The SmarK Rant for TNA Impact – 11.29.12
Live again from Orlando, FL
Your hosts are Mike Tenay, Todd Keneley and Taz
Hulk Hogan starts us out with the continuation of the stupid Bully Ray storyline. He wants Bully to fess up RIGHT NOW. Bully thinks that Hulk can’t handle the truth of who the real man in Brooke’s life is, which brings out Brooke via her ridiculously terrible entrance music. But Austin Aries cuts in from the back, wondering just how Brooke can lay on her desk without hurting her back. That was such a funny heel line that even the crowd was laughing with him.
Minor note: The graphic for Final Resolution makes it difficult to see the “Re” part of “Resolution”, which makes the PPV appear a bit more politically incorrect than they’d like.
Mickie James v. Gail Kim
Gail gets a rollup for one and rakes the eyes to take control, then hits a corner clothesline and Sandow’s neckbreaker for two. She applies a headscissors on the mat for a nice alternative to the chinlock, and gets two from that. Mickie comes back with a flapjack, but misses something from the top and Gail gets one in the corner. Mickie reverses out of Eat Defeat and gets a spinkick for two. Mickie with the comeback and clotheslines, setting up a neckbreaker for two. Gail fights off the DDT, but a second try gets the pin at 4:58. I have no beef with this. **1/4
Meanwhile, Styles and Storm argue ahead of their tag match later tonight.
Meanwhile, Hulk interrogates our X-Division contenders: Kenny King, Zema Ion, Austin Aries and Kid Kash. Hulk eliminates King right away for being too new.
Bobby Roode v. Christian York
This is set up by Roode coming out for a promo, only to be interrupted by a revenge-seeking York, who is CALLING HIM OUT. Wait, where’s the evil GM to set this up? Don’t you have to have one of those? Roode takes him down off a headlock, but York puts him down with a shoulder for two, and Roode bails. York stops to ask the crowd and gets pulled out of the ring as a result, but recovers to send Roode into the stairs. Back in, York goes up and gets crotched by Roode, allowing him to take over. Snap suplex and Roode goes up, but he lands on York’s foot, and York makes the comeback. Faceplant and York goes up with a double-stomp to the back of Roode, and he follows with a rolling senton for two. Roode escapes York’s finish and tries the cradle suplex, but York cradles for two. Roode clobbers him from behind and applies the crossface, and York taps at 5:20. I think it would beneficial if York actually won a match at some point, but he continues to look like a star despite going 0-3 thus far. **1/4 But hey, if their plan is for York to be a credible threat that the main event guys can beat, there’s certainly worse things in life to be.
Meanwhile, Devon has an ultimatum for TNA: He wants his TV title back next week, or all hell breaks loose.
Christopher Daniels & Kazarian v. AJ Styles & James Storm
Storm gets a quick neckbreaker on Kaz and slugs away on Daniels, and it’s over to AJ for some subpar double-teaming, continuing his “bad luck” streak. The heels take over with a legdrop from Kaz and dropkick to send Styles back to his own corner, and Storm comes in to beat up the heels alone again. Storm with an enzuigiri on Kaz, but he blocks the backstabber and hits a springboard legdrop to make Storm your drunk-in-peril. Kaz with a slingshot legdrop and he goes to the chinlock, then follows with a leg lariat for two. The heels stop for some Gangnam Style, which allows Storm to make the hot tag to Styles. He runs wild and hits the suplex into neckbreaker on Daniels, but misses a dive onto Kazarian. Back in, the heels hit a nice double-team powerbomb/neckbreaker for two. AJ fights them off, but misses the Pele on Daniels. Storm tags himself in and finishes Daniels with the superkick at 7:50, however. So AJ continues to be a loser, even while winning. **1/2
Meanwhile, Hogan makes another elimination and then jumps right to giving the title shot to Austin Aries. OK then.
Matt Morgan v. Doug Williams
Morgan is now dressing like Thunderlips-era Hulk Hogan, although I don’t look for him to draw the same kind of money. Morgan of course completely destroys Williams, chokeslams him, and finishes with the Carbon Footprint at 2:12. ½*
Meanwhile, D-Lo offers to step in for the missing Al Snow in the Gut Check challenge, thus putting the fate of Wes Brisco in his hands. This leads to the Gut Check judging, as Bruce basically says that his match sucked last week, but he’s known him for long enough that he’ll vote yes. Taz just thinks the match sucked and votes no. Wes does his promo, and SHOCKINGLY D-Lo votes yes to put his fellow Aces & Eights member into TNA. The crowd seemingly has not figured out that both guys are behind the masks, which is pretty telling of them. The idea behind this plot twist is really clever, but it’s just so obvious where it’s going. Not to mention that the plan would have fallen apart if both other judges had voted “no”.
Meanwhile, Bully Ray thinks that Hulk is confusing business with personal.
X title: Rob Van Dam v. Austin Aries
Personally I would have put Christian York in this slot and switched the title. They trade wristlocks to start and Rob rolls him up with a scissor hold for two. Dropkick misses and Aries tries a slingshot senton, but hits knee and bails. Rob follows with a pescado and we take a break. Back with Rob hitting another dive, but missing the guillotine legdrop and landing on the railing. Aries gives him a neckbreaker over the railing, and sends him back in for two. Elbow to the neck gets two. Rob comes back with a kick in the corner, but Aries DDTs him for two. An Aries version of Rolling Thunder gets two and he goes up with his own frog splash, but that misses. Rob makes the comeback and hits his own Rolling Thunder, and the moonsault gets two. Aries puts him down with a rolling elbow, but Rob dropkicks him and goes up. Aries was faking, however, and sends Rob into the railing on a CRAZY bump, then grabs the microphone and cuts a promo instead of following up. His disparaging words about Brooke Hogan bring out Bully Ray for the attack and DQ at 12:24. That was quite the flat finish to a perfectly serviceable match. **3/4
This Hogan storyline is making Aces & Eights look well thought out. I’m supposed to buy Brooke & Bully as a couple? I’m supposed to care about Brooke in the first place and somehow think Austin Aries is a bad person after months of Brooke acting like a bigshot with no credentials of her own to back it up? No buys all around.
Weak storylines aside, this show had all good matches and no bad matches, which makes it an easy thumbs up despite the silliness of the main angle. Much like RAW, sometimes that’s enough.
Tags: Aces & Eights, Austin Aries, Brooke Hogan, Bully Ray, Gut Check, Hulk Hogan, SmarK Rants, tna impact, Wes Brisco