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HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
The TNA Impact (7/23) Insight
Our resident philosopher takes a look at the post-Victory Road edition of Impact.

Taz made his Impact Zone debut in this week’s wild episode. Three championships were on the line in a power-packed two hours of fun and excitement.

TNA opened with a look at Victory Road. The Mafia took every championship that they went after.

This Week’s Episode: “The Family reigns supreme”.

The 13 symbol flashed on the Tron as Taz (back to original spelling) came out to one of the largest pops in TNA history. Taz started off with a history lesson about ECW and WWE. Taz mentioned his neck and spinal injuries that closed his career, early. Taz mentioned by a color commentator for the WWE (huge boo). Taz then talked about turning on TNA and being impressed by Samoa Joe. Taz saw himself in Samoa Joe. Taz thought Joe didn’t have the lack of remorse that he had during his wrestling career. Taz chatted with Joe and told the Samoan that he could take Joe to the next level. He told Joe to forget about being popular, that doesn’t make money. Taz then credited Kurt Angle for being so determined to get Joe in the Main Event Mafia. Taz said he and Joe owed a big thanks to the Mafia and Angle. Taz announced that Joe would be taking Homicide’s X-Division title.

Samoa Joe then walked out, draped in the black towel. That towel should have been a clue to Taz’s identity but I sure missed it. Homicide then came out with the X-title over his shoulder.

Homicide d Samoa Joe w/Taz (by DQ)
X-Division Title Match

The Finish:

Joe threw Homicide down with the One-arm Chokeslam. Taz screamed at Joe to keep the pressure on the Latino. Joe threw several fists and kicks. He hit the Flying Kneedrop. Homicide got a kick in but fell victim to the Snap Powerslam. Joe slapped on the Abdominal Stretch. Homicide twisted under and punched away at Joe. Joe just stood there and absorbed the blows with minimal effect. Homicide ducked a Clothesline and then dropped Joe with a Flying Corkscrew Elbow. Joe reversed an Irish Whip but ate a Back Elbow. Homicide flew off the ropes and planted Joe with a Tornado DDT. Joe kicked out at two. Homicide went for a Uranage but Joe elbowed his way free. Joe then launched Homicide with an Overhead Release Belly to Belly (a nod to his mentor, Taz). Taz applauded his mentee for such power. Joe then began to run his boot across Homicide’s face. The ref tried to pull Joe back. Joe turned and struck the rookie ref, leading to the DQ loss.

Homicide tried for the Gringo Killa and Gringo Kutta. Joe countered both, slapping on the Kokina Clutch. When the ref called for the bell, everyone thought Joe had won the X-title. Joe was livid when he learned that the ref had DQ’d him. When Joe went to beat on Homicide, Hernandez made his return to save his long-time partner. Taz had ordered Joe to eliminate the X-champ. Joe and Hernandez stared at each other in mid-ring. Taz ordered Joe to leave the ring.

Grade: B

Jay’s Thoughts: I really like the idea of Taz as Joe’s mentor/manager. Joe needed someone to push him back to the top. My only suggestion is that Joe get the heck out of the Mafia. He’s going to be kept far away from the World title, as long as Kurt holds it. While it would normally irritate me that Joe took the DQ loss, it was necessary to push his out-of-control character.

JB talked with Mick Foley in the office. Foley talked about limping to Nashville to talk to the TNA brass. Foley didn’t know where things stood with Kurt Angle. That led to the Main Event Mafia walking from the back. They would address the crowd, next.

After a promo for Bound For Glory, the entire Mafia (minus Joe and Taz) strolled from the back. The smiles were wide as the gold parade made it’s way to the ring. Kurt mentioned that the stars in the back were trying to be on their best behavior towards the Mafia. Kurt said that no one would be losing their jobs, tonight. Kurt said the fans would bet the best show possible. Kurt suggested that if the Mafia left TNA, the company would sink like the Titanic. The Mafia had a present for the fans. Kevin Nash, Booker T and Scott Steiner would defend their titles. Kurt then switched his focus to Mick Foley. Kurt wanted to know what Foley did in TNA. He said Foley was not the wrestler he once was.

Foley came out when Kurt accused Foley of taking up valuable space in the office. Foley was in the old Dude Love Tye-Dye T-shirt. Kurt teased Foley about his ankle. Foley admitted that he did tap out to Kurt. Foley wanted to go home until he learned about Kurt’s shenanigans with the TNA brass. Foley threw respect to the new champs. Foley accepted that he dropped the ball, as did Roode, Storm and Styles. Foley said he ran out of gas and possibly guts on Sunday. Foley suggested that Kurt has had bad days, too. Kurt then talked about Foley “working the front office” for months. Kurt said that Foley would still be working the office, if he (Kurt) and Joe hadn’t fooled everyone at Slammiversary. Kurt said he wanted one last thing from Foley. Kurt held up the keys to Foley’s office. Kurt said he would put the keys up on a pole and Foley would have to climb the pole to retrieve the keys. Kurt made the match to give Foley the chance to save his dignity. Foley agreed to the match.

Lauren talked with the British Invasion. Brutus mentioned that they would face Team 3D, next week, for the IWGP titles in a tables match. Brutus mentioned that they would drive the final nail into the Frontline’s coffin as…all nations unite!

Back to ringside, Mike and Don ran down the rest of the night’s card. Kurt Angle set up a Knockout Battle Royal, where the winner would get $50,000 and the opportunity to become the Main Event Mafia’s “Chosen One”.

Amazing Red came out to face Kevin Nash for the Legends title. West really pushed Red, sarcastically. Nash then came out with Jenna.

Kevin Nash d Amazing Red
Legends Championship title match

Nash called Red to hit him on the chin. Red took the challenge and pounded away. Nash hit a Kneelift and moved Red to the corner. Nash hit repeated knees to the ribs. Nash flexed, looking quite silly. Nash Bieled red two states over. Red kicked the legs of Nash. Nash threw the Kneelift and finished off Red with the Jackknife Powerbomb. He teased a second Jackknife but chose to just shove red down and cover the TNA Original.

Grade: B

Jay’s Thoughts: Nash deserved a chance to wear gold. He won’t carry the title for very long, but it helped push the domination of the Mafia. Nash has slowed down, dramatically, but he still has most of his old power.

Lauren talked with Hernandez. Hernandez agreed that things had changed in TNA. Hernandez told Jeff Jarrett and Mick Foley that he had their back. Homicide came in and got in Hernandez’s face for coming out to save him. They yelled back and forth in Spanish, way too fast for me to keep up with.

JB talked with Mick Foley. JB tried to keep Foley from fighting with Kurt with a severely sprained ankle. Foley corrected JB that his ankle was only moderately sprained. Foley said that he could take the office but he’s going to fight Kurt for it. Foley said he would beat Kurt enough that he’d have time to climb the pole. Rocco and Sally Boy came in and said that they had Foley’s back. Foley giggled and told the Force to remove the MEM logos from their shirts. Foley kept talking about taking the cartoon photo of him and JB with him, if he had to leave his office.

Elsewhere, Booker T and Scott Steiner talked about finding a team to face them. They laughed and started to the ring for the Hour Turner match of the night.

Lauren talked with the long-missing Tracy Brooks. Tracy talked about a huge Hollywood project in the works. She also put herself in the Battle Royal.Tracy said she was there to provide Law and Order.

The tag belts were on the line as Booker T and Scott Steiner made their way from the back, along with Sharmell. Their opponents were Rocco and Sally Boy aka Foley’s (Security) Force.

Booker T and Scott Steiner d Rocco and Sally Boy
Tag Team Championship match

The Finish:

Rocco tagged in and waddled over to knock Booker off the apron. Rocco hit a Freight Train Splash on Scott, in the corner, and then planted him with the Scoop Slam. Rocco then went up the ropes. Sharmell distracted him. Rocco hit the Super-Splash off the top rope. 1–2–Sharmell grabbed Andrew Thomas’ leg to prevent the three count. Rocco went over to talk with Thomas, who was yelling at Sharmell. Booker hit the weakest Book-End of his career on Rocco, who sold it like a pro. Scott sent Rocco into the mat with the PowerDriver DDT to take the win for his team.

Grade: A surprising A-

Jay’s Thoughts: I’ll admit when I’m wrong. I didn’t think the duo of Steiner and Booker could possibly work as a team. Of course, I swore Sammy Hager could never replace David Lee Roth in Van Halen, so what the heck do I know? This team really gelled well. I could see an extended run as tag champs. Of course, Foley’s Force isn’t exactly a top-notch team. I look forward to a future feud between Booker/Steiner and Daniels/Styles. That match will likely come down at Bound for Glory, assuming Daniels’ leg injury is healed up.

JB and Eric Young rushed into Mick Foley’s office. Mick was in his own little world, seeing imaginary poles and keys. Eric tried to talk to Mick but Foley kept blowing him off. Eric tried to admit that he was wrong, over the past few weeks. Eric talked about being one of the first to join the Frontline. Eric said he was sorry for his past behavior. Foley wanted to know what he wanted him to do. Eric wanted to go back to work. Foley made Eric the fifth member of the 10-man tag match. The various Knockouts walked backstage. The Battle Royal was next.

Before the match started, TNA showed Angelina Love regain her title. After the battle, Tara Superkicked Slick Johnson. In the Shower Room, Slick and Velvet Sky came out of the shower, leading to the suspicion on collusion between Slick and the Beautiful People. Lauren then talked to Tara about why she would be willing to take part. Tara said that she could give the 50K to charity. She wanted to be the best in TNA, not being the Mafia’s Bee-atch. Tara threatened Slick Johnson with Poison (the spider).

Tracy Brooks d ODB, Awesome Kong, Angelina Love, Velvet Sky, Madison Rayne, Sarita, Tara, Alissa (Raisha Saeed) Flash, Sojo Bolt, Taylor Wilde and Daffney
Kurt Angle $50,000 Knockout Battle Royal Challenge Match (Winner get 50 Grand plus becomes the Chosen One of the Main Event Mafia)

Once Tara got in the ring, all Hell broke loose. The girls threw everything they had at each other. Daffney was the first thrown over the ropes. Madison Rayne was tossed out (by Kong) seconds later. Slick Johnson had a hissy fit that his paramour was out of the match. ODB was thrown over the ropes by Cody Deaner caught her and threw her back in. Slick and Cody got into a scream fest. Taylor Wilde flipped SoJo Bolt over the ropes and then used an Enziguri to send Bolt to the floor and out of the match. Tara sent Velvet Sky over the ropes and onto the apron. Tara then kicked Sky off the apron, eliminating her. Kevin Nash then walked down with the check to watch the battle. TNA went to break.

As the show returned, TNA showed the eliminations of Wilde and Flash. Back to live action, ODB knocked Love off the apron to send her to the showers (watch out for Slick Johnson in there). Kong was attacked by everyone, except Tracy. Kong tossed Sarita aside. Tara tried to eliminate Sarita, but the Canadian slipped under the ropes. Kong put ODB over the ropes and then Kong ran into her to send her to the floor. Sarita hit a Missile Dropkick off the ropes. Sarita rushed Kong, only to end up flipped over the ropes and to the floor. Tara and Kong threw fists at each other. Nash wanted Tara to win it. Kong threw Tara to the ropes. Tara climbed on Kong’s back.Kong set Tara on the ropes and fought to keep going. Tracy rushed over and flipped both Tara and Kong over the ropes to win the battle.

Grade: B

Jay’s Thoughts: Tracy joins the Mafia, sort of. Now that’s a nice good swerve. I’ve heard the Christy Hemme is due back, very soon. I would have put my money on the fact that the fiery redhead would join the elite team, since she is a former (WWE) Women’s champion. I’m just happy to see Tracy back. I could see her take the Knockout title from Angelina Love, down the road.

Kong and Tara fought on the floor as Nash announced Tracy Brooks as the winner. Tracy jumped into Nash’s arms. Tara came back in and got in Slick Johnson’s face. Tara blasted Slick and then hit a vicious Low Blow. Tara looked over at her baby, Poison. She removed the tarantula from the glass case, as Slick rolled out of the ring.

The Beautiful People were having a major fit about Tracy winning the Mafia Battle Royal. Love said TNA had a conspiracy against them. When the Beautiful People trash-talked ODB, Cody came up and tore into them. Love flirted with Cody, who relaxed. Cody thought the girls wanted him. Velvet kneed Cody in the crotch. The Beautiful People jumped on Cody until ODB showed up. Cody whined that the “Deaner Diamonds” were shattered.

Mike said Kurt made the main event for Hard Justice. Sting would get his last shot at the title in a Triple Threat match that would also include either A.J. Styles or Matt Morgan. Styles and Morgan would face off in a 2-out-of-3 Series that would begin, next week.

Mike sent it to the back. Lauren talked with Styles. Styles didn’t need to talk about Morgan. He said that everyone dropped the ball at Victory Road. Styles said that they would take back TNA, tonight. Break time.

Rob Terry, Doug Williams, Brutus Magnus, Kiyoshi and Sheik Abdul Bashir d A.J. Styles, Daniels, Eric Young, Robert Roode and James Storm (TNA Originals)
10-man tag team match

The Finish:

Doug Williams flew off the middle rope with a Kneedrop to the chest of Daniels. Styles made the save. Williams hit a European Uppercut. Daniels reversed an Irish Whip and sent Williams into one of his partners. Daniels then nailed the Enziguri to Williams’ head. Styles and Brutus made tags and A.J. went wild on everyone in sight. He hit a good half-dozen Clotheslines before being La Bandera’d over the ropes by Brutus. Styles came back with the Springboard Flying Fore-arm. The match broke down when Styles went for the pin. Eric turned on Styles and hit a Piledriver when Styles was setting up for a Styles Clash on Brutus. Brutus covered Styles for the cheap win.

Grade: A-

Jay’s Thoughts: Finally, a decent swerve in TNA. It was obvious that Eric was pushing to go heel but what a way to go. Eric, a Canadian, joining forces with the other non-American wrestlers to take it to TNA. My only complaint is that this so muddies the water as to the factions in TNA. The Frontline is pretty much gone. The Mafia are heels. The World Elite (see below) are heels. There really isn’t a face group. There’s a rag-tag ECW Alliance in the works, maybe. TNA really needs to sit back and draw up full battle plans for the various forces.

After the match, Eric hugged Brutus and Bashir. Eric was now part of the non-American alliance.

In the back, Mick Foley lost his cool. Foley would fight Kurt…next.

JB tried to talk with Eric Young. Eric told JB to shut up. Eric called the group the World Elite. Foley came out and tried to attack Eric.

TNA returned to the Impact Zone, where Kurt Angle rose from the depths to make his way to the ring. He wore his tile belt, instead of carrying it. Kurt was thrilled that Foley got into a fight with Eric, backstage. Foley was then announced. Foley came out with afire in his eyes.

Mick Foley v Kurt Angle (No Contest)
Keys to Foley’s Office-on-a-pole match

The Finish:

Foley and Kurt kept the fight going. Foley hit the Double Arm DDT on Angle. Next week, TNA will celebrate their 200th episode. Foley slapped on the Mandible Claw. Kurt broke the hold but Foley slapped it on again. Angle went to the mat, out cold. Foley started to go to the corner. The Mafia ran out to attack Foley.The entire Mafia hit the ring, including Taz. The Mafia members took turns stomping and kicking Foley. Kurt slapped Foley in the face. Kurt grabbed the stick and told Foley that he was facing his last card.

Suddenly, Bobby Lashley showed up! Kurt thought he was there to help the Mafia. Bobby stomped to the ring. Lashley and Angle hugged. Angle urged Lashley to attack Foley. Lashley then turned and took out the entire Main Event Mafia as the crowd exploded!

Grade: A

Jay’s Thoughts: Two decent swerves in one show, who could ask for more? I foresee a Lashley v Angle battle at Bound For Glory, possibly with Sting in Lashley’s corner. Tha could keep Sting’s win streak at Bound for Glory intact, even if he’s not actually in the World title match, itself. Thanks to a little insider info, I know TNA has plans for Foley in the near future. I don’t like to do spoilers, so I’ll leave the plans secret, for now. I am interested to see how the whole Jarrett-Angle thing will play out. For those who haven’t heard, it’s been officially announced that Jeff Jarrett is romantically linked to Kurt’s ex-wife, Karen. My grandfather had a saying about that, which I will clean up for this column: “Never put your err..Heart where your paycheck lives”. I hope Jeff and Karen are happy. I know, from personal experience, how hard it is to start over after losing a beloved wife. I wish them well. I just hope that the relationship doesn’t cause problems for TNA.


— Jay Shannon
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