The SmarK Rant for TNA Impact – 12.13.12 Just want to throw out a plug for my favorite bus-ride-killing podcast, The Place To Be (http://placetobe.podbean.com), this week featuring a look back at WWF Unforgiven ’98. Justin and Scott (not me) go over the show match-by-match, featuring their remembrances about it and whatever tidbits of info they can add as well. I listen, so should you! Taped from Orlando, FL Your hosts are Todd Keneley, Mike Tenay & Taz Bobby Roode is out to start, and he’s kind of confused as to why he’s not the World champion right now. Devon and the Aces come out and reveal that someone has “outbidded” him for their services. This brings out Jeff Hardy and James Storm, and they’re here to FIGHT. Devon is not and runs away. So in addition to the mystery of who Aces & Eights are and what they want, we now have a mystery of who hired them to take out Bobby Roode. Perhaps they should resolve one storyline before starting another. Madison Rayne v. Velvet Sky Velvet is now wearing a catsuit that’s like something out of a cosplay convention. Velvet gets a seated dropkick and tries a Pedigree, but Rayne escapes and yanks on the hair to take over. Velvet makes the comeback and gets a bulldog, having still not learned to run the ropes properly. That Pedigree finally hits and finishes at 3:06. Same old Velvet. ½* Meanwhile, Kurt Angle gives Brisco & Bischoff a peptalk and some energy shots. Those Five Hour Energy shots they’re constantly shilling taste like bottled DEATH. As someone who consumes ridiculous amounts in caffeine in energy drink form, they’re easily my least favorite. On an interesting (to me) sidebar, those shots and most other energy drinks are packed with guarana, and science doesn’t actually have a clue what it DOES, only that it seems to positively affect absorption of the caffeine for some reason. Robbie E & Rob Terry v. Wes Brisco & Garrett Bischoff Brisco gets worked over in the Jersey corner to start, but Robbie E does the “land on the foot” spot and Brisco makes the hot tag to Garrett. Flapjack for Robbie, but Terry gets a cheapshot. Bischoff gets a jawbreaker and Brisco comes in with a blind tag and finishes with a high cross at 3:20. This was like generic indy tag match #19439, but the crowd is so stupid they’re still cheering for the babyfaces and haven’t clued in their shocking secret, so they were hot for it. *1/2 It’s just impossible to predict how this Orlando crowd will react to anything. One of the masked men attacks Angle afterwards, injuring his knee. Meanwhile, Joseph Park visits OVW’s training facility. This doesn’t go well for him. Meanwhile, Tara visits Brooke and wants to make sure there’s no hard feelings when Jesse beats Bully Ray tonight. Brooke as usual is a huge stuck up bitch despite Tara being nothing but polite to her. Jeff Hardy & James Storm v. Aces & Eights It’s Doc and Knox this week. Can we just unmask someone else already? We already know 90% of the guys playing the parts, why not just move forward about 500 steps and get it over with? The babyfaces double-team Doc in the corner, and then Jeff slugs away on Knox and dumps him with a headscissors. Jeff follows with a dive off the apron, and we take a break while he dances. Back with Jeff in his natural state, taking a beating from the heels while the announcers try to find a way to name Mike Knox without using a name. Nothing exciting as Hardy gets the heat via punches and stomps and the Aces keep cutting off the ring in classic fashion. A sympathetic babyface getting punched repeatedly in the face by big ugly heels ALWAYS WORKS. That’s why I love tag team wrestling. Doc with a splash for two and James Storm has HAD ENOUGH, but of course that just allows more punishment from the Aces. Jeff finally comes back with the whisper in the wind, but Doc cuts him off AGAIN as this heat segment reaches epic proportions. Finally, it’s hot tag Storm, who comes in with a high cross on Knox for two. Corner clothesline and Hardy teams up for Poetry in Motion, and Doc takes a double suplex. More Aces run in and the faces clean house, and hit their finishes to end it at 15:00. That’s the first Aces match I’ve completely enjoyed. ***1/4 Simple formula that works. Devon reveals that Austin Aries paid them off. AJ Styles is out to let us know that he’s tired of being “the corporate janitor” and always doing the right thing, so from now on he’s doing his own thing. Meanwhile, Daniels & Kazarian celebrate AJ’s fall from grace and argue over Christmas presents (“I already got you that gift certificate!”) Rob Van Dam v. Kenny King They have gotta get that belt off RVD. It’s killing the division. Rob wins a battle of THE MARTIAL ARTS with a kick, but King tosses him in heelish fashion. Back in, he gets two. Snap suplex and he slugs away on the mat, and follows with a running splash in the corner, but Rob puts him down with a spinkick and hits the moonsault for two. King comes back with a spinkick and necksnaps him on the top, then springboards into a Buff blockbuster for two. Another charge misses and Rob misses his moonsault, but recovers with a northern lights suplex for two. Awkward sequence sees Rob legdropping him and everyone out of position, and they head up where Rob gets a high cross, which King rolls through with his feet on the ropes for the pin at 5:46. So King is suddenly a heel, and these guys have NO chemistry. ** Meanwhile, Hulk Hogan does not approve of whatever relationship Bully Ray and Brooke have, even though we don’t actually know what that relationship is. Bully clarifies that there’s no relationship, and she was just apologizing to him on the couch because Hulk is such a jackass to Bully. Bully Ray v. Jesse Bully is in a bad mood and pounds on Jesse to take it out, but Jesse gets a cheapshot to hold him off. Bully no-sells his chops and puts him down with a big boot. He abuses Jesse with chops in the corner, prompting Tara to come in and beg for mercy. Of course, Jesse attacks from behind and finally gets some offense, throws forearm shots and a low dropkick. As annoying as Jesse is, I gotta feel bad for the guy given how red and swollen his chest is. And then Bully hits him AGAIN, so Jesse puts him down with a clothesline that looks pretty stiff. Jesse’s showing some FIRE here! Jesse slugs away in the corner and Tara adds some choking, and Jesse gets another dropkick and poses. Taz notes that it’s not the time to pose. THERE’S ALWAYS TIME FOR POSING! Well, OK, so Bully hits the Bubba Cutter and pins him at 6:05, so maybe THIS particular time wasn’t the right one, but in general there’s always time for posing. I really enjoyed this match, actually, probably thanks to the greatness of Bully Ray, but Jesse surprisingly held his own here. **1/2 Oddly, the aspect ratio switches to 16×9 after the match before returning to the normal 4×3 following the break. Austin Aries admits that yes, he paid off Aces & Eights. He feels very betrayed by Hulk Hogan after doing his dirty work for him against the Aces. Oh crap, is TNA booked by Jesse Baker now? Jeff Hardy comes out and promises that all Aries has to do is ask for a title shot. Aries is skeptical and asks if he has to build an apparatus around the ring for a “Dragon’s Lair match” in order to get a shot. Instead, Hardy challenges him to a title match NEXT WEEK on Championship Thursday. Aries doesn’t want to do what the fans want, and Hardy lays him out with the Twist of Fate before Aries runs away to end the show. The Pulse As usual, a couple of good matches bail out the idiotic storylines, making for another enjoyable show.