This morning as Stacy headed off to work he told me to get my Blog Zone done early so we could hang out tonight. I gave him a groggy one eyed look and asked him what he thought he was saying, Impact is live now. He said he knows, but that I should be able to figure it out. I reminded him of how screwy TNA can be and that a lot of the matches lately haven't come from anything that makes a lot of sense until that time. Stacy told me to make it up, it would be fun and that I'm that I'm so used to TNA's screwy matches and shows. If I'd been more awake, I might have thrown something at him.
But then I actually sat down and watched Impact and was blown away. This was the best Impact that I've seen in quite a while. Of course there was some issues, most of them the same issues that TNA's been struggling with all along. The biggest issue in this show, for me, was the constant rehashing of storylines and past events. They spend too much time telling the fans what's happened through videos when they should be forging forward and pushing the storylines to the next plot point. To me it kills so much of the momentum and the spark of what makes some of the stories work. If you were reading a book where every chapter started with the author going through every important point from the previous couple chapters. It wouldn't take very long before you got frustrated and either started skipping those segments, or end up throwing the book at the wall in utter frustration. This is what TNA does to me each week on Impact, but I can't skip through the segments and I can't throw my TV against the wall.
Video > B
This was a great recap of last week's Impact. Starting with Aries was the perfect way to go about beginning the show. In so many ways he's been the star of the show over even the WHC lately. I really hope he's able to defeat Roode in some way, though I think it will be Storm who will take away the WHC. Though it could be fascinating to see Storm face Aries for the Title! Storm's feud with Roode doesn't have to be finished any time soon. And the stip for the X Division Champ in the future is great!
I am glad they went through AJ and Dixie with Clair and all that entails, though I'm thrilled they kept it short and to the point. It really set up for something huge. The worst part of it all was the narrator! Make him go away!
Backstage Segment > B
Dixie looks wonderfully classy in a Florida carefree way, love it! These two have great on screen chemistry, and that's why this storyline has worked so well. So much more to come from them! And look, Clair's there.
BFG Series Match – Anderson vs RVD (5:54) > C+
Anderson was great on mic, as usual, but that hair! Someone needs to attack him with some powder bleach and 40 developer! They made the matches a fifteen minute time limit, not sure how I feel about that. I prefer TNA's original ten minutes, but considering who's in the series, it does make some sense. What doesn't make sense it how it was announced – Hogan on Twitter! How are we supposed to know when Hogan is really announcing something and when he's just flying off the handle and making nasty comments about people and the fans? Doesn't really matter much to me as he blocked me well over a year ago for questioning a few things he said. Should I feel honored that I've been blocked by Hogan, Bisch and Helms?
Anderson worked hard in this match, but RVD felt a bit off, yet again. He did a handspring moonsault thing that looked more like a botch then an actual move. Also through much of this they seemed to be blocking each others moves more than really working the ring. Yes, they know each other quite well in that ring as they've worked together so much lately, but that should mean they go bigger and grander! Honestly, this match felt longer than it was because it seemed to drag a bit. I loathe complaining about a match between such great men when we actually get to see them work the ring on Impact, but this just wasn't up to par for them. Not sure if it was the booking or more of RVD being slightly off kilter.
Winner – RVD +7
In Ring Segment > B+
It sounded as thought Aries said, "Last year on Impact wrestling" but it could have been "Last here on Impact wrestling." Hopefully it was the latter. I love that Aries was out to the ring talking, but all he said from the start was what we all heard last week and was recapped at the start of the show. He didn't need to say much before getting to the Tournament for the X Division Title. Not sure I like the Tourney idea, but we'll see.
Of course Roode had to come out to the ring, it wouldn't be an Aries segment without Roode coming out to be arrogant. I will say that Roode sounded like he believed every word he said about the TNA WHC, and himself. He's back to sounding like a young Triple H, that it's all about him. He really flung the lines and the attitude beautifully. Even the way he got hot under the collar, but then walked away from the fight. It's interesting how Aries can fling the attitude just as wildly, but the fans love him for it. He was a heel, but the fans turned him, and I love it when that happens.
Video > D
More recapping of Clair? This is getting to be a bit much. Get to the meat, rather than rehashing the past over and over. The videos of the past take so much time that should be devoted to the now.
Backstage Segment > B
Finally, some forward movement after two clips recapping last week. I'm not sure I believed Clair when she said she didn't know Daniels and Kaz prior to all this. Okay, not Kaz, but I have the sneaking suspicion that one of those men Clair woke up with in a hotel room was Daniels, and that he might have a hand in that little bun Clair has in the oven. There was just that strange pause before she answered knowing them. Actually, now that she's not whimpering and wailing like last week, this is coming off pretty well.
Backstage Segment > B+
I knew that Kaz didn't have a clue about all the crap Daniels was pulling through all this! I also knew it would come crumbling down around Daniels' ears at some point. Loving it!
X Division Qualifying Match – Sonjay Dutt vs Rubix (Jigsaw) (3:15) > A
I try very hard to comply with Richard and not cuss unless it's something that's actually said on one of the shows, but when I saw Sonjay Dutt, I yelled, "F**k yeah!" at the top of my lungs. Our youngest is off camping, so I didn't have to worry about waking her, though I'm not sure I'd have been able to keep that in. I'm a HUGE Sonjay Dutt fan! Okay, who the heck is Rubix? I went looking online and all I found was people talking about this match (I'm watching this about an hour behind airing). I will say I like Rubix's ring gear, very creative.
Dutt looks beautiful in the ring! Okay, I'll admit it, Rubix does too, but I have a hard time taking my eyes off Dutt. That drop kick on a flying Rubix, then that springboard splash was drool-worthy! Then Dutt's DDT! Wow, off the top! How did Dutt do that without really hurting Rubix? I'm completely floored.
The reaction from the fans was wonderful, and Dutt on mic was not great, but he normally is, so I'll give it to him. I'm going to say now that I'd love to see Dutt win the X Division Title. The only people who could return and push Dutt out of it for me would be Williams – Doug or Petey. (Both Stacy and Gesus have decided to throw in their vote for the return of Petey as well.) But I have to say that those were some of the best three minutes I've seen on TNA since Aries' last match.
Winner – Dutt
Backstage Segment > B
I love how Taz spoke about entitlement and acting like they're entitled to anything backstage. Taz spoke perfectly about how I feel about Orton right now. I wonder who Taz was speaking about specifically, who's attitude of entitlement has really pissed him off over the years.
Video > B+
I really enjoyed Taelor Hendrix last week, and she couldn't have had a better competitor than Tara. This little video clip was needed and handled well.
Backstage Segment > B
I have complained about Hogan talking too much backstage, but for some reason, I liked this. They spoke about the industry and this young woman in particular. The only thing I didn't like was Snow predicting that Hendrix would be hard to deal with if she became a star. It felt more than jaded to me.
BFG Series Match – Bully vs Joe (13:01) > B+
So, did Bully scare Joseph away? Doubt it. Will Abyss be pissed about Bully putting his hands on Joseph? Most definitely! Actually, I really like how Bully Ray really plays his character like a traditional bully who will only push until someone won't back down, then they run and hide. It works well. "Joe's gonna kill you!" also works very well. Actually, it would be fun watching TPTB in the WWE freak if the fans started a chant like that!
Joe should not be able to move as fast as he does, or flip in the air to kick someone in the back of the head the way he can. That man defies the laws of physics! Actually Bully worked against Joe really well here. Very few men in TNA have the size and strength to really take Joe apart, Angle being one of my favorites. Bully also plays the facial expressions well when he's losing. Actually, the back and forth in this match was sick!
Yay, Joseph! I love how mad he got and how he handled it. What a perfect way to even out this match. I wouldn't have said that Joe and Bully were so evenly matched in the ring, but they did a great job of it here. They gave and took evenly and equally, making each other look good. I'm very impressed.
Winner – Joe via submission +10
In Ring Segment > A-
Nothing but a jackass bully! I have to say that I'm impressed with myself bringing up Bully's character well before Joseph came out and started talking about it. I love it and was waiting for the Bully side of Ray's character to come into play in such a huge way. The way Joseph stepped up and said no more was great. Not sure that telling kids that the way to fight back against bullies is to pick a fight with them, but sometimes you have to step up. Should be an interesting match. Wonder what Abyss will do in the midst of it all?
Announce Segment > C+
Wait, they're playing that audio was tampered with on their dot.com? Interesting way of doing things!
Backstage Segment > D&A+
I have to say that Clair talking about the innocent hug between AJ and Dixie was horrid! She really fell flat there for a moment. Her words and facial expression were quite flat. What I did like, in a certain way, was the way Dixie simply said Clair was 'having some trouble at that point' when they spoke about Serge's party. I heard that line so many times come out of my father for the better part of my life when I heard him talk about my brother to people. It's the downplaying of how bad things really were with simple words and an unemotional voice. Dixie hit that on the head so well that I had to stop the show and take a couple deep breaths to get past it. The A+ is for how Dixie so simply spoke those words that so many have, how so many have, in a way to gloss over how bad things really were. It touched me so hard I had to stop and bring myself back to the moment, so for me that is A+ quality work. I don't know if she's gone through this with anyone in her like, but even if she hadn't meant it to, it was a moment.
Backstage Segment > D
I have to say that I find it interesting that Hogan, of all people, thought Kaz needed to be held accountable for all that's gone down. I know it's acting, but coming from Hogan, I still can't suspend my disbelief! Kaz is the only reason this wasn't an epic fail.
Backstage Segment > C+
Well, that was odd! At first I thought I was Garett, but then, the way she acted, it has to be Devon. There's no way it could be either of the Robbies! I did think that both Madison and Garett handled that pretty well. Not the best Garett was a bit boring, but not terrible.
Backstage Segment > D-
Well, Morgan is going away, they need someone new for Direct. What I didn't need was the camera zooming in on Brooke's boobs as she was talking. And, since when is a strapless orange tube dress executive dress? Sorry to be going there again, but I'm just so disgusted by the direction all this is going. This is one of those things I was talking about when I mentioned Hogan being held accountable. The nepotism is way out of control and because of that we're getting crap like this!
X Division Qualifying Match - Rashad Cameron vs Mason Andrews (4:07) > B+
I have to agree with Taz that Cameron has a good look, and I have to agree, he is different. These guys worked the ring pretty well, especially the way Andrews flew out with that corkscrew, that was different. Rashad had quite the bad attitude and worked andrews hard! Andrews looked solid too, but slightly off somewhere. He looked as though he might be a little long legged for some of these moves to look as clean? I don't know, just trying to figure it out. Then again, those long legs helped for the body scissors off the corner – sick move. The fans loved it and were vocal about it. The way Andrews was planted on his head to end it was sick! This was a solid match, but felt slightly lacking in some placed. It felt like it was a series of high spots without a lot of meat between them. Don't get me wrong, those high spots were sick, but that doesn't make for the most enjoyable match all the way around. It was longer than Dutt and Rubix, but for me that match was so much better – not only because I am a Dutt fan. Actually, I think Cameron has something that could be interesting in TNA, but we'll have to wait and see.
Winner – Rashad Cameron
Backstage Segment > D
Hogan said that they don't know who hit and run or why, but he also didn't say anything about how no one ran out to rescue or help Sting through the beat down. Wait, the BFG main event is Hardy versus Storm? What about the WHC? Please don't tell me that TNA is going to Cena the Title Match! And why was this all we saw of Hardy and Storm? I'm not thrilled with this much Hogan, but I'll deal as it wasn't too terribly long – it's the rest of that crap that dragged this segment down.
Gut Check > A-
Borash was a bit much for me here. He must be starved for TV time as he went so over the top here!
Whoa, Gesus IM'd me and told me something brilliant went down during Gut Check, and he was right! Joey Ryan was just great in the crowd. What a wonderful way of continuing Ryan wanting to get into TNA. That he was goading Taz to hit him really brought the heat up in the segment, even though Love tried to keep Taz in the ring. I know Taz is done in the ring – both his neck and his expanding waistline - but that would be a heck of a match – well, would have been in Taz's prime! What will they do with Ryan next? Even funnier was how Borash made a comment about things happening on live TV!
I have to say that it looked like Snow was looking for a reason to say no, and his reason felt kind of fluffy. I loved how Bruce made that comment about Ryan before giving Hendrix her yes.
Backstage Segment > B+
I really loved Angle in this segment. He was so sweet and had such heart. He really was cool with AJ and set up for a great team in the future. It was also a great way to announce the Last Man Standing Match between AJ and Daniels. That's going to be some sort of good!
Tag Team Title Match – AJ & Angle (C) vs Daniels & Kaz (11:47) > A
Kaz pretty much took the fight from AJ, but not from Angle and that was interesting to watch. It really looked like Kaz was turning face after all this was said and done. AJ's head scissors off the apron onto Daniels was a botch, but they covered for it well. Daniels hitting the barrier didn't look right either, but that was Daniels, not AJ.
Bummed that we missed the 'vintage' AJ during the break – a big problem with commercial breaks during matches when they're not booked well for it. But then Angle was all over Kaz with that snap suplex, then the Germans. Then the Germans on Daniels. Actually Kaz looked solid on Angle, better than I expected. Kaz's interesting cutter on Angle was just lovely and he deserves props for that move. Gesus thought it looked like a semi-botch when Kaz set up for the Alabama slam, but Angle landed behind Kaz. He did land a bit awkwardly, but not enough to really make me think it was a botch or a move to worry about. Then AJ was just sick on Daniels! Screw it, they all looked great in that ring!
Then there's that double swerve from Kaz that absolutely shocked me. The wrestling in this match was wildly entertaining, and they all left it out there, but Kaz's swerve was that final thing that sent this match from really good to great. They, all of them, told a story in this match, but none more than Kaz. His changes through this match were not only creatively good, but wonderfully executed. Frankie Kazarian deserves a huge bravo for his acting work in this match.
Winners & new TTCs – Kaz & Daniels
In Ring Segment > A-
First off, I loved how Daniels played off his "World Tag Team Champions of The World! And I meant to say that." Few are willing to admit such a blunder and play it off so easily.
I gave this ending segment such a high grade because of the zinger. I really thought it was going to be Daniels who got Clair pregnant (and heck, it still could have been), but that she didn't deny it, that she crumbled and hid, that set up perfectly for this storyline to continue rolling and picking up speed as it goes.
While Kaz didn't completely turn face during this Impact, he absolutely went full on heel after showing that he might be turning on his partner. It reminds me of a night that Batista appeared to turn face, I think it was on Triple H and possibly during Evo, but at the end of the show it was all a hoax and he was all out heel again. I thought that was a crafty way to book Batista over the course of the show, and I thought they did well doing the same with Kaz here. I honestly did not see Kaz going all badass, rather than being 'forced' into being a heel by Daniels.
Add that swerve to Dutt's return in such an impressive match, that tiny bit with Ryan, ending with Daniels announcing AJ as the father of Clair's bun, and you have one really solid Impact!