cared about. Joe said he had things to do and started to leave. Daniels stopped him and asked if he had to go do stuff with the Mafia. Daniels told Joe that the Mafia were scared of him. Daniels reminded Joe that he beat them all when he (Joe) was World Champion. Daniels said that Joe threw away his integrity when he took the Mafia’s money. He said “the boys” didn’t recognize Joe anymore. Daniels crossed the line by bringing up Joe’s wife and kid. Joe attacked Daniels and hit an Exploder Belly to Back Suplex that drove Daniels’ face into the mat. Joe left the ring as TNA went to break.
Jay’s Thoughts: This segment was taped before Daniels foolishly got busted for DUI. I would imagine any championship plans for him are on hold until he gets his act together. TNA’s problems just keep mounting.
Lauren chatted with Matt Morgan about the situation between Matt and the Main Event Mafia. Morgan said that he retaliated, last week, against Booker T and Scott Steiner because he figured that they were setting him up. Morgan said Angle had his back, just like he had Kurt’s. Morgan was looking forward to facing Kurt at No Surrender.
Suicide was introduced for the next World Title Qualifying Match. Doug Williams was already in the arena before Suicide arrived. The rest of the World Elite were banned from ringside.
Doug Williams d Suicide
World Title Qualifying Match — Round 1
Suicide jumped up and unloaded on the face of Doug Williams. The ref forced Suicide back. Suicide charged at Doug, who moved. Suicide didn’t miss a beat as he turned a potentially match-ending error into a spectacular turnbuckle-running Spinning Dropkick. Suicide hit a Clothesline and then his Spinning Bulldog. Suicide went to the top rope, as D’Angelo Dinero rushed down to the ring. Suicide saw him coming and hit a Crossbody onto Dinero, on the floor! The ref started to count and Dinero tried to prevent Suicide from getting back in the ring. Suicide kicked Dinero off his at 9 and got back in the ring. Doug caught Suicide with an amazing Rolling German Suplex to advance. That move was just too sweet.
Jay’s Thoughts: Another great match. Doug Williams is an amazing wrestler. That finisher was incredible. It took me back to the days of Petey Williams. He deserves a singles push. Suicide is sliding into the feud with Dinero. It may well be the last run for the skull-faced masked man.
JB tried to explain to Sting that he (Sting) wasn’t in his prime. He reminded Sting that the medics were thinking Sting had 2 or 3 broken ribs. Sting understood that the end of his career was at hand but he refused to just fade away.
TNA ran a promo for The God of Thunder, Bobby Lashley. He will face Rhino at No Surrender.
Lauren talked with Angelina Love and Velvet Sky about facing Madison Rayne and a mystery partner. Love and Sky really didn’t care who the partner was. Love suggested that Lauren should be Rayne’s partner. From what I hear, there’s a real Hardcore Honey waiting to help Rayne.
To the ring for the Hour Turner match. Sojo Bolt was joined by Hamada for another first round match in the Knockout Tag Team Tournament. Their opponents were Tara and Christy Hemme. Tara had Poison, her tarantula with her.
Christy Hemme and Tara d Sojo Bolt and Hamada
Knockout Tag Team Tournament Match — Round 1
Tara threw big fists into the face of Bolt. Tara hit a Decapitation Clothesline on Bolt. Tara hit a Thrust Kick to the face. Hamada had to make the save. Hemme nailed an Inverted DDT on Hamada. Tara nailed the Widow’s Peak on Bolt to help her team advance to the next round of the tag team tournament.
Tara brought out her tarantula. Bolt was scared but Hamada was curious. Hamada looked at Bolt and then grabbed her to plant her with the Hamada Driver. Bolt was out cold.
Jay’s Thoughts: I almost hate to admit it but I’m starting to warm up to this tournament. Ok, seeing Christy Hemme in a skimpy flowery outfit didn’t hurt my feelings (I have a thing for redheads). I’ll be glad when the weed out the lesser teams and get to the core battlers. I’m willing to bet that Hemme and Tara are going to face off against the Beautiful People in the finals.
JB talked with Kurt Angle. JB tried to tell Kurt that he was being “worked” by Morgan. Kurt felt that Morgan needed him. Morgan walked up and Kurt tried to placate the Blueprint. Kurt wasn’t sure but he felt Morgan might have been “screwing with him”. Morgan said he wouldn’t do that. Morgan said at No Surrender, it would be “no questions asked”. Now what that exactly meant wasn’t made clear. Tenay quickly pushed the Hernandez v Homicide match, which was up next.
TNA ran a promo for L.A.X.. It touched on their multiple year relationship as one of the most successful tag teams in TNA’s history. Homicide talked about the bullet in his leg that made fighting so tough. It compared Homicide’s high-flying and Hernandez’s power. Both men want to rule the world and will have to face each other to get there.
Homicide came out first, looking exceptionally gangster with his face covered with the bandannas. Hernandez then came out in his new Mexican-colored gear. The two “brothers” hugged before the match began.
Hernandez d Homicide
World Title Qualifying Match — Round 1
Homicide slapped Hernandez’s bald head and then punched him. Hernandez limped to the corner. Homicide Shouldered the big man in the corner. homicide Chopped and kicked the injured leg. Homicide tried for a Tornado DDT but Hernandez blocked it and rammed Homicide into the corner. Hernandez then nailed and Over-head Belly to Belly Suplex. Hernandez ripped off his shirt and stared at his opponent. Hernandez missed a Splash but wasn’t that affected. Hernandez caught Homicide coming off the ropes and powered him up onto his shoulder. Hernandez flipped Homicide over and hit a Side Powerbomb (best name I could come up with for it) to defeat his friend and tag team partner.
After the match, the two men put aside any angry feelings to show great respect to each other. Hernandez offered his hand, which Homicide took. Homicide was disappointed by showed why he’s such a classy guy.
Jay’s Thoughts: I was worried that this match would destroy one of the top 10 tag teams of all time. I’m glad to see that the two still showed that they were still friends after the battle.
Lauren talked with the British Invasion. Doug Williams called A.J. Styles “one of the best wrestlers in the world”. Doug said he was a fan of Styles. Doug said that he felt he was superior to Styles and needed to prove it. Doug said that he wanted to beat Styles, fair and square.
JB talked with Styles. He asked Styles if he had his confidence back. Styles answered “100%”. He gave the credit to Sting. Styles mentioned that he had hit rock bottom but he was on the comback trail. He swore he would beat Doug Williams.
Kurt Angle stroleld down the ramp to join the announce team for the next match. Doug Williams came out as Kurt fixed his headset. Doug left Rob Terry and Brutus Magnus in the back. Kurt mentioned that he wanted Doug to beat Styles. Styles then came out through the shower of sparks. How he keeps from getting burned is beyond me. The match would get underway, after another round of commercials.
A.J. Styles d Doug Williams
World Title Qualifying Match — Round 2
Doug locked in a Head Scissors, after a Snap Mare. Doug rolled over and slammed Styles’ face into the mat, over and over. Styles came back with Knife Edge Chops and punches. he sent Dout to the ropes. The two men cracked skulls on a slightly botched move. The ref started to count them down. The two threw Fore-arm Shots. Styles caught Doug with a Dropkick. Styles dropped Doug, who had gone to the floor, with a Tope Con Hilo. Styles rolled Doug back in the rng and tried for the pin. Styles put Doug in a Torture Rack and hit a modified F-5 on Doug. Doug was able to kick out. Styles sat Doug on the top rope and went for the Superplex. Doug shoved Styles off and hit the Morningstar (Flying European Uppercut) but Styles kicked out at two. Doug hit a series of European Uppercuts. Styles hit a Discus Clotheline that would make Kerry Von Erich smile. Styles tried to hit the Styles Clash but Doug got free. He spun around and rushed Styles to the ropes. Doug tried for the Rolling German but Styles blocked it. Doug staggered back and Styles hit the Springboard Inverted DDT to eliminate Doug Williams and earn his place in the World title match at No Surrender.
Jay’s Thoughts: What another fantastic match. Doug and A.J. are prime examples of what makes wrestling great. Both men deserve hard pushes.
Tazz and Tenay threw major respect to Styles but Kurt just said that Styles wouldn’t beat him. Kurt insutled Tenay with an “Up Yours” comment. At ringside, JB interviewed Styles. Styles said no one, not even himself, would stop him from taking the title at No Surrender.
Tazz and Tenay ran down some upcoming events. Lauren talked with Team 3D and Jesse Neal. Ray said Jesse was a real hero. Ray talked about how Jesse dedicated his career to his dead military buddy. Ray talked about beating the crap out of Rhino, 15 years ago. Ray said that they were taking Jesse to the Team 3D Wrestling Academy to turn Jesse into a true War Machine. Lauren started to talk to Devon but he stopped her. Devon addressed the British Invasion. He said that Team 3D were coming after the Brits and then Steiner/Booker were next.
Hernandez was back to face Sting for the final spot in the Fatal Four Way World Title match at No Surrender. Hernandez got a huge pop from the crowd. Sting then came out for th battle. Sting’s ribs were heavily taped.
Sting d Hernandez (by DQ)
World Title Qualifying Match — Round 2
The (Lousy) Finish:
Hernandez rammed Sting into the corner and Bear Hugged him. Hernandez asked Earl Hebner to check on Sting before they continued. Sting came out of the corner and grabbed a Headlock. Hernandez ran Sting into the corner and then sent him to the ropes. Sting hit several chops, and Inverted Atomic Drop and a Dropkick. The ribs came into play. Sting hurt himself when he landed. Hernandez was hesitant to continued. Hernandez hit Shoulder Blocks in the corner. Hernandez hit a Pounce on Sting and tore off his shirt. Sting rolled out to the floor. “Homicide” rushed out and attacked Sting with a baton. The ref called for the disqualification. The bandanas were pulled off Homicide’s face…it was Eric Young!
Jay’s Thoughts: What a slap in the faces of fans of both men. Eric Young totally trashed a decent match. Hernandez got screwed out of a decent shot at his first main event on a Pay-per-view. I was so disappointed.
The entire World Elite rushed the ring, after the break, to attack Hernandez. Hernandez was being destroyed by the mob. Rob Terry hit a Powerslam. A.J. Styles rushed out to help Hernandez. The numbers were still too much for the two faces. Beer Money ran out to attack the World Elite. The World Elite forces hit the floor in a dead run. Team 3D’s music then sounded. Ray and Devon came out to confront the British Invasion part of the World Elite. The whole thing broke down into a monster riot. Ray dropped an elbow onto Bashir’s neck and then Back Body Dropped him. Team 3D then hit the Wazzup!Ray called for the tables. Devon obliged and slid the wood into the ring.
Booker T and Scott Steiner rushed the ring.Steiner hit a T-Bone Suplex on Ray. Booker nailed Devon with the Book-End. Beer Money rushed in to attack Steiner and Booker. The British Invasion came in and hit the Morningstar on Roode. Booker adjusted the table. Steiner and Booker grabbed Storm and Double Slammed him through the table.
Final Grade: A-
Final Thoughts: Despite the rotten ending for the Hernandez/Sting battle, this was still one of the best Impacts in a long time. It was a nice combination of smaller and bigger guys. It is nice to see someone other than the Main Event Mafia get a push. Next week’s show should also be really good as Madison Rayne’s new partner makes her (re)debut.
— Jay Shannon