Thursday, 3 October 2013

TNA Impact Wrestling 26th September 2013 Review

Whilst the in ring action continues to be strong on TNA's Impact Wrestling, the booking continues to be questionable. This means I find Impact Wrestling to be a frustrating watch, for the most part, as the talent is there, but they just need creative to start coming up with right ideas for the right people!

Six Man Tag Team Match: 

Main Event Mafia 



Aces & Eights 


The show started with World Heavyweight Champion and President of Aces & Eights Bully Ray, accompanied to the ring by Brooke Tessmacher, talking over the end of last week's Impact Wrestling, where Dixie Carter turned on AJ Styles, saying that he didn't need to worry about beating Styles at Bound For Glory because Carter was so far into Style's head that Ray already had the match won. It felt strange that this was the only real continuation of their feud which has barely even got going yet, with only three shows left to build for the main event of what is supposed to be their biggest show of the year, TNA are cutting it fine. With Bully about to switch gears, he was interrupted by the rest of his faction, as Knux, Wes Brisco and Garrett Bischoff headed down to the ring. I was fairly impressed with Knux's delivery of his promo to Ray, about how he should be putting his brother in Aces & Eights first, instead of Tessmacher. Bully's reaction here was perfectly pitched as he continues to be spot on in almost all aspects of his performance, putting all three members in their place, announcing that if they lost the six man tag with Main Event Mafia later in the night, then they would be removed from the club. I quite liked this opening segment, and if I'm honest I'm enjoying the breakdown of Aces and Eights storyline, but there is just too much going on at the same time, that it's difficult to care about any of it.

The build for the main event continued, with a number of backstage segments. First up was a lovely little segment, with the Main Event Mafia that saw Sting and Samoa Joe acting as mentors to Magnus, as it seemed that EGO were beginning to get into the head of the Brit. There was also a nicely placed tease of tension within the group, with the whole scene working for me. The complete opposite for me was a pep talk between Aces & Eights members Knux, Brisco and Bischoff, with some truly horrendous acting from Brisco and Bischoff, that completely took me out of the moment. Luckily, it was long before EGO turned up, with Bobby Roode, Christopher Daniels and Kazarian being caught backstage airing their grievances with Main Event Mafia, including a fantastically hilarious promo from Christopher Daniels. Those three guys could probably have a show on their own and I'd still watch.

The main event started with Magnus dominating for the Mafia, including a really nice looking suplex on Garrett Bischoff, before things quickly broke down with both sides fighting around ringside. Main Event Mafia were quick to dominate, as the three Aces and Eights guys continue to come off as inferior, rather than as equals to their opponents. Unfortunately, it was time for another interference from EGO, where absolutely nothing happened. They turned up, attacked Magnus and then ran away, with the match more or less continuing as normal. I'm not quite sure what EGO were meant to actually be doing here, it just made the match overly busy, and is beginning to confuse the flow of the stories. I know they're setting up for a potential feud between the Mafia and EGO for the future, but they should rap up the long running feud between the Mafia and Aces and Eights before trying to build a new feud.

The attack did however give the guys in Aces & Eights a chance to show us what they can do, and they did a surprisingly good job working over Sting, whilst the moves were basic, it was enough for the situation, with Knux continuing to look like the standout of their group, working the crowd quite effectively, with Sting doing a good job of looking old and jittery, well, because he is old and jittery. Of course, it was all building to hot tag to Samoa Joe, who came out and destroyed all the members of the opposition, and when they tried to mount a comeback by triple teaming Joe, it was quickly quashed by Sting delivering Stinger Splash to everyone, before Joe locked in Rear Naked Choke on Brisco to pick up the submission victory. I wasn't sure about this one heading in, but it turned out be a good fun bout that played to everyone strengths, and despite the EGO interference which I could've done without, it was an enjoyable outing that told a solid story. After the bout, Bully Ray was back out, and demanded that Brisco hand over his jacket and leave the group, and with Brisco refusing to do so, Ray was quick to punish him, hitting a vicious looking piledriver. With Brisco out, Ray forced Knux and Bischoff to remove the jacket, with Knux having to hand it over to Ray. I was kind of uninterested with this whole segment, I just simply don't care enough about Brisco for it to mean anything, especially when we've seen bigger names like Mr. Anderson, D.O.C and Devon all leave the group recently.

Hulk Hogan Offers AJ Styles a Contract

So last week Dixie Carter turned heel on AJ Styles, and naturally this week continued that storyline, with a backstage segment between Carter and Sting opening the show. I thought this was a nice way of setting up the change in character for Carter, by involving a character that has been closely associated with her and quickly showing the change in their relationship. I thought Dixie actually did a fairly good job in this segment, getting her new role over well, but to be fair all she had to do was look at her phone and pretend she didn't want to speak to Sting, hardly a push for the TNA president. Whilst I wasn't behind this storyline at all, at this point, I was willing to give Dixie Carter a bit more time to prove herself. 

Later in the show, Hulk Hogan came out to the arena to give his thoughts on the situation. Impressively, Hogan managed to keep things short and actually make some sense. He obviously condemned Carter's actions from last week, whilst asking the crowd if they wanted to see Styles stay with TNA, which of course got a decent amount of reaction from the crowd. Hogan pleaded with Styles to listen to the crowd and stay with the company, before revealing that later tonight he would call out both Styles and Carter to fix the situation they were in. This is where I questioned the whole point of this segment. Was it just to give Hogan some more television time? Because this easily could have been bolted on to the final segment of the show, where they really could of built up Hogan's appearance throughout the show. It just seemed severely backwards to me, when they could've given some younger talent a chance to show what they can do in the ring.

After a short clip of Styles backstage, saying he was looking forward to seeing Hogan out in the ring, which was a nice way of building towards the main segment. I'm really beginning to like the styling of TNA's backstage segments and interviews, it's one of the few  things they are doing different from the competition and it does stand out. In the final segment of the show, Hogan came out to call out AJ Styles with a contract in hand, this time Hogan really struggled with he had to say and at times it was quite difficult to watch, especially when he couldn't remember the name of the companies biggest pay-per-view of the year, instead saying Styles was going to main event “T for TNA”, who the hell knows what that is. With Styles coming out Hogan plugged Hulkamania one more time, before offering Styles the contract, with Styles signed without much persuasion. It felt like Hogan felt like he needed to be there to help Styles get over with the audience, and he clearly didn't. Styles has been around TNA long enough now that he should be seen as a star in his own right, but let's not go into the amount of times TNA screwed up with Styles.

Pretty much straight after Styles had signed the contract, out came Dixie Carter, doing her best Stephanie McMahon impression. Unfortunately, Carter's best isn't very good and this already ropey storyline was dragged down pretty quickly. She ripped up Styles' contract, and even made Styles leave the we're left with Carter and Hogan in the ring...which one of these is facing Bully Ray at Bound For Glory? Carter went on to give Hogan an ultimatum, saying that either he get on her side, or she will make him leave the company. I'm just not interested in this story at all, Carter isn't a strong enough actress to carry off the roll that she's been given, she genuinely seems to be a nice person and the bad boss act just doesn't suit her, in my opinion. However, she did get a fair amount of heat from Little Rock crowd, but will people continue to tune in to see this storyline play out? I'm not so sure. Will people be buying Bound For Glory to see the antics of the dastardly Dixie Carter? I doubt it.

Best of the Rest (In The World)

Austin Aries was also on Impact Wrestling this week, first turning up in another backstage segment, that was used to hype an appearance from Aries later in the night, with Aries on top form. Later on, Aries came out to the arena, discussing what he'd be doing after coming up short in the Bound For Glory Series, saying it didn't matter where he'd be on the card at Bound For Glory, he'd make sure that he'd be the main event. Another strong promo from Aries was cut short by the returning Kenny King. I was really impressed by King on the mic, we haven't seen him do a lot of talking in TNA and it was a good reminder of the skills that he possesses. King ran over when he won the X-Division championship, as well as the how he lost the belt to Chris Sabin and when Aries used the Manik gimmick to steal the belt. It felt like they might be building towards a possible Bound For Glory match between the two, however they quickly hotshotted it, with Aries challenging King to a fight right there, King refused before punching Aries and attempted to lay the boots in before running away, once Aries launched a comeback. Aries called for a referee and the match was on.

Before the referee even managed to get down to the ring, Aries had jumped on King and began laying in the punches. Once we came back from the advert break, King was bleeding quite profusely, I'm not sure whether this was an accidental occurrence or whether there was a blade job, but the blood certainly felt oddly out of place in this bout and definitely took away from the action in the ring. The action itself was of a pretty high standard, with Aries and King fitting each others styles well. After both men had had spells in control, the match really gort going when King reversed a Brainbuster attempt from Aries, and they launched into an ROH style sequence with a number of stiff looking kicks and strikes, finishing up with a Spinning Kick from King for a near fall. The finish saw Aries dodge a front kick, sending King into the tunrbuckles, before Aries delivered a trademark drop kick and hit the Brainbuster to pick up the pinfall victory. For the time this bout got it was a very strong contest, lasting only five minutes, but I think given extra time and sans the blood this could have been outstanding, and should have been allowed to build to Bound For Glory, however a backstage segment between Aries and Chris Sabin teased they might go in that direction instead.

Talking of Chris Sabin, he was in action against Manik with Manik's X-Division Championship on the line, and Sabin's girlfriend Velvet Sky at ringside. Those expecting a particularly highflying spotfest would have been a little disapointed with this one, as the bout was storyline heavy, including Sabin attempting to remove the mask of Manik (a bit pointless seeing as we've already seen his face!) and then feigning a knee injury linking back to the story they were running a few months back with Sabin chasing the World Heavyweight title. Sabin was on the outside with Sky selling the injury for sometime, before sending Sky into Manik to take advantage of the situation. The action did pick up a little later on, with Manik spending a lot of the bout in control and showing off a nice variety of highflying moves.The finish Sabin using Sky as distraction, attempting to get a sneaky roll up pin cover on Manik, with Manik quickly reversing into one of his own and picking up the pinfall victory to retain the X Division Championship. I thought this was pretty decent match overall with some nice action, but once again know that these two could put on a hell of a lot better, if not hampered with a fairly silly story to tell between Sabin and Sky.

Elsewhere, there was a fun six person tag team bout, with Joseph Park, Eric Young & Knockout's Champion ODB teaming up to take on The Bro-Mans and Gail Kim. Joseph Park has really found a new lease of life working alongside Eric Young, and his facial expressions in this one were spot on, just pure comedy the whole way through the match. Even when The Bro-Mans were trying to work over Park it was funny, with both Jessie Godderz and Robbie E doing a great job as comedy heels. They pulled on several wrestling cliches, like Park building for a hot tag, only for the referee to be distracted by the heels, which was done so well that it was difficult to point out how often it has been done before. The finish saw the face team dominating Jessie with all three faces hitting diving moves on the former Big Brother USA star, with ODB picking up the pinfall victory. Wrestling should always be fun to watch, and this was from start to finish, it's difficult to find anything to moan about here!


My final thoughts on this week's Impact Wrestling

1. TNA likes to complicate things, it's Bully Ray vs AJ Styles at Bound For Glory focus on that and build something quickly.

2. I've never wanted someone to leave a company, as badly as I want Hulk Hogan to leave TNA.

3. Austin Aries and Kenny King should have been ten minutes long and on Bound For Glory.

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