This Week in TNA: Corey Letson's Debut Looks At Impact, Highlights, Lowlights, Five Questions, and Cheekz!
By Corey Letson
Dec 18, 2011 - 11:41 AM
Hello readers and welcome to my first edition of "This Week in TNA". Now I know how Mike Johns use to run the ship but I'm letting you know now it is going to be different around here. First off I figure this column will get a few more looks than my previous Hot Threads column. So before you think some random guy or TNA-hater has gotten control of this column let me introduce myself.
My name is Corey Letson. I have been an avid wrestling fan all of my life and enjoy every single portion of it. We can talk storylines, work-rate, psychology, entertainment; I'm game for all of it. When it comes to Total Nonstop Action my knowledge is, overall, high. While I haven't been an avid viewer over the past year or so, life interferes with some recreational things, I watched TNA weekly from the days of weekly pay-per-views all the way up until last year.
Going into this first show here are the people, things, and current storylines I'm aware of:
Previously on TNA…
Samoa Joe - The Samoan Submission Machine. He destroys anyone and anything in his path just coming off his "Nation of Violence" campaign he was last in a bitter feud with "The Pope" D'Angelo Dinero over….ummmm….a video tape of some type?
Fortune - Comprised of Beer Money (whom recently split up after Robert Roode won the World Title from ex-partner James Storm), AJ Styles, Kazarian (recently X-division champion). Most recently Daniels left the group after feeling he doesn't get the same respect as AJ Styles. They fought throughout the most recent summer and now AJ is going after Robert Roode for his actions towards James Storm.
Kurt Angle - Was fighting Jeff Jarrett due to his ex-wife being with Jeff and custody over his kids or something? Anyways, Angle has since decided to destroy James Storm.
Sting - Fighting to help Dixie keep her company from Immortal, which for a short time also had Fortune part of it. At Bound for Glory Sting's year of going after Immortal ended when he beat Hulk Hogan in a street fight. This helped Hogan see the light and bring back Hulkamania. Hogan hasn't been seen since. Sting is also now in control of TNA in the form of the "whatever TNA calls their authority figure role". Fun Fact: Sting is Sting whenever he has face paint or sun glasses, but becomes Steve Borden if the sunglasses are removed.
Immortal - Now comprised of Bischoff, Bully Ray (who is the best character TNA has made in the past two years), Scott Steiner, and…that's it? Abyss was on the inside but snapped and left or they beat him out of it. Needless to say Bully Ray and Steiner are all about teaching Abyss a lesson. Eric Bischoff's son screwed Eric's plans up at Bound for Glory, thus, Bischoff is out for revenge. His son, Garrett, is showing him up currently and becoming one of the top wrestlers in TNA. Somewhere Shane McMahon is looking on saying, "Yeah, sure you're wrestling now, that's cool. But I stole the show every single time. You see the crazy s*** I did? Come at me, bro. Come at me."
Eric Young - He is the television champion. He is currently trying to fight television stars because he thinks that is who you fight when you're the champion of television.
Orlando Jordan - Former ClubWWI host. He still works in TNA? I think I saw him teaming with Devon.
Hernandez - He has a new LAX that has chicks and doesn't have Homicide. They are the tag team champions.
Dixie Carter - Owns the company. Also, she shows up on the show from time to time.
Jeff Jarrett - Founded the company. He is currently fighting Jeff Hardy because he thinks Jeff is a drug addict who doesn't deserve to be there. History is on Jeff's side, with video evidence, but for some reason people hate him and love the other Jeff.
Knockouts - Mickie James, Victoria, Madison Rayne, Gail Kim, and Velvet Sky wrestle here.
Austin Aries - He is A Double. Aries is "The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived". A Double currently holds the X-Division title. Everything he does is amazing.
Robbie E - Zack Ryder got big and as far as I know TNA needed their own version of him.
TNA News of the Week
Jesse Neal is apparently finally done with TNA. His final appearance is looking like the Impact I just watched. Not wanting to go to OVW has placed him on the unemployed line. Prediction: Guess who goes to OVW for TNA in five months.
TNA's India project is coming together nicely. They are filming 26 episodes and using a decent amount of talent for it. Notable people being used are: Nick Dinsmore, Chavo Guerrero, Harry D.H. Smith, Luke Gallows, Chris Masters, and more. Dave Lagana (former WWE and ROH writer) is involved as well. Roster and people involved this looks like something to see. TNA's main roster could benefit from one or two of these guys.
TNA Impact in Review
We kick things off with a review of TNA Final Resolution. The things I've learned about this past PPV?
-Jeff Hardy is the new number one contender.
-Bobby Roode retained his title in a tie, AJ cried about it, and Sting granted them a five minute over time…four days later on Impact.
AJ Styles vs. Robert Roode - Five Minute Overtime match for the TNA World Championship
Tenay likes to remind us that Robert Roode cheated to retain his title by avoiding AJ Styles legally for the final few minutes of the 30 minute iron man match. Apparently champions are suppose to fight regardless. Styles seemingly has a bad knee from this past Sunday as well.
The match starts with Roode going right outside and Styles chasing him. Now no one has stated if the five minute overtime is also under Iron Man rules so I'm just going to assume it is. Well, scratch that, they let us know it's sudden death overtime a minute in. Roode gets control with two minutes left following a chop block on the apron to AJ's knee. The clock is ticking and The Phenomenal One may not be able to win the title if it continues going like this.
With the clocking hitting one minute left AJ hits an enziguiri followed by a moonsault ddt to take full control. Bobby Roode pokes the eyes before dropping to the outside to run the clock out. AJ Styles hits pele before missing a springboard 450 as the clock runs out.
Time Limit Draw
Sting comes out following the draw to announce that "Bobby, we can do this all night long. First fall gets the win." So….
AJ Styles vs. Robert Roode - First Fall To a Victor for the TNA World Championship
Instantaniously the bell rings as Roode chop blocks Styles. The single-leg crab is quickly locked in and AJ Styles is forced to tap.
Robert Roode Retains the TNA World Championship
Robert Roode brags about his victory as AJ mentions that he had the win if it weren't for Roode's cheap tactics. These comments are being played over highlights of the previous match.
Mike Tenay introduces the rules to the "Wild Card" tag tournament. This is an 8-team single elimination tournament pitting randomly selected teams against each other. The winning team of this tournament will get a shot at Matt Morgan and Crimson's tag titles at the next PPV.
Scott Steiner and Abyss vs. Hernandez and Robbie T - First Round of the Wild Card Tag Tourney
Steiner is talking to Abyss about being a team player before making their way to the ring. It seems that since last I saw Abyss and Immortal have truly gone their full separate ways. Luckily for Abyss he can tell Steiner is on his side fully, because, Steiner is letting Abyss use his own theme music. Something about this match screams "make it quick", I think that would be Robbie T. Taz and Tenay talk of the oddities that are the two teams fighting. While Taz stands by Abyss and Steiner not being that odd I would vote for Rob-nandez. Robbie T looks like a cousin of Matt Morgan. Hernandez could work with that.
Steiner is still enjoyable to watch. I'm ok if it is just me who thinks so. His promos make me laugh, he can still put on a watch-able to pretty darn good match when he wants to, and he still looks like a wrestler. Our particular contest right now starts off with Steiner running both T and H down using suplexes, military presses, and push-ups.
T and H have had enough of this and begin to bend the rules toward their favor. Hebner has been refereeing for thirty years, hasn't he learned the inactive partner allowed in the ring for five second rule yet? Either way it doesn't matter because Abyss (The Big Ragged Monster?) has seen enough of their double-team assault. Big Poppa gets the pin after Abyss hits Robbie T with the Black Hole Slam.
Scott Steiner and Abyss advance to the 2nd round.
My Olympic Gold Medalist is letting me know he has had enough of Sting and he will take care of it. Within seconds of letting me know that Angle makes his way to the ring to tell Sting "get your [bleep] out here. I have a few things to get off my chest." Sting obliges.
Kurt, upon making Sting shut up and listen, wants him to know the following things.
1) He was screwed after only having 90 minutes to prepare for James Storm.
2) In his rematch he was screwed again by the same foreign object.
3) He is Kurt Angle.
4) The Olympian knows every submission ever.
5) Mr. 3 I's can, but won't, make The Icon cry for his mommy.
6) He wants another match with Storm.
Stingy let's Kurt know that he should Cowboy Up! (The old-west version of GTFO!) Kurt informs Sting that he officially says "Screw you guys, I'm going to James Storm's hometown to beat everyone up."
Zema Ion vs.
Anthony Niece (Neece?) in the First of a Best of 3 Series
Genesis will be the home of the 4-way match between Jesse Soransom, Kid Kash, Austin Aries, and one of these two wrestlers. I briefly remember Ion from his match with Jack Evans and Austin Aries a few months ago.
These two go back and forth for a few minutes before Anthony takes control after taking the legs out and flying through the air. First time this evening the crowd has actually come to it's feet.
After blocking a ‘rana attempt Zema takes full control. He has the match won but picks Anthony's head off the mat saying he has "one more move" to show the crowd. After hitting a modified T.N.D. (That N**** Dead) Ion goes for another cover. His cockiness doesn't get Z in trouble tonight as he hit's a 450 afterward for the win.
Zema Ion Wins Wins the First of Three Matches
Karen and Jeff are arguing about which one of them should stay and which should go. No one is bringing up the option of them both going home. Zema gives the prettiest promo I've heard reminding TNA wrestling is now all about "Me, myself, and Ion."
Another crazy quick cut to another backstage conversation this time between Flair and Gunnar. Tonight is the night for Gunnar as he is to forget about Bischoff. Because Flair and Gunnar aren't with Bischoff anymore? Admittedly I am behind on that one.
Jesse Neal vs. Gunnar w/ Ric Flair
Ah, they were speaking of Garrett Bischoff, that makes much more sense. Highlights are shown of Gunnar giving Garrett Bischoff a piledriver on the concrete. With his new demeanor the Gun makes quick easy work of Jesse Neal. Good news for Jesse: Gunnar got DQ'd for putting his hands on Earl. Bad news? DDT to the concrete floor. Future is looking dim in Ink Inc's parlor.
Jesse Neal wins by DQ but Gunnar wins in every other way plausible at this point
Sting, who is no longer a clown but a cowboy now (1.2.12), is being conned by Knock-Out division head Karen Jarrett. She gives Sting all her reasons why her job should be safe and promptly throws Double J under the bus, Mr Mackey style. Cowboy Sting still needs to hear Jeff's side later tonight…
"The Diarama inside a Diarama about a previous Diarama", or Jeff Hardy if you will, has made his way to the ring. The Enigma is beat up, he's hurt, he just bit his tongue, but Jeff has made it to the Impact Zone. Here to let all of us know that on January 8th he will become the new TNA World Champion.
Just then the best thing going in TNA today, Bully Ray, is here to tell Hardy he shouldn't be happy. Sorry Jeffy, you shouldn't spend all that time tweeting. If you hadn't been so busy hitting up all your creatures you'd know Bully Ray is here to kick your ass. Best part? After the last Hardy couldn't wrestle for more than thirty seconds on pay-per-view Bully Ray became a star. He plans to thank Mr. Employeed And Now Sober by kicking his teeth in tonight.
Cameras catch up with Samoa Joe telling, I believe, Brutus Magnus one simple fact: Instead of Samoa Joe call'em Fred Durst. Because it's his way; his way or the highway. Brutus is letting Joe know he isn't feeling the friendship connection between Joey and himself. Brute will make his own opportunity tonight.
Robbie E and Douglas Williams vs. Samoa Joe and Brutus Magnus First Round of the Wild Card Tag Tourney
Oh shi-! Guess who randomly got selected to team? Well, I just wrote it up there so you already know. Still, they aren't BFFs. Hell, they may not even be Fs. After this fight they could want to F each other up by putting their boot in the other's A though.
Magnus and the underrated Williams start off with a small bit of chain wrestling until Long Island Iced RE gets the tag. The two continue to tag well with quick, concise tags isolating Brutus. These two look like a pretty good team in this random format.
Magnus escapes a Chaos Theory attempt and tags in Joe who decides to go all 2002 ROH on Dougie and Robbie's asses. Really good snap mare / rop rope elbow drop double team by Samoan Magnus before Joe rocks Williams with a MuscleBuster for the win.
Samoa Joe and Brutus Magnus advance to the Second Round
J-E-DOUBLE-F J-A-DOUBLE-R-E-DOUBLE-T is speaking with Sting about firing Karen. She's a woman, of course she wants to be home. Karen has all that cleaning, cooking, child-rearing to do. Hell, Jeff is the Mexican World Champion and you can't fire the Mexican champ; Affirmative Action mo'fo.
Crazy Eric Young still has a job. He is even entered into the tag tourney. ODB is his partner. Ugh! Next week ODB and CEY team up against ??? And ???.
This past Sunday Devon and The Pope lost their taq team title shot. Thing to remember from this match-up: Devon's kids were horrifically disappointed in him. It's like the time he ran over their five dogs all over again. These family related issues are coming to a head between Devon, his kids, and D'Angelo.
Brother Devon asks for The Pope. Dinero obliges and brings the boys with him. Pope is the father those boys never had. He never ran over any of their dogs. Even if he had the opportunity, why would he? D'niero is a man of the cloth, it's right there in his nickname "The Pope". Look at that nickname. Does "The Pop" sound like someone who would run over dogs for fun?
Reasons Mr. Dudley is informing us he was a good father (minus the dog killing):
A) They are his boys and he raised them since Day One.
B) He'll stand in front of a bus to make sure they're safe.
C) Was there when they were born and when they came home from hospital.
D) Fed them, gave them clothes.
E) Apparently might still take them to school, at the least, took them everyday they went.
F) Devon is training them. For what isn't clear, but I'm just going to assume it is wrestling.
The Pope's relationship with his sons is over. In any other context this would be the creepiest sentence to be said so calmly. Elijah isn't about that tonight. DD is the cool step-dad. He takes them to strip clubs, bars, Sodom, and Gomorrah. Before Devon can exit the ring "Don't walk out on me like your wife left you" exits from Dinero's mouth. Infurating Mr. Dudley more is the knowledge that his boys should've come from Pope's seed. Pope assures us that he is working on that currently.
Von is sent over the edge and lays out the pimp. As the boys calm their father Pope takes the time to kick'em in the baby-makers. Dee's sons then show their allegiance to their new daddy as they hold him up so Pope can deliver his "pimp slap". Baby-Daddy-Drama is here.
The Jarretts are secretly talking and lying to each other about their separate Sting discussions. One of the random interns tells them Sting wants to see both of them at the same time NOW!
Madison Rayne vs. Traci Brooks
Last week Traci was forced to lay down for Gail Kim by Karen Jarrett. Traci is furious and decides she shall be taking it out on Madison Rayne. Before Madison can even get down the ramp Ms. Brooks is on the attack. Don't forget to follow Dixie Carter on Twitter @DixieCarter or on Facebook at
www.facebook.com/TNADixie. Don't know what that has to do with this match, but TNA thought we all needed the reminder.
The crowd is finally alive for only the second time tonight as they get behind Traci. Madison uses some dirty tactics to take control of this contest. She chokes Traci out before giving her a neck breaker on the middle rope. Finally in full control Madison can give us her signature pageant wave.
"Will Hardy make the most of his second chance and regain the World Title?" Tell them on twitter NOW! #ImpactWrestling
Madison is shocked as Traci Brooks kicks out of a near fall following a modified neck breaker. The crowd (read: 20 some people) again come alive to cheer on Traci Brooks. This is all for nothing as Madison gives Traci a Death-Kick-Of-Doom to her head for the three.
Madison Rayne wins
The time has come…we now will know which Jarrett shall no longer have a job. Sting is the boss. Jeff wants Karen to stay, Karen wants herself to leave. Of course they haven't heard what each other say. The Icon points out that neither one of them have seen any other portion of tonight's show. Jeff assures the show is in good hands and he has been spending his time with Karen instead of viewing the program.
Stinger unravels the couples own secret plans to their faces. Jeff wants you to go home Karen. Karen, Jeff hates who you are.
Do you think Sting is lying? Really, Sting would lie? He is dressed like a cowboy; cowboys don't lie. Jokers do; Cowboys don't. Keep up with the times people. Happily Sting has all the footage he needs to show the happy family they've deceived each other all night long. Dissention is palpable.
Sting's solution: You're both fired.
Main Event: Jeff Hardy vs. Bully Ray
Robert "I'm still world champ bitch" Roode has made his way to the commentary table for this one. Bobby is letting us know he'll play all the games Sting wants him to because Bobby is the f'n man bro. Bully Ray brings me to the weirdest moment of the night as he enters the camera pans down to his calf. Why is this important? I guess it's because Ray finally has calf muscles. He yells at me to look at them; admire them even. Point is Bully Ray can kick your ass and flex his calves why he does it.
Quick aside: Based off this first episode of Impact the two most over people in the company are Bully Ray and Jeff Hardy. Hardy isn't a surprise at all. When hasn't he been a hit with the fans (ignore ROH appearance)? I'm really impressed by all things Bully Ray at this point. He is in the best shape he has been in possibly ever. The dude has actual heat, even. Just…wow.
Ray is in complete control of Hardy. This isn't even a match for him. Just toying with him. After punching him in fifteen different places he locks in a bear hug following a suplex. Ray wants to end this as fast as possible. This crowd is actually excited to see this match.
Bully misses his top rope attempt and now we're in Hardy Land. Rapid offense takes Ray off his feet and out of nowhere he hits Ray with a Twist of Fate. Near fall as BR kicks out at two. After Ray picks Hardy up for a sideslam he misses another splash and spends three seconds looking at the lights following another Twist of Fate.
Jeff Hardy Wins
Bobby Roode attacks Mr. Hardy from behind while Ray grabs his patented table. Sting makes his way down seconds late after Hardy has already been Bubba Bombed through the table. The Icon gets in some quick offense before Roode&Ray take them down. Impact ends with Ray picking up the title as Bobby Roode yanks it out of his hands screaming "I'm the best".
Highlight of the Night
Bully Ray. I'm pretty sure he is the single best thing going on this show. Tonight was filled with the fall-out from Final Resolution. Thanks to that there weren't many things that were purely focused on just this show. That is a spot where Bully Ray's promo and subsequent match come in handy. The crowd actually being lively for anything he does helps ten-fold.
Lowlight of the Night
I'm not saying this couldn't turn out well, but the custody fight. These thins just never go well in pro wrestling. Certain lines like "I'm working on putting my seed there". It just really comes off completely awkward. The way Pope brought the whole thing out I only learned that Devon's wife was being screwed by Dinero. Also, Pope wanted to put his seed in the boys. I don't know if that is a seed of knowledge or from his pants. This will probably come to multiple mic battles over the next three weeks so hopefully this picks up.
Thoughts and Conclusions
Compared to the last time I regularly watched TNA this is leaps and bounds ahead of that. Hogan and Bischoff aren't taking up an hour of the show and there is a decent chunk of wrestling. The show this week wasn't really all that bad, but it wasn't exactly all that great. Nice middle of the road. I can easily take that. If anyone walked in on me watching this Impact, as long as they didn't see Pope/Devon, I wouldn't be too embarrassed to watch.
Jeff Jarrett is an entertaining man but Karen's voice might as wel be nails on a chalkboard. Cowboy Sting is a really odd transition from just two months ago being The Joker. I just don't get how he so quickly moved from one spot to another. Crazy, psychotic, deranged Sting-in-charge would've been interesting to see.
There are some really good places for basically every person on the roster right now.
Robert Roode - While the way he got to the title hit a huge speed bump with everyone it hasn't turned out too bad. Within the next few months if TNA keeps themselves behind him Roode could really be a gigantic deal.
Gunnar - I don't like Gunnar. He has a look. That's great but he sucks at everything else. Good part for him? Ric Flair is his manager. No matter your talent in the ring Ric Flair can hide almost all of your flaws. That is how good Ric Flair is. Flair as a manager could take Gunnar further than he probably should ever be.
Samoa Joe - Hey he was on television…AND WON!
I don't like the tournament idea. Truthfully it's kinda sad. TNA use to be one of the few havens for tag wrestling. Triple X, AMW, LAX, Daniels/Styles, Beer Money, MCMG, etc etc. These guys usually have a deep roster of tag teams. Brisoces are available. I'm tired of random teams being put together. Please give me actual tag teams. Other solution: Bring back the Chris Candido Tag Tourney you guys started years ago.
Five Questions for TNA
1) Whatever happened to Cheekz? He wrestled on your first or second show. The guy was huge. He also had this chick with him. The man is burnt into my brain.
2) Why don't you come to some arrangement with Hooters or BW3s to show your monthly pay-per-views at their restaurants? WWE does it in cities across the country. Does it add money to their bottom line? No. I mean, the restaurants have to pay some reduced fee for the shows but besides that they lose money. Maybe you can't just offer that. Ever think of paying these places to show a few PPVs? If you can gain a few hundred new fans off of the venture, have a three month test-run, wouldn't it be worth it?
3) Why wasn't the title match originally a "first fall to a finish" match? Bonus: Why not just have the overtime at the ppv?
4) Why is Sting a cowboy now, especially after he was just The Joker?
5) How can Pope work on giving Devon's boys his seed? Are we talking giving them a new brother or putting his seed into them? It was the oddest line I think I've heard thrown out in awhile.
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