June 26, 2008
Impact: A return?
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling
It's Thursday night and that means two things - TNA Impact is on the air and it's another rerun of The Office on NBC. What do these two have in common? A character named Karen, who apparently makes her return to the six-sided ring tonight. Funny - I didn't know she was gone.
Match 1 - Consequences Creed vs. AJ Styles
On commentary, Mike Tenay remarks that Creed and A.J. used to train together. Truth or not (hmmm) it gives a bit of context to this match, or at least it would if the two reversed each others' moves throughout the bout. We do get that to an extent, but Creed has no defense for the Pele Kick or the Styles Clash.
Winner: AJ Styles
After the match, Jeremy Borash calls for Styles and tells him that Kurt Angle is in the parking lot waiting for Karen. Oh JB, you poop-disturber you.
We go outside and Karen has indeed returned. AJ is with her and Kurt is being held back by security. AJ insists that Karen come with him to his locker room, where she will be safe.
Match 2 - Brother Ray vs. Christian Cage
Before the match begins, Ray cuts a promo on Rhino and Christian Cage and says that we'll see something we've never seen before - the end of Cage's wrestling career.
The match begins with Cage in firm control until Johnny Devine comes in with a Kendo stick (no DQ mind you) which Cage reverses. Once Ray gets the stick and uses it though, the DQ happens.
Winner: Christian Cage (no DQ)
Post-match, Tomko and Devon bring out a table with a glass center. The table is carefully set up and Cage is set for a second top powerbomb. Cage goes through the table and the glass explodes in a nice visual, but one that isn't worth the risk. I don't want to think what match this is setting up.
Backstage, JB is with Kevin Nash and the two have a chat about Samoa Joe and the match tonight against Booker T. Joe comes in and chats more about the match. I'm sorry, but that was quite possibly the slowest backstager I've ever seen.
Match 3 - Awesome Kong vs. Danielle
The sacrificial lamb this week is a brunette who matters so little that they don't even mention her last name. Danielle gets a clawswipe in and that's it for her offense. Ringside, Taylor appears at ringside briefly and takes her own swipe at Kong. Kong pushes back and soon returns her focus to Danielle. A Demon Bomb, as always, ends the match.
Winner: Awesome Kong
After the match, Kong calls for Taylor to come in and the two have a strong pull-apart, with Raisha Saeed getting dumped on her duff at one point as well. Jim Cornette comes out and talks to Taylor and demands a match against Saeed. The crowd changes "Let them fight", but we don't get a match, yet at least.
Backstage, we get a video about Angelina Love, similar to what we got on Gail Kim last week. This had a bit more of an angle to it, but it was effective.
Backstage, Moose loads up a shopping cart for her... bimbo brawl match against ODB. Excuse me? Seriously, how offensive can you be?
Before we get to our next match, Frank Trigg comes out and talks on Styles. Backstage, we see that AJ, Karen and JB are watching the monitor and Styles erupts. Eventually, Styles comes out, which allows Kurt to go into the locker room along with the Beautiful People. Soon, the girls erupt, which causes Styles to run back.
Match 4 - Masato Yushido/Noruki Guay vs. Ultimo Guerrero/Rey Bucanero World X Cup Tag Match
Team International and Team TNA come out to make their presence felt. Bucanero comes out with some sort of belt, probably from CMLL. Much like last week's preview match, the action is fast paced and unlike anything we see on North American TV. The styles definitely do not clash here. Ultimo looks the best of the four and helps Bucanero set up a Corscrew Senton while Guay is on Guerrero's knees for the innovative finisher.
SoCal Val and Jay Lethal are backstage. Lethal is back to the Macho Man rip-off after breaking character last week. I was hoping that it would be over. Val tells Jay that she wants to postpone the wedding. Lethal isn't quite on the same page though.
Next up, we get a promo video for the "Fan's Revenge" match. This is another bad idea among the many that TNA has. Yes it's gimmicked but it's just a horrible idea.
Sonjay Dutt then comes out and sends kids around ringside to collect money in tambourines. He gets a good 20 bucks at least for this. Apparently the money is going to the Save Val Foundation. If this segment wasn't so offensive this would be a good advancement of the angle. As Dutt changes "Set Val free", Val comes out, followed by non-Macho Lethal. Dutt escapes before the Big Elbow and hides behind the kids. Won't someone think of the children!
Backstage, Booker T shows off his new locker room, which more closely resembles Glen Quagmire's house, to JB. The two then settle in for a chat about tonight's main event.
Next up is a Rough Cut with Matt Morgan. I like these segments a lot actually.
Quickly, we go to Borash, Angle and Tomko chatting about Karen. Team 3D come into the shot and try to cure Kurt of his obsession with Karen.
Match 5 - Moose vs. ODB (Bimbo Brawl Match)
This is your basic late-'90s WWF Hardcore plunder match. This kind of thing is really, really unnecessary and just looks horrible 10 years after it was even slightly relevant in the wrestling world. I'm surprised, to be fully honest, that Moose is back after Slammiversary's burial. Surprisingly, Moose gets the Duke with a Double-Arm DDT on a chair.
Match 6 - Booker T vs. Kevin Nash (No DQ Match)
I think this says something about TNA - 10 years ago this would have been a main event on Thursday Night Thunder. Only a scant few guys on WWE's roster were on the lineup in 1998. What does that tell you?
Nash, to his credit, looks sharper than he did during many of his WCW matches while Samoa Joe looks on. At one point, Booker T pushes Joe off his ringside chair and cracks him across the skull with it. After Booker uses the chair on Nash, Joe comes in and hits Booker T around a bit before missing a Superkick on T and hitting Nash instead (hmmm wonder what that was a nod to), allowing Booker to get the pin.
Winner: Booker T
Post-match, Nash and Joe push around in the ring before security comes in to break things up.
Well, TNA certainly took a step backward tonight in many respects. This was not as exciting as last week's Impact, not by a long shot.
Jon Waldman has been with SLAM! since 2000.