Impact: The action doesn't end at the bell, plus Hardy faces Styles
NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling
It’s Week Two of the new Monday night era of TNA Impact, and we start the proceedings with a trip in the video time machine all the way back to March 8, 2010. It was a crazy time for TNA, what with Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair doing battle and Rob Van Dam and Jeff Hardy dropping in. Ah, the memories!
An orange Hummer, soon to be an endangered species on the roads of North America, pulls up to the back door of the Impact Zone. Hulk Hogan and new BFF Abyss get out, accompanied by RVD and Hardy, who has his face paint going.
Meanwhile, Flair and protégé AJ Styles have a few things to say in the ring. The TNA champ sneers at the ring Abyss wears, comparing belief in its power to believing in the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus. Styles reminds Abyss that they have had classic battles in the past, but he always came out on top. A more animated (to say the least) Flair is still upset about getting busted open by Hogan last week, so he immediately busts himself back open. He also expresses his hatred for Hardy. Jeff comes out to join them, but an irritated Styles asks what Hardy has done in TNA. The champ figures Hardy must long for the spotlight, so he offers him a match tonight, though it’s not for the title. Flair makes a not-so-delicate reference to Hardy getting high, but Jeff responds that he’ll be getting high on the backs of his creatures of the night. Hey, this better not turn into some kind of Twilight thing or I’m not doing these reports any more.
Mick Foley goes to talk to Eric Bischoff, who really wants Mick to be the kind of executive that will do the company proud. To that end, Bischoff plans on giving him a shave tonight.
I’m not sure why anyone thought bringing back the Nasty Boys was a good idea. To paraphrase the great philosopher Dr. John Zoidberg, their wrestling is bad, and they should feel bad. But they are on the show, so I have to write about them. The Nasty Boys beat down Jesse Neal backstage, presumably to prevent him from taking part in a six-man tag that also includes Team 3D and Jimmy Hart.
Match 1 – The Nasty Boys and Jimmy Hart vs. Team 3D
It’s going to be a handicap match… or is it? Team 3D brings out Brother Runt, who hasn’t been seen regularly around these parts for a few years. The match is pretty much what you’d expect until Hart decides to utilize that most fearsome of weapons, the motorcycle helmet. Brian Knobbs clocks Brother Ray in the back of the head with it, allowing Hart to cover for the pin. A post-match beatdown is about to commence, but Neal arrives just in the nick of time and sets up Jerry Sags to get a 3D through a table.
Christy Hemme speaks with Angelina Love backstage, and she’s not happy about her former partners The Beautiful People winning the Knockout tag team belts. She challenges any of the BP to meet her in singles action tonight. Elsewhere, Jeremy Borash speaks to Syxx-Pac and Scott Hall about their big shot at winning permanent spots on the TNA roster at Destination X. I say they’re getting so much camera time now, why even bother trying for legitimate spots? Hall is sporting a homemade TNA Wolfpac shirt, which is pretty funny. Kevin Nash and Eric Young stop by to engage in some witty repartee, and Big Sexy offers Hall $25,000 if he can last five minutes in the ring with him. I’d take my chances on that bet.
Match 2 – Mr. Anderson and Desmond Wolfe vs. Kurt Angle and D’Angelo Dinero
Dinero is still selling his injured ankle. And yet The Pope does surprisingly well once he’s tagged into the match. Wolfe finally wears him down and looks for the Figure Four to take advantage of the injury yet again, but Dinero rolls through and manages to hold on for three. Wolfe tears into The Pope after the bell while Anderson flattens Angle with a Mic Check. Anderson takes Angle’s warrior medal and uses it to bloody him again. Unsatisfied with stopping there, he grabs his old school mic to get in a few verbal taunts and gets in a few shots with that too.
In Hogan’s office, Hardy and RVD get the rundown on what’s going to happen later on, and everyone appears to be on the same page. Bischoff isn’t though, and he seems especially dismayed that Hulk chose not to tell him that those two gentlemen would be appearing on Impact last week. Hogan says he figured Bischoff had his hands full with Foley and Jeff Jarrett and insists they are still a team. Eric doesn’t sound so convinced as he leaves, and Hogan says aloud, “That was weird.” Hulk, don’t break the fourth wall!
Match 3 – Angelina Love vs. ?
The Beautiful People come out to answer Love’s challenge, but they introduce someone who has been dubbed an honorary member “for one night only,” Daffney. As Mike Tenay and Taz say, I suppose she’s beautiful in a scary sort of way. The match isn’t long, as the BPs crotch Love on a ring post (not as bad for women as men but probably still hurts them), and the ref throws out the match. Love gets driven into the ramp and dragged back into the ring, but Tara bursts out of the crowd to save her, nailing Velvet Sky with the Widow’s Peak. I love that move.
A video recap reminds us of all the fun Sting and RVD had last week. Admittedly, it was probably more fun for Sting since he was on the correct end of all those chair shots. Hogan wants to address Sting’s behavior, and the painted one makes the long walk from the rafters down to the ring. He never makes it there, as RVD ambushes him and gives him a merry beating all around the outside of the squared circle. Rob tosses Sting’s bat into the Hulkster, who is just about to do his best Prince Fielder imitation when Bischoff comes running in to stop him. Eric tells Hulk it’s not right to retaliate and calls Security to remove Sting. Bischoff reminds Hogan that he promised his daughter he was going to quit being an active wrestler and that he came to TNA to run the company. The plot thickens, or perhaps just muddles.
Hernandez sidles up to Jarrett and offers his assistance due to the raw deal Jeff has been getting. Unfortunately Bischoff, who seems to be everywhere at once tonight, is lurking in the shadows. He sticks Hernandez in a handicap match with Beer Money, Inc. for his meddling and makes Jarrett the guest referee. Bischoff also warns JJ that if he doesn’t call it right down the middle, his TNA career is over.
Match 4 – Kevin Nash vs. Scott Hall
This is kind of a mess, but at least we know it’s only going to last five minutes. Syxx-Pac and Eric Young both get involved, and Nash ends up handcuffed to the ropes. Young takes a beating and Hall and Waltman leave $25,000 richer, even though I’m pretty sure that didn’t even go the full five. Let’s just move on.
Beer Money’s James Storm and Robert Roode seem to be firmly behind Bischoff as he’s giving them the opportunity they were seeking. Both men are tired of being nice guys and catering to the fans. Oh, and Hernandez? Sorry about your damn luck!
Match 5 – Beer Money, Inc. vs. Hernandez w/ special referee Jeff Jarrett
Matt Morgan acts like he’s going to help his tag team partner but detours to the announce table instead. The Blueprint is miffed that Hernandez stuck his nose in someone else’s business, depriving the tag champs of having a match before Destination X. Hernandez eventually falls victim to the numbers game and is dropped with a DWI, forcing a reluctant Jarrett to count the fall. Beer Money decides to keep the show’s running theme going and attack Hernandez after the bell. But Jarrett figures he’s done his part as the ref, so he takes off his referee shirt and helps Hernandez run off the heels.
Bischoff must be serious about this shave thing for Foley, as he’s got clippers, a mirror and a barber’s chair set up in the ring. Foley appears as if he’s going to go through with it, but he unleashes Mr. Socko on Eric at the last minute. With Bischoff unconscious, Foley decides to shave his head instead. Eric recovers and is furious, possibly because Mick left the job half done. All along, I have this nagging feeling we’ve seen Bischoff go through this before. Hmm…
I have to admit that the ads for the TNA internet show hosted by SoCal Val and Borash are pretty funny. If the company showed that much finesse with other aspects of their shows, they may really be onto something. In contrast, we have Shannon Moore’s promo, which is nearly incomprehensible. He is in the running with Neal for “Best Mohawk,” for what it’s worth.
Out in the ring, the Motor City Machineguns ask where the heck they’ve been recently. Actually I made that up. They are really out there to announce that Sunday will mark the beginning of the rise of the Machineguns and the downfall of Generation Me. The former Young Bucks head down to retort, answering the question of why they deserve to be in the Ultimate X Match by reminding Chris Sabin that they actually beat the Motor City boys in their TNA debut. Alex Shelley says anyone can get lucky, and that the brothers are good but not great. And speaking of getting lucky, how about their mom? That starts a fight, and pretty soon Brian Kendrick, Amazing Red, Christopher Daniels and Kazarian are all involved. Chaos and high spots ensue. Red does an impressive somersault from the top of a ladder out to the floor that takes out the Machineguns and Daniels. Generation Me, Kazarian and Red all pose on the ladder to promote Destination X.
Borash gets a few moments of Abyss’ time before he serves as special enforcer for the main event. He talks about his magic ring and threatens Styles and Flair, especially if the old man tries to involve himself in the action.
Main Event – AJ Styles vs. Jeff Hardy
Hardy takes control early, forcing Styles to the mat. A battle in the corner erupts into an exchange of knife-edge chops before Jeff is tossed out to the floor. Flair thinks about a cheap shot but is dissuaded by Abyss. AJ fakes the Fosbury flop and simply stomps on Hardy as he tries to slide back into the ring. Styles gets a near fall with a big dropkick and continues to put on the pressure, though Hardy eventually rallies with a series of forearm shots and a facebuster. Hardy hits a swinging kick in the corner for another two count, and Styles is forced to rake the eyes to catch a breather. The champ uses elbow shots and a brainbuster to earn his own near fall, then gets another one after a corkscrew moonsault. Hardy attempts a Twist of Fate but it’s countered by a Pele kick. AJ goes for a springboard move that ends up taking out Hardy and referee Slick Johnson. Flair goes for a chair but is stopped by Abyss once again. Styles misses the Superman when Hardy rolls away, and Jeff connects with a Twist of Fate. A Swanton seals the deal for Hardy as Abyss makes the count. Because no match tonight can end without some kind of attack at the end, Flair enters with a chair and lays out Hardy. He starts bashing Abyss, following the Monster up the ramp. All of a sudden, Abyss starts convulsing… oh, wait, I’m sorry, that’s his version of “hulking up.” No-selling the last few chair shots, Abyss chokeslams Flair through part of the ramp. My last thought is “Ric, you’re getting too old for that” as Impact calls it a night.
Nick Tylwalk isn’t even 35 but still isn’t sure he’d like to take bumps from Abyss. He’d like to invite everyone, but especially Velvet Sky and Madison Rayne, to email him at email@example.com or follow his Twitter feed @Nick_Tylwalk.