TNA Impact Report on Spike TV
April 26, 2010
Taped 4/20 in Orlando, Fla.
Report by James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor
Tonight’s TNA Impact opened with a video package on last week’s main event angle with Rob Van Dam defeating Jeff Hardy in a #1 contender match, then RVD beating TNA World Hvt. champion A.J. Styles to become new champion. Great, focused video package, including a “behind-the-scenes” soundbyte from RVD interspersed with match highlights. Tonight, it’s Mr. Monday Night.
Tonight: Jeff Hardy & Jeff Jarrett vs. A.J. Styles & Sting. Also, Ric Flair vs. Abyss with the Hall of Fame rings on the line. Those plugs were quickly thrown out there, which is something TNA continues to do without slowing down to allow the upcoming matches to sink in.
Impact Zone: Hulk Hogan’s music hit to bring out Hogan to open the show. Hogan said he knows all about being World champion, but to be TNA World champion, it’s big time, brother. “To be R-V-D right now means you have a big target on your back,” Hogan said. He said because of what’s going on in the back, every single “talent” is trying to step up and Eric Bischoff has a new Top 10 ranking system that involves the fans. Hogan said when he thinks about last week and what he witnessed with RVD winning the TNA Title, he was on the edge of his seat. Hogan put over A.J. Styles as one of the top wrestlers in the company and of all-time, which drew a mixed reaction. Hogan said you can believe what you want (about Styles being a heel), but Styles is great. “Nothing but respect. Nothing but love. Let’s bring out our brand new TNA Hvt. champion, R-V-D,” Hogan said.
Cue up RVD to his catchy new ring entrance with the gold belt around his waist. Hogan got in on the act doing the thumbs-to-shoulder point to the rhythm of RVD’s ring intro before RVD hit the ring and took the mic from Hogan. They’re walking a fine line on whether that makes it not cool if Hogan’s doing it. RVD said he came to TNA because he knew management would let him just be Rob Van Dam. “And look where that got us,” RVD said over “R-V-D” chants. RVD said a lot of people are never going to understand his connection with the fans or “mother earth’s finest.” He said they don’t get the balance it takes to be a cool, laid-back dude and still kick ass. RVD said you don’t have to understand what it’s like to be RVD, but he’s the best at what he does and from this day forward, he will continue to be the greatest World champion TNA has ever had. “And that’s why I’m the whole f’n show,” he said.
Cue up A.J. Styles’s music with the interruption here. Styles and Ric Flair walked out looking upset with the proceedings here. Hogan said no one invited them two out here. Styles asked Hogan if he was done talking yet. The crowd chanted, “ex-World champ” before Styles stepped into the ring to step to RVD. Styles said RVD’s right that millions of people don’t get RVD because he’s a hippy-freak from Southern California. Styles questioned RVD on being the greatest World champion ever before shouting, “Are you high, right now?” Styles said RVD must be high because he was beating the piss out of him and right when he was going for the kill, he slipped on the top rope and RVD became World champ. He said RVD probably lubed up the ropes. He said now he’s stuck in some b.s. tag match tonight when he should be getting his title re-match tonight. Styles said he’s getting his re-match when he wants it, so smoke that.
Flair and Hogan then took mics to talk over each other. Flair cut off Hogan, who didn’t get in any words here. Flair said Hogan has a new deal with God and he doesn’t care about RVD’s lifestyle. Right now, he has a personal problem with Hogan on where they are and where they’re going to end up. Flair took off his jacket here. He told Hogan he made a mistake putting the Ring on Abyss and he’s going to take out all of his scars on Abyss tonight. He said Abyss is done and all this mockery dies tonight. Flair said he’s going to walk that aisle, style and profile, and Abyss has to beat the man tonight because he’s spent a lifetime specializing in working over big guys. Flair’s music hit and he stormed out of the ring with Styles as Hogan held back RVD, telling him it’s all talk. JC: Flair was all over the place, but in a more effective way than playing sedated Linda McMahon in a wheelchair. Also, Styles was great on the mic. He’s found his groove as a heel. The “let’s try to be cute” referencing marijuana without really saying it was really lame, but it didn’t take away from an overall strong opening segment.
Impact Zone: Time for the opening match with the Knockouts Title on the line. Angelina Love came out first and did wannabee-stripper rope-burn entrance, which goes against everything she said two weeks ago about wanting to be taken seriously as a women’s wrestler in TNA. Tara came out next teasing tension with Angelina after turning on her at the PPV. Madison Rayne then came out with the Beautiful People for another cheap rope-burn ring entrance. The BPs were then kicked out from ringside before the match started.
1 — Knockouts champion MADISON RAYNE vs. ANGELINA LOVE vs. TARA — Knockouts Title match
Tara and Angelina teased tension early on, then Madison took advantage by taking control of the match heading to a quick break.
[Commercial Break. Hey, look, there’s Tito Ortiz not in handcuffs in an ad for the Ultimate Fighter.]
[Q3] Back from break, Angelina was taking it to Rayne while Tara was out of the picture selling on the floor. Tara then re-entered and cut off Angelina momentarily. Angelina then made a comeback and started cleaning house. Good fire from Angelina. Suddenly, Madison snuck up behind Angelina and rolled her up from behind for the pin and the win. Madison got the heck out of there after the victory to retain the title, then Tara and Angelina started fighting again. Refs eventually stepped in to try to separate them with the action intense cutting to break.
WINNER: Madison Rayne in 7:00 to retain the Knockouts Title. Good, well-paced TV title match. The finish kept heat on Rayne for winning by hook or by crook, while continuing to build the tension between Angelina and Tara. Fine booking. (*1/4)
[Commercial Break. They cut back to show Shannon Moore preparing for the X Division Title match on the show. How was he preparing? By reading his DILLIGAF book. If this were a shoot, it would be rather unorthodox preparation.]
In-ring: They went straight to the X Division Title match with Shannon Moore’s ring intro. They really could have used a pre-match video or interview or video package or anything to make this seem like a big deal, especially with Kazarian winning the X Title at the PPV. Kazarian then came out sans title belt since this was taped on Tuesday with Doug Williams still stuck in Europe. Tenay said Williams will be on Impact next week to see what he thinks about having to forfeit the title for circumstances beyond his control. Taz said he doesn’t believe TNA was fair to Williams. Tenay said TNA’s hands were tied because they advertised an X Division Title match and wanted to deliver. Good, smart debate. Well done.
2 — X Division champion KAZARIAN vs. SHANNON MOORE — X Division Title match
Good start with back-and-forth action as Taz seemed to be building up Williams to get sympathy for having to hand over the title next week. The ref was bumped, then Shannon went up top, but Kazarian dropped Shannon with an enziguiri kick. Kazarian tried to follow with a top-rope huracanrana, but Shannon shoved Kaz to the mat. Shannon then prepared for a top-rope move, but Matt Morgan stormed the ringside area and shoved Shannon off the top rope to the floor. The ref was apparently smashed with an anvil from the ceiling, as he continued to sell a light bump during this. Morgan rolled Shannon into the ring, then Kaz capitalized with an inverted Tombstone piledriver for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Kazarian in 5:00. Fine title match. This was made to seem insignificant, though, with how TNA presented it. They also advanced Morgan’s feud with…well…himself, leading to a situation where the post-match was perfectly acceptable.
[Q4] Post-match: Samoa Joe’s music hit and out stomped Joe with eyes on Kazarian. Apparently Joe is the new Law & Order around here. Joe flung his trademark towel away and circled around Kazarian, who took his eye of Joe, leading to Joe blasting Kaz with a kick to the face. Joe blasted Kaz with a flurry of right hands in the corner before dropping Kaz center ring with the Musclebuster. His music just kept playing through this, which was a production effect. Joe stared a hole into the hard camera before they suddenly cut to break.
Backstage: They cut back to Abyss in the “TNA Reaction” video setting talking about The Ring and its significance to him. “There’s nothing I can’t do without this ring,” he said. We only saw the side of Abyss’s head in a dark room as Abyss talked about what he planned to do to Ric Flair tonight. Less cartoony Abyss, which is a good thing.
Backstage: Matt Morgan talked to Jesse Neal in a dark corner about defending the tag titles with him tonight. Jesse wanted nothing to do with it. Morgan played the “fallen brethren” card to put Jesse on a guilt trap to help him out tonight. Morgan told this tag title belt is his gold ticket to fulfilling that promise to his fallen brethren in the military. “We don’t want anyone else, we want you,” Morgan said. He told Jesse to think with his heart.
Up next: Styles & Sting vs. Jarrett & Jeff Hardy. Have they re-visited this bit with Sting trying to beat respect into Styles months ago? Backstage: They showed Styles talking to himself in the “Reaction” video tone saying he’s taking care of business tonight. This is leading to the top of the hour and they’ve done the minimum trying to establish significance for this match, especially compared to the great hype last week on Hardy vs. RVD happening at the end of the first hour leading to the top of the second hour.
[Commercial Break. They showed Jeff Jarrett walking down the hallway, then Jeff Hardy snuck up behind him to walk down the hallway in preparation for the match.]
In-ring: A.J. Styles came out first for the semi-main event tag match tonight. It was announced as No DQ, Falls Count Anywhere. This is TNA just throwing out a stipulation for the sake of stipulation. Sting came out as Styles’s tag partner as Tenay said they’re still waiting for answers from Sting on his actions. Taz said he doesn’t think Sting has to explain himself no matter what the fans think. Another good debate. Taz and Tenay are starting to develop good chemistry giving viewers an intelligent discussion on storylines. Jeff Jarrett then came out, followed by Jeff Hardy right as they hit the top of the hour.
[Q5 — second hour]
3 — JEFF JARRETT & JEFF HARDY vs. STING & A.J. STYLES — No DQ, Falls Count Anywhere match
The match spilled to the floor with Jarrett paired off on Sting and Styles paired off on Hardy. Jarrett landed a chair to Sting’s back in the stands and Jarrett scored a nearfall. One ref was following Jarrett vs. Sting and another ref was assigned to follow around Styles and Hardy. A crawler came across the screen updating Angelina Love’s injury earlier in the show. Also, the news crawler said Hogan will be on The View this week and in New York City doing media. Also, still to come: Abyss vs. Flair. Good bonus feature that doesn’t take up too much space on the broadcast. The action eventually returned to the ring where the announcers announced Sting vs. Jarrett on the Sacrifice PPV. Sting eventually had enough of this and bailed out of the ring and started walking up the entranceramp to the back. Meanwhile, Styles worked over Hardy, not caring too much about Sting’s mood swing. Styles took Hardy to the ramp and wanted a Clash, but Hardy blocked. Meanwhile, Jarrett bailed from the ring and went looking for Sting, only to find him in a dark tunnel. They started to brawl up the rafters while Hardy and Styles were paired off ringside. Ringside, Hardy placed Styles on a table to the side of the entranceramp. Hardy then set up a ladder on the stage and he climbed up top. Meanwhile, back on the rafter steps, Sting smashed Jarrett with a baseball bat and pinned Jarrett on the steps. No giant bump from Hardy, as the match finished with him standing on the ladder. After the finish, they quickly cut away to the next segment.
WINNERS: Sting & Styles in 7:00. This was just a weird match. The pre-match hype was minimal and the mixed stories with all four of these men are so convoluted that it requires a scorecard to keep track. They at least tried to pair off Sting and Jarrett to focus on their Sacrifice match and Styles and Hardy to focus on Styles trying to take out his anger on losing the title last week. (*1/2)
Backstage: Jesse Neal was sitting down with Team 3D in the “Reaction” setting as Devon was taping up and Ray was texting. Neal said Matt Morgan asked him to be his tag partner tonight. He needed their blessing so he could be tag champion. Ray reminded Neal that Morgan punked out Amazing Red in the same situation. Ray told Neal good luck because they’re going to bring it harder than they’ve ever brought it tonight.
Backstage: The Pope was shown walking around sporting a pimpin’ eyepatch and a sling over his shoulder. He’s cutting a promo up next.
In-ring: The Pope came out as Tenay talked about Pope not being on Impact last week following the battle with A.J. Styles at Lockdown two Sundays ago. Taz talked up Pope’s injury situation as money fell down on Pope on the way to the ring. Pope was selling to the pen to his eye from Styles with the eye patch. He said Styles is nothing more than a gas bubble in Pope’s stomach.
[Q6] Pope said he might not have the gold right now and A.J. doesn’t have the gold either, but he hasn’t forgotten about Styles. Pope went Old Testament saying it’s a tooth for a tooth and an eye for an eye; he’s not done with Styles. Pope went preacher saying when you get knocked down, you get back up. And when there’s a stumble, you don’t let it get you tripping. Pope said the congregation isn’t going to dwindle after Lockdown because they’re still representing. He went looking for an “Ah-men” to conclude his promo, but Mr. Anderson’s music interrupted.
Anderson made his way to the ring as Taz said Anderson had a Match of the Year candidate with Kurt Angle at Lockdown. Tenay said Angle is taking time off. In the ring, Anderson said he’s going to start calling Pope the Kool-Aid man for passing around his message. Anderson said he gets it – the fans are gullible. Anderson asked Pope what happened to him. “Are you oooohkay, did you get a boo-boo?” Anderson asked. He said Kurt Angle got a boo-boo, too, and he’s at home licking his wounds and nursing his injuries. Pope told Anderson to hurry up and get to the point or “shut the hell up.” Anderson took that in stride and asked Pope if he’s going to take his testicles out of his mom’s purpose and face him at Sacrifice. “Can I get an aaaaahhh-men?” Or, is Pope chicken?
Anderson did chicken noises to reinforce the pope, then Pope said his pimp hand is still strong, so he popped Anderson with a slap. Anderson beat down Pope, then tried to re-injure the eye until security stormed the ring. At least they upgraded security with Phill Shatter involved here. Anderson, done with his work, slowly backed out of the ring with Pope selling the eye injury to conclude the segment. Another great segment involving two of TNA’s best talkers. Thumbs up segment setting up a grudge match at the PPV.
In-ring: Team 3D’s music hit for the TNA Tag Title match, but there was no sign of Team 3D. They cut backstage where Team 3D was standing over Sean Waltman, who had been put through a table. They sold it with blood coming out of his mouth. Ray screamed at Waltman he never should have come back after they took care of his “boys,” Hall and Nash at Lockdown. 3D then stomped out to the ring for the tag title match. Out came Jesse Neal ahead of Morgan, who was holding both of the tag title belts.
4 — TNA tag team champion MATT MORGAN & JESSE NEAL vs. TEAM 3D (BROTHER RAY & BROTHER DEVON) — TNA Tag Title match
The fans in the front section started a “Jesse Neal – yay … Matt Morgan – boo” chant at the start of the match. A minute into the match, The Wolfpack’s music hit. Tenay said he got word that Hall and Nash told someone in the back to play their entrance music. That right there gets a thumbs up for someone actually acknowledging how someone’s music is randomly played. The match was thrown out as Hall and Nash started brawling with Team 3D ringside. The remaining players in the ring were Morgan and Neal, and Morgan dropped Neal with a chokeslam. Morgan then took the tag title belts and stood over Neal’s body.
WINNERS: No Contest in 2:00. Well, that was short. This was a case of a lot of pre-match attention on a match with no payoff. Meanwhile, Team 3D vs. Wolfpack continues, unfortunately. (n/a)
Impact Zone: Neal was on the mic upset with Morgan. Neal started yelling and screaming calling out Morgan while Team 3D tried to restrain him. Backstage, Christy Hemme caught up to Morgan to tell him Neal is yelling for him. “Who?” Morgan quietly asked with sarcasm. That was the all-time best delivery ever from Morgan. Subtle, subtle, subtle. Morgan walked off, then bumped into Hulk Hogan, who told Morgan to deal with Neal or deal with him. Morgan walked backwards to the Impact Zone and found himself cornered by Neal. Back in the ring, Morgan got down on his knees and sarcastically begged off on Neal. Neal bought it, then Morgan low-blowed Neal and grabbed one of the title belts. Morgan then smashed Neal in the face with the belt. Suddenly, Shannon Moore’s music hit and Moore hit the ring from behind. Morgan turned around and took a dropkick from Moore, clearing Morgan to the floor. Morgan shouted at Moore that he’s a dead man. Moore and Neal, with enough product in their Mohawks to fill a salon, shook hands with their alliance formed. Morgan was great in this segment.
Backstage: Eric Bischoff was in his office to announce the new TNA ranking system. He said it’s new and never-before-done before. Bischoff said they’re going to let the fans help them determine the Top 10 rankings. Bischoff told the audience to go to TNA’s website to vote on who deserves to receive a title shot. Bischoff told the fans to vote early and often. That’s it? They left it to a fan poll for a popularity contest? (Note: TNA saved the “official announcement” for their website with more details on the ranking system being more than just a fan vote, which is a sigh of relief.) Jay Lethal then barged into the office in-character and rambled on and on before they cut to break.
Backstage: Orlando Jordan was in a multi-colored hula skirt. What the freak? Orlando Jordan talked about this being an expression of his art. He addressed Rob Terry – speaking of freak – as a video package played on Terry’s big-man moves. Orlando said he’s debuting the O-Zone next week with special guest Rob Terry. He said it will be delicious.
Announcers: Tenay and Taz talked up the rivalry between Flair and Abyss. … Backstage: Flair was shown talking in the “Reaction” video presentation about coming out of retirement tonight. (Which should have been the headline coming into this show for seven days in everything TNA was promoting for this show tonight.) Flair talked quietly about Abyss being a joke that’s trying to ruin everything he’s tried to work for over his 38-year career. Flair said that’s the bottom line…and he’s been saying that since before Steve Austin.
Backstage: Someone caught up to Kevin Nash and Scott Hall in the hallway. A random interviewer asked Nash for thoughts on what’s going on here. Nash told someone holding the camera they’re going to get someone to help in their battle with 3D. Hall tried to calm down Nash as they went to check on Pac. Nash hinted at a third member other than Pac. So, is this “The Office” now where someone is documenting this with an acknowledgement of the camera? It’s like TNA is trying to be three different types of TV shows from segment to segment. They either need to slow down and let the angles sink in or figure out which style they want to settle on. This is too much back to their Crash TV style, except with more toys in the production to make people’s heads spin.
Impact Zone: Ric Flair walked out first for the TV main event. Abyss then came out and they were quickly back to the ring after the previous backstage segment. Sloooow dooooown.
5 — ABYSS vs. RIC FLAIR — Winner gets a ring
The match started eight minutes before the top of the hour with Abyss over-powering Flair before Flair came back with chops to the chest. Flair’s upper-body just looks so torn up. Tenay put over the new Rankings system, saying the fans have a vote in it. After a rough-looking back body drop by Abyss, the match spilled to the floor where Abyss drew blood from Flair’s forehead. Flair was a mess as he rolled back into the ring to thumb Abyss in the eye. Abyss re-took control and worked over Flair in the corner before Flair landed a mule kick to Earl Hebner. It didn’t look good. Flair then pulled out brass knucks and hit Abyss, but Abyss no-sold. Flair went down to beg, but Flair smashed him in the crotch with the knucks. Flair then made a cover and forced Hebner to make the three count for the win.
Post-match: Hebner saw the brass knucks and waved off the match finish. The two men argued like they were at Wednesday night Bingo, then Hebner re-started the match. Abyss did the parody of a Hogan routine and hit the Black Hole Slam on Flair for the pin and the win. So, now, Abyss gets Flair’s Hall of Fame ring or whatever. Hogan then stomped out to the ring and embraced Abyss. Taz called it the greatest victory in Abyss’s career. Sad if beating a 61-year-old man is a great victory. Hogan then ripped off Flair’s ring and put it on his finger. Hogan took the mic and said he’s going to present it to someone on next week’s show. End show with Hogan and Abyss standing tall in the ring.
WINNER: Flair in 4:00. This was a total and complete mess. It was an angle that – if they were going to do it – they should have saved it for PPV or a heavily-hyped Impact and not on an Impact with way, way too much happening on one show. Flair, at 61-years-old, should not be in the ring unless there is weeks of build-up with an entire show focused on him getting back in the ring. As for Abyss getting the “win,” it didn’t make him look tough or noble or valiant as a babyface. He beat a 61-year-old man with a ref re-start. (n/a)
TNA Impact Report on Spike TV