wrestling / TV Reports

The Impact Crater 10.25.07

October 26, 2007 | Posted by Ryan Byers

Welcome one and all to the Crater for what promises to be a rather loaded edition of Impact, with Sting taking on Kurt Angle for the TNA Title and the second round of the Fight for Your Right (to PARRRRRRRTY!) Tournament. The company is actually coming off of two relatively well-received episodes of Impact back-to-back and a critically acclaimed pay per view, so let’s see if they can hit four good shows in a row for the first time in god knows how long.

Quick & Dirty Results

Segment #1: LAX & The Steiner Brothers def. AJ Styles, Travis Tomko, & The New Age Outlaws
Segment #2: James Storm def. Eric Young in a Fight for Your Right (to PARRRRRRRTY!) Tournament Match
Segment #3: Petey Williams vs. Johnny Devine vs. Shark Boy vs. Sonjay Dutt went to a no contest when the Dudley Boys interfered
Segment #4: Kurt Angle def. Sting (c) to win the TNA World Championship
Segment #5: The Amazing Kong def. Angel Williams
Segment #6: Rikishi def. Bobby Roode in a Fight for Your Right (to PARRRRRRRTY!) Tournament Match
Segment #7: Jim Cornette/Sting interview segment

The Main Stuff

Angle Numero Uno: Clusterfuck to the World Title

Well, last week I stated that I liked the direction in which TNA was headed for their next pay per view main event. They managed to shoot that all to hell within twenty minutes.

Kurt Angle was taking on Sting in a rematch of their Bound for Glory bout. It looked like the strained relationship between Angle and Kevin Nash was going to play a major role in the outcome, as Nash had stationed himself at ringside. The match was going along well, and then Sting collided with Big Kev. Despite the fact that this was entirely Sting’s fault, the champ sucker punched Nash, who looked visibly angry afterwards. Then, as Sting had Angle in the Scorpion Deathlock, Nash popped up on the apron and tried to get in to the ring. Sting sucker punched him a second time, Angle hit the Olympic Slam, and we got a three count and a new champion. Then EVERYBODY BEGAN YELLING. Referees yelled, Mike Tenay yelled, Jim Cornette yelled. At the end of the night, it was determined that Angle will remain the champion but that he must defend the title in a tag team match at the pay per view, teaming with Kevin Nash against Sting and a partner of Sting’s choosing.

Ahem . . .


I’ve seen Rube Goldberg machines that were less needlessly complicated than this angle. First of all, Sting and Nash’s actions during the match were entirely nonsensical. Why would Sting feel the need to punch Kevin Nash in the face as Nash was simply sitting at ringside, minding his own business? It’s pretty clear from last week’s television program that the former Diesel is no longer on Angle’s side. Granted, Sting could believe that Nash and Angle were attempting to swerve him again, but why would he want to risk turning Nash against him if Kevin actually was anti-Angle this time? Also, why would Nash run in when he did? He was sucker punched by Sting, so presumably he was attempting to get revenge for that. Yet, if he now also hates Angle’s guts, why would he make the run-in at a point that saves the match for Kurt? Why wouldn’t he wait until after the match to make his move, when both guys who have angered him are worn down and easy to pick off? The only thing that did make sense was Sting nailing Nash for the second time, because at least then he was clearly attempting to save his championship.

So we had some issues in the match itself. I will say that I have no problem with Jim Cornette’s decision to keep the championship belt on Angle. However, the match that they’ve booked for the next pay per view is an even bigger mess than the match that they had on Impact tonight. First of all, it now appears that the Bound for Glory match between Sting and Angle wasn’t the final, epic encounter that TNA had built it up to be. Instead, it was a mere speed bump on the road to get the main event of Genesis. It’s moves like this that make TNA’s claim that BFG is “their Wrestlemania” laughable. A Wrestlemania main event is never portrayed as being a second rate contest used to set up something presumably more important down the line. It isn’t the beginning of a rivalry. It’s the culmination of a months-long storyline and typically the single most important match that any two individuals will have against one another. Yes, there may be rematches down the road, but it’s the Mania bout that always stands among them as being the greatest. Until TNA grasps basic contests like this, all of their pay per views are going to run together, and none of them will be any bigger than the others.

And what is this match that is being portrayed as being more important than the main event of TNA’s Wrestlemania? It’s a tag team match in which the title is on the line and one of the teams is guaranteed to hate each other! DAMN IT! I’ve said this five million times, but that’s only because TNA has booked it five million times: The “team that hates each other” gimmick is overplayed. There are more pairings in TNA that disagree than those who get along, and we’re all sick and tired of seeing it. On top of that, these matches are virtually guaranteed to not draw pay per view or television viewers in 2007. Again, I’ve said this many times, but that’s only the case because it continues to be true and TNA still doesn’t get it: People in 2007 pay to see one-on-one matchups between individuals who hate each other for a simple, easy to relate to reasons. That’s what has been on the top of all of the best grossing WWE pay per views of the last several years, and that’s what has been on top of all of the best grossing UFC pay per views of the last several years. TNA continues to do these convoluted stories in which we’re supposed to tune in to see partners fight each other, and they remain a distant third in the PPV business. Sometimes being different just for the sake of being different doesn’t work, and this is a prime example.

God, this company was at its most frustrating tonight. Unsurprisingly, the second hour has solved nothing.

Angle Numero Dos: My New Least Favorite Angle in TNA is . . .

The Dudley Boys vs. The X Division!

For the second week in a row, we’re told that the reasoning behind the Dudley Boys taking on the flippy little boys is that the Dudleys are doing it because they can. During tonight’s sit-down interview with Mike Tenay, they tried to cram in a couple of other rationales, including blaming their attacks on Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley’s interference at the last pay per view and claiming that they’re doing this because they want a tag team title shot. However, neither of those rationales make any sense because a.) hating the MCMG shouldn’t translate to hating the rest of the X Division and b.) getting a tag team title shot would be accomplished much more effectively by BEATING UP TAG TEAMS.

Of course, the other problem that I have with the angle is that it makes the X Division guys look like complete and utter jobbers. I’m not one of these punks on the internet who thinks that the X’ers and “TNA homegrown stars” should always be pushed over WWE imports, but what’s the point of even having an entire division of men if you’re going to portray them as being second tier? If that’s really the role you envision for Alex Shelley, Sonjay Dutt, and Petey Willaims, just drop the X Title, stop referring to them as a separate division, and allow them to be the sort of job guy that has always inhabited wrestling. It’s doesn’t help that, in addition to being repeatedly pummeled on camera, the Division has individuals like Bubba Dudley and the Road Dogg coming out week after week and claiming that they mean nothing. I know that the promotion’s rationale is that they’re getting fans to think, “Wow, these bad guys are wrong! The X Division is GREAT!” In fact, that might be what fans are thinking for a little while. However, after several weeks of X’ers being abused with no comeback, fans will ultimately begin to believe the message that the heels are spreading. Somebody’s probably going to write in and tell me that there will eventually be a payoff in which the X Division guys decisively win the big one, but I don’t buy it. Why? Because TNA ran this exact same angle several months ago with Kevin Nash playing the same role as the Dudleys, and the X Division never got their win.

Angle Numero Cuatro: From Rat-Bagging to Head-Vicing

This literally got one minute of television time, but I’m able to do a full write-up on it because TNA managed to cram a whole lot of stupid in to that one minute. For those of you who may have blinked and missed the angle, Abyss was wondering around backstage when he was jumped by Chocolate Reign, who stuck his head in a vice and then balanced a rat on his head. Oh, and Jim Mitchell was there. This sent a flood of questions pouring in to my head, so let’s just go ahead and list them out:

~ First of all, why is there a vice hanging on a wall backstage in the Impact Zone? Does TNA shoot in the same studio that plays host to Tool Time?

~ Putting a man’s head in a vice is pretty damn painful and should probably be a major angle. Was it really necessary to do this AND the rat-bagging? Wouldn’t one or the other have sufficed for kicking off this rivalry? Memo to TNA creative: Sometimes it’s okay to have an idea and save it for a feud down the road.

~ Hey, what happened to Raven being a part of this wacky little group with Jim Mitchell and Chocolate Reign? Or Johnny Devine? Why didn’t Mitchell’s group try to help Devine when the Dudleys were killing him?

~ As already noted, putting a man’s head in a vice is pretty damn painful and should probably be a major angle. Why do it in a one minute backstage skit? Why not do it in the ring and actually devote some time to it?

~ When did this rat develop such a fine sense of balance? Did it go to finishing school?

And the Rest . . .

~ I was struck by how good the opening recap of last week’s show was. Though the deep-voiced announcer talking about how epic a show was has become a bit of a TN-cliche, it was good that they tried to tie all of the major occurrences of last week’s program to one theme as opposed to putting them in a random order to generic rock music.

~ Anybody else think it’s weird that the first image in AJ Styles’ new entrance video is him taking a huge bump? Shouldn’t your own entrance video NOT show you getting your ass kicked?

~ So Bobby Roode’s reasoning behind attacking Samoa Joe last week is that he wanted to take out the biggest names in the Fight for Your Right (to PARRRRRRRTY!) Tournament. Couldn’t he just do that by, ya know, winning matches in the tournament?

~ Speaking of Bobby Roode, I tried to make a coy reference to this last week, but the woman in the front row with the pro-Roode signs is Rain, an independent wrestler who has done a lot of work with ROH, SHIMMER, IWA-MS, and CHIKARA. By joining the roster, she immediately becomes the second best female wrestler in the promotion (behind Kong).


As a whole, this show was infuriating . . . yet it wasn’t all bad. As a matter of fact, the wrestling was quite good. Amazing Kong’s squash was exactly what her character needed and continues to turn her in to a legitimate superstar in the crowd’s eyes. James Storm and Eric Young had a fine little television match. Booby Roode’s encounter against Rikishi was surprisingly good and showed that Roode could work a solid WWE-style match in the event that he’s ever called upon to be a part of that company. Before all of the BS described above, Kurt Angle versus Sting was a fine free television match and could have been one of the best in the history of Impact if it went a couple of minutes longer and had a real finish. However, all of these quality matches weren’t enough for me to walk away from the show feeling satisfied. The hard work off all of these individuals in the ring was completely washed away by the utter incompetence of the writing crew, who are incapable of learning from history and therefore will be doomed to repeat it. If you’re reading this and you liked the show, that’s great. More power to you. That does not change the fact that it was right in line with the creative direction that TNA has gone in for the last several months, which is a direction that has left them incapable of attracting new fans and turning a profit. If their financial situation doesn’t change, their backers will pull out on them in time, and the promotion will fold. As frustrated as I am with the booking, that’s not something I actually want to see, and neither should anybody else. This isn’t simply TNA needing to change to entertain me personally. This is TNA needing to change to save their own future.

Reader Feedback

We’ll kick it off with Brian C., who wants to get a little Roode (it pays, ya know):

You mentioned in your Impact Crater article how many people seemed to forget that Bobby Roode was associated with Christian recently and that is why he attacked Joe to help Christian win. That is true, but here’s another possibility that uses some logic, which means TNA probably won’t use it…

If you were Bobby Roode, and the majority of your offense revolved around being able to overpower your opponent, who would you rather face in the 2nd round? Christian, someone who you are bigger than, or Samoa Joe, who is f’n Samoa Joe? This procents the PERFECT motivation for Bobby Roode while sticking true to heel tendancies: He helps his heel stable, while more importantly helping his own interest.

That does make a degree of sense, though there is a bit of a hole in it. Granted, Samoa Joe may be big and strong, and Roode might have difficulty hitting power moves on him. However, even though Christian is the smaller of the two men, he is the one with the better win/loss record in TNA, making him the more dangerous opponent for Roode regardless of size. Because of that, Bobby should probably want to take on the big Samoan.

Of course, I somehow doubt that TNA will go with either the “Roode wants to face Christian” or the “Roode is part of Christian’s stable” angle. I’m sure they’ll invent some third rationale, which is fine so long as it doesn’t wind up completely straining the boundaries of credibility. I didn’t necessarily want TNA to explain Roode’s actions in week one of the apparent Bobby/Joe feud, but I did think it looked ridiculous for Tenay and West to not even acknowledge one possible motive that probably occurred to at least half of the promotion’s fans.

Chris K. is next:

Unfortunately with TNA, this past year, there are too many face/heel switches for no reason (looks like Chris Harris is turning heel). You have tag team and factions who argue (Hemme’s faction, Rhino and Harris, Kurt and Karen Angle, etc.). It has gotten repetitive.
The first few years of Impact showcased how great their wrestlers are. It was more of a no-nonsense approach. Now it’s soap opera galore.

TNA being a soap opera isn’t what bothers me. In wrestling, you’re always going to have storylines, comedy, backstage vignettes, and men who can’t actually wrestle. I came to terms with that a long time ago. What bothers me is TNA being a POORLY WRITTEN soap opera. So-called “sports entertainment” storylines can bring us great TV and lead to off the charts heat for big matches, as promotions like WWE and ECW have proven time and time again. Instead of watching what worked in those promotions and putting their own unique spin on it, TNA has apparently decided to emulate the worst aspects of those promotions and put their own unique spin on it. That’s what is truly infuriating about this entire situation.

And now let’s throw it to regular writer John R., who this week has a series of one-line thoughts to share with us. I’ll respond to them in turn, so John’s comments will be in italics while mine are in regular text:

Impact had its hits and misses this week, but overall we can see that they are slowly (key word: sloooooowwwwly) building up better production and more development in their angles with this 2 hour time slot. I’ll tackle the major angles and just skip the usual rants.

Sounds good.

First and foremost they did a great job on continuing feuds from BFG. Once the Samoan screwjob occurred courtesy of Robert Roode, I was all set to throw a brick at my tv but then I realized something: this could be TNA actually building something long term for Samoa Joe. TNA would prefer to have Joe win the belt as a face, and the only way for that to occur would be for him to defeat Christian for the title since they botched the feud with Angle. Having him plow through Roode at Genesis would be a great stopgap feud while Christian goes on to defeat Sting for the belt. This way Joe can avenge his loss by defeating Christian for the gold. This has been TNA’s best feud all year, it only makes sense for them to milk it out for a while longer (see Edge-Cena).

Well, that certainly would be some fine long term booking, though with TNA’s track record I’m going to have to take an “I’ll believe it when I see it” approach. There have bene far too many situations in which somebody has told me, “Don’t worry, they’ll get to that later,” only for nothing to ever come of what many fans think is the promotion’s great master plan. When the James Storm and Chris Harris feud seemingly ended with out a third, decisive match, people told me that it was just going to be put on hold for a couple of months, after which they’d blow it off. That still hasn’t happened, and there’s no indication that it will. When Samoa Joe lost his last match to Kurt Angle, people told me that it was okay because Joe would take the championship at Bound for Glory, “TNA’s Wrestlemania.” That didn’t happen. So, though you’ve certainly laid out a fine scenario, I wouldn’t get too hopeful about it taking place.

As for the Angle-Nash feud nothing worthy of note other than Nash hopefully cutting a few more promos and Sting not getting involved too much as he has his own title to be concerned with.
Angle/Nash never would have been a great feud in the ring, though I could have lived with it just because Nash has been a top notch promo over the last month or so, and I don’t see that ending anytime soon. However, as they’ve decided to go with a TNA special tag team match in which the partners hate each other, I’m not nearly as interested as I would have been in a singles match.

All I can say is that the MCMG’s better get over on Team 3D after all this crap come Genesis.

Again, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Remember the Kevin Nash vs. The X Division angle? You know, the one in which Nash dogged on the little guys for months and was supposed to put Chris Sabin over in the end? Did Sabin ever get his big win? Nope.

Harris-Rhino: next

My sentiments exactly. The weird thing is that they started shooting this meaningless angle despite the fact that they’re sending Rhino to Japan on the day of the pay per view. They could have held off on the build until after Genesis and given the Harris vs. Rhino TV time to a feud in which we’ll actually have both of the competitors at the PPV.

Overall, simple reasons are the way to go in building a feud and drawing interest. If TNA can continue to build upon this not-so-innovative idea they may finally be able to sustain momentum.

I do knock TNA a lot in these columns, but I do it out of love. I do it hoping that one day they will turn things around and produce a product that grabs the attention of the masses. I think that they were headed in that direction with the last couple of episodes of Impact, although the 10/25 episode has destroyed most of their progress.

By the way, love the turbaned Don West, hopefully he will replace Csonka’s Dancing Brock as the official mascot of 411 wrestling.

He loves you too.

Oh, and one more thing, I want an Amazing Kong-Samoa Joe feud ASAP.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’m a huge Kong mark. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve seen almost all of her matches from SHIMMER, in which she wrestles upwards of ten minutes and reaches a level of awesome that she has yet to achieve in TNA. Kong vs. Kim for fifteen minutes on pay per view would be a thing of beauty, and, at the very least, I want Kong to squash Petey Williams as a part of the build . . . especially if no-selling the Canadian Destroyer is involved.

And, on that note, we wrap up another edition of the Crater. I’ll be back Sunday for the Custom Made News Report, and until then you can check out the MySpace blog.


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Ryan Byers

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