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Impact: Down the rabbit hole with TNA
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


TNA programming has a few things in common with the current king of the box office, Alice in Wonderland. For starters, seeing Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair battle it out in 2010 is as surreal in anything in the classic Lewis Carroll story. Also, both the film and Sunday’s Destination X featured prominent characters disappearing down holes.

Things get curiouser and curiouser right away tonight, because Eric Bischoff is in the ring playing a guitar. Apparently he’s a trained musician – who knew? Mostly he’s doing it to prove a point, which is that he knows how to play guitar, while nemesis Jeff Jarrett only knows how to smash one. He calls JJ to the ring to prove otherwise. Bischoff tries to goad Jarrett into taking a shot at him, and though the crowd wants to see it, Jeff decides against it. On his way out, Bischoff decides to get in a few verbal parting shots and ends up going a little too far. Jarrett returns and gives the people what they want, knocking Bischoff silly with a guitar shot. Mick Foley congratulates Jeff once he reaches the back.

When Bischoff finally regains his senses, he immediately begins plotting revenge against Jarrett and Foley. In a dastardly twist, he books them to face each other in the ring tonight in a true no-win situation: the loser will be fired, and the winner will be his bitch (his words, folks, not mine). Foley tries to calm a panicked Jarrett down, pointing out that both of them are to blame for pushing Bischoff to this point.

Match 1 – The Beautiful People and Daffney vs. Tara, Taylor Wilde, Sarita and Angelina Love

An eight-woman tag match smacks of the kind of thinking that TNA’s competition usually uses when it simply throws all the girls out there. But there are some subplots running here, so I’ll cut it some slack. Velvet Sky seems satisfied when she plants Angelina Love, but that simply sets off a series of finishers. Tara ends up hitting the Widow’s Peak on Lacey Von Erich and goes to retrieve her spider, Poison, from the corner. Sadly, she never makes it, as Daffney snatches her up and pins her with the Lobotomy. She taunts Tara before taking Poison with her. Poor Tara and Poison certainly are star-crossed lovers.

As a result of their trip down the rabbit hole at Abyss’ hands, AJ Styles is sporting a sling and a crutch and Flair is in a wheelchair (again). A video package shows us just how they got that way. Back in the Impact Zone, Abyss and Hulk Hogan make their way to the ring. Hogan acknowledges that Bischoff was right when he said things between himself and Flair had been too personal, and he vows to make business first from here on out. To that end, he announces that it will be Team Hogan versus Team Flair at Lockdown, with Abyss as his team captain. Imagine that motivational speech! Abyss sneers at Styles and Flair, saying it’s safer for them to crash in their hotel rooms then to be crashed through the Impact Zone at a place of his choosing. The Monster admits he didn’t win the match but did win some respect. For the opposition response, Flair and Styles manage to limp and/or roll out on stage. Ric is fired up, but he points out that the site of Lockdown, St. Louis, is Flair Country, and that the Nature Boy is a cage match specialist. Styles laments that he had Abyss beaten before he was rudely slammed through the ring. Flair has his own announcement to make, which is that Sting will be his team captain. On cue, the lights go out, and they come back up to find Sting sitting in a corner and laughing because Hogan is handcuffed to the opposite ring post and Styles is busting up Abyss with his crutch. The carnage is ended when D’Angelo Dinero comes to the rescue, taking out Styles and freeing Hogan from his shackles. Sting has already hightailed it out of there, but not Flair. Hogan pushes Flair’s chair down the ramp right into an Abyss clothesline, and the Pope adds insult to injury by stuffing some currency in the Nature Boy’s mouth.

Christy Hemme wastes a minute or two with Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam and Shannon Moore, who barely say anything intelligible. Moving on...

Match 2 – Rob Terry vs. Tomko – TNA Global Championship Match

Terry looks like an action figure. Alas there’s no telling how good he is at wrestling, because this is another squash. Off with his head!

Some video packages take us back through all of the drama between Foley, Jarrett and Bischoff. Jeremy Borash talks to both of them, and Foley says he knew his run with TNA would end eventually, but he wants it to end on his own terms. He’s used thoughts of running Bischoff out of the promotion to keep him going through his recent rough times. Jarrett is distraught because both of them deserve to be there. They finally agree that they owe it to the fans and each other to go all out, come what may. Did I mention that the boys from Beer Money, Inc. are the special referees? No? Well they are.

Match 3 – Mick Foley vs. Jeff Jarrett – No Disqualification, Loser Leaves Town Match

Well, I suppose the loser doesn’t actually have to leave Orlando, but it’s traditional to name it like this. The fans are conflicted, chanting for both men. Foley owns most of the early action as Bischoff joins the announcers. After a commercial break, Jarrett suplexes Foley on the ramp. They battle back down to the ring, where Mick uses Mr. Socko to put Jarrett in serious trouble. Jeff elbows his way out and manages to kick a chair into Foley’s face when Mick attempts to charge into the corner with it. Jarrett hits the Stroke on the chair and somewhat reluctantly pins Foley. The two men shake hands in the ring, and Foley heads for the back, presumably for the last time. Bischoff can hardly contain his glee, and he orders Beer Money to attack Jarrett. Hardy and RVD run down before things get too far, chasing Storm and Roode from the ring. Van Dam says they are only there to have a good time and figured it would be fun bouncing those two goofballs around the ring. That’s Rob’s own special way of issuing a challenge, which Beer Money eagerly accepts.

Mick says goodbye to a good chunk of the roster, pausing to give a big man-hug to Abyss. Bubba the Love Sponge tries to get one last interview with him, but Foley acts the way any sensible person would in that situation and decks him. Bang, bang!

Bischoff drops in on Hogan’s office, quite pleased that he’s rid of Foley. But Hulk isn’t quite as thrilled, forcing Eric to backtrack just a tad. Hogan also says that Jarrett is over and should be left around, drilling Bischoff with his own advice about putting business before personal agendas. Eric asks rhetorically who may have arranged for Hardy and RVD to rescue Jarrett, but he lets the matter drop on his way out.

Hemme talks to Beer Money about their bu sy night. They like to stay busy and really enjoy putting themselves before the fans. Sorry about your damn luck! That’s something I think about at my “day job” all the time.

Hardy and RVD take a few moments to chat with JB. Hardy says he knew that something like this would happen once they ran out to save Jarrett, but he’s cool with it because he does know a thing or two about tag team wrestling. Van Dam agrees that it’s not their first go-round, or shindig, or rodeo or whatever. A video package also shows us what’s been going wrong between Hernandez and Matt Morgan.

Match 4 – Matt Morgan vs. Hernandez

Hernandez doesn’t even wait for the bell, jumping his possibly-soon-to-be-ex-partner on the ramp and generally tossing him around for several minutes. Morgan finally counters a charge in the corner by hurling Super Mex out to the floor. Matt follows and delivers a Carbon Footprint that also smacks Hernandez’ head off the post. The ref calls for help, and Homicide and medical personnel come down to put Hernandez on a stretcher.

Tazz and Mike Tenay are earning their pay by selling the injury. But the show must go on, and it will go on in TNA for Syxx-Pac and Scott Hall after Kevin Nash helped them win contracts on Sunday.

Main Event – Beer Money, Inc. vs. Rob Van Dam and Jeff Hardy

Hardy is on a roll right from the opening bell, dropping Storm onto Roode out on the floor and setting a ladder up between the apron and the guardrail. There’s one final commercial break to get through, and we return to see RVD get a near fall. Hardy tags in and gets a two count on Storm, forcing Roode to make the save. Beer Money slowly takes over by isolating and working over Hardy. Jeff eventually escapes the Eye of the Storm and hits a desperation Whisper in the Wind, allowing the hot tag to RVD. Rob runs wild with a jumping kick off the top rope and a split-legged moonsault. All four men enter the fray, and Beer Money nails Van Dam with a double suplex. Roode catapults RVD into a DDT by Storm and covers him for a near fall. Hardy returns and gives Roode the Twist of Fate before he’s snatched out of the ring by Storm. Jeff is hurled toward the ladder but manages to slide under it and throw it back in Storm’s face. Meanwhile, Roode falls victim to Rolling Thunder, a Swanton and the Five-Star Frog Splash. Needless to say, he doesn’t kick out of that.

We’re not quite finished here in Wonderland. Eric Young hops in the ring and grabs a microphone to announce that he’s going to get his shot at revenge against the Band or the Wolfpac or whatever they are calling themselves now. Next week it will be Nash, Hall and Waltman against Young and his tag team partners... Hardy and RVD. That’s all for this week. Have seven merry unbirthdays until the next show!

Nick Tylwalk is pondering whether TNA should go to 3D, at least for certain segments {Cough! The Beautiful People. Cough!} . Email him at ntylwalk7@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter @Nick_Tylwalk.