I'm going to keep this short and sweet so I can get it posted as I want to get this out to you guys. There's only one thing I wanted to talk about, and I might get filleted for it because it's more WWE right now, but I have to mention Flair. He made quite a splash this week with his return to the WWE. While I really didn't like that Flair no-showed TNA dates because he wanted to return to the WWE, he was about glowing Monday night. Actually, I would love to be really shocked about Flair no-showing as it's so unprofessional, but this is Flair we're talking about, he was on the infamous plane ride from hell. Yes, that was over ten years ago (May 5, 2002), but a leopard doesn't change its spots. Beyond that, as long as Flair doesn't end up stripped down like he did too often in TNA, I'm happy for him. Honestly, I'm a bit shocked it's taken them this long to skirt around the rules and bring Flair in without a contract. Between his want to be back with the WWE, his need for money, and his daughter being in developmental (hopefully is better than David), the WWE is the place for Flair right now. I hope it all works out for him.
"TNA wrestling sends our dearest sympathies to the victims, their families and the Newtown, CT community after the senseless attack that occurred last week at Shady Hook Elementary. Our thoughts and prayers are with you."
Video > C+
Nice to see that TNA is having some confidence in Velvet. I'm interested in seeing where they're going with Brooke and Bully – such an unexpected storyline. Aries facing Hardy would be good if we didn't already know how it is going to play out. TNA making Hardy their golden boy makes things too predictable.
TV Title Match – Angle vs Devon (c) > B-
The ONLY title Angle wants is Devon's TV Title? That, to me, sounds like a load of BS, but then I was shocked to see Angle coming out to the ring knowing he's no where near 100%.
I figured they would pull an injury angle for Angle, and the way Devon stalked Angle while their gangs fought outside the ring, I knew it was coming. I have to admit that the way they went to commercial break after the chop block was great, but the commercial break was over three minutes. During a show is one thing, but during a match is another. Too long, way too long. WWE usually rarely goes much longer than two minute commercial breaks during a match. Thinking about it, Devon really is a good one to work the ring with Angle while he's injured. Devon is a veteran of the ring and knows how to work through things like this, even with someone as stubborn as Angle. I really don't know how Angle does it, he's an absolute machine!
Other than all the drama around the ring, there wasn't a lot of really good wrestling in the ring. Some, but not as much as there should be in a match of this length. I know they couldn't work the way they would because of Angle, but it wasn't a really good wrestling match. Actually, I like how they ended this match. That there were two guys looking like Knox and one took Angle out, even though Devon had tapped. Now that is solid booking!
Winner – Devon (11:08)
Backstage Segment > D
I really loath these segments where a Hogan decides who's going to face this Champ or that one. It's supposed to be wrestling, not Hogans taking every bit of face time they can get. If it's a storyline and makes sense, I'm okay with that, but these drawn out decisions that should be worked out in the ring really tick me off. All that being said, ODB worked well, and Mickie couldn't keep from giggling at her which made the whole thing have a better feel.
Backstage Segment > C
Kenny King did well on mic, and I like him, but this wasn't a great segment for him. I think he needs more of a character because he's feeling a bit boring.
Morgan & Ryan vs King & RVD > C-
I know that Ryback is using the same airbrush artist that RVD uses for his singlets, and I'm impressed how Ryback asked RVD if he was cool with that, but to me it seems as though Ryback's getting the short end of the stick. It might be that RVD has been collecting singlets for so many years, or that the artist knows RVD's style so much better than Ryback's, but RVD's singlets are so much better than Ryback's, and always look so much better.
While the beard is in right now, Morgan really can't pull it off. It just doesn't look right, and doesn't help his baby face, even though he's a heel. What's worse is that I was more distracted by the singlet and the beard were more interesting than everything than the final minute of the match. When RVD and King worked together against Morgan, it started getting interesting. Even better was King fleeing on RVD, leaving him to feast on Morgan's carbon footprint. That further showed King's character, but still not enough for my taste. And then there's RVD who keeps getting abused, but hasn't had any real storyline, or anything interesting going on with him, even though he's fricken X Division Champ! That's so wrong on so many levels. Hopefully something happens with RVD soon, because I'm really feeling bad for him right now. Sadly, all in all, there was a lot more other things going on here to detract from what really wasn't a very good match for any of them. Morgan and Ryan really need a name for their team as right now they just sort of seem out there without a direction. Actually, that's the story of much of TNA right now.
Winners – Morgan & Ryan (4:52)
Video > B
Now, if they handle things right with AJ, this could be a really gripping storyline. I hope they don't drop the ball with him.
Backstage Segment > B
Kaz seems to be coming into his own lately - finally. I'm almost wondering if we might be seeing a feud between him an Daniels at some point? I'd really love to see that!
In Ring Segment > B
Taz said Hogan is wrestling royalty. I'd agree if Hogan hadn't dragged his own name through the mud for the past decade. Impact Wrestler of The Year? Am I getting a Slammy vibe here? January 3rd? It feels like it's been so long since Hogan and Bisch debuted. That January 4th where so much changed because Hogan and Bisch didn't like the six sided ring, the Knockouts, the X Division, and almost everything that made TNA beloved by the fans.
And then there's A&8's. Actually, they've done a lot to make TNA worth watching again. So many things have become old hat in TNA – Hogan will spend too much time on the screen, the TNA Originals get screwed, X Division doesn't exist, Hardy will never lose – but A&8's have been unreliable and keeping Impact unexpected.
I also have to say Bully keeps shocking me. I know I was calling for him to hang them up and I was absolutely wrong about that. Bully has shot new life into TNA, himself and his calves. I'm more than impressed and willing to admit that I was wrong about him. I'm more and more excited to see Impact each week, and Bully is a big part of that. Now if they'd only bring back the correct ring, the Knockouts actually kicking butt, and the X Division running roughshod over TNA, and it would be a stupendous new year!
Backstage Segment > C
At least Hardy is actually talking, and not letting us listen in to his thoughts. Hopefully that is over, even though he's still too overly brooding for my taste.
Backstage Segment > D-
They make these decision segments feel like these people are forced to return to Hogan's office over and over throughout the day, or show, to hear what either Hogan will decide next. It's getting on my nerves more and more each time they do this. Put them in the ring and let the winner face the Champ.
Video > B+
I usually get mouthy about the recap videos, but this was a recap of a very long time, and executed in a way that kept it short. I think they did a great job with this video where they could have made hash of it. Not a bad job by the production crew.
In Ring Segment > B
Kaz is such a cornball, but it's somehow working for him. What's not working is those pleated pants on Daniels! I Tweeted him a number of times when he'd worn them in the past, and he'd stopped for quite a while, but now they're back. They make him look at least thirty pounds heavier! Someone buy this man some flat front pants for Christmas! The pleats went out in 1995, and they're not coming back!
Sorry about the pants rant, but Daniels and I have Tweeted about this in the past. Then again, those new pants that Daniels and Kaz have been wearing in the ring are 1985! Sadly, I admit that I love those pants, and I'd love a pair of them. Not sure I'd leave the house in them, but I do hope TNA starts selling them soon.
TNA's Santa looked a little craptastic. Foley was such a great looking Santa at TTTT that there was no way TNA could top him.
I thought Storm looked a little gray around the edges. He sounded good, said all the right things, was quite good, especially superkicking Santa, but he didn't look like he felt very good. Hopefully it was just me seeing something that wasn't there because I know how cruddy it is to be sick over Christmas. Either way, Storm brought this segment up to a solid ending because Kaz and Daniels with Santa were just too corny to make it work well enough to really matter.
Backstage Segment > A-
I love the way Aries was making fun of Hardy's deep thoughts segments! That was hysterical, and so well played. He could have taken that too far, but he didn't. For the second straight week he's in a Championship Match on Championship Thursday? Something there just didn't jive. Otherwise, this was a great little segment for Aries.
Everyone was right, it's Sting! I'm looking forward to this, and really like how they continued this video with Sting. It really worked!
Backstage Segment > B+
So, who is A&8's going to bring in? Who's pissed off? Roode, but he's also pissed off at A&8's. Morgan? He sure is muscle, and he's sure pissed off, but where does that leave Ryan? What about Abyss? Then there's Smith, Knox, Murdock, and possibly a couple others. Who's to say that any of them, even if now running with A&8's couldn't come into the group in a different way? Might be interesting, and sure added a bit of spice to A&8's, though it seems like their numbers have dwindled from the twenty or more they started with.
Backstage Segment > D-
More of the decision crap. Interesting that Mickie's music was keyed up and ready to go, even though Brooke just decided who would be facing Tara. That little bit made me wonder if Velvet is going to stay perfectly face backstage, no matter how loved by the fans.
Knockouts Title Match – Tara (c) vs Mickie > B+
While they struggled at the start of their bridging up, both Mickie and Tara stepped up and really made the next moves look really good. Actually, for the first time in a very long time I found myself not writing and just watching a Knockouts Match. I honestly can't remember the last time I did that. I will admit that some of it was watching to see if I could find any surgical scars on Mickie's torso from her recent surgery. But more than that, Mickie and Tara made their moves in the ring looks solid.
Mickie's DDT finisher was absolutely horrendous, but I have to blame that on both of them, not just one. It just didn't work out, and they both dropped the ball with it. I will say that Jessie was a solid base for Mickie Thesz Press off the top. I'm not sure I'd be willing to do that without someone strong catching the landing, and they made it look solid. I think it's more than time that Jessie get booted from ringside so we can have some even more solid Knockouts Matches. The Knockouts are finally getting some solid in-ring booking and they're proving that they can carry it, so it's time to get rid of the pseudo-beefcake and let those women knock it out of the park. Bravo to Mickie and Tara for most of that match, now if TNA will only give us more. (Please realize that I'm grading this match compared to what we normally see in the ring from the Knockouts and Divas. Looking at it that way, I think they more than deserve this grade. This is not in comparison to any other matches on this show.)
Winner – Tara (7:05)
Video > B+
That was another great little video from Danny Davis. My only question is why is Davis the one training Joseph when it's Nick Dinsmore who teaches the beginners Class? Is it because Dinsmore has something going on right now and he might be on TNA soon? One can only hope, I am a fan of his dedication to character and ring work. I also have to say that I'm enjoying Joseph's change in character when he sees his own blood. I like it a lot more than the character who turns into a wrestler when the bell rings, then back to the idiot when it rings again. Oh, wait, that would be DOC!
TNA WHC Match – Jeff Hardy (c) vs Austin Aries > B+
I was expecting this match to start with a bang and keep going from there, but this started slowly and really didn't seem to pick up much, even after the commercial, as they usually do. The Impact Zone was much quieter than it had been in past weeks – being the holidays, I'm not at all surprised – but that made this match feel like much more of a sleeper than a lot of matches have the past couple weeks.
That move from Hardy was sick! It's really nice to see someone who's been in the industry for so long pick up a move with such pizzazz after so long. Hardy has always been flashy, but that move was insane, and both of them made that move look astounding. I think Aries' shorter stature added to how fast he flipped over and landed on the mat. That man is a genius in the ring, and working with Hardy has further pushed Aries' ring work.
Normally ref bumps look rather lame. Sorry, but Earl just can't take bumps like Brian did in this match. Not only did Brian take that bump, but he made it look as good as any wrestler could. I'm dang impressed by Brian on this one.
So, Roode attacked and screwed over Aries, does that mean we're going to see these two men feud? I know it could be an easy way for Roode to go back after Hardy, but I'd love to see Roode and Aries in a serious feud. I know they're both heels, but I think it could work. Maybe it's because they're both so good, and they're both so charismatic, but I think they could pull it off and drive the fans wild. Normally I'd say heel versus heel wouldn't work, but I'm rethinking that with these two.
Winner – Hardy (18:12)
Backstage Segment > A
When Hogan was being interviewed on his way to his car, I was wondering what was going to happen. They needed to tie up, or at least leave Hogan and Bully, in some way after their moment in the ring earlier. If they hadn't addressed that one more time, it would have felt like a dangling modifier. Well, I guess Bully's modifier isn't dangling as much as I thought! My daughter (adopted) is only thirteen years younger than I am (long story). While I know there's a lot of love stories between people who have quite large age differences, but Bully is older than I am, and Brooke is younger than Ellie. When I saw them kissing it made me a bit ill, and I twitched a few times. I know they had to go there, but eeeeeewww! (I gave the segment that high of a score for Brooke's dedication to this storyline.)
I stepped away from my computer and wrestling for the day, as I said I would try to do on Wednesdays, yet it didn't help as much as it has in past weeks. Maybe it's partially me and being overly tired from an afternoon with 42 Girl Scouts, but I didn't think this episode of Impact was anywhere near as good as it had been the past couple weeks. It's true that I could be in wrestling overload as I've watched wrestling every night since Sunday (all of which WWE), but I don't think it's all that. The WWE is so different from TNA these days so I can usually separate them into what they each mean to me, but I was impressed with how they handled the Slammy Awards on Monday, and blown away by the TLC Match on Sunday, so I might just not be able to mentally step away from those things and look at Impact in an unbiased way, but I don't think that's it. I really just don't think this was a very good episode of Impact. I will say that the fans just didn't have the reactions they've had the past couple weeks, but being the holidays, I shouldn't expect the wild fans being on vacation in Orlando, or the locals wanting to take the time to head over for this show. It makes complete sense, but doesn't help the overall show.
I'm going to chalk it up to being the last show before Christmas and hope for the best next week. I am willing to admit that I'm not holding out much for next week's show as it's right after the holiday, but they could surprise me. It's 1/3/13 that I'm looking forward to. Even if TNA brings out another stinker next week, I think they will make up for it with Sting's return, and that's what I'm holding out for.