The SmarK Rant for TNA Impact – 05.31.12
LIVE from Orlando, FL.
Your hosts are Mike Tenay & Taz
Lumberjack Match: Bobby Roode v. Sting
Sting tosses Roode around to start and shrugs off some chops in the corner, and Roode gets dumped and tossed back in. Stinger splash misses early and Roode tosses Sting to the heel side for some cheapshots out there, but Sting shakes it off and throws Roode out again. And Roode dumps Sting out again for another beatdown, and that finally gets two. Roode takes over and drops a knee for two as Tenay informs us that later Devon will defend his TV title against one of four people: RVD, Mr. Anderson, Jeff Hardy or Robbie E. That’s quite the random fourth person. Why give fans three babyfaces and a heel to choose from? Roode has a dull heat segment on Sting and we take a break. Back with Roode suplexing him for two. Sting comes back with a Stinger splash and Roode bails to the heel side, so Sting hits everyone with a dive. Back in, Sting tries the Scorpion deathlock, but Roode reverses to the crossface until Sting makes the ropes. Scorpion deathdrop sets up another deathlock, and this time Roode taps at 12:33. *** Pretty dull a lot of the way along, but it did the job. Hulk comes out and announces the obvious, that Sting v. Roode is the main event of the next PPV. Given that the show is two weeks away, it was probably a good idea to announce a match for it.
Bully Ray is once again looking for Joseph Park. Luckily, he’s in the crowd eating popcorn again, and Bully once again is looking for a fight RIGHT NOW. Park is hilarious in this role, with his goofy facials. Joseph doesn’t want a fight, but Bully points out that every member of his family is a COWARD, most of all Abyss, so Joseph decides to step up. He’s not even sure how to go through the ringropes, which is a nice touch. Bully admits that he was the one who captured Abyss, and Park finally snaps…but Bully of course immediately cowers and threatens to sue because he’s a BULLY. And then he gets one last verbal jab in, suddenly a big man again when Park backs off. Park challenges him to FISTICUFFS once and for all, but Bully now wants to wait for the PPV. This was a TREMENDOUS old school pro wrestling angle that did exactly what it was supposed to: Make you want to see them fight and then make you wait for the PPV to get it. It’s a great way to freshen up and repackage Abyss, too.
X Division title: Austin Aries v. Chris Sabin
They trade armdrags to start and Aries misses a dropkick, but he gets it after Sabin misses a sunset flip. Aries with a moonsault and elbow for two. Sabin tries a crucifix and gets another rollup for two, but Aries dumps him to the floor. He follows with a suicide dive and gets a missile dropkick back in the ring, but Sabin baseball slides him to the floor and follows with his own dive. Back in with a neckbreaker for two. They fight for a suplex and Sabin gets the Future Shock, but Aries reverses it into a rollup to retain at 4:00. Aries is in the ZONE right now, but this was too short to be worth much. **1/2
Meanwhile, Taz gets hired as the replacement for Ric Flair in the Gut Check challenge. After the break, the judges deliberate back in Nashville and talk about Joey Ryan’s porn ‘stache.
Meanwhile, Borash has the four potential TV title challengers with him.
Dixie Carter joins us and you know it’s live because she pulls an Undertaker and says the PPV is “September 10”. Whoops. So she brings out Brooke Hogan, who looks like she’s 60 years old here. Holy god, this girl did not get the good side of the gene pool. NEVER DO A TIGHT SHOT ON HER FACE AGAIN. She looks like she used Homer’s makeup shotgun. And she says nothing. This was a total dud.
TV Title: Devon v. Jeff Hardy
No surprise there. Devon powers him down for two, and Hardy responds in kind, but Devon blocks a headscissors and puts him down with a clothesline. Headbutt misses and Hardy hits the Whisper in the Wind for two. Jeff goes up and Devon brings him down with a neckbreaker for two. Devon with a chinlock, but Hardy escapes with the Twist of Fate, prompting Robbie E to run in for the DQ at 4:19. Obviously that was going to be the finish no matter which babyface won the vote. Devon and Hardy were just phoning it in here. Or voting it in via internet poll, as it were. *1/2
Meanwhile, James Storm is hanging out on his ranch and getting all introspective.
Joey Ryan faces the team of judges in the Gut Check vote. Joey Ryan notes that he’s trending worldwide on Twitter, but Twitter disagrees with that. So they take it right to the vote: Brother Love says no, Leif Cassidy says yes, and Taz gets all up in his face and votes him out. And now he’s finally trending for real. I’m guessing this an angle because TNA fans seemed to be going pretty crazy for him.
AJ Styles v. Christopher Daniels
Apparently it’s Daniels & Kazarian v. Styles & Angle for the tag titles at the PPV. Holy crap, do I have to order a TNA PPV now? Fuck me. We get a chase to start and Styles chops him down and adds the dropkick, but Daniels nails him with a right in the corner and Styles sells like he’s taking a UFC knockout shot, falling backwards and folding at the knees. What a great touch. Daniels tries to suplex him from the apron, but changes to a necksnap instead and then sends him crashing into the railing. And we take a break. Back with Daniels holding a neck vice until Styles gets into the ropes. They slug it out in the corner, but Daniels whips him into the turnbuckles until AJ gets the Pele kick and both are down. Daniels misses a charge and Styles makes the comeback with a TORTURE RACK into a powerbomb for two. Daniels comes back and puts him on top, but AJ fights him off and springboards in with a forearm. Moonsault into the DDT, but Daniels counters it and goes up, only to see AJ counter that. Styles Clash attempt, but Kazarian comes down and Daniels gets two. AJ gets the inverted DDT on the second try to finish at 10:31. More great stuff from these two. ***1/2 Angle tries to make the save, but the champs beat the crap out of him and ZIP-TIE him to the ropes. We get the big beatdown, and Daniels reveals a secret phone conversation between AJ and Dixie, prompting Dixie to storm out and STOP THE SHOW.
Not a blowaway show for the big live debut, but they hooked my interest last week and gave me a really good show to pay it off, and that’s all I was asking for. Plus as a bonus I kind of want to see that Joseph Park-Bully Ray PPV match now. I hope they keep going in this direction, because I’m liking it.