Thursday, 14 January 2016

TV REVIEW: TNA Impact Wrestling #600 (Angle vs. Galloway)

The second Impact Wrestling of 2016 bought us an Opening segment with Ethan Carter III, Tyrus and Jeff HardyEric Young challenging Bobby Roode for the King of the Mountain Championship, and the first leg of Kurt Angle's Farewell Tour as he took on Drew Galloway in the main event...but was it any good?

Fast-Forward...The show kicked off with a package recapping of the culmination of the World Title Series on last week's episode with Ethan Carter III regaining the World Heavyweight Championship, as well as promoting tonight's main event between Kurt Angle andDrew Galloway...The shitty opening titles aired again...

After taking a while to get going, the first segment with any meat to it saw Jeff Hardy interrupting Ethan Carter III celebrating his World Heavyweight Championship victory with bodyguard, Tyrus. Whilst the main bulk of the segment didn't do a whole lot for me, there were a couple of little touches that allowed this to remain entertaining. Ethan Carter III continued to perform to a high level, as he rightfully denied the now cleared Hardy a World title match, even after Hardy had called EC3 "the greatest wrestler in the world", using simple things like facial expression and intonation to bring something a little different to the table. As the segment began to drag, Carter was the one to save it, as he sang Hardy's opponent, Shynron, down to the ring. Having The Charismatic Enigma "start from the bottom" is an interesting concept, that could pay off if booked correctly, let's see if TNA can do it.

Fast-Forward...Jeff Hardy squashed Shynron in a couple of minutes to begin his quest for the Gold...Jeremy Borash interviewed The Dollhouse, with Marti Belle and Awesome Kong both doing some decent work on the mic, before The Beautiful People's Madison Rayne and Velvet Sky attacked the group to start a street fight...

The Street Fight between Awesome Kong and Jade of The Dollhouse (with Marti Belle & Rebel at ringside) and The Beautiful People's Madison Rayne and Velvet Sky had it's moments, but struggled to produce anything that was particularly memorable. For me, the girls didn't bring half as much fire as they needed to for me to buy into the feud, maybe not being helped by the fact that this portion of the feud only began last week and wasn't ready to have a gimmick slapped on it. Under the Street Fight rules it was hard to understand why Rebel and Marti Belle weren't getting more involved in the action to really stack the deck against the face Madison and Velvet and make things a lot more interesting. There was enough action that was done just well enough to hold my attention, but only just.

After the return of James Storm and the reunion of Beer Money last week, this week we got a beer bash between the two. Basically this resulted in Storm and Bobby Roode drinking some beverages and saying sorry to each other for a number of things that had happened in their numerous feuds over the last few years. There was a great moment when Storm poured Roode's beer into a cup, after Roode apologised for hitting his former rival with a glass bottle, but things did go on for a little, especially considering the crowd was deathly silent for most of it. A dynamic promo from Eric Young picked things up a little, with the over the top delivery being performed just right for the character. I'm also starting to warm to the concept of EY and Bram as a duo, and the pair riffed off each other nicely throughout.

These two could put together a decent contest in their sleep and that's pretty much what they did here. The action was enjoyable throughout, without ever feeling like either Eric Young or Bobby Roode were going to bring things up to the next level. There were opportunities to build this into a great television contest, like if their had been a bit more attention paid to Roode's Sharpshooter into Crossface combination that with a little extra build could have bought into as a much stronger near fall. I did however enjoy how Young would keep cheating to allow himself to stay on top of things, with basic tactics like the eye rake and biting. The style suited the character, whilst allowing the bigger man Roode to fight from underneath believably. The way Young won the title flowed nicely from this, after he took advantage of a brawl between James Storm and Bram distracting the referee to hit a low blow, followed up by a piledriver to win the King of the Mountain Championship. This was a good television bout, that had the potential to be a lot better.

Fast-Forward...Mike Bennett and Maria introduced themselves to Ethan Carter III and Tyrus, with tension being teased for reasons...We got a full recap of the World Title Series, all the way from Matt Hardy winning the World Heavyweight Championship at Bound for Glory...

Oh man, this segment was bad. Firstly, Huh? is a terrible name for an interview segment. It doesn't tell you what it is and doesn't sound interesting enough to make someone tune in when they see it promoted. Things here just made no sense to me. Mr. Anderson was riling up Matt Hardy for losing the World Heavyweight Championship match, but I don't know why. Hardy's wife and six-month old child were sitting in the ring during the interview and basically did nothing. Hardy would reference them once or twice, but they didn't need to be sitting in the ring for me to understand what Hardy was talking about. I'm not an idiot. Things went nowhere and got kind of awkward with a dead crowd. I hope we never have to see this kind of thing every again, but I've got a feeling it'll be back sooner or later.

Fast-Forward...Christy Hemme interviewed Drew Galloway, with Galloway promising that we'd see a spectacle in the main event...DJ Z, Eli Drake and Jessie Godderz got jobbers entrance for the bout with The Wolves & Tigre Uno...

 This had been advertised as a Showcase bout for the championship trio of The Wolves and Tigre Uno and that's pretty much what we got. Eddie Edwards worked the Wolf in peril role well, before the heels bumped around for Davey Richards and Tigre Uno did some flips. We got some decent submission stuff from Richards in there as well. The finish was poorly booked though considering what that this bout was to show off the champions, as the heel trio seemingly had the match won with Godderz locking a deep Boston Crab onto Edwards, only for DJ Z to superkick his partner (due to some prior miscommunication) allowing the Wolves to hit their Alarm Clock finish for the pinfall victory. Things didn't need to be this complicated and having The Wolves and Uno hit a series of exciting moves on one guy would have done that trio much better, whilst being three or four more times entertaining and easier to follow.

This could've been the best in-ring segment of all time (It wasn't), and it still should've been held off until next week. We'd seen both Ethan Carter III and Matt Hardy on the show already, there was no desperate need to have them come out again. As much as I've no interest in Hardy being part of the main event scene in TNA, the Last Man Standing match that was booked for next week would have benefited from this segment coming next week and the match itself coming the week after. In it's own right this wasn't a bad segment, with EC3 handling himself well again, bringing some real passion to the promo. His hatred of Hardy comes across clearly, arguably more so than what the babyface Hardy is portraying.

Fast-Forward...With 15 minutes left of the show, Kurt Angle and Drew Galloway made their entrances for the main event

A clean and enjoyable wrestling match to close the show, Kurt Angle and Drew Galloway both put in strong performances here. Whilst at times things weren't as crisp as they could have been, Galloway and Angle bought enough fire in their presentation that the handful of slips didn't cause too much of problem. Some lovely back and forth wrestling at the beginning with the former EVOLVE Champion looking to hang with the Olympic Gold Medalist, before taking on more of a brawling style later, with Galloway's frustrations being put over as the reason for this. A slick transition into a Futureshock DDT provided a solid near fall for the Scot, as a did a sweet superplex variation, whilst Angle affording The Voice of the People the opportunity to kick out of two Angle Slam, allowing Galloway to look great despite eventually losing the match. I felt the match was a little too finisher heavy towards the end, for a bout of this length, and the awkward Super Angle Slam finish did also let it down. However, this was still the strongest out that TNA has offered in 2016 so far, showing signs of promise for the rest of Kurt's "farewell tour".


 ATPW Rating - 4.19 (Average)

An improvement on last week's disappointing out, there was definitely something to find enjoyable across the show. Kurt Angle and Drew Galloway's main event was the highlight for me, and whilst I'm not sure it reached the heights that Galloway had promised in his promo (always dangerous for a talent to promise something as proactive as a "spectacle") it was a good contest, that hopefully leaves The Voice of the People in a strong position as Angle prepares to leave the company. Whilst the overall feel of the show is still struggling and new talk show segment Huh? with Mr. Anderson bombed, there was at least positive signs of growth for the product this week, with a handful of entertaining, yet ultimately forgettable undercard bouts also. 

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