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Can I stretch TNA into a column of its own? We’ll see. The opening promo is all about Jeff Hardy but it’s Ric Flair who opens the show. Ric is the new special guest referee for Matt Morgan’s title shot against Jeff Hardy. Flair calls out Morgan, who answers. Flair, who has never lacked for balls, wants Morgan in a match. Morgan says wrestling Flair was number one on his bucket list anyway so he’s happy. Later they add a stipulation, if Morgan wins he can pick a referee. Lose and not only does he lose his title shot he never gets another shot at Hardy again.

We get a weird mixed tag next. The Motorcity Machineguns join Jay Lethal and Velvet Sky to take on Generation Me, Robbie E and Cookie. This is a fast paced and athletic match. During it we learn Lethal gets a rematch against Robbie E at the next PPV. It takes spray to the eye and a handful of tights for the heels to pick up a win. At least TNA is letting some young guys win matches. The guns demand a rematch with Gen Me alone on Reaction. Reaction?

Jeff Jarrett is afraid of Kurt Angle despite planning to show off his MMA skills. And abusing interviewer Jeremy Borash is a cheap way to get heat. Jarrett seems to be playing the heel well again but does he really deserve this spot any more? If he wasn’t the founder would he still have a job? Jarrett has six MMA students out for an exhibition tonight. The crowd is chanting “You Sold Out” so they’re buying what Jeff is selling. Jeff displaying moves in slow motion then hurting students is pretty boring. Shout out to Ken Shamrock though. “Boring” chants take over as this goes on but it’s the kind of boring that makes you want someone to interrupt the heel rather than wanting to change the channel. It’s Samoa Joe who interrupts Jarrett makes Joe go through two of his students to get a Submission Match with Double J. Jarrett just throws students at Joe then runs away. This wasn’t terrible but Joe beating up a student is not a decent enough pay off. The six jobbers added nothing.

Raven has to beat Jeff Hardy or he gets fired. EV 2.0 is a shell of what it is was and maybe Raven should go so this storyline can die out. Sure, Tommy Dreamer can find a place on the roster and they try to give some rub to Brian Kendrick through his association with them but really, the stable has been running on fumes for a while now. Hogan comes out to mockingly say good-bye to Raven but he does nail some of his catchphrases nicely. Let’s take a moment to recall that Raven was in TNA long before EV 2.0. Raven was once the premiere babyface in the company and he’s a former TNA Champion. I don’t know why he’s leaving now but I wouldn’t blame him one bit if he’s finally hanging up the boots. It’s just a pity his good-bye match, if it turns out to really be that, was little more than a squash by Jeff Hardy. With Mick Foley off promoting his book EV 2.0 is now reduced to Stevie Richards, Tommy Dreamer and Brian Kendrick. They give Raven a good send off.

Dreamer sticks around to call out Rhyno. So why did Rhyno turn on them? Well, he too was here long before EV 2.0 and they came along and stole his spotlight. But, more important, none of them lifted a finger when his contract expired. Eric Bischoff cared about him. Dreamer calls him a sellout and a quitter and this leads to violence. Rhino easily deal with Dreamer so Van Dam can come out. But a Gore actually leaves Rhino on top. Does anyone still care about Rhino?

Do we even expect Shannon Moore to last long in a Casket Match against Abyss? He actually puts up a fight but I never even consider that he might win. The Pope magically appears in the casket and attacks before it ends and, somehow, we get a disqualification in a Casket Match. Angelina Love and Mickie James have a #1 contender’s match. It’s more competitive than just about any WWE Diva’s match.

How did a beached whale get in the Impact Zone? Oh no, it’s Brother Ray. Ray is taking credit for the 3D and I guess WWE let some trademarks drop because he actually calls it the Dudley Death Drop. Apparently Chris Sabin was the first man to ever kick out of a 3D and Ray blames Devon. But do we have to revive the old “I’m Shawn Michaels you’re Marty Jannetty” shtick? The crowd wants Devon but don’t get him. Brother Ray walks off tall tonight.

If you haven’t figured out by now that you need to DVR Reactions to see the end of Impact you need serious help. If you are still using a VCR, I pity you. They must have taped this show after the amusement park closed because the crowd is actually behind the new wrestlers not just mindlessly chanting for any old familiar face they see, regardless of if they’re a face or a heel. Ric Flair is a legend, but watching this match I had to wonder if he was any better today than Sergeant Slaughter was on RAW? There’s a really long ref bump that lets Flair cheat a bit then a Fortune run in to beat down Morgan. Doug Williams stays on the outside looking in. Then he starts his turn on Fortune as well. Williams gives Morgan time to recover and once he cleans house he hits a Carbon Footprint just in time for the ref to recover and Morgan will name the referee for his title shot. Look, Ric Flair is my favorite wrestler of all time but he didn’t look good here. Ric already had the best retirement a man can hope for and it’s really feeling like joining TNA is just tarnishing his legacy.

Reaction isn’t a bad show. It has a lot of solid interviews. But all it does is add depth to what we already know. It’s never new information. Now, tonight, we have an actual match on the show. But it’s an empty arena match and I’ve never been fond of those. The crowd matters to the feel of a match. Sometimes it helps; sometimes it hurts (see Goldberg vs. Lesnar – although that was so bad it was good on a bizarre social experiment level) but I want it there. The camera work on the match is also really crappy since this isn’t supposed to be heavily produced television. With no crowd, and little commentary, you can hear everything these guys say. There’s also no ref. It’s just a really long back and forth brawl The trash talk is very good but it’s too long for what it is.

Apparently, to see the end of Reaction you have to tape the show after it too. There was supposed to be more interviews with Raven and Hardy. If you stayed up until after midnight and watched them please leave a comment.

I gave TNA a lot of time tonight and I’m not sure it deserved it. This wasn’t a bad episode but the more recent ones have been better.

tna special

TNA’s special TV episode, The Whole Effin’ Show, seems worthy of devoting full attention to. Expect a lot of wrestling here and, if TNA isn’t lying, Pay Per View quality matches. And we’re opening with Kurt Angle versus AJ Styles so I’m feeling pretty good from the start. Did AJ get a huge new tattoo? It’s distracting. Both guys are getting support from the typically wacky Impact Zone crowd. Styles busts out the Pele, Angle hits a Moonsault Bodypress. AJ kicks out of an Angle Slam as they tease a lot of finishes. But the real finish comes when AJ goes for a mule kick low blow only to be caught and reversed into the Ankle Lock. AJ doesn’t last long in the hold and the forgone conclusion of Angle winning is realized.

Straight into another match, well after the commercial, as Angelina Love challenges again for the Knockouts title. These two are not the best female wrestlers in the world but they keep the crowd into it. The motorcycle mystery woman shows up again, only to be attacked by Velvet Sky. Velvet rips the helmet off but the mystery woman is wearing a mask under that. What a tease. Madison Rayne tries to win with a belt shot but Angelina gets the last laugh and captures the title once again.

Another commercial then a custom intro by Ken Anderson but we’re going straight into another match, a Triple Threat Match between Anderson, Matt Morgan and The Pope D’Angelo Dinero. The crowd chants “You Still Suck” and I’m not even sure who they are aiming that at. Oddly, the two faces are double teaming Morgan at first. But that only lasts until the first attempt at a cover. It’s not a very long match and the ending is boring as Anderson takes down the Pope, only to be ambushed by Matt Morgan who steals the pin.

Jeff Hardy made an open challenge. Let’s see if anyone interesting responds. Shannon Moore? Really? That’s it? It’s certainly a fast paced match as these two friends go at it. And the announcers have no issue repeatedly telling us these two are friends. There’s no doubt Hardy is going to win but he goes out of his way to make his buddy look good out there.

Now a match that’s been building for weeks, the finals of the best of 5 series between Beer Money and The Motor City Machineguns. It’s a two out of three falls match. No rest period between falls though. The crowd is totally into this match as both teams show their stuff. Beer Money grab the first fall but the Guns even it up very quickly and we’re into sudden death. But the third fall is worthy of being a match by itself and it could go either way several times. There’s far too much double teaming, a problem with TNA and its treatment of officials, but when the Guns finally do pick up the win their celebration is well earned. TNA is trying to make tag team wrestling matter again and they’re doing a better job than WWE lately.

We’ve been “promised” Hulk Hogan is going to speak tonight. So why is the main event starting now? A Stairway to Janice match may be the stupidest name of all time. Abyss goes for the weapon before RVD even gets to the ring but a flying kick takes the ladder down. After the match Van Dam went through against Sabu at Hardcore Justice I’m surprised at how physical they make this match. Lots of fun with ladders. Tacks, barbed wire and glass also make appearances. A Rolling Thunder onto a board covered in barbed wire is a very nice visual spot. Abyss’s hardcore tactics keep backfiring on him but it’s he who climbs the ladder and claims Janice. Van Dam does some nice high flying moves that end up getting him the win. I suppose you’d expect him to win when the show is named after him.

After a whole night of action-packed matches it’s time for Hulk Hogan to send us home on a low note. More Hardcore Justice talk? Is he actually trying to justify that show as helping the brand. They drag out all the EC- I mean EV 2.0 people out. Sabu, Guido, Mamluke and even Bill Alphonso are still around collecting paychecks that could go to stolen Ring of Honor talent. No Raven in this lovefest. The lights go out, and we’re expecting Sandman but instead it’s Fortune, Matt Morgan and I’m not sure who else who attack the EV 2.0 guys. Raven and Sandman even try to come to the rescue. Abyss join the party to get some revenge on RVD and, sadly, this storyline is not going to die. When your storyline is talented wrestlers people care about beating up has-beens why would any self-respecting fan cheer for the has-beens?

A really solid episode of Impact. Some long running storylines were continued with the matches but we were heavy on the action until the unfortunate final scene. For TNA’s sake let’s hope a lot of people tuned out before Hogan arrived.