Everyone is talking about Dixie's interview with Sports Illustrated, but I want to see what she would say in an interview with Alex Barie. Alex has been lobbying for an interview with her, and I think he'd do a fantastic job of it. I need a week to absorb what she said and put my thoughts down, so I'm going to hold off on that right now (besides, Richard reacted to Dixie and the interview today, so I don't want to swamp the site with reactions to the same interview), and write about TNA's return to the Impact Zone at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
I'll admit I was hoping they might bring back some of the things that are inherently old school TNA when they returned back to the Impact Zone, but sadly they didn't. I knew I was expecting too much to see the beloved ring return, and that it wasn't going to happen, but I didn't want to believe that it wasn't true until I actually saw it! I also have to admit that I was hoping that we might get face and heel entrances, even though I know they're not really practical. Okay, so TNA going back to the Impact Zone brought back memories of times past, possibly times that should be left in the past, but I admit that I had hoped for some of some of that cuddly goodness.
TNA's Turning Point Starts
Video > B+
I really like that there were patrons at the bar talking about being seen on camera. That added a lot to the reality of Roode's attack on Storm. People like being seen on TV, and that's something the WWE drops the ball with in videos like this. I've said through the years that sometimes TNA's production staff is really very strong, and this video was one of the stronger ones I've seen, and mostly because of the people in the background. That's smart creative in my book.
Backstage Segment > D-
Something about Dixie trying to be sticky sweet and southern, even though she is southern, comes off as so fake! I know she's playing a character, but she's trying to play it, she's not being her character. She made such a huge deal about not wanting to be on TV with TNA, and now she's trying to be something she so obviously isn't. It just doesn't work!
In Ring Segment > C+
Dixie sure is full of herself, and if she could act, she might be unstoppable. Those fans at the Impact Zone really told Dixie what they thought of her with that X-Pac heat. She really doesn't understand the difference, and that's sad. She also needs to learn to address the fans in attendance, and not stare bug eyed into the camera when she's alone in the ring speaking.
Storm being so sweet to Dixie, schmoozing her, even flirting a bit, was so hot! He's looking a bit tired, but that doesn't matter because he played this segment so well. He worked the fans, and Dixie, and made this segment so much better than it would have been if it had only been Dixie shouting into the camera.
Falls Count Everywhere Match – Magnus vs Joe > B
FCA matches should have a lot of work outside the ring, and the pinfall should be well away from the ring, or there should be a number of pin attempts outside the ring to make it at all worthwhile. I just don't see the reasoning behind having a gimmick match where the gimmick isn't utilized in any major way.
I normally complain about commercials in the middle of big matches, but the flow of the show really needed the way this match started. I loved that Joe called Magnus backstage to start, then they went to commercial. Cliffhangers are a wonderful thing, and this was perfectly timed. I would have preferred to see that extra three minutes of the match, but that's not always possible.
Is it just me, or did Joe look a lot chunkier this week? It's hard to say with the shorts he wears, but he really looked quite a bit heavier that just a few weeks ago. Both of them looked really strong in this match, but I wish TNA had shown them working outside the ring more. The part of the match that was mostly seen by the fans in the Zone was backstage. So the bits that were special for the live fans was only visible on the tron, and the rest of this gimmick match was in the ring, or ringside. That really defeats the purpose in my book. The moves looked strong, but nothing overly special. I expected a lot from this match, more than these two would give us in a traditional match, yet we didn't get it. Honestly, I can't blame most of that on Joe and Magnus as they worked it, it's the way the match was booked that hurt them. Only a couple of weapons used, nothing unusual or unexpected, nothing very special. I mean, we pretty much knew that Magnus was going to win this one, but the lame way Joe obviously ran into that chair, it was bad. It sets up for more between them later, but sure made Joe look ineffectual and not at all worthy. Joe is an amazing wrestler, no matter his size, and shouldn't be booked to look that pathetic.
Winner – Magnus (11:20)
In Ring Segment > B+&D
Daniels just cannot get away from those pleats! His pants weren't overly pleated like they have been in the past, but he would still benefit from flat front pants. They would make him him look so much sleeker. Kaz did a solid job on mic, but Joseph stole it as soon as he told BI to sit down and shut the hell up. Joseph was solid on mic, and I was hoping for so much from this segment, and it completely fell apart. There's so much they could have done with this, yet they went with a lame corn syrup rendition of Stephen King's Carrie. While Daniels was an ass to Joseph, some of the things he said were very creative, and very heel. Daniels is always strong, but still not enough to carry this segment that really excited fans going into this show. Some people have been worried that this was the sad ending of Joseph, but it can't be. This storyline has slowly grown and developed over this past year. It's been obvious that Parks has had a big hand in his storyline, and Joseph waddling off dripping red cannot be the end of it all. Too lame. There has to be so much more coming. The first grade is for the mic work, the second is for the actual creative direction of this segment, and what a letdown it was after the build.
Knockouts Open Challenge – Kim vs Candice LeRay > D+
I had no clue who Candice LeRay was, so Jesse and an OTP commenter filled me in. Jesse says she's a 9 year veteran and a one time Alternative Wrestling Show Womens Champion. She frequents PWG, AWS and NWA Hollywood.
Candice LeRae is currently tagging with Joey Ryan in PWG and soon FWE IN New York...she competes with men and is a phenomenal talent. Any organization is lucky to have her on their roster.
The first time I watched this match, I wasn't at all impressed. Looking at what was said about her in the OTP, I was kind of shocked, but my second time through, I'm more impressed with her work. Head head scissors on Kim was stellar, she continued to look strong, until she stutter stepped toward Kim in a corner, and looked as though she decided against hitting the move she was planning on. She went back and splashed the corner when Kim moved. Maybe the first time Candice headed for the corner and stuttered might have been because Kim was supposed to move and didn't? Kim's powerbomb on Candice looked really rough, Candice landed really high on her back, even on her neck. Then the way Kim flopped back as the ref started counted, it was very strange and looked really wrong. I don't know what was who's fault, and I know they Candice is not a regular TNA Knockout, and not someone Kim works with regularly, but they should have made sure before their match that they both knew what was going on so that this match looked good. Kim is a very strong wrestler, one of the best, and it looked like Candice has a lot going for her, but you wouldn't know it by this match!
Winner – Kim (1:52)
Friends of AJ Video > B
This video looked even better than the previous ones, as if they're putting more into them. I'm loving the direction they're taking this, but wish the person AJ was working against was stronger than Dixie.
Backstage Segment > B
Anderson was strong here. He seems really driven right now, so his segments are better.
Backstage Segment > B+
Like Anderson, Storm is fired up, so his segments on mic are that much better for it.
Video > B
I actually wish they'd put more into this BMI video. I loved them together, and think that parts of their feud have been great. This was strong, but with a bit more it could have been a stellar video setting up their match.
Florida Deathmatch – Storm vs Roode > A+
Last night Alex was giddy writing about Storm having his can of weapons, and how he's never been able to write that before. It has been a long time since I've written a major hardcore match myself, so I completely understand how much fun they can be
Stacy asked me last night when Storm was busted open, and if he had bladed. I said I hadn't noticed because I was talking in the OTP, but watching the match through the second time, I caught him! Roode threw Storm into the ring post, then the camera focused on Roode for a bit too long. When the camera went back to Storm, he was throwing something under the ring, and looked up to show that he was bleeding. So, I guess that answers that question! I thought he was bleeding from a higher spot than normal, but I guess that's just where the blade landed.
After that, those two men really went at it! They beat the heck out of each other, except when Storm threw that trash can and it completely missed Roode's head. I don't think he could have thrown the can and come so close to missing again if he tried! Roode sold it well, but it was when Storm hit Roode specifically with the can and Roode hit the Flair flop. I think, other than Flair, Roode hits the best Flair flop I've ever seen. He sure learned a lot working with Flair. And as much as I loved the can that missed, I think my favorite move in this match was Roode putting Storm through those two chairs, and how they both perfectly broke. Another thing that they couldn't have done again as beautifully if they were trying.
What I didn't like in this match was the blatant unprotected head shots. I know those cans and lids are virtually nothing, but those two were beating the heck out of each other! They were not pulling their punches in any way. I know that they know how to work together, and will go all out more than most, but I worry about head shots and head injuries.
A couple of the guys in the OTP were really upset about the end of this match, that Gunner threw in the towel for Storm. Specifically Breaker felt the ending was a rip off, that they took what could have been a great ending away from us. I don't think that either man could have gone over the other cleanly in this match, and that Gunner throwing in the towel not only took care of that, but set for issues, and then a feud between Storm and Gunner. Storm and Roode are not over, we will see them back again, but for now they have to go in different directions, so I'm excited to see where Storm goes with Gunner. I actually asked Jesse what he thought I should give this match for a grade. He's the one who threw out A+. I asked him a few questions that would drop the grade, specifically the ending, but he said it was an organic ending, Gunner caring for his friend and partner, and further built for the future. After thinking things through, I agree with him. It's rare that I have a match more than an A-, but I really think they deserve the grade for this match. If you have an issue with my grade, and I know you will Breaker, let's talk about it.
Winner – Roode (12:07)
Video > B+
I love Sam Shaw and have been asking him to make me a logo/caricature of myself for WNW, but I think he didn't want to hurt himself within TNA – even though I was willing to pay him and push his artwork.
An OCD wrestler? This could be great!
Backstage Segment > B-
Steamboat/Flair and Angle/Joe are the biggest feuds in history? I love Dewey and Norv! They are so adorable. I love Dewey's hat! I want that hat! Sadly they were the most personality in this segment, and barely said anything. EC3 jumping the shark? Gee, wonder what that means?
Backstage Segment > B+
Bully, as always, is great on mic. Actually, it was nice to see Borash backstage on mic, actually on TV and where he should be!
Backstage Segment > B
Dixie cuts in on Angle's promo time? That was strange, but Angle was strong and very cool about Magnus.
EC3 vs Shark Boy > C+
Oh shell no! It seems as though the only wrestler who has received a better entrance in the Zone was EC3. It was a great entrance, I just wish the man behind it was showing the charisma he's capable of. He is showing a tiny bit more personality, but not enough for me.
I would love to see Shark Boy back with TNA on a more regular basis, and not just because it makes Gesus that much happier. I love Shark Boy, though I have to admit that he's a little chubbier than he was previously, but he's 38, almost 39, and it gets harder to deal with as you get older.
Winner – EC3 (2:06)
Video > C
Putting Anderson into A&8's the way they did, then raising him to VP was a wonderful way to set up for this.
Backstage Segment > D-
More Dixie, lucky us.
Bully vs Anderson > A
Borash was side-swiped by Anderson diving at Bully. The way Anderson started this match was the Anderson I love. He was arrogant, but has the charisma, mic skills and looked solid enough in the ring to carry it off. Anderson was really strong in this match, and a big part of that is how he carries himself, as much as how he works the ring. Bully, of course, stayed in character as well as worked the ring really well. Being Bully in a match like this, there had to be a table, and Anderson took it wonderfully.
I understand why the wrestlers that were on the stage were out there, except Pat Kenney. I understand his history with Bully, but it still seemed a bit odd to me. As strange as it was that they were on stage, they did add a lot to the match. I expected them to possibly get involved when Knux attacked Anderson, but they stayed out of it for the better of the match.
With there being so little room between the ring and the fans, it's so hard for the wrestlers to work out there. If they had more space, then the piledriver on Knux would have looked a lot more convincing. I'm always twitchy with that move, but Anderson protected Knux well, and Knux tucked his head. The camera angle showed that Knux's head was nowhere near the floor, and if they had more room there, that move would have looked so much better. I love the way Anderson removed Knux's vest off. It was very symbolic, and what we all have been waiting for. Honestly, I wish he'd taken Tessmacher's vest as well, but I can understand him not putting his hands on her in that way.
The rolling kenton on Bully looked beautiful, as did Bully spearing Anderson through that table. I missed Tessmacher throwing the hammer last night. Tessmacher absolutely had to have practiced that quite a bit before the show, and she did a great job with it. I'm wondering if Tessmacher 'screwed up' or if she screwed Bully on purpose. Next week will be quite interesting on that front.
That Angle went over and took Taz's vest from him, and while Taz argued, it was removed for the end of A&8's. It was the perfect end to this first episode of Impact back in the Zone.
Winner – Anderson (13:01)
After Impact last night I wasn't overly impressed with the show. That's one of the reasons I've stopped posting the BZ on Thursday nights. I think I was being too harsh on Impact without giving it a night to sleep on it, think on it, and re-watch certain segments of the show. I know I wouldn't have graded much of the show as highly as I did if I wrote all of this last night, and I bet Dixie's grades would have been even lower. With the Open Thread Parties becoming so big on WNW, I have been spending more of my time hanging with the WNW writers and readers, discussing the shows as they happen, as well as the rest of the wrestling industry, and the world. If you haven't had a chance to join us in any of the OTPs, please try to make the time, we have a lot of fun, and the conversation is always interesting without being at all mean, which many other sites trend toward. We're proud to keep WNW clean and won't let the bullies take over. Hope to see you there soon!
Queen of WNW
KB, Jesse, Michael & The Breaker