Dixie Carter teased last week that TNA had signed a “BIG” free agent that would “rock” Impact Wrestling, which had many guessing it was Batista, MVP, or another former WWE performer who was ready to step back into the United States spotlight. Both of those men and several others denied being the free agent and, in typical TNA fashion, the actual signing was a letdown.
MMA Fighting is reporting that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has signed a “King Mo” deal, agreeing to fight with Bellator MMA and also appear on TNA programming.
The acquisition of Jackson on its own would be just fine, as Rampage has appeared on WWE television before and is a big wrestling fan. When TNA teases something being a big deal and then doesn’t deliver, as they have time and time again, it leaves fans with a bad taste in their mouths and also makes Dixie Carter look like the girl who cried wolf.
TNA presents Slammiversary XI from the Agganis Arena on the campus of Boston University tonight at 8pm EST. The event is available on pay-per-view and TNA On Demand. Bully Ray defends the World Heavyweight Championship against Sting, Jeff Hardy returns, and AJ Styles takes on Kurt Angle, among others.
This excellent video package previews the entire card and a full match listing is below.
TNA SLAMMIVERSARY XI EVENT CARD
World Heavyweight Championship Match
Sting’s Final Title Shot
Sting v. Bully Ray
AJ Styles v. Kurt Angle
Four Team Elimination Tag Team Championship Match
Chris Daniels & Kazarian v. Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez v. Austin Aries & Bobby Roode v. James Storm & Gunner
Television Championship Match
Joseph Park v. Devon
X-Division Championship Ultimate X Match
Suicide v. Chris Sabin v. Kenny King
The Aces and Eights v. Samoa Joe, Magnus and Jeff Hardy
Last Knockout Standing Match
Gail Kim v. Taryn Terrell
TNA Impact Wrestling airs live tonight from Corpus Christi, Texas, featuring a heavy slate of action.
Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez challenge Bobby Roode and Austin Aries for the Tag Team Championships in a 2-out-of-3 falls match, and if Chavo and Hernandez lose they can never tag team in TNA again. Taryn Terrell will make her in-ring debut against Gail Kim, AJ Styles will pledge his allegiance to either Aces & Eights or TNA, and Jeff Hardy challenges Bully Ray for the TNA Heavyweight Championship in a Full Metal Mayhem match.
The live episodes of Impact from outside the Impact Zone have been great so far. The crowds are much more into the action and it’s created a whole new atmosphere for TNA. Tonight’s episode, at least on paper, looks to be a good one.
A few links from around the web on this Wednesday afternoon:
- Kotaku has put together a list detailing the Evolution of Crazy Japanese Wrestling Games. It’s an interesting visual breakdown, although they somehow left Fire Pro Wrestling off the list.
- According to Cageside Seats, Bully Ray is justifiably in hot water with TNA management after his recent house show rant to a fan, which included homophobic slurs.
- Arda Ocal weighs in with his thoughts on Monday’s episode of Raw at the Baltimore Sun Ring Posts blog.
- The Camel Clutch Blog has a list of the Top Ten WrestleMania celebrities.
Dixie Carter announced on TNA’s YouTube page Thursday that Impact Wrestling will be leaving the Impact Zone and go on the road beginning with the live Impact on March 14th, which will emanate from the Sears Centre Arena in Chicago.
While there definitely will be a financial risk involved with traveling around the country – and a risk of burning out some of the talent that enjoy the light travel that TNA offers – it will undoubtedly create a fresh television experience and expose a new audience to the Impact Wrestling product.
On its best day the Impact Zone couldn’t replicate the energy of the old ECW Arena and on most days it seemed like a crowd full of people who were either bored with seeing the same thing every week or got tickets for free while they were wandering through Universal Studios.
- Brandon Stroud of With Leather and, more specifically, the Best and Worst of Raw column has today’s must click link of the day: A slew of vintage WWF Royal Rumble promos.
- Speaking of With Leather, Danielle Matheson has the Best and Worst of last night’s TNA Impact Wrestling program.
- The Wrestling Blog has some instant feedback on last night’s TNA Impact Wrestling, including thoughts on the reveal of Mike Knox as one of the masked men in Aces & Eights.
- Kayfabe Kickout explains why Shawn Michaels should be in an upper management role with the WWE.
- Don’t forget to check out the full content listing for WWE’s upcoming release, The Best of WCW Monday Nitro Volume 2 at WWEDVDNews.
- In case you haven’t checked it out in a while, the Where’s Randy Savage? Tumblr blog still has some great stuff going.
Image courtesy ImpactWrestling.com
Impact Wrestling has announced a partnership with MDI Entertainment to offer Impact Wrestling branded lottery games. Aside from basic scratch and win cash games, TNA will also work with MDI to create second chance offerings in which players can win merchandise and trips to TNA tapings and pay-per-views.
MDI Entertainment, LLC, a subsidiary of Scientific Games Corporation (Nasdaq: SGMS), has signed an agreement with TNA Entertainment, LLC, dba IMPACT WRESTLING, to offer lotteries branded instant games featuring some of the biggest names and most recognizable imagery in professional wrestling today. The agreement makes the names and likenesses of more than a dozen wrestling superstars, as well as the logos, marks and artwork of IMPACT WRESTLING, available to lotteries worldwide. Stars like Hulk Hogan, Kurt Angle, Sting, Jeff Hardy, Matt Morgan and Bobby Roode are included, and can be used on instant tickets and promotional materials, as well as in television and radio commercials. They also are available for personal appearances and public service announcements to promote the good causes lottery games support.
The deal is a smart one for TNA, whatever your feelings on lotto games may be. It will increase the visibility of the Impact Wrestling product and its stars, and presumably is a profitable agreement for TNA.
Pro Wrestling Illustrated has released its annual PWI Female 50 rankings and TNA’s Gail Kim has earned the top spot for 2012. The rankings are based on activity from July 1, 2011 through June 30 of this year and include female wrestlers from North America.
From PWI‘s press release:
Pro Wrestling Illustrated has revealed that Gail Kim has been named #1 in the 2012 PWI Female 50. The Female 50 will be available for digital download on Thursday, October 18, at http://www.pwi-online.com. It will be released on newsstands later this month.
This is the first time Gail Kim has earned this distinction. Prior Female 50 number ones have included Madison Eagles (2011), Michelle McCool (2010), Mickie James (2009), and Awesome Kong (2008).
“Gail Kim held the Knockouts title for 210 days during the evaluation period,” said PWI Senior Writer Dan Murphy. “She also held the Knockouts tag team title, and had a string of successful title defenses against the top women in TNA, including Mickie James, Tara, and Madison Rayne. Our congratulations go out to her.”
Sting successfully defended the TNA World Title last night at Victory Road against Jeff Hardy in an absolute crapfest of a match that has been talked about all over the internet today. Rumors are rampant that Hardy was under the influence of drugs, and the video below does little to quell that talk.
You can tell Hardy isn’t all there during the introductions and the match. Even walking to the ring he seems out of it. This isn’t the first time there have been rumors of Hardy showing up to a pay-per-view in no condition to wrestle, and his history of drug use is well chronicled.
PWInsider.com is also reporting that Jeff Hardy has been sent home from this week’s Impact tapings, which are for the next three weeks of TV shows.
What makes matters worse is that this match was the main event. TNA Creative could have done a beatdown angle where Hardy had to be replaced if they truly thought he couldn’t go. The route they went, with Eric Bischoff making it a No DQ match at the last minute, almost made it seem as though they really planned to have a long match and perhaps Sting was the one who cut it short in the ring.
Either way, it’s one more bad taste for the mouths of wrestling fans who were already being very critical of TNA over the past few weeks, following the 3-3-11 Sting videos that were a lame ripoff of WWE’s Undertaker vignettes.
TNA recently debuted the first series of its new action figures, including Sting, Kurt Angle, Jeff Jarrett, AJ Styles and Suicide. The figures are made by Jakks Pacific, the company who formerly handled WWE’s toy line. The video below shows some of the press conference and a closer look at the new figures.