Impact: Sting's choice, RVD's arrival and Hogan-Flair, Chapter 70
NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling
The “Monday Night Wars” are back on by popular demand. Or not. Either way, Impact is live on Spike TV with a new intro that includes some very old faces. Also, something big is supposed to happen in the first five minutes, which I’m here to chronicle for the DVR-impaired.
What’s that? I’ve just been told I actually have to recap the whole show, not just the first five minutes. That’s actually fine with me, since I started with SLAM! Wrestling way back when as the Nitro reporter, and this should turn out to be much the same job in several respects.
Hulk Hogan and Abyss come out to start the show, with Hogan offering a few choice words for Ric Flair and AJ Styles. The heel duo is called out and obliges by heading toward the ring. It looks like we’re getting the cross-generational tag team match right off the bat.
Match 1 – Abyss and Hulk Hogan vs. AJ Styles and Ric Flair
The younger guys start the match, though Flair is tagged in early. I cringe as Abyss gives Ric a back body drop, as he seems extra fragile these days. All four men end up in the ring, with Hogan actually selling a Pele kick from Styles. The lights go out, and Sting is standing in the ring when they go back up. The fans love it, but cheers quickly change to boos when Sting decides to let Abyss and Hogan have it with his baseball bat. Ever the opportunists, Styles and Flair grab a steel chair and get in on the fun. Hogan bleeds as the assault continues. TNA Security steps in after a few minutes, though Hulk recovers enough to grab a mic and promise that this particular battle isn’t over. Hogan says the tag team match will still happen later in the show, this time with no disqualifications (cue dramatic “Dun, dun, dun” sound effect!).
TNA President Dixie Carter attempts to confront Sting about his actions. He shoves Carter against a wall and says, “I owe you nothing!” Then he stomps off.
Jeremy Borash interviews Styles and Flair, who are pretty happy about what just went down. The Nature Boy says Sting finally came to his senses and also promises more of Hogan’s blood will be spilled when they do battle later tonight. Elsewhere, Abyss yells “Why, Sting, why?” to no one in particular.
Brooke Hogan needs consolation as she’s pretty worried about her career... er, I mean, her dad. Out in the ring, Kazarian talks about leaving TNA because of some doubts he had, but he promises those doubts are now gone. On a totally unrelated note, did they ever say what happened to that Suicide character? I wonder what happened to him. Anyway, Kazarian promises to relight the fire in the X Division, a statement that brings out one of its more accomplished members, Christopher Daniels. The Fallen Angel, reminding Kazarian that he was the longest-reigning X Division champ of all time, says that if anyone will lead the division forward, it will be him. Current titleholder Doug Williams is showered with derisive “USA” chants as he butts in. Kazarian asks Williams where he was when “we” were innovating seven years ago, but Daniels takes exception to that, too. Tired of the bickering, Eric Bischoff appears, calling the X Division the adrenaline of TNA and promising to make it go bigger, faster and stronger. I swear he gave that same speech to Billy Kidman back in ’99 in reference to WCW’s cruiserweight scene. Bischoff sets out to make good on his word by making Williams defend his title against both men... right now.
Match 2 – Doug Williams (champion) vs. Kazarian vs. Christopher Daniels – X Division Championship Match
Cool spots in this one include Kazarian hitting a Northern Lights suplex on Daniels while still pinning Williams and a somersault plancha that takes out both of his foes. Daniels has an extended run of offense, scoring multiple near falls on Kaz. He even sets up for the Best Moonsault Ever, but Kazarian rolls away. Williams blindsides Daniels with the Chaos Theory and pins him to retain the gold. After the bell, Williams is assaulted by a reject from one of the Road Warrior movies. Or it could be Shannon Moore, I can’t be certain. Bischoff tells Williams he’ll have to defend his title against Moore at Destination X, and Doug displays some acting ability by appearing to look like that announcement worries him.
Borash corners Carter for a wrestling staple, the big announcement. Dixie says that since Sting recently signed his TNA contract, she’s decided to put him in a match tonight (this despite once saying she would not involve herself in booking matches, which Tenay points out). When asked who Sting’s opponent will be, Carter says he’ll find out when everyone else does.
Match 3 – Taylor Wilde and Sarita vs. The Beautiful People vs. Angelina Love and Tara – TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship Match
While TNA is miles behind the WWE in most aspects, it’s worth noting that TNA has not just a title for women but tag team belts as well. The WWE barely even has a men’s tag team division. Not bad stuff here, though I really enjoy Sarita’s wrestling and she barely gets any ring time. Daffney intervenes and uses one of the belts to smash Tara in the face, allowing the Beautiful People to claim the gold.
Christy Hemme gets a word with The Pope, D’Angelo Dinero. But that’s about all she gets, as Desmond Wolfe shows up and attacks Dinero’s injured ankle. In another part of the building, Borash celebrates the Beautiful People’s titles by bringing them champagne, which ends up getting sprayed everywhere. And on top of that, it’s not Korbel.
Match 4 – Sting vs. Rob Van Dam
The worst kept secret in wrestling is revealed as RVD turns out to be Sting’s mystery foe. Van Dam catches Sting by surprise, coming out of the crowd to nail him with a springboard kick and Rolling Thunder for the super quick pin. RVD climbs a turnbuckle to drink in a very large crowd reaction, but Sting expresses his displeasure with a shot from his trusty bat. Approximately 70 million more bat shots follow. Referees eventually convince Sting to leave, but he just takes out the officials and returns to the ring to keep pounding on Sting. Hogan sees enough and tries to head down the ramp, but he’s stopped by Security and the TNA court jester (a.k.a. Bubba the Love Sponge). He makes it all the way to the apron where he’s justly rewarded by his very own bat shot to the gut.
Kevin Nash and Eric Young walk down the ramp, apparently with a list of grievances to address with Scott Hall and Syxx-Pac. After a commercial break, Nash’s old buddies arrive and a war of words ensues. Hall says they want fat contracts, and Bischoff appears to say he can make that happen... if they beat Nash and Young in a match at the upcoming pay-per-view. The catch is that if Hall and Pac lose, they have to leave the company forever. But wait, they don’t even have contracts. This reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Kramer is fired from a place where he just started showing up:
“But I don’t even work here!”
“That’s what makes this so difficult.”
But I digress. Bischoff is generally fed up with the intruders, so he orders Security to clear out Nash and Hall and wants a match to begin right now for the other two men. So...
Match 5 – Eric Young vs. Syxx-Pac
It’s a Street Clothes Match! Young wins in fairly short order with a spike piledriver.
A U.S. Army Humvee is seen pulling up at the Impact Zone. Soldiers exit the vehicle, and we learn why after the break: they line the ramp to provide a dramatic entrance for Kurt Angle. The Olympic gold medalist isn’t too happy about the way Ken Anderson has been disrespecting the troops and the country, so he brought the servicemen in to pay his respects. Anderson tries to rain on his parade, but Angle quickly attacks him and drags him into the ring. Mr. Anderson gets the upper hand thanks to some dog tags wrapped around his fist, but Angle recovers and turns the fight into an impromptu lumberjack match, with the soldiers pummeling Anderson any time he’s thrown from the ring. An Angle Slam ends the battle, and Angle ends the segment by waving the U.S. flag while spitting on Anderson.
Taz and Tenay run down the Destination X card. Yes, there’s a pay-per-view coming up in less than two weeks. No, you aren’t dumb if you didn’t realize that this far into the broadcast. Yes, TNA could do a better job of building up to such events.
Jeff Jarrett tracks down James Storm, complaining that he was forced into a handicap match with Beer Money, Inc. Storm catches JJ off guard by claiming he volunteered for the match since Jarrett never did anything for him. Anger is expressed, punches are thrown, and Storm’s partner Robert Roode helps turn the battle in Storm’s favor until special guest referee Mick Foley tells everyone to save it for the ring. Sure, why not?
Match 6 – Beer Money, Inc. vs. Jeff Jarrett
The numbers don’t favor Jarrett. Foley tries to even the odds by slipping him a barbed wire baseball bat, but referee Slick Johnson sees it and takes it away. Seconds later, Beer Money plants and pins JJ. Thanks for playing, Jeff.
Abyss and Hogan are in the back discussing strategy when they are interrupted by a crying Brooke. Hogan’s daughter is worried about her 15 minutes expiring... um, I mean, the well-being of her father, and she begs him to promise this will be his last match. Hulk does so, but I think he may have his fingers crossed behind his back.
Main Event – AJ Styles and Ric Flair vs. Abyss and Hulk Hogan – No Disqualification Match
Hogan takes chops from Flair. He fires back with a back body drop, and the fight goes out to the floor. Flair ends up bloody, and he quickly tags in Styles when he makes it back to the ring. Ric gets back in and tries to go up top, where he is tossed down by Hogan. The old men continue to battle until both are down, and the Hulkster finally makes the hot tag to Abyss. After some back and forth action, the good guys hit double big boots. Hogan whips Styles to his partner, who delivers the Black Hole Slam and sends everyone home happy.
Or he would if the show was over, but it isn’t. Wolfe runs down and delivers a chair shot to Abyss. Dinero tries to even the sides, but his ankle prevents him from doing too much. Just when things look darkest for our heroes, Jeff Hardy arrives. The Charismatic Enigma unleashes some pain on the heels as Impact wraps up for this week. Watch it again on Thursday!
Nick Tylwalk returns to recapping a weekly Monday night wrestling show for the first time in about nine years to find some of the cast hasn't changed. Funny, that. Discuss anything related to wrestling, boxing, MMA, hip hop, sports collectibles, comic books, video games or whatever with Nick at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Nick_Tylwalk.