1/19 Powell's TNA "Impact Wrestling" Live Coverage: A.J. Styles vs. Gunner, Mickie James vs. Madison Rayne in a cage match, Bobby Roode, James Storm, Jeff Hardy, and Sting
By Jason Powell
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TNA "Impact Wrestling" on Spike TV
Taped in Orlando, Florida at the Impact Zone
[Q1] The show opened with a recap video... Mike Tenay and Taz introduced the show while James Storm walked to the ring wearing street clothes. Storm recalled beating Kurt Angle. He said Angle is a great wrestler, but he was just a little better. Storm turned his attention to Bobby Roode and said he's going to whoop his ass.
Storm was about to deliver his catchphrase when Jeff Hardy's music interrupted him. Hardy wasn't happy about the way he lost to Roode. Storm said he was also screwed by Roode. He said that with all the screwing that Roode has been doing, he has a lot of child support to pay. Funny.
Bobby Roode's music played and he walked out wearing a suit with the title belt draped over his shoulder. Roode claimed that since he and Hardy didn't have a finish last week, Storm earning the No. 1 contender slot is now null and void. He also claimed that he gave Hardy so many title shots that he isn't worthy of another shot.
Sting made his entrance and accused Roode of finding loopholes. He said he was going to fix it by holding a match between Storm and Hardy to determine the No. 1 contender. Roode and Sting jawed back and forth as Sting left the ring. Roode turned around and looked at Hardy and Storm with some concern on his face. Storm and Hardy shook hands... [C]
Powell's POV: A good opening segment with all three major players in the title picture featured. Storm had some good lines in there, but his promo felt a little rushed due to the time constraints he had to work with. My only complaint is that they didn't advertise the match a week out or even on the TNA website. Hardy and Storm are two of the most popular TNA wrestlers, so the two of them facing off in a match is something worth advertising.
[Q2] Highlights aired from earlier in the day of Angelina Love complaining about Eric Young putting his hands on her. She challenged him to a one-on-one match and told him to come alone because she doesn't need to see his "boyfriend" ODB...
1. Gunner (w/Ric Flair) beat A.J. Styles in 4:40. After four minutes of action, Kazarian walked to ringside and Christopher Daniels ordered him to do something. Flair distracted the referee and then Kazarian toook a shot at Styles. Kazarian hung his head, but Daniels made him watch as Gunner pinned Styles.
After the match, Gunner moved the padding on the floor. Gunner set up Styles for a DDT, but Styles pushed him off. Styles hopped the guardrail and left to avoid taking the DDT...
Backstage, Magnus and Samoa Joe were interrupted by Crimson and Matt Morgan. Crimson was ready to fight. The heels kept their cool while Morgan told Crimson to save it for the ring... [C]
Powell's POV: I don't think Styles or Gunner came out of that match looking good. Gunner got a cheap win at a time when he needs a meaningful win to help erase the memories of losing to Garett Bischoff. Meanwhile, Styles avoided the DDT and then ran away. It's not every day that you actually see babyfaces run away. Odd. Meanwhile, it was more of the same from Daniels and Kazarian as we just wait for the reveal of what Daniels is holding over Kazarian.
Backstage, Bully Ray told Sting that he would do him a favor. Ray said he hasn't lost a match as a singles wrestler and deserves a title shot. Thus, he said Sting would give him a title match. Sting recalled Ray interfering in the main event last week and said he doesn't tell him what to do. Sting said he's the boss and told Ray to make an appointment the next time he wants to talk to him. Sting punched slapped Ray's chest and Ray sold it...
[Q3] 2. Crimson defeated Magnus in 1:05. The announcers spoke about Crimson's undefeated streak. Taz pointed out that Crimson hasn't competed in singles action lately and said there's a difference in the training. Crimson caught a charging Magnus with Sky High and pinned him.
After the match, Samoa Joe hit the ring and attacked Crimson. Joe and Magnus put the boots to Crimson. Matt Morgan finally ran out to make the save, but Joe slipped his knee from behind. Joe and Magnus worked over the tag champions and left them lying...
Powell's POV: Crimson's winning streak seems like it's getting in the way at this point. This is the type of match you'd expect the heels to win, but they won't go there because of the streak that no one talks about. Fortunately, the did a good job of putting some heat on the heels via the post-match attack.
Backstage, Eric Young spoke with a female caterer while standing in front of a Bellator semi-truck. Young called her Cyborg and said he doesn't fight women. ODB showed up and said Young was going to feed her a hot dog. Young didn't want the match, but ODB said he should take the challenge. She said that if Young does a number on Love, she might do a number on his booty... Tenay plugged the main event... [C]
Powell's POV: Do a number on his booty? Someone out there is extremely turned on. The rest of us? Not so much. That said, the Young and ODB pairing has been good for comedy relief in small doses.
A video recapped the Garett Bischoff segment from last week in which he teased that he has a new trainer. A Garett training video aired with him roughing up one sparring partner after another...
Joe Esposito's POV: You're the best around, nothing's gonna ever keep you down. You're the best around. Nothing's gonna ever keep you down. You're the best around. Nothing's gonna ever keep you dow-ow-ow-ow-own!!!!!
[Q4] A video recapped the Sting and Madison Rayne segment from last week... Backstage, Madison threw a fit over having to face Mickie James in a cage match. Gail Kim stepped in and calmed her down... [C]
3. Mickie James defeated Madison Rayne in a cage match in 12:25. Mickie controlled the offense early. Madison came back with a couple of forearm shots. Mickie whipped Madison into the corner and the show cut to break a few minutes into the match. [C]
[Q5] The back and forth continued into the second hour of the show. In the end, Mickie put Madison away with her DDT finisher and got the clean pin...
Backstage, Austin Aries said everyone wants to hear him talk. He said he was talking about what he's going to talk about in a couple minutes and people still can't turn the channel. He told them to imagine how great it would be when he actually talked about what he's going to talk about in a couple minutes...
Powell's POV: A no nonsense match between Mickie and Madison. It's nothing people will be talking about tomorrow, but it was a solid television match in that it gave Mickie her revenge while not giving away anything that should have been saved for pay-per-view. Meanwhile, the Aries promo teaser was awesome.
Backstage, Mickie celebrated her win with Velvet Sky and Tara. Mickie said she's not finished because she wants to bring the Knockouts Title to hardcore country. She also spoke about a knee injury and said she's been fighting through it...
Backstage, Jeff Hardy said the business and life are not fair. He said what would be fair is getting Roode in a no disqualification match. He said he wants to move on to his final encounter with Roode and be successful...
An Austin Aries video aired. He said he needs competition. He said his gear is psychological and its designed to throw people off because he's a tough mofo. He said he was never the biggest or strongest, but he may have been the smartest and most stubborn. He said they may need to bring in new guys to face him or to book him in handicap matches. He said he may have to retire...
Powell's POV: It's good to see Aries getting the spotlight. He's done a phenomenal job since he's returned to TNA and I have no doubt that he could be one of the most entertaining elements of Impact if he was given more mic time. Oh, it's not over yet.
[Q6] Aries walked to the ring in street clothes for a promo. He boasted about beating everyone the company has put in front of him. The crowd chanted "you suck." He held up the belt and asked how he sucks if he still has this. Aries said he might get on his yacht since there's no competition.
The Motor City Machine Guns theme song played. Alex Shelley walked to the ring and received a good reaction. He told the crowd that he missed them but said he didn't miss Aries so much. He spoke about his shoulder injury and then losing Chris Sabin to injury the day he returned.
Shelley said it's been tough because his whole life revolves around wrestling. He said TNA pay-per-views should come with a noose because of Aries matches (I can think of other reasons). Aries congratulated him for coming up with his joke lines while he was away. Shelley told him to shut up because he's tired of having a d-bag champion.
Aries said he's a fighting champion and he doesn't duck anyone. However, he said Shelley should earn his shot. He told him to pick any X Division wrestler in the back, beat him, and he'll get a title shot. Shelley told Aries to pick the opponent. He said he'd beat that wrestler and then challenge Aries for the title at the pay-per-view...
Powell's POV: A good segment. It was great to see two X Division wrestlers receive so much camera time. I like the idea of Shelley having to go through another wrestler to get to Aries, as that gives his return match more meaning.
Backstage, ODB cut a promo about the Young vs. Love match. Winter attacked her from behind. She eventually pulled out a pipe and struck ODB with it. She removed her belt and then whipped and choked ODB with it... [C]
Powell's POV: I'm pretty sure that same scene was in "Backdoor Sluts 9" but it had a much better payoff.
[Q7] 4. Eric Young defeated Angelina Love (w/Winter) by DQ in 1:50. After plenty of comedy stalling from young, Love kicked him low for the DQ. Love and Winter roughed up Young until ODB ran out for the save. She wasn't successful, though, as the heels put the boots to her instead. Young threw both heels to ringside. ODB kissed Young for helping her...
Powell's POV: I'm still enjoying the current version of Young's comedy character. I've been critical of his various characters over the years, but this one clicks with me as light hearted comedy relief. I kept an eye on the fans in the crowd during the match and the majority of them had big smiles on their faces from the moment Young entered until he left. He's definitely doing something right, and I'm enjoying his antics much more than Santino Marella these days.
Backstage, James Storm told the camera guy that he wants the TNA Title and he's not going to let Jeff Hardy stand in his way. He said he's sick and tired of talking about what he's going to do. He said he's going to show the world that he can be the champion of the company...
The announcers hyped the main event for after the break... [C] Ring introductions for the main event took place... Jeremy Borash handled the in-ring introductions for the main event...
5. James Storm fought Jeff Hardy to a no-contest in a match to become No. 1 contender to the TNA Title. The wrestlers slapped hands after the bell rang and then locked up. Storm took Hardy down with a side headlock and then they jockeyed for position on the mat.
[Q8] [C] Hardy was in control of the offense after the break. Storm ended up at ringside and Hardy dove over the top rope and onto Storm on the floor. Hardy remained on the offensive and hit a Whisper in the Wind for a near fall. Storm came back and went for a crucifix slam, but Hardy avoided it. Storm remained on offense, while the vocal majority chanted for Hardy.
At 11:30, Storm set up in the corner for the Last Call superkick. Hardy caught Storm's foot and hit the Twist of Fate. Hardy went to the top rope for his finisher, but Storm caught him. Hardy shoved Storm down and went back to the top rope. Storm recovered and blasted Hardy with a kick to the head. Storm superplexed Hardy at 13:00.
Storm covered Hardy. Bully Ran ran out and took and knocked the referee to the ground. Ray pulled out a chain and whipped Storm and Hardy with it. A second ref ran out and Ray punched him out. Ray grabbed Storm's beer bottle. He took a swig and spat it in Storm's face and then went back to whipping both men.
A third referee ran out and Ray knocked him out too. Ray did his Stan Hansen tribute. Sting came out with a baseball bat and took a couple of shots at Ray. Sting chased Ray to the back. Storm struggled to get to his feet. Roode entered the ring and slammed his title belt into the faces of both Hardy and Storm.
[Overrun] Roode grabbed a mic and said that by the power vested in him as the most powerful champion in TNA history, he was declaring the match a no-contest. "And still your world's heavyweight champion, Bobby Roode," Roode proclaimed...
Powell's POV: I am just fine with that finish on a television show because it put heat on the heels while making both babyfaces sympathetic. Hardy vs. Storm was good, but I wasn't blown away like I hope to be a company's two top babyfaces work a lengthy main event.
Overall, this was a solid edition of Impact with a solid mix of talk and in-ring action. The show did a nice job of putting heat on the top heels, including Austin Aries. I'll have more to say about the show in the TNA Impact Wrestling Hitlist, and Will Pruett will provide his take on the show in his weekly audio review on Friday.
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