I was unable to write the live coverage for this week's Impact Wrestling, so Kendra was able and willing to fill in for me. We switched roles this week as I am writing the IW Blog Zone. First off, thanks Kendra! Secondly, writing live coverage is way different than doing the Blog Zone because you have to analyze every single match and segment. I do love doing that, but the live coverage really only gives me time to see the overall picture. The Blog Zone gives me the opportunity to go into the fine detail of everything. After watching this week's show, I picked so much stuff out that I really wouldn't have noticed if I was writing the live coverage.
Did anyone notice the empty seats in the arena? Usually TNA does a good job covering sections that are unseated. Sadly, this week, they didn't do so. On top of that, I saw empty seats all over the place. There were less seats on the floor than usual as there seemed like a small portion of people around the area. The question is... why? Are those seats empty because Hulk Hogan wasn't announced? Or maybe it was TNA's side and they didn't advertise the show as great as they did with the others in the past. The fact of the matter is that there were lots of empty seats and it really caught my attention in the negative way. It distracted me from the overall show. Was Eric Bischoff really producing the show this week? Knowing him, he would have not let those camera angles threw. I remember going to Impact Wrestling in April and there were officials telling other officials that they needed to have people sit in seats that were empty so it wouldn't come across bad on television. Just doesn't make sense. At any rate, let's move onto the show!
Dixie Carter In-ring Segment - A and C
I had to give this segment two grades for a number of reasons. Dixie comes out and gets in the ring and the "crowd" is going crazy. They are trying to boo her out of the building. In fact, the booing was louder than her on the mic. It reminded me of Vickie Guerrero. The boos continued and continues through her whole segment, but I looked at the crowd and really didn't see many people opening their mouths. Were the boos plugged in? Don't get me wrong, there were moments where the crowd got into it, but it just seemed strange how they looked and then sounded.
Now to touch on the Dixie Carter character. There are still mixed reactions about her heel character. Here's what she is trying to be. She's trying to be that boss who is above everyone else. She has the money supply. She pays everyone. She technically has the power to make anyone's life miserable. Not only that, she is one of the top ladies in the wrestling industry. She is proud of that. She is happy with the attention. She doesn't care what people think. It's her way or noway. She is like that kid who gets the last word in. She named dropped Vince and Stephanie. She said she doesn't need Hulk Hogan or Eric Bischoff. Yet, I love how she still is paying Eric Bischoff. She says she doesn't need the likes of the top people in the WWE, but at the end of the day, we have to look at the ratings, sales, and growth. Who has the bigger company? Sure, it is lousy comparing an 11 year old company to a 60+ year company, but that is basically what she just did in this promo.
Sting came out and asked Dixie what is really going on. Dixie being Dixie is not going to be giving in toward anyone. She loves having Sting on board, but, at the end of the day, she has the power. Dixie is taking charge. While the look of the crowd and the reaction was very strange, the segment turned out to be a hit with another throwing the weight around. The thing is, Dixie better watch at the end of the day. If she doesn't need anyone, who will actually be part of the show?
Austin Aries Backstage Promo - A
I can never pass up an Austin Aries promo. He always delivers. The fact that he said the Ultimate X Match is not his type of match as he is a pure wrestler makes complete sense and goes right along the lines of his recent interview he did. However, there's no doubt Aries will shine in the Ultimate X Match!
AJ Styles Backstage Promo - B
I will say AJ Styles is a veteran of this business; however, I still hear from people saying he is not excellent on the mic. He obviously is not the best person, but he is not the worst person either. His backstage promo here was good and straight to the point. That is what he needs to do. He needs to get to the point as to what he wants to say. He executed it well here tonight.
Jeff Hardy vs. Austin Aries - A
This was a tremendous match on so many levels. Austin Aries is a pure athlete. Jeff Hardy may not be the best wrestler, but he knows how to sell and work and get the crowd going. This match was a back and forth battle with fighting inside and outside the ring. The ending moments got the crowd crazy as they were standing and chanting. Once you get the crowd to that point you know you are having an insane match. The Brain Buster from the top rope was crazy and I give props to Aries but as well as Hardy for taking that bump. Wicked! One thing I did have a problem with was how this match came about. It was unannounced and unadvertised. This show was around Hulk Hogan being gone and whether there will be chaos. Was there really chaos? They really should have advertised this match because almost everyone knows Jeff Hardy. Wouldn't you want to advertise Jeff Hardy in a match instead of advertising Hulk Hogan not being at the show? That's right, bad promoting!
Samoa Joe On Stage Promo - A
Having Samoa Joe added to the Ultimate X Match only makes the match better. I was very curious how TNA was going to book Samoa Joe for Bound for Glory. Actually, I think they really had no idea how to book him. It looks like they just inserted him right into it without thinking about it two weeks ago. Whatever the case is, the match is going to be very solid. Huge names will be showcased. I'm particularly excited for it! On the flip side, what happened to the weight limit rule in the division? Looks like they are throwing that right out the window just like the Television Title rule and the X-Division referee head camera.
Bromans Backstage Promo - C
I am actually a fan of Robbie E. Pairing him with Jessie makes a lot of sense. These two are the comedy relief for me for the show. However, I do think the company can make them look like a serious threat. I loved how Robbie and Jessie are battling over was worse... whether Robbie losing to Park multiple times or Jessie losing to ODB?
Joseph Park and Eric Young Road Trip - B
Joseph Park and Eric Young are very entertaining. I had the privilege of conducting a short interview with Joseph Park during the summer. He is such an entertaining character. Pairing him with Young makes them even more entertaining. The thing is, where is the story going with Park trying to find his "brother" Abyss? What about Park bleeding and acting like Abyss? The story has came to a standstill. It is taking months and months with little or no progression. Honestly, I want it to end right now instead of this slow and drawn out process. I don't want to see them drop it because it would make the situation even worse. Get on with it. The problem, I think, is that Young and Park work. The crowd loves them and TNA really didn't see that at first. Now they want to draw them out as long as possible. They need to finish the first before moving to the second.
Jessie Godderz vs. ODB - D
This match/segment was filled with illogical nonsense. I love ODB and she is one of my favorite Knockouts in the company. However, the creative team needs to take blame for this. How in the world can ODB take on Jessie Godderz and actually put him in his place, but then Lei'D Tapa comes into the ring and attacks ODB like a paper doll? Not only does it make Jessie look horrible, but it makes it seem like Tapa can actually compete against the men. Sure, she probably can, but she goes and holds up the Knockout Title. She isn't even contender. She hasn't even had a match since she made her debut/return. Horrible booking. Unbelievable!
Aces & 8s Backstage Segment - A
Bully Ray is one of those people who can carry anyone on the mic with just his presence. Bully Ray sold this segment so well. Actually, I didn't see a problem with Garett Bischoff or Knux at all. Knux is obviously the biggest guy in the group. He could really go after Ray if he wants to, but Ray has to play his cards. He needs to keep Knux calm and use him while he can. Basically, Ray used his magic and made the two feel like they were special. They even touched the TNA World Title! That's probably the closet Garett will ever get to that title, but it made them look important. We are seeing a great collapse of the Roman empire!
Magnus and Sting Backstage Segment - B
I am really looking forward to Sting and Magnus at Bound for Glory. This segment shows what the match is all about. They are friends. They respect each other. This is Magnus' chance and time. It's all he is thinking about. He can't make it get into his head though. We are seeing a true rise of a star.
EGO Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony - A
Kazarian and Daniels dressing up in those Dumb and Dumber costumes was absolutely tremendous. That deserves an A in itself. The two were perfect on the mic as they talked up the Hall of Fame and Bobby Roode. Roode came out and they showed him a video that Kaz apparently made. Fantastic! Lots of voice editing and photoshopping and you get one amazing hype video for Roode. Roode speaks and the crowd just goes crazy with heat. As I am watching Roode speak, I am thinking how this segment will end. They can't end with tons of boos. They can't end on a huge heat moment. Just then, Kurt Angle returns. The crowd was shocked and I was stunned! I didn't think we would see him till Bound for Glory. He is back and made his mark. He looked fantastic. There's no doubt he was training hard for his return. He and Roode at BFG could be one of the top matches of the show. The segment ended in a huge high note with a standing ovation for Kurt Angle!
Bobby Roode Backstage Promo - A
One thing I love about Bobby Roode is the way he can sell his character. He is one of those guys who can play face or heel. We seen him in Beer Money where he and James Storm were both heels. They changed near the end of the tag team reign with being babyfaces. Roode broke away and has been a heel ever since. Roode is one character that almost has those multiple personalities. He is there to win over the smart fans by saying the real facts of the business, but he also is there to whine and complain to get something. Jesse wrote a cool thing during the live coverage as he explained that Roode was throwing a "6 year old temper tantrum". He pretty much was. However, Roode sold it. We know Roode enough that it fits him. I remember watching Roode vs. Kurt Angle at Bound for Glory 2011. However, two years ago makes a huge difference. Roode is not the same. Kurt is not the same. You become older and wiser. You get more experience and smarter. Pairing these two against each other is going to be great.
Velvet Sky vs. Brooke - C
Honestly, I wasn't impressed with this match for a number of reasons. Let me first start at the beginning though. Chris Sabin came out with Velvet Sky this week. He came out and covered her up while she "let the pigeons loose". Honestly, that is one of my favorite parts of the show and my favorite part of her entrance. I mean, I can't lie! It is. Sabin taking that away from me is like taking coffee away from me in the morning! It is not going to go over well! Speaking of Chris, it is looking like he is sporting a new look. I can describe this look as a "porn rockstar". May sound harsh, but that's what happens when you keep the pigeons in! Back to the match! As I stated, it wasn't great. In fact, I found the match slow. Each showcased decent wrestling skills (more than we seen on WWE Raw), but the crowd was uninterested and it left me uninterested! The finish came out of nowhere with really no "hype up" from the commentators. Anti-climatic. Brooke is going to Bound for Glory which makes sense as she will face ODB. Could Aces & 8s get the Knockouts Title? Just by looking at the match, ODB could use Brooke as a towel to wipe off the hood of her car.
Magnus and Sting vs. Bad Influence - B
I wrote this on my Facebook page and I really think I have to share it with all of you. Sting is one of those rare talents in this wrestling business. He is in his 50s but he can wrestle people 20 to 30 people younger than him. And he can keep up! When he preformed that dropkick it showed me that he still has it. Sure, it's not an AJ Styles dropkick, but barely anyone leaves their feet at that age. He keeps on impressing and he keeps gaining respect. Sting is simply amazing. As far as the match goes, I didn't think this match was amazing. It was decent. The only move I purely noticed was Sting's dropkick. I also noticed how the ended became quite ironic. Mr. Earl Hebner was dealing with Bad Influence while Sting tagged himself in the match. Obviously Earl didn't see the tag. He couldn't have heard it either. Yet, he turns around and doesn't even give a flying pancake that Sting is hitting the Scorpion Death Drop and covering. Earl counts away. Sure, fine now, but wait till a week or two when Earl or some other referee flips out when someone tries to come into the match when they didn't hear the tag. The star down between Sting and Magnus afterwards had that spark. Magnus is so close to being ready to help carry this company. Sting is there to give him that final push.
Dixie/AJ Styles Backstage Segment - B
Dixie's soft voice made her sound so innocent and cheery. During her innocent speech, she insults and mocks the south with trailer park remarks. Funny thing is, she is part of the south! AJ is not going to leave that easy. He is not there for the money. He is there to fight. He wants to prove his point. Essentially, if he doesn't care about the money, then he should have no problem re-signing with the company, right?
AJ Styles vs. Knux and Garett Bischoff - B
Here's yet another decent match for me. I saw a couple rough spots dealing with Garett Bischoff, but Knux came in and I really didn't see anything too botchy from him. I really think he can be a huge factor after the Aces & 8s story. He has the look and talent. I sure hope TNA keeps him around. AJ picks up the win. It was necessary. With Bound for Glory being a little over a week away, they need to make AJ Styles look strong and Bully Ray look strong. They accomplished that tonight. AJ beat two member of Aces & 8s. Beating them gives him momentum and the power to beat Bully. Let's face it, Bully needed help from Aces to win the title at Lockdown and then at Hardcore Justice. Bully needs them. AJ beating them and taking them out only leads to Bully Ray not getting the help he needs. One thing I do like to mention is Bully Ray on commentary. Bully Ray is one of the top stars in the wrestling business today. There's very few who can actually make it more entertaining on the mic. I interviewed Bully Ray earlier this week and he really gained a lot of my respect (it's not like I didn't have any before though). Ray is another class act that comes very rarely. Bully Ray is that old school style that so many people miss these days. Nothing but impressive.
Bully Ray Attack - A
After Bully finishes his commentary, he goes right after AJ Styles in the ring and takes him out. He controls Knux and Garett and then takes his chain and starts whipping AJ like a horse. Not only did AJ sell it to perfection, but Bully Ray looks very dominate here. AJ won his match to gain momentum, but Bully Ray gets his power through a beat down. The back body drop onto the ramp ended with a huge THUMP. Ray told AJ how it is and the show faded away. It was a great way to end the show because they really need to focus on the main story... the story of Bully Ray vs. AJ Styles for the TNA World Title. They have been holding off for a couple weeks, but they got into it last week and now progressed immensely this week. I can see AJ Styles getting the final word next week to make him look real strong for Bound for Glory. It's no doubt it will be neck and neck.
This week's Impact Wrestling got mixed reviews, just like their show every week. While Jeff Hardy and Aries tore the house down in their match, the other matches were only decent. However, the show really pushed the segment and promo area. Usually they do with major PPVs coming. Just think of WWE with Wrestlemania being a week or two away. The Bound for Glory PPV card is shaping up to look great. This show saw huge progression and development. Sadly, the rating and viewership didn't reflect that as the show hit only a 0.82 cable rating. Is that because of Hulk Hogan not appearing? Time will tell, but it isn't good with Bound for Glory being only two weeks away. It didn't help they barely advertised what was actually scheduled. The show could have been better, but it could have been way worse. I am satisfied.
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