I could understand if Hogan called Richard a jerk, a know-it-all, or even said that he was overstepping his bounds, but to call him a mark confused me. It appears as though Hogan needs to talk to Joseph and re-learn the wrestling lingo. I don't think that word means what you think it means Hogan!
I'm so excited that this is the last episode of Impact in the Impact Zone! It's way past time that they get the heck out of Orlando and get on the road. I guess TNA has saved up enough money from Hogan and Bisch taking pay cuts to be able to take the show on the road. Okay, maybe that was a low blow, but this Hogan, and Bisch we're talking about. But I'm very excited for TNA to go on the road, and would like to remind you that one of our favorite (cough) predictors, Gesus, will be at Impact live next week in Chicago, so the BZ won't be up at the normal time because Gesus is going to join me with a very personal write up about his experience at Impact. While I hope he has a wonderful time, I worry that it might be a train wreck. I know TNA has run Impact live outside of the Impact Zone – a few times – but this will be the first step for them being permanently on the road, and it very well could set the tone for things to come. They need to be fantastic right off the blocks, but after what we've seen the past couple week in the Impact Zone, how much they lost when they weren't in the UK, and I'm worried.
Bill "Paul Bearer" Moody
1954 – 2013
Video > D
Maybe it's because I feel like Richard, after what went down this week, has given me free reign to really go after him again. I'd been nice recently, but I'm done! Beyond that, I thought they set up well for A&8's, but too much time was spent on Hogan and his follies.
Backstage Segment > B
I have to say I am shocked that Angle wasn't kept by A&8's so that he couldn't reveal who he unmasked, but I like how Angle handled this bit.
In Ring Segment > B
So, they're just now throwing at us that there will be a Triple Threat Match for the TNA TTC at Lockdown? You know, I didn't even think of Roode as the person Angle unmasked last week. I can't say I think it was Roode because Roode the same height as Angle, and the unmasked member was taller than Angle. Just surprised I didn't think that way last week. Also surprised at how blah Aries is. He really didn't captivate me here the way he normally does.
Aries vs Hardy > A- & C
Why did Aries suddenly get this match? When did the inmates start running the asylum? Am I watching WCW?
Aries' mocking Hardy up on the corner, then hitting that frog splash was just lovely! That was a great combination of character and beautiful move. And as little as I like to admit it, Hardy was looking really good in the ring. These two really are fantastic in the ring together, but I was confused about why they put this match together so close to Lockdown, and what the plan is. In a lot of ways it makes no sense, especially so close to Lockdown.
All that great work and have it end in such a way? Part of me is really pissed, but the rest of me knows there was no way they could end this match cleanly. In a lot of ways it feels like a total waste, even though there was some wonderful work in that ring. It feels like Russo booking to me. Though I have to admit that it makes me wonder what's up and where things are going with Morgan stepping in the way he did. What's going to happen at and after Lockdown? Great questions to start going into a PPV, but I'd have expected them to start a few weeks ago. The first grade is for the actual ring and character work, the other is for the confused booking and creative.
Winner – N/A (12:27)
Backstage Segment > D
Sting being fired up is great, but that felt more like a Hogan segment than a Sting segment. Why did they waste that time with Sting ranting like that? As much as I love Sting, this really blew.
Video > F
We already saw this in the opening video, why again?
Backstage Segment > C
Morgan said he's gutting the TNA locker room since returning? How long has he been back? How many people has he gut so far? More bad booking of good people.
Video > F
Why did they show this for a third time?
In Ring Segment > B
I have to say that I thought Wes really sucked on mic here. He was just horrible! The grade absolutely would have been higher if not for Wes' mic time.
Angle really saved this segment with his mic work. Honestly, it flashed me back to a WWE segment, way back in the day. Okay, not that far back, but far enough that The Rock was in the ring. June 21, 2004 to be exact (I think). The Rock was in the ring harassing Randy Orton about when he was young and running around the locker room, playing with his My Little Pony. These days Ponies are cool, no matter your age, but back then, that was a huge slam. I have since wondered how many MLPs Orton received from fans. I'm sure there were hundreds. But that was the feel I got from the interaction between Angle and Wes.
My first thought when the bookers came out was, here we go, more face time for Kenney, Snow and D-Lo, of course. Unlike in the WWE where the bookers only come out when the refs can't regain control, those three bookers seem to rush out when things get the slightest bit out of hand. It has been a few weeks since we've seen them, and I will rarely complain about seeing Snow, but as soon as they came out I was wondering what D-Lo was going to do.
Taz laughs that everyone was 'one step behind', but we all knew that D-Lo was the voice of A&8's and has been almost since the start. I do like the way D-Lo turned, but him on mic kind of sucked. Also, D-Lo is only billed as three inches taller than Angle, and the person Angle faced and unmasked was taller, and not built at all like D-Lo.
Backstage Segment > C-
Not D-Lo's best segment, but the overall hype around him made it better.
Sting vs Devon > C+
First of three match series for Lockdown? Okay, I know that this is something that's happened previously, and it makes sense, but Sting? To me Sting is the guy you pull out for PPVs. He still kicks butt in the ring, but he's not as young as he once was, and really should be saved for PPVs.
So, there's an obvious plant who throws beer in Sting's face, then he bounces off the stairs and is busted open? That seems a bit odd. He was gushing quite well as he lolled on the mat. It goes back to what I just wrote, why put Sting in the ring and bust him open just days before a PPV? To me that seems like terribly daft booking. I'd say it screams Russo, but it also screams Bisch. Maybe they will blame it on D-Lo being the booker for that match, right down to the beer guy looking like he belongs in A&8's, but the whole thing smells of dirty diaper. The only thing they did right in this match was having security come in and drag the beer guy out.
Winner – Devon (3:26)
Backstage Segment > C
When the camera first cut to Lei'D and Ivelisse, Stacy thought Lei'D was pregnant. That's bad ring gear.
Backstage Segment > C+
I still don't think Kim is a great heel. I just don't believe her on mic. She did sell the slap, but not as well as I think she could have.
Video > D
Danny Davis is a great person to bring in to Gut Check, but Prichard waving his hand in front of his face to say Davis trained Cena is another WWE comment that just makes them look that much more bush league.
Backstage Segment > D
The fans didn't like Ivelisse being eliminated the way she was. I didn't like the feel of it all. Beyond feeling terribly fake and scripted, it felt like a bad move for the Knockouts Division.
Hernandez & Chavo & Velvet Sky vs Kaz & Daniels & Gail Kim > B+
Wait, Boobs is the ref for this match? I really thought she might fall out and really give us all a show! She must really be taped into that top to be able to count and bounce around the way she does. I did like how the Knockouts got involved tripping the male wrestlers, but I didn't like that they didn't change the mat after Sting bled all over the place. They had plenty of time to do it as they've had enough commercials and backstage time to change it, yet they didn't. More looking bush league. Did they pour all their money into going on the road, and cleaned the back out already so they didn't have a clean mat to change to?
Sorry I was so focused on the mat, but it's hard to watch a match with so many splats all over it. We're in a day and age where you don't mess around with bodily fluids, no matter who the fluids came from. I'm not saying anything bad about Sting, but I am ripping on TNA for this.
I do have to say that the actual ring work was solid. I wish there were more mixed matches like this, but with men working with women. I know I'm of the minority, but they showed that they can work together without issue in this segment. Beyond that, they all showed solid ring work going into a PPV. I think this was a great go home match for the Knockouts Title and the TTC! Bravo TNA for getting something right tonight.
Winners – Kim & Daniels & Kaz (7:23)
Video > D-
Recapping all the A&8's segments? Why?
Backstage Segment > B+
I know it's more of the bad guys making the good guys question the other members of the team, the same game we've seen for decades in pro wrestling, but I think A&8's has done a better job of it than most. This was the perfect time to reveal D-Lo, and Sting really sold his ire, even though the flying blood so long after his match had me gagging a bit. Nothing against Sting, everything against the too much I have learned about bodily fluids through too much time in hospitals.
Video > F
I'm very confused, and mostly disgusted by this whole AJ storyline. The face of TNA? Not so much thanks to crappy creative and booking, also known as Hogan and Bisch.
Joe & Magnus vs DOC & Garett > B
Joe and Magnus are back together, even though they've had so many issues? I know it's all to take out A&8's, but I think it's piss poor creative. Lazy, lazy work from TNA creative, even when they had extra time to really work toward Lockdown. I'm thrilled to see Magnus back in the ring, and back with Joe, but the laziness behind it bothers me as a writer. A&8's is not a McGuffin, and this is a glaring plot hole.
The fans gave Joe virtually no reaction when he posed before the bell, but they can give Garett a huge "You can't wrestle!" chant? I'm so glad TNA is getting out of Orlando! I should be happy that the fans got into this match, but they seem so bizarro tonight. They did get into it for Magnus, something I was glad to see, but not reacting to Joe hits me as very strange. All in all they looked decent in the ring, even Garett who has grown by leaps and bounds, no matter what the fans in Orlando think.
AJ Tweeted that he'll be in Chicago next week because TNA showed up at his house uninvited. Wait, he works for TNA, he's supposed to be at the shows! More crappy writing for AJ, and I'm disgusted. Then Taz saying AJ needs a haircut and a shave? Wait, has he looked at his gang members?
Winners – Joe & Magnus (4:53)
Backstage Segment > F
Kenny King took the X Division Title and not looking back? Obviously no one is looking back at RVD, or even mentioning his name. But at least RVD could talk, most of the time, Kenny is really struggling. I thought he was better than this? But the big question is will he breathe any life into the X Division? I doubt it, not with Bisch and Hogan around. Can't have what made TNA great continue to function. Between the X Division and the Knockouts Division...
Backstage Segment > A-
Sting, even though he looks crusty and sticky, really sold his look. Then there's EY who more than sold himself here. He was great, brought the fans in, and even the way ODB was looking at him – like an adoring wife – added to that. Sting says EY is the wild card, I worry that he might be more wild than Sting wants and be a card in A&E's deck.
Gut Check > B
Snow looked like a goober in the ring with Davis and Prichard being so well dressed, but that's one of the reasons I think Snow is so sexy. I know, I'm strange, but you should have learned that by now.
Pooh Bear? I had seen Uncle Paul a lot these past two days. I love Prichard and Snow for what they said in the ring. They get an A from me for taking the time to mention the amazing Moody. RIP.
I'm impressed with how much the fans hate Lei'D. She has a lot she needs to learn, but I think she could be great for the Knockouts Division. Of course they had to split to make Lei'D talk and try to convince Snow, but I'd have been shocked if they hadn't brought her in. I think it would have been a bad move to let her go.
Backstage Segment Bro > F
So we're going to see Robbie E get his bro handed to him by Terry at Lockdown. Not going to be a good match, but it could be fun to watch Robbie being splatted across the mat.
Anderson vs Storm > C+
I have to admit that Storm looked a bit sloppy early on when he tossed Anderson and he landed with his legs in the ropes. That can be really rough if hit wrong.
I normally tune out most of that the announcers say, but Taz getting cranky at Tenay for pulling out stats to show that Storm is a better wrestler. What do stats have to do with it? I know sometimes the announcers say some daft things, but that was one of the silliest things I've heard in a long time.
This match felt a lot shorter than it was. Other than a few bigger moves, I don't remember much other than the other teams coming out and Storm getting distracted. That's not great when these guys did work the ring a bit. To me that says that it wasn't a very good match. I remember Taz talking and the teams hitting ringside. Not the best main event TNA has ever had, but it did set up well for Lockdown.
Winner – Anderson (3:50)
In Ring Segment > A-
Brooke looked stunning on her way to the ring. I can't say I would have dressed like that on TV, but I will fully admit that I didn't hesitate to dress like that when I was her age. She's young, and I can't blame her for dressing the way she does. When she was playing executive, the outfits bothered me, but as Bully's 'wife', I have no problem with her little outfits. And watching her as Bully spoke, she sold being the doting wife.
Bully, as per usual lately, was fantastic on mic. The way he spoke to Hardy was very cool. Bully's character is fantastic, and he showed it again in this segment.
Hardy was very solid on mic as well. I've never been a big fan of his mic work, but he was better than usual here.
Then Hogan came out and had to open his mouth. Hogan talking about TNA going on to greatness made me a bit ill. TNA, in so many ways, had a greatness that they lost when Hogan and Bisch.
It made sense that A&8's would have the upper hand going in to Lockdown. They have to make us wonder and worry going into the PPV, and that's a great way of doing it. I don't know which direction they're going with this big match at Lockdown, but they've done a decent job of setting up for the PPV – in this episode of Impact. I'm still upset that they had so much time to set up for Lockdown, but they dilly-dallied and had to cram it all in the last two weeks.
While this should be part of the final segment, I decided to tack it on here because I think that it's more than just the final moments of an episode of Impact, it's the end of an era. I'd love to be cranky at Hogan and Bisch for ending the final episode of Impact in the Impact Zone the way they ended too many episodes of Nitro and Thunder, but I can't. Having the force of good fighting the force of evil in a big mess in the ring goes beyond WCW, it's a key way that so many go home shows end, and it really feels right for the Impact Zone to end with this big melee. We don't know what's to come for TNA, but I plan on looking at everything to look with a fresh pair of eyes. I will really try to keep from letting Hogan and Bisch cloud my judgment, but I will also be stepping up my grading because they're taking TNA to the next level. I expect more from them as they take this big step, and will be evaluating as such. I will not be expecting WWE quality shows right off the bat, but if TNA wants to run with the big boys, they should be judged accordingly.
Make sure you check in to read WNW Predicts to see what we think of Lockdown, and leave your own predictions for the coming PPV.