Detailed 6/9/11 Impact Recap
by Jeff Hamlin, f4wonline.com
The Big News: The go-home show for Slammiversary featured the world champion jobbing to Gunner. So the main event in the PPV for this weekend is between two men who have lost to Gunner and Eric Young over the past two weeks.
Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff came to gloat over Mick Foley’s firing. Hogan got cheered when he welcomed everyone to Impact Wrestling, and said the Network now had confidence in him and Bischoff’s leadership. Then why was Foley hired to begin with? Bischoff talked about how the Network loved that now wrestling mattered. Apparently, they haven’t watched the last two weeks. Bischoff talked about treating the X Division fairly from now on, with all the charm of a used car salesman. Then he ordered Mr. Anderson and Sting to come out. Anderson came out dressed as himself and got a heel reaction. Hogan said he promised the Network he would run the company in as professional as fashion as possible, and said there would be no run-ins at Slammiversary in the main event. Write that one down. Anderson told Sting everything he stood for is a joke. You could barely hear Anderson over all the piped-in booing. Sting responded his status as TNA champion was the only thing standing between Hogan and Bischoff making a mockery of the company. Unfortunately, Sting had to watch the last two weeks of the show, which has been a perfect mockery of the company. Sting demanded the real Hogan stand up again, the one who many wrestlers and fans idolized. Sting told Hogan that the cancer within him was Bischoff, and Hogan should cut the cancer out before it was too late. If Sting had done interviews like this one in 1990, he would be in the Hall of Fame now, as opposed to being the Mark McGwire of pro wrestling. Another outstanding promo in the midst of a segment that otherwise didn’t make much sense.
Angelina Love and Winter defeated Mickey James and Tara in 4:43. Angelina Love got tagged win by Winter and pointed at Mickey James, basically asking that Tara tag her in. Tara didn’t and gave her a Spider’s Web instead. So much for Love’s zombie aura when it comes to selling. James went for the flying head scissors on Winter, but Tara grabbed her hair and Winter power bombed her in the corner. James gave Winter a hang woman’s neck breaker while giving Love a dropkick simultaneously. Just as James was about to make the hot tag, Madison Rayne jumped Tara and threw her into the steps. With no one for James to tag, Love gave James the Reverse DDT into a backstabber for the pin. Actually, this was smart booking considering Love is challenging James for the title on Sunday. Match was better than you’d think. *3/4
Robert Roode was backstage talking to James Storm and Alex Shelley saying how guilty he felt not being able to defend the tag belts this weekend. He told Shelley he couldn’t ask for a better substitute. This made the baby faces look all the more lame by the time their match later ended. Storm did a reference to the 1980s show “Married With Children” to end the segment.
Mexican America was backstage. Hernandez was upset that their match against Storm and Shelley was a non-title match tonight. Aren’t the heels supposed to be wrong? Mexican America has gone undefeated, yet they have to wait behind a team that’s been MIA for a title shot.
They showed footage of a supposed bar brawl between Samoa Joe and Crimson that was recorded on a cell phone and “went viral.” It looked so staged. They picked the one bar in the world that didn’t have any bouncers. One customer looked thrilled that Crimson got thrown into his lap. I can recall going to my first wrestling show in a middle school gym in Roxboro, NC in 1986 NWA, and the Barbarian came out to wrestle Manny Fernandez. I said to my friend beside me “That Barbarian looks mean, doesn’t he.” My friend didn’t respond, Then I looked up, and he was six rows behind me because the Barbarian looked so mean, he wanted to keep his distance. Plus, the program between him and Fernandez seemed so real. And these were mid-carders. Now, Impact has a chance to stage a brawl to make two guys seems legitimate and they can’t even do that right.
Jeff Jarrett walked into the building, with Jason Harvey behind the camera asking how Karen Jarrett was. Jeff wasn’t talking.
2. Mexican America defeated Gun Money in 4:31 in a non-title match. Brutus Magnus and Douglas Williams were on commentary. Of course, Taz brought up why they’re getting the title shot since they haven’t won a match in literally years. Storm and Shelley did some offshoots of their respective tag teams spots. Hernandez crotched Shelley on the top rope and gave him a slingshot shoulder block, then kept Shelley from making the hot tag with a pounce period. But Hernandez missed a splash and Storm got the tag. Storm clotheslined Hernandez out of the ring, then Shelley did a tope through Storm’s legs onto Hernandez. Storm had Anarquia pinned after a back stabber, but Rosita and Sarita distracted the referee. Shelley went to super kick Anarquia, but caught Storm instead, which caused Anarquia to get the pin. **1/4
Gunner walked into Anderson’s locker room. Anderson accused him of walking onto his coattails. Anderson said the purpose for tonight was to hurt Sting, and Gunner agreed to the plan.
Mexican America walked into Hogan’s office. Anarquia demanded to know why they don’t get a title shot, thinking it was because they’re Mexican. Hogan did a baby face promo and claimed that Anarquia was about to call him a racist. Then Hogan threatened to turn into the “real-life Terminator” and play a game of “Hulkster says with your two beautiful Latin ladies.” Too bad for Impact these episodes are taped ahead of time, because Arnold Schwartzanager references jumped the political perverseness shark two weeks ago. I’m already setting the over/under for Anthony Weiner jokes at the next round of tapings at 3.
Jarrett and Kurt Angle came out for their final face-to-face staredown before their next PPV match. Jarrett said that Karen wouldn’t be at Slammiversary because of the injuries suffered last week. He said that Jeff brought Kurt into the company because his former employer made a mistake when they let him go. He called Kurt the best in-ring performer the business has ever seen. When Angle came into the company, Jarrett decided to step aside. But when Angle was on top, he turned into self-serving, egomaniacal son of a bitch. And Angle never thanked Jarrett for stepping aside. Jeff said he aimed to take everything away from Angle that meant anything to him, his wife, his career. And he aimed to make himself a better wrestler than Angle. Now, he won’t sleep until he takes Angle’s gold medals from him. Angle responded that he wanted to thank Jarrett for being the one thing that no one else could do: take Karen out of his life for good. Angle said he just wanted Jarrett one-on-one in the ring. He said he was going to let his wrestling do the talking on Sunday, and then Jarrett would understand how real this really is. It’s pretty standard throughout Impact’s history to have Jarrett cut a one-on-one promo against his opponent before a big match, and this was one of the better ones.
ODB did an interview about Velvet Sky being the first skinny bitch she ran into when she came back, and she would beat her tonight.
Kazarian and Brian Kendrick were backstage, and Kazarian had Janis in his hands wondering what type of person would create something like this. They went to find Abyss to talk to him about it. This program is going to do for Kazarian what EV 2.0 did for Rob Van Dam. He came off like a naive child here.
Bully Ray go in the ring to make an open challenge to anyone. First, he cut a promo on A.J. Styles about their Last Man Standing match on Sunday. So he challenged anyone, except Devon. Van Dam came out, and he got a surprisingly cold reception. I was thinking they were really going to make Ray shine by having him go over headed into his big PPV match this weekend. Especially considering Van Dam isn’t even on the show. Of course, I forgot I was watching Impact.
3. Rob Van Dam defeated Bully Ray in 3:27. While Van Dam posed, Ray power bombed him off the second rope for a two count, then followed with several crossface strikes and slaps. Van Dam came out for a mull kick, but Ray blocked a Monkey Flip. While Ray dropped some elbows, Styles was shown watching in the crowd, which Ray noticed. Ray went for a piledriver, but Van Dam backdropped him, gave him a Rider Kick, then followed with a Five Star Frog Splash for the inexplicable pin. How can you drop the ball on such a great heel act like Ray at a time like this? Especially with how poorly booked Van Dam has been. *1/2
Sky cut a promo on ODB.
They ran a package from Britain’s Sky News about Angle’s attempt to make the Olympic wrestling team at 43.
Kazarian and Kendrick found Abyss, who renamed the X Division title the Extreme title. Hey, Hardcore titles were all the rage in 1999. And guess which era the creative team is stuck in? Abyss quoted more lines from Sun Tzu and made this weekend’s Extreme title match a three-way. Kazarian and Kendrick basically were treated like little children here.
4. Velvet Sky defeated ODB in 5:08. Sky jumped ODB, who walked out from the side entrance with the gimmick being that she still isn’t under contract to the company after getting fired last year. Then why is she allowed in the building? Or to compete? Sky ran ODB into the ramp several times, but ODB then whipped Sky into the steps. Sky came up selling her knees. Crowd was dead, as was the pattern for this show. Taz compared ODB’s repeated kicks in the corner to chimpanzee mating at the Bronx Zoo. Mike Tenay sounded perplexed over that one. Sky made her comeback with her own kicks. They fought outside the ring again, with ODB slamming her into a ring post. ODB caught a fallaway slam. ODB choked Sky right in front of referee Mike Posey. And he didn’t even bother to count or anything. Sky broke out of it and gave ODB a DDT for the pin. Not that I don’t like watching Velvet Sky, because who wouldn’t? But to watch these two brawl for seven minutes last week, followed by 5:08 this week was more than enough. How the hell was this the longest match on the show? 1/2*
Eric Young talked with Sting backstage. Young talked some gibberish about how if he pins Sting tonight, they’ll consolidate the company. Sting asked him if Young saw what Anderson and Gunner plotted earlier. Young said he was watching the third season of ‘Who’s the Boss” instead. Sting then scolded him about Young being more serious tonight for their own good.
They showed the program going on between Devon and Pope D’Angelo Dinero that’s apparently has been unfolding on Explosion. Dinero is somehow messing with Devon’s family, and Devon doesn’t like it. Have no idea why you waste time on a go-home show on an international program that virtually no one sees.
5. Gunner and Mr. Anderson defeated Sting and Eric Young in 4:57. Sting gave Gunner two Scorpion Splashes to the back early, but Anderson clotheslined Sting from the apron. After a cameo by Anderson, Gunner clamped on the Abdominal Stretch. Sting came out of the corner to clothesline Anderson and make the tag to Young, who came in with flying forearms and a Randy Savage elbow to Gunner. Young started to celebrate, but Gunner recovered and pushed Young into Sting in the corner. Referee Earl Hebner ruled that a tag, and Gunner hit Sting with an F5 for the clean pin. To the company’s credit, they played the win up the right way, with Gunner being painted as the young rookie who had pinned the icon. Anderson and Gunner both seemed startled they had won in such a fashion. Young paraded around the ring like his team had just won, and as he went to raise Sting’s hand, Sting shoved him down. **
Next came the pattern of interviews to end the show. Sting was furious over his loss and told Young to stop being comedy relief. Styles said he was playing mind games with Ray, and said for the first time in his life Ray backed away tonight. Ray confronted Styles saying he never backed away and security had to separate them. Anderson said the funny thing about his match tonight was Gunner beating Sting, who then chased Anderson inside a trailer. They wound up brawling, with Sting laying him out. He smeared paint over Anderson’s face, then put him in a sleeper hold until Anderson passed out.
SUMMARY: It’s so frustrating with this company. It’s nice to see someone give a young wrestler a chance to shine, and it’s not like Impact hasn’t tried this before. It’s just that this wasn’t the time for it since there’s a PPV Sunday. The jury is out as to whether Gunner can be a solid young heel. But the track record of Vince Russo shows he’s a master of miscasting wrestler in roles they never recover from. Just 18 months ago, Young was the leader of a heel stable. Plus, Sting took Anderson’s heat by the end of the show, so there was no reason to buy the PPV. That being said, this was a better show overall, despite the crazy pacing that’s a Russo trademark.