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COMMENT





Impact: Championship Thursday features 3 title shots
By BLAINE VAN DER GRIEND - The Fight Network


Impact hits the air with a video package, containing highlights from last weekís episode. We are also reminded that tonight is Championship Thursday.

Hulk Hogan is in his office with Jeff Hardy (for some reason, Hardy is holding two belts). Hogan thanks Hardy for everything heís done for TNA, and tells him he needs to be ready for whoever is getting the title shot tonight. Hardy says heís always ready and then casually walks past his four championship contenders in the hallway (this is literally in slow motion by the way). This was shot like a scene from a movie and there is no live audio. Instead, Hardyís thoughts about each opponent have been voiced over to accompany the visual here (this was terrible).

For some reason, Jeremy Borash and TNAís newest announcer Todd Kenely are at the announce booth. JB informs us that they will be announcing the first hour of Impact, and Taz and Tenay will announce the second (I donít understand this change either).

Match #1: Rob Van Dam vs. Zema Ion for the X-Division Championship

Van Dam utilizes a body scissor pinning combination for two. He then delivers a military press slam, followed by a standing moonsault and then a springboard moonsault for two. Ion tries to get something going for himself, but runs right into a spin kick from Van Dam. RVD misses a crossbody and falls over the top rope to the floor. Ion meets him out there with a somersault plancha. Ion then comes back in the ring with a slingshot DDT for two. He then misses a corkscrew moonsault. Van Dam delivers a springboard heel kick and follows up with rolling thunder and then the five-star frog splash for the win (this was a much better match than the one at Bound for Glory).

Winner: Rob Van Dam by pinfall

As Van Dam celebrates, he walks blindly into a carbon foot print from Matt Morgan, who comes out of nowhere. Morgan says Hulk Hogan should have been careful what he wished for last week, because heís about to get it (I donít remember what Hogan wished for at all). Meanwhile, Joey Ryan is parading around the ring with Van Damís title.

Austin Aries is talking trash about Hulk Hogan backstage and mocking his movie performances, as he stands behind Hoganís closed office door, trying to eavesdrop on Hoganís selection of Jeff Hardyís challenger tonight.

Christopher Daniels and Kazarian come out to the ring and they have new entrance music, which is completely generic. Kaz says they are the real World Tag Team Champions of the world, and he claims that he and Daniels are the victims of a conspiracy. Kazarian goes on to say that he was unable to make it to the show last week, which unfortunately left Daniels at a severe disadvantage in the triple threat match. He adds that their titles were taken from them at Bound for Glory by two men who are probably in this country illegally. Daniels says itís supposed to be Championship Thursday, but itís not really Championship Thursday. He complains that both Zema Ion and Miss Tessmacher get their rematches tonight, but he and Kaz donít. Daniels says that Chavo and Hernandez have been ducking them and he says they have a petition for everyone in the Impact Zone to sign, so that they can get their rematch. Chavo and Hernandez then come through the tunnel. Chavo says nothing would make him and Hernandez happier than to help Daniels and Kazarian get their rematch, so they can take their championship belts and shove them down Danielsí and Kazarianís throats. With that, the champs clean house of their potential number one contenders. Chavo and Hernandez then sign the petition themselves.

Hogan is in his office with the four World Championship contenders. He asks each of them why they deserve the shot. Angle says if he didnít get injured, heíd still be the champion right now. Ray says heís still steamed about the situation with Devon. Hogan says that since Anderson doesnít seem to have the passion and desire that the other three have, heís the first one eliminated. Anderson leaves the room upset, and is then approached by Austin Aries outside the office. Aries tells him that itís a shame what happened in there. He says if he was still the champion, Anderson would definitely have a shot. Anderson says he doesnít want any handouts, to which Aries responds that Anderson would never have beaten him anyway. Aries says heís a better wrestler than Anderson, heís a better dresser than Anderson and heís even a bigger asshole than Anderson. This was apparently the red button, as Anderson then attacks Aries. They brawl for a bit, which ends with Anderson hitting Aries with some picture on the wall. Aries then challenges Anderson to a match tonight, and I swear to God that I heard someone yell ĎCutí at the end of this segment.

Devon is in a meeting with the other members of Aces and 8s. He says he spoke to the president of the group, and the president wanted to make sure that their masks never come off, because nobody needs to know who they are (not that anybody would care). Devon then goes on to more important matters, saying that he has some female entertainment for them tonight, but they need to take care of business first. Devon says they need to take someone out tonight. In the background, there are pictures of everybody on the roster on some peg board, so one of the group members stands up and throws a dart aimlessly at the board. Devon says they now know who they have to take out, as they all have a good laugh.

Match #2: Samoa Joe vs. Robbie T. for the TNA Television Championship

Joe nearly breaks his hand trying to chop Robbie, but then finds that the open hand slaps have more effect. Robbie tries a chokeslam, but Joe avoids it and locks on the Coquina clutch. Robbie fights free, but leaves his back open as he walks away, allowing Joe to lock on the clutch again. Robbie once again breaks free as he falls backwards with all of his might. Joe shows his persistence as he locks on the clutch one more time, which finally gets the big man to tap out.

Winner: Samoa Joe by submission

Up next is a video, with highlights of the Tara versus Miss Tessmacher feud.

Tessmacher says she loved seeing Jesse get manhandled by ODB last week. She says sheís more determined than ever to win her title back.

Hogan is back in the office with the three remaining contenders. Both Storm and Angle say that Ray is more focused on getting even with Devon than anything else. Ray says if he doesnít get this title shot tonight, heís going after Devon to get some answers. Hogan then dismisses Ray as a challenger, and tells him to go get his answers. Ray does not seem disappointed.

Mr. Anderson is backstage with one of the producers, talking about his match with Austin Aries that has apparently been approved by Hogan (where did Hogan find the time?). He says itís a match that both he and Aries want. Anderson clearly needs to decaffeinate.

Match #3: Mr. Anderson vs. Austin Aries

Anderson shoves Aries back and yells ĎCome on, b----!í to get things started. Anderson gets into full mount and drops some heavy bombs on Aries, who then retreats to the floor. Aries calls for a time out, but clearly doesnít have the same power as Zack Morris. Anderson somehow finds brass knuckles, which the referee confiscates (I believe Aries tried to plant them on Anderson). Aries later attacks with a tope under the middle rope to the floor. Aries hits a running elbow in the far corner and then a knee drop to the back of Andersonís neck. Anderson comes back with a clothesline that tosses Aries like a cork. He then delivers a spinning front kick, which sends Aries to the floor. Anderson tries the steamroller, but Aries hooks on to the shirt of the official, who goes down as Anderson releases Aries. Aries then takes the brass knuckles that the referee had, and he tries to give them to Anderson again. The referee gets up and catches Anderson with the brass knuckles. As heís putting those away, Aries pulls out a second pair of knucks and then levels Anderson with them. Aries then applies the last chancery, which gets him the victory, since Anderson is unconscious.

Winner: Austin Aries by technical submission

Tara and her new beau Jesse Godderz are protesting to Brooke Hogan backstage about ODB putting her hands on Jesse last week. Brooke says she shouldnít be worried about that and she should focus on her match with Miss Tessmacher, which is up next. Tara storms off, but Brooke pulls Jesse aside, and informs him that she heard that ODB has a thing for him. Jesse looks disgusted (this guyís actually not a bad actor).

Taz and Tenay are now back at the announce booth for hour two.

Match #4: Miss Tessmacher vs. Tara for the TNA Knockouts Championship

Before Tara makes it to the ring, Tessmacher meets her with a baseball slide. A distraction by Godderz allows Tara to take advantage by attacking Tessmacher from the blindside. After an eskimo kiss with Jesse, Tara tries a slingshot somersault leg drop, but misses her mark. Tessmacher delivers a few clotheslines, followed by asstastic, and then a face-plant out of the corner. As Tessmacher runs the ropes, Jesse low-bridges her, and she takes a nasty spill to the outside. Jesse then tosses her back in, so Tara can pick up the win after the widowís peak.

Winner: Tara by pinfall

As Tara and Jesse make out after the match, they are interrupted by Brooke Hogan, who announces that next week is Open Fight Night. She says she just spoke to ODB, who says she wants to challenge Jesse Godderz to a match next week (I thought Jesseís facials after that announcement were great).

Joseph Park walks into Hoganís office. Park asks Hogan if heís given any more thought to Parkís request to get his hands on Aces and 8s. Hogan says Parkís had one match, and he doesnít think itís a great idea. Park presents Hogan with some legal documents, and asks Hogan to either stand behind him on this, or stand out of his way. Hogan says heíll think about it.

Bully Ray comes out for the next segment. Ray immediately thanks Sting for allowing him to be his partner at Bound for Glory. Ray says when everyone found out that his brother Devon was involved with Aces and 8s, he was totally shocked. Ray says the excuse that Devon gave last week was bull crap (I thought it made sense). Ray then calls out Devon, and demands an explanation. Devon comes through the crowd with other members of Aces and 8s. The group stands between Devon and Ray like a security wall. Devon says he owes Ray no explanation, because they are no longer a team, nor are they family. Devon tells Ray this has nothing to do with him. He says it all has to do with Hogan, because Hogan never once texted him or talked to him to try to keep him in TNA. He says Aces and 8s are the only people who have had his back. He then tells Ray to mind his own business, because itís over between the two of them. Ray says itís over when he says itís over. Ray says he had a perfectly good reason to do what he did two years ago. He says itís always been about him and Devon. Ray says when they faced the Motor City Machine Guns in their retirement match, Chris Sabin kicked out of the 3D, which nobody has ever done before. Ray then recalls one night in particular, when he was sitting in the back with his head down, and Devon told him that he shouldnít be worried, because the two of them are rich anyway, and Devon said ĎScrew the fans.í Ray says the two of them have never been about talking; theyíve been about fighting. Ray then tells Devon to get rid of his goons and fight him one on one. Devon acts like heís going to fight, but then backs off and says heíll fight when he wants to fight. Ray says Devon has always been a coward and has hid behind him for most of his career. He reminds Devon that next week is Open Fight Night, and heís going to call Devon out.

Joey Ryan and Matt Morgan are stopped by the Reaction crew backstage, and are asked why they attacked RVD earlier. Ryan says that the rules in TNA donít apply to the two of them. He says RVD doesnít impress him, and he adds that itís about time to put some X-Division gold around his waist. Morgan adds that he does what he wants, when he wants, and thereís nothing that anybody can do about it.

Up next is a video package, focusing on next weekís Gut Check contestant Christian York (finally someone with more name value). York has competed in TNA before, as he mentioned in the video.

Hulk Hogan walks up to James Storm and Kurt Angle backstage. He says a whole bunch of nothing, and then picks Kurt Angle to face Jeff Hardy, which leaves Storm with a blank look on his face. Hogan then assures Storm that he has something big planned for him.

Match #5: Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Hardy for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship

Hardy takes the early advantage with a couple of arm drags. Angle takes a bit of a low road by raking the eyes, but Hardy comes back with the elevated low dropkick in the corner. He then catches Angle with an inverted atomic drop coming off the middle rope, and then negotiates a double leg takedown and delivers a double-footed gut stomp. Angle responds by crotching Hardy on the top rope and then kicking him to the floor. Both guys go down after a double clothesline spot. Hardy is the first to his feet and attacks with a flying forearm and then flying clothesline in the corner. Hardy follows up with a flying headscissors out of the corner and as Angle goes to the floor, Hardy runs off the apron with a clothesline. Back in the ring, Hardy connects with whisper in the wind for two. Angle comes back with the rolling German suplexes for two. Angle tries the Angle slam, but Hardy avoids it and hits the twist of fate. He then heads to the third floor, but Angle meets him up there with a belly-to-belly throw for two. Angle delivers a powerbomb into a pinning combination for two. He then applies the ankle lock, but Hardy counters with a spinning reverse mule kick. Hardy misses the swanton, which leads to Angle getting the Angle slam for two. Hardy then hits two more twists of fate, and he finally gets the swanton, but only gets two. Angle then elevates Hardy over the top rope to the floor. Angle then tries another Angle slam in the ring, but Hardy slides down the back into a roll-up for the win.

Winner: Jeff Hardy by pinfall

After the match, Austin Aries attacks Hardy from behind with the title belt. Aries has a great line, saying that with all the eyes that Hardy has, he figured Hardy would have some at the back of his head. Aries says he wants to announce when heíll invoke his rematch. Aries says heís not giving this away for free. He says heíll get his title shot at Turning Point, when Hardy goes back to the outhouse, while Aries returns to the penthouse. Aries then takes the original title belt with him for safe keeping.

From there, we go to the back, where Aces and 8s are beating the hell out of Kurt Angle (this is one of the worst-looking beat downs Iíve ever seen). They are chased off by Garrett Bischoff and Wes Brisco of all people, as the show goes off the air.

Blaine Van Der Griend is a contributor to The Fight Network and SLAM! Wrestling.