We open with Scott Hall arriving in a crappy rental car. I know they can’t afford to have him show up in a limo like in the WCW days. I guess I should just be happy he wasn’t in a Hummer.
Just to clue you in on a couple things about my style; first, I’m not going to do play by play on every single move of every match, at least not until I’m not doing my notes on the show on a legal pad, Mick Foley style. Much like animating a cartoon live, it would be a terrible strain on my wrist. I’ll summarize where I see fit. Also, I’m not going to be handing out star ratings because 1) I don’t feel qualified and 2) It’s Impact, and not many matches are going to really neccessitate them anyway. With that out of the way, on with the show!
Tonight’s main event is advetised will be Sting, Joe, and Eric Young vs. Roode, Storm, and Angle. Also, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall will be talking! In the ring! Guess which was more hyped over the course of two hours by the announcers?
We open with the finals of the Fight for the Right Tournament, as Christian Cage (with ladder) takes on Kaz (without the -arian). But first, we see them going over both members of AMW. The fact that Harris didn’t even make it in to the Battle Royal sort of undermines the tournament, but then again, Christian didn’t even bother with it in the first places trumps that, so I don’t even know why I brought it up.
This was actually pretty well paced, as they started out with chain wrestling on basic holds and did some mat work before picking up the pace a bit. That came when Kaz sent Christian outside of the ring on a charge. Christian responded by getting in his face and the slapping him. Kaz responds to that with a No Mercy esque headpound on the mat and some nice forearms in the corner.
Blind charge, but Kazarian eats back elbow, and Christian gets another one off the second rope.
Christian rakes the eyes and works him over in the corner but Kaz fights back with more forearms. Christian gets him back in the corner, but Kaz counters a monkey flip by landing on his feet, and hits a slam, quebrada leg drop, and a Jeff Hardy-esque rope assissted running drop kick in the corner in quick succession.
Christian rolls to the apron and regroups enough to shoulder block him, setting up a suplex attempt. Kaz lands on the apron, however, and they fight there. Christian gets the better of that, but Kaz blocks Christian’s cool rope assissted swinging dropkick, hits a stiff kick to the back, and follows with a springboard leg drop to put them both on the outside and take us to the commerical break.
By the time we’re back, Christian’s taken over with chops, but Kaz counters with a kick combo. The replay of what we missed during the break shows that they traded shots in to inanimate steel objects, with Christian getting the better of it by posting Kaz. Christian also licked himself like a cat. So, yeah, that happened.
Back to live action, and Christian takes him down with a single arm DDT. Kaz is able to recover and toss Christian to the apron. Christian recovers and heads up, but Kaz blocks his dive off the top with a Kidman-esque dropkick. The crowd approves.
Kaz connects with clotheslines, elbows, and a flying fore arm, but puts his head down in one of those dumb spots that only exists for the guy to get kicked in the face. Not quite as bad as the infamous chin drop off the top rope, but still. Kaz retaliates to that well deserved face kick with a dropkick, which gets two. A double leg from Christian leads to a catapult, but Kaz lands on the second rope and springs off with a wicked looking kick to the face. That gets a near fall. He follows the replay with a springboard DDT for two. He goes up for a top rope leg drop, but can’t maintain the momentum and whiffs.
Christian takes just long enough going up to give Kaz time to catch him, which he does with a nice jumping kick. Christian barely seems to sell it, but does sit there long enough to allow Kaz to go up and threaten a Flux Capacitor from the top! Christian uses a Greco Roman earbite, which in any other situation would come across as either foreplay or something really unsanitary, but here is merely devious, and that allows him to hit the best looking frog splash I have ever seen him do. That gets a very near fall. In the sense that it almost didn’t look like Kaz got the shoulder up, because it was the one on the far side of the camera, obscured by Christian’s arm. The ref looks like he’s throwing up metal horns to signify the count, which leads me to believe they play a lot of Guitar Hero backstage at Universal Studios.
Christian slaps him around, and then they reverse each others finishers, which I always mark out for, leading to Kaz hitting the Wave of the Future (basically a flatliner, if that’s more familiar to you) for a near fall, which would have meant a lot more if they’d established better as his finisher. Also, it would help if anyone thought he could win at all.
To remind us that Vince Russo had a hand in the creative process, AJ wanders out. Although, given how airheaded his character is, for all we know he just wanted to ask Christian what the code in Sonic 3 was. And yes, I am very pleased with myself that I worked a convoluted Scott Pilgrim reference in to a wrestling recap, all four of you who caught it.
Anyway, Kaz isn’t waiting to be jumped, so he hits a suicide dive on AJ. Tomko joins us, and Kaz takes him out, too, as Tenay makes him look dumb by mentioning that the ref can’t DQ Christian because Kaz is initiating contact. Anyway, eventually the numbers game overwhelms the plucky young upstart, as Tomko cheap shots him while the ref is dealing with AJ and Christian nails him with the prop ladder. That’s good enough for the pin, and Christian celebrates atop Tomko’s shoulders, which reminds me a lot of when Evolution turned on Randy Orton.
However, before AJ can give Christian a thumbs down, Matt Morgan makes his way down to ring side. Cornette apparently left him in charge while he’s gone (where to, I don’t know or remember), and as the World’s Tallest Authority Figure, he has the power to throw out the match. He also can make references to his stuttering WWE character for no reason at all, and sound an awful lot like DDP in the process, to the point that I was waiting for him to call Christian “scum Cage” or something.
Anyway, Morgan uses his newfound power to call for a rematch at the PPV. Just to show the dastardly heel that he means business, he makes it a ladder match. You know, Christian’s signature match. Featuring the foreign object he used to win the match. That’ll teach ‘im, Matt! I have to wonder when he’s actually going to, you know, wrestle, just to see if he can live up to they hype Cornette himself pinned on him (mainly that he was the next main event big man in WWE developmental, after Lesnar and Batista).
At any rate, this was a good, long match to open the show. Kaz looked like a serious threat to Christian, even if everyone knew he wouldn’t win. It was paced well, starting slow and building to the finish.
But enough of that wrestling stuff. What we need now is the Angles and Nash! Bickering! Can’t get enough of that. Kurt just about salvages it by uncorking a good line about Nash and Karen acting like a couple of women, but Karen’s continued presence completely sours me on any backstage segment she’s in. At any rate, Karen decides that she’s going to take care of things with Hall, which I believe is code for whore herself out.
Back from the break, and the Christian Coalition is with new interview girl. Christian cuts an intense promo on Matt Morgan and Kaz, and is happy that he’s at least going to get a ladder match if he has to win the tournament again. Once he’s done, Tomko wants to know who his number one guy is, him or AJ? Christian talks about all the time they’ve spent on the road and then admonishes him for thinking, the one thing he told him never to do. Christian names AJ team captain when he’s not around, much to Tomko’s chagrin.
AJ cuts one of his hilarious promos on Scott Steiner, referencing his own amature wrestling credentials (he got a scholarship to Gainsville Vocational!) before challenging Steiner to a 5 minute takedown challenge. As much as I enjoyed him when he was one of the top guys in the company, he’s so great in this role that I kind of hope he never regrows his brains, even if it means remaining Christian’s wacky sidekick forever (although there’s a great feud in him ditching that role and feuding with Christian). He’s one of the most consistently entertaining things in wrestling period doing this rube schtick, much less TNA, so it would be a shame to have him revert back to his bland face persona.
Now, for something completely different; Gail Kim taking on jobber Alexa Jade in a non title match.
Gail gave her quite a bit of offense, which is suprising, given the fact that she’s the champion and lynchpin of the division heading in to a PPV title defense and Jade seemed to be pretty green, although she did execute the basic stuff she did pretty well. Maybe Gail was going for the whole Curt Hennig approach that Scott Keith pointed out in one of his rants; if you just squash a jobber, you don’t achieve anything, but if you make them look like a million bucks, your win means something. Of course, all Gail did was sell some basic offense in a five minute match; she didn’t so much as a do a sommersault off a clothesline!
At any rate, Gail eventually finishes her off with her version of Finlay’s Celtic Cross, which has a Japanese name I can’t remember. As she’s celebrating, VKM interrupt, and BG James talk trash at her, calling her a “moo goo gai pan” in the process. He’s so lazy he can’t even get his ethnic slurs right; she’s Korean! And Canadian, if I remember correctly. At any rate, it’s all just a way to distract Gail long enough for Roxxi to hit a dominator on her and pose with the belt. I think it would be a fitting fate for those two doofuses if they became valets for the female equivalent of the Boogeyman.
Anyway, Angel Williams and her fishnets jump Roxxi while she’s celebrating with the belt and powerbomb her off the second rope, and she poses with the belt. ODB (who hasn’t even been on TV since the PPV) runs in, slaps her on the ass, and sideslams her, taking her turn to pose with the belt, before Gail hits a missle dropkick and takes off with her belt. It’s kind of hard to get worked up for this (even as a fan of Gail’s and women’s wrestling in general) when Awesome Kong’s nowhere to be seen and has been put over as the dominating force in the division, although it is nice that Gail’s getting a title defense of two in before inevitably losing to her.
To the back, and we go from women who fight for a living to Karen Angle, whose boobs are being oggled by JB. His bug eyed expression’s pretty great. Anyway, just like I predicted, Karen’s there to whore herself out to everyone’s favorite Scarface impersonator. Just like everyone else in the promotion, he shoots her down, calling her a rat and referring to Nash as being “6’11” in the process. Ha!
Back from the break, and Karen tell JB she’s going back to Plan A from last week. That apparently involves going to the men’s room. I’ll let you draw your own conclusion from that.
From obnoxious women with large breasts to obnoxious, tedious men with them, Brother Ray’s out for his Team 3D’s tag match. Before they hit the ring, though, we get footage of them attacking Petey Williams and Shark Boy in catering earlier that day. Ever the professional, Shark Boy is eating with his mask on. Anyway, they get powerbombed through the lunch tables and then belted. You know Brother Ray’s not messing around when he violates the sanctity of craft services for a beatdown!
Their opponents tonight will be TNA’s version of Mutt and Jeff, if one of them were a black guy who thought he was Randy Savage and the other was a monosyllabic instrument of destruction, Jay Lethal and Abyss. So Cal Val wears Lethal’s hat, futher hinting that she’ll be his Elizabeth, which at least means they’ll be doing something with her.
Matt Morgan’s back out, with an enevlope. It’s an official one; it has TNA’s logo and everything, the contents of which are an announcement that Sanjay Dutt’s challenging Lethal at the PPV. I hate to see them rely on that age old cliche of the black Randy Savage impersonator feuding with the Hari Krishna.
In all of this, there’s a match. Long story short, because it’s getting late here and I still have a good chunk of show to go, Lethal uses his speed early on to counter 3D’s power, getting the tag to Abyss. After trying the never successful double chokeslam on two heavyweights, he is able to take over by overpowering 3D. Quick tag to Lethal sees him do the sledge off the top, but he quickly becomes the face in peril (like he had any other choice) when Bubba crotches him on the ring post.
That goes on for awhile, as Bubba and D-Von make with the kicking and punching. Bonus points for Bubba for doing some Macho mannerisms, but still, it was mostly kicks and punches. Lethal’s finally able to get out of a chinlock, but stupidly charges D-Von instead of going for the tag. D-Von returns the stupidity favor by taunting him, allowing Lethal to hit a dropkick and get the hot tag to Abyss.
House cleaning commenses, you know the routine. Abyss does add a spinbuster and a running ass slam in the corner a la Umaga to his move set, and I appreciate the attempt at variety. Chokeslam on D-Von sets up a particularly bad looking Lethal elbow, although the camera angle may have had something to do with that. That gets a near fall, because we can’t have D-Von jobbing to one of Lethal’s finishers.
Out of nowhere, La Parka in a black wig runs out! Oh, wait, it’s just Black Reign. He and Abyss brawl in to the crowd, and Lethal’s pretty much boned. He holds his own, getting a two count off heel misscommunication, but 3D eventually finish with a low blow and their eponymous finisher. Afterword, they belt Lethal on a table for a bit before the Motor City Machine Guns make the belated save.
Meanwhile, more Angle bickering leads Kurt to decide he needs to call out Hall and gets JB kicked out of the dressing room.
We’re back, and Kurt does indeed call out Hall, giving him ten seconds to get his ass out there before he’ll goes looking for him. Like Scott Hall’s ever cared about being punctual! Unfortunately, Shawn Michaels isn’t waiting behind the curtain.
Kurt heads to the back, and eventually the cameras catch up with, just so we won’t miss any more walking than is absolutely neccessary. He makes it back to the generic TNA Talent green room, but runs in to Eric Young. Before Eric can soil himself, Hall walks in to the frame, scaring the crap out of Angle in the process. Hall and Angle have words, leading to Angle taking a swing at him, Hall dodging him and slapping an arm wringer on him, and Angle basically saying uncle. That’s right, Olympic Wrestling Champion Kurt Angle couldn’t get out of a hold applied by Olympic Freestyle Drinking Champion Scott Hall.
To interview girl, and Scott Steiner cuts his usual meathead promo on AJ, talking about screwing AJ’s girl and making a lot of Disney references, especially given the fact that they tape their shows in Universal Studios.
AJ’s out in amature wrestling gear, just to really send things over the top. Steiner, on the other hand, is out in his regulation steel chainmail headdress. I think we need a break from all this excitement.
Back from the break, and the ropes have been removed from the ring in a nice touch. They shake hands to continue the amature vibe, although Steiner’s beard cross undermines that pretty well.
This goes about as well as you’d expect for AJ to start, causing him to toss his head gear, which the ref makes sure to get rid of, turning his back on the action. It was all a ruse, however, as it allows him to use the time honored heel tradition of tossing powder in Steiner’s face to take over. Now, I have as generous a suspension of disbelief as anyone(probably more so, really), but shouldn’t the ref find something shady about all that powder in the air and Steiner clutching his eyes?
At any rate, AJ uses Steiner’s occular weakness (where’s your juice now, Scotty?) to take three straight falls. Steiner regains his vision, however, and answers with four straight falls of his own causing Tomko to run in for the DQ. In an amature wrestling match. Russo! A short beatdown on Scott follows, before Rick hobbles out for the save, and they suplex AJ in to oblivion, which I think means we’ve pretty much seen the title match already.
Back to the Angles and Nash one more time, because I was starting to miss them with all of those segements that did not contain them.
Now to Sting’s dressing room. Interview girl wants to find out who Sting’s partner is. Apparently she’s the first person to think of just asking him, making her smarter than the Angles, Nash, and Greg Gagne. Not because he has anything to do with this at all, just on general principle, and because he was the best target for a cheap shot I could think of on short notice. She finds Hall leaving. That may look incriminating, but he was probably just asking why Sting how Hogan pitched the finish of Starcade ’97 to him again.
Main event time. I never get tired of Eric being afraid of his pyro. While I’m on the subject of things that have nothing to do with the match, I like Tracy Brooks’s outfit tonight. Nothing really to add there, I just thought she looked good, eschewing her usual business slutty look for a simple red dress.
Joe goes after Roode to start, but he bails like a good cowardly heel should. Sting and Roode start the match proper, and Roode does surprisingly well for himself before taking a hiptoss and dropkick. Tag to Joe, and Roode makes himself scarce. Storm eventually takes over, and gets manhandled. Blind charge from Joe hits elbow, but he just walks away from a crossbody attempt, which is the kind of thing only he can do and still look cool. Storm bails to avoid a wicked looking roundhouse kick, and now Angle’s in.
Joe makes the tag to Eric, and he goes after Angle, clotheslining him over the top after a Flair Flip and then hitting him with a phone book on the floor in reference to last week’s interrogation scene.
That gets two, before a cheap shot (and Angle presumably realizing he’s Kurt Angle and Eric’s Eric Young) leads to a belly to belly. Karen joins us, looking positively giddy, although we never learn why. This gives each of the heels female accompaniment, even if Traci’s just there to disapprove of Roode and Jackie Moore’s just there to– wear a cowboy hat? Unless she’s stiffing Gail Kim, I fail to ever see a puprose for her, sorry.
This all leads to a commerical, during which a Survivor Series ad plays. I realize TNA and Spike have nothing to do with this, but still, it’s funny. At any rate, Edge will be back, apparently with a chainsaw. So there’s that to look forward to.
Back from the break, and Roode’s in control of Eric, renewing the feud that would not end from earlier this year. Joe charges Roode, doing his team no good as Angle tags in and works over young, who should have “face in peril” on his business card.
That goes on for a bit, with Angle keeping him on the mat with his superior wrestling skill, before Eric flips out of a backdrop suplex and tags Joe, who’s the proverbial flaming home. I probably could have put that better.
Anyway, Joe kicks ass, which involves busting out his very impressive version of the Pele kick to a prone victim on the top rope, in this case Angle. A Roode cheap shot puts Storm in control, and Storm does the heel thing and tags in when his rival is at the greatest disadvantage.
Joe eventually fights out of a chinlock and tags out to Sting, after a kick from the second rope, and Sting makes with the housekeeping like he’s an illegal immigrant! Scorpion Deathdrop on Storm looks to finish, but Roode breaks it up at two. Joe ground and pounds him out of the ring, but Angle sneaks in and hits his eponymous slam. Eric dumps him after he drops the straps, though. Storm goes for the superkick, but Sting grabs the leg and reverses in to the Scorpion Deathlock, and that gets the tap out quickly. Typically fun main event tag for the two hour era thus far, which is a damn sight better than what we got beforehand.
Now, it’s time for the real main event, which Tenay and West could not shut up about for almost two hours; Scott Hall and Kevin Nash talking!
Nash calls him out, and this time Hall decides to head out to the ring, to a pretty blatant rip off of his old Razor Ramon music. He gets a “Welcome Back” chant and immediately goes for a crack about Nash’s hair. I’m having a hard time not marking out for him at this point, but I’ll try to maintain my smarky disdain for him. Hall goes on to name drop the Klique, making what I assume to be a sly reference about HHH running WWE; we just can’t go for too long without those.
Eventually, Hall cuts to the chase and asks Nash why he wasn’t around to drag him out of the gutter like the old days. Nash talks about how he would have ruined his life like Hall did (if not in so many words) before apologizing. Hall responds by letting us know he’s not Sting’s partner, and they do the Wolfpack fist bump and pose together.
Angle cuts the male bonding short, though, because he has to remind us that he’s the new JJ by showing up at least once every other segment. Well, that and he wants answers, damn it, and uncorks one of those unintentional shoot comments Scott Keith enjoys so much by asking why the hell Hall’s here in the first place when he isn’t Sting’s partner. Okay, shoot comment may be stretching it, but after two hours, it’s at least on everyone’s mind. Sting appears on the ramp, but he’s not offering any answers, as you’ll apparently have to order the PPV to find out who his partner is. Or, you could just look here.
The Inside Pulse
Another solid show for the two hour era, although nothing that really made me want to plunk down $30 on the PPV on Sunday, which pretty much ultimately makes it a failure, given that it’s a “PPV Pimp Show” as Eric Szulczewski. I’m kind of amazed they didn’t just reveal Sting’s partner on the show, too; they’re banking on the mystery drawing people in, it seems, when wrestling surprises have a long and proud history of sucking, which might very well disuade anyone who doesn’t know the spoilers from buying the show who might otherwise find the guy making his debut Sunday a draw.
Thanks for watching me pop my Pulse cherry; I look forward to further recapping everyone’s favorite number two wrestling organization (that’s not ROH) more in the future. If you’re interested in more of my wrestling related writing, check out my blog at http://thumbtomindseye.blogspot.com/