Welcome back to another Impact Wrestling Blog Zone. I am filling in for Kendra Bunyon again as she is unable to write this week. She will be back next week. As far as this week goes... I want to discuss two quick things. First off is TNA’s Impact Wrestling rating. The viewership for this week’s show hit rock bottom again. There was tough competition this week from an NBA elimination game, the finale of American Idol and I am pretty sure The Big Bang Theory had their season finale last night. It was a rough one for TNA. On the flip side, is the time slot hurting TNA, or their new system where they have a live show and then a taped show? Maybe no one is tuning in because the weather is great or maybe the product is stale. There are so many factors that come into play. Really no one can give a definite answer.
My other topic I want to talk about is my upcoming interview with TNA star Magnus! I revealed this on my Facebook page right after Impact Wrestling last night. The interview is set for May 28 at 3PM EDT. Magnus is the future of this business and I can’t wait as I gear up for this one.
Opening video package - A
It doesn’t matter if we see this video packages every week. I love how they open Impact Wrestling. As I said last week, it reminds the person who tuned in last week and for quite awhile as to where each storyline is at and and then it helps the person who is watching TNA for the first time. In fact, I love seeing these because how much progression the stories have been developed since 6-8 months. Look back at the opening videos if you can find them. The story development shows.
In-ring segment with Hulk Hogan, Joseph Parks, Devon, and D-Lo Brown - B
As soon as I heard Hulk Hogan’s entrance music I thought of Richard Gray! Richard wrote on a piece on TNANews.com a few weeks ago talking about Hulk Hogan. He stated that he was surprised how many times Hulk was mentioned on the show. Well, here is the opening segment with Hulk. The thing is, this segment makes sense. He came out here to comment on AJ Styles, as usual, but also thank Abyss. First off, I called the AJ Styles vs. Kurt Angle match for Slammiversary about a month ago. It was quite obvious and predictable. Still, I see where TNA is going. Instead of Abyss coming out, Joseph Parks came out. He claimed that he couldn’t find his brother again. Thinking about it doesn’t make sense. What was the number that Hulk received a call from last week? Can’t they just call that number or trace it? At any rate, Aces & 8s came out with Devon leading D-Lo. The match with Parks vs. D-Lo was made for later that night. The segment was solid. I thought Devon was really solid on the mic. I can’t remember exactly, but I thought D-Lo was a bit shaky. The main focus is still around Abyss even though he doesn’t show up.
Backstage segment with James Storm - B
I was really harsh with James Storm and the tag team division last week. I ripped on it like it was a WWE show. Honestly, I would have not taken this route with Storm. I would keep him in the single division and probably would have had him in the main event level. TNA thinks differently though. Storm’s short segment here was mysterious at its core. His words were, “Watch, just watch.” That intrigued me. While I had no idea what TNA was thinking... I still didn’t know what they were thinking when this segment aired. I sure wanted to know though. The anticipation was growing!
Video of Christian York - B-
It was nice seeing a recap of Christian York because we haven’t seen him so long. I have a couple of things that bugged me as I watched this show though. First off, I forgot the push York received in the past. I totally forgot he faced Jeff Hardy. I remember that match too and I was quite impressed with it. I talked to Kurt Angle awhile back and he did mention how York should have never left TNA in the first place. He is talented. Him facing Hardy and then having a long absence is the strange booking that TNA has at times. Someone wrote that it was quite upsetting to see this video because York should not have been absent for so long. Yeah, he was in OVW, but most people probably forgot all about him. They now have to watch this and try to reconnect with him.
Bobby Roode vs. Chavo Guerrero - B+
This match really gave me the direction TNA is going with the tag team division. It is starting to make sense now. First off, this was a really good match. I always love Roode in the ring, but Chavo has been boring for me since he came to TNA. Him fighting Roode showcased his talent. I am not sure if Roode helped Chavo or if Chavo upped his game, but it was a sweet match. The ending almost left a sour taste in my mouth, but it went away as the show went on. Storm coming out and spitting the beer in Roode’s face makes sense. James wants revenge. Storm got attacked in the back last week and now seeks vengeance. He was about to hit the beer bottle onto Roode’s head... which would give us a flashback of Roode doing that to Storm back in 2011. Roode got away though. While I looked at the small picture last week... I should have backed up and looked at the bigger picture.
In-ring segment with Kurt Angle, Mr. Anderson, and AJ Styles - A
I’ve been really impressed with Kurt on the mic lately. I know I shouldn’t say that, but we haven’t seen Kurt’s best for months. He had short little backstage segments that amounted to nothing. We have seen for the past three weeks cut great promos. Not only that, he is being shown for more than 2 minutes. Kurt is a world class talent. Showcasing him for 2 minutes or not even having him on the show is pointless. Kurt and AJ at Slammiversary should be a classic and I can’t wait for it. As Kurt said what he had to say, we had Mr. Anderson come out. He said AJ will be joining Aces next week. Honestly, if TNA actually advertised, they would really make this the top story. AJ has been floating around for months and we could try see an answer next week. TNA needs to promote this. It’s going to be quite a big story. Him actually joining Aces is another story. AJ came out and hit a pele on Kurt. Now this is good television! Did AJ hit Kurt because he is with Aces now or did he hit him because he is fighting him at Slammiversary? Honestly, there won’t be an answer next week, in my opinion, but it builds anticipation! Just a fantastic segment.
Video of Jay Bradley - B-
This is the same instance of Christian York. I expected to see more of York than Jay though. I mean, York faced Hardy on an episode of Impact. Jay is one of the newest stars so it’s quite obvious we wouldn’t see much of him. Still, I didn’t even remember his name until this video aired.
Jay Bradley vs. Christian York - C
I was quite impressed with this match. While I was impressed, I do not see why Jay went over to York. Sure, Jay is an new comer and looked good tonight, but York is a 16 year veteran. I always been quite a fan of his since he came to TNA. I wrote about this match on my social media sites and it got mixed reactions. Ric Santos from TNANews.com thought York was sloppy in the ring and Jay carried the match. Someone else tweeted me and said York is a better in-ring performer than Jay. It’s quite interesting on what others think of these two. Honestly, I would of had York win, but Jay has potential. His mic work at the end was just the simple promo every new person cuts. Nothing big but it was a big step for him. Hopefully we see more of Jay so I can form a more analytical opinion on him.
Backstage segment with James Storm - B
James Storm comes out of Hulk Hogan’s office. James said that Hulk told him there will be consequences because of his actions. It sounds bad. It sounds like James will be getting the short end of the shift. We know that is not the case. Still, the anticipation is still flowing. Just where will James go from here?
Backstage segment with Aces & 8s - B
The interesting thing I want to point out is... where is Bully Ray? We see the full Aces & 8s except for Bully. It looks like Anderson is running the group tonight. From what the group was like last week, with Ken rolling his eyes and staying out of some of the conversation, is Ken going to turn? Some people agree with me on that. Is Aces just like the Main Event Mafia where the only way to destroy them is through the inside out? Only time will tell.
Backstage segment with Brooke Hogan, Mickie James, and Bully Ray - A
The segment started with Brooke and Mickie James and I was quite stunned on their discussion. Mickie stated in an interview that she was unhappy with TNA since she came back because they pushed her to the side while giving a push to Velvet Sky. So, Mickie told that right to Brooke’s face. No lying in this segment. I just laugh how Brooke decided on who should face Sky next. Instead of picking someone who has been on a roll or who a number 1 contender’s match... she just picks Mickie because she complained. Either way Mickie vs. Sky should be good. That match just happened about 4 weeks ago on Impact. Now comes Bully. He pinned Brooke to the wall and said he will never divorce her. It’s about time we see a confrontation between these two. Bully nails his promo here. Brooke plays it off well. Loved it.
Gail Kim vs. Velvet Sky - A
This was quite a slow paced and one sided match, but I really enjoyed this one. This match showed just how great Gail Kim is. She is a great technician wrestler as she worked on Sky’s leg for almost the entire match. Sky came back and ultimately got the win by a roll-up, but this match had a nice pace with Gail showing her dominance. Sky won, which was the nice thing to do only because Sky is defending her title next week. Gail showed her vicious style as she attacked Sky after the match. There has to be some point where ODB gets involved and takes it to Gail. It’s only a matter of time. Either way, this was a great women match and you won’t see this technical style on the WWE.
Video of Chris Sabin, Kenny King, and Petey Williams - B
Nice video here to hype and promote the X-Division. It shows the story behind Chris as well as King and how he has been champion for quite sometime now. Someone told me that the show mentioned Suicide as part of the X-Division title match. I am not sure whether it was in this video or not. Where ever the case, TNA blew that one up.
Petey Williams vs. Chris Sabin vs. Kenny King - A
What X-Division match doesn’t get an A grade? Certainly this one was not one of them. It was a great contest that actually told a story. Kenny King sliding out of the ring shows his plan but also builds on his character. The way he came in at the end and got the win also builds his character. While people may be stuck on TNA not building stars, Kenny King is a star being built right in front of you. He is a champion and really evolving on the show. Kudos to him and TNA for making the division revolve around him. I thought Chris Sabin would win the first title match he would be in, but I was sure wrong. I actually am quite glad he didn’t win because it only builds on the X-Division. We now have a story with King and Chris. TNA can build on it going to Slammiversary. Yes, the PPV will have an Ultimate X Match. Thanks, TNA! One thing that I found interesting is that TNA didn’t use any video from the referee camera. He was wearing it, but not one clip from it. Maybe there wasn’t any good video that came from it. If that is the case... then that’s almost a waste of time. I sure would like to see if they use anything in the Ultimate X Match. It could help and also hurt the match.
Backstage segment with Christopher Daniels and Kazarian - B
Short little segment where they talk about James Storm. Daniels wants Kazarian to come out to the ring just incase James Storm interferes. Kaz states that Storm is afraid of him. Great segment from Bad Influence. This week I can actually hear what they are saying.
Christopher Daniels vs. Hernandez - B+
Another great match from two tag team participants. Certainly these two can have single runs if they want to. I always been curious as to Hernandez whether he can draw as a single star. I still doubt if he can, but he can really care himself in a match. He looks great in the ring. Daniels is always great. Who would expect he is 43 years old? We see an actual winner in this match, but James Storm does come out. He mentions the TNA Tag Team Title match for Slammiversary. James Storm is involved. The question is who is partner will be now. I see where TNA is going with James and it’s not bad. I wouldn’t have him in the match, but it’s something for him. I really shouldn’t have bashed TNA for the whole James Storm thing last week as I now see what they are doing. TNA adds a new tag team to the mix, so now people can be happy. Some people won’t though but that is part of the business.
D-Lo Brown vs. Joseph Parks - A-
I have to get this an A only because of what I saw in the ring. D-Lo impressed me so much. He hasn’t wrestled for quite awhile, not counting his match with Kurt Angle, and he was able to do a dropkick and a shining wizard. He also did a spin type of heel kick. D-Lo certainly showed his talent. If you look at D-Lo, you wouldn’t expect him to do that. Well, he did. Just great. Joseph got cut open and started his bloody rampage. He won but boy he looked more like Abyss than ever. I know they are the same person. Parks did his whole cross arm thing a bit more than usual after the match. He finally got out of the transformation and was confused. Something has to be brought up on whether Parks is really Abyss’ brother or is he just playing. I really want to see how this goes.
In-ring segment with Bully Ray and Sting - A
I thought this was going to be a normal contract signing with a signing and then a table smash, but it wasn’t. I first have to praise Bully for his ruthless aggression as he pushes Jeremy Borash out of the ring and then cuts one great promo. He has Sting come out and then Hulk Hogan. Hulk opens and closes the show. Funny if you ask me. At any rate, I loved Sting’s promo. The way he played the whole break my arm, bust my kneecap, rip my eyes out, etc was great. Bully had no idea what he was saying and either did I. He then stated that he will do it to Bully if Bully doesn’t do it first. Great promo by Sting. Ray gives the stipulation on how Sting will never be able to fight for the TNA World Title again if he loses to Bully. Is TNA shoving it in the face of the IWC or are they just warming up to them? Honestly, I doubt TNA cares what they are saying but certainly interesting they added that. The match is now a No Holds Barred match. That opens the window for so much to happen. Aces can interfere, Matt Morgan can cost Sting the title, and even Hulk Hogan can be part of the match. Almost scary on what could happen. I did like how Hogan tried to tell Sting no, but Ray said that is just Hogan trying to rule Sting’s life. Sting went for it and out comes the fists. They fight back and forth with Sting holding his weight. Funny how Hogan listened to Sting on picking Bully for months leads to Sting not listening to Hogan.
The crowd seemed a bit dull in the opening but they picked up at times through the night. The crowd certainly didn’t hurt the show. I thought this was an enjoyable show that gave us a lot of story progression and lots of build for Slammiversary. Great wrestling tonight with great promos/segments. This is the type of show where I praise TNA because of how the whole show flowed. Great writing and it shows.
By the way, where was Magnus and Matt Morgan? What about Rob Terry and the trio of Jessie, Joey Ryan, and Robbie E? All the pushes these stars got really just fell to the waste side this week.