I have to admit that I didn't loath Final Resolution. I was quite impressed with how they set up the opening match, and how it was executed. I was wondering what Kaz and Storm would be doing during FR, and they handled that well.
I really thought they were going to start Final Resolution with the X Division match. It could have been a great match to get the fans riled up. It kept the fans going from the first match, but didn't elevate the excitement more. It was a decent match, but I really thought it was time RVD hand over the X Division Title. He's done so little with it, and I think Kenny King as Champ could be sick!
While I didn't pick Chavito and Hernandez to retain the TTC, I am glad they did. I think they're great as Champs, and are a great team to lead the Tag Division right now. I was just shocked that Morgan didn't go over after the build he's had – again!
In my predictions I said that Bully would win if Brooke didn't run down and cost him the match. I predicted Aries to win, but Brooke made the run in and cost Bully the match. I really like how this all went down. Bully could handle the loss, and it really pushed the storyline along that much further. Of course Aries will be crowing about his win and make a much bigger deal of it than it really is.
The Knockouts Championship Match was solid. I know they wanted to keep the strap on Tara, but having Jessie causing all the trouble cheapens the work of both Mickie and Tara. So while there were some good moves, I'm disappointed in the predictability of it all.
I'm quite shocked that A&8's lost their match! I'm also bummed that something interesting didn't happen – either Wes jumped ship and showed his A&8's side, or another member of the group is unmasked. They really need to step up A&8's and have something big happen tonight, or possibly next week.
As should be expected, Daniels and AJ were absolutely amazing! I cannot get over how great those two are in the ring together, but the way they keep contriving to put them together it getting so terribly old! And I understand that AJ is on this downward spiral, but I really wanted him to beat Daniels. I guess that means both of them have been doing their jobs wonderfully?
Hardy won, shocker.
Okay, I will say that the A&8's attack brought a lot of intrigue to Roode's character. It was a smart way to book the match so both wrestlers looked strong, but Hardy could keep the strap. That A&8's turned on him was a nice shocker and brought so much to the show. It really made me excited to see what was going to happen on Impact tonight! Okay, I'll admit that I didn't step away from my computer or wrestling much today, but I'm really excited for Impact.
Video > B
Don't be shocked at the grade, but they did a solid job with this one. I'd forgotten how big of a blading job Bully did at FR. It was a thin slice, but it went from one side of his forehead to the other! Of course they hit on AJ, it only makes sense. And then Roode. Those three are the biggest storylines right now, so it made sense with them to start the show recapping what happened with them at FR.
In Ring Segment > B+
I was wondering who they were going to start the show with; Roode makes a lot of sense to me. Roode was well spoken and sold his ire passionately. He is back to reminding me of a young Triple H. This is the Roode that's been missing for the past couple months.
Out bidded? Devon does have a way with words! Actually, other than that, he was pretty good.
I know Hardy is the WHC, but Storm is better on mic for things like this. I think it would have made more sense for him to talk that the boy in the pink hoodie. But all in all, I'm sure they're setting up for a match, and furthering the storylines. What I really like is that this was a nice short segment. Maybe I expect things like this to drag out so much longer because RAW is three hours, but this was refreshing in its length. Bravo to creative for keeping this short, and to all involved for making it fairly solid.
Backstage Segment > C+
Velvet said she's more focused, and unless she's changing what the pigeons are, the way she said it came off as rather trashy after all the positive things she started with. She also seemed a bit rusty on mic, but that will come back after a few more segments. I know I was a TBP hater early on, and will still defend my feels for them at that point, but Velvet has stepped up and really worked on her ring work, become someone I enjoy working the ring, I just hope she doesn't backslide. I want to tentatively say I like this new ring gear on her, but I want to see how it moves in the ring before I make my final verdict.
Video > B-
I like how they executed this video. Mickie talking, being so upset after her loss, and showing clips of the match. She's the best wrestler in the world? Cough, cough, delusional, cough, cough!
Madison vs Velvet Sky > C+
I forget how tiny Madison is until I see her next to someone like Velvet. Velvet is tiny in her own right, and Madison has to look up to her. I will admit that it's great to see Madison back, and she works so well with Velvet 0 a plus for both of them.. They looked a bit tentative in places. The first time Madison stood on Velvet's hair, Velvet gave Madison her hand to pull on. Velvet needed this win as they've made such a big deal of her being gone, but it seems like we haven't seen Madison in almost as long. I also have to say that I think I like Velvet's new ring gear. I hadn't realized how sheer it was, but it looked really good on her working the ring. My only criticism is that she was wearing a dark pink or red bra, and with all the moving around, the bottom could be seen sliding down into the sheer area in the front. Black bra and that wouldn't be noticed at all.
I won't say this was a bad match, because it wasn't. But I also can't say it was a really good match. Velvet looked a bit rusty, and the two of them were not completely on their marks. It worked for a first time back from both of them, but I expect the bar to be raised much higher and very quickly.
Winner – Velvet (3:10)
Backstage Segment > D+
Okay, this little DX-esque segment fell flat for me. I understand where they're going with it, and it could have worked, but Angle felt really flat to me. He just didn't have his normal spark, his normal joie de vivre!
Backstage Segment > B+
As I said, Daniels is gloating over his win over AJ. Actually, I thought Kaz and Daniels worked this wonderfully. Maybe they're like Kane and Bryan, give them short little segments and they rock them, but the longer ones fall flat. I'll have to think on that more.
Video > B
When they showed this video style with Mickie, I liked it, but this is the second time they've recapped a FR match in the exact same way. I'm hoping this isn't a routine and they change it up. Beyond that, this was a solid video recap, for being another recap in the first half hour of the show.
Robbie E & Robbie T vs Wes Brisco & Garett Bischoff w/ Angle > B-
The Robbies really worked that ring well! I won't say their wrestling was the best, but they cut off the ring, kept Wes from Garett, and really worked as a well oiled machine. They were really on and sold that they're absolutely heels that will do all they need to win.
That it was Garett to get the hot tag made my teeth itch, but he is better than he was when he first started. I thought Wes looked really strong, except when he climbed. He looked really unsure of himself up top. He was off balance and I was worried that he wouldn't hit his move, but he pulled it out.
That wasn't a very long match, and it was a bit sloppy, but it worked for what it was. I found it an interesting time to kneecap Angle, but it further makes me wonder about Wes, and even possibly Garett being part of A&8's.
Winners – Wes & Garett (3:25)
Backstage Segment > C+
Angle sold that possible knee injury well.
Video > B-
Finally! I've been waiting to see video of Joseph training to become a wrestler! Joseph trying to get out that car was great! The touting of OVW as so great made me gag, as did the way Joseph said he couldn't go back to Hogan without a wrestling license. Beyond that, I thought Danny Davis was hysterical and did a wonderful job with Joseph. That they ended with Joseph puking his guts out in a trash can was just too funny.
Backstage Segment > B
Boyfriends? Wow, Brooke was solid here! It's not just what Brooke said, but how she said it. Brooke owned her lines and her character here. This is one of the strongest executive segments I've seen her in since joining TNA. She might actually work out to be an interesting character who can hold her own. I can't believe I'm saying these things, but she's getting better than her father, and doesn't saturate the show with her visage. Hey, where is the old fart? We haven't seen him taking up too much Impact time yet!
1.3.13 > ?
I agree with Richard that it very well could be Sting that they're pushing, but anything can change between now and then. A month in the wrestling industry and TPTB change storylines more than they change their nickers! What does rub me slightly the wrong was is the feel of the video. I know it's not like Taker's last return video where we all wondered if it might be Sting, but something in the feel of it brought me back there. Guess we'll all just have to wait and see.
Backstage Segment > C+
Facing RVD was his dream match? It was a solid match at FR, but I've seen King in better. If they're starting a face on face feud between him and RVD, I'm all for it. We get to see more X Division match, that's even better!
Storm & Hardy vs A&8's > B+
Hardy looked more Hardy than he did at Final Resolution! Between the way he flew out of the ring onto A&8's, and then back in the ring dancing. He looked on, and like the old Hardy that I used to love watching. I would have loved to see the two and a half minutes lost by the commercial as Henry was still in control until just after we were returned to the match. As loud as the fans were, there was some solid stuff that us at home fans missed.
Actually, even after Hardy lost control of the match, he handled himself well. I was quite impressed with how both DOC and the other guy (Knox?) worked with Hardy. They looked solid and worked well as a team as well as playing the thug heels they are.
Storm seemed to work well the time he was in the ring. He was obviously protected, but when he wasn't completely out of the ring. He had to be hurting, but I didn't see any of it. I'm sure they get in a Zone in the ring, but it couldn't be comfortable dealing with a tough injury the he is, yet make his ring work look so effortless. I also have to say it was nice to see Brian didn't call for the DQ when A&8's came into the ring. I'm so sick of so many of their matches ending that way.
Winners – Hardy & Storm (14:37)
In Ring Segment > D-
Why would Devon suddenly tell them who hired them? I know he said they might find out, but after the way he spoke about not telling what other people are doing, there really needed to be something more than A&8's losing a match that would loosen Devon's lips. That whole thing just felt really badly scripted. Plot holes anyone?
Backstage Segment > B+
Whether Aries hired A&8's or not, Hogan and Roode worked that segment hard. Actually, Roode worked it hard and sold it well. I'm impressed.
Video > C
It was a decent video, and it didn't start with AJ or Daniels talking about the match just after it happened. I'm glad TNA broke that up and didn't go in the same direction with all these recap videos.
In Ring Segment > A
AJ's body language screamed heel turn to me. The way he moved, the way he almost sneered at the fans chanting for him, it was solid. His own thing? Is this heel or antihero? I wasn't a fan of AJ's last run as a heel, but he was hitting everything perfectly here. That we've been left with more questions than answers after such a strong little segment, I'm VERY impressed.
Backstage Segment > B+
Oh, tossing the shirt to a whining Dixie was a nice touch!
Backstage Segment > B
Punky Brewster? I actually went to see how old Kaz is, and he is the right age to have watched Punky Brewster, if a bit young. I wonder how many fans have no clue who he was talking about. The thing is about this segment is that Daniels was so happy he drove AJ from TNA, but in the ring AJ told the fans that he's not leaving. So, did AJ misspeak to the fans off the cuff? Or did something else happen there? They sure made it look like AJ left, and Daniels being so happy about it adds to that, so I'm not sure where the disconnect it.
Kenny King vs RVD > A-
These two men worked that ring hard! RVD actually looked better, and more on his mark than I've seen him on Impact in quite a while. King stepped it up in a big way and worked with RVD better than anyone I've seen in quite a while. They were so solid in this match that I now need to go back and watch their match at FR to see what I missed (I'll fully admit I didn't watch all of the PPV very closely).
King felt he had to cheat to win the match, so maybe he's being less of a face than he has been. Either way, he was sick in the ring and reminded me why I fell in love the X Division. I want to see more! Oh, RVD's left eye looked puffy, as if he might have taken a stray blow there, but nothing too bad.
Winner – King (5:41)
Backstage Segment > A
Bully heals up quite quickly. I know it was very thin and not very deep blade work, but I'm impressed with the look of Bully's head. More than that, Bully carried that segment and made it something spectacular. Anyone who's read my blogs for any length of time, or at least when Steiner was around, knows that I'm not big on when wrestlers feel they need to yell to get themselves across, but I thought Bully was great screaming his head off here. He was intense in a way that felt real. He was like a raw nerve going off on Hogan like that and it was fabulous! I can't say enough about that segment. Even Hogan didn't bring it down for me. I could say there might have been a tiny plot hole or two opened there, but we will have to wait and see.
Jessie vs Bully > B+
Tenay saying that Bully's been doing this for over twenty years and Jessie has had like three matches, it brought a smile to me face. He took everything from that previous segment and fed it to Jessie. The fans there loved it, and they added that much more to the match. I was wondering there, after Bully slapped Tara's bum, if Bully was going to lose another match because of a woman, but no. I will admit that I didn't realize how short Jessie is! While he has the bulging muscles, he looked tiny compared to Bully in that ring.
So much for what I said about Bully healing up so well! He did open up a little here, but not as bad as most who had bladed would. It was just enough blood to make it look that much better, especially since Jessie ended up with a smear of it across his face. What really impressed me is how over Bully is right now. He had the Impact Zone in the palm of his hand and they were loving every minute of it. I want to mention that this grade is more for the entertainment value than the true wrestling skill in this match. Sometimes punches and chops make the match, and it did here. Bully was so charismatic and endearing in this match that he made it so much better than it would have been if anyone else had come out and thrown those same moves. I can't believe this is the same man who I was pleading to let go and walk away from the ring about two years ago. It took me a while to come around, but he's really proven himself to be even better than when he was younger and only part of a team. I'm talking Ray in the WWE and some of TNA, ECW is a whole other kettle of fish, and I'm not going to compare this man to that one. I'm impressed this one can still walk and talk after a lot of things that man did!
Winner – Bully (6:02)
Backstage Segment > C+
Hard to say as there really wasn't much to this, but Aries was in beautiful Aries form for that very short time.
Video > C-
Again recapping what we all know happened at FR? I know it's setting up for Aries to talk in the ring, but it was too much of the same video we've already seen tonight. And Devon ratting out AA happened so recently. It feels as though they think we're total idiots without memories.
In Ring Segment > A-
Aries admitted to it, I'm surprised. And then the twisting of the truth, the changing of history! Aries acting like he had no interest in facing A&8's, that he wasn't jumping at the chance to fight then, now it's all Hogan's fault. That actually bothers me a bit. It feels a bit cheap, like creative thinks we've forgotten what happened just a couple months ago. Beyond that, Aries was on in this segment. This is why Aries is one of the best. Not only is his ring work sick, but on mic he is insanely good. If Aries was a bigger guy (we know how VKM loves bigger guys), he would be carrying the WWE right now. I hope he has a chance, at some point in his career, to make a splash in the E. I'd love to see what he could do over there.
Hardy has a nice little gash under his eye. Also interesting to note is that he came out with only one WHC belt, and it wasn't his ugly one, it was the real one. I have to admit that was a bit of a shock. I will give Hardy props for his mic work, he sounded more like the Hardy I was a fan of back in the day, but more mature and self assured. I really don't want to like Hardy, but he really seems to be growing into his own skin finally, and wearing it like he understands who he is and what he wants. He's starting to impress me at certain moments, no matter how hard I'm fighting it.
I was sitting here thinking that Impact was light on wrestling, but adding up the matches, I came to about 32 minutes of wrestling. I don't think that's too bad for a two hour show, especially after the commercial time is removed. Further, they pushed storylines and shocked the fans a bit here and there with revelations and arguments. This was a great way to come off from Final Resolution, and I have to admit I'm impressed.
I'm hard pressed to say who the star of the night was. Bully was right at the top, but so was AJ, and Aries wasn't far behind. I'm not at all shocked that these guys really impressed me, because of who they are. I am shocked that this creative team that gave these guys these storylines that also impressed me, because of who they are. I'm really looking forward to next week's Impact!