I know they always say the most important thing is location, location, location, but right now I think timing is everything. It was pretty obvious that Ric Flair would not be returning to TNA no matter the circumstances. We all know Flair is in deep financially, but even that didn't send him back into the evil clutches that is TNA. But there were a couple other wrestlers that TNA really seemed to think that they needed to keep out of the WWE's evil clutches. Alex Shelley has stated that he would wait out the freeze and would rather work the indy's than return to TNA. Also, he wants to stick with Sabin who is still out with an injury. So those two were not returning to TNA. That's three names TNA could write off.
Then there was Morgan and Velvet Sky. We all know that both of them finally crumbled and returned to TNA. I find it quite interesting that not long after both of them returned to TNA, the court case has been cleared. I've been disgusted with the leadership in TNA, but when I see things like this happen, when the company screws with the livelihoods of wrestlers, I'm incensed. I think this could have been a great time for Morgan in the WWE with there being such a big growth with newer characters, but he ended up re-signing with TNA. I really thought the WWE could be good for Morgan, as long as they left the stuttering back in 2005.
I can understand why Velvet Sky would want to go to the WWE, it's the big leagues. If this was 2003, I think Velvet would do fantastic in the WWE, but right now everything is too prudish and the Divas aren't getting the ring time they deserve. I'd worry that Velvet would get pushed aside, as Gail Kim was when she returned to the WWE, because that's what's happening to the Divas these days. The worst part about all this is that she returned to TNA because of the lawsuit and hiring freeze, and now she's not getting any TV time. Screwed if you do and screwed if you don't when it comes to Velvet Sky.
And I can see how much Spike TV really cares about Impact. I always tune into Spike a bit early so I can catch any early live commercials. First thing I saw was The Rock's face as they're showing Walking Tall, but then Stacy pointed out how much Spike really doesn't care about Impact. The lower right corner of the screen as a countdown clock telling us how long until Live Bellatore MMA. I understand that MMA sells, and it's the first episode, but TNA – for the first time I can remember – has been pushing this episode of Impact in an insane way online, but Spike can't be bothered to push their Thursday anchor show in any way. Bravo Spike, nice to know how much you really care about TNA.
Video > C+
Of course they had to set up A&8's and the wedding of the night. They did a decent job of it.
Backstage Segment > B+
YAY, Spike! Okay, we knew about Dreamer, but Spike? I'm sorry, the WWE might own his name, but he is Spike Dudley, never Brother Runt. I'm so excited. I can't remember the last time we saw Spike on TV! And the moment between Brooke and her bridesmaids was decent, but nothing compared to the ECW guys together. Tie dye, really?
I went and looked real quickly. The last time we saw Spike was on Hardcore Justice on August 11, 2010. In November of that same year he had his final match and walked away from the industry. Before he became a wrestler he worked as an elementary school teacher in Rhode Island. From what I read online he was working as a financial planner after he left wrestling, but I'm not sure if he's still doing that, but it appears that he's still living in Rhode Island.
In Ring Segment > D
"You still got it" chants for Hardy. It's not like he's that old (35), and he's been in the ring straight through, so I don't understand what was behind the chant. I guess I should be happy to hear any pop in the Impact Zone, but I'm so confused by that chant.
Even stranger was Daniels and Kaz out to harass Hardy. This whole thing seems so disjointed. It felt forced and fake, even though Daniels is usually so good.
And since I'm snarking all over this segment, Storm looked silly running down that ramp. I've seen Knockouts in platform stilettos run down that ramp more gracefully. Don't get me wrong, Storm is still one of my favorites, but he looked awkward running for the ring.
Hardy & Storm vs Kaz & Daniels > C-
Storm worked this match really well. There was one small botch when Kaz landed badly on him, but that was minor. And Hardy did a great job with the hot tag, but not looking like Super Hardy in a bad way. The final twist of fate looked horrid, but beyond that he looked solid.
If I'm searching so hard for something good or bad to say about this match, then that's still a problem. It wasn't a bad match, but Daniels' angels wings on Hardy was one of the best moves of the match, and he really needed that since he'll be facing Hardy for the WHC next week on Impact, but it was better than the rest of the twelve minute match in a nutshell. So it wasn't a bad match, but it also wasn't a good match. I wasn't entertained, and I sure can't tell you anything interesting that happened in there. These are four very competent men, but this match wasn't anywhere near their best work. If these were no-name wrestlers, I'd say it was solid, but for these four it was boring. It was less than average because they're all so much better than what they did in the ring, and I think I'm being kind with my grade.
Winner – Hardy & Storm (11:58)
Video > C
Maybe I should give them more props for talking up the Gut Check Match from last week. They did do a good job of picking out the best move of the match, but beyond that, I thought the match was boring, and I couldn't tell you which of those guys are which from last week.
Backstage Segment > B+
Bully with Spike was adorable, but Joseph stole the segment with those cigars. Kayfabe!
Gut Check > F
I don't know what it is about Snow and his horrible jackets, but they're really growing on me. He has the personality to make them work; so few do. Then Prichard started lying about it being the best Gut Check Match they've seen. Then suddenly Brian Cage is eliminated? That was quick and shocking, but I still couldn't tell you who did what in that match last week. And I still don't know why they're doing this to bring in new guys when they can't even use the wrestlers they do have.
Of course it was a split decision and it had to go to Prichard. And now there's another wrestler on the roster who we won't see for six months or more. I am really at a loss when it comes to TNA and how they're dealing with their wrestlers. I'd like to say quality over quantity, but they have quality and keep bringing in quantity. Each week Dixie Carter proves more and more that she has absolutely no clue how to run a company, never mind a wrestling company!
Christian York vs Kenny King > B-
I will step back and say that York has been a nice addition to the TNA roster, and he's been handled well since coming in. There was virtually no time between his Gut Check and him working Impact regularly, and he didn't need developmental. Kenny King came right in off the end of his ROH contract, and has been solid since joining, but at the expense of how many other X Division wrestlers?
The counters were solid and kicks were sick, but the end was sloppy and dirty. I know it was supposed to be dirty, but it didn't need to be sloppy as well. It's a solid start to what could be a solid feud – if they're given the time and creative to do it. I just wonder why these two guys are having a feud when we've seen virtually nothing of the X Division Champ, or any other X Division wrestlers except when they're pushing botch boy (Zema Ion) down our throats. Not at all impressed with the way TNA has destroyed what made them great, the X Division.
Winner – Kenny King (2:52)
Backstage Segment > B+
Bully has become a great actor. The man who would bomb people through tables, then sit there and drool is long gone. He's really stepped up his game and is impressing the heck out of me. If anyone had told me, way back when I was watching him on ECW, or even the WWE, that he'd do a romantic storyline and do such a great job of it, I'd laugh. He has grown so much these past couple years. Obviously something in TNA is conducive to Bully making a huge talent jump. It's good to see that it's working for someone, and he's just fabby.
Announce Segment > D
The three of them on announce are a total mess. The only good thing going on there is Taz in a tux.
Backstage Segment > A-
Aries and Roode are fantastic together! The two of them together feels effortless. I'm not saying they're going to be the next Beer Money, but they have a chemistry that is so unstrained on mic that it's like watching two brothers bicker over the last biscuit on the table. I'm really interested in seeing where these two are going to take this. Even though they claim TNA is slanted against them, I'm thinking that the two of them are going into a great push because of how great they are together.
Backstage Segment > D
Like a puppy jumping up for that treat that he just can't reach, but he's going to keep trying until slapped away. Though at Hogan's condition, I can't say it was much of a slap.
Backstage Segment > B
Yes, the ECW guys are great together, but let's get to the debacle – I mean wedding. Again Bully pulls emotions that I never thought we'd see from him. It sucks that it too 20 years to get this level of emotion from him, but it's great to see!
Video > C
Of course they felt they needed to set up the storyline more, but at this point they need to get to the meat of the matter. Too much dragging it out and it will be uneventful.
In Ring Segment > C+
Sting came off really strong here. He came off as honest and real. Hogan, on the other hand, was exactly as he always is. What disgusts me is Hogan listening to what social media is saying about Bully. Okay, listening to his gut is fine, but social media? And he's saying that the fans think Bully is a snake, but the fans are chanting Bully and for Hogan to do it. Hogan really needs to learn to fly by the seat of his pants. You'd think after all this time that he'd have worked that out and know how to ad lib.
Backstage Segment > C
Something about Taryn in this segment, all I saw was Tiffany from WWECW. It's the first time I've gotten that feel from her, but there it was. She has this look of being in charge, and as a ref she needs that, but this was the first time I saw it. So it's a good thing that she has it, she just needed it months ago when she joined TNA.
Video > C
Bully looked like he was having fun at Rick's for his 'bachelor party.'
#1 Contender Match – Gail Kim vs Velvet Sky > B
I thought that both Kim and Velvet looked really solid in the ring together, then Velvet botched Kim's big move. They both covered well and came back to the move, but it was an obvious mess when it happened. Then the way Kim's head scissors on Velvet look, it was masterful from both of them. That's something we haven't seen the likes of for a very long time, and we're all better for seeing it this time.
Kim's drop kick on Velvet was solidly sick, then followed by her finisher looked to be over, but Velvet came back with some solid moves of her own. I normally get annoyed by the women hitting head scissors when they're so blatantly being mostly handled by the person taking the move, but that was so gracefully hit that I couldn't do anything but watch and smile. Velvet had grown a lot before she left, but since her return she's been that much better.
Kaitlyn and Eve looked much better in the ring than we've seen from the Divas, but other than the botch, this match was so much better than that one. Kim's head scissors alone took this match a step up from that one, but add in the rest, and this was better, by far. I guess that people in TNA watch WWE TV and listen to social media can be a good thing now and then!
Winner – Velvet (5:54)
Backstage Segment > D
So much for the leader of the company who doesn't want to be a TV character. But what bothers me more, and this is such a girly thing, but I don't know any bride who would walk down the aisle with her hair so sloppy. Yes, you get pissy at me for talking clothes, but this is more than just what someone is wearing, it's where TNA is dropping the ball on this. It's a rare woman who wants a sloppy braid and fly-aways as she gets married. I eloped with food poisoning, but still made sure my hair looked good.
In Ring Segment > A-
It wasn't until I saw Aries and Roode head to the ring that I realized how much the 'wedding' setup took away from the seating in the Impact Zone. Beyond that, these two are like brothers. They can harass each other, but no one else can.
I love the step back ten years comment from Aries! I hadn't really thought about the gold wearing group as a whole, and I should have.
Devon is 40 and debuted in 1996.
RVD is 42 and debuted in 1989.
Chavito is 42 and entered WCW in 1994 – I can't really give his real debut date because he and Eddie were working the ring during intermissions before they were ten.
Hernandez is 39 and debuted in 1996.
Tara is 41 and debuted in 2000.
Hardy is only 35, but he had his first professional match in 1994 (Razor Ramon).
Since we're calling up the ages of those carrying gold in TNA, why not look at the WWE as well?
Punk is 34 and started working in the late 1990's.
Bryan is 31 and debuted in 2000, while his partner Kane is 45 and debuted in 1992 – but we all know Kane is a veteran in the ring, and one who can boast very few injuries after many years of serious hard work.
Wade Barrett is 32 and debuted in 2004.
Antonio Cesaro is 32 and debuted in 2000.
ADR is 35 and debuted as a professional wrestler in 2000. And since Big Show just dropped the strap, I'll include him at 40 years old and he started in WCW in 1995.
Kaitlyn is the baby of the group at 26, and she debuted in 2010.
Five of the Champs in WWE and TNA are forty or over. I'm not quite sure how I feel about that right now. I think it's great that the Knockouts Champ is over forty, but beyond that, I think Aries is absolutely correct in what he's saying about the Champs being fogies! And then there's the golden child thing, but you all know how I feel about that as I'm not a 13 year old girl.
I was wondering who was going to drag these two from the ring, and I guess what I was saying earlier about Aries and Roode not being the next BMI, but they sure have chemistry has proven to be fortuitous. I think this was a wonderful way to start up a tag feud between these guys. I hate to admit when TNA creative (Bisch) has done something brilliant, but this absolutely was.
Video > F
Lucky us, a recap of Hogan whining. Hogan always does the right thing? Does that include having sex with his bestie's wife? Having all those back surgeries without a second opinion? Treating TNA as his own personal playground?
Backstage Segment > C-
That was an adorable picture of Hogan and Brooke. That was just darling. Beyond that, Sting was great and Hogan was his egotistical self.
Wedding – Bully Ray & Brooke Hogan > A
It feels really strange to be grading a wedding, yet I didn't feel at all strange grading ODBEY's skivvied monstrosity. Dreamer and Tessmacher looked great coming out. Spike walked way too fast for Mickie who had a horridly vacant grin on her face. Taz and Hemme looked cute, but she struggled with the dress and heels on the ramp. It seems as though they hunted down enough darker haired Knockouts to match the number of ECW groomsmen.
Dreamer sold well when the wedding march started, but it was Bully who really sold it in his smile, in his eyes. Actually, they both sold it in how they react to each other, how they look at each other. I think this is where most other wrestling romances have dropped the ball. The two of them did a great job selling through the entire ceremony.
I'll admit it, I did NOT see that coming! Taz did a great job with his reveal, then fleeing the ring so he wasn't in the middle of the fray. Also, the Knockouts fled quickly with Hogan's help, then he appeared to take a 'sledge' to the gut and 'crumbled' to the mat fairly gracefully, then laid there like a lump. I didn't notice when Sting arrived, but he didn't last long. Other than Bully not getting busted open, I think they handled the fight well. I did notice that there seemed to be more than a dozen members of A&8's who were involved in this fight. Their numbers keep increasing and decreasing whenever needed.
Okay, I have to address Brooke here. That girl fell completely out of the top of her dress. They knew she was going to be grabbed by A&8's, so why did they go with a strapless dress? Last week it was a panty shot from the dress being too short, this week both of her tatas came completely out of the top of her wedding dress. Now, I love Nicole Miller's designs (Dixie made a big deal about it being a Nicole Miller dress online today) as well as the next girl. Heck, my prom dress was a design of her's (but made by me), but I didn't have any wardrobe malfunctions (I'd learned by then)! I will say that Brooke did a solid job of stuffing herself back in while she checked on her father, but then she totally messed up when she went to 'Check on Bully' as Hogan told her to do. She was at the altar with the man, pledging her love only three minutes earlier, but she couldn't recognize him four feet away. She went to 'Check on Bully', but ran to Dreamer first. She reached for him, realized he wasn't Bully, then searched for her beloved. I have to admit that I almost forgot her falling out after that gaff!
I know I'm going to get slammed for giving the wedding an A, but I thought it was handled quite well by almost everyone involved. The loving looks between Brooke and Bully, the glares from Hogan, then the demands and revelation from Taz. It might not have been a match, but for a wrestling wedding, it was right up there with the best – and I don't mean ODBEY! It was a great cap to an otherwise lackluster Impact.
Three matches in two hours. It came to just under 22 minutes of ring time, but only the Knockouts Match was worth the time. Beyond that Roode and Aries were just wonderful on mic, and the way they set up for them to feud with Chavito and Hernandez was just fabby. One of the most organic starts to a feud that TNA's given us in a long time, unlike the mess that started the show.
They have quite a while before Lockdown, so they have plenty of time to play with storylines and angles. It could be a lot of fun, and hopefully Lockdown will be better than Genesis. The fact that I'd completely forgotten about Genesis until this very moment should show you how memorable the PPV was. In all honesty, I paid more attention to the Golden Globes than Genesis because it was just that boring. Here's hoping TNA takes the new PPV schedule and puts in the time to building great PPVs, not just slapping things together last minute the way they did with Genesis. They've put together some solid ideas on this Impact, now all they have to do is build on them creatively and not force them to fit some sort of mold that doesn't make sense going into Lockdown. It would be nice to see some solid wrestling on Impact leading up to Lockdown, but I'm not holding my breath.