Clearly, the major impact moment of the night was the arrival of Hulk Hogan and his supporting cast of characters. We saw Hulk Hogan, Bubba the Love Sponge, Jeff Hardy, Shannon Moore, Eric Bischoff, Ric Flair, Scott Hall, Sean Waltman, Orlando Jordan, The Nasty Boys, and Sean Morely make their TNA debuts tonight. That’s a pretty impressive list of attendees for tonight’s show! In honor of the amazing momentum and hype surrounding not just tonight’s edition of iMPACT!, but around the battle between TNA and WWE tonight, I thought that I would use this week’s Major Impact column to provide my thoughts in a stream of consciousness style as I watched iMPACT! on Spike TV.
And let the stream of consciousness…begin!
They moved the announce table – thank God. That’s a good move already to begin the show. It moves fans closer to the ring, which is necessary for the television production aspect of iMPACT!
Taz’s orange colored blazer is awesome. I’m a fan of little things like that which help to round out the show.
I’m a big fan of Bubba the Love Sponge – that’s AWESOME that he’s part of the announce team!
Steel Asylum Match
Favorite tag team comes out – Motor City Machine Guns
Major Blunder using that steel cage – you can’t see through it! Damn it! Creates poor camera angles and removes the audience at home from the action – not a good way to get the fans who want interaction involved in the biggest show in TNA history.
Bad move declaring a disqualification in the first match and Homicide made an ass of himself not being able to get out of the cage. I know it was planned, but it looked pretty damn bad. Gotta love the fans chanting “This is bullshit!” And you’ve also gotta love the Spike TV folks taking out the “shit” part of the chant.
Jeff Hardy Appears
Nice entrance for Jeff Hardy – good to see this guy back on a wrestling show and, thank goodness, on a show where he can put his natural high-flying wrestling abilities to good use. Great camera shot of Hardy sitting at the top of the Steel Asylum cage.
Good promo by Kevin Nash – he seemed a bit off of his game, but I expect that it was the excitement of the event that shook him just a little bit.
Ric Flair Makes An Appearance
Wow – They actually got “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair to appear on iMPACT! Sorry folks, that trumps Bret Hart on RAW for this wrestling fan. Honestly, between Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair debuting on iMPACT! tonight, I can’t imagine who else these guys have in store that could make this show any bigger!
At this point in the show – 30 minutes in – I’ve got that “big time event” feeling already. Also, up until this point in the show, I have to admit that this thing is being written pretty well. Good job by whoever is in charge of tonight’s writing.
The Mick Foley segment was okay. I could have done without it, but since this is part of the longer, on-going storyline that is being built around Hogan’s arrival, I can deal with it (plus, it was short and sweet).
Bobby Lashley & Krystal Lashley Speech
Eh, the Bobby and Krystal Lashley segment was okay. It seems like they’re just dropping the entire Scott Steiner feud, which might be for the best. I would have liked some more closure on that, though. What are they getting at with Bobby Lashley wanting out of his contract? Where can that storyline go?
What guy can’t appreciate The Beautiful People playing strip poker?
Scott Hall & Sean Waltman Appear
Nice to see both Scott Hall and Sean Waltman back on a wrestling show. Interesting that they are being “barred” from entering the iMPACT! Zone. I wonder how that’s going to play out tonight…
I told one of my roommates earlier tonight that the biggest time of the night for TNA is going to be the five minutes before RAW starts and the ten minutes after RAW starts. That’s when they’ll be able to retain any channel changers that might flip over to see Bret Hart’s return to WWE. Here we are, at ten minutes to 9:00pm EST and it appears that the folks at TNA agree with my assessment because Hogan’s limousine is getting closer and closer to the iMPACT! Zone.
Ah, a classic “Outsider” entrance by Scott Hall and Sean Waltman by coming in through the audience. Good work on the writing and good work building up the lead into the crucial five minutes before RAW starts by having someone move from one limousine to another limousine. This show has that “big time event” feeling like no show that I’ve seen in a long time. The anticipation is building – let’s hope that it’s a good payoff!
Lots of commercials in the last ten minutes – I guess they’re biding their time so they can have a prolonged segment going into the 9 o’clock hour. I’m okay with that – let’s just hope that they’ve got something big planned going into that head-to-head showdown with RAW.
Hulk Hogan’s Debut on iMPACT!
How about that nWo themed music that Hulk Hogan walked out to? Pretty cool, huh? I see Brooke Hogan in the audience – very nice. And the guy with the “Change” t-shirt that had Hulk Hogan’s face in the now-classic Obama print – good work there.
How has Hogan “been in the back all day long” if he was supposed to be just arriving by limousine? Come to think of it, they didn’t show the limousine arriving or who was riding in it. Hmmm…
I wonder if WWE owns those nWo hand signals. They could have let Hogan talk longer before being interrupted by Hall and Waltman. But the, “Hey yo,” was pretty cool.
Seems like they’re using Hall and Waltman to represent what all of the generic wrestling fans are already saying about Hulk Hogan’s arrival in TNA: that it’s going to be more of the same old, same old since the “same people” are involved as were involved with WCW, etc. Nice to see the TNA writers taking those hardcore anti-fans straight on with this little interview segment.
NICE! You’re reading the thoughts right now of one of the biggest Eric Bischoff fans on the planet. I LOVE seeing him in the ring right now – perfect!
That was a good segment with Hogan, Bischoff, and The Outsiders – oh, and Sting hanging out in the rafters. Sure, it could have been better in some spots, but that’s the nature of a live show. Let’s see what Eric Bischoff’s plan to turn TNA upside down has in store for us tonight.
By the way, just flipped over to RAW when the commercial break hit in time to see Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels “bury the hatchet,” shake hands, and actually exchange a hug. That’s a pretty big moment in professional wrestling right there. Impressive. I hope that the combined ratings of TNA and WWE are monumental tonight. Back to TNA…
Logistically speaking, it’s a smart move to put Awesome Kong and the other TNA Knockouts on after Hogan’s debut. The Knockouts are consistently the highest rated part of iMPACT! so this could be a good way for TNA to maintain the momentum. Taylor Wilde is hot!
Ah, the Motor City Machine Guns are laid out in the back. I wonder which Outsiders would be capable of doing something like that…
Awesome Kong & Hamada vs. Sarita & Taylor Wilde
So the TNA Knockout Tag Team Championship changes hands tonight? That’s a good move for that tag team division. Frankly, I think that putting any championship belt on Awesome Kong is a great idea. Good to see her and Hamada (who, by the way, is a ridiculous wrestler) getting some gold.
Ah ha ha! It’s the porn star version of Sean Morely backstage during the The Beautiful People’s game of strip poker. See? I find this funny – that’s humorous to me.
Ha ha! The Nasty Boys! I love it!
Hernandez & Matt Morgan vs. Raven & Dr. Stevie
Alright, here we go with Hernandez and Matt Morgan. I want to see these two guys put on a good performance. There are a lot of new eyes watching TNA tonight and I want them to see how great Morgan and Hernandez can be in the ring when given the chance. Of course, I’m not sure if a squash match allows these guys to put their best foot forward, but I guess they’re trying to cram as much as they can into the show.
Desmond Wolfe vs. D’Angelo Dinero
I don’t get The Pope gimmick, but I do think that bringing Orlando Jordan into the fold is a good idea. I feel like he’s been blackballed by WWE because of his sexuality, but if the guy can wrestle and entertain people, then his choices outside of the ring shouldn’t make a difference.
I agree with Mike Tenay (shocking!) that Desmond Wolfe is one of the biggest and best acquisitions that TNA made in the last year. He’s got “it,” whatever “it” happens to be… Anyone else sensing that Taz is channeling Jim Ross with his announcing style tonight? Whatever he’s doing, he’s doing a good job. I’m all about the, “This is wrestling!” chant going on with the audience right now. That’s pretty cool.
And Jeff Jarrett makes his appearance. I wonder where that’s going to take this show.
Why do I have to be accosted by these damn commercials turning up the volume during the breaks? Damn it!
Ah ha! Bubba the Love Sponge jumping in on the middle of Jeremy Borash trying to do a backstage moment. I love it! And hey, Bubba looks like he lost some weight. Good for him.
I feel like something big is still yet to come tonight. I don’t know what it is, but those limousines doing the old switcharoo earlier tonight has me thinking. What was that all about? I don’t know if Hogan was in that limousine…
I’m a big AJ Styles fan and I love hearing him interact with a genius on the stick like Eric Bischoff. How about that main event for the evening? AJ Styles going against Kurt Angle for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship?! That’s awesome! Eric Bischoff is the perfect guy to be in TNA – this is going to be a great run as long as he’s in charge of the show.
Jeff Jarrett Speech
I’m usually ambivalent towards Jeff Jarrett and his speeches, but I think that he’s doing a decent job of putting over Hogan’s arrival as well as TNA’s choice to go head-to-head against RAW. I love hearing the fans get behind AJ Styles in Jeff Jarrett’s little speech about all of the young guys that he’s given a chance to shine in TNA. When Hogan interrupts, he certainly makes a statement, huh? It seems to me like Hulk Hogan is taking this role seriously – he’s engaged in the content of the show and making real statements about the talent. Nice!
Mick Foley is pissed off, huh? Good. He’s a better character when he’s mad and not made to play a foolish clown.
Jeff Hardy painting a weird picture of Hulk Hogan in the locker room – makes me laugh! 🙂
Samoa Joe vs. Abyss
Nice to see Samoa Joe and Abyss going at in the ring tonight. Those two haven’t had a good one-on-one match to date and with both of them in TNA for a number of years already, that’s a damn shame. And this is a good match, too! I didn’t want to see Samoa Joe win with a submission, but the match had to end some way, I guess.
More people getting laid out getting laid out in the back! And Bubba the Love Sponge is there at the scene of each crime. Hmmm…
Ha ha ha! The Nasty Boys sneak in behind Bubba the Love Sponge’s distraction. That’s entertainment right there, kids.
You gotta appreciate how The Nasty Boys are making a mockery out of what everyone thought they would be doing in TNA. In other words, they’re acting the way the haters said that they would act if they were let into TNA. In essence, it’s a work on the smarks out there. I love it!
AJ Styles vs. Kurt Angle
And here comes the main event between Kurt Angle and AJ Styles. This is going to be one hell of a match and it’s live. Awesome.
AJ Styles is awesome. He’s absolutely phenomenal (I hate to use his gimmick as an adjective, but it works). A masked man interrupting the match? What’s this about? Hmmm… Yeah, the powerbomb into the top rope is absolutely ridiculous. This match is going to be great. WHAT??! A commercial break during the main event?! Good grief! Why?!
This main event match is awesome. Imagine how great the crowd reaction would be if the match was taking place in front of 20,000 fans somewhere? That’s the type of level that TNA needs to get to if the want to compete on Monday nights.
Whoooooo!!! You gotta love Ric Flair coming out to the iMPACT! Zone to watch the main event firsthand. Hey, he’s a living legend – he can do what he wants!
So how does Tenay say that we are sticking with the main event no matter how late it goes…and then they immediately go to commercial break? I know that they’re going head-to-head with RAW tonight, but come on! Stay with the damn match and screw the commercial breaks! I wonder how many fans are flipping over to RAW right now.
Wow. That was a great match! That was awesome! Angle and Styles can light that iMPACT! Zone up whenever they want. That’s amazing. And here comes the overrun segment with Hogan, Angle, Styles, and possibly Ric Flair.
Ah, there’s Sean Morely and The Beautiful People. Eric Bischoff is the best. How great is he at playing the jerk? I love it. More Bischoff on television! Ah, The Outsiders lay a beat down on Mick Foley to end the show – and we get a glaring Hulk Hogan as the show goes off the air. Interesting…
So there you go, folks. I’m usually not a fan of three hour shows, but I think that TNA did a decent job of giving the fans what they needed to see tonight. They needed to see something different and they needed to see new names and new faces in Total Nonstop Action; they accomplished that with ease and then some.
In terms of the ratings war that everyone will be talking about for the next umpteen weeks, I know that TNA isn’t going to beat WWE tonight. However, I do hope that they score well and beat whatever Spike TV usually runs in their Monday night slot. If TNA can handily beat whatever usually runs on Spike TV’s Monday night slot, then I’ve read rumors that we might see a monthly Monday night iMPACT! show. How great would that be for professional wrestling?!
As I wrote in my stream of consciousness above, I hope that the combined ratings for TNA and WWE are strong tonight. Professional wrestling needs a rebirth and it needs competition – let’s hope that tonight begins some real competition in sports entertainment!
Quote of the Night:
“This is wrestling! This is wrestling!” – The fans during the D’Angelo Dinero vs. Desmond Wolfe match. Gotta love that…
“Let’s go AJ! Let’s go Angle! Let’s go AJ! Let’s go Angle!” – The fans during the Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles main event
“Who needs Bret? Who needs Bret?” – The fans mocking WWE’s attempt to combat tonight’s iMPACT!
“Those are the two greatest wrestlers in the business today!” – Hulk Hogan congratulating AJ Styles and Kurt Angle after their main event match. I couldn’t agree more.