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COMMENT





Styles title match headlines Impact!
By STEVE JOHNSON - SLAM! Wrestling


The inaugural edition of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling “Impact!” was a hit with many wrestling fans last week.

But nothing is more challenging than satisfying hard core fans while trying to provide enough basic information about the promotion so that newbies don’t feel as though they’re walking into the second hour of a movie.

Perhaps that accounts for the occasional breathlessness of announcers Mike Tenay and Don West on the broadcast, taped June 10 at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla., for next day airing on Fox Sports Net.

Between plugging TNA’s weekly Wednesday pay-per-views, calling five fast paced matches, and trying to explain the ongoing feuds and personalities in TNA to novices, it’s a sure bet that Tenay and West needed a few sips of water after an entertaining, but very busy, show. West, especially, emphasized the reasonable $10 price of the PPV at almost every opportunity.

It will be interesting to see if “Impact!” delivers more in the way of detailed back stories on future telecasts to underscore the importance of the weekly PPVs to the new viewers it hopes to capture with “Impact!”

Notable quotable: “There’s a little problem with you. Vince Russo has conversated with me.” ­ Dusty Rhodes, employing a new conjugation of “converse” as he spoke to Jeff Jarrett

Match one: Kid Kash (with Dallas) vs Amazing Red

Tenay set up this match as a sing that Kash is bent on returning to the X Division “with a bang” after losing the TNA tag team title belts last week to America’s Most Wanted. Red started out quickly, with an arm drags and a spinning kick that floored Kash. Kash begged for mercy, then threw Red to the floor into the grips of Dallas. Dallas beat up Red and pressed him back into the ring (Red had a hand in the ropes for a little added leverage).

Kash slammed Red to the mat and delivered a pair of second rope moonsaults, but missed a third moonsault, this one from the tope rope, as Red brought up his knees as a counter. With Kash on the ropes, Red produced what Rey Mysterio calls a 619. Tenay noted, though, that it’s a 718 to Red, since that’s his area code. Kash went down for a count of two. Red tried to finish off Kash with an elbow drop from the top rope, but Kash rolled out of harm’s way. Kash caught Red with the “money maker” ­ his double arm underhook into a piledriver ­ for the pin in 4:11.

Winner Kid Kash

Shane Douglas conducted a brief interview with Dusty Rhodes, who would serve as the judge for the X Division title match in case of a time limit draw. Russo interrupted Rhodes, saying he needed to speak to him and Rhodes followed suit.

The TNA-programmed part of the show continued with a plug for a 6-man tag match between Team Canada and team NWA next Wednesday, which served to give away the ending of the final bout on “Impact!”

Match two: Frankie Kazarian vs A.J. Styles

Styles, the top good guy in the promotion, won the X Division belt from Kazarian last Wednesday; this was billed as the return bout. Styles caught a lot of cheers from fans, many of whom are now standing opposite the television camera in a “Hey mom, I’m on TV” fashion that wasn’t evident on the first telecast. The traded quick and crisp moves early on, with Kazarian getting a two-count with a combination slingshot into a leg drop off the ropes. Although Styles was a the hero and Kazarian the villain, Tenay astutely noted that they have similar ring methodology.

Kazarian hit a DDT and got a two-count as the show went to a commercial. Out of the timeout, Kazarian hit another DDT, but Styles responded with a boot to the face as he set up his rival for a modified Styles Clash out of a crucifix. The move looked good, so did Styles in 7:28. Kash and Dallas raced to the ring to attack Styles with Heavy D making the save.

Winner: A.J. Styles

Some brief story lines ­ David Young psyched himself up back stage to try to end his 54-match losing streak; sort of a TNA version of Barry Horowitz and the Mulkeys. Didn’t work.

Match three: 3 Live Kru (Ron “The Truth” Killings, Konnan and B.G. James) vs The Naturals (Chase Stevens and Andy Douglas) and David Young

Some quick stuff here. Konnan and Andy Douglas started the match. B.G. James dropped both Douglas and Ron Killings came in with Young, and quick pinned him in 2:46.

Winner: 3 Live Kru

Jeff Jarrett came out to proclaim his superiority, on the basis of holding the NWA world title and the King of the Mountain crown. Rhodes interrupted to announce Jarrett would face Killings for the NWA title at TNA’s second anniversary show on June 23. Rhodes told how Killings had come to him after winning the NWA title some time before. “Truth, a black man did not win the heavyweight title, a man won the heavyweight title,” Rhodes declared to some puzzlement. Well, you could probably figure out the civil rights aspect of what he meant

Match four: Monty Brown vs Sonny Siaki

Tenay touted this as a match of true athletes, noting that Brown and Siaki both are former linebackers of at least some consequence at the college and pro level. Brown controlled most of the contest, and two clotheslines by Siaki did not faze the “Alpha Male;” in fact, they looked they might have set back the wrestling clothesline by several years. Brown, it seems, rarely hits the deck. He did hit Siaki with a shoulder block off the ropes ­ his “pounce” ­ for a pin in just 2:03.

Winner: Monty Brown

Buy the PPV time ­ TNA announced a match between Styles and Dallas for this Wednesday. Dallas is too large at 6-9 to qualify for the X Division. A quick rewind shows Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, a better linebacker than Siaki or Brown, throwing Johnny Fairplay of Survivor out of the ring. Rupert likely would have been more of a challenge for Urlacher.

Match five: Team Canada (Eric Young, Petey Williams and Bobby Roode with Scott D’Amore) vs Team Mexico (Mr. Aguila, Heavy Metal and Abismo Negro)

For the first minute, all six men were in the ring, which showed once again how much room the six-sided ring has to offer. Aguila, whom Tenay identified as the former Essa Rios (in the WWE, though that company escaped mention) took the overwhelming brunt of punishment early on. Roode hit a knee lift, then tagged to Williams, who hit a leg lariat for a count of two. Young punched Aguila into the corner, where D’Amore could pull Aguila’s head back out of the view of the unsuspecting referee. Aguila made a comeback with a flip and double clothesline.

Abismo Negro and Aguila went for sensational double teams, including a simultaneous suicide dive through the ropes. That left Heavy Metal in with Roode. As Heavy Metal climbed to the top rope, D’Amore cracked him with a hockey stick, causing him to crotch himself. He was easy prey for a Roode pin and slam in 5:36 of a high-spot fest. Team Canada continued to pound away at Team Mexico and attempted saviour Hector Garza, wearing street clothes, for what seemed like a long time (the Fox box block was off) until team NWA raced in to clean house. That sets up a Canada-NWA match for Wednesday

Winner: Team Canada