Saturday, 15 February 2014

TNA Impact Wrestling TV Taping 30th January 2014 Review

For those who keep up on our Youtube and Twitter then you'll know that I was in attendance for the recent TNA Impact Wrestling tapings at the Hydro Arena in Glasgow. It's been a while since then, but I decided to hold off writing my review until after the shows had aired on television, so that I could compare what was shown on television to what I witnessed inside the arena.

Before I start, I need to say that there was a LOT of long gaps in between the action happening in the arena. Apparently this was down to a problem with the screen not functioning properly, and did give the show a slight dragging effect throughout at points within the night, as well as some confusion as to what was actually going on.

The show kicked off with the commentary team of Jeremy Borash and Mike Tenay making their way down to ring side. Christy Hemme was out on ring announcing duties, which I have no complaints about!

I was surprised that there was no Xplosion taping or dark match before the first episode of Impact, as general logic would suggest a pacy X-Division bout would go on first to get the crowd even more riled up.

One of the only video packages that worked was the opening one, which was essentially a recap video of the previous weeks Impact Wrestling, with Magnus defeating Sting and tearing up his TNA contract. Obviously, they needed to show this package on TV, but it did feel a bit of a kick in the teeth for the fans who had brought their tickets with the hopes of seeing Sting (although they should read the promotional material before buying tickets!)

A lengthy opening in ring segment followed this up, with TNA World Heavyweight Champion Magnus, Ethan Carter III and Rockstar Spud coming out to a tremendous amount of heat from the Scottish audience. As with any professional wrestling show, the crowd has the opportunity to make or break a show, and their constant enthusiasm throughout really helped this show. Magnus seems to have settled into his role as World Champion fairly comfortable and looks in control of the crowd as he easily worked them, getting some extra cheap heat by trashing Scotland, whilst Spud continues to play his role down to a tee! Not sure how I feel about the dissention between Magnus and EC3, it's in-bickering like this that is currently harming WWE's Authority stable, I'd much rather see a cohesive heel faction, at least for a good few months yet. Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe interrupt and after some back and forth, a tag match is booked with Angle teaming with Joe to take on Magnus and EC3, with a stipulation being added that if Joe or Angle pinned or submitted Magnus they would become Number One Contender. Dixie Carter was out trying to stop the stipulation, with the idea being that she doesn't believe in her champion to get the job done, where have we seen that before?

1. Tag Team Match: 

Gail Kim & Lei'D Tapa 


Knockout's Champion Madison Rayne & Velvet Sky

Remember that pacy opening contest I spoke about earlier? Well, this wasn't it. This was over in a matter of seconds, with Sky picking up the victory for her team with In Your Face. These women could have done a lot better if given even just a few more minutes, so it was a shame to see this end quickly

Winners: Knockout's Champion Madison Rayne & Velvet Sky

Straight after the bout, Sky's boyfriend Chris Sabin was out with a few questions to ask. Sabin's character is really coming together lately and he looks a lot more comfortable in this role than the one he was portray during his short World title run last year and asking Sky if it was "her time of the month" generated a good mixture laughs and heat. Sky ended the segment by yelling "We're through!" for a nice pop. An enjoyable segment, that would have been even better if Velvet had just had a lengthy tag bout!

Up next, James Storm was out to call out former tag team partner Gunner. The two had some back and forth on the mic, and whilst it's both are obviously competent on the stick (Gunner especially has improved a lot recently) the content of the promos weren't especially friendly to their location, with a lot of references to the US Armed Forces. Scotland is apparently the bizarro land, as a small USA chant broke out. They were interrupted by Bad Influence (Christopher Daniels and Kazarian, read our Daniels interview here), who through some fantastic insults at Gunner & Storm ("Monkey Fart" anyone?). A tag match was made between the two sides with Gunner's Feast or Fired briefcase on the line.

World Heavyweight Championship Feast or Fired Tag Team Match: 

Gunner (B) & James Storm 


Bad Influence

A decent, if not a little basic tag team encounter, it at least got a decent length for a TV contest at just under ten minutes. Bad Influence spent most of the match working over Gunner, until an ill-fated Angel's Wings attempt from Daniels (when was the last time he used that?), lead to the hot tag to Storm, with Storm working the crowd up quite nicely. The finish saw a few botches and timing mistakes, although it was a nice idea in principle, Kazarian couldn't reach Daniels to make the tag with Storm setting Daniels up for the Eye of the Storm. Once it all came together, Storm hit the Last Call Superkick to Daniels on the apron and Gunner hit a Diving Headbutt onto Kazarian (I imagine as an homage to the Dynamite Kid as I've never seen Gunner use this before) to allow Gunner and Storm to pick up the victory and Gunner to retain his World Title Feast or Fired Briefcase. After teasing tension between the winners at the end, they instead decided to celebrate.

Winners: Gunner & James Storm

Rockstar Spud was out for the second time in the evening, as he turns up to call out The Wolves, Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards, in an attempt to find out who the mystery investor is. My love for Spud in this role is becoming almost an obsession, all his expressions are spot on. It doesn't take long before things get psychical and The Wolves take out  Spud  with their Alarm Clock move. Watching this episode back it's noticeable that Richards is more comfortable in his role than Edwards, who seemed desperate to laugh throughout the whole segment on TV. It wasn't much more of The Wolves on the show, it would've been great to see them in tag action, especially after seeing Richards last year at PCW.

3. TNA World Tag Team Championship Match: 

The Bro-Mans with DJ Zema 


Eric Young & Abyss

Again some more basic tag team action, with Robbie E and Jessie Godderz of the Bro-Mans working over Eric Young for two or three minutes, before the hot tag to Abyss saw the match break down, with Abyss attacking referee Steve Lynsky, leading to the DQ finish. This was less a match and more of a set-up for what was about to come.

Winners via Disqualification: The Bro-Mans 

After the bout, Eric Young went on to challenge Abyss to a Monster's Ball match "next week", which of course meant we'd be seeing the match tonight. The crowd seemed very excited at this fact.

On-screen they showed a continuation of the Samuel Shaw/Christy Hemme saga, which lead into the reveal of somekind of shrine to Hemme. It was unclear when this had happened, as Hemme was at ringside and this footage was clearly supposed to be from Shaw's home in the US.

The segments continued as Bully Ray headed down to ringside pushing a coffin in front of him. This was the strongest segment of the night in my opinion, simply because Bully Ray is such a fantastic heel. There's a reason he was vote ATPW Heel of 2013! Bully Ray challenged Anderson to a Casket Match at some undefined point in the future. Anderson was quickly out, as Bully threw some fantastic barbs "I'm gonna piledrive your wife and kids", which got the desired reaction from the crowd before the brawled around ringside.

There was more bickering between Magnus and EC3 as the big screen began to flicker into life.

4. Tag Team Match: 

TNA World Heavyweight Champion Magnus & Ethan Carter III 


Samoa Joe & Kurt Angle: 

Another tag team match! Alongside some more basic tag team storytelling, there were a few added things that made this one stand out from the rest of the action so far. Despite his injuries, Kurt Angle looked crisp in the ring, including a nice couple of suplexes on EC3. As the match settled into a regular rhythm, it was Angle who took the brunt of the offence from EC3 and Magnus, with some stellar heel work by Magnus as he taunted Joe, which really got the crowd going. The finish was well worked as well, with Angle pulling EC3 out of the ring for a Belly to Belly suplex on the outside, allowing Joe to eventually lock in the Rear Naked Choke to pick up the submission victory and become Number one Contender to Magnus' World Heavyweight Championship. It didn't light the world a light, but at least the finish was clean and the action decent.

Winners: Kurt Angle & Samoa Joe

Dixie Carter was out again soon after, with some words for Magnus, though she was quickly interupted by Samoe Joe who cut a short promo reminding Magnus that "he tapped out" and to "shine up the belt because Joe is gonna kill you" both of which garnered large chants for the live crowd. Kurt Angle also got in on the action thanking the live audience. Carter was quick to call out the rumoured new investor, with the lights cutting out, and when they came back on The Wolves stood a top the entrance ramp with former WWE wrestler MVP walking out chain in hand to complete the first episodes taping.

5. Singles Match: 



Alpha Female

I'd have to say I pretty disappointed with this match, the crowd was notably tired by the time this one got going and the action did very little help the fact. A lot of sloppy slams and other such moves, with ODB and Alpha Female never seeming to connect in the ring. The finish came when both ODB and Female put their hands on referee Steve Lynsky (poor Steve!) leading to a double DQ finish. I'm not sure if TNA will follow up on this, but both women will need to up their game.

Winner: Double DQ

Kicking off the second taping, X-Division Champion Austin Aries was out for an in-ring promo, as he talked up his past achievements and how he'd challenge for the World title again soon. Aries was distracted by The Bro-Mans, allowing DJ Zema Ion to jump Aries from behind with his Feast or Fired briefcase and would immediately cash-in for an X-Division title shot.

6. X-Division Championship Match: 

Austin Aries (C) 


DJ Zema Ion

Another disappointing contest, as Aries batted off Ion in just over two minutes, finishing him off with Brainbuster. We know that these two are capable of much, much more when given a longer amount of time, and therefore it's a shame we didn't get to see them do so, especially when the X-Division looks so thin on the ground.

Winner and still X-Division Champion: Austin Aries

Curry Man came to the ring next and seemed to be Bully Ray's sacrificial lamb. It's a shame the lead up video with Bully backstage wasn't played, as this segment made very little sense to the live audience. Ray quickly dispatched of Curry Man with a Piledriver, and then placed him in the coffin. A nice little bit of build up to Bully's upcoming bout with Mr. Anderson.

7. Monster's Ball Match: 



Eric Young

An enjoyable hardcore bout, with everything that you'd expect in a Monster's Ball encounter. Plenty of plunder throughout, plenty of nasty looking spots and the welcome return of Janice, who even got her own chant that evening. Crowd was very much behind Eric Young, who was very over with the Glasgow faithful. This bout was all about the spots, Young blocking a big splash attempt by Abyss by giving him a chair in the nether regions, Abyss sending EY head first into a chair in the corner, a sunset flip from EY that sent Abyss onto a pile of thumb tacks. The finish was heavily rooted in the Abyss/Joseph Park storyline, with EY managing to remove Abyss' mask revealing Park before Park hit a Blackhole Slam to pick up the victory.

Winner: Abyss

MVP was out next to cut a promo about his return earlier in the night. Personally, I thought the promo was too long, although there were a lot of enjoyable moments and I was glad to see MVP back. He talked about his time away, as well as how he was tired of maniacal bosses running the show. This seemed a bit like a shot at WWE, although whilst TNA is running almost the exact same storyline it felt very odd. Rockstar Spud was out again, asking MVP to a meeting with Dixie Carter. Before he left however, MVP booked Magnus in a match with Kurt Angle tonight. No complaints here.

8. Singles Match: 

TNA World Heavyweight Champion Magnus


Kurt Angle

Well, I said no complaints. But this was another disapointment, although it had been clear all night that Angle had been working with some kind of injury. After a few minutes of decent back and forth between Angle and Magnus, EC3 was out to break up Angle's Ankle Lock to cause the DQ finish.

Winner: Kurt Angle

Afterwards, EC3 worked over Angle's knee, first with a steel chair and then locking in some kind of leg lock submission hold. Again, it would have been nice to see Angle and Magnus tear it up, but if Angle is hurt than this is probably the best we could have hoped for and it sets up a future match with EC3 when Angle is fit and ready.

9. TNA World Heavyweight Championship Number One Contender's Match: Samoa Joe 


Bobby Roode

With no real explanation to the live crowd, another Number One Contender's match was made (this would all become clear when shown on TV) and lead to a bit of confusion amongst the audience, who were already very tired. This probably didn't live up to it's billing, with some decent back and forth action at the beginning and both men looking crisp with their offence, unfortunately it seemed to fall apart at the end. I'm not sure if either man lost their footing in the match, but there was a clear moment where no one seemed to know what was going on. Any way they quickly scrambled something together and Joe won following an Muscle Buster and another Rear Naked Choke for the victory.

Winner: Samoa Joe

Dixie Carter was out again next, alongside Rockstar Spud, as she called out MVP for another confrontation. Carter talked up that the two could work together, with a good deal of heat for the TNA President, before MVP cut her down blaming Carter for the state of TNA, as well as proclaiming her reign of terror to be over and finishing off with a staredown between the two, in a typical Impact closing segment.

After the camera's stopped rolling, and Carter had left, Spud headed back to the ring and confront MVP, ending up taking a number of MVP's signature moves, finishing off with the "Ballin'" Elbow drop, to send the crowd home "happy". I had expected a dark match seeing as the show had ended with a segment, however with The Hydro staff quick to shuffle us out of the arena that did not seem the case.

Whilst a number of the matches could have been longer, and the segments could have been shorter, I did find myself having a pretty good time at this Impact tapings. Abyss and Eric Young's Monster's Ball Match was a lot of fun, as was the first main-event tag match, anything involving Rockstar Spud or Bully Ray was also a pleasure to watch. It was a shame that The Wolves weren't involved in a match, as well as only short appearances from Austin Aries and Bad Influence. I got what I expected from my TNA experience, plenty of skits and promos, some short matches, but at least there were some clean finishes along the way. I'm interested to see what else got recorded on these shores in the next couple of weeks on Impact Wrestling.

Quick Results

1. Tag Team Match: Madison Rayne & Velvet Sky def. Gail Kim & Lei'd Tapa via Pinfall
2. World Heavyweight Championship Feast or Fired Tag Team Match: Gunner (b) & James Storm def. Bad Influence via Pinfall
3. World Tag Team Championship Match: The Bro-Mans def. Eric Young & Abyss via DQ
4. Tag Team Match: Kurt Angle & Samoa Joe def. Magnus & Ethan Carter III via Submission
5. Singles Match: ODB vs. Alpha Female ended in Double DQ
6. X-Division Championship Match: Austin Aries (C) def. DJ Zema Ion via Pinfall
7. Monster's Ball Match: Abyss def. Eric Young via Pinfall
8. Singles Match: Kurt Angle def. Magnus via DQ
9. World Heavyweight Championship Number One Contender's Match: Samoa Joe def. Bobby Roode via Submission

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