Squared Circle Reviews: TNA iMPACT! 11/2

Douglas Nunnally

The TNA video opened up the show followed by a video recap of the nifty reverse Battle Royal (like a reverse ladder match wasn’t bad enough) and the two subsequent stages from the “Fight For The Right” tournament. Why do I feel like that’s some kind of voting campaign slogan? Anyway, they hype all that happened ending up with Lance Hoyt and Abyss. I won’t even touch the fact that Lance Hoyt lasted all the way to the end of the match when Christian, Rhino, Samoa Joe, and Kurt Angle weren’t even in the match. You just have to love Vince Russo. Without someone making such god awful match concepts and booking decisions, how are we to appreciate the good concepts and decisions? Hell, this makes me beg for even mediocre ones from Stamford. Anyway, after that, they showed a quick shot of the pull-apart from Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle. Angle should be nowhere near a wrestling ring, but God damn if their facials don’t sell what kind of match the two will have.

After that, Tenay and West pop up on screen to hype up the quarter finals and then inform us of some major developments that happened earlier today. I don’t think I got as anxious and giddy waiting for it to pop up as TNA would have hoped. Anyway, they showed us Chris Sabin backstage with his X Division Title as well as Christy Hemme. He’s midway through a rant about how old timers wear belts on the shoulder and he thought it was a “belt.” It’s funny because it’s true, right? Anyone? Anyway, he started another rant about how people have doubted his focus and in-ring abilities, especially Jerry Lynn. He then stated that a man’s physical peak is at thirty years of age and Lynn is beyond that while Sabin is beneath that. I know what he was trying to get across, but Sabin saying he’s beneath his physical peak just didn’t come off as impressive to me especially since he’s six years away from that peak. He then went on about how the X Division Title proves Jerry Lynn wrong.

Suddenly, AJ Styles popped up and fired at Sabin that he’s not just going to sit over there and listen to that crap. He then asked him in true redneck fashion if he had any idea what “Jerry Lynn done for that title.” He then told him to have a little respect to which Sabin responds with “eat me, punk.” Styles then ran at Sabin and started a fight with Christy screaming and the camera falling to the ground directly followed by a cheesy “one hour later” caption as Styles was then shown with Christy. Styles was apologizing to Christy and then Sabin barged in asking Styles how it felt to have his interview interrupted. He then brandished his title, asked if it’s what Styles wants, and then stated he’s not going to let him “punk him out” & he’s not going to wait for him to challenge him for the title. Sabin then decided that he’d rather wrestle Styles for the belt tonight and put it up for grabs before walking off. All during this little squabble, Christy was just channeling Napoleon Dynamite with the exasperated cries of “God” and sudden jerks of frustration. I can see exactly why TNA just had to have her as their backstage interviewer. Surprisingly, I was actually enjoying Chris Sabin somewhat as he actually showed some personality. I don’t think I’ve seen that from him in TNA since early 2004. After all those hijinxs, the iMPACT! video played and we were greeted again by West & Tenay pumping up some inane pole match between Christian & Rhino that would set up or segue way into their second inane match on the primetime debut. God bless you, Vince Russo. With all that out of the way, it was time to see the product of the little tiff backstage. Yay!

Fight For The Right Quarter-Finals

TNA X Division Championship

Chris Sabin (c) Vs. AJ Styles

Sabin trash talked and pushed Styles from the beginning causing Styles to take him down. The two then rolled out of the ring and had a quick face-off on the outside before jumping back in the ring and locking up. Why they felt the need to hop back inside to lock up is beyond me. Styles then did a modified Fireman’s Carry and tried to work over the arm, but Sabin nipped up and gave Styles an arm drag. Some good back and forth from there happened until Styles hit the Jerry Lynn spinning back breaker. Styles then dug his knee right into the back of Sabin for a quick rest. Sabin fought out of it and got a backslide followed by a dropkick to the knee & a kick to the back of Styles for two straight near falls. He then nailed a snapmare into a chinlock. Styles tried to stand out of it, but Sabin slammed him down, stomped him, hit a leg drop, and locked in the chinlock again. Nothing special by this point, but nothing really boring either. Styles got out of the chinlock for good this time and hit two clothesline followed by a spinning kick to take Sabin down for a bit. He then charged at the X Division Champion in the corner, but Sabin lifted him over and out to the apron where Styles bounced off hitting his springboard forearm to a big pop. Styles then motioned for the Styles Clash, but Sabin flipped out of it and hit a nice enziguri to Styles as he geared up for a roaring forearm. Styles ducked it and went for a kick to Sabin which the young punk ducked allowing him to bounce off the ropes with a Tornado DDT onto Styles in the best spot of the match. Sabin then picked him up and started to go after him with some rights before motioning for a roaring clothesline, but Styles ducked it and hit the Pele also to a big pop. No matter how tired they are and how many times they’ve seen it, Orlando fans will always pop for a trademark move from their golden boy. Styles then recovered in the corner and got Sabin in the Inverted DDT position, but Sabin snapmared him out of it and nailed a straight kick to Styles in the corner. Sabin then went for the Cradleshock, but Styles rolled out of it and into a cradle to pick up the win and the X Division title.

Winner: AJ Styles

Star Wrestler: Chris Sabin

Decent match. I’d give the star wrestler praise to Sabin, though Styles did get a bigger reaction out of the crowd. Actually, scratch that; Styles got a reaction for the same old spots while Sabin got a reaction for somewhat new stuff. Anyway, it was really one of those matches where you could tell it might be something special if they were given about ten more minutes. They were trying to tell the story of each man knowing the other, but with a limited amount of time and it being Vince Russo’s company now, of course that didn’t play out to well. It had its moments, but overall wasn’t anything noteworthy except for the completely moronic title change that basically killed any momentum Sabin had built up after being made to be a joke by Kevin Nash and the Jackass shit. What’s sad is that it came at a time when he was finally showing some signs of a personality. Complete & utter bullshit.

From there, Christy Hemme popped up to earn her paycheck and she informed us that we would see Samoa Joe & Kurt Angle’s training session later on, but Sting is up next.

Commercial break number one has me pumped to see the training session of Kurt Angle. Seriously, just watching him being able to move his arms at this point is a straight-up miracle.

A video package played when the break ended hyping up the move to primetime on the 16th with mostly shots from Bound For Glory in Detroit. They pumped up the fact that its two hours as well as Angle’s in-ring debut & Christian versus Rhino in a barbed-wire steel cage match. I wonder if it will be an actual barbed-wire match or a WWE-style barbed wire match. Well, from the shots they gave us, looks like the latter. Of course, in order to undermine what could be a good ratings draw, they give us Christian versus Rhino tonight in a throwaway match. God bless Vince Russo.

DW & Tenay introduced a video package next with Sting that apparently caught Tenay completely off-guard. I wonder if it caught him as off-guard as the time Juvi came out to the announcing table to sit with him and badly imitate The Rock. Anyway, DW played up the fact that it showed how Sting had a whole new mindset and attitude while Tenay, still visibly shocked, informed us that he never expected to see this side of Sting. From there, we got another typical TNA video package. By typical, I mean a good video, but with a voice-over trying to make it seem completely epic. Seriously, you don’t need to make everything in your promotion seem grander than life itself. It’s okay if you do it once in a while as a PPV opener, but a random Sting interview? It’s a one-hour wrestling show viewed by less than a million people that is hyping up a PPV that will be bought by less than fifty thousand people. It’s not the freakin’ Odyssey. Yes, pro wrestling is an art form, but this is pushing it by all means and it’s sad that I want to blame this on Vince Russo with every cell in my body, but I just can’t.

Anyway, the video basically pumped up how Sting is a changed man, something that Jeff Jarrett saw at Bound For Glory. He then stated he thought the same thing about Jarrett as he’s going through personal problems as well. Come on, you called this guy cancer less than a month ago and now you’re sympathizing? Here’s something I can blame on Vince Russo. Anyway, he lists some more things about Jarrett I didn’t even bother to hear and then talked about how Jarrett wasn’t the cancer, the title was and everything that the world calls success is cancer. In the past, the belt has supposedly represented lust, greed, cheating, lying, stealing, et cetera, but now, it will represent honor, respect, dignity, and truth. I don’t know exactly how you go about turning cancer into something honorable, but again, it’s TNA so I should just go with it. Sting then gave credit where credit is due and that’s to God Almighty because without him, he’s nothing. That was it. Seriously. I really don’t know what to make of all this, but I definitely don’t like where it’s going. Trying to make a title win seem biblical just doesn’t work. It’s pro wrestling and while we may throw around phrases like “Mick Foley’s book is my bible” to accentuate how much it means to us, it will never be that epic.

After that, they hyped up the tournament some more and went backstage to Borash who was with Lance Hoyt and Ron Killings in what promised to be a scintillating segment. Borash played up how they have teamed together a lot and must now face each other with Killings retorting that it’s the “same shizzle, different dizzle.” I’ll save a rant on Killings’ attempted ghetto lifestyle for another review. Killings then laid down the facts that he’s a two-time World Champ (something that still boggles my mind) and anytime an opportunity comes around, he “get in where he fit in.” He then told Hoyt that he’s his boy (and what a boy to have), but friends don’t pay his bills and this is all about the business. He then basically laid down a challenge saying it’s about separating the men from boys and he hopes that’s what Hoyt’s about to do. Hoyt then got on the mike for some illogical reason and proved why he should never be talking…ever. He agreed that they are friends, but Killings has been a champ before while this is his chance to be champ for the very first time. He then told him to watch out because he will take his head off if he gets a chance but they’ll still be cool when it’s all done. They then share a pound to validate their street cred & their understanding and that it was it from them. Borash tried to segue way into a commercial break from there, but we saw Eric Young crawling around in the back before popping up as if out of thin air. He asked Borash if he’s seen Jeff which Borash declared he had not before congratulating Young on keeping his job. Young was naturally still paranoid and replied back with a worried “for now,” but he’s apparently worried about Jarrett at the moment and misses him. He then told Borash to relay the message to Jarrett that he’s looking for him, but to keep it within the movement. Borash then did his normal “holy shit, this guy’s smarter than our booker” look and we headed into Christy again pumping up Joe & Angle in addition to Christian Vs. Rhino and Hoyt Vs. Killings.

Commercial break number two begs the question: where are they going with Eric Young from here? I know it’s bad to question a good thing and Eric Young is hilarious, but seriously; where are they going with him? It’s all about direction, or lack thereof, in TNA and it’s the burning question right now. Well, other than how Kurt Angle is still able to move.

Fight For The Right Quarter-Finals

Lance Hoyt Vs. Ron Killings

This was pretty bad. From the start of the match, Don West informed us that this could be a Cinderella story for Lance Hoyt which instantly killed any chance I had at making it through this match with some respect for Don West. They gave each other another pound before the match and then firmly locked up to start it off. The went back and forth for a few seconds until Killings ducked a lock-up and rolled up Hoyt for a near-fall and then locked in a small package for another one. Killings then bounced off of the ropes and Hoyt hit him with a pretty pathetic shoulder block. It’s not that it was bad, but for someone the size of Hoyt hitting someone the size of Killings; it may be one of the worst shoulder blocks in recorded history. They went back and forth until Killings walked into a horribly telegraphed big boot for a two count followed by some more back and forth antics leading to Hoyt hitting a sidewalk slam for another two count. Hoyt is beyond sluggish in everything he does. Killings may lack a lot, but being sluggish is one thing you can never say about him. After that crap, Killings flipped out of a sluggish splash in the corner and then did his splits to avoid another sluggish move all before nailing Hoyt with a kick to the face. Killings ducks a clothesline from there, kicked him in the gut, and went for the Axe Kick. Of course, you can’t hit your finisher correctly on the first try in TNA or WWE so Hoyt ducks out of it and goes for the big boot which Killings saw coming a mile away like everyone else watching. Killings then nailed his spinning shoulder block followed by the Axe Kick to a “dazed” Hoyt to pick up the win.

Winner: Ron Killings

Star Wrestler: Ron Killings

Holy Science what a shitty match. The fact that it was Killings in this match was probably what made it bad as Killings was trying to make the match faster paced which just made Hoyt looked more and more slothful and blown-up. No doubt at all who was the better wrestler here and no doubt that this was one of the worst wrestling matches I’ve seen in a few months.

To read the rest of this review, please click here.

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