Chrononaut Chronicles: TNA Impact — 11/2/06

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The Chrononaut Chronicles: TNA iMPACT! – Thursday, November 2, 2006

– A video package recaps the beginning of the Fight For The Right tournament and the Angle/Joe pullapart last week before we go to Mike Tenay & Don West in the Impact Zone as they talk about the tournament matches we’ll see tonight: Hoyt vs. Truth, Daniels vs. Roode, and Styles vs. Sabin.

– “Early Today” backstage, Christy Hemme interviews the new X Division Champion Chris Sabin, who shows his brash young heel persona as he mentions that people like Jerry Lynn have questioned his focus and states that the X belt proves Jerry wrong. AJ Styles interrupts the interview to stick up for Lynn and warns Sabin to have some respect, but Sabin responds with “Eat me, punk” and Styles slams him against the wall while Christy shrieks. “One Hour Later”, AJ apologizes to Christy for his outburst, but Sabin interrupts him to return the favor from earlier and offers to put the X Title on the line tonight because he refuses to sit back and wait for AJ to challenge him. Sabin taunts Styles and walks off while AJ promises to get his respect and we go to the usual Impact opening.

– Fight For The Right – Quarter Final – TNA X Division Title: AJ Styles vs. Chris Sabin [champion]

Tenay puts Sabin over as a “cocky kid with a chip on his shoulder” as the X Division Champion gets right in AJ’s face until AJ double-legs him and they roll around on the mat and out to the floor. They both race back in and go through some nice exchanges as Styles catches Sabin in a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, which Tenay notes is a page out of Jerry Lynn’s playbook. Styles scores a two-count and applies a surfboard, but Sabin reverses it and backslides Styles for two. Sabin holds the advantage with dropkicks and a rear-chinlock before adding a Waltman-style snap-legdrop for two and going back to the chinlock. Styles escapes and nails Sabin with a springboard flying forearm for two, but Sabin flips out of the Styles Clash and whallops AJ with an enzuigiri, followed by a twisting tornado DDT for a near-fall. Styles ducks a clothesline and unleashes the Pele, but Sabin snapmares out of the springboard-moonsault inverted DDT and creams Styles with the running Yakuza in the corner. Sabin goes for the Cradle Shock, but Styles swings out and wraps up Sabin in an inside cradle for the 1-2-3 to advance in the Fight For The Right tournament and capture the TNA X Division Championship for the sixth time. Good-but-short match with a neat finish, since Sabin pinned Senshi with a surprise inside cradle like that to win the belt at Bound For Glory.

– A good little promo video hypes Impact’s move to primetime and the two-hour special on November 16 at 9pm.

– In a really slick Sting video piece, the James Earl Jones soundalike recites the lyrics from “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season)” in spoken word while Sting discusses his match with Jeff Jarrett at Bound For Glory and notes that he recently found out about Jeff’s “personal problems”. The Stinger claims that he discovered that the cancer in TNA isn’t Jarrett, it’s the NWA World Title belt, and lists off the immoral behavior that the gold brings to whoever holds it. I love that idea, it’s very much like the One Ring in The Lord Of The Rings and that’s a really cool angle for the title. Sting vows to restore honor and respect to the NWA Championship and gives credit to God, “because without him I am nothing.” I’m not sure where they’re going with the religious aspect of his character, but I don’t see a problem with Sting expressing his beliefs and motivations just like any other character as long as it’s not too heavyhanded.

– Jeremy Borash interviews Ron Killings & Lance Hoyt as they prepare to face each other, mentioning that they’ve been tag team partners lately. The Truth admits Lance is his boy, but notes that friends don’t pay the bills as they each promise to take the other out and remain friends afterwards. They head off while Eric Young pops up behind JB and claims that he’s worried about Jeff Jarrett as he does the “eye-to-eye” motion with JB. This little hiatus for Jarrett isn’t going to work in his favor if they keep talking about him every week anyway.

– Fight For The Right – Quarter Final: Lance Hoyt vs. Ron “The Truth” Killings

West puts Hoyt over as a “Cinderella Man” because nobody expected (…or wanted?…) him to make it this far in the tournament as the two friends touch knuckles and lock up. Truth scores a couple of early two-counts with a rollup and a small package, but Lance beheads him with the big boot for two and sideslams him for another two while the commentators debate whether Sting can resist the temptations that come with the NWA World Title. Truth comes back with a leg lariat and misses the Axe Kick, but ducks a big boot from Lance and fires off the spinning forearm off the ropes while the eloquent West refers to the NWA Title as a “seductive seductress”. Killings drops Hoyt with the Axe Kick for the three-count to advance in the Fight For The Right tournament. Not much to it, but they seem to work well together and might put on a pretty solid match if they had more time and a storyline behind it.

– Afterwards, the James Gang come out “unexpectedly” as BG apologizes to Truth & Hoyt for interrupting and gives us a history lesson. Without mentioning any names, BG talks about the two “nothin’-happenin’ scallywags” (pretty harsh words!) who recruited he and Kip into D-Generation X “10 years ago” because they couldn’t get themselves over, but the “real champions” shone through and the other two (HBK & HHH, or HHH & X-Pac?) couldn’t fool the fans anymore. This makes absolutely no sense. BG then discusses how marketable 3 Live Kru were, but TNA Management “dropped the ball” with them and he claims the same thing happened when the James Gang reunited early this year. Maybe it’s because you guys suck? BG states that if TNA can’t find them work, he knows where to find it, and throws his TNA hat away as Kip takes the microphone and wants to add something for TNA and SpikeTV, but the mic goes dead so Kip goes to the announce table and puts on a headset to finish his thought. However, that mic cuts off too so Kip climbs up on the table and yells out what he wants to say, but he is cut off as we go to commercial. You know, I don’t have a problem with “worked shoots” if they make sense and lead to something worthwhile, but this was absolutely ridiculous, to put it mildly… the DX stuff was pretty stupid and it’s really f*cking backwards for TNA to put down their own company on TV at this stage of their development.

– Fight For The Right – Quarter Final: Robert Roode vs. Christopher Daniels

The former Bobby is now billed from “Wall Street in Manhattan” and has Ms. Traci Brooks as his “Chief Executive Offender” (kind of a dumb name) but instead of putting over this new alliance, the commentators decide instead to destroy any shred of the “was that real?” factor by talking about the James Gang during Roode’s entrance. And yes, he’s still using the “WHO’S THE GREATEST?” line; I like Roode and think he has great potential as a classic-style heavyweight, but that line has to go. Daniels gets distracted by Ms. Brooks on the apron when the bell rings and Roode pounds him, dropping an elbow and a big knee off the ropes as he holds the advantage until Daniels levels him with a reverse STO after Roode blocks a crucifix. Tenay puts Roode over as a one-man corporation with movie offers and financial investments while the Fallen Angel unloads and knocks Roode out to the floor with an enzuigiri before following out with an Arabian moonsault. Daniels rolls Roode back in and fights off Ms. Brooks’ attempted interference as he scores with a flying bodypress off the top turnbuckle, but referee Earl Hebner is distracted by Traci so he only earns a two-count. Daniels misses a charge in the corner and Roode drops him with a full-nelson slam for two, but Daniels slips out of a powerbomb and spikes Roode with a Death Valley Driver as both men are down. When they both stagger to their feet, Daniels slams Roode with a standing uranage and lands the Best Moonsault Ever, but Ms. Brooks distracts the ref and Daniels gets up to argue with them. Daniels dodges a Pearl Harbor job by Roode and hooks him for the Angel’s Wings, but Ms. Brooks grabs his leg from ringside to block it and Roode escapes. Roode quickly plants Daniels with the Payoff (aka Roll The Dice, Test Drive, Last Rites) to score the pinfall and advance in the Fight For The Right tournament. Like everything else tonight, this had promise but it was too short to really get rolling.

Afterwards, Ms. Brooks stands over Daniels (lucky prick) as she lets her hair down and licks her fingers, but AJ Styles runs in carrying his newly-won X Title belt and chases them off. Daniels argues with Styles and points at the belt as West & Tenay suggest that Styles was too preoccupied with his new championship to help Daniels during the match. I really hope they’re going with an AJ heel turn and it looks like they might be since Tenay wondered whether AJ was being “disingenuous”. I think he makes a great heel and it would put a fresh spin on the Styles/Daniels rivalry. Maybe have AJ keep promising Daniels a title shot, but something always prevents it (i.e. a rematch for the tag titles, other previously-signed tag matches, X Title defenses against former champs Sabin and Senshi) until Daniels finally gets his shot and AJ turns heel by cheating to win.

– A great video package recaps the friendship and feud between Christian and Rhino to hype their Barbed Wire Cage match on the November 16 primetime debut of Impact.

– “Weapons Or Escape” Four Corner Poles: Christian Cage vs. Rhino

The idea is to pull down weapons (chairs, straitjacket) and/or means of escape (keys, boltcutters) from the four poles, which can then be used in the Barbed Wire Cage match. Rhino charges out from behind to blindside Christian during his entrance and batters him around ringside as the crowd chants “Rhino”. Rhino mauls Cage in the ring and climbs up to retrieve the chairs from one corner, but Cage stops him so the War Machine continues to punish him until Cage begs off and pokes Rhino’s eyes. Christian climbs up to grab the key, but Rhino climbs up with him and they slug it out on the turnbuckles until Rhino knocks his former friend all the way down to the floor and retrieves the key as we go to break. When we come back, Rhino props up a table vertically in the corner and slams Cage with a belly-to-belly suplex as we see footage from the break of Rhino pressing Cage overhead and dropping him from the ring to the floor before retrieving the straitjacket for use in the Barbed Wire Cage in two weeks. Christian counters the Gore with a nice dropkick and climbs up to retrieve the boltcutters, but Rhino stops him from using them as a weapon by double-legging and pounding him on the mat. Maverick Matt (in the Raven/Shannon Moore hybrid look we briefly saw last week) randomly runs in and attacks Rhino while Christian climbs up to retrieve the chairs and the bell rings since all the objects were taken down. Rhino spinebusters Matt and Gores Christian before strapping Christian into the straitjacket and setting him up for a one-man Conchairto, but Kazarian (with slightly green hair and tattered jeans) makes the save and Christian squirms up the ramp in the straitjacket like an earthworm to escape in a funny visual. Meanwhile, Rhino Gores Matt and drives Kazarian through the vertical table in the corner. I assume this is setting up some kind of Rhino/Raven angle after they blow off the Christian feud. This was just pretty much there and the crowd was pretty dead, as I question the wisdom of having Rhino and Christian face off two weeks before this big grudge match. They could have done the same basic idea, but had Rhino and Christian face different opponents (i.e. Rhino vs. Runt, Christian vs. Lethal) with the “Weapons Or Escape” poles deal. Or something that would save the Christian/Rhino match for the cage. Oh well.

– A really well-done UFC-like video package shows both Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle training for their big match at Genesis. You know, if someone had just tuned in at this time they wouldn’t even know they were watching a pro wrestling show. Awesome stuff.

– The good ol’ “Adrenaline Rush” video recap finishes us off.

Afterthoughts: Ehh. As you might be able to tell from the lateness of this recap, I wasn’t overly impressed with Impact this week and it took an effort to write about it, which usually isn’t a problem. The matches were all too short to get going, the James Gang shit really dragged it down, and the Rhino/Christian main event was counterproductive, although the beginning was good as it built Rhino as a man bent on revenge for the cage match. The Fight For The Right deal is a bit convoluted, but like I said last week it’s all about the World Title so that’s good. The only thing I would have suggested would be a couple of soundbite promos from Roode and Daniels before their match talking about how important the belt is. It would have also been nice for Sting to at least acknowledge the tournament since he is, you know, THE CHAMPION… but that’s nitpicking. I still like what TNA is setting up for Genesis and I really hope they get that two-hour show because these too-short matches every week are killing me. Thanks for reading, and see you in the future.