3/15 Powell's TNA Impact Wrestling Live Coverage Review: Sting and Bobby Roode contract signing, final hype for Sunday's Victory Road pay-per-view
By Jason Powell
TNA Impact Wrestling on SpikeTV
Taped in Orlando, Fla.
[Q1] The show opened with a video that focussed on Bobby Roode and Sting... Mike Tenay and Taz are on commentary...
James Storm made his entrance and headed to the ring for a promo. He spoke about getting the title match at the Lockdown pay-per-view. He said Roode is selfish, just as he says he is. Storm said the problem with the world today is that there are too many takers and not enough givers.
Storm vowed to give Roode the ass kicking of his life at Lockdown. He said he wants the TNA Championship and is going to take it from Roode at the pay-per-view. A "it's your time" chant broke out at one point. Storm was about to deliver his catchphrase, but he stopped and said Roode needs all the luck he can get.
Bully Ray walked onto the entrance ramp and said he could see that Storm is ready. "Unfortunately, I'm not sure you know where you are right now," Ray said. He boasted about kicking a chair into Storm's head. Storm rebutted quickly by saying he's the guy who superkicked his way through Ray to get a TNA Title shot. Ray told him to kiss his calves.
Ray said Storm isn't going to make it to Lockdown because they have a match at the Victory Road pay-per-view. Storm headed to ringside and said he and Ray could have their fight right now. Ray asked Storm if he wanted a fight. Ray said Storm wouldn't be fighting "Calvezilla." Instead, Ray introduced Gunner.
Gunner came out and ended up in Storm's face. Storm took the first swing and they brawled on the floor briefly until D-Lo Brown, Al Snow, and Simon Diamond ran out to pull them apart. Ray snuck in a cheap shot on Storm while the agents were holding him...
Backstage, Gail Kim and Madison Rayne bickered. They ran into Sting and kept bickering. Sting said he has Bobby Roode on his mind. Sting said Gail would face Mickie James tonight, and Madison would face Velvet Sky. They went back to bickering with each other... [C]
Powell's POV: The opening segment put a little too much emphasis on Storm challenging Roode at Lockdown when this is the go-home show for Victory Road. It's a tough balancing act because the company views Lockdown as more important and they want to keep that match fresh in the minds of the viewers, but it may make some viewers choose to skip Victory Road for Lockdown. By the way, which Knockout should I cheer for on Sunday since they're both heels?
[Q2] A Bobby Roode video package aired with Roode saying he'll do whatever it takes to take Sting out...
1. Madison Rayne beat Velvet Sky. Velvet went right after Madison with the intensity you would expect from two former tag partners who are on opposite sides of the fence these days. The announcers spoke about how neither woman had a chance to prepare for the match. Late in the match, Velvet rolled up Madison, who rolled through and then held Velvet's tights while scoring the pin...
Powell's POV: I'm just not sure what TNA hopes to get out of the heel vs. heel match at the pay-per-view. Perhaps Gail or Madison will turn.
Backstage, a cocky Crimson told Matt Morgan that it's all about winning. Crimson boasted that if anyone knows about winning matches it is him because he's gone 14 months without a loss. Morgan laughed at the cocky Crimson a bit, but they shook hands while talking about their tag title match at the pay-per-view... [C]
Powell's POV: I think I'm going to like heel Crimson more than babyface Crimson. I like the way he's boasting about his winning streak now. He seems to be better at acting cocky than he is at being the tough guy Goldberg type. This could be fun.
2. Crimson (w/Matt Morgan) defeated Samoa Joe (w/Magnus) in 4:30. The announcers put over the work of ring announcer Christy Hemme.
[Q3] Late in the match, Morgan climbed onto the ring apron. Magnus pulled him down and punched him, but Morgan whipped him into the ring steps. Morgan clotheslined Joe over the top rope, and the Crimson speared Joe and pinned him...
Backstage, Austin Aries was walking with a bottle of champagne. Tenay said Aries wants to share an important milestone with viewers... [C]
Powell's POV: Have we had a complete reversal with Joe and Magnus as babyfaces, while Crimson and Morgan are heels? Crimson is definitely going heel, but while Moran hasn't been acting heelish, there was no reason for him as a babface to stand on the ring apron to distract Joe. I don't think Morgan is turning with Crimson, so that was odd. If they are both turning, then I understand.
Aries stood in the ring and noted that there have been 53 X Division championship reigns and the belt has been held by 25 different men. Aries said he's not only the greatest man that ever lived, he's now the longest reigning X Division Champion. He said the previous record reign was 183 days.
Aries set up a video of the highlights of his title reign. After the video, Aries thanked everyone for making it possible, himself first and foremost. He thanked all of his opponents for being good but not quite great. He asked the fans to join him in toasting the greatest man who ever lived.
Zema Ion headed to the ring. Aries assumed he was there to step in his spotlight. He said he understands. He also said he can appreciate the way Ion beat him at his own game last week. Ion said he beat Aries at his game, not Austin's game. He said Aries should hand him the title now. He said that if he doesn't do it, what happened to Jesse Sorensen could happen to him.
Aries said he appreciates that Ion "has some hair on his nuts." Ion toasted Aries on his spectacular title reign and said it will end on Sunday. Ion said he's not just f'n pretty, "but I'm pretty f'n dangerous." Ion threw champagne in Aries's face. Austin ended up clearing Zema from the ring...
The announcers hyped Gail Kim vs. Mickie James, and Mr. Anderson vs. Christopher Daniels for later in the show...
Powell's POV: Once again, which heel am I supposed to cheer for on Sunday? Granted, it's hard to root for the Ion character when he's boasting about what he did to Jesse Sorensen, but it's not like Aries has redeeming babyface qualities. I am looking forward to watching them work, but I don't understand why we're getting two heel vs. heel title matches, and whatever the dynamic is supposed to be in the tag title match at Victory Road.
[Q4] [C] Backstage, Joseph Park approached Gunner about the missing Abyss. Gunner blew him off... Highlights aired of the ODB and Eric Young engagement from last week... Backstage, Young and ODB spoke about where to hold their wedding. The idea of a VFW hall, a bowling alley, the Minnesota State Fair, and the wrestling ring came up. They agreed to get married on Impact...
Powell's POV: Is it just me or is Young's character cooler than Zack Ryder's character has become in WWE? ODB actually likes him and acknowledges that they've done the deed, whereas Ryder is being played by a woman he hasn't even made it to second base with?
In another part of the backstage area, Kurt Angle complained about young punks like Garett Bischoff who don't belong in the wrestling business. He said he'd face Garett in a five minute match. He questioned whether Garett could last that long. Angle briefly hyped his pay-per-view match with Jeff Hardy... Tenay hyped the women's match... [C]
A video aired with Sting talking briefly about his Victory Road match with Bobby Roode... Tenay hyped the Anderson vs. Daniels match, Taz hyped Storm vs. Gunner, and they hyped the Sting and Roode contract signing... Ring introductions for the Knockouts match took place...
3. Gail Kim pinned Mickie James in a non-title match in 5:15. Mickie jumped out to the early advantage. Gail tried to hit her with the title belt, but Mickie cut her off and remained in control. Gail came back and worked over Mickie's right knee.
Powell's POV: Let the record show that we had two short matches and a couple minutes of this match in the first hour. Limited in-ring action, blurring the lines between heels and babyfaces. Um, clearly Vince Russo is still with the creative team in spirit.
[Q5] Gail continued to work over the knee, which the announcers said was injured coming into the match. Mickie came back with a Thesz press for a near fall. Gail ended up grabbing the title belt at ringside again and this time she was able to hit Mickie with it while the referee was shielded. Gail scored the pin...
Backstage, Mr. Anderson said he and A.J. Styles might be an odd pairing. "But he threw up the Bat signal..." Christopher Daniels and Kazarian walked into the picture. Daniels said their beef with Styles has nothing to do with him. He said they are cut from the same cloth as Anderson, who mocked Daniels by saying "not that" when he knocked his coffee over...
Powell's POV: The Gail and Mickie outcome seemed predictable. Madison cheated to win earlier. Gail cheated to win this match. Again, who are viewers supposed to cheer for on Sunday? More importantly, why should viewers care about who wins on Sunday? They gave that match two segments of hype via those matches and I have no idea what I was supposed to take away from it.
4. Mr. Anderson pinned Christopher Daniels in 5:45. Anderson did his usual introduction on the stage and received a good reaction. Daniels jumped him once he entered the ring to start the match. The announcers questioned whether Kazarian is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. Daniels suffered a hard-way cut on his face.
[Q6] Anderson came back. Kazarian walked to ringside and climbed onto the ring apron. A.J. Styles ran out and pulled Kazarian down and punched him. Anderson hit the Mic Check on Daniels and scored the clean pin... [C]
Powell's POV: Now we have a heel who might not be a heel because he might be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, and one of the guys he's feuding with led the wrestling world in heel/face turns last year. The faces emerged victorious here, so I guess the incentive for people into this match is to see A.J. get revenge and/or to see if Anderson turns again. Let's just say that's not enough to make this viewer care about the match.
The TNA March Merchandise sale ad aired... Jeff Hardy was featured in a brief pre-tape regarding his match against Kurt Angle...
5. Garett Bischoff survived against Kurt Angle in a five-minute challenge. Lots of crowd noise for Garett that didn't match the actual crowd's visual reaction. Angle dominated the match and hit a nasty suplex on Bischoff roughly four minutes into the match. With 30 seconds left, Angle went for his slam finisher, but Garett avoided it and threw him out of the ring.
Angle ran back inside the ring and charged at Garett, who put his feet up. Angle still came back and hit his finisher. Kurt went for the cover, but the time expired before the referee could make the three count. Angle got pissed and applied the ankle lock on Bischoff. Jeff Hardy ran out and kicked Angle off of Bischoff...
Powell's POV: Angle dominated the match and the idea seemed to be that he was toying with Garett and could have taken him out earlier. This would have been effective if it involved someone the TNA fans are actually behind. It could have been worse, but I really didn't need to see Garett beating the odds again. At least they managed to sneak in a little hype for Angle vs. Hardy at the end.
[Q7] [C] Backstage, Robbie E and Robbie T were talking about TNA merchandise when the camera guy approached and asked who was next on the TV Champion's list. He said he's already beaten everybody...
The announcers hyped they pay-per-view. They added the Robbie E open challenge for the TNA TV Title while running through the pay-per-view matches...
6. James Storm pinned Gunner on 3:50. Bully Ray came out to watch the match from the entrance ramp. The match was competitive until Storm hit some of his signature spots down the stretch and finished him off with the Last Call. Ray teased fighting Storm afterwards only to back down...
Another brief Sting vs. Roode teaser aired. Roode said Sting has a personal vendetta against him and he doesn't know why. He said he's earned everything he has and questioned why Sting has been unfair... Split screen shots of Roode and Sting walking backstage were show...
Powell's POV: I like the way Storm played to the crowd during those signature spots down the stretch. The fans popped for some of them but they didn't get up for all of them. Rather than just move on, Storm revved them up by motioning to them and it got some of the overexposed fans to react accordingly. Well, except for the one stone faced girl who rested her head on her hand for the entire match.
[Q8] [C] Another Sting vs. Roode feature aired... Sting and Roode were in the ring with the contract signing host Jeremy Borash. The wrestlers at at a table across from one another. Sting put pen to paper first as a "Sting" chant broke out. Roode did the same. Borash hyped that it's official and it will be a No Holds Barred match.
Roode took the mic from Borash and remained seated as he addressed Sting. He said he remembers November 3, 2011 like it was yesterday. He said that's the day he became the It Factor of TNA by becoming the TNA Champion.
Roode stood and continued to talk. He asked Sting if he remembered beating Ric Flair 22 years ago to become a World Champion for the first time. Roode said he remembers because he was a fan. He said Sting sees himself when he looks at Roode, only Roode is that much better than Sting.
Roode continued to tear into Sting and concluded his promo by saying that he's nothing more than a washed up has-been who should have left the business a long, long time ago. Sting didn't respond. Roode said he couldn't believe that Sting was at a loss for words for the first time in his career. "What's a matter, Stinger, does the truth hurt?"
Sting finally showed some emotion by pushing the table over and standing up just as Roode was about to leave. Sting took his makeup out and started rubbing it all over his face. Roode got in his face and said the paint and Sting don't scare him. Sting wiped some of the black paint on Roode's face. Sting head-faked, and Roode flinched.
Sting took physical shots at Roode in the corner and then rubbed more makeup on his face. Sting roughed up Roode by kicking his legs out from under him a couple of times and then clotheslined him over the top rope. Sting's music played as he threw one of the chairs toward Roode on the floor. Sting played to the crowd and the cameras by beating his chest to close the show...
Powell's POV: A very good performance by Roode. He's come a long way from being a guy who was passable on the mic as a tag team wrestler to being the guy who just carried the verbal end of that segment by tearing into Sting and boasting about his own abilities in the process.
Unfortunately, I'm more excited about next week's television tapings than the pay-per-view on Sunday. Impact has completely failed to sell me on the Victory Road pay-per-view matches over the last few weeks. I want to see them get this show out of the way and move on. Roode vs. Storm should feel like TNA's biggest match of the year to date and I'm curious to see whether there are any significant changes in direction now that the show has bombed in the ratings the last two weeks. I'll be covering Victory Road on Sunday night, so join me for live coverage or just check for the results as they happen.
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