There's not been a lot going on this week in TNA, but there's one thing that have been weighing on my mind. I have been sitting here thinking about Brooke Hogan's release and I can see both sides of the issue. I really didn't think that Brooke's release could only because of the claims of all these financial reasons. I normally don't mention things that Richard says in premium, but he just confirmed something I was absolutely sure of – Brooke was released at least partially because of her very open engagement to Dallas Cowboy Phil Costa. People in TNA thought that Brooke's very open engagement killed her marriage storyline with Bully. Now, I have serious issue with this, on both sides. First off, would it have been so hard for Brooke to keep her engagement a little quiet in the media until the storyline was wrapped up? I honestly don't think that's a big deal, in the grand scheme of things, but I don't spend my life in the public eye, and I don't want to spend my life in the public eye.
On the other hand, how much does something like Brooke's engagement really kill the storyline with Bully? Bully himself is married to Fawn Carr, and that's open knowledge, so what's the big? Further, look at past wrestling storylines that involved relationships. How many of those people were actually in relationships with those people at that time. Steph and Triple H didn't get close to getting married until after they divorced in storyline. Lita wasn't sleeping with Kane – who is also married to someone else. This is the way of the industry. You don't expect those actors in that movie you saw last week were married, or on that other show last night, so why would you care that Brooke got engaged to someone else when Bully is married to another woman. To me this is another daft move in a long line of questionable decisions that have been getting more and more confusing as the month goes along. Really impressive work Dixie, you're showing both your compassionate side you're always touting, and your wonderful knowledge of both the wrestling industry, and how entertaining fiction actually works.
Backstage Segment > B
I loved the work between Bully and Anderson. I have been saying all along that there's going to be issues there, and that Anderson is the mole. I just hope he doesn't turn into a crybaby in the process.
In Ring Segment > B
The rear that makes the girls cheer? Well, at least Daniels isn't wearing those pleated pants any longer! Okay, I've picked on Daniels for those pants a lot, but he does look so much better in ring gear. But I will say that putting Roode, who is so great on mic, with Daniels who is such a strong talker, and Kaz who's doing better and better, seems like genius. Storm said that they were all in jeans, but, going back to what I said about Daniels, he wasn't in jeans! But all in all, I though the mic work here was solid.
Storm & Gunner vs Roode & Kaz > B
Wait, Daniels wasn't in jeans and he was sent to the back, not even in this impromptu match! That's funny, especially since he was the only one in ring gear. Gunner and Storm continue to look strong in the ring together, and because of that I'm bummed that they got together right at the start of the BFG Series.
The fans were bored. TNA taping two Impacts in a row wears thin on the fans in the arena. There were a couple people in the front on their feet, but the rest were sitting and not really into the match, and that wasn't the fault of the wrestlers. Impact is not like on of WWE's Big Four, and because of that they're not equipped to be fired up for four hours at a time. I know there's commercials and other things, but that doesn't matter, the fans are in the arena for more than four hours and it takes a lot out of them. They have three long standing big TNA names, and Gunner who has more than proved himself in the ring, yet the fans don't care enough to even cheer or boo big moves and the cheated loss. This match was better than the fans thought, or reacted to.
Winners – Kaz & Roode (9:41)
Backstage Segment > B
We haven't seen enough Aries lately – on mic or in the ring. I know we have seen him, but not prominently enough. He was solid here and set up for a lot of questions.
Manik vs Sonjay Dutt > B+
I adore Dutt, and have since I first saw him. The man has mad skills in the ring, and can carry the mic as well. I loved his work with Lethal and SoCal. Rumor being that SoCal is gone from TNA, and she was seen at NXT. She was in the stands, but teased more on Twitter! She could be a great match for the WWE.
I loved watching Dutt and Manik in the ring in this match. It was nice that they didn't go all Triple Threat Match, and I hope they've dropped that idea. They can't build feuds or storylines when all the X Division matches are Triple Threat. Fingers crossed that we've seen the end of that. I wasn't shocked to see Dutt lose this match, but I hope to see a solid feud between him and Manik. Those two could kill it in a huge way. I also wasn't surprised to see the match was so short. I had thought TNA had learned something about our love of the X Division, but they seemed to have forgotten again so quickly.
Winner – Manik (4:28)
Backstage Segment > C+
Anderson sounded really worried from the start of this segment, even though he should have really been riling them up.
BFG Series – Street Fight – Joseph vs Hernandez vs Bradley & Daniels > B+
I am not at all impressed with Bradley. I don't understand why he's in the BFG Series, but that's TNA for you. I understand pushing younger stars, but this match has two who have been struggling in a huge way – Hernandez and Bradley – and then Joseph who's very wonky in each match, even though we know he can carry matches as a wrestler. It's Joseph's character that's wonky, and it works well, but not when he's in the ring with such train wrecks! Oh, I do have to mention that Hernandez's dive seemed to come out of nowhere this week, and because of that it looked sicker than ever. Nice to see him getting at least a little bit of good coming out of so much lackluster.
That Roode and Kaz tried to swerve this match, especially after last week, makes total sense, and it looked good, but not as great as the swerve from Aries! Then add in the swerve of Joseph seeing blood and really stepping things up in the BFG Series, and that's a lot of swerving in one match. I know a lot of people don't like Joseph, but the subtleties always sway me, and Chris Parks is the master of subtleties!
Winner – Joseph +20=10 (12:20)
Backstage Segment > B+
Sting is the man! It's also nice to see some passion from Rampage, but dang I loves me some Magnus! He and Joe are so fantastic together, then add in Sting and MEM is quite the force!
Video > B
I know I can get pissy about recap videos, but the timing of this one made a lot of sense, and it was well executed.
In Ring Segment > B
With Brooke's release, we were wondering what was going to happen with Bully and Brooke this week, and in the WNW Impact OTP we were wondering if we were going to see Tessmacher be the Brooke Bully had be talking to on his cell, but we didn't know if they would be that obvious.
Well, that was NOT a TV kiss! There was some serious tongue flopping around there. I have to say that Bully's wife is one impressive woman that she doesn't have issues with her husband going to work to get all cuddly with Brooke, and then Brooke. I can't say I'm sure about Brooke's chemistry with Bully yet. Brooke and Bully had such a great chemistry in that she wasn't fawning all over him in their segments. She showed real caring for him, not a skanky, wiggly need to be the center of Bully's attention. This is a totally different feel, and I'm going to have to watch her and see how they work together.
And since I was talking about subtleties so much this week, and Brooke pulling the ring off Bully the way she did wasn't subtle, the way Bully talked about who he had with him – the hot Brooke, Tito, and his brother Taz – should have clued me in on the end of the show. Bully never mentioned Devon.
ODB vs Gail Kim >
ODB spent a lot of time feeling up her boobs. That she was in such a solid match on the last episode, but without one of her layers, it had to be hard getting back into the ring again on the same night strapped back in the way she was. I'm sure big changes like that can effect how she works the ring a lot. I don't want to get into a discussion about how big boobs move, and real versus fake. And yes, I know ODB had/has implants, but her boobs move more naturally than most with implants, to the point that I wonder if she had them removed after the rupture.
Beyond the bodacious tatas, I was impressed with some of the work in this match, and that they're going to continue to push the Knockouts hard. It's interesting that ODB seems to be the only face Knockout around at the moment, but if anyone can handle it until another returns, it's ODB!
Winner – Kim (6:21)
Video > B
Henry said 'most proudest' and that this was the most important title he's won. More important than the WWE WHC? I will say he came across better here than he did when we were listening to his innermost thoughts. That was atrocious! But what won me over in this segment was Hardy's daughter. She's adorable, but even more than that, the look to the side to the camera she gave at the end. That little girl is such a Hardy and it came through in that one look!
Backstage Segment > B+
I loved how Aries handled BI (including Roode), and how he handled talking about it backstage.
Video > C
Recap of Sabin losing to Bully, as if we don't remember what happened last week.
Video > B
Sabin has become so much better on mic since returning, and I'm loving it. He's proving he can be strong running on his own, even though they screwed him with the scrap.
Loser Leaves TNA Forever Match! > A-
I loved the BS Anderson spewed about MEM laying down for A&8's, and then the reaction AJ got when he came out. I know others liked it, but I haven't found AJ believable. His ring work has changed and been great with his change in character, very fitting, but AJ is a good guy! He's like Rey, a natural face. No, I'm not going to compare him to Cena, AJ is so much better than that! The way AJ threw off his hoodie and jacket was symbolic as well as physical, and it was so lovely. AJ's ring work in this match was absolutely stellar! He felt like he was back in his comfort zone in this match. He sure brought the fans back some of the excitement they'd been missing through the whole show.
I have to give props where they're due, I was pretty impressed by the short time Rampage was in the ring on his own. A couple of blows that didn't look overly stiff, but still looked decent, a clothesline, and then that slam on Wes. Further he took the bump well to get him out of the ring. Not saying I want to see Rampage in the ring a lot before he's well trained, but he showed more promise than I expected at this point in his ring career.
Having Devon lose this match didn't make much sense to me. I know they're trying to save money, but letting go of one of their bigger name wrestlers – whether storyline or not – doesn't make much sense to me. I said it before and I said it again, if they were truly going to get rid of someone from this match, it should have been Wes or Garett, neither of which have added anything to TNA or A&8's in quite a long time. The fans were chanting through the match how much Devon sucks, the one from A&8's that got any personal heat at all, and he's gone. TNA usually sticks with these storylines, much more than the WWE does, and I'd love to know how they plan on getting out of this one because I think it was a really bad decision in a long line of bad decisions made by TNA over the past month or so.
Loser – Devon (16:38)
During the WNW Impact OTP it was asked whether this had been the plan for AJ – turning face and joining MEM – all along, or if things were changed because of Angle going into rehab. First off, as I've said before, I wish Angle nothing but the best, and I hope he finds himself in a better place because of stepping up and doing something about his demons. That being said, I think that AJ was probably scheduled to bounce back from his teen angsty emo phase, but possibly not this early. I never thought that version of his character worked, but I give them huge props for at least trying it. We all know what happens when a character doesn't grow and change (ever) through the years, but not every character change works. I think they were planning on bringing AJ back to the Phenomenal One, but they needed him in MEM now, so they moved things up. I think it was a spot on decision, and I will even give the props to Bisch – he is the head of creative – until I learn otherwise.
Beyond AJ, this episode of Impact had a couple of strong moments, but otherwise it was boring. That they tape the second week after the first absolutely wears out the fans in the arena, and it hurts the show in a huge way. I avoid spoilers between the shows airing, but even that couldn't save this episode of Impact. This was just an absolute mess, especially after how strong certain parts of last week's Impact was. Looks as though the releases have put quite the damper on morale!
Queen of WNW