Impact: Putting the Action back in TNA
JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling
TNA has a mini two-sided tournament booked for Impact tonight to declare the final two combatants in the Fatal Four-way title match at No Surrender. Does this mean we get plenty of action, or a few quick matches? Read on to find out.
Match 1 – Sting vs. Rhino (Fatal Four-way TNA title match semi-final bout)
Hmm… Rhino’s already booked against Lashley at No Surrender. Wonder what happens…
Okay, so the match was never in doubt, but it was still a decent match, finished with the Scorpion Death Drop.
Post-match, Rhino gores Sting for pretty much no logical reason. He then continues the beatdown and gets a second gore. Sting seems to be injured as he advances in the tourney.
Back from the break, Sting is getting his ribs taped as the announce team speculates about his injuries.
Elsewhere, Booker T is berating Kurt Angle for the problems with Matt Morgan. Kip James in then spotted doing phone installation and is ripped on by Booker. Steiner then wanders in and makes himself at home in Chez Booker.
Match 2 – Chris Sabin vs. AJ Styles (Fatal Four-way TNA title match semi-final bout)
Alex Shelley joins the broadcast crew and he and Taz get a couple good shots in on Don West and continue to be genuinely funny on the sticks, as AJ and Sabin tear it up in the ring.
Wicked back-and-forth match playing off the familiarity between the two before AJ hits the Styles Clash to a huge ovation.
Winner: AJ Styles
Backstage, Hernandez is being interviewed when Eric Young comes in, trying to recruit Supermex again for the World Elite.
Next up (Christopher) Daniels comes out and calls out Samoa Joe, who comes out in street clothes and war paint. Sure, why not. Anyways, Daniels takes Joe on a trip down memory lane to their 2005 Unbreakable three-way bout. Then, Daniels rips into the Mafia. Eventually, Daniels starts talking about Joe’s family and eats a Tazplex for it. Odd dynamic here as Daniels was starting to heel in the promo, which resulted in a somewhat silent audience.
Backstage, Matt Morgan is being interviewed by Lauren and cuts his friend/enemy promo on Kurt Angle.
Match 3 – Suicide vs. Doug Williams (Fatal Four-way TNA title match semi-final bout)
Another good pairing here, but I don’t think anyone going in would think either would end up in the title bout at NS. The match goes extremely smoothly until The Pope comes out to distract Suicide, who flies off the top to the outside with a high cross body, but ends up being distracted long enough for Williams to hit a sweet Rolling German Suplex for the duke.
Winner: Doug Williams
Backstage, Jeremy Borash interviews Sting about the match later tonight, who teases his retirement.
Back from a break, The Beautiful People are interviewed by Lauren about their match against Madison Rayne and her mystery partner. Great segment!
Match 4 – Sojo Bolt/Hamada vs. Tara/Christy Hemme (TNA Knockouts Tag Title Tournament match)
Somewhat nondescript match as neither team has any sort of history, or that much chemistry for that matter. Victoria wins the match for her team with the Widow’s Peak.
Post-match, Victoria brings out Poison but Hamada gets in between the Spider and Bolt, then Hamada Drives her partner.
Backstage, Angle and JB have a chat about Morgan until they run into the Blueprint.
Match 5 – Hernandez vs. Homicide (Fatal Four-way TNA title match semi-final bout)
Yet another solid match here. When did Impact become Smackdown? Hernandez wins with a Dominator.
Post match the two shake hands, albeit Homicide was reluctant to do so.
Backstage, Lauren interviews Doug Williams and JB interviews AJ about their finals match.
Kurt Angle then comes out to ringside to help commentate the next bout.
Match 6 – Doug Williams vs. AJ Styles (Fatal Four-way TNA title final bout #1)
Yet another great bout here. Williams really shows some good promise here and at times feels like the second coming of The Dynamite Kid. AJ and Doug gel so well that you hope the two get a nice long series of bouts at some point. The cool thing is that Angle is really complimentary of AJ, which is good to see.
AJ really pulls out the arsenal here, including a Torture Rack Bomb(!) and finishing with a Scorpion Death Drop(!?!?). Awesome match. Russo must have Swine Flu or something.
Winner: AJ Styles
Backstage, Team 3D are with Jesse Neal and Lauren for an interview. Really nothing new here.
Match 7 – Hernandez vs. Sting (Fatal Four-way TNA title final bout #1)
The match barely gets started before Homicide attacks Sting with a pipe… or at least it looks at first like Homicide; but it’s really Eric Young covered in bandanas.
Winner: Sting (DQ)
When we return from a break, Hernandez is in the ring on the stick and calls out Eric Young. Before he gets to the ring, World Elite attacks and suddenly it’s a mass attack. AJ comes in to help Hernandez but soon he’s beat down as well. Beer Money then comes out and the odds get closer to being even, and in fact World Elite scrambles just as Team 3D come down, and we’ve got another mass brawl. Eventually, 3D gets Bashir in the ring and get a table set up just as Steiner and Booker T come out. After a quick evening, the big brawl starts again. Eventually, James Storm goes through the table courtesy of La Souffle (think back to La Resistance... who would be perfect for WE when you think about it) from MEM.
Well, this was the first time in a long time that an Impact ep actually was Total, Nonstop Action. Best show of the year, hands down.
Jon Waldman has been with SLAM! since 2000. To help Jon determine how to celebrate his soon-to-be decade on the site, email him with your suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.