Apologies to faithful readers - we're running a little behind tonight due to a technical issue at my computer, but we're up and running again...we'll catch you up ASAP.Tonight is the fallout from Victory Road. Gail Kim is still the Knockouts Champ, and Bobby Roode defeated Sting, but it was controversial in how it happened. How will this all unfold tonight, among other key storylines?
Show Open:We get a video package covering the closing moments of Victory Road, complete with Bobby Roode's attack on Sting and Dixie. They show that in its entirety. Dixie is shown walking around in the backstage area, and they run their opening montage.Dixie makes her way to the ring, looking all business. She's greeted with applause as she grabs a mic. She talks about how Bobby Roode disrespected wrestling fans over the past six months. The fans start a chant for her to fire him. Carter goes on and says Roode disgraced the company and she spent a lot of time talking to lawyers about her options. Only one option is left.Sting's music hits and he gets a hero's welcome. Carter hugs him when he gets to the ring and Sting goes for his own microphone. Sting pleads to Dixie to not fire Bobby Roode because that would be letting him off easy, and he wouldn't have to deal with the consequences of what he did.The crowd wants revenge and they chant accordingly; Sting cranks them up a little more. Sting tells Dixie his current position isn't working, and Carter didn't like that. The fans started a "please don't go!" chant as the show went to commercial.
Probably not the way to start the build to Lockdown - Sting and Dixie controlling the opening.
Out of the break, Sting goes on to say he did all he could as the GM, but something happened at Victory Road. He says the company came alive, he came alive, and the crowd chanted that Sting still has it. Sting admits he can't be the GM and a part-time wrestler, especially to be at Bobby Roode's level. Sting wants to take some time off to heal and come back better than ever.Sting says when he comes back, he will put his boots on and be nothing but a wrestler, continuing to fight for the company and Dixie. For now, though, Sting has to step down as the GM and he has found a replacement. Sting says his replacement is someone who knows how to take TNA all the way to the top; he's talking about "The Real Hulk Hogan!"The fans chant for Hogan, and Dixie nods in agreement.Backstage:Bully Ray is mad, and tonight he claims he is taking hostages. He says tonight is not the night to get in his way.
I feel like I saw this before...it's like Yogi used to say - Deja vu all over again. I wonder if this is progress or if this is a road block for TNA...?
Match #1 - Austin Aries (c) vs. Tony Nese vs. Zema Ion vs. Kid Kash:Good four way match, it would seem. Aries hits a nice DDT/reverse STO spot on Ion, then again on Nese. Ion hits a moonsault spot on the men on the floor a little later, which prompts a Sorensen remark from Tenay.A little later on in the match, the four men end up hitting a "tower of doom" spot, which Aries escapes unscathed. Bully Ray runs down at this point and attacks the three challengers. Aries and Ray stare each other down, and Aries asks if they're cool. Ray says they are, then promptly kicks Aries' head off.After dismantling the X-Division match, Ray gets on a mic and asks if everyone knew his name...then told them he was Bully Ray and dropped the mic.
As I predicted on Sunday, Ray got his heat back instantly. Bad part of it is that it was at the expense of the X-Division. Good match, but just wasn't picking up steam like we've seen from the X-Division before.
Backstage:Mexican America is having issues, as their car is getting repossessed by Josh Lewis from the show "Repo Games." They play the game with questions appearing in graphic form on the screen, most of them Mexican themed.
Didn't miss Mexican America, didn't care if they came back, really.This is really a clunker getting started toward one of the biggest TNA pay per views of their year.
Match #2 - Eric Young and ODB (c) vs. Sarita and Rosita; TNA Knockouts Tag Team ChampionshipODB controls the early going, flattening Rosita in the corner but missing on the Bronco Buster. The heels use that as an opportunity to control the action and wear down ODB.EY eventually gets the hot tag, and what does he do...rips his pants off. The heel team flirts with him to cause a distraction, and ODB ends up running in to take them both out. ODB gets in EY's face and asks who he's been banging. EY looks depressed at first, but they make up. Young turns around and covers Rosita for the win.
Loads and loads of filler in this first hour. Nothing's really happened but Hogan being announced as the candidate to be the new GM. If you like EY, you loved this match....if not...well.
Backstage:Crimson's watching TV, more specifically a Direct Auto Insurance commercial featuring Matt Morgan. Crimson says Morgan's trying to start a Hollywood career at his expense. Crimson lays out a challenge to Morgan for a match next week, but Morgan doesn't want to wait. He shows up and the two men start to brawl right there until agents and security pull them apart.Announce Position:Taz and Tenay recap the top of the show, with Sting announcing Hulk Hogan as the proposed new GM. Dixie is backstage, and she says she's not sure how to deal with this. She asks to be excused as she has business to tend to.We see James Storm walking through the backstage area, and he will be in the ring next.
"Fifth Quarter" - or top of the 10PM hour - for James Storm...they got his placement right. Now, let's see if he lights a spark by getting people talking about the angle with Roode and their Lockdown match. This first hour was tough.
Backstage:Jeff Hardy is talking about how he was cheated on Sunday by Kurt Angle. Hardy challenges Angle to a match inside the cage at Lockdown to settle their differences. Joseph Parks shows up and asks Hardy if he knew where his brother, Abyss, was. Hardy tells Parks he doesn't know, and Parks hands him a business card.Video Package:They recap James Storm and Bobby Roode's history in TNA with video and excerpts from both men.
Well produced package, and some great pieces they chose to use. This stuff TNA gets right.
In Ring Segment:James Storm hits the ring. He says it seems like some of the guys in the back forgot about the difference between right and wrong. For Storm, it's easy...'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' Storm talks about how football should be all year long, and how wrong it is that two parents work 40 hours a week to be able to take their kids on vacation, but can't because gas is four bucks a gallon.Storm classifies all that stuff as wrong, and so is what Bobby Roode did at Victory Road. He criticizes Roode for putting his hands on a woman - someone's mother, someone's wife. Storm says a man that puts his hands on a woman that way is not a man, and at Lockdown, James Storm would right Bobby Roode's wrong.Bobby Roode's music hits, but Roode doesn't appear. In his stead is a young man in a suit. Storm circles him and asks "who in the blue hell are you?" The young man introduces himself as "William Kelley, Bobby Roode's personal legal advisor." Kelley puts on a pair of glasses and tells us that Roode is going to stay home in Toronto until further notice.Kelley says his client is sure that he will win his match at Lockdown, and tonight Roode has arranged for two men to face James Storm; Kazarian and Christopher Daniels. Storm is free to choose which one he faces.Storm says he'll take them both on, and takes Kelley's paper and his glasses. He says he will send a message to Roode, and asks Kelley for a pen. Mr. Kelley isn't prepared though, and Storm decides to hit him with the Last Call to get his point across. Storm celebrates with the fans.
Solid work from James Storm to kick off the build for the title match at Lockdown.
Backstage:Kurt Angle is with HerveyCam. He is hearing people talk and they're saying Garrett Bischoff beat him in their match last week. Angle tracks down Garrett and makes another challenge, this time for a three-minute challenge match this week.
Really? Another "challenge match" for a greener than grass guy to face the Olympic Gold Medalist? Where have I seen this before...oh that's right, last week...
Match #3 - Kurt Angle vs. Garett Bischoff; Three-Minute ChallengeAngle opens by taunting Garett for what seems like about a minute. Garrett opens up the offense and hits some quick moves, followed with an inverted DDT for a near fall. Bischoff tries loading it again but Angle tosses him out of the ring.Garett stands out on the floor with a smirk on his face. Angle gives chase, and Gunner comes out to assist Angle by throwing Garett back in the ring. There's only about 30 seconds left at this point. Angle and Gunner team up on Garett until Jeff Hardy hits the ring for the save. It's a no-contest.
Wow. They didn't even finish the three-minute challenge clean. TNA has been better than what we're seeing tonight.
Match #4 - Samoa Joe and Magnus (c) vs. Mexican America (w/Sarita and Rosita); TNA Tag Team ChampionshipThe crowd is into this one early, chanting "Joe's gonna kill you." The champs take control of the match until Hernandez is able to get a blind tag. He hits Magnus with a Canadian backbreaker.Mexican America starts working quick tags and double-teams to keep Magnus worn down. Magnus eventually gets the hot tag, and Joe takes out both heel wrestlers. Joe locks on the rear naked choke, but the ladies jump up on the apron to run interference.Josh from the show Repo Games hits the ring and takes the ladies from the ring. This enables Joe and Magnus to hit their snapmare-flying elbow combination on Anarquia to grab the win.
Good wrestling from Joe and Magnus in that one, but man was it overbooked. Joe and Magnus have made a rather natural progression from heel to face as the fans have really gotten into their work and gotten behind them.
Backstage:The cameras catch up with Hulk Hogan. HerveyCam asks how he feels about being the new GM, and Hogan says he has no idea about that. He is only there because Sting called on him.Out in the parking lot..Josh from Repo Games is carrying Sarita and Rosita to the tow truck. Anarquia and Hernandez catch up and beg him to not take their ride. Anarquia tries to attack him, but Josh shoves him off. Josh ends up walking away with the ladies.Video Package:James Storm's entrance music is getting it's own video. We'll see that next week.Match #5 - James Storm vs. Christopher Daniels and Kazarian; Handicap MatchDaniels and Kazarian come out first, but Daniels tries hiding on the side ladder of the stage. He tries to jump Storm but Storm heard him coming up from behind and slammed Daniels. Even though Storm gets the better of Daniels at first, he's not able to deal with the numbers game as the two team up on Storm.Daniels pulls Kaz off and says they're going to do things Daniels' way. Storm is laid out, and Daniels has Kazarian launch him at Storm. Storm moves, causing Daniels to crash and burn in the corner. Storm hits the Last Call on Kazarian, then on Daniels, to pick up the win.
Like the booking of a dominant win, but I question if this is what they need to do to get the #1 Contender over going to the main event of Lockdown.
Backstage:Dixie, Sting, and Hogan are all shown individually walking down different hallways, heading to the ring.In Ring Segment:Sting comes out first in our last segment of the night, and he calls on Dixie Carter to join him there. She obliges. Sting says he's known Hulk Hogan a long time and now that Hogan has cut Eric Bischoff out of his life after Bound for Glory, we're seeing the real Hulk Hogan.Sting says he trusts Hogan now, and he begged Dixie to to the same. Carter was shaky, but she says if Sting believes, so does she. Hulk Hogan is now the GM of iMPACT Wrestling.Hogan makes his way to the ring, pausing to soak up the crowd response. He hugs Sting, but looks a little reluctant still. Hogan looks around at the fans chanting his name like he can't believe it. Sting says that Hogan made him and Dixie believers and says it's only appropriate that Hogan hear from the people. Sting leads a "Hogan" chant and Hogan is actually a bit teary-eyed as the show closes.
The crowd really popped for this segment and it was good to hear an "alive" iMPACT Zone crowd. Normally we don't get that. My hope is, however, that they turn the focus to Roode vs. Storm and let this be a background story rather than front-page news.It's no secret that TNA hasn't been doing too hot in the ratings of late. So rather than continue to work to put forth some fresh stories, it almost feels like they panicked and went to stuff they were doing last year. I felt like I saw a lot of these concepts before when I was watching.They did start off Roode vs. Storm pretty well though, I thought. The video was well delivered, as was Storm's solid promo in the "Fifth Quarter" where the show generally seems to draw a high rating. Hopefully they keep this up and it continues to be a solid build to a big match at Lockdown.Join us again next Thursday night for another edition of the TNA iMPACT Wrestling Reaction and Report on Ring-Rap.com.