5/17 Powell's TNA Impact Wrestling Live Coverage Review: Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe, battle royal, Gail Kim vs. Brooke Tessmacher vs. Velvet Sky in a three-way for the Knockouts Title
By Jason Powell
TNA Impact Wrestling on SpikeTV
Taped in Orlando, Fla.
A highlight package recapped Bobby Roode retaining the TNA Title by defeating Rob Van Dam in a ladder match at TNA Sacrifice. The narrator said the road to TNA Slammiversary starts now...
Bobby Roode headed to the ring as Mike Tenay and Taz checked in on commentary. Tenay put over TNA Sacrifice as "terrific." Roode talked about having the deck stacked against him, yet still being able to prove each and every fan wrong again. "I am your World Heavyweight Champion," Roode said.
Roode noted that in seven days he will go down as the longest reigning TNA Champion in the history of Impact Wrestling. He said he will throw the biggest party the business has ever witnessed next week. He said that in order to make sure it goes off without a hitch, he needed to call out one man. "Hulk Hogan, get your ass out here," Roode said.
Hulk Hogan made his entrance as the announcers spoke about Roode's "Celebration of Domination." Once Hogan arrived in the ring, Roode told him he had a list of demands. he said he wanted a private dressing room makeover, champagne, only green M&M's, and gold confetti from Canada.
Hogan asked to see the list. He said he's seen Harley Race, Jack Brisco, Lou Thesz, Randy Savage, The Harts, and noted that he also had the belt. Hogan said Roode gave the company direction and now everyone is after him. Hogan went back to the list of demands and said Roode hasn't broken any records yet. Hogan tore up the list.
Hogan announced that next week is Open Fight Night. Hogan explained that it's a monthly event in which "anybody can call anybody out and they have to fight." He said there is also a title defense. He said last month the TNA Tag Champions defended their title.
Roode protested and said it was time for him to celebrate. Hogan ran through the title belt options. Hogan announced that Roode will defend the TNA Title next week. He said he took a poll backstage and noted that a few of Roode's friends agreed to step up to challenge him.
Samoa Joe, Kurt Angle, A.J. Styles, Mr. Anderson, Crimson, Devon, Gunner, Rob Terry, Robbie E, ODB, and many others walked onto the stage. Hogan said he needs to cut it down to four men so that he can figure out which man is the right man for the job. Hogan said Rob Van Dam should climb into the ring to face Bully Ray in an elimination match.
Hogan noted that it's been back and forth between Jeff Hardy and Mr. Anderson, so he booked them in an elimination match. He also booked Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe in one of the elimination matches. He said the final qualifying match would be a wild card battle royal. He said the winner will be the fourth man to have a shot at the champion. Hogan told Roode that if he wants to celebrate, he better fight...
The announcers spoke about the segment and then the Knockouts Tag Title match, the signing of King Mo, and Bully Ray vs. Rob Van Dam for after the break...
[Q2] [C] A commercial touted TNA airing live beginning May 31...
Powell's POV: A strong opening segment. Roode's promo was solid and he was a good mix of strong heel champion and arrogant heel being shown up by the authority figure. Hogan was also very good. He wasn't in bad gameshow host mode and they played off of one another nicely. The only negative is that they didn't explain what happens with the four qualifiers. I can understand why our correspondent thought it led to a four-way match next week after watching that segment. The commercial hyped "no edits, no do-overs, and no turning back." How about "you never know what will happen on live television" instead?
A clip recapped the return of Abyss from last week...
1. Bully Ray vs. Rob Van Dam in a qualifier. The announcers narrated still shots of Roode vs. RVD from the pay-per-view before the match. Van Dam sold a knee injury from the pay-per-view. He went to the top rope and grabbed at his knee momentarily. Bully Ray avoided the top rope kick. Van Dam clutched the knee again. Ray dropped him with a Diamond Cutter and scored the pin...
Bully Ray pinned Rob Van Dam.
The announcers teased King Mo details for after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: Van Dam had the out for losing due to the storyline knee injury. Honestly, I have no idea how the guy does it. His ankle twisted in a way that it never should in the ladder on Sunday, yet he was back to wrestling on Monday night. Amazing. Van Dam loses nothing by losing that way and Ray gets some heat back with anyone who saw him lose at Sacrifice. I believe the gimmick with the qualifiers is that they get it down to four and then Hulk Hogan chooses one of those wrestlers to challenge Roode next week.
[Q3] Backstage, Bully Ray complained about the Kardashian sisters jumping on the anti-bullying campaign. He spotted Joseph Park off-camera. Park said Abyss said something interesting last week when he stated that he's getting too close to the fire. Ray told him to stay away...
The announcers set up footage from MMA Uncensored Live featuring King Mo, Dixie Carter, and Bjorn Rebney. They included the clip of Dixie saying she's wanted to do something like this for a couple of years only to run into resistance...
Backstage, Gail Kim complained to Madison Rayne about her three-way match. Madison was distracted. Gail asked if it was because of "that guy." Madison acted like it was not, but it was obvious that it was. After Madison left, Brooke Tessmacher and Velvet Sky showed up and taunted the Knockouts champion...
Powell's POV: I'm mildly intrigued by the Madison storyline. They're doing a good job of making her mystery man's identity a talking point without going overboard and raising expectations too high.
Austin Aries made his entrance and the camera showed off the welts on his back from the big bump at the pay-per-view. Tenay said the battle royal was up next... [C]
Powell's POV: The spot consisted of Aries being knocked off the top rope by Bully Ray and crashing back-first into the guardrail. The first two matches appear to be a showcase of guys who are lucky to be wrestling after scary pay-per-view moments. I hope they featured his entrance because they realize what they have in him and not because they wanted to show off the welts. Things have improved to the point that I actually assume it's because the know what they have in Aries, but the welts probably didn't hurt his cause.
2. 10-Man (one woman) Battle Royal. The wrestlers were Aries, Eric Young, ODB, A.J. Styles, Robbie E, Robbie T, Gunner, Garett Bischoff, Magnus, Devon, and Crimson. Young, Crimson, and ODB were out 30 seconds into the match. The couple clotheslined Crimson and their momentum took them over the top. Magnus was eliminated by an Aries' dropkick.
Madison Rayne walked onto the stage and made doe eyes at someone in the ring. Tenay said she has a crush on someone and he doesn't think the guy knows it. Robbie E eliminated Robbie T. Devon eliminated Robbie E. They went to break with only five men remaining in the match.
[Q4] [C] Garett Bischoff eliminated Devon by pulling down the top rope as Devon lunged at him. Garett thought about shaking Devon's hand but pulled back to avoid the oldest battle royal trick in the book. He walked into a Pele Kick from Styles, who eliminated him. With Gunner down in the corner, Styles and Aries faced off. They paused to build up the moment before locking up and Taz noted it was a dream match.
Gunner recovered and eliminated Aries when he was caught off guard. Styles quickly eliminated Gunner to win the match. Taz called it the best battle royal in his life. The announcers noted that Styles has qualified "for a spot" along with Bully Ray for Open Fight Night... [C]
A.J. Styles won a 10-man, one woman battle royal in 11:00.
Powell's POV: Taz went overboard with the greatest battle royal he's ever seen talk, but it was mildly entertaining. It was better than the usual punch and kick style battle royal, but there wasn't nothing truly great about it.
A video recapped the Daniels, Kazarian, and A.J. Styles storyline... Styles was still in the ring following the battle royal. Styles noted that Roode is on the verge of becoming the longest reigning TNA Champion. He said Hogan should put him in the ring next week and he will win the TNA Title.
[Q5] As for the photos of he and Dixie Carter, he said things aren't always as they seem. He said he and Dixie have been business partners for ten years. He said they are both happily married. He called her a beautiful, wealthy woman, but stressed again that things are not always as they seem.
New TNA Tag Champions Christopher Daniels and Kazarian walked to ringside. Daniels said the photos are proof of how Styles got to where he's at today. Kazarian took the mic from Daniels and said, "Easy." He said it's not about humiliating or destroying Styles. He said it's about exposing the truth. Kazarian said that Styles has always been a man of his word, so he wants to know what the deal is with the pictures.
Styles said he told him the truth. Daniels said they could have taken one image out of context, but that's why they invented video. They held up an iPod and played footage of Styles and Dixie walking arm and arm at a hotel. They got to the door of a room and Styles reached back and gently pulled Dixie into the room by the hand.
Styles got pissed and told Daniels to shut up. Styles left the ring. Daniels told told Kazarian that Styles was reacting that way because the truth hurts. He looked into the camera and said, "That's his explanation" and held his arms out...
Powell's POV Daniels continues to shine on the mic. As far as the angle goes, I have my guard up as most longtime fans probably do. Granted, they went further than the old "it was photoshopped" excuse by showing the video, but I just assume we'll eventually get a sappy explanation for all of this.
A video recapped Kurt Angle becoming the first man to beat Samoa Joe in TNA...
Backstage, Joe and Angle were talking. Joe told him it's a shame he has to go through him to get his belt back. He said business is business. Angle asked Samoa Joe if he remembered the head-butt he gave him. He held up his left hand and said it's about about who makes the first move. Angle slapped Joe with his right hand. Joe went nuts and attacked Angle until others showed up to pull them apart...
The announcers hyped Jeff Hardy vs. Mr. Anderson... Backstage, Anderson looked at photos of his pay-per-view match with Hardy. He said it looked like Hardy's shoulder was down in one angle and was up from another angle. He said it was close and he was giving him another shot tonight... [C]
A Slammiversary video recapped A.J. Styles defeating Christopher Daniels and Samoa Joe in a three-way to win the X Division...
Ring entrances for the Anderson vs. Hardy match took place. The announcers hyped Anderson's role in the "Mansome" documentary and noted that Dixie Carter and Matt Morgan are both included. The movie comes out tomorrow. They did not mention Shawn Daivari, who is featured prominently in the film...
[Q6] 3. Mr. Anderson vs. Jeff Hardy. Back and forth action throughout the match. Hardy took his shirt off at 5:45 and went for the Twist of Fate. Anderson avoided the move and hit a senton roll, but Hardy hooked his arms and scored the pin...
Jeff Hardy pinned Mr. Anderson in 5:55.
The announcers noted that Hardy joins Bully Ray and A.J. Styles in getting a spot on Open Fight Night. Tenay noted that Hulk Hogan has a tough decision to make regarding which wrestler will challenge Bobby Roode... A graphic hyped the Knockouts Title match... [C]
Powell's POV: The usual story with Hardy and Anderson matches. The crowd likes Hardy and roots for him, but there's not a passionate fan reaction because they don't have any reason to dislike Anderson. Tenay sort of explained that Hogan will choose between the four wrestlers. Perhaps he did earlier at a point when I was zoning him out. Either way, it isn't the most exciting concept to have wrestlers qualify for consideration. Maybe that's why they haven't offered a thorough explanation.
Highlights aired of Samoa Joe winning the TNA Championship for the first time... Tenay hyped Angle vs. Joe... The Knockouts made their entrances for the three-way title match...
[Q7] 4. Gail Kim vs. Brooke Tessmacher vs. Velvet Sky in a three-way for the TNA Knockouts Title. The challengers cleared the champion from the ring early and then squared off. They should have just agreed to one of them taking a quick loss to let the other win, but they are women so they can't agree on anything. No, not really. Anyway, after a brief exchange between the two, Gail reentered the match.
Late in the match, Velvet hit a lousy looking sit-out Pedigree (my best guess at a name for the move) on Tessmacher. Gail snuck in and took out Velvet, and then covered Tessmacher to the win...
Gail Kim defeated Brooke Tessmacher and Velvet Sky in a three-way in 4:40.
Powell's POV: I'm not blaming Velvet entirely for the bad move since it takes two to tango, but that was ugly. So, of course, TNA showed it from a different angle and it looked even worse. Tessmacher just had a good match with Kim at the pay-per-view and had an out for losing, so why is she doing the job here when they should be setting up a rematch?
The announcers hyped Joe vs. Angle for after the break... [C]
A TNA Slammiversary video aired that showcased several big moments in the company's history... The announcers recapped the three previous qualifying matches for Open Fight Night...
Christy Hemme introduced Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle for the main event...
[Q8] 5. Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle. Angle took Joe down, but Joe reached the ropes early on. Joe came back with a couple of shoulder blocks, chop, a kick, and knee drop on the downed Angle for a near fall. Joe grated his boot on Angle's face in the corner. Angle came back with a belly-to-belly suplex. Bobby Roode walked onto the stage and the show cut to commercial. [C]
Roode joined the announcers on commentary after the break. He said he will go down as the longest reigning champion ever. Meanwhile, Angle hit a series of German suplexes on Joe. Later, Angle applied the ankle lock, but Joe twisted out of it. Joe came back with big kicks. Angle dropped Joe with the Angle Slam for a near fall at 10:30.
Angle applied the ankle lock and Joe twisted out of it again. Angle charged at Joe in the corner. Joe caught him and slammed him down with one arm. Later, Joe had Angle on the ropes. Angle head-butted him. Joe charged and did a sunset flip off the second rope and scored the clean pin.
Kurt Angle defeated Samoa Joe in 12:25.
"Kurt Angle?" Roode asked twice. "Okay, fine. Fine." Roode took his belt and walked off. Roode stood on the stage Angle motioned for him to come to the ring. Jeff Hardy walked through the crowd and looked at Roode. Bully Ray walked onto the stage behind Bully Ray. That cheating whore A.J. Styles walked onto the other side of the stage and looked at Roode. The announcers hyped Open Fight Night to close the show...
Powell's POV: I was worried that Roode was going to spend all of his time on commentary putting himself and his title reign length over. He did that initially and it took away from the match, but then he settled in and did a nice job of putting over Angle and Joe.
The main event was a typical television main event. It offered a taste of what Joe vs. Angle was like back in the day, but it probably wasn't worth revisiting since they didn't give them enough time for it to be special or memorable. Cue the "leave the memories alone" Ric Flair Hall of Fame song.
Overall, I still don't care for the way they had four qualifying matches that lead to each wrestler earning the right to be considered by Hulk Hogan for a title shot. Sure, it creates some intrigue for next week, but I wish they would decide that in the ring rather than having a full show of buildup just for a decision next week. Nevertheless, it was a good show that forwarded the storylines coming out of TNA Sacrifice.
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