Squared Circle Reviews: TNA iMPACT! 9/14

Douglas Nunnally

A new TNA video opened up, well, maybe new. I don’t know. I haven’t watched iMPACT! since the show right before Summerslam so they may have changed it in between there somewhere. Kind of funny how I talked TNA down for not changing their video in that review since it still had Jeff Hardy. It’s good that they changed it though and it’s definitely a better one then they had. From there, they played a recap of the lie detector segment with Jim Cornette and Jeff Jarrett from last week resulting in a lumberjack match featuring eighteen fans with leather straps as the lumberjacks. Cornette then named Jarrett’s opponent: Samoa Joe. God, I still can’t get over how badly they screwed up Joe’s ascension. It was the perfect thing for Bound For Glory and to take TNA into the next era starting there, but no; we get Sting and Jarrett in a match no one wants to see. Great.

The iMPACT! video played followed by the voice of Mike Tenay as he hyped up the main event match between Raven and Abyss in the Hangman’s Horror. The only thing worse than a dumb gimmick match like that is giving it away for free on TV in a match guaranteed to not go over ten minutes. He then said Jim Cornette is calling a town meeting for the first time ever tonight. It seems like Cornette is throwing a meeting every other week now. Not to complain because Jim Cornette with a microphone is pro wrestling bliss, but just like everything else TNA has had going for them at one time, they will probably run it to the ground. Look at Ultimate X and Abyss’ thumbtacks. The fireworks then went off as they continued to pump up the main event and they even showed the collars in the ring. Don West joined in by this point and the two started pumping up Ultimate X at No Surrender between LAX and Daniels & Styles. Of course, they tried to pump it up like it was this magnificent return when it’s only been like six months since the last one which was only four months after the one before that. This one’s got some more intrigue though due to it being a tag team one, but still, TNA just needs to reserve it for once a year. A video package highlighting Ultimate X and the feud between the two teams played with it basically saying how Ultimate X is the great equalizer, LAX has their number, and this being the new champ’s test. Short, but good video, but it’s not like you really need a video to pump up Ultimate X since it wasn’t that long ago that we saw it. Maverick Matt & Kazarian then made their way down to kick off the opening match as they showed clips of Ultimate X 4 which involved those two and AJ Styles. I’m sorry, but that had to be one of the worst Ultimate X matches (still beats the one on the Best Damn Wrestling Event Period) as it was the first in the six-sided ring and not only were they still getting adjusted to the ring, but they had the cables as well throwing them off. No doubt this one and probably most in the future will be better than that.

Tag Team Match

The Mavericks Vs. Phenomenal Angels

Got a better name for Kazarian & Bentley? Let me know. Anyway, this was a decent opening match that really picked up in the last stretch. Kazarian and Daniels started it off with chain wrestling going back and forth until Daniels got the advantage and Kazarian, pissed off, broke the chain and tried to brawl with Daniels. They went back and forth until Daniels hit the single leg dropkick for a quick nearfall and then Kazarian hit a hard back kick to Daniels’ head allowing him to tag in Maverick Matt. Matt walked into a hip toss and arm drag by Daniels who then locked in a quick arm bar and tagged in AJ. AJ then started to work over the arm as well as the crowd started to get into it. Matt brawled out of it and the two went through the motions from there until AJ hit the picture perfect dropkick which he looked especially happy to hit for some reason. Daniels then tagged in and they did their double team spot of a reverse monkey flip into AJ’s knees on the turnbuckle followed by AJ planting Matt right across Daniels’ knees. That’s a very fun spot that I always enjoy watching; I’m surprised I haven’t seen anyone else try and pick it up yet. Matt countered out of a suplex and they traded blows with Daniels coming out on top with a very nice uppercut. He tried to capitalize on it from there, but Kazarian quickly tagged in and hit a springboard clothesline to set up the Morton spot. Kazarian stayed on him with a float-over suplex into a series of right and then Matt tagged in for some double team action. They both kicked him in the gut, Matt kicked him straight in the face, and then Kazarian hit a neckbreaker to leave Daniels’ condition in question as we head to a commercial. I was hoping for a bigger spot to lead into the commercial break to pique the viewer’s interest, but it’s not like the match has sucked so far.

Commercial break number one now has me thinking about Ultimate X5.That one really did suck and I could go my whole life with never seeing it again. Why did it suck? Same exact reason the Hangman’s Horror match will. It’s a “special” gimmick match they threw away for free on TV with no build-up and gave it no time whatsoever.

Coming back, the crowd was behind Daniels and he was trying to fight out of the enemy corner, but Matt grabbed him from behind and slammed him down into the corner. Kazarian then nailed a dropkick into the corner using the ropes and Matt tagged in for another double team move which was Matt leading Daniels right into a bicycle kick. A bit of miscommunication followed as Kazarian went for the cover (and Slick Johnson went down to count it) but realized he wasn’t the legal man and hoped off causing Matt to go for the cover only for AJ to shove him off. Sequences like this just show that not many nowadays can improvise on the spot well. Matt choked out Daniels in the middle of the ring from there and then locked in a headlock which Daniels powered out of with a series of elbows to the delight of the crowd. He then hit the STO takedown to get the hot tag to AJ. AJ hoped in taking out Kazarian with a bunch of clotheslines and then a fireman’s carry into a neck breaker (or back breaker; looked more like the neck to me) across his knee in a great spot. AJ then followed it up with another great move hitting a back suplex into a very hard face plant which Kazarian sold well. Come to think of it, Kazarian’s actually been looking pretty good in this match. Anyway, AJ made the cover, but Matt made the save. Daniels & Kazarian started going at it from there ending with Daniels hip tossing Kazarian to the outside. The faces then did the High/Low onto Matt and Daniels hit the side slam (not the ura-ange, damn it) to Kazarian who hopped in. They then did the Best Moonsault Ever/Frog Splash combination for the win in a decent opening match.

Winners: Phenomenal Angels

Star Wrestler: AJ Styles

To be honest, I expected a lot better, but it was still good for a short TV match. Kazarian was pretty good in the match, to be honest, but I found myself enjoying AJ’s offense the most out of the whole match so why not give it to him? I’ll tell you, the team of AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels is something I never expected to get behind like I have. It’s really like a perfect team because the two cover up the faults of the other insanely well. If AJ sticks with it, I could easily see him becoming a way better tag wrestler than singles, but where’s the glory in that? Don’t try and argue that either; for a guy who needs to be reassured by the crowd after hitting a picture perfect dropkick, you know that’s what he wants.

The former champions then stood tall with the UX cables and we were sent to the back to Borash as a situation was breaking down apparently. Larry Zybsko & Eric Young popped up in a shouting match with Larry saying that he stated Young’s bad for business and he proved him right. He ran down Young’s methods last week with Young saying it was supposed to work and Borash trying to break it up. Jeff Jarrett, dressed like a very old Opie, then made his grand entrance shutting them both up and saying he’s the one with two big matches within a month. He then said they got him into this and they’ll get him out of it. He ran down Young for his ideas last week and a monumental “Don’t fire Eric!” chant breaks out. Jarrett then had a job for Young and wanted the distant relative of Butters Stotch to find out what Sting’s doing, how he’s training, who he’s training with, et cetera. Young tried to argue with him, but Jarrett screamed at him to go and he ran off with Zybsko adding “and stay out!” Jarrett then turned his attention to the guy with a nice head of a hair and said he’ll see if he still has power and stroke tonight. He demanded Zybsko interrupt the meeting later with Cornette and get him out of this match or he’ll have hell to pay. Jarrett hopped out with Zybsko saying he’ll do it and questioning the look Borash was giving him. I would have liked to see more Eric Young and less Zybsko (or no Zybsko) in the segment, but it was still a pretty good segment even if Jeff Jarrett did look like a reject Opie and TNA’s done an amazing job of protecting Young so far unlike another company’s use of simpletons and morons. Christy Hemme then popped up and pumped up the rest of the show with Raven Vs. Abyss as well as Cornette’s town hall meeting.

Commercial break number two still has me marveling at how much TNA basically has two girls (Christy Hemme & So Cal Val) doing almost the same freakin’ job. It’s no wonder why TNA’s checkbook looks like a battlefield.

Singles Match

Alex Shelley Vs. Chris Sabin

I was expecting more considering it was Alex Shelley and he normally has amazing chemistry with Sabin (as well as Dutt), but it was still better than most other matches considering it’s Alex freakin’ Shelley. Anyway, they showed the Jackass segment from last week as Sabin and Shelley locked up in the middle of the ring. They pumped up the title match between Senshi, who came out on the top of the ramp to watch, and Sabin as the two in the ring went through a fast interaction of chain wrestling with both being evenly matched. They went through some more holds from there with Shelley being a God as always and then Sabin hit a big shoulder block & a spin around arm drag with Shelley answering with a nice arm drag of his own. After each hold and move, Shelley kept going right back to the right arm, but Sabin finally got the clear advantage with a big head scissors sending Shelley to the outside and then a tope suicida. I’ll save you all the tope/plancha rant this week. A big “Hail Sabin!” chant then broke out as the two traded blows in the middle of the ring and Shelley coming out on top with an eye rake. Shelley then hit a snapmare and a big dropkick to the head followed by a double leg takedown and a missed lionsault after Sabin rolled away. Sabin charged at Shelley from there, but Shelley put him up and over onto the apron with Sabin then responding with a big springboard dropkick. Nothing wrong with the match, but it just seems like they are going through the motions here to a degree.

They kept showing Senshi shots as well as he’s scouting the talent. I guess they are going to go in the direction of Sabin losing because he didn’t scout ahead of time and Senshi did, resulting in Jerry Lynn coming out of limbo to teach him a lesson. It’s still a little early to tell and I must say, I’m kind of digging how they are saving Senshi for something special. By not having him on every show, they are giving him a mystique and don’t run the risk of over-exposing Senshi to the crowd. Of course, then I realize that he’s on Xplosion and the argument kind of goes out of the window and I see TNA’s priorities. Anyway, Sabin then hit a huge kick into the corner straight to the face of Shelley for a big pop and then he set him up in the Tree of Woe and nailed the hesitation dropkick he’s known for. Jay Lethal came out on the other ramp brawling with Johnny Devine as Sonjay Dutt came out from behind with a shopping cart and it was time for another dumb promotional spot for Jackass 2. In the ring, Sabin had Shelley up for the Cradleshock, but Shelley wiggled out of it and hit a side kick followed by a huge dropkick. Back to the jackasses, the faces put Devine in the shopping cart and rolled him down the ramp right into the steel post as Shelley freaked out. Distracted, Sabin got the quick roll up and win to end the match. Not bad at all, but I really hoped for more.

Winner: Chris Sabin

Star Wrestler: Alex Shelley

I felt they were both going through the motions here and killing time till the finish, but in the end, it’s Alex Shelley and he’s miles better than Chris Sabin might ever be and this is coming from someone who oddly enjoys most Chris Sabin matches.

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