Today was one of those days that I was excited about Impact. I stepped away from my computer for most of the day, something I haven't done much this past month. I didn't even look at the front page of WNW until after Impact started, something I very rarely do. Normally my first stop when I get online is WNW to see what's happened in the industry, but today I was out and about. Being away from writing in every way seemed to clear my head and energize me for Impact this week.
It wasn't until the show had started was I reminded that we were going to see Kim facing Mickie one on one. I could have been cranky about possible booking directions as I haven't thought the Knockouts have been treated well lately, but I went in all wide eyed, like a fan, and was thrilled with what I saw. And then reading that it looks as though Velvet Sky could be signing a new TNA contract soon, I'm thrilled!
I know my enthusiasm for TNA ebbs and flows according to what's going on with Hogan, and how lame I think this or that episode is, but today I think I learned that I just need to do to keep my excitement up. I realized that I need to step away from my computer, separate myself from everything wrestling and writing. Coming back at it with fresh eyes is leaving me smiling after Impact, not grumbling and cranky. I have to admit that it's a nice change.
Video > C+
I have to admit I loved the wrestling meme this week that questioned whether it should have been Wes' Gut Check, or Garett's! But in all reality, this opening video really hit on many of the big storylines without taking too much time, and without sounding like the narrator was talking down to us, always a plus.
In Ring Segment >
Hogan really tripped over his words at the start of this segment. I will say that Bully brings out the best in Hogan right now, even the best in Brooke. Hogan stumbled and tripped up, but when face to face with Bully, he showed some real tension and didn't come off as plastic. I did find it interesting that when Aries really ripped on Brooke's reputation, Bully didn't comfort her in the ring, as you think he would if there was a 'relationship' there. Also, Hogan said that Brooke wasn't going to date a wrestler, didn't VKM say the same thing?
Backstage Segment > B
Even though nothing was said, I have to say that Mickie looks more physically fit and ring ready than we saw her for quite a while before she took that time off. I'm still not quite sure about the surgery she had – I haven't found enough info to really make me understand what was done – but she looks a lot better than she has in quite a while. Healthier.
Gail Kim vs Mickie James > B+
This is what we should be seeing every week from the Knockouts. Mickie and Kim really worked the ring, fought all over the place and were quite creative about it. The way Mickie countered Kim's eat defeat was unusual and worked really well. These two know each other so well in the ring, and it showed in this match. It looks to me that Mickie is back and ready to fight – it's about time! I'm going to look at this in a very positive light and hope that things are looking up for the Knockouts Division. Maybe they will get the KTTC off ODBEY and put them on a pair of Knockouts who want to defend them, and would bring prestige back to the belts and the Knockouts Division as a whole. Either way, this was a solid match that Mickie needed to win being #1 Contender for the Knockouts Championship.
Now, I have to ask, was it me, or was Kim's top a bit sheer? When she first came out and posed on the corner, I thought I was seeing a lot more than seems appropriate, even on cable TV.
Winner – Mickie (4:58)
Backstage Segment > B+
Storm and AJ tagging together? While they're not BMI, they are amazing in the ring and should both give a good match, and a lot of tension. That AJ says he has a reason to whine really grated on my nerves, but maybe they will make ti work, somehow. I'm really wondering what they're going to do with both Storm and AJ; really hoping TNA creative doesn't drop the ball with them. TNA's creative department doesn't have the excuses that the WWE's has right now.
Backstage Segment > D+
Wait, Kenny King is still around? Wait, Hogan is deciding who will face RVD? Lucky us, more of this backstage crap all night. Kenny was the last person who should have been tossed out of that office! Not impressed with this!
In Ring Segment > A-
Roode said a lot of interesting things about Hardy and York (I have to admit I couldn't remember York's name until he came out to the ring), most of which true, except that York is quite the established wrestler. Wait, this is Championship Thursday, and last week was Open Fight Night, and all of these things are making Impact more and more confusing each week. So York called Roode out, but this has nothing to do with Championship Thursday, and it's not OFN. Sorry, after such a great promo by Roode, and York coming out, looking and sounding so good, I'm left more confused by TNA's gimmicks than ever! The grade is for the promo, not for TNA's overall fussiness with gimmicks.
York vs Roode > B+
From the start York looked great. This being York's second match since winning his contract, and it's with Roode, looks to me like York might be getting the push he's been so close to receiving so many times. I have to admit that I hope it's true, and I am itching to see how York handles it. York was on Roode hard, and they both looked really great in there. I'm even more impressed with York as Roode isn't someone York's worked with regularly for so many years. This guy could go far – not only does he have the ring skills, but his heart is so into the industry.
I love watching Roode hit the Flair-flop! Few men can execute that personal face-plant like Flair, but Roode comes dang close. That's one of the better things that came from Roode following Flair around for so long.
While a shorter match than I'd have liked to see from these two, I was quite impressed with how they worked together, and want to see more. Roode absolutely had to win – same reason Mickie had to earlier – but York looked strong which will continue to help him.
Winner – Roode (5:18)
Backstage Segment > C+
Trying to make us think Bully is part of A&8's with that chain on the table? More foreshadowing? I also think it's odd that Devon suddenly wants the TV Title back. You'd have thought that he'd have talked about it all along if it meant so much to him. Even with D-Lo doing to talking for A&8's, it seems as though Devon is more in charge. That mask is killing the leader spot for me. They can always unmask someone, say they're the leader, then change things up later saying that A&8's was just trying to keep the real leader hidden for some reason.
Video > C
Saying that Wes was the first Gut Check contestant to win his match means virtually nothing when he was in the ring with Garett! All that Prichard, Snow and D-Lo said was true about the match they showed us last week, does that mean anything? Not really.
Backstage Segment > C
Snow isn't there? So, was it A&8's, or Morgan and Ryan that took Snow out? Has to be one or the other.
Kaz & Daniels vs Storm & AJ > A
Wow, AJ was really off in this match and sold it well. It's one thing to be a great wrestler and show it in the ring, or a crappy wrestler and show it in the ring, but a great wrestler playing crappy takes an absolute pro, and AJ hit the nail on the head better than most would be able to do. Not only did AJ make it look good and sell his frustration, but he didn't hurt himself or anyone else in the process. I am very impressed!
Beyond that, Storm worked that ring wonderfully with Kaz and Daniels. All three were beautiful in the ring, but nothing compared to how sick AJ looked during that short spurt of looking stellar. As I've said before, I write this as I'm watching, and I have to say that watching AJ going back and forth between totally sick and completely terrible was just awe inspiring to watch. Those moves that were hit correctly were some of the best I've seen from him, but when he was off, wow, he was bad! I hate to talk so much about AJ over the other four, but AJ ran away with that match. What he did in that match was something I don't remember ever seeing before, and that he's so great in the ring elevated the creativity of the booking to a whole other level that I think few would be able to achieve. That AJ was pissed after the match because he wasn't the one to get the pinfall helped further AJ's issues after the match was over. Maybe they're not dropping the ball with AJ!
Winners – Storm & AJ (7:05)
Video > C
Alamodome for Lockdown? Yay, they're getting the heck out of the Impact Zone! The video left a lot to be desired, but I'm thrilled they're leaving the Zone for any PPV!
Backstage Segment > F
That segment in Hogan's office really sucked. Straight up, this was just horrible. Hogan talked in circles, made less than no sense, and screwed over the only person with a really great reason to be in the ring with RVD – Kash. Yes, I know Aries didn't actually lose the X Division Title, but Kash made a wonderful fight for why he should face RVD – specifically RVD. But the whole thing was a garbled mess that made no sense. Why not have these guys fighting it out to see who should face the Champ? Oh, yeah, Hogan needs his air time.
Backstage Segment > B+
Joe was wonderful on mic here. Nice to see the TV Champ on TV, even if he isn't defending it, the way TNA told us he would be! I'm really looking forward to seeing Joe and Devon in the ring next week.
Williams vs Morgan w/ Ryan > C+
There is no way that Hogan would leg Morgan toss around that original robe the way Morgan is treating that gold robe. I need to do some research into that original robe, as even the fabric seems wrong. I'll try to figure this out before next week.
TNA brings Williams back so he can job to Morgan? I have said over and over what a Williams fan I am, and how much I respect him, and this is a total travesty. I can understand TNA wanting to have people around for Morgan to destroy as they build him, but why someone with such talent? There's enough guys on the roster who seem to be there just for that reason – sad to say, so why suddenly bring Williams back to TV for it. Just very confusing to me. Even more confusing that Morgan's beard, and that has me terribly confused.
Winner – Morgan (2:12)
Backstage Segment > B
Well, D-Lo leading A&8's, and now willing to step in for Wes' Gut Check – I have to say this is very creative. Makes me believe that A&8's have Snow hidden away, ya think?
Gut Check – Wes Brisco > B+
Prichard talking about Snow being nowhere to be found pushes the storyline further. Maybe a little Stockholm Syndrome for Snow? Just a thought. Grasping at straws. Playing with ideas.
I have to say I like the way Prichard talked up Wes' father and uncle. He really gave them the respect they deserve. I will say we were both shocked when Taz said no, as he was the one talking Wes up in the video. Wes' time on mic was a bit mellow-dramatic for me, but this is TNA. Actually, the mic work was odd, but the tears in his eyes showed a passion that so few give. The fans chanting 'Yes' for Wes, and 'He is ready!' was impressive. Those Impact Zone fans have been so dead for so long, to hear them care about someone, and want something is really nice. But this segment won me over with Wes' red eyes. Yes, he knew he had the contract with TNA, has had a contract with TNA, but he was so obviously overcome with emotion in that segment. When he was hugging everyone and celebrating in the ring, it was all very real to him, and that made this segment carry a lot of weight that TNA segments rarely do.
Backstage Segment > B
The tension between Bully and Hogan is great! Not the biggest Hogan fan right now, but his chemistry with Bully is bringing out a passionate side of Hogan that feels terribly fake most of the rest of the time.
Backstage Segment > B
ODB did a really solid job with this segment. It was short and to the point, but she showed emotion for her hubby. It was odd to see ODB so quiet and calm, but it worked well.
Backstage Segment > D
There was some audio issues in this segment with something playing over Hogan's voice, but it was also back to Hogan feeling plastic, so I doubt we missed much.
X Division Title Match – RVD (c) vs Austin Aries > A
The first thing AI noticed in this match is how much Brian is starting to look like his father. Sorry, that jumped out at me before the bell rang. It just seemed a lot more obvious than I'd noticed in the past.
Aries did a lovely job of mocking RVD and trying to copy his moves. Actually, there was no trying to copy, Aries did copy them, and even though they were mostly avoided, he hit them correctly. Then again, this is Aries, I shouldn't expect anything less.
Aries and RVD hit some sick moves in this match. The work on and over the barrier was impressive. RVD proved how hardcore he can be in ECW, but he's not as young as he was back then. That RVD can work like this is impressive. Then again, RVD really isn't that old, he'll be 42 in a couple weeks, he's not even ten years older than Aries who is 34. Of course RVD's chill lifestyle and incredible flexibility has had to help keep him healthy, and relatively light on the injuries through the years. So many times I forget RVD isn't very old, and then when I see him hit moves in the ring, like that elevated drop kick he hit on Aries, and I forget that he's as old as he is. The man is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma wearing a singlet with a yin/yang on it.
I was so happy to hear the fans in the Impact Zone, they were loud and yelled a lot during this match, something that added so much to it. While thrilled to hear them, I still don't think staying in the Zone as much as they do is a good thing. But it did make this match that much better. Actually, I was wondering how they were going to end this one as they really need to either fish or cut bait with RVD as the X Division Champ. Personally, I think RVD is a quite inventive wrestler who could bring a lot to the X Division Title, possibly help elevating it to some of it's past glory. Hopefully this match is a step in that direction, because it was just fabulous.
Also, ending Impact with that same tension between Hogan and Bully was a nice way to wrap up the show and continue the questions flying.
Winner – RVD via DQ (12:30)
I have to admit that I might watch Ink Master when it's aired on Tuesday, rather than waiting for the replay after Impact next week. I watched the first season, and really enjoyed the show, so it was a natural that I tune in for this season, but having Hardy on adds interest for me. My youngest is nine and enthralled with tattoos and tattooing shows, and she loves wrestling, so I will absolutely be watching this episode with her next week. Honestly, I'm pretty impressed with the crossover, I just hope Hardy's tattoo doesn't end up looking as crappy as some of those MMA fighters from this week's show!