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April 15, 2011

TNA Impact: Good go-home show for Lockdown

It was clear from watching Thursday night’s TNA Impact that the company considers Sunday’s Lockdown pay-per-view a much higher priority than last month’s Victory Road show.

The build-up for the latter was basically non-existent (which, in retrospect, may have been a good thing considering the Jeff Hardy debacle that took place at the show), but TNA did a nice job of promoting Lockdown on the go-home show.

While it’s true that TNA relies too heavily on the “will he or won’t he turn heel?” angle heading into its pay-per-views, I am intrigued by the triple threat main event on the all-cage match show between TNA world champion Sting, Mr. Anderson and Rob Van Dam.

Thursday’s show ended with RVD seemingly contemplating an offer from Hulk Hogan to join Immortal. With Jeff Hardy out of the picture for the time being, I don’t think it would be a bad idea to turn RVD and have him replace Hardy as Immortal’s main-event guy.

Other thoughts on Thursday’s show:

Anderson was booked to look strong in the gauntlet match main event. He wasted no time in pinning Murphy, Rob Terry and Gunner in succession. Bully Ray was the fourth and final member of Immortal to enter the match, but he was more interested in injuring Anderson than defeating him, so he slugged the referee and then set up Anderson to be power-bombed off the stage and through a table by Hogan. Sting, however, made the save before Hogan could pull it off. …

I liked the post-match angle with Sting attacking Ray and Abyss with his baseball bat and running off Hogan, and then standing menacingly over the fallen Anderson to convey that it was more about getting at Hogan than it was about saving Anderson. …

I also like how TNA has been ending its shows with backstage promos from the main players in the angles (basically what TNA was doing with its now-defunct Reaction program). ...

I’m enjoying the Anderson tweener character, but he still needs to tone it down sometimes. Screaming, “the title, the title, the title,” in his promo made him sound more like a petulant child than a bad-ass loner. …

The verbal exchange between Sting, Hogan and Eric Bischoff was well done. I laughed when Sting backed Hogan into the corner and Hogan – who was wearing a back brace – said, “Don’t hit an invalid.” ...

I guess Anderson getting in the ring while the members of Immortal were in there in the opening segment was supposed to make him look brave, but I thought it made him look stupid. Sure enough, the group attacked him, and since Anderson has no friends, no one came out to make the save. ...

By the way, are we ever going to have an opening segment on Impact that doesn’t have Bischoff and Hogan talking? ...

I really liked the segment with Madison Rayne, Tara and Mickie James. Rayne was great on the mic; Tara came off as a sympathetic figure, as her babyface turns appears imminent (my guess is that she costs Rayne the TNA Knockouts title in Rayne’s match against James at Lockdown); and James showed a lot of fire in the verbal exchange. By the way, for those who don’t know, James – who had her arm in a sling – legitimately suffered a separated shoulder in a recent match. The motorcycle hit and run is the story line explanation for the injury. ...

Jeff Jarrett taking off in his car to get away from Kurt Angle and leaving Karen behind to face Angle was pretty funny. ...

The Matt Hardy-Kazarian match was good. It was part of a best-two-out-of-three series pitting Immortal members against Fortune members with the winner getting the man-advantage in the Lethal Lockdown match. Hardy beat Kazarian, and Abyss defeated James Storm in another good match, so Immortal won, 2-0. I liked that the series was decided after two matches rather than having it be 1-1 and needing a third match, which would have been predictable. ...

The six-man tag in which Jarrett, “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero and Hernandez defeated Angle, Matt Morgan and Samoa Joe was entertaining. ...

Abyss attacked Crimson and laid him out. I’m glad TNA didn’t forget that Crimson basically tried to murder Abyss a while back. ...

I’ll probably take a lot of heat for this, but I’m actually starting to enjoy the Winter-Angelina Love-Velvet Sky story line. “Zombie Angelina” is campy fun. Although I suppose one man’s campy fun is another man’s WrestleCrap. ...

Just wondering: Is Sky capable of cutting a promo without using the word “b**ch” a minimum of two times? ...

Douglas Williams jobbing to Orlando Jordan in the fourway match (or any match) is a travesty.

Posted by Kevin Eck at 7:12 PM | | Comments (14)


I loved Impact this week. I think the best thing to happen is Bully Ray replacing Jeff Hardy, he's kinda doing for Immortal what Jeff Hardy should of done. Immortal is getting convincing as a decent heel faction with some actual direction.

I always dreamed about RVD doing a dramatic swerve and joining Immortal, I think it would work because he is another former WWE guy who Fourtune would hate. Back when it looked like Fourtune vs Immortal was really on, I thought RVD and Jeff Hardy being the flashy mainstream WWE guys who Hogan brought in vs the homegrown blue collar talent that is Fourtune would be perfect for a heated fued. Of course it hasn't quite been executed the way I wished.

With how starved for a solid main event heel TNA is I'm surprised they haven't gone back to their signature "Inexplicable Samoa Joe Heel Turn" deal.

Enough Jarrett-Angle-Karen crap. It has gone on too long. They should give Morgan more of a push. Wouldnt mind a Morgan/ Hernandez series again but without all of the hangers on. And finally bring Madisyn Rayne back to the BP. Get the peroxide out againand re-unite them because when Madisyn and Velvet entered the ring it used to be must see TV, Now its fast forward TV

Hey Kevin quick question...

Who are the four girls in the front row at every TNA taping? They where wearing beer money t-shirts last night... Do they pay them to stand there?

RESPONSE FROM KE: I believe they are plants.

My favourite part of the episode was when it was over.

Kev a couple of things first off Im tired of every week Velvet comes out and gets beatdown every week. another thing what happened to Demond wolfe he came in on fire then was put into a tag team with Magnus who suddenly is with Douglas Williams. Iwas really glad to see that Abyss finally got his revenge on crimson but I am wondering where a lot of TNA roster is going Jay lethal hasn't been seen since he lost the XDivision title months ago.

I liked when Bully Ray was trying to talk RVD into joining Immortal and said something to the effect of: "In this case the grass is greener and with less seeds"

Holy bat$**t Robin did the commissioner just say something nice about the joker---re:TNA? Wow Kev,did you get RKO'd at Wrestlemania? I am sure I'm wrong but this is the first time in memory you actually said something somewhat accurate and nice about TNA. What happened, finally started to realize that VKM's larger circus really wasn't all that great after all? Ok enough of that in regards to the comment on Williams jobbing to Jordon,you're right it shouldn't have been Williams but his clown partner Magnus, but that Gender/Bender move looked pretty damned good to me. Jordon probably isn't your cup of tea so to speak but despite the over the top gay push he can perform,and that move was pretty damned good looking to me,so in closing yes Williams wasn't the right guy to have done the job but just because Brutus Beefcake the 2nd (Magnus) hid and should have done the job instead of his partner is no reason to not give Jordon some props for what was to me a strong,quick and decisive finisher. Just sayin'. Either way for or against keep up your work good or bad is a matter of taste but it is always good in the aspect of being informative whether one agrees or not.

Yeah, it was nice to see a TNA Impact chock full of matches. I actually want to buy the PPV for Lockdown. I'm actually hoping RVD turns heel- when's the last time he was a heel anyway...back in the old ECW? Maybe I'm wrong though.

It's also nice to see Sting fired up- he seems to be full of passion again...

Thursday was a decent show (the spot where Jarrett drove away was great!), but the funniest part with TNA lately is how much canned crowd noise they pump in. It's like the Star Trek episode where they go to the planet with televised gladiator matches and there's a guy in the control booth working the "boos" and "cheers" knobs. Very cheesey. Oh, and Rosita was fixing her top like she had a wardrobe malfunction. Would've enjoyed seeing that!

Actually, Mr. Eck, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that TNA is poised to overtake WWE---obviously not in terms of ratings yet--but in terms of compelling characters and storylines. I will agree on Anderson toning down the "title, title, title" type stuff, but directly preceding that, the "give me more mountains!" was cool and plays well off the implicit angle they're pushing that references Anderson's real-life struggles to get over at both companies when faced with bad booking, politics and every other thing he's dealt with.
RVD would indeed make a great heel--and it needs to be said that in his whole, stellar career, he has NEVER before shown the kind of acting and intensity that he shows now in very well done promos. Likewise, the horrid Devon storyline was a poor way to put over Ray as a heel, but now that he is, he is not only strong, but just a great addition to the Immortal storylines in general. I am starting to dig Ray quite a bit, and he is a great monster heel. Interesting tht Abyss is being pushed the same way, but falls severely under Ray's shadow.
Also---(I really don't MEAN to run overlong, but I feel some things need to be said)---although Sting and Hogan faced off in WCW, this is the first time that it has been written explicitly as the mainstream icon pitted against the underground one, and I think it really adds an edge to the plot. It's smart writing to have Sting calling out Hogan and Bischoff for playing politics and reliving past glories at the expense of pushing younger guys and strengthening the company---which strengthens Anderson's main event push from another angle. Anderson is a star---people gave Cena time---and if they give the same benefit of the doubt to Anderson--I think we'll all find that he will be the best we've seen in years. He's also more organic than Cena--he's attracted a cult following that has had a lot to do with him being pushed-converse to being pushed because someone in the back has decided you will be.
I don't care what hits I'll take for saying this---If TNA can keep building on the foundation, with Anderson, RVD, Ray, Fourtune, Samoa Joe and others leading the push, they will be the superior wrestling show in terms of quality. If they don't screw it up, they are going places, finally.
Also, don't feel bad about liking the Velvet Sky/Angelina Love bit---I think it's well done, and with Rayne/James, it's nice to see the Knockouts get individual story attention. Sky shares the "bitch" thing with Anderson and his "title"---a little tweaking to dialouge choices and using intensity in the right direction---and they will both get over in a bigger way than they already have.
Go ahead, hit me for saying TNA is finally beginning countdown to liftoff---but don't be surprised if four months from now, their ratings start to climb into WWE territory. After Hardy, I thought they'd go straight down the pipes---not only was I wrong---but it proves that sometimes adversity brings out the best in people. Witness the "ReAction" type-atmosphere to the backstage promos. It is different than anything WWE is doing, and well done given that the players are stepping their acting up. TNA is becoming its own company and playing to its own strengths. For the sake of wrestling, I am excited and looking forward, and praying that they don't stumble.

A very good episode of Impact. The show had some very solid matches, and your points about the best of 3 and other areas freshened things up. I still can't see what people notice in Anderson. Roode, Storm, or Morgan would have been much better choices to give a main event push to. Hopefully the Knockouts get a better spot on the show. It was a travesty for Doug to job to Orlando.

Kev, any segment with Velvet Sky in it is a good segment.

I've been saying that RVD's character has been stale for years. A heel turn for him would be very compelling and would atleast generate some interest. Immortal is in need of some star power and RVD could supply that. And unlike the Jeff Hardy heel turn, which you weren't supposed to see coming but did, the logic behind this one makes sense and the fact that it's not a swerve is refreshing. RVD keeps saying how Hogan brought him into TNA, so there's a clear reason for it.

And I don't think I've ever heard a better sequence of promos delivered by females ever. Madison Rayne has emerged a great heel and her character has developed nicely. I had forgotten why Tara was ever aligned with Madison to begin with, and although the fans want to see Tara turn face, she and Madison make a good tandem. Mickie James promo was great as well, and the fact that she is really injured clearly added to the emotion behind it.

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

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