Thoughts on Impact Wrestling 8/18/2011
For the record, I don’t tend to like TNA. You can call me a WWE mark all you want, but I don’t know how people can justify a lot of what goes on during this show. With that in mind, let’s do this.
1. The More Things Change…
The show opens with Sting, in complete “Joker” character, coming down the ramp to the ring. He reenacts getting beat down over the course of the past couple of weeks. I think. It could just be that he’s just crazy. Either way, I suppose. I’m still on the fence with this character, though I’m enjoying it less and less each time I see it. Clearly a change was needed for Sting, but I don’t know about this. At the very least he’s putting everything he can behind it.
So, Sting is out in the ring and he wants Hulk Hogan for a match to settle the score. This has bad idea written all over it. Of course, Hogan doesn’t come out, but a returning Ric Flair does! Listening to him talk now is rather sad for me. He used to give the best promos in the business, now he getting closer and closer to sounding like Sylvester the Cat (thanks 411 commenter I just ripped off! *thumbs up*). And some of you though Nash sounded drunk on RAW? How the mighty have fallen. Anyway, he offers a deal: one more match between the two of them. If Flair wins, the Stinger must retire and stay home for good (not one of those phony retirements, which Flair would know all about); if Sting wins, he gets his match with Hogan. Do I really need to tell you if Cesar Romero takes up the “Nature Boy” on his offer?
Could someone explain to me why Hogan and Flair are allied? I admit that I wasn’t watching Impact prior to Flair’s injury, but I’m not sure I want to live in a world where those two are buddy-buddy.
2. Speaking of Buddy-Buddy
We cut to the back and Hogan is pissed. He wants nothing to do with Sting and proves it by shouting loudly and throwing furniture around. That will show ‘em, brother! Flair doesn’t understand the anger as he has something like a “1500-1 (or ‘maybe 1500-2’)” win/loss record against Sting. Well, he did beat Sting a lot way back when. So, Flair tries to smooth things over with Hogan by giving the Hulkster a hug. And I’m shocked that the world didn’t implode upon itself.
3. Bound For Glory Match: Scott Steiner d. Devon
The Bound For Glory gimmick is an interesting one, but the rules completely weigh it down. You get 10 points for a submission, seven for a pinfall, five for a countout win, three for a DQ win, and you lose 10 points if you are DQ’d. There are 12 guys (11 now with Matt Morgan out with injury) and at the September PPV, the top two guys face each other and the winner of that gets a shot at the World Champion, whoever that may be. The point system is what really sucks as the announcers (Mike Tenay and Taz) have to explain everything every week. Not just for those tuning in for the first time; no, for those of us who can’t remember how many points you get for a DQ win. Maybe I’m just getting old and forgetful. Oh well.
I used this time to write all of that because this match was roughly ten seconds long as Devon hit a few moves, but Steiner gets a pin attempt with his feet on the ropes for the win. Oh, I see. Okay, maybe it was a minute long, but you get the idea. After that match, out comes Samoa Joe (who has negative ten points for some reason) and he destroys Devon which draws Devon’s sons (who have been sitting ringside for a while now) into the ring. Man, I really thought Joe was going to mess them up, too, but here comes The Pope (the former Elijah Burke in WWE) and Joe eventually bails.
3. Joe Might Actually Kill Someone
After the commercial break, Joe is walking in the back and he cuts a good promo on TNA/Impact Wrestling (whatever the hell it’s called now). He blames the promotion for holding him down, specifically with the rules of the BFG series. He also states that the company doesn’t have the balls to fire him as there’s a “storm in professional wrestling” and they don’t want him to join in with it. I wonder what he’s referring to there. Probably his good buddy from Chicago, but you didn’t hear that from me. I liked this as he is very good in the ring and a pissed off Joe is a good Joe. It’s a shame how badly this company dropped the ball with him. It’s like they were actively trying to screw it up. That’s the only logical explanation.
4. #1 Contenders X-Division Gauntlet Match: Austin Aries d. Seven Other Guys (Kinda)
This is not to only decide the #1 contender to (The) Brian Kendrick’s X-Division belt, but also set up the rankings of the entire division (basically a Cruiserweight division). Let’s go over the rules to this now, shall we? So, all eight guys are around the ring. Two of them are called at “random” and have a match. The winner of this match now faces the next random guy while the loser is now ranked eighth (in this case). They keep going like this (each loser being ranked on-top of the previous one) until there is only one guy left standing. Okay. So, if I am picked in the first two spots (again, this is at random) and I happen to lose, I’m ranked last. While the guy who comes in last, is either going to be ranked first or second in the division. Yeah. The Royal Rumble may decide a title shot at the coming Wrestlemania, but it doesn’t rank you according to elimination. Just saying.
Logic issues aside, this sort of match could provide a good amount of drama. Sadly, this isn’t the case here. Alex Shelley (probably the most over guy in the division and one of two credible wrestlers in the match) is promptly beat by Mark Haskins (who really does look like an extremely cheap John Morrison ripoff as everyone is saying) and the crowd quickly goes to sleep. Oh, don’t worry, I’ll be getting to them later. Anyway, why not have Shelley fight his way through this Gauntlet to the end or at least a little while? Why does putting Haskins over seem like a good idea, if he basically immediately loses to the next guy (okay, the second guy as the first one, the “Jersey Shore” ripoff Robbie E, is a comedy character)? This does not make sense.
There are some good little spots, but each “match” is roughly a minute long, so there isn’t much of a flow. Despite some cool looking moves, this did little to hold my interest in the grand scheme of things. I still know next to nothing about any of these guys and this segment did little to remedy that. At least give me a reason to care other than, “hey, this guy does that one move!” The right guy did win, however. Aries is such a good heel. If there’s one reason to watch Impact, it might very well be him. He is “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived,” after all.
After that match, Kendrick comes out and offers to shake Aries’ hand to congratulate him. As any good heel would do, he declines the offer rudely. This causes Kendrick to attack Aries from behind. I hate when faces attack from behind. I really do.
5. Traci Brooks (w/ Enhanced Friends) Talks to a Distracted Eric Bischoff
Traci, the “original Knockout,” enters Bischoff’s office wearing a very lowcut shirt. I suppose it’s good that she knows what the moneymakers are. She talks about being the Knockout Law a few years ago (which is apparently like a GM or something for the division) and wonders if she could reapply for the job. Eric, who has been staring down her blouse the entire time (as one does), thinks it’s a great idea. Granted, I’m sure he would have agreed to damn near anything at this point. It’s tough to blame him, though.
6. Mickie James d. ODB (w/ Jackie)
Mickie is the former Knockout Champion while ODB and Jackie (yes, that Jackie) have been rehired, but are told to obey the rules or they’ll be out on their butts again essentially. This led to a couple good spots where Jackie would have normally have cheated on the outside, but had to fight the urge. Even better, she would shake Mickie’s hand after the match which is something that was difficult for her to do. Mickie gets the win after hitting the DDT, by the way. Good TV match overall and I would say it was the best of the program.
7. Winter Gushes on Being the Knockout Champion
Winter, who has recently won the belt, talks about how exciting it feels to be the champion with her friend Angelina Love. It gets awkward, to say the least. She does get in a good line about Mickie James’ “Hardcore Country” gimmick by saying that there’s “nothing hardcore about her.” I wonder if Winter has seen some of the pictures a lot of us have. Still, good point. It ends with Winter taking a sip of red wine, drooling a bit while saying, “orgasmic.” Okay then.
8. BFG Match: AJ Styles d. Rob Van Dam
I think it’s time to talk about the Impact Zone, namely the crowd. Good lord, they’re horrible and their worst offense can be seen here. The vocal portion of the crowd was more worried about their dueling chants for AJ Styles and RVD than they were about the match itself. The chants didn’t stop until the thing was over. I kid you not. They didn’t react to the moves, just “Let’s-Go-A-J!” or “R-V-D!” Anyone who says wrestling crowds do not matter has no idea what they’re talking about, if I may be completely blunt. A crowd can make a good match great, a good match bad, and so on. All you need to see is Cena/Punk from Money in the Bank vs. Styles/Daniels from Destination X. Watch both of those then tell me a crowd doesn’t matter.
The match itself was okay, though the before mentioned crowd made it rather tough to sit through. It would have been nice if AJ got a little more offense in there as these two really should be on equal footing at the moment, but still solid enough. Jerry Lynn once again costs RVD ten points by running in hitting his opponent. This displeases AJ as he was going for the pin after the Pele (which is a cool looking move). Lynn’s interference not only causes RVD to lose ten points, but now AJ only gets three points rather than possibly getting seven. An issue that has been brought up in several places: since when are RVD and Lynn friends? Who knows? I must admit, however, that I do rather enjoy RVD complaining to Lynn that he cost him “like a gazillion points!”
9. Flair Searches For Sting
And searches…and searches…and searches…This segment is actually a good comparison to how I feel the show itself on most weeks: it just will not end. It’s not even that it’s all that long of a segment, it just feels that way. Regardless, Flair is mumbling something about he misses the days when Sting would face him man-to-man rather than hiding in a warehouse (or where ever they are). Sting finally reveals himself and is soon attacked by Immortal member Gunner (cool name, bro). Sting turns the tide quickly as Flair runs off, saying that Gunner is fired. I’m so glad this had to happen. The previous matches didn’t need more time or anything. Also, can I mention how annoying the constant use of the “camera gets blurry, ah there we go, it’s focused again” deal plus the “shaky” cam technique they seem to love is? Stop it. It doesn’t make you look edgy, it makes you look incompetent.
10. Eric Young Goes Hollywood
I like Eric Young. I think he’s a good performer and is pretty funny sometimes, but what is the point to all of this? He’s the Television Champion and he’s out in Hollywood to challenge Scott Baio. I should not have asked. We get some comedy (I use that term loosely) this week, but next week: Eric Young vs. Scott Baio on a golf course! I can not wait. I hope the sarcasm seeped through enough for you there.
11. Because All Love Promos: Crimson Calls Out TNA World Champion Kurt Angle
To recap, Kurt Angle won the belt from Sting at the Hardcore Justice PPV and seemingly allied with Immortal. Then we got the explanation: see, he was pissed at Immortal member Jeff Jarrett (who stole Angle’s wife Karen), but a little birdie known as Hulk Hogan got into Angle’s ear and said that (former? I don’t know what’s going on here) TNA owner Dixie Carter knew about the adultery that was going on the entire time. Why would Angle believe Hogan to begin with? Why would he ally himself with the guy who took his wife away? John Cena can’t follow this without his eyes crossing. Poor Angle. Anyway, for payback, Angle is going to destroy TNA, starting with the young talent that Dixie built around Angle and it started last week when Angle attacked the undefeated Crimson. Now, this I can get behind. I just wish they would have tried harder to not making it so headache-inducing preposterous.
Now that we’re all up-to-date, Crimson comes out and has a verbal showdown with Angle. This segment is pretty good as Angle can talk (for example, how he was able to keep a straight face while explaining his actions at the PPV was remarkable) and Crimson wasn’t bad at all here. Good sign for him. Basically, this was for them to talk to each other like men and build to their eventual match. Baby steps to the elevator…
12. TNA Tag Championship: Mexican America d. Beer Money (c)
I liked Mexican America (what a stupid name) better when it was called LAX, which included Homicide and Konnan as a manager. Rosita and Sarita are nice to look at and all, but the team of Anarquia and Hernandez doesn’t do much for me at all. Conversely, I like Beer Money a lot. As a “bonus” we get AAA Champion Jeff Jarrett (how did TNA get AAA to agree with this??) and Karen Jarrett are on commentary. Well, at least Karen is easy on the eyes. The match is pretty good, despite the commentary going on during it. I could do with Karen calling the Mexican America girls her “Mexican sisters,” but that’s TNA for you.
To the surprise of no one, the Jarretts would eventually make their way down to the ring, providing Hernandez with the AAA belt, allowing Mexican America to get the pin and the titles. Pairing the racist Jarretts (in the storyline, that is) with this stable doesn’t make a ton of sense to me, but again, that’s TNA. I fully expect to see Chavo Guerrero (Jr.) showing up to go against Jarrett in the coming weeks, also. That match might be good, actually.
13. Final Thoughts
After a run of good Impacts leading up to Destination X, this show has been in the dumps ever since that PPV. That’s the tough thing about TNA, whenever they do something good (or even great in some cases), they take about ten steps back and go back to doing whatever sucked before that positive thing. This was actually one of the better shows of late. No, really. Some of it was bad (and even really bad), but there was some good stuff to be found here, too. Ultimately, it was just there, which is sadly, a step in the right direction.
What makes this all the worse is that there are so many talented guys on this roster. TNA has all the pieces to do a good wrestling show, it just seems that they don’t know how to or at least know how do it more than a couple of weeks in a row. So many of these guys (and I mean the women when I say this, too) deserve so much better.
Right back at ya, bookerman.
All pictures and videos courtesy of TNA/Impact Wrestling, impactwrestling.com, TNAwrestling (youtube) or otherwise stated on individual media items; it is much appreciated.