Oh, Sting. What happened to you? Six months ago, the wrestling world clamored for your return as WWE aired ominous 2.14.11 vignettes hyping the arrival of a cloaked figure. Today, you wear one of industry’s most widely recognized World Titles around your waist, and I wish you’d just go home.
TNA World Champion Sting opened this week’s Impact (complete with Joker-esque makeup) by calling out Hulk Hogan & Eric Bischoff. Instead, he was met by the #1 contender, Kurt Angle. Angle said he helped Sting last week because he’s “all about doing the right thing.” Tazz referred to the Stinger as “the Insane Icon,” describing him as “whacked out” and stressing that you “just never know what he’s going to do next.” My patience with Impact Wrestling dwindles with each passing moment. The pair of babyfaces were interrupted by Mr. Anderson and Bully Ray, who announced that the evening’s main event would be a tag team match featuring the two of them representing Immortal taking on the Champ and his Hardcore Justice opponent.
Sting and Angle should not be the two guys fighting over the World Title right now. At 52 years old, Sting should be a special attraction, not the man leading the show. To make matters worse, this “insane” gimmick is unbearable. Every time he cuts a promo, I feel like I’m watching The Mask. Please – somebody stop him! The rest of Impact, including a title change, a ladder match, and a healthy dose of Brian Kendrick, after the jump.
- Rob Van Dam earned seven points in the Bound for Glory series with a pinfall victory over Scott Steiner. The Big Bad Booty Daddy dominated most of the match, with RVD’s win coming as the result of a schoolboy while Steiner bullied the referee. Scotty tried to call timeout during one of Van Dam’s few offensive moments, which was kind of funny I guess. Referee Brian Hebner called Steiner out for doing pushups mid-match, which kind of seems like irresponsible officiating to me. So what if he wants to do pushups? If this doesn’t result in Scott cutting a hilarious promo on the Hebner family next week, color me disappointed.
- Mickie James and Velvet Sky cut a promo expressing their mutual admiration for each other. When their gushing was through, they were interrupted by Winter and Angelina Love. Love said that both of the women in the ring were jealous of her, and that she’d be Knockouts Champion again soon. Winter, likewise, promised to wear the strap in the near future, announcing that she’d be receiving a shot at whoever the Champion was at Hardcore Justice. Velvet’s path to the Knockouts title has been a slow-burning one, and I’m a fan of the patience that TNA is displaying in building her up for her inevitable first reign.
- Miss Tessmacher (<3) and Tara became the new Knockouts Tag Team Champions with a win over Sarita and Rosita. The ladies brawled all over the backstage area prior to the match, with Madison Rayne even getting involved. As for the match itself, it was given a decent chunk of time, and it refrained from ever becoming boring. Note to the WWE: a ten-minute match with four women is better than a two-minute one with fourteen. Sarita was wearing a strange (and kind of hideous) protective mask due to her facial paralysis, which was explained by TNA as a broken orbital bone. I’m not digging Tara & Tessmacher as a legit tag team – they have no reason to be aligned – but if it’s going to get Tessmacher on TV every week, I can sign off on it.
- Matt Morgan bested AJ Styles, Gunner, and Samoa Joe in a 4-way ladder match to earn ten points in the Bound for Glory series. Having a multiple man ladder match within a week of Money in the Bank is an obvious case of TNA’s programming being reactionary to WWE’s. That’s not the way to run a wrestling show. Having said match run for a few minutes in the middle of the show with no real high spots certainly doesn’t help matters. Still, kudos to Impact Wrestling for hosting a gimmick match on free television, something rarely done in
Vince McMahon’sTriple H’s company.
- Eric Young continued his quest to defend the Television Title against television stars, mistaking D-Lo Brown for Cee Lo Green and insisting upon wrestling him in a convenience store. A couple things here. 1) Since when is Cee Lo Green a television star? 2) If Eric Young was going to encounter D-Lo Brown, I’d assume it would happen backstage at Impact, not by a chance meeting at a mini-mart. 3) I smile every single time I see D-Lo Brown on television these days. He dropped the “you better recognize” line last night, and I giggled like a school girl. If he appears again soon and incorporates his trademark head bobbing, I might lose it.
- Brian Kendrick successfully retained the X Division Championship against Alex Shelley with a little help from Austin Aries. The match was very entertaining, highlighted by a version of Sliced Bread that Shelley hit on the ring apron. After the match, The Brian Kendrick expressed his disdain for A Double’s interference, citing that the X Division is about wrestling, and that interference like that is what he’s been working against. God bless Brian Kendrick, perpetual highlight of Impact Wrestling.
- Mexican America and Beer Money had a confrontation in the ring promoting their upcoming Tag Team Title match. I really do want to see Bobby Roode receive a singles push, but he and Storm have such chemistry as a tag team it’s a shame to see it ruined. Storm played racist early in the promo, telling Anarquia that he should be cutting grass, but atoned for it later for it later by listing great Mexican wrestlers who came before them.
- Velvet Sky vs Mickie James for the Knockouts Title never got underway, as the competitors were blindsided by Winter and Angelina Love before the opening bell could sound. A full-fledged brawl followed, which led to ODB and Jacki entering through the crowd and putting the boots to Velvet & Mickie. The original Knockout Traci Brooks made the save, and ODB & Jacki were carted off by law enforcement officers. This segment was…odd. A sizable chunk of time given to the Knockouts to brawl around the ringside area while no match actually took place. But whatever – it wasn’t bad.
- In the main event, Sting & Angle went over Mr. Anderson & Bully Ray when Angle pinned Anderson. Nothing special to see here. During their entrance, Mr. Anderson’s self-announcing shtick was interrupted by Ray, who insisted they should just wrestle instead of giving the people the theatrics that they want. Anderson defiantly finished his regular schpeel anyway, and after the match, Bully Ray was upset with him for being pinned. Possible dissension in the ranks already between Anderson and Immortal already? I think so. Or at least I hope so.
Impact was an OK show. Lot of Knockouts action. The company is in a predicament right now, as for the past few years they’ve been a sub-par wrestling show, but so has the WWE. Now, WWE is producing quality programming, and if TNA wants to keep its head above water, they’re going to have to start to adapt.