One week after winning the TNA Heavyweight Championship under unfair stipulations, Bobby Lashley is seen outside walking with MVP and Kenny King. Foreshadowing irony, MVP points out that there’s nothing to worry about because it’s there night.
First Match: Angelina Love & Velvet Sky (The Beautiful People) vs. Gail Kim & Taryn Terrell
The match starts out quick. Gail Kim is determined to win early and tries unsuccessfully to pin Sky with a small package. With Velvet Sky in trouble, Kim & Terrell use effective teamwork to their advantage. At this point in the match, Tazz and Mike Tenay interrupt play by play commentary of the match to remind fans to vote online for which diva they think should be cover girl for the upcoming magazine. Meanwhile, Angelina Love is tagged in and starts to build some momentum. Taryn Terrell is in a lot of trouble and needs to make a tag. When Gail Kim comes into the ring, she performs a few athletic maneuvers and then tries to win with a neckbreaker. Velvet Sky interferes in the match to keep the pinfall at two. Taryn Terrell then starts to fight Sky, eventually taking the fight outside the ring. Inside the ring, Gail Kim performs the Eat Defeat and gets the three-count on Love for the victory.
I thought it was a pretty good match. It was fast paced, but certainly not out of control. Gail Kim was impressive as usual; her athleticism reminds me of Rey Mysterio. I understand the marketing of TNA in regards to the swimsuit calendar, but also think it’s unfortunate that people won’t pay as much attention to those TNA Knockouts who’ve come to wrestle.
Before commercial: MVP (in crutches) boasts about Bobby Lashley reigning as TNA Champion; Dixie Carter is shown to be in a very good mood and states that tonight will be a great night to be Dixie Carter.
After commercial: Director of Operations MVP comes out w/ Kenny King accompanied by two lovely valets. After boasting, MVP introduces TNA Champion Lashley to the ring accompanied by another lovely valet. MVP states that “the world is ours” and mentions that after everything Eric Young has gone through, he’ll be begging for his release. Eric Young comes out to address them all, and says that not only doesn’t he want to be released but he demands an extension. Emotions get the better of Eric Young, and he charges the ring only to be taken out by Lashley and King. Just before they can do further damage, Bobby Roode comes to the ring and kicks out Hall and Lashley (déjà vu!). Notably, Roode breaks MVP’s cane over Kenny King’s back. Bobby Roode then goes on a monologue explaining that there are common bonds that hold him and Eric Young together, and they want to get TNA back to what it once was before MVP screwed it up. Roode talks about his suspension and says to MVP “suspended or not, your games are over.” He then urges MVP to be a man and fire him to his face. MVP comes to the ring and is about to fire Roode when a bombshell is dropped…..
A man introducing himself as Earl Solomon Armstrong – representing the TNA Board of Directors – comes out from behind the curtain. He declares that – active immediately – MVP is fired as Director of Operations. Without affirming who the new president is, Armstrong makes it clear that Bobby Roode is reinstated. Roode then knocks MVP out of the ring.
I personally really liked this segment. It’s not too often that a huge momentum swing happens on network television broadcasts. In this case, I think it was necessary for both the storyline and the company. Many people have complained about the direction TNA has been going in. In changing the order of things in the storyline by replacing MVP as Director of Operations, there’s hope for a sort of reawakening in the direction the company may go. A new guy/girl is calling the shots, even if we don’t know who that is yet. In bringing back Bobby Roode, you have the added benefit of providing a wrestler that the fans want to watch. It was a great twist, and leaving the question for the time being of who will be the next TNA Director of Operations builds anticipation.
Before commercial break: Dixie Carter boasts that she’s likely to be named Director of Operations.
Match 2: Sanada (TNA X-Division Champion) vs. Crazy Steve vs. Manik vs. DJ Z
Originally, the stipulation for this match was that Sanada would choose who he wanted to defend his Championship belt against. After asking all three of them if they would like a title match, Sanada decided to have a four way match for the title. Sanada – living up to his hype – impressed the audience by blocking a headscissors from Manik. There was a lot of cruiserweight action, with Manik stealing a few highlights. In the end, Sanada retains his title belt after pinning DJ Z following an impressive double arm hook suplex.
While most of the night was a success, I thought this match was a stinker. It could’ve been good, but was doomed from the start. It wasn’t very clear how the title belt could change hands if all four guys were trying to pin each other, but only one was the reigning champion. If a match starts in uncertainty, it’s harder to build interest. On the positive, some parts of the wrestling match itself worked.
Before commercial break: Bram & Magnus cut a promo about the upcoming match against Willow (Jeff Hardy) & Abyss. Kenny King, Bobby Lashley, and MVP are noticeably flabbergasted and frustrated backstage. MVP is upset, but declares that he’s ready for a fight. Kenny King wasn’t born to be an actor, but MVP is pretty good at doing his part.
After commercial break: Dixie Carter comes to the ring accompanied by Rockstar Spud (who has decided to dress like a peacock for the evening). Carter is all smiles from ear to ear as she anticipates being named the Director of Operations for TNA. Carter cuts a good promo – pointing out the historical importance of this day and building some momentum as a heel by pointing out that she previously failed because she trusted Bobby Roode, Bully Ray, and the fans. To add to her self-absorbed image, Carter states that tonight is about the future and the new Dixie Carter will be dedicated to giving the fans what they want - more Dixie Carter!! Earl Solomon Armstrong comes out to the ring, but then tells Carter that she will not be the new Director of Operations. Carter goes ballistic and has a meltdown to the point that she throws champagne in Armstrong’s face. She then says that she’ll lose ownership of TNA “over her dead body.” Bully Ray’s music starts playing and he comes down to ringside. Bully Ray says he’s going to do three things: kick Rockstar Spud, drink Dixie Carter’s champagne (which he does), and put Dixie through a table (he never actually said it, but he implied it well enough for the fans to figure it out). Dixie Carter offers Bully Ray up to $200,000 to not put her through a table, which he refuses. After both Ethan Carter III and Rockstar Spud are initially unable to help, Bully Ray comes within seconds of putting Dixie Carter through a table only to have Rockstar Spud take away the table.
I thought this segment was well done. Dixie Carter did a nice job of drawing heat from the fans. I don’t think Earl Solomon Armstrong was expecting her to throw real champagne in his face. Bully Ray stole the show; he was actually very funny as he bragged about how he was going to steal Dixie Carter’s champagne while drinking Dixie Carter’s champagne. After the match, Dixie Carter and Spud left the building without informing EC III and Bully Ray expressed how close he came to putting Dixie Carter through a table, promising that he won’t rest until he finally does so.
Match 3: James Storm vs. Mr. Anderson
The match starts out with Mr. Anderson hyping himself up, and the crowd responds well. Early on, James Storm is very aggressive. Eventually, Mr. Anderson makes things interesting. The match ends when James Storm knocks out Mr. Anderson with a nasty superkick to the chin that was so powerful viewers could hear the impact! No pun intended.
I was really impressed with James Storm. He’s a bigger guy, but he’s also very agile. He reminds me of Dean Malenko during his WCW days when he could work with the Four Horseman yet sill complete in the Cruiserweight Division. Mr. Anderson appeared to legitimately hurt himself during the match in either the neck or the shoulder. After a maneuver in which it could be seen that his head impacted the ring pretty well, Armstrong was slow to get up. For his sake, I hope he was just trying to sell an injury or he was looking to catch his breath. Technically speaking, this might have been the best match of the night.
After his match, Storm runs into Sanada backstage. At first Storm is respectful of Sanada. Eventually, his talk gets more menacing until he appears to challenge Sanada for the Division X Championship. This might lead into something next week.
After the commercial break, EC III can be heard talking to someone – presumably Dixie Carter – and explaining that he needs to be picked up. Before he can finish talking, Tommy Dreamer comes out and attacks EC III. What follows is a hardcore brawl that starts backstage and ends with the two men being pulled off each other in the ring. Along the way, Ethan Carter’s forehead is cut open. Carter gets hit with a garbage can (both loaded and unloaded), a chair, is bitten by Tommy Dreamer, and gets back body dropped onto steel concrete (the mat had been removed). For his part, Tommy Dreamer is thrown into steel steps, and bodyslammed onto a steel ramp.
I thought that the two wrestlers made this segment work. At first, I thought it was just going to be a segment in which EC III was attacked backstage. I didn’t anticipate that it would turn into a street fight and end in the middle of the ring. I was impressed by Ethan Carter for having taken as many bumps as he did. He doesn’t come across as a hardcore wrestler, but he’s got some guts to get into a hardcore style brawl with Tommy Dreamer. At the same time, I think Tommy Dreamer did a good job working with a guy who didn’t have the same level of experience in the hardcore division. Anytime you’re learning to do something you want to learn from the best and the experienced. With his ECW background, Tommy Dreamer is a great go-to-guy for information on hardcore wrestling. He’ll make the most out of anyone he works with.
Before commercial break: MVP, Bobby Lashley and Kenny King walk up to the limo where the unannounced new TNA Director of Operations is located and demand that the limo driver tell them who’s in back. The limo drive refuses by saying that he’s not at liberty to discuss who’s in back. He’s then assaulted and thrown from the car. To be honest, I didn’t like this scene too much. It made it look as though an innocent man was getting beaten without the chance to retaliate. Does that mean the bad guys won?
Match 4: Bram and Magnus vs. Abyss and Willow
There were no disqualifications for this match. Within minutes of the start, Willow and Abyss threw “everything including the kitchen sink” into the ring: aluminum trash cans, hockey sticks, and kendo sticks included. Both teams used the hardcore objects on each other. At some point, Bram gets cut open and begins bleeding heavily from the forehead. Abyss is pushed outside the ring, and then handcuffed so that he can’t get back into the ring. He eventually rips off the handcuffs and returns to the ring to help Willow, who’s been taken advantage of in a 2 on 1. In a scene that will make highlight reels, Willow climbs the turnbuckle after nailing the twist of fate. He’s then pushed off the turnbuckle onto a table covered in barbed wire, breaking the table in the process. Willow is out of action for the rest of the match, which lasts another 4-5 minutes. Abyss throws a bag of thumbtacks onto the ring, and Magnus is chokeslammed with his back coming into contact with the thumbtacks. Abyss turns around only to be whacked by his own jagged barbed wire stick, Janice. Bram quickly covers Abyss for the victory.
This is one of those matches where you know a wrestler really loves what he/she does. Only a hardcore wrestler willing to accept a certain degree of insanity would expose him or herself to some of these things. Willow/Jeff Hardy can still fly like he did in his WWE days. He and Abyss make a good tag team because their gimmicks are similar yet their differences in build and wrestling style give them good balance. Bram and Magnus remind me of La Resistance from the WWE, pompous enough to get on everyone’s nerves but good enough to demand respect. This match was exciting to watch.
After commercial break: Earl Solomon Armstrong comes out and introduces the new TNA Director of Operations…Kurt Angle!!! Angle cuts a promo in which he mentions that he has no ulterior motives and just wants to give the fans what they deserve. MVP, Bobby Lashley, and Kenny King come out to challenge Kurt Angle. While MVP concedes that Angel has authority, he arrogantly states that he, Lashley, and King still have power. Kurt Angle is angered by this. Angle then informs MVP that someone was just resigned…Bobby Roode! Also, he points out that on next week’s TNA Impact, Lashley will have a rematch against Eric Young for the TNA Heavyweight Championship. The night ends with Eric Young and Bobby Roode running into the wrestling ring and brawling with Kenny King and Bobby Lashley.
Two weeks ago, I was upset with TNA Impact. I thought there was too much talking and nothing revolved around real wrestling or well established kayfabe. Tonight, there seemed to be much more structure in the storylines. That part's really good. I was also happy to see more wrestling. Abyss & Willow v. Bram & Magnus was a surprising thriller! I like this idea about the new Director of Operations. It gives people the feeling of having something new to look forward to. It makes the product sound appealing. Also, it reestablishes Kurt Angle as an impartnat personality with TNA. Angle seemed to do a very good job coming across to everyone as a likeable, face character.