I have to admit that I'm very worried about TNA returning to the Impact Zone in Orlando. The shows from the UK were jaw droppingly good, and showed that TNA has what it takes to be on the road and really give solid shows. The writing might have been a little light, but most of it made sense, and the wrestling was superb. But what's going to happen with them returning to the Impact Zone briefly before going on the road on a regular basis? Will they be able to give the fans something to talk about? Or will we all be ready to throw rotten tomatoes at TNA's creative? I'm hoping for the best, but fearing for the worst. Please be forewarned that I'm going to grade Impact really hard if they drop the ball with this episode. I'm not going to hold back. C is an average grade, something I think we forget when so many segments get B's and up, but I will be grading this show for what it is – good or bad.
If you haven't checked out the new WNW App, or the new WNW sites, please go and see what they're all about. We're trying to do everything we can for the WNW readers, and we have a lot more up our sleeves. Okay, sorry about my DX moment here, but I really believe in WNW and have been really happy here. Along those lines, is there anything you're interested in reading that you're not getting here. I don't mean the insider info that Richard is able to acquire, but the creative writing from us bloggers.
Video > D-
I love that Bully called Hogan, 'Dad!' in such a powerful and silly way. Other than that, it really annoyed me that the whole opening was about Hogan. TNA is about a lot more than Hogan, or at least should be.
Backstage Segment > B
Again, Brooke is getting better and better on mic. She's more believable than her father most of the time.
In Ring Segment > B
I thought it was my DISH that crapped out during the pyro, but it looks like it was more than just me. Others have told me they dealt with about a ten second glitch. But then Bully came out and made the show look up in a big way. Bully on mic, as per usual, was fantastic. He's grown in ways I never thought possible, and we're the ones reaping the rewards. Okay, he gets to get all kissy with Brooke, and that can't be all bad.
Bully pulling the humble role was very endearing. He was great. Hardy's grammar was a bit wonky, "I like that he choosed you..." My 16 year old son who can barely send a coherent text is the one who called Hardy on his choice of words. This could be a great face/face match at Lockdown. Not sure if Bully will stay face, but going into this match should be great fun. These two men know each other really well in that ring, and if Hardy shows up clean, they could rip the house down. Okay, that was a bit of a low blow, he has appeared to be clean for quite a while.
Nothing says real man like a sparkly scarf and an appletini. The Spiderman shirt was pretty cool, but Bully with the appletini and drooling it out really put Daniels in his place. I'm really looking forward to the tag match later in the night, but wonder if it will do a lot to move any storylines or feuds forward.
Backstage Segment > B
I really like the passion behind Magnus, but I usually do. They were both really solid here, and in keeping it short it worked well.
Knockouts Championship Match – Velvet Sky (c) vs Tara w/ Jessie > C+
Tara stated on Facebook that she would be debuting a new look on Impact this week. Other than it looks as though she removed the fuscia extensions, and appears to be in different ring gear, I don't see anything different. Maybe that's it, but I expected to see more from her.
Velvet and Tara looked solid in that ring, but too much time was spent on Jessie, and him removing his shirt. And that really was a fast count from Taryn. Not the best Knockouts Title Match we've ever seen, and rather crappy coming off them stealing the show when Velvet won the Knockouts Title. Such a letdown from two women who can give so much more in the ring.
Winner – Velvet (2:057)
Backstage Segment > C+
I wasn't overly impressed with Aries' reaction, or Chavo's grandstanding. This whole segment was little more than blah.
Video > D-
I'm more than annoyed by Kenny King. His ring work hasn't been as good as he is, and his mic work is sucking big time. And RVD as the X Division Champ is beyond old, it's stale and not doing anything good for anyone. The X Division is such a mess. What happened to the base of TNA? Oh, yeah, Hogan and Bisch are treating Dixie like the clueless wonder she is and are driving big chunks of TNA into the grave.
Aries vs Hernandez > B-
After watching Aries' suicide dive on Hernandez, I really wonder what safety measures are in place for the fans. In some way it would be better if they didn't have those gate pieces between the fans and the wrestlers. Those gates are not at all held in place, and it moved well over a foot toward the fans. One of those cracking into someone's kneecap has lawsuit written all over it.
I also have to say, and it's something I really loath to say, but Hernandez is becoming a 5 moves of doom guy. It seems as though he has a couple moves he hits, and rarely seems to deviate from them. Aries made this match a bit more interesting, but not a lot. It might just be me, but this mat fell flat for both of them. The only thing that I found at all interesting or different was Aries throwing the chain down into Hernandez's trunks. Sad how two great wrestlers have been booked. Looks like nothing has changed in the Impact Zone.
Winner – Aries (4:28)
Backstage Segment > B
Joseph with a tray of ribs is hysterical! Even funnier is Sting saying kayfabe the ribs! But Sting going after Morgan to join his team? That made less than no sense to me. Morgan needs to do something other than being petulant and running around with sleazy, but it seems as though TNA did what they could to get Morgan back, and they're dropping the ball yet again. I shouldn't be surprised, but I do feel bad for Morgan.
X Division Championship Match – RVD (c) vs Kenny King > D+
RVD's German suplex on Kenny looked to be worse for RVD than Kenny. Kenny's corkscrew wasn't just solid looking, he recovered and landed well, as he should in an X Division Match, but this doesn't feel anything like an X Division Match to me. This isn't even a decent regular match. They have hit a couple of lovely moves, but more of them have been Kenny recovering from RVD moving out of the way.
So a bit more than nine minutes, more than three of them during commercial break, and suddenly Kenny can beat RVD when he hasn't been able to until now. This is more crappy writing and booking since they're back in the Zone. I'm totally disgusted by this show.
Winner – Kenny (9:18)
Backstage Segment > C+
What? This bit between Angle and Sting didn't really do anything. Not good for either of them.
In Ring Segment > A-
Devon really is a great mouthpiece for A&8's. It's fun that he's the one who is heel and Bully is face right now. I find it interesting that I didn't even see Garett in the ring until Devon said DOC, Knox, Anderson and Bischoff! That's not a good thing for his persona. You need to be noticeable and memorable, but I didn't even see him there.
Sting coming out announcing his team really stole this segment. Joe was great, but the way Sting announced Storm was perfect! Devon walked into it, and it was lovely. Magnus was also a great addition, but the last person, someone who was spoiled to me because I was a bit behind with the show, but for EY, I don't care! I loved the back and forth between Anderson and Sting. It was fun watching to see how long it took people to figure out what Sting was really saying. I'm thrilled that EY is back, appears to be a lot more serious than when he left, and looks to be in good form. I'm really looking forward to seeing what he's going to do from here on out.
Gut Check Video > B
I have to say that Ivelisse Velez came across really strong here. She has a great look, well spoken, and willing to open up a bit. I have to admit I'm a bit impressed. I can also see why she had issues in WWE developmental as she said she's not the easiest person.
Video > C
Recap, but short and to the point.
Backstage Segment > B
What's Angle up to?
Gut Check Video > B-
I have to say that Lei'D Tapa wasn't very good on mic. Also, I'm not sure I'd want to be associating herself with her uncle after all the crap that went down in Africa a couple years ago. She seemed sweet, and she has a wonderfully unique look, but somehow she didn't come across as well as I'd have hoped.
Gut Check – Ivelisse Velez vs Lei'D Tapa > C-
I didn't realize Lei'D's size in her video, but Ivelisse looked good working with her. What I didn't like was that Lei'D tried to come across as softer and sweeter in her video, but as soon as she came to the ring, she was very obviously a heel. That was really bad creative and booking on the part of TNA. They messed Lei'D's character up by having her come across the way she did in her video. That's something I clearly believe is TNA's fault, not Lei'D's because when she hit the ring, she knew her character perfectly.
That DDT from Ivelisse looked really rough, but her hurricanranna was solid, as was her holds on Lei'D. And Lei'D looked really weak after her Samoan drop when she went to pin Ivelisse. Ivelisse slid off all of Lei'D's hair, but then got on her hold for the win. I won't say that Ivelisse looked like she had 8 years of ring work behind her, but she did look solid for what was booked in this match. She really has a long way to go. Lei'D only has two years under her belt, and she looked as well trained as Ivelisse. It will be interesting to see what happens as I think both of them have a lot to add the Knockouts Division, the problem being is the Knockouts Division!
Winner – Ivelisse Velez (4:14)
Backstage Segment > C
Bully is the golden child? That's funny! If Hardy wasn't the golden child, there would have been a real Champ on the road in the UK. You know, someone who can actually enter the UK because they don't have legal troubles keeping them out.
While I understand why they put together this segment, it really smacked of bad taste to me. Aries is, by far, one of the top guys in TNA, and to have him pandering to the likes of Hardy makes my stomach turn. Might be that I haven't eaten anything today, but I know that Aries pandering to Hardy is a big part of that sick feeling in my stomach.
Video > D
And they're back to AJ's family. This is too personal? Suddenly, after all this, and it's too personal? I will say that AJ sold it well. He looked a mess, and possibly a bit chunkier in the face. AJ is the only reason I didn't fail this monstrosity!
Video > C
More of this bro crap? Lucky us!
In Ring Segment > D-
Terry is one of the few guys who can wear a yellow v-neck sweater with nothing under it, and not look wimpy. The fans in the Zone might want to see Terry dance, but I want to see him being a wrestler, as he should be. He needs to squash Robbie E into a tiny spot on the mat. The only good thing about this segment is that we're going to see more of Terry destroying Robbie, that's the only reason I'm not failing them.
Backstage Segment > B-
Bully handled himself really well here, but I'm still at a loss over Aries going to talk to Hardy and Bully. It was a waste of time that made no sense in the grand scheme of things.
Backstage Segment > C
Angle going to pick a fight with A&8's by himself? That seems like a stupid idea, but after all the crappy creative and booking so far, nothing should shock me.
Bully & Hardy vs Daniels & Kaz > B
Bully's head butts to Daniels' chest looked truly pathetic. The chest slaps were better, and I think camera angle could have helped the head butts, but they didn't do anything interesting. Bully going Gangam Style? That was really great! He's taken this character to places I wouldn't have expected from the tie dyed guy in ECW. Then Bully on his knees for poetry in motion really brought me back to some of those jaw dropping TLC Matches we saw on so many WWE PPVs.
Was it just me, or did Frankie look rather orange tonight? And Hardy's face paint kept making me think that he was busted open. I liked the artistic vision of his face paint, but the color needed to be something other than red. But I did like that they carried on with Hardy's BS knee injury. It at least showed some continuity.
For a moment there I thought that the heels were going to take this one, but two weeks out from Lockdown it would have been bad for the Champ and the #1 Contender to lose to anyone in a tag match.
Winners – Hardy & Bully (11:09)
Backstage Segment > A-
I've been sitting here trying to figure out who Angle could have unmasked. Of course my first thought is D-Lo, or maybe Prichard. Not only has D-Lo been the masked man who's done the most talking for A&8's. But that could be a too easy of an explanation. Looking at the thighs I thought of Ryhno, but I think the body was too chunky to be him. I thought it might be Joe, but I'd think Angle would be much more shocked about that. But then I went back and watched that segment again. The person was taller than Angle, and with a rather chunky. I went through everyone on the TNA roster, and everyone involved in Ring Ka King, and while I came up with a few names, there's a lot of people I doubt it could be. The person was too tall to be Eric Bischoff, too thin to be Nick Dinsmore, too short to be Matt Morgan or even Prichard, too tall to be any number of X Division guys who we haven't seen in, like, forever, and Bully was supposed to still be in the ring with Hardy. Again, I think Joe would have illicited more shock from Angle, plus Joe is only two inches taller than Angle, and that guy was taller. Oh, and D-Lo is billed as three inches taller than Angle. So, while I guess it still could be D-Lo, my guess for who Angle unmasked was Abyss! Yes, I said Abyss. Think about it. It makes a lot of sense, and he's the right build for the guy who fought Angle. When A&8's kidnapped Joseph, he saw someone and was totally shocked by it. He went to tell Hogan, but kept getting diverted. I think he finally did tell Hogan, but it wasn't on camera, it was behind closed doors. There's a very real possibility that Joseph could have been looking at a mirror with his mask painted on it... Just kidding, but you know what I mean! I think it makes a lot of sense.
I would not be shocked if Angle stayed 'kidnapped' until Lockdown. It's a move that makes absolute sense at this point. But more than that, I think this segment was executed beautifully. I was yelling at the TV to show me who Angle unmasked. That's some creativity!
I have to say that going into this Impact I had really high hopes, but also worries. The past couple weeks, and even though they were taped, were some of the best shows TNA has shown in a while. Now they're back in the Impact Zone, the show is back to crap. The thing is that the fans were refreshed, it was creative and booking who were seriously lacking tonight, and everyone, including the wrestlers, were screwed over for it.
This episode proves that TNA NEEDS to get out on the road and get some variety going. There's so many things that TNA needs, and they seem to pull those things out so much better on the road, I just hope they can only manage that in the UK! Fingers crossed that things will get better for TNA. I'd like to say that things couldn't get much worse, but we've seen a lot of crap from Hogan and Bisch over the past couple years.
So, one more week before Lockdown, can they pull it all together?