I'm really confused about this ref cam thing. It sounds like it could either be fantastic, or just horrid! How are they going to put a camera on the ref? Will it be a hat? A hand cam of some sort? I'm very confused by this idea, and how they're going to execute it. All that being said, I have to give TNA huge props for trying something new, something I've never seen the WWE try before. If I'm wrong about that, let me know, but I really don't remember the WWE ever trying anything such as this. I know I am big on bashing TNA on so many things, but I am very impressed with their willingness to try new things. Further, I think they have been better about trying new things since Hogan and Bischoff joined TNA. Yes, I said something positive about Hogan and Bischoff. Please take note, it doesn't happen often. And on that note, rather than dragging this out, I'm going to jump right into Impact.
Opening > A+
The entire TNA family extends their thoughts and prayers to the people and city of Boston. #PrayForBoston This meant so much to me. It's TNA doing things right when things go so wrong. I know that it was too soon for them to get anything together for those in West, Texas, but my heart goes out to everyone affected by that horrible blast as well.
Video > D
This opening video seemed to drag through every little bit of everything we have seen lately. Too much of telling the little kids what happened and how they should feel about it. The narrator made it feel that much worse. I am not impressed.
Video > F
And then they went into more video from last week. Haven't we seen Jeff Hardy goes through that table enough times in the first 3 min. of Impact? And Hulk Hogan looking to devastated and upset was such a farce. I just don't believe it.
Backstage Segment > B
I don't read the spoilers, but this segment was sure foreboding that Garett and Wes would not be able to take care of Angle tonight. Devon very obviously was not impressed with the little boys playing around.
Handicap Match – Kurt Angle vs Wes Brisco & Garrett Bischoff > B
Both Garett and Wes looked completely ineffectual against Angle. Even from the beginning, they just obviously are no where near Angle's caliber. I will say that Angle's double German was ill. Angle proves every time he's in the ring that he can still go better than the best of them, even though I still cringe when he takes a big bump. Speaking of bad bumps, that last double bomb from Garett and Wes was a little reminiscent, okay a lot reminiscent, of The Shield.
Winners – Brisco & Bischoff (11:01)
Backstage Segment > B
It was really nice to see Petey Williams on mic, even though he isn't always the best speaker. And I'm sure this is going to shock the crap out of people, but I thought Zema Ion came across quite well here. He was better spoken, clearer, and didn't rush the way he used to. Ion might be coming around and actually learn something. I'm actually a little impressed by his work.
X Division Championship – Kenny King (c) vs Zema Ion vs Petey Williams > A&B+
Everyone looked fantastic from the bell. For me Petey carried this match almost from start to finish. No matter which direction he turned he was killing it, every move, every bump, Petey looked sensational. That man works the ring better than anyone else in the X Division today, and should be X Division Champ. Zema really held his own in the ring. Yes, I am singing the praises of the Zema Ion because of his ring work – don't pass out. He worked really well with Petey, and held his own against Kenny, who I thought was the weak link in this match. Ion looked crisp, solid, and worthy of being in the ring with the likes of Petey Williams. Then there was Kenny who looked slow, clunky, and extremely outmatched. That horrible ending really tainted what was otherwise a job dropping match. I know it is all about the big picture, but leaving Kenny as Champ, is a travesty.
Okay, I'm as shocked as anybody that I am speaking so highly of Zema Ion, but he has really stepped up his game. I don't know what has happened, if he has just worked his butt off, or something has suddenly clicked for him, but he's finally looks like and X Division wrestler who should be fighting for the X Division Championship. I am looking forward to seeing Petey Williams and Zema Ion feuding it out for the X Division Championship someday. That's a match that I would be willing to pay for. I always state that when I am wrong, I will admit it. I will not say I was wrong about Ion in the past, because he really was still too green, but he is finally blossomed into a fantastic X Division wrestler. I am not singing the high praises of Petey, the way I am for Ion, but that is because we all know how tremendous Petey is in the ring. It is Ion who has grown and changed.
Winner – Kenny King (5:47)
Backstage Segment > B
I have to say Magnus came off really well here. It seems that he is focus, drive, and a direction. Hopefully he won't get lost in the shuffle.
Backstage Segment > C-
Hemme is in charge of the new Knockouts site? Okay. The start of this was good because it pushed the new site, and the end was good because it pushed the storyline, but Mickie really seemed shoved in there out of the blue.
TV Title Match – Devon (c) vs Magnus > D
Well, so much for this match. And so much for Magnus to be so driven. And it's so much for A&8's being so creative! For the second time tonight we have seen A&8's taking from The Shield. That first double bomb wasn't enough, they needed to double chokeslam Magnus too? A&8's had really taken steps to be themselves, something different, but so obviously taking moves from The Shield continues to make TNA look bush league.
Backstage Segment > B+
Joe's gonna kill ya! Joe's gonna kill ya! Joe is great and he's like this. Joe is at the top of his game when he's pissed off and really, really wants to hurt someone. It's not like he needs a good reason, but he does have one right now, and that is going to make it that much more fun.
Video > D-
I am so sick of this AJ video!
Video > B
It sucks that Velvet Sky just returned and is injured. My heart goes out to her.
#1 Contender Match – Tessmacher vs Mickie > B+
I wasn't sure how this face on face match would work, but they really went out there and worked it hard, and both of them pulled off some very heelish moves in the ring. I was actually kind of impressed with how hard hitting they both were in the ring. Both Mickie and Tessmacher threw down hard in that ring and didn't play it safe. They both worked the ring and proved that sexy women can put on a kick butt match. The Divas Division should take note. I know a couple of the Divas can go like that, if only the WWE would allow them to, and get rid of the likes of the Bellas, who can't.
Winner – Mickie (7:39)
Backstage Segment > B
Daniels and Kaz singing along like that were hysterical, but I'm more than over angsty AJ!
Backstage Segment > B+
I am really waiting for Joseph to come back and splat everyone in sight. I hope he does it as Joseph, but I would be fine if he did it as Abyss. He has taken so much crap as this character, and he really needs is redemption. So much for Cena's redemption what about Joseph's? I have to admit seeing the Dudley Boyz back together again does a heart good.
Backstage Segment > D-
Every time Mickie is on mic she's just felt fake. I liked her back when she was stalking Trish, that felt real, but since she turned hardcore country, it just feels plastic. Yes, I know she sings country music, but it all feels like an outer coating of something very different.
In Ring Segment > B+
I am loving the new Bad Influence shirts. They are very cool, even the way Daniels wears his. Roode and Aries added so much to that segment. I know I'm always talking about what little boys Roode and Aries are together, but add in Kaz and Daniels and it's too funny. Kaz 's, "The only reason you cut your hair was because I cut mine first and it looked really cool!" I was about on the floor laughing at that one. I was almost bummed when Chavo and Hernandez broke up their little scuffle!
Video > B-
Kenny, Gail, and Roode are all heels, but they are starting to get worried about A&8's when Hardy is being wheeled out to an ambulance. Maybe we will see all of TNA banding together. As much as I loathe these recap videos, this one really worked well to move the storyline forward.
Backstage Segment > B
More of Morgan talking about Hogan's mistakes. When will he actually do something? He's doing a great job on mic, but I'm starting to want more than just his critical view in that creepy tone of voice.
TV Title Match – Devon (c) vs Samoa Joe > B-
Is Joel wearing a shirt because he was told to? If so that's annoying. Joe might be chunky, but that man can work to ring better than most, and should be allowed to do so. He and Devon really looked solid in this match, but it was obvious that it would not come to a clean ending. A&8's would not allow that at this point. I didn't like the use of the brass knux, but they made sense for A&8's. Until TNA bands together, they are not going to be able to take down A&8's.
Winner – Devon (3:36)
Storm vs AJ > B+
I am not quite sure about AJ being so hairy, but he sure seems to be on his game. His arms actually look a little more muscled, as does his back. At certain times it seemed as though Storm batted AJ around the ring like a knack, but AJ just kept coming back with beautiful moves. Closing time looked a bit rough, from both Storm and AJ, but then they came back and AJ locked on that lovely hold for the win. Nice to see AJ winning his first match back, and even better to see him taking out Bad Influence!
Winner – AJ Styles (11:13)
In Ring Segment > B
I didn't like that A&8's came in and attacked Storm for no obvious reason, other than to try to lure AJ in. Though I think it might backfire on them. A&8's attacking all of TNA's wrestlers might get even the heels going after A&8's. Bully, as usual, was fantastic on mic to end the show.
I have to say that the flow of this episode of Impact was so much better than we have seen the past couple weeks. Yes, their worst deal to many recap videos, but the ring work was leaps and bounds ahead of last week. Much of this show worked, the flow felt organic, with only a few segments really feeling out of place. Since going on the road, TNA has been a roller coaster ride, where the highs have been great, and the lows have been absolutely dreadful. After last week, I was almost dreading Impact this week, but I really enjoyed most of the show. I also really enjoyed hanging out and talking with Alex, Jesse, The Breaker, and everyone else who hung out in the 'Open Thread Party' on WNW. I think WNW has some of the best readers and commenters out there, and I am proud to work here.