TNA Impact Wrestling Review
So here's the fallout from what was a good pay-per-view, I felt. Great wrestling, but too many title changes 'just because it's our big show'. I kinda get it, but some felt for the sake of it. Anyways, I've been ill as hell this week and i'm now armed with a keyboard and hot chocolate. It can only be time for TNA Impact…
Each match/segment will be scored with a positive (+), a negative (-), or a neutral (N). These will then be calculated to give a fair overall rating for the show.
We begin with a promo video from BFG highlighting the Cowboy's bloody victory over Roode, Devon being revealed as an Aces & Eights member, and Hardy winning the gold.
The Aces and Eights pull up on their bikes and shout lots of probably nasty stuff. We can't really hear their muffled battle cries… Their wild west style music plays throughout the arena as they strut in to the Impact Zone. Six of them stand in the ring (Nation of Domination style) while the rest of them (including the leader) are shown back at the A8 shack. The boys have a beer for Devon. And here comes the man now, walking out to some good heat, too. Not so awkward anymore.. At least we finally have a different get-up for Devon. "You sold out" chant breaks out. In a funny VKM-esque moment, he tells the crowd to "dammit, SHUT UP!". Now there's either a "You suck" chant or a "Ru-sso!" chant… (Yeh, ok, it's "You Suck")
Devon explains why he did, what he did. First it's Bubba – He remembers him putting his son through a table. Before he gets a chance to explain further, out comes Sting, Bully, and some more TNA guys. Sting introduces them to the TNA roster. Yep, that really means a fight! Brawl ensues, cue Hogan's music. Nice new red Hulkamania top!
Back from the break, Hogan tells Devon it "doesn't work that way, brother" as he and the 8's flee. Sting challenges Devon to a match tonight. Hogan then tells Devon "you're either all the way in, or all the way out, brother". Unfortunately, all I can think about now is Hulkamania running wild on the Love Sponge's other half. Cheers, Hulk. So it's Sting Vs. Devon tonight. If you hadn't followed this angle, that'd look weird on paper. In fact, it still does.
VERDICT: This was ok. Passable stuff. In fairness, I think you could have predicted this entire segment beforehand. A8's were always going to show up first, celebrate, then have a brawl. Logical, but nothing noteworthy.
Highlight package for Aries/Hardy. Really good match, but too similar to Punk/Cena storyline, and they needed to do that Aries go-home promo about 3 weeks prior. TNA jumps on the drum and bass bandwagon, unfortunately. I just think it sounds really tacky, but that's probably more a personal taste. Whatever happened to real 'hype music'? Would Rock/Austin's promo videos looked as good to drum and bass rather than 'My Way'? We also have a Jeff Hardy celebration tonight. Without meaning to be the broken record, how much cooler would that have been if he was heel Hardy doing his pre-taped promos? I stand by the fact that was the best work of his career. I'd hazard a guess this'll set up Hardy's next feud.
Aries confirms this, while eating a nice cookie.
Hogan's chatting to Anderson. He will be a part of Championship Thursday and in contention to face Hardy, along with Storm. There'll be a 3 way tonight to determine the next guy. Joseph Parkes shows up. Hogan tells the cameras to scram and asks Joseph what he saw..
TV Title match - Samoe Joe Vs. Robbie E
Why is Robbie E getting a title match? Call me old skool, but you have to earn ANY type of title match. Also, please change this gimmick. It was outdated when he debuted, I can't imagine how outdated it is now. It's never been relevant to us UK viewers, but you cater for your masses.
Joe opens by killing Robbie. He then no-sells Robbie's offence. Yep, this guy's ready for a TV title shot! Joe goes for the Muscle Buster, but that no good Robbie T holds on to Joe's leg. Joe suicide dives T for his troubles! Nice. Muscle Buster time, great sell. Now the rear-naked choke, and it's game over.
Winner: Samoa Joe
T comes in to make the save, but Joe locks him in the choke for his troubles.
VERDICT: Joe needs to be killing people again, so this is a big plus. Robbie E's a great seller, too. Trouble is, no one seems to care about him, or find him any kind of viable threat. My main gripe was this being a title match, but you knew that already. It's pretty easy booking – you have a quick 5 minute match between two guys to determine a #1 contender. If you want the match to happen tonight, so be it. Face Joe later tonight as a hook.
That Big Brother dude is lifting Tara over his head. Sorry, I still don't care one tiny bit. What a huge let down that was. I saw a promo from Jessie and I had to turn it off after 1.50 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1upLeTrON8). It's ok for a non-wrestling guy, but if you're now a wrestling guy, it's not good enough. He asks if anyone has any idea who he is. No.
VERDICT: Sorry, I really hate this guy. Not in a 'heat' kinda way, in a 'what a wasted opportunity' kinda way. I didn't really buy this Tara angle from the start, but a good payoff would have made it totally worthwhile. Her and John Morrison would have been a cool pairing.
Dippin' Chicken looks so, so good… Come here, America.
ODB/Tara up next. ODB is shouting at Eric Young over the phone, keeping him under the thumb.
Tara Vs. ODB:
ODB gets the better to begin, but ODB wants to continue her phone conversation with Eric Young. ODB sticks Jessie's face in her mammoth mammories. A sick hair pull for Tara (looks better than it sounds). And ODB is still concerned with her phone even while selling. THAT'S commitment, ladies and gentlemen. More smooching from Tara/Jessie. Bit of the dutch courage for ODB now, which ends up over the face of Jessie. TKO gets the win for ODB.
Brooke Tessmacher comes down to applaud (cos she's a FACE). She will be facing Tara next week. Weird. ODB just beat the champ…
VERDICT: Fine little TV match for what it was. I'm so confused by TNA's logic as far as title shots go, though. Not sure putting ODB over the champ in her FIRST title defence was the way forward.
Angle and AJ are backstage. AJ tells Angle he loved being tag champs. Angle reminds AJ that it's a 3 way tonight between himself, AJ and Daniels for a spot in the Championship Thursday title match.
Tag team title promo is shown from BFG. I like the way they're getting over the important aspects of the PPV without giving TOO much away. There's some stills, and some clips. I can't stand Chavo using Eddie's moves, though. I like Chavo and he's a great wrestler, but don't resort to that. Annoyingly, he can't even hit the frog splash properly.. Still think it was a bum move to put the straps on these two, especially as Kaz/Daniels have been doing such a fine job. Fortunately, according to Daniels, there'll be a rematch. He shows a bit of fire, too. Good stuff.
Chavo/Hernandez Vs. Kash/Gunner:
Our obligatory shot of Hector Guerrero. I wonder if they just use the same one every single week? Could they not just have this shot on Chavo's tron instead and save some time? I joke. Kind of.
Hernandez takes out both guys to open. Big gorilla press sends Kash down. Huge bearhug belly to belly. Love that move. It'd be better to use later in the match, though. You could lock the bearhug in for a while, then as the opponent starts to come back, bang, big throw. Would definitely be better as the heel, though, in fairness. In comes Chavo who gets beaten up by Kash/Gunner in their corner. Nice botch/miscommunication from Kash/Chavo. Didn't seem to know whether it was a whip in to the corner or ropes. Usual Taz stoned blabbering. Still kinda funny, but the novolty's wearing thin. Quick tags from Gunner/Kash, rugged offence. Stiff kick to the face of Chavo. Kash is such a badass these days, really reinvented himself. Enzeguiri by Chavo sets up the hot tag. Slingshot shoulder block followed by the clean house spot from Hernandez. Big time shoulder tackle sends Kash across the ring – love that move, wouldn't like to take it. A frog splash style crossbody from Chavo gets the fall on Kash.
VERDICT: A convincing/clean win for the new champs, in a non-title match. The way it should be at this stage. One thing that's bothering me in tag wrestling at the moment is the lack of unity. By that, I mean team names, attires, tag moves. It's almost as if they know they'll be splitting up within 3 months (generous), so what's the point? I just think they should at least make the effort to make us believe it'll last longer.
Joseph Parkes is backstage with Hulk and Sting. He wants Aces and Eights. Bully Ray turns up and thanks Sting for being on his side. Bully tells Hogan how he knows Devon like the back of his hand. He wants in on the match against Devon instead of Sting. Bully will be the 4th guy in the Champion Thursday show. Bully feels Hogan needs to start trusting him more. Sting tries to catch Bully up and resolve the tension…
They show the drum and bass Aries/Hardy promo again. Not sure we need it twice..
Ok, so I always, ALWAYS say 'I preferred Jeff's music before this one' and always end up liking it. I'm pretty sure I'm not keen on this one, though… It just feels a little lame in comparison to his others. But, check back in in a few months time and I'll be raving about it. We have pyro as Jeff holds up his title, with a load of confetti AKA more celebrations than there were at their biggest PPV of the year. That's backward. It's also worth noting that Jeff has a new title belt. It's like a cross between the current one and his Immortal world title. A big pop, followed by a lot of boo's. TNA, you have your John Cena.
Jeff does his usual promo where every sentence ends with massive emphasis. Kids are shown loving it. Yeh – Cena. Aries interrupts singing "Ceeeelebrate good times COME ON!". Quite good, too! He's armed with balloons and cookies. Aww. The Impact Zone want some, too! Aries congratulates Jeff and goes to hand him the balloons, but Jeff wasn't quick enough.. Jeff then bats the cookies in to the front row. Aries questions what that world title is, as it's not the same one he had. It's pretty cool, I have to say. Aries explains how Jeff has to learn to handle the pressure. Aries says he's going to invoke his rematch clause when he wants to and take Jeff off-guard. Austin reckons the belt is a "spitting image" of Jeff, and gobs twice on the belt. Jeff has enough and decks Aries. He goes for the Twist of Fate but Aries evades.
VERDICT: Jeff's mic skills look so stupid alongside Aries. Apart from that, it was a decent segment as Aries is always pretty strong on the mic. His verbage with the fans is always fun. Also, I look forward to the rematch.
Chris Daniels talks about his upcoming 3 way and says he'll have more of these 'delicious beverages' after the victory. I like the appletini gimmick. He's such an ass.
AJ Styles Vs. Kurt Angle Vs. Christopher Daniels – Winner goes through to Championship Thursday
The tag team double team Daniels, but AJ goes for the Styles Clash and Angle breaks it up. Tension. We can see where this is going. Angle/AJ go at it as it looks as though they're using the old "2 men in the ring, other guy sits out" routine. Has that always been the norm? I'd like to see more legit 3 ways. Angle starts kicking ass with backdrops and an array of suplexes. Styles cuts him off with a big kick to the head. Style Clash reversed in to the ankle lock early on. Daniels breaks it up with a slappy right. Angle takes a break after being thrown shoulder first in to the ring post. Daniels is now in control. 'Final Cut' gets a close fall. Taz tells us King Mo did a 'great job' at BFG. I want Mo's job. Rest hold from Daniels, Styles fights back and Angle comes in and cleans house. AJ nails Kurt with the springboard forearm. Daniels with a picture perfect blue thunder powerbomb. Angle turns out a t-bone suplex for the first time in a little while on Daniels, but AJ knocks him down with the Pele kick. All 3 down. AJ looks for the springboard 450 but hits a moonsault to the outside on Daniels instead! Nice! Taz gets over how risky the move is – good call. AJ gets barged back to the outside and Angle hits the Angle Slam for the win.
Winner: Kurt Angle
VERDICT: Ending felt a little contrived, but it was a good match as you'd expect from these 3. Obviously teasing Angle/AJ splitting. Wouldn't be surprised to see AJ turn heel. I'm in the minority that thought AJ was at his most interesting when he was mentored by Flair. He's just so bland character-wise.
We see Matt Morgan's return, coming to the aid of Joey Ryan.
Ryan is backstage with Morgan and introduces himself to Hogan. Hogan asks why he'd ruin the biggest PPV of the year. Hogan goes on to break kayfabe talking about how creative thought he was hot one week and cold the next. Morgan backs Hogan against the wall and tells him he'll take all of that and shove it up Hogan's ass. Great, another Hogan insertion image in my head. Thanks, Morg.
Storm is in the Impact Zone, and he's in a damn suit! I'm not sure of the significance of this, but there you go.
Highlight package of Storm/Roode. Holy fuck, Storm bled like a trooper. I'm not a lover of the blood ban in WWE, but less is definitely more in this case. It looks shocking again.
Storms come down and puts over his match at BFG. He pulls out a piece of paper that is infact his 'bucket list'. Great idea, very original! He makes it known that he wants that world title back. Cue Bobby Roode. Roode's still selling as he walks down the aisle, nice touch. Need more of that. And now the crowd want to ruin the segment by doing the dead 'WHAT?' chant. Grow up. It's DEAD – MOVE ON. Storm's shirt is really f'n cool. I want it. Roode compliments Storm so the Cowboy asks for a chair so Roode can sit down and kiss his ass. Funny. This riles Roode up and he talks about how he was Beer Money. Basically, without him, he wouldn't have been a world champion. Roode thinks deep down, Storm knows Roode will always be the better man. Storm doesn't care and hits the Last Call superkick.
VERDICT: Segment of the night so far. A legit long feud, a good story, and an original idea with the bucket list. Storm does a wonderful job being a pro wrestler, but still one of 'the people'. This was well paced and got intense when it needed to. Good job.
We see highlights from Sting's HOF induction. Some pleasant clips from Luger, Dixie, and the man himself. Seemed very sincere.
Devon Vs. Sting
All Aces & Eights members enter from backstage, which is the right thing to do. Sting has his cool pink attire. I'm kinda surprised they haven't done a Jeff Hardy/Sting team at some point. Devon's just wearing plain back. He could at least gimmick it up a little bit. He still looks far too Devon. Does any of this make any sense?
Brawl kicks things off. Sting gets roughneck with stomps to the fingers and rakes of the eye. The two botch a Cactus style clothesline, so Sting unceremoniously dumps Devon outside instead. During the break, Sting hit Devon with a chair, but Earl Hebner despite staring right at it, mustn't have seen anything! Those damn bias TNA refs! Devon is now in control, though. Punch/kickfest commences. After lots of slow offence, Devon misses a headbutt off the 2nd rope. Comeback by Sting. Stinger Splash to the back connects, followed by the Scorpion Death Drop. Sting turns Devon over for the Scorpion Death Lock, but, of course, here come the Aces and Eights.
Winner: No contest
VERDICT: Uhh this was difficult to watch. Storyline wise, it makes sense for this match to happen. But Sting wrestling only works against either someone who can move around for him (an AJ Styles, for example), or someone who is perceived as a legend (Flair/Hogan), as the anticipation covers up the plodding match. Devon is neither. I totally understand they're holding off the Devon/Bully match for PPV, though.
Here come TNA, lead by Anderson and Garrett. Right. We see the same brawl we saw that opened the show. But here comes the Bully with a baseball bat to scare that nasty gang away.
OVERALL VERDICT: This was a bit of a snorefest for me. The idea of a TV show is to further storylines, create interest for next week, but without giving too much away for the PPV's. TNA did the latter, but for this viewer, they did not check the first two boxes. I actually found myself wanting the show to hurry up towards the end, which is never a great sign. This review is riddled with 'neutrals' so the outcome is a foregone conclusion. But let me tell you, it's mighty close to being a 'negative'.
If you like what you read, follow me on Twitter @FNBodySlams – Thanks, guys.