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HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
The Impact (12/31) Insight
Our resident philosopher looks at the year-end edition of TNA Impact.

After a fantastic dinner with my wife and watching Dick Clark ring in the new year, it was time for some good old-fashioned wrestling. TNA ran a 4-hour Knockout special that also included some of the best matches of 2009.

Mike Tenay and Taz ran down the brackets for the Knockout Top Contender Tournament and previewed the special January 4th edition of Impact.

Madison Rayne came out for the first tournament match. Her opponent was Hamada.

Hamada d Madison Rayne
Knockout Top Contender Tournament Match — Round One

The Finish:

Rayne with Kneelifts and a Hangman’s Neck breaker. Hamada kicked out and Rayne started slamming Hamada’s head into the canvas. Rayne kicked Hamada in the corner. Hammad came back with a Running Kick to the face. Hamada with a Back Thrust Kick and Headbutts and kicks. Hamada with the Scoop Slam for a two. Hamada missed a Top Rope Moonsault. Rayne tried for a French Kiss DDT but Hammad blocked it. Hamada with another vicious kick that set up the Hamada Driver. Hamada advances.

Grade: A-

Jay Thoughts: what a good way to kick off the show. Hamada really needs the push she looked like she was going to get when she first came into the company.

Christy Hemme talked with Tara, the new Knockout Champion. Tara was excited to hear herself called the Knockout champion. Tara said she would defend the title with honor, pride and dignity. Tara announced that she would defend her title on January 4th. She would also announce the top 3 matches of the year.

Tenay and Taz talked about Tara beating ODB at Final Resolution for the Knockout title. Traci Brooks then came out for the next tournament match. Her opponent was the former champ, ODB.

ODB d Traci Brooks
Knockout Top Contender Tournament Match — Round One

The Finish:

Traci with Knife Edge Chops. Traci with a weak Inverted Atomic Drop. Traci ripped her outer shirt off and my two grandsons just smiled a mile wide. Traci drove her knee into ODB’s back. Traci Steam Rolled ODB for a two count. DOB with a Kneelift and Open Hand Slapped the chest.. Traci went to the turnbuckles but DOB yanked her off the ropes by the weakened arm. ODB nailed the TKO to finish off the Playboy playmate.

Grade: B+

Jay’s Thoughts: This whole arm disability thing just doesn’t work for me. Traci works just fine for many years and suddenly she has this bad arm thing. ODB just needs to quit straddling the fence. Either be a face or a heel, you can’t be both.

Hemme talked with The Beautiful People. Rayne was ticked about losing. Hem me teased the girls about Rayne’s loss. Velvet Sky said that if Rayne had won, she would have to face her, after Sky beat Roxxi. The Beautiful People talked about Lauren getting fired for assaulting Lacey Von Erich. The Beautiful People threatened to have Hemme fired, as well. The Beautiful People were on a mission to “cleanse” TNA.

Roxxi bounced her way out to the ring. She was set to face Velvet Sky in the next tournament match.

Roxxi d Velvet Sky
Knockout Top Contender Tournament Match– Round One

The Finish:

Sky with a boot to the ribs and a rush to the corner. Sky choked Roxi with her boot. Sky with an Irish Whip and a Splash. Sky with a Bulldog Face Plant. Sky choked Roxxi. Sky with an Octopus Submission Hold, augmented with biting the fingers. Roxxi, somehow, got free and booted Sky in the face. Roxxi with a Discus Fore-arm Smash. Roxxi sent Sky to the corner and hit a Splash. Roxxi with a Running Boot to the face. Sky Floated Over the Scoop Slam and kicked Roxxi in the ribs. Sky tried for, I think, a Twist of Fate but took too long taunting the fans. Roxi’s slid free and nailed the Voodoo Drop to advance.

Grade: B

JB talked with Roxxi. She was glad to take out the Trash (Sky). Roxxi showed respect to Tara. Lacey Von Erich ran down and attacked Roxxi with her “ugly stick”. She choked Roxi’s with the night stick. TNA went to break.

Jay’s Thoughts: Roxxi really deserves this push. Sadly, she broke her ankle during these TV tapings and may be out for several months.

Daffney warmed up for…Awesome Kong!

Tenay revisited the situation with Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett left TNA to begin a relationship with Karen Angle. Jarrett recently returned and Dixie Carter forced Jeff to confront Kurt Angle. Jeff showed maturity by telling Kurt that if he embarrassed or humiliated Kurt with the whole situation, he was sorry. Kurt blew Jeff off and went out to wrestle. Personally, I think Dixie was out of line to force Jeff to talk with Kurt. Kurt and Karen were divorced. Jeff is a widower. With whom he chooses to start a relationship with is no ones business, except Jeff and the person he is involved with. Thank you very much.

Tara introduced the number three match of the year. Kurt Angle v Desmond Wolfe from Turning Point.

Kurt Angle d Desmond Wolfe

The Finish:

Wolfe had Kurt on the ropes. Wolfe hit a Double Crosschop and tried for a Superplex. Kurt shoved Wolfe off and nailed a Frog Splash. The crowd was amazed at the fantastic match. Kurt tried for a Tombstone Piledriver but Wolfe reversed it into an attempt of his own. Kurt countered that into the AngleLock. Wolfe fought like crazy to get free. Kurt switched into the Tri-Angle Choke. Wolfe tapped out.

Grade: A+

Jay’s Thoughts: What an incredible match. This is a really great feud to launch Wolfe’s TNA career. Both men looked good and the loss didn’t really hurt Wolfe.

Tenay sent it to a video package about Hulk Hogan joining TNA. Dixie talked about how excited she was about the signing of Hogan. Hogan called Dixie his “business partner”. Hogan has been vague about exactly what his plans were, as it relates to TNA. Hogan made the talk show circuit to push his relationship with TAN. Hogan said this was Dixie’s company and he was there to make TNA the best. Dixie said Hogan was there to “make history, not remake history”. Hogan announced that TNA would go to war with WWE on January 4th. It is going to be one heck of a night of wrestling. I have two DVD recorders and the DVR set for the first skirmish in the new Wrestling Wars.

Daffney sauntered to the ring, looking oh so Zombie Hot. She shrieked after rolling into the ring. Kong got a huge pop as she lumbered from the back.

Awesome Kong d Daffney
Knockout Top Contender Tournament Match — Round One

The Finish:

Kong with a Knife Edge Chop. Kong locked Daffney in an Inverted Torture Rack. Kong slammed Daffy’s foot into her own head before dropping her. They went to the outside. Kong whipped Daffy into the steel steps. Daffney attacked the leg of Kong as they got back in the ring. Daffney Tap Danced on Kong’s shoulder. Kong shoved Daffy away and then hit the Implant Buster on Daffney. Say goodnight, Gracie.

Grade: B+

Jay’s Thoughts: Kong deserves a good face push. Even the legendary Abdullah the Butcher got to be a face (in WCW).

Hemme talked with Taylor Wilde and Sarita. Taylor mentioned that Sarita became the CMLL Bodybuilding champion. Taylor said Kong and Hamada would get a Knockout Tag Title shot on January 4th. Taylor and Sarita would be fighting, later.

Tenay and Taz talked about Final Resolution. Bashir got the pink slip in the Feast or Fired match. Kevin Nash got the tag team title shot. Samoa Joe got the World title shot and Rob Terry got the X-Division title shot. Abyss and Mick Foley destroyed Raven and Dr. Stevie. Kurt Angle beat Desmond Wolfe. A.J. Styles defended his title against Daniels.

The British Invasion came out for some odd reason. Doug has a new blonde Mohawk. Taz and Tenay wanted to know why they were here. Tenay was not happy that Brutus Magnus and Doug Williams came out. Tenay asked for subtitles. The Brits had a little surprise for the fans…Lorelei and April Hunter! The actress/wrestler has been semi-retired for quite awhile.

Taylor Wilde and Sarita d Lorelei and April Hunter
Non-title match

The Finish:

April made the blind tag and she caught Taylor with a Spinning Chokeslam. April stomped away and brought Lorelei back in. April with the Necktie to allow Lorelei to Face Plant Taylor. Taylor kicked out at two. April tagged back in and raked Taylor’s eyes. April with a Knife Edge Chop and Paintbrush. Taylor with a Backstabber. Sarita and Lorelei goth tagged in. Sarita with a pair of Arm Drags and a Gut Wrench Duplex. April rushed Sarita and ended up on the floor. Taylor took the tag and the tag champs did a Stratisfaction-like move to drop Taylor. out of a backflip, onto Lorelei. The ref made the three count.

Grade: B+

Jay’s Thoughts: It’s time for the belts to switch hands. I want to see Hamada and Kong take them. It was nice to see April Hunter back in the ring, still as lovely as ever.

Tara was back to announce the number two match of the year. It was also from Final Resolution. It was A.J. Styles v Daniels v Samoa Joe.

A.J. Styles v Daniels v Samoa Joe
World Title, Triple Threat Match

The Finish:

Daniels hit a Baseball Slide Dropkick to eliminate Joe, at least for the moment. Styles tried to use Daniel’s Angel Wings finisher on Daniels but Daniels converted it into a Back Body Drop. Daniels and Styles both tried for numerous pin attempts. Daniels even set Styles in the Styles Clash but couldn’t connect, thanks to a Superkick from Samoa Joe. Joe with a kick to Styles’ back and Dual Clotheslines on both men. Joe whipped Daniels into Styles but missed the Splash. Daniels and Styles did the High/Low on Joe. Joe went to the floor. Daniels and Styles slapped fists in respect and went back to the fight. They ended up on the apron. They fought up the ropes. Joe with a Knife Edge to knock Styles off the ropes. Joe tried for a Muscle Buster, again, on Daniels, but Daniels got free and took down Joe with an STO. Daniels hit the BME but Styles nailed Daniels with a Springboard 450 onto Daniels. Daniels rolled off Joe and Styles climbed onto the chest of Joe to take the pin and retain. Wow!

Grade: A+

Jay’s Thoughts: These three men are the reason that WWE should be nervous. They are three of the best…ever.

If this is number two, number one must be one of the great matches of all time!

It was time for another video piece. It revolved around Mick Foley’s issue with Hogan’s arrival. It will come to a head on Monday, January 4th. Foley is worried that Hogan is taking his spot. Foley thought he was going to meet Hulk (Hogan) but it was Lou “The Incredible Hulk” Ferrigno that Kevin Nash set up an interview with. Foley jumped Nash. Nash said Foley would lose his job after January 4th.

ODB was hot that Tara took her title. ODB said she would win the tourney and take the title back. ODB had a full bottle of Jack Daniels to prepare for Kong. ODB chugged a fifth of Jack, or so it appeared. I sure hope that there was iced tea in that bottle, otherwise ODB would be too wasted to face Kong.

Roxxi came out, clutching her ribs. she was attacked earlier bu Lacey Von Erich. The ribs were tapped up. Hamada then came out to battle the New Orleans native.

Hamada d Roxxi
Knockout Top Contender Tournament Match — Semi-Finals

The Finish:

Hamada with a Top Rope Hurancanrana for a two count. hamada couldn’t believe that Roxxi was able to kick out. Hamada went up top for a Missile Dropkick to the ribs. Hamada with a Torture Rack in preparation for either a Shock Treatment or Samoan Drop. She didn’t get either, as Roxxi rolled backwards and almost pinned Hamada. Hamada with a Spin Kick. Hamada tried for the Hamada Driver but Roxxi countered it into a Small Package. Hamada kicked out at two. Roxxi with a weaker version of her Voodoo Drop for a two count. Roxxi with a Mid-Back Torture Rack into a Samoan Drop. Hamada was still able to kick out. Roxxi started to lock Hamada in the Voodoo Drop but Hamada Headbutted her way free. Hamada rolled through and School Boy’s Roxxi to take the win.

Grade: A+

Jay;s Thoughts: The WWE could learn from watching what women’s wrestling Can be. Women wrestlers are not just glorified valets and/or Playboy Princesses.

ODB came out for the other semi-final tournament match. Her opponent was Awesome Kong.

ODB d Awesome Kong
Knockout Top Contender Tournament Match — Semi-Finals

The Finish:

ODb hit the Dirty Dozens. ODB with a Flying Fore-arm. ODB with Knife Edge Chops. ODB with a huge Splash that seemed to hurt ODB as much as Kong. ODb beat on Kong in the corner. ODB with the Bronco Muncher in the corner. ODB yanked on Kong’s leg. ODB tried for a Scoop Slam but Kong shifted and Crossbodied ODB down to the canvas. Kong iwth the Goozle but ODB got free. The two traded Clotheslines, with Kong getting the better of it. Kong with the Samoan Rump Shaker to the face ODB.

Kong set for the Awesome Bomb but ODB Floated Over. Kong whipped ODB to the corner and prepared for a Splash. At the last second, ODB pulled the ref into the flight path and he got squashed by Kong. ODB grabbed the Jack Daniels bottle, which Kong didn’t see. As Kong lifted ODB for a Powerbomb, ODB shattered the bottle on Kong’s skull. The ref didn’t see that and counted the pin, giving the match to ODB. ODB is now in the finals.

Grade: A-

Jay’s Thoughts: Great match but I wasn’t thrilled by the ending. It was really the only logical ending, honestly, but both can give so much more.

Tara was back to present the Top Match of 2009. It was from October 18th’s Bound For Glory PPV. Sting faced A.J. Styles. I actually watched this match, live, and it was absolutely incredible.

A.J. Styles d Sting
World Title Match

The Finish:

Sting set for the Stinger Splash, which connected. Sting hit a second Scorpion DeathDrop but only got a two. Sting set for the Scorpion DeathLock but Styles refused to submit. He powered out of the move. Styles and Sting exchanged moves. Sting “Hulked Up” and caught Styles with a Running Clothesline that turned Styles inside out. Styles kicked out at two. Sting sat Styles on the top rope and they fought. Styles with a Headbutt but slipped off the ropes. Styles with a Pele from the apron. Styles with a Springboard Splash to retain his title.

Grade: A+

After the match, Sting said he just didn’t know what his future in wrestling was. I still think Sting just might be the man behind the recent attacks on A.J. Styles. The two men hugged and Sting left the ring. Styles called him back. Styles said that after 23 years of entertaining the fans, he deserved the spotlight, especially in his home state of California. Sting left the ring and told Sting it was his time. Sting thanked the fans for all their support. Sting said this time really should belong to Styles. Sting said that if he had to lose, he was glad it was to a man like to Styles…at home. The crowd busted loose with a “You Still Got It” chant. Sting teased a retirement but didn’t go there. The crowd erupted with a “One More Year” chant. Sting said he wasn’t prepared to make the decision as to retire, just yet. Sting did say he was tempted to stay forever.

Jay’s Thoughts: That was one of the most touching promos that I’ve seen in many years. This match took Styles to the next level.

TNA ran a video package on Sting. It touched upon his possible retirement. Tenay tried to interview Sting, several weeks ago, but Sting No-Showed. Sting said Hogan’s return has sparked a renewed interest in returning. The video ended with the open-ended question about Sting’s future.

Tenay and Taz talked about the January 4th supershow.

It was now time for the Knockout Top Contender Tournament Finals. Hamada arrived first for the battle.. She flipped over the ropes to wait in the ring. ODB then came out to a mixed reaction.

ODB d Hamada
Knockout Top Contender Tournament Match — Finals

The Finals:

Kong came out with a table. ODB couldn’t believe that Kong would come out. ODB screamed for the ref to make Kong go tot he back. The refs came out to try and force Kong to leave. Kong left but the distraction gave Hamada time to recover. She hit a Thrust Kick the sent ODB to the floor. Hamada with a Rolling Senton off the ropes to down ODB. Hamada pointed at the table and then moved it into position. The fans started a “We Want Tables” chant. hamada hit another Headbutt and placed ODB on the table. Hamada went to the top turnbuckle for the Moonsault. ODB rolled out of the way and Hamada crashed through the table! ODB rolled Hamada back into the ring. ODB with the TKO to take the win and earn the Number One Contender Spot.

Grade: A+

Jay’s Thoughts: Both women really shined in this match. The writers deserve an end-year bonus for the whole show, especially this match.

JB was in the ring to talk with ODB. The crowd booed ODB, which surprised her. JB said that ODB will get her title shot…on January 4th…during the live 3-hour show. ODB said she would be taking her Knocked Up title home on Monday. ODB said she proved, tonight, that she could out-wrestle any Knockout on the roster. ODB said Tara needed to go back to where she came from (WWE). ODb said Tara came to TNA because no one “over there” wanted to see her skin.

Enter Tara. Tara looked seeriously ticked off. Tara said she wasn’t dancing when she kicked ODB’s fat *ss. She said the tats on ODB made her look like a Truck Stop restroom wall. Ouch. ODB said Tara was a joke as a champion, a contender and a woman. ODB started to call Tara a “cry-baby B*tch” when Tara blasted her in the face. ODB with the Speaer. The two rolled around and pounded away at each other. Security rushed in to pull the women apart.
The show ended with a preview video of TNA in 2010.

Final Grade: A

Final Thoughts: This was a great show. It was lonog but not boring. Each match was fast and furious. This is the perfect lead-in to the 3-hour supershow on January 4th.

Happy New Year!

— Jay Shannon
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