5/31 Powell's TNA Impact Wrestling Live Coverage Review: Bobby Roode vs. Sting in a lumberjack match, Brooke Hogan debuts, fan voting determines Devon's challenger for the TNA TV Title
By Jason Powell
TNA Impact Wrestling on SpikeTV
Live from Orlando, Fla.
[Q1] The show opened with a recap from last week... Pyro went off inside the Impact Zone. Mike Tenay announced that they were broadcasting live from Orlando. He was joined on commentary by Taz. The lumberjacks were around the ring for the opening match. Christy Hemme handled the introductions for the opener...
Powell's POV: I'm giving away a pair of one-month Dot Net Memberships tonight. I'll pick one winner at the top of the second hour and a second winner later in the show at random. Let's do this. Cut and paste the following on your Twitter page now: Read @Prowrestlingnet's live coverage of TNA Impact Wrestling at prowrestling.net #tna #impactlive
1. TNA Champion Bobby Roode vs. Sting in a lumberjack match. The lumberjacks included Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam, Mr. Anderson, Devon, Austin Aries, Eric Young, Kurt Angle, Garett Bischoff, Crimson, Robbie E, Robbie T, Christopher Daniels, Kazarian, and Chris Sabin.
The lumberjacks came into play early. The faces threw Roode back in the ring early on without incident, whereas some of the heels put the boots to Sting when he was thrown out on their side of the ring. Sting was thrown to the heels side of the ring at 5:45. He fought them off with punches as the show cut to commercial. [C]
Powell's POV: The atmosphere feels livelier (no pun intended) than usual or they are doing a better job of capturing it. The crowd seems more excitable than they have been for many pay-per-view events. Holding this match early in the show was obviously done with the idea of luring viewers to watch in the earlier time slot. The match has been pretty basic thus far with so many tosses to ringside to get the lumberjacks involved. They are getting a lot of star power on the show early via those lumberjacks, but you have to wonder whether having them all appear now will leave the crowd less enthused when they see some of them again later in the show.
After the break, Tenay said Roode has been relentless in his attack on Sting while they were away. Taz said he wasn't sure how Sting would be able to come back from the beating he had been taking.
[Q2] Roode threw Sting back to ringside where the faces and heels mixed it up again briefly. Sting made a comeback and hit the Stinger Splash. Taz noted that Sting had gone for the move twice previously and missed. Roode ended up at ringside and the lumberjacks bickered. Sting dove over the top rope onto the wrestlers.
Sting went for the Scorpion Leg Lock, but Roode countered and applied the Crossface. The live crowd chanted "Let's go Sting" while the faces pounded on the mat briefly. A short time later, Sting hit the Scorpion Death Drop and then applied the Scorpion Death Lock. Roode tapped out to give Sting the win...
Sting defeated Bobby Roode via tapout in a non-title lumberjack match in 13:40.
Hulk Hogan walked onto the stage and declared Sting the number one man on Impact. Hogan announced that Sting will challenge Roode for the TNA Title at Slammiversary. Roode seethed in the ring...
The announcers hyped A.J Styles vs. Christopher Daniels, the TNA TV Title match, and the debut of Brooke Hogan for later in the show... [C]
Powell's POV: I was worried that this was the direction they were going to take when it wasn't booked as a TNA Title match. After all, if Roode was going over then there wouldn't be any harm in having the title on the line. The problem I have with this decision is that viewers who decided to give TNA another chance because of the live aspect see Sting beat Roode and it sends the message that it's the same old, same old. Sure, it sets the stage for their pay-per-view match, but I'd rather see the company focus on building Roode's credibility as a champion. I assume he will retain the title at the pay-per-view, but more people are watching this match than will see the pay-per-view.
Backstage, Madison Rayne talked about Brooke Hogan's arrival and said it's a big deal. She said she thinks they're going to get along just fine. She turned and asked the cameraman if everything was working okay just in case Brooke was watching...
Bully Ray stood in the ring and delivered a promo. He said he was looking for one person - Joseph Park. The camera showed Park sitting int he crowd eating popcorn and holding a soda. Ray said he's surprised that Park had the balls to show up this week. Ray ordered the guy in the truck to play video footage of their segment from last week.
Back live, Ray said he wanted to fight Park. The rowdy crowd cheered for Park to get to the ring. He walked to the guardrail and said, "I don't want to fight." Ray said that's because he's a coward and his brother Abyss is also a coward. Park got upset and tried to climb the guardrail, but security stepped in. Ray told security he would bust them in the head if they didn't let Park enter the ring.
[Q3] Security stepped aside and Park entered the ring. Ray said he wanted to fight him now. The crowd chanted, "Fight, fight, fight." Park said off-mic that he's not a fighter. As Park was leaving, Ray said he would like to change his plea to guilty as charged for leaving Abyss for dead. "Now what are you going to do, lawyer boy?" Ray asked.
Park grabbed Ray by the throat until he begged off. "If you hit me, I'll sue you," Ray said. Funny. Park looked to the crowd for approval and got a "hit him" chant. He backed off and said off-mic that he would not stoop to Ray's level because he has class and is an attorney. Ray said Park is just like his brother - nothing but a coward. Ray left the ring.
Park picked up the mic and told Ray to wait. "You wanna fight?" Park asked. "Well, let's do it, right now." Park took off his suit jacket and glasses and struck a fighter's pose. Ray goaded by asking him if he wanted to fight him and then said, "We'll fight at Slammiversary"... [C]
Powell's POV: A good segment that the live crowd was hot for. Ray is the best heel in the business right now and it's not even close. I'm not as crazy about the Park silliness as a lot of you seem to be, but the character has its moments and the heat that Ray generates makes it work. I really like the way Ray built up the possibility of a fight and turned the whole thing into a tease for the pay-per-view. That happens a lot in wrestling, but it was especially well done here. By the way, the TNA website is running Jeremy Borash's interviews with various talent during the commercial breaks.
A Crimson video package aired... Backstage, Crimson asked, "Did you see that?" He said he can't be beat...
Chris Sabin came out to the Motor City Machine Gun theme song and didn't get much of a response from the live crowd. Backstage, Aries was talking with D-Lo Brown and was wetting down his hair before heading to the ring for a match with Sabin. Samoa Joe was walking by and was accidentally sprayed by Aries. Joe didn't look happy...
Powell's POV: What are the odds that one of the only times they show a wrestler right before he walks through the curtain that there would happen to be an issue with a spray bottle? I'm probably the only person in the world who immediately recalled Randy Moss dousing a referee with water on the sideline years ago.
2. Austin Aries vs. Chris Sabin for the X Division Title. Sabin got off to a good start and delivered some crowd pleasing moves. Aries hit his suicide dive. They got a "TNA" chant. Sabin hoisted up Aries on his shoulders and went for a slam, but Aries caught him in a roll up on the way down and scored the clean pin...
Austin Aries defeated Chris Sabin to retain the X Division Title in 3:30.
[Q4] Aries celebrated his win with the title belt in the ring... Backstage, Hulk Hogan spoke with Taz about being the newest member of the Gut Check panel. Taz said people are going to get the real Taz and some people may not like that. Hogan said he doesn't care about that. He put over Gut Check as the future of the company... [C]
Powell's POV: It's a damn shame the X Division Title match was so short and wasn't presented as a bigger deal. Fortunately, Aries is talented enough that he came across like a star with the limited time that he was given. I'm already looking forward to the Aries vs. Joe match, as I assume that's what the spray bottle bit will ultimately set up. Meanwhile, if Alex Shelley isn't returning then they need to shake up Sabin's look and ditch the Machine Guns theme song.
Backstage, Bruce Prichard spoke with Taz and Al Snow about being on the Gut Check panel. He said they will butt heads all the time, but he's excited about being there. They turned their attention to Joey Ryan. Snow joked that he admires Ryan's mustache. They took a serious approach and Snow said he likes the look because he stands out as something more than a male underwear model.
Taz said he looks like he looks like a '70s porn star. One of them pointed out that that is essentially his gimmick. Prichard said some Twitter followers felt that Ryan is better than Alex Silva, who won the first Gut Check contract. Taz said he was annoyed by Ryan because he didn't look like he was about to fight for his life.
They watched footage of Ryan sprawling out on the ropes during his match with Austin Aries. Taz questioned what the hell he was doing. One of the judges said it was entertaining. Prichard said Ryan has one more chance to convince them. Snow said he didn't see heart in Ryan's match, but maybe Ryan could convince him. Taz said that maybe Ryan will cut the promo of his life...
Tenay said we'd find out later whether Ryan would receive the contract. Then he excitedly hyped the debut of Brooke Hogan for after the break...
Powell's POV: I really hope they limit the entire Gut Check challenge to Open Fight Night and have the whole thing play out in one show rather than over two shows. So if Ryan wins the contract, does he also disappear like Alex Silva has since he won the Gut Check? All of the insider talk will appeal to some, annoy others, and confuse many. I'm not a fan of the gimmick talk. The company claims they are pulling the curtain back and are being realistic, yet then they point out that a guy like Ryan is playing a character. I'm not sure what we're supposed to believe is real and fake.
Jeremy Borash stood backstage with the TNA TV Title contenders and talked briefly...
[Q5] Dixie Carter headed to the ring and told the fans that they wouldn't be there without them. She announced that at Slammiversary they will announce the first TNA Wrestling Hall of Fame inductee.
Powell's POV: Please let it be Vince Russo.
Dixie turned her focus to the Knockouts Division. She said she has a special place in her heart for the first, just as a lot of the guys in the crowd do. She said Brooke Hogan was born into the business and has a great mind for the business. Brooke came out to a mix of cheers and boos. Tenay put over over as a television personality, recording artist, and said she's accomplished so much in the entertainment industry.
Powell's POV: My girlfriend's reaction was awesome. She wasn't paying attention to the show, but Dixie's hype got her attention. When Brooke was announced, "Oh, God" and head shaking and eye-rolling followed. "They should have brought Trish Stratus on," she concluded. Needless to say, my girlfriend rarely watches along with me.
Brooke, who was dressed in a black skirt and boots said she has big yellow boots to fill. She said she's going to take it seriously and thanked Dixie for the opportunity. Dixie told her they were going to have a lot of fun. They hugged. A crew member held the ropes open so that Brooke could get out of the ring so that she could keep the only thing her skirt was covering covered up...
Backstage, Daniels told Kazarian that when he's finished beating A.J. Styles up, they will show off what they have because it's live television and no one can stop them. Some guy wandered into the shot. Kazarian asked who he was and said, "Get out of here." Funny...
Tenay hyped Styles vs. Daniels, and the TNA TV Title match for later in the show... [C]
Powell's POV: Okay, so Dixie Carter got the date wrong when she hyped that TNA will be holding Slammiversary on September 10. Putting that aside, she seems to be growing more comfortable in front of the camera. Meanwhile, Brooke actually said, "What a welcome" in response to the light mix of cheers, boos, and a lot of apathy.
The debut of Christian Cage was listed as one of TNA's biggest top moments in history...
Devon made his entrance for the TV Title match. Backstage, Borash stood with the four potential challengers (and Robbie T). Robbie E acted like he was going to win. Jeff Hardy was announced as the winner with more than 40 percent of the vote...
[Q6] 3. Devon vs. Jeff Hardy for the TNA TV Title. Hardy was on the verge of hitting his finisher when Robbie E and Robbie T hit the ring. It was announced that the match had been thrown out due to the interference. Devon and Hardy worked together to clear the heels from the ring....
Devon and Jeff Hardy fought to a no-contest in 4:20 due to outside interference.
Powell's POV: There was no reason to put the TV Title on Jeff Hardy and the crowd loves Hardy, so this worked out fine. Granted, Devon looks like a week champion who was about to lose his title, but I don't think anyone sees the belt as being more than an undercard title anyway.
A video showed James Storm on his farm. It was a well produced video package with Storm and his daughter with highlights from his career mixed in. Storm talked about how he hates letting people down like he did when he failed to win the TNA Title at Lockdown. He said he doesn't want to let down Dixie Carter because she believed in him all these years. Storm's daughter asked if that means he's going back to wrestling. Storm told the cameramen to turn off their cameras...
Tenay said the Gut Check segment was coming up next... [C]
Powell's POV: It's as if James Storm lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. I like the idea of establishing Roode as a credible champion and holding off on the Storm rematch until Bound For Glory. I'm not sure if that's the plan, but I like it if it is. Congrats to Sgt. Jose Roque of the U.S. Marine Corps for winning the first of the pair of one-month Dot Net Memberships we are giving away tonight. There's still one to go. I will pick the winner randomly. Cut and paste the following on your Twitter page now: Read @Prowrestlingnet's live coverage of TNA Impact Wrestling at prowrestling.net #tna #impactlive
A video recapped the drama that A.J. Styles and Kurt Angle have had with Christopher Daniels and Kazarian...
[Q7] Jeremy Borash stood in the ring with the Gut Check judges Bruce Prichard, Al Snow, and Taz. Joey Ryan was introduced and he made his entrance wearing his shades and scarf. He stopped and did his pose on the ropes. There was a small "Joey Ryan" chant. Borash asked Ryan if he felt he delivered his best performance.
Ryan asked the judges if they know who he is. "I'm kind of a big deal," Ryan said. "People know this." He claimed he was trending on Twitter. He said 87 percent of the fans said yes to Ryan getting the contract in an online poll.
Prichard noted that Ryan has the Ron Burgundy look going. He said that Ryan mentioned that he has 12 years in the business solidified his vote - no. Borash asked Snow for his vote. Snow said he doesn't like Joey or his attitude. He said Ryan acts like he already has a job. However, he said it's not about whether he likes or dislikes Ryan, so his vote is yes.
Borash said Taz's vote decides everything, but he gave Ryan the mic so he had one more chance to convince the judges. Ryan said Prichard's vote makes him question his contract. He said you shouldn't leave money on the table or someone else might come and pick it up.
Taz said he's going to keep it real and not B.S. Taz said that if that was Ryan's promo to save his life, he's out of his freaking mind. Ryan got in his face and said he's not afraid of Taz and said he's just a commentator. Taz cast a no vote. Ryan threw a fit about it being ridiculous. Ryan said Taz is lucky. Taz took the mic and told Ryan to go out and prove him wrong and then come back...
Powell's POV: That wasn't suspenseful for me as a viewer in any way. You had to know Taz would stand up to the heel. Meanwhile, it appears Al Snow is the Paula Abdul of the trio in that he'll vote for everyone. So when Ryan is in the ring it's a gimmick, but when he does the same schtick during that segment it's real and he has an attitude problem? I'm confused. I'm also baffled by why he got one more chance to talk to convince the judges after two of them had already voted.
Ring introductions for the A.J. Styles vs. Christopher Daniels match took place...
[Q8] 4. A.J. Styles vs. Christopher Daniels. Daniels slapped Styles early. Styles chased Daniels around the ring briefly and they took the match back inside the ring, where Styles hit a nice dropkick. Meanwhile, Taz was apologizing for losing his cool during the Gut Check segment. Daniels came back by clotheslining Styles over the top rope and kicking him. Styles crashed into the guardrail at ringside and the show went to break. [C]
After the break, Styles pulled off a cool move where he twisted Daniels around his shoulders and then powerbombed him into a pin for a nice near fall. Styles followed up with a springboard forearm. Daniels made a brief comeback that Styles shutdown with a Pele Kick. Styles set up for his finisher, but Kazarian came out and distracted him. Daniels rolled up Styles for a near fall. Moments later, Styles flipped off the second rope and hit an inverted DDT for the win...
A.J. Styles pinned Christopher Daniels in 11:10.
After the match, Kazarian hit the ring and attacked Styles. Kurt Angle ran out for the save, but the heels used straps to tie him to the bottom rope. Kazarian hit Styles with one of the tag title belts and knocked him out. They took a couple more shots at Angle. With both faces knocked out, Daniels got the mic from ringside.
"You're welcome, you're welcome," Daniels said. The fans chanted "You suck" at him. Daniels said they have proof positive of the sorted affair of A.J. Styles and Dixie Carter straight from their own mouths. They played audio footage of a phone conversation from Styles and Carter.
During the phone conversation, Dixie told Styles not to tell "him" that he was coming into town because she doesn't want him to have a clue. Styles questioned how long before Serg gets there.
Back live, Dixie Carter stormed onto the announcers perch and yelled, "through the headsets "Turn it off. Hit the button! Hit the button!" After the screen went black, she could be heard saying, "You're finished"...
Powell's POV: A good match and all, but I once again wonder whether viewers who gave TNA another chance because they were going live were left wondering if anything has changed given that Styles and Daniels have had like a billion matches in TNA. Their angles have drawn ratings lately so it seems like this is a reaction to that. I don't like the way they expect viewers to know that Serg is Dixie's husband. I know he's appeared on camera in the past, but not frequently enough. Sadly, I have a feeling we'll be seeing more of him on camera again soon.
Overall, the show felt frantic. They tried to cram a lot into it and yet nothing truly stands out as memorable at the end of the night. I really wish they would have given viewers a standout match rather than angles, Gut Check, and the Brooke Hogan introduction. It wasn't a lousy effort, but it was far too chaotic and there wasn't a strong hook for next week unless you're really into the Dixie Carter and A.J. Styles saga. I'll have more to say about the show in the TNA Impact Wrestling Hitlist on Friday. Finally, congrats to our second one month Dot Net Membership winner... @ChefQuan.
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