Welcome to another edition of TNA Blog Zone here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com and getting right into it, the post Christmas edition of IMPACT Wrestling was not one of the better episodes we've seen. There were elements that stood out, but there were flaws in the program that could have been adjusted with the right booking.
OPENING: DIXIE CARTER'S ANNOUNCEMENT INTERRUPTED BY JEFF HARDY, STING, GUNNER & JAMES STORM
I could see what the goal was in this opening segment. However, for the kind of segment that was planned, this could have been a much shorter opening in order to give time for actual wrestling. The segment almost took up the first half hour of the show when it could have been 10 minutes tops. Despite the unnecessarily long opening, atleast the goal was achieved between those involved. Two matches were set with James Storm taking on Gunner and a tag match with Jeff Hardy/ Sting Vs. EC3/ Rockstar Spud as the main event of the evening. There isn't much else to discuss as nothing was truly noteworthy, so we're on to the action with our first match of the night.
MATCH: "THE COWBOY" JAMES STORM VS. GUNNER FOR THE FEAST OR FIRED TNA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BRIEFCASE
Two of the more in your face/ hard hitting superstars square off in what could have been a very stiff contest. The purpose of this contest was to get more progress from the two, so there was no need for an extremely combative match. The double countout to end the match was the best way to ensure neither Storm or Gunner loses steam in the feud, as this will be focused on as long as Gunner holds the Feast or Fired briefcase. A double DQ could have worked also with the two fighting it out to the point the referee loses control and could have been more effective.
SEGMENT: BULLY RAY IS DONE WITH BROOKE
Before the in-ring between these two, Brooke met up with an eerily quiet Bully Ray in the back before threatening to air out his dirty laundry. We have the two meet in the ring and are treated to another great Bully Ray moment. The sinister music that plays when he speaks is also a nice touch and, strangely, a good fit for him. If this were another competitor, it would not have been as effective. With Bully's new darker side coming out, is this a new Bully Ray character we will see? Time will tell, but Bully is masterful in his character presentation. Now that Brooke is no longer with Bully, what's the future going to be like for Brooke in the Knockouts division? She has the wrestling acumen, looks and desire to make it in TNA so hopefully she is used after figuring out what's next for her character.
MATCH: JOSEPH PARK(W) VS. BAD INFLUENCE IN A MONSTER'S BALL MATCH
After several backstage segments progressing the upcoming match and also the main event, we have the Monster's Ball match. It was a tame Monster's Ball match and one where the stipulation wasn't really the star anyway. I just can't get into anything with Joseph Park and hope this is where Abyss truly comes back more and more as the weeks progress. It's even disheartening to say "weeks" because the character of Park should have already been removed. Bad Influence were the Bad Influence we know and love, so there's nothing more that can be expected on that front. This just needs to be taken care of at a faster pace.
MATCH: LEI'D TAPA(W) w/ TNA KNOCKOUTS CHAMPION GAIL KIM VS. ODB
Pretty good Knockouts contest with a great stiff kick received by ODB from Lei'D Tapa during the match. ODB looked great while Tapa, still learning and getting more matches under her belt, was a bit slow in the ring. She's a bigger woman in regards to height and muscle, so one can see some limitations in her movement. The two performed well though and at this point of the night, put on a good wrestling contest with a confirmed winner and a confirmed loser. This match could have had a little bit of an alternate presentation and outcome that you can check out on my Booking IMPACT! - Team EC3 Victorious piece for TNANews.com.
BACKSTAGE: CHRIS SABIN AND VELVET SKY FRICTION
A quick note on Chris Sabin and Velvet Sky's interaction. Backstage, Sabin asks Sky to help him by interfering and when she expresses that she does not want to, Sabin questions her loyalty to him and walks away as Sky cries. Sabin will be facing Austin Aries next week for the X-Division Championship and I don't think anyone is excited for this contest. Not because it's Austin Aries or it's Chris Sabin, but because there is absolutely no build to this championship match. Going back to the opening of the show and if it were condensed to 10 minutes (and shortening or scrapping some of the backstage segments), we could have had enough time for an X-Division matchup with Austin Aries and/ or Samoa Joe in action. Considering next week is Sabin Vs. Aries, let's stick with Aries on this one and building up the championship match. Pitting Aries in a matchup and Sabin, say, looking out from the entrance. Aries wins his match and Sabin grabs a mic to put Aries on notice for next week. This atleast gives light to the situation instead of having us go into an X-Division Championship match blindly. What could have been...
MATCH: JEFF HARDY & STING VS. EC3, ROCKSTAR SPUD & THE TNA TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS THE BROMANS(W) IN A 4-ON-2 HANDICAP MATCH
Before getting into the main event, we were treated to multiple "The Rise of Magnus" video packages. These were done very well and truly gave the television audience a way to see Magnus in a different light since becoming the champion. It was interesting to see that he didn't come off as a jerk or anything of the sort, but as someone with legitimate claims. It comes off as blurring the lines between a good guy/ bad guy or right decision/ wrong decision and was enjoyable to watch.
On to the main event. Firstly, I'm happy to see The BroMans and DJ Zema Ion used in a main event matchup. BroMans have really stepped up their game. It was a good contest overall with nothing that stood out, but was a solid contest to end the night. EC3 getting the pinfall on Sting was unexpected yet exciting if you're an EC3 fan as this is his biggest win since joining TNA. EC3 CANNOT move backwards to face Norv Fernum or have any ridiculous match opponent. Is he a main eventer? We shall see, but kudos for giving EC3 the chance to shine. In regards to Jeff Hardy's announcement that we would be stepping way until things change, he does have a contract with TNA Wrestling, so this looks to be part of a storyline. We saw backstage segments with Jeff Hardy and Sting talking about the match and Jeff on the phone with his wife earlier in the evening with a conflicted Hardy presented. The set up was there so as unexpected as it was, it was also expected that a decision would be made regarding his future (storyline anyway). What this is culminating to will only be revealed as the weeks pass.
IMPACT Wresting was a good show when you sit and review it in your head. It was good for story progression, but lacked something in the action department. I'm still also curious as to why the first hour is so talk heavy while the second is wrestling heavy. There is still a bit of work to do and hopefully 2014 will be a better start to the televised program's format.
Loved Villian Or Misunderstood Anti-Hero,