Reported by Adam Martin of WrestleView.com
On Friday, July 25, 2008 at 3:12 PM EST
Note: There has yet to be an Impact report released on TNAwrestling.com so here is a recap of last night's show courtesy of Jeff Hamlin and The Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online:
The Big News: Samoa Joe and Booker T will meet in a weapons cage match at Hard Justice. Sting’s pseudo-heel turn continues after a mysterious ending where Joe was laid out while the lights were out while Booker was standing out Joe with a baseball bat in his hands. Taylor Wilde successfully defended the TNA Knockouts title three times and the Prince Justice Brotherhood got a catchphrase.
Samoa Joe and Kevin Nash opened the show in a cage challenging Booker T to a cage match at Hard Justice. Booker and Sharmell came out. Booker did the most peculiar segue into a weapons stipulation. He said he used to be a drum major in band, then said lets add some instruments to the match. God, I feel bad for the person who scripted that line. Booker said he would have a contract by the end of tonight for Joe to sign for a weapons cage match. Hopefully Mike Levy won’t be invited.
A.J. Styles, Christian Cage and Rhino did an interview for tonight’s main event against Team 3-D and Kurt Angle in a table elimination match. Jeremy Borash mentioned that the heels were bragging about how Sting would show up in their corner. Styles acted like he couldn’t believe Sting would do it, but Cage vowed that if Sting did show up he would get put through a table. As Cage walked away, Rhino told Styles not to get sucked in.
This led to a Sting promo package which showed he was at the crossroads as whether to go heel or stay face.
Consequences Creed defeated Jimmy Rave, Johnny Devine and Eric Young in a four way. After Creed was carried away on a stretcher last week in the squash against Booker, he shuffled out without a scratch this week. Rave did the shining wizard on Creed for the first near fall. Rave also gave Young a STO on the apron, which is a hell of a bump to take in a throwaway match. Lance Rock nee’ Hoyt interfered, but Creed gave him the Creed DT and followed with a somersault tope on Rave and Devine. Finish was everybody doing their finishes on each other, only to have someone else make the save. Devine teased the Devine Intervention (Jay Driller, or double underhook piledriver) on Creed, but Creed countered it and scored the pin after the cradle. Postmatch, Devine, Rave and Rock jumped Creed with Devine bringing out a chair. Then Abyss, still in that horrid hospital gown, ran out to make the save. The heels just stood there like morons while Abyss destroyed all of them, complete with Rock getting the black hole slam. Abyss picked up the chair, but just looked at it without using it just like a few weeks ago. Crowd was more into Abyss this week. **1/2
Kurt Angle and Team 3-D put Borash on a table. Ray said that there is no Santa Claus, O.J. is innocent and Sting was now a scumbag.
There was a promo package on Kaz showing some of his biggest wins and losses, including his victory over Christian Cage last November. Though it wasn’t mentioned, the only purpose the piece served was to show how big a waste of time the Black Reign program was.
This led to the debut of Karen’s Angle, where Karen Angle interviewed Kaz, who mentioned being trained by Killer Kowalski. Karen’t delivery was bad, and the piece was simply the same sit-down interview with the mellow music in the background we’ve seen for much of the past 18 months, except Mike Tenay wasn’t in it. Kaz was shown with his idol Bret Hart, and mentioned being aboard TNA from the very first day of the company. His 2005 departure was brought up, but they stepped around the fact he was in the WWE (mainly on Velocity), and Kaz generically spoke of how he didn’t the passion he once had as a pro wrestler. There’s another segment of this next week.
The Hard Justice promo piece aired, and boy does it look like a recipe for disaster to hold rappers
Matt Morgan defeated Corey Chavis. In case you forgot, Chavis was one of the "MMA fighters" who trained Kurt Angle for his Lockdown bout with Samoa Joe during the company’s annual gimmick match where they care about drawing money. Tenay mentioned Morgan’s debut last weekend on American Gladiators. Morgan pinned him with a muso, which was called the elevator. ½*
The Motor City Machine Guns did an interview promoting their strap match against Beer Money. They’re now doing the Hayabusa gimmick of wearing masks. Chris Sabin said the team was named after a Zack Morris movie. My Saved By The Bell sensor went off, requiring a trip to imdb.com, where I discovered that Mark Paul-Gosselaar (from Saved By The Bell) had in fact starred in a movie called "Beer Money." The plot outline reads "Three guys find a space alien in the woods and attempt to sell it to a tabloid TV show, with disastrous results." Sounds like there are bigger wastes of time than watching two hours of Russo booking every week. Shelley was particularly funny joking about getting a Best of James Storm DVD and finding it blank. It got better when he talked of what an honor it is to represent the Motor City. It’s easy to forget how charismatic Shelley is behind the stick.
The Prince Justice Brotherhood met backstage to come up with a motto. Super Eric came up with "We come in peace, they leave in pieces." Curry Man repeated it in his Japanese accent, and it sounded like he said "they leave in pisses." They agreed to it anyway.
Beer Money defeated the Motor City Machine Guns in a strap match. Sabin was tied to Roode while Shelley was linked to Storm. The straps looked more like adhesive bandages, which didn’t exactly do a lot for the heat. Shelley wrapped Storm around a post outside the ring. Guns got all of the early offense, capped with the guns doing a sandwich kick to Storm, then Roode. There was an incredibly fake looking double crotch spot with the straps. Jacqueline crotched Shelley on the top rope, leading to Roode giving Sabin an Anderson spinebuster. Guns made the comeback when Storm and Roode jumped off the second rope directly into stereo inverted atomic drops. There was a cool spot where Sabin and Shelley ran around to trap Beer Money by the straps, leading to sandwich enzuigiris. The Guns gave Beer Money the row boat, and Jacqueline ran in only to wind up getting wrenched in the boat as well. The referee just looked at Jacqueline inteferring, which was fine since strap matches are usually no DQ. But then there was a ref bump for the finish, and Storm gave Shelley a back stabber while Storm hit Sabin with handcuffs, allowing Roode to get the pin. Why have the ref bump when it’s no DQ anyway? Postmatch, Beer Money strapped Shelley in the corner. Unlike previous weeks, the strap shots didn’t sound very stiff. LAX made the save. Good match. ***1/4
Pittsburgh Steelers Ike Taylor and James Farrior were shown at ringside.
Taylor Wilde defeated Velvet Sky by DQ to retain the TNA Knockouts title. This had to be booked by Dutch Mantel, who did this exact same skit on a 1995 edition of WWF Superstars of Wrestling as Uncle Zebekiah (where he managed Justin "Hawk" Bradshaw, now JBL) against Freddy Joe Floyd (Tracy Smothers). Wilde (in the Floyd role) immediately pinned Sky (Zebukiah) with a cradle. Sky got on the mic and challenged her to do it again. They restarted the match and Wilde got the pin again after 45 seconds with an inside cradle. This time, Angelina Love (Bradshaw) got on the mic and vowed if she pinned Sky again she would get $5,000. So they restarted the match and Sky got a near fall after Wilde missed a cross body block from the second rope. Sky did the octopus while biting Wilde’s hand. It was very risky to have them go as long as they did, but it wasn’t too bad. Finish was Wilde giving Sky a northern lights suplex, called the lights out, but Love ran in for the DQ. They beat up Wilde while the crowd chanted for ODB. The Beautiful People then put the bag over Wilde’s head. Then Gail Kim and ODB came out. Some friends they are. ODB came out with a turkey leg and rubbed it in Sky’s face, leading Tenay to deliver the obligatory "face full of turkey" line. *1/2
Sheik Abdul Bashir, formerly known as Daivari, did a promo piece. As odd as this sounds, his gimmick is a cross between John Bradshaw Layfield and Muhammad Hassan, where he brags about all the money he’s made despite facing discrimination because of his nationality.
Sonjay Dutt was in the hospital selling the chair shot that wasn’t last week by Black Machismo. So Cal Val was waiting for him hand and foot, while the Guru-lites watched on. Dutt had his head bandaged and claimed to be in a coma, then said he had been thinking about Val all week. He asked her if she had seen a replay of last week, and she said no. Well, she wasn’t the only one. Dutt started to apologize for his behavior, but Val said he had nothing to apologize for. Yeah, all he did was ruin her wedding, why should he apologize for something like that. Val and the guru-lites went out of the room, and Dutt pulled out a wedding ring after they left, smiled ominously and kissed it. These skits make Val look like your standard bubble-headed babe from an 80’s slasher flick who used to get destroyed with a machete after having sex in a hammock. Not that I’ve seen those films, but you know….
Team 3-D and Kurt Angle defeated Christian Cage, Rhino and A.J. Styles in a tables elimination match. After playing up what Sting would do the entire show, there was nary a mention of him. That’s a good waste of 30 minutes. Of course, the match was overbooked. Good news was Angle wasn’t involved with anything too physical, and he was largely covered by 3-D doing highspots. They were brawling from the opening bell, with Cage and Angle squaring off in the ring. Brother Dvon and Rhino were all over the building. Brother Ray and Dvon went for the tables, but were stopped by stereo baseball slides by Cage and Styles. Ray tried to backdrop Styles through the table, but Rhino moved the table out of the way. 3-D teased wazzup on Styles through the table, but Cage and Rhino broke it up. Then Cage and Rhino teamed for a flap jack on Dvon through the table. So the faces had the advantage 3-on-2. Make sense out of that one. Faces celebrated after Rhino gave Ray a gore, but Angle snuck up from behind and hit everyone with chair shots. During a commercial, Rhino missed a gore and crashed through the table, so he was eliminated. Rhino badly needs to turn heel. If you look up "Lost in the shuffle" in the dictionary, you see him. Cage was about to splash Ray through the table, but Dvon ran back out to interfere while Angle grabbed Earl Hebner. Dvon and Ray then put Cage through the table with a 3-D, and Hebner ruled it an elimination even though he didn’t see it. Man was that lame. Then Johnny Devine ran in and tried to throw powder into Styles eyes, but Styles ducked and Ray got the powder. Ray was "blinded" and put Devine (who he thought was Styles) through the table. Styles then bumped Ray off the apron, who fell through the table. So it was down to Styles vs. Angle. There was another ref bump after Styles collided with Hebner. Then Styles went to the top rope, but Frank Trigg ran in from the Affliction ring announce table and hit Styles with a kendo stick. Angle then put Styles through the table with an Olympic Slam. Even though he didn’t see that one either, Hebner still ruled Styles was eliminated. **1/4
Booker T came out for the contract signing with Samoa Joe, who came out with Nash. Sharmell is really versatile as a performer. Not many people can pull off being a face manager so well, then shift effortlessly to being a heel. Booker said he added stipulations for the match. There would be tables, ladders and chairs involved. Booker wanted Nash to leave before Joe signed the contract. Joe said only if Sharmell left too. Sharmell and Nash left and Booker signed the deal. Joe took the contract, then the lights went out, Sting’s music played, the lights went back on, Joe was lying face down on the mat and Booker was holding a baseball bat. Don West was screaming "Why, Sting, Why," making you think Sting came to the ring as the speed of light, whacked gave Booker the bat, whacked Joe with it and disappeared.
SUMMARY: The company needs all the TV time it can because every Impact is so crowded. Why they wasted 30 minutes promoting whether Sting would be in Team 3-D and Angle’s corner when Sting never appeared on the show is beyond me. The fact his absence was never played up was another mistake. Better show for wrestling this week, but it sure made the Styles, Cage, Rhino face group seem weak jobbing to Team 3-D and Angle two shows in a row.