12 October 2013

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - Oct 10, 2013

We open with yet another solid promo from heel Dixie. I love her namedropping several names saying she doesn't need their or anyone's help, also banning everyone from saying Hulk Hogan's name made me laugh. Sting comes out wanting answers, Dixie gets pissed he made him vs Magnus for BFG and books them against Bad Influence, with the stipulation that if they lose, their match at BFG is off. It made sense for Dixie to be upset that someone else questioned her behaviour and in-turn punish them.

Enjoyable match between Austin Aries & Jeff Hardy, these two always put on great matches and this was no exception, and the brainbuster from the second rope was sick. Samoa Joe announces he will be apart of Ultimate X at Bound For Glory, it was already a dream match but Joe's involvement takes it to a whole other level. I guess with Joe being able to compete for the X Division title the 230lb weight limit is gone, now I would be annoyed normally with this, but under the circumstances I'm just fine with it.  

Eric Young & Joseph Park will be doing a road trip from Tulsa to San Diego, with daily videos posted from now until BFG. Whoever came up with this, I'd just like to say you're a genius, and this trip should be hilarious. The Bro-Mans have really grown on me, they are the perfect comedy tag team, emphasised by Jesse getting his ass kicked by ODB. We went from comedy to serious very quickly when Lei'd Tapa showed up. Tapa destroyed ODB, and her performance was much better than last week, it's good to see that Tapa is listening to fans and her peers by tweaking her performances.

Mr Anderson was mentioned several times during the Aces & 8's backstage pretape, hopefully this means Anderson has re-signed. Bad Influence leaning out the door were so funny, how Daniels lent that low without falling over I'll never know. The HOF ceremony was fantastic. Bad Influence dressed as Dumb & Dumber, the obviously edited tribute video for Bobby Roode, the giant chair and Roode crying and thanking the fans while they were booing him made this awesome. Angle's return was great, he looks in great shape and Roode vs Angle 2 at BFG should be a MOTY contender.

Velvet vs Brooke was OK. Velvet was selling her injuries from last week, unfortunately she didn't sell it all the time and at points looked perfectly fine, and at other points looked like she had been shot. Sabin was great even as just a manager, accidentally distracting Velvet to talk tactics, costing her the match and then acting like it was all Velvet's fault. We now have Brooke vs Gail Kim vs ODB at BFG which should be a good match for the Knockouts title.

Ethan Carter III is here! The video got over just how arrogant EC3 is, and I cannot wait to see his debut, especially now that we know his last name is Carter, and hopefully that isn't just a coincidence. Bad Influence vs Sting/Magnus was a really good tag match. Some great wrestling from all four. The story develops with Sting & Magnus, Magnus could have pinned Kazarian but decides to try and make a statement with the submission win, Daniels interferes causing Sting to tag himself in and get rid of Daniels and finish off Kazarian quickly. Sting did what needed to be done but Magnus was pissed feeling Sting stole the win from him. While we have yet to get any physicality between the two, fuel is being added to the fire and tensions are ready to boil over.

Dixie tries and fails to buy AJ off, some of the stuff Dixie said AJ could do with the money was gold, it's becoming a funny Dixie trademark when someone does something she doesn't like, she tries to reverse it and make it sound like she was in control, in this case "I didn't sign it anyway". Styles vs Knux & Bischoff was OK. The AJ vs Knux parts were good, just when Bischoff got into the ring the match lost fluency. Knux is showing now why he's been around all this time, his ring work is good and is promos aren't that bad either, I just wish he would have been given chances to show this months ago. AJ gets the win, and the post match attack by Bully came across well. This really brought the tension that this feud needs, and the closing scene with Bully laying over AJ telling him the last face AJ will see was Bully's gave this feud the kind of build it needed several weeks ago.

Favorite Moment - The EGO Hall Of Fame induction ceremony, it was hilarious from start to finish and Angle returning was icing on the cake.

Least Favorite Moment - Garett Bischoff's botched taking of a clothesline. 

MVP of the Night - It has to be Bad Influence. They were great in everything they did, the backstage segment, the HOF Ceremony and their tag match against Sting & Magnus. Every part of the show that featured Bad Influence had me entertained.

Grade - B+/A- This was solid show for me, it featured several characters that are keeping me entertained and continued the build to Bound For Glory. Hopefully we get more of the same next week.

Nick Mann
Dixie Carter continues to get major heat from the live crowds. She is really a natural at being the bad guy. Tulsa was hot all night and that really helped this show. The back and forth between her and Sting was good as well, when Sting talks people usually listen; Dixie just blew him off. Trouble a brewin’! 

Jeff Hardy vs. Austin Aries was the best match on the show; these two were made for each other. That brain-buster was INSANE! Samoa Joe came out looking like Tony Soprano and put himself in the Ultimate X match for BFG. I guess the weight limit has been lifted. I also like the little detail that since there is no GM that the wrestlers are making the matches. Joe is a good addition to the match but I can’t help but think that he is just being thrown into something to be on the card. When was the last time Joe had a feud with anyone? Or a title match? And doesn’t it seem like the Ultimate X at BFG is more about the fact that the guys can cash it in for a World title match as opposed to being the X Division Champion? Is the X title going to be TNA’s Money in the Bank? OK, too many question marks. Who am I??? The Riddler???

The Eric Young/Joseph Park road trip stuff has the potential for comedic gold. Lei’d Tapa once again made her presence felt by taking out ODB. My guess is we get another beat down at BFG setting Tapa up for a title match down the line. 

The EGO Hall of Fame segment may be the best comedy segment TNA has ever done (move over Team 3D funeral from 2005). This is what wrestling is missing these days: FUN! But, it was fun with a purpose and set up Bobby Roode vs. Kurt Angle quite nicely. You don’t even need to do anything else to hype up this match. I also couldn’t believe they dropped a Tim Horton reference. GOLD!

Velvet Sky vs. Brooke (who apparently no longer has a last name) wasn’t much to see. I guess Chris Sabin is going to be doing the jealous boyfriend schtick as I suspected last week. This will likely lead to a split, but I would like to see these two together on camera longer, Velvet adds to Sabin’s act and I think as a heel tandem they would very well.

It amazes me that Ethan Carter III has gotten more attention in three weeks than Derrick Bateman ever did in four years with WWE. I like it when a wrestler jumps to another company and he/she is given a complete makeover. TNA needs to more of this when they sign talent from “up north.”

The match with Bad Influence vs. Sting and Magnus was fun. I like the progression of the Sting/Magnus program. It is a slow burn and I suspect Magnus ends up as part of “#TeamDixie” down the line to really heat things up between these two... 

AJ Styles looked good in the handicap match against the Aces and Eights; who are pretty well dead as a doornail; he has been on fire in the ring as of late. The beat down after the match was effective and brought the focus back to Bully vs. AJ at BFG. I loved Bully’s trash talk to AJ on the ramp.

Favorite Moment - EGO Hall of Fame.  

Least Favorite Moment - Brooke vs. Velvet 

MVP of the Night - EGO.  

Grade - B+. Very good show here. Hot crowd, good wrestling, one soon to be classic segment and good build for Bound for Glory. Impact made me a happy Mann this week.

This week's Impact was a good example of how much fun pro wrestling can be when done right.  The opening with Dixie Carter was essentially the official reset of the Impact Wrestling product - the post-Hogan era, if you will - and she did a great job putting things in perspective.  

The match between Jeff Hardy and Austin Aries was one of the best I've watched on Impact this year, and the Brainbuster off the top rope was simply breathtaking.  This is why I've gained so much respect for Hardy since his return.  He's shown time and time again, unlike other former WWE talent, that he's willing to go that extra mile for the good of the company.  And I applaud him for that.  The addition of Samoa Joe to Ultimate X at Bound for Glory has made this the match to watch on October 20th.  It will be quite the spectacle and can not wait.

Lei'D Tapa's attack on ODB made more of an impact, for me, than her attack on Velvet Sky did last week simply because she made the necessary adjustments to .  She toned down the hysterics and let her actions speak louder than her words, although she did still resort to screaming a couple of times.  The other new addition to the TNA roster made more of a splash, however.  The vignette for Ethan Carter III, as he is now known, with the two women and the great danes has created such a buzz the likes of which we haven't seen in a long time for a new talent.  TNA fans are genuinely excited for Ethan to make his debut and judging by his last name, it will be quite newsworthy.  I'll say it, Ethan Carter III makes me giddy.

This week's show also featured quite a few "holy shit" moments from the X Division match finisher to the announcement by Samoa Joe but none was bigger than the return of Kurt Angle.  His return, although not surprising to me, was executed perfectly and set up a much anticipated match between he and Bobby Roode at BFG.  On a night that Angle will make his official in-ring return and be inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame, I think he will inspire and awe us with his performance.

And finally, AJ Styles saw one of the most impressive pops he's ever received in Tulsa, OK this week.  It was so loud, I couldn't even hear his entrance music.  It was truly wonderful to see the fans rally around Styles.  He rewarded his fans with a nice victory over the Aces and 8s.  In the end, it was Bully Ray (whose commentary during the match was fantastic) reminding Styles why it wouldn't be smart to be over-confident going into their match at BFG.  It was a good ol' fashioned beat down by a bully. 

Favorite Moment - The EGO Hall of Fame ceremony for Bobby Roode will be looked back on as one of the best segments in pro wrestling this year.  It was truly magnificent.  It confirmed once again how awesome Bad Influence are and their partnership with Roode has benefited everyone involved, including the fans watching at home.  Go out of your way to watch this segment.

Least Favorite Moment - The caption for the Ethan video.  It was the same video we saw last week but according to TNA, it was filmed "earlier today".  This is the sort of thing that TNA production needs to avoid.  It's not a budget issue, it's a lack of attention to details.  I'm surprised because TNA usually do a good job with small details.

MVP of the Night - This one's tough but I will give it to AJ Styles for the thunderous ovation he received in Tulsa.  It was truly a star-making moment.

Grade - This week's Impact will get a well deserved A- from me.  It was an outstanding show with amazing moments and at least one can't miss segment.  Best wrestling show this week.

Dixie, Dixie,  She is knocking it outta the park with this heel character every week.  I think the reason it works so well is that she really knows how to ham-it-up when it comes to exaggerating her natural southern lady drawl and frankly she did grow up being rich.  So it's not a HUGE stretch for her to switch gears and become Heel Dixie.  The only thing missing was her stopping and looking at the crowd with a couple of pauses.  The heat she generated, especially when she was degrading Sting, was intense and the crowd was "in the palm of her little hand".  Bless their

Nice backstage segments with Aries & then AJ, and then we got Hardy vs Aries.  This match was really over with the live crowd and they delivered an above-average match here.  The Aries brainbuster off the 2nd rope on Hardy was CRAZY!  Joe being in the Ultimate X match was a big surprise and I wouldn't be surprised if he won it and had a run with the X-Division Title.  Maybe he holds the belt off and on until Option C comes up again?

The BFG Road Trip with EY & Park is going to be comedy at it's best and it does add to the Big-PPV feel as everything is focusing on BFG in San Diego now.  ODB vs Jessie was just a formality to Lei'D Tapa coming down and destroying ODB.  She looked a lot better here and I know for a fact that she listened to the fans feedback in regards to toning down the screaming.  She is only going to continue to get better and the Knockouts division has a good monster heel in it's midst.

AJ vs Knux & Garrett is set-up by Bully for later tonight in an A's & 8's backstage segment.  I still think A's & 8's will not end at BFG, but instead reloads with new members.  I laughed at the Wizard of Oz imitation from Kaz & Daniels in the back.  The EGO HOF segment was just amazing, as they played it up to a "T".  Roode & Bad Influence were at their finest here, and the Dumb & Dumber tuxes were the frosting on the cake.  Angle returns and looks great as he challenges Roode at BFG.

Velvet vs Brooke was decent but the heel Sabin character was the entertaining part to me here, as he is really coming into his own with it.  Brooke/ODB/Gail will be adequate.  I didn't like that the same clip of Ethan was played with a "earlier tonight" tag as it clearly was not the case.  However, the new clip with him revealing his name was pretty sweet.  I can't wait to see this character unveiled completely.  Magnus  & Sting vs Bad Influence was a decent match, but the continued build with Sting & Magnus was the story here.  The Dixie/AJ backstage interaction with her trying to pay AJ off was well-done.  Garrett/Knux vs AJ was just a means to an end of Bully and AJ's feud.  Bully was classic on commentary and took total control of AJ after the match, beating him with the chain and dropping him on the ramp.  Bully is just such an intimidating presence and he sold the BFG Main Event big-time here. 

Favorite Moment - I liked the ending best with Bully on top of AJ telling him that "he is the last person that AJ is gonna see and his voice is the last voice AJ is gonna hear".

Least Favorite Moment - No bad segments here, but the Velvet vs Brooke match was the least enjoyable for me.

MVP of the Night - Bad Influence were the MVP's of the night for me.  They were absolutely entertaining in every way.

Grade - I give this show a solid A overall as I thought it was one of the best IMPACTs of 2013.

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