I'm sorry I did not write the TNA Blog Zone last week. Between my yearly SCA (medieval) event - Great Northeastern War – and minor surgery (no big deal), I just had to take a week off from TNA. I did watch the show, not as closely as I normally do, but I did watch. The part of the show that really annoyed me was the end. They spent so much time building the aces and eights with Sting, but in the end nothing happened other than Hogan got attacked so that he could have his back surgery. To me it felt like a cop out. The only part of the ending of Impact that I liked was Brooke. Hear me out! She rushed to her father and threw her body over his. Yes, the outfit she was wearing was not appropriate for that segment, but she did what any of us daddy's girls would do and protected her father any way she could. I'm not thrilled with her being an executive, but I would have expected her to do this even if she wasn't working for the company. I can't believe that I'm giving Brooke Hogan any props, but she does deserve it for that segment.
On the other hand Aries was the man! TPTB in TNA did a very smart thing in strapping Aries. He's an amazing man who has proven this year that he really deserves this Title. Other than wanting to see Storm and Roode fighting over the Title, I think Aries being TNA WHC is a smart move.
I think, since going live, Impact has become a better show. I don't think it's up to par where it could be, or even should be, but it's definitely better than how it had been – Hogan and Bisch have proven that either they don't care, or they don't have a clue. Some nights I honestly wonder if they might even be malicious, but I appear to be one of the few who feel that way. I must admit that some Thursday nights – and when Hogan and Bisch get stupid on Twitter – I truly wonder if they're with TNA to do good, rather than evil.
Through all this Hogan and Bisch bashing, I have to say that I feel bad for DirecTV subscribers. I've never been a fan of paid TV, though I am loving DISH, but that's not the point here. While I know Impact isn't at the top of the list that most DirecTV subscribers are clamoring for, it's one whose ratings will be hurt by it all. Hopefully everything gets worked out as this is just another problem that TNA doesn't need right now.
Video > B
Back to AJ being the baby daddy. Clair claiming AJ is the father of her baby, and that she told Daniels this, I have the gut feeling that Clair and Daniels are in cahoots, and that it will end up that Daniels really is the baby daddy in the end.
I will also give TNA props for taking Hogan's scheduled back surgery and making it part of what could be a big storyline. I also have to say that Hogan's incision looked really nice and clean! I wish any of my big incisions looked that good!
Honestly, TNA took two of the big storylines and touched upon them perfectly in the opening video. For once I think Impact started with a solid video that makes some semblance of sense.
In Ring Segment > A-
This was a lovely opening segment to really get Impact rolling this week. I know this is known by anyone who reads the BZ, but I just adore Storm. I like how he talks, how he handles business. Why he wished Hogan good health and not Sting bothers me, but beyond that, I like that he's talking about Aces & Eights. Having some of the younger guys, specifically top tier faces, talking about A&E makes me think that this is going to blow up into something bigger than just Hogan and Sting being taken out. I worry that it might turn into an nWo cluster****, but we do have to remember who we're dealing with. When it was just the three guys beating up Sting, I wasn't worried about that, but last week there was like ten guys attacking Hogan and Sting. That worries me. I hope Hogan and Bisch are not heading back to their WCW roots.
Beyond all the A&E crap, Storm was wonderful on mic here. He spoke with passion and intensity about both Aries and Roode. Even better is Storm willing to call out a fighter like Angle on Open Fight Night. Well, it was until Angle didn't come out and A&E took him out. I should have seen it coming as they didn't flash to Angle in the back hanging out with the rest of the guys and waiting to be called out. And I'd forgotten, but Angle wasn't even in Florida as he's getting ready for his wedding. Sadly what would have been a great match was stopped before it was started. Again, I worry about nWo crap, but I've been worrying about that since Hogan and Bisch first started with TNA.
Announce Segment > D-
Taz and Tenay playing dumb the way they are is just so sad. They don't know who A&E are, but they're wandering the backstage area, so they had to have come in through security somewhere. Then there's the fact that ten guys can't just wander around, masked, without anyone running into them, or having security of some sort stop them. Heck. Joseph was stopped at the gate on his way in on his first night! It's storylines like this that have so many glaring plot holes, right from the start, that worry me. If creative can't cover their bums with the basics from word go, how will the storyline progress? This is one of those things that irk me as a writer.
Samoa Joe vs Pope > B
One of the last things I want is for Joe to start his feud with Pope again. It did nothing for me the first time around, and I don't want to see it again. I will say that the kick to Joe's head outside the ring sounded horrid! Joe holding his jaw the way he was, I wondered if he might have lockjaw. Just the way he was holding his face. Hope he's okay, but I wasn't at all surprised to see Joe go hard, even in pain, as he obviously was. I wonder if the match was scheduled to go on longer, had Joe not been hurting, but either way, the ending looked organic and very Joe. I liked how Joe took control and finished Pope so easily. Joe floors me over and over, how simply he works, but how great he is when doing so.
Winner via DQ – Joe +10 (3:24)
Video > B+
I find it interesting that Jason Hervey is being seen on TNA TV more and more. A few weeks ago I hadn't realized it was him, but it seems to be a natural way for him to work during shows, but not be seen too much. Early on I found it odd that Bisch and Hervey were such close business partners, heck, that they were business partners at all, but they've proven to work well together. Since Hervey would be at the Zone anyway, why not put him to work in such a way? I'll be shocked if many TNA fans will recognize Herney as the older brother from Wonder Years, but I'm sure some will.
As for Roode, he was as great as he always is. I might like him chasing the Title even more than him holding the belt. He's just so good!
Hardy vs Robbie E w/ T > D-
Robbie rushed Hardy when he was hanging on the top rope, and while Robbie never touched Hardy, Hardy sold it. Who do we give that botch to? For me it's both, but I'm a bit jaded. Actually, it's hard not to be jaded with a match such as this. Less than three minutes, very little ring work that I'd consider decent, never mind good. I know that Robbie E can go. I've seen him live and that young man looked great in the ring. He was totally clueless to talk to live, but his character and ring work was solid. Actually, when he found out that I write for an online company, he told me that he could not grant me an interview due to his contract with TNA. I understand that, and have no trouble with it. It was talking to him off the record that showed me that he's really not that different from his character in brain capacity. He was very sweet, and enjoyable to talk to, but not the brightest crayon in the box.
But knowing what I know about his ring work, stuff like this match pisses me off that much more. Putting two men who know how to work the ring as well as these two guys, but make them work a bumbling mess is a slap in the face to the work they've put in and the skills they both know. I feel bad for all the wrestlers involved in this match.
Winner via countout > Robbie E +5 (2:49)
Backstage Segment > B
I love ODBEY! Short segments are great for them, and what a perfect way to explain both their absence and push EY's fishing show a bit. Now, I love EY dearly, but I'm not sure about watching a fishing show to get my EY fix. It's been a bit since we've seen them, so give me a break with the grade for this one!
Video > D
Okay, they started this show with AJ and Clair, why do we need more?
Backstage Segment > C
Daniels was good, Kaz felt a bit plastic here. And what's with those appletinis? Just what you should be doing before a match, drinking! Then again, this isn't WWE PG, so why not?
Gut Check – In Ring Segment > C+
Is it just us (Stacy commented on it first), or does Borash look a bit puffy in the face? Not saying he's getting fat, but something about his face looks a little puffy. Could be anything, even lack of sleep, but it was enough that we noticed. They didn't give Sam Shaw any video time to talk before this match as they normally do. And what's with his lack of ring gear? He's 'The Stimulus' Sam Shaw and @SlickSleazy on Twitter, but I still don't know anything about him!
Ah, I see why he was talking in the ring, rather than having a video. Couldn't really have Aces & Eights attacking him on video, better to have it happen in the ring. While I don't like it, I have to say that A&E is really stepping up and making a statement. Two matches have gone off without a hitch, but looking at how things are going with A&E, maybe they shouldn't have let any matches go cleanly. I have to admit that I would not bitch too hard if one show was completely taken apart by A&E, if (and it's a huge IF), they did something big with A&E, and I don't mean huge like nWo. I'm talking different, up to date, well thought out, well executed. While I don't know where they're going with A&E, so I can't completely explain, but I would have let it slide for one night if A&E got in the middle of everything. As long as it was ONLY one night that this happened.
Interesting to see Prichard, Snow and Taz in the ring, but it makes sense as it is Gut Check! While they're the judges, they seem to have more invested in Gut Check than just saying yes or no. I like that they're all putting more into it than just that one night a month. It makes it feel more real. Snow had to get his TV time, but more than that Sam sold his 'injuries' well.
Anderson vs AJ > B
I love how Anderson ripped on the fans for cheering for Daniels. Anderson is always amazing on mic, but the casual way he worked the fans off the cuff shows that Anderson isn't just a good talker, but he's quick on the uptake. Though Anderson needs to break out the powder bleach and developer as he looks so blah without his sexy blond locks. Speaking of hair, AJ looks like he's thinning up there just a bit. The camera zeroed in on the top of his head a couple times and he appears to have a spot up there that's not as thick as it used to be.
I liked the handshake between these two, but beyond that, I really thought this match would be quick off the bell. Not saying I didn't enjoy how they built slowly from mat work and simple holds, just that it wasn't the start that I was expecting from these two.
Actually, while the match continued slower, and not as high flying, it was more and more interesting to watch. The holds and reversals were interesting and creative. I know a lot of casual fans don't like that type of match, but I love them – if executed well, and these guys did! There was a botch with the head scissors, but they both sold it as if it never happened. Then the higher flying started and they both worked the moves as beautifully as on the mat. Everything they hit after those head scissors was clean – until AJ's missed finisher. Okay, that match was really solid until right at the end. I feel like we didn't get a real ending. It just didn't feel right.
Winner – Anderson +7 (13:39)
In Ring Segment > C+
I know they left the ending the way they did so that they could continue this storyline with AJ and Clair. Okay, all these pictures, and who took them? The last looked like Clair did, but the rest didn't. Plus, AJ was not at all awake in any of those pictures. Looks like a setup to me! Looks so much like a setup that it kills the storyline a bit. I like being left with a cliffhanger, but it needs to be a plausible cliffhanger, and this doesn't feel that way. It feels like Daniels doing all he can to bury AJ.
RVD vs Daniels > C
Sean Wheelock? Guy seems to know his wrestling. I don't know who he is, but I know virtually nothing about Bellatore. RVD seemed a bit off on mic, but Daniels made up for it. I thought it was cute that Bully tried to steal Daniels' drink of his way by.
I expected a lot off the bat from these two, but didn't get it from them either. I'm not saying they looked bad, just that they were not as quick or as solid as I expected either of them to be. Further, Wheelock was more of a distraction than a help on announce. RVD picked up his pace a bit, but each move was easily countered. Actually, RVD seemed a bit off in his timing. More than Daniels reversing and countering, it seemed as though RVD wasn't quite on the ball here. Some nights RVD just seems off, and this was one of those nights. Daniels did a good job of keeping them both on their marks as much as possible, and the stolen win was right what his character needed.
Winner > Daniels +7 (4:44)
Backstage Segment > A
Aries was just wonderful here! He sold everything beautifully. His timing, the way he turns a phrase, and how he handles everything he's faced with is so perfect. Wonder what's up with Aries getting A&E? Further makes me wonder if Roode might be involved with A&E if Aries is getting the hand. Then again, you'd think he'd want the guys to attack Storm over Angle, but that could have been a diversion, and a way to keep Storm from getting more BFG points. Just guessing, but I will say that throwing that hand in Aries' cape was a nice way to keep them involved without another attack.
Announce Segment > D+
Brooke did a decent job on the phone. Sold Hogan's fake injuries pretty well. Pretty well for Brooke.
Video > C+
I did see Joseph face Bully last week and it makes me wonder if they're going to go in the direction of multiple personalities. Everything they've done so far could make that scenario work out. That black hole slam, and the way Joseph tweaked out when he saw the blood, makes me believe they're going in that direction, and I think I like it. It would make a lot of sense as Abyss already seems to have more than one personality. Through the years he's been the monster, the child, and almost everything in between. Why not become his own lawyer brother? Makes sense to me!
Backstage Segment > B
Giving Garett legal advice on being a Bischoff? Too funny! Park, Park and Park? Since when? Also, Garett's acting wasn't the best, but he did hit the nail on the head with his question he asked. Very interesting!
Magnus vs Bully > C+
These are not two I'd think of in the ring, but they worked well together. Well, they did until Bully caught his own loogie and I almost vomited on my netbook! Magnus and Bully looked great outside the ring, but when they got in and the match actually started, the match kind of fizzled out. Not only did it slow down, but they seemed to lose most of their passion. It wasn't until Magnus got back into the match did it get at all interesting again. Nice to see a solid hold like a Texas cloverleaf executed in a match like this. It seems as though many of the older moves and submissions have been forgotten, or rarely used unless it's specifically in someone's arsenal. I'd like to see more holds like this. Heck, even Bully's cutter was nice to see.
Winner > Bully +7 (4:47)
Video > B+
Dixie announced on Twitter today that Chavito is coming to TNA. I will admit that I was surprised they got the video together as fast as they did, and I wonder where the footage is from, but I'll admit that I'm excited to see Chavito on TV again. I've been a huge fan of his all along – other than the Kerwin White character – and am thrilled to see him wrestling on TV again, even if it is in TNA. I just hope Chavito doesn't get the short end of the stick as so many wrestlers do when they join TNA. I didn't say all, and I'm basically speaking about these past couple years since Hogan and Bisch joined TNA, but you have to admit that a lot of really good wrestlers have been screwed by TNA in one way or another since Hogan and Bisch arrived.
Roode vs Aries > A
I have to admit that I thought this match wouldn't happen, that Aries' music would play and he wouldn't come out for being attacked backstage by A&E. I will admit that I'm very glad I was wrong about that because this match started off with a bang and just kept going! That shoulder block through the ropes from Aries, then his series of moves from there was awe inspiring!
I don't think we saw even one move before Impact went back to commercial! Not sure if that tiny teaser was worth it or not. I think we've seen more commercials than ring time.
Aries' moves are so fluid and creative, made more so by who he's in the ring with. Both of these men are just fantastic in the ring and on mic. There's no question why they're at the top of the company right now as they've more than proven their value.
I have never seen such lovely balance like Roode trying to hit the superplex, but getting kneed in the head while holding Aries over his head. That was just sick! I'm just floored at the beautify of it all. Even when Aries wasn't able to clothesline Roode from the ring, they both changed how he would go out of the ring and didn't even bat an eye at the botched clothesline. These two are just astonishing in all they do in TNA.
I wasn't at all surprised about A&E breaking up this match. After all that's gone down during this episode of Impact, I am just glad we had those thirteen and a half minutes of glory before it all ended so badly. Honestly, if not for the commercials and that expected, but crap, ending, this match could have earned an A+.
Winner – Aries via DQ? (13:34)
In Ring Segment > B+
Okay, so there's six of these guys, but who are they and what are they after? After last week I thought they were only after the fogies, something I'm not sure I'd hate them for, but this week they sure stepped up their game. As long as they don't go all nWo with A&E, then they could be quite the interesting faction. Alex, at the end of his Impact Results stated that he heard on Twitter that a couple of the guys in A&E could be Chris Masters and Luke Gallows. I do know that Gallows was working with TNA in India (under a mask from what I have heard, but not sure if that is true), so it would make sense for him to work state side as well. Actually, I think it would be great if both Gallows and Masters were part of A&E. I like both of those guys and feel that neither have reached their full potential.
I have to say that I liked how they teased that Roode was in with A&E, possibly leading them, but I knew it had to be his ego and nothing more. Roode made this segment work through his actions, and hopefully A&E will amount to more than nWo wannabes.
While most of the wrestling on this episode of Impact, other than the main event, wasn't worth the time, TNA put some solid thought and work into storylines. I know that Impact is supposed to be a wrestling show, not a soap opera, but without the storylines the wrestling matches wouldn't make much sense. Every now and then they have to put some time into building the meaning behind everything. TNA seems to do this a little too much, but tonight it made some sort of sense. I wish that the actual wrestling we did get was better than what we got, but it seemed as though most everyone was off this evening, other than Aries and Roode. I have to admit that I'm looking forward to next week's Impact. Trust me, I'm a bit shocked myself!