While I might have been cranky about Impact being taped last week, I completely understand why they didn't go live tonight. Because of that, I have to apologize to everyone for this BZ being late, but Ellie and I were watching the Patriots' game, then I realized that Impact was on! Honestly, I didn't change the channel to Impact until Ellie headed out. She was due at work (JC Penney) for seven in the morning. Have to love Black Friday!
Anyway, swapped over to see what was happening on Impact and it was part way through Hardy facing York. I turned channels and was shocked to see York facing off against Hardy, but then the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Matt and Jeff founded OMEGA with Thomas Simpson, and York was involved with OMEGA, possibly from the start, if not, then very early on. Since York is so new to TNA, it makes absolute sense to put him in the ring with someone he's worked with for so long. It's a great way to make York look solid right off the bat.
It was only after I swapped back to the football game for a few minutes, then checked back in on Impact and saw Taeler in the ring with Tara did I remember that the Gut Check guys were working this episode of Impact. I'm planning on starting writing after the Taeler versus Tara match, but suddenly I'm VERY excited to watch Impact! I'm hoping that the ring work will be fresh and unexpected. There's so much they could do to put into this show! Then I saw EY with the turkey suit and my hopes were dashed. Just kidding, I'm not sure even the turkey suit could bring down my excitement level. I'm so glad I didn't read the spoilers.
Take that you nay sayers! So determined that I'm so negative about wrestling all the time. You just need to read what I write, not nit-pick every negative thing I might say. I really do love wrestling and write about both the good and bad, no matter what.
Video > C-
I wasn't impressed with TNA using Storm's daughter last week, and I wasn't impressed with them repeating the comments this week in the opening video. Using a wrestler's child in a storyline isn't just low, but it shows a severe lack of creativity.
Gut Check Wes Brisco vs Barrett > B-
Wes Brisco? Is he really healthy enough to be working the ring? And what's that about putting him in the ring with Garett? Everyone else has faced someone strong, and someone they weren't running with backstage. Personally I thought they both had strong moments, but too much of the time they looked sloppy.
I just have to comment on Wes' ring gear, because it was so distracting from the match. They were very ill fitting, to the point that I thought they were going to fall off his bum through the whole match. Whoever made those trunks really screwed the pooch. The crotch was hanging low, they were too snug through the upper thighs and bum, and they had no tension in the waistband. Either Wes blew out the elastic and no one had a clue how to fix it, or someone did some piss poor work on his ring gear. So sad seeing someone working a televised match in a mess like that.
On a bright note, other than Wes looking a bit methodical in his moves, as if he was thinking things through as he went, I like the way he moves in the ring. He has that special something and could be a lot of fun to watch on TNA. Further, I think Angle, Garett and Wes together are one of them most screwed up little groups I've seen put together in wrestling in a long time. Yes, even stranger than THN, but in a much different way. It will be interesting to see if they survive together, implode, or if TNA will forget they're even on the roster in three weeks. As it's Garett and Angle, I doubt it will happen, but we've seen stranger things. Oh, also, I expect to see the comments flying about how Wes didn't really have to work for his Gut Check – from the other Gut Check winners – because he faced a friend, and was supported by Angle ringside. Could be an unusual Gut Check decision next week on Impact.
Winner – Wes Brisco (3:28)
Backstage Segment > D
Yes, they're the Gut Check winners, we get it. This whole segment felt fake and plastic. It rubbed me the wrong way.
Backstage Segment > B
Angle put it on a bit thick there. Is he more of a coach than anything these days, or building his own stable from the ground up?
Ryan vs Chavito > B
Love Ryan or hate him, you can't deny that the man stays it character. The fact that he annoys me, and makes me feel like I need to take a shower after I've seen him, means he's doing his job. I can't say that his ring work has impressed me in many of his matches, but he hung well and sold for Chavito. Hopefully the build they've given Ryan isn't all for naught, but I worry about his ring skills at this point.
Hernandez and Morgan sure have some history, and I think that will add a lot to what looks like the start of a feud. Why they backed off RVD and the X Division Title and are heading for the TTC, I don't know. Hope it's not more of TNA's confusion of where to use people, especially Morgan!
Winner – Chavito via DQ (3:41)
Backstage Segment > B+
I'm not yet sure how I feel about all the changing camera angles in this segment. It seems a bit odd to me, but it seems as though they're trying different ways of running promos and vignettes for different wrestlers. As long as we stay out of Hardy's brooding head, I think I'll be happy.
Sam Shaw vs Alex Silva > C+
Okay, I was excited, but I have to say I think this feels like a bit of cheating by putting two of these Gut Check guys in a match together. I was expecting each to have a match, so I'm bummed. If these guys have been working OVW together, then you'd think TNA would want them to face someone they haven't been working as closely with? I know, I'm going at this from the opposite side as I thought about York facing Hardy, but then I thought that maybe TNA knew these two worked well together, so why not show it off on TV? But then it was all of Silva beating on Shaw, and all Shaw did was take it, and not very well. Silva was on top for the first chunk of the match, then Shaw almost landed on his feet from a body drop, and he's suddenly Super Cena, I mean Shaw. The moves he hit on Silva looked solid, but right down to that leg drop of Silva, Shaw looked like a little version of Cena with a lot of ink.
I liked Shaw on Gut Check, but I have lost my taste for him in this match. I hope he comes across better next time because he has a lot of my mind to change. Silva, on the other hand, didn't feel like he was trying to be another wrestler, though I didn't get much character at all from him. They both felt like spot monkeys. Not that they were hitting high spots, just that the match was one move, then another move, very technical, no flow, nothing to any of it but them stringing together a few spots that looked good, but nothing much else. They need to watch old matches from Angle, Eddie, AJ, Lethal – smaller guys who leave their hearts in the ring and make you scream for more after they've given their all. I'll have to wait and see, but right now these two are not my favorite Gut Check winners.
Winner – Sam Shaw (3:37)
Backstage Segment > D
Gee, Hogan telling ODBEY to watch out for A&8's wasn't foreshadowing, was it? Not cool. I really don't like Hogan's treatment of certain wrestlers, and he's not very good at hiding his real feelings about someone, no matter the storyline. All that being said, the last thing I wanted to see today was that turkey suit. Okay, not the LAST thing, but you know what I mean!
Backstage Segment > C+
ODBEY have good chemistry, but I'm not sure it's as good as the chemistry between Robbie E and Jessie.
Video > C
I will admit that A&8's have made quite the name for themselves on TNA, and if handled well, they will continue to run roughshod over the company for a couple more months. I'm enjoying them, but hope they don't wear out their welcome. Bisch and Hogan have messed this up before, but seeing how it's been going down, I have hope that this time it's going to work and not bring down the company. Not saying they have any chance of overthrowing the WWE this time, but A&8's could really help the company in the long run.
Backstage Segment > C+
That was one sad looking turkey. And if the dart is still in Angle's picture, why are they not still pursuing him? More questions without answers. Could be a good thing to leave some of these questions floating out there, as long as they're addressed at some point in the not too distant future.
Video > C+
I know York is very new, but he only earned his spot recently. Why are they showing this about him? It's the earlier Gut Check wrestlers I don't remember as well. Then again, I really like York, so I will remember him over some of the others.
York vs Hardy > B+
It's obvious that York and Hardy know each other well and have worked the ring together quite a lot. The flow they had in the ring was really enjoyable to watch. I won't say that it was flawless, or even that there wasn't a few really sloppy moments, but all in all, for someone who is new to TNA, even though he's a very seasoned wrestler, I thought York handled himself well in there. Honestly, if I didn't know that York and Hardy had such a long history, I might be sitting her with my jaw on my desk, a lot more impressed than I am. This is an instance that being able to get information so freely online has made me more judgmental of the ring work.
Stacy looked up and said that if York is so new, how did he get a match with the top guy? I reminded him that it was OFN, something he had forgotten, but he still stood by his questioning it. Yes, it's scripted, but who is ever going to believe that the top guy is going to work a match with the newest guy on the roster. It's the suspension of disbelief thing. So while it was a really good match, some things just don't jive unless they're going to be pushing York to the top faster than Ryback. Goodness, I hope not!
Winner – Hardy (10:14)
In Ring Segment > A-
Finally, for the first time in a long time I got that young Trip feeling of passion from Roode. It's about time as he's seemed off lately. He's still been good, but he hasn't had that tension in him that not only makes his body shake, but it almost radiates out through the TV screen. As if the tubes in there were actually vibrating from Roode's sheer will. He had it here, finally!
Video > C
Taeler was a bit bubble gum when she was on Gut Check, hopefully she brings it here.
Backstage Segment > C
Brooke said that Tara is the only female Gut Check winner. As far as I can remember, she'd the only female Gut Check contestant.
Taeler vs Tara w/ Jessie >
Taeler has that smoking bod, and tried to look tougher with the leather jacket and black boots, but she's still bubble gum. If it works for her, that's cool, but she either needs to dress the part, or be edgier to go along with her look.
Tara said she'd been working hard, but Tara was beating her butt! When she started coming back she looked really tentative before every move, looking for reaction from the fans after each. But then she hit that head butt and I saw a spark of what she could be. Not long after that she was right back to being tentative and like a little girl who only wants to be liked. While I find Taeler really endearing, it's more like I want to take her out and buy her clothes to cover her boobies, not watch her in the ring. In some ways it's almost as if she's a caricature of what she thinks a female wrestler is supposed to be. I honestly can't tell how much talent she has because I can't get past all that other stuff thrown in my face. My biggest hope is that this is nerves and she will calm down after a few matches on TV, otherwise, I'm not sure how well she's going to do in TNA. Also, losing her second match in TNA can't bode well for her.
Winner – Tara (4:05)
Turkey Suit Match - EY w/ ODB vs Jessie w/ Tara vs Robbie E w/ Robbie T > C-
Robbie and Jessie were fun to watch when they were working together, but when Robbie tried to get any reaction from the fans, there was NONE. EY's missile drop kick was lovely! He hit that move like it was nothing. Just effortless. Nothing the wrestlers did got much of a reaction from the fans, until EY got the three over Jessie.
I have to say Jessie's crankiness was nothing compared to the hissy fit AJ hit a number of years ago. I'm just glad they got it over with quickly.
Winner – EY (3:32)
In Ring Segment > C
I will admit that someone (who will remain nameless) spoiled the attack on EY for me. The handcuffing of ODB was a nice touch, but she didn't really sell her emotion early on, but at the end she was all in it. What gets me is that everyone can get to the ring after the attack was over, but not before. I know it's scripted and everything is timed out, but the convenience of people being at gorilla at certain moments, but no one to be found at other times stretches my ability to suspend my disbelief. Even worse is that it's Open Fight Night, so we've been led to believe the wrestlers are right there, ready to be called out. I'd just like to have some consistency, but it hasn't happened yet, so I don't see it happening.
Kaz w/ Daniels vs AJ > B+
I was handed my first plate of leftovers as this match started, so AJ and Kaz had a lot to do to hold my attention, and they more than did it from the start. Kaz looked as strong, or stronger tan I've seen him in a very long time. I honestly didn't know that Kaz had that in him. I'm a bit blown away! AJ sold really well for Kaz, really took every move and worked it hard. But AJ is the man, and all it took was pele. I thought that maybe Kaz looked a bit weak after dominating so long, but pele took him out. Either way, I'm thinking I want to see more of Kaz and AJ facing off, let Daniels take a seat in the bleachers for a bit. Can you imagine what they could have done with a longer match? Drool.
Winner- AJ (5:21)
Backstage Segment > B
You never know what Aries going to come out with next. Either in the ring or on mic, this man is a star.
In Ring Segment > B+
When Aries said there was one name, one man holding him down, a number of people yelled out Hogan's name. I had to smile. But wait, Brooke? I have to admit I was interested in seeing what spin they would put on this. The McMahon comment was really interesting. TNA needs to back off from the WWE and think about themselves first. And we had AJ and Claire, then AJ and Cena, now Brooke and Bully? What is up with all these affair storylines? I will say that the questions flying around the ring after Aries opened Pandora's box were quite riveting. I have to admit I'm wondering where they're going to take this one, and feel they've done a solid job of setting it up. The use of just a few little moments, then this big kaboom. Nice cliffhanger to end Impact!
I thought last month that Open Fight Night and Gut Check were on different weeks. I was confused last month about them not being together, and now they are again? I'm so confused by all of this jumping around. Maybe next week's show will make more sense in some of these little ways.
I also wonder what the plan is for the Gut Check winners from here on out. Will they be integrated to the roster, or will they disappear again until they're either good enough to be on Impact, or let go? I was very impressed with York, no surprise, but I wonder what's going to happen with Taeler. I am still not sure she's going to make the cut.