The SmarK Rant for iMPACT! Wrestling – 10.06.11

The SmarK Rant for iMPACT! Wrestling – 10.06.11

– Taped from Knoxville, TN.

– Your hosts are Mike Tenay & Taz.

Beer Money starts us out, as James Storm celebrates the impending retirement of Hulk Hogan and hypes their match tonight against each other.  Bobby Roode was initially upset that he got booked to fight fellow members of Fortune, but now he knows that it’s made him a stronger person and more ready for Kurt Angle.  James puts him over as a great worker, but business is business and he’s gonna have to destroy him tonight.   This was a great promo about two guys wanting to win.  What a crazy concept.

Gunner v. Kazarian

They trade wristlocks to start and Kaz dropkicks Gunner and dumps him, but misses a dive.  Gunner works on the arm as a result, but Kazarian rolls him up for two.  Gunner stays on the arm with a shoulderbreaker and hammerlock slam, but Kazarian escapes and comes back with a springboard elbow and superkick.  He blocks a spinkick with a nice leg sweep, but injures his arm again on a springboard elbow for two.  Gunner sends the shoulder into the post and submits him with an armbar at 4:11.  And then they go and Russo it up by having Gunner continue the attack, getting himself DQ’d instead.  I hate that finish so much, and it really ruined a fine TV match.  I was enjoying the psychology there a lot.  **1/2

Stone Cold Mr. Anderson is out to do something he’s really bad at:  Apologize.  He admits that he’s really bad at the political game backstage.  You don’t say.  Joining Immortal was a mistake, but he learned that Bully Ray is a douchebag.  His delivery is just so smarmy and annoying, it’s impossible to buy him as a babyface.  Thankfully, Bully interrupts.  We get some Russo special penis humor and they argue about whether TNA fans are jackoffs or assholes.  Hey, don’t argue guys, they’re both!  Bully doesn’t want another match with Anderson, but Ken offers him a falls count anywhere in Philly match for the PPV.  Bully leaves without answering.  Boy, TNA is sure gonna feel stupid if he says no.

Meanwhile, Uncle Eric reminisces about the retirement of Hulk Hogan.  I remember the very first time that Hogan fake retired, back in 1998 when he was going to run for President.  Good times.

Brian Kendrick cuts yet another rambling promo backstage, and Kid Kash takes exception to something in the string of nonsense and slaps him around.  Good.

Mickie James & Velvet Sky v. Winter & Madison Rayne

Mickie works a headlock on Rayne and Sky gets a low dropkick for two, and it’s over to Winter.  Mickie comes in with the Thesz Press and a rana into a neckbreaker for two.  Sadly, Angelina Love trips her up from the outside, and Winter gets two.  She whips Rayne into James, actually using Rayne’s boobs as an offensive weapon.  To paraphrase Tony Schiavone, silicone can be very abrasive to the skin.  Luckily Mickey survives being smothered and makes the hot tag to Sky, and the brawl erupts.  Love tries to trip up the babyfaces again, but she trips up Winter instead, and then Madison pins Velvet with a rollup anyway at 4:37 because they can’t even book a bad finish properly.  *

Hulk Hogan Flashback:  From March 2010, Hogan makes a totally unexpected return to the ring with Abyss!  His TNA career was so long and storied, you know.

Meanwhile, Kurt Angle appeals to Uncle Eric to help him get rid of Jeff Hardy permanently.  Considering his present incarceration, I’m thinking that a pack of smokes to the dude in the next cell might do the trick.

Eric Bischoff calls out Jeff Hardy, who thankfully was still free when this show was taped.  Bischoff notes that Hardy is a perpetual screwup who has burned through all his chances, and there will be no more chances.  Jeff gives him the Twist of Fate and then runs away.  Bet that won’t work with the warden.

Hulk Hogan Flashback:  From March 2011, Hogan gains 100% control of the company from Dixie Carter.  So blame him for not firing Russo, I guess.

Samoa Joe v. Crimson

So he was so injured that he couldn’t make the PPV a couple of weeks ago, but now he’s back and at 100%?  They trade shots in the corner, but Crimson gets a short clothesline and a neckbreaker for two.  Joe comes back with an enzuigiri, but walks into a uranage suplex.  They brawl on the floor while people on Twitter post their favorite Hulk Hogan moments and actually violate several WWE copyrights in the process.  Normally I wouldn’t encourage litigation from WWE’s side, but you can’t talk about “Bash at the Beach” on another show without asking permission first.  Back in the ring, Joe takes over by working on the previously injured leg, but Crimson gets the fluke cradle for the pin at 5:03.  Joe might as well just take WWE’s offer when his contract is up, there’s nothing left for him here and based on this he obviously doesn’t give a shit anyway.  *1/2

Bully Ray finally gets around to accepting Anderson’s challenge.  Whew.

Really great video package to build up Bobby Roode for the PPV.  Nice, understated piece about how it took Roode forever to earn the shot and how he wants to prove that Angle can’t hold the loyal young TNA guys down any longer.

Bobby Roode v. James Storm

Storm goes for the arm and they trade hiptosses, but both know each other too well and it’s a stalemate.  They trade armbar attempts, and again neither can get the advantage.  They jaw it out and we take a break.  Back with chops getting traded in the corner, but Storm slugs him down, so Roode gets a clothesline for two.  Storm decides to start throwing punches, but misses a blind charge, allowing Roode to hit a Buff Blockbuster for two.  Storm puts him on the floor and brings him in with a draping DDT for two.  Roode with a spinebuster for two.  He goes up and Storm crotches him to set up a superplex for two.  Superkick misses and they do a reversal sequence that leads to Roode getting the crossface. Storm rolls through and makes the ropes quickly.  Storm gets a backstabber for two while Roode complains.  And then of course the ref gets bumped, which brings out Kurt Angle to punk out James Storm, sending him crashing into the railing like he was Matt Hardy.  Back in, Roode gets two.  Storm tries for another superkick, but he collapses and Roode finishes with the Perfectplex at 14:10.  They seemed pretty tentative out there, but the dynamic of the match should be better once Storm turns on him and goes full heel.  ***1/4   Sorry if that’s a spoiler for anyone who has only been watching wrestling for a week.

Hulk Hogan comes out to announce his retirement.  The crowd totally buys this bullshit, as Hogan talks about hanging it up after 30 years and feeling the love of the Knoxville arena.  And then he had to go on the Twitter and personally answer all the fans, assuring them that, yes, he was actually retiring for real!  He declares that it’s time for Hulkamania to end, but CRAZY STING interrupts.  He shows tape of Hogan and Bischoff SHOCKINGLY laughing about how the retirement is fake.  You know it’s legitimately earlier in the evening, because Hogan’s story about the fans doing the long drive is “8 hours” in the video, and “10 hours” during the actual retirement interview.  Hogan’s accounting of time always increases as a show progresses.  For instance, if you ask him now, Andre the Giant was over 1500 pounds when he slammed him, and the standing ovation in Montreal lasted two weeks.  Anyway, Hogan is so upset about Sting’s video that he suddenly agrees to give up the company to Dixie Carter if Sting wins at the PPV.  Well that’s pretty abrupt.

This was a major improvement in that I really enjoyed two matches and didn’t have anything ridiculously insulting to contend with, so thumbs up here.  But did anyone REALLY buy Hogan’s “retirement”?  He comes across about as sincere as a Hardy brother pledging to enter rehab.


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