Friday, March 1, 2013

2/28/13 Impact

They're finally back in the Impact Zone after several weeks of tapings in the UK.

Taz isn't at the announcing booth because Bully is pissed at Aces & Eights. Bully Ray to the ring. Bully especially wants to get his hands on Devon. He introduces Jeff Hardy, who didn't make the UK trip to sell the A&E attack (but I'm assuming he couldn't leave the country due to possible ongoing legal issues). Bully wants his shot at the title and calls the TNA Title the most prestigious singles title in pro wrestling today (really?!). Bully plays the humble man and says he doesn't just want the title shot because of nepotism. Kaz and Daniels to the ring to protest. Thunderlips Hulk Hogan reference! Bully Raymond and Jefferson! Daniels' excuse: allergic reaction to Hardy's face paint. Appletini back in Daniels' face. Bully and Hardy send Bad Influence scurrying to the back. Tag match later tonight.

Magnus said Sting's been there to mentor him and now wants to give back. How nice of him.

Gail Kim on commentary. She faces the winner of the upcoming Knockouts Title match.

Velvet Sky vs. Tara (Knockouts Title): Gail accuses Taryn Terrell of being part of a conspiracy to help Velvet Sky. It's a blonde thing? Oh, and also the jealousy card again. Jesse gets involved right in front of the ref and Taryn ejects him from ringside. You know, she coulda called for the bell right there too. Velvet hits In Yo Face for three. Gail protests that there's a fast count, but Tara looks like she woulda been down for 30. *

Aries on the phone more worried about photo shoots. He says he can beat anyone, so Chavo says Aries will face Hernandez tonight.

Rob Van Dam gives Kenny King yet another shot at the X-Division Title even though Kenny's failed twice in title matches in the past. That simple? Can I get a title shot next? Stipulation is if Kenny loses, no more X-Division, no more title shots against RVD. So Kenny's finally winning so we can move on from all this.

Austin Aries vs. Hernandez: Taz is back on commentary after having business to take care of. Hernandez controls things early, then Aries pulls Hernandez to the outside. Suicide dive from AA. Always impressive to see Hernandez skin the cat and do that slingshot shoulder tackle. Aries tries to leave with his tag title Hernandez grabs Aries and tosses him back in the ring. Hernandez takes the title away. Ref tries to get the title out of the ring. Aries looks like he uses a chain to KO Hernandez and get three. *3/4

Joseph Park eats some delicious ribs in Sting's office. Yup, Park knows what a rib is now. Park wants to be part of Sting's team. Sting says he'll think about it.

Sting gives Matt Morgan a shot to be on Team TNA. Morgan basically says no because Sting and Hulk Hogan are friends. Guilty by association. In other words, Matt Morgan's gonna be stuck in midcard for a while -- if he's even on TV.

Kenny King vs. Rob Van Dam (X-Division Title): Taz likes Kenny King's persistence on going after the title. I at least can understand that take on the situation, but I otherwise call it unoriginal, crappy booking because the talent pool should be a lot deeper. Where's Christian York and Zema Ion in all this? Sucks that Kid Kash left the company. RVD schools KK early on. Kenny misses the slingshot corkscrew to the outside and RVD hits a back kick. RVD twisting legdrop on the barricade. KK gets physical on offense. RVD with the monkey flip but KK lands on his feet -- then gets nuked with an RVD spin kick. Rolling Thunder hits. RVD calls an audible but misses the 450 splash. KK rolls RVD up for an awkward two count. Hebner stopped because RVD's shoulders rolled off the mat, but looked weird since there was no actual kickout. They stagger back to their feet and King hits probably the worst-looking Royal Flush ever for three and the title. Just a horrible-looking last few seconds to an otherwise-decent match. **

Sting shows Kurt Angle the list of participants for Team TNA in Lethal Lockdown. Angle's surprised in particular at one of the picks not mentioned by name. Sting seems to imply that he's picking Joseph Park, but we'll see.

Hulk Hogan has another surgery. Twitter photo of Hulk's knee post-surgery.

A&E to the ring. Devon introduces Team A&E for Lethal Lockdown: Devon, Anderson, Knox, DOC, and Garett Bischoff. Good lineup. I also like that Angle's facing Wes Brisco in a singles match; a chance for the new guy to get over.

Sting to the entrance ramp. He introduces his team: Sting, Samoa Joe, James Storm, Magnus, and...Showtime? ERIC YOUNG'S BACK! Ten guys brawl in the ring and A&E gets sent packing. You know, I love the pick. There may still be a shot that Joseph Park gets involved.

Gut Check this week! TNA is sticking with the format of two contestants compete against each other in a match, then three judges make their decision the following week and decide whether that chosen contestant gets a TNA contract. Here are the participants:

Ivelisse Velez (TNA spells it "Ivelise Felez"). She now has brown-reddish hair. Velez goes into her strained relationship with her mother that's only now starting to get patched back up. Yeah, that's the former Sofia Cortez in WWE. Velez got released from WWE in August 2012 and then competed in Mexico for the AAA promotion. Might be a blessing for her should she get a TNA contract.

Facing Ivelisse tonight is Lei'D Tapa (first name pronounced "lady"). As you can imagine, she's Polynesian (Tongan). Second-generation star. Her uncle used to wrestle in WWE as the Barbarian. I remember him!

Ivelisse Velez vs. Lei'D Tapa: Todd Keneley notes Tapa's size advantage. Velez counters with several submissions, first a guillotine choke and then a sleeper. Tapa gets out of both with her strength and hits a nice kick. velez uses her quickness to avoid Tapa and hit a tornado DDT. Nice hurricanrana from Velez, but Tapa comes right back with a Samoan Drop for two. Or is it a Tongan Drop? Velez gets the guillotine choke on again, with body scissors. Tapa struggles for a bit, then taps. Very nice Gut Check match here, both with impressive debut showings. *3/4

Aries is pulling for Jeff Hardy tonight because Aries believes Bully is now the golden child after "marrying into" the Hogan family.

AJ Styles update starts with wife Wendy and friend Jay Oliver. AJ Styles comes in, and he's grown facial hair. He tells the camera "you just don't get it" and speeds off on a motorcycle. Looks like a heel makeover for AJ's character.

Video package showing the tension that's developed between Robbie E and Rob Terry. All started with that Open Bro Night and really took off from there. He says he's come to the realization that there's a bigger bro out there and calls Rob Terry to the ring. Robbie E wants one more Bro-Off but Terry doesn't want to do it. Robbie E goes and dances like a weirdo. Terry eventually relents and starts his dance, but Robbie comes back in and hits Terry with that VIP sign. Duh. Robbie celebrates like an idiot and Terry has the best pissed-off face ever. I think Robbie pissed his pants on that one.

Austin Aries tries to butter up to Bully Ray but Bully has none of it. Bully win.

Angle's still on the hunt for A&E.

Jeff Hardy & Bully Ray vs. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian: Bad Influence still loves Gangnam Style dancing, so Bully busts it out as well. Hardy also likes to dance. Good grief. Yeah, there was actually wrestling here too. Good teamwork from Bully and Hardy. Hardy isolated. Bully with the hot tag and he goes nuts on both Bad Influence members. Hardy gets the tag; he goes for the Swanton but Kaz prevents that. STO to Hardy gets two. Bully with a boot to Kaz and a loud slap to Daniels' back. Bully with the electric chair drop and Hardy hits the Swanton for three. **1/4

Back to Kurt Angle. He raids the clubhouse and takes Anderson and Devon out. He then goes after the masked VP of the club. Glass to the face. Angle unmasks the VP and is stunned who it is. We don't see who the VP really is. In that sense of Angle being pissed, it's a take on the whole "higher power" storyline between Vince and Austin many years ago (although it was Vince who revealed himself to Austin). The other A&E guys attack Angle to end the show.

It seems clear to me -- at least initially -- that the VP is Joseph Park. Big dude, deep voice to disguise. I absolutely love the cliffhanger. It will be interesting to see if the VP identity is revealed before the PPV. With two Sundays to go before the PPV, TNA can hold off the identity until the Lethal Lockdown match. Given that the VP is Joseph Park (I don't know right now), it's a perfect way for Park to screw Team TNA at Lethal Lockdown.

Think about this scenario: No mention of the VP identity next week on Impact. Angle can be held off the show to sell A&E beatdown injuries. A guy like Eric Young gets taken out again before the Lethal Lockdown match. Park offers his services to Sting. Sting allows it. With LL basically being War Games rules, Park ends up being the absolute last guy to enter the match. Sting could be one guy standing while Park gets all riled up. A&E acts scared as hell. Then Park levels Sting and the gang beatdown begins. A&E ends up pinning Sting and it's over. Would be an excellent finish, in my opinion. Keeps Aces & Eights momentum going.

And again, I don't read spoilers, so if it's someone different, it'll probably be fine with me.

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