Thanks to WrestlingINC.com reader tejota30 for sending in these house show results from TNA's house show in Salem, VA last Thursday:
I wanted to send this is so folks who were on the fence about going to see Impact Wrestling live would have an idea of what they were walking into. I have been a fan of pro wrestling for almost 25 years and like many, feel like something is missing lately. Now I support ALL wrestling and this is not to fluff Impact Wrestling but I thought they did a terrific job of getting people into it and to me the crowd was much hotter for this then the Smackdown shows that we just had. There was also quite the difference between adults to children at the shows. Hopefully this will help some people decide to check it out. Not really an in depth description of matches but just the atmosphere and what to expect. Cut, paste and do with it what you please.
My first live experience with Impact Wrestling was last Thursday night (7/21/11) at the Salem Civic Center. Free tickets and a very short drive was an easy choice. We have been lucky enough to have a lot of wrestling around recently with a Smackdown house show and a TV taping, as well as this Impact house show all happening within the last few months and I made it to all three. That being said I would have to say that I enjoyed the Impact show more then the Smackdown shows.
The folks with Impact Wrestling really seem to go the extra mile to connect with the fans. Don West was out early tossing out stuff and letting everyone know about all the deals they had...which were very good. Some shirts for $10 and up, the brown bag special with a shirt and four DVD's for $20 (awesome deal). He then stood around ringside chatting with fans and signing things until about ten minutes before the show started. JB gets introduced and comes out and gets the crowd going with backstage passes and explains that they will be handing them out to the loudest folks. Needless to say this made for a lot more noise. He talks about who we will see and we are off...
Abyss vs. Brian Kendrick starts us off. Pretty decent reaction for both. Kendrick let all the fans down the ramp and along ringside touch the X-Division belt which was cool. Several good spots from Kendrick with a dive to the outside and a couple moves from the top. The ending saw Abyss trying to nail Kendrick in the corner but he slipped out of the way, tuned around and nailed Sliced Bread no. 2 and that's it. Decent opener with the highlight being the 10 year old behind me screaming "I came to see matches!"
Next we have JB introducing "one of the most controversial men in wrestling" as Earl Hebner is introduced. Earl is about to climb the steps to enter the ring until a fan at ringside gets loud with a "You screwed Brett" chant. Hebner is hot and has to be held back by JB and other ringside people but then enters the ring, pulls off his ref shirt to show his new shirt. It's a T-shirt with referee stripes on it and has "Hebner" on the back like a name plate with the front saying "Damn Right I Did!." He goes in his pocket and pulls out the vintage "Hitman" pink shades, throws them on and does his best Bret Hart walk with hand motions. Really got the place going. The shirts are on sale for $10 and Earl is signing throughout the night but right now he is here to ref....
Sarita & Rosita vs. Velvet Sky & Miss Tessmacher was a decent match. Of course Velvet and Tess were way over (and way hot in person) and the pigeons probably got one of the bigger pops of the night, no kidding. Several "USA" chants and a couple little spots to get the crowd into it. For the ending we had Rosita bump Hebner hard and fall into his arms. Earl looked around for approval and planted one right on the lips. It was enough distraction for Velvet to get the roll up and the win.
Back to JB. Let me say that this man works. Pimping out backstage passes, running to the back between every match as well as ring announcing and playing everyone's music. He also had a camera to film stuff from the Bound for Glory series. Earning that pay check for sure. He introduces "the man that started it all" and Jeff Jarrett gets a nice pop. Jarrett is trying hard to play the heel but is over with the crowd. A couple nice little heelish acts like bad mouthing people and teasing a kid who wanted a high five gets him back in the heel seat and Crimson is out to a mild reaction. A great back and forth match that the crowd got into towards the end with a Crimson victory. Jarrett really knows how to work a crowd and I think that it's awesome that he does so much work in his position (saw him take pictures with a TON of people).
JB is back and explains that after this match everyone who has been given a backstage pass can come back and to those who don't have one they will be giving out more during the second half of the show. Sirens blare and Steiner and Gunner are on there way out. Seeing Steiner was cool to me as I don't recall seeing him since Nitro was here back in 1998. All I could think of was I hope he gets a mic...he's asking for a mic, YES! Steiner starts cutting into the crowd and goes into how he can't wait to show some hot Salem women what a real man can do. Only problem is all he sees are fat, ugly b--ches! OUCH. He goes on to ask one guy if that is his girlfriend with him and tells him to put her on a chain cause she is, again, a fat, ugly b---h. Steiner's mic actually got cut before he handed it back to JB. I was close enough to here Steiner say to JB "What? She's a fat b--ch"...just wow. Exactly what I was hoping for from Steiner. Pure gold. Beer Money comes out to a huge pop. It's a shame that they may split these two up. They were very entertaining, leading chants and doing the whole Beer Money shouting thing and the crowd is eating it up. Several "Steiner's g-y" chants that keep him going. The end saw all guys getting involved with Storm and Steiner outside. Roode gets a nice super kick on Gunner and picks up the pin and 7 points in the BFG series. Looks like "Bobby" Roode is coming into his own.
That's intermission and Don West is back out tossing stuff and letting us know a few things. First off Earl is 79 years old! ( I think he said his birthday was yesterday but I missed that) He and son Brian are at the merchandise booth personally signing his "Damn Right I Did" shirts for $10 for each person. Pretty cool so I had to pick one up. Also Miss Tessmacher is signing at the booth too and is just as gorgeous when she is right in front of you. West goes on to tell us that JB has a huge surprise for us at the end of the night and it involves a chance to get in the ring! We will see what this is all about.
Back from break with JB telling us they have double the backstage passes for the second half of the show so make sure you are loud. Familiar music hits and Samoa Joe is out. He gets a great reaction from the crowd. I will never understand why he isn't in a different spot. All that buildup against Angle to win the title and now a losing streak..(save that for another article)...anyway Bully Ray is out next. Right into chants of "P--sy Ray" and "We want D-Von." Ray really plays the part well and while if you asked me a year ago if he could make it as a singles wrestler my answer would be totally different today. I enjoyed watching him work. The end was Ray almost squashing Hebner in the corner with Joe right behind him. While Ray stopped short of hitting Earl, Joe was close enough to get a low blow kick and Earl didn't see it. Ray got the pin and the BFG series points.
Next is the main event. JB introduces Anderson first. He comes to the ring and does his usual act waiting for the mic to fall. It doesn't so he gets pissed and grabs JB's mic. He says something about being in Salem, Mass to a lot of boos and Virginia chants...he says same difference and that it's no GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN and he is MISSSSSTEEEERRRR AND..shut up! And doesn't finish. Of course AJ gets the pop of the night. A good ten minutes of back and forth teasing with a funny spot of Anderson acting like AJ with his hat down in his eyes like AJ's hood. A great match I thought. A missed Mic Check and a missed Styles Clash led to a Pele Kick then a Styles Clash for the win. Lots of good moves in the match and some high spots by AJ. A great way to send us home.
After the match JB is out and explains that they love us and will definitely be back (hopefully for an Impact taping) and want to give us a first time offer. No matter if you came alone or with a group, $20 gets you or your group in the ring to take a picture with AJ. You get to leave with picture in hand...oh wait...Here come Beer Money too! A chance to have your pic taken with "3 of the 4 members of Fortune" (JB's quote not mine...Daniels?!?) and the crowd loves it. Also Jeff Jarrett is signing at the merch booth. What a great way to end the night and great value for the money.