wrestling / TV Reports

The Impact Crater 03.13.08

March 14, 2008 | Posted by Ryan Byers

Welcome, one and all, to the Impact Crater. Before we head in to tonight’s review of all things TNA, I have a bit of business that I want to tend to. Some of you may have noticed that the last couple of editions of the column were up significantly later than usual. Unfortunately, I have to report that this will become a fairly regular occurrence in the coming months. Though I don’t want to go in to too many details, changes in my life away from the internet have resulted in my periodically having less time than I used to on Thursday evenings. This means that, roughly twice a month, I’m going to have to skip Impact on the night that it airs and watch/review a tape of the show on Friday evening. Hopefully all of you Crater addicts out there can wait just a few more hours for your fix.

In happier news, I am glad to announce that my THREE HUNDREDTH COLUMN has been posted on 411mania. I actually thought that tonight’s Crater was going to be the big three-oh-oh, but it turns out that this DVD review for the Movie Zone slipped in under the wire and beat it out. Oh well, I suppose I’ll have to do a better job of counting in the future so that I can ensure that column 400 is something that people will actually read.

Oh, I should also mention that there is no austin news this week. Hopefully he resurfaces. The semi-literate kid was starting to grow on me.

Quick & Dirty Results

Segment #1: Jim Cornette/Christian/Travis Tomko interview segment
Segment #2: Curry Man def. Petey Williams in an escape match qualifying match
Segment #3: Samoa Joe interview segment
Segment #4: Chocolate Reign & Rellik is Killer Spelled Backwards def. The Murder City Machine Guns
Segment #5: Internet dweebs have collective meltdown because Chocolate Reign & Rellik is Killer Spelled Backwards def. The Murder City Machine Guns
Segment #5: Kurt Angle def. Frankie Kazarian
Segment #6: Jimmy Rave, Lance Hoyt, & Christy Hemme def. LAX & Shelley Martinez
Segment #7: Gail Kim def. Talia Madison
Segment #8: Kevin Nash & Christian def. AJ Styles & Travis Tomko by disqualification

The Main Stuff

Angle Numero Uno: Prelude to a Swerve

The big storyline heading in to tonight’s show focused on Karen Angle, who had a “bombshell” to drop relating to her love triangle with AJ Styles and Kurt Angle. Karen came out to make her announcement in the show’s main event slot, and she called both men down to the ring. After Jeremy Borash questioned her as to which man she was going to choose, Karen grabbed Kurt and Styles by their ears and yelled, “I’ll take them both . . . BECAUSE I’M HARDCORE!” She then French kissed both wrestlers in rapid succession.

Okay, that didn’t actually happen . . . but, if you don’t get the reference, you need to get a WWE 24/7 subscription ASAP.

Karen’s real announcement was that she wants a separation from her husband. Kurt’s response? “Okay!” Frankly, I don’t know what they were going for with this one. Well, I do know what they’re going for in the long run: Karen reuniting with Kurt for a big “swerve” on either Samoa Joe or AJ Styles. However, in the short-term, I have no clue what I was supposed to take away from this segment. The fact that the company announced it in advance and did a couple of skits with Karen prior to the promo made me think that TNA wanted this to come off as an important, heavy angle. Then Kurt’s delivery during his reaction made me think that the whole thing was meant to be comedic. I had absolutely no idea what emotion the promotion wanted me to be feeling, which is never a good thing. On top of that, I couldn’t figure out whether I was supposed to respect Kurt Angle for his dedication to the TNA World Title or whether I was supposed to think less of him because of his lack of dedication to his wife. The performers’ actions certainly didn’t help to resolve that issue, and Mike Tenay EPICALLY FAILED in giving me a hand, as he said something along the lines of “Think of what the title means to Kurt Angle!” and immediately followed it up with “Where are his priorities?!” This angle sent more mixed messages than a presidential candidate trying to simultaneously appeal to two opposed special interest groups. (Hey, it’s primary season, let me make a political reference or two.)

The flip side of the build for the Lockdown main event involved Samoa Joe cutting a decent promo and vowing that he would leave the promotion if he didn’t win the championship. I am in favor of this move. Well, I don’t mean that I’m in favor of Joe leaving . . . I mean that I’m in favor of the stipulation being announced. We all know that Samoa Joe has been given numerous opportunities to win the promotion’s championship, and we all know that he has failed time and time again. Though TNA has taken a few steps to build him back up heading in to the Lockdown contest, they haven’t done nearly as much as they should have. However, the stip is a decent way to get around that, as it indirectly tells even the daftest of fans that their hero is going to be getting the strap at the pay per view, therefore giving them a reason to tune in and watch what would otherwise be a match featuring a fairly weak contender.

Angle Numero Dos: Cage in the Cage

In addition to the title bout, we’re getting another War Games match at the Lockdown pay per view, with this year’s version featuring Tomko and Christian captaining teams. Last year I was rather critical of the build for the match, as they did the deal in which new members of each captain’s team got announced every week. I wasn’t a fan of this particular setup, as it inherently cut down on the amount of time that fans of particular wrestlers in the match got to get excited about their man’s involvement. They’re doing the same gimmick this time, but I don’t mind it in 2008. Why? The difference is simple. Last year, War Games was the main event of the show. It was THE contest that you were supposed to buy the pay per view to see. However, this year there is a World Title match in addition to the War Games. The World Title match will in all likelihood be the main draw this time around, whereas the other bout, though still important, is less of an attraction.

I also have to say that, for the most part, I enjoyed the build to the War Games match that did occur on this show. The beatdown that the heel team put on Kevin Nash and Christian was high quality, perhaps the best that I’ve seen since the epic hurting that Mr. Cage’s group Abyss several months back. (Plus it was just as effective without requiring that a man mutilate himself, which is always a good thing.) The only thing that I didn’t like about the angle was that, immediately after it took place, they transitioned in to the Dudley Boys beating the hell out of some “celebrity” from Survivor who was at ringside. This severely downplayed the importance of the issue that was supposed to have been developing for Lockdown. On top of that, when the beatdown on the Survivor geek took place, nobody had explained who he was for at least an hour, meaning that I’m sure several television viewers had absolutely no clue why he was supposed to be significant or why he was being attacked.

Ain’t No Stoppin’ Him Now . . . Because He’s Already Stalled Out

Tonight’s show saw a rematch of Frankie Kazarian vs. Kurt Angle, which was one of Impact’s best matches of 2007. That match looked like it was going to turn young Frankie in to a legitimate superstar, but TNA botched the follow-up by putting him in to a feud with Dustin freakin’ Rhodes. This immediately turned Kaz from the next big thing in to a random midcarder, a position in which he has remained ever since. So what was the result of this revisiting of Kazarian/Angle? Kurt won, and he looked dominate in victory. This was particularly disappointing given the fact that Angle BARELY eked out a victory over Kazarian in their last encounter, which left fans with the impression that Kaz might be able to pin the champion if the two met again. This evening, Angle had absolutely no trouble putting away his opponent, and the match wasn’t nearly as good. Kazarian wasn’t treated as anything special. If the feud with the monsters didn’t make him in to a midcarder for life, this particular result certainly cemented his status.

Watching the encounter reminded me of the series of matches that Triple H and Shelton Benjamin had several years ago. For those of you who may have forgotten about it, Shelton defeated Trips on his first night after jumping from Smackdown to Raw. They put together the match in such a way that it appeared Benjamin was going to be a main eventer for the rest of his career, but instead they did nothing with him at a high level and decisively jobbed him out to HHH in their next meeting. Shelton never recovered. If Kazarian follows a similar route, he’ll be wrestling exclusively on Xplosion within the next year or two, as the company tries to “rebuild” him by giving him wins there despite the fact that wins on Xplosion are about as worthwhile as ROH’s pay per view exposure in Canada.

And the Rest . . .

~ Scott Steiner just bound Petey Williams’ hands and put a black bag over his head. Uh oh, looks like some Abu Gharib-style stuff is about to go down.

~ Why is there a shamrock on all of the Lockdown graphics? Isn’t the show in April? Isn’t St. Patrick’s Day long over by that point? Maybe they decided that an Easter egg looked too silly and that a bunny was a bit too effeminate.

~ Kevin Nash has a new TNA t-shirt which is black and just says “NASH” across the front in white lettering. I’m glad that the person who designed it put as much effort in to his job as Big Kev puts in to his matches.

~ I know people will read this and complain that I’m paying too much attention to the show and nitpicking at it. I don’t care, because I thought this moment was hilarious. During the Monsters vs. Machine Guns match, there was a spot in which Dustin Rhodes was standing on the ring apron and got knocked off by one of his opponents. Why was this funny? Because there was a SPOTLIGHT on Rhodes, and the spotlight operator decided that it should follow him as he took his bump. Yes, Virginia, pro wrestling is fake.

~ Stupid Mike Tenay line of the night: “At Destination X, Black Reign and Rellik finally met their match!” Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Rellik go on a FOUR WEEK streak of being pinned or submitting immediately after his debut? I’m pretty sure that means he met several of his matches a while ago.

~ Did anybody else see the lifts on Angel Williams’ boots this week? I’m amazed that she didn’t break an ankle trying to run in those things.

~ Big thumbs up to the Consequences Creed video package. The guy looked good in his one prior TNA match, and I’m glad that they’re bringing him in with some hype as opposed to randomly throwing him out there.


I did not hate this show. In fact, I rather enjoyed it. The majority of the work in the ring was solid, and there was some good stuff to set up the Lockdown pay per view despite the fact that some of it didn’t make much sense. Joe’s promo was solid and got a decent reaction, and the same could be said for the heel beatdown involving the Lockdown teams. If they can keep this sort of thing up while downplaying the emphasis on the Angle love triangle and the geek from Survivor, I’ll be happy with the build overall. Of course, now that I’ve said that, the Survivor geek will be added to the War Games match and Karen will be made in to the guest referee for the Joe/Kurt championship contest. Oh well, at least they haven’t attempted to book a reverse battle royale in a cage yet.


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Ryan Byers

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