Two hundred episodes of “Impact.” And I’ve watched them all.

The opening video shows moments from the preceding 199 episodes, some of which involve great things that make fans warm and fuzzy on the inside. What’s in store for us tonight? How much overtime will we actually get? Is there hope for the future after all? Will a more streamlined review format help you, dear reader, to come back to BWF and bring friends? Join your Empress of “Impact” and cross the line!

Opening promo: Kurt Angle complains about Lashley’s actions being unacceptable. The Main Event Mafia hits the ring. Angle talks about how they make up 75% of the TNA payroll and they abuse and manipulate others into giving them what they want. Lashley comes out and says that he wanted to join the MEM, but seeing Mick Foley last week, fighting for the company, his own survival, and the rest of the TNA roster, changed his mind. Lots of talk about TNA management and ratings. Lashley wants to make Angle an offer he can’t refuse. Foley comes down, talks about ratings, and suggests Foley and Lashley against Angle and Nash for the main event. Angle’s World Heavyweight title and Nash’s Legends title will be on the line, so if either Nash or Angle get pinned, the person pinning wins that particular title.

Match #1: Hernandez defeats Samoa Joe (w/ Taz): THIS is what TNA should be focusing on. THIS is what can carry the company for the next five years. A solid power vs power match, with both guys looking good. Hernandez pushed Joe off the top rope and hit a splash for the win, then spoke with JB about being the first Latino TNA World Heavyweight Champion. A good match, and a great example of how to truly elevate someone and get him over without making the other guy look like a complete tool. Hernandez has a totally new look, with Mexican flag trunks and new music. If LAX hasn’t broken up for good, he should still have the LAX music, particularly when he is introduced as “representing LAX.”

Backstage, Joe destroys things. Taz says that Hernandez didn’t beat Joe, Joe beat Joe, then runs off the cameraman.

Lauren interviews Matt Morgan. Apparently all past bad blood between them is no more. Morgan cuts a solid promo about his goal to join the MEM, and how he’s a pay-per-view main event waiting to happen. This guy was stuck with a stuttering gimmick in WWE? He’s much more impressive in TNA than he ever was there.

Jeremy Borash interviews AJ Styles. AJ’s had a rough few weeks. AJ admits that Morgan is bigger and stronger, but he didn’t care, because Morgan was just like the bullies that AJ grew up with. AJ will be the one moving on to “Hard Justice.”

JB interviews Mick Foley and Bobby Lashley. Again, we hear that Lashley was set to join the MEM after neghotiating with Angle (who apparently has the power to hire whoever he wants), but seeing Foley fighting for something greater than himself last week made him change his mind. Foley thanks him.

Video packages air for both Matt Morgan and AJ Styles. This is good, and should be done much more often, as it makes the matches (in this case, a best of three series for a spot in the “Hard Justice” World title match) seem very important. 

Match #2: AJ Styles defeats Matt Morgan: Another good match that showcased the classic power vs. speed idea. Morgan dominated early, but AJ gets the win after a tremendous springboard 450 splash that launched him almost across the ring. Wow! Matt Morgan must get rid of that hideous cape with the DNA design. It just looks stupid. This being a best of three series, I think we can all guess how the second match will go.

Lauren interviews Traci Brooks, taking her to task for using her referee position to win the MEM battle royal for “Chosen Knockout” status. Traci cuts the best promo that I’ve ever heard her make, saying that she had sat at home for so long, constantly calling and e-mailing TNA about being involved in the show again. When she got a response at all, it was , “Oh, Traci, we love you, but we have nothing for you.” She watched all the other Knockouts come in, and simply had had enough that the company for which she had sweated and bled from the very beginning was kicking her to the curb for no reason. Angle showed her the money, and she took it. That’s how it goes. Then Taylor Wilde showed up. Traci was the original Knockout, and had been the inspiration for so many of them, and now, their hearts are broken. Traci told her to find another line of work, because this business wasn’t for soft women. It was for bitches like her. Traci left. Taylor came off as a complete schmuck, and not at all sympathetic. That may not have been the intention.

A video shows Tara’s history with The Beautiful People. Don West conducts a sit-down interview with Tara, where he pushes The Beautiful People as the best ever. Tara wants to fight Awesome Kong because Kong is the best.

Match #3: Awesome Kong (w/ Raisha Saeed), ODB (w/ Cody Deaner), and Tara defeat The Beautiful People: This match got about ten minutes, which was great. Commercials were involved, but hey, it’s something. Tara and Angelina Love started, but by the end, Kong and Tara were fighting out of the ring and to the back. During the match, there was a brief shot of Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin standing in the audience. Shelley held up a sign that read, “Conspiracy Victims,” and Sabin had one that read, “Yes, We Still Work Here.” Don West made one quick comment, but other than that, the annoucers ignored them, and no further camera time was given, so it certainly came off that it wasn’t supposed to happen. The incredibly loud chants of “Motor City!” during a Knockouts match gave it away, though. Please dear wrestling gods, let this go somewhere good! Back in said match, ODB was left alone against all three of The Beautiful People. Angelina Love talked trash to Deaner, but got close enough to him that he grabbed her and kissed her, allowing ODB to roll her up for the win.

A new video airs for the World Elite faction, consisting of Sheik Abdul Bashir, Kiyoshi, the three members of The British Invasion, and Eric Young. They hit the ring, and Brutus Magnus introduces Eric Young as their leader. Young talks about knowing that he had to make it in the US if he wanted to succeed in wrestling, and that the rest of the world hates America because of their gloabl actions and general behavior. He only got cheeered when he made them laugh. World Elite will be who THEY want to be. Tonight, the entertainment stops, and the violence begins. He shaves off pieces of his hair with clippers.

Match #4: The British Invasion defeats Team 3D for the IWGP Tag Team titles: This was a tables match for the IWGP Tag Team titles, made after the usual screaming of “This is America! Love it or leave it!” Yaay, hardcore jingoism. After Earl Hebner Ref Bump #73, Brother Devon powerbombs Brutus Magnus through a table for the apparent win, but Eric Young runs in and hits Devon with a belt and rearranges the scene. As Hebner comes to, he sees Devon through the table, and awards the match and the titles to the British Invasion. Yes, this was the exact same spot done when Team 3D and Johnny Devine fought the MCMG and Jay Lethal over the X-Division. And when they fought Beer Money. So tag team titles from New Japan changed hands on a non-ppv, outside of Japan, in another company, to a team that doesn’t work for New Japan. Ok. What’s the deal here?

Video package of TNA’s presence at the San Diego Comic Con. This could have and should have been HUGE. The match between Daniels and Suicide vs. the MCMG was considered by many non-wrestling media figures to be the highlight of the day. What was the bulk of the footage about? How great Kurt Angle is to work with in movies. Seriously, it was. Who labeled these people “television actress,” “movie actor,” and “movie director?” That was pathetic. If you can’t list that person’s most recent or biggest name project, just list the name. Daniels, Alex Shelley, and Chris Sabin (Suicide is left out for obvious reasons) didn’t even get spoken to on camera here. The guys who actually make you look good in public, while fitting in perfectly at Comic Con because they love video games and comic books? Those guys?    

Dr. Stevie is screaming and throwing money. “$50,000” was comprehensible, at least. What is it with TNA and $50,000 lately? I think that Dr. Stevie put a bounty of $50,000 on Abyss. Either that, or somebody has a major gambling problem.

Video of Jesse Neal training with Rhino. Oh, give it up, already! It may be a great human interest story in real life, but the key word is “interest.” No one cares about either man right now. Neither does TNA, apparently, as we cut away from this video to a very weak MEM beatdown of Foley and Lashley, where Lashley is “knocked out cold.” by Scott Steiner and Booker T. Look, guys, we know you’re just calling it in, but if you’re beating someone down, can’t you at least make it look painful? Jeebus.

After the commercial break, Beer Money fights in the back with Steiner and Booker. Angle and Nash get their respective entrances, and wait in the ring. Lashley’s music plays, but no Lashley. Foley’s music plays, but no Foley. Angle and Nash look smug and laugh. Foley’s music plays again, and Foley limps to the ring.

Match #5: Mick Foley and Lashley defeat Kurt Angle and Kevin Nash: This was a tag team match, but both Angle’s Wortld Heavyweight title andNash’s Legends title were on the line, and if either man got pinned, he lost his title to the guy who pinned him. Foley went it alone, and took the usual abuse from Angle and Nash in what was pretty much a handicap match. Angle puts Foley in the Angle Lock, but before Foley can tap, the lights go out. Sting’s music plays. The lights come up. Sting stands in the audience, pointing his baseball bat at Angle and Nash. The lights go out again. The lights come up again. Lashley is standing in the ring, a thick white bandage of some kind wrapped around his head. He takes out Angle and Nash by himself, allowing Foley to pin Nash and win the Legends title. Mick Foley is the new TNA Legends champion.

FINAL THOUGHTS: The first three matches were good, and the sort of thing on which TNA should be focusing in the first place. It’s rather annoying that a milestone like the 200th episode of “Impact” focused almost entirely on the MEM and Bobby Lashley, who had his first actual match tonight at the end of the show, and already has a t-shirt. Where were they in 2003 and 2004? Oh, yeah. So now, Mick Foley, Sting, and Bobby Lashley are the saviors of TNA. No one else could possibly be capable of doing anything. And now that Elijah Burke will be coming in, albeit under a new name, just watch as he gets the standard ex-WWE guy treatment and the true Originals stand aside. Again. Interesting how the MCMG protest was treated in the “it’s real because we’re ignoring it” vein. It really came off as if the annoucers and camera crew were trying not to acknowledge it, so hopefully, this leads somewhere good for them. Making Eric Young the leader of World Elite isn’t a bad idea. Sure, the Jeff Jarrett/Eric Young feud could have been something, but as a back-up plan, this is hardly doomed to failure. The concept of the guy who refuses to play the court jester anymore, and goes out of his way to spit in the faces of those who found him funny is compelling. Young is doing a good job with it, so give it a chance.

The Lord and Master of Randomness is still on holiday, but check back with us for reviews of “WWE Superstars” and “Smackdown,” ThinkSoJoe’s Thoughts, and whatever else we can come up with!

Peace out,


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