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TNA Blog Zone - The Cowboy's Fightin' Words

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IMPACT Wrestling from London, England ends with a surprise finish to the Bobby Roode/ MVP bout as Austin Aries joins Team Dixie. There's much to analyse and think over so let's get right along with it in this week's TNA Blog Zone.

As pointed out by MVP to open the show, Magnus was not flanked by Dixie Carter or any members of Team Dixie. This posed an interesting predicament for the champion in his contract signing and later on in the evening where Samoa Joe faced Bad Bones, chosen by Magnus to fight in his name. On the Magnus side of the coin, tonight showed how the champion can easily let slip what he has worked for. It also shows the direction Magnus' heel persona can take should he break away from Team Dixie in the future. If he is champion while he breaks away, there is a good opportunity to have Magnus become a desperate and flawed champion. One way is to make him seem a bit weaker on his own and another is to have him thrive on his own, proving he never truly needed anyone's help to be a success. That's thinking way ahead, but it's an interesting thought considering his portrayal tonight. On the Samoa Joe side of the coin, his victory over Bad Bones and his earlier attack on Magnus during the contract signing gives him more momentum leading into Lockdown, plain and simple. Samoa Joe's story is a straight up and straight ahead story with no complications like Magnus, EC3, etc. Despite Samoa Joe picking up alot of steam, a clear cut favorite can't be decided in this Lockdown main event, and that's how it should be.

Not a bad match to kickoff the in-ring portion of the show. The Wolves looked good, Bad Influence got in some good time and The BroMans continued to take advantage of the time allotted. The acknowledgement of The Wolves' title win this past weekend was well done and considering this episode was taped some time ago, the planning was spot on. If there was one criticism, it's Bad Influence and their lack of involvement in the overall main event situation. "But Ric,last week they caught up with Bobby Roode and offered their services for Lockdown. What do you mean there's a lack of involvement?" After Bad Influence lost their match last week, there was no follow up. After tonight's loss, there was no follow up. To stir the pot a little, Bad Influence should be meeting with Bobby Roode and complicating things just a little. The only bad side, as there are always multiple sides to these things, is the possibility of too much going on in the main event and that's understandable too. Either way, the right team is advancing as The BroMans are solid Team Dixie guys and should be there to defend the Team Dixie honor.

As a fan, it was great seeing Doug Williams back in TNA. Even though the match could have been a bit longer in favor of reintroducing Williams to the TNA fans watching at home, he had his hometown crowd behind him loudly and had his moment to shine. EC3 looked strong, which also carried over to his meet with Kurt Angle during his Hall of Fame induction. EC3 is in an interesting place. Not only is he dealing with Magnus and trying to win the affections and focus of Dixie Carter again, but he is also dealing with Kurt Angle's intimidation and ferocity. Kurt Angle alone is quite the handful, so Ethan is in hot water for sure. One can only see EC3 growing in his position and building up to an even higher level while in TNA. What better man to help him than Kurt Angle.

On that note, congratulations to Kurt Angle. Whether you see the TNA Hall of Fame as a gimmick or not, it's still a huge honor to be acknowledged by the company for your accomplishments. Angle deserves all accolades presented to him and is the model of what a professional wrestler should be. Going back to the show, and with Angle's recent knee surgery, we will all be looking to see if he will make it to the live Lockdown pay-per-view.

What an exchange. Alongside Samuel Shaw (who will be discussed after this), this was a fantastic segment with a great follow up brawl on the outside of the arena. James Storm was in rare form and hot on the mic tonight. It's safe to say that everyone cringed at, and praised, Storm for his comments towards Gunner and people who don't care if he lived or died while serving for the US. That was as heel and as cold as you can get on the mic. Storm has played the bad guy before, but this was masterful and a great evolution of the character. Gunner is settling into his position nicely and should be kept on television every week. He is getting hot and TNA risks losing a golden chance with Gunner if they are booking him in an inconsistent fashion. If a stiff and straight up fight is what you want to see with the word "pretty" nowhere to be found, check out their match at Lockdown and you won't be disappointed.

The most interesting, intriguing, well developing character on the TNA roster is Samuel Shaw. TNA gave him the mic and he was not a disappointment. Now that his storyline has evolved into a feud with Mr. Anderson, we will soon get to see what Shaw really has to offer in the ring. He had one matchup a while back, but it was a squash and we really didn't get to see his potential. We obviously won't see his full potential against Anderson right off the bat, but Shaw is extremely promising. Mr. Anderson staying on television is great and helping new talent is very cool. If Samuel Shaw can get a little bit of the rub from Anderson, and Anderson works with Shaw to develop a very entertaining story, we have much to look forward to as fans. Hopefully, TNA does not push Shaw too fast or derails his growing momentum. The fans are starting to care so keep it up TNA! And keep it up Samuel!

This match had potential to be a good match for the Knockouts, but it was not a well executed bout. Madison Rayne and Lei'D Tapa seemed to have an off night. They weren't terrible, but they didn't perform as best as they could either. There was one corner turnbuckle spot with Tapa and Rayne that just seemed awkward and they needed to restart, so to speak. Velvet Sky did her thing for the time she was given and Alpha Female was... too much. Alpha Female's character is a bad cartoon and very one dimensional in her execution. Also, we have a strong woman in Lei'D Tapa already, so to have another strong woman is not necessary. It takes away from Lei'D Tapa's time to make herself known to be taken seriously. Chris Sabin was almost an afterthought (sadly) and Gail Kim played her role. Velvet Sky and Gail Kim actually looked to be the most solid of the bunch and they didn't perform as much as the others involved in the match! All in all, just an off night for the Knockouts competing and here's to hoping the next time will be much more polished.

We were treated to Austin Aries having discussions with Bobby Roode and MVP regarding his decision to join Team Dixie or Team MVP at Lockdown. Aries inserted himself in tonight's match as referee and made his decision to MVP's dismay. First, that spinning elbow delivered by Aries to MVP was, in a word, lovely. The match itself told a good story and MVP showcased a bit of his swagger we all know and love from his WWE days. He is very comfortable in his position in and outside of the ring in TNA Wrestling, so kudos to MVP for making the most of all opportunities given to him. Back to the storyline at hand and Aries is with Team Dixie now. Considering the offer Dixie gave to Roode last week, Aries could be joining in order to blackmail Dixie into giving him a title shot at Magnus, which causes even more dysfunction within the group. It could also be a case of Aries simply siding with who he thinks is the winning team. Or maybe there are other reasons that will be revealed as we move along towards Lockdown. Aries is a main event player, so good for him with taking the opportunity. Besides his reasons for joining, a question mark is also placed on the X-Division title. Who will challenge Aries for the gold now? Who will step up to join MVP's team? Lockdown is shaping up to be a great pay-per-view.

A strong A- for tonight's show. We were treated to strong performances by James Storm, Kurt Angle, Gunner and EC3 while there were just two hiccups in the booking of Bad Influence and the Knockouts match leaving alot to be desired. Magnus and Joe did there thing and Aries ended the night with a bang. There's something to be said about the direction TNA is taking things since MVP and The Wolves joined. They are finding their legs again and 2014 will (hopefully) be the year they are able to find unquestionable stability so they can focus on an even brighter 2015.

Give us your thoughts on tonight's show in the comments area below, but please respect your fellow commentators. Thank you for reading another edition of the TNA Blog Zone here on Wrestling News World.

Loved Villain or Misunderstood Anti-Hero,
Ric Santos

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