TNA needed to score big with its fans coming out of their Destination X pay-per-view, but could it finally put a dent in Monday Night Raw?
TNA Impact remained in Orlando, and opened with an oddity. Eric Bischoff playing guitar. This was an obvious reference to Jeff Jarrett's weapon of choice over the last 15 years. Bischoff played a simple instrumental piece which sounded in part like it was derived from Mason Williams' 60's classic, "Classical Gas". He then cut a promo on Jarrett, deriding Jarrett's first run in the WWE back in the mid-90's, when Jarrett tried to pass himself off as a country singer. Jarrett ultimately came out and tried to be the better man about it, to the point of declining Bischoff's offer and heading back up the ramp. Bischoff ripped into Jarrett's family. Bad move. Jarrett raced back into the ring, and plastered Bischoff with the guitar.
On the heels of getting his head shaved by Mick Foley last week, Bischoff decided to have Foley vs. Jarrett later, with the loser being "fired", and the winner having to endure more humiliation from Bischoff.
In San Jose, Raw opened with Shawn Michaels cutting a promo on Undertaker in the wake of showing up on Friday Night Smackdown after Undertaker defeated Drew McIntyre and serving up a superkick to the "Dead Man". Guest host du jour Pete Rose, entering to the beat of Fox's baseball theme music, put Michaels in a match vs. Kane for later. Michaels would weather the Undertaker's sudden appearance and go on to beat the Big Red Machine, who'd then pay Rose a visit near the end of the show.
James Storm & Robert Roode, collectively known as Beer Money, Inc., were assigned as the guest referees for Foley vs. Jarrett, and while they've had their issues with both combatants, they called the match down the middle, as Jarrett ended his personal losing streak by sending Foley "away", but I wouldn't count on this lasting. TNA rarely makes any of their stipulations stand up because of the inconsistencies in their booking. On his way out, Foley did a favor for fans everywhere by decking radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge when the neophyte reporter tried to 1) do a post-match interview with Foley and 2) failing that, insulting the former WWE & TNA champion. Beer Money would attack Jarrett after the match, only to have Rob Van Dam & Jeff Hardy ride to the rescue, setting up the main event.
Back in California, Kofi Kingston became the 10th and final qualifier for the Money in the Bank ladder match at Wrestlemania by defeating Vladimir Kozlov in the Russian's 1st official match since moving to Raw. Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase, Jr., & Sheamus defeated Triple H & Randy Orton, with the latter pair teaming for the first time in nearly 6 years, given all the bad blood between them in the last year. Current champ Dave Batista decided to have some "rent-a-cops" surround him for a show-ending confrontation with John Cena. Major waste of time.
In Orlando, Hardy & Van Dam defeated Beer Money, as the 3-time former champions fell for the 2nd straight night. Current tag champs Matt Morgan & the mono-monickered Hernandez never got their match started and Hernandez was stretchered out after eating a Carbon Footprint (bicycle kick) from Morgan against the ringpost. Morgan will find a new partner and end up losing the belts in short order, you watch & see. Abyss & Hulk Hogan did an interview, interrupted by TNA champ AJ Styles, who clearly was pretending to be injured, as manager Ric Flair was in a wheelchair, the result of last week's chokeslam on the ramp. Sting appeared, and the next thing ya know, Hogan was handcuffed to the ropes while Styles had his way with Abyss. Pope D'Angelo Dinero (Elijah Burke to WWE fans) made the save, as the build begins for next month's Lockdown event. Team Flair was embarassed again!
So who won the night? The ratings will say WWE wins again, I'm almost certain of that, but the main event was what TNA needed to make an impact, and once again sent the fans home happy. The challenge now is that TNA needs to maintain consistent booking in their programming. They are building toward Bischoff & Hogan feuding, once Hogan catches wind of Bischoff's underhanded tactics. That will be something to see if they go in that path before the end of the summer. Once that's done, then the best thing they can do is send Bischoff & Hogan to the front office and leave them there.
The same goes for WWE. Vince McMahon claims he'll screw Bret Hart again at Wrestlemania, but I don't see it. McMahon never wins at the big dance, so what makes him think this will be any different? This is where the feud, for once, has to end. It cannot be extended any further, regardless of what McMahon thinks, because if he decides to follow that tired course, he's handing TNA ratings points on a silver platter. Now is the time for McMahon to finally concede that he isn't the creative genius he once was, and he must hand the reins of the company over to his daughter, Stephanie, with no turning back. It's the way it has to be. No excuses. No if's, and's or but's. He's gotten too predictable, and right now, predictability is a liability in both companies. Where's the drama if you can guess what either side is going to do?