TNA IMPACT!, 13 September 2007
The cold-opening for this episode shows two recordings, each a counterpoint to the other.
The first is of Robert Roode’s arrival at the IMPACT! Zone. As he walks the halls, he mutters to himself. Those wrestlers he passes either refuse to acknowledge his existence, or regard him with expressions ranging from contempt to outright hatred. Kurt Angle and his crew are among the former; Samoa Joe and Team 3D are among the latter. Ms. Brooks trails Roode at some distance, constantly looking over her shoulders, though to what end, the viewer cannot be certain.
The second is of Eric Young’s arrival — and this time, when the wrestlers avert their gazes, it is because Young has looked at them first… and his expression makes it clear he is in no good mood. He does receive some respectiful nods from the likes of Kazarian and Dutt; but for the most part, the wrestlers give him a wide berth.
Later in the show, another tape is played — again, it is from the backstage area. The camera is at some remove from the players, but it is obvious who the players are: Roode, and the Monster himself, Abyss.
The encounter is short, and to the point. Roode approaches Abyss, Ms. Brooks at a remove. Roode, at his oiliest, manages to get as far as, “So, Abyss, did you–” before being cut short by a massive gloved hand wrapping itself around his throat. On seeing this, Brooks makes herself scarce.
Abyss lifts Roode off the floor, and the deep rumble of his voice makes clear the message being sent: “NEVER — SPEAK — TO ME — AGAIN“. He drops Roode, such that Roode ends up staggering into a stack of shipping pallets, then he turns and walks away. Roode takes a few moments to recover himself; his expression is one of shock.
Oddly, we do not see either of them in the ring this week….
TNA IMPACT!, 20 September 2007
In the second hour, Lance Hoyt, Jimmy Rave, and Christy Hemme come down the ramp, their grating theme music almost drowning out the crowd’s boos. The light show and over-the-top rocking-out behavior does them no favors; when the light show and music finally end, Eric Young is standing in the ring with them. Young rips the guitar-style game controller from Rave’s grasp, and smashes it over his head; Rave drops like a stone. Hemme heads for the exit, leaving Hoyt effectively alone in the ring.
The match is over almost as soon as it begins — Hoyt tries to return serve against Young, but Young parries the blow, then steps up close and hammers Hoyt with a series of body shots, followed by a hell of the hand to his jaw. Hoyt staggers to a corner of the ring, dazed; Young gives him no respite, savaging him with kicks and chops. And once Hoyt sinks to his knees, he is wide-open for a superkick to the head, which lays him out colder than a wet mackeral.
And even then, Young does not let up, kicking, stomping, and slapping Hoyt down when he tries to stand. With Hemme long-gone, and Rave still dazed from the guitar-shot, Hoyt is easy prey for Young; the match finally ends when Young steps away for a moment, and the referee dives in to lift Hoyt’s arm — it drops like a wet noodle. Two repetitions, and the referee signals for the bell, signaling Young’s victory by knockout. Hoyt leaves the ring, and the arena, on a stretcher; Young simply vanishes while the paramedics do their work.
TNA IMPACT!, 27 September 2007
Another recording; another shot of Roode stalking through the backstage area, shoulders hunches, head constantly turning to look around him. Ms. Brooks trails him, also looking about nervously. When Team 3D suddenly appears in frame, Roode almost jumps out of his skin; he quickly recovers, and drops into his “business voice”.
“Just the men I was hoping to see,” Roode says. “Have you given any further thought to my proposal?”
Brother Ray’s answer is delivered with a smile which extends no deeper than the corners of his mouth. “Yeah, we did, and we have a response.”
Roode’s smile is wiped from his face as the pair of them slam him against a wall. “The answer,’ says Ray, “is: You go to Hell — you go to Hell and die! Is that clear enough for you, you miserable little coward? Eric Young may have been a goofball mid-carder once; but the way he’s taken apart your hirelings says he’s gonna do the same to you once you run out of people stupid enough to take your bargain. And more than that: He’s more of a man than you’ll ever be — he does his own dirty work.”
Ray turns Roode loose; Devon follows suit, then speaks: “So do yourself a favor, boy — lose our phone numbers; we ain’t playin’ games with children like you.” The pair then turn and walk off, leaving Roode breathing heavily, and looking even more nervous than before.
Jimmy Rave comes to the ring to face Eric Young; Lance Hoyt and Christy Hemme are conspicuously absent. And well they were, for what happens to Rave is just inside what Spike allows to be shown — Young once again appears from the crowd, and delivers a finely-measured boot to Rave’s skull. The rest of the match is academic; Young spends several minutes beating the dog out of Rave, before finally standing back and allowing the referee to determine Rave will not be waking up anytime soon. For the second week in a row, a member of the Rock ‘n’ Rave Infection exits the ring, and the building, in the company of medical personnel. And for the second week in a row, Young exits the ring without being seen….
TNA IMPACT!, 4 October 2007
Late in the show, Young faces a newcomer to TNA, one Ricky Banderas. Banderas’s appearance is remarkably, and painfully, short-lived — he seems to have trouble moving to begin with, which makes it that much easier for Young to get in behind him, chop his knees out from under him, and pound him into the mat. For the third time, an opponent of Eric Young is carried from the ring, battered, bloodied, beaten.
The show cuts to a backroom, where Roode sits, head in hands, having just seen another hireling not only beaten, but annihilated. “Damn it,” he mutters. “Who do I have to hire to rid myself of that little twerp?”
Ms. Brooks, sitting on a completely different couch in the room, says, “Well, maybe you’ll have to do it yourself — no one else you’ve hired has been man enough for the task.” Her tone drips with sarcasm.
But Roode’s reaction is not what she expects — after a moment, a look of inspiration crosses his face, followed by a diabolical grin. “Oh, yes,” he says ominously, “yes, it’ll work! This will bring him to his knees!”
Ms. Brooks looks nervous. “Who do you have in mind?”
Roode turns to look at Brooks. “Oh… you’ll see, next week.”
The show ends on a closeup of Roode’s face — his smile is terrifying to behold.
TNA IMPACT!, 11 October 2007
The show returns from commercial to Eric Young standing in the ring, mike in hand. Chants of “SHOWTIME” crash across the arena. Young’s gaze flicks around the audience; occasionally he nods to a particularly effusive fan. But the smile he famous for holds no mirth. When he raises his mike to his lips, the crowd quiets.
His speech is short, but direct: “I’m waiting, Bobby.”
The crowd roars its approval — but is drowned out by an unfamiliar, yet decidedly ominous, entrance music. Don West can be heard to ask “Who the hell is that?”, while Young turns to face the entrance ramp.
A figure moves from the tunnel, into the light — the figure is nearly equal to Young’s own six feet of height, but bulky where Young is slender.
And it is a female.
Mike Tenay is not known as “The Professor” without cause; he recognizes the woman immediately, and his voice is filled with shock and dismay.
“Oh — it’s Amazing Kong! Now I see what Roode is planning, that diabolical maniac!”
“Well, I wish you’d explain it to me!” West replies.
“It’s simple,” Tenay says, “Spike doesn’t allow men to hit women — but nothing was said about women hitting men! Kong can do what she likes, and if Young fights back at all, he’s going to get fired!”
“I knew Roode was evil,” West replies, “but this sets new lows in hypocrisy, especially with the way he treats his assistant.”
Meanwhile, Kong has climbed into the ring. Young has backpedaled to the ropes, a stunned expression on his face. Kong grins, and licks her lips, as if savoring a forthcoming meal — then charges.
But Young is quick on his feet — like a bullfighter, he dodges the charge, sending Kong bouncing off the ring ropes. Kong recovers and pursues, trying to grapple with Young. Young is initially successful at evading, but Kong only has to get lucky once; she catches him by one wrist and whips him into the turnbuckles, following up with a body avalanche. Young is staggered, and while he is off-balance, Kong is able to catch him with her spinning-back-fist move, sending him sprawling. The next couple of minutes show Kong in her element — a series of slams and chops, keeping Young grounded and away from the ropes, where he cannot catch a break.
But Kong eventually decides to stop playing with her food, and finish him off. She picks him up, and delivers a combination chokeslam and throw, which sends Young crashing into a corner. Young leans against the turnbuckles, hands next to his head. Kong struts around the arena, seeming to bask in the waves of boos and the occasional thrown soda container. Then, once in the corner opposite her foe, she turns, sizing up the motionless Young. She crouches down, like a football lineman, and charges full-speed into the corner.
But Young isn’t there.
And neither is the pad usually covering the second-from-the-mat turnbuckle.
There is a muffled THUD, and Kong slumps to the canvas. Young climbs back into the ring from the floor, where he’d rolled to at the last moment; he tosses the turnbuckle pad into the center of the ring. Earl Hebner dashes to where Kong’s supine form lies; he carefully raises and lets drop her arm three times, then signals for the bell.
Tenay goes for the obvious comment: “That Knockout has been knocked out!”
Young moves to the ring’s edge, and collects his abandoned microphone. He turns to face the main camera; his expression matches the contempt which almost visibly drips from his voice.
“Really, Bobby?” he says. “After everything you’ve said… everything you’ve done…,” and here he gestures toward the unconscious Kong, “this is what you stoop to? Are you really such a COWARD–” here the crowd roars its approval “– that you’d hide behind the very thing you look down upon most? As a great man once asked of another abusive coward: Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last — have you no sense of decency?” The crowd once more chants “SHOWTIME”
The show cuts to backstage. A visibly rattled Roode walks the hallways; he sees someone, and frantically dashes to him. It is Samoa Joe, and his expression makes clear his feelings toward Roode. Ms. Brooks is mainly notable for her absence at this point.
“Listen, Joe, I can–” Roode begins, but Joe cuts him off with a finger to the face.
“No, you listen!” Joe growls. “Everyone knows what you’re up to, and why — you’re nothing but a punk who thinks he can buy his way out of trouble. Well, get this through that thick skull of yours: No one here who’s worth being called a wrestler wants your blood-money. No one around here likes you. And Eric Young’s been here forever — when you decided to dump on him, you decided to dump on the face of TNA, and every real wrestler in the company. It isn’t bad enough we have ‘superstars’ who can barely move, much less wrestle, hogging all the main events; you want to join them. And by the way: How many of them have returned your calls lately? I notice your hired-guns of late haven’t exactly been main-event material — why do you suppose that is? Maybe because the good people, the real wrestlers, know how good Eric Young actually is… and would like nothing more than to see him decorate the ring-ropes with your carcass. No, Bobby, I’m not taking your offer, and neither is anyone else in this company who has an ounce of talent, or self-respect. In fact, I think it’s about time you quit running and hiding….”
Roode backs away from Joe, justifiably unnerved at the ominous statement — or rather, he tries to. Unnoticed by Roode, Team 3D’s Brother Ray and Devon have walked up behind him, while several other wrestlers have formed the rest of a circle around Roode. The expressions on most of their faces suggest deep thoughts on the fraility of human life.
Roode backs straight into Devon; Roode turns, and backs away. He looks around frantically for an escape route — but none is to be found. The show cuts to commercial on a close-up of Roode looking horrified, realizing what’s about to happen.
Returning from commercial, Young is still in the ring, mike in hand. Kong is now absent.
“Well, Bobby,” Young says, “What’s next?”
The answer comes in the form of an ominous minor-chords theme with pounding Polynesian drums — it is the entrance music of Samoa Joe. Young turns to look up the ramp.
Joe appears from the tunnel, glaring as only he can. Behind him come Team 3D… and between them, being literally dragged kicking and screaming, is one Robert Roode. Trailing the four of them are a brace of TNA talent — some of their number including those Young has previously defeated.
Joe, Devon, and Ray reach the ring apron. With the latter pair on each of his arms, and Joe holding his feet, Roode is unceremoniously tossed into the ring — over the top rope. Roode lands with a thud; by the time he scrambles to his feet, Joe and Team 3D have arranged themselves around the ring like lumberjacks. Roode looks around; he quickly realizes there is no escape. He beckons for a mike; one is tossed into the ring. He picks it up, and walks over to Young.
“All right, you little twerp,” Roode snarls. “What do you want?”
Chants of “KICK HIS ASS!” and “SHOWTIME” fill the air.
Young waits for the crowd to calm, then smiles at Roode. “The same thing I’ve wanted for the past few months, Bobby,” he says in an almost-conversational tone. “You, and me, in this ring, at Bound For Glory, with the winner getting Ms. Brooks’ contract.”
Roode sneers. “Oh — you want her for yourelf, then?” A chorus of boos greets this question.
Once more, Young waits for the crowd to be silent. “No, Bobby— I want her to be able to choose what she wants. If she decides to stay with you, so be it. If she decides to walk away from you, so be it. If she decides to leave wrestling altogether, so be it. If she decides she can make it in the bsuiness without you, so — be — it. But the important part is: She decides — not me, not anyone else in TNA, and sure as hell not you.” The crowd — and especially the distaff branch of the audience — roars its approval.
Roode raises his mike to speak, but Young cuts him off. “And to sweeten the pie, Bobby, I have a stipulation which you can’t refuse… a three-word stipulation: LAST — MAN — STANDING.”
Roode blinks in surprise, then grins evilly. “Are you really that stupid, little man? You get into the ring with me, no holds barred?”
Young smiles once more. “Have you forgotten so soon, Bobby? You don’t remember where I come from? I was once ‘Team Canada’, too — you think I don’t remember all the dirty tricks we pulled? All those low-blows? Did you ever stop to think how I was able to defeat your hirelings? I knew who you’d been talking to — who accepted, and who told you to get bent — and was able to prepare myself, and the field to my liking. I’ve been ahead of you this entire time; and I know a Last Man Standing match is necessary. You see, Bobby, it’s the only way I can be sure you won’t break the rules… THERE — WON’T — BE — ANY!”
Roode takes a half-step back at the vehemence with which Young delivers the last four words. And a new chant rises from the audience: “ERIC’S GONNA KILL YOU!” A quick cut shows Samoa Joe looking surprised at this… but not disapproving.
Roode recovers himself. “All right, fool,” he says, “if you’re that hot to die, I’ll arrange the funeral. Bound For Glory, Last Man Standing, you and me — you got it!”
The crowd roars its approval of Roode’s words for the first time in months. Young merely smiles.
On that note, the show ends….
To be concluded …