The Chrononaut Chronicles: TNA iMPACT! — Thursday, July 20, 2006
– After a video package of highlights from last Sunday’s Victory Road PPV, we see Jeremy Borash standing outside Sting’s dressing room yet again. Man, Sting should get a restraining order. Jay Lethal comes out of the room and says Sting doesn’t want to be disturbed. When JB states that Jay has an X Division Title shot tonight, Lethal disagrees and explains that Sting advised him to go for the big one, so he has decided to challenge Jeff Jarrett for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship instead. Borash COMPLETELY undersells this announcement and we go to the usual Impact opening.
– The Naturals vs. Maverick Matt & Kazarian
Shane Douglas introduces the Naturals and leaves them on their own for the match again. “Maverick Matt” is such a stupid-sounding name without a last name; why not call them Bentley & Kazarian, the Mavericks? Or something that makes them sound more like a team? Anyway, Bentley has a shorter haircut and new boots and shorts that match Kazarian, so at least they look like a real tag team. No explanation of why Traci is no longer with Matt, which sucks. The Naturals start off strong as West puts over the closed-door strategy session the Franchise had with Andy & Chase regarding their mistakes at the PPV. Nice tag team maneuver by Bentley & Kazarian to take the advantage when Matt slides out to the floor, pulling Andy’s feet out from under him as Kazarian slingshots in with a legdrop across the back of the head. The Maverick slides back in and scores a near-fall before we go to commercial.
When we come back, Kazarian & Bentley dominate Douglas with smooth double-teams until he breaks free and tags Stevens, who cleans house. Nice fisherman’s suplex by Chase on Matt for two. The Naturals fight off a last-ditch effort by the former X Division Champions and put Bentley away with the powerbomb/missile dropkick combination finisher. Afterwards, the Franchise comes out and slaps Stevens & Douglas around, barking that they spent most of the match on their backs and reminding them that their shoulders should never touch the mat. They don’t seem to appreciate his advice.
– PPV clips are shown of Jeff Jarrett interfering in the Road To Victory four-way and blinding Sting with gasoline, then Sting returning later to win the match. Backstage, Borash is still waiting to talk to Sting when Eric Young (in a homemade “Don’t Fire Eric” t-shirt) pops up and asks if JB has been avoiding him. Borash says no, so Eric asks him for some more advice to keep from being fired. Jeremy is about to tell him something, but there’s a situation out in the arena and he can’t. Eric tries to pull out JB’s earpiece and listen, presumably to make sure JB isn’t making it up to get away from him.
– In the Impact Zone, Jarrett is harrassing Tenay and West, as he is often wont to do. He accuses Sting of conning Lethal into going after the World Title instead of the X Title so that he can interfere and cost Double J the belt, setting up Sting vs. Lethal at Hard Justice because the Stinger is afraid to face Jarrett. Now that’s good heel reasoning, I like that. Jarrett announces that from now on, everywhere he goes, Scott Steiner will be by his side. Aww, isn’t that sweet. Tenay advises Jarrett to get his wrestling gear on and Jarrett takes off his shoe as we go to commercial.
– In this week’s Paparazzi Productions segment, Alex Shelley and Johnny Devine show Kevin Nash tapes of X Division style wrestling from Japan, Mexico, and Madagascar, complete with bizarre names for the maneuvers, which we can’t see. Nash takes notes and apparently, they use a two-sided ring in Madagascar, where chairs are a luxury and the 300 people in attendance sit on the floor. Shelley announces that they’re going to fly the two Madagascarian (Madagascarese?) wrestlers business-class to the U.S. so that Big Kev can train with them, and Nash utters those three little words we all long to hear from 7-foot 300-pound 50-year-olds: “I love you.” Nash embraces Johnny and Alex, who complains that he’s holding him too tight so Nash apologizes. Funny stuff.
– Rhino vs. Robert Adams
Clothesline + Gore = squash. Afterwards, Rhino takes the mic and says that he expected stiffer competition when he issued his “Extreme Challenge” last week, so Samoa Joe appears on the stage, explaining that he’s a bit depressed due to certain events recently and the only cure is a good old-fashioned brawl. Since he heard Rhino was “the best brawl in town”, Joe talked to Jim Cornette in the back and announces Joe vs. Rhino next week. Rhino wants to do it tonight and Joe rushes down the ramp, but TNA Security suddenly materialize and keep the two Machines separated.
– Borash is about to interview Brother Runt in the locker room when Devon & Ray show up. Ray subtly (well, as subtle as Bubba can get) blames Runt for the loss at Victory Road and explains that things haven’t gone according to plan for Team 3D in TNA, so he and Devon are going to take off for a little while and regroup. Devon asks Runt to behave himself while they’re gone and Ray suggests he go after the X Division Title as Runt nods his head and they hug. After his brothers leave, Runt flashes a mischievous grin at the camera. This should be fun.
– After the break, Borash interviews AMW & Gail Kim. Storm and Harris blame each other for the loss at Victory Road until Gail stops them and claims it’s all Sirelda’s fault. Gail states that she will take care of the problem at Hard Justice, implying a singles match between the two women. I’ll go on record predicting that Gail might be the female version of Shawn Michaels and will be able to carry this green stiff to a watchable match. Don’t let me down, Gail!
– A.J. Styles & Christopher Daniels come out to the ring and state that the other teams resent them and don’t think they deserve the NWA World Tag Team Championship, mentioning Team 3D in particular. They decide to prove their worth as champs by revealing a stack of envelopes containing signed contracts for every tag team in TNA, listing off 3D, the James Gang, the Naturals, and Christian Cage & Sting before Konnan cuts them off from the Spanish announce table and calls them “gringos”. Konnan accuses them of ducking LAX because they don’t have the huevos to face them, but A.J. tells him to shut up and points out that they have an envelope for LAX too. Konnan says that if the champs have the pantalones, LAX will be all over them “like a monkey on a cupcake”, which is an expression I can honestly say I’ve never heard before. The Phenomenal Angels hand-deliver the contract to Konnan, but they crossed the border so Hernandez & Homicide ambush them after Konnan “accidentally” drops his pen. LAX batter Daniels & Styles back to ringside and bust open the Fallen Angel with one of the tag belts while Homicide drills Styles in the ring with the Cop Killa, which Tenay calls the Gringo Killa. So I guess it’s okay to kill gringos, but not cops. It looked nasty anyway. At ringside, Hernandez holds up Daniels as Konnan smears his blood on the contract for Hard Justice. Cool, edgy angle that should give us a great match at the PPV.
– Borash returns to Sting’s dressing room backstage and finds the door ajar. Larry Zbysko shows up in a ridiculous wig that looks a lot like Eric Bischoff’s old black hair and claims that Cornette dropped the ball by booking Rhino vs. Joe for next week because it should have been saved for PPV. Slick Johnson arrives on the scene and laughs at Zbysko. Well that was pointless.
– A vignette airs to build up Bobby Roode stepping out of the shadows of Team Canada and looking out for himself from now on. Roode claims that the heavyweight landscape in TNA has just changed and warns Jarrett, Joe, Christian, and Sting that he will be the new face of TNA. Not bad, and I like Roode so I hope he can make the most of his new solo push.
– NWA World Heavyweight Title: Jay Lethal vs. Jeff Jarrett [champion]
Tenay points out that this main event features the youngest guy on the roster challenging for the oldest championship in the business. Jeff Jarrett comes out alone despite what he said earlier, and we get the Super Special Ring Introductions from Jeremy Borash after both men have made their entrances, which is a nice touch to give World Title bouts a feeling of importance. I think I’ll do play-by-play because I’m actually looking forward to this match-up.
After Borash announces him, Jarrett stands on the turnbuckles and raises the belt overhead, so Lethal sneaks up behind and takes the NWA Champion out of the corner with a powerbomb to kick off the main event. A pair of flying forearms and a bodyslam allow Lethal to go to the top and dive off with a great flying elbowdrop, scoring an early two-count as the commentators speculate that Sting may have given Lethal some pointers. Jarrett bails out to the floor, but Lethal goes right out after him with punches and chops before sending him back in under the ropes. The crowd is behind Jay as he soars off the top with a high crossbody for another near-fall. Jarrett flees again and Lethal follows him to the floor, unleashing more punches and chops before returning Jarrett to the ring. This time, Jarrett catches Lethal sliding back in with knees to the back and props him up on the middle rope for the running Bossman Sit (is that what Scott calls the running choke?). Jarrett tries another page out of the Ray Traylor playbook by sliding out to the floor for a big right hand with Lethal still hanging over the second rope, but Lethal blocks the punch and responds with one of his own. Jarrett staggers back as Lethal runs off the ropes and dives through with a suicide dive on the NWA World Champion against the guardrail. Scott Steiner makes his way down the ramp carrying a steel pipe as Lethal throws Jarrett back in the ring and climbs to the top, but Jarrett pops up and shoves Jay off the top all the way down to the floor, hitting the railing as we go to break.
During the break, Jarrett has been dominating as we see him ram Lethal into the railing and go into the ring to distract the referee. Meanwhile, Steiner presses Lethal over his head and tosses him in through the ropes. Jarrett with a high back-bodydrop and he looks proud of himself. Now I see why he wanted to wrestle him, Jay just made Jeff look like Superman with that bump. Another Irish-whip and Jarrett connects with a beautiful dropkick as the crowd chants “Jarrett sucks”. Jarrett catches Lethal’s foot when he tries to kick him and takes him down for the figure-four, but Lethal rolls him up and counters into a figure-four of his own. Great reversal. Jarrett freaks out, but Steiner reaches in and pulls the NWA Champion to the ropes to break the hold. Lethal rebounds off the ropes and creams Steiner with a sweet somersault plancha over the top. Lethal springboards back in with a dropkick on Jarrett and decks him with the smooth hiptoss-into-the-cartwheel-dropkick. I love that combination. Lethal comes off the top turnbuckle with the Diving Dynamite headbutt for a very close near-fall. Jarrett reverses an Irish-whip and sets Lethal up for the Stroke, but in the gleeful words of Mike Tenay, “the kid’s got a counter for that too!” and Lethal whips him into the corner. Lethal jumps out to the apron and fights off Jarrett, who stumbles away and distracts the ref while Lethal goes to the top and Steiner whacks him with the steel pipe. Lethal falls on the top rope yambags-first and Jarrett climbs up, taking him to the canvas with the Stroke for the 1-2-3. Wow, that was a great TV match and anyone who disagrees is just letting their hatred for Jarrett blind them. That did a lot to elevate Lethal since he scored several near-falls and Jarrett needed Steiner’s help to win. Exactly what I was hoping it would be.
Afterwards, Big Poppa Pump locks Lethal in the Steiner Recliner as Jarrett taunts him with the NWA belt until the lights go out. OH MY GOD THE UNDERTAKER HAS JUMPED TO TNA! Maybe not. When the lights come back on, Sting is cleaning house and Lethal has vanished. TNA Security flood in to pull Sting off of Jarrett, but the Stinger has a tight grip on Double J’s throat and not even Steiner can break it. We go to the “Adrenaline Rush” video recap and a plug for next week’s Joe/Rhino match-up.
– Before it’s all over, Borash catches Christian Cage going into Jim Cornette’s office and asks him what’s up. Christian wonders why a guy can’t just go through a door without a camera being shoved in his face and wishes JB would find someone else to annoy, but explains that after seeing what happened to Jay Lethal, he’s going to ask Cornette if he can level the playing field and be in Sting’s corner at Hard Justice. Oooohh, INTRIGUE!
Afterthoughts: A solid but not blowaway edition of Impact, with a great main event, good setup for Rhino vs. Joe next week, and a cool angle involving LAX and the Tag Team Champions. Everything else was just kind of “there” for me, so hopefully next week things will pick up again. Thanks for reading, and see you in the future.