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TNA championship is a waiting game
Impact! fails to deliver on title bout decision
By STEVEN JOHNSON - SLAM! Wrestling


Even the old "Batman" television series managed to wrap up most of its cliffhangers in two episodes. So perhaps the moguls at NWA-TNA should send out a "Bat signal" and consult with the Caped Crusader on how his scriptwriters accomplished that tidy feat.

That was the impression Total Nonstop Action "Impact!" conveyed in its June 25 show, taped the previous night in Orlando, Fla.

Despite repeated promises during the program that the TNA brass would resolve the Jeff Jarrett-Ron Killings world title controversy, viewers were left like a bride at the altar when a decision was deferred to next Wednesday's pay-per-view.

To recap - Vince Russo, the erstwhile TNA director of authority, declared during last week's "Impact!" that current champion Jarrett would face disqualification and loss of his world crown if he insisted on bopping Killings with a guitar during their square-off at the June 23 PPV, TNA's second anniversary show.

Killings might not have heard Russo's words - he was lying prone on the arena floor last week at the time of the pronouncement. In any event, he flattened Jarrett with a guitar shot of his own, pinning the champ and presumably earning the title. But the final verdict, and whether Killings should have been disqualified for violating Russo's decree, was pushed from the PPV to "Impact!"

To a chorus of moans, veteran star Larry Zbyszko, the special judge for the evening's contests told Jarrett that a final decision on l'affair guitare would not be forthcoming until the PPV. Zbyszko explained that Russo and Dusty Rhodes were wracking their brains off-camera during "Impact!" as they labored to craft a fair and equitable judgment.

Such wracking might have made for interesting viewing -a "Dusty and Vince Ruminate" DVD, perhaps. But Jarrett responded in an entirely expected fashion, swatting Zbyszko over the head with another guitar.

Perhaps Batman can make the save next time.

Line of the show - "Faced with tough decisions on a weekly basis, Russo's approach hasn't faltered, proving to be strong willed in the face of adversity. Vince Russo has vowed to stay true to his beliefs, laying the foundation for a competitive and athletic atmosphere in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling." - voiceover for a Vince Russo video package.

If you heard a gagging sound echo across the greater Louisville region after the Russo tribute, it might well have belonged to Jim Cornette.

Match one: Amazing Red, Chris Sabin and Primetime vs. Kazarian, Miyamoto and Nosawa in an X Division tag match

While the X Division is the clear centerpiece of TNA, it was disconcerting to hear announcers Mike Tenay and Don West spend the first three minutes of the match talking about the Jarrett-Killings situation and expressing their fond hopes that the company can ink "coveted free agent" Jeff Hardy, who appeared on the last PPV.

In fact, a split screen showed Russo with the belt, while the announcers ignored a two count by Sabin. While the action was fast-paced, it appeared as though it was sloppier than usual. Sabin's huracanrana on Miyamoto looked very loose and unconvincing.

Nosawa and Miyamoto double teamed Red on one of the six turnbuckles for what seemed like an unnecessarily long time before tossing him to the mat in a double superplex and a two count. Nosawa put Red through a sit-down driver, but pulled Red to his feet before the referee could count to three - West said Nosawa was clearly toying with a beaten foe.

His arrogance cost his team. Red recovered to tag Sabin, who crotched Nosawa on the top rope. Primetime walked the rope to score a huracanrana on Nosawa. Nosawa fell in 5:33 after a 718 by red and a "play of the day" by Primetime (a swinging neckbreaker using the legs, not the arms).

Winner: Primetime, Amazing Red and Chris Sabin

A promo for Johnny Fairplay's return to TNA aired during a commercial break.

Match two: Monty Brown vs Irish Pat Kenney

Kenney started off his bigger rival with a series of arm drag takedowns and a slingshot into a cross bodyblock. Brown, billed as the "Alpha Male," uses power moves, punches, and kicks to keep Kenney at bay. As a point of reference, a study by the Harvard Business Review says that alpha males represent about 70% of all senior-level executives.

Judging by his hostility in the ring, Brown does not fit into that category. Kenney briefly gained the upper hand with a series of right hands and a superkick. But brown recovered to knock out Kennedy with the running shoulder block he dubs "the pounce" in 3:52.

Winner: Monty Brown

Match three: Petey Williams and Bobby Roode (with manager Scott D'Amore) vs American's Most Wanted (Chris Harris and James Storm)

Storm and Harris entered the ring draped in American flags instead of their usual ring attire, which was stolen two weeks ago by The Naturals. Harris and Storm are the TNA tag champions, but this was apparently a non-title match (the caveat did not seem to be emphasized).

Harris threw the smaller Williams to the canvas with a hip toss, but Roode came from behind and beat up on his rival without apparent benefit a tag. In fact, wrestlers throughout this edition of "Impact!" seemed to approach formal tags with an indifference that might have confused viewers. Referees would be advised to enforce that rule.

Harris and Storm double teamed Williams, flipped him into a prone position, and threw him into an oncoming Roode as the show went to a commercial break. Out of the timeout, Storm was trapped in a Roode surfboard, and slowly worked his ay to a hot tag to Harris. Harris clotheslined both Canadians and punished Williams with a full nelson slam for a count of two.

Harris was victimized as the top man in a four-man superplex, but quickly recovered as Storm slammed Roode out of the ring. While the referee was checking on Roode and Storm, The Naturals - Chase Stevens and Andy Douglas - ran into the ring. Douglas tossed a blinding powder at Harris and Stevens hit the hero with a chair, so that he was easy prey for a pin by Williams in 9:28. when the ref returned to monitor the in-ring action.

Winners: Petey Williams and Bobby Roode

Between matches, the entire Jarrett-Zbyszko brouhaha aired, with 3 Live Kru coming to the aid of Zbyszko while Hotstuff Hernandez and Chad Collyer backed up Jarrett. After several promos for discounted Detroit Tiger tickets (this show aired on Fox Sports Net Detroit), Tenay narrated a flashback on Jarrett's attack last year on Hulk Hogan. The Hulkster hasn't been the same since, Tenay implied.

Match four: Abyss and Dallas vs D-Lo Brown and A.J. Styles

Abyss and Dallas started in on Brown and Styles outside the ring before the good guys had time to disrobe. Early on, D-Lo had trouble applying a suplex on Abyss, so Styles joined in to throw Abyss to the mat. But Dallas raced in to break a two count.

Styles attempted to drop both foes in one swoop with a flying double clothesline that looked exceedingly feeble, given his size disadvantage. Brown then hit the same move, as Tenay covered nicely, saying, "A.J. softened them up and D-Lo put them away."

Dallas raised Styles for a reverse razor's edge, but Brown broke it up, and teamed with Styles for a double neckbreaker off the ropes and another two count. Brown did a suicide dive through the ropes, leaving Dallas and Styles in the ring. Dallas went for a choke slam, but Styles climbed up him and cradled him for a pin in 6:37. Immediately after the match, Kid Kash, Dallas' tag partner, joined Monty brown in assaulting Styles and D-Lo. Kash's broken leg apparently had healed sufficiently for a show-ending run-in.

Steven Johnson is a writer based in Virginia. He can be reached at blakeslee_74@yahoo.com.