21 September 2013

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - Sept 19, 2013

Nice opening segment between EGO and the Main Event Mafia. The backstage attack moments before the show was a nice set up of Magnus' call out of the group. Magnus sold the BFG Series loss well, and I'm sure he will be challenging for the World Title when Impact is live in Glasgow on the 2014 UK Tour. Manik vs Hardy was good, could have been longer and Manik should have had a little more offense but still a good match by all accounts.

I love the Sabin heel turn. I was hoping when he won the World Title he would turn into the arrogant character we saw on Thursday. Sabin has always been a great jackass heel, and he is way more comfortable in his promos as the heel. Velvet Sky seemingly turning with him should be interesting too. Decent Knockouts match with ODB as our new Knockouts champion. Unfortunately I wasn't really focused on ODB's win, but the division entirely. Mickie's gone, Taryn's out, Tessmacher & Sky are now in valet roles, which only leaves ODB and Gail Kim. Right now, I don't know what to say about the Knockouts division.

The post-match celebration and the double embarrassment of Robbie E was a good laugh. These two teams comedy-wise seem to bounce off one another. Where this is going I don't know. But Park turns to Abyss again and takes out Bro-Mans. It would be nice to get some progress on the story of EY trying to figure out what makes Park transform at the sight of his own blood.

The Aces & 8's continue to fall apart. Bully keeps pushing his group to the side in favour of himself and Brooke. Knux cut a good promo here, which one would expect he is the next man to be cut from the group. I doubt Aces & 8's make it to BFG, however if Bully loses at Bound For Glory, it could leave the door open for the group to get a re-boot after Bully realises he can't be World Champion without an army behind him. And Brooke Tessmacher...damn is all I can say.

Chavo continues to insist on talking, even just to announce he's "injured" and can't compete. Gunner beats Hernandez, which I pray to God means Chavo & Hernandez are out of the title picture. Solid main event, all six put on a great match with Magnus taking the hit for Sting. Hopefully EGO vs MEM happens again at BFG, possibly with Angle in for Sting.

The AJ/Dixie promo was brilliant. Both made solid arguments, both brought up stuff I didn't think TNA would ever address on-screen, and Dixie going off on AJ, cutting his mic, then ending the show was gold. This makes me very excited to see where TNA's direction with this story and the company as a whole is going.

Favorite Moment - The AJ/Dixie promo. Both were great in this segment, and it really got a lot of people talking about TNA.

Least Favorite Moment - Chavo and Hernandez. Every time I see these guys (mainly Chavo) I sigh because I know what's coming.  This week, I was right again.

MVP of the Night - Dixie Carter. It was the best work she has ever done in-front of the camera. Solid promo, good acting and commendable of her doing it after hearing during the show of her Father-in-Law's passing.

Grade - This was a B- for me. Some good wrestling and a great ending. But it wasn't an all around solid show, and missed having no real build to Bound For Glory. However the ending should set up some great viewing in the weeks to come.

Nick Mann
Last week was a tough act to follow and TNA certainly did their best to keep people talking about Impact, so here it goes. I like the idea of a Main Event Mafia vs. EGO feud, more interesting than Mafia vs. Aces and Eights at this point, since it seems the faux biker gang is going to way of the dodo. Magnus had another strong showing on the mic and is really becoming the focal point of the group getting a nice rub from Sting and Samoa Joe. However, I do have to nitpick at him no selling the beat down from the opening.

Manik vs. Jeff Hardy was a nice little match with some good counters at the end, they gave us just enough to want to see more. Chris Sabin stole this whole segment with his new heel persona as he seems a lot more comfortable as the bad guy. I'm hoping Velvet Sky turns as well, could be the start of something really cool for the both of them. A three way X title match between Manik, Hardy and Sabin could steal the show at BFG.

The Knockout's title match was good and it was nice to see ODB get the belt, but having the comedy matches right after really took away from the fact that there was a title change. TNA has been really good at making things feel important lately, but they sort of dropped the ball here.

Not much to say about the GunStorm/Chavo/Hernandez segment other than keep Chavo off the mic please. I'm really not feeling this program at all, I hope they have a new direction for the tag team division soon. If you can't get The Briscoes or the American Wolves why not just sign Rhett Titus and reform the All Night Xpress with Kenny King?

I loved the six man tag main event, really good action and storytelling. Sting is best in these matches at this stage in his career as it keeps him hidden well. Magnus sacrificing himself for Sting could set up something down the line between the two but I'm hoping for more EGO vs. MEM for the time being. I really want to get a Main Event Mafia shirt.

I think I may be alone in not liking the AJ Styles/Dixie Carter segment as much as everyone else did. I thought both did a great job in their performances; Dixie is a very underrated actress and AJ always comes across as real; but I'm not sure I want to see another heel promoter angle and after the initial "shoot promo shock" wears off, that's what this will turn into. How much do you want to bet that Dixie hired Jay Bradley to take out AJ a couple of weeks ago?  Whether the angle was planned from the get go or not it can't help but start to look like the Corporation on Raw, let's hope TNA creative avoids this and takes it into a different direction as the angle has got people talking and that's a good thing.

Favorite Moment - Chris Sabin giving Manik the “pep talk” in the back.

Least Favorite Moment - Taz and Tenay’s commentary was really bad this week and their lack of interest in the Knockout’s title match was noticeable.

MVP of the Night - Hands down, Chris Sabin and he didn’t even have to wrestle!

Grade - C+. Last week was one of the best free TV events I have seen in a long time. This week felt like they were just coasting (save the AJ/Dixie segment and the six man tag), there was also no real build to Bound for Glory and most of the show felt just sort of there. Hoping the live show next week will be better.

Looking back on this week's show, having some time to process it, I thought there was quite a bit of storyline progression.  Firstly, Chris Sabin had been exhibiting heel tendencies for weeks and he finally turned this week via his attack on Manik.  Honestly, I feel the Sabin turn has been a bit forced simply because I'm not fully aware of the reasons behind his actions.  The writers have not done a good job with the transition.  Yes, I have my theories of why he turned but I would've liked to have seen TNA tell us why.  Secondly, ODB became the new Knockouts champion via her defeat of Mickie James, who's reportedly on her way out.  I thought the match was good with a bit of an underwhelming finish.  I won't tear apart the Knockouts Division simply because there's enough of that on the internet.  I'm curious, however, to know whom ODB will face next.  Thirdly, a week after needing their help to defeat Mr. Anderson, Bully Ray turned on the Aces and 8s and essentially dismissed them as merely pawns in his plan to capture the world heavyweight champion.  I'm glad to see the end is near for this faction and I have to imagine the days are numbered for at least two of the three remaining members.  And finally, Dixie Carter and AJ Styles opened up a can of worms, the affects of which will be felt by the entire TNA roster and fanbase for a long time.  It's the sort of angle that will pit the old school TNA fans against the Hogan-era Impact Wrestling fans and I, for one, can not wait to see how this story unfolds.  But for one night, Dixie Carter and AJ Styles set an ugly tone that will have grave repercussions for anyone who gets involved.  The knives are out, folks.

Favorite Moment - Easily, the Dixie Carter/AJ Styles segment.  It was a jaw-dropping moment that resonated with me.  It was honest and heartfelt.  It was bitter and intense.  It was simply brilliant.

Least Favorite Moment - Gunner vs Hernandez.  I had no interest in this match at all.  And let's be real, Hernandez is neither young or talented.  He's 40 years old.  Isn't it time for TNA to finally move on?  It's mind-boggling to me how this man continues to receive a push when he's essentially not earned it.

MVP of the Night - I have to give it to Dixie Carter.  She came out firing this week.  She ripped into AJ Styles (and to her critics) and made her mark by literally shutting down her own show.

Grade - This is a tough one simply because it wasn't the greatest of shows.  Even though there was some storyline progression, the pacing of the show was off and the editing was horrible.  There was also quite a bit of filler with the Joseph Park & EY/Bro Mans comedy getting too much time.  However, the final segment could very well be the beginning of the most important angle in the company's history for so many reasons.  I give this week's Impact a C+.

The opening segment with the MEM and EGO was pretty well done.  I think EGO provided the best wrestling on the show later in the night.  All 3 Extraordinary Gentlemen are great workers, talkers and are an asset to TNA.  Magnus just LOOKS like a World Champion, and after his No Surrender matches with Roode and AJ something really clicked for me this week during his promo here.  I agree with what many have predicted; Magnus will most likely become TNA World Champion during the 2014 UK Tour.

The Chris Sabin heel turn is well-executed and fits him so well.  Manik vs Hardy is the kind of match-up that I'd like to see more consistently (new match-ups with 2 guys that can GO).  I'm eagerly anticipating the return of Zema Ion, Kenny King and others back to the X-Division soon.  I'm an ODB fan so I was happy for her to get the title nod over a departing Mickie James, but it seemed kind of flat, especially the finish.  The KnockOuts Division needs a shot in the arm ASAP, as ODB vs most KnockOuts seems like a chore to watch at this point.

The Scientist & The Lawyer w/ ODB promo/matches AFTER the ladies match with BroMans was very entertaining to me.  These guys have great comedy chemistry.  A multi team tag team match seems to be in the works for BFG?  Who doesn't blow my skirt up but whatever.  Bully Ray and his lackeys in A's & 8's promo was really well done.  TNA was getting almost TV-MA with the chain of Bully connected to Ms. Tessmacher's undies....WOW....S & M much? I usually enjoy anything The Prez does and it was no exception here.

Gunner vs Hernandez was Meng vs Scott Norton of 2013. Blah.  The Main Event was great with even Sting doing good work here.  The 5 younger guys here are all stars.  AJ and Dixie were MAGIC in the final segment!  Everything about it was engaging and wonderful.  The game just changed.  Line of the night for me, "You'd still be living in a trailer if it wasn't for me."  DAMN!  Basically inferring that AJ would have been trailer park trash without Dixie.  That's harsh.  What happens from here could be AMAZING.
Favorite Moment - The camera angle and way the promo with Dixie and AJ was shot was just spectacular.

Least Favorite Moment - Gunner vs Hernandez seemed clunky to me.

MVP of the Night - The MVP to me was Dixie Carter.  She proved she can be a heel and shut-up the naysayers on the angle.

Grade - My grade is a B-.  There were times were this episode dragged a little bit, but overall it was good with the final segment shining through.

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