It may have been Rob Van Dam who challenged Jeff Hardy for the World Title last night, but it was Mr. Anderson who was making Immortal sweat. About half way through the show, Anderson called out Eric Bischoff and made it very clear that he believed he should still be champion. When Bischoff had the audacity to disagree him, Anderson laid into the former WCW president with an obscenity laced tirade before leveling him with a Mic Check. During the exchange, Anderson was made the special guest referee of the evening’s main event.
RVD’s long awaited title match with Jeff Hardy was an entertaining contest, but it was really just a vehicle to further advance the Hardy / Anderson feud. With Anderson serving as the referee, the bad blood between he and the Charasmatic Enigma was an underlying story throughout the match. Hardy was able to connect with a mule kick to Van Dam’s, ahem, lower extremities while distracting the guest referee. The kick led to a Twist of
Fate Hate and an effective, albeit dirty, victory for the champ. The rest of Impact, including Ric Flair’s return and the continuing drama between Jeff Jarrett and Kurt Angle, after the jump.
- I’m beginning to feel like the ongoing saga of Kurt Angle and the Jarretts has run its course. The vignettes with Kurt’s kids a few weeks ago were laughable, but the “romantic date” that Jeff and Karen were on during last night’s show was an unnecessary distraction. I feel like the frequent interruptions to to the show were momentum-killers. At this point, I wonder if TNA knows that it’s out of steam and are just doing what they can to help it sputter along until the 3/3 show.
- Ric Flair’s return kicked off the show when he interrupted Eric Bischoff and all of Immortal during an in-ring interview. The Nature Boy received a decent pop and played the face, but it was kind of evident that the whole segment was setting up for a swerve later in the show. Sure enough, in the middle of a Matt Hardy vs AJ Styles match, Flair interfered on Hardy’s behalf and pushed Styles off the top rope. This led directly to a Matt Hardy victory, something that I can’t easily forgive. After the match, Flair and Matt put the boots to AJ Styles until Fortune ran them off. The match was passable until the foul play, with AJ hitting most of the high spots. I’m glad he’s going to be the sole leader of Fortune, as he’s in prime position to take the helm as one of the top two faces in the company. Oh, and Ric Flair iced all of Fortune backstage before the match. Yep.
- Robbie E wrestled Kazarian in an Against All Odds rematch for the X-Division Title and was once again unsuccessful in bringing home the gold. Cookie interfered, causing a DQ. A catfight with Traci Brooks ensued. It’s borderline distracting how much Robbie E resembles Street Fighter II‘s Guile.
- Hernandez was impressive in a victory against Douglas Williams. He was accompanied by Rosita & Sarita, since I guess if you’re latino in TNA you’re automatically friendly with each other. Hernandez won with an exceptionally brutal Border Toss. During the match, the Beautiful People ran out and attacked Sarita & Rosita, setting up a tag team match for later in the night.
- Sarita & Rosita won that match, besting the Beautiful People with some extra leverage from the ropes. After the match, an enraged Velvet Sky demanded a match with Sarita, one that would have no interference or cheating. Sarita responded by saying Velvet should put her career on the line. The cousins left the Beautiful People dumbfounded in the ring. Yawn.
- Bully Ray came to the announce table and pushed Tenay around a little until Taz chased him off. Unless this results in the ring return of the Human Suplex Machine, it was wasted television time.
- There was a ridiculous in-ring segment with The Pope. The ring was decorated in a luau theme, with a roasted pig front and center. After jibbering on with no discernable meaning for a while, Pope was about to begin carving the pig. Predictably, he was interrupted by Samoa Joe’s theme. When Pope tried to flea to the opposite side of the ring, he was met by blow to the jaw from Kato the camerman. Muscle buster through the table, and the pig that was on it. This entire angle makes no sense.
The big stories – Kennedy vs Hardy, Immortal vs Fortune – are going really well. I am very interested to see how they progress. To a lesser extent, the same could be said for the Angle vs Jarrett feud. I feel like there’s something left in the tank with that one, it just needs a new development to give it some life. As for the rest of the current batch of storylines, I cannot speak so highly. Hernandez is a monster of a man, and there’s potential for his “hating the world” gimmick, although it has yet to be tapped. The Pope / Joe rivalry has been somewhat pointless from the start, but now it’s entered into a whole new realm. It’s just whacky. Hopefully TNA can get it’s midcard into order soon. If the can succeed in doing that while their top tier angles are rolling along this well, they’ll be a force to be reckoned with.