COMMENTATORS: Mike Tenay & Don West
TNA makes its national TV debut with the first-ever edition of iMPACT!, featuring a Phenomenal return to the X-Division, a Tag Team Title match, and even an appearance by “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes.
- NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: Jeff Jarrett
- NWA X-DIVISION CHAMPION: Frankie Kazarian
- NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: Kid Kash & Dallas
- Amazing Red, Sonjay Dutt, & Hector Garza vs. Team Canada (***)
- Shark Boy vs. Abyss (SQUASH)
- Kid Kash & Dallas [c] vs. America’s Most Wanted for the NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (**1/2)
- #1 CONTENDER’S MATCH (X-DIVISION): ??? Vs. Chris Sabin vs. Elix Skipper vs. Michael Shane (***1/2)
-After a couple of opening videos, we cut to a moderate amount of pyro as Tenay welcomes the home audience and runs down tonight’s card.
Team International (Amazing Red, Sonjay Dutt, & Hector Garza) vs. Team Canada (Bobby Roode, Eric Young, & Petey Williams) [w/ Scott D’Amore]
Red, Dutt, and Garza with splashes to the outside immediately. Young gets thrown in the ring, Dutt dizzies him up with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors. Non-title matches on the show will have a ten-minute limit, while title matches get thirty minutes. Red tags in, Roode hits him from behind and Young connects with a backbreaker. Team Canada pummel Red in their corner, Roode plants him in the corner and drives shoulders into the mid-section. Tenay hypes the positives of the six-sided ring as Roode continues his assault on Red, culminating in a kneedrop that gets him a near fall. Roode picks Red up in a wheelbarrow, Williams tags in and hits a flying bulldog for the 1…2…not yet. D’Amore gets in a cheap shot, West hypes the weekly TNA PPVs that are still going on at this point. ONLY 9.99! “USA” chants as Williams stretches Red with a camel clutch. Roode tags in, delayed one-armed vertical suplex for the 1…2…Garza pulls him off. Williams tags in, double back elbow. Young tags in, Red takes both out with a headscissors (Williams) and DDT (Young). Garza gets the hot tag, tilt-a-whirl slam to Williams. Roode runs in and puts a stop to that with a sit-out power bomb for the 1…2…Garza kicks out. Dutt clears Roode with a hurricanrana, Dutt sent out of the ring by Young, Red with Code Red on Young, Williams with a Canadian Destroyer on Red. SO MUCH CHAOS. Dutt climbs the buckles, Roode crotches him but Dutt counters a Splash Mountain with a hurricanrana, Garza with a corkscrew moonsault for the 1…2…3!
Team International defeated Team Canada via pinfall (6:19)
- A chaotically fun way to open the first-ever episode of Impact. With the time limits being so short there’s no time to waste and waste time they did not here. Props to Tenay for laying out the “rules” of the new FSN show as well as hyping how cool the six-sided ring is. I wholeheartedly agree, the six-sided ring is one of the best things TNA/Impact Wrestling ever introduced, regardless of what Hogan and Bischoff would have to say years later. (***)
–Tenay and West mention TNA celebrating its two year anniversary this month.
-VIDEO: Toby Keith suplexes Jeff Jarrett, leading to his elimination during the Gauntlet for the Gold (TNA PPV #1)
Shark Boy vs. “The Monster” Abyss
Abyss has been wrecking havoc in TNA for the past year, with the only person able to control him being Goldilocks, who’s shown backstage watching the match. Shark Boy attempts some offense, escaping a chokeslam and torture rack, but ends up running into a Black Hole Slam and that’s lights out.
Abyss defeated Shark Boy via pinfall (1:18)
- Kinda funny to hear Tenay talk about how much mainstream press Shark Boy has had only to watch him get decimated in short order by Abyss. Not all that surprising given the size difference and all but y’know. (SQUASH)
A man in a Popeye costume consoles Shark Boy after his loss. Popeye is celebrating his 75th year and I guess hangs out at the Islands of Adventure section of Universal Studios. SYNERGY.
“The Notorious K.I.D.” Kid Kash & Dallas [c] vs. America’s Most Wanted (“Wildcat” Chris Harris & “Cowboy” James Storm) for the NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Dallas is better known today as Lance Archer of NJPW/AEW fame. Kash and Dallas won the titles back in April and have been bragging about being the best team in pro wrestling, slighting AMW who are ostensibly TNA’s top team. The winner of this one will be defending the Tag Team Titles next Wednesday, their opponents chosen by fan vote.
Harris with a waistlock, Kid counters into a hammerlock. Harris counters back, Kid counters with a drop toehold into a front chancery, Harris slides out and grabs a wristlock into a chinlock. Nice. Kash drops Harris with a shoulderblock, Harris uses his legs to launch him into the mat. Harris with a face slam for the 1…2…Dallas breaks it up. Storm tags in, Kash slides under and grabs a waistlock. Storm counters, Kid shakes off an O’Connor attempt and drops him throat-first over the top rope. Dallas tags in and connects with a scoop slam, then elevates Kash so he can hit a moonsault, Dallas covers for a two-count. Dallas chokes Storm with his boot as we go to commercial.
During the break Storm hit a superkick but Kash is back in control when we return live, thanks to Dallas. Dallas sits on the top buckle, Kash goes off his shoulders but misses the moonsault. Storm uses the middle rope and gets the hot tag to Harris as Dallas tags in as well. Harris belts Dallas with a pair of clotheslines followed by a crossbody from the middle buckle for the 1…2…not yet. Dallas reverses an Irish whip, Harris ducks a clothesline and hits one of his own for the 1…2…Kash breaks it up. Storm tosses Kash to the apron, Dallas hits Storm with a Blackout, Kash follows with a frog splash. Spear to Kash from Harris, big boot takes from Dallas takes Harris out. Storm is hit with a big boot as well, Harris rolls Dallas up out of nowhere for the 1…2…3!
America’s Most Wanted defeated Kid Kash & Dallas [c] via pinfall to win the NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (8:55)
- TNA coming out swinging on their first national TV episode with a title change, respect. Cool to see that Dallas is using the same finisher all these years later, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Like most I f*cking LOVE America’s Most Wanted so I popped for this one. Excited to see some certified AMW bangers if/when I continue watching more TNA shows to justify this Impact Plus subscription. (**1/2)
-Cowboy boots are shown walking around backstage. I WONDER WHO THAT COULD BE.
Tenay welcomes the special judge for the main event this week in case it goes to a draw: “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. Naturally the crowd goes WILD for Dusty, they aren’t zombies plus this is an American Dream hotspot. Rhodes hypes the hell out of “IMPAC”, Tenay asks about the history of the NWA and its World’s Heavyweight Championship. Rhodes brings up famous champions from the past, Tenay asks about Jeff Jarrett winning the World Title this past Wednesday in the first-ever King of the Mountain match. Rhodes says he used to think Jarrett was going to uphold tradition but went against that for the almighty dollar, out comes Jeff Jarrett to interrupt.
Jarrett says he used to respect Rhodes and be grateful for what he taught him but that was twenty years ago. Jarrett tells Rhodes he’s trying to help him and save him from embarrassing himself. Jarrett asks if it’s the money and offers to give him a paltry amount. Jarrett says there’s a place for guys like Rhodes in the business, but not in HIS ring. Jarrett tells Rhodes he’s going to take five paces and if Rhodes isn’t out of the ring he’s going to take him out. Jarrett counts his steps and turns around right into a series of jabs from The American Dream. Jarrett catches Rhodes with a kick and goes to hit him with his guitar, but in comes Ron “The Truth” Killings to make the save which he does…for a moment until Jarrett lays him out with his guitar. Out come BG James and Konnan, Killings’ 3 Live Kru teammates, James gets on the mic and promises that Jarrett will have to answer to them on Wednesday.
-BACKSTAGE: Director of Authority Vince Russo is shown leaving his office for an upcoming interview.
-VIDEO: The X-Division is a style you won’t see anywhere else. Winner of tonight’s fatal four way main event will challenge Frankie Kazarian for the X-Division Title next Wednesday.
–Shane Douglas welcomes Director of Authority Vince Russo to the interview area backstage. He asks Russo who the fourth man in the fatal four way is, Russo can’t wait till everyone finds out.
–Chris Sabin, “Primetime” Elix Skipper, and Michael Shane are already in the ring. The fourth man in the match is revealed to be…”The Phenomenal” AJ Styles!
#1 CONTENDER’S MATCH: X-DIVISION
“The Phenomenal” AJ Styles vs. “Primetime” Elix Skipper vs. Chris Sabin vs. Michael Shane
Styles is making his return to the X-Division after spending the past year and change as part of the World Title chase, winning said title twice in the two year history of the company.
All these dudes are crazy fast and awesome so naturally as soon as the bell rings all hell breaks loose. Sabin takes himself and Skipper to the floor with a clothesline, Shane breaks out of a waistlock but eats a pitch-perfect dropkick by Styles. HOT DAMN. Sabin from outta nowhere with a springboard dropkick halfway across the ring, Skipper drops Sabin and covers for a two-count. Sabin with a crossbody, Skipper bridges out and drops Sabin with a heel kick for the 1…2…Shane breaks it up and hits a wheelbarrow suplex on Skipper. Styles pulls Shane to the floor and goes for a suplex but Shane reverses it. Back in the ring Skipper plants Sabin but Shane makes the pinfall save. Shane plants Skipper with a fisherman DDT for the 1…2…Styles breaks it up. Styles sent to the apron, flips over Shane and hits him with a springboard inverted DDT, Sabin breaks the lateral press. Sabin plants Styles with a springboard DDT for the 1…2…Styles gets the shoulder up in the last second. Sabin kickflips off Skipper and connects with a basement dropkick, Shane connects with an overhead slam on Sabin and heads to the top. Styles drops Shane crotch-first on the top rope, Skipper with a tightrope walk hurricanrana to the floor. Styles flips out of a German suplex, Sabin charges and gets sent into Skipper. Styles measures Skipper and hits a somersault plancha. Shane and Sabin roll in, Shane sends him shoulder-first into the post. Shane sets up for a superkick, Styles with a springboard sunset flip, rolls through, STYLES CLASH for the 1…2…3!
AJ Styles defeated Michael Shane, Elix Skipper, & Chris Sabin via pinfall (6:19)
- Super fun sprint and a great main event, Styles making his triumphant return to the X-Division in, erm, phenomenal fashion. So much happened, not a ton of “psychology” or whatever but sometimes I wanna see them flippy flips so I got what I wanted. Only thing I didn’t like was Skipper doing the tightrope walk rana to the floor instead of the ring; yeah it looked cool but that’s not going to win you a match. Man I forgot how much I missed this stuff. (***1/2)
Pyro goes off as Styles talks trash to X-Division Champ Frankie Kazarian, who looks on at ringside.
FINAL THOUGHTS: An excellent debut for TNA on Fox Sports Net with two exciting matches, a big title change, and even a brief appearance by Dusty Rhodes for the old school fans. Tenay did a great job hyping the six-sided ring and the rules pertaining to the matches on the show, as well as getting people caught up to speed on the stories they needed to know for this one, while West…man I would give anything for a commentator to have West’s endearing energy nowadays. It’ll probably take awhile for Impact to truly matter as the weekly PPVs are still going, but once they conclude this is going to be a helluva thing and I may cover them going forward until my Impact Plus subscription lapses.
- MATCH OF THE NIGHT: AJ Styles vs. Elix Skipper vs. Chris Sabin vs. Michael Shane
- MOMENT OF THE NIGHT: AJ Styles makes his surprise return to the X-Division