Anyone who has read more than a couple editions of the BZ knows that I'm quite down on Dixie's business skills and how she's run TNA, especially over the past couple years – specifically the hiring of Hogan and Bisch, and letting them run rampant over the company. There's been a number of issues that I just cannot get past, and their all as a result of Hogan and Bisch coming into the company and acting like they know what they're doing, and Dixie believing them, even after their track record.
>The six sided ring is no more. When flipping the channels the six sided ring was an eye catcher, something that will catch your attention. While it's a gimmick, it set TNA apart from everyone else, and in extension made the wrestling different.
>The X Division was a huge part of TNA's success, yet it's virtually nothing right now. Hogan and Bisch don't like the littler guys in the ring, so the Division has been virtually destroyed. Personally, it was the X Division that lured me in to TNA, what made me fall in love. The work those X Division guys did in that six sided ring was SICK!
>Nepotism! Rather than running with their known and established roster, Hogan and Bisch brought in their boys who were old, outdated, untalented, or all three. Not the best way to endear the hard working roster to Hogan, Bisch or Dixie.
>Samoa Joe is too fat (according to Hogan) and very obviously not getting the respect he deserves, even though he's been a cornerstone of TNA since the start.
>Speaking of cornerstones, look at what's happened with AJ. At every turn AJ has been given bad storylines and screwed at every turn.
>Speaking of being screwed at every turn, I have two words for you – Jay Lethal!
>And then there's Jeff Hardy. I have stated, too many times, that TNA has gone above and beyond when it comes to Hardy, and they seem to think he can do no wrong, even after he did one of the biggest wrongs I've seen in TNA – ever!
All that being said, all the abuse I've heaped upon Dixie Carter for all of the absolute crap she and her cronies have heaped upon us and TNA's wrestlers for so long, I have to admit that I think she's done something right. Please hold the rotten tomatoes for after I'm finished! As much as I think Dixie needs to not be running TNA, or any company for that matter, she's been working social media quite well, and adding that extra dimension to TNA. Many of the WWE Superstars are on Twitter and Facebook, but Dixie is the Paul Heyman of TNA – only thing she does better is fill out a skirt and heels – but VKM, Steph and Triple H have stayed out of the social media mix. I can't say she's always been great on Twitter, as she stated she would answer all questions at one point, but then obviously only answered the questions that put TNA in a positive light. I'm not upset that she didn't answer my question, but I was annoyed that she didn't answer ANY of the hard hitting questions. It might have been hard for her to answer some of the tougher questions, but it would have put her in a much better light for the IWC.
Then this week she's been pushing this new announcement. I have to admit my interest is piqued. I'm pretty sure she's going to announce that TNA is leaving the Impact Zone and will be traveling to tape shows. At least I hope that's what the announcement is, because TNA really needs to get out of the Zone on a regular basis. The shows are always so much better, and the fresh fan reaction always adds so much more to every show. Even though I know tonight's show is taped, it was taped in the UK, and last time they were in the UK was one of the best shows of last year. Fingers crossed!
Video > C
Obvious recap video to start the show. Focusing only on Brooke, Bully and Hogan is a bit annoying, but that's been a big part of the show lately.
In Ring Segment > B+
I have to say that Daniels and Kaz will do anything for reaction – in a good way. See, WWE creative need to see that wrestlers can go to the ring dressed in an obscure costume, that's not lingerie, and make a segment work really well. Kaz and Daniels handled themselves beautifully and got those fans riled up in a huge way. They were a great way to start the show.
I'm thrilled to see Magnus back, even though it might have only been for a show. I really wish Williams was with him, but you can't have everything.
Magnus vs Devon > B
I thought this match went pretty well. I can't say why I wasn't expecting much from it, but I really wasn't. I liked how they worked outside the ring as well as inside. I think it was a great return for Magnus. He showed quite a bit of strength against Devon, and that will be great going forward as the TNA faces against A&8's.
Winner – Magnus via DQ (5:10)
Video > C
I understand why they recapped Joseph and his growth in TNA, but for me it was more of this video recap crap, something both TNA and the WWE can't seem to get away from. It's really harshing my wrestling buzz.
Backstage Segment > B
Nice to see that they're leading up to their in ring segment by showing time relevant material and not a recap video.
In Ring Segment > B+
I'm constantly amazed that Chris stays so wonderfully in the Joseph character and doesn't slip up in any way, and doesn't turn into Abyss in any way. The two characters are so far apart that it isn't even funny, and it's a testament to Chris that nether the two shall meet. It's impressive.
I thought Terry handled himself really well in this segment without saying a word. I'm sitting on the edge of my chair, waiting for everything to happen between him and Robbie. I also hope Terry gets the Tessmacher in the end. Their chemistry is so great.
Robbie vs Joseph > B+
The grade isn't all for the ring work, I have to include Joseph's reactions and facial expressions in the grade. He's the perfect example of a wrestler staying in character in the ring, no matter what happens. Many wrestlers drop into wrestler mode in the ring, and their character seems to slide away a bit. Chris is one of those great ones who is their character, no matter what goes down. I'm more and more impressed with him, even though I still refer to him as Aby when I'm talking to people. In fact, when Alex jumped in to complete the Impact Results, I told him I had just finished the Abyss match and went to commercial. Even though he very naturally isn't Abyss right now, it still feels natural to call him by that name. No, it's not the same way with Tensai/Albert. That's a whole other mess I can't even think about right now.
W – Joseph (3:31)
Backstage Segment > C+
Hogan didn't say anything, but they really did need to show he was there. Still better than a recap video!
In Ring Segment > A-
A company where so many steal money, they continue to be robbed. Aries and Roode on the same page? Those bickering little boys? This will be fun! And here's the start of them as a real team. I can't say that they're anything like BMI, but I feel real greatness coming from this team.
Chavito was great on mic! He really came across wonderfully, better than a lot of his talking in the Zone. Fan reaction means so much to the workers in the ring.
Chavito vs Aries > A-
The fans were hot for Aries! I'm wondering that if they go on the road, if Aries will be able to keep his heel status. The fans want what they want, and Aries is stellar in all he does.
Those metal rails look painful to crash into, but I like it a lot better than the barrier in the WWE. I know the WWE's barrier looks more polished, but I like the rougher look of the metal rails around the ring. To me it adds a lot to a hard hitting match like this.
I just noticed that Chavito is wearing his black and gold flame boots. Eddie had a pair with the opposite color scheme. Chavito hasn't been wearing them much lately, and it's something I'd been missing from him.
This was a really solid match, but that's not at all unexpected because it's Chavito and Aries, but it was the fans who added so much to this match. They were so hot and wild that this match was that much better. The way both of these teams worked this match, even though only two were in this match, was great! They both worked as solid teams, so that means that this feud is going to be tasty! That last brainbuster on Chavito looked really rough. I actually cringed at that one, but I haven't heard that Chavito's had any issues, so I'm sure he's fine.
Winner – Aries (10:51)
Backstage Segment > C
Okay, so Hogan is in the arena, that means Brooke and Bully need to head to the ring? That makes perfect sense?
Backstage Segment > B
Angle and Joe were great in this segment. Actually, it's great to see Joe getting some face time. Both Wes and Garett looked a little pissier here, not just at Joe. Nice little foreshadowing for the follies later in the show.
Video > C
While I didn't want to see more video about Brooke, Bully, Hogan and Sting, I keep getting reminded of their great chemistry together. Brooke and Bully have made this storyline believable.
In Ring Segment > B+
That girl doesn't learn! Crotch shot a few weeks ago. Complete boob droppage at the wedding. That white dress is so short, I'm sure a number of fans got an eyeful. She looked beautiful in that dress with her blonde hair and golden tan, probably better than we've seen her on most episodes, but wow is it short! I know she is a very tall girl, and any dress is going to be shorter on her, but she should think of the fans with young children before she heads to the ring.
I'm glad Sting brought out that great coat in the UK. He really left it all out there for the fans, and it was great. Of course the fans were going to go wild for Hogan in Manchester, they love it whenever the WWE and TNA go live over there. I don't blame them for loving all over such an iconic wrestler.
I can't put my finger on it, but when Hogan came out to the ring, he looked almost like a caricature of himself. He sounded great, but the whole look, right down to the shades and too white capped teeth was almost a play on the man Hogan once was.
The hug Brooke threw at Bully continued their chemistry and looked perfect. So, Bully is reinstated and tagging with Sting next week in a Tables Match against A&8's. Is that when Bully and Brooke turn and fully admit that they lead A&8's? I'm getting a real Invasion feeling from this right now, with the family being so involved, but it's been over ten years since that went down, so I'm fine with taking the storyline and tweaking it some. They didn't use the exact same storyline exactly one year later, so it actually works.
Dixie's Announcement > A
Starting Marc 14th they're going on the road and taping Impact live. Exactly as so many of us expected, but that's a great announcement. I gave her an A for this, but only for what they're doing, that they're finally doing what they need to do to take TNA to the next level. Or at least one of the things they need to do.
Velvet Sky & Storm vs Tara & Jessie > B-
Velvet was great in introducing Storm. Taz, on the other hand, was just annoying in his ire for everyone. After the work we've seen from Jessie, I just couldn't believe him getting the upper hand over Storm in any way, shape, or form. Jessie might be built, but his ring work is craptastic! I'm really glad that Velvet was the one getting the pinfall. She absolutely deserves a great push, and win the Knockouts Championship. She's been looking solid in the ring since her return, and could really help with the Division if she stays focused the way she is.
Taryn actually earned a bit of my respect in this match. She handled the guys quite well, and showed that she's not just fluff and boobs
Winners – Velvet & Storm (3:48)
Video > C
Yes, Hardy retained his Title and was attacked by A&8's. Again, back to a great excuse for Hardy to not leave the USA! Tenay says they will have more on Hardy's condition next week. Yeah, when they're back in the USA and he can be seen on Impact TV!
Video > D
And more recap of what happened earlier when Bully was reinstated.
Backstage Segment > B
Suddenly Bully is an okay guy? They have to be turning Bully and Brooke heel very soon.
Video > B
Recap of the Steel Cage Match at Lockdown 2010. I was a bit confused, but the more I watched the video, the more everything gelled. That was a fantastic match, something Angle did that continued to prove that he was still 'the man'. I like that they're pushing the Angle and Anderson feud. That match was sick!
Backstage Segment > B-
Anderson was pretty solid on mic, but not at all the Mr. Kennedy I fell in love with back in the WWE. Honestly, I think that might be a good thing for him. No more Matt Morgan Syndrome, really give Anderson a place with a character that works, and this seems to be working. He's really selling the look, and making it believable.
Backstage Segment > B
So, was it Wes and Garett who attacked Joe? Had to be. They got Angle out of there pretty quick so Joe couldn't tell Angle that they were the attackers. They made a good show of it for Angle and the camera.
Steel Cage Match – Angle vs Anderson > A
Angle and Anderson had a lot to live up to going into this match. TNA further set them up even more by showing the recap video from Lockdown 2010. From the start it looked as though Angle had complete control and it wasn't going to be a wonderful back and forth match, but then Anderson with that quick and sick fireman carry roll through. That's when the back and forth started, and started looking really strong!
During the commercial break they showed a commercial for The Rock's newest movie. I know Spike is the one that chooses the advertisement and when they're shown, but it seems absolutely daft to me that they show The Rock during Impact, especially since he's the WWE Champ right now! Couple that with Spike advertising Ballatore in the lower right hand corner of the screen during Impact, but they don't advertise Impact leading up to their 8pm start time! They went from having serious interest in TNA to almost no recognition of Impact's existence.
Youch! They're really going for the crotch shots, aren't they? I felt for Angle on that one, but he sure came back with that sick Angle slam off the top. That powerbomb on Anderson – you know, that guy who everyone said had a glass jaw when he was in the WWE – was awesome! I love that Angle used his ankle lock to get the win here.
Winner – Angle (15:21)
In Ring Segment > A-
I loved how Garett removed his mask! That is the first thing I've seen from Garett that was perfectly executed. I still think that Garett is too baby-faced to play an uber heel as he has to in A&8's, as his smile when he and Wes were beating down Angle looked too cute and not enough bad boy. Wes, on the other hand, played confused wonderfully, then jumped right into bad boy. It wasn't him removing his coat to show the vest that did it, it was all in the hair. He pulled that hair band out and he was instant bad boy. It was great!
Now, I've tried to step back and not compare A&8's to nWo week in and week out, but this time I have to say something. I worry that if A&8's continues down the path they're on that there will be too many people in the group, and not enough people to fight them – exactly as things went down with nWo in WCW. I guess Bully and Brooke jumping ship wouldn't tip the scales, but anyone after that could really be bad. Also, I think that TNA needs to bring back some long lost wrestlers, and change up others. First off, AJ needs to get his little bum back on TV, but also Williams, Magnus (I know he was back tonight, but he needs to stay on TV), Crimson, split Terry from Robbie, push Storm hard at A&8's, and possibly bring the Spud in. All those guys along with Sting, Angle, and Joe, and they're a solid force against A&8's. Fingers crossed that they don't go overboard adding more guys to A&8's over the coming weeks and months, or I'm going right back to my Hogan, Bisch, nWo and WCW rant. I'm sorry, I'm not sure I'd be able to hold myself back.
I remember a while back when Angle was badmouthing the WWE and VKM. He has backed off from that and I think everyone's a little more comfortable. Heck, there's been a lot of guys who have badmouthed the WWE, VKM, Triple H, etc., but I don't understand why Jeff Hardy is doing it, and right now. With the hiring ban gone, Hardy can really play hard ball to get a great contract, and part of that is looking good to the WWE. Coming out and saying things like, "as long as you're not brainwashed by that WWE mentality." does not help your case going into contract negotiations. Just when it looks like Hardy is getting his life in some sort of order, he opens his mouth and sticks his foot halfway down his gullet!