Welcome to my first official review of TNA Impact. I might do this live some Thursdays, but for the most part it’ll be a Friday afternoon thing. Like with the Raw Deal (and formerly Talking Smack) I’m not writing a play by play of the show. I’m summarizing it while also giving my thoughts on it. It’s pretty simple. I should also add in here that I run mickiejames.com and am friends with her, so part of the reason why I want to write about this show is because of her. I’m not saying it to brag or to piss anybody off. Just saying it because if you didn’t know now you know. Let’s get to it.
We start the show off with a fight backstage between Tara and my favorite Mickie James-Canton brawling all around the backstage area. It was physical. We’ve seen the wild backstage brawls in TNA before, so we know they love doing them, but this was unique because it featured the women. Madison Rayne joined in to attack Mickie, then Angelina Love & Velvet Sky joined in the fray to make it 3 on 2 only for Sarita to join as well making it 3 on 3. They spilled out to the arena. They were mostly in the ring when Ric Flair and security came out. He got slapped by Tara and also twice by Mickie. You could tell she enjoyed that. Flair called Mickie “crazy” because I guess he remembers her character in WWE five years ago. It’s TNA, they love WWE. We know that. Flair made a 3 on 3 match for later. This did a great job of hyping up Mickie vs. Flair! Too bad that’s not happening. The Mickie/Tara fight was good in terms of looking like a legit fight, but you have to ask yourself isn’t somebody supposed to break up a fight sooner? That’s more of a logic complaint than anything. This took up the first 10 minutes of the show. It was mostly good. The brawl was better than the match that was to come.
Backstage, The Pope is rolling a casket around. Why do they need to have a Casket Match? Oh yeah because Vince Russo worked for WWE where they do those matches. That match should be only for The Undertaker. Not other people.
Backstage, Flair talked to Eric Bischoff in his office. The head trainer, who I believe is actually a producer in TNA, came in to say they can’t put Ken Anderson in a match because he’s got a bad concussion from the chairshot he received from Jeff Hardy. Bischoff doesn’t care as he and Flair say it’s wrestling, not the NFL. At one point Flair said the NFL’s ratings are declining (they are actually higher than ever) while TNA’s are rising (not even close to true). That was one of the most ridiculous statements on this show, but when you watch TNA you have to get used to that. I guess in their defense they would just point out that heels tend to lie.
The Pope comes out with a casket. He’s having a Casket Match with Abyss at the PPV. Abyss shows up in the crowd, says Hogan & Bischoff told him to take care of Pope. He ends up taking two fans from the crowd and hauls them away. Way to encourage ticket sales at the Impact Zone. Oh wait they get in free. Take all the fans you want. Obviously they are plants.
Backstage, Jarrett says he’s taking on Samoa Joe at Turning Point and that he’s going after the one armed bandit Ken Anderson tonight. If they book Jarrett over Joe at Turning Point they are idiots. That means Jarrett will win.
Matt Morgan goes up to Ric Flair as he’s hitting on some chick, telling him that she works there and mentions the Brett Favre issue in the NFL where he hit on an employee via pics on his cell phone. What we know about TNA is they love the NFL and WWE. Great. Morgan is suddenly a rational thinker after showing no signs of it for months and says they shouldn’t let Anderson wrestle with a concussion. Flair tells him it’s wrestling. Morgan doesn’t seem convinced.
Robbie E d. Jay Lethal (*)
I miss when Jay Lethal was really pushed and in good matches. Now he has to job to the Jersey Shore knockoff even though that J-Woww chick did nothing for TNA’s ratings when she was on. I look Cookie at least. Robbie E’s decent in the ring, but he’s only getting a push because they think the gimmick is a great idea. It’s not. I also don’t understand why they have a non-title Street Fight for the X Division belt that is supposed to be about the wrestling? Lethal lost because Cookie sprayed something in his eyes leading to Robbie E. hitting a neckbreaker for the win. That’s better than the sloppy looking RKO he did the other week. Now Robbie E. gets a title match against Lethal at the next PPV. I assume that’s in a regular match. In a match with no rules, it ended with a heel cheating even though it’s not really cheating due to there being no rules. I’m surprised they didn’t throw in some ref bumps for the hell of it.
Backstage, Angelina and Velvet are talking. Velvet wants to take care of Sarita and then says she has to go call Chris. That’s a reference to her real life boyfriend Chris Sabin, who hasn’t been mentioned as her boyfriend on TV. I don’t even think that many knew they were dating. I guess if you’re reading this you know now. You’re welcome, TNA. Winter (former WWE diva Katie Lea Burchill) shows up and only Angelina (as well as us at home) can see her. She asks if she believes in fate, Angelina says no. Velvet shows up, Angelina says look at that chick and it’s only the makeup lady back there. If Velvet were to watch Impact on TV would she be able to see this character? I shouldn’t ask questions.
The EV 2.0 guys come out. They want to talk to RVD, who is paranoid about people turning on him ever since Jeff Hardy did it. Dreamer tells him they’re his boys and Sabu hitting him with the chair last week (costing them a victory) was an accident. RVD says the stooge in the group is Raven, who he thinks is talking to Bischoff. I kinda like paranoid RVD. He’s good in the role and it’s better than the stoner character that…well…isn’t really a character. Flair comes out with Fortune. He says at Turning Point they’re wrestling EV 2.0 for the last time. Does anybody believe any character in TNA when they say something like that? I don’t. Flair announces RVD & Raven teaming up against Kazarian & Styles later. Doug Williams wants to talk, but Flair doesn’t let him.
Backstage, Flair talks with Fortune. Morgan walks off frustrated while Williams wants more action. Flair puts him into the tag with Styles, replacing Kazarian.
Sarita, Tara & Madison Rayne d. Mickie James, Angelina Love & Velvet Sky (*1/2)
This was a solid 6 minute match that featured all of the women, unlike WWE’s divas matches where sometimes a woman will stand on the apron the whole match. The best part of this match was when they said Lacey Von Erich was training Miss Tessmacher to wrestle. Even Tazz made fun of the stupidity of that. There wasn’t a really long babyface in peril spot although if you could count one it would have been on Mickie. The problem is she tagged Angelina, who hit a couple of quick moves and then quickly tagged Mickie back in. It felt sloppy for reasons like that. Then they had a sequence where all the women hit their finishers. It ended with Sarita pinning Velvet clean with a Tiger Bomb. I’m not really sure why Sarita got the win out of all of them. They had Mickie debut last week, she beat Sarita clean, she’s in an angle with Tara and out of nowhere they got Sarita beating Velvet. For what reason? Either the champ Madison Rayne, Tara or Mickie should have won the match. I have no problem with Sarita. It’s just odd that she went over out of all them.
Backstage, Pope heard people screaming, so he ran around the corner to find them before the commercial break.
Back from the break, Abyss started beating up Pope. He put him in the casket, then he went looking for “Janice” the bat with nails off screen, came back 10 seconds later and beat the casket with the bat. We’re supposed to assume Pope was still in there. The announcers said nothing about the whole thing. They just moved on.
Tag team match was set up with Generation Me & Ink Inc. cutting promos. Nice line by Shannon Moore saying 1998 Matt & Jeff (Hardy) called saying they wanted their gear back from GMe. I’m sure we’ll get Matt Hardy references every week until he shows up in January.
Tag Titles: Motor City Machine Guns d. Generation Me & Ink Inc. (**)
Best part of the show. A solid 6 minute tag featuring good, crisp wrestling from all six guys. I’m a huge fan of TNA’s tag division and this match showed why. They all had their moments in the match where they could shine and it was competitive throughout. There was a good nearfall with Ink Inc. almost scoring the pin when one of the Gen Me guys pulled out ref Brian Hebner. The announcers asked why. Maybe because his team was going to lose? Not hard to figure out. Anyway, the Guns were able to score the win.
After the match, Team 3D came out to put over the tag division. They should be proud of the tag division and you know they are since they put it over every week. The Guns accepted their challenge for Turning Point, so it’s the Machine Guns vs. Team 3D for the titles in their “last” match. The obvious thing here is that Team 3D are going to turn heel, win the belts and not retire at all. It’s typical Russo booking because in TNA retirements mean nothing just like firings. Stop doing them! By the way, they signed a three year contract extension and are running a wrestling school in Florida. They aren’t done. Not even close.
Backstage, Morgan tried to reason with Bischoff about not letting Anderson wrestle in the main event. Eric doesn’t listen and sends the randomly kind and considerate big man on his way.
Back from break, Morgan wants to see Anderson. The trainer won’t let him. Doesn’t trust him.
They run down the Turning Point PPV card as we know it. Hardy defending the World Title against Anderson, The Guns vs. 3D for tag titles, Lethal defending the X Title against Robbie E, EV 2.0 vs. Fortune with the winning team getting to fire a member of the other team should they win and Tara vs. Mickie James-Canton. More next week, I assume.
They had a feature on Jeff Hardy. I like heel Jeff, but there’s not much logic in saying that being a fan favorite didn’t make him money. He made very good money as a top babyface in WWE. Again, though, heels lie. We’re supposed to think heels make more money and thus, are cooler. He called himself the Anti-Christ of professional wrestling. At least he didn’t say Sports Entertainment.
AJ Styles & Douglas Williams d. RVD & Raven (*1/2)
A decent five minute tag. The Styles/Williams combo aren’t getting along too well. Meanwhile, Ric Flair comes out, hits Raven with a title belt and that knocks him out. When RVD is ready to hot tag his partner, Raven is out on the floor. Rob wonders where he is. If RVD’s wondering what happened to Raven, why don’t the other EV 2.0 guys come out to tell him? I know I know, don’t ask questions. Williams hits a top rope knee drop to finish off RVD, but while he was climbing AJ tagged his leg and he became the legal man in the match. He covers for the win. Williams is upset that AJ tagged in. I guess this means Williams will be kicked out of the group too. More people turning. That’s what TNA loves to do. By the way Raven was bleeding from the title shot. They love blood in TNA. I like that they have blood, but they do too much.
Next week TNA’s men and women are on Family Feud. Tara has the bike helmet on the set with her. This was taped when it was a “mystery” as to who biker chick was. I don’t think I’ve seen Family Feud in 10 years. I had no idea it was still on. And Steve Harvey is host? I saw him in standup once. He was good.
Jeff Jarrett came out. He wanted Anderson. No sign of him. Instead it was Matt Morgan. And now Impact is ending. They fire up the logo to signify the end of Impact and now it’s Reaction time. Why not just say Impact goes until 11:15pm ET or something like that and then start Reaction? Having the announcers say “Impact is done” then the logo goes up and all of a sudden “Welcome to Reaction” happens as if it’s something new is a lame way to do things.
Now we’re on Reaction and Morgan says he was trying to get people to listen, but nobody would. He doesn’t thin Anderson should be wrestling. Jeff says they’re on the same side here. Then he tries to reason with Matt a lot. He’s not buying it. By the way, Jeff has a chain on his hands. It was supposed to be a chain match. Jeff tells him he doesn’t care about Anderson or his concussion. This is pro wrestling and he wants to hurt him. Matt ends up picking up the chain. They have a match.
Jeff Jarrett d. Matt Morgan in a Chain Match (*)
All booking logic says Morgan wins this match. You turn a guy babyface and you can make him a threat by winning this match. Nope. Jarrett used the chain to crotch him and finished him off with The Stroke. Why do you turn Morgan babyface, try to make him in a threat and then have him LOSE CLEAN in THREE MINUTES to a guy that’s not even in his prime. You want the fans to cheer Morgan for what? He’s a loser because of this match. What does Jarrett need the win for? They should have had Morgan win and then the heels come out to beat the crap out of him.
Post match, the heels came out to beat the crap out of Morgan. They hung him with the chain. That was the end of Impact, or was it the end of the first segment of Reaction? I have no idea anymore.
I give the show a 4 out of 10. I’m not a TNA hater. It’s just that this was a bad show with way too many things going on at once. It wasn’t an enjoyable experience. The push of the Knockouts I enjoyed, but the majority of the show was disappointing. Too many logic holes. Too much head scratching.
Here’s my problem with the Morgan angle. There were no signs of him turning at all before this. They did about three weeks worth of angles in one show. Every week somebody turns heel or face out of the blue and it leads to confusion because as a viewer you have no idea if you should be behind somebody or against them. I’m not sure why anybody thinks that’s good television. That’s not to say that Matt Morgan will be a bad babyface. I think he’s a good performer who is ready to come into his own. It’s just that they did it too fast because they realized their babyface roster is weak. Long term planning would be nice.
One other thing is they need to stop doing unprotected chair shots to the head. They have a guy walking around on the show talking about them, yet they do them and it legitimately hurt Anderson. Be smart. You’re not selling any more buys by having a guy get his brain scrambled.
I miss Kurt Angle. Get him back on TV soon. He’s on the payroll. Use him always. No injury angles.
Lastly, the best thing about the show is no more Dixie acting. I don’t miss that. Keep her off the show please. I’m sure she’s the nicest person. I’ve heard great things. It doesn’t mean she should be on TV.
Keep checking out thejohnreport.net for exclusive articles that are only posted on my site, plus the thejohnreport.net podcast posted every Wednesday. We have recaps of Raw, Smackdown, NXT, TNA Impact and soon ROH on HDNet, so give us a look.
Thanks for reading.
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the blog: thejohnreport.net
Add me on Facebook at Facebook.com/thejohnreportnet
and Twitter at Twitter.com/johnreport
Visit My Archives to view ten years of The John Report columns.