Monday, 12 August 2013

TNA Impact Wrestling 8th August 2013 Review



This week’s Impact Wrestling was the go-home show for next week’s special edition of Impact Wrestling, Hardcore Justice. I have to say this wasn’t a particularly strong episode of Impact Wrestling, as whilst some of my issues with the programme were put aside this week with Chris Sabin getting a bit more focus as World Heavyweight Champion, some new issues seemed to crop up, with an over reliance on recaps (I think we saw Tito Ortiz’s return about three or four times) and the number of dusty or screwjob finishes getting a bit silly by the end of the show. I understand that this is TV and that not all finishes will be clean, but when all three Bound For Glory Series matches finish with either inference, disqualification or countout it does get a little tiresome.

Tag Team Match: 

World Heavyweight Champion 

Chris Sabin & Kurt Angle 

with Hall of Famer Sting 

vs. 

Aces and Eights

 (Team 3D)





We started the show this week with Aces and Eight’s President Bully Ray in the ring, discussing his tag team match in the main event of show, where he would team with Devon to take on World Heavyweight Champion Chris Sabin and a member of Aces and Eights, before calling out Chris Sabin for their contract signing for next week’s Steel Cage title match. Whilst Bully Ray continues to stay strong with his promos, the same could not be said for Chris Sabin. After the fantastic promo he pulled out the bag before Destination X, I had hope that Sabin could be a strong World Heavyweight Champion, however his work this week was just not believable. His attempts at John Cena type potty humour just didn’t sit right and I don’t even think he is sure about his character, which was made clearer by Bully who has his character spot on. Vice President of the Knockout’s Brooke Hogan then came out to open the Contract signing, and remove the spotlight from the World Heavyweight Champion once more. It was revealed that due to some contract loophole, if Bully Ray didn’t win the Steel Cage match at Hardcore Justice, he wouldn’t receive another shot at the title whilst Sabin was still Champion, sort of making it obvious that Bully would be winning back the title, if it wasn’t already clear from the half-hearted run TNA have given Sabin. Hopefully this is the last time Bully and Brooke are in the same ring, but I think that is wishful thinking.

The tag team main event was built up throughout the show, with a number of backstage segments. Firstly, Chris Sabin met with Main Event Mafia’s Hall of Famer Sting and Kurt Angle. With Sabin saying he had a plan for the match, if the Main Event Mafia trusted him. It was nice to see Sabin at least on the same level as Angle and Sting, who are marketed as two of TNA’s biggest stars and was probably the best big of work TNA has done with Sabin since he won the title, four weeks ago. Elsewhere Aces and Eight’s Team 3D prepared for their match, by rubbishing Sabin’s credentials and arguing about the amount of times they’d won various tag team championships, whilst the segment was humorous, it undid all the good work of the previous segment.

With the match about to start it was revealed that Sabin’s partner would be Sting, however with the Hall of Famer making his way to the ring, Kurt Angle blindsided Team 3D and it was revealed that he was in fact Sabin’s partner. It was an intriguing start to the match, but it clearly deflated the crowd who seemed excited to see a rare Impact Wrestling match for Sting. Once the match settled down, we saw some nice team work from Angle and Sabin, before Team 3D took control of the match keeping Sabin in their corner and working quick tags. For me, this was backwards to how the match should have been, as I would have had Angle being the one worked over by Team 3D, building to a hot tag to the World Heavyweight Champion, which would have done Sabin the world of good. After the hot tag, Angle took down both Bully and Devon, truly looking like the star of his team with a near fall on Bully after an Angle Slam.


After Sabin had blind tagged himself into the match, we got the most exciting part of the match, seeing Angle take a 3D from Bully and Devon, before Devon went to get Team 3D’s signature weapon, a table. After Bully had managed to put himself through the table, Sabin took out Devon, before hitting a diving crossbody to get the pinfall victory for his team. Whilst the crossbody was a bit of a weak finish, the moments leading up to it worked well, and Sabin getting the pinfall was the best decision TNA could have made, as it at least gave him a shred of credibility heading into his title defence next week. Whilst the bout was decent, when taken out of context, I only served as a reminder that I’ve got numerous Team 3D vs. Motor City Machine Guns matches on DVD that I could be watching instead.

Bound For Glory Series Match: 

Christopher Daniels 

vs. 

Kazarian




The biggest Bound For Glory Series match of the evening saw Bad Influence face off against each other. The whole story going into this one and coming out of it was fantastic, and really showed that TNA are capable getting a story spot on. With Christopher Daniels and Kazarian both cutting strong backstage promos, throwing out the reasons as to why they would fight each other tonight, it seemed extremely plausible that the match would actually go ahead, building my anticipation for a fantastic battle between the two partners. Daniels and Kazarian have consistently been the most entertaining thing about Impact Wrestling most weeks and deserved the spotlight that this match afforded them.

We started the match, and Daniels and Kazarian did indeed begin to wrestle each other, with some strong chain wrestling that looked to be building to classic TNA contest. With no man, getting the upperhand for very long, the idea that these two are well matched was coming over nice and strong. However, the match was over quicker than expected, after some pushing and shoving from both men, they looked each other for a moment, before simultaneously exiting the ring and allowing themselves to be counted out, picking up two points each in the Bound For Glory Series in the process. Whilst it was a little annoying to see the match end in such a fashion, what was to come made sense of it all.

With Bad Influence congratulating each other on the entrance ramp, Bobby Roode turned up with a steel chair (We’d already seen Roode once in the night, more on that later). Just when it looked like Roode was about to take out Bad Influence, he dropped the chair and headed to the ring. Roode went on to cut a superb promo, about how he and Bad Influence had been forgotten about by everyone, because of stuff like Aces and Eights and the Main Event Mafia. It worked so well because everything Roode was saying was completely correct, TNA should be focusing on guys like Roode, Daniels and Kaz, instead of the likes of Rampage Jackson and Tito Ortiz. They claimed they now have the numbers advantage in the Bound For Glory Series, bringing something extra to the Series that had begun to look pretty predictable.


With Roode and Bad Influence reunited after their time in Fortune together, I’m interested to see what effect they have on the Bound For Glory Series. Personally, I still don’t feel like any of these guys is going to make it into the final four, but they will certainly all be close. We’ve seen Bad Influence try to mix things up with the Main Event Mafia and Aces & Eight’s before, in trying to recruit AJ Styles, so with Bobby Roode now part of the group, TNA will need to book them strongly to start with, to allow them to look like a threat to the two larger groups, before eventually have them crumble under the weight of their own egos, with each man going into business for himself. I wouldn’t be surprised if at Bound For Glory these three are involved in a three way contest, before Daniels and Kaz go into a highly anticipated angle heading into the winter.

Best of the Rest (In The World) 




Elsewhere, in another Bound For Glory Series match, Aces and Eight’s Vice President Mr. Anderson faced off against Main Event Mafia’s Magnus. The match was decent enough, if not a little basic. As it followed the typical dominant heel, face comeback structure, with Anderson dominating, until Magnus built to a Hulk Hogan style comeback, complete with Hulking up gestures. It match struggled to keep my attention, as nothing really of note happened until the ending, there was some nice work on the outside, but apart from that the two went through the motions as they waited for Bobby Roode to make his appearance in the match.

Yes, Bobby Roode turned up in the match, and before he went on to join with Bad Influence, Roode was set to make another Impact on the Bound For Glory Series. Roode came out with a steel chair, and teased that he would be hitting Magnus, only to turn round and hit Anderson in the stomach and the back with the weapon, giving Anderson the Disqualification victory for three points and causing Magnus to be deducted ten. It’s an ending we’ve seen numerous times in wrestling over the years, but with the points on the line, it gave the attack an extra meaning. It also allows Magnus’ previous gaping lead at the head of the Series to be cut considerably making the contest look more competitive once again.

In the other Bound For Glory Series match of the night, Jeff Hardy faced off against Main Event Mafia’s Samoa Joe. Now, this should be a main event match for Impact, and given enough time has the potential to be a good contest. Similar to Anderson vs. Magnus, the match was distinctly average as Hardy and Joe phoned in the majority of the contest as they waited for interference. The highlights of the match for me came from Joe, with a solid dive to the outside through the middle ropes and some good submission transitions thrown in as well. The ending saw Mr. Anderson who was on commentary cause a distraction at ringside, allowing Hardy to break out of the Rear Near Choke and stack Joe up for seven points in the Series. Personally, I think the show would have benefited from having Hardy go over clean here, I know the internet would have a fit about Hardy beating Joe clean, but it would have allowed the dusty finishes later in the show to stand out further, and a loss to Hardy is hardly going to cause him any damage, whilst also allowing someone else to look like a contender in the BFG Series.

Also this week, the World Tag Team Champions James Storm and Gunner returned to Impact Wrestling, in their first appearance since 4th July, to team with ODB to take on The Bro-Mans and Knockout’s Champion Mickie James, in six person mixed tag action. The match was short and fun, with Robbie E and Jessie Godderz working over James Storm until the hot tag to Gunner was made. I was particularly impressed with Jessie during this bout, as he looked fairly good whilst in control of Storm, and although his selling is a little goofy it fits the teams gimmick well, he’s definitely improved since we last saw him. The ending saw The Bro-Mans look to be hitting Gunner with some sort of tag team finisher, only for Robbie E to receive a Last Call Superkick from Storm, and Jessie to jump into the waiting arms of Gunner as Storm & Gunner hit their tag team finisher for the victory for them and ODB. With Gail Kim coming out to attack ODB from behind, having to be removed by the referee, only for Mickie to do the same to ODB, it looks like we have the makings of a classic women’s three way bout on our hands.



Tito Ortiz also made another appearance this week, many people would probably put this higher in the review, but in all honesty, I just couldn’t care about Ortiz. With Ortiz coming to explain why he turned up in TNA, he was interrupt by Kurt Angle, in a deja vew moment from Rampage Jackson’s debut a few months ago, as Angle went over the whole respect verbiage again. With Bully Ray coming out to rescue the segment telling Angle and Ortiz he didn’t respect either of them to close the segment. I have no idea what the point of this was, or how Ortiz being in TNA will benefit the organisation in the slightest.

We also saw the return of Taz to commentary desk this week, as at the top of the show, he, Mr. Anderson and Bully Ray kicked Mike Tenay out of the building. Taz joined Jeremy Borash, and for half of the show Mr. Anderson on commentary. It was a bizarre commentary duo that really gel and felt awkward for most of the broadcast. Why TNA decided to re-sign Taz, and not just let Borash step up to position of commentator alongside Tenay I have no idea. His contract could easily have allowed them to keep a few of the wrestlers they released or even bring in a few more from outside the company.

Finally....


What did I learn from Impact Wrestling this week?

1. For every step forward TNA have taken for Chris Sabin as World Heavyweight Champion, they've  taken at least two more in the opposite direction.

2. Making it even more frustrating when they pull off a great one episode story with Bad Influence and Bobby Roode, that showed forward planning and booking intelligence.

3. Hulk Hogan hasn't appeared on TNA television for two weeks, and I'm not missing him at all.

Bound For Glory Series Standings


1. Magnus - 39 Points (Non-Mover)



2. Samoa Joe - 26 Points (Non-Mover)

3. Mr. Anderson - 24 Points (Up One)
3. Jeff Hardy - 24 Points (Up Four) 

5. Christopher Daniels - 23 Points (Down One)

6. AJ Styles - 22 Points (Down Three)

7. Austin Aries - 21 Points (Down Three)

8. Bobby Roode - 7 Points (Non-Mover)

8. Hernandez - 7 Points (Non-Mover)


10. Kazarian - 2 Points (Non-Mover)

11. Jay Bradley - 0 Points (Down One)

12. Joseph Park - -3 Points (Non-Mover)

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