12/29 Kester's TNA Impact Wrestling Live Coverage Review: Kurt Angle vs. Rob Van Dam, Gail Kim vs. Mickie James, the Wild Card Tag Team Tournament continues, and Anthony Neese vs. Zema Ion
By Ryan Kester
Impact Wrestling on SpikeTV
Taped earlier in Orlando, Florida.
[Q1] The opening video package focused on Madison Rayne's new role as Knockout VP.
Madison Rayne and Gail Kim made her way to the ring. Madison immediately screeched for Tara and Tessmacher to come to the ring. They quickly obliged.
Rayne said that they would not be dragging things out tonight and she fired Tessmacher and Tara for disobeying her last week. Cue Sting's music, and the man joined the ladies in the ring.
Rayne went right to kissing Sting's ass, but he wasn't having any of it. Sting told Rayne she has no power because she does not have the same contract that Karen Jarrett has, and thus she has no power. Rayne screeched like mad and Sting mocked her. The two got in a screeching match before Sting made a Knockouts Championship match between Gail Kim and Mickie James for later in the evening.
Backstage, Scott Steiner and Abyss talked about how they were a team… [C]
Ryan's Rant: I have to admit, I laughed pretty hard at the screeching match. That said, prolonged use of those screeches will earn Rayne more go away heat than it will good heat. I question the wisdom of having an unadvertised Knockouts Championship match.
[Q2] 1. AJ Styles and Kazarian defeated Scott Steiner and Abyss in a Wild Card Tag team Tournament match in 7:06. Steiner jawed with the babyfaces to start the match. When they started wrestling, Kazarian gained control and tagged in Styles. Steiner tagged in Abyss, and Abyss got the better of Styles.
Abyss hit Shock Treatment on Styles. Abyss choked Styles on the rope and the referee started to count. Abyss lunged threateningly at the ref.
Steiner tagged back in and continued where Abyss left off. Steiner went for the Steiner-line but got caught with a Pele kick from Styles. Both men tagged out and Kazarian did his best to outpace Abyss. Kazarian hit a springboard tornado DDT for a near fall.
Abyss caught Kazarian with a chokeslam and he tagged in Steiner. Abyss then hit Steiner with a Black Hole Slam and allowed Kazarian to cover Steiner for the victory.
Bully Ray ran out and cursed at Abyss for betraying Steiner… [C]
Ryan's Rant: Try as I may, I just can't get behind Abyss. He has been far too damaged form too many turns and too many failed gimmicks. He really needs some time away before the feeling of burnout I have for him subsides. The match was solid and it's good to see Kazarian and Styles advance.
Back from the break, Bully Ray and Abyss were still in the ring. Bully Ray yelled at Abyss and he told Abyss that he's tired of being pushed around. Ray told Abyss that Abyss was a bully. Ray ran down the things that Steiner and Abyss have done for him and Abyss took his mic. Bully yelled loud enough not to need a mic and Ray said they need him back in Immortal.
[Q3] Abyss cut an Abyss promo about how he wants a match with Ray at Genesis. He said if he loses, then he will rejoin Immortal. He then told Bully ray that that match would be a Monster's Ball match.
Backstage, Sting and Kurt Angle were talking. Sting said since Angle likes kicking so much, he can face someone who utilizes kicks. Angle made a joke about how he'd be happy to face an X-Division wrestler or two. Instead, Sting made a match between Angle and RVD… [C]
Ryan's Rant: Abyss needs to go away for a spell, and he really needs to not be talking.
Backstage, Ric Flair hyped Gunner and called him "a real bad man." Gunner pointed in an ambulance behind him and Ric Flair and he referred to himself as a killer. Flair said that Gunner is going to be the man.
Austin Aries joined Tenay and Taz on commentary for the following match.
2. Zema Ion defeated Anthony Neese in a Contract on a Pole match in 4:44. Neese made a play for the contract early and Ion made him pay for it. Neese hit a running knee and went for the contract again. Ion immediately dropkicked him from behind.
Ion charged at Neese and Neese dodged. Ion spilled to the floor and Neese hit Ion with a moonsault from the apron. Neese went for the contract and got caught by Ion. Ion tried walking over Neese but Neese responded with a German superplex.
[Q4] Moments later, Neese went again for the contract only for him to be shoved off the top rope by Ion. Ion climbed the pole and grabbed the contract to win the match… [C]
Ryan's Rant: Weak. These two had a pair of great matches the past two weeks, but this pointless and lackluster gimmick limited them tremendously. This was easily the worst match of the three and it made the series feel like filler considering the only meaningful victory happened in the first match.
3. Douglas Williams defeated Gunner via DQ at 1:32. Williams went right after Gunner's legs, but Gunner quickly regained control and threw Williams to the floor before shoving the referee to force the DQ.
Flair low blowed Williams and Gunner DDTed Williams on exposed concrete.
Bobby Roode was shown walking backstage… [C]
Ryan's Rant: I like pairing Flair with Gunner. I do not like another wrestling storyline centered on injuring an opponent's head/neck area.
The old video package for Bobby Roode with his family discussing the way he's changed aired.
[Q5] Bobby Roode made his way to the ring. He grabbed a mic and said that many people have expressed their opinions about him, and some of them were family and friends. Roode said that one of them even called him selfish, and he talked about how he's the leader of the selfish generation. Roode said he flew his friend to the show to say how he feels straight to his face.
He introduced Tracy Kowleski, and the fans chimed in with "who?" Tracy made his way through the crowd and a mild Tracy chant started. Roode told Tracy he's been busy and that's why he hasn't responded to Tracy's attempts to communicate with him. Roode got Tracy a mic.
Tracy said he doesn’t know who Roode is anymore, and he said that Roode is the least selfish person he knows. Tracy said that he doesn’t know who's standing in front of him and he misses his friends. Tracy talked about Roode's wife misses her husband, his mother misses her son, and his kids miss their father. Tracy talked about how he's the one who drives Roode's kids to hockey practice, and every time he does they ask him where their daddy is and they say they love their daddy. Tracy told Roode he can still come home.
Roode laughed and said he's wearing a 3k dollar suit and he looks damned good. Roode talked about how Tracy was his lackey and Roode started talking about his family. Roode called his parents hags that want his money. He said his sister wants her brother back but she hasn't been anywhere near him for the past thirty years. Roode then told Tracy never to talk about his kids.
Roode started to choke Tracy and then began kicking the tar out of him. Jeff Hardy flew down to the ring and ran off Roode.
Backstage, ODB and Eric Young discussed strategy for their match and Young apparently thinks the two of them are in love… [C]
Ryan's Rant: I am not a fan of family being brought into storylines as it wreaks of lazy writing, but "Tracy" did a very good job there. Unfortunately, Roode undid all of his hard work when he added his contribution to the segment. Something about Roode simply is not clicking. I think it has something to do with the fact that TNA is trying to get over Roode with what are supposed to feel like real, raw emotion yet Roode's promos sounds so incredibly scripted and fake.
[Q6] Backstage, Kurt Angle complained about having to face RVD and he said it wasn't fair.
4. Samoa Joe and Magnus defeated ODB and Eric Young in a Wild Card Tag Team Tournament match in 5:16. Magnus tried to flirt ODB to death, but she responded in kind before slapping the taste out of his mouth.
ODB and Magnus had a few more comedy moments before Young tagged in. Naturally, this meant it was time for his pants to come off.
The actual wrestling finally started to kick off and Magnus floored Young with a front kick. Joe and Magnus worked a quick series on Young for a near fall. Young battled back with a running forearm.
ODB knocked Magnus to the floor. She attempted to distract Joe while Young ascended the ropes, but Magnus jumped back in the ring, grabbed ODB, and threw her at Young. Young crashed on the turnbuckle, ODB fell to the floor, and Samoa Joe hit Young with the Muscle Buster for the win… [C]
Ryan's Rant: Joe and Magnus continue to excite me as a tag team. I can't particularly put my finger ion why, but they just seem to fit well together in some odd way. They're easily the team I see winning this tournament.
Backstage, Mickie James talked about how she learned a lot from her last match with Gail Kim and she said she feels like she has a better grip on her strengths and weaknesses. James said she felt confident tonight. She said Kim was good, but she feels like she's better and would prove that tonight.
Ryan's Rant: Very good promo from James here. She's been lukewarm since her return to TNA, but that was a very solid promo. I hope she sticks to that style for the future.
[Q7] 5. Kurt Angle defeated RVD via DQ in 5:11. Angle took control momentarily, but RVD managed to get Angle off of his feet and hit Rolling Thunder.
The two traded signature spots several times and Angle hit the Angle Slam four minutes into the match. RVD kicked out and knocked Angle down. RVD went for and missed the Five Star Frog Splash. Angle locked in the ankle lock on RVD.
James Storm slid into the ring from out of nowhere and hit Last Call to force the DQ.
Ryan's Rant: Why do there have to be multiple finisher spots in every Angle match, including five minute matches that end in a DQ? All that does is lessen the impact those moves will have down the road.
A video package promo of the last segment aired. Storm said he's gotten revenge, and Angle isn't happy about interference in his match. Angle said their next match will determine who the better man is.
[Q8] 6. Gail Kim defeated Mickie James to retain the Knockouts Championship in 14:06. James went for several roll-ups early. The women spilled to the floor, where James hit a neckbreaker that injured her as much as it hurt Kim… [C]
Back from the break, Kim and James continued to battle on the floor. Kim kicked James in the head and attempted to win the match via count out. James made it back in the ring, but she was still out of it and Kim began to work her over.
Kim got cocky and slapped James several times. James began to battle back briefly but Kim wrapped up James in an Octopus stretch. James slowly fell to the mat before rolling to the ropes. Kim went right back to the Octopus Stretch and James countered into a pin.
Kim let go of the hold and kicked James in the head. Kim went up top and drilled James with a missile dropkick. Kim set up for Eat Defeat but James threw her off. James fired up and hit a series of double axe handles and went up top.
Kim rolled to the floor and James changed direction. James hit a sloppy flying thez press and then threw Kim back into the ring.
A masked figured got into the ring while Hebner attended to Kim. The mystery person hit James with a Peruvian neckbreaker before hiding under the ring.
Kim rolled back in and covered James for the win. Hebner made the slowest three count he possibly could.
As Gail Kim celebrated, the mystery person poked their head out from under the ring to reveal it was Madison Rayne covered in face paint.
Ryan's Rant:That was one silly finish too any for my tastes. It's bad enough that there were already two DQ finishes in the broadcast, but that made the second run-in finish as well. TNA really needs to learn to scale back on this sort of things as it loses impact every time they use a cheap finish. Less is more.
Still, despite that minor complaint, this was a good match that capped off a very solid edition of Impact. I am glad to see the Knockouts Championship featured in the main event slot. Overall, the show was very entertaining tonight and it was a vast improvement over what we got last week. TNA can be entertaining when they slow down and give us plenty of solid wrestling and resist the urge to cram as many storylines as possible onto one show. They did that tonight, and I was highly entertained. I'll have more to say tomorrow in my Rundown of this show.
If you have any questions or comments or just wish to chat with a fellow wrestling fan about whatever, then feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow me on Twitter at @TheRyanKester.
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