Hello and welcome to Week 40 of my decent into madness known as
This Week in TNA.
I am now, most definitively, the longest-running
Impact Reviewer in the history of this website.
It seems I may have to change the name of this weekly recap here soon, as it appears that TNA is serious about its rebranding efforts, and plans to officially rename the promotion
Impact Wrestling starting as early as this coming Thursday, when the debuting Network Executive is set to announce the name change.
Speaking of the Network Executive, according to various spoiler reports, its expected to be none other than Mick Foley, the very guy I assumed would be taking the role ever since TNA introduced the idea of a wrestler being connected to the Network about a month ago.
It also means that, unless there's some sort of pre-tape segment that is set to be added to next week's
Impact that wasn't played for the Orlando audience during this past week's TV taping, the hint Sting gives us about the Network Executive being a woman on this week's episode is, in fact, bogus.
The Week of the Spoiler continues in TNA as it also turns out that Kurt Angle's "Mistress" will be none other than Chyna.
Apparently, Joanie Laurer owns the name, now, and can use it at her discretion.
Chyna made her debut at this week's TV taping, which will air this coming Thursday.
This is contrary to reports speculating that the mistress was going to be former NXT hopeful Aloisa, who works on the independent circuit these days as Isis the Amazon.
Isis was on hand for this week's taping, as she was apparently on hand in case Chyna, for whatever reason, backed out.
Isis is now set to debut at the next set of TV tapings, in a yet-to-be-revealed role.
It also appears that Chyna's deal is temporary, as she has not been signed to a contract, and is said to be on a "very short leash" in TNA.
Considering Jeff Hardy's actions at
Victory Road, as well as Chyna's well-publicized drug and alcohol abuse issues in recent years, I have to imagine a "very short leash" is akin to 24/7 surveillance right about now.
Also making his triumphant TNA return next week is none other than former America's Most Wanted member, Chris Harris, who was last seen in WWE's ECW as Braden Walker.
Harris lasted a whole three weeks on WWE TV before being fired for a plethora of reasons, including being horribly out of shape, and having terrible matches on TV.
Hopefully, we're getting the focused, in shape, and relatively quiet Chris Harris we had in the early days of TNA, when he and James Storm were the biggest Tag Team in the Company's short history, and not the Chris Harris of his later TNA and WWE days, when he was unfocused, out of shape, and difficult to deal with.
Meanwhile, Kurt Angle announced on his Twitter recently that he plans on making a run at the 2012 Olympics.
At 42 years old, nearly two decades out of practice, and banged up pretty badly due to his decade-plus pro wrestling career, it seems, at the very least, highly unlikely Kurt will even get out of the gate with this, leading many people to speculate that this, much like Kurt's MMA talk a few years back, is just that - talk.
This Week in Impact
Our opening video reminds us of this fun little plot device where Sting, the TNA World Champion, is able to pick and choose who he defends the TNA Title against, a clause written into his contract by The Network.
The title of this week's episode then promises, "The Network is Coming".
Yep, "they" are coming.
The show proper starts with... you know what?
I shouldn't even have to tell you how this show starts at this point.
It always starts with some jackass talking about something you, the viewer, couldn't possibly care less about.
So, leave it to Hulk Hogan and the Immortal Flunkies to clutter up the ring as Sting and, as Mike Tenay so eloquently put it, "his hand-picked challenger at
Sacrifice," RVD, join them
. D'Lo Brown, Al Snow, and Simon Diamond all run down to make sure Immortal, Sting, and RVD don't start throwing down.
Hulk Hogan then threatens Sting with violence if he doesn't tell Hulk who the Network Representative is, right now.
Sting then tells Hulk a Network Rep will be here next week, and "he... no, she" will deal with Hulk then.
Hulk responds to this by attacking D'Lo Brown.
Immortal then pounces the other agents, prompting Sting and RVD to hit the ring, as well as Fortune, who run in and clean house.
Robert Roode then takes a mic, and gives us the standard, "I thought Hulk Hogan was a decent guy, but it turns out, he's really a selfish douche," speech you've likely heard a good 1,000 times since last Spring.
Roode goes on to say that Hogan's done little more than rape and pillage from, in his words, "my wrestling company," in what actually turns out to be perhaps the single best monologue on this show in at least a year.
Then, what would have otherwise been the best monologue in about a year takes an ugly turn back to that whole "work/shoot" deal TNA likes to pull, and Roode brings up Jay Lethal.
Yes, the very same Jay Lethal that got fired recently because too many guys in the X-Division had the gall to ask, "Hey, you guys have been saying you're going to do more with us, right?
So... when's that going to start?"
Roode then goes on to put over a guy TNA just canned, as the crowd cheers in approval.
All of this, of course, is to push the angle where Hogan is the Dick in Charge, and Fortune are the heroes trying to save TNA from his evil.
Roode, in an inexplicable move, then introduces himself to Hogan as "Bobby Roode", a name he hasn't used or even been referred to as on-screen in over 5 years, and claims to be the man who will stand up to Hogan.
He then tells us, "next week, everything is going to change".
We then join the Jarretts, pounding on the door in the Wardrobe Trailer, shouting for Velvet Sky.
Velvet then answers the door in a towel, implying that she was just in the shower.
Except, of course, she's as dry as a sheet, and in full makeup, which pretty much just means TNA wanted to put Velvet Sky in a towel on TV as a cheap source of fan service.
Not that we mind all that much, but, still, you could have at least tried to make it look like she had actually been in the shower.
Anyway, Karen then tells the toweled Velvet that Velvet better hurry up and get dressed (to which I, and most of you, ask, "What for?") and meet Karen in the ring, where Karen is going to make Velvet an offer she can't refuse.
Our first match of the night features the TNA debut of Sin Cara... wait, that's not right.
Sin Cara works for the entertainment company, and last I checked, I was watching a wrestling show...
Anyway, it turns out that Not Mistico here is actually the new TNA acquisition, Sangriento (which is actually just Amazing Red in a mask).
He's taking on the other masked guy in this company, Christopher Daniels... wait, that's not right, either.
Well, actually, it kind of is, except Daniels' masked guy is our resident Video Game Character Brought to Life, Suicide.
So we have two guys I'd actually want to see in a match on TV, dressed as Sin Cara and Skeletor, respectively.
No, fans, this isn't CHIKARA, but it sure does sound like it, once you think about it...
But before we get the match between Not Mistico and Skeletor, we get one of Matt Hardy's YouTube videos.
Yes, because I've avoided subscribing to his channel for so long that TNA is now forcing me to watch his incoherent prattling on
So, Matt's going on about a guy he doesn't know named Bobby Roode, and how he's in a tag team called Beer Money.
So far, so good.
Matt at least watches the show.
Matt Hardy then goes on to introduce himself.
He then says he's going to call up a special someone, and that these two will then challenge Beer Money for the Tag Team Titles at
My immediate thought is to assume that this person will, in fact, be Jeff Hardy, but it really could be anyone, at this point.
Hell, it might even be Val Venis...
So, now, we get the Suicide/Sangriento match, complete with Christy Hemme as ring announcer.
I bring this up because it seems that she, not JB, is going to be the ring announcer for
Impact going forward, while Jeremy is going to do the intros for the Main Events.
Why, I don't know, but I guess it's not all that important.
Anyway, the match is pretty much what you'd expect.
It's Amazing Red vs. Christopher Daniels, minus Daniels' signature spots.
Beyond that, it becomes quite obvious that Red is not your typical Mexican Luchador, despite the fact that this is how they want Sangriento to be seen.
Red, simply put, does not work in the Lucha Libre style.
Yes, he is a high flyer, but Lucha is much more than just flying.
It's almost hard to explain without showing you some actual Lucha to compare it to, but, basically, Red's style is too American to pass as a legit Luchador.
This isn't a knock on Red, but simply me pointing out the one major problem with TNA casting him in this role - anyone who's seen actual Lucha (which, considering the growing Hispanic population, could very well be at least a third of the
Impact viewing audience) will know almost immediately the guy is an American.
It actually makes me think that the only thought put into Red's casting here is, "oh, well, he can fly around the ring.
Let's put him in a mask and say he's from Mexico.
People will buy that!"
And I know a lot of people will wonder why this is such a problem, but it honestly comes down to one thing - Fans aren't stupid.
They can tell the difference between something genuine, and something that's BS.
Sin Cara is the genuine article, and, while I generally like Amazing Red as a worker, his style isn't anything even remotely resembling an honest-to-god Luchador.
In other words, just like TNA has the Bargain Bin version of
The Jersey Shore in Robbie E and Cookie, we're getting the Bargain Bin at the Dollar Store Version of Sin Cara in Sangriento.
In the end, Not Mistico wins his debut with a springboard Diamond Cutter after a moment of stalling which makes you think Red and Suicide simply forgot what the hell they were doing for a second, and then went for a finish.
The match, for the most part, was good, but there was that hiccup at the end where you had to wonder why Sangriento was just standing there in front of Suicide after he kicked him, and Suicide pretty much just let him.
We then stop in the Office of Doom, where Hogan and Bischoff freak out over the Network Rat a bit.
They consider the possibility that it may be Ric Flair, but Bisch and Hogan both agree that Flair, while capable of selling them out, doesn’t operate the way they've seen the Network operate.
Back in the ring, with slightly less fake Mexicans this time, as Mexican America has decorated the ring in celebration of Cinco De Mayo.
So, in stereotypical fashion, we see a plethora of Pinatas and Mexican Flags, you know, in case we gringos stupidos watching at home can't tell they're supposed to be Mexican.
I can throw in random Spanish phrases to make it seem like I'm Mexican, too, ese.
So, anyway, Not LAX is celebrating Cinco De Mayo, bringing in the cervesas and the Spanish Announce Team, interjecting Spanish phrases every other sentence to remind you gringos stupidos watching at home that, yes, they are Mexican.
Much like how TNA puts a small, high flyer in a mask and expects you to believe he's a famous luchador.
All the while, it seems that Anarquia is really doing nothing more than a bad Eddie Guerrero impression, and Sarita's wardrobe seems to be shrinking more each week.
Mexican America then jumps Spanish Commentator Willie Orbino because, get this, he's not Mexican.
Yes, Willie is Puerto Rican.
Meanwhile, the three Americans and the Canadian (who's not even Latina, let alone Mexican) beat Willie up because he's not Mexican.
Hector Guerrero tries to shield Willie from the beatdown, just to be called a traitor by his fellow "Mexicans".
Not LAX promises to give the Spanish Announcers a proper American Burial, which brings out Ink Inc., running in to make the save.
So, that whole deal with Shannon Moore supposedly turning heel and the tease of an Ink Inc. split we've been getting these past two months?
The Inkers run the "Mexicans" off to perhaps the biggest ovation Ink Inc. has ever had.
Jesse Neal then grabs a mic and tells Not LAX to go f*ck themselves, more or less.
Our next match features Bully Ray and TV Champ Gunnar in tag team action against Christopher Daniels and AJ Styles.
Must be nice to know TNA's getting the bang for their buck booking Daniels twice per show these days.
It also must be nice to know that TNA's smart enough to put Gunnar in the ring with three of the best, most experienced hands they can find (and before you rip on me for calling Ray a good wrestler, I need remind you the guy is a 23-time World Tag Team Champion.
You don't get a better tag partner than that).
After AJ and Daniels take the early advantage over Gunnar, Ray's experience and tendency for cheap shots give Immortal the advantage, forcing Daniels to work as the babyface in peril for the majority of the match as Gunnar seems to spend most of the match in the ring, as well.
AJ gets the hot tag and sets up for the Spingboard 450, just to have Ray knock the rope out from under him in mid-spring.
Ray then tries to introduce a chain into the match, chasing off the referee, until Tommy Dreamer runs in, appearing to make the save.
Dreamer then swerves, piledriving AJ Styles, bringing about the DQ.
Tommy actually looks like he's about to cry as Ray shouts at him, "good choice," implying that Tommy's being forced down the road to heeldom, rather than choosing to side with Ray willingly.
In the back, Tommy is pounding on some lockers in frustration, furthering the idea that he was somehow forced to attack AJ Styles against his will.
We then catch up with AJ, Kazarian and Daniels in the back, discussing Tommy Dreamer.
They also seem to go out of their way to have AJ sell the effects of a neck injury, shaking out his hands as if they were numb, while Daniels and Kazarian talked about how Dreamer went after AJ's neck looking to capitalize on what Ray had done to AJ a few months back.
Yes, TNA is going out of its way to conjure up thoughts of Edge right now with this whole "neck injury" thing.
There is no way having AJ shake out his hands as if they were numb was anything but a harkening to fans' emotion following Edge's retirement speech, where he mentioned numbness in his hands as a symptom that ultimately led to his doctors telling Edge his career was basically over.
If someone actually has the balls to tell you otherwise, they're either stupid, or a liar.
This was intentional.
We then hop over to Matt Hardy, on his cell phone with his Mystery Tag Partner, as Ray stops by to say "hi".
Ray then blows any ambiguity over Dreamer's predicament out of the water by telling Matt, point blank, that Immortal threatened Tommy, and Dreamer did what he had to do in order to keep his job in TNA.
We then drop in on Angelina Love and Winter, as Winter is forcing pills into Angelina's mouth.
In case you didn't pick up the fact that Angie was being drugged before, TNA has now blown all ambiguity out of the water now.
Winter then prattles on about how soon, Angie won't need the pills anymore (because she'll stop fighting Winter's influence), how they have been linked since the beginning of time, and how Winter has traversed the whole of Time and Space to be with her.
In other words, I'm thinking TNA noticed all those
Doctor Who references I made last week...
The Jarretts make their way down to the ring.
Karen calls out Velvet, who joins us for yet another prolonged interrogation.
Karen then talks up how Velvet's pretty much the only Knockout on roster never to hold a title... except, she did.
Knockouts Tag Team Championship, in fact, which is one more championship than Karen's ever held.
Now, if Karen actually meant singles gold, then she's on to something, except there's enough women on roster who've never held that title (Winter, Rosita, Sarita, Cookie, Miss Tessmacher, and, of course, Karen Jarrett herself) to make this a non-point.
Ultimately, whoever gave Karen her bullet-points didn't quite think the "Velvet's never been a champion" point out too well, regardless of their intended result.
Apparently, this is the reasoning Karen uses to implicate Velvet as Kurt Angle's Mistress.
Am I the only one who remembers TNA explicitly establishing that Velvet Sky was dating Chris Sabin on TV several months back?
Obviously, I must be, because you'd think that would put a huge damper on this whole theory of Karen's that Velvet is banging Kurt Angle.
Then again, I'm still wondering why on earth TNA felt it was important to spend almost a month of television implying, and then practically announcing that Sabin and Sky were an item on TV, just to do absolutely nothing with it.
So, anyway, Velvet tells Karen the same damn thing she told her last week - These are not the droids you're looking for.
Velvet then says she wouldn't stoop to sleeping with someone just to get ahead, implying that Karen did just that.
This, of course, begs the question, "Exactly what 'Top' are you sleeping your way up to when Jeff Jarrett is the one taking you there?"
This is like sleeping with a guy who plays in a local Thin Lizzy cover band in an attempt to meet Brad Pitt.
It makes no sense!
Velvet then proclaims that she's happy 'waiting her turn' for the Knockouts Championship, but now that her BFF has been drugged up by Winter, Vel's goal is to become Knockouts Champion.
You know, instead of that one goal Vel established a couple weeks back, which was to save her friend from Winter.
Vel and Karen then trade a few more insults, bringing the dignity of this show up to Jerry Springer standards, before Karen announces that Jeff arranged a handicap match between Velvet and Love Like Winter here tonight.
Winter and Angelina Love then make their way to the ring, followed by, you guessed it, Kurt Angle.
Kurt then tells us that the Network rebooked the Handicap Match that was just announced, putting Kurt alongside Velvet against Love Like Winter and Jeff Jarrett tonight.
Bischoff is pissed that even Kurt Angle can seemingly trump Immortal's booking.
Murphy and Rob Terry then approach him and say, "Hey, we'll take him out."
Unfortunately, Bisch hasn't been impressed with the Scrubs' job as of late, so tonight, he's putting Terry and Murphy in a match against one another, and the loser gets kicked out of Immortal.
Apparently, Crimson is mad at Samoa Joe now, and does that whole "shouting Joe's name angrily while marching around with a weapon backstage" deal that just works out so well for guys in wrestling.
I mean, seriously, you think you're really going to find anyone shouting around angrily, brandishing a sledgehammer, looking to hurt people?
How dumb do you think Joe is?
Wait, this is TNA, and Joe is a babyface.
On second thought, this plan of Crimson's might actually work...
Rob Terry demolishes Murphy, thus tossing Murphy out of Immortal.
Meanwhile, in the back, Hulk Hogan is saying they're BOTH out, because they are fighting over a spot in his super-faction.
Wait... Bischoff forces these two to fight for a spot, and then, Hogan tosses them both out because they're fighting over a spot?
You mean to tell me you just wasted 5 minutes of my life on a Rob Terry/Murphy match for nothing?
What the f*ck?
Hulk and Bisch then talk up the Network rep some more before we move on to the next segment.
Crimson finds Joe in the back, and bitches about how Joe didn't help him against Abyss last week.
Joe and Crimson then posture a bit, measuring dicks or whatever.
This would probably mean more if there was any reason to honestly give a crap about either of these guys right now, but there really isn't.
If anything, it makes us care less about Joe than we did before because, instead of taking on a major player or trying to crush Hogan, he's wasting his time on Tommy freaking Mercer.
And by the way, I used his Indy Name to make a point - you know jack sh*t about the guy and TNA has done f*ck all in order to make him seem like anything even remotely close to a big deal.
And now, because you likely don't even remember the two whole singles matches he's had on TV thus far, you're still wondering how this guy suddenly has a win streak (despite being on the losing end of several tag team matches recently) and is supposed to be this big threat to Samoa Joe.
As far as most of this audience is concerned, they don’t even know who the f*ck this guy even is, so why the hell should anyone care when, quite frankly, the only reason I even know who this guy is right now is because I recap this show every week, and it's my job to know who he is?
It, once again, makes no sense.
Mickie James defends the TNA Knockouts Championship against Miss Tessmacher.
Yes, you read that right, Miss Tessmacher.
Mickie beats Tess with the MickieDT in a match I'm not even going to dignify with a review.
How on Earth Miss Tessmacher even comes up in the conversation for KO Title matches, even throw-away ones on TV, I'll never know.
Madison Rayne then comes out and demands Mickie give her a rematch for the KO Title at
In a bit of trivia no one is likely to remember, Maddie also reminds us that she is, in fact, the longest reigning KO champ in TNA history.
Mick says she'll give Maddie the rematch on one condition - Maddie puts her contract with Tara up against Mickie's title, meaning that if Maddie loses, Tara is free to resume her TNA career without being attached to Maddie.
An odd stipulation, to be sure, but at this rate, I care so little about this whole three-way angle that I'm willing to accept whatever it takes to get Maddie and Mickie James as far away from each other, storyline-wise, as possible.
Even if that means shoehorning a release clause for Tara into the inevitable title rematch just to give TNA an easy-in to a Maddie/Tara feud that really ought to write itself at this point.
TNA is now turning Jay Lethal's firing into an angle, using it as a means to unite the X-Division against Immortal.
The coalition of Brian Kendrick, Amazing Red, and Generation Me (who are apparently now getting along again) confront Bischoff, who then belittles them and tells them to piss off.
You remember how Eric Bischoff tried to appease Eddie Guerrero and the other Luchadors by letting them form the Latino World Order in WCW?
The X-Division is now the TNA equivalent of the lWo.
Congratulations, TNA fans.
This is what a butt-f*cking looks like.
Main Event Time as Jeff Jarrett, Angelina Love, and Winter take on Kurt Angle and Velvet Sky.
Karen tries to interfere on her team's behalf, but ultimately Velvet Sky takes out Love Like Winter all by herself, nailing a Double DDT on Angie and Winter, pinning Winter to pick up the win.
After the match, Kurt congratulates Velvet and wishes her well in her pursuit of the KO title.
He then informs Karen that Velvet is not his "mistress", and that she will debut here next week.
We end the show with more of Hogan and Bischoff speculating over who the Network guy is, even saying it might be Vince Russo.
Hogan then approaches his car, which has the words "You're Next!" spray-painted on it.
Mike Johns, imbued with special, shameless self-promotional powers the likes of which haven't been seen since the height of DX's self-fellatious babyface run in 2006, is a contributor to WorldWrestlingInsanity.com and ClubWWI.com, single-handedly responsible for WWI's coverage of All Things TNA, as well as randomly following wrestlers on Twitter for your amusement. In what spare time he has left, Mike produces and records original music under the name
'SaviorSelf.07.05.98' as well as remixes and mash-ups of far more popular songs under the name
You can contact Mike via e-mail at
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