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Impact: Joe wants the gold; The band is out of synch
By BLAINE VAN DER GRIEND - SLAM! Wrestling


Samoa Joe is back and is on a quest for gold. Also, the tension between Kurt Angle and Hulk Hogan continues to escalate, as does the ongoing feud between Eric Bischoff and Mick Foley. And what does the future hold for Scott Hall and 6 Pac?

This week’s edition of Impact is appropriately titled “the breaking of the band.” One can only hope.

Interestingly enough, the opening video package still contains footage of Jeff Hardy, who has yet to be seen since.

TNA does not waste any time for once getting the show off and running with the first match.

Match #1: Brutus Magnus vs. Mr. Anderson in a qualifying match in the Super 8 Card Stud tournament

In case you’ve ever wanted to see a fight between Jude Law and Kiefer Sutherland, this is as close as it gets. Anderson begins with his usual self-introduction, saying he will be the future of the 4-sided ring. He adds that he didn’t say he would be the future, but that Hulk Hogan said he’d be the future (then it must be true). We learn in the early stages of the match that Magnus is only 23, when in fact, he looks much older. Not much to speak of in the early going, until Anderson takes it to the ground with a low dropkick. Anderson then begins stomping Magnus in the corner and is soon admonished by the referee. But while arguing with the official, he continues stomping Magnus with his heel, which was pretty funny. Magnus finally gets into the match with a flying back elbow, followed by a bowtie neckbreaker. He loads Anderson up in a fireman’s carry, but Anderson thinks quickly with a rake of the eyes, leading to the mic check for the victory.

Winner: Mr. Anderson by pinfall

After the match, Anderson spins some nursery rhymes, as he says “winner, winner, chicken dinner,” which I would say is as lame as it gets, but in TNA, I can’t make that promise.

Mick Foley is shown arriving to the Impact zone in his own car.

Christy Hemme is standing by with Kurt Angle, who for some reason, still has his own private office. Angle is fuming, as he says he’s not too worried about his match with Tomko tonight. Instead, he’s still upset over the fact that Hulk Hogan came out last week and shook his hand, only to have his cronies attack him from behind. He says it’s the last time that Hogan screws him and Hogan can expect a visit from Angle later tonight.

Eric Bischoff comes out next and says it’s good to be here. He says last week, he tried to get on the same page as Mick Foley, but Foley just wasn’t interested. He says that’s ultimately Mick’s decision, but that decision will cost him dearly. Foley has apparently heard enough, as he makes his way out. He says he has a certain reputation to uphold in this business. He says no human being in the history of the business has had to endure what he’s had to endure. Foley continues that he hasn’t really seen eye to eye with people such as Buff Bagwell, Paul Heyman and Jim Helwig (who doesn’t exist anymore, according to Warrior Warrior). But he adds that despite all of those differences, he still generally likes everybody, with Eric Bischoff being the exception to that rule. He says Bischoff is a hustler and the antithesis of everything Foley stands for. Foley says when he first started working for Bischoff, he was a salesman and an announcer, and not even a good one. Foley goes as far as saying Bischoff was the worst announcer in the history of the business. Taz makes a comment that Foley has never heard of Mike Adamle, which was pretty funny. Foley says Bischoff didn’t like him because he didn’t embody what old school wrestling was about. Foley says he was the guy who went to the school that burned down, before old school replaced it. Bischoff then cuts him off, saying that Foley’s decision not only affects his own career, but other people too. Foley makes it clear that he does love TNA and at age 22, he would look into his future and save every dime, for the purpose of not having to answer to idiots like Bischoff. He says Bischoff likes to play with people’s lives and then adds that without JB, the Impact zone would fall apart. He says that’s what makes TNA tick. Bischoff says the only thing that makes him tick is power and control, and him and Foley not being on the same page is really unfortunate, but Bischoff intends to turn that page to a new one. Foley says in one of his books, he writes “power is limited to those who are not in love with it.” Foley says Bischoff hasn’t learned a damn thing since WCW (sad, but true). He goes on that he kept having to tell his wife that wrestling would always be his first love. But Foley says now he realizes that love doesn’t last forever and he has to accept that. He says he will be damned if Bischoff has his way with the woman he loves (great analogy!). Bischoff says that despite the way Foley feels about him personally, the lives of the people he cares about are still in Bischoff’s hands. Bischoff then orders Foley into a match with Kevin Nash tonight, because Nash deserves his revenge. Best segment of the night!

Meanwhile, Abyss is freaking out backstage, as he watches the monitor. JB walks by and Abyss asks him what’s going to happen to them. JB says he’s only here to collect his last pay check. He adds that he worked for Bischoff ten years ago and nothing has changed. He then warns Abyss that nobody’s okay.

Christy Hemme is with the TNA Women’s Knockout Champion Tara. She says when she first came to TNA, Angelina Love made her life miserable with all of the torture and sick games she used to play. But now, Tara says Angelina seems to be a different person and actually helped her take out the Beautiful People last week. She says Angelina finally has her eyes on the prize. Tara adds that Angelina has earned her respect, but will not earn her championship.

Match #2: Matt Morgan and Hernandez vs. Team 3D for the TNA World Tag Team titles

Hernandez is able to overpower Brother Ray in the early going with a huge shoulder block, but Ray answers with an avalanche in the corner. Tags are made on both sides and Morgan floors D-Von with a discus lariat. Super Mex then goes for a superplex on D-Von, who counters by gnawing on the forehead of Hernandez to send him back to the floor. D-Von then delivers a flying headbutt. Ray then delivers a release German suplex to Morgan and then a Samoan drop to Hernandez. 3D then deliver a reverse 3D on Morgan for two. They go for the wassup headbutt, but the Nasty Boys put an end to that. 3D manage to fight them off, but the distraction costs them as Ray walks blindly into the carbon footprint by Morgan, allowing the champs to keep their belts.

Winners: Matt Morgan and Hernandez by pinfall

After the match, the Nasty Boys return to attack 3D with chairs, but they’re scared off by the champions, who also return to the ring. Morgan and Hernandez then give respectful props to 3D, who return the respect by hand-delivering the titles to the champions.

Match #3: Jesse Neal vs. Samoa Joe

Well I guess we can finally remove all the “missing” posters. Joe has apparently woken up from hibernation. Neal goes on the attack immediately, but Joe comes back quickly with a vertical exploder suplex. Neal regains the advantage though and tries a high crossbody, which Joe casually walks away from, leaving Neal to land flat on his face. Joe then delivers some open hand palm thrusts, followed by a running high knee in the corner and then the muscle buster, as he screams out AJ’s name, for the win.

Winner: Samoa Joe by pinfall

Christy Hemme stops Hulk Hogan in the hallway, to ask for his reaction to the remarks made by Kurt Angle. Hogan asks what Kurt said (isn’t Hogan kind of running this company?). When Christy fills him in, Hogan says he’s not a hard guy to find (apparently he is) and he’s tired of being accused of things he hasn’t done. He says he’ll be waiting for Kurt.

Match #4: Pope D’Angelo Dinero vs. AJ Styles

AJ takes advantage early on with some great amateur skills, until Pope is able to deliver a Dusty Rhodes-like elbow combination, followed by a back body drop as we head to commercial. Back from break, AJ regains control by flying all over the place like a human pinball machine and then delivers a dropkick right on the button. He follows it up with a snap suplex for two. Pope comes back with an inverted atomic drop, followed by a high shoulderblock for two. Pope sets up AJ against the middle rope and attempts to run across with a splash, but misses the target, much to the liking of Flair. AJ then gets cocky and takes his time with a vertical suplex, only to have Pope counter into an inside cradle for the surprising upset victory (and all this, after his loss to Orlando Jordan).

Winner: Pope D’Angelo Dinero by pinfall

After the match, Flair jumps into the ring and assists AJ in a beat down on the Pope. Samoa Joe then runs out and beats on Styles, until Flair gets involved. It had no effect on Joe, but the distraction allows AJ to deliver a chopblock. Pope then gets up and evens the odds, as he and Joe clear the ring. Joe says AJ and him have had some wars together. He says they’ve been friends and they’ve been enemies, but regardless, he always respected AJ for being a man. He says at Against All Odds, he’ll be cashing in his feast or fired case to remind AJ what being a man is all about. He says until then, AJ can fear the inevitable.

Christy Hemme is now standing by (she’s pretty busy tonight) with Angelina Love. Love says she fully expects TBP to get involved in her match tonight, because she would if she was still with them and she knows them like the back of her hand. She says they did the unthinkable, thinking they could replace her. Angelina adds that she taught them everything they know, but not everything she knows. She says as far as Tara goes, she may be a 3-time champion, but tonight, Angelina becomes a 3-time champion as well.

Kevin Nash is sitting with Eric Young backstage. Bischoff interrupts and gets rid of Young, even going as far as to say he won’t remember his name in the morning (way to put a guy over). Bischoff then requests that Nash beats the holy hell out of Foley as a favour to him. Nash says since he’s doing Bischoff a favour, Bischoff should consider signing Hall and 6 Pac. Bischoff says they’re screw-ups (I guess he forgot who he was talking to). Nash says they need him now more than ever, but if destroying Foley is what he’s got to do, then he’ll do it.

Christy Hemme is backstage with Mick Foley, who says he was given a choice to either fold em up or lace em up and tonight, he’s chosen to lace his boots. He says the more he thinks about Nash, the hotter he gets. Abyss then steps in, as paranoid as can be and Foley reassures him that his job is safe, but requests that no matter what happens, Abyss cannot come out to help him. Abyss reluctantly promises.

Match #5: Kurt Angle vs. Tomko in a qualifying match in the Super 8 Card Stud tournament

As Tomko comes to the ring, Tenay makes a comment that “nothing is more important than timing in this business” (I guess the mystery attacker angle was mistimed then). Angle starts the match aggressively with a release German suplex, but Tomko answers right back with a big boot, positioning both guys in a stalemate. Angle clotheslines Tomko over the top rope to the floor. Back in the ring, Tomko delivers a snap powerslam, followed by a traditional powerslam, and then a double-handed chokeslam. He goes up top, but Angle meets him up there with a belly-to-belly superplex, followed by some rolling German suplexes. Angle delivers the Angle slam for two and the announcers didn’t even put over the fact that Tomko kicked out of Angle’s finisher. Tomko misses a boot in the corner, allowing Angle to deliver more Germans and then the straps come down and Angle applies the ankle lock, forcing Tomko into submission city.

Winner: Kurt Angle by submission

Kevin Nash walks into Hogan’s office and says Bischoff just gave him the rundown on the situation with Foley. He then asks Hogan to give his buddies one more chance. Hogan says he’s given them too many chances, and the best thing for Nash to do is distance himself from them.

Match #6: Tara vs. Angelina Love for the TNA Women’s Knockout title

There isn’t much to speak of in the early stages, until Tara lifts Angelina into a firewoman’s carry and plants her with a spinning sidewalk slam for two. Angelina counters the widow’s peak into a sunset flip, but Tara rolls through with another pinning combination for the win.

Winner: Tara by pinfall

After the match, Tara walks over and shakes Angelina’s hand. And then TBP run down to attack Angelina and Tara is reluctant at first, but eventually helps Angelina clean house of TBP, with Velvet narrowly escaping a beating.

Cameras pan to the back, where Scott Hall and 6 Pac are arriving (how two guys without contracts are getting more air time than actual talent is beyond me).

Match #7: Mick Foley vs. Kevin Nash in a streetfight

This was pointless, but Foley grabs the barbwire bat and has a medieval weapon match with Nash, who’s using a trashcan. Nash grabs a hockey stick to sweep Foley’s legs out from under him and then attempts to use the barbwire bat himself. Foley sacrifices his hands to protect his face and then delivers a low blow. He grabs what looks to be the caricature of himself and Abyss and is reluctant to use it (why is that even out there?). Nash takes advantage of Foley’s hesitating, and delivers a big boot for the win.

Winner: Kevin Nash by pinfall

After the match, Hall and 6 Pac come out and surprisingly (not that surprising) attack Nash. They then beat on Foley as well, as the show leaves the airwaves.

Final thoughts:

The great thing about TNA is…actually I don’t know where I was going with that. This show definitely had its highs and lows, but once again failed to put talent over that should be put over. The emphasis was on Angle’s hatred of Hogan, Foley’s hatred of Bischoff and Hall and 6 Pac showing up (who cares?). I cannot believe that the angle that should be the main angle was kept in the mid-card and completely ignored as a top angle. Nevertheless, I did enjoy the dynamic between Joe and AJ and thought it was a decent build, given that they only have one more week until the pay per view. I don’t understand why they put Dinero over. He is an impressive talent and does have a bright future, but the fact remains, he’s not in the main event at the pay per view; AJ Styles is. I can see if it was supposed to be AJ defending against Dinero at Against All Odds, because then it would make sense for the challenger to get a non-title victory. The one segment I really did enjoy, even though I don’t know where it’s going is the segment with Foley and Bischoff. I think for two guys that legitimately don’t like each other, they have very good chemistry and it was one of the best promos Mick Foley has cut in years; definitely his best in TNA. But because of the absence of key stars, I’ll have to drop this rating down to a 5 out of 10 this week.