It didn't click for me that TNA's Hardcore Justice was going up against the Closing Ceremony for the Olympics. I hadn't thought about it until Sam asked if she could stay up to watch, and since she's not allowed to watch TNA... So I'm actually sitting here watching both HJ and the Olympic Closing Ceremony (to be referred to as OCS from here on out), and not sure which is more interesting. Not the best thing to say about a PPV! They had to know that they were scheduling that badly, if not, then someone in TNA really dropped the ball.
I was hoping that TNA would start HJ with Chavito and Hernandez versus Kash and Gunner, but I wasn't as impressed with the actual match. Chavito was made to look like he couldn't handle anything without Hernandez, and that bothers me in a big way because Chavito is a Guerrero, and he's proven himself year after year! And when Hernandez was actually in, he looked decent. But then his double clothesline on Gunner and Kash looked pretty rough, and it wasn't Hernandez's fault. Hernandez's arm was at least six inches from Gunner's chest, if not more, and it was obviously because Gunner was falling back way early. I'm not saying anything bad against Hernandez, just that I didn't like the booking and that Chavito was made to look very week in his first PPV match in TNA.
While I stated that I wasn't thrilled with Pope in the Falls Count Anywhere Match, I didn't want him totally taken out of the match. To be honest, I was more interested in the OCS - until Magnus, Anderson and RVD went all hardcore on each other. Up on the stage, then in the ring, I have to say all three of these men impressed me in a BIG way. I expected a lot from the Ladder Match, but they're going to have to work to beat this match.
I was a bit surprised to see the TV Title being defended as it was supposed to be defended weekly, but hasn't been at all recently. To me a TV Title is not a Title to be defended on a PPV. As soon as Kaz was announced to face Devon, I picked Kaz to go over, as did Stacy, and even Sam put in her pick for Kaz, even though she had no clue who either of these guys are. Actually, Sam picked Kaz before I could even get my choice out. I have to say I think I've done a pretty good job introducing her to wrestling bits at a time, even though her mother is very against it – on principle only, just because I am a fan. Beyond all that, I thought the match was decent, not great, but I was impressed with how they worked the ring together, better than I had expected. It's about time they do something with the TV Title as the belt is beyond atrocious and the field has become boring!
They spent way too much time on Madison and her lovey-dovey Earl before the match even started! It was nice seeing that they'd been playing all kissy-kissy at house shows, but this match became more about Madison and Earl than it is about Tessmacher and the Title. I really thought that either Brian Hebner or Brooke Hogan would be getting involved with this match, but maybe they will be getting involved later after Tessmacher really complains about her unfair loss. The big question is how will Madison be treating Earl now that she won her beloved Knockouts Title back?
Yes, Hardy is well loved, but I was surprised to hear the fans were chanting for him over Storm. Okay, I'll admit it, from what I saw, Robbie E worked that match better than I expected from him. I know he's good, I've seen him live and he actually worked the ring, but he hasn't been booked to be good in TNA. I really expected Storm to win this one, but wasn't surprised that Aces & 8's got involved, and looked like they were there for Storm. Not sure how A&8's taking out Pope meant anything other than proving they were there and they could take him out. I am really interested in seeing how A&8's is going to reveal, and where they will go upon being unmasked. Sadly I have to say I wasn't as impressed with this match as I had expected to be.
Russel Brand singing a Willy Wonka song was actually a bit more interesting than seeing Ion beat down King in a sad and rather boring way. I have really tried to watch certain people who others have felt I haven't given a fair shake to, but no matter how much I watch Ion, I just don't see it. He has an interesting character – even though he looks a bit too much like Goku for my anime feelings – and isn't a bad looking boy, but he's greener in the ring than any Champ should ever be, and he has a bad high flying history in TNA. I will admit that he hit a few moves that really did impress me, but then Jessie J and Tinie Tempah caught my attention and I missed the ending. Sorry, I'd rather be honest than BS you. That Ion went over King here really upsets me, so I think I'm glad I missed it.
As I said, the Ladder Match was amazing! Those four men left it all out there, and more! I really didn't expect AJ to win it, but beyond that, they all blew me away here. I loved how Daniels was caught up in the ladders, and it really looked like Joe had the win, as I expected, but AJ swooped in for the win. It was a really great match.
I'll admit I was worried about the main event. Aries really does deserve to be Champ, but TNA has a history of doing things that make absolutely no sense. I was drawn into the match and completely enjoyed it, but I thought the end was just fabby. Yes, we've seen the ref bumps and screwy endings like that before, but everyone involved in this sold it better than some other times I've seen similar go down. It was a creative way to end the match and the PPV, and I'm so glad Aries retained.
Hopefully TNA will step up and Impact will be an exciting continuation of the jumps and changes we saw on HJ this past Sunday. I know it say it every week, but TNA has so much potential, now if they could only use it in such a way that shows what a smashing success they could be. I know they have it in them, they just have to figure out how to present it to the world. I hope they figure that out soon.
Video > C
I expected more about HJ, but the video wasn't too bad and they did focus on Aces & 8's quite a bit. They're becoming a big part of TNA, so it only makes sense.
In Ring Segment > B+
Aries, as usual, was just fantastic on mic! I thought Impact was going to start with Bully, but I was thrilled to see Aries to the ring and his promo was sweet. Then Hardy came out. He was straight up cool with Aries, and called out A&8's, as he should. Further, the history between Hardy and Bully was just great, but it was Aries that brought the whole segment around beautifully. If it had been shorter, crisper, I think the grade would have been better as Aries was so solid.
A&8's said that they would make their presence known, but this is what they've said before. I want more. They need to take it to the next step. What that next step is, I don't know, but they need to do more than attack and cause problems while making Storm look guilty. That they're able to skulk around backstage and not be caught (yes, I know it's all scripted) makes TNA security and the wrestlers look weak. All they'd have to do is stick together – right, like they'd do that – and easily take out A&8's when they attack, but they can't let that happen. I guess something about them getting around security and causing so much trouble isn't solid enough to be believed these days. I want more.
Video > C+
More recap video from HJ? Too much, too early.
Backstage Segment > A-
Magnus was great in how he spoke about Joe. Yes, they could have been one of the greatest tag teams in TNA, if they'd had more than a couple weeks on top. Magnus spoke well and the way he said he knew Joe the man and knew how to get to him was just lovely. I've been liking Magnus more and more recently, I just wish we had more Williams to go with him!
BFG Series Match – Joe vs Magnus > A-
Joe might have been on Magnus hard from the start, but Magnus' solid clothesline and slamming Joe to the mat was impressive. I think, in my head, that Magnus is not a singles competitor, but I know he has it in him to go it alone. He really did a good job countering Joe, but he'd be great with Williams going after Kaz and Daniels for the TTC? Just a thought.
Beyond my feelings about Magnus and my wanting him with Williams, he really did a great job in the ring with Joe and really set up for what could be a solid feud between the two of them after his attack with the chair. I can't wait to see what comes from that! I do want to mention that I wish this match was longer, but I loved what I saw in that short time.
Winner – Joe +7 (3:23)
Backstage Segment > B-
Madison isn't as annoying when she's not screeching, but she's still stiff and a bit plastic. Her own revisionist history is great too. And I stated earlier that either Brian Hebner or Brock Hogan would be getting involved with Madison's win, and it looks like it's happening very soon!
In Ring Segment > B
I've not been a bit Taz fan since he joined announce in TNA, but the way he was talking to Tenay about not liking parties was too funny! And, as much as I'm annoyed by Brooke, she looked very professional from the waist up, and she sounded professional in a way we haven't seen. I'm not wanting to see Brook work the ring, but she sure looked ready to rumble with Madison there and I'm not so sure Brock couldn't have dropped her. Brooke is a big girl. She's not fat, or even thick, but she's very tall and proportionally curvy. With the right training she could be very intimidating, but I'm not saying I want to see her in the ring. As much as I loath to admit it, I really liked Brooke here.
That Earl and Madison fled was interesting, but even more interesting was Aries, Hardy, Bully, Angle and Storm rushing to her aid. I know they want to get their hands on A&8's, but it was good to see them rush to protect Hogan's daughter when he's not there. (Please be warned, I've gone through and fixed a number of times I meant to write Brooke and I actually wrote Brock. I think I fixed them, but if I haven't please don't jump down my throat, things happen.)
There was a SummerSlam commercial here. They were heavily pushing Brock, but it was about SummerSlam.
In Ring Segment > A
Even better, Sting joined the fray, or the lack thereof, in the ring. And even better than that is Open Fight Night and Sting setting up an all out fight to start Impact next week. I'm very interested and can't wait to see what happens them, and leading up to them.
Backstage Segment > B
Spider-Man? Phenomenal fetus? Lizard? Foot? Olive Oil? AJ is accepting he's the baby daddy if he loses? Hello, DNA testing, anyone? It's not that hard, even in utero! Sorry about the Olive Oil comment, but that's the role Claire plays at Universal Studios when not crushing her baby bump on the railing reaching for AJ. I don't like them talking down her looks, but she really does resemble Shelley Duvall. No, I'm not saying either are ugly, just that they look like each other, and that's who I think of when I think of Olive Oyl, though I don't think of Robin Williams when I think of Popeye. Duvall was also in the original Frankenweenie.
AJ vs Daniels > A-
Tenay said that if AJ wins he'll take a paternity test, but if he loses he'll admit to being the father? I think that's one of the top ten dumbest reasons behind a match I've ever heard, and I've been watching wrestling since I was a teenager! I'll let you do the math if you really want to.
The commercials lasted almost three minutes. They put two of their best wrestlers in the ring, let them duff around a bit, then cut three minutes out of it? To me that show little respect for the wrestlers and the fans. Yes, WWE cuts into good matches, but few of their matches are as good as what AJ gives us every time he's in the ring. There's a few exceptions in the WWE, but for the most part they worry more about entertaining than actual ring skills.
Daniels bit AJ's had to get free of a hold. It reminded me of a great SCM between Owen and Bret. One was trying to get out of the cage, so his brother bit him. It looked so natural and organic, like two little boys, brothers, fighting as they always did, not paying as much attention to the fans, but doing what they've always done. Huge props to the reader who can find me video of that Hart Steel Cage Match.
I really liked Daniels choke on AJ. It might be more common than I know, but I've been watching too much WWE lately and they don't show really interesting holds like that. Then AJ hit that running powerbomb, that was just beautiful! I don't understand why I get so excited when either of these guys do anything great in the ring, it's who they are and what they do – everyday! AJ taking getting whipped to the side of the apron and using it to his benefit was great to watch, but even better was seeing Kaz getting caught by Brian and AJ getting the win from it. Pele (who was at the OCS), then the clash on Daniels was lovely, but I really can't wait until it comes out that Daniels is the baby daddy – Claire had to get knocked up by someone!
Winner – AJ +7(16:57)
Backstage Segment > C+
Sting talking to Hogan on his cell and Hogan coming through so clearly on TV was just so bad! I'm also not looking forward to Hogan being back and in the ring, but if he wants to kill himself in the ring, who's really going to be able to stop him?
Backstage Segment > B+
Storm is getting screwed six ways to Sunday. Why does A&8's want it to appear that Storm is part of them, or leading them? Will they have a good enough reason? I liked how Storm responded to Hardy, he said all the right words, but does that mean Storm really isn't in A&8's? There's so many ways they could take this, I think that's why I'm loving this part of the A&8's storyline so much.
Video > A-
Having the fans talk can always be fun, but the last man talking about there being actual wrestling on TNA, compared to other companies. I think it's funny because that can be said about TNA or WWE, depending on the time and what's going on. TNA has had their share of non-wrestling wrestling shows, and only recently stepped things up when they went live. It made me giggle.
Video > B-
More video? Okay, so it set up for Roode to the ring, and that's a good thing, but I think they could have tightened up the video a bit more, chopped it down for time. I'm all for storylines to keep the feuds and the reasons behind the matches going, and I'm all for keeping people updated with what's been going on, as not everyone watches every show or every PPV, but both TNA and WWE have been showing too many videos that have been too full. The production teams are both good, but they both need to tighten videos up a bit to make more time for actual wrestling.
In Ring Segment > A-
On his way to the ring, I couldn't tell if Roode was pissed, lost, in shock, or just holding back all emotion. But actually talking, he sounded a bit mechanical. Maybe it's the way he's handling his anger, and it could really lead to something. I'm not sure what yet, I had hoped for him to be more hot headed than he was. The fans there really ate it up, and gave it back to him, and Roode didn't snap. That he was at such a loss, and sold it so well, I'm impressed. What I didn't like was him dropping the mic and leaving the way his former partner did not that long ago. What will we see from Roode next? A&8's?
Knockouts Title Match w/ Special Guest Ref Taryn Terrell – Madison Rayne (C) vs Tessmacher > B-
Taryn looks good, very good for that matter. Is she only going to be reffing, or will she be working the ring as well? I can't say that she isn't easier on the eyes than Earl, even though I adore Mr. Hebner. Taryn is a bit overly animated yelling at the Knockouts, but it's also her first TNA match.
Tessmacher looked really good in the ring here. Madison is a strong competitor and when she's not screeching, she's quite good. Actually, I think this is the best I've seen Tessmacher, and I think she was made better for being in the ring with Madison. I didn't like Tessmacher winning the strap the first time around, and I wasn't adverse to Madison winning on Sunday, other than she didn't do it 'legally', but I feel really good about Tessmacher being Champ after this match. I still am not thrilled with her finisher, but it was tighter than we've seen her hit it in the past. I hope the Knockouts continue along this vein, as they've been running hot and cold lately. And where will Madison go from here?
Winner & new Knockouts Champ – Tessmacher (3:59)
Video > C+
More recapping? Putting it together the way they did, and that it set up for the next segment, I guess it's not that bad – as long as they don't keep recapping with this next part added in.
Backstage Segment > B
I'm wondering if the one on the left is JJ. I'm also wondering who the one talking all the time is, as it's not Drew (Galows), and who is the guy with the longer hair. I know we've talked about it, and there's been rumors, I'm just very interested in seeing who everyone truly is with their masks off. I think it would work if D-Lo was actually part of the group. Would show that no part of the company is beyond being infiltrated. The only problem I see is that I don't want to see D-Lo working the ring again. I've never been a fan of his.
BFG Series Match – Bully vs Jeff Hardy > B
They started off slowly, nothing really interesting until Storm came to ringside. This is fricken Bully and Hardy, and they couldn't start off interesting? I blame booking because not only can these two go, but they have done it for so long, feuded so many times that anytime these two get in the ring it should be wicked sick!
And TNA cut almost three minutes out of this match. Why can't they cut out videos so we can watch matches in their entirety? I don't see it being that hard, but obviously creative, bookers, or TPTB can't seem to handle this. I'm rather annoyed by this. At least when the WWE goes to commercial during a match, they keep that commercial break short, and they show us anything really good that might have happened. I see it as TNA dropping the ball in a big way by cutting into these matches and I am just starting to be vocal about this. Guess I need to get my Twitter on later.
Hardy looked like Hardy in face paint and movements, but the hair is missing some serious color. I know it's a pain to keep up with the wild colors, but it's something Hardy is known for, so I'm a bit surprised he's on TV without any wild colors. Hardy's swanton was a little tight, he hit Bully with most of his body, but it's a lot better than the swanton we saw on RAW this week that didn't even connect, even though Tensai sold it. I thought Sin Cara could hit a move like that as well as Hardy, guess not! Even better, Hardy really seemed to be on until Bully got the upper hand and A&8's hit the ring. I thought Bully had the win tied up, but Hardy hit that twist was just the right time.
Winner – Hardy +7 (12:56)
In Ring Segment > A-
It was very interesting that Storm was knocked down only long enough to not at all be involved with A&8's during the match. No matter what Storm did, it didn't look good to anyone. No matter what he said, it didn't help, and then when A&8's actually attacked him, there was no one there to rescue him. If Storm doesn't turn heel over this, I'll be a bit shocked. The swerve they ended the show with really left the fans with something to look forward to next week. I'm actually a little excited to see what they do to start Impact next week.
There was some solid wrestling matches in this episode. It feels great to watch a wrestling show with actual wrestling, and much of it was decent work. I just wish that they could have shown us a TV Title Match, the way they said they'd show us every week – until they got bored with it. They really need to shake up the TV Title, put Devon into more matches, and move the belt around a bit, things are getting stagnant. Other than that, there was some really strong segments on this episode of Impact, and they really set up for next week's episode the start in a huge way. I'm really looking forward to imp next week!