Impact Wrestling – December 24, 2014: Business As Usual

Impact Wrestling
Date: December 24, 2014
Location: Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Taz, Don West
Hosts: Christy Hemme, Jeremy Borash

This is the final episode of Impact Wrestling on SpikeTV before they head over to Destination America early in the new year. It’s also the second half of the Top Twenty Moments countdown, which hopefully is capped off by someone who still works for this company. Let’s get to it.

#10. Impact – February 19, 2009

Kurt Angle vs. Sting

Empty arena match for control of the Main Event Mafia. With no one there, of course they come out to their music. Sting throws Angle outside to start and they hit that wall that they always hit in brawls. Angle goes nuts with right hands and you can hear the grunting. They go up into the empty seats as this is one of those “let’s walk around and not really do much” matches. Angle walks him back up into the seats and somehow the cameras can’t follow them, despite there being no one to get around.

Sting dumps Angle over a balcony but Kurt comes back with a metal trashcan. Kurt: “I HATE YOU!” We see some fans watching in the concourse as I realize there’s no reason given for this to be an empty arena match. A low blow puts Sting down and Angle swears a bit. Sting pops up with a chair to the back but Angle begs off a beating from a chair. He swears that he’s sorry and says he has kids, only to change his mind and tell Sting to hit him. Nash and Steiner finally come in to break it up with Nash shouting to MAKE IT RIGHT. They shake hands but start fighting again, shouting how much they hate each other.

Rating: D-. Again, why was this an empty arena match? It didn’t make a ton of sense when it was Rock vs. Mankind and it really doesn’t make a ton of sense here. As usual, it felt like Russo trying to do something to make a splash instead of making sense, which is eventually going to be exposed for the shock TV that it is.

#9. Impact – October 8, 2014.

Tag Team Titles: Hardys vs. Team 3D vs. Wolves

The Wolves are defending and this is Full Metal Mayhem, meaning TLC. Richards has a somewhat bad leg coming into this but he seems to be fine. It’s a big brawl to start of course with Matt hitting what looked like the Side Effect to Eddie on the apron. Bully hammers on Jeff on the floor as weapons are being sets up on the floor. Matt goes for a climb but Ray comes in for a save with a Rock Bottom.

Davey breaks up Ray’s attempt and DDTs him, only to have D-Von nail Richards a second later. Matt gets enziguried into a German suplex onto a pair of open chairs. Eddie throws Jeff into the air and Ray catches him in a Cutter for a 3D. They chop it out but Matt is back up to take both guys down. We get the Tower of Doom with Ray electric chairing Matt who superplexes Edwards. D-Von bridges a piece of barricade between the apron and some overturned steps but Davey headbutts him onto the barricade.

Ray saves his partner from a dive and powerbombs Richards down, only to miss a middle rope backsplash. He comes right back with another powerbomb to send Richards onto the barricade, giving Richards one of the most shocked looks I’ve ever seen. Back with Jeff taking a ladder to the face and D-Von cleans house with a chair.

Richards comes back with a chair of his own but this time it’s Jeff popping up to take over. The Whisper in the Wind and Swanton have Ray in trouble but he pops right back up for a brawl with Jeff on the floor. The Twisting Stunner has Ray in trouble and Jeff brings out another table. He bridges it between the turned over steps and the apron with the legs up. Jeff misses the legdrop though and crashes through the table, leaving him in a huge heap on the floor.

Back in and Ray goes up, only to have Edwards set up a ladder of his own next to it. Bully kicks him down but Matt comes in with a ladder of his own. All three go up and slug it out with Edwards getting slammed off the top. Mat and Ray grab for the belts but send them swinging around before knocking each other off with Matt flying into a ladder.

Davey and Matt slug it out with Hardy getting the better of it and bringing in another table. Everyone heads outside again with Matt climbing about halfway up a huge ladder to legdrop Davey through a table. Richards has taken one heck of a beating here. D-Von cleans house with the ladder and brings in the big ladder to make thing even more fun. Team 3D loads up What’s Up but Edwards shoves D-Von to the floor.

Davey goes up the big ladder but gets shoved onto the floor and head first into the barricade. The Hardys make another save with chairs and put Ray on two tables. Jeff goes up top of the big ladder but Davey shoves it over, sending Hardy into a HUGE splash onto Ray for a horrible looking crash. Davey and Matt slug it out on top of the ladder but Edwards makes a save and powerbombs Matt through a table, allowing Davey to take down the belts for the win at 23:52.

Rating: A. I came into this show thinking this match wasn’t going to be able to live up to its hype and they got me. This was an AWESOME match with a ton of high spots and some insane looking bumps. The fact that they didn’t save this for Bound For Glory shows you just how much they don’t care about that show this year. Excellent match and one of the best things TNA has done in years.

#8. Slammiversary 2013.

Taryn Terrell vs. Gail Kim

Last Knockout standing. Gail attacks in the corner to start but Taryn comes back with clotheslines to take over. Gail puts on an octopus hold but lets it go early and only gets a six count. Kim goes to the floor for a chair but has it kicked out of her hands. Some hair drags keep Gail down for a few moments but she manages to get the chair up to block a high cross body. Gail is up first and goes after the knee for a bit before wedging the chair between the ropes. Taryn blocks a ram into the chair but gets caught in the Figure Four around the post.

Terrell is up at 8 and dodges Gail’s charge into the corner, sending her head first into the chair in a SICK looking crash. That only gets eight so Taryn puts her in the Figure Four around the post for eight more. Taryn misses a charge and lands on the ramp for nine, only to be caught in a legsweep onto the ramp for nine more. Gail tries a piledriver but gets reversed into a bulldog off the ramp to put both girls down. Taryn beats the count for the win at 9:18.

Rating: B-. This was the best Knockouts match in YEARS. The bulldog off the stage was a bigger spot but the missed charge into the chair should have been the finish. It looked MUCH more painful and I thought Gail was out cold. Still though, very entertaining match and I was really impressed with Taryn here. I’d bet on her vs. Mickie at BFG for the title in a veteran vs. underdog title match.

#7. Impact – January 4, 2010.

It’s 9pm so here’s Hulk in black. Brooke is of course in the front row. Hogan immediately puts over the roster and the locker room for working as hard as they have. Now we get the infamous line from this promo: “I’ve been in the back all day.” Remember that this is after AN HOUR OF WATCHING HIM DRIVE TO THE BUILDING. That line was edited out of the rebroadcast of the show and it’s painful to hear all over again.

Hogan talks about how many new and familiar faces there are here. As he’s talking, Hall and Waltman try to get to the ring. Hogan says give them a mic and let them get in the ring. Hall and Hogan do the Wolfpack sign and Hall says the party is back. The boss tells him that’s not how it works anymore. Waltman thinks it’s the same people so it’s the same party, but Hogan shoots him down too. In a laughable line, Hogan says it’s time to grow up.

Hall says everything is changing, with or without Hogan. Wait so is everything changing or is everything the same? Nash comes out and wants to know what’s going on, but Hulk insists he’s not playing a role. Hogan says they need to do this FOR REAL because it’s a different time. Hall and Waltman are ready to fight but Eric Bischoff debuts and says they reinvented this business. Dixie Carter is shown watching from the crowd.

Bischoff says this is all about communication and that has broken down recently. Everyone has to earn their position in this company, which Nash hears loud and clear. Nash, Hall and Waltman leave and Bischoff again claims that they can change the business again. Hogan says they’ve shuffled the deck as Dixie cautiously applauds. Bischoff rips up the format sheet to show how different things are going to be. He hands the producer a new format because they’re turning this company upside down. So this basically boiled down to the same “this is new” promo that every indy company starts with.

In storyline development, Shera makes it to the top of a hill where Sotrm is waiting with a jug of water. Storm pours it on top of him and welcomes Shera to the Revolution.

#6. Impact – January 9, 2014.

TNA World Title: AJ Styles vs. Magnus

No DQ and both guys are champion coming in. Magnus immediately goes to the floor and does it again for a second time in less than ninety seconds. No contact yet. Magnus gets back in but here are Ethan Carter and Spud to jump AJ before any contact is made. AJ fights them off and superkicks Magnus in the ribs but Carter breaks up a Styles Clash attempt. Sting finally comes out for the save but doesn’t do anything as AJ saves himself. Magnus bails to the floor and we take a break.

Back with the two champions still not making contact as the Bro Mans and Zema Ion come out to jump Sting and AJ and giving us six run-ins in less than eight minutes. Zema DDTs AJ and the Bro Down gets a delayed two on Styles. Sting comes back in as Magnus just chills at ringside. The Brit finally comes back in and AJ quickly loads up the Clash, only to have Bad Influence make the save and lay him out with a powerbomb/neckbreaker combo.

Earl Hebner refuses to count so Dixie and Brian Hebner get us to ELEVEN people coming out for this match. Bad Influence goes High/Low on AJ for two and Brian gets yelled at. Sting lays out the Bro Mans with a double Death Drop on the floor before putting Ion in the Deathlock. AJ fights back against Bad Influence as Sting comes in to help even more. We’re down to Magnus vs. AJ with Styles getting the Calf Killer, only to have Kazarian take out the referee.

Kazarian monkey flips AJ into Daniels but AJ clotheslines him down and Peles Kaz. Now the Styles Clash takes out Magnus but there’s no referee. Earl Hebner hobbles back out (we’ll call that #12) to count two before AJ dives over the top to take out Bad Influence yet again. AJ goes up top but Bobby Roode makes it #13 by shoving Styles into the ropes. Three AA/DVDs lay AJ out for about the fifth time, giving Magnus the pin (thanks to referee #3 and the fourteenth person added to the match) and the undisputed title at 15:47. Sting was being held back by most of the heels in case you were wondering.

Rating: D. So they spent all night hyping up the match before going full Russo on it. That’s what we spent months and months building to? The match was definitely energetic but we really had to spend all this time setting up Dixie with her corporate champion? Assuming AJ leaving isn’t a HUGE swerve, this was one of the biggest wastes of time I can remember in years.

#5. Impact Wrestling – January 17, 2013.

Are they kidding???

It’s wedding time. Ray is in a tux which is weird to say the least. The groomsmen come out with the bridesmaids (looking GOOD tonight) and here’s Brooke. Hulk finally comes out (setting a record in getting into a tuxedo) to a big ovation. The fans tell Hulk to shake Bully’s hand. They get through a LONG intro from the minister and saying how much they care about each other.

No one objects, they both say I do, and Tazz takes the mic from the minister. Tazz asks if Bully is sure, then says it’s too hot in here. He takes off his jacket, and reveals an Aces and 8’s vest. The big brawl ends the ceremony and show. Brooke gets kidnapped again as Ray takes a pedestal to the face to end the show.

So quick recap here. There are four moments left and we have the following to go off the top of my head:

Kurt Angle debuts

AJ Styles wins the World Title at No Surrender 2009

Unbreakable triple threat

Elix Skipper walks the cage

Angle vs. Joe from Genesis 2006

ANYTHING from before October 2007

Somehow they’re going to screw up something as simple as “hey, does anyone remember any great matches from the last twelve years?”

#4. Impact – November 3, 2011.

TNA World Title: James Storm vs. Bobby Roode

Feeling out process to start as they’re playing up the idea that they know each other very well. Off to a test of strength which doesn’t last long. Neither guy has an advantage as we go to a break. Back with Storm ramming shoulders into Roode in the corner. They keep countering each other and Roode can’t get much of an advantage. Storm stays ahead with a superplex but both guys are down.

They slug it out and Storm takes over with some running shots. Blockbuster gets two for Roode. Backstabber gets two for the champ. Eye of the Storm is countered into a spinebuster for two. They head to the floor and both guys barely get back inside in time. Storm tries an Orton DDT but gets countered into a Crossface. Storm makes a rope and Roode is frustrated. Roode tries a superplex but Storm counters into a top rope elbow for two.

This is getting good. Last Call misses as Roode grabs the fisherman’s suplex. Storm counters that and is almost sent into the referee. The referee avoids the contact but twists his knee in the process as Roode is sent to the floor. Roode succumbs to the demons inside and grabs the beer bottle which he breaks over Storm’s head to BIG heat. It gives him the world title at 17:40.

Rating: B. This was a very solid match that could have easily main evented a PPV with about five minutes extra. Still though, good stuff here and that’s what they needed to do. I’m really not sure I like the ending but it’s TNA after all so how good can it get? The heel turn was needed, but Roode is going to have to step up his emotions as a heel to deserve this spot. Good match though.

#3. Unbreakable

X-Division Title: Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels

Daniels is the longest reigning champion ever at this point, AJ is a four time champion and Joe is undefeated. This is TNA’s greatest match ever so let’s see if it holds up. AJ and Joe team up to beat down Daniels to start which is kind of a surprising move. Joe kicks him HARD in the back and AJ does the same thing. It turns into a contest and I think Joe wins by a hair. Daniels gets up but Joe kicks him in the face. Cool sequence.

AJ grabs a fast rollup on Joe and we’re ready to get going. They trade pinfall attempts so fast that I can’t type them until Joe hooks a modified Rings of Saturn. Daniels breaks it up and kicks AJ down for no cover. Joe chops the champ and hits a standing enziguri to knock him to the floor. AJ takes Joe down but Daniels is back in to take over on Styles, getting two. Joe chops them both in the corner but Daniels fires back with chops of his own.

Styles headscissors both guys down into opposite corners and fires off kicks at Joe. Joe is like screw that and suplexes him down overhead style. There’s the Facewash to Styles but Daniels breaks up the running kick to the face. Daniels hits a springboard moonsault onto Joe on the floor but you know AJ has to top him, so he hits a springboard shooting star to take both guys down. He rolls Joe back in for two and things slow down a tiny bit.

Actually scratch that as Styles hits the drop down/dropkick combo for two. Daniels comes back in again and monkey flips AJ at Joe but AJ twists in mid air into a rana on the fat man. Daniels O’Connor rolls Styles for two and then launches him over the top and out to the floor. A flying knee sends Joe into the corner and Daniels slaps him in the face. Joe will have none of that and slaps Daniels back but Daniels rolls him up for two.

Joe counters the rollup into the Clutch so Styles busts out Spiral Tap to break up the hold. That gets two on both guys and Daniels sends Styles back to the floor. An STO puts Joe down but AJ breaks up the BME. I feel like I’m talking to a 3 year old after that last exchange with all the spelling. Daniels gets caught in the Tree of Woe and AJ kicks away, but Joe splashes AJ into Daniels. A running dropkick to the face breaks the Tree and Daniels is out.

The running big boot that Joe does knocks AJ’s head into Tallahassee somewhere and the backsplash gets two. Daniels comes back out of nowhere and hits the Death Valley Driver on Joe. Everyone is down until Daniels covers Joe for two. AJ gets sent to the floor and both he and Daniels miss moonsaults. They slug it out so Joe hits a corkscrew plancha to take both guys down. The fans are losing their minds over this stuff. Back in and Daniels breaks up the MuscleBuster but Styles goes up too. AJ and Daniels fight on the top so Joe backdrops both of them down at the same time.

Joe gets up first and he looks MAD. He and AJ slug it out with AJ taking over but Joe slugs him right back and hits a big old German release suplex to take over. There’s the MuscleBuster but Daniels comes in with the belt. He charges at Joe but the Samoan hits a snap powerslam to cut that off. Joe picks the belt up but Daniels kicks it into his face. Daniels and AJ slug it out and that just feels appropriate. A blue thunder bomb out of nowhere gets two on Styles.

Release Rock Bottom puts AJ down and the BME gets two as Joe makes the save. Daniels puts a Dragon Sleeper on Joe and hooks the Last Rites (rolling cutter which he didn’t use that often) to send Joe to the floor again. AJ bounces back up and hits the moonsault into the reverse DDT for two. Styles goes up but Daniels hits a palm strike to stop him. Daniels superplexes him down but he can’t cover. Joe comes in and covers both guys for two.

Joe focuses on Daniels and hits his powerbomb into the Boston Crab into the STF sequence so he can call a LONG spot to Daniels. Daniels (wearing a wedding ring) gets the rope so Joe beats up AJ a bit more. He fires off forearms but AJ snaps off the Pele to take over again. The Rack into a neckbreaker gets two for Styles but Daniels is back up. AJ hits a sunset flip into the Clash but Joe makes the save at two. Daniels ducks a charging Joe to send him tot he floor. AJ and Daniels slug it out and Daniels tries the Angel’s Wings. AJ counters into a bridging backdrop and stays on top for the pin and the title.

Rating: A+. Yeah that’s the easy answer but there’s no real other option to go with here. This was about twenty three minutes long and the longest they go without action is maybe 20 seconds. These three have incredible chemistry together and it was a great example of what smaller guys can do. It’s not the best match in TNA history by a mile but it’s the best match by a few feet. Great match.

#2. Bound For Glory 2010.

TNA World Title: Jeff Hardy vs. Kurt Angle vs. Mr. Anderson

Anderson beat D’Angelo Dinero and Hardy and Angle went to a time limit draw, forcing the three way. Hardy debuts new music which should tell you a lot. Anderson gets double teamed to start but Kurt is sent out to the floor. Angle comes back in and throws Jeff to the floor so he can kick at Anderson’s knee in the corner. A release overhead belly to belly gets two on Mr. with Hardy making a save. Jeff gets back into it and picks up Anderson, so Angle Germans both guys at the same time.

Anderson goes outside for the first time but Jeff backdrops Angle up and over the top for a bad landing. Thankfully he’s ok enough to pull Anderson out to the floor for a brawl, but Hardy dives over the top to put everyone down. Back in and Kurt puts Anderson in a chinlock until Jeff makes a save. He goes up top very slowly though, allowing Angle to run the corner for the belly to belly. Jeff pops back up, only to miss the Swanton on Anderson and give Kurt a near fall. Dixie Carter is watching at ringside.

Angle loads up a superplex but Andeson turns it into a Tower of Doom for two on both guys. It’s Angle up first to roll some Germans on Anderson before doing the same on Hardy. He wants to keep things together so there’s an ankle lock to both guys at the same time. Angle goes up top but Anderson’s ankle is fine enough for the rolling fireman’s carry for two. Hardy breaks it up with a Swanton for two on both guys.

Back up and Anderson goes up, only to get caught in a belly to back superplex to give Kurt a near fall. Whisper in the Wind puts Angle down and there’s a Twist of Fate to Anderson. The Swanton crushes Mr. but Angle grabs Jeff’s ankle. Anderson breaks it up with the Mic Check for two on Kurt and everyone gets two off a rollup. Kurt actually hits the moonsault for two on Hardy, who falls out of the ring. Angle escapes the Mic Check but accidentally clotheslines the referee. Everyone knows the big THEY reveal is coming.

Anderson hits the Mic Check on Angle but can’t follow up. This brings out Eric Bischoff with a chair but Hogan comes out (I’m as shocked as you are) before he can swing it. Hulk is on crutches and moving pretty slowly as we have to wait even longer. Bischoff throws the chair down but takes away a crutch. Hardy gets back in to calm things down but Hogan hands him his crutch.

Jeff squares off with Bischoff….and breaks the crutch over Angle’s back. Hogan smiles and Bischoff says that was awesome. Hogan points at Hardy and hugs Eric as they watch Hardy break the other crutch over Anderson’s back. The Twist of Fate is enough to pin Anderson and give Hardy the title.

Rating: B-. The match is good but this was ALL about the booking and big swerve at the end. Hogan and Bischoff weren’t really surprises so it was all down to who was going to side with the new mega heel faction. Hardy winning the title is fine and the best option given who was in there.

Bischoff introduces Jeff as the new World Champion and a smiling Jeff Jarrett comes out. Abyss follows them out and hugs Hogan. Fans throw trash in the ring ala the NWO debut (there were rumors this was planted) as RVD comes out to ask Jeff what he’s doing. Hardy lays him out with a belt shot and poses with THEY to end the show.

Quick recap of the top ten.

And now, I kid you not, this is considered the #1 moment all time in TNA wrestling history.

#1. Impact – August 7, 2014

Here’s all of Dixie’s team but she fires Stephens and Snitsky like the maniac she is. Cue Team 3D and Dreamer with a table but Dixie hides behind everyone she’s paid off. Ray promises to put Dixie through a table and Dreamer says Dixie is everything that’s wrong with this business. Mo nails Dreamer and the brawl is on with the ECW guys taking over. Suddenly Dixie is alone in the ring with 3D but runs when she’s about to take 3D.

Spud swears it’s never going to happen but the entire locker room comes out to throw Dixie to the wolves (Team 3D, not Richards/Edwards). D-Von loads her up (and grabs her in a rather personal spot) and Bully powerbombs Dixie off the middle rope through the table, in what I believe was Dixie’s first bump ever. We even get Bully’s old euphoric look and the announcers are WAY too happy to see this.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. I have no problem with a heel, male or female, taking a big bump to end a story. What I’m not wild on is how everything was announced in advance. This is going to cause some issues in the mainstream media given how violent it was, but that’s the nature of pro wrestling. It felt very scripted though and that’s not a good thing, but the ending was exactly what it should have been.

Here’s the entire top 20 in case you didn’t catch last week.

20. Angle vs. Joe – Lockdown 2008
19. Aries vs. Roode – Destination X 2012
18. Motor City Machine Guns vs. Beer Money – Victory Road 2010
17. WOO Off – Impact – July 7, 2010
16. Ultimate X – Bound For Glory 2009
15. Bully Ray vs. Jeff Hardy – Lockdown 2013
14. Knockouts Title Gauntlet Match – Bound For Glory 2007
13. Karen Angle marries Jeff Jarrett – Impact – March 3, 2011
12. Lashley vs. Roode II – October 29, 2014
11. Sting vs. Hogan – Bound For Glory 2011
10. Sting vs. Angle – Impact – February 19, 2009 (Empty Arena Match)
9. Impact – October 8, 2014 – Team 3D vs. Wolves vs. Hardys (Full Metal Mayhem)
8. Gail Kim vs. Taryn Terrell – Slammiversary 2013 (Last Knockout Standing)
7. Hogan and Bischoff Debut – Impact – January 4, 2010
6. AJ Styles vs. Magnus – Impact – January 9, 2014
5. Bully Ray marries Brooke Hogan – Impact Wrestling – January 17, 2013
4. James Storm vs. Bobby Roode – Impact – November 3, 2011
3. Styles vs. Joe vs. Daniels – Unbreakable
2. Jeff Hardy vs. Kurt Angle vs. Mr. Anderson – Bound For Glory 2010
1. Dixie Carter Goes Through A Table – Impact – August 7, 2014

Overall Rating: C-. I’m just talking about the top ten this week. While last week’s had some funny moments that felt more like honorable mentions than anything else, this week had some incredibly bizarre picks. First off though, let’s knock out the ones that make sense and that I have no issue with. #9 is fine and was pretty easily one of TNA’s best matches of the year. #8 might be the best Knockouts match ever. #7 is indeed huge for TNA. #4, #3 and #2 are all fine either for importance, quality and hype respectfully.

Then on the other side, what in the world is the empty arena match doing on here? Yeah it’s Sting vs. Angle, but those two headlined Bound For Glory together and traded the World Title. Instead though we get probably their least memorable match ever which is only there because it had a lame gimmick attacked. What an odd choice that sounds like someone saw the names on a page and picked the match without looking. #6….eh yeah it was a big moment but it didn’t lead anywhere and is FAR too high up. #5 is a joke.

That leaves us with #1. Yeah it’s a big moment, but the top moment in the history of the company? Really? Not signing Kurt Angle five months after he was defending the World Title at Wrestlemania? Not Elix Skipper walking the cage in an outstanding match that was on every TNA highlight reel until Hogan and Bischoff rebooted the company? On top of that, nothing from Raven’s great run back in 2003? Abyss’ only mention is a cameo at the end of Bound For Glory 2010? He had a great match against Styles at Lockdown 2005, but apparently only Unbreakable happened in the first five years of TNA history.

Overall this list feels like it was thrown together by a slightly more than casual fan of TNA. Some of these are obvious, but for the most part this comes off like a list from the last six years instead of the best ever from TNA. Having stuff in there like the two weddings or the WOO Off (funny moment, but they showed it in the package before they aired the full thing) takes up another spot that could go to something more important. It did hit some spots though including most of the important ones, save for the top one that is.

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  1. Killjoy says:

    The Empty Arena match episode drew a 1.3 rating if I recall and went unbeaten until Hogan’s debut which may be why it’s there.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Eh I guess but it’s a very strange entry if you don’t remember that.