26 October 2013

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - Oct 24, 2013

I cannot convey to you in words how much heat Dixie Carter got during that opening segment.  It was unreal, and she did a great job playing her Heel Dixie role.  Her character has added to the show immensely.  AJ gave us a great back and forth between himself and Dixie.  Styles is hitting on all 8 cylinders now after BFG.  The in-ring opener continued with Bully continuing the immense reaction from the crowd.  All 3 performers were fantastic here and had the audience in the palm of their hand.  Mr. Anderson's return was well-timed and he got a HUGE pop too.  Dixie coming back out and having him arrested was interesting but it worked here.

The Knockouts tag match was decent.  ODB was super over here with a lot of chants and there was some good moments from all 4 women.  Lei'D Tapa is being used perfectly in her role of Gail's enforcer.  She is getting experience and is still in the lime light but is not being relied on to do it by herself.  It was a good decision to reign things in a bit and let Tapa breath before it turned into too much of an overwhelming role for her to take on.  EC3 is awesome and his character development is being executed very well.  He has so much to offer TNA and it will continue to build with EC3's persona until he faces a worthy opponent.

Good backstage segment with Magnus & Sting as the slow burn dynamic continues.  The Angle/Roode promo was intense and the crowd was eating it up.  These are 2 of the best performers in TNA history.  Bully interacts with Knux & Bischoff as the A's & 8's depleted group seems doomed.  The BroMans celeBROtion was well done as the crowd was hot and in Robbie E's ear.  With the other 3 teams getting involved, we essentially have the tag team scene set for the foreseeable future now.  The champagne bottle shot on Park was SICK and he bled and did his Abyss transformation.

The main event was a very good match as Bully and AJ probably outdid their BFG match here.  I'm glad that AJ retained and now we will get a Anderson/Bully feud.  Dixie and AJ finish the show with Styles playing things with Dixie perfectly.  He rides off in the car with "no contract" and his World Title in hand.  I liked how he wiped his ass with the proposed contract also.  Amazing ending to a fantastic show.  

Favourite Moment - The end with AJ driving off in the car was my favorite moment. 

Least Favourite Moment - Christi Hemme stuttering like a mofo on EC3's entrance was ridiculous.

MVP of the Night - AJ Styles.  It was his show.

Grade - I give this show a solid A.  The 100% LIVE show tripped them up a couple times but overall it was amazing.

This was the best Impact of the year.  Was it short on actual wrestling?  Yes.  But the show after Bound for Glory is typically one in which the company resets its storylines and begins anew.  This year, although several of the storylines carried over from BFG, they've really just begun.  From a storylines standpoint, I think this is the most excited and optimistic I've been all year.  

For one, the Aces and 8s aren't dominating the show, neither are the faction wars.  Even though some wrestlers are still affiliated with certain groups (Main Event Mafia, EGO, the Aces and 8s), it's really in name only, which is fine with me.  Wrestlers representing factions or stables has been a pro wrestling staple that goes back decades so it's nice to see TNA incorporate that into their product.  It gives wrestlers more of an identity, if you will.  

And secondly, the writers did a very good job, this week, spotlighting the current feuds - better than they had in several months.  This is what makes pro wrestling so much fun - the feuds, the rivalries, the face-to-face confrontations, which we saw plenty of.  I can't remember the last time we were treated to so many face-offs on Impact.  Dixie Carter vs AJ Styles, Bully Ray vs AJ Styles, Mr Anderson vs Bully Ray, Dixie Carter vs Mr Anderson, Kurt Angle vs Bobby Roode, and so forth.  It was truly one intense showdown after another.

On the newcomers front, Lei D Tapa and Ethan Carter III developed nicely, each finding their niche on the Impact Wrestling roster.  Tapa will act as Gail Kim's muscle and EC3 will beat up on nerdy jobbers to impress his aunt.  It's so simple yet so effective.  I love both gimmicks.

I mentioned briefly in my Post-Impact Thoughts yesterday how awesome this week's ending was.  It was easily one of the TOP 5 of the year but this one packed more of a punch because of what it signified.  A simple image of a champion, disillusioned by the company that he helped build, holding the world championship up one last time as he drives off.  This was truly a monumental moment; and one that will prove to be the moment that TNA actually changed pro wrestling for good.  It was a storyline that the WWE had an opportunity to tell but for whatever reason, dropped the ball on.  TNA however, will take the risks that the WWE didn't, and in the end, wrestling fans will finally know how this storyline should've concluded had it not been for the WWE's incompetence.  How fitting would it be since AJ Styles, after all, is the real Best in the World.

Favourite Moment - So many to choose from but I will go with AJ Styles taking Dixie Carter's contract and wiping his ass with it.  Symbolism at its best. 

Least Favourite Moment - None.  This show had no flaws; no weak moments. 

MVP of the Night - AJ Styles.  He's managed to get the pro wrestling fans talking again.  We all want to know...where is he going?  As David Lagana so cleverly pointed out to me on Twitter when I asked him, "Where the action never ends".  Touche, Mr. Lagana.  Touche!! 

Grade - This show earned an A from me.  It was an outstanding show, based on storyline progression and strong character development.  Had it featured a bit more wrestling, it would have been a perfect show. 

Enjoyable opening segment. Heel Dixie is so fun to watch, doing a complete 180 on here view of AJ Styles now he's World Champion, having banners and portraits of AJ in the ring, the car and even saying she'd cancel the World Title match just emphasised how much Dixie wanted to save face. AJ was over big-time, which is great to see that the past year of storyline has paid off and made AJ a true star. 

That last part of AJ's promo to Bully Ray was fantastic, it's the most intense I think I've ever seen Styles. Bully's beat-down leads to the return of Mr Anderson. I'm so glad Anderson has returned, he looks and sounds as good as ever, before he left he was showing signs of the old Anderson we came to love in 2010, and that was the case again on Impact. Anderson getting handcuffed was funny, the line to Dixie "ow you like handcuffs?" was hilarious.

Pretty short Knockouts Tag match. I think the purpose it had was to establish the alliance between Gail Kim & Lei'd Tapa, which it did. I love what there doing with the EC3 matches. It's the old art of the squash match, but the comedy aspect of the jobber actually winning is emphasised. Their crazy entrance themes, their mannerisms in and out of the ring and the fact it all ties in with the Carter nepotism angle makes these matches more than just squash matches. EC3 wins and  looks good again, and cuts a short but sweet promo after.

Magnus apologising to Sting was interesting, it completely goes in the opposite direction we thought Magnus was going in after BFG, but for all we know this could be a red herring. The Angle/Roode promo was intense. That shot of them staring holes in one another was gold. I didn't think after BFG this feud would continue, however I'm glad it is and look forward to next week's rematch.

The BroMans' celeBROtion was more of a tag division re-set. We got Saints & Sinners announcing their title rematch next week, we got Bad Influence announcing a petition for them to get a tag title shot, and then a brawl that drew out EY & Joseph Park. Park Abyssed up after being hit by the champagne bottle and chased off Bad Influence. I'm hoping we're going to get more progression in the Park/Abyss angle after the events of BFG and Impact, and according to next week's Impact preview, Abyss may be appearing to go after Bad Influence.

Great Main Event. Styles & Bully delivered yet again. That back body drop where AJ landed on his face looked bad. It was interesting Mr Anderson re-appeared, earlier Bully told Bischoff & Knux to go to the police station and make sure Anderson didn't post bail, then Anderson appears. Anderson distracts Bully and AJ gets the win. It looks like we are getting the Bully/Anderson feud, these two had a great match at No Surrender, and the hatred there along with their history in Aces & 8's will be a big part of the feud, I'm looking forward to what they do together.

Dixie offers AJ a new contract, and gets it shoved right back in her face. I really loved this ending. Dixie thought when AJ said pay he meant money, but he actually meant making Dixie suffer. AJ walks out with the World Title and Dixies car. I'm excited to see where they go with this angle, how exactly is AJ going to take the World Title to the fans like he said? TNA is without a World Champion and Dixie has egg all over her face, it's going to be interesting to see how Dixie deals with this humiliation and huge loss for her company. 

Favourite Moment - The AJ walk out, the promo was great and that last image of AJ driving out holding the World Title above his head will be a big moment in TNA history.  

Least Favourite Moment - Probably the Knockouts Tag match, it served its purpose but it was really short. 

MVP of the Night - AJ Styles, he looked like a huge star throughout and his walkout was a big moment that will be the catalyst of many things to come. 

Grade - It's an A+ for me. It was a great Impact, the best of the year for sure that was everything it needed to be as the post BFG Impact. With this show and TNA's new direction, we should all be very optimistic right now.

Nick Mann
Crazy Impact this week. I have no idea where to begin. 

AJ Styles is the most over I have ever seen him and may now be getting the respect he deserves from creative for being the face of TNA. His promo work has been fantastic lately. I think this is the result of being himself and not playing a goofy Ric Flair rip-off. Speaking of being let loose, Mr. Anderson is back, more motivated than ever. He showed us the same fire he did back at No Surrender and did I see a hint of Steve Austin in him? THIS is the Anderson we want!

Tag team feuds were continued as it looks like going forward we get Saints and Sinners vs. The Bro-Mans and Bad Influence vs. Joseph Park and Eric Young. Both these programs have a great clash of personalities and could make for some entertaining match ups. 

The Kurt Angle vs. Bobby Roode feud is moving along nicely as well and I look forward to their match next week. I think with TNA doing Bound for Glory rematches it is pretty clear that they’re finishing things up from the old creative direction and gearing up for a new one.

That reminds me: Who was Derrick Bateman? I only know EC3! 

AJ Styles and Bully Ray put on one hell of a match. These two have chemistry that’s for sure.  AJ driving away in the car with the belt hanging out the back has potential to be a classic TNA moment.

Wild stuff this week, I don’t even think I covered it all. 

Favourite Moment - AJ driving away with the belt.

Least Favourite Moment - The Sting/Magnus segment seemed a little odd. It is almost as if they are pulling back on the Magnus heel turn. Strange. 

MVP of the Night - The crowd. Odd choice, I know, but the crowd in SLC rocked it and gave this show the energy it needed.

Grade - While there was only one stand out match (AJ vs. Bully) and nothing new really happened; this week's Impact gets an A because it just FELT DIFFERENT! It had an organic feel to it as if the wrestlers were let loose and were out there giving it their all in every segment. Everyone from The Bro-Mans to AJ Styles hit it out of the park this week. There was a new energy on this show; you could cut it with a knife and I think the live crowd and the viewing audience at home could feel it, I know I did.

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