Before we get to Impact, I have to point out that TNA’s new lead-in, Raising The Roofs, is an absolutely hideous piece of shit show. It’s like SpikeTV is trying to pull an “ECW On TNN” here on TNA and kill them off. Christ on a cracker, this show really is that bad. There is absolutely no way TNA will grow their audience with that steaming pile as a lead-in. They were lucky to get that 1.0 last week and I won’t be surprised if Impact dips back into the 0.7-0.9 range. Anyway, on with the show!
The Chrononaut Chronicles: TNA iMPACT! — THURSDAY, JULY 13, 2006
– We open with Rhino in the ring, holding a red bag. He mentions Vince McMahon and ECW by name, following up on his promo last week by explaining that when Vince offered him a job, he told him to kiss his ass. There’s a “Kiss My Ass Club” joke in there somewhere. Rhino states that he is TNA 4 Life and wonders how Vince could restart ECW without their final unified World Heavyweight/Television Champion. After the first few weeks of ECW On Sci-Fi, the answer is pretty obvious that Vince doesn’t give a shit about the history or legacy of ECW. Rhino reveals that he has the real ECW Title belt in the bag and would pull it out, but Vince has sicced his legal team on the War Machine so he can’t do that. Rhino challenges Vince to come to the Impact Zone and take the belt from him as the crowd chants “Rhino”. The former NWA Champion claims that he’s going to do something he should have done five years ago and heads outside the building, where he describes himself, Raven, Shane Douglas, and Team 3D as the heart and soul of ECW. Rhino declares ECW dead and drops the bag with the belt in it into a barrel, setting it on fire. He then reiterates Kurt Angle’s open challenge to anyone from a four-sided, six-sided, or eight-sided ring in any company to meet him head-on (apply directly to the forehead) in TNA, because the end result will always be the same: GORE! GORE! GORE!
And we go to the usual opening video. That was a pretty intense way to open Impact, as the usual suspects will say it was classless and a waste of time, but I think it was a good way to build on Rhino’s character and allow him to show some real emotion, which is always good in this era of overly-scripted promos. Plus it should appeal to those disenfranchised ECW fans who have been disgusted by Vince’s vision of ECWWE. In my perfect world, this would lead to someone like Chris Jericho debuting in TNA as a McMahon asskissing loyalist to defend Vince’s honor. Instant megaheel.
– Abyss vs. Norman Smiley
In a “picture-in-picture” prerecorded promo during Abyss’ entrance, Father James Mitchell explains that for the right price, he’d have Abyss split open his own grandmother’s skull. “Norman” chant starts up before Norman stops Abyss in mid-run by…putting up his hand. Smiley dances, and procedes to get squashed by Abyss, ending with the Black Hole Slam. I can envision a face turn for the Monster in the near-future, as the fans chant “Doomsday” along with Mitchell. Afterwards, the James Gang come out to make sure that their “deal with the devil” is a done deal for the six-man at Victory Road as the crowd chants “DX rejects”, helping to make TNA come off second-rate. Abyss knuckles up with B.G. and it’s official for this Sunday against all three members of Team 3D.
– A video package on Sting airs as the Stinger cuts a promo on his three opponents in the Road To Victory four-way this Sunday. Sting vows to get the NWA Title off of Jeff Jarrett, but doesn’t care if he gets it or someone else does, as long as it’s not on Jarrett. AMEN, BROTHER.
– Another Shane Douglas vignette airs after the break, as he explains that the Naturals are a newly “Franchised” team and will prove their worth against the Diamonds In The Rough this Sunday at Victory Road.
– Christopher Daniels & A.J. Styles discuss their feud with America’s Most Wanted and the six-person match-up for the NWA World Tag Team Championship at Victory Road involving Gail Kim and the Neutralizer, now named Sirelda. The champs claim that now the shoe is on the other foot and this is AMW’s last chance at the belts.
– Non-Title: Senshi vs. Jerrelle Clark
Jerrelle is looking a tad pudgy these days, but still pulls off some nice maneuvers. Basically a showcase for Senshi and an opportunity for the commentators to hype the PPV this Sunday before the X Division Champion finishes Clark off with the Warrior’s Way double-foot stomp from the top.
– A solid heel promo from Scott Steiner cutting up his Road To Victory opponents is next. Big Poppa Pump finishes by saying that after he wins the four-way, he’ll be wrestling for the NWA World Championship and while friends will be friends outside the ring, he has no friends in the ring.
– Following the break, a Christian Cage promo airs with Christian again showing a heelish side, while also giving credit to his three Road To Victory opponents as tremendous athletes. Cage states that if it comes down to himself and Sting like it did in the King Of The Mountain match, he has no problem with taking out the Stinger.
– A brief Paparazzi Productions video is next with Alex Shelley naming Johnny Devine his “production assistant”. They have a non-title match tonight against Styles & Daniels, so Shelley declares that they will go out and make Kevin Nash proud.
– Non-Title: The Paparazzi (Alex Shelley & Johnny Devine) vs. A.J. Styles & Christopher Daniels
I’m taking partial credit for the new Paparazzi Productions shirt because I emailed TNA a few months back and suggested using an Eye motif/logo for Shelley due to the video camera gimmick. I know, I’m awesome, they never would have thought of that on their own. Tenay announces a new match for Victory Road this Sunday: Rhino vs. Monty Brown. A.J. sets up Devine for the Styles Clash, but Shelley breaks it up with an enzuigiri and Johnny distracts the referee while Shelley retrieves the tripod from ringside. However, Sirelda appears and prevents Alex from using it, allowing A.J. to hit Johnny with the Styles Clash for the 1-2-3. This was a nice little TV tag team match with Shelley & Devine showing some solid teamwork and chemistry together in their first outing as a duo, as did the Phenomenal Angels per usual. Hopefully we’ll see a PPV rematch for the belts in the future.
Afterwards, Sirelda celebrates with Daniels & Styles, but Gail Kim runs in and brawls with Sirelda out to the floor while AMW beat down the NWA Tag Team Champions with help from the Paparazzi. Devine records it all with the camera as AMW handcuff Daniels to the bottom rope, knock out Styles, and hold up the belts.
– A video package airs next recapping the Raven/Zbysko storyline to hype their Hair Vs. Hair match at Victory Road this Sunday. Larry claims to be from the old school and hates whiners (wasn’t that his whole gimmick in the AWA?), while Raven blames Larry for his loss of the NWA Title in Canada last year. Footage is shown of Raven being scalped by James Mitchell in 2003 to prove that the stipulation doesn’t bother him, but Zbysko promises that he’ll still have his dignity after Sunday night.
– Back live in the Impact Zone, Slick Johnson hands out the Photoshopped pictures of a bald Zbysko until Larry himself comes out and slowly chases Slick to the back.
– A tremendous Samoa Joe promo is next, with the unpinned Samoan Submission Machine discussing his three opponents in the Road To Victory four-way. Joe on Christian complaining about Jim Cornette not giving him the belt back: “I have the ability to get it done, and you have the ability to bitch about it until someone else fixes it.” The former two-time X Champion claims that Victory Road belongs to him and he will be the man. I have no reason to doubt him.
– After the break, we get a Jeff Jarrett promo. Jarrett claims that he had nothing to do with Zbysko and Earl Hebner interfering in the King Of The Mountain match and even says he’ll take a lie-detector test to prove it. I wonder if they’ll follow up on that, using Maury Povich as a special guest: “When you were asked if you had anything to do with Zbysko and Hebner, you said no…and THAT was a lie!” The 327-time NWA World Champion talks about the four participants in the Road To Victory and vows to eliminate Sting from TNA if it’s the last thing he does. As I’ve said before, Jarrett is best in small doses and this was actually a pretty good promo, if you can get past the fact that this is NWA Champion Jeff Jarrett.
– Backstage, Jeremy Borash interviews Team Canada as they prepare for the “All Or Nothing” main event. Coach D’Amore goes over the stipulations and reminds his boys that they are all winners, but intimidates Eric Young by telling him that if they lose, all of his fears about getting fired will come true. They chant “Canada” and head out, although Eric doesn’t join in the chant and looks worried.
– All Or Nothing: Rhino & Jay Lethal & Team 3D vs. Team Canada
The stipulations: the man who scores the winning pinfall will be granted a title shot of his choosing next week on Impact; if Team Canada wins, they can remain a unit, but if they lose, they must disband. Your basic perpetual motion TNA multi-man tag team main event, but with a purpose rather than just a way of getting everybody on TV.
After the commercial break, chaos ensues and Petey Williams goes for the Canadian Destroyer on Brother Devon, but Brother Ray comes in and they counter the Destroyer into the 3D on Petey. Nicely done. Eric Young comes in and Devon drops him with the Saving Grace reverse implant DDT (much to my surprise, Don West actually calls it the Saving Grace) but Bobby Roode runs in and slams Devon with a spinning Rock Bottom. Ray catches Roode in the full nelson sit-out Bubba Bomb before A1 comes in and drills Ray with a standing spinebuster. Lethal surprises A1 with a roll-up from behind for two and nails him with the hiptoss/seated dropkick combo while Roode distracts the ref. Fearing for his job, Eric tries to pull Roode away from the ref as D’Amore enters the ring and whacks Lethal in the gut with the hockey stick. Before D’Amore can get in another shot, Brother Runt runs in and takes the stick away, planting D’Amore with the Acid Drop. Runt then dives off the top turnbuckle onto Roode, Williams, & Young at ringside, knocking them all down, while Rhino destroys A1 with the Gore in the ring. Lethal quickly goes to the top and lands a sweet swandive headbutt on A1 to score the three-count, disbanding Team Canada and earning himself a title shot next week. West pushes that Lethal will likely choose to challenge Senshi for the X Division Title, so I wonder if they might swerve us and have Lethal challenge Jarrett for the World Title instead since it won’t be defended at the PPV. Eric Young cries at the announce table and pulls West out of his seat by the leg for a funny visual as we finish things off with a video package hyping the lineup for Victory Road this Sunday.
All in all, not as good as last week but nonetheless a solid show that managed to push all of the featured matches for the PPV. Just for fun, here’s the lineup courtesy of TNAWrestling.com and my predictions, courtesy of myself…
– Road To Victory: Christian Cage vs. Sting vs. Scott Steiner vs. Samoa Joe. This should be an interesting mix of styles and will either be a solid, heated main event or a total trainwreck, but I think it’ll be pretty good, with Joe and Christian there to keep it exciting. I have revised my prediction for this one… next month at Hard Justice, a Sting/Jarrett cage match has been rumored, so I see Sting winning on Sunday with a pinfall on Christian while Joe and Steiner tangle. Sting wins the belt from Jarrett next month in the cage and goes on to successfully defend against a heel Christian at the September PPV, then loses the strap to Joe at Bound For Glory in October.
– NWA World Tag Team Championship: A.J. Styles & Christopher Daniels & Sirelda vs. America’s Most Wanted & Gail Kim. I see the Phenomenal Angels retaining the gold to blow off the feud, although Gail and Sirelda will likely continue to feud, either on their own or with different partners.
– Hair Vs. Hair: Raven vs. Larry Zbysko. Surprisingly, this is a toss-up for me. It would make sense for Raven to just massacre Larry and scalp him bald as vindication for the storyline, but if Larry is sticking around TNA possibly as a manager, I could see someone new debuting here and helping Larry win. I’ll stick with Raven though.
– Six-Man Tag Team: Team 3D vs. James Gang & Abyss. This should be a crazy little hardcore brawl considering the participants and the storyline. I see Runt pinning Abyss for the upset to set up a “giant killer” feud between them.
– Chris Sabin & Jay Lethal vs. Kevin Nash & Alex Shelley. Logic dictates that Sabin needs a win after being pinned by Nash last month and stuffed into the bodybag last week. However, this is Nash we’re talking about. I see Sabin pinning Shelley after Nash abandons him, maybe setting up Sabin vs. Nash in some type of dog-collar/strap stipulation match next month, something so that Nash can’t run away.
– Rhino vs. Monty Brown. I see a double-DQ/count-out/no-contest to set up a hardcore rematch next month.
– Truth & Sonjay Dutt vs. LAX. I assume Homicide & Hernandez will be representing LAX, so this has potential to be pretty good. Hopefully the Homicide push continues and he pins Truth, even if by illegal means. Maybe the TNA debut of the ghetto fork?
– “Senshi will defend the X Division Championship”. No opponent named, and all of the main X Division guys are already wrestling. I’d love to see Tajiri, but that won’t happen. Puma is a possibility and would be a good match, but Austin Aries is supposed to be returning and this would be a good spot. I can’t see him winning the belt on his first night back (especially from Senshi) but he’ll put on a great display to kick off a feud. Senshi retains over Austin Starr.
– Preshow: Shark Boy vs. Johnny Devine. We don’t get the Preshow here so I don’t care, but I’ll go out on a limb and pick Devine.
– Naturals vs. Diamonds In The Rough. Not listed on the website, but it was mentioned on Impact, so who knows. If it happens, I obviously see the Naturals picking up the victory to build their push after Shane Douglas stops Simon Diamond from interfering.
I’ll admit this isn’t a strong lineup on paper (or computer monitor), but I think it has potential to be a Judgment Day type PPV that will surprise people. I’ll be ordering it. Thanks for reading, and see you in the future.