The Recap for TNA Impact 7.14.2011, taped from the Impact Zone in Orlando, FL.
Last week, Sting took a bat to the face courtesy Hogan, Velvet kicked Jackie and ODB out of TNA, and Anderson joined Immortal. This week is the heavily hyped "Midsummer Nightmare," and the main event is Anderson v Sting for the title.
Strangely enough, TNA's preview of Impact on their website, which is still on as I speak, spoils the results of the main event.
We start with a video for the Sting/Anderson title match, which is narrated by Bully Ray. Immortal, sans Anderson, head to the ring where some poker tables are set up. Bischoff says that they're there because they're about to gamble with some careers, because they can. Immortal is throwing Anderson a party because he's now a part of their family. Anderson heads out in a particularly hideous camouflage tuxedo. Hogan says that even though they haven't seen eye-to-eye, what they have in common is the desire to be the best. Hogan formally welcomes him into the family with a manly hug. Anderson says he knows it's a gamble, but if Bischoff and Hogan are committed to keeping him at the top, then he'll take the gamble. The lights go out and Sting appears, sitting at the poker table. "Did someone say gamble?" Bischoff says he respected Sting for being a stand-up guy before Sting went nuts and calls him the cancer. Anderson will rid of the cancer tonight, apparently. Sting wants Eric to wager on that. Hogan threatens him with another beating and promises that he'll leave on a stretcher tonight. That causes Sting to freak out with a string of "No"s. "Even I'm starting to worry about me." Sting reminds Hogan that the Network has left them on a short leash and shenanigans will bring about a man with greater power than Sting. Sting says he'll leave tonight as Champion and points to a bunch of evil-looking clowns (his "magic bullet aces") in the rafters, holding bats. Bischoff calls him a freak, but Sting takes that as a compliment. "I'm all in!" He turns over the poker table and disappears when the lights go out. When they're back on, Immortal are confused. 1 for 1. Yeah, I'm buying into Sting because he's bought into the character. Even though the appearance is of Heath Ledger's Joker, I think the mannerisms and the dialogue are leaning more towards Nicholson's Joker. In any case, good stuff.
Bound For Glory Series Standings: Crimson 31 Gunner, Devon 21 Morgan, Styles, Storm, Van Dam, Bully Ray 14 Steiner 7 Pope, Roode, Joe 0
Match 1: BFG Series: Samoa Joe v Robert Roode v The Pope D'Angelo Dinero: Joe jumps Roode to start and dominates him while Pope decides to wait outside for a better opportunity. Roode halts Joe's charge with a spinebuster but falls victim to a Pope STO for 2. Pope takes over as Roode sells his bad arm. Pope dominates, getting a few nearfalls before Joe attempts a comeback. Pope fights him off but misses the DDE, which allows Roode to recover with clotheslines and a blockbuster for 2. Joe comes in and tries to Muscle Buster Pope, but Roode stops that and catches him with the fisherman's suplex for 2. Pope and Roode fight it out in the corner, but that ends badly for Pope. Joe catches Roode in the Koquina Clutch, but Roode rides up the turnbuckle and falls back on him ala Hart/Austin and that gets the pin in 6 minutes. Roode taps out as soon as the pin is completed, leading to Joe thinking he won. Joe and Hebner have a standoff before a bunch of refs come out to separate them.1 for 2. I expected much better, I think. It got cut off just when it looked like they were hitting a higher gear and the crowd was getting into it. And why is Earl Hebner not scared to death of Joe?
Hogan and Bischoff scheme backstage about getting rid of Sting. Bischoff has the idea of a staged accident, which Abyss volunteers for. Bischoff gets on his case for losing the X-Division title to Brian Kendrick at the PPV, but then agrees to let him do it. Meanwhile, the Jarretts are back and they have presents for everyone. Hogan gets the AAA title belt that Jarrett won, though the company name is not mentioned. Karen wants to party!
Devon is less than happy that his kids are in awe of Pope. Devon doesn't want his kids "talking to that clown," so Pope asks them to leave, only for Devon to get pissed about Pope ordering his kids around. Devon says he's the one who tells his kids what to do, not Pope. Pope rightly points out that the kids look up to him, but Devon calls him a "two-bit con" and leaves. 1 for 3. If they want Devon to be the good guy in this drama, they're doing a miserable job as Pope has come off as the nicer of the two in the last several exchanges. The Immortal stuff is just so old.
Match 2: Austin Aries v Shannon Moore: Guess who gets to be cannon fodder this week? Moore controls early with armdrags and some speedy stuff, ensuring that Aries can't get his bearings. Moore nails him with a spinning heel kick and then traps him in the middle rope for a baseball slide that looked pretty nasty. Moore dives onto him on the outside, and back inside Whisper in the Wind gets 2 for Moore. Aries gets his hands on the Book of Dilligaf and he and Moore fight over it. Aries slyly manages to get the chain off the book and tonks Moore with it while the ref's back is turned. That gets the pin in 4 minutes. Postmatch, Alex Shelley comes out to yell at Aries, who re-iterates that he won "fair and square." Sign me up for that feud. 2 for 4. Decent action, marred by an unnecessary finish. After Aries won his contract without the hint of any shenanigans, and the crowd was behind him big, why would you give him a heel character?
Abyss is intimidating Brian Kendrick, telling him that he's going to take back what is his - the X-Division title. He turns around and gets blasted by one of Sting's clown associates. 1 down, 4 to go.
Moore is bitching backstage about Aries cheating to Shelley. Moore claims he had that match won. Shelley says that if Aries was really the greatest man alive, he wouldn't need to cheat. Aries cuts a promo of his own, saying he's the best pound-for-pound wrestler out there. A certain Bryan Danielson and CM Punk might have something to say about that. "A win is a win." Aries believes he can't be beaten.
Madison Rayne and Tara cut short promos about their upcoming match - Rayne says Tara's first match in TNA was a win over Rayne, but history will not repeat itself tonight. Tara says she has a present for Rayne, but Rayne can't open it until after the match. Huh? 2 for 5. The Evil clown got off quite the home run swing on Abyss, but that was about the only good thing in this set of promos.
Match 3: Madison Rayne v Tara: Ooh, Madison. Rayne wants Tara to lay down, but Tara takes offense to that and beats the shit out of her. Standing moonsault and spinning side slam hit but Tara won't cover. Rayne counters the Widow's Peak starts talking trash. Rayne dumps her outside and sends her into the steel steps, giving Rayne enough time to go look at her present. Of course, it's Poison the Spider, and that causes Madison to freak out. The distraction allows Tara the time to recover and hit the Widow's Peak for the pin in 4 minutes. 2 for 6. Nothing match, and the stupid storyline just irks me.
The British Invasion and Mexican America face off tonight for the #1 contendership for Beer Money's tag titles. Oh, and they have snazzy new ring jackets.
Kurt Angle heads to the ring and announces that he will have a TNA title shot at Hardcore Justice. Is the concept of a #1 contender for the world title and matches to determine that contender completely alien to this company? Angle says he prefers to face Anderson, because they have history together. He remembers the cage match and thought there was some respect between the two, but then Anderson turned his back on Angle and joined Immortal. He says he has history with Sting as well, remembering the empty arena match against him when they were in the MEM. That match was apparently "one of the greatest matches." Wonder which match he was watching? Angle mentions that he's never beaten Sting (which I'm pretty sure is wrong) and that doesn't sit well with him. Angle says he's going to stand back tonight, but at Hardcore Justice, he will leave the World Champion. 3 for 7. Decent enough, even though it was a little off on the facts.
The Jarretts are leaving, carrying lots of baggage to their car. Jeff is in the car, but Karen sees a clown in the trunk. She runs away screaming as Jarrett is out to fight the clown, but the clown wins. He drives away Jarrett with a bat to his throat.
Match 4: #1 Contenders' Match: Mexican America v British Invasion: Mexican America get on the mic prematch and talk about - presumably - stupid Americans, which I ignore completely. The Brits cut them off and it's on. The Brits dominate Anarquia but Hernandez cheats to even the odds. Mexican America work over Williams with quick tags and HEEL STRATEGERY~. Williams fights out of a headlock, only to be cut off by Hernandez. Williams fight them off and hot tags Magnus, who cleans house. Anarquia gets the worst of the punishment and eats a flying elbow for two. The Brits get their Euro Uppercut finisher, but Rosita comes out to distract them. It works, as Hernandez drills Magnus with a forearm and has Anarquia pin him in 7 minutes. 3 for 8. Long formula match that was neither good nor bad. I have little interest in Hernandez or Anarquia, so it is only natural that they will get pushed.
Bakcstage, Eric Bischoff is worried about Sting's clown and tells Gunner and Ray that they're his last line of defense. Gunner actually has a point in trying to find Sting before he finds them, but Ray doesn't want any of that and stays behind. Gunner heads out with a pipe but gets surrounded by the clowns, and The Numbers Game (tm Cole) means that he's no match for them. A shot to the knee takes him down and they wipe him out. They unmask and it's Fortune. They say Ray's already taken care of. 4 for 9. The reveal worked for me as I had not predicted that it would be active wrestlers on the roster. I was kinda looking forward to Sting and his Clown Minions for the next couple of weeks of Impact. Oh well.
Match 5: TNA World Title: Mr. Anderson v Sting: We get super-special intros without interruption this time. We get a slow start, with a bit of a feeling-out process. Anderson hits him with some punches but they have no effect on Sting. Sting dumps him with a dropkick and stops a sunset flip with a punch to the face. Stinger Splash misses, and that allows Anderson to work over the knee and lock in the Scorpion Deathlock but Sting reaches the ropes. Anderson locks in what looks like a half Liontamer, forgetting that that move does not work the leg. Sting fights out of that and catches him with the Mic Check for a close 2-count. Scorpion Deathdrop gets only 2. Anderson lifts Sting on his shoulders for something, but it just wipes the ref out. Sting catches him in the Scorpion but Bully Ray is out to put a stop to that. Obviously he was not "taken care of." Ray hands Anderson a chain and they prepare to send Sting into Friday, but the lights go out and a clown appears to finish his work. Ray gets smacked, but before the clown hits Anderson, the lights are out again. The distraction proves too much for Anderson who falls victim to the Scorpion Deathdrop for the pin and the title in 9 minutes. 4 for 10. Silly, overbooked nonsense, though it fits with Sting's character at this point. We'd be wrong to expect anything great from a Sting/Anderson match, but I cannot give that a point in good conscience. The last clown unmasks and is obviously Kurt Angle. Sting celebrates as we end the show.
Wrestling Counter: 30 minutes.
The Score: 4 for 10: Coming off a good PPV, you'd expect this show to carry forward some of that momentum, and it was a big letdown in terms of that. The Sting's Clown Association was a compelling story for the 2 hours and surprisingly was the glue that prevented this show from utterly falling apart. The reveal of Fortune was nice as well, but I can't understand the logic behind giving Sting the title again. Anderson's reign is completely meaningless and I have a feeling that this will now lead to infighting within Immortal as he's no longer the champ. With Sting's "crusade" against Immortal being the main story, one which I feel is inevitably hurtling towards Sting v Hogan, the focus is off the other stories and it shows. The Devon/Pope drama is a muddled mess, the Knockouts division can't buy a decent storyline, and the BFG Series is an afterthought.
Madison is so terrified of that spider that she sloooooowly and caaaaaaarefully deposited it in the corner instead of flinging it up the ramp in fear. And if they hadn't used a real spider, she probably could have done that.
This show felt like a spectacle using wrestling like a lingerie bowl uses football. It has the trappings of wrestling with no emotional investment or passion.
I kinda like the idea of Joker/Sting ("Joking?") using clown goons. Maybe it's Doink nostalgia.
"To be the man, you gotta beat demands." -- The Lovely Mrs. Tracker
I didn't see the show but as far as Angle being number one contender he did earn it as he beat Jarrett in a #1 contenders match in June. Sting should not be the champion obvioiusly, but neither should Anderson imo. Oh yeah Angle did beat Sting on Impact for the title a week after Bfg back in 2007.
Didn't watch, but do I have this correct -- Fortune unmasked as the clown minions and then there was one more clown minion at the end of the show? So there's still the "who is the final clown" mystery?
Evil Clown Minions just about sums up everything that is both great and horrible about TNA. Its bad in terms of being a compelling drama, but its wonderful as a comedy. I imagine that the next natural step for them to take is to have Mr. Anderson or Hogan start dressing like a bat-man.
I loved the bromance moment between British Invasion when they admitted that rebuilding their relationship with Rob Terry had proven to be a smart move. It reminded me of last year when AJ and Kazarian finally got over their differences and hugged.
Originally posted by used2bcoolDecent action, marred by an unnecessary finish. After Aries won his contract without the hint of any shenanigans, and the crowd was behind him big, why would you give him a heel character?
The Impact Zone would screw this up either way. Both of these guys are going to be cheered by the Impact Zone which is unfortunate because they can both be the biggest douchebag heels in the company when they want to.
Notion: CM Punk has done a better job channeling the Joker character than Sting and without the outright gimmick thievery. He created to the downfall of "hero" Cena -- in Chicago, the town that the movie Gotham is based upon.
"To be the man, you gotta beat demands." -- The Lovely Mrs. Tracker
I don't mind Sting with the TNA title. I thought he actually had a good run earlier this year. But, this wannabe-Joker thing? Not like this, and especially not if it's building to Hogan taking it from him. It's really needless and isn't helping anybody.
Although, TNA really isn't worth complaining over. Basically, anything that happens here doesn't count or reflect on the times in Hogan's, Nash's, Sting's, etc. careers that mattered.
Does Piper go on about "Tootsies Bar & Grille" in this episode? I remember him rambling about that a ton during this time and being completely baffled by it. So, next week's Nitro features a huge debut for WCW.