I have to admit that I'm not at all surprised that Winter has left TNA. I can't remember the last time she was seen on Impact, or on a PPV, which is sad because she was both a wonderful character, and a really good wrestler. Didn't hurt that she's dang sexy. It seems as though Hogan and Bisch are doing all they can to destroy the Knockouts Division. Actually, thinking back, I don't remember much about women in WCW, other than the Nitro Girls, Kimberly, and toward the end, Daffney and Miss Hancock (Keibler). I know Nora ran around with Savage, and there was Gorgeous George and Major Gunns, but I don't remember many actual matches between the women.
Now, I've been called on being too cranky in this section of my blogs. I've been trying to be more even about things because I really do love wrestling – TNA, ROH, WWE, local events, etc. I love wrestling, if I didn't, I wouldn't put the hours in front of my netbook that I do. I could spend that time writing fiction, but I adore the wrestling industry, and since my body just isn't with me to be involved in any way (I'd love to make wrestling garb, but even the up and down, moving around of making clothes can be too much for me on most days), this is how I get my wrestling fix. This is a very lucky fusion of two of my greatest loves (other than my family) – writing and wrestling.
All that being said, I have to give TNA huge props for Aces & 8's. I will fully admit I was disgusted that first time Sting was attacked, and even worse when Hogan was attacked and incapacitated. I knew it was a way to get Hogan off TV for surgery, but it felt like a cop out. Since then TNA creative has done a great job of building this group into a force to be reckoned with. Not only is the group big, the men powerful, the whole group mysterious, but they're not overrunning the entire show. They're not making every segment about them, but still keeping a lot of the bigger names involved in their storyline. That TNA is carrying on with the BFG Series without A&8's getting involved, but their still a big focus of the shows is a very difficult line to walk. In the WCW, nWo was too involved in every little thing that was happening, so the entire show was about the nWo. That they're not doing that in TNA shows me that Bisch might have learned a thing or two, that he might be handling things a bit differently these days. Not saying I'm a fan of Hogan or Bisch in TNA, but I will say that I really like what's been going down with A&8's (with a few complaints here and there, but nothing earth shattering), and I think they're doing a really solid job with the group. I'm going to retain complete judgment until it's all played out, but I am having a blast watching this all play out. (Remember that I wrote this before Impact started, so I might have changed my mind a bit about things, but I will mention that at the end if my feelings have changed in the least little bit.
Video > B
Interesting that they started with ODBEY before going on to other issues. That Aces & 8's was the last part of this video. Hopefully they will focus in more on A&8's, but then there's All the BFG stuff going on.
Video > B+
It was a great video about RVD, Storm, Joe and Hardy, but coming off another video, it was too much. I was really annoyed to see it, but the production quality was just wonderful, that's why it received the grade it did.
BFG Series Match – Hardy vs Joe > B+
Hemme's mic sounded horrible when she was announcing the guys to the ring. It was almost painful to hear, and I haven't yet turned my TV up the way I normally do when watching wrestling. It was odd, Joe looked almost bored until the bell rang for this match. Not his normal pissed off look, but really unimpressed and bored. Stacy was talking about Joe looking like he could easily plant Hardy, then go on as if it was nothing, and I agree. Heck, I always agree about that, but then Joe hit a shoulder block on Hardy that wasn't at all gentle.
I like that they showed Storm watching this match backstage, but didn't spend too much time split screen watching Storm. That's something TNA has had troubles with in the past. We'd rather be watching the match than watching someone else watching the match – no matter how hot that other person might be. And I have to say I was thrilled to see Hardy hit one of his old favorite moves, putting his body on the line the way he always has. I've felt that Hardy's been holding back a bit lately, but running and using the stairs to get height to land on Joe shows that he's not at all done with the craziness we've always loved from him. Though I admit I'm glad he's no longer wearing those yellow women's raver pants we've seen him wear in the past.
Then Joe kicked it up. I love watching Joe in the ring. He has this lovely gracefulness that few his size manage. They did screw up the split screen in that we didn't get to see Joe's sick fast power slam, but it happens. And then there's Joe's ability to make Hardy look like a viable opponent, then they ruined it by having Joe tap out to Hardy. I cannot suspend my disbelief THAT much. It wasn't even a very creative, or good, submission hold. I'm disappointed that they went that route after such a great match from these two men. That ending brought the grade down two full points. I would have given this match a solid A, but that ending was just beyond my ability to believe. If it had been a more creative hold from Hardy, something that was really interesting, I'd have given them the grade this whole match really deserved, because this was a dang solid match, and what I really do expect to see on Impact.
Winner – Hardy +10 (12:05)
Backstage Segment > B+
Interesting that they made that 'little guy' a member of the crew. If that was me, I'd not trust anyone on the crew, but I can be a bit nasty when I can't trust those around me. I admit that this segment between Hogan and Aries went off well, better than I'd expect from Hogan, but they let Aries do a lot of the talking. It was short, flowed well and furthered the storyline – always good things.
Stage Segment > B
Okay, starting a feud between Joe and Magnus is great by me. I loved them together, but having Magnus being more of a heel to Joe could be a great direction to go.
Backstage Segment > D
NO! No more of Hogan talking through who should be getting a Title shot rather than having them fight it out? That's absolute CRAP! I will say I'm glad Robbie got rid of the caramel colored hair. And why not have AJ go out and find a partner to go after Daniels and Kaz? This whole talking over fighting kills a lot for the fans who tune in to watch wrestling.
Backstage Segment > D-
Tara is eye candy and Kim is talent? That's hysterical! Yes, Kim has a better all around in-ring skill set, but Tara has been working that ring for a very long time and is a lot more than eye candy. I'm looking forward to seeing Taeler go after Tessmacher for the Title at NoSur, and seeing Kim face Tara on Impact. To me that's good creative. What isn't good creative is Brooke sitting back and talking about all this. I don't see as she fits in for any reason other than being Hogan's kids.
Gail Kim vs Tara > B+
I have to say I'm not at all thrilled with Taryn as the ref. The way she's dressed in the ring basically says that the Knockouts weren't hot enough, so we need to add even more cleavage in the ring for distraction. I really don't like it.
These two really put it all out there in this match. Both hit some really solid moves and worked that ring better than we've seen from any women in a long time. Big moves, Tara's power slam, and that delayed vertical suplex were sick! I'm blown away by the work from these two women, and they more than deserve this grade. I only wish that the match was longer! Okay, I also hope that Tara's colored hair streaks were clipped in as she lost a couple of them in this match – ouch!
Winner – Tara (3:37)
Video > D
Why has Ryan been going after Snow after it was Taz who said no? Snow said yes to Ryan, was the only one who said yes, but he's the one being attacked. I know it's because Snow is the only one of the three willing to work the ring these days, but this video showed that there was no true reason for Ryan to go after Snow. I think that while this video was well edited, the people who decided which elements needed to be included screwed up in a huge way. This video showed the huge plot hole while trying to show us the story. Someone needs a slap on the wrist for this one!
In Ring Segment > B
I like seeing Al Snow, but I've loved him since I first saw him. He's an odd duck, not the best of wrestlers by any stretch, but always interesting! Snow is looking old, but he really handled himself well here.
As annoying as Ryan can be, but he sure knows how to stay in character! And Snow not taking any of his crap was a blast! I have to agree that I really don't want to see Snow in spandex, but his reply and that slap were great! I'm so annoyed at how litigious this country has become, but I will admit that it goes along well with Ryan' character, and will keep this storyline going. All in all I think it worked well, though I'd love to see the two of them in the ring.
Backstage Segment > B
Ray coming to Joseph about A&8's is very interesting. Brings me back to thinking Ray is involved with A&8's. Why would he be looking out for Joseph at all? Makes less than no sense unless Ray's involved with A&8's. This was an interesting way to push the storyline, and add more questions than answers, all the while not taking too much time doing it.
Backstage Segment > C+
My daughter Ellie saw the A&8's attacker thrown into a chair, and momentarily thought it was Edge. I can completely see where she got that. He did have a hint of Edge to his face. Not completely sure if he's the same guy who attacked Aries last week. It's hard to compare him to last week with him in a chair, and with his hair down. There was very little to work with here, so I'm going to give this bit an average grade. It wasn't anything spectacular (yet), and I do hope that they handle these segments with Aries well.
Backstage Segment > D-
I'm so disgusted with these Hogan segments. And the reason that Kash and Gunner were eliminated was bull. They could at least make these segments make some sort of sense!
BFG Series Match – Ray vs RVD > B
RVD is a tiger! Okay, so back in the day, not the ECW day, but early in RVD's time in the WWE, he wore a singlet that was tiger striped. Ellie and I watched a VHS tape of that PPV one afternoon, and she commented that 'RVD is a tiger!' From then on it was one of those silly inside jokes with us. When RVD made his way to the ring, I said, 'RVD is a tiger!' and she laughed, thrilled to see RVD as a tiger again. This singlet isn't as tiger as that previous one was, but close enough to get us giggling. Now, can anyone come up with what PPV it was that RVD was a tiger, and who did he face? First person to come up with the answers can predict a coming PPV with me.
Ellie also commented about how good Ray looks these days. She hasn't seen him recently, and it was nice to see him through fresh eyes. Then he really stepped it up in this match, as he has recently. Working with RVD, someone he's worked with for so many years, Ray really looked good in this match. Even better is how RVD looked in this match. The last time he was in the ring it looked as though he'd been hanging out with maryjane, or he hadn't slept in days. RVD just looked off, but here he looked better than he has in a while. They both took their knowledge of each other in that ring and gave us a heck of a match. I won't say it was as good as the opening match, but it was really solid.
Winner – Ray +7 (8:53)
Backstage Segment > C
So, Mike is from New York. What I don't like is that Mike looks like he's coming off something, not just getting grilled over by a wrestler. Pliers in the mouth? Yuck! But then Hogan playing good cop – briefly – was funny! Making a trade, in good faith, with A&8's? That's too unbelievable for me. "Let him live!" was a lovely parting line from Hogan. I will give him props for than one.
In Ring Segment > B+
The start of this segment felt very Austin. The way he said 'drink some beers' felt very Austin to me. I've always felt a bit of Austin in Storm, and that's a really good thing. But Storm is very much his own man, and I love watching him both in the ring and on mic. Storm sounded good, but I had to giggle watching Joe, Hardy and Ray staggering out to the stage. It was pretty obvious that Storm would be the one Storm would pick. I've felt Ray was part of A&8's for a bit, so it makes sense for Storm want to get his hands on him. Even better is that we'll be getting Hardy and Joe again, this time in a PPV! I'm drooling after the way they worked the ring earlier in the night.
Backstage Segment > B
RVD sold the welled up eyes, but then his reactions to Magnus were hysterical! Okay, I can handle Magnus going all out heel. This is fun, and it gave Snow more TV while giving D-Lo a moment on camera. I'm liking this direction for Magnus. I can't wait to see where they're going with it.
Tag Team Title Match – Daniels & Kaz (C) vs Hernandez & Chavito > A-
Hogan was on his cell with Nick? He had to slip his son in there somehow, didn't he? I won't take away from the match for Hogan being the arrogant git he is, but that pissed me off.
Chavito looks really strong off the bat. I miss seeing him on TV. And Hernandez is just sick in the ring. MexA never worked, maybe this will pan out for Hernandez. Hernandez and Chavito walked all over Kaz and Daniels as if they were nothing! So much for the TTCs having anything to them. Chavito's head scissors was a bit of a botch, but it was well covered, and they didn't lose their stride the way greener wrestlers do.
I absolutely loved Chavito hitting the three amigos while Hernandez held the delayed!
(The commercial for the MMA talking show after Impact pushed having Batista on the show, talking about transitioning to MMA. I'm willing to bet that no one will ask him about how Booker beat the crap out of him backstage one day when Batista made some rather uncouth comments about Booker's wife. I think they were doing a photo shoot, or filming a commercial, but Booker wiped the floor with Batista. I haven't been able to take Batista wanting to get into MMA seriously because Booker so easily took him apart. I'm really shocked anyone is taking his MMA hopes seriously.)
The partnering between Chavito and Hernandez was lovely to watch. You expect that from Kaz and Daniels, but not from the other two this quickly. Hernandez did look a bit goofy trying to move Kaz around for a powerbomb. I know he was trying look extremely powerful, but he looked a bit silly there.
That move, Chavito hitting head scissors on Hernandez to give him extra power behind his splash was sick! I will fully admit that I cussed very loudly when I saw that move, then hoped I didn't wake Sam for it, but that move was beautiful, and so unexpected. Then how gracefully Hernandez flew over the top rope to take out the champs was lovely.
All of those shady moves at the end of the match were a bit screwy, but they are heels and got the job done. They are heels, and they aren't World Tag Team Champs of the World for nothing! I have to admit that I really wanted to see Hernandez and Chavito win this match, but I understand why they didn't going into NoSur. Hopefully we'll be seeing more of Hernandez and Chavito on Impact.
Winners – Daniels & Kaz (14:46)
Announce Segment > C
I'm looking forward to RVD versus Magnus at NoSur! Having AJ and Angle face the TTCs could be a lot of fun. We get Hardy facing Joe, and then Storm versus Bully. This could be a solid PPV, even though they've done more to push BFG than they have NoSur. Actually, it's quite sad what a throw away NoSur really is to TNA. Most of the matches for NoSur – or is it all of them – were formed during this episode of Impact. To me that's an absolute throw away PPV. I understand that Dixie doesn't want to be throwing 12 PPVs a year, and that they're losing money on these PPVs as the buy rate is in the toilet, but there are fans who care about TNA, Impact, and the PPVs. We care about the wrestlers, the matches and the storylines. That TNA cares so little about this PPV makes me wonder how much they really care about the fans.
In Ring Segment > B+
Aries was really on in this segment. Railroaded from behind. I love that Aries realized what he'd said and played with it. That moment is why it can be good to give the wrestlers some leeway for what they can say in the ring. Over scripting can lead to stilted and plastic segment, but a little freedom can create moments like this. I know this isn't the type of moment that PG WWE wants, but it was still a lot of fun, and Aries handled it in a great way.
I found it strange that anyone believed what A&8's said, but if they didn't then they wouldn't have a segment, or a match for the Champ going into NoSur. I will say that the ball peen to Mike's head was a nice touch. It was well executed, and again, nothing the WWE would want to see on any of their shows at this point. I will admit that the unpredictability of TNA makes the shows that much more interesting, and A&8's have added a number of unpredictable moments. Watching the brief time the mysterious A&8's 'arm breaker' was in the ring with Aries, they could give us quite the match at NoSur – if they actually book it to go down as a simple one on one. But this is TNA, and A&8's, I don't see that match being anything simple, and for that I'm excited.
Four matches? Four? Are you kidding me? Okay, I will admit that they were not all short matches. Actually, the only short match was the Knockouts match, and even that was seriously good. After adding up the time, there was almost forty minutes of wrestling on this show, so while I want to complain about there only being four matches, there was more wrestling per hour than we see from that other company.
I'm going to be a bit childish here. I told you that the A&8's attacker last week wasn't Matt Hardy, or Garett. No matter how much weight Matt might have lost, there was no way his hips and bum would get that skinny. And the hair was too long to be Garett. I removed last week's Impact from my DVR, so I can't go back and compare Mike to the attacker last week, but I'm not sure I'm believing they're the same guy until I see proof. I did go check it out on YouTube, but the picture is so small that I can't be sure. Though I will admit that TNA is usually much better about continuity than the WWE, or has been lately.
I also want to take back something I said previously. A lot of people thought that the mouthpiece for A&8's was D-Lo, but I wasn't sure about it because of the bit of skin we did see from the speaker. I thought it was too light to be D-Lo. Well, after seeing D-Lo backstage on this show, I have to say that I think everyone is correct about D-Lo being the mouthpiece. Honestly, I thought it had to be D-Lo because the shape of his body, the shape of his head, and the way he moves when he speaks. It was just that bit of skin that was shown looked really wrong for me. Seeing D-Lo again tonight I take that back. I absolutely think D-Lo is the mouth piece for A&8's.
I think this was a solid Impact, but it was a cruddy go home to NoSur. I'm going to think on things before writing out my No Surrender Predicts. This Impact needs to sink in for a bit before delve in to the matches they made this evening.