December 5, 2013
Remember, any show with “Cops” as a lead-in must be a quality program, right?
We get an intriguing “1983”-esque opening video to preview the semifinals of the TNA title tournament. I have high hope that this week will be much better than Thanksgiving’s wretched episode.
Kurt Angle out in the ring, and gives thanks for his health, and props to his first-round opponent Austin Aries. He calls out Magnus and questions whether he screwed him last week. Angle asks whether Magnus has the heart to be a champion. Both guys are good here, but the crowd is silent. This promo and the aforementioned video are getting me psyched for this match. Roode comes out to the ramp, talking about his killer instinct while wearing his swank robe. Roode declares that Magnus will never be a champ. Here comes Hardy, moving some tables. Biggest pop is for Hardy, who looks fantastic, and starts chanting for himself.
Match #1: Jeff Hardy vs. Bobby Roode in a Tables Match – Semifinals of the TNA Title Tournament
Hardy starts off hot with a flying forearm, legdrop and dropkick. He tries to bring in a table but eats it when Roode dropkicks it into his face. It sounds like Impact is launching its own website similar to the WWE App. Thankfully, Mike Tenay isn’t showing us how to log on. Roode sets up a table in the corner. Both guys try to beal each other through the table, but Roode saves himself with a clothesline. Hardy misses a Whisper in the Wind and almost put himself through the table on accident. They’re heavy on the graphics and instant replay during this match. Final Resolution will have the tournament finals in two weeks. So, are they really taping six weeks of television in one week? Wow, ROH doesn’t even do that. On the apron, Hardy attempts a Twist of Fate through a table that was already set up on the floor. Both men lose their balance and go through the table. Brian Hebner looks dumbfounded. We need multiple angles so Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura can hash this one out.
Senior referee Earl Hebner decides that the match must continue. Spinebuster by Roode! Hardy reverses something into a modified Twist of Fate, almost like a Stunner, and Roode lands on the table. Swanton time? Nope, Roode smartly takes a powder, but Hardy hits a Swanton over the table! Hardy goes for a superplex through the table, but he gets crotched on the top rope. Roode now attempts to suplex Hardy from the apron to the floor, but Hardy reverses into a spin kick, and Roode goes through a ringside table. Hardy advances to the finals in fourteen minutes.
Winner: Jeff Hardy
If they ended the show right now, it would be leaps and bounds better than last week.
The return of #Impact365 brings us Ethan Carter, getting made up backstage. He’s challenging a first ballot Hall of Famer tonight! Thirty percent of ESPN’s audience doesn’t believe that Greg Maddux is one, so can you imagine the quality of opponent we’ll get tonight?
#Impact365, part two, live from Dixie’s home office. She’s psyched about receiving the title belt back from AJ Styles. She looks much better at home than all dolled up for television.
Ethan Carter out, pimping his streak, and the crowd is all over him. He states that his opponent has been in the ring with Andre, Hogan and Bret Hart. It’s Earl Hebner? Even Taz is stunned. Hebner turns him down, but Carter states that Hebner works for his money. There’s going to be a special guest referee, and Rockstar Spud brings out Earl’s son. Carter wants Earl to lay down for him. No point to this besides getting heat from the live crowd, and, surprisingly it’s working. Earl declines, which is odd, because, even storyline wise, there’s no reason for him not to. Eventually, he acquiesces.
Match #2: Ethan Carter III vs. Earl Hebner
The bell rings, and Ethan covers Earl Hebner with one finger, demanding Brian to count to three. Kayfabe-wise, I have no idea why Brian or Earl would feel so humiliated by this. I apologize for spending so much time recapping this segment.
We see a recap video of Joseph Park’s humiliation at the hands of Christopher Daniels and Kazarian. #Impact365, part three, tells us that Bad Influence will solve the mystery of Joseph Park, later tonight.
Sam Shaw and Christy Hemme are out on a date. He’s a sociopath!
Dixie Carter is acting. Watch her act angry when someone delivers her flowers from a fan. It’s not the title belt she expected. Ooh, she’s mad!
Bobby Roode, also backstage, complains about losing in a wrestling tournament by falling through a table.
And…the skits continue! Technically, that’s one match in your first hour, folks! Dixie Carter announces that she’s bringing back Feast or Fired, next week.
More play acting, this time in the ring, with Bad Influence. Here comes Joseph Park, out to interrupt before they expose whatever secret he has. He rips up the envelope they’re carrying. #Impact365, part four, finds our heroes at the law offices of Joseph Park in Chicago. It’s empty, just like this plot. His office closed thirteen years ago. Everybody is dumbfounded. More bullying, Kazarian spits in his face and calls him a liar. I really don’t understand the point of this. We all know he’s Abyss. Eric Young comes out and announces a tag match for next week.
Sting and Magnus backstage awkwardly talk about the semifinal with Angle tonight. Magnus wonders aloud whether Sting was referencing him with his entitlement speech from a few weeks back.
Zema Ion announces our next competitors:
Match #3: Bromans vs. James Storm and the Modern Day Viking Gunner Von Erich
This is a rematch from Bound for Glory, and this time, it’s a non-title match. The challengers start with some double team maneuvers. Ion hits the blowhorn when Jesse slaps Gunner. Now he’s doing it every time they hit an offensive maneuver. Gunner comes back with a fall-away slam. Hot tag to Storm, who dishes out a clothesline, neckbreaker and codebreaker. Last call on Jesse, but Robbie E spits out Storm’s beer on Gunner. He snaps, pounding on Robbie, and pushes the ref before Storm can pin Jesse. More arguing between the former champs.
Winners (by disqualification): The Bromans
Sting attempts to talk with Kurt Angle, but runs into the chief of staff. I can’t take any more of these skits, but at least Spud is funny.
#Impact365, PART FIVE, has Gail Kim kissing her husband. Jeremy Borash asks her about the open challenge. Bobby cuts a promo with her.
#Impact365, PART SIX: Chris Sabin and Velvet Sky have a video blog. Sabin implies that Velvet gives him hope, but he’s actually talking to his belt in the mirror.
Match #4: Gail Kim (with Lei’d Tapa) vs. Laura Denis
The interwebs tell me that Laura Denis is indy wrestler Cherry Bomb, who I recall from a couple matches in ROH this year. Kim striking Denis and pulls her up at 2. She continues to browbeat her, until Denis slaps her and pops off a sliding clothesline. That’s about it, as Kim hits Eat Da Feet for the three count.
Winner: Gail Kim
Gail hits another Eat Da Feet, Tapa’s about to nail her finisher when ODB comes out for the save. She’s able to clothesline Tapa over the top. Earlier, the crowd was supposedly chanting “you suck” to Kim, but it was clearly piped in.
Dixie Carter backstage. I’m done with recapping these skits. If you’re betting the over/under on sketches, we’re currently at fifteen.
Match #5: Magnus vs. Kurt Angle in a Last Man Standing Match – Semifinals in the TNA Title Tournament
I’m all in favor of eliminating the middle 70 minutes of this show and broadcasting the opener and main event. Fun fact: each semifinal had opponents whose ring gear completely matched each other. Both guys sport red, white, blue accents over black here. Magnus and Angle start with some chain wrestling, which is an odd strategy in a Last Man Standing match. Winner takes on Jeff Hardy in two weeks at Final Resolution. Magnus working a headlock, Angle escapes and hits an overhead belly to belly suplex. Taz makes some salient points, as he admits Angle is the better wrestler, but Magnus has youth and health on his side. Double clothesline knock both guys down. Magnus’s strategy seems to be working the neck, shooting for a knockout from Kurt’s previous storyline injuries.
Back from commercial break, and Magnus connects with a suplex from a fall-away slam position. Angle comes back with consecutive German suplexes. Magnus bounces back at eight then gets speared through the ropes for his troubles. After a slow start, the match is beginning to pick up. Angle attempts to German Magnus off the apron to the floor, but fails. Magnus runs off the apron, hitting an elbow on the prone Angle. Angle up at nine. He rallies with a somewhat sloppy pop-up superplex that keeps Magnus down for a nine count. Angle misses a moonsault, and Magnus connects with a modified Rock Bottom. Top-rope elbow also strikes Angle. Referee Brian Hebner is having a rough night, as he gets knocked down. Olympic slam by Angle, but Bobby Roode runs in, leveling Angle with a reverse clothesline and a Death Valley Driver. Both guys down, but Magnus gets to his feet at nine, Angle remains down for the ten count.
Roode comes back to the ring to pound on Kurt, but Jeff Hardy comes out for the save. Magnus and Hardy stand face-to-face in the ring and shake hands in what should be the end of the show. BUT NO, sketch #16 has Dixie and Spud opening a package from AJ Styles. HA HA, it’s not the real belt, but a miniature version. Watch Dixie act exasperated!
Sketch #17 is a Friends of AJ video. AJ Styles asks Dixie to come down to Gainesville to recover the belt for herself.
WELP, the semifinal matchups were above average, three-star affairs, but the rest of the evening was marred by squashes and a ridiculous amount of playacting. And, with the exception of Bad Influence, most of the roster lacks the ability to pull that off effectively. They’d be better served to increase the amount of wrestling, taking advantage of the roster’s strengths.
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