When TNA releases a worker, I either think they're making a monumentally stupid move, or I am surprised that the worker is still under contract. When Petey Williams, Jay Lethal, and Kia (Awesome Kong / Kharma) were released, I let out quite a tirade. Luckily Stacy agreed with me and added to my rants. While I understand what happened with Kong's release, I still thought that TNA should have made Bubba The Love Sponge leave, and had him take his good friend Hogan with him. That they pushed Lethal the way they did, then completely dropped him off TV as if he didn't exist really blew my mind. I'm glad he's doing so well in ROH, but I do wish we saw more of him as he's a huge star in my book. His mic skills are crazy, he has an interesting look, and his ring work is awe inspiring. For me, Lethal is one of the few wrestlers who are a total package. I don't want you to thing that I feel any less for Petey or Kia. Both of them are huge stars in their own right, though I can't say Petey has the mic skills of Lethal. Kia is a beautiful speaker, something I learned from some videos she posted online after leaving TNA. I just hope Kia is doing well. I'd love for her to return, but her being mentally and emotionally healthy is more important than anything else.
Then there's the wrestlers who are released that we haven't seen in months! I wasn't sad to see Anarquia go, but he hadn't been on TV much prior to his release. Off the top of my head I can't think of the last time we saw Shannon Moore. I commented on his release and stated in part, "Beyond 3 Count and trying to be Matt Hardy V.2, Moore has struggled more than succeeded. While I adore the man for who he is, that he is his own man, his wrestling skills haven't been up to the level they need to be to really make it to the top level. Oh, the other thing about Moore that impresses the heck out of me is how he stands by his friends. If you remember that Matt Hardy's middle name is Moore. Their fathers are close, and they've known each other since before they were born. They grew up together, but Moore has kept the issues of both Hardy boys under wraps when it comes to Twitter. I give Moore huge props for the friend he's been in the face of social media." Honestly, I think that's all I can say about Moore. While not the best wrestler, he's seemed to be a solid friend in the face of too much social media.
Then there's Angelina Love. It's horrible that she's been released, but worse how she hasn't been seen on TNA TV in so long. I don't know how TNA can have such talent, but not use them in any way that makes sense. Winter and Love were gold together, but I can't remember the last time we saw them. They built this long and creative storyline, then dropped it like it was nothing. Gee, sounds a lot like what happened to Lethal! I also seem to remember Petey doing quite well not long before he was dropped. What is it with TNA?
Video > C+
Okay, this narrated video thing is growing on me. I still don't like the condescending tone of the narrator, but it is an effective way to refresh the storylines for us, and fill in those who are either new or missed a few episodes. This time of year it seems to be a lot easier to miss a show, so I see where they're coming from with this. I'm still not sure, but I'm not hating on it the way I was early on.
In Ring Segment > B
Okay, it's the middle of the summer, they're in Orlando, and suddenly Bully isn't wearing short pants? What about those calves? And then Bully going live on Twitter? I don't see TNA being much of a challenge for the WWE on Twitter, but that's just me. And, at this moment, Bully and Joseph in the ring, Bully isn't at all Trending on Twitter.
I cannot get over how great Chris is in this role of his own brother, the lawyer. He's so different from Abyss, and proves to me that he's much more than a one note character. Abyss has always been a multi-layered character, but Chris has taken Joseph to that level.
A restraining order that hasn't been served to Abyss? A restraining order being broken would not send Abyss to jail to rot for the rest of his life. So much for Joseph being a lawyer, and so much for TNA creative knowing all they needed for that segment to sound believable. I will say that I don't know Florida's laws, so I could be way off on this, but I didn't think there was huge differences between states on this.
Backstage Segment > B-
I will admit that I liked the props between Aries and Hogan. As little as I like Hogan right now, the props between them are deserved. It was nice to see, and Aries said everything he should have said, but for the first time his words felt flat to me. His words didn't have that passion he normally has, so I'm left feeling a bit sad about this segment. Aries should never get a B- for his mic work, but he deserves it here.
Video > D
Brother Love, D-Lo, Snow and Kenney got their TV time for the week! Wait, Dixie was sitting right next to Clair when Daniels announced that AJ was the baby daddy, but Dixie hasn't spoken to Clair about it at all? I call shenanigans!
TV Title Match – Devon (C) vs Crimson > B
Taz said Crimson seems a bit desperate in this match, and he did look that way. And either Devon's belt was crap, or Crimson really wrenched on it to break it the way he did. Actually, this was decent back and forth until the end. Crimson handled all of what Devon gave him and bounced back, but a spinebuster takes him out? I don't believe it.
Okay, I was thinking that Madison's crush was on Devon. I didn't believe it could be either Robbie, that would just be too gross. I pretty much figured early on that it wasn't going to be Garett, that just felt wrong. I really thought it was Devon, but since I stated that someone else left a comment to say they thought it was Earl. I think Gesus mentioned it, but I know there was someone else who mentioned it too. So, whoever picked Earl, my hat is off to you. And to Earl, you go you dog! Honestly, it was Madison and the expressions on Earl's face that brought the grade back up from Crimson losing over a spinebuster.
Winner – Devon (2:04)
In Ring Segment > B+
I feel horrible for Sabin getting injured again the way he did. I hope this doesn't end his career, but it does look like he has glass knees. He's wonderful in the ring, a very special type of wrestler.
It was interesting that Roode brought up Sorensen along with Sabin. Yes, he's the other injured X Division wrestler, but the other X Division wrestler who was injured while Ion's hands were on them. Though I have to say that when Roode came out, it was obvious that it was a set up for Aries to run in.
My younger son was determined that Sabin's injury was fake when he went to the ring, until I explained that it wasn't. I knew Sabin would take a bump, but I was very impressed with how he took it. He landed wonderfully to protect that knee, then flopped around on the mat perfectly. All in all, this segment was hard to watch, but it sure was the means to an end, so I will give Sabin that.
X Division Qualifying Match - Dakota Darsow vs Flip Casanova > B-
I will admit that I wasn't very impressed off the bell. Neither of these guys impressed me, but then I learned why he's called Flip! Darsow came back with a beautiful drop kick, but compared to the flying of Flip, Darsow looked rather boring. I had thought that Flip was the one busted open, but then Taz mentioned Darsow's nose and I realized that it was all his blood. Flip didn't hit his finisher perfectly, but he sure showed some flying!
I won't say this was a great match as their pacing was terrible, they didn't show or tell me anything other than how Flip earned his name. I didn't feel either of them at all, and then there was Darsow's nose. It was an obvious mistake, but I won't mark them down much for it as they both were running on high and were probably full of nerves. So while we saw a number of interesting moves, they didn't me feel anything, even though there was blood, and that's what has brought the grade down so much.
Winner – Flip (3:56)
Backstage Segment > C+
Tara and Tessmacher are so cute together. I don't think Tessmacher would have made it anywhere in TNA if it hadn't been for Tara taking her under her wing and teaching her so much. Though I have to wonder if there's going to be a break between them in their tag match after how cuddly they were in this segment.
Video > C+
I like that they gave that whole video to Taelor and didn't way a word about Joey Ryan. She deserved that moment.
Madison & Kim vs Tara & Tessmacher > C-
I'm a bit shocked at how cut Madison looked in that picture posted on Twitter, yet in the ring she looks so much softer. She's still obviously very muscled, but not too much so. Even as muscled as Madison is, she's not the power house Tara is. I can't get over how Tara works the ring, and how strong she is. Actually, I want to see Tara and Kim feud, but I don't know when that might happen as Tessmacher is the golden bikini model this month. Sorry, that sounded bad, Tessmacher has really stepped up her game, even though I don't think she's yet Champ material. Either way, this was a nice little match. Nothing spectacular, but not as bad as the Knockouts matches had been.
Winners – Tara & Tessmacher (3:01)
Video > B
Storm's passion is just so heartwarming, even if he wasn't such a pleasure to look at. This was also a very well cut video. There's been too much video in this show so far, but I did at least enjoy this one.
In Ring Segment > B+
I'm going to say it again, I think Daniels is the baby daddy. I said that since Clair showed up. Maybe he had a few too many appletinis and forgot about it all. Though, I wonder if Daniels will somehow blackmail Clair into saying that AJ is the father of her baby? I have a feeling that might just happen, and it might happen at Destination X.
Wow, I like how AJ fixed his blunder, but blew over it as if it was nothing. Calling Daniels a jealous prick was lovely! This segment didn't last too long, wasn't all drawn out, but got the point across wonderfully for this weekend's PPV. And while AJ was wonderful and passionate on mic, I think he's forgetting Kaz going into this Last Man Standing Match.
Backstage Segment > B+
Who is this guy running around and asking all these questions. Is he the normal guy who does this, but we're just seeing him now? Was this explained an I missed it? Either way, it feels strange.
Full house, aces high? I'm guessing here. I don't know what that meant other than it being the guys who attacked Sting leaving a message. Why they are letting Hogan know that they're coming next week, I don't know, but obviously there's some big storyline brewing here. I have to admit that this is confusing enough to interest me. They haven't been pushing the Sting thing too hard, but they have been skirting the issue each week, so this was another creative way to push that along. What's the significance of that hand though? I don't know enough about Poker to have a clue about those cards together. And the grade for this segment wasn't for Hogan, it was for the creative swerve we were thrown.
EDIT – Before I posted this I went looking again to see what I could find about this hand. It wasn't until I heard Taz (or was it Tenay) say 'aces and eights' that I figured out what it was all about. It's the 'dead man's hand' that Wild Bill Hickok was holding when he was murdered in Deadwood, South Dakota. So this all makes some sense, and I must admit that I liked how cryptic this was.
Video > B-
Well, Storm got his video, so Hardy had to get his. Though I have to say that Hardy came off as one big cliché here. He said the words, but I didn't feel them. What is is about some of these guys being off their game on mic tonight? Just seems odd that it's more than one guy who didn't have the passion in their voice. Though I have to say I liked how Hardy said they needed to bring new feeling to the TNA WHC.
X Division Qualifying Match – Kenny King vs Lars Only > A-
Kenny King seems a bit big for X Division, but Joe was X Division Champ, so I guess I should shut my yap. King, like Joe, has this grace in the ring that's almost shocking to watch. He moves like a dancer and flies like a bee? Sorry, got lost half way through that one!
Early on I didn't see much from Lars, but he really turned it around on King and really impressed me in doing it. That botch Lars hit looked like it could have been bad for King, but King flipped off the corner like it was nothing. King impressed the heck out of me in this match! As soon as he was announced to the ring, I picked him to win this match, and I would not mind in the least if he wins the X Division Title at Destination X. He even managed to talk to Hemme out of breath after his match was over. That's tough for a lot of wrestlers, but he was clear, got his point across, and sounded good doing it. I'm not sure he's not the best pick for the X Division Title right now.
Winner – King (5:20)
Video > A
Aries riding his bike? That was a bit odd for me, but in the gym made sense. On the beach was great and really gave that zen feeling I always get from Aries on mic. Through it all the way he spoke was heartfelt and passionate. I really liked Aries and how he's evolved this past year in TNA. Okay, I liked Aries before that anyway, but he really had a great year in TNA, and hopefully the great time continues because he's one hardworking man who deserves it.
Backstage Segment > A-
I loved the moment between King and Aries! That was so sweet. The passing of the torch? But the way Aries spoke here, it seemed as though he was foreshadowing something possibly happening before Impact is over.
BFG Series Match – Storm vs Hardy > B+
I normally like seeing two strong forces evenly matched and stop to regroup after they've gone through a round of even moves and reversals, but this time it felt terribly fake. I just wasn't buying it. Then Taz said Kenny King was trending on Twitter, but he didn't say that Earl was the next spot down from King.
I really wanted to be into this match, but I wasn't feeling it. There was a couple of lovely moves, like Storm off the top reversing on Hardy, but there wasn't enough spark to really suck me in and hold me tight. I'm not saying they didn't work hard and that they didn't leave it all out there, because they did, but I felt as though there was something missing. The fans were all into it, so it wasn't that. I think it was all me.
Okay, it was missing for me until Storm climbed. The end of this match drew me in. Not happy that Hardy was able to pull it out after a twist of fate after all that. It's like the TV Title Match earlier, I just didn't believe it. I gave the match the grade it most likely deserved, and I'm going to chalk my issues with this match to it being me. But if anyone else agrees with me, please let me know!
Winner – Hardy (14:04)
Announce Segment > C-
I will give TNA props for trying to make such a big deal about where Bound For Glory will be held, but it's not WrestleMania! I actually giggled a bit over this. I will say that it's great that TNA is getting out of the Impact Zone for this big one.
Video > C+
Hearing Angle and Anderson talking up each other and about how they feel about their match at the PPV was fine, but their match is not one of the biggies on the card, no matter how great it's going to be. It just felt as though they were filling time at the detriment to these two wonderful wrestlers.
In Ring Segment > A-
The fans went wild when Hogan made his way to the ring, but I have to admit I was shocked to see how the young ladies in the front row reacted. I'm speaking about the ones who are at every Impact, taped or live. They were as wild as the rest of the fans, so excited to see Hogan, as if they'd never seen him before. I understand marking out for a wrestler, I was just a bit shocked at how much they were marking out.
At one point Hogan looked like he was having troubles not laughing when Roode got in his face and called him 'brother'! Roode was actually quite good in Hogan's face, really came off as the WHC should.
I thought it was funny when Aries actually quieted the fans chanting for him. He was cognizant of the time constraints on the show now that they're live. A true pro. I have to say I'm worried about Aries' chances on Sunday after he went over so clearly to end Impact, though it was nice to end the show with Aries shirtless. (7:55)
I was really worried about TNA ending Impact with Hogan in the ring on mic, but Aries and Roode made this a solid go home to Destination X. I'm really looking forward to seeing them face off on Sunday.
Okay, that was not the best Impact that we've seen lately. There was a couple of strong moments, and some strong ring work, but very little of it. Wait, I just added up the numbers and 28:25 of the show was wrestling! The main event was half of it, but still, it's better than I thought it was. Even so, there were few really strong moments in this show, and I attribute those moments to King, Storm, Roode, and Aries. What do you think?