wrestling / TV Reports

The Impact Crater 11.29.07

November 30, 2007 | Posted by Ryan Byers

Quick & Dirty Results

Segment #1: Boooker T./Bobby Roode Interview Segment
Segment #2: Gail Kim & Eric Young def. Christy Hemme & Jimmy Rave
Segment #3: Eric Young def. James Storm in a speed drinking contest
Segment #4: The Dudley Boys def. Sonjay Dutt & Jay Lethal in Bob’s Big Boy Street Fight
Segment #5: Rhino def. Johnny Stamboli
Segment #6: Booker T. def. Bobby Roode
Segment #7: Samoa Joe, Scott Steiner, Abyss, & Frankie Kazarian def. Kurt Angle, Travis Tomko, AJ Styles, & Christian

The Main Stuff

Angle Numero Uno: Dude, Where’s My Main Event?

The primary focus of this evening’s program was the build towards the eight man tag team match in the main event, which was to feature Kurt Angle and Christian on the same team. Of course, they haven’t liked each other ever since Angle stole Christian’s flunkies, so AJ Styles appointed himself peacemaker. I watched an entire two hour show in which this angle was brought up at least once every fifteen minutes, and I honestly cannot tell you what the hell the point of it was supposed to be. The most logical path for them to take coming out of it would be a feud between Kurt Angle and Christian, but they’re both heels and neither has shown any inclination towards a turn. The second most likely possibility is Styles and Tomko feuding with Christian, but that also doesn’t make sense because then the Tag Champs would either have to be faces while still teaming with Angle or break away from both Angle AND Christian, which seemingly renders their teaming up with Kurt in the first place pointless. Of course, since we have Vince Russo on the booking team, the third possibility is that, at the pay per view, all four men form a heel mega-stable and beat down a good guy, most likely Samoa Joe. I don’t want to even begin thinking about that possibility, because it’s the same damn thing that TNA has done heading in to seemingly 75% of its pay per view main events over the course of the last year. On the whole, though, the fact that I have absolutely no clue which route they’re taking with this story is NOT a good thing. Professional wrestling is all about subtly telling fans what you’re going to be doing and then building their anticipation to the ultimate payoff, not leaving them scratching their heads until you spring something on them out of the blue.

The other big problem with the AJ Styles/Travis Tomko/Kurt Angle/Christian story is that it completely overshadowed the pay per view main event for this Sunday’s show and left me (and no doubt many other viewers) without a reason to purchase Turning Point. Kevin Nash, Samoa Joe, and Scott Hall, who are Kurt Angle’s opponents and the pay per view and supposedly his big rivals, did not interact with the Olympic gold medalist in any meaningful way on the last television show prior to the PPV. Granted, this wasn’t exactly the hottest main event in the world to begin with, but completely giving up on it like this is a poor idea no matter how you slice it. Kurt Angle and Kevin Nash were a unit in TNA for several months, and, now that we’ve reached what is supposedly the big match resulting from their break up, do you know what my clearest memory of their “feud” has been? Nash and Scott Hall hitting Angle’s wife in the face with pies. That’s hardly something that is going to justify me coughing up $30 to see a six man tag match this Sunday.

This is not the first time that TNA has done something like this, either. I can recall a couple of times in which I’ve complained that, on the Impact prior to a pay per view, the promotion has seemed concerned with doing everything EXCEPT getting people to buy the pay per view. History has proven time and time again that, in order to get the majority people to make a financial investment in your product, you first have to convince them to make an emotional investment in your product. Simply putting on an episode of Impact which contains a few good matches and telling people that they can see more good matches at the PPV isn’t enough. If people want good matches, they’ll just tune in to Impact next week and keep their money. The fans need to be given something more. They need to be given something that they can’t see anywhere else, and the “something” that has historically worked the best is a big storyline coming to a head. Though whatever the company is putting on involving Hall, Nash, and Angle may come to a head this Sunday, they did an awful job tonight of making it seem important enough for anybody to care.

Angle Numero Dos: Booker, Bobby. Bobby, Booker.

The highlight of this show for me was the interaction between Bobby Roode and Booker T. The two kicked off the show with very good dueling promos, which in turn set up the main event. Let me take a second and explain the true beauty of these promos, though. For those of you not aware, pretty much all of the mic work in WWE these days is heavily scripted. With a couple of exceptions, guys are told word-for-word what to say, and the result is often a series of promos that all sound exactly the same. Triple H sounds the same as Randy Orton who sounds the same as Chris Masters who sounds the same as Johnny Nitro. It’s been one of my biggest pet peeves about the company for several months. However, when you listened to Booker talk tonight, you could tell this was not the concoction of some creative team. You could tell that this was the Book cutting a promo on his own, just like it used to be in the good old days. That gets a thumbs up from me. Also getting a thumbs up from me is the fact that he basically let Bobby Roode act as his equal in the segment. Though he did ask who Roode was at one point, which was probably not a good idea, the segment quickly rebounded, and Booker talked to the young Canadian like he was on his level, not like a guy who was clearly beneath TNA’s latest “major acquisition.” This helped Roode a lot in their match, and it will probably help him going forward even though he ultimately wound up dropping the fall.

The contest between the two was perfectly acceptable. It didn’t set the world on fire, but it served its purpose and featured the right result. TNA also gets a rare thumbs up for holding off the run-in in this segment until AFTER the bell, which is a nice touch that is forgotten far too often in this day and age. Of course, said run-in set up a tag team match for the pay per view, with Bobby Roode and Christian taking on Booker and Frankie Kazarian. Again, I have no problem with this match. If the ultimate goal for the company is to do a Booker vs. Christian singles feud (it may or may not be, I really don’t know), then it’s smart to avoid setting up a one-on-one match between the two with only three days remaining until the pay per view. Doing otherwise would cheapen the match and make it much more difficult to get the crowd in to a second Christian/Booker match on a later show. Even if the plan is not to do the aforementioned feud, the tag match is still a good idea, as it gives Kazarian a slot on the card in which he is standing side-by-side with TNA’s main eventers, which is something that he needs if the promotion is serious about continuing his recent push. Of course, the best way to have done that would’ve been slotting him as the Outsiders’ partner instead of Samoa Joe, but this is the next best thing.

All-in-all, I’m going to have to give a big thumbs up to Roode and Booker’s performances tonight as well as the execution of the angle.

Angle Numero Tres: Feast or . . . F*** This

This wasn’t really a major angle on the show, but did you think that I would pass up an opportunity to discuss the “Feast or Fired” match that TNA is holding on its next pay per view? For those of you who may have missed the rules, it’s your typical overly complicated TNA cluster. There will be fifteen men crammed in to the ring, and there will be boxes on four of its six corners. I don’t know that this was made entirely clear, but it is my belief that this boxes will in fact be on the old Russo standard . . . POLES~! Supposedly, the men are going to fight for the right to paaaaaaaaaaaarty open up the boxes, one of which contains an X Division Title shot, one of which contains a Tag Team Title shot, one of which contains a World Title shot, and one of which contains a pink slip. Yes, a man will be fired completely at random as a result of this match. There are so many problems with this that I’m having a hard time picking my starting point.

I suppose that I should begin by noting that, for the most part, TNA did a good job of explaining these rules, making sure that they mentioned them in detail at least three times throughout the show. This was much better than several past TNA gimmick matches, in which they just started the bout and offered up absolutely no prior explanation of how the contest was supposed to operate. They even had Scott Steiner do a promo backstage with Leticia in which she explained the rules to him. Like I said, it’s good to get the rules out there. However, it was not a great message to send to the fans about the match. Apparently, this contest is so important and so prestigious that not even the wrestlers participating in it have bothered to figure out what the rules are. This is one of the reasons why, seven or eight years after his prime, I’m beginning to grow annoyed with the Rock’s legacy. Sure, he was ridiculously entertaining when he was around, but, now that he’s gone and made himself in to a huge success, everybody is trying to rip off this “too cool for the room” attitude that he made popular. Nobody in wrestling is actually allowed to care about anything, because it might make them look like too big of a dork. It really hurts what used to be a fine art, namely putting match stipulations and your opponents over in promos instead of burying them with cute insults or your feigned inability to remember their names.

As far as the match itself is concerned, there are so many ways in which it can potentially strain the credibility of the sport, even by professional wrestling’s insanely low standards. First of all, there is legitimately only one way in which this match can end, namely with the final box to be opened containing the World Title shot. Other alternatives are the X Division or Tag Title shots being the final boxes left, but they’re presumably the most important parts of the match if they’re left for its climax. This would undermine the value of the World Title and a shot at it. The fourth and most ridiculous alternative would be the pink slip box being left at the end of the match. If that’s the case, what happens? Surely nobody is going to be dumb enough to open it. Is the match a draw at that point? Does the match just not end? Does the rest of the show consist of twelve wrestlers standing in the ring with their thumbs up their asses waiting for the PPV time to run out? Does the match continue until Armageddon? (By which I mean the actual end of the planet, not the WWE pay per view.) This is a match in which one of the possible conclusions is completely ludicrous, which in turn makes the entire match completely ludicrous.

With it having been established that there’s only one dramatic finish for the match that doesn’t undermine the value of the company’s most important championship, we come to another problem. What happens if (god forbid) TNA wants to book another one of these matches? I know it sounds impossible, but this is the company that brought back their reverse battle royale after it was voted “Worst Match of the Year” for 2006 in numerous polls. What happens if this match becomes an annual tradition? Does it have the exact same result every time that it occurs? Is the box with the World Title shot in it always going to magically wind up being the last box opened? We don’t just have short-term stupidity here, folks. We also have the potential for long-term stupidity.

Then there are questions about what this means for the credibility of the titles themselves. Obviously, getting a title shot means very little when you can just win it at random. However, there are other problems. Looking up and down the roster set for this match, none of the wrestlers are currently at the level necessary to be a credible World Title contender. This means that, no matter who opens that box, you’re going to have to book a match featuring the World Champion against a guy who is clearly not on his level. If that is the case, what do you do when you get to this person’s World Title match? If you book the match as a competitive, back and forth contest in which it looks like the challenger has a chance of winning, you’ve just made your champion look like a goof because he had a tough time beating a guy who is beneath him. On the other hand, if you book the World Champion to go over his opponent clean in a few minutes, that harms the credibility of the Feast or Fired match and throws a wrench in the works as it relates to bringing the contest back. After all, why would fans want to see it again when the first one lead to nothing memorable?

The final problem that I have with the match is that I can virtually guarantee that they’re not going to follow through on the “firing” stipulation. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the individual who receives the pink slip is back on the very next set of Impact tapings as part of some angle in which they’re attempting to get back in to the company that they never really left. If you continually ignore stipulations for matches, fans can’t take anything that the promotion says seriously, whether it’s “The loser of this match will have his head shaved!” or “This pay per view will be one of the best of the year!” The negative long-term implications of such a situation should be clear.

And the Rest . . .

~ Is there a reason that the Hoyt/Rave/Hemme trio is simultaneously feuding with LAX AND breaking up? As a general rule, people should stick to one angle at a time. When exceptions are made to that rule, they should involve people who are actually entertaining.

~ The women’s division remains the best-booked part of this show. We’ve got a title match on the pay per view. How was this match set up? The challenger, Amazing Kong, pinned a lot of people. The champion, Gail Kim, pinned a lot of people. At the pay per view, we will see which one of these women can pin the other. SIMPLE. EFFECTIVE. DO MORE OF THIS.

~ You know, I’d forgotten about this because he’s done the comedy gimmick for so long, but Eric Young has proven on multiple occasions (including tonight) that he’s the best bleeder in TNA. As far as the rest of his feud with James Storm is concerned, I’m of two minds on it. On one hand, the beatdown tonight was really good and felt like something that would set up a grudge match. On the other hand, the rationale for their feud is so stupid. Would any adult male really care enough about a “drinking championship” that he would beat the crap out of somebody over it?

~ I also had mixed feelings on the Lethal/Dutt vs. Dudleys street fight tonight. It was enjoyable because it was a fun little TV match with the X Division team working for ten men. Yet, at the same time, it never should have been booked. By involving Lethal and the Dudleys in a variation on the No DQ match, the company was basically giving away for free one of the bouts that it’s trying to hype up for the pay per view. Why would I pay to see the Dudleys and Johnny Devine wrestle the Machine Guns and Lethal in a tables match when that is essentially what I just got without having to pay? Furthermore, how am I supposed to care about Lethal as a babyface opponent for the Dudleys at the PPV when I just saw them beat the guy?

~ Take everything that I just said about Jay Lethal and double it for Johnny Stamboli, who has now been pinned by both of his opponents in the tag team match on Sunday. What a jobber he turned out to be. If I were Jim Mitchell, I’d be pissed that I wasted my time bringing him in.


If TNA Impact were a stand-alone shown designed to do nothing other than entertain me for two hours, then this would have been a fine episode. After all, we got three good matches in the form of the eight man tag, Booker/Roode, and even the street fight. We also got a fine promo from Booker a chuckle or two out of Tyson Tomko. Unfortunately, TNA Impact is NOT a stand-alone show designed to do nothing other than entertain me for two hours. It’s a show that is supposed to be designed to sell pay per views to potential buyers, and, in that regard, I cannot see how this show could be anything other than an unmitigated failure. They took their primary angle for the pay per view and completely ignored it, tossing away the rivalry for a storyline that isn’t even guaranteed to be advanced on Sunday’s card. Furthermore, one of the major undercard matches for Turning Point was given away on free television, and that was one of three matches tonight in which a man beat his PPV opponent clean in the middle of the ring with there being little or no reason given for fans to pay for a follow-up bout. Simply put, I think that this is a promotion which is putting too much time and effort in to making their television product a can’t miss when, for the sake of their financial situation, it should be the pay per views that are can’t miss.

Reader Feedback

Our lone e-mail this week comes from Andrew Critchell, former contributor to Andy Clark’s Shimmy and current man about town on the 411 Fan Forums.

Hey Byers, “Divas” here. I just got done reading the Crater for last night’s show and it was seriously hilarious. I was watching last night with my sister’s boyfriend who is a bigger TNA fan than I (mostly due to his fondness for old WCW/NWA back in the day) and even he hated the show. The skits were indeed awful and produced only one funny moment; when Kong came in someone mentioned Kamala. Otherwise they were garbage.

I thought the woman’s match was good but only because I think both women are smoking hot. But here is something I noticed, TNA took the names of these girls that already sounded very porn star-ish and made them even more so! VELVET Sky? Angeline LOVE? Seriously? They should just get it over with already and change Hemme’s name to Christy Cummz.

The funny thing is that, at the end of the last week’s show, I was thinking, “Well, it was terrible, but it was a holiday so the majority of their fans probably didn’t even see it.” Then I checked out the ratings, and they did the same 1.0 that they do every week. My next thought was, “That certainly sucks for them! All of their hardcore fans saw that lousy show!” Then I realized that, if TNA hasn’t succeeded in getting them to tune out yet, they probably never will.

And that’s a wrap for this week. I’ll be back in seven with more TNA action. Until then, you can add me as a friend at MySpace in order to get a bulletin notification every time I post a new article on 411. For those of you who were my friend prior to this week, you’re going to have to re-add me, as I had some technical problems and determined that the quickest way to resolve them would be to delete my profile and start from scratch with a new one.


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