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Impact: Lashley earns a shot
By BLAINE VAN DER GRIEND - SLAM! Wrestling


A change is brewing in TNA and perhaps it kicks off tonight as a tournament will be held to crown a brand new number one contender. Eight guys enter the tournament, each wanting a shot at their division's champion. Plus, Mick Foley continues to question TNA management as to why he was not informed of the decision to sign Hulk Hogan. Happy Thanksgiving to our fans in the U.S.!

We are welcomed to Impact this week by a very lively crowd at the Impact Zone and already announced is a tournament, which makes little to no sense. Of the eight guys entered in the tournament, only five are competing for a TNA World title shot, while the others are competing for either X-Division or tag team title shots. Why would anyone favour winning a mid-card or tag team title over the world title? 

Match #1: Bobby Lashley vs. Abyss in a first round match in the championship tournament 

Lashley is escorted by his wife Krystal and holds the ropes open for his woman (what a gentleman). I still don't get how Abyss' hoodie is supposed to add to his monster character. Nevertheless, the two big men collide mid-ring to kick things off and then Abyss literally kicks off with a well placed boot to Lashley's chin. Abyss misses an avalanche and gets dropped by one of Lashley's devastating clotheslines. Taz makes a great point that guys like Lashley and Kurt Angle would have the advantage in this tournament, as they've both had tournament experience in the amateurs. Abyss regains the advantage and applies a neck vice, which Lashley fights out of, only to fall victim to a bearhug. Lashley escapes after a series of headbutts and delivers a drop toe hold, landing Abyss throat-first against the middle rope. Abyss starts clutching his throat, as he's still selling the effects of the hanging last week at the hands of Raven and Dr. Stevie. Lashley delivers a spinebuster and clotheslines Abyss 360 over the top rope. Abyss drags Lashley out with him and they brawl for a bit, until Abyss miscalculates an elbow and grazes Krystal, who falls and appears to have twisted her ankle going down. This distracts both the referee and Abyss, who turns around and walks right into a spear from Lashley. Lashley then forces Abyss to tap out to the dragon sleeper, as Krystal makes a miraculous recovery and apparently feigned the injury.  

Winner: Bobby Lashley by submission 

JB is in Mick Foley's office and Foley has switched from a bandage to an eye patch (Aye matey!). JB tries to convince Foley that Hogan signing with TNA might not be a bad thing after all, but Foley isn't hearing any of it and says Dixie still should have told him about the signing. He keeps going on and on about how everyone knew about this but him and as the executive shareholder (is this an actual position?), he should have been informed. Foley says he's going to have a word with the one man who knows more than he does about backstage politics, Kurt Angle.  

Match #2: Desmond Wolfe vs. Suicide in a first round match in the championship tournament 

Suicide hasn't been seen in weeks, so why is he in this tournament? Wolfe works over the arm of Suicide in the early going with a single underhook suplex, followed by an armdrag and a running back elbow for two. He then applies a modified cobra clutch, shades of Sgt. Slaughter. Suicide fights free and delivers a springboard back elbow, followed by a steamroller and then a slingshot legdrop, shades of Sabu for two. Wolfe regains the advantage and tries the tower of London (Stunner off the top), but Suicide counters and delivers a dropkick, blasting Wolfe into the far corner. Suicide heads to the third floor, but Wolfe cuts him off and delivers the tower of London, which was botched, but still gave Wolfe the win.  

Winner: Desmond Wolfe by pinfall 

Match #3: Kurt Angle vs. Pope D'Angelo Dinero in a first round match in the championship tournament 

Angle applies a side headlock to begin things, but gets shoved to the ropes, only to come back with a shoulderblock. Pope delivers an armdrag in retaliation. He then delivers a high shoulderblock for two, but Angle responds with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex and then a snap suplex for two. Angle applies a rear chinlock, while driving a knee into Pope's spine for added pressure. He then starts delivering the rolling German suplexes, but Pope counters the third one with one of his own and then delivers an STO for two. Pope runs across the ring and uses the ropes to elevate himself to drop an elbow on Angle down below. As Pope charges in, Angle avoids him and utilizes a schoolboy, but rolls right into the ankle lock. Pope kicks away, but is victimized by the Angle slam for the win.  

Winner: Kurt Angle by pinfall 

After the match, Angle shows good sportsmanship by offering a handshake to the Pope, which Pope accepts. 

Mick Foley interrupts a Kurt Angle interview in the former Main Event Mafia office (it took him that long to find him?) and asks Kurt where Kevin, Scott and Sting are. Angle tells Foley that the Mafia is no more. Foley then changes the subject and says that Angle is the most valuable acquisition in TNA history. He then asks Angle what he knows and thinks about the Hogan situation. Angle says this could change TNA for the better and Foley needs to put his worries to rest. Foley says he's not willing to let Hogan walk in the door and take his spot, but Angle responds that Hogan and Dixie are going to take TNA to new heights (I'd have to see it to believe it). Foley then brings up what Nash said last week that Hogan isn't coming alone and Angle says he's an idiot for believing Nash.   

Match #4: Homicide vs. Robert Roode in a first round match in the championship tournament 

Homicide blindsides Roode to begin things and continues his assault on the outside with a rake of the back (haven't seen that in a while). Back in the ring, Homicide applies a nerve hold, which Roode fights out of and delivers a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Homicide tries the gringo killer, which is countered and Roode tries the pay off which is also countered, but manages to deliver a spinebuster on the rebound for the win. 

Winner: Robert Roode by pinfall 

After the match, Homicide starts going nuts on the outside and threatening a whole bunch of random people.  

JB interviews Kurt Angle in the back, who says he's looking at this upcoming tournament match in two ways. He says he respects Robert Roode on the one hand and he's one of the guys that helped change his mind about the young talent in TNA. But he's still keeping his eyes on the prize and doesn't expect any handouts. He says he's going to beat Roode and then beat the winner of Lashley vs. Wolfe later. Angle says he hopes that Wolfe makes it past this next round, because it would be that much better for him to beat Wolfe in the finals. 

Match #5: A Knockout battle royal to determine number one contender for the TNA Women's Knockout title 

ODB comes out, dressed as an official (why does a battle royal need a referee?). Hamada eliminates Daffney in the early going. Traci and Alyssa Flash then reignite their rivalry, trying to eliminate each other and end up both being eliminated by the Women's Knockout tag champs Taylor Wilde and Sarita. The brawl between Traci and Alyssa continues on the floor. Tara eliminates one-third of TBP, Lacey Von Erich during the break. The remaining TBP members gang up and eliminate Sarita next. Taylor makes the mistake of the match with a hurricanrana to the outside, which eliminates both herself and Hamada. Tara is now left alone with the remaining TBP members and takes them down with a double clothesline. Madison gets positioned on the apron and after a miscue by TBP, Velvet accidentally eliminates her own partner. Tara then elevates Velvet, who lands on the apron, only to eat a mafia kick, leading to her elimination.  

Winner: Tara 

After the match, ODB comes in the ring and raises Tara's hand. Tara then tries to shake hands with him/her, but ODB just slaps some skin and then walks away.  

JB is backstage with Eric Young and Kevin Nash and asks about why a shot at Young's Global Championship isn't up for grabs in the tournament. He poses the question to Nash, who asks if JB has a big man fetish and tells him to ask the champ. Young says the entire company is based on discrimination and they refuse to recognize talent. He says Thanksgiving is an American tradition, but instead of celebrating it, the American wrestlers would rather maul each other, in their quests for gold, which is typical of the greedy Americans. Young says he promised never to defend his title on American soil and never against an American wrestler (how does Eric Young have the authority to make that call?). Young says he'll decide the who, when and where. 

Mick Foley is walking through the hallway, still trying to get a hold of Dixie Carter, without any luck. He overhears a brouhaha going on in the back, so he checks it out, and Scott Steiner is really giving it to the merchandise lady for refusing to create Main Event Mafia attire. Foley asks Scott what's going on and Steiner says this "bimbo" as he so eloquently put it, is refusing to create new Main Event Mafia attire. Foley then tells Steiner that Kurt Angle alluded to the fact that the Main Event Mafia is no more. This left Steiner confused and he questioned Foley if there's no Mafia and Foley said Kurt just alluded to it, but he didn't actually say it. Steiner then felt better about himself and Foley asked his opinion on the deal with Hogan. Steiner says it's not like he dated Hogan, but the NWO were a band of thieves that did whatever they wanted whenever they wanted. Foley then asked Steiner about what Nash said about how Hogan isn't coming alone. Steiner said if Nash said that, it must be true (oh yeah, why would Nash lie?) 

After the break, Foley finds Nash and Eric Young backstage. Nash keeps asking for his money and Foley says he really doesn't have any money to give Nash. He then asks Nash to fill him in on who Hogan's bringing with him and Nash just throws out a bunch of names to mess with Foley. Foley questions the possibility of Scott Hall coming in and Foley says he's worried that Hogan's going to lead this company in the wrong direction (oh I think they've been headed that way for some time).  

Match #6: Bobby Lashley vs. Desmond Wolfe in a semi-final match in the championship tournament 

Wolfe applies a full nelson in the early going, but Lashley breaks free and applies his own full nelson. Wolfe makes it to the ropes for the break. The two then go counter for counter in the next little while, until Lashley delivers a stomach breaker, followed by a full nelson slam. Wolfe nearly yanks Lashley's arm out of its socket with a snapping arm ringer. He tries the tower of London, but Lashley escapes and applies the dragon sleeper, which Wolfe grabs the ropes to break. Wolfe then gains the advantage and applies an armbar around the rope, which the referee tries to break unsuccessfully, as Wolfe keeps yelling "this is you Mr. Mangled" and eventually the ref calls for the disqualification. 

Winner: Bobby Lashley by DQ 

Match #7: Robert Roode vs. Kurt Angle in a semi-final match in the championship tournament 

This match starts much like Angle's previous match started with a side headlock and Roode shoves him to the ropes, but Angle comes back with a shoulderblock. Roode delivers a neckbreaker for two and then follows it up with a slam and a kneedrop for two. He then delivers a neck snap, shades of the late Curt Hennig, but Angle uses Roode's tights to send him to the outside and bounces his head off the steel steps. Back in the ring, Angle delivers a snap suplex for two and applies a waistlock/inverted bearhug. Roode fights out, but gets caught with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex for two. Angle then applies a body scissors. Roode fights out and delivers a blockbuster, shades of Buff Bagwell and then a flying forearm for two. Angle tries the ankle lock, but Roode kicks free and delivers the spinebuster for two. Roode tries the payoff, which Angle counters into a German suplex and then tries the Angle slam, which Roode counters with an armdrag. Angle delivers an Angle slam in the second attempt, but Roode, to everyone's surprise, kicks out. Desmond Wolfe then shows up at ringside and spits at Angle, who chases him up the ramp and proceeds to deliver a beat down, but Angle loses track of the time and gets counted out.  

Winner: Robert Roode by count-out 

AJ Styles comes out to address what happened last week, but says before he gets into that, he wants to send a message to Sting, because he hasn't heard from him in a while and asks Sting to give him a call. Daniels interrupts and says Sting doesn't realize that AJ's friendship costs more than it's worth. Daniels says he's been a better friend to AJ than AJ has to him, because he was with AJ through good times and bad and supported him the entire way and led him to a new TNA World title. Daniels said AJ's friendship didn't do anything for him. He questions where AJ was when he got fired and why he didn't help him get his job back. Daniels says he was always a better wrestler than AJ and since AJ won't accept Daniels as his best friend, he'll have to accept him as his worst enemy. AJ basically tells Daniels that at Final Resolution, he'll find out what AJ Styles is all about (what's the point of this tournament again?) 

JB is backstage with Beer Money and Robert Roode says he's not only in this tournament for himself, but he's representing his partner as well. He says the British Invasion have been dodging them for far too long and Beer Money is the best tag team on the planet. Roode says they plan on taking back what is rightfully theirs and unfortunately, Bobby Lashley is going to find out that it pays to be Roode.  

Match #8: Robert Roode vs. Bobby Lashley in the championship tournament finals 

Roode utilizes a go-behind to begin things, but Lashley is a step ahead of him with a standing switch and takes Roode down. He tries the dragon sleeper early, but Roode immediately reaches the rope. Roode then works over Lashley's injured arm, which was injured at the hands of Desmond Wolfe, with a fujiwara armbar. Lashley squirms free and delivers a full nelson slam, followed by a spinbuster for two. Lashley tries the torture rack backbreaker, but Roode slips out and delivers a single-arm DDT for two. Roode tries the payoff, but Lashley counters with a back body drop. He misses an avalanche in the corner and Roode delivers the payoff for two. Roode then overshoots the blockbuster, allowing Lashley to deliver the spear for the win. 

Winner and number one contender: Bobby Lashley  

Final thoughts: 

A very lackluster edition of Impact this week. While the focus was on wrestling, where it definitely should have been, a lot of the show did not make sense. I didn't get the whole tournament concept where different guys are going for different titles. I also don't know where Samoa Joe has been lately. This thing with Foley is getting annoying. I'm tired of his transitional heel and face runs. He needs to just pick one and stick with it. The segment with Steiner was kind of funny though. I also enjoyed the segment with AJ and Daniels, but how is that match already penciled in for Final Resolution if Lashley is the number one contender? And I guess they must have dropped the mystery attacker storyline. I did think they did a good job of keeping certain guys strong like Lashley and Desmond Wolfe and Robert Roode especially. But overall, I was kind of bored with the show, so I'll give it 5 out of 10 this week.