Just when I think TNA might be turning a corner, they screw up in a monumental way. I know some people will think that the contracts of Bully Ray and Devon coming to an end is a good thing, but I think TNA was daft in how they handled it. Yes, they wanted to get Bully to re-sign, and who knows if he will, but he's really been at the top of his game recently, been in some great feuds, and has become the singles competitor that I really thought he could never be. A number of fans even believe that he's involved with Aces & 8's, and that would be an easy way to slide him back in if he does re-sign with TNA at sometime in the near future.
And then there's Devon. I thought it was a great idea a couple months back when TNA decided to have the TV Champ defend his Title every week on Impact. It sounded like a wonderful way to make the title have some meaning, and maybe move the title around a bit and make it interesting, possibly even exciting. At first it was working really well, Devon looked good and his matches were solid, even against Robbie. But then he stopped showing up on Impact, and I can't remember the last time we saw Devon on Impact, never mind defending his TV Title on any regular basis. As if that wasn't bad enough, TNA let Devon contract run out while he was still holding the TV Title! That's something you just don't do! I know that the WWE played at it last year with Punk, and there was some issues with the WWF Women's Championship back in the MWN days, but I thought those days were well passed, and that the companies were too smart to let this happen again.
Wait, a title belt was stolen? How the heck did that happen? Who fell asleep on the job and let it happen? Be interesting to see what's going to happen next. Change of policies? Belts on lockdown? I don't know, I'm just shocked that someone was about to left a belt and make off with it
Video > C-
While the opening was little more than a recap, it wasn't horrid. Actually, it was boring.
Video > C+
And then an Aces & 8's video? One or the other would have been fine, but both was a bit much. But I now know what the A&8's guy meant about being 'patched in' last week! Thank you Gesus.
In Ring Segment > B+
Aries said there was twenty something guys with A&8's last week, and that sounds about right, but it still felt like some of the backstage segments were taped with some of the same guys. I could be wrong, just a gut feeling. I love that A&8's 'crushed' Aries right hand and that he's a lefty! He was just wonderful on mic here, but he always is.
Hogan is back as GM? Wait, he sure looks like Hollywood Hogan now. Does that mean he's going to turn heel again, or just be an edgier character? Could be that he's with A&8's? Just a thought.
I'm really liking this A&8's storyline, I just hope they don't push it too far. There's a fine line between being fabby (nWo) and downright terrible (¾ of the WCW roster in nWo). With Bisch and Hogan at the creative helm, there's a real possibility that they won't pull back early enough and it will end up in a big mess. But, right now, I'm really liking it. I think they're on the right track. There's been a few fumbles – no one trying to remove masks from any of the A&8's last week in the huge brawl – but I think they're handling things pretty well at this point. And this was a solid, if a bit predictable way to start Impact.
Backstage Segment > B-
So sad to see where ODBEY have ended up. They really need to get the titles off them if EY isn't going to be around. As I said last week, it would be very cool to see EY as part of A&8's, and I think it would bring some spice back to the ODBEY relationship. The biggest thing is to get those titles back on someone who will fight for them. Then again, look what they did with their TV Title. Seems as though the only title that matters right now is the WHC!
BFG Series Match – RVD vs Storm > B
This is Storm's last match in the series. It doesn't feel like he's faced everyone in the series, but I guess he has. RVD looked like he was moving a little slower than his norm. He appeared a bit methodical, not moving with his normal flow and grace.
After the commercial RVD hit rolling thunder and it look like he normally does, but then he was right back to being just slightly off. Then there's Storm who hit the most beautiful little DDT, which was made better by RVD's selling of the move. Eye of the Storm, I thought Storm had to have the win, but then RVD's monkey flip was sick! I was blown away at the air Storm got on that move, but then RVD was back to looking squinty and kind of out of it. Sometimes it's obvious when RVD has been smoking a bit before a match, but I'm not sure that was it in this match. He just looked really off, and sometimes out of it in a strange way.
But Storm was on the ball and looked like he was working stiff, but I don't think he was. I think he was as on as RVD was off. All that being said about RVD, this was a really solid match between two great wrestlers who were left to really entertain the fans. We don't get enough longer matches in TNA these days, so I have to say how happy I was to see how long this went.
Winner – Storm +7 (11:54)
Backstage Segment > C
Madison has her huge tiara out again. We're all in for some screeching!
Madison vs ODB > C
And I was right, screeching! I loved ODB making a big thing of taking off her wedding ring for the match, it was very cute. Actually, what happened before the match was more entertaining than the actual match! No, I can't say that, ODB hit all of her moves very well and Madison took her bumps just as well. It was just that the match was so short that it was hard to see if if you blinked!
Winner – ODB (0:25)
In Ring Segment > B
EY with beer and chicken in a suit? I'd be all over that! Even better was him taking it all off. Hey, I'm head over heels for Foley, give me a break! Those tiny little, whatever that was he was wearing, that was just terrible. Beyond that, I'm really glad EY's back and hopefully they will get those Knockout TTC off them and really put them to use. As much as I love ODBEY, the belts need to move on.
Video > D
More of the baby daddy saga? Please, let this be over with!
Backstage Segment > B
AJ was good on mic, and I like that he was more focused on the BFG Series match than dealing with Kaz and Daniels, but I really don't think it will be that easy. I will be surprised if we don't see them getting involved with AJ's match against Joe.
Backstage Segment > C
Short little video setting up Gut Check. It wasn't long, so I'll hold judgment for the whole thing until they get through it all.
Backstage Segment > D
I have to agree that last week's Gut Check Match was not good, and other than the mic work, I wasn't impressed. Taz was right about the back story, but that's not enough. The problem I have with this segment is that they draw these things out too long. I'm so sick of talk, I want to see some action!
Backstage Segment > B-
And even more talking! Wait! What did Kaz just say? Heath? He actually said that? Not sure how I feel about that one. I think Sting and Daniels really sold that segment visually. Hogan's face doesn't seem to move as much as it used to, so he doesn't show as much. And Kaz has three expressions these days – bored, scared, and confused. He used confused for this segment, and I guess it worked. Then there was the slipped appletini that made me laugh. Daniels and that dang drink! I actually liked the banter after Kaz and Daniels left, it felt more real that Hogan usually does. He came off as more human and less of a cartoon character than he normally does.
Video > D
Why did we need this big video about AJ when the leader board told us the same thing? Just more wasting of time.
BFG Series Match – AJ vs Joe > A
With the likes of Joe and AJ in the ring and the crowd is virtually dead. That can't be good for the guys in the ring, and it sure sounds horrible through the TV. These are two of TNA's biggest stars and they're getting virtually no reaction, that tells me that TNA needs to get out of Orlando! Then Tenay starts talking about there being nothing like seeing TNA live – if it's like this, I don't want to be there.
AJ looked really on to start this match, but that kick to AJ's gut as he flew out onto Joe was truly sick! That sound was horrible, and Joe connected solidly with AJ's gut! Then that scoop slam and the submission holds, Joe was just as on as AJ. What lovely work from these two guys. Not all of it was the fastest work, but it was so on the mark and looked great. Their ring placement with the submission holds, from each of them, how AJ's pele hit Joe, then how AJ was slammed down to the mat. Right down to how Joe got the win.
Anyone who likes really solid mat work, the technical side of wrestling that we don't see anywhere near as much as we used to, then you need to see this match. It might not have been the fastest moving of their matches, but it was beautiful work that I feel we need to see a lot more of. I know it's not as flashy and exciting, but it shows skills that some of the flashiest guys just can't muster. I have to admit I really like how they slipped an A match into this show so quietly. They didn't set it up for two hours, and there was nothing glitzy about it, it was just simply a great match. I know I predicted that Daniels and Kaz would get involved in this match, I have to say how grateful I am that they didn't. I'd have been very upset to see them break into a match as lovely as this.
Winner – Joe +10 (8:14)
Video > C
I know that the WWE also shows how the show started at the top of the following hour, and I understand why they do it, but as someone who actually watches every show straight through, paying attention to the whole thing, I find it repetitive and sometimes downright annoying.
Backstage Segment > C+
Angle came off a bit boring here. There was nothing at all special about Angle's segment.
Gut Check > C+
Borash on mic saying Gut Check is just too much. I used to say this about HBK a lot, but it looked like Prichard got dressed in a dark closet. That shirt is very cool, but putting that jacket over it makes me a bit ill. Even worse is he put them on to appear on TV!
I was happy to see that they didn't go to the third vote for him to get voted out. It was obvious that he shouldn't be in a TNA ring. But who was that woman with the baby they showed right after the talking in the ring was over? That was a bit odd.
Through this whole segment I was waiting for Joey Ryan. There was no way to get through it without Ryan in the audience. I saw Ryan reach for the cut of liquid once before he actually took it and threw it at Snow. The man holding it didn't get pissy when he reached to take it, only after he took it. Watching Prichard trying to keep up with Snow running through the crowd was funny. Not saying I'd do any better, but I'm also not on TV. I do like that they've kept up with the the Ryan saga, but haven't pushed him other than during Gut Check. It's an interesting gimmick, and something that works for TNA because they're good about remembering storylines, most of the time. Unlike VKM who thinks we can't remember week to week, TNA will let storylines float along for a bit, or even get ignored before popping up again, and they're usually spot on with the facts. Not always, no one is always correct, but they do a much better job with it than the WWE usually does.
Backstage Segment > B
Speaking of remembering storylines that slide from TV for a bit, but then return without changing the facts. Kayfabe!
Ringside > D
The Belatore fighters watching the show didn't look very excited to be there. I thought showing them hurt rather than helped.
Video > C
They've spent more time pushing Hardy versus Angle than they did AJ versus Joe. I hope that the second match can stand up to the marketing of it after how great the other match was. Not seeing this match, I feel the other should have been the main event.
Hardy vs Angle > B+
From the start Angle was on his mark and Hardy looked a bit sloppy. The fans got behind the match a bit, the men behind Angle and the women behind Hardy, but it was actually some noise. I just found the split of the voices very interesting.
Not only was that a commercial, but it was a full three minutes of commercials. The WWE usually has less than two minutes of commercials during matches. Just something interesting I've discovered since I started timing the matches. I find it crappy that they took three minutes of that match from us. I would have been cussing if it was AJ versus Joe that they'd cut from.
This match has been solid, but predictable. I know that most wrestlers have a routine, a series of moves that are particular to them, and that many matches between certain people have similar looks, and this is one of them. It's nothing bad about these guys. They're both very entertaining, and I wouldn't pass up seeing them wrestle, it just doesn't have the spark that AJ and Joe had in that particular match.
Actually, the back and forth of this match, the way that it looked like it was over so many times was fun to watch. Both of these guys worked hard in that ring and really deserve props for their work. The emotion from Angle was great to see. It's what was missing from his mic work earlier in the show. I will admit I'm surprised that Hardy came out on top. I do forget that he's as over as he is. Between these two I'd almost always go with Angle to win, it's just who he is and what he can do in that ring. So, this was a really good match and they really left it out there.
Winner – Hardy +7 (11:28)
In Ring Segment > C
I was a bit surprised to see Bully in the ring. Guess he's going to stick it out through the series? I have to admit that I'm going to be bummed if Bully does leave. I never thought I'd hear myself say those words!
In Ring Segment > B
I pretty well figured that the last segment would be something to do with A&8's, I just hope it doesn't become a regular thing. Too much of that would scream nWo, but for right now it's good. I thought they all handled themselves very well, and brought the tension level up a couple more notches.
I read in the Impact Results comments where people were guessing that the guy who attacked Aries from behind was possibly Matt Hardy, or Bobby Roode. I have to disagree with both of those guesses as the guy who attacked Aries, because the guy who attacked Aries was just too thin to be either Roode or Matt Hardy.
I was hoping for more from A&8's during this show, but at least we got a bit from them. I hope they push further and will be giving us even more next week. Actually, I hope we get a lot more of A&8's, and a lot more of good. Impact was very shy of good this week, so they have some miles to make up. I guess after last week I should have seen this show not being as good. There's an ebb and flow to these things. Because of that, I will keep my toes crossed for next week's show.