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HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
TNA Impact (8/13) Insight
Our resident philosopher looks at the pre-Hard Justice edition of TNA Impact.

A long-missing Knockout made her triumphant return. 4 other Knockouts battled in a huge in-ring war. Plus, the final pieces fell in place for Sunday’s Hard Justice PPV. The main event would see Matt Morgan and A.J. Styles square off in the final match in their Best of Three series to see who would join Kurt Angle and Sting in the main event of Sunday’s PPV.

The show opened with the massive riot from last week. The World Elite and The Main Event Mafia battled everyone else on the roster, almost. It was the darndest fights that I’ve seen in 37 years of watching wrestling.

This Week’s Episode: The Future is Now!

The vicious and delicious Christy Hemme made her return, following a neck injury. Hemme looked awesome in blood red. She faced off against Sojo Bolt.

Before this match starts, I wanted to pass along some sad news as it relates to women’s wrestling. One of the pioneers of women’s wrestling, Gladys “Kill-Em” Gillem, passed away this week. She was a trendsetter in female wrestling. There would never be a Christy Hemme, ODB or Daffney, were it not for Gladys. If you get the chance, check out the documentary Lipstick and Dynamite. Gladys will steal your heart from the opening minutes. Rest in peace, dear lady.

Christy Hemme d SoJo Bolt

The Finish:

Hemme stalked Bolt and then Irish Whipped her to the ropes. Bolt put on the brakes and threw Hemme down by her hair. Bolt stomped on Hemme’s ribs. Bolt hit a Side Backbreaker out of the Irish Whip. She only got a two count Bolt choked Hemme on the ropes. Bolt went to the apron and hit a Springboard Elbow Drop that rocked the rocker. Bolt went for a Piledriver but Hemme turned it into a Back Body Drop. Bolt landed badly and clutched her head. Hemme hit a pair of Face Plants but missed a Clothesline. Hemme hit a Crossbody but Bolt rolled through. Bolt sat Hemme on the top rope. Bolt sent for a Superplex. Hemme pushed her off the ropes and then nailed the Flying Fire-Crotch Guillotine (FFG) for the 1-2-3!

Grade: B+

Jay’s Thoughts: TNA is finally starting to ramp up the Knockout division, again. The return of Christy Hemme and Traci Brooks, along with the debut of Sarita and transformation of Raisha Saeed into Alissa Flash is helping to bring interest back into the Knockout division. It’s about darn time. Hemme looked hotter than an August sidewalk on the Las Vegas Strip. She hasn’t lost a step in teh ring. She will soon be contending for the title, count on it.

Mike and Don ran down the night’s card. In the back, A.J. Styles and Matt Morgan arrived for the third battle for a chance at the World title on Sunday.

Lauren interviewed Taz about Samoa Joe’s loss to Hernandez. Taz said Joe showed remorse, which allowed Joe to beat himself. Taz said he would motivate Joe into taking out Homicide at Hard Justice, guaranteed.

Back in the arena, Doug Williams arrived for the next match. The British Invasion still claim the IWGP titles, even though New Japan refuses to acknowledge the title change. Hernandez then arrived to new music and a huge pop from the crowd.

Hernandez c Doug Williams

The Finish:

Williams sent Hernandez to the corner and followed him in with a Flying Knee to the chest. Williams then went to the high-rent district (the top rope). Williams missed with the Backsplash Senton. Hernandez ducked a Clothesline and hit a pair of his own. The crowd erupted with a “Super-Mex” chant. Hernandez reversed an Irish Whip and launched Williams with the Back Body Drop. Hernandez lifted Williams for a Chokebomb. Williams barely kicked out of the move. Brutus got back on the apron, only to be nailed by Hernandez. Williams used a Kneelift to stun Hernandez. Hernandez reversed an Irish Whip but ate a boot. Williams flew off the ropes with a Crossbody. Hernandez caught him, spun him up and took him down with a Sit-out Powerbomb. It was as easy as A-B-Si.

Grade: A-

Jay’s Thoughts: Like me, Hernandez is a Texan. That already earned him major brownie points with me. I always like to see someone move to the next level. Hernandez deserves the push that he’s getting. He’s been a solid part of the tag team division for many years. Now, he’s getting the chance to strike out on his own. I do think that he is going to give the World champion a real run for their money, in the very near future. I’m not sure if he’s ready to wear the crown, but he just might become El Rey before the next year rolls around. If not, 2010 will be his year.

Brutus jumped Hernandez after the match. It turned out to be a mistake. Brutus came off the ropes and ran into a Monty Brown-like Shoulder Tackle that sent the Brit flying. Hernandez hit a Splash in the corner and used his Mexican flag to Hip Toss Brutus across the ring. Rob Terry came in and blith-whapped Hernandez with the metal briefcase. Hernandez tripped out and chased all three Brits out of the Impact Zone.

Hernandez grabbed the mic from Lauren and screamed, in Spanish, about being struck in the head. He wanted blood.

Mike Tenay talked with Bobby Lashley about his transition from the WWE to MMA. Bobby said MMA offered him more challenges. Tenay talked about Lashley being a double sports star. Lashley still worked MMA, even after signing with TNA. Lashley was confident that he could be successful in both sports. Tenay then wanted to know Lashley’s thoughts on Kurt Angle’s desire about being the best wrestler. Tenay asked Lashley who would win if/when he faces Kurt Angle. Lashley’s answer? The fans win.

TNA ran the Are You Ready video. It included everyone, including the MIA Jeff Jarrett.

JB talked with Dr. Stevie and Daffney about the bounty on Abyss. Stevie said thousands of people wanted to collect the $50,000 bounty. Stevie talked about what he expected the person to do to Abyss to claim the money. Stevie got kind of disgusting with drowning in vomit and blood, before Abyss arrived to tear into Stevie. Suddenly, “The Outlaw” Jethro Holliday (Trevor Murdoch) jumped Abyss with a steel chair. He trashed the Monster as TNA went to break.

Lauren interviewed Tara about winning and then losing the Knockout title. Poison, the tarantula, crawled up Tara’s arm. Tara showed major respect to Awesome Kong, calling her one of the best wrestlers ever. Tara wanted to know if Kong was afraid of spiders.

Back in the Impact Zone, Rhino and Jesse Neal came out for tag team action. They faced the World Elite duo of Eric Young and Sheik Abdul Bashir.

Time for another good-bye. Karl Von Hess, one of the first post-World War II, Anti-American wrestlers, passed away this week. Von Hess inspired later UnAmerican wrestlers, such as Fritz and Waldo Von Erich, Tojo Yamamoto, Skandor Akbar, Baron Von Raschke, Iron Sheik, Killer Karl Krupp and so many others. He led the way for multiple generations of Uber-Heels, as he pushed fans to near-riots when he denounced the good ol’ U.S.A.

Eric Young and Sheik Abdul Bashir d Rhino and Jesse Neal

The Finish:

Bashir tagged back in and punched at Jesse. Bashir rushed over to attack Rhino. Eric and Bashir double teamed Eric and hit a pair of Flying Elbow Drops. Eric went to the middle ropes and flew off, into an extended leg from Jesse. Both men crawled to their partners, but suddenly Jesse changed direction and went to attack Bashir, on the apron. This allowed Eric to roll up Jesse, pulling the shirt and tights, to steal the win.

Grade: B-

Rhino was stunned at the rookie mistake by Jesse Neal. Rhino screamed at Jesse. Jesse tried to apologize but Rhino wouldn’t listen. He said that Jesse’s best wasn’t good enough. Rhino slapped Jesse and then Gored! Jesse Neal.

Jay’s Thoughts: So, Rhino is going to feud with Jesse Neal? Put your money on Military Boy. Rhino has jobbed in just about every feud that he’s had in TNA. He was an animal in ECW. He was a powerful mid-carder in WWE. In TNA, he had one decent run (when he first came in) and has floundered near the bottom of TNA, ever since. This feud is going to be so boring. Jesse Neal was supposed to get a major face push, thanks to his military service. His whining about his dead buddy wore thin after like 2 weeks. 2 months later and he’s about on par with Corporal Kirschner or Firebreaker Chip, as far as popularity. Yawn!

Lauren tried to read Rhino the riot act for turning on Jesse. Rhino went off on her for trying to talk about Rhino choosing help the kid. Rhino said that Jesse kept making mistakes. Rhino asked Lauren how many times she had been in the ring. That would be less than one. Rhino was tired of Jesse making him look like a fool. Rhino said Jesse would never understand how things are in the ring. He wanted to know if Jesse had what it takes to stand up and fight.

Back in the Impact Zone, ODB and Cody Deaner arrived for the 4-Knockout battle. They were followed by Awesome Kong, seconded by Raisha Saeed. The next to arrive for the battle was Angelina Love, who had Madison Rayne and Velvet Sky at her side. The final competitor was Tara, accompanied by her fuzzy friend, Poison the tarantula.

Tara d Angelina Love, ODB & Awesome Kong
4-Way Dance

The Finish:

Tara and Love fought on the floor as Kong Goozled ODB and hit the Chokeslam. Deaner jumped on the apron and yelled at Kong. Deaner cocked his fists and spun the hat. Instead of striking Kong, Cody grabbed Kong and kissed her! Woohooo! Kong took serious offense to Trailer Park Ken (the male equivalent to Trailer Park Barbie) taking such liberties. She dragged him up over the ropes and slammed him to the mat. She then sent him into oblivion with the Awesome Bomb. Tara slid in the ring and rolled up Kong for the win.

Grade: A-

Jay’s Thoughts: This was a great Knockout battle. You know it’s a great battle when the champion-ette is the weakest one in the ring. The whole thing with Deaner smooching Kong was excellent. My daughter, Jess, was watching that and said: “If that Hillbilly tried that with me, I’d have done the same darn thing”.

Lauren talked with A.J. Styles and Sting about the Best of Three match for a shot at Kurt Angle’s title on Sunday. Styles acknowledged that the pressure is what takes him from mid-carder to main eventer. Styles said that he would end up either a winner or a loser, depending on the outcome of the match.

JB pushed the TNA Text service. JB brought Team 3D to talk about their battle against Booker T and Scott Steiner on Sunday. Brother Devon said the Steiners and Harlem Heat set the stage for many teams, including them. Devon talked about how they have backed up everything that they ever said. Brother Ray agreed with his “brother”. Ray said that they are a great tag team because the fans say that they are. ray said that they’ve been screwed out of all the tag belts. Ray’s best line of the night: “If I had known getting screwed felt this bad, I’d have stayed a virgin.

In the arena, Booker T and Scott Steiner came out to the ring. They had Sharmell with them. Scott would face Brother Ray in a no-DQ match. Ray and Devon came from the back. Ray was carrying a bag in his right hand.

Scott Steiner d Brother Ray
No DQ Match

The Finish:

Ray hit a Big Splash. When he went for the pin, Sharmell jumped on the apron to distract the ref. Mind you, this was a no-DQ match, so why she needed to distract the ref is a mystery. Booker rushed in to attack Ray, which brought Devon on the run, as well. Devon knocked Booker to the outside. Ray hit the Scoop Slam. Devon nailed the Wazzup! Ray grabbed Scott’s chain mail headdress and told Devon to get the tables. Devon slid the wood into the ring. They went to set it up as Scott got to his feet. The British Invasion rushed out to attack. Booker and Scoot hist a Double Chokeslam, sending Ray through the table. Scott easily pinned Ray.

Grade: C+

Jay’s Thoughts: On paper, this should be one of the greatest tag team wars of all time. Team 3D, in my humble opinion, is one of the best (if not the best) tag team of all time. The Steiners and Harlem Heat were truly the best teams in all of WCW. Combining two members of those teams should have created something on par with the Megapowers. Unfortunately, the team combination works about as well as taking Grape Jelly from a PB&J and mixing it with the chocolate sauce from a Hot Fudge Sundae. It just doesn’t quite work.I’m really not expecting all that much from Steiner/Booker v Team 3D on Sunday.

Mike Tenay was in the ring with Mick Foley and Kevin Nash. It was time for the Legends title match contract signing. It was a long, boring segment where Foley and Nash got into a debate about whether money was the basis for working wrestling. Foley talked about working for free, or close to it (Hmm…World Class for $20-40 a night? Just ask Steve Austin). Nash complained that at Wizard World, he could have got about 20 Grand more if he still had his Legends belt and Foley owed him that money. Nash took off his shirt to try and impress the crowd. Foley topped him by hitting a Cactus Elbow through the table they used to sign the title contracts.

Segment Grade: ZZZZZZZZZ

TNA ran another promo for D’Angelo Dinero, the former Elijah Burke of ECW. He will make his debut on Sunday. I thought Tenay said he would be in the Steel Asylum match but the web site has him listed in a different bout with an opponent TBD (Bet it ain’t Eric Young).

Mike and Don ran down the updated Hard Justice card. Abyss v Jethro Holliday had been added. West then ran down a few dates in Texas. Tenay sent it to a promo about the Steel Asylum match.

Lauren chatted with Matt Morgan. She wanted to know if he was nervous about his match against A.J. Styles. Morgan was full of confidence. He was ready to vanquish the much-smaller Styles and then head into his first Main Event on Sunday. Morgan told Lauren that if she wanted to see nervous, go find A.J.

Mike and Done looked at the first two matches in the Best of Three matches between Matt Morgan and A.J. Styles. Styles came out first for the TNA main event of the week. Sting was at Styles’ side. The two former enemies shook hands and walked to the ring. Matt Morgan then came to the ring with a suited Kurt Angle alongside.

Matt Morgan d A.J. Styles
Best of Three Series — Match 3

The Finish:

Morgan argued with the ref. Sting tried to fire up Styles. Morgan hit another monster Headbutt and clubbed Styles’ back. Morgan choked Styles in the corner. Morgan went for the Bicycle Kick but missed. He then missed a Big Splash. Styles started throwing wild Haymakers to the head of Morgan. Styles hit a Jumping Enziguri to send Morgan to his knees. Styles hit a Springboard Missile Dropkick but couldn’t get the duke. Morgan caught Styles with a Side Slam for a two. Morgan shook out his sore leg and went to the top. Styles hopped up, hit the ropes and Crotched Morgan. Styles climbed the ropes and the two men fought on the ropes. Morgan hit a Headbutt. Morgan tried to use the Ivan Koloff Kneedrop from the ropes but Styles blocked it. Styles caught Morgan, out of nowhere, with the Pele. Amazingly, Morgan kicked out at two! Styles went for another Springboard Flying Fore-arm but missed. He landed awkwardly. Morgan came back to nail the Carbon Footprint. Morgan pinned Styles and moved onto the main event at Hard Justice.

Grade: A

Jay’s Thoughts: I feel sorry for Styles in this whole thing. He should be in that match, on Sunday. He’s 100x the wrestler that Morgan will ever be. I will give my prediction on this match, now. Morgan will stomp a mudhole in Sting and Kurt Angle will slip in to steal the win. Simple. I’m hoping for a fun swerve, like Kurt takes the win and then Hernandez cashes in his Money-in-the…err..Feast or Fired Briefcase and takes the title.

Morgan and Angle taunted the downed Styles. The rest of the Main Event Mafia came down to celebrate with Morgan. Sting was helping Styles towards that back when they were asked to wait for a speech from Morgan and the Mafia.

After a last break, Kurt Angle had the stick. He congratulated Morgan for taking the series. Kurt said he knew that the Mafia would recruit him. Morgan said he recruited the Mafia, not the other way around. Kurt said that Morgan needed to do one last favor to make it into the Mafia. Morgan played dumb, at first. Kurt demanded that Morgan assist him (Kurt) in keeping his belt. Morgan told Kurt that no one demanded anything from him. Morgan said he wouldn’t do the job. Morgan guaranteed that he would leave Hard Justice as the new World champ! The Mafia had to hold Kurt back.

The show finished with a video package about the upcoming Hard Justice PPV.

Final Grade: B+

Final Thoughts: As a lead-in to Sunday’s PPV, this was a dismal failure. It did not even begin to rev me up to plop down my $30+ for the B level event. With Summerslam just around the corner, I seriously doubt this show will get much of a buy rate. Jeff Jarrett needs to sort out his issues and get his happy self back to work. TNA is spinning its wheels, with the loss of Dutch Mantel and the MIA Jarrett. Give Karen a freakin’ hug and get back to business. Hopefully, he’ll have his mind back on business by Bound For Glory.


— Jay Shannon
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