Date: February 3, 2011
Location: Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Tazz
Episode Title: Expect the Unexpected
THEY arrive tonight. After so much speculation, we finally find out who THEY are. Also we see Mr. Anderson vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Kurt Angle for the world title. It’s good to finally have a champion since RVD was attacked. This should be….oh wait hang on I put in the wrong review. Be right back.
Ah here we are.
THEY arrive tonight. After so much speculation, we finally find out who THEY are. Also we see Mr. Anderson vs. Jeff Hardy for the world title. Yes, TNA is more or less running the same story three months later which isn’t as bad as it sounds, but it doesn’t bode well. Allegedly THEY were the returning Main Event Mafia but that doesn’t seem to be the case now, due to the departures of Booker T and Kevin Nash. Anyway, let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of Steiner coming back last week and what probably was the Mafia angle, despite what Bischoff wants you to believe apparently. We get a ton of quick interviews ala ReAction saying nothing of note.
In the arena we open up properly with Bischoff and Immortal in the ring. The fans chant we want Flair. I hear he’s too busy to be here but he’ll show up for an advance in pay. Bischoff calls out Steiner who he isn’t happy with. First things first: Hogan isn’t here tonight. Yes, the guy they’ve hyped for weeks on this show, the biggest draw in the company (allegedly), STILL isn’t here. He was last seen on a TNA show on Thanksgiving.
According to Eric, there is no THEY. Bischoff tells Steiner that he told Nash to leave and take the money. Sting isn’t coming back and no one cares about Booker. Yeah nonsenseon it never being the Mafia until right now. Eric offers Steiner a spot on the team and says his options are join or get beaten up. Steiner takes option 3: he beats up Bischoff instead.
Scott says Bischoff is making the same mistake everyone does and assumes he knows Steiner when he doesn’t. He says call him sir or he’ll snap Bischoff’s neck. This brings out Crimson and Angle. All three are in suits mind you. Angle says THEY are indeed here and it’s real. Bischoff looks a bit nervous as we take a break.
Back with Jeff Hardy being worried about tonight but Bischoff says it’s ok. He wants Flair though and Angle/Crimson/Steiner pop up to say THEY’RE HERE!
Ink Inc vs. Gunner/Murphy
Big brawl to start us off with the security guys in control. We get down to business with Neal vs. Murphy. Off to Gunner quickly though as the security guys are moving quickly. Ink Inc has had nothing yet. Off to a chinlock by Gunner. Moore finally gets the tag and fights them both off for a bit. Heel miscommunication sets up the Mooregasm to Murphy to end it.
Rating: C-. This was really short at just barely over three minutes. That being said they still managed to keep things fast paced. I think they were trying to play up the idea of Immortal being shaken up, but I’m not sure this was an actual upset like the announcers would like you to believe.
Angle, Steiner and Crimson are in the back. Crimson says THEY haven’t touched base yet. He also calls Angle boss which means he’s the leader I guess. Kurt gets a phone call and is told we’re still on. They leave to go over the plan.
Christy Hemme is in Dallas apparently where she says that the judge issued a continuance until March 3, which is when we’ll hear the ruling. Great way to earn that paycheck and trip to Dallas Christy! Also nice job of hyping Hogan for a month and then not delivering him.
In the same shot Eric Young pops up and says Angle is a cyborg and he knows who THEY are. This is another one of those insane bits that makes no difference at all for the most part. Apparently he thinks they’re off air.
We get a video of the Jarretts’ house including the kids. This is about what you would expect.
Anderson wants to talk to Hardy before the match, out in the ring.
Back with Bubba Ray (I will not refer to him as Bully Ray unless I have to) in the ring with Pope who is apparently his partner. Ray talks about how he beat up D-Von last week and was the real star of the team. The fans want D-Von. Pope says that it’s Joe vs. Pope at the PPV.
This is one of the three storylines going on in TNA at the moment and it’s probably the best one. The reason for that: it’s basic. This isn’t something that is supposed to be huge. It’s been built up over a few weeks and months and they haven’t gotten in the ring yet. That’s how you build a feud. I’d like to see them fight actually.
D’Angelo Dinero/Bully Ray vs. Samoa Joe/Brother D-Von
I didn’t hear a bell so I’m assuming this was an official match. The respective feuds break off with the Dudleys in the ring and the other two in the aisle. Pope tries to run but Okada stops him in the aisle. Who is Okada you ask? Well he’s the guy that Joe had filming Pope. Well ok, that’s fine and good. However, this is a great example of TNA asking the fans to do too much.
Okada has never appeared on Impact until he popped up in this. He’s been on Xplosion, but since that show is referenced maybe once every six months on Impact, unless you pay really close attention to TNA or know him from his Japan days, this guy is a totally random addition that you’ve never seen before but apparently you’re supposed to be familiar with.
It confuses the viewer because the viewer is guided by the announcers. The announcers treat Okada like someone they’re completely familiar with rather than someone that has never been seen on Impact before. This makes fans think they’ve forgotten someone or even confuses them because they try to figure out why they don’t know who he is.
What that does is distract them from what’s going on in the story. This is another shining example of a very easily solved problem that TNA just lets happen. Here’s how you fix it. Tenay: “Ladies and gentlemen that man’s name is Okada. He’s been a member of TNA’s roster for a few months now and has been appearing on our syndicated program Xplosion.”
Bam ten seconds and you accomplish two things. You establish this guy isn’t a stranger to TNA and does have a connection to the company. You also let people know there is more TNA wrestling out there if they’re interested. See? Instead, we got this. Tenay: “It’s Okada.”
Ok, who’s Okada? Why should I care that he’s here? Should I be surprised? Is this a twist? Is this expected? Does he have a history with Pope? With Joe? Is he a wrestler? A businessman? A mercenary? All we know about him is that his name is Okada and he’s done some work for Joe and he dresses like Kato from Green Hornet. It’s confusing and it doesn’t have to be. That’s not good and it happens way too much in TNA.
Back in the ring, Ray has a chain but gets dropped with a clothesline. If there was a bell I missed it completely. There’s a referee in there so I’m assuming this is a match. D-Von hammers away and we hit the floor. They’re having a street fight at the PPV. D-Von drills him with a chair and Ray is in trouble. Tenay says it was a scheduled match but security is pulling D-Von off Bubba so I guess it was thrown out. Bubba spits on D-Von’s kids as D-Von is being held back.
Mickie vs. Sarita in a taped fist match later.
Jay Lethal vs. Jeremy Buck vs. Douglas Williams
This is another of those X-Division qualifying things. Max Buck, the one that has already qualified, is at the announce table. Great to see guys like Williams and Lethal staying in the upper midcard like they got pushes to isn’t it? Buck gets on both other guys and manages to get out of the way before they massacre him, resulting in Lethal nailing Williams.
Jeremy sends Williams to the floor and lands a sweet Asai Moonsault. He gets taken out by a suicide dive by Lethal though as they’re moving out there. Jeremy gets a DDT on Lethal but at the same time Williams gets a Russian Leg Sweep on Jeremy. With everyone in trouble, Max determines that Jeremy’s shoe is untied so he heads to the ring. Tower of Doom has Buck in trouble.
Williams gets a small package for two. Next week it’s Robbie E vs. Suicide vs. Kendrick for the last spot in the #1 contenders match. Buck is on the floor for a long while Lethal and Williams do the work. Williams hits Rolling Chaos but gets kicked in the balls by Jeremy who steals the pin on Lethal to advance.
Rating: D+. I wasn’t impressed here at all. The spots were nice so points for that but this went by really quickly. Somehow this was four and a half minutes long which blows my mind. Either way this wasn’t much as this flew by. These matches are getting more spottish every week, which isn’t a good thing at all.
Bischoff is talking to Flair’s attorney and doesn’t know where Flair is. Beer Money says it’s ok. Fourtune leaves but AJ says not to worry about anything. AJ says WE are in the driver’s seat.
Sarita says she doesn’t have a strategy for her match with Mickie because she doesn’t need one. Her cousin Rosita is here next week.
We get some quick promos from Anderson and Hardy about their match tonight. This is some of Jeff’s best talking in a long time as you can understand him perfectly well.
Anderson calls out Hardy and here he comes. Hardy looks exactly like he did “last week in Germany” as the promos were from. There is literally water/sweat dripping from Jeff’s hair. You can see it and it looks like a leaky faucet. Anderson asks how many jerks there are here and gets a nice reaction. He asks the same about the Creatures of the Night. Not so good of a reaction, which translates to me that there aren’t many Taker fans tonight.
Anderson makes fun of the title belt but says that he’s worked for 11 years to win what it represents. Both guys don’t respect authority and he talks about the gum chewing thing again. Anderson can’t seem to decide if this is a serious promo or a comedy one. Ken wants a fair match tonight. Hardy talks about how he doesn’t need Immortal to win here so the fans of course keep talking and ranting about things that don’t need to be chanted about.
Mickie is taping up her fist.
Back to the Jarretts and in this case it’s about their kids and family life. Apparently they’re going to have a talent show.
Mickie James vs. Sarita
This is the taped fist match which means you can tape your fists. Shouldn’t this be Velvet instead of Mickie though? Apparently Mickie’s title shot is in a Last Knockout Standing match. Seated dropkick puts down Sarita and Mickie adds in some splits. You have to win by knockout apparently. We head to the floor and Mickie might have punches the post. Sarita works on the hand, because that’s clearly the easiest way to knock someone out right?
Hand goes into the steps and it’s all Sarita. This is rather boring indeed. Sarita keeps dancing and locks in an armbar, in a match where you have to win by knockout. Are they even trying here? In the cheapest of cheap endings, Mickie dodges some shots and gets a single left hand in to end it. So let me get this straight. A single shot with one of those fists can end it? THEN WHY DID WE NEED TO SPEND SIX MINUTES GETTING HERE??? Whatever just end this.
Rating: F. Can someone, anyone, tell me what the freaking point to the tape was? It’s a classic example of a gimmick match not being needed and being there for the sake of a gimmick. This was boring as heck and I absolutely hate the lazy booking of one person is beaten down the whole time and then a single shot ends it. Bad booking and I hate it.
Madison blasts Mickie with the cast and stands over her all evil and such.
Bischoff tells Hardy that he’s a bit worried while Jeff says he’s ready. Hardy says no one from Immortal can be out there.
The Jarretts are going to renew their wedding vows. This of course is absolutely sickening. Oh and it’ll be on Impact of course.
TNA World Title: Mr. Anderson vs. Jeff Hardy
Hey look it’s the match that they should have built up for weeks but instead hot shotted it on a PPV for shock value! Hardy jumps Anderson during his intro and the fight is on as we’re still on the ramp. Since this is a title match that is scheduled, a bunch of referees pull them apart and we get swearing. Anderson had some kind of arm hold on Hardy that apparently worked a bit.
The match hasn’t started yet either. We take a break before we start which is a bit stupid but not bad. Here’s the bell. Let me clarify that: I have no problem with a break before the bell which is probably the best idea. I don’t get the point in having a big brawl instead of just starting the match. Anderson controls to start and gets some elbow drops for two.
Hardy fights back and takes over. This is the complete opposite of epic as we knew that Anderson would win the first time but it still felt big. We talk about THEY because the world title match isn’t interesting enough I guess. Off to a choke/chinlock by Jeff. Hardy gets a leg drop as this is needing to pick up a lot. Now Hardy wants to work on the leg for no apparent reason.
Anderson’s balls go into the post and Hardy works on the head. Wow that sounded very bad indeed. Back to the chinlock now. Whisper in the Wind takes Anderson down but of course here comes Anderson. They slug it out from their knees and are now back up with some nice sequences still of punches. Anderson gets a spinning neckbreaker for two.
Mic Check can’t hit but Anderson gets a double spin kick (not joking) much like the one Red hits on Lethal in the package from the New York house show that they air every week. That was kind of awesome. Front suplex by Hardy gets two. Dueling chants here. Great job of getting Hardy over as a heel there Hogan/Bischoff. Twist of Hate is reversed and down goes the referee of course.
Here’s the Twist of Hate and here comes Immortal. Terry kills Anderson with a clothesline and the beatdown is imminent. AJ hands Anderson to Hardy and throws up the Fourtune sign. And then Fourtune beats up Immortal and it’s a Styles Clash for Hardy. The fans are liking this a lot as Anderson gets the pin on Hardy to retain.
Rating: D+. This just did not ever get off the ground. We knew that something was coming and while the ending is good, there’s no big pop here. THIS should have been Hardy dropping the title to Anderson rather than at the PPV, but since that would be logical booking and TNA doesn’t want that at all, this was what we got and it was just ok. It’s pretty clear this was supposed to be epic and that the company thinks this is their big feud, it’s never clicked for me. Match wasn’t terrible to be sure, but it was nothing great at all.
After a break, AJ says look what we have here. Fourtune isn’t taking a back seat to anyone and this is on Eric’s head. Fourtune is THEY of course. Eric comes out to call AJ an ungrateful son of a gun. Fourtne was nothing without Hogan and Bischoff and all that jazz. Angle, Crimson and Steiner are in there now too but this is AJ vs. Bischoff.
AJ yells about how Eric and Hogan changed everything and how they messed up a ton of stuff. The fans of course decide that they need to speak up and let us know they want six sides. Hogan is back on March 3rd. Really. We mean it this time. Hogan WILL be here this time unlike tonight when we promised he would be here. He hasn’t been seen since Thanksgiving and is somehow the #2 or #3 heel in the company. The big staredown ends the show.
Overall Rating: D-. There’s a lot to get to here so let’s get started. First the good: Fourtune. This is exactly what TNA needs at this point: TNA originals (kind of) vs. the outsiders. That’s the perfect story given how they’ve set all this up. I’m very happy with that. Now for the bad.
Number one: This should have happened FOUR MONTHS AGO! Fourtune has been the popular faction in TNA for MONTHS. There was never any need at all for them to join up with Immortal and again, IT MADE NO SENSE! Flair wanted to piss off Dixie and did that and then his boys were far more powerful than Immortal but kept the alliance anyway to be lackies. THAT MAKES NO SENSE!
So now it’s Fourtune/Angle/Steiner/Crimson/Anderson/probably Morgan vs. Gunner/Murphy/Hardys/Jarrett. That doesn’t exactly sound riveting as you have the titles and the power with Fourtune who are supposed to be the underdogs as the, you know, good guys. Here’s where you see the criticisms of Bischoff and Russo shining through.
This is, once again, the NWO vs. WCW and the Millionaires Club vs. New Blood. It’s a faction war with the heels being led by the corrupt leader and the good guys being all about keeping things like they were before. Like I said, this is the right choice but it’s not like this is something we’re going to be riveted by as we’ve seen it before. That’s not good but it’s what Russo and Bischoff do: they have one idea and that’s all you see out of them.
One last good thing I forgot to mention: AJ. This is what TNA needed to have months ago (notice that I’m kind of harping on that). AJ Styles is the golden boy in TNA and represents everything that the company is about. FINALLY he’s standing up to fight off these guys that have wanted to change everything about the company and while it’s not exactly interesting, AJ belongs as a face in this company and that’s all there is to it.
Other than this, the show is worthless. There isn’t a good match to be seen, the whole thing is thrown together around the basic premise of THEY coming back. The BFG show did such an incredible job of building up the tension and atmosphere before the reveal that even I, one of TNA’s harshest critics on here, was dying to know who THEY were. This time though, there was nothing. It happened and that was it.
The show was just bad overall with only AJ and the reveal being the good parts. I’m curious as to where this will go but only to an extent. Hogan coming back on March 3rd does nothing for me. He can’t wrestle, he can barely walk, but he’s supposed to be a big deal? Just get to the destruction of Immortal and let it go. Bad show this week but there was a somewhat redeeming quality to it.oganglaksj
Ink Inc b. Gunner/Murphy – Mooregasm to Murphy
Samoa Joe/D-Von vs. Bully Ray/D’Angelo Dinero went to a no contest
Jeremy Buck b. Jay Lethal and Douglas Williams – Buck pinned Lethal after Rolling Chaos Theory
Mickie James b. Sarita by knockout
Mr. Anderson b. Jeff Hardy – Pin after a Styles Clash from AJ Styles