-The show opened with the soap opera of Karen Angle-A.J. Styles-Kurt Angle. Quarter hour ratings indicate week after week that this not of interest to a chunk of viewers, but they keep pushing it. The show is titled “Karen Returns.” How about the show is centered around a title. It’s okay to have subtexts to feuds between two wrestlers that involved a controversy with a woman, but once it’s the centerpiece of a show, it’s overplaying the card and diminishing the wrestling. If this storyline is here so girlfriends don’t complain to boyfriends as much about watching Impact on Thursdays, because there’s something of interest to them – or whatever rationalization TNA has – that’s fine, but it’s being overplayed.
-The Impact opening aired, then Mike Tenay and Don West introduced the show. They hyped the Awesome Kong fan challenge and the World X Cup match.
1 — CONSEQUENCES CREED vs. A.J. STYLES
Creed’s music sounds too much like Elix Skipper’s did. Not that it doesn’t fit his character well enough, but Elix was treated as a jobber so it sends the wrong initial message to fans when that music starts. It’d be like WWE bringing in a new monster wrestler and having his music sound just like Snitsky’s. Tenay said Styles was instrumental in getting Creed a tryout with TNA. They showed Kurt Angle sitting sternly with his arms crossed in the parking area waiting for Karen to arrive. Nice athleticism between Styles and Creed early. Tenay noted that they know each other very well. In the end, Styles hit a Pele Kick out of nowhere and the a Styles Clash for the win. Jeremy Borash ran to ringside and told Styles that Kurt was waiting for Karen. Styles charged to the back to be sure Kurt didn’t get to her first.
WINNER: Styles in 5:00.
STAR RATING: *1/4 — Not sure what this does for Creed, especially since the focus immediately turned away from the match to the Karen soap opera rather than the finish of the match being discussed as having even a touch of relevance to either wrestler.
-Brother Ray came out. Tenay said Rhino wasn’t present this week because he’s still suffering effects of a concussion at the hands of Team 3D. Ray said, “One punk down, one to go.” Ray said Christian Cage is next. He said Christian would be stretchered out of of the ring tonight. He told the couch potatoes watching at home shouldn’t get up to go to the refrigerator or make love to their ugly wives because they were about to see something they have “never, ever, ever, ever seen in a wrestling ring before.” He said tonight is the last night of Christian pro wrestling career. There’s a promo from a wrestler who doesn’t want the quarter hour rating to drop for his match. Christian cage then made his ring intro. This is just one example of what should have been ahead of the Karen soap opera as something hyped at the top of the show as the centerpiece attraction. Why isn’t a match between Christian and Ray stemming from Christian’s friend Rhino being knocked out by Ray and his partner take precedence over “Karen’s return”? It sends a message to viewers that what happens in the ring between two name-wrestlers means less than the status of a screechy annoying unlikable wife of a star wrestler.
2 — BROTHER RAY vs. CHRISTIAN CAGE
At 2:00, after a frog splash by Christian led to a near fall, Johnny Devine ran to the ring to interfere. He swung a kendo stick at Christian. Christian ducked and then choked Devine with the stick. Ray gave Christian a suplex from behind to take control of the match. Ray then grabbed the kendo stick and hit Christian, getting DQ’d immediately.
WINNER: Christian via DQ in 3:00.
-Ray waved to the back. Devine, Brother Devon, and Tomko carried a wood framed table with a big glass top into the ring. Tenay and West went berserk over the prospects of that being used. Ray climbed to the second rope. Tomko and Devon lifted Christian into Ray’s arms. Ray then powerbombed Christian through the table and glass. Medics came out to check on Christian. West said the glass could cut an artery and end his career. The heels stood in the ring and raised their arms together. The announcers did a good job selling the potential effects of the move, but again with an angle of this magnitude planned, why put it this early in the show while giving Karen’s return top billing? The medics had pre-stained towels to look like splotches of blood and unrolled them strategically to look like Chistian was bleeding. They were obviously trying to cover up his uncut back as he sat up with the prestained towels to hide the fact that the gimmick glass didn’t actually cut him.
-They replayed the powerbomb through the glass table. Then they showed West and Tenay at ringside discussing the angle with disgust. They plugged the World X Cup, “Knockout Bimbo Brawl,” and Awesome Kong fan challenge. Oh, and they finally got around to plugging the actual TV main event – Kevin Nash vs. Booker T.
-Backstage, Borash told Nash he has something to prove, that he has a little “diesel” left in his tank. Nash said he’s been too politically correct lately. He said he’s been trying to show Joe 20 years of shortcuts, but Joe thinks there an ulterior motive. Borash said he’s known Nash for 20 years and he’s never known him to go out of his way to help people. Joe walked in and said that is the big question. He wished Nash best of luck and mocked him for leaning back on a coach to warm up. Nash asked if he should be warming up doing squats or judo or what? “When you get to this point of your career, the last thing you want to do is waste energy; you want to conserve energy.” Nash asked Joe if he thinks Booker T is going jumping jacks. Joe said he’s getting ready to kick his ass. Nash said it’s a mental game. Joe said maybe he will learn something tonight by watching his match. Then he pointed to Nash’s knees and told him to be careful out there.
-Tenay and West talked briefly about the Nash-Booker main event, then Awesome Kong’s entrance interrupted.
-Borash stood in the ring with Kong and Ryesha Saed. He explained the rules of the $25,000 challenge. He asked for a female challenger. Borash said after the break they’d pick one of the volunteers from the crowd.
3 — AWESOME KONG vs. DANIELLE
Danielle looked like a regular fan out of the crowd selected mainly for her breast size. Danielle took a beating early. Kong threw her into the steel steps at ringside. She shoved the “fan” Taylor who got beaten up by Kong last week who was in the front row this week. Back in the ring, Kong finished Danielle with the Awesome Bomb. Kong struggled to get her up as Danielle didn’t carry her weight well on the upswing. It made the move look awkward and Kong look relatively weak compared to when she executes the move on more experienced women in the ring.
WINNER: Kong in 3:00.
-After the match, Kong invited Taylor into the ring. Taylor jumped into the ring and they brawled. Security pulled them apart quickly. Jim Cornette came out to try to get order restored. Cornette scolded Taylor at ringside and said she has to go through proper channels to get matches. Taylor asked for a chance. She said he wants to face Saed. Cornette said if she can beat Saed, then she can get another shot at Kong. They went backstage to talk about it.
-A video feature aired on Angelina Love, who got her start at age 18 in Border City Wrestling. Scott D’Amore said she wasn’t at the level of Gail Kim, who was alos there at the time. They showed vintage footage of Love in the ring with Kim and Jerry Lawler. Love talked about wanting help, but Kim didn’t respond. “Typical Gail,” she said. “I didn’t like her.” D’Amore said Love made an ill-advised decision early in her career to leave Canada and go to TNA before she was ready. He said she was heartbroken after she got squashed time after time. He said, though, when she returned the next day with an attitude, he knew she’d make it. Love said she was driven by Kim’s success. Good feature. It gave a backstory to Love’s path to TNA and her rivalry with Kim. It had a real sports-like feel to it and made it seem like TNA Knockouts are more than women who won a reality-show contest based on looks or obstacle courses, but actually paid dues and learned on the grassroots level.
-Tenay hyped the Bimbo Brawl later between ODB and Moose. Tenay said weapons “are encouraged” in the Bimbo Brawl. They showed Moose warming up backstage by tossing apparatus around.
-As the World X Cup match was about to begin, Frank Trigg came out instead. He entered the ring and said what bothers him is that Styles hit him from behind in a parking lot. “I don’t know if that what you do over there in your little Gainsville world, but in my MMA world, I look a man in the eye before I knock him unconscious.” He called him to the ring, or said he can maybe send Karen out to fight his battle yet again. They showed Styles backstage with Karen and Borash. Styles got upset and headed to the ring, despite Karen’s protests. So Karen arrived? Wasn’t Kurt waiting for her? Trigg continued to antagonize Styles and eventually Styles headed to the ring. Tenay said he knew Styles wasn’t going to sit there and listen to Trigg continue to mouth off. A split screen showed Kurt approached Karen backstage. Karen asked if Kurt was so upset he was going to hit her. Angelina Love and Velvet Sky then arrived to give Karen a hard time. It led to a shoving match. Styles saw that on the big screen and ran back to the locker room. West said Trigg set up Styles to leave Karen so Love and Sky could get a two-on-one attack on Karen. “This is disgusting,” said Tenay.
-A brief video aired hyping Bound for Glory on Oct. 12.
-Tenay said Booker T has remodeled his locker room to his liking. They showed the red door with a gold star on it. He said they’d show the interior later. It’s suddenly feeling like HGTV around the Impact Zone!
4 — TEAM JAPAN (Doi & Yoshino) vs. TEAM MEXICO (Ultimo Guerrero & Ray Bucanero)
Tenay touted the experience advantage of Team Mexico with 17 years pro experience each. Team International and Team TNA watched from the entrance stage. Tenay said next week they move into the singles stage of the World X Cup.
WINNERS: Team Mexico in 7:00.
STAR RATING: ** — As good as the athleticism was, the World X Cup is just a bad TV concept for a show like Impact because viewers are being asked to somehow get invested in matches between wrestlers they don’t know and may have never heard of who won’t be around a month from now. Putting this match at the start of the second hour is just astounding, but only slightly more than featuring the World X Cup matches on this show week after week in the first place. Seriously, do they think even 100 people out there care about whether Team Mexico or Team International or Team Japan or Team TNA wins this thing? For those who care, team TNA and Team Mexico are tied with one point each.
-Lauren interviewed So Cal Val and Black Machismo backstage. Machismo said he’s pissed and freaking out over what his best friend did to him. He said Sonjay Dutt should have told him to his face his feelings rather than ruin his wedding. Val said it’s going to take a long time for them to get over this. She said it’s time to postpone the wedding for a while. Machismo reacted with surprise and said he’s ready to get married tomorrow. She got up and left as Machismo looked concerned about her desire to delay things.
-Sonjay Dutt came out to an entrance full of guru fanfare. He accepted donations of cash in his tambourine from children in Indian garb. He sat in the ring and asked everyone to pray for the shackles on So Cal Val to be released so she can be with him. She had the kids shake tambourines at ringside as he chanted “Set Val Free!” Val walked out onto the stage and yelled, “What were you thinking? You ruined my wedding.” Machismo charged to the ring and attacked Dutt. Dutt made a brief comeback, but Machismo took control again, so Dutt bailed out and took shelter behind the boys with the tambourines.
-Booker gave Borash a tour of his locker room make-over. Borash snacked on sushi and then observed the art and framed photos in the room, including a picture of Booker with Muhammad Ali. Booker wrapped himself in a luxurious robe and then asked Borash why it wasn’t like this at the beginning. Booker said he was once told that a quiet man is never heard, so he’s deciding to speak up. Booker said because of him TNA is on the global map and because of him ratings are up and buyrates are up. How many people have heard of the term “buyrate” in the general viewing audience? He said Nash is jealous because he has leapfrogged him in the hierarchy. “Kevin Nash is beneath me,” he said. “I will prove to Kevin Nash why I get star treatment everywhere I do.” There was another segment that could have opened the show since it built up a heel, set up what’s at stake in the main event match, and featured a star wrestler rather than centering around the wife of a star wrestler.
-A “Rough Cut” video profile continued with Matt Morgan. He gave the usual sounding excuses that pro wrestlers always give about why they didn’t make it into pro sports or last in pro sports. He talked about playing as a freshman in the NCAA Tournament, but losing in the first round. He said upon graduating college, he got a tryout Indiana Pacers. He said his priorities were off kilter at this point and basketball and football took a backseat. He said he was a lifelong pro wrestling fan. He said he was watching MTV one night. He said he saw “Tough Enough I” and felt he could be better than all of them. Larissa Morgan, his wife, was interviewed about being with Matt when he flew to Las Vegas for tryouts. She said when he made the top 25, she knew her life was about to change forever and she called her family and told them that. To be continued. These are well put together. It makes him seem like a real person with a real sports background. It humanizes him, but in the end, it should parlay into matching his current on-air character in some way, explaining how he became who he is today. We’ll see where it goes. They keep these short enough not to test the attention span of too many viewers.
-Tomko walked up to Angle and Borash backstage. He said things have gone way too far and they’re all looking silly because of these things with Karen and Styles. Borash said, “I’m all for showing a woman her place, don’t get me wrong, but what you’re doing is ridiculous. She’s the mother of your children,” said Borash. (Oh, how charming.) Borash asked Kurt when it’ll end. He said she humiliated him by cheating on Styles in front of the whole world. Borash said nobody’s seen them together. Kurt said he has – every night in his nightmares. Team 3D showed up. Tomko held his head as if he was getting a worse headache. Ray told Kurt he’s embarrassing himself. Kurt asked what he’s supposed to do. Ray said he doesn’t know how he did Karen in the first place. “Seriously, have you looked at her lately? I mean, for the past ten years, you’ve had to roll over every morning and look at that face.” (Because Ray is such a catch.) Kurt said he doesn’t have time to meet anybody “with work and everything.” (That’s a laugh out loud line if I’ve ever heard one; wrestlers on the road having a tough time finding women. Yeah, that’s a real problem.) Ray said he’s got a black book at home full of phone numbers of the hottest women out there. Ray said he’ll set him up on some blind dates. Kurt whispered to Ray, “No fat chicks. I know about Devon’s reputation.” Ray said he’s on. Kurt asked Ray what’s in it for him. Ray rolled his eyes and said, “You’re happiness is all we care about.” He kissed Kurt’s head. Kurt smiled. Devon laughed. Kurt told Borash, “Now that’s a good man.”
5 — MOOSE vs. ODB – Bimbo Brawl
Moose rolled a shopping cart to the ring full of weapons, channelling New Jack. ODB took control early, tipped over the shopping cart, and grabbed a chain. She threw Moose into the ringside barrier, then gathered more weapons including a hockey stick, a broom, a chair, and a lamp. She tossed Moose into the shopping cart. Tenay said he just received word that Christian was taken to the hospital and they’ll have an update on his condition next week. West said we should pray that it’s not a career-ending injury. In the ring at 3:00 Moose showed some offense with a hockey stick shot leading to a two count. Moose dragged ODB around the ring with a chain wrapped around her neck. ODB tried to kip up in the midst of her comeback. She almost made it without the help of her hands, then once she got to her feet she slapped her boobs. Then she KO’d Moose with a shovel. ODB set a flat chair mid-ring. When she went for a running powerslam, Moose escaped, but when she charged ODB, ODB met her with a boot. ODB dove toward Moose, but Moose moved. Moose then DDT’d ODB onto the chair for the win.
WINNER: Moose in 7:00.
STAR RATING: * — Fine little weapons brawl. Surprising to see Moose get put over ODB clean in that type of match. The announcers didn’t make a big enough deal out of it. A finish like that should mean something, not just be discarded as insignificant almost instantly. If a bigger deal isn’t made of match finishes, it renders future matches less relevant-feeling because whatever the finish ends up being, fans are conditioned to think of it was pretty much pointless anyway.
-They cut to a video feature on Booker T, Samoa Joe, and Kevin Nash.
6 — BOOKER T vs. KEVIN NASH
The match began with 12 minutes left in the show. Booker teased and taunted Nash early. Nash just stood there and stared him down. Nash overpowered Booker on an initial test of strength. Joe walked up a minute into the match with a folding chair in hand. That distraction got in the head of Booker, so Nash easily took control of the match, methodically pounding Booker at ringside. At 4:00 they cut to a break.
Nash remained on offense. West said he hopes the student is taking notes because the teacher is showing how to dominate and get into the head of Booker T. Nash score a series of rapid-fire two counts mid-ring. Booker fired back with a front wheel kick to Nash’s face. Booker stomped away at Nash, then approached Joe at ringside. He wanted to use Joe’s chair. Joe wouldn’t give it up. Booker shoved Joe of the chair, then hit him with the chair. Joe went down with a thud. It’s always nice to see a single chairshot get sold like a KO blow. Unprotecting chairshots are always bad, but anytime anything close to a stiff chair to the head is used, it ought to be sold as if someone was shot. Booker hit Nash with a chair to the back and scored a near fall. Joe struggled to get to his feet at ringside. Booker hit Nash with a chairshot. Nash wisely did lift his hands to absorb some of the impact, and it didn’t take away from his ability to sell it like he was shot. Joe entered the ring and went after Booker, having recovered from the chairshot. Joe went for a sidekick, but Nash got up and grabbed at Booker, but unknowingly put himself in the path of the kick. Booker then threw Joe out of the ring and covered Nash for the pin.
WINNER: Booker T in 11:00.
STAR RATING: *1/4 — The match told it’s story well and build both the Joe-Booker PPV main event well, plus the issues between Nash and Joe were escalated in a believable fashion.
-Afterward, Nash recovered and got up in Joe’s face with heated words. Security separated them. Booker smiled as he backed up the ramp.