It is Richard's (Brooks & Alex) job to report on what's going on in wrestling news, and honestly, I don't envy that job. As much as I follow what's going on in the industry and really want to know as much as I can about it, I would have serious issue with simply writing the news without putting in my two cents. On Monday nights I try to keep it all about what is happening on the show, not how I feel about it, but we all know that a comment sneaks in now and then. I really try to save those comments for the RIB, but sometimes they sneak through.
There's some news articles that I wouldn't be able to just state the fact and move on. I'm speaking about one specific news article from this week that has to do with TNA. Do you know which one I mean? Yes, it's the one about Scott Steiner suing TNA, Hogan and who knows who else for injuries incurred during a match with Jeff Hardy who was known to be intoxicated and possibly on drugs.
I have so many thoughts running around my head about this, that I just have to talk about it. First off, I know a lot of you are probably having similar thoughts, but I need to get these off my chest.
1 – Jeff Hardy working a match drunk and possibly on drugs? Really? I never thought anything like that ever happened! Why would anyone suspect Hardy would work incapacitated in any way?
2 – Why did Steiner wait this long to file this lawsuit? What has changed in his life that has made it so he's finally stepping up and pushing this subject? Personally, I would have complained immediately, but I'm a bit mouthy in when someone is hurt due to someone's (or a number of people's) negligence.
3 – Why did he get in the ring with Hardy in the first place? This was a house show, so it would not have disrupted the flow of a live televised show, but in reality, that doesn't matter either when someone's health is on the line. I know Steiner was on better terms with Hogan and TPTB in TNA at the time, but getting in the ring with an inebriated wrestler is just daft! We saw Sting do it at Victory Road in 2011, but he went in, took Hardy down and held Hardy down. Sting went in with a purpose and took care of business, but I highly doubt Steiner was able to do that in the match in question. Honestly, in that position I would say no. Okay, you're going to fire me for refusing to get in a match with someone who is intoxicated? I dare you!
4 – It doesn't seem as though TNA has done a lot to 'clean up' the locker room since the Hardy incident(s), and I have a serious issue with this. I'm not saying it's a regular occurrence, but there is someone on TNA's roster who has been quite open about his extra curricular activities. While I'm not saying this person, or any others, have come to the ring on some sort of mind altering drug, but it has happened and it does happen, and TNA hasn't done anything about that issue. I say to each his/her own, until it starts affecting those around them. We know TNA is very quiet about what's going backstage, but obviously they're not doing anything about any drug or alcohol issues within the company. It took a big kick in VKM's bum to get the ball rolling for WWE, hopefully TNA doesn't need the same for them to pull their heads out and do something about those on their roster!
Pre-Impact Commercials > C-
Lucky us, more of Hardy's inner monolog. TNA had been blowing the WWE out of the water with these teasers, but floating in Hardy's head makes my eyeballs itch. While I understand what they're trying for with those segments, but pushing how deep Hardy is at us just ticks me off more.
And then there was AJ. He was passionate and really sold it well. I really like AJ, and almost always do, but those gloves have to go. They just don't work the way they should. I also am not thrilled with AJ being in the match with Roode and Storm, but that's TNA's booking brilliance for you! (I know, the WWE isn't much better, if at all, recently.)
Video > B-
Of course they have to start this go-home to Turning Point with a recap of the big storylines and the matches on the card. Beyond that, they couldn't ignore A&8's, so they made them look bigger and badder than they really are, but they have to do that to keep the faction looming over everyone else.
Backstage Segment > D+
That had to be D-Lo ripping Doc a new one. He's built like, and moves like D-Lo, but beyond that, what a lame meeting!
Announce Segment > F
Bringing Storm out to announce should not have been as hard as they made it. Todd handled himself the best, but Borash seemed confused, and Storm didn't seem to know what he was supposed to do when he got out there. Then there was the two people bumbling around behind announce who seemed more confused than anyone else. If they wanted to put this bit on TV, everyone should have known what they were supposed to do before they went live. Really not a good way to start a live show.
AJ vs Roode > A-
I never thought I'd say this about either of these guys, but they really seemed to start the match working soft. Their blows and moves barely seemed to graze each other. It wasn't until after they fought outside and returned to the ring that they seemed to pick up their flow and start working the way they're capable of doing. There will still a few obvious moments, such as Roode's jump for AJ to hit his body drop and Roode's neck breaker on AJ.
After the commercial AJ was hung up top and I cringed! The way AJ flicked off the top rope, faster than I've seen in a long time. They were both on in a big way, and Storm on announce only added to it. But then Roode's chinlock on AJ looked like more of a face squish than anything else. Roode sure learned from Flair during their time together. He executed a near perfect, yet not overly dramatic, Flair-flop!
Honestly, they both really made it look good out there, got the fans into the match and started off a really strong go-home to Turning Point. The counters, back and forth between the moves were great. Borash annoyed me talking about how well they each scouted the other, he made it sound like these two had never faced each other in the ring, hadn't spent the better part of the past ten years together! It grated on my nerves a bit. I was really hoping for a no-finish to this match. Even though Storm's involvement cause the end of the match, I think it left AJ looking a bit weak going into TP.
Winner – Roode (14:55)
Backstage Segment > B
I have to say I agree with Aries about the Jeff Hardy Kool Aid. The way Hogan so casually dropped Hardy's first title belt in the trash last year, I thought we were going to escape all of this Hardy doing no wrong – ever, but sadly that didn't last very long. Almost anyone else would have been fired for what Hardy did, but I'm not going to let this turn into an all our Hardy hate-fest, so I'm stopping here (unless something major comes up, then I reserve the right to complain a bit). So Aries has to return the real WHC belt? Interesting.
Backstage Segment > A-
Huh, I didn't expect to see Brisco backstage until his health issues were cleared up. I doubt he will be in the ring, and they need to keep him visible in some ways, but he needs to take care of himself before anything else.
Sting was so wonderfully over-the-top and what we expect of Sting. He's so great at what he does, and TNA is lucky to have him!
In Ring Segment > A
Joseph is so great on mic, acting the lawyer, and becoming a man! The way he said a human body should not go through a table was so funny knowing what he's done as Abyss.
While Bully was such a great heel for so long, since breaking off from Devon, but the heart he's been showing while standing against A&8's, has been well executed. He still has that edgy side to him, he is the bad boy, but what he's been saying on mic, and how he's been saying it, has been pushing storylines so much further than they ever could have without him. That they didn't put Bully in as the leader of A&8's last month was one of the smartest creative moves TNA has made in a very long time. Not only does Devon get the chance to be the heel without Bully, but he's really luring everyone in with his character, even making Hogan believe in him, then they can have Bully turn on them all and lead A&8's, or he can keep going. Either way Bully continues to get better and better, and I'm blown away by how much I'm liking and respecting him these days.
Backstage Segment > C
Jessie was funny, but nothing compared to ODB. She said EY wasn't there for Impact, so I'm expecting to see him for what might be the last time.
Backstage Segment > B
Well, I wasn't thrilled when AJ was added to this match, but the direction they're going is making sense. Wow, TNA making some sense?
Handicap Match - ODB vs Jessie & Tara > D-
I guess I can give it to Jessie for playing up the comedic side of things, but little more than that. It might not do much for his future as a wrestler if he keeps getting abused by a Knockout. Until ODB got the win, I was expecting EY to show up to help – not that she needed it!
What was in ODB's flask? Todd mentioned whiskey, but it was cherry Kool Aid red! Either it was cherry Kool Aid (hopefully not Hardy'), or I don't want to know what she was drinking!
All in all, other than ODB looking so strong, it was pathetic. Sad to see good wrestlers – ODB and Tara – in the ring making fools of themselves for the sake of the career of some muscle bound guy. It disgusts me.
Winner – ODB (2:39)
Promo > A
I will say I am impressed with Dixie and Hogan stepping up for those affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Backstage Segment > C+
I guess EY won't be showing, but will be there on Sunday.
Video > B+
Christian York looked solid last week, and I hope he goes through.
Backstage Segment > B
It was nice to hear Taz tell exactly what he's been dealing with, that he didn't have power, so no, he didn't watch the Gut Check match on TV because he doesn't have power. I wish they'd gone a bit further into that, but they were there for a reason and they talked both sides of York. They really hit on his positive and negative points before trashing each others jackets. Personally, I loved Snow's jacket, just not on Snow. It was too small and too flashy for him, but someone like Aries would make it look drool worthy. Beyond that, I'm interested in seeing where they go with York.
For the first time I went online and looked to see what people were saying about him, and the negative comments on FB were so few and far between that I was actually a bit shocked. I was impressed, and for the first time weighed in myself, but the negative comments I saw were about thirty-five to one. The fans really seemed to be rooting for York, as I am.
Sting & Angle vs Doc & Devon > B+
They went on at least two minutes outside before the bell was even rung, and all looked so good out there that I was worried that there wouldn't be much decent work in the ring, but I was delightedly wrong. I really like Hankinson's new name Doc makes a lot of sense, though I think Taz and Tenay drove it down our throats a bit too much that he's the Director of Chaos. That being said, Taz and Tenay on announce are so much better than Todd and Borash.
Doc looked really solid in this match. I was worried about how he might look in the ring with Angle and Sting, but he worked that ring really well. He looked so much better than I remember him ever looking in a WWE ring.
Winner – Angle & Sting via DQ(5:43)
In Ring Segment > D
I understand beat down segments, but that was quite a while that no one made their way to the ring. And the ringing of the bell over and over really does a whole lot to stop the people beating up Sting with a rubber toy hammer in the ring. Guess Sting is going to be taking some time off from the ring? Taz was spazzing out at announce, yet never left his table to help Sting. Then, after Sting had been beaten in the gut, back and hands with a ball peen hammer, they slide Sting out of the ring, hold his hand over one person's shoulder, while someone else keeps a steadying hand on Sting's gut. What about the internal injuries!?!?
Video > D-
Tenay on announce through this video was too absurd!
Gut Check > A-
Taz was straightforward, as usual, and said what I'd been thinking. Prichard is right in a lot of ways. I think York has just missed 'it' by that much, and it's nice to see that he got through the Gut Check the way he did. I like the guy a lot.
Backstage Segment > A
That was very interesting! What were Bully and Brooke 'discussing' backstage as Aries went through? Makes me wonder what's going to happen next!
Promo > ?
DNA Camo? Okay, more badly sold products. Time to bring back the zombies!
Video > C+
I have to admit, as annoyed as I am with how over Hardy is within TNA, I am really looking forward to Aries facing Hardy in a Ladder match at TP.
Backstage Segment > B+
I like how Hogan handled the Sting thing on his cell, and Morgan in his office. It was short, sweet, and to the point – unusual for Hogan, but it really worked.
Magnus & Kaz & Daniels vs Joe & Hernandez & Chavito > A
Both teams were looking great in the ring, but then Magnus and Joe were tagged in and things got more interesting. Of course the match turned ugly, and more interesting. Joe did a great job working over everyone who got in his path. Chavito looked strong in the ring, but it was Hernandez's creativity in moves that really impressed me. The bear hug on Daniels that turned into Daniels eating a fall-away slam was just lovely, and looked so effortless.
Kaz's ring work looked stronger and more intriguing than we've seen of late, but he goes between looking really great in the ring, and looking like nothing special.
Chavito's head scissors, then into Hernandez tagging in was just breathtaking. The two of them together are magic the way Hernandez never was with Anarquia. Joe was looking a little chubbier and slower in this match, but his power level was sick! Hernandez over the top and out onto Daniels left me smiling in a way I haven't all night!
The back and forth work in the end of this match made this so much fun and really set up wonderfully for Turning Point. I was not looking forward to this go home show, but these six guys have made my night, and now I'm looking forward to seeing them work the ring Sunday night. Any and all of my positive mood from here on out should be attributed to this match – unless, of course, something else spectacular happens, but I'm not banking on it. (I'm kind of bummed that I'm on a grading system and not a points system right now, as I'd give that a 9.7!)
Winners – Magnus & Daniels & Kaz (10:54)
Backstage Segment > C+
Roode was good, but I was expecting something more to happen in this segment. He was solid, don't get me wrong, but it felt like it needed more than just Roode talking. His match at TP is bigger than that little blurb.
Announce Segment > D+
A recap of the attack on Sting with a little more info about Sting going to the hospital, as if we're supposed to be surprised with that. Again, I wanted more.
In Ring Segment > B-
Aries talking about people making these big claims about how great they are, then giving his own claim was very cute. Hardy's the biggest daredevil in the industry? Sorry, I give that to Foley. Throwing himself off that HIAC, then falling through the roof of the same HIAC, he wins hands down.
Wearing Hardy's face right by his crotch! Too funny! Almost as funny as that horrid pink hoodie Hardy wore to the ring. Actually, that little bit of fighting looked strange. It looked as though it had been taped on slow tape speed and sped up. It was very odd.
Taz and Tenay talked about what a bad fall Hardy took when Aries knocked the ladder over, but I thought it was a very well executed and Hardy's landing couldn't have been better. After he landed, when Aries positioned the ladder over him was rather pathetic looking, and really made Hardy look weak, but I guess is see where they were trying to go with Aries looking strong to end Impact. Makes me think that Aries doesn't have a chance on Sunday, but TNA could surprise us. Naw, Aries is screwed.
I read what Richard said about him liking the idea of changing up the announce teams during a show, and that it would work really well on RAW. I agree, but only for RAW. With RAW being three hours, an announce change makes a lot of sense. Impact being two hours, I see less of a reason to change around the announcers. And then there's the announcers in question. I don't know who Todd Keneley is, but until this week I was very underwhelmed. This week he stepped up and ran with the ball and impressed me as an actual announcer for the first time. I won't say he was great, but he actually sounded like he belonged up there for the first time, and he works really well with Borash.
As for this Impact as a whole, they were really all over the board! A couple of the matches were just sick! Better than we've been seeing on Impact lately, something they needed to do in this go-home to Turning Point, but also something they should be doing every week. Those six men in that tag match tore it up, and the main eventers in the opening match were not far off from them. I'm really not sure I shouldn't have given Joe, Chavito, Hernandez, Kaz, Daniels and Magnus an A+. What do you think? But between those wonderful moments – both of those matches being of good length made them that much better – there was some really jacked up moments that made TNA look less than amateur. It's TNA not being able to find a solid line with their creative, but being carried by ring work that we should be seeing more of on both Impact and the WWE.