Happy Christokwanzaakkah, everyone! Hopefully your plates were full, your stockings stuffed, and your wishes granted. To balance out all that holiday cheer, I invite you to embark with me upon the exercise in masochism that is reviewing “Impact.” No one wishes it were otherwise more than I, but the self-delusion only goes so far.

Hoist that glass of egg nog and let’s cross the line!

We open with a video package for the Main Event Mafia and their demands for respect. Isn’t the entire episode of “Impact” usually one huge two-hour video package for the Main Event Mafia and their demands for respect? This smaller one seems unnecessary. The person holding the “I Want Traci for Christmas” sign is a chick. The person holding the “The guy behind me can’t see” sign is a tool.

Here comes Mick Foley. Foley hits the ring and warns that since the MEM looked him in the eye and lied about no more “gangland-style hits,” he may have to get personally involved if there are any more. The bloodshed stops tonight, he says. Anyone else giggle and sing that statement to the tune of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight?” No? Just me? Oh. Ok. Cue the Main Event Mafia music and the requisite entrance. Kurt Angle claims that the MEM were actually the victims here. They didn’t want to be put in a cage match. AJ won the match anyway. Won the match, and left his partner alone in the ring. You put wrestling purists like Kevin Nash (stop laughing, that’s what he said) in a cage match where they have to act like savages, and what else did you expect? What else could they have done with Samoa Joe alone in the ring? The MEM is a family, a family that Foley should be a part of. Mick needs the MEM on the “Genesis” card, but he can’t make a match for Booker, Steiner, or Nash right now because he’s afraid that they’ll put a “hit” out on their future opponents, and that’s a shame. Do I have to list all the ways in which it is a shame that he even says this? Foley makes a double main event for tonight’s show instead. First is Booker and Steiner versus Brother Devon and AJ Styles. Angle tells Foley that you don’t give away pay-per-view matches for free, and asks about the two jobbers that they were supposed to face tonight. Foley announces that Angle will be fighting Rhino. Again. If things get out of control, he will get physically involved in tonight’s proceedings. Foley announces that Jeff Jarrett will be coming out to have Rhino’s back, just to keep things on the up and up.     

Rant #1. That Angle can’t be fired because of a contractual clause, I’ll buy. On a Blue Light special at K-Mart, as it is lame, but I’ll buy. However, if referee Shane Sewell can be suspended and fired for repeated physical involvement with wrestlers, even though he wasn’t the one who started it, why in the blue hell can’t something be done about the Main Event Mafia? The guy running the company on behalf of the founder won’t even make matches for the upcoming pay-per-view because he is afraid that the Main Event Mafia will take out their opponents in advance. Could this mess get any more one-sided? Jeebus! Seriously, they’re missing a golden opportunity here. Let’s say that fines and suspensions are handed out to the MEM. After several weeks of paying stiff and escalating fines, they need help, as the lavish lifestyle they portray is really beyond their means. Who seems to have unlimited cash? Why, that would be Robert Roode. An arrangement is made, and Beer Money become associates of the Main Event Mafia. Well, if you ignore the quasi-face turn that the “Rough Cuts” segments have indicated. And the fact that neither member of Beer Money won a major title in WWE or WCW.    

To the back! JB is with Rhino. Tonight Rhino will make Angle feel something, and that something is pain.

Match #1: Chris Sabin (w/ Alex Shelley) defeats Kiyoshi (X-Division Championship semi-Finals): Fifteen minutes in, and we get a match! It would be really nice of these matches leading to a pay-per-view title match would go longer than four minutes.  Agreed, not as good as last week’s Sabin/Dutt match, but nothing to hang one’s head over. Loud chants of “Let’s go Sabin!” Kiyoshi looks strong, and a stiff kick to Sabin’s face looks particularly nasty. Sheik Abdul Bashir sits in a chair on the ramp and watches the match, which happens to be refereed by Shane Sewell. Sabin wins with the Cradleshock (and no interference from Shelley), and makes it to the finals at Genesis. Will he be facing Eric Young, or his own Motor City Machine Guns partner and hetero life mate, Alex Shelley? Tune in later and find out! Meanwhile, as the celebrating Guns leave, Bashir enters the ring and confronts Sewell. Sewell tries to leave, but Bashir grabs him and pulls him back in, slapping his face and shoving him repeatedly. Sewell is about to throw down with Bashir and get fired, when the lights go out and Suicide makes the save.

  To Lauren and the Beautiful People! Actually, fake Sarah Palin and Kip are there too. Palin instructs TBP on meeting their public. It’s hard to hear anything over the deafening chants of “Velvet! Velvet!” Angelina and Velvet squirm and whine about the disgusting fans, er, “marks,” touching them. The only possible payoff to this is a Daffney revelation and shameless mockery of the Beautiful People. Keep repeating this to yourself.

Sit-down interview with Mike Tenay! It’s Jeff Jarrett. They talk about Kurt Angle. What else is new? When the interview ends, it’s back to the announce table with Tenay and West. Because he apparently doesn’t get enough focus on this show, Angle comes to the table and confronts them both, and talks about Jeff Jarrett. What else is new?

“Rough Cuts” segment with Beer Money, this time as a tag team. This one saw some semblance of character, though after the two previous segments, one wonders how much of a point there is in doing so. Beer Money rules.

A video package detailing the history of Beer Money with Matt Morgan and Abyss.

To the back! Lauren is with Matt Morgan and Abyss. Morgan shuts Abyss down and won’t let him speak. He shoos Lauren away and takes the mic. Somehow, his words don’t seem that frightening when one considers Beer Money’s track record. Again, Matt Morgan + Abyss = meh.

To the back! JB is in the Front Line locker room with Brother Devon and AJ Styles. The Front Line seeks revenge against the Main Event Mafia for what they did to Brother Ray and Samoa Joe. Honestly, when is the Front Line NOT seeking revenge against the Main Event Mafia? The supposed “war” in laughable. AJ says that before their match last week, Joe got a call that his wife was in labor with their first kid, whom Joe will now have to hold for the first time with a mangled arm. He flips out at the end, shouting at the MEM to come after him if they want somebody, he’s been here since the beginning, he’s an Original, come after him. Haven’t they been? Brother Devon says that Brother Ray has never second-guessed himself before, but mentally, he may never come out of what the MEM did to him. As if the MEM need to look stronger.

To the back! JB is with the Motor City Machine Guns. Shelley goofs it up, chewing on his dog tags and poking a finger in JB’s ear, while JB congratulates (somewhat unwillingly) Chris Sabin on his victory. The future Mr. Drowgoddess says that it’s karma, that good things happen to good people, and that tonight, the not-so-Great Muta just wasn’t good enough for one half of the Motor City’s finest. JB cautions him on his cockiness, and that if Alex Shelley beats Eric Young in two weeks, the Guns will be facing each other in the finals of the X-Division tournament at “Genesis.” Shelley chimes in that they’ve prepared for that, and that, after all, this is Eric Young we’re talking about. Suddenly he’s all brave and confident, when six months ago, he was afraid of his own pyro. Eric Young chooses that exact moment to show up and get in Shelley’s face about…something, calling him “Captain Trendsetter” and saying that “I warned you about this,” while gesturing at the MMG shirt that Shelley wore. When Shelley asks what Young planned to do about it (not that you could really hear it, as they were talking so fast), Young slapped him in the face. Shelley threw Young into the lockers, where he and Sabin double-teamed Young. Consequences Creed and Jay Lethal appear out of nowhere and hold back Sabin as Shelley and Young brawl into the hallway.

To the announce table! Tenay and West criticize the Guns, Shelley in particular, for their arrogance, disrespect, and bad attitude, and totally support Eric Young. Why is not precisely explained. Young and Shelley brawl out behind the announce table and toward the ring. Creed and Lethal hold Sabin back as Young and Shelley fight in the ring. Several referees are involved as well, trying to pull Young and Shelley apart. Sabin pulls Shelley out of the ring, but Young dives between the ropes and takes them both out. More brawling ensues, and the eventual pull-apart leaves Young, Creed, and Lethal in the ring, and Sabin and Shelley on the ramp.  

Rant #2. If TNA wants to get across the idea that Eric Young is completely devoted to the Front Line, and has been after Alex Shelley to stop wearing the MMG shirt in favor of the Front Line shirt to show group unity and solidarity, and Shelley has so far refused to do so because he doesn’t trust the rest of the Front Line and is insanely arrogant, TNA must learn to TAKE SOME FRIGGIN’ TIME WITH IT!!! Give us a few promos or segments that deal with these things instead of the constant MEM circle jerk. It’s not as if there’s no talk time on “Impact.” The announce team is useless here. They side with Eric Young, but for what? Barging in on someone else’s interview, briefly rambling about something that makes no sense at all, and slapping one of the interviewees in the face? Uh, yeah, Eric Young is totally in the right here…. TNA was in such a hurry to get to the slap and the subsequent brawl that they flew over the reasons behind them so quickly that there don’t seem to be any reasons. I remember an episode of WCW Nitro that reminds me of this, where a backstage confrontation between Mongo McMichaels and Davey Boy Smith played out as follows: Smith stood near the catering table, drinking coffee from a Styrofoam cup and totally minding his own business. Mongo walks up, and for absolutely no reason at all, shouts at Smith, “Boy! You don’t stand there drinking coffee when a MAN’S talking to you!” Mongo slaps the cup out of Smith’s hands, and they fight. Stupid? Oh, yes.     

To the back! JB pimps the free texting service. Lauren is with Traci Brooks, ODB, Roxxi, Taylor Wilde, and Christy Hemme. They’re all dressed up in Santa’s Helper outfits. Who decided to put most of them in the equivalent of granny nighties except for Christy Hemme? There is too much yelling and talking over each other to understand much of anything, and ODB has apparently stolen Roxxi’s gimmick of being bleeped. In any case, there’s a Santa’s Workshop Street Fight coming up.

Match #2: Booker T (w/ Sharmell) and Scott Steiner vs. AJ Styles and Brother Devon goes to no-contest: The ref threw this match out after all competitors were out of the ring for more than a ten-count, brawling through the back. Steiner can barely move, and anyone who thinks that AJ didn’t carry him through this match is blind. It’s almost 2009, and Scott Steiner should not be wrestling on my tv. Brother Devon gets handcuffed outside the Impact Zone by the MEM, who then rush the ring and beat down AJ. Consequences Creed, Eric Young, and Jay Lethal try to make the save, but the MEM takes them down quickly. AJ’s arm is positioned in the chair just like Joe’s was last week, but Mick Foley runs (sort of) down to the ring and cleans house. I love Foley, and have for a long time, but the idea that the weak punches he threw would take out the MEM when nothing anyone else has done works is just not believable. When we return from yet another commercial break, Foley announces that he warned the MEM, and now he’s making a match for “Genesis.” It will be Booker, Nash, and Steiner against AJ, Devon, and…himself.

Match #3: Christy Hemme, Roxxi, Taylor Wilde, and ODB  defeat Sojourner Bolt, Raisha Saeed, Awesome Kong, and Rhaka Khan (8-woman Santa’s Workshop Knockouts Street Fight): Taylor Wilde pinned Rhaka Khan in a pretty cool way, but this match was mainly to pimp the Christy Hemme/Awesome Kong title match at “Genesis.” A street fight with no weapons and very little illegal shenanigans? Odd.

Brutus Magnus video package. “Gladiator” was an awesome movie, but no attempt to tie that word or that concept (see “American”) to wrestling or fighting in a modern context has worked well. We shall see. I just hope the guy wears pants.

Match #4: Kurt Angle (w/ Sting) vs. Rhino (w/ Jeff Jarrett) goes to no-contest after Jarrett interferes: Sting did nothing to interfere. Angle got Rhino in the ankle lock, and Jarrett tore off his shirt and went after Angle. Referee Earl Hebner threw out the match, but Angle and Jarrett continued to brawl. Lots of security and backstage agents tried to pull them apart. BG James shouted at Angle, who punched him in the face and knocked him out. Fade out.

Final Thoughts: Four matches in two hours, two of which go to no-contest, one of which is around four minutes long, and one of which involves eight women in Santa’s Helper outfits? I’ll be grateful for the Christmas present that was Chris Sabin winning a televised match and going on to the finals of the X-Division tournament on the “Genesis” pay-per-view (which I am so getting now), but there’s nothing else good that can be said about this episode of “Impact.” Perhaps it would have been better with the Triumvirate. But then, everything’s better with the Triumvirate.

Peace out,


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