So TNA is going live for the summer. I have to say I am surprised. So much for the wrestlers having a light schedule, one of the big draws for TNA. Actually, I hope that everyone on the roster can afford this schedule, flying in each week can get pricy. On the other hand, this could be great for the company as a whole. WCW proved just how important going live can be when they'd announce what would be happening on RAW before it went on the air. Yes, it backfired on them in the case of Foley winning the Title and Schiavone saying, 'that'll sure put some butts in the seats" but prior to that it was working quite well for WCW.
I know I rant and complain about TNA through all of their stupid mistakes, but I really do want to see them succeed. There's so much potential on that roster, but few are being utilized to the best of their ability. Between the business issues, lack of advertising and spending way too much money in places and on people who don't need or deserve it, TNA could easily go under without much trouble, but I really believe they could make it with the right guidance. I think going live over the summer could be a big step in the right direction. I also think matches like the main event on the last Impact could help. That was a wonderful match, and if you still haven't seen AJ and Roode facing off in that match, go watch it, NOW!
On the other hand there's some things I question. TNA is always trying to be more hardcore, so going an hour earlier seems odd to me. And filing this lawsuit against the WWE is just daft. This will cost them more tame and money than is worth it for TNA. It will get buried and they won't get much good press from it. They should just let Flair, Sabin, and anyone else who really wants to go, then move on with who does want to be there. Heck, who knows what might happen and who could fall into their lap if they just sit and wait. Then again, even if everything fell into place for them and they ended up with Orton – just playing a game of 'What If?' - would that be a good thing for the company? Putting Orton's ego in that locker room? Putting Orton, who has tested positive for marijuana, in the same locker room with RVD, could be quite the interesting place to be! And I'll leave it all there as none of us know what's going to happen with Orton as this is all in the early stages of explosion.
Video > B
Well, this is different! A narrator telling us what's happened with Roode and the Title match to this point. While the narrator is a bit much, I can see why they did it. I can also see why they pushed Hogan the way they did. Not a bad start for their live summer series. Yes, I did give the opening video that good of a grade, it's not a typo!
Lumberjack Match – Bobby Roode (C) vs Sting (14:04) > A-
I'm not sure if the fans were that hot or not, but Sting deserves that reaction. I do find it interesting that Sabin is a lumberjack for this match. Guess they're going to use him while they can.
What was Roode trying to do flipping after being whipped into the corner? Looked like he was trying for an HBK corner flip and really screwed the pooch with it. Maybe he realized that flipping out of the ring like that could be bad, but landing the way he did looked even worse.
I was very surprised to see the faces not beating on Roode early on. Everyone hates Roode, so I thought they'd swarm him early on, the way the heels did. And while this match started well, at about four minutes it seemed to flop. The fans seemed to fall off in a big way. Wait, Angle is on the face side of the ring? That's odd. I know he was wanting to go after Roode, but he still seems so much the heel right now.
Normally I stop the clock during TNA commercials, but with them going live, I'm going to keep the timer going – though it seems early in the show for the first commercials. RAW goes at least fifteen, if not twenty minutes in before the first commercials, but this was at about eleven minutes.
Roode's blows on Sting in the corner, just before Sting started to fight back, looked horrid! But then Sting flying more than made up for it. Sting can still go in the ring where so many of his contemporaries can't. He looked great, and made me smile in a huge way. Just bummed it wasn't a Title Match. This was a great match, and while not as technical as the main event last week, it was as entertaining, that's why it garnered such a great grade.
Winner – Sting
In Ring Segment (1:06) > B-
Hogan kept it short and sweet. What was better was Roode hugging the Title like a security blanket.
Announce Segment > C-
They kept this short, and I really shouldn't mark them down for telling us Brooke would be on Impact later. Why is she going to be on the show? Ugh, more nepotism!
Backstage Segment > D
Flat ironing a nylon sash is not good for the fabric. While it was nice that Madison wasn't yelling, it wasn't nice that she was talking about Brooke. It just wasn't good in any way, and was nothing more than pandering to Hogan, I mean Brooke.
In Ring Segment > A
Joseph with his popcorn and soda in the stands is too funny. On the other hand, Bully was ON! He was just great on mic. Why did security try to stop Joseph this week, but not last week?
Wait, Bully said he left Abyss for dead, but we've seen Abyss and know he's fine, so I don't get it. But I loved Joseph willing to fight Bully. They've done a great job with this, but even better is this double role Chris has been playing. He's so good and it's great that they matched him up with Bully who's been working the mic at such a high level lately. I'm really loving this storyline and I can't wait to see what happens next week and at Slammiversary.
Video > C+
Not a bad little video pushing Crimson, but him speaking after was horrid!
X Division Title Match - Sabin vs Aries (C) (3:50) > A
I was surprised Tenay spoke about Shelley and the Guns since he's gone and heading for the WWE, but that's TNA for you! Sabin was on from the opening bell and really great with Aries – but I wouldn't expect anything less from either of them! The mat work, the reversals, every little move each of them made in and outside the ring was perfect. Aries flying out of the ring was beautiful, but Sabin took it to a whole other level. Every part of this match, everything was great, except it should have been much, much longer. Are they going to start a feud here and give Sabin the Title a little later in the summer to try to keep Sabin in TNA when his contract is up? I know it could make my summer to see these two fighting all the way through. Yes, I gave this match an A, even though it was so short. Those two packed more creativity and moves into those almost four minutes than many wrestlers do in a month of matches. It was beautiful from top to bottom and the only more I could ask for is time.
Winner - Aries
Backstage Segment (1:00) > D
Oh, Taz is now part of Gut Check! That's a great replacement for Flair! Hogan rambled on way too long here, we could have found out about Taz when they went to the Gut Check segments. More of Hogan needing his face time.
Video > C+
Ah, Prichard, Snow and Taz talking about Joey Ryan. I will say Prichard came off as very astute during this segment. Taz was also quite well spoken about the character of Joey Ryan, as well as the wrestler Joey Ryan. Snow was lagging here a bit, but that is who Snow is, so I'm glad he wasn't trying to be someone he isn't. Overall they did a great job of dissecting the character as well as the wrestler.
Backstage Segment > C+
While this is a step down for Anderson, RVD and Hardy, putting Robbie E in the same group with them makes me ill. But Borash handled the segment well.
In Ring Segment > C
Is this new music for Dixie? Either way, she looked pretty good here. Cute outfit, hair not scary the way it was the last time we saw her. And I will admit that I'm shocked that TNA is almost 10 years old! OOPS! Dixie made a HUGE screw up here! She said September 10th is Slammiversary! I guess this is why the WWE is always saying, 'In ten days...' Okay, I know that's the build excitement, but it usually helps avoid big messes like this! Guess we can put Dixie up there with Laurinaitis for major fumbles on live TV. This is the type of thing that happens on live TV and it won't be the last mistake of its type. I'm just so used to mistakes like this being re-shot or edited out that this jumped right out at me. I rewound and asked everyone else in the room to make sure I was hearing her correctly, but in reality September sounds nothing like June.
No! Not a TNA HOF! Please, no!
Does Dixie really believe what she said about Brooke? Dixie looked like she was glowing, selling all her excitement for going live and everything to go with it.
I don't want to come off as catty, but Brooke looked really trampy. If she's supposed to be an executive, that sure isn't a boardroom outfit. I know she's on TV, but still. On the other hand, she cam across so much better on mic than I expected. I've only seen her on Hogan Knows Best, and a live concert years ago, but this was a huge step up. I'm not saying I'm at all for this, but I will admit that Brooke came off as much more intelligent than I expected her to.
I had to round everything out to a C as there was so much good here, but also so much bad. Dixie's excitement and Brooke's intelligence were great, but the big blunder on dates, the TNA HOF, then Brooke's outfit brought all that good down to average.
Backstage Segment > A-
I love how how Kaz and Daniels handled this segment! They were both great, sold their passion and storyline terrifically. If these two were always this good, they'd be unstoppable. Not saying Daniels isn't good, but Kaz isn't always great on mic and Daniels has seemed to be calling it in some lately, but this was impressive.
Video > B
November 13, 2005 – Christian joined TNA. What a great moment that was, but this past PPV when he returned and won the IC Title was even better. Yes, Christian's run in TNA was wonderful, but the WWE is the big leagues and Christian belongs in the big leagues.
TV Title Match – Devon (C) vs Hardy (4:21) > B+
I knew it had to be Hardy who would be winning if the fans were voting. Robbie sold it well. After thinking about this, before the bell rang, this could be a very interesting match. Not like the old TLC matches, even though these guys were both in them, but the two of them in the ring one on one is interesting. Taz spoke about the weight Devon lost, and he does look fabby!
The head scissors on Devon was great, but then that clothesline back – wow! Then on and on between them! The jumping neck breaker from Devon was sick, and from a guy I thought should be hanging them up when he and his brother broke up. I was WRONG! From early in this ring I thought Hardy had this one, but then I worried about Devon being stuck in purgatory as TNA purgatory is nothingness. I was bummed to see the Robbies come out and attack, but the thought of Hardy and Devon tagging against the Robbies makes me smile. That would be very cool, cooler if the opponents weren't the Robbies, but still. Actually, it would have been cooler to have this match end naturally, but who could have won it?
Winner – N/A
Video > B+
I know I b****, moan and complain about kids being involved in storylines, but this didn't bother me in the least. Just a little girl holding her flip-flops, riding her horse with her daddy. It felt real, felt right. She wasn't dragged into the storyline, though the way she delivered her line was perfect! As long as they don't go any further with her, I'm happy.
Video > D
Well, it's the same video we saw before. Coming off the great backstage segment with Daniels and Kaz, this was a huge letdown.
Gut Check – Joey Ryan > B-
Prichard looks so much better than his Brother Love days, and since he had two heart attacks only two months ago, I think he looks great. Okay, time for me to admit a blonde moment I just had! (This is nothing negative against blondes, I was naturally blonde for the first 15+ years of my life.) When Taz was announced as 'the human suplex machine' it finally clicked. He has such a low center of gravity and a solid base that it had to be easier for him to hit suplexes than someone tall and thin like Crimson. I've followed Taz under that moniker for years, but this was the first time that it really clicked in why it would be that Taz was so great with the suplexes. Okay, yes, I wasn't thinking, but there it is!
Ryan stayed in character probably better than about anyone I've seen. I completely agree with what Snow said about the guy, but it was Taz who made this segment work. He was just great! That was the Taz that I loved for so many years, not the King-wannabe (puppies - let the pigeons loose) gum flapper who has grown a bit boring on announce. This is the man who I loved back in ECW, and I'm thrilled to see he's still in there as he's been rather stale lately. Thank you Taz!
I have to say that since I was more enthralled with Taz in this segment than Ryan, they made the right choice. Ryan's look is too similar to Aries', even though they're very different characters, and he didn't impress me in the ring the way I'd hoped. The character is great and he stayed in character superbly, but that's not enough and they can't accept every Gut Check.
Video > B
London, May 25, 2012 – Nice little video of Roode, but I wish it had gone on a little longer. He's so good on mic, especially as a heel and World Heavyweight Champion.
Daniels vs AJ > (10:32) > A-
AJ is not the WHC, jet he's the main event two weeks in a row. And Taz, his mic work has stepped up in a big way! He doesn't sound like he's phoning it in like he has sounded for a while now. I wish Taz had been confronted in the ring a long time ago. Maybe schedule it to happen every couple months to keep Taz's blood flowing.
That right from Daniels, then the way AJ crumbled and sold that simple right was great! Then how AJ was knocked off the apron and nailed the barrier so he was almost in that woman's lap, yet no where near close to crashing into her. AJ is such a pro!
This was a LONG commercial break for being in the middle of a match. I know TNA and Spike aren't used to this and the WWE and USA have it down to a science. It's their first live show in a long time, they will figure it out.
AJ with that rack/back breaker into a slam was sweet! Those two work the ring so well that their ring work is superb. The way AJ flew off the corner at Daniels, but then the way Daniels fight back. Pele over the top rope? Just great! I figured that AJ would lose due to Kaz, but that AJ didn't let Kaz cause his loss was a lovely swerve to the match. It was nice to see AJ get the win after the way this storyline has gone, Angle getting the wins on AJ, then AJ losing to Roode last week, so this was important. Of course the storyline and feud isn't over, but at least they've found a fresh and gripping reason for them to fight. It was getting old that Daniels was just so mad at AJ because AJ was the face of TNA and Daniels wasn't. Of course that's what this all boils down to, but it's more absorbing than the same old thing.
Winner – AJ
In Ring Segment > B
Someone (sorry I can't think of who off the top of my head) commented that women shouldn't be reffing matches, because what would happen if they were knocked down? Now, female wrestlers take bumps all the time, and heck, Earl Hebner just turned 63 and takes bumps all the time and he's not a wrestler! Actually, I'm impressed with the bumps Earl takes at his age. Rarely a month goes by when he isn't knocked down in some fashion.
Angle for the save! I know he's going to be tagging with AJ at Slammiversary, but Angle being face just seems too sudden. He was fighting with AJ not long ago, but now they're tagging together? I don't feel it.
Those zip ties on Angle didn't work very well, but they did a decent job of covering for it. They knew they had to get that audio running, so hit Angle over the head with the belt and get it moving. As they're not used to running on a live Impact timing, I thought they did well with it. Yes, they do live shows and PPVs, but those still have a bit of leeway, this was the end of the show and they had to get it out. I give the four, but especially, Daniels huge props for getting this segment in on time.
I thing TNA creative, and Dixie, did a great job with this last segment. They really gave a great hook to interest people who just peeked in to see what TNA was all about and if it was worth their time. In that audio neither Dixie nor AJ said anything that said they were having an affair. It was implied, but they could have been doing something for Serge. The video was more damning than that audio clip. Or, it would have been if Dixie hadn't freaked out. That the end of the show was Dixie freaking out over the audio was a great hook to bring fans back for next week. For the first time in a while I'm really looking forward to TNA Impact next week!
I have more to say here than normal, so please bear with me. First off, I find it interesting that the big TNA name who did the Direct Insurance commercial is Morgan, one of the few who have recently left TNA.
Just as I finished up with Impact I got an IM from Gesus asking what I thought of Impact. He and I talk wrestling a lot, but specifically TNA because of the ups and down. My first reaction was that this show was so much better than a lot we've seen from TNA lately. There was four matches on this show, and all were really good. While I wished there was more matches, and two of the matches could have been much longer, the overall show was much better, but then Gesus said a few things that got me thinking.
Right now with Orton in termoil, Cena injured, WWE writers disgruntled, and over all lack of main event talent TNA has a chance to grow on a silver platter, because seriously when has TNA ever had a better time to carve out their footing in this business. Now there was some serious things lacking with tonight's show, but you see the opener and the main event. This company has the talent and the backing. If the ego's can get checked right now is the time for TNA to put up or shut up.
I'm very interested in hearing what everyone has to say about this first live Impact of the summer. I'm sure I'll have a lot more to say next week when it all sinks in.