I usually spend some time here talking about what happened on the previous show and/or PPV, but not this week! I have been out of the loop for more than a week. As I haven't received any texts from Richard, I have to believe that nothing truly absurd happened in the wrestling industry, though I'll admit that a text that VKM had bought out TNA and put Russo and Heyman in charge of creative would have further livened my week. No texts also means that no one in the wrestling industry, specifically Scott Hall, passed away. I will admit that I normally check daily on for Hall.
Rather than discussing what happened in TNA this past week, I'm flying blind. This is the first time I've touched my computer in over a week, and since I don't have the time to read everything on WNW before Impact starts, I'm going going to read any of it. Let's see what TNA's Impact looks like to a fresh set of eyes. I'll admit that I couldn't have gone much longer without wrestling – though I will admit that I got into a hotel room early enough Monday night to catch a tiny bit of RAW – but I lasted an entire week, something I couldn't even manage when I had the scariest surgery I'd ever faced. I will say spending this past week with my daughter was more than worth it. It's also giving me a great excuse to go into this episode of Impact blind. I know nothing about what's happened, and I'm excited to watch with fresh eyes! I might even not complain about the recap videos tonight. Okay, even I'll believe that when I'm faced with them.
Video > B+
That opening explained a lot of the big things that happened last week and made me want to see more. I am not sure how I feel about Aries dealing with Hardy rather than Aces & 8's. I wanted to see more happen there. At this point, to me, it feels like something really cool has been dropped for no reason, but I'll have to go back and watch. Not sure how I feel about what went down between A&8's and Hogan and Sting. Also not sure how I feel about King Mo coming in to deal with Beer Money. All in all I thought the video was very informative, and it left me wanting to go back and watch last week's Impact. To me that's a great thing for TNA.
Backstage Segment > B-
Sting and Hogan starting the show always rubs me a bit wrong as I feel the younger guys should be the focus of Impact, but it was nice to see the show starting without a long and drawn out segment of people talking in the ring. It seems like the direction TNA falls back on when they don't know where to go off the blocks. So while I want more of the younger guys, this wasn't long and boring, so it gets props from me for changing things up.
Anderson vs Gunner w/ Kash > C
I'm still not thrilled with Anderson's hair, it takes a lot of the character from him, but I understand how hard it is to keep hair bleached, especially when it's that short. But more than that, Anderson looked great in the ring. He really worked the ring well, kept me interested and entertained, but after the match was over I didn't remember anything but the mic checks that Anderson hit on Gunner and Kash. That's not saying much for the opening match of the night, and while I feel a bit bad about the grade, they really didn't do anything more than give us an average short match. I think creative and booking dropped the ball here as these two are better than this match.
EDIT – I went and re-watched this match before posting this. I have a few other moments I wanted to see again, and this was so short that it didn't take much time. I have to say that I was still underwhelmed. Their ring work wasn't bad, but it wasn't anything very interesting either. Also, I expected a lot more from Kash out there, but he seemed to try to get involved at bad times, and possibly screwed up a bit. After watching it again, I think the grade I gave was a bit high, but I'll let it stand.
Winner Anderson (2:29)
Backstage Segment > D+
Tara acting like a smitten bimbo is not working for me. The woman used to work harvesting organs before she became a wrestler, and she's not at all the giddy and giggly type. Tara has worked dang hard to get as far as she could in the wrestling industry, and this feels like a step back. Okay, TNA was a step back, but she's made it work for herself, but this feels terribly wrong compared to everything her characters have ever done. I understand why they're trying to cash in on Stacy and Torri, but that it's Tara doing it feels wrong. All that being said, I'll wait before completely deciding on this direction for her character.
Knockouts Tag Match – Tara & Kim vs ODB & Tessmacher > B-
Tara versus Tessmacher makes sense, but where did ODB and Kim come into this? I like the thought of Tessmacher and ODB hanging out, Tessmacher comes off a little too squeaky clean for my taste. But actually watching the match, I thought Kim looked as though she was working a bit soft; not at all as hard hitting as she was back in her days feuding with Kong. ODB's spear was not at all soft, and looked really solid. Tara, other than her wardrobe malfunction (nothing fell out, just that her outfit didn't hold together the way it should have), really looked solid in the ring, as did Tessmacher. Maybe Kim was having an off night? I'll chalk it up to Kim not being herself because she is one of the best in the industry, even though TNA hasn't pushed her that way since her return.
So this match was solid, but not the best we've seen from the Knockouts. What I do like is that they were given some time to work the ring, rather than what the women have been given recently. I know five minutes isn't great time, but compared to the time we've seen the Divas bounce around the ring, this was positively epic!
Winner – Tara & Kim (4:45)
Backstage Segment > D
So, they're setting up for Snow to face Joey Ryan? Prichard and Snow spoke too quietly for me to get anything from it.
Video > B
Decent set up for what's been going down with Snow and Ryan. I'm looking forward to seeing where they are taking this.
In Ring Segment > B+
Taz brought up Snow's jacket, I wouldn't have mentioned it otherwise. It did look like it had been rolled up under his bed for a couple months. After seeing the way guys like Roode dress, Snow looks as bad as Foley. Even though I love Snow, sadly he just doesn't have the mic skills of Foley.
This segment, from the start, felt like a male replay of what went down between Vickie and AJ a few weeks ago, just before AJ had her in-ring meltdown. I know there's only so many storylines, but this feels too much like what RAW did so recently. What I will say is that I'm impressed with how Snow is putting over Ryan. Yes, of course Ryan signed on to face Snow, it's the way things had to go, but the way this was handled was lovely. Snow is doing what he should be doing, putting over the younger guys. I can't wait to see what happens at BFG.
Backstage Segment > B+
Angle going after A&8's makes sense to me, but Bully doesn't. If Sting goes into BFG with Sting, then Sting is toast. Bully has to be part of A&8's, it just feels right in my gut. You know that means I'll be totally wrong, but it make sense to have one of the biggest heels on the roster as part of A&8's – or is that too cliché? Either way, I loved the interaction between Sting and Bully. It worked well and felt right.
TV Title Match – RVD vs Samoa Joe (C) > B
Joe is the TV Champ? Great! Hopefully they will continue with weekly TV Title matches on Impact, the way they said they were going to. Even better is that the Champion is someone I think of as TNA through and through. With this Title, I think Joe has held every Title he can in TNA! He's been WHC, TTC and X Division Champ, so this completes Title reigns for Joe – good for him!
I hate to say it, but RVD looked a tad off to me again this week. Just the slightest bit off his me, not terribly off, but enough that it threw off the flow of the match. Joe looked as impressive as ever, but RVD's work seemed half a beat off from where he needed to be. Joe's finisher looked great, and hopefully he'll continue to show us weekly just how good he is, though I have to admit Hogan and Bisch gave him this chance after the way he's been treated since they joined TNA.
Winner – Joe (4:37)
Backstage Segment > C+
The one thing that bothers me about the way heels cause troubles, like the way Kaz and Daniels did in this segment, they're saying things that can very easily be disproven! All they would have to do is look at the video of what Angle said to Sting, but instead the faces will act dumb and continue the in-fighting. It's something that's happened all along in professional wrestling, but why the faces have to play like they don't have two brain cells to rub together makes no sense to me.
BFG Memories > C
Dixie on Impact again. I know it was just video, but her claims and what she actually does in front of the camera makes little sense.
Backstage Segment > B+
So Hardy is the good guy in all this? I guess because all the women seem to love him, but I don't agree. And now Aries is not a heel, but not a face, so where is he? A tweener? Where does that leave the fans? Who are the fans rooting for in all this? I'm more and more confused by Aries' Title reign and his direction right now, and I'm not sure I like it. All that being said, this segment was great! Hardy played quiet, as he's great at, Bully as the Bully, and Aries confused and frustrated – all of them sold well and made it work, possibly better than it should have looked on paper!
Chavito w/ Hernandez vs Angle w/ AJ > A-
Every time I see Chavito in the ring his boots catch my eye. He and Eddie wore boots of reversed patterns, and usually the flames. Glancing up at the TV, even knowing it's Chavito in the ring, my heart caught in my throat when I saw those boots. Those epic matches that Angle had with Eddie will always live on in my mind. Chavito is a very different wrestler from his uncle, but this match had that essence to it – especially when the suplexes started.
Chavito head scissors didn't lock on well, but Angle sure sold it. They both worked it hard, and showed that when the suplexes started flying. All of them were executed beautifully, but it was the very Guerrero ending that had me smiling. This match felt good. It wasn't the best match I've seen recently, but Chavito and Angle put so much of themselves, of their hearts, into their matches, that I felt it all coming from them. Maybe that's what a lot of wrestlers are missing these days, they don't give so much that the fans feel invested in every move they hit in the ring.
Winner – Chavito (6:42)
X Division Title Match – Doug Williams vs Zema Ion (C) >
I really don't like that Taz and Tenay mentioned the injuries sustained by Ion's opponents as if these opponents can't work up to Ion's level. That's a kick in the teeth to every wrestler who's been injured while working with Ion. I've been vocal that I think Ion is still too green to be carrying gold, and that he's been involved in so many injuries – fluke or otherwise – should be showing TPTB in TNA that maybe he shouldn't be strapped, yet they're acting like this has happened because Ion is so good. Sorry, but that disgusts me.
On the other hand, I'm so excited to see DW on Impact! I'm such a huge DW fan that I'm thrilled to see him, even in the ring with Ion. I will say that DW sold the 'injury' well, but I'm still disgusted by all this. Ion can't sell when TNA is trying to push upon us. Even Ion giving his catchphrase at the end left me giggling and shaking my head, not at all believing what he said. He looked like a petulant five year old when he finished the line. Please, tell me, does anyone find Ion believable? I have to know if I'm in the minority on this one.
Winner – Williams via DQ (1:16)
Video > C
The crossover between MMA and professional wrestling does make some sense, but I worry about them forgetting in the ring and working a pro wrestling match as if it's MMA. I also worry about personality. It takes a lot more personality to make it in pro wrestling than it does in MMA (from what I've seen), so I don't know if he can carry over to TNA, but I know next to nothing about King Mo, so I won't pass judgment there. I will admit that the whole 'King' thing makes me twitch a bit, pro wrestling already has a King. But I will admit that it's a brilliant crossover for Spike TV.
Backstage Segment > B+
D-Lo answers to Prichard? Huh, interesting. Even more interesting if when the masks are off it's shown that D-Lo and Morgan are under two of them. I have to say that while it felt weird to see Prichard going off on D-Lo, this was a lovely little teaser segment!
In Ring Segment > B+
Storm has such a way on mic. He sure knows how to work the fans with every movement, every word. He's grown so much over this past year, and has more than come into his own. He had all the women, and men, hanging on his every word, and Roode didn't seem to have as much control when he came out. I must admit I'm a bit surprised. When Beer Money got together Roode was the talker, but Storm has surpassed his former partner. Storm absolutely got more reaction from the fans than Roode in this segment – I'm impressed.
I will say that King Mo cut a striking form coming out in that robe and crown. The only fear I have through all this is that we're going to have another Mike Tyson moment at BFG. Mo pushed down Roode (who sold that so well) and was all cuddly with Storm, but when push comes to shove at the PPV, he'll screw over the Storm so he can be all heel with Roode. Personally, I think sharing a beer in the ring is enough to keep me on Storm's side, but I'm easily swayed by a sexy man with a beer. Wait, bring in some fried chicken and I'm ODB! Not sure how I feel about that.
Backstage Segment > C+
What is Hogan, a used car salesman? Him putting a name down on a piece of paper and folding it like that made me think of writing down the price he wants to get for the car. Too cheesy for me, but I will admit that he's right about Bully.
Video > B
Normally I'd complain about seeing the same recap video a second time in one show, but I noticed things I didn't see earlier in the night. Who was the woman who maced Hogan and Sting? I really need to watch last week's Impact!
Backstage Segment > D-
They're all ready to die for the brotherhood? Between that and the way Joseph was being treated, the whole thing felt a bit like a terrorist/hostage video. I know where they were going with this, but it gave me the heebie-jeebies. I'd love to see what everyone else thinks of this video, but for me it felt like it went a bit too far. Not too far like they did back in the AE, but something much darker. Please, let me know if I'm seeing more than I should be seeing in this video.
Triple Threat Match – Bully Ray vs Jeff Hardy vs Austin Aries > B
From behind Jeff looked a lot like Matt here. With his hair it's natural (?) color, and the ring gear he was wearing, I got visions of Matt Hardy. He needs to get back to the hair dye; for some reason he doesn't look as much like himself without the wild colors.
How quickly the fans change from being behind Aries, loving him being Champ, to being all about Hardy and cheering only for him. Okay, Aries got a little pop when he was alone in the ring with Bully, but as soon as Hardy entered the ring, it was all about Hardy. I will admit he's proven himself to be steering clear of his demons when he's scheduled to be in the ring, and he's winning me over, just not as much as the local fans in Orlando have been. I'm a bit surprised at this, but I'm good at holding a grudge.
All three of these men looked decent in the ring, but it's Aries' "I don't need any of you!" yell that shocked me. I guess I did miss something big last week! The further yelling from Aries after the match made me wonder if Aries' as Champ could be coming to the end. And while I understand that multi-wrestler matches can get sloppy, I didn't expect that from these three. They're pros, but they didn't manage to keep this match as crisp as I would expect from them. I'm fully admitting that I was disappointed in this match as a whole and really thought they easily could have given us more. Was that the wrestlers or the bookers? Hard to tell as I'm sitting home watching as there wasn't any obvious botches, but it wasn't at all the clean and crisp match I thought we'd see from these three.
I wasn't at all shocked that Bully pulled off the win considering the direction it seems that TNA is going. It's a great reason for Sting to pick Bully, then Bully can turn on Sting to show he's part of, or leader of, Aces & 8's at BFG.
Winner – Bully (6:24)
In Ring Segment > A-
Sting wearing pink? That's odd. Oh, so A&8's told Hogan he's not going to be in their match at BFG? Interesting way to go about keeping Hogan out of the ring. I think I like that! I have to give creative credit for going in that direction to keep Hogan out of the ring. I'm actually impressed.
Anderson? I have to admit that Anderson's match wasn't much more than the mic checks, but... Well, there it is! I liked the swerve. Woah! The 'We want Devon!' chants were great! That's how it should be, but TNA really dropped the ball with Devon.
Anyway, seeing Bully in the ring, shaking hands with Hogan, calling him 'brother' was quite the sell. This could have held up as the go home moment to BFG, yet we have another week. What will they pull out next week for the go home show after this ending?
I will admit that while I was annoyed at certain things – Ion, Bully tagging with Sting and possibly being part of A&8's, a possible Tyson swerve coming at BFG, and biggest of all the segment with Joseph – the rest of the show was quite entertaining and I think I've rediscovered my love of TNA. Who knew all I needed was a week away to fall in love all over again.
While many of the matches were short, they were used to push storylines forward toward BFG. Personally I thought this could have been a solid go home show, hopefully TNA will take things up another notch next week and really give us a killer PPV after all this build.
I will fully admit that my brain is not back yet, I'm jet lagged, and I know my writing was not up to snuff tonight. For this I apologize, but I will be back in the groove next week, and as thrilled I am about TNA right now, I'm so excited to see what's going to happen next.