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HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
The Impact (1/4) Insight
Our resident philosopher looks at a special Monday night edition of TNA Impact.

TNA offered one of the most exciting Impacts, ever. Hulk Hogan made his debut, along with just above every buddy he knows.

The show opens with a history lesson of the beginning of TNA and all the great stars who have made appearances in TNA. Mike Tenay and Taz have an all-new announce station. They ran down the night’s supercard. Expect changes.

Chris Sabin v Alex Shelley v Kiyoshi v Amazing Red v Jay Lethal v Consequences Creed v Homicide v Suicide (No Contest)
Steel Asylum Match

The Finish:

Shelly chopped Lethal as Homicide started up the cage. Suicide nailed the Suicide Solution on Red. Lethal went for a Sunset Flip on Sabin but Chris rolled through and kicked Lethal in the face. Creed Gut Bustered Kiyoshi. Red planted Homicide with a Tornado DDT. Homicide got possession of a night stick and began to bash everyone in sight, including his World Elite partner, Kiyoshi. The ref threw the whole match out, sadly.

Grade: C (the ending killed the grade)

Jay’s Thoughts: What the heck was up with Homoicide? I read that he may have gotten stuck at the top of the cage and the others had to help him. Not the best way to open the show, but it was somewhat exciting.

Homicide tried to climb out of the cage but he was caught by the others. They yanked him from the top of the cage and Creed tore into him. That beat down came to a sudden halt when Jeff Hardy‘s music rang out and he made his way through the crowd. Hardy attacked Homicide, hitting a Twist of Fate on the floor.

After a break, Jeff meets up with Shannon Moore in the back. I smell a Shannon v Jesse Neal “You stole my gimmick” match. Jeff and Shannon walk off together as the police bring Hulk Hogan into the backstage area. Not quite the whoop-de-do that he got when he showed up in WCW, but it was still somewhat impressive.

Christy Hemme chatted with Kevin Nash. Nash said this was a historic night and he was thrilled. Nash said Hogan was his mentor and he looked forward to seeing Hogan and other old friends.

ODB d Tara
Knockout Title Match

The Finish:

ODB kicked and choked Tara. ODB used Tara’s own shirt to do the choking. ODB hit Knife Edge Chops but took a Back Elbow and a boot. Tara rocked ODB with a Clothesline. Tara and ODB punched away at each other. Tara took control and rocked ODB with regular kicks and an Enziguri. Tara with a Scoop Slam, followed by the Standing Moonsault. ODB kicked out and Irish Whipped Tara to the corner. Tara side-stepped ODB’s rush and slapped on the Tarantula on ODB. Tara hit the Slingshot Leg Drop, after the ref forced the break. ODB fought back and ran Tara into the corner. ODB tried for the TKO but Tara countered into an attempt at the Widow’s Peak. ODB was able to shift her weight and roll-up Tara. ODB grabbed the tights to take the tainted victory and the “Knocked Up” title.

Grade: A-

Jay’s Thoughts: Now that’s what I’m talking about! This went up against Maryse v the Bellas? Oh, puh-lease. Maryse, Brie and Nikki would have done better to sit in the back and watch real wrestling by women that are much more than just eye candy.

Tara attacked ODB, after the match, and puts her in the Widow’s Peak. She then lets Poison, the spider do a little mountain climbing on ODB’s rather over-sized chest.

James Storm is waiting in the back. A limo arrives and out steps…Ric Flair!

Taz talks about Flair’s arrival in TNA and the fact that he went straight to A.J. Styles’s locker room. Hmmm…could Flair be scouting for a new Horsemen/Evolution group? I make a suggestion of the members at the end of this column.

Christy Hemme was talking with fans when Mick Foley showed up. He swore he would be on his best behavior. He just wanted to chat with Hulk Hogan. Fast forward to current time and Mick is stopped at the door by security. They refuse to let him come in.

Bobby and Kristal Lashley come out to the ring. Kristal goes on a nasty little rant about the kind of people involved in wrestling versus the honorable, upstanding men in MMA. Whatever. Kristal wants Bobby’s release from TNA. Don’t let the door hit ya…Lashleys.

Velvet Sky brings a camera man to a secluded location, where the Beautiful People were playing…strip poker! Sweet.

Scott Hall and Sean Waltman wanted to enter the Impact Zone. Security stops them until Scott went all “bad guy” and kicked the stuffing out of the guards. They enter the Impact Zone as Hogan’s black limo is joined by a white one. The two limos drive closer to the parking area.

Sean and Scott were seated at ringside when Hogan finally showed up, already into the second hour of the show. Hogan came out to his old nWo music. There was no red and yellow. It was black with cheesy rhinestones. Brooke Hogan and Hulk’s new girlfriend are at ringside. Hogan takes his time before he kicks into the first Hour Turner moment of the show. Hogan pushes all the young guys and how TNA is going to rise to be the number one company in wrestling. Waltman and Hall try to jump the rail but security stops them. Hogan calls off the goon squad and lets his old running buddies join him in the ring. Sean and Scott do the old nWo hand gesture and Scott cuts loose with his semi-trademarked “Hey yo!” Hogan is cool with the whole reunion thing but wants the two of them to say what they came to say. Hall and Waltman figured that since Hogan, Eric Bischoff and Nash were running the show, it would be like the old days…big paychecks, sold out arenas and plenty of party time. Hogan corrected them that things were different, now.

Sean and Scott get ticked off that Hogan has rained on their parade. Kevni Nash comes out and tells his friends to let Hogan pretend that things were new and improved. Hogan said it wasn’t a role he was plaing. He promised Dixie Carter that things would be better for TNA with him there and he was sticking to his promise. Nash told Hogan that wasn’t what they talked about in recent days. Nash was offended that Hogan was going all “corporate”. Hogan reminded the three other men that they were brothers…4 life…but it was time to be…4 real.

Things were starting to heat up in the ring when out walks…Eric Bischoff (oh joy). Eric says that they revolutionized the wrestling industry and this was a second chance to do things, a little smarter this time. Dixie smiled and nodded from ringside. Eric explained that the old pecking order in TNA was done. Everyone would have to prove their worth in the “new” TNA. Hall, Waltman and Nash all left the ring to calm things down. Eric and Hogan then start preaching about how they are going to stream-line TNA and eliminate the dead weight. Dixie looked a little concerned but tried to put on a brave face for the cameras. Eric called for a program/booking sheet. He planned to “shuffle the deck” starting tonight. Hogan said that any TNA superstar that couldn’t wrestle or talk would find themselves out in the cold. Up in the rafters, Sting watched over the changes.

It was annonced that the main event at Genesis would be Kurt Angle v A.J. Styles. It was then time for the second title match of the night, the Knockout Tag Team title match.

Hamada and Awesome Kong d Taylor Wilde and Sarita
TNA Knockout Tag Team title match

The Finish:

Hamada Dropkicked Wilde as TNA returned from break. Wilde threw several Fore-arms but Hamada countered with a sharp kick, several chops and a pair of Headbutts. Hamada refused to allow Wilde to tag out. Kong made the tag and clubbed Wilde’s back with a Fore-arm shot. Kong lifts Wilde, who shifts around and staggers Kong with a modified Codebreaker. Sarita finally gets the tag and rocks Kong with a Springboard Missile Dropkick. Hamada tags in and kicks at Sarita. Hamda is limping badly, at this point. Sarita tried for a Crossbody but the challengers catch her. Wilde takes out Hamada with a Hurancanrana. Sarita tried for a Sunset Flip but Kong sits down on her. Kong brought back her old Spinning Back Fist to the leg of Sarita. Hamada ran Wilde into the ring post. Hamada goes up top and she and Kong work together for a Missile Dropkick into a Powerbomb combo to become the new Knockout Tag Champs.

Grade; A

Jay’s Thoughts: Another solid women’s match. TNA really has the right idea when it comes to booking women wrestling. They should be applauded.

It’s time for another surprise arrival. Sean “Val Venis” Morley interrupts the Poker Game. He says that if he loses, it’s all over for the girls. Ah, just can’t let the old porno star gimmick fade, can we Seanny?

Foley is still trying to get into the Impact Zone. The security guards, who would do just about anything for Mick, said that they just couldn’t let him in. Why did Meatloaf suddenly start singing in my tired old head? Over at another entrance, The Nasty Boys tried to come in. They were stopped, as well, and told to go see security.

Dr. Stevie, Raven and Daffney were waiting to fight. This week, they got Hernandez and Matt Morgan.

Matt Morgan and Hernandez d Dr. Stevie and Raven

The Finish:

Raven hit a Kneelift to rock Hernandez. Raven hit a Elbow Smash to Hernandez’s face. Hernandez answered with a Shoulder Tackle. Dr. Stevie and Morgan both tagged in. Morgan quickly dispatched the not-so-good Doctor with the Carbon Footprint.

Grade: B-

Jay’s Thoughts: The four guys probably took longer lacing up their boots than actually wrestling.

D’Angelo Dinero was excited to tell Hemme that Hogan wanted to see him work in the ring. He was placed up against Desmond Wolfe. He is interrupted by Guest Star #232, Orlando Jordan. Jordan says he is a huge fan of Hemme and Dinero. He wished Dinero luck against Wolfe.

D’Angelo Dinero d Desmond Wolfe

The Finish:

Wolfe sent Dinero, shoulder-first, into the corner. Dinero tries for a Sunset Flip but missed. Wolfe slammed Dinero’s arm into the canvas. Wolfe Kneedropped the arm and continued to wrench away at it. Dinero connected with a Hesitation Dropkick, in the corner, after finally getting free of the arm torture by Wolfe. Wolfe recovered and went back to work on Dinero’s arm. Wolfe lifted Dinero and sat him on the top turnbuckle. He wanted the Tower of London but Dinero escaped it almost as easily as people avoid Christian‘s KillSwitch finisher. Dinero with a simple Roll-up to finish off the Briton.

Grade: B

Jay’s Thoughts: Wasn’t Wolfe supposed to come in as a top tier star? He has struggled in most matches. Now he loses to Dinero. Maybe he should have taken the WWE contract, after all.

While Jeff Jarrett waits to do his speech thing in the ring, Special Guest #666, Bubba the Love Sponge, finds JB tending to a downed Rhino. BtLS decides he is going to get to the bottom of this mystery. From Howard Stern-wanna-be to the next Sherlock Holmes.

JB and A.J. Styles get all nostalgic about the early TNA years. Styles is excited about what Hogan will bring to the company. He is also excited about facing Kurt at Genesis. Enter Eric Bischoff. Eric informs Styles that the Styles v Kurt match won’t be at Genesis. It would be this week’s main event. Styles looked both confused and thrilled with the concept.

Jeff Jarrett comes out to a good pop. He starts doing the history lesson thing about starting TNA, 7 years ago, after 15 years of busting his butt all around the world. Dixie did not look particularly happy at seeing Jeff in the ring. Jeff took credit for trying to bring Hogan into TNA, for years. Jeff felt the time was finally right to bring in the Hulkster. Jeff said that the most satisfying thing about TNA was his ability to give young guys like Styles, Daniels, The Motor City Machine Guns and others a chance to shine. Hogan came out and tells Jeff to cut the “gaga”. He informed him that TNA isn’t all about him, anymore. He shocked Jeff by explaining that TNA was restructured and Jeff was now powerless. He told Jeff to “lace up your boots” and stand in line with the rest to earn his spot. The crowd was hot about the revelation.

In the back, Hemme asked Daniels about Hogan’s “proving yourself” orders. Daniels wasn’t worried because he knew he was what Hogan was looking for. The interview came to a sudden halt when JB rushed in and said Foley was at the side door and wanted in. The camera followed JB over to the said door. Foley pushed his way past JB, who was freaking out about getting into trouble for letting Foley in. Foley told him that he would just go find Hogan and chat with him. Break.

Samoa Joe d Abyss
Wireless-Barbed Wire Massacre match

The Finish:

Yes, the Powers-that-Be took away the barbed wire and just made this match a standard battle. Abyss hit a Clothesline and Splash in the corner. Abyss tried for a second run in the corner but Joe got the Back Elbow and Boot in to stun the Monster. Abyss shook it off and screamed at Joe. Joe kicked Abyss and started up the ropes. Abyss caught him and Chokeslammed into the middle of next week. Joe slid out of the ring to recover. Abyss tried to go after the big Samoan but the ref pulled him back. With the ref turned to move Abyss back, he was unable to see Joe crack Abyss in the skull with a chair. Joe slips back in the ring and slaps on the Kokina Clutch. Abyss fights to try and reach the ropes but falls short. He has to tap out.

Grade: B+

Jay’s Thoughts: This is a feud that could work for me. They could take the Hardcore mindset to the next level.

Eric is talking with a producer about changes in the format. Kristal Lashley walks up and gets in Eric’s face about Bobby’s release. Eric says that it has nothing to do with him but he lets her know that she needs watch the attitude and know her place. She gets quite offended and whines that she is going to go tell Bobby. Whatever.

Bubba is back. He finds Robert Roode and James Storm laid out. He is sure that he knows who is behind all these attacks. Before he can don the Columbo overcoat, he has to stop and help sneak The Nasty Boys into the Impact Zone.

JB talks with Kurt. Kurt shows respect to A.J. Styles but feels that it was time for a change. He was sure that he would take Styles’ TNA World title. In another part of the Impact Zone, Jeff Hardy and Shannon Moore were thrilled that they got what they wanted. A trio of giggly girls rushed up to the two wrestlers. They wanted an autograph but got one of Jeff’s paintings. Well, he’s no Sleepy Reed but few are.

In the back, the Nasty Boys trashed the locker room. They painted a photo of Brother Devon.

Kurt Angle d A.J. Styles
TNA World title match

The Finish:

Kurt lifted Styles and sent him to the corne.r Styles with a Back Elbow and the Springboard Slop Drop. Kurt, somehow, kicked out. Styles went up the ropes, again. Kurt crotched Styles on the top rope. The two fought and both men ended up on the ropes. Kurt wanted a Superplex but Styles blocked it. Kurt changed his plan and hit a Super-AngleSlam off the top rope! Kurt grabbed the ankle, once again. Styles tspun under to fip Kurt into the ropes. Styles with a sharp Enziguri and nailed a second Styles Clash. Kurt kicked free, again. Styles set for a third Styles Clash but Kurt hit the Grapevine version of the AngleLock. Ric Flair walked out to watch the match. Everyone was shocked, expecially Kurt and Styles.Styles with a Back Suplex. Styles rolled onto the apron and hit he 450 Splash for a two. TNA went to break. Kurt was trying to trp Styles in the Devil’s Gate. Styles tried to turn it into the Styles Clash. Kurt went for another AngleLcok. Styles kicked free as Flair walked off. Styles nailed another Styles Clash. Styles went to the apron, again. Styles hit another 450 Splash to retain his title.

Grade: A+

Jay’s Thoughts: While guesting on OWW Radio, this week, we talked about how this match just blew away everything on Raw, with the possible exception of the Shawn/Bret confrontation. This match eclipsed anything TNA (or WWE) has offered on PPV in the past few months. Only Shawn Michaels v Undertaker could rival this match.

Dixie was thrilled at the bout. The crowd was hoarse from their screams. TNA looked back at all the action during this incredible match. If this is the first skirmish in the Monday Night Wars, then TNA takes the early advantage. Kurt and A.J. hugged and shook hands. Hogan walked out to the nWo music and then threw major respect to both men. He called them “the two greatest wrestlers in this business today”. Hogan said the fans made history tonight. He said this was the beginning of the great rise…

A guy rushed up and told Hogan that Foley was in the back. Foley burst in on the Strip Piker game. The girls were shadowed out. Morley rushed over and told Foley off. Morley said he was not intimidated by Foley. Morley sent him to Foley’s old office to find him. In Foley’s chair was…Bischoff. Foley started talking about being the “Executive Shareholder”. Eric said that position wasn’t worth the paper it was writtern on. Foley said he could work for Dixie, even Hogan, but would never worked for Eric. he siad that since he was planning on getting fired, he would give Eric a reason. Eric told his to reconsider. Waltman, Nash and Hall jumped Foley and beat him down. Hogan walked in and called them off. He didn’t look happy.

Final Grade: A-

Final Thoughts: I saw the ratings and TNA set new records for the quarter hours. Hogan’s appearance went straight against Shawn/Bret. I think Shawn/Bret won that match-up but the ratings say different. I wish that there would have been more action and less talk but the show was still great. This was the first heads-up battle…it won’t be the last.

— Jay Shannon
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