19 October 2013

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - Oct 17, 2013

I will keep my remarks brief this week as I was not super impressed with this episode as a go-home show for Bound For Glory.  Dixie was excellent in the opening segment, as was Bully and Magnus.  This was one of the best segments of the night, no doubt.  Magnus continues to get a huge push, and he is delivering so far.  Daniels vs EY vs Robbie E vs Hernandez was OK, but didn't impress me much.  The gauntlet match at BFG will be fun though. 

AJ keeps getting jumped all night by those trying to collect the Dixie bounty put on Styles' head.  AJ cuts a nice promo, and then after some Knux & Garrett nonsense, Gunner and Storm come out.  Knux vs Gunner was forgettable and had no place on my TV frankly.  Good backstage segments with Gail & Brook and then Sabin & Joe.  I would be overjoyed with a Sabin/Joe feud.  The actual match they had was kind of disappointing, as was the aftermath with Manik, Hardy and Aries.  This match will steal the show tomorrow but the set-up here was kind of weak. 

Finding out EC3 is the nephew of Dixie was cool, and this character is VERY compelling to me.  Bully vs Magnus was a decent match but the crux of it was the Sting interaction with Magnus that allowed Bully to win with the low-blow.  The Angle/Roode promo was really intense and was a great set-up for BFG.  The ending segment with Dixie, Bully and AJ was the best of the night.  Bully Ray is a master on the mic and proved it yet again.  The match will be historic and I hope they give it proper time at BFG.  I liked the Dusty/Flair reference, as I grew up watching them wrestle, but it was semi-odd given the fact that Dusty was recently involved in RAW with his sons. 

Favourite Moment - Bully tearing AJ apart verbally was a pleasure to watch.  AJ held his own too.

Least Favourite Moment - Knux vs Gunner was clunky as clunky can be.

MVP of the Night - I thought Bobby Roode stole the show with his promo work.  He is one of the best performers in the world overall.

Grade - I have to give the show a C- because it didn't live up to the billing.  The crowd was quiet, the matches were not great.  The promos saved the show.

Interesting start with Dixie putting the bounty on AJ. It just showed how much Dixie doesn't want Styles in the main event, she was willing to give $50,000 to whoever got the job done. You just knew when Bully said he wanted to take AJ out he meant himself, Bischoff & Knux with Bully keeping the money for himself. Was good that Magnus came out and defended the BFG Series, this year's series elevated him tenfold, so it was only fitting he was the one to say it wasn't fair on the 12 men who fought in it to see the winner have his shot taken away by a bitter boss. Solid exchange and it set up a good match for later in the night.

The Aces & 8's backstage was hilarious. Bully going on about how they took all the glory last week with Bisch & Knux faces in the background like "WTF?". The four way wasn't bad. I was surprised that Robbie E got the win, meaning the Bro-Mans now have the advantage in tomorrow's Pre-Show Gauntlet Battle Royal. I liked how the first time we saw AJ Styles he was getting attacked. $50,000 bounty made him a marked man by everyone, and the first guy to step up was Jesse. As it was Jeese though, it came as no surprise that Styles got the upper hand and layed him out.

Good little promo from AJ, obviously he didn't want the bounty to drag on throughout the night so he invited anyone who wanted the $50,000 to come out. Knux & Bischoff come out and have ago, before being chased off by Saints & Sinners. Gunner and Storm gave AJ a nod of respect before letting him go, we may of just found two guys that might be on #TeamAJ. Ok big man match from Gunner & Knux, wasn't great, but wasn't terrible. Bischoff looked dumb calling for Bully just because Knux was down, same thing for Knux even when he was on the offense, talk about looking needy.

Chris Sabin is great as a heel, and I say it every week, telling Velvet he would get her something nice with the $50,000 made me laugh. Knux & Bischoff basically say they wont help Bully, I really don't know why they just dont leave, by saying they wont help Bully, its either leave or get kicked out, there's no going back after this. Loved the Ultimate X video, really good hype for what should be a MOTY contender on Sunday.

Sabin looking for the "Not so Phenomenal AJ Styles" was hilarious, his face the entire time Joe was talking at him was great. Sabin vs Joe was enjoyable, Joe gets the win to give him some momentum going into Ultimate X. Good post match brawl with all 5 in the Ultimate X match involved. I guess from this Aries will be in a heel role on Sunday feeling like both Hardy and Joe stepped on his toes when they changed/added to "his match". I hope the ladder was only brought into play to preview the high risk of the match, because using a Ladder in Ultimate X really takes away from the matches uniqueness.

Bad Influence tried and failed to cash in on the bounty, even during a beat-down they still talk smack to AJ. So EC3 will be at BFG, to make Aunt D proud? I guess it confirms what I thought, Ethan is Dixie's nephew, should be interesting to see his debut on Sunday. Also he was great throughout, commenting after each photo, then demanding the video ended with his theme music.

Solid match between Bully Ray & Magnus. Another layer was added to the Sting/Magnus feud when Sting took the chain from Bully, but Bully was quick on his feet and hit Magnus with a low-blow instead. Sting helped Magnus but Magnus felt like Sting cost him the match. The backstage segment was interesting too, I like how Magnus said he wants to do things by himself, with Sting saying that's the case on Sunday, should be a real interesting match.

Great segment with Angle & Roode. I love how they revisited the BFG match from 2 years ago, Roode was really intense, and the image of him making Kurt tap out was a great way to go into the match tomorrow. Another great segment with the contract signing. I enjoyed Bully's promo a lot, mentioning Dusty & Flair was cool. I laughed when Dixie got on her knees and started picking up the money after AJ threw it, thought that was great. The Styles-Bully face-off was a great way to end a solid edition of Impact.

Favourite Moment - The Angle/Roode segment, I really enjoyed it all.

Least Favourite Moment - Aces & 8's calling for Bully when they didn't need him, it just looked weak.

MVP of the Night - AJ Styles, he fought everyone off, laid out Bully Ray and threw $50,000 of Dixie Carters money all over the ring. All in all a great night for AJ going into Bound For Glory.

Grade - This one gets a B+/A-. Enjoyable show with some good final build to BFG, which should be an awesome show with four top matches.

Nick Mann 
Once again Dixie Carter hit a home run this week with her heel turn. She's condescending and annoying but at the same time pulls off some really good comedy; I think she is really getting into it. Maybe this her way of lashing out at her critics. Magnus came across strong in the opening segment with Bully Ray, I liked that he made the BFG Series seem so important to him by being so offended by Dixie's offer to the roster. Ray proved that only does he get great heat from the crowd, but he can also makes the faces look like a million dollars. A sign of a truly great heel. The "bounty" on AJ Styles' head gave the show a nice self contained story that played out well throughout the show and made AJ look strong going into BFG. Yes, it is not completely original but I found it effective nonetheless.

Holy moly, Robbie E won a match! Four way was decent and I am actually looking forward to the pre-show gauntlet. Could be good comedy, but one has to wonder if The Bro-Mans entering last will mean anything at all to the outcome.

Did anyone actually think James Storm was going to try and collect on the bounty? Could've been an interesting twist to see some babyfaces actually go after it. Knux vs. Gunner was passable at best, not much to write about here other than I would've liked to see Gunner rack Knux; Lex Luger said recently that taller guys are easier to rack because they can lay on your shoulders and not have to be lifted. I also think Gunner needs to come out in Viking gear; a big hat with horns, fuzzy boots, the whole bit. Hell, give him a chain! We could use another Bruiser Brody rip off. Gunner could be the new John Nord (The Berzerker) and I don't mean that as an insult, I really liked that guy.

Based on the backstage segment with Brooke and Gail Kim, I'm hoping we're getting a Lei'd Tapa vs Gail Kim match down the line. Why would Brooke need to send pictures of her ass to Bully, doesn't he get to see her dressed like that in person, presumably he has seen her naked as well, unless of course they're waiting to make their first time special.

Chris Sabin was hilarious this week, I know some had a problem with him pretending to cry after the confrontation with Joe, but doesn't it make him that much more hateable being that he is a coward? The match they had was solid and the run ins by Austin Aries, Jeff Hardy and Manik were well done as it made Manik look strong by getting the final shot in. However, I am pretty sure that using a ladder is cheating in Ultimate X; Team 3D did it at Genesis 2007 and it was a big deal at the time.

Magnus vs. Bully was a good TV match that served several purposes: kept Bully Ray strong going into BFG, furthered the tension between Sting and Magnus, and gave Magnus more motivation for a potential heel turn. The backstage segment between them was good as well, I like the slow burn on this angle a lot and expect something big at BFG.

The Bobby Roode/Kurt Angle  feud was given a nice segment as well, they didn't need to do much more after last week to get me into this match, but this was good stuff and was the best thing on the show until...

I really liked the contract signing. Ray and AJ both came across as real and you could feel the tension between the two. I didn’t even mind Bully dropping names like Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair (Dixie's reaction to Flair name was priceless, go back and watch her eyes roll), even with the lame Star Wars reference, this kicked ass in pushing the title match at BFG and the little brawl they had with Dixie's money going everywhere was great. I loved how Dixie made security grab the cash instead of helping her, nice touch.

Favourite Moment - Main Event Contract signing.

Least Favourite Moment - Knux vs. Gunner.

MVP of the Night - Dixie Carter.

Grade - C. Nothing bad on the show but other than two really strong segments (Angle/Roode and the contract signing) nothing to write home about either. Good hype for BFG though, see you Sunday!

This week's show, I felt, was going to be judged by the build of the top four matches at Bound for Glory, and in that aspect, I think TNA succeeded.  Although the first hour was essentially filler, minus the few backstage segments featuring the bounty on AJ Styles and the brilliance that is Chris Sabin, the second hour in my opinion sold the BFG PPV.  The final segment - the contract signing involving Bully Ray and AJ Styles - was the sort of moment that blurs the line between sports entertainment and pro wrestling.  I'm typically not a fan of contract signings simply because I feel that they've jumped the shark as a way to promote a match and often resort of cheap contrived tactics.  However, this week, Bully Ray and AJ Styles proved me wrong - their promos were an homage to pro wrestling history and they exemplified each other's mentality going into the world title match.

The segment involving Kurt Angle and Bobby Roode was probably the best executed segment of the night.  I was, particularly, impressed by Roode's mic work - it was quite possibly his best work.  He's constantly improving on the mic and this week he showed that he could very well be one step ahead of the other TNA originals such as AJ Styles, Magnus, etc., who are vying for the company's top spot.  Simply put, this was a star-making performance by Roode.

I've been saying lately how complex the relationship between Sting and Magnus is.  It's not simply a means to an end, the end being a Magnus heel turn, but something much more complicated.  Magnus comes across as a confident man but he's quite the insecure young man deep down inside simply because he can't seem to reach the pinnacle of what makes other TNA originals a success.  In one way or another, wrestlers like AJ Styles, Bobby Roode, Samoa Joe have all been where Magnus wants to go.  Unfortunately, it's not happening for him fast enough and he's begun to doubt himself.  It's a remarkable character study and I applaud TNA for not making it such a black and white issue.

Favourite Moment - Quite a few candidates this week but I will go with the backstage segment in which Chris Sabin was searching for AJ Styles - the one involving the "security guard" and Samoa Joe.  In a matter of a couple of minutes, we saw the brilliance that is the Sabin character.  It was perfectly executed.

Least Favourite Moment - The match between Gunner and Knux.  The entire segment felt flat and it confirmed to me that neither Gunner nor Knux have the sort of talent or presence (or It Factor as Roode would say) to stand out amongst a roster of talented wrestlers and big personalities.  As a result, the match was a bore.  I'd much rather have seen James Storm absolutely pulverize Garett Bischoff in less than a minute.

MVP of the Night - For me, it's a tie - Bobby Roode and AJ Styles were the stars of this week's show.

Grade - Like I said earlier, it was a tale of two hours - the first was uninspiring filler and the second was packed with great segments and promos.  Based on that, I would have given Impact a strong B- or C+.  However, the editing for this week's show was truly embarrassing.  It's mind-boggling to me that a top promotion can not properly edit a taped show.  It's inconceivable.  It's also telling that Eric Bischoff and Jason Hervey who have done some fantastic work in the Reaction shots would allow this mess to be shown on national TV.  It's inexcusable.  Someone in TNA production failed miserably and I hope management sees to it that it never happens again.  Due to this, Impact gets a D+ from me.

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