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TNA Impact! - February 9, 2012

by erick von erich

What the HECK?
Oh, you lucky dogs, it's time for me to do an occassional Impact Recap, back from a drought of almost SEVEN YEARS! And by "oh, you lucky dogs", I really mean "may God have mercy on your souls". I haven't watched more than 5 minutes of Impact in about six years and I all see around the Internets is how much their shows suck. I thought it might be fun...err, at least interesting... to check out one of their shows with a clear mind and see how it comes off. Hell, I'm a guy who voluntarily made WCW's "Thunder" a weekly part of my life until late 1999, so who knows?!

TONIGHT-- Impact is coming to you from Wembley Arena in London, England! Oh, my word! Note that Wembley Arena isn't the same as Wembley Stadium, but it's still an exotic locale nontheless. Announcers are Mike "What a way to kick-off (name of show)" Tenay and... aw hell, Taz. My enthusiasm balloon just leaked a little. They hype up that tonight will feature the "Return of Hulk Hogan".

Booby Roode and Bully Ray In-Ring Promo

Roode, the TNA World Champion is led to the ring by his mouthpiece/bodyguard/buddy Bully Ray. As an outsider, I have to ask: whatever happened to D-Von? Is he now "Meanie-Von" or some other equally silly name? Bully Ray talks about how they beat the tar out of Jeff Hardy, so he won't be here tonight. Wait, is that supposed to make them heels? Roode gets the mic and goes for some cheat heat by saying they're in "Ireland... England, Ireland-- what's the difference"? They call out James Storm... who walks to the ring with his theme music. As soon as he makes it, more THEME MUSIC plays to bring out TNA's comissioner/authority figure Sting. Stinger books two separate matches for later tonight: Storm vs. Roode and Storm vs. Bully Ray.

Back from a commercial, Garrett Bischoff is talking on his cell-phone, backstage. He's incontact with his mysterious trainer.

Matt Morgan & Crimson (Tag Team Champions) vs. Samoa Joe & Magnus

Before we begin, ring announcer Jeremy Borash mentions that this is a "Buckingham Brawl"; a coin flip will determine which team will have the non-stop 2-on-1 advantage, while the other will have to abide by traditional tag team rules. Really, Buckinghamn Brawl? I suppose they brainstormed a few words for "fight" and "London" and that had the best alliteration. Morgan blows the call, so Joe & Magnus get the advantage. Since all 4 guys are what you could call "big impact brawlers", most of the match is someone hitting a big clothesline or tilt-a-whirl slam, then posturing. Joe and Magnus work over Crimson for a few minutes, until he nails them and tags in Morgan. Morgan reminds me a little bit of TNA's Trytan from seven years back: he's supposed to be big and intimidating, but has a goofy face. In Morgan's case it's his large ears. Morgan gets a side-suplex on Magnus, while Joe and Crimson brawl on the outside. Morgan sets up Magnus in the corner for his big running kick... then completely misses it in a VERY choreographed spot. Joe runs in nail Morgan with some flying kicks, then snapmares him into the middle of the ring. Magnus comes off the top with a perfectly-timed flying elbowdrop to get the pin. Magnus, a former "UK Gladiator" gets a big pop from his home town crowd. Sayyyyy... "UK Gladiators" makes me think about that hotsy-totsy "Jet" UK Gladiator chick from the mid-90's. I'm sure a 15 minute Internets search on a NON-corporate computer might return me some results.

Eric Bischoff In-Ring Promo

Bischoff walks to the ring as Tenay and Taz try to sell him as a heel, but it looks like the fans are digging him. Save for one heckler in the front row giving him the finger. Bischoff calls out his son, Garrett, and rains on his parade of being a pro wrestler and "following in (his) footsteps". Okay, but Eric Bischoff was never a wrestler. Sorry, I don't count his "matches" with Larry Zbysyzko, Ric Flair or Stephanie McMahon. Anyways, Garrett gets a convenient call from his mystery trainer on his phone. The trainer will be here, TONIGHT, to talk to Daddy Eric. I see what they're trying to do with Garrett; but having him at odds with his dad is really just the same as having him as his dad's protege. It makes it a little tougher to get him over, in fact. So in the two segments I've seen of Garrett, he has the cell-a-phone as a big part of his character. They should run with that as a gimmick. He could be in a tag team match and on the apron texting someone or messing around with his phone, completely ignoring what's going on in the ring.

Mark Haskins vs. Austin Aries

Aries is the X-Divsion champ, but this is another non-title match, which might torque off the UK fans. A pre-match promo fom Haskins lets us know that he's another hometown boy. Thus, he starts off by leading the fans in a rendition of The Clap (not the disease). Aries stalls a little to get the fans riled. Haskins takes it to the mat with a wasitlock, then breaks. Haskins is sent over the top rope, then skins-the-cat back in and catches Aries with a head-scissors. Aries is sent over and tries the same, but Haskins drop-kicks him to the floor. Back outside again as Aries leaps from the top turnbuckle with a flying cchop. Back in, where Aries springboards and drops an elbow for 2. Haskins tries flying off the top, but Aries wiggles the rope to trigger a Crotching. Haskins monkeyflips Aries, then climbs and hits a reverse flying body-press for 2. Forearm shot and a stunner get another 2 for Haskins. Looking for a big spot, Haskings goes upstairs for a Shooting Star Press, but blows it and almost kills himself as he hits the mat, head-first. Aries is quick to capitalize with a brainbuster suplx, followed by an instant bridge and a submission manuever.

Quick video package, hyping Brooke Tessmacher (Adams), who has made it to the final 8 of the Hooters 2012 Dream Girl Competition.

Eric Bischoff is outside, trying to leave, while bitching about cab service into his cell-a-phone. Sting interrupts and brings him back into the building.

"Cowboy" James Storm vs. Bobby Roode

Another non-title match, but I don't think the fans give a darn. Tenay tries to give Roode the moniker of "The Most Selfish Man in the World". I also notice that Roode's head is greased or soaked down, like he's Triple H. Initial lock-up as they trade headlocks and hammerlocks. Hip-toss, slam, keendrop and legdrop get 2 for Storm. He tosses Roode to the corner to set-up a super-kick, but Roode bails. Roode wanders around to cue a commercial break. Back from the break, they slap pecs in the corner. Charging kneelfit from Roode allows him to catch a breather. Roode shoulderblocks Storm into the corner several times, then goes for a face-front suplex for 2. Face-first Samoan Drop (which I'm sure has a modern name) gets another 2 for Roode. Roode works the mid-section to slow things down. Rodoe whips him to the ropes for a knee-lift, which Strom counters into a roll-up for 2. They trade blows, knocking Roode's gum out. Storm pulls Roode off the top turnbuckle with a super-frankesteiner of sorts. They bounce off the ropes, with Storm getting the advantage. Knee-dropper to the back and a top-rope flying elbow from Storm... but only 2! Storm goes for a Russian legsweep, which Roode counters into a crossface submission. Storm rolls over to make the ropes and the break. Roode goes for a fisherman-supelx, but Strom blocks it into an overhead spin. Roode counters that, boucnes off the ropes and lands the fisherman-suplex, which only gets 2. Frustrated, Roode argues with the ref, then hops out to grab his title belt. Back in, Roode appears to be going for the DQ. Storm counters with his "closing time" drop-knees to the chest manuever. Storm sets up for a charging attack, but Bully Ray runs in to grab his leg and distract him. That allows Roode to recover, blast Storm with a spear and get the 3 count. Best match on the show, so far, as it had a "classic" early 90's formula and was worth my time.

Afterwards, Bully Ray and Roode want to do a beat-down, but Sting runs in to chase them off.

Tara vs. Gail Kim (w/Madison Rayne)

Kim is co-holder of the Knockouts Tag Championship and the current Knockouts Champ. They star off with some duck n' dodge stuff, including some choreographed armdrags from Tara. Tara even holds her arms out and Kim walks directly into her slam attempt. T-shirt removal and standing moonsault get 2 for Tara. Kikm whips her to the corner and, with some help from Rayne, connects with a sideways bodypress. Kim chockes Tara on the middle rope, then sunset flips back in. Another flying bodypress into the corner, followed by knee to the back gets 2 for Kim. Kim places Tara's leg over hers in a submission attempt. Charging clothesline floors Tara. Km hooks a dragon-sleeper, which Tara counters into a quick pin attempt. Kim comes back with her cross-armed neckbreaker thing, then goes upstairs to miss a butt-splash. Kicks, slaps, suplex and a backdrop, followed up with a big slam from Tara. Rayne tries to get involed, but accidentally hits Kim. Tare then lands her Widow's Peak finsiher to get the win. Started off sloppy, but I suppose it's good for women's wrestling...?

Garrett Bischoff In-Ring Promo

Garrett recites his lines, yet just as he's about to introduce his mystery trainer, he's interrupted by Eric Bischoff and Gunner. So of course, that cues up the Voodoo Chile wannabe intro music of ... Hulk Hogan. He waddles in to deck Gunner, with some help from Garrett. Eric's left cowering in the corner, then finally bails. Garrett and Hogan celebrate. So I guess the "mystery trainer" is Hogan, a guy who was ADVERTISED AS APPEARING on this show?! Ehh...whatever, I guess this makes Garrett the next in a long line of Hogan trainees/proteges, including Hillbilly Jim, Dave Sullivan, Zach Gowen and some others I'm forgetting.

Back from a break, as Hogan and Garrett brag about what just happened. Hogan mentions that this is the first time in 18 years that he's been in the UK. Hmm... that might be accurate.

"Cowboy" James Storm vs. Bully Ray

Gee, I'm guessing that since Storm has two matches and lost his first one to the champ, he's due to win this one over the flunky. Storm now has his "ribs" (or cut) taped up. Ray stalls to start, as the fans chant " we want D-Von". Say what? I guess someone else is as clueless as me. Ray talks about breaking Storm's ribs, until Storm spits at him, clubs away and delivers a backdrop. Storm collapses under the back strain, allowing Ray to take over and work the back. Ray suplex-drops him on the top rope, then stands on his tummy. Ray keeps working the lower back, ripping off the tape, then delivering a slam. Booy Roode walks down to ringside, triggering a commercial break. Back from the break, Sting walks down to rinsgide with a cricket bat, instead of his usual baseball bat. Cute, I suppose. In the ring, a Bully Ray Bearhug happens. Storm claps his way out, then walks right into a Big Bully Boot. Ray drops two elbows and gets 2. Storm keeps selling the mid-section injury, as Ray does a bouncy-bouncy splash reminiscent of the Ultimate Warrior for 2. Vertical suplex from Ray, but he misses a top-rope butt-splash. Both guys lay on the mat as their cornerman slap the mat. Storm gets fired up and comes back with a series of clothesline. He hops out to the apron for a kick and to catch Ray's neck on the top rope. Storm goes up top for a flying cross body-press, but only gets 2. Side suplex-slam from Ray gets 2. Storm is whipped to corner, but staggers and bumps both Ray and the referee. So, of course Roode tries to enter, but Sting cuts him off, facing him down the entrance way. As both guys stagger up, Storm lands his "Last Call" super-kick to get the 3 count pin.

Tenay signs off, promising that next week's episode will be a "Special Star Wars Edition". Cuz' Star Wars and Wrestling go hand-in-hand! Okay...so Darth Maul does kinda' look like the 1998 "Wolfpac" version of Sting.

Why Did I Watch This? I dunno'... WWE Classics On Demand has been rumored to be ending soon, so I was maybe looking for something to follow? I don't know if there's anything that really excites me, though. Roode and Storm work well together and put on a decent match. They're probably the main reason to follow TNA, right now.

I also like Sting's involvement as an authority figure. I've said it before, but you have to give Stinger credit for always throwing himself fully into his role, not matter what it is. I know Bully Ray has long been a promo favorite of internet smarks, but I find him grating and annoying. Maybe work on the extra cast in the Storm/Roode and you've got a good program?

On the down side, having everybody on the roster dress and act like an MMA fighter doesn't intrigue me. I guess that's just the vibe of modern wrestling. The tag, X-division and Knockouts matches both looked rather choreographed to me. Then the stuff with the Bischoffs is just too overblown. About 3 segments were spent on it; add in the big "mystery partner" as a guy who was announced as appearing and it's definitely skippable.

Overall, this show wasn't as awful as I was expecting. Parts of it were, parts of it were enjoyable. Yet a turd and bacon sandwich still tastes like crap, not matter how tasty the bacon is.

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