Monday, July 25, 2022

IMPACT (January 4th, 2010): The Opening Salvo Of The Monday Night Pillow Fight

Let's turn back the clock, kids. Back to 2009, when the company formerly known as TNA Wrestling announced that they had signed Hulk Hogan and they were going to do a special live edition of IMPACT on Monday, January 4th... that's right, kids. For the first time since WCW aired its final edition of Monday Nitro in 2001, WWE RAW was going to have a rival wrestling show on the same night to deal with.
Fortunately, two things were in RAW's favor; the return of Bret Hart to WWE television - his first real appearance in a WWE ring since that night in Montreal in 1997. And the other thing was that... it's fucking TNA.

I've only seen snippets of this show back in the day and decided it wasn't worth my time. However, numbers were promising and that convinced TNA and Spike (who aired IMPACT at the time) to make the move to Monday Night more permanent. Now I recently posted musings on the short run of Monday Impact that I had written years ago, but never did get around to posting for one reason or another. Probably because I didn't want anyone to know that I actually watched IMPACT and to be fair, there were a couple good episodes in there... but they were mostly bad.

So, to put a little bow on this Monday Night Pillow Fight of 2010, I've decided to go back and watch the January 4th edition of IMPACT, which was THREE FUCKING HOURS and we're going to do this thing for... some reason.

Show opens with Bubba The Love Sponge, radio personality and all-around prick. Nowadays, he's known mostly for being Hulk Hogan's former buddy who's linked to that sex scandal, but here, he's still one of the Hulkster's buddies... and yes, he's polling the tourists who watch this show for free.

We open with a multi-person steel cage match that was hard to see, but apparently ended with one of the guys hitting another with a stick of some kind for the DQ. Yes, a DQ in a cage match, that is lame. On a sidenote, I forgot they still had the six-sided ring here. TNA had used a six-sided ring to differentiate it from the usual wrestling and sports entertainment offerings and honestly, I rather liked the idea. Ultimately, TNA would ditch the hex in favor of a traditional squared circle starting with their next PPV, Genesis (which I've touched on years ago, already).

ODB beat Tara via a rollup with a handful of tights to win the Knockout's title, which followed by Tara beating up ODB and putting a spider on here. I never got the spider gimmick. Is it because her move is the Widow's Peak and she needs to have a spider with her at all times? Is this the same spider that the Vintner would carry around years later? Probably not.

Ric Flair shows up and heads for TNA World champ AJ Styles' dressing room.

Bobby Lashley comes out for a promo and asks for his release. I think he eventually gets it, but he'll be back later down the road. Even win a couple TNA titles before long.

Scott Hall and Sean Waltman beat up some dudes before heading into the ring. I'll comment that Scott Hall at this point looks fine, which is not something you could say often about Hall in his later days.

Hogan comes out and talks about how he's been in the back... of his limo on its long drive to the Impact Zone, so not even five minutes on screen and he's already full of shit. Hall and Waltman come out and declare the party is on, but Hogan wants no part of it because - and I swear he says this - "it's time to grow up." Nash comes out and wonders what's going on, but then Eric Bischoff comes out and says it's a new era or something. So this is the bit that I tuned into one time ten years ago and decided it wasn't worth it before switching back to RAW, which had the return of BRET HART for the first time at a WWE event since Survivor Series 97. Suffice it to say, I was more invested in that than the nWo rehash that isn't a rehash, but really is.

Awesome Kong/Hamada defeated Women's Tag Champs Sarita/Taylor Wilde to win the belts. Match was alright, I guess.

Foley and the Nasty Boys are blocked by security... I guess the Nasty Boys didn't stick around long because I don't remember being much of a presence in TNA.

Jarrett shows up and cuts a total babyface promo thanking the fans and talking about how he's been around since the beginning... and then Hogan shows up to talk about how Jarrett ran the company into the ground and that he (Hogan) was here to save it, which causes the crowd to boo Hogan... even though he's supposed to be the good guy here. Jeff Jarrett might not have been a popular guy due to his years of strangleholding the top title (which makes sense from a certain point of view - who makes for a better world champion to your promotion than the guy who's never going to leave your promotion because he owns the fucking thing?), but people could appreciate him for his starting TNA. Hogan, meanwhile, is seen as the interloper with the image of wrecking things; his reign in WCW was proof of that and if not for the hot nWo meal ticket, that company probably wouldn't have lasted for as long as they did. This promo illustrates the utter tone deafness of TNA, as they wanted Hogan to be treated as such and got the opposite.

Jeff Hardy shows up... he got busted for drugs some time ago and was set for a court date, but TNA signed him anyway... and eventually gave him a World title run... I wonder how that turned out?

A bunch of other stuff happened. Sean Morley shows up in a towel; he didn't last long. Some quick matches here and there... and then you have the main event which saw World Champion AJ Styles defeat Kurt Angle to retain the title in an excellent match between two top-tier performers that almost made sitting through the past two and a half hours worth of tripe worth it. Almost... but not quite, because a week later on PPV, they'd have this match against, but this time, Styles would turn heel and be joined by Ric Flair... Eh.

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