I'm here in Orlando for Tuesday's Impact taping. Advertised (and I mean this somewhat loosely) are RVD, Jeff Hardy, and Hulk Hogan. For those of you who have never attended, you basically get to hang out in a line under a roller coaster. Every now and then, something falls out of the pocket of one of the riders and hits a hapless taping attendee in the head. Hardcore!
After standing under the coasters for a few minutes, I am herded into the taping studio area, a long and exceedingly smelly hallway. There does not feel like a ton of people here as opposed to people in line for Shrek outside. This crowd is noisier here, though, and lots of chants (from one noisy guy) for Hogan. A guy behind me is interested in wrestling news, so I direct him to the free PWTorch App. A Universal Studios cast member makes fun of me for typing on my phone, but has a charming Aussie accent. Somewhere in-line, a guy yells out, "I wanna f--- Velvet" who I'm assuming is the Knockout, and not a weird fetish. There are also lots of promises of it being a lot cooler inside the studio. We shall see. Live in the Impact Zone!...
Doors open and there's a mild stampede inside. There are lots of signs here and Harry Potter gear. It feels like something clever could be done there. Inside, the merchandise has a lot of day-glo in it, really nailing the feeling that I'm back in the '80s. Also, lots of Direct Auto Insurance advertising. "My outfits may leave me exposed, but my car insurance won't," reads the slogan. Well, geez, Love, put on a coat. Problem solved.
My seats are staggeringly good. Vince McMahon was never this good to me; automatically, I find myself giving the matches an extra star. I also regret the choice of not changing from work clothes prior to coming to the event. Lots of set-up happening, and some quick advice: the gloss stickers on the ringposts would look better in matte. Just saying. Also, tons of Team Tara shirts. She's the champ, right? No? In the title chase? No? Er...
Hey, unlike WWE, these folding chairs aren't chained down! Now we've got a party! Warm-up includes showing the results of Lockdown on the nice HD screen. That's a smart move. I doubt many people here ordered Lockdown, and it gets the crowd invested.
Dixie Carter is out, along with Taz and Mike Tenay. Holy cow, Dixie looks pretty solid. Jeremy Borash then comes out to warm up the crowd. He's really working the camera side. Hemme battles slightly with the ramp as Borash runs down all the countries where Impact airs. Flag of Norway with PCW on it; new faction? Who knows. Some models at ringside; not sure what the story is there, either. At the start, it's not packed; there are empty spaces, but certainly loud.
Impact SPOILERS 4/19
- Out comes TNA World Hvt. champion Bobby Roode. Slow walk to the ring, and apparently he got a huge haircut. Some basic gloating that the crowd isn't into to start off. He points out that James Storm's kick won him the match at Lockdown. Psychology, folks. Some decent heel heat as Roode runs through his wins, but then is interrupted by serious-face Mr. Anderson. Anderson's mic isn't working very well.
Anderson says he doesn't need a beer bottle to win. This is hilarious to Roode, who tells Anderson to get back in line. This is a cue for Jeff Hardy, who gets a louder pop and limps to the ring. He's the most over so far, for sure, and stakes his claim to the belt. Anderson points out he was here first and calls shenanigans. Roode moderates some bickering as refs take the ring, and encourages a bake-off.
This brings Hogan to the screen. He says that he wants all the champions in the ring later, and makes a match for the number one contender slot for later in the night. As an aside, Hogan's music sounds like a lame circus/ska remix.
Back from break, it's Crimson with some pyro and this cocky heel walk and gum chew. He's apparently in a tag match with Bully Ray, who looks surprisingly younger from his late WWE days. They are fighting Matt Morgan and Austin Aries.
(1) Bully Ray & Crimson beat Matt Morgan & X Division champion Austin Aries. Morgan goes after Crimson as Aries chases Ray up the ramp. Inside the ring, Morgan dominates until some hyjinks occur. This leads to Crimson and Ray working Morgan's leg. Morgan tempts fate by pulling Crimson's tights uncomfortably low, then makes the hot tag. Aries cleans house, which leads to Crimson hitting Ray and being dumped outside. Aries gets in a surprising amount of offense before Ray wins with a fluke roll-up and hook of the tights on Aries. Overall, a perfectly serviceable tag match from new teams; nothing special, but a good level of offense given to "the midget," as Ray kept screaming.
Borash was out next to remind everyone that Eric Bischoff has lost the right to his name and is off the air. Garett is out next for a celebration.
-- Back from break, Garett is out with A.J. Styles, Mr. Anderson, and RVD to celebrate. I suspect this will end in tears. Garett is just not good on the mic. He makes RVD sound brilliant. Also, if they want him to be taken seriously, perhaps he should not wear a loose-fitting plaid shirt. It's all in the positioning.
A.J. compliments Garett on his balls at Lockdown. But, here comes Ric Flair. It's serious suit time; no feathery robe. Flair stays on top of the ramp and claims that Eric is responsible for all the talent in the ring. Also, Garett is a punk. Wait, all of them are punks. Flair promises a party next week as a tribute to Eric Bischoff. He's hosting it, and he's drinking at it, and the four in the ring aren't invited. A.J. and Anderson sell broken up. RVD just looks slightly stoned. Told you it would end in tears.
-- Back from break, it's Kurt Angle. His leg is taped and he's ready to wrestle. Out comes A.J. Styles, who had time to change into his hoodie vest.
(2) Kurt Angle beat A.J. Styles. Basic... (Continues on next page)