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November 13, 2009

A big “legend” takes up space on TNA Impact

As usual, there was a lot going on during Thursday night’s episode of TNA Impact.

Raven made his surprise return. Mick Foley’s face was burned as the result of a fireball thrown at him by Raven. Desmond Wolfe laid out Kurt Angle – again. TNA world champion A.J. Styles was pinned by Samoa Joe in a non-title match. TNA world tag team champions The British Invasion were pinned by Beer Money in a non-title match. Team 3D turned heel. D’Angelo Dinero turned babyface. Traci Brooks’ disability was acknowledged for the first time on TV and became the basis for an angle. Scott Steiner attacked Bobby Lashley in his hotel room while a horrified Crystal Lashley looked on. And TNA ripped off Raw’s guest host concept by having Super Dave Osborne involved in the show.

But what really stuck out was the appearance of Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. Actually, what stuck out the most was “The Anvil’s” bulbous belly. I know Neidhart was never svelte, but good Lord.

How fat was he?

Neidhart was so fat that it looked as if Natalya was about to gain a sibling on national television. He was so fat that his profile made Alfred Hitchcock looked like Michelle McCool – if she hadn’t eaten for a week. People talk about Matt Hardy and Mickie James gaining weight, well Neidhart was so fat that he looked like he had swallowed Hardy and James. Neidhart was so fat that he moved slower in the ring than The Great Khali on a slow-motion replay. I’m here all week.

It was an embarrassment to put someone who looked like that on TV and it was absurd to have him beat one of the company’s talented young stars – “Black Machismo” Jay Lethal – clean. So much for Lethal’s challenge to the “legends.” By the way, referring to Neidhart as a legend is a real stretch. And speaking of a real stretch, Neidhart’s tights must have a heck of a sturdy waistband.

I’m not sure what TNA is thinking here, but I have a few ideas.

The most obvious answer is that Hulk Hogan is up to his old tricks and he’s bringing in a cast of WWF has-beens who will bury the young talent. I don’t buy it. If I know Vince Russo, he’s trying to work the smart marks into believing that’s the case. You know, another one of his infamous worked shoots? Perhaps the ultimate goal of this angle is for Lethal top shed the Randy Savage impersonator gimmick. If so, then I suppose the ends justify the means. While I do find Lethal’s act entertaining, he has no chance of moving up the card unless he takes on a more serious persona. A heel turn might do wonders for him, as well.

Other thoughts on Thursday’s show:

More on Neidhart: I was amazed that the fans at The Impact Zone were cheering Neidhart and booing Lethal. They also were chanting “You still got it” at Neidhart. As the WWE announcers would say, it was Bizzaro World. ...

TNA is doing a great job of making Wolfe look like a major star, but I’m not sure they needed to do yet another beat-down of Angle. Sometimes less is more. I think Angle cutting a promo and Wolfe appearing on the video screen would have sufficed. ...

I found it a bit ironic that Wolfe said he was healthier than Angle. The whole reason that Wolfe is in TNA and not WWE is because he failed WWE’s medical exam. I wonder if that was another one of Russo’s lines aimed at the smarks. ...

I’m not a big Super Dave Osborne fan (he’s no Ozzy, that’s for sure), but I didn’t have a problem with him being on the show – other than the fact that his voice started to annoy me after a while. I did think that it was stupid to have Osborne and Jeremy Borash doing comedy when talking about Foley being rushed to the hospital after having his face burned. That’s one of the big differences between WWE and TNA. If a major babyface had been injured like that on a WWE broadcast, the announcers would have been somber and it would have been referenced throughout the show. In TNA, it’s made light of and treated as just another angle on an episode that had so many of them. ...

When talking about Hogan, Angle said “The Hulkster” knows what works when it comes to wrestling. Yeah, he knows what works for Hogan. ...

It was good to see Raven back. I’ve always been a fan of the character, and I like him, Dr. Stevie and Daffney as a group. ...

Either’s report last month that Daffney had suffered a broken arm at the Bound for Glory pay-per-view was incorrect or she is a fast healer. She did suffer a concussion at BFG. ...

Team 3D are awesome heels, but like I’ve said before, the motivation for them and Rhino turning – their belief that the younger guys are trying to take out the veterans – is the exact same angle TNA did with the formation of The Main Event Mafia (and Team 3D and Rhino were on the opposite side in that one). Russo has gone to the young vs. old well way too often throughout his career. When I worked at WCW, I remember asking him one time about him copying WWF angles. His response was that those WWF angles were his idea and you can’t copy yourself. ...

Brother Ray referred to Hernandez as “an uneducated Mexican with no green card.” I don’t think you can say that. ...

I said several weeks ago that TNA was probably going to have to turn Dinero babyface since the crowd was cheering him. He’s definitely a lot more entertaining as “The Pope” than he was as Elijah Burke in ECW. ...

For those who were confused about the angle with Brooks, she suffers from Erb’s Palsy, which affects the nerves in her arms. I’m not surprised that it has been incorporated into a story line, but I didn’t understand why Mike Tenay and Taz were saying that Alissa Flash had “crossed the line” by targeting Brooks’ arm in their match. Isn’t going after an opponent’s weakness an acceptable thing to do? It looks like the idea here was to turns Brooks babyface, but the crowd booed her when she attacked Flash after the match. ...

I’m not really feeling the Styles-Joe-Daniels main event program. Perhaps it’s because the on-again, off-again friendship between Styles and Daniels is so played out. ...

When Foley told Osborne that he could book a match involving the Knockouts “as long as they’re dressed appropriately,” I figured it was just a shot at WWE toning down the divas’ attire in the company’s new family-friendly era, but then I saw The Beautiful People showing a lot less skin this week. Look, I don’t ask for much, but I’m begging TNA not to keep Velvet Sky in long pants. ...

I thought I had seen it all when Lacey Von Erich botched a chokeslam a couple weeks ago, but she looked awkward just locking up on this show. Any match involving LVE makes an Alicia Fox-Kelly Kelly contest look like Jack Brisco vs. Dory Funk. On a positive note, I thought it was funny how Sky and Madison Rayne stopped LVE from hugging Awesome Kong after the heels defeated ODB, Tara, Taylor Wilde and Sarita in an eight-woman tag match. ...

Steiner’s pipe shots on Lashley looked incredibly weak, but he made up for them when he smashed him in the head with a lamp. ...

I liked the six-man X Division match in which The Motor City Machine Guns and Amazing Red defeated Homicide, Sheik Abdul Bashir and Kiyoshi. ...

Eric Young had a nice line about Hogan: “I was a huge fan of his – when I was 3.”

Posted by Kevin Eck at 7:37 PM | | Comments (27)


Jim Neidhart "Still got it?" I enjoy enthusiasm, but that was rediculous!

Was Taz taking a shot at LVE's personality when he said she had never talked to him once (that's taboo towards vets) and called her a schmohawk?


I happened to be home last night to catch TNA for the first time in a while and was very happy to see Raven back in the fold. Him leaving months ago was the cause for me to stop dvring the show. Now it's back on the list.
I have no use for any other aspect of TNA, but I will hit play to see A. Flash and LVE (I don't care how bad she may be, she's pretty hot).

2 things,

1. Your DDP, Kanyon, and Bam Bam Bigelow (Jersey Triad, because my memory of sub-par stables of the 90's scares me.) promo impression was almost spot on. Now you just need to make jokes about peoples mom in relation to Sea-world.

2. Traci Brooks does her new gimmick better then Roxxi did.

Lately , I've lost interest (again) . But damn , I wish I would have seen this one !
Too funny Kev re: "The Anvil" LOL !!

"Neidhart was so fat that it looked as if Natalya was about to gain a sibling on national television. He was so fat that his profile made Alfred Hitchcock looked like Michelle McCool – if she hadn’t eaten for a week. People talk about Matt Hardy and Mickie James gaining weight, well Neidhart was so fat that he looked like he had swallowed Hardy and James. Neidhart was so fat that he moved slower in the ring than The Great Khali on a slow-motion replay. I’m here all week."

I'm nominating that for comment of the week.

How long are they going to have Lashley go unbeaten anyway? They can't have him keep winning and not give him a title shot, but they probably can't give him a title shot because he'll choose an MMA career if he gets signed to an exclusive deal. But he also can't lose because then that makes him look weak for his MMA career. So he can't lose, yet he can't keep winning either...

I like raven too.He doesnt do much work anymore tho.At the last WCW house show I ever saw he was Scotty Polo and he worked an excellent match with Jushin Liger,also on that card was Steve Austin vs Dustin Rhodes,and Dr Death steve williams and Terry Gordy vs the steiner Bros.I said no more Balto Arena after that night because they raised the beer price to 3.50 and they closed up the beer stand after intermission.
I think Amazing Red can do just about anything-except cut a promo.

It looked like Alissa Flash was wrestling in a turtleneck. It was oddly alluring.

And when did Hulk Hogan turn into Barack Obama? Hogan bringing change to TNA? Kurt Angle cut that promo about as willingly as a cat about to go to the vet.

Jim Neidhart might have let it all hang out. But at least he could climb in and out of the ring. Can you say Vader?

What does a washed up wrestler have to do in TNA to not earn a "You Still Got It" chant?

I remember when Scott Hall got one for cutting a promo with Kevin Nash. He then promptly no showed the PPV a week or two later.

actually liked this article kev and lve is the worst worker ever well besides kylie pierce and roxxi cotton niedhart was huge

It's hard for me to even get excited about Lashley being in TNA since it just doesn't seem like his heart is into it.

I mean, we all know that he wants to succeed in MMA, but he should be a little more enthusiastic about wrestling as well.

Hi Kev,

I haven't watched TNA in a fews but was curious since I heard about the Hogan deal. I was shocked to see Jim Neidhart on TV given the way he looks too. I saw him in person at an indy show about a year ago and he had the big beer gut back then too. What a sight to seehim in person and kind of sad after growing up watching the hart foundation as heels as a fan.

I did like TNA bring Raven back to work with Dr. Stevey and Dafny. I wish he was more of a regular on the TNA roster and working with Dr. Stevey and Dafny on a regular basis. Last time he appeared on TNA for a cameo appearance I said the same thing. He is a veteran who knows his ring psychology and especially how to work the crowd when he plays a character/role .

Vince has said the cardinal rule of wrestling is not to no-show---when you promise something to the fans, you have to deliver.

TNA promised Hulk Hogan. For three weeks running, they've failed to deliver.

Velvet Sky was way, way, way overdressed. LVE debuts with the claw hold and we have never seen it again. Granted she has little or no in-ring ability but having her just look good and then using the claw hold until she got better would be more effective, don't you think?

If Traci does have this condition I guess it explains why she hasn't wrestled much the past year or so. When I saw her come out to face Alyssa I was expecting a great physical match since both are really good workers. Will be interesting to see where this goes.

I am surprised Steiner didn't take up Lethal's challenge. He a legend?

TBP need to be dissolved. LVE is a horrendous, and Velvet and Madison need Angelina to cover for them.

I am kind of interested in this Daniels/Joe/Styles storyline. Especially if the AJ attacker helps one win the title and the 3 of them form a group. I could see it being Tomko, or maybe Kaz. Kaz needs to return to tv as himself.

Hopefully Hogan only does a "commissioner" type thing; not sure I could stomach more than that. Foley needs to hand it up too.

Great to see Raven back. I have always enjoyed his character too.

The worst part about the Impact Zone fans going crazy for Neidhart is I could just see Hogan watching that and thinking if they love Neidhart then they will really love his "brothers" - So I expect to see Nasty Boys, Beefcake, Duggan, Haku, etc in TNA any week now.

Kev, I completely agree with abojut Super Dave's voice but, am I the only one who hits the mute button every time the new ring announcer on Raw is about to introduce a match. This guy totally overdoes his enthusiasm and after the first time you hear himm he becomes impossible to listen to.

WHY are they pushing Lazy Von Erich like she is a "force to be reckoned with"?? If they INSIST on giving LVE a push, she should be doing the Ricky Morton, taking the vicious beatdown for the team before the hot tag.
I hope they are teasing a LVE-Kong match,..... in a steel DQ...60 min...make that no time limit

Good GAWD! I cant stand her

Its amazing how iMPACT varies in quality from week to week. I really enjoyed the last two shows, and then this one was an absolute stinker. For some strange reason, their "go home" shows before a PPV usually are. I really didnt enjoy the Lethal & Anvil segment, and the only segments I did watch with interest were Steiner & Lashley and Nigel & Angle, and the Raven interview. Let's hope that this isnt a sign of a poor show on Sunday. lastly, what's the deal with Jeff Jarrett? One of the biggest stars in the company STILL off TV?

i am really glad to see that Raven is back. I still don't like the way that for the last 3 years Angle has been their #1 guy but is so easily taken out by wolf.

Kevin, i'm glad you mentioned how fat abd bad Neidhart looked, he was an embarrassment to himself. I guess to deal with his psycho wife Ellie Hart (judging from Bret's book)-he eats everything in site to deal with her. I think Natalya will get huge too.

Responding to Wetzel's comment, I actually wouldn't mind Haku making a return. I was a fan of his back when he was in WCW, and I was wondering, whatever happened to him?
It would be awesome if Rhino, Team 3D, Raven, and Dr. Stevie formed an ECW group in TNA. Maybe bring in RVD too.

TNA will NEVER get behind the young talent. Never.

Calling Matt Morgan and Hernandez the chosen ones is just a smoke screen. Saying someone is "the future" in TNA is usually just the same as saying they don't really matter right now.

Neidhart shouldn't have beaten Lethal. That killed his legends challenge storyline on the very first night, and he will likely continue to lose weekly. Unless Lethal ends up getting his revenge in a massive gauntlet match on PPV, then the angle is a waste.

Thankfully Desmond Wolfe has been booked so well. Great showing this week as usual.

It's amazing that the people booking Wolfe are also making AJ Styles look so bad. Mr. Eck, you probably don't care for the main event because Daniels and Joe haven't earned a title shot. Joe defeating AJ is his first big win since losing to Lashley. Daniels beat Dinero, but he still lost to Nash (in a tag) and AJ. Styles has looked very weak ever since winning the belt.

AJ's title run was mandated by the storyline, not because TNA are behind the youth. It's only a matter of time before Nash or some ex-WWE dinosaur takes the gold. In the meantime, AJ must look awful despite the fact that he's more versatile and exciting than even RVD and should be booked like that guy was in the old ECW *(practically unbeatable).

Team 3D continue to take up too much airtime every week. I wish the Machine Guns could get at least half the interview time those guys get.

I agree, Raven's return was welcome, even if he's doing the same thing he did before Slamiversary. Hopefully Raven and Foley can give us some promos close to the anti-hardcore promos they gave in ECW. I wonder if Terry Funk might show up?

Super Dave rules. Better than any Raw host...with exception to Shaq probably.

I think Kev is envious of the "Anvil" .

it's a shame that when a tag team breaks up and one member goes on to success and the other that doesn't is called a Jannetty. Neidhart would really seem to embody that more, maybe it's the way Jannetty rolls off the tongue, who knows?

I'm glad the legends are on TNA and they should beat the wrestlers of today.

I'm so tired of the WWE being about Cena,i'm tired of them disrespecting the legends,and i'm tired of the storylines/wrestlers in the WWE except for HBK.

TNA does it all right and doesnt have the company based around 1 wrestler i mean yeah Styles is the poster child for TNA,but over in the WWE Cena is the poster child,he gets title shots in almost every match hes in,he makes remarkable comebacks in matches that even Hogan couldn't bounce back from even he lost once in awhile,his lame gimmick caused the lame change in the title,which pretty much erases any history of it,and hes in every storyline that he has no business being in.

Point is don't complain about these legends winning and being there because i started watching wrestling in 1990 at age 7 and a huge Warrior fan then all of a sudden those wrestlers are gone,storylines got weak,and wrestling became predictible,so atleast TNA is showing some respect to these guys who made wrestling.

We should be complaining about Jay Lethal tryin to be Randy Savage.

I thought it was a good show, Did not care much for the x-division match and never really have, But feel it was stupid when the female tag team match was on and they went to a spike tv commercial that part sucked, When females are on don't take a tv timeout even more if velvet sky is in it, I love the two female matches keep that up at least.

LOL @ "the whole reason that Wolfe is in TNA and not WWE is because he failed WWE’s medical exam." Wolfe said *himself* that he was healthy and that did not play a reason in why he didn't go to WWE. Why don't you take off those WWE rose-colored glasses once and a while, sheesh!

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About Kevin Eck
The Baltimore Sun's Kevin Eck blogs about professional wrestling.
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